Recently I was gifted with an advance copy of the poetry anthology SMITTEN. I was intrigued upon hearing that all of the poems had one theme: the exploration of love between women. 46 more words
Thank you so much to Christy Birmingham of http://www.whenwomeninspire.com for this incredible review of SMITTEN due out Fall, 2019. Please read the full review and consider following http://www.whenwomeninspire.com as it’s an incredible site and Christy is a remarkable woman.
I see your pictures on social media
a part of me is envious
of your freedom
even though women many years before
either of us
had absolutely no freedom and only those
with enough money could consider taking
a woman as their lover
it is hard to imagine
each generation I suspect
forgets the sacrifices of the last
cannot envision a time when
it was illegal to love
my experience was never that awful
I had freedoms many women still do not possess
and I am grateful for that
but sometimes when I see your
youthful face and the grace with which you accept love
how natural and easy it feels
I recall how I began
hiding in dark bars, trying to fit in, failing
never one to play endless games of poker face
I didn’t fit in with my own kind then
but if I’d been you
born in the sun with your turquoise eyes like the Donovan song
I might have had on my arm
a whole host of dreams and not
dabbled in boys for a few futile and unhappy years or
felt I couldn’t have had children and let
my fear and my constraint decide for me
you are the age my daughter might be
and I would like to think I’d have
done all you have done had I been born
in a time of greater acceptance where
women who love women can grow their hair
and not have to cling to stereotypes or subterfuge
carrying knots of shame and confusion
like blankets never stretched out and slept on
I would have gotten a tattoo and maybe
been less shy and apologetic
I remember at 18 that’s all I seemed to do
sorry to my family for not having turned out straight
sorry to my friends for being the odd one out
sorry to the gays on the march who thought
with my dresses and my long tresses I was a weekend
if they only knew
what it took and what I sacrificed
maybe they understand now
but we’re all a little older and
you don’t recapture what you felt at 18
you remember it like a language
I spoke the language of trial and error
I suspect you speak the language of love
just a little freer
so forgive me if I envy you as you walk past me
hand in hand, laughing, the edges of your hair
hitting your waist
like a Summer tidal wave.
SMITTEN – This is What Love Looks Like – Poetry by women for women – an anthology of poetry published by Indie Blu(e) will be out OCTOBER 2019 and available through all good book sellers. Please consider following SMITTEN’s FB page at https://www.facebook.com/SMITTENwomen/
If you are interested in supporting this project in any way please contact me @ email@example.com. All LGBTQ projects are a little more challenging to succeed and we want the 120_+ poets who have work in SMITTEN to be read by many! Indie Blu(e) and their submissions rules can be found at www.indieblu.net
Thank you to the incredible Kristiana Reed for this advance review of SMITTEN, Indie Blu(e)’s latest poetry anthology which will be published this Fall.
Candice Daquin and the editors at Indie Blu(e) Publishing have worked their magic once more in raising a powerful chorus of voices.
Daquin is a woman who has always sought to empower others from the first moment I became acquainted with her work and her nature. I also cannot think of a better person and writer to spearhead a body of work which celebrates love between two women.
The writers and styles within this collection, which Daquin has woven seamlessly together, are varied – eclectic and powerful yet with the same, strong undercurrent coursing through every piece that this is what love looks like.
It is possible people will read the sub-heading of SMITTEN and assume this is an exclusive collection; only accessible if you are woman who loves or has loved a woman. But, what is truly wonderful is this isn’t true at all. Instead, SMITTEN holds and nurtures love poems to be read and enjoyed by anyone. After all, for centuries, we have consumed and enjoyed love poems written about women, by men. Why should the fact that the poet is a woman cause the response to be any different?
‘Testimony’ by Carolyn Martin is one of the best examples of this. The nature of love and relationships does not suddenly change if it is not heterosexual; the essence of loving someone beyond belief even on the days they annoy you to distraction, remains.
However, even though SMITTEN is not exclusive, it must be recognised as an anthology paving a new way for literature. All of the writers are female and all of the subject matter is female, lesbian, bisexual and more. Pieces such as ‘Lesbian’ by Avital Abraham and ‘Pulse’ by Melissa Fadul drive home why Daquin’s decision to create a collection like this is needed and welcomed.
Too often we sideline LGBTQ+ work as a genre of its own, when it should be mainstream; literary works which are written by people to be enjoyed by people, no matter what their race, sexuality, gender and/or religion.
Yet, until this happens, I applaud Daquin and Indie Blu(e) Publishing for brazenly making a stand. Until labels are but words and not identifiers, it is important that writers like those in this collection share their voices and stories, ever-lasting love and heartbreak, and their hopes and fears, to remind the literary world they will be heard, no matter what the response may be.
Kristiana Reed August, 2019.
SMITTEN will be available this Fall via all good book sellers. For bulk orders, ARC copies or more information please contact Candice Daquin or Indie Blu(e) directly or go to the SMITTEN Facebook website
a day may show itself
long or near from now
where pain and fear possess no place
their greedy place at your table outstayed
came into your life, wrecking balls
fathomless of the despair they could put
as wicked times will have us ensnared
forgetful of former peace
hostages to the ease with which
sickness makes strangers of us.
Who inhabits this body of pain?
when did normalcy include such horror?
what lurks behind the shell of our discontent?
masking the urge to cry out with futile restraint
who do we hide our agonies from? Or is it that obscene need to appear
while and strong? While behind public doors we collapse in mock
no succor for the actor of their own wellness
Give me hope we clamoring souls sing in our flung prayer and rage
let me believe
find the keys, the healer, the drug, the end of
or I think I wish
I never existed
a thought I’ve had many times before
though none are without regret
some of us excel at impoverished thought.
I do not remember the me before
mornings of hurt, nights of pain
was she a creature capable of delight and desire?
did I feel alive?
Sometimes it’s hard to know
the fall is long down rabbit hole
whomever she was
a better dream
slow living just above not existing
quiet in accepted
for another grasp at hope
where fear and pain
possess no place
A warbling, holding, green glass pain
Like joined hands make paper cut
Invisible like girl in crowd, falls
Deep as ink without light
Stinging with clamoring cymbal
Tears almost bare themselves as first night lovers, tremorous
Retreat beyond the naked streets
It is not brutal gnashing strength
But soft lipped resignation
And a little elipsing hope
For bare faced ceasement
Lain like prayers and rushes and thrown flowers wetting paving stones
No ceremony. Only, black cars devoid of dust
A trail without salt. They bent lower to seek. Not yet.
It’s hard to say it. The wind chokes words. Before.
We walk on. Omphalos in fatigued lament
Toward reprieve, illuminate in muted tempest.
She doesn’t look sick…..
She isn’t sick.
But a black hole is eating her from the inside out.
The devour has no real description
It defies the usual ones, it has a wider mouth, deeper jaw, longer bite
The thing of it is .. the shame .. that’s the worst part
The little voice which sometimes sounds like your mother and sometimes sounds like every voice that ever said; What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you snap out of it?
Sometimes … a day will be piercingly beautiful … like the most beautiful song you ever heard and every sense will be electrified
And still you will long to fall on the ground sobbing
If they saw you they would ask; What’s wrong? It’s a beautiful day! Why can’t you appreciate life! Are you ungrateful?
And you would nod your head and admit; Yes I must be ungrateful. How else can you explain it?
For those who believe in God, you feel stricken, maybe you feel God is punishing you for some transgression with the black dog who never leaves your side
If he does leave then you know he will return and it is just a false waiting game, a pose of chess pieces with their fates already inscribed
They talk about other things that matter and feel empathy, sympathy
But when someone has a mental disease they are considered weak, inferior, selfish, inadequate
Wherever you go – there you are
Sometimes you wonder why it is you can write so much in November and nothing through July.
As if a giant claw had possessed your feelings and sank its nails deep into your marrow
When you date people you feel as if you should come with a disclaimer;
I may look pretty, I may have qualifications and a clean house, but beneath this surface please note … I am subject to changing and crying when the sun shines for no discernible reason
Sometimes in the middle of a party you want to run away from the crowd and bury your face in the grass out in the forest – feeling more alone than if you were locked underground in a prison cell
Often there is absolutely no way of describing this so you simply do not and that sets you apart as someone who carries a dark feeling without a voice
Occasionally someone will remark on the sadness in your eyes and you will smile as hard as you can to dispel it because it feels like a giant stain that everyone could see
If they cared to
Many times in subtle ways people will show you that they think you are weaker than them in the little methods of selection and choice
Family will condemn you and sharpen the quill when you are down because it is easier to kill a deer when it has fallen
You try to be grateful and you are, but it never seems so in the midst of sadness because sadness will devour any gratitude whole
And lovers will tell you … you’re not even happy to be with me are you? And you want to say, oh yes I am! But the sadness will envelop your voice and they will leave you … disappointed
There isn’t a week of mental illness, there isn’t a day for depression. There are years upon years upon years
And little adverts on TV about “If your current anti-depressant isn’t working considering taking (and paying) for another one to boost it!” Just fill you with impotent rage.
Often, you feel you are not worthy simply because you are depressed, it is a stigma that invades every aspect of your being, you believe you are not worth the same as others because of the darkness you carry around on your back
In the early morning when you lie in bed and the first rays of sun come through your window, you may forget who you are, and decide you are not going to be labeled or given a description, you are going to be
and that may last a while until the next time you feel like blowing your brains out
and then it’s the greatest betrayal you ever felt and it seems as if you do it to yourself
like a hand inside a black velvet glove
stroking dreams until they grow cold