This replication, this hidden secret beneath my skin unlocked by the sun has me searching for shade and shadows.
Everything that grows needs light and warmth. It’s a power we all take for granted.
I feel my mind fall into obsession about times of day and UV index about covering every inch of my body.
A hole in my face slowly fills in with new skin and new life, the margins deemed clean but suspicion lingers. What happened once, can happen again.
Purple circles outline more areas of worry like small targets the universe has given me to remember the fine art of vigilance. No more long walks on the beach or sun filled moments in any season or carefree days taken by the hand at whim.
There are only hats and SPF and being unfashionably overdressed.
Many years ago I got into writing different types of formed poetry. I have always been a free verse sort of girl, but have appreciated what it takes to write in meter or form. This poem is a Sestina. I cannot validate how well crafted it is, but it was fun to write.
The joy of writing for me is the challenge to push myself past the comfort zone. I learn so much about myself when I do this. I gain perspective and open up my mind to being more accepting of different types of writing that I might not be familiar with. This is one of five or six Sestina that I wrote. My process is putting out a call for words and then taking some of them to create the poem. This makes it adventurous. Enjoy.
He moved slowly and purposefully through splintered feelings. His heart pumping around the protruding tusk impaled in his chest. It sang deeply of moon. It pulsated and vibrated more intensely than the alabaster skin of her thighs. How he wanted to blanket his body with her; how he wanted to shovel
his way to her voice again. He knelt down, hands forming a shovel and began digging earth, his mind splintered into left brain and right with no meninges blanket to force them to work together. He felt the tusk burrow deeper with each movement, its girth of stained alabaster shining like an iridescent beacon screaming at the moon.
“Burn, burn, burn!!” shouted the wicked moon. Her rays laser beaming the flesh built shovel. “I will not let you spoil her alabaster soul again. I will not,” said the high, tight voice. His ears splintered into a million fragments of universe on the ruined tusk, laying dimensions of sound over the dirt like a sonic blanket.
It was all so invisible, her hatred, this blanket. He pawed at it on the sparkled ground moon forming in the lake of blood dripping from the tusk. He never meant to lay his hands on that shovel, never meant to enjoy the wood as it splintered beneath his palms, as it cracked her alabaster
skull with resonance. She breathed untouched alabaster no more; she was damaged. He had done it and now this blanket of silence suffocated him as the night cursed him in splintered tongues. He stood a devil redeemed under the moon. The spade lay there detached, a broken tool, a shovel no more. His head hung there now noticing the tusk.
She had closed in on him like lust, arms behind her, gripping the tusk her daddy had killed for in Africa, its gypsum alabaster shine his recollection to her beauty that could shovel away a mountain as easy as folding a blanket. She had kissed his lips in front of the testament of the moon and punctured his faith with the ivory. He was splintered
morbidly by the pointed tusk. Her lies, an evil blanket all along—alabaster lies forged deep in hatred by the moon! He lay his broken hand/shovel down, now numb and splintered.
Recently, I have been reading poems at night and recording them. My friend and I send them back and forth. This is a helpful tool to understanding where changes need to be made in the flow of a poem. This particular poem is an old one and was previously published. Most of the poems you read here are published except for the occasional recent work.
My life as a nurse has afforded me the opportunity to see people in every shade of their personality and to imagine myself in their heads. This poem will someday be part of a manuscript I’m putting together called “Little Graveyards” which chronicles small and large deaths I’ve seen in the ER or just in vulnerable people in general.
Skin heals inside out. We watch the wounds close, pushing up new cells daily.
It’s her own small miracle self-created again and again and again and again with the razor slowly biting into microcosmic layers.
Each thickness its own dimension in time. She stands witness to blood rising from skin folds, valleys made of her innate need for destruction.
A river is nourished with every ripple it pushes up over the banks, spilling into the empty valley of her heart.
It’s easy medicine for her.
Each groove alleviates pain quicker than any pill, or couch session. Making her remember, that despite it all, she’s still alive.
I wrote the bones of this poem last night and then cleaned it up this morning. Most of the time I share work that has already been published, but today, you get a freshie. Enjoy.
I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, leaping from the car to race headlong to the concrete wall separating the river from the city it likes to drown when too many tears fill its banks.
The sun set so fast throwing amber rays into the sky like a confident painter perfectly placing a thick brush stroke, its reflection on the water, a liquid fire.
These months in isolation pull all the silver linings from the bottom of my pockets, remind me of what hard life used to be and the pain of loneliness
and how this is an inconvenience, a sheltered reduction of years and thoughts, a gratitude building up for something as simple as the evening star over our heads always pointing us in the right direction.
It’s strange, but as a child I was not into collaboration. I feel like this is when we would be at our most viable to handle it. Our egos don’t get in the way. But as I have gotten older, the more I love to collaborate in some way. It pulls the mind open. It gets uncomfortable and this is where your craft grows. In 2010, I did a fair bit of poetry crafting with my friend Brad Burjan. Many of the poems we created together were published.
I would later go on to work on short fiction in a collaborative setting with people I had never met before and learning to trust where they were taking the story. It is an exercise that allows you to play and take chances you otherwise may not have taken. I started using conversations with other people to create characters for stories. Things began to have lives of their own.
Collaboration has so many levels of sharing. It can be in your face construction of a piece of writing or art. It can be subtle in the sense that another person’s presence in the room or the sound of their voice lends to creation. Often we take collaboration to be this big undertaking but it is truly about interaction with another person who has their own unique picture of the world. Never be afraid to try something that makes you feel on the edge of your comfort zone. You’ll come back happier than when you started.
Please enjoy this poem from 2010 by Brad Burjan and myself:
Generation of Guns
Sometimes these bones are strangers, touching each other in the night like blind/deaf lovers. They call each other by name, their words Morse code vibrating into fresh cells.
Like frightened armies cut off at the river, they move together in the trenches, faces smeared with mud, limbs articulated with their sentences hovering in the open mouth of the air…searching.
Legions of men rise and fall in this mist, this place of stopped time and stolen history, exhaling the exposed wounds we’d rather not carry.
All that dried blood of reality pools and hardens in cold chambers— in a generation of guns now frozen in the memory’s trigger and I’d rather shoot the teeth out of love than admit defeat or truth.
So I’ll just sit here choking on every syllable that weighs down my throat, and cease to resist destiny.