What Lingers…

My soul licks your words and swallows. The heart of your ink cloaks my tongue, bleeds into my bones, spreads through me, and I feel osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin.

Your storm spells trails through my eyeballs and makes home of my skull. I see my teeth dance in mirrors made of your moon-shards howling stories about how darkness is raw energy just waiting to be turned into stars.

Your poetry lingers… and grows.


bits on writing and living

This week, I spent quite a bit of time talking with individuals who wish to turn their journey into a book. When someone asked me, “What’s the best way to start writing?”, I considered parachuting out of the closest window. But I was lacking on the parachute department… and my swollen feet and I were standing on the 9th floor, and all the windows were sealed… so, my brain, Muse, and I surrendered our truth: “Write, read, write some more.”

Nope, I shan’t defile your eyeballs with descriptions of some of the looks my answer sprouted. But I will say that I started hoping for the parachute again—just so I could whip the lookers with a braided length of 550 cord until their brain-housing group understood that writing something (other people want to read) involves work, commitment, belief, and an uncanny love for words that it’s almost impossible to explain to people who don’t already love words. And yes, in order to write one must also read… a lot.

I’m not suggesting that a writer must read 131+ books a year, like certain psychos I know. I’m just saying that delighting in words birthed by other writers can be a real education (in writing and living and more).


– linked to Poets United Midweek Motif: Darkness Is…, to Blogging around with Rommy, and to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (where Kerry asks us “to share a quote from a contemporary poet’s work and write a poem as a tribute to his/her style, voice, themes, wisdom.”)

These are the quotes that inspired the prose poem (I hope the poets don’t sue me… since I’m broke… unless they want ellipses… or parentheses):

I carved a hole in my chest

I saw the cavity was filled with seeds
tiny as distant stars –
and multiple universes
~ Kerry O’Connor

You always come
with summer
on the frayed brown velvet
of your eyes.
~ Hedgewitch

there is no point in crawling
into pre-dug graves
when there are signs on our skins
telling us we can survive.
~ Rommy Driks


… (.) /…


53 thoughts on “What Lingers…”

  1. Learn by doing… it’s kind of like the old ways of apprenticeship that have been lost in the modern factory model of school. Educators are trying to turn this around but in a world of standardized testing and all the bullshit that goes with it, it can be tough… but I agree learn by doing, and watching, and reading, and interacting and doing some more… learning the painful lessons of failure as well as the easier to take lessons of success… crafting each new effort based on the reflection on previous work and the work of others in the field… if you want to write, write… a lot… I wish it still worked that way with science… the Smithsonian institution was based on the chance discovery of a brilliant adventurer with very little formal education… I love old school natural history… and I love the movement towards opennaccess science and data sharing instead of charging absurd amounts to read papers and purchase journal subscriptions… the old vanguard would still like to price some of us out of the gates of knowledge but it is changing and that is a good thing. Thank you for your unique voice, your indominatable spirit, for always making me think, and for helping me see a way to navigate the dark spaces when I needed it most. I hope you are feeling a little better. I hope the sun is out in NYC like it is here, and I hope you have a fantastic day of cackles and ink.

    • Commercialism in its extremes can be such a curse. I know that everybody has to eat, but when creativity is sacrificed in the name of making a buck (or many bucks) so much is lost. It all comes down to balance, I think. Formal education is needed, but so is muse freedom. Until that dream becomes reality, we shall dance between the two creating space where there is none.

  2. Voice is hard to explain to other people, especially since a cusory explanation could end up inspiring new writers to try and write in an incredibly artificial fashion. So I don’t give tips at all.

    I read 31 books last year (the first time I ever kept track) and I was happy with that. Some took me three months and some took me two days.

    • When someone asks me about voice in writing (and I can’t escape in time), I share a Harry Potter quote, “If you have to ask, you’ll never know. If you know, you need only ask.” This usually result in a short period of confusion that allows for the much wanted escape.

      When it comes to reading (and pretty much everything in life), the best we can do is what makes us happy.

  3. Wowwww!!!😍😍😍 This is utterly gorgeous in its emotion and depth, Magaly! I love “The heart of your ink cloaks my tongue,” and “darkness is raw energy just waiting to be turned into stars.”❤️

  4. same answer when people want to know how to draw. first stop being afraid of making a mark on the paper (or word), second, make those marks (words). if you don’t like it, erase it and make another one.

  5. I have bits of every book I’ve loved stitched into my brain, and I’m always on the lookout for new things to add to my crazy quilt of stories. I love getting lost in a daydream that you can just sit back and enjoy (instead of spending hours coming up with backstory to explain a small point in a story so that it all hangs together nicely.) Needing to read stuff is a big perk of being a writer, IMHO. And it’s hella cool to see how those bits of inspiration grow when we weave our own words.

  6. I feel osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin.

    Wow! That image took my breath away.. I had to read the whole several times before moving onto the process notes and I am so thrilled to be counted among the amazing poet friends who inspired you to write this piece. This really makes my day.

  7. First, what lingers . . . do you remember Laurie Anderson singing that Language is a Virus? That came to my head in music as I read your poem. That darkness that bursts into stars sometimes makes it hard to swallow … but, yes, in shards or ink, it’s “teleportation’s kissing cousin.” I’m blessed (though sometimes scared) that more, and more growth pushes and pulls and puddles up. Second, to the question of how to write and the parachute–I LOVE your output, gosh, love your ability to pinpoint the quotes and thus illustrate what you are trying to get across–read, write, read, write. Stay alive, thrive.

  8. Love the way your darkness manifests into stars. That’s the most beautiful manifestation. May it continue to grow and linger! I also love the comment at Rommy’s about the first telephone you held at home to call your Papi. That’s just heartwarming. <3

    As for writing…it's a difficult thing to explain to people who don't write or create in some other form.

  9. ” moon-shards howling stories about how darkness is raw energy just waiting to be turned into stars.”…This particular sentence has more than one story. Moon-shards, such beautiful expression! And that darkness part reminds me of Sylvia Plath again.

  10. I love the quotes you included from Hedgewitch and Kerry. Such spectacular words to read and to be moved by. Especially the quote from Hedge. And some of us read 250+ books a year. I find it incredible that you are such a prolific reader as well. Reading the works of others is indeed good for the soul, isn’t it? I loved this thoughtful wandering through words and the prose you wrote in inspiration.

  11. I love these words- I can see some illustrations in my head to picture “darkness being raw energy waiting to be turned into stars”. I also love the idea of moon shards!
    I want to write. I have words and stories in my head. Every year I buy a journal and I tell myself , this is the year i’m going to fill this up page to page. My theory is that I am a corporate trainer for my occupation. I have to talk /speak every day most of the day. I genuinely believe that by end of day, I am out of words. As I get older, I am losing steam. I need time to sit still and gather my thoughts which is when I SHOULD get out my journals but I don’t. Instead I read and read ( I have read 4 books this month) and I read beautiful words from you and all is good.

  12. You’ve chosen quotations from amazing poets, Magaly, and created a stunning piece of writing. I was particularly drawn to ‘The heart of your ink cloaks my tongue… and I feel osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin’.

    • Thank you, Kim. I’m pretty sure that I will write another piece with this prompt in mind–there are three other poets whose works always stays with me, and I really want to explore those feelings in words.

  13. This is beautifully done. I love, love this line: “and I feel osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin.”

    Such is the nature of reading and gleaning from these poets and writers — they widen our horizons, they make us see and feel that raw energy of the darkness. I love the quotations that inspired you. ❤️

  14. WOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW! First, i love the poets you were inspired by. We dont have to look far to find some of the best poets writing today. LOVE your poem, full of amazing imagery. Love your photo and the modest cough. Smiles.

  15. To search for the words that dazzle and make you want to hug them close is a life long pursuit of pleasure. Hope you and your plants are keeping warm in the cold freeze.
    Love the photo
    “Hedley, you have left the crusts on the toast….AGAIN !

  16. Very pleased and honored to have you associated in *any* way with my aging words, dear Magaly. Especially since I can’t seem to find any myself any more. Thank you for the great pleasure of reading this, too–and I agree–if someone has to ask “how” to write, or the question I hate even more “where do you get your ideas??” (to which I always want to reply, ‘Nordstrom’s, or sometimes WalMart.”) then they need to start reading, and living, or take up an alternate hobby, because “writing” is made of bones, blood, knives and branding irons, whispers in the dark, screams and unholy laughter that seems to come from the coffee pot, etc, not some internet course. Cheers, dear friend, and love to you always.

    • I can’t wait for the chance to tell someone that I get my writing ideas from Nordstrom’s. I might add “on sale” for effect.

      And I so agree with your assessment, living and exploring are the best at feeding the ink.

      Sending you some wild hugs.

  17. “The heart of your ink cloaks my tongue, bleeds into my bones, spreads through me, and I feel osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin.” Lord, that is awesome. Poetry is full of wounds and glory. I so love how yours tears right through me and feeds my howl. What awesome poets you chose as inspiration.

  18. osmosis be-coming teleportation’s kissing cousin…. oh my!!!!

    131 books is a lot! I read only poetry and non-fiction- 31 is a tough target, still won’t leave me any time to write or…just be!

    • I love reading fiction, and an interesting novel can be devoured in a half a day. I make sure to read at least 13 non-fiction books a year, since those go slower–lots to process. The same is true of poetry, since I tend to reread them once or thrice.

  19. Hi Magaly. A lot of us are wishing we would or could write a book of memoirs or two. I have the start of one, on line but haven’t done much with it at all for the last few years. I have some pages I could add to it. BUT I ASK, “WHO WOULD WANT TO READ IT?” Not many and for sure I won’t become famous. Some might keep it on the family shelf. Others have been reading when I have been writing.
    My theme and title is based on a Willie Nelson (we are the same age) song, telling of the women of my life and how they influenced my everything–hint, read between the lines and guess.
    Some changed my whole lifestyle. I married them both.

  20. I used to have a friend who wanted to be a writer. She talked about it all the time. Every time she brought it up, I’d ask what she’d written lately. Every time, there was an excuse. I don’t have the write set up, I’m just too busy, I want to use a typewriter and don’t have one, I’m not sure how to start, I don’t know what to write.
    Every time I would look at her and say, just write. It doesn’t matter what it is, just write. I haven’t heard from her in over a year and a half. I have no idea if she ever wrote.

    • I never understand people who say they need to write, but find a gazillion excuses not to do it. I just don’t get how they survive the urge to story words.

      I, too, wonder if she ever wrote anything…

  21. Wow that was an amazing piece of writing from the beginning ” My soul licks your words and swallows” till the end Your images are great

    I also love ” parachuting out of the closest window”
    I don’t read a lot of books as I am a very slow reader, but I read poetry regularly. For me writing is just play mixed with discipline

  22. Well I dont need to know how to start writing. I have already written…..a book….about Ms. Wee….that only bird people would (maybe) be interested in. Not a NYT best seller, but maybe that person who wants to….but is afraid to….deal with a large bird pet. Someone who doesnt know what it is REALLY like and is curious. Anyway, it took me almost a YEAR to write. Yes, it will be a year..on Valentines Day, that I lost her. So I have written, and edited, and edited, and edited, and now I need to figure out how the heck to get started publishing. As you said, I will read and read. xoxo But…since you are already published, if you have a teeny, teeny suggestion……..But I’ll still be reading.

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