FINALLY: PUBLISHED

Z Publishing House recently released the Maryland, Carolinas, and Virginia edition of their Americas Emerging Poets of 2018 series, and I WAS PUBLISHED IN IT!

It’s truly been an incredible journey, and one full of disappointments and thoughts I might not ever reach this goal. Since I started writing at the age of 13, I hoped to have my words in a book. Through my own personal blog that I’ve run for nearly three years, countless writers groups, endless books, and hundreds of poems (many of which were terrible), I’ve discovered and re-discovered a part of me that I never knew I had. Now i never knew how I lived without it. For those that follow me on here, Instagram, and other venues that have published my words (SpillWords, Teen Ink, Blood Into Ink, Go Dog Go Cafe, and many others), thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me to keep writing. Even when it was hard, even when I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. If you don’t mind taking a look, and maybe even buying, I would greatly appreciate it!

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He Had Visitors

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Why do you want me to be

Unhappy

Why do you want me to be

Enslaved

I feel your thumbs round the insides of my cheeks

And tap the tip of the tongue

Your spit cascades into my nostrils

And wells up in my gums

I will not swallow, I cannot speak

Beneath me, my muscles shrivel up and are weak

With fury, tempests, and all the while

Consolation

With eyelids stuck shut, conceding inevitable defeat

With palms wide open, conceding inevitable defeat

With arms tied behind my back, conceding inevitable defeat

I understand now why you’re driven away

Anything this toxic, this chemical romance

Between the thought of love

And the actual action

Between the nape of my neck

And the pool of semen that reminds me

He’s finally finished with me

Wiping my mouth, still dripping from his hands

He snares another girl by the ponytail

Punches her, knocking her out cold

Then dabs his index finger in the blood

Presses it to my lips

And tells me to dance

He had visitors

WWW.

Before I get to the poetry, I’d like to share an assignment I had for my college spring semester: interviewing someone in my field to learn about the field and how to succeed in it. Of course, I had to many people to choose from, so I picked on that I’ve loved for a long time…

“For this assignment, I chose to interview a fellow WordPress blogger and writer friend of mine, Kindra Austin. To start, she introduced herself and talked about her upbringing. I asked her to name some writers that were an influence from a young age, and she named quite a few. Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, and Emily Dickinson were some of those that inspired her, and it was Plath who “incited her love affair with confessional poetry”. We then talked about her books, Magpie in August and Constant Muses. Magpie began as a diary about the relationship between her mother and over the course of a year or so expanded to encompass other family members. Her mother died in October of last year, and since she’d been working on a collection of poems and prose since the release of Magpie, she included more writing dedicated to her mother and dedicated Constant Muses to her. In addition to talking about her writing process, which includes her beloved cat and photographs of herself, her sister, her mother, and daughter, we also went over the literary collectives she’s a member of. As writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar, she has come to know “savagely talented individuals who inspire me to challenge myself”. Most importantly, we talked about making it as a writer. She even gave me tips, detailing dedication, experimentation with different forms, building relationships, and sharing knowledge and experience. Finally, she named some of her favorite writers (I happened to be one!).

While some of what Kindra and I discussed was already known to me, I learned a great deal about what it takes to become a published writer. Kindra is extremely informed and a passionate human being, and it’s not hard to see why she’s so successful. I felt extremely honored to hear her views on our profession, and touched by her energy. This interview didn’t necessarily alter my plans; publishing my own poetry collection is still the main goal, but insight from someone who’s actually done it is quite invaluable. I feel encouraged to try different forms of poetry, and continuing to not be deterred by rejection letters.” 

Kindra has always struck me as an incredible writer who combines a warrior’s passion with a mother’s grace. Some of her recent poems reflecting on her childhood inspired me to write this (and no, I don’t do her work justice, but…)

My high school years were short on sweethearts
Just like middle school
Pre-school
None, actually
I was never the romantic soul
I’d console emptiness with full pages
WWW’s leading to poems and paragraphs
She was the only girl (*woman) I actually cared about
Because she wrote about the things I felt
Manipulation, inner strength, being a warrior
In spite of everything that has been done
And would eventually take place
I found consolation in poetry and prose
That stuck with you, despite the woes
Thrown to the wolves, no real father
In and out of your life as the alcohol
Drained from bottles upon bottles
You discovered what drugs were, even touched
Yet you never took part, and found offense
In the things that kept you from sleeping
And kept breakfast short, dinner shorter
And summer’s in hundred degree heat
Taught you to create your own destiny
Be your best self, your only self
I learned that here, first, and it’s because
Of them, that I found words to come to me too
I could write just like her, I could convey
Just like her
I never thought I’d be as accomplished
But if I could find my real self
Then the journey would have been worth it

Ink and Irrelevance

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Ink conveys neither life nor death
Blood suggests neither man nor woman
Breath itself tells me very little
About who you are, and more importantly
Why
The object of this life we’ve been given
Is not to accumulate or accomplish
But to prepare and introspect
On what’s been done, is happening
And will be done, either by us or others
The heart doesn’t start beating
Until it has a purpose
The lungs won’t start taking in the air
Until they’re told they are meant to sustain
Blood flows not from heart to brain
Until there is someone to hold and nurture
So too we are, writers, conveying the deep
And promising readers explanations
Of what the common man cannot comprehend
It is up to us to demonstrate the subtle calls
Of a world gone awry, and through words
Restore the order that keeps us moving
Onward is the path we lay, the words come
Night and day, and though the construction
Can tire, consume, and even weigh heavy
The thought of more dying because of us
Unwillingness to serve our fellow man
The cause motivates to inspire, create
And reimagine everything we have seen
I will see the afterlife
Not because I’m guaranteed heaven
But because I’ve created it here
And I know whoever inherits it will be full
Of all the peace I left in my stead
My greatest achievement as a writer
Is not volumes, full bookshelves, and contracts
But the smiles of happy children
The sunrise on a grateful universe
For keeping the balance it desperately needs
To ensure the survival of life