April 27, 2023

Our National Poetry Month Finale: Vera West

Our National Poetry Month Finale: Vera West

Please welcome Vera West, The Fictional Cafe’s Poet in Residence, who shares her thoughts about our National Poetry Month celebration:

I’m always in awe of the talent on display in The Fictional Café, but when we celebrate National Poetry Month I’m simply blown away by the array of creative diversity. It’s not easy writing poems — trust me, I know — but the poetry featured this month has dazzled me as a reader and humbled me as a fellow poet. I’ve long believed the source of our strength comes from individuality, and that is proven by the excellence in the variety of poetic styles displayed in each post. I’m honored to have my poems alongside such vibrant, tenacious writers, and can’t wait to see how these poets grow within their craft.


I’m not always angry but 

I am mostly melancholy, 

thinking about those 

little potholes of memories  

riddling a twisting road 

of disappointment; 

these memories jar me: 

pancakes, carnivals,  

front yard barbecues,  

black fridays and  

pastel pink egg hunts, 

nicknames no one else called me; 

these memories always jarred me, 

they’re so different than  

the standard of both 

back then and now.  


thinking of you

Things you did right:

encourage me to be authentic,

drive me around town,

instill independence,

and push high expectations.

[I want to be somewhere in the middle,

between the good and the bad,

between emotion and logic,

but I’m stuck in extremes.

either I miss you terribly or hate you fiercely.]

Things you did wrong:

believe I was weak,

charge me gas money,

demand submission and obedience,

and never letting the bar cease to rise.


my fear list

The inevitable fade to black (death) 

the razor-sharp twist of an empty gut (hunger)

Schrödinger’s cat with a twist: it had never existed at all (being forgotten)

now I agonize 

about how angry I am 

at someone who’s dead. 

My feelings didn’t release, 

like I thought they would

when your soul released,

and I wonder if in the end

my son, despite my best efforts,

will hate me as I hate you.

We grow up emotionally broke,

and we can’t shake that poor mentality,

never affording empathy 

or forgiveness. 


Vera’s latest chapbook is entitled And Other Poisons, defined as:

poison (/ˈpoiz(ə)n/)

an emotional substance that when absorbed will cause extreme harm. Commonly known poisons are fear, love, hurt and fairy tales.

She poetically explores these poisons. Here are some selections.


I’ve yoked

myself to perfection;

this chiseled idea that:

mistakes are

imperfections are

failures are

reasons to crack

my foundations,

and told myself three lies.



opening yourself

up, to inevitably be

let down.


probably not

Have you ever cut off  

a toxic loved one? 

It’s horrible.  

You feel both guilty and freed; 

and you know your health 

has improved without them,

but you still believe

maybe they could change, 

maybe it could work out,  

maybe they could be your idea of them, 

rather than who they are. 


one day

And one day,

I woke up.

I woke up and

decided to stay,

no longer wanting

what I didn’t have,

nor chasing

phantom love;

I stopped galloping

and steadied still,

and let joy fill me up;

and I was hollow no more.


The Elixirs

elixir /əˈliksər/

the antidote of poison made by deriving the negative components of commonly known poisons such as fear, love hurt and fairy tales.

Yes, you read that right:

the poison is also the cure.


And one last poem of Vera’s:

what could be

I want endless reform,

a revolving door

of hearts and minds and laws

always spinning

and growing

and improving,

no longer clinging to what was

or hurting others because we can.


Thank you, Vera, for being our Poet in Residence, and thank you to all of our poets who so graciously allowed us to publish their work this month.

If you have appreciated this fine poetry, please be sure to leave a Comment for the poet at the close of their page. We all thank you!

~ the editors

#national poetry month#poetry#relationships#vera west#writer in residence
1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *