Writing as Conversation and Connection

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining a group of young writers in reading our work with a small virtual audience. With covid-19 keeping us at home, the IUPUI English Department hosted a virtual reading and as a proud alum of the program, I gladly joined in. I shared a few poems I’ve been working on–one titled “Her into Himself,” which will be published in the upcoming issue of Glass Mountain, and a couple other pieces I’ve crafted in the last year.

I had forgotten how fun it is to be a part of a writing community. Writing has seemed mostly like a solitary venture lately, as has nearly everything else. Even with virtual meetings and FaceTime calls with friends, I sometimes find it difficult to connect to people without the in-person contact to which I had been accustomed. Being physically remote hasn’t bothered me much necessarily, but I can feel the difference. Seeing other writers on my laptop screen, watching them react to each other’s words, and hearing them share and respond to each other gave me a renewed since of purpose with my writing. I felt like I had an audience again, people with whom my words were interacting. My ideas no longer stayed solely on the page, or disappeared into the still air of my apartment. They conversed with listeners. They meant something.

In the spirit of sharing and conversing, I’ll include a clip of my reading from last night. (My dad recorded me on his phone while he watched, how precious is that?) So, here it is. Thanks for being a part of the conversation.

“Her into Himself”
published in Glass Mountain #24
Must a river stop being 
a river 
the moment she 
meets the sea? 
Could she 
continue
her path 
through ocean’s 
lapping waves, 
or does she 
lose integrity 
once he spits 
his salty 
sea breath 
on her face? 
The river 
does not slow, 
she rushes 
forward, albatross 
caught in a gale, 
then leaps 
into his claws 
as he roars,
chews, digests 
her into himself.

“Upon Examining My Collection of Empty Bird Cages”

I remember fondly the first grader
who stood up during reading time
to correct a boy’s mispronunciation,
the second grader who decided to be
the sole cellist in the school, lugging
the giant instrument on the crowded
bus twice a week, the third grader
who danced while she performed
her saxophone solo, who asked
her teacher for a restraining order
from the boy who wouldn’t.
stop.
touching.
her.
and the fourth grader who took
matters into her own hands,
kicked a handsy boy in his shins
and watched him cry in the hallway.

Then, the memories
become like static
when radio stations cross.

I recall giggles, blushing
cheeks, notes, awkward
phone calls after dinner,
tears, and the feeling like
your insides were pushed
off a cliff. I try to sort out
the static to determine
when I decided the men
I loved needed to be lured
into cages, as if each one
were a bird that, if given
the chance, would escape
south for warmer weather.

“Jigsaw”

We join together
like a puzzle

10,000 monochrome pieces
and the dog ate one

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