Swirl

She

does naught but stare
at the airy autumnal distance

Her mouth is
painted crimson,
its corners turned down,

not in a frown–
no, in a scowl
of disdain

as the smoke
eddies before her.
She

does naught but stare
at the airy autumnal distance,
the sky of inky black,

and the pinprick stars–
their light not inspiring
but empty.

A scream builds in her lungs,
calling out for something,
for someone,

but all she exhales is a sigh,
standing still, alone,
remembering,

remembering.


Photo by 2 Bro’s Media on Unsplash

This week’s resource is this article from GQ (warning: there is some cursing and mentions of drug use in this piece) written about Michael Render, a rapper from Atlanta. Most know him as Killer Mike, one half of Run The Jewels (again, warning: the song I linked to includes cursing, other explicit language, and violence, and the music video portrays violence including that perpetrated by a police officer). I don’t agree with all of his political views–that’s true about the subjects of many of the resources that I share on this blog–, but the things he does to assist black Americans and educate everyone about race-related issues are inspiring.

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Sacred Bumblebee (A Collaborative Poem)

The bumblebee’s sting protects their sanctuary 
As well as shielding their clever and beautiful queen

The bumblebee is like a sacred one 
That would save the pollination’s world
They show you what needs to be done
The way they did to their pollinations 
I feel like they are a saviour to our world


They allow for new life, for growth, for reborn beauty.
They do their duty for their colony and for the Earth.
Those hard-working magic-makers,
Spreading hope and potential for dahlias and rosemary–
They truly are divine keepers of the circle of life.


Sweet honey is a bee’s saviour to their taste 
And the bumblebee’s sting protects their sanctuary 
As well as shielding their clever and beautiful queen
She instructs them to their heaven’s work
For the sake of our life not alone their lives


Inspiration, too, is a bumblebee
Buzzing around one’s head–protecting its kingdom,
Taking flowery thoughts
And transforming them into fruit,
Giving way to seeds that will sprout anew.



Photo by Michelle Reeves from Pexels

This is the third poem written in collaboration with Ismael Mansoor from This Engrained Heart. His contributions are in italics and mine are in bold. Please do go visit his blog! And, if you want to see what else we created together, you can find our first poem, “Selah,” here and our second poem, “Lighthouse,” here.

The Radio

This is a poem of chaos.

I had to clear
all of my possessions
from my car
two weeks ago
so that it could go in
to get some repairs done,
and though that vehicle
was back in my building’s parking lot
within a few days,
it took me both of those weeks
to muster the motivation
to put everything back inside.
But this isn’t a poem about that.

No, this is a poem of chaos.
That information was just setting the scene
so that it makes sense
why I neglected to put the aux cable
back into my car.

You see, I can’t drive without some type of noise.
My mind is too busy
or too interesting
or too distracting,
and I often daydream
while I’m driving,
which sometimes means
that I do stupid things
like close my eyes
because I’m not thinking,
or rather, because I am thinking,
but I’m thinking about
the wrong thing.
So I always put on
someone else’s voice,
so that my inner monologue
can’t convince me to do
stupid things.
But this isn’t a poem about that.

No, this is a poem of chaos
and heartache.
This information was just setting the scene
so that it makes sense
why I had to turn my radio on
instead of sitting in silence
that time
that I neglected to put the aux cable
back into my car.

I had the radio on
and the disc jockey introduced a song
as a love song,
saying that the album the song comes from
is full of love songs
inspired by the singer’s husband,
and then the song that came on
was about cheating
and hoping that an ex gets cheated on
so he can know what that feels like.
It masquerades as a sweet and sappy ballad
but is a sinister tune
about revenge.
But this isn’t a poem about that.

No, this is a poem of chaos
and heartache
and enemies.
This information was just setting the scene
so that it makes sense
why I was thinking about revenge
that time I had to turn my radio on
instead of sitting in silence
that time
that I neglected to put the aux cable
back into my car.

The song made me wonder
whether I genuinely wished harm
on any person,
and I thought back
to a girl
in seventh grade
who I didn’t like
and if I would want her
to be treated
the way she treated me
and maybe I would have
at the time,
but all these years later,
I absolutely would not.
Just because I didn’t like her
doesn’t mean I wish ill upon her
and besides,
I haven’t seen her since middle school,
and I’m sure that she has grown and changed
just like I have.
But this isn’t a poem about that.

No, this is a poem of chaos
and heartache
and enemies
and cycles.
This information was just setting the scene
so that it makes sense
why I had this realization
that time I was thinking about revenge
that time I had to turn my radio on
instead of sitting in silence
that time
that I neglected to put the aux cable
back into my car.

The realization that
everything leads to everything
leads to everything
leads to
everything.

And somehow,
that all led me to this moment
right here
in front of my computer
while the sun sets outside the window
to my right.
While one of my roommate’s cats
is lying on my bed
and the other is sleeping on the ground
near my closet.
This moment,
where I hear loud purring
beside me
and trickling water
of the cat fountain
in the other room.
This moment,
when I keep looking over anxiously
at the baby plants in front of my window–
ones that I planted
even though nothing new seems to grow
in this blasted apartment–
remembering how I buried
hope and prayers and expectations
while burying those seeds.

And somehow,
I know that I am okay
or that I will be okay
as long as everything
leads to everything.



Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

Long poem, who dis?

This was my attempt at a stream-of-consciousness über-specific style of poem and, um, it is quite different from what I expected when I first started writing it. How is that for my big return to blogging/poetry?

(P.S. 10 bonus points to anyone who can name the song that I was referring to. I don’t even know its title, so I will have to check myself to see whether anyone gets it.)

I want to thank everyone who left a kind and encouraging message on my last post about my break. I cannot express how supportive and amazing all of you are. Truly, you are all a major reason of why I choose to share my writing every week.

This week’s resource is this video by Kat Blaque. Though the video speaks specifically about the YouTube beauty community, especially Jeffree Star, Tati Westbrook, and Jackie Aina, many of the points that Kat makes can be applied on a broader scale. As a white American who likes to think of herself as progressive and accepting, but with family from all over the political spectrum, Kat’s words really made me reevaluate my opinions vs. my actions. Do I do enough to stand up to racism when I see it? Do my relationships with people who have racist views negatively affect my relationships with friends who are black? Why, in that last question, did I feel the need to write “people who have racist views” rather than just calling it like it is and saying “racist people”? These questions are painful, tricky to answer, and require a good amount of empathy and nuance. I don’t agree with every single thing she says in the video, but I do think that Kat helps provide that empathy and nuance. I didn’t feel attacked, but I also did not feel patronized. I don’t know how she managed to strike that balance, but it is a great video that I cannot help but rave about.

Also, if you are interested in makeup (or even, like me, if you are not that interested in beauty but you just want to watch some YouTube videos by an amazing, funny creator), I highly suggest Jackie Aina’s channel. I have a feeling that binging her videos recently is what led me to Kat Blaque’s video in the first place.

I hope y’all are doing well.

Peace out!

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Oak

like the wood grains of an oak

the lines on my face,
like the wood grains of an oak,
show how I have grown.


Photo by FWStudio from Pexels

Before I give my resource on this post, I want to provide an update. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in the Philippines was signed into law earlier this month. This law has the potential to strip the right of freedom of speech from a million+ people. To my readers from all around the world, but especially in the Philippines, stay safe, even (or especially) online. Here is a resource with ideas of how to do so.

And, just to end on a bit of optimism, here are two recent human rights victories:

The case of Elijah McClain’s murder at the hands of law enforcement has been reopened by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis due, at least in part, to an online petition signed millions of times.

After years of protesting led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Dakota Access oil pipeline has been ordered to be shut down while a review takes place about its environmental safety. Such a review is necessary because the Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the effects of potential pollution on the Missouri River (which would likely disproportionately affect the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation).

Keep fighting the good fight, even when it’s difficult and even when you aren’t seeing the results you want. These two cases are evidence that it does make a difference.

Whelp, now my ending section is significantly longer than the poem to which it is attached. That would be like writing a book whose epilogue is longer than the novel itself, which gives me an idea… Just kidding! Anyway, I hope y’all have a great weekend!

Peace out!

Rose Garden

letting it wrap us in its
painter’s palette
and confuse our senses

The world is a rose garden
full of hues of fuchsia and coral,
of cream and ruby,
and we can do nothing but
stand in the midst of it,
letting it wrap us in its
painter’s palette
and confuse our senses.

A gust of magenta and emerald scent–
that sweet, earthy aroma–
breezes by
and we breathe in deep,
letting that petal-and-leaf air
color our lungs,
so that we may be
vibrant, too.

That wind whooshes
in sounds of
scarlet and sage and pearl,
its voice
loud and piercing and haunting,
lush and rich and deep,
light and tinkling and mellow,
calling us to stoop
and pluck one of the flowers
to gain a closer look.

We reach and grab one
and hold it near to us,
knowing that the stem
tastes of green bitterness,
of growth and newness and vitality
and of loam and apathy.

We know what the thorns feel like, too,
but just to test,
we press one firmly against our skin,
feel the crimson spilling from our wound,
and smile.


Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels

This poem was inspired by/written for the theme of colors and senses for this weeks Thursday Poetry Competition at Penable! Go check out that blog for this and future competitions!

Today, I offer you an invitation to breathe and feel and experience life. Look for the vibrant flowers, but acknowledge the thorns as well. This poem and animation by Morgan Harper Nichols called “I don’t feel fearless right now” helped me to do just that. And, if you ever need to chat about life, the good and the bad, just know that my comments, contact page, and Instagram DMs are open.

Patriotic

the line “all men are created equal”
left much to be desired.

I read something that said
that the most patriotic thing to do
is to stand up and try to change your country
if it falls short of its values.
Well, my country certainly has.

the line “all men are created equal”
left much to be desired.
it’s up to us to write the sequel
giving every gender, race,
sexuality, and creed
their own deserved space.


I read something that said
my country’s independence
was predicated on the loss of freedom
of Indigenous peoples and slaves,
so happy 4th of July–
we can call it Independence Day
when true independence is reached.

they say freedom isn’t free,
but neither are we
neither are we–
not until the last of us hear
the triumphant cries of liberty
and justice oh, so clear.



Photo by Sawyer Sutton from Pexels

Today’s resource for illumination and compassion is this speech titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” The speech was written by abolitionist Frederick Douglass and originally delivered on July 5, 1852. In the video, it is delivered by actor James Earl Jones.

Come, My Darling

We’ve nothing to do

Come, my darling,
let’s settle here
beneath the tree.

We’ve nothing to do,
nothing to say,
so let us just lie, silently
watching cracks in the sky.
We’ll nervously run
our fingers through the clover
unable to voice what is wrong,
though our perfect illusion is over.

So come, my darling,
let’s settle beneath this tree,
and never ask the question,
Where do we go
from here?



Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

Today’s resource for education and empathy is the Instagram account Intersectional Environmentalist. They have some pretty and funky graphics with a great educational message. The current environmental problems we face undeniably affect marginalized communities throughout the world much more profoundly than non-marginalized ones. Environmental solutions must take these discrepancies into account. Intersectional Environmentalist also has a website that showcases resources for and from various communities with more to come!

And speaking of Instagram, I don’t advertise it much, and it’s still a work-in-progress, but I do have an Instagram account for this blog. You can follow me here to see several of the poems from this blog and other Instagram-exclusive content.

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