Simone Barrow

Featured Poet – Fall 2021

Be Open

I took some poetry classes once and the teacher asked me to be open
in that one statement her ignorance was clear
“Be open.”
I was, it just wasn’t the open she wanted
the darkness inside of me wanted to leak out onto the page
infect every eye that beheld its horror in ink
she didn’t want to read that
she wanted to read how I saw the world
so here is how I see my world.
People fear demons reaching out from other worlds to rip them away from their lives
those demons reside inside me
ripping holes in my back
tearing talons through knuckles
keening a filthy song out of my throat
until I taste their blood and rot in my mouth
a permanent stinking song
their ink has poisoned my mind
and I can’t get it back
my glasses are peeling
they grow dimmer
the world is damp, grey and ashen
it even smells wrong, off
it sickens my stomach
I scratch until I bruise
even though I want to be a force for hope
it is only the truth that seems to find me
10 years ago, I dreamt I was running through the ashes of the world
with each day, that reality comes closer and closer
“Be open.”
“Be vulnerable.”
“Be you.”
Which is easier when you are left with only your carcass to be open with.

Penned by: Confused

If I were to die tomorrow and a funeral was held
it would be one of the greatest disasters to behold
the accounts of my life and who I am
would differ so greatly from one person to the next
each would ask: who was she?
I live this way day to day.
I do not want whatever deity is up there to win whatever game they are playing with my life.
I assure you I will make them play hard for this one.
British born, Jamaican girl.
Christian raised and Christian still
who long suspected she was a witch
and in her 26th year discovered she was
the two are a paradox that shouldn’t coexist
they often fight and no side wins
they earn glares and sighs and judgmental thoughts
honestly, I don’t know who will claim my soul in the end
as long as it is not a hell scape, I don’t know that I care
living in confusion, because I am confused, creates confusion to those around me
it is not intentional
but like I said, whoever is pulling the puppet strings above will work for it
my guardian angel and spirit guides are looking forward to their next assignment
perhaps their next life will be a little less confusing.

Questions I Have About Witchcraft

Is it ok that I am drawn to several disciplines?
I am black, Caribbean and British
so I’m not sure if I have to follow the magic of my people
what is the magic of my people?
It got lost in the middle of the ocean
was sold a few times
It was mixed a few times too
Which means even if I could follow one discipline
Why would I want to?
I haven’t traced my ancestry far enough yet
so far I know that my family were once slaves
brought to work in Jamaica
most likely West African
perhaps I could call upon Anansi for answers to my witchcraft conundrum?
Then, I know my great, great grandfather was a Taino man from Jamaica
magic of the land, perhaps I could access shamanism?
Is it the same as witchcraft, is it different, do the two interconnect?
I was raised here in the UK and the Celtic wheel of the year has called to me
so has Greek and Norse mythology, the old gods, the old ways.
I am no longer afraid of Voodoo, simply because I do not understand it enough to fear it
perhaps my best bet is to try hoodoo, a mixture of all things old and new?
But then let’s not forget people’s opinions and how important they are to my dwindling supply of happiness.
We could always go back into the wardrobe and shut the door
pretend we are not a witch and die slowly once more.

Simone Barrow is a 28-year-old teacher with a Psychology degree and a Criminology Masters. She has been writing for over 10 years and has written previously for publication in academic journals. She was born in the UK to two Jamaican immigrants and became interested in magic as a child. Throughout her teenage years this was discouraged due to the church she was raised in, but suppression has only led to a voracious appetite for the mystical as she has become a woman.