Poetry Open Mic Night with Victoria Dym

Experiencing poems performed in a public setting evokes the unique personal connection between writer and material. In this week’s Open Mic segment you will relive three poems presented by the evening’s host, Victoria Dym, in captioned videos with a full text of each poem highlighted underneath. Victoria’s vibrant readings reflect her poetic expertise as well as the communication skills of a gifted actress. — Editors

Clown School by Victoria Dym

Clown School

little black dress that smells of circus
in a martini jazz club—I drink Coke—
earlier, I’d nailed the audition, made them

laugh—falling in stilettos like a clown,
a silent chicken crossing the road eternal—
everyone laughs at the falling—to be mortal

after the crash in the invisible truck—a few
more laughs, I’d read their upside down
chicken scratch, like Carol Burnett—

truth be told, I Love Lucy, later finding
out even harder than Harvard Law to
apply, when was the last time you’d cried

and why? — I’d made it to the college of
clowns, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey—
not just any clown school, but the greatest

show on earth and laughter fills me like
martinis for some, pushes everything
out of the way like oncoming trucks—

rump in the air, pie in my face, hundreds
of children, big and small—laughing
at me.

When the Walls Cave In by Victoria Dym

When the Walls Cave In

You can’t hear or see
the geese overhead, flying in formation
the most perfect honking ‘V’
When the walls cave in,
snowfall means heartache, not
the jazz dance of frozen love
There is only minutia,
cracks and holes and empty want—
hiccups, rashes, ingrown hairs

I am living my life in Paris
even though I have not yet arrived there.
After a luxurious salted morning bath,
I take the Metro 10
decide on pain aux raisins or croissants,
shop the outdoor markets for berries
relax with a cup of Lilly of the Valley tea
at Café Flore, before a rose petal facial

When the walls cave in,
you can only stand where you are
choke on tears, forget to bathe
You can’t climb the Eiffel Tower,
or visit the Louvre; you can’t smell
the lavender from the fields of Provence
There is only grey rubble
and a beating of drums that pound
a sorrowful dirge which wraps

like twine around your ankles

Living With Lizards III by Victoria Dym

Living with Lizards III

I carry him in the yellow watering can that I keep in the bathroom closet (where he breathed his last lizard breath where I found him motionless, months dead). Unceremonious— I wear no bra, no makeup — finger comb my hair. His funeral, only I attend—at the garden, his final resting place. I spray water in the can; he floats upwards towards me, a small one, a teenager, paper thin—washes to the ground with a flip of the can, near the flowering Mexican thyme.

His lifeless, immature body now glistens in the light of day. I examine his claws, tail; can see his skeletal outline under his leathery skin. He had starved in the yellow watering can, desperate for food and water, crawled up in the spout and died. Was he alive at Thanksgiving, at Christmas?

In my earlier days, I may have flushed him down the toilet, like pet guppies, or goldfish, but today I minister to this departed soul who died alone. He was after all a secret roommate, a presence that breathed the same air as me. I deliver him back to the Earth. It is Sunday 5:30-ish. I am thirsty. I return to the apartment, to finish New Year’s cleaning, to my cat—wonder who’s next?


 Victoria Dym is a graduate of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College with a degree in Humility, a Bachelor of Arts, in Philosophy, from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Masters of Fine Arts, Creative Writing-Poetry from Carlow University. Her two poetry chapbooks, Class Clown, and When the Walls Cave In were published by Finishing Line Press in 2015 and 2018. Victoria’s chapbook, Spontaneous, was selected by Northwest Poet Laureate Katherine Nelson-Born as the winner of the 2021 Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge Contest, won a cash prize and was published by the West Florida Literary Federation in 2022. Victoria’s full-length poetry collection, The Hatchet Sun, is forthcoming by Finishing Line Press in 2023.

5 Replies to “Poetry Open Mic Night with Victoria Dym”

  1. Victoria, your pieces are beyond brilliant…every heart-grabbing turn of phrase, every surprise that jumps off the page. Your inestimable gifts enliven us, your poems speak of spirit, of the dance of life, of deep humanity. And I laugh out loud with joy and reverence.

  2. Thanks Evelyn! And thanks for your purchase of Spontaneous. So you know, another OLLI Open Mic class is in the works for my new collection, The Hatchet Sun. Living with Lizards III will be published there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights