2017 “Major Reads” Book list

All of these books are not recently published, I just thought it would be cool to accumulate a list of books that I have come across this year that were awesome reads. In between finishing college and training to be a birth/postpartum doula, my down time consisted of making sure I was reading something. anything. everything. as my way of keeping an ear and eye to the literary world. These books are in no way restricted to one genre, they are from all walks of life that just deserved to be shouted out.   xo NF
  • Seducing the Demon: Writing for my Life

    by Erica Jong

  • The Concept of Self: A Study of Black Identity and Self-esteem

    by Richard L Allen

  • Kissing God Goodbye (poetry)

    by June Jordan

  • Unforbidden Pleasures: Rethinking Authority, Power, and Vitality   

    by Adam Phillips     *highly reccomend*

  • The Magical Year: Seasonal Celebrations to Honor Nature’s Ever-Turning Wheel

    by Danu Forest

  • Soul on Ice (a memoir)

    by Eldrige Cleaver

  • Perfume (novel)

    by Patrick Suskind

  • My Wicked Wicked Ways (poems)

    by Sandra Cisneros

  • One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness

    by Albert Villoldo, Ph.d

  • The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism

    by Octavio Paz   *highly reccomend*

  • Big Machine (a novel)

    by Victor Lavalle

  • Then Come Back’: The Lost Neruda Poems 

    Translated by Forest Gander

  • The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages (Perigee) 

    by Richard Cavendish

  • Kindred (a novel)

    by Octaviia Butler  *highly recommend*

  • We Are All Made of Molecules ( a novel)

    by Susin Nelsen

  • Multitudes

    by Lucy Caldwell

  • Gratitude

    by Oliver Sacks

  • A Tale for the Time Being ( a novel)

    by Ruth Ozeki

  • Nothing In This Book Is True, But It’s Exactly How Things Are

    by Bob Frissel   *highly reccomend*

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‘Angel of the’

an homage to Anne Sexton’s ‘Angel of the Love Affair’

to my unborn


Angel of Water and Doubt

Angel of water and doubt, do you know woes,

that simple deed that forced my hand,

who put me in charge of this combining form, that feigning

blues where I was woman and he was man?

I said, ‘I can act like a lady, but a woman would take some work’

Then I yielded to him and he blessed me.

Embryo, you of wild audacity,

taking me down and loosening my waist,

you are the silence in the middle of the night,

you are the crackling sound like burnt wood in my joints,

taking some iron, taking some calcium, taking some folic acid

and little bits of me altogether.

Angel of Queen-sized beds

Angel of Queen sized beds, do you know fatigue?

Once it took over like a heat wave

as I laid in a sleepless daze,

as pinched at the breast like baby’s cheeks.

Little beads of sweat. One hundred tears in the dark.

Silk sheets smelling of Cabernet Sauvignon and primrose oil,

have everything to do with this night discomfort,

everything to do with guilt and many other outcomes

and all the repents to the Lord, the ultimate judgement.

I have sacrificed sleep.

I have sacrificed eating.

I have known singularity. I have known the waving tassel of freedom

but inside of me waits the spoils of my gallivant.

Angel of Eyes and Choices

Angel of eyes and choices, do you know prayer,

that vigorous drop to the knees and bent arms?

You are remorseful. You have bloodshot eyes.

The feeling in your toes go numb. The only feeling is numbness.

I don’t recall the last time I’ve eaten. And in minutes,

A simple thought comes to my mind.

In this moment I have made a decision.

I have become the thing I judged so harshly,

conceived unexpectedly and had to abort. My body

persistent. Part of me anguished. Part of me complying.

Angels of Choice, you reveal, you ignore, you command

you pull out of me the naivety that was lodged in the back of my throat.

Angel of Bicker and Molasses

Angel of bicker and molasses, do you know hope?

That stickiness of confrontation seeps in the cracks,

that courage subsides to doubt,

that doubt reflects in his actions,

where he was once savior and a sweet remembrance, he is neither.

There is no place in me to pour his judgement and no room for his mother’s prudence.

In time he would see this as necessary.

Your mind may be saying otherwise.

In time he will know the regret in my own heart. Your heart too.

Your life would not be one of conditioning and neither scrutiny.

You will have an altar made for praise. Your birthstone would have

been garnet. Your spirit animal, a blue jay.

Angel of Babies and BlueJays

Angel of babies and blue jays, do you know karma,

those past life doings that streaks our family tree in a ruby-red dust?

You are the low-hanging fruit that the Gods will judge us for.

Let me now, ask the questions we are all afraid to know,

Let me now, pick out the rotten fruits that will not serve us,

as the others are ripen to perfection.

Once I am ready, I will come for them.

Who better to know when it is the right time than me.

She of the magic that is covering, she of the mahogany

woodwork of mothers of mothers who love deeply. She of the bone and dust,

not forgotten.

In due time it will see its day.

Angel of Sage and Wine

Angel of sage and wine, do you know submission?

Six weeks of recovery and wearing all black.

My body feels like my own again. I cut all of my hair.

At a glance I look as if a crisis has taken over me. The house looks the same.

And the cats keep their distance,

as if they know I am not happy.

Once I can breath in and not smell a scent of honeysuckle on the air,

with the exception of drinking the same bottle of wine.

Once I can look at myself in the mirror and recognize this woman staring back,

watching my belly sternly, as I do when I glance at the moon,

for me to move on is for me to mourn.

And so I do,

at the makeshift altar at the window pane. Once I was young and raging,

and now I am deferred, making room for other things to take its place.

Delay: a found poem

after Apis

Neurons to nirvana
serotonin produces in the gut
orgiastic sexuality
dislocated
pineal gland
a little beacon
the modern guide to everything
on earth–
Birth/Life/Death
marking the time of culmination
Air/Fire/Water
moonstones
citrine
aquamarine
coming of a renaissance
delay is the deadliest form
of denial

Subject matter

My multiplicity can attract that which I want, but not what I needed. How possible is it to love someone so completely, they simply can’t die? Immortality or reincarnation,  possessing a love of some kind of divination. An aged rite capable, and in itself a strong aphrodisiac. And for every atom of him as well belonging to me now, knowing all of his Demons and can call them by their names, they cast strange shadows, particularly in my blind spots to remind me they wished to be freed too. A love below calls out to them. A femininity of Yemaya y Ochun that is red and bulging, filled with waters that can be calm as a serene river or devastating as a tidal wave. I hold this femininity in my heart and it shines like an amethyst. I can be indecisive, rippling or crashing in every direction, yet my heart remains stoic. He sometimes like to abandon and push away but I take no offense. I just bring him into my bosom and lay kisses to his forehead until I calm his needy abyss. This is our spiritual equilibrium. Spiraling out and into discernment. Will we unravel and deteriorate once we’re done?

Omission

how strangely we are persuaded to exclude things and people.
always in pursuit of redescription,
recognizing no position as final,
no bond as unyielding.
our lives, a performance piece
filled with new habits,
slacken foundations that are easily unearthed,
and creating forbidden things
in order to feel in control.
looking for absolution
and meaningful companions
to share our exclusivity with.
yet just as we are fickle and mortal
we want all things ethereal,
so celestial and refined,
deep and mysterious.
But we are none of those things.
personhood
being just an ornament on the tree of life,
no more will the fragility be ignored.

Poetic Blooms

imagesome kind of continual flux,
this human immobility,
falling and rising of the body,
blood
flesh
tendons
secretions
blunt teeth
compartmentalized conscience.
emotional hemophilliac
to be revised or expanded.
layers of lace
functioning under wading pressures.
a new moon climbs into the sky,
as does a new lover in my bed.
so superficial,
a God in blue threads,
with trigger warnings.
he would be the one
to drink up the ocean
and still wouldn’t be satisfied
I alone, a combustion of heat,
an Angel of molasses and honey,
the sticky kind of phantom
who would be mother of all waters
laying offerings at his feet,
together we can be
the owners of the sweet waters,
where the bees are swarming
around capped honey
begging to be tasted.
catacombs beneath blooming magnolias,
damask roses covering our insecurities–
ontological trampe-l’oeil
our hidden boundaries,
false perspectives
rendered  and embellished by nature
no matter that we are human
and meant to be loved
i let this new affair be cultivated,
deeply rooted and enchanted
by this new defining earth.
asking for something more imaginative
than love.

Lassoed

The thief in the night that everyone speaks of
is here
right beside me
in my bed,
powerless and hand tied.
I steal from him,
his love
his passion
his swiftly vibrato.
I engulf his existence in the daylight,
taking him from the darkness
where he preys the most.
And I take and take
making sure I leave my mark,
in honor of the things he may have confiscated
from sad girls in their 20’s.