poetry

Symbiotic

What a thrill –
cried the cat,
his paws
swatting clouds.

His comrade
helped him –
compelled him –
to leap.

If a cat
is a masochist,
a flea
is no parasite.

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poetry

pretty house

there’s a house on the hill
with gingerbread sides.
it’s got sugarcane windows
and rock-candy bricks.

see candy apple trees
with peppermint bark.
a lifesaver swing
hangs from a red vine.

children always say
“it’s such a pretty house.”
that was the house
where they wanted to play.

grown-ups always say
“it’s such a pretty house.”
on zillow, they estimate it
at 1.1 million.

the house has two stories
and a million more
it could tell –
if it liked talking.

inside,
cotton candy
cobwebs deck
the drafty halls.

a gingerbread man
sprawls out
on the sofa,
gobbling up red hots.

another
obsessively sweeps
powdered sugar
off sticky tiles.

like the house,
the inhabitants
aren’t much
for talking.

they’ve sealed
bedroom doors
with royal icing
over the years.

the chocolate floors
don’t give much
traction. but hey,
they look so sweet.

and even as the chocolate
is melting away,
if you stand on the lawn,
“it’s such a pretty house.”

poetry, Uncategorized

Strange Fog

Mute dawn
seems
in supernova glow
again today.

Beneath gray sheets,
our eyes lay
naked
to rays that should blind…

This time, we wish
ears
had lids
instead… for

we hear
of another garden
taken
as offering…

We breathe
sick sacrifice
second-hand.
Some wear masks. Others

evacuate. Then…
come virulent winds
and we know
there’s no other way.

But not you.

You say
it’s “water”… or
“ocean spray”… or
“just fog”…

You close your eyes
to ash
and soak in
sweet toxicity.

You cough more
than you used to…
but
“that’s just how it is.”

I wonder if
you’ve
ever known
blue skies…

But you
insist
this strange fog
will pass.

And you won’t leave…
So I’m forced to
watch
you dance…

you dance…
in the acid rain…

 

*My heart goes out to everyone effected by the NorCal fires.

poetry

When Tasked With Reconditioning,

the planner foolishly thought
the brain would be laid out
like the streets –
associations like interchanges –
traumas like stop signs – stop –
then proceed.

the skeptic foolishly believed
poltergeists are as fictional in mind
as in films…
Down haunted halls of the amygdala,
solid phantoms roam and dance and laugh
and kill.

the poet foolishly forced
every memory – every object –
into symbol
so that tree equals him equals
fear equals man equals self
equals pistol.

the addict foolishly strangled
the planner and the skeptic and the poet
so it could
rule the brain as a puppet rules a stage…
Perhaps one day, it could kill the ghosts
for good.

poetry

Nocturne

I guess it might be like that,
like the syncopated symphony
that roars in the sky
every Fourth of July.

Maybe
it’s like the onset,
when the conductor
taps the stand
and the players tune their instruments
and the theater lights dim
slowly…
And for a moment –
before the first blasts –
the crowd sits
still.
Eyes tilt upward
expectantly,
fearless
and filled with only anticipation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the drumbeats
that pulse through the heart like tremors.
Reverb
wracks the body
as cacophonous colors
explode in the heavens
and each member of the audience
jolts back
as though only now realizing
the irrepressible power
of each detonation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the encore,
when every musician
pounds an instrument at forte
and the sound never breaks
and for a moment
it all might be so very grand
that, like the sun,
it might blind those
who gaze too intently…

Or maybe… maybe
it’s more like the curtain.
Maybe,
when the drumbeat goes silent
and the colors
take their bow,
the impenetrable sulphur shroud
is all that remains.
It descends over the sky and the eyes
and sticks in the hair and the throat
until it’s hard to remember
there was ever a grand orchestra…

Maybe
it is onset
and drumbeat
and encore
and curtain…
Or maybe
it is just
as it seems,
just
dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

Maybe
it is all those things…
But maybe
you
are none of those things.
Maybe the metaphor
doesn’t do you credit
and maybe
you’re not as simple
as onset
or drumbeat
or encore
or curtain…
Maybe
you are more
than dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

Maybe
an orchestra
is just musicians
and fireworks
are just gunpowder…
But maybe,
for a person,
the word “just”
is just not enough.

poetry

The Silkworm

Follow your instincts. They

tell you to eat. So eat.

They tell you to weave. So

weave. They tell you to eat.

Tell you to weave. Tell you

to eat to weave to eat.

Instincts don’t fail. So

when they tell you to weave

a fortress around you,

you do as they say

and believe you are safe

in this new silken cage

that protects you from man.

Perhaps, one day, you will

claw your way out. Perhaps,

on that day, you will spread

the new wings you worked hard

to grow and discover

just how heavy they are.

personal, video

Philippians Sermon

So… they let me talk in front of other humans. Preaching this sermon was quite the learning experience. Studying was eye-opening. Writing was fun. Speaking was scary. But every bit of it was the greatest joy. I found comfort in this passage as I studied it and discovered some of my own blindspots, too. Hope these little words help you along.

personal

But I Have an Excuse…

The following are my excuses for why I’ve got nothing this week:

I was busy.
It was Easter weekend and family was in town.
The quarter system is actively trying to kill me slowly.
I have a lot of stuff to get done at work.
I do more commuting than a lot of Davis students.
I was busy.
I couldn’t write because I wasn’t feeling it. It wouldn’t be honest.
My cats ate my inspiration.
I’m so tired.
I had to make time to think about maybe possibly going to the gym.
UC Davis Memes have been dank af recently and it’s important to keep up.
Someone disagreed with me online and I needed to correct them.
Look, I don’t watch as much Netflix as some people okay?
Did I mention that I was just so busy this week?!
And look, when it comes down to it, committing to things is just so haaaarrrd-uh!

***

Yes. I was busy this week.

I’m 20 years old. At one time in recent history and in a lot of places still, it’s crazy that I haven’t settled down with someone and started popping out children and being busy 24/7 dealing with that.

Instead, I have the insane privilege to attend an esteemed university, decide what I want to do in life, work in a good job with great coworkers, and be busy in the ways that move my life forward in a direction that I actually want it to go. And I’m two years into adulthood already. Frankly, I should be busy, not just sitting on my butt all the time.

The reality is that life is busy. And it’s not going to stop being busy – not if I actually want to be a helpful, productive member of society. I want to teach and if I have any hope of being a good teacher, I’m going to have to embrace a certain level of busyness by grading and going the extra mile to care for my students.

Of course I believe in setting limits because one’s entire existence cannot be working. But my point is just that to live and breathe and do anything worthwhile makes your life busy. Working and earning make you busy. Spending time with friends makes you busy. Being a person of faith and actually trying to figure out what that means for life makes you busy.

So if I want to write, if I want to stay committed to this 52 weeks of material thing, then I have to view writing as important enough to make me busy. That’s a decision, not a feeling. And so I’m deciding it.

And now, after sitting here at Temple Coffee for the last thirty minutes – procrastinating on stuff I really have to get done – I have something: an excessive, probably annoying spurt of noise that reflects on my feelings about busyness.

I thought of sharing one of the poems that I wrote for class as a writing exercise. But then I got scared, because they are so rough. Frankly, I’m pretty sure you’d rather hear me rant, which says a lot about the quality of poem I crank out in 15 minutes.

So is this an isolated event, or the first of many blunders to come, a return to my familiar habits?

The truth is, even though I missed my deadline this week, I don’t feel like this particular missed-deadline was a failure. Because I have actually written a lot this week, but to share it now would be to force this little caterpillar out of his cocoon before he’s ready. He’d be all embarrassed, because he’s still in his awkward phase. He’s not quite a butterfly yet. He’s almost there, but his wings are still growing in  and they’d be all short and stubby if I made him present himself now. And I don’t want to do that to do that to him. In two weeks, he’ll be ready to fly.

And yes, I’m trying to cut down on my perfectionism. But this time, I’m telling you, it’ll be worth it.

So, sorry for having nothing. Sorry to myself, more, because I’m pretty sure you don’t care whether I do this or not. And that’s okay. Your lives are busy, too, and paying attention to some random chick’s rough fictional ramblings might not be an important use of your time.

I’ve got no good excuse. But at least this time, I think it’s okay, and not a sign of things to come.