On Sensitivity

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Rumi says, “If you are irritated by every rub, how will you become polished?”

I’ve often been accused of being “too sensitive”.
My feelings have been dismissed because I can rarely express them without leaking from my eyes,
So I’m labeled as “excessively emotional”
As if my sentiments become invalid because they come served with salt,
As if my inability to remain stoic in the cacophony of daily existence is somehow a failure.

I think it takes courage to be tender-hearted.
Every day, I make a choice between anaesthetising myself to Life’s bittersweet reality and becoming highly attuned to the mechanical humming of the Universe:

Have you ever held someone in your arms as they took their last breath?
I have felt warm skin slowly turn cold and heartbeats fade away like the notes of a song.
I know how to close the eyes of someone who has died so that family members see only a sleeping face.

Have you ever held someone in your arms as they failed to take a breath?
“Code Pink” sounds so adorable until you learn it means “neonate cardio-respiratory arrest”.
Did you know that the weight of the whole world can be 7lbs, 9 oz when a baby dies?
I’ve whispered, “I’m so sorry” more times than I’ve practiced this poem.

Have you ever held someone in your arms as they took their very first breath?
I have beheld the miracle of virgin lungs being filled with air in my very hands,
Seen the magic of a blue body turned rosy,
And felt the pulse of an umbilical cord between my fingers.

These events are not one-off experiences in my life. These moments are my life’s calling. How can I not be sensitive?
Of course the surface of my heart is raw like road-rash!
Of course it’s always rainy season on my face and it’s all I can do to keep my make-up on!

Some people believe if we numb ourselves to the elements, we become enlightened,
I say if emotions are the elements, we should step outside and experience the weather!

The only wisdom that I have to impart to you today is that Life is  precious and short.
Allow yourself to weep. Allow yourself to rage. Allow yourself to laugh uproariously.
Allow yourself to feel every little thing while you can.

Rumi also said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you”.

I have been cracked open a thousand times and I wouldn’t change it for the world because I am filled with so much light.

Jar-Lights

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This work, “On Sensitivity” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Afternoon Thoughts

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I sometimes wish
you would reach across the miles
to somehow smooth over
mountains of wrongdoings
evaporate
oceans of salty tears
and
shine sun rays
on the tropical rainforest of my heart
where the colours just haven’t been as bright
since the day you went away

Again.

But

I remember
how
my fingernails once left bloody crescents on my palms
how
my jaw ached from gritting my teeth until they were broken
how
your empty promises split my skin like the edges of paper
and then
I remember
how much I enjoy sleeping through the night now

But still

I

wish I could hold your hand and giggle once more
wind up at the bottom of another coffee pot together
whisper secrets and promises anew
while writing poems about ghosts that linger in the shadows
I
wish that I was still the one you turned to at 4 AM
wind up choking when I hear your voice
whisper your name to remember the taste of it in my mouth
while writing poems about a love that never made sense to me

Either.

You

pretend that I never happened
only speak my name as a curse
only look my way when time stands still
only hope to keep me broken-hearted
like a child.
But friendships are not like playgrounds
and long after the bell rings
you are going to remember me
if only to sing yourself to sleep
if only to hold yourself when you are lonely
if only to remind yourself of a time when you had a home
and

safety.

Now

I remember your name when I light my Shabbos candles
because no matter what, I still pray that you are blessed
I may not be able to look at the pictures yet
but the memories are never far from my mind
I will always look for you in a crowded room
I will always answer the phone when you call.
My heart will always be full of you.

I will see you in another lifetime
where our history together will be as light as butterfly wings
and we will be together again.

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This work, “Afternoon Thoughts” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Remember Me?

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It’s May and little sprigs of green are poking their heads out of the ground. The winter’s snow is finally gone (we hope!), and things feel fresh and new.

I’ve been fighting a losing battle with writer’s block over the past year. For the past year or so, poetry has not felt like my friend…which was weird, because I’ve always been able to turn to poetry as a friend, even in the toughest of times. But what to do when poetry itself is the problem? Hmm.

Anyway, spring is here and I am slowly experimenting with writing once again.

This is what I have been up to:

oratorealis

I got published in Oratorealis! Check out Spring 2017’s Issue 2.1 on page 18 and 19, and you will see my poem, “~4 AM~”! This is rather exciting for me, because it was a goal of mine to be printed in this publication, so achieving that has got the old creative juices flowing once again. I’m glad that “~4 AM~” found a good home, especially one that includes the work of some very talented artists.

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I’ve also been published in a zine that will be released on Mother’s Day (May 14, 2017) called, Soother: Femmes Grieving Family and Fertility. The poem, “Ritual For A Much-Wanted Child That Will Never Be Conceived” was the poem to end my writer’s block, and I feel both very good and very vulnerable that it is being shared with so many people. I’ve seen a preview of the zine, and it is gorgeous! It is definitely worth money, but it is being generously offered on a sliding scale starting from $0. If you are interested in ordering a copy, go here.

I was strolling through Facebook the other day and came across some pictures of me performing in Vancouver at the Verses Festival back in 2015. See?

me at verses

me at verses 2

Lastly, I am gearing up for a set at Bracelet of Hope’s Women to Women show in Guelph, on May 28, 2017. I’m looking forward to my feature there, as well as doing a little shopping in their pop-up boutique!

I hope you are doing well, my friends, lovers, dears, and queers.

Trees, Bees, and Babies!
Bethy
xoxo

Building Community Through the Arts

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On March 1st, 2017, I will be performing at the Kitchener Public Library at an event called “Building Community Through the Arts”, presented by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Women & Gender Studies’ department. There will be lots of great local artists and juicy community conversation regarding topics related to social justice. Please come out!

Event information can be found here.

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Untitled

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I never write poetry anymore.
I don’t remember how to.
I remember red wine and clove cigarettes.
I remember singing Tom Waites at 4 AM.
I remember counting syllables like a greedy child counts coins for candy.
Words don’t come easily now.
There’s only the hum of the refrigerator for company.
 

I only sleep with escape artists.
I pretend that I am not awake whenever lovers quietly leave
so that I never have to say goodbye.
They pretend that they will see me again.
We pretend that red wine stains come out of white winter coats.
Nothing is final –
Except my unwelcome solitude.
 

My special talent is turning inside-out.
Let me show you my entrails.
This is my heart.
These are my veins.
These are the hungry ghosts that play between my organs.
I call them my emotions.
They don’t call me anything at all.
 

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This work is licensed, “Untitled” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Under A Bushel

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They say love is a light:
To let it shine, let it shine, let it shine,
But the bulb in my kitchen has been burnt out for a week now,
And my apartment is sitting in half-darkness most of the time.
I spend my days writing poems that no one will read,
Waiting for a phone call that never happens,
Creating origami flowers from letters that never come.
I’m hungry for something other than potatoes and rice,
The ache inside me like a sinkhole –
Swallowing up people, places, and things
As if nouns could ever satisfy the longing.
This kind of sadness requires adjectives.

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This work, “Under A Bushel” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Vapor Trails

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A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm.
– Joni Mitchell, “Amelia”

I never wanted them to find her body…
never wanted them to analyze her bones…
didn’t want them picking apart her remains and her story.
For me, she didn’t perish,
she simply flew away into infinity.
One womyn chasing her dreams,
Leaving vapor trails across an endless sky.

They say that the arms on her skeleton were larger than average.
Did they know it was because she dared to stretch like her imagination,
dared to lift the weight of the entire atmosphere
until her body became so mighty that when she soared through His blue,
G-d trembled like the body of her twin-engine Lockheed Electra?

What is it about humanity that it likes to pick away at mythology,
scratching at the wax on Icarus’ wings until there is nothing left?
I don’t want to think about one hundred radio transmissions
spoken into the dark
over the crashing of Pacific waves.
Can’t bear to think about the tiny crabs they say desiccated her flesh,
taking apart her ambition with hungry little bites.
I’d rather believe that she never landed on that island,
that every transmission was a false alarm.

Amelia, I don’t care what they say,
to me, you never died.
You are laughing from the cockpit
somewhere among the icy clouds.
Fly away into infinity,
one womyn chasing her dreams,
leaving vapor trails across an endless sky.

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This work, “Vapor Trails” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.