Categories
Performance Art Poetry

Shrinking Women

“Women in my family have been shrinking for decades,” states Lily Myers.

But this is not a declaration of defeat; it is one of defiance. Shrinking Women is provoking, revealing, and altogether beautiful in many ways.

After all, all women were born to build. Happy International Woman’s Day!

 

Shrinking Women

Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass.
She says she doesn’t deprive herself,
but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork.
In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate.
I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it.
I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so.

Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional.
As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast.
She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new girlfriend who was overweight as a teenager, but my dad reports that now she’s “crazy about fruit.”

It was the same with his parents;
as my grandmother became frail and angular her husband swelled to red round cheeks, round stomach,
and I wonder if my lineage is one of women shrinking,
making space for the entrance of men into their lives,
not knowing how to fill it back up once they leave.

I have been taught accommodation.
My brother never thinks before he speaks.
I have been taught to filter.
“How can anyone have a relationship to food?” he asks, laughing, as I eat the black bean soup I chose for its lack of carbs.
I want to say: we come from difference, Jonas,
you have been taught to grow out,
I have been taught to grow in.
You learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence, you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much.
I learned to absorb.
I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself.
I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters,
and I never meant to replicate her, but
spend enough time sitting across from someone and you pick up their habits-

that’s why women in my family have been shrinking for decades.
We all learned it from each other, the way each generation taught the next how to knit,
weaving silence in between the threads
which I can still feel as I walk through this ever-growing house,
skin itching,
picking up all the habits my mother has unwittingly dropped like bits of crumpled paper from her pocket on her countless trips from bedroom to kitchen to bedroom again.
Nights I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled.
Deciding how many bites is too many.
How much space she deserves to occupy.

Watching the struggle I either mimic or hate her,
And I don’t want to do either anymore,
but the burden of this house has followed me across the country.
I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word “sorry.”
I don’t know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza,
a circular obsession I never wanted, but

inheritance is accidental,
still staring at me with wine-soaked lips from across the kitchen table.

 

***

Lily Myers, performed Shrinking Women at the Wesleyan University at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, where it was awarded Best Love Poem. Her recitation was put up on YouTube and has garnered over 2 million views since April.

Originally from Seattle, the 21-year-old first started writing poetry during her junior year of high school after she “accidentally” took a creative writing class. She ended up loving poetry and with the encouragement of her teacher, started attending open mic nights. Fast-forward four years, Myers has found her calling.

Currently a junior majoring in sociology at Wesleyan University, Myers is a member of the University’s slam team.

Myers is currently abroad for the semester in Buenos Aires.

 

Categories
Poetry Words

Open Letter To The Last Person I Will Ever Love

This one goes out to all the lovers, the loved, those who think they are unloved, the dammed, the enlightened… for all of us.

Open Letter To The Last Person I Will Ever Love

On the blackened beaches of the island known as Kona,

the lanterned hands of Pacific hearts
appear in the eyelid of morning –

heavy,
like a seed in your throat
ready to be swallowed,

they arrive with pockets of white stones
plucked from the tongues of highways

and they spell out the names of the people they have lost;
like giant love letters of the Earth
swirling across the volcanic heart of the ocean,
fury in their fingers
as if they could teach the sky about reflection.

Welcome to The Beginning.

I want you to remember
what you were doing with your hands
when you were capable
of not chasing
and not wanting to be chased.

When you are ready,
This is how we will find each other:
stolen and whipping in the wind
crafting the pebbled bodies of our hearts –

I hope that we are more broken than we could ever imagine
so there are more parts of ourselves to know
than there ever were before,
tumbled and blistered by those who could not see us in the dark,
held like a fist of feathers.

We will understand that you only know people in the ages you meet them in
and we will continue anyway,
arthritis in our eyes –

I do not know how it will feel to be myself when I am old,
I am constantly the wrong age for my body –

I do not know if I will ever learn how to thank you
if I will know how to stop speaking Airport
if I will touch you like linoleum

but I will store all of your birthdays somewhere below my shoulders,
so when you wake with ceiling eyes
you will consider my mouth
pressed against yours –

how it is slower than imagined,
how everything is brimming
like dinner on a stove top.

I hope I never dream of you
so I am constantly discovering
what I have.

Overwhelmed every time you glimmer
like the glare of the sun
in the revolving of a door –
the eagerness of unbuttoning fingers,
the buckling of knuckles,
the crushing nature of hope.

You are everything and nothing like what I have waited for –
familiar as a perennial weed harbored in my stomach,

tumbling through each moment
with the feet of bicycles
to devour every part of this country
like a laugh in the night –
fingers of sparklers
teeth of split chins
restless believer in open spaces,
humming and listening
with the sun in your throat –

you don’t ever say much.
You just stand
like a mesa in the desert,
hopeful as the howling of wind against the garage door.

You are the only voice in the night
I will ever call back to –
stumbling everything I’ve believed
like an ocean of stars,
the silence of a first snow,
this notion of home.

I will love you
the exact way I always
wanted to be loved.

And when I lose you –
as death and the nature of men
have promised me I will –
I will find my way to the Pacific,
to the island known as Kona,
a fist of white stones

and I will write you

like the poem that you are.

***

Carrie_Rudzinski_imageNamed “Best Female Poet” and “Best Of The Rest” at her first national poetry competition in 2008, Carrie Rudzinski is a full time performance poet who has performed her work across the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and India.

Her work has been published in such collections as Words DanceMuzzle,OnMag, and Alight. She has released three poetry books: A History Of Silence (2010), The Endless Return Home (2012), and The Shotgun Speaks(2013). 

Categories
Poetry Words

If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her

To complete this series of poetry inspired posts is a poem by Sarah Kay. Sarah’s poems are quite refreshing.

Here is Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye‘s ‘When Love Arrives’. Do enjoy.

When Love Arrives

I knew exactly what love looked like- in seventh grade.
Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom I would’ve recognized him at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would’ve recognized her at first glance, love wore a tight french braid.
Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew,
I just must be searching the wrong classrooms,
just must be checking the wrong hallways, she was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him.
But when love finally showed up,
she had a bowl cut.
He wore the same clothes every day for a week.
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about The Beatles.
Instead,
every time I try to kiss love,
our teeth got in the way.
Love became the reason I lied to my parents.
I’m going to- Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor, but made sure we never missed a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew that if her father picked up it would be:
“Hello? Hello? *heavy breathing* I guess they hung up.”
And love grew,
stretched like a trampoline.
Love changed.
Love disappeared, slowly, like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed.
Love vanished like an amateur magician, and everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire, there were other places I had planned on going,
but my plans didn’t matter.
Love stayed away for years, and when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.
Love smelled different now, had darker eyes,
a broader back, love came with freckles I didn’t recognize.
New birthmarks, a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns,
new favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else,
songs love didn’t like to listen to.
So did I.
But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly,
we found jokes that make us laugh.
And now, love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.
Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned.
Love is messier now,
not as simple.
Love uses the words “boobs” in front of my parents.
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages.
And turns out,
love shits!
But love also cries. And love will tell you you are beautiful
and mean it,
over and over again.
You are beautiful.
When you first wake up,
“you are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it,
“you are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it,
“you are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you,
“you are beautiful.”
Love still thinks – you are beautiful.
But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget,
when you need to hear it most,
you are beautiful,
do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not what you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep, and you are in California, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone,
maybe love is not ready for you. Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love looks older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays-
maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say,
“Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet,
whisper,
“Thank you. Thank you for stopping by.”

***


Sarah Kay
is an American poet. Known for her spoken word poetry, Kay is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., a group dedicated to using spoken word as an inspirational tool.

Categories
Poetry Words

You Will Hear Thunder

You will hear thunder and remember me,

And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
when, for the last time, I take my leave,
And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
Leaving my shadow still to be with you.

Categories
Poetry Words

my heart was too big for my body so I let it go

Anis Mojgani‘s ‘fiercely hopeful word arias’ are truly something to behold.

I have been listening to Closer for about a week now. Enjoy. And then some.

Closer

come closer.
come into this. come closer.
you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil form the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this.
come closer.

know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it.

come you wooden museums
you gentle tigers
negro farces in two broken scenes
come rusting giants
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. some days all they do is tremble. I am like you. I am like you. I too at times am filled with so much fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. through this church, this church of bone, birthed of blood and muscle. this church of ours. there is a doorknob glowing like chance. clutch it. turn and pull. step through. chin up. back straight. eyes open bones in our throats hearts loud and bending. walk through this with me.

***

Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. A National Book Award Nominee and former resident of the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program, Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Bestiary, and The Legendary. A founding member of the touring Poetry Revival, Anis is also the author of two books, both published by Write Bloody Publishing: Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008) and The Feather Room (2011). He currently lives on the east side of Austin TX in a tiny house with his wife.

Categories
Images Poetry Words

Secrets from Ourselves

I’ve always admired people who could keep secrets. Every Sunday, for over six years now, I have been visiting Postsecret . It is soon becoming a personal tradition.

I used to have the Postsecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God. Is surprising to discover what other people consider to keep as secrets. Over the years I’ve come across many haunting, beautiful, inspiring and captivating secrets. This week, this is my favorite one:

Secrets from Ourselves

I still want to own all of the Postsecret books one day.  It the meantime, here this is the secret that nobody knows.