Sophrosyne: A Shroud of Poetry

My book, Sophrosyne: A Shroud of Poetry, is now available for purchase on Amazon Kindle!

I hope that you all enjoy it!

Warm regards,

Steph Ambroise

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Metamorphosis

When dawn breaks
over the horizon
of your body’s surface,

let your soul succumb
to music
played by pleasured souls.

Give cold away to age
old warmths
and for once
take in and trust
whispered promises
and when

midnight
settles on you once again,
to cover remaining
thoughts,

the heart will burst
into molten lava to flow
from your mouth,
and cool as your
new skin.

-Stephanie Ambroise

Written Approval

you can use my body
as an Etch-a-Sketch
and draw
unto me
your beliefs
in
black and white

your marvelous frown of
concentration
moves me
and I
swear, I
could drown
in the crease of your brow

and although this work
is agonizing,

isn’t it good of me to make it
so
whatever

projection of the self
you imprint on me,

if you don’t like it,
you can just shake me,
and it vanishes?

-Stephanie Ambroise

It’s 10 o’clock

Where are the poems in the dead
of night, when the heart no longer stews desire
for the mind to take a warm bath, when it’s
no longer strong enough to force a cardiac creation
of landscapes for the lonely entitled ego

when picket fences turn to rotted teeth felled
into the angry neighbor’s yard, when the toxic
wife’s cum ignites your pussy hairs, straightens the
naps and calls you a “nigga-hatin’ bitch”, when her
dreamy writing of your name on her arm feels like
nothing more than a threat

Where are the poems when your bloody fingers
work to scrub apathy from your daughter’s tongue, when
you take her kayaking and she drowns, when she
haunts you, squeezes your nose shut at 4am
every morning, when your torso ejects from the bed, when
your mouth screams in terror watching your wife grows glass
shards of blame from her skin.
the air, heavy with creaks and her groans as she turns
in the bed, opens her arms
and pulls you into her?

Where are the
poems when your open mouth, a chalice,
begs for benediction and your eyes catch
your mother’s body shying away in the mirror,
scared of who you’ve become?

I let strangers’ tongues lick notes around my body, a shawl
or shroud, I am unsure. To burn me alive, or
gently to my death, I am unsure.
Either way, I am finally,
finally, warm.

-Stephanie Ambroise

earthquake

gas masks, metal rods cowered
underneath the pressure of overabundant
friction. my brother left old skin
behind, in the rubble.

the tremor of neurons, or hands, or lands
is cause for alarm (which is a tremor of neurons),
(which is the reverberation of slammed gates)
(which is the shiver of throat borne from a white, chalky epicenter)
(which is a shaky aorta the doesn’t affect him none)
(which is a shriek burst from quivering chords)

were there any casualties? Was anyone
stood beneath the frame of this felled house?
Even now, echoes escape esophagus
in the dark of night to meet a cold door
with slits that can do naught but disregard him.

no one bothers about the casualty that’s the disaster
hearts don’t reply “yes” when twitchy fingers knock
the blood from the wound that speaks does not get wiped
away. you’re simply left a statistic, with a name

and alone at night, the soundless crunch of toss
and turns, a body begging a bed for comfort.

-Stephanie Ambroise

If I called this Strength, would it respond?

i’m afraid i’ve grown weaker. spiritually.
mentally. emotionally. verbally.

so let me sit in this moment, as a bud,
carved into myself, and be proud.
i no longer shout to impress.
i don’t smart to correct.
i don’t praise to fake-bless.
i am quiet. happily weak.
reminding myself
how blessed i am, for all the
dark times, when all the
Universe wanted from me
was might.

-steph ambroise

Tell your story, too(sday)

Originally posted on a4resilience.wordpress.com

I was watching an episode of Jane the Virgin, where Jane and Rafael go to therapy to work out their differences for the sake of their son, Mateo. At one point, she said that the worst thing about the situation was the lie, and the fact that he lied to her.

To my surprise, the therapist in the show says, “Why is lie such a trigger for you?”

And I’m watching the show, pissed. I start this angry internal dialogue, just seething, thinking, “What the FUCK does that even mean, it’s LYING, that’s FUCKING WRONG! People shouldn’t fucking lie to people, what a stupid, invalidating, idiot question, what a quack doctor, I can’t wait to see her get roasted!”

Then, after Jane gives her answer, I was forced to look inward. Jane’s mother lied to her about the existence of her father, and she missed out on a relationship with him for 23 years, which altered the entire course of her life.

The last words my father said to me, I was 8 years old. I was leaving Haiti going to Canada, and I say, “W’ap vini, baboo?” (Are you coming with us, Dad?) He said to me, “M’ap vin deye’w”. (I’ll be right behind you.) I turned away from him, boarded the plane, and that was the last time I saw my father (In 3D.)

When I was 9, it hit me that I may never going to see my father again. At the age of 11 was when my mother first started selling me that lie that he left because of me. I had my first surgery the year at 11, had been going to physical therapy. It was time consuming for my mother, and I guess she was frustrated and took it out on me. She told me my father left because I was such a big medical problem, and he didn’t want to deal with me anymore. I would be hearing these lies on a loop for the next eight years.

I hated myself. My mother constantly told me how much I ruined her life, and made everything much more difficult for her. I wasn’t an easy child by any means. I was the child of the conservative parent who wanted to know why God couldn’t be a woman. I hid books about witchcraft beneath my bed, and read books on mythology. The really terrible part, I guess, for my mother, is that I tried to share these things with her. I told her about the witchcraft, and the mythology, and the questions I would ask my CCD teacher. I was so proud of my curiosity, and so enveloped in these subjects and I wanted to share them with her. All of these things stirred my mind and soul and were a big part of who I was, and I wanted to show her. It was my way of presenting these things to her, as an offering. “See me, mom? See, I’m not that bad.”

She called me a demon.

My senior year of high school, she found my Correllian Witchcraft book beneath my bed. I was in Canada, then, and she almost made it so I didn’t come back. I think the only reason I did return was because my high school kept calling the house asking why I wasn’t in school. I’m veering off topic, though.

I hated myself. I hated what I loved because my mother hated it, and it made her dislike me. So I learned to live and love myself in secret, because liking who I was felt like a betrayal to my mother. I wrote poems, I read books, i made abstract drawings, I sang and dance, and discovered new music. But the words never left. I was still the person who ruined my mother’s life. I still drove away my father.

It was easy to believe, because even if it wasn’t my existence that ruined my mother’s like, it turned out all the same. Even if the medical issues were not of my doing, I was still the reason why my mom had to support two daughters on one paycheck. I was the reason my sister couldn’t always get the things she wanted. I was the reason my mom worked long hours, and I never saw her. I was the reason she was stressed out, I was the reason she got angry so easily and snapped and hit me and called me names. If her life was easier, she would be less stressed out, and I was the reason why her life wasn’t easy. So I hated myself, and the things my very existence deprived the people that I loved.

Turns out my father left because my mother tried to kill him. Turns out my mother and father used to abuse each other, and my father was arrested for domestic violence. Turns out my mother was stressed and panicked her whole life. Turns out my mother suffers from mental illness. Turns out my father had been doing his best to find my mother and contact her and speak with me, from the Dominican Republic.

Turns out the words my mother said to me that altered the way I felt about myself for nine years were a lie. Turns out that the reasons I thought the world would be better off without me were a lie. Turns out that feeling I inherently didn’t deserve anything was a lie. Turns out that lying is a trigger for me, too.

I associate lying with making someone feel unlovable, disposable, undeserving of the love and respect that comes with tell someone the truth. I associate it with self-serving cowardice and underlying bitterness.

Getting to the root of it, though, understanding why lying is such a trigger, will help me be able to understand and process lies on a more case by case basis, instead of constantly being overly offended when I know someone is lying to me. It’s a long process, and it’s hard to unlearn a deeply ingrained idea of nine years, but it’s been fours years since I’ve learned the truth and I have been working on it. I still hate when people lie to me, but now I am learning not to take it so personally. Not every lie I have been told has been as abusive as the lie my mother told me. No lie ever will be.

I am always going to think lying is wrong, but I will no longer let a lie change the way I feel about myself. I matter, I deserve, I belong. This is a truth that can no longer be taken away from me. I hope this helps you find yours.

-Stephanie Ambroise

 

*I hope this has encouraged you to tell your story, too.