As Brief as Breath: The Power Of Short Poems by Michelle K.


If I had a dollar for every message about “is there any more to this poem? Is it really only four lines?” I’d probably be a millionaire. Well, perhaps not a millionaire, but I’d easily have over a hundred dollars.

I’ve long envied the beautiful tapestry that some poets weave: the lengthy words, the seamless lines, finished with thick knots of perfectly placed punctuation. Some writers just write sexy. I stare in awe at their multi-page prose.

Then, I return to my style. While it’s changed over the past decade or so, I’ve come to find my sweet spot in the short and abrupt lines of my thoughts. Rough. Emotional. Raw. I’ve always made a point to keep my editing to a minimum. What I post is what I thought, dreamed, or felt in that moment.

I stopped reading poetry about a year ago. I found myself far too envious of a style that just doesn’t fit: I am the fat ninth grader in a sea of size 00’s all over again. My voice is neither soothing nor eloquent; my stories do not inspire line after line of strong, well-organized poetry.

My voice is loud. My voice is thick. My voice pinches the tongue; punches the mind, plucks at the heart, and then makes a run for it. My voice finally started to reflect the twenty-some years of manic, anxiety-ridden stories. I have spent a lot of time at the bottom—this is what I’ve brought back up.

These are what I have: I was sad, sick, even sicker, better, in love, sick again, heartbroken, and better again. Now, I am living. I am in that in between, the sweet spot of manic and busy and anxious and very, very happy. I am living my life in moments, one-liners, short paragraphs. I am eating and crying and not sleeping enough and never stopping. I am a little chubby and a little wild and a little aggressive.

Hopefully, I am what you read. I am not the dressing gown that many poets wear so well—I am the stained nightshirt you stuff away from view.

And my poems are brief as breath.

Michelle K. is a 23-year-old poetry blogger based out of the East Coast. In addition to writing, she is also a full-time professional and graduate student. Her favorite things include Gilmore Girls, brunch, studying WWII history, and feminism. She has enjoyed creative writing for as long as she can remember and regularly updates her blog. Her first book with Where Are You Press is available for pre-order now. For inquiries, please contact her at michellekpoems@yahoo.com.

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