A fluttering tension rests
at the base of my spine
a tight coil bound by string
wound up, spiraling
to the base of my neck
I try to sooth it, I say
“I love you, base of my spine”
but it only trembles
I try to ease it, tips of my
fingers trace the lines up
through the base of my skull
pressing soft, I say to it
“I love you, base of my skull”
but it only tightens
I try to listen yet it will
not relax or surrender
it will not release control
I say, “I love you, tender skin”
but my heart knows what
my body is suffocating for
Jennifer Tara Takahashi grew up near the ocean, camping across California and dreaming under chirimoya trees in her grandmother’s wild back yard. This connection with nature is an important part of who she is as a teacher, artist and woman. She is an artist without the ability to commit to one material, since she enjoys the thrill of learning new techniques. Jennifer explores mixed media, watercolor, fiber arts, silk painting as well as creating crochet ocean meditation stones, fine silver jewelry and once-was-a-sweater plush animals. She creates art to convey serenity, love and to remind others of the joy and healing that connecting with nature can bring. With this in mind, Jennifer opened The Grateful Dandelion Atelier, a children’s studio in Pacific Beach, California, which offers classes in yoga, mindfulness, storytelling and the arts. She looks forward to sharing the hand work, creativity and relaxation that…
Thanks to Ellen Weber, my entire set from my feature at the Ugly Mug on July 25, 2018 was recorded and compiled into a playlist. Half of which are poems from my last chapbook, Seventeen Poems Not About a Lover, and from my next full-length book, Conversations with Gravel.
I’m really excited to announce my newest full-length collection of poetry, Conversations with Gravel, being released early in October 2018. This collection was 5 years in the making with poems based on love, heartbreak, and coping with loss. It’s 110-pages, perfect bound with cover and interior gorgeous art by Jennifer Takahashi. This book can be purchased on SadieGirlPress.com and soon at Made by Millworks in Long Beach. Preorder online with the discount code PresaleCWG.
I said it all. Slit a line down my throat and pried it open like a dissected frog. I bent over and shook my head upside down to dump all that shit out. I don’t have time for ulcers anymore so I cut a line through my esophagus, past my heart to my stomach. I used the sharpest knife I could find and scraped them out. Word after word corroding the stomach walls. daddy, sick, penis, bedroom, underwear My hands covered in black-tar memories. I scrape them all out. father, protect, shhhhh, coarse hairs, vagina I thrust the knife in deeper until I find the last of them. child, baby, girl, dim light, daddy I washed them all in the sink. I scrubbed, rinsed, and dried. Then set them in the full daylight sun. Some I kept, put them on the highest shelf. Others went one-by-one, slow and deliberate into a grinding disposal. The last of them rest safely between pages of poetry.
First published in Then & Now: Conversations with Old Friends
The Long Beach Press Telegram published an article written by Mary Anne Perez about the poetry and literary scene in my community. I was thrilled to help spotlight all the amazing things my friends are doing.
I remember more than I want to admit
More than I can say out loud.
So much of it has never passed
through my vocal chords.
I can recall a picture at will.
I went so far as to type it out.
I can hold the pages in hand,
but I am afraid to see them.
Afraid to hear them read aloud.
It remains in my stomach,
where I stuffed it.
Sometimes it surges up like vomit
and I catch it in my throat.
It’s like a rope pulled tighter.
My pain sits and I can not speak.
I am voiceless.
I find other things to talk about.
It settles back down.
I move on.
I have ulcers.
First published in Healing the Heart of Ophelia (2001).