might be a word with only four letters
but it feels so much heavier than that.
It carries a thousand weighted breaths and
teems with tears.
Can I begin to trust the universe
when I've been left before on the docks empty-handed,
standing agape at the magnitude of the waves?
Can I allow what I feel in the air around me---
salty and sweet, everything will be all right---
to be my truth?
Hope might only be a word with four letters,
but today it is my life raft;
I'll clutch to it until the sea swallows me whole.
What else is there to do?
In case you didn't know, today is World Poetry Day! Poetry is such an amazing, undervalued part of our society. If you're new to the poetic world and feeling lost, here's a great place to start.
Today you get—you guessed it—another sappy poem about my wonderful husband. Happy reading, friends.
Since we met, I've taken so many forms.
I've grown to fill the vessels around me,
and I've shrunk to fit.
I've touched the peaks of mountains we built together,
and sunk to the bottom of oceans
we didn't intend to create.
(The silt there is fine and feels like silver.)
How can you write a love poem to a person
who is a part of you?
Every breath you take moves my lungs too
and when you are hurt, I can feel my own heart breaking.
Our sun is a star, but it is also a source of
light that connects us even when we are apart.
My limbs are yours and I can use them
to climb to the top of the world and scream out
how much I love you--
our universal inhalation
moving as one.
I mean to say that,
without you, my dear,
I'm a bird walking on stilts,
unaware of how to fly,
unable to move in a straight line,
and I'm constantly in love
with the feeling of your breath under my wings
keeping me afloat.
I've been every shape since we met,
and so have you,
but my favorite is the one where I'm curled into your side,
nestled into you
like two moons in different phases--
perfectly concave at the right points.
I am a warrior unbroken by time,
my weapon a pen scratching across this paper
as I write the anger of my people.
I have seen the best of us
drowning in rivers of self-doubt,
felt their souls die a little
as we struggled to break the surface--
lips so close to the top and we can
breathe the same air as the rest--
just a little bit longer and we’ll be there.
This vessel is a thing so beautiful and divine,
speaking of it, looking at it
is an act of holiness.
But we hide, thinking we’re not
(We are not without our scars.)
I can hear the drums in the background,
calling us to march forward--
don’t give up.
It beats in me, too, a song
pulling us toward the light
that I know to be true:
We are here.
We are watching.
We are waiting.
We are fierce.
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I love the fantasy, horror movies, and tales that set your nerves on edge—the whole thing.
In honor of Halloween's impending arrival, I'm changing things up with today's poem—it's a little creepier and has a few more cobwebs hanging from the rafters. Stay spooky, friends!
Off in the distance, it becomes
shadow on the bright prairie.
The figure, sensuous and
slinky, crawls through the ochre grass.
An icy chill passes over me,
consuming my optimism and
silencing my protests.
The creature opens his jaws
swallows me whole.
He licks his blackened lips
and silently floats away,
leaving behind only
fading warmth and
A thought, a
slowly evanescing in the
Friends, I'd like to extend my apologies for my absence. I wish I could say I've been doing something worthwhile with the two weeks I've been gone (saving the world, feeding the poor, cleaning up the world's oceans---you get the drift), but the real story is less exciting. Work has been busy, life has been hustling, yadda yadda yadda. The wheel never stops turning.
I've been having fun recently going through my old poems and seeing how my writing style has changed over the years. Some pieces I completely cringe at, trying to hide from the obvious Ginsberg style transcribed into my own words. Others, in my humble opinion, have fewer wrinkles from their years shoved in the drawer.
That is to say, I have a present for you. To make up for my extended time away, I'll be posting several of these throwback poems over the next few days, just so you can get a taste of who the former Victoria Harris (then with a different name) really was. Or is. Either way.
Let's begin, shall we? The first selection is a piece circa 2011 (originally titled "I am everything," but let's be honest, that's a crap title, so I've scrapped it). The scene? Our young author is a new, shiny college graduate. She's starting a corporate job and is squeezing herself into a pencil skirt for the first time in years. After a serious of terrible relationships, she's trying to enjoy life on her own in downtown Minneapolis. And it happens to rain a lot.
(Also, she apparently has a problem with capitalizing the letter "i")
when i woke today
i felt like rain
the closing of my eyelids
keeping rhythm with
the drops inside my head
my feet upon the sidewalk
melting into puddles in which
others will step
i blew in the breeze,
lashing upon the faces
wetting their hair
soaking through clothes
and becoming one
i collected in a basin
near the hall, my
throughout the room
today when i woke
i felt like rain,
and i covered all
Hazy pink blankets coat the horizon
like a blouse tossed to the floor
at the end of a
There’s a fog rolling over the cliffs,
entirely entranced with
the spinning of the Earth.
In the early morning sun,
champagne is within reach and the
cool, beckoning touch of
is almost tangible.
I could look at the crest of this
jagged rock forever and picture us there,
buoyant in the clouds
without strings holding
But there are too many things to do,
too many lives to live,
too many moments to pretend to be
So I pick up my pen and write another damn
poem about mountains,
wishing I could fade into the pastel
peaks like a
coasting into the sunrise.
They say—and I do too when I’m being preachy--
to write about what you know.
What if I haven’t experienced enough in my lifetime to
paint you the landscape I can see and feel in my head?
It’s a drippy one; the acrylic has barely dried and I
notice it remaking itself
endlessly. But oh, it’s beautiful and far more
creative than anything
my days could create.
Would you like to know what’s in my head?
Let me spend years with you, sipping coffee
in the living room like we’re old friends,
I’ll reminisce about the lifetimes I’ve never lived
and the moments still waiting to be unwrapped.
Together we’ll write the “oh my God, this is it!”
dangling off the edge of my tongue,
afraid to let go and become a reality.
Instead of the truth, let me tell you about
a painting of mountains.
There’s one in my dreams, a watercolor silhouette of who I’d like to be someday--
strong, delicate, and formidable.
All cliffs and grey brush strokes fading quietly into the canvas around.
Let’s take a breath together and be one with the world and dream about what it’s like to feel as if nothing can shake you.
Are you listening? Good.
So let me tell you about mountains.
Now this is where I tell you I don’t know what I’m doing.
I put the pen to the paper and let it bleed.
Or is it me?
I’m waiting and hesitating for the meaning
of this all to become clear, but
the marks on the page keep drying faster than I can
form the letters.
I thought by now I’d feel like less of an imposter,
but I can’t seem to shed the skin of
a tired winter coat that’s kept me
too comfortable to discard.
The quiet of night offers no solace;
I turn out the light and my past creeps
across the ceiling--
don’t forget me, don’t forget us--
how comfortable is our embrace?
This is where I insist
I don’t know what I’m up against in my head,
but it’s past my bedtime--
my thoughts and the pen are in a steady race
to drive each other to exhaustion.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.