anti poetica

who cares how long i’ve spent with my poems—those shit psalms those rats of my soul—head first thru the window me at their ankles demanding substance, revelation, sudden gravity—shamed of my leafless, drug shanked brain—this grey popper worn hell—that dark dull circle i try to conquer beauty & the state from within. i’m not revolutionary i’m regular. nothing radical in being the enemy of america, the country of enemies. we find our laughter between the horror. stop asking me to explain having a body & a mind & a heart—their harmonies, their plots to murder each other. i’ve lived long in a low solstice—wife of a pipe & the blue lit plain—leo trash—saved by occasional dick & the knowledge of my mother, friends i confess my pocked seasons only after their caul. arachnid moods—self-cornered—text back weak—i haven’t been much lately—the dark season lasted years, swallowing seasons, collecting itself in my shallows like a motor-sheered fish. where did the poems go? what is their trouble? what kind of water is i?

-Danez Smith

I Am Learning to Abandon the World

I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.

-Linda Pastan

Take it back, even if it's for the first time. 

May we raise children who love the unloved things

May we raise children 
who love the unloved 
things-the dandelion, the 
worms and spiderlings. 
Children who sense 
the rose needs the thorn

& run into rainswept days
the same way they 
turn towards sun...

And when they're grown &
someone has to speak for those 
who have no voice

may they draw upon that 
wilder bond, those days of 
tending tender things

and be the ones. 

-Nicolette Sowder

The Eyes of My Regret

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints—rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching—watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable,
       —The eyes of my Regret.

-Angelina Weld Grimké


The moon assumes her voyeuristic perch
to find the rut of me, releashed from sense,
devoid of focus ’cept by your design.
I never thought restraint would be my thing.
Then you: the hole from which my logic seeps,
who bucks my mind’s incessant swallowsong
& pins the speaker’s squirming lyric down
with ease. You coax a measured flood, decide
the scatter of my breath & know your place—
astride the August heat, your knuckles tight
around a bratty vers, a fuschia gag:
you quiet my neurotic ass, can still
the loudness murmuring beneath my skull.
Be done. There’s nothing more to say.

-Imani Davis


...maybe a damned good night's sleep will bring me
back to a gentle sanity. But at the moment, I look
about this room and, like myself, it's all in disarray:
things fallen out of place, cluttered, jumbled, lost,
knocked over and I can't put it straight, don't want to. 
Perhaps living through these petty days will get us 
ready for the dangerous ones.

Charles Bukowski

it’s not okay…

it's not 
it was never
i just 
for the sake 
of saving
what was 
so close to 
b r e a k i n g.

-Stutters and Sighs | Bethany Patrick

I have swallowed so many of my words, for so very long. My voice was roaring on the inside, clawing to be let out, but I just kept swallowing. It got used to being repressed by me, by society, by expectations, by fear, by a scarcity mindset... by the unknown. And now it wants freedom, just like everything else. She wants her voice to be heard, to matter and to make a difference. I can't shame myself for all I have swallowed, because now is her time. This is the soonest I could arrive for her. I won't repress her, but I ask for her grace in finding ways to walk into this together. She has so much to say about all she has seen and witnesses when people don't think she's paying attention. She is curious, and strong and tender. She is a fighter, and so very smart.  It is scary, but most unknows are, and that is okay. I must move and stop swallowing in spite of the fear. 

There's a beauty in being broken --- I've seen the light it's letting in.

In love and light, my friends. Grateful for the forum to share. ~Jenn

*thank you to my IFS therapist for helping me along this journey of awareness to become more Self led. A return to Self is the most beautiful gift of freedom and peace that I have ever experienced. 

Untitled for a Reason

you are curled under
unconsummated kiss,
folded into the violence
of blueberries crushed
between teeth, dying
sugars of once growing
fruit, and i let it linger.

your hands map
a body that requires
no discovery,
nor conquest.

you speak softened
drama of fury and frenzy,
quiet underbelly, light
beaming into peaceful
dark interrupted by
minor collisions
bodies were built
to withstand. you,
looping daydreams
and gasps silent
under skin until
partitions of distance
and judgment lapse
into surreptitious mist.

you are the laugh
that falls orange
against my cheek
and dries slight
sweat cooling.

in the smallest fleck
of imagination, you
become a dream
i needed to recall
as muscles found
new persistence
flexing in a crucible
where the world
expands beyond
the steady scruff
of sandpaper
graded routine. you,
small map unfolding
a globe that vanished
within mundane block.

you open a door
with a word, if any,
or a pause hanging
like an ornament
in your full smirk.

-Tara Betts

Take the back roads

take the back roads. where the
sky meets the earth. kick your 
shoes off and walk barefoot in 
the grass. turn off your phone
and let your surroundings be
amplified. the sun and the sky.
the moon and the stars. maybe 
a campfire and a conversation
that goes all night. those are 
the moments you'll remember.

because life may be short but 
it's also important. so hold 
on to those moments. seek out 
experiences that remind you 
that life is beautiful. 

/ topher kearby

the reward for seeking is so beautiful


Unstoppable they called her
but I saw her stop
I saw her stop
many many times.

I thought she had stopped 
for good

but no
she always found a way
to resurrect.

To rise again. 

Not the same.
never the same. 

Each time a little more determined
and a little less vulnerable.

Unstoppable they said 
but I think 
it was in the stopping

that she found
her power.

-Donna Ashworth