fortressBetween metal planes

My savage heart wallows

I exhale and compress


Oblate and isolated

This is what it means

To wear armor


There is no freedom

In chain links

Only dissuasion

There is no freedom

In voyeurism

In impotent dreams

That rely on conditionals


If is exponential

Wait too long

And you too shall pass



taraminshull3Art By: Tara Minshull

My lips tighten

In graceful arcs

Like a scythe

I brandish your tongue

In self-defense


Too often I’ve forgiven

Too often you’ve forgotten

The conditions of apology

Another girl

Another drink

Another dream

Heel pressed


I couldn’t alter

The dimensions

Of your heart

So I made myself smaller

Seen and unseen

I altercate

Adjacent to actuality


A discursive expression

Of circuitous guilt

To what do I owe

This karma?

To what madness

Do I ascribe you?


She holds you between

Her thighs only

Soon enough

She’ll exhaust all possibility

And you’ll come

Knees to the pavement

Promises full of teeth


I was out of town today, really pressed for time and energy.


zipperIf I were a planet

I’d have a hollow core

Crepuscular in odyssey

I’d drift aimlessly

Ricocheting against

Invisible labyrinths

No matter how

Fastidious the design

Fate always bends

Toward entropy


If I were a landscape

I’d have a muddied surface

From hoards of unshod feet

Trampling my potential

Into self-serving affectations

Impatience and convenience

Always trump conservation


If I were a house

I’d be uninhabited

Save for death

Which preys

Even as it sows

Transience being


In its undertaking


If I were a man

Praise would not terminate

My sense of omission

I’d hunt egregiously

From stolen parcels

And assign contrast

I am good


Other is bad

Prompt 36 Virtue

virtue Keeping New Year’s in mind this week’s prompt is Virtue.

Just as there are 7 deadly sins, there are 7 virtues and they are

  1. Chastity
  2. Temperance
  3. Charity
  4. Diligence
  5. Patience
  6. Kindness
  7. Humility

Choose one or more for inspiration. You can write about an individual who embodies one or more of these traits. You can write about your own self-improvement efforts. You can share your own personal definitions. You can write about life experiences which are conducive/coercive to the development of one or more of these traits. You can write about situations that push you to the other extreme. For example you might generally be a patient person but holiday shopping might leave you very short-tempered and stressed out.

Happy New Years!

2 Poems (Gift, Speechless)


I lie face down

When weeping

Your redolence

Cushions gravity


I am aware

Of a certain irony

I, who, never cease

In monologue

Am rendered indistinct

On inquiry


I prefer the honesty

Of your breath

As it passes quicksilver

Into the night

The truest compliment

Lie in proximity

You are here

You are accessible

That is itself a gift



I clutch the intimation

Of your smile between my teeth

The final bastion crumbling


Words are bitter

The discarded rinds

Of a titivated heart


Let’s not speak

As if strangers

Let’s kiss and collapse

As if every moment

Were indelible


My soul flits

Between spine and navel

A dissident moth

Hunting euphoria

In darkness


I want to burn with you

Like an exposed wound

Jagged and irrefutable

My name deepening

With every exhale

A mantra carved

In flesh and sinew

My Christmas

Aina Stenberg 001

I don’t generally write blog posts but I thought I’d share my Christmas with you.

Traditionally Swedes put up their Christmas trees on December 22nd and then remove them on January 6th. Sam and I typically put our tree up on December 15th and remove it according to custom. We make a lot of our own ornaments. We have origami ornaments, ornaments made from melted beads, craftsy ornaments that Isadora makes in school, and ornaments that Sam carves from wood. Isadora and I paint the hand-carved decorations. Sam has a real knack for crafts. I have no such knack, I am the type of person to glue my hands together when making a simple collage. Other decorations include festive house plants, wreaths, lighted stars for the windows, advent candles, halmbocker (straw goats), tomte (santas), and trolls.

This year we celebrated on the 24th. Sam made milk free, gluten free blueberry pancakes for breakfast. After our meal we opened our gifts. Isadora received a drum, some jewelry, a Wii game and a Mulan costume. Sam received a clamp, a poem, and I believe he will buy a wood planer as well. I received some jewelry, a poncho sweater, an owl plushie, boxing gloves and a hand target (Sam and I will share), and a beautiful outfit.

Later in the day we had a brief talk with my mom on Skype. She lives in the country and her internet connection isn’t very stable so our conversations are very disjointed.

For dinner we had a Japanese hotpot which consisted of rice noodles, broth, veggies, mushrooms, shrimp, fried tofu, beef, and chicken. Sam cooked at the table on a hot plate except the beef and chicken which he prepared earlier in the day to ensure tenderness and flavor. For dessert we had a gluten free, milk free apple pie, oatmilk vanilla sauce, and cherry sauce. Isadora complimented the meal so much Sam thought I’d bribed her. I hadn’t bribed her it was just that delicious.

After dinner we watched The Polar Express. Last year we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. Every year we watch a Christmas movie together.

On the 25th we celebrate with the in-laws. It is traditional to begin the day with rice porridge. An almond is placed in one of the rice porridge bowls and whoever finds the almond gets to make a wish. I have a milk allergy so I will skip that.

We do secret Santa for the adults (Sam and I, Sam’s parents, Sam’s sister, Sam’s other sister and her fiance). Everyone buys gifts for the children. There are only 2 children, one of which is mine, so it’s really no trouble. Every year one of the adults dresses up as Santa to pass out the gifts and every year Isadora gets hysterically excited (she’s been able to recognize the person since she was two but that’s not the point).

For snacks there are ginger bread cookies, homemade syrup cookies, homemade chocolate slices (also a cookie), homemade Swedish toffee, another homemade chewy chocolatey candy, and ice chocolates.

Dinner consists of: Swedish ham, baked salmon, potatis au gratin with anchovies, meatballs, prins korv, sil (horrible fish in jars), crisp bread, sliced cold-smoked salmon, glögg (spiced wine), and a salad.

After dinner and presents we watch Christmas cartoons. We are also working on a Gingerbread house =)



I turn the lights off

When I listen to the chorus

It’s like playing chicken

With God


Music is empathic

The way it presses tears

From soul threads


Every tender refrain

Leaves me redolent

As a newly dispensed sea

A state of saturation

That expedites purity


Everything I know of love

I’ve scraped

From your bones

Words rich and iron-infused

You are

The unbroken voice within

The illumination

Of a benevolent unknown


Not much time to write hence the disconnect between the stanzas. I am celebrating Christmas with my little family unit today and then with the in-laws tomorrow.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!



Blood is a paradox

Contested but essential

To the machine


I don’t regret it,

Being born

Despite the cruelty

That you concede

I’ve outgrown that life

That limp-fisted agony

Dusk no longer

Accelerates my fears

I am priceless

However flawed


I saw my new therapist the other day. I answered questions about my childhood without crying but when I talked about my current struggles with worth I just started balling. I was so taken off guard I actually looked aroud to see where the noise was coming from. Sorry for the dark topic on Christmas but the therapy session left impressions.

Christmas Tree


Rows and rows of conifers

Dart past the window

Each one a riddle

A dream construct

Around which gifts

Are posthumously attached


I press my cold hands

Between my thighs

There’s an ax in the backseat

And a felon with a volatile temper

In the front smoking

With the window rolled down


The air tastes like

Aluminum and cremation

I am excited, cautious

And entirely insurmountable

The numbers on the white signs

Are shrinking along with the wares


We stop at the very end of the lot

The trees are dressed

In disheveled skirts of green and brown

They are beautiful

Stoic even as the blade comes

Swooping down


My father and uncle

Fasten the tree

To the roof of the car

Money exchanges hands

Poverty is contagious

No one suffers alone

Eventually the backs

On which we stand



The tree farm is owned by a family

Incomprehensibly they invite us for dinner

I have no idea if we’re related

They are probably cousins,

I have scores of unmet relatives

All over the city


Their home is modest

As far as I can tell

It’s mostly a kitchen

All the other rooms

Are dark and inanimate

The counter is filled with food

Collard greens, biscuits, fried chicken

Miscellaneous chicken parts

That smell internal


I take a seat and tuck in

Too self-conscious

For conversation

But grateful for the food

And company


This was a difficult write for me as my memories are all very sketchy!