A Life Obliged–An Original Poem

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So, I promised you something today. It’s National Poetry Month and this poem holds a whole lot of meaning for me. This one is a bit longer than what I usually write, but it’s long for a reason. You’ll see. I care a lot about mental health and the awareness around it, but I’ve never really talked about mine.

Not only am I breaking that boundary today, but as my readers, I’m letting you in. Because I’ve got a lot to say, and maybe it’s about time I said it.

Without further ado, A Life Obliged. Let me know what you think.


Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Sometimes I really love cancelling plans,

it’s not that I cancel them if I have no reason to—

my guilty conscience is far too heavy for that—

but if I have a reason or I find some excuse not to go,

you can be sure as hell my fingers are moving like lightning

when I type out the words, “I can’t tonight…”

Don’t forget the sad face at the end,

wouldn’t want anyone thinking that I truly

didn’t want to go.

Trust me when I say that, the second I send that message,

it’s a relief of a weight I cannot explain.

It’s a diffused time bomb

of hands that do not stop shaking

and a mind that will not stop racing

even when the finish line

was a couple miles

behind me.

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

Because sometimes, this life feels like a song I’m trying to sing,

and I swear to God that I’m the one who wrote it.

But every time the chords start playing

and the bass bumps blindly through my chest,

I open my mouth to the words I should be saying,

and it turns out that

I forgot the rest.

My entire world is a play I scripted myself;

I filled each and every role with lives of the ones I love.

And I feel that love, I do.

It’s just some days I wish you knew,

the love

and the hope

and the need to keep going,

it isn’t strong enough to make it all the way

Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

to a place

where I might believe it.

That place can be kind of hard to find sometimes,

especially when you don’t see any of the worth

that’s supposed to belong to you.

Instead, I lost two friends in the last year:

two beautiful, incredible, extraordinary people.

The kind that looked at life like it were a challenge

and they were the Barney Stinsons of the world, so

of course, they would accept it—

to see who could live

and love

and laugh

the loudest…

At only nineteen, I think they lived

more

than I ever will.

And it makes me wonder, why this world

would take away two people here,

and leave behind someone like me,

who doesn’t even know how

to live.

Not like this.

I’m the kind of girl who gets up in the morning,

wishing I didn’t, thinking maybe tomorrow

I won’t.

When this world,

it handles me like a play toy.

Yet depression

and anxiety

and OCD

seem to be the only ones

handling the strings.

A tug this way, a thought that way,

and suddenly

I’m doing whatever it wants.

All I can manage is to nod,

let it control me like a marionette

where the strings tie back to my heart,

as even more hold close to my body,  

pulling on me so tightly

that I have not a say,

not a care,

not a want.

Not a breath that I call my own.

Because not a single one

of those damn strings

seem

to belong

to me.

You see, suicide for me is like the ace in my back pocket,

it’s game that I chose not to play

Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

every single day I wake up.

Because it’s not that I want to die,

no, for that would be far too simple…

It’s that I look at who I am, the people I love, the way I live

and I just don’t want to exist

like this

anymore.

I need a reset button for the last time I saved this game of life;

back before I remembered how unfair this world can be

to the people who might not be the majority,

or how easy it is for men in power to get away with taking things

that do not belong to them because the word “no” wasn’t said

loud enough,

maybe it’s how little it takes to lose people we love because

we can’t control that either,

and how hard it can be when every one of us is fighting something

yet, in this society,

not a single one of us feels

like we’re allowed to be.

I just want to know why.

It’s not that I don’t love you,

no it’s not that at all.

It’s that I don’t think

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

I love me

enough.

Sometimes, I wonder

if the only thing I know about living

is how to spend every day of my life

trying to convince myself

that I don’t want

to die.

If we are so depressed, so beaten down and

broken through and

bummed out

by everything we are turning out to be,

so depressed

and done

and diligently abiding by the rules of an unspoken pact that says

we need to keep going,

that the suicidal thoughts become relief,

or the absence of pain is terrifying…

If we are so ready

to pull a trigger finger,

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

to pop a cap,

to inhale invisibility…

Then why are we here,

still moving, still going,

trying so damn hard

to live?


See you Friday.

The Little Victories

So I don’t know if I told you all, but I got back into writing lately—fiction writing that is. And I know that’s bad because, ultimately, I should have a set schedule for writing on a regular basis by now, but I’m working on it. Even though I’m more of an ambitions kind of girl who takes on novels rather than short stories, I wrote a short story this quarter.

And I really like it.

Granted, I took a fiction writing class this quarter and a short story was one of our assignments, but you’d be surprised how I ended up with the story I turned in.

You see, the concept of a short story was kind of daunting to me. Because I love writing and stories and I have so SO many ideas, but I’m not great at getting to the point when I need to. My “short” stories never turn out being short.

There’s always too much ambition in the way for that.

Five days before this story was due, I had the first page of four different short stories written. The first page. Only. Picture this: It’s 11:00 pm and I’m scrolling between each one on a Friday night, trying to decide which one I want to keep going with. And every time I tried to add to any of them, all I could produce was cliche melodrama.

The hours passed and I watched the cursor mock me, blinking at me in a constant reminder of my lack of work from the open nothingness in front of me. 1:00 am. I had nothing and I was lying with my head on the table, staring at the computer sideways while I traced lazy circles on the dinner mat my head rested on.

I started typing: “What do you do when a creator’s hands want to create, but their insecure mind keeps telling them that they can’t?”

It made me think of my attempts at painting, the blank canvas a daunting demand to be filled.

1:30 am. At this point, I started messing around with the keys, opening a new document and typing out everything I was thinking. Painting. Not being able to, maybe there was something in the way. And my main character, I wanted her to paint, but she couldn’t.

Why couldn’t she?

For the next two hours, I was on a deep dive into my own thoughts, trying to figure out why this painter couldn’t find beauty in her painting anymore and somehow it just made sense to keep going, to try to get her to the painting she missed so badly it ached but somehow couldn’t touch a single brush without losing it.

I took a painter who couldn’t find the will to paint anymore and I wrote up a life for her in which, that made sense.

I was a writer who couldn’t write something beautiful to save my life. So I wrote about it.

Maybe I didn’t save my life, but I did feel like a writer for the first time in a whole because this story, it turned out quite beautifully.

It opens with Janice, standing among her paintings and staring dismally at her studio walls, aching with a need to create again. But there’s some reason she can’t bring herself to do it and as she walks around looking into each colorful canvas outlining her past, you fall into her life with her and begin to understand what exactly it is standing between her and the person she wishes to be.

Juxtaposed with her daughter, Anita, who is so full of life and energy and constantly pesters her mother to paint with her, there’s something about this story that brings to life the concept of writer’s block in a way I never imagined it. The questions is, does she end up giving in to the pull of creating, or does she walk away from it?

If you want to read the story to find out what happens with Janice and Anita, let me know. I’ll share it with you. Otherwise, I tell you all this because that night, I created something out of nothing. Simply by waiting and giving myself the space to do so.

If that doesn’t make this a successful quarter, I don’t know what does. I did one thing I’m really proud of in the last three months and well, I think that’s got to be enough for me right now.

Hopefully you can find at least one thing too. Happy Friday.

What the Living Do–Poetry

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Challenge Accepted– NaNoWriMo

Another week has come and gone and a very busy one at that— just in case you were wondering, about last week, I did decide to take the high road after all. Sometimes that’s the only way to do it, and maybe it wasn’t even worth putting the emotional effort to be hurt or angry. This year I’m at least learning that it’s our choice who we keep close, am I right?

Beyond finally learning more big things, there are three others that get me truly excited these days: free food, cancelled class, and more sleep. Lucky for me, we turn our clocks back this Sunday so I get a little bit of that last one to start off the next week.

Which is perfect, because it’s finally November… Do you know what that means?

Various kinds of pies will be eaten, a few more exams will be taken, hopefully more sleep will be gotten over break…

And maybe if I hit my word count, a new novel will be written (started). Because it’s National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo).

Officially, the month started yesterday and every single day, the word count needed to hit that incredible goal is 1,667. If you miss a day, that word count doubles. Because one way or another, if you want to win nanowrimo, you’ve got to hit 50,000 by the end of this month. And well…

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Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

I just missed day one.

That’s the thing about having a goal; if you miss a day of it whether it’s working out, reading a few pages every night, or remembering to sit down and relax every morning before work, it sets you back. And you are the only person who can make up for it.

Right now, 50,000 for me is quite the lofty goal. If you remember from last year, I was able to hit that word count but it was a real scramble down to the last few hours. Well, the last hour. But I threw myself into it because I needed something to focus on, some other place to put my mind for a little while, and I could get that much closer to finishing my book in the meantime.

Don’t you have things like that too?

I think there are a lot of times in our lives, things we get ourselves into, not just because we want to but truly because it’s what we need. Think of it like exercising— just because you should doesn’t mean you will, but we (should) do it anyway, for our own good.

Considering what’s going on in my life, the things I’m already doing along with maybe remembering that I should actually take care of myself, adding a 1,667 word goal to my days isn’t the kind of stress I need. But as weird as it sounds, it’s the kind of stress I want right now. I miss the creativity, the process of writing something other than academic papers.

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Photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash

Maybe it’s not the kind of thing I should be taking on right now, but I could use the distraction, the goal to set. Even though it’s work, it’s also a break— the best kind really. Because I’ve been so caught up in all the papers and readings and work and interviews that I haven’t had time for anything else. One thing this month does is literally force me to take the time if I’m going to hit 50,000. So I guess that’s what we’re going to do— commit and hope for the best in whatever comes next.


Wish me luck everyone, I know that I’ll need it if I’m already behind. So have a great weekend, find your own challenge this week, and I will see you Friday.

Old Fashioned Love– Poetry

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.