the language of smoke by
god is tired even in a body now.
a mother, sleeping, wrings her hands, anymore
nothing is bright like a flower
when all the flowers
i try to recreate them,
in pots, in deep silty black near a forest’s edge,
a sun-syruped window beside my bed
i read somewhere that plants purify the air
i rushed for each leaf, each petal,
choking on this culture of ashes
gasping for something that feels alive
america taught me the language of smoke
burning my eyes
that if i want to be loved
i have to touch the fire
and then she took my hand
showed me how
the darkness laced her spine,
could feather my heart with the blackest down
her fingernails sharp in my palm,
a swelling in my deepest place
the darkest parts of me
and i followed her
not innocent, and without fear
like a starving animal,
into that cave
from which i’ve never returned
i entered his soul with a witch-rip
my lips bleeding sugar like a ripe-to-rotting pear
he begged to suckle
he came grasping, yearning
my bitter frame, lonely teeth, willow and smoke breath
how long i waited for someone to dance with
i, puppeteer, i, broken myself,
made him dance with his broken left wing
i let him taste the apparatus of power, lick the illusion of control
i know what it tastes of
my feral claws grasping at his frame
i absorbed all that had been bled of me
i who ooze alchemy, sob ocean, thief of time
no, not thief. i traded him sex for years. he never asked for anything else.
Mela Blust is a trauma survivor, and a mother. Since seeking publication, Mela’s work has been nominated for Best Of The Net, The Pushcart Prize, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, Cultural Weekly, and many more. Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available with Apep Publications , and her new full length collection is available with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. Mela is a contributing editor for Barren Magazine, and tweets as @melablust.
An Interview with Mela Blust
- How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
Mela: I think I was in my mid-twenties when I really started feeling serious about being a writer. I was writing as early as seven years old, but I think I truly began organizing my work at about twenty-five.
- What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
Mela: I love mood, drama, and melancholy. I have always had a deep love for Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Tori Amos.
- What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
Mela: I enjoy nature, being outside, gardening, homesteading, bonfires, kayaking, fishing, and camping. I also enjoy night, and the moon and stars. I do find that my connection with nature fosters the creative process.
- Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous /freewriting style?
Mela: Poems just appear to me. This is always how it has happened, since I was a little girl. I don’t really write poetry, it writes me. I enjoy the privilege of this gift, and edit accordingly.
- Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?
Mela: Haha, anyone I’ve ever loved, and anyone who has ever wronged me. They’re in there somewhere.
- What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
Mela: I would say that the most rewarding thing in the self-reflection. The most frustrating thing about writing, is long periods of it’s absence.
- How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
Mela: Whoo. Let’s just say I’ve had plenty of time on my hands.
- Please give us any promotional info for your work, social media, blogs, publishing company info, etc that you’d like to shout out.
Mela: My recent full-length collection, “they found a woman’s body”, is available at http://www.vegetarianalcoholicpress.com/titles/mela-blust-they-found-a-womans-body, and all author profit will be donated to The Center For Black Equity