Relearning Love

The mermaid dreamed of dancing
And daring, she dove high
Eyes cast to the canopy sunlight
Heart extending its reach to heaven on earth
She was promised legs
For a price:
 
Then, with a knife,
She tasted death.
 
But that longing soul
Survived
She washed up awake
Sitting on the silver sands
Shivering when asked to stand
Shoulders squared
Eyes hardened with distrust
For the truth is always
Too good to be true
Right?
 
Oh darling of the deep,
I understand
Take my hand only when you’re ready again
Because learning how to walk
Is all about the baby steps
Do not fear
For here, my hands are empty
Here, there is no trick,
Only time
Only time

Note: First appeared in CLU’s the Morning Glory, 2018 issue, vol. 47.

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update 03/09

EDIT 03/22: Most changes have been successfully made! Further updates to follow in the future!

ID: sweaty bird scrubbing the floor

Hey guys, just a heads up: you might start to see a bunch of stuff shifting around significantly on my blog! I’m readjusting to make it easier to navigate and more accessible for readers with disabilities.

What you can expect to see specifically is a lot of changes in font and text appearance to make it easier on anyone who was having visual difficulties with my work. This might result in a total site theme change, just to get the poems to look the way I’m hoping. And in the meantime, my search bar will be down temporarily, until I can, you know, get it to work right!

I’m hoping this won’t take too long, but if it does, that might mean a hiatus for the next weekly poem. Accessibility is super, super important to me, so thanks for your patience and understanding while I tidy this place up!

Life in Flowers

Happy International Women’s Day! Here’s a poem about women in love!

In my childhood
I had tea parties with bears and dolls in my parents’ minivan
And occasionally
I watched the new girl my age run down the road
Giddy with excitement
As she threw petals over the pavement
Almost as if she were gladly celebrating a wedding
Everyday
Whether it was between the unions of two trees
Or two squirrels
Or two cars parked on the wrong side of the road that day

And I would peer through my window
Wondering exactly what kinds of words she could form with her lips
What kind of colors her world must’ve been painted in
Because, one afternoon, she painted my world in
Carnations
And sunflowers
Tulips
And lavenders
A wave
And a sly smile
As she passed me by to run onto my porch

She left flowers on my front steps
And an imprint on my childlike heart:
I never wanted to stop believing in magic from that day onward

~
In my adolescence
I studied at the library five blocks from my high school
And sometimes
I saw that girl my age biking down the road
Singing or humming to herself
With only one earphone in her left ear
Merrily
As she made her way back home after a long day in the classroom
Or at soccer practice
Or in tutoring for her AP English class

And she would stop by for me sometimes
Showing me exactly what kinds of words she could form with her lips
What kinds of colors her world must’ve been painted in
And then, one afternoon, she painted my world again in
Carnations
And sunflowers
Tulips
And lavenders
A giggle
And a sly smile
As she leaned in close enough to steal my breath away midsentence

She left flowers on my work book
And an imprint on my adolescent heart:
I never wanted to stop believing in love from that day onward

~
In my adulthood
I worked in a small faraway bookstore, filled to the brim with classical fiction
And every night
I watched the woman my age roll up to the curbside
Smiling wearily
As she leaned over from the driver’s seat to open the door on my side
So that I could get in and sit beside her
Reaching for the hand that held a wedding ring of
Three years and counting at the stoplight
Or the stop sign
Or during traffic on the freeway in those late, busy hours

And I would lean over from my seat
Showing her what kinds of vows we could renew with our lips
What kinds of colors our world had been painted in
Because, every anniversary, she painted my world in
Carnations
And sunflowers
Tulips
And lavenders
A kiss
And a sly smile
As she sat there quietly but proudly twining her fingers with my own

She left flowers on my dashboard
And an imprint on my aged heart:
I never wanted to stop believing in fate from that day onward

~
In my senescence
We lived in a retirement home too many cities away from where our children lived
And every morning
I helped the woman my age get out of bed
Laughing hoarsely
As she repressed a cough for fear that I would fall ill as well
Not that I would’ve quite cared so much anymore
If it hadn’t been for the fact that nobody else would take care of her if I couldn’t

Not our sons who had who had become busy fathers
Nor our daughter who had flown to farther shores
Nor her parents who had long since died


And I would help her into her rocking chair
Repeating what kinds of memories I could articulate with my lips
What kinds of colors she had painted my world in
Because, even as she withers, she paints my world in
Carnations
And sunflowers
Tulips
And lavenders
A teardrop
And a sly smile
As she sat there smiling and breathing her last breath


I left flowers on her tombstone
And she an imprint on my elderly heart:
I never wanted to stop believing in heaven from that day onward

reflection #1

[Image description: A large succulent bush with many clusters of star-shaped pink flowers]
Over time, Crassula ovata can be grown into a bush from a single leaf cutting.

To paraphrase, I once heard my substitute poetry professor say that the artists with the richest work often have lived through big tragedies and immense grief.

I heard this one classmate go, “Man, I don’t know what that must be like.” Another classmate heard him too.

“Must be nice,” she sighed, and I couldn’t empathize more than I already did with the exasperation on her breath.

Continue reading “reflection #1”

A Dreamer’s Mantra

There’s a hope of a stable home that I’m curling my fingers around
And even if I’m clutching empty air right now
Just you wait
I’ve tucked that space away in my pocket
Waiting for the day I can use it
To put you right next to us for good
It will happen

And it’s okay if you don’t know where you’re headed now
Because these eyes can’t see into the future either
I only act like I know what I’m doing
No map, just nebulous directions that I keep forgetting
Did they say turn left or right?
Either way, I’m taking you there with us
Even if it takes years of tears
I’m going to make sure for centuries on end
You know what overwhelming joy tastes like
It will happen
It will happen

I’m going to hit the jackpot with these shaky fists
Bite into gold one restless night with chattering teeth
And be able to spit it back out at everyone who chained us down
I’ll be able to buy every apartment in this city
But of course I only want the one place where all five of us can fit
Where the air will be filled with sweet songs and smells
And every seat at the table full for dinner
It will happen
It will happen
It will happen

And every wonderful fantasy we’ve ever entertained of being together
It will happen
This fairytale I hold in my head is tangible in my soul
Because even while we’re miles apart
I can feel your embrace more than its absence
I see our home better than I can the empty bed
Because this current set-up is passing
And I absolutely refuse to let some mental parasite convince me
That emptiness is a permanent and undefeatable fate
You belong with us
It will happen
You have a home with us
It will happen
I promise
It will happen

Note: First appeared with slight adjustments in CLU’s the Morning Glory, 2017 issue, vol. 46. This is the unedited original, written in 2015.

Women in Horror: Sèphera Girón Part II

Colleen Anderson

WiHMX-horizontal-WhiteSèphera’s back today, talking about earning a living as a writer and specifically about Patreon and how it works.

One of the things that help people like me, single people who don’t have a partner to support me financially or emotionally or even with posting a tweet and trying to figure out how to earn a living and keep all the balls in the air and get the work flowing again, is a Patreon.

Nowadays, a lot of people can turn to fund-raising events like a Go Fund Me or a Kick Starter for a specific project and things like that. I myself had a very successful Go Fund Me a few years ago. I had hoped to go to the Stanley hotel for a writers’ retreat to try and get back on track with my writing and I wanted to pay my own way, but the recession was huge…

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Everything Else Comes First, Before I Write

Cynthia D. Griffin

Yes, I know. That title contradicts every single piece of writing advice I have ever been given, or heard. In fact, it’s probably the number one advice most give about writing–to put writing first, and do it every day. And perhaps for many that’s what they need–to put writing first, and do it every single day. But I’ve been doing just that for years, and it’s been having a very negative effect on all the other parts of my life.

I need balance. And when I put writing first, I can’t achieve balance, no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I have tried).

So I’m trying something new. I have reprioritized my life and made a new list of how things with happen and it goes something like this…

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