Weekly Write: “Skinny Jeans” by Brianna Radke

Skinny Jeans

The checker asked my mother
Another one on the way already?
She cried the whole way home
and for a few days after that.
She started The Soup Diet.
Every meal: canned tomato, cabbage,
carrot, onion, water, sorry.

A magazine filled with women
with broken looking-limbs said to look at my
body as a whole, instead of in parts,
a drug-dealer holding a stigma seminar
on a page I tore out and taped to
my mirror and ignored forever.

She went barely-not-running
every day, all the way to Skinny.
I held a contest and decided if
I had to eat my own body,
I would start with my thighs –
I imagine they would be self-basting,
dimples melting and
barely-not-running all directions.

She bought a pair of jeans
that were Too Big for her and
asked me if I wanted them?
I did not if I recall.
I started the Potato Diet.
Morning: half a microwaved potato,
and the other half
only if you Absolutely have to.

After passing out, I remembered
a torn out page from the book on
my head saying bring a napkin
or two in your purse
so you can spit out your poison
without being rude.

 

A Pacific Northwest native, Brianna Radke now lives in the Greater Los Angeles area where she is a Director of Marketing by day and a writer and poet by night. Most recently, her work has appeared in Chaleur Magazine, Exposition Review, and (forthcoming) Haunted Waters Press.

 

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $10.95.

Advertisements

Weekly Write: “Hypnagogia” by Mireya Vela

Hypnagogia

In 1981, I desperately want a Sea Wee doll. In the commercials, a delicate girl plays in a bubble filled bathtub while her mom kneels alongside her. I want that. I want to be in a bathtub and feel the safety of the water and the tickle of bubbles while my mermaid dolls floats in a sponge lily pad, and my mom lovingly hovers. I’m eight years old. I want my nudity to stop being the dirty thing it has become. I want to be safe.

“What would you do if you got one?” mom asks.

“I’d kiss that person and give them a big hug,” I say. This is unusual for me. I don’t like to be touched.

“Really?” she says. Her voice is creeping.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?” she says.

Her words are like a sharp grab and I feel unsteady.

“Yes,” I say.

On Christmas Eve, I open a gift with the doll in it. It’s from my father’s youngest brother whose persistent stare terrifies me. I don’t touch him or thank him. Instead, I’m overwhelmed with the feeling that I just bartered something. It feels sickening.

*

My dad’s youngest brother hates me into my twenties.

Standing on the church steps for wedding photos, I see the angry veins on his face. I’m a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding. I’m wearing a red strapless dress that makes me feel vulnerable and naked. Over the dress, I’m wearing old shame like a threadbare coat.

He’s a pastor and has just married my brother to his new bride.

I hear the photographer tell us to smile. He’s posed us while the pastor watches. The happy couple are at the center while the bridesmaids flank from above and the sides.

“Mireya,” the pastor’s voice booms over the shuffle of dresses.

“You’re up high right now. I bet you really like that,” he says, “But don’t for one second think you are better than anyone here.”

I’ve cried throughout the ceremony. It feels like I’m losing my brother. I turn to the pastor’s voice but I keep my gaze at his shoes. I imagine the robes flapping, his teeth long and perspiring—the froth forming at the corners of his mouth. I look up and he is simply glaring at me. But in my imagination, he’s trying to consume me.

*

He is arrested in 2006. To evade police he drives from his home in Sunland to his mother’s house in El Monte—next door to the house where I grew up. The newspaper headlines read “Pastor and Son Arrested on Charges of Child Molestation”.

After the arrest I realize that in his mind, I somehow twisted his lust. I was a 2 year old or a 6 year old or a 10 year old with the power to move him away from god. He’d molested the girls in his church. He’d molested the girls in our family into their teens.

*

As an adult, when I wake up from nightmares, I take quick stock of my surroundings. My biggest fear at that moment of wakeful confusion is that I will open my eyes and see the beige door to my room at my mother’s house. I look for the windows and sense the tightness of the air. It always takes me a moment to realize I’m safe. I reach for my husband. If I’m able to touch him, my alarm diffuses. If he’s not there, I listen for the sounds of his feet upstairs.

That moment, when I am stuck between awareness and the pull of the dream, I’m terrified. I wouldn’t relive my childhood for anything in the world. My creativity is born in the imagination, a space that is so much like hynagogia, it’s likely the two are married. I am working to accept this space in my mind where ideas both good and bad float like butterflies. I don’t own that space. It’s where all artists go. It’s where girls sit in bathtubs with mermaid dolls imagining safety and a mother who watches over her.

That moment between the creations of the imagination and the awakeness of reality, that’s where I’m stuck for him as well. That’s where I live. I’m not alone there. It’s also a place for pastors.

 

Mireya Vela is a recent graduate from Antioch University’s MFA writing program. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, children and animals. “Hypnagogia” is soon to be published  in “Vestiges of Courage” published by The Nasiona.

 

 

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $10.95.

Gold Writing Workshop April 28, 2019

Join Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC and StrangeFlock Gallery for the first of a series of Writing Workshops scheduled for the last Sunday of each month from 12pm-4pm.

The Gallery will be open from 12pm – 4pm.  Writers of all genres are invited to be inspired by the monthly artwork in the gallery by completing Ekphrastic Writing Prompts or partake in a more constructed workshop hosted by local and national guest writers. The structured writing workshop taking place between the hours of 1pm – 3pm.

Suggestion donation for the workshop is 5$-10$. All proceeds will be split between the workshop guest host and the Gallery. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Our guest workshop host for April 28th will be Zachary Kluckman and his workshop is entitled: “Flipping the Drama Script” which will discuss the Karpman Drama Triangle and the roles we take in relationships with people, and then doing some generative writing from the thoughts produced.

The featured artwork for the month of April is by Paulina Lopez. If you do not get a chance to view her work through the month, this will be the last opportunity to enjoy her display.

About the host for Sunday, April 28th, 2019:

Zachary Kluckman, the National Poetry Awards 2015-2016 Slam Organizer of the Year and 2014 Slam Artist of the Year, is a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Medal Poetry Teacher, Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize recipient and a founding organizer of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change program, now recognized as the largest poetry reading in history. Kluckman has appeared multiple times at the National and Individual World Poetry slams and tours the nation as a spoken word artist. Recently he was one of 3 poets invited to represent the United States at the Kistrech International Poetry Festival in Kenya. He is the former Spoken Word Editor for Pedestal magazine and has authored two poetry collections.

Weekly Write: “You Are My Symphony” by Adriana Estrada

You Are My Symphony

I hear you loud and clear
not obtrusive or ear-deafening
not at all like a three -man band

at first

just small notes
when you walked into my life
I didn’t know music could be made so easily
like every laugh, sound and noise
you made
was part of an echo.
like you made sure
that every note could only be heard
by me.
audience for one.

the chimes came in first

suddenly
your joy
and how you make the room listen to you
as if you were the concert master
and your baton was the way
for the air waves to direct music
to only my ears

then came the woodwinds

your likes
and dislikes,
the swiftness and easy-going attitude from a relationship
then came the brass
every factor that comes with new beginnings,
unexpected surprises,
and the early stages of
“look at me, love me!”

every note is different

and by what you play
and how you play it,
brings me that much closer to you

then come the strings

like a piano,
you create soothing melodies that I fall into peace
at first note

like the cello,

you show me man-made strength
that requires all of you
at all times
you don’t show me hollowness or emptiness
instead,

your music keeps playing-

in the crevices of my heart I didn’t know existed
in the most profound hallways to my soul
that I have never let anyone else walk through

last come the percussion,

with bangs
with eruption
with cymbal
and pitch
I’m here.
I love you.

I LOVE YOU.

with that much intensity
with that much passion
I don’t know how you manage to play them all
I didn’t even know you could.
not that I underestimated your talents
but when you show me
how your love is just for me

I found myself without words.

I didn’t have a ticket to enter
I didn’t even have a reserved seat
yet you gave me the entire room
to hear you play
I managed to book a concierto that bears my love
in its entirety

I only came in to hear the first note
and I was given the whole symphony.

 

Adriana Estrada is a writer (poet) who uses her craft and poetry to create recollections of poetry that illustrate experiences. She is currently enrolled as a second-year graduate student at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota under their MFA Low-Residency Creative Writing program. She is from Texas.

 

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $10.95.

Now Available: Shorn by Benjamin Bormann

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC is excited to announce the release of Shorn: apologies & vows, a chapbook of poetry by Benjamin Bormann.
 
“I loved this collection from the title onward, and the spirituality connected me instantly. I am in metaphor heaven. I think the speaker is whispering these poems to me. I have my eyes closed and revel in the metaphor and imagery, in simple, quiet words and lines. I am spiritual and I feel some of the poems are spiritual for me. Perfect words placed in exact space. Strong syntax and enjambment. Love lines like this:
 
“The empty lung prayers
sent off when words become
foreign. The long drawn
timeline whittled
 
into a wisp, a joke, the crush
of understanding just how little
potential we were ever allowed
to show.”
 
As the theme of loneliness emerges, again, this is very applicable and connectable to any person. I ache with love for this collection. The entire collection is ready to print. Time and energy went into this to create a beautiful collection to test time to the fullest. “
 
Review by Gina Marselle

Join Benjamin Bormann for the release of the publication on April 27, 2019 from 11-12pm at the Title Wave Book Revised (2318 Wisconsin St NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110).

This is a free event.

Copies of the publication will be available for purchase and signing.

Order your copy of Shorn: apologies & vows today from Amazon or other major book distributors.