One tiny step,
one little slip, to fall, to fail,
flailing, fragile, frail frame,
a shattered sense, a souvenir
of shattered bone.
(This poem was published in my book, "Memory is that raccoon")A broken jar
to store the body of loss,
the coffee laced with sugar and shock,
the wrenched wild wings,
dried blood tears of sunsets past,
to leak the waning fading blue,
to hold what’s left of you.
What Has Passed
What has ended my desire
to do when I’m too weak, to be what I am not?
Ritual is writing through the pain.
I know that I don’t know to stop until my body shatters.
The instruments of self-deception disappear
as sun-kissed skin slips into velvet darkened dress.
There is space, there is an honest sweetness in the bitter.
(This poem was published on Medusa's Kitchen, and was inspired by my hand therapist who told me I am not my x-rays)
I am not
My frame is not
that carried me
through simpler times
of younger years.
Close your eyes
and you can see
my bright red
down a summer
dusty road past
signs you now find
in an antique store.
What will age
take, which parts of me?
My bones? My breath?
Will sight and sound
dim to dark?
Will scattered thoughts
pack up their bags
and leave my mind
an empty nest?
If cancer, stroke
knock on my door,
will I invite them in
and offer them a beer?
Bio: Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Alien Buddha Zine, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others. Her three chapbooks are available on Amazon. Nominee for 2023 Best of The Net. Interviewer/book reviewer. Faker of fake news.
Bio: Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Alien Buddha Zine, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others. Her chapbooks, “My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats” and “The Big Unda” are available on Amazon. Nominee for 2023 Best of the Net. Editor for Kiss My Poetry.
Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you must now and currently?
Nolcha: I started writing as soon as I could support myself in my crib. Poop on the walls was my favorite medium, although I did eventually move to crayons. I also tried to write on my face with my mother’s red lipstick when I was a toddler, although I mostly missed and painted my blond hair red instead.
My biggest influence, really my biggest cheerleader, is my mother. She encouraged me to write all my life. I still send my draft poems to her, because I know she will always be honest about what I can improve.
I’ve also been influenced by my father’s sense of humor, which I (unfortunately) inherited. That sense of humor was further corrupted by reading a big storage box of my aunt’s collection of Mad Magazines from the 60s (I believe), as well as a love of National Lampoon and Harvard Lampoon magazines, Charles Addams comics, Tom Lehrer’s songs, and Monty Python. Oh, and really bad disaster movies.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Nolcha: I was always a writer, but I never admitted it was what I wanted to do until I fell into my first technical writing job. Getting paid made it ok. I was a technical writer for over 20 years, which was a mystery to most people who had no idea what that was about.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Nolcha: Technical writing actually honed my skills as a poet and accidental interviewer. I learned to use short phrases and simple words, to tighten up meaning, because my audience was typical developers and other nerds with English as a second language.
I was also helped immensely by the wall of books in the hallway of the home I grew up in, which included classics, science fiction, and fantasy, and I read every one of those books. Some of them several times.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Nolcha: I was born in North Carolina, where my father was in the Marines. My parents hated the place so much, as soon as my father’s stint was up, they drove in front of a hurricane to get out of the state. It was probably the only time in their marriage that they weren’t late. And yes, that became a poem.
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley (a suburb of Los Angeles< and if you’ve never been there, you’re not missing a thing). I had a very boring childhood, and I credit that with baking my brain creatively, since my imagination was the best thing going in the neighborhood.
I travel in my head, and on the internet. I’m a horrible traveler in real life, a wreck looking for a train.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Nolcha: That’s a tough one. I write like my hair is on fire. It typically takes me about 10 minutes to write a poem. I’ve edited a few afterward, but the majority go out for submission the same day. By the end of the week, I barely remember what I wrote. An awful thing to confess, I know.
The poem I had the most fun writing recently (and the poem that horrified some of my friends) is “Anxiety Milkshake,” published on August 18th on Kiss My Poetry
for Ken Tomaro
1-1/2 cups ice cream
½ cup milk
2 overdue bills
1 layoff notice
1 voicemail threatening divorce
1 note from creepy neighbor slipped under the door
3 days of no sleep
1 pot of coffee
1 bottle of Kahlua
1. Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Add Kahlua to taste. Maybe more Kahlua.
2. Add ice cream and milk to the blender.
3. Add a cup of coffee to the blender.
4. Add a generous portion of Kahlua to the blender.
5. Blend thoroughly. Pretend you are blending your husband.
6. Pour yourself a cup of Kahlua. Add coffee to taste.
7. Shred the layoff notice, the overdue bills, and the creepy neighbor note. Toss shredding into the fireplace. Start a fire. Who cares if it’s summer?
8. Leave voicemail for your husband that you’re leaving him the house. And the kids.
9. Pour yourself a cup of Kahlua. Forget the coffee.
10. Pack your clothes.
11. Open a new bank account. Transfer all funds from the old account to the new. Your husband would only spend all the money on his new girlfriend.
12. Pour the contents of the blender into a vase and drink, drink, drink.
13. Leave voicemail for your parents that you’re moving back home.
14. Get in the car and drive away, fast.
Writing a recipe poem was on my bucket list. Actually, it was the only type of poem in the bucket. I guess I need a new bucket.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Nolcha: My first favorite activity is trying to figure out how to relax. And how to sleep. My mother still talks about what a rotten sleeper I was as a child. At least I'm consistent.
I also like to crochet. You might find me tangled up in yarn at any given moment, unless our newest rescue ran off with the skein. Who knew dogs had a yarn fetish?
I've been bodybuilding for over 30 years. Yes, there were even gyms back then. And torture machines.
Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from one of your writings?
Nolcha: I don't have a favorite any of that. But I did write a brief poem (published on Dark Entries) that still makes me chortle as much as when I wrote it:
Such a Sweet Child
What is that sweet child doing,
always digging in the sandbox?
Well, two hours ago
I buried the cat.
If I can’t
find the body,
I’ll dig a tunnel
out of town,
Did I mention my dark sense of humor?
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song that always comes back to you as inspiration?
Nolcha: I'm stuck on Jim Croce ("Time in a Bottle" is my favorite, although any Jim Croce song makes me hum), and The Mamas & The Papas "California Dreamin'."
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events/projects that you'd like to promote?
Nolcha: Alien Buddha Press published "My Father's Ghost Hates Cats" in January of this year:
And also published "The Big Unda" in June of this year:
Dancing Girl Press is supposed to publish "Why Chicken Explodes in the Microwave" maybe in September. It's a pretty chill press. This was my first chapbook to be accepted, and ....
I did a couple of collaborative books with artist friends, and one of them will come out maybe late September or October with Alien Buddha Press. No date yet.
Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you'd like to share during your creative journey?
Nolcha: I never planned to publish a book. It was only because a poet friend of mine was self-publishing a chapbook that I realized I had enough poems to publish a book, too. I'm a princess, and don't want to do the work involved with self-publishing, so I submitted "My Father's Ghost Hates Cats" to Alien Buddha Press because I saw on Twitter that submissions were open. According to the submission blurb, it would probably take about a month to get a response. Nine days later, Red contacted me to let me know he wanted to publish it. I was floored.