Shae O'Brien grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and it has bred her to have a love for music, coffee, the ocean, and rain. Her love for writing was planted at a young age, with the encouragement of beautiful family and inspiring teachers, and grew into a passion she cannot go a day without. During the day, Shae is also an English teacher, promoting the art of the written word among the youth of Austin. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Off The Wookie, AIPF Di-verse-city Anthology 2012, and TWENTY: Poems In Memoriam. She recently self-published her first chapbook, "Truths Unspoken", which takes the reader on a poetic journey through the passion, love, heartbreak, and rebirth of a relationship. You may find her on any given night writing or performing her work around Austin, TX.

Please note that all poems and/or parts are the property of Shae O'Brien and should not be shared without giving due credit.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I found her wedged between pages
88 and 89 of a Bob Dylan biography,
Mascara running down her face
By the tears left on the wrinkled skin of her desire.


My you.

Or so I thought as I deliberately check
Text messages like clues at your arrival time
While simultaneously opening the
Paper prison of emotion, delicately
Using the tips of two fingers,
Lest my prints be caught unaware
Guilty of jealousy
Or maybe just guilty of envy
Over a woman who has the time to
Handwrite anything anymore.

No shorthanded grocery lists here.
No scribbled out reminders
Of dance practice or dry cleaning pick-ups
No, this was the calligraphy of
Shakespeare or Neruda
Love-bound and heartbroken
Offering everything for even a
Glance or a sigh in return.

I hastily devoured every morsel of her longing
Whispered alongside every word of withered wanting
Gently pressed my hand against the
Confession to feel her beating heart.
When had mine ceased to live in this relationship?

New tears splashed upon the
Watermarks of her devotion,
Tears of wonder and resign,
Mundane, yet longing for motive
Thirsting for l'amour
While dusting off the bookshelves
Of my predilection.

With a sigh and a swallow,
I returned the time-soiled note back to
Its home between pages 88 and 89,
Wondering when he last had time to read
And I last had the ardor to love him.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Love No More

She searched for her breath on the hardwood floor
As the letter on the coffee table
Blew goodbye kisses like daggers to her dreams.

Outside a mockingbird sang wedding bells
But all she heard was Taps in an off-key C sharp
Enough to cut her heart to shreds of
Vows unspoken,
Love unsung.

She finally found her breath in the
Shallow pool of tears spilled over
Four pages of courtesy
Two pages of hesitance
One page of resign
To confession,
No mention
Of repentance or regret.

Gently she picked up the pieces to her shattered dreams
Placing them in a kerchief of silky sorrow
As she softly whispered vows unasked for,
Sweetly sang a love no more.

Little Caterpillar

Little Caterpillar
Say good morning to the sun
She shines kisses on your forehead
As the day has just begun!

Little Caterpillar
Wiggle toward a brand new day
You have so much in the world to learn
In your itty bitty wiggle way!

Little Caterpillar
Don't forget to eat your leaves
Every nibble of nutrition
Gives you strength and energy!

Little Caterpillar
When the sun has gone to bed
Cuddle cozy in a cocoon
And rest your sleepy wiggle head.

Little Caterpillar
A surprise waits soon for you
As you grow and learn and eat and play
There's something else that you will do...

You, Little Caterpillar, will bloom
Into a beautiful butterfly...

...And you will fly!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red Light District

A run up her thigh

Points to her place of purchase

As she walks the street.

Fingerpainting Poetry

She knits words into the air with her hands
An intricate dance of
"How do you do?"
"I love you"
True poetry in motion
She never ceases to laugh through her palms
Cry through her fingertips
Express her heart through her hands
As if fingerpainting art in the sky
But you can only see the beauty
If you recgonize the colors
And too much of our world is colorblind
But she keeps knitting words
Dancing phrases
Fingerpainting poetry
Through a soft summer breeze
And though she cannot hear it
She can feel it just the same

Blind Love Asleep

In front of the door
with her suitcase she stands
Her heart on her sleeve
and her life in her hands
Asleep right above her
a blind man in bed
Who can't see with his heart,
can't see with his head
With each breath she wonders,
by his side should she lay?
She has no will to go,
but has no peace to stay
We all feel her dillema,
we all cry for her pain
For she represents all of us
in this day and age
Giving up, going out,
reaching out, reaching up
Shouting "Tell me what's right!
Make me stay! Show me love!"
But we all have a blind love
asleep by our side
Will they ever wake up,
will we ever decide?
In front of the door
we continue to stand
With our hearts on our sleeves,
and our lives in our hands.

Let Love In

My nana taught me to appreciate my education
My momma taught me to how to sing through my pen
My auntie taught me to the strength of independent woman
But no one taught me how to let love in

My grandma taught me the sound of good music
My sister taught me where eye liner begins and ends
My greatnana taught me how to serve my Jesus
But no one taught me how to let love in

So don’t come a knockin’ with gifts and affection
And don’t come askin’ for more than I can give
You can leave ’em on the doorstep ’cause I’m all talk and no action
Since nobody taught me how to let love in

My grandpa taught me how to disappear
My daddy taught me how to cry on my bed
And though I forgive them for their past and their actions
They sure as hell didn’t teach me how to let love in

So don’t come a knockin’ with gifts and affection
And don’t come askin’ for more than I can give
You can leave ’em on the doorstep ’cause I’m all talk and no action
Since nobody taught me how to let love in

Just keep knock knockin’
Knock knockin’
Knock knockin’ now

Just keep knock knockin’
Knock knockin’
Knock knockin’ now

Just keep knock knockin’
Knock knockin’
Knock knockin’ now

It won’t do you no good, no.
It won’t do you no good.

The Great Terra

I float above her,
The greatest woman who ever lived,
And I wonder how much longer she has.
Like all great women
The story of her destruction began with a man
Who told her she would be more beautiful
If she shaved her voluptuous bush,
Pierced her mountainous curves,
Tattooed her birthmarked skin-
If she could change for him.
And so she did for love,
Giving to the man who asked of her
As he took her for all her worth
Without stopping to consider the cost.
He penetrated her whenever he chose
Thrusting deep inside and taking from her
All the riches in her veins
And leaving her barren and alone.
I wonder if she looks back on her story with regret
Or if she would give herself again tomorrow
Had she only more to give.

A Syllabus of the Heart

I am asked to present a syllabus
As a teacher, it is my duty
to organize and recognize
extend and defend
the most important values
of our education
in America

I have a problem with this.

Not because it is difficult for me
A woman of faith and passion
to extend or defend values
especially the most important ones.
But because I believe
the most important ones
were erased from the chalk boards
of our classrooms
long long ago.

Here is my syllabus:

I will teach my students to write-
with a voice of confidence
and conviction
in who they are
and what they stand for.

I will teach my students to read-
books that speak truth
poems that drip passion
and everything else
with discernment of spirit.

I will teach my students to speak-
soft enough to force the room to listen
and loud enough for the world to hear
with annunciation and clarity of mind
so all who listen may understand
and believe.

I will teach my students to live-
as equals with one another
with humility among their neighbors
and pride against those who oppose them.

And if they cannot do so
with proper grammar and spelling

I will fail them.

Bathroom Stall Confessions

I think I like girls...

It was scribbled on the bathroom stall
quickly, deliberately, fearfully
aware of every high heeled footstep
coming and going on the other side of the door.
I want to reply to her confession
but I have no pen with which to write
so I gently kiss her words with
compassion and assurance
and hope she feels it on her fingertips.
Who is it that has told this confession's
hesitant hand that a higher power
might disapprove of that kind of love?
Whose reproach caused the waver of the lines
that were scrawled out in a single moment
of clarity and openness, defiance and truth?
Whose heart is it that sincerely believed
life would be better if the fingers would never
clasp the pen, if the wrist would never curl the "g",
if the words would never find a voice?
I thank God the words finally did,
in the color of blue on a wooden stall door,
and I ask forgiveness for the soul that caused
her hand to shake as she wrote her truth,
and I pray that someday her ellipsis
will turn into an exclamation! and that
her voice might someday not only be spoken
through a shaking hand,
but through a loud shout,
a proud heart,

and a kiss of love on some girl's lips.

God Bless Me.

God bless everyone.

Wait...God bless America.

Hmmm...God bless the legal, tax paying citizens of America.

Well...God bless the Republican, legal, tax paying citizens of America.

Um...God bless the Christian, Republican, legal, tax paying citizens of America.

No...God bless the white, Christian, Republican, legal, tax paying citizens of America.

Ok...God bless the straight, white, Christian, Republican, legal, tax paying citizens of America.

Let's just make it simple.

God bless me.

Huh?...only the men?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


You enter my life with
Bullets in your eyes
And I wonder who taught you
To exchange your rattle
For a pistol,
Your "I love you"s
For "niggas",
Your hugs
For handshakes,
Your innocence
For a teardrop tattoo.

And I wonder,
If I gave you a rattle,
Would you play?

If I whispered "I love you"
Would you seek out my embrace?

If I offered you innocence
Would your scars disappear?
Would the bullets in your eyes
Melt into real teardrops
And wash all the hatred away?


If I was red,
and you were blue,
I would want to make purple with you.


I play
rock, paper, and
scissors with you just so
I can feel your hand on mine when
I lose.


You gave me a guitar pick once
Broken, to show me the effort
Behind your love for the song.
I've wanted to be that song ever since
I've wanted to sing those words from your breath
I've wanted to let you pluck the notes from my chest
I've wanted to be loved by you.
But not just any love
The kind of love that brings grown men to their knees
And brings blind hearts to see
And makes empty souls believe
That there might just be a miracle out there
For them.
I wanted to be your miracle.
The kind that doesn't just make your day
But makes your whole year
I wanted you near.
Near like the goosebumps I get on my skin
When you touch me.
Like your breath-
No not the breath you've exhaled
But the breath still in your lungs
And come out as those words you sung
When you played that tune
That broke that pick
That I found in a letter
That ended with "Love"
But not...that kind.
Not the kind I wanted.
Not the kind I felt
When I picked you up and played you
When I took a breath and sang you
When I broke my heart to have you
Just for eight counts.
The truth is you were always the song
And I wish I could send you my heart
Broken, to show you the effort
Behind my love for you.

Insanity Is

Insanity is

Fighting for someone who does

Not want you to win.

First Date

She flipped her hair
when she turned to him
Gave little smiles and
giggled at his jokes
Locked eyes with him
as she drove along
Presenting a sexy
confidence to catch his eye
All in an effort to
keep him from noticing
She never released
the emergency brake.


I shaved my legs.
That's what single girls do.
I've heard.
So, I did.
But when we got to the bar
And the bouncer began to hit on me
I still turned to him with
"Sorry, I've got a boyfriend"
Painted on my lips
Like a deep shade of red.
Will it always be this way?
Will I always want to call you
At the end of the night when I'm tipsy
And tell you about the band
That made Jimi sound like Mayer
And Zeppelin sound like Jet
And swear that I'm never going to
Another show until you're here?
Maybe not.
Maybe the next time I go out
I'll use my smooth soft legs
Like ammo against an unaware
Victim to buy me a drink or two.
Maybe he'll remind me why
Single girls shave their legs
And jog my memory in such a way
That I'll forget my desire to call
You at the end of the night
And end up alone in my room
Writing poetry like this.

The Game

she stares past the wall

at the face in a photograph

peering out behind a wooden post

as if to say "come play with me"

her heart reminds her that she did

and lost.

Words Unspoken

Crisp clean cuts of words

Shred my arguments into





Fluttering down

Into the dark silence between us.

I try to pick them up off the awkward space

And piece them back together before you

But the five second rule seems to apply

And I am not quick enough to make the time.

So instead we say nothing

As you proudly bask in what you think is resign

And I softly cry out truths unspoken.

Someday the tears will be too heavy

And crash down on our love
With a loud goodbye.

The Truth Is

God makes it difficult on purpose.

If we were to find the
right One instantly,
We would never share our love
with the rest.
And for every one
between two people,
There are one hundred moments each

Of not being alone,
Of perfect joy,
Of feeling LOVED.

Life may be easier if we found our
at the beginning.

But God did not create life for its destination-
He created it for its

Tristen's Diary

Tattooed music notes soak into her skin
They play in her veins
To the beat of her heart.

One Love hidden on the curve of her ankle
To remind her of yesterday
Give her hope for tomorrow.

Dispair and Freedom are at war on her wrists
Hiding in an unspoken language
For the days she doesn't want to understand.

She will never speak to you, silence hangs on her lips
But ask her to undress
And her body will tell her story.

Psalms will ring out,
Prayers will be whispered,
Forgiveness will be found
On this smooth, vulnerable canvas of life.

The only scars you will find
Are the ones she has designed.
They are her diary,
Her secret truth.

And no matter who you are
Or who you think you may be,
You have never known her
Until you've read her skin.



That's what the sticker said.
As she carefully peeled it off of the book,
And placed it against her thigh on her jeans.
It spoke out with a purpose to the world.
No one noticed or understood.
No one but her.
Her bare hand rubbed over it slowly,
Pressing it a little in the places it didn't stick.
It was meant to be a label.
Originally, so that the consumer could see
The truth about the book.
It was cheaper, worth less
Because it had already been experienced
By someone else.

She wondered if it said the same for her.

But somehow the bright yellow with black print
Screamed to be noticed,
Loud and clear
Though none may understand what it said
She did.
And this gave her freedom.
The freedom to admit the truth
Somehow to say it
With one word:


She would scream it loud and clear
With defiance and pride.
Even if she could not open her mouth
Even then,
One word pressed against her thigh
Said it all.

She didn't have to.

Fuck It.

Fuck it.
No really
Fuck it.
I am not who you think I am.
I am not who you think I should be.
This world doesn't satisfy me.
Fuck it.
I am not a label.
I am not a stereotype.
I am not perfect.
You aren't either.
So, fuck you.
The world we live in is a piece of shit.
We will forever be disappointed by it and each other.
So, fuck it.
No really
Fuck it.
Fuck the judgment.
Fuck the gossip.
Fuck the lies.
Fuck the temptation.
Fuck the addiction.
Fuck the pain.
Fuck the justification.
Fuck the excuses.
Fuck the hypocrisy.
Fuck all this shit.
And fuck yourself if you let yourself become a part of it.
No really
Go fuck yourself.
Then fuck me.
Fuck me for the times when I become a part of it.
(Because we all do.)
So, fuck everyone.
No really
Fuck everyone.
In fact, fuck the people who are getting uncomfortable reading this.
Fuck the people who are so offended by the word "fuck" that they can't understand the message behind this poem.
Fuck them.
No really
Fuck them.
Actually you don't have to.
They are already fucking themselves by being that way.
And if you feel like it, fuck whatever supernatural being you believe in, if you do.
Fuck them because you don't understand.
Fuck them because you do.
If you really believe in them, then they created you to fuck for a reason.
So do it.
Fuck it all.
Fuck everything.
Fuck everyone.
And when you get done fucking
And there is nothing left-

Then you can begin to live.


I miss before.
Love in cut out paper hearts
Pasted in a locker
While whispered confessions
Find their way through the hallways
And into my ear.
Fear was the loss of
His attention between classes
Regret was a song lyric
And courage was sneaking out
On a thursday night
To steal a kiss
Or two.
Home was a still photo
Never moving
Never changing.
Family was a fact
Learned in the course of life.
No one ever told you
Life is only in theory.
Living was an idea
A dream-
Not a responsibility.
Choices were a way
Out of boredom
Not a self-sentence.
Life came in seasons
And summer was vacation from it,
After Spring's drama-
Of long looks and misgiven trust
On the back of a paper charm
On a yarn necklace.
There were take-backs
And "my bad"s.
Goodbyes meant until tomorrow.
Forever was a school year.
Love was paper hearts...
Fluttering down...
I miss before.

A Guilty God

It was long long ago
In the scriptures of old
When my mother's mother
Did not do what was told
But with curiosity You gave her
When in Your image You did mold

Do You ever seek forgiveness from me?

They were Your chosen people
With no church and no steeple
When they strayed from your ways
As imperfect ones will
So You washed them away
With Your wrath in Your will

Do You ever seek forgiveness from me?

We are taught that Your Son
Was the oh Holy One
That You gave as an offering
For redemption and love
Or was it Yours that You sought
When You sent Him from above

Do You ever seek forgiveness from me?

Forever's Past

e.e. cummings wrote poetry about us

mozart gave us his very notes

but every poem has its last verse

every song has its final chord

and our love isn't being written anymore

it's ok
we said forever and tomorrow forever will arrive
and in the morning we can shed our tears
speak empty promises filled with good intentions
but tonight let's fill them with wine
and dance to the music we made
so long ago

do you remember the words?

la dee dee da dee dee da da da da

dance with me now hold my hand hold me up
i'm not ready to take our bow maybe tomorrow
when forever arrives and mozart's last chord is played
e.e. cummings will set his pen down and sigh
that you and i left him no more to say

and the silence of forever's past will fill the room.

someday on the next page.

we're living life on separate sides
of a book page telling a story
of one boy and one girl
who can't quite touch fingertips
reaching through the parchment paper.

the mundane world distracts us
from a plot written for lovers
who are lost but always dreaming
of a place where they'll be found
someday on the next page.

it was never meant to end in hurt.

you are standing in the kitchen.
i am taking out the trash.

two lovers, lost but always dreaming
of a place where they'll be found
someday on the next page.