home is when I am with you;
home is other places too –
home will always be the field
& the fairgrounds & the fairytale,
& it will always be the castles & the caves &
the world that tingles so tangibly at the precipice of my imagination
the one I attempt to make real by the fervor
by which I believe in it
you are not the only home I have,
but you are the warmest one
“It is Not Easy, But I am Finding It” is a collection of 36 poems by Ashlee Craft.
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Paperback: 40 pages
MOVE ON UP is a collection of 61 poems by Ashlee Craft.
I must figure out how to reconcile what is & what was,
what was never meant to be & the relief that was always fated to
become the cure, & turn the teardrops into
pieces of glitter, & each glinting blade
into gold, & figure out what to do now
that I have done what was maybe impossible
in the eyes of myself ten years ago
but I am here;
I am fucking here,
& I must figure out who to be
now that I have broken through the brick wall
& seen there is light on the other side too
Beneath the Soil, Beneath Concrete is a collection of 48 poems by Ashlee Craft.
lions on a gray beach
with my shield of hard rock I went out to try & face the gray
but even it was washed away like waves kissing the sand with death
leaving me stranded & naked on the cold gray shore
alone, alone, alone,
yet: I had never been as close to being washed, numb & fading,
into the ocean as I had always feared I had been
was I near the edge? Yes.
but there was always an invisible barrier, somewhere in front of me
lovingly presiding over my fears
& never allowing them to cut me as deeply as they seemed capable of?
I still enclosed tinder deep inside me
meant to turn my meager slivers of happiness
Inspired by writer & creative Austin Kleon’s “Newspaper Blackout” poetry book, I decided to take James Joyce’s Chamber Music, a book he originally published in 1907, & make a blackout “reduction” version of it.
I simply adore the poems in this book, & it was quite fun to go through the book & black out sections of the poems to find (& therefore, create) new poems inside them. I liken this creative process to, in a somewhat orderly fashion, shuffling cut-out words from a specific book inside a hat & seeing what poems you find in them. I have approached all the poems from the standpoint of creating art from them.
Admittedly, it was difficult at times to decide what should stay & what should go, as there are so many good bits in these poems.Note: As this book was created digitally & without taking a Sharpie to paper & being locked into the inherent spacing in the text, I have also added punctuation where desired so the created poems read properly.
In some places, I have left entire lines intact if I particularly liked it (the collaborative effort, metaphorically reaching back into time, with Joyce being stronger here). With other poems, I have redacted all but a few words, making these poems mostly-mine. Either way, a thousand people could go through this book & all find different poems that meant something to them.
These are my creative & derivative contributions to a new, semi-collaborative work of art. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Tenderness on Main is a collection of 43 poems about deep, tender love in all its forms: love between two people, love between the Universe & a person, & love between a person & themselves.
out of the gloom, first //
it was all very tender, the way you
took such great care to unearth the most colorful flower you could find
from the bottom of the pile at the garbage dump &
hold it out to me saying,
“treasures are found everywhere” & I said
“I know, I always find them too” & you
smiled at me & I knew what you meant &
it wasn’t in a garbage dump that we found each other but
neither of us were on top of the world either but
inch by inch we pulled ourselves from the bottom of the pile &
declared that we were worthy & ready &
I reached out my hand to you & you wrapped your fingers in mine &
we carried the flower out of the dump between us &
it always lasted in full-bloom
Alive & Thriving is a collection of 57 poems by Ashlee Craft.
some morning light
I want to stand where I can
see outside into the
bright morning day that is
blooming out there not that
I’m not happy inside the cement fluorescence;
it’s better now, the light is also inside
but I still long to drop what I am doing & run out the doors into the bright fresh morning
& sit under a tree reading a book, lying on a blanket in the grass
& changing the direction of the tracks
so that I am happy right now,
not just at some undetermined point in the future
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2019 PAPERBACK 80 Pages GENRE: Poetry
In Episode 051 of The Ashlee Craft Show, I read the first poem from my FIRST EVER poetry book. The poem is called “A Lie Cannot Live in the Starless Midnight” & it’s from my book “The Allure of a Summer Evening”.