Options – A Hybrid Suite with Poems, Images and Voice by Kyla Houbolt

Kyla Houbolt Reads: The Options Suite


you can either reincarnate
into your chains
or you can be a sand castle
fallen in love with a snowman

they have ways
to make you silent
they have ways
to make you

but then you squirt
out from between their fingers
the sticky grasp of doom
can’t hold your grease
for long enough to mold it
so they hotten up
the fires of hell
and that just melts you
into starjuice

the sun smacks her lips
you snuggle in
back home again.


birth is a link
from outside time
ancestors and offspring
clink in lines
each one forged
to continue
what sometimes
should be broken.

Sand Castle and Snowman

Every part of me came from the sea.
I still feel the shaping that took me
from my scattered way and made me
into what stands here
now frozen under ice

Up on the dune is a creature
wholly from the sky, I know,
I watched. Another shaping then,
and now we gaze each to each – I from the shore,
he from the crest. Does he see me?

Is there a way for us?

Then comes a thaw.
the heart inside dissolves
and then the body goes to mush
we become slumped,
both of us, shapes melt away
til water takes us.

Water has taken us wholly.
We swirl together by grace of a storm
we swirl
rush to sea, sink into shore
there was something
to remember
no hush
tide swirl
swift sea
takes all

[they have ways]

they have ways
to make you silent
they have ways
to make you

when simply to be
is against some law
invisible but
you fear to open your mouth
a simple song in public
draws evil stares
censure, scolds.

you find yourself
holding it in
even when you don’t mean to
even when alone
even when no one
can hear
you are silent
powered down.

they have ways.

[but then you squirt]

but then you squirt
out from between their fingers
the sticky grasp of doom
can’t hold your grease
for long enough to mold it

There’s a reason
we sweat and bleed
weep and drool

There’s a reason
for all the squirming
and for the inner
bolt holes
the slippery tricks

When crunch comes to call
and some collector claims
a bill is due them
from your secret heart
it may look as though
you bow and pay
but you learned pretense
from the masters
and nothing
holds you down
you shapeshift
and slip away


so they hotten up
the fires of hell

A time comes
when fear feeds a big fire
and maybe then
the whole world burns

and maybe
it becomes impossible
to breathe the fumes

what then?

what are you then?

did you really think
loss was final?

When the Sun Takes You

By then you are already
burnt to crisp ash, melted to liquid fire.
Nothing remains of any shape
you once had.
You’ve felt, you think,
all burning can do
but then
she pulls you in
to her searing embrace
so hot all hurt dissolves.
You thought yourself already melted
but this is a blending
a kind of melting from which
there is no return
nor is one ever desired.
You are home at last
and my how you shine.

Kyla Houbolt has no academic credentials in poetry but grew up in a household saturated with poetry and music. This nourished her creativity and gave her a grounding in the Western canon as well as other flows and sources. She wrote poems early and often, rarely seeking publication until 2019 when she joined Twitter. She was nominated for both Pushcart and Best of the Net, and published in a large number of online journals. She also shares poetry as the Greenway Poet, in her local walking park, posting poems up on trees. This has become a mainstay for her and, she is told, for many of her neighbors. Dawn’s Fool, her debut chapbook, was released by Ice Floe Press in 2020 and is available here: https://icefloepress.net/kyla-houbolts-dawns-fool-a-microchap/. Most of her published work is available on her Linktree: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet and she is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

Page Design : Robert Frede Kenter

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