Poetry Writing Workshop – The Radical Cat

March 23 2024

Great afternoon of poetry writing, led by @griffinspiration. We wrote two poems in image chain style.

My two are titled, The Goddess of Lust and She’s Been Through Some Shit. 💋🦋💋

Everyone’s poems were awesome! @theradicalcat is a fabulous, local book+ shop! 🩷🩷🩷

 

Monday Night Poetry – Filling My Cup

March 23 2024

Monday Night Poetry filled my cup to overflowing! 🩷🩷🩷

Thank you Paolo, Isis, Levi, Jesse, Fredley, Caleb and a few others whose names I cannot remember (sorry!) for the hugs and holding space for me to share what I needed to share.

If you’ve followed my writing for some time, you know that I write to process life experiences. Nearly 100% of the time, I feel much better afterwards as it helps me to get on the other side of it.

Everyone at Monday Night Poetry instinctively understood that I was not asking for advice. I just needed to get this out of my head, heart, and body. And I needed comfort by way of hugs. That’s it.

I appreciate this wonderful group of creative folks so damn much! 💋💋💋

 

Have You Ever Discovered Treasure – National Poetry Month – April 16th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Halfway there! Today’s poem: 16/30 for April 16th.

Have You Ever Discovered Treasure?

The year was 2014
I was struggling
I was sad
I felt stuck, felt trapped
I felt without direction
I didn’t know how to support myself, my two kids
I desperately needed and sought answers

During this time
I had a profound dream

My two deceased grandmothers had a starring role in this dream
Estelle Eady Mann
Elnor Key Downs

In my dream
They lived together
I was extremely happy to see them
We sat enjoying each other’s company
I caught them up with my life

We began to go from room to room
Looking for treasures
Treasures that belonged to each one of them
Treasures that had been lost

There seemed an urgency to our searching
Something was about to happen
Unsuccessfully we searched the house
Attempting to locate these treasures
It felt like we searched for hours

When nearly all hope was lost
I discovered a hidden room in the house
Galvanized and relieved
The three of us entered the hidden room
Surrounding us were the lost treasures

My grandmothers knowingly stood before me
Sharing a message

This room represents you, Camilla
You are searching outside of yourself
For answers
for direction
For knowing your why
We want you to know
You are the treasure
Everything you need is within you

In that moment I woke from the dream
I was visibly touched by this profound dream
By my grandmothers visiting me
I immediately got out of bed
To capture this dream in my journal
I did not want to forget any details

It was an intense dream
Helping me to relax into the present moment
Helping me to release a shit load of worrying
It helped me to keep going
Helped me to keep going
Keep going

This dream was vivid
It seemed real
I had never had a dream like this
I have not had a dream like this since

My two amazing, strong, tenacious
Grandmothers rescued me that night
They entered my dreams
Took me by the hand
Guiding me to the treasure for which I had been searching

Estelle Eady Mann
Elnor Key Downs

Thank you for your help during that time
Thank you for continuing to enter my thoughts when I need it most.
Thank you
Thank you

Camilla Downs, 2024

**Prompt: RECALL ONE OF THE STRANGEST DREAMS YOU’VE EVER HAD AND WRITE ABOUT HOW IT MADE YOU FEEL OR WRITE IT OUT IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS YOU CAN REMEMBER.

The Beginning of the End – National Poetry Month – April 14th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 14/30 – April 14th.

The Beginning of the End

There’s a barely visible view
The murky fog nearly obscures everything
There’s a deep window ledge with pottery pieces
Made by my daughter in her preschool class
Her name and the date are written on the back
With a blue sharpie marker
The translucent strawberry curtains are draped to the side

The mood, this setting
Transported me back in time
An eventful night in Spring 2006

I couldn’t sleep
My stomach was bothering me
It felt like something was wrong
The air, the energy was unsettled
The weird feeling lodged in my gut

My stomach gurgling with discomfort
I made my way to the bathroom
As I sat on the toilet
I couldn’t shake this unsettled feeling

That’s when I saw his phone on the edge of the counter
I debated with myself whether or not to pick it up
Whether or not to infringe upon another person’s privacy
The weird feeling that something was not right
Overtook the debate happening in my mind

I opened to the call history
My gut discomfort suddenly worsened

I found hours long calls on his phone,
Dozens per day
Calls with another woman
I began to panic, to sob, my body became numb

I wondered what I had done wrong
What I had done wrong
Had done wrong
Wrong

I was awake the rest of the night
Analyzing the previous days and months

The next morning I asked him about her
He blew me off, telling me I was being paranoid
I was being a crazy woman
Being a crazy woman
Crazy woman

I thought
I
HAD
DONE
SOMETHING
WRONG

That whatever was happening
It was my fault
What had I done wrong
To make this happen?

That was the beginning
Of
The End.

This scene initiated the months of turmoil
The emotional hell
Of trying to figure out why another person
Has done what they did
Has said what they said
Is the way they are

That was the beginning of understanding
I could not let society
The leanings of the community I had aligned with
To dictate what was right or wrong for me

That was the beginning of showing myself grace
The beginnings of understanding
That I had done nothing wrong

That was the beginning
Of the fog lifting
Of clarity
Of knowing

There’s an expansive view
The sun shines with its rays reaching far into the room
Brightening the walls, the corners
Catching and reflecting through the crystals suspended from the top of the window,
Decorating the walls, the ceiling, the floor with rainbow prisms
I can see the Virginia Foothills and Mt Rose
There’s a deep ledge with a cat perch attached to it
There are no curtains

I can see clearly now

Camilla Downs, 2024

**I mixed two ideas. This one – Prompt: Write a poem using this photo as a jumping off point. The other idea from the poetry workshop attending this afternoon. I’ve attached the original prompt photo (second) and one of my own window photos.

Dear Music – National Poetry Month – April 2nd

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. #2 – April 2nd.

Dear Music

I love you
Let me try to tell you
Just how very much I love you

You make me feel like I can do anything,
be anything, have anything
You move me
You inspire me

I am Gen X
I cannot separate myself from you
You are my soul mate

As a young girl I dreamed of dancing,
Of being a Rockette
And that has never left me,
Watching Solid Gold and Soul Train
Every Saturday
I have felt your touch in every fiber of my being

The instruments
The lyrics
The musician behind it all
The atmosphere created when these come together
Lifts me

Your vibes help me to remember
Your groove gets me high on life

You console me
You stream into my ears
Enlightening me from head to toe

You are magical and mystical
You help me travel back in time

I’m 9 years old
With my record player
With my 45 of “Hang on Sloopy”
In the living room
With all the blankets we owned
Building forts

I’m 15 years old
Living in Houma, Louisiana
In school at Oaklawn Junior High
I’m anxious, I’ve got butterflies in my stomach
I’m trying out for the drill team
I’m chosen
I’m a Tarponette now
I’m performing for the school pep rallies
I’m performing with the school band during football half-times
I’m marching and dancing in the parade during Mardi Gras

I’m 22 years old
Living in Seattle, Washington
Hitting the dance clubs
Every weekend, being wild
Dancing til the early morning

I’m in Reno
Back in the 12 years of financial struggle
Raising my kids alone
Having dance parties with my kids
Listening to music while I cook dinner
The three of us dancing in the living room

I’m taking them on adventures
Listening to music in the car
Adventures of driving to the park
Driving to Geiger Way Lookout
Driving to get dollar ice cream cones

You have meant the world to me
You gave me life
You gave me hope
You helped me cope
You kept me in touch with myself

You take hold of my hand
You give me love
You give me peace
You comfort me
You wrap me in your delicious embrace
You are always there for me

You bring tears
You bring a smile
You bring laughter
You light up my life
You mean so very much to me

At this point in my life
I let myself be moved by you no matter where I am
I don’t care who sees our overt display of love

I am the one you see dancing and singing in the car
I am the one you see dancing down the grocery store aisle
I am the one you see dancing while she’s out for walk

For, my love, I can no longer hide the way I feel about you
I want the world to know how fucking much I love you
You are gorgeous
You are handsome
You are sexy
You give and give of yourself,
Never asking for anything in return
You treat me like a goddess
You speak to me like no one ever has

Thank you for everything, music

Forever yours,
Camilla

Camilla Downs 2024

What is Poetry – National Poetry Month – April 1st

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Poem: #1 for April 1st

What is poetry?

Poetry is the feel of the breeze
as it brushes against your skin,
through your hair

It’s the soft touch of another
as they hold your hand,
press their lips against yours

It’s the loving hug of another
Two warm bodies pressed together
Letting them both know they are loved

It’s the sounds of the birdsong,
the song of the crickets,
the purrs of a beloved cat

Poetry is the words of another
Felt in the depths of your soul

Poetry is
The words that move you
Words that take you by the hand and heart
Words that bring a smile or a laugh
Words that take your breath away
Words that enter your heart and
exit your body through the liquid love of your eyes,

Poetry is the blood that drips
From the wounds of brokenness
Poetry is fertilizer
From the shit show of life
Poetry is the forest that grows
From the fire of a burned heart
Poetry is the flower garden
That grows from the love of another

Poetry is art
Poetry is soft
Poetry is harsh
Poetry is funny
Poetry is sad
Poetry speaks all languages
Poetry reaches across
Man made borders
Drifting from the page and mouth
To the eyes and ears
Of those who open themselves
To receive what is offered

Poetry is the the language of the broken hearted
It’s the language of love, activism, advocacy
It’s the language of nature, soaked into our souls,
mixed with our experiences,
and released from our body through words.

Poetry is art
Poetry is pain
Poetry is love
Poetry is a path to sharing,
feeling and healing

Poetry is an unbreakable golden thread of sunshine
That connects us, binds us
And let’s us know we’re not alone

Poetry is home
Poetry is fast
Poetry is slow

Poetry is alive
The heartbeat of the human race
Thumping in tune with the passing of time slipping through our fingers
Poetry is magic
Poetry is witchy

Poetry is not in a hurry
Poetry lets it all go
Poetry is powerful

Poetry extracts the pain, the love,
the advocacy, the activism
From the mind, the heart, the mouth
Pouring and releasing it into the winds of time
To work it’s witchy magic
On all who read or hear it.

Poetry makes my heart beat faster
Poetry makes my lower stomach tingle
Poetry makes everything else melt away
Poetry is the absolute fucking best!

Camilla Downs 2024

Camilla’s Birthday Party – My Heart is Full

March 8 2024

Jesse, Rachel and Alex, Isis, Joelle and friends, Schae, Iain, Thomas, Gigi, Amy, Nico, Paolo, Anthony, Ashley, Gene, Vernon, and anyone who I may have missed.

Thank you so much for coming to my party last night. I understand how valuable everyone’s time is these days. Thank you for the hugs, the dancing, for buying me drinks, for sharing in my joy. I appreciate all of you so very much.

That some of you took time to not only write a poem, with a couple of you speaking an impromptu poem, meant the absolute fucking world to me. I learned that one of the qualities that everyone unanimously loves about me are my hugs. It was hard not to let my eyes leak liquid love. I cherish these relationships.

Ashley was amazing with her sick DJ’ing! Love what she did with the playlist I gave her! And thank you to Anthony for the ride home! My heart is so full today.

Thank you Black Rabbit Mead Company, and their bartenders for being so awesome!❤️❤️❤️

This birthday is landing differently.

I feel free, uninhibited, ready to let loose.

I feel on the other side of a part of my life that was monumental.

I am fully emerging from the Team TLC cocoon of the past 12 or so years.

Those years were quiet, solitary, meditative, reflective. I’m no longer in that space.

Time for the next phase of life.

Yes, to the fun, the dancing, the music, the poetry, and more. All the things that set me on fire.

Me

I am a person who analyzes everything and hasn’t owned a television since 2008.
I wonder what my life would have been like if I had not been taught to conform, if I had not believed that by a certain age I needed to be married and have kids.
I hear poetry in music lyrics, and in conversation with others.
I see the way people feel about me between the words they speak, and the words that silently leave their eyes and enter mine.
I want politicians, religious zealots to fucking leave the transgender community the hell alone.
I am a Gen X woman who is questioning and exploring her sexuality.

I pretend not to be bothered when like-minded people don’t want to be friends.
I feel words in my entire body; they puncture my skin, drip into my veins, spread throughout my body, exiting through movement, tears, smiles, laughs, and raindrops.
I touch my silky soft hair, shoving it into my face, inhaling the scent and enjoying the feel.
I worry about my disabled daughter’s life once I no longer walk amongst the living.
I cry for the lives lost due to the rabid hate and lies spread by a portion of our society.
I am having the time of my life learning about myself, free of the shackles of conformity.

I understand that my neurospicy-ness is misunderstood by some, causing them to feel I am too much, too loud, too self-absorbed; that I share too much, that I always share the long version.
I say things that make absolutely no fucking sense sometimes
I dream of taking dance lessons and dancing professionally in front of an audience, at least once
I try to avoid people I know sometimes, if I see them in the grocery store, I will turn around, and go down an aisle I just left
I hope that we successfully make it through this next election cycle with our democracy in tact, and that those trying to take us backwards feel defeated enough to go the fuck away
I am living the second half of my life with eyes wide open, speaking up, and advocating like a fly who is determined to land on those damn fried green tomatoes.

Lillian’s two poems for me:

The mermaids of the sea bow down
To the queen of the oceans
Bravely dancing

In the seas of love and the heart of kindness
Dances the braveness of the mermaid
Of my heart of friendliness

Swimming into the dancing sea of stars
The mermaid dances to the song
Of life bravely and free
To the mermaids of sea
Lillian Darnell 2024

C – Creative Minds of A Mermaid
A – Adventures of A Mermaid
M – Mermaids Of the Ocean
I – Imaginative Mermaids
L – Land of the Mermaids
L – Light-hearted Mermaids
A – A Mermaid of the Sea
Lillian Darnell 2024

Give Me One Reason – Monday Night Poetry

February 9 2024

Last Monday was exactly what I needed and I had a blast! Love these deep diving poetry folks!

The Space in My Heart

Give me one good reason
Why I should stay

When we’re together the words
You say to me
Bury themselves into the fertilizer
Of my heart
Watered with the tears that shed
When you ignore me
Sprouting, growing into the garden of you

Only to be crushed by the boot
Of your unreliability, dishonesty
Your empty, meaningless words
Supported by your inconsiderate nature

You come to me as an option
When you need replenished
When you’re lonely, sad, or confused

I am sustenance caught
In your web
Suspended, stuck
Waiting for you to come for me

I’m continually questioning my
Position in your life

I’m tempted by your tasty fruit
I know I should disconnect

My soul knows this

I want to understand you
I want to explain how I feel

But my soul knows I need someone
Who chooses me over and over again
Someone whose efforts reflect
I am wanted in their life
Someone who abundantly fills my cup

Give me one good reason
Why I should stay

Are we just telling ourselves stories?
We would do and say anything
To hang on to each other

Fiction filled stories
With pieces of truth
Patching the plot holes

Dancing to the tune of
Each others energy
Smiling in each other’s sunlight
Singing the joy bursting from our hearts
Drawn together like magnets

Is it fiction or truth?

Deep down I know the answer

Infusing myself with the strength
Of all the goddesses before me,
I close my eyes,
take a deep breath
And I
Walk away

February 2024

Inspired by Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”

Hosted by @sidewayseightprojects and @mondaynightpoetrynv

Meet Those Edges With Love and Laughter

December 30 2023

2018 End of Year Poem:

The Ride of Life

No longer riding on the merry go round,
She celebrates whenever she wants,
She laughs when it’s funny,
And sometimes when it’s not funny,
She cries when the tears want to flow,
She eats breakfast for dinner,
She dances in the aisles,
She hands out hugs
Like Halloween candy,
She hugs the trees,
She meets her edge,
She stays with the experiences of life,
She lives.
And so it is.
xoxo
🎉🎉🎉

May you meet your edges in 2024, surrounded by joy, laughter, and oceans of love. xoxo

Leather Flappers – Monday Night Poetry

October 27 2023

Wednesday night Spooky Poetry Slam was so much fun!! Thank you @seemedisco for facilitating! Photos by @sidewayseightprojects and @amethyst_noir.photography!!

I didn’t make it past Round 1. But I had a blast! Round 1 was a poem connected to your costume. I wore a dress decorated with bats.

My poem:

Leather Flappers

With forelimbs and adapted wings
The only mammal capable of sustained flight.

Batshit crazy
Bat out of hell
Blind as a bat

The spirit guide who stripped me of my old,
limiting personality and enabled me to step into
a larger, wiser self.

Bat your eyelashes
Bat along
Bat an eyelid

More than half the species is endangered
Pollination that gifts us with
Bananas, avocados and mangoes

Bat five hundred
Bat for the other side
Bat on a sticky wicket

Pedal to the metal
Or wings to the air
Capable of reaching over 100 miles per hour

Bat the breeze
Batted out
Bat an eye

Living in bat colonies
With pups who feed on breastmilk
Longevity is their super power

Bat around
Bat for the other team
Bat away

We might have matching navels
Is yours an innie or outie?

Bats in the belfry
Bat guano
Batshit crazy

Able to eat up to 1,200 mosquitos an hour
You’re welcome to dinner at my place anytime, flittermouse

October 2023