I feel nothing
but pain for the past
trying to separate
like old clothes
crumbling in a chest
what does not last
from what I can keep
trying to understand
how I fell
so short of what I intended
to do with my life.
How life twists and turns
against us. How a childhood
is not really understood
until it is lived
a second time
in memory.
How wonderful
and how terrible
it seems now
because it is gone
and because it was mine.

—Sarah Brown Weitzman, from “Looking Back" (via mitochondria)

(Reblogged from awritersruminations)



Street signs. Ingredients.
Warning labels. Bus schedules.
Your favorite book.


I am nine years old and in speech therapy.
A fat, glowing mirror distorts my teeth into large,
crooked kernels and the woman asks me to
repeat the words “show, start, show, start.”
Sounds stumble out of my mouth.


As long as I can remember I have been
able to read. This is a gift I open daily
but can not recall unwrapping. I have
been given the golden ticket. I am opening
the envelop as we speak, as I type:
the golden parenting. The golden school tax.
The golden free time. The gold access.
I am special in the way we expect everyone
to be special but help no one become.


Maps. Newspapers. Job applications.


Mrs. Cannistra explains to a room full of 8th graders
how, in Spanish, you say “this is my food favorite”

not “my favorite food.” We laugh at this strange
newness. It reminds us of the transfer student

from the town over who dresses in faded t-shirts
and smells sour. How backwards we say, how un


Speeding tickets. Phone
numbers. Parking signs.
Voting ballots.


“One glance at a book and you
hear the voice of another person,
perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years.
To read is to voyage through time.” And what
is it to stand still? To hear the thousand voices
but not join in on their singing?


In class, we are discussing a book about
a man who learned to read at 98-years-old.
The girl next to me, who wears college sweatshirts
and bangs that spell a hundred C’s, says
she was surprised at how happy he seemed,
at how much he accomplished for the first 97 years.
This man, who could not read but who could see,
who witnessed a lynching before his 10th birthday,
who watched one century stack itself taller
and taller only to topple to another.


Pay stubs. Help
Wanted. For Sale.
Menus. This poem.


Imagine the warning label on the bottle of prescription medication
looks like the red sea. There is no parting. There is no passage.


I am four years old. My mother is
reading aloud to my sisters and I,

and I, and I am drawing a picture
of the story’s hero: a mouse holding

his proud sword. It seems no matter
the age, the story is always about war.

- Sierra DeMulder

(Reblogged from sierrademulder)
(Reblogged from five--a--day)



"The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.”
― Gabriel García Márquez

I don’t remember when the bear moved in. It just showed up one day—
a cub, plushy and small with fat, padded paws like oversized ink stamps.
We let her sleep in the dog’s kennel for a while, fed her old fruit and leftovers.
One night, I woke to find her curled like a black worm at the foot of our bed.
I knew I shouldn’t have let her stay but she was such a little thing then,
so warm and living against my leg, her hushed breathing as steady as
a pocket watch. Now, she sleeps between us every night. Now, she is
300 pounds and her puppy coat has thistled into a field of coarse hay.
We are always feeding her: raw chicken, rice, rotted apples, buckets of slop
we collect from local restaurants. She bellows and lopes from room to room
or slumps herself in the bath under a running shower as if she were a dark
cloud spitting up rain. We know that one day she would be the end of us,
but neither of us know how to make her leave, how to talk about the large,
unsightly muzzle between us. We can’t hide anything from her: a bear has
keener eyesight and better hearing than what we can accomplish with these
pitiful bodies, and their sense of smell is seven times greater than any dog.
At night, we lay awake wondering if she can smell our love souring, or hear
our heartbeats like two fish out of water flapping desperately on the dock.

- Sierra DeMulder

(Reblogged from sierrademulder)
Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.
Khaled Hosseini (via sosungalittleclodofclay)

(Source: victoriousvocabulary)

(Reblogged from theheroinenextdoor)

“If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”

Sarah Kay (via not-some-stranger)

Really worth watching her perform this here.

(via noseinabook)

(Reblogged from noseinabook)



There is a woman washing herself
in the bathroom at the public library
where I volunteer once a week 

like the good, affluent, educated 
college student that I am supposed
to be. She smile sheepishly

as she catches my eye—not the real ones 
but the shadowed bullets in the mirror.
One foot in the sink, she scrubs harder,

quicker, as if attempting to erase
herself. And I wonder what it says 
about me that I am inclined to write her

as embarrassed and not just friendly,
how I want to describe her shame
in the perfect, pitying metaphor. 

I wonder if this is the real me,
standing beside this woman
with her elbow under the faucet,

or if she sees right through 
this reflection. I know nothing of this 
woman’s life. In a month I will

receive a piece of paper
that says you know so much
and the truth is I know nothing. 

(Reblogged from sierrademulder)


Look at the children of the land leaving in droves, leaving their own land with bleeding wounds on their bodies and shock on their faces and blood in their hearts and hunger in their stomachs and grief in their footsteps. Leaving their mothers and fathers and children behind, leaving their umbilical cords underneath the soil, leaving the bones of their ancestors in the earth, leaving everything that makes them who and what they are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay. They will never be the same again because you just cannot be the same once you leave behind who and what you are, you just cannot be the same.

—NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names

(Reblogged from awritersruminations)



Here are some scientific facts about blood loss for all you psychopaths writers out there.

yeah, for writting..

(Reblogged from sharkodactyl)

What Struggle Means For Character



As readers we like to see characters struggle. It’s entertaining and thrilling. But that’s what it’s like for the reader. For the character, struggle serves another, less obvious purpose. One that can easily be overlooked.

When a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it is frail and weak. But it has to use up all the energy it has to break out of the little prison its caterpillar-self made.

However, if you were to lend a helping hand and make an incision in the side of the cocoon, enabling the butterfly to emerge quickly and easily, the butterfly would die.

Because that immense effort isn’t just there to make life hard, it’s there to give the butterfly the strength it needs to be able to fly. By struggling against its surroundings, the new body is able to stretch and flex and gain power.

Struggle provides the conditioning necessary to meet future challenges.

Read More

(Reblogged from mooderino)


Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.

—Pat Barker, Regeneration

(Reblogged from awritersruminations)

The summer I moved to Berkeley, I got a job
selling insurance door-to-door.
I’d walk through the winding lines
of pastel Dollhouses, not knocking, not selling,
just looking at all those families
that were not mine. Living a those lives
I’d never have.

In California there are huge grapefruit trees
right in peoples front yards.
For lunch, I picked the fruits off the sidewalk
and carried them to the little Spanish parks
with their rickety, ancient gazebos
and yelling children. I’d sit cross-legged in the grass
and split the pink flesh with my bare hands
devouring it like a heart.

That was the summer I wanted him to marry me so bad
I told everyone he asked when he didn’t.
I’m not saying that’s why I left.
The not saying doesn’t make it
any quieter.

The juice spilled over my hands so carelessly
it felt like betrayal. No one ever yelled at me for stealing.
Some things grow so easily
they demand to be given away.

(Reblogged from clementinevonradics)


My fondest memories are sitting on my grandmother’s porch, next to her garden in the sun on a perfectly warm day, staring at the sky, feeling safe no matter how bad or sad things were for me-. Just sky-watching, knowing that this sky stretched on for miles and miles and that so many people existed under that blue sky. I believed during those times in the many possibilities of the world, and even if things were really bad, one of those possibilities of happiness would someday open for me. Mary, The Root, gave me that space to dream.

Miss Queenly, “Death of the Root: Mary, 86, beloved grandma

(Reblogged from awritersruminations)



TW - rape, sexual assualt 

Read More

(Reblogged from sierrademulder)



The boy was eight years old
when his mother bought home
a large black suitcase.

She dragged it up the porch,
through the screen door
into the kitchen where the boy sat

eating toast. He asked her mother
what was inside and she said
nothing and kissed him

on the forehead. The boy said
it looks heavy and his mother
laughed—soft and light,

but the kind that requires
some sort of breaking
like the cracking of an egg—

she laughed and said it’s nothing.
The boy’s mother began
carrying the suitcase

everywhere: to milk the cows,
to church, to bed when she was
too nauseous to rise.

The boy’s mother packed slowly
for death, only when no one
was looking. It’s nothing

she said when the boy
caught her struggling to lift
the suitcase from the bathtub,

where she and it had soaked
and cried and deliberated 
about what to leave behind.

(Reblogged from sierrademulder)