print this page go back one page  

Natalie E. Illum



Something beyond
the refuge. I want
something beyond the thing I am
referencing. A moveable meaning
that glistens with possibility. I want
something hazy with hope but conscious
of clarity. Something beyond the waiting,
the want of revolution.


Hand over hand, you, through the mire
of tradition, came to grasp
my shoulder and found instead the flesh
whispering use this as you would
the mind, a muscle, give life to each

beyond what is appropriate.


Worn fingers and solid shutters
of voices, speaking against the silence
of discipline. Witness
an amber of consciousness


Inside this space the reordering
of doors. You are another threshold
of understanding and I reach out
hand over hand. Your fingers
slip into mine and dissolve
before I can grasp their meaning,
before I can recognize the difference
between us. Tell me, what is
struggle and what is peace


She is the indistinguishable
utterance, like the sighing
before sleep. The edges where we bleed
into each other muted and visible. Resting
until poetry is the only fluid pulsing inside.


An image of her remains, encased
in mellow blueness, resonates
back into fatigue. Yet something beyond
her voice is still sweet, draws pictures
of Norfolk, Georgia. Places


I want to go
beyond the withholding
of fear. Traveling, could we navigate
each other without losing
the hour from Atlanta to Mobile
Can you take me?


Through bodies of words carefully
chosen from obscurity into clarity
passes and revolutions can fragment
and all that remains is the expression
on our faces when they told us,


You ask me for the work
of validation, something beyond
idealism. Ask me how quietly
the horizons shift. Ask me to feel
how quickly your heart is beating
in me the answers.

Poet's Biography:
  Natalie E. Illum is currently an adjunct instructor of College Writing at American University. She has plans of pursuing an MFA in poetry after completing her Masters in Literature. She is also a collective board member of mothertongue: Washington, DC women's only spokenword organization ( She writes for the community in the hopes that she may find one that is not exhausted.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.