Somewhat on a whim, encouraged by a Twitter post I saw on April 1st, I took part in a personal challenge to write one poem per day during April. I found it to be a really great experience. A lot of the time, it was therapeutic to sit down and write about whatever was on my mind for that day. Still, I went back and forth throughout the month over whether or not I actually wanted to post them here.
My poetry has always felt like a personal thing, not something I really want to share everywhere and with everyone. The reasons for that stem mainly from the fact that a lot of my poems are directly taken from real life. Therefore, there are real people and real situations in these poems. It always makes me nervous to write publicly about these topics because, well, it toes a bit of a moral line for me. But a couple of factors convinced me to go ahead with it anyway, and they are:
- Not all of these poems are sensitive in this way, in fact, most of them aren’t.
- They don’t name any names nor use any real identifiable specifics.
- None of them are about bad or dangerous situations. Just little things, little conversations (And most of them are positive.)
- I’m really proud of most of these poems.
- The timing worked out perfectly for the last day of April being a Sunday, and how can I ignore that little twist of fate?
- It’s been kind of a crazy two weeks and I couldn’t just pass up this practically pre-made post idea.
- This whole year has been a year of me testing my boundaries, so why not, really?
With that all being said, I hope you enjoy my collection of poems. They range in quality, and some are kinda… out there, I guess?
(And for a last note, if you like to hear me talk about poetry, you can check out my last post on the subject)
- Good Morning
When exactly does the day begin?
When the sun clears the horizon?
Or maybe the moment eyelids open
to let that golden light in.
When should birds begin their songs?
Perhaps when evening haze is gone?
But if I’m early or wait too long –
I don’t want to be wrong.
I think too much as always,
The second the skies gray with light of day,
- Good Night
Past 12 a.m. the world tints purple
and yet I do not sleep.
As long as there are other colors
in my mind I do not sleep.
And even as my last precious voice
quiets, I do not sleep.
Until my eyes are heavy and my thoughts
light, I do not sleep.
Science says it’s my age, I say it’s my head,
because even when my eyes are closed
and I’m tucked inside my bed
I do not sleep.
In my dream, there was a boy I loved
In a faraway sort of way.
I knew him, saw him in the halls,
But we hardly spoke.
And then, without warning, he disappeared
Suddenly, into the maw of a shiny blue machine.
A death of round rubber tires and asphalt.
In my dream, someone told me
And my heart plunged into the cold pool
In my stomach – I froze.
In my dream, I was unsure of what to do,
To say, I felt an ache of loss that wasn’t mine.
We barely talked and now we never would.
In my dream, I found myself standing at a party
A hollow echo of friends laughing.
I looked to my right and there he was
Clutching a red cup, gripping it
(He never did like parties).
To see him alive in that instant,
There was no joy, just anger.
Angry tears like red thumb tacks in my cheeks.
In my dream, I hated him for disappearing.
Awake, though, I hated myself.
We barely talked.
I’d love to believe in a world
Where every dream had meaning
Where every word meant
Exactly what it meant
And nothing more.
But as it is my dreams are jumbled
Tangles of symbols and images
And I can’t help but use the words
With double, triple meanings.
There’s beauty in simplicity but,
Life is so complex.
- How It Feels
For me it has always felt
Warm, glowing, never all-encompassing.
Familiar, smiling, soft to the touch.
A pink ribbon, a board game,
Something to look forward to,
But never so passionate
Never so painful
Less a liquid filling my lungs,
More a vapor tinting the world
Yellow and blue and blinding white.
Mom kisses the baby’s forehead,
“Make sure you remember me,” she says.
We all know he can’t,
His brain his too young,
His eyes can’t yet grasp faces
the way his tiny hands can.
We all know the next we see him
he’ll be a different being entirely.
Legs and words and questions.
Unaware of where he has come from.
Still, as we say goodbye,
That hopeless wish, spoken aloud,
Seems almost probable.
The sun is so insistent
Leaping off the pavement
Gripping by the eyelashes
Deterred only by tinted glass
Honestly though, the disconnect
The shade drawn between
The world and my view
Loosens the grip of the light
Lets me drift, dim, protected,
They expect us to hate each other.
They say our brains hone in on
Long eyelashes, full lips, bright eyes
Like targets, threats to our happiness
Expect us to tear at each other’s clothes
With long pink nails, bloody each other’s faces,
Lipstick red, eyeliner black, eyeshadow blue.
But if not each other, who do we have?
She in the mirror next to me
Is not my enemy, no,
She takes up arms beside me.
Sometimes thoughts are not my own
“You haven’t spoken to them in a full day,”
Sometimes they are foreign missiles
“Must be such a relief for them, huh?”
Cruising full speed towards quiet towns
“Everyone except you has started that project,”
Leaving behind noisy, static wreckage
“So you’re lazy and everyone knows it.”
I know it’s not true, I know they’re not me
“What in the world are you wearing?”
But denial feels so weak next to the explosions
“You look like a kindergartener.”
The blood and the suffering
“Here you go, complaining again.”
The noise, the noise.
“Everyone must be so tired of hearing about this.”
I’ve tried hard to explain it
“You talk an awful lot,”
But words fail when worries prosper
“You know they’re secretly annoyed to hear you, right?”
So it’s so beautiful when words succeed
When words drown it out.
- Band Names
“How long have you been collecting these band names?”
I stare at my list, not quite a hundred, but close,
Just today, Oscar and the Travelin’ Yogurts,
Names past, High Barbeque Sauce Man,
Love Hangle, In-School Shenanigans.
A checklist of moments, of conversations,
Snippets of laughter, absurd memories,
Oily Knuckles on my Head, Boyz n’ Ur Hedd
Umlauts to make a German speaker cringe,
Hundreds of names for thousands of bands
Never to play a note, never to touch a stage
Except if the time signature is reminiscing,
If the instrument is friends’ voices
The dynamics secret jokes.
“As long as I can remember.”
She is young, and the dandelions poke
feathered yellow heads into the yard.
She spends full afternoons searching
for the roundest and the yellowest.
She gathers sticky handfuls, limp
bunches, she hides them away.
She is older, and the dandelions whiten.
Those that stay rooted in the yard are
taller, more brittle, they shiver slightly
in the afternoon breeze.
The bunches she gathered lie quiet,
yellow turned to amber.
And when the wind blows, the dandelions sway
and thousands of tiny white beginnings fly
off towards other yards, other afternoons.
Except those bunches of brown nothing now.
Hidden away, decayed, they remain
one with the yard.
- A Wish
My only wish is this:
No dance or hug or kiss,
Only that I make you smile
And love yourself a little while.
After all, it all seems fair,
To wish you all the peace and care
That you have brought these days to me
Content we can together be.
- For Once
For once, I’d like to write a song.
I’d like these words to lift themselves
Off the page,
Fold themselves into round, dark sounds
Syll a bles,
The sounds have always been the best part
Of words, words, words, words,
So lovely and neat when silent,
But the sounds! The sounds!
The color! The joy!
There’s only so much to convey
O n e l e t t e r a t a t i m e.
For once, just once,
I’d like to write a song.
- Static Eyes
The creature is always there
Poking its head through my door
When I turn to look it hides its face.
I am always aware of its presence though
That quiet drag of dread, danger
It never lays a hand on me.
But in the night, sometimes
I feel its breath ruffle my hair
The static eyes in a grey face.
Black and white and black and white
And meaningless rushing sounds
Has drowned out so many.
But for me,
- Green Poetry
I sit down sometimes and write
Tucked away from my other poems
I’m scared of infecting them with the same sort of…
Teenage idealism, I suppose.
The dress I bought online looked blue
But when it came, and I took it out of the box,
It was far more teal,
And I looked into the mirror and I thought to myself,
This is how it should be.
I’ve always hated the feeling of the grass on my toes
But tonight I stepped onto my friend’s lawn
To go toad hunting
And I wondered if you liked the feeling,
And I wanted to ask,
I did not.
I tuck these thoughts away where
No one has to look at them for too long.
I imagine no one really wants to see them,
They’re not all good, not all bad,
Ironically, the first green poem was written in red
And it was folded, and put into
A Green envelope
(That’s where the name comes from, you see.)
And tucked between
A binder and a textbook
Jealousy is green,
But so is springtime,
And prom dresses,
And my poetry,
My poetry is Green.
Fingers dyed shades of green and yellow
Blue and purple and what the box said was pink
(But we all knew was red)
We took the creamy shells and made them vibrant
And by the end the plastic trays
Looked nothing like the colors they were meant to be
Green ran into orange, making a pool of amber
We didn’t mind, it made the eggs look like fossils
Like relics of the past
Crack one open and you’ll find a rainy half-hour
Gathered around the counter
A yellow carton of a dozen white canvases
On which we painted our lazy afternoon.
I am purple.
But I cannot say that.
They’ll assume so much of me:
That I hate them for being green
Or blue or pink or orange
That I want to reach over
And steal some of their color.
I do not.
I am purple.
I just want to be purple.
Not green or blue or pink or orange
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Well-rested after a dreamless sleep
Yet heavy-headed, thoughts and fingers restless
Looking forward to peace and calm
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Painted lips and sparkling eyes
Louder than any jazz quartet
But less musical
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Haggard, terrified, round-eyed
Shadows tugging at my shirtsleeves
Static pushing in the corners
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Quiet and sullen and staring anywhere
But out that glass door, knowing too well
Hating letting someone else speak
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Free and laughing, sunlit hair
Keys in hand and miles to drive
And the directions memorized, committed
Tomorrow I’ll be this:
Contemplative, warily looking at
That open car door, destruction and freedom
On rubber tires, not sure where to go
Maybe I’ll know
The multicolored crowds tilt their heads up
To view the spectacle.
5,000 feet in the air!
She balances on three toes, on an invisible thread,
And even with all the wind and empty space around her
She smiles and holds her stature
She is a floating goddess,
A bird perched on a telephone wire.
They do not fear for her,
How could they?
With those arms held aloft
Straight and certain.
Though she keeps her eyes fixed forward
She can hear the roar of the crowd
Even 5,000 feet in the air she can
Feel their unrelenting stares
Blind to her muscles straining
And the bead of sweat
Around her is no one willing to catch her
The fear is hers and hers alone
A wire strong, but thin, so thin
They do not fear for her
How could they
With their delight so apparent
How could she
- Lost and Found
The smallest of tragedies:
A missing piece
Something you loved
You didn’t use it
All the time.
But just seeing it
Gave you comfort.
But now it is
Gone, lost, hidden
Under a dusty couch.
It has gone to live
With dust bunnies
And stale Cheerios.
You miss it,
The tiniest ache,
For the smallest loss.
But you cannot
Talk about it
For everyone loses
But still, how lovely it is
When you reach your hand
Into the dusty dark
Pushing past the paperclips and
The fork you forgot to wash,
Seven puzzle pieces and one musty sock…
You find it.
And that small victory –
Outside, the trees begin to bend
The window glass is cold to touch
The sky gray-blues begin to blend
For heavy clouds hold just too much.
But here inside this little box
I make my own square feet of warm
In coffee mugs and fuzzy socks
I make my home this summer storm.
Carve me out a little hole
In a great, thick oak,
And let me rest there
Let me not look outside
Let me stay forever
To the rustling of the leaves
And the termites and the moss
Let me sleep, for just a day
For two, or three, maybe
Without peeking at
Do they know?
When they peek from behind tissue paper curtains
At an audience reaching with delighted eyes
Do they know?
As they slip onto their glass-water stage
Do the carnations whisper of hidden love?
Do tulips trumpet their intentions?
Do sunflowers dedicate themselves fully
As statice remembers all?
Do they know?
Does Queen Anne’s Lace delicately weave a home
For shy pink peony?
Does larkspur float above it all?
Can hydrangea thank the gracious crowd
While daffodil stands brave and tall?
Do roses blush?
Do lilies mourn?
They live, they die, they grow and thrive,
They’re short and tall and smooth and rough
In every single color
And every single meaning shown,
But tell me,
Do they know?
To make something of nothing,
To pluck meaning from noise
And sound from words
To stretch up, to mess up,
To sketch and skew
To believe, in the moment
That everything is new.
But to create,
Is to borrow, is to take
Is to cut it up, is to tape together
Is to fix what others break.
Is not light from darkness,
But light bent from light,
Is to shine on dusty corners
Is to push pen down and right.
how fitting is it that we are all
balls of tissue and nerves
encased tightly in the dark
clutching onto the controls of
something larger than ourselves
soft pink, malleable, not meant to be
touched, just meant to observe
meant to feel but not to touch
meant to know only by observing
seeking to understand ourselves
- Little Friends
She says the words with a grin,
About her charming little friends,
Her odd, charming little friends,
Her silly little friends who she spends time with
Every so often, when it’s convenient
But oh, how she cares,
How she cares so much
She cares, she cares, and she cares,
She says it with a grin,
A grin, a grin, and a grimace
Life! Life! Oh life, how beautiful!
How precious, life!
How deserving of protection!
But only when it’s convenient
Of course, oh of course,
She has so much to do, you see,
The world is such an evil place
And she’s been placed there
To make it lighter, to enlighten,
The crooks and the murderers
(The murderers the murderers the murderers)
And her sweet, precious, innocent little
- Growing Out My Hair (And Other Acts of Love)
I decided to grow out my hair,
Gave into the friendly suggestions,
Thought, “What if?”
Skipped the trim.
Now, though, it’s grown so long
I swear it’s got a life of its own.
It’s its own ecosystem,
Weather pattern, cycle of humidity.
Sometimes, it grabs my face
Or pokes me in the eye
Or gives me headaches
And still it grows
And so it goes like everybody said
We all grow our hair out sometimes.
And sometimes we cut it
But sometimes it stays long
And free, and forever
We think of the day we decided
To let it grow.
And yet, the scissors stay in my vision
And I tie it up sometimes
To keep it off my neck.
One day it’ll touch the floor
But whether it grows there
Or loosely falls…
Well that’s unsure.
- Five Minutes ‘til Midnight
Five minutes ‘til midnight
Shades of purple draw ever closer
Until they’re nearly touching
Nearly, nearly, but not quite,
Just quiet, a sliver of black
The space between
Time stretches in both directions
And for a breath, I can see
I close my eyes and sleep.
- Rainy Morning
And the sound on the glass pane
Is only the prelude to the crash
And the colors outside run together
And mix in with grey to wash it all anew
It’s a watercolor painting with no signature
No artist around to claim it
And everyone too asleep to view it
But they can hear it
That wet blue sound
That white, bright, crash
Visuals and sounds and everyone
That rainy morning masterpiece
If everything is a cycle…
Well yes, doesn’t it seem so?
Seconds, seconds, seconds into
Minutes, minutes, minutes into
Hours? A cycle, why, it explains
Why all our monsters have names
For they’ve been slain before
They’re just reborn, poised,
Fangs dripping, ready to fight
Again. And how comforting it is
To know everything we’ve been
Through has happened before and
Will happen again. If we just reach
Forward, reach backward, we can
Touch fingers that feel like ours,
Match gazes that look like ours,
Never quite alone, for there’s
Always someone who does, or
Will or did understand.
And yet, it’s tragic too, isn’t it?
We can fight until our knuckles
Bleed and yet the monsters
Come back again and again
And sometimes to know what
We feel will be felt again doesn’t
Help explain why or how to keep
Moving forward. It’s vicious,
Unrelenting, knowing to rise
Is to fall is to rise is to fall again
What is the point of an endless
Cycle? What do we achieve
Feeling and doing and saying
Just as felt and did and said and
Will feel and will do and will say?
What if it’s a wheel?
Not a cycle, a wheel, the rise
And the fall in service of pushing
Ever forward ever onward with
Speed and direction and some
Purpose, unknown, each second
And second and minute and
Minute and hour and
Hour not stagnate but
Driving, perhaps forever,
Maybe never stopping.
I’d like to think that.