By Amber Tamblyn


I’m told Joni Mitchell took my newborn baby feet into her palms,
Called them sweet cashews and kissed their soles. 
I lay there in my Father’s arms, a sedated frog,
A fleshy spit of fresh molecule juice.

I’m told my body is shaped like a Renaissance.
Every socket holds a potential revolution,
My gate syncs to Preludes in the key of D minor.

I’m told women have more nerve endings in their hands than men.
That this is a scientific fact.

I’m told Galileo wept at how big his hands looked, how small they felt,
While pointing at the stars.

A book written by every one of God’s representatives tells me
Salvation is for everyone except God.

I’m told your poems are about me.  All of them.
Even when they’re about “Jennifer”.
Even when dedicated to “Mother.”

I was told we met in the 90’s.  You shook my hand and told me
I would not remember you saying that I am the love of your life.

I’m told in 38 years I will lose a child.
The psychic on Astor Place only charged me $10 out of sympathy.

I’m told we should write more vague prayers for rock stars
And send them up into the sky on helium balloon strings.

She was told you kept her letters like Bazooka gum wrappers.
You broke her cigarette heart like an addict you thought could be saved.

I took her in my arms that night and melted a warm tongue across her ear,
Until she was drowning in the deafness of Oh,
Until my poetry pulsed from her face like French, Euros in a fountain in Flagstaff.

I told her the only thing you know how to love is the sound of
Cheap plastic high-heels on pavement.  That as a lover, you are simple.
(I made sure you were told.)

I’m told there’s a balcony where my old dresses are hung to dry in Detroit.
I’m told they buried the body with the garter belt still on.


AMBER TAMBLYN was born and raised in Venice, California and is a 3rd generation Californian.  She has been a writer and actress since the age of 9. She has been nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award for her work in television and film.  In 2007 she won the Locarno Film Festival award for Best Actress for her work in the film “Stephanie Daley”, in which she starred opposite actress Tilda Swinton.  She most recently appeared in FOX’s television show “HOUSE” and in Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed film, “127 Hours” opposite James Franco.  She will next appear in Horton Foote’s “Main Street” opposite Colin Firth.  Amber is most recognized for her work as Joan on the CBS television program “Joan of Arcadia”.

Amber’s first published poem  “Kill Me So Much” appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle when she was 12, having been submitted by her writing mentor Jack Hirschman (Poet Laureate of San Francisco 2009).   In the years that followed, Amber self published two collections of poetry, art and photography entitled Plenty Of Ships and Of The Dawn.  She collaborated with Semina Culture artist George Herms to create a limited edition book of collage and haiku dedicated to Jazz Musician Thelonious Monk entitled, The Lonliest.  In 2005 Simon & Schuster published her debut collection of poetry Free Stallion which was written over more than a decade.  Lawrence Ferlinghetti called the book, "A fine, fruitful gestation of throbbingly nascent sexuality, awakened in young new language.” The book won the Borders Book Choice Award for Breakout Writing in 2006.  Her work has since been published in New York Quarterly, San Francisco Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Pank Magazine, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Interview and others. 

She is the Executive Producer of “The Drums Inside Your Chest,” an annual poetry concert that showcases outstanding contemporary poets (Thedrumsinsideyourchest.com).  She is the co-founder of the nonprofit Write Now Poetry Society, which works to build an audience for unique poetry events (Writenowpoets.org) Her second book of poetry and prose Bang Ditto  (Manic D. Press) was published in the Fall of 2009 and was an Independent Best Seller.  She currently writes for The Poetry Foundation and is a poetry reviewer for Bust Magazine. She is also working on a collection of persona poems accompanied with paintings by Marilyn Manson about child star actresses who grew up into virtual unknowns and died young.  She lives in New York City with her betrothed, comedian David Cross.

9 responses to “Hearsay”

  1. Hypnotic poem, Amber. Great imagery as well. So wonderful to have you as a feature.

  2. Irene Zion says:

    This is blowing me away.
    I have to think about it some more.

  3. New Orleans Lady says:


    This is incredible. Truely inspiring.
    I look forward to reading much more of your work in the future.

  4. Irene Zion says:

    This is remarkable, Amber.
    Inside of your young mind lives a being which seems timeless.

  5. Jessica Blau says:


  6. jmblaine says:

    Salvation for everyone
    but God
    is the kind
    of line
    I will ponder
    all night.

    thank you
    for taking me
    to the Deep

  7. Keith says:

    Well done, will be thinking about this today and revisiting.

  8. Sharanya says:

    This was lovely…

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