Sandra Cisneros says that “poets are in the professions of transforming grief into light.”

On some level, we all feel grief. In Eastern medicine, they believe that grief settles in the lungs. I have asthma, so I find this particularly interesting. I wonder how grief has affected my lungs, and how poetry could possibly help excavate stuck grief.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, so perhaps we need to pay attention to the connection of grief and lungs. I wonder how poetry could help us excavate our own grief. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all clear our lungs and heart from grief, and transform it into something beautiful and tangible?

Poetry– metaphor, truth– help us do that.

Write on.

Photo by Karim Manjra on Unsplash

(scroll down to watch/read)

I am struggling with this blog post. I’ve been wanting to make an important announcement for more than a month now, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. How do you announce you won an award without coming across as bragging? It’s kind of impossible.

The truth is I was totally surprised, thrilled, and humbled when I found out in early April that my poem, “Solstice through Aperture,” placed first in the Alaska statewide poetry contest.

YAY!!!! Okay, back to being humble now…

I have to thank the good folks at Fairbanks Arts Association for hosting the contest, and thank you to Ishmael Hope for reading and blind-judging the poems.

Here is a video from the Fairbanks Arts Association of my reading the winning poem, “Solstice through Aperture,” as well as some of my other poems.

For those of you who prefer to read poetry, I have posted a copy of the poem below.

Thanks for reading/watching!

Featured photo by Fera Photography

You can imagine my delight when Plumtree tavern literary magazine sent me an email to tell me that they included my poem as one of the selected favorites from the past year. And lo and behold, mine was listed first!

I wrote this poem during a walk on one of the coldest, driest days of fall. Sounds muted, nothing stirring, and even the wind was dead. The next day life returned in the first snow.

Enjoy this time of quiet solitude. As Crosby, Stills and Nash say, the darkest hour is right before the dawn.

Featured artwork by Watanabe Seiti

More Cowbell (Easter Memories)
 
In diapers you would cause
and effect Easter eggs against rocks
just to hear the sound
of them break
 
Your coyote mind
shattered curious glass
oceans with a stone’s
throw
 
Even now you test
my calm to prove
that love is stronger
than your rollercoaster.
 
I could harness time
drive my car slower than an OG,
hibernate, close my eyes
& let the wind swallow me whole
 
but nope.
 
The chiller I zen,
the louder you cowbell.

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

This year Tidal Echoes, founded by University of Alaska Southeast, virtually launched their annual showcase of literature and the art. For their first Author Poetry Reading, the magazine asked me to read my poem, “Letter to the Universe,” a poem for girls everywhere. Diane DeSloover also reads her poem about the first time she watched Gigi Monroe perform.

Watch the video here: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/arts_sciences/humanities/tidalechoes/index.html

Little Tornadoes

Inside lives a cyclone 

that can throw him to the floor. 

A punch to the arm 

he craves, a battle

in his ears to slay

the storm within. 

Give him a cinnamon stick,

ginger beer, 

whiskey cranberry sauce,

a lemon — anything 

to burn the fireworks 

in his mouth.

I don’t know where he gets it,I say

as I take a swig 

of Bulliet Bourbon.

Leftovers

Last night a meal

of bottled up words

popped off like shooting stars,

burned, then faded. Tide

swollen with grief

breaches the seawall and flows

over marsh and hollow, under lampposts

on which two Ravens perch as if extensions

of the infrastructure, beaks kissing.

Give thanks

for the paper towel

found on the floor of the car

to stanch the flood.

Put a cork in it—        she tells herself

Do it over with turkey tetrazzini.

Painting: “The frightened Turkey” by Nathalie Gribinski

tiny breaths on pillowcases

baseboards ticking like my mind

which one should I cuddle first

   as if to stop the time

one more year, I tell myself 

   he hasn’t flown off yet

heartbeats strong underhand

down upon my back 

   she finds her voice

   breathing deep

watching her throat move

in her sleep the jugular 

   practices its truth

the trouble is I think I still

  have time,   I hold her tight

wrap my wings around her frame

  lest the time fly by

This poem was first published at Alaska Women Speak