Tag Archives: poetry

At First, Lonely – Tanya Davis

27 Feb

Best-known as a musician and a spoken-word performer, poet Tanya Davis has now taken to the page with At First, Lonely. In this collection, she reflects on life’s many passages: falling in love and out, the search for personal truth, the search for home. Davis’s style is one-of-a-kind: a blend of contemporary phrasing with profound personal expression. But her message is universal; over two million people have watched How to Be Alone, a film adaptation of her poem created by independent filmmaker Andrea Dorfman. Tanya Davis’ poetry challenges the intellect and touches deep places in the heart.

I don’t think I can explain how much I love At First, Lonely and Tanya Davis. I don’t throw the word brilliant around lightly, but I have no issues using it here to describe Tanya and her work.

I don’t read a lot of poetry. I think it stems from my university days when I had it shoved down my throat daily. I learned quickly that I’m not a fan of metaphors and such. I want poetry that I can understand and identify with. And At First, Lonely gave me exactly that.

These aren’t just poems. They’re pieces of Tanya: her personality, her life, her being.  It’s impossible to read this volume and not feel like you know her, just a little bit. And that you could sit down, tell her about the shit in your life and know that she’d understand.

I own two of Tanya’s albums, so when I read At First, Lonely, I couldn’t help but read it with her intonations and pauses. For some this might have taken away from the poems, but for me, it added to them.

This was just a gorgeous, honest collection of poems.I feel that if I say anything else I will cross the line from acceptable gushing to insane gushing, so I’ll leave you with Tanya’s spoken word piece, How to be Alone, which is included in the book.


I’m Speaking Loudly

19 Sep

I wanted to do a post, something to show my support of Laurie Halse Anderson and her novel Speak. I knew if I just did a blog post it would quickly turn into an incoherent rant. So I wrote a poem. I’ve never been raped, but I almost was in university. There was a knife involved, but luckily he was too drunk and I somehow talked my way out of it. Like most I didn’t really say anything after it happened.  Well, I’m saying something now.

Speak Loudly

I won’t shut my mouth,
won’t hold the words tight
against my bruised perception
of love and sex.

I struggle enough with the thoughts and reality
of what happened without you
throwing your warped ideas
at me, at the world.

I whisper “rape” – you scream “soft porn”.

You think what happened is dirty and immoral but not for the right reasons.

It wasn’t sex –
it was violent and hurtful
quiet and quick.
It went on forever.

Hand over mouth, I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t say a word.

Now I can and I will.
I’ll speak loudly.

Head down, feet shuffling, fingers trembling, but I’ll speak.

Wednesday’s Words

18 Aug

We stand in line at the espresso bar
waiting our turn.
In a bored voice you wonder
at the fact that good
service is so hard to find.
I wonder why they blow steam into every
drink they serve, even coffee.
Must be for special effects.
Also makes it easier to charge six bucks
for a cup of hot chocolate.
I must have thought that out loud
because everyone looks at me strangely.
You breathe loud air through your nose in exasperation.
Our turn finally comes and you order
a café latte, non-fat with a dash of cinnamon
and chocolate sprinkles.
I order a glass of water, easy on the steam.

Wednesday’s Words

11 Aug

The plate flew across the room;
people stopped in mid chew.
Maybe I was hasty
in throwing it. Couldn’t help myself, though.
Peas were touching potatoes
and that just wouldn’t do.

No one knew what to say.
Would it be polite
to continue eating,
gravy dripping down
mint wallpaper?

I sat there as if
all I had done was
drop my napkin.

The woman at the next table smiled,
smashed her wineglass on the floor –
she understood.

Wednesday’s Words

4 Aug

Holding back a chocolate scream,
she closed her eyes until the neon color passed.
It was always like this – a power play
of who was right and who was put in their place.

She pushed emotions back down
into the shadows and smiled a symphony
of happy light.

Hoped for a shift in thought, a silvery
shimmer in choppy waters. She didn’t see him letting that happen, though.

Concentrated on perfecting her backstroke instead.

Wednesday’s Words

28 Jul

If you try to read between the moments
of beauty and breath
you will only find delirious creation.
It peaks out from behind curtains
of straightforward thinking.

There is only room for need,
never any space for want
though you can see it reflecting off thoughts
like stars on our bayou.

With him I am every piece of art,
every word, every note.

Wednesday’s Words

14 Jul

Any time spent away
from him hurts physically
like drinking coffee that’s too hot,
burning tongue and chest.
Nothing makes it feel better,
not deep breaths or a glass of wine.

I’m never quite prepared
for the sensation
even though I know it’s coming
every time he’s going.

I used to think I was open
to any challenge, but this –

this may prove too much.

Would he think any less of me
if I were to cling?
Grab his arm, his love.
Close my mouth and refuse to swallow.