contemporary poetry

When Your Aunt is Everything with Wings

Tia Stephanie 1
When your aunt is everything with wings,
Light is her preferred method of travel.
Floating. Skimming.
Air is water
and gravity, optional.
 
When your aunt is everything with wings,
Courage glitters her skin.
Bravery is her cartilage.
Divinity, her flight path.
 
When your aunt is everything with wings,
She teaches what effortless beauty looks like,
How grace is weightless,
and joy, a song.
 
When spring blooms and
stars fall, winds whip
and sea mammals breach —
Power,
strength,
fortitude,
and faith
have names,
when your aunt is everything with wings.
 
Happy Birthday, Tia Stephanie. ❤ What an honor it is to be your niece.
Photo credit: Stephanie Jensen Garza

This is My Church

Sunday morning

Sunday morning
seeps softly
tumbles gently
as early grey light.
Silver air, satin spilling
a winter ghost
exhaling
through the open net
of my bedroom curtains.
“Hush,” whispers no voice.
And I am still
awake for the second time
since rising.

Photo credit: Amelia Isabel

Belong

A silhouette of a woman sitting and watching the sunset
When feel like I have nowhere to belong to –
I must remember that I belong to myself.
These bones.
These feelings.
This soul.
They are a universe –
a land
uninhabited by any other creature.
Only the cells of dinosaurs
and distant galaxies have called me home.
But in this life
I rule them alone.
My life is my kingdom,
my body my planet.
My reign shall be long and golden,
as long as I look towards the light.
Even in darkness,
I will glow,
burning the borrowed embers
that breathe and live all on their own.
I am responsible for this soul.
This Being.
For as long as we both shall live.

© Amelia Isabel
Photo credit: Kevin Cole

Expansion: An Honor

Expansion sculpture by Paige Bradley featured here in Brooklyn.

A few weeks ago, I was struggling through a very dark internal war of searching for purpose in the world. A dear friend passed this image to me to help me cope with my darkness. Something stirred inside me, and a poem sifted itself out of my brokenness. I realized it was my LIGHT I was more afraid of, not my darkness. I decided to share it with Paige Bradley, the creator of the “Expansion” sculpture (featured here in Brooklyn), out of gratitude for giving me a guide post out of my despair.

She featured it on her blog this morning, as the very first poem to be written about the infamous piece. What an honor!

Life is much brighter today, and it feels all too easy to forget dark times exist when you’re basking in the morning glow. Those dark places are truly the most fertile grounds for hope and expansion. After all, not a darker place exists than the moment right before the sun begins to rise.

Love on this day and every day,
Amelia

Photo credit: Paige Bradley

A Visit from Maya Angelou

Christmas lights strung across a room

Once upon a time, the Greeks believed in invisible fairy creatures called “dæmons” or “geniuses” that served as spirit guides and the ultimate connection to one’s divine creativity. They helped us to transcend, become one with our calling, and step closer to understanding what life is all about.

What if invisible fairies weren’t the only ones helping us in our creative acts?

Last week, I had a unique opportunity to intimately bear witness to my own creative process as a new poem burbled up inside me like a cork floating up to the surface in a pool of champagne. A classmate of mine shared the following lines in our poetry course:

It’s the strangest sensation to be happily lonely
to keep the thoughts of a universe, safe inside a humbled heart
It’s a whimsical place, to feel luckily bound in a body 
that won’t misuse its wisdom

With my genius at my side, we wrote this piece:

Sanctuary within a Temple
A Reflection on the Universe within the Body

My heart space
Is a child’s bedroom
A warm womb where I am tucked away
Beneath a rolling sea of linen and down
Looking up through soft sheer canopy curtains
At the twinkling lights of the universe
Strung across the ceiling
Gently swaying
To the pulse of my chamber walls
Rocking me into the safest slumber

And ultimately, the following story. I didn’t realize it right away, but as the last line came out, I gradually noticed something different about my poetic genius. The familiar sensation of a whimsical story began banging around inside my ribs, commanding to be heard. And I obliged.

Dr. Angelou, this one’s for you.

Screenshot of my youtube video, A Visit from Maya Angelou

“Lights” photo credit: Chris Jones

Blue

I saw a blue balloon today
floating along the stratosphere —
caressing heaven’s belly, batting
its glittering eye, intrinsically aware
of its place between the cosmos.

I saw a blue jay today
squawking down below our porch —
flitting among the branches, hopping
alongside the dry creek bed, content
in his handsome feathered frame.

I saw a blue bicycle and his sister today
racing each other through the park —
squealing in delight, wanting not
to be last, training wheels flying
as swift as wings.

I saw you everywhere today
coloring shirts and shoes and a dragonfly kite —
laughing behind graffiti, smiling across
the expansive Texas sky, your blue hair waving
in my memory.

For Machelle.

© Amelia Isabel

FIRST-TIME PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

GUYS, I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!

Last July while lunching at Central Market,  the eensiest of weensiest of spiders landed on my shoulder  — a magnificent tiny speck of bright yellow topaz — that captivated my attention. It was as if she wanted me to paint her in words. So, I did.  I submitted the poem on a whim back in October and within a few days, learned that it was selected for publication. It was officially published on Every Day Poets yesterday. They even paid me ONE DOLLAR for my work! A whole dollar! My first dollar! Which I now have in my possession and shall be framed shortly.

Tonight at my monthly creative meetup, a friend shared the story of the Spider Grandmother, who, according to certain Native American legends, is thought to be Mother Earth or the creator of the universe. These myths say that when a spider shows itself, it is believed to be the Spider Grandmother communicating.

I am so very glad I listened.

To spiders, the earth, and first dolla bills!

The eight-legged amarillo aerialist

A visitor lands on the fleshy terrain —
only a tickle betrays her presence.

With assistance from my pen,
I help coax her
to a safer location.

The eight-legged amarillo aerialist
repels off my pen

and

onto

            the ketchup bottle,

invisibly cutting her bungee
and swinging
f  r  e  e  .

Suspended from the lip of the catsup’s cliff
she twirls in her harness,
perfecting her tricks.
Dazzling silk
in the sun.

Her audience of one applauds her so.

A breath escapes me,
and the amarillo aerialist

plummets

to the linoleum surface

but stops
just in time to admire her
r e f l e c t i o n
then yo-yos back up the side of Heinz.

Mesmerizing.

I laugh as she casts an invisible wire and zip-lines away into the sunset.

© Amelia Isabel