Category Archives: poetry

my fear will not allow

Last night he said look at the opportunity
said it’s time
but then I woke and it seems it wasn’t real
dream only and wake like the dead
happiness profound
all I want is to keep moving forward
keep moving on


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5/7/2017 Writing Prompt

one year ago…

write about looking back to exactly a year, exactly two years, exactly three years ago

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untethered heart

untethered heart
Johanna M. Vining

one year ago I
found my fear nestled on the couch
ring to wall my voice broke the last barrier

no lesson harder learned
smug, he peered then attempted to flip the argument
my fault, but not and so I finally said so

following the disaster, I crumpled, then
swept up the pieces, placed ice in the carpet pockets

gulped wine while tracking back:
found myself living within song
wailing loss and hope and relief

more than three steps forward
no longing looks back
blown kiss caught by my own face


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That Slow Patient Sound

That Slow Patient Sound
Johanna M. Vining

once upon your face I found
my infectious laugh bounding

hands across my chest weeping tomorrows
stillness: more and less halted

breath on my cheek we shower together
another intimacy previously denied

but look not to this nor
upon the bruised mark on my shoulder

thumbprint to thumbprint I ran across your heart stone
stretched my lips across the silence between us


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The Words Won’t

The words won’t
Johanna M. Vining

So much to say to you, like
I sometimes leave the kitchen cabinets open
   like leaving the door to my heart slightly ajar
which I guess could mean a couple things, but I think we both know

assumptions abound and I am remembering these past few months
you in the car before meeting my mother
me in the car looking at the mountains while you asked of my divorce
I didn’t want to say, but then my mouth door opened

mornings I pour this coffee down my throat
think of all the things my dreams were telling me, like
he’s the one! but what does that mean? it doesn’t matter, he is.
no verbalized supporting details, but I can’t argue

anxiety both more and less swollen
office drawer open, the pills roll in their amber case
folder covered, shut and relocked.
That was someone else, someone else, someone else.

Hum cutting the silence: I ask myself what it feels like to love,
but can’t give a good, solid answer because it keeps changing.
I want to say, this love, it keeps changing, but the words won’t
wrap themselves around my tongue, so I look to you.


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Nightly, I can hear my heart speaking

Nightly, I can hear my heart speaking
Johanna M. Vining

the words threaten to escape my lips
when our eyes make contact
when I roll my body into yours
………….. heat radiating and amplifying
covers pulled to my neck
yawning mouth and I choke it back
these words


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March untitled morning

I wake to the smell of skunk and coffee
packed week adrenaline
words still fresh on my lids

ghost in the bed unspoken and subtle
I remember, yes, but the past is swiftly fading
swaying arms around me, now.

No barrier pillow here.


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the neighbor died at the beginning of last month

the neighbor died at the beginning of last month
Johanna M. Vining / Johanna M. Geiger

empty house, though occasional headlights beaming
you weren’t here when the eldest son came
said he was moving to South Carolina, told me I should visit
that he would take me to Myrtle Beach
It’ll be a good time, he said

told me how he lost 25 pounds in those last weeks
told me of the nightly diarrhea, of the calling out
said it was the hardest thing the hardest thing
I nod and say nothing of my own weight loss
the extra body that no longer resides here

he asked me where
“hubby” was
He left.
I said
Nod nodding I won’t say anything
his eyes did the talking


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Business Trip

Business Trip
Johanna M. Vining | Johanna M. Geiger

Here I am
fingers stuck in the knotted tree
my face pummeled with bees

White kindness echoing across the treetops –
a tome too bulky to carry along with me.

Last night, oh, last night I celebrated your absence by
painting all the doors in the house a foggy shade of green.
I awoke speckled in bee stings and with a hollow ache
at the base of my curved spine.
I thought I heard you whispering to me,
but it was only the attic mice ravishing the poison.

From out your window I imagine you remembering me,
but not as I truly am, only as I’d like to see myself.

With you gone, I don’t know what to do with myself.
I stand in the center of the living room with my hands on my hips,
my hair a shambles haloing my head.
I walk through each room of the house this way,
assessing the situation and making notes for improvement.
I turn the T.V. on too loud,
I crack open an orphaned beer and bind my hair in a knot.

“This is what it would be like if…,” but I don’t finish the sentence
there is no need to give extra significance to this temporary situation.


BusinessTrip pdf with the preferred formatting.

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Divorce Song

Divorce Song
Johanna M. Vining

I want to say it was, but
it was never about me

jealousy captured slime heart
affidavit of regularity, of plaintiff
sworn statement

remembering: love forever
but only until it wasn’t about me

instructions for filing, for severing
heart aside (beating, tender thing)
logical stance. We are. We were.

snow ball rolling. week after week
compilation of all those things unsaid

begging for kisses, for affection, for versed vices
meanwhile: neverwas, nevermore, neverwas
crow on my compost singing

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