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All Things Grow… even in the crisp autumn cold.

Lately I find myself in a transition phase of recognizing where my own trauma and anxieties end and I begin. This poem, “All Things Grow” by Lydia Havens, performed with Kate Noel, at this summer’s National Poetry Slam in Denver, paid tribute to that transitional phase; and while I didn’t get a chance to see the poem performed in person, I read reactions to it left and right and, upon reading it (and seeing the video), felt a growth inside of myself.

I believe that’s the true meaning of poetry: feeling yourself grow and flourish in the moment, alongside another person, because of another person’s experience and words. I think there’s something especially enchanting about poems like that, and furthermore something enchanting about Lydia — they have this remarkable talent of being explicit and raw and shaping it into something beautiful, something that… grows, far beyond the usual expectations of what one thinks of when they walk into a poetry slam. And that might be one of my very favourite things about Lydia Havens as a writer, too: they are so far beyond the typical slam artist. Instead, they are the true definition of a poet. In a few brief words, they are walking, talking, magical, lizard-y poetry themselves.

“All Things Grow” by Lydia Havens, performed with Kate Noel

bless every poem about trauma,
& struggle, & loss i have written
thus far, for getting me this far.
bless all the space they needed to take up. bless them for knowing
when to step away.

bless all the songs i cannot
listen to anymore because
nostalgia & association will be
the death of me. bless the fact
that i am not dead yet. bless
the fact that i don’t know
where my abuser is anymore,
and i am okay with that.

it doesn’t mean i’ve forgiven him,
but it does mean i’ve forgiven myself.

bless my mother for believing me.
bless my mother for driving me
to all the psych wards, then picking me
back up after discharge. bless
my mother for believing in me.

bless my friends for carrying me home.
bless my friends for making me a home.
bless the city of Boise. bless all the light
it gives us, even at night. bless all
the rivers, even when they want
to overflow. bless the scars on my arms
that faded, and the ones on my face
that didn’t. bless all the ways i spill
like metal secrets against the floor.

bless the glitter always on my hands,
and the becoming. bless the way
my hair is growing out. bless the meds
that worked until they didn’t. bless the way
i never stopped working.

bless the fact that once, i thought
i didn’t know how to write a happy poem.
so bless all the cliches i am learning to love
because i like being a happy person
more than i like being a good writer.
bless vulnerability. bless bravery.
bless whatever it is i’m doing right now,

because everyone that’s ever hurt me
has tried to make me quiet—drown me
in the frantic water i just learned how
to endure. this is not a survival song.
this is the song I sing because I’ve survived.
the opportunity for the joy i have always deserved,
because i have always deserved to take up space.

that’s all. that’s all.

(text posted with permission)
You can visit Lydia’s website, here, and further support them by buying their book, “Survive Like the Water” and, of course, watch the video performance of “All Things Grow” again and again.
Don’t forget to follow them on instagram for magical selfies, and on twitter for more updates about poetry and their life in Boise.

 

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Prayer on the way to the grocery by Sarah Allred

Prayer on the way to the grocery

by Sarah Allred

is she in there
would they let me enter
can they smell my expatriation, my absence
the reek of logic and earthy pleasures
would I dip my hand
in that confusingly municipal
basin of hallowed water and
dredge it across my body
in quarters and
would I remember to genuflect and
would I find the comfort
she gave at fourteen:
slightly left of the altar
the byzantine magdalene
not who we are supposed
to supplicate to but
the mother instead,
the mother I still crave


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143: The Silent Note-Writing Game

michael jarmer

The Silent Note-Writing Game

I don’t know how we landed on the idea.
Perhaps chaos of the 9 year old variety
inspired me to propose a game in which
we must be silent and can only communicate
through written notes to each other
back and forth on a shared
piece of paper or two. He loved it.
And in the last few days, months after
the first time we played, he’s saying,
Daddy, let’s play the silent note-writing game.
And so, tonight, sitting in a dark room
at his desk under a lamp, we take turns
writing and we have a silent conversation
on the page. There is talk tonight of
how fun this is, and questions about why
sometimes I don’t want to play, an agreement
about how anything, no matter how fun,
sometimes requires the right mood, the right space.
He asks me why I write like I do, all left-handed,
with improper pencil placement, upside-down…

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Now Available: Passion, Provocation and Prophecy

PPPI am excited and honored to say that this slim collection is now available through Swimming with Elephants Publications.

We are thrilled to welcome Jack Hirshman as our latest author.

This book is not a collection of Pasolini’s work, instead it serves as an ode to him. Beginning with an interview between Jack Hirschman and Justin Desmangles, and followed by two arcanes written by Hirschman which reflect on the man Pasolini was, this slim edition is a companion piece to honor a voice silenced before its time.

I highly recommend adding the book In Danger (City Light Books , 2010) as a companion to this book. The book, edited by Jack Hirschman, is a wonderful introduction to Pasolini and his works.

Passion, Provocation and Prophecy is a wonderful dialogue to those who have an interest, love, understanding, and appreciation for not only Pasolini’s work but for the man he was