“Loving me isn’t easy, I have sharp edges, I have missing parts.” ~ Donte Collins
“grief opens. in me. every
window. if i am made of
water. it has frozen over. a muted lake. miles of
mirror. i am trapped.
“Have you ever met someone,
spent less than thirty minutes with them
‘I could easily love you’”
“Can I tell you that my heart is a candle in a snowstorm;
that most days I do not believe in fire?”
“the rain & i speakin’ the same tongue,
we both understand
the art of falling”
“Fall in love, but do not forget your name.”
“Praise also, the silent love.
The patient and platonic forms of affection,
sometimes I do not crave a tongue.
Give me your ears. Just listen.”
“All the words I have yet to
meet keep me up at night, like small swimming ghosts,
asking me to paint them a
“sometimes surviving means recommitting to myself every morning;
means uttering a soft, riotous ode: I am mountainous. I am a diligent sea.”
“Self love isn’t limited to yoga & green tea. It isn’t an aesthetic. It isn’t a commodity.
It’s a tedious work. only your hands
“If blood is thicker than water
then love must be thicker than both”
“you have a body
you have a body
atoms in space move out of their
way to make room
you belong here”
“Sometimes writing is
a thing that happens to me”
“and some days i miss everyone who has ever left, all at once”
“often times, i think male writers, myself included, feel the need to decorate the female body in metaphor or aid it with some prerequisite in order to gift validity. i often hear or read things like ‘someone’s daughter is […]’ or. ‘she is a flower waiting to be picked’ […]. While these things may seems to shake up literature, keep poetry ‘fresh’ or act as a lead in to some beautiful line, they are harmful. women are women. are flesh. blood. fecund. that is poetic enough. that is enough. don’t write an ode to a woman by comparing her to the sun, and telling us all the reasons the sun is ‘beautiful’. write an ode by telling us why the sun can’t do for the earth what she does for you”
“some people tell me to be
and some people give me strength”
“I don’t house negativity.
If it doesn’t feed me. If it doesn’t pay my spirit rent.
It is evicted. My body cannot afford anything less.”
“I do not know how one un-loves. My heart is a grave of hearts.
And I have yet seen the earth spit back out its dead”
“Passion is a word that takes the entire body to pronounce.”
“The laziest thing you can do is write a poem about love instead of—love; to describe the sweat of your lover yet flinch when they beckon your tongue to their bend. The sexiest poet in the room will convince you that a poem can reverse a bullet; un die a body. The sexiest poet in the room knows grief as a convenient store. But what is a poem really: if not the saw dust, if not the evidence of some long unflagging friction? What is a poem if not the body’s attempt to escape itself, fail; and attempt again?”
“the most sincere trust, is that which lives between me and my body.
to sleep is to let go.
to be cast out to sea and awake dry by morning”
“and by poet I do not mean a collector of words nor do I mean a container of soft, easy beauty.
I mean, I was born beside my body.
I mean each poem is an attempt to escape back home.”
“Laughter as evidence of self love. Laughter as evidence of there existing a self to love.”
“Poetry because I have control. Poetry because I could die, or want to die. And write myself back alive.”
“I was never good at getting from A to Z. My brain isn’t good with directions. My brain thinks letters are cute, uses them as napkins. My brain eats stars. My brain uses the cosmos as a cover. My brain sleeps & dreams of my heart. My heart. My brain wants my heart. In marriage I mean. I can feel it. My brain is busy with the stress of proposing. I can feel it. My brain thinks orion’s belt is a ring…”
“A lover doesn’t discourage your growth.
a lover says,
‘I see who you are today, I cannot wait to see who you become tomorrow.’”
“you are most beautiful
whenever you are most comfortable.
whenever you are most, you”
“choose the one who does the work of your favorite book. who changes your world. evolves your paradigm. choose the one who makes you new”
“But I know joy too.
Even if its tide merely pecks the shoreline of this body, it comes, and comes again”
“Be gentle with the words you use. How easy, once spoken, they live within us. Become apart of our circulatory system. Our breath. Our being”
“what will you build with
your angst today? what
new, soft song will come
of your suffering?
how courageously will you choose
“Loneliness likes to steal. Could never leave him alone, had to take him everywhere. To the store, the library, the shower. Had to sleep with him at my feet. Had to sleep with one eye open. Once, loneliness stole my mouth. Couldn’t speak for whole weeks. Then, my eyelids. Then, all of my passwords. Left me locked in & out. Once, loneliness told a girl that I loved her. Yeah, threw a lasso & caught her heart by the horns. Threw a bone & I brought it back to its feet.”
“some days my heart is a vacant
town and your name is plastered
across every billboard”
“Unpack your love. figure out what it’s made of, its ingredients, its drive, its agenda. it is important to know what you’re offering.”
“Because when an artist loves you, or makes love to you, they take their time.
They appreciate the detail.
They let beauty name itself.”
“i’ve spent my adolescence loving in free-verse.
she is daring me to love in form.
if we are poems. let us be well studied”
“I kissed each bullet, simply because I loved the person who was holding the gun”
“loving oneself became revolutionary when self-hate was normalized; when saying
‘this body, & its inhabiter are beauty’
“not interested in beauty for beauty’s sake.
give me a poem with teeth.
hold a knife against the throat of language and demand more”
“Do you still perform autopsies on conversations you had lives ago?”
Author: Donte Collins
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own