Zi

His long tail waves the air away,
And paws that beg the spring to stay,
My dog can dance through darkest days.

The deep green grass beneath him grows,
His golden hair in soft wind blows,
This world, my dog, the earthly flow.

 

 

 

Something

Something about the trees,
How they flicker in the wind like ballerinas,
Reminds me of music.
The rhythm and rhyme the world has.

Something about the grass,
How it waves like smiling children as I walk past,
Reminds me of joy.
The peaceful happiness of sunlight.

Something about the clouds,
How they hang overhead with a looming presence,
Reminds me of change.
The differences that come with each new season.

 

 

I Don't Write for You

"I hate poetry," my younger self says.
She says it’s boring, that it doesn’t make any sense.
Says it’s too much, and says she doesn’t want anything to do with it.
She wonders why she doesn’t like it, wonders why it’s frustrating.

"Iambic pentameter," teachers say, while spouting off names of famous poets.
The assignment is to research them and write a poem in their style.
Copy their rhythm, their rhyme, and their spirit.
Turn ourselves outside in to match their inside out.

I didn’t like this. I wanted to write my own things.
Find my own rhythm and rhyme, and not steal someone else’s spirit.
I wanted to look into myself and discover what needed to be said.
But instead I was stuck writing three stanzas of pretended vulnerability.

So now I write for my younger self.
I write the poems she wanted to read- ones with no end point and no boundaries.
I write for her so she can say what needed to be said,
And I write for the free spirit that is somewhere inside me.

I write poetry because I have to, and I write poetry because I need to.
I have my own way of doing this, and you don’t need to like it.
I write the poetry my younger self wanted to write but was told it was too much like prose
Too much of a narrative and had too few descriptions

But I am not them. I am not Wordsworth, and I am not Shakespeare.
I am not Browning, and I am certainly not Neruda.
I am me. I can only be me.
I can only write my own thoughts and speak my own truth.

So I don’t write for you. I don’t write for your rules or your boundaries.
I don’t write for your restrictions or your guidelines.
I write because I have to, and I write because I need to.
I write because that’s how I breathe. I write so I can live.

 

 

In My Backpack

I have an old tube of chapstick;
Multiple crumpled up ideas;
A few hand me down insecurities.

I have a broken watch;
An old train pass that probably expired last year;
Dreams that are growing ever so slowly.

I have a copy of my favorite book of poetry;
A thin sweater with a slightly torn sleeve;
A broken heart that is slowly mending.

I have a broken pen I’ve carried for three years;
Homework I should have turned in two months ago;
A pile of “um”s “yeah”s and “mmhmm”s.

I have perfume that hurts my head;
A few letters for my best friend;
A foggy memory of an untaken antidepressant.

I have a crunched up granola bar;
Another crunched up granola bar;
A prayer I’ve been saving for later.

I have a CD from 2007;
A stick of gum;
And the rough draft for this poem.

 

Fear

They will try to break you.
They will try to make you into something you are not.
They will try to bend you, twist you, change you.
Do not believe them.

Do not believe the daggers in their eyes,
Or the fight that is in their hands.
Do not believe the venom in their mouths,
Or the anger that is in their feet.

They will force you into their idea of perfect.
They will force you into their metaphors,
Into their idea of self. Ignore them.
Become your own self.

See with your own eyes how precious you are.
Use your hands to do what you know is right.
Speak words of kindness like I know you can.
Do not let anger trample you.

Do not let the fear break you.
Do not let it make you into something you are not.
Do not let it bend you, twist you, change you.
Do not believe it.