One of Britta’s degrees is in English – Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry. She is eternally grateful to Professor Brad L. Roghaar for teaching her the ways of the warrior poet. Britta has published work as a poet, creative writer and as a journalist. She was a regular contributing writer for Fuse: a tribal and tribal fusion belly dance magazine from 2010-2014 and conducted several interviews that made the cover story. She also served as the poetry editor and content manager for the literary journal, Metaphor, Issue XXIX, 2010. Her poems, “The Garden,” “Instinct,” and “Council” were published in Metaphor, Issue XXVIII, 2009. Her poem “Nostalgia,” and her Academic Essay “Stuffed and Preserved,” were published in Metaphor, Issue XXVII, 2008
Some of her more recent poetry and short essays can be found on her Blog here:
It is carried on the wind
Soft mention of cedar and pine
analogous and primary colors
stumbling toward sanguine moods
a pale sparkle of laughter
Reunion of insane lovers
reception in the hallway
enraptured holy nights
so simple, so unconcerned
Safe in mind
subtle hair and skin,
cinnamon coffee and laundry soap
sand and leaf,
a blushing sunset
This is coyote wisdom
and twice as easy
Like feathered Houdinis, they break out
Hovering in mid-air before landing
On the bookshelf
Wings like a snowy Chinese fan
Cooling me on a hot day
Their chiseled footsteps tapping on the wood
Perched between Shakespeare and a globe,
Two pale heads peer over the edge
With black pearl eyes and cat-call whistles
Tiny ospreys, leering over a tower of writing
They taste the Oxford World Atlas
Nibbling the corners, voraciously,
Savoring the flavor of knowledge
As joyfully as I
They sit, round table
with hookahs and whiskey
discussing the world
and all the words in it
round a fire
copper tone warmth
cedar ashes and aspen
define urban generica
end of days
doggy Elysian buffets
and the relationship
between Beatrice and Dante
while smoke saturates
and they sit
and they manifest
in Spring’s deification
Flowers use colors shamelessly for sex
So she draped herself in crimson,
Perfumed with crushed violets and
When he entered the room, she quivered.
He was drawn to her shade;
A hummingbird’s sheen.
His shadow cast silhouette gave rise
To the musky scent of lust;
Smoke and pheromones, honeyed tongue.
A thousand years of instinct
Compelled her to this tiny room
Littered with manuscript corpses.
A proposal of passion, an open bed.
He lowered his mouth to her forehead
And she turned into a pliant feast
Whose greatest desire is to be eaten.
Silk and amber mixed with beard stubble skin;
Sand paper and snow, the throat of an orchid.
Driven to a deeper kind of slumber,
transformed and utterly invaded.
The arch of the foot
is like the bend in the pelvis,
smooth, silken trail of nerves
above the head, delicately rotating.
Her arms raise, hands poise, eyes close
feeling through the melody
as a swimmer in the sea, swaying.
twirl and twist and undulate, panting.
Scent of sweat and fire.
Keening cry, sharp as the wind
hair sweeping the air, a pale fishnet.
Pointed toes enchanting the floor upon
which they balance.
The Earth spins on the axis of her hips.
She is the music, a bright array of
rhythms and motion in a trance
with the Universe, enraptured.
The manifestation of passion.
You peel my shirt away like a skin
pulling layers away from layers,
side by side, mouth to mouth in
bed-soaked folds of waves.
Our separate pieces press together
husks upon husks, the pulpy sap
sticking to one another
tasting each salty gasp
kissing the suppleness of our mouths.
Sharp and soft, cool and warm.
I am water, you are stone
and we lean in.
The guest is your body,
the door is mine.
My life has been full,
of little things
Beautiful boys, young boys
Baby boy B
bound to the ground
six feet under
a memory, beneath the Earth
Boys playing with toys,
toy trucks, toy girls
How I admired their
selfish demands for more
their eager needs
their sense of deserving it
Hey, hey little guy
Count like clockwork, cocky
little roosters strutting
Groping hands, grubby fingers
Little brothers, little lovers
A new path, an old friend
A character, a storm
No longer a boy, playing,
or practicing for manhood
what he was born to be
I have loved,
in slices, small loves
Nations have been built with less
I believe in this
because the world,
except for you
is full of little men,
little conquered men.
I am speaking half-truths
Tell me friend,
have you found the threads
of your song on the end of a cat’s tail
or in the stream of a gutter on a purple day?
We know what it means to be searching, you and I.
In the soft quiet andante of music notes,
the salt crusted shores of pink seas
and the symmetry of flight feathers
we are looking for our psalms, our melodies.
But half the ballad is already written,
it began the first day I saw you,
covered in ash and sparks.
Between equinoxes and the lavender winds,
and the spaces between words.
I am waiting for you there,
as I have always been
even when worlds and time ripped
our skins and blew our paths apart.
I have always been beside you, friend.
Our atoms orbit aeons of time,
Our first parent was a star.
City of echoes,
I will mend the places where you are broken
and everything that is beautiful in me
is brought to light because of you.
It’s a strange thing, making fire
there’s a certain artistry to it.
First, the setting must be just right
in a level place
and the will to bring it forth.
Bring a good chair.
This may take a while.
Wood must be gathered
not too green, not too dry
flint and matches
is just the beginning.
The spark is birth.
Then you must tend it
and feed it and keep an eye close on it.
Fire wants to consume itself.
A good fire,
will keep you warm in the cold
and heat your coffee in the morning.
But turn your back on it
and it will die
or kill you without a moment’s
Swollen, an enormous melon fruit
her body, no longer her own
she is a churning sea of milk dreams
and phantom smells.
An egg, humongous and incubating.
Covered in moon beams and cyclic tides,
A swallowed fish is
swimming in the fertile crescent,
round as a flounder, gestating.
There is nothing for it but time,
time longing for life, longing for itself.
The deluded, opalescent past.
The growing weight of the future.
The discomfort of fullness.
The cradle is cold,
Vacant where something once slept;
A wounded womb
Replace the lullaby.
Tears substitute mirth;
Red eyed insomnia, barren breasts
Folded blankets and
Lie soundless, asleep
Another impoverished filling of a hole.
There is no limit to emptiness
To My Lover In Despair
When Sorrows come to carve an angry hole
in stone you swore was sacred from the start
and bridges give no comfort, take no toll
the sunrise draws its line and you will part.
When night falls scarlet down the empty streets
and silence slips beneath the sirens’ screams,
you wander where the rivers meet
to drown the distance of your dreams.
When lovers press their tongues against the ache
naming debts where once their commerce thrived
you watch the vacant windows hold a wake
and forget that somehow you survived.
My love, you discover you are bound
to funeral flowers cold upon the ground.
The scent of the dead is not unlike roses
rows of roses
lain low and lulled
here where all things end.
Post-mortem and pungent
beneath crows nest oak trees
and the reaping lawn.
They wait, wearing their
stone pillow crowns
and their frozen smiles.
Reaching from the roots
through the passage of the sun
to begin again in that warm breath.
When at last, your time has come,
do not fear the dark.
Our first vision was that brightest star,
the story waiting to be written.
SAINT PETERSBURG, 2009
The Iron Curtain has fallen and the city of the Czars is open to the West. We arrive in silver smoke, the sky is falling, the sky is the color of the sea. The sky is the sea when the white nights are pale pink on the horizon. I am confused in this Cyrillic world of artists and emperors. Peter the Great’s city. Catherine’s city. I think I see Pushkin in the streets. The streets where Lenin walked and the Red Guards marched in October. The Aurora rests on the Neva still. I scent blood in these streets and laughter. There is Peterhof and there the Winter Palace. Gypsies on the corners, dancing. Dancing Cossacks and laughing children. Children of a new era in this place where East meets West and the two coalesce.
Katya, our guide, guides us into the heart of the city. Our city was never taken by the Germans, she says. Our city. We have no concept of national pride. Russia is our Mother, she says. Saying more than I can ever comprehend. I see Peter’s monument and the hammer and the sickle on building walls. Walls that have withstood time and winters and revolution. What a revolution to sell McLenin t-shirts in the streets. These streets. These Russian streets.
Elderly women in long, black scarves cross themselves at us leaving the onion dome Orthodox church. Katya tells me, They are still afraid of you. We are still afraid of you too. But the teenagers in their punk gear, with their pierced lips, smile at us. Things are changing. Change is the constant of all time and time moves us forward. My father asked me once, Why would you want to visit Russia? And I answered, Because I live in a time when I can and that is reason enough.
I stop looking at the buildings, looking at the streets, looking back at us and see the people. The people always fascinate me most. Tall, angular people with pale, Slavic eyes. Eyes that dream and long and hope just like mine and I think we are not so very different. Differences can be bridges too. This city has the personality of a man I could fall in love with. Rough around the edges with depth and a colorful past. It does not speak loudly now, because it doesn’t have to. And I think, yes, I see. The Iron Curtain has fallen and the city of the Czars has opened its doors to the West.
ROSTOCK, GERMANY, 2009
Even the Ravens are a different color here. Alien landscape. The air breathes fresh fish off the wharf, an island scattered with grey feathers and sea lace. The weight of time is heavy on these shores of absinthe green foliage and turquoise skies. I am in awe to still be on the same planet. We have lunch, a thick black beer, near a pier which has harbored sailors since before my country was born, a family business since the Twelfth century A.D. The people wear smiles and folk threads and kinder Goth black, walking their shepherds and dachshunds along a cobble-stone path where the sparrows take dirt baths in the shade of the ash trees. The sun lays low on the lighthouse, a detonation of violent pinks on the sand. There is a stirring in my blood, something old, something remembered from a dream of the flesh. An instinctual recognition.
On the plains of the Storrada, near the Oseberg farm
You were remembered.
Men with tools and pens uncovered your wooden yacht,
the buried ship, once proud before the waves of the fjord
Delicately, with scientific reverence, they uncover your
Skeletal hips covered with soil
and mulch and ash roots.
The curves which cradled the lust of warriors
and bled and birthed sons who put the fear of God into Christian Europe,
revealed at last from their long earth sleep.
A woman, a mother, a Queen whose once pale hair mixed with silt.
Your head still wrapped in a crown of stolen treasure.
The rib-cage robbed of fertile breasts, the bone house vacated,
the fire gone on to the Great Hall.
The excavation site echoes with the voices of those gone.
Salt and cod breeze murmurs of what once was, here, in Tønsberg.
A kingdom of vandals and sea dragons who sailed the
whale road with icy beards and Thor’s hammers to the Rus, to Vineland.
The mildew scent of freshly turned earth reveals your grave, your people.
The carved genius of oak work and seafaring brilliance, preserved
in your tomb, a herald of the skalds, carried in saga memory
and in the moist marrow of your pelvis,
your sacrificial companion and the silver cups which once kissed your lips.
My womb tingles with remembrance,
the depth of our shared ancestry written in the veins of my blood.
To My Father
Is what’s important,”
My father always used to say
before sitting back in his
armchair by the sage-brush fire
smoking a cigarette and
spinning gigantic whoppers
a thousand miles long.
I treasured those snippets of wisdom
“Trout have stripes. Bees hate smoke.
The aspen is white.
The difference between crows and
ravens is their shape.”
You can’t soar with the eagles
if you hoot with the owls” or
“Do you want to live like a
grasshopper or an ant?”
The endless fable-magic spun
like creepers in the summer sun.
Those big, capable, gnarled hands
slowly showing me how to knot a lure
to catch breakfast.
The scent of horse hair and tobacco
will always mean comfort.
All those long walks,
all those trails
in the snow and rain and heat.
I was never “just a girl” to my father.
“Grown men can’t make
it up this mountain,” he’d say,
His pride like a million coins
in my hands.
I hear the words
in my own head everyday.
My father, my childhood religion.
This is how gods were created.
Long before Eliot or Keats
There was my father
There was the story.
We still sit by those same fires,
beneath spiraling stars
and a curling moon
warming ourselves with
language and myths
to the same sonorous voice
as he weaves, with imagination