I am a Nomad.
I am never still.
I can bring showers
Or thunderous claps.
Some believe that I am something else.
Some believe that I am an omen.
I am a Nomad.
I walk with you on your way home.
I will change.
I will transform.
This is inevitable.
I am a Nomad.
I am constantly drifting.
I bear witness to the whole world.
But never touch it.
I am soft and hard,
Cold and warm.
Never in the same place twice, drifting…
Love is a luxury.
To be loved.
To give love.
When I surf I'm in love.
I'm in love when I surf.
I know it because I feel it.
I feel loved when I'm riding a wave.
I know I'm loved because there is an ocean.
The ocean is loved because it gives me love.
the ocean is a gift.
God gave this to me.
God knew that one day I would slowly pick at the wrapping paper and then rip it all off at once.
He knew that the gift he gave me was perfect.
God knew I would smile and give thanks the rest of my life for it.
When I surf you'll see it.
You will see all the tears I've never cried.
All the battles I've never fought.
I want you to believe that I'm in love.
See that I'm in love.
That the two of us belong together for the rest of our lives.
For every tear I drop a new one will take its place.
The ocean will take its place.
It bleeds like I bleed.
Pure and precious and of course with good intentions.
The ocean gives me warmth when I am cold.
God gave me warmth when I'm cold.
Hate is the absence of love.
To receive hate.
Hate is what never was.
It's the difference of love.
There has been chaos, confusion and fear in our country lately. It is in these times that we must fall back on fundamentals. Love is good, love is right, we know that. So let's start there. Let’s start loving. If we start loving, others will follow, if we love, from the deepness of our hearts, hold nothing back, we will be amazed. We will be amazed of the effects that will ripple through and touch the lives of others. Let's start living, living with pure hearts and with purpose, trying, to love unconditionally, let’s serve others before serving ourselves. Let’s start caring. This holiday season, give the gift of love, of compassion, of forgiveness, of friendship. Let us think of those who hurt, who are saddened, by the pain of our world of the sorrow that comes right along with the joys of life. Let’s start, helping, helping to reduce those sorrows, the brokenness, the brokenness that lies deep within many of us. Let’s start, thinking, thinking deeper, thinking before we speak so that the words that we speak may come out of our mouths, slip off our tongues and rest in the heart and souls of our country. Let's… Let’s be the generation. The generation that says, we want change, and that change we will pursue. And yes… There’s terrorism. There’s violence, there’s war. BUT, let's take a chance, and go into the dark night, because going, is better than staying. Going means that you have started, started healing, started the mending. Let’s start living. I know we live, we breathe, we talk, we love, we hate, we cry, we laugh. But do we live? Do we live an authentic life or do we let the busyness of this world hold us back? Do we pursue our dreams? Or do we say that there’s… just not enough time? Time, time was once not a thing, people lived and died and yes time passed but it didn’t govern their lives. Now it’s easy for me to stand up here before you and say, let’s start, let’s start change. But it’s not that easy, we live in a world that IS governed by time, we have pressures and stresses like no one else, but why is that? Why is it that some people in the poorest parts of the world are the happiest? These people, they know what it means to be hungry, without a home, in the cold. They live in poverty, they live in the toughest of situations and still find ways to smile by finding the little joys of life. These people, they do not let their material items define them. They find happiness and joy not in the new iPhone or an item of clothing but instead, in their relationships, in the beauty in nature that surrounds them. And this beauty, it surrounds us all, but sometimes, we can not see it. Either the sky is too foggy or the day is too dark or we fail to open our eyes, to see this beauty, that lies within every moment. This change we pursue we will succeed at, little by little of course, and only with the help of others around us because none of us can do this thing called life alone. So… let us go out and live. Let us live, let us live with the true light that shines within us, so that we may light up the dark night and go forward into the beckoning tunnel. Let’s help one another to see our true potential in life and the beauty that our existence is to this world. Let us be the change we wish to see in the world. And let's start… let's start now.
'Twas the Night Before Finals: A Parody
'Twas the night before finals,
and all through the year
The students awaited
this night with much fear
Not much sleep to be found
For the students that night
They stayed up and studied
Fueled by their fright
All the pencils were placed
In their backpacks with care
While all students fretted
In continuous despair
For that night they had studied
Til the hour was four
Until so exhausted,
They fell to the floor
For tomorrow they knew
What the next day would bring
They would look at their tests
And forget every thing
For it was quite certain,
From each test to each quiz
That no one would ace them
Not even a whiz
And then when those students
Fin’ly did go to bed
Naught but physics and formulas
Danced in their heads
Early the next day
As the morning sun rose
The students would get up
And put on their clothes
They’d reach the classroom,
And walk to their desk
They’d rub their shot eyes,
Their features grotesque,
Then they’d sit down to test,
Filled with weary dismay
And the teacher, his papers,
He’d pass out and say:
“Now please don’t despair
Even though it may suck
Happy Finals to all!
And to all, a good luck!”
It’s a responsibility, to be tasked with a child,
That not all are cut out for, or ready for, or want.
It’s a commitment, to raise them until they reach 18,
That requires selflessness, and love, and care.
Some mothers are not assigned biologically
But they have accepted the task
Given a choice that the birth mother
May not have been able to make
Once it was declared that there was life in her womb.
Motherhood should be a choice, not a burden,
A mother should want her children,
She’ll put them first, if she chosen to have them
For a mother’s love of her babies
Is their fiercest protection
There are stories of mothers who,
In a rush of adrenaline fueled by basic human instinct
-The need to protect-
Have performed Herculean feats
To rescue their child from danger.
A mother who lifted up a car to free her son
Another who loses her legs
Protecting hers from a tornado.
So fiercely protective because they know
That losing their child would be the greatest loss of all.
We've seen the footage,
Witnessed the raw emotion
When a mother learns
That her child, killed, will not be returning home.
There was another before me,
She was wanted very much.
Her name was decided, she would have been born
Two months after I was conceived.
But she was small, too small.
In her body at least.
Her heart, was much much too big.
My mother had a tough decision to make:
Should she risk a complicated birth
To deliver a baby that would live a short painful life?
She would get to hold her daughter, yes,
But she would also watch her die.
"You'll Terminate the pregnancy, then?" They asked,
to confirm what she told them.
The words they used to describe her choice
Were too cold for a decision made
On the basis of so much love.
But death is all a part of life
And while it may find some before their time is due,
The space left behind by one
Leaves room for another.
I am alive today
Because my mother had the right to choose.
I. Am. Old.
High school means youth, impatience, angst…Snapchat!
However, my knees crack and my back aches and
I am old.
My heart is tired and my hands shake and I have shadows under my eyes.
Is it stress? Running cross-country? Zika?
The anxiety has made me work too hard and the running has made standing up a challenge
I swear my hip pops, and yesterday, when I looked in the mirror,
I saw a... Gray. Hair.
That is not the only sign of my premature aging,
I talk to cats. Lots of cats.
They understand me, I take their hisses and swats as signs of sympathy for my elderly nature.
Cats are quiet company, and I enjoy them.
I am old.
I give unsolicited advice that is received with an eye roll
Usually reserved for a mother.
I am a morning person, and it scares me!
My alarm goes off and up I go, right out of my warm, wonderful cocoon
Ready for a new day.
I am old.
I care about my friends’ health and safety like an overprotective parent
And I make them baked goods from Julia Child’s cookbook.
I love brussels sprouts and broccoli and raisins and...
I am old!
I wear clothes with high necks and long sleeves that I buy
From a nearby consignment store that is filled with
Women’s slacks and ballet flats.
I spend money sparingly and make homemade cards and,
for some insane reason,
I avoid using my phone.
I drink tea three times a* day and I take it straight…
No milk, no sugar, but a twist of lemon.
I am old because I worry that I bore others, saying “I, I, I”
I should ask a question instead.
Is it going to rain? I sure hope it does.
Wait! I cannot believe I am discussing the weather!
Is it my fault that I love going to art galleries with my grandmother?
That I despise seeing toddlers with their faces mushed against an iPad while their parents are writing petty Tweets or playing Candycrush?
Perhaps it isn’t so bad to be thoughtful,
Maybe worry lines are a mark of endurance,
And a love of cats translates to a love of independence and peace.
Still, I am an old woman stuck in an awkward teenage body,
I meditate, I paint landscapes, I knit,
I go to bed as early as I can
And it feels good!
Sore limbs and an exhausted mind are tradeoffs for the
Appreciation of comfortable clothes and a lovely life in Santa Barbara
I am old, but I’m okay.
There is Shouting Downstairs
There is shouting downstairs.
I am playing the piano and have gotten to the loudest phrase,
My heart quickens with the crescendo and
My foot is pushing the pedal methodically while
There is shouting downstairs.
I drown out each retort, each yell, each insult
By pressing down on the black and ivory keys in front of me.
There is shouting downstairs.
I can hear my sister swear.
Her car is running outside, filled with old coffee cups and people I do not know
My parents are saying “We are worried, please be safe!”
I can picture them pulling their hair and grinding their teeth
Their eyes flinch and harden as
My sister screams, “I can't stand it here.”
I can picture her tapping her foot and crossing her arms.
She is stirring a pot of trouble, and her words sting like bites.
There is shouting downstairs,
And my fingers have gotten cold and clumsy,
So have my sister’s arguments.
She is talking in circles and I am dizzy.
There is shouting downstairs,
And I am making up a new melody
It is peaceful and clear
The voices that vibrate the walls are sharp and fiery
But while those words cut silence like knives
I am playing the piano and the notes are kind.
I've been taught to make room
For others thoughts, for others opinions but never for my own
They tell you what you have to say is not relevant
whether because you're a girl, too young or just not smart enough
But they don't tell you it with their words
they do it with their eyes
How they roll when you speak and look at anything but you when when you have something to say
I've been taught to act like wallpaper not a centerpiece
They want women in picture frames perfectly behind glass, glass so thick you can't hear what they're saying
They tell me to make a mark but with water not with blood
So it can dry up and be gone eventually not make a stain that others may see
when I was a little girl my father told to be my own person and speak up for what I believe in
So why won't he listen when I tell him I'm scared
Scared that I now live in a world where a man can sexually assault women and then lead the country
I don't care if you believe the allegations aren't true words are powerful and they may not speak louder than actions but they can come pretty close
It recently occurred to me that boys don't text their friends when they get home safe
They don't hold their key is in between their knuckles at night time and they don't pretend to be on the phone when they see a man staring at them on the street
Why have I've answered to everything but my name
telling someone to sit on your lap and then calling them a bitch for not smiling and thanking you is not a compliment
Why are you so angry that I finally learned after years of believing I was nothing, that my worth is not determined by your words
You tell me you respect me but then have to fact check everything I say
You insist sexism is dead because the woman can run for president but then call your friend another name for a vagina when he does something stupid
I have been taught to make room
they want me to shrink while watching others grow, and I'm sick of it
I'm not scared anymore
I'm not scared of being bossy and I'm not scared of being a bitch
because, well, if I had different genitalia those words would never be used to describe me
Now, I'm not asking you to agree with what I'm saying, I'm just asking you to listen.
Ask me how many times I cry in a week
never??? once twice? Who knows??
I cry a lot, alone in my room cocooned by my blankets at 2 am on a Thursday
I thought depression was normal, it's not, but I thought it was for a while
I believed every single person on this earth was depressed, it's inky black claws not missing one, but
I was wrong
My philosophy was everyone has holes, deep dark ones in the pit of their stomach, they try to fill them, and each & every time they fail.
They try to patch drywall with silly putty, they think if they paint over it no one will notice, but sooner or later someone is going to press their hand against the wall revealing the hole, once again
Everyone is depressed I thought, until I told a boy my theory over text message and he said I was wrong
He said there are people who are truly happy with no darkness in the this world and I could not believe it
He said there are people who love and look at one another as if they were holding the universe in their arms, they know every star in the sky and they wear Jupiter's rings as a belt
I longed to be one of those people, because if I loved someone I would finally be happy
Do you know how it feels to feel nothing
I didn't have shadows because in order to have a shadow you must have light and All my light was lost,
here was only darkness.
I learned that word yesterday
& I've never had something so perfectly describe a point in my life
Covering every fiber of my being like a warm glove on a cold day,
oh how can such a sad word make one feel so at home
For those, like me who do not know its definition,
It means you're sad and you just don't know why
I used to never smile, well I did but it wasn't real
It bothered me that I couldn't feel anything, but I was consumed by the fear that someone might find out I was unhappy
Depression & anxiety might be cool on tumblr, but
What would they say if they found out I've been to therapy
what would they do if they learned that I prayed for a medication that would take all the pain away
& How would they react if they knew what was in my head
They wouldn't look at me the same that's for sure,
that's what I thought
And then I go back to this boy who told me the world wasn't depressed after all
that there are happy people and I thought a happy must equal loved and I was loved
but not in the way that I wanted to be
I wanted a boy to love me I wanted them to hold me in their arms and I wanted them to tell me I was beautiful
I wanted the validation that apparently my family and friends couldn't give me
But that's not how life is
Troy and Gabriella do not exist
Romeo and Juliet is an awful love story
And how am I supposed to put all of my everything into one single human person
Nothing and nobody is perfect and maybe everyone might not be depressed but a lot people are sad
One day I will find someone who looks at me like I named the stars
Like I painted the clouds in the sky and orchestrated the sound which is the night
It's OK to be sad, but it's not okay to treat your sadness as a period, rather than a comma
My story might have a pause but this isn't the end
This novel is not a tragedy, it is my battle cry
Because I am strong, I might I'm not have always been,
but how can we expect hold the world in the palm of our hands if we can't even lift up the moon
It all takes time.
I may have been conditioned to hate myself, but sorry I do not
I'm happy now, I truly smile
And this did not come from the love of another it came from the love of myself and it came from time
I now have shadows, because In order to have shadows you must have light.
I'm With Her
Purple suede sashays onto the stage like twilight water, her ring clad hands rests on the podium, her hair is a tumbler, a cornucopia of blonde
I sit in the hard, plastic chair, my feet on the cool carpet, sadness has fallen here
The girl next to me looks tired, her dark brown eyes dismayed, filled with something I can not explain
The woman at the podium begins to speak
She sounds worried and scared and heartbroken
Not the heartbroken of a self-righteous false god, not the sadness of an entitled politician, but of a person, a soldier fighting in no person's land, her enemy fires randomly on sight
She lifts the barrel of her gun, shoots words at the cameras like the life of her country was all that matter, we sit in silence
The women around me talk about gun policies and immigration, the men around me say they hate her voice
And when she says girls and their dreams are just as important
A laugh echoes across he country, a smaller person in a large suit, wearing his xenophobia like it's gold cuff links, the cries of families being ripped apart like flesh, the cries of horror as a college student is raped on her campus, their counselors saying their screams were not loud enough to reach deans' ears
He sits on his throne of white robes and burning crosses, his gold tower spray painted, his competitors scurry to him like sewer rats to old bread
Her figure leaves the stage, we all pretend to be hopeful, to be free, to be treated equally
I lay in the airlock that is my room, the walls around me vibrate from the wind outside, the trees are rustling like children playing on the play ground
My heart beats slower in this cool, dark space, I empty the day into a trash can made of plastic and cough up my emotions like a hair ball, mangled and messy
My dog sits beside me, resting his head on my thigh as I move over him, his root beer filled eyes light up at my movements, his puts a warm paw on my leg like a traffic light gone red, don't move
He looks at me with a ferocity of thousand hunger seagulls hunting for the debris from lunch, wanting and searching for gooey food and warm legs
My phone is just right by, mere inches from my reach and and a message from a friend zaps it alive like Frankenstein's monster, I'm eager to see what they have said, but with a furry head resting more in my lap than it had before, I lay against the wall again, a sweet, sugary smile grows on my face as I starch his ears
I look up into the cold night through my window, seeing the moonlight slip through it like a kaleidoscope, colors inhabiting my bed like jewels on a crown
The stars above are golden, telling stories of ancient Greeks and myths of old, the star dust twists into my room like crinkly autumn leaves, the dust settles onto my things, my skin shines with it
I breath a melancholy breathe, my dog sound asleep, I focus on his fur, swirls of browns and whites and pinks of his skin like Neapolitan ice cream, a galaxy of beautiful stars and shining explosions expand across his back
Sleep drains into my eyes like rain, drenching me in exhaustion and comfort, my phone sits still, yellow light flashing, I lay with my dog on this peaceful night and the stars lull us to sleep
My Town's University
I walk onto a prospective university
It's classrooms and lecture halls come alive with the sound of bustling students and formula filled conversations
With hopeful, bright eyes I step into the campus like a new city, looking up at the sustainable buildings like they were made of life, of buzzing bees and fresh air
The tour guide smiles at us, tells us this LEAD certified building, meeting green building codes, my heart swoons
We visit the bell tower, it's brown stone ascends into the clouds, chimes a tune heard for miles into the land
We walk down to the subterranean radio station, a plethora of records lined on archival shelves like artifacts, music blares from tiny speakers, the senses make me feel whole
The ocean breeze slams against us in an onslaught of air as we move by the lagoon, larks dive into the mossy water, the students tend to the land, swapping icy, invasive enemies with indigenous pollen
I look of the bluffs, my sweater tied around my waist like a harness as I look out to the jagged rocks below, the sea is foamy and fizzing like sofa, white and blue splashes across rock like clouds in the clear sky above
The guides tell us of great adventures, of students taking control of the payment department to be heard, of a black woman who spoke when a man told her not to, of students refusing to eat grapes they poison, laced with racist venom, and workers' oppression
Some students come talk to us, they tell tales of magnificent projects programs, traveling abroad, my heart leaps into my throat
The students' don't reach their eyes, zombies filled with coffee and something more, they slightly turn their gaze to the horizon, the meeting of the ocean and the sky, and their is something hollow their
Fear strike into the hearts of these students like harpoons, discriminating between whether one student lives in fear of being remove from their home, their country, their entire lives and others out of fear of harm, of chants of "No means Yes" echoing through the halls of this university like a battle cry, of far too many relatives saying, "why didn't you fight him off?"
The pain and misery drips onto the table as they speak, their univeristy's drawstring is tight against their neck making it impossible to speak to what really happens here
Of the unknowables, of the graphs and pie charts of the school's diversity omnipresent like gold stars, marking the school for a "good job"
This is right before us, this is what our future holds, of days living in agony about a bus of college student sin Oklahoma singing the N word at the top of their lungs like song lyrics, of fear of being killed by simply going into the bathroom you feel most comfortable in, of being yourself, of being human
This university, with sustainable roofs and yellow lite bike paths, is a staircase to our futures, breaking with every other step
We shape our futures into what we want to see happen, of what your dreams shape into, of what steps to step on, skip the staircase, the elevator is easier to ride for everyone
I ask you to listen
Not with your ears but with your eyes
I ask you listen
Do you see the little girl there
The one with the dark hair
You see she’s in a cage
Not a metaphorical one
One with rusted bars and a lock
Whose key is slung around the neck of whatever brothel owns her
She’ll be passed around like the flu
Her body is not her own
Just a hole to fill
I ask you to listen
Use your head, not your heart
I ask you listen
Do you see the little boy on the corner there?
The one with bony knees who loves football
He carries a plastic bag and a pointy stick
He collects your trash
He’ll cut his pinky on a black syringe
And he’ll get so sick he can no longer pick up your trash with pointy sticks
I ask you to listen
Just to listen
Do you see the baby there
Wrapped so tight
Not making a peep on a cold Russian night
It’s mother flees into the darkness
She is afraid
Of the things that go BUMP in the night
The boogieman already has her in His sights