Poets Speak Loud Featuring J.L. Weeks

J.L. Weeks

The Poets Speak Loud open mic series returns to McGeary’s on Monday, November 30, with featured reader J.L. Weeks.

Poet and writer J.L. Weeks is a native of Albany’s South End and much of her inspiration is rooted in her working-class upbringing. Her influences include Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, Kim Addonizio, Charles Bukowski and Bob Dylan… Her eclectic style, is not just a patchwork of her own experiences but a glimpse into the lives of those around her. She is the author of several short stories and essays, though poetry is where she feels most at home. While finding beauty in society’s margins and heroes in the overlooked, she prefers to share her perspective through verse. She believes that poetry has the ability to convey an honesty; somewhere in between the lines – In a place where no other means of expression will do.

When she’s not writing she enjoys relaxing with her family, pigeon-watching , drinking hard cider, collecting creepy dolls (not creepy porcelain dolls, those scare her) and swearing too much. She hopes to one day share an elevator with Peter Dinklage.



I breathe you in
until my lungs are full
and my heart, satisfied

With each breath, I carry you with me
Along for a day… For a lifetime

I found you somewhere in between
The warm crimson glow of a gothic altar
And a back hallway
illuminated by a cool ultraviolet flicker

Where the heart is forced to split into two

One side, askew with haste
Provocative laughter to fill an empty room
Intrigue with a hint of grace

The other, a garden of starving soil
home to brittle roots

Neither knows possibility
Neither knows truth

You, poised in both worlds
Akin to madness
Captivated by the lucidity of heart
Deliberately disappointed by love

Me, lost in this land of obscurity
Frightened by the shadows
Attracted to the origins of the shade
Unwilling to dance with the darkness
until the moment comes, when I do
Still, I follow you
You lead the way

Speaking of heroes and demons
Adventures and war

I breathed you in
until my lungs were full
and my heart, satisfied

With each breath, I carried you with me
Along for a day… For a lifetime
All I ever wanted was to love you

To guard you like a tall wall
fortified by brick and steel
Surrounded by salt water
as far as the eye could see
Ready to withstand any attacks
be them surprise or summoned

All I wished was to cradle you in my arms
Embrace you with the warmth of my core
the gentleness of my spirit
So that you would always know that you were loved

For a long while,
I remained mesmerized by the depth of your sea
Telling myself
The roughest waters hide the calmest of currents

That the farther you travel below the fierce surface
the more serene the world becomes

No matter the darkness
No matter the strangeness of life
So far away from the forceful waves
The destruction of Neptune’s wrath
Deep below the rawness
of the angry wake

Telling myself
Many things go unnoticed
Void of the light needed to reflect
the tranquil magic of the floor

Dreaming of the countless colors
Believing in
all the blackened leagues undiscovered
An existence without claim

I see now why you brought me the North Wind
And why your hair
smells of the ocean.


Poets Speak Loud is Albany Poets’ long-running monthly open mic for poetry and spoken word with a featured poet hosted by local poet Mary Panza at McGeary’s (4 Clinton Square) in downtown Albany on the last Monday of each and every month.

Sign-up for the open mic is 7:00pm, we start around 8pm.


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