Write Me, I’m Yours

What I like best about being Cincinnati Poet Laureate is connecting with other writers, so how could I resist the invitation on the Facebook page of Write Me, I’m yours!: Write with us!

Write Me, I’m yours! is a community-based effort founded by writer Michelle Dunford, who seeks to unite writers within various communities through the use of poetry, writing prompts and journal entries, and a wider audience of read-arounds and blogs. Michelle’s original project, developed as her Capstone Project for her graduation from Starfire University was to bring together writers and their words, through the placement of communal journals in a variety of locations in Cincinnati (schools, coffee shops, churches, senior citizens, libraries,) with the hope of inspiring creative responses to all the big questions in the universe (and maybe some small ones, too). An offspring of this is a bi-monthly writing circle held every other Tuesday at the Rohs Café in Clifton Heights. I had the honor of writing with Michelle and her group of writers this month, including Eva Lewandowski who helps guide the group. The poem that follows includes writing from each of us. You can connect with these fine writers on their community Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Write-Me-Im-Yours-134018040100175/.

Being Home

I feel most myself
putting one step after another,
the same two feet
measuring out thousands of footsteps.
I lift my feet to the crazy change itself,
to the sound of music.
I hear the river,
a pack of coyotes having a howl.
Overhead a turkey buzzard
lazily swirls on an updraft
in a cerulean blue sky—
absolutely clear—no puffs, whatsoever.
I shuffle up the stone steps,
like climbing out of a dark cave.
As I meander along there are
crashes in the crisp fallen leaves,
two black squirrels
hopscotching one another
over the tree, and all
that seems to exist
is one step after another.
I love the flat places best.

I do not feel whole unless I feel safe.
When sharing space and struggles
with my best friend,
her empathy pantomimes my heart,
pushes through the turnstile of ancient iron bars,
refilling it from that drought between visits.
My baby and my best friend, my sister.
We sang every night;
we sang ourselves to sleep;
we sang on the swing set;
we sang in whispers and giggles,
and I feel giddy listening.
We breathed each other in,
the person who was used to being
the only one in the room,
working its way to two.
It’s a strange mystical time.
In my twilight state,
I hear my dad whisper,
“You are Beautiful.”
But Mom, seeing mom—
this is home.

The places that are sacred to me
are places of reflection—water and sky,
past and present,
mirrored glass and pen in hand.
My important places.
The feel of the page
as I turn one—crisp and thick.
One syllable following the next.
The places that are sacred to me
are those where we come together
to go inward.
A real place is inside of us,
our partial-particle-becoming-whole self.
Listen! Listen!
We are not alone.

Composed by Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel with lines by Ellen Austin-Li, Michelle Dunford, Pauletta Hansel, Daveen Knue, Nat Kutcher, Paula Kutcher, Eva Lewandowski, Preeti Parikh, Claudia Reilly, Susan Scardina, Annette Januzzi Wick and Deidra Wiley—Write Me I’m Yours, November 15, 2016.











Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. She was Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate from April 2-16-March 2018. Pauletta is author of six poetry collections, Plaindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award), Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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