Poetry

memories

memories

//

where do memories live?

in all the crevices of your long term memory,

where they’re crammed down,

waiting for a prompt from the temporal world,

to rouse them from the depths,

of the storage banks in your brain,

like worms tunneling towards the rain?

//

or perhaps fragments,

reside partially in the places they’re conceived,

where they lie latent,

waiting to be ushered back into the,

realm of conscious thoughts by,

the physical presence of one,

in the spaces where mind meets matter.

inhale, exhale (you're okay)

Sometimes, I think fiction is one of the hardest styles and genres of writing to want to excel at. Maybe it's just me, but I think the inability to churn out piece after piece of fiction (since I've been finding that even short stories are challenging to mass produce, for lack of a better term) makes it seem almost like the loftiest of writing goals. Unlike poetry, nonfiction, or other types of essays, it takes time to develop the voice, style, characters, flow, and all the other elements that go into crafting quality fiction, which I think frequently prevents writers from being able to showcase their fiction ability regularly. It seems to come down to actually publishing a popular novel or getting a short story published in a good literary mag, and that can be discouraging for a lot of writers I feel like.  

This has been something that's run through my head a lot as of late, especially since I've mentioned that I've been doing a good deal of storyboarding and outlining for fiction the past few days, and it almost feels like all of that work has nothing to show for itself, since I haven't actually written anything yet, just conceptualized ideas and thought through them.

 

At any rate, that's some of my internal process I've been going through while trying to write fiction the past couple days. So, today, I'm publishing another piece that I wrote a little while back. Even reading through it now, it sort of seems all over the place, but that makes a little sense since it was originally born out of a sort of literary pep talk I was trying to give myself at the time.

--

inhale, exhale (you're okay)

You said it. It’s done. It’s out. But somehow, it still feels almost as heavy as the first time. Or maybe it always does.

 

You inhale and tell yourself it’s okay. Then you exhale and let the silence tell you’re okay. Because the stillness isn’t tense. There’s no thickening of the air. Instead, the quiet invites you to continue telling your story.

 

So you inhale and tell yourself you’re okay, and you exhale and let the empty air affirm that you are indeed okay. Because there’s no hesitation. There’s no held breath, no ellipsis, no comma at the end of the sentence. For once, a period and its finality are comforting, because it means you’re okay.

 

Your emotions are okay. Your feelings are okay. Your desires and every unspoken thing are okay. And by extension, that means you are okay.

 

So you inhale and exhale nervously.

 

But you’re still okay.

 

There are no arguments. There are no reasons. There’s no theological rhetoric or overspiritualization. There’s just stillness.

 

So you inhale and you exhale. You’re okay. Because there are no questions, no comments, no concerns. You’re just okay.

 

So you inhale and you exhale, letting it sink in, to the depths of your soul and being, something so fundamental, yet something so often misplaced.

 

You’re okay.

 

You’re okay. You’re okay as a person, and your love is okay too, not bound by binary systems or arbitrary rules. And your heart is also okay, not strange or out of place because its love pulls you toward an identical set of chromosomes.

 

It’s okay.

 

So you inhale and you exhale. You breathe it in deeply so that it settles in your lungs, so that it puts down roots, so that it fills every empty space of your being, so that it echoes within, constantly reminding you that after everything you’ve even been told:

 

You’re okay.

sometimes, love

For this piece, I wanted to take an idea and a theme I've already written about quite a bit and start playing around with different literary and poetic devices, so this piece is more an experiment than anything. I fiddled around a little with more explicit repetition and variation in line length, which has always been something I've found difficult to do with poetry, but I feel like it lends such a sense of cleanness and simplicity to pieces, which always causes me to think more thematically when I read pieces written in that style.  

Also, I've been finding that my fiction writing muscles are pretty stiff and out of practice, so I've been in a very stop-and-go place when it comes to the short stories I've been working on. Perhaps that's the overly perfectionistic side of myself that's always said that fiction was my strongest form of prose, but maybe it's also an element of not allowing myself to be as free with writing fiction as I sometimes feel like I can be with other styles of writing, just because I still feel pretty amateurish with them. Either way, I'll be working through some of those things and trying to coax something out of mind soon.

 

--

sometimes, love

 

Sometimes,

I find myself questioning what it is,

Love,

Because I’ve been told so many different things.

//

Sometimes,

They say it’s what you see in all the films,

Love,

It’s what two people feel for each other inside.

//

Other times,

It’s all wrapped up in religious fervor,

Love,

An isolated, solely spiritual construct.

//

But sometimes,

Existing as an interlocking of hands,

Love,

Bubbles up from a smile breached spring.

//

Sometimes,

Filling moments of deciphered silence,

Love,

Also fills the small of his back.

//

Other times,

Longing to simply be with another,

Love,

Asks him how forever might seem.

//

Sometimes,

I find myself questioning what it is,

Love,

Because I’ve been told so many times mine’s defective.

//

broken iPhone screens

After a couple days of writing almost strictly poetry, it feels a little strange to be writing in more of a prose style again today, but then again, I think my prose has always skewed a little more flowery and poetic anyway. The process of writing this piece was almost the reverse of when I wrote 'roses,' trying to originally put this piece through a poetry filter when it ended up emerging as more of a prose piece.  

The initial idea for this piece came to me when I accidentally dropped my phone out of my locker while I was at the gym. At first inspection, all seemed to be well, but as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed some light refraction (really no other way to put it, haha) and realized that I had cracked my screen. My heart sank a little, seeing as I had already shattered my screen earlier this year and gotten it replaced, but my fears were quickly assuaged by a closer look that revealed it was only the glass screen protector that had a crack along its width (at least I think...I put it on slightly crooked, so it doesn't cover the entire right side, and the cracks only extended as far as the border of the glass screen protector, with the actual screen underneath not appearing to have any cracks, fingers crossed).

 

With a sigh of relief, I hurried home and almost immediately ordered another glass screen protector from Amazon to soothe my OCD, which was when I started to think about how much we worry and think about our phones, because any damage is readily visible and because we look at our phones dozens of times every day, while forgetting about so much of the invisible pain and suffering that people around us have gone through that we might never see, especially if it was in their past and they don't talk about it anymore, either because they've overcome it and it's truly behind them or because they live under the pressure of our American society which stigmatizes mental illness or any severe emotional trauma that people may have experienced. Out of those reflections, this piece was birthed.

 

Final thought: I've always been fascinated with pieces of writing, whether entire books, poems, essays, etc. that are titled after one single line or scene from its body, so I played with that a little with this piece.

 

--

broken iPhone screens

Maybe the most painful wounds we endure are the ones we cannot see, and the longest lasting scars the ones hidden beneath the surface of our skin. Because while sticks and stones may break our bones, words are the weapons that strike the soul. But the visual modernity of our minds is completely blind to these battles, and the casualty count is starting to rise.

 

If only we paid as much attention to broken people as broken iPhone screens, we’d be aware of these cardiac spider web cracks reaching into the pulmonary, fracturing our breath, dividing sighs from sobs. No insurance covers these kinds of operations, because this cancer hides beyond the infrared and the ultraviolet, existing in the invisible spectrums where they can be denied out of our conscious thought until they remain only as friendly shadows that cling to us, following us wherever we might dare go. Though banishable by light, our ethereal companions persist with us, because we don’t dare ask for help until, under the weight of these ghastly wraiths, our own selves are on the verge of shattering.

 

Instead, we scorn any outside aid and become the epicenters of our own internal earthquakes, covering up the cracks and emerging hairline fractures with masks made up of coping mechanisms and painted on expressions in an attempt to elicit other emotions from the depths of our being instead. We hide the damage inside to comply with the de facto laws that legalize blood and broken bones while prohibiting sapped spirits or any type of tears as permissible perceptions of pain.

 

Is it any wonder then that attacks to the heart are the leading cause of death, both external and internal, when we hear the death of data behind the sound of shattering glass but remain deaf to the fragmenting of that frail thing within our chests? Perhaps instead of spending so much time studying two-year upgrade cycles, we’d be better off investing in increasing the integrity and resistance of our own race, because while we gain less susceptible strains of Gorilla Glass to surround our screens, we lose the ability to guard what’s truly fragile, and remains of that revolution then is a world where we value external aesthetics and surface sheen while neglecting the internal necrosis that may never be seen and dares us to die from the inside out.

ebb & flow // good people

The tides always seem to change at the most inopportune times, or at least that idea has occupied quite a bit of my mental space as of late. When I first started this writing challenge, it was for the purpose of forcing myself to write something, anything, every day because I found myself running out of ideas. I would sit down to write and comb through my brain for anything to latch onto, anything that could possibly become new material, but after only a few days, I think I've successfully stoked my literary fire back to life. Ideas are plentiful again, and I'm now having the opposite of problem of trying to focus my energies on just one topic at a time so that I'll actually complete a piece over the span of a day or few.  

That was my tripwire today. It was a busier day than it had been the past few, and my mental energy was scattered between a few different projects I wanted to work on. By this time in the day, with the sun setting, I’ve only made minor progress on all the different pieces that I’ve started (and subsequently left to start another), but that in and of itself seems to be an interesting point of reflection. It’s fascinating to think about how we can accomplish more, or perhaps feel more accomplished, when simply working on one small project, even if that happens to be just writing something in order to keep our creative energies circulating, than when we have several different outlets at our disposal all vying for our attention at once.

 

Over the next few days, hopefully I’ll be able to gather myself and focus on a few of the main projects that I have going on so that I’ll actually be able to finish them. I have a couple poems, a creative nonfiction piece, and a prompt for a short story or two that I’ll be working on for this next chunk of time, so that should be a challenge as I weave my way through a few different genres of writing and subtly adapt my style as I go.

 

For today though, I recently found an older poem that I wrote several months ago during another sort of writing challenge I put myself through. I was trying to compose at least one entry for each section of a literary magazine I was submitting to, and scrawled this down while I was sitting at my desk in Spain one day. It’s relatively short, but I think it also captures a lot of the things I was thinking about at the time, a lot of which involved social justice. Though I don’t necessarily think it’s some of my best work ever, I do think the underlying ideas are still as relevant as ever to me, contemplation on the notion that we tend to arbitrarily assign value to people without really thinking about the filters or criteria we’re using to make those evaluations.

 

One last thought: I sort of always hate when I write posts like these, more of a running mental monologue than anything of real substance, but I suppose it also falls within the realm of being able to write something at least vaguely publishable every day in order to keep your firing going, because after all, even a roaring flame still needs fuel at its base.

 

--

good | people

what is darkness?

what is light?

the world, the church, the sun, the night?

everyone says,

something else,

but no one can decide who the hell is right,

there are people,

good and bad,

in every corner, from every line of sight,

so maybe if,

we tried a little harder,

if we had a little more faith, we just might,

be able to see,

more good people,

instead worrying whether or not we’re right