Poems: Simone Liggins

The Simple Time-Warped Life

It all seems so easy.

Because it is


Remember what it takes to be here.

Acknowledge what you know.

The Wheel’s still spinning and since

you bought these particular tickets,

why not take the ride of your dreams?

What is a day in a life?

You still want to be turned on

despite hearing the news today.

N. E. Gordon says that “the history of humanity

has a somber disregard for the

                                                          genuinely human.”

That is what one would call

                                      genuine fucking accuracy.

And this is why we pray.

Expectation VS Effort

Fantasy VS Intention

As you build and destroy,

might you have any idea

what the hell is going up and

how the frak it’ll be when it’s

coming down fast?


They claim that’s part of the fun

since, you know, it all seems

so easy.


because it is.


A Curious Etymology of Grief

Old French: Grever—to burden

Each teardrop of grief is a wand
on the back, strapped tight with
little room to stretch or breathe,
speaking sorrow in every language
one can wrap a tongue around.
Trust that there’s little trust in this love.
Trust that without trust there is
no heart to give.
Trust that I have learned hard how
this particular blood spills,
that no one's immune.
Let the Old French linger as a reminder that
there are other things older than English,
fresh reminder there’s something still a touch
gringa in that sweet blackberry meat of yours
and why should it be denied
when it's part of why this is your present?

Grief is being kept apart by too many
intangible things whilst peeping flash glances
of the obvious ones.
How many more stones await my chest?
How much bravery is left to ask for
more of this burden, to prove that
my life actually matters?

Grief is recognizing you’re having an
identity crisis but are in too much shock
to properly plot your way out so you
suffer longer in the meatsuit shadows
with no guarantee to the shine.
Outsiders looking into your mirror,
shining on bright like a crazy diamond trying
to choose to be happy.

You know this mutable blend isn’t the end-all
but just the beginning.
You know this knowledge is the weight on your back,
these wands, these rods, these staves, these sticks of fire.
You’re gonna carry it; the warning’s already in song
for all the burdens that belong to you & the ones you’ve absorbed.
These United States weave the perfect Sim realm for Stockholm Syndrome,
so what much else can a Gemini starborn do but study from every
angle how the gauntlet was thrown or hatchet was buried or firework
inflamed the firmament?

Grief is being told to be yourself but not that hard,
too much yet not enough,
and every flip of Mad Sweeney’s coin was
exactly what you didn’t want
but saw coming in the first place.
The Magician’s athame does its sway
by reminding us all of the burden of blood,
with every new slice of flesh that pays the price.
Which pounds do you willingly exchange
for all the knowledge you seek?
Wield those wands, magickal you—
the victory is buried in the burden's lesson.
C’est la vie. So mote it be.


When the Magickal Negress Considers Early Retirement

He said there was an “odd” gap of awareness between Rodney and Trayvon.

The Magickal Negress said current tools at hand like camera phones are on the scenes more often.

He said you can never tell the media’s angle with things like these.

She thought not until only certain mugshots go up.

He said it’s strange that people want to believe phone videos more than post-production ones.

“Wouldn’t the phones be easier to fake?”

She said that’s raw footage, live in living color, citizen journalism in the moment of heartbreak.

He said the military doesn’t have enough training, that their nerves matter.

She said what’s the point of entrusting people with badges, uniforms, guns if they can’t keep their cool and NOT immediately go in for the kill?

He said people never pay attention to the fact that people are making money off these guns in every way possible.

She said people usually only focus on what’s directly in front of them. Social injustice is constantly in their faces.

She said the open wound of compassion is in everyone.

She said people will nurture & coddle & not poke their own but disregard someone else’s.

Then another added the cops always recruit the bullies, the hardened, the numbed-out ones, then described her recent disturbing yet tame experience with law enforcement.

Then the conversation was over.

Cue a brief, heavy silence.

Slide to the next topic.

Because it seems that none of these pen-happy intellectuals will drive their pointed ink straight into the heart, the blood, the true stakes in the matter.

They’re simply going to doodle around it.

Now the Magickal Negress no longer knows how much they are for equal freedom.

No longer knows how clearly they see her.

They leave. She stays. Her pen scribbles away, trying to process the most unsettling Boulderized conversation she’s had in all these 11 months. A seeming lack of allies is always perplexing.

She reaches for her curls, pulls at one for comfort, finds a slight tangle. She pulls some more.

Betwixt her fingers are two strands:

One a soft, black coil—

the other smooth, straight, fair brown.

She realizes that no one had hugged her all day. No one had touched her besides a foot nudge.

                           And for that, this is for you.

Because here you are, tangled into her with no warning, no awareness.

You’re tangled into her because she allowed it. She let you in. She let you be a part of her.

But now she’s offered a reminder to ask. Is she tangled into you?

Is she a part of you?

Have you let her in?

Oh, what a difference a near-year makes…apparently none.

Apparently it’s ambiguous.

Or maybe it’s the surprise of the sides that are drawn.

Like the side of keeping people comfortable (and woe to the few that slip through),

that spews so-called facts before the reference checks,

that actually makes an effort to check on broken feelings with hugs and beer,

the side that calls out from the darkness in the name of solidarity,

the side that sits in the darkness and silently watches your next move.

The Magickal Negress once believed she was blessed by being born in an era

with less deadly dichotomies and ultimatums.

Oh, how humanity delights in proving her wrong.

Should she consider blowing off the dust of that almost ancient misanthropy mode?

Should she consider keeping her smile while also keeping distance?

Reconsider tears once shed in joy for a visage?

Drop her expectations and faith in her Hogwarts?

Consider flying away again?

Ponder on in circles.

Lose oneself in cycles.

Wonder when the next bit of injustice is coming for her.

These mountains won’t protect her.

The Magickal Negress has worked.

She has waited.

She has believed.

So much for Utopian expectations,

but who would expect less

when “better” is what you offer as bait to

lure her & others to these oh-so-sheltering Flatirons?

The Devil lives in the detailed difference of not wanting to be saved,

but wanting to be accepted without conditions or walls.

Oh, you didn’t know? Maybe that’s part of the weird

on which you always brag—

maybe it's feeling the longing, the dark yearning in whispers:

It's finally Her.


Air Cousin Swag

The call to fellow Air is clear
and effort to hold it true is made,
for who else is better to understand our flow?
Give space, give breath, give cooling comfort to trust.
The awkwardness, it’s in our bones.
The wit is in our blood.
Smartass, Quick-Draw, Danger-Prone Daphnes forever,
but the heart remains tender
despite the storms and debris that batter it,
it stands its ground—
in all the directions the winds blow,
we know.
We do our best to be love.
We’ve learned too soon how it flees,
by our fault, by theirs, by how the circumstances go.
We hold onto what we can
despite what we think of ourselves,
in light of what our bonds feel for us
because somewhere, in spite of the whispers,
we know we are magick,
and magick deserves love
in all of the forms.


Simone Liggins earned her MFA in Writing at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of Naropa University. The foundation for her love of writing and literature was paved at an early age and blossomed during her teenage years through the kind of tortured freedom that only the ostracism & funk-weirdness of being an African-American Gemini mystic can grant a person. Her various influences include but are not limited to: Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker, Audre Lorde, Lenore Kandel, Laurell K. Hamilton, Octavia Butler, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple, and Jimi Hendrix. Her work has been featured in Raven Chronicles, Buddy–A Lit Zine, BEATS Poetry Periodical, Boulder Weekly, Outsider Poetry, SurVision Magazine, Reject Press, and Petrichor Magazine.

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