Word Perv
(noun): One who takes delight and is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.

A few months ago I posted the first draft of my poem Love is a Lesion on Your Brain – it’s a love poem to my husband but because straight-up love poems aren’t exactly the kind of poetry I write, it takes a different form, talking about my love and appreciation for him through the lens of my chronic headaches. I’m excited to announce that the edited version of my poem has been published by Germ Magazine – read it here.

I’m less excited to announce that after many months of being blissfully headache-free, I tried to come of my medication with disastrous results. I was fine for a week and then the freight train that is my headache came barreling back in. I immediately went back on my medication but it took several days to bring the headache, which is usually about a 6-7 on a pain scale of 1-10, back under control. I’m mad because I completely brought this on myself – I thought that after being on the medicine for nine months I could safely stop taking it. Apparently my brain doesn’t think so and I was severely punished for my foolishness. Even though this medicine has a couple of side effects I don’t like, the big one being weight gain, carrying an extra ten pounds is really not that big of deal when compared to the agony of a headache that literally never ends. So I’m once again faithfully taking my medication and I won’t go off the medication without my doctor’s consent. As such I decided to write a love poem to my headache medicine, letting it know just how much I love and appreciate it.

Amitriptyline: A Love Poem

I lasted a week

off the meds, the blissful cool

of a clear head before the railroad spike

drove itself through my temples,

the intensity blooming across my forehead,

making me clutch the bottle in my eager hands – 

a slave to the medicine that added pounds to my frame

but keeps the pickax from erupting in my brain.

I close my eyes against the grinding constant,

knowing in a few days the pressure will leave,

the tight fist will loosen its grip on my brain.

I vow not to lapse again.

I vow to stay on the medicine eternal. 

August 3, 2015

I Can’t Say No

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I simply can’t say no to a used bookstore, there is some sort of gravitational pull a used bookstore possesses which grabs me and won’t let go. A regular book store selling only new books doesn’t have this same kind of pull – I can wander around but I rarely buy anything. But a used bookstore? I almost always walk out with a new book or two in hand.

Last Friday night I went to Moe’s Books, an icon of a bookstore in Berkeley. I wandered to the 2nd floor which housed the poetry section and began perusing the shelves.

This is one of my favorite ways to find poetry books, simply looking through the shelves and pulling one out that looks interesting. I’ll skim through the pages and read a poem or two, if I like what I read, I’ll buy the book. If I don’t like what I read the book goes back on the shelf.

Though I am less than halfway through the current book of poetry I’m reading, Toward Desire by Linda Lee Harper, I found two books of poetry at Moe’s that I decided needed to be a part of my collection.

My poetry finds from Moe's Books

My poetry finds from Moe’s Books

 

I was immediately intrigued by Chelsea Martin’s book even though i don’t miss you – how could I need be intrigued by a little book that could fit in my pocket? I’m about 40% through the book and I’m already loving it. Here’s a couple of my favorites:

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from Chelsea Martin’s “even though i don’t miss you”

 

from Chelsea Martin's "even though i don't miss you"

from Chelsea Martin’s “even though i don’t miss you”

 

I probably won’t get to Moe’s again on this trip – I’ve got another 2 weeks in Oakland but I now have three books of poetry to read. That should last me…if it doesn’t I know where I’ll be going to stock up on more!

 

Last summer I learned about the August Postcard Poetry Fest, an event that has me sending 31 postcards to 31 strangers, all over the world. Each postcard has a poem written on it, a poem I wrote. In exchange, I receive 31 poetry postcards from 31 strangers. Last summer was my first time participating in the fest and I loved it. I loved finding the postcards I would send – last year I sent postcards featuring the work of artist Edward Gorey, the package of postcards was titled “Mysterious Messages, Cryptic Cards, Coded Conundrums, Anonymous Notes” perfect for a poem to a stranger! I loved writing short poems and getting creative. I loved dropping them in the mail each day and thinking of how the person on the other end would feel when they read my poem. But most of all I loved getting the postcards. I love postcards anyway, I travel a lot for work and I always send postcards to my friends. But to get a postcard with a poem written on it, it’s combining two things I love into the perfect package!

This year’s postcards were chosen because I felt they were perfect for the fest – they’re postcards featuring books and libraries!

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I’ve addressed all my postcards, now I’ve just got to get writing and get them out the door! Tomorrow kicks off this year’s Postcard Poetry Fest!

July 27, 2015

A New Name

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I recently eloped and have decided to take my husband’s name. It was a personal decision and there were several factors that went into my decision but none of which I care to divulge or debate on my blog. Even after deciding I would take his name I wondered if I should keep writing and publishing under my maiden name. After some thought I have decided to write and publish under my fabulous new name, Courtney LeBlanc. It’s a damn good name for a poet and now people might actually pronounce my name correctly the first time. 😉

Since I decided to change my name I’ve also created a new Facebook page for my writing; if you’re on Facebook please be sure to “like” my page so you can follow me there. I post more than just poetry stuff, I also recently posted an article about a dead raccoon in Toronto that was so funny I read it twice just to enjoy it again. (Trust me on this one, you’ll want to read it!) So head on over to Facebook and like my page. As the number of “likes” go up I’m going to have some giveaways!

July 20, 2015

Chronic

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I have the misfortune of suffering from chronic pain. My pain comes in the form of a railroad spike driving itself through my temples. The pain is constant and unrelenting. I’m fortunate that I’m now on a medication that helps keep these headaches at bay. It’s not a perfect medication as it has a couple of side effects that I absolutely hate, most notably weight gain, but to keep that mack truck of pain from  destroying me I deal with the side effects. Lately my headaches have been creeping back up, even though I’m on the medication. I think it may be due to stress as I’ve been working 75-80 hour weeks all month and I don’t anticipate that slowing down for at least another two months. So the long hours and heavy workload are probably a contributing factor into how my head is feeling.

On Friday I read a poem from Split This Rock, an organization that “[calls] poets to a greater role in public life and fostering a national network of socially engaged poets.” I found them a couple of years ago when I attended their poetry festival, I’ve been getting weekly emails from them since and it’s always good to read the poetry they send out. The poem they sent out Friday was so raw and beautiful and so very accurately captured what it’s like to live with chronic pain that I had to share it. (Used with permission.)

Ode to the Chronicaaly Ill Body

 

Camisha Jones