January 2020 Reads

I didn’t read many books in 2019. I started a few novels that I didn’t finish because of other things commandeering my time. This year I set my Goodreads goal to twelve books. I can manage one book per month, right?

I’m terrible at book reviews but here are my takeaways from January’s reads.

I read two poetry collections — The Darkening Trapeze (Last Poems) by Larry Levis and Going Out with Peacocks and Other Poems by Ursula K. Le Guin.

The Darkening Trapeze is a collection of long form poems arranged by David St. John with the help of Levis’s sister and peers. The afterward is as interesting as the poems, so if you have a tendency to skip afterwards, don’t skip this one. David describes how he and others explored Levis’s poetry drafts after his death, determining which were the most recent drafts of each poem and how to edit and arrange them with respect to Levis’s creative process.

It will make you think about how you’d want your loved ones to handle your work when you’re gone. Do them a favor — make your wishes clear and keep things organized.

Two pieces that stuck out to me — the poem “Make a Law so that the Spine Remembers Wings”, which is still relevant today in how the justice system doles out stricter punishments to black people and other people of color versus their white peers,  and the sole short essay “The Worm in the Ear” about Van Gogh and his ear.

Le Guin’s poetry style is vastly different from Levis. Her poems are shorter but just as hard hitting like in “Her Silent Daughter”. There’s more variety in poem lengths and makes for a quicker read than Levis’s longer poems. I adored her poems “The Woman and the Soul” and “Fragments from the Women’s Writing.” Le Guin writes an introduction to “Fragments…” explaining how she read about a discovered secret language only women in Hunan, China knew. The language was passed from mothers to daughters to correspond with other women — their sworn sisters. The poem is Le Guin’s imaginary translation of those correspondences.

For February, I have started reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Read any good books lately? Let me know in the comments below.


SoundCloud: S. M. Saves
Twitter: @sm_saves


Reality’s Impact on a Head in the Clouds

Reality’s Impact on a Head in the Clouds

It tries to take me
|   down
|      down.
Tries to bury me in the ground
but my head is still in the clouds
|       up
|   up
Tears in a tea cup
brew another round.
I spent all year digging
pen to paper, missing
the phone calls and
adventures we had.
The mourning wasn’t too bad
when exorcised by pen and pad.
Sometimes I felt guilty
thought I should feel worse
then something reminds me that it still hurts.
Spent this week bracing
for the inevitable slap
but found that I can look back
and read what happened next.
It feels so far away.
Further than yesterday.
But I can still touch it
if I reach down from these clouds.


Today is the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. I remember those last two weeks. In between doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, bandage changes, and coaxing foods and fluids, I filled the time in between with writing prompts. I wasn’t keeping up on my journal during that time but my writing took its place.

I pulled the relevant ones from around that stretch of time. Unless otherwise stated, most were for vss365.


December 30th, 2018

Despite the sores in her mouth and the pain it would cause, she #indulged in a mug of warm mulled cider. She savored the smell and each sip knowing that it may be the last time.

January 13th, 2019

Unable to raise your left arm and scared for the future, you still took the time to #teach me how to make an apple pie. Now I’m afraid there’s not much time left and someone else will have to tell me why all the good people die too soon.

January 20th, 2019

She shuffles down the hall, her walker leading the way. I follow close behind. I am the pale white #horse.

January 21st, 2019

Regardless of gentleness the #hair comes out from her scalp as I comb. Instead of moving the trashcan, I carry the strands to it so she doesn’t have to see what she has lost.

January 23rd, 2019

Baby #girl born on a Saturday, turns 29 on a Sunday. The same age her mama turned in the first year of a new decade. She may not turn any more.

January 24th, 2019

#Sunny day but inside it’s gray. There’s nothing I can do, to change the dismal mood. The powers that be are beyond me. I cry over dirty laundry. I hope she’s taken away, and not made to suffer and stay.

Flip over any umbrella
Fill it with 1000 paper cranes
Make a wish
Then make it rain

January 25th, 2019

When you were born they wrapped you in #pink to let the world know you were a girl. When the end comes we’ll wrap you in rose gold because you are loved. Mother, beloved warrior. Rest well.

Mourning my loss but truly grateful for your peaceful release. #inkMine

Envelope filled with thoughts and prayers. Heaven sends snow tears. #hangtenstories

January 26th, 2019

Swimming in a pool of tears, my memories keep me afloat as we prepare to celebrate your life. I revisit old pictures and am filled with laughter that balloons within me until there’s no more room for sorrow.

Like vinegar and baking soda, sorrow will fizz before calming. #hangtenstories

January 27th, 2019

I had two parents for nearly 29 years.


Thank you for reading.

A Pair of Haikus

A pair of haikus written for two #inkMine prompts — corset and kismet. Posted @sm_saves on January 11th and 19th, respectively.


Can you hear the whales
from the ribs of my corset
made with stolen bones?


My kismet. Their doom.
Fed my fire with their bones
lighting up their nights.


Note: The whalebone used in corsets back in the day wasn’t bone but baleen which came from baleen whales. It looks like fringe near the upper gum line and it filters tasty krill from the water.

The more you know.

Thank you for reading!


Over the Moon

Not a fan of champagne

but I’ll pop that cork over the moon

to celebrate you

and your dreams coming true.

I’ll fill your glass

and those of your friends

and raise mine skyward

partake in the sour to balance the sweet.

Left behind as you step

into your new reality

and I have to be honest

I couldn’t be any happier for you.


The shortened version of this poem is posted on Twitter here for #PoemTrail prompt 410 – “taste of champagne” and “step into now.”

Thank you for reading.

SoundCloud: S. M. Saves
Twitter: @sm_saves


New Year’s Wishes for Writers in 2020

Another year in the books
Another year’s worth of words
Some destined to become books

Wishing you words that flow anew
and fresh pens with endless ink;
fountains of your preferred hue.

Wishing you works with fulfilling endings
and strength to let the others go
to start ones with new beginnings.

Wishing you luck during PitMad,
querying, and submissions.
Rejection doesn’t mean your writing’s bad.

Wishing for you to try something new
Something that scares you
but challenges you too.

Best of luck this year.

S. M. Saves


Last year’s New Year’s Wishes for Writers.

SoundCloud: S. M. Saves
Twitter: @sm_saves