I often say that poetry saves me. It gets under my skin and into my bones and pushes me to pay attention. It opens a door for me and I suddenly find myself in a room surrounded by others who want to talk about the unexpected beauty found in the messy, gritty, grief-filled moments that happen in a life.
Poetry has helped me find a home inside myself where I know I'm not alone.
Reading Amy Palko's new poetry collection, From Revolutionary Lips, was like opening that door again and stepping inside a candlelit room filled with women who aren't afraid to tell it - the real, the sexy, the gorgeous, the messy truth inside them.
Over the last few years, I've been walking a path of women mending after going through trauma when my daughter was born. And this mending has been slow and hard and beautiful and painful and confusing. This mending happens in the space between moments as I move from mother to wife to entrepreneur to friend... and try to remember I'm always me even as the roles topple into one another.
The grief mingled in all of it catches me off guard at times. I find myself taking a step forward with shaky vulnerability and then whoosh! I'm discombobulated and simply sad and unable to say aloud what my heart, what my body, most needs.
Reading Amy's words, being ushered into the door that her poetry opened, has felt like someone has held up a mirror to the swirling feelings inside me. This collection is sexy and raw; it's full of the stories women grasp inside fists while thinking "no one else must feel this way."
Amy's words will remind you that you aren't alone in your desires and the mysterious longings inside you. They are an invitation to freedom. And she weaves her gorgeous self-portraits between the poems so you remember that she's walking this path alongside you.
Yes yes yes.
Here's one of my favorite poems from Amy's collection paired with her self-portrait.
by Amy Palko
Grounding in the bowl
of my pelvis, feeling
the rub, that place of pain
and discomfort, that red raw
weeping wound bleeding
rust coloured tears…
She says stay with me.
She says stay with the discomfort.
She says stay with the pain.
Don't try to escape it.
Don't try to remove yourself, transcend
in any way from the experience
of this moment,
and the next,
and the next.
She says just be with.
She says just be with and receive
She says see -
This is where the light gets in.
You can read more about From Revolutionary Lips and buy it (plus the audio and hear Amy's gorgeous voice read these poems) right here.
Amy Palko is the creatrix of Red Thread Voices - a publishing house that aims to offer a home to the voice of exiled feminine, She is also a goddess guide, poet, photographer and lecturer whose work has been featured internationally. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and three teenage children, in their home that overlooks the deep harbour, and the wide mouth of the River Forth as it opens up to swallow the cold waters of the North Sea.