Yellow Sweater

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Zinnia | she/her | bi | agnostic | 18 | WA

2021-2022 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

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I like spaceships, temples, and tea.

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Down the Road

May 24, 2021

PROMPT: Re-Search

13
When I first ate a rose petal, I was seven and wanted to be a flower fairy. It tasted bitter like summer sunlight— summer, sunlight, bitter, a flower floating on the ocean of my tongue. I haven't described the experience till now, but that’s what it was: a collection of associations burned into the shape of a moment. I had begun to compose poetry. Ever since putting that petal in my mouth, I’ve been a curator— not a collector, a curator. I could care less about stones, stuffed animals, and stamps. But I treasure the feeling of cracking open a geode, or watching a fawn prance across the lawn in the dewy hours of morning, or holding a letter damp with the essence of faraway places.
 
I’ve always maintained that perception, in and of itself, is an art form, one I aspire to practice with care and discernment. Moments can be composed like photographs, minutes like songs. I highlight portions of reality and save them for later, juxtaposing them against my emotional state. For me, walking down the road is an act, not an experience. I weave the glistening spiderwebs and drooping blossoms through the wires of my brain, then graze the soft fabric with my fingertips, my nose, my lips, the tendrils of my consciousness. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, yet I don’t fully experience it because I’m determined to live in my world, in the moments I’ve curated. I’ve started to treat my life like it’s a museum, touching everything, but afraid to let anything touch me, lest it should disrupt my preconceived notion of the whole.
 
Today, as I walked to the park, I trotted down the street with the intention of seeing rather than perceiving, but it was like trying to force thoughts from my brain while attempting to meditate: frustrating and counterproductive (I even ended up composing parts of this essay in my head).  When I got to Chetzemoka Park I surrendered my efforts, cracking open the poetry book I had brought with me, So What by Taha Muhammad Ali. After about forty pages, I emerged out of an arid Palestinian landscape: his gravely, honey-sweet voice, the bare-bones and ripe-melancholy of his heart, and into the lush Pacific-Northwest spring. I left my carefully chosen spot in the dappled shade of a Magnolia tree and ran down to the water, to the exposed expanse of ocean. I truly saw the blue, rough and wild and utterly indescribable in its individuality and its wholeness. 
 
It’s strange how reading the Palestinian desert, the stark beauty of Taha Muhammad Ali’s thoughts, helped me to truly see my exterior surroundings. Experiencing another’s intimacies allowed me to escape my own. For a flash of a second, caught between two halves of the world, on an undefinable precipice, I was able to feel the earth’s roundness. I think there are two kinds of searching— narrowing and opening— and they rely on each other. The linear concrete street I walk down is inherently a filter, a two-dimensional reality of hedgerows and Magnolia trees, but it leads to the sea, where, still throbbing with poetry, I picked a whole rose, not just a petal, and let it slide, through my fingers, into the water below. 

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6 Comments
  • pluto-

    WOWOWOWOWOW OMG this is brillIANT!


    3 months ago
  • Starlitskies

    Oh wow. This is simply breathtaking! The beginning line is one of my favourite: "When I first ate a rose petal, I was seven and wanted to be a flower fairy." - what a gentle yet profound way to introduce your piece! You've written so many insights into the folds of your piece and how you've tied it all together with a rose is brilliant and beautiful. As always your vocabulary is stunning!
    "I think there are two kinds of searching— narrowing and opening— and they rely on each other." - this line is going to stay with me for a while.
    Re: Thank you! and tell me about it! It's almost as if we began with the same thought but took them on our own journeys!


    4 months ago
  • gabsie

    The beginning is just breathtaking! I love it!!


    4 months ago
  • SunV

    love this piece!! the imagery, your inner thoughts-- just, everything is wonderful.

    and congratulations on the 21-22 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate!


    4 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    this is absolutely gorgeous, wowwowwow


    4 months ago
  • Writing4Life

    Oh my goodness; stunning as always! Your writing is always so magical and transportive, you really took this prompt and SLAYED it!


    4 months ago