New poems published! Shout it from the rooftop or hide? Photo by Flickr user Alexis Nyal (Creative Commons license).
June 15, 2015, was the year anniversary of my escape from domestic violence.
In May of that year, I decided to take on a self-imposed poem-a-day challenge in June, to distract myself from the mental replay of all the little anniversaries leading up to that big one on the 15th. I could twist it and say I was celebrating my escape by writing a poem a day in my anniversary month, but lying isn’t my bag. I was distracting myself. I was trying to transform anxiety into productivity. I was trying to feel like myself again.
I did manage to write one poem every single day in June 2015. Out of those 30 poems, I really liked 20 of them and decided to work on them, try to make a chapbook out of them. Despite some of my best efforts to write on topics other than DV, that’s what the poems are primarily about. The heart-pen has a heart-mind of its own.
I’ve spent the last year plus revising those 20 poems. I had help (TD, RC, and SC, I feel tremendous gratitude for the time you spent reading and commenting on my drafts). The result is a chapbook called Dear Hollow. The poems concern the immediate aftermath of escaping DV, centering on feelings of disconnection and lamenting a loss of ability to relate to others. It wasn’t the graphic violence of my experiences that I wanted to capture; it was the almost surreal feeling of loneliness, flashbacks, and hard looks in the mirror from a place where people believed I should have felt safe. That things should have been easier–I should have been happier–because hey, at least no one was screaming at me or knocking me around anymore. If my chapbook had a tagline, it would be, I thought things were supposed to get better? Or maybe it’s Dickinson: This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me…
On July 1, the editors of Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine gave me my first publication out of this chapbook–a poem called “The hunting cabin.”
On Aug. 5, Shawna Ayoub Ainslie published three more of them on The Honeyed Quill. Continue reading