Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trompe l'oeil

Detail from Ginevra de' Benci, Leonardo da Vinci

You had me at, Is this real, 
or is it enchantment?

But the source of that question 
is a doubt that gnaws 
at your sinew.

Somewhere inside the emptiness
that consumes every void, there is
a fullness that shrieks 
with necessity.

One can think up
whatever one wishes,


In one’s mind
it will be real.

But there are no imaginings 
without witchcraft.
And there are no legends 
without illusion.

And there are no graces
without the unutterable, first.

And there are no set formulas—
Or, are there?

I challenge you.
And judge you.

Yet, here I sit,
in the belly of a thirsty canyon,
staring at a silent and empty sky,

Shedding my Patience of Job,

Exchanging peace for agitation,

Glaring with expectation.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In the Real Garden

Art by Christian Schloe

To the near-empty sound of the young morning,
Dyed only with the sensuous sway of
Two trees that dance together
Though separately,

Rinsing their leaves in
The blushing haze of the ever
Unfathomable new day’s emergence
From the embers of yesterday’s vastness,

To this,
To it,

To you,
Near-empty sound:

hold steady.
i feel you.

within your timid thrum i enter,
sensing everything.

and you.

and your growth as the dew dallies.

and me.

and my body laid down beside yours.

and us.

and the roaring din
of our sternums as we breathe.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Unknown photographer

Remember when I asked you to keep vigil?

Oh, the promises you made!
And oh, how you slept!

And… Oh, how you brought me
offerings in your quest for redemption!

But I have limned myself with
the thinness of every moment—
this one, and the next.

And I have stolen away into a mythology
that only I can understand.

Thoughts. Legends. Fantasies.
They endure.
As do the sepulchers of the dead.

Late at night, stillness coils through
my flesh, rousing every angle
of my being into attention.

Words are no longer necessary.
My mouth is round with vision.

The strawberries ripen
in the stirring of the wind.

I walk slowly.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Density and Divinity

Pelvis, Georgia O'Keeffe

There must be words to describe
these fractures in the frame of perfection.

You say, Fractures are not often
viewed in a beautiful light.

I say, Yes, but sometimes they are
just what we need.

Thinking back, I could’ve said, Sometimes, they are
just what I need…

To recognize and acknowledge that
perfect isn’t always desirable.

But, I didn’t say that.
And, I don’t want that moment back.

I write.
The words curve
like the sensuous lines
of a body at ease. I see them
for what they are. Words.
Then. I see them
as a body at ease. Limbs flowing
like ripples of sand that harden
when the tide sinks. The insolent arches.
The mottled pits. A transfiguration.
Real, or imagined?

Futile, this question!

We see what we choose to see.

We sit together and shoot stones at the stars.
Things could be worse, I suppose—the stars
could be shooting stones at us.

The sea gathers itself like a smock of intricate pleats.
The light dissipates like a raging mirage.
We cannot change this.

We can.

We will not change this.

will not...

I will not change the flow of geography.
I will not break the order of the water.
I will not alter the falling shadows’ rest.
I will not stay the voice’s expression.

I lean into the collapsing day
and moan—my body embracing the dark.

I choose.

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: My first poetry chapbook, From Darkness, Beatitudesis available from Finishing Line Press.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Photo,  Aaron Draper

An ancient dream,
if you will…

shoulders unarched
i walked into the water
paying no heed to the waves
giving no mind to the imminent storm

my spirit emptied of discernment
my core hollow of presentiment

pure as a newborn
whose gaze falls blue and unfiltered

i walked
i plunged

i bathed
in the cistern of secrecy
my body jarred and amplified by
the keen obscenity of this new unknown

unknown, that was, to anyone but me

sorceress! i called myself
a torrent of names i lashed
at my own eyes and cheeks

how long before the burden of truth
affixed itself to me?

how long before the self-drawn blood
stained the cold sand floor?

I’d like to shake the memory of that dream
like I shake my hair when I emerge
from the froth of the sea.

I’d like to wrest the reality of it
from this reality.

I’d like to…
but doing so would be 
a denial of self.

And who am I to deny me?
So many others have tried and failed.

I rest, instead,
fierce and flaming
inside this masted body,
a stirring yet unsung intermezzo­­—
an ivory circumference of byzantium patience.

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: My first poetry chapbook, From Darkness, Beatitudesis scheduled to be released June 2014 from Finishing Line Press.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Adam & Eve, Gustav Klimt

We sit on the green banks of the swelling river.

Every morninglike this onea random
tree branch, its leaves kissed by the wind,
unspools its longing, shattering the sun
into asymmetric filaments of gold.

No one is here to see this;
it is ours alone.

What was it we used to say about broken light?

That it reveals itself as
orbs in flight, willowing
through the separating skies.

I recall our stunted conversation, our timid words,
emerging from the dance of breath and tongue with teeth.

I remember, too, your distant laughter, peeled from
your throat by the white heat of late July.

Have we known one another too long?

Oh, there is no escaping
this fugue of imagination!

You appear in me, and speak to me in tongues
once confined without pardon.

And what can I do butas if for
the very first timeentrench myself
within the impermanence of you?

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: My first poetry chapbook, From Darkness, Beatitudesis available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press until April 25, 2014.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Finishing Line Press Announces the Publication of My First Poetry Chapbook!

Finishing Line Press proudly announces the publication of my first poetry chapbook, From Darkness, Beatitudes.

It has been an exciting process working toward publication of this small, and very dear to my heart, collection of poetry. It has also been somewhat of an emotional challenge. This chapbook holds the expression of some of my deepest, most haunting, poetic meditations. Somehow, delivering this expression into the hands of others was like tearing out a part of myself and giving it away. Inside of that darkness, however, was beatitude: Release.

This is what the poems in From Darkness, Beatitudes are all about. They are about sitting with the discomfort of the darkness, eyeball to eyeball, and heart to heart. They are about allowing the darkness to touch us, and teach us . . . and finally, to grace us with the gifts that inhabit its deepest crevices. 

The advance sales period begins today and runs approximately six weeks. Pre-sales determine pressrun (the number of copies that will actually be printed), so if you would like to order a copy, please do so soon as that would boost my final pressrun! The price of the chapbook is $14, plus $2.99 for shipping, and pre-orders ship June 21, 2014. You can order online by clicking on the following link:

Finishing Line Press is also accepting checks and money orders at:

Finishing Line Press
PO Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324

Please send $14 per copy, + $2.99 shipping per copy

By Mail Only: If you are ordering multiple copies, shipping is $2.99 for the first copy, and $1.99 for each additional copy.

* * * * * * * * *

Here is what some writers/editors have to say about From Darkness, Beatitudes:

The lyrical language and subtly drawn message in Nevine Sultan’s poetry reaches in and pulls one inside out, exposing the nerve endings—open, raw, and trembling, to the outside world. Conversely, there is an intimacy in her work, finding only You and She and The Other, a trio of long lost losses and long lost founds, together whispering discoveries ancient and future, known and unknown. Nevine’s poetry is approachable yet ethereal, poignant yet not over-wrought. A fine collection I will read again and again. — Kathryn Magendie, Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn and author of The Lightning Charmer

Nevine Sultan’s From Darkness, Beatitudes takes the reader on a journey between the line of dreaming and reality, through loss and rebirth, through the greyness of understanding the definition of life. The opening poem, “Freefalling,” begins the whirlwind as we are left helpless and may only witness that around us: “I do not mean to see this thing / this most private of commissions. / But the eye captures / before the mind receives.” This catapults the imagination into places between lightness and darkness—and everything in-between. — Nick Sweeney, Assistant Editor of The Summerset Review

Nevine Sultan’s slender collection generously renders the visceral impact of nocturnal experience that resists the harshness of light. Reveling in the fresh perspective of darkness, the vital signs of life are born midst the shadows. Here steep the haunting questions, the rippling consequences, the oxymoronic beauty of fractured frames. — Judy Wilson, author of Trespass and other Stories and Founding Editor of Yellow Medicine Review

Cover Photo: Natural Justice by Vincent Sanchez

Friday, March 7, 2014


Pleiades, Max Ernst

Some words
are not written, but rinsed,
by the ink of earth and eternity,
gathering the daylight and parsing the night.

Observe their movement
across the ether,

Their phosphorescence
as they trespass the armor of fear,

Their sexualitycoiledand
breathlessas they remain unspoken.

Observe how they pull the light
inside their chambers.

Observe how they paint themselves
out of the shadows.

Observe how their silence cuts me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Myrrh and Metanoia

Dark Abstraction, Georgia O'Keeffe

I will hold this moment
as though it were a visitation
from angels fallen
out of the heavensfallen
into graceand crying
in noiseless symphony.

Here is my open body.
Here is my uncut hair.

Here is the drunken spiral
of metamorphosis.

Here is the ritual incense
of salvation.


do not weep

the crimson tulip.

And here…
the dried up wounds,
faceted with oxidation.

do not wax indignant

an ingress.

And here…
a perforation
in the perfection
of empty platitudes.


And here, too…
prayerseated in quietude
upon my ribswaiting for the
lamps of the sky to be illuminated.

Words in italics from Baruch Spinoza