Earlier this year I had the privilege of competing in the Women Of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) and it was an amazing experience. One of my favorite aspects of that weekend was the workshops held by amazing poets like Gypsy Yo, Denise Jolly and Mahogany Browne. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it to all of the workshops, just the ones by the poets I mentioned. The poem I am sharing with you all today comes from the workshop facilitated by Mahogany Browne. We covered a lot of ground in her workshop and I wish I had even more time under her wing as she is a phenomenal inspiration.
The prompt we were given was to use this as our muse: “Come celebrate with me today. Something has tried to kill me and failed.” After we began to write Mahogany would toss out a random word every now and then that was to alter the path of our thoughts and it was our job to mold our words around that and make it coherent. Here is what happened (words in highlight were the words she tossed out if I remember correctly).
He took my heart
left me gasping for breath.
I was nearly buried in the spot
he abandoned me in.
He was savage
I swear he was
in the way he reached into me
and twisted until my pulse was his to control
When he told me it was over
He was savage
Must have been out for blood
Used to be the cave I dwelled in
he was the place I’d go to
when things weren’t or shouldn’t have been
Now he is the place I am held hostage
he is the unsafe space
I thought was home.
He used to be the warmest blue
now, I swear it,
he is silver cold,
winter white has got nothing on him
His love was once a roar
I couldn’t shut out
now he only sounds like an incessant hum of
It’s over. It’s over. It’s over.
I am under my skin naked
gasping for the air I gave his name
as if my lungs, gliding over and under,
could tell my esophagus to call him back to me
I am covered in rust
the way I cried for him
the moment he walked away from me
turned me tarnished
I wonder if it’s because she laughed more
smelled like something prettier,
Sustained him the way water sustains,
I wonder if she knows how he will take her love
and rip it, bend it, make malleable of it
as if it is not supposed to be stronger than steel
I swear he will, I swear it.
He tried to kill me, my heart, with his love.
maybe like a banshee for all I know
I gave him hours he didn’t deserve
but when dusk came,
when it settled in around me like dust
I was still here
Breathing air I gave a new name,
my own name
as if my lungs, over and under,
could tell my esophagus to call me back to myself.
I hope you guys enjoyed this. I thought that prompt was awesome because it takes what you are writing onto a completely different path! Hopefully I will get the time to edit this and clean it up a bit as it is in its original form. Thanks for reading!