National Poetry Month and Tracie Morell

We continue our celebration of National Poetry Month with a very special pair of poets. In this back-to-back double post, Tracie Morell and Desmond Collier, two highly successful poets from Erie, Pennsylvania, are the only Mother-Son combination to be featured here at 5Writers this month. As a reminder, 5Writers is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering one poem for each day of the month from ten different poets. Each poet has graciously shared with us three poems each: one that inspired them to write poetry, one written by a friend of theirs, and one of their own. A list of our contributing poets and links to their entries follow this entry.

April 16, 2015 – Tracie Morell

Tracie Morell is just a poet on a mission to engage a meaningful discourse about the treachery of beauty, and she’s eager to talk to anyone who is willing to discuss how terrible angels are. Tracie received a BA in English Literature from Pennsylvania State University. She was the managing editor of Lake Effect: Journal of Literary Arts, from 2001-2003, and prior to that she served as co-editor of non-fiction. Her work has appeared in Anemone Sidecar, Menacing Hedge, B&Y Dog, Inclement, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Gravel, Aperion, Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others. She received a nomination for the 2012 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She was a finalist for the Erie County Poet Laureate in 2012 and again in 2014. Tracie lives in the snowy tundra of the Rust Belt trying to help promote the work of her fellow poets. Recently, her work has been translated to German.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.



April 17, 2015 – Tracie Morell


Shawn King



The deepest wounds one can take are from ambling,
stumbling headlong through the darkness.
Your feet find their own way. Trusted footfalls
making your journey seem safe, known even.
Alone in the dark your open wounds whether
manifested internally, externally, emotionally, or
physically are from not seeing which side
of the razors edge you walk.
For a decade my armor impenetrable; seemingly
Herculean in scope came erupting forth and
tore me asunder. Left with no means of
motivation in every sense of the word you can
fake being strong for a very long time, sometimes
you even convince yourself.
For the first time in my life I set myself up to fall,
Shrouded in a chaotic fumerolic cloud of apathy
I knowingly stepped over the edge. The rapid acceleration
made me seem weightless. I felt wonderful I thought
because I had let everything go and was finally done.
When you are plummeting through an abyss listless and
Apathetic it is the last place you expect to be caught by
An angel, a dark angel filled with light caught me
and carried an immense burden for me.
Never let anybody tell you angels do not have a soul;
I stared directly into the soul of my protector, and
Piece by piece was given back my burden but
With the strength to carry it, everything rearranged
and lightened. The dark angel placed me back on the
precipice, but now I can see a light.



I had to fall before I gained the courage to begin a new
journey. Finding poetry has allowed me to focus
my words and externalize the internal. Unbeknownst
to myself finding constant direction and inspiration is not
automatic. What began folded in the wings of a dark angel
now continues in the glow of a nurturing muse. Inspiration can
manifest itself in many forms. Beauty, strength, kindness, intellect
and courage have all been inspiring for me. Here
I find them all in one.
Mother, Poet, Laborer, and survivor
are all being juggled by one person. Her mortal vessel doesn’t carry
these titles so much as wear them. Our conversation’s touch upon
a myriad of topics. Whether interpersonal relationships or her relationship
with poetry I come away with the understanding for her need to stay engaged
and to nurture. Her language a finely sharpened tool
that matches my memory of her slender build, sharp strong features,
and piercing eyes. Through her kindness and guidance I now have
put before me the first stage of my existence as a poet.



A dark angel erased my earthly transgressions
and gave me a second chance. Surrounded in
the radiant glow of her aura I departed.
The scar tissue of my soul juxtaposed against
that of my mind is an open line of communication
with her. Angels are fierce and beautiful,
therefore she remains tightly swaddled in the
garb of solitude ever vigilant of where she shines
her illuminating light.

Acutely aware that salvation had found me, but still
cognizant of the fact that I was lost I began
skirting the edge of the abyss. It proved true
that what I was seeking also sought me. A beautiful
creature sat inches from the edge of the precipice
meditating. Illuminated by her inner light she lacked
wings of her own, but in that moment I knew
that if she wanted she could ascend to the skies from
her seated lotus position.

The landscape around us changed. Her diminutive
mortal vessel failing in its own right, her weapons nothing
but her strong perception and desire for a better world.
She guided us down from the precipice.
With the Angel an intense bond was forged in the fires
of salvation. Now my anxiety alleviated by the
symbiotic nature of the love I feel radiating from
my meditating muse.

She started as my muse, but on the descent from the precipice
she led me from shadow to shadow. Dodging the
predators and pitfalls of our lesser nature.
Lacking her
delicate grace I lumbered after, never far behind.
At times I followed her obfuscated dance desperate
and confused, while other times I strode forward
confidently with her at my back cheering me on.

Absence: A state of being away or
withdrawn from a place or
from companionship.


(self revisited)

My shadow dancer has been
my raging tempest
of positivity. My
whirling dervish of creative light,
and supreme love.  Today

I sit by the campfire,
as the night comes on, the sun
burning brightly earlier
in the day is gone.  My shadow
dancer is nowhere
to be seen.  Earlier today
she whispered gently

in my ear,
“don’t be down, the sun is shining.”
I closed my eyes and felt her
presence, the sun
warming me as I dozed
off hearing her
sweet melody,
“be gentle with yourself.”

Her absence never worries
me as I can always find her
by closing my eyes.  We are not
one so much
as superimposed upon
each others souls. I can
immediately feel her
out there, alone and no longer
dancing.  I stand and put out

my fire, it is time to move
on.  My own pain
causes me to withdraw
and hide.  Her pain
moves me to action
and motivates me like nothing

else.  Following the empty
pain I can feel
emanating from my soul sister
I make the daunting
hike across the open
plain.  There is a dark forest
a few miles ahead, I keep
my head down and focus.

I reach the end of the “dunkel wald”
I can see her
a few steps inside
of the tree line.  Hidden
in shadow, her anime eyes
piercing out from darkness
I approach and look
into them.  In her
eyes I never look
like I imagine
myself.  The forest is
a dark and cold state
of existence that her
betrothed can sometimes
force her into.  It is not
located in a specific
location, it is wherever

she is driven by the
absence.  Absence of love,
tenderness, caring, affection,
and recognition have left her
empty, cold, and shivering.  The tears
flow freely and it is my turn to be
strong.  I lift her and carry her out
of the shadows into the dying
sunlight.  I may be crippled
but my shadow dancer is as light
as a feather

to me.  By the time we reach
the sunlight I am also crying
from the pain I am drawing
away from her.  With her
this close no words need be
spoken, we can communicate
without.  I
holding her
in the waning warmth
wondering where we will end up.
My musings on different matters never mattered much
until I gained confidence in my voice through my
shadow dancer. “You are omniscient…
You are like air.” I told her. Now we both exist
in the land of the real, damaged and imperfect.

April 18, 2015 – Tracie Morell

Small Echo of Toads

Tracie Morell 

Tired of wishes,
Empty of dreams.

            ~Carl Sandburg

Barefoot, one leg stacked on the other
like logs in a fire, she searches for a melody
to enchant her to dance. The croaking of

toads echo in the dark air. There
is no sleep to be had all night, and no reason
to get up, let alone dance. As women

pull themselves from beds to feed children,
she closes her eyes to try to imagine
a hymn of grace, how it would sound. Then

she poses her body, a corpse
trying to breathe on what little flame’s left.


National Poetry Month and…

Dominique Traverse Locke (4/1-4/3)
Art Zilleruelo (4/4-4/6)
Robin Clarke (4/7-4/9)
Cee Williams (4/10-4/12)
Melissa Prunty Kemp (4/13-4/15)

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  1. National Poetry Month and Desmond Collier | Five Writers
  2. National Poetry Month and Jake Arnold | Five Writers
  3. National Poetry Month and Alan Michael Parker | Five Writers

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