Featured Poem of the Week

Sylph Hemery contacted me recently to be added to A Cornered Gurl and I reviewed her profile, read some emotional and relatable pieces and knew she’d be a great addition to our community. Below is her first contribution. I connected with it upon the first read. Here’s hoping you will too.


Some Poems Spill Out

Free Verse

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

My crammed heart, chokes, splits open.
Dis-enslaved blood bestrews the naked page.

The wine red drops speak in tongues,
Ecstatic searchings for sacred words with hands

To hoist me up,
To steady the teeterings and quakes,
To sate my spine with pristine dignity.

In these words, I stand without cowering,
Scoured of hunching shame, brave.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Gloomy Saturday

Many thanks to The Drabble for hosting another offering of mine. I am always grateful.

Gloomy Saturday

buildings-1867550_1280

By Tremaine L. Loadholt

She doesn’t know what today will bring. She awakened to a cold, rainy morning. The dust is beginning to settle around her. Her dog barks. She signals a neighbor or the post. Whoever it is, it’s far too early for smiling. Coffee percolates, wafts through the air. She wraps her cold fingers around the base of the mug and gently sips. Rain catches her windows—taps at them hesitantly.

Should she get dressed?

She looks outside, views the slow and steady cars driving by, and thinks to herself, “Get dressed for what?”

            
Tremaine L. Loadholt lives in Southeast U.S. Her work has appeared in several literary journals, anthologies, and print magazines. She has also published three poetry books: Pinwheels and Hula Hoops, Dusting for Fingerprints, and A New Kind of Down.

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Non-fiction Saturdays

I Am Saving My Tears For Something Else

I Challenged Fear And It Fought Back, But I Still Won.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

At the tail-end of last year and the beginning of this year, I challenged fear. I told myself, “You will submit your work to prominent literary magazines, online journals, and poetry hosting sites. You can and you will.” I did this. I stepped out of my reserved comfort zone and decided to dive into the shaky waters of the publishing world again. I found out three things: I am a “polished writer,” I have what it takes, but my “work isn’t quite what we’re looking for at the moment,” and I have a “unique voice, distinctive, however, the work submitted is just not a good fit” for this magazine.

I also found out that my poetry, although denied by a couple of literary journals is hosted far more than my essays and non-fiction work. Because I made the decision to submit my work once again for consideration to several entities, three of my poems have been published. I would be lying if I said I was not elated by this, but poetry does not draw in the big bucks.

I have a goal set for myself and that goal is to write one to three articles that will turn heads, make eyes water, become key pieces of conversations for years to come, and warrant a decent amount of money with each article published. I want to do this in hopes of having writing become closer to a full-time profession for me in the near future. Even if I do not succeed in having it take over as my main source of income, I want to at least decrease my normal full-time work-week by four hours each day.

On average, with some of the big-name magazines and online journals, a writer is paid $0.50 to $1.00 per word submitted. If those articles are anywhere from nine to sixteen hundred words, a significant payout would be issued.

Two of my essays were denied by a prominent partnered publication here on Medium. I love this particular magazine. I read it religiously. I see what is published and my work falls in line with most of the articles there, so I am not submitting and have not submitted something that does not meet their requirements.

After receiving both rejection letters, I started to question myself — my ability as a long-form writer. The first question was, “Am I losing my spark?” The second question was, “Is my work not likable enough for even a chance at being published in this magazine?” I sat with those questions and I worried over them.

It was easy to slip — I almost fell . . .

I came close to finding myself back in the grimy holes of depression because I felt unworthy and unheard. I wondered more than I probably should have about whether or not my work was actually read or if my profile and credentials were reviewed and considered. I mourned the rejections, tweaked both articles, and self-published them here to Medium. I refused to let any tears fall that welled up in my eyes over my hard work and tireless efforts.

I came close to finding myself back in the grimy holes of depression because I felt unworthy and unheard.


Photo by Dominika Roseclay via Pexels

“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” — Marquis de Condorcet

I mindlessly started comparing my writing to the works of others that were published. I skimmed and scanned them, read and re-read them, and tried to pinpoint where I was going wrong with my own submitted articles. Then, I remembered — I am my own person. I have my own voice. And I thought . . .

You just need to get louder but do so with class.

I remembered that I should also not take it personally, but when you spend a significant amount of your downtime fine-tuning and editing your work, then sending the drafts to your editing and journalist friends for their notes and tips, it is hard not to take a rejection personally. Add to this the fact that you “stepped out on faith” and “took a chance” and challenged fear, the blows hit a little harder than they should.

I opened up my mind and heart and I asked myself, “Is it the rejections or is it who your work is being rejected by?” I decided that I was bothered so badly by these two rejections because of who bore the rejections. When there is an opportunity to possibly have one’s work hosted by a major publishing brand, the excitement that comes with submitting is indescribable. The natural high for me at that time, cannot be explained — not in common words.

As I stated in an earlier article, I am being gentle with myself. I did exactly what I planned to do and in the process, did have some work published. I challenged my fear of reaching out to publishers and even though a couple of them has knocked me down, I have not been knocked out.

I will save my tears for something bigger — something heavier-hitting. I won’t waste them on things outside of my control. I keep telling myself this. I have been trying to make it my personal mantra for a few months now.

“Is it the rejections or is it who your work is being rejected by?”

I do plan to continue submitting other essays to a few different entities. I still feel as though I have much more fight left in me and that an article of mine could be picked up sooner than later. I am claiming it. I believe it. I am not a person who backs down all too easily, but I do know when my steps have been ordered and when a break is necessary.

Fear will not hold me back — neither will rejection.


“I believe that my skill at taking ordinary words and using them to provoke thought or stir emotion is a divine gift that I should utilize more often, if not for profit, then to free my spirit.” — Darryl Brown


Originally published in CRY via Medium.

delighted

Jernee, sitting on my chair like — well, as if she owns it.

delighted

micropoetry

double-trouble
team two,
my favorite girls.

four-legged creatures
two big hearts
intense love

everlasting joy
their presence
makes me feel alive

 
Nala is fourteen years old now. She’s visiting and will be going home soon. Jernee still clings to her as if the world sits atop her head.

*Author’s Note: As Nala ages, I find myself wondering what will become of Jernee when her best friend/cousin has no more strength to fall for her shenanigans. I love to watch the two of them interact with each other. There is this silent code that I am not privy to and will never know. I am amazed that they seem to have secrets from me.

Originally published via Medium.

fixer-upper


fixer-upper

flash fiction

Photo by Rodolfo Mari via Unsplash

“That old piece of junk! Man, it doesn’t even have windshield wipers! What’re you gonna do with that pile of crap, Core?!”

Corey hears his big brother’s words echoing in his ears throughout his school-day and he finally tells himself that he will quell Nate’s voice once and for all. He is going to buy that old Chevy from Mr. Bankman, fix her up, and name her “Judy.” “Pretty Judy . . .” He has been saying this in his head for the last three days. “Pretty Judy.”

Judy needs plenty of love and care: new tires, new windshield wipers, a new engine, spark plugs, front and rear-end alignment, an alternator & starter, and a bit of bodywork, and paint. Corey has been working with his dad at “Cruz & Cars,” their family mechanic shop after school and on the weekends, so he knows a thing or two about building a broken down vehicle back up to a recognizable and suitable state.

He is ready.

Midnight blue — that’s the shade he has chosen to paint Judy. He is even thinking about putting whitewall tires on her too. His mind is racing with all the things he’ll do for Judy to get her ready for their senior dance which is six months away. Phaedra, the Jamaican beauty in his Chemistry and Literary Arts classes, would love him, he thought. He plans to ask her out. Nate’s voice rings loudly in his ears again. He cannot avoid it.

“Yeah, so . . . You fix her up and then what? You think Phaedra gonna like you just cuz you’ll be pulling up in some big-body ’78 Chevy truck painted midnight blue? Man, you can’t even sit two seats away from her without sweating. And, Judy?! You’re gonna put all that hard work into that truck only to name it Judy?! Ay Dios Mio. Kiddo, you’ve got a lot to learn and I’m gon’ learn ya.”

Corey sits in Chemistry class, two seats away from Phaedra. He takes brief moments to steal a glance at her. She is a Goddess, he thinks — something that took so much time to create. Every piece and fragment of her being are well-crafted, she is art in motion. He says a silent prayer. He will ask her to the senior dance. She will say yes. She will say. She will . . .

“Hey, Phaedra. Um, gotta minute?”

“Sure, what’s up, Core?”

“So, the senior dance is coming up and . . .” Corey fidgets with his shirt collar and rubs his sweaty hands together. “I am hoping you don’t already have a date. I mean . . . Would you mind accompanying me to the dance?”

His world shakes a bit as he waits for her to respond. He wipes his brow, takes in a long, deep breath, and blinks twice to make sure he is not dreaming. She opens her mouth and an angel speaks, “Sure. Why not!”

After school, Corey races to his dad’s shop and begs him for $800.00. He was short of the $2,100.00 Mr. Bankman quoted him for the Chevy. He tells his dad about Phaedra — about how the sun sits on her eyelids and lights up the world from her view. It only takes his dad three seconds to retrieve the cash from the safe. He is proud of his youngest son — he has a plan and is carrying it out.

“Mijo, escuchame. If she turns your belly and your heart beats ten times faster when you see her. She’s gonna be your first love. Ten cuidado.”

Be careful. He will be.

He buys Judy from Mr. Bankman on a Friday, five months to the date from the senior dance and builds his world around bringing something that is dead back to life. He thinks to himself, “Dad was wrong. Phaedra is not my first love. Judy is.”

And, she was.


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.