Archives for category: My Metamorphosis

How I Got Here
by Trish Saunders

I don’t know which door opened me to this strange city,
when I was just out shopping
in a plaid dress
with my mother
and she asked me
whether I preferred plain or patent leather shoes,
and if Dad wanted roast beef
for his birthday dinner.

Was I yelling just now?
I ask the busboy, as he
collects the plates in silence.

PHOTO: The late Sara Saunders with twin daughters, Trish and Kelly, late 1950s, somewhere in Maryland.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I tried to speak in the voice of a woman who discovers that she has morphed, seemingly overnight, into an aged person who is not quite sane.  One minute, out shopping with her mother; next minute, shouting in a restaurant.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trish Saunders writes poems and flash fiction from Honolulu and Seattle. Her work has been in Blast Furnace Press, Snapping Twig, Busted Dharma, and Off The Coast.

lynn white
by Lynn White

We were such special people then,
flying high above the rest,
like the arrogant angels we saw
playing way above the clouds.
We could almost touch them
with our arms outstretched
as we danced our way through
a youth of endless possibilities.

But other people were unimpressed.
They had no wish to touch the angels,
or reach the stars, even if they could.
They looked down to us, not up.
Laughed and shook their heads
at our strangeness and waited
for our dreams to fracture as theirs had done.
We did not hear the soundtrack of their voices.
Did not see that their dreams had split open
and rotted away consuming them in the decay.

Now we have become the rest
and know that we were not so special then.
But just practicing for a life that would elude us
as our dreams remained dreams.
Dreams which became decayed imaginings
growing dusty with time and fading.
Like them, we were consumed in the rot of our dreams
as ordinariness reclaimed us and the angels let us fall.

PHOTO: The author transforming in Reykjavik, Iceland (2014).

SOURCE: First published in Amomancies, Americana issue, 2015 (different edit).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition in October 2014 and is published in Poetry For Change anthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included in Harbinger Asylum’s Literary Journal and A Moment To Live By anthology, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, the Weasel Press anthology Degenerates, Voices For Peace, Community Arts Ink’s Reclaiming Our Voices and a number of on line and print journals. Visit her on facebook.

Deceptively Yours
by Lourdes A. Gautier

She thought you were hers
No sharing, just caring
Trusted you more than she trusted herself
Loved more than she was loved though
Others thought she was the beloved.

Cracks appeared but were ignored
Nothing obvious until viewed in retrospect
Perhaps the gnawing empty feeling of
Being completely alone was normal and the
Fights that came more frequently, to be expected.

An eternity of late nights and weekend absences
(how predictable and manlike)
Culminated in three hours of truth searching
At the magical hour of 2 am when the words
That were finally uttered changed her life forever.

Unwilling to concede defeat, admit she was not enough
Not good enough, not right enough
She did what she shouldn’t have done and stayed.
Waited for sanity to return to her world
But instead insanity crept in with combat boots.

One day she was a relatively calm person
Though at times a mysterious sadness
Permeated her being, now we know why.
Stages of grief, anger, bargaining, denial and depression
But never acceptance, though that should have been first.

Months after the holocaust of bad feelings,
While in a department store she caught a glimpse of
Someone in a mirror and thought what a sad, ugly person.
Took a while to realize she was looking at herself,
The self she had become that was no longer pleasant to see.

PHOTO: The author as she appeared recently in her backyard. Slightly cracked, but not completely broken.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is about the change…the metamorphosis…of the poet whose life is forever changed by the actions of another and by her inability to cope with loss. Not only was the psyche altered but the physical appearance changed as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lourdes A. Gautier is a poet and writer of short fiction and nonfiction. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in New York City, she earned a Masters degree in Theatre and post graduate credits in a doctoral program at the City University of New York (CUNY) focusing on Latin American Theatre. She taught courses in acting and theatre history and criticism at CUNY, Drew University, and Jersey City State University and language arts in a special grant funded program at Rutgers University. Most recently, her short story, “1952,” was published in the May issue of Acentos Review. Her poems have appeared in the Silver Birch Press All About My Name and My Perfect Vacation series. Currently an administrator at Columbia University, she is working on a collection of poems and stories.

The Hop-On Hop-Off Poem
by Jacalyn Carley

Get on here, get off there,
this is a hop on- hop off poem.
No windows on the trip, you’ll need
an audio guide to see.
Where are we?
You’re in me. Welcome aboard the $10 tour.
Settle back. Ear buds plugged?
Language chosen? You hear
knees knocking?
They’re mine. $10, this tour
de force inside, I said, of me.
It’s a tour of me body, of mindless
pine barrens, bulky
mountains, with whole
states of swamps and neon lures
on liver-fed quicksand.
Lean back, trust the audio guide
as we begin by whitewater rafting
an artery. Helper verbs race by.
On your left, proper nouns are beached
like leaky banana boats. Let them rot.
You riding the force? You one with it?
Relax and enjoy as we move on
take out your ear buds, stop
beyond syntax, here at still waters, hear
distant muscles chanting.
Ahhh. Powerful adverbs eddy,
and their suction
is pleasant. Look around. Have you
always assumed that a muscle is nothing
more than a noun begging a ligament, a bone…
begging purchase? The guide notes:
Muscles are monks, neither fast-
talking preachers nor down-and-out bums
on a bench but monks, i.e., nothing more than
conjunctions in training.
Back on, please, we must move on.
Time now to ride the rush
of consciousness, head down,
to drop anchor.
To stomach lost love, bad relations,
toxic fumes, sulfurous vapors
You bothered? Have interjections?
Wanna exit? Too bad. Hop on.
We will finish this poem,
paddle one more vein. Come along
to intersection heart and lung.
Beats stomp. Bass and drum traffic in
signals of old iambic.
This route is blocked by clutter,
weeping, waste and detritus,
an endless ebb
of suicidal adjectives.
Do you hear knees knocking?
Fear there’s no emergency exit,
no volta out of here?
Scared? The guide notes
all goose bumps have roots.
When hairs stand, where
do they end? Skin
is a modifier, it splits the infinitive,
ensures the ocean of self stays contained.
You’re drifting. Hey you
guide calls, time to
sign on for the bonus,
visit the brain where fairies
and fungus lie together, embedded in pronouns.
And you decline, claim to be broke and that fast
you’re spiraling a barky, craggy tunnel,
riding the tailbone’s slippery slope and
then you are floating, a participle waiting
for the parachute to open
you see the light,
know now for certain
you prefer your poetry
as motion, not action
with its ingredients undigested and
at the very worst as bones on a plate that you can see
and suck the greasy rest of.
Say it: You prefer poetry where roots harbor flowers,
as an emotional pick-me-up, not some stinking
surging hop-on hop-off junket…
the guide interrupts
you’re dangling thoughts, claims
you don’t know what you want
at all. Your lines are tangled, a
haiku gets stymied. Lymph live-streams
free verse to your old viscous poem
and you’re hooked,
a swinger-on

PHOTO: The author in her dancing days.


As a young dancer, my job was to be technically brilliant by emulating the images of other famous dancers — dancing from the outside, so to say. With time, a sea change occurred in how I understood the human body. Moving from the inside became my goal. This meant working with internal images, what we now call “somatic work,” and involves everything from envisioning organs and bones to meditative instructions, and then moving from that internal place into the world, even onto the stage. None of this has much to do with writing, which is something I did in order to keep my cognitive sanity in that highly abstract and competitive environment.  When an unfinished manuscript of mine was bought by a publisher – an event that coincided with increasing knee problems and disillusionment of the modern dance world – I decided within a week to stop dancing. I disbanded my company, turned over teaching jobs, gave money back to sponsors for new work. The transformation was abrupt. I shed an old skin with nothing more than hope and blind faith that the new one would suit me. The poem, “The Hop-On Hop-Off Poem” is a dancer’s journey, literally, into the body of a writer. (Image from The Human Anatomy Coloring Book.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacalyn Carley transformed from a choreographer to writer midlife. The author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, she is currently writing a series of poems about the nude artists who paint the nude models as well as ekphrastic poems. She lives in Berlin, Germany.

Cimera - larger
The God of Infidels
for REW
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I am sending this letter to you,
the diligent worker in the office of
the God of Infidels.
I know it’s clean, white and sterile there.
All day long you perpetually type
little memos that say:
Nothing matters.
Who cares?
I’m no fool.
You can’t trick me.
Love is dead.
I know you read these notes aloud
before you go to sleep.
You believe every mantra word −
the heaven of protection.

You may not remember me.
I used to work in the office
three rows down
at my clean and sterile desk.
I too typed those memos.
One day I went on vacation
and met a Southsider man.
I showed him the notes −
he threw them all away!
He grabbed my hand
and pulled me into this

I gave my notice,
turned in my key.

You need to know:
Heaven is not for the gods −
it belongs to

PHOTOGRAPH: The author’s “little memo” written on the warm sand, after her metamorphosis.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is my “I was lost but now I’m found” poem about my transformation, written with great love and gratitude for Rob Whitworth, my Southsider husband.


Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Her work has appeared in Silver Birch Press, Reverie Fair, Prairie Light Review, Downtown Auroran Magazine and is forthcoming in Stepping Stones.  She volunteers, believes strongly in the ideology of Think Globally, Act Locally, and wants you to Support Local Art because it’s important. Art is her religion; the God of Infidels has been exiled for many years. She lives with her husband and family of animals in St. Charles, Illinois, and is a member of the Waterline Writers community in sister-city Batavia.

by Leah Mueller

When I read The Metamorphosis
I was living in a cockroach-infested hotel
in the middle of downtown Seattle.
I lay on the lumpy iron bed
and tried to imagine what it would be like
to wake up with antennae and six feet
that waved in all directions,
always trying to pick up on
signals of imminent destruction
before the boot came down.
I wrote a letter to my boyfriend in Chicago
on ancient hotel stationary.
The masthead featured a classic backdrop
of the building’s silhouette —
a hold-out from more sophisticated days
when sightseers took in the World’s Fair
and then retired to their rooms
for a quick shower, a change of clothing,
and an elegant dinner with cocktails.
I drew a line of cartoon cockroaches
across the roof of the hotel,
all of them smiling hugely
while they waved their legs in the air,
glad to be in Seattle at last.
Then I placed a stamp on the envelope
and went downstairs into the traffic
to search for a mailbox.
I was twenty-five years old, already a pro,
and I looked both ways as I crossed the street.
I made certain no cars would hit me,
I didn’t want that sort of transformation.
The mailbox received my letter
without question, as it did every day
and I returned to my hotel room
with its rolled-up bed-covers
and its want-ad promises of change.
The afternoon lay ahead
like a long graveyard, its trees waving
in the distance, like insect antennae.
Perhaps it would all look different
after a nap, so I lay down gently,
dreamed of insects marching in a row,
and awakened an hour later to my human form.

IMAGE: Transformation in Seattle.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leah Mueller is a writer who lives in the rain-drenched woods of western Washington. Her work has appeared recently in Cultured Vultures (as Poem of the Week), Quail Bell, MaDCap, Silver Birch Press, Rising Phoenix Review, the Rain, Party, and Disaster Society, Talking Soup, and many others. She is also the author of one chapbook, Queen of Dorksville, published in 2012 by Crisis Chronicles Press, and, the same year, a winner of Winning Writers’ Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Leah was a featured reader/poet in July 2015 at the New York Poetry Festival.

PHOTO: The author in 1983.

My Gregor Samsa
by Thomas R. Thomas

so what is
the difference

my outside
my inside

I am not you
a creature


you don’t
have to

or explain

your true
selves are

and are now

I am gone

PHOTO: Franz Kafka and Gregor Samsa, author of and character in The Metamorphosis. 


Thomas R. Thomas
publishes the small press Arroyo Seco Press. publications include Carnival, Pipe Dream, Bank Heavy Press, Chiron Review, Electric Windmill, Marco Polo, and Silver Birch Press. His books are Scorpio (Carnival), and Five Lines (World Parade Books). the art of invisibility is coming Summer 2015. His website is

PHOTOGRAPH: Thomas R. Thomas back in Beaverton, Oregon, in August 2012, after 30 years, trying to figure out how to convince his wife that they should stay there.

ws crow
Kafka on the Shore
by James Penha

Searching sands
for the detritus
of power
or love
in time
the crow finds
Gregor Samsa
in his shell
with wings
he never knew
he had.

The crow pecks
at, nibbles,
swallows Gregor
who digested will
finally learn
to fly.

IMAGE: “Crow in flight” by Watanabe Seitei (1918).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Inspired by The Metamorphosis, I wrote the poem after reading the Murakami novel Kafka on the Shore.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. Snakes and Angels, a collection of his adaptations of classic Indonesian folk tales, won the 2009 Cervena Barva Press fiction chapbook contest; No Bones to Carry, a volume of his poetry, earned the 2007 New Sins Press Editors’ Choice Award. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author on the shore in Bali (circa 1987) awaiting his transformation and wanting to fly.

kafka by warol
by Shloka Shankar

It wasn’t a dream.
Housed peacefully between four walls,
never get to know anyone,
or become friendly.

Make the big change:
spineless, and with no understanding,
don’t keep trying to do it.

Lose consciousness.
Get caught in some nonsensical hope
with peculiar whims.

Am I less sensitive than I used to be?
[long pauses between each, individual word]
Forget the time between
anxiety and self-reproach.
A horrible and frightening end.
A feeling of shame.

The few square metres of a dream
that could never be realized –
everything looks as if it has
just been thrown down by chance.

Gazing into the darkness
at a barren waste where the grey sky
and the grey earth mingle inseparably,

fall against the back
of troubled dreams like
the soughing of the wind
dragged along lifelessly.

IMAGE: “Franz Kafka,” silkscreen by Andy Warhol (1980).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Words, phrases, and lines were selectively chosen from chapters 1 and 2 of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and were remixed to form a poem with very minimal authorial intrusion.

Shloka Shankar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer from India. She loves experimenting with all forms of the written word and has found her niche in Japanese short-forms and found poetry. Some of her poems have recently appeared in Eunoia Review, Infinity’s Kitchen, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, Work to a Calm, Oddball Magazine, ATOMIC Poetry Journal, and The Other Bunny. She is also the founding editor of the literary & arts journal, Sonic Boom.

PHOTO: The author in Bangalore, India (May 2015).

Job Gone
by Rosalyn Marhatta

Cornflakes sour with mold
and three-day-old cat urine
greet me as I lie on the carpet
cleaned last month or six months ago.
What day is it?

The TV’s too loud
and I shout, “Shut up, shut up”
since the remote batteries ran out
and cable cut me off. Rabbit ears from years ago
saved my soul.

Beans and rice, no spice but black pepper;
canned pasta eaten over the sink,
and dreams of fresh broccoli and carrots
surrounding a capon roasted with rosemary.

I crawl on the carpet, turn into a bug,
not Kafka’s; my legs won’t multiply fast enough
and I can’t shine like a beetle either
or sting like a mosquito.

Oh, to be a rainbow
sitting at a computer,
or maybe at a meeting
planning upward mobility,
til I rocket to the moon.
What day is it?

I see that centipede
trying to converse with me
and I’m not in the mood for networking.

Is it Friday yet?

SOURCE: First  published in Quantum Fairytales (2015).

IMAGE: “Les Métamorphoses” (detail) by Jean Hugo (1929).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Since I lost my job and retired a few years ago, I remember the sting of forgetting who I am. I thought of Kafka and how his character transformed to a bug and with my identity gone, why not a bug? It cannot get much stranger.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosalyn Marhatta has been writing poetry since 2009. She thrives on open mics and belongs to several writing groups. She has been published in anthologies including Kakalak and Fire and Chocolate, in literary magazines including Vox Poetica, Quantum Fairytales, and Then&If. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of Net and holds an MA in playwriting.

PHOTO: The author ready for hot and spicy Indian food at Saffron Restaurant, Greensboro, North Carolina (2013).