BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
I love making playlists. Usually when we think of playlists, we think of music playlists, getting nostalgic for coiling together something for your crush. But what about poetry playlists? It's kind of a cliche to read poetry when you're sad, but really, what poems should you read when you're sad? Well, these:
1. Chen Chen - Sorrow Song for Optimus Primus
You are an unhappy thing, cursed with legs,
every step carrying the love who left, the love you left,
the job lost, the mountain of low, the mounting lack.
But your legs grow tired of holding it, so you transfer it
to your head. Then your head grows tired, so you delegate it
to your shoulders. Then they are tired & you are tired
& you don’t know what to do but replant it in your legs,
your feet, & walk it to the supermarket.
2. Kristin Chang - Afong Moy
The man I love reminds me
that a heart is the same size as a fist,
that things have no name until
they are named. He pulls out of my mouth,
drags the language from my throat
like a body, sweet with spoil. Afong, they
named you beast, bred you to be here.
The silk curtains always open, lungs
of light bobbing overhead. And below, in
its box, my body at last, bled to be here.
3. Catherine Chambers - Ghazal for Virtue
My whole young life I wished for slender fingers to dwindle
on, say, piano keys. The piano of my dreams, sits idle.
The space between my Head Line and Life Line indicates
a risk-taking personality. One who champs at their bridle.
My heart line zooms up towards my index finger,
to indicate a romantic nature: not a heart that lies idle.
4. Amy Saul-Zerby - I Was Born in the Mall of America
i buried myself
i put on too much
i went to
the nearest lake
and sat down
and tried to cry
5. Kirun Kapur - By Wind Is the Tree Cut Back
I broke a little bone
a breath a breath—
grasp every kind of chain.
No need for the whole
body, not in this place—
a room of wind,
a storm of doors—
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), and Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.