the practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane

On the days that you can,
Do Not Lose Yourself In The Mundane
On the days that you can’t,
still wake up, fix your bed
make yourself breakfast, toast and eggs
open the windows even if it’s hot,
especially when it’s cold

On the days that you can
build something –
use words that build up each person around you
and if there is no one around you,
still speak aloud of the things that are good
Identify your heart and the ability it has to fold
beneath emotion and pressure
Recognize that you are existing and
that is enough some days

On the days that you can’t,
Don’t watch the television, read books
and if you’ve got to rest, watch a good film,
one made before 1970

Let yourself dream about the future,
but don’t get lost in it
Think about how you’ll someday have a home
With a kitchen that has windows from ceiling to ground
You’ll think about the places you will travel to,
the people you might meet
Dream about the future, but not with intent to forget the past
Dream about the future, but do not stop living now

Walk outside, crunch leaves under your feet
And breathe in
Stop feeling guilty for being sad
stop feeling guilty for feeling guilty

Let gratitude invade the parts of your mind
where there is no thankfulness left

When you have to go to work
Let your eyes see what they haven’t looked at before
When you are driving,
listen to The Beach Boys, or the soundtrack
to your favorite film

Drink Coffee, Eat Bread, Go Somewhere
Be alone

Don’t attempt to muffle your sadness with the company
of people who do not acknowledge that it is there,
or people who talk about other people

If you can be with friends, be with them
but know it is not worthwhile if when you come home
you feel more distant than when you left earlier that day
There are people who are for you, find them

When you are alone,
write down everything you’d like to do
(but it’s alright if you can’t do it all)
Don’t try to improve yourself for the sake of being better,
come to terms with defeat and the fragility of  yourself
and then look up
You’re made whole, if you want to be

If you begin to feel restless, or purposeless
Don’t try to move fast all of the sudden
Pick up one thing at a time
Take each day by itself

When you look at a calendar,
and it’s numbers are glaring back at you
and it’s weeks are overwhelming
Remember that there have been many days before this,
and you are not the one who has to call the sun to rise

Listen to good music,
the kind that makes you feel a part of it
become familiar with lyrics and tones
and learn about the people behind the noise

Take photographs and keep them to yourself,
get them printed and when you go to pick them up
look at them in a parked car before you drive to the next place,
Realize that you’re creating a world that no one else has seen before

Some times it will all be overwhelming,
Other times it will all be stagnant
sometimes the idea of “there’s nothing you can do about it”
will be relieving, other times it will be a defeat

The practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane
Hold onto the idea that vitality is a real thing

// written on November 6th, 2015


years later

let my heart rest,

although time runs through my fingers
like liquid, or grains of sand
although each moment gains momentum
and my whole soul weighs heavy at the sound
of silence, or the sound of her voice
(I am older now than you ever were)

let my heart rest,
because the night can come smooth
or it can steal, darkness can be the overcoming
abyss that it is
but my heart, it will rest,
because years later I am echoing the
hope that has been written across my
bones and the vision of eternity becomes
more real with each passing day

It’s easier to become numb, and to let
the ache form callouses and corruption
of feeling and it’s no longer freeing
But this time, I’ve been broken up
and aware again* of the ability of loss and
(AGAIN*, all the things of today arise and remind me of old:
Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes 
That is NOT Her, she is NOT there, Her body was just a case for her soul
We Lost We Lost We Lost Gone Gone Gone)
The terror of grief and that
seemingly god-forsaken moment in the night
where gloom and desperation
charge at the idea of ever hoping again

The state of despondency is my greatest fear,
lurking at my bedside when I fight to get up in the morning..
and how my heart aches, so deeply and intensely
when I see that fear approaching the ones I love
and I can’t help but to cry out to God
to throw myself in between and pray that
my weary growl will scare it off from ever
grabbing a hold of someone else’s heart

There is a multitude of emotions
that trample over the people left after death
A range of detestable sentiments
and they will not leave you unscathed

But I will still say; hold onto hope,
destruction has no reign here
Do not let your heart
become hardened with worldly time
Let your heart rest,
for with every ounce of pain
there is new hope and wholeness multiplied.

years later, I am sitting by a fire,
listening to voicemails that are not hers,
and aching all the same
because I remember the longing that comes after loss

years later, I am seeing her absence
as more of a normality
and it breaks me up,
but this is no time to be broken

I am not a hopeless being,
and neither are you
lay down my doleful spirit
and pick up joy again
my heart is, and will always be at rest
so that yours can someday find fullness again


Look Back

never thought it was a good idea to Look Back
I’ve always known not to do it,
I learned this when I was twelve and the outside
was getting soaked and I knew it then that this
place was not a good one to be, I can write of those
Times where the floor was always cold and I
was always afraid to see my family
because I knew how sad they were and would be,
and every word that people would say,
After she left, stuck in my head I used to repeat
them, and above everything there was doubt
in the reality, for this couldn’t truly be happening

Round, wet, tears swelled up from
our stomachs and set free from the eyes
I think sometimes, was this the start of
a never ending stretch for redemption?
I think, were our hearts so low,
buried underground with her body,
that this was the beginning of the attempt
to dig ourselves back up to air and living?
this is heavy but this is how we know loss,
and as the days went on I remembered not to
Look Back because there everything was laid
out and time moves forward for a reason

Years later and many incidents
good and terrible, and in between have taken
place, new things have shared space with
an original ache but I never thought that
Looking Back would bring weight
that I’d pick up and desire to carry again
Turn my head to move
these eyes through the situations that
have brought on newness, I will not let go
of the idea that every morning is new
that is the only thing that lets me sleep at
night, a chance for a beginning that
does not hinge on Looking Back

But I am made up of each ounce and second,
each measurement of time and space
builds the canals and caves in my mind
and in the Looking Back I am reminded
to move on and up again

the poem above was inspired by something that I wrote two years ago. “If I were sad again, sad like I used to be” is a reference to a time when I first began dealing with depression, years later I wrote this after gaining some clarity – to remind myself of the way that sadness is a detriment to living with vitality, and that, if at all possible, it is necessary to choose joy:

“…and if I were sad again, sad like I used to be, I’d tell myself to think of the days and how quick they go by and before you know it you are writing to end another day and before you know it you are waking again and I’d say, sadness is worth nothing, just be joyful in each moment because that is all we really have. joy springs up out of a heart who is set on god – joy nourishes and knows sorrow but does not let sadness remain heavy and bitter. I’d say be joyful always – joy makes a lifetime of quick days count for something. sadness takes away life and health and all things sweet.” June 22, 2013


Drenched Again

There are remnants of you
in everything I do
like moisture in a bathtub
dried up only to get drenched again

and you, there are small cracks in my mind
and you pry at them until they become gaping,
welcoming yourself into what was once stable
and satisfied, and before I know it I’m bent out of shape again

curved where there was a right angle,
I had that thought perfectly squared away
but the surrounding of chaotic commitment is like
a siren, warning that all the safe places I’ve
built up will soon become unoccupied

Terrible is a word that I think of often,
I like the way it sounds for some odd reason
when I hear that something Terrible is going on
I will say it to myself: “Tare-eh-bul”
and I will bow down at its heftiness
because although I like the way it sounds
I know its weight has unbearable consequence

I can claim a grander peace,
and an overwhelming freedom
but what I’m still working on is getting
you, and you, and that and this
gone from my head and replaced with silence

I crave the quiet, the way it melts into a tangible
presence in between the bones in my head
Not the quiet that lets my thoughts ring louder
but the quiet that gently crawls right underneath your
cheekbones and beneath the bridge of your nose
To let a stillness raise a calm cure to the anxious

So, tell me of the house you grew up in
so I know that I won’t forget mine
Read the last words someone sent to you aloud
so I know that we’re not all wandering in a mirage of people
Write to me the way the scent of the morning smelled
so I can remember what it was like
to wake early and live forwardly

Caught in motion, solely to realize I’ve never stopped,
times of ultimate surrender happen on a daily basis
so can I claim that I have surrendered at all?
Continually letting go of claims that I swore
I dismissed and one day I will sit in the quiet
and I will remember the noise, and maybe I’ll think
fondly of the times that you, and you
And this and that were on my mind and
my soul stretches across thin paper and
sopping bathtubs,
only to be dried up and then drenched again


Sick Of’s


I’ve gotten in the terrible habit of
Determining my self-worth depending
on the collection of feelings from that day
It turns into a stampede of pleas
of ‘I’m Tired’s and ‘I am Sick Of’s

I’m tired and sick of myself,
of the way I slink back into
thoughts and feelings I have
once been determined to let go of

I know you’ve heard
that letting go, is the hardest thing to do
but I don’t think you’ll quite believe
how impacting and distracting it can be
until it’s the only thing left to be done

These days run into each other
like children playing tag,
stumbling over hours with
disorganized footsteps,
all my heart desires is
Rest and more rest

Seeping, sopping, wet fears
and insecurities making their way into
my dry head – this is more than I can shake
off, so much time to be aware of

My conscience won’t let me leave my words at that
there’s an everlasting guilt when I express raw sorrow with out
some sort of reconciliation,
But today, embedded in the overcast air, there is
a lingering stillness that I cannot form into
words, cannot string together with vowels

I’ll let my persistence in seeking
lasting comfort be enough of a declaration before dawn
I’ll dismiss my racing thoughts
for the sake of getting something done

The ache, it grows until there is no room left
it stretches across my chest into my throat and pulls at my neck
This evening, I am lacking
in a vocabulary to rid my mind of muck and mire
sometimes there’s nothing more to be said

In the light

I am often entirely caught up in the present anticipation of the next moment,
signaling my emotions, intentionally letting my heart get a head start on what is to come
this idea of preparation started the second I realized my body
was capable of losing control of it’s breath.

There is something disheartening about anxiety,
actually everything about consistent fret and oncoming doom
can shake any mark of confidence from your being
If I allow my identity to be built up of
weaknesses, I will inherently be made weak

This is factual, this is brick and mortar,
this is tangible and real-life
This is truth and transparency,
it’s a constant conflict to stay at peace
or feel an ounce of it at all

To take this concept of pressure,
that often overruns my existence,
and to label it as ‘manageable’
can render me defeated

Oh, how I am a mess
my heart fails at the sight of hardship
my tongue sets flame to destruction and
my mind lets chaos reign
left alone, I am broken up
and fearful – pitiful and desperate,
selfish, jealous, and insecure
condemning, bitter, and impure

In the light, I can see this great decision
to be made, and oh how I am grateful
for the opportunity to choose,
even when it’s unbearable, I can still choose
I can choose to rest in an undeniable truth
I can let my best intentions, my greatest strivings
and ambitions dissipate and in my weakness
I am given peace, but only in the moments
where I adopt gratitude over grieving
where I pick up song instead of sorrow

And in the moments where I fail to be in the light,
I am then given insurmountable grace
The defeat that once left me immobile
has been transposed into chance for
redemption and newness

So let my days be made up of
a continual act of letting go,
for everything I hold onto
shakes itself into solicitude

Let my heart be one of
gratitude, let grace be all that is left

Time is too quick to
be made up of anxious preparation,
to be solely an existing essence of regret,
sorrow and past experience

Let my heart know rest,
Let my heart know rest

Do not fret— it only causes harm. —Psalm 37.8

Fretting means getting ourselves “out of joint” mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say, “Do not fret,” but something very different to have such a nature that you find yourself unable to fret. It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37.7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. This “Do not” must work during our days of difficulty and uncertainty, as well as our peaceful days, or it will never work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work for anyone else. Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 9.11). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

Oswald Chambers | My Utmost For His Highest

acidic sentiment

It is like a nerve, slightly twisted
then applied with pounds of pressure
and an acidic outpouring of sentiment
I stand tall only when I keep walking
the second I’m still I’ll fall to the ground

It’s like a form of humiliation, that gut
wrenching, thought provoking, kind of mind racing
feeling, interlaced with years of attempting
to form functionality with my own strained actions

The way the air looks doesn’t help,
the trees are holding shadows and
the sky is about to let go of
its sorrows, I won’t let myself stay here
much longer

In fear of being transparent
I let many of my words fall through the cracks
filtering out the things that I can’t make into sense
but there has got to be a better way
than suffocating what really is

Each day down can be marked as a success,
or added to the voids of emptiness
I hold onto hope but I can’t see myself
in any other form than helpless and irrevocable

There are things in this life that take my breath away
not the beautiful kind of breathlessness
the gasping and gaping areas of tension
and then there is the subtle sadness
that has seeped its way into countless parts
of my being, joy is lacking
but again I’ll keep on hoping

and the sky has let loose now,
easing its transgressions into renewal
I’m always in awe of its ability to recover
but are there still pockets of rain hidden behind the sun?
will there always be an unstoppable ache,
ready to surface, consuming and without solace?

my bedroom is now lit up with sunlight,
breaking in with warmth and it feels out of place
my soul often sides with the rain
I desire to let the light outweigh the darkness
and I know now my perception is controllable
it’s necessary to claw out the doubt and anxieties
as often as the opportunity presents itself
and above all things let my ache settle into
a sea that I can overlook, with hope
and eventual wholeness

but regret carries the ability to
detain my ability, restricting
the motion of advancement
and the importance of your
existence in my mind has never decreased
with time

for my heart will always see you
will always hold your gaze
will always love and never leave you
will always be awake

hands tied


It doesn’t help that I’ve got my hands tied behind my back,
and my heart cradled in the mouth of a hot oven
some days I see myself exhorting daydreams into false tangibility
often resulting with a swift slap to the face,
you’re not very capable of change, did you know?

When you grab a tray of salted tragedies and toss them
in with regular old human inadequacy
you’ll end up with a mess of a person
a mess of a circumstance and situation
and 88 days out of 100 are immersed in confusion
just my cold mind trying to fight for a
temperature moderate enough for manageable emotion

These words are solely to describe
the height of which my frustrations reach
when you are absent, disappointing, or abrasive
and the depths of my compassion
when you are lonely, hurting, or aching

These words are also to admit
that plenty of the fault lies within
that the majority of my inconsistent temperament
can be chalked up to my personal imperfection.

I am quite tired of an audience (even when invited) addressing my self worth as if I am a third party
and tying that together with esteem – with the ‘put your foot down’ speech
I have learned the lesson of humbled pride
I know my identity, I am familiar with my purpose
but everyone looks frail when they’re dressed up in sorrow
this is a rare aching, arching theme of sparred hope and expectation
but please don’t use my vulnerability as a chance to categorize
this episode as a good versus bad, get over it
we’re all bad here
some of us are just better at
shaking off the dirt

this is a case of conflict,
it has lasted long,
and there is no one left.
only so many prayers requesting clarity
can be sent to the sky
before my heart has been baked through
and my hands untied – just in time

an excavation in three parts


I’ve got a hot glue gun on,
and melting as we speak
let’s make it brief

The excavation of habit
is like ridding myself of comfort
I am consistently made to feel
incomplete and lacking
I am tempted to say that it would be better
to have always been alone than to
have had anyone at all

Regret is a selfish thing
it only takes what it knows you need
the closure that you believed you held
the happiness that you swore was eternal
but it’ll give all reasoning a place to be secret
to hide away as you gnaw at raw memory

There is a place where I go to read up on my past
see, memories are relivable
but they should only have one life
yes, memories become ghosts
when you don’t let them go

I’d rather be terrified forever
than live with this ache
when I began it was an honest attempt
to write without letting you surface
but you’re on the surface and deep within
there is no in between
you’re on the ocean, you’re in the snow
you’re up in the woods, wherever I go


I want to get the silhouette of a dogwood tattooed on my forearms
want to live in an old house by the sea

I want to accept relentless pull to tragedy
it’s not easy being happy

I want to call out your name
until it becomes stale on my tongue
And I don’t like the taste anymore
will I ever hate it the way I wish I would

Anger is a conscious decision
I try to make it over and over again
Righteous anger is a distraction
I wish I chose to partake in

loud and intuitively,
you haven’t changed
but I am not the same,
that had to be the reason that had to be enough


When I met you, I did not know
that you would excavate my heart like the furthest indent of a field filled high with fossils
you took a part my being
with your own two hands, you broke me up into pieces

When I met you, I could not tell
that your soul was like eggshells and I could break you up
so easily, the quicker you came to know me
I didn’t know that feelings like this were tangible

Your voice reminds me of an orchestra
your hands are like the month of September
and I don’t like when you are far away
you’re never close enough

Are leftover memories enough to sustain me?
I’m almost convinced that I am unsustainable no matter the circumstance
that whether I am whole or in half
this kind of thing will never leave but
how could I let it last


joy is not distraction

joy is not immersing yourself in distraction
it is being devoted to what is happening right at that moment
letting your insides be swallowed up by your surroundings
keeping your eyes fixed on the goodness that doesn’t always prevail in circumstance

community is not overrated
friendship is vital
I believe in solitude
in breathing alone, not having to be concerned
over the impact of your exhale
I am alone always in some way
but relationship lets you learn yourself
and most of all leads you to thinking outside of your head
your existence isn’t the only thing moving
take a look at catastrophe- you’ll see the very essence of life turning
out of your control, you don’t have control

letting go
is like losing
but being with out burden is a tremendous thing
like cutting ties with all heaviness
breaking off ropes and vines that itch

lies turn into deceit
honesty is more valuable than any freedom you believe you will gain with fabrication
honesty is liberation, and consequence may follow but at least you can sustain truth

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that moment when I ran on the beach, I had a friend with me
darkness blacker than coal
waves larger than the world
when I let go, you did too
I want to live every evening like that, carrying all my frustarations
and dropping them into the sea

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that laughter that was out lived by sorrow
but it was so much sweeter because we knew pain

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that film in the black box
watching destruction emerge from a civilized nation
feeling so weak beneath the strength of numbers
all I could think – It’s out of our control
all I could believe in was tragedy and distortion

I’ll say it again because I really believe it-
in relationship and honesty, I’m a complete advocate
I feel it in my bones that I was created for the sole purpose
of accepting the absurdity of my small insanity
and putting the sorrow aside, all for vitality

It takes sadness to feel joy
anxiety to feel peace
anger to feel complacency
stay with me

Inspiration is a choice
and it is often disabling
I find myself piling my own limbs into my bedroom
dense like honey
weighed down by desire to live out
an inspired and productive existence
but the compelling effects of compassion
and the appetite for a wholesome substance
can be made healthy

(define healthy: contributing, existing, enjoying)

faith is also necessary,
I do not care what they say
my whole self is wrapped up in salvation,
do we not all feel that we need to be saved from something?

save me from selfishness, save me from greed
strip me of anxiety, steal me from defeat

joy is not a synonym for happiness
it’s rooted in the core of your teeth, but not always stretched into a smile
let noise culture your memories
it’s okay to be reminded of different times
discomfort can be followed by a deeper appreciation

I miss you, and you
but I’ll let this song play out because it was good then
and goodness can last for as long as I live
I believe it

running empty of words but
joy is not perfection
it’s not some falsely identified character trait
handed off to the person laughing the loudest in the room
joy does not burn like a cigarette
it can’t be caught by figurative language
but only felt at the end of a night
when circumstance does not make up the
entirety of a soul
it lasts longer than burning tobacco
longer than flooding inspiration
longer than instant gratification
the moment you realize control is not an option
and letting go is the only thing worth while
joy will sound different when it rolls off your tongue
less like a foreign idea and more like family

all I want is for you to know my
heart has been hanging by a thread but
I’m starting to wrap some rope around it
It won’t be loose forever
memory, for me,
will never become water beneath the bridge but
this idea of tragedy is coming closer to a current
this inspiration has caught me off guard
and I am ready to pick up and go again
joy is being devoted
to what is happening at this very moment
when circumstance has formed an ache
I’ll shake off this gloom and speak



poetry past twelve

were you burning up
or was I melting inward

frequently producing these ideas that somehow secure my very being
(it’s okay to be existing)
calming my anxieties by protecting my privacy
closed door and altered mind

  1. it’s been strange around here with out you,
  2. feels like a different life entirely
  3. sometimes I awake and feel it’s not true
  4. tugging my curved emotions like a tired and worn out day

were you headed right
or was I feeling off

dreams never cease to invade
the small sleep that I find myself in
can’t call it a night until it’s too late
can’t fall into freedom before I’ve been deemed unsafe
I quickly become tired of conversation
this is a flaw I find over and over again
I want to be fully engaged in every situation
but this longing for comfort and familiarity
fights inside my bones
starts out hollow and works its way out
biting through the marrow,
slipping through the seams

I’ve always had this aching necessity
to be known for honesty and igniting
and it’s a shocking feeling to remember
that no one is knowledgeable of my actual
It is freeing at first and then it’s all just lonely

were you fully present
or was I just missing

solitude, certified as therapy
this music echoes in my throat
this newness hurts the parts that
are still old, and this laughter
does not fit inside the given mold

habitual activity is a hard thing to rid,
take in your nicotine like solid rocks
it’s not easy to swallow all that you’ve forgot

I don’t want to be sentimental,not about this
among all things I want to shake these
pinned up memories and
heightened philosophies
of how you are supposed
to forget what was good
and hang onto the sour
just so you can
get through
another sadness

it was good to me,
and I’ll leave it at that
refrain from creating another tragedy out of
what was supposed to be a happy thing

return to my initial intention of speaking forth
this north direction
I’m headed up and hopefully out
of this long month of living terrified
of the next day, the next reason to cave
in carve out, coarse skin on your knuckles
thin lips sustained by your long face

  1. then I remember that I like the sound of jazz and trumpets
  2. and that I can handle great disappointment
  3. and that my sentiment, I’ve gotten a lot out of it
  4. and that your sorrow, has an end to it
  5. and that this building has a fire escape

were you burning up
or was I melting inward

‘don’t you remember how you were told,
not to write poetry past twelve’


I let the sea

It’s the altogether helplessness of the matter
the standing up just to need to sit back down
the sound of my own laughter acts as a reminder,
the hollow place in my fingertips that rest on my mouth
when there are no more words

I let the sea swallow me whole,
I ran out into the iced waves
saying take me in, take me under
and under I went

I let the sea renew my soul,
I took the sand and felt it slip
through the fractures like your love
has and will always until I hold it no longer

I’ve already written a thousand poems about it
about the leftover feelings and aches
about the curves of your silhouette and
how it matches the outline of my heart break

but this is admitting the tartness,
because I need to make it out clean
the way I am taken from familiarity
into an isolated
place, where I am haunted
by recurring wonders
where curiosity leads to
dysphoria, where fond memories
lead to longing

how long will I be reminded
and hoping that you are too,
I only hope good and sweet things for you

I let the sea swallow me whole,
the waves came quick
and now I am carved out hollow

I let the sea renew my soul,
tenderness crushed up like shells
it is not freedom yet
it is only getting used to it


I let the sea

separate but true

I believe that sometimes, you are happier than I am
that your world becomes lit up by what darkens mine
and that is the most separating force between us

It seems I have been conditioned to believe that there is only one type of love
a wholesome love that fills up every empty space,
a love that comes overflowing and enticing

but what I’ve now seen is that there are all types of love
love that only happens every once in a while
that comes in like the breeze of a passing metro train

love that reminds you of your core, that secures your very being and claims
“this is who you are, this is your identity’
other love that creeps up and blinds you, takes you from true being to a false
and furious uprising of ones initial ideologies
and that love comes only to later remind you
that there are some loves that aren’t worth feeling

but then again, I’ve also figured
I am sparingly able to choose what I feel
like the times when thought overwhelms
daydream, to the point of inexistence
and the whole idea that nothing is tangible
until I am validated by some type of

I’ll narrow it down here-
love, when godly is wholesome
love, when longing is different
love, when passionate is disabling

so love is not one great big exact thing
rather love has many facets and personalities
like an individual person split up by his ages
split up by his thoughts and desires

love is not simple
it is not one kind
it is not just once
it is not always wholesome
it is not always true
it is not always fulfilling
it is not always felt

and this brings me peace, somehow
because I know that I can live
without an impending conviction that love is not what it is supposed to be
because love is different in all seasons, in all perceptions
ever changing, ever growing

I speak not of the action of loving,
not of the cost of love
nor the gift of love

this is not a declared disbelief in the corinthians
this has nothing to do with the love of god

this is all about the earthly disdained feelings
when love assumes the title

this is a declaration, written for my anxieties
to calm my shaking nerves that claim king over me
I declare that not everything needs to be whole all the time
that in the midst of pieces of disorientation and true satisfaction
I can be at ease

It seems I have been conditioned to believe that there is only one type of life
a wholesome life that fills up every empty space,
a life that comes overflowing and enticing

but it is in the empty spaces that I can determine passion
it is in the lacking and overlooked places that love becomes more than a flat definition of perfection

I can be whole even when there are things missing
I can let all things become overflowing and enticing, overwhelming and I’ll regain a sense of place.. identity?
in the baking, growing, biting insecurities of love

now that I’ve thought this through,
love isn’t the right word at all



I once wanted to be great,
and here I am in this position
to decide for myself and breathe on my own
and pick up my arms like bags of skin and bones

I once wanted to be free
and here I am waiting with the water
up to my knees

And these are the to-do lists that will make up my entirety
oh, I’ve got worries- worried to the brim of my heart and conscience
but I once wanted to be great and to be free

And if this is not free, then what is?
if freedom does not taste like the world on your lips
like travel and new beginnings
if freedom does not smell like summertime and Sundays
then freedom must not be what I wanted to begin with

I won’t always be free- it will go thin and thick but
I will always know joy- sometimes as my heart knows it and others like a distant friend..
but tell me this,
is joy not when you can laugh
deep, unheard of smile
deep, washed to the core I am

These declarations might seem shallow
but for so long I’ve been bound up by my sorrow
and I am still
but the difference now is joy
there is a difference between sorrow with joy
and sorrow with sadness
sorrowful sadness that tastes bitter and sweet,
falsely identified like sugar in a faded box of candies

And there are a thousand decisions that I have not yet made
and a thousand more that I will hate
but I know now that these things are temporary and for some reason my mind cannot stray
too far from eternity

I once wanted to be great
and the sky that has now been broken by rain
the sun that has furrowed and frowned on its golden face
has brought to me again
this desire to be great
and to be near to Greatness
and to be in love with vitality
to be in love with living
to be in love with words and language
to be in love with company
to be in love with solitude
to be in love with rhythm set to lyrics and altered by voice
to be in love with creating and making
to be in love with freedom

I’ve always wanted to be great
not for heightened pride, not for praise
only to know in my deepest thought
that there is passion and meaningful living
within my feet, bag of bones
stitched together like a puzzle,
and when one has been made for greatness
how could we want anything other than to be
full, and whole, and together

Let my lips speak life,
let my heart know worth
let my desires be pure
let my hope be held together
by this greatness

I once wanted
to be great




should I gather

siloguess I should gather my thoughts
should I gather up anything at all

we’ve all been told too many things,
that aren’t valid or of meaning

take everything: silk garments and empty cans
leave nothing
canvas striped green and in my head it should have been
and you’d think I’d get tired of anxiety
but no my mind keeps telling me-
feed me with your worries
drench me in your shame
lock me up inside your darkest times
inside your fear and wring your damned hands

over and over again

feed my with deceptions
drench me in complaints
lock me up inside your night terrors
inside your black loveliness and wring your damned hands

over and over again

I’ll fight back with what some would say is optimism
but if anything, it is an unavoidable hope
there’s something about knowing truth
there’s something about holding it close

sometimes we’ll gather together
we’ll laugh and grit our teeth-
only when the other is looking away
only when they can’t see me

but sounds carry and visions don’t
your vision escapes me-
why can’t I find some type of balance
why can’t I find a hint of peace

lift your eyes, lift your chin
I’ll take your hands and
chapped lips
lift your eyes, lift your head
it’s not easy for me too, ya know.

unavoidable hope turned into tendency,
a tendency to fall and get back up again
WHY would you attach negative connotations to your hope
only because the truth brings so much contradiction
only because the truth highlights friction
only because the truth means progression
means lighting your own desires and again putting them out
and figuring which way is up and where in this place is down


only because the truth means this sorrow is real and, correction- IS REALITY
only because the truth means I have lost and wait, AM I LOSING
only because the truth means I might lose you too
only because the truth means
my words are dust but dust can shine beneath the SON

my only vitality is in-
what I have found to be the truth
And in this truth, alone.

and this gathering of thoughts
amounts to nothing at all
because again I am lost
and thrown out of sorts
because we’ve got bombs going off and
then there are the others who are just sad

and before I wrote this, I wasn’t even thinking of that

but if the truth brings all of this, does that mean it’s false too
mixed up by calamity, It’d be easier to deny righteousness
but I can deny nothing that weighs heavy like this on my heart
I can deny nothing that carries my soul out of dark


LEADING back to my initial goal
to let go of these ideas and nothing more
relax and breathe a little
whether this life that is coming up is cut out for you
is this life that is coming up allowed to be taken one segment at a time?

push my tongue to the roof of my mouth
grit my teeth and think of the

the laugh your grandfather yells out at the t.v.
at one in the morning on a saturday evening
the laugh that claims all ideology and future anxieties
throws them to the ground and proclaims
I can have peace.

san francisco: days four and five

(I’d ruined my “secret return” to san francisco)
I don’t have much time so these words will be quick,
a bus ride to broadway street to visit the beat museum
and a thank you to the man there who showed that there can be passion
from bethesda to san francisco,
you can get up and go
find something you love and follow through.
a visit to city lights bookstore
(but instead I bounced drunk into his City Lights bookshop at the height of a saturday night business)
a walk from chinatown (while hiding in the alleys with bums and then marching forth into north beach)
to embarcadero,
shared a chocolate macaroon with myself on
the pier, watching the bay bridge and the water
and i realize again,
that it’s alright to be alone
a muni ride back to soma and a trip to the market
barbeque chicken never tasted so good

among many other things,
i happened to eat a chocolate croissant the size of my head

i write in a panic because of my soon departure to monterey for the night.
big sur tomorrow and here we go,

(One fast move or i’m gone’ so I jump up, do my headstand first to pump blood back into the hairy brain, take a shower in the hall, new T-shirt and socks and underwear, pack vigorously, hoist the rucksack and run out throwing the key on the desk and hit the cold street and walk fast to the nearest little grocery store to buy two days of food, stick it in the rucksack, hike thru lost alleys of Russian sorrow where bums sit head on knees in foggy doorways in the goopy eerie city night I’ve got to escape or die, and into the bus station- in a half hour into a bus seat, the bus says “Monterey” and off we go down the clean neon hiway and I sleep all the way, waking up amazed and well again smelling sea air the bus driver shaking me “End of line, Monterey.” – and by God it is Monterey.)

(Big Sur by Jack Keouac)

san francisco: day three

a walk to whole foods,
and the bank
morning pastries
and a morning read of watchmen
on the patio
an afternoon walk to live sushi
and then to mission bay

i’m going to live in a house boat.
and i’m going to live in the sun,
i’m going to find a way to always feel joyful
and inspired
but not in an unrealistic way
because realistically speaking
everything is sinking
and it’s impossible to have the fantastic mr. fox soundtrack
layered onto my entire life,
but i can dream

and here’s the part where i add some photos,
and leave this page for a book and a home made
chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich
dipped in hot fudge
because it’s all too overwhelming to put into words
because it’s all too grand to take by the hand

san francisco: day two


morning turned into afternoon
started with clouds, welcomed by sun
shining on the mission,
perfectly lonely walks on unfamiliar streets

book stores and markets,
what ever happened to this simplicity,
being the only thing?

I take this city in with deep inhales
and it’s a shame that some feelings can never stay
and it’s a shame that some feelings can’t be made into words
all I want is to make these feelings words that are
and invincible, that cannot be take away by time
or things visible

found a perfect spot,
a perfect view stuck in between dehon and 16th;
homes on a hill
maybe we can make feelings last longer if we share them with somebody,
but it’s hard for me to believe that anyone else could feel the same thing,
the same odd nostalgia provoked by a place you’ve never been, never seen.


it was a struggle to choose,
a place to be still and consume
to sit down and have lunch alone
lonely feels good sometimes
especially when you can watch the people across the street
dance and carry out dialogue,
and laugh when someone throws an empty crumpled can out of their two story window,
and it lands on their head.

my server smiled,
and he enjoyed life
in some people you can see happiness
i don’t think there is a better trait to have


I accidentally sat in the seats reserved for seniors or the handicapped,
by the time I realized the handful of signs indicating my sin
I was too timid to stand up and relocate
It’s funny how social situations can end up so symbolic
and I hope this incident doesn’t symbolize me

anyways, I’m glad I had taken the seat
(I would’ve moved if it was needed)
I was able to see out all three of the windows!
and the way the city slides
and the bus driver mutters
makes for a good ride


a day spent roaming in the mission,
between valencia and guerrero streets,
between shops that sell vinyls and film,
turned into an evening lit by a documentary of woody allen
then lit by the city lights seen from the top or potrero hill
with really great tacos followed by churros dipped in chocolate sauce
to end another day,
in sweet san francisco

san francisco: day one

getting here:

I noticed that I was a lot more excited
than everyone else on the plane
that I was a lot more anxious
a lot more awkward
and when I tried to make small talk with the man next to me
I noticed that he didn’t really care to acknowledge
anything other than
his sports and news displayed on the too small, too close
built in tv on the back of the seat in front of his
too small, too close knees
I don’t think he was excited to be
on the plane,
not as excited as I was.


I was not prepared
for the speed of the revolving
belts at the baggage claim


it’s a great thing, to like the people that you love

san francisco:

I pointed out the trees, and the
self storage buildings
in fear that the all together glorious lights and curves of
san francisco
would haunt me in my sleep
the kind of haunting that
feels wonderful and inspring
twin peak
your view was covered in fog
but the orange and white lights standing out against the black
blanket of dark and darker night
made no sound but
jaw-dropping, breath-taking, igniting
and welcoming sounds
“welcome to san francisco”
said the people around me, not verbally but something in between
some kind of connecting thoughts
that only I, with fresh eyes, could think


french toast topped with granola and cranberries,
this city is topped with granola and cranberries


mixed up buildings and bound up walls,
colors like teal and butter
homes laid down together closer than bricks
and windows wide open
and a sore neck, from all of the sights

sutro heights,
you were beautiful at first
then you were heaven
caves made of tree branches and soil that
smell like the way steinbeck writes about a bountiful nature
and an ocean beneath the golden gate bridge
terrifying and unyielding
to the rigid edge of the coast
and all things powerful, didn’t seem so powerful anymore

hawk hill,
you were tall at first
then you were soaring
and so was I, gathered up and small at the top of a great tower
but large in the fog that creeps  through the film famous roads


polk gulch  and lombard street to follow-
pizza tastes great after an adventure,
I’m still in awe of these homes
picking out my favorites
and coating them in “somedays” and “so greats”


of day one and i’m in love


what's inside of me?

image: digital photography with a physical projection on the model, katelyn rebelo.


what’s inside of me?
a whole world to see
and we’ll joke about all of the places, we’d rather be
what’s inside of me?
a student will stand, claim another grievance
why can’t we all be friends?

what’s inside of me?
a whole world to see
and we’ll waste away with images all over us
but never inside of us

take a part your sorrows with your hands,
leave them out for your angels to consume for dinner,
or your demons to say, “i’m here for you, sinner.”

what’s inside of me?
an eager await for the next page
that provides a slow claim over my future
but I don’t want to be corroded by these things
what else could be inside of me?

see, it takes a while to feel again
after you’ve kept yourself from feeling at all
because there’s not much time to settle and really discover
there’s really no time to create anything at all

we’re here one afternoon, and gone away with the night
but there’s something inside of me
that’s fascinated, by vast open spaces
and hearts carried by hollow bones, and long faces

and music, too sweet to be let go of
what’s inside of me
something more than I can feed
something more than words and repeated christenings

this was intended to be about adventure
and things like maps and compasses and the grand canyon
and hiking mountains

like most things, it’s become overwhelming
but i’ve got something inside of me that’s
craving and crying, saying “don’t let go of me”
because it gets boring, being sad
it gets heavy, being mad
it gets me going, this anxiety
it gets me wrong, i’ve had enough of these things

so here is the adventure- i was talking about,
here is the freedom, i can see it,
not for long
but for now

what’s inside me?
project it onto me
what’s beside me?
let me feel everything


I have found myself in a lot of exciting situations. I normally don’t address an audience in my blog but this time I’d like to document a couple of things I’ve been a part of…

Bittersweet Zine, Winter 2013 Issue!

Last Fall I was given the opportunity to do a photo essay for Bittersweet’s Zine on Defending Human Rights, I was super excited to be asked to do another shoot early January for their next issue focusing on Economic Empowerment. After a few trips to H Street, I ended up with a documentary style shoot that is featured on the cover and page 10 of the Zine that was released last week. See it here: 

Scholastic Art and Writing Competition 2013!

After submitting 2 art portfolios and 4 single photos to the Scholastic Art Competition, I was awarded a Gold Key for my art portfolio, “In The Air”, and a single image, “In the Stacks”. I also received two silver keys for individual photos.

For the writing division, I received two silver keys for my poetry and was chosen to be published, along with 54 other writers, in this years issue of DC’s Best Teen Writing. I spent yesterday in DC with a group of students editing and creating the book itself. It will be released on March 19th and available for sale on Amazon and a few bookstores!

Bittersweet Photos:

Scholastic Photos:

Published Poem:

Raw Feet

oddly numb behind my aspirations tonight
oddly terrified of the upcoming weeks
of christmas time and lights and these things that used
to be so sweet

greatly involved in my own mind
in my heart I can see your smile
and in my bones I can feel the way
our raw feet used to slap the cold concrete
on grandmother’s front porch
imagining they were all
out to get us
and now we don’t have to pretend
now we choose not to hide
but only indulge ourselves in this place
much similar to a beehive.
(say it like this: bee h-ive)

and I can taste in my mouth the tart reminder
of loss and what else can I say
of it

my legs covered in black cloth and my chest soaked in an ocean blue,
everything only lasts for a moment
the moment is present and soon far away
but my existence is a gathering of these segments
mixed up and bound by yarn, clothes-pins, and photographs
with rounded edges

my reflection becomes unreal, forming a two dimensional excuse
to move and watch the shadows change the pigment of my face
and I feel my bones again,
raw feet slapping the cold concrete.


american dream

AMERICAN DREAMout six dollars and in with the nurture
of a bad habit and a set back
out a conversation and in with the appropriate
regret of too many words, too many things said

but it sure is great how I now know not to expect
but it sure is wonderful how I’ve come to terms with my irrational thoughts,
taken out of context

pen and ink can’t conquer this thing
gone with my judgment
gone with my greed
gone with my selfishness
gone with my needs

sorrow and a sore heart lead to growing frequencies
concerned with the future but now I look at my heart
see it separated by willful decisions and longing and art

I’ll begin with my troubled mind my troubled
and end with my hopeful heart
my endangered fate

I choose to speak with ambiguities
glad to take my situation and throw it to the sea
it’s not great or wonderful at all,
not satisfied nor content
not decided nor specified
just spent, spent, spent

said I’m worn out! save me from this
endless reach for serenity and peace
said I’m finished! surrender all I am
all I have and have not been

american dream
beneath a tucked in moon
american dream
dig in, grab a spoon

said I would sleep early

coveredlet me amount to something
be lifted off of this mountain of nothing
let me amount to something!be able to make decisions or something!
switch my soul to the passion and words
empty my heart of impurities and distraught
me out of my own
let me amount to something
be ridden with hope or something
be gracious and bold, or all of these
let me amount to something
before I dwell in this hunting
I hunt like the hungry and the poor
you can take my words, please take my words make them fit your situation
mold them to your own temptations
and I’ll let them be to me, what they are,
what they were written for
to get rid of these thoughts
to amount to something,
let me amount to something

leave me alone in my bed
leave me alone in my head
let me allow myself to
for once exist in contentment
to ignore my justifications- or need for them

tell me it is alright
to know the time has gone by
and to see it all spread out on the tables
and to feel raw
knowing it is going and going
and will we ever amount to something
more than compulsive thoughts and dust and nothing

let me amount to something,
tomorrow I will wake and be the same
sleep and be the same
dream and be the same
but in all the similarities I have changed- and maybe
I will amount to something
be bold and gracious
and content-
or something.

happy new year

“as we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. but let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the god of israel will go before us. our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. it is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but god can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of christ.” oswald chambers, my utmost for his highestpure

raw feet

window of rosesoddly numb behind my aspirations tonight
oddly terrified of the upcoming weeks
of christmas time and lights and these things that used
to be so sweet
greatly involved in my own mind
in my heart i can see your smile
and in my bones i can feel the way
our raw feet used to slap the cold concrete
on grandmother’s front porch
imagining they were all
out to get us
and now we don’t have to pretend
now we choose not to hide
but only indulge ourselves in this place
much similar to a beehive.
(say it like this- bee high-ve)

and i can taste in my mouth the tart reminder
of loss and what else can i say
of it

my legs covered in black cloth and my chest soaked in an ocean blue,
everything only lasts for a moment
the moment is present and soon far away
but my existence is a gathering of these segments
mixed up and bound by yarn, clothes-pins, and photographs
with rounded edges

my reflection becomes unreal, forming a two dimensional excuse
to move and watch the shadows change the pigment of my face
and i feel my bones again,
raw feet slapping the cold concrete.


they bring me away from myself
and into this wandering, pulling and digging
and claiming identity
terrifying I wonder whose voice that is
what girl that is
struggling to find you inside of you

put it all to a stop, please
the good, bad, the everything
how did the time melt down so quickly
from doubles to singles, to doubles
and things go like the
that brings me out of my skin and into that ache
and cold
and sound, provoking all emotion and
sultry feeling
drenched like a sponge in the depth of her cleaning
gone, with the sound and the image that is made
from the pennies in the laundry machine,
my mother laughing,
coughs and “for god’s sakes”
and television sets, and quickly
gather your things and get away from this eerie
pull and odd attitude
inspired by sound,
sound alone


I have let myself become consumed by this bed
swallowed whole and looking at photographs
honest, I wish I had taken them myself
I crave images and noise like a hunger
five years ago from today,
I fell into a trap, unknowingly

blanketed in sorrow that has left me
with anxious reactions and a capacity
I am unable to handle
honest, I never seem to know where I am going,
I wonder if I would not be here if you still were.

these past few days I have stayed in one place
even when I no longer held a purpose-
looking around myself, I have become aware
growing out of this town and becoming scared

I am exhausted of this cycle,
of doing and doing and never being
of writing and writing and never seeing
of loving and loving and never finding
of breathing and breathing and never feeling
whole or pure or perfected

I am not hopeless, but I know fear
honest, I am not doubting greater belief
but I am surrounded by small things
and grand thoughts
that I am unable to express
in this orange box

my bedroom walls know me well,
read me like a magazine
they know every page, every fold of my body
they know every thought and desire inside of me
honest, they’ve got me all worked up
mocking my insanity, testing me with irony.
coward and corroding

my bedroom walls play show and tell,
reveal my emotions like a favorite toy
first comes loneliness, then abundant passion
to do more than type up my identity
to become more than a simple entity

honest, I don’t know where I am going with this
I hold no grand scheme or hypothesis
I began looking at photographs,
I ended up here in this mess
leaving these passages open ended-
falling asleep to silence and the eyes of my bedroom walls
I will only be alone when I feel nothing at all



<p><a href=”″>middleburg</a> from <a href=”″>lissy tropea</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

a quick stop-motion film I made. Layered one of my poems “Confinement” onto it, along with Karen O & The Kid’s “The Food is Still Hot”.

the old things

I still find myself going over the old things,
in the midst of the new and the change
consistently checking my past for any lost clues,
any answers or defense.
I spend my days trying not to become bitter
I write, “be sweet, be sweet, be sweet”
that’s the only way I won’t be sour
or take up any more burdens, and accept defeat.
I try to handle forgiveness with fragile fingers,
because I know if I let any of my sharpness,
sharp memories, sharp lies, sharp pain,
touch it, i will no longer know it.
and with everything I have
I’ll hide
hide any affection and feeling
until I can manage feeling again
I will never take back my dedication to passion
even when all I want is to be numb

I spend my days trying not to become bitter

I write, “be sweet, be sweet, be sweet”

every movement has become surreal
every night turns into day
every wandering into more reason
to no longer count on you
I still find myself going over the old things,
in the midst of the new and the change
waiting for all the colored leaves to become golden
and the change to take their place


in the face of a child
i find myself helpless
confronted by innocence, and she shows me how tainted
i have let me life become
tainted by selfishness and anxiety
by heartbreak and relationship,
i find myself complex and irritated
but in the face of a child
i am shown that this life still has something to offer
and by the grace of god that all of the grown have somehow forgotten
we are free.
i am hurt by disbelief
i am broken by sorrow
i am twisted by change,
she tells me a secret
and i will never forget it,
knowing that every whisper holds a truth,
and that in the face of a child
i can find purpose,
confronted by innocence
i will shake this stain and bitterness