KINGMAN - The poetry is anguished, personal, vulnerable and sometimes dark.
Adelita Smith's "I'll Be Strong, Son," described her pain as her second-born son, Andrew Smith-Hartfield, prepared to leave in Nov. 2010 for 10 months of military service in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy.
Adelita was at the hospital in Andrew's place when his son was born and was able to cut the baby's umbilical cord for Andrew.
Shadow falls upon the sun
the darkness is setting in
can't speak the words inside this heart
now burning from within
I promised you I wouldn't cry
and that I would be tough
I never thought it would be easy
never dreamed it'd be so rough
Your plane is barely off the ground
Your duties lie ahead
You must focus on your soldier skills
As I put my fears to bed
I'll hold your son and think of you
and how you were once as small
I'll take things just as they come
the good, the bad and all.
"After three years, the feelings are still there," said Adelita, wiping tears from her eyes after reading the poem aloud. "This poem is just the release. It's a way for me to open my heart and show others how I feel. It's a peek inside the real me."
Adelita, 43, and her daughter, Alexandria Smith, 19, recently had their poetry and photography published in "The Broke Ones Vol. 2 Complete Version: Shadow of Memories." The book is a collection of works by various writers put together by Marquis Dollar, an author, poet and artist from Coventry, England.
The Smiths, who are Kingman natives and residents, received their copies of the abridged version containing only poems in April and the complete version with the photographs in May.
Adelita said she heard about Dollar and became her friend on Facebook, then sent samples of her poetry, which Dollar asked if she could publish in her book. Adelita said she also offered her daughter's poetry, and Dollar quickly accepted it. Adelita, a Mohave County Code Enforcement officer, has five poems and five photographs in the book. Alexandria, a hostess at IHOP, has two photographs and seven poems in the paperback.
Alexandria said her poetry is darker than her mother's, mostly because she writes about incidents and experiences that were traumatic for her. The poem "Forgive Me for Seeking Selfishness" seeks forgiveness from a close friend who committed suicide about a year after the girl found her father, who had killed himself.
"It was something that kept burrowing into me and I finally let it out," said Alexandria, tears streaming down her cheeks. "It was like an open sore that needed healing. I would think dark thoughts because I missed her. She brought out the best in me and I needed to express how I felt and ask her forgiveness for not being there for her."
Alexandria said being published was a dream come true for her because she enjoys sharing her views and telling her story. Alexandria said she started writing as a child, when she held her tongue after getting into arguments with her parents and siblings and found pen and ink to be her weapons for saying what was on her mind. Alexandria said writing has become the love of her life and she plans to pursue it.
Like her daughter, Adelita said she wrote her first poem, called "Love and Hate," when she was eight years old and had a fight with her brother. Since then, she has used her pen to channel her emotions. Adelita said she uses writing as a release valve for whatever is bothering her.
"I can sum up my poetry in three words," said Adelita. "They're 'I bleed ink.' This is just who I am and have been since I was eight years old. It's my way of getting things off my chest."