Poem 2: Yearn

I do not shear my hair,
Have never donned flannel,
Know nothing about drywall
Or changing my oil.
No labrys tattoo
Slices across my bicep.
I do not sing in the key of rainbow.

I roar through the world,
fat, elegant, and loud.
rolls slapping and rumbling,
my smiles snagging eyes
like foxtails in my socks.
I am 300 pounds of gloriously visible
gravitational pull.
Try and look away.

But labryses cut deep,
and slices of me flake
away, unknown and unheard.

Maybe I yearn.
Maybe my body chants
hot rhythms of desire.
Maybe my fingers twitch toward her.
Maybe my breath dances
to the beat of her footsteps.
Maybe my curves seek to
mold themselves to her bulk.
Maybe we could burn, hot and sweet,
some kind of meteor entering
the drag of atmosphere.
Maybe my words praise her,
my belly ripples in need,
my hair longs to snag in her fingers.
Maybe I belong.

Or maybe not.

I am a giant, a ball of fire
circling the sky.
I can cook the ignorant
and blind the unwary.
I rage in silent splendor,
spilling heat and attention,
body clapping
in appreciation
so deep.

Maybe she burns, too.

Poem 1: Fire

What’s in a fire?:
All sizzle and roar
and destruction.
We inhale it, taste it, mouths agape,
watch its cleansing destruction
with eyes painted in shades of violence,
primed by action movies
in which explosions shout our loudest
words of wisdom.

A crackle that crunches
like tin foil wrath,
nothing like the softest sigh of rain on stone
or the shush of shoots
gasping from tender
soil beds.

Heat bites parched lips,
bakes the softness of water
from bones and skin,
sears gentle words on swollen,
clicking tongues.

Wind sighs in our lungs.
Empowered, emboldened,
we exhale,
breathing fire like some
ancient, angry, resentful dragon
that forgot the sweet shyness
of humanity.

My Intro

Greetings, all!

Thanks for letting me join the ranks for my second half-marathon! I’m collecting my fruits and nuts for the twelve-hour oscarsprint, and my adorably helicopter wife will undoubtedly be hovering nearby, ready to bring me endless cups of hot tea and coffee.

I’m a college professor of sociology by day and writer by night. I’m also a lesbian feminist who lives in deep-red South Dakota. Yeeaaahhhh.

I write hetero, paranormal romance under the name Elle Hill and am currently penning my first lesbian paranormal romance; my lesbian pseudonym is TBD. I’ve also published poetry under my real name: Lesleigh Owen.

I can’t wait to do this thang!

Oh, and btw, behold a picture of my dog, Oscar. I have no reason to post a picture of him; Oscar needs no reason to crawl into your heart.

Poem 12: Moon Lake

Moon lake,
Wider than memories,
I cross you in dreams.

Lazy waves carve
moon beams into scalloped blades
that cleave meat from bone
and stitch words into stories.

Over the lake,
And far above the moon,
A nighttime sky, silent and black,
Arcs in a gentle canopy.

I swam these waters, once,
Dove into their still depths
Until the black water tattooed my arms,
Ink on living paper.

Squat, dark trees line the shore.
Silver sunlight burnishes limbs,
Bare and spare.
Beneath my breastbone, lungs squeeze.

No stars lighten the sky.
No clouds soften the moon.
No giant fish preys below.
I am alone. Just me.

I do not panic, do not laugh,
Do not wonder or rage or weep.
I am still, remembering,
Before heading back to shore.



Poem 11: Invisible Homeless

I look just like you.
If I never said, you’d never know.
I wear clean clothes,
Listen to pop music,
Color pictures on my cell phone,
Prefer Fuji apples to Opal,
Voted in the last election,
Wonder why the Kardashians still have a show.
I even attend school;
I’m a sophomore.

I have a mom,
A car,
A 3.2 GPA.
I have a name.
I don’t have a home.
Yeah. Gasp, right?
But, but you look so normal!
I am. I’m normal. A normal, 20-year-old girl.
I just don’t have a home.

No, I’m not transgender,
And my daddy didn’t sell me
Into sexual slavery.
But damn straight we should
Care about those folks
And help them out!
Nah, I’m a lot luckier.
I mean, yeah, I’m a lesbian, but my
Mom didn’t care too much.
When I turned eighteen, child support just stopped
And social services started docking her checks.
She cried when she asked me to leave.
My older sister took me in for a bit,
But when her boyfriend started beating her up,
I just… left.

I have a job, you know.
I use my sister’s address.
I wait tables.
I buy clothes and make-up at Walmart.
Sometimes, I save enough for a motel room.
Other times, I crash at friends’.
Occasionally, I’ll lay the seat down
In my car and snooze.

I bathe regularly. I smell fine. I eat okay.
The only cardboard sign
I’ve ever held
Advertised a middle school car wash.
I even dated a sweet girl for a few months.
I sneaked into her dorm room a few times,
Until her roommate ratted us out.

I probably sit right next to you in College Algebra
Or Psychology.
I’m your group partner,
Your fry-wielding server,
The person who passes you
On the freeway.

I’m the bogeywoman
Who keeps so many clutching their
Blankets and politics
As tightly as possible
To their chests.

Poem 10: An Ode to Yellow

You varnish the skies.
Your incandescent arms
Embrace dark rooms,
Make them blush
In the slow burn of
your flickering kisses.

When summer’s green
grows tired and bored,
You crisp along its edges,
Crackling with something like laughter.
You pull the sun into bed at night
And tug it back into the morning sky.

As a child, my younger sister’s hair
Gleamed pale yellow,
A shiny brass coin rubbed matte.
I dressed her in yellow
And called her my daffodil.

Fat bumblebees, weighted by
Beauty and importance,
Bounce through the air.
They wear natural crowns
And make love to
Golden blossoms.

You coat the curves
Of trumpets, trombones,
And sultry saxophones.
They bleat round notes of rapture
And praise.

If you melted
And spread me about,
Smearing me to the edges,
I would flow like butter and
Taste like sunshine.


Poem 8a: Bast: A Pantoum

Eyelashes feather over eyes round and moist.
She gleams, black as patent leather, in the lamplight.
After accepting our supplication, she will sleep.
Her belly sways, a sonnet in motion.

She gleams, black as patent leather, in the lamplight.
Her movements flow like sunlight.
Her belly sways, a sonnet in motion.
The ground groans in delight beneath her.

Her movements flow like sunlight.
Eyelashes feather over eyes round and moist.
The ground groans in delight beneath her.
After accepting our supplication, she will sleep.



Poem 9: Discussing Freedom

If you stretch your neck,
Looking up and up and up,
You can just see the shell of sky
That cracks and dribbles
Against wall and window.

Gray skies, pale and vulnerable
Against the sun,
Tremble, a child’s wobbling jaw
Before the watery flood.

We stand down here,
Locked among walls,
Faces pressed against
Cool, industrial glass.
The doors have long since locked.
Our voices explode and bounce
But cannot reach up and beyond
The roofs.

Moths flutter down,
And sometimes a dragonfly.
But we are too heavy,
And they flee before we can ask.


Poem is response to this image.
          Poem is in response to this image.

Poem 8: Escape: A Pantoum

Her smile stretched redly.
Eyes burned behind the cage of her lashes.
Cheeks bounced like balls atop her lips.
No one told her for whom she posed.

Eyes burned behind the cage of her lashes.
Her empty belly trembled.
No one told her for whom she posed.
Leg muscles bunched, ready for flight.

Her empty belly trembled.
Her smile stretched redly.
Leg muscles bunched, ready for flight.
Cheeks bounced like balls atop her lips.

Poem 7: Non-Trite Angst

OMG, angst sucks.

Like, if angst were a scent,
it would totally smell
like the fridge when it reminds you of
last month’s leftover curry.
Or like when you drive by all those sad cows
on the I-5
and feel super guilty,
so you start driving up the 101 instead.
…Like, as an example.

If angst were a feeling –
which, well, it is,
but you know what I mean —
it would feel like, you know,
a square dancing sumo wrestler
had confused your throat with the barn floor.
Or like when a cat exfoliates your face
with its emery board tongue…
and you hate cats.

If angst were a sound…
Okay, let’s get real;
angst sounds exactly like
whiny-boy-emo songs —
and maybe some country.
But, well, besides those,
it would echo in rooms
like a beeping heart monitor
or cram your iPod with
the screams of toddlers on airplanes.

What would it taste like?
Probably like eating a gallon
of strawberry ice cream
after you spent six hours the night before
vomiting up vanilla.
Angst would coat your throat and tongue
with four-day-old, half-melted
pork lard.

But, you know,
we’re a visual culture.
How would a director cast it
in some over-budget Hollywood flick?
Angst would look like –
no, I am not stooping to
naming off celebrities and politicians.
Sheesh. –
post-WWII, modern art
with weeping moms and seeping wounds
that you want to find meaningful
but just can’t.
Or like when you dump spoiled cream
into your coffee,
and it curdles into oil and wax.

Yeah, angst really sucks.
Like broken hearts,
shimmering tears,
cold fingers down spines,
broken sobs,
and all that crap.