The Ashlee Craft Show – Episode 002 – Poetry – “part two”

In the second episode of The Ashlee Craft Show, I read the poem “part two” from my poetry book, “A Beautiful Question of Where & When”.

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part two

I left the space open
to write a good-bye letter to you

& the empty page stared back at me
gasping & lurching & trembling;

it was broken, it was cracked;
the paper swallowed me whole

I thought about the last time I saw you
how you were despondently numb & begging me

the bird sitting still in the cage
it once previously tried to escape from

& I thought about the tenderness :
radiantly gentle & ardent in its fierceness

& I thought about you;
you believed in me when I was just a shadow to myself

my hand was trembling
& the conviction inside me rose & sang

& I could not write anything
I could not say goodbye, unclasp your hand from my own

I could not leave behind, move on
from one I’d loved so authentically

Poem for David Bowie

David Bowie - TopPop 1974 10

poem for David Bowie

I remember when I heard :
you disappeared like smoke rising; a phoenix in the open air,
a song drifting in empty through an open window
reminding me of the longing,
oh, beautiful longing,
of driving under bridges at night & through city streets
& of holding people close; oh, the beautiful longing
of reaching out to find things which are no longer there
& still hoping to feel a glimpse of them,
the things that never were but felt alive in their own heartbeats;
you disappeared the way light fades at the end of the day :
still golden even as the dark blankness of night creeps in;
a song playing on a record player on the floor
as the ch-ch-ch-ch-changes bloom inside & out,
I turned to face the music & it was there I found myself;
& the way the music sounded on the floorboards & ceiling
reminded me of why you were my hero :
reinvention, I said, over & over again repeating in the night;
you had a thousand names & a thousand faces
& like the birth & rebirth of a phoenix
you tore down & rebuilt yourself over & over
breathing life & color into the word EVOLUTION
& the flames breathed their life into you
as you became new things & new people
& found homes for all the limitless planets you wanted to become;
to prove that the outsiders were not really alone at all :
to answer your question, yes,
there is life on Mars

Poem inspired by this.

Same Person / Personal Space

Personal Space by Ashlee Craft

(from A Thousand Cranes, Volume 7)

walking tall with my
shoulders back & my chin lifted
no, no more do I cower hiding behind false bricks & pretending that I am not there
no more do I hide inside myself too afraid to speak at all
no more do I complacently go along with what I am told & never question it
no more do I take the words of others as gospel
or think that just because someone thinks I should do something, that I should
or that I have to go along with it
& never belong to anyone but me
no more am I am afraid to speak up for myself

don’t let them push you around
two people told me this in the same week
& I took it to heart that time when I finally said no
& learned to take my life back
from the hands of others to whom they thought it had been given
don’t let them push you around
stand up for yourself
stand up for yourself
stand up to all those who try to repress you
or keep you where you don’t want to be
or make you uncomfortable
or bring you down in any way
or make you feel like you’re not worth it

no more shall I avert my eyes & look down
as if I am hiding
no more shall I hunch my shoulders
as if I am invisible
no more shall I let others push me around
as if I am not worthy of respect
I am a different person now
& no one pushes me around
no one tells me what I should be
no one brings me down
no one makes me afraid
no one makes me feel invisible
no one stops me

Reflections of Flowers

A Thousand Cranes, Volume 10 by Ashlee Craft - Cover

From A Thousand Cranes, Volume 10

rhymes floating in floodgates of windows, Hey Jude is playing quietly in the background, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road too as she’s walking across the cement, the ground below her is absorbing the sound of footsteps, & they’re echoing between buildings / cool cement in the late afternoon, long shadows / she has decided what she is going to be & walking towards it, bags packed / uncertain future in the distance, like the sun, but she runs to greet it because it is the sun

words floating in empty buildings, they are totally silent but for the street traffic outside, horns honking & the quiet lull of motors, breathe in deeply the emptiness & realize that emptiness can become anything / this building is empty, but it is beautiful / think of the geode: a plain ordinary rock that only when it is broken reveals the quartz crystals that were inside of it all along; this is you / you think your brokenness makes you ugly, but being broken was the only thing that allowed you to see beauty that would have been otherwise hidden from you

raindrops floating in reflections of flowers, you sat inside while it was raining & watched the droplets falling, thinking that you were stuck inside while the storm raged / I said something to you about how everyone must learn not to be afraid of going out to get what they want / you looked me in the eyes & got up & opened the door, took a deep breath & stepped out into the rain / “I don’t have to let storms stop me!” you sobbed, smiling as you walked barefoot in the puddles, watching raindrops bounce off flower petals, & ran through the gardens as the storm raged outside, & I joined you / eventually the clouds parted; warm rain stopped falling & the sun returned from behind the clouds, warm sun in the humid air in lush dark green garden, & the flowers were still dancing



A Strange Landscape - Ashlee Craft //

questions without questions / rewritten words, handed down from the very heights of your understanding, & you tell everyone you know the ineffable & beautiful truth that you feel welling up inside of you / there is still uncertainty, there is still fear, & there are still questions you can’t answer yet / a warm mug of coffee sits on your counter, it is early morning & you are just waking up & everything is just beginning / you realize there are endless roads that are out in front of you now, limitless, you are limitless / to me, it just feels like stagnant energy being lifted, & the clumsiness of the dying & outdated past is being reborn & reshaped into the future, just because there is now room for it to grow into / there is still uncertainty, there is still fear, but it is a tentative step forward / there is still uncertainty, there is still fear, but you are now strong enough to move past


blackberry flowers

Blackberry Flowers - Ashlee Craft //

forgotten / I saw you standing off to the side

trying to pretend that you couldn’t see the sun / flowers
along the side of the trail, you walked so far ahead of me
I had to squint into the sun to see you / it was how you wanted it
to be; running away, like you always did / you stopped
& bent down to look at the flowers

I approached you slowly / a shadow from the trees above us
reflected down onto you, all I saw was your fragile & shatterable self
confidence was hanging by a thread & I felt a greater sense of pity
& a greater sense of nurturing towards you than I previously knew
then fear made sense to me / you were afraid of losing me to the wind & the storms
& yet I was afraid of losing you to the night & the words
of everyone who tried to bring you down

you sat there still & silent / looking towards the flowers
but not at them / “I’m sorry.” I told you
the breeze blew & the flowers trembled, then the breeze came to a close
& the sunlight fell still & rested upon the petals
“it’s all going to be okay.” I said gently to you “everything is going to be fine.”

the beams of stars

Palmettos by Ashlee Craft //

singularity happenstance replicated patterns on wood silk nonsensical rants over cups of coffee / I walk everywhere with you & we physically don’t go anywhere but mentally we are everything reaching out into the void of space across the endless miles between us & touching each others’ souls / & it is in this space, this emptiness, this nothingness that I find I am able to be myself, to see myself reflected in the beams of stars, & it is all there, & all beautiful, & I can hold it in the palm of my hands & do nothing, & the star beams of light keep flooding out into the wilderness, & illuminating everything radiant & so beautiful, & I am knowing that it is there, & right to be there, & star beams are branching out from my hands & traveling the miles or maybe its only a few feet between us & the star beams are branching out & they find you there, the light is reaching from my hands into yours, & so that even when we are far from each other, we see the same sun & live in the same minutes & seconds & hours, & this is how we find each other