Dear Mama PART 1

Madeleine-Johnson Madeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in lifeblack coffee, dinner parties, roadtrips, rock music, laughing til you cry, trashy tv, pop art—to her late, great mother. Madeleine’s blog, Dear Mama, is a collection of letters written to her mother since her passing early last year. Madeleine is currently living in Los Angeles.

This selection of poems is the first in a three-part series featuring Madeleine’s work.

August 16, 2015


Dear Mama,

I told someone about

The moment I found out I lost you.

My voice didn’t quiver

But stayed steady and low

An ocean of love and time and understanding

Washing up in my adjectives and verbs

I lit every candle in my house, I said

And I put on a Pretenders album

And turned it all the way up

Her eyes filled with water

As she realized she was hearing

Your voice

An unfamiliar timbre but so clear

Thanks for telling your story, she said

I hope you know that was directed at you

August 16, 2015


Dear Mama,

My new apartment is great

Old and rusted in places

But beauty everywhere

My neighborhood sings with activity and happy

Brazilian food and bricks and ice cream shops

The right amount of noise in the alley

Parents and babies and puppies

Your art splashes color onto the walls

Eggshell otherwise

The gas wasn’t on for the first two weeks

A pipe under the kitchen sink broke today

So in a word, it’s perfect

I think I’m making you proud

October 12, 2015


Dear Mama,

I grew up too fast

Reading Cosmo

You used to spin me around you

Until I couldn’t breathe from laughing

Until I was far too old

And then

I woke up

To sex and love and eyeliner

Four cups of coffee and champagne bubbles

Sixteen or twenty nine

If you were here I’d tell you

I’m still growing.

I’ll tell you anyway.

Send us your work!
We’d love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Dear Mama PART 1

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