2 poems

by Brynn Martin

2 poems

How to Not Get Murdered


Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for suspicious activity. Notice if you’re being followed. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t walk with headphones in. Trust your gut. React quickly. Take a self-defense class. Don’t take the stairs. Don’t look beautiful. Use common sense. Don’t make yourself a target. Don’t fall in love with a man. Don’t fall out of love with a man. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t walk alone. Don’t walk. Walk quickly. Keep your shoulders back. Keep your head high.  Carry your keys between your fingers. Buy mace. Buy a knife. Buy a pistol. Don’t marry a man. Don’t get divorced from a man. Don’t sit in your car. Check the backseat. Lock the doors. Roll up the windows. Drive away. Don’t drive down the highway. Don’t stop at a gas station or at a rest stop or at a McDonalds. Don’t drive. Drive faster. Stay calm. Don’t get in the car. Jump out of the car. Punch out the taillights and wave your hand through the broken light. Don’t be weak. You’re too weak. Learn martial arts. Don’t go anywhere alone. Don’t stay at home. Don’t offer to help a man. Don’t accept help from a man. Don’t be vulnerable. Be confident. Don’t make eye contact. Make eye contact. Don’t shop on Craigslist or at the mall or at Target. Don’t go to the grocery store. Don’t order takeout. Order takeout. Don’t open the door to strangers. Don’t have sex with a man. Don’t refuse sex to a man. Don’t be alone with a man. Feel safe only when a man is with you. Don’t go for a jog in the woods or through a neighborhood. Don’t go for a jog at night or in broad daylight. Don’t go for a jog. Go for the eyes. Go for the nose. Go for the nuts. Fight back. Don’t freeze. Don’t get within reach. Throw your purse away from you. Cause a scene. Don’t be an easy target. Run in a zig-zag. Run fast. Run. Scream. Scream. Scream.​​ 


Venus Tells Her Origin Story

after Botticelli’s​​ The Birth of Venus

Boys, I have arrived! My hair thick, long, orange as a sunset. My breasts two gods in perfect unison, alabaster and ambrosia. Hey there sailor, I see you looking. Eat your heart out. Let me spread my arms wide as the ocean and gather you to my shoreline. I’m the goddess of love, after all. Let’s spend some time naked together.​​ 


Oh Horae, thank you for the robes, but don’t you think we should revel in our bodies a little longer? Come plant your toes in the sand with me. Feel that ocean breeze spray across our bare stomachs. Laugh at the roses wafting in, pluck them from the sky. Let’s breathe in your seasons of loveliness.​​ 


They’ll tell you I emerged from the mixing of Caelus’ severed penis and the sea foam, the shapely form of divine love itself – blown here by Zepyhr and his godly wind-breath. But can’t you see my shell, so pink and delicate? I claim no man as my origin.​​ 


About the Author

Brynn Martin is a Kansas native living in Knoxville, where she received her MFA in poetry from the University of Tennessee. She now works as the Literary Arts Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. Her poetry has appeared in Contrary Magazine, Yes, Poetry and Crab Orchard Review.

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#thesideshow| Micro-poetry| November 2019