Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Taste of Real Magic

A witch knows
real magic isn’t conjured
out of hats: power lies
not in trickery but in work.

To feel magic,
stick your fingers in the dirt.
To craft magic,
plant a well-loved seed.
To see magic,
care for each sprout and watch it
grow into fruit—

the harvest of your work is always
a taste of real magic. 

the last tomato harvest of this season

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #48: Words, Words, Words)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

I Knew, But…

I birthed my children knowing
they would grow up to consume
me, billions of bites at a time.

I watched them make tools
full of teeth, cannibalize
the tender greens
on the forests of my hips.

My children used to be bright;
if they fell my shoulders bare,
they would plant cuttings
in the hollow of my throat—
for balance, for tomorrow.

But something has gone wrong
with their minds (or their souls).
They’re stripping all I am,
and now we can barely breathe.

I knew they would consume,
but my nightmares never dreamed
they would waste everything.


photo by Joshua Woroniecki, on Unsplash

 - for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #47: Breathe in the Words).

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Writing My Own Folktale Boot

I grew up surrounded by myths and folktales I can’t say I loved. Or, at least, I couldn’t love what said tales implied. For instance, most mythological creatures in Dominican mythos are depicted as evil or tortured souls paying for some terrible deed. Our little mermaid (María la O) was cursed by some god because she defied her mother; our best-known goblin (el Bacà) wasn’t the traditional fairy being most mythologies speak of, but a demonic creature; our witches (brujas) were ugly, old women who fed on babies.

The last one was particularly problematic for me, since I was raised by people who practiced folk medicine and witchcraft (but never ate a babe). These men and women were the best people I knew: they helped the community, the land, and each other. So, I stopped caring for stories that painted them in such a terrible light, tales that turned the mysterious and unknown into something horrible and harmful and unwanted.

I have always wanted to read a collection of Dominican folktales that tells balanced stories, where mythical beings are defined by their personal actions and not by what “everybody has always known about them”. The following elfchen was inspired by those feelings (also, at the end of this month, I will share a wee retelling of the Dominican witch).

their glass
slipper doesn’t fit,
write your own folktale

Tiffany Aching
(one of my favorite witches in literature), by Robin Boyden
“She couldn’t be the prince, and she’d never be a princess, and she didn’t want to be a woodcutter, so she’d be the witch and know things.” ~ Terry Pratchett

 - for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #46: Playing Catch Up).

- inspired by Folktale Week 2020 (on Instagram), which starts on November 23rd. These are the daily prompts: Birth, Ritual, Courtship, Solstice, Death, Harvest, Dance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Garden of Voices

Last week, I shared this Pratchett quote: “There should be a word for the microscopic spark of hope that you dare not entertain in case the mere act of acknowledging it will cause it to vanish, like trying to look at a photon.  You can only sidle up to it, looking past it, walking past it, waiting for it to get big enough to face the world.” Then, I asked my Instagram friends to share words that said “microscopic spark of hope” to them. These are some of the words they shared: sideways gleam, breath, comfortably numb, democracy, dormant, glimmer, glint, grace, growth, inkling, longing, seed, shimmer, smidgeon, twinkle, wisp. The haibun that follows contains their words and my feels.

I remember that day… when chaos and anguish named themselves victorious, when temper ran fierily short and compromise turned cryptid, when our dark and our bright couldn’t come together to birth a twilight all could (or wanted to) be thrilled about. I remember feeling a wisp of wonder, a glint of grace, a glimmer, a shimmer, a twinkle, a sideways gleam of something… beautiful and free.

I remember asking, “What is that? What is that dormant seed I see, that comfortably numb warmth spreading yum through tongues and brains and feels? What is that?” I remember a garden of voices answering, “That is your wish and mine kissing reality, that is a smidgeon of democracy longing for more and better… for all.”

in our words,
a growing inkling
of wild hope

“Beautiful, YOU Are”, by Magic Love Crow

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #45: Artistic Interpretation).

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Bits of Change

 I I took a look at last week, and noticed that a lot of what I’ve posted on Instagram included the word “change”. I can’t say that I’m completely surprised. I mean, most people with working brains and hearts have been hoping for the same. What I find fascinating (and a bit amusing) is the fact that I didn’t do it on purpose. Things are different today. I’m reposting on purpose and with purpose. In the future, if (when?) someone asks me about my state of mind around the time most of the US reclaimed its heart and brain, I shall say, “Well, I was around planting seeds, hoping for change, feeling things bloom… Where were you when a lot of the US took a hope-full breath?” 


Be the seed of change—

crafted a few days before the US elections


tree and sky
painting songs of change,
can you see?

taken while waiting to cast my vote


Change blooms
a beautiful feeling.

bloomed together after a delicious amount of squealing (some of it my own *squeal!*) announced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were going to be the new US President and Vice President, respectively. I know we have ways to day, but seeing the beginning of better brews wonders


- the background of the magnetic poem bit is from American Gods, Vol. 3: The Moment of the Storm, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton, and Rick Parker.

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #45: Horses and Courses).


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Moments and Storms

At this moment,
the world is all



with no eye.


b r e a t h e, my heart
for moments and storms,
storms, too, shall pass.

photo by Anandu Vinod, on Unsplash

 - for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #44: Eye of the Hurricane).