Tag Archives: Scars

The Brant Rant’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Slam: Featuring Beth Murch!


Brant Rant

If you think of broken-hearted people swilling whisky and smoking cigarettes in an embittered fashion, apparently, you are not alone!  Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with me, the Perpetual Spinster, at The Brant Rant’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Slam. Or, you know, don’t…I’m used to being alone. WAH!!!

The Deets:

Who: Beth Murch (me!)
What: The Brant Rant’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Slam
Where: Rockling’s Tap & Grill, Brantford, Ontario
When: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Why: Because misery loves company?
How: By crying into our beers and sharing poetry

Event’s Facebook Page: The Brant Rant’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Slam feat. Beth Murch




The cuticles on each of my fingernails are torn.
The tender skin has been ripped into jagged edges
By teeth desperately trying to block the words
Flowing from the back of my throat,
Stuffing my mouth full of my flesh
…As if the taste of my own blood and body has ever stopped me from doing anything stupid before.

My hands are ugly.
In Grade Ten, a boy said to me, “You have the kind of hands that never look good wearing rings.”
I thought it was an insult
But really, it was a prophesy:
My hands really have never looked good wearing rings,
Because rings are promises,
And my hands have learned to block out promises like curtains blocking out sunlight.
My hands leave things behind
Like streaks of bread dough, unsent letters, flakes of nail polish
Like lovers’ DNA, slicks of cocoa butter, splatters of acrylic paint.

My hands are ugly.
My fingers are short and stubby.
My wrists are thick and wide.
These hands have bathed the dead.
They have wrapped shrouds and tossed clods of dirt onto caskets.
These hands have always done what has been needed:
Shoveled fly ash, cupped vomit, sliced onions, scraped up change from countertops.
They have held up protest signs and clenched in fists,
They have committed acts of petty theft and vandalism.
My hands are purposeful, not pretty.

The cuticles on each of my fingernails are torn.
I chew on them mercilessly instead of saying what I want to,
Things like:
My hands may never look good wearing rings,
And I’ve never been good at believing in promises,
But when I look at you,
I remember that my hands have also cupped the luminous corona of a child’s head splitting wide its mother’s vulva,
Picked handfuls of herbs,
And traced stories on the backs of those who pressed their bodies against mine.
So, please – give my hands more beautiful things to do:
Let them hold onto yours for just a little while.

My Hand
This is actually my hand. I’ll spare you the close-up of my cuticles.

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

Since This Is Apparently Something People Are Very Concerned About.


We all have defense mechanisms. Mine is to make jokes about things that really hurt my feelings because then I can trick myself into thinking that I’m not vulnerable and hopefully get home before I start crying. Today, I’m tapping into my inner Dr. Seuss in the hopes that I can deal with all the green eggs and ham being handed to me! This is probably the only time I will post a poem that contains any rhyming. Enjoy!

My hair. My hair.
Oh, why do you care?
My hair. My hair.
You stop and you stare.
You judge and you dare to speculate about who I am and what I stand for, the colour of my skin and the history of my people.
My hair. My hair.
Whether it’s on my head or growing down “there” – is making assumptions fair?
My hair. My hair.
When you are done racial profiling and musing on my hair styling, can we please get back to the issues at hand?
Like, say, stolen land?
Must I always keep my cultural credentials on hand to justify to strangers that I have the right to exist?
My hair. My hair.
You won’t be my friend because of my dreaded ends.
We can’t “flock up” because I locked up.
My hair. My hair.
Oh, why do you care?
You won’t talk to me at the slam
Because of who you think I am.
You won’t shake my hand
But feel safe to demand
That my body meets your personal standards for “appropriate”.
Somebody call the police!
A person of suspicious appearance is causing interference
Simply for not looking the way you want them to!
My hair. My hair.
Oh, why do you care?
I bless your curses and your cast stones as I adorn my hair with feathers and bones.
I am proud of who I am and what I stand for because my hair is for G-d and nothing more.
My hair. My hair.
This “hairstyle” will always be MY style because it is the LIFEstyle I believe in,
My truth and my fire, the voice of my heart’s desire.
My hair. My hair.
The ones who I want to care?
They break bread with me and we pray for all to be free.
I hold their babies and they hold my heart.
We call each other “Sister”, “Brother”, “Friend”, and “Lover” before we depart.
My hair. My hair.
Oh, why do you care?
My ancestors were there.
My ancestors were here.
My history is so much more than what you see, so I don’t need you to believe in me
Nor do I need your certificate of authenticity.
I know the colour of the blood in my veins.
I know the which pages of history my blood stains are on.
MY hair. MY hair.
Oh, why do you care?
Imagine living in a world where we ask before assuming about personal politics and body hair grooming.
MY hair. MY hair.
We could be there – you and I, he and she, zie and we – if we spent less time obsessing about hair – mine, yours, or anyone’s.

Creative Commons License
This work, “Since This Is Apparently Something People Are Very Concerned About.” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Love Is A Slurry of Wood Pulp & Optical Brighteners


My heart is like wet tissue paper:
Fragile, unsustainable,
Disintegrating upon contact.
The cheap dye gets everywhere,
Staining fingertips and sofa beds.
The worst part is that I still remember
What it was like to be a fierce, ancient tree
Before I became a shredded, soggy mess.

Creative Commons License
This work, “Love Is A Slurry of Wood Pulp & Optical Brighteners” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Dark Places


I am in love with the scars on your back
Puddles of white on a surface of almond brown
Parts of you are classically beautiful:
Your face, your arms, your hands, your neck
But really, I want to linger for hours on the slope of your spine
I want to spend an eternity pressing the heels of my hands into your marred shoulder blades
Smoothing your speckled trapezius muscle
With fingerprints that are only too happy to scrape up the cells of your uneven skin

I want to love you in the dark places
In those shadowy corners that nobody sees
I like that the language of your body has curse words
I like that there are parts of your own being that scare you
Those are the places that I want to settle in, claim squatter’s rights
Then hang up my windchimes on some old tent pole
As I wait deep inside your fear

I’ve been chasing your voice down bus station corridors
Following you from city to city
Drinking bad coffee and smelling you on parts of my body that you’ve never touched
The salt-sweet smell of your black hair
The musk of your armpits
Somehow, I can scent them over the reek of garbage, urine, exhaust fumes and day-old bagels

The Greyhound driver is careful not to touch my hand as I give him my ticket
I know you will also shy from me
Even though your words have made me feel like your narrow hips have slapped against the width of my fleshy pelvis
As you draped my dreads between your fingers like mala beads
Your breath rasping in my ear like the announcement of departures over crackling loudspeakers
Because it is the nature of poetry to fall for someone as they pause between sentences
And in the length of time it takes to swallow a mouthful of saliva or to lick one’s lips
An entire romance can be played out in the mind of every member of the audience
Leaving an artist wondering why every time they sign a chapbook
Someone leaves behind another still-beating heart bleeding on the merch table

But, Poet, your scars and your work really cause me to react viscerally
I feel every inch of you inside my guts
Like you are wedged somewhere between my stomach and my spine
My intestines draped around you like dangling participles
To say that you move me is an understatement
Similar to saying that the Ice Age
Displaced rock formation in the Niagara Peninsula
Carving out the stark, jutting edges of escarpment
Just to prove that it was there

You let me see you naked, just once
Long enough for me to know that I can read the tributaries of your veins like some old women can read palms
And that the wounds on your flesh are a topographic map to your core

So, I continue to ride highway coaches
Hearing the timbre of your voice in the slap of windshield wipers
Seeing your cicatrix as lightening tears across the grey sky
Hoping that if I chase you to the edge of the country
You will be forced to turn your back to the ocean and face me
And, when you see your reflection in my eyes
You will see that I painted hearts around the parts of you that you thought had no worth.

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