letters, cuts

*scattered poems published in scan lancaster, february 2020. they belong to a collection of poetry i compiled which chronicles the various stages of coping with grief. written a few years ago…

01. 01. 2018

dear A,

it’s been three years since i’ve lost you

and i swear i am trying.

i bought a shiny yoga mat

and i do yin yoga for grief release.

i ground my feet,

do warrior poses

and chant.

i try,

but no matter how much i contort my body at dawn

my sorrow rips through my brain

and sticks to my eyelids.

10. 02. 2018

most beloved A,

i wear my loss

like i wear my rings.

11. 02. 2018

darling A,

i swear i’m trying.

i’ve stopped reading sylvia plath

and i bookmark poems

about the universe that is supposedly unfolding in my core.

i read self-help articles about how pain is grace,

grinding my teeth.

i write inspirational quotes on purple notebooks

and i make bullet-points about buddhism

with pink pens.

i press the tips onto the paper


as if to push what i write through me.

i beg my mind to meditate

i put on compilations of “deep relaxing & healing music with instant relief from stress”

and i force myself to still.

i download apps that ease anxiety

and i go to meditation groups on wednesdays.

but, no matter how long i stay cross-legged on the floor,

straightening my back and linking my thumbs,

it hurts.

25. 02. 2018

my dearest A,

i quit drinking

and i made new friends.

friends that drink hot chocolate

friends that watch soft films

friends that pray in the evenings

instead of drowning in face paint

and sprawling on dance floors.

they meet for coffee

they talk about how simple life is

and i nod when my heart clenches.

30. 02. 2018

beloved A,

my brain is softly melting to the floor

04. 03. 2018

ever dearest A,

i’ve been reading about the cycle of rebirth

i wish to believe in it,

but scepticism clouds my heart.

i’m not pure enough for transcendence

so if i am reborn

i wish i could be as small

as a sparrow.

11. 04. 2019

dear A,

i’m unsure where loss ends

        and i begin.

                                                                                                                                  with longing,

                                                                                                                                  T. ☼

gasping for air in my bell jar,

i long for closure and i crave familiarity,

melded thoughts and warm hands.

i am desperate to connect.

i want to feel someone’s soul

glued to mine.

i dream of intimacy,

but i’m clumsy:

when people embrace me too tightly,

i hiss like a cornered snake.

i’m wary of being alone, but

i drift away during conversations,

i ignore messages,

i break friendships,

i feign smiles.

i find refuge

in my bell jar.

every night

i close the jar’s lid with shaky hands,

hug my knees

and blow air on the glass.

*poem published in scan lancaster, february 2020, in the column ‘four incantations for loss, joy and love’. i wrote it two years ago, as part of my second-year poetry collection ‘teenage angst’. i aimed to emulate the restlessness i felt as a young, teenage girl. i feel so touched reading it! wish i could hug that olden version of myself.

// Interview // The Emotional Value of Photography for Scan: Arts Culture // Catherine Rose in conversation with Téa Nicolae

*it was such a pleasure to be interviewed by the wonderful Catherine Rose for Scan! i do not consider myself a photographer in any way, but photography holds a deeply emotional & expressive value for me. you can find the interview online here (&a small typo in my name heh!) 🌷🌞


Téa Nicolae is a third-year Film and Creative Writing student. She writes confessional, intimate and experimental poetry, and is greatly interested in Eastern philosophy, eco-spirituality and psychedelia. I spoke to Tea about the emotional, deeply personal and often nostalgic quality of polaroid photography.

So, Téa, what do you use to take your photographs?

I use my iPhone, a Fujifilm mini polaroid and a Nikon D3200. I’ve had my polaroid for about six years and my camera for nine, and they naturally hold a lot of sentimental value for me. It’s touching for me to think about how much time I’ve had them for and how many beautiful memories they froze for me. However, I find myself often avoiding using my camera. I use my phone and my polaroid instead, as I am very drawn to candid photography and I feel like the two capture ‘the moment’ more. I’ve noticed that people usually become tense when they see a professional camera and are more likely to ‘perform’ themselves instead of just being.

Your photography encompasses a really soft and nostalgic feel; as a writer, is the emotional quality of capturing images important to you?

As photography mainly represents a way of preserving memories for me, I find that my feelings often dictate whether I want to take a photo or not. If I am touched by intense emotion, be it negative or positive, I capture my surroundings. Even the photos of landscapes that I take instantaneously evoke what I experienced at that moment. Photos preserve my inner world, which greatly helps my writing process.

Your photography has a dream-like quality stylistically, with dust-flecks and pale filters, making your photographs feel like tiny evocative memories.

Thank you! To an extent, I do believe that nostalgia is the reason I take photos. I do not consider myself a ‘photographer’ by any means, but I deeply enjoy taking photos of everything that surrounds me: people that I love, animals that warm my heart, the beauty of places I find myself in. My polaroid photos are plastered on the frames of my mirrors. I started decorating my room like this the year that I left my home in Romania and moved here at university. My first month in the UK was overwhelming and I couldn’t help feeling lonely and homesick. However, waking up every morning to see the loving faces of my close friends and family smiling at me from the walls of my dorm greatly comforted me. Photos also help me express gratitude for the past and embrace the changes of the present.

What is your dream photography travel destination?

India, probably. I am fascinated by India’s rich culture and I have a deep respect for the wise, esoteric Hindu philosophy. I dream of visiting during Diwali, the Festival of Lights. The photos I’ve seen, from friends and online strangers, are astonishing. It would be such a wonder to be there, to capture the profoundness and intensity of this enchanting experience, to further share it with the world.

SCAN interview

the featured photos:

*the four vertical ones were taken while visiting Rome with my high-school friends. i was in a lot of pain at the time and i was torn between immersing myself in Rome’s beauty, trying to connect with my friends and honouring the process. to me, the photos therefore commemorate that angsty bitter-sweetness. the hands featured are my dear friend’s Rada. the horizontal photo taken at sunset in an empty parking lot immortalises my friend, Lia and the end of high school. 🌷🌞

speaking of Scan, my bunny, Ivy, was featured in their Pets in Quarantine article! hihi 🙂

☼ i breathe, i accept my grief by téa nicolae

*here’s an optimistic poem of mine to soothe the social distancing process. ❤  along with three other poems, it was published in Scan Arts & Culture, in the section ‘Four Incantations for Loss, Joy and Love’. 


i wake up at dawn

and i find happiness

in slicing an apple

and munching on it



i accept my grief


i find beauty

in standing barefoot in the middle of the kitchen,

feeling breadcrumbs stick

to my pinky toe


i breathe

i accept my grief


i learn there is joy in cutting tomatoes,

in making a bowl of soup,

in having my stomach full



i accept my grief


i uncover the childish glee of

having the tip of my tongue burnt

and gratitude runs between my fingers like water

being alive is warm

there is kindness

in tuning in


and i breathe

i accept


grief. ☼