Poem: Love After Love by Derek Wolcott

The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself
arriving at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs,
the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit, feast on your life.

Client Poem: I Breathe by Sonam Hajela

I breathe
In your presence, my breath is ignored, lost, forgotten
It skips, slows, speeds up
My heartbeat thunders, goes quiet
It drifts, it crashes
I breathe
In your presence, my breath never matters
It is an idle watcher on the sidelines
I chase it, come back I say
Come back.
I’ll hold still, I can manage, I can do it but I try
Grasping with my arms, it is lost to me.
I breathe
In your presence, I forget how. I forget why.
But even so
Even so
My breath running, running, hiding,
Losing, wandering –
Even then
My breath goes completely silent at the thought that yours, one day, will

You say you love
But do you even know what this word is?
You say you love
But do you know what this word does?
It is a shield for you
To hide behind
A safe place for you to draw weapons
To aim
To fire
Because love isn’t just a word you say
To appease
To mollify
To use
To defend
To hurt
It is standing with your nails dug in your open chest
Holding your heart in all its dripping frailty
With no cover.
It is no limbs, no skin, no bones
No eyes or hair
No sharp teeth, or nails
It is no I or you

It is raw openness
You need, I give
You touch, I take
You break, I fall
I hold
It is strength, it is power
Love is a fight you can’t turn away from
No matter how ugly the sides
Love is not saying “for now”
“until then” or “don’t push”
It is ugly, it is in the middle of the night screaming moments
Right before you bathe moments
Before I even wake up moments
It is standing up when the other can’t
So when you say you love
I don’t hear fight, or courage or truth
I hear cowardice, easy words
And a war lost.

Client Poem: Sirens’ Song by Peggy Bennett

What if Odysseus was a woman?
Would she have feared the sirens’ song
Or would she recognize that haunting melody as some deeper part of herself…
Calling out to her from some unrelenting and vengeful place
A place more ominous than any myth.

Alone and tied to the mast, would she cry out?
Would she wail and scream to venture through impassable reefs
To find her way back to those mermaids, to her home.
Or would she hear their song as one of bliss
And sail past their island, unscathed.
After all, the sirens were once handmaidens to Persephone
Sisters still, even though they failed her.
Would they wish her dead as all of the other sailors they have sung to?
Or would they recognize a kindred spirit
And sing her on her journey.

I hear the siren’s song
The melody resides in some deep place I cannot name
Seductive and beguiling
I hear the voice but I do not wail.
This song is sweet and I have known it since birth
It sings to me of my heart’s desire.
It leads me to a life that mirrors me and no one else.
I am lulled by warmth and lullabied by my own voice.
I am Ondine
The sea creature
I am my own siren
Singing myself to love.

Client Poem: Shame

What do you know of shame?
All these years I’ve cried
And I know your darkness deep inside
I ran from it
I run from it still

For you father,
For your blind eyes
For you sister,
For not thinking of anyone else
For you mother,
For your hate

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I let the fear take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before and it seems to have a vague haunting mass appeal
It’s the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I am beginning to find I should be the one behind the wheel

I’m sick of all your stories
Of my own story
They have gone stale

With open arms and open ears
I welcome
The tomorrows you made me fear
Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there
But when I drive myself my light is found

Client Poem: Broken Mirrors and Hearts

I reach for you
In my sleep and
When I’m awake
It doesn’t matter how I try
To be with you
And have you be with me
The way I need
I can’t have it.

We come from the material, the same fibers
You gave birth to my pain and my spirit
My trauma and creation
My ugly thoughts and my beautiful eyes
My fear and my fire

I dread the day you’ll float away
Into the abyss

Because in this life
We have fought
And I have wailed and wailed
On the cold floor
And you have ignored
And tortured me
The day you disappear
I will still break.

Because you are frail and helpless to me
Though you have hit
And raged at me.
That day,
I will still fall to that cold floor
And wail.

Client Poem: Bluebeard

I run
Just like my mother
From the dark man in my dreams
In sunlight
In my fingertips
My knees far too weak
I didn’t trust my insides
“the hurt will go away…”
“it will change…”
“it’s just me…”
“I deserve nothing less…”
I just wanted to lay with you
Close my eyes, feel you forever
You and me
But I turned away from everything that
Was screaming
“this is wrong…”
and let you bleed me
you read the weakness
saw the holes in my heart
and plunged
my mother taught me
to ignore the blood
wipe it away
scour it down
and ignore it till
kingdom come
there was no one to say,
to hold me back,
to teach me otherwise
to show me another way
to face you…
so I drowned with you
because I never recognized the
sides of you I never knew,
the things you said that were
never true.

Client Poem: Untitled

I am the wild child kicking your insides awake.
Pounding to the rhythm of your hearts longing.
A mischievous smile that hides pain like candy.
I am alive with fire
dancing under a star filled sky
searching for my love in the darkness between.

Poem: A Ritual to Read Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person you are or who I am

Following the wrong God home.

Small betrayal, a shrug…shouts…horrible errors of childhood.

Elephants parade holding each other’s tale…

Awake people should be awake… Or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep.

Darkness around us is deep.

The signals…yes, no, maybe should be clear.

The breaking line that brings people back to sleep.

Awake people should be awake

What does this mean?

What does being awake mean?

That question can inspire an entire world, universe inside of me

I feel into my gut and it is tight, something holding, something wanting to explode

I want to be inspired…can I inspire me?

Touching into something deeper than the dark or the light.

I am sick of those words, dark and light.

It is so neat and clean, dark and light.

I want the dimensions, the layers, the nuances between the lines that people speak

I want the subtle facial expressions. I want the truth.

What is the truth?

When I tell my truth I cringe.

It is so vulnerable, raw, alive, breathtaking, frightening,

Wicked, cutting, and evocative.

Testing, testing to see what my truth will provoke

Awaken the mystery of not knowing.

The truth is a mystery.

Will I stop caring if people judge my truth — ever??

What is that truth?  The sight between the blink of an eye.

The way someone stares at me pretending she is listening.

The secrets that someone is silent about because they are ashamed.

The reactions, the triggers that are hidden, buried in ice

Enlightened ideas, that are tough perfectionism.

What is wrong with just merely saying it like a child?

I hate you.

I love you

I hurt

I’m excited

I see you have a pimple on your face

Look into my eyes and feel me.

I see you are fiddling around while I talk

The reasons that we exist, explode like a bullet across my cheek.

I feel my burning existence. The reason you exist and I exist.

I am in those reasons.

I am so attached to the breath of every breath

The blink of every eye

The way someone’s hand moves

The way someone shifts in their seat

I am attached to that

I feel their shifting and moving

And my body interprets that subtle energy

I am so bonded

My boundaries are quick to recede around people. Life!

I am ignited every moment

A circus of tigers, spiders, bears and ravens screams rumble through

My body and brain like an avalanche.

I can’t stop this from happening.

Like stopping a tsunami

I am a helpless to my own nature.

The truth of surrender. Powerlessness to the forces.

Are you awake? Do you see yourself in silence of betrayal?

In the heartbreak of love

In the need to be seen like the rising sun

The lining of a silver cloud.

The dark thunder of your belly ache

Are you awake? To it all?

Can you take the truth?

That maybe you aren’t divine. Maybe you

Are a mortal, a human with flaws and crazy blood?

That insanity runs through your veins?

Are you awake. To the dirty splendor of gorgeous human dirt?


You are a mouse in a corner. Thinking each corner is something new

But you repeat, and repeat and repeat your blindness

Just so you can be right and straight like a shooting star

You burst at the end and disappears

Because you deceive yourself.

Are you? Are you? Awake?

Do you pee in the forest like a wolf?

Howl until your lungs collapse?

Crawl on all fours?

Wake UP!! Wake UP!! Wake UP!!

Loose Flesh, A Woman’s Love

Holding the flesh of my thigh, known to the patriarchal world as cellulite

Get a tummy tuck, get fat reducer, diet.

A woman, learned to hate that flesh

The chunky, gooey, top of the stomach, called muffin tops.

That curvy Renaissance woman, naked across the couch

Only a woman can love the white, silk, soft flesh.

No muscles, or workout, or gyms or hundred mile races

Just her gelatin flesh, her body, the matter of body, the woman

The earth. Woman is the body

Women stopped loving themselves, too soft and cushy to fall into

Like pillows or clouds, but the strength in that hanging flesh

Is my grandmother’s iron hand and tough survival.

Loving the woman who eats Crisco and dives into the ocean off of cliffs

The light of the moon shines on her full buttocks.

Women who inject silicone to get that buttocks curve like a hill

Flat tummies, six pack, ripples across the gut, a man’s body

Only a woman can love a woman in the way a woman loves

I am only first beginning to love as a woman can love myself

I was beaten to be stiff, silent and pretty, a hard pretty, that had no lose ends or fuzzy

Ends curled, only neat and clean

A woman as a wolf, peeing, her legs open and sniffing the leaves, in the dirt

That is how a woman loves herself.

Marta Luzim’s Writing the Wave: Mama Stop!

I wanted to tell you Mama, as you died, as you sat drugged on anti-psychotic medication, barely breathing, feeding tube up your nose and down your throat, because you refused to eat. I wanted to tell you Mama, as you threw me down the stairs, pulled my hair, slapped me across the face, tried to drown me in a tub of sudsy water when I was six. Mama I wanted to tell you as you held a knife to my throat, stood on the ledge of our window in your bra and underpants, rain pouring down and you wanted to jump and kill yourself. Mama I wanted to tell you, no, scream at you, no, grab you by the hair, squeeze your breasts and grasp your cold hands and say “STOP. STOP YOU CRAZY BITCH. I NEED TO BELONG TO YOU!”