Five Questions With: A Capital Poet

Meriah Burke-Raines is a Washington D.C. based poet and freelance writer who recently launched Come Closer - a Tumblr dedicated to sharing her heartfelt poetry with the universe. 

The talented author's work covers a range of themes filled with vivid imagery and deeply emotional tones. Check out her latest poem below, followed by our five questions for the darling Meriah.

When he must rail, his blood pulls
Like water to the moon.
It laps at his animal brain
Making it wet and alive.

I can do nothing for this animal
Unwilling to relinquish seeds
Insides like whitewash
Imagination ignited with horrors—
Like mediocrity, khakis, like suburbs.

To quell ourselves,
We call it like a prayer:
We will not conform.

How did you discover your passion for poetry and decided to become a writer?

I had a great creative writing teacher for half a year in high school. It began there. I’m a copywriter now, and I’ve often worked on short stories, but I found that when I need to write, poetry is the vehicle. The snapshot images I see and the emotions I feel are best captured in little vignettes.

Where do you draw inspiration for your poetry?

My inner world and from fears and love—that’s where the material originates. I am inspired by famous brains (like Nabokov, Mary Oliver, Lorde, James Baldwin), existentialism, movies like I Heart Huckabees, and by the writing of my sister, Rachel. And I love music. I always listen to music when I write.
Is there a specific theme that is consistent through all of your work?

Relationships, tenderness, personal growth.
What are you reading right now?

I’m catching up on my Rolling Stone issues and reading Jeannette Walls’ “Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel.” The book makes me want to ride a horse across the desert and be tough as dirt.
If you were a prisoner on death row, what would your last meal request be?

I can’t decide if I’d want something decadent or simple. But I don’t think I’d want to feel sickly stuffed on the execution gurney. So, in theory: gravlax with lemon and pepper and my grandma’s summer salad. In the end, I’d probably be too dumbfounded to eat.

(Meriah photographed by the talented Keith Lane.)