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Olanna's Perfect Sonnets

Posts tagged spilled ink

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Writing Sample For A Position at a Greeting Card Company

This man makes me feel more loved than I ever could have imagined. We will soon claim two years together, and I love him just as madly, passionately, and deeply as I did in those first weeks of falling hopelessly in love. Plus, while not as often as in the beginning, he still writes me beautiful poetry, so I figure I’ll keep him around. :) 


For Leslie

You’re so beautiful
that it makes me
want to write
the kind of
sappy sentimental
hacky Hallmark card
poetry that starts with
phrases like
You’re so beautiful.

You’re so beautiful
that it makes me
want to further my
sentimental crimes
with goo goo ga ga guns
that rat-a-tat repeat
each stanza’s
beginning and end
with refrains like
You’re so beautiful.

You’re so beautiful
that I don’t think I
could possibly calculate
a limit to the magnitude
in which your
soul sparkles
in the reflection of light
in your deep brown eyes
when you stare at me
wanting me
to say more
things to you like
You’re so beautiful.

You’re so beautiful
that you are beautiful—
like the word beautiful,
or at least the image
that the sound of the
word beautiful creates
when I look at the symbol,
beautiful, on the page,
is an image of you
that makes me
want to tell you
You’re so beautiful.

You’re so beautiful
that I’ve used the word
beautiful 14 times now,
including just now,
if you’re counting
like I am,
because as the time
that we’ve spent together
grows like the word count
in a novel in progress,
that moves like
a struggle between
wanting to know the ending
and enjoying the wordplay
of the present page,
and always worth the
eye-straining late night effort,
I’ve found a way to fuse
my two passions
because when I say
beautiful out loud
and see my internal picture
of your face, it’s
semiotics like sex,
and the release is
getting to tell you
one more time
how much
You’re so beautiful.

(Source: mikehilbig)

Filed under poetry poem pedanticpersiflage spilled ink beautiful

26 notes


I admittedly neglected writing pretty much all of 2013, but this was the one with the most notes for the year. Here’s to promising to write more in 2014. 


I saw my reflection
in the steam fogged mirror
for the first time in 
what seemed like years, 
mostly because 
I didn’t avoid eye contact
with myself the way 
I don’t even notice 
anymore that I do 
until I notice.
I saw my face and
I noticed my wrinkles,
how when I’m relaxed
my brow is permanently furrowed
and my laugh lines are faint,
the crow’s feet now deeper
than the skin under my eyes
that hasn’t felt taut 
in too long to care
but my eyes are brighter 
than I can remember possible
and my lips are soft with use
my skin bears traces 
of your fingertips that
only I can see 
and I feel beautiful. 

-Olanna, 2013 


Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna 2013

7 notes

Mental Health 101

It’s that urge to crawl in bed
and sleep for eternity, 
the familiar lump in my throat 
and pain between my breasts,

it’s the cabernet sauvignon
so deliciously sweet on my tongue
and the self-awareness
that I am not strong enough. 

I am loved, 
but I am not strong enough. 

I have never known how
to ask for help, 
or to admit that I needed it. 

-Olanna, 2013


Filed under poem poetry creative writing spilled ink olanna

8 notes

In Those Brief Moments

Sometimes there is a point
or maybe it’s a line
or a ledge, 
a precipice on which I stand
teetering, but not falling.
The air tastes like giving up
or going over and I inhale
deeply, slowly.

The empty echoing
of my thoughts, 
or attempts at writing
it all down,
the comfort of solitude
the only way I know 
to calm my brain
and remember me.

because over that edge, 
beyond that point and 
across that line, 
I remember how much
I used to love
being alone and
I miss it. 

-Olanna, 2013


Filed under poem poetry creative writing spilled ink olanna

5 notes

Higher Road

I always wondered if 
I was the kind of girl
who didn’t like other girls 
out of insecurity
or jealousy or if
there was something deeper, 
some complicated daddy issue
that even I couldn’t see. 

I called you best friend
when there were no others
for so many years, 
I know your secrets, 
you know almost 
all of mine, 
but that didn’t stop you 
from the weakness
that permeated you, 
from breaking our hearts. 

We saw you in the grocery store. 
I think about you all the time. 
I had two seconds to decide. 

I missed your daughter 
more than you, 
so for her, 
I went with the more
civil approach. 

-Olanna, 2013

Filed under poem poetry creative writing spilled ink olanna

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The Shelter (Part Two)

For Part One, click here


Mission of Yahweh was run by a nun named Sister Gay. She was of African descent and bound to a wheelchair. Sporting a huge cyst or boil of some sort on her forehead, combined with her brusque demeanor, she proved an intimidating authority figure to myself and the other children. She lived in the large red farmhouse at the rear of the property along with her husband and nineteen adopted, wild children, ranging from diaper-wearing to high school age. 

I never understood how Sister Gay could be a nun if she was married, but you didn’t question that sort of thing as a child in the eighties and she always wore the habit, so nun she was to me. 

Everyone knew you had to put up with Sister Gay’s kids, all nineteen of them. And boy, were they mean, wild kids with free reign of the entire shelter complex. I only ventured into the farmhouse a handful of times; toddlers in diapers, girls with attitudes and foul-mouthed boys all around. We learned early on to stay away from them, but later we learned they would come anyway. 

There were stories of families kicked out on the street because some poor lady’s kid was the one who finally stood up to the bullying that week and made a futile attempt at tattling or fighting back. I only learned about theses stories the day Mark and I ran to Mom because one of the older boys from Sister Gay’s clan stole something of his and she wouldn’t (couldn’t) do anything about it. 

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Just stay away from him.” 

“But Mom! It’s not fair,” I yelled. “It was Mark’s!” 

“We have nowhere else to go, Leslie,” Mom ended the conversation. 

I can’t imagine how hard this must have been for her, the woman who stood up for us and for everything - to hold back. 

I think that was one of my first true lessons of social class and inequality in life. Even in a place where everyone had the same common goals, to get back on their feet with their children and without a man, and you were there under the premise of selfless charity, there was still a natural hierarchy of things and whether it was fair or not, Sister Gay would kick a struggling woman out with her kids rather than discipline her own. 

Filed under prose memoir creative writing spilled ink nonfiction olanna shelter

6 notes

An Analysis of Destiny

“Destiny is unimaginable, except in dreams or to those in love.”  

I’ve never been any good at remembering quotes. Movie quotes, book quotes, famous quotes, and I’d read John Irving’s The Fourth Hand many times before. It was one of those books, and he is one of those authors, that I can reread and enjoy each and every time. Maybe this time I’d read it at the right time in my life for that particular quote to stand out, to strike a chord and mean something to me. But then doesn’t that imply that I agree to some level of probability in the form of destiny or fate in a task as simple as when I read a book in a certain mood? And wouldn’t that be hypocritical to the statement itself? 

Whatever the reasons, those eleven words became a mantra of sorts. I became certain in my disbelief of destiny and subsequently any leftover hope that “meant-to-be’s” were ever real at all. I’d been wrong before. I’d learned I was my own greatest enemy, in that it was I who could not be trusted more than any other with matters of the heart. And this was a comfortable place to be. 

When love crept it’s way through the cracks in the walls, and now that it has permeated every cell within me, I hesitate to give up this disbelief, but I find myself sorting the puzzle pieces of how this came to be and there are so many coincidences that if it’s not some greater force directing the energy of our lives, then the world is almost laughable. 

It’s not just that we both shouldn’t have been there that night. Not that we’d both given in to the boredom of trying not to go out, trying not to drink and of all the places we both could have picked, we picked the same one. And it’s not even that I ditched that ex-boyfriend I was still trying to just be friends with to hang out with you when I’d never ditched anyone in my life and I was startled at my own behavior. Or even that I’d happened upon your poetry and prose a few months before and learned of our mutual friendships and across internet lines you’d inspired me to write more. Those could surely just be coincidences. 

One could argue the point that we’ve held such close, connected circles more than half our lives without ever really crossing paths before now and that must be more than coincidence. (Except for that one time at my brother’s apartment when you were leaving as I was arriving.) During those years long before, we lived different lives. I was starting a family and you were living in the Crackhaus. And I wonder, what if I’d known you then? What if the parties I’d gone to on babysitter nights were the same ones you threw and what if I’d seen the person you were back then? Where would we be today? 

And it’s questions like these that make me wonder if it was indeed an unseen force that kept chance and mutual friends apart from us together for more than fifteen years so that we would meet at exactly the right time. 

Irving’s words seem truer than ever. Is it just the love that lends to the willingness to believe in destiny? Isn’t it always? 

-Olanna, 2013

Filed under prose creative writing spilled ink destiny love john irving olanna

7 notes

Not Olanna

My name is not Olanna. 

One hundred twenty-seven clicks
of the name randomizer 
produced one that clicked 
with me, a name to represent 
the virtual me in a virtual world
of ancient lore and bloody wars,

a name befit a mighty warrior,
beauty hidden beneath the plate, 
Olanna grew strong and powerful
and I, finding escape and 
solidarity across vast expanses
of land and water, 
found a way to become 
someone else. 

My name is not Olanna
and I liked to tell stories
but I did not like to share them, 

private thoughts and personal 
disclosures meant for anyone’s
ears but theirs, then I found
a different breed of people 
who were unabashed and brave 
and embracing of words
so Olanna I continued to be,
a pen name, alias, means of

My name is not Olanna
but it’s still a name I can’t 
seem to shake. 

Perhaps it has become 
something so familiar
I would miss it if it were gone, 
another piece of me named 
and chiseled in stone,
or a lingering fear of
discovery by someone 
other than those granted 
entry into the deepest parts of me 
an unnecessary dread 
that only remains 
out of habit or maybe
just for old time’s sake. 

-Olanna, 2013


Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna

103 notes



Scientists will point out how
technically, we never touch
like magnets pushing and pulling
on forces they hardly understand.

When I was inside of you,
I was only inside of your atomic
forcefield, inside of invisibility,
like the words we whisper

to each other, “I love you
more than words can possibly
express” when “words can possibly
express” expresses “a whole

fucking lot” in a language
that moves like electrons
and feels like your lips
pressed against my chest.

The best boyfriend ever wrote me another poem.

(Source: mikehilbig)

Filed under mhilbig poetry featured spilled ink

6 notes

Balancing Act

I wonder if this is what it felt like
for you 
when I was married
to him,

looking in from the outside,
fresh set of eyes
unclouded by fables of love
and apologies,

seeing through the promises
and conveniently timed 
one-eighty degree turn-arounds
(however temporary)

while balancing the feelings
and confidence
of that one you love so much
but can’t speak the truth to. 

Such a powerless feeling, 
how did you do it?

-Olanna, 2013


Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna

6 notes

Fairy Tale Endings

Once upon a time 
I needed to be alone. 
I claimed it gave me 
what little sanity 
I could claim. 
I grew irritable in its absence. 
I wrote in its embrace. 

Once upon a time 
I thought I’d lost my words,
or just my sadness,
in return for finding 
your love. 

Once upon a time 
I recognized that look on your face
that meant you had an idea,
and I knew you would write 
and I loved that I knew you 
that well by now. 

Once upon a time 
I wasn’t quite sure 
what happiness meant
but it didn’t really matter 


Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna

5 notes


It’s that space where
your arm meets your shoulder, 
where my head rests perfectly 
and my lips reach just below your chin,

it’s the sound of smiling
that is immeasurable yet 
warms your insides 
in the most pleasant of ways,

and it’s the way that I can 
imagine forever
when you declare  
“I’m gonna marry you someday.” 

-Olanna, 2013


Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna

9 notes


They said witnesses had mistaken
her blood for a red dress 
covering her naked and bruised body
-there was so much-
as she stumbled into the 
movie theater parking lot
in the northwest corner, 
our corner, 
of metropolitan suburbia
last Thursday night
as the late show let out. 

I wondered her name, 
withheld by local media,
and grade level, a sophomore
or junior at sixteen, 
I wondered if she was black or white
or brown or yellow, 
I wondered if she was beautiful 
before she’d been dressed in that gown
by that unidentified man
and I wondered if she’d survive. 

But mostly I just wondered
how I was supposed 
to keep my own daughter safe. 

-Olanna, 2013

Filed under poetry poem creative writing spilled ink olanna