2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry · Unanchored

The Silence of Trains

“You fall in love
with someone who knows
the same silence as you”
Daniel McGinn

I fell in love with the man
who knew the same silence—
the silence of trains up close
in roaring motion, the strength
is deafening, a lulling voice
Its constancy feels like comfort

I loved the man who knew
the silence of city lights
from hill tops at midnight
The stars blushing down
at Los Angeles sprawled out
limbs open wide

The silence of public spaces
after dark, after closing,
after all other souls
are empty from it

I fell in love with the man
whose tongue filled
with paper and sand,
whose throat I saw dancing,
telling secrets, whose hands—
those hands said things
out loud for the first time

I’d been listening for years
Hear it? The silence, it swallows me

Originally appeared on Cadence Collective.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings

Sunken

Click here to listen to live recording with music!

You were always in need of sleep
always closing your eyes
lying against me
I built myself around you
a place of safe-rest

Let those deep gut-long sighs
out into our warm space
rubbed your dark-circled eyes
when I bathed you
in my wide comfort

I pressed for your surrender
my hands on your jaw
I know your eyelids
better than your eyes
You said it was me, not it

You said it serious
so I’d believe you
but sleep is not surrender
and job-tired was your cover

Your heart-tired sunk me
under, down, below
There isn’t a long enough bed
I’d never be enough rest

First published on Cadence Collective

Events · Feature Readings

April 5, 2014 Pondwater Presents: Nancy Lynée Woo and Sarah Thursday

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On Saturday, April 5th, we are taking over Pondwater! Nancy and I have been planning and plotting to present poetry in a beautiful and unique way.

Here is the information from the event page on Facebook.

Pondwater Presents: “We Are Not The Silence”: An Outdoor Showcase with Nancy Lynée Woo and Sarah Thursday

Synchronicity runs rampant between these two. Nancy and Sarah first crossed paths less than one year ago when they met at The Poetry Lab. They quickly realized they shared the same zeal and fervor for the world of poetry, and they seemed to have approached that a-ha moment of “Yes, let’s do this!” around the same time. So they began to write, read, workshop and attend countless poetry events together. Throughout these experiences, they also connected on growing up with struggle, living as empowered, passionate women, and manifesting dreams of bright poetry futures.

Sarah and Nancy are thrilled to be guests of the ever-charming Pondwater estate! They will be showcasing some of their best and least silent work – in conversation with one another. Plus, they’ll be accompanied by their musical friends – yes, music! They’re lovingly calling the evening, “We Are Not The Silence.” Bring your biggest hearts.

Nancy Lynée Woo has been writing poems since she was 8 years old but is only recently out of denial that she does in fact write poems. (She does in fact write poems!) In the last year, her work has been published or is forthcoming in a few journals, such as Artemis Journal, The Subterranean Quarterly, CHEAP POP, Cease, Cows and of course the wonderful Cadence Collective.

Before the poetry fire was fully lit, Nancy earned a degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz, then spent the lost years after college flitting around as a Jane of a million trades. Now, she is working full-time as an editor while striving toward a first collection of poems. You can see her freelance website at spilltheink.net and follow her on Twitter @fancifulnance.

Sarah Thursday is a music obsessed, Long Beach poetry advocate, member of The Poetry Lab, and teacher of 4th and 5th graders. Poetry has been a part of her life since she tried to write songs on her grandmother’s guitar at age 7. Without musical talent, poetry became her song. After a ten year hiatus, she returned to her song and dove into the poetry community by creating and running CadenceCollective.net, a website to feature Long Beach area poets and poetry events. With the guidance of co-host G. Murray Thomas, she now co-hosts 2nd Mondays Poetry Party at Gatsby Books.

She is honored to have forthcoming or been published in The Long Beach Union (CSULB), The Atticus Review, East Jasmine Review, Lummox, Carnival, Ishaan Literary Review, and Mayo Review. Her full length collection, All the Tiny Anchors, is in the works. Follow her at SarahThursday.com.

16504 E. Masline St., Covina, CA 91722

2010s · 2014 · Poetry · Publications

All the Ways I Love You, Long Beach

Check out my poem on Cadence Collective, about my home city, Long Beach. I moved literally more than 20 times before I was ten and started my eighth school in 5th grade. I always felt out of place because we were really poor and pretty much homeless (not one of our own) for a few years. Then in 1984, we moved to Long Beach to a duplex in an alley off 7th and Junipero. It wasn’t a nicer place, but our tornado lives just blended in with the rest of my surroundings. (Which is what Child of the Alleyway is about.)

I moved to North Long Beach for middle school and high school. It felt more like a normal life than anything I’d know before then. After high school, I moved back to the South Bay area for a while, but it never felt like home. I returned to Long Beach in ’98 and have lived in almost each corner of it. It still makes sense to me. It’s diverse and messy and cultured and poor and familied and wealthy and gangster and ghetto and historic and avenued and civic and artsy and we all mix together in this beautiful stew.

All the Ways I Love You, Long Beach

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

How He Is Not My Child

I didn’t stay up at the hospital until three a.m. waiting for the
doctors to assess the situation. I didn’t have to be the one to
sign papers for the insurance company, for permission to treat,
for release of legal responsibility. I didn’t have to field the
calls, protect him from his mother, sit next to him for hours
under the cold florescent lights of anger. I did not bare the
weight of pen on paper to surrender my flesh and blood to the
intervention of complete strangers. I am not the parent
deciding always how much to force him to wake up early, get
up out of bed, and live his life, or how much to let him sleep,
let him fail classes, let him learn from his own mistakes like a
boy on the verge of adulthood. I didn’t watch the labor of
sixteen years calling out from rooftops for men in uniforms to
pull him down, dress his wounds, search for more weapons.

8-10-13
Originally published on Cadence Collective, 10-15-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Brown Eyed Boy (But Not a Boy)

You strode in with shoulders
of a man so much taller,
your eyes held back with the tilt
of your head and chin up.

I tried to see you coming from behind
but I was looking for the wrong boy.
There was this guy—not a boy—not a man
but same brown eyes, same brown curls
(and growing). It was you, undeniably.
Your brows were long and circles
under your eyes were set hard.

I know that posture so well,
I’ve seen it my mirrors past
and in my angry generation.
But you—not you—not your brown eyes,
I have your face memorized like song,
I have loved every inch of it.

I hoped you’d never be familiar
with clenching fists, scraping skin,
bracing the beat of your heart
to stop it from hemorrhaging,
it will callus thick like cartilage.
Grit your teeth and stare them down
without flinching and unbolt the windows.

I have only seen you as a child,
my hand-holding boy in the back seat.
But here you sit, defiant smile,
refusing to play nice—I’m listening.
You now at sixteen, elbows out
tired of rolling with the tide.

You see none that qualifies, all their
smoke and mirrors don’t fool us now.
We are all playing the part of the wizard,
but you’re far too old for fairy tales.
I want to sing you to sleep, but you
are not six, you need more than lullabies.

You mapped the exits, found the weak hinges
(eventually, you’ll see them everywhere).
I can’t offer you shit, except how I get it,
I’ll stop holding you to that promise
that you will invent that shrink-ray
and keep yourself a child for me.

5-5-13
Originally published on Cadence Collective, 9-29-13

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Song Writer

It so often
starts with music
plucking my heart
strings like a harp

that emotional swell
up like a tide
like a current I can’t fight
or don’t want to

I just lay back
and surrender, float
along the story sung
by the conductor of my

waiting breath, because
it sinks so much deeper
from the top of my throat
through my inner workings

to my lower central
nervous system, down
to the extent of my toes
and back up my thighs

sound is a gift and song-
sung by voice or guitar
violin or piano keys
I devour it all like a greedy

beast, licking its plate
I have never been
satisfied once, so I
became a poet to sing

in the voice God
gave to all poets, song-
writers without notes
without melody, yes

rhythm still, but music
words-not voice-still
breathe on the page and
inhale deep before the next

line. I am singing.

4-15-13
Originally published in Cadence Collective, 8-12-13