Today is Not the Day

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

It’s been a whirlwind week here, beginning with jumping my car at 10:30 on a Sunday night and ending with the mayhem of midterms and Valentine’s Day festivities. It was one of those weeks where I got about 3 hours of sleep one day and almost 11 on another.

Sounds kinda like college.

If you noticed, there was no Poetry Place on Tuesday, hence the midterms Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday took priority. But I did want to give you at least a little something.

So that’s part of today’s post. Because after all, it is Black History Month, something that people are also beginning to realize is not only ‘his’tory but ‘her’story too. The more I think about what has had to happen in the past for me to be where I am today, the more I also think about what I do and care about that will then lead me into a future I hope to have.

After all, my current reality will become a part of my own history before I know it. The least I can do is make the most of it.

You see, everything I’ve thrown myself into on Cal Poly’s campus is a huge part of what is changing my future. The things I’m passionate about and the people I hold onto in my life, all of that is changed by what I’m doing here. That’s why I write, why I follow the things I do or pay attention to the people that I want.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Weeks like this one put it all in perspective. Because, sure, I’m working hard to get a degree to then find a career so I can afford a stable life. But it’s bigger than that.

Beyond the degree and the classes I have the people and the passions and the aspirations that are molded out of the clay I walked onto this campus with.

While I fight to figure out what I want and the directions I want to go in, I’m also beginning to realize that I need to pick my battles somewhere in between.

Some days are better fit for buckling down and grinding out a few hours of hard studying. Others are the ones to maybe spend a few hours watching too much tv or wasting too much time with friends.

I’m starting to realize that college is about learning to pick my battles.

Because within that, some days are the ones to allow myself the grace to take a step back from everything that will take away pieces of me that I need for my own good. And others, well… You get the point. Sometimes I can afford to give a little. Other times, I need to learn when not to.

The Poetry Place of this post, it’s about learning the difference in what that means. Learning the balance.

It’s a part of my life after all, every one of our lives. It’s about deciding which day is which. Maybe if you’ve figured it out, you can pass along some tips in the comments. In the meantime, here’s Today is Not the Day.


Today is not the day

to feel like I can conquer the world,

to hold my head a little too high,

or feel like this will be alright.

Today is just a day

to exist, to keep breathing,

to understand it’s all I can do,

to remember that I’m not okay

and that’s okay.

Because today is just a day,

Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash

time will move forward,

and it will pass.

This day will become

a part of the past

just like they always do.


Happy Friday everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Valentines and remembered all the love that should come from you too. See you next week.

Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash

What the Living Do–Poetry

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

Sometimes, when the words are just right and the cadence isn’t too loose or too tight, you just might strike gold in a poem. At least that’s what I’m beginning to think.

This quarter has started off with quite the ride, as I got sick on the first day of classes yesterday with some sort of stomach flu and had to call out from work–lucky for me that I had late classes I could at least drag myself to in order not to get dropped. Don’t worry though, to add to the fun, I got a speeding ticked along the way. Yay for adulting and taking responsibility for my actions…

In the meantime before class and willing myself to still go, I spend quite a few hours yesterday in and out of sleep or laying over the side of my bed with a trash can, staring at my bookshelf because I didn’t want to move too much.

And I found this book, a book of poems, that seems to tell a story through each one in a way I haven’t read in a while.

I wanted to share it with you.

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

The craft itself seems to be telling short truths, almost cliches or obvious trains of thought in the form of short lines that has changed what the standard of poetry has become.

But this one doesn’t do that. So to take a break from my own work and show you something, a form, you probably haven’t seen in a while, here’s the poem I’ve got for you today. No commentary, no further prelude, just poetry. Soak it all in and let me know what you think about it.


Marie Howe–What the Living Do: Rochester, New York, July 1989

Photo by Tobias Cornille on Unsplash

Early summer evenings, the city kids would ride their bikes down his street
no-handed, leaning back in their seats, and bump over the curb

of the empty Red Cross parking lot next door where Joe’s car was parked, and
John’s white Honda, broken and unregistered…everything blooming,

that darkening in the trees before the sky goes dark: the sweetness of the lilacs
and the grass smell…

And the sound on the front porch steps was wooden and hollow,
and up the narrow stairway stuffy and dim, and the upper door maybe a little

open—and in the hall and left into his room: someone might be sitting there
reading, or sometimes only him, sleeping,

Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

or lying awake, his face turned toward the door,
and he would raise a hand….

And the woman who lived below them played the piano. She was a teacher, and
sometimes we’d hear that stumbling repetition people make when they’re

learning a new song, and sometimes she’d play alone—she’d left a note
in his mailbox saying she would play softly for him. And those evenings,

when the sky was sunless but not yet dark, and the birdsong grew loud in the trees,
just after supper, when the kids wheeled by silently

or quietly talking from their bikes, when the daylilies closed up
alongside the house,

music would sometimes drift up through the floorboards,

and he might doze or wake a little or sleep,
and whoever was with him might lean back in the chair beside the bed

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

and not know it was Chopin,
but something soft and pretty—maybe not even hear it,

not really, until it stopped
—the way you know a scent from a flowering tree once you’ve passed it.


See you Friday.

Setting Fire– Poetry Place

Happy Poetry Place day!!

So this one is a little different today, it’s actually a short story made up of haikus. I wanted to return to haikus for a little bit since they are surprisingly versatile and I also wanted to try to tell a story… Plus, California is on fire so that’s partially what I started off writing about before spinning it into a metaphor for something else. SO without further ado, here’s what I’ve got for you and I hope that you like it. Please do let me know what you think.


Setting Fire

Your meandering
smiles haunted me for a while,
and then you were gone.

But a fire lit
with a match to my mind and
now it won’t go out.

With all my eggs in
one basket…so what happens
if that basket breaks?

If the seams pull tight
and the hope breaks right down the
center, it must mend

with time we don’t have
and care we cannot give you.
There’s only one way

through, from something that
burns you from the inside out,
everything’s on fire.

dave-michuda-54058-unsplash

Photo by Dave Michuda on Unsplash

And one day you hope
to wake up and find out that
somehow the fire’s been

put out. So when the
morning comes and the sun sings
to you, just maybe

you can breathe in the
air, among the ash and the
past, you find a hope

that maybe this time
that basket finally held
and that fire burned

paul-wong-465234-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Paul Wong on Unsplash

itself out. Welcome
to today: the first day of the rest
the rest of your life.


I know it needs work but that’s what writing is all about after all, the editing process. So if you have any suggestions or a quick comment, let me know! And I will see you on Friday.

Old Fashioned Love– Poetry

jez-timms-4728-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Here’s a little poetry for your Tuesday, inspired by the older poetry I’ve been studying in class. It’s interesting to realize that most writing was about religion back then, the faith and the hope people put into a power beyond them just to get through their days and their lives. Fascinating really.

But, enough of that, my point with telling you that is to explain how I modeled these poems. Each is a love poem, written in a way someone would about their own faith. So check them out and let me know what you think.

Without further ado, Poetry Place.

One

Tell me of our navel’s gaze

erda-estremera-572432-unsplash

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

when our pasts cannot

reconcile.

Hurt me with my love’s ill hope

when only one can

smile.

Blame me of the sin we keep;

Indict me for our

trials.

But love me not and let me fall.

I concede my heart’s

exile.

Two

I let you be the needle, weaving

threads throughout my love,

making textiles out of

my pain.

kelly-sikkema-754737-unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Blanket me dearly, tie my arms

behind my back, take my clothes,

drag my worth out through

the rain.

Wash me clean, let the grace fall

deeply to my bones. I will cry,

out at the brightness of

my shame.

In and out pass through me now, open

wide these empty tombs, fill me up

flood each alley with the whispers of

your name.

chris-yang-422605-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

Take my eyes, take my heart, take

patterned squares within my soul, leave

me open, leave me scarred to

the blame.

For it is mine and mine alone, each

sin that holds me close, you take

my love, I give my life as yours

to claim.


See you Friday.

Robert Frost and an Original– Two Poems

josh-calabrese-527813-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

As I head back to SLO today, I’m thinking that sometimes transparency can be a good thing. I wrote the second poem here a little bit ago to play with a new style and in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day which is September 10th; for the love of poetry, I’ve included one of my favorite Robert Frost poems too.

Remember to treat yourself like someone you love this week, happy Tuesday everyone. Here’s what I’ve got for you.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening– Robert Frost

lilian-velet-692482-unsplash

Photo by Lilian Velet on Unsplash

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Transparency

The sadness can’t even
ache anymore;
it just sits
and stays
and holds
and hurts.

annie-spratt-1048363-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It leaves me empty and desperate
for someone
to help me up
or out
or away
or through
or within.

For the loneliness, it’s cruel
to want ignorance
so soon
so badly
so achingly…
So please.

Tell me why broken
dreams make a home
out of me,
leave me lonely
and too tired
to keep this up
on my own;

I can’t bear
this weight
any longer–
The ache,
it never stopped,
did it?


If there’s anything you like or anything you would like to see more of from me, feel free to hop over to the Contact Me section; I would love to hear from you. See you all on Friday.

 

Two Poem Tuesday

Another Tuesday, another poem– and I’ve got two for you today. I was playing with a little imagery along with the last style I tried out, let me know what you think!


One

With every step this world

winds me up.

Twist and twist

and twist

the dial;

one more time

until it stops.

Now

let go.

Watch me walk,

watch me work,

watch me live my

life like it’s my job.

I will keep going

until that dial

untwists me

all the way back.

For then I will stop,

I will freeze,

I will be stuck

in my own ways,

until the next person

decides

to wind me up

again.

Two

My life has become a play

with missing pieces

and empty parts

of actors

who can no longer fill

their roles.

Must the show go on,

as the cogs

in the machine

always do,

or does a new one

begin,

not so fresh faced

but ready

in good time

nonetheless?

Is it possible

to be

both?


I hope you all are having a great week, see you Friday.

Two Poets, One Post– A Poetry Book Review

kinga-cichewicz-465184-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

How does someone define what good poetry looks like?

For some people, it’s what sounds beautiful, what makes them feel something. Even if all that can be is a little less alone.

So today, I’m doing a bit of a crossover between my poetry and book review monthly features to review two poetry books: one author that seems to have become the standard, and one that I believe has decided to change the standards completely.

Here we go:

Moon Theory— Robert. M. Drake (r.m.drake)

tony-detroit-362133-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Tony Detroit on Unsplash

Even if you don’t know this author, you’ve probably seen his work, whether it’s through tattoos, plastered onto city walls, popping into instagram feeds, or dyed onto a T shirt. He may have started small, but he didn’t stay that way for long.

I have been reading r.m. drake’s books since I was in high school, coming across the typewriter script through Instagram. This man was the beginning of a new kind of poetry for me. Even more than beautiful imagery and poetic words, his writing is a genuine ode to living and breathing in the world the way we do— through every little things that makes us who we are.

Over the years, I’ve collected each one his books, buying four more back in April before I realized there was another four I am still yet to own. When asked to write of my inspirations for art in a Junior year drawing and painting class, among Monet and Picasso, he was one of them. I said “His use of expression in his writing is indescribably eye opening and influential to the way I write and think.” In a quote from his book, there are little bits of what we all need reminders of sometimes:

“Find the courage to find your better days, and never lost track of the laughter that’s meant to find you.”

michael-fenton-512963-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

As an ode to Self Love, Moon Theory holds at least one secret for each one of us. While many poets, myself included, make the mistake of writing things that are too redundant or obvious, Drake does not do the same. He writes things that should be obvious, but somehow aren’t until someone tells us the truth. His books can be that truth. Through this book, I think everyone can find something to relate to, something they need to hear, and in the end it can make people feel a little less alone.

That’s what poetry is, isn’t it? If you want to know more about the author, check him out here.

I wrote this for you— Iain S. Thomas

saffu-217918-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

I bought this book on a whim last summer— having a B&N in my hometown after so long without a bookstore really tests my self-control and my credit card— because I wanted to know if the dark, ambiguous cover lying in my hands held much of the same within its leaves. It didn’t.

This writer is different, his aim not even to write poetry but to write something and create something new, as he does with each of his works. This book, published back in 2011, was his first and it started off as a blog that was just for fun between him and his friend. Over time, it became so much more than that.

These days I have seen a lot of artistic takes on poetry, many of which combine some kind of drawing with the words they decide to put on a page. Thomas combined his words with photos taken by a friend Jon who was living in Japan. I found myself flipping through the book yesterday, taking in the photos and the abstract changes that occur through the book from his style and positioning choices. I found a quote that’s so hard to explain:

“The least you can do, is uncross your heart. Unhope to die.”

thought-catalog-575840-unsplash

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

He’s not wrong.

Between Thomas and Drake, their writing is beautiful and true. Nothing short of words that need to be heard. This anthology is nothing short of honest, in a dark and sometimes beautiful, though often sad, sort of way. But in a time of so much change and too many lies, his truth is refreshing. It’s relatable. Some of the poems remind you of who you are or who you wanted to be, others take you back to the shower thoughts you had and never wrote down. But each of them hold pieces of each of us. They help spell out the human existence.

Maybe you’ll check them out and let me know what you think. See you all Friday.