All images and words by Myrna Martinez. Photography in Poetry is a new series that we’re starting blending the art of photography with the expressive nature of poetry.
For thirty years I’ve had a camera in my hand, never taking it too serious. I’m the gal with everyone’s picture, every event documented. I’m a serial archivist.
I’ve also been writing poetry for the same amount of time; actually, I think I started writing a couple of years before I got my hands on a camera. I’d sell my poetry for .25 cents when I was 12 years old. Actually, I think I only sold two or three pieces. One to my mom.
I’m not going to say I’m any good at either. As a matter of fact, if I dwelled on the idea that I should be so much better, I’d stop creating entirely. But, I have to write. And viewing life through a viewfinder gives me a superpower to inspect things closely. To take my time on the details. I’m in awe of everything I see.
Instagram: merniemern — writings under #mernwrites.
Let me tell you something about fear.
She’s beautiful –a seductress
and she’s standing in front of
the door of your next moment
wearing a diamond necklace that spells
She is the mother of children
you will never have,
because your introduction is stuck
in your throat cutting each syllable
of the word “hello” into shreds of
She is that bitch you obsess about,
she occupies your mind seducing you
out of the talents you were blessed with
taking them off of you like garments of clothing
Until you stand there naked
and she covers you with her cloak of protection.
Fear is the feeling of never having the man you’ve always wanted,
an incomplete thing stuck in the midst of
manifesting because you are
Fear is a taker. she takes the money you’ll never make, the words you’ll never say, the art you won’t create, the vacation you’ll never take, the house you will never buy again,
she is outside waiting for your children– she’s sitting on the beast,
on the one they tell you about,
From the Bible
that woman is a man is a woman
is a man
is the beast
It’s the seed inside of you
waiting to flourish like
a fire flower, ready to
burn and devour any kind
of courage you have left to live.
fuck you, fear. you are a liar.
and just like that,
I pick up a pen and write,
I step up to this mic,
in this personal fight.
we need poetry
we need poetry the way we need love
to settle into our bones and
give them warmth.
we need poetry the way our souls
crave a song to weave through
our bodies and mend broken hearts.
we need it like flowers in our hair,
like bare feet–
we need it like orange trees and
we need poetry like our skin needs the sea, like
seaweed wrapped around our feet,
we need it to drink and quench the thirst
of our longing.
we need poetry like sleep,
we need it to dream impossible things,
to lift us up and set us free,
we need poetry.
I heard about you, so I came to see
What all the fuss was about
And found myself
Standing under city lights
Going through your body like
Lightning. And you actually shone
Neon all a shimmer
Rock and roll star, shone.
And your pulse beat with the city’s
Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen
And you struck a pose for me
So that I didn’t miss an inch,
(And I’ll be here to confess later,
That I never did)
I found myself lured even
To the place where you
Laid your head and I guess,
I laid mine
Everything was sooo
Oooh looking down from the
second floor ahh, I guess you never,
oh, but you did—and you actually
But like all things that make a bang,
like all things flamboyant
Everything noisy that says so many things
But, oh so little.. you were afraid of me.
Stage left exited me
and you lost yourself again in the city
Where the big buildings will always remind me
of a the great big
Where two things happened
mornings from my bed
“I have to shave my hairy monster face,”
he said, and I thought it was both manly and childish.
He went into the bathroom and I, dreading another day of forcing myself to
make money, stretched face down into my
organic-cotton-knit-sweater-like blanket– oh “hygge” hold me.
I reached over, Maya always so near,
always writing about her blackness, and played Russian roulette, my favorite. Page 165
“An’ ain’t we all Black, An’ ain’t we all bad”
Yeah, we bad, I thought. Yeah, we bad.
He comes out of the bathroom shaven, before I could even finish the poem and
Damn, that was fast baby.
He said, “was it?”
He leans over and says, “I’m giving you a second kiss today.” And plants one on my forehead.
It’s my lucky day, I respond.
Digging my body into the bed, leaving my book unattended,
still in my pajamas
15 minutes before I have to leave for work.