Khalisa Rae sat down with Gabrielle Bates, poet, podcast host, educator, gorgeous-picture taker, and all-around good person.
Pilgrim Bell takes you to a different you, past, present, and future. Each poem twisted my reality in such a way that it didn’t fully twist back. A new flexibility.
When mother tongue is villain, are you person or correction? When God and mother are both concerned with safety, but neither with voice, does safety exist?
But, damn, Poetry, you always have a way of bringing me right back. Because it turns out every writer, narrator, and subject matter, has a different make, model, obstacle, feel, and endgame. Plotlines do change. Stories do unfold. Forms to do come together. Characters do come to life.
Bloodwarm has the ability to turn heads, create conversation, and lead you toward change.
Because it’s not easy to discover your voice or yourself inside a world that doesn’t love you – or at least doesn’t love you back.
What sustains us? What nourishes our bones and our souls? How do we sustain each other? In the space between our most authentic selves and our most complicated desires, how do we connect with one another?
In each poem, readers can feel the undeniable aspect that, like nearly all mixtapes, this chapbook is for somebody (at the very least, the amalgamation of “you” that exists in all of our longings).
To tell our story, and to help tell other people, “Hey it’s okay if you’re fucked up for a long time after your dog dies.” Grief is such a wild journey, and it is different for all of us.
Didn’t know what depression felt like
Until I was nineteen
It took my crown and the jewels
And said it was fit to be king
Animals burn. Volcanos erupt. We aren’t told the story necessarily as it is; we are told how it feels to live and remember it.
I’ll understand my journey
But if need be,
Or if you need me,
May resilience resound my words,
Remember these things I say:
I still miss you
And I’d kiss you
If I could…
REPLAYS – Sip It by Iggy Azalea
The journey of an artist can be filled with highs and lows. Some meet roadblocks trying maintain success. One factor is the record label. Because of this, many artists, choose to go Independent. One of these is Australian rapper, Iggy Azalea.
As I ride the subway,
I look out into windows
Of parallel lives and trains,
Wondering how much of myself
Is looking back…
Wondering if he will see himself
REVIEW: COMB – SHADAB ZEEST HASHMI (SABLE BOOKS)
Migration challenges us to examine the “essence” of what makes us, us, and Hashmi duly documents the details.
#LENNY – S2/EP7(Ω): Ever So Lately
A hot comb straightens my new growth.
The edges of my existence.
Though I trim the dead ends,
My mane still feels unhealthy.
Still it seeks nourishment.
Something is missing and broken.
Broke and in pain
REVIEW: GIRLS LIKE US – ELIZABETH HAZEN (ALAN SQUIRE PUBLISHING)
Hazen has an acute ability to make a reader feel many unwanted things. Like recollection. Like commiseration. Like retroactive fear.
That the light we see,
And radio waves we receive,
Are just us…
Trying to communicate,
REPLAYS: HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY – GIVEON
I love the emotion as his baritone voice accentuates the rawness and sincerity in its lyrics. The relatability of the song draws people in and you cannot help but sing along.
REVIEWS & CONVERSATIONS: LET GO OF THE HANDS YOU HOLD – MARISSA GLOVER (MERCER UNIVERSITY PRESS)
When I open this collection, I approach it differently than I would most. I flip pages and find connections in what could be disjointed and unconnected things.
REVIEW: GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL’S THROAT – KHALISA RAE (RED HEN PRESS)
This is a rally cry for self-hood. For respect. For dreams once had that can be had again. This is written to give voice to the timid, a path to the promise of never again escaping the you who you always thought you could be.
REVIEW: THE MATRIX – N.H. PRITCHARD (PRIMARY INFORMATION and UGLY DUCKLING PRESS)
The collection is ultra-visual, a singing arrangement of offerings that has eyes of its own, old eyes that gaze at us from source, unblinking, revealing nothing (and everything).
REVIEW: BY BUS – ERICA VAN HORN (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE)
You find yourself next to the man licking the eczema on his arm, or next to the singing bus driver. Some of the people you meet on the bus will be lovely; others will be objectionable.
I remove myself,
Like a missing citation.
I carry the weight of thoughts,
But not the words
To reference the feelings,
I exist in narratives and stories
That I fear few will understand,
And even fewer will ever read.
I find comfort,
In who we are.
Like undesired pieces
On pages in a bin,
Soon to be deleted,
Immediately waiting to be erased,
From Random(ly) Accessed…
white people, do not recognize the need for succor in Black women, as early as ZERO years old. Their screams (voiced concerns or cries for help) appear no more urgent or fearsome than the twinkling of Christmas lights
My life is falling apart.
Slipping from my grasp,
While I hold it together,
I can’t understand
The reason for my circumstance.
I moved in slowly.
Circled my situation intently.
Vulture picking the carcass,
Of who I was and used to be.
My past became nourishment…
REVIEWS & CONVERSATIONS: PALM LINES – JONATHAN KOVEN (TOHO PUBLISHING)
Since completing its pages, I daydream of skies raining amethyst and words of wisdom yelled from random apartments windows.
REVIEW: THE WORLD ISN’T THE SIZE OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ANYMORE – AUSTIN DAVIS (WEASEL PRESS)
It’s an age of transition, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, on the blurry path to independence.
REVIEW: LESBIAN FASHION STRUGGLES – CAROLINE EARLEYWINE (SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS)
What does it mean to live within a body that has been projected upon and harmed? What does it mean to want to be seen anyway?
It was only a matter of time.
Our existence would only exist
In this chapter of my life.
The length was still undefined.
And with words
Lost in translation,
We exist on borrowed time.
Moments stolen from my dreams…
But I had to accept that
We were no longer
I took days of distance,
Contemplated all my exes,
Reflected & Reminisced,
Made a few decisions
On how to measure…
The depths of this experience
REPLAYS – What It Feels Like by Nipsey Hussle & Jay Z
In times where open dialogue surrounding different political issues have come to the forefront, the fact the discussion is happening is evident we are witnessing our own revolution in this lifetime.
POETRY IN CINEMA: YOU DESERVE MUCH BETTER IN YOUR LIFE
Animal ‘imprinting’ is hard wired, mechanical almost, just like Lorenz’s ducks, humans attach to anything in that critical period of childhood– whatever its shortcomings.
REVIEW: LOOK LOOK LOOK – CALLISTA BUCHEN (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)
There’s a sense of absence in this first section as the mother’s body becomes a singular state once again, but there’s also a slip from autonomy.
#TPQ5: HALLE PRENETA
What will Halle Preneta include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!