Author Archives: Natalie E. Illum

About Natalie E. Illum

Natalie E. Illum is a founding board member of mothertongue, spoken word and creative writing non-profit for women and young girls for the last 14 years. She has an MFA in creative writing from American University and teaches poetry workshops in a variety of community venues. Her writing has been published in Growing Up Girl (GirlChild Press, 2006), Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders of the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007), and Full Moon On K Street (Manic D. Press, 2010), an anthology that features poems about Washington DC from 1950 to the present, among others. Natalie has been competing on the National Poetry Slam circuit for 3 years. She is the Executive Producer of Capturing Fire: a national slam for queer-identified poets, and a featured poet in the 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Festival of Provocation and Witness. She is currently working on a solo show called Spastic about her disability. She tours throughout the US performing and teaching poetry.

Three Poems – Natalie E. Illum

roulette blur


 	for Robert Illum

My father can count cards.  Once
he cheated the house out of so much
Blackjack, they threatened to kick him
and his teeth out.  Good thing he always
knew when to walk away.  By morning

his wallet was as red
as his bloodshot eyes.
I am my father’s daughter.

You can call me a slot machine.
If you pay me enough attention,
I will give you all of my 3 hearts
spill my insides and watch you
walk away to the next pretty thing.

My father is an engineer.  He loves
blueprints and right angles;
machines that can easily be fixed.

I am my father’s daughter
but my body cannot be fixed.
No matter what he builds
he will never design something
better than a wheelchair.

I inherited his cheekbone,
but not his poker face
I know how big he smiles
for a straight flush; how
he protects his poker chips
like children. Continue reading