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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep. 55 - Poet Explores Life and Relationships

Photo provided by Janelle O'Malley
Janelle O'Malley

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week features Janelle O’Malley.

O’Malley is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture, painting and fiber. She works in nonprofit art education. Currently, she is completing a dual master’s degree in art education and 3D studio art at Northern Illinois University. O’Malley is also the visual arts coordinator for the Atrocious Poets, a Woodstock poetry group.

O’Malley has been writing since high school. Her work focuses on shared memory and identity formation. It has been shown across the U.S. and was recently featured at the Wright Art Museum and Side Street Studio Arts. Today she’s sharing two short poems “Life Coded" and "I’m Not Made for You.”

Life Coded 

What do you make of this thing life

Are we just stardust coated skeletons dancing through space

Hurtling through darkness, we cannot see

Moving faster to an ultimate end

A simple biological code

Did you think there would be more

Are all of these moments coded

allusion of celestial bodies taking up space

Something we chase to a dead end

Nothing more than a material substance, basic matter

Spending life needing to take up space

Failure to see in fear of its end

There was nothing to decode

The journey was all that really mattered

I’m Not Made for You 

I’m not made for you

cut from a perfect piece of pine

Not the timber you long for

to build your towering stack of twigs

I didn’t emerge from the earth for the pleasure of you

to just cut me down

Sprawling waves of uneven growth

billowing from soil to sun

You cannot tame these timbers of waving grain

even with the most delicate of saws

You will get lost in the forest of me

I am not made for you

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.