We are delighted to present this week’s selections from the Brain Mill Press 2017 Poetry Month Contest. We received many outstanding entries, from which this piece by Topaz Winters stood out. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
When My First Boyfriend Learned I Was on Anti-Psychotics, He Laughed and Told Me He Always Suspected I Was Crazier Than
I wanted to murder him,but his body kept gettingin the way. We learn tolive with that sawtoothedloudness, caught halfwaybetween the wonder &the wanting. & how Iwanted. I wanted his eyesblue & razed shut. Wantedapology like unbent knee.Pulse cold, childish. Howmuch can a thing whistlebefore all that’s left is air?Such a strange syntax welive inside. Waltz throughaurora. Gulp down bulletsinstead of the pills thatcould make this all better.God, I am tired of writingpoems about sickness.When he spoke, I heardmy father: you know I onlyever wanted the best for you.As if I were afraid ofleaning into wounded.As if I couldn’t gut him& run, easy as birthplace.Easy as the voices finallyshocked into silence. Akind of hook here, say it:careful, darling, you’reshowing your hand. Somany times my bodyhas been more achethan human. In whichdirection must I search tofind a name for the curdlein my throat? Slippingon melting beasts, forcingopen memory’s jaws. &how I wanted. I wantedto snap that lovely neckthe way a gun cocks intosong. I wanted not to hurtanymore, my kneecapshalfway shattered, thedark consuming itselfover & over again. Justonce, I wanted reciprocity.I wanted not to be thecrazy one. Just once, Iwanted the sky to wakeup on time & remind usof the little mouths withno names except erasure.I could have lived on that:every angle a limb couldbreak. Every way his bodyyawned into my grasp,treading the bloodstream,light going limp, his eyesthat swum & stunk ofremembering.
Topaz Winters is a queer, neurodivergent woman of colour attending Singapore American School. Her chapbooks Heaven or This (2016) & Monsoon Dream (Platypus Press, 2016) have been downloaded over 15,000 times, & at 17, she is the youngest Singaporean ever to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is deeply interested in the anatomy of healing. More at topazwinters.com.
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
The theme of teaching and learning poetry, and our emphasis on student poets, speaks directly to the action of poetry in our country and global community. Never has the education of our students been so threatened, and never has truth been more challenged than in the current political climate. The truth emerges through education and the resistance and questions of our youngest generation, and it is their lead we absolutely must follow if they are to live in a society that fosters their achievements, liberation, and justice. Truth emerges through poetry as well — poetry bears witness to what truths seem impossible to speak any other way. Its constraints limit the temptation to misconstrue, obscure, and bury.
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