Poetry 10-20-22

Playing to hope and darkness, today, I’ll be featuring poems on both.

The Difference

She ask me
what the difference was
between depression and sadness
how can you be sure 
you aren't just sad?

I looked at her, 
and out the window again
and spoke the measured truth 
forming sounds 
that escaped dry lips, 
torn by nervous teeth
falling into trickles of slow explanation

sadness was a cut finger

depression was a severed hand

cuts heal 
lost limbs are lost

sadness is a cloudy morning
that passes into a sunny afternoon

depression is a cloud living in your head
and it doesn’t burn away, no matter
how hot the sun shines outside

sadness is losing a lover

depression is losing yourself

sadness is caring enough to cry
and scream and wail

depression is giving up
not seeing the point of theatrical
chest banging
because it doesn’t really
matter
anyway

sadness is a dead bird 
on the edge of the sidewalk
struck down from its nest

depression is to have never heard 
the bird sing, or to know
that it existed at all
 
sadness is a bucket in a well, 
that can be lifted and emptied 

depression is the dank water 
in the bottom
that never dries up.

Sadness has an ebb and flow
a beginning. 
An end.

Depression is being stuck beneath the waves
a thousand miles from shore
drowning in the cold darkness.


AND the Light
The Bones are Good

It’s in the small things
micro moments
hair breadth lines

the brush of her fingers
over the back of my hand
the freckles 
each one
mapping out her constellation
a history of goddesses 
painted across her nose
coursing through her blood

It’s the crinkle of eyes
green grass
dotted with bronze
and the fire behind them
the lighted soul
one stardust mote
in a universe infinite

it is how
they save me
every day
give me reason
to fight
for better
to be 
better

These small things
are the weight-bearing pillars
of my world.

Poetry 9-22-22

Today’s poem was written on the night that Roe vs. Wade was cancelled out by a strange and uneven balance in our country. After a certain Senator’s insistence that it should be made Federal Law…I thought it was time to bring it out.

I know the opinion differs but I think that we can all agree that the moment a human being’s own body is controlled by the government (made mostly of white and extremely privileged men) it is a bad turn of events. Any study of history tells us that when women are subjugated, the downfall of the society as a whole is not far behind.

So here’s a poem. If you’re offended, good. I hope you fucking are. Because if you’re offended a small part of you must recognize that it’s not your place, nor the governing body to tell any human that any one part of their biology is more important than their own life/dreams/heart/health/future. Any person with half a brain knows that being able to plan for and want a child means a happier, healthier and more productive society.

So read on. Or don’t. Write me a demeaning, threatening letter to prove that you really don’t actually care for human life and I’ll share it on the blog along with your email address. Share this with anyone who should know that they won’t stand alone as long as we all stand together.

And fuck Lindsey Graham…

I Fight

So this is for you

piggy tails and pink shirts

mohawks and punk rock and

discoverers of self

I fight for you

regardless of the future you envision

I fight for your right to choose it

To every mother,

daughter,

born daughter is a son

sister

aunt

grandmother

friend

I fight for your dreams

for the ideas and schemes

still settling in your soul

bigger than birthing babies

bigger than your womb

I fight for your life

when these things

turn toxic and would destroy you

if kept inside

I fight for your right to be human

to matter, beyond

your ability to propagate the species

You are not a broodmare

Not a human baby mill

You are greater than your single-cells

You are infinite and divine

and I fight for you

I will never stop fighting for you

for us

after eons of being

the ones denounced

and abused

the ones controlled

out of fear of our powerful force

to create

our strength in the long and

grinding trials of pain

out of the truth that we are greater

and more powerful

than they have ever aspired

I fight for our divinity

which caused them to put our faces

to the ground and

write religious texts

denouncing our evil natures

to keep us beneath,

out of need to control

the uncontrollable beauty

of life and power residing

not just in our bodies

but in our souls

For we were Lilith before we were eve

and we are divine

and our wombs are their birth places

and we are the power that seduces

and survives

and so we are not powerless

and I will fight for you

I will fight for me

I will fight

though I am tired

and I am worn thin and

I am hurt

and I am tired of fighting this fight

over and over

and over

souls and lives

the same battle since long ago

Still,

I will rise, again, and again,

to fight for every person,

born with a uterus,

that should be treated first

as a human

and never

as a maker of more insignificant men

hell bent on the destruction

of all that is more

than they can ever be.

“A Beautiful Twist” Update and A Bite of Poetry

Hello writers, readers, and future submitters. I wanted to put out an update about this year’s anthology. First, to all of those who have submitted, thank you so for sharing your words and stories. I’ve gotten a few really interesting and engaging submissions but the truth is, I haven’t actually received enough entries to complete a book. So, I am extending the deadline to December 1st, 2022. This of course will push the publishing date back by about two months but I would rather put out a good quality book that we can all be proud of.

In the event I don’t get enough entries, I will give the entrants an opportunity to have their work published and promoted on my website, or have it returned to them so that they may option it out elsewhere. I hope the new dates will give people more time to find something fun and twisted to send in and give those that have already made the cut a chance to still get their work out there and even earn a small amount of money for it. If you need details on the submission guidelines, here they are:

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • Dates: Submission will open until December 1, 2022
  • Winners will be notified December 2022
  • Publication Date: TBA Early 2023
  • Submission guidelines: The Beautiful Stuff will be accepting, short stories (2000-5000 words), Flash Fiction (200-1000 words), Poetry (up to 5 poems allowed per submission), novel excerpts (up to 3000 words), and Personal Essays (up to 2000 words) all centered around the theme. I’m pretty lenient as far as genre. I will accept non fiction, fiction, speculative fic, western, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, erotica, historical, hysterical, time jumping primates, talking frogs, brains in jars, and ANY combination thereof. Submissions translated to English are preferred. All humans are encouraged to send in their work, regardless of how they identify, what color wrapper they come in, or who they love. I may judge your font, but I’ll never judge you.
  • Contest is open to domestic and international writers but awards will be paid in US dollars. Please submit your work as an attachment to your email, which will be a lovely cover letter about you (name, email, job, what you write, what you love to do, your submission’s title, and the secret of life–haha, just kidding we all know its 42). Email subject line should read BEAUTIFUL TWIST SUBMISSION_name (not just ‘name’–use your name). The submission file (please use .doc, .docx, or another Word friendly format) should be the title of your submission and your last name i.e. “Merry Krampus-Reichert”
  • Top 3 submissions will earn prizes as follows: 1st–$30, 2nd–$20, 3rd–$10 paid via PayPal or Venmo (or check if need be). Runners up will be published in the anthology with a chance to compete in the Colorado Book Awards.
  • You may submit in multiple formats, multiple times (ie poems and flash, or novel excerpt and essay) but each submission must be in a separate email. You can copy and paste your cover letter…I’m not going to make you rewrite that thing, they’re a pain in the ass.
  • PLEASE DO NOT submit anything that has been previously published or that you no longer own the rights to. I can’t even begin to process the legalities, so just don’t. Don’t double dip. Simultaneous submissions are absolutely fine but LET ME KNOW if your work gets accepted elsewhere as soon as possible.
  • Prohibited subject matter includes: overtly violent or gruesome content that does not further the story, non consensual sexual acts, racist/homophobic/misogynistic/hate filled writing, violent or hurtful actions against children or animals, and anything that judges, stereotypes, or seeks to harm another human being based on their human being-ness. I’m cool with erotica done tastefully and along the lines of the theme. I’m also cool with expletives if they fit the character and scene and you’re not just using them like a 7th grade boy to look cool. Cool?

All right, now that you all have a little breathing room to get your stuff in (or procrastinate until November 30th) here’s a little poetry:

Showing Up

Every day is a stranger’s best guess

who’ll show up to fill my skin

not even I know what shape

my mind will take

or what chaotic beauty will emerge

from which butterfly’s wing flap

but I know she will be beautiful

she always is

broken or ballsy

tired gloom or bursting rainbows

contemplative or cursing

all shades of her grey matter

matter and shine and

she’ll do ten thousand amazing things

per second

without me directing

bring coffee to lips

walk steps

write poems

hug babies

manipulate words

toss around thought

buy the groceries

feed the soul

take the hit

give it back, times two

every day is fate’s best guess

who’ll show up to fill my skin

But she is always

broken and in-progress

uplifting and whole

whether in shades of gray

or color

I can always count

on me showing up

Poetry 8-18-22

Good Morning!

So I’m back from my break, and refreshed. If you missed it, check out last week’s short romp through the benefits of disconnecting. Also, be aware, if I didn’t get to post on my hiatus that Westbury Falls episodes are cranking right along and we now have 7 chapters available with the 8th out this Saturday (8/20). And now– some poetry.

Step Forward or Fall Back

When the homesick sundering

of a heart caged, now freed

finds itself on the edge of the wild

once again

such a baited breath is held

that the stars pause rotation

and the wind stills birdsong

until the suffocating burning

reaps at lungs

and tears form along edges

of unblinking eyes

and heart begs the owner

decide

You have been caged too long

and you no longer know the

taste of free air

the smell of rushing water

the love of solitude and

what it is to live in your own skin

You are standing

precipice teetering

wondering if you should step back

into the safety of the metal bars

where you know your place

or forward into the unknown

where no place owns you

and you are one

with the wild things once more

A being of potential

and expansive joy

the capabilities to both starve

and thrive

live

and die

hurt

and heal

in your own time

on your own path

Do you fall back,

do you leap forward?

Poetry 7-21-22

Good morning! Today I’m just going to leave some poetry out here, and see if anyone wants it. Part thick blankets of scars, part unrelenting love, part battle weary hearts. But all truth.

The Man was Made of Scars

Weren’t you ten feet tall
a bulletproof liaison to the world
sent to make it so much a better place

until bombs exploded
shrapnel hit and bullets sang 
crushed the air between barrel 
and your unwilling skin

until you shed blood, 
with hands that once combed 
through sun bleached hair
from a world made of cotton candy
and Ferris wheels
to one painted red 
in the sands
of another country

Weren’t you found
and lured away from those neon streets,
and beach-lived boardwalks 
by promises of adventure
and the sunlit coast
became 
generator lit and
full of shadows in
gaped-hole buildings

Weren’t you soft in creation 
borne of love and hope
until the world sent armies of mercenaries
disguised as honest work
and missions accomplished
all adding layers
to the thick wall of scars
armoring your body
and chaining over
the door of your heart

Weren’t you ten feet tall
 once,
and always . . . for the rest of your life

until these damn wounds
 


Would That I (On the Matter of Anorexia)

would that I could save you
wrap my arms around and
whisper 
you are enough
the final word on the matter, 
a benediction 
no rebuttal

would that I could save you
bring your tears to halt
calm the incessant raging of doubt and hurt
that runs blades around your brain 
and makes you forget
you are not these
unforgiving storms

would that I could save you
carry you up and over
these days of engulfing uncertainty
help you come home 
to a place of just being 
of looking into a mirror
and knowing 
you were born perfect
and nothing has changed since then

would that I could save you
slay this dragon and hang 
its bloodied head on the mantle
reminding all destructive beasts
they’ll meet destructive ends
at the hands of my love.

But I cannot kill this dragon for you.

I can stand beside you
I can give you the sword, 
point out its weak spots 
and steady your hands on the hilt
I can give you rest from battle 
so you can outlast the nights
until we come out, victorious.


The Seamstress

I’ve made a full-time job
out of trying to save your heart
but the hours are long
and the pay is low
the benefits are murky
and there’s no time off
no one else
can cover my shift

I reattach pieces as they come undone
hold your hand 
and stitch with the other
but the flesh is over sewn
and each seam gets weaker
and every time I knot the end
of one line 

another begins to fray
and fall away

and I press my hand to it 
and steel my nerve
and tell you it will be alright
even as you thrash against the pain
and fight my efforts
to keep it from killing you

wishing I’d just

stop.

wishing I’d just leave
your battered,
bloody,
aching, 
flesh alone

can’t hurt if it’s not beating
you tell me

but it’s my full-time job,
and I wouldn’t know what to do
if I couldn’t save your heart.

Poetry 5-26-2022

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

Today’s poem is something from a few years back that I unearthed in the midst of looking for some pieces to critique during this year’s Wyoming Writers Conference. It’s a little rough. But that’s how gems are found. I’ve reworked it but I’m going to leave it a little raw. Because I remember that’s how I felt writing it. The rain outside today only compounds a lot of the heavy things in my heart these days. They are days of muffled creativity and the feeling that my bones are too old to carry the weight. I hope the sky clears soon.

The Fall

I was brought down in that muted moment

like the silent space a can leaves

between kicks, down the street.

It was the heart beat of a city,

neon blood pulsing

and breathing subway grates,

the singular misstep down an open shaft

It was the knowing better

but doing anyway

angels not caring enough

to stop your steps up her stairs

It was in the hundred and four seconds

you had the chance to say no

and the hundred and five choices

that still led to yes.

It was the biggest fissure

earth shaking chasm,

opening wide two halves

of a tender young heart

a canyon whose sides would never meet again

making me the proud owner

of a man-made monstrosity,

gifting me my first ticket

to lay broken at the bottom of a choice

I didn’t make.

That’s where I fell

my introduction to the dark

a swift kick down the street

denting my tin as I landed

only to be launched up,

fall down

again

and again.

Poetry 3-31-22

Photo by Marcelo Moreira on Pexels.com

The Tapeze Artist

My heart swings
in wild arcs over canyons
of the unknown

Hang on, white knuckles
to the slippery bar
and tattered rope
that threatens to drop you
one way or another

Down into the breaking of hearts
unmendable
succulent burn of muscle
and fiber
fighting to hold on
to the imperfect known
and not fall into the
unseeable future.

Have I so little faith
in the universe’s plan?
is my human failing
to fear so strong?
when the only worse case
is just death
in itself only a doorway
to another journey
another dark canyon
another unknown

Cling tightly
white knuckles
until the shaking
trembles unbearable
and you have no other recourse
than to
let go.





Poetry 2-24-22

Good morning. I had planned a vibrant book review. But some weeks the flow of energy is a low and staggered and we have to return to center ourselves. This week, it’s all about finding my solid ground again, being my own safe space, and casting away the self doubt that has saturated my soul.

How often are we paralyzed by the expectations we put on ourselves? By what we want to be for others, or because of others. How often are we overcome with despair when we fail to meet those expectations, to garner that acceptance, to find that love?

Here is what I know to be true–

Yours is the only heart you will have for your whole life time. From its very first beat. Until its last.

Lovers, spouses, friends, parents, even children will come and go in your life, in the natural waxing and waning of time and experience. But your heart, your soul, your presence is the only one you get to spend the entire journey with. So take care of your vessel…from the engine, to the machinery, the fuel and the fire. Take care of you. Love you. Believe in you.

And now, this.

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on Pexels.com
Becoming

Was there ever such a silence as this?
sun warmed skin and the echo of
small chirping voices
amongst the barking magpie and
reverberation of holy time
etched into the sides of mountains
silent, pine needle prayer

I’ve been a complacent wanderer
following the strongest flow
eyes on wayward trails
branching
never forward, exactly
but they tempt places I yearn
to wander

and it feels
like losing my ground
or finding it.

It’s in the din of life
the marked and constant boxes
that we lose our true course
give away our feet on earth
and forget 
silent places to find
ourselves.

I miss these mountains
and cultivating space between
what I dreamed of becoming and
what I’ve become.

What have I become?

Poetry 2-3-2022

It’s been awhile since I regaled you with a little verse. Okay, to be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever ‘regaled’ anyone with anything I’ve written. But here’s a poem I scribbled down and now it’s part yours.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com
Misjudged

have you ever
thought you knew everything
about a human heart
only to find out,
in clips and phrases
the everyday
exchange of words,
those priceless commodities,
that you didn’t, in fact, 
like them at all?

With every volley of
thought-provoking ideals
and self-doubting forays 
trying to figure out the complexities
of life
and love
and sex
that every one of those micro chasms of worlds
in their lit-up brains
from the sadness to the fury
the senseless damage survived,
the deep, erotic bites hungered after
and the sweet forgiveness
you discover,

layer by layer

that you didn’t like them

not at all.

No—in all,

and all along,

you, in fact,

loved them.

Poetry 12-09-2021

What Am I Made Of

The ghosts of hearts unfairly broken 
haunt me relentlessly
my own among their wreckage
and the ones still alive 
they kick down, through the floorboards of my brain
and reverberate
in the pit of my stomach

Ghosts of lovers
who loved me too much
those I rolled eyes at, 
and turned away from, 
to crawl for miles on bloodied knees
and claw at the departing feet
of those who did not love me enough.

Ghosts of the friends I picked apart
like the vulture's beak to carrion
and become angry when they
no longer fed me

Ghosts of friends who disappeared
into the ether of life
and forgot they were 
my solid ground

I think I'm made up of ghosts 
all vapor and energy
nothingness roaming
empty of touch
devoid of breath
but heavy,
oh so heavy
in soul.