the light.

you followed me home,

to the place

where shadows bloom darkest,

and let yourself in

dressed with the sun’s secrets

on your skin

all crystalline beauty

and pretty petals

and green-garden-glimmer

you looked like a heartbreaker

with a smile that sparkled

and those coffee and cocoa eyes

but you smelled

like lilies and larkspur

and l o v e

so i let you kiss me there,

in my forest of gray

and you’ve been lighting up

these woods

ever since

– ashley jane

Book Review – I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl

I am A World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl by Nicole Lyons

Right at the beginning, page 9, I stumbled onto one of the first poems that ever made the breath rush from my lungs. “The Next Big Thing” has since remained one of my all time favorites. Each time it pops back up, I remember its punch and how it left me reeling.

The rest of Nicole’s second book of poetry delivers those same gut-wrenching, breath-stealing, high-chasing lines I’ve come to love from her. In “Freight Trains,” she steps inside my inner chaos. In “Syllable by Syllable,” she picks me apart. Nicole knows me, far better than I know myself sometimes. She’s rolling around in my head and setting my heart on fire. She’s whisky, straight up, and she knows just how to burn.

In pieces like “A Poet’s Note” and “Anchored,” she illustrates the curse of empathy with absolute precision. The way we carry the pieces of others. The way we let them weigh us down. The way we drown so others may float. Nicole is a powerhouse of love and heartache. She doesn’t decorate her pain and shadows with pretty flowers. Instead, she lets it bleed in all its glorious madness. She is courage and fire, and this book is the definition of art.

You can find Nicole on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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– ashley jane

Book Review – I Find You in the Darkness

I Find You in the Darkness by Alfa

I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a child, and I’ve learned that each period of my life brings a new appreciation for different authors and genres. In this current period, Alfa is my diamond in the rough.

I Find You In the Darkness is a soul-purging, deep dive read. It’s love and heartache. Pain and beauty. And woven together with threads of relatable magic. Alfa has always had a talent for understanding her reader. She digs words from her own bones and serves them in gritty, raw truths. She leaves you to discover yourself in them. She touches the darkest recesses of your mind and sheds light on all those things you try to keep hidden. My favorite piece in this book is called Dangerous on page 169: “and for the first time in your life — you feel that your difference is not a detraction, but an attribute that makes you feel special. Your different is what makes your heart so alluring.” Her words are brilliantly boundless, and I am captivated by each one.

I will say, for those familiar with Alfa’s normal style and layout, this book is a bit different. It has a more modern, minimalistic vibe while incorporating pieces of art and shading. It is still a beautiful book, though, and I happily take it with me everywhere I go.

You can find Alfa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

alfaIFYITD

– ashley jane

Book Review – I am a Woman, Not a Winston

On her Facebook and Instagram pages, Cheryl Churchill has a way of blending art and poetry to build gorgeous visuals. This book is no exception. She weaves words with bold photos to create an amazing coffee-table style book. Her photos are rich and full of depth, and the imagery of her poems pair perfectly to tell a story full of emotion.

I was especially drawn to the piece in the beginning that accompanies a stark gray photo and contains the line:
“Starving on remnants of wishes and want
The skeletons began to show…
…We could not contain what wasn’t ours / We let this storm / Deplete us”

and at the end, paired with red-tinged ocean, she writes,
“My shadow lay patient / Across the sun / Under the moon
It’s there / Beneath yours / While our darkness bleeds
Lovers amidst raw truth / We echo infinity

Cheryl has such an eye for art, and between her photos and words, I think readers will find something honest and relatable.

You can find her on Facebook at CC_Writes and on Instagram at cc_writes.

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– ashley jane

 

my wolves.

i run with wolves,
warriors with softly resilient hearts
i hold hands with heroes,
my hesitant fingers bound in theirs
because they give me the strength
to rise above the fire
to run among the pines
to break glass ceilings 
they teach me how to be patient
they show me how to be
brave

– ashley jane

Book Review – a jar for the jarring

Candice Louisa Daquin of The Feathered Sleep

Candice’s first poetry book has a unique tale on a confessional style, and the lay out works well fir it. She merges darkness and melancholy into a tale for transformation from child to adult, touching on the trials that came with the evolution. The book contains beautiful, heart wrenching prose and poetry that excels because of the authors grasp on the language, her excellent use of imagery, and the exquisite descriptions she uses to reel the reader in. She left me breathless with the subtle madness in her word play. And once I began the book, I couldn’t put it down until finishing it. Her words are both wholly personal and yet brilliantly relatable. You can feel the pain in her lines as if it were seeping from your own pores onto your skin and across her pages. She turns metaphor into magic with flashbacks and nature references. I was particularly drawn to her stream of conscious pieces, one word feeding and expanding upon the next. I was particularly drawn to two of her longer pieces, Verbi and Damask, for the bold and powerful way they gripped my soul. Her words are brave and raw and pure, and this book will the first of many I read by her.

– ashley jane

sunrise.

i stood beneath a shivering sunset,
wrapped in the soft brutality of its fading light
i listened to the night life heralding the coming stars,
and i remembered all the wishes we’d made
from cold balconies on lonely evenings,
all the promises that were whispered
even though we knew they’d go unkept
we were always experts at predicting endings,
yet somehow,
we couldn’t foresee our own
i stayed there until morning,
on the balcony,
without you this time,
and i watched a peek of color
paint the cityscape in shades of day,
and it was if i were seeing dawn for the first time
i suppose i spent so many sunsets with you
that i’d never noticed how beautiful
sunrises could be

– ashley jane

cleansed.

i spent hours
beneath the rain
collecting seashells,
wandering the shore,
this mind of mine
lost in its own world
i fed the sea memories,
silent songs
of this saudade
in my veins
i watched the previous day
get washed away
by the waves,
so many lost hours
swept out to sea
i stayed as the morning air
became the evening breeze,
the skies still spilling down
in a fine mist
and finally,
i felt
cleansed

– ashley jane

bliss.

i wake on sheets
as soft as flower petals,
tulips and tiger lilies
pressed against bare skin
the day tastes like
orange blossom and amaretto,
sunbrushed summer
exploding on my tongue
and there is no waiting for love
see,
i prayed for heaven,
and it was delivered,
all warm skin and familiar eyes
and i
am high on the type of serene
that can’t be found in a bottle,
a moonstruck mellow only found
under midnight silver skies
painted by hands that speak
the language of devotion
and together,
we dance under a rain of poetry,
the clouds spilling sonnets
of two lovers
kissed by an ethereal grace
– ashley jane

sunset to sunrise.

i stood beneath a shivering sunset,

wrapped in the soft brutality of its fading light

i listened to the night life heralding the coming stars,

and i remembered all the wishes we’d made

from cold balconies on lonely evenings,

all the promises that were whispered

even though we knew they’d go unkept

we were always experts at predicting endings,

yet somehow,

we couldn’t foresee our own

i stayed there until morning,

on the balcony,

without you this time,

and i watched a peek of color

paint the cityscape in shades of day,

and it was if i were seeing dawn for the first time

i suppose i spent so many sunsets with you

that i’d never noticed how beautiful

sunrises could be

– ashley jane