Let go the pain you are holding
After Joy Harjo
This morning I walked my back garden, the air thick with lemons and ligustrum, a breathless night of fog horns and train whistles calling away the shadows,the sun shivering and glittering promises. My mind is quiet, clear of technology’s demands, notifications, buzzes, & bells, all the stuff that doesn’t matter anyway. I am tired of it, of its time-sapping nonsense & attention
seeking, its lectures & lies. I will speak to the cardinal pair visiting the feeder, watch my little squirrel friend eating peanuts, water my collection of vegetables— a daily miracle of growth.
I will remember what sustains me, what thrills me, what heals me.
I will walk the earth in my spirit feet.
Inspired by “For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet” by Joy Harjo
Each Day is Another Scar
We place the russet pavers
in the garden one by one
in between discussions of surgical drainage,
ct scans and ventilators.
Six one day, four the next, none for a week
when her fever rose, blood pressure dropped,
and her white count was more
than twice the normal value.
I watch as the path grows longer and
think a lot about the color of the pavers
like the color of her heart,
the toughness of the brick like the toughness
of her character and the slow progression
that mimics her daily life in ICU.
The garden path and her path are intertwined,
the physical toll scarring my hands,
the emotional toll scarring my heart.
start off heavy and never lighten up. Bones and spirit ache from years of giving and bending and lifting up, reminding me that I’m not a malleable 23 anymore. Some days, no matter my wants or intentions, I simply can not muster diplomacy, end up being blunt instead of kind then worry about it at 2 a.m. when sleep skulks in the shadows, an elusive stalker. Some days I can not make one more compromise, say one more smiley yes, wash one more dirty, smelly bathroom or even my dirty, smelly self. Some days the light is too bright, the dirt too deep, the smell of struggle too sharp for my migraine-filled head. Some days I hold hard to the horizon’s thin edge.
Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Reckon Review, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and forMicro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Charlotte Hamrick3 New poems from Charlotte Hamrick: Holding On, Head Above Water, It is what it is
Bio: Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal,Flash Frontier, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and for Micro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Charlotte: I began writing consistently in 1997 when I was 40. My first influence was novelist Susan Wittig Albert who edited a quarterly print newsletter for women called Story Circle Network. It encouraged women to tell their stories and provided wonderful support and pro tips. My first published Creative Nonfiction and my first published poem was in SCN. Story Circle Network is now online and continues to be a fantastic resource that provides many opportunities for learning, teaching, and sharing women’s stories. Another influence was Poet and Editor Helen Losse who, at the time, was Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Helen was very supportive and helpful and she published my very first online submission and a few more thereafter.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Charlotte: I have more than one! For poetry, definitely Dorianne Laux. Her poetry is gritty, real, and accessible. She goes for the heart and the gut and when you read her work you know exactly what she’s saying. That’s how I want my poetry to be: real and accessible. The same goes for Jericho Brown. Both of these poets are inspired and inspiring.
For CNF, Paul Crenshaw. Man, can he tell a story! I only wish I could command attention with my writing like he does. I admire his willingness to be vulnerable and his honesty. It makes me want to be more open in my own writing.
For Fiction, my dear friend Meagan Lucas who is a phenomenal fiction writer and a phenomenal listener! When I read Meagan’s prose I always learn something in addition to being immersed in her storytelling. I’ve learned a lot about character development from reading her.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Charlotte: I was born in New Mexico where I lived until I was four. Then I lived in Ohio until I was nine. In fourth grade I went to four schools in four states – Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Mississippi. I finally landed in Mississippi until I moved to New Orleans at age 21 and I’ve been here since. All of the places I lived as a child definitely influenced my writing. The experiences and feelings of that time crop up in my writing frequently. It was a turbulent time and writing helps me remember and work through everything that happened.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Charlotte: All of my work is meaningful to me. I can’t point to one thing and say “That’s it!” The day to day practice of writing, thinking, creating with intention is meaningful to me.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Charlotte: Nope. It really just grew on me in middle age which I think is a time when lots of people realize what’s really important in life and go for it.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Charlotte: Watching British and Scandi crime drama, playing with my dogs, gardening, reading.
Q7: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Charlotte: I have a Flash Fiction coming out any day in Love in the Time of Covid, a poem in the next issue of Emerge Journal, and a Flash Fiction coming out in October in Still: The Journal.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
From my poem about my mother, “One More Day”:
If I could, I’d give myself one more day with you – before the sickness, the doctors, before the last days crept up on us like a thief at the window. Just a normal day of normal things, bacon and eggs after a good night’s rest, our low murmuring voices in conversation, beckoning sunlight falling through the glass door, shimmering the air.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Charlotte: There have been several over the years but to name a few: Meagan Lucas, Tara Isabel Zambrano, Matt Dennison, Michelle Elvy, Sam Rasnake and I thank them all!
Bio: Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal, Flash Frontier, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and for Micro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.