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National Poetry Month, Day 30

What a great month it’s been! I wanted to close out my National Poetry Month posts with a classic. Have a great day, everyone. And remember: You ARE a poet. You just don’t know it. xox

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Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a womanPhenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

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National Poetry Month, Day 29

May we all write such an omelet…and know such love.

Nikki and Alethea, Once Upon a Time

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I Wrote A Good Omelet
by Nikki Giovanni

I wrote a good omelet…and ate
a hot poem… after loving you
Buttoned my car…and drove my
coat home…in the rain…
after loving you
I goed on red…and stopped on
green…floating somewhere in between…
being here and being there…
after loving you
I rolled my bed…turned down
my hair…slightly
confused but…I don’t care…
Laid out my teeth…and gargled my
gown…then I stood
…and laid me down…
To sleep…
after loving you

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National Poetry Month, Day 27

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey.

Beauty in a subversive alphabet…if The Wonderland Alphabet could be credited to anyone other than Lewis Carroll, it would be Edward Gorey.

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National Poetry Month, Day 26

I wrote this poem in the back of a catalog during a particularly grueling “buy session” while working at A Certain Book Wholesaler. It was raining that day…and I guess I was feeling poetic.

“Escapist” is also available on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/17762865-escapist

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That Princess Alethea, Always ThinkingEscapist
by Alethea Kontis

She tells him things
He already knows
The world beyond my ears
Turns to fuzz
Channel surfing memories of
Empty pecan groves and
Butterfly wings
He tells her stories
She doesn’t care
The rain drip drop bang on the roof
Plays Beethoven to a standing ovation
I cheer with my head
Yearn with my heart
Caught between religious zealots
Whose Amens
Are Whatevers
And the summer breeze
Slips warm through my hair
Wishing me
Happy February

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National Poetry Month, Day 25

Some cultures do not see a Man in the Moon…they see a rabbit. This is my poem based on one of the Chinese legends of the Rabbit in the Moon.

(Also available on Wattpad – click here.)

Rabbit in the Moon **************************

The Rabbit in the Moon
Alethea Kontis

Once upon a time
I was a rabbit in the world of men
Flesh and blood
True and free
Camouflaged in light and dark
In snow and shadow
Overlooked and wary of danger
It was cold that winter’s night when the woman appeared
Eyes white as stars, hair black as night
Blue toes, blue lips, blue lost and hopeless heart that mirrored my own
She asked the bear for help but he could not spare it
He needed his store to see him through the bitter season
She asked the fox for help but she could not spare it
She needed her milk to see her kits through their first steps
Though she did not ask for it I offered myself timidly
Offered my blood to slake her thirst
Offered my skin to warm her
Offered my flesh to give her sustenance
She smiled upon me with those stars through that night
And she was whole
She was a goddess, and I had saved her
She made me one with the moon so that all could share my generous heart
High above the world
White in the black sky
True and free
Camouflaged in light and dark
Forever safe, forever admired
Forever alone
But her love left me a tether back to the world of men
Should I ever need to return sometime
Someday
#
It was another winter’s night when the rooster appeared
Dark in the light
A black shadow on the white snow
His head bowed, his wings humbled
His heart a mirror that reflected my brightness
Drawn to him I followed my tether
Back down to the world of men
I offered myself timidly though he did not ask for it
Offered my blood to warm him
Offered my heart to nourish him
Offered my moon’s light to guide him
He slit my throat with his spurs and bathed in me
Until his feathers shimmered russet
He fed upon my generous heart
Crushed it to pieces inside a gizzard full of broken glass
He asked me to return to the moon
To set for him so that he might crow mightily with the voice I inspired in him
I said yes.
And he was whole
I was a goddess, and I had saved him.
He left me there, one with the moon
High above the world
White in the black sky
Forever safe, forever admired
Forever alone
I learned too late there was no tether
No way to return to the world of men
And no need.
For I need only myself
True and free
Camouflaged in light and dark
In snow and shadow
In pride and shame
I am whole
I am full
And all may share my generous heart

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Princess Alethea Rants “Cinderella”

Here it is…the Rant you’ve been waiting for! Especially to celebrate World Book Night 2014.

Enjoy and share the love of reading! xox

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National Poetry Month, Day 24

In the wake of World Book Night, please enjoy some fun poetry from The Wonderland Alphabet!

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The Wonderland Alphabet: Verse by Alethea Kontis, Illustrated by J.K. LeeA

A is for Alice, a curious girl
Who fell very far through a hole in the world
She followed a clock-watching rabbit, you see
To a land full of wonder, and madness, and tea.

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J

I do not fear the ticking clock
But lo, I fear the Jabberwock
I keep my vorpal blade at hand
To slay the scourge of Wonderland.

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M

Mad Hatter, Savior, so carefree
Turns our water into tea
Ever knowing there and thence
Much madness is divinest sense!

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Q

Red or White or Hearts, no matter
From the March Hare to the Hatter
I am Queen, as all can see
And all ways here belong to me.

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Princess Alethea and the Power of Words

As promised, here is the small speech I gave at the World Book Night Givers Reception last night at Gum Springs Library. xox

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WBN Loves Cover“Words have power.” This phrase was said by Mama Woodcutter to her youngest daughter Sunday, in my novel Enchanted.

Words have power. We all know this to be true…of course, in my book, I took it literally (no spoilers for those who haven’t read it!).

Words have power. Enchanted contains around 74,000 of them. I’d say that’s a decent amount of power.

If words could be converted into kilowatts, this library could light up the city. But when I say “power” in this context I don’t mean electrical…I mean MAGIC.

And, as I always say, Magic is best when shared.

It was my father who first shared this magic with me, reading to me every night when I was a baby. When I was three, Mom realized that *I* was the one reading, while Dad snored peacefully away on the bed beside me.

THAT’S how powerful words are to me. I never remember learning how to read. It’s like I just knew. To me, words have always been magic.

From that point on, books were my life. They were my favorite things in the world. I was not shy about telling people this, so I always got books as gifts from my family. Some kids get turtles or unicorns or teddy bears–I got books.

I still have the ones that were inscribed to me by my grandmothers and my aunt. Thanks to a plethora of Library Book Sales, I even have a bunch of books inscribed to other people. I love those just as much, even though I never knew the givers or the recipients. It simply adds history to the character of the book itself, giving it a place and a time, a purpose, and a life.

Tomorrow night, World Book Night Givers will be giving life to half a million books all across the United States.

That’s some pretty powerful magic, if I do say so myself.

And what better way to share the magic of reading? It’s so wonderful when a friend puts a book into my hand and says, “You must read this!” There are billions of books out there, but that one made it through the slush pile and was vetted by my very own personal pre-reader. What more could I ask for?

I remember those moments–powerful, strong memories. I remember when the local bookseller handed me the hardcover of Robin McKinley’s Deerskin and told me I was going to love it. I had just graduated high school. Almost a decade later, my co-worker Kitti walked into my cubicle and forced a book into my hands, making me SWEAR I would read it. That book was A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Of course, I am TOTALLY guilty of pushing books off on other people as well. There are books I look for at book sales for the sole purpose of hoarding multiple copies to force upon my friends at will. Some of those titles have been: William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Orson Scott Card’s novelization of The Abyss, and The Monster at the End of This Book, starring Grover. (Still one of the best baby shower gifts of all time!)

Givers, tomorrow night, you will be making these memories. You will be the one who means something to someone so powerfully that they will remember it for the rest of their lives. It may not be the same with every person you hand that book to, but at least one book in that box you’re taking home with you tonight is going to make a difference. And that is a powerful thing.

Because words have power. Words are magic. And magic is best when shared.

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National Poetry Month, Day 23

In honor of Shakespeare’s birthday today (and World Book Night tonight!), here is my favorite sonnet.

SONNET 130
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

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National Poetry Month, Day 22

Because I was such an avid reader and lover of poetry as a child, I did not discover Shel Silverstein until my friends started passing around copies of Where the Sidewalk Ends at school.

I enjoyed Silverstein’s prose and fun approach to poetry, but he wasn’t as groundbreaking for me as he was for some. I mean…he’s not Ogden Nash. But I still have my favorites. Like this one:

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INVENTION
Shel Silverstein

I’ve done it, I’ve done it!
Guess what I’ve done!
Invented a light that plugs into the sun.
The sun is bright enough,
The bulb is strong enough,
But, oh, there’s only one thing wrong….

The cord ain’t long enough

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