Creative Study,  Issue 1,  Poetry

Creative Study: Elisabeth Horan

Artist Statement:

I find myself so thankful for the feminist writers who have taught me to write poetry… When I first read Emily Dickinson, I thought this is the real thing… the power of scarcity, the complete control of the tone and voice. She is the master of doing so much with so little. I have always wanted to emulate her craft, which is so original, so effective – – – one just knows… it’s perfect. 

Emily’s poems evoke solitude, lust, hope, yearning, loss, quiet, cold, passion, and most certainly, death. I also write these themes. In starting these poems, I first found it intimidating. What business do I have trying to write something even vaguely attune to Emily’s work… With Emily, I had to find the control…. to corral my often knee-jerk pain and conform it to something… tight. Tightness, regularity, clever and surprising placement of rhyme. Control of voice, always in control… even when out of control. I think Emily always knew the purpose, always had a formula for the outcome. I had to let myself into her world. In these poems, I let out the solitude I often feel, the darkness of New England winter, the correspondence with a Sir… it all evoked a spirit in me and I found the cadence and the right words. 

Lastly, I have always loved the pioneer which Emily was with punctuation. She didn’t give a crap about whether it was cool to use the dashes. Everywhere. She just did it. In my poems to her,,, I began coming up with punctuation in threes. As so much of the meter I heard in my head was in threes, pauses is threes, rhymes in threes;;; see what I mean???

So that is becoming my ode to Emily punctuation. And I absolutely dig it.

Channeling a poet heroine makes me write better, I think. Out of respect for them, I try harder; I have to get it just right. Otherwise, I would be letting them down. And by God, I can’t let that happen. 

Odd list odd house odd me – – –

Odd list odd house odd me – – –
Time navigates its ream of paper

My father sister brother neighbors
My quill my ache my captain 
allows me

Travel, upon scented rainbows
made, laid upon my breast in 
arcing layers

A love bandage, my soul less hollow
my face more colorful, 
a theater enacted

From the weight of my legs I cannot
stand. You do not write enough these
stoic days of leaves and language – – –

Not that I judge, yet behold a 
woman’s seethe

Seems to permeate my list my house
my pores, this skin-wrapped present damp
with a mildew stench, unbeknownst,

Before I knew of your tick tock hands, 
to me.

I am a Simple Woman – – –

I am a Simple Woman – – –
my pasty grey-dawn Smile
I cannot leave my bedroom;
I’m naked and I’m vile

I love my bedroom linens
they seduce me ever lightly –
they do not use such fingers
as the men who grip too tightly – – –

In here  – I am safety Goddess 
of a night filled with golden ships; 
ruby-red riches; slippery hips
I pine for; would die for. 

A winking Woman’s eye
Does not judge my hag-filled Harem – – – 
but holds it tender for the Feminine. 

Never as Provocateur, 
nor some Bastard Child of
the Masculine – – –

This is The Knell

This is The Knell. The Death
Knell Some can smell – the
simple way He says – young
Lady, you shall come with Me now 

The Horses stomp 
within their leathers –
the Gollum flicks a fork-ed tongue. 
Back. And forth.  A change – – –

In the Gross Weight – – – seven
sentient Grams – had I not taken
the Fatal Dram – 

I would still harbor His Trolls – – –
with all their crude support
as Traitors, mutants of My body.

Something for to worship

What a woman wouldn’t do
to be torn into something new –
a more vixen version of her usual;
a muse unknown by her summer god

One covered by youth and genius
and the lushly muscled torso. That of the
lion and the rhino. Not that of the 
cobra and the gecko. See inside me now –

Little orb of red bullet flickers on/off
for the idea of you; little gem ruby-red
rock produces shock waves at the 
image of a man, with his hands, with a face,

With a mouth residing in the cave of
my crisis – saying lay down woman
be still. Lay down – – – while I go ahead
and revel in the worship of you.

Some days, alone is not what it seems

Big horse big horse
A lover.

I lost I lost
My father

Curled violent
I circumcise

My petal. Big
Horse creates

Kill chaos. 

Lover did eat
My face off

Left nothing
For the crows


My shirt is
Still off

Big horse, my 

Evil lover, took
His part. 

His part, 
Took my art

Evil lover.

Were I With Thee – – – And Your Scepter

Wild is the untaming 
of the night’s quiet slip – her

Soothing movement in the
thrush’s bush – 

The reeds the reeds, the cattails
whisper; go young one, go

And touch The Scepter. 
Hush Babe – – –

She nudges the door, it’s
a rock, a sway, her hip

Does push it farther
away, his mouth, is not

A static door but a portal
and he knows the cave,

Honey meadow pollen
thief, all the petals of –

All the Blossoming Shebas
cannot sate the pinched-

Lip Flower Seller. He rows
upon the river. He follows

Her into the night
– – – wherever. 

And So Easily, I Cave

The feathers have been stitched into
a pillow, young woman,

Did not they tell you?
the tree has come down

A terrible hurricane, a nor’easter, 
came and fell

The mother’s nook aerie. Who shall 
we stone – – – who shall we arrest; the pyre 
waits for no one

The licking flames 
succumb to no rogue wave

Tickling my leg 
knee to tendon; you’ve cut

A slit for diversion – I know 
your type – this

Kind who skirts punitive 
damages. This is

Not the first time the white dove 
has died. Now you are

Tracing the L of my leg and 
I cry out, not for

Hope, nor for the broke 
and dripping eggs. 

Scant be the Blessings

The window does shine a light for you
Dusted cobweb path; the moth from one wing


Suspended over the bridge of life – what effort
What recoil the silken string – the moth, cannot
Match this kind of tensility, as we, simple humans
Cannot mime any kind of strength from weaving
Orbs of crystalline dew receivers, the miracles of
Arachnids – ah, spinners of everything meticulous

          And deadly –

Are you not like The Creator who hath
Made a window of sand and flame? for you to peer
Out from – small miracle of the eye – to see that
Which is still alive in the world

                                    – outside. 


Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. Elisabeth is honored to serve as Poetry Editor at Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and is Co-Owner of Animal Heart Press. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique and a 2018 Pushcart Nomination from Cease Cows. Follow her @ehoranpoet  &

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