#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: With Those Bulging Eyes

It’s Throwback Thursday once again, and in the spirit of Halloween and all things fearful, I’m revisiting this terrifying poem, originally published in fēlan magazine’s fear issue in November 2015.

“With Those Bulging Eyes” is one of my favorite poems I’ve ever written, and probably the most talked about among family and friends who’ve read it, most likely due to its extremely graphic content. (My mom’s co-worker is probably still wondering what happened to that sweet little angel she once knew).

This poem—inspired by the frightful painting, Saturn Devouring His Son, by Spanish artist, Francisco Goya—tackles the uncomfortable and controversial subject of abortion, how it can affect a woman physically, emotionally, psychologically.

Read the full poem below, and if you want to know more about my inspiration behind the poem, and more about me as a writer in general, check out my artist interview on fēlan’s website here.

By the way, I’ve been on quite the extended hiatus (two years and counting!) when it comes to new writings not published on this blog. I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m looking forward to 2018 being a much more productive year, as far as writing goes.

I’ve spent most of this year trying to clear off my plate and get myself better organized so that I can have more time and energy to dedicate to writing. While I don’t think I’m there yet, I feel I’ve made a lot of progress since January. Here’s to hoping 2018 will see lots more publication acknowledgements! My “Published Works” page is getting quite dusty…

Issue 2, the Fear Issue, is Now Available!

You should definitely check out this magazine. And I’m not just saying that because I have a poem published in it…


Issue 2, Fear Issue 2, Fear

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a special announcement…

Issue 2 is here!!!

Purchase your copy in print, PDF or ibook formats here: http://www.blurb.com/b/6626759-f-lan-issue-2-fear

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Interview – Nortina Simmons

My poem, “With Those Bulging Eyes,” is published in felan magazine, coming out tomorrow , but you can read my interview today!


Capture Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to write. My dad was a songwriter, guitarist, painter, and my biggest inspiration. Together we wrote songs, (even rap), and short stories (I wrote, he illustrated). However, I didn’t discover my love for poetry writing until my freshman year in college when I learned in a poetry class that all poems didn’t have to sound like Shakespeare or be about love. (Thank God!)

When you create, what inspires you?

My favorite writers of all time are Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe, so you will often see their influence in my writing. My inspiration usually comes from the darker sides of life; the stories we don’t or are too afraid to tell. It’s not necessarily evil, but it’s edgy. Life isn’t all flowers and sunshine, so I explore that concept in my writing. Each poem or story usually starts with a strong image…

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What’s in a Poem?

I recently had a poem published in the Fond issue of Meat for Tea: The Valley Review. I was ecstatic when I received the news. This is the fourth magazine I’ve been published in, and my third published poem overall. This is more that I could have ever imagined, especially since five years ago, I hated poetry, couldn’t understand it. I was always a fiction writer at heart, and I avoided poems like the plague, mainly because I could never think of elegant words that rhymed, and iambic pentameter confused the hell out of me.

My contributor’s copy finally arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I turned right to page 19 to read my poem, “How to Cure the Flu,” a recipe for homemade soup. I proudly showed it to my mom, and after reading, she politely asked, “What makes this a poem?”

I was taken aback to say the least, and to be quite honest, I felt a little insulted. I had flashbacks to a rejection letter from a different magazine about another one of my poems, in which the editor in friendlier terms said, “I don’t understand how this is a poem.”

My response is, what constitutes a poem anyway? Seriously? No one writes like Shakespeare anymore. Except for this guy named Sebastian who was a classmate in my poetry writing workshop in college. I was so in love with and so jealous of his poems. I hope he’s published somewhere. I hope he grows up to be the freaking poet laureate!

I would really like to know how people define a poem today. Because when I open up a literary magazine, those poems don’t rhyme. They don’t have a specific meter, at least not one I can easily identify. They read like prose broken up into verses. Hello! Isn’t that what free verse is?!

Yes, I’m a fiction writer first. Yes, my poetry sometimes sounds like prose, but so does everyone else’s. Am I being too sensitive in saying that?

For me, poems are like short stories. They are glimpses into a world using a small amount of words. The lines don’t necessarily have to be in complete sentences, or even be grammatically correct, for that matter. As long as that snapshot the poet is trying to present to the readers comes into view. I think the most important part of a poem is imagery. If it doesn’t have strong images, ones that evoke a certain type of emotion or feeling, then it’s not doing its job as a poem.

How would I describe “How to Cure the Flu”? It’s a witty poem, but also very nostalgic. It takes you back to your roots, to those country mothers and grandmothers who had a home remedy for everything. To all those people who took a spoonful of castor oil for every ailment as a child, this poem is for you.

I’m grateful to the editors at Meat for Tea for seeing that (or maybe they just thought the poem was witty), and publishing it. I hope that all who read it will see that too and not assume it’s just a soup recipe trying to be a poem.

By the way, if you’re interested in reading my poem and others, the PDF version of the magazine is just $5. The print is only $10. Purchase your copy! Support the arts! In case you’re wondering, I’ve decided to tie this post into the Write or Die Wednesday prompt by saying this: a cup of hot tea, Meat for Tea, and a toasted blueberry muffin will make an excellent breakfast to start your morning. Also, a cup of Mama’s homemade soup isn’t a bad idea for an unconventional breakfast either! 😉


Poems Published In FishFood Magazine

I am ecstatic! My poems “Necro-Lovers” and “Smelling the Roses” have been published in FishFood Literary and Creative Arts Magazine.  FishFood is an up and coming online literary magazine. Its inaugural issue was published last April, and its second issue is coming this March. How fitting, right? An up and coming writer published in an up and coming magazine. Hopefully, this is the first of many.

Read my poems on their website here!