Life, Writing and Publishing

Smells Like Poetry

I love the combination of scent and the written word. I’ll blog soon about how I use different scents and perfumes in my own writing process, but for now I’m just going to yell about these babies from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, my favorite indie perfume company:



Back in February (remember February, back when things were still semi-normal for most of us??) BPAL announced a poetry contest based on the Lab’s vintage lovebirds and the mated pair of perfumes they inspired. I don’t write much poetry these days, but precisely crafted rhyming poetry was my thing back in college (much to the dismay of my writing profs) and I decided to flex those long-dormant muscles. Because, you know, I wanted perfume. Plus, those birds look like something I’d rescue from Goodwill and treasure forever.

I didn’t expect much, but my long, overwrought, fussy poem, “Wing in Wing,” most of which I wrote on my phone, and for which I made up several words, was chosen as a runner-up! And my prizes arrived today, ON MY BIRTHDAY, which makes the whole thing even more poetic. Can’t wait to skin-test these babies and make them comfy in my BPAL collection. Thank you, Lab! ❤

If you’re curious or you’ve just got some time to kill, “Wing in Wing” is below. All the entries can be found in this PDF from the Lab.


When once I glittered like a star,
Or sunlight on a waveblown sea,
My finest immortality
Seemed all-assured, immune from scar.

Not all at once—it happened slow—
A sequin here, a pale jewel there—
My finery fell and left me bare.
I could not face my gentle beau.

I could not face a judging eye!
I could not bear a baleful glance!
I could not—could not!—take that chance,
But featherworn, I could not fly.

And so I pitched myself away
To where the worn-out trinkets go—
A thrift store shelf of dust and woe,
A flotsam-jetsam cabaret.

These new companions void of song—
A broken clock, an old chipped stein—
These joyless friends forever mine,
For this is where I now belong.

I settled low amid the grime.
No longer would I pose and preen,
For what remained could not be seen.
I banished what was once sublime.

Resigned then to my solitude,
My fragile hope as good as drowned,
I first ignored the soft-pitched sound
That yearned to pierce my loveless brood.

From down the shelf, a gentle coo,
Familiar in a heartstrung way,
A doting hush that seemed to say:
“As you love me, so I love you.”

I dared not dream, yet I could not
Ignore and so I craned my neck,
As in my heart the barest speck
Of warming hope was squeezed and wrought—

And there he sat—my dearest beau!—
As bright and brilliant as the dawn!
As handsome as the proudest swan!
I wept that he would see me so.

“My darling,” said he, “do not cry.”
“Your tears, they pain me like a sword.
Why did you leave without a word?
How could we part without goodbye?”

I begged him please to look away,
But he refused and dried each tear.
“My dear,” he said, “how could you fear
That I would judge? That I would stray?”

Surrounding me with one wide wing,
He showed that he was also worn.
A missing jewel, a feather torn—
The flaws that passing years must bring.

But I had never noticed these!
To me he still remained my love—
A dazzling prince, my dearest dove—
The one that I adore and please.

And then I saw, I understood
That in his eyes I was the same.
He loved me not for sport or game,
But for my heart. My soul. For good.

How close I came to losing him!
To sacrificing all I see—
And why? For what? For vanity?
It now seemed such a foolish whim.

I know not what the years will bring.
I’ll lose more feathers, to be sure—
My love, however, will endure
For we’re together, wing in wing.