The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 28: Sawubona

When I looked at others,
I mistook their
sharp edges for clarity,
believed in the vision
they set before me;
my reflection in
their fun house
mirror morphing
into something

I walked around with my eyes
squeezed shut against
the painfully bright
colors of judgement,
the harsh hand held gas
light lamps throbbing
along my avenues,

deserted by common sense,
but reinforced with high curbs
to knock my shins against
in the chaotic strobes of
intermittent understanding,

whirling through the foggy air,
elongating mere shadows
dense with mass and toothily
gleaming in the damp alleyways
where I took a shortcut to something
I would later call self confidence, but

it was merely a mask of a brave face,
my hero’s cape a soft red blanket
around my shoulders to protect me
from the icy shards of the glare pointed
at my back even as they insisted the warmth
I felt was from the fire they tended, but

I was the one who held
the matches,
the kindling
they dropped into my flames was
gathered from my garden,
misplaced somewhere
along the way
during an escape from
the city I was cloistered in, but
there, on the edge of nowhere

I saw my familiar shape under
the red flower, toes dug
into the scorched earth,
scorpion on my back,
rattlesnake at my heel,

breath hot as the desert night panting
with the effort of carrying a
bag of bones, clacking
across the great expanses to
settle my assembled skeleton
into distant seas, far off from
the dry basins I laid myself
down to rest within,

the needles of cacti
in my throat,
sand grit in
my teeth.

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 27

"Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do."

It clanged softly at first;

the hollow ringing of a wind chime
in a lazy breeze
the sound vibrated along every nerve
into the hollowness
of bones you carried
empty of discernment, but
filling up with the many legs of things
you did not want to acknowledge;

Something wasn’t right,

but the sound
was easy
to lean your sore back against
to rest
until it became a prolonged keening
like a fingertip drawn along the rim
of a glass
It rattled your teeth
set your jaw to clacking under the strain
your bones felt fragile as glass, easy to
shatter after the next exasperated sigh so you

Released the winged things from under your skin
watched the discordant notes fly chaotically through
your connections frayed under the buzzing hum of
your denial, consuming everything to make way for
Something newly balanced, the notes harmonizing
into a crescendo of alignment.

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 26: Open Topic


She stepped from moon shadow.

Her scarred face held knowledge of millennia,
strong hands draped my shoulders in nettle,
set a crown of thistle upon my head,

cool lips planted a kiss on my forehead, then she
pulled my tongue with forefinger and thumb,
planted a seedling underneath.

She pointed to the glassy stillness of
a pond, untouched by the rippling of
night song and hungry mouths, so

I pressed my face into the water, soothed
the fire burning under my steaming skin until
the tipping point of disintegration,
sandy embankment pulled through
my clawed fingers, a downward current
cast into the rushing stream of consciousness,

stars and meteorites scattered
across the vacuum of space which
held the chill of every cold shoulder,
spilling into the great heavy
depths of the ocean.

The angler fish held her lantern to
guide me through the inky black expanses
teeming with hidden teeth, carcasses, eyeless
life thriving far below because they consumed, so

I consumed, too, accepted whatever that world
would give
to sustain the vitality of
flesh on my bones, floated a while
until the pressure of the dive became less
obvious, the subtle rising up
brought me reflected rays of light through
murky shallows, green and teeming
with abundance of knowing,
the unfurling of the fern
under my tongue a
promise fulfilled.

If you are a current contestant and liked this poem, be sure to vote for it! 3 of the contestants are going to saved by Contestant Only voting. So if you are a current contestant, get your votes into Gary by Monday, July 13th at 8pm EDT.
Here are the other entries.

As for the rest of you, fingers crossed for me please. This is a Gatekeeper Round.

The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 25: Sudden Death Write Off Round 2

I am still thinking about Week 25's The Catbird's Seat


I wore the humid summer heat like
second skin,
the heaviness of it
clinging wetly to my body,

a tightly coiled spring
desperate for a luxurious
stretch into the wide spaces

I spent my life seeking out in
forests, across fields, up
mountains and into lakes.

I was sure the world would
remember me, offer her palmful
of seeds,
her delicate
medicines dissolving
under my tongue, my eyes
dilated past the blinding of

glass, concrete, mortar, the sickly sweetness of
iron being forged to confine spaces into
something manageable, easily locked

like my heart in the increasing tightness
of my chest, the vice grip relentless, as
the faces around me blurred, but a
voice stayed to remind me that I was

just being melodramatic,
a voice suggesting I should
learn to breathe under the landslide, insisting
I was misremembering what happened, telling
me my hysterical reaction was worse than
the burials under earth shattering heart break.

I slipped out of my skin like a snake, forked tongue
flicking to finally taste the truth behind the
cacophony of riotous caterwauling.

My long luxurious stretch a
sinuous escaping through the cracks and crevices
of the destruction to open air perspective, the cunning
mine now that I didn’t have ears to be deceived, the clarity
of discernment rippling through sinew and bone as I climbed
the highest treetops for a meal hard earned and long overdue
of a pretty little catbird preening daintily in a self assured seat.

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 25: Sudden Death Write Off


“I am tired,” my bones said as
they lay deep into the slick mud
of soft decaying things.

He simply dug through the mountain to
find me in the center of the rockslide, where
he promptly wrapped me up in safety, warm as the sun.

I was deeply chilled before
he laid me down on the shore, the sand
fine as silk, where he kissed me with
the tide’s refreshing embrace, the sea foam
leaving my skin tingling.
I was breathless with
anticipation of what could possibly
come next.

He simply learned new languages in
order to reach me, chants in a rhythm
my feet could follow as steady as his heart
beat back to the world and to myself.

He simply plucked kindness to
place gently on my tongue, soft as
flower petals, they melted in my mouth,
stained blue as my mood, but he just
pointed out the similar hue of the sky.

He simply loved me, in all the messy
complexity of living things blooming
from the richness of what perished before,

a simple harvesting of
choosing what felt like no choice at all,
the simplicity of grasping hands, leaning
into each other, as we set out on the
meandering path.

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 25: The Catbird's Seat

You thought you were sitting
pretty, dainty toes wrapped
around slim necks,
so only your song rang
over the treetops to open
ears, amplified through
gossiping mouths, the entire forest
a susurrous cacophony of your twisty tall tales.

You fluffed your feathers and strutted on the
backs of loved ones, expecting
them to applaud you after you pressed
their faces into mud, so you wouldn’t
have to dirty your own underbelly.

Soft and vulnerable insecurities
roiling in your gut hidden by the
plumage and disguised by the
height of a perch you strove
toward, breath squeezed in your
throat, eyes bulging from the effort
of pretending you were something better
than every other creature in the wilderness.

There are predators licking their chops in the
brush, forked tongues flicking in the
air to taste all the lies you caterwauled,
teeth gleaming in the brilliant sunlight of
their lantern truths, muscles rippling up
trees and around branches, steadily
climbing to the highest heights for a meal
long deserved and wholly satisfying.

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The Real LJ Idol: Season 11 *Wk 24 Intersection: If you don't live it,it won't come out of your horn

You might see the
elongated tooth, the
sharpened claw.

She smiled widely, gracefully trailed fingers,
pounded her feet, and her strong thighs carried

the weight of
secrets, shook the very
foundation of the
hallowed earth,

dust rose to kiss her
rolling shoulders and powder her
shiny brow, flush with the fear of

existence and creation, her belly
full of the life she planted when
she danced herself into existence,
gave birth to herself, unto herself.

before there was anything,
there was her boundlessness,

spreading wide and nebulous,
shifting tides of thought and feeling
pulled by the moon, the sun, Venus.

Until she felt the first beat reverberate
to the next in a steady rhythm,
ba dum ba dum ba dum
she coalesced in a whirling dance,
her heart steady and unrelenting,

her core balanced in center,
she tossed her head, a crown of
divinity sweeping through the air,
she breathed life, her limbs gracefully
defining lines, punctuated gazes,

she spun
water and salt of
exertion crystallizing into
quartz and selenite,

delicate as a moon beam
illuminating the deepest
shadows of Self which
carved fears into the
cave walls of her
druzy chest, but still,
she danced wildly.

I had the distinct pleasure of working with encrefloue for the second intersection. Please follow this link to read their entry.

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 *Week 23 Intersection: "I'm the Usain Bolt of Running From My Problems"

shifting tides pulled discontent into a
tsunami which cracked open my
oyster chest, sent my
pearlescent heart

rolling across sandbars, desperate
to be plucked by admiring

caught in the undertow and then
my desire washed up on shore
beached and barely
breathing, so

I followed swiftly,
wrapped snug in my
sealskin, so sure

into the wide palms of a lonely man.

I wrapped him in my pelt and thighs
to thaw grief from his bones, I
took his tongue into my

I sighed the long held breath
of relief

into his struggling lungs,
warmed a flush back
into his pallid cheeks and

despair from the deep well of his

I wrung sea water from my hair and
distilled it pure and sweet to pour into
his hungry mouth,

I saved the salt to season his meals, I
hand fed him with care,
pressed my fingers into stinging hives to slather
his lips with honey.

But, he turned his back to me as
I licked my own welts,
applied my own balms, even as I
tended every scrape and kissed every ache up and down
his unkempt body.

I sang lullabies so
he could sleep, and I stayed awake
all the while to
watch the shifting
shadows of his unease
swell and swallow.

Even as my own body felt the chill of biting and blustery moods,
even as my own skin paled and cracked, dehydrated and brittle,
I went hungry and I gnashed my teeth at the scraps I could find to
sustain, to endure.

I suspected he still wore my pelt around
his shoulders when I was not looking
because sometimes he
smelled like freedom
even though we had been
locked in a death embrace
for years and a day, so I

went to the sea shore and let the
cold take a swallow of me, a mere wisp of the wholeness I used to be,
wrapped my once snug sealskin around the hollowness of my starved self
waterlogged and heavy, I dove but

I didn’t have the strength to go
back into the deep waters, so I drifted,

landed on another shore into a restless sleep
full of harsh edges and invisible threats, longing
for soft spaces and kind gestures, another lover

whose hair was braided with seashells,
her shoulders draped with sea foam and the
jeweled veil of my gratitude, my bones warmed
with her unconditional love.

My dreams came true and I am elated to say I intersected with bleodswean. I came to her with a strange little idea and as usual, she blew me away with her tender story telling, and pulled all my heartstrings. Please read her entry here:

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The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 22: Sudden Death Write Off-Open Topic


A slow climb into the sunlight after
a season and a day in the deep rock,
the air restless and
shifting this way, that way

caressing curls, languidly drawing
fingertips across chest, neck,
and back, down thighs and over cheeks.

Earth swallowed her up to the shoulder,
edges dissolved into the sun baked
ground, nerves spreading wildly,
a root system cast wide and searching.

She nuzzled against the grim reaper,
buried her head in his hood to lick his
teeth, to kiss the corner of his smile.

He swooned at the scent of her blooming,
left her with a molar as an offering,
promised to be back again soon to sink
incisors into the
fruit of her becoming.

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Sunday, May 24th at 7pm EDT!

The Real LJ Idol * Season 11 * Week 22: Hiraeth

I once sunk deep
into plush moss,
their supple hands
gently packed the
dirt all around
me, whispering.

I was brought back
from the rich soil
by strong fingers
which carried me
to the river,
loving arms
sunk me deep
into the cold
water, singing.

I was swaddled
in thick wool,
walked down the
pine needle path
to the hearth
burning bright
with holly and
laid bare on
the fire-warmed
stone, humming.

there I shed
precious naïveté
like a snake
itchy from skin
that is too tight,
hemming in
the space we
were meant
to take up in the
world, growing.

There I was fed
milk and honey
to take away the
bitter bite of the
potent herbs which
Would awaken me
to the truth of
things, aching.

My heart rended
Slowly, slowly...
over long days and
endless nights,
opening up to
the pain of losing
which I thought was
mine that never was,

that pulled taut
every nerve,
frayed every fiber

I thought I would come
apart at the seams,
at the joints,
at the synapses,
to become

A floating cloud of
loose particles rising
like mist from the
low valleys, which
hold the echoes of
hopes and wild wishes
in the cupped bowl of
the earth’s palms,
where I would stay,

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