Rediscovering myself, as a poet

I recently entered a poetry contest! Here are the details:

The Ash Sessions presents the “Black, Strong and Sweet” Poetry Series @ Nick’s Coffee Company – DEADLINE: APRIL 15, 2013.

Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love. And so should poems. Following the success of the Ash Wednesday Poetry Series and Reading, The Ash Sessions is pleased to announce the launch of the next series – the “Black, Strong & Sweet” Coffee and Poetry Series.

Poems selected for the series will be showcased on the chalkboard at Nick’s Coffee Company. Each poet (and poem) will be featured on a blog that will accompany the series. In addition, line(s) from the selected poems will be displayed on the take-away coffee cups at Nick’s. The series will run from May to July 2013.

The original poems I wrote were too long (they had to be 10 lines or less), so I condensed them. But I enjoyed writing the originals a lot, so I thought I would share these three pieces with you!

Night Sweat

She tries not to let it bother her;
It was just a dream she had
She tries not to think of soft skin
The hills and valleys of a body
Hot touches in secret places
Whispers in the darkness
It was just a dream, she knows.
She’s never touched a woman’s body
She curls up to her husband, still asleep.
Does he know, when she trembles
It’s not his face that she sees?
Lush lips part, rosy buds rise and quiver
Her tongue leaves a moistened trail
Her eyes open before the end
Breath catching in her throat
Heart pounding, sweat beaded,
Flesh swollen and incomplete
Beside her, the man turns and snores.
She tries not to let it bother her.
It was just a dream.
This is her life.


On the Table

Pretend that privacy remains
Hold the sheet to your chest
Unclench your toes.
Pretend that the sting won’t last
After all, it’s only five minutes.
Take a breath and sing your song
Whatever it takes to make it through.
Discomfort was predicted
What you feel is agony
Exactly what you expected
When you started down this path.
Pretend you’re standing on a beach
Watching sand swirling around your feet
Warm water suddenly boiling
Your song becomes a scream
An apology — you thought you were strong
Hold still, don’t move, hold on
And then it is over.
Pretend that you are normal
That you can stand, walk, go home.
Turn off the music and slide off the table.
Pretend you are not dying inside
Though your body is whole.



A golden frame, halo of sunshine,
Doused in chemical tar;
Plumage soiled by a slurry mix, and
Strand by strand destroyed.
The natural brunette had become a blonde,
For the space of half a year.
It started as a bet, a dare, a race,
And became a passion she owned.
Brightness energized; it made her smile,
Gave a lightness to her step every day.
But the price of blonde is a ravaged scalp,
Unhappy children and spouse.
Regretfully, she gave up the dream,
And accepted the dark side once more.
It highlights the wrinkles around her mouth;
Her skin has never seemed so pale.
It is the curtain to her performance,
The damp to her spring,
The mud tracked in on her floor.
Not chocolate, or coffee, or even tea,
But a disgruntled mop of processed matter.
The mirror doesn’t lie, or cover the truth,
So she avoids its gaze.
She misses the self she had become
The person she wanted to be.


I’m not going to lie, I would love it for my poems (the condensed versions, which I’m not posting yet) to be featured by The Ash Sessions. However, it’s also just really nice to write poetry again. Aside from modelling a few poems for my students, showing them the process, I haven’t written poetry for myself for years. I used to get so frustrated by it in high school. I found that I would wrestle with the words, trying to get them to work for me. But in recent years, through the teaching of poetry units for English classes, I’ve found that I love it again. In particular, I love the challenge of sonnets. So someday soon, I will write a sonnet for myself and share it with you.



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