One of the Twelve Dancing Princesses Speaks On How the Dancing Was Spell Forced On Them and the Abomination Thereof

by Annette Marie Smith

It wasn’t the soreness of my feet
the aching that felt like an entire country
was being Greek fire bombed beneath my skin.
It wasn’t the blisters the size of onions
translucent and pulsing with a life of their own.
It wasn’t the way that my legs were broken
hobby horses forced to glide
on the wheeled balls of magic
or the way that my waist threw me about
rag doll above and rag doll below,
devil’s winch in between.
My hair shaken loose became
flagellant whips, gin tipped and sharp as sin.
But it was not those nettles either.
The false gaiety and strangled laughter
were not the beam
that could not be plucked and which really
broke this proverbial camel’s back.

It was the physical compulsion
the being forced to do something
no matter how pleasurable
against my will.
If you do not need my will
then what neccesitance me?

Selkie Shift

Dress of Paper by Annette Marie Smith
I wore a dress made of paper
It rustled when I walked. You were the wind
pulling at it, creeping with fingers of cold
trying to get under my skin.
I came dressed in mud, painted obscure as night.
You were the chain that pulled on the light.
I wore birdsong
and dawn was a crown in my hair.
You came with a lawnmower and blade-spread
feathers everywhere.
I took off my skin and wore spirit to escape you
but you stole my skin like I was a selkie
making me feel I could never go home
would always be prisoned with you.
— Why I Left When I Could by Annette Marie Smith

Moving Forward Retreat


Here I am on the job, Writer/Letter Carrier. 🙂
I’m so honored to have been nominated as a candidate and selected to attend the Minnesota Union Women’s Retreat! My union is picking up the tab for all expenses for this three day opportunity to network and workshop with other women to foster greater participation by women in their workplaces, unions, and communities AND I get paid for those days ‘off’.


Here also is a pic of the brochure and some helpful hints for improving the Women’s Retreat experience. I hope you notice that they specifically ask for the poetry. 😉

A free bird takes to other skies

Maya Angelou in Porgy and Bess, 1954, Courtesy of G. Paul Bishop Junior: Photographer

Luminous author and poet, Maya Angelou, has passed from our world at age 86. Source

She leaves the songs of her poems and writings behind for us: haunting melodies that will be sung for generation after generation.

She was a respected spokesperson for African Americans and women. “She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.” Source

And she knew why the caged bird sings…

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
By Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Facing Feminism: Feminist I Know Exhibition and Poetry Party

Please do join us for this event
The Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know La Barrage Continue Exhibition and Poetry Party is Saturday night! The address is 2285 University Ave. W, St. Paul, MN. We are launching the awesomeness at 6:00 pm. Join us for this explosion of poetry and feminism. There will be art, wine, and poetry. What more could you ask for? ❤
PS The Exhibit is part of the St. Paul Spring Art Crawl 2014 so be sure to check out all the other artists throughout the artist lofts — they’ll be opening up their lofts to you and you’ll have the opportunity to meet and chat with them in person: painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, fashion designers, photographers, blacksmiths, potters — artisans of all stripes!
The art crawl dates are:
April 25. 26, 27, 2014
Fri. 6-10 pm
Sat. 12-8 pm
Sun. 12-5 pm