Pink Balloons by Andrea Nicki

The poetry leader tells us

to write about childhood experiences

He shares his poem about

his love for baseball

I write energetically about child rape

the ways I tried to love myself as a girl

When it’s my turn to share

he pops my pink balloon

says this experience must be locked in a room

with a professional therapist

 

I look at his blue balloon

the string held tightly in his hand

On it he has written

in thick black marker

“Pink balloons are dangerous”

Forced Retirement by Andrea Nicki

Not the smooth fading of a glorious sunset

the fresh colours rush off the page

as if from a bucket of water

You are shocked

Your elaborate, time-consuming

work destroyed

There are no pieces to pick up

and put back together

(or cut yourself with dramatically)

You find yourself in a muddy puddle

no evidence of masterwork

or precious object stolen

no relocation

Where are you?

There are no special markings, no road signs

The sky is a burnt brown

with nothing decipherable

no stirrings

no telling animal silhouettes

Where are you?

You hear little sparrows in bushes

With foolish song?

The sky turns from burnt brown to pea soup green

your lunch all week

with a lean piece of toast

all you can stomach

the adjunct professor by Andrea Nicki

the adjunct professor doomed

to a premature death, disposal

never reaching tenure

or even seniority

employs the strategies

of the octopus

releases black ink

poems of protest

against her attackers

uses camouflage

blends in with her environment

unites with the sanitation workers

complains about low wages

radicalizes herself

Adjunct Professor by Andrea Nicki

The adjunct professor receives a mass email
with an attached spreadsheet
of the teaching schedule for the next year.
After seven years of teaching,
she has been dropped.
She finds herself in a university dumpster
with skeletons of older adjuncts
who collapsed on their last day
and freshly discarded guest speakers
from marginalized populations,
lured with hundred dollar honorariums
to talk for an hour about their sufferings,
violence against their kind,
to classes in social sciences.
They fight over pristine leftovers
from a conference buffet,
stuff their mouths with asparagus ham rolls
and roast beef and cheddar pinwheels
to eat later for dinner and breakfast.
They come out wearing
barely worn designer clothing
with bags of flowers, fruit and vegetables,
half-full wine bottles and almost full circles of brie.
Some tenured professors express pity
toward the adjunct professor,
ask her how she will survive.
She laughs loudly at the ignorance
of uninterrupted wealth,
recalling all the poverty
she has survived since childhood.
She doesn’t smell of anything rotten,
a floral, fruity potpourri.

I have 2 poetry books published: Noble Orphan by Demeter Press (2014) and Welcoming by Inanna Press (2009). My poetry has appeared in diverse North American publications, such as RampikeStories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies (Kent State University Press, Ohio), Women and Environments, Eco Poetry 2009, Philosophy Now, The Brock ReviewThe GooseMagnolia: A Journal of Women’s Literature II  (Michigan),  Wordgathering: A Journal on Disability and Literature, Return to the Mago, and Crone Magazinewww.andreanicki.com.