Unsent Text Messages, Shopping Lists, and Dark Thoughts – Kate Baer’s Poetry Speaks To Us All - The Grace Tales

Unsent Text Messages, Shopping Lists, and Dark Thoughts – Kate Baer’s Poetry Speaks To Us All



It’s a twist no one saw coming...

Instagram, the photo-sharing app released in 2010, has somehow become the launchpad for the careers of some of today’s biggest names in poetry. Rupi Kaur, Morgan Harper Nichols, Cleo Wade – before there were books, world tours, speaking engagements; their words glowed on screen in grid format.

Perhaps it’s the immediacy. Perhaps it’s the way they make magic of the mundane, putting into perfectly-distilled words the complexity of the everyday. That’s certainly the case for poet Kate Baer, whose poetry muses on motherhood and marriage, and speaks to parents in the trenches with honesty, vulnerability, and above all, relatability.

Kate’s work has just made the leap from screen to page with the release of her debut book What Kind Of Woman. The number one best seller in New Releases in Poetry, the book is wry, funny, touching, and at times, devastating.

We’ve selected a few favourite pieces below.

What Kind Of Woman is available for preorder


Author Kate Baer


For My Daughter On A Bad Day

Life will rough you up. Throw you to the

shore like a wave crashing– sand in your

hair, blood in your teeth. When grief sits

with you, hand dipped with rage, let it

linger. Hold its pulse in your hands. There

is no remedy for a bad haircut or ruined

love like time . Even when death is coming,

even when the filth rises in the back of

your throat–

 

this is not the worst of it. And if it is?

Listen for the catbird calling. No matter

the wreckage, they still sing for you.


Body Back

In labor she is untamed. Body arching against the pain,

bright and cutting, until at last the smell of earth and blood.

Oh! she cries. A velvet scalp arrives under her chin. Oh .

At home she is a deflated balloon. Bruised fruit. All hips and skin

and breasts. She cradles herself in one arm, babe in the other.

To the doctor: should she still be limping to and from the car?

A woman on the screen says she’s getting her body back. From

where, she does not know. Once, she pulls on jeans, dark and fitted,

in the middle of a Saturday. Once, she throws her rings into the sea.

In summer the zinnias bloom along the hillside while the baby

coos her animal song. What is this life? she thinks gaily. Still she

she covers her motherhood like a scandal. Hushes it like a profanity.


Deleted Sentences

Dear husband. Dear lover. Dear darling of my

heart. No, I do not want to attend the barbeque

scheduled cruelly over naptime. I do not want to

go to the recital either. Can you tell your sister

that too? In the morning I saw you dancing with

our daughter and for a moment I almost cried.

I hate when people say I almost cried . Why even

mention it at all?

What time will you be home? What time do you

think you may be home? What time should we

wait for you outside on the lawn while the pasta

boils over and the baby cries because he misses you?

Oh, before I go– what time will you be home?

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if you

died and I had to write a eulogy while lost in my

grief. What would I say? And who would take out

the trash bins on dark Sunday nights or hold our

children while they cried through fever dreams?

What time will you be home?


What Children Say

I can’t reach my cup, my water bottle,

the snack up on the shelf. I can’t do

it. I won’t do it. I would never do it

in a million years. You need to help

me. Help me faster. Do it the way

I asked you to. I don’t like pizza or

watermelon. I don’t like anything I

liked before. I do not want it. I do

not need it. I will never move up off

this floor. Do not help me. Do not

hold me. Do not sit down beside my

bed. I’m not sleeping. I’m not tired.

I’m too scared to fall asleep. You must

hold me. You must rock me. Do not

leave me all alone. I am thirsty. I am

hungry. I am too tired to put my toys

away. Do not be angry. Do not start

singing. Where is the butterfly I drew?

I’m still hungry. I’m still playing. Will

you leave me? Will you stay?


What Mothers Say

I am tired. I am sleeping. I am heading

up to bed. Is it Tuesday? What’s tomorrow?

When’s the last I slept alone?

I am thinking. I am talking. Do you see

I’m on the phone? Bring the dishes, find

your blanket, put that book back on the

shelf. It is bedtime. It is rest time. You

need to go and brush again. I am working.

I am eating. This is why we bought you

toys. Go and play now, find your brother,

find elsewhere to make your ship. I am

angry, you’re not listening. Please stop

crying on the floor. It’s a school night.

Do your homework. Let me come and

scratch your back. I am listening. I can

hear you. Thanks for telling me the

truth. Let me closer, let me help you.

I am here now. Let me stay.


Robyn Hood

Imagine if we took back our diets,

our grand delusions, the time spent

thinking about the curve of our form.

Imagine if we took back every time we

called attention to one or the other: her

body, our body, the bad shape of things.

Imagine the minutes that would stretch

into hours. Day after day stolen back like

a thief.

Imagine the power of loose arms and

assurance. The years welcomed home

in a soft, cotton dress.


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