Distanced: Bella

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, May 14th, 2020




“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Bella, we ask that our readership contribute by purchasing her full-length poetry collection (featuring the illustration of Shannon Christie) here:



I think I want to hang curtains on all the windows in my apartment to remind myself that sometimes it’s okay
to let a little light in. I think
I want to fill the place with pictures of past me smiling to remind myself that I can still do that.
I think I want to fill my bookshelf with a lifetime of words to remind myself that there is always a beginning
to something else after the end
– be it tragic or beautiful –
I think I want to curl up on my couch in a room of silence to remind me that I’m still here.
How relieving it is to still breathe.
I think I want to leave the cracks on the wall in this small apartment to remind myself that we
all don’t break the same
– yet we all do break  –
I think I want to stumble into this space and leave my baggage wherever it lands.
Let it be embraced by these safe hands.
I’m home.



Sometimes I dream of going in the most beautiful way possible –
                like baby blue Volkswagen van and nothing but rolling hills ahead of me.
                like in a pink dress and all the kinds of flowers that don’t need to be rooted in the ground to bloom.
                like right at sunset when the sky is just as on fire as I ever was.
                like eating apple pie right before.
                like cleaning my entire apartment til it’s spotless.
                like you’ll never think I could’ve gone.
                like I’ll even think I’m coming back.
                like all the bright things I could find I’ll plaster on the door so no one will even worry that much.
                like “I’m sure she’s okay.”

I dream I’ll leave everything picture perfect,
                so you won’t even think to open the door to check on me.



Before we give up

can we run
and keep running
                like wild?
                like free?
like did you see that too?

Wasn’t it beautiful?

And can we breathe
the deepest breath
                like weight lifted?
                like no worries?
                like crisp air?
like did you feel that?

Wasn’t it a rush?

And then,
can we hold on?
                Because we’re almost there.
                Because I need you to see this.
                I need you to feel this
with me



Bella is a Southern California grown writer who resides in Portland, Oregon. She is the 2019 Portland Poetry Grand Slam Champion, and has performed at various events such as the WeMake Disrupt Conference, Invisible Spectrums and Intersect Fest. Her poem Joy will be featured in Black Arts Tables Anthology set to release in spring 2020. Bella’s  poetry centers around her experiences being a woman of color, her eating disorder, abusive relationships, and the hope between it all. Side Effects of Remembering the Little Things is her debut book with Lightship Press (www.lightshippress.com). Through her work she hopes to create connection, conversation, and understanding so we all feel a little less alone. You can pre-order Bella’s book and find about more about Bella at bellapoetry.com.


Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.

Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.