A just-for-fun collection of my favorite personal poems

all the time in the world

what a gift it is
to sit in solitude
and indulge in a mental manifesto where you and I share a soul.
to rest in blissful isolation from the surrounding world, 
knowing that this romance dies in reality 
and instead, 
employ the euphoria of anonymity, 
exploring our imaginary fragment of infinity. 
do we give into peace?
exhaust ourselves chasing passion?
or, do we instead rely on the sentimental structure of wishful thinking—
spilling in our sobriety what custom would reserve for drinking, 
while we drown in our champagne,
rejoicing and lamenting in the same vein,
and dance on top of quicksand that shimmers as we're sinking.

we chase the effervescent afterglow 
directly through the undertow,  
but the weight of the world submerges you,
and waiting for you to come up for air consumes me. 
we both know I'll keep swimming,
but I am not strong enough to tread water 
for both of us. 

this dream conceived in earnest reveals painful truths: 
we are still children 
playing house in a mansion,
where the furniture usurps us 
yet it matches our intentions. 
we act as footstools for each other,
bolstering the other and
praying for divine intervention 
to reach things on our own,
but neither growth nor grace 
is ever granted in a hurry, 
so—

instead of rushing towards an ethereal hypothesis,
I'll rest in the delayed gratification of our selah,
taking stock of each personal hallelujah,
and cherishing the waiting 
until our hearts can stand on their own. 
this,
our gentle condemnation of cheating time,
the delicate frustration that exists with the interference of patience—
the same measure that protects a someday
with the mundane;
this prescribed pause forces me back
into the world 
with everyone else,
and erases my daydream 
until all I am left with is a vision
of a boy and a girl, whispering about 
how sweet it might be
to have all of the time in the world.
March 2021

the coup

our country lost four lives today
as evil scaled the Hill,
while those who could protect our peace
complacently stood still

our country lost its hope today
as anarchy arose
through hallowed chambers, filled with hope
and blind rage juxtaposed 

our country lost its voice today
when lies begat a coup
and all our country’s leader said 
was: “go home, we love you.”

the holy ground of empathy
lay under shards of glass,
yet those who smashed the windows
condemned tearful protests past.

our country witnessed violence 
and pure nationalist hate,
but labeled terrorists “protestors” 
and opened up our gates.

our country lost its faith today 
when one man condoned abuse
and we watched in sickened horror 
as his disciples built a noose.

a tyrant speaks to hear his voice,
a leader is not loud,
a tyrant clears the way with tear gas
while a leader greets the crowd. 

a tyrant incites violence, 
while a leader asks for peace.
a tyrant mocks his people
so his ratings will increase. 

a tyrant grows vindictive
when he must confront a loss--
he begs for blood and hatred
while a leader bears his cross. 

democracy is fragile
and it flies with broken wings
when a man with feeble power
deems himself to be a king

yet through the rubble and the smoke
one truth we still hold dear:
that no sweet land of liberty 
will triumph fueled by fear. 

When in the Course of anger,
as Oppression seeks Redress,
though our faith fails,
we depend on hope to lead us nonetheless. 

but on days when hope has failed us--
when oppression rears its head,
we share the strength among us 
and rely on that instead. 

our country lost its our innocence 
and right to disbelief
with bloodshed labeled martyrdom 
by our commanding chief.

our country sits in prejudice,
lamenting others’ skin
while our leadership takes pleasure 
in committing petty sin. 

we stand amongst the rubble, 
wondering how such hate exists, 
when we made its bed by claiming 
that our ignorance is bliss. 

the roar of opposition
trickled fast into a flood,
as our country's leaders turned their heads 
and wore their brothers’ blood. 

and as death claims more among us,
let us not one day forget:
that while some died smashing history,
there was one slain in her bed. 

there was one man, killed while jogging,
and another choked by men 
who swore they would protect him 
but then murdered him instead. 

and yet--we see no justice,
but are told to keep the peace 
as we watch our country's mothers
unacknowledged in their grief. 

thus, the palest ones among us 
use their privilege to instill
grief and terror in our country's heart
and evil to the Hill. 

so when we wake tomorrow 
and hear whispers of a war,
we must learn from our own failure 
and thank God for only four. 
January 2021

peace

Blue
hands me a jar 
full of green
made for making wishes. 
What will I wish for? 
I will wish for peace, 
dressed in her many evening gowns. 
Peace in the heart of the man who does not feel that he is enough,
   this gown is subdued and simple--blue and made of satin. 
Peace in the eyes of the woman who has been left behind by someone with a cold soul,
   this gown is pink, and made of lace, with a sweetheart neckline--just slightly provocative, but mostly classy. 
Peace in the ears of the girl who has been screamed at more loudly than any human should be, 
   this gown is yellow, with a flowing train of silk. 
Peace in the mouth of the boy who cannot control his words from spilling out when he thinks them,
   this gown is red taffeta--stiff and angry. 
Peace in the minds of the people who cannot control their fears from taking over
Peace in the feet of those who are running away from their past 
Peace in the hands of those who are working too hard for too little recognition
   velvet,
chiffon,
organza. 
I will wish for peace for myself
to distance myself from the pain of these people, in this sea of evening gowns,
to lock the empathy in a tiny jar,
and to hide it away, if only for a moment,
in these folds of silk and satin
to feel
peace. 

too little recognition
   velvet,
chiffon,
organza. 
I will wish for peace for myself
to distance myself from the pain of these people, in this sea of evening gowns,
to lock the empathy in a tiny jar,
and to hide it away, if only for a moment,
in these folds of silk and satin
to feel
peace. 
July 2019

moments of impact

My mind is a museum. 
infinite moments of impact and intimacy, 
sketched like an eternal image
burned boundlessly into my brain.

An energy exists in the exhibits, 
elusive definitions of endings and effigies 
painted like enticing impressions
hanging in the hallways of my head. 

The floor is a platform for the magic around us, 
Your hands meet my waist like mercy meets a sinner, as water wets the lips of a man in the desert. 
The room is silent, but we are dancing,
You are twirling me but you are holding me too. 
Your footsteps are brushstrokes as you lead me forward--we are painting a picture, and you are whispering with words that taste like honey--we are drawing a dream, and I am spinning while I take it all in: you and me and the floor and the curtains and the silence that is music are the things that make me certain that this will be one of the greatest exhibitions my memory has curated,

And it is. 

Vividly and vibrantly I visit, 
tantalizing stories that titillate and taunt, 
written as entrapping illusions, as prepositions preserving perfection for just one split second in time that settles in my soul
my consciousness is cognizance
my afterthoughts meet anamnesis and so 

It happens that a moment becomes a memory. 
a moment that fascinates and frustrates me all at once, 
that changes me and edits me like grace creates a saint.
an eternal image
an enticing impression, 
an entrapping illusion--a moment of impact.
September 2018

alphabet soup

When we are babies 
we make words out of letter magnets and
when we are toddlers 
we form them in our alphabet soup. 
As we get older, those words start to form us and 
it doesn’t take many “not enoughs” to make that part of who we are.

It is the red spoonful of Ls that reminds us that we 
are little
that we are lost 
that we are losers. 

It is when we see the pasta Is that we 
are insignificant
we are ignorant. 

It is the way the Ms float to the top when we stir
that says we are monsters
that we are manipulative
that we are malicious. 

And what is far worse is when the spoon that feeds us comes from someone 
that we love. 
when our grandmother nourishes us with try harders and do betters mixed among tomatoes. 
when our boyfriends feed us with poisoned speeches and hints of garlic about how we are not meant to be.
when our teachers hand steaming bowls to both us and to our parents that say we will not make it far because we don’t have the stamina, the smarts, the self-discipline. 

But then, if we are lucky
there is a bowl at some point in life
where the words are different. 

Where the spoonful of Ls means that we 
are lovable 

The pasta Is remind us that we
are independent 

The Ms that swirl when we stir say that we 
are made for more. 

It is a spoonful of life that changes everything. 
The soup is the same
tomatoes 
pasta
garlic 
beef 

but the letters form words that we have not felt 
adequate
worthy
supported 
unique 

If we are lucky
If our soup is made by the right person, 
the not enoughs fade away with the steam 
and all that settles 
is enoughs 
in our alphabet soup.
December 2018

fully living

how deeply we feel---
existing in a chasm of ourselves,
caused by the weight of the world and its burdens
in our most vulnerable form, fully living
 
how our hearts twist and contort with each somber beat,
writhing in and out of themselves,
folding inward and expanding out again 
 
to feel is to know that we--- 
in our very nature---
are a philosophical juxtaposition of all that we crave 
and all that we believe we crave.
 
we beg for mercy in pain 
we beg for excitement in the mundane 
yet no amount of feeling or lack thereof satisfies our longing to be,
in our own eyes,
fully living. 
 
for we do not know how to be. 
 
we do not know how to dive into the earth and absorb it,
to drink our emotions like a cup of fragrant red wine. 
we indulge in our own half-truths 
and live in fear
of fully living.
 
we cannot embrace the depth of ourselves;
the feeling is too deep
and
we may drown in our own illusions
if we give in to our writhing heart. 
 
if a picture is a brushstroke clearer than one thousand words
then it follows that, 
in philosophical pursuit, 
our perception of what it must feel like to be altogether alive 
is a platonic shadow on the walls of our metaphorical cave
where we, 
 
in our limited human understanding,
 
perceive those shadows as reality rather than reflections,
believing them to be our guide and gospel 
with no knowledge of their form or cause--
what brings them into being--
and miss their meaning without breaking our eye contact with them. 
 
we see them for what they are not,
we assume that this alternate reality must be true because it is unattained--our utopia, 
watching them flicker in a dance with the flames behind us, 
in rhythm with the contortions of our hearts. 
 
we stare intently at them, waiting for a sign, 
and we blankly dismiss the roar of the fire inside of us
in favor of fanning the kindling that supplies
those comfortable shadows
that allow us to dream
 
of fully living. 
February 2021