These 3 sonnets were previously published in the now defunct Mojave Heart.
A Feral Girl Belongs Between The Trees
You trespass, sodden footprints in your wake,
into a kitchen for purloined cake, crumbs,
a dollop, butter cream. Clean pewter plate
while an entire household dreams. You succumb,
to ritual, sneak upstairs, nimble toes,
where they sleep unaware. Exchange soiled dress
until your armoire’s bare, grosgrain ribbons, stowed
in pockets, for your feral hair, still wet
a little from the lake, your evening bath
before your stomach ached for cake, clothes stuff —
you’ll find, again, through the servant’s entrance at half
past ten. This house was never quite enough
even when it contained your family —
a feral girl belongs between the trees.
Pulls you to his chest, after all the rest
to fall asleep the way that he desires.
you suckling his right nipple like a breast.
“Like you are starving, and it can make milk.”
Its slight erection tight between your lips
because you know it’s true. He does feed you,
something more than the mimicked milk this tit,
diminutive, cannot express. A coup
to keep it in until he’s snoring but
if you do it makes you, in fact, his child,
a babydoll undressed then nursed. It’s what
makes it okay that he hurts you — defiles
then feeds. Both father, mother, he can be.
He knows how much you need a family.
You didn’t really lie, that Christmas fête
she asks about the dye — a neighbor friend
who wants to judge and preach. You do not get
a golden girl with dye but bleach. So you pretend
it was the sun. You’re not the only one.
They crown the blonde heads quicker than the brown.
Won’t know regret, like you: “I could have won,”
a public smiling shame in evening gown.
A parent wants what’s better for their child:
the waving winner, princess, sashed, that thrives.
A truth civilians will never reconcile.
You bleach away the pain when she is five.
It will not be the last time that you lied
How many days she cried before she died?
Bio: Kristin Garth is a womanchildish Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist, the author of LOLLYGAGGER and 26 more books of poetry and prose. She is the dollhouse architect of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal.
It’s as much the fault of the blade that it was
designed serrated as it is that I’m
designed accident prone. Neither the cause
of any bloody outcome unless combined
when we should leave each other alone.
Eviscerate me without trying.
Ruin another sundress. Wounds I know
my friends wish I wouldn’t express multiply
simply because I gravitate to your glint.
Crave danger inside my fumbling fingers
believing this time will be different.
Festering scabs are only what linger
and yet when we are too long away
I find virgin skin to offer the blade.
Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of a short story collection You Don’t Want This ( Pink Plastic Press) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and many more. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety. [Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website http://kristingarth.com]A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Kristin GarthSonnet from Kristin Garth : Submergence in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020Treealabra by Kristin Garth in Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019)
Oh, come and view the workings of an over-anxious mind,
The day-to-day of black, cold darkness that can paralyze;
So full of hidden terrors and foreboding that in kind
I wonder what catastrophe might soon materialize.
For wakeful nights keep sleep away with worry and with dread;
A feeling of impending doom that flutters in my heart;
I fight in vain to overcome the unknown, but instead
I lie awake and wish this apprehension would depart!
This is a covert, secret place unseen by outside eyes;
I wear a coating of some calm to masquerade the fear,
And try to cloak, conceal away; but then I realize
I am an open book and my proclivities are clear!
What horrors I invent! What terrors and calamity!
And yes, worst-case scenarios are ever festering;
For when the palpitations come, I wish that I could see
A better situation than what I'm engendering.
Instead, I quiver and in trepidation I can quake
In endless combinations of my mental wonderings;
Distortion causes all my equilibrium to shake,
Because I cannot cease from such tumultuous ponderings!
What would it be, if somehow I could live without this weight,
And future tense would only be a present tense to me;
Oh, then I could live in the moment, in this pleasant state,
And be completely free from all this high anxiety!
To Be, or Not to Be Medicated
To burst unfettered in the manic way,
The talking mouth that cannot stop to rest,
Are you to say I should not be this way,
My fast brain bursting full of better, best?
I sing, I write, I make—but can these be
If creativity is dulled inside of me?
If sentience devolves to reticence,
To fit the current psychopharma sense,
How can I make the songs I sing so deeply
Or make the heart that hears it cry so sweetly?
I burn with heat as my pen works the page.
How can a dullard bring the sage words of a sage?
If neurons fire, then why misfire mine?
My flame will burn right out, without a rhyme!
You seek to keep the highs and lows at bay.
You wish to even out the peaks and pits:
But how can trees wave branches in the air
If they become attenuated bits?
My burst is lost! I love to burst!
I love to bear a child in a poem!
I love to work twelve hours at a thrust
To give in words a newly-labored tome!
I love to touch! I love to feel!
I love the sounds and hues of silk and steel!
If diamonds and rust escape the censoree,
Why do you seek to take it all from me?
“Ah yes, but see, you are complex:
Your mind is broke and needs a kind of fix.
We cannot have you run abouting—
Living, breathing, singing, shouting—
And thinking toomuchtoomuch, too—
So this is why these meds are good for you!”
Ah yes, I know!
The points on a momentary snowflake sparkle so!
And yet, if you were to smooth it smoothingly,
What shape would then the perfect snowflake be?
In fairness, I do go low to the abyss.
This pit is not when twirling my skirts
But rather when I’d render splits
Into my skin until it hurts.
I can make tombs of closets or my bed.
For sleeping hard and long can make you dead.
(But to a point) because I wake again.
'Tis true this ebb can flow out in the end.
Ah, to straddle polar poles and not to sway!
Healers of neuron makers and transmitters,
Give me back my brain’s peculiar fritters!
Pharma, grant no side-affected me,
And Psyche will dance in manic revelry!
What will begin as thought will end in deed.
A striking of the skin of flesh and heart
And then the friction giving way to bleed
With red relief, like tears which know no part
Of reason or of sanity, but flow
Responsive to the need to rip and see
A mirror wounding from without. Although
One can touch, the other is not free—
Except in reciprocity, to splay
Itself, the earthly to the earth.
And then this ugly skin-ding will display
Until the salve of time will show its worth.
For memories can thus become unmade,
And pain can ease and even scars do fade.
The Word-Birth Sonnet
I gave birth to a poem the other day,
I labored for twelve hours in a rhyme,
I centered, conjured, wombed, throbbed, then gave way
To empty out the fullness of my time.
As in the waves and ebbs and flows of life
By blood and pulsing, bearing down its course,
I think, I gestate; for the pangs of strife
Are sperm to my ripe, beating ovoid source.
Oh I am aching! So intense are all
The squeezings and the earnest tides of pain;
I move about, then settle in to cull
With open heart my brain canal again.
For writing is the labor of the mind;
And I have birthed my children all in kind.
To write of love, or speak of other things
Like life or death, or such philosophy
As might stir up an eager mind, which brings
It to a bold, enriched reality:
Oh, perfect, lovely forms! With such delight
The poet and the reader can obtain
A revelation of new thought, in light
Of what the mind on paper may attain.
For Petrarch, Shakespeare, and then Spenser offer
Us cripple-rhythmed beauty in a way
That is uniquely to the point, and suffer
Condensed and distilled thought to have its say.
For I can surely rest my heart upon it:
I love these three forms that are called the sonnet.
*From Theresa: "To Be, or Not to Be Medicated" has been published in my book Jesus and Eros. "Cut Sonnet" (a sonnet about self-harm) has been published in my book Sonnets. "The Word-Birth Sonnet" and "Sonnet Sonnet" have also been published in Sonnets. Bio: Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez) is 60-year old poet, author and voice teacher who was diagnosed with autism in her 50s and bipolar disorder since her 20s. She is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs (Bardsinger Books, 2015), Longer Thoughts (Shanti Arts, 2020), and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets (Shanti Arts, 2020). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her work ranges from forms such as the ode and sonnet to free verse, with topics ranging from neurodivergence, love, loss, aging, to faith and disillusionment and more. Her website is http://www.bardsinger.com, where you can view videos of her performance poetry and find information about her books. Follow Theresa on Instagram and Twitter @thesonnetqueen.Wolfpack Contributor: Theresa WerbaPoetry Showcase from Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez)A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Theresa Werba5 poems & sonnets from Theresa Rodriguez
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Theresa: I’m sure I started writing in earnest in junior high school. In high school we studied the sonnet form and fell in love with its musicality and beauty! I began writing sonnets and experimenting with formal poetry while also writing free verse. I suppose I have my high school English teacher to thank for being one of my first influences!
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Theresa: I would have to say that I am my own biggest influence today. I re-read my own work, old and new, with a critical eye (trying to avoid nostalgia) and work to hone and refine everything, from the absent comma to a full-scale overhaul of a line or two, or allocating a poem to the “junk pile” of lousy poetic attempts.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Theresa: I grew up in a brownstone near Gramercy Park in Manhattan during the 60s and 70s. New York has always been a high-energy, creative place where people are trying new things and coming up with interesting ideas and innovative solutions, always at a fast pace, always with great intensity and a no-nonsense approach. I suppose I will always be a New Yorker, since I still have that city edge, even though I’ve been out of the city for over thirty years. I still don’t take crap from anyone and move way too fast for most people around me!
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
Theresa: Two works are of great meaning creatively to me so far. Since transitioning from Theresa Rodriguez to Theresa Werba, my most meaningful work is my current revision of an earlier book I had written, which is now tentatively being titled Trauma to Truth: An Adoption Story. It tells the story of my being an adopted child growing up in an abusive home, finding my birth mother, and only recently, though DNA testing, finding my biological father, who turned out to be someone my mother doesn’t even remember. In 2020 I changed my name to take his last name, and I am very proud of my newly-discovered Jewish heritage. I hope to have the book ready for publication within the year. The other work is what I consider to be my “magnum opus,” which I am tentatively titling What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse, which will be a sort of “best of” work from my previous three poetry books in addition to new material. (These previous books are Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems, and Songs (Bardsinger Books, 2015), Longer Thoughts (Shanti Arts, 2020), and Sonnets (Shanti Arts, 2020), my collection of sixty-five sonnets). Since my previous works have been published under the name Theresa Rodriguez, it will be highly meaningful to publish these new works under the name Theresa Werba.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Theresa: I’m not sure I ever “wanted” to be a poet; I always was a poet! I was writing little poems when I was as young as ten years old, always writing songs, always having a journal, always creating, always writing. It was never not part of me!
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Theresa: I enjoy word games, reading, sewing, swimming, playing the piano, laying in my bed with my laptop watching Youtube videos, and very hot tubs with lavender and epsom salts!
Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work that you’d like promote?
Theresa: I just revamped my website with my name Theresa Werba (www.bardsinger.com) as well as my Instagram and Twitter (@thesonnetqueen). There you can find out about my previous books (which are still under the name Theresa Rodriguez) as well as see my performance poetry videos.
Theresa: I suppose Daniel Webster, because I refer to the Merriam-Webster dictionary almost every time I set down to write!
Bio: Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez) is 60-year old poet, author and voice teacher who was diagnosed with autism in her 50s and bipolar disorder since her 20s. She is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs (Bardsinger Books, 2015), Longer Thoughts (Shanti Arts, 2020), and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets (Shanti Arts, 2020). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her work ranges from forms such as the ode and sonnet to free verse, with topics ranging from neurodivergence, love, loss, aging, to faith and disillusionment and more. Her website is http://www.bardsinger.com, where you can view videos of her performance poetry and find information about her books. Follow Theresa on Instagram and Twitter @thesonnetqueen.