Back on It – Hailey Saga

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Hailey Saga is a filmmaker and photographer who goes to the Orange County School of the Arts in California as a senior. She enjoys claymation, cinematography, and TV and film producing, and has been studying film for four years and hopefully will continue to for four more in college. Her Instagram is @hxilcy, whereas her Youtube is WonderInk Productions. Her website is https://haileymsaga.wixsite.com/wonderink.

Women Writers We Love: Mary Sims

This week we have an interview with the lovely Mary Sims. We featured her poem “Lavender Lazarus” back in September of this year.  You can also find her latest poetry on Peach Mag and The Rising Phoenix Review. 

 

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What got you started as a writer?

I came across some horror books at a book-fair as a kid, and soon after I tried to write little horror stories of my own with friends. Eventually, I started moving away from plot-centered stories and became more interested in individual lines. 

Poetry turned out to be exactly what I was searching for. When I stumbled across Literary Twitter, I found poetry magazines and became immersed in the genre.  

Do you feel closer to a certain genre or style? Why? How does this inform the way you see/experience the world around you?

Poetry. It has the power to give things a second meaning and shows you countless perspectives. I believe it’s made me more empathetic and opened my eyes to ideas, forms, and styles I never thought possible.

Are there times in your life where you feel drawn to other styles? What draws you to them? Life events, moods?

Sometimes I do feel drawn to prose poetry or flash fiction. Poetry is beautiful in all its indirect complexities, but sometimes I want to read the direct nature that flash fiction or prose poetry deliver. Normally, I’m more drawn to these styles during hard times, when I know a certain piece will give me a specific feeling I am craving. It can be nice to address things directly at times rather than trying to piece together meaning indirectly.

Who are you reading right now?

Kristin Chang’s Past Lives, Future Bodies, and Louise Glück’s Vita Nova. I love how Kristin Chang plays with form and language. She intertwines them in a way I hadn’t previously thought possible. She also plays with spacing in a way that gives each poem another level: an element I’ve tried to incorporate into my own writing.

Louise Glück’s ability to manipulate simple objects, such as plants, into large emotions is a skill I cannot read enough of. I spent the summer reading a collection of her first four books. I feel there is still so much I can learn from her about poetry and language. 

Can you tell us a quirky fun fact about yourself?

My friends say that in everything I do, I have a grandma style. For example, when when we go shopping, a lot of times I’ll choose the skirt with the couch print you’d find in your grandmother’s house. There’s just something hypnotic and comforting about the oddness of the patterns. This goes double for any floral sweater I’ve come across. 

You can follow Mary on Twitter @rhymeofblue.

Strangers Feel Welcome in My House – Andrea Jefferson

I meet them at gas stations, grocery stores, even Facebook. They ask interests they won’t remember if they ever see me again. They come to my weekend job and ogle my skin while I bag their groceries. When I tell the stories, others that weren’t in my body at the times I talk about think I’m on an ego trip. My ego feeds off acceptance from a father I never knew how to please, off my paintings that blend just so. It doesn’t feed off men that want to come in my house and track water in because “raincoats just don’t feel the same.” 

They feel entitled to just walking in without bothering to ring the doorbell because no one taught them the importance of that doorbell. They probably wouldn’t even know what to do once inside but stomp themselves to lethargy and then ask if my house liked the shakes. My house probably wouldn’t budge. 

Even when I insist there’s already a tenant (sometimes one I’ve fabricated so the issue will drop, rarely one that really resides there), they say he isn’t nearby, that he’s a fool for letting me drag my lawn fixings around without him. The bolder ones say he’s so lucky he gets to water my lawn and eat at my table. It makes me wish my grass was dead so they’d stop asking to come in. 

It makes me lock my doors for weeks at a time, never venturing out past necessity because the strangers will want to follow me. I do everything possible to prevent break-ins, but deep down I know if someone wanted to break in, they’d find an entrance. Even deeper down, I know I’d be blamed for not somehow having unbreakable windows and a pitbull and a fucking dome. 

They say I’ve had people over before, so why not them as if dinner invitations are hand-me-down sweaters. I’m tired of explaining why they’re not welcome. I don’t know what’s scarier: their confusion or their anger. I just know strange men shouldn’t feel entitled to be inside my walls, inside me. 

Andrea Jefferson‘s work has appeared in Eunoia Review, trampset, littledeathlit, Bridge, and others. Find the author on Twitter @honeydreee.

 

Two Poems – Holly Day

What There Is to Lose

I pretend to be content with our conversations
because I still like having sex with him
and I am afraid that, even after all these years
that if I don’t keep him talking
don’t act interested in what he’s saying
he might decide to leave. Even after sleeping beside him 
for more than a decade
I’m afraid that if I don’t hang on every word he says
nod approvingly at all the right moments
in his ramblings about cars and work 

and the driving conditions to and from work
that he’ll decide I’m also not very interesting
wonder why he’s sitting next to me at all.

Some days, I’m afraid to even let him go outside
in case he runs into the woman he’s supposed to be with
the one who finds all these musings on 
back spasms and diarrhea attacks, 
his problems with his mother
his problems with my mother
all the ways you can use Chinese pepper salt to enhance your cooking
completely fascinating and absorbing and yes
I know she is somewhere out there

waiting in the mismatched groves of birch and pine outside our home 
hungering for what I will never let her have.

April

You wake me up to tell me 
that the snow has come back
that the garden outside is completely 
obscured in white. You say it much too loud 
for this sort of news
for this early in the morning, almost joyful.

Half-asleep, the resentful part of me believes 
perhaps you are responsible for the snow.

I drag myself out of bed and call the dog
who comes, joyful at the prospect of a morning walk.
I put on her leash and we step outside
into a world buried in white snow
the tips of new tulips, the green sprays of crocus
already shriveling and darkening in the cold.

Holly Day’s newest poetry collections are In This Place She Is Her Own, A Wall to Protect Your Eyes, Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds, Where We Went Wrong, and  Into the Cracks.

 

Candy Bowl Compassion – Hemalatha Venkataraman

My therapist told me I need to be more kind
to myself-
to take care of myself first,
asked me to pick up a laser-cut wooden heart
from what used to be a comfort candy bowl.
Imagine ‘compassion’ written on it, she said.
                                                                   I did;
ran my fingers along the burnt albeit smooth
curves of its brown body,
sat it on the insides of my palm-
                                     looked up
told her
to let me know if she needs help making more of these hearts.
You don’t have to order them from China, I said.
I have access to laser-cutters
over at the Department of Art.

Hemalatha Venkataraman is a poet and artist from Madras, India. Her poetry nests in the tangible to make sense of the intangible, with a focus on personal growth and immigration. Her latest publication can be found in the book of curated poems, I’ll Be Here When You Get There.

You can also find her on Instagram at @Hemuvenkat.