Baby Blue

Baby blue tastes like American Spirits and cheap liquor too,

Looking at him I know there’s nothing more I can do.

His jokes are growing stale, his laugh is the quietest in the room

Looking at him I know he’s accepted his own doom.

Baby blue is one more drink, one more mistake from fading away,

And I can’t watch him spiral anymore so he tells me that I can’t stay.

I kiss him on the cheek on his stained leather seats

Choosing to walk alone, willing to bear the Summer heat.

Baby blue has the prettiest eyes even when he’s yelling at me with anger.

I know his longest love will be his lifelong infatuation with danger,

but Baby blue thinks I’m the villain, so he’ll hate me until I’m a stranger.

Reality

When I was a little girl if I had a bad day,

I would simply close my eyes & make it all go away.

I’ve always had this special talent of disappearing into my head

Shifting reality to fit into the story I created instead.

When I opened my eyes again everything was brand new,

I wasn’t really me and you weren’t really you.

With the snap of my fingers I was an actress in a role,

I never used it to be cruel, I just used it when life was dull.

Even as an adult I make up these universes in my head

To escape the monotony, the reoccurring dread.

Every once in awhile I have this sobering, sudden fear

That I’ve slipped far into the role, that reality’s become unclear.

Spring

Every Spring I awaken,

And the water is still.

The grass is growing greener,

And she’s soothed me through the nightmares.

As the cherry blossoms begin to form,

I go somewhere.

I go to him.

A marble statue,

Sitting on a throne.

He’s cold to the touch,

And his voice induces chills.

I close my eyes and hold my breath,

While his tight grip leaves indents on my skin

I don’t leave until the water starts to rise,

And the grass begins to whither.

Until I’m dismissed with his approving nod,

Until I’ve place my spirit in the palm of his hand

Like some sick sacred offering.

Then I lay still in my bed,

And I wait and I sleep,

Until it’s Spring again.

My Most Unpopular Opinions: Poetry Edition

Last week I uploaded a post about some “unpopular” opinions of mine that have to do with fiction novels. This week I’m going to be talking about some more controversial opinions I have about poetry in general. Here are my top 5 unpopular opinions about poetry:

Not all Poetry has to Rhyme

  1. Not all poetry has to rhyme. I saw an article the other day that went into the author’s opinion that poetry has to rhyme to be considered poetry since that is the genre’s defining characteristic to separate it from other styles of writing. It was an extremely well written and well thought out article. However, I disagree! I think what distinguishes poetry from other types of writing is much more complex than that. Visual presentation, different line structures, length, and content are just some of the factors that can distinguish poetry from a different style of writing. I think free verse poetry is an extremely valid structure of poetry, that can be lyrical and has a unique flow without having to rhyme. Some free verse poetry does follow a rhyme or meter structure at least slightly and some does not. However it’s the content of free verse poetry that discusses a topic in depth, appeals to the senses and showcases imagery that in my opinion, makes it a perfectly valid form of poetry.

The Pretentious Environment Turns People Away

2. Poetry’s pretentious environment turns people away. It needs to be discussed. I have a deeply rooted love for poetry and I love to seek out spaces where I can share this love with others. However, especially when I was first starting out and becoming brave enough to join clubs or classes, it was extremely discouraging how snobby the poetry environment can be. If you don’t share a fascination for certain classics or you dare to wander over to the world of contemporary poetry, you are sometimes made to feel like you don’t understand poetry as well as others. I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. Shakespeare is my worst nightmare to this day. I don’t enjoy his content or even the structure of his poetry. I do have an appreciation though for the innovation he brought to poetry and the history that he’s made. This mindset is how more people need to approach poetry. What inspires and fascinates one poet, may completely bore another, but that doesn’t make you a bad poet! It just makes you a poet with different preferences and that is perfectly fine. We should be excited and inviting when someone shares a love for poetry. We should never be guilty of being gatekeepers based off our own personal opinions.

Why do so many People Hate Slam Poetry?

3. Why do so many people hate slam poetry?? I know, I know. I just got done talking about how everyone is entitled to their own preferences and I meant it. I’m not upset at this fact, I’m just truly fascinated why some people hate slam poetry so deeply. I agree that just because you call it slam poetry, doesn’t necessarily make it poetry. Still, I have been in the audience to witness how a passionate reading can infuse a poem with so much life and inspire the audience in a completely different way than written poetry can. I think slam poetry is so mesmerizing and unique. I especially think it’s great when conveying an extremely strong emotion or discussing social issues. If you’re not a fan of slam poetry, let me know in the comments! There’s no judgement here, I am just genuinely curious.

Rap is Poetry

Rap is poetry. Like I’ve been saying throughout this article, poetry comes in so many different forms and I don’t think any of us have the right to gatekeep what “real poetry” is. I don’t think that every single rap song is a poem necessarily but so much of it is. So many rap songs have a consistent rhyme structure, appeal to the senses, showcase imagery, and just in general align with the structure of a typical poem in so many ways. Why are so many people insistent that rap is not poetry? I think at some point we have to be honest about the toxic attitude that can take over the poetry world. When rappers or other poets use explicit language, discuss social issues, or discuss the reality of their economic class, it may not be pretty or romantic but guess what? It’s poetry! You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to read it but we need to give credit where credit is due. There is some legendary poetic talent in the world of rap and it is “real poetry” in every sense.

Poetry Doesn’t Have to be Deep

5. Poetry doesn’t have to be deep. For a brief moment I hated poetry and when I think back to why, it was because in order to be considered a well respected poet it seemed like I wasn’t allowed to have any fun. I have always been a deep thinker with deep emotions and poetry helps me put that into words. I’ve always had a deep love for similes, metaphors, symbolism and those themes are rich in poetry. However, in the words of my mom “Sometimes the water is just blue.” Sometimes there is no symbolism, metaphor, or deeper meaning. Sometimes the water is just blue and I want to write about a silly and meaningless topic just because it’s fun. However, if you want to write poetry with a more complex meaning then go for it! The number one rule to poetry is simple; be authentic. If you’re feeling like you have a heavy heart and want to talk about it then go for it. If you’re having a light hearted day and you want to write a poem just to see if you can pull off a random rhyme structure then do it. I just think we are at our best and our poetry is at its best when we’re authentic and open to other people’s interpretations.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these opinions? Do you have any unpopular opinions of your own? Let me know in the comments down below!

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.