Prescribing Poetry is run by Rehema Njambi. Poet, writer, and book enthusiast with a keen love of poetry. Here you will find posts about poems that inspire me, poets that I love and admire, and new poets that I discover and wish to share with you. You will also find occasional bits of news on my own poetry endeavours and my journey to getting a collection published.
I’m in the midst of a seismic change in my life and it has thrown me for a loop! Between figuring out how to be independent but still connected enough to the people that matter to me so that I am not totally isolated, it’s a balancing act.
It’s been a while (I often seem to begin my posts in this way!). A lot has happened over the last month and a bit. Let’s see…I went home to Nairobi for my sister’s wedding and a desperately needed break, came back and moved to a new city for a new job, and picked up a writing project that I had put down because I was in an awful place mentally and had nothing creative to give. Whilst I was away, I was drafting my thoughts in bits and pieces and so here are some of those thoughts…
My God how I needed this trip. To be reminded that my world is not so small. That it contains the absolute beauty of my nephews laughing; the joy and miracle of knowing they are living in the same world I am in. The trust when they look at me and say “hug” or the confidence that I will play with them whenever they want to. In my world, I am an auntie.
My world is not so broken. This year has been filled with pressing weight and anxiety, panic attacks and weeks spent hiding under the covers but still, it is not so broken. I am not so broken. This trip has reminded me that in my house, I am the peaceful one. The one that’s goofy and silly and happy to be childish. That my mother leans on me for strength. And my older brother enjoys my silly humour. That my younger brother turns to me as a confidant, and my older sister loves me despite how often we rub each other wrong, and my sister-in-law enjoys my company. I am many things to the people who love me and know me and those things are worthy.
Moving is terrifying. Doing something for just me is terrifying. It’s ironic that I have spent the past six years dealing with some pretty heavy health-related things both personally and with a dear and close family member but this move away from home and alone again makes me feel more scared than I have been in a very long time. Perhaps because I got used to the situation I was in, it wasn’t setting off the alarms in my mind quite so much, but right now, I’m spending a lot of time telling myself to breath easy.
She arrived at the country mansion in a silver limousine. She’d sent out invitations and everything: her name written twice with “&” in the middle, the calligraphy of coupling. She strode down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James, faced the celebrant like a keen soldier reporting for duty, her voice shaky yet sure. I do. I do. “You may now kiss the mirror.” Applause. Confetti. Every single one of the hundred and forty guests deemed the service “unimprovable.” Especially the vows. So “from the heart.” Her wedding gown was ivory; pointedly off-white, “After all, we’ve shared a bed for thirty-two years,” she quipped in her first speech, “I’m hardly virginal if you know what I mean.” (No one knew exactly what she meant.) Not a soul questioned their devotion. You only had to look at them. Hand cupped in hand. Smiling out of the same eyes. You could sense their secret language, bone-deep, blended blood. Toasts were frequent, tearful. One guest eyed his wife — hovering harmlessly at the bar — and imagined what his life might’ve been if he’d responded, years ago, to that offer in his head: “I’m the only one who will ever truly understand you. Marry me, Derek. I love you. Marry me.” At the time, he hadn’t taken his proposal seriously. He recharged his champagne flute, watched the newlywed cut her five-tiered cake, both hands on the knife. “Is it too late for us to try?” Derek whispered to no one, as the bride glided herself onto the dance floor, taking turns first to lead then follow.
Hey poetical friends! This is a brief little note to share some exciting news! I’m thrilled to say that one of my poems has been chosen by bath magg for their first issue! bath magg is an online poetry magazine that is looking to promote new voices in poetry and celebrate the many established poets and writers already in existence in the UK.
Considering my last post, I can tell you this is joyous news and I’m particularly pleased about this. But isn’t that just like life? To be as equally good as it is terrible sometimes? That’s the way of things but I’m appreciative of this opportunity. It has lit a fire in me to submit to more things, try more things and just go for it.
After all, first this excellent online magazine and then…the bookshelves of the world! Right?
Hello! Another long few months of silence but never fear, I yet live! I’ve had the intention to post at least once a month over the last few months but alas, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that… it has not quite worked out that way. Life has been tough and kicking my butt quite a bit over the last two months but still…we persevere.
I think a lot of the experiences we go through, however difficult, at the very least give us the chance to learn something about ourselves and how we go through the world. Whilst thinking of this over the last two months, I realised I have a habit of holding on too hard and too long to things I should let go of. And this inspired the following…
Sometimes Let Go
Sometimes let go. Sometimes leave. Sometimes take the option with the least amount of pain. Sometimes run. Far and fast and with everything you can salvage after the war you’ve been fighting. Sometimes let go. Leap and dive into the unknown Because what you’re leaving behind is worse than What you might meet on your way. So let go.
There are times when taking care of you, your mental health, and your peace means walking away, even when you don’t want to. And that’s okay.
I am made of the things doubt is made of : Questions in the night Shadows gathered together as the light dims Blurred lines and late-night musings Confessions after the certainty wears off.
The things I refuse to touch; the knowledge that I don’t know but make my home in the place of hope anyway. That edge between assurance and doubt that lets me fall either way on any given day
And my best is a balancing act on a wire. If you want to know where I am, You can find me there placing one foot in front of the other arms outstretched for balance hope in one hand, doubt in the other head aimed at the end of the line.
Hello and happy new month, friends! The start of this month has been better. I’m a little less overwhelmed (even a little goes a long way), one of my favourite poets has released a full length novel — AND I HAVE IT!– and it’s that one sunny week we get in England so really, I am wonderful!
This is just a roundup of the things I’ll be reading this month, what is on my wish-list for later and a little about what I’ve been writing!
This Month’s Read…
To start with…can we just appreciate the fact Ocean Vuong has a novel out?! If you’ve been following my Instagram (sly promo), you’ll know I’m a massive Ocean Vuong stan. And now I get more Vuong? Yes. Yes, please! He writes his prose like it’s poetry and I cannot rate it highly enough. And to top that off, you can get the book on audible where Vuong is narrating! Worthy of all your coin, I sincerely promise you!*
Okay, so another poetry author I will automatically buy from, no questions asked! Jericho Brown has a new collection out! Well…it has been out for a few months. The Tradition is my wish-list title for this month. I can’t wait to get it since I already love Brown’s writing, style and poetic voice. I absolutely loved The New Testament (go get it!!). It continues to be one of those collections I go back to again and again and I can’t explain how much I love it.
I came across it at a really low point in my life and it spoke to me in so many ways. So I sing Jericho Brown praises to one and all…and can’t wait to get The Tradition (it’s on its way!).
What I’m Writing:
It’s been a tricky few months with the writing. Since I’ve been super drained and the writer’s block has been real, I was finding it hard to pick up the pen. However, I do have actual deadlines for something I’m submitting to so I have been taking myself off to different cafes around Oxford — yes, it’s an excuse for cake– and have since begun chipping away at the block.
It feels like it’s going to be a good month. If only because I’ve got such good things to read! Let me know what’s on your radar, what you’re reading, what I should have an eye out for.
Hello! It has been so long. Over a month in fact. I hope you’re all good. I won’t lie, the last month and a bit has been quite overwhelming between work and home and living. I’m sat in the office finalizing several things for a conference and it’s late. It’s been raining all day and both my mood and anxiety are ticking over towards a kind of doom and gloom that matches the torrential rain and grey skies outside.
For whatever reason, my mind has decided that today is not A Good Day. But that’s okay. I’ve spent most of my day at my desk attempting to breathe easy and although it doesn’t feel so great, I’m reminded of a phrase I wrote a while back in an old poem. It is about goodness, about gratefulness and about those moments like today when you’re fighting to breath easy.
Remember the good. Remember strength. Remember that hope does not diminish even when it feels absent.
This is currently my creed. I’m hoping for a better, easier month than the one I’ve had. And in case these words might resonate with you, I offer them up for the moment. Be kind to yourself this month.