Hi Pulp Babes and poets! It’s Essine back with Late Night Poetry Club, a monthly compilation of poetry submitted by readers and staff. This month’s theme is…*drumroll*… Baby Teeth! Those magical ‘lil things you lost when you were just a wee child. What does it mean? Baby teeth to me means youth, leaving things behind, growing up or out of something, self love, feeling older, newness and oldness. It can be interpreted in any way you see it or relate to it, which is what I asked readers to do. They sent me these incredibly stunning poems, which range from topics of aging, children, and disowning. Enjoy! – xoxo, Essine
Clenched jaw, sore feelings
Your name rotting in my mouth
Pull out the pliers
The fear of pregnancy and childbirth.
Google won’t give me a word for this.
The fact that my body is a novice
at carrying significance does not
scare me. Small, textured hands
do not scare me. I am not afraid
of the general idea of you.
But I’ve got my own life to use as paint
in your nursery. I’ve got the family
medical records between my mattress
and box spring. That’s all enough
to give me nightmares that start
before I even fall asleep. Child,
you need to know that I am not afraid
of you. I’m not afraid of the shape
you’ll give my ever-loud belly, or
having to coax you out of me
and into the hospital room.
I am afraid of what comes back with us
when I take you home. Toddlerhood
does not scare me as much as age ten.
Is it shallow of me to assume that that age
will be as traumatizing for you as it was
for me? Am I wrong to make a scrapbook
out of each time depression or anxiety
are mentioned in my lineage, tape your
ultrasound to the very last page and ask
whoever is listening to let all of this pain
skip your generation?
Child, I don’t want you to be in pain.
Once, I was told that unborn babies
are first stars in the sky that pick
their parents. I know that I have
redeeming qualities. I know I will be
a good parent. I am not afraid
of the idea of you. But you are more
than an idea. You will be someone,
you will be your own world, a world
as big as your name. I am not afraid
of you. I am afraid of how you may hurt.
Baby, I don’t want you to hurt.
Well-Rested By The Time I Turn 21
Mozart composed his first symphony
at eight years old.
Shakespeare was married at eighteen
and completed his first play at twenty six.
My grandmother carried life in her hips at fifteen
and had three declarations of young love
by the time she was nineteen.
My grandfather had barely gotten over puberty
when he took his first trip-
a tromp over unknown countryside with
a gun on his back and a
stained uniform as his only clothes.
I am twenty and all I feel like doing
is falling asleep until the
another revolution of the sun.
I finally felt it
My heart pounding against time
Becoming the symphony in the air.
How the warm water caressed every inch of my body
I finally felt it
My heart pounding against time
With burning eyes,
I force myself to feel
Just to imprison the rest.
Water turned dark with dirt
Grief, and misery
Goes down the drain.
Yet I still feel them blossoming inside again.
White cells weaving me together,
Out of this mess.
I braid my hair
to take up less space
when I ride the bus. I
look like my mother:
freckles, curls, a very small
nose: the women in check-out
lines of supermarkets always
whisper this and
it is an affirmation. I am
embarrassed that you still
walk me to the corner grasping
your orange coffee cup in hand but
together we watch the police
wake the homeless and
I suddenly find that
I cannot bear to
step onto the bus without
giving you a swift
the cheek before
It is 5:34 AM.
The orchestra of the earth croons
As the constellations dissolve,
Applauding their plunge
From our skies.
But celestial bodies do not
Careen across the cosmos
For a chorus of crickets.
Jupiter and Venus do not
Halt their heavenly sway
Throughout the galaxy
At the siren of a songbird.
I will ellipse your existence as
A starlit globe for eons
After the fauna and faces of this
World have reached their end.
You and I are
Divine and vibrant in the void.
Together we will dance defiantly
Across the heavens
Long after the morning song
Of this earth ends.
i disowned you before you had the chance
they would have been less ashamed
if i had run away with a man
they would have thought i could be saved
if i had run away with a woman
they would have welcomed me home and wept
if i had run away with the circus
but i ran
away from them
i ran away
Final Evening in The Red House I
Theres was an afternoon
And I say afternoon because no other time of day
Could capture such a feeling,
Though the instance carried on beyond my slowed breathing.
When I sat upon my floorbound matress
Intwined with pastels
Pinks and blues
Evoking such clarity
In such an unclear evening.
And I opened that book of spells
The sort of magic I didnt believe in
Though then I didnt ascribe to any-
And read through the mystified intentions.
Save me from this October sunlight, weaning
Give these rotted bones some meaning.
I heard no calling
But the autumn winds, heavy, labored breathing.
A year, a dime
Change in grand time
And still not yet changed.
Rip VanWinkle passed his fate
Minutes, the world began to accumulate,
As my body did the same
I yearned for their inception.
I came in illness
There is no medicine
Left to treat me now,
Only stale disease
Through cracks in the uneven tile-
As I awake
As I scar before I age
As loneliness becomes technicality
Rather than definition-
From dye stained tiles
To coffee splattered rugs
(Fallen hair, dried blood)
Proof of every person I once was-
After these three years,
The longest I have learned to love,
I am leaving.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s Late Night Poetry Club, and thanks for every fantastic submission! For any poetry or poetry pitches, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com! We love reading your stuff!