Little Boy Blue and Mary Quite Contrary

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Dear Past,

It’s been awhile. I come waving a
flag of peace and unarmed.
My arsenal is depleted.
I have no time for hate or malice
laced air.
I imagine like me
you want to live in peace without
the threat of guns and
claws. To awaken to the sound
of serenity, not bombs going off
in the distance.

I hope hearing from me doesn’t cause you pain.
Frankly, I miss you. Your theatrical ways,
always leaning toward a Shakespearean tragedy.
No time for much ado about nothing.
Although, everything had to be as you like it.
How you were
a master at parlor games and word play.
Your eyes a depletion
of fallen leaves and green tea.
Hair as dark as a grackle.
Arch so charming, fencing with
unseen stars. Little boy blue,
and Mary. Mary, oh, so contrary.
How our garden did grow.
Shells that pelted the ground,
causing wreckage and carnage.
It wasn’t all welts and hell.
There were days when light swelled
and sliver bells grew.

But i digress, as I climb a slide of memories,
backwards with slippery hands.
My legs lose traction,
my lungs clog with dust.

I end up on the ground negotiating
with my untapped toe.
Trying to reclaim the beat with
half recounted facts
and nostalgia’s false sense of rhythm.
Holding a few cards in the hand you deftly dealt me.
Beside me lies a map, marred
by revisions.
that reads let it go. Let it go.

I stand up, and realizes there’s a
tear in my heart, that I
mistook for my sleeve. I walk through the open gate,
ignoring the stained alleyways,
cobble stone,
and street lights shaped like a question marks.
The scent of orchids lingers in
the tired air.
My soul fighting off bees and
the counter winds.
You, dear past, will always sting.

-Tosha Michelle

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A Letter to Hypocrisy

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Disclaimer. The following is not an attack on Christianity. It is simply a commentary on the hypocrisy of self professed Christians who only seem to advocate fear, hate, and intolerance. I’m also a bit perplexed over the demonizing of Starbucks cups and peace-loving Muslims. Note, the only religion terrorists know is hate

Dear Potentially Clueless,

Your rally cries taste like stale coffee.
You with your righteous indignation.
You who think your religion is the only one that matters.
You who have cleansed your lips with hate.
The sheerness of your nothingness confounds me.
I want to cover my mouth and nose to avoid your plague.
Where did your humanity go?
Do you really ask yourself what would Jesus do?
Do you even care anymore?
When did the Bride of Christ turn into the whore of intolerance?

The beauty of the cross lies
in forgiveness, love, compassion.
Your kisses say razors,
blackened moss, barbed wire fences.
They scream Judas.
You love your religion more than God.

Do you not understand how your
sanctimonious songs will never
resonate hope or faith?
Your notes are shrills,
an emphatic kind of
warning in the undertone.

You sacrifice your Christianity
on the altar of ignorance and ego.
As I write, I’m afraid I’m becoming what I loathe.
I never want to fall into what I once was.
What I want is change. I want you to be changed.
I want to drink from the red cup of sunshine,
to eat the good fruit.
I want to know that the world is made up of possibilities.

I wait for a world where love falls like snow,
where halos slide down slopes of imperfections.
A world where God forgives our folly
and grace overshadows our need for holiness.
A world where my skin comes alive with the pitch of tenderness.
Where the green leaves are dewy,
and hope becomes a shivering, tangible thing.

Until, then I’ll sip from my red Starbucks cup
and let serenity diffuse in my mouth.
The bride of caffeine and open eyes.

-Tosha Michelle

Praying for Paris and our world.

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NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvain Reynard on Poetry.

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NY Times Best Selling Author and my favorite enigma Sylvain Reynard was gracious enough to write a guest blog on poetry. If you aren’t familiar with Reynard’s books,you are missing out on riveting tales full of suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. You can find out more about SR and his work by going to http://sylvainreynard.com/ You can also find him in all his tweeting glory @sylvainreynard

This poet is a huge fan. You will be too.

Now I give you SR in his own words

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Many people avoid poetry.

Poetry usually brings to mind limericks, or schoolyard sing-songs, or angst-driven blank verse. But The Iliad and The Odyssey are poems. Dante’s The Divine Comedy is a poem.

Poetry is extremely flexible as a genre and like other arts it contributes something important to the human experience. Poetry can be a thing of beauty and a medium for reflecting on profound and sometimes unsettling truths.

When I wrote The Gabriel Series, I was inspired by the poetry of Dante, hoping to introduce the beauty of his art to a wider audience. Dante is not very well known anymore and few people read him outside of school or university.

In my new Florentine Series, I was inspired by the poet Apuleius’s account of the love affair between Cupid and Psyche. Again, this is a poem that is not very well known and infrequently read.

You can read the tale by starting here: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/TheGoldenAssIV.htm#anchor_Toc347999726

Psyche was the youngest of three sisters and very beautiful. Her beauty was so great, it intimidated prospective suitors. Her older sisters quickly found husbands, while Psyche remained alone.

Her father feared that Psyche had been cursed by the gods and so he sought out an Oracle, who instructed him to deliver his daughter up to marry a great winged evil. In sorrow and despair, the father obeyed. Psyche went along with the Oracle’s instructions, proclaiming that her condemnation was the result of unbridled envy.

And then something surprising happened…

“…prompted by the sight of the evening star, Psyche retired to bed. Now, when night was well advanced, gentle whispers sounded in her ears, and all alone she feared for her virgin self, trembling and quivering, frightened most of what she knew nothing of. Her unknown husband had arrived and mounted the bed, and made Psyche his wife, departing swiftly before light fell. The servant-voices waiting in her chamber cared for the new bride no longer virgin. Things transpired thus for many a night, and through constant habit, as nature dictates, her new state accustomed her to its pleasures, and that sound of mysterious whispering consoled her solitude.”

Psyche was delivered up to someone, but far from treating her evilly, he treats her well. He gives her pleasure. He loves her body. But he only comes to her at night, so she has no idea who he is.

The oracle prophesied of a great winged evil, but her husband reveals himself as a tender, attentive lover, who truly cares for her. One evening, he speaks to her,

“Sweetest Psyche,” he said, “my dear wife, cruel Fortune threatens you with deadly danger, which I want you to guard against with utmost care. Your sisters think you dead and, troubled by this, they’ll soon come to the cliff-top. When they do, if you should chance to hear their lament, don’t answer or even look in their direction, or you’ll cause me the bitterest pain and bring utter ruin on yourself.”

Psyche subsequently is faced with a dilemma – should she trust her husband’s actions and how he treats her, or should she trust the judgments of her family and the Oracle.

Psyche knows what it is like to be judged on appearance alone, without regard to her character. Suitors shunned her, because she was thought to be too beautiful and too perfect – like a statue. In the poem, it looks as if she places all her trust in appearances as she strives to discover her husband’s identity, not trusting that his actions have revealed his true character.

But what would looking on his face reveal? Would it make his actions a lie? Psyche doesn’t stop to reflect on her husband’s nature. If he were truly monstrous, he’d treat her badly and not kindly. He loves her and brings her pleasure and she seems to enjoy his company, although she is plagued with doubt. Her doubt, however, reveals a fatal flaw in her character – she cannot trust her judgment of her husband based on his actions; she must judge him based on his appearances. This fatal flaw will be her undoing …

You can read the rest of the story through the link I posted above.

I deal with similar themes in “The Prince” and “The Raven,” and also the next book in the series “The Shadow.” The male and female leads find themselves in a situation where they end up having to trust one another’s characters rather than outward appearances. Indeed, the importance of having a good character is one of the themes of the novels, along with love, sex, hope, and redemption.

I welcome your comments on the myth of Cupid and Psyche and I hope that you will take time for beauty and poetry in your daily life. – SR

Bare

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For you, I slip off my
insecurities and step
out of my nerves.

I remove my doubts and
set them on the nightstand.

I unhook my inhibitions.
Spread my desire out
upon the bed.

You dissolve in me
like a pill, a remedy
in water. Spilling your
lightening into me.
in an explosion
that removes the
numbness in me.
The spear in my
heart- dislodged.

Consumption.
Transformation

Finally adding a comma
to my life, I pause.

My soul silhouette
comes out from
behind the shade
My spirit untangles

For you, I am finally bare.

-Tosha Michelle

And on a totally unrelated song note.