The Operating System

5th Annual NAPOMO 30/30/30 :: Day 8 :: Courtney LeBlanc on Megan Falley

[box]It’s hard to believe that this is our FIFTH annual 30/30/30 series, and that when this month is over we will have seeded and scattered ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY of these love-letters, these stories of gratitude and memory, into the world. Nearly 30 books, 3 magazines, countless events and online entries later, and this annual celebration shines like a beacon at the top of the heap of my very favorite things to have brought into being. [If you’re interested in going back through the earlier 120 entries, you can find them (in reverse chronological order) here.]
When I began this exercise on my own blog, in 2011, I began by speaking to National Poetry Month’s beginnings, in 1966, and wrote that my intentions “for my part, as a humble servant and practitioner of this lovely, loving art,” were to post a poem and/or brief history of a different poet…. as well as write and post a new poem a day. I do function well under stricture, but I soon realized this was an overwhelming errand.
Nonetheless the idea stuck — to have this month serve not only as one in which we flex our practical muscles but also one in which we reflect on inspiration, community, and tradition — and with The Operating System (then Exit Strata) available as a public platform to me, I invited others (and invited others to invite others) to join in the exercise. It is a series which perfectly models my intention to have the OS serve as an engine of open source education, of peer to peer value and knowledge circulation.
Sitting down at my computer so many years ago I would have never imagined that in the following five years I would be able to curate and gather 150 essays from so many gifted poets — ranging from students to award winning stars of the craft, from the US and abroad — to join in this effort. But I’m so so glad that this has come to be.
Enjoy! And share widely.
– Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Managing Editor/Series Curator [/box]


[line][script_teaser]”When ‘Redhead and the Slaughter King’ came out, I snagged a copy and sat down and read. I found myself in love and in awe of Falley’s use of words to describe how I felt in a way I couldn’t even articulate. She wears her feminist badge proudly and reminds me to wear mine too.”[/script_teaser]
I first encountered Megan Falley at a poetry slam in Washington DC. She was on tour for her first book, After the Witch Hunt, published by Write Bloody. I was immediately smitten and went home with a signed copy of her book. One of my favorite poems from that book is one I often reread and watch online, just to hear the beauty in my ears. I also tell everyone this precisely sums up why I don’t want (yet another) journal for my birthday/Christmas/random holiday:

When her second book came out, Redhead and the Slaughter King, also published by Write Bloody, I snagged a copy and sat down and read. I found myself in love and in awe of Falley’s use of words to describe how I felt in a way I couldn’t even articulate. She wears her feminist badge proudly and reminds me to wear mine too.


Beginning in an Ice Cream Truck and Ending in a Court Room
-After Kim Addonizio

When our breasts arrived
as a kind of currency, we’d tug
our camisoles low, use
our newfangled bodies to haggle
with the ice cream man. The winner
was the girl who received her chocolate cone
for free, who sucked on candy cigarettes
the same way she wore a training bra.
That summer my pockets grew forests
of hand-tied maraschino cherry stems:
tampered evidence that I might one day be worthy
of kissing. In exchange for rides
on the handlebars of their bikes,
we’d let the boys bite
the beads off our candy
necklaces until the chokers
resembled punched out teeth.
From their slobber, blue and violet
stained my throat where the sweetness
had once been, so I suppose,
Your Honor, I was preparing
for him.

– in Muzzle

[/box] [line]

In winter 2015 I took a 6-week one-on-one poetry workshop with Falley and delighted in having a mentor to help push my poetry past its comfort zones. I began exploring topics that made me uncomfortable, I started using forms I usually shied away from. I felt my writing growing stronger and I know it was under the tutelage of Falley this occurred. Shortly after finishing the workshop with Falley, I wrote this poem:


He shoved his hand down
my pants, sunk his caramel-colored
fingers into the very heat of me.
As fast as he’d done it I planted
palms on his chest and pushed him
backwards. He raised his hands
in mock surrender, as if there’d been
a pistol in my pussy.
Sorry, sorry, he said, as if
it had been an accident, his eyes
as wide as snow.
I looked at him, cocked the hammer
with my eyes, inched backwards
as if in a duel.
I should have pulled the trigger.


Megan Falley is the author of two full-length collections of poetry on Write Bloody Publishing. She has toured nationwide with her books After the Witch Hunt (2012) and Redhead and the Slaughter King (2014) and is the winner of the Tired Hearts Press Contest with her chapbook Bad Girls, Honey [Poems About Lana Del Rey]. She is a Women of the World and National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of the 2015 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and has been featured on TV One’s Verses & Flow. Her work has been published in Rattle, PANK, and Pen Center USA’s The Rattling Wall among other literary journals. She is the creator of the online writing course, Poems That Don’t Suck. She is currently touring with poet Olivia Gatwood as part of their feminist spoken word show Speak Like A Girl
[textwrap_image align=”left”][/textwrap_image] Courtney LeBlanc believes wine, coffee, and poetry are key ingredients in life though she’s always tinkering with the recipe. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Connections, Welter, Plum Biscuit, Pudding Magazine, Anthology, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, District Lines, Slab, Wicked Banshee, and The Door is a Jar. Read her blog, follow her on twitter, or find her on facebook.  She sincerely hopes one day someone will write about her for NAPOMO 30/30/30.
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