One day I’ll figure out what to use this blog for.
Using this blog was easy for the first year. There was a purpose: a catalog for my excursions. I had pictures, information, stories, y’know.
I keep slipping away from this blog, but it still lingers in the back of my mind; a persistent itch. It no longer befits a diary of my adventures, as I’m currently not on any adventures, but I want it to be used for something. On the one hand, I feel like life’s at a standstill; so utterly dull, filled with nothing but work, television, and sleep. On the other hand, I feel like my writing’s growing stronger everyday, I’m in love and it’s absurdly wonderful, and I’m making so many amazing friends. It’s a strange period of my life.
Despite feeling like everything’s at a standstill, I have done things since my last entry, especially in the poetry department. I traveled to Olympia and Spokane where I took second and first place (respectively) at their slams. I took first place, and a cash prize, at a Valentine’s Day slam that happened here in Portland. I went to Albuquerque for the Women of the World Poetry Slam, where I didn’t compete but still had an eye opening experience and a huge journey of self discovery as to my goals as a poet (I meant to write a longer entry about my time there, in fact, so maybe that’ll be a thing…). Most recently, Stephen and I traveled to Boise for my first ever co-feature, where I was paid to do poetry at the Boise Final Grand Slam.
So, on all those notes, I figured I’d share some poetry. Cause why not? I’m participating in the 30/30 this month, wherein you write a poem a day for the entire month of April. I figured I’d share the poems I’m most proud of thus far.
Hopefully I’ll have some idea where to take this blog soon. For now, I hope you enjoy my poetry.
I was taught at a young age
that my opinion
would never be important
so long as men occupied my space.
I never had a say in my own household,
testosterone a force I could never win against.
My father – more often than not –
made me cry on the way to school
with chastising remarks.
My brother snuck out at night to teepee houses
and underage drink,
yet I was the black sheep of the family,
always met with disapproving eyes
for being too weird, for being too loud, for being too me.
So I learned to hold my breath.
I discovered that “I don’t know”s and static silence
would not condemn me.
I choked down anger, threw away sadness,
shook off irritability
in the presence of others.
everyone wanted a piece of me.
I became pleasantry.
Who doesn’t like a nice, temperate, quiet thing?
So when you ask me
where my voice has gone
or why my birch wood tongue
has forgotten gravity,
I am trying to unlearn
the only way I’ve ever known how to survive.
It has been eons since my
emotions last cracked the surface.
Not the pretty ones –
the guttural, the damned, the raw,
the feelings I believed best left
buried deep in my gut, in my throat.
I will dig them out of my anatomy
with trowel and scythe.
I will cleave myself open
until every emotion is on beautiful display.
I will come to you,
gaping and unhidden,
just as you’ve always dreamed.
It may not look like I am trying most days,
but believe me, I am cracking bones
with every waking thought.
Slowly I will peel away the muscles and skin,
until we find enlightenment.
I will unlearn the silence for you.
Just give me time
to remember how sweet
sound can taste.
all hail felicity smoak (poem 3/30)
Stand back, boys, and let an artist show you how it’s done.
You think that an arrow’s bite and flung fists
are how you bring down a monsoon?
I can make cities crumble.
Demolish reputations, cause grown men to weep
with the touch of my index finger.
My papillary ridges fly faster than
motorcycle wheels or parkour skills ever could.
Like magic, I’ll cause entire armies to fly the white flag of defeat.
I lay to waste mobsters, deflate supernatural abilities,
side stepping catastrophe in my sleep
with the mere slight twitch of my Frontal Lobe.
See that? My Hippocampus isn’t even breaking a sweat.
You’ll have to do better than that.
You men bleed from every pore because you think
it is the only true way to show devotion to justice.
Don’t make me laugh.
I may look immobile,
glued to the same spot every episodic day,
but what you fail to see is that this is my throne.
I wear my Sandro like royalty; Rag and Bone my crown.
Do you think it’s easy to look this good
while obliterating yet another idiot with a bomb?
Bow down, children.
The queen’s got her work cut out for her yet again.
I adjust my frames.
I paint my lips the color of war.
I clack my fingers on keys; my deadliest ammo.
sometimes I wish
that I spent my days
smashing tea pots
igniting persian tapestries
slashing ancient tomes
the world would long for
the words that reside
behind my teeth
no one cares about an artist
until they threaten to change what we deem
I once told my first boyfriend
in the most profound voice I could muster:
“I am a constant”
and he laughed at me,
because he did not understand what I meant by this.
That was the moment I knew there was no love in the room
when it came to us.
So when you tell me that you
are worried about making me your constant,
please understand that
this is what I’ve been waiting for all my life.
I know most days it looks like I can barely hold it together.
My seams rip, the air drains;
choking on anxiety and sputtering up insecurities.
Sometimes I am ghost
or discarded child’s toy or ripped page from a book,
too busy crumpling in on myself to look for tape,
but when your sirens ring my
brain will snap into place.
My pillar legs are almost as sturdy as my
cinder arms – unbreakable when embraced.
My ears turn supersonic when your voice loses its crescendo;
my eyes all xray and night vision and other James Bond-y gadgets.
My palms become softer than handkerchiefs, buried inside
wrecking balls fists swirling around you
to keep away the demons.
My muscles learn new strength because I will carry you,
my calves learn new distance because I will run to you,
my shoulders learn new comfort because they are here for you
to lean upon when the heaviness gets to be too much.
For you I will become volunteer firefighter,
bursting through the flames to protect your heart, your brain.
I will become Superman
who’d do anything for his (or her) Lois Lane.
I am level 57 healer,
I am professional cuddler,
I am that Downy Softener teddy bear – but less creepy,
I am the Chuck Norris of answering phone calls at any time of day,
I am girlfriend.
Your waters are rising,
so unfamiliar to me,
but don’t worry because
I’ve brought my snorkel and my prettiest water wings,
enough for the both of us.
I taught myself to swim at thirteen when my own tides
threatened to take all the air from my lungs,
so I know there is no shame in water wings.
Don’t get me wrong,
I am not trying to be your savior,
because I know how capable you are of saving yourself.
You’ve been wading water
long before you ever met me.
So just let me be your constant,
the beacon in a lighthouse you can always swim towards at day’s end
when the waters climb higher and higher and higher.
I will not let you drown.
I will not let you burn.
I am not going anywhere,
except towards you.
every portlandian has written this poem in their sleep (poem 8/30)
I can’t begin to explain what is I love so much about the gray days.
Those days where
it stopped raining the moment dawn broke the sky,
but the street is doused in puddles and the
threat of return always lingers in
the smell, my god, that after-rain smell.
I’d kill for that smell;
I’ve killed for less.
The way the clouds block out
the brightness and the blueness
with a boisterous blanket of grizzle and grim;
the appearance of any crime scene drama.
Yet, to me, it becomes
dreamy pensiveness, becomes
I spent an entire year in New Zealand and the only times I ever felt homesick were on the anniversary of my mother’s death, when there were no Christmas trees standing in the homes of all my friends, and when the weather turned overcast.
There must be a reason why, suddenly,
so much of my wardrobe is gray.
There must be a reason I would rather walk
in the grizzle and grim over blaze and heat.
I think it comes to breathing.
It’s always breath, isn’t it?
Surely it is easiest for me to exhale
when I know I’m walking with
the charcoal, the smoke, the silver
as protection. It’s why I believe in
once the gray overtakes
the sky I feel
at home. I can find my
breath once again.