Inside Out– A poem

Today’s the day— Nick and I are moving into our first house this weekend. As summer classes start Thursday and we make our way towards sophomore year, it seems that a lot of things are changing. Little pieces of our adolescence are being left behind along the way.

anders-jilden-307322Call me nostalgic or simply at a loss for how quickly time passes, I’m not sure which one is more true. But in the spirit of out with the old and in with the new, here’s a new poem for you.

These past few weeks have had me reflecting on freshman year, from the Milo protest and needs for  safe spaces, to learning how to start over and figure out where we belong all over again. It got me thinking: if we were always surrounded by safe spaces, like a welcoming campus without any offense or absolute and free expression, would it make us better or would it simply shelter who we could become?

So I decided to take that thought and run with it; the direction definitely changed, but in the end, this is what I came up with. I would love to hear what you think and how you feel about the idea of “safe spaces” on college campuses. Here’s to new writing:

Inside Out

 

Even when you’re a part of it, you’re not;

you never really were.

It’s like stepping inside the circle you tried so hard to get in,

only to realize that even then,

you still stand out.

So you wonder, what’s the point?aaron-burden-261110

Why bother pushing against walls you know

will never crumble,

if every time you go left they tell you to go right?

So you take those rights and yet somehow you’re still wrong

and in every mirror you see reflected back at you

all the ghosts of your past. And in the corner

the skeletons are spilling out of the closet door ajar—

the closet you don’t dare step out from, for the inside…

Well, it’s comfortable there, it’s safer there,

so you keep telling yourself.

Yet it begs the question:

when in your life has a safe space ever stayed that way?

For when you’re right, you’re still wrong,

and when you’re in, you will always stand out.

Because in your bones you know those spaces never existed.

They were never really safe.

shttefan-280960

But if a child cries out in a place they believe to be safe

and nobody is around to hear it,

does it ever really matter if they even cried out

to make any sound

at all?

The Indefinite Emotion: Love

“Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Creole Proverb

As we come closer to the month of June being over and head towards that of Independence, I wanted to take a moment (and a blog post) to appreciate what is known as the past of LGBT poetry.

kc-luk-188412.jpgPoetry, like any other art form, is one of many histories and expressions. Though there truly is no telling who our greatest poets of the past are, I would like to celebrate just one for this month’s topic who was said to be a part of the community: Walt Whitman.

This poem is just one of many he wrote, however it is part of a group that came from his Leaves of Grass collection, also known as the “Calamus” cluster. This selection of poems is one of the main reasons Whitman was considered to be homosexual, so today I share with you the best known of the cluster.

I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing holds within it solidarity, loneliness, and the love of men— considered at the time to be quite taboo. For he saw himself in the symbol the poem holds, from the Oak tree itself to the branch he broke off and took home as a token, one of self-expression even without companionship in its own abundance. So in the celebration of poetry of the times and what is now considered Pride month around the world, here is Walt Whitman:alvaro-serrano-133360 (1).jpg

I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,

All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,

Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,

And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,

But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without its friend near, for I knew I could not,

And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,

And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,

It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,

(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)

adam-kool-11868.jpgYet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;

For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide flat space,

Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,

I know very well I could not.

365 Days Later…

This week may have been our final week of classes here at CP and my freshman year may be one week away from being over, but today I wanted to celebrate something very special with you:

erik-lundqvist-221875.jpg

Last Sunday, Kwilliamsbooks turned 1.

A year ago, I graduated high school and decided to get a head start on my future and my upcoming (now almost a year old) book— so I started a blog. Who knew that my most viewed post (231 views) would be my fourth post ever, back in July of last year, or that this would become something so big in my life that I dedicate at least an entire 24 hours total to it every week? Yet here we are, one year and 57 blog posts later, right where I started: writing.

So today, I wanted to say “happy birthday” to my site by sharing more of what got me started in the first place— poetry. It’s been a few weeks since the last Poetry Place, but this is a special week after all. Here are five of my favorites:

 

Number one

Collateral Damage

She held within her heart a love she could could not tame,

monsters in her mind of which she could not name.

And when the two came together, into the same budding rose,

the dark collided with the beauty and she became the collateral damage.

sebastian-molina-fotografia-101308From the thorns in her side and the voices she could no longer hide

screaming out in agony from the wreckage her heart had just left behind

with the broken pieces amongst the thorns that rose grew up to contain;

every bit of love and light it held countered with a little bit of pain.

Yet she kept going anyway, knowing there was light up ahead.

The light she created with everything she had when she finally let herself

Get Lost.

Number two

Out of Place

Does tired even compare to that feeling anymore,

that hopeless, empty, insignificant feeling—

that she’s trapped in a place where she does not belong;

in her life surrounded by all the things she is not?

Her beautiful friends and their beautiful minds

of which she cannot compare to.

Her too smart classes with her too smart classmates

of whom she does not fit in with…evan-kirby-263913

Somehow she’s here, existing between the lines

where people do not look, do not care.

Do not see her here, past the beauty and the brains,

back to where she is stripped down to nothing but a face.

That nobody remembers and nobody needs to,

as she is just another person in this world.

One without the beauty and one without the brains,

one that nobody seems to want to claim.

And that is okay too; she knows that it happens

when she looks in the mirror and sees who she is.

Because in the end it’s her life, something of her own making,

and she is just simply out of place.

Number three

Pretty People

It’s a shame to see such pretty people so sad.

All the beauty in the world cannot fix these broken souls.

And as the time runs out and the days wear thin,

splitshire-9614

the night comes on back, leaving only darkness to hold

the beauty of light fading to the sadness of the soul.

As we walk, your hands and mine on this lonely dark road,

together we are here and our thoughts echo off the walls.

While I can feel that you are broken, I can hear it in your heart.

And it’s a shame to see such pretty people fall apart.

 

Number four

Restless

As I lay my head to rest

Instead I rest with

Thoughts of you.

 

Running course through my body

in everything

you do.freestocks-org-206394

 

Like the way I watch you care for others;

you’re the only

one who

 

showed me how to fall in love…

Some days I wish

I never knew.

 

And number five

Skeletons to Burn

There are skeletons in my closet, far too many to count.

For there is another one in a darker corner, the back shelf of my mind.

And honesty has never been enough to truly bring me back, to give me

the oxygen I need to breathe, as it chokes me with charred hands.

Quietly, I am extinguished, the flame of my soul slowly burning out,

as the pain never felt so real, engulfing everything I am and

everything I could be until there was truly nothing left.

annie-spratt-218458Nothing but those skeletons in my closet, taking up space

the way the secrets of our past always do, complicating this life

much like that skeleton left in the back of my mind, silent and holding,

sharp and true, waiting for the moment to come out to play.

They say that bones may dance and sometimes, secrets may catch fire,

but truly there is nothing left of me, not even the burning outline

of everything I used to be and the secrets I used to hold,

for it all went to hell right where I will see it tomorrow as I find my way

downtown through the noose. It is over now, the burning has become a quiet calm,

and for the first time in my life it seems

there are no more skeletons left in my closet.

There is nothing left of me.

amwriting-metters

Happy Birthday to my site— I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported me or looked at my blog in the past year. A writer is nothing without their readers but empty words, and I thank you for giving me some place to fill. Here’s to the end of my first year of classes here at CP, my final exams next week, and another beautiful year of embracing my future.

There’s no mom like my mom

Welcome to the beautiful day in which we celebrate the mothers of the world. Whether they are the dads who played both roles or the moms who did everything they could, there are certain people in this world that make the world go round.alex-pasarelu-223684.jpg

I have two special things for you today as a way to show my appreciation for the mother I am blessed to have. I know that I am lucky enough to have my mother still around in my life to appreciate and I intend to remind her of that as often as I can. This morning my mom sent me a video (click that link) that I wanted to share it, not to spoil the punchline, but I think you will enjoy it. Along with that video, I am sharing a poem I wrote for my mom— another Poetry Place, this one dedicated just for her.

So here’s to the beauty of having mothers to fully appreciate and the one and only mom I am lucky enough to have. To all the mothers who deserve everything in this world: Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the One and Only

 

I remember looking at old pictures

of the woman you used to be,

before this new life existed,london-scout-27289

before the kids— before me.

There’s something about that smile,

the carefree way you posed;

eyes right on the camera with that look…

I gotta say mom, you’ve got me shook.

With your strength, your beauty, and your poise,

it’s no wonder you’ve raised two wonderful boys.

Not to mention the best daughter ever, I know

I may be biased, but some things go to show…

You’ve done a good job, you taught me right

I mean I know how to win a fist fight.

Not to forget the intelligence to boot,

let’s just say, I know my roots.

18493563_1205753656218066_1675709340_oCause the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

And I got lucky with how much you’ve taught us

I’m nineteen years old already, yet still

I’m you’re only little girl, be that, I always will.

Cause in those old photos I see so much potential

for who I can become, from the woman I adore.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, and I truly hope you do

enjoy it, because you deserve it all and I love you.

How to define Senior Year

A year ago, I was a senior in high school preparing to stare down the mouth of my final month of high school.

Talk about mixed feelings. baim-hanif-89800

I was excited, I mean graduation was a BIG deal. The day we had been looking forward to since forever was finally catching up with us… My class was getting ready to walk across a stage together before we split across the world to go pursue our futures. I was ready for it, but at the same time I wasn’t.

Everything was about to change.

I remember riding on the bus home from our final league track meet and I was just sitting there trying to define every little feeling that moment held. From the races and the relays to the friends and the unforgettable moments, it was like watching adolescence slip through my fingers.

And in that moment, I could only come up with one way to describe my senior year. So to the Class of 2017, this one’s for you. One month to go, make it count.

 

How do you define bittersweet?sebastian-pichler-20071.jpg


Maybe it’s saying goodbye to someone with a kiss, knowing that you are together this way for the very last time. Or how about being ready to move on to new wonderful things, while looking at all the priceless memories and people you are leaving behind. And maybe it’s looking at the people you are so proud of take on their new future, the ones who have been meant to follow in your footsteps since the beginning, and realizing that they no longer need you anymore.

That’s when you know it’s time to go, to get that chin up, and move on. Because time has run out, the days have run thin, as there is no longer anything left for you to do here. And it’s hard, it’s hard to shut thajoshua-clay-27368.jpgt door without quite knowing what’s behind the one you’re about to open. The possibility behind it all, it can just be so indescribable. It’s heartbreaking, it’s exciting, it’s confusing, it’s inspiring, it’s breathtaking, it’s unreal…

It’s bittersweet.

Down to Earth

“I am the Earth

And the Earth is me.”

dayne-topkin-67327.jpg

Tomorrow is the 22nd of April, and if you didn’t know, that means tomorrow is Earth Day. With the definition of sustainability changing every day and the world population of 7.4 billion increasing by the second, sometimes it’s important to remember the we have an impact on the world we live in.

Recently, I found a poem by Jane Yolen that reminded me of the how much the elements of our Earth are a bit like what make us up as humans. In her words, “Each bit of mud, And stick and stone Is blood and muscle, Skin and bone.” As the human race, we have a lot of universal characteristics to who we are— a need for love, for care, for proper nourishment, and a source to sustain us.

Our planet needs things too, and that sustainable source… It comes from us. We have two choices: we can either destroy what is left of the beautiful world around us or we can try to sustain it. After all, our lives sort of depend on it.

So in the spirit of Earth day and National Poetry Month, here is a friendly reminder of the breathtaking planet that sustains 7.4 billion people. Let’s take ourselves back down to Earth for a moment with Jane Yolen’s Earth Day.

Earth Day

 

I am the Earth

And the Earth is me.

Each blade of grass,

sebastian-boguszewicz-3503Each honey tree,

Each bit of mud,

And stick and stone

Is blood and muscle,

Skin and bone.

 

And just as I

Need every bit

Of me to make

My body fit,

So Earth needs

Grass and stone and tree

And things that grow here

Naturally.

 

That’s why wedebora-tingley-54716.jpg

Celebrate this day.

That’s why across

The world we say:

As long as life,

As dear, as free,

I am the Earth

And the Earth is me.

 

A Lesson Learned

If you read my blog post on Friday, then you know what today is: Today is the day to share more writing with you. writer's life

This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I wanted to share poem I wrote in my AP Literature class during my senior year. This was in response of support to another poem two students read aloud in class, Lindsey Hobart’s How to Tell a Rape Joke which you can take a look at hereA Lesson Learned is straight out of  my poetry anthology (page 66) and even though I could probably quote every line of it in my sleep, here it is. I hope you like it.

 

A Lesson Learned

She’s insecure in her own skin,

andy-wang-39028.jpgthough most people don’t really know why.

She worries about the scars on her body,

about how difficult they are to hide.

Because they define the mistakes of her past

and everything she thought herself to be:

a one-out-of-six, a statistic,

that most people cannot understand, do not see.

She is scared, the lonely kind of isolated,

the way her mind replays and goes back to

the moment it happened, what she did to deserve it.

Though in the end no one does. If only she knewclem-onojeghuo-111360.jpg

how to protect herself, how to stay safe.

How to know what to be, what she needed to say.

Or in the aftermath, how to put herself back together again,

that soon enough, she would somehow be okay.

But she will be stronger next time. She hopes and she prays

that maybe she will be guarded and able to show

the man who stole her dignity, her faith, and her pride

how damn good she has gotten at saying No.

PS. Since I forgot to mention it last week, I did a guest blog post a few weeks back for my publisher! You can take a look at it here, happy Monday.