— Hide menu
Under my Tongue
Anatomy (for Vancouver Poetry Slam Finals night)
Apologize (revival of “the stuttering poem”) on Finals stage
Wild Room (One minute poem from Vancouver Poetry Slam finals)
Trash Can (From the perspective of the garbage can on the corner of Dunsmuir and Georgia in Vancouver)
Tantric Philosophy (warning–this is the sexy one!)
You Are Not A Victim (One min. poem)
“Happy Now” for Mashed Poetics; an experiment with the prompt being No Doubt’s song Happy Now:
Some recent Poems:
copyright Julie Peters
I will lie beside you dreaming
I am the lover, the rebel, the enemy.
I am the teacher, the hated dictator, the other woman.
I fold knives into the welts of my stockings
I will place my hands on you softly and warm you to your sleep.
I will have nightmares beside you I will
dream of dreaming I will pinch myself and try to remember
what that’s supposed to feel like.
I am your lover, I am your rebel, I am your enemy.
I will sabotage your confidences
I will not forgive you but when I think of you I’ll cry
I will take off all my clothes and throw them at your feet
give you every last flaw of my naked flesh
and then apologize
And the sight of me repulses me
the sight of me should
repulse you but you
kiss me on the forehead and lay me down
on pillows made of folded tshirts
you bring me cups of coffee and tumblers of whiskey
when the days are too long
You tell me all your secrets and I hold them close to my chest
I do I hold them
close to my chest I want to be
what you see in me
I want you to place your tender organs in my dirty hands and
know that I will not crush them
I will wait til they get lighter
and give them back
I will ask God to speak to you through my chapped lips
I will open my mouth until breath and God and other fluids come out together and hold your hand
God will tell you
don’t give up
even if you don’t believe in God, look,
here you are
here you are
So you will look at me and thank me and you won’t know about
the weapons I have folded in my socks you
give yourself to me you don’t mind
not standing on your own two feet so I
take you in my arms and try to
wrap your hands like late birthday presents and return them to you
and when you walk away
you should know
you have saved me
because I must have loved
I let you go.
But if it’s one of those days where you decide to stay
unwrap your hands and choose to stay
and look me in the eye
tell me you can go but you will not because it’s not just
my love that keeps us here together but
then it’s a surprise
but you and I must have survived for another day
weaponized, in unlatched bulletproof vests and stockings
but look, here we are
it’s a miracle, it’s God coughing under his breath
but we did we did
here we are
we survived each other
for another day
This morning I woke up in pieces.
The slats on my back were for my lover,
my heelbones left out to my best friends.
my shoulders in chunks for my teachers
my spine to six acquaintances
who met once on a beach in february
the space between my eyebrows belonged to the full moon
whose waves steal sleep from me in stages like drumbeats
on animal hides stretched thin over wooden bowls
it was the dreams in between that told me the story
of a smell like sour cherries
bites of chocolate and the smoke from wine bottle chimneys
baileys and coffee has held me together in the past it will do as well this morning
and for minutes I stared at the paint chipping on my wall to the right of my nightstand
a sparrow flying and three stars in pieces, i thought
just like me and I wanted to sing in solidarity
without knowing whether sparrow even can.
And my windows were open I fought the breezes with my knuckles
and old blankets proffered by grandparents
the protection of my family keeps me tossing and turning while
dogs scream outside my bedroom door
and clouds sit on my chest nudging til i get up
so i wake up i wake up
it’s finally the morning
violently the morning
tearing me to pieces with the joy of january sunlight
the crack between my curtains
the spotlight of the porchlight telling me secrets
my own in whispers and with teeth
what can i do but wake up
wake up and put the pieces together
let’s open the curtains and play.
Today the world gave me talons
Today the world gave me talons.
It said use them like tall buildings.
Use them like knives, like the guns of trenchcoated teenagers
that speak until no one listens
Today the world put sharp edges on each one of my bones
so that I could touch harder
so that I could touch more finally so that when i told you no you could feel it
under your skin
Today the world gave me weapons.
She said go, fight, take these guns and kill what hurts you.
Ruin the men that have pushed you down.
Avenge the women that have been violated.
Then tear them apart for participating.
Scream until unbelievers go mad with sound of your voice.
Kali gave me her string of severed heads, her lolling red tongue she said
these are your inheritance. Take them, take me into your heart and
break the wine and water glasses filled these years with silence
sitting precariously on bedroom windowsills
smash the mirrors of those who tell themselves they are not good enough
slice into the bellies of the old who have been holding too many memories in their intestines
and have been feeding on cancer and gasoline instead
But I did not go.
I will not go.
Because the weapons aren’t real.
There is nothing sharpening my fingernails,
I have no love for the knives in my veins.
I have seen that mirror too, and it has been so cruel to me
and I have chosen to keep my eyes open.
Because I know you feel this too.
Our dreams have given us talons.
Our hearts have risen and battered the insides of our lungs to say
Let me out! Let me fight this!
We have opened our mouths to say no to our illnesses
to the depression that takes us unannounced
to those who have taken God and turned her into something so ugly
but we can’t speak.
Some say God created us in his own image
but if that’s true we must have looked back out of His mirror and changed what we saw
we made God in our own image and so now she is Kali
goddess of divine annihilation
and she wants us to fight
she wants us to kill everything
to flood our hallways with monsters
and be arsonists in our living rooms
or let us die slowly when we are alone
because when we look at what we have become it makes us cry
And I can’t fight this. And I’m not brave.
I won’t take the weapons, I won’t break the bonds between god and I or
you and i if there ever were any
because I am too lost in this I am too in love with this
even when i get angry
and it’s not brave
it’s not brave to be angry
so I will cower
but I will cower with you
And the next time I look in the mirror
you will be on the other side
and I will touch your face with my
I really want to open up those shoulders for you.
I want to get my hands inside your ribs, make space where bones press too much together
to slide fingernails between the slats of your homemade armour,
I want the little knots to be mine, to speak to me, so i can melt them down like raw gold,
softened into circles, rings for someone’s fingers.
i want to kiss the muscles between your hipbones that carry all your fear
to feel their myofibrils slide against my cheek and bite,
gently, just a light puncture, to see what flows out
like night animals seeking cover in the daylight.
i would step my feet inside your toes and let my arches ask you questions
metatarsils and heelbones imprinting your steps, asking where are you going?
asking can you take me with you?
I’d send my tongue into your mouth and spit into your jaw
so it has something to grind against
run my tastebuds along your larynx so you can speak, softly,
so i can hear what you want to say
my own voice meandering into your ears, telling you secrets, i love you
secrets i know you know breaking eardrums with vibrations i know it hurts i love you.
and i’d look into your eyes and tramp onto your grey matter
staring down your hypothalamus, juicing neurons with my optic nerve and asking you
to look at me. Look at me.
i’d put my hands into your belly
then turn my skin inside out
take you between my thighs and squeeze until you come
into my bed
into my palms, my hips, my open lips and tongue
so I can swallow you or spit you out until you understand
your body is becoming a wall.
I smile and pretend it’s all okay.
trace fingertips along your forearms like beckoning flags and hope you come to me
a hundred thousand of my best kisses i know
would never form the right words to make you come to me.
i already know the insides of your body
i have already given you mine.
our silences hide in sentences, between our teeth and under our tongues
what are you thinking about?
i can’t give you these open palms forever
they are your home, your bed, a couch to sleep on in an unfriendly town
but they ask for alms as well
love, words, kisses, please don’t leave me
i can’t put my hands inside your body
i can’t grip handfuls of blood and connective tissue
and make it respond to me
your skin stops my palms just short of bruises
it’s me that’s bruised already
so i have to find a window
I have to lift my hands and find some air.
cause i am talking to your ribcage, your hipbones and toes, your cartilage and soft tissue
i am trying to be the Isis to your Osiris collecting the pieces of your dismembered body from
the continents they were broken on so i can remember you, put you back together, and use my own words to say
i want you to stay.