To My Future Lover,

To my future lover,
Please try to understand where I first blossomed.
Try to see whose womb I was sprung from
And what seed made my roots.

These branches labeled arms will reach for you but often will retreat.
Please notice my hard grasp on my secrecy,
It’s something I have built for me.
Please know my hidden intimacy is a trait that fell from parts of my family tree.

My Father’s particular-ness stacked this trunk together with reason.
I now believe in answers to all responses and resort inward to solve problems.
He set my clock a few minutes fast to avoid the anxious belly that’s created when faced with being late.
Walking into a room that is already settled will never create calmness in me.
My Father and I hardly ever cry for attention but we are desperate to be heard.
He gave me rings of structure and a search for the truth.

During my youth,
My Mother painted me with curiosity.
She tattooed my chest with kindness and taught me to grow as big as I can all while never shadowing someone else’s dreams.
It seems I’ve got this tenderness in my bark…
It’s this spark of empathy that sets fire in my chest when searching for similarities.
I now always try to find similarities.

I’ve bloomed next to Sycamores and been cut down by Evergreens.
I’ve wilted in fields of Dandelions
And felt many different layers of dirt beneath my feet.
My history is Hickory.
My mind is Maple.
If you want to be with me,
You have to grow like me.

Like your roots are firmly planted, but wandering.
Like your branches brush gracefully with others.
Like your trunk is sturdy enough to support some of my fallen leaves if need be.
If you’re going to fall for me,
Please understand how I was produced.
Know how I try my best to use the negativity cut into me and somehow make it easier for those around me to breathe.

I come from a really strong family tree.

Life By The Mountains

For years I have been longing to spend more time in Colorado. I can remember in middle school, visiting with family, being amazed that we drove a little ways up, higher, and were greeted with snow deeper than our knees. That amazed me. How could it be 70+ degrees just a short drive away?

A few years ago, I had one of the best experiences volunteering at Rocky Mountain Village Summer Camp. My time 8,000 feet up inspired me to create, to love differently, and to really admire and respect my surroundings. For the first time that I can remember, I felt completely overwhelmed with my love for such a place. That whole summer was spent smiling, and learning, and searching for another rock to climb.

For many reasons, years after my experience at camp, I still found myself in Michigan. I was finishing school, completing a year long internship, and eventually, accepting my first teaching job in a familiar school district. All these things tied me to the Mitten, but my mind and heart were always floating West. After countless nights and days, I came to the decision that I needed to move. Now, I have such amazing support from everyone I know in Michigan. I have wonderful family and long-lasting friends. It saddened me to think that my soul wanted a little bit more. Maybe there was some guilt there, feeling a tad selfish, but with the announcement of my up-and-leaving, came a flood of congratulations and best-wishes from those I love. In some ways, I know most of them were not surprised by this. I had a hard time keeping my Mountain-Loving a secret.

In April, I accepting a teaching job in Colorado Springs. I had someone willing to live with me. For the first time, my trip to the mountains was not going to be a vacation, but a life change.

I’ve been in Colorado Springs for almost two weeks now. I’ve settled in to a new, super cute house, with an incredibly awesome roommate who I absolutely adore, and I’m starting to get used to these crazy Colorado roads and being able to make U-turns regularly (shout out to all those still making “Michigan Lefts”). Trainings for new teachers are slowly creeping up on my calendar, and I’m met with the reality that I will be setting up a classroom soon in an entirely new school! I’m a little overwhelmed, and I’ve had a few “uh…” moments, but for the most part I’m holding it together. Although my Mom and Dad made the drive out here with me, helped clean, set up, and stocked my house with necessities a bit, I did buy a couch that pulls into a memory foam mattress bed and had it delivered, so I’m encroaching on real “grown-up” territory here!

Unfortunately, many of my days here have been spent laying on the new couch due to a string of weird illnesses my body refuses to release. Fortunately, on the other hand, I’m not leaving Colorado any time soon, so those mountains are sure to be there for me to explore at my leisure! Things are looking up, my health is on the upswing, and my spirits are high as I continue this new adventure. The doors in my new, super cute house are always open for visitors, so if the mountains are calling you, you must come! You can even sleep on my new pull-out couch🙂

house

I do not remember…

I do not remember what he was wearing the day he laid eerily peaceful in a coffin.
His head no longer shook slightly from side to side,
But if I focused hard enough on his chest I could still see it rise.
He was not breathing.
I was not believing in the definite.

I do not remember what color clothe wrapped around his arms as they folded over his belly.
The same belly that usually hung out from under worn t-shirts and over stretch waistbands of sweatpants.
Regardless of the occasion…
I never saw him as a suit and tie kind of guy,
Even though his friends boasted about him being a good business man.
He was always a relaxed man to me-
Puffing cigarettes and eating ice cream
(sometimes without his teeth).

I do not remember what material made him suitable for his own death,
But if I had to guess,
He was up there,
And yeah,
He is “Up There”
Smiling a belly-laugh filled grin,
Holding on to a bitterness about leaving his family and golf buddies behind,
Yet still finding time to enjoy the silence.

I do not remember the fabric that fastened around my Grandfather’s neck the day we put him to rest,
But I do remember how his hair laid a bit flatter than I had seen it before.
And his wrinkles seemed to have been ironed out of his skin.
The corners of his mouth didn’t curl like they used to when he told his favorite joke,
Which might not have been appropriate,
But it made him laugh every single time.
I kept trying to picture him laugh.

I do not remember what he was wearing as family members wept
And the holiday season started out on a grey note.
I do remember the rain.
The somber setting of it all was so surreal to me.
A day I was numbing pain,
He remained silent and still inside of a fancy box topped off with flowers.

Afterwards,
I sat in his empty chair,
Smelling his stale smoke soaked pillows and picturing the last time I saw him sitting there.
His eyebrows were raised,
His hand on his walker,
His spirits not quite as promising as before.

Aside from that day of sadness,
I will remember the happiness in his voice every time I called him.
And I will remember the short conversations,
The habit of disappearing from dinner after he was finished,
And how my Grandma would roll her eyes but laugh at the same time.
He had this funny way of making people happy.

But no,
I do not remember what he was wearing at his funeral.
I can remember the beautiful gifted flower arrangements and the picture books.
I can remember his belly laugh and chest-heavy cough.
I remember him kindly.
He was always so kind to me.

shadowed pride

Her history casts shadows on her perception, painting her a darker shade of bark than the Aspen trees around her.
She is growing up in a White world,
Looking at White girls with blonde hair and baby blue eyes,
Looking up to guys with pale complexions and White reflections.

She has been alive for five years and only seen similarities when her family meets.
…Only on her Dad’s side where they glow dark like moonlit skies,
Casting midnight shadows upon Her lightness.
She has never…enjoyed…nights but,
She notices the difference between carmel complexions and cocoa covered bodies.

On the other side,
She notices how her hair curls tighter than her baby cousins.
She notices that loving comes in the form of beauty.
Beauty that is handmade and that came in bottles and creams.
She notices she cannot share makeup because it looks
And feels
More like and erasure than a mask.
She begins to mask her differences by straightening her hair everyday before middle school.

13 now,
She’s in between life stages like her skin tone sits on a saturation dial,
Tuning out the hues that color her heavy history.

She does not yet know that Black can be beautiful.
She has not yet been told her Golden skin glistens with the Light of one thousand suns.

She is not charcoaled
Or used.
She was started to lose sense of her past when,
At last,
At 22 she finds harmony.

Proud,
Black activists raising their fists and she is actually
Identifying
With it.

It is un-tainting her vision of dark skin wearing beaten fists, badly.
Like how she so badly wanted to scream hate to her fathers boasting chest but couldn’t because she’s had a
Dark
Past.

With her newly found pride she sees…
Her history is not celebrating
Him.
It is her,
Finally owning her own skin.

When you’re feeling some typuh way.

1.
The clouds are hanging low above me.
They make it seem like heaviness is not only found in this heart beat,
Like these feet are not the only ones tires of carrying weight too heavy for their strength but,
Either way,
The clouds and I are both too stubborn to cry today.
Tears remain locked behind eyelids the same as rain gets stuck in these sulking clouds.
The wind will blow them over me but,
I am pretty solid on my feet.
The golden leaves agree with me.
They glow in harmonies and blow off branches gracefully but,
Distastefully,
My mood changes with the breezes.
Now there are plenty of reasons for gloom as we become doomed for winter.
There are just as many crumpled up leaves by my tripped up feet as there are anxieties in me.
I am riddled with reminders of how deep into darkness my mind can go when left alone too long,
Especially in the long hours of darkness that snow seems to bring but,
For now,
I’m blowing through my high days,
Driving down these high ways the only way I know how.
Moving is the only thing that makes me feel light,
Like the Sun’s warmth on my back disappearing,
I am always leaving but,
I’ve been feeling eerily similar to post winter mud puddles seeping through canvas shoes.
I’ve used up a lot of my springy energy and it seems these clouds above me float effortlessly even though they fall heavy.
I long for that sort of comfortability in falling.
I wish for that sort of strength to float through my own rain.
This heart beats so stressfully,
Endlessly,
It beats down on me.
Pounding me for every time I’ve traced love songs into someone else’s skin only for them to be tuned out again by my own wandering curiosity.
This heart beat is punishing me.
One pump for every heart I’ve ever made heavy.
One pump for every time I could not find a home for their love.
One pump after another trying to wipe myself clean of these selfish memories I have made for myself.
One pump and,
Creatively I stand,
Desperately wondering if this come and go history is still defining me.
One solid pump and,
Maybe my love karma will be washed clean.

2.
When I open my pedaled fingers you will see compliments on my palms.
You will see fingers of two curious hands gracing innocently then,
You will see the not so g-rated version of me underneath.

I have a memory-cage where my rib-cage used to be.
It is formed by flattery from when girls were so sweet to me>
When girls
Tasted
So sweet to me
Frequently.

Now,
It is all sour.
It is blistered bitterness from Suns who licked my leaves with too much heat and left me to burn slowly.
It is freckles of fear from sunlight because I did not yet know darkness.
I did not yet know this feeling of grief that sits with me from weeks of no contact-
From there being no dirt beneath my Lansing rooted feet-
No lover’s skin pressed to my palms.
Admiration inspires me.
Desire drives me.

I am craving honeycombed company.
Someone whose buzz doesn’t bother me so we can both stick around,
Together.
I am waiting for the symphony of someone sweeping me off of my feet
Kindly.
Like feathers falling gently to the forest floor next to us,
Someone,
Come blossom with me.

Creative Curse

I’ve been hit with a creative curse
My bones disperse throughout my body singing harmonies
My eyes shed watercolors when I cry
It seems my soul is too big for my body,
Flowing out of my finger tips like ink
Casting shadows over what seems to be impossible to reach

It’s implausible to try and stop my growth
I’m a lit wick
A burning flame
I’m the smoke circling in front of you when you attempt to smother me
I will light you up with acrylics and lick your remains with paintbrush tips
I’ll hit you harder than ceramics
Contorting your shallow-bowled dreams

I’ve been given this creative curse
Causing me to see meaning in stubbed toes and cigarette butts
Dreaming of open road horizons and bill-less mail
You’re stuck
I have hot glue oozing from my palms
Mod Podge is stuck to my core
I adore your ability to ignore indecency but that’s not me
I feel everything
I see flaws in sidewalk cracks and praise them for going against the rest of the road
Maybe I’m stopped…
And standing…
But my thoughts never idle
There are reasons around every question-
Answers in your ever avoidance

With a mind of an artist,
A heart of inspiration,
And hands as tools
I wire-wrap my arms around admiration and squeeze it to it’s death
Moderation is not a part of me
My dreams are cast with really big frequencies
But it seems to be I resonate hallow in your chest
I used to stress about it
Until I realized echoes only come when there is empty space

If I cannot help fill you
I do not want to feel you
Made to create, yeah, but I am not your creator
The silence in your sunken chest is not enough for me
What does your silence mean?
How do you have the ability to not think?
To not speak?
My mountainous mind does not understand your serene valleys
Where are your avalanches?
When do you crumble?
What makes you break?
Everyone
Can break

Good thing these fingers are laced with duct tape
Good thing it’s not too late for me to show my colors in the street as it rains
Maybe I’m more rainbow than you because
I’ve been hit with this creative curse
Which is something you do not know
So I have got to go overflow into someone else who understands this twisted blessing or else this curse will create my death and
I’ve got far too much creativity left

black and white acrylic

black and white acrylic

Hiraeth

In August I made the move from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to Lansing, Michigan. I left a lot behind and gained even more with this move. I’ve settled in, and since writing this I’ve become content with where I sit, what I’m doing, and where I’m going. It’s a journey that seemed somewhat defeating at the time, but rest assured, I’ve come out on top🙂

Hiraeth: (noun) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.
“We’ll miss you” they said, like the air at their parties would hang hollow in my absence.
Like they think of me, kindly, when I am not around.
Maybe I was foolish to believe it,
But they said “We’ll miss you” like they really believed themselves.
Like how I believe they made last year worth the summer chaos.
Like how last August I showed up friendless but by May we were inking ourselves into one another’s skin.
That shit
Is permanent.
I believed we were permanently climbing rooftops together.
I believed we were close enough to catch if one of us miss-stepped
But most importantly,
I believed every single one of them was worth that potential fall.
Like how we treaded lightly on fallen leaves.
Like how together we would sing tree tops and dance river beds.
“Come visit” they said like they were eagerly awaiting my return.
Like they missed me how they said they would.
Like they still talked about me, kindly, when I was not around.
What they don’t know is that when I was not around
I sat
Lonely
New house
New city
Desperate for some familiar company.
“Come visit” they said.
I should have known trying to return home is a little like jumping hurdles backwards.
I should have known my home with them was only momentarily bound.
They’re the type to only think about this moment.
Maybe I was foolish to believe my past was going to last longer than it did
But
“We’ll miss you” they said.
“Come visit” they said.
“We don’t know when we’ll see you next” they said like my hour long commute diminished our abilities to remain connected.
Like none of them have a car.
Like filling a gas tank would tie a noose around their neck
Strangling their precious breath as they took steps towards my front door.
Like our friendship could only exist if it were face to face.
Like how they can’t even show up to celebrate another year
So 24 was introduced to faces that labeled themselves my “roommate’s friends”.
When the fuck did our friendships end?
I missed the miss-step.
We misfired drunken jealously and spit spiteful intent through our rolling lips.
I think they forgot we banged hips in hopes of something deeper.
But we sank
Like badly skipped rocks.
I expected to rise with sunshine smiles.
I expected to create commonalities a few more times.
I expected to come home to them.
Instead,
I’m alone again…
Craving a place I’m not sure I’ve even ever been.