Thursday Inspiration

Virago

Petrichor wafted into her beaten lungs.

Nourishing the forest within.

Rain stroked her bruised skin.

Filling the droughted river.

Psithurism played her favorite tune.

Dancing with extravagant grace.

Wind carried her elegant locks.

Praising her every perfection.

She flew beyond the forbidden skies,

And saw her distant past.

The scars on her body illuminate.

The wars she fought, a clean slate.

She designs a path,

and opens the gate to the never-ending.

My name is Malavika Saju. I was born in India but lived most of my life in Africa. I moved to Dubai 6 years ago for my education. I am currently a first year University student. I have been an avid poem writer for the last three years but have had one piece of work published. I am a business student, but I find that poetry and literature play a major role in my passions and the ways I express myself. I look forward to my work being reviewed and possibly published.

Follow Malavika Saju on Instagram @malavika_saju

Coffee tip:

When shopping for coffee, keep in mind light roast beans hold more caffeine than dark roast. But, if you desire a bolder flavor, dark roast is a better choice!

Mid-Week Words

Bottoms up

You poured words into my cup
And I drank them.

Older sister, you handed me my cup of coffee

Every morning filled with opinions,

And you smiled.

You told me of what should and shouldn’t be.

You told me of tradition and shame.

Your smile masked out the blackness,

And I kept drinking it.

My kin, you charged my drink

Every evening with etiquettes and guidelines,

And I faked a smile.

I heard your tales of how to be.

I heard your tales of convention and guilt.

My smile filled out my face,

And I swallowed.

My predecessor, you taught me how to make it.

Every night, you laid out the steps

And I learned them by heart.

I followed your instructions,

I made all the right moves.

Your nod was a proud approval

And I held into my tight smile.

When morning came around

I poured words into her cup

And she drank them… oblivious
That they were chains in disguise.

Identity

My feminist father would never claim this identity…

My feminist father is ashamed of knowing;

what’s in the cupboards of our kitchen,

where we keep the detergent,

How to properly do the dishes.

My feminist father is embarrassed

By his love for cooking and lecturing me about it;

Be kind to you casseroles, he tells me,

Be gentle with your ingredients.

I catch the smile that tugs on his disproval.

My Feminist father feels guilty;

For not wanting to go out every night,

For preferring to stay at home.

He settles into his cozy corner,

We blame the cold for keeping him in.

Yet, My feminist father would never claim this identity…

Instead, it claims him.

Hunted

One need not be a house to be hunted, 

One need not be a thing.

A body would do just fine,

A memory, a hymn.

When on your bed you fall at night,

He is there to tuck you in.

He lays there beside you,

He creeps under your skin.

Fear not my darling,

Hold up your chin.

When you wake in the morning,

He will have you still.

Rania Attafi is a feminist Tunisian poet. She’s a teacher by day and a poet by night.

Follow Rania Attafi on Instagram @raniaattafi

Coffee tip:

Not all decaf coffee is created equal. There are two processes to remove caffeine from beans. One uses a chemical to remove caffeine and leaves some nasty traces that enter your body with the java. The other preferred method that is more expensive is water-based. If you’re drinking a cup of decaf, ask how the brand removes the caffeine. Try drinking decaf that is water processed for your health!

Drinking Up Tuesday

WOODEN GODDESS

You don’t know me

but stare at my hard, brown belly

as if it were my brain

mocking you

As I stand guard

on your shelf from night’s yawn

till morning winks a billion blinks

pile up dust shawls over my wooden skin

You might fear or revere

my definitive demeanor

my resolve, the way space must

curve and arch

Around my impossible beauty

But stop, please

each day and

hear the music

I have soaked

from my roots to yours

It resounds in bold buttery

waves over oceans

and through guitar strings

to the umbilical where life crawled

from that mysterious mother

who carried your love

Tamra Plotnick’s poetry and prose works have been published in many journals and anthologies, including: Serving House Journal; The Waiting Room Reader, Global City Review and The Coachella Review. Her poetry collection In the Zero of Sky is forthcoming from Assure Press. She has performed her work in multimedia shows at a range of venues in New York City where she lives. She dances samba and raqs sharki, teaches high school, and lingers with friends and family when not writing poetry.

Learn more about Tamra at

tamraplotnick.net and assurepress.org/tamraplotnick

Coffee tip:

What do you do with that last half cup of coffee left in the kettle? Do you save it? Do you let it go cold? Or, do you guzzle it down? Did you know that house plants can use the nutrients in coffee? Instead of dumping the last little bit of the caffeinated goodness down the drain, try watering a plant instead. The nitrates give our little green friends an extra boost of nutrients they often lack from just water.

Monday Inspiration

iiii

I wonder if sugar knows

As it drops into water,

With lemons,

Coffee,

Or tea

That it is changed, completely.

That being as it was

Is now drowning in heat.

I wonder if sugar

Feels and delights

That its dissolution-

Sweetens the sour,

Softens the bitter,

And cries what comes next?

ICE WATER

Turtle dove walls,

White cotton curtains.

The room was supposed to feel light.

Breezy.

Outside the branches are bare.

The ground is frozen.

Rain is mixing with the hiss of the fireplace.

It’s January.

These rooms are for ghosts,

Silent footsteps over unsure boards.

Thoughts that trail into nowhere.

Full of fog and twitching covers.

I hung paintings on the walls.

And mirrors,

I watch myself cross them, back, forth, backward.

I begin to see my reflection as a memory of me,

All silver, and glass, and magic I can’t really touch.

It doesn’t really exist.

Moth bitten.

My home feels like a morgue.

EGG YOLK

I guess the first time was

Right when I woke up.

I still felt tired, and I knew,

If I wasn’t always so sad

I’d have more energy.

And then when I was frying an egg,

After being a failure as a mother.

I fished my fingers into the pepper

For flakes of chili ashes,

And as it spilled onto the stove,

I thought of how this didn’t happen

To better women.

I reheated the coffee from yesterday,

Left in its pot

To drink this morning, instead

Of fresh grounds, and water, and time.

A smarter woman would treat herself better.

Did I use too much cream cheese?

Why did I grab the bagel still hot, and burn my fingers?

Why am I so sad?

And I think of every terrible thing,

Ever said to me, by people I made angry.

The words slam into the inside of my head that I am:

Never enough,

That I

Could be, should be- more.

I was meant to be the love of their lives.

They loved me so much

Except I am not good enough, so they had to stop.

They tell me, I am to blame for this unfortunate truth.

And as I sit down, I’m always sitting down, too much,

I should change

I remember I left the laundry

Unfolded.

Emalee Long is a linguistic anthropologist and writer living and working in Little Rock,
Arkansas. Her poetry, nonfiction, and micro fiction can be found online at Columbia University
Journal, Panoply Zine, The Showbear Family Circus, 86 Logic, The Pointed Circle, and The
Whorticulturalist. Find her in print at Weasel Press Vol. 3, In Parentheses Vol. 6 issue 2, 86 Logic
Vol. 1, and Wingless Dreamer ‘Rewritten.’

Follow Emalee on Instagram @Emaleave.me.alone

Coffee tip:

Not all coffee is created equal. When shopping for coffee to brew at home, think about who is handling the coffee. Are the laborers paid, are the beans organic? Instead of reaching for the cheapest beans, look into the company that produces the product. You may be surprised to learn how far your coffee has traveled before it is in your cup. Cheap beans often equal poor quality and bad labor practices. Also, they don’t have the same taste.


By being a more educated consumer, you will support fair labor and environmental practices.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Simply Because We are Human by KJ Joseph. Published by Wise Ink.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. My cohort/friend KJ Joseph reminded me of this a few weeks ago while on our coffee date. I hadn’t seen her in person for over a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Much had changed for both of us. We both birthed babies of different kinds. While she asked about my little girl, I was more curious about her book. In comparison, both were labors of love. KJ had by far the more prolonged work than I did.


I first met KJ through Augsburg University’s MFA program, and we bonded over much more than our love of writing. The topic we came back to many times was mental health. We both have clinical depression and talk openly about it. I remember reading chapters from KJ’s early drafts and loving the concept of her book. Soon her book turned into an award-winning screenplay; then, soon after graduation, the book was published by Wise Ink.


KJ takes her reader on a journey to break the stigma of mental illness. Much like the mission of Other Worldly Women Press, she aims to create a safe place to talk about an issue viewed as taboo. Being a young woman battling mental illness is hard enough; in addition, KJ takes us on her journey running track (competing against older boys). The movement throughout the book makes you feel like you’re running in her shoes.


I implore you to peek between the pages of “Simply Because We are Human,” a memoir by KJ Joseph. As we continue to breathe and live through the last few weeks of May, think about how to break the stigma of mental illness. Learn more about KJ Joseph here.