Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lesleigh Owen

I have interviewed Lesleigh Owen -actually Dr. Lesleigh Owen- before, and hope to do so again.

Besides being one of the best poets around, she is also one of the most amazing paranormal romance writers around, under the name Elle Hill. If you haven't checked out "Hunted Dreams" or any of the books in her "Hunted" series, you are missing a treat.

If you haven't yet figured it out, Lesleigh is one of the most intelligent women in her generation. She is also one of the most cat-happy women in her generation.

Here is one of her poems from Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly (Pearlsong Press, 2014).

Lesleigh Owen

How compelling can a poem without angst be?
I told myself not to lift my fingers from this keyboard
but even fevers need to be fed
and eyes require cleaning.
I don’t operate on batteries anymore,
although when I sleep, I have been known to
make a suspicious buzzing noise.

The press and release of routine;
I crave the resentment and comfort of it all.
Without ritual, how could I free myself
to think thoughts that remain unvoiced
and realizations that I forget within the hour?

How can anyone love grays and browns
when blacks and whites shine and stab and pierce
like teeth through flesh?
Is there a strength in being common,
being pretty,
being accommodating,
being the third smartest person
in the world?
Or maybe it’s the be-ing
that pumps potency into the world
in quiet gasps and blinks.

I used to scatter violence in my poems
up above the page so high,
shards twinkling, twinkling
in the sky.
I don’t miss
or covet that walnut-colored, blocky pain,
checking my hair for genetic hints,
white and springy impulses in an otherwise
soft tangle of
innocuous brown curls.
The illusion of power in abuse,
of control in pain,
of devotion in jealousy:
My strength rumbles up from the ground,
rotund and rich
with triple chins and enough cellulite in the belly
to pad the heads of ten or more cats
and the not-as-innocuous brown curls
of my Prince Charming.
I find inspiration in silence
and songs in sighs.

Did you know?
The strongest substances are also the softest.

And because I can’t tell you any other way,
he hurt me for ten years.
And no, it’s not okay when you interrupt me –
even when I say it is.
And I am not broken.
And all those poems I wrote about raw lips gaping,
screaming and singing and rhyming
into vast, dusty silences?
Learn to take a hint.
And I largely dated men because
I wanted my mom to be proud of me.
And most days I cherish this body --
think it should be memorialized in latex
in some museum
for the masses to rub against and dream –
but some days I’d like to revel and roll,
with a jellied messiness that would horrify the nuns,
inside a thin privilege I will never know. 
And guess what, Mom:
Prince Charming was never a boy.


  1. Thank you endlessly for your so-kind words, my friend. I am honored. Much love.

    1. I want you to have more, so to speak. The whole world should know about what you write.