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The Interdisciplinary Work of Lyss England

Posts tagged Poetry

My grief has looked a lot like
taking the long way home,
ugly sing-screaming to a band all
my friends hate

“I don’t care about anything as much as I used to”

the words another grad school reject
wrote feeling like the ones
I wish i’d written
instead of words with no consistent pattern
no structure
no plan.

But I guess when it comes to grief,
I’ve learned that no plan I make
no work I do
is going to change the simple fact that
I lost them
I might lose this one-
but maybe I won’t.

So when I ugly sing along with
someone who doesn’t know I exist
about beings I’ve lost who never existed
I feel the spark carried by my voice
her words
my meaning
I let it light the candle that
holds some space for hope.

(quote from “Overbite” by Sincere Engineer.)

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Give yourself time
even when your people are
impatient.

When they’re used to you either
saving the day
or falling apart
(appearances only)
those are the times,
4am,
waking like you just
ran some sort of marathon,
when you hold yourself
and you reach out
still breathing hard,
to do everything you ever dreamed of

not to prove them wrong
but because it’s your
still-ugly truth.

 

When I was a little girl,
I lived in a house with a big garden
that gently sloped into a ravine.
Across the water, lived a willow tree
and when my brother and I
followed the stream against the current,
it lead to an open field full of
huge rocks- islands to our childminds
and we swore the water there was magic.

When mom got sick,
I used to walk up stream to
sit, skinny legs folded up against my chest,
smoke cigarettes, let the stream that
has held me my entire life
hold me then

I questioned a lot then, but never that the water
was magic.

And when she died,
I planted a tree beside her grave
one with purple flowers
like the ones in her garden
like the ones on the kitchen table
passed down from her mother to her
the ones that died when she did

because I’ve never been great with houseplants
but I know a few things about putting down roots.

When I grew up to experience
the first bookend loss,
I drove to Lake Ontario
just like she would have done
and scoured the shore
for a jar full of lake glass
and with my own hope for comfort,
the kind I’ve always felt
rooted in water,
I almost forgot to listen
to the messages she sent through the lake-

Something about collecting and purging
what fills her without any control of her own.

So when the second bookend loss came,
it was waterless winter ice
and it’s taken until spring to thaw
and I can’t help but think that maybe

if I stop

listen

connect

my body

I
motherless child
I
childless mother

might find that I can
simultaneously be
mother-child
to the elements that have held me my whole life
and maybe by feeling held,
I can hold her too.

Check out my interview with Smokii Sumac!

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

We talk about:

– His book, “You Are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World”
– His work on his Ph.D in Indigenous Studies
– Grief
– The way he uses social media
– Lots of reading recommendations!

and more!

Smokii’s Reading List (in the order discussed on this episode!)

1. Indigenous Voices Awards Finalists

2. “Letter to an Emerging Indigenous Writer” by Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee)

3. My Body is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz)

4. Anything and Everything by Richard Van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ) including his latest Moccasin Square Gardens

5. the Marrow Thieves Cherie Dimaline (Métis)

6. Indian Love Poems by Tenille Campbell (Dene/Métis)

Featured Tunes:

True Trans Soul Rebel by Against Me!
Atmomsphere by Miesha and the Spanks
Night Cruise by The Lonely Parade
Loon Song by Tara Williamson