Why do you write?


Because I’ve never enjoyed a meal that wasn’t shared.

Because I feel lighter without shedding a pound.

Because all of my heroes are storytellers and if I am to meet them, I would have it on even ground.

Because it’s the safest kind of revenge.

Because taking your clothes off in public is illegal.

Because I fall in love with half a dozen strangers every time I leave the house.

Because every kitchen glimpsed through a well-lit window has a table I’ll never sit at.

Because no one tells me secrets anymore.

Because I am too greedy to live just one life.

Because my skin fits so poorly that I find my insides spilling out of my mouth.

Because right now I am a whisper inside your skull.

Because I like the feeling of my fingers tangled in your heartstrings.

Because I can make your emotions dance like marionettes.

Because I want attention.

Because it’s the only way I know how to do good while still feeling bad.

Because I am hungry,
			thirsty,
				greedy,
					bored.

Because writing is the power to turn that black hole into a sun.

Because if that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

@amnotpoetry

My Favorite Weapon

The United States Supreme Court just overturned
Roe v Wade and people are mourning their own 
bodies while others celebrate. The only sense I can 
make is that line: "you're beating with a book everyone 
the book told you to love," but then I remember that 
Jesse Lacey groomed two teenage girls and I remember 
that we were probably the same age when my best friend 
was groomed by her high school internship supervisor and 
she told me he was just so lonely and his wife was cheating 
on him until she found out he had kids and maybe the age 
gap was more canyon than creek. And then I remember 
our religion group project on abortion when I looked my 
former-preacher-now-teacher in the eye and asked him 
if he was sure it was always wrong. Read him the article 
I found about the little nine-year old girl forced to carry
the spawn of incest. Read him the words she said when 
asked how she felt about having a baby:

"Will I have to share my toys?" 

He told me it would still be a sin. 
He slashed our final grade and any tenuous thread 
I believed connected faith and morality. It would
take another year before I would learn that my body 
produced natural lubricant when sexually aroused, 
probably another three before I learned what a clitoris 
was, five more before realizing it's normal for women 
to feel sexually aroused. I learned all of these things 
in bedrooms from nice boys who knew more about 
my body than I did and what if they hadn't been nice? 
Would I even know how to judge? Do I now? And all 
I can think is how much my body has had to rely on 
the niceness of men when my daughter asks me: 
"What are you thinking about?" I'm thinking thank god 
you live in a country with the right to abortion (for now). 
A country with decent sex-ed. Thank god your daddy 
is nice. Thank god you were born to a family who will 
teach you so you don't have to rely on the capricious 
charity of men. But then I remember that I don't owe my 
gratitude to a deity who can drown his misbehaving children 
and somehow retain the right to condemn a person for 
deciding not to have them in the first place. Instead
I give her the sharpest weapon I have.
Instead, I give her the truth. 

the empties

I got a case of the empties
and no I don't mean a box
of two dozen bottles
smelling of stale beer
waiting to be returned
to be filled with fresh beer
or shattered and melted
forged into shiny new bottles
maybe crafted to carry
something different
I mean the single empty bottle
forgotten in the basement
or under the patio
or by the creek behind your house
I mean the case of twenty-three
waiting by the door
until it's full enough to move on
I mean the case of eleven also
waiting because it was scavenged
to add up to twenty-four
I mean the case of five
eleven 
twenty-three again 
case after case after case
dangerously rattling for a gap
that keeps opening up 
until you finally go digging
in the basement
under the patio
by the creek
but all you find are the bottles
in old photos of your
dead grandparents and
the friends you never see
and you can't recycle a memory
so you keep searching through
the places you used to 
drink together
laugh together
be together
and nothing ever gets filled
or broken down into anything 
that can carry something new
I got a case of the empties
a glass-sharp rattle 
begging to move on
while I wait inside the door
in case that single bottle
decides to show up

@amnotpoetry

let go

Do you recall the moment
you were introduced to the ladder?
Maybe you were sat on the ground,
forced to squint against the sun
while they pointed out some lofty goal.
Or maybe you were placed on a rung,
lifted by loving arms while you judged
the distance you'd have to fall
if you took just one wrong step.
No wonder you want to defend it,
all the hours you climbed and fretted,
the blistered hands from grasping
and lifting, bruised shins from slipping.
No wonder your fingers instinctively curl
when I tell you: that ladder never existed.
No wonder you cling so tightly that your nails
press false woodgrain into your flesh
until that imaginary position is as 
identifying as your own handprint.
If only you'd look around you'd see
those cuts and scrapes weren't in vain;
it's no shame to trip on the uneven ground,
and so much easier to get up again.
Without the dizzying vertigo of ascent
you'll see how far you've come compared
not to everyone walking by your side,
but to that unique place you started from.

@amnotpoetry

Summer Wear

It's that time of year again
to stash away the modesty
and go digging through the
neatly (ha!) folded t-shirts,
tank tops, and shorts.
One by one I extract them,
slide each sundress down the line,
but this year I cannot find 
that confidence I swear I had
last year, although I know
it must be here somewhere.
Ah! There it is, sidled next 
to that one-piece bathing suit.
Too bad it seems that neither fits
quite the way I remember.
Like stubborn children, my thighs
cling at the fabric, begging:
"Please don't let us go."
And though I promise: "You'll do fine,"
I cant help but second guess,
maybe, it'd be best if we just hide
here inside these jeans a little longer.

@amnotpoetry

depression to-do list:

keep yourself distracted
do your CBT
be on alert for distortions
tune into reality
have some self compassion
make yourself a tea
lock the bathroom door
while the kids watch tv
prioritize your committments
schedule in a break
sneak away when daddy's home
and walk down to the lake
see the violent dancing waves
frothing as they crest
imagine the water rushing in
to fill the hollow in your chest
blink away temptation
and watch the swallows soar
carefully count your breaths
as you balance along the shore
walk that tightrope line
all around the bay
see it stretched beneath your feet
every single day
kiss the kids goodnight
get ready for tomorrow
journal all your gratitudes
into guilts for your sorrow
wake with the dawn
smile and try your best
do it all again
eventually there'll be rest
write another poem
but try hard not to whine
tack on a clever ending
and everything will turn out


fine

pyrolysis

we do not birth stones
all things born
must bend
like stubborn weeds
through concrete
young sapling hearts
pliable and tender
dancing bending bowing
fragile and resilient
but charcoal
was once a tree
whose dancing
was burned away
we must not forget
that hardened hearts
are manufactured
that the flames
they spread
started not with them
nor will they be their
end
but charcoal
when not alight
can also soften
into an artist's pen
there is no hardness
stronger than our
ability to bend

Antidote

Once more the venomous refrain
comes to plague my weary brain:

I am nothing.
I am nothing.
I am nothing.

But I have found within each poison note
lies concealed the antidote:

I am 
I am
I am

So if upon your ears alight
her onerous whispers in the night:

You are nothing.
You are nothing.
You are nothing.

Find the truth within the lie
and perchance upon your lullaby:

You are 
You are
You are

@amnotpoetry

You can also find my poetry on Instagram:

A Random List of Confessions

A random list of confessions:

-I read books out loud when I’m alone. And by read, I mean “act out emphatically.”

-Sometimes I tell my kids “no” when they ask for a cookie, and then eat one when they aren’t looking. It’s kind of a power trip.

-I struggle to read fiction about violence lately. And cheating. And prejudice. And death. 

-I struggle to read or watch anything lately.

-In grade 9 I had a crush on my stage manager. Until now, I’ve only ever told one person about her.

-I think superheroes are the problem, not the solution.

-I’m pretty sure you don’t like me. You think I’m an annoying flake. Not you as in anyone specific, just specifically you. 

-I think you’re right.

-I’m still sore about not beating my ex-boyfriend at Mortal Kombat after he assumed I hadn’t seen the movies because I’m a girl. “You wouldn’t get it,” he said.

-I didn’t read most of the books in university and still managed a decent grade. Most of the books were about war and rape.

-I’m very sensitive. Half of me thinks that makes me a better person, half thinks I’m just weak.

-I think you think I’m weak.

-I know you think I’m a disappointment because I decided to graduate without my honours. “A waste of potential.”

-I think it was the right decision.

-I want to succeed as a writer so you think it was the right decision.

-I think it was the right decision.

-I don’t trust my own opinion on anything.

-In grade 3, I brought a snow globe I loved for show and tell. I put it in my pocket and it broke during recess. On the bus home everyone thought I peed myself and laughed, but I refused to tell them the truth because I was so ashamed.

-I talk about myself so much not because I’m full of myself, but because I’m so empty and I think your validation will fill me. Probably there’s a hole somewhere I should fix.

-I’m not sure if this is a poem about me or you.

-I’m not sure this is a poem.

-I think raisin cookies are better than chocolate chip ones.

Before and After

Before the pandemic
I attended community potlucks.
I folded my anxiety into a handkerchief,
something to fiddle with in my pocket,
as I planted the seeds of friendship.

After the pandemic
the potlucks were cancelled.
Some members came out anti-science
and my seeds have all failed to yield
anything more than broken confidence.

Before the pandemic
I made my first ever parent friends.
We met at the park most mornings,
shared meals once a week,
and took turns filling oxygen tanks.

After the pandemic
the housing market got so hot
they left the country to cool down.
Parks and tanks are left empty now
and my lungs are learning to adapt.

Before the pandemic
we had library and market days.
Familiar places, friendly faces,
comforting routine and connection.
A safety net of welcome and belonging.

After the pandemic
we found desks, stalls, and smiles vacant.
I stretch my anxiety around my neck,
a scarf to protect against the chill,
and let my husband do the talking.

Before the pandemic
I didn't have many friends to talk to,
but I called my Granny every day.

After the pandemic
I watched her get sick.
Her number doesn't reach her anymore.

Before the pandemic
panic attacked once or twice a year.

After the pandemic
it has learned to hunt in packs.

Before the pandemic
nausea, dizziness and pain meant
I was coming down with something.

After the pandemic 
they mean that I am awake.

Before the pandemic
my husband and I talked about 
growing old together.

After the pandemic
he wonders if I'll make it through the week.

Before the pandemic
I believed in a future.

After the pandemic.

After the pandemic.

When is After the pandemic?

Before the pandemic
there was no Before or After.

Before the pandemic
I didn't need to wait for an ending to begin.

Before the pandemic
is gone.

And all we have to work with is now.

At least that much hasn't changed.

**Author’s Note**

If you want to check out the visual version of this poem and a lot of other poems that haven’t made it on the blog yet, make sure to check out my Instagram account @amnotpoetry.