Wednesday, September 13, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Karen Warinsky

Karen Warinsky began publishing poetry in 2011 and was named as a finalist for her poem “Legacy” in the Montreal International Poetry Contest in 2013. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, books and lit mags/blogs, and she has participated in many online open mics including Rattle’s Poets Respond and Ó Bhéal.  She has three books, Gold in Autumn (2020), and Sunrise Ruby, (2022), both from Human Error Publishing and Dining With War (2023) from Alien Buddha.  Her work centers on mid-life, relationships, politics, and the search for spiritual connection through nature, and she coordinates poetry readings under the name Poets at Large.

Find her at

Real Heart


Because I had a real heart

I understood for too long

accepted too much

missed some clues.


Because I had a real heart

wounds went deep

words meant more

sounds scratched and bit.


Because I had a real heart

it was layered over for protection

with durable material 

strong as steel

keeping out debris, rain, wind,

staying cold

preserving the insides

like a refrigerator.


But it’s not a self-defrosting fridge.


It’s an old-fashioned heart. 

Bring the hot water, a towel,

the knife to chip the ice.

It might take an hour.


Bring a book.


 The Burning of Old Love


Unwise to let it fester,

spiral notebooks crammed with

old feelings 

revealing too much pain

too much loss

my hasty cursive running on the lines,

an arroyo of emotion.


It had to be released, I know,

but it’s a decade later

and some decent poems 

now sit in books,

on the net,

shared on stage,

time now to tear the pages out

throw them in the woodstove,

let some of the secrets turn to unpublished ash. 



Now that I love myself


to the max

there’s no one good enough

no one I’d rather wait for

at a sidewalk café,

stumble into at a restaurant, a store,

no one better than me to run an idea by,

take out for a treat,

offer half of my donut to

(maybe I’ll just save it for tomorrow)

write a poem for.

Wish, oh wish I’d had this true love

of self

all those years ago

when I pinned so much on you,

gave you the cream, the first bite, the biggest slice,

waited quiet, silent, for the yes

as you put your lips around all that was offered,

indulged yourself at my banquet,

watched for

the nod, the smile that said

you would grant your time, your breath, 

for a bit

before saying

it was time for me to go home.

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