REVIEW: SUPERDOOM – MELISSA BRODER (TIN HOUSE PRESS)

“Together, the poems function a bit like a greatest hits album, showcasing the breadth of style and distinct humor for which Broder is known”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REVIEW: SACRILEGIOUS – CHRIS L. BUTLER (FAHMIDAN)

“Because religion can be found inside a Walkman. Inside a radio song. A news segment. Because inside these personal stories and erasures of 2Pac lines, we find a refreshed and re-defined sense of The Word”. – Chris Margolin

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TPQ20: EPISODE 18 – PATRICK ROCHE

Chris sits down with Patrick Roche, author of A Socially Acceptable Breakdown (Button Poetry), for a one-on-one conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: AFTER LAST NIGHT – SILK SONIC

If I could have one wish
we’d make up the whole constellation
The only shining star I need
To light up the night
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: STOKED & THRASHING – CLEM FLOWERS (ALIEN BUDDHA PRESS)

“Stoked and Thrashing is a masterclass of sensory engagement in writing”. – Whitney Hansen

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TPQ20: EPISODE 17 – ASHLEY ELIZABETH

Chris and Courtney sit down with Ashley Elizabeth, author of You Were Supposed to be a Friend (Nightengale & Sparrow), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: PECULIAR HERITAGE – DeMISTY BELLINGER (MASON JAR PRESS)

“By revisiting historical moments and paying respects to figures that came before her, the author shines light on the issues we still are dealing with today”. – Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 16 – TAYLOR BYAS

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Taylor Byas, author of Bloodwarm (Variant Lit), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

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TPQ20: EPISODE 15 – DeMISTY D. BELLINGER

Join Courtney and Chris Margolin for a sit down with DeMisty D. Bellinger, author of Peculiar Heritage (Mason Jar Press), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: YELLOW RAIN – MAI DER VANG (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

“Mai Der Vang masters contemporary poetic structures, grounds her verse in vivid and haunting imagery, and carries a central narrative throughout the collection”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

TALK TO ME: CLAIRE TAYLOR

“I wonder if I can write an entire manuscript centered around the lines from [the Growing Pains] theme song. And that is what I did”. – Claire Taylor

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TPQ20: EPISODE 14 – JOSE HERNANDEZ DIAZ

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Jose Hernandez Diaz, Editor of Frontier Poetry, on passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: THROW IT AWAY – SUMMER WALKER

And how did you throw it away
That’s the words I mustered up to say
How you just throw it away
You did everything to go and not stay
How you gonna throw it away
Thankful that you let us go separate ways
How you gonna throw it away
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 13 – RITA MOOKERJEE

Courtney & Chris Margolin sit down with Rita Mookerjee of Honey Literary to discuss all things passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: EVERY JOURNAL IS A PLAGUE JOURNAL – RAYE HENDRIX (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

“Hendrix does not shy away from the complex, daily horrors that were ushered in, and the microscopic to multidimensional trauma that came from hearing the city cheer nightly, like a ritual or like war”. – Rachael Crosbie

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TPQ20: EPISODE 12 – ARIANA BROWN

Chris Margolin sits down one-on-one with Ariana Brown, author of We Are Owed, for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: VISITING HOURS – ED SHEERAN

If heaven had visiting hours
I’d probably cry and never want to leave
If time could stand still for a second
I would beg and plead
Until the next time I see you all
Hopefully you’ll have stories for me
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 11 – CHEN CHEN

Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Chen Chen for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry. They might also talk about Russian literature, Buffy, and the horrors of getting sucked down a mall escalator. This is quite the conversation!

REVIEW: EDEN – ROBERT FREDE KENTER (FLOODLIGHT EDITIONS)

“It is a compelling masterpiece of a book that I recommend to all who love visual poetry and those willing to delve into something new.” – Kari Flickinger

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TPQ20: EPISODE 10 – DARE WILLIAMS

Courtney and Chris sit down with Dare Williams for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: MOTIONLESS – BIA

You used to eat away at my psyche
Listening to my mind thinking you like me
New checks turned into Nikes
New balances turned into might be’s
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: LITTLE ROOMS WITH BAD LIGHTING – MAGI SUMPTER (GHOST CITY PRESS)

“Each poem acts as a space that was once inhabited with the speaker or those they hold dear. Each poem holds a period of time”. – Whitney Hansen

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TPQ20: EPISODE 9 – DEESHA PHILYAW

Chris and Courtney sit down with Deesha Philyaw to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: ALL THE NAMES GIVEN – RAYMOND ANTROBUS (TIN HOUSE)

“Antrobus includes several poems that recall experiences with incarcerated people, and alludes to his own arrest. These poems speak to the terrible relationship between disability and incarceration by humanizing their subjects.” – Ronnie K. Stephens

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TPQ20: EPISODE 8 – SARAH KERSEY

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Sarah Kersey about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry!

EVERYTHING IS A POEM: BETTER CALL SOMEBODY, AND PLEASE DON’T YELL

“I have also tried to be somebody that I’m not. It hurts to crack yourself into multiple parts. It is the loudest noise. It breaks you”. – Alex Dang

REVIEW: a more perfect Union – TERI ELLEN CROSS DAVIS (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS)

“Davis invites the readers to join and spark change in the infrastructure of the country to bring about a revolution”. – Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 7 – DENZEL SCOTT

Chris and Courtney sit down with Denzel Scott to discuss passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: LINEAGE OF RAIN – JANEL PINEDA (HAYMARKET)

“Pineda isn’t injecting a false sense of optimism into her collection, but rather the whole narrative arc is meticulously designed, starting with the positives before masterfully shifting into the reality”. – Joseph Edwin Haegar

MUSES VOL. 1: ANDRE 3000 REMINDS US OF THE POWER INSIDE HEARTFELT ART

“Rappers like Andre Benjamin remind me that poems are the tender glove we need during despair, and the spiked bat of words that can be wielded against injustice” – Chris L. Butler

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TPQ20: EPISODE 6 – TODD DILLARD

Chris sits down with Todd Dillard, author of Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry.

SPEAK FREELY: IN DEFIANCE OF EVERYTHING

“Hopefully this will allow us all to go out into the world exposed, tongues out in absolute defiance of everything that would dare try to break us”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

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TPQ20: EPISODE 5 – GEORGE ABRAHAM

Courtney and Chris sit down with George Abraham, author of Birthright (Button Poetry), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: OTHER PEOPLE’S COMFORT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT – MORGAN PARKER (TIN HOUSE)

“Parker is someone who immediately displays a deep understanding of the human condition. She’s also terrifyingly comfortable with vulnerability, unique for first collections”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

TALK TO ME: AMANDA McLEOD

“And that in-between is what I wanted to look at in Heartbreak Autopsy. I’ve known a lot of people who’ve walked around wondering where their happily ever after is – this book is for them”. – Amanda McLeod

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TPQ20: EPISODE 3 – DANEZ SMITH

Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Danez Smith this week to discuss Passions, Process, Pitfalls, and Poetry!

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TPQ20 – EPISODE 2: EBONY STEWART

Courtney sits down with the legendary Ebony Stewart for a special one-on-one edition of TPQ20

GETTING THE GURLZ: AN INTERVIEW WITH I.S. JONES

“If someone is perceived as “conventionally attractive” then their pain is taken more seriously, or to be frank, people care more about their suffering.” – I.S. JONES

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TPQ20: EPISODE 1 – SAM HERSCHEL WEIN

Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Sam Herschel Wein to talk about Passions, Process, Pitfalls, and Poetry. 

REVIEW: A NET TO CATCH MY BODY IN ITS WEAVING – KATIE FARRIS (BELOIT POETRY JOURNAL)

“… the poems also work to remind readers about the oft-ignored moments of grace that surround difficult times”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: ABAJÓ LA DICTADURA – HALFOFYOU

“…ensure that your art is a voice for generations to come and to be a leader in your own revolution”. – Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: SAN JUNIPERO – GABRIELKNOWSEVERYTHING

Seeking permanence in these verses

Been playing out my own story to find what my worth is

My purpose

– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: POETRY AND POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM

“Poetry is something I love deeply, mainly because those from whom I have learned the most, personally and professionally, have been poets. I’ve never encountered a lesson that wouldn’t benefit from the inclusion of a poem or three”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

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WELCOME TO TPQ20 – SEASON 1 TRAILER

We are so excited to bring you the teaser for our debut podcast, TPQ20, where Courtney and Chris Margolin talk to writers about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry! Make sure to share, subscribe, rate, and review! 

EVERYTHING IS POETRY: IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO GO INSIDE

“When you’re an 8th grader with a blog where you write sad heartbreak lyrics, a lot of forehead acne, and long, swoopy bangs in hopes it covers it up, something’s gotta give. I had to own up to something, and the thing I took back was my smile.” – Alex Dang

REPLAYS: WASTE MY TIME – TRE SENSEI

I want something natural
No challenge too great to handle
No trying to boast or ramble
Love is here to be gambled
So I don’t want a sample
I want something that’s ample
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: THIS SMALL MACHINE OF PRAYER – BETH GORDON (KELSAY BOOKS)

Snapshots of a life lived with those small mundane moments that create someone’s very existence, only to shatter our hopes that it’d turn out differently…. – @Joseph Edwin Haeger

TALK TO ME: COLIN BANCROFT

“The language of wrestling is poetic because it’s filled with metaphor and allusion and countless other vehicles for expression.” – Colin Bancroft

REPLAYS: 180 – DANNY LONDON

180 discusses the notion that as things around you move so quickly, it’s ok to slow down and reflect, restart or refocus. No matter how many times, I learned to continue to do what’s necessary in order to continue doing what you love.

REVIEW: YOU BETTER BE LIGHTNING – ANDREA GIBSON (BUTTON POETRY)

But what stands out most in You Better Be Lightning is grace, for themselves and, often, for those who have harmed them.

REPLAYS: CANCELED – BRYSON TILLER

Certain artists captivate me with the shock value they bring when it comes to the music they release… Listening to this song recently had the same reaction I had when listening to it the first time and I was able to curate a new piece. Enjoy!

TPQ WEEKEND EXPANSION PACK #4

We’ve Got Questions! You’ve Got Answers! Download a New Question Image Each Week and Collect Them All!

REPLAYS: DIE FOR YOU

In the beginning stages of my writing, I just wanted to mimic the musicality of the artists to improve my writing abilities.

REVIEW: EVERYTHING SAVED WILL BE LAST – ISAAC PICKELL (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)

This book isn’t about what we wish we could have said. No, it’s a collection full of things we’re too afraid to talk about.

TPQ WEEKEND EXPANSION PACK #3

We’ve Got Questions! You’ve Got Answers! Download a New Question Image Each Week and Collect Them All!

REPLAYS: OVER – DRAKE

The song served as a reintroduction for my love for writing. For the first time, I was able to combine my love for both music and writing together.

REVIEW: BLERD: ‘80s BABY, ‘90s KID – CHRIS L. BUTLER (DAILY DRUNK MAGAZINE)

Butler uses a seamless combination of 90s pop culture and imagery with slick rhymes and beautiful sonic and tonal qualities. These are poems that demand to be performed on a stage and to be read studiously at your desk. The musicality he brings elevates the feeling of nostalgia into a full soundtrack; you can see the protagonist walking to their perfect theme song. – Alex Dang

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We’ve Got Questions! You’ve Got Answers! Download a New Question Image Each Week and Collect Them All!

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN W/ LANNIE STABILE

“The reverence isn’t in the experiences, it’s in the powerful men. A woman is supposed to feel flattered when a man finds her irresistible. This book is a middle finger to that expectation”. – Lannie Stabile

REVIEW: WE RECORD THE FIRST LINE – PHOEBE WAGNER (CUP & DAGGER)

There is a sense of independence and protest, a polite shake of the head at social norms that says, “Thanks, but no thanks. We have our own way of doing things”. – Lannie Stabile

REPLAYS: CAN’T TOUCH THIS – MC HAMMER

My love for music dates back to me being a kid, where whenever my mom needed to occupy my time while she was busy, she would turn on the music videos.

TPQ WEEKEND EXPANSION PACK #1

We’ve Got Questions! You’ve Got Answers! Download a New Question Image Each Week and Collect Them All!

GETTING THE GURLZ: AN INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLE BATES

Khalisa Rae sat down with Gabrielle Bates, poet, podcast host, educator, gorgeous-picture taker, and all-around good person.

REVIEW: PILGRIM BELL – KAVEH AKBAR (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

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. 

REVIEW: BORN IN A SECOND LANGUAGE – AKOSUA ZIMBA AFIRIYIE-HWEDIE (BUTTON POETRY)

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?

ODES FROM THE EDITOR: AUGUST EDITION

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.

EVOLUTION OF TPQ

We are working not only to continue to provide quality reviews, but to expand and produce more original content/columns. In order to do so, it’s time for us to take a small hiatus to prepare for the next step in our evolution. 

REVIEW: BLOODWARM – TAYLOR BYAS (VARIANT LIT)

Bloodwarm has the ability to turn heads, create conversation, and lead you toward change.

REVIEW: DOPPLEGANGBANGER – CORTNEY LAMAR CHARLESTON (HAYMARKET BOOKS)

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.

BROWN STUDY: “OMELET” – ZORA SATCHELL

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? 

REPLAYS: “LOVE ME LIKE YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME” – KYLE

Should’ve learned to love me
By asking questions
Instead of taking my actions for granted
And second guessing
My motives
My intentions

REVIEW: APPLE SKIN – KELSIE COLCLOUGH (SWORD & KETTLE / CUP & DAGGER).

All in all, it’s a one for one exchange of the original myth, albeit more fleshed out, modern, and quietly queer. – Lannie Stabile

REVIEW: LOVE MOST OF YOU TOO – DUSTIN BROOKSHIRE (HARBOR EDITIONS)

This chapbook showcases a voice reclaiming words meant to hurt, detailing the traits wanted in a lover, and reminding the reader “not to accept what’s in front of you / at face value.”

REPLAYS: NO TIME BY KRIIISPY & M.I.L.O.

She says her time is money
And I don’t have time to waste
Tired of dealing with the same dudes
Done with the copy and paste
Babygirl just like wine and I’m trying to have a taste

REVIEWS: “THE DANDELION SPEAKS OF SURVIVAL” QUINTIN COLLINS (CHERRY CASTLE PUBLISHING)

What makes The Dandelion Speaks of Survival special is that it is more than a collection by a Black writer, but rather an Ode to Blackness.

REVIEW: “MIXTAPES” – RACHAEL CROSBIE (ELJ EDITIONS)

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).

REPLAYS: “PASADENA” BY TINASHE & BUDDY

Filled with positivity
Strengthening my sanity
Took last year
As a moment of clarity
The things you see now
Bask in the rarity

TALK TO ME: “MY GOAL IS TO REPLICATE THE DEVASTATION” – LYNN(E) SCHMIDT

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.

REPLAYS: “SUN GOES DOWN” – LIL NAS X

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

REVIEW: HOW SHE READ – CHANTAL GIBSON (CAITLIN PRESS)

At what point does language become meaningless? When does language actually lose its power?

REPLAYS: SEEING GREEN BY NICKI MINAJ, DRAKE, & LIL’ WAYNE

I been doing this here since Wayne’s dedication
I been doing this here, hear the dedication
I’ve been doing this hair, na look at the transformation
Went bald on everyone
And look how things shaping up
If you ain’t growing with me
Then you had to be cut

REVIEW: DESCANSOS – KATHERINE OSBORNE (SALO PRESS)

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.

“MY MFA ONLY MADE MY BLENDER WHIR FASTER”: TALK TO ME: CHRISTINE SLOAN STODDARD

I used discarded camera and computer parts to print into clay tablets. I bleached chicken bones, spray-painted various objects, drew large-scale oil pastel scenery, and cut up old books all for art installations.

REPLAYS: WHAT YOU NEED – DON TOLIVER

I can be your new edition
Can you stand the rain
And when the grey clouds roll away
Does the sun reveal your pain

REVIEW: PICNIC IN THE ABATTOIR – EMMA HYCHE (DANCING GIRL PRESS)

But as the moments move forward, nothing breaking through the quiet, we are met with the release of breath the speaker has been holding for far too long

REPLAYS: “LOVE LINE” – SHIFT K3Y & TINASHE

This week’s #REPLAYS takes on “Love Line,” the newest track from British producer Shift K3Y, featuring Tinashe.

REVIEW: GOD’S BOY – ANDREW HAHN (SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS)

If this is what it means to be godly, why would anyone stay? And if you are already considered to be straying, why not have some fun with it?

BROWN STUDY: “HOME-GOING CELEBRATION” BY KHALISA RAE

“Home-Going Celebration” is a sly poem that bubbles with contradictions. An elegy rooted in mourning, the language pops with the dizzy rush of one sip too many.

“THE READER THINKS THEY’RE IN ON THE JOKE”. – TALK TO ME: SHAWN BERMAN

I’m inspired a lot by stand-up comedians, so a lot of my work is me pretending I’m on stage telling a joke, trying to draw the audience in. – Shawn Berman

REPLAYS: Save Your Tears (Remix) by The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

If I wanted someone to switch up on me, I’d take my talents to Nintendo

Opened up to you just to be shut out like a window

The price I paid for your love as you sent it to others like Venmo

REVIEW: SEE WHAT LIFE IS LIKE – DOROTHY SPENCER (LUMPEN)

See What Life is Like, is dark and brutal, unsparing in ugly detail. But during a first aid course last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about how smart and accurate her writing is. 

“TODAY WE ARE A WHITE-WING DOVE, TOMORROW WE ARE A SPIRIT” TALK TO ME: KHALISA RAE

Because so many false narratives are being told about Black bodies, it is so crucial to tell the truth about what happens to us and the crimes that are committed against us. I think the true art is sharing the horror in a way that isn’t just trauma porn, but it’s art for a purpose.

REPLAYS: MET HIM LAST NIGHT – DEMI LOVATO & ARIANA GRANDE

REPLAYS: MET HIM LAST NIGHT – DEMI LOVATO & ARIANA GRANDE ​

Bogeyman in my mind
Trying to creep into reality
Defeated him in the past
So right now he mad at me

“L3” (LENNY Season Three).

Alternate lives or alternate realities? See how things unfold in “L3” (#LENNY Season Three).

View the full campaign and donate here:
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(L3: LENNY Season 3 will be available August 2021)

S2/EP10: Nurture.

S2/EP10: Nurture.

We are taught,
That relationships
Are for other people,
As they navigate the course
And direct the scene of our love.
Why is that?

REPLAYS: PinkPantheress – Pain

REPLAYS: PinkPantheress – Pain

And I 99.9% mean when I say
I’m glad I washed my hands of any
And everything surrounding the pain

REVIEW: HOW OFTEN I HAVE CHOSEN LOVE – XIAO YUE SHAN (FRONTIER POETRY)

REVIEW: HOW OFTEN I HAVE CHOSEN LOVE – XIAO YUE SHAN (FRONTIER POETRY)

Shan’s natural metaphors connect the experiences in this collection to a deep relationship with the physical world, grounding these stories into the earth.

REVIEW: Perhaps There Is a Sky We Don’t Know: A Re-imaging of Sappho – Ann Pedone

REVIEW: PERHAPS THERE IS A SKY WE DON’T KNOW: A REIMAGINING OF SAPPHO – ANNE PEDONE

Pedone’s poems are more demure than a cleverly placed erection joke, however. She unironically uses words like nectar, taste, and swollen…

CHAPBOOK CONTEST: SUBMISSIONS OPEN!

CHAPBOOK CONTEST: SUBMISSIONS OPEN!

Submit your chapbook manuscripts to The Poetry Question! Guest Judges: Sofia Fey & Chris L. Butler.

S2/EP9(Ω): Òleksandr aka Uri.

I’ll understand my journey
One day,
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…