Me. The pen. The humbling acceptance of the blank page. The most performative thing about writing with pen/pencil and paper are the ink smudges caught inside the deepening lines of your hand, the growing callous inside your middle finger.
I am not mellowing. I was told I would. I would grow more conservative, I would forgive and forget. Or that if I did not do as it was decreed- soften, bend more here and there, become more quiet- I would be bitter.
And I believed them. Don’t let the bitter get me. Surely it must be a thing inside, a seed I planted when I was hurt, betrayed, and because I could not let it go, because I wrote about it and talked about, it nestled in the dark, and grew. Don’t let the bitter get me. I must not be angry. I must. Lower my voice. Sit always with my legs closed and my mouth only a cupid’s bow.
Go down the throat like a fine wine- smooth, a rush of pleasure on the palate. Palatable. But oh I am full of barbs and chaotic good and unraveling and unlearning.
This is the wisdom that nourishes me- the earth itself provides bitter herbs and roots. Bitter is not without value. A strange, wonderful, troubling alchemy must take place so the bitter becomes medicine, an agent of healing, an agent of cleansing. It must be pulled, culled, apply heat and pressure.
It is anger now. You hear the drumbeat of blood in your ears, you cry and rage. Then is silence, in listening, distill it again. Anoint yourself with its oils. Speak when it is your turn to speak, when you learn something new, raise your voice when it’s your turn.
There will be a hand over your mouth. Then another. You will find one of those hands is your own.
Some of us learned to bite for a reason.
If only we had grown bitter. Or if only we had learned to be more delicate, sapid. How lovely that would be, to lay down our hearts call and our empathy to spend a life in twilight dreaming. To dedicate our energy to perfect cognitive dissonance and accept all that is wrong may never be right again.
Turn your privilege into a blanket fort while a war against being wages.
To say, I was there. But I did nothing and it didn’t matter anyway.
No. Full stop.
There is no age limit in the resistance.
The above is a contender for the cover design of a collection of poems I hope to publish in the spring of 2018. My emotions canvass everything from fear to exaltation to giving into this luminous desire I have to share this collection of approximately thirty-five poems.
I began writing the poems in the summer of 2015 and they reflect a time when I explored my depression, attempted to find grace in the void. What I brought back with me surprises me now as I edit them- I didn’t know I was grieving a loss of self, then finding that self again and loving her. The poems reveal pain, but what surfaces are glints of hope and wholeness. That’s the answer to “why now?”- this connection. The possibility that these poems may well be a gift, a balm, my own offering of light.
Here’s a sample from one of the poems:
In addition, I finished the first draft of The Education of Sugar Girl, a coming-of-age verse novel about a Maggie Collin’s struggles after her father goes to prison, leaving her responsible for holding herself, her mother, and her three young siblings together. Maggie makes the choice to pick up where her father left off – slinging drugs. What’s important to me about this story are the questions- how far would you go to save your family, even if it meant turning away from everything you ever thought you stood for?
Also in the works:
Outlining a series of books for middle-grade readers tentatively titled The Goblin Chronicles.
Outlining a dark fantasy series titled The Kingdom of Dark Things.
And yes, I’m playing with the idea of writing these in verse as well. There’s something about writing in poetic/verse form that helps me cut to the quick of the thing.
Share your thoughts in the comments! I’m about to embark on an adventure and your support is appreciated. Thank you!
It comes on like the summer
you had your first period . This small moment when
all of a sudden
you realize you’re a woman, not a girl.
Those sanguine roles of youth are no longer yours
and it’s setting a weight down. Learning to dance
from the balls of your feet up.
Standing barefoot in the moonlight tasting your need
to howl in the back of your throat.
Letting it loose because you don’t give a fuck.
I have given it a name. The Bleak this beast it bites and in its bullets are coffin nails. Those nails I hear them crying this sad work. This goodbye … Continue reading Mourning Song
We hear the word legacy and we think of what we leave behind when we die. Our unencumbered reality may well be this: We leave things behind every day. With … Continue reading The Things We Leave Behind
I believed the stories others told me, and those darker stories I carry with me. I didn’t understand story. My voice only sang out in poetry. I’d wasted most … Continue reading The Only Way Out