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Mar 1 · 501
Spider
An itchy spider lives in me,
right underneath my second skin.

She's waited, tense, expectantly for something dangerous
to finally draw towards her its claws and scratch straight down her spine.

Her fangs have naught to bite upon, so I must feed her well enough
on nerves, dry skin, and fingernails and songs about a violent sea.

If she dies, I might turn to stone--
an itchy spider lives in me.
Snowflakes hum inside my head,
bumping to and fro.
Stinging sky meets soggy ground and nothing seems to stick.

Each flake is different, so I'm told--
each unknowable and cold, they vanish when you try to grasp them--
fleeting, fragile wisps.

I've spun no story strong enough
to stake my ship upon.
My tears dry up before they're spilled for little lasts for long.

Blankets white I find here not--
that, nor green-clad earth--
only harried solitude inside these biting mists.

Perhaps my blust'ring mind is not
leading me to tread my sought-for courses; I fear I've forgot them
yearning for the drifts.

But elsewhere 'neath the firmament, there are other skies.
There are other thoughts in other hearts apart from mine.

From over where the snow falls
and beneath the bedrock's roots
flames unflinching flicker still through height and depth and width.
Some of my poems come together in a few quiet minutes or an afternoon-- this one's been in the works for over a month and I'm still mulling it over.  I first conceived it when I was driving to a college visit and it started flurrying.

I'd like to hear some criticism regarding the sound.  It's got a specific meter and lots of assonance and consonance, with a few perfect rhymes.  I really liked developing the sounds, but I think it might be a little too sing-song in certain parts, especially since all of the lines are iambic.  I intentionally broke patterns in a few places to make it a little bit disorienting and frustrating while still pleasant, and I'm not sure if I've got the effect quite right.  How would you describe the sounds?  Did you notice them working with with or the themes?  Is it happy, playful, frustrating, satisfying?  (Did anyone pick up on "windy" sounds with all the effs and esses? I was quite proud of that)

Many thanks :-D
Dec 2020 · 169
Before the Final March
Hannah Christina Dec 2020
I gazed at her, the warrior woman,
standing on the hill
where crum'bling stones of castles made their home.
Her form against the solemn sky stood noble, tall and fierce;
tenacity bespake her ev'ry stride.

The clouds before her only served
to frame her fairer still;
through richly dark, they parted just enough
to filter drops of sunlight to where she stood like the moon;
an argent gleam shone in her mane and eyes.

I frowned at her from where I hunched,
longed for her iron will,
clawed my lackluster hair and tore my heart.
The flat grey fog above the hole where I shrank in the dust
had only seen me cower, curse, and cry.

As we prepared to march again
I struggled up the hill
in hopes that I could find what grace she knew.
I didn't know she was still there, her back against a rock;
I caught her eye and realized

she had been crying too.
Edited 3/1/21
Jul 2020 · 278
Flutter
Hannah Christina Jul 2020
blinking like a blade
of grass before a lake-storm
soft but not asleep
I'm working on a free verse poem that's giving me some trouble, so a short one is an enjoyable break.  Haikus are usually not my favorite to read.  They're a similar concept to 10w poems, but I find myself liking most 10w's better.  Maybe they're hard to do well, or maybe I just don't enjoy the form.  When they're "traditional" in content (about nature and stuff,) they're usually bland.  When they're more emotion based about feelings, there's not much space for imagery or creativity, so they can sound flat and self-indulgent (to me anyway).  So when I find a haiku that I actually like, I love it all the more.

Even though I dislike most of the haiku poems I read (at least compared to other forms) I really enjoy writing them.  Short sentences and specific guidelines are therapeutic, and they force you to be extra creative.  The traditional focus on sensations is calming.

What are your thoughts on forms?  I like to hear how different readers and writers experience things.

There's a balance between writing what you like to write, writing what you would like to read, and communicating in a way that will be effective for your readers.   Or maybe the things you think about are entirely different.  Either way, I'd love to hear about it.
Jun 2020 · 229
Image
Hannah Christina Jun 2020
I am stamped with an image I can not comprehend.
10 word
Jun 2020 · 200
Horeb
Hannah Christina Jun 2020
“A veil!” someone shouted.  I remember the cry.  Agreement surged from gasping elders and wide-eyed youths alike.  The first man to move snatched a scarf from his startled daughter and threw it at me to wrap over your head.  He couldn’t imagine touching you himself.

We had to find a veil to cover your shining face.  We couldn’t have the people blinded.  Radiation, of course, must be contained.  We didn’t have anyone infected.  It stuck to your forehead at first, your sweat thick like the dew the cold morning after a thunderstorm.  Wrinkles whiskered as your face strained into expressions few mortals have had.

That mountain was saturated in every form of electromagnetic radiation and energies unknown. It bludgeons the heart.  Melts the eyes.  The people could not bear the sight of anyone who had come so close to such a power.  I think their hearts need a good bludgeoning.

The wind streaked your hair for a micro-eternity.  It retained the swept-up form for nearly an hour, though no one could tell once you put on the veil.  Have you touched it to see if it is still cold?

Your fingers—what was on them?  Smoke, or earth?  Melted stone?  Incinerated atmosphere? Pure carbon, black as the abyss and under nearly enough pressure to crystalize into diamonds rarer than hope? When you grabbed my arm with those fingers, I nearly screamed.  You left black marks everywhere.

What does the veil cover now?  It's edges are no longer like the cracks beneath Heaven's doors.  What is it you wish to hide?  Isn’t it time for this mask to be cleft by a seraph's sword?
This is one of my favorite things I've ever written.  I hope it's enjoyable to read as it was to write.  I started scribbling down lines for an exercise in poetry class, modified it into an assignment, and edited it a whole bunch.  I'm finally getting around to posting it now, but I'm too afraid to actually read it again.  I don't want to start doubting it and I don't want to work on it any more.
May 2020 · 312
Imaginary Friends
Hannah Christina May 2020
Superheroes hiding their tortured inner lives behind primary colored-masks and hilarious one-liner comebacks.
Normal girls who were actually princesses, but didn’t act like other girls (or other princesses). Space wizards with stupid haircuts.

No one understood them, but I did.

I knew all their tragic backstories,
their hearts’ deepest desires,
the ways that they were, like, rejected by society and stuff.  
I gushed over their bonds of friendship that could never be broken, not by intergalactic politics, ancient feuds between magical species, or the infinite varieties of mind control.
I totally supported them when no one else could.

I reread the most heart-wrenching pages over and over again,
my fingers bubbling the plastic dust jackets and my toes clenching in my mismatched socks.
I couldn’t just wade in these worlds—I baptized myself into them, staying under the shallow water for hours without taking a breath.
I could never quite feel enough.  I squished my eyelids shut, trying to conjure up the tears that my heroes deserved.

Behind my wrinkled brow, they lived.
Danced.
Morphed themselves together into an ever-present consciousness, answering the questions I asked to no one.
I talked to it out loud some days, when I was especially alone.

Sometimes, I would see these friends out in public,
on a graphic tee in the hallway,
or a backpack in the classroom.
I would always greet them enthusiastically.
“I love your t-shirt!  Book four is the best!”
(With a warm, sweaty face way too much nervous laughter)
“That’s such a cool water bottle!  Which Avenger is your favorite?”
(Hands clutching hair, leg bouncing)
“I… like your sketchbook!”
(Hopeful smile, averted eyes)

And we would talk to each other (!)
About our shared interest and have a fun conversation (!)
For a few minutes.
I’d talk to them  the next time I saw them, too.
And every time we were in class together.
Then I hatched a daring plan.

My mom offered permission and a date,
my dad offered pizzas and the basement TV,
and I extended to my friends
an invitation.

No one came.
The assignment that sparked this one was "Poetry of Witness," which usually refers to reporting the lives of tortured political prisoners, victims of famine, refuges... things like that.  I've never lived through anything like that, but I've lived through middle school, which is pretty similar.

Joking aside, I'm glad that I wrote these experiences to share this reality, and to speak for all the kids who are still living the way I grew up.  Loneliness is an epidemic in this country (if not most of the developed world) and I really wanted to make the connection between obsessing over fiction and loneliness. Fiction can definitely help distract from the pain, and at best it can bring people together, but it's very easy for fictional narratives to take up such an important place in someone's heart that they stop trying to build their own life and develop relationships.

This is part of the story of me growing up, but it isn't the whole story.  I don't like dwelling on just the worse things in life (part of me LOVES this, but we're trying not to), but I ended the way I did because I wanted this to be a powerful cry of a hurting person.  The whole truth is much more complex.

There were plenty of people who (intentionally or unintentionally) rejected me as I was growing up, and that really effects my worldview to this day.  However, there were also people who accepted and encouraged me.  There were parties I planned where people did show up, just not the "popular" people who I thought were most important to please.  In fact, at times I was blind to those around me who felt more rejected than I was.  If I was less self-focused, I probably could have had better friendships.

But what can I say?  I was 13.
May 2020 · 195
Sacred Ground
Hannah Christina May 2020
“Will you barter for your garden?”
the familiar stranger taunted.

His haunting talk caught on a loose thread in my heart,
recalling time and battles fought.

Make no mistake about the fae.
I must admit I was afraid, for I have seen my adversary

tear out the grass’s screaming hair,
poison the soil with atmosphere arid,
strip the baby branches baren,
shave the landscape clear.

I need not obey him.  
I have in my hands a *****
and around this place an angry hedge.
He can not prevail unless I show him the way.

“No,” say I,
“No bartering in my garden today.”
An old one from the beginning of the semester that I've neglected to post here.
Apr 2020 · 496
Lightening Powers
Hannah Christina Apr 2020
When it flashes, I can't speak, except
   in      fra c tu
r   ed  gas p in
       g
(I should be able to withstand the shocks much better than I do)

The vibrations, the detachment lasts for several minute after
the power has been discharged and
I can't think.

Emergency situations call for
level-headed judgement,
but the jolting of the volts is difficult to disregard.

My heat resets itself somehow each time
even though the rhythm is interrupted
time and over again with every blast my power creates.

I want to pull within myself every time I use it,
embrace the sense of power, the sensation,
without reaching out.

Brain activity,
heart activity, muscle spasmatic ripples,
and I can't see past sporadic sparking up my face.

Victims, villains, friends of mine
and all your detailed instructions,
please survive in spite of me.

They say I'm strongest on the team
in strength, and that is hard to say.
I'll stay with you and fight but my mind
can't live on another day.
Poem-a-day Prompt 1: Your Superpower
I already missed the first day of National Poetry Month (whoops)
In light of the event, I'll write a daily poem with minimal editing and post them.  Expectations for quality are low.  Expectations for ideas and creativity are high.  Maybe after this month I'll return to a few of my favorites and develop them into more polished, "real" poems.
Feb 2020 · 204
Recess
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
The blue squares were safe.
The white squares were lava.
The cool kids huddled in their corners were irrelevant.

It didn't matter where I was going
or what I was exploring.
Maybe ancient pyramids,
perhaps a dinosaur dig.
Probably "the jungle," wherever that was.
I always changed my mind half-a-dozen times.
It didn't matter where I went
because I could handle every adventure
all by myself.

The benches were safe.
The wood chips were lava.
The crawl space under the rock wall was my escape pod.

My crew both was and wasn't imaginary.
If they had names, they had the names of real people.
Just versions of those people who were
around a little more often.

The loud days were safe.
The quiet was lava.
Then the quiet was safe,
and loudness was lava,
and then I never could tell what was safe anymore,
really.

But, oh, I'm so glad I found You again.

Your embrace is safe.
Your heart is lava,
and every day is a quiet adventure.
This is one of my favorite recent writings.  I would like it to be longer, but I couldn't think of any more stanzas that added anything, and I didn't want to drag it out for the sake of dragging it out.  Also, a longer poem calls for a really strong conclusion to keep from feeling anticlimactic.

In my first draft, the final few stanzas were pretty rushed and disconnected and overall not great.  I think they're better now but still don't feel quite confident with them.
Feb 2020 · 112
Come along, now.
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
I won't relent.

I know what happened last time, but I'm
stronger now.  Don't
give me that!

I am not alone
and I
will not
relent.
.

But I
am getting tired. So
tired.
Again.
And it's barely even Tuesday.

I'll be
fine, I'll
do it, I'll
keep going and it all will be
great
in the end.

All I have to do is just... jh!
if I could just...
   just...
      if-
-I;,
  I need to just...

...j-h
              ...-
    ...!

.



But no, I
won't
relent.
Feb 2020 · 337
Global Positioning System
Feb 2020 · 91
Storybook
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
i need to buy a spaceship and sail it far away
because a spaceship needs a crew and out in space you have to stay
if ur a space cowboy hmu
Feb 2020 · 441
Arrangement
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
Her manicured leaves and thirsty rainbow faces always deliver
but she envies the daisy in the sidewalk.
Personification all day long.

For me, putting on appearances has more to do with forced behavior than appearances themselves, which is the real contrast between the characters here.  I don't want to propagate "I'm not like other girls" kinds of thinking.
There's  nothing wrong with having conventional interests or appearance when you're genuine about it.
Feb 2020 · 191
Bumper Crop Branches
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
They're all doubled over in an aching belly laugh;
I can already smell the apple pie.
One of a bunch of two-liners I wrote for Poetry Class.
Feb 2020 · 231
Sentry
Hannah Christina Feb 2020
“Will you barter for your garden?”
the familiar stranger taunted.

His haunting talk caught on a loose thread in my heart,
recalling time and battles fought.

Make no mistake about the fae.
I must admit I was afraid, for I have seen my adversary

tear out the grass’s screaming hair,
poison the soil with atmosphere arid,
strip the baby branches barren,
shave the landscape clear.

I need not obey him.  
I have in my hands a *****
and around this place an angry hedge.
He can not prevail unless I show him the way.

“No,” say I,
“No bartering in my garden today.”
This one was for the poetry class I'm taking(!).
The assignment was to write a rhyming or metered poem.  I decided to use assonance focused around the letter "a" as much as possible.  This is not a way that I often use rhyme.  I really, really like it.  It stitches the words together without feeling to sing-song or structured.  If you scroll back to my stuff from a year or two ago, you'll see that I used a lot of line-end rhymes and lots of meter.  I don't like the way that kind of structure feels anymore, but I also don't like writing poems that ignore the use of sound.  This is a happy medium for me.
Jan 2020 · 124
marsh
Hannah Christina Jan 2020
squirming, swimming, still
bubbles beneath your footsteps
life in ev’ry inch
Nov 2019 · 81
My heart is heavy
Hannah Christina Nov 2019
My heart is heavy.
A little bit heavy.
Not like lead
or rocks
or ice.

It is one too many blankets, starting to sweat;
overthink socks, starting to itch;
cold caramels refusing to soften. It is

one too many blankets and
just a little bit comforting.
Hannah Christina Nov 2019
Sea of rubber, storm of rock
Ponder endless, mudslide thoughts
Never,
      never,
           never        
stops
    Until I
cannot see

Batter, torment, carry, pour
Solid things are shifting shores
    Until
I cannot hear

Sighs are monsters, out from under
Mud is made of every mutter
Thunder fades into more thunder
    Avalanche demands

All of what you thought was peace
deserts to deserts underseas
the grains of sand
climb past  your knees

    and now i cannot think

I used to hide from walls of rock
  or shrink into a corner;
    
    at least
cement
    is solid set
I forgot about this one and completely re-wrote it today and I had the best time playing with the structure and sounds.
Aug 2019 · 120
be brave
Hannah Christina Aug 2019
courage is not what they think it is.

courage is desperate and shrieking and shattered in one thousand places,

the final threads that should have snapped long ago.
Aug 2019 · 119
maybe
Hannah Christina Aug 2019
Maybe

i'm not as dead
or tired
or old
or boring

as i thought i was.

No, i'm not as dead as i thought.
A simple poem.
Jul 2019 · 273
drifting
Hannah Christina Jul 2019
driftwood on the surf
the quaking of a feather
my unstable heart
haiku
Jul 2019 · 193
Just Once
Hannah Christina Jul 2019
A torch.

My torch.

The yellow and orange dance in my eyes and on the gleaming rocks, water droplets phasing in and out of existence as they slowly shape the cave, as they have over centuries.  I feel my smirk broaden into a full-on grin.

Just once.

My fingers stroke gingerly, in respect for the centuries and lives these walls have claimed.  My heart ****** at every imperfection.  Every crevasse could be a clue.  But every one isn't.

Just one.

I pull back the curtain of moss, ducking and picking out a treacherous path.  Another curtain blocks my view, a veil of spiderwebs.  I flick them away with the tip of my saber.

Or cutlass.

Or spear.

Or even a vaguely cool-looking stick, I don't really care about that part so much.  Forget the treasure and even the clues.  No secret codes or Nazis are necessary.  I don't even need a cool jacket.  All I really want to do is carry a torch though a cave.  Just once.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a cave, either.  I'm flexible.  Abandoned mine shafts, secret tunnels, castle dungeons.  It all works.

But the torch is a non-negotiable.  A real, live, wooden torch.  Not what the Brits call flashlights, a torch-torch.  With fire, please.

please.

Just once.
Someone give me an attainable career path before I hang it all and go steal the Declaration of Independence.
Jun 2019 · 163
Content
Hannah Christina Jun 2019
I'm tired of halfway-grasping, nearly clasping greatness whole.
And yet I know though incomplete I still enjoy life full.
Jun 2019 · 119
Ballroom
Hannah Christina Jun 2019
It's like I dance with each of you, but only pantomime
You answer back my sentences, but in familiar rhyme.

My hands will follow yours around, but never really touch.
A slice of air will keep us safe, or else a silken glove.

From time to time, our fingers brush, I'll even hold your hands
Discussions of those moments sweet are whispered, maybe banned.

My chest, it yearns, my heart so turns
within me; hollow, sore.
And yet the fear so claims me I may never ask for more.
Interpretations and feedback are appreciated!  Thank you for reading.
Mar 2019 · 1.6k
The Diving Board
Hannah Christina Mar 2019
Cold wet toes hug the sandpaper edge
of the Tall Diving Board, a most terrible ledge
But the plastic and rusted beams buckle and creak
Along with your knees-- they are feeling quite weak.

Everything's swaying, the pool and the sky
Your hands both are shaking and you wonder why
You thought you could jump.  It all seems so silly
You thought you were brave, but up here, you know really

You're just like they said you would be.

You lift you foot trying to face off this dread
right over the edge of the board, but instead
of stepping off, you move backwards.  And then
your other foot follows it downwards again.

Inching back, and hanging your head from the shame,
your feet grip the grooves on the steps just the same

as the last time you thought you were brave.

Then you freeze, and you frown.  All the kids gathered on the ground
could not stop you with mocking from coming back down

But your mom, shouting out from the shade of the sides
speaks to you louder than fear or than pride
"You can do it, I know!"  and you manage a frown
and a stubborn resolve not to walk to the ground

but to swim!  And you struggle back up to the top
the gritty board scraping, the phrase "belly flop!"
taunting you from the children below; and your brow
is furrowed, your teeth clench--the moment is now!

A sniffle, slight stumble, the bending of knees,
You know you can show them--don't belly flop, please!
and you push, one last time-- any time you could stop
at the edge once again, at the diving board top

But you don't!



And it's over.  
A splash is your prize
your ears ring, your nose stings,

But you jumped off the diving board.

And now you can do it again.
Mar 2019 · 165
Weight
Hannah Christina Mar 2019
That weight in my head
like honey in a jar
Dripping pain against insides of my skull on whichever side I roll
It's heavy, but floating
like black and sluggish cloud
Dripping, dizzy
Caused by dehydration, maybe stress,
or else the tears I never cried are staring to solidify.
I had a headache.  It's better now.
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