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"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." Anne Sexton 

Heather Brager is a critically acclaimed juggler of calamity, an accomplished procrastinator, and shuffler of idioms. Her poetry and drawings can be found in various digital and print journals around the globe, and on the web.  She currently resides in New England and prefers the precipice of where the Atlantic meets the sand to the official looking office where she spends most of her time. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Choices.



Every day we experience the opportunity to make important choices in our lives and the lives of the people we love.  We choose how to respond to events that affect us, both minor and catastrophic.  We also choose what we will allow to impact us and our families, positively and negatively.

During the days since the tragedy in Connecticut, we have read a plethora of misinformation and incorrect “facts” and statistics from the general public and our sensationalized media.  We have witnessed boundless anger and retaliatory rhetoric tossed back and forth, even among “friends.”  We have seen and read raw and frantic political fanaticism.  We have also watched numerous heartfelt exchanges of honesty and pure, vulnerable strength and compassion.

It is so simple a concept, yet we as a modern culture are still so hasty to blame, lash out with anger and hatred, “tell it like it is,” and make broad, generalized statements that often skip right over the humans we say that we are so insistent on protecting.  We bend the truth to fit our agenda and skip to policy that we only think we understand.  We are so quick to tell everyone how to immediately “fix” the problems that are flashed across our computer and television screens, and yet, we are absolutely unwilling to do what is actually necessary to safeguard our very own evolution.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  We need not wait to see what others do.”  Gandhi

For those of you who have taken the time to get to know me personally, you know of the challenges I have navigated over the past few years.  During that time, I have learned that sheltering my children from everything that is happening is not a productive way to teach them about real life.  I have cried in front of my boys, I have told them I didn't have the answer but would do the very best I could, and I have led by example by allowing them to witness my resolve, over and over again.  

So I choose honesty.  

I choose authenticity, accountability and integrity.   It is my hope to instill in my children the very same attributes, and to arm them with a diverse skill set to confront their fears openly, to recognize and ask for what they need, and to extend love and compassion to others in need.  I choose not to assume I have the power to fix massive, broken systems, but to focus on what is important in my life, right now.   I have learned that lesson well.

Today, it was important to sit outside in my car for fifteen extra minutes to allow my boys to tell me what they felt was important to say.  I laughed with them and when they left to go to school, we said "I love you."   I choose to be the change I want to see.

What do you choose? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

12.6.2012




the sky is holding
we see it:  the impending
it comes down to this

© 12.6.12 heather brager

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

four incomplete memories.


it was most likely a holiday, as
she stood over the kitchen counter
bending forward to sip a glass of warm
pinkish liquid from a crystal wine glass
her hair was dyed almost black
and had lost its youthful shine
when she inhaled, the ember
of her cigarette shone hot amber,
just enough to force her pale lip gloss
to shimmer for a few seconds

his clothes were normally coated in dust
sometimes he clutched a tattered
comic book and his black finger nails
followed the words
as if he was actually reading them
he taunted the boys behind him
in the padded, torn green seats
until one day the red haired boy
took a swing and knocked his eyeglasses
onto the slippery bus floor

he was lying there, carefully unobtrusive
in a cold, dim room that stank
of urine and bleach
his hands were shaking slightly
the aquamarine colored blood
tenderly protruding through the veil
of transparent skin that was
carefully stretched over his bones
reminded her of
a hotel swimming pool

the weeds and wildflowers
grew above her head
even when she stood on her tip toes,
she could not see the cars that made
the rushing sound out on the road
she held a handful of mayflowers
and sniffed them periodically
with simple pleasure, and
when she returned to the house
she would put them in a glass of water
and leave them on the kitchen table

© 12.4.12 heather brager

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

providence.





there is a yellow home
three proud stories with painted gingerbread
that waits patiently for her
leaning quietly and sighing through the seasons
it watches the random gene of bravery
that nudges her along in a warped plane
a careful but curious overlap of realities

she can understand the creaks of boards
that speak to her soundlessly through the ether
she contemplates another woman's memories
that have set up camp in her head, while
she dreams awake through her daily life
and waiting at traffic lights
in another world that is miles or years away

from the black and white cat
who bends slowly around her ankles
whiskers whispering in the sunlit kitchen
speaking the familiar synergy
that she wonders how
she can understand

© 11.27.12 heather brager

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

11.20.12


we have come miles now
seasons revolve within us
we won’t hibernate

© 11.20.12 heather brager

Friday, November 16, 2012

scenery and a soundtrack.


she was in the south, the dry flanks echoing
stretching inside-out on all sides
birds of prey and iridescent clouds losing altitude
lucinda williams in the speakers
and emptiness in her palms

she was that eagle flying east and west
the midwest stretching lazily beneath her
speaking through the voice of bob dylan in the earbuds
stirring her to dream of the deciduous trees
and trilliums that raised her

she was consumed by the promise of the sea
the urban rhythms and city lights
heels in alleyways and over cobblestones
slaid cleaves on the stage and this man beside her
stirring optimism in her glass


© 11.16.12 heather brager

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a new day.


there it is, seeping
the wounds and light are the same
we are transforming

© 11.13.12 heather brager

Thursday, November 8, 2012

a promise.






it is not a wonder, you
ceased hearing
the sweeping hush of green boughs
outside the window

as the cities
and faces click by, you
lurch toward the guard rails
press against a bitter wind,
wish to rest your eyes

you visualize the frayed edges
of this mislaid joy, the time
when you could bend down
and lift promises to your chest

it is not a wonder, in this
world you molded,
the perspective to lose
has been lost
in the continuum 

© 11.8.12 heather brager

Monday, October 29, 2012

the real question.

who is she
if not
your keeper
a shell that you carefully
prepare each day
protecting you
from the elements
you wrap her
in undergarments
dresses, coats, socks and shoes
you offer food to pad her
from the unavoidable
guide her
down hallways
and through
doorways
through weeks
months
years

to your
inevitable end


© 10.29.12 heather brager

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

it doesn't add up.

are you even here, or just
a phantom of this life

merging in and out
of mundane weeks

leaving and arriving with the
same acerbic vigor

you are dragging figures,
pounding on locked doors

crushing a crumpled dollar bill
in your cold, bruised fist


© 10.23.12 heather brager

Monday, October 22, 2012

10.22.12



you open your eyes  at 4:19 a.m. and despite your desperate blinks,
the ceiling is covered in shadows, the kind that watch you while you sleep.
with your mind, you command them to leave you the fuck alone
but they just flicker and shift, flicker and shift …  flicker and shift.
you drag your ass out of bed to find the windshield a half inch thick with frost
not delicate etchings, but a coating of super glue ice that won’t scrape off
even after twelve minutes of full blast defrost, you are still shivering on the side street
you remind yourself to buy some gloves the next time you get paid, but you will forget


© 10.22.12 heather brager

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

mid-october.

it spoke to me
as if I was that lost little girl
her ear pressed against the wind
standing alone and lithe
on a wheat colored hillside
this time, facing south
with a promise of change
murmuring over her like
thousands of blackbirds
bending the air,
dipping to reach her
to touch her face
beneath last season’s corn


© 10.9.12 heather brager

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

outlier.

an entity
the categories
constructed of neurons
sixty chemical elements
the human form of
flesh and bone
cartilage and fluids

what they hope
with the astonishing
intellect comprised
of intricate
isometric equations
in carefully measured
formulas

among them all
she remains
the synonym of
protector, the
reckless bard
a strumpet, girl


© 10.9.12 heather brager




Thursday, September 27, 2012

a dichotomy.





with her gaze fixed on
their shoes, souls
both of her hands
grasping a coffee cup as if it
could get away

murmurs shift, the
severe depth, her pupils

a subtle transfer toward the
faces of the women
droning softly on the sofa
one shadowy, the other
opposing the painting behind her
on the color wheel

she speaks to herself, recalling
the beauty of contrast

comfort in the facts, and
solace in the pattern

her own shadow
on the plaster walls



© 9.27.12 heather brager

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

don't quit your day job.





you are trying to say something
you write words through your fingers
in between meetings
and confirmation phone calls
you scribble lines on a paper towel
standing at the bathroom sink
you don’t want to forget
what you were thinking
you have a collection of post-it notes
your own 3M rainbow
on your desk and
the dashboard of your cluttered car
you just know it was important
you may have written something profound
a brand new concept
the world’s greatest poem
but that post-it is stuck to some woman’s shoe
as she walks to the bathroom
with her pen in hand

© 9.26.12 heather brager

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9.18.12





a hidden nadir
the rabbit holes are miles deep
they sweep the front step


© 9.18.12 heather brager