Poems by Allison Whittenberg



I am held

           Not by a mother’s tender embrace

           I am captive in a ship slicing through the ocean

I am held

           Not by a lover’s passion but bound,

           Manacled by people with strange language, hair, and skin

I am held

           Not transfixed my mind races,

           Searching to escape this spell.

I am held

Not for a crime

But by decree.

I am held

           Not to be released at ransom’s payment,

           But to be contained by another owner, then another.

I am held at fifteen years old, and I will be held

                                                For life.



The Cult of Sylvia Plath


Name ten living poets

Give me ten lines of contemporary verse

How about ten syllables

Want to buy a vowel?

Truth works

Like a magnet in reverse

It pulls us away from it.

The average person would rather watch E network’s documentary on Harry Styles than delve into archetypal memories’ permutations,

Rosary beads of

Words of ideas

And words ideas

And idealized words.

Poetry remains outside.

Poetry is for eggheads.

Poetry is irrelevant.

Poetry is buried.

Name ten dead poets





you greedy motherfuker

seems like

you’re always around


with your miscarriages

lurking defects

lingering complications


and the light

the way you up and leave everything


like the ending

of a good miniseries






A Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native who has a global perspective. If she wasn’t an author she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her other novels include Sweet ThangHollywood and MaineLife is FineTutored and The Sane Asylum

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