Old Hallows Eve

The spooky season is upon us like a beast upon its prey

Hallows Eve is 18 away

The fall aromas spread across the land each day

Candles burning, witches yearning to take first flight

A croissant dipped in arsenic so enemies beware

Soon costumed children of all ages with take forth into the night

Fairies, ghosts, princesses and pumpkins

Ghouls jump out at you under the flickering candle light

Stranger things have happened on Old Hallows night

I nearly cannot wait, for all the world to be alight, under the pale moonlight

No Emotions

The Sunshine shines on the farm 

The farmer awakes on the alarm 

The birds that chirp, the new crops that were harvested 

The tomatoes and potatoes that got marketed 

The farmer’s emotions disappear

Allowing the new ones to appear 

Which emotions had they been

The ones that were held within, within 

The flowers that bloomed

The people who assumed 

Nothing less or more than last 

Season it was that had just past

The farmer, only one who 

Was indifferent to the new

Amazing new spring’s view 

For the farmer had thought through and through 

For he had no emotions 

For he had no devotions 

To anything but his plants 

His emotions were wrecked as were his pants 

But that all changed over night 

For he had woken up in a fright

What was the emotion he had felt 

For he had never ever felt 

Nothing besides his belt 

That was too small for him 

For he, penniless, lived in hut that was dim

He felt like jumping around 

Up and down on the ground 

For he had no emotions 

For he had no devotions 

The feeling he felt was strong, strong 

He felt like writing a song 

Butterflies in his belly

The girl, her name was Shelly 

As beautiful as the sun

On a sunshiny day that had just begun 

As had his emotions 

For he had never had emotions 

For he had never had devotions 

Peace

In a hot and loud classroom somewhere in Manhattan

Girl in black stares out the window yearning for peace.

Oblivious teacher in a button-up shirt gestures to an image of the 1960s

Students who never had phones scream about peace.

Boy who only wants to pass this class in the back of the classroom

Mindlessly copies down notes about protests for peace.

Student in a hood, head bent, glancing around every now and then

Holds their phone under the desk, ensuring that they’ll never know peace.

Somebody’s phone, tossed to the bottom of their backpack amongst gum wrappers and quarters

Has burrowed within it, if you know where to look, a passionate rant about peace.

Slightly over budget black car outside, air conditioner whirs and hums

Most likely irreparably damaging the environment but for now bringing peace.

Man whose eyes are not on the road envisions his big break, his retirement savings, his promotion:

His name sitting quietly under a headline proclaiming worldwide peace.

Nearly microscopic ant desperately trying to evade the unforgiving, ever-advancing wheel

Cannot begin to imagine peace.

On a date that maybe exists, so far in the future, my god, so far, 

Maya Wang-Habib’s life might not even change once we have peace.

Family Spirit of Thanksgiving

Cooking fills the table with love. 

Different styles of culture lie on the table. 

The scent of turkey and garlic fill the air.

The smell of food makes me drool.

Rushing waves of voices crash into my ears.

I am like a messenger, giving food to the poor.

I love being thankful. 

Being thankful makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

So does my family. 

Glass Heart

“Give me a song of hope and a world where I can sing it.” – Pauli Murray

Give a glass heart to

Me. say you’ll trade my heart back maybe tomorrow–

A lie too raw like a newly picked scab.

Song structure had always confused me–

Of sweet flowers and

Hope I was born

And songs never felt quite right like

A

World where my heart lives gleefully. I will never stop asking

Where? Where?

I can’t keep searching, stars.

Can you sift it out of the never-ending gem-studded sand of infinity?

Sing a song to help me understand–I won’t, though–that

It isn’t personal, it’s just the wrong world.

Flight

Flight is the pounding feeling in my heart when I am onstage, 

about to perform

Flight is the flurry of butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I 

try something new

Flight is the release of the softball as it goes whirling towards 

the batter

Flight is the excitement of my smile as the batter swings and 

misses

Flight is my pencil as it flies across my paper

Flight is the blur of my legs as they run, running faster than ever, 

with my feet pounding on the pavement, my future ahead of me

The Path to School

Fall,

Wheat covered,

Wind whipped,

Dirt and mud,

Stones under foot,

Crunch as you step,

Walk through the dry, dead grass,

The forest

Covered in red and orange hues

And stick figure trees,

Nearly winter now

Over the storm drain,

Cloudy sky,

Off to school with you.

Winter,

Bone chilling cold,

Sky clouded,

Soaked with rain,

Grass dead,

Stumble,

Catch your balance,

Stumble,

Fall,

Mud everywhere,

The forest 

Covered in sticks

Dead vines,

Leaves crumble under foot

Hidden in mounds of snow,

Shiver over to the storm drain,

Can’t wait ‘till spring,

Get out of the cold,

Run to school.

Spring,

Buds,

On the trees,

Bushes bursting with little green leaves,

Color filtering back into the grass,

Hope coming,

Mind clearing,

Sun shining,

Joy blossoming,

Skip down the path,

The forest

Vivid red buds

Dappled light

Peace forming,

Jump by the storm drain,

Grass getting taller, greener,

Buds on the trees,

You are hesitant for school.

Summer,

Last days of cooler air,

Grass is green and tall,

Fall into it,

Roll down the dandelion covered hill,

Trees are green and thick with leaves,

Laughter fills the air,

So much light,

So much joy,

Sun shining, 

The forest

Calm place of shadowed shelter,

Full of cicadas 

Chirping away,

You spring to the storm drain,

Graze the waist-high emerald grass

With your hand,

Softly tuck a flower in your hair,

Touch a perfect green leaf

Put it in your pocket,

It’s the last you’ll feel for hours,

You don’t want to go to school. 

Based on All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury

All Summer in a Day

I dream of a

glistening

burning

radiant

Sun

gold crayon

sunflower

fire on the stove

I feel the

heat

warmth

Of the sun against my skin

I’m 

Spinning

Leaping

dancing

Across the soft ground

Flowers blooming around me

But then I fall

and wake 

from my dream 

and 

deep sleep

I wake up to see the 

pounding

endless

crystal – clear

Rain

An ocean of 

sorrow

despair

misery

A single raindrop

The thunder is

roaring

booming

whooping

Outside

A storm swirling with everlasting rain and thunder

The misty sky so

hazy

foggy

cloudy

The rainshower continues

Poetry by Emily Rose

it’s not christmas anymore

her bruised lips are stained with sickly sweet pomegranate wine
her hollow eyes drunk with power (and with pain)
the moonlight beams into the darkness through wooden blinds
casting shadows on long-forgotten coffee cups and takeout boxes
and half-full glass bottles (but those are not forgotten)
stacks of books are crammed in every corner and scribbled notes litter the floor
the faded colored lights draped on the walls have been there for months
serving as a reminder of what once was (and what will one day be)
not a word (and barely a breath) passes her chapped red lips
after all if she doesn’t say it, it cannot be true
repeat it together now: it cannot be true, it cannot be true, it cannot be true
but she knows you cannot erase what has already been done
the truth is written in the cracks of her broken heart and in the lines on her face
(even in in the gap between her teeth)
the bitter cold of late february seeps through the cracks in the windows and doors
hollowing her bones, leaving endless space for memories to fill
as her brittle breath fogs the air, tasting of fruit and regret (with a hint of hopelessness)

make it until morning

i swore off of praying when You left.
never again i promised.
why would i pray to Him him
when He he doesn’t even listen to me anyways?
after all, why would i pray
to a God god who would take You away?

back when You were in the hospital,
i prayed every day,
like You always used to.
by the big window
in Your empty room,
in our empty house,
in this empty apartment building.

in the morning, when i woke up,
i prayed for the heat to stay on;
when You left i could no longer afford it.
before dinner,
i prayed for the flowers You grew
outside on our patio
to survive the cold,
to survive the winter,
to survive Your absence;
when You left they began to wilt.
and before i went to sleep,
i prayed for You to
make it until morning.

but now
i wear two pairs of socks each day
and my tattered coat inside the house,
yet somehow i am still cold.
now all of Your flowers have died;
whatever scraps of You
which were planted on that patio
have been buried under a bed of snow.

Hello, what is your wish?

Come inside,
it is getting cold.
Take off your shoes,
I don’t like a mess.
Please stay.
was the wait long?
It was to me.
But I am lonely.
are you?

breath on a dandelion Exhaled.
wishes in the wind Whispered.
coins in a fountain Tossed.

my wishes Drowned in 1994
have you made yours?
regret is unnecessary
as is hope

the best time to do things? why would i know?

all i know is pink sand stuck between toes
and sticky, blackberry-stained fingers
and ‘get in, the water’s warm’

    the most important one? who am i to tell you?

all i know is the tide’s pull, back and forth
and salty film on cool skin
and the sound of crickets chirping

the right thing to do? what do you think?

all i know is floating under a warm Virginia sky
with the clouds above me
and nothing below

In Light Blue

Like a songbird with a broken wing

Who cannot fly but only sing

Like a songbird with a broken wing

Who cannot fly but only sing

Who sings in hope but stops in vain

For all that the songbird has known is pain

But when shadows creep through the night

The songbird is shown glowing starlight

Hope and love he once again sings for

The songbird knows he is alone no more


What is worth

If you don’t understand

How you are valued

If some say they hate 

And others say they love

How can you see the truth

If you ignore that

Both can coexist


Some people claim to know you best

Better than you know yourself

Yet you show them a single side

And simply hide all of the rest

They claim to know the the way you walk

The secrets behind the words you talk

The thoughts that flash behind your eyes

Yet every one of those is lies

To tell the truth or tell a lie

To walk through fires or sleep and cry

To fall in love and stay safe in pain

To forget and wait in vain

They claim to see the things you hide

The parts of you that don’t see light

The secret thoughts and drooping dreams

The water drops through wilting seams

When all breaks loose and you are out

They realize and start to doubt

They ask and ask about why you lied

But all your trust for them has died

Anxiety 

Tendrils of my gray fingers twist and crawl 

Infiltrate the chinks in your armor 

Coil and squeeze around your mind

I will exploit you from within 

I afflict cold chills, sweaty palms upon you: eerie instruments of my success 

Vivid scenarios of doom; One wrong move will spiral into ruin

Bypass coherent thought with omnipresent hysteria

I tip the fragile scale of your sanity 

Replace confidence with bleak doubt 

My whisperings of panic have unbraided you

The despair leads to surrender of the treasure like no other

The hidden door to your subconscious 

Leaving me alone at the control panel; I’ve changed the password, your entry is denied 

Where I Am From

I am from the heat of my village

And the blizzard of a New York winter

I can feel my sweat freeze

I am from my grandmothers who were child brides

And the daughter of a woman with a PhD

My family tree is a banyan

With long branches and deep roots in its land 

I am from my ancestors

That don’t speak the same language as me

I am from the land of the “goras” 

Colder than the mountains of Nepal

Where Badi Dadi came from at 13

I am the farthest from my village

That I could ever be

Yet the most at home when I am there

I am from culture shock

And joining the great American melting pot 

Come with your culture

And leave with theirs

That’s the price to pay

For paved roads and clean air

I can talk like them

Dress like them

Even look like them

But I will never be them 

No matter how hard I try

I am from lying to myself

Inside

Feeling like a fraud

Not knowing what is my culture and what is theirs

I am from shopping at Khan Market

I can smell the designer perfume 

Street food

And poverty 

The elites escape from a developing country 

Visiting the Mall 

With its shiny western products

On the flawless white models 

Viewed by millions of brown skin Indians 

Walks in Lodi garden 

I can hear the monkeys

Chattering at me

I am from the spoiled little girl 

Who lived five years

And never made her own bed

To the girl who can walk on the streets alone

And my brother’s late-night conversations 

And his gentle protection 

Calms my temper 

Like pouring ice on fire

I am from playing Ludo with Dadi

Getting printouts from Nana

And the hugs from Nani

I am from looking in the mirror and seeing nothing but flaws

Feeling like I am worth nothing at all

I am from my dog nuzzling through my arms and licking away my tears

I can feel my fears vanish

I am from my parents’ determination

To protect me

Help me

And raise me

Higher than I could ever reach on my own

I am from the midnight dreams

And the happy screams

And everything in between

I am where I can go

And everyone I know

I am my family

Through the Cracks

Once I broke the trust they had 

I regret breaking a pickle jar

I’ve seen others break bonds

I know that others break plates

Watched them try to piece them together again

Imagine they try to piece them together again

I’ll probably break my own heart

I worry I’ll break as many plates someday

They’ll watch as I try to pick the broken pieces back up

They’ll watch as I try to pick my broken self back up

I can’t break glass ceilings

I worry I won’t break down walls

I don’t think I’ll ever need to

I worry now I am expected to

I knowingly broke a friendship

I unwillingly broke the rules

I listened to others and followed them

I watched them leave and couldn’t follow them

I never want to break away

I hope I can break a heart

Bat Mitzvah

I remember arriving, and thinking everything looked picture perfect.

I remember it was dark, but at the same time very bright. 

I remember demanding that my friends were called by their nicknames. 

I remember when my friend made a weird pose in the photo. 

I remember being partners with my brother for every game. 

I remember my friends running around stealing each other’s phones.

I remember when everybody got a question wrong on trivia, except for my brother and his friends.

I remember how happy my 8 year old cousin was.

I remember the lanterns hanging from the ceiling in all the different colors of the rainbow.

I remember my hair, braided up in a bun with tiny clay flowers sticking out. 

I remember the flowers falling out of my hair all night.

I remember my dress, black with multicolored sparkles. 

I remember my dress getting glitter everywhere. 

I remember my shoes, white sneakers with an ombre rainbow and stars.

I remember my nails, a light lavender color.

I remember my mask, a splotchy rainbow watercolor. 

I remember my makeup, how it matched my features really nicely.

I remember standing there, while everyone watched me, but I wasn’t even nervous because

I knew I could do it. 

I remember being terrified when they lifted me up in the chair.

I remember the sheer shock when my friends threw candy at me. 

I remember the crazy face my 4 year old cousin made during family photos. 

I remember playing games where I had to sit on the floor and how I was trying so hard to keep my dress down.

I remember how good the food tasted, especially the pancakes. 

I remember feeling like a camera was on me at all times. 

I remember being a lot less nervous than I expected. 

I remember forgetting everything as soon as I finished. 

I remember people spelling my name wrong.

I remember there being family members I didn’t even know. 

I remember taking photos at the photo booth. 

I remember me and a couple of my friends getting excited at certain songs. 

I remember my little cousin copying everything I did, including hugging my friend who she had never met before.  

I remember my dress getting glitter everywhere.

I remember it being so colorful. 

I remember my friend’s little siblings standing on the couch and fighting each other. 

I remember the sigh of relief when it was over. 

And of course I remember more than anything, all the things I wish I had done, all the people I didn’t invite, and all the things I wish I hadn’t done.

Feeling Colors

Dear Blue

Dear Blue,

I hope you’re doing well.

But recently I heard you are doing quite bad.

I hope to meet today, by the morning bell.

So you can explain to me why you are feeling so sad.

Was it Red? Did he tease you again?

Or was it Yellow? Did he boast his intellect?

Did someone visit you at your den?

Please tell me, I have a suspect.

I think it was me!

I told you who I wanted you to be. 

I want you to know: that wasn’t me.

Feel better soon,

Your friend, Maroon.

Dear Maroon

Dear Maroon,

Thanks for checking in.

I hope you don’t think I’m mad.

Or in the loony bin.

When I say I’m not feeling bad. 

The truth is, I ran away from you.

Your constant blabbering of speech.

You say so many things I know aren’t true. 

So please, the next time you screech.

Don’t say what you want to be.

Because I’m really tired of you pretending to be like me.

I want you to know: you aren’t me.

I’m through with you,

See ya, Blue.

Dear Brown

Dear Brown, 

I have no idea what to do. 

The Rainbow Dance is coming up.

And I don’t know if I should ask Pink or Blue?

If they want to take my offer up.

To dance… with me. 

Pink is really cute. 

But Blue is beautiful as far as the eye can see.

It’s like two sides of my brain are in dispute.

So please, help me out.

So I no longer have to strut about,

Worrying about who to ask out.

I’ll promise I’ll pay,

For the advice, Gray.

Dear Gray

Dear Gray,

The choice is obvious.

I don’t mean to be mean.

But I’m just saying, you’re kind of oblivious.

I know exactly why you’d be keen.

I know I would.

The color is just perfect for you.

I promise, I know you should.

So don’t ask either Pink or Blue.

I’d very much like it if you asked me.

No pressure, but I can see,

That you clearly want to be with me.

So stop acting so down,

I’ll see you at the dance, Brown.

Summer

Breaking through 

the salty water

I swim back to shore

My feet feel 

smooth rocks 

on the shore

as I step onto

the beach

I lay my towel 

on the sand

and pull out 

a book to read 

in the sun

Walls of water 

slap the rocks

The smell of  

smoke from hot dogs 

is carried in the air

I lean back

and feel 

the warmth 

of Summer

The Summer Breeze

The summer breeze whistles through my hair 

It swims through the grass and trees

Makes the gleaming sun looks like a gem, so rare

And dances on the waves in the seas

Down on the beach, umbrellas shake

Knocking over ice cream, as if it wants the treat

And in the valley, wind darts across the lake 

Water splashes as the wind dances to the beat

But the summer breeze must transform

Another wind must interfere 

The draft still enters, but more like a storm

For fall, at last, has finally appeared

The Goose is the Garden

The goose is the garden

Is becoming overgrown we need to trim the weeds

Take over the driveway

Is really falling apart

From you I can’t seem to think 

About the mountains outside the window

Casts a shadow on the ground

Is made of water 

Reflects the clouds

Are shaped like a wolf chasing sheep

Escaped again the German shepherd 

Is so cute though how can you blame

Me every single time 

I see the milky way I think of all the milk I’ve spilled

The beans

For dinner do you mind if we have them again this week

Has been weird without you

I am nothing.

Hopes and Dreams

We, the successors of this country

Are grateful for being born in a country

Where there is freedom and democracy 

Where anybody can become president

Where you can be

My hopes and dreams are to become a president

Of a free country

Where you can say what you think

This country is not perfect of polished

This country is not striving

But is moving forward blindly

I hope this country will 

Accept people from different countries and cultures

People with different backgrounds and beliefs

We still have miles to go

Before we are perfect

But we are not trying to be perfect

Nothing is perfect

We should welcome people

But right now we aren’t

We have to start a new chapter in our lives

We have to treat everyone like Americans

PERSEPHONE / Wake of A Dark Rose

Me, 

A tendril of a person, wrapped around a bruised finger.

An obsession, as you’ve said before.

Problems and struggles and flaws and fault

When really, 

What is fault, when everything has two sides? 

Not two dimensional, so deep,
So rooted into the pure

Existence of something so realistic

You and me, but that’s not what it was anyways

That’s how they describe normality 

Not like we ever fit that anyways.

Dial the pinned number on your phone,

Cry and scream and kick long limbs around like it’ll fix things.

But those scars came from cuts;

Cuts that healed over time and bandages made of paper,

Paper that was bound to end in flames.

Homes in each other,

Homes made of sand and salt flakes that make my head hurt,

Built up galaxies that were always bound to crumble.

Like you, like how you are, 

Collapsing on yourself like a brittle shell,

A white globe descending through time.

For it’s so easy for those

Numbers, gliding through zeros and stages of life.

Because that’s what life is;

Are you what life is? 

A number and some vertical ovals on a page, 

A ripped-out love note on a paper, 

Discarded into the speeding archway path of what you’re going through? 

You, 

A thorned, romanticised flower, 

An elusive figure in the distance that never got close enough to be tangible, 

A figure that left her keeper

Nipping at shadowy, aching heels 

While you kick dust into the air behind them 

And I inhale it, over and over again, 

and

I do it for you.

and 

I make mistakes, 

and you

Claim that I challenge you, but really,

Do I scare you? 

Are the cuts on your upper arms fears, 

Engraved souvenirs of the past that are just starting to fade? 

Will you tell people that they’re my fault? 

Or are you just afraid of being wrong? 

Or am I just afraid of being wrong?
Or are we just afraid of being without the other? 

Really, I’m the we that’s afraid, 

Because the other is you.
And in our reality, 

I’m just facing the elephant in the funhouse mirror, 

And realising that I’m not sure what to do without you. 

Keys on the Keyboard

Luck

Sometimes I am lucky,

Everything going my way

Other times my soul feels like

It’s being sucked away

Butterflies in the sky

Then stormy weather, don’t know why

World is changing, all around

As fallen soldiers hit the ground

Making things all tangled up,

Like drinking poison from a cup

God please help me, hear me pray

Or save me once, just once today

Make some bodies come to life,

Save an innocent person’s life

Life is precious, not to waste

But some devils just need one taste,

Of blood so sweet,

So please let’s find a place to meet

If you save my life, I’ll be kind,

So save my superstitious mind

A Poem I’ll Write Someday.

Some time,

Somewhere,

Something,

Someday,

A poem I’ll write someday.

A magical,

Beautiful,

Miraculous thing.

A poem I’ll write someday.

Maybe ‘bout some guy’s

Toupee.

A poem I’ll write someday.

Not now,

Later.

Never in the decade.

A poem I’ll write someday.

Water

I am from waves crashing against the shoreline,

Clouds floating with the breeze.

You drink me, use me every day,

I’m used to water your leaves. 

I flow down mountains low and high,

Fill zig-zagging streams.

Some laugh, some cry, some smile with pride,

For I’m their hero, their savior.

To some, all I am is tainted waste,

Not good to use or drink.

Their sad faces stare at me,

Reflected on my surface.

I can only do so much,

Try to help but fail.

I save some lives but not enough,

When people die, we have to be tough.

Slowly I flow through the canyons,

Threatening, any second to dry.

Birds drink me with their beaks,

I give them the energy to fly.

Many thrive around me,

I’m the center of them all.

What will become without me?

Will humans still be here at all?

Blackbird Pie

Fields of people,

Each one a flower.

Looking for a chance,

To escape.

From this green field,

Looks good to you,

But a jail for all within.

Leaves and seeds,

Blow past from the east.

Birds come in,

From the west.

For years the flowers

Come and go.

Life and death,

Just part of the flow.

No one escapes from the

Grassy field.

Guarded day and night,

By soaring birds.

Shadows in the dusk,

Always back at dawn.

In uniforms,

A blackbird’s best,

Letting no one through.

These black shadows,

Flying high,

Mockery to all below.

Blackbirds let

No one through.

Even when,

The sun’s

Baking hot,

Like the fires in their eyes,

When they’re ripped from

Their kith and kin,

Not knowing when

They’ll see them again.

To perfect the

Dish

Made for generations.

To make

America

“Great.”

This is the

Blackbird pie.

We

Blurred lines between walls.

Impenetrable existence.

Hands cracked with soap stains, thoughts of a deadline escaping isolation.

Extending infinitely.

Walls are thick ink, when stepped on, shatter, taking form through unbreathable masks,

Withstanding the divide that already stood.

Differences dissolve, thicken on sides unimaginable. 

We are surrounded by clouds of dust. They gray our vision, stain our straightly cut clothing.

Scarring memories of evolution.

The walls between worlds sprout growth; show similarity. 

Grounding similarity.

Six feet apart, is this what brings us together?

Differences, flaws, all intertwine through a blurred connection.

We are, and always will be, humanity.

We’re Stronger Together, A Poem

I was out there in a world,

That had no restrictions

To where I could go.

Until this monster arrived,

And it made me feel

Like I’m incarcerated,

That we are all incarcerated.

Nowhere for me to go,

Nothing for me to explore,

But that doesn’t matter,

Because some of us are risking their lives

To combat this.

We should thank them, because

Those who put their lives at stake,

Just to protect us,

Are doing something

That most of us may refuse to do.

Let this be something that inspires our posterity.

We will show that we were strong,

Even during the worst of times.

We’re stronger as a community.

We will get through this.

The more people who work to defeat this,

Then the stronger we will be.

A battle.

We must win this battle,

And defeat this monster,

Because if we work together,

Then we will be able to win,

And victory will be ours.

Peace

There is a new sound in the air,

It’s faint, but regardless it is there,

But what?

A new smell is in the air,

The perfume of the mother 

who has given us health and care,

But who?

There is a new taste in the air,

A refreshingly sweet candy to consume,

Its soothing resolution is colorful against this darkness,

But where?

The first petals of Spring have arrived,

but no one dares to admire their glory,

enveloped in television stories,

But if we listen to our senses

in these times of trouble,

we can find–

Peace.

Here is peace.

And You Feel Like a Child

Stay home, they say, stay home.

And you think that they sound

like reprimanding parents,

and you feel like a child

as you look outside your window

and nod.

And you remember, staring beyond the window panes,

how they told you that

the sky was your limit.

But you look up now and see that your sky is the ceiling,

painted white.

Your world has a ceiling,

and your far away plans

become necessities, because your ceiling

is your sky, and Now

becomes engulfing

as you stare

and look

and nod

out your window,

like a child.

How to Help the Helpers

Put food into a sack,

That they may lack.

Do it for a nurse, or a med,

Cheese, chocolate, water, or bread.

It matters not,

Whatever you bought,

It need not be a lot,

It is not necessary, 

But it would be a kind thing to do.  

They will appreciate anything,

So, it need not have bling,

Or be fit for a king.

They work day and night,

There is no end in sight,

So, help the helpers!

Be kind,

And keep in mind

How fortunate you are.

There shall not be a doubt

That you are not lucky in every way.

No matter what your story or situation is,

Do not forget to say

Thank you to those who help us,

And discuss the things we are fortunate for more.

Do your part,

And add an item or two to the cart,

for the helpers.

In tough times,

Always remember what is most of significance is that you are kind,

So, help the helpers!

Beyond the Walls

Stuck in a surreal painting 

Beyond these walls, clocks melting 

Sluggish time, present and future lost

Humility, life lessons at steep cost. 

Desperate for restful sleep 

Beyond these walls, disconnect so deep 

Guilty privilege, food, shelter and more 

Paralyzing fear, parents at work or at the store.

Expect to discover a muse 

Beyond these walls, dashed hopes and deadly news 

There’s no end to this storm 

Still, rush to do, to create, to perform.

Pause, embrace the authentic 

Beyond these walls, not all catastrophic 

Let me be, won’t be fragile for long

Will step up, will be strong.

And So The Sun

It’s been honking all morning

The highway is filled with cars

Of people trying to make it someplace different than where they are

Trying not to be late

But the traffic’s making them wait.

The cars pass by a school

They pass by some stores and shops

They pass by some restaurants and salons

All working non-stop

The day had only begun

And there’s so much to be done

Today’s a morning

Just like any other morning

Of human civilization under the sun.

And so the sun

When looking down

Thought, “What would happen

If things changed around?

The world is just like a sun

That will not set

When will the world

Ever rest?

What if these cars had no place to be?

What if these stores and shops closed

And people were to forced to focus only on the things they really need?

What if people were forced to spend time with themselves?

Forced to reflect and focus on their health?

And I’m not talking about just one town

What if the whole world changed around?

Everyone together

All connected

All going through the same thing

All equally affected.

What if instead of putting them to waste

People appreciated the resources they had?

Not constantly taking for granted

What’s in their grocery bag?

What if all this pollution started declining?

With the highways mostly empty

And fewer planes flying?

What if families were forced to bond

Whether or not they got along?

And the glitter and glamour of a celebrity life

What if you took away all the hype?

And forced everyone to live the same way

Forced to see they’re all alike.

And what if parents watched their kids learn and grow?

Not sending them away each day

But keeping them at home?

What if people were forced to connect

In a place where countries don’t have boundaries

Called ‘the internet.’

What if there was a deeper feeling of unity?

With more people being aware of their communities?

What if people had to redefine

The things that they find fun

Without being able to go to parties and clubs?

What if an extroverted society

Had to find a way to do things more quietly?

Just for a while

What if there was a collective pause?

So the upcoming mornings

Wouldn’t move so fast

And people could reevaluate

The way they were living in the past?”

And so the sun

When looking down

Thought, “What would happen

If things changed around?

Wonder how this would shake things up?”

I guess we’ll find out in a couple of months.

If I Had Known

If I had known that 

when I flipped my roommate off

with a smug smile instead 

of a hug before spring break

that I wouldn’t ever hug her again,

I would’ve told her that I was proud of her

and that she showed me 

the safest place I had ever had

that I had run to her and she kept me loved

and hidden

and learning

I would’ve breathed deeper into the ramen crusted air and her dirty

laundry clad shoulder because the dryer broke three 

days before we left 

to go home 

home? 

was / left / was kicked out of / lost / was robbed of

home.

I would’ve learned to knit with my 

grandmother instead of tugging

on my mom’s sleeve and begging

to leave because I was bored of old, old 

couches and clothes and music and clouds of minds left

in the years before me

memories of wars and people I’ve never known

I would’ve taken

a moment to learn their names to tell

them to the kids I might never have a chance to have

I would’ve written down her red sauce recipe 

even though I never liked it

I would’ve run free and 

breathed.

without a beast taking time from 

seniors,

ours and the kids who

will never get the chance to be 

one again. 

I like to think that

I would’ve.

Who knows.

Hello Coronavirus

Hello Coronavirus.

I see you over there in China.

Lotta crazy stuff you’re doing.

Well, have fun.

Oh shoot. You’re in America.

I’m actually surprised you made it this far.

I guess I’ll have to take you more seriously

The government has ordered us all to stay home till you leave.

Shouldn’t take long.

What? You’ve conquered New York City?

The infection rate is still climbing?

Morgues are overflowing!

Edward’s entire family is infected!

COVID-19, You’re scaring me!

How do I comprehend this chaos?

Sensei, COVID. If I were to die tomorrow,

What would I gain?

What would I lose?

Pandemics and Poker

It’s hard enough to play at the table of global powers.

Already keeping what’s most valuable to oneself 

Defended by distance. 

Then the chips go down.

Separation becomes isolation

The few feet of space now a void of unknown.

Within this solitude we think about what we keep

Instead of what we lose:

Our partners in the game.

We play to bolster our agendas

But we don’t win with empty seats.

Separate, Together

Raging through communities

A small, microscopic being

Sends full-grown humans into hiding –

What power it holds

Something we must control

Controlling us

We are overworked

Overtired, overburdened 

Underpaid

Jobless, helpless, foodless 

Doubtful 

Lucky families like mine

View lockdown as an adventure

We say we see when we don’t

Our nation divided

But look closer: 

For the overworked, recognition

For the jobless, hope

For the lucky, gratitude

For everyone 

Solidarity.

Separate, together.

Step into another’s shoes

Even if the shoes seem too small.

Perhaps the distance that keeps us apart

Will finally unite us.

Your Voice

In the dismal darkness, there is

someone drifting among floating

papers. Staring above.

Hoping for a light. Hoping for someone to

pull them out. Out of the darkness and into

the light.

Suddenly, a light illuminates the stars,

shining through the darkness.

And a voice says, “Write. Make your voice be

heard. Pull yourself out of the darkness and into

the light so you can walk towards a brighter future.”

So he writes about the stars and about the

wings of freedom shining through the murky

darkness so he can rise into the light.

What I Hope I Sound Like Through a Gramophone

it was a time of prosperity

in heart and in gold

my neighbor had just bought a new cat

that didn’t like to eat cat food

         the irony did not slither past me

we shared an ice cream, by the shore

and then i found that i much preferred

your presence only in pictures

         and i used to chat every week on the phone

with a raspberry plate at my hip

and the words seemed to come easily

water off a duck’s back, i shake my head

         i preferred to build my bridges out of marble

the only problem was

that it made all of my guest’s feet cold

and it’s listlessness, it’s unfocused, it’s unforgiving

in this lighting

         the ugliest become lily of the valley

it’s become an unheard-of desire

to have a better valve of color between my creators

i take some hope, i must confess, from all of the cinema

i’ve devoured

         and the romanticism is infectious and surreal

in the capturing of the twitch of the man’s lips

against the bare oak of the outside tree

but i hold my tongue, i close my eyes

         one more night of silence won’t harm anyone

least of all my ailing suitors, who moved in to the floor below me

to retire into a stream of green

and allow myself to affect you

i don’t hope for much

         but i would be content to know that a piece of me

has situated itself as one of the many ribbons

in your soul.

Light in the Darkness

To some, darkness is exploding,

to others, fear is closing in,

to many, sickness is taking hold,

and to all, life is changing. 

But there’s more than chaos here. 

We can find laughter in the silence,

light in the darkness, 

smiles through the tears,  

and beauty in the ashes. 

There is an opportunity before us,

and we can use this time to change. 

To change our outlook,

to change our priorities,

and to realize the peace of simplicity. 

For some, laughter is breaking through, 

for others, lights are illuminating the darkness,

for many, smiles are shining through tears,

and for all, beauty is being discovered.

Waiting for the Dawn

The world is holding its breath,

Stiller than e’er before

We’re all waiting,

Waiting for something

Like the breath before dawn

When e’en birds stop their chatter

Hushed, they wait in silence

Waiting for the sun

I’ll join them in their vigil

Waiting for the dawn

Praying for this night to end

Needing to move on

Loose Brick

On the last Saturday of August,

an ambulance sirened past Valley Forge.

Your red Toyota was our caboose.

The cyclists who found me, squashed,

waved and went on.

Above me, a clean-shaven man in white smiled. 

He told me I was brave. 

Your electric toothbrush 

vanished from Mom’s medicine cabinet.

My kitsch cast was claustrophobic with sharpie.

The maple trees out my window turned red.

How did the Continental soldiers survive

six months of wind whipped backs?

Were chalk blue fingers

suffering as usual?

Maybe if there was no Days Inn

no road trip  no grasshopper girl

no garden wall  no loose brick     

no tumble   no pavement  

no falling   no crumple

no left arm, cracked in two

maybe you would have stayed.

Dear Mockingbird

Dear Mockingbird,

Mockingbirds repeat what people say

I guess this is your way to spend the day

What do you do when there is no sound?

Do you just sit around?

When you mock people are you loud?

Does this make you proud?

Do you sometimes hear the same sound?

Do you repeat it or once again do you just sit around?

I ask myself repeatedly why do you mock

Is this the way you talk?

Cold

Cool and empty breaths

Leave and return

From my once vibrant colored body.

The warmth that once existed

In the transparent liquid that

Flowed through my veins 

Has now come to a halt.

It oozes and drips

From the rigid and deep wounds

That now decorate my lifeless body.

Though not inflicted these unrelenting lashes

Were obtained and accepted.

Inflicted by the creator of all,

Life.

Year after year

The sharper the simmering blade

She used Became.

It’s slick, but yet finely sharpened body

Was inserted deeper and deeper as 

Time moved forward.

Tearing deeper into my flesh.

The more the scars grew 

The more my wounds bled.

The more something within

Began to fade away.


A Question – Unanswered – Solved

Chapter 1~That Feeling

I’m feeling uninspired

I look to my favorite quotes

Today was reading…

…and remembering…

…someone might be feeling 

beautiful in literature


Chapter 2~The Beginning

The pounding in my head

The whisper in my soul

I close my eyes

I roll over

Try to fill the empty hole

The door opens

Tam pokes her head in

She says it’s time

That I should get right out of bed

She knows that I’m missing

The sister I loved

Until she died that horrible night

When she was finally pushed too far….


Chapter 3~Cowardly Me

Tam tells me I need practice

To have courage…

…be brave

But how can I

After a girl was brave

And left so much behind

Nevertheless

Life goes on

So I turn to the mirror

I take a breath in and I say to myself

“I am Alex Pander, an author-kinda-and life goes on.“

“I am Alex Pander, an author-maybe-and life goes on.”

“I am Alex Pander, an author-YES-and life goes on.”

I get a questioning look from Tam

But she says no more about it

She hands me my backpack

Opens the door

I walk toward school

Until 

My home is out of sight

Then I quickly turn around

Climb

Up a tree

I pull out my notebook…

…though it doesn’t look like one

With a yellowing leather outside

Tattered looking pages

It looks more like a box


Chapter 4~Disguised

Disguised as a box

Looking old

Looking real

Though it’s not

Disguised as something to keep feelings in

But really

It’s the perfect way

For me to let them out


Chapter 5 ~Moms

My mom said I would need saving before she grabbed my mom and jumped after

The daughter that they wouldn’t be able to save

That’s right my mom is gay

So is my mom…

Anyway

I’m adopted from a family I’ll never know


Chapter 6~Messages

I write to my mom, mom, and sister

I write to the family that could’ve been mine

If I stayed with them

I wouldn’t be drowning

In the pain of being abandoned

By the mom and dad that couldn’t afford me and disappeared soon after

By the mom and mom who didn’t stay with me to watch my sister drown

By the sister who was just playing around until playing got her pushed out of life

By Tam, the friend, that still lives today

But I wonder, how much happiness is alive


Chapter 7~The Finding

I write for seconds

For minutes

For hours 

Eventually

I gather my stuff

I climb down the tree and I think of my life

I live with my bestie who is ten years older than me

She is my guardian although I’m almost eighteen

I know she is scared with my sudden appearance

She plans to send me away for summer

So she can sort out her life

So now

I will be spending two months in a library

I get home and look for my bff

To finish lying an answer to all of her hopeful questions

I find a note on my bed

After five minutes of frantically searching

And

Ten minutes of staying calm

It says:

Dear Alex, 

Life has always been hard. When you were 2 months old, your parents gave you up…I supported you. When you were 5, you decided that having two moms was normal, I supported you. When you were 8, you had to deal with all of the girls telling you that you that were weird; you should be obsessed with dolls, make-up, dressup, boys, and all that stereotypical “girl” stuff. Guess what, I supported you! And then, you were 13, you decided you were really a boy, so I supported you. Exactly 9 months ago today, your sister, mom, and mom died. I need to support you, but I need some supporting too. While I love you so much, I have plugged in coordinates to your GPS. They will take you to a library where people are waiting for your arrival. Use your phone to call me when you get there. Pack your bags so that you can stay for two months. There will be laundry. Leave by 6:30. You might be scared, but this is the best for both of us. It is not forever. I am not leaving you, or making you leave me. I want to be better for you, and I need time to do this. It is hard for me too. I will not be there before you leave. Do not wait up. I love you so much!

Luv ya, 

Tam

PS-I called the school so they know not to expect you tomorrow. They say that they weren’t, you haven’t been to school in weeks, maybe even months. They said that they thought you were sick. We will talk about this on the phone later. Keep me posted! 


Chapter 8~Betrayal

The car rumbles

It groans

It creaks

It treks along

Without much attention

How can I?

I mean…

I just got abandoned

The third time

In seventeen years

By the one I thought I could trust

Why is it that this happens

So what it is a library

My new home

My old sanctuary

So what she thinks this is best

For me

For her

Don’t I know what’s best

For the person who’s been through more

She said it herself

In the letter she wrote

I guess it is fate

That my high

Is my low


Chapter 9~Arrival


It’s modern

But old

Split in half

Like my soul

It’s brick

But stone

Half and half

Like my heart

It’s warm

But cold

Undecided

Like my life

My thoughts

My emotions

My feelings

My brain

My body

My soul

My heart

Me


Chapter 10~Getting It Over With

So many things happen so quick

A smile

A wave

A kiss

A hug

A ride

A candy

A book

A movie

Even though we try

And try

We try to make them last

The librarian looks

The assistant stares

I realize

In horror

I said it aloud

The feelings I felt

All out there

Not personal

I know I’m blushing

But I need to know more

I take a deep breath

I walk over

The librarian

Stares

Wonders

Questions

Keeps it in

Like she notices

Something

Never noticed before

Almost about

The way I speak

And then try to fix it

Odd

And then I see her staring

At my deep eyes

That seem to know all

Just how I imagined my dad’s

Beautiful eyes would look

She answers

The silent question

Somehow passed between us

She is Molly

My director

Of her newest idea

She is teaching

Kids

About writing

Again

They will room

In the basement

Of the library

Together

Except

I am alone

I am the only one

She gives me the keys

And walks

Out the door


Chapter 11~The Call

I call Tam

But to tell the truth

I’d rather not talk about what was said

Thanks for understanding

I knew that I could always count

On you

To understand…

….notebook


Chapter 12~Reflection

I know

I

Alex Pander

Am scared

I have never spent the night

Alone

Before

I dream

Of my chance

My hope

Of feeling

Happy

Free

Hopeful

Brave

Like the author

I wanted

Want

To be

I feel

A librarian

Will know

How

I feel

Tomorrow

I will ask

I will beg for an answer

For my question

I haven’t figured out


Chapter 13~Dreams

Dreamland

My favorite land

The one where I can escape

I slip away

Like a slug

In the rain

Like a speck

In a river

Like water

In my hand

Like my sister

In my our life

I slip

To a place

Where I

Can

Be

Me

A place

I enter

Tonight

Is wonderful

I fly

With my sister

In my

Hand

Coming home

To my birth

Parents

With a hug

Then we

Fly

Away

To my moms

For kisses

Finally

With

An encouraging

Squeeze

On the hand

From my sis

I see Tam

Words

Aren’t enough

I wake up

Eyes streaming

Knowing that

Maybe

Change

Is here

To stay


Chapter 14~Questions

They swirl

Through my head

Like

Snow

In a storm

Like water

In a river

Like the fireworks

On Independence Day

So bright

Yet

So far

The door

Clicks

It unlocks

It creaks

The clock stops ticking

And the bird

On the cuckoo clock

Stops singing

As a librarian

Enters

Her throne room

You can tell

Her power

In just one finger to her lips

You can see her brain working

In charge of all these books

You know she has the answer

You just don’t know how to ask

I will start with the one

That decides it all

Is she wise

Is it fake

Is it worth asking more

I blurt it out

It’s over

Done

She looks at me closely

I know that she’s won

No matter the question

The answer

The explanation

She knows

Just not the way you expect

She opens her mouth

Closes

Opens

Closes

Opens

Stutters

Closes

Opens

Breathes

Closes

Opens

Speaks

I am going to make you a poem

I gasp

I shake

No one

Ever has made

Me

A poem

Not even a librarian

She tells me to read

For the day

Which is fine

I take the time

To watch

And learn

My poem blossom


Chapter 15~The Fruit

A letter

Has friends

Twenty five of them

Indeed

Stuck with them

Forever

No room

For any

Change

A word

Is made

Out of letters

Forced to be friends

A chance for friendship

If not

War

A sentence

Made of words

That were made

Out of letters

A chance for a new life

A new meaning

Sometimes good

Sometimes bad

A punctuation mark

Has it worst of all

Forced to end

In a questioning fashion

An exclaiming one

A boring one

Forced to end

A sentence

In which

She

He

They

Doesn’t believe

And yet

They stay

Until someone

Helps them out

Rearranges everything

Until change is needed again

Honey

Change is happening

So life isn’t perfect

But

If life

Stayed the same

It might be worse

But when things stop changing for a little

You will see

That change was hard

But it is nice to be free

You are

Who you decide

To be

And you are

The person

That believes

In what you

Believe

That feels

The way

You feel

That looks

The way

You look

That knows

The things

You know

You are you

You will change

You will stay

But no matter what happens

You will always be you

So accept your life

After all

It’s yours


Chapter 16~Crickets

She reads it aloud

In her soothing voice

It’s soft

It’s calm

Like she’s been through my life

She looks familiar

Like someone that looks like everyone you meet

I ask her about her voice

Tell her that it is beautiful

She laughs a tinkly laugh

And says

That it 

Is silvery

Clear

Light

Pleasant

She opens her arms

But I turn away

She walks towards me anyway

Her hug gives me power

Her black curly hair

Smells

Like strawberries

And is so soft

Her breath is warm

As it hits my cheek

And when she draws back

I wish I could go on forever

Like if I could feel

That warm

Wonderful

Peaceful

Feeling

I felt just then

Everything would be

Okay?


Chapter 17~Is This What It Feels Like?

My world is falling

The punch in my gut

The ocean in my head

The ache in my heart

The swaying on my feet

I fall

She falls

We fall

I’m holding on

She’s holding on

Can’t grasp

Life flashes

Is this

I don’t want to know

Life

So fast

Find

No

Change

Help

Please

Death

Too much DEATH!!!

I need to see

To know

I fall

My eyes are fluttering

My vision works

But doesn’t

One last

Breath

Is this

What it

Feels like

To die?

My eyes shut

And nothing else happens for hours

Dreamless sleep

Just sleep

That is all it is

Peace

Calm

Rest

Everything I needed

After such a life


Chapter 18~How

I wake up

She’s doing it

Reading my favorite book

I wonder how she knew

It’s really called:

The Afterlife And How To Get There

But I prefer to call it:

Where Will I go Next

Instead

Of focusing

On

My favorite book

The room

Surrounding

Catches

My attention

Like the sun

On glass

In the middle

Of nothing

The wooden floors

With the soft

Smooth

Swirling

Rug that

Captures my

Feelings

I lie

On a couch

Under

A blanket

So soft

And fuzzy

It’s purple

Like my soul

Is what my sister

Would’ve said

In her beautiful way

That makes me love

The one that

I will never again

Get to hold


Chapter 19~Mine

My angel

My master

My leader

My god

My teacher

My guardian

My librarian

I take this

Moment

To take

A look

Of my savior

With the black

Curly hair

That smells

Like strawberry fields

That those bugs wrote

A song about

Where

The fruit

Is forever

Where I

Get taken

To strawberry

Fields

She has deep

Brown eyes

Which is uncommon

I guess

Not really

But whenever

Someone

Points out

Beautiful eyes

They are a

Beautiful

Dazzling blue

But I like brown

So wise

So calm

She has these pink lips

That are pink

Without

Lipstick

Or lip gloss

Or any of that stuff

I despise

That was pushed

On me

Not so long

Ago

She has no nose ring

Like the girls

In my school

When I went there

She wears

A sensible

Dress

With flowers

The kinda

Thing you expect

A librarian to wear

She is looking at me

As I look at her

And deep in my heart

I wish that she were mine

Her lips move

And yet I hear

No sound

But in my head

I know

That I am in her home

And yet my heart

Feels like lead

I spend the rest of the day

In and out of sleep

Until I wake up in the morning

To the librarian

Shaking me

Telling me

To wake up

We need to go

I get my stuff

Get in her car

Drive 5 minutes

To the library

Where she tells me

To sit

In her desk

Because

I have been

Hired

As the new

Librarian

And she is leaving now

And to read the note

On the desk

Once she has left

She produces

A suitcase

Out of

The desk

And walks out the door

Gone

Bye…

…i guess…


Chapter 20~Notes

My son, 

I’m sorry I left so soon. I do not deserve you, and yet I recognized you right away. Boy or girl, 17 or 2 months. I am your birth mother. I am an illegal immigrant so I could not keep you. It was too dangerous for both of us, but mostly you. Your father is dead, but I keep moving. You belong here, as a librarian. I will visit often. Son, remember who you are. You will find yourself, just try to keep it with you. I am so very proud of you. Writing is important when you are surrounded by it. Remember that. I love you so much. More than you could imagine. More than I can write, and that’s saying something. Write how much I love you for me. It will show me that you love me.
I love you so much, 

Mommy

What!?!

All along

It was her

The one

I hoped was mine

So lost

Who found me

She betrayed me

I thought I had

Her trust

But now

I know

That she is there

And yet

Untrustworthy

Like a mockingbird

Stealing others’ songs

Maybe

If I could ask

If she came back

I would be fine

But now

I just hope

Nobody else hurts me

Again…


Fatal Feelings

The sun can’t make my happiness go away

Shoot that star 

You’re trying to ruin my day

You are not equivalent to my race

Stop trying to change my broken face

I can kill myself

But I’ll do it slowly

My smile is there but fading shortly

Figure out how you wanna write your story

You will never put that pen down

You look at me with raging glory

Fights, fights, fights

Is all we know

And all we ever get into

Is your fake smile and tokens for you.

You are mine

But I can see into you

The blue I saw earlier is 

Spreading through you.

I am suicidal.

Sell me, use me, I am the cycle.


I Don’t Know What To Call This – A Poem

Puncture me, words of bleeding ink.

Rip through my veins, I’m possessed by you, like a puppet on a string. 

You own me in chains. Cold, hard steel. Break me, break my bones. Shatter my spirit of writer’s block. 

I don’t know what I’m saying. I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I’m bad at this. Bad at life. Cut my throat of blood and ice. Rip my spine, use it for your books.

My flesh will be the cover, my blood you will write with. I am a slave, now and forever, to the spirit that is writing. It owns me, and I love it. It hurts me, but I embrace it.

You can call it abuse, but to me it’s just tough love. You can try to fight it, but it latches on, like a snake around your throat, the words burrow into your skin, like spiders, your flesh will crawl and slither, ache to escape, but your mind lusts for it. 

That savagery, that greed, that need to write, fingers a slave to the notebook, the pen, the keyboard. Even my skeleton will write. I am here, a slave to this spirit for a thousand lifetimes.

I can turn to dust, my bones will crack and dry up, my fingers withered, my eye sockets turned long ago to voids of emptiness, but I will keep going. I have to. Because it is all I have left. 


Miriam’s Song

Some time ago, 11 members of the Jewish community were killed,

Shot down, erased from the face of the planet.

Killed by a man whose hatred for those who differ from him outweighed the cost of taking their lives.

And as he raised the barrel of his gun, he shot through the 

Maccabees who fought so valiantly to have their right to pray,

He shot through Esther as she saved the Jews from being annihilated,

He shot through Moses as he pushed through the Red Sea towards freedom,

He shot through Elijah as he fought to keep the Jewish religion grounded, 

And he shot through Zelophehad’s daughters as they fought for their human right to live.

His gunshot was heard around the world, ringing in the ears of all people.

And as they fall, we rise up, taking our place and doubling our strength as one people.

We snatch up that gun and throw it behind us, 

We take our timbrels and dance like Miriam,

Because we are the Chosen People, 

The ones who survived.

And survivors are not defeated, pushed down, or shot.

We sing, we shout, for we are done keeping quiet.

Our time of being pushed out is over.

So we talk,

To our friends,

Our family,

And to people who aren’t our friends and family.

We tell them who we are.

First, people. Second, Jewish.

Here to spread the love of those around us,

Not to kill.

Here to help people that don’t have as much as we do,

Not to hurt.

Here to tell people that they are not alone in this big, scary world,

Not to hate.

Because when it’s Rosh Hashana,

I want to eat my apples and honey and taste no sadness,

Just the rich sweetness of the food and my family.

And when it’s finally time for Passover,

I want to dip my herbs in the bitter water and know that it actually signifies hardships of the past,

Not the present.


All the Way

I approach the water

Many times a day.

Sometimes I dip my toe in,

But I never go all the way.


I linger by the coast,

But soon high tides win.

I scurry back up,

Jagged rocks breaking my skin. 


The heat of it burns me,

The cold pushes me away.

But I know when I’m ready,

Nothing will make me stay. 


The waters break roughly,

So I look far out to sea,

Where it sits patiently,

Waiting calmly for me. 


Someday I won’t be scared;

I’ll dive all the way in.

And when they come to find me,

I’ll be nothing but the wind. 


Sea

Whales moan to each other, chanting their conversations into the air.

The stunning Azure waves whip the rocks, engulfing them in sea.

Bubbles rise up, expiring at the foamy surface.

At sunrise, the horizon spreads fiery colors over the calm ripples.

As they dive deeper, a chill spreads through their gills.

The teal fades to a deep midnight near the sand.

A vicious tiger shark slithers quietly, lashing its tail.

It seizes a mollusk in its jaws, biting until its prey stops thrashing.

So many creatures, each having a life of their own.

One question remains.

If we can’t see air,

cAn fIsH sEE wAtER?


Bored

I walk through the farm, and I don’t feel good

This place is so tedious and dull

All there ever is to see is dirt, dirt, and more dirt

I also spot the occasional hill in the distance

I wish I could see something more interesting like animals

However, this is a crop growing farm

The scent of all these sweet fruits and vegetables begin to make me nauseous

I wish for an AC in this horrible and hot place

I feel so weary in this place

I beg someone to get me out of this place, but alas, there is no one here

I am all alone in this horrible place

The dullness of this farm is horrible

I would rather write a poem about pencils than do this

Even staring at a blank whiteboard is more fun than this

Why am I here, and how did I come here?


Loyalty

Loyalty

Is T   h e r   e

For you 

For your friends

She will follow you

If you wish 

Loyalty

With modest overalls  

And dirt blond hair

Cascading down her face

Loyalty 

Loyalty is T   h e r e


When you tell a secret

She keeps it 

When you spill the tea

She will always see

If you’re 

Sad

Sick

Hurt

Happy

Unaware

Loyalty

Loyalty is T   h e r e


If you can’t hold it in

You can confide within

Those kind green eyes and each warm freckle

So maybe just a speckle

Of love will shine through

From the both of you

Loyalty 

Loyalty is T   h e r e


Maybe if 

You catch a whiff

Of rumors dark and twisted

If you ever tear up a slight amount

You can always

Bury your head 

Into the bed 

Of friendship necklaces

Too many to count

Loyalty

Loyalty is T   h e r e


From the furthest corner

Of her satchel worner

Out comes a shiny gift 

Your birthday

With a Hallmark holiday

Card insignia on the back

She smiles and 

Gives it to you

Inked doodles on her hand

Loyalty 

Loyalty is T   h e r e


She is there for you 

Through and through

Thick and thin

She doesn’t choose

In a clash of cliques

She’s on her side

Your side 

No side

Loyalty 

Loyalty is T   h e r e

Poem # 3

Blue eyes lost in emerald,

Its edges soft, but not dulled,

Glossed over, her mind becomes lulled,

Blue eyes lost in emerald.


Oceans collide with romantic magenta skies,

Everlasting pinks weave with clouds’ loose ties,

The moon will soon shine, and purplish reds will die,

Oceans collide with romantic magenta skies.


Hearts of gold dazzle depths of teal,

Rosy tones warm their cold metal feel,

Invincible love that no one would dare steal,

Hearts of gold dazzle depths of teal.


Orange velvet stained with royal ink,

Amber threads soaked in a pen’s drink,

Beautiful blues bleed in a blink,

Orange velvet stained with royal ink.


Sapphire salty waters hold reflections of yellow,

Goldens and sunnies, warming bodies of mellow,

Sounds of a wave’s wake and a bird’s bellow,

Sapphire salty waters hold reflections of yellow.


Small moments catch uninspired eyes,

Some details only noticed by the wise,

Beautiful worlds live in disguise,

Small moments catch uninspired eyes.


My Past

His family was lying to him about his father, about his old ways. It’s put him toe to toe with his family, why is that? Is it about the money, the cars, the shoes? No, it can’t be about the money. Oh I know exactly what it is about. [PAUSE] It is about the son of the only thing that was there for him, which is his mom. He loved his dad so much, but his dad did it to his body. If he went to a party and thought his son would not find out about it, but now he’s dead so the son can only cry about it every day when no one’s looking. Crying is like being a punk about it, that’s what people on the street say. The boy didn’t believe it at first when he came in the room on a Saturday in June and his mom was crying and said, “Your father passed away.” So he laughed. [PAUSE] The body had been found that Thursday. He said he didn’t believe it, and he didn’t believe it until he was standing beside his mother in front of the casket. He didn’t want to cry in that moment or break down. He went outside and played with his cousins. [PAUSE] Now the son has to move on, but doesn’t want to because he loved his dad with rap battle fire. He wanted to spit flames, he 87654687 got ready to spit flames, he wanted the crowd to jump up, laugh, and scream. [PAUSE]  They burned his dad down to ashes, like crumbs of bread moldy on the ground. [PAUSE] Now he doesn’t want to lose his mom, so he’s got to respect his mom with all his heart. Staying away from her is like burning himself down into ember. [PAUSE, look at audience] They lied about his father.


After Hours

The beautiful color of the blue flowers

They must be happy when there are rain showers

They must be happy after hours

But it’s not true their sadness devours


All of their bad thoughts overpower

The flower’s sadness start to tower

But when the morning comes their sadness scours

Then time works its magic, it happens all over again

and the flowers will once again face the sadness tower.


Tonight

Hast there e’er been a night filled with such pain?

Dost the setting of the sun bring suffering?

Come fill me up with bitter, cold poison

Come singe my hair and let it scorch my neck

Do to me this for it shall be no worse 

Than what has’t been done, 

Forgotten from thy lips

My name once sweetly sung 

How dareth thee mistake mine own love 

For something to be easily tossed hence

Cowards art those who cannot face the sunrise

And you were born with two closed eyes


Bay Area = No Kind Of Grey Area

Winding roads winding away,

Towering skyscrapers scraping today,

Wandering waves riding across the sea.


Skylines are scattered with buildings,

Hills,

And trees.


Roads are rotten with people,

Cars,

And fleas.


Drive to hills,

Drive to the bay,

Drive to the city,

Drive, drive away.


In Berkeley,

There’s thrift shops with jeans,

Cool cafes,

And streets filled with teens.


In San Francisco,

There’s always a disco,

There’s always something to do,

Be it walking in the park, or going to the shops.


In Sonoma County, 

The trees are always at a bounty,

You could never be frowny

In Sonoma County.


The Bay Area is

No kind of grey area

For it is the main area

And the greatest yay area.

Yes, it may have its issues,

But we shouldn’t pull out the tissues.

It is the Bay Area.


Hiraeth


i seek your monsters and your poltergeists

rummage through your closet and 

you go to bed before me

so i can tuck you in

search my soul for doubts and find

so many

i take a broom and

whack the crusted corners of 

infinite attics and sheds

wind up cobwebs and

keep them in my lunchbox

i ask you why you play with fire

you say i am drawn to heat

but i only ever learned to burn

quietly


Identity

Pride 1 (Meanings)

lions stick with their groups,

their prides.

what is pride?

well to a lion it is their family.

to a human, it is their self regard.

to me it is both.

pride is my home.

pride is my month.

where i can be unapologetically me.

where you can be unapologetically you

the month where big corporations see you.

maybe for their own benefit,

but you feel seen.

and it feels amazing.

Pride 2 (Sidewalk)

waiting.

the sign said one o’clock

the policeman said three thirty

the volunteer says thirty minutes more.

it’s been hours since each said anything.

the sidewalk is the worst place to sit;

hard and scratchy.

waiting.

it better be worth it.

it better be rainbows and love and

warmth and

happiness.

the storm clouds better stop their threats

of rain and thunder.

empty promises that are made of

high and loud cheers.

and then the drums start. 

and the clouds are an empty threat.

and the cheers give hope.

and the sidewalk is the most cushioned chair.

and it’s rainbows, and love

and warmth and

happiness.

Pride 3 (Reason)

this is uplifting.

this is community.

these are my people. 

this is my culture.

my history.

this isn’t a choice.

this isn’t a lifestyle.

we ARE obeying love.

we are at home. 

it won’t be destroyed or 

deemed unsafe.

it is our home

Pride 4

the confetti curbs

rainbow pupils all over.

i am in my own.

ADHD 1 (School)

the window is preferred.

not the chalkboard. 

i’m sorry i can’t help myself.

the trees sway so beautifully and 

i hate this.

i hate how my grape flavored focus

melts away and turns bitter.

i hate that 20 i got on the math test.

i hate that i have to work twice as hard.

i hate that i have become my 

disorder.

i hate that it’s i’ve turned it into an excuse.

i hate that i can wield it against people

but then the blade always hits me afterwards.

i hate that i hate something that i can’t change. 

ADHD 2 (Staring Contest)

a staring contest.

you can look into my eyes.

they seem empty, 

soulless. 

but they are not.

right behind them, you’ll find my brain,

it’s thinking a thought a second.

after you blink, i’ll keep staring.

maybe on purpose. 

maybe by mistake.

and then i become me again.

ADHD 3 (Impulse)

my brain’s mantra seems to be
YOLO.

my brain seems to be

back in 2013. 

a fraternity

boy.
maybe that’s why i like girls.

he sees one thing and turns it 

into a toy or a joke.

always tugging me along.

dragging me 

left,

right

Up

down

when did he take over? 

ADHD 4

my mind waltzes ‘round

my hands can’t be held down now

the leg bounce™ begins

Judaism 1 (Reading)

letters

with sharp edges.

cutting your throat

with each ch.

vowels that

you can’t read without.

is it possible

to have dyslexia

in only one language?

everybody

knows the tongue.

why doesn’t the torah

have transliteration?

give me another crutch.

but wait… 

what is this?

memory?

all of the sharp tones

and letters

are mine.

to keep.

to savor

to love.

Judaism 2 (Bat Mitzvah)

a hummingbird’s heart

beats at 1,260 a

minute.

i feel like a hummingbird.

my heart feels like

it is making rounds

around my body.

my throat

then my stomach. 

acting like a bouncy ball.

then i have to stand.

my voice carries.

i am floating.

the bumblebees

on my high heels

buzz up to the flowers on my dress.

a juxtaposition of simple and detailed.

both bought from the same store.

i am in my element.

Judaism 3 (G-d)

a third grader

questioning her 

rabbi.

“why is G-d

always

portrayed as male?”

she could

ask anything.

always he

never she

or they

if G-d is

everywhere

then why isn’t 

G-d everyone?

G-d is

non-bianary.

sorry talmud.

Judaism 4 (Synagogue)

mosaics of love

a window of stars, flowers

an unused organ.

Music 1 (Singing)

isn’t it

euphoric

when

you open your

mouth

and you

hear harmony?

a string of sounds.

that make 

perfect

sense?

is it not wonderful

when you hit all the notes?

like a sixth grade boy

finally reaching the

doorframe

when he jumps?

isn’t it?

all of it

goes together.

when you can

harmonize

with yourself.

any song

sounds

beautiful.

Music 2 (Listening)

i know you

are fake

over produced

yet i cling to each word

savoring it to remember

for later.

each note.

i am a hoarder

i keep each

and every song 

for my own

i even steal some

from my sister.

little bits and pieces

shazam!

a new song has been added 

to my repertoire.

a playlist

for everything

for crying

for showering

for everyday 

commutes.

the notes

run 

through my blood.

who needs

cells

when you have

music?

Music 3 (Childhood)

in the car

a cover

asking

where my mind is.

in the basement

loading songs onto

a cd for a long trip.

peter’s trip cds

that shaped my

childhood.

songs written

by preschoolers

the cow in the cowboy hat.

something about a ladybug

jack and sarah.

ti esrever dna ti

pilf, nwod gniht ym tup 

sweaters unraveling.

parents understanding

me just enjoying the

songs.

the soundtrack to

my girl hood.

fiona apple when we first 

moved to new york.

single ladies when 

i was in preschool.

eminem in fourth grade.

melanie martinez in fifth.

rap in sixth grade.

and everything in seventh.

Music 4

thank you for lessons.

taught me how to dance and sing.

taught me poetry

Identity

i am not 

always

identifiable.

my pale camouflage

hides my thoughts.

my jokes,

hijinks,

ums,

and

pauses,

hide my thoughts.

always try to fill in the blanks

a madlib.

eloquence isn’t controllable.

not quite sugar spice or

everything nice.

not quit snips snails

or puppy dog tails.

a jew.

riddled with

ADHD.

a pansexuel;

a sacrilege.

a contradiction.

yet everything makes

perfect 

sense.

Anactoria’s Cry

I traced her name into the swirling brown dust,

and it came out loud, and free, and infinite — 

Sappho,

on a clay tablet, on a hard patch of earth… 

Till papyrus, colored stylus,

pulses bright

as the woman in the flower field.


Before, I did not know the name, 

I did not know of sleepless nights,

sacred fires, 

girls who dance on wet grass.


But she came to me, 

pudgy grapes in slender hands,

violet hair and olive skin… 


And she touched my lips,

with the taste of wine, and pomegranate,

and honey cake stuffed with fig.


I was not Sappho’s schoolgirl — 

men and schoolgirls are for figments


wine, pomegranate,

honey cake with fig;

when there were 

sacred fires, women who danced on wet grass

and we burned.


When Time comes by

to split the fig open and eat away the pulp,

spoil the wine,

smear the pomegranate,

and turn the honey thick with poison… 


Let me eat the rotted fruit, 

bury my heaving body in the swirling brown dust,

devour the last molding seeds — 

Till I become numb to the men that tarnish my name,

Numb to the girls who sneer as I struggle to breathe… 


Till I am with Sappho, Eros, dust

dust, dust, dust, dust… 

tracing the name… 

tracing the woman that saw me


Into the crumbling Lesbian soil.


Perfect is a Knife

The pinboard is a fantasy, a collection of moments, of friends that anyone would want but it is just a fantasy. This is my life! I say screaming to anyone that will hear. Aren’t you jealous? Don’t you want this?  I’m screaming into a void, carrying the sound to no one. These moments are displayed for you not for me. I already know I felt like dying that night. I already know I was desperate and pathetic, clinging to anyone that would take me. But you don’t. You just see wide smiles, unblinking eyes filled with so much happiness they look like they will explode if just one more drop off bliss enters their perfect bodies on the most perfect night. “Perfect,” that word rips into my skin exposing those dreaded vulnerabilities. The camera captures a moment where you gather up all the good things you can find, shove it down your throat and cut crinkles in your eyes to show the only smile you have left. Your fingers trace over the shining, angelic people. A perfect night, oh so perfect.

The Sapphic’s Jumble, A Grammerless “Unpoem”

The words are sweet and watery you gorge 

yourself on them. Euphoria is instant inside this 

inner monologue when we are poetry and

poetry is addictive. We call this The Sapphic’s Jumble.


A Woman rises in the distance. I lived that

the words are poetry and 

poetry is addictive. The woman is addictive poetry. The

woman is very undecided, very loose and very 

beautiful, lying on your bed in silence. Sometimes 

you loved her as you loved addictive

poetry. 


The Woman was lying in your arms and her

breathing sped up and her eyes were blooming

pale tempests. You think you loved her, maybe you

didn’t love her. All this because of a closeted girl, 

silly thing. Steady your breathing and learn to 

think again. Push aside the clawing and screaming memories 

making up the throbbing Jumble.


Addictive poetry in the mad world. 

Chained to an internal monologue 

that smells like violets. 


This is what disorder is. She loved you, and she

loved you not in A Sapphic Jumble. The state is 

a disorder, it causes disorder. Disorder is chaos;

we are chaos. 

The Sapphic chaos.


Here is where you fight to? delineate the Lines;


Delineate the Addictive Poetry


Delineate The Sapphic’s Jumble


She loved you and maybe she never

loved you but either way. 

Punctuation is for fools. 

Punctuation is for Women of Logic.

You exist beyond Logic.


The existence of Your Lover

The existence of Your Presence

causes (a beautiful chaos)


Take it or leave it 

in The Sapphic’s Jumble. 

You can-a-can’t-can’t think,

till


We lie in Insanity


As we lie in Beauty


March 17th

The trickee has become the trickster

Running around with crushed hearts in hand

You can’t break a heart that is broken 

Playing games 

Foolish games

Power grows like vines 

Slips from my mouth on the third-month fourteenth day

Wishing I used force a few months before

But weak me

Little me

Never knew anything

I laugh in pity 

If only you knew how childish you were being

‘Cause this is fun

Words are shaken

Thoughts mistaken 

Stories are always told differently 

And they will turn you into a memory 

Learn to laugh in the face of that monster under your bed 

Learn to love your bare face

The taste of mistake on the lips

Dripped in the taste of regret 

You will never fully get over it 

Learn to show it who’s, boss

Don’t let it ever smile

‘Cause that’s when you know you’ve fully lost

People will call you weak 

And you will stare them in the face,

You will think have they even brushed their teeth that day

Wonder if their hands are in fists

Turning white losing blood as you stare them in the eyes

You notice the scar above their eye

Realize they too have once lost a fight

More questions appear in your head

Why this?

Why now?

How is this supposed to end?

Remember we were all little kids once

Blowing Dandelions fluff off stems

But Danny went off and was a liar

Big lies escape from the smallest mouths

And the biggest lies sting your skin like lemon juice

And you finally realize you might never get over it 

But that doesn’t stop you from trying

And more lies slip from mouths

Whispers whirl around your head, the words repeat and repeat again and again

And you’re stuck sinking in your thoughts

Is this the end?

And if it is the end

Did I do enough?


Monsters

when you think of monsters you think of long claws have three heads

hiding under your bed ready to attack

but some people’s monsters don’t have long claws hide in your closet or have big fangs some people’s monsters is fear of not passing the test

not achieving your goals upsetting people letting them down

thinking you have it but you don’t 

or feeling regret being alone seeing death

doing nothing when you think you could have done something  

feeling something is going to happen

being in the wrong place at the wrong time

being made fun of how you look 

getting your lunch money stolen and not saying nothing

wanting to do something but you can’t 

feeling left out feeling guilty

when people see your face and they sit somewhere else 

or feeling misjudged on the action you did 

not having someone to talk to being blamed for something you did not do 

being embarrassed or wanting something 

a pet flying or running away 

or the feeling that you forget something but you realize at the last moment

doing an action that you think is good but someone sees it differently or as a bad way

losing family or a friend

not being loved or doing something unintentionally

so the monster that has long claws or has three heads are actually your fear but just disguised as a scary or mysterious creature that pops out in your dream it is your fear


I Remember

I remember you, Bubbe Ester.

The smell of your house is what I remember clearly, 

The smell that comes with things that have been loved over time,

That carries so many memories with it.

I remember you

and the stories you told me and Sammy of Mommy,

Of how Mommy had curly hair, and liked gymnastics and shopping,

just like I do.

I remember when you rushed to the house,

when you heard the ambulance came

to rescue me after my hair got stuck in the electric mixer.

You tickled me, made me laugh, made me forget the pain that I felt.

I remember you.

I remember you playing string with Betty, our cat.

You always loved to have her on your lap and pet her so she would purr.

I remember when I was little, you would come to our house 

with lots and lots of clothes and jewelry for me, 

Even though Mommy said not to buy me so much.

But you gave me so much more than things — 

I remember when you lived with us, you sat in the big brown chair and we played school.

I, the teacher, always had fun while you did the math “homework” 

And you, the student, always tried to enjoy it, even though you didn’t really want to practice second grade math. 

I remember we watched TV and played outside, 

You always picked up sticks in the backyard, 

even though we both knew more sticks would come, 

and Mommy would say to let the gardener do it.

You were always trying to make things look nicer, 

and you always did. 

I remember how you loved to watch me dance and sing,

not just at home but on stage in many musical shows.

How you were with us on holidays — even if you didn’t know what holiday it was,

But every day with you felt like a holiday. 

I remember you Bubbe Ester,

I remember the Sundays we visited you.

I remember the walks we took and the afternoons spent sitting outside,

I remember that you loved the sun beaming down on you,

How being warmed up by the sun always put a smile on your face.

I remembered how we listened to the old-fashioned songs you loved,

How we sang along with Bing Crosby and Elvis impersonators with so much glee,

I remember how you genuinely enjoyed those songs, 

how you glowed with joy — perhaps being reminded of time long ago.

I will remember you, always — 

How you were always there for me and everyone you loved.

Even if you aren’t here with us today, 

you will always be in our hearts, forever.


Boundless

The sky is an endless path for Apollo to trek

his glorious reign flushes my face


I promise myself I can do anything

as the strings binding me unwind

flying with blue kites

chasing down Apollo


New leaves grow on hedges

peeking into the world

when autumn returns

the gardener will drive back

and they will fall like snow

barely given a chance


But I promise myself the moon is touchable

as I watch it slip away

staying shielded by tickling grass

The dark lit up by a thousand little fires


I wait

for a reason to drop from Apollo’s chariot

into my open palms

Why?

and if not, then raindrops

to hide my tears


Autumn comes and touches my face

with burning leaves stumbling towards their demise


Smile, child, she whispers

I’ll prove you can do anything

and I’ll put on a porcelain smile

knowing Apollo is tired too

stepping forwards, waving goodbye


to an endless season


Halo

An angle of the sun’s embrace

Shining in the thunder’s wake

Golden curls rain down your face

Seafoam eyes bring hearts to race

Pale hands open aches

Leaving scratches, bruises, brakes

Even though the halo’s there

A shadow crosses your plastered stare 

Heaven knows you stand too tall

You too perfect for it all

No one knows your flesh and bone

Hidden by your lies in tow

Marching with the devils row by row

You fool the world

Show it through a great curved lens

Cause them all to lose all sense

A delicate flower with leaves so fine

Hiding those thorns just under the line

And if someone moves

Just makes a step

You shoot your gaze

Bringing on the lazy haze

Don’t let them spot

Don’t get too close

You have a halo so sharp it burns

And everything just turns and turns

Until all is left but not the same

The halo shares its wavy ways

Daze runs off its golden rays

Tricked and frazzled it had to stay

But free at last

It falls away

The halo’s gone

Nowhere to stay

And leaves the world too far away

Where halos float until their days

To take their place 

Opposing evil

Even though the halo’s there 

It lives around in everywhere

An open heart beckons its wake

Raining down in shiny swirls

The halo trusts the tiny pearl

Leaving cold ones out to die


Pay No Mind – VII

          

VII.

I stare at a mere reflection,

a girl whose eyes, drained, are watering still after hours nonstop

For she had cried all night, and there’s no stop in sight

She had screamed and hissed 

And the birds chirped a lovely, sad song

The wind whistled, but she paid no mind

As she lay on the bathroom floor

Fixated on the weeps of crows

And the wails of wilting roses

She the wilting rose, the weeping crow, cannot point where things went wrong

The birds and flowers fought relentlessly over sentences described in paragraphs

IX.

Yesterday, the tree whistled at the glowing moon

And glass smiles stood until we fell fast asleep, today

The trees melt away

As we say goodbye to dreams, today

They’ve said I’ve changed

But I feel the same, this world has done the changing for me, today

Today was as long as the last and my pains are tired of growing.

I must stop, but the ride’s not over yet, no not today

She puts in another quarter

But I can’t take another today

I miss you — 


Uncertainty

I Am Still Alone:

She thinks she knows 

He thinks he understands 

Yet I am still alone 

“Everyone has experienced that”

“Trust me it is normal” 

They say and walk away 

They say they love 

It is said that they care 

I remain alone. 

In the dark corner of my mind I remain

They say 

“I’m always here”

But there is no one

I see no one 

I’m a supernova about to explode away from all celestial objects in the universe 

What they say is a lie

So I will be alone

I will be with the only person who understands

I will be with somebody true

It is good I am still alone


Overflow:

Almost reaching the top then the bar gets higher

It continues to grow in an uncontrollable rate

The fail to reach enough makes me start over

Vicious cycles attack me

So close but I never can accomplish

Then all the way back down again I fall

Fall back into the necessities of the world

I watch from down below seeing all the people reach the top

They eye me with pity

But no one can help assist me up

I drag myself lower and lower

I dream of an overflow, to be more than needed

Enough and more

Yet I stay behind what I continuously hope to surpass

Never full, never more

Nothing ever there to fill it up


They Don’t Know: 

Innocence but you take every burden

You love but keep the unconditional loneliness that you are brought up with

Giants step on the speck of dust that you made yourself to be

You know of your rightfulness, however power drowns inside you

You see through yourself in the midst of your reflection

You hate then love it

It has been beautiful, it has been astonishingly horrible

No one sees the beauty though

No one ever has

The ugliness underneath beams through even with your rightfulness

Limited time keeps them blinded

You aren’t worth the dread of patience

They don’t intend on discovering your beauty


Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

The chore that everyone suffers.

From the first sweaty shirts,

To the old droopy socks,

Till the time when it’s full

the smell of Pandora’s box.

To the time 

When you take it out 

And put it in the sack

To the time 

You take it down the stairs

To try not to drop

To take it across the street 

And make sure you didn’t 

Leave the detergent 

Or you have to go back 

To put it in 

The machine 

When the Pandora smell 

Comes back 

To the time 

When you realize 

You lost your droopy sock 

When you first open 

The detergent 

The opposite smell 

of the Pandora’s box 

To when you close the lid 

And you turn the machine on 

To the time 

You need to wait 

And hope it comes out right 

To take it out of the machine 

To the time you need to organize 

The fresh socks 

And the shirt and the pants

To fold them all up

To take it back home

Then put it into your child’s cabinet

And let them use it

And make the suffering process

Start all over

Each week


when i ran out of thyme

when i ran out of thyme

they should have buried me in lavender

lavender — great swooping fields of it

Girlhood joins me with a simple dress and starry-eyes

she lays down

in the dust

in the dirt

in lavender — great swooping fields of it

we pass the time eating honeysuckle

and resting our rosehips

in the dust

in the dirt

staining our dresses

not our heartbeats

such buttercup crowns,

such strands of mallow in our hair

hanging on our lips —

what broom and borage we played in

till we lost our protea and primrose

and lavender — great swooping fields of it

to sultry red fruit

and roses neath thistle and thorn


Night Alone in Mytilene, Lesbos

When the light is gone, when the moon is quivering…

the Pleiades are gathered into a drawstring pouch of white stars,

And Orion is aborning, while the Evening Star

has been calling…

The ground is rainy black soil,

black orchid and black chamomile,

Black sky-song, white star path,

Anactoria, I sleep alone

And my fresh chiffon slides from my chest,

into a pile, on the floor…

The rain won’t stop, sweat drips down my breasts,

Selene pulls the Moon Chariot,   

I pull my words onto the page,

When it’s quiet but for the sound of crickets,

the temples and the agora in the distance,

the Aphrodite on my Cretan urn…

While the heat drones, and the wind whispers,

my stylus rustles against papyrus,

and Anactoria, inside her bedroom,

Calling out to me…

Calling, “Psappha, Psappha, Psappha”

Night — alone in Mytilene, Lesbos,

as I write in my bedroom…

And Anactoria, I sleep alone


My Last Goodbye

It’s a fifteen hour flight to South Africa

A journey across the Earth my family embarks upon once every two years

I press my face to the glass of the coveted window seat

A place I scored after lengthy negotiations with my sister

The oval window is a portal to the rest of the world,

reminding me just how insignificant we are

Oceans and islands soar beneath us as I plug into my third movie of the day

The end of this eternal ride has left me wondering where all of the time has gone

It’s a two hour drive to Johannesburg

I have never been able to stay awake the entire duration

I don’t see the gorgeous sunset spread across the sky

A sea of ruby reds, vibrant yellows, and cotton candy pinks

I don’t see the last rays of sun slip off the rocky sidewalk

As darkness consumes the night

When I awaken thousands of stars shower the sky

Like drops of glittering rain that never reach the Earth

New York City does not have stars like these

Twenty minutes of waiting for them to text us to come over to their house

Later we play bridge in the dining room

I pretend to understand the endless rules and meticulous strategy

So that I can keep my blue folding chair around the deck table

In the kitchen I learn to bake challah with Aunt Joanne

The overwhelming scent of yeast shocks my nose with its powerful aroma

My fingers knead through the sticky, elastic dough

Even though one side is as burnt as the scorching pavement

that sits beneath the African sun

I pretend that I remembered to flip the loaves after thirty minutes in the oven

So much pretending

Pretending I don’t understand everything that is going on around me

Soon I’m running from Alphie, the ferociously persistent little dog

Secreting pearls of gleaming sweat in the malicious heat

And shivering in the icy pool that bites your toes and fingers if you overstay your welcome

All simple, All familiar

But then it’s talking in hushed voices about renowned hospitals

New surgeries

And ovarian cancer

It’s Aunt Joanne being too tired, so tired

Too tired for chemo

Too weak

Some words hold more meaning than I can even comprehend

Rocks around a volcano are hollow

Formed by scorching hot magma

Natives used to think they were just unbelievably light

Legend tells that taking one of the rocks is bad luck

The word cancer is unbelievably heavy

It is the quintessence of bad luck

This one word has the power to weigh everything down

Slowing the world to its own pace, forcing accommodations

We try our very best to avoid the heavy word

To not let it crush us like ants underfoot

One word is on the tip of everyone’s tongue yet rarely do we dare breathe a word of it

But before we know it, it’s time to say goodbye

Goodbyes seem so simple

Yet there is something so personal about them

I give my goodbyes everyday

To my friends

To my teachers

To my parents and sister

To the sun when she goes to sleep each night, urging me to do the same

Sometimes I say goodbye forever

To my friends at camp when I know that our adventures together have come to an end

To my cat when she decided to never to wake up from her nap on my parents bed

And to all those dreams I have let go of

But it never quite feels as final as it should

When one chapter of your life snaps shut

The final curtain

We allow ourselves to believe that we might keep in touch

We might revisit that plan we started

We might be able to go back to that moment in time where we let go

Now Joanne is giving me a gentle hug and telling us to have a safe flight home

I’m saying that I love her and that I hope she wins her next bridge game

I know this is goodbye forever

It doesn’t feel big enough

It doesn’t feel special enough

It doesn’t feel worthy of being the last words that are ever imparted

from her soul unto mine

But just like that and it’s over

I want to say that when she dies I am going to miss her so much

and cry until I’m all out of tears

But I can’t say that

I want to ask if she is really ever going to get better

But I can’t ask that

I want to lock myself in a room and not leave

Because it feels like I’m leaving her behind

But know I can’t do that

I want to beg her to stay strong for two more years

Until I am back to bake challah and learn the rules of bridge

But that is not fair to anyone

Before I know it, I’m driving out of the gate

Past the Acacia trees that sway in the breeze like the swings at Pierpont playground

Past the little inn where we stayed because the house is overflowed with relatives

All waiting to say their own goodbyes

My heart tries to trick itself into believing otherwise

But my mind knows the truth

I’ve said goodbye forever


The Adventures of Rusty and Runty

When two sailors of the open seas

Come forth to a ruler of fortune and keys

Whence spews forth a prince who wears gold

Who has weak bones and a fragile mold

Together they sail for the deepest caves

Darkest corners

And an interesting enclave


Together two fight

A creature of snarl and bite

Then as they draw their pistols

And fire bullets by the fistfuls

The creature grabs one in rage

With the deadliness of a bacteriophage (i was desperate)

But together they fight hard

Fending off the creature

By Playing the cannon card


When the ship is impaled by a needle

On the island of the lethal

They take the rest on foot

Soon to be shook

By a monster of fear and terror

When Saved by the bearers

Of skull masks and spears

And an evil agenda

Stored between their ears


When taken to the rooms

Of their kidnappers of doom

They must speak their way out

Rather than slash and shout

And here one shines and shows

Who once did nothing but crow

Of discomforts and complaints

With terrible temper

And little constraint


With overwhelming speed

And a deadly steed

They made their escape

things escalate

They steal a new boat

And cut someone’s throat

Sailing away to the seas

In order to find

the lands of grass and trees

Black Roses

We planned our funerals together. You told me you wanted black roses.

“Black roses, where can I find those?” I asked.

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” you smiled.

I think about that conversation a lot. I think about black roses a lot. In fact, I think about black roses so much that last summer, I tried to make one. I painted a white rose black with acrylic paint I found in my garage. It didn’t work. I threw it away. The black paint smeared on the garbage bag, leaving ugly dark streaks. Last summer was the last time I saw you. Last summer you winked at me and told me to let you know if I ever found a black rose. That was the last thing you told me before you boarded the airplane. The airplane that would take you to Guam. Guam. The island. To be honest, I’m not even sure where that is. I’m not sure why you leaving bothers me. I’m not sure why I’m still looking for black roses.

He Laughed like the Ocean

        

The tide pulled the water closer to my feet

He threw his head back

And bellowed

He laughed like the ocean

I sifted the sand through my fingers

Knowing what would happen if

I too

Did not laugh

He tries

I think he does

I know he does

I hope he does

But his heart was as cold as the Hudson River

Maybe even colder

I chuckled

There was no joke

I, like a child;

Asked to go into the water

The sun was setting

Every movie ever told me this was supposed to be romantic

But it’s not

He nods and and I jump up

Slowly walk towards the water

A woman stares at my scars

And all the ways he marked me

He tries

I think he does

I know he does

I hope he does

So I started running

Farther away from him

And closer to God

Or what I hope was God

I ran till my feet could no longer touch the sand

I kept swimming out into pinkness

That water was deeper than snow

Not colder

Just deeper

 

The Bower

        

She assumes for all she’s gladdened,

her mouth sugared and her frock patched with clementine stain

That her world is ripe joy.

 

We do not talk,

for the joy is hers alone.

 

Indulged by untimely dusk, she clutches JACK KEROUAC by the spine,

pages snapping into the silence.

 

The bridal moon turns a natural eye to the wild pools of sunflowers,

the bloodshot summerhouses and discarded Cola cans

and the air strokes like heaviest satin.

 

Ambling three slim fingers through her hair, champagne and tangled,

She does not discern me any more than the low cicada hum,

 

and I must consider if she is at all

 

The Monster

 

There is a monster inside of me

The monster —

It scares me

It stays in me

Haunts me

Controls me

it takes what it wants

From me

 

It tells me it just wants

a game to play

A game of fun

And sharing

And happiness

And giving

But I know that

That’s not why it came

 

There is a monster inside of me

The monster —

It scares me

Its horrible hands —

they’re strong enough to

Rip the soul

Out of me

 

The monster won’t

set me free

It’s always taking

A piece of me

It tells me

It loves me

But I know

That it doesn’t

The only thing it loves is

What it wants to make me

 

Because

You see

There is a monster inside of me

And the monster —

It is me

 

Gone for a Walk

         

Gone for a walk

The sun beaming hot on my back

Trees offer their shade to passersby

The sweet smell of summer in the air

 

The sun beaming hot on my back

Soft breezes soothe me

The smell of summer in the air

The sweet aroma lingers wherever I go

 

Soft breezes soothe me

Like the pleasant chirping of the birds

The sweet aroma lingers wherever I go

I feel like a butterfly in its true habitat

 

Like the pleasant chirping of the birds

I can only hear when I’m quiet myself

I feel like a butterfly in its true habitat

I venture through nature like a bird through the skies

 

I can only hear when I’m quiet myself

Trees offer their shade to passersby

I venture through nature like a bird through the skies

Gone for a walk

 

Little Bird

     

The Cove

Its water an incredible, powerful beast

Dormant for years

Warmly welcoming her father’s fishing boat and allowing her to splash in the shallows as a child

Then suddenly awake

Awake

Awake and angry

Filled with the things people toss away

Plastic straws from summer picnics and papers with old news

It swallows all that come near

Swallows them in rising tides

And storms that have no mercy

Its waves, its hands, pound

Against rocks made smooth by weather and time

Wren

Her mother’s little bird

The one her father left behind when he found out

Left in the night in the boat that first caught her mother’s eye

She stands in the surf

Her white dress soaked through

Numb

 

Home

Her home

Its broken glass

And shells and things from the deep

Blown in from the storm

All covered in dust

A fractured nest

Since the storm

The storm that took everything

Family photos and china plates

Patio chairs and hand painted shutters

The storm that broke the glass and tore open the walls

The storm that sucked her mother into its maw

Taking her forever

And then left

Left the little bird by herself, without a mother

 

Alone she walks

The little of what’s left of her red hair

Caught in the cool summer breeze

The dust clinging to her dress

Her dress

Once so perfect

But torn and dirty now

Alone she walks

Through the town miles away from her broken home

The town of stares and whispers and pointed fingers

The town of normalcy and family dinners

Of barbecues and sunny days

The town of friends long gone

Gone, blaming her for her father’s choice

Vilifying her mother for not finding another

She’s learned to ignore it

She wouldn’t come here at all

But even little birds have to eat

 

By the market she sits

Tin can in hand

A tin can found in the wreckage of her home

The clink of people’s spare change her only hope

Relying on the guilt

Of people that call her mad

To them, she is simply a girl who went insane after the storm they barely noticed

 

Walking home

The dirt path again

Stale bread sandwich in hand

Fireflies flicker around her

Dancing in the dark of the twilit forest

Walking up the stairs

That creak and moan and bend

The door

A purple door

A rusted knob

At the table

Where she once sat with her mother braiding her hair

Red hair just like her own

But her eyes are her father’s

As the lights flickered on and off

And a harsh wind rattled the windows

The booming thunder

The crackling lightning

And clouds that can’t decide if they’re blue or gray

Now she sits

By herself

Red hair uneven

Cut by scissors she found in the bathroom

 

Trying to find sleep

On a blanket outside her mother’s door

Sleep doesn’t come

Instead come visions

Visions of running along the cove

With her mother and a faceless man

Visions of family dinners on Sundays

Her parents laughing at a joke she just told

About a pirate’s 80th birthday

And at bedtime

Her parents tell her the story of the wren

The one that wasn’t as strong or as fast as the other birds

But realized it didn’t necessarily need to be

And became king of the birds

But even in her dreams she knows none of it is real

 

Morning

The pale sunlight sneaks through the broken window

And dances upon her head

From the dust she rises

Walking out of the house

Down to the shore

The water calm and shimmering with early morning light

A washed up rowboat bobs gently on the surface

In that moment she makes a decision

Looking back at what was her home

But hasn’t been in months

 

Thinking of the possibilities

Of finding her father

Of joining her mother

She pushed off the shore

And flew away

Over the coral guts of the great beast

 

Uncontrolled Fury

   

darting through her head, faster

than her hand can keep up with.

She tries

to grasp one before

it disappears, but her hand holds

nothing

except a pen.

The sound of it scratching

against paper fills

the empty silence.

 

And suddenly,

it stops.

Her head is hollow, filled with bits of

useless thoughts.

Her pen stops,

ink the color of the ocean tide

blooming like a navy blue flower

from the tip.

The pristine whiteness of the page

floods with the darkness

of lost ideas.

She lets it fall,

clattering

Against the table.

 

Ruined.

It’s ruined.

The page

crumples in her hand,

ink smudging,

her thoughts dead.

The page

falls from her hand.

It hits the floor with a sound

softer than

a kitten purring,

but louder than

a tiger roaring.

 

She begins again,

puts pen to paper,

writing until she

Decides, again, that it’s not good enough.

It never will be.

Her thoughts are gone,

the thrashing ideas that once filled her

head until it felt like bursting

have disappeared

without a trace.

 

Instead,

she is filled with a

disappointment, a

longing, an

uncontrolled fury.

 

The Girl Next Door, the Guardian Angel and the Best Friend

 

Heart Throb

 

Her heart throbbed.

For more reasons than one.

 

Her sickness for one,

But that wasn’t it,

This wasn’t the same pain.

 

Her heart throbbed.

For more reasons than one.

 

She wanted to spend the rest of her life,

With her,

The girl next door.

 

Her heart throbbed.

For more reasons than one.

 

What life? She thought.

The one that was about to end?

Or the one she had conjured with her imagination.

 

Her heart throbbed.

For more reasons than one.

 

She knew she didn’t have much time,

The doctors had said “a couple weeks?”

Maybe a month.

 

She had to tell her,

The girl next door,

Could she do it?

 

And spend the rest of her life,

No matter how short or long,

Wondering?

 

Many had told her,

“Your illness doesn’t define you,”

“It’s not the only thing you are.”

 

They always said,

“Your heart still works,”

“Just because it’s a little sick doesn’t mean it’s broken.”

 

But it felt like it was,

And nobody understood that,

Except the girl next door.

 

In her mind she knew the right thing,

But what could her messed up heart know?

Certainly not love?

Certainly not happiness?

 

And so she let herself slip away,

Away from the world she knew,

Away from the girl next door.

 

Past and Future

 

And so she let herself slip away,

Away from the world she knew,

Towards something different.

 

Something better.

Something worse.

 

As long as she remembered,

Nothing could be better than her,

Nothing could be better than the girl next door.

 

And nothing could be worse.

Nothing could be worse than leaving her,

The girl next door.

 

She knew there was no going back,

She knew there was nothing else she could have done.

 

There was no way to know.

What was beyond that light.

That sweet golden light.

 

The promises of the future,

So pure and innocent.

 

And the horrors of the past,

Dark and brutal.

 

Throw It All Away

 

So this is how she would end.

Alone and scared?

Or satisfied and relieved?

 

She definitely didn’t know.

Her and her messed up heart.

 

Her and the heart that doesn’t feel.

 

Had she lived, thrived?

 

She wished she could’ve lived.

She knew she couldn’t thrive.

 

She felt as if she had thrown everything away.

Every opportunity she could have had,

Every opportunity she did have.

 

She had done nothing,

With what little she had been allowed.

She had done nothing.

 

No One

 

Slipping in and out of consciousness,

She knew the end was near.

 

Finally it would end,

The pain, the suffering,

The hard part was over.

Or was it?

 

She definitely didn’t know.

Her and her messed up heart.

 

She couldn’t believe that after all of this,

All the struggling and perseverance,

It would end like this.

 

After all this,

She had amounted to nothing.

 

She hadn’t lived, bonded or thrived.

She was no one.

 

Though she had her one friend,

The friend that visited everyday,

Yet somehow, she just couldn’t connect,

She just couldn’t connect with her.

 

An Old Tree

 

Sometimes she felt like a paper bag,

Floating on nothing.

 

She had brought this upon herself.

She had shut everybody out.

 

But sometimes, she still felt as hollow as an old tree. As old as an old tree.

 

She felt like she had been struggling for ages,

Been sick for ages.

 

She felt like she had been through it all,

But still had no reason to live.

 

Except for the girl next door.

The girl next door was the answer to all her problems.

 

Yet somehow the girl next door was one of her problems.

 

The Hand of an Angel

 

Struggling with the same moral quandary,

Should I tell her?

Or should I let it be?

 

It felt as if there were a thousand bowling balls in her head.

Rolling around her thoughts,

Never settling down.

 

She desperately needed something to ground her,

Something to back her up,

Something to help her through the good and the bad.

 

Suddenly, as if the gods had heard her pleas,

Something grabbed her hand and pulled her back to the ground.

 

It was the hand of an angel,

Someone sent to her.

 

Was it possible?

Was it possible that after all of this bad something good was finally going to happen?

 

No, it couldn’t be.

That was impossible.

 

The Hand of an Angel II

 

As if the angel could sense her spiral,

Three gentle tugs at her hand almost brought the girl back to the present.

 

But, slipping in and out of consciousness,

She felt the end nearing.

 

Prepared to give up this world and almost everything in it,

She made no outward struggle,

But her new guardian angel didn’t give up so easily, couldn’t give up so easily.

 

Another three gentle tugs kept the girl from giving up on her dream,

Her dream of the girl next door.

 

Opening her eyes,

What stood before her,

Almost killed her.

 

In the best way possible.

 

Gone

 

It was her,

Before her eyes stood a most beautiful sight,

Cast in a golden light.

 

She couldn’t believe it,

It really was an angel,

Her angel,

The girl next door.

 

She never thought this day would come,

She never thought she would see her again.

 

But here she was,

The girl next door,

The most perfect ending to the most horrible life.

 

She smiled up at her angel,

The happiest she’d been since,

Forever.

 

Her angel leaned down,

Planted a soft kiss on her lips,

Soft, but ice cold,

Ice cold but comforting,

And with that she was gone.

 

Gone like the wind,

The wind that supported her paper bag,

The wind that propelled her forward.

 

The only thing that kept her moving,

Her guardian angel.

 

Today

 

The next time she woke up,

She was still in the hospital,

Alone, with the exception of her nurse and doctor.

 

And let’s not forget her friend, the friend that came to visit everyday.

 

Everyday was the same,

The beep of the machines,

Her pills, the blood tests and more.

 

But today was different,

Today she had met her guardian angel.

 

She felt as if she’d known them forever,

She felt like she and the angel were one.

 

The most perfect half to her messed up self.

 

Today II

 

I’m really worried about her,

My best friend,

The most amazing person I know,

The strongest person I know.

 

She doesn’t think that,

I know she thinks she is broken,

She thinks she’s alone,

But she really isn’t.

 

It hurts my heart to see her like this,

She never talks,

She looks at you with cold dead eyes,

Its almost as if she’s already gone.

 

But today was different,

Today there was a spark in her eye,

Today she looked alive.

 

She still didn’t talk,

She still thinks she’s broken,

I could see it in her face,

But today was different.

 

Today she looked like her happier old self,

Today she looked at me and smiled.

Today she squeezed my hand.

 

If I Could

 

I wish I could know everything she’s thinking.

 

I wish I could take away all of her pain.

 

All I know is she thinks she is broken,

And that fact alone,

That fact alone breaks me.

 

I love her more than anything on this earth,

I don’t know what I would do if she was gone, even though sometimes…

 

Sometimes it feels like she already is.

 

If I could break through her wall,

If I could just explain.

 

I’m sure she would understand,

I’m sure she would listen to me.

 

People say I’m just wasting my time,

People say I should just give up.

 

No wonder she feels alone,

No wonder she’s ready to give it all up.

 

What If

 

I won’t see her for another week,

A week of pure torture,

A week full of worry.

 

I’m happiest when I’m with her,

She brings out the best in me,

No one else understands this,

She makes me feel special.

 

I try to see her every single day,

I try to be there for her when she needs me.

 

If something happens while I’m away,

I don’t know what I would do.

I think I need her more than she needs me.

 

That smile today,

It made me so happy.

What if something else happens while I’m gone.

 

Something good,

Something bad.

 

I just want to be there when it happens.

 

I can feel things are starting to change,

For the better or…

Well, you know.

 

It doesn’t matter,

I just want to be with her.

 

Something Has Changed

 

I’m finally back,

I’m with my best friend.

 

I’m back at the hospital,

It feels like its been a year.

 

She looks the same,

But her eyes are warmer.

 

Maybe something has changed.

Maybe the warmth has been there all along.

Maybe I just missed it.

 

Maybe I was too focused,

On making her see,

Making her see me.

 

On making her understand that I love her,

That I need her.

 

Sometimes I get mad,

Mad that she can’t see,

Mad that she just doesn’t seem to understand that she has me.

 

But I should have been helping her,

I haven’t been a very good friend.

I glance down at her,

My very best friend,

And I can tell that this is the end.

 

The End

 

She is really gone,

I still can’t believe it.

 

After everything we’ve been through,

The heartbreak, the happiness,

Everything.

 

She peacefully left,

A simple smile on her face.

 

I was there,

I was there for the flat line.

 

The beeping stopped,

The erratic measurements of her heartbeat,

were put to a rest.

 

She will struggle no more,

She can finally be happy.

 

Its selfish to say,

But I wish she was still here.

 

I don’t know what I’m going to do,

I don’t know how to go on.

But life doesn’t stop for everyone’s tragedies.

 

I will always love her,

In the back of my mind.

 

I tuck away my love for her in my heart,

I’ll revisit it from time to time,

When thinking of her doesn’t hurt so much.

 

Sitting here hurts too much,

I have to get out.

 

I’ll never come back,

This will be the last time I walk out.

 

This place will always hold my sadness.

This place will be where my last memories of her lie.

 

I glance at the empty bed,

The pillow where she used to rest her head.

 

I close the door behind me,

And don’t even glance back.

 

Summer

 

The sweet flavor

Bursts in my mouth

As the sticky juice

Runs down my chin

And falls on my lap

Oh the clothes

That have been stained forever

By the chaotic season

That is summer

 

My feet burn as they slide

Along the grainy earth

And they shiver as the water

Laps at my toes

My bathing suit leaves

Pale lines across my skin

In contrast

To the burning red

That sears my back

The umbrella flutters in the breeze

And the blanket

Weighed down by bags

Yearns to fly away

And be free

 

The tiny pieces of rock

Clump in shapes

Moldable

Expendable

Millions and billions

Flying through the air

Burrowing

Into sandals

And shirts

And swimsuits

And everything

They can form

Castles

Or pits

Or cottages

They can make treats

Rolls

And eclairs

And truffles

Then they collapse and wash away

Leaving endless straights

Full of tiny grains

 

Gardens blossom

And fade

Violets and lilies

Turning brown and cracked

Edges curling with heat

Bees chatter and buzz

Collecting and conversing

Bushes full of activity

The air hangs heavy

With beads of water

 

Love grows wide

Opening

Unfurling

Stretching its wings

To touch the sky

Watch it fly overhead

Listen to its sweet cry

Dancing through your ears

You cannot help but listen

Clutch your loved ones closer

And enjoy the beauty

Of the feathers

That adorn the bird of love

 

Friendship, too

Swells in the heat

Children walk

Hand in hand

A mouthful shared by two

Laughs fill the sky

They flit through the breeze

Following

The soaring creature

Of passion

 

Bumps rise

On my legs and arms

Begging to be relieved

I try to resist

But in the end

Who can fight pleasure?

The mosquito flies

Unseen

A trickster

Laughing at us fools

 

Time flows sluggishly

Churning and

Rewinding

Chugging along

Day

After day

Hour

After hour

Minute

After minute

Second

After second

 

The next year looms

Above it all

Exciting

Yet Menacing

Sometimes forgotten

Pushed away

In an effort to enjoy

The little time you have

Futile,

Even though the time

Ticks by

So

Very

Slowly

The day will come

When you must return

To work and hardship

And months

Of relaxation

And rehabilitation

Will come to an end

 

For Them All

 

1

 

Kind

He was just kind

Everyone knew it

But I liked it the most

 

He wasn’t good in school

Everyone knew it

I can’t tell you how many times

I defended his intelligence

 

He had red hair

I loved that red hair

I guess I perceived him as innocent
Even though he never was

 

He talked to me

I was crazy

But he talked to me

 

By the time I found out he

Had fallen for me

It was too late

 

2

 

So this guy was kind of a jerk

Everyone thought he was green

I saw blue

I saw blue in that jerk!

I thought he liked me back

And just hid it really well

But he hated me

I was a bother

A massive bother

To that blue, blue jerk

 

3

 

I loved him more than I’ve ever loved anyone

Wished I could just talk to him

Hated that I could never be the one to help him

I wanted him to rely on me

I loved him, I really really did

So much that no one could doubt it

But despite all my hopes

He never knew me

 

I’ve already written countless poems about him

About how he’s the ultimate hero

 

I just kinda wanted to thank him

For saving me

 

4

 

Um… I still like this one

He’s the best of the light and the dark

He’s like me and then he’s a little bit not

Ideal, is what he is

Not that I could resist him if he wasn’t

 

5

 

I’m putting him on the list, aren’t I?

Hasn’t been around for more than a week

and yet here I am, giving him a spot

with the ones who have changed me

because he changed me

he made me fall

god, he’s the most captivating of them all

 

Soccer Ball

 

Full of stories

Both joyous and bitter

Used to accomplish dreams and goals

 

Rough on the outside

Beaten up and tattered

What’s on the inside?

We might never know

 

To know how you feel we must look at your past

You have stories worth telling

You have a soul that’s been frayed

 

You’ve brought joy to many

You’ve brought sorrow to others

But you always let people use you

So they can achieve their goals

 

Nature

 

Animals, nature, the weather so nice

Waking up early to sun or to ice

Milking the cows and getting the eggs

Working all day and running on your legs

Making homemade food like yogurt and jam

Making applesauce but no ham

Washing your clothes with water and your hands

Selling the fresh food on small road stands

Working all day and having lots of fun

Working on a farm is obviously awesome

 

The Guest House – Confusion

        

(Inspired by The Guest House by Jelaluddin Rumi)

Hi Confusion,

Although I never expected you to come, I guess you’re welcome, because confusion leads to thought, and thought leads to finally maybe making sense of some chapter of this crazy, twisting, turning, torrentuous story called life. I know that while you’re staying here in my head, I’ll have no idea which direction I should go in or where this chapter of my life will take me, but I know that you’ll make me think. And I’ve been trying to think for weeks, but something keeps jamming my mind.

Maybe it’s the heat from the early arrival of summer,

Maybe it’s the fact that there’s one person who I can’t stop daydreaming about,

Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been binging TV shows whenever a thought threatens to creep into my brain,

Maybe,

Maybe,

Maybe.

I can’t think clearly.

Maybe that’s because I’m scared of thinking, because there are thoughts in the back of my brain that I don’t ever want to resurface, that I’m too scared to address because the memories contained in those thoughts make me want to cry and scream and punch a hole in my wall.

And now you’re here, Confusion. You’ve barged into my head unannounced, claiming that you will make things better, but my first instinct is to turn you away. I need Clarity. I need Calm. The last emotion I need in my head right now is Confusion. But I can’t bring myself to turn you away, because I haven’t turned even Hatred or Jealousy away in the past, and if I let such horrible emotions into my head, I would be just as horrible as those emotions if I turned you away. Because really, you’ve never meant me any harm, and after you come and go, Thoughtfulness and Clarity always come to visit my head. And for that, my friend, I am grateful.

Welcome. I hope you enjoy your stay — but please invite Thoughtfulness and Clarity to come soon. I could use the company.

 

Benevolence of Change

        

The Child With Emerald Eyes (SONNET)

Summer smiles in sun-kissed bliss with her cloudless days,

Watching over a child with emerald eyes,

Who rocks back and forth in his chair in a joyful haze

And laughs in glee under bright and clear skies.

 

Winter smiles with her frigid cool and heavy mist,

Drifting down frail snowflakes that float in the air

And melt on the skin of an emerald-eyed man who wished

To be able to forever rock back and forth in his chair.

 

Summer returns in her sweltering heat,

Watching over a wrinkled old man with a cane,

Whose emerald eyes shine in defeat

At the passing of time that had stolen his youth with no refrain.

 

The wrinkled, old emerald-eyed man rocks back and forth in his chair with an accepting gaze,

Underneath the watchful eye of Winter and Summer and in his wrinkled eyes: a youthful, fiery blaze.

 

With Calm Sways (SESTINA)

She calmly floats, swaying

As waves softly lap and swirl

Against her body under a calm

Sky that appeared not stormy

But painted in a soft pink haze

Above water clear as crystal.

 

Overcome with a sense of rest, her crystal

Blue eyes gazing in swaying

Calm, floating atop water in a peaceful haze

And an unconscious swirl

Of serene lack of a stormy

Sea, washed over with a sense of calm.

 

Amidst her floating in the calm

Sea, she suddenly jolts with crystal

Clear clarity of times stormy

And gray, and with a more intense swaying,

She remembers and recalls in a swirl

Of sharp understanding in a sudden dark and blurry haze.

 

She recalled sitting in silence in a foggy haze

Listening to a doctor with steady calm

Who told of an illness in no swirl

Of emotions, but with crystal

Clear clarity, and under a sympathetic gaze, observed her swaying

At the prospect of times stormy.

 

From then on, there was no end to days stormy

With pain, until one day, a sudden haze

Of dizzy faint struck to leave her swaying

And struck her to the floor with a final sense of calm

And yet sharp crystal

Clear clarity of an overlooming dark, heavy swirl.

 

It was then she faintly recalled the deafening swirl

Of red and blue to save her from times stormy

But left her and her crystal

Blue eyes in a fleeting haze,

As she ended her struggling and finally closed her eyes with calm

And let go of the overwhelming pain to feel herself suddenly swaying.

 

Brought to a clear blue ocean and a soft pink haze

Painted in the sky, free of stormy

Days, she calmly floats, swaying.

 

Missing Tooth (RONDEAU)

Giggling in fleeting bliss, the girl’s face is momentarily illuminated

By the flash of a camera that had caught and captivated

A young girl in the bloom of youth,

Her mouth wide with a missing tooth,

And a laugh, free and liberated.

 

Now a woman, youth fadingly saturated,

She glances at a photo of a young girl faded

But laughing with a missing tooth,

Giggling in fleeting bliss.

 

With deepening wrinkles, the woman, sophisticated

With age and laughs weighted

With a solemn truth,

Glances at a photo with no missing tooth,

Of a young girl liberated,

Giggling in fleeting bliss.

 

Golden, Warm Air

A broken butterfly fluctuates in its soar,

Through a journey over poisonous gardens,

Cool air,

Broken wing flapping,

Flying with its thought: one last time,

But landing with its golden swirls in the warm hands of a warm-handed woman.

 

A broken woman staggers in her walk,

Through a journey heavy of poisonous people,

Dark air,

Broken past looming,

Walking with her thought: one last time,

But landing in her warm hands: a broken, golden-swirled butterfly.

 

The broken butterfly flew with the weight of fragile life

Atop its golden-swirled wings,

But remaining now, safely nuzzled against the warmth of a woman

Who had too walked heavy.

 

The woman weighted with broken past,

Begins to walk steady,

Illuminated by the golden swirls of a golden-swirled butterfly

With a broken wing,

Beginning to fly.

 

Golden-swirled wings glow from ascending warmth of warm hands,

And is released from the warm hands of the warm-handed woman,

Flying away free,

Into the golden, warm air.

 

A golden-swirled butterfly with a broken wing,

A warm-handed woman with a broken past,

But themselves no longer broken in harmonized air:

Whole.

 

Pest Poems

          

The Roaches

We relax under the cabinet

Eating the leftover cheese

Contemplating the meaning of life

And wondering if there is any bread

That we can pair

With this sharp cheddar.

We are happy

At the moment.

The humans are away

And they left

Without so much as sweeping

The kitchen floor.

You perk up,

Dropping your crumb

On the wooden ground

I ask what happened

But you are already darting across

The kitchen.

Then I see what you see.

You have found

a grape.

 

The Appreciation of Pigeons

All they see you as

Is some type of pest —

Bothersome,

Ugly, annoying.

They don’t see

What they should see.

They can’t look past

Your interesting eating habits,

Or the fact that you

Like to flutter and squawk

Very noisily, when some of us

Are trying

To sleep.

Why do they love

Those hummingbirds

Who flutter harder

And louder

Than you?

Why can’t they stop talking

About those hideous parrots

That squawk so loudly

One has to plug

Their ears?

Looking closer

At the fine grey feathers

That gracefully morph

Into deep purples and greens,

Peering into your eyes,

Noticing the perfect oval shape,

The deep orange color

Surrounding a pinprick of black,

One could really only describe you

As magnificent.

 

Your Greatest Fan, Jemima.

My dearest Una,

Hear me now.

You think wrong of me,

And I can tell,

For I caught you

Standing on your stoop

Spraying vast quantities of bug repellent

Over every surface

Of your body.

If I could bite you

Without making those itchy bumps

Pop up all over your skin,

I would gladly do so.

But I can’t, unfortunately.

I see you trying to get rid of me

And my friends

But I feel it necessary to put it out there

That your struggles are pointless.

I’m sorry, I really am,

But I love you

Too much

To let the foul scent

Of that horrid stuff

Stand between

You and me.

I would die for you gladly,

Is one thing that you appear to have overlooked.

If my last sensation

Was a little bit

Of your freshly sucked blood

I would die a happy girl.

So put on all the bug spray you want,

Go for it,

Try to get rid of me,

But both you and I

Know that our love

Was written

In the stars.

Your greatest fan,

Jemima.

 

How We Can Improve My Current Situation

Underfed,

Underslept,

And hopeless.

Nothing can fix

This wretched situation.

I lean back against a piece of tinfoil

That was dropped on the ground,

And then it hits me.

I have finally thought

Of a solution.

For starters, a lot of pizza. Yes. More pizza!

Dripping cheese, warm and delicious.

Next, a nicer place to live.

How about the corner of a restaurant

(preferably an Italian place)?

Yes, that would be perfect.

Then, when the owners dropped food,

I could feast like a king! My stomach rumbles

At the very thought.

OOH! Also, I’d like to get myself

Another rat, for company.

You know, that’s all that I really need.

Scrap the pizza,

Scrap the home.

All I want

Is a friend.

 

My Favorite Snacks

The sweater your grandma wore

To her first day of high school

Is near the top of the list for sure.

The dye has mostly faded,

Giving it a more bland flavor,

But the soft texture makes up for any faults.

 

The knitted hat that your aunt wore

For the skiing trip she took

In the seventh grade.

Purple cashmere,

Smooth, magnificent.

The taste of snow still lingers

On its surface.

 

The rainbow scarf,

Disfigured and full of loose ends,

Your first knitting project.

The wool is scratchy, and it is already falling apart

Even though us moths have not yet

Filled it with our own holes.

Despite this, the nostalgia I feel

When nibbling on its colorful folds

Is immense, so I love it still.

 

The Sun Is Up

          

The sun is up

But I am not

I am numb

For the day is not

When I feel things

I only feel

When the sun is sleeping

And I can be alone

I can think my dangerous thoughts

By myself.

I am trapped.

Alone with just my feelings.

Why aren’t they there when I need them?

Why are they only here to hurt?
Is this normal?

Is something wrong with me?

What is it?

What can I do?

To stop it?

So many questions.

Where are my friends?

Why can’t I make them?

Why am I so alone?

Stop.

Pause.

For just a moment.

Stop asking questions.

Answer them.

Is this normal?

No.

Is something wrong with me?

No.

I’ve read about this.

They tell me there are other people here,

They’re just like me.

I don’t believe them.

What can I do?

I need someone.

I need someone to listen.

Someone to talk to.

Someone to understand.

Why don’t you understand?

Unpause.

The questions will not stop.

What can I do.

Who can I ask for help

If I have no one.

Pause.

Again.

Think.

Who do I have?

My parents?

No, they wouldn’t understand

They tell me I need therapy.

No.

No.

No.

But what if it could help?

They would judge me.

But what if they were okay?

I can’t take the chance.

Yes I can.

What harm would it do?

You’re right.

I’m crazy.

I’m right.

I need help.

Unpause.

The sun is up.

I’m almost up.

I can feel the progress.

I still have questions, but they are leaving.

I’m going to be okay.

I know it.

I am normal.

I am not alone.

Pause.

I know that they will help me.

Unpause.

The sun is up.

And so am I.

I think that I’m okay.

I was brave.

I got help.

Unpause.

 

Dogfriend

           

Yellow dogs.

Black dogs.

White dogs.

Red dogs.

Brown dogs.

Grey dogs.

Even pink dogs.

So many dogs

To be my friend

For me to defend.

An ally

So diverse

That to be my dogfriend

Would be not a curse.

Yellow dogs.

Black dogs.

White dogs.

Red dogs.

Brown dogs.

Grey dogs.

Even pink dogs.

Accepting of all breeds

To diversity these are the seeds.

Kindness

Is diversity’s heiress.

Compassion

Is in our fashion.

Open-mindedness

Is to be taught with stress.

Accepting of all breeds

For to diversity these are the seeds.

 

Nervous

             

The light stains my eyelids a

lurid pink.

I fumble with the

Pen and paper

That lay on my desk.

The others are still sleeping,

The sun is yet to rise,

And I shiver in the cold.

The room looks too large without

The others.

I fidget in my seat,

Unable to sit still.

The paper stares at me

Marred by my shaky writing.

The timer dings announcing my time is up,

And I hand in a paper half blank, half gibberish,

Dripping with sweat.

So much for my future.

 

for the poets

      

your words coat my lips

like honey

i sit cross-legged on my bed and speak them

over and over again

until i can taste them

imprinted on my tongue

they crackle

on the crumpled papers of

my spiral notebooks

i write them over and over again

the blue ink bleeding from

the margins

of my math homework

seeping over the equations

numbers have always made sense to me and

math is refreshing in its clarity

but i can’t help but be

entranced

by your words

they spill over my walls

printed thoughts that stain the blue paint

until there’s no room for posters

poetry on poetry

even your names flow easily

from my lips

pablo neruda

e. e. cummings

william carlos williams

{is having a poetic name a necessity

to be a poet?

or could beth the barista

publish her own printed thoughts one day?

could jonny the jockey

stain a teenager’s walls?}

eventually your words

the ones that coated my lips

imprinted themselves on my tongue

bled over my math homework

twist themselves up in my trachea

so that when i speak your words

they’re not the same

they’ve been reborn

your words

those honey coated ballpoint pen masterpieces

have been reformed into

new

bright white leather baseballs

shiny copper pennies

brand new words

{extra! extra! hot off the presses!}

your words are repeated

rewritten

recycled

refurbished

some people take quotes from movies

or pop stars

or presidents

but i take mine from you

you poets,

you creators,

you gods of your masterpieces

i dismantle them

i dig into every crack and crevice

i check and double-check to make sure

i shake loose every word

and i reassemble them

so that the barest whisper of you

remains

enough to make it clear

that you are my inspiration

but besides from this whisper

the words, formerly yours,

are unrecognizable

i take my words,

my shining pennies,

my fallen stars

from you

and i make them mine

 

Alas, such are the ways of the clouds…

       

I must serve them because alas, such are the ways of the clouds

I gather worms although alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

Why must I subject myself to your experiments

I adorn thy statues since alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

Please help me, for I drown slowly like a fish

I float merrily while alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

I plead of thee for a breadcrumb, starving while my masters feast

They believe me their mindless servant for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

My parched mouth begs for life-giving water as I flee my masters

They chase me far for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

I cannot run much longer please help me

As I hide in the roots, they pass by because alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

They dump buckets of acid on the lands, smoking me out

I take up the lost dagger and fight them but alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

Beating them back with the almighty shield of sorrow

I fall beneath their power for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

They take my soul, leaving a husk

I continue my eternal servitude and forget my past for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

My flesh and bones evaporating and leave behind a vapor

I am a cloud and I am selfish for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

I lose myself, I forget my roots

I forget my humanity, for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

Now a cloud, I continue as such

Miserable, missing what I cannot remember for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

All I remember is Juliana

Mourning me for alas, such are the ways of the clouds

 

Serendipity

            

The ingenue dreamed of a catastrophic world of cerulean music.

There were many realms in that world, each surprisingly different.

Her favorite glowed during the day with beautiful, cloudless skies.

The night sky was gorgeous as well, colorful but dark.

The moon and stars shone down from the bright heavens.

There was someone else there, a silhouette against the sky.

She saw them once, wrapped up in a yellow blanket.

They had a telescope, seeming to be watching the stars.

Another time she saw them sitting in a shadowed windowsill.

A shadow against the white curtains forever keeping them separate.

 

The ingenue dreamed of catastrophic, cerulean music.

There were many realms, each surprisingly different.

Her favorite glowed with beautiful, cloudless skies.

The night sky was colorful but dark.

Moon and stars shone from the heavens.

There was a silhouette against the sky.

She saw them wrapped in a yellow blanket.

They had a telescope, watching the stars.

She saw them sitting in a windowsill.

A shadow, white curtains keeping them separate.

 

Dreamed of a cerulean music.

There were realms, each different.

Her favorite beautiful, cloudless skies.

Night sky, colorful but dark.

Moon and stars from heavens.

A silhouette against the sky.

Wrapped in a yellow blanket.

A telescope, watching the stars.

Sitting in a shadowed windowsill.

White curtains keeping them separate.

 

Dreamed cerulean music.

Realms surprisingly different.

Glowed beautiful skies.

Night colorful, dark.

Moon and stars.

Silhouette against sky.

Wrapped, yellow blanket.

Watching the stars.

Sitting shadowed windowsill.

Shadow curtains separate.

 

Sports Poem

             

I find life often so represented by sports

 

The interwoven reliance of European football

With still the individual spotlight of baseball

 

The perseverance and small victories

As essential to life as it is to basketball

 

The dreary monotony, through it fine-tuned determination

So crucial to the trade of a runner

 

Often though one quarterback may lead the play

The receiver will score the winning touchdown

And neither is forgotten

 

Yet this idyllic portrait

Is not to ignore the dissenting voices that scream

of the goalie who dives in vain as time expires

the cleanup batter strikeout with runners on

 

But when all is said and done

and considered

and analyzed

Sports provide a nice summation

Of such a wonderful

and terrible

and complex thing

As life itself

 

Blue

        

Blue house

New house

New blouse

Blue blouse

Blue hue

Few to

Enjoy all that blue can do

The color blue

It stays so true

To all of the emotions

Blue dew

A happy sight

Reminds of the end of the night

And beginning of the day

Blue coo

So comforting

A blue coo’s a special coo

As it’s only cooed by those you knew

Who you know always care for you

Blue displays the happy

But blue displays the sad

And blue displays the anger

That everyone has had

Blue can tell of glory

Or blue can tell a story

It all depends on who

Is watching blue with you

 

Poisonous Rain

        

Rain is falling

Mom is calling.

It’s time to go inside

Weather lied.

Rain is falling

Mom is calling.

She is fleeing

I am seeing.

Why?

I say.

Is the rain poisonous?

No.

Then why?

I ask.

Are you going to die

Because water is falling from the sky?

Rain is falling

Mom is calling.

Storm is coming

I’m still humming.

Water’s spraying

I’m still playing.

Rain is falling

Mom is calling.

Thunder’s frightening

Here comes lightening.

All is calm

Don’t worry, Mom.

It’s time to go inside

Weather lied.

Rain is falling.

Mom is calling.

She is fleeing

I am seeing.

Why?

I say.

Is the rain poisonous?

No.

Then why?

I ask.

Are you going to die

Because water is falling from the sky?

 

Five Haiku to Clear the Mind

         

I. Terminal Storm

Shrieks of laughter fill the air,

Joyous new leaves flutter,

Clouds roll in to halt it all.

 

II. The Prey

The cheetah’s fur glistens as it stalks prey,

Silent, as it moves.

It bares its teeth with saliva dripping.

 

III. Forest Stories

Leaves crunch under foot.

Beneath the trees, ‘side the shrubs,

All animals stroll.

 

IV. Beach

Waves crash on the rocks,

The once dry sand turns to mud.

Gulls fly overhead.

 

V. Superman

Birds fill the heavens,

Planes’ rumbles cut through the calm.

Hope’s spelled with an “S.”

 

Life’s Library

              

Everyone’s life has a place where it keeps

all the important memories

whether it is a box or a shelf,

A cart or a peanut butter jar,

or even,

a library.

It keeps both good and bad memories on its dusty shelves

If I choose to descend into the lower floors,

I would notice the shadows lurking inside old, rotting books

Looking closer, I would see that the books

Are in fact memories,

Hopes,

Dreams,

Things lost,

And found.

Every experience, stored here within the infinite capacities, of my life’s library.

The further down I go, the harder it is to read the titles.

The books are more worn and dull and dusty.

I reach the bottom floor, and go to the last shelf.

The shelf that is hidden. Blanketed in shadows

Veiled in dust and the utter silence.

I reach out and take the lone book

Sitting there on the dark bottom corner of the shelf.

The cover is made of soft brown paper

That is torn and falling apart,

I sit on the floor, finding that one spot.

Worn down and the only spot in the whole room,

Not covered in dust because I sat there

So many times holding that one memory

But unable

To read it.

I lift up the book,

Flip it open to the first page,

And read.

 

Enough Is Enough

              

An AR-15 has 15 functioning parts. The length of the gun, the speed of the bullet determines how lethal a fatality is.

The time it takes to unload the empty chamber.

That one flick can cause a mass destruction.

The silver ruthless bullets that trigger screams of horror.

The painful, excruciating sound when the revolver clicks revealing the sight of ammunition.

The cylinder, when inclined, locks the hammer into place.

The trigger requires an explicit amount of pressure to fire.

The target erupts, opening a door that cannot be closed. A ruthless act that cannot be undone. A callous school shooting cannot be undone.

That it has many working parts.

The morning of, the child believes the day will be like every other day.

A test first period.

The sound of the bell at 8:15.

The sound of countless kids screaming in the cafeteria.

The sound of bookbags dropping like a ton of bricks. The sound of birds chirping, on the morning on February 14.

The sound of 17 sharp gunshots.

A day filled with laughter was turned into horror in seconds.

The first shot triggers a lockdown.

The bell rings.

Code Red, but it doesn’t seem like a code red. One thought this would never happen to them but it did.

The fire alarm pounds loud in my ears as chaos erupts.

Classrooms become inescapable like gas chambers.

The shooter shoots. The sounds are still and silent.

The eyes are tearful and the stomachs are churning.

The police arrive, with precision, as a shot is fired, the separation begins for the student body.

Those living and those that the shots have hit.

That one massacre of school children triggers the carnage lost in Boston.

Why does this keep happening?

But we barely notice until we marry 6 feet under the ground.

I thought this was supposed to be a good day?

The day with pencils tapping on the desks.

The sound of gossiping.

The sound of teachers demanding for classwork.

The sound of the chairs tipping back.

It all disappears in seconds.

The stoplight turns red but the gun turns green.

The gun doesn’t kill people, the numbers do.

3100 South Springfield Avenue. A truck turned the corner. Not the ice cream truck. This gray truck was mean. It forced her to fight for her life in the hospital bed until 5:24 p.m.. The doctor says, “I’m sorry for the words that I’m about to say.”

Sunday, October 1, 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada. 58 gone. Near the Mandalay Bay.

I was there 2 years prior.

Texas, Sutherland Springs, a day we cherish Jesus and stare at the cross. 26 souls joined with him, but not out of sacrifice. Just one out of sacrifice, but he didn’t have to die if it wasn’t for that silver bullet!

But the debate on gun control only lasted for so long after the Columbine shooting.

How many more times?

A teacher takes a bullet to save her 6 students.

The child did not get a chance to hug Mommy and say, “I love you.”

A father is heartbroken.

He cannot even remember if he even kissed his little girl goodbye when she left for school the morning on February 14.

Now the father is saying, “Enough is Enough.”

 

Women’s March

      

Millions of faces

Millions of stomping feet

Millions of pink hats

Millions of minds,

Determined to set things right.

 

Millions of ideas

Millions of dreams

Millions of experiences

Millions of Memories

All come together

To change the world

 

Millions of Women

Millions of Men

Millions of  Voices

Sounding around me,

As we march through the streets.

We all want our voice to be heard

 

I felt excitement,

I felt anger,

I felt connected to everyone there,

And all around me,

I saw Change

 

Red;

           

A woman with a stroller, the baby

Kicking its feet and the aging leaves

Crunched under wheels.

Red;

The sweater I stole from you,

The word you said when asked for a word

Associated with love.

Red;

Her lips when I found you.

Red;

Love

Betrayal.

Red;

The sky at dusk from the cliffside,

Where we watched the sun glide away and the

Stars sneak into existence for the night.

Where we laughed so much about things I don’t

Remember now, but

I do remember the way my stomach hurt

Because I couldn’t stop feeling happy.

Red;

The blanket wrapped around my shoulders

To ward against the chill that may come from outside

Or may just be something inside of me

That’s died or lost.

I’m not sure which.

Red;

The color of flowers that push their way

Out of frozen ground in the spring,

When the things that died decide to

See how it feels to be alive again.

 

Cold Summers Night in the Country

 

We’d hear the wild grass

Rustle like a blanket

On a cold summer night

As we watch the stars.

Our mouths turn o-shaped

And I point at the constellations.

You would tap on my shoulder and

Point to the shooting star,

I’d blink and miss it.

You’d groan at just the

Right pitch so that

I would know

You were joking.

You had an odd sense of humor

That always made me laugh.

I loved it when you made me laugh.

It felt different

Than all of the other times.

After a while

We’d fall asleep

With the blankets up to

Our noses.

 

Shelves

              

on dusty racks

my whole life sits

in crumpled balls of

scribbled lines

the stories that

i couldn’t tell

my snowglobes

show foreign times

and foreign places

brought to me by

loving hands

letters to people

long forgotten

all the friends

i left behind

pictures of my

shiny face

framed by glowing

youth and mirth

both things lost to the years

and covered in filmy dust.

little toy frogs

and old, folded blankets

yellow music boxes

and chipped, brown mugs

sit in cobwebs

to tell my story.

 

The Colors of the World

        

Hair so willowy, light, and attenuated

Like freshly spun buoyant thread constructed from fragile gossamer strands

As golden as the phosphorescent, glimmering sun

Eyes effulgently piercing almost as if they were lightning

Colored cerulean like a flowing ocean that’s deep enough to swim in

An effortlessly beautiful, captivating dream that keeps you afloat on a cloudless sky in midwinter

Skin as white as the velvety snow atop faintly visible mountains that kiss the sun on the horizon

It’s unmistakably yet naturally different from me

 

A scarlet waterfall descends in a charming tumble of tight, wiry, crimson and carmine ringlets

Fluctuating bouncy coils are luxurious, vibrant, and mesmerizing

Catching the glow of the early morning light, it gleams like a conflagrant blaze

Unable to be extinguished

Tenderly and gently eyes peer out,

Alluring yet mysterious

Dancing about, gracefully and swiftly flashing with passion and euphoria

As chartreuse as the flourishing grass

The green you would expect to find in the snow when it’s winter and spring is nearing

Pale skin, chalky and washed out, dotted with vivacious freckles like the stars in the night’s sky

It’s unmistakably yet naturally different from me

 

An avalanche of auburn, mahogany, and cinnamon topples down

Creating a surreal illusion of leaves blowing in the light autumn breeze

And when the wind does blow, it tousles it into long flowing waves of tawny russet

As bright and uncommon as an old, rusted, copper penny

Eyes carried a storm inside them,

Cloudy, murky, smoky silver

Lit by the flames of both anger and love

The color of a polished piece of metal with refined, glossy swirls of ebony and cobalt

Skin was like a piquant creamy biscuit

It carried flecks of tan covered by luminous gold

It’s unmistakably yet naturally different from me

 

I look out and black blocks my vision

Cascading over my shoulders in a smooth, silky drop

As dark as the polished charcoal keys on my grand piano

Melted chestnut adorns my vast almond shaped eyes,

Soft and warm like the chocolate chips on a fresh oven baked cookie

Like hot chocolate, on a cold, rainy day, which engulfs you in safety and assurance

A shade of ginger skin peeks out from the curtain of onyx

And a flurry of strands rush backwards as I tuck it behind my ear

My skin is an ashen bronze, the color of a new teddy bear that reminds you of sweet memories

This time, it is finally me

 

Gazing about, I see society like an indisputable and auroral rainbow

So diverse, vivid, colorful, chromatic and unique

Ravishing combinations meet my wonder seeking eyes

In a whirlwind of different hues

 

This divergent world is a gift

Wrapped in radiating wrapping paper

Inside is an entrancing spell of love and difference

This is what I see everyday

Because this is our contemporary and coeval world

Where everyone is beautiful

No matter their colors

 

Song Of The Isthmus

    

 

The ship docked on the sandy shores.

Waves lapping at its barnacled belly

the anchor digging deep into the earth.

Hundreds swarmed the grounds,

scouring for fresh water.

They readily gulped it down.

With quenched sighs,

the cheerful banter crescendoed from a buzz to a roar.

For gold awaited them in California,

if they could survive the bouts of scurvy that ravaged the crew,

if they could make it ‘round the horn.

A miner drifted astray.

He stumbled upon an old man,

a cloaked figure,

a shadow,

a deserted soul.

His bony finger pointed deep into the lush abyss.

Raspily whispered “do not undertake the long trip,

cross the isthmus and catch the following ship.”

Gripping his sluice box ever so tightly,

his knuckles whitened at the sight of the darkening jungle,

until he reminded himself of the wealth that awaited him.

He pushed forward.

Feet sinking into the murky bottom as he held in his gasps,

for willowy whispers transfigured from hums to

restless voices warning him to turn back.

Starting from beneath, they rose up until they enveloped his entire body.

He killed the warnings with one swift motion to his ears.

Thoughts of California’s luxuries raced through his panicked mind.

He pushed forward.

Vines silently coiled around his leg.

Reaching to brush them off, they snaked up his arm as

hundreds more slithered down the trees.

Thorny bodies pierced his flesh,

with agonizing screams, the miner was dragged to the ground.

Layer after layer they entwined him.

And it was now that they started to squeeze.

The pain in his chest grew with the lengthening gap between each ragged breath.

A fire was lit.

Starting in his lungs,

it ravaged his chest cavity and the flames attacked his throat.

His face was painted with terror for standing above him was a motionless figure.

Crouching down, the familiar raspy voice hissed

Was the gold worth it?

The old man’s mouth curled into a sneer as he lifted his tattered hood.

The vines had taken over, hijacked his mind, he was one of them.

Now the miner saw through his watery lenses:

corpses, those around him who had let avarice steal their last breath.

Consumed by his guilt,

straining for a single gasp,

the flames slithered up into his skull…

And turned to ice.

 

Pieces of Myself

 

I am not made of gloriously pristine lavenders

Or resplendent, snowy daisies

Not even cherry blossoms with petals as softs as the summer rain

I am made of roses,

Filled with sweet passion yet rough around the edges

With thorns that are always read to prick

Because I am undefined an fiercely wild in an unimaginable way

 

I am not made of dainty ballet slippers

Or exquisitely high platform heels

Not even graceful and elegant sandals

I am made of Converse,

Stylish, contemporary, chic, and versatile yet simple nevertheless

With a rigid and durable demeanor

Because I am artsy and angelic in a warrior-like way

 

I am not made of ethereal butterflies

Or bunnies that are fragile and vulnerable

Not even adorable, meek lambs, which are flawlessly white

I am made of cheetahs,

Strong, electrically agile and swift yet spirited and charming

With eyes amber like the glossy, captivating sun right before it sets

Because I am fiery and zealous in a phenomenal way

 

I am not made of florid dollhouses

Or delicate, cuddly teddy bears

Not even tea parties with ceramic mugs and mini chocolate muffins

I am made of crayons,

Colorful and jubilant yet able to melt in the torridity

With different tones and rare shades

Because I am mystifying and exotic in a whimsical way

 

I am not made of pretty and perfect lies

Or things that someone else wants me to be

Not even the basic things that society expects

I am made of originality

I am who I want to be no matter the challenges

I will be who I want to be no matter what they say

Because these are the pieces of myself

 

All the World Poetry Collection

        

Lovestruck Fan

His hair is flawless; his eyes are perfect,

His music: my very inspiration,

His dreamy face is another aspect,

Singing to me in each situation,

But lighting up a smile on the faces,

Of countless devoted, adoring fan,

Does not equal knowing his embraces,

Alas, for him, I would fly to Japan,

Because it pains my heart to love and yearn,

So unattainable; yet I persist,

For someone who will not love in return,

Or know me, nor that I even exist,

For his blood type does lie in the B+ zone,

But — oh dear, I cannot recall my own.

 

A Single Red Rose

I am a rose,

Curled up within,

Hidden among leaves,

Frightened of the light;

For the light means

Growing up

And I am scared.

Of growing older

And abandoning

All that I know.

But I realize that

Eventually I will have to

Unfurl my petals,

And venture into the unknown,

Even if that means

Accepting a simple, glass vase.

 

All the World

I am from Menlo Park, California.

Inside my house live many countries.

I am from cups of steaming Darjeeling tea.

I am from tangy, chocolaty Jaffa cakes.

I am from boxes and boxes of Cadbury fingers and eggs.

I am from a piping hot tray of Shepherd’s pie.

I am from colorful, vibrant Indian saris on every occasion.

I am from the scent of masala, turmeric, and cardamom.

I am from having a loving, supportive family.

From my father telling me to “work hard.”

And my mother telling me to “share the love.”

I am from bright candles on the Festival of Lights.

I am from tying bracelets on my brother’s wrist for Raakhi.

I am from blazing bonfires, Bhangra dances, and peanut shells.

I am from gold mines in Tanzania.

I am from rainy and chilly London.

I am from the mountains of the Himalayas.

I am from soldiers and warriors.

I am from poets, lawyers, and businessmen.

I am from the Sikh religion.

I am from my long, flowing hair.

I am from migrations all over the world.

I am the evening sky bursting with every color.

I am all the world,

Churned and blended into one.

 

grey

      

I.

the type of tiredness that settles behind your eyes and doesn’t leave.

the type of quiet that twists your gut and unsettles your mind.

the type of moments that make you wish for an alternate reality.

 

it’s not dark out, yet.

the sun hasn’t fallen asleep.

the sunset is colorless.

 

your world is monochrome,

your life colored by shades of grey,

blurring, blurring, indistinguishable.

 

your emotions faded and wrung out to dry,

worn through by the people who came before,

hand me downs that don’t quite fit right,

and the person in the mirror is not yourself.

 

perpetual dusk, perpetual dawn,

unreached potential and unused opportunities,

the feeling when the curtain is lifted

and the magic wasn’t real all along.

 

the sidewalk is endless.

the buildings are identical.

your eyes never near the horizon.

the pedestrians are like ghosts,

whispering in languages long since forgotten.

 

you are tired.

you’re just so, so tired,

and the darkness wins.

 

sometimes the colors come back.

sometimes the grey fades to black.

 

II.

the darkness whispers.

quiet, steady tones,

to the rhythm of your heartbeat.

 

your mind is blank and racing.

 

the nothingness gets stronger, more overpowering,

drowning out your thoughts

and ideas

and hopes

and dreams

into

nothing

nothing nothing

nothing nothing nothing

 

the void so loud you might as well be screaming

but your face is blank and your eyes are blank,

easily masked and easily masqueraded,

false emotions replicated through sounds and words,

everything exactly as empty as you.

 

you’re gone.

 

not a blank canvas, not a new start,

not the pure, pale white of literary symbolism,

swallowed by the type of endless grey that numbs your soul and your feet and your words.

 

so fill it-

fill it with books and music and art and work and friends

and anything you can get your hands on

because everything fades.

 

blank, empty, fading.

 

III.

the crowd is muffled and the colours are muted.

you can’t quite recall how many people are outside, or how you found your way home.

you can’t quite recall whether this is your home, your bed, your life.

maybe that’s the point.

 

maybe every now and then you have to hit mute on life and listen to the white noise,

the background static otherwise drowned out by your everyday living,

 

it’s almost peaceful, this lack of emotion.

you could stay there forever.

forever- forever’s a long time, you tell yourself,

but it doesn’t seem worth it to get up,

much less to go outside.

 

so you compromise and sit.

and you wait.

 

time ticks by

as you wish for the colors to come back.

 

IV.

i watch the colors swirl down the drain.

the neons and the pastels and the brights,

the shades that made the streets lively and the city interesting,

gone.

 

all that is left is shades of grey

and the constant beat of rain.

taptaptaptaptap

in time with my racing heart.

 

there is a simplicity to be found

in a world devoid of colour,

where all that’s left if shapes and silhouettes and essence.

a shadow of another world, maybe,

but there is beauty to be found in this reflection.

 

i see myself staring plainly back at me.

i see the potential in each colorless house,

i see what could be and what once was.

 

i am one with the rain,

i blend in with the shades of grey.

 

beautiful. simple. honest.

 

gasoline sickness

 

and they told stories, too, of gasoline sickness,

the bloodshot eyes and ragged breaths,
the sleepless nights and sleepwalking days,
how they were homesick/homesick/seasick/homesick,

the unsteady children riding unsteady waves into an unsteady future,
the ground and the capitol walls always
hours
minutes
seconds away from breaking,

how they had gone from sanitized news to desensitized people,
from sanitary streets to desensitized passerby.

how they built the walls around them,
they brought the hated to them
with their unwillingness to believe
and unwillingness to change,

poisoning the bodies of some,
with lead and bullets and dirt,
and poisoning the minds of others,
with ignorance and neglect and hurt,

how this world had so much and was still yet so empty.

how a few hard workers,
a few believers,
a few who see how it should be

cannot push past the fragile gasoline outline of a world
where empty houses and galas take place
while people starve to death right outside.

for you cannot push away your conscience
(as much as you may try)
and the sickness,
the empty, numbing, kerosene and matches,

will burn you from the bottom up.

 

Cotton Candy Skies

Reach up, up, to the cotton candy skies. To the heavens of pink, of white, and of gray, to the spun-sugar taste of a spring’s lovely day. The fire’s smoke twists into skeins of dark air, but the blue sky’s cobwebs knot into pale hair. Sunlight and moonlight and light of all hues, quiet in violet and in all types of blues. Cotton candy and whiskey, starlight and wine, the ghost of the sea and the sharp air’s bright shine.

Under the clouds, under the woven dreams and the needlepoint stars, people glance at lights of their own. They watch their stories, their phones, themselves, and they watch each other, the reflections of themselves they find, no matter how distant those refractions may be, but they don’t reach up. They reach out, weave webs of their own, the sky’s blooming clouds taken on loan. The mist of the winter, backed by the starlight of the heavens, and the recollections of summer as they weave through June and August and July, bright as fruit from a summer-grown tree.

The beauty of the thing, the idea of silence and of peace, is the faint reminder of souls, of the blood that flows in our veins and the dreams that light the backs of our eyes, the pale, iridescent memories of what we once were or what we could be.

What we could be, as a people. What we might be.

What we are is too dull, after all, isn’t it? Because what we are is a now, not the sweet nostalgia or heady regret of yesterday and not the bright promise or terrible inkling of tomorrow. Now is now, the forgotten heavens above our heads, not the cotton candy clouds of an idea not yet formed or the torrential rain of a memory pummelling the backs of our minds. Now is a tomorrow brought to life, a yesterday that is just being born, a reminder that living is no more than blood and neurons, and no less than something more.

Those spun-sugar heavens are meant for tomorrows, so reach out, out, and up to them, until cotton candy skies become the melted sugar of a sweet today.

 

partition

         

partition:

an indian pakistani sestina

 

August, 1947. The British divide Colonial India into two independent countries, Muslim Pakistan

and Hindu India, inciting the largest and bloodiest mass migration in human history.

 

One nation, torn apart

by cartographic line

and the thunder of fifteen million footfalls.

Bodies pile and neighbors leave

for a chance to live.

That history, I am its future.

 

The fated future.

Like cells, doomed to split apart

tearing people, taking lives

like each human had a dotted line

across their heart, “cut here” and leave

unaware of the destruction, of the fall-

 

-out, the cleanup, the spilled blood which falls

from my veins as I watch from the future

unable to scream or leave

like the little boy hiding, watching his parents diced apart

with swords, closing his eyes and mouth and running across the line

with only a bloody teddy bear, to live.

 

He prays for his parents in the religion that took their lives.

It doesn’t matter which faith; both fall

under the same nation, divided by a false line.

False, because fifteen million people needed to run to have a future

and refugees pulled apart

doors of trains only to find hundreds of dead bodies, murdered trying to leave.

 

On the tree of Hindustan, I am the leaves.

The massacre gave way to life

as my parents, on the fiftieth anniversary of partition, vowed “till death do us part.”

My blood is the innocent blood that fell

on both sides; the animosity of the past only a haunting memory in the future

where I straddle the line.

 

I am half-Indian Hindu, half-Pakistani Muslim; my family line

proves there is hope, if you believe

in miracles, I am one, I am the future.

Each day I live

is a day closer to the fall

of the forces tearing my nation apart.

 

It’s time to take apart this line.

Make this wall of wills fall to the ground, and leave.

As long as I live, I am the future.

 

Chateaux

 

As a corpse might recall

fingers of moonlight tangling gossamer

heavy with silence

 

the rapture of her hair,

its sleepless flow

 

How the dusk so idly threw its shadow on the terrace of water-rose!

 

making a cathedral of her mouth

 

fine spatters of sapphire draw hosts of young and orphic roses

like a god with vast indigo eyes

 

I would speak of idyllic flesh

how my masochism is bliss!

 

Insolence forever bordeaux

Familiar against silk throats

 

The Masked Player

          

Without discernible misery

The masked player strides in

 

Confidence exuding in wavering streams

The curtain lifts to uncover

So many gleaming faces

Apprehensive

Staring, focused, and joyful

The masked player does not move

 

Bewilderment tightens the air

The excitement bottled and compressed

The masked player waits

 

Knows the power he holds

Over the still crowd

The grand flourish!

And the excitement frees!
Laughing, they are relieved, the mirth is released

To the masked player’s silent satisfaction

 

The hot lights shine with an intangible force

Following and revealing

The masked player subtly flees their gaze

 

And the play begins

The crowd marvels and coos

Then gasps and sighs

They are pushed and pulled

The audience draws in a ragged breath

Gasps once more and falls to tears

A tale of heartbreak unrivaled

The masked player grins

 

The audience weeps — such sorrow and pain!

What a godforsaken man!

The masked player basks in the emotion

 

Then the curtain falls

The tears are dried and left in the theater

The play is now a play

And nothing more

A point for a study

And nothing more

An abstract fabrication

And nothing more

And nothing more

The masked player bows his head

 

The spell has been broken on the crowd

As they now critique the fiction

The masked player pushes away backstage

 

Relieved of the visceral sadness

Gone from the immediate pain

The crowd’s melancholy is allayed

A smile turns the corners of their mouths

And they wish not the play’s tragedy

Upon their worst enemy

Glad the clever actor had simply worn a mask

The masked player leaves the theater

 

He does not remove his mask

In the darkened night

 

He does not remove his mask

Arriving at his dismal house

 

He does not remove his mask

Shuffling up the crumbling stairs

 

He does not remove his mask

Passing pictures of dead friends

 

He does not remove his mask

Staring disgustedly in the grimy mirror

 

He does not remove his mask

For there is no mask to remove

 

Without any discernible misery

The masked player shuffles off

 

Moral Transformation

 

He was no longer lost in space

His childhood gone at life’s behest

As he grew, a change in pace

To grow, to make money, to beat out the rest

 

And so the chuckling cherubim

Fluffed their wings and smirked

Persevered, or so it seemed

And refused to slack, refused to shirk

 

And soon he reached the shining heights

And the suited angels stopped and stared

He had achieved his goals and reached the lights

And taken all that he once shared

 

For a fight was raging, hard and long

And a moral split between

Who is to say which one was wrong?

Simple white against alluring sheen?

 

But the fiery one emerged aloft

Blood-red trident reached overhead

Plunging into snow white wings, soft

But draining, now, and dead

 

And as the man revealed himself

Tentatively, unsure, uncertain

Locked the loser in a shelf

Hid behind sanguine curtains

 

But the cherubim all simply smiled

Luscious wings began to shrink, gnarly horns began to rise

Anger rubbed off caution, corrupted and wild

All had made the transformation, and each one dropped their guise

 

Stigma

                           

You know that feeling when some days, we wake up and we just don’t want to get out of bed? So bedridden that sometimes, it even hurts to breathe.

What’s the point of all this?

Why do I have to get out of bed and put myself out there into a world that doesn’t feel?

But the feelings are strong. We can all feel it.

Or can we?

Maybe the person to my right can feel it, but not everyone is so lucky. Only some of us know what pain feels like. When somebody sticks a knife through you, or better yet, fifteen. But you don’t see what’s on the inside, because you are not me. It’s a constant battle inside. Like your mom, brother, sister, cat, dog died, but it doesn’t go away. It can’t go away.

When the stigma says “get over it.” It’s like a joke or even worse, a tease. Don’t you think if I could, I would?

I’m sorry I don’t want to do anything. Just leave me alone. I’m tired of it making me get the image of jumping off a bridge.

It’s always like you have to be happy, you know?

Do I need to if I can’t? Is that how it works? Can I just decide to be happy?

Like it’s my choice to feel this constant pit of emptiness inside of me?

The fact is, I don’t even know why I’m angry. I just am. I’m sad not because I want to. It’s because I just am. It’s like when somebody turns on and off a light switch.

Because, the word ‘’stigma’’ defines us as some little kid’s entertainment. You know: on, off, on, off.

We need help, but you just don’t see it. You’re so caught up in this fog, that you are blinded by this stigma that makes me feel worthless. I need help.

Or do I?

I hadn’t noticed these cuts and scratches on my body. Have you ever looked at them as anything  besides disappointment? Have you ever just thought for a second how much pain one can be going through? Really, look at them. To you, I may just seem as one who is “attention seeking.” No.

They may just look like random lines and scars, but they tell a story. They tell my story.  A story that I could not put in words. I just couldn’t, and why can’t you understand that?

Remember that day when I didn’t come to school and I told you I was sick?

You didn’t ask why.

Maybe it was better that way, to ask absolutely nothing, to stay completely silent.  Because depression is not always obvious. Nobody walks around with a tag around their neck that reads, “Hello, I’m OCD.”  I don’t walk around saying that my name is Anxiety. And you most certainly do not walk around with a name tag that says, ‘’The World’s Prettiest Girl.”

Remember the day you asked if I was okay?

Well, when I went home that day, you texted me a heart. I think we both knew what happened or what had happened, already happened. What gave it away?

Was it the letter, signed with my name? Or was it the knife on the kitchen counter?

I bet you thought it was just a “phase.” I bet you thought it was just a “mood.” No.

It’s a freaking disease that requires help. When someone has lung cancer, are they crazy? So why should we be labeled in that category?

I didn’t choose to be depressed or angry.

Did you see my footprints in the snow as I ran home as fast as I could? I was alone through every bit of it.

“Why me?” I ask myself everyday as I stare into that filthy mirror.

I tried to kill myself.

But, something, someone inside of me whispered, “don’t.”

I don’t want this “thing” to define me. Will I ever get better? Fifteen years too long. Fifteen years too young. More than a precious life ahead of me.

I am too young. I can’t go back to where I was before. It’s not pretty or happy or in any way, shape, or form easy. It’s not easy.

But I’m doing better. And everyday that’s ahead of me, I continue to do better than the day before. But I’m going to need some help. And now, I’m not afraid to reach out, because I know that I am just like every other person in this world. Normal and unique.

I hate the word “schizo.” It’s not nice. Are schizophrenic people crazy to you? Is that what you think?

Whatever happened to being a “leader” rather than a follower?

I hate that depressed people are labeled as losers, emo, or crazy. I hate that when you ask someone what’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word “mental hospital.” Why is it “crazy people” or “the addicts”? “Drug dealers” or “the insane”? Like in the movies, “insane asylum.”

I hate that we are called names that are so hurtful in ways that you can’t even understand. You just say them like gunshots heading straight for the target.

Why?

Do we look different? Because last time I checked, depression is not always obvious. Maybe it’s how society labels us as: disgusting freaks.

Why?

God damn, why?

Why us?

Guess the main question is: how did we end up as outcasts or “not important?”

And most certainly, taking medication does not mean you are weak.

And how come this stigma targets eating disorders as well?

If a girl is thin, is she anorexic?

Why put labels on our backs of the LGBTQ community too? So, to you it’s different? It’s different, right? Different, right? Different, right? Right?

Oh wait, sorry. It’s my OCD again.

They are not labels or adjectives, so stop!

I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re different? Is it?

If you can’t explain it, then keep your mouth shut.

We are tired of running and dreaming of getting hit by cars. We just want to wake up happy, but sometimes we don’t even want to wake up. Poor mental illness is a killer, but you make it worse due to your actions. Yes, you. Don’t look away, and don’t stop and stare. Don’t take a picture and post it on the media, labeling me as “mental.” Don’t freak out when you see scars on my arms. Don’t leave me when you have seen me at my worst of times.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. I don’t want to be another statistic for suicide. I don’t want to be labelled. I want to wake up and be myself. Go out into the world and not be ashamed of having depression or bipolar disorder or any other mental illness.

So, if this has to be said, it has to be said…

I am not the stigma, and I no longer want to be.

So break the silence and stop the stigma towards mental health.

 

Moving From the Sea to the Mountains

  

I buy clean white sheets;

I do not want to feel sand on my ankles

when I sleep under Appalachian stars.

I get rid of the purple sea-wind torn furniture.

I buy sleek wood, brushed oak, instead. Ikea.

I research down duvets, stuffed with the same feathers

as the birds that will circle

my future house

on a hill.

For some reason, that is comforting.

 

I want nothing

to do with the sea. I

want mountains that change shape

with every Spring rain pour

and cars that swerve around

curves of red clay dirt. I want heavy mountain breathing

and green eager ticks and sap bleeding

from the trees.

 

No.

I want nothing

to do with

the mountains. I

want waves that inch like

breaths and

collapse like lungs.

I want sand that sticks to skin

and lifeguard towers that stand

like egrets. I want beach weddings

ruined by the tide and feet tans that depend

on what shoes you were willing

to ruin.

 

The real truth,

yes,

the real

truth,

is that I spend

not much time

at either. Instead,

I lie

in my manufactured

cocoon of plaster

protection, with its

waterlogged porch and square lots

of yellow grass,

sorting nature’s phenomenons

into like and dislike piles.

 

Black Girl

 

My uncle told me yesterday that if I am ever afraid to do something, to just do it.

But then again he was drunk, so you can’t blame me for being confused.

I was always one to follow my arrow despite what others said.

But to be completely honest, I tend to let those things get to me, and it takes a pep talk sometimes to lead me on the right path.

As a young African-American woman, I have a lot of trouble with how the media portrays me.

Black girl, black hair, black, brown eyes, black, dark life.

I am expected to drop out of school at sixteen due to pregnancy, and raise a baby without a father.

I am expected to live off of minimum wage with a fast food job and welfare for financial support.

Expected to live in the projects for the rest of my life until I make it out of it, but really never make out of it.

As a black girl with black hair and dark eyes, I’m seen as a disappointment to society, because people automatically assume that I will go nowhere in life.

But then again, my mom always tells me life is like a box of chocolates, I’ll never know what I’m going to get.

Therefore I know that the world is in for a surprise.

I know that I will be great in the world because I always follow my own arrow, even though I need a pep talk here and there.

Despite my surroundings, I know that I will do well because of the work that I put in.

Black girl, black hair, black, brown eyes, black, dark life.

Black skin, therefore, black, bleak future.

I was always told that education is the most powerful tool, a tool used to remove, chop off, break off, tear, shred, slash, stab, yank off all the unuseful hate in the world.

Remove, chop off, break off, tear, shred, slash, stab, yank off all the prejudice, all the criticism, all things negatively enforced by my society that I am included in when things are bad and excluded from when things are well.

My mother always told me to make my bed every morning before I leave so I feel better about getting into it at night.

And while that quotation isn’t extremely helpful,

I learned to, really, live my life the best I can so when my life ends, I am satisfied.

But then again she screamed at me when she said it so I didn’t analyze it right then and there.

Even though I am a black girl, with black hair, and black, brown eyes, I will not have a black, dark life.

Despite the way you see my brown skin and brown eyes, I will not have a brown, bleak life.

 

America

     

Land of the free

Not for you

Or for me

Not for the homeless man, who

Can’t get a job because to get a job, you

Need an address

But I guess that’s not something we

should address

Not for the impoverished youth, both

Black and white

We could help them but instead

We fight

Over what’s

Right

Over what’s

Wrong

This whole, equality thing

Yeah, it’s taking too long

By the time there’s equality

Whether it’s for your

Gender

Race

Class

Sexuality

We’ll all be long gone

Land of the free

Not for the black men who are

killed without hesitation

Not for the millions of people part of

Incarceration

But sure let’s

Light some fireworks

Drink the finest wine while the

Underpaid

Immigrant maid

Works the whole entire time

 

Colorado

         

The creak of broken brakes and

the soft whoosh of bicycle wheels

lift up lazy dogs’ heads

as we slip through the night.

 

Blinking red lights announce the arrival

of the thunderstorm of a train pounding past,

the rhythmic thudding echoing with

our pulsing hearts,

pumped full of exhilaration,

a drug that makes us pedal faster,

round and round empty lots,

our hands lifted recklessly in the air,

our eyes reflected, full of light.

 

As the train pulls away,

the empty night, stars masked by the scintillating city,

receives our worries and confessions,

covered up by the train’s screaming whistles.

 

Iceland

        

We woke up early that day,

a cold morning with icy winds that burnt our faces.

We gripped our hot chocolates with stiff fingers,

every sip of warm rich liquid somehow warmer than a summer day,

because despite the cold wasteland surrounding us,

we felt warm inside, and happy.

 

We woke up early that day,

at the hour when even streetlights and road signs were drowsy.

I slept in the back seat of a borrowed car while my parents drank coffee,

and struggled to stop their eyes from sinking

as they stayed awake through the deep white blue snow that led down the road

to where the earliest touches of sun, orange and glowing,

lit up through the clouds and shone upon the glaciers that surrounded us,

and filled up the sky more than the sky itself.

 

We woke up early that day,

to set steady feet on a swaying deck

that would carry us across vast blue waves with foamy white crests

to a distant island with only duck prints, and icy hills

that could be skated down with any old shoes.

So we ran and slid across the slick surface

before falling down the rest of the way,

our laughter guarding us from the jagged ice at the bottom.

 

Ghost Rider

     
Dawn

The sun rises over the glinting sea

A ghost sailman paddles over the translucent water

His boat empty, devoid of life

Dreams power his boat

Helping his vessel sail on, day after day

Water snakes hiss on the shore

They cannot see the ghost rider

But I can

I can

Twilight falls on the great sea

Now his boat is powered by thoughts

The thoughts of those alone

The thoughts only thought when the sun dips below the horizon

The water shimmers

Colors shine beneath the surface

Like the ancient ruins of old

The ghost rider still sits in his boat

There was once a colony like him

But now they are gone

And only he decided to remain

Fish swim beneath his boat

They cannot see the ghost rider

But I can

I can

Dusk falls upon the sea

I must leave

I cannot stay

But the ghost rider still sits in his boat

I will see him the next sunrise

But now I must flee

But until then

He will stay

The ghost rider in his ghost boat

 

Countdown to Freedom

The turquoise water shimmered. Small waves flowed onto the black sand of the beach before heading back into the sea. The island positively glowed with sunlight reflecting off the water while palm trees provided shade. It was picturesque, except for the old, wooden mansion that stood tall in the middle of the island. The house was old and creaky with age, interrupting the natural beauty of the island. It hadn’t been used as a residence for ten years, ever since the volcanic explosion of 1962. Fortunately, the only effect was black sand. Still, humans had never stayed on the island again, though that was about to change.

A small helicopter landed on the beach, and six girls climbed out. One held a dog, the others ladened with backpacks. The hired pilot saluted, and the helicopter lifted off, stranding the girls on the island.

“Bye!” they chorused, watching their ride leave.

Once it was out of sight, they conferred on where to explore first.

“I think we should explore the house!” Iris exclaimed.

“Or the beach!” Rosa called out.

“The beach sounds nice,” Jule agreed. “Much more so than that dirty, old house.”

“I think the house could be interesting,” Abby countered.

“What do you think, Vanessa?” Danica asked.

“Anything’s fine,” Vanessa said.

“Okay, let’s take a vote?” Danica suggested. “All those who vote ‘house’, raise your hand.”

Iris and Abby rose their hands, along with Danica.

“What?” She shrugged. “I’m curious. Now, everyone who votes ‘beach’, raise their hand.”

Rosa and Jule raised their hands, Vanessa just shrugged. She didn’t want to go to either, and she knew another suggestion would only be met with dismission.

“Well, I suppose it’s the house then,” Danica said.

The girls headed to the mansion, with Iris running ahead and Vanessa trailing behind.

***

CREEEEAK! The ancient door squealed. It slowly pushed open, revealing the dirty, dark, and dank interior of the dilapidated mansion. A spider scuttled out of the corner, hissing at the light. The house itself seemed to lean towards its visitors, hungry for fresh meat.

RUFF!” Buster barked, springing at the spider.

It scrambled back to its web, and the unfortunate dog came out with a sticky nose and his tail between his legs. Buster whimpered, rushing to hide behind his owners. Six girls peered into the mansion, their faces hesitant.

“Cool!” shrieked Iris, scrambling inside.

“Iris!” Danica chided.

“What?”

“We should all go in, together,” Danica said pointedly.

Iris stopped exploring the first floor and slunk to the back of the group, mumbling under her breath. It reminded Buster of the time Iris had recklessly led them into a cave system, despite Vanessa’s warnings, and they ended up spending five hours lost in the tunnels. It had brought them closer, though. Buster hoped this would be a bonding experience; then, at least something good would come out of spending a week isolated on this island. Looking around, the dog noticed an ancient garden peeking around the back of the house. Vanessa tilted her head and saw it too, gasping a little with excitement.

“Danica? Can we go to the back of the house first? I think I saw a garden and…” she trailed off, quietly murmuring to herself.

“Or we could go to the second floor!” Iris yelled over the poor girl as she shrunk back.

Buster wagged his tail in agreement. The house smelled musty, like no one had been there for a long time, but it also had a peculiar scent of metal. Iron, Buster thought. He padded into the house and leapt over to the stairwell, testing it with his paw. It seemed sturdy enough, so he barked for the rest of the girls to come over. Iris dashed over first, with Danica following her, and then Abby, Jule, Rosa, and lastly, Vanessa, trailing behind the group.

The second floor consisted of creaky, wooden walls in a single hallway and doors on all sides. Vanessa shrunk back, squeaking with fear. Danica examined the doors, while Jule complained about the quality of the house.

“But it’s so… dirty!” Jule whined. “Couldn’t Abby have dared us to stay somewhere modern at least?”

“I thought it would be a fun challenge — ‘fun’ for some of us more than others,” Abby looked at Iris, who was currently trying to find buried treasure under the floorboards.

“What?” Iris looked up from prying off floorboards and put on her most innocent face.

“Nothing,” Abby smirked.

Iris just shrugged and returned to exploring. Rosa bounced to the front of the group, smiling.

“I think a vacation to an old, spooky, maybe-haunted mansion will be fun!” Rosa said, almost too quickly to catch.

Buster licked her hand in agreement. But he could tell there was something off about this place…

***

A mutilated body laid on the blood-stained ground, its limbs at impossible angles. The head rolled over, and Iris’s face stared at them without seeing. Buster yelped and leapt back from the door. Vanessa let go of the doorknob, screamed, and ran, covering her eyes from the bloody sight. Danica just froze, her eyes the size of dinner plates as she gazed upon her lifeless friend. Jule gasped and started sobbing, while Abby stared into the distance, her face static. No one went further than the doorway, where the body lay.

“IRIS!” Rosa screamed, falling to her knees in front of the body.

Her yell echoed throughout the hollow house, where only five girls remained.

***

Buster howled forlornly. The remaining girls had robotically walked into separate rooms and “gone to sleep”, though he could hear soft sobbing from Jule’s room and murmuring from Vanessa’s, while the sound of pacing emanated from Danica’s chamber. Abby and Rosa’s rooms were quiet, but Buster knew no one was asleep that night. He laid on the cold, wooden floor, next to Iris’s body. He wondered where he would sleep, now that Iris was gone. Would he still be welcome in her house? Maybe he could live with another girl, Buster thought. But he didn’t want to be with anyone but Iris. He refused to leave her like this. He would find out who’d done it.

***

The next morning, Danica was up first. She shuffled into the worn-down kitchen and stiffly grabbed a granola bar from her duffel, chewing without seeming to taste it. Soon, Vanessa joined her, the dark bags under her eyes suggesting a sleepless night. The two girls ignored each other, lost in their own thoughts, until Rosa bounced into the kitchen. Seemingly undeterred by last night’s tragedy, Rosa told jokes and stories to her unresponsive friends, trying her best to cheer them up. Her smile never wore down in front of them, but when she turned away for a moment, Buster could see her deflate like a popped balloon before she mustered her strength, plastered a grin back on her face, and continued her efforts. Meanwhile, Abby wandered out of her room and began contemplatively walking through the house. She had no desire to listen to Rosa’s one-sided chat, nor to join Jule, still weeping in her room, so she explored the old house. Abby mumbled to herself as she walked through the rooms, searching.

***

“Group meeting,” Danica called weakly.

The grandfather clock struck noon as Abby, Rosa, Vanessa, and Jule entered the room. Buster trotted in after them, wanting to hear.

“What is it…?” Vanessa asked timidly.

Danica simply raised an eyebrow, and everyone nodded in understandment. The rotten stench of Iris’s corpse could be sensed even at the other end of the house, constantly reminding them all of her fate.

“Iris…” Danica murmured. “How did this happen…?”

She looked from face to face. Rosa’s constant smile drooped, tears still ran down Jule’s cheeks, Vanessa’s eyes grew huge, and Abby just looked thoughtful.

“There’s no one here but us,” Abby pointed out.

Everyone turned to listen.

“We’re the only ones here, and only a person could have done that to Iris…” she suggested.

“Are you saying it’s one of us?” Jule bit her lip. “You’re saying one of us is a… a murderer?”

“I don’t like to think it, but it’s the only thing possible.”

Sweat beaded on Jule’s forehead, and the girl promptly fainted. Vanessa rushed to her aid, checking for bruises and lifting her unconscious friend onto a chair. Buster whimpered and sniffed Jule to make sure she was okay. Relieved that there were no obvious injuries, he scampered back to the group, Vanessa following. Danica giggled nervously and banged her fist on a counter.

“Back on topic,” she said, clearly tense.

Forcing her gaze away from the sight of Jule slumped on a chair, Danica coughed.

“Abby, why would you believe it was one of us?” she asked.

“Yeah! We’re best friends!” Rosa chirped.

“I have to agree,” Vanessa remarked. “Why would any of us do something so callous?”

“I don’t know,” Abby declared. “But I’m aiming to find out.”

Words of agreement filled the room, mixed with approving barks from Buster. He agreed with Abby; Buster knew that one of the “friends” killed Iris. What he couldn’t fathom was who, or why part of such a tight-knit group would turn on the rest.

“So it could be any of us…” Danica said in a slightly menacing tone.
Abby nodded grimly.

“I know we’re all anxious,” Vanessa said, trying to stay calm. “Maybe we should sleep on it?” she asked, motioning to the dark sky out the window.

“Fine,” Danica replied emotionlessly.

“Okay,” agreed Vanessa, and Abby simply nodded. The girls headed towards their rooms, Danica’s firm steps echoing on the wooden floor. It was the last thing Buster heard before his head drooped, and he inevitably fell asleep.

***

It wasn’t until the next morning that someone noticed Jule. Her limp form remained sprawled over the chair; she had never gotten up. Abby’s eyes widened as she prodded her friend, trying to get her to wake up. But despite her best efforts, Jule wasn’t moving. Abby turned her over and discovered a peculiar rip in her friend’s shirt, covered with a brown stain that sharply contrasted Jule’s light blue top.

“Girls!” she called out. Several teens stumbled into the room, curious but tired.

“Abby?” Danica asked.

“Morning,” Abby replied. “Hope I didn’t wake you.”

“I wasn’t sleeping anyway,” Danica sighed. “This is just terrible.”

“Yeah,” Vanessa agreed sadly.

Rosa wordlessly sat down, her mouth wavering as if struggling to produce a smile.

“I called you all here because something else happened,” Abby said sternly. “Who knifed Jule?”

A collective “WHAT?” shook the room as everyone gasped. A look of horror filled their faces as they looked over and saw their friend turned over, with a small cut marring her back. Somehow the perpetrator had gotten close to Jule and stabbed a vital area, quickly paralysing her without anyone noticing. Dried blood clotted the wound and a small amount on the chair previously hidden by Jule’s body. Abby repeated her question.

“Who wasn’t in their rooms last night?” she asked.

“I didn’t hear anyone,” Vanessa pointed out, puzzled. “Did any of you? I know most of us didn’t sleep last night…”

“I didn’t,” Danica confirmed.

“Me neither!” Abby pondered.

Buster barked in agreement. He carefully stepped over to Jule’s body, sniffing the wound. He knew it hadn’t been there last time he checked. Buster thought about this. It was between when Jule fainted and now. That didn’t help him much; it had been hours since the incident. Buster’s tail drooped, effectively reminding him he was a dog. He had a tail, sensitive hearing and smell, and was close to the ground. Maybe it was time to use that to his advantage. The canine sniffed Jule’s shirt, shuddering at the smell of death that blanketed her. Past the metallic and cold smell of decay, Buster thought he smelled… dirt? Yes, he got a distinctive smell of soil. Buster had a lead. However, none of the girls had even a hint of earthy scent on them. They simply looked at Buster in confusion as he leapt from girl to girl, sniffing and barking. Finally, Buster gave up, lying down in defeat. Abby rubbed his head, looking at him sympathetically.

“Alright then,” Danica said, desperately trying to regain control. “So it’s either Abby, Vanessa, or Rosa?”

“Hey!” Abby yelled. “You could have done it, same as anyone!”

Danica gulped.

“But I didn’t do it!” she retaliated.

“Mhmm,” Abby said discerningly. “Sounds like someone is trying to take the focus off herself.”

“What? I am not!” Danica yelled.

Abby raised her eyebrow.

“You know, you’re right!” Rosa gasped. “Danica is trying to pin it on us!”

Three angry heads swiveled towards Danica.

“Girls, I think we have a culprit,” Vanessa said slowly.

“Hang on!” Danica shrieked desperately. “Wasn’t Abby awfully quick to point the finger at me? Maybe she did it!”

“All I hear are excuses,” Abby said menacingly.

Vanessa rose, glaring at Danica, and Rosa followed suit.

“Well,” Abby said darkly. “The only thing to do… is murder the murderer.”

The other two nodded, firm expressions on their faces. Buster whimpered.

***

After Danica took a rather unfortunate “tumble” off the second-floor balcony and snapped her neck on the rocks below, Abby seemed darkly satisfied.

“Glad that’s taken care of,” she said, dusting her hands.

Vanessa nodded in complete agreement, while Rosa was mourning.

“I know she was a murderer, but we had so many good memories,” Rosa sniffed.

Abby patted Rosa on the back.

“I know, but we have to let go,” she sympathized. “Maybe we should camp somewhere else on the island instead. This place holds too many bad memories.”

“But we’re safe now,” Vanessa pointed out. “Why don’t we do what we came here to do — explore the place?”

“I dunno,” Rosa hesitated. “This place stinks, metaphorically and literally.”

“Hey, it could be fun!”

“Aw, why not?” Abby agreed.

“Can we finally go to the garden?” Vanessa murmured.

However, this time, she got results. Abby and Rosa agreed, and Vanessa smiled proudly, leading them to the garden. The walk was treacherous, even for someone with four paws. Buster found himself almost lying down while trying to evade thorny, skeletal shrubs, and the girls were hopping past overgrown vines and trying not to touch anything that looked poisonous. Buster jumped away from a particularly large insect and found himself in a patch of what used to be roses. The flowers had long since turned to dust, but unfortunately for Buster, the thorns were still there. He yelped and leapt into Vanessa’s arms. She carefully plucked the thorns from Buster’s backside, petting him to make him feel better.

Meanwhile, the other girls were growing bored with dead plants and stinging bugs.

“Can  we go back now?” asked Abby.

“Yeah,” agreed Rosa. “This place is boring.”

“Fine…” Vanessa agreed reluctantly.

Abby gladly led the group back to the mansion, where they decided to retire for the night. It had been a long day, after all. Only Buster decided to stay awake. He suspected something wasn’t right, and he intended to find out what.

***

It was three hours after the girls headed into their rooms, and the house was quiet. Buster was listening to the wind as it whistled through the cracked walls, silently standing sentry. It was an extremely monotonous job, but he was determined not to miss a thing. His resolve served him well as he heard a creak. A figure slipped from behind a door into the hall, hiding in the shadows. Buster internally gasped. He tracked the creature, silently following it until it pulled open another door.

Buster flowed into the room behind it, and found himself in a bedroom. The loud snores emanating from the bed identified the occupant as Abby and covered up any sound the intruder made. Buster hid under the bed, watching the figure’s feet move about the room. It was difficult to keep track of; it seemed to blend into the background most of the time. Eventually, it approached the bed. Buster’s heart hammered, and his mouth went dry. He heard a muffled thump, and the underside of the bed shifted as though someone were moving about on top. Buster didn’t dare to move, but he had the opportunity to carefully observe the feet of the figure. They were surprisingly small and dainty, and seemed familiar, but he couldn’t place them.

Just as he was devising a way to sneak out, the feet moved away. The intruder slipped through the door, and Buster chased on instinct. His paws thudded on the floor, all subtlety forgotten with the excitement of a chase, and the figure turned at the sound. Moonlight revealed a girl’s face, the cruel intentions toward whomever had been following her clear in her expression. Until her face softened, and she picked up the horrified Buster.

“Oh, it’s just you,” Vanessa whispered.

Buster, overcome with shock, fainted in her arms.

***

The next morning, Buster slept late. He was usually awoken by Abby’s footsteps echoing through the house, but not today. He continued to snooze on Vanessa’s bed until screams caused him to leap out vehemently. He ran to the source, not noticing that he’d slept in so late until he discovered the reason why.

Abby laid unmoving under her covers, a pillow over her face. Rosa was staring at her friend, eyes wide with shock and fear. She placed a shaking hand on Abby’s heart. It wasn’t beating. Buster’s howl echoed.

***

The sounds of grief alerted Vanessa, who was calmly eating a breakfast bar in the kitchen. She knew Rosa had discovered her latest victim, and relished in the knowledge that her task was almost complete. Grabbing a knife from a drawer, she headed to Abby’s bedroom. Soon, no one would ever walk over her again.

***

Rosa wailed, her grief over Abby mixing with the shock that Danica wasn’t the killer after all. She couldn’t believe she had taken part in the murder of her innocent friend, and the guilt was destroying her. Buster nosed up to Rosa, trying to comfort her. However, he cowered in fear when he saw a silhouette in the doorway. He tried to move, but his paws seemed stuck to the floor. When Rosa felt the stab in her heart, she just assumed it was her inner pain. She was wrong. Rosa collapsed to the floor, her tears still warm on her lifeless cheeks. Buster leapt away in shock, getting a bit of Rosa’s blood on his fur. Vanessa chuckled.

“All done!” she chirped.

Though her voice was still quieter than the whisper of a freshly turned page, no other voices were there to talk over her. For once, she could be heard. Vanessa smiled. Buster whimpered, alerting her to his presence in the corner. She slowly walked over to the dog, and his heart beat harder with her every step.

“Hi, Buster!” she cooed as she pet his coat.

Buster blinked, surprised. Vanessa took advantage of his shock to pick him up and walk out of the room. They traveled to the front of the house, Buster squirming in Vanessa’s arms. She washed the blood out of her hair and his fur, and careful as to not get any more blood on her, dumped the bodies into the ocean. Buster’s eyes grew huge as he watched the girls he loved sink below the water, lost to the world forever.

***

Buster and Vanessa spent the rest of the week on the island, doing trivial things like exploring the rest of the island and making sand sculptures. Vanessa built a rather realistic knife out of black sand and “accidentally” crushed the mound Buster was trying (unsuccessfully) to mold into a girl’s face with his paws. He growled, but there was nothing he could do.

When the helicopter came and picked them up, the pilot was confused as to why he only had to fly back two passengers instead of seven. Vanessa, fake tears in the corners of her eyes, simply told him she didn’t want to talk about it. Shrugging, the pilot strapped them in and took off. During the seven-hour flight, Buster was secured to Vanessa’s chest by the seat belt. He silently resented this at first, but it was hard to hate Vanessa when she was scratching that special spot behind his ear. He soon lulled off, only waking up when they landed hours later.

They strolled through town, Vanessa holding Buster to her chest and smiling. Vanessa’s small stature and big eyes were the picture of innocence. If anyone passed by, they would only see a teenage girl walking with her dog. Buster was the only one who saw the malice in her grin, the murder in her eyes. When a police van rolled by, Buster leapt through the open window and barked to get the driver’s attention. The policeman followed him out of the vehicle and to Vanessa. Buster barked and jumped around the girl. The policeman picked up the defenseless dog and handed him to Vanessa.

“Is this your dog?” he asked in a gruff voice.

“Yes, sir,” Vanessa replied. “Thank you for returning him.”

“No problem, miss,” the officer grunted.

He got back into his police car and drove away.

“Silly Buster,” Vanessa giggled.

Buster grimaced. Vanessa only smiled, and they walked on until they got to her house. Her parents were animal lovers and happily introduced Buster to the family’s other three dogs. He got along with them but found them to be too bland. The other dogs acted happy all the time and wouldn’t listen to anything bad about their humans. Buster shuddered to think that he might act like that one day and vowed to never give up. But try as he might, he could not alert anyone to what happened at that mansion. Without a human voice, he couldn’t deliver justice.

***

However, Vanessa’s crime did not go unnoticed. Soon, the other girls’ families began asking why their daughters hadn’t come home. Vanessa quickly fabricated a story about how the girls had gone on a boating expedition, using a raft that Iris crafted. However, the raft broke apart far away from the island, drowning everyone on it. Vanessa said that she and Buster survived because the dog refused to go near the water, and she stayed on land with him because she wanted to make sure he didn’t hurt himself in their absence. Vanessa was a good actress, and her clear love of animals only added to the story’s credibility. She fake-cried when telling the tale, making it seem like she was upset about her friends’ deaths. Her performance was in every way calculated and perfect, and though the island was investigated, she’d left no trace of what she had done. Therefore, she managed to get away with murder. After all, the only other being who knew couldn’t tattle.

***

After years of trying to tell someone what Vanessa did, Buster rested into his fate. He began to act as submissive as the other dogs, manipulated by an easy life and Vanessa’s unconditional kindness towards her pets. It became easier to forget the horrific things she had done so many years ago. The short memory of a dog kicked in after a while, and Buster simply saw Vanessa as his owner. He forgot about the other girls entirely, and the whole ordeal erased from his memory.

Vanessa became a successful public speaker, speaking up for organizations that held good causes but had low members and funding. She became known as a charity worker and an overall good person. Vanessa gained a fortune from raising charities, from small to famous, and in time moved into the old mansion on the island. She had it renovated into a modern home and lived there with Buster and her other pets for the rest of their days.

 

Trees

   

Trees

Be it Children Running in the sun

Or an Old Couple picnicking in the Shade

They Watch

Be it Campers Joking in the dead of night

Or hikers smiling at the rising sun

They watch

Singing and Dancing in a sunny forest

Sleeping under the stars after a great day

They watch

Trees

They applaud as they watch the beauty of life carry on.

 

Umami Tears

     

I talked in hushed tones with my brother

while we were walking

to get his hair cut

about times we had cried

not salty tears

but umami tears –

substantial and

rich.

These savory tears fell

for fictional families

reunited in two-minute ads tear jerking

to sell electronics.

Our umami tears fell to songs

about dying in tin cans in space

and the fake grass in Jersey.

Rich, fatty tears fell for a male model we did not know

who cried at his pictures because

he looked real for

the first time.

Or rice-puffed eyes were caused by news

on red CNN banners

flashing breaking

In white block letters. The voices of alligator sympathy

boomed from the smile-lined mouths of adults.

 

We cursed the umami tears because

you could smile with teeth while

salty crocodile tears flowed

from irises.

Sweet fruit-loop tears

looked so nice

on a silver movie screen.

But umami –

Those

were the tears

that stayed in your eyes

long after you thought you’d cried them out.

 

The Longing

 

The Polaroid camera sat on display pleading to be used,

It itched to capture the colors of the rising sun.

It longed for a chance to snap the wind

rustling the leaves of a scarlet oak tree,

or shoot droplets on a leaf after a rainy day.

The camera was hungry for a chance.

To grasp the gleaming sun through the red and orange autumn leaves

would be the opportunity that the camera is waiting for.

 

Purple

       

The color of kings

Lies in my roots

And flows through the minds

Of all men.

The warm, toxic comfort

That lies in a hue

Comforts me time and again.

The blood of royals

Is squeezed from fresh grapes

And they drink it

Along with their cheese

Its rich, heavy scent

Flows with the wind

And teases the gullible breeze.

It’s dark and infectious,

But beautifully so,

And possesses a sickening grace,

And it’s the color I picture

When I’ve come to my end

And the soil embraces my face.

 

Heard, Not Seen

   

Frustration embodied

By monsters that fly from lips

That have seen many years.

Or, sometimes fairies that don’t fly.

Like when a man chats up my father,

Yet when I speak, doesn’t say a word back.

Like when I’m told that I wouldn’t understand something.

I’ve gone through things far darker

Than piles of bills or a fender bender.

I’ve doubted my worth and swum through black oceans

But, yeah, I wouldn’t understand a conversation about politics.

I’m “too young” to know about that thing that happened.

Yes, my body has only been around in this form for twelve years.

But my mind has endured so much more than a 12-year-old should.

My mind is not a twelve-year-old.

People whose minds are twelve spend their days worrying

About makeup, social statuses, and baseball.

I worry about why I was put here on Earth

If I’m good enough or deserve to do things.

I ponder things the racist man at the dog park

Has never even known could be pondered.

And, yet, he thinks I’m not even worth speaking to.

Children are more than things who vomit and cry.

They have feelings, and they feel them much stronger than

Any adult.

And this world is teaching them that they aren’t even worth being spoken to.

I wonder, do all the adults complain so much

Because they’ve closed themselves off from the joy only a child can bring?

 

Time Wears Gloves

     

Time wears gloves on its hands.

It tiptoes past us,

Cautious of alerting us to its shadowy presence.

We only notice its movement once it has gone.

 

It tiptoes past us,

The absence echoes other absences, stolen and loved.

We only notice its movement once it has gone.

Ghosts coat all our rooms in dust, the fixtures in dust.

 

The absence echoes other absences, stolen and loved.

Plucking memories without a trace

Ghosts coat all our rooms in dust, the fixtures in dust.

My mind used to be so much more.

 

Plucking memories without a trace

I feel empty

My mind used to be so much more

I long for the beach. I want to feel the sand tickle my toes

 

I feel empty

Time wears gloves on its hands.

I long for the beach. I want to feel the sand tickle my toes

Cautious of alerting us to its shadowy presence.

 

Peeled Away

     

A layer of skin has been peeled away

Revealing what lies beneath me

Secrets exposing themselves

In the burning light

 

Revealing what lies beneath me

A heart like a broken clock

In the burning light

The timing of feelings is always slightly off

 

A heart like a broken clock

Our face like its display

The timing of feelings is always slightly off

It’s imperfect, but not needing to be perfect

 

Our face like its display

Hands covering the eyes, the expression of the lips

It’s imperfect, but not needing to be perfect

Only safe from such piercing, cold indifference

 

Hands covering the eyes, the expression of the lips

A layer of skin has been peeled away

It’s imperfect, but not needing to be perfect

Secrets exposing themselves

 

Anger and Fear

    

Anger and fear are very similar

they both lead to death

fear: the most powerful spark in history

anger: a flame that burns faster

 

They both lead to death

crossing a high, wooden bridge

anger: a flame that burns faster

plunging us unwillingly into the waters below

 

Crossing a high, wooden bridge

chasing our hopes for love, for glory, for honor

plunging us unwillingly into the waters below

where rapids pummel our limbs

 

Chasing our hopes for love, for glory, for honor

swimming against the tides of time

where rapids pummel our limbs

shoving us towards the shores of death.

 

Swimming against the tides of time

anger and fear are very similar

shoving us towards the shores of death.

fear: the most powerful spark in history

 

Untitled

      

They say the opposite of love is not hate

It’s just indifference

 

And because

those who seem to love me

those who really know me enough to love me

seem so few and far between

They say the opposite of love is not hate

It’s just indifference

 

And because

those who seem to love me

those who really know me enough to love me

seem so few and far between

That I wish to be hated

wish for angry looks

eye rolls

scowls

not just

 

indifference

 

I don’t think

I have ever been hated

not really, truly hated

yes, I’ve been disliked

distrusted

Have had people turn away

 

But it was more like disinterest

standing in the rain

Waiting

For someone to look my way

 

And I know this sounds like I’m just

Waiting to be discovered

But maybe it’s more like

I’m waiting to discover

Waiting to find a way to be hated

 

Waiting to find a way

To stop crying alone in my room

With my cat

And pocket fulls of those

Awful Fig Newtons

My friend’s mother

Keeps giving to me

But I’m too polite to refuse

 

And someday

I know

I will be hated

I look forward

To having someone look me in the eye

And say

Claire

You are such a bitch

 

And I’m not delusional enough to think

That someone hasn’t said that

about me

already

But I want them to say it

to my face

 

Because every once in awhile

It’s nice to know that you matter

It’s nice to know that

someone cares enough about me

To hate me

 

Because the one thing I cannot stand

Is apathy

Indifference

To be ignored

To be forgotten

 

And I look forward to that day

Because right now I feel all that I am doing

Is looking backwards

At all the incredibly awkward

Things I have said

or done

 

And although in those

Twelve whole years I’ve been alive

It doesn’t seem like there would be enough time

For so many unspoken words

 

But somehow there is

And maybe it’s just the hormones

coursing through my veins

Or the fact that I spend

So much of my time

In my room

Reading about long dead urban planners

 

But sometimes I feel like I should just stop

Thinking

so

much

Because sometimes

All those words

Seem to just pile up

 

Like that shrine of stuffed animals

I have under my bed

 

And eventually get forgotten

Or I get lost in the thoughts

I climb under my bed

And hide in those stuffed animals

all

day

Long

Because sometimes it’s good to be six years old again

But sometimes it’s also good

To crawl out from

Under my bed

Bring those thoughts

Out

Into the light

 

Because maybe if I bring one of those

old stuffed animals

Out into the light

And give it to my cat

She may hate it

But also

What if she loves it?

 

And even if you are hated

It’s better than collecting dust

Underneath my bed

 

And if you’ve survived this incredible

Dose of angst

 

Maybe some of it makes sense?

 

because

Being hated sucks

I’ve watched mean girls enough times

To attest that that’s probably true

 

But sometimes if you hate something

Oh so much

It’s easier to start to love it

Then not to care?

 

And maybe because

I’m a chronic idealist

 

I believe that if everyone just started to care

 

If everyone dropped that shield of apathy

And indifference

 

Maybe some things would get better

 

My father once told me

That the best people

Are those who think about something

Besides people

Besides caring what someone else does

Or thinks

 

And I agree

I have met some really shitty people

Who I can’t help but admire

Because they know what they love

And they love what they know

Because it’s nice to see someone

Who loves

 

But I also disagree

With what my father

Told me

Because sometimes it’s good

to think

About people

Sometimes it’s good to know

People are thinking about you

 

But I think

What he really meant

was that I shouldn’t let

The people

Become me

 

It’s good to care

It’s great

Actually

But I don’t want that feeling

To become me

 

And since my claustrophobia

And my introversion

Clearly mandate

That sometimes

I need space

 

if only everyone just took a second

To notice

Maybe they could

hate

 

And I’m not saying

That everyone

Has to love

everything

 

I mean

Somethings about me

Are pretty

Worthy to hate

 

Like all those times

I ignore the recycling bin

Or the fact that I

Take an hour to decide

What kind of candy

I want in my junk drawer

 

But there are some things

To love about everyone

 

Like the time I cried

For hours after accidentally

Killing a spider

Or when I organized

My cabin to recite

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

 

But when everyone is

So complicated

The one thing

We shouldn’t do

Is not to notice

 

Don’t let the possibility

Of hate

Overwhelm you

 

Because you know

At the end of Mean Girls

Kady is loved

Once again

 

The Foundation behind the Teal Ribbon*

     

Just because you have a mental

illness, does not mean you are different.

People with anxiety are fighters. People

with depression are survivors. People who

self harm are strong.

I am strong. They did not just tell me to

walk again, but they taught me a new way

of walking. Not with my head down, but up.

Because rock bottom is where I rebuilt my

life again leading to the road of recovery. I

am worthy of recovery because I am

human, just like you. I am a warrior to top

that. The semicolon stands strong beside

me. My story was going to end with a

period, but I chose to keep writing it because

it’s not over yet. I am a warrior, with the “I”

being a semicolon. It makes me strong. I am

strong. I am a fighter. I am beautiful.

I am a friend.

I am a daughter and

I am survivor.

 

*(Teal ribbon for anxiety disorders)

 

Again

   

Somebody promises themselves they will change and reform their ways again,

Yet in the end it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, yet people still try again and again.

 

The politicians promise they don’t accept bribes, they’ll be totally innocent,

Yet like their predecessors they’re not the saints they seem like again and again.

 

Genocides are nothing new, people in power say it’s for the greater good over and over.

They say it can’t happen here so we can forget, yet history seems to repeat itself again.

 

Driving down the long road of life, a careless driver hits a small deer,

A path of hershel lie behind him and each time the driver says they’ll be more careful, again.

 

Over and over,

Again and again.

 

Driving down the long road of life, a careless driver hits a small deer,

A path of hershel lie behind him and each time the driver says they’ll be more careful, again.

 

A Body That is Not Your Own

 

When you are born, you receive two gifts.

You get a gender, and you get a name.

Most of the time, these gifts are kept. Most of the time, people are content with these gifts.

But sometimes, people don’t like these gifts. They want different gifts. And when they ask for different gifts, they often get the answer that they had hoped would be out of the conversation entirely.

They get an answer that tells them to be somebody who they are not.

You are imprisoned in a body.

A body your head is attached to.

A body that is not your own.

Now imagine a human,

A human with a gorgeous body.

A human with your body.

What would it look like?

Think.

Some people would say they want fuller hips,

Maybe their nose to be a bit smaller.

And some people say they want a flat chest,

Instead of those

Balls

of

fat

Growing every day.

Or…

Or…

Or…

Imagine.

Flat chest, instead of wearing the binder that just reminds me that I have those.

Penis, instead of wearing a packer that reminds me that I have that.

Smaller hips. Smaller butt. Bigger muscles. Wider shoulders. Lower voice.

Oh, that would be so beautiful.

***

My mother named me Mackenzie.

I wish she had named me something sounding a bit more masculine,

Because Mackenzie just screams

“It’s a girl!”

Like how the nurse did at the hospital

Where I was born.

Maybe she could’ve named me

Marley

Or something

At least

A bit more

Masculine

Or maybe she could’ve named me

Mason.

 

When I was little, I was always thinking about

Names

And one day, I was reading a story

With a character called

Mason

And I knew

Almost at once

That that was my name.

My name.

Not the one on that sheet of paper

That tells my first two gifts.

Not that one

Because that one isn’t mine.

Mason.

That’s my name.

Isn’t it funny how people know they’re doing wrong, but still do it anyways?

 

Been practicing in the mirror for days

And I get back

“You will always be my little girl, Mackenzie.

Don’t talk to me with your made up bullshit.”

And then

She strode off

Without another word

And left me

To my thoughts

And the muted TV

On the wall.

 

I think they started to happen after that night

The breakdowns

Lying, curled up,

On my floor

At three a.m.

Sobbing

Heaving

Headache

Throwing up,

Feeling so dizzy I thought I was

Drowning.                                       

Which I Was,

Drowning in my own thoughts,

In my own emotions,

In my own pain.

 

The water was only rising.  

Twelve hours after I told Mother.

Sitting on the floor

Tissues spread around me like stones encircling a campfire

Arms tight around my bare chest

Staring at the wall.

That wall,

That pink wall

That Mother

Forced me to let her buy,

Even when I begged,

Sobbing

At her knees,

Asking for something,

Anything,

Different.

I turned my head towards my open closet.

Last night, I had thought it would be a funny

Joke

To look back to

After everything was alright

Finally alright.

 

It wasn’t so funny anymore.

 

I turned my head to that closet

And what I saw on those glossy hangers

Were sparkly, pink, purple, white

Dresses

Blouses

Skirts.

All hand-picked by beloved Mother.

Told me to stop wearing oversized T-shirts and jeans.

We were going on a shopping spree!

Hundreds of pounds of

Lady Wear

In the cart.

Try this on!
Oh, this suits you so well!

Definitely getting this…

Returning home, My mother was

So happy

Couldn’t stop smiling.

Took the bags to my

Pink room

And dumped them on the floor.

Then I went to sleep.

 

I remember that day like it was yesterday.

I remember every one of those days.

My mother pulling me to the girl’s department

To the pink paint

To those makeup stores

To family holidays

Forcing me to wear a dress.

So pretty.

What a beautiful girl you are.

And then after

Everything

Lying down

Suffocating

In emotions

No sleep

Only the endless thoughts

And my bed drenched with tears.

I remember all of them

Each one of those

“Meltdowns”

As my mother would call it.

Each and every one.

Miserable.

My mother tells me she doesn’t know

Why

I’m so emotional

Each night.

Does she really not get it?
Can’t she see?

When I was little, I loved wandering off to the boy’s department

But she would always drag me over to the girls,

Filled with stuffed ponies and

Me and Mommy dolls

That you could feed and it would poop on its own

I had enough courage in those times to tell her that I wanted action figures and shorts.

She wouldn’t listen,

But she would listen to me

Have tantrums

With her plastered on

Poker face.

Not saying a word.

She has always pulled me down,

Pushed me down that black hole

That only leaves me with darkness.

Never listening.

Always forcing.

Always forcing.

Always forcing.

 

I have had enough.

 

This piece is dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.

You are loved.

 

The Sky (A Sestina)

            

The blue

sky shows your heart,

Shows you how to sing,

Lets you speak,

Teaches you to think,

Helps you be you.

 

Sometimes you

might wonder,

Why you are blue,

But remember to think,

Your heart

is yours, so speak

your mind, and always sing

 

Your own song, you must sing

even if it seems insane to you,

And when you speak,

You won’t be blue.

Your heart

will shine once again, freeing you to think.

 

You may think,

You may sing

a different song, but your heart

may not want to listen, may not trust me over you.

But please, don’t let others make you blue.

Don’t be afraid to speak.

 

Never be afraid to speak.

You think

bad things will happen when you speak out, but if you don’t you will stay blue.

Remember to sing.

Sing loudly, let them hear you,

Let them hear your heart.

 

Let your heart,

shine out, let it speak,

Glowing through you,

Ignore what they think,

Just help your heart sing,

Show what you’ve learned from the sky of blue.

 

Right now, don’t think,

Just sing,

And trust in the bright sky, oh so blue.

 

Anxiety

    

I know it’s you,

I can always tell,

when you show up at my door,

and lean on the bell.

 

As I reach to turn the knob,

I want to turn away,

refuse you entry

and go on with my day.

 

But I know from experience

that, if I lock my doors,

you’ll rattle my windows

And shake my floors.

 

Too soon, the glass will break.

Was there ever any doubt

you’d get in and show me

it was foolish to keep you out?

 

You’ll break all the dishes,

scatter clothes across the lawn,

leave my house one big mess

I’m left to clean up when you’re gone.

 

There’s no way to ward you off,

I know that by now,

so I welcome you as honored guest

and before you I bow.

 

A Man-made World

                       

My breath leaves clouds on the small window,

Dissipating to reveal fluffy clouds outside,

The wing of the airplane in which I sit.

 

Below those clouds, the ground is a patchwork,

A carefully cultivated quilt of orderly green squares,

All the same, like they were made in a factory.

 

I doze off as the blanket below grows boring,

Settling into the kind of monotonous patter only man can create.

My head bumps softly against the window.

 

When I wake, the scene has changed.

The plane has passed through the gates of Eden,

To a wild, untampered land, unmarked by Adam or Eve.

 

The snowy peaks of a vast mountain range spread out below,

Wild as white-capped waves on a rough and windy sea,

So bright I have to shield my eyes.

 

But wait, could that be? Yes —

A chairlift,

A stain of civilization on even this wintry scene.

 

Melt Away

                

You watched your grandfather die.

I believe you were 7 years old at the time

But the strangest thing was even though he wasn’t blind

he refused to acknowledge your face.

 

It was strange; he acted like it was a game

He would just close his eyes when they fell on your frame

Even when you were trying to keep him away

From the trance he was making his grave.

 

You could tell his mind was dying

while his shrink was simply trying

to keep the thoughts clumped in his brain

from falling right out of his head

 

But his childish actions receded

As the doctor, he then treated

him with a little too much of the drug

that started his demise.

 

He seemed to have a moment,

“The Surge,” I think they call it

during which his eyes were full of

such a sudden recognition!

 

“Please, grandson,” he called out, desperate,

and you rushed; your eyes, they met his

but he simply held your gaze

unlike anything before.

 

“I will leave this Earth in sadness

and in hatred of my madness

for I have stopped myself

from seeing your beautiful face.”

 

And with that, his vitals worsened

a stench filled around his person

and you could tell by his face

his soul had left while incomplete.

 

Maturity

              

Earbuds vibrating inside my head

A barrier from those who leave me dead

They park their hearse outside my weary skull

Emotions bubble but my face remains dull

 

The hearse takes out a coffin so grandiose

It takes my childhood and starts to close

Wonder swells from within its closed walls

I try to defend, but the noise made me fall

 

The feelings start to invade

and the hearse, it drives away

with his soul

 

It was life; I could not deny that fact,

But something sacred persuaded me to act,

So I began to conquer the edges of my mind,

I could tell it was hiding something deep behind

 

My attack reigned,

new thoughts reclaimed

I could make them

happy again

 

And then I noticed

a bit of cold

as a cave dared to unfold


I saw within it

a strange glow

the cold increased

as I went to go

 

And then I saw

with tearing eyes

a gun held up to my pride

 

My attack reigned,

new thoughts reclaimed

I could make them

happy again

 

And then I noticed

a bit of cold

as a cave dared to unfold


I saw within it

a strange glow

the cold increased

as I went to go

 

And then I saw

with tearing eyes

a gun held up to my pride

 

Within the cave I saw a face

reflected from this creature

it was mine

 

Earbuds vibrating inside my head

as I try to clean up what I have just bled

my doubt of myself has ended its decline

I have confronted it; now I can climb

 

My derelict soul then sees the truth

naivety seeps from us

as we live

 

Life is Beautiful

                           

life is soft and serene when you let her

when you wake up too early and you sit in the living room

the sun hits you and you hear ocean waves

you don’t live by an ocean

take everything slow

appreciate the life you have

and life will smile upon you

and she’ll make it easier to appreciate

because I woke up at 6:30

and I sat in my living room listening to the sounds

watching and smiling

it felt like a Blank Banshee music video

but deeper I felt hunger

because I never want life to stop giving me those moments

but I’m not sure she will

 

Fire

                    

I watch the little spots of color

Dance around the night air

Like lightning bugs,

Twirling into the night sky

And disappearing from sight.

 

Sitting there, beside the stone circle,

I feel as if a heavy blanket

Is draped over my shoulders,

Warding the encroaching cold

From sinking beneath my skin.

 

I lean back, hair splayed over grass,

Listening to the snaps and crackles,

Watching the almost lightning bugs

Race upwards,

Mimicking the specks of stars,

And trying to be them.

 

Sunset

                            

Yellow is the bright color of sunflowers and sunsets

Then the sun goes down and the sunflowers are forgotten

I whine when I can’t see sunlight

I write my feelings on a white substance called paper and

Infinite numbers of people say goodnight to the beautiful sun

Trees go to sleep when the moon says hi friends  

A cow says its goodnight with its pristine white underbelly

Contacting the moon with my long sighs and loud cries

A downpour of rain begins while wishing the sun to return

Sun comes up and the day starts again

 

Unified Separation

                           

Once there was a sun and moon

The sun circled the moon, like a dog racing to catch its tale

They were Unified

Stronger together

The light and the moon

The same

But separate

The light and dark’s appearance

The sun’s shining face blared down on the moon’s darkness

The shining sun tried to overshadow the moon, they didn’t know the moon was a star

But the moon struggled to shine, as it reflected light off the sun,

As the moon attempted to appear in the same shimmering sky

 

The sun will outshine the moon, but there are still thousands of moons.

Years Later

The sun

Shines over all the land

With little reminiscence of black moons.

 

Going up the Stairs

                   

Going up the stairs. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Then you’re at the top but uh oh you fell down. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Then you’re at the top but uh oh you fell down again. But then you remember that you didn’t leave your dentures upstairs you left them downstairs. So you go downstairs but uh oh you fell upstairs. At this point you go in the kitchen and eat chicken soup without the chicken because you don’t have your dentures to chew it. You walk into the dining room but uh oh on your way there you fall down the stairs again. You are now laying in a pool of chicken soup without the chicken and at this point you’re fed up with life and decide to never move again. You lay there marinating in the chicken soup without the chicken.

 

The Strange Realities from My Soulmate

 

Everything has a balance,

A limit.

A rule to abide, or an exception to demonstrate

A carbon atom must only have a specific number of protons

A strand of DNA writes novels of identity out of our control

A swipe of scarlet nail lacquer applied without a proper top coat will flake away in a matter of days

But lying in the soft folds of your bed, hearing soothing fantasies

Of magic and souls, of love and physics

Of time and nebulae

You gain an inkling of

The necessary ingredients for breaking the rules

Why those in conjunction with their other halves always seem to have more power

Why you see so many lost pairs of eyes with holes in the sides of their sneakers from wandering too long on the battered playground

Why an unlikely isotope is the definition of true love

And the government prioritizes maintaining an even population

Does this explain why your eight-year-old body hums with undeniable emptiness?

 

Is there someone out there waiting to turn the universe on its side for you?

The Lost Sky

             

1.

A girl disguised by the somber mists of taunting loss,

Glooming shadows escaping the night’s bitter sky,

The latent stars vanished without gloss,

Wishes muted by a concealed lie.

 

The damaged dominos,

Steadily collapsing,

From one heart to another,

The ghost emerging from the shattered spirit.

 

2.

I was once the light of a radiant character,

The breath of a cub,

Gentle kisses extending the sky,

Now a shadow absent from the dust,

No bear to protect my warmth,

Like a music note that has never been played.

 

3.

A girl surrounded by an ocean without water,

Yearning for a sturdy hand to hold,

Instead, she is trapped in her own echoes.

 

I once held that little hand,

I was the bear that shielded her from the terror of this world,

But now I lie in the vacant sky.

Useless.

 

4.

Depression is my remedy,

I soak in my loss,

Constantly gazing at the sky for a source of existence,

Yet all I see are the faint memories dying in the darkness.

 

5.

Suffering with a damaged soul,

The girl lingered in this horror story,

The disappearance of two bears at once,

One puzzle piece gone, another misplaced.

 

6.

It took years of suffering for a sense of wholeness to appear,

Slowly my mind slept from a fear,

I recognized my worth of gold.

 

We are all not presented with chance at life,

The world works in a incomprehensible fashion,

We see the stars, the sun, the rainbows,

We experience the rainstorms and the hail,

So when life presents you with the gift of growth,

We must understand our fitting puzzle piece.

 

I now walk in my crooked footsteps,

Indenting a distinct shape,

My mind was once possessed by a devil,

But now an angel has stolen my soul.

 

The devil remained in my presence,

Reminding me of all the absence.

 

I am my own angel who represents self-concept,

Identifying my past ratifies my future.

 

I often attempt to erase the visions that blur my mind,

Of the distant thoughts it features,

I am the figure I never had.

 

My cubs carry fur of enchanting colors,

With a shaded bear to shield them from the terror of this world.

 

7.

The girl grasped her own dilemmas,

Conquering the rings of misfortune,

She even played the unknown note of melody.

 

Whatever wind blows past your fragile ears,

Whatever pain that cramps your body,

Life is a mystery,

Like a dead plant placed in front of sunshine,

The rain does not wash our future away,

Instead it paints a fresh picture,

A life for us to start,

I am proud of my girl.

 

Three Dreams

                                         

A Dream of a Butterfly

Everyday resembles a blank canvas,

Any color can accommodate the dull lines,

Our dreams arrange like butterflies in the rain,

Pattering down in rattled drops as the sun beams beyond them.

 

An idea forms simply from effortless imagination,

Processing concepts to ratify their senses,

Then blossoming into an established innovation.

 

Sometimes pain attempts to keep us locked without a key,

But our wings are stronger,

Not only do we fly,

We soar above the chants.

 

A Dream of a Starfish

I grow,

I create,

I manage,

I build,

I express,

 

I fail.

 

I grow again,

I create again,

I manage again,

I build again,

I express again,

 

And just like a starfish,

I succeed.

 

A Dream of a Tree

I sprout from roots that simply hold my weight,

A superior force of foundation beneath me,

My bark is solid in firmness,

Its fresh scent of wet leaves absorbed by the humid air,

A strength that yields away the controlling wind.

I continue to grow upwards,

Now small segments of colors burst at the tips of my twigs.

My branches sway in the luminous path of sunlight.

My wood constantly develops in short portions of purity.

My leaves now create a beautiful image of reflection.

I stand above the constant echoes of dying plants,

Their somber remains disappearing,

Plants that didn’t thrive in their negativity.

 

But I am still here.

I am the dream of a tree,

A dream that unlocked the chamber, even without a key.

 

 

Butter

                                       

It happens quite often that I feel my thoughts start to disseminate like continental drift.

It happens also that I feel like I am biting into a chunk of solid butter.

Sometimes, though, it is melted butter, and sometimes, the butter is whipped.

Those days are good ones.

From time to time, the sky appeals to me so much that I have an uncontrollable desire to drink tufts of clouds through a peppermint-striped paper straw and feel the wispy white slinking down my throat.

I have a muscle in my leg that, when I’m really concentrated, pulses under my knee and doesn’t allow me to stop bouncing it.

Sometimes, when I watch rain pouring down outside my window, I feel water lapping over my contact lenses like there are windshield-wipers in my eye bags.

 

I do feel in control of myself occasionally, though.

I know how to swallow on purpose, blink on purpose, listen on purpose.

 

Some days, I have neutral legs.

Neutral wrists.

Neutral shoulders.

My legs and wrists and shoulders give off a slight vibration that is unnoticeable: energetic, yet calm.

 

When I’m cold, my sweat glands secrete fire; when I’m warm, they secrete ice.

 

I wonder if there is anyone in the world who has pierced fingertips and five hoop earrings dangling from each hand.

I wonder if anyone else has ever wondered about that.

 

Sometimes, if my mom is driving our car, my dad will stick both his legs out the passenger seat window.

I’ve never asked why, because he probably won’t have an answer that makes sense. But I’ve always assumed my impulsive nature stems from the strands of DNA I inherited from him.

 

I wonder if he has an urge to drink clouds. I wonder if anyone else does.

Sometimes, I am frozen milk left out in the sun, and I’m dripping and unfreezing and whipping myself into wispy clouds so that I can drink myself.

 

When I listen to people talking while I’m mad, all I can hear are potato-peeler sounds that cause my skin to flake and my feet to writhe.

When I listen to people talking while I’m sad, I am the churning heat in the air, creating wind slowly, like a milkmaid making butter.

 

My brother is less than one year old and hasn’t quite mastered crawling yet, so when he tries, his knees are soft, watery butter, and he slips and smacks his tummy on the ground, so I pick him up and put his knees in the refrigerator for a while.

Soon, he will have butter-knees strong enough to crawl on.

 

Sometimes, though, my mom is confused to see drawings of knees sitting in the fridge, but I tell her it’s a metaphor.

“I’m teaching Alec how to crawl.”

She gives me a look.

This is when I know my thoughts have disseminated.

 

“Mom have you ever seen someone with pierced fingertips?”

“I don’t think people do that. There are too many nerves in fingertips.”

“Is it possible?”

“I guess so. Don’t do it, please.”

 

My leg is bouncing, emitting blips of energy without my permission, but I am melted butter today, so it is a good day.

 

I have decided to like cauliflower and pumpernickel, and I have decided to like these things as a two-year-old likes bubbles.

 

My lips are bubbling. I used to play with bubbles.

There are liquified soap bars in my stomach, and solidified liquid soap has encased all the wiggling cells in my brain.

My brain contains pink soap balloons.

The balloons are turning yellow, like salted butter. The yellow balloons taste like sour apples. The sour apple taste is delicate, like cauliflower.

 

When I was a two-year-old who played with bubbles, I would catch them in my mouth and feel the soap cover my tongue.

A few years later, I melted butter and mixed it with whipped cream in a bowl and drank my mixture and pretended I was drinking butter-flavor whipped clouds. That was yesterday.

 

Sometimes, I wonder if it is possible for butter to rot to the extent where it’s brown like pumpernickel.

I wonder if anyone else has wondered about that.

 

Biting into frozen butter with buckteeth is like being the only one awake on a double-decker airplane.

Butter for buckteeth.

Rotten pumpernickel butter for buckteeth.

Expired airplane pumpernickel butter for buckteeth.

It happens on occasion that I feel like my tongue is a frying pan being burnt by butter.

It happens also that I feel my irises revolving like a silver doorknob.

Sometimes, the doorknob is sticky from bubbles.

Sometimes, my tongue is sticky from bubbles and butter.

 

Sometimes, I think my urine is melted butter.

 

Sometimes, my stomach is chunky like a chunk of butter after I eat butter.

Sometimes, my mom tells me not to eat butter.

 

Sometimes, I think I’m allergic to butter.

 

One time, when I was trying to pick Alec up off his tummy, there were hoops dangling from my fingers, and I couldn’t.

So Alec had to stay on his tummy.

 

I’ve decided I won’t pierce my fingertips.

                                                And clouds are too high up for me to reach.

 

My brother has learned how to crawl. Now I am waiting for his soft-butter-feet to harden.

 

Monday Is

Monday is the lowest of the low. It’s at the bottom of my trash can of hate, along with fake smiles and the objectification of women. I picture it like this: we have a perfectly good weekend, right? And on Friday and Saturday, we’re ever so happy.

But then on Sunday, we start prickling, just a bit, with dread, and the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up straight. “Whatever,” we think, and we brush it away and enjoy the last of our glorious weekend, like the last bits of an ice cream cone, the melty drips that slide down our throats, and it’s just as sweet and cold as the rest.

Except that then, you’re left with an empty cone in your hands and sticky drips on your fingers and a too-sweet taste in your mouth, and all you want is a nice, cool glass of water. All the magic and sweetness of that big, old ice cream cone is gone, and all that’s left is sticky fingers and an empty cone.

And that’s what Monday is: that empty cone. Because on Monday, there’s nothing to look forward to at the end of the day, nothing to push through for. No. All you’ve got is a school day stretching out in front of you, and after that, a school week, and you’ll have to wait until Friday for that big, old ice cream cone feeling to come back to you.

 

deities of green

                    

i actually kind of like the park

it’s just that once my mother lost me and i’m still afraid of dirt paths and trees that look like faces in the dark

once, someone wrote a song about me and called it the Forest

i can’t remember the tune but i haven’t been able to get it out of my head/the idea

that i walk around with leaves in my hair

and woodchips and candy wrappers in my mouth

trees growing in my palms

trees growing from seeds to saplings to monsters under my care

the idea that things live and grow and die so quickly in my mind/i wonder how god does it

how he can sectionalize and rationalize and put all the green things in the city in one square of 843 acres

how he can put humans in a world full of birds and call them gods

give them a portion of the power/delegate the work

let them blame him/let them pray to him/let them fight wars in his name/let them die for him/let them live for him

my uncle believes that god resides in Central Park

says he had a spiritual experience once

when he saw the virgin mary walking her dogs

i’m afraid that he’s right

that getting lost was divine intervention

and i swore in the presence of a holy being

 

Honeysuckle Yellow Sunny Socks

                

There is water in the air bubbles that pop when I crack my knuckles. I am in a tank of water. The water tank is full of floating honeysuckles.

I am out of the water tank. There are strings of honeysuckles wrapped around my arms. There are honeysuckles in the air bubbles that pop when I crack my knuckles.

 

There is clean dust on my curtains.

There is clean dust in the air bubbles that pop when I crack my knuckles.

The clean dust from my curtains sprinkles down onto the honeysuckle strings on my arms. The clean dust on my honeysuckle strings trickles down into the cut on my foot. There is a sanitary infection on my foot from the honeysuckle clean dust.

 

The honeysuckles in my knuckles are dyeing my finger bones yellow. My yellowing finger bones are dismembered and have joined my honeysuckle strings.

I am a honeysuckle.

There is saliva contaminating my sanitary foot infection.

 

My foot infection is secreting yellow pus.

 

When I walk, my honeysuckle yellow sunny socks are whispering to the moss that is being squished under my heels, and the moss is shouting at my sunny socks. I feel the discord under my toes, squish-squashing, clay against green against yellow against flesh.

I am listening to the leaves of honeysuckle bushes rustling, and the rustling is beginning to sound like crashing ocean waves. Leaves are waves like I am honeysuckle.

There is someone pulling the honey vocal chords out of my honeysuckle-body.

The water from the tank is seeping through my pores and filling my lungs.

I’m alone in a water tank and drowning with no honey left in my blood.

There is someone plucking my honeysuckle pistils.

I’m being picked apart.

I’m crumbling into dirty dust.

Yellow pus is soaking my yellow sunny socks.

The pus is turning green.

Dirty dust is tickling my unsanitary infection.

I’m starting to float and bloat like the honeysuckles in the water tank.

There is dirty dust and green pus in the air bubbles that pop when I crack my knuckles.

There are dirty, dusty curtains in the air bubbles that pop when I crack my toe knuckles in my honeysuckle yellow sunny socks.

All the floating honeysuckles in the water are seeping through my pores and into my skin.

I am full of bloated honeysuckles.

All the water from the water tank is inside my body.

 

I am swollen and swelling and swamped.

 

Generation of Fear

               

After World War I ended

Hitler took the stage

He took the crowd, suspended

Projected on them his rage

 

“The Jewish are to blame,”

He shouted with a sneer

“They took away our respect and fame

They are the ones to fear”

 

Most citizens believed the one

And started to despise

The ones chosen to hate upon

Fed with fear and lies

 

America was drawn to fight

By alliances and an attack

Finally, it was too clear war was in sight

Too late to turn back

 

“The Germans and Japanese are here”

Sounded whimpers and cries

“They come as spies,” they announced in fear

And were fed with their own lies

 

The war ended soon enough

Wrapped up with nuclear ties

Russia was hardened now and tough

Matched us, weapon-wise

 

“The Russians are our enemies!”

The public now exclaimed

“They will start more tragedy!

They will be to blame!”

 

The Cold War came to nothing

And besides lots of normal rage,

Everything seemed to be settling

Until that fateful day

Two planes hit the twins

The country was horrorstruck

As the buildings caved in

And fell to the ground in dust

 

George W. Bush invaded Iraq

In fear and rage and spite

A power vacuum sprung with a crack

And ISIS took the light

 

“Non-believers are to blame!”

The group called out in haste

“They attacked us out of spite and hate

They’ll grind us to paste!”

 

Now, all Muslims are blamed for them

While ISIS blames us all

Feeding the lies the others said

While supporting their own call

 

I grew up in this crazy world

Just one child amongst the rest

And you say how good it was before

We were all put to this test

 

Now, we are always being monitored

Everything is recorded, photographed

We are imprisoned by terror

As everyone submits to such futile tasks

 

Watch what you say in public

One wrong word could kill

A slip of the tongue could cause panic

Edit your words, if you will

 

My friends are ostracized

For the hijabs on their heads

My fellow siblings, children of God

By some are wanted dead

And adults are always warning me

“Don’t do this, or that.”

Beyond a point, I’m not free

Because safety is where it’s at

 

“You can’t talk to certain kids,”

“You can’t go to certain places,”

“If you do, you will be killed.”

That is thrown into our faces

 

Cameras watching everything

Threatening wherever I go

“You will be killed,” adults are always saying

This is what I’ve always known

 

Criminals, terrorists, different ones

These words I must fear and know

Everyone is scared of… everyone

They just fear the unknown

 

In a Generation of Fear, I’m cast

This is what I see

Not the first and not the last

But a worse one, seems to be

 

Call me naive, call me wrong

But I wonder why you’re all so scared

For I knew, all along

That danger is always there

 

Invisible

           

You don’t see me

I am Invisible

You don’t know how I think

Feel

I want to be noticed

I’m right in front of you

I am a rare bird who’s there but not seen often

My gold feather with multiple colors of feathers

I can change but I would never attack

I am not like the plain birds

I don’t have just gray feathers

and my beak is orange and sometimes has little bits of colors

I notice you

You are part of the ones who are rare and unique

We rares are invisible in far away places

Miles and yards away from the commons

We are Invisible but special

Why not me

You see the ones who are not unique

Rare

Special

I may not show my feeling

But I’m still here

Common ones go

But rare ones stay

I will stay

Rain or no rain

Thunder or no thunder

I will stay.

It’s not my fault that nobody notices me…

I am just special

And not just anybody can notice me but you can.

Invisible

Birds

We are in small quantities of rares but that’s us

Invisible.

We soar above everyone who stops us.

 

The Last Time I Saw You

              

I remember the last time I saw your face

It was nighttime

The sun was falling over the horizon

You were angry at me but I didn’t know why

You wouldn’t tell me why

You looked at me, frustration exploding like fireworks all over your face

You couldn’t communicate your feelings to me

I didn’t know that

I know that now

But it’s too late now

What will I do without you

Without your pretty face

Without your certainty of my purpose

Without your constant and unwavering encouragement

To lift me up

And then

At the end of the day

When it disappears

And the real you surfaces

Only to show your real face

Your real side

And when I look at you then

I find that your heart is missing

You are unable to love me

I want to fix you

But I can’t fix you

Please let me fix you

 

I

 

I

The pale, waning moon is wearing a frightening mask.

We have the love of a thousand seas.

We are laughing at the Nazis.

 

II

My mother, the angel, the one that never cries.

She told me to bring harm.

She told me trust no one and hide.

My father, the devil, the one with the dark hair who usually lies.

Told me to never bring harm.

He told me to trust everybody I meet.

He told me people are good.

His towheaded hair kissed his face.

Fantasy living its domestic despairs.

 

III

My mother on the canopy bed, her French nails covered in blood.

My father wearing the Nazi symbol-covered.

The ground looked like it was bleached as the snow hit the ground.

Alone, the bomb and my mother’s pretty gowns.

 

IV

My father, the great, big, hateful beast.

He cannot swallow his pride.

My mother says, “He’s a good man,” and she’s his bride.

He wears a red and black symbol on his arm.

He says it’s a “good luck charm.”

                                             

V

The bomb took my mother, she was sleeping on her golden bed.

Blood and darkness, the only thing I saw.

Her face was dark and traumatized.

Blue lilies near the table where she lies.

My father, the great, red and black alien, told me that she’s in a better place now.

Picking flowers from the pond.

The Nazis were the jokesters, the ones that made me laugh.

They were also savages with their barbarian cries.

                                                     

VI

I’m lying on the cold, wet canopy bed.

But the crows won’t sleep, silly birds.

My body is damp and shut in.

A tube around my nose, pills filling my mouth?

This must be hell or a white haven.

I haven’t been in my dress in weeks.

My house dress that I wear, my pretty gowns.

Oh god, I’m so pathetic.

I’m so weak.

I’m such a hysterical woman.

My lipstick is scarce and my neck is bruised.

I feel so used and unclean.

My French nails covered in blood.

Bleed… out…

This must be hell or a white haven.

 

I Remember

           

I remember the last time I saw you

The last night I saw you at that party

Your eyes looked pained

But every time I asked if you were okay, you said nothing

You were drinking champagne from a wine glass

The wine glass had a red lipstick stain on the side

I knew from the red ruby color you had given up

You had a far away look in your eyes

I could tell you wanted to go

I could tell you wanted to leave this life

You were done

You couldn’t handle everything happening around you

It was overwhelming you too much

You couldn’t take the violence anymore

I felt the same way

I think you knew that without me having to say it

I still loved you

I wanted to tell you that so badly but I knew you had moved on

I didn’t want to ruin you all over again

I didn’t want to knock down the wall that you had tried so hard to rebuild

I’m sorry I never tried again

I know you loved me

You know I loved you

We both wanted it to work

But it couldn’t

Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be

I miss you

I miss the sparkle in your eyes

I miss the way you used to say my name when you were angry

I miss the way you would run your fingers through my hair

I miss watching you put lipstick on in front of the mirror

I miss watching you dab at the corners of your mouth with a tissue to make it perfect

I miss when you wanted to look good for me

I wanted to look good for you

As time went on

As we beat at each others walls

As our walls slowly began to crumble before the other

As we began to see the other

As I began to see you for who you really were

It made me love you even more

I never told you that

I’m sorry

 

Lost

          

Don’t know where to go
I’m lost, but not found
No solid ground, just walking around
Will I ever find a purpose?
I’m lost, but not found
I need help, but no one’s around
Will I ever find a purpose?
A piece of me is gone, severing my true soul
I need help, but no one’s around
I need to find a path, a road, something!
A piece of me is gone, severing the soul that is truly me
It’s like I’m a stranger to myself
I need to find a path, a road, something!
The future that awaits me is a blank slate
It’s like I’m a stranger to myself
I know nothing about me, and I don’t remember my past
The future that awaits me is a blank slate
I have no value
I know nothing about me, and I don’t remember my past
I’m just a wandering vessel in space with no sense of direction
I have no value
Don’t know where to go
I’m just a wondering vessel in space with no sense of direction
No solid ground, just walking around

Holocaust Poems

1. Mozelle Family
Opportunities revealing through time.
Processed and then paused;
The Revolutionary War.
Colonies gaining power and independence.
The Civil War.
People fighting for compassion
and for rights.
Life continued and then broken;
Death affecting people’s lives.
The Vietnam War.
Death making people
Notice complications and have pity.
Moments in time,
One moment;
Hard concrete pressed against sorrow filled faces
of children, adults.
Breathless humans hurtled and thrown into dark cells.
Swastika and Nazi flags everywhere.
A breakthrough.
An opportunity to get away from inhumane acts of disgrace
from soldiers giving up on what is right.
One family after another
guided into the new world
to a better life and opportunity.
Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters
all wanting the new beginning
of forgetting their terrible
lives in Europe.
The invasions,
Concentration camps,
ghettos.
Children knowing that their nightmares have been real
and their unforgettable past following them wherever they go.
Through forests, across bridges
to the supposedly enchanted world,
the family follows trust and instinct
to their new life, wanting it to come faster.
Their only vision of home in Austria,
the mountains and lakes.
The ambrosial food,
the familiar scenery.
No new world will ever be like it.
One family,
Breaking away
from horrid monsters,
Nazis.
Traveling
on the wrong rollercoaster,
bumping up and down,
upside down.
2. Father
One step out of there,
the sound of breaking glass
and marching of soldiers boots
never escaping my head.
Never a night without
flashbacks of this horrible past.
Leader of the house,
that’s what I am.
Protect mother,
protect daughter,
protect son.
Who is supposed to protect me?
Live in Austria.
Live in the New World.
What’s the difference?
I pave the path towards
our superior landing.
The New World will be
full of opportunities for work.
It will be an easier life
with less pain and loss.
But it will involve a lot of sacrifice like in Austria.
I don’t know if I am ready for that.
3. Mother
March 12, 1938.
That day seems almost fictitious.
Troops barging in, invading
searching homes,
and kicking people out.
Before, life was at ease.
Care for my children,
Now, life is morbid.
Save my children.
One deep breath
and we’re out.
But no,
no we can’t be.
If the Nazis did all of this to us,
why aren’t we dead?
We fought and fought,
sacrificed and agonized.
All this pressure and pain
for a mother?
It can’t end like this.
I need to wake up
from this nightmare.
I need to be
in the New World.
Now.
4. Daughter
Those small yellow stars.
Forced onto my collar.
Just eleven years old.
Why did we have to wear them?
Discrimination?
Identity clarity?
Kicked out of school.
No more fun.
Just empty breathing,
cramped in small rooms.
Daydreaming of life before.
Happily helping Mother do laundry.
Family Shabbat on Friday night.
The way Father would pick me up and spin me around.
The way Mother would bake delicious palatschinken with sprinkled sugar.
The way Brother would play jump rope with me.
But now,
Father just paces around.
Mother is too tired to cook.
Brother isn’t allowed to play jump rope with me
5. Brother
Jewish.
What does that even mean?
Does it mean
going to Hebrew School every week?
Does it mean
saying prayers?
Now,
It means wearing the yellow stars
and being discriminated,
thrown in pits or cells
like animals.
Trapped in a small room,
a sob,
a cry for help.
Then silence.
And more silence.
Who am I supposed to be?
A son to Mother and Father.
A brother to Sister.
A Jew.
A human.
I read books where characters
Get to travel the world,
Going to places like Australia or Peru.
I don’t have to be just Jewish,
I can travel the world without being so discriminated.
I am so much more than just Jewish
So then why aren’t I treated like that?
6. Flashback
Before the Nazis,
before antisemitism.
A happy Austrian family.
Mother, Father, Daughter, Son,
nescient to what shall come their way.
Children with education
Parents with occupations like teachers or journalists,
oblivious,
pompous towards their life.
Schools, cinemas, pools.
Jump Rope, ball games, Math.
No violent hate.
No bias.
Just life wrapped inside of itself,
with no understanding how to act bad or wrong,
How to treat people without compassion.
A simple life with no genocide.
7. Nazi Soldier
Force.
Orders.
Demands.
Throw them in a pit!
Shoot a mother!
The life is horrible.
I don’t want to kill people.
I just have to obey my father,
the captain of our Nazi Youth Group.
Before joining the Youth Group,
I wanted to be a teacher
Giving children more opportunities
To get out of Austria while they can,
Just as I always hoped to do.
I read books and watched films
About America.
The business and chances to become a better person.
So different from the world I live in now.
Each morning the same thing.
Gratify Hitler,
go kill Jews.
I’m tired of all of this genocide,
the killings,
the camps.
Losing sleep over how
Much pain these jews must be going through
Just because they have different beliefs.
When will it be over?
I don’t hate Jews.
I am going to keep this guilt
inside of me
forever.
This aching inside of my head
reminding me of how horrible I am.
I feel trapped inside this bubble
of killing repetition.
8. Mozelle Family
Opportunities revealing through time.
Processed and then paused,
continued and then broken.
Moments in time, one moment;
A new beginning
for those who have suffered.
The family traveled
Alongside their own stories
of their past.
Painful moments, less painful moments.
Breaking trusts and
folding up sheets of memories
to be kept safely away
where no one will find them.
But now a new life has begun.
The New World full of immigrants
and people longing for their opportunity.
Families who have traveled
through forests, across bridges
to the supposedly enchanted world.
They have arrived
to create a new life.
Father is a milkman.
Mother is a seamstress.
Son is a construction worker.
Daughter goes to school.
Missing Austria,
they are barely living with the past.
Every night
They fall asleep hoping
Hitler won’t find them
and come running.

Smaller Than the Sky

When we were smaller than the sky
Rolling down a hill of chives
Staring at that big blue thing above us that followed us wherever we went
Laughing under the dark crayon sky as we played with glee
Discussing our secrets as if they were the twinkling sequins above us
Giggling when the molten sun came up and our eyes hadn’t yet closed
Holding hands when the blue thing turned grey
When tiny bits of clouds fell on us and tiny sparks of electricity threatened the earth
When baritone booms shook the ground and made our hairs stand on our arms
Biting our lips when there were birds in the sky
Flocking together and taking us with them
When our jealousy of each other took us to different parts of the sky not yet explored
Chewing my cuticles when you laughed at something the girl with the sunset hair said to you
Swallowing the cloud in my throat as I practiced asking you if we would still meet every Friday to watch the stars
Realizing, when the fog cleared, I would never ask
Throwing screams at each other when the sky turned red
When the clouds in the sky grew thicker and our fights grew fiercer
Quieting when the clouds parted and the blue returned, dissolving our shouts
Smiling wispily as we flew by each other
As the sun set and you weren’t there to cartwheel with me
As the rain poured down and the lightning flashed and the thunder boomed
And you weren’t there to hold my hand
Sighing when we realized, as the moon hung in the sky, that the magic was gone
The nights of sitting on that hill staring at the little balls of gas that flickered for so long
The sheet above us that seemed so big
When we were smaller than the sky

I Don’t Remember Her Name

       

I don’t remember her name.
She’s an eager blue of some sort, with a bewitching grin that caresses warmth and ice.
Has an adolescent need for adventure, an agonizing, piercing, angelic way with words.
A haunting, spicy, zingy, sour, strange-looking stare that never seems to fade.
A big, gigantic, bitter, brilliant flame inside of her that burns and burns and burns and burns.
An introverted extrovert, with a loud mouth and a constant, electric sense of self.
Loopy sometimes and will act as an obnoxious spaniard, though she has no specific origin.
You would think I would remember her name.
She’s sizzling, dazzling, snappy, and can put on a damn good show.
She can be impolite, rude, snobby, and horrible, but only when in need of enlightenment.
Bossy, bouncy, bubbly, and deadly are all things that she is.
She’s nutty and powerful and occasionally innocent.
She’s a pessimistic optimist and isn’t afraid of exclaiming her political views of the world.
Her silhouette constantly changes, never slowing down, it’s dashing movements grasping heaven.
Eavesdropping is a talent of her’s, mostly used when least wanted.
She is reckless and crazy and indecisive and strong and fearless.
I can’t believe I forgot her name.
Sharp, ready, headstrong, brave, remarkable, beautiful, sparkly, regal are all among her traits.
Tough, loud, loose, infinite, glorious, graceful, compassionate, awesome.
She is wise, mysterious, and perfect.
Now I remember her name.
She is soul.

Ode to the WiFi

Dearest, beloved WiFi,
We all know that you lie.
The “Fi” in your name has no meaning,
And your lack of stability leaves us screaming.
So, dearest WiFi, why won’t you work?
Your absurd excuses make us go berserk.
But we will keep waiting,
With expectations of connecting
Before your linking bridges
Burn against our wishes,
And our hopes of productivity
Are crushed by your insensitivity
To our feelings
And to our dreams.

Shattered Coloration

         

ianthine wood

the moon has sunken into an aubergine pelt

the barren, lustful trees are noiseless

the night breathes as he does

soft and cavernous

into the surrounding yet choking air

I’m here to tell you I don’t love you

blurred and glowing,

[it truly was how I saw you]

gleaming dusk of cashmere and chastity

rally against Her dark influence

a moonlight divinity without vacancy,

you are a love unlike yesterday’s

gathering your philosophies,

ungiven shards of twisted memories

a serotonin charge,

tears of the clouds

insanity through clarity

susceptible to supernatural activity

but sanity is knowing,

and there is no such thing

relapsed

bullet holes and

fashion magazines line the walls

but we were the ones in smoked rooms,

the ones you were warned about

now doomed to arranging walk-in-closets

like catacombs

hiding in testosterone

wearing bottle-blue dreams

girl that you love

dark cars, darkest rise

allegories of the blushing light

they let me do this to myself

burlesque neon light

and the seldom

girl that you love

until the dawn strikes again

we will forever reign the weekend

disconsolate apology

noiseless nights

dripped over ice

always time for second guesses

a shattered, twisted, analogy

but reflect astrological intervention

our cynical minds would prevail divinity

which never could control me

daybreak

hair, voluminous of sleeping in

play of the angels

umber eyes have been smudged gray with sleep underneath

the sweater is one of ripped holes and seams,

and I watch the soft, tawny sunlight grace your neck

to assure that I or the universe did not simply dream you into being

{Theo}

dark eyed

dark haired

summer recollection

bittersweet, sly, uncontrollable creature

her empty moon eyes

not unlike those of a salem sorceress

lips now lined intricately with silver

I shiver,

the knowledge that her soul is no different than that of

a volatile cat

pricks at me,

though not deflating longing

seeing my lovat eyes pierce into the cracked glass of her mirror

she inquires if she looks alright

Impossible Reality

            

Impossible Reality

The breeze lifts my hair to the sky,

to the sun,

to the curve of my right ear.

He takes a large stride,

pauses when my face contorts,

tilts his head,

and steps back.

I can hear his mind’s voice

melting into my ear,

whispering,

desperate,

questioning.

My heart beats a mile a minute,

my thoughts blurred by

the brushstrokes of his hurt voice.

I reach out my hand to his,

but he pulls back.

His eyes glisten.

He starts to turn.

I feel half of me drift away

like a soul that leaves its body

in a horror movie.

Every stride he takes

makes me wonder

how I long for him

and still feel nothing.

How does a man love his child

but never hug her?

How does a cat feel content

but never purr?

How does a dog play fetch

but never wag her tail?

How do I let him walk away

and still not kiss him?

His feet step forward:

one on the white lines,

one on my chest.

The last of my hope shatters

as he curves around the bend

and disappears into the blinding sun.

A Moment In Thoughts

I hear them crying outside my room.

They think the walls are soundproof.

They’re not.

There are just a few seconds before I have no presence.

It’s like a blank before I faint.

This blank is forever.

I’m going blind.

I’m going deaf.

I can’t smell.

I can’t taste.

I can’t feel.

I won’t think.

I won’t love.

I won’t remember.

I won’t hope.

I will leave everyone behind.

They will keep remnants of me.

My will.

My grave.

My tombstone.

The bracelet I gave my daughter when she graduated.

The suit I gave my brother when he got married.

I will have nothing of them.

I will leave it all behind.

Slowly…

I am…

Gone…

The Master

Eep… I fell again…

Right foot forward.

Left foot forward…

And… I fall again…

Daddy, stop!

Stop laughing!

Sissy walks to me.

I am annoyed.

How does she walk?

How do humans do this?

I take another step and fall.

Mommy runs and picks me up.

I swing my legs.

I whine.

She puts me back down.

I try to run like her.

Oof… And I’m down again.

No fair!

Sissy can walk.

Mommy can run.

Daddy can run.

I just fall.

Sissy takes my doll.

She walks to her room.

I growl and scream.

That’s it.

I’m getting my doll.

I walk.

Right foot forward.

Left foot forward.

Right foot.

Left foot.

Right.

Left.

I see sissy.

I take the doll.

She claps.

She hugs me.

Daddy and Mommy clap.

I smile. I did it!

I walked!

I didn’t fall!

I am the master.

 

Back of the Class

I can’t see the writing on the board

or what my teacher is holding up

or the gestures she is making.

 

I can’t hear the videos on the screen

or when the quiet student asks a question

or what my teacher says.

 

I turn off my phone before class.

I take notes the best I can.

I never eat in the room.

 

I try my best to pass.

I do nothing wrong.

I love to learn.

 

People think I sit in the back to use my phone,

that I sneak out the back door to cut class,

that I pass notes to my neighbors under the table.

 

They don’t know that I sit in the back to hide my face,

that I sneak out the back door so I don’t panic,

that I hold a stress ball under the table.

 

They don’t know my name.

 

They Think I’m a Typical Jock

The stick hits the ball.

My hand shoots the ball.

The bat strikes the ball.

Anything with moving a ball:

You name it,

I’ve done it.

You name it,

I’ve also hated it.

But it’s better that I hit a ball

than that I get hit.

When you never do anything

at school,

before school,

or after school,

people ask questions.

No one questions a jock.

So I hit, shoot and strike balls.

If anyone asks,

my bruises are sports injuries.

I wish they were from sports.

I must have been an awful baby,

because my family hates me.

My mom starves me for a week

if I don’t do the laundry,

and my dad throws me against the wall

if I don’t make dinner for the five of us.

My older sister stops talking to me for a year

if I don’t get her a dress for her birthday,

and my older brother rapes me at night

if I don’t tutor him one day.

So I hit, shoot and strike balls.

Anything is better than being at home.

 

If My Mind Went on Strike

The pen is in my hand.

The story is in my mind.

There’s no such thing as not thinking.

I’m always thinking.

Always getting new ideas,

always mentally writing my next poem.

Always storing new quotes,

always planning a new plot line.

I don’t know what I would be thinking

if I wasn’t constantly creating.

Maybe I would be pondering

what sandwich tastes the best,

or what my favorite color is,

or what shirt I want for my birthday.

Would my mind be blank?

Void of thoughts,

of stories,

of ideas?

Would I then be able

to carry a conversation

with the teenager next door?

Or would I just lose myself?

Would I suffer eternal depression

if my mind went on strike?

If being creative makes me different,

I don’t want to be the same.

 

Blue Room

          

The Sleeper by the Edge of the River

 

The water receives her.

 

every day her heart is open to the sound of waves.

always the same sound, the same deafening sound.

her everyday rhythms were coordinated by

the sounds of the waves,

till they filled the marrow in her bones

and she walked, unknowingly, to the beat of the waves

and she moved, unknowingly, to the beat of the waves.

 

she became like a conch shell, and

when you held her next to you,

you could feel her body

quivering with the movement of the waves.

 

the sleeper by the edge of the river….

she made a hammock of the silken water and

the reeds, threaded together to hang in the

night sky, while the latticework of stars above her

acted as a great blanket, because all the world was enveloping her

in bed.

 

my sleeper by the edge of the river.

She holds tiger lilies in her gaze.

 

*

 

she’s a face full of blooming buttercups,

her laugh deep and rich as

those heavy hazelnuts falling from the

hazelnut tree, twirling through the air and

landing on the ground with a soft

thump, impregnating the air with their

amorous ripeness.

her freckles are nutty and brown, the color of

plum blossom branches,

while the flush of her cheeks are like

plum blossoms themselves.

 

her tempestuous eyes hold

sea storms and gales,

men have drowned

and lost their ships,

fallen under those black waters

in those eyes

 

her skin’s fair as the cream from the

top of the bottle,

but she’s got hair black as the bottom of

the coffee pot.

i ran my hands through it once.

it was soft.

like spools of clouds being threaded.

 

she’s an enchantress, my muse, a

something-sweet secret

held high above others….

though, for me,

she brushes aside her billowing clouds of hair, and

hides love in the furrows of her sleeve.

 

MTA

     

Cleanliness is nonexistent.

The rush of the system takes over.

Dirt and love coexisting.

Flying through tunnels and darkness.

 

The rush of the system takes over.

As the young and the old unite.

Flying through tunnels of darkness.

A music and culture smoothie awaits the lips of community.

 

As the young and the old unite.

We are covered in loud rhythmic love.

Flying through tunnels of darkness.

An ocean of difference and humanity.

 

We are covered in loud rhythmic love.

Zooming through our sleep-deprived home.

An ocean of difference and humanity.

As the platform door is closed

 

Zooming through our sleep-deprived home

Cleanliness is nonexistent.

As the platform door is closed.

Dirt and love coexisting.

 

Food Memories

 

Strawberry frosted donuts with rainbow sprinkles on top, eaten before going to the train store. Watching toy trains rush by on wooden tracks, licking the frosting from my fingers.

 

Long nights at the dining room table, suffering through the Passover Seder.

Each course drawn out and extended with prayer.

I only eat matzah with butter, several sheets of it, until my stomach aches.

 

Searching for the perfect hamburger, combination of juicy and charred.

Find my Holy Grail, a medium-well cheeseburger and fries, with a chocolate milkshake.

Order at Ted’s Bulletin, a restaurant nestled in Capitol Hill, secretly hiding fried fatty goodness.

 

Everything about the food in Paris.

The cheese, sharp and best paired with crunchy crackers.

Dark chocolate, melting into my mouth.

Buttery bread that unpeeled in layers, light and flaky.

 

Jewish food, passed down for generations.

My mom, like the matriarchs of old, spending hours preparing.

Noodle Kugel, steaming hot and topped with cinnamon. Served in slabs, thick and fattening. Recipes created before saturated fat and calories, when it was okay to add a stick of butter to a meal.

 

Buying popcorn and Snow Caps at Blockbuster’s, while searching for a DVD.

Looking at rows of Pez dispensers with cartoon characters’ heads on top.

Searching for which Push candy or Baby Bottle Pop I want, always deciding on the pinkest one, strawberry.

 

Stew Leonard’s in Danbury Connecticut.

Camp field trips ending with a stop at this gigantic grocery store with a buffet.

Piling carts with candy and chips, what I lacked at camp.

Getting steaming hot buffet food and hoping I have enough money to pay for my four pounds of mac and cheese.

 

Browsing the aisles of Hinata, the sushi shop my parents went to when I was little.

Looking for “boy and girl” cookies, chocolate pops with children faces on them.

Chewing several Pocky sticks at a time, the biscuit ends sticking out of my mouth.

 

New Year’s Eve 2005, ordering a fizzy pink Shirley Temple with my Chinese food.

Bubbles bouncing in my throat, popping like balloons.

Swearing to stay up until midnight, but falling asleep in the restaurant, my plate untouched.

 

Identified

             

a name

is your most personal possession,

identifying you.

perhaps you may share a name with another,

share an understanding.

a name is as much a part of you

as a fingerprint.

yours, unique,

or shared.

there is nothing wrong with shared.

allow your name to be spoken, whispered, shouted.

let your name describe you, become you,

all your own

even if it is shared.

shared is still yours.

your name belongs to you and belongs to

the people who know you by it.

a name defines you from everyone else.

there is nothing wrong with everyone else,

but your name makes you different,

or maybe similar.

after all, shared is fine.

so allow your name

to identify you.

because a

name

is your most personal possession.

 

My Love

     

Love reminds me of a shirt I made for my sister,

sweet candy yams.

Love is my sister at Coney Island at night,

going on rides with me,

taking pictures,

going in the water.

it’s blue and cold,

warm,

quiet.

 

Love reminds me of my brother,

sitting on a beach, playing with the rabbit on the beach

playing with the sand.

I’m watching my sister and brother

so they can play.

“I love you,” she says.

“Da, da, da,” he says. “Ga, ga, ga,” he says.

“I love you, too.”

 

Love reminds me of singing at church,

it’s big, it’s brown, and it has bricks,

my grandmother is there praying,

praying about our family,

and for others.

 

Life Lost, Love Hidden

  

Life lost love hidden I lost it all in one sittin’

so I grabbed a pen and pad and started spittin’

I’m more than a conqueror so there’s no quittin’

even now it feels like my heart’s been ripped from my chest

but I keep flowin’

tryin’ to not let emotions be showin’

even now the pain keeps growin’

 

Life lost love hidden

Life lost love hidden

Life lost love hidden

 

a lot of people in my life aren’t here no more

but I’m gunna keep growin’ for them for shore

just because you passed away doesn’t mean I need to close

all of life’s doors today

 

life lost love hidden

life lost love hidden

life lost love hidden

 

Mom you’ve been gone for so long

and I would like to introduce you to our life song

tellin’ you that I never steer myself wrong

 

life lost love hidden

life lost love hidden

life lost love hidden

 

Life gained when my left wrist got sprained everything seemed ta change

my maturity surely has gained since my left wrists got sprained

I repeat my sprained wrist because that’s my only tick

 

Gained my level

lost my level

Second time I lost my mind,

But I know this isn’t gunna be the last time

That I have to keep my mind

But I have to do good to keep my mind

Meaning I have to be mature to see my past in a good mind

Not having to ask anybody if they have the time

I matured because now I can understand the word no

so I’m gunna keep maturing for show

and I got everything on track and that’s why I’m back

 

Unknown

      

Today Is A Good Day, But Tomorrow Is Unknown,

The Past Already Happened. That’s Why I Left It Alone.

When People Make Mistakes, It’s Hard To Recover,

You Can’t Love One Who Doesn’t Love Another.

Love Don’t Cost A Thing. Love Is Everything

It’s A Motivation, Like Red Bull That Gives You Wings.

 

When I was a young boy, I never had a childhood like all the others,

Bad in school, coming home and getting beat by my mother.

It was times like those that made me worse,

Living on the streets, holding guns, and making bullets burst.

But Imma get back to reality and finish off this piece that I’m working on,

carrying on with life like words from a number one song.

 

Hope

“There is none.
You are stuck in a trash compactor.” – Star Wars
Hope is a test
A test you have not studied for
A test you cannot study for
A test you will fail
… at least that is what some will say
But Hope is not what people tell You
Hope is what YOU make!
You make hope for Yourself
You can make Hope for Others
You can be Hope
Because
Hope is free and Hope is great
I love Hope
I Hope you find it too
I will always love Hope

Ben’s Space Poem

       

3, 2, 1. The ship is off!

So much smoke, sounds like a cough.
The captain is yelling what to do,
But his voice is lost to the engine’s loud vroom.
From the Earth to simply explore,
We always want peace, but never want war.
3009 is the year that we chose,
But the year we come back, nobody knows.
A minor glitter up in the clouds,
The spot is now empty where once there were crowds.
Off we go in outer space,
Into that mysterious place.
What will we see? Will we see life?
Maybe black holes? Or the portal of strife?
Our crew is made up of four astronauts:
A cook, captain, engineer, and me, for the thoughts.
Spaceship roaring past the moon,
Looks like a little grey balloon.
There it is floating in orbit of earth,
but it’s now behind us, for all that it’s worth.
Now to Jupiter the rocket goes.
There, we make friends. Friends and foes.
We choose our captain to first come out,
And explain to the creatures that we’re just roaming about.
The creatures there, called Jupitariens
are little red-spotted things, little red-spotted aliens.
They have tentacles and a mouth with many rows of teeth
because the only food on Jupiter are the crops on the heath.
Drops of acid ooze out of them as they move around,
And all of it seeps in the poor, clabbered ground.
They have eight eyes positioned around their small heads,
this is so that they do not wind up dead.
These creatures are to each other quite savage,
But when others come, they do not at all ravage.
Those who are friendly to us must have had food,
But the ones who are hungry are the ones who were rude.
Some try to help with advice, others not.
But Jupiter’s now just a tiny, red spot.
An asteroid is coming our way.
“What do we do?” to each other we say.
The others say it’s my call to deduce
The best course of action, but I am not Zeus!!!
Boom! Our ship is aggressively swayed,
From the collision, but signals now fade.
We now have no contact with home,
or anywhere else where we might roam.
Our ship is running out of food.
We ask Pluto’s people. “No.” We’re screwed.
We thought that we’d finally get what we need,
because we have quite a few mouths to feed.
“What did we ever do to you?”
“Why not just help us? Why not give us food?”
Our spaceship now exits the solar system.
“See you later!” The spaceship kisses ’em.
Off into mystery lands our ship goes.
“But where to?” Nobody knows.
The spaceship’s speed increases quite fast.
Now the ship goes full speed at last.
Quarter lightspeed, does it go.
That speed you cannot call slow.
Stars around it seem to bend.
Thank the speed for that, my friend.
Running low on fuel now,
Where to re-fill? Where and how?!
But wait! One idea we have;
We can stop on the comet. The comet called Dǻv.
The creatures there, called Romniaks,
Are all very different and travel in packs.
They will hunt and eat whatever’s in sight,
And will suck on the bones all the way through the night.
Those four-legged creatures look kind of like apes,
But in all different colors and all different shapes.
Our cook ask the Romniaks for fuel and food,
And we do get it, not a moment too soon.
For if we were without it for a moment longer,
we would have lost, outer space being stronger.
We see something interesting far to the right,
And we direct our ship there. Was that wrong or right?
I pull out my notebook and get ready to write,
About this object as we get pulled right
Off of our course and get spun around. Why can’t we go there? I thought it was our right
To go where we please. As we right
Our course to head back towards the object, we’re pulled back again! Oh, right.
So we can’t go there. Now what?

Courage

       

Some people have courage

I do not always think I had it

But now I know I did

 

Everyone has courage,

Courage to do what makes them happy

 

Courage is a choice

A choice is always on the table

If you want to do something great, you should

Because courage is a beautiful thing

 

It is free… and yes

Courage is not easy

But if you really want something

 

You will find it!

 

Search for it

It is there

It has always been there

 

Courage

 

White

 

  White is a color that shines like the moon.

White is a color that breaks through the gloom.

White is so pale that it bleaches the dark.

White is the fog and the mist bright and stark.

White is the cotton balls, clouds, and the snow.

White is sharp diamonds and fangs just for show.

White is the truth and white is a lie,

white is the drab and the blank hazy sky.

White is the rough waters only just forming,

but white is the pure note that brings the dove’s mourning.

White could be thicker, and white could be fuller,

but let’s face it, white’s just the absence of color.

The tree I used to dream under was cut down to make room for the extension

 

There was a jar

filled with Ring Pops

that she would always

pull out for me.

Don’t tell your mother,

or she would kill me,

she laughed.

There was a

stream in the backyard,

and I used to pretend

I was in Bridge to Terabithia,

beside the girl,

dying, of course.

My aunt’s old room

was filled with Beatles posters,

and an elliptical from the 70s.

I never saw my mom’s room.

It’s funny, I said to her,

Your hair didn’t used

to be red.

She would smile that smile.

The house was sold and they

decided to move to

an apartment,

where I slept on

their pullout couch and

ate Fruit Loops.

Don’t tell your mother

she whispered. It’s

our little secret.

She likes to volunteer at every museum and park and organization in the city

    

The stream

looped around

the yard near the fence,

and I begged her to

put a bridge in so

I could cross it.

What would you be

crossing towards? She

always questioned.

I didn’t bother to answer.

How could you talk to

someone about the infinite,

when they could only ever

see to the fence?

When was she trapped in

a marriage by the time

she was eighteen

to a man she met when

she was fourteen? When

she got an 100 on her math

regents and went to

college, but had to stay

home to be a mom of the

Baby Boomers?

When her children were

raised in a home filled with

loud voices and bruises,

and nights spent crying where

she thought they couldn’t see her.

I used to wish that I would

Grow up to be just like her,

living in a nice house with a

stream out back.

Then I started to see

the paint peeling and

the wood rotting and

the stream drying up.

I used to wish I could be her

But she used to wish

she could be past the fence.

Bloody Sunday

She mistakes blood for love,

which is why each time

his hands ache from

the punches or

her stomach is

smeared red,

her eyes gloss over

starry-eyed.

This, she thinks,

is what her mother meant

by “an endless honeymoon.”

 

She mistakes blood for love,

which is why when she looks

at her bony knees,

scabbed and dyed purple,

she smiles.

Her hands trace the

coarse surface,

each bump a love letter

typed in bangs and cracks.

This, she thinks,

is what her mother meant

by “modern romance.”

 

She mistakes blood for love,

which is why when he

comes home at 12:27 a.m.

on valentine’s day,

drunk on cheap liquor

and stale cigarettes,

she glows.

“Would you turn that down?”

he says,

“it’s too damn bright.”

She’s confused.

She thought he liked it

when her open wounds

glistened in the moonlight.

 

She mistakes blood for love,

which is why when he

approaches her,

eyes shaded a darker blue,

she does not cower.

His fingers wrap

around her neck.

This necklace is

the present no one

asked for.

A bouquet of

violet irises

and pale blue bellflowers

sprout from her throat.

 

He lets go.

So does she.

 

“There,”

he says to

her limp body

now glowing a different way,

“A little color to remind you

of my arrow.”

It was Beth Israel before Mount Sinai took it over she explains as we get off the subway

  

I watch as she sleeps.

Easy, is the word

that comes to mind.

Is this what she’ll look like

when she dies?

If. Repeating in my head,

like a never ending mantra.

If, if, if, you must remember if.

Something’s in my eye.

Does this hospital have tissues?

The box is blue and marbled.

Focus on that.

Don’t worry, I just have allergies.

She speaks sometimes, but I can’t

liisten. I don’t want to hear

the jumbled nonsense coming out of her

drug filled mouth.

She wakes to complain that

it’s been three hours

since her last dose of

Oxycontin.

Pick your poison, he laughs.

The window looks out

to a brick wall.

A hand is placed on my shoulder,

reminding me there is only

5 minutes left in visiting hours.

 

Heartbeat

He’s every toddler on the floor

who looks at you and turns away,

who smirks and laughs and grabs your hair,

‘cuz it’s all he needs to make his day.

 

But hidden beneath his sunlit face

lies a fear not taught but instilled deep.

Not that of hidden caves and ghostly heights,

but that of blood and loss and death

 

because no magic can bring back the dead.

No lie can change the past.

No words can erase the pain.

Memories forever last.

 

The static of a thousand rays

captured in the tear

of a heartbeat,

a silent scream ripping through the swallowed air.

 

A nightmarish fracture of the jagged gunshot.

Eyes grappling through the sudden bang

of lost light,

a broken black cloud forever expanding, consuming.

 

The pounding of a vacant heartbeat

drowning in a web of trying lies.

Tangled voices pushing through

the rest of his life blown right by.

 

We read these stories,

a country restless and upset.

We grieve, we call for change,

then our lives push and we move on.

Tightrope

   

If I could balance on a tightrope,

if my bare toes could grip the sides of the string,

I’d walk over a rain forest.

 

I used to imagine that the water in these places

couldn’t even reach the ground

because of how close together the leaves are.

 

I could stand there, the rain

–– usually so strong ––

not even mighty enough

to penetrate the green,

or knock me off my rope.

 

Maybe I would hear the birds singing

over the loud thunder,

or maybe it would be silent.

 

Except for the patter of the rain against the leaves,

still trying to reach the ground.

 

Or perhaps I would stroll across a fire.

I could watch the destruction

and the beauty,

without letting anything reach me,

especially the smoke.

 

I would be so high up,

my legs stiff and light.

The blaze of the flames might dance

and make shadows on my cheeks,

but it wouldn’t burn my eyes.

 

I could stare until the embers died away,

and I had to find my next destination.

 

If I could balance on a tightrope,

I might walk,

overlooking all the people I’d put in front of me.

 

Then I could say I was simply above them.

Over them.

Then I’d be even,

balanced.

 

I would walk over my house.

I would look through the chimney,

and watch my family talk without me.

 

Sometimes,

I like to listen to them speak

and drown in their sentences,

without saying a word.

 

Sometimes,

I hide out,

just like when I was little

and wanted someone to find me.

 

Or, perhaps,

I would walk through a valley of stars.

I’d look at the moon,

and try to tell Frank Sinatra that no kiss could ever compare

to the white rock spinning before me.

 

My best friend and

I like to talk about the universe

late at night.

 

Our legs and minds

entangled with

bodies and fears,

 

shaky voices asking questions

we know can’t be answered.

 

If I went further into the open,

I could go back and tell her that

the infinity we were so afraid of

could envelop a person,  

 

and maybe it wouldn’t feel so far away

from home.

 

If I could balance on a tightrope,

I would take a rest over a mountain-

 

I would be tired from all the adventures

I’ve already planned.

 

Maybe I’d let my feet hang off the side.

 

Maybe I’d try to touch the peak,

the lightly-oxygenated winds

making me feel dizzy.

 

I’d watch as the climbers struggled

to find the top,

maybe find something else.

 

I would giggle,

trying to whisper to them

to merely find a tightrope.

 

My words would be drowned out,

though,

by the swinging winds.

 

But my inner-ears

have always been

a little bit off.

 

I’m not the most stable.

 

Sometimes,

I trip.

 

And although I’ve never

been afraid of heights,

 

I can’t see myself

balancing

on a tightrope.

 

No matter how much

  I would like to explore

 

with a bird’s eye view.

 

So, I guess I’m stuck here,

my feet on the earth.

 

Maybe it’ll keep me humble.

 

Grounded.

 

Lost

I was born into an endless maze,

like the one people drag pencils through.

Dawning a facade of hope each night,

waking to the same walls unmoved.

 

The thick grey hedges grew tall,

taller each day.

Not a sunlit filter of leaves

but a wall opaque and faint.

 

Everything an ebbing deception.

A brilliant ray of contrasting white,

the sudden edge of a greying shadow

objects of failing imagination.

 

Looking to the sky to the soaring birds,

yearning to be but themselves

as the stars ice over darkness

into a blissful escape they delve

 

and realize

 

the reason for the dark clouds

raining tears of bitter memory,

is that we live no longer in a maze

but a circle –– of loss, of poverty.

 

The paths that stray

are clouded with mist,

leading only to pain

still penniless.

 

The teardrop lets go its final thread

and it sends a ripple across the sky.

The sun cast its response,

shooting a ray wide and high.

 

Perhaps we claim this flash blinds our narrow minds,

or the mist clouds our earnest sight,

or the rain closes our parochial hearts,

or the darkness forbids our competent height.

 

Yet all are lies,

but the fault lies not within our sense,

but within our mind

where we refuse to make amends.

 

Forever in this cornerless circle,

first step they walked, first day they talked

homeless, powerless and jobless,

only hope and love they sought.

 

A pencil in hand,

a hedge axe on our side,

yet we stand

immobilized.

The Bear Rap

Yesterday, my principal became a pear.

Little did I know that she was friends with a bear!

I saw the pear on the table –– I chewed it up.

The bear came and threw me –– into a cup.

The cup turned out to be a trashcan.

I was thrown into the junkyard, by the Trash Man.

I swam out of the junkyard and saw my mom.

I yelled but she was busy on Facebook.com!

I eventually got out and took a bath.

So when I see that bear

he will, FACE MY WRATH!

Destinations

 It lies on the dusty shelf of the living room

coffee table.

A placeholder

to fill in the empty grey spaces

when guests arrive.

Woven navy cover

dark threads containing

the shy, protruding spine

and fading gold gilded letters:

Atlas of the World.

You’d flip through the thick sections

when there was nothing to do,

and the sky was so heavy,

and the sunlight so strained.

It suffocated your thoughts,

but those pages weren’t like those cheap paperbacks

you’d find, discarded in a bookstore’s pungent corner.

They were almost… alive,

heavy, smooth, warm under your fingertips.

The strong steady blue

punctuated by splashes of blooming land,

rough borders that embrace

like long lost lovers.

You’d turn through those maps

and they would breathe shaky swallows,

rattling the house,

tearing down the rafters,

whispering of places that are waiting,

wild, green, and patient

for you.

This Place Called Home

  

I come from a place where quarters are

tailored as lustrous silver buttons

strung together with the residue riches

of small town life.

The houses are planted like

impeccable lego ziggurats

with their roots clutching on

for generations too long;

and the children here beam with

straight white pearls

that reflect off the silver linings of

embellished rusty clouds.

 

Here–the crime rates are as low

as the stress is high

with the nerve picking pressure

of decisions to be made.

Gaping mouths and parched throats,

gasping for four magic words:

fame, money, success, power,

fame, money, success, power.

There is a constant velvet pretense

masking closed plastic doors

and an incessant gloom smothered

with upper class glamour.

 

Just last week, I saw a girl with depletion

carved on her forearms.

Her eyes

are still sketched in my mind.

And yes,

clean classrooms have taught me

exhaustion in three different languages,

but I’m still more drained than

these tongues will know.

I come from a town known for its

lustrous silver buttons,

but here,

smiles are bought with pennies.

The Telephone Wants to Retire

   

She is tired of sending wired hugs

she no longer wants to hear tearful goodbyes

and screaming hurts her electronic ears

She has already learned the code of voices

the nervous giggles of first date calls

the half hungover messages to work

and the infamous breakup over a call

 

new generations of little girls and boys

say they prefer text anyways

they hate the sounds of their own voice

She now knows the difference between

a sister and a roommate and a cousin once removed

the obvious contrasts of

mother and a mom and beloved mommy

and she knows if the news is good or bad

just by how they say hello.

 

The Ten Sailors

  

There once was a grand old man

who was trying to get a tan.

He was having a great day

sailing away

until he fell down and drowned.

 

There now was a new sailor,

his name was Taylor.

He lived on a floating trailer.

He was eating bark

when he got bit by a huge shark.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Dan.

He was friends with the grand old man

and was trying to get a tan.

He was eating poison pie

while looking at the sky,

then he realized he was about to die.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Peter.

He was a big reader,

but when someone stole a book

and threw it in the ocean,

he took a hook and fished for the book.

But when he hooked a dolphin he fell in

and grabbed its fin and was never to be found again.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Andy.

He loved candy.

When he ate a lot his teeth would rot,

a dentist would would come in handy

But since no one cared

he died from despair

and now there is no Andy.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Tom.

He was mad at his mom.

His mom got sick and threw a rock at his favorite brother Nick.

The rock missed and hit Tom’s fist

and broke all his bones.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Bob.

He got a job as a sailor.

He was having a great day sailing away hitting the nae nae.

He hit the whip and cracked his lip.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Jack.

He was born in a sack.

He was having a great day sailing away

Until a bale of hay hit his back

He fell down and never came back.

 

There now was a new sailor.

His name was Noah.

He loved to eat only one type of nut.

He also had a big butt

He died from choking on a nut.

 

There once was a man named Chuck.

He lived on a floating duck.

He was rowing all day

Working away

Until he passed away.

 

Anyone else want to become a sailor?

judas is crying now

 the old me was exuberant

she was small and confident

her cheeks shone yellow like the sun

she could jump on flowers

use the petals as landing pads

and if she stepped on a worm

she shrugged her shoulders and kept running

 

that old me died in an explosion that burned bright in the night

the flames billowed like sheets hung out to dry, caressed by the wind

i couldn’t tell you why or where it was

but i could hear the boom of timbers breaking

i could feel the stirring in my soul of a simple melody gone gravely wrong

i could feel a piece i had no idea existed fall out of my chest and splinter on the pavement with an almost musical melancholy sigh

 

i was called to the funeral, and i wore a yellow dress

to commemorate the color of her cheeks

 

i realized my mistake when i saw that

everyone else was wrapped in black and frowning at me

 

after the services someone pulled out a radio

rusted with blue nostalgia

they put on her favorite song and asked me if i would dance to it

for i looked just like her

 

i tried to match the steps but

the music got faster and the dancing more twisted my foot struck the edge

of the radio i hopped in pain the radio stopped and

i fell and they kept frowning and

i started crying and holding my foot and wishing

for something

wishing to be something

that wasn’t her

all i felt was one word ringing through the pathways of my body as if i was standing

on a huge bell

impostor

impostor

impostor

Summer Break

  

When your chains are on for long enough

They start to become part of your body.

When you shed the chains,

It is like losing a part of you,

And you are free.

 

But the knowledge that one day

The chains will return

Seizes your liberty.


The pseudo-carte blanche

Put in place by a totalitarian regime

Takes control of its subjects

In the most vicious of ways.

 

With no second option to turn to,

We, the victims, turn to our moments of indulgence

To liberate us from the constraints that bind us

To an entity that has no mercy,

Gives no purpose,

And only takes.

 

The only thing we have to lose is our shackles.

His Eyes Through a Window

The newborn child

opened his eyes

and blinked into the sunlight of the coming dawn.

The open window breathed in fresh air

and he did too,

taking in oxygen for the first time.

Eventually,

the tiny blue eyes of the child

found the curtains covering the glass

and the crack of light they let through.

His crystal eyes caught a glimpse of the outside world,

a world filled with natural beauty,

a world that sang with joy from the perfect chaos of nature.

The birds could be heard by the tiny one,

birds that just wanted to fly, fly,

higher than the sun

and the stars.

The people wished the same,

the ones the child could watch,

pacing up and down the lawns.

But they argued with one another,

and cried for one another,

and embraced one another.

They fought and fought,

watching the shadows play on the faces of the rest

and the tears run down from their eyes,

a silent warning

of any coming storm.

The bright sun was darkened by a cloud,

and the child’s face was concealed in darkness.

When the rain fell,

he watched the raindrops hit the window

and fall to the dusty sill,

darkening his world.

The people outside shifted,

their decisions focused on themselves, using their coats

to shield the raindrops from their already

tear-stained faces.

As he watched,

the lightning flashed a warning to the child,

and the thunder clapped along.

Frightened,

the tiny newborn turned away

and instead rested his eyes on his mother;

he saw the tired woman

who sat across from him on the grey sheets,

her blonde head framed

by the whitewashed walls.

She looked back at her child with a mixture of contempt

and love.

Confused, he searched for a father

to hold him

when the mother could not.

But the only man in the room was an old doctor

with greying hair

and stitches in his old coat

that had been ripped and torn

too many times.

He held the boy up,

and so the child saw the fatigue in his dark face,

the pity in his eyes.

They were grey,

stormy like the clouds

conversing outside his window.

The child was sorrowful,

disappointed in the lack of color in this dusty room

with too many bookshelves.

He heard his mother speak,

her voice softer

than the fierce demeanor that she breathed.

She blinked once,

Slowly,

asking for the child

without words

but with actions.

The doctor obeyed, walking, almost flying

to her with the grace of an eagle.

The child felt movement,

felt himself soar over the obstacles in his path,

his reward being the outstretched arms

of his mother that seemed too cold.

The quiet young woman

leaned over her baby,

allowing her thin blonde hair

to tickle his soft skin.

She whispered in his tiny ear. The sounds,

though incomprehensible to him,

were soothing.

Her voice washed over the small body

and he relaxed,

his tiny blue fist unclenching.

The doctor, too old and tired to help,

looked on with the eyes of a man

who has gone through too much pain.

The mother,

like so many,

let her tears fall, and the dark water

fell from her clouded eyes

to his bright ones.

The tiny,

blue,

unwanted child in her cold arms

looked out the grey window,

and,

for the last time,

closed his

eyes.

Winter Fashion

   

I stand. Strong. Waiting for the demon.

The demon that fights for greed.

He stomps. Angry. Waiting to destroy

family. Family that fights for love.

He arrives.

Its demon comes out and tries to break our love.

Love between my love.

Love between my life.

 

My love I cared for when nature gave her to me.

The one I carried through the rain.

The one I carried through life.

Last night.

Deep asleep.

Not knowing the future.

Not knowing tomorrow.

Knowing demons are there.

But never knowing tomorrow.

 

She awoke from my fur.

Stomach growling.

Not from demons. From hunger.

The demon’s servant obeys its master,

Shutting its rusted jaw on my love’s feet.

Broken bones.

Red

red

Scream

scream

scream.

No way to leave

she tries to struggle free.

I stand. She can do nothing but watch

Watch as I try

to protect

Her

 

A screech behind me. I snap

back to the present.

I cannot leave.

Or the demons will come

and she will be alone.

Alone with her blood. Her tears

to lick her wounds.

I look behind.

My beautiful love.

Covered with red and fear.

 

It comes in close.

The smell of blood

lingering in the air.

The smell of our dead

brothers hanging on its shoulders.

Its demons blow me aside.

Red consumes me

 

It looks down on my love with angry eyes.

Angry with hate that comes from greed.

Angry with nothing to be angry about.

Angry for nothing my love has done.

The demon devours her eyes.

Her beautiful eyes.

Red consumes her whole.

 

I watch.

I scream.

I die.

Weeping as my love goes by.

My innocent love.

She has done nothing wrong.

But no, loving and living and breathing is wrong.

My love is gone,

To be dragged along to a place of no hope

Her beautiful face

Bouncing along the broken path

That leads to a place of death

 

And I can do nothing.

But watch and hope.

 

Hope the demon will bring her back.

Back by my side.

So we can run like we used to.

So we can kiss like we used to.

So we can laugh like we used to.

So we can howl and smile and play

Like we used to.

 

My broken heart

A product of my false dreams

Of her ever returning to me

 

A year later I meet my love

the same way she met God.

Except no one stood for me.

No one licked my tears away

As I had done for my love

The demons had already taken those

That would have stood for me.

That would have cried with me.

That would have kissed me until it came.

give and take

 

 I take

3 hard candies in my hand and

slip them out of their plastic shells.

I pop each one into my mouth

with a quick movement,

So no one can see what I’ve done.

 

I take

pictures of leaves and flowers and hands

and then delete them.

I hide them so well

That they’re never found,

And I shake my head when

People see my camera

And ask if I take any good pictures.

 

I take

insults

And warp them until they’re

All I can hold onto.

Subtle, teasing comments

That shouldn’t mean anything.

 

I take

Tests and lose my sanity

For 44 minutes.  

 

I give

hesitant hugs and lemon drops with smiles that taste just as sour.   

 

I give

Averted glances and

Tired, trembling high fives.   

 

I’ve given

until my hands are so empty and raw that they hurt too much to take.

 

I can’t take from others

Because I know how hard it is to give.   

We’re still kids with

Sticky fingers,

Stuck to rapacity and red life savers.  

 

I take

books and fall asleep with them so the pages are crumpled where I finished reading.

 

I take

water and let it slip through the cracks between each finger,

Long showers that lull

My environmentalist mind to sleep.   

 

I take

Deep breaths

Between giggles or sobs ––

It makes no difference.   

 

I take

a dictionary and shake it hard

so the words have new meanings.   

 

I take

walks.  

I take

my friends’ hands when we walk through cemeteries

because it’s scary and cold,

But their fingers aren’t.   

 

I take

Minutes to myself.  

Sunday mornings where I lay under a snowy white mountain of blankets,

The sun creeping in through my window;

I take

her in with open arms.  

 

I take for myself,

From myself.  

 

I take

3 hard candies

And rip them out of their plastic shells,

So everyone knows that I’m here

And ready to take.

 

The Story of Autumn

   

Bouncing piles of leaves radiate riveting reds and yellows.

Orange sunlight seems a little less bright than the thousands of leaves around you.

 

With the cool wind tickling your neck, it feels like you could stay here forever,

prancing in the forest of your backyard, seeming so much bigger now that it’s full.

 

Strangely, a small brown leaf with crinkled edges sits in a small clearing as if on purpose.

You dismiss the event as the fun of the season continues to invade your mind.

 

As you plan to make a leaf pile, a work of childish creation, the brown leaf sits at the edge of your vision. You put it at the top. Quite strange, how sending it to its imminent toppling seems to be a nice gesture.

 

Unfortunately, as many have said, everything comes to an end.

 

As the brisk air sharpens, reds and yellows turn to dirty browns.

 

Standing outside, you try to cram in the last bit of fun on one of the sunnier mornings,

but nothing has the right color or quality, and your efforts turn into a depressing way to start the day.

 

Reluctantly helping along, you and your family put the leaves in bags, tossing everything away,

just reminding you further that this incredible season is coming to an end.

 

A process taking minutes stretches to hours in your mind

as each and every leaf becomes a tidbit of sadness building inside you.

 

You can almost feel the fall wind being sucked away by the same vacuum

that seemed to suck away the spirit of the season.

 

As your family finishes up, one leaf remains. A small brown leaf with crinkled edges.

As a crystal of white lands on it and melts on its surface, you know his time is over.

Moonlight

  

I crawl into bed and put my sheets on.

“Good night Shimmer,” I murmur to my dog.

My eyes close and I drift to sleep.

A few hours later I open them and it’s still night.

It should have been morning by now.

 

I look outside to a strange sight.

The

moon

  is

falling.

I jump out of bed and run outside.

The moon lands in the stream

near my house causing it to glow

a sparkly moonlight.

The light goes down the stream

past other houses. I run by the side

of the stream to see how far it goes.

It starts heading towards a waterfall.

As it goes down

the waterfall,

lt starts to sparkle more!

The waterfall leads to the ocean.

The moonlight starts filling the ocean.

I sit by the water and reach

a finger out to touch it.

As I touch it, my skin starts

to glow the bright moonlight.

I glow more and more

and start flying toward the sky.

 

The next thing I know,

I am in bed again,

looking out the window

and the moon is back in the sky.

 

I think it was just a dream,

but it’s hard to know for sure

 

My skin is still slightly glowing.

birds singing

  

the birds sang your song best when I first fell into you

When you first tickled my palm

On those warm july mornings

 

the serum of their melody

like cough syrup

dwindling down the cavity of my chasm

–– oh!

what a hymn!

the climax of something

of everything

of the in between

of the organ as the keys quake my small steeple

Slicing away at the foundation

I thank god

For his divine intervention that brought your song to me

as I scratch at your hand

trying to get used to the elevation

 

the birds sighed your stolen song most begrudgingly right after you left

To kiss another’s cheek

On those icy December mornings

like Satan himself

whispering velvet into my ear about how you’re not here

licking mocks of your blessings on my wrist

–– ah!

it’s blasphemy

the kiss of sweet sacrilege

molten saliva dripping down my jaw

all around me is black

except for your old tee shirt ––

as my stars

–– but you’re lightyears away with a galaxy named after a different sun

 

the birds still sing your beaten-up song

When she broke your heart

And you flew back to me

But I grew tired of hearing it

My Body Is a Temple

 My body is a temple

Anyone may walk

Through my propylaia

Who needs to pray.

I lay brick upon brick

On top of my

Concaving shoulders:

Being their Atlas.

My columns bear

The weight of their troubles;

I am crumbling

But I still stand.

 

My body is a temple.

I am stagnant.

I serve others

But receive nothing

In return.

Not because it

Isn’t offered

But because I

Am my own Caryatids.

 

My body is a temple.

I am given thanks

But sometimes taken

For granted.

Everyone’s names

Have been carved

Into my skin:

A permanent reminder

Of who I buttressed.

No stone quite fits

The piece of me they removed.

 

My body is a temple.

Extroversion is mixed

In my mortar.

Human interaction is

What holds me together.

 

My body is a temple.

I am ever-changing

My presence in their life

My cellas hold unique meanings

to each individual.

 

My body is a temple.

Though vandalized,

Every mark left behind

On my frieze tells a story

and helps me grow.

My own experiences

Improve my ability to aid.

 

My body is a temple

And I feel blessed everyday.

Pearls

 

As I watch

The cattails blowing

in the wind

It begins to rain

Perfect drops

Falling from the sky

Each one

As luminous as a pearl

Falling

on the leaves

the water

the grass

Each drop

Glides

Down each leaf

Akin to a glass bead

And as I watch

Wanting

to see more

Yearning

For the cold

Slippery

Feel

On my skin.

Perfect.

I want so

So

So

Much more.

But now

It’s gone.

Express Yourself

Rain In My Head

 

All drizzling down,

Each falling fast,

Collecting on the ground,

Forming clear droplets of water,

 

Gray covering the sky,

Dullness filling the air,

 

Just wishing it would end,

The thunder holding me back,

Compacted and shaking is what I am,

My mind without empty space,

My tears float down,

The darkness once within,

And now without,

 

So please, go away,

This day of black luster,

And as it does,

Clear the droplets from my mind.

 

 

A System Within

 

Nothing much does he look,

But in his mind,

His spirit has been poked then swallowed,

 

He is one of the simples,

One who portrays a deepening vision in every letter,

 

His eyes do linger,

Staring at the words is what he did,

But they lack the description of scribbles,

They display his inner mind,

The mind who desperately yearns to heal,

The one who is floating in black,

 

His eyes resemble the opposite,

A playful day,

Is nothing more than a dying soul,

 

So he writes,

Not of his sorrowful expressions,

But for what he hopes,

What he wishes.

 

 

Hatred,

Is it really something on which we dwell?

Or is it thoughts with which we comply?

What a twisted mind ponders?

 

Can colors change with hate?

The brightness of a shining day,

To the dullness of an empty night,

 

The missing pieces of a neglected heart,

All lost in hatred,

 

Life continues on with every golden rain storm,

And hatred is the black of the sun,

 

A barrier that blocks,

It tightly dismisses dreams,

 

So forever forget,

The meaning of an untruthful word,

Hate,

And discover the door to the beautiful world,

Love.

In Search Of

 you find it

at the bottom of a beer can.

wince

as cold metal pokes at your knuckles.

fingers grasp

at the paint-chipped edges:

red lead.

it’s a throw-away toy,

the kind you find

in a cereal box

or at your next orthodontist appointment.

“Purpose”

this rubix cube-shaped puzzle calls itself.

you don’t have instructions

and brain teasers are for the cerebral.

who needs a mind

when you’ve got hands like a roman emperor?

you throw away the plaything,

buy another 40 ounce,

and chuckle while your friends mock

your disappointment

when there’s no reward

for guzzling tinted nothing.

 

you find it next

in the voice of a millennial

you’ve been fucking

for the past month.

she talks about her old friend,

Purpose,

while you wrap a loose arm

around her waist.

the gods paint a psychedelic watercolor

on your window.

she misses Purpose more

than she’ll ever want you.

misses her petite hand

pulling her in a northward direction,

towards infinity,

while you blather

about the improbabilities of quantum physics.

you don’t mind.

tell her to keep your shirt.

pay for her cab.

wonder if stalking her is synonymous

with stalking Purpose.

 

you find it later

in the aura of a nightclub.

it’s the dark blue light

that makes everything enticing.

it’s the sweat on your brow

from trying not to think about

the implications of being twenty eight

and here on a wednesday.

mostly, it’s the name of the new dj,

Purpose,

who spins all your favorite tracks.

he adds a new bassline.

it thumps louder than the hum

you’re used to.

demands attention.

you think it’s a calling

but you’re not sure for what.

you have all that you want, right?

hands that can build

an entire army

and a home.

you leave the club

and amble directionless.

 

you find it last

in the timbre

of your alcoholics anonymous’ mantra.

it falls in between the platitudes

you know are placebos

but work

like ground up adderall.

it squeaks its way into your morning jog,

helps you count the steps

away from the unemployment office

and into your new cubicle.

it’s small

but you like the sound

your fingers make when they tap the keyboard.

it’s an awful lot like

Purpose.

Life

A sigh of loneliness whispered softly on a gentle morning breeze as the flowers bloomed and birds sang their songs of joy. The soft ruffling of her wings as a hummingbird fluttered to a new patch of flowers.

 

I stood alone watching the steady progress of the morning sunshine creeping across the sky. Butterflies fluttered around my head and leaped and froliced through the air. The flower’s fragrant aroma gently floated on the balmy morning breeze as the swing set in the deserted old playground creaked.

 

I was soaking up all this scenery as the ground shook with agony as if it had given up and was falling into an endless pit. The pavement cracked. The formerly warm, fragrant, clean air had changed to dank, dense, and murky air.

 

Despair seeped through the freshly gouged pavement and attacked me. It pummeled me from all angles. The despair crammed itself into  any nook and cranny that could be found in my body that wasn’t touched by contentment and happiness. My Hope and will to live started to drain. My thoughts were darkened and hate. Inexplicable hate swelled up inside me. It sloshed around inside me like some toxic waste feeding my hatred.

 

I grabbed at the butterflies trying to smush them. I lunged at the few birds that dared remain near me trying to rip their wings off and puncture  their souls. And I tried to deprive every living creature in sight of their life and their enjoyment in the cruel world. . .

 

But then one one little speck of light in amongst all the darkness said “No!” with such force that for a split second I left the darkness and saw light, hope, happiness, and life. And as  I submerged into the darkness again with the feeling of drowning in tar. I realised how much better the light was. And I let that little speck of light fight through all of my defenses like fire burning up paper.

 

The light found its way to the innermost sanctum of my now almost non-existent heart and suddenly I felt pain, empathy, and remorse like never before. It was excruciatingly painful. as if my skin was being ripped off my body. I pleaded “Have mercy” but there was no mercy. Eons later it seemed the pain stopped.

 

I felt gratitude with such intensity that words could not be found to explain this feeling. I cried. For days on end. I woke up bathed in sweat shaking and crying. I was so incredibly joyful that I was alive and well. And I was ashamed for everything else I had always taken advantage of without even once paying those things any thought.

Cactus Blooms

As I write to you,

the echinopsis flowers have begun

their petal game of peek-a-boo,

the crested caracara flies

high in the dusty sky,

and I am slowly suffocating.

 

Every day

breathing gets harder.

The oppressive hot air

scrapes the inside of my nostrils.

Swallowing is painful,

prickly sand dots my throat.

 

You brought me here

to this mysterious place

filled with natural wonders.

 

My choice was yours,

because living together

meant moving together,

and I didn’t argue.

 

At first,

the sparkling sand

and shining sun

charmed me.

You were happy

and I was content.

 

But I realized that it was all a mirage.

 

This morning,

my broken dreams suddenly

appeared in my cupped hands.

They were the quills of a cactus

and my blood was theirs too.

 

I realized that we are sun and sand.

I reflected your radiance,

but then was stomped on.

Your neglect left deep bootprints.

 

I realized that I was foolish.

I am still foolish.

Foolish powder that wishes to be glass.

 

I thought I saw opportunity on the horizon,

beckoning with flaring gestures

and brilliant colors.

But that was just the sunset,

and it wasn’t as pretty as I had hoped.

 

My dreams are wider than the landscape.

My ideas, more sporadic than tumbleweeds.

You and I both know that I will fail,

but I’m no longer afraid of taking chances.

 

So when you receive this

letter of surrender,

flying white from the hand of the mailman,

I will receive my freedom,

And I do not care for a reply.

The Sweetest Dreams

I kind of want you in my bloodstream,

like a thick caramel serum.

 

I want to inhale your scent,

like I’m in a powdered sugar delirium.

 

I really want to suck on you,

like a lollipop with succulent swirls.

 

I need to let the remnants of soda pop on your lips

roll around my mouth in luscious twirls.

 

I’ve been searching for a sugar high,

in this twisted candy land.

 

I’m left drowning in fields of gumdrops

and suffocating on cotton candy strands.

 

I’m knee-deep in ample puddles of marshmallows

oozing and tearing with each step.

 

I’m trying to keep up with you on a trembling tundra

of crushed snow cones, dribbled with flavorings that’ve bled.

 

I hate the winding roads of broken gingerbread

you’ve carelessly constructed.

 

From the mountains of cake to each iced layer,

all the sugar-coated froufrou of a daydream

 

makes me cringe and leave you forgotten,

 

and led me to this sickening realization

that sweetness turns bitter and bitter, rotten.

A Crinkled Page

You bend down and pick up the crinkled page that I wrote this on.

You see these mysterious words and try to picture the anonymous writer; you are encapsulated.

 

Meanwhile, I walk down the hall after a long day,

inside a fog. I am encapsulated.

 

I leave the building and look out at the world in front of me.

By everyone I see, I am encapsulated

 

I pretend that I don’t see some, but I say hello to most.

The instant that I smile at their comforting, familiar faces, in my mind, they are encapsulated,

 

but as soon as the people pass, all I see are empty spaces in the outdoors

between the holes in the landscape. I am encapsulated.

 

I look down at my watch.

In that moment in time, we are encapsulated

 

I walk up the steps and through the doors, and as I infiltrate the entry, I pause to take a breath.

My lungs expand and I push out my rib cage in which my charred heart is encapsulated

 

I plop down in a desolate corner and I close my eyes.

Inside the darkness, I am encapsulated.

 

You toss this sheet of paper into the recycling bin and walk away.

You walk down the hall, move on with your life. In this simple action, your existence is encapsulated.

Untitled

Let me tell you a story

About a girl who died

But that’s not the start

No, we can’t begin there

She was silent, immortal

Until she collapsed into

A deep trance, a spell

Love, it’s called

And she was held its victim

 

Yet even further back

To when she was innocent

Fate was her name

She lived alone in a house

A house in the middle of dreamland

When she awoke at dusk

The promise of imaginary nights

Was kept by the minds of children

Children, sleeping, unaware of her watching

Of her sending nightmares

To their dream catchers, eagerly waiting

To ensnare her choices

She perches on the windowsill

On the glowing, teal night

Dusted with stars in the false sky above

She twiddles a razor, sighs once or twice

Rolls up her silky sleeve

Creamy folds soon bloodstained

As she matches silver with red

Letting crimson drip into a bottomless inkwell

With the touch of her fingertip

Her scars are a faint reminder

Of the pain she once felt

She returns inside

Bare feet padding ghostly

She does not exist

If only you fail to believe

 

She sits at a wooden desk

Old, dark, and worn

Candlelit with her feather quill

And pure pages of a blank book

She dips the pen into the ocean

Oceans of her life’s memories

The inkwell, so rich

Teeming with all she is

Draws the blooming, velvet roses

Growing in the eternal gardens of heaven and hell

Her tears are the snow

Falling swiftly downward now

The ink swirls, the vines twist

Curved designs implanted in stone

Every twilight, she arises from death

To finish what she began

Picking up on last night’s work

Crows shooting from the lips of liars

Wingless angels blessing the cursed

A blank-faced reaper lighting the path

 

Yet still, nothing may be forever

And soon enough, she, in one slumber

Met a boy

Fair and tall, gentle and kind

When her hollow eyes locked

With his, filled with dread

All seemed to stop

All seemed to cease

They were soulmates, she knew

Tied with a thread

She had stitched it herself

After all, she was Fate

She had chosen to die

A peaceful passing

If only she knew

How much love really hurts

So she asked him his name

And gave hers in return

He had said he was no one

No one of great importance

“Well,” Fate said to no one

“You’re someone to me.”

The years passed like days

As Fate became a myth

She began to fade away

Without her inkings, her drawings

Of the world she creates

She became nothing

Fully dissolved when he asked for her hand

She accepted with pride

Unbeknownst to her, she was mortal at last

 

In a torn gown of moonlight

Slippers of shattered glass

Heart-shaped necklace of stone

She walked down the aisle

With every step, her lungs caught

She soon struggled to breathe

Her fingertips, once teeming

With the power to heal

Now aged with use

Wrinkled like satin

And the worst of all, I have yet to spare

Like a porcelain doll, she began to crack

Pale skin tearing with jagged lines

Lightning bolts darting across a stormy sky

And from each of these scars, blood would ooze

Leaking out and staining

Her lovely wedding dress

And when she reached her love

At the end of the aisle

He was of the same

Yet both, they still smiled

Phantom spiders crept

Through the locks of her midnight hair

Rain crabs prodded

Around his shiny, black boots

But when they kissed, it was gone

Everything was

For they had crumbled to ashes

As time always does

 

To this day, her book sits unread

Pages like white lilies dreaming of feather pens

Never to be touched again

Silver blade discarded

Fallen outside her window

Fate is no more

And Time, he is gone, as well

That is the tragic tale

Of a no one

Who found a someone

Until death do us part

Rest in peace, my love

What-If?

I have always been waiting

for my big “what-if”

where an option,

maybe our final phone call,

swoops in

and I can just

grasp it, the way Dad

used to grip the steering wheel