Sophie’s Advocate: A Short Story for the Ages

Fiction Writing, Short Stories

This is a short story that was written sometime at the beginning of 2022. This is my first self-published fictional short story. It features elements of contemporary and political issues regarding women and teenage pregnancy. Take of it what you will. How the story ends is entirely up to you.

A strand of black hair fell in front of Sophie’s face as she sat in the bathroom silently crying. She was already running late for school. As she cried in the bathroom in complete stillness, her little sister Sasha knocked on the door.

Sophie knew she needed to get out of the bathroom and quickly dried her tears. Her mom shouted from the hallway and told her to open up because Sasha had to brush her teeth. It was 7:13 am on a crisp fall morning in Boston. Sophie opened the door and let Sasha in. Sophie picked up her little sister and embraced her with a huge hug. Her thoughts were running 1000 miles per minute as she set Sasha back down.

She coaxed Sasha over to the sink to help her brush her teeth. “Soapy?” little Sasha asks, “What’s that?”, as she pointed to the tiny pink pregnancy test on the counter. 

 Soapy was Sophie’s nickname since Sasha learned how to talk. She could never pronounce “Sophie”, so as a toddler she resorted to Soapy. Ever since then, it stuck. It’s like when Sophie was little and her mother laughed when she called chocolate milk “cawlet milk”. Sophie quickly snatched the test up and put it in the back pocket of her blue jeans.

 “It’s nothing, Sasha. Here, put some toothpaste on your brush.”

Sophie squeezed the toothpaste onto her sister’s toothbrush and made a fart noise. Sasha burst into laughter and Sophie smiled at her, satisfied that she distracted Sasha from the pregnancy test. Sophie turned on the water and rushed out of the bathroom. She told her mom she was leaving for school, grabbed her backpack, and ran out the door.  

Sophie ran down the gray, cold cement steps of the red brick two-flat condo. The smell of fall leaves on the ground swirled into Sophie’s nose. The thought of her dad crossed her mind. She wondered what he would think of her being pregnant if he was still around and didn’t abandon her, her mom, and Sasha. Slinging her blue backpack over her shoulder she ran toward the bus stop. She looked behind her and saw that the bus was nearby and catching up quickly. In unison, she and the bus raced to the bus stop on Massachusetts Avenue, side by side.

Catching her breath as the doors swung open violently, she got on the bus, waved her bus card, and plopped down onto a seat near the back of the bus. As she sat down, the pregnancy test in the back pocket of her jeans pushed itself into her as a reminder that it was still there. Her heart pounded and beads of sweat dripped down her neck.  She thought of what she would tell Russ.

Worried about how it might affect their relationship, Sophie realized how much she loved him. Sophie loved Russ more than anything. They had been together for three years. She envisioned holding a newborn and the idea of giving birth at the age of 17. As her thoughts scrambled, an elderly man got on the bus and sat in the handicapped seat. He pulled out a newspaper from his inside coat pocket and a bag of cocaine from the other. Sophie was amused at the sight and laughed quietly to herself waiting for the bus driver to notice. The man dipped a penny into his bag and held it to his nose. His clothes were raggedy and she could smell him from across the bus.

The bus sped over a pothole and the old man hollered, “Come on, man! Don’t you know how to fucking drive? Damn these potholes!”

The bus driver had surely upset him now for making him spill. “I’m not sure who you’re getting loud with. Yell at me again, and you can walk the rest of the way.”

The old man got up from his seat and he slipped the tiny bag into his pocket. Hobbling over to the bus driver he started banging on the dashboard.

“That’s it! You’re off!”, the bus driver yelled.

He stopped the bus and stood up appearing much taller than the old man.

“This is bullshit! It’s freezing out there this morning!”, the old man yelled and cursed the bus driver’s name all the way off the bus and down the cold pavement. This caused Sophie to arrive at school even later. 

Sophie continued to daydream about lunchtime because she knew she’d see Russ in the cafeteria. She slouched at her desk and stared out the window, unable to focus. Chewing gum helped her with her anxiety, but it was not allowed. Her English teacher always made sure to give Sophie a hard time about it. Sophie chewed away relentlessly. She suddenly felt the heat of a million eyes staring at her. The entire class was silent.

“Sophie?!” her teacher exclaimed.

Her head snapped right into the direction of Ms. McCauley.

“Huh?”, said Sophie. “You’re chewing gum again. You know it isn’t allowed,” Ms. McCauley said.

Sophie’s eyes squinted and her brows pushed together in the middle of her forehead as if they were trying to touch each other.

Sophie yelled back, “UGH! I’m not hurting anyone.”

 Sophie, you can go to the office and claim your detention slip, Ms. McCauley said.

Sophie got out of her seat, scooting her chair back so loud that it screeched on the floor. She purposely wanted to disrupt the class for disrupting her daydreams.

Slamming the old wooden door on her way out she heard Ms. McCauley’s voice echoing down the hall.

“Shakespeare’s plays can be divided up into different categories: Comedies, histories, and tragedies.” Sophie heard the words; Comedies, histories, and tragedies. If my life were a play it must be a tragedy, she thought to herself. 

She sat in the office waiting to schedule her detention while still chewing her gum when she saw Mr. Tuffin, the school social worker. Peering through the glass window of the main office door she spotted him instantly. His hair was silver and white making him look as cold as ice, which Sophie always thought was ironic considering he was the opposite.

His blue plaid button-down shirt was part of an unwritten dress code that all the staff his age also wore. Mr. Tuffin used his hands when he talked. His ring finger had a gold band and his hands looked as wrinkled as laundry that hadn’t been folded for days. He was talking to the sophomore science teacher. Mr. Tuffin was the only person who truly was able to see the good in Sophie. They met when she went to peer-mediation for a fight she got into with another girl on the first day of freshman year. He spotted her sitting in the office.

Ending the conversation with his colleague he came into the office where Sophie was sitting.

“By the looks of it, you’re not excited to be here, huh? What happened?” he asked her. 

“I was chewing gum”, she said, as a giant bubble formed on her lips and popped carelessly.

“A classic Sophie Seskas move! Nice,” he exclaimed. He was always cheerful and tried to find humor in everything.

“You know the rules,” he said. “Yeah, yeah. And you know more” she hinted.

“Soph, you’re a good kid. You shouldn’t be in trouble so often. I know things have been rough since your dad left, but you’re smarter than that.” he told her. 

She looked at him like a puppy looks at its owner after having an accident in the house. She knew he was right. Mr. Tuffin said she was just a diamond in the rough. Chewing gum was the least of her worries now. She didn’t care about detention or her dad. She wanted to speak to the Dean and head to lunch so she could see Russ. Besides that, she really could use a cigarette, or maybe a joint.

After getting her detention slip from the Dean to bring home to her mom to sign, she finally got to the cafeteria. Russ was standing near a corner of the lunchroom with a group of friends. Dressed in hoodies and sweatpants of all colors of the rainbow they resembled a living canvas of spilled paint. She managed to get Russ alone. 

 He was much taller than her, and his eyes were the color of dark chocolate. His hair was long and brown and flowed naturally like a river. His olive skin was opposite to hers, and she liked that about him.

“Sophie, relax,” he assured her. “Russ! How can I?” she said with tears in her eyes. She looked around at the other kids in the cafeteria. The smell of burgers made her want to throw up. She hoped nobody would notice her crying.

“This is serious,” she said.

“Maybe it’s a false positive,” he assured her. 

“Maybe that’s a false hope.” She mimicked him.

“What are we going to do?” she asked. Russ was shocked by the news and could tell that Sophie was more than upset.

In a reassuring tone, he told her, “We will figure it out together. Meet me by the tree after class.”

The tree was their spot. It was where they always hung out after school. A giant oak stood tall on the lawn near the track and football fields. She anticipated the last bell’s ring more anxious than a child on Christmas morning.

 After school, they smoked under the tree.

“Did you tell anyone, Russ?” Sophie asked him as the smoke blew out of her mouth.

“No… Well, I told Johnnie,” his voice cracked. Her eyes widened.

“You shouldn’t have told anyone yet! Damn it”, she kicked the tree.

“Everyone will find out sooner or later anyway if we decide to keep it” Russ told her. They stayed near the tree for hours as they contemplated what to do. They stayed near the tree until the stars came out despite the cold winds of autumn.

 Sophie strolled home after dark. Her mom waited up for her.

“Anything you want to tell me?” her mother asked quietly so as to not wake Sasha.

Sophie closed the door softly behind her. Her mother, Maria, gave her the look of death with green eyes that pierced her like the sting of a bullet. Her mother looked just like her, only older, wiser, and a little more stout. Maria knew that Sophie was acting out due to her dad leaving them. She tried to go easy on Sophie when she could, but Sophie’s behavior was impossible to manage at times. Maria missed the days when Sophie was still innocent and ignorant of the evil and heartbreak of the world. 

“Mrs. Bernardi called tonight,” Maria announced. Sophie’s heartbeat thundered in her chest. She knew Johnnie told his mom. Johnnie Bernardi was the biggest snitch and unfortunately, best friends with Russ.

“Asshole” Sophie mumbled under her breath, “Hell, of course, she did!”

The next day Maria and Russ’s mom, Angelica, spoke on the phone and decided that Sophie would get an abortion.

“They are simply too young. This can’t happen,” said Mrs. Angelica Jones.

Russ’s mom also wasn’t fond of Sophie. Sophie felt confused, alone, and unsure of what to think or do. What would happen to her if she had an abortion? She wondered if it would kill her. Would it damage her insides? How could she go through with it? There was a baby inside of her. It was her and Russ’s baby. There was no way she could go through with it. Maria and Angelica scheduled Sophie’s appointment as soon as they found out.

On the morning of the procedure, she didn’t bother to style her hair or put on makeup. It’s not like she had any reason to be glamorous. She was nervous and shaking the entire car ride to the clinic. When she and her mom pulled up there was a large group of people standing outside on the sidewalk just near the entrance. They dressed in bright orange vests and were carrying large signs; the enormous signs that you only see at a protest. The signs had blood-red paint which Sophie thought was used as symbolism.

Crosses were painted on the signboards, and the group chanted about how abortion is murder. God will give you hope. God will give you strength. Don’t kill your baby. It’s an innocent child. They shouted. They weren’t new to what they were doing. They must have rehearsed more than a cheer squad getting ready for finals.

“MURDERER!” they screamed at her.

They spewed hatred and verses from their bibles as she went into the clinic, not even 18 years old, with her very embarrassed mother by her side. Sophie and her mother said nothing. The air was filled with such a strong silence that it consumed them entirely.

 Sophie had a decision to make. She considered the words of the women outside, even though they seemed like religious nut freaks. She thought of Russ and his dark chocolate eyes and his olive skin. She wondered how the baby would look. She felt it inside of her. Sophie was not ready to part. She thought of what the baby’s nose would be like. Would it be wide or upturned? Would the baby be a boy? A girl? Sophie wondered. 

 “Sophie.”

Her mother called her to the desk where she was filling out paperwork.

“You need to sign this. You need to consent to the procedure.” 

 She couldn’t look her mother in the eye. She took the pen. As she lifted the pen, she imagined running out of the clinic and the protestors cheering her on. They would shout for her. Those protesters would celebrate for her. They’d celebrate as if Sophie had just crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The applause was so loud now in Sophie’s mind. Her hand trembled as she held the pen. She reminded herself of who she was and how much she’d endured in her life so far.

Sophie realized that this decision was solely up to her; and was one only she could make. The only one who could truly advocate for her in this world was herself. 

If you were Sophie – what would you do? This story was written with the intention of sharing a fictional point of view of a direct inside look at millions of stories just like these. While fictional, this story has many truthful elements that take place not just in the USA but across the world.

Teenage pregnancy and abortion will forever be debatable and controversial issues that people may in fact never agree on. What I hope readers take from this story is the fact that we all make our own choices. While the choices we make might not be agreeable to some – it is best to remember that the choices we make must be ones that benefit our own lives regardless of what other people may think. Life is short and pretty wild. Be careful, stay safe, and be smart.

The Best Female Painters of All Time – Top 10

art, Thoughts

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

– Helen Frankenthaler

Whether the brush stroke is wet-into-wet, feathering – or the art incorporates polka dots and mosaic elements; women painters have long been creating masterpieces. Some of the best female painters may not have been recognized initially because people didn’t see value in their work or simply couldn’t stand the competition, however, their vision, talent, and voice couldn’t remain in the shadows forever. The best female painters in the world have made their mark and this list will highlight 10 of the finest that you should know about!

  • Frida Kahlo
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Mary Stevenson Cassatt
  • Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
  • Yayoi Kusama
  • Hilma af Klint
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Artemisi Gentileschi
  • Helen Frankenthaler
  • Laura Wheeler Waring
  1. Frida Kahlo  

Beauty and pain never looked so divine and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo harmonized the two so beautifully. She primarily used oil on copper to create deliberate and striking self-portraits and still lifes.

Frida Kahlo knew physical pain and emotional turmoil, which she used to fuel her artistic fire. Born July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico. Frida produced roughly 200 small paintings that merge elements of fantasy, folklore, realism, symbolism, and surrealism to depict not only hauntingly sensual originals but relate fierce personal narratives as well. 

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often

alone; because I am the person I know best.”

-Frida Kahlo

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone because I am the person I know best,” she once said

Frida’s muralist husband Diego Rivera was instrumental in helping her hone the techniques she used in her paintings, which featured vibrant colors- reds and yellows- rooted in her rich Mexican tradition. 

She died in July 1954, after which her reputation soared. In 2000, her 1929 self-portrait, Portrait of a Lady in White, was sold at auction for over $5 million, further cementing her status as one of the best women painters in the world, 

2. Georgia O’Keeffe 

Among the greatest female painters is the mother of American modernism and the queen of abstract art Georgia O’Keeffe. Born in November of 1887, O’Keeffe made significant contributions to modern art.

Throughout her career she experimented with abstract art, focusing on composition colors, brush strokes, and shapes. 

However, she remained true to her love for nature, painting desert landscapes and flowers to exude the feeling it evoked in her.

Georgia ÕKeeffe Art in New Mexico | Museums & Tours | New Mexico True

“I had to create an equivalent for

what I felt about what I was looking at –

not copy it.”

– Georgia O’ Keeffe

Over time and through the influential ideas of American painter Arthur Wesley Dow, who advocated simplifying forms, Georgia O’Keeffe developed her style, fusing abstraction with realism. She continued painting up until her death at 98 years old.

3. Mary Stevenson Cassatt

Mary is one of the best female painters of all time and is considered the only American impressionist painter to have exhibited her work with the impressionists in Paris.

Her depictions of family life, particularly the bonds between mothers and children set her apart from other painters. 

Mother and Child in Boat, 1908 (oil on canvas), Cassatt, Mary Stevenson (1844-1926)

Formal training didn’t appeal to Mary and she primarily educated herself and was influenced by the works of influential painters Edouard Manet and Gustave Courbet, and Diego Velázquez.

She also had a close working relationship with Edgar Degas who became her mentor and whose pastel work she admired. After coming across some of Degas’ pastels in a shop window, it made an impression on her.

“It changed my life! I saw art then as I wanted to see it.” 

Mary showcased her first Impressionist work in the U.S, the 1878 painting, In the Loge, a depiction of her modern woman.

In the Metropolitan Museum is the Havemeyer Collection; to which Mary was an invaluable contributor. She died in 1926.

4. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 

Eighteenth-century turbulence in Paris, France, and obstacles to women’s advancement did not deter the self-taught, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun from pursuing her art, which has landed her in the top 10 women painters category. 

Élisabeth was accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1783, becoming the fourth female member with the help of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter, Julie, 1789, oil on canvas, (Musée du Louvre).

Her painting, Peace Restoring Abundance helped contribute to her recognition. She was the queen’s official artist and painted more than two dozen portraits of her. Élisabeth is known for her sympathetic portraits of the aristocracy.

Élisabeth fled during the French Revolution, but commissions from European nobility and royalty for portraits kept coming. Of the war and its impact on her art, she said, “But I could now paint no longer; my broken spirit, bruised with so many horrors, shut itself entirely to my art.

I could now paint no longer; my broken spirit, bruised with so many horrors, shut itself entirely to my art.

– Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

It’s believed that Elizabeth produced some 600+ paintings throughout her lifetime. She died in Paris in 1842.

5. Yayoi Kusama

One cannot talk about the greatest female artists without mentioning the Japanese painter, Yayoi Kusama, who is affectionately called ‘the princess of polka dots. 

Yayoi recalls how as a little girl she experienced a hallucination that was freakish and frightening. Pictures this: talking polka dot flowers that were everywhere. This hallucination left her feeling what she described as ‘self-obliterating’. These dots became a prominent feature in her paintings. 

Yayoi recalls how as a little girl she experienced a hallucination that was freakish and frightening- of talking polka dot flowers that were everywhere. The hallucination left her feeling what she described as ‘self-obliterating’.

Yayoi Kusama | Biography, Art, Infinity Mirrored Room, Pumpkin, & Facts | Britannica

‘Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.”

Although her mom destroyed her canvas in an attempt to discourage her, she continued with her art and eventually left Japan and made it to New York, where in 1959, her art was on display in various exhibits. Yayoi voluntarily checked herself into a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo in 1977, where she is a resident to this day.

6. Hilma af Klint 

The Swedish painter Hilma af Klint is a part of an elite group of females who are the best women painters in the world. The abstract painter began producing radical abstract paintings in 1906, that were vibrant, colorful, and out of this world.

Born in Stockholm in 1862, Hilma was a medium that was involved in spiritualism and Theosophy (any of a number of philosophies maintaining that a knowledge of God may be achieved through spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition, or special individual relations, especially the movement founded in 1875 as the Theosophical Society by Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907).

Her abstract paintings can be described as occult-inspired and magical-looking.

She was called a crazy witch and between 1906-1915, she produced 193 paintings known as the Paintings for the Temple. Hilma explained that the pieces were painted “through” her with divine “force” saying, 

“I had no idea what they were supposed to depict… I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.” 

– Hilma af Klint
Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 1 (1915) by Hilma af Klint | The Guggenheim Museum

“I had no idea what they were supposed to depict… I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.” 

Before her death in 1944, she instructed her heir to keep her abstract paintings from public viewing until 20 years after her passing.

Her work was first seen in public in the 1986 Los Angeles show The Spiritual in Art. Hilma only received widespread recognition as a pioneering abstract painter when the Guggenheim Museum hosted a major survey of her work from October 2018 to April 2019 titled “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future.” 

7. Artemisia Gentileschi 

Artemisia Gentileschi is in this top 10 women painters category because she is a pioneering Italian painter whose paintings reflect historical-art innovation.

Some speculate that her traumatic past -surviving rapeperhaps fueled her inspiring works of art and have characterized her paintings as autobiographical. Her paintings are also dramatic with a level of sensitivity in how color is handled and the female form is depicted.

She’s arguably the best female painter of the 17th century, with paintings that reflect the stories of women, including ambition, motherhood, and passion.

She paints herself as a woman completely in charge.

Self-Portrait as a Lute Player by Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, is an oil on canvas from 1616-18 with dimensions 77.5 × 71.8 cm. The painting is housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum collection in Connecticut, USA.

“As long as I live, I will have control of my being.” 

– Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisa is the first to portray sexual predation in “Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art.

She was a champion of the oppressed woman and her dramatic Baroque paintings reflected that position. Artemisia admired Caravaggio and her art was heavily influenced by him and she became recognized for her realism and use of chiaroscuro. The exact date of her death remains a mystery.

8. Louise Bourgeois 

Born in Paris in 1911, Louise Bourgeois was not formally linked to a particular artistic movement, but exhibited her work with the abstract expressionists of her time, like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

The themes in her paintings were dramatic and sensitive, such as anger, jealousy, abandonment loneliness, sexuality, and unconsciousness. This modern contemporary figure is one of the greatest female artists whose work often reflected her own experiences or was inspired by her memories and was emotionally charged.

“My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” 

– Louise Bourgeois

Louise has stated, “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” She had her first solo exhibition of paintings in New York in 1945 at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. Louise was more than just a painter and also became known for her large-scale sculptures. She died at the age of 98 in 2010.

9. Helen Frankenthaler 

Helen Frankenthaler has long been recognized as one of the best women painters in the world and a great American painter of the twentieth century. This American abstract painter is widely credited for being instrumental in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.

She developed the soak-stain technique (thin washes of pigment that soak into the fibers of the untreated canvas), which expanded how abstract painting could be presented.

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

– Helen Frankenthaler

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

Born in 1928, Helen’s professional exhibition career kicked off in 1950 with her painting, Beach (1950) in the exhibition titled Fifteen Unknowns: Selected by Artists of the Kootz Gallery. A year later, she had her first solo exhibition in New York’s Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

Helen’s true inspiration came not only from her contemporaries but from the “old masters” as well. She died in December 2011 at age 83 after an illustrious career, cementing herself as one of the best female painters of all time.

10. Laura Wheeler Waring

Among the best female painters is Connecticut-born African American artist Laura Wheeler Waring. Born in May of 1887, she was displayed in the USA’s first exhibition of African American Art in 1927.

Laura Wheeler Waring is renowned for her portraits of prominent African Americans made during the Harlem Renaissance and her beautiful landscape paintings.

She studied the works of master painters like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, and Claude Monet, which influenced her style achieved through vibrant and realistic techniques, with an emphasis on light, vivid colors, and atmosphere.

While she studied romanticism and impressionism, she leaned towards realism. Some of the portraiture subjects included Mary White Ovington, W.E.B. DuBois, and James Weldon Johnson. She was also an art educator for over 30 years. She died in 1948.

Laura Wheeler Waring, “The Study of a Student” (ca. 1940s) | PAFA

These 10 greatest female artists have left their mark on the art world and should be celebrated for their achievements.

This is just a small number of female painters, which hopefully piques your interest to explore more women painters and artists in general. Happy discovery!

Product of Consumerism – Freeverse Poem

Poetry
 
I’m just a product 
In a department store. 
Waiting on a shelf 
To be used like a whore. 

And when they are done they 
Turn their backs 
On the shelf once again.  

They consume me 'til they’re done. 
'Til they have no use for me anymore. 

It never matters that I cared. 
It never matters how long I was there. 
It never matters the time we spent. 
It only matters what they spent. 

They want a return. 
They want a refund. 

They want the newest model, the next best thing. 

Except, now -
I’m vintage. 

They don’t make ‘em like me anymore. 

The new models are not as efficient. 

They say the new models are cheaply made - 
or that they’re all the same. 

They break down easily and they don’t work. 
They’d never have a warranty. 

Maybe the consumers should have thought of that before. 
Maybe the consumers should have recognized my value. 

I’m a product with nothing left to prove. 

They made their choice, they are the 
Ones who choose. 

I don’t have an option and really -
I never did. 

Donate me NOW to some “less fortunate” person - 
Maybe they will bid! 

Maybe they will cherish me, 
And keep me safe. 

They’ll look at me and say: 

“This one’s a keeper.” 

“A real collector’s item - she’s rare - she’s got old school features.”

Unique - I’d be. 
Complete - I’d be. 

Finally - I’d be 

Loved.  

© KIMBERLY ANNE INC. 2022

The Mist of Skógar

Experiences, Poetry, Travel
I can taste the mist and sense the air beneath my skin.
Shadowed by the spirits who kiss me in the wind. 
When the cold air blows; I hear their stories told.

They tell me to close my eyes, and in the darkness I’ll see. 
Unseen cyphers and traditions they teach are boundless and bold. 
In exchange I left them my heart and they keep it for infinity; in the mist of Skógar.
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.
For the Landvættir and my Best
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.

Room 121

Experiences, Poetry, Thoughts

Room 121 – a Tribute to the Mule

Narrative Poem by @kimberlyanneinc

Welcome. Before you begin reading this narrative poem, I want to say thank you for being here. Room 121 is a place that you have been to before. It is a place that we have all been to before, in some way or another. It is up to you to determine what Room 121 is about. Room 121 is a diverse room filled with every kind of energy and emotion that is possible for human beings to demonstrate and feel. Room 121 is full of mysteries that are not meant to be solved. Room 121 is what you want it to be.

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Room 121 – a Tribute to the Mule

What’s going to happen in Room 121? 
I swore to myself the last time we were there that I’d never set foot in a courthouse again. 
You know it was not supposed to happen this way. 
Like an out of body experience I see the stupid happy plastered look on my face. 
Walking with you like I should be so proud when in fact I should have 
hid my face. 
Then maybe now I wouldn’t be so embarrassed 
and ashamed of being associated with your name. 
Almost reaching Room 121 I’ve practically crumbled and just might 
disintegrate. 
 
What will happen in Room 121? 
In Room 121 I’ll become brand new and it’s going to be like I never even knew you. 
Remember that moment in Cinderella? There’s a fairy godmother who completes the impossible. 
She made it all possible for a transformation to take place. Can you see the wand now waving? 
Waving around now right in front of her face? A transformation I’ll go 
through even though I think really, it’s you who needs one too and 
you probably need it much more than me since you have issues with your eyes, 
your ears, and all things. You need glasses so you can see. A hearing aid so you can listen. 
 
What is going to take place in Room 121? 
If only a real fairy godmother exists, then she could help me help you! 
With this issue of vision. 
Helping you would be much too kind considering there is no hope for you anyway. In Room 121
I will release all of the pain 
and the guilt 
and the misery 
and the shame - 
along with all of your lies and your undiagnosed illnesses 
and that fake bit of chivalry that brays out of you like a True ass.
 
In Room 121 I will walk in alone and I won’t mind at all because I’ll be one step closer to 
escaping any thought of you 
for the rest of my life. 

Sometimes I wonder if the world only knew 
how weak and infantile you truly are 
if it would 
HELP. 
 
Do you think it will be beautiful in Room 121? 
Then they’d be able to escape you too; but like me they wouldn’t have to run 
because you’d already be gone. 
Faster and faster just like a marathon 
of foolishness and mental fragility due to your frail existence. 
In Room 121 donning silver attire, I will walk in with pride and 
explain my mistakes of how I fell for your 
schemes, 
your strategies 
and your lies 
and how 
NOW
they have made me only so much more indestructible - 
Rugged and impenetrable either through the heart or unmentionables, thank you. Thank. You. 
My armor is heavy, and my battle scars are unseen. Only those who wear this armor too will 
understand what that means. 
With my head held high and curious eyes glaring at the gleam 
that my iron shield, metal plate, and inlaid sword bring - 
everyone will know that you are not a real King. 

Just another imitation descended from swindlers and shams, who could only hope and dream to move on to better things 
instead of constantly being masters of the masquerade. I’m sorry you were built that way.

The crudeness of my words, is veracious as your credentials
of being extremely detrimental. 

The fact that you are a mule, and one that is destructive is comical to say the least.  
Being a tool is exactly the purpose of such an animal. Stubborn and a certified beast 
of burden - 
of this I’m certain. 

As I lift the helmet off of my head, and start to remove my sheathing, the verdict is reached and now I am breathing. A sigh of relief blasted out of my chest knowing that I was heard and that your cowardice 
made it all so easy.

Sailing out now of Room 121 
I go away and in search of anything that isn’t you 
for eternity now. 
Sailing out now of Room 121, 
off and away there I go, here I go, to anything or anyone that isn’t you 
forever now. 

Sailing out now with my armor, weapons, and my ship, hands on my waist with the hips you will miss - 
farther than ever so you can never taste my lips 
again.

Assailant should have been your title once long ago, but you can’t be called that anymore. 
You’ve lost this battle and I’ve won the war. Now thanks to Room 121 I am perpetually 
unassailable. And when the truth hits the ears of all who will listen, this is how the tale will go. 


Thank you for reading. If you’re a rebel writer, let me know what literary devices you can spot in this poem. I’d love to hear from you. ❤ ‘Til then, happy writing!

Ode to Anonymous – Let’s Talk About Lyrical Poetry

Poetry

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Ode to Anonymous - Pindaric Ode - Lyrical Poem

New beauty with frosted skin and colorful harmony,
Singing warrior songs, under skies covered with nightfall.
A sleek princess with a voice like warm honey,
Your soft tongue, well-influenced by life’s days, your arsenal.

You sound just like a fantasy, and never could be heartless; I am consumed. 
With piercing eyes, like sapphire ocean waves, you struck me leaving wonderful wounds.
A whirl of energy enters me, and I’m enthralled with you; it is so wrong,
Searching for your taste, to you I do not belong.

Your lips are unafraid, and bitter as vinegar.
Grim lady, you are genuinely magnetic. 
Your melody is lucid; haunting and sinister.
The chaos that is you, inspires only those most poetic.
My captivating, candy-coated glacial Queen,
Your euphonic touch is so surreal, this must be a dream. 


by KimberlyAnneInc
Art by Mélanie Delon

My poem was definitely inspired by someone. It’s an Ode, so that should be pretty self-explanatory.

For all you know, it could be the Queen of England, or Betty White. Maybe I’m a bit fond of her. Whoever this is about, can be revealed at a later time. For now – let’s talk about lyrical poems.

The more I’ve been studying poetry, and its different forms and structures, they less intimidated I feel by it. I remember writing poems as a little kid in my bedroom. Music and words have somehow always made me feel more complete. For as long as I can remember I’ve considered music, poems, storytelling, art and everything in between as the most important and valid forms of expression. Emotional expression, artistic expression – these are actual declarations of human existence.

Despite writing little rhymes when I was a kid, somehow in my adult life within the last decade or so I started to let poetry intimidate me. I thought I couldn’t do it. I thought it would be pointless or a waste of time. Somehow along the way, I lost a piece of my creative self-expression. I’m grateful now to have put more time into learning, and I mean truly learning more about poetry and reconnecting with my own creative spark of self-expression.

My poem above, Ode to Anonymous is an example of a Pindaric Ode. During my studies, I learned about many different kinds of poetry; and lyrical poetry was one of them.

Lyrical poetry does not just consist of odes, but in this blog – that is what I’ll be focusing on. Generally, lyric poetry focuses on a brief description of intense thoughts and emotions. Sometimes this style of poetry is about nature, romance, grief, or death – just to name a few.

In my example above, it does have a bit of romance, but there are plenty of other elements that are hidden and not so hidden. Lyric poetry is also meant to be read aloud. By studying even further, I realize how important it is now to read poems aloud and hear them read aloud by others.

The thing with poetry is that when it’s spoken, and you hear it vs. just reading it, it can be interpreted differently. It’s like you experience the words differently. You feel the emotion differently. The message that the poet is trying to send is just absorbed so much better when you hear the words aloud.

The form of my poem above is called Pindaric Ode. The Pindaric Ode originated in ancient Greece and is named after Pindar. He was known as one of the most epic lyric poets of all time. Pindar is also the reason why Odes exist.

The word ode derives from the Greek word oide, which means “to sing or chant.” Odes were originally performed to music. The duration, metrical patterns, and rhyme of these songs were certainly different long ago. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, odes have evolved into three different varieties, but the core form and premise have remained the same.

Pindaric

Horatian

Irregular

If you want to learn more about all three types of Odes, check out the Poetry Foundation website. (By the way, The Poetry Foundation is based in my hometown, Chicago – so you know I have to show love!)

The structure of an ode is distinct from that of other forms of poetic expression. Each of the three varieties of odes has its own particular characteristics. In contrast to Pindaric and Horatian odes, which must adhere to strict rules, irregular odes are free to take any form. It is common for odes to be constructed of several lines or stanzas of poetry, but they can be of any length.

In ancient Greece, odes to sports or other events were designed to be performed with dancers and a chorus. Odes were used in celebration of major athletic affairs, such as the Olympics.

Pindar enjoyed including mythical allusions in his art as a way of paying homage to the gods. See, now this is something Pindar and I have in common. If you know me, you know how much I love allusions and mythology. Pindar was spot-on by making sure everyone knew that mythological allusions are the best. Pindar was one super cool dude; he even taught Sappho a thing or two. Epic.

Before I get carried away about mythology and allusions, let me get back to the point!

The particular form that I used above is the Pindaric three stanza form, also known as a public/celebration form. The reason for this is due to Pindaric odes commonly being used for public events, sports competitions, or celebrations.

Generally speaking, Pindaric odes are separated into three sections, or stanzas: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode.

  • strophe – first section of an ode; a group of stanzas of alternating metrical form (see my 1st stanza and check out the ending words of lines 1-4)
  • antistrophe – second section in a poem consisting of alternating stanzas in contrasting metrical form (kind of like the 1st stanza, but AABB pattern instead of ABAB for rhyming end words)
  • epode – third section that follows the strophe and antistrophe and completes the movement (Stanza 3 (6-line sestet) – lines 9-14)

And there you have the structure and form of a Pindaric Ode! Writing poems with strict form and rules is actually quite challenging – especially if you’re a rebel writer like me. One time I did get in trouble for writing too many words over the limit on a school assignment. I have issues, I know – but only the best kind. It’s embarrassing since that happened not so long ago, but it’s true! If you are a rebel writer, tend to overwrite or just totally despise following forms and structures of any kind – but especially in writing, then you understand what I mean. 🙂

An Ode that I read, that really helped me understand the form of a Pindaric Ode was the poem, The Bard by Thomas Gray.

Here’s a stanza from his poem:

II.2.
"'Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the Sable Warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born?
Gone to salute the rising Morn.
Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway,
That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey.

See the rhyme scheme and pattern?! The poem was crafted with excellence and has provided me with a perfect example on how I could attempt to write my own Pindaric Ode (even though mine is much shorter!).

In this poem by Gray, he presents ideas about two nations sharing a common history. Gray sought to investigate the concept of the significance of Wales within an old British nation.

Gray chose the poem’s structure and words with care and intention in order to make his poem appear a bit more ancient, and more important, so that he could use it to convey his ideas.

The conflict between Edward I, the English invader, and the last bard of Wales is depicted in Thomas Gray’s poem “The Bard,” which was written in 1757. The poem was a major success, and it played a significant role in establishing the image of the Welsh mountains as a symbol of liberty in popular culture.

I could probably go on and on about this, but it’s late so I’ve got to stop right here. A post from me was way overdue, so I figured this would suffice. If you’ve read this far, thank you. Your attention span makes me extremely jealous! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe learned something new. Let me know in the comments.

To read more, you can check out these links for reference:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44298/the-bard-a-pindaric-ode

https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/edward-i-the-dutiful-conqueror/

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/sappho

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/pindar

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/thomas-gray

https://www.instagram.com/melaniedelon/?hl=en

Nixie

Experiences, Poetry, Thoughts

Do you remember the first time you brought your newborn home from the hospital? Your first baby. Do you remember counting every breath? Feeling their chest? Putting your ear next to their tiny little lips that would one day ask, “WHY?”

I’ve recalled that feeling and lived it again. But this time with no bassinet, no crib, no play pen. Instead I’m laying on the bathroom floor, worried sick. Counting breaths per second as the clock ticks. As I think of my foolish ways, and the dismay that was brought on by today, I ponder it all as I stare at my new stray. With all that I can and all I’ve got, an offering should take place.

She’s eating and breathing and drinking which is a relief. Considering her condition, as told by the vet it’s somewhat of a rendition of – well, I don’t even need to tell. You already know. She’s mostly silver, grayish, kinda blue. She has a tiny white patch on her chest too. Her eyes are the darkest green, but somehow resemble emeralds or jade that have been spun into a galaxy that lives in her gaze.

Mystic as she is no matter what is wrong, I’ll treat her like my own and sing her all the songs. The ones I always chant to the other two I have, like a ritual I plant and water what I can.

Filled her water several times, because she kept drinking and drinking. Water is a gift of life, primordial and consistently. Thinking and thinking, I call her Nixie. Tiny little sprite, washing everything down. I watch her, observing as she circles around. 9 times like the waters of Styx. If she has 9 lives, then I hope they let me have – at least one.

I hope she doesn’t go yet, because we’ve only just begun. But if she has to take her journey, she won’t do it alone. Precious little Nixie Styx, this can be your new home. ✨

The Gift: A Poem

Poetry
I have a gift for you, my grandpa says. 
With excitement, I jump up and down. 
So tiny and little, my feet make no sound. 

He has a box and it's wrapped with a bow. 
Someday, my dear, you will certainly know. 
Keep the box with you and never let go. 

This gift will guide you and it will protect.
When it is open you can see the things you will never forget. 
Greater than any other gift, nothing will compare. 
Unwrap the box and you will see how I care. 

All of those times you should not have been alive, 
And should not have survived,
It was me
And the gift, 
Working out of sight. 

The one that I gave you so long ago. 
The prettiest one, that was wrapped with a bow.
You have much work to do still, here in this life.  

This is a gift that can withstand all time. 
You can pass down the gift to your own down the line. 
It was given to me, and now I’ve given it to you. 
Stay strong and have courage, as we need you to do. 

There is no greater gift than the truest of love. 
Marching behind you, we push and we shove.
Your wisdom is brimming, your light they'll try dimming.
Do your greatest and make us so proud. 
Believe in the magic and keep passing it around. 

Do not be afraid, and hold close your gift. 
It’s been crafted with much care, I’m here to uplift. 
Remember me always, my grandpa says. 
No longer tiny and little, I’m fierce and I’m loud. 

When I stomp on the ground my feet do make a sound. 
With all of my force I shake and I scream, 
Energy swarms and it moves and
I see. 

All of the things I was meant to see. 
With the power of the gift, I have so much more. 
It’s everything I’d ever need or could imagine.
More than just one lifetime could fathom. 

Looking at the gift now, the box and the bow, 
I wrap it back up knowing what I know. 
Tie it so tightly, 
With all the love 
And care that I can, 
Now the box feels mighty, even more than before.

Set it aside and wait patiently for the next, 
Now when it’s my turn 
I’ll give it to them too, 
When they most need it!
When the day comes, with honor I'll tell
Someday, my dear, you will certainly know.
Greater than any other gift, nothing will compare. 
With the power of this gift, You will never be defeated.
Keep the box close and always be aware.
Untie the bow and you will see how I care.

Time Does Not Exist

Poetry
The first time I saw your face
My heart sank into my chest 
It fell into my stomach!

My eyes could not believe the sight 
You took over my entire being 
No one else had any meaning.

How could I be so lucky?
You just fell into my life 
On one of the worst nights. 

I could get lost in you, 
Like you could get lost in me, 
It’s been years now and -  

My feeling only grows deeper. 
If there was ever a time I was not sure, 
It’s not today. 

I made some mistakes 
But still, I cannot ever replace you. 


I don’t want to go back and forth 
Or waste any more time. 
It is easy to see 

That you should be mine. 

I am addicted to your mind. 
When I look into your eyes 
I feel like I am home. 

This is where I want to be and this is where I will stay. 
Only if you let me. 
Just let me stay, 
I’ll be with you forever. 



I will never leave your side. 
You mean more to me than most, 
And more than you will probably ever know!

My words written can never explain. 
They will never portray! 

It would be impossible to capture how I feel. 
Trying to catch that feeling and make it tangible, 
Just to show you that it's real. 

It can’t happen. 
I just need you to believe 
In the chemistry. 

When I’m with you 
Time Does Not Exist. 
You always notice the little things. 

The important ones. 
You remember. 
Can you be yourself with me? 
I can with you. 

It’s hard to do with others, 
But they don’t matter now. 
Focused. 
We are focused. 

When you smile at me 
I know what it means. 

With you, everything feels different. 
It feels right. 
Let me keep you forever,
Brilliant. 

Like a bright light. 
You showed me how to love again, 
And how to be a friend. 

In the darkest times, 
My soul was lost. 
Now it has been found. 
To you, I owe many things.
A teacher and a lover. 
A true best friend. 

Let me keep you forever, 
For me, there is no one better.  

Sweet as honey.  
I Love you endlessly because 
With you it's always sunny.

Don’t Lie to Me: A Poem

Poetry
“Don’t lie to me”, she says?
But did you know, she lies to herself? 
She denies herself, every day.
Yes, and every night.  
She can never admit that she is riding the waves. 
She goes through the motions!

That girl is in love. 
“Don’t lie to me”, she tells him. 
“I’d never”, he said. 
She is only allowed to lie to herself. 
She wants him to know it. 
Put her feelings on a shelf. 
Like a book waiting to be read. 
Untouched, collecting dust. 
Pick me up! Open me. 
It screams at her when she looks. 

On the back burner. 
They are still kept warm, those feelings.  
Sweet like a cobbler or freshly baked pie. 
She knows they are there. 
They gotta cool off! 
She ignores them. 
The flame becomes too hot. 
Even when on low.
But don't burn the house down now. 
Keep an eye on it. 
Don’t stare too long. 
It won’t cook right if you do. 
That’s what I’ve told her.
Do you think she will listen?  

Oh, she is in love! 
She can’t keep lying to herself. 
Not good for her health. 
She’s gotta recognize it soon. 
She will. Denial doesn’t last forever. 
Nothing does. 
She can’t lie to herself. 
She’s so addicted to him!
Impossible to catch a buzz. 

What can she do? 
If she cannot be true? 
Maybe it will drive her mad. 
You mean, like the hatter? 
Not that bad. 
She’ll figure it out. 
Hopefully sooner than later. 
If only she knew. 
She is the dictator. 
Of her heart.