hmkeselman

United States of America

beyond high strung. combat boots and stars in my eyes.
gryffindor. overly sarcastic.

Published Work

Open Prompt

yellow

    When the sunflowers came, they came quickly. They grew in rapid profusion, despite the still defrosting winter. Goldenrod drops pushed through cracks in the sidewalk, stems rising from concrete into the sky. The flowers grew like weeds, swallowing nutrients and space the way someone might gasp for air after nearly drowning. No one knew how or why the sunflowers had arrived, but the honey drizzled petals and stocky bodies seemed a constant fixture in the village. It was as if they had always been there, enveloping street after street. As time passed, some roads had to be closed down, too overrun with yellow soldiers standing at attention. But no one seemed to mind. 
    And for a month, life was fine. The villagers used the main road, the one that hugs the curve of the post office and cuts right through town, passing the tired diner, the fatigued library, the exhausted city hall. No one minded. It wasn’t as if anyone...

Water Body

let the ocean

Follow the darkness, follow the shimmer of relfected light
That carries dreamers and sailors into the night
Fall with the sinners and the shipwrecks
Dragged into the depths 
Swim with the pooling silver beneath the moon
Coat your skin in the waves metallic, melodious, tune
Let the ocean course through your veins
Seep through your eyes, releasing pain
Let the ocean fill your lungs
Spoken summers sit sweetly on tongues
Let the ocean crash and divide
The head and heart wars where so many past loves have died.
Let youself follow the waves
And the coldness you crave
If each crash be the beat of the drum
Let the ocean come. 

Universal Knowledge

you speak like constellations

to gaze upon the stars is to speak love poems to the night

Lunar Phrases

waning love

1. And in the beginning there was darkness/for I did not know you

2. Interrupted by the shattering of glass, shards thrown among the universe/yet there was a sliver of hope once I did

3. There was one piece, round yet jagged, halfway into the sunlight/I was halfway there to falling, for you and for heartbreak

4. It's shadow danced across the sky, creating an almost perfect circle. But not quite/I wish I hadn't let myself by swept up in the feeling of fullness

5. When the sun orbits to face the glass, stars align and brightness lasts/the feeling of being whole with love or perhaps with like

6. But as day fades to night, so too does the sun's interest fade/vulnerabilty for a fleeting moment, and then I begin to shrink

7. And that glass becomes just a shard without the sun's illuminating smile/closed off and hollowed out, half of what I...

Song Writing Competition 2019

let go

Verse 1:
Pour some gasoline in your glass
Drink it up cause it gets cold fast
Feel the fire in your veins
As it sets aflame
Your body now

I’ll stand and watch you burn burn burn
Oh honey we just never learn
The hollowness of broken love
As it rips apart
Our once whole hearts

Pre Chorus:
Oh oh oh
See the bridges we built
Oh oh oh 
All that blood, sweat, and guilt
Oh oh oh 
Set fire to this town
Oh oh oh
Let’s send it crumbling down

Chorus:
So let go
Set free
Drain your mind of insecurities
So let go
Of our past
Our fights, cause they don't last
Just let go, oh, now. 

Verse 2:
Feel yourself in this hurricane 
Careful now, don't get blown away
Go chase the calm of the storm
It will keep you warm
and your mind at ease

Pre Chorus:
Oh oh oh
See the bridges we built
Oh...

Micro Memoir

run parallel

There is this theory called the Parallel Universe Theory. It states that there are an infitite number of universes that run parallele to ours, where every choice you have made plays out slightly differently. I like to think about this in the moments where I am kicking myself for missing a question on a test, or say the wrong thing, or mess up a dance step. But my deepest secret is that I could not be happier to be in the universe, in this moment between nowhere and nothing. Because this universe is where you are. You do not know me, but I know you. You walk the halls like I do, avoiding eye contact with people you kind of know but not really. You talk faster than you think, spreading words and stories like fire. I do the same. I look back at my collection of memories, a rough scrapbook of my fifteen years in this universe, and I...

Water Body

let the ocean

Follow the darkness, follow the shimmer of relfected light
That carries dreamers and sailors into the night
Fall with the sinners and the shipwrecks
Dragged into the depths 
Swim with the pooling silver beneath the moon
Coat your skin in the waves metallic, melodious, tune
Let the ocean course through your veins
Seep through your eyes, releaing pain
Let the ocean fill your lungs
Spoken summers sit sweetly on tongues
Let the ocean crash and divide
The head and heart wars where so many past loves have died.
Let youself follow
Let yourself by carried
Let yourself fall and swim and crash
Let the ocean come. 

Food Writing Competition 2019

Baking Chaos

Shabbat 101. My own ten commandments to surviving a meal in the overbearing and loud Thunderdome that is my family. There used to be sixteen of us every week, a jumble of debate, random dishes, and color clashing before my senses. It was overwhelming, but as a small child, I could get up from the table, draw and read, without anyone blinking an eye. However, as the years have gone on, and my cousins have started skipping dinners in favor of college, relationships, and jobs, the role of maintaining tradition has fallen solely on the heads of my brother and I. Now, I say that this is a weekly Friday Night Dinner, but it is more twice monthly. I have a busy schedule, but friendships and schoolwork fall to the wayside when there is a "free" Shabbat. It is off on the thirteen minute drive to my grandparents' house. 

Now, many of the meals have ended in tears and tiredness...

0-9

one step at a time

0- We stand on the sidewalk, well not the sidewalk. She and I stand on the curb, debating whether we should make the half an hour walk or wait for a ride. We dash across to the muddy field when no cars are coming.
1- I say if it's drizzling, it's going to pour. The sky is tumultous. One particularly aangry cloud pulsates to the sound of umbrellas opening and cars starting. 
2- She says we should walk anyway. A little rain never hurt anyone, and besides. Waiting for ride would be like giving in to the weather. We are not quitters. We are fighters. 
3- When she puts it like that, in two arguements that appeal to me, I am forced to agree. We begin to walk, my long legs accounting for three strides in the time it takes her to make two. 
4- Between talk of homework and the future, I berate her mercilessly as rain drops fall...

Bread and Light

nourishment is what we make of it

1. The hand that taught me how to bake, not caring as I, a three year old, struggled to whisk batter, my own hands too small and too weak. I am strong enough now to bake on my own, and yet it is my mother's hand that sustains me. Merely there, ready to take over if I need it. 
2. Words. I gobble words as easily as popcorn, thrown into one's mouth in a dark theater. I guzzle honey drenched words like "apricot" and "luminence." I enjoy melting chocolate words, "velvet" or "oozing." I cut my tongue on rough words, sharp as knives, like "staccato" and "cat." I feel my mouth, my head, my heart with these words, pouring over pages or writing my own. 
3. Stuffed animals and Disney movies feed childhood innocence in me, a person who has always been stubborn beyond my years. I find myself full of sugar and light, watching princesses and villians, hugging an...

Perfectly Normal

    Mr. and Mrs. Smith were a perfectly normal couple. They lived in an average sized house in the most average of neighborhoods. Mr. Smith woke every morning, showered, shaved, and dressed. He would choose a tie, and put on his suit jacket. He slid his feet into his gleaming dress shoes and padded down the stairs.
In the kitchen, Mrs. Smith bustled around, making breakfast. Two eggs, a piece of toast, and a cup of coffee. Mr. Smith liked it black. She hummed as she cooked, her apron bare of any spots. Mr. Smith greeted his wife, and inhaled the smell of coffee brewing. It was a regular morning. A normal morning.
    The toaster dinged, and a piece of bread sprung free, golden and crispy. At the sound, Mr. Smith took a seat at the table, and unfurled the day’s newspaper. It was all good news. Mrs. Smith silently placed a full plate in front of Mr. Smith. The...

Self-Respect

a list to myself, but i suppose you can read it

1. Let your hair by frizzy and out of control. It is the sign of a night well slept, full of dreams with wings that built nests on your head. Let your hair be chaotic because it frames your face like a lion's mane, wild and bold. It is a reminder of the fierceness that you carry. 

2. Raise your hand in class. Do it because you know the answer, because you not just prove to others that you are smart, but you prove it to yourself. Raise your hand because it shows you that all the notetaking paid off and that you are confident enough to participate. 

3. Disagree about something stupid. Dig your heels for no other reason then to see that you will not fall over. Apologize later sure, but see that you have a voice, one that sings with angels and burns like hell. 

4. Read the book. Fall asleep knowing that there is a cliffhanger...

At Home

come home to the storm

I am five years old again, staying up past my bedtime to watch the skeletal trees dance across the night sky outside my window. A grin pressed on my face as I hear the crashing of thunder, as I watch the colored tattoos on the sky that is lightning. I come back to myself in the rain, washing away all thoughts besides wonder. How nice it is the universe can cry for me when I do not want to be vulnerable. 

I am five years old again, wishing for rain or snow the night before my birthday. It just feels more me than clear skies and sunshine. Rain is a simpler time with a touch of romance, a touch of sadness, a touch of "what if?" in the puddles and mud it leaves in its wake. 

Love in Words

dear (enough)

Dear (name), 
    I hate when people describe eyes as gemstones. The majority of people do not have sapphire or emerald eyes, and the few that do? Well, I have spent so much time avoiding eye contact that I find it hard to believe anyone would notice such a spectacular color. I am too awkward to stare directly at someone. They are the sun and I avert my gaze for fear of being blinded. But your eyes? Although I may have been blinded, it was hard not to stare. You carry the entirety of the oceans in your sapphire eyes, slowly sinking beneath the surface. I often wish that I had the power to do something. I have been a dancer all my life. I should have the muscles to grab on to you and pull you away from the cliffs that are calling out to you. They are sirens, too enticing. They have an effortless air to them that draws...

The Vistas Beyond

why must the world be beautiful?

Some may notice the frozen ground, an inexplicable compulsion to look upon the world and see the death that would meet them if they fell. I tend to notice the ground, and yet in the cloaked night, stars appear, and they drive my focus upwards. I am ashamed to be an optimist under the light of those welcoming stars, but their arms are far warmer than the sleeping ground below. 

Mixtape

just listen

ophelia- the lumineers
            heaven help a fool who falls in love
secrets- one republic 
​            i need another story 
warrior- aurora
            and i hold a sword to guide me 
castle- halsey
            they're gonna make me their queen
deep water- american authors
            i want the flame without the burning
she's kerosene- the interrupters
            you know she's gonna burn down everything
brooklyn baby- lana del ray
            i think we're like fire and water
toxic thoughts- faith marie
            the toxic thoughts of an overachiever 
dream- bishop briggs
            i had a dream that you couldn't hear me screaming
perfectly out of key- the maine
            and sometimes I like living in my own world
she will be loved- maroon 5
            i don't mind spending everyday out on the corner in the pouring rain
i won't say- from hercules
           it's too cliche i won't...

Extraordinary in the Ordinary

a toast

the soft curve of the sands of times
fused together to hold the oceans in its arms.
perhaps the carrier of life,
an amusing distortion of my face as I kiss the edges of savior.
i suppose it's more than a physical need to wrap a hand around cold.
it is the sound of broken, a crash
that floods us with memories of good times and laughs
so let us raise the light of the world
and swallow the sharpness that is glass

A Pair of Poems

the young

3 am and caffeine
The nicotine
of ripped jeans and leather jackets
Under hazy neon signs that say “come in”
Bags under eyes but they don’t mind
That’s what it means to be alive
Hair tangled and smiles wide
The cold only makes the adrenaline rush
That
Much
Sweeter
The scent of something warm on empty streets
And they call out to greetings
To the crisp night
Bodies and mesh
Slightly undressed
Falling into each other as they walk because life is a stumbling mess
like the
Young
And
Wild

Tiny Love Story

end of story

I like black and leather jackets. I don't crush, because my heart doesn't deserve torture for someone I only kind of know. Love is gross and I don't like vulnerability. End of story. But I have read enough unneeded sequels to realize that it's never the end. He was the beginning. I had to keep reading, no matter how much I wanted to slam the book shut. I wish the book told me how to make someone so quiet and sweet and smart like someone as loud and cynical as me. But it doesn't. That's the real end of story.