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:
Two of my new poems “The barmaid” and “The cure” have been published in the inaugural issue of Free Verse Revolution. I also sent in a photomontage artwork to illustrate the first poem, and to my great delight it made the cover!
Coming in mid-March as our first digital issue… hebe (the fountain of youth)!
Below is the front cover, featuring an incredible piece of visual art by Constance Bourg. We feel this piece of art captures the broad mix of work within the issue as our contributors explore the natural world, classical imagery, youth, exploration, what it means to grow old and how we yearn to return to the past.
Constance Bourg lives in the Flemish part of Belgium, where she volunteers at her local library. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, The Poetry Shed, Blanket Sea, The Pink Plastic House anthology and the Emma Press anthology of illness. She also dabbles in collage and is currently working on a book-long erasure poetry and collage project transforming Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book. She leads a part-time life because of an invisible disability called ME/CFS. You can find her at constancebourg.wordpress.com
charges fighting off hebetude you who talks at coke speed
or not at all sipping your drink like venom
and expecting an applause when you over-apologise
how can something stolen throw such shine as to blind the world
how come when the shade becomes the place to live
I still feel the urge to catch a little of your glow.
This poem was written after a prompt I found on Instagram. I was part of the poetry and writer community there, and Chimen Georgette Kouri, one of the talented writers whose work I love to read, had kindly provided these orphan lines to inspire other creatives.
This insipid afternoon of quicksand your memory is clawing at me sinking and reaching for less treacherous ground scratching at the air, because it is instinctual to fight even when there is no hope – there are no trees nor branches on the tidal flats I cower from its force, sitting on the stairs with my brow burrowed in the crook of my arm, a temporary crevice to hide in – then I look up ashamed when I hear again the scuffle of black loafers on the tiles that belonged to your old apartment building I did not want to see it leave, wheeled out, a black plastic bag handled with such decorum the ultimate macabre object or is it what is within? your sallow skin, sunken, creviced, worn to the thread, a taxidermy lion would look more lively as the blood sinks it becomes clear that this body is nothing but a vessel your lips wrinkled in like an overripe apricot, but with none of its colour they formed a final O, a gasp of awe at the shock of when the injection stopped your heart had you had a change of mind again at the very last second? the tide comes in quicker than you think.
Four years ago my dad lost his battle with an aggressive lung cancer. He chose euthanasia, a decision I supported fully. Nevertheless, I found it to be a surreal experience and somewhat traumatising. I wrote this poem about a year ago, when I finally found some space to think back to that day.