mundane object: leftovers
mundane object: leftovers chronicles a dinner not-date between two ex-lovers. Each body performing old tricks and treats while walking the thin line of temptation when being in the presence of a body they used to know so deeply. The poem is clustered as tightly as the two bodies smushed into the restaurant’s small booth, trying not to re-live the white hot of old desires, pretending everything’s fine. The pair must tread tenderly around the danger zone between craving and their respective duties to the new lives they have constructed without one another.
mundane object: the faucet
mundane object: the faucet provides space for the reader to dip into a private moment where the narrator is doing something we all do, every day, and barely ever think about: brushing one’s teeth. We watch the mind weave around here and there, taking stock, throwing things away, and deeply contemplating before it is over and the narrator, and reader, must move on. This poem takes something so simple, something so engrained and puts it brightly on display. For those living with mental difference like mine, there are always two sides, always two voices, sometimes speaking together, other times apart, and other times over one another. In this case, the other voice was relatively silent, other than its haunting presence as reflection.
mundane object: the sink
"mundane object: the sink” is a fractured piece that captures the confining nature of the mind gripped by a bipolar hypomanic episode and what it takes to break the cycle. The poem begins with the narrator “speaking” to themself/the reader as they begin the descent. Please note that the use of the pronoun "we" was a conscious choice, as neurodivergence is not a one size fits all topic, and as such how one writes about it cannot be simple or conventional. I chose to write this piece in the first-person viewpoint of ‘we’ because my neuro-landscape often leaves me as two parts in the skin of one whole. The spiraling of the narrator’s mental state echoes the splintered and chaotic style of the text, moving faster and faster until, finally the narrator hits the high note by submerging their face into a sink full of frigid water and breaks the spiral cycle to resurface, ready to face whatever comes next.
*Please note this poem is best viewed on a computer for formatting reasons.
Inverted Syntax: Issue 4
the landscape of the river
“the landscape of the river” echoes how it feels to live with two sides of yourself, an interior voice of “i” and the exterior voice of “you,” talking at once. This piece showcases an interior and exterior voice trying to break free from the pulls of depression and suicide that [still] have their claws in the narrator. The river runs through the poem, a cold reminder to be careful with your edges. A portion of this poem was highlighted on Issue 4's back cover.
*This poem was nominated in 2023 by Inverted Syntax for a Pushcart Prize.
Inverted Syntax: Issue 4
the landscape of sound: the highway
“the landscape of sound: the highway” is a meditative conversation between the two sides of the brain, “i” and “you,” about hearing sounds throughout the day and night, and the questioning of one’s sanity. In a way these two voices are talking to one another, but they also are speaking with the reader, engaging them. As these selves recognize the limitations of what they know [or don’t], the photograph bordering the text reminds us that what haunts us can occasionally hold some light.
Alice Says Go Fuck Yourself Arts & Lit Magazine: Issue 01
mundane objects: the porch
mundane object: the porch captures a bright moment of spring as summer guts it. While the world likes to think of spring as a joyous time, this poem takes a peek into the darker more insidious side of the season of renewal. This poem operates as a performance, a dance between what is and what isn’t. It begins so softly as so many days do, full of promise and allure, only in the middle section to begin to deteriorate. The photograph that the poem ends itself in, asking the reader to question for themselves what is missing / what was taken, echoes the violence subtly mentioned in the earlier part of the poem, showcasing an image that has been violated through the inconsistencies of 35mm film development. A reminder that not everything works out.
New Note Poetry Magazine:
mundane objects: brunch
“mundane object: brunch” processes the inversion of emotion through a short window of time as the narrator goes to brunch with their lover and watches that person shift and change in front of them. The text moves the way a body does while playing witness to things we can’t control; it squirms, it tries to escape, it attempts to flip flop away from feelings and fears.
Poetry Northwest: Volume XVII, Issue 1-Summer & Fall 2022
*Winner of the PNW Presenting series, Chosen by Senior Editor, Xavier Cavazos
mundane objects: the evening walk
"mundane objects: the evening walk” is, in short, a cacophony. This poem explores the fissures in the mind when the stress of living a neurodivergent life during a pandemic wears the narrator thin. Juggling the potential future of a parent with cognitive issues and her own mental pathway complications, the narrator leads the reader through something that seems as simple as an evening walk is anything but. The space of this poem is interrupted constantly by gray matter, as the brain of someone with cognitive issues – whether from aging or mental illness – is similarly marred. This poem is about the grief of continual [and unavoidable] loss, and the strange texture of reality when backed up against the fluid expanse of our minds.
Heavy Feather Review: Haunted Passages Series
mundane objects: the therapist's office
“mundane objects: the therapist’s office” is a detailed description of the mundane object of falling into a kind of ruin and the questions surrounding salvation. The narrator paints the room of her therapist’s office, and the building in which the therapy center is housed, for the reader. But it isn’t as simple as just a room, just a building, just a space in decay. The poem itself calls into question the value of oneself as a mentally different/mentally ill person, the subtle fears lurking around every wall bend, and the ultimate question of what is worth being saved both inside and outside of the self.
*This poem was nominated by HFR in 2023 for Best of the Net.
Anti-Heroin Chic: Issue 25
the landscape of a dream
“the landscape of a dream” uses the space of the page and line breaks to funnel the reader into a specific spiral of thoughts. It channels the wild, strange texture of our nightmare/dream life while speaking to the cyclical and swift –building nature of mental illness and survival within the thin bones of the poem. The reader is left wondering if the title word “dream” is an utterance of hope or the depths which our minds go when we close our eyes, and maybe if they are one and the same. The 35mm photograph coupled with this poem speaks to the undercurrent of desires and only being able to see that which is in front of you, while so much else lives in the wash.
*Please note that for formatting reasons this poem is best viewed on Anti-Heroin Chic's website via computer rather than mobile.
Summer 2021 Issue
the landscape of the alpine - voyages two and three
“the landscape of the alpine – voyage two and three” are two hybrid poems that blend 35mm film photography with text to evoke that sensation that the wilderness holds something deeper. Something each person must seek and find on their own. Each 'voyage' traverses areas in the alpine, all above 10,000ft, where beauty is ample, even teeming, but simultaneously deep danger and defeat lay in wait. Through each trip the narrator is navigating her own internal dangers, her mental illness brewing in the subtext, while recognizing that these wild spaces are also where she feels the most safe inside her skin.
Ghost Heart Literary Journal: Issue 1
"rumination three" is a look at the complications of communication at dusk. The photograph of a house dilapidated by time speaks to how we related to others over years of disintegrating emotion, while in the poem, a narrator is telling you how to behave while simultaneously offering themselves up for the feast. Published under the name: Emma Arlington M.
Polemical Zine: Issue 12 - Love
[we have our most important conversations on the way home]
This hybrid photograph-poem is about when the love part of a relationship begins you find yourself torn, how to show your new partner what you want to, what you need to, while also remembering that you are your past experiences. The life we have led, the loves we have felt guide us forward toward and through the new ones. Published under the name: Emma Arlington M.
The Pitkin Review:
Dear Arizona & Echoes
"Dear Arizona" is about falling in love with more than just a person, but their lineage and spacial history."Echoes" is about mental illness and making the same emotional choices over and over in relation to a failing/dangerous relationship. Published under the name: Emma Arlington M.
Blue Agave Literary Journal (Defunct)
To Have and Not To Have
This poem plays with repetition and the shrill violence of words and the imprint they can leave on a life. In this piece, the narrator is navigating her Jewish heritage and an ongoingness of bigotry, while simultaneously obsessing on the colors of the two stones in her Star of David necklace.
Unfortunately, this journal is now defunct and this piece is no longer accessible online. If you are interested in this piece, please contact me.