swords03I took a poetry class last winter. The following are my three favorite poems that I wrote and workshopped with that group:

aubade

When I starve, I feel
eternal. Your hand
comes to gently feed me.

On the wall, a basket
of almost rotting fruit, a drawing
of a woman, desperate,

casts a shadow
across the stern baseboards
of your bedroom floor.

You burrow, fresh-faced,
down the blanket.
Your hair smells clean–

cut grass and baseball practice.
I don’t know what you look like
in the morning when I dream of you

and hope is soft.
Your underbelly, pale pink
like an easter cantaloupe.

—————————–

weird villanelle

The space your body takes
I wail on. The warm bed, bare.
Many a man I enfold and embrace.

White legs dangle by the lake,
wavy, locking the golden
space your body takes.

A mayonnaise sandwich mother makes
foul, exposed to air
many a meal. I enfold and embrace

choir boys dancing in capes,
shimmying, not pinched in despair.
The space his body takes–

grabbing at guilt, taking
gold coins in his chair.
Many a man I engulf and embrace,

hallowed. Heathen-smelling, rank
hands clench, then cup shoulders, baring
the space my body takes
many a man. I unfold, I embrace.

—————————–

lester bangs

I wanted to be cool,

riding shotgun in someone’s parents’ Honda Civic,
an older model, with the soft
ribbed ridges on the seat
to comb your fingers through.
Tangled salty air and
skunk smoke.
My hair was made a mess.

In the parking lot at Fort Hill, by the old Penniman House,
whaling ghosts beached on the February shore,
a wormhole in the cupola.

He leaned on my knee and let his eyes drop.

In the middle of a wooded road,
deserted, sagging,
I threw up on my favorite boots.

In the back of a car at a smelly party
you ate me out

and it was awful.

ripGood news on the writer/art-historian-done-good front: I’ve got a new gig writing for Whurk Magazine, where I’ve been focusing on arts and music related reporting. Whurk is a monthly print mag that highlights creative communities in the Virginia area, and so far I’ve written two pieces for them, out in their June and July issues respectively: one on a taxidermy and oddities shop in Richmond that just opened up in May, the aptly and punnily named Rest In Pieces. I had the opportunity to take photographs for that piece as well, as you can see by my goofy face reflected dead-center in the image to the right. You can read my interview with the super cool, really smart, and not actually that intimidating owners of RIP here.

The other article I’ve written focuses on the upcoming 2015 Virginia Ska Fest happening at the Blue and Gray Brewing Co. at the end of July in Fredericksburg. I focus on the ska subculture that has carried the festival into its second year, and really dive back into my teenage ska-tinted memory banks. Also, I’d like to note that everyone I interviewed for the Ska Fest piece was SO NICE, like out of this world, buy you a beer, give you a lift home, nice. You can read that article here.

I’ll be writing for Whurk on a monthly basis, so check out their website for a new edition each month. For August I’m writing about the Richmond Mural Project— so keep an eye out!

bigduck_0 I’ve got a short non-fiction piece up on Richmond word-maven Valley Haggard‘s blogging site Life In 10 Minutes. The concept is thus: you write for ten minutes, edit for ten minutes, then submit your piece. I’m pretty happy with what I was able to coax out of my brain, and the snapshot essay I produced takes about one minute to read, so if you’ve got a minute to spare, check it out.

There are some really moving, emotional, raw, funny pieces up there from both Valley (who is an amazing writer) and her contributors. Take a minute to peruse and see if you don’t agree!

Me at thirteen.

I wrote a personal essay that deals with anxiety and mental illness in the mind of a pre-adolescent freak-a-zoid (aka thirteen-year-old me). You can check it out on my wonderful and supremely inspiring friend Ariel’s blog: boomerangvariety.com. Follow her, she’s got some really amazing work up there and is always looking for new contributors with stories to share!

Read the essay here: “All My Friends Are Dead”

And be on the look-out for more frequent content coming at you from popularnotions in the near future!

This holiday season I went a little crazy with the DIY-ing. I spent an dumb amount of money at A.C. Moore, the residual guilt of which furnished me with credit-card-bill-related panic attacks for the duration of the gift giving season. I am, however, pretty proud of these weird little pop-culture-inspired embroideries I made as secret Santa gifts for a very special lunkhead (my boyfriend Patrick) and my mom:

C-Czar of "Kroll Show" for Patrick.

C-Czar from “Kroll Show” for Patrick.

C-Czar is Patrick’s favorite garbage brained toilet baby with a heart of gold. This is now hanging above his desk as a constant reminder not to do crack cocaine or binge-watch sketch comedies with your girlfriend… let them eat cake!

Dr. Spencer Reid from "Criminal Minds" for mom.

Dr. Spencer Reid from “Criminal Minds” for Mom.

My mom and I have a shared crush on the inimitable Dr. Reid from “Criminal Minds.” We’ve discussed it, and we wouldn’t necessarily throw Shemar Moore out of bed either. Or Joe Mantegna. Yes, really, Joe Mantegna. He was very dapper in “Liberty Heights” and it’s always stuck with me.

If you’d like an embroidered image of your favorite sitcom character/reality TV star, become my very close friend and we’ll talk about it. Happy 2015 y’all!

photo(4)

I am intimately familiar with the feeling of my teeth falling out. The building sense of inevitable calamity, that something is wrong and I can’t put my finger on it and oh, it’s that supposedly permanent part of me eeking its way from my soft pink gums, descending between my outstretched fingers and clattering onto the floor.

I haven’t had an actual tooth organically fall out of my head since I was a child, but I have one of these my-teeth-are-falling-out dreams at least once a month. The scenario is so familiar to me that I can tell I’m dreaming based on the sole fact that my gums are loosening and egg-shell-white stones are falling into my hands. First I feel panic, then shame—did I forget to brush my teeth before bed? —I never learned to floss properly, and I didn’t swish fluoride in grade school, I had braces for six years resulting in puffy gums due to the difficult nature of attempting to wedge a thin piece of floss between metal brackets—pale green and pink at Easter, red and green for the Christmas season.

No matter the logical reasons for oral-phobia in my waking life, in my unconscious state I always feel that the shameful loss of my molar is no one’s fault but my own.

When I relate stories about my most frequently reoccurring stress-dream, it is common for the other party to respond with an emphatic “me fucking too.” They are similarly familiar with the feeling of waking up with a start and running tongue along gum line, emitting a sigh of relief when all is found to be in its proper place. As a testament to the commonality of this particular dream scenario I submit to you this evidence: there is actually a website titled http://www.teethfallingoutdream.org.

Last night, however, the time-honored script took an unexpected turn.

I dreamt that my tooth was meant to fall out. That it wasn’t really a tooth at all, but a placeholder. That when the piece of plastic I thought was my tooth fell from my mouth I had nothing to fear.

I was sitting in a classroom filled with polished wood and clean smells. A teacher’s assistant gesticulated at the front of the class while a sour-faced professor sat and glared at the backs of our heads. During the lecture I absentmindedly moved my tongue to my gum line, to that familiar spot where the same tooth has fallen from the same cavity on countless nights. In that moment I felt fresh horror. But instead of a pale rock I pulled from my mouth a small circle of plastic with grooves and cavities molded to fit my back molar; between my thumb and index finger I held a cap, a pasty crown.

I called the instructor over to show him this strange little piece of dull-white hardware. He examined the crown and explained that it could be easily fixed. “Hold on to it,” he said, “Go to your dentist, he’ll make another for you. It’s not like it was your tooth or anything.”

Hands gripping the sides of my chair in the warm, wooden classroom I pointed my tongue to the back of my mouth feeling for that perennially haunted spot. Where I usually found a raw gaping hole, a sad chasm, I felt instead smooth grooves just above the surface of my gum. My original tooth was still intact.

I shuddered awake and stared at the ceiling as I executed that familiar pull of the tongue along my gum line, checking the bottom of each tooth to see that every cavity remained filled: canine teeth still pointy, front teeth evenly spaced, as always.

Having entered “teeth falling out dream meaning” into my Google search bar countless times, I’m pretty familiar with the standard interpretation of this dream: I’m anxious that I’ve lost control over my life, that something of intangible importance is slipping out of my grasp—I need to let go of the old to make room for the new, but I’m ultimately afraid to allow those old comforts to slip away.

Contrary to these anxieties, quite apropos of my typically floundering, constantly questioning young-adulthood: I never imagined that my tooth had been there all along, resting beneath a jagged crown, patiently waiting to be unearthed.

I don’t know what will happen when I actually begin losing my teeth—when in later years my dreams become reality, as they most likely will due to the influences of general aging and rudimentary tooth decay. Perhaps I’m subconsciously preparing myself for the inevitable—so one day I’ll lick my soft pink gums and smile a toothless grin, because in loss there is freedom and in grief there is power.

I cradle that abstract comfort beneath my molars and in the spaces between my canine teeth, behind my ugly gums.

Night after night, filled with uncertainty and brimming with promise, my teeth will chatter briefly then fall through my fingers and bobble onto the floor. I will cup them in my hands, or sweep them under a rug, place them gingerly back in my mouth, or lick my dry lips and sigh, forever anticipating the discovery of a precious gem beneath a candy-rotten crown.