Unlimited Poetry

I love Kindle Unlimited, and I love discovering new poets, but I’ve had trouble searching poetry on Kindle Unlimited, which is why I created Unlimited Poetry, a group promo that runs all February. It’s great way to find new poets on Kindle Unlimited. Check it out to find your next read, or, if you happen to be a fellow poet, get in touch so we can get your book up here too.

Help me choose which books to finish first

Here’s some covers for books I’m currently working on. I will publish at least two of these before the end of 2020, possibly with these covers or possibly with some design I like better and didn’t make on my phone while watching DS9.

First two: The two poetry books I’m the closest to perfecting at the moment. First is love poems written by a self-declared villain, for a hero, and the second is autobiographical and about being a queer townie during all this bullshit.

Second two: Gothic ghost stories set in the Pacific Northwest. In the first, a college student arrives for a summer internship at a museum in a small town on the Columbia River only to find that the curator selected her for a nefarious purpose. In the second, a woman takes shelter from a corrupt small-town sheriff in the ruins of an extremely haunted mansion.

Last two: Paranormal historical romance with queer characters. I give you: a witch in an arranged marriage to the reluctant heir of a vampire line, and a mermaid fleeing from sexy ghost pirates.

If you tell me which you’d most like to read, it may influence what I’m ready to publish first. But no promises, as I’m terrible at staying on task.

the honeyed river of summer

the honeyed river of summer
flows through my open window
as I drive home through Nisqually
dust in my eyes
and shadows on my tongue

I’ve been watching all the omens:
a pregnant fish split open
a flock of gulls headed to the mountains
I hear that raven finally stole the sun
now that everything else has already been stolen

lives, and land, and time, and tongues
all thrifted goods, lined up and categorized
on the side of an imperial road
where fast cars, overcrowded
force themselves slow

if you want to live in stolen times like these
you’d better have poetry writhing under your skin
it gives the human heart some mettle
it gives the mortal coil some context

The context that poetry brings is life giving, revolution birthing, hope reviving. I don’t know how I would have handled this ugly 4th of July without Langston Hughes’ words echoing in my head:

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

I’ve read that poem on every 4th of July for many years now. It’s the only answer I have to the saccharine propaganda of American history classes and the murderous, genocidal reality. Over and over, Hughes created a space to revel in that dream, refuse the attached lies, and demand a better world. Now, more than ever, we need that space.

Witch/Pilgrim/Heretic: Poems for Serpents and Sorceresses

A book for serpents and sorceresses.
A meditation on sacred darkness.
A thesis on God and magic.

These are not sequential states of being, but a triskelion of consciousness. They are all aspects of seeking: myth, movement, and philosophy.

This collection of poetry came about as I was walking Camino de Santiago. Many of the poems were written during my journey across Spain. Others were written before or after ⁠— on hikes, at monasteries, in dreams.

As I sat sick in my room all through March 2020, I felt compelled to bring the collection to fruition. This book comprises what is essential in my current philosophy and practice. It has been a balm and comfort to me, and I hope it will help you similarly.

Release Date: May 23rd 2020

A few poems from Witch/Pilgrim/Heretic

reconciling with the sound of my own voice

Like most people, I hate my own voice. Unfortunately, reading aloud is a rather important part of poetry. So, for National Poetry Month, I’m reading a poem a day on YouTube. So far, all the poems I’ve read are my own. No promises that will remain a hard rule — I have a hankering to read some Plath and Keats and Coleridge.

Reading my poetry aloud still feels terribly scandalous to me. I’ve only halfway recovered from my WASPy embarrassment over being a confirmed poet. Reciting verse out loud, sometimes outside, where anyone might hear? It’s a horror. Especially when I can hear my own emotion.

Luckily, I enjoy horror, and entertaining my deepest, darkest fears. So here I am, with my heart in my voice and my soul on video.

Do the work every day

I hear a rattle every time I breathe, and I won’t lie: I am afraid. I’m usually fit and healthy and rarely get sick, so at this point I’m hoping that my new sound effect is a result of undetected coronavirus, not something I’ve developed separately while the virus closes in. However, that’s the most likely scenario — criminally bad timing.

I’m pushing my way through WITCH / PILGRIM / HERETIC at an unholy rate. I just published Between Death and the Devil, but that was a tarot themed lark, not something that speaks to fear and death and love in desperate times. I take comfort that my first book of poetry, So Our Idols are Dead, addresses some of that, but while it focuses on the personal and political, WITCH / PILGRIM / HERETIC is a deeply spiritual text.

I want it finished. Just in case. Just in case it helps someone feel a little better. Just in case it helps me. My anxiety has long forced me to confront uncontrollable fears with ambivalence and love. Right now, I’m turning to that strength: doing the work, like always, every day. Resting. Feeling love. Doing the work that feeds my soul.

May you find kindness in your most desperate hour
especially the kindness you can give yourself
when you realize how cruelly you’ve been treating
this soul you’re made of.

May you learn from every mistake and every pain
so that each trauma and tragedy
doesn’t seem like meaningless cruelty.
May you let yourself mourn meaningless cruelty.

May you trust what you’ve learned,
standing proud in the knowledge
that you know more than yesterday.

May you revisit former states with ease.
May you age with grace.

May you always fight for those in need
abruptly or obliquely
but always deeply.

May you find the words you need to hear
even if you have to write them yourself.