So this is what it’s like to be interviewed

I was given the opportunity recently to share my personal story and talk about what art and poetry means to me, when my lovely and talented friend Mackenzie Belcastro asked me to write a few words for her blog.

Mackenzie is a novelist (about to release her magical realism debut) and a mindset coach. She helps young creatives to find their path. In that spirit, she has created a series on her blog called “Conversations with Artists”. She sent me some questions that got me thinking, and you can read the resulting words by visiting the page below:

Constance Bourg on Chronic Illness, Poetry, and Healing Through Art

Mother

My mother
who made me
who drew elements from the stars to do so

she holds me

accountable for my actions
She is a tough teacher and
her lesson is urgent

She holds me

down when I try to turn away
She sleeps with locked doors, provides
no gateway to the stars

She holds me

responsible for her grief
I owe her the stars, and
her gifts should not go to waste

She holds me

cradles and supports me

and I owe her because she made me.

This poem was written for a prompt by @mghughesauthor on Instagram.

More than this

I’m your dark room, your rough stone walls
damp with unease. Here to inhabit you,

not what you wanted, but it’s what you got.
If you argue, you’ve already lost.

I’m what you haven’t been receiving
and you will suffer more for it.

Because if you would only turn your attention to existing,
the confined spaces in your head would widen

and you would find new spaces to inhabit.
Your heart would calm your mind and

you would realize that the blind joys you’re missing
were stopping you from seeing life as it is.

Nothing to rely on in this world except cycles,
day and night, summer and winter.

Here’s your life to be found;
in admiration of change.

I have elicited kindness and creativity.
I have also revealed the cracks in your societies

where the most vulnerable suffer most.
The glass was always broken and there

is your opportunity, because you are a conduit.
Let the information flow through you.

I’m trying to teach you to take the kindness and creativity
and to start mending those cracks.

I am here, but you are going to be okay,
and things will never be quite the same.

As if in Florence

from The Decameron by Boccaccio, p. 50

Day was seated and ready,
to seek attention,
to protect herself with virtue most beautiful,
her reason sending some to wonder.

I recently participated in a collaborative art project by Unprecedented. In their own words, ‘Unprecedented is a public poetry project that circulates pages of The Decameron between small groups of people, one year after the COVID-19 crisis was first declared. We reflect on the solitude, urgency, travesty, and strange beauty that is now nearing becoming a thing of the past.
Each person receives a page in the mail and blacks out part of Boccaccio’s text. What’s left on the page reveals a poem.’

If you’d like to browse the returned pages or sign up to join the project, just head on over to the Unprecedented website.

Mourning song

This new season holds promise when it comes to love
a 10 billion pixel panorama is set
before my eyes, my ears, before my skin and you.
Budding green shoots, look at the way they are going.
They can’t be stopped while overhead the clouds roam like
giants, like ceiling ghosts. While under the earth a
stirring. A bridge made of flimsy rotting wood, fat
with decay yielding. And you think that you struck gold
and so, here we are. All there is left is too watch.

A golden shovel to Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song.