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Tolbert, Anastacia Renee

Tolbert, Anastacia Renee


Anastacia Tolbert is a writer of poetry, prose, plays, and journalism. She is 2010 Hedgebrook Writer in Residence and the current Resident Writer and 8th grade teacher at the Seattle Girls School. In 2007, she wrote, co-produced and co-directed GOTBREAST? a documentary about women and body image, and wrote and produced the play, Not My Size. She received a 2004 San Diego Journalism Press Club Award for her article “War Torn.” She has taught writing, poetry and performance workshops to students of all ages at schools, literary centers, battered women’s shelters, youth camps, and libraries. She has facilitated creative writing workshops for adults at Seattle’s Richard Hugo House, the country’s third-largest literary center. Her poetry and prose have appeared in many journals and magazines, including, Essence, Present Magazine and San Diego City Beat, as well as in the anthologies Cave Canem XI, Alehouse Journal, The Drunken Boat, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees (which was nominated for the 2007 NAACP Award), Torch, I Woke Up and Put My Crown On: 76 Voices of African American Women, Reverie Journal and Women. Period. She has performed her poetry in more than fifty venues, including colleges, writers’ conferences, and art museums, and as a featured artist on six radio stations.

Cow Girl


the family pictures on the wall did not resemble the little polaroid girl she was & she was not the kind of woman who froze frame or posed for any such thing & the photographer wasn’t kind to her cheekbones (anyway) making them look more chipmunk & less model & this was most certainly not acceptable for her mother who was made of ivory tower & matte & the polaroid girl had turned into a woman who liked (cheese) all different kinds & her mother said she smiled like a cow & this was frustrating because who in the hell has ever seen a cow smile & why would a mother call her daughter a heifer & that’s when she decided she would be a lady who sucked in grass shots because no one wants to be a spoiled heifer/no one wants to be a fat ass cow plopped down in the middle of a suburban lawn.

The Mother Ship is Purple


you want to tell all your people the mother ship is swooping

that she landed on top of a red mountain of vegan gravy

that she is dripping in beggary saying sop me up sop me up

you want to drag them by their anxious hands & say y’all

our time has come. look up yonder. & you want yonder to be

a 60 degree place of no wanting—as if the yonder knows

<                                    what you need                                            >

& what you need is a land with no white cops dangling

pavlov fingers or pow-powing guns as synonym for

the truth the light & the way to kill a nigga

want to tell your people to gallop to the mother ship

like giraffes or gazelles or goliath—goodtimes, we

finally got a piece of the pie eye       eye       eye    eyeeee

run ____________run.

Dream (98)

the woman sucked herself out of the |vampires| neck & became a nurses hard to reach vein & when she realized she too could only peer into the darkness she cried as if she was a zombie& when she summoned her mouth from the woman’s ribs she remembered the woman vampire was indeed herself & the muddy clouds sang a revelatory hymn she did not recognize but her hands which were the hands of a baby slapped her thigh which was the thigh of a jackal & the vampire-ed zombiefied woman reached/screeched for her tongue to tell the woman she was haunting more salt & the woman who could provide her with more salt dripped a python the length of _____years & the python was indeed not a python at all but a measure & the time slapped the woman’s jackal & the jackals teeth shifted inside its ears & built a fortress for little girls & headless winged women. & this is the part in the dream that slut-ed its way through virginal hallways leaving scores of widened musical notes & suddenly the woman in the dream shrunk herself down to the bass of envy & the envy so small it was steeped on by the foot of the goddess sophia who is in actuality the goddess of all things & the dark matter which did not matter splattered each taste bud about like dried secrets in a laundromat journal & the woman zipped herself up & stayed/prayed shut in like a sick woman from a midwest storefront church. stained glass. stained glass. stained. glass.