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.

She’s A Bad Day

I think of her on the bad days
The grey days that seem to fog my body with self hatred
The days these fingers don’t feel worthy of hands-
No hands to hold onto
The days there’s no home to hide in

I think of her on the bad days
The days rain clouds my eyelids with lonely defeat
The days my feet seem to hit the ground heavy-
Heavy hearts are hard to pump clean
The days when my hopes seem too distant to reach

I think of her on the bad nights
The charcoaled-soul nights that sing through me when I attempt sleep
The nights my lungs struggle to breathe-
Breathing deeply does not dissolve misery
The nights there’s no company to keep

I think of her on the bad nights
The quiet nights that allow my thoughts to run in circles of past pathetic emotions
The nights my head tells my heart to stop feeling so much and my heart tells me head to stop thinking so much-I think too much and, my heart, it feels too much
The nights where future me is still lonely

I no longer think of her on the good days
The bright days that fly by with a smile
The days I am company enough to keep myself happy
I keep telling myself these good days are “me”
Even though she used to be my happiness
She is now my worst days and somber nights
She is no longer
Good for me

Mean Substitution

“Are you a mean substitute?”
He asks.
I say,
“Kid,
It depends on who ya ask.

I’ve told I bask in my own rays too often-
Glow too brightly on my own.
I shine light on the darkness they think no one can see.
They call me mean.

I’m not mean spirited but I’ll let ya have it if you cross me.
My spiteful silence will fill your hollowness with non-existence.
My existence is hard to ignore so people cut me out,
Blow me off,
Bail,
But I’m the one who didn’t show I cared.

I’ve had enough of this selfish selfless game.
I’ve put myself in other people and they’ve walked away with my pieces,
Kid,
Can you see all my cracks I’ve gotten from people taking the parts of themselves they’ve given me back?
Can you see I lack the wholeness it takes to really love someone else in this place?

It all depends on how you view me.
Do you see my loose flowing boundaries as impossibilities?
I’ve been told my expectations fall too top heavy,
Don’t view me as big headed.
I’ve got a lot of ideas just like you and I mostly always tell the truth.

I am not a mean substitute.

So you cannot be mean to me, now please, go take your seat.”