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Every second week of the month, instead of the regularly scheduled Late Night Poetry Club, we will be featuring one “unknown” poet’s pieces plus commentary! This is a great way to get larger issues of your work out there in the ~cybersphere and give your readers new ways to connect with you and the creative process!

 

Hello to all you lovely babes reading this! I’m Alexandra: a student in Montreal part time, a bratty teenage girl living outside of Vancouver with my mom and cats the rest, as well as a constant consumer of whiskey, watcher of Buffy, and curator of witchy lookz. I also like to write, which is why you’re hangin’ with me virtual-style right now.

My sister is thirteen years older than me, and by the time I was seven or so, she was in the midst of pursuing a degree in creative writing. Some of my earliest memories of her and I together are ones of her reading poems aloud to me, asking which words fit better than others. I was one of those weird, permanently sullen-looking and quiet kids, and I read near constantly, so that in combination with my sister’s whole writing thing made me interested in doing things with language pretty early on. One of the first pieces I remember writing was a poem describing how I wanted to drown while on a field trip to the public pool. I think it ended with something like “indigo stars/ circle me while I fall”. Damn, I was good.

My intent with my poems is, basically, to convey emotions I can’t describe through images and the memories they provoke, and I hope that the pieces I’m going to share with you do just that. I hope you like them. I hope you relate to them. I’d even be happy if you absolutely hate them and want to pee all over every single line and also my face (actually, if you’re a cute boy, hit me up and let’s make it happen). Mostly, I just hope you read them, and if you enjoy them, that’s even better.

 

VALHALLA IS FOR LOVERS

I am a Valkyrie

wearing a breastplate of

glass over a tender heart.

I am not brave;

I stay up until daylight

but not to see the sunrise.

Think of me, insistent

and weightless, just wind

against a cupped palm

when I choose you to lie

with me –

I will leave you only with your

bones

bruised, dark flowers blooming quietly

under your veil of skin.

(This is a poem about letting people down, about wanting to be good or good enough but hurting others by the nature of your character. A reluctant Trojan horse, if I’m going to mix mythologies here.)

 

 BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN

I remember when I knew

the exact angle from your wrist

to your ribcage, and could divide that distance

back in on itself. When things were as simple as easy

increments

and I could commit myself to writing everything

in ink, when I could move

a mountain range or a city

skyline in a stanza,

when I knew those fifty words

for snow. Now there are things you need

to know. Understand:

I cheat myself,

like pulling on both ends

of a wishbone. In return I will placate

you with lessons, teach you

that stringing words together

does not make a poet, the way

a gasoline rainbow

isn’t what starts a fire. I would ask you

to do the math, but first I have to show you

that you can’t drink rain

like water and the sum of the parts

do not always equal the whole.

 (This piece, in its first incarnation, was written when I was sixteen out of frustration at a friend who took up writing, and I felt like they didn’t have the heart for it. Later, it came to be more about frustration at myself, or an earlier version of myself, who thought that poetry, that art, was reserved only for the people who were good enough as opposed to who wanted to make something new. Shaking my head at you, pretentious young Alexandra.)

 

MMVI

When I was thirteen, I died
for the first time. I was thin enough to fit in
the spiral staircase of a notebook’s spine,
and so quiet that when I fell
underfoot, nobody heard
my bones crack. I had been
so busy keeping my head down, I had forgotten
to look at the ground.

After they pulled me up,
my smile could cut.
I had gravel between my teeth.

 (High school sucks. Thirteen was the worst year of my life, until I experienced eighteen. To me, this piece is about both the anger I felt at myself during my high school years for being such a quiet and timid doormat, but also at everyone else for making me feel that I had to be that way. And myself again for letting them. So on and so forth.)

 

CAVES

You and I, we fucked
on the double bed in my one room
apartment, because I wanted
the chance to wear you in bruises, fingertips along my clavicle
palm at my breast.
I cried when I came
and when you left.
My window faced east and it was always
too much on Monday mornings,
so I pinned up a sheet instead, and
then we lay quiet as caves
the sun did not touch.
I hadn’t thought to want you for light,
anyways –
I had always worked
better without it.

But you lit a candle in the hollow
between our bodies. You
mapped my echoes,
bounced your voice off the walls that had
ached and stretched for years
in concave longing
and I answered back. You told me I was so
goddamned good
at it, that I knew how to work
my words as well as my mouth
that maybe it was worth more than a graveyard,
a yawning emptiness,
that all that space is what is needed
to make a home.

 (Originally this poem was about the first boy I slept with, then it became a poem for the first boy I slept with who I felt something – or the potential for something bigger – for. Now it’s about neither of them, and more about the complexity of other people’s validation and how good of a thing that is. Or, you know, how good of a thing it isn’t.)

 

WAYS TO LOVE A SAD GIRL (LIKE ME)

i.
Not at all.
I am an easy
heart and a good lay, which
makes me expendable
to types like you
who are so used to being 
loved
that if you gave a
part of yourself
to everyone who wanted 
some, you
would only account for
empty spaces.

ii.
Intensely
like a wound-up punch,
all the power
in the coil
and not the fist. Seethe
over me. Leave marks
on the underside
of my breast and
in the way I say your name
to other people –
I will always be looking elsewhere,
never in your
eyes like a torch.

iii.
Intimately. You will know
the cadence and weight
of my speech, be able
to expect my words
like the moon’s tide,
know the cuts on my upper thigh
like a dozen north stars.
My face looks different
depending on the light.
You will know all the shades.

iv.
Tomorrow, or the next
day, or whenever the
buses run right and
the weather allows it. You will
get around to loving me,
something inevitable and melancholy,
the sound
of a door, closing.

(This poem came to me first through the title, which was originally  “18 ways to love a sad girl like me”, before I realized that I didn’t want to and couldn’t think of 18. I feel like this piece is pretty self-explanatory – I generally think of myself as someone whose force of personality polarizes everyone I meet, and this piece explores the ways that I’ve found people fit me into their lives – or not.)

 

I’ve just recently started up a tumblr for my writing, which can be found at girl-writes.tumblr.com. It’s pretty sparse at the moment, just these pieces plus a couple others, but I plan to keep up with my writing over summer break and I’d love if you’d read!

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May 11, 2013