“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” – Brené Brown
Through a maskshe speaks to allof authenticity.And I wonder,what does her tongue knowof mirrors?Can a muffled ear feeltruth that liesoutside its own skull?“Do you know? Can you feel?”No response parted her lips, buther rage was sweetbehind her self-crafted collection of masks…honest and violent.the wee notes…- this is my frankensteining of two poems (a cherita and a stitched blackout) I shared on Instagram. You can see the originals (which were posted about 3 months apart) here and here. The cherita was my response to an earlier prompt.- my muse and I have been organizing words (and procrastinating), so it’s likely that the rest of 2019 will bring more frankensteined pieces. And if we are very lucky the organizing (and editing and rewriting) will turn into a book for 2020. 🤞🏽- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #4, Rommy’s first hosting (Welcome home, my “tea-adoring, music-appreciating, witchy-flavored, nerd extraordinaire” friend!).
Friday, November 15, 2019
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Dear Two-Breasted Magaly,
June is as hot as jalapeños in a Sahara mood, and you’ve just received a breast cancer diagnosis. You aren’t scared. You aren’t crying. You are no stranger to serious illness. Still, I must warn you that this flesh-eating beast is going to be different from any other disease-demon you’ve had to kick in the teeth before.
No, I am not talking about the riot of side effects breast cancer treatment will brew (what you’ve read on the topic is brutally accurate: it is going to hurt, it is going to alter your flesh and bones, it’s going to seriously suck for a while). This disease will change your feelings towards certain social concepts (i.e. labels such as “breast cancer warrior”, wearing the pink ribbon).Right now, you understand that calling oneself breast cancer warrior and wearing a pink ribbon are creative ways to fight against something too ugly to face fully uncloaked. You might be partially correct. But I’m writing this letter—13 months after your breast died so that I could live—to share with you what I know now: I claim the label and wear the ribbon because awareness is a caring weapon most warriors are grateful to show and tell.Unconditional Love (and 13 fistfuls of my liveliest cackles),MagalySo, there is a chance that I was not all that thrilled about going to the hospital.And it rained on me.But then, the sun came out to shine on autumn leaves (and me).the wee notes…- the title (and part of the post) was inspired by my reading of What I know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, edited by Ellyn Spragins- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3
Saturday, November 2, 2019
“No.”Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men. None but the farmer and the seamstress, sitting to her right and to her left, noticed that a sound had crossed her lips. The men occupying the dais seemed beyond reach.“If we cut him, he will lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of The Council said. “He burned our barn. We should burn him until he reveals where the rest of his horde is hiding.”She raised a hand. The farmer and the seamstress did the same. The council failed to see them.“Burning is as inefficient as cutting,” the Security Chief said. “He might get an infection before we get what we need out of him. Partial drowning will break—”“No.”Slowly, the council began to quiet… until the room was completely silent. Not because the men had heard her, but because she had left the back of the room, walked past the landowners, past the merchants, past the families of the councilmen, and was now standing next to the metal folding chair that held the gagged prisoner. The seamstress and the farmer had followed her to the front. Others had followed them, too.“This is Council business, my dear woman.” The head of The Council smiled. “I’m sure—”Whatever he was sure of was consumed by a united, “No!” that got louder and louder as more of the people continued to chant their outrage.The man on the folding chair would pay for the arson. But there would be no torture. Her people were better than that, even if a handful of old men had made them forget for a time.for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #2
Saturday, October 26, 2019
“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?” – Rose Fitzgerald KennedyThe world weepsfor the Wild Woman.“Your blooming days are gone,they tell her. “Life gutted youand Death is flying in to fillyour sky, balancedangling from its beak. You areafraid of the end, weunderstand you just too well.”The Wild Woman shows howshe has crafted gardens out of her wounds.But the world’s eyes are wept shut. Still,the Wild Woman speaks her truth, and hopesfor working ears:
“I don’t fear the fall—
a forest is not afraid
of decaying leaves”
The world weeps and weepsfor the Wild Womanthey can’t see.
September, by Cat Schappacha not-so-wee note…- since I know that some of us are much too human to keep from drawing certain conclusions out of poetry, I should clarify that I am not dying just yet (at least, not more than any other living thing). This poem was inspired by a recurrent theme in my life: the way some people continue to tell me that they understand why I would want to curse the whole world. I keep telling them that I don’t want to curse the world— certain presumably human creatures? Maybe. But not the world—I enjoy the world. Projection is a curious thing. I do wonder how much happier some of us would be if we took the time to see, accept, and embrace the reality in front of us, and dwell less in the doom and gloom preconceptions can paint over our eyes.- for Poets United Poetry Pantry (498) and Sanaa’s Weekend Mini-Challenge: Take a chance and step into the mythical realm, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (find a piece of art… and create your own poetic mythology around it).
Friday, October 18, 2019
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” – Franz Kafka
I have not been able to read a printed book on the train for some years now. My hands and arms and I can’t quite manage holding a book, in the needed position, without significant pain. Flipping through the pages of a book was my favorite thing to do while commuting… When the pain forced me to make a change, I started people hearing while riding.People hearing is just like people watching, but with eavesdropping included. I’m not talking about spying or trying to overhear other people’s precious secrets. No, I wouldn’t enjoy that. I am referring to letting my ear near conversations others might be having on the bus, in line to pay for groceries, at the airport…Yesterday, while riding the 1 (the 1 train, that is) from Manhattan to The Bronx, my people hearing curiosity and I were served several treats:- a woman with two dogs, said to one of the pups, “If you’re mommy’s very good girl, and you pee on that asshole’s rug, mommy will give you bacon.” I never found out who the asshole was.- a very old man (no, he didn’t have enormous wings), told an invisible friend, “Cut your nails when they’re looking. Hit them in the eye. Hard in the eye. That’ll stop it.” I’m still wondering about the identity of the ‘it’ that needs stopping.- a girl told her companion, “If I’d been the Gregor guy, I would’ve eaten my whole family. Some assholes deserve to be eaten.” I’m quite glad to inform you that I wasn’t the only people hearer who shook with laughter at the imaginative teenage girl’s cannibalistic choice of imagery.It’s very likely that I will never stop missing the joy of reading a paper book while riding the bus or train. But I am grateful for the unexpected (and rather uncanny) gift that came out of the change. Now, if my skull and I could only get rid of the image of a teenage roach devouring the unsightliest of familial meals.
via- linked to the Interactive Moonlight Musings, over at Poets United, where my favorite person in the whole wide world, invites everyone to write an article (in 369 words or fewer) inspired by the Positive Side of Change.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
“In dark we see, in death we rest; a beautiful frightening magic.” – Khaya Ronkainen
On the cover, an exhausted moon watches over the world through a shroud of blood and darkness. Each page reminds us that borders break bodies and devour souls, that inaction is mother to despair and death, that hope turns to myth when humans forget that the whole world—dirt, beast, bloom—is made of the same star stuff: chaos raging in the dark, conscious thought fighting to kindle hope.
from the depthsof darkness, lived inkcan birth light
From the Depths of Darkness, by Khaya Ronkainen
cover by Ayala Art
painting (on the background) by Shelle Kennedy
- on her Wild Friday at Poets United, Sanaa invited us to pick a poetry collection that has touched us deeply, and write a response poem. I chose From the Depths of Darkness, written by Khaya Ronkainen and illustrated by MagicLoveCrow. Her brief, “dark poetry left in the light” sticks to head and heart for a long time. For instance, the poem bit at the beginning of this post has been dancing around my skull for days and days and days…
- linked to the Poetry Pantry #496
Sunday, October 6, 2019
In my home, October is New York Comic Con. It’s knee-high boots and pumpkin chili. It’s stories of loved ones no longer living. It’s skulls, cosplay, and wonder. October is black.
I wasn’t thinking those exact words, as my Piano Man and I strolled around the Javits Center, but I was feeling them deeply. Then, a hint of pink caught my eye.
“Look, babe!” I said, picking a pink figurine out of a display, and holding it right next to my delighted grin. “It’s Batman, the breast cancer fairy.”“That makes it sound like Batman brings breast cancer to people, and…” my Piano Man began to say, but seemed to change his mind halfway. “Well, I guess the tooth fairy takes teeth and leaves money. Maybe Batman takes tumors and leaves—”“Life and laughter and bad-ass fairy dust?” I asked, gently shaking Batman above my head, making sure all the fighting dust landed on my chemo-thinned hair.Then my Piano Man and I kissed, before adding The Pink Knight to our October.In my home, October is New York Comic Con. It’s knee-high boots and pumpkin chili. It’s stories of loved ones no longer living. It’s skulls, cosplay, and wonder. October is black and pink and fierce.
Batman, the Breast Cancer Fairy
Monday, September 30, 2019
“I don’t want to get stale.” – Mark Frost
I almost wrote a limerick today. After the shuddering became less violent (I’m obviously allergic to rhyme), I decided to shamelessly copycat Kerry, and write an American Sentence for Rommy’s “Try Everything!” prompt.
the poem (inspired 2 of the stickers on my laptop—thanks 13 gazillions, Emma!):
Pre-Moth-Girl sips tea. Scissor-Lass thinks sharp. Differently-odd friends fit.
creepilicious stickers by @MiznaWada
Saturday, September 28, 2019
She asked if I had ever been dragged
kicking and screaming and cursing in Spanishout of my comfort zone, just to end up having to admit that the new digs are rather awesome. All right, so Rommy might’ve said it differently, but that is what I heard. My answer? Well… who hasn’t!The first thing that comes to mind—when the topic of unwanted change bursts into the room—is poetry. I couldn’t stand it (things have changed a bit). On a fresher front, I’ve been drawing (since certain cognitive psychologist keeps reminding me that drawing and writing exercise different parts of the brain and doing both is best). I’m not terribly skilled at the art of making pictures that aren’t made of words. But you know I’ll try anything once, often thrice (the moment my brain grows some abs, I’ll totally show them to you).a (cherita) poem (for the Poetry Pantry #495 and the Sunday Muse #75) inspired by Kim’s Weekend Mini Challenge (Maladroit, which means “awkward in movement or unskilled in behavior or action”) and my latest drawing (see below):Watching everyone ahead,sure of stepand climbing higher.When I stumble, I rememberstubbornness can conquermaladroit beginnings.some time ago, I promised a friend (who’s not on social media) that I would share weekly links to my Instagram posts on my blog. I, um… forgot. So, here are the last couple of weeks of sharing. And I shall try toremember next week, I promise *cough*:- “To love me…” said the praying mantis* scroll up to see the captions
“My Wednesday Addams Smile”, by Magaly Guerrero
Friday, September 20, 2019
What feels like a gazillion years ago, I wrote a web serial set in a world were myth had spilled into reality. One of the main characters was a ciguapa, a kind of land-siren who could enthrall anyone who saw any part of his face. He was a good guy. So, to protect others, “He wore sunglasses, and used his long living hair to craft a mask of thin braids around his face.”
Yep, that’s exactly how I described it. Then, a few months ago, my writing partner was reading the old manuscript, and not exactly containing her mad cackles, pretty much asked me, “What’s Chewbacca doing in your story?”The moment the words left her mouth, I saw exactly what she meant... and burst into laughter. I’ve tweaked the description since then. The character no longer looks like Chewbacca or Cousin Itt in tiny braids. Still, whenever I’m writing a scene with that character in it, I can’t help thinking, Hey, Chewie.for Poets United Moonlight Musings: the Interactive Edition, #2 (“That’s Not What I Meant”, where I invite you to write about misread words that conjure hysterical interpretations, about grammatical errors (horrors?) which change the meaning of a piece, about descriptions (which we thought brilliant) that end up filling our readers’ minds with images we can hardly recognize)
“Cousin Itt”, by @GroovyGothic
gloriously-haired Chewbacca, via Some Nerd Thing