“Roman Candles” inspired by Elliott Smith online blog Anthology

(c) Joker Little

Tincture of Opium by David L O’Nan

A  saddle strapped and swallow down the tincture.
Assimilation over these years worth of crashes to curves of corners.

It is much heavier than before
It is much heavier than before
I begin to resemble a caricature of a zombie-
drawn by the superficial you.

Under a slightly warm night sky, barely alive
I was dreaming of you dancing on unbroken bottles.
Then again, they break again, and you're always surprised.

Much heavier than before is the cutting
Much heavier than before is the failing
I watch you fainting out a smile while bleeding away onto the floor.
I watch you believing in which heaven you have restored for this day.

The evolution of the tincture.
What is willing and what is wading
You’ve tried to prove yourself almighty.  But 

It is much heavier than before
It is much much more heavier than before
Wishing I was inside that mind with you.

Poems about Elliott from Afta Gley


musician, from your 
soughtfor transition,
your oblivion ambition, 
may you never, never

October 21, 2022

dear Mr. Smith, twelve
years ago I was too sad
to go to work, but

decided to work 
through the depression. there
by the Dumpster: a cat.

who knows? maybe you
guided your namesake to me.
so very grateful 


lighting a candle 
for 34 minutes, youre 
missing Elliott 

nineteen years ago 
I knew everything else 
meant nothing to me 

Elliott Smith waltzed 
with his metaphors, partnered
by no one at all 


SO UGLY BEFORE by Lynn Elliott

A great man once proclaimed
He was damaged bad at best
In my heart of hearts
To know him I feel blessed

There was beauty, truth and honor
In his troubled soul
People clammered just to touch him
and it took it's toll

I see him in the morning
As the sky is turning blue 
I feel him in the stillest night
Sometimes as if on cue

I mourn his loss quite often
Celebrate him even more
For bringing out the beauty
In what was so ugly before.

XO. Lynn Elliott

Unknown name poem by Lynn Elliott

It's so easy living in the past 
Sleep walking through each day
Living where I saw you last
Pretending I'm okay

XO Lynn Elliott

My Elliott Smith story is a little different
I broke my neck and suffered a traumatic brain injury water skiing.  For 5 yrs I was pretty much a zombie.  The only thing I could feel was fear.  I'm not a fearful person at all but that's how all tbi ppl feel
I was listening to everything's OK by Elliott
and it made me feel safe.   It was the beginning of my recovery.  I listened to Elliott almost every hour of every day.  
It inspired me to start writing songs and poetry, which really sped up my recovery even more.  I'll never be like I was before but my injury stimulated my drive to write and share what I write.  So I was in my 50s when I started.

My bio

I rescue special needs dogs.  I did extreme sports most of my life.  Surfing, skiing. diving, soccer, tennis, gymnastics, etc. I worked for the airlines so I did a fair amount of traveling.  I'm an outdoorsy person.  Elliott Smith is more than a great musician to me.  He is my safe place.

Ripples by Khadeja Ali

inspired by ‘Everything Means Nothing to Me”

days start and end in blank white and solid black
shapes that will not harmonize rigidly exist in my eyes
when finally touching, the sharp lipped edges cut 
and me, wanting so badly for lines blurring, insides blending
But there is no chance of grey. No body electricity to make it work.

was I once a kaleidoscope of magnetic color
shuddering with vibrating life, dancing constantly? I think so
if not singing, was I humming to natural silence?
now is there a piercing screech in my ear, or nothing
No ears-plugging or opening my mouth anymore. Frozen.

lying down is not an option; when did I start standing?
since when can I not move? This is not me. Is it? walking I was
but stiffly erect and standing at once. When started my movement’s death?
my mind’s edges are so sharp, but inside empty as air
Squinting hard. There’s nothing to see.

my energy; drained by a taunting echo of everything
wavering glass below me reflects my iron face
So glorious am I, yet—I’m nothing to me.

“Junkyard Full of False Starts” by Jennifer Patino

I'll refrain
from the
'gone too soon'
sentiments       Instead,
I'll boast of your intellect

There's a way back to blue
& to you, but we couldn't
remind you in time

& wasn't that you,
that one time, pounding
your chest
like a barbarian?

You couldn't speak
to people
without scaring them

I know, I know, I know,
the burdens
you tore from
your aching shoulders

I know, I know, I know
how terrified you were
of even the vague idea
of growing older

You were only one, ever one,
little inside, unnamed,
but mighty            Someone
we'll think of
staring at flames,
hearing your phantom drunken
crooning on repeat,
when we're tired
of fighting,
or just tired
of the taste of the
city streets
where your ghost
lingers on
beneath neon lights
& in the silhouette soul
of every
ragged musician
in a beanie
we happen to meet

I'll say it, I'll pray it,


Little Mr. Socialite by David L O’Nan

We’ve all been strapped to and strapped by the spellbinder
He walks up to you and expects you to drop the ceiling down to become his platform for a show.
Handed the keys, by osmosis you become a local legend.  

To the city that continues to decay, 
there is only so much here to reel in.
The cocaine socialites keep barking for you to leave their hipster colonies.
Fuck you!  Fuck You!  Fuck You!  
You can’t talk sense to the overconfident.

They want the world, and they want the life.
They want the respect,  Rifles and knives. 
They want to joke and manifest a spiritual world in which they are absorbed of their behavior.

Hell to the homeless,  hell to the mental health
“I don’t care about your personal lives”  I care about my termination.
Your words will never get past these windows because I’ll just run out
And bark out orders like a witch in a bad dream.
Blah…blah…blah    Fuck You!   Fuck You!   Fuck You!   You can’t talk about our prince and princesses
That push the drugs and sex behind bars and counters that blow up this neighborhood.

You will vanish as soon as you appear.  
Hours later you’re in another chessgame.  You’re in another straight line socialite walk.
From one blink to the next you’re game changes.  Drawn to your fuckin’ pawn.

He is in charge of our children.    Teach them well.  
Teach that future well.
Afraid of a soured reputation.   
Bullying has never left your privileged brain.
And your story will never be told as long as the socialite holds the powder and the power.

Roman Candles by David L O'Nan

I’m feeling tricked in this cold October rain
The entire town are shooting Roman Candles in masses
Hypnotized in another wired dream.
Nauseated and feeling blind, worthless 
The rain burns the cuts on the skin.  
The friction drowns me with the idiots.
I’ve never felt this tired.   I’ve never heard this much screaming.
The Roman Candles, Firecrackers, the Halloween monsters.
The shoes are beginning to sour.
The red just keeps getting darker, yet feeling thinner 
The slitting and sitting with the rattle again
Have I ever been real?   

The Kill of the Darlings by David L O'Nan

Another abused evening.  Copper skied and bloodshot eyes.
The kill of the darlings reads on a flashing screen.
I was introduced to the spilling and polishing of my sweat to the sheets.
It must be raining,  raining in my death.

I’ve been waiting, smelly and divided
On  a pitch black night with coal mine moons. 
I’ve been asked inside to feed the tiger.
The locomotives keep moving slower through the brain, through the cast.
Through the fade,  they praise the ugliest ghost after all.

Becoming so angry by medicine and shiver out new fears.
I wait and wait and wait. Just knowing you have his name tattooed in your blood.
I wait for you on the inlay filling of broken sidewalks that have survived the earthquake.
I wait for you to come home with him.
To bust him with this chain or break a bottle over his skull.

Yet, I should realize you’ve the not caring if I ever lived or died.
Adaptation, realization  and broken, a crinkled tarot card.
I’ve been calling another busy signal suicide hotline.

Winnemucca by David L O'Nan

Days of being dazed, drugged, and dangerous
Now in Winnemucca waiting for a new train.
To rescue me from the lights of the cities to the deserts to thaw.
Not feeling the jazzy hope that all these horns convey.

I’ve been travelling like it is a system wondering 
If the honey was ever laced, were your smiles ever more than pain.
You played beautifully being beautiful and being muddled at the same time.
You played beautifully being heartbroken and wearing a new ring from another lame maniac.

Wafflin’ drunk on something, traintracks shaking.
Winnemucca gives me the eye of some crook.
I’m asking for tickets, asking for wishes, I’m asking for some powerful graveyard dirt.
I’m washing my hands of you since yours are covered in the outlines of sweat from the burns.

You’ve been a cough, to send away the clouds
You’ve been a leap,  through the meek and the lack of sound.
You’ve been admired, but admiration wasn’t enough. 
You’ve been dashing,  dashing straight into the wreck.
And I will fall and eventually so will you.

I may fall sooner, but tomorrow is a full moon.
I could still be in Winnemucca, I could be dead, 
or banging on pots in the streets of Chicago.
You could still be married to the errors,  
you could be flooded out of house and home.
Digesting more fertile dirt.

Catharsis (collaboration poem K Weber & David L O'Nan)
also part of the Empath Dies in the End series

1. (David L O'Nan)

I was in the process of purging the ideas of you
The wrens, the beetles, and the crabs we’ve been energized by
On days of smiles.  The parks, the oceans, 
the imperfect apartment ceilings.

In the middle of a catharsis
I was fast to the falling down the mountainous zoo.
In the deluge of rain I remember smashing against your dress.
Umbrellas breaking, wind straining, yet in the distance we see a sunset.

Now I’m wondering are you ever really leaving me?
Will we meet again in this organic hex that has been swirling
From the ground to the trees.
To the shearing of my humility, my impulses are pulling with each inhalation.

With palms on head, a robin stares at me from the ground.  
Right against my boot it seems not fear my 50 foot shadow.
Just searching for some worms through the puddles we reflect in.

2. (K Weber)

Winged leaves breathe
Between fingers of ashen
Branches where birds’
songs rest.  The pulse
of a rain-tapped dusk
counts down the last
snippet of sun. Light
gets drowsy as windows
on one wall yawn
to a close.

Red Ant. Black Ant....The Stars (collaboration poem with Jennifer Patino and David L O'Nan

1. (Jennifer Patino)
They spoke of interior silence.
A way to navigate cacophony
with a smile on your face.
These forced emotions, pulled
to the surface, daisies squeezed out from beneath the grime
of disconnect.

One has to die to hear advice better. A portion of the self must be sacrificed to allow change to claim new roots. I think I'll bloom in winter. Switch the expected at the last moment so the patient ones can be satisfied. Those drought souls have waited for a resurrection long enough. They will have their day safe from the blinding sun. They will feel rain on new skin and be quenched.

2. (David L O'Nan)

I’ve been searching for your footprints all over the place.
The joke is only red ants meeting black ants on my shoelaces.
I’m disgusted I can’t past this place.  Scared to walk out to new noise.
I’ve feigned happiness and I’ve dreamt up new stars.
I’ve been alone and hid my aches away. 
The nightmares absorb in the pillows, as long as I stay hid.
In the shade.  I got to my tree.   
And I try to remember the invisible me.

I know you’ve been waiting for me to at least show a hello
I can’t keep the creatures inside and the rush becomes a roar
And the hush becomes hypnotic and 
my window becomes the source
for the entertaining eye.   
So go on,  and move on with what you want.
The devil is dancing and waiting for your soul.
You know you want love, but this will just be another gaslighting poem.

The lake, the flowers, the light.    Go the distance and find what’s right.

I  met you in a trance.   I was scrawny and I was a mess.
I thought I was becoming famous. And you thought you’d be the root.
I would grow from you and learn to be a jolly shine under  your foot.
It’s a shame I only can understand what is anger, snark and shame.
If I could cure myself, I would try to shave away your pain.
The scene won’t have any of it.

The Dark Aesthetic/Wives in the White Light by Jess Levens and David L O'Nan

1. (Jess Levens)

The sky is quintessential October—
wet without rain; dusk in daylight, blurring
any distant thing. Blurring what is real.
Desaturated evergreens birth out

dead leaves in every citrus shade, plus
plum and pear and red delicious. They
clatter down, loudly in the quiet fog.
The chill bites flirtatiously, without pain.

Outside my window, a lone coywolf in 
the farmer’s clearing stares back at me through
this dark aesthetic—howling into my
home; into my head—barking out malice.  

2  (David L O'Nan)

So you keep your wives in the White Light
And the mass is enchanted that you bring
The entertainment and the insanity from the mistakes.
Like paper we’ll fly with the crisping leaves.  
Some cut just like that paper, 
some just itch as the wind bites down on the skin.

The wives you hide in white light
Scurry like a squirrel trying to hide a direct hit. 
From grey to brown to orange to green trees-
that squirrels will scurry from the pain.
So slip outside of your skin,  
Watch yourself in the mirror with another angry grin.
Revenge glowing in your eye.  
And the harm you want is the harm that’ll cause you to die.

There are wires just falling everywhere…the storms are brewing
And the we all become impaired.  
Hiding your wives in the white light behind the shed.
Are they in blinking blue and red lights ripe for the restoration.  
They are just waiting for you to fall asleep and give up, 
in your irate dream.

Continue to pour yourself that drink.    
Continue to pour yourself that wolf’s howl.
Continue to transition from the rake to the shave.  
Repair is on the way. 
But the bedpans and the creatures inside may be the cream, 
and your body may just be the trough.
The Wives in white light are just looking for you to break.   
The narcissism will eventually implode
And the darkness will be decorous with light as they take you aside.  

(c) Dribble from DeviantArt

Bled Out For Liberty (collaboration poem Giulio Magrini & David L O’Nan

1 (Giulio Magrini)

The younger ones look at us and smirk…
We remember the smiling of our youth
Furtive… covert… and shrouded

Those memoirs are today’s mystery of youth
And live behind the curtains of our past 
They are cognitions divorced in time but parallel confidence 
What is the necessity of covert masks in the present
And our frustrated guilty memories? 

2 (David L O'Nan)

I've began to feel afraid.  
that i've bled out for liberty from my imagination- 
that was never brave.
The loveliness just disappears. 
Morning whispers engulfed in last night's tears.

I was concentrating too much on the lies.
Assuming everything from youth to existing was from the failing eye.
We were watched down on by the lighted figures.
 Not wasted anymore yet cultivate me with all my failures until I die. 

You're private and play hide away.
You're intellectual and passing around the plate
Damn, i'm still living slender with my fist taped up.
Everything from midnight to morning is just medicine
 just passing through.
I go from I love you to i'm sorry i've been holy for you.

Maybe my mind has bled out only lies.
And my exit is the last leaf on the tree trying to cover up his face. 








A Poetry Showcase by Khadeja Ali

(c) @wnikeartist patreon.com/terrisartcorner wnikeartist.carrd.co

Afterwards (I didn’t know)

Had a broom once which I bought from a store
Came with a handy blue plastic tray I still have
Swept pieces of the smashed plate into it,
the smaller pieces I couldn’t pick up by hand
Outside, somewhere, that old useless sweeper sits
I barely think about it anymore.
Didn’t know leaving the broom outside would ruin it
Didn’t know snow could mangle a handle
Didn’t know time could tangle bristles
Didn’t know sun could do that
I didn’t know.

Bought a vague-brand rubber broom via Amazon Prime
Had a 4.6 star average, “Good for pet hair, dust, food”
Thought it’d be perfect for the kitchen;
for my nights listening to anti-MLM podcasts
while frying fish and mashing sweet potato.
Didn’t know I’d be sweeping pieces of dead fern
Didn’t know I’d be searching for tiny ceramic shards
Didn’t know I’d be picking up whole slices of turkey bacon
Didn’t know I’d be working in broken silence
I didn’t know.

Had to lift up the overturned, monstrous flatscreen TV
Squatted and lifted with my legs, not my back
Had to maneuver so I could rip out the plug it got stuck on
Wiggled the glass bottom away from a cardboard box in peril
Pushed the big red suitcase back into place after that
Got my clothes off the floor and hung them back up
Brushed the dust off everything caught in your storm’s wake
Didn’t know I was that strong
Didn’t know I was that dexterous
Didn’t know I could do all that through tears
Didn’t know what I would do afterwards
I didn’t know.

The Band

To survive, did not let the music die.
Needed to write the song when I’d cry.
Resolved to live life in tune and rhyme,
to ameliorate and replace time.

Separated and carved my kneecaps.
Made them castanets to savour the life and death cycles.
Transformed clicking, clapping, slapping bones.
Made a jaunty rhythm out of organic existence;
a warm, spiced beat out of frozen bones.

Produced vibrations and tones from my tendons.
Ripped out, cleaned, and peeled them into slick, sliding strings.
Combined gore and melody with dull plucking.
Destroyed the tension in my soft body.
Celebrated and beautified the sharp, cutting cords.

The last piece of the band is the pale flute.
Drilled through the bone in my calf for my lips.
Smoothed each hole for notes both piercing and dragging.
Allowed the rest of my body to stay intact.
Won’t cut off anything else, or no more music.

Didn’t let the music die—blissfully danced, for I survived.
Without my limb, became revived.

Imposter Syndrome

I am a boulder, not a jewel.
Intelligent, not wise.
Scholar, not sage.
My writing will never be whimsical.
Straightforward, though just as carefully crafted.
But it will never be flamboyant! No metaphorical curlicues—
no words calligraphed with such puzzling wit
that it tickles your mind towards a burst of delightful surprise.
Nope. I can merely offer you the following:
Honesty like a bee stinging your thigh when you sit on it,
Enlightenment like blinding sunlight bouncing off a desert snake’s scale,
Creativity like a child who draws the monster that lives under the bed.
It’s not much, but I try. 
Is it enough?


You’ve joy in limiting my taste,
preferring to keep my tongue scarred--
thinking that it will keep me chaste,
easy to punish and discard.
I was the convenient blame
and you thought I was yours to shame.
Though of the fight I’ll never tire,
I scorch with my infinite fire.
My teeth bear down against your grit
Is this the price I’ll have to pay?
Impossible, I won’t do it.

You need my words to be erased 
my pages are ripped, torn, and charred,
pretending that my thoughts are waste
when in fact you feel rightly marred.
You tease esteem as if a game,
use cruelty to make me tame.
Subject me to a life so dire--
it’s silence you wish you’d inspire.
Could I be released of my wit
and limit what I mean to say?
Impossible, I won’t do it.

The sharpest truth you’re ever faced—
my wicked piece, the cutting shard 
has come to light after you’ve chased;
you sweat as you draw every card.
We feel life’s pain the very same
no matter how you try to frame.
We’ll all be met by Heaven’s choir 
though you have named me as a liar.
Offer my neck for you to slit
and all my tired skin to flay?
Impossible, I won’t do it.

You tear me out to be displaced
and say my fate is just ill-starred,
but your lies can now be retraced.
You’ll try to freeze your heart too hard.
You see me as a blazing flame,
refuse to see my heart’s pure aim.
I’m pulled right through the deadly briar 
and threatened with the hottest pyre.
Grind me down until I submit
so that my colours turn to gray?
Impossible, I won’t do it.

I know that I am made of clay.
Am I supposed to live this way?
Burn myself to keep your house lit
or abrade every edge to fray?
Impossible, I won’t do it.

Hard Baked Truths

To open myself and set words free;
to reveal my truth, beauty, and love 
is to pull apart freshly baked bread
and see the steam billow out like smoke.
The hard crust surrounding hot softness
is strong and vulnerable like me.

Take a bite out of my fresh, hot bread.
You are here with me. A part of me.
We two fools are so vulnerable.
We openly hide from the hard truth,
To surround ourselves with a softness.
It tastes beautiful; our love is strong.

Then you pull me so crudely apart!
Open me and fill me with hot smoke--
hard truths about myself--surrounding
yourself with hard crust while you get to 
be set free from my beautiful love?
Your strong words leave me vulnerable.

Earth’s thin crust restrains billowing heat.
Vulnerable humans are not strong.
We can barely break the ground apart.
The rock, though, cannot see its beauty,
while we can make words to speak our love,
truth, hardships, and manipulations.

Hot words can burn the strongest to ash
turning truly soft ones like myself 
into baked, then burned, then smoked bodies…
Is there beauty in surrounding pain
which can transform my fresh skin
into a hardening, crumbling crust?

Opening fresh love towards myself,
I now live to bake our bread daily.
Freedom comes with soft dough and strong crusts.
Hot steam billows out of the oven.
There are no truthful words to describe
tasting the bread that I made myself.

I bake hot and fresh words: “I love you.”
You might pull apart my soft bread, true.
I want that vulnerable beauty.

The Villanelle

If I could address myself, old or young,
wrecked or anchored, Bay or Sea.
I would let the song roll itself off my tongue.

All signs point to memories that clung.
The earbuds in the car meant my safety.
If I could address myself, old or young.

I’d sing myself Hair—I loved the way the songs stung,
and the song stung from within, where it must always be.
I would let the song roll itself off my tongue.

I could let a Disney ballad fill up one lung;
For respite, the other needs a soulful Wa’el Kfoury*.
If I could address myself, old or young.

Then it’s a classic filmi** hit I’d need sung,
tying myself to ancestral steps of bravery.
I would let the song roll itself off my tongue.

This stubborn truth has forever rung:
Music is wild, unfettered, flourishing in me.
If I could address myself, old or young,
I would let the song roll itself off my tongue.

*popular Arabic language singer from Lebanon
**of an Indian film, from India

Edge of Concern

Body and mind can’t live in fear,
flying birds know to rest.
Yet you will always persevere
with your pain in my chest.
You are indeed my heart’s true guest
even when we all fret,
you have torn down your fam’ly crest
and no one can forget.

More than thirty needles have pricked
through from your eyes to mine.
More than thirty times I am tricked
and left to be “just fine.”
If you perceive my voice to whine
you’ll cover up your ears,
though I have used my body fine --
to keep you from your tears.

All feathers are plucked from my skin
to comfort your sweet head;
all of my patience has worn thin
and now I’m full with dread.
No more will I bake daily bread
filling you up with pride,
I will make my own life instead
and leave you here to hide.

I will journey out to the sands
to make the dunes my grave,
and with your soft piano hands
you’ll have yourself to save.


Screeches are launched from the mouth of an unpreferred daughter.
Her own son is climbing, tumbling, rolling onto the prayer rug
"AGH! STOP!" she yells. She's trying, struggling, in her prayers
but her praying is repetition.
Repetition of pitches hit, vibrating in the air for three decades
generational cries, passing on.
Relatives silently reacted: lips bitten, eyes rolled, heads shaken
"Children are to be loved," my aunt commanded from atop her motherly mountain,
and the screaming mother is judged.
"You should know that, since you're going to start having your own,"
with her jewel eyes fixated on my face, my breasts, then my belly.
Well-meant words, softly aimed,
but it doesn’t matter. Each letter of her words scrapes harshly against my soul's skin.
I, too, felt like crying out. Stop!

September 2020: Its Conquering

In September of 2020,
my body softened and rounded all its corners without asking me first.
Control was out of order in its own order:
retching mornings met tears of shame in the afternoons--
the evenings ended the routine with frozen numbness and a rushing heart.
My sleep was a delusion. There was no rest.
I felt that I would disappear as It would grow,
and my conscious so certainly knew in its heightened, vigilant imagination
that the It would tragically pull my insides out of me soon
like a magician's string of sickening handkerchiefs. 
I was a sleeve on someone else's arm.

It inherited my genetically-obtained force;
twin horns of a ram dislodged all of my attempts at protection.
I had let pain rip in and out of me at the doctor’s office for nothing.
Edibles for the bearing of blackening douleur
might as well have been exotic spring water poured down a sink.
99.9% efficacy, but I was 0.01% lucky.

The clock's hand had a diamond-edged dagger in it,
slashing with each slap as it moved across the face.
In tiny increments, pieces of my very self were marbles
swirling, draining,
rolling down,
sucked down into a circle like some kind of joke.
I made my choice to choose myself over It.

A series of rods, one larger than the next.
A plastic elephant's trunk would inhale It out with suction I’d never feel
and It would die before the bagging.
It was in one of the papers I signed. I would wake in a white light.

I stood at the edge of a ravine when it was over. I looked down,
I saw new messages in my inbox. New documents.
The IUD was dislodged, hanging at the cervix. That I knew.
And then came the harrowing, lung-pricking description of--It.

It had: 
ten fingers, developed organs.
I have: a concrete body, each cell alive and dying in their natural processes.
The dagger, the elephant's trumpet, the drain,
not one could deny. I did it. All were witness.
The devilish It had:
ten fingers, developed organs?
Don’t  forget:
So have I.

*Poems written in reflection of life’s power; in awe of beauty and in sadness of it. Reminiscing about times that never existed yet are so alive. Feeling disconnected from life that was, indeed, very real. These are intimate, meditative works that are meant to wash over you the way life does when you are at its center and have no control over it. --Khadeja

 transformation meditation

air skimming across the dew
launches it off the blade of grass 
it’s new role: ground’s fuel.
a dew’s descent is a millisecond of velocity dropping,
unheard whistling to the tiniest of ears
yet a vibration well felt.

an observation

it may be beautiful, but it may not be yours.
this is an observation of mothers
by one who could be one
but made the other choice.

to watch emergent life
is to watch a known, and yet unknown.
it is watching the new life pushing out an orifice,
or cracking a shell, 
even growing out of soil.
power, awe, and disgust all spark at once.

so dangerous is the forcing of birth,
so oblivious are we to the workings,
that our breaths rebel against our lungs.
our minds rebel against ourselves.
and all the while,
people are still doing it—giving birth. creation is divine.

the child is always being waited for.
outside our Mother tends, 
if not the sweaty, warmth of humanity
in one of the other forms:
the Earth, the egg-warmer, the web-weaver, or the Queen,
so many forms…
all of them the same. protecting by fighting until the bursting
against nature, time, enemies, and luck.
perilous is this endless battle,
helpless are we to stop it.
hopeless because we don’t want to.
we can only learn how to despair accordingly.
learn, learn, learn. while teaching! and reveling!
what a mess!
and then we cannot deny,
there is nothing more beautiful than being alive
to watch a seed turned to stalk.

a moment--an appreciation of the mother’s choice.
the choice of motherhood itself,
the choice of glorious pain, screeching music, 
thankless accomplishment, 
sunshine with moonlight,
and underneath it all – a pull that never stops.
I sit here, a loving stone, in place.

Bio: "Khadeja Ali is a poet and visual artist from Massachusetts who uses her art to explore themes of the heart and the mind. She has a degree in Art History as well as a Master's in Intercultural Relations--both of which inform her life experience and her art. Khadeja is a native of Mauritius with ancestry from Eastern Europe. You can find her on twitter as @khadejalidraw."