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February untitled

February 3, 2018

Don’t let the world make you cold.

Don’t forget to find the joy in each moment of little, stupid things that pass you by

The way your dogs ears move when she’s responding to your voice

How hilarious a preschool coworker can be with toothpaste and balloons

The way the world offers up little ways of laughter when you are sobbing.

Don’t let this moment ruin you or turn you to stone or break your heart completely.

Listen to the songs that make you cry and remind you of dancing in random places, that remind you of hushed conversations and folding laundry.

Don’t start hating the smell of butter cooking in a pan or the way a piece of furniture makes you feel.

Offer yourself again. Fully again. Your complete heart.

To someone new. The next one in line.

Just because you go through so much bullshit doesn’t mean it’s this way forever.

Don’t grow cold. Acknowledge the pain.

Keep crying. Keep feeling.

Keep moving with your heart wide open.

The world goes on.

Stupid laughter is just around the corner

Embrace it.


A Letter To My Younger Self

January 5, 2018

Wait for the man who, in the same breath, can tell you that you are beautiful and ask you what you want for supper and later after he is done cooking serves you a plate first, setting it down by your laptop as you quietly write.

Wait for the man who stays up late after he puts his children to bed and kisses them goodnight and sets firm boundaries on a sleep schedule because he understands how important it is that his babies get enough sleep and then he does his homework, pushing himself further along in life.

Wait for the man who can laugh with you for hours and over silly things.

Wait for the man who gets up at 5am without pressing snooze because he knows work is important and no matter what he did the night before, he needs to be on time because he is in charge of others and in charge of himself.

Wait for the man who will rub the mascara spot off your cheekbone and kiss you anyway.

Wait for the man who knows himself and is secure in what he stands for, as you push each other to continue to think and question the big, messy parts of life.

Wait for the man who challenges you and accepts you for your passions in life who won’t turn away when you cry and will reach for your hand and remind you that everything will be okay.

Wait for the man whose body you cannot stop reaching for.

Wait for the man who is all of these things because at 17, 19, 22, and even at 29 I thought I had found this man but it was never really him, it was just a boy with a mask pretending to be these things and nothing was ever right. Wait for the man who doesn’t have to pretend, who doesn’t have to be asked to apologize, who doesn’t have to fake anything because he is already all of these things

Wait for this man because I promise you that he is out there and there are others like him who have their shit together and if there is one thing I am glad I did at 19, 24, and yes, even 32, is walk away from a man who did not do these things and who did not embody that kind of assertiveness and assurance and love.

Wait for that man because it is worth it. Your heart is worth it.

My dear self, I am so glad you waited.


December 28, 2017

When they burn your body

Where does it go?

Back to the source, to stardust?

All those specs floating up



Up into the sky, into space

To rejoin the moon and

To begin again.

It’s a strange process

To lose someone you love

Even when it’s their time

You just want to hug them again

But you can’t.

Instead, you stare at the stars

And imagine

Growing Upwards– A Poem for the Inauguration of Donald Trump

January 20, 2017

I want to lay down quietly in the earth

Dig under the snow, under the top soil

Until I find the perfect black– the richness of quietness

I want to lay inside,  in between the earth worms and decaying

world from above with my arms folded, lips pursed together

My eyes sullen– as if sinking inward.

I want to remove myself from the message

From the history that is being written today

From the chair that has been pulled out from underneath us,

(even though I am coming to find that the safety was never really there all along.)

We have been fighting this shit all along and I just want

To rest my body.

Rest for so long because this work seems like centuries

Against the patriarchy and its injustices that occur

Because I was born with breasts and a vagina,

(and I hate that I have to whisper the word vagina when they can shout pussy,)

I want to return to the earth

To collapse into the ashes of the women who have gone before me

To bury my soul from the harshness of the sun in this present day

Just give me five minutes of uninterrupted rest from the press

The media, those fucking tweets.

Let me rest in the darkest of dirt.

Let me seep in the riches from Mother Earth

And then,

Let me re-bloom into flowers.



October 14, 2016

She. Only a little shhh! before he.

Stay in your box! Don’t you dare

dream of metamorphosis

Don’t you dare do anything other than

“bloom where you are planted.”

It’s been ingrained in you to pick the least challenging choice

To apologize, to say “sorry,” for your thoughts, your ideas

Your wardrobe. Your body.

To tailor your schedule, your life, yourself around the comforts of others.

To place your breasts in a bra and cover up that clevage because, don’t you know how men stare?

But, it’s amazing. When you stop paying attention to the demands of the world.

When you stop considering he before she and you before them and you start to define 


It’s amazing when you speak your mind without apologizing and when you pick clothes to keep your body cool or warm and when you finally, finally take off that bra

And burn it. 


September 4, 2015

The sunflowers are all bent down
Like they are praying before the Mother God of light and love
I drive by them in my little green car
Zooming down the road at 70 miles an hour
And I wonder what their secret is?
I yearn to be so humble before God like that
I turned in my head look out the window
As if they will converse back with my thoughts (And they do)
If you keep flying past us, they say
You will never find out
Slow down, they beckon
Soak up a little soil and sunshine on this big open prairie
And find out

Sunflowers near Redfield, by Laura Beth Gatzke

Sunflowers near Redfield, by Laura Beth Gatzke

Goodnight, Boston 

May 15, 2015

Bare legged, I slip off my shoes and walk across the cold cobblestone
Tip-toeing my way
To the edge of the grass of the
Boston Common.

I shouldn’t be out walking this late at night,
But she is my city, and
I love her.

The tulips greet me by name and laugh at my legs that are so white they almost appear glowing
and the Swan boats that are resting for the night on the duck pond quack a little as I walk past, bidding me goodbye.
This is my last night in Boston.
Even the nail polish on my toes is making friends with stars, savoring this moment of exchange in the darkness.
And me, I smile and walk
Grateful to be in the company
Of such friends

I was taught, growing up, that
The darkness wasn’t my friend
That amidst the tulips and trees were scary things like people waiting to mug you, hurt you, or scare you.

But as I walk through this night, so close to midnight with the stars, moonlight, and city lights to guide me– I think about the things 30 has taught me.

I am more afraid of other women raping my reputation than I am of a male rapist. I am more fearful of the patriarch stealing my rights than I am of someone stealing my purse.

And that’s why I chose to walk with my city one last time, oh so close to midnight, in the darkness of the Boston Common.
Because what rises above
Rapists and thieves, people who set out intentionally to hurt others, and this whole systemic patriarchy
is a woman who knows herself and fears only the absence of her shadow amidst such things.

My toes greet the pavement and I slip on my shoes and slip into the subway and ride away from city,
Kissing it goodbye and goodnight through the stinky subway air.


Delilah Isn’t Coming Home

December 17, 2013

I have been inside this house before
Sitting on the kitchen counter, feet swinging to the floor
And I swear–
I’ve seen you around.
Maybe you just had a different name.
See how she moves– like smooth on the glass
She’s ice on the surface, you know it won’t last past a season or two
I can tell by your eyes, there isn’t much you can hide
From me.

Benjamin holds his cigars like he holds his cigarettes
He smokes like a chimney, drinks till he forgets
And Delilah isn’t coming home
And Delilah isn’t coming home.
You’re wasting your time.
Mary holds the guitar, but she doesn’t know how to play
She wants you to think that she does anyway
Because the strings and wood make her feel better
Without them, she’s just four letters.

See how she moves like smooth on the glass
She’s ice on the surface, you know it won’t last past a season or two
Where was I going before I met you?
I know I had somewhere to be.
I know I had someone to be.

Benjamin still smokes while Mary plays
And we haven’t seen Delilah in days

I should get out of this house, I should leave while the door’s still open
I should leave while you’re still broken.
This house is much too broken.

She Lives

November 25, 2013

I didn’t flinch.

I was born into a home that celebrates the divine feminine
in which even my dad, the most manly man I know
Who has worked his whole life with his hands
Would ride his riding lawn mower around the yard
With a fluffy pink steering-wheel cover and
When the school bus would pull up to drop me off everybody would peer
out the bus windows and he would yell over the noise to me,
“I’m just bringing out my feminine side!” with a hearty laugh that
showed me it was okay for gender to blur the lines– that it didn’t make
A man less of a man to proudly display pink in public

I was born into a home where your gender was not matched with your likes

And my parents didn’t think twice about buying my baby sister
a “Cool Tools Power Tool Set” so she could play when dad played tools each
Saturday, when he would dream up a new project to do around the house
Sally would follow in his footsteps, hammering the side of the wall with her plastic
hammer and carefully putting her tools together on her workbench while Dad cleaned up

I grew up in a home with two parents
Self-educated and self-made through hard work who
Raised their two daughters to not only speak their own voices–but to own them

To not whisper our desires but to shout and proclaim

And to boldly ask for the things we wanted– feminine or masculine
Our identities and our desires were not drawn out into a dichotomy of pink and blue

My mother.

My mother who has kept her hair short her entire adult life
Who wears flannel and rarely uses full make-up or a mirror
taught me that I am absolutely beautiful,
taught me that my beauty comes from my heart, and from a God who loves me
regardless of how often I wash my hair or fill in my eyebrows or lengthen my eyelashes

And at 28– I have come to love those things.

I love embracing my womanhood through over the top jewelry
Tall boots and dresses that designers did not make with my breasts in mind.

But I also understand that these outward appearances do not change my spirit

They do not confine me or bind me to stay within a certain expectation society has placed on me
That the media and magazines have reinforced
That the men of my generation have come to expect

I was not expecting you

Or your conversations about my lifestyle
I didn’t flinch. Not once did I

Reconsider myself,

It was in that moment that I was reminded the divine feminine had not left me
She was embodied in me and I embraced her

Long after you paid for your coffee and left.


March 3, 2012

I almost let myself barter with my worth last night
Like I was some cheap piece of art
On some flimsy canvas
Hung on the wall by not even a nail– but by one of those
Clear, plastic tacks.
I began to question to what I was worth
And if I was worth your time.
Me! The girl who took six years to realize the
Woman she had become.
I almost traded that for a bribe!
I almost lost myself in the forty minutes it took
To beg you to stay– and you still walked away.
I was confused when I was left alone with just me,
Who is this woman who is crying?
Who is this woman who is trying to persuade herself that
it’s a mistake made on her behalf?
I didn’t know that woman with the
mascara and eyeliner running down her face, with her worth
spilling off of her in every direction and her pride disappearing
like the snowflakes that fell on us on the walk back to the car
and were whisked away back into liquid.
It took me a while when I got home to rescue her–
I had to wipe off every piece of eyeshadow and eyeliner and lipstick
and run a brush through my hair and breath back into my being.
I had to center myself and reclaim myself. I had to remember my worth!
And when I finally made it to my bed and pulled my covers up all around me
I knew that I had not lost her. You see-
My legs move faster than paper,
My face cannot be painted,
My body is not some canvas to be hung on the wall
With a price tag that can be bartered.
I am a woman. A woman!
And I deserve much more consideration.