In simple conversations with others, I mute myself unintentionally…
…and it feels involuntary because I’m the type that wants to spill my heart’s contents. I just feel like when I’m around the majority of the people in my life, they have shown me what they really care or don’t care about through rejection, belittlement, invalidation, and sardonic attitudes assaulting what is not just important to me, but also accurate. So like many sensitives, I choose silence while my eyes tear up and my heart aches and my stomach churns and my mind screams.
This became a painful habit of my people pleasing persona. The consequence was volcanic, but luckily for me the pen could channel the magma within and somehow transcend from being raw and unruly to becoming divine and sculpted. It was the first poem I wrote about how much I loved Spring in 5th grade where I realized I was being listened to. It was my first song about friendship where I realized I was being heard. So my poetic career plodded on while traversing through goth culture, my parent’s divorce, going to college early, losing toxic friends and becoming the toxic friend.
I didn’t pick up the pen as much when depression won me over, but I’d reach for it in desperate times to avoid carving into my skin, since that too was belittled, invalidated, mocked, and only a few times led friends to beg me to never go too far.
I’ve teased death a time or two, but our relationship is so much more fulfilling now that my poetic purpose has been embraced by my artistic and fragmented soul. That volcanic energy would cool sometimes and seal the broken parts me rearranged by new philosophies and mysticism that called the pen to my hand again, reminding me, especially when I’m erupting, that poetry is permission to simply be.
During my meditations this week, I accepted an important sacrifice I had to make. Sacrifice is strange to me. Sometimes I go out of the way trying to find a way where I can get everything I want without losing anything. I try to strategize, work around the way people perceive me, hoping I can […]
I had not thought of violets late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.
© Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson – Source: Poetry Foundation
Alone in the library room, even when others
Are there in the room, alone, except for themselves:
There is the illusion of peace; the air in the room
Is stilled; there are reading lights on the tables,
Looking as if they’re reading, looking as if
They’re studying the text, and understanding,
Shedding light on what the words are saying;
But under their steady imbecile gaze the page
Is blank, patiently waiting not to be blank.
The page is blank until the mind that reads
Crosses the black river, seeking the Queen
Of the Underworld, Persephone, where she sits
By the side of the one who brought her there from Enna,
Hades the mute, the deaf, king of the dead letter;
She is clothed in the beautiful garment of our thousand
Misunderstandings of the sacred text.
© David Ferry – Source: Poem Hunter
Someone standing at the mouth had
the idea to enter. To go further
than light or language could
go. As they followed
the idea, light and language followed
like two wolves—panting, hearing themselves
panting. A shapeless scent
in the damp air …
Keep going, the idea said.
Someone kept going. Deeper and deeper, they saw
others had been there. Others had left
objects that couldn’t have found their way
there alone. Ocher-stained shells. Bird bones. Grounded
hematite. On the walls,
as if stepping into history, someone saw
their purpose: cows. Bulls. Bison. Deer. Horses—
some pregnant, some slaughtered.
life seemed wild and alive, moving
when someone moved, casting their shadows
on the shadows stretching
in every direction. Keep going,
the idea said again. Go …
Someone continued. They followed the idea so far inside that
outside was another idea.
© Paul Tran – Source: Poetry Foundation
How quickly our thrones become cages
from a single stroke of misery.
Convinced our legacies past
are erased by hidden difficulty.
Dismay destructs our strengths
lighting fire at our feet;
weakness become more transparent
than the thinnest silk sheets.
Don’t forget your prudence
in hours of adversity.
Unlock your cage and venture
to rebuild and ground your dignity.
- Kris Leliel – 2021
- Featured Artist: Joey Leung
“Oft have I thrilled at deeds of high emprise, / And yearned to venture into realms unknown,”Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson – “To Madame Curie”
A powerful force from history greeted me today through The Paris Review: Alice Dunbar-Nelson.
I came across this article by Joanna Scutts while looking for magazines that accepted poetry. I was pulled in by “Feminize Your Canon” with a “Yes. I love this. Feminize My Canon!” before clicking the link. It started out to be very engaging and soon violent. Then revival and raw power burst through in the unpublished, discredited, and haunting prejudice, both racial and gendered, throughout Alice’s life. What makes this remarkable to me was as I read on I saw myself and I saw the protagonist of the novel series I’ve been working on for years now. The similarities between all three of us brought a vivacity to what seemed almost fated to me, but honestly, the story of Alice Dunbar-Nelson can summon the courage of any light-skinned African American woman lacking a sense of belongingness and fights for it daily. When you fight for belongingness and acceptance, really you’re on the path of self-trust and self-respect; dignity is the name of the game and it’s hard to play, but the arts can be the greatest weapon drawn if it fits firmly in your hands and helps you declare your uniqueness with boldness and honor.
I don’t know how else to describe Alice Dunbar-Nelson, other than what I’ve said, what I’ve been further inspired to do, which is create forever, and to just add that she was a remarkable soul, who knew she deserved better and made sure she got it. To the article writer Joanna Scutts, thank you. To the scholars and writers who revitalized Alice’s life and life’s work, thank you. I value your efforts highly and I’m grateful you didn’t censor the relationships she had with men and women amongst her achievements as a political activist who “in her energy and appetite for life’s pleasures, from the literary to the human to the natural, Alice Dunbar-Nelson celebrated beauty and freedom to the end of her life,” (Scutts 2020). That’s the dream, right there.
More Artist Recognition & History Study
Look, dreamcatchers aren’t “aesthetic” investments. The regalia of indigenous American tribes aren’t Halloween costumes. Instead, you should invest in this wonderful list of Native American brands I found on Tumblr, where the artistry is spectacular and deserves more recognition. I really love Jamie Okuma‘s work (her work is in the featured image above [click here […]
Many creatives are caught in the rat race while trying to maintain the status of being a valiant competitor just to make ends meet. Doing this almost kills us. As creative and critical thinkers, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, being forced to follow a regimen is something we can excel to keep AND completely fail to […]
“The primary power of water is in assisting the creation of forms for the expression of consciousness, providing nutrition for their continued existence, and physical purification.” Mark Stavish – The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing & the World of Natural Magic (Pathways to Enlightenment) When I started practicing, I wasn’t really into using water because […]
I think I just want to drown in poetry for my next creative project. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but November has been transformative for me. I’ve been chaotic and melancholy with mild intervals of maturity due to retrospective divination sessions and meditations. And my Thanksgiving was…I suppose 60% okay. I observe the National Day of Mourning protest of the Native American tribes each year out of respect for the history behind this day.
I took time to read some Native American literature too. Wendy Rose’s powerful words got to me.
And with that poem and her statement about how poetry helped her, I was reminded I’ve why I’ve been writing poetry since the 5th grade. My heart is stirring many things right now, mostly because of old and new pains. Poetry is the best medicine for me right now.
Also, thank you to those who have reacted, shared, and commented on my excerpt of “Lightning Strike”. I’m sincerely grateful for your support.
Stream my cover of “Love’s A Burden”
I’ve wanted to be a polyglot since I was a kid and I blame Lara Croft (the movies and the games). I was head over heels in love with her. Having her level of erudition and speaking so many languages was so attractive to me. But how do you achieve that? I’ve done the research […]
Is it weird being insecure about this? When my mother noticed I was teaching myself piano at the age of 4 or 5, I started taking lessons early and I was on the classical track with this teacher. Then my passion for marital arts led to my mother saying she could only pay for one. […]
Do you mind if I share what I’ve been reading? Still reading and enjoying! Lost Gods by Brom This has been a wonderful read so far. The narrative style is specific enough for the sake of immersion, but also jumps into the action of the story without too much wait. Traveling through Hell from the […]
High standards bent my neck,
forcing me to look
at false mirrors;
a blink is all it took.
Then with closed eyes,
I breathed so deep
my neck relaxed,
insecurities fell asleep.
I’m awake again.