when i was nine i would walk to the library
every Wednesday after school. slumped in a corner reading Calvin & Hobbs
with a scuffed butterfly backpack at her feet, was me.
my cheeks would flush when the middle schoolers wandered in.
they were cool, always gossiping about how jenna liked kyle,
and smart, too, laboring over homework in groups of three.
i observed from my post in the corner and couldn't wait for
my birthday to roll around but
ten and eleven were uneventful, full of my mother
complaining about my teacher's lack of control over the class
and the occasional expedition to the cafeteria during lunch
because fruit cups were in high demand. i graduated
elementary school and
then i turned twelve and the people i used to call
my friends came over and we watched Singin' In The Rain
at four o'clock in the afternoon. with stale pizza crusts and empty juice boxes
littering the living room floor, they...
Film/TV Series Review Competition 2021
Writer and director Wes Anderson’s singular style utilizes a blend of highly detailed production design, uncanny camera movements, and characters that either behave impulsively or calculate every move. Anderson’s style highlights the themes of his 2012 movie “Moonrise Kingdom” to a tee.
The film is set in the 1960s on the small, fictional New England island of New Penzance. Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) lives with her dysfunctional parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand) and three younger brothers, whereas Sam Shukasky (Jared Gilman) is an orphan spending the summer at Khaki Scout camp. “Moonrise Kingdom” opens with turmoil as both Suzy and Sam are found missing from their respective homes as a vicious storm is projected to make landfall within days. And so begins a search led by island sheriff Captian Sharp (Bruce Willis) who also deputizes Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and Sam’s fellow Troop 55 Khaki Scouts.
Through the perspective of “troubled children” Sam and Suzy, “Moonrise Kingdom” explores the...
if it were that easy to
just go, i would
follow the blackberry brambles
along the highway and crest the rolling hills;
the seagulls fight with the wind
to stay afloat and i waver on solid ground;
the fog is moving faster now, i fear it has
somewhere to be; i open my mouth,
let vapor dissolve in thin air;
magic, i scream to the gulls circling above.
i can walk on my own two feet, wander forward
somehow to the coastline and watch
my breath be stolen from my body.
how, then, is this not magic?
i clench my sweatshirt tighter, cross my arms
over my body, muster the energy
before the wind tears it all away.
eyes water, hair whips my raw cheeks;
to the count of three and then i let
i dig my heels into the packed soil
to brace myself against the wind
that wants more than anything
to tear my voice from this...
i. a stranger's fingers entangled in your hair, your neck against the cold porcelain sink
ii. the shadows of clouds roaming over a meadow of wildflowers
iii. candles and fairy lights and the full moon on a clear night
iv. when you can hear someone smile, just from their voice
v. tight hugs that squeeze unease and stress and fear out of your body, out of your mind, until you melt into a puddle of wax and somehow you know it’s going to be alright
vi. that homeless man today, dusting off a woman's jacket after it fell on the ground and handing it back to her
vi. the foreign smells of other people’s houses, other people's lives. what does our house smell like to outsiders? fabric softener (the washing machine is in the tomb of the garage where everything is frozen; i don't think the fabric softener thaws fast enough to coat our clothes, let alone leave a scent behind)...
we cannot see
get a grip on
20 years, 50 years,
muster the will
the world has
locked itself away
old men yell at the clouds until it rains, wrinkled faces upturned towards the sky. a mountain in the background. storm clouds spilling over, sinking into the air. above is the bluest sky anyone could ever imagine. cerulean to misty gray, flecks of white scattered here and there. the men plead for rain, for permission to shed their starched polos and forget the prison walls they've built around themselves. here, an easy reference of all the amenities offered in purgatory. maybe then you can draw the dots between the desperate moment under the sky and the causes therein.
i. golf courses
also known as an island of perfect green surrounded by withered grass where old men like us hit balls into holes all day. it's fun, i sure do love driving the golf carts and snapping at the cady. come, play with me. let's bet on your swing, shall we? whoever loses buys the other a drink. wednesday afternoon? see you...
just to fill a room with sound
you told the walls of the time
you ran until your heart jumped into your throat,
as you clutched his hand
and now you are twelve and mommy lets you take
the wheel; you open your mouth
no sound comes out
back to your hands intertwined
a little sweaty feet slapping on the pavement
sun and wind and hair; then
stop air. okay hands again.
foreheads touching breathe together;
lungs rattling in their cages.
silence again. inhale okay hands
and forehead please shoulders
you hold him eyes widen please clench
unclench exhale you were running
heart spilled onto the hot concrete;
please forehead again you touch and lungs
open you close your eyes;
moment, then laughter!
you are alive you are living, so is he
and now you lived through something;
this time you walk.
sometimes i imagine
you write about me
at three a.m.
with sad music pouring through your
headphones and then when
it becomes too much
you switch to lorde
to remember all the things
that didn't happen
while you punch your pillow,
a tornado brewing inside;
and then i blink;
i might as well imagine
because i'm the one that writes about you
(not at three in the morning,
i could never stay up that late)
with fox academy pounding through
my skull (lorde is reserved for
special occasions) until
that is too much and i switch to sufjan stevens
(spoiler alert, it is a video and
we're all gonna die someday and
words are futile devices and
you'll never be alone with me)
while i suffocate under the duvet cover,
tears leaving little cuts across my face
/ in my face and
what could you have said to raise
me from the dead? because you
i. months from now you'll be nothing but a few warm afternoons splayed out on the astroturf, nothing but a hazy joke or two;
the veiled curtain of precious moments too ordinary to remember
obscuring the mornings we spent pegging away at our classwork, firing sly comments at each other from across the room;
the days seem long now, but in time they will fade
to brief flashes of laughter (your eyes crinkle into a smile when we played improv games in drama class) and
a kind gesture or two (that day you lent your baseball glove to me when i didn't bring my own; my nose still remembers the cowhide, the sweat) and
quick glances at the clock mounted above the door (waiting,
waiting for lunch, for recess, for things to happen and people to see and places to go);
ii. years from now you'll be nothing, but maybe a yearbook memory or two will survive in the...
Food Writing Competition 2021
Sunday morning pancakes have always been a tradition in my house. When I was little, my dad made them, mixing the dry ingredients the night before and adding the wet in the morning. Then he would spoon the batter onto the hot skillet, flipping them every once in a while as far as I could tell. They arrived at my place setting piping hot, smelling of toasted oats.
By age ten, when I learned to wield knives and forks, whisks and spoons, I became curious about how flour, eggs, and milk were transformed into Sunday morning pancakes. And so began my cooking education, flipping through cookbooks and gobbling up any piece of information that I rested my eyes upon. Watching food documentaries and cooking shows became a regular passtime, sure, but also part of my self-curated curriculum. I never shied away from homework either, as I’d be apt to do in regular school. No, I studied diligently, watching my mom...
May Grab Bag
it had not been an easy day for arthur durshvetsky. from finding his beloved dog, catfood, dead in the middle of the kitchen floor (a couple of chocolate almonds were forgotten on the cutting board the night before) to checking his daughter into the hospital after she fell down the stairs (one broken leg, a sprained arm, and three fractured ribs) made for an eventful morning. not to mention the afternoon when he got a call from his boss, informing arthur he had been laid off. curiously, arthur actually enjoyed his job-- bagging groceries at safeway-- and had made quite a few lady friends he invited over for tea every once and a while (chatting with the shoppers was arthur's main hobby).
when four o'clock rolled around, arthur was left slumped in the old cigarette stained chair in the corner of his living room. the blinds were drawn shut, the lights turned off, and given that he finally had space...
but do you love him?
i care more to be loved, i want to be loved
that it is not the same as loving
but it's something, isn't it? because i've seen the way he looks at her. she's the sun-- too brilliant and blinding to look away. and his face softens and his lips part and she loves him too. her eyes glisten and her cheeks redden and she laughs like early morning church bells on a swelling yellow summer day.
and it's more than i'll ever have, it's more than i deserve. because being loved would be enough, it would satisfy my savage hunger, if someone, someone, anyone would see me as their golden sun in a cloudless blue sky.
i don't even think i'm capable of loving, not when my expectations are too high, not when i am who i am, not when i collapse, crumble, fall. who would dare help me up? and even if someone...
i. to know something
is a lie, a rock in the pit of your stomach;
that something that you knew was;
true isn’t anymore; and your reality becomes fiction again;
we are all rock people, born from
a cosmic joke, the universe constantly reminding us;
ii. we know nothing; all we can do is exist;
playing along until we can break free from this
labyrinth of suffering; but even then, even then
it will end and i will watch as everyone i love decays;
the question is did i want to exist in the first place
where we are forced to keep going, keep going
until what, i don’t know;
iii. but somehow we make meaning out of this
life of endings; and it’s not a straight line of acceptance;
because i know (then again, a cosmic joke;
you could argue i know nothing; which, sure, scares
the living out of me; but that’s just part of the deal i...
the world has come to an end when soft, white flecks fall from the heavens & the sky is streaked with ash. the ground beneath your feet is littered with the last remains of my imagination, the forgotten wisps & echoes & dreams. all is in shambles beneath you & all is falling from above.
the world has come to an end when the fairies peek out from behind the faded cherry blossoms. they have witnessed the rise & fall of oceans, of kingdoms, of rulers for many a millennia. they are the quiet guardians of the forest & the sky, witnesses to it all since the dawn of time.
they venture out into the world, dashing from fallen castles to lightning-struck trees. they marvel at how i brought this upon myself. but then they remember that’s how i’ve always worked, how i’ve survived-- no, rather how i’ve avoided collapse-- for so long. the fairies, they have always known this...
you are homemade popsicles and blue camp chairs
set up under the electric stars;
sidewalk chalk pressed into the burning soles of my bare feet
and the awakening of the forest after rain;
warm sheets creased with sleep and smiles that emerge from
folds of soft skin;
the tang of nail polish remover and the aromas
of chocolate and cinnamon;
the scrub jays landing on the window sill and the early morning
light dancing through our home;
old books and fresh flowers;
ancient clothes tucked into closets and sealed with mothballs;
pearly dew adorning the grass out front and the wilderness out back;
bird calls and banjo music and dogs barking;
the fridge groaning with the demand of more ice, more water;
the landline ringing of the hook with news from the school district;
dryer lint and family pictures;
this is now, this is then,
this is my forever home;
your ink-stained palms lift
up, leaving a trail of blue
behind; pieces of sky form
between your fingers; clouds drift past,
casting shadows on your
sunken cheeks and hollow eyes;
you search the sky
for answers; you’ll never find;
specks of gold and dreams and joy
swam in the depths of your eyes,
illuminating even the darkest nights;
when the moon hid behind a bank of fog
and you were left to freeze;
but you remembered the sun;
and had courage enough to call her to your frozen form;
purple blue black bruises
adorn your arms; formed when you forget;
this is real; formed when you remember;
you are not; because stepping where you are told
and repeating what is said; is not living at all;
you remembered the sky;
her cloak made of forever dyed a deep powder blue;
and rather than drowning inside yourself, you flew
to a different place; a different time;
at the helm of a ship
she stood with the sun
exploding behind her back;
her thin veined hand rose
to her trembling mouth;
and so the world ended--
the trees and the ocean and the stars
collapsed into themselves, into the woman,
leaving only the fragments of sun
suspended in the ashen sky;
everything is over in that split second,
nothing ever happened at all in that split second;
only the wind lives to tell the tale
again and again,
beating against the side of the ship
stranded on the ocean floor;
once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a princess with golden tresses and ribbons to match.
clarity was her name, for the king’s universe widened with startling clarity when she was born. but while the king fussed over his daughter, clarity opened her eyes to the world.
she saw the suffering in the streets of her father’s kingdom, someday to be her’s. she saw hunger eat away at the citizens and yet her father devoured his “supper fit for the king” without a second thought. clarity was fed up, to say the least. every day, her people fighting to stay alive, fighting to live until the tomorrow. but all the upper kingdom did was throw elaborate parties night after night, feigning innocence.
why was she, the royal princess, the last shard of clarity left in the whole upper kingdom? but that was soon to be changed, clarity pledged to herself. soon they would begin to...
i’m drowning in reality and there’s
no way out;
so promise me, my dear, not to wake me if
this is all a dream;
salvation is in the silver threads
of moonlight unspooled
across the white washed window sill;
shrouded in the filtered light of the heavens,
i know all the untold secrets
the man on the moon has kept;
tell me, how did he escape
to the dimpled terrain while i’m left
here to wrestle with the truth;
there, i know, the cable cars are out of commission now;
they’ve ferried few out of earth’s gravity,
out of the clutches of life;
here i am;
i cry out;
but the roundabout is deserted
and a heavy rain is all that hears my meager voice;
there’s a faded sign high above my head;
cable car to the moon
to the moon, to the moon;
they are rusty now, the cable cars
and the man is all that lives...
dust motes stream in on trails of molten gold,
pulling the heavy curtain of dawn aside;
the air is alive with scents
of freshly cut grass
and the sharp tang of gasoline;
turning my head to the trees, i let
the shadows of branches
weave patterns onto my face;
trees stand at the ready against the wakening sky;
mist hangs low, blanketing the treeline;
dew clings to a spider’s delicate web,
woven from strands of moonlight and sunbeams;
there’s a breeze, running gailey along,
stumbling over divots in the tree branches;
birds hidden in the foliage above sing their warbling songs,
shrill voices throbbing
with the pull of the sun behind a bank of clouds;
cars sputter to life and banjo music pours in from two doors down;
i. clambering up the rocks
to lay her head on my weary shoulder,
time pricked her finger
on the jagged edge of a boulder;
she shrugged, not one to be
phased and resumed her steady ascent;
time reached me in her due,
leaning her warm body
against my feeble frame;
ii. you came
how could i forget?
all day i waited here
i am busy
i needed you then
i am here now
iii. defeat is a bitter medicine,
best taken with those you love;
alas, time has come at once,
her stained fingerprints
claim me as her own;
iv. i stand now,
towering over her,
a scowl etched into my forehead;
my bones creak with the effort
and my face stings; still i stand over
time; now i turn away;
i. meant to be
kyra always told me not to bite my nails
but i can’t help dragging the old habit
with me everywhere i go;
bits of milky purple flake onto my tongue
and i swallow
the collage of what once was;
mary shoved the bottles of lacquer
(“sounds dignified, better than nail polish and
my mother never lets me forget that
i must act like a lady even though i left
her house ten years ago and never looked back”)
into my sweaty hands and i accepted
without question because i knew she had
her reasons as i have mine;
ii. sugarplum fairy
she drove and i painted,
my hands propped up on the glove compartment;
four bottles, four shades of purple, four reasons
i. toyota tundra
this one doesn’t have peeling paint;
the metal frame is hidden away under
a shiny coat of cavalry blue;
and even though i stare the man in the face
when he comes whirling past, he doesn’t
waste a single glance in my direction;
i knew it would be better to stand
in the middle of the road;
ii. honda odyssey
a family for sure; a tired mother, squabbling siblings,
and a father that tunes it all out;
because it’s better to drown in your own silence
than tread over the desperate words of others;
this time i don’t bother waving my arms;
i’m exhausted as it is and i haven’t had a sip of water
since last night when mary dropped me off;
well that’s what i tell myself;
it’s not like i’m lying;
iii. subaru forester
i imagine it’s a group of teenagers
heading into this dusty wasteland
to drink and laugh and kiss
sky, i guess, but she doesn't hold answers
in the creases of her powder blue dress;
it's all for naught and i would know,
looking for signs that are never even there;
back home, she told me she would always be there,
watching over me;
well that ship sailed two days ago
when i passed wayside junction and ducked into
the gas station bathroom to wet my blistered lips;
sunbaked legs and scorched feet;
i've been waiting here for hours
and still not a single car has rushed past;
i keep expecting him to pull up in that
old beat-up truck of his and roll down the window;
but peeling paint and faded memories are the least of my worries;
not a single soul for miles;
i'm all that's left
and the wind doesn't let me forget it;
fields of wheat ripple like an ocean
but the air is dry...
barren branches cloaked with dew;
cutting up the sky;
there, a bird perched on
the naked skeleton; once called a tree;
fragments of; misty grey
onto my outstretched tongue;
there they dissolve;
in the warm embrace of my mouth;
but it’s my lips
to the mercy; of the wind;
burnt bits of bread scattered across my desk
from my morning toast that was
smothered with butter and raspberry jam;
now all that's left is the remnants
of what once satisfied my stomach;
and still my teeth recall the sensation of
biting into fresh-baked bread;
the nutty aroma mixed with that of
sweet fruit congealed into a sugary spread
and the tantalizing taste of rich butter;
but now it's been
chewed and swallowed and enjoyed;
and so there's nothing left but peices
of what once was;
come, sit. i’ll tell you a tale told in the gaps between my words.
it starts on the bank of a stream, giggling along like a schoolgirl infatuated with her silly flights of fancy. now and again the sweet water comes to a dip in the riverbed, falling and rising with the wind that ripples the ever-changing surface. there is a tang in the air, inspiration and hope weaving through the proud maples and sprawling oak trees. the light filters through the canopy above and soon the sunlight is streaked with bits of emerald, crimson, and gold. all is thoroughly alive, from the bubbling stream to the air and even the trees, home to many a songbird belting out wonderful tunes.
and then you hear a whisper calling from the depths of the forest. it’s not like anything you’ve heard before. not the wind whistling through the trees on a stormy night nor the rustling of leaves when wildlife peeps...
Names for Nature
i turn my head to the trees, letting the shadows of branches weave patterns onto my face. today the sky is a soupy gray. the sun is cloaked in cloud cover and a misty velvet shroud surrounds me. all is silent. not a peep from the birds or the squirrels. the expanse of withered grass bows under my soft footsteps. my worn sandals sink into the damp earth. come to the mound of dirt. stop. listen. just the far off sound of cars on the freeway and banjo music pouring into my pocket of forest. look around. a rustle in the leaves up ahead. yes, there, a dear, munching on ivy.
the dear, shrub we'll call her, looks up at me, gracefully lifting her head from the forest floor. our eyes lock, her's pools of black ink under luscious eyelashes. they widen and i blink. slow and steady. "hey shrub," i murmur under my breath. i imagine she whispers a greeting...
if i didn’t know better--
see you standing there
calling to me;
sharp blazers and cocktail dresses
lined up neatly in your closet;
pressed lavender and dried carnations
hidden in between the pages
of your favorite books;
mira, mi amor
you whisper to the wind;
i look but all i see is the
gentle curve your body
left on the wrinkled duvet cover
ages ago; and all i smell is mothballs
and chanel number five lingering in the air;
the cacophony of the world outside
your window; lace curtains billowing
in the wind;
mira, mi amor;
but i can’t look through the blur
of tears streaming down my face;
i think i know better now--
embers drifting off into the shadowed plethora beyond.
i smile, i laugh, i nod
when i’m supposed to.
you glance at me before turning back to the circle.
i watch as the light flickers across your face, turning your
eyes into inky black pools of night sky. your nose is
scattered with stardust and your smile is
the angry glow of the fire.
you laugh, you smile, you nod
and i know you don’t feel the
hole widening in the pit of your stomach or the
tightening spiral of thoughts going
around, around, around.
i slowly edge back into the darkness.
i know it can’t touch you, firegirl.
but i’m the daughter of shadows,
where you can’t see the emptiness in my eyes.
where it’s easier to breathe.
i wish i wasn’t like this but i have
find me when it’s over, firegirl.
i’ll be waiting in the darkness.
you are the melancholy chords
of violin, drifting up into the
atmosphere and hovering
near the open window.
you watch and wait
for a break in the music
before diving out into the world,
the people and stories and dreams
that pass by on the street.
dipping into alleyways
and dancing across the plaza.
as i trudge along,
just another face in a sea of thousands.
just another person. another story.
and somehow i know you’re there
i look up, see your shadow against
the bright blue sky.
just a silhouette. just another person.
you reach out your hand
and i take it.
then, now, forever.
a symphony in the making.
a story being written.
are pen and ink,
music and violin,
unfurling across the world.
walk ahead/ ahead/ out of earshot/ out of eyeshot/ cause’ you can’t shoot me down when i’m out of sight/ and i won’t explode if i don’t hear you/ and your blatant lies/ and observations/ because it’s all too much/ too much/ when i can’t think/ and you’re droning on trying to make conversation/ rude i know/ but sometimes i can’t trouble myself to care/ and i know there’s something wrong/ with me when i run away/ away from you and your accusations/ and i know you’re just trying to help/ but i’m beyond help okay/ beyond the point of no return/ where i don’t know if i’m up or down left or right/
all that’s clear is that the sound coming out of your mouth is/ too much/ and the silence is/ deafening/ so i need to go away now/ away from my head and my body/ where i can let the tears of relief fall in the...
Bread and Light
your hand encasing mine, channeling warmth into my body, my being.
bodies pressed together, holding each other up before they collapse.
an electric connection.
sweat. tears. smiles.
sharp tang of citrus, of curry, of heat and spice and complexity.
sweet liquid gliding down my parched throat.
i never thought water could taste so good, smell so good.
like fresh air and good night kisses and the wind woman dancing in the trees.
it's all in my head, somehow keeping me sane.
it's my world, built out of words and images.
i use the redwood as my blank canvas, my blank page.
talking to myself again.
familiar hilt and dip of words that
cascade out of my lips and dive into my ears.
all of this--
the games i make up,
the smell and taste and feeling of your skin on mine,
the water seeping into my body,
reminds me i'm not a skeleton....
it starts with not returning my calls.
three voicemails, three beeps, three after-the-tones later,
i'm still here and you are still there.
i've tried, okay? texts upon texts, calls upon calls.
you know what? maybe i'm done.
it's become too much-- putting in all this effort.
i know you are going through a lot. i know you don't like to talk about it.
i know we are
whatever happened to best friends forever and ever?
to sleepovers and giggling about the most trivial things.
to being there for each other, whatever and whenever that meant.
because i need you
and i might be wrong,
but i think
you need me too.
the longer this lasts, the awkward silence, it becomes harder and
harder to really talk
with you. now i'm talking
and it's just not the same.
it can't be, because you're a
stranger and i'm just me.
now there's nothing between us but
paper-thin doors never helped anyone, least of all me.
i hear it all-- the gasps between each sob, the hitch of her quiet moans.
she's trying to be silent so that we don't suspect a thing, so that we don't rush to her aid.
but i know we wouldn't be helping, just ruining one of the few moments she has alone.
hot tears stream down her face mixing with the pain that boils just under the facade her skin-- because that's all skin is, a covering stretched too thin to hold the emotions within.
and i know for sure it's not crocodile tears, it feels all too real for that.
she's alive and her tears are too. an extension of her agony, a throbbing ache welling to the surface.
i bet her face is scorched with the burning drops of misery and grief, anguish and anxiety.
i slide to the floor, using the closed door as my crutch.
what have i done? what have we done? destroying our earth, ripping it apart piece by burning piece.
i just watched david attenborough's a life on our planet and i cried. i cried because i saw how luscious our past was, at least up until the 1930s. i cried because i saw the impending degradation of our future, deforestation and overfishing among our economic to a fault society. it was heartbreaking.
but most of all, it was infuriating. how dare we go on like this? it's an insult to future generations, to our world, but most of all, it's an insult to ourselves. this nonchalance sure isn't helping anyone. it's time we stare at what we have done right in the face. it's time we start changing some things around here.
and i get it, people already know climate change is a thing. most people know what dire danger they-- we-- are in. so why haven't we done more? i...
Maybe it’s good. Maybe we were each other’s way of knowing how to live. How to laugh. How to love. I guess everyone has a happily ever after some time in their life. As for us, though, we had ours too soon.
You. Right there, so close. Your radiant smile, eyes scrunched up like they always do when you’re joyful. Your hair is loose and flowy, almost like a halo. It’s frozen in time, about to settle around your shoulders again. And the elegant twist of your body, dancing and twirling to and fro. Your hand, reaching out to me. I can't believe that I thought it could last.
And now… now you’re forever frozen between the pages of a book. Our book. So full of bliss and innocence. God, I remember that day. We were at the top of a mountain, stretching so far into the sky. Below us lay our future, a steep and treacherous way down. If...
marrying is easier than falling in love.
then comes a job, kids, school, college if you're lucky--
hell, just kidding. you're lucky.
and it's happening again, over and over and over.
it's all forward all the time.
the constant motion is making my sick--
sometimes it's not enough to be drunk on life.
i have to sit down for a moment, catch my breath.
you'd think the dreams would run out soon,
but no-- they're better kindling than any old newspaper.
they keep you warm in mind and body but
it's your soul that's left shivering on the floor.
you live with the illusion of stepping forward and
maybe we're all just stuck and nobody knows it but me.
the thing is, this is forever. you can't change it.
but forever is composed of nows.
we are each on our own path, winding our way through forests of possibility.
you look up and see the dark outline of the trees against the velvety dusk sky.
the stars are to come out soon, shining down and filtering through the canopy above.
and you may not be able to see fully what is in front of you,
but you must have trust in the stars, in the trees, in the earth.
stumble forward, little one.
great joys and surprises and anger and sorrow await you in the darkness.
it's closing in, i know, but someday i hope
you can wander deep into the woods without a care in the world.
the darkness will always be there, yes, but you will not fear it
as the light within you will grow strong and mighty just like the oaks that line your trail.
maybe you'll even discover a fork in the road like i did not to long ago.
i don't think. maybe i never did.
a thoughtless machine,
trying so hard to hone her craft.
but it ends in dancing flames
and i won't be mesmerized
by them for long.
i can't help sinking
into the rejection,
letting the tightness in my chest
until i fear a stray ember
will be all that it takes before i combust,
spewing the ashen words everywhere.
i keep doing this to myself,
analyzing the data that's not even there.
and i know that my blanched face
can't take any more charred skin or burning flesh.
but i also know it's hopeless to get me to stop.
please read in british accent because it makes everything sound better and much more dignified.
"oh hello there! may i have a dance with you?" i stumbled upon sweet old fir tree and extended my invitation. a sweet, stately mother looking on at her children, she was.
"i'm flattered, really. much obliged, much obliged," she whispered, and i heard her weary voice carried on the wind. a creak of branches and the fluttering of leaves up above was all it took before i whisked her away.
we danced across the forest floor, fir tree and i. twirling back and forth, my arm wrapped around her tall and steady torso. one of her branches hung down and pulled me into her, resting on my shoulder.
oh, we had a flight of fancy, engaging in a wonderful dialogue even the kings of long ago wouldn't have dreamed of.
"what a splendid afternoon," i remarked as we passed by young redwood.
"yes, yes, it...
i always make sure to look at it first. really look. examine it, twirl it in my hand. take in the curled stem, withered edges, golden flecks, crimson veins. i stare it, imagine its life before. i bet it was just another pawn in one of mother earth's many games, cast away from her before the first snow even came. before the trees became nothing but ghosts in the winter wasteland.
i look at this beautiful pinnacle of creation. i feel the weak pulse of the ground, of the sky, travel up through the leaf and meet with my hand. i hear the lost whispers of the forgotten call from just behind the line of trees. i stop, glance around. i'm still alone. still. alone.
i can't take it anymore-- i crumble the brittle leaf in my hand, let the wind carry the fragments away. away. away. and i'm still here. still. here. frantically, i glance around. all it took...
legs swing back and forth, feet slap down on the hard asphalt. the heavy breathing follows in your wake. arms pump forward and backward, hair trailing behind you like a kite string. you push and push and pull and try to hang on. faster and faster and faster still.
run for your life, darling. i fear i'm catching up.
sweat dribbles down your carefully sculpted back and i can't look away. i want to reach out and grab you by the waist, pull you into me. i'll softly whisper i won into your ear but i know you will brush me off and chuckle that husky laugh of yours. and it will bounce off the recesses of my mind, over and over and over. a reminder of what i do not know. a reminder of what i crave. and then you'll look back and say i'm not it yet and the game of tag will go on forever.
propped up against the frame of my door, i close my eyes. the sound of my brother in the other room, the sound of my mom talking on the phone, the sound of my dad typing away. i step back from it all. it melts away, fusing itself back into the fabric of life. & now it's just me.
the rise and fall of my chest, the thousands of thoughts vying for attention, the steady beat of my heart, my waterlogged soul. silence. but not the kind that suffocates, no that's different than the kind that gracefully drapes over you, softening anxious movements and thoughts and worries.
i take a deep breath, inflating my lungs with the sweet, crisp air that floats in from the open hallway window. rise and fall, rise and fall. it dives into the hidden crevices of my being, steeping my weary bones with the aroma of life. i take these breaths, this moment in time,...
out there i'm miriam--
outgoing and outspoken
bursting into fits of giggles for absolutely no reason
but here i'm mirkat--
miriam's super cool (but still awkward) alter ego
(still) bursting into fits of giggles for absolutely no reason
and the problem is i don't know which one
is really me
maybe i'm both or maybe i'm neither
they all say that i don't need to know,
that it takes time
to find yourself
but a piece of me will be missing until
i know for sure
until the puzzle pieces are snapped into place
so i'll just keep on being
miriam out there and mirkat
and i hope it will all make sense someday
i. they say i come from stardust/ swirling/and twirling/ throughout the night sky/ and they say i am the daughter/ of the cosmos/ and the planets/ and the stars/ they say i am to/join her one day/ when i am/ old and weary/ i will leave this earth behind/ and sail the high skies/ i shall whisper to them/ secrets of the past/ and hopes for the future/ we will dream the days away/ until/ the universe will claim me/ as her child/ and i will leave/ the womb of the milky way/ and travel farther/ into my mother's/ warm arms/ and we will be one once more/
ii. and it's not to say/ i haven't/ enjoyed life/ here on earth/ but i know/ i am made from sky/ and stars/ and universe/ i am something/ more that can't be/ described/ i must/ traverse/ the planets/ and see/ where/ i was forged/ in the center/of a star/ not until then/...
and the gentle ambiance goes on--
mother in the kitchen, clearing the dishes away.
father in the living room, leading a meeting.
brother sitting in his room, reading on the unmade bed.
the cat curled up in her usual spot, grooming herself.
and me. and me.
staring out the window and thinking.
i draw my castle in the air with
marble halls and turrets and gable rooms galore.
the quiet ways of our afternoon goes on.
no one burst into my room or yells from the other end of the house.
i'm alone for once,
my imagination keeping me company.
life keeps marching steadily forward
and i am here and i am okay.
Sixty years. Sixty miserable, monotonous, terrible years. Years that stretched on and on and on. And now… he’s gone, just like that. After decades and decades of longing. No, not longing. Just… well, stuck. Stuck in my ways. Stuck in his ways. The days and weeks and years, they would go on and on with no end in sight. I fell into the same routine, if you could even call it that. I saw him every day. I tried to avoid it, but like I said-- stuck. I was lost. Drifting through life without feeling a thing.
I take a breath. In and out. I’m old now. Drained and frail. I’ve accomplished one thing, though. I always keep my promises.
I remember the day I promised to myself that I, the innocent, ignorant, young wife, would outlive him. I was sitting on the garden patio and he just kept yelling and yelling. Words. At first, they’re harsh and...
but somehow i keep crawling back,
over and over and over.
i tell myself i don’t need you,
that i never did.
and we both know it’s a lie.
and we both know i can’t help it.
don’t wait up for me or try to lure me back.
it will only make it harder to resist and resist and resist.
the line blurs, and now i don’t know if it’s
you i need to avoid or
indigo bursts from the poisonous berries,
staining my lips.
you are deadly, but oh so beautiful.
sometimes i wonder if it's even worth all of longing here in the now.
maybe it's not.
but maybe it is. if i stop now i'll never find out. it's just a tree and i can stay down at the roots or venture off into the branches.
there is no clear path ahead, you know.
extra, extra, read all about it!
up and up.
out and out.
on and on.
and i can't turn back time and i can't imagine myself in the future so here i am.
the now. it's just the waystation between my regrets and my dreams. we all knew i wasn't fooling anybody when i said i live in the present.
i am made of echoes.
broken fragments of others' voices. an illusion.
but when all is said and done, i am just a person trying to discern my worth in this world.
i am just a girl. one human in the sea of millions. one soul that carries the weight of so many dreams and wishes and regrets and sorrows. and maybe i'll drown. and maybe i'll learn to ride the waves.
it’s all one big almost hovering in my peripheral vision. a just scattered here and there. lots of maybes, thousands of somedays. dreams and hopes and wishes. a heartbreak or two. now we’re at a standstill. and that’s about it. words upon words that seem to convey so much but mean nothing at all when you really think about it. empty promises, empty threts.
pull the brand new hightops on and bound down the steps and out to the street. feel at home in my olive green chords and my light grey hoodie. my hands dive into the pockets for warmth. i breathe. the cool, crisp air slides down my throat with ease and soon i'm inflated with the morning air.
look down, can't help glancing at my new shoes. white dots on a blue background and then checkerboard along the side. and the fresh white that snakes along the bottom of my shoes-- soon it will just be gray, but for now i enjoy how new my hightops look. and the soles, hexagons going up and down the bottom of my shoes. not a speck of dirt in them yet.
and i swagger, let my hips go from side to side. lift my arms to the sky and i twirl, drink in the spinning blue sky with a deepness that goes on and...
and life/ goes on and i find myself/ wondering/ and wishing/ and being/ so many things./ i wish to dispel the pain/ and live only in my joyful,/ thrilling memories./ sometimes i wish i could just fly on and on/ without stopping. my wings won't be clipped/ and i shall never plunge/ beneath the waterline./ just me and the wind and my smile,/ stretching outward and onward for/ forever./
but then i know i can't go on like that/ forever/ and soon i will/ crumble and fall and dip,/ splayed out on the cold linoleum floor./ i just can't live without the/ multitudes,/ without the/ range./ sorrow and joy./ tears and laughter./
and so i have come to the/ conclusion that we only find /the joy if we/ avoid the sorrow./ the pain and suffering and anguish come/ naturally in this/ dying world./ and we are/ lucky if we can depend/ on anything at all./ sorrow is my...
tears streak down my face
they are sunken, tired, lifeless my narrow face.
can see the sorrow and pain etched there.
eyelids heavy, just wanting to close.
and then you tilt your head--
underneath everything, under the weight of life,
you see that in another lifetime--
they are a glimmer, a slice, a piece of who i am.
who i want to be. who i want to forget.
dark chocolate. flecks of gold.
long eyelashes open wide with curiosity,
wonder, sometimes even joy.
i blink. once. twice.
maybe i will learn to wink again.
the silver-tipped waves/ that lap against the misty shore of/ yesterday/ hold so many secrets/ of past lives/ and past dreams/ that are now lost forever/ in the tempest/ and i don't know/ if they will ever/s ee the light of/ tomorrow/
they hold/ vindications/ and promises/ and hopes/ and sorrows/ and whispers of undying love/ that will be lucky/ to catch a hold/ of a boat/ that will sail out/ of the sheltered harbor/ of broken and forgotten pasts/ they will be even luckier if they/ somehow/ wash upon the shores of/ tomorrow/
yet the ocean/ of forgotten names/ haunts me/ whenever i think/ of the past that/ forever exists in/ yesterday/ and sometimes i get/ a whiff/ of the salty sea breeze/ and i am reminded/ that i am still here/ in the land of/ today/
no visits/ to the far off harbor of/ yesterday/ and no glimmers of the long-awaited/ island...
to the girl that walks with a book in her hands,
i've got a secret for the mad
to the girl that lives her own fantasizes high up there in her head,
in a little bit of time it won't hurt so bad
to the girl that dares to dream and hope for a better world when it seems all is lost,
and i get that i don't get it
to the girl who sits down at the keyboard and lets her thoughts spill onto the page,
but you will burn right now but then you won't regret it
to the girl that braves the promise of failure and the daunts of success,
you're not gonna believe a word i say
to the girl that dances in the rain and skips through the grass,
what's the point in just drowning another day
to the girl that reads under her covers late...
Novel Writing Competition 2020
It was a grand old street, one that had seen the face of time. Sprawling oak trees lined the sidewalks and stretched on as far as the eye could see. The autumn leaves were beginning to take on marvelous shades of gold, crimson, and maroon. A splash of burgundy here and ochre there. The sky peeked through the canopy of leaves, a gray backdrop, a witness for what was to come and what had already happened. Clouds hung low in the sky, swollen with the promise of rain.
A wisp of wind rolled by, laughing and whispering. It was one of those gusts that was silver in spirit, glistening and electric and alive. The wind ruffled Oliver's chestnut brown hair as he hurried forward, zipping his windbreaker jacket up to his chin. He hated the cold and autumn; he hated anything to do with pumpkin spiced lattes and warm, cozy nights sitting by the flickering fireplace. They reminded him too much...
and i'm/falling/and falling/
she reaches out/her celestial arms/
and catches me/pulling me closer/and closer
i collapse into her/a star of/my own right/
the supernova/overtakes me/
i am/one/with the universe/
i return to her/as stardust
the hollow cavities/of my heart/and stomach/ache for a person/
and i know/people care/but it just isn't/can't be/the same/as having/
stroke my hair/and hold my/clammy hand/someone/no you/
who gets/my humor/and can see/all of me/
the beauty/and the pain/and the sorrow/and the joy/bubbling/
just beneath/the tender/folds of my/skin/
see my eyes/lite up/in wonder/and see me/crumble/
into a ball/and fall into/a pit of/despair/
they/no you/will be/there/with me/and for me/
tilting my chin/up to yours/
i see you/and hear you/and feel you/you'll whisper/
and then my eyes will reach/ yours/
and i will/still be broken/but not alone/never alone/you/with an arm/
around my fragile waist/
and/in that moment/i know i have/found my/person/my soulmate/
my kindred spirit/
who will guide me/and teach me/and love me/like never before/and only then/
will i be full/
i shutter/my last breath/and dance my last/waltz
and all too/suddenly/i’m flung/back to her/
through space/and time/
through memories/and wishes/
through the ghosts of things/that never happened/
which are always/worse than/the/
ghosts of things/that did/
as for now/sweet one/
keep dreaming/of the times to come
you will/become a nebula/a blackhole/a star/a planet/
expanding/over/and over/envelop/the sky/
and see/everything/and nothing/at once
soon/mother/will call you/back home/
and it's not to say/i haven't/enjoyed life/here on earth/
but i know/i am made from sky/and stars/and universe/
i am something/more that can't be/described/
i must/traverse/the planets/
and see/where/i was forged/in the center/of a star/
not until then/will i know/why universe/claims me as/her own
until/the universe will claim me/as her child/and i will leave/
the womb of the milky way/and travel farther/
into my mother's/warm arms/
we will be/one once more/
there she is.
short brown hair.
standing tall and sturdy.
that's my best friend miriam.
my best friend miriam doesn't always like her name.
she says it's too old lady and jewish and
not at all like her.
my best friend miriam is full to the brim
with hopes and dreams
that she thinks can never come true,
dares to dream anyway
because what else is she going to do?
aches with the weight of the world
the unfairness of it all.
she acts tough, i know.
but she feels all of it.
i can tell by the slight hunch of her shoulders
and the occasional limp of her leg.
my best friend miriam soars to the highest height and
then she plunges down,
down to the lowest of lows.
sometimes she claims to wear her heart on her sleeve
Where there is quick dialogue in the script, there is a SLASH in the middle of the speaker's dialogue, representing where the next actor should begin. The following actor's line will be started with a SLASH to indicate that it is interrupting another line.
A SLASH means actors are speaking on top of one another.
A DASH means speakers cut one another off in the middle of their sentences allowing the next actor to speak.
EXT. THE WOODS- AFTERNOON
Hear birdsong and rustling footsteps as three teenage girls, BRYNN (16), WREN (14), and ELLE (13) come into view (BRYNN and WREN are on either side of ELLE as they walk side by side in a horizontal line).
They tromp through the autumn leaves that have piled up on the ground. BRYNN carries some books in her arms, both BRYNN and WREN wear backpacks, and ELLE wears a book bag slung across her body. They are lost...
they say i come from stardust/
swirling/and twirling/throughout the night sky/
and they say i am the daughter/of the cosmos/and the planets/and the stars/
they say i am to/join her one day/when i am/old and weary/
i will leave this earth behind/and sail the high skies/
i shall whisper to them/secrets of the pasts/and hopes for the future/
we will dream the days away/until/
that's all i feel at first.
relieved because the worst of it is over.
relieved because now i can concentrate.
but mostly just relieved because now we are on the right track
to overcome this virus and hate and bigotry.
then the joy.
somehow, someway he did it.
we did it.
i did it.
and then, strangely, fear.
fear because this was close.
and it makes you wonder,
do people actually know or care or feel at all?
do they think of me, of us, of you?
fear because somehow this came down to
the president and democracy.
it was a long and bloody battle,
and it sure isn't over yet.
brush of my soft fingers against
my ashen cheeks
streaked with tears.
i wipe away the hope and the longing,
the want and the need.
i feel nothing and
everything at once.
the sting of defeat,
bitter anger rising in my throat,
fear closing in around me until i am
swallowed in my own blind rage.
staring at this
my bed, only a
i wish i had the
yet here i am,
if only i was
sometimes i think of/ life in terms of a story./ a book. a movie./ a long and harrowing journey/ with twists and turns and double- crosses./ a plot map./
except this time/ nothing is predictable./
right now/ all i feel/ is fear./ dread./
hope leaching out of me/ onto the/ cold tile floor./ dripping./ until there is nothing/ left but panic./
i am rising/ and rising/ and rising./
tension/ and premonition/
are building/ and building/ and building./
i am on a roller coaster/ slowly/ inching up/ and up/ and up.
all i can do/ is hold my breath/ and hope/ and hope/ and my eyes are squesed shut/ and hope/ and my fists are clenched/ and hope/ and my heart is thumping in my ears/ and hope/ and try to breathe./
all i can do/ is wait for the climax/
the turning point/ the last stand./
and then we will be/ falling again/ and again/ and again/
i think in another
i could be a ballet dancer
into space and
i would t o u c h
and converse with the p l a n e t s
how light carries on endlessly even after death
we would w
to each other throughout the night...
they would tell me their
of supernovas past
and universes future
with shortness of breath, you explained the infinite
and i-- i just might find myself
in the endless void
of l o s t souls
and unanswered questions
the inky sky...
the deepness of it all...
it goes on and on,
the future and into
in this moment it's just m
remember when we would read the back of cereal boxes?
i was always the spoonfuls and you were always the puffins.
we would read the boxes to each other.
i learned that puffins have 8 grams of sugar and spoonfuls are "heart-healthy".
it would be quiet out.
just us, sitting at the table side by side.
outside the window,
the trees would be ghosts against the foggy gray sky.
it would be chilly.
we would huddle together,
wearing our matching slippers and puffer jackets.
the only sound
would be that of us crunching on cereal.
i would usually have a mix between grape nuts and spoonfuls.
you liked your oats and puffins.
nobody was awake but us,
in our own little world
of cereal and cold mornings and slippers.
do you remember?
and i miss you
and those lovely mornings
full of joy and chilly air and warm jackets.
well, i'll be waiting for you
the blue light of my computer screen wraps around me
and i am pulled into a different universe
where we write and read and talk.
you can never understand how much this means to me
to share my writing
and get encouragement.
i am so lucky
to be a part of this beautiful community.
everyone is so supportive
each and every one of you
means so much to me.
don't ever hesitate to share
your thoughts and
sorrows with me.
i feel you and hear you and love you.
thank you, my lovelies, for all of this.
m e t a l l i c
from my open mouth
the crimson mixes
with the lies i have told
and the people i have pretended to be
builds up in my throat
i can't go on much longer...
i need to see...
i know, i know
you don't think i haven't been trying?
but then... the -- the demons-- they'll be unleashed
my soul will be ripped
for the whole world to see
and i swear-- it will
not be pretty
tell me, how can i pretend
and go on
without knowing who or what or why i am?
but i do
i keep going even though
i'm still searching
afraid of the demons,
but most of all i'm
or truth of what i am will remain and I'll just
v i v i d imagination...
creating worlds and people and places.
look for drama. love. nostalgia. anger. agony. betrayal.
all of these illusions
are based in reality,
but they are warped and shifted and put in new context.
we excel at
the l i e can slip out so
it starts as a wish and
intensifys into a craving.
before long, i've created an not a lie but not a truth, either.
and from there i just
to be someone and somewhere else.
sometimes i don't know
or where i am.
i make myself up from the
fragments of my imagination.
the pieces left behind.
i pick them up, dust them off, decide i want them.
no, i need them.
without these altered truths,
i would be no one.
i wish didn't depend on my imagination to make myself different.
That Sort of Person
1. She's the kind of person that is hot one second and cold the next. Acting one way with me, and another with them. Forever changing her ideals and beliefs and thoughts and feelings. I think I'm the only person she can truly be herself around. It's almost heartbreaking-- does she feel like she has to prove her worth? I hope she can see that "perfecting" herself is not satisfying in any way. After all, how is she to find herself in all of the different maks she pulls on every few seconds or so? I wonder how she does it, though.
2. He's the type of person with so many emotions brewing right below his skin. Say or act or do anything to set him off and then he will burn and burn. Yell and scream and hit. Pause. Stop. Think. Okay, he's calm again. Sometimes I blame him for all of the destruction. Other times, I want to...
i wonder what you think in that
head of yours
laughing eyes and a
perfect, glossy sheet of hair.
we laugh and talk and plan our futures. we take pictures with the sun behind our heads that make us look like angels. we execute a simple prank that involves moving a cute guy's water bottle two feet from its original spot.
your shell cracks when you're around me.
no more trying to change and please and become
someone you aren't.
you let loose and just be with me.
i wonder what binds us together.
we don’t go to the same school
or see each other every day.
we have different friends and different lives and yet,
it's been this way for fourteen years.
there has to be something,
something beyond words that keeps us together.
but sometimes, it feels too
superficial with you,
talking about the weather and camp and times we shared long ago.
why don't we talk...
sometimes i want to be/
hidden away/ under the folds of my sweatshirt
i can become i n v i s i b l e
to both myself/ and the others who/
claim to see me
i can tuck away my secrets/ and desires/ into the heavy fabric that hugs me/
and shelters me from/ the world
or maybe i'm the one/ that needs to be buried in a shroud/ so that i don't/
destroy/ everything in my wake
i can implode at any moment/ all that build up will/
e x p l o d e
into a shower of anger
don't come/ too near/
does anyone else turn on the music/ and dance alone in their bedroom?
feet move slowly, tapping on the cold hardwood floor/ arms sway/ eyes close
feel the music envelope you/ become you
lose yourself in the music/ and then just drift
is anyone else as/ lost as i am?
i don't even know if i'm moving forward/ backward/ or some other manifestation of a direction
i don't know who i am anymore/ why i'm here/ how to get back to before
i need to know that i am/ loved/ not just by my parents or brother/ but by someone else/ someone more
someone who sees/ all of me/ and can drag me out of my mind and my body and the stars/ so that i may find/ myself once more
is anyone else/ trapped between the/ world and themselves?
i want to meet expectations/ and go out with my friends
but the earth/ is in need/ of healing
Why I Write
i write to faceless, nameless people.
People with their own worries and hopes and joys.
People in far off lands and distant times.
in the past, present, and future.
i write to them about my life.
my worries, my hopes, my joys.
i write them in words.
i'm funny that way-- words go straight from
missing my mouth.
i write to them about what i wish was mine.
i build myself up from the
pieces someone else dropped behind.
i tell them i belong and that
i'm loved and that
i have super powers
and just about a million other things.
i write it all down so that they can see
all the crazy that goes on
high up there in my head.
i write to them,
not for them.
no, i write for me
and my crazy thoughts spinning and spinning
and my heart feeling things beyond belief.
i write to relieve the build-up of all...
YOU, The Writer
A thousand thoughts rushing through my head. Names and places and ideas.
s-h-e f-o-r-g-e-s o-n
The thoughts, bumping into one another. Chaotic.
s-h-e s-t-o-p-s a-n-d t-h-i-n-k-s
My fingers pause until I grasp a solid word whirling in the storm. Then my hands start up again, darting to and fro. Pressing hard on the strips of plastic called keys.
t-h-e w-o-r-d-s c-o-m-e f-ly-i-n-g i-n t-o m-e-e-t h-e-r
Keys that open doors. Doors to ideas and hope and change.
s-h-e k-n-o-w-s o-n-e d-a-y t-h-e w-o-r-l-d w-i-l-l b-e h-e-r-s
All I have to figure out is which key goes in which door. That's the hard part.
"k-e-e-p t-r-y-i-n-g," s-h-e w-h-i-s-p-e-r-s t-o h-e-r-s-e-l-f
Finding what fits,
s-h-e g-r-i-n-s, t-h-e p-e-r-f-e-c-t w-o-r-d b-u-b-b-l-i-n-g u-p t-o t-h-e s-u-r-f-a-c-e
And what doesn't.
h-e-r h-a-n-d-s, b-a-n-g-i-n-g a-g-a-i-n-s-t t-h-e k-e-y-b-o-a-r-d i-n f-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n
Sometimes I have too many ideas that it just comes out like gibberish.
"i c-a-n-'t t-h-i-n-k!" s-h-e y-e-l-l-s t-o t-h-e h-u-r-r-i-c-a-n-e i-n h-e-r h-e-a-d
When summer melts into fall, and you have to bundle up into a cozy sweater, and the chilly, harsh wind bites your cheeks, that’s when my family turns on the heat. At first it comes slowly, with one click of the thermostat, and then, suddenly, the warm air comes rushing through the heater vents.
I hop out of my warm bed, pulling on slippers, and trudge, wavering into my brother’s room. There’s his bed, in the far corner against the wall. I stare at him for a while. He looks big in the bed, his feet almost reaching the end. How long have we been doing this? The same routine over and over, year after year. And now… Well, he’s almost ten. It feels like just yesterday when I-- an exuberant, six-year-old-- ushered his little three-year-old self into my parents’ room, the first of many journeys together. I sigh and shake myself out of the haze of remembrance.
Why I Write
write. that's what i do.
it's amazing how something i think--
little, insignificant, me--
can travel onto the page.
words d a n c e
and come a
in a way.
so don't you think
that i won't use these w
to you apart
or to build a garden
-- a forest
-- a town
-- an idea.
i have this power.
i'm going to use it.
i am using it.
these w o r d s
can and they can
don't tell me i can't use this power
it’s all the same, you know.
day after day,
hour after hour.
i’m slowly suffocating.
i can’t grow and reach for the sun.
instead, i’m kept in a dark box, blinded.
i don’t know which way is up or down or
which way points out.
i’m turning in circles, crying out for
how much longer?
and then it’s happening again,
day after day,
hour after hour.
a sign is all I ask.
day after day,
hour after hour.
I've always been proud of being Jewish. It's part of who I am. The long afternoons at religious school with my friends. The candy in the teen room. Hebrew. Prayers. Holidays. Community. All of it. Part of a Jewish person's "journey" into adulthood is a bar (for boys) or bat (for girls) mitzvah (means son/daughter of the commandment). This is a ceremony where, around their 13th birthday, Jewish kids will read form the Torah (Jewish bible) and be welcomed into the congregation as an adult. (Sidenote: the Torah and Hebrew and the whole bar/bat mittzvah thing is extremely non inclusive of agander/genderfluid people...) Anyway, it's been exactly one year since my bat mittzvah and I wanted to recount my story because it was such a positive experience for me.
Date: March of 2019.
Place: my Temple
Alright, scene set-- let's get on with the story.
Nervous, small, twelve-year-old me walked down the hollow hallway clutching my Hebrew class binder. My...
On a breath.
In and out.
Don’t think about anything else.
Just your breath
Breathe in, then out.
Your mind races, going from one thought to another.
It’s stressful, I know.
And float on towards
The Land of Nod.
Let your breath carry you away
Into a deep, dreamless slumber.
Don’t think about this
Broken world. Or the
No, that just makes you more exhausted.
More than you already are.
Breathe in and out one more time.
Drift and float and flutter
Towards the Land of Nod.
Towards a restless night of twists and turns and thoughts.
Just float on towards the Land of Nod.