#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: Autumn Lapse

Welcome to another episode of Throwback Thursday, poetry edition. Today’s poem marks something special: a change in seasons. Ah, yes, Fall is just around the corner, literally a day away, and I don’t know about you, but I’m anxious to pull out the knit sweaters, the wool scarfs, the suede boots, and of course indulge on the pumpkin spiced lattes (I don’t care what Martha Stewart says)! What do you love most about Fall? Here’s an autumn inspired love poem to get you in the mood.

Originally published October 21, 2015 for the Write or Die Wednesday challenge.


Autumn Lapse

Love Tanka #5

Sun sets an hour
early; wind pushes east, sends
fallen burgundy
leaves adrift. Wool scarf tightens
around neck; coffee cools in

Styrofoam cup—pumpkin spice.
Pumpkin patch picked; please, contest
winner, spice up this
love with cinnamon kisses.
My Rip Van Winkle slept the

Autumn away; wood
splinters fracture his cheekbones.
Frost-bitten lips, blue
like night’s sky when moon is full,
and I dream he’ll wake in Spring.

—Nortina

 

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: Moonlit Madness

It still amazes me that I have 150 poems archived on this blog (give or take 5 poems that might have been revisions). Despite being able to write and post so many, 62% of those poems (don’t ask why I used such a specific number — you get the point) I never want to see again. Especially the ones I shared when I first started this blog. They’re just so bad! They don’t even get views anymore . . . if they ever got views to start with.

Maybe one of these days, I’ll muster up enough courage to share those older poems for a Throwback Thursday post . . . but today is not one of those days, so here’s a poems originally published July 3, 2015 for the Write or Die Wednesday challenge. Please note, in order to get the full eerie effect of this poem, you have to play the music with it! 


Moonlit Madness

It was 1:37 when she heard music.
Awakened in a glowing room,
moonlight seeping through blinds.
Down the hall, ascending,
descending notes echoed off
walls, a hauntingly beautiful
melody— like swimming
in the night; head under
water pouring into ears,
saturating her in silence.
More frightening than a
mysterious pianist in her home—
she owned no piano.

—Nortina

Don’t Look Back

OMW. 5 mins.

The smile crept across her lips, as if a plastic wrapper was slowly being pulled back to reveal the prize inside. Her thumbs scrambled over the keypad as she quickly typed the message.

By the gate. C U soon :-*

She leaned her suitcase against her leg, afraid that if she wasn’t touching it, it would get away. There wasn’t much inside. The necessities— toothbrush, deodorant, underwear. She had withdrawn all the money from her bank account the night before, rolled it up in a plastic grocery bag and stuffed it in the inside flap pocket of her suitcase along with her passport. She only packed two pairs of jeans, a couple t-shirts, one dress. The only shoes she brought were the ones on her feet. Anything else she needed, she would buy when they got there.

The car slowed to a stop in front of her.

His face was smooth, the edges of his hairline sharp. His cologne filled her nostrils as he hugged her.

“Aww, I didn’t even bother to wash my hair.” She pouted, twisting the straggly ends of her ponytail around her finger.

“You look beautiful.” He leaned in, kissed her forehead, then the tip of her nose, and finally her lips, twice. He picked up her suitcase with ease. “Did you pack anything, sweetheart?” he asked sarcastically.

“Will we really need clothes where we’re going?” She twisted her lips into a smirk, ran her fingers along his jawline and pulled him down for a third and fourth kiss.

“Mmm, get in,” he whispered softly. He tossed the suitcase in the back, walked around the trunk to the driver’s side. She reclined the passenger seat, crossed her feet on top of the dashboard.

“Buckle up,” he said as he put the car in gear.

“No turning back,” she said.

“Let’s ride.” The engine revved and the car jerked forward as he pressed his foot hard on the gas pedal and sped down the gravel road, kicking up dirt.

—Nortina


Write or Die Wednesday. Check out this photo and tell us where she’s going.

69c6f-wodw-where-is-she-going-creative-writing-prompt

WODW: Letters to Devon

I wrote this poem three or four years ago, and I think it best embodies the prompt for Write or Die Wednesday, which is the following quote:

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I had plans to include this poem and a handful of others into a chapbook about pain and loss and emerging out of a toxic relationship a better person. Unfortunately, I have a problem with finishing what I start. Hopefully, sharing this poem will reinvigorate my desire to publish that chapbook. Enjoy!

Letters to Devon

I
Breaking
Entering
Hiding
Jewelry, shoes, phones, TVs, guns, galore.
Law enforcement pushes through the door
Collecting
Arresting
You call me to implore.

Eating junk
Vomiting it up
Pulling hair
Crying in despair
Visiting
Calling
Writing
You promise we’ll be together soon
I pray it to be true.

II
Hair thinning
Weight climbing
Tears flowing
Same routine as before?
Walking
Pacing
Pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t write to me anymore.

III
Mother screaming
Hands trembling
Stomach churning
Different routine from before.
Positive test hits the floor
Doctor’s appointment set
Doctor’s appointment broken
Still pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t call me anymore.

IV
Writing
Erasing
Scribbling frantically
Begging you to come back to me
Others make visits
Notice my name removed from the list
Return to pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t want to see me anymore.

V
Rubbing cream
Looking inside
At pictures black and white
Smiling
Laughing uncontrollably
Thought you’d love to see
What you’ve always desired your first child to be
Continue pacing the floor
You still don’t write to me anymore.

VI
Checking phone
No missed calls
Peeking in mailbox
No white envelopes
Months passing
Tummy rounding
One debt to society paid
Again pacing the floor
You still don’t call me anymore.

VII
Rage swells
And dwells within
Circulating
Body pulsating
Typical that you wouldn’t stay through thick and thin
Letters ripped and torn
Disheartening confetti float to the floor
I’m glad I don’t have to write to you anymore.

VIII
Stomach spreading
Hair still shedding
Too weak to pace on feet
Resting in bed
Wishing you dead
You still refuse to come see me
Friends gossip
Love’s blossomed
Your new heart and soul
Says I’m a lying whore?
Hee . . .hee . . . whoo . . .
You better pray you don’t see me anymore.

IX
Puffy face
Red eyes
Stained cheeks
Sensing an air of defeat
Wiping tears
Hand dropping to belly
A strong kick felt within
Creeping smile
Warm radiance embraces
Why should I cry over you?
Someone pure and new
Will be arriving very soon?

Baby’s coming
Father’s missing
Pushing
With no hand to hold
A bittersweet delivery
Tears of joy
Tears of pain
Cuddling my new man against my frame
Eyes connect
Fingers caress
Affection encompasses
As his lips touch my breast
Love returns
Anger recedes
No longer pacing the floor
I don’t care that you don’t call me anymore.

—Nortina

 

WODW: Empty Space #poetry #CharlestonShooting

Hate comes in air bubbles
injected in the bloodstream
with soiled needles
of syringes tainted by
Ethnocentrism
Racism
Sexism.
A venomous pocket of gas
Lodges into the heart,
creates an empty space, void of
Love
Compassion
Respect.
Indoctrinates a man to raise
a gun before God,
massacre the children
who worship Him.

—Nortina


This is in response to the following prompt for Write or Die Wednesday:

34995-wodw-umberto-eco-our-life-is-full-of-empty-space

And is also in response to the horrendous shooting that took place in Charleston, SC last night.

Click Image to learn more.
Click Image to learn more.

#WODW: Publication Triumphs

Write or Die Wednesday is a biweekly link-up where we’re provided a prompt, and we roll with it. The prompt for the next two weeks is:

june3

There have been many times that I’ve felt on top of the world, both literally and figuratively, but when I read this prompt, what immediately came to mind was the day I received my first acceptance letter from a literary magazine. I nearly erupted! I couldn’t believe it!

And it came at the perfect time, too. I was about to give up on my dreams of becoming a published writer. Although I’ve had a few articles published in online blogs, my goal was to have my stories and poetry published. My dream was to see my novels flying off the bookshelves. I wanted to be the next bestselling author whose books were made into movies.

My rising stack of rejection letters were really starting to get me down. Stories and poems that had always received praise in writing workshops, were being turned down left and right by various magazines. The cryptic rejection letters had me scrambling to figure out what about my story or poem the editors didn’t like. The non-responses from editors who, in my mind, felt they were too good to acknowledge the fact that I’d showed an interest in their publication made me want to crawl under a rock. What’s the point? I would ask myself. It’s not like I can make a living as a writer today anyway.

Then in January of this year, I got the most exciting news in an email…

It is with great pleasure that we accept ‘Full Court Drama’ for publication in Agave Magazine, Vol.2 Issue 3 {Winter 2015}.

What?! Really?! No Ashton nearby? Oh my god! YEEESSSS!!!

Since then, I’ve had two poems and another short story published, and just recently, I learned that my poem, “How to Cure the Flu,” has been accepted in the Recipes issue of Meat for Tea: The Valley Review. I’m ecstatic!

This only motivates me to keep writing. I have to keep writing. I want my acceptance letter stack to one day surpass my stack of rejection letters. I want my dreams to one day become reality, and the only way to do that is to not let setbacks get me down. I’m a writer. No, I’m an author, dammit. And I’m a damn good one. And the world will soon find out because I’ll keep writing and submitting my work.

I’ll write or die.

#WODW: Lazy Lions

“People are just like lions,” Aisha complained as she scrapped the licked-clean BBQ chicken bones, popcorn kernels and potato chip crumbs off the plates and into the trash can. “The woman does all the work while the man lies around, licking his ass.”

“What’s Quinton done now?” Taylor’s muffled voice asked.

Aisha pressed the phone onto her ear with her shoulder. “I mean, I cook. I clean. I take care of the kids. I’m cordial with his bitch of a baby mama, and let me tell you, that shit is hard. I suck him off when he’s feeling extra special. And what do I get in return? Empty beer bottles thrown all over my living room floor and a bunch of strange men in my house yelling at the top of their lungs at the TV while Scandal is on!”

“It’s the playoffs, Aisha. You know men don’t think during playoffs. Plus y’alls TV is huge, and the picture is like 3-D without the glasses.”

“It was the season finale!”

“I’m sure you can catch it online tomorrow.”

“Yea, I’ll just spend the whole day wearing ear plugs while everyone and their freaking mama blab about it till they’re senseless!” She slammed the last dish into the soapy water in the sink. “They could’ve at least used the paper plates. What do I even buy them for?”

“Stop being a drama queen. You know you love him.”

“I’d love him more if he’d ever buy me a ring,” she mumbled as she scrubbed each plate with the sponge and held it under the stream of hot water pouring from the faucet.  A sudden roar erupted from the men sitting on the couch in the next room, startling Aisha. Her phone slipped off her shoulder, balancing momentarily on the edge of the kitchen counter before falling into the trash can. “Shit!”

“Babe, you gotta come see this,” Quinton said, lingering in the doorway. “Curry just sank this beautiful buzzer beater!”

“That should be a six pointer!” a disembodied voice called from the living room.

“Hell yea!” Quinton said over his shoulder. Then he turned to Aisha. “He shot it from the three-point line on the other side of the court.” He overlapped his arms to demonstrate.

“They ’bout to show the replay!” the voice said again.

“C’mon!” Quinton grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her into the living room.

“But—” she said, looking back at the trash can.

Quinton waved her off. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get the dishes later. He stood her behind the couch where five men sat squashed, shoulder to shoulder, lips enclosed around the rims of Corona, enraptured by the movements of Stephen Curry as he tossed the ball from his chest, and it sailed across the court, dropping into the basket and swishing the net.

“Splash!” they all sang in unison, arching their hands in the air as if they had shot the ball themselves.

“Beautiful,” Quinton whispered and kissed the crook of Aisha’s neck.

“Golden State winning it all this year!”

“They gotta get past Harden and James first.”

“Not a problem. Nobody can stop the Splash bros!”

As the men debated the skills of their favorite players, Quinton wrapped his arms around Aisha’s waist, rocking her from side to side and nibbling on her neck. Mmm, she thought, maybe being a lion isn’t so bad after all.

—Nortina


Write or Die Wednesday is a biweekly writing challenge that provides you with a prompt and lets you run with it. This week’s prompt was:

e04d5-wodw-lion

See what other lion writings are lying around, and have a go at it yourself!

Write or Die Wednesday: Fog

I see ghosts in the fog—
pale-faced shadows floating
above the surface, drifting into
what was, what used to be.
One dives down to kiss me—
grazes his frozen lips against
my cheek. He moans; I remind
him of a love long forgotten—
his only memory: her curly,
chestnut hair, how it wrapped
around his fingers like tiny
serpents, his blood flow halted—
stiff as stone. He tries to lay
me down, reincarnate his
devotion between the cracks of
a wooden bench— his limbs
disintegrate the higher he hikes
my skirt until only water
droplets lick my exposed skin.
Another fires cotton bullets
toward my head; shouts,
Who is your master?
Where are your papers?
I hear the crash of braided raw
cowhide behind me—  the tip
of a feather quickly brushing
down my spine. The halo overhead
descends, tightens around my neck.
Dark outlines of limp bodies
dangle from willows.
I swing with them
behind the veil of weeping leaves
until the wind blows, the fog lifts, and
the spirits of my nightmare
wander into slumber
before the morning rooster crows.

—Nortina


I recently came across Write or Die Wednesday, which is a biweekly writing challenge that provides you with a prompt and lets you run with it. This week’s prompt was:

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Read other fog writings, and have a go at it yourself!