Poem: this is somehow sad and beautiful

Photograph by Aleathia Drehmer

This is somehow sad and beautiful

I realized no one has missed me
or my words as I faded from the poetry scene
silently as I arrived.
                No one noticed I was gone
                no one knocking at my door
                  or requesting anything of me.

I had settled into my life before
where poems rushed out
because I would die if they stayed;
                no longer writing to be seen
                  or heard, after so many years of invisibility.

I miss them sometimes,
the writers and the connection
and the sense I belonged
to something greater than myself.

Most of them are in the same place I left them,
huddled in a café reading or putting out meager books.
                No one has made it
                    like we all dreamed we would.

Publishing Updates

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

I don’t have any official links to share with you at this time, but I would like to put a bug in your ear about upcoming publications I will appear in.

My poem “You Don’t Get to Win This Time” will appear in the inaugural edition of Misfit Quill.

My poems “The Language of Flowers” and “The Night Tiger” will appear in the inaugural edition of The Last Day of the Year Poetry.

My poems “The Fine Line” and “Filthy,” as well as my short story “Rancid Meat Fingers” will appear in the inaugural edition of Rogue Wolf Press. I will also have several photographs in that publication.

I will be sure to do official postings once all of these are live. Support small press and small press writers. We all want to swim in the big pond someday.

Collaboration: Poetry and Art

It’s no big surprise that my pace for posting has slowed down because in the last few months I’ve had the incredible opportunity to fall in love. Gasp. I know. I had written it off, to be honest. So many failed attempts made it harder to see hope. The interesting thing is that I wasn’t looking for love. I had gotten right with myself about being alone for the rest of my life. I figured if my grandmother could do it, so could I. She was one of the strongest, kindest ladies I ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

In a previous post back in April, I am sure I mentioned that I was doing something new for poetry month. I collaborated with another poet by using their overall theme and then their daily prompts. It took me exactly 27 days to fall in love with him. Romantic and silly, right? That about sums me up, anyway. When the month of poetry was over, we decided that we weren’t ready to let go.

Each day has been an adventure. We write poems separately now and I continue to work on both of my novels. We inspire each other to write better, to reach farther, to try new avenues. This is the best part of collaboration. Along with all of this, we have taken to writing each other love letters which we send the old-fashioned way through the mail.

This spawned a poem by him about a 4th century Prince and Princess. He asked me to write the second part of this series. It was a bit of a reach for me, but I did it. As something special, I had sewn, quilted, and beaded a piece to go with the poem. His work inspired my work. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

Here is my poem in the series:

Amor Aeternus, PT. 2

The season pass so slowly
it hurts to breathe
as I sit by the window
waiting for my prince to return.

The memory of his gentle fingertips
trailing the edge of my cheek,
the way his eyes pleaded forgiveness
as he left the castle, haunts me still.

At night, sleep eludes me, calls up my ghosts
as I walk the cold stones to the tower.
I call out to the moon, tracing the sky
and it’s barely visible constellations.

With the sunrise on my face
I yawn like a cat soaking in the rays.
We share seemingly different worlds
and I pretend the warmth of his body covers mine.

The strength in his eyes carries me through
the days, follow me in every shadow.
The damp fog raises the imprint
of his kisses upon my neck.

I’m filled with longing, a deep impatience
though there is nothing to be done.
There is no salve to cure my heart,
no way to close the distance.

The kingdom grows restless in his absence
as they look to me for guidance.
My leadership half-hearted 
and I feel the wolves closing in.

I stare at the horizon for his hopeful return,
the chair an uncomfortable punishment
as I stitch another patchwork with nimble hands.
They automatically flesh our hearts into the fabric.

Oh eternal love, come back to me,
I whisper into the wind, hopeful
my words will find his ear
and bring his safe return.

Aleathia Drehmer 2020

Poem: I Never Finished The Green Hills of Africa

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.

Photo credit to Ike Jakson

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.

Poem: Thomas Jones, A Wall in Naples, 1782

Painting by Thomas Jones, A Wall in Naples, 1782.

Thomas Jones
A Wall in Naples, 1782

One long white stocking
hangs from the balcony
swinging its toes, brushing
the tree tops, brushing against
the murderous beige wall.

Bricks birth through the stucco,
holes left from weather
and persistent birds
each perforating the sanctuary
of the stocking’s owner.

I wait for her to push through the door.
I wait for the window to throw its sash.
I wait for the sun to cease its brutal pummeling.

I wait for the stars
to give me a taste
of silk in my mouth,
silk tearing
against my teeth.

Poem: Easy Medicine

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.

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

Easy Medicine

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.

Published: Issue 19 Big Windows Review

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer, Chicago, IL.

I know I previously posted to the home page and maybe another post about being published at the Big Windows Review, but here is another. I have two poems in Issue 19, Spring 2020

This literary magazine is part of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI which is run by Tom Zimmerman and Katherine Snow. Thanks so much to them both for including my work in their spring issue.

Poem: Any of It

I’ve come to realize that at 46, I have spent a lifetime chasing the idea of love. It’s an abstract concept that most have a hard time holding in their hand long enough to understand. The feeling, when it’s true, might have you huddled in the corner whispering “my precious.”

Love is something we want to keep, but can’t name or map or diagram out to know when it is true. Like many people, I have spent the aforementioned lifetime with a conglomerate definition of love that comes from society, movies, books, and learned environment.

The concept is often too heavy for a person to consider individually. This would mean each of us would have to stand before the mirror and not be ashamed of what looks back at us. What happens when all those areas I have gleaned a definition of love from are broken?

The last three years have been a journey to love myself. I have started this late in life, but with a good set of tools: experience, knowledge, friendship. The journey will continue as my years tack on, but right now, in the strangest of times, I have found my definition of love.

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

Any of It

Sometimes I want to write
a poem where our breath
meets as it dances over
our lips and tongue.

I’d forgotten
what it felt like
to be loved

to know the weight
of an arm across
my chest, 

the wet warmth
of velvet kisses, 
unexpected.

The way laughter pulls 
two souls together,
or the surprise of existence
the morning sun brings,

Or how a hand slides
into another, grounding
the world into reality,

the quiet closeness in awe
of a sunset, fingers tangled
in the soft waves of my hair.

These were all dreams I once had,
the sweet rambles of sleep
and rearranged heartbeats, 
soft delirium easily trapped 
in the dark minutes before midnight.

Poem: Mitigation

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.

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer, Corning, NY.

Mitigation

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.

Aleathia Drehmer 2020

Collaboration: Poem: Generation of Guns (with Brad Burjan/2010)

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

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.

Aleathia Drehmer/Brad Burjan