How ironic that we write poetry with metaphors about the moon and sun the trees and waterfalls

But on an average night the best poets are sitting inside
Drunk on loneliness and alcohol much less romantic than cheap red wine
Who throw wood on the fire
Pour oil from the soil
Eat anything soaked in rum
Wishing it tasted like your skin after your run
But you ran
And they hide from the moon
And they hide from the sun

‘Yeah but cry me a river’

I’d drown in your sweat if I could

—  Maita C
Smoking Optimism

We go to a 24 hour Denny’s at the end of the night.
After they bring all of us waters,
I excuse myself and head to the bathroom.
Mr. Darcy has been waiting for me; he’s leaning against one of the stalls.
There are daffodils poking out of his
pant pockets.
Lionel Richie sings through the speakers,
“You are the sun, you are the rain.”
I pull out my cigar case and set one off.
He smiles at me as I blow smoke into his face—
but he will not touch me.


this is weird. 


No one ever warns you about things like this. About the waves, the rolling blankets of your feelings. Like when you make your bed in the morning, and how much you find yourself relating to the sheets that you just can’t get to lay right. About losing your second family, people you’ve grown to love individually. Family you’ll never see again. Fake fighting with their little brother in the kitchen, like you were fourteen again for those few minutes. Or getting to be the big sister you never got to be, talking to her about things her own family never even knew. About the mother that was never really yours, but held you like she was when you needed it. No one ever warns you about all the places you’ve gone, that just become standard places again. That booth becomes a dirty plastic seat. The way it always was. The back seat of your car, your mobile closet, filled with clothes and books and gagets you forget you own. No longer your personal get away. No one ever warns you when you see others fill your spot, as if you were just keeping it warm for the next person. How small of a detail you are in the big picture, when you use to believe you were the whole thing entirely. No one ever warns you about the guys that hold your hand, remind you you’re beautiful, buy you flowers, or picks you up at four in the morning with a blanket in one hand and a McDonald’s parfait in the other. How gentle they are to you, like a baby bird in the palm of their hands. How guilty you feel for all of it, because you were conditioned to believe you don’t deserve all those wonderful things. No one warns you when all the memories you swore you’d carry with you for the rest of your life, become foggy fragments. You try to tell the stories, but there’s a lot of, “I can’t remember what he said next,” or, “I don’t recall what happened after that.” No one warns you about how content you grow with it all. You have your days, when the waves roll back over again and you feel it all again for a minute or two. But the waves have become weaker, farther apart. And one day before you know it, the last one will graze your feet. You’ll watch it retreat to the sea for the last time, and you almost hate to watch it go. But it’ll be a fleeting moment, and before you know it it’s all over. We’ve always been warned about the way love can hurt us. But no one warns you about the taste it leaves in your mouth when it’s all said and done. The bittersweet process of officially letting it die.


I gather my lilac dress into my fingers as I swing my legs over the rusted bicycle I found last two weeks on the side of the road. My eyebrows furrow with concentration and my tongue teases at the side of my face as I force the bicycle to move. The day is bright; the air, fresh;and, the sand, warm. It is almost as if the whole world is at peace. The sun’s rays, mixed with the croaking of hungry frogs and the buzzing of enthusiastic bugs, beats away at my ears.

“A, b, c, d, e, f, g, ..” I sing quietly as the bicycles pushes onward with ease.

My heart ruptures with happiness and with each utter of an alphabet, laughter escapes me, “h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p…

I ride away from the disintegrated pieces of life trapped within my house as I hum the rest of the song.

* * *

The leaves of solemn trees kiss my shoulders and my back as the wind tickles my neck. Within minutes, I am before the brown lake–its sunken borders littered with tree trunks and branches. Desperate, I hop off the bicycle and slip off my slippers. I stand awkwardly with my bare feet pressing into the aged soil, debating if whether or not to jump in.

"I don’t care..” I say

and not a moment too soon, I leap! FREE and WARM. The mud swallows my hair first, then my shoulders, then the rest of me—my white dress. It seeps into the fabric with its color, resilient and obnoxious. I plug my nostrils quickly, and doing somewhat of a waddle, find my way to the bottom, amidst arrangements of decayed branches, trees, and dead animals. I peek the sun nodding its approval through the gloomy surface and I laugh. I laugh and laugh and laugh— until I  taste nothing but mud and my eyes burn with tears. 

Claudia Owusu