Collective Breath – Poetry Book Club – December Poet: Ebony Stewart

Collective Breath – Poetry Book Club

Biggest Little City

December Poet


Houston, TX


Books for Perusal:

Blood Fresh

Love Letters to Balled up Fists

Home. Girl. Good.

Poems Shared (Titles, Durations, and Links)

Note to self (2:35)

Mental Health Barz (5:49)

Pray Tell Them (2:34)

Burnt Sugar (4:25)

Sway (1:47)

Elegy (Quotes) Monday Night Poetry 12/5/22

I am not a finished poem, and I am not the song you’ve turned me into. I am a detached human being, making my way in a world that is constantly trying to push me aside, and you who send me letters and emails and beautiful gifts wouldn’t even recognise me if you saw me walking down the street where I live tomorrow

for I am not a poem.

I am tired and worn out and the eyes you would see would not be painted or inspired

but empty and weary

from drinking too much

at all times

and I am not the life of your party who sings and has glorious words to speak

for I don’t speak much

at all

and my voice is raspy and unsteady from unhealthy living and not much sleep and I only use it when I sing and I always sing too much

or not at all

and never when people are around because they expect poems and symphonies and I am not

a poem

but an elegy

at my best

but unedited and uncut and not a lot of people want to work with me because there’s only so much you can do with an audio take, with the plug-ins and EQs and I was born distorted, disordered, and I’m pretty fine with that,

but others are not.

— Charlotte Eriksson, Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving


“but at the Lychgate we may all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review. It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.”

— Winston S. Churchill


“We pass and leave you lying. No need for rhetoric, for funeral music, for melancholy bugle-calls. No need for tears now, no need for regret.

We took our risk with you; you died and we live. We take your noble gift, salute for the last time those lines of pitiable crosses, those solitary mounds, those unknown graves, and turn to live our lives out as we may.

Which of us were fortunate–who can tell? For you there is silence and cold twilight drooping in awful desolation over those motionless lands. For us sunlight and the sound of women’s voices, song and hope and laughter, despair, gaiety, love–life.

Lost terrible silent comrades, we, who might have died, salute you.”

— Richard Aldington, Roads To Glory


“You drank some darkness

and became visible.”

— Tomas Tranströmer, The Half-Finished Heaven


“Elegies are poems dedicated to the dead. The American hillbilly(assuming we can use that word for the white working class) isn’t dead; she is just poor.”

— Anthony Harkins, Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy


“For me elegy

is a Ouija planchette

something I pretend not to touch

as I push it around trying

to make it say

what I want it to say”

— Mark Bibbins, 13th Balloon


“Little idiosyncratic expressions can form

A sense of who one is. Who one was.

One can, hypothetically, be brought back

In the form of an actor

Who gives an after the fact replication

Of text conveyed in a character’s voice.

I can no more understand the world as a stage

Of myself, mired as I am,

In this missing.”

— Mary Jo Bang, Elegy



Being heard, stirred, and perhaps cured by life's many hidden images and the written-spoken word.
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