we make do.

we eat worry

with yesterday’s leftovers,

anxiousness swallowed down

with a bit of bread

that we bought with loose change

found between seat cushions

years of empty pockets

have left us accustomed

to its stale taste

it will be another long day today

the poems will have to wait

there is rarely time for writing anymore

if we aren’t working

our time is stolen by daily chores

and doctor appointments

on the rarer days,

when the quiet greets us,

our minds are still consumed

with this sense of foreboding

we can’t seem to escape

it’s rather suffocating,

always falling short of thriving

most days, we’re barely surviving

our wallets are paper thin

and the coffers are empty

our hearts are full though,

and i suppose

that makes us richer than most

– ashley jane

we are poetry.

words sit thick

like cotton on the tongue

waiting to be spun

into a dress of pretty prose

for strangers to wear,

letters and lace to drape

across the shoulders of people

we will never meet,

soul stories told by hands

that hold tendrils of magic

we move between moments,

insomnia written into our bones

because sleep cannot make a home

in minds that do not rest,

in bodies composed

of air and water and hope and pain

we breathe wreckage and desire,

and we are not afraid of either

because we carry the blood

of vikings and warriors in our veins

our hearts wear a shield

made of woven strength

we are resilient

we are infinite

we are poetry

– ashley jane

Review – I Needed a Viking

Many authors have a way of touching the heart, but Alfa reaches deeper. She speaks to the soul. In I Needed a Viking, she reminds us of our own strength. She raises us up and readies us for battle because who better to fight for us than us.

In the first section, Forgettable, she gives us wisdom. Too often, we let the wrong people define us. Alfa reminds us that it’s ok to falter, as long as we get up. We are not always what others expect us to be. We are more, and that’s a good thing. My favorite piece in this section, “Fairytales Lie,” reiterates that we shouldn’t wait around on someone to save us. We can save ourselves. In “Light-Filled Days,” she tells us to be careful of those whose memory threatens our darker days. The ones who deserve our time will be there through thick and thin. Light AND dark.

In section two, Friction, I was drawn to the piece entitled, “You Know Better.” Her words are full of the wisdom of someone who has been there. Someone who learned the hard way that we shouldn’t get pulled back into the past. There will always be something or someone who wants to stop us from moving forward. But, we can’t let them hold us back. This hit me so hard, as I am so guilty of holding on to relationships that are not good for me. Sometimes, we have to let go.

Section three, Flamethrower, instills strength and resilience. Power and purpose. In “Make Every Second Count,” Alfa reminds us that we mustn’t dwell in the past. That we should surround ourselves with those who lift us up. Those who contribute to beauty, not those who steal it. One of my other favorites from this book is “The World Must Wait.” This is the poem I so often need to hear. It says it is ok to stop. It is ok to have anxiety. It is ok to need to pause and breathe. You are not a bad person for putting yourself first.

This book was the lesson I needed. It is filled with wise words written by a poet who knows what it’s like to be on the other side of brave. Alfa uses her words to encourage and embolden her reader. I suppose we all need a Viking, sometimes. But we needn’t look any further than the mirror to find one.

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Viking

waiting on answers from the sky.

we exist in this summer haze,

days trailing into nights

we sit beneath midnight skies

painted obsidian and aubergine,

sipping on Guinness and cider

and talking about life

and love

and the ache of it all

we keep waiting on this new moon

to impart its infinite wisdom,

waiting for stories untold

to unfold amidst the stars

but there is only the echo of absence,

a silence that shakes us

so we fill it

with chatter

with chaos

we get drunk on the noise

because anything is better than this

q u i e t

because anything is better than admitting

we have no clue

what is going on

we sit in shadows cast by starlight

and wait for the sun to rise

(maybe it will share its secrets)

– ashley jane

rulers.

we reign in the dream sea,

the waves crashing into us in random synchronicity

as we call them home

they recognize the salt living in our bones,

the breath of oceans roaring in our souls

we sit on thrones made of sequins and stars,

dressed in crowns of precious coral

we swim beneath the surface of your subconscious,

modern kings and queens ushering in

the realm of sleep

here, we are royalty

here, we hold hands with the moon

and become one with the tide

– ashley jane

mornings can be magic.

sunrise paints the sky

with a breath of poetry,

all cantaloupe and mint

and the same misty morning blue

that lives in your eyes

we speak in silent languages,

in wisps and wants,

in feathery clouds that flutter

gently against your skin,

in silent pictures etched

across the landscape of time

we are the dream weavers,

the designers of daybreak

wind-kissed summer souls

on the horizon of your mind

we carry warmth in our bones

(we will thaw your winter heart)

– ashley jane

i do not care to reminisce with your days of deceit.

i am walking forwards,

but time is moving backwards

and somehow,

i keep tracing your footsteps

i keep running into you

you celebrate

you call it fate,

but you know i’ve never believed in that

not the way i believe in ghosts

or horoscopes

or bonds that can’t be broken

i am trapped

i am fickle and indecisive

i am whispered dreams

standing at the edge of a scream

but never a follower

no, never

so, will you tell me please

why time has me coming around here,

visiting the minutes of your manipulation,

caught in the seconds of your stare

(i do not like the way these hours feel)

– ashley jane

she is summer.

summer always reminds me of her,

the feel of line dried clean sheets,

the smell of strawberry rhubarb jam

being made in the kitchen

along with fresh bread

and fig cake with pomegranate

i wait by the window for the june rains,

the heat ushering in wistful memories

of the woman who held the solstice in her soul

– ashley jane

watch her glow like the moon.

glimmering gold and lavender love

pretty pulses of healing,

starlight infused into screaming veins,

hope shimmering across the universe of a soul

whose only ever known how pain bleeds,

peace radiating through the home

of bones too familiar with agony

there is a goddess within her,

a warrior finally waking

from an eternity of aching

she sheds the shadows of the past

and walks into the wonder of the present

(watch her become the sun)

– ashley jane

the time is now.

you were all wiles and charms,

sensual depths dancing behind midnight eyes

and lips that devoured my secrets

i gave no resistance

you always knew how to play me a melody,

a pied piper beckoning

with velvet words and a lyre of lies

i fell for it every time

(but even hearts like mine know

there’s a time for letting go)

– ashley jane