I Missed You

“Did you miss me?”

I ask her as I’m crawling into our bed

Smoothing the curls on top of our head

Giving her a bright toothy smile when I know her heart feels like a block full of lead

For a couple of years now I’ve been gone

I know my sudden departure was wrong

And no doubt she resents me for leaving, I know the road to forgiveness is long

But I love those brown eyes staring back in the mirror

I know the typical stranger would see her anger and fear her

But after leaving for a couple years, I think I know her better, I think I see her clearer

I Grieve With You

I wrote this poem in a healthy safe mindset, as more of a comfort to those who are going through a struggle that I’ve been able to relate to at one point in my life. I have so much love for the women in my life who have raised me, empowered me, and helped me heal. If you ever need to talk to someone please reach out to your loved ones or know that it’s okay to use your resources. I’m going to leave the hotline for the National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673. Never feel weak for reaching out for help and building your support system.

I understand why she cut her hair so that he couldn't grab it.

I get why she drinks herself to sleep, the nightmares are so graphic.
I accept her even though she is unfriendly to every stranger,

and I ache for the girl who repented thinking a higher being could save her.
I grieve with her, I scream with her, I too can feel that anger.

I battle a misplaced resentment not protecting myself from danger.
I was revived by a sisterhood of women, each one living my pain.

We do the best that we can to survive, we've given up on staying sane.

Love Is Logistics

I love you so much and I’m really gonna miss it,

But let me tell you a secret dear, love is logistics.

When I’m up every morning and you wake up late at night,

When every discussion about religion is ending up in a fight

When every talk about the future makes us dig our heels in,

We have to face the music, no one’s ever gonna win.

I know we were raised on fairytales and magical love stories,

But we should have listened to the facts even if it was boring.

I’m always going to love you so let’s end it while it’s good

Let’s give each other the respect of walking away when we should.

I love you so much and I’m really gonna miss it,

But let me tell you a secret my dear, love is logistics.

The Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Editing

This post is for all of my poets out there who are new to editing, struggle with editing, or just need a refresher. This guide is giving tips on how to edit poetry and then later this week I will be posting a guide on how to edit short stories.

Editing has always been my biggest struggle with writing. I either get so excited after I finish a draft that I want my work out there immediately or I don’t even know where to begin with editing and I grow frustrated. After taking a few classes and talking to other writers I’ve developed a method that I am going to share with all of you.

Step 1: Congratulations, you’ve finished your draft! You have one of two options here. Honestly I do both, depending on what I’ve written and if it has a deadline. You can either continue into the editing process or take a break. Taking a day long break, an hour long break, etc. can help you clear your mind and come back with a more objective view to continue editing your new poem.

Step 2: Once you’re ready to move onto the editing process, simple read through your poem a couple of times. Don’t edit anything. Just get a feel for what you’ve written and see if anything stands out.

Step 3: “Trim the fat.” Ask yourself this, can a convey an even stronger message if I take out some of the “fluff” wording that may not need to be there? Sometimes this can feel very personal to a writer because we spend so long on our writing that it seems strange to turn around and try to trim it down, but you’d be surprise at how much more powerful your message can be once you cut out some words or even lines.

Step 4: Are you using one word too much? Do you have a word that doesn’t quite fit? Try using a thesaurus to look for synonyms. You don’t want to necessarily change the meaning of the word you’re using but it needs a slight tweak, right? Then try your best to find a synonym! This is always a good habit to get into because a lot of us are guilty of having what I call “comfort words.” Words we routinely use in multiple pieces. The more variety the better!

Step 5: I like to do one or two times, it’s a scan solely for grammar. I’m far from perfect when it comes to grammar so I need to take extra time to review it. The two things I’m most guilty of are misusing commas and incomplete sentences. If you were going to read this poem out loud where would you take pauses? This is a trick that might help you with punctuation.

Step 6: Visual aesthetic. Now your poem sounds grammatically correct but does it visually appear how you want it to? If you want to shape it a certain way or add in visual art, now is the time to do so. Just remember to ask yourself, does the visual aesthetic contribute to the message of the poem? Making a bold aesthetic choice that aligns with the poem’s message can make for an even better experience for the reader.

Step 7: If you haven’t already taken a break, you should do so now. After these edits sometimes I take a break and sit back down to re-read it. From here I’ll either go through the fully editing process again or just make final touches.

Step 8: Share your work! Where people are comfortable sharing their work varies for everyone but I’m a firm believer that you should share your work somewhere. Whether it’s on a blog, on social media, with your friends or family, in a class. It doesn’t matter! The constructive feedback and affirmation you get from others will help you grow so much as a writer.

Feel free to comment on this post with additional steps that you take for your editing process!

Hollowed Out Lovers

There’s a boy and a girl,

Sitting at a bar.

They don’t speak.

They don’t laugh.

They don’t kiss.

They sit there at the bar,

And sip their drinks quietly.

Strangers pass them by, confused by this.

The strangers come from a warm love,

Where you speak,

Where you laugh,

Where you kiss.

And you barely notice your drinks,

Because you’re lingering on your love’s every word.

But the boy and the girl don’t find it odd.

The boy and the girl don’t know a warm love.

They know a silent understanding,

They know a mutual discomfort with touch,

They know a shared trauma,

That make them shrivel up

When the pressures of expected affection are placed on them by strangers.

And they know,

There’s plenty of love,

Layered over by exhaustion and fear,

But they’re strong enough to love each other anyways,

In the ways they’ve taught each other to.

Content with being a pair of hollowed out lovers.

The Dreaded Writer’s Block

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Time to have an honest talk. What’s the most common response a lot of us give when somebody asks us what’s kept us from writing lately? “Writer’s block.” What causes writer’s block? A wide range of things. Feeling down and creatively suppressed. Not having enough time in a week to give it the attention it deserves. Growing bored of what we’ve been writing recently but not knowing what to move onto.

It’s been almost two years since I graduated college and I can admit that especially when it comes to poetry I’ve had a very bad case of the infamous “writer’s block.” However, in the past few days, just sitting down at my desk in my bedroom and time blocking one hour out of my night to pursue a passion I’ve been obsessed with since the sixth grade has unleashed a mass of different writing prompts that I hope to start on soon.

I’m publishing this here so that if you’re going through the same thing, maybe you’ll either feel inspired by one of my ideas or pursue a few of your own. Here’s a list of my top five poetry prompts for the writers with a bad case of the “writer’s block.”

  1. Maybe it’s not so much a prompt but think of a book that you’ve read that took place in a scene that left a vivid image in your mind. For me I think of a small cabin in Maine from a book I’ve read a long time ago that’s never left my head. When I close my eyes and remember this image, I think of how it appeals to the five senses. Before I know it, I’ve at least began to write a poem that’s been lingering in the back of my mind for months now without me even realizing it.
  2. Think of a poem you read once where you wished something had been different. Either you wish the ending would have been different, the structure, the spacing, the punctuation. Explore a similar theme but write it the way you would want it to be written. Be mindful of not copying someone’s hard work but feel free to pick up the same theme someone has used and create it in your voice.
  3. Look up a list of different types of poems. Did you know there are at least 50 different types? For example, a Haiku poem has a three-line stanza with a 5/7/5 syllable count. This style of poem usually focuses on the theme of nature. Find a poetry type that intrigues you and make it a challenge. See if you can find a structure of poem that you’ve never written before and challenge yourself to complete it. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  4. Something kind of silly I’ve done in the past is ask a friend to list five objects. For example: a pen, a sweater, a clock, a microphone, and gold sequin purse. You have to make a poem that contains all five of these objects. When you’re finished and if you’re comfortable, show your friend what you’ve written. Maybe they’ll offer some helpful feedback or another list of items that will leave you with more ideas!
  5.  None of us like to hear this last one, and once again maybe this isn’t so much a prompt as it is a technique. Sometimes when you’ve searched and searched for inspiration but time continues to pass and you still find yourself with a bad case of writer’s block, what can you do as a final hail Mary? Forced writing. It sounds intense. I promise it’s less intimidating then it sounds. How do you do this? Make a commitment to yourself. Maybe every day for the next week from 7am until 7:15am you will sit at your desk with no other distractions and write whatever comes into your head. Maybe its song lyrics, maybe it’s complete nonsense, maybe it’s you talking about how absolutely infuriating it is to be sitting at a desk at 7 in the morning writing about writer’s block but eventually something will probably happen. Maybe it’ll happen on the first day, maybe it’ll happen on the 7th, but eventually you might feel new ideas begin to surface. I know it’s frustrating but I promise it’s worth a try.

Just remember, practice makes perfect! We’re never going to get any better if we throw in the towel completely.