A white gender ambiguous person with red glasses and dark brown hair wearing a gray knit cap and an olive green jacket. Snow is falling.

Emily Nick Howard writes, leads ritual, and makes things.

My free newsletter The Bone Folder is about cultivating presence and depth.

How do we create a practice to deepen as people? How do we commit to staying present to the endless excavation of the universe? The topics I cover include poetry, books, tarot, queerness, plant medicines, grief, minimalism, relationships, ancestry, religion/spirituality, psychology, history, words, and things made with the hands.

  • George

    Sunlight through your skull
    you left me behind
    in the room full of your self
    Sunlight through your skull
    you left me with a mind
    unsure of itself
    Now you are spacious
    and a wild animal
    has come to live inside of me
    that I might call grief to try to keep it tame
    Now you are porous
    and my shaded face
    is dripping, opaque,
    and waits
  • The Art of Poetry

    I am a descendent of Romantics; I accept this.

    How to say that it happens? Usually an image or phrase that words coalesce around. You start writing, the words build on top of each other. You come to the stopping place and look at it all, briefly in love. Themes and connections that seem like they were made consciously appear to you. You’re sure there are others that others could find.

    And then there’s the fiddling, which is sometimes quite short, sometimes extensive. Sometimes 75% gets excised, sometimes only a couple of words switched out. If there’s an opportunity for assonance or rhyme, I usually take it. The page gets quite messy, which is exhilarating, a foul copy. You copy it into a fair copy, which becomes another foul copy. Eventually it goes into the computer, but computers aren’t as good at being messy.

    Some poems are journal entries, more or less chopped up prose, and those have their purpose although I would not send them to be published. They can get published here. The poems that require and reward more work go beyond the meanings of the words.

    Because poetry is not just the meanings of the words, which makes it hard to read unless you are prepared to play, be befuddled, be heartbroken. Because words have secret and official histories, because they sound certain ways, look certain ways, because they react chemically with each other when placed in proximity, because they ooze chartreuse guts when broken out of idioms. And sometimes that takes some patience to understand, or grace to let understanding alone.

    That’s what I’d say poetry is. Quite effortless and quite a lot of work at once. And the person who writes it? They always say that person must be attentive, which is true. Attentive to how anything that enters their experience could become a poem if they let it, if they’re willing.

  • Splitter

    You asked, so I don’t know
    how to say it was a violation.
    You asked for a kiss and then expected
    my tongue, my hips.
    I walked away like it was any other thing
    I said yes to
    and caved in on myself the rest of the day.
    Later your mind split me apart
    from all good things,
    which was a relief
    because my body can’t split 
    the past from your tongue
    though I tried to convince you
    I loved you enough.
    The shame of saying yes
    just because it seemed 
    unreasonable to refuse
    is fused with that other time and place.
    In those years since
    did you once think back 
    and wonder
    if it was unreasonable to ask?
  • Veterans Day

    At the pink sliver sunrise
    while I cooked an egg
    my finger touched the burner
    and it felt rough, not hot.
    Today, then I remembered,
    is one of those days
    I am supposed to feel what I do not feel.
    The sun rises in the sky
    I break the yolk into my rice.
    I would rather have what was taken 
    from my grandfathers
    than honor any thing
    for which anyone fought and died.

© 2021 Emily Howard | hello@emilynhoward.com