How To Get Comfortable Performing Your Poetry 

I remember when I first started performing poetry as a teenager. It was intimidating but the best kind of exciting. I compare public speaking to the best adrenaline experience and high that is legal. I’m not a center of attention type of person, but I’ve always gotten joy and such a challenge from speaking my words in front of people.

I figured this part of myself out in Speech class back in college. Everyone hated it except for me. I took it as a challenge, and it was an evolution to get better each time. My hands shook when I brought my outline up with them. I secretly whispered to myself one of these days. We’re going to have our stuff memorized.

Memorizing is easy and difficult for me. Performing just comes with whatever poem I’m speaking. I remember what brought this poem into life. I remember its creation and the feelings I had surrounding it. Then, I let the lightning strike, don’t deny them, and go full breath into the poem.

The problem is that I have a low threshold for stimuli. I get overstimulated easily. Noises, music, and anything can make my mind focus on that instead of what I would say next.

I’ve always found ease with telling stories versus poetry.

Stories I know like my backhand and the lines in my palm.

Poems are structured to carry rhythm, rhyme, syntax, alliteration that if I miss just one word, the whole structure is thrown off balance.

So, how do you get comfortable performing?

Like anything, repetition, repeat, and repeat until it becomes a second tongue you wear. I have to see the poem, index cards go into the visual, hear the poem, and combine holding the poem too (kinesthetic) to get it to solidify.

When I recite a poem from memory, I can see it in my head like my finger is moving down its length. But, this works best in a quiet environment. So, I’ve started practicing outdoors on walks, in my car, and in other places where I can’t control the setting.

I love when people start reading and then move to perform their poems. There’s such power in hearing your words out loud. If you trip up, don’t go back and fix the word. Move forward. People will forget the slip-up, and it also works to keep your confidence up. Everyone messes up. It’s how you recover from the stumble that defines you.

Poetry Proves My Power 

I saw a post where they were asking you your mantra that you live by now to kind of rewrite things. My response was longer, “I will use poetry to bring back my power.” Shortened version of this is “Poetry Proves My Power.” What does that mean?

It means that poetry is used to access kindness. Is used to not exactly rewrite narratives but to write them in a way that I feel it all over again. And just the act of being present in it and bringing others along for the ride if I do share it performing is just part of a power dynamic being brought back to me.

I’ve always been that odd dock. Weed in a bouquet of flowers. I am that one that you meet and people immediately go, “you don’t care what people think, do you?”

I like to wear my joy on the outside.

I love nature like it can love me back.

I keep seeing things that if I’m not careful I’ll overlook.

The crazy amount of bees on goldenrod when they bloom. Hundreds of them. Then I think of maybe I can grow these and help the bees?

My mind is list of connections that connect perfectly because the world is interconnected.

It’s ridiculous all this beauty out there. So, I write because even the mundane can be exponentially mind blowing.

Some information on my workshops and projects: 

Talking about the Mental Highway, I do have a workshop with WAN Academy on June 6th doing just that. Writers, non-writers, poets, people who don’t call themselves poets but are pretty adept at words are all invited. To buy tickets for that is this link:

If you share that link with others, I get a commission for tickets sold, and this does help me out. Also, if you’re a WAN Poetry member, sit easy and know that it’s free.

Catalysts is back! We are doing Tuesdays instead of Thursdays at 6pm CST. Sign up is:

And a workshop I’m excited about to offer is an Erotica Workshop, Touch The Poetic Pulse, Friday, February 11th, at 6:30pm CST. Sign up is:

My books are still available if you’d like to take them home with you. Poetically word-wise, of course. Every bit helps, and I will do nice shit for you to send with your book and goodies. 

How I’m Doing Things In Poetry I’d Never Imagine Myself Doing

You probably have seen this as my new flier at the top of the page. I took a dare and submitted myself to be a teacher in the upcoming WAN Academy. I remember the founder of Write About Now Poetry telling me that they needed a class on how I write so many poems in a day. I am currently at over 200 poems for the year of 2022.

Now, with this said, I do take days off writing. Sometimes, my brain isn’t cooperative. I’ve been writing more short stories and essays than I have done for years. Short story writing activates a different brain than poetry. All my start of lines and such get thrown out the window. I am making a story, talking in my head, doing it as if someone is right in front of me and I’m having a conversation with them.

It’s great, but if I do something like chapters for a Novel, or short stories, I lose my ability for poetry. It may still be there, but it’s less prevalent. I’m activating a different side, the conversations and story building I’m having while I’m on a walk versus an image of a flower becoming a metaphor for depression of how some flowers flourish in winter.

My brain likes connections. It connects everything in life. I am that person who bounces between twenty different things and to me they are all connected. While I’m flourishing with this, I might lose someone who it’s like hey, let’s keep this linear?

When I made this workshop I decided to share some of the things with how I can make three poems out of one. I never really thought I’d be teaching not just with my home base of WAN, but with Guerilla Poets which is a North Carolina non-profit organization that uses poetry and art to heal.

Everything I’ve done this year is because I’ve stopped saying is this good enough and I’ve told myself, yes, it is.

I’m also here to tell you that if you call yourself a writer, or a poet, then you are. There is no gatekeeping here. There is no amount of writing in a week that makes you become a writer or poet. I believe poetry is in us all. All we gotta do is access it and believe in our words to tell stories that our a part of our legacy. We need to never lose our ability to story tell. This is how my great grandma still lives in me is her amazing stories she’d tell me. I will never forget the joy she had telling them. I will never forget the everlasting love she had for her daughter, my grandma, in these stories.

And now I get to tell them in my language, my voice, to keep them living beyond me.

Haunted Poets, November 20th

I always love the metaphor of poets being haunted. How can we not? We’re always dredging up ghosts and making them home inside ourselves. Our hallways are haunted, our heads are haunted, are fingers are just waiting to express a haunting.

I wanted to time this workshop with Halloween but missed the cutoff for its creation so we shot for November. I want to kind of dive into what is it that you hold onto? How can you persuade it to come out poetically?

I’ve had so much fun with my workshops, with Poetic Catalyst, and my poets who make space, create space, take space for us to inspire and be inspired. It’s a lot of love, fun, learning, creating, and it just makes me so joyful to have us creating in the same space.

I’m thinking and planning eventually to maybe have some in-person workshops, but this is down the line. It would yet again be probably sliding scale, and maybe even where instead of us writing right away we explore something, then find a place to sit and make things. Or, we explore and then I leave you with a small booklet of prompts to write out your poems in, hand-held, at any time.

I’m already thinking if we will keep Haunted Poets next month or if I’ll explore a different topic for us to do and get together to go through on the weekend.

If you’re curious, and interested, just click here to find out and sign up.

Racism Is As Real As Today

We watched One Night In Miami last night and it had me tearing up. Just knowing that Malcom X knew that the end was near and kept trying as hard as he could to have his words, his friends words, speak for the racial tension and for what was happening every day.

Speaking about the movie my boyfriend admitted that he doesn’t feel safe taking a walk in the early morning. It gauged my heart out but I’m just always hyper aware of the tension that is around and racism he’s dealt with most of his life. We were talking and all we need is someone calling in a black man walking around the neighborhood, the wrong cop coming out, and him being killed.

This is real.

Every day this is real.

My love is a black man who I’ve seen, more than once, twice, just countless times that he is looked at more than twice. Just walking around. He always engages people in saying “Hello” first when we’re walking together. To let them know he sees them, is what he explains is why he does this when we’re out. I tend to keep my eyes down and not engage anyone when we’re out.

He calls me gregarious and I call him the same.

We have to explain to kids that racism is real, and rampant, and my friends with their children have to specify to their little boys “show your hands even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Show you’re smaller.”

What road is the wrong one?

What street is watching you too closely?

Who called you as a threat when you weren’t even one for a second?

What are we doing to make this well-known? All I do is explain it, say it, make it into poetry, and have full discussions about race and admit my white privilege I own and have.

Matrimony Made Unmaking

I never believed in love. I figured, if it doesn’t believe in you why should you believe in it? I believed in myself, and I still hold onto this. This belief in myself above all else. I become my own deity, not to say it’s ego driven, just knowing that if I’m drowning there isn’t anything that will be sent down to save me. I gotta grip my hand, pull up, and get myself out of the well.

Cue, me now, writing some of the best poetry I’ve ever written hands down and I have love. I have the best kind of love, safe, easy, always there, strong, compassionate, giving, considerate, and always appreciating me for what and who I am.

How many times you’ve been told you’re broken so love will never find you?

I have, but the funny thing is, it’s not true.

My parents married out of necessity. I had a brother before me, my mother was divorced, and my dad just fell in love with the hurricane that is my mother. She said either buck up and marry me, I don’t have time for games, or get the hell out. They were married in three months. My mother needed a father figure for my brother.

He still speaks warmly that my mother knows the best places to go to (she does, honestly, honing pigeon of a woman) and what she comes up with is exciting.

My mother talks less now about how much she distastes my dad. And, my dad had his own times where the power flipped. But, it was never healthy. There’s so many different things I see where I go, well, I can see why my own ways of repeating history happened. Even though, I always screamed from the rooftops I was strong.

When I met the love of my life, I wasn’t looking. I never am looking. I would prefer to be left alone and just left to my own devices. Remember, the only thing that can save me is myself? Add a person to that and it almost always would turn out, well, not good.

Our rituals we have in our relationship are sacred and I love them. We always kiss when we wake up in the morning or return to each other in bed. He is basically like my silent editor you never see with my poetry getting his help if I feel like it needs some extra something. I share all of myself with him and don’t feel like a fear he will use anything against me. Which was a constant.

I was raised from a system of love that I knew I didn’t want. So, I thought I didn’t want love period. Just goes to show that I wanted it, just the kind that gives, receives, trusts, and embodies you like cashmere sunsets.