Sarah Certa

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: It gives me great pleasure to present Sarah Certa's "Crazy Daisies," which was the winner of Big Lucks's first-ever SAVE YOUR FUCKING MONEY Contest. Our guest judge (who might or not be Amy McDaniel) said the following of "Crazy Daisies":

"I’ve never read a poem like this. As if by stealth, it seized me right away. I read and reread, and got sicker and sicker, and was more and more damned by the way the awful light moves through the stark, violent enjambment; the intimacy of abuse laced with seduction; the familiar scenes of a glittering city; and our extravagant, bloody, living history of rape, slavery, and war. This poem named after a flower, you will hardly stomach it, but you must."

I'm thrilled that (maybe) Amy picked this poem. Sarah is a brilliant poet, a staunch advocate for women's rights, and a kind, kind soul. Instead of taking the $162.35 prize for herself, Sarah elected to donate her prize to the Domestic Violence Relief Fund, an initiative that Big Lucks wholeheartedly supports.

We received over 110 submissions to this contest. Many of the submissions were amazing and will be appearing in future digital issues of Big Lucks. It was a huge success, and we'll be doing it again next year.

Thanks for your support. Please enjoy this brilliant poem, and please support the Domestic Violence Relief Fund (and victims everywhere).


There is nothing new about my sadness, these bags
of tears in my head no heavier
than all the hearts in all
the centuries of humans before me, all the mothers
of all the sons in all
the wars, all the mothers
of all the daughters, all the daughters, all the slaves
on all the ships, all the girls
being trafficked tonight in cities
where the lights look so pretty, like adolescent stars
buzzing above underground railroads
except the train
is going backwards, or just down
into hell, dressed up
as a Mercedes, men’s words
wrapped in gold, honey, I’ll take care
of you, don’t worry, sugar, you’re getting a new life, there is nothing
new about the yelling, the voice
so big there’s no room
for you except in the corner, folded
like a balding swan
into your naked self, all the corners, all the
flowers to say I’m sorry, baby, I love you, they’re crazy
daisies, I got them
for us because we’re crazy
like that, he would say things
like that, and there’s nothing new
about how I would throw
myself back into the hot
soft dark of his mouth, like a padded
room with bars on the windows, my wrists
cuffed to the inside of his rib cage, I was
a prisoner and liked it sometimes
because it meant I was safe
from the rest of the world, all the babies
beat to death, anyone
beat to death, all the strangers
in the alleys who could never
touch me because he’d always
be there, he was always
there, in the morning, at dinner, always toasting
to me and every moment
worth knowing, all the beautiful
songs that spilled out of his mouth, I’d forget
the bombs behind his eyes, his heart, that the sun
is a bomb, how sometimes
if you’re not white it’s illegal
to want a better life or
food for your kids, how sometimes
it doesn’t matter at all what your skin color is, sometimes
people just feel like killing
other people or shooting airplanes
from the sky, and there is nothing
we can do about that
except probably kill
some more people. And I don’t want
to agree with that but lately
even the wind is quiet. The curtains
in my bedroom barely move, like ghosts
who don’t feel right
about being ghosts anymore, all the breath
they saw escape me, either moaning or
sobbing, hanging onto
the moaning, the diamonds, the gold
cashmere scarf, the poems, I held onto
the good things because isn’t that
the way to survive, to make
a marriage work, you have to sacrifice, you
have to compromise, you have to try and
try harder? Yesterday I tried
to get out of my head,
but when I got outside I saw bodies
falling like ash through the sky
except faster of course
because they’re still bodies, and this isn’t
a story, this is real
live footage of the world, yet when I
go out into the world, pumping gas and waiting
in line at the grocery store, in the waiting room
at the doctor’s office, under
the same sky as always, I never
see anyone crying, which is a phenomenon, how most people
seem to be doing okay, still believing in love and
more love, like they’ve never
been stabbed with a searing
jagged-edge rod from the inside
of their bellies to the outside and back in
again, watched their skin
be skinned and fed to them. At least
that’s how it feels
when I lie in bed and try to forget
the sky all together, try to be one
with myself in this moment in this bed, this bed, this bed
the same bed where I laughed into his chest
all November afternoon, then cried
in the middle of the night because he wanted
sex and I wasn’t wet
enough in my sleep, he said what
the fuck is wrong with you, why aren’t
you wet, don’t you love me, he said fix it, said fuck
me, I need it, he said I love you
forever, who put you
together, you’re so perfect, he would cry
about the news, he would cry
about the raping, too, and turn
to me and say, in a world
without promises, I need you
to be my promise, he said, I promise, he said, his breath
like a sweet moth against my ear, I got you, I got you.

Sarah Certa was born in Germany in 1987. She is the author of the chapbooks RED PAPER HEART (Zoo Cake Press) and JULIET (I) (out from H_NGM_N in a few weeks!). Her first full-length poetry collection, Nothing To Do With Me, is forthcoming from University of Hell Press in spring 2015. She lives in Minnesota. Find more of her work online at

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