“I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have-as if it were our duty
to find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.” – Sharon Olds
Chasing My Ghosts
I’ve been writing since I was probably 12 or 13 years old. Always told I was too sensitive, it wasn’t too surprising that I would happen upon the Romantics and fall in love – Blake, Shelley, Yeats, and on and on. Add in a broad, cavernous streak of darkness and turmoil and how could I resist Poe, T.S. Elliot, Dickinson, and Plath.
This stuck with me throughout my entire life. I went to college. I majored in English Literature with an emphasis in the Romantics, and graduated with an English degree and a certificate in Creative Writing. I was in heaven. I wouldn’t trade my time at St. Louis University for anything.
During my time at SLU I applied for an internship at a local literary magazine that I knew nothing about – River Styx. Turns out it was a prestigious and
historic publication, founded by Michael Castro. I was hooked.
My writing began to improve by leaps and bounds thanks to the mentorship of Richard Newman and other writers I was meeting at the time. This was truly one of the most magical and transformative times of my life; hanging out with writers every day.
During that time I had a few pieces published and won a couple of awards. Unfortunately, adult life and ambitions stamped out time for writing. I fell to the 9-to-5. I “postponed” my MFA goals and PhD goals and got sucked up by the vacuum of conventional goals.
But, writing is always something I’ve returned to. There may be years between writings, but eventually I succumb to that voice in my heart each
time; and each time it’s a modified voice, shaped by the experiences of my life.
In my late 30s I committed myself to photography and found, in many ways, an incredibly similar outlet. I used photos as poetry and self portraiture as exploration of my substance, sharing these intimate moments with select few – a scratch to my emotional and physical exhibitionist itch.
I needed a place to share this most intimate part of myself; the ghosts of my life. So, here we are; covering almost the entirety of my adult life – posting poems as old as 1994. I’ve decided to include some of my photography with these poems as a culmination of exposing myself for all to see – without fear.
I cannot invoke bouquet;
withering and dying before it passes my lips.
that it could rest
in the quietest recesses of me,
nestled along side
and slender –
in this hostile land.
the close landscape of
jigsaw and gerrymander;
stalemate and sawdust;
hash marks and hypotenuse
connecting the angle
of my bouquet
just out of your sensing.
December 22, 2017
I have fallen through my one memory of you
too many times to count.
Hitting the sheets, soft like lilacs and dandelions
each Sunday morning.
And you were so strong,
picking me up like a grain of pollen,
tossing me into the air where I was weightless;
where I would find myself still, years later,
unable to gain the momentum to touch ground
and become something, anything—
a lilac, a dandelion, a wish, a weed.
unknown date – likely 1999
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