I have finally published my debut collection of poetry, and here's everything you need to know.
This is shameless self-promotion from a girl who just moved to the city and needs to make rent.
I'm not sorry, because I'm proud of the work I've done to write and self-publish this book and the words I have written.
I know I haven't posted much on this site in the way of my poetry, but that's because I've been working so hard for the last year and a half to cultivate my first poetry collection.
But first, a little background on who I am:
I am Iris. I was born as a four-pound baby with a hole in my heart and an addiction to nicotine. I have an eternal love for everything beautiful—art, poetry, yoga, the ocean, the mountains, love. I'm 19 and have gone through hell to find myself in a sea of people who wanted to drag me down. I moved to Boston on a whim to get away from that which was familiar to me. I am not perfect, nor do I wish to be. I'm sarcastic and I have an attitude and I'm impulsive and I want to be self-made.
I started writing poetry because it satisfied some sort of hunger deep down inside me. It filled a void I never knew existed until I found it.
This book is my journey to self-awareness and understanding.
This book is my life, my love, my blood.
I am no Rupi Kaur. I am no Sylvia Plath. I am no Emily Dickinson. I am Iris, and that is all I have to offer you.
I'm dropping a few samples of my work from my book here for you to peruse and decide if I am worth your time.
Work in Progress
My name has four syllables,
Unless you ask my ex-boyfriend,
Then it’s five,
And he’s saying “Coo-rist-te-ah-na”
To his mother in the kitchen
And it’s every summer afternoon
We sat on the empty boxcar
Eating ice cream with one spoon
But I was your Goddess of Colors
And as spring and autumn faded into winter
The colors died
And you had no more reason to love me.
I’ve got ghosts in my house,
But they don’t open and close doors
Or appear over my bed
They’re in the bed with me
They’ve got butterfly wings
They’ve got LIVE MUSIC TONIGHT
Stamped across their foreheads
Like some scene out of a movie
Where the main character doesn’t get better.
Ask my new man
And he’ll tell you my name
Begins with G and ends in Ess
He loves me like a bloom opening to the sun
My hair was pink when I wrote this poem
Like cotton candy bubblegum Thursday nights
The ampersand between your name and mine
Brings creases to my eyes and cheeks
My body is old and dying
My body is not beautiful in the traditional way
Call me the rainmaker
And I will bring spring to your doorstep
I will bring the war to its knees
Call me the ocean
And I will make the world turn
I will raise the islands you walk upon
Call me your lover
And I will kiss the back of your knees
I will go to rest at your feet.
Kind of Blue
Everyone has had love, and a goldfish that died in the first week. We were rotting leaves in autumn, and when spring came we washed away to the color of blood in urine we were everything but right. Take, for example, your rosé nipples and tell me I am not a poet of the body. Tell me I am not a poet of the earth. I would walk each inch of it with you in my arms if we could lay in the rust-colored sand together and let the air teach us how to breathe again. Let me give butterfly kisses to the butterfly. Let my dry lips cool the earth, how it roars and tears itself beneath us and we stand upon it not knowing the juxtaposition of our green grass to this mass’s hot iron core. We are but hair follicles on the skin of the earth. We are but a speck in the universe and if that scares you, you know not what it is to live. Let my arms rest heavy on the earth. Let my throat open farther to drink in all the sky there is to swallow. Let me kiss the back of your knee in forgiveness every day until I die. We are but two aspens. We are symbiotic and our roots are that which holds us together no matter how much we grow apart we are one pair of lips ever resting upon each other.
Coffee Shop in Belfast
So often I feel like a passage rite
Boys take me out for a spin,
Like some lovesick drive in the dark at night.
Your leather seats feel like butter,
And my hair is down and my wild eyes
And in that moment you might
Really think that you love me.
But I have long since learned
That I am a game you boys like to play.
I’m the girl who fixes you up
For somebody else to keep.
You taste like blood on my lips,
And my bad sleeping habits are going to break you.
I practically caught you
Pouring sugar in water that morning
When you tried to say you’d never leave me.
Where are you now?
You’ve long since emptied the cookie jar
Behind my back.
Your sweet tooth took you to a girl
With honey in her hair.
And even after I said “let’s just be friends”
You must have decided you couldn’t associate
With a girl who had no sugar left to lend.
I was sweet until you took that away from me.
You couldn’t handle the taste of black coffee
The depth of dark chocolate
I am more than a honeysuckle girl
Sooner or later she will give you a stomach ache
Resting Bitch Face
I never learned how to shut my mouth,
And at 5’4” you’d think
I would be frustrated
That nearly everything
Is out of my reach.
I am not,
And I am not afraid of failure.
I am that loud bitch
Yelling in the hallway.
I am the girl who still
Has not learned to think
Before worlds tumble out
Of my mouth like choleric bees.
My tender heart is overflowing
With nectar and mercy,
And I am the sprinkles of rain
That splatter across your cheeks like freckles
That tells you a storm is about to come.
I always have been the harbinger.
I don’t smoke, but if I did
I’d smoke a pack a day
And I don’t know you, but if I did
I would love you so much
You could tear me limb from limb
And I would still ask
If there was anything more
I could give to you.
Because I don’t do things halfway.
I never have,
And I don’t know how.
One day I hope
To wake and find that my
Legs and toes have stretched
Into the earth to form roots
And my arms and hair and body
Have changed into limbs and leaves
Of a wise old eucalyptus tree-
My exterior, my leaves are toxic
But I will provide warmth and shelter
If you can just get past my foliage.
And as I am coniferous
I will not waver
Until the day I die.
I am the prickly-pear cactus
Whose fruit is syrupy sweet
Once you get past my needles.
I’ve got resting bitch face real bad,
But baby, if I kiss you once,
I won’t be able to stop.
I don't offer explanations or apologies for my writing. I wrote and self-published postwar chocolates fully knowing I would probably never sell more than 20 copies. It was born purely of a need to share my writing with other people. And it's a tad bit imperfect, just like I am.
If you're interested in picking up a copy of my debut collection of poetry, you can find it here.
It costs $10 plus shipping to wherever you live, and I'd never think a moment about charging more than that.
Thank you for entertaining me and my ridiculous self-promotion.
Thank you for purchasing my book, and if you didn't, thank you for reading my article.
Thank you for letting me be Iris.