Poetry Review: You Might Feel This

You Might Feel This by William Thomas Brumley

William Thomas Brumley’s debut poetry collection “You Might Feel This” is aptly named because every single poem made me feel some kind of emotion. As a person who has anxiety and depression the poetry in this book really resonated with me. The poet captures what anxiety and depression feels like with imagery that paints the numbness and darkness of it. Another theme that Brumley tackles is the complexity of romantic relationships . He shows the intensity of emotions that is felt during conflict or a breakup. I also want to mention that aside from the content, what I really loved about this book was the format. You can tell that the author put a lot of thought into making sure it was well put together because of how professional and flawless it looks. He even includes a page after each poem asking your thoughts about it or you’re also given the freedom to write your own poem. As someone who is always looking for inspiration to write poetry, this was a nice surprise for me. I’ve picked three poems that impacted me from this collection to talk about.

The first poem “Familiar Friend” I have interpreted as a poem about when anxiety comes to visit you. Anxiety for me feels like an annoying friend that visits at the most inconvenient times and the poet captures that when he states, “Fear is an old familiar friend of whom I’ve fallen out of touch with/Why does this shape haunt me? Can they not find another for torment?” (Brumley, 7-9) The way Brumley questions why anxiety haunts him brings a raw intensity in this poem about anxiety that’s not talked about. It indeed does feel like torment and torture at times.

Another poem that impacted me was “Stormy Nights”. I interpreted this poem about how your romantic partner distances themselves away from you because they’re on the verge of breaking up with you. I know many people including myself that have been in this situation and it’s awful; especially if you’re not ready to let go of your partner. When Brumley states, “Please, please, don’t leave thee here/I can feel your presence is near/ One more climb, one more calm/ Upon the ruckus sea” ( Brumley, 12-14),these lines draw up an image of someone pleading to their partner to not leave and to give them one more chance. Brumley did an incredible job capturing the sorrow and desperation someone in this situation would feel like.

“Trepidation” is another poem that impacted me. I have interpreted this poem as the calm you feel after anxiety leaves and questioning how long it will last. This is stated when the poet states, “May I keep this sealed up tight in a bottle?” (Brumley,9) As a person who had suffered from chronic anxiety and depression, if I had a string of good days filled with hope, I would question how long it would last. What’s also interesting to me about this poem is that Brumley addresses people who suffer from anxiety in wishing that they too get a reprieve from anxiety when he states “I wish this ship could sail/Sail far across the sea of tranquility/For it shall reach others who have been trapped under the forceful thumb of anxiety” (Brumbley,10-12) Brumley shows humanity in acknowledging other sufferers of anxiety.

Mr.Brumley presents an honest depiction of the many complex emotions felt during periods of anxiety, depression and conflict with an insightful awareness. I would highly recommend this poetry collection that will not only make you feel something but will also make you think. I’m excited to read and review his next poetry book Finish Your Thoughts. Below is a link for both You Might Feel This and Finish Your Thoughts:

Poetry: Forgiving My Younger Self

I wrote this poem in February of 2022.

I forgive myself at 15 for crying over an idiot
who was never worth my time and energy
but he did spark my poetic voice

I forgive myself at 20 for writing more than 50 poems
about a 6 week relationship in 2001
but it did make for some hilarious blog content in 2021

I forgive myself at 25 for not fighting harder for my dreams
and for swallowing my anger and angst for the comfort of others
but that year I became a playwright

I forgive myself at 30 for drowning the writer in me
as I lost myself in my roles as wife and mother
but that year I launched my blog

I forgive myself at 35 for swallowing a bottle of xanax
because I felt like a failure as wife, mother, and worker
but the dark poetry from that time is some of my best

I forgive myself at 40 for wanting to die for two weeks in July
after being discarded by the “supposed” love of my life
but that summer I found the confidence to call myself a writer

Reflection: My Relationship with Poetry

it’s like that

Poetry is and always has been a big part of my life. Poetry is everywhere . Poetry is in the lyrics I sing, it’s in the love I make, it’s in the beauty of nature, and even in the grief I feel. Since as long as I can remember, I’ve used poetry to process my feelings.

At first, it was me finding comfort in song lyrics when sadness or anxiety hit me even as a young child. I remember being 5 and belting out the heartbreaking lyrics to Juan Gabriel’s song “Querida: or the romantic lyrics Daniela Romo’s “De Mi Enamorate”. When I came to the United States in the 80s, I learned English at school but also through song lyrics. I remember at 6 or 7 singing the lyrics to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” or Rick Astley’s “Together Forever”.
Around 6th grade when I started getting crushes on boys that never gave me the time of day, I would alternate between being angry and singing salty songs like “Someday” by Mariah Carey or singing and crying to Boyz II Men’s “End of
The Road”. Yes, I’ve been super dramatic and emotional since I can remember. Haha.

Here is a short playlist of these songs:

Poetry Feels like

And then came the age of the internet when poetry became accessible to me with just a few clicks. I remember being ghosted by this ex when I was 15 and finding this poetry forum with poems full of teenage angst, anger and sadness. It was incredible to me that there were other people feeling how I felt. Yes, some of these poems could be called cringy and corny – but it got me through what I thought was the worst heartbreak I was experiencing at that time. Here are a few of those poems

I Want to Know by Cammi Thorn
Ride by Unknown Poet
Check Please by Unknown Poet

Around this time my mom noticed my new fondness for poetry and introduced me to the love poetry of the Spanish poet Gustavo Becquer and I swooned. This is my favorite poem of his:

Asomaba a sus ojos una lágrima, y a mi labio una frase de...
Rima XXX by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

Eventually I started writing poetry to process my feelings and this is one of the first ones I wrote inspired by what else-a breakup. Haha.

Jaded me at 15

In some of my blog posts, I’ve said that I shouldn’t have written poems about so and so and should have gone to therapy; and while that may be true, poetry was also a type of therapy for me. Whether it was writing salty and angry poems or processing feelings of infatuation or existential dread; poetry has been one of the few constants in my life

In my 20s, I discovered Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and Sylvia’s Plath “To a Jilted Lover” and my love for poetry became even stronger.

Phenomenal Woman - Maya Angelou Photograph by Maria Angelica Maira
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
To A Jilted Lover by Sylvia Plath - To A Jilted Lover Poem
To A Jilted Lover by Sylvia Plath

At that time, I also found the courage to join the literary club in college and start reading my own poetry in front of my peers. I call it brave because poets that share their poems, whether it be through open mic night, social media, a blog, or a book are sharing an intimate part of themselves with the world. They’re sharing their vulnerability, their grief, and sometimes even their most private thoughts. It’s brave to do this in a world that shouts at you to “fuck feelings “or tries to tone down the many emotions we as humans feel as we go through this beautiful and complicated thing called life. Sharing your poetry can feeling like opening and inviting the world to your innermost and private thoughts.

For me, poetry is part of how I process life. Sharing my poetry through my blog or at open mic sometimes feels like the last step in healing from trauma. I told my therapist that sharing my poetry through my blog feels cathartic because afterwards it feels like I’m completely done with revisiting a traumatic event. I’ve also received comments from people that they’re related to my poetry because of something similar they’ve felt or have gone through and that’s the other reason I share my poetry. IF even one person can relate to any of my poems and it makes them not feel so alone then I’ve done my job as a poet.

My Pathetic Little Beast

Poetry: Gone

I wrote this in December of 2002 and it wasn’t inspired by any breakups, it might have been inspired by a movie I watched or a book I read.

it’s like that sometimes

I woke up one day
To see that you had gone away
All you left was a note
You could no longer cope
With our love mess
You had tried your very best
To be the man I wanted you to be
The one who only cared for me
You had only pretended to be true
And now you say the time has come
You’re sorry it took so damn long
All that is left is goodbye
You tell me to not even ask why
You wish me the best in life
One day I’ll make a great wife
And with your signature you sign off
I hope that someday you’ll find true love

Turning 41: Changing the Narrative

“My last year in my 30s ended up with me being an essential worker during a pandemic while being a mom of three and being involved in two different romantic liaisons. I could look back on what I have not accomplished in my life and be sad but instead I’ll focus on my growth and my goals for the next year. I’ve made a lot of progress this year both financially and personally. I’ve improved my credit score by 100 points by working 2 jobs and paying debt off. Also for the first time in my adult life I’m in a healthy romantic relationship with a wonderful man. This time last year I didn’t think either was possible and at times I don’t feel like I deserve all of the good fortune in my life. As I look forward to my next year and my new decade, I hope to really focus on becoming a confident driver, submit my writing everywhere and try to get published, and continue to work my two jobs to save up to buy 2 houses. I’m kind of excited for what the next decade looks like. My thirties taught me I can survive what I once thought would not be survivable. During my thirties, I felt myself merely surviving. In this next decade I look forward to thriving.”

I wrote this a year ago and so much has changed. I can tell you that my 40th year didn’t go as planned. I’m not involved in any romantic relationships.In fact, for the first time in 26 years, I’m not chasing love or the adrenaline rush of being in a romantic relationship. I can honestly say that I am in the healthiest and happiest relationship at this time-with myself. This time last year, I thought that personal growth meant sustaining a “healthy” relationship with someone and now I’m not so sure. I have more to say about this but that’s something I will share later on.  I could talk about everything that went wrong this year but I won’t. Honestly, there are parts of that year that I’m not done processing and not ready to talk about and that’s okay. I learned in therapy that grief isn’t linear and I have to honor my process and not to suppress my feelings. It’s hard to write this but it’s my truth. What hasn’t changed is that I’m still working 2 jobs and am actually paying off new debt that I incurred when I went on several binge shopping sprees this summer and fall. I do have to say that my wardrobe is amazing and I’m the best dressed person in the office. I’ve had tremendous growth this year in a lot of areas. I’m in the best shape of my life after I took up angry power walking and running this summer and lost 20 pounds within a 3 months period. I beat this driving phobia I had through exposure therapy. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality this summer and successfully completed a therapy program that has helped me manage my symptoms in a much healthier way. I started blogging again. I’ve lost count of how many poems and essays I’ve written because this year has been beyond inspiring. The best thing that has happened this year is that I’m finally the woman I had always wanted to be but was too afraid to be. It’s taken a lot of hard work, tears and so much introspection to get here. Here is a place where I no longer run away from my life but I run to it instead. Here is a place where I’m comfortable and in love with solitude and am no longer chasing the high of love in someone else. Here is a place where I look forward to each and every day because I finally understand that my life is a gift and not a burden. Here is a place where I’m no longer just surviving but I’m thriving. Here is a place I want to stay in for a really long time. My goals are for this year are simple:

  1. Continue to thrive by keeping my life as uncomplicated and drama free as possible.
  2. Say “yes” to anything that brings growth and progress even if it might feel uncomfortable at the time.
  3. Say “no” to anything that feels unhealthy or will stagnate my growth and progress.

Here is me looking forward to a calm year full of growth and progress.

February 23, 2022

Poetry: Without a Goodbye

I wrote this poem in 2001. I think that this poem was inspired by seeing what one of my family members was going through during their separation.

life is strange

Walking through this house
so full in every single room
are memories of you
the living room where
you held me
the kitchen where we dined
the bedroom we made love
kind of hard to imagine
all that is left,
are pictures of you

in my mind
but I have to accept that
this house will be
empty and cold
just like my heart
since you left
without saying goodbye