November Poetry Slam

messy thoughts

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.

Pulling up the covers feels different. Day becomes dawn earlier, peaches have been replaced by pink ladies, and the cool kitchen tiles are difficult to brave barefoot. Closets are now congested with cardigans and coats. Your corner table in your favorite coffee shop is now others’ corner table too, and your morning latte run has become a lengthier endeavor altogether (…great minds really do think alike). Toes curl and you pull your sweater sleeves down over your hands, clinging to the bunched knit.

November is here

You open the door and are greeted less gently than you were just an hour ago. The air bites into your cheeks as, simultaneously, you raise an apple to your mouth and begin nibbling. You meander slowly, kicking at cigarette butts and crunching on leaves and twigs below. A neon “OPEN” sign flickers in a shop window about a block down. Intrigued, you proceed in that direction and enter the cafe cautiously. Wafting acoustic warmth, muffled chatter, and the rich aroma of espresso fills the space. A mic stands unaccompanied ahead, and varied folding chairs are scattered loosely around it, facing it. You lean against a wooden pillar toward toward the back and watch as a daring soul rises from her seat, crinkled paper in hand, and approaches the mic.


by Christine Mananita 

It all felt surreal.


I still remember that time when your eyes met mine.

Noisy people and the sound of falling dimes,

The smell of coffee in the office

Was just another thing to notice.


We soon told each other about all our fears,

Hopes, and dreams, which brought us into tears.


Suddenly you came as strong as lightning,

Like cymbals clashing.

You changed as fast as a cloud

blown by the wind above.


Redness, anger,

A high pitched voice was all I could hear.


You left, forgetting all about us.

No footsteps, no calls, no goodbyes.

Just silence. Tears falling down.


Then one day, you caught my eye.

Those blue eyes, staring back at mine.




By Brindy Francis


Under this blood moon is the yearning to paint your silhouette

Flushed upon canvas skin, the color begins to materialize

Red souls long for red minds




By Tana Smith


the windows are all cracked

cold air fills the empty space you’ve left behind

yet I still walk into living rooms

expecting you to be sitting in a rocking chair

(made of wood)

holding a beer or a baby, depending on the year

I inherited parts of you

your roots wrapped around my limbs,

cradling my body

I was raised in the trees

branches reaching towards sky

leaves turning a different shade of loss every year

I have woodchips in my lungs

splinters in my fingertips

with kindling for bones,

I’m careful not to start fires

I keep your rocking chair in the living room

made of wood and still empty, but not forgotten

maybe someday the room will be warm again

but this is not the year




By Caroline Smith


Wine stains my cheeks

Ice cubes melt into water

Blood scars your sheets


My heartbeat slows

You want to be careful

I hope it’s worthwhile


Red wine stains your shirt

Matching the bruises on your neck

One from me, another from her


I call you, and no answer

I bet you’re with that dancer

I can’t help the thoughts as they trickle in


My toes curl as I think

Of you and I

My lips smirk as I think


Of her in your bed

She has not a clue

Of our talks of dreams


The universe is ecstatic

About you and I

Forgotten, for no good reason




By Claire


you dance in my mind and waste my time

blowing smoke in my ears

and writing down lies,

then you etch them into the back of my eyes.


you said that you like me,

to get a few favors,

and I am your houseplant

that wilts when you waver.


my blossoms smell sweet

like promises, you can’t keep

but I grow from your dirt,

and get crushed by the neighbors.


I wish i could learn to face towards the sun,

but I crawl back to you, while my mind begs me to run

I am blind and empty-minded,

searching for love,

and your smoke is the toxic flavor,

filling my lungs.



By Victoria Butler




Did I spend those four years in a storm?

All my memories are overcast.

Nostalgia likes to decorate, you know.

It hangs fairy lights and paintings and

makes the spaces you ran from something

you think you have to miss.




We were almost in love that summer.

I take detours to see the doorways

your silhouette used to shine through

and wonder if your bedsheets

are still blue.




My fingers are shaking.

It’s winter and I’ve had too much to drink.

Everyone has started smoking

now that they’re old enough to know

it can kill them.



Mother tells me she is ugly,

a fact she worships with

no evidence. Everyone tells

me that we are the same

and at last I can see the resemblance.




I have memorized the streets

from behind the wheel but

on foot everything is

sharper. Nothing is as safe as I thought

it was and I

forget where I am going.




My soulmate left me on a Wednesday night.

I do not hate the man who

took her

But I resent the way this world turns

in her absence.




Windsor Glen


The girl with a coat of dust on her lashes-

Have you heard her speak?

Her words form puddles of honeycrisp apples

Rising up to my waist and dripping caramel on my carpet.

Her stories reek of wonder thrown from windows,

Discarded as it settles on the earth.

A man slumps under a rainspout, soaking, but he doesn’t move.

He has never been asked why, but she knows.

There is a tiger in her mind.

A commercial flashing on screen saying:

“Don’t support zoos!”

Bars. Everywhere. The striped beast throws himself into them.

The children laugh and stare.

When she smiles, her mouth is redder than her country’s flag,

Because her heart got too big

It grew to the size of Saturn in her chest

And one day gave way to a river that reaches out her lips.

So I ask you,

Have you heard her speak?

Her words are branches of an elm tree that hold a cradle for a swallow

Rocked back and forth in a storm.

It waits for you.

Ask her.




  1. I’m so happy to be featured in this month’s post! I was not expecting that! So many beautiful poems this month!

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