Dear Mama PART 3

Madeleine-JohnsonMadeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in life—black 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 third and final in a three-part series featuring Madeleine’s work. 

Read PART 1 here.
Read PART 2 here.

You can explore a musical tribute and collaboration with Portland-based singer-songwriter and childhood friend, Moorea Masa, in her video “Oh Mother,” dedicated to Madeleine’s mother, featuring Madeleine herself.

September 28, 2014


Dear Mama,

I don’t have pretty hands.

Some women get manicures and French tips and rhinestones

But I learned from the best that

A little dirt never hurt anybody.

Under your fingernails the


Garden soil

Flower petals

Baking dough

On your knuckles the


From painting


Moving the furniture

A burn from the oven.

These are the things that make a hand worth shaking

They can keep their pink polish and shea butter.

December 27, 2014


Dear Mama,

This is when it really sinks in, I think

The ridiculous lack of you

I cooked Christmas Eve Dinner,

Knowing it’ll always be your night,

And no amount of kitchen dancing or

Red wine or

Lipstick and fur jackets or

Cody or

Christmas funk radio or

Trying to make Dad laugh or


Replaces your first course of

Brown-parchment-paper-wrapped vegetables

And your beaming smile in a black velvet dress

January 16, 2015


Dear Mama,

Reasons I got out of bed today include

Van Morrison

Free coffee at work

Another chance to make you proud

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

2 thoughts on “Dear Mama PART 3

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