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


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.

falling people

unintentionally adjourned my own sorrow,
dove into a tragedy that could never be forgotten, not today nor tomorrow
and it was covered in smoke and billowing clouds
dressed up in people, the colors of ours

i did not mean to open this door,
would have closed it but now i know more
this is where god becomes real to me
in the falling people and catastrophe

i play mind games all day long
my heart tugs at these filtering thoughts
fall into obsession with image and possession
of a history so plastered with loss

and this is when god becomes real to me
in the echoes of despair and despondency
in the trapped mysteries and wanderings
how can He not be true,
what else would there be
keeping me a part from death and the dark
from spilling out of my own skin

it takes heaviness to feel a difference,
and this difference I am desperate to know
i travel through numbness and awe,
passion and i am stripped now, i am raw

but this is where my god becomes true to me,
inescapable and unfaltering
stack me up against falling buildings and ideology
my god has never been so real to me

tangible and whole,
i am incomplete and alone
merciful and strong,
i am bitter and wrong

stack me up against falling buildings and falling people
up against stealing sadness and sores
up against ache and mystery
His love is enough for me

i can no longer hold,
all of these weights in my hands
dragging around me, are my burning stars and
bottled up sand
can no longer break,
or become more broken
stack me up against heat and rising trials
cut off relationships and empty miles
nothing will cause me to believe
that my god is inadequate,
that He is not enough for me.


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


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


Come out to Chez Billy (3815 Georgia Ave. NW. Washington, DC. 20011) this friday, October 12th, to take a stand against child-sex trafficking in DC! From 7:30-10 we will gather to support organizations working against sex trafficking. Get a free issue of Bittersweet’s Fall Zine, listen to a spoken word piece, and view local art for sale! All proceeds benefit the organizations, check out for more information!

I will be selling cyanotypes of the images I contributed to this issue of the Zine. Hope you all are able to make it out!


fail me, nor falter

see, it all began when I was young
when I first realized that this world was much bigger than I was
and from then on the idea progresses
into a short story, a novel, a trilogy, never ending.
I’ve realized these insecurities around me,
the shaking ground and towers falling
and when you grow old within a century,
your memories amount to millenniums and broken things

and my ability to separate the tragic from the reality
has fallen into an incident of disbelief
in comes the breeze from the fall it keeps getting dark,
and darker
and along with all the shades of green
my heart endures small scrutiny
and I know these anxieties will never fail me, nor falter

I don’t think the way you think.

“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

12-13″So you’ll go out in joy,
you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God.”

Isaiah 55.8-13 Message Version

more and more and more

I knew the days would become long,
when I desired them to be short and the nights
would become a canvas for anxieties and to-do lists

I knew the time would run too quickly,
even when i begged, “slow down, slow”

Now I’m waiting for my time,
for desires to turn into decisions and
dreams to reality
and potential to finale
Now I’m holding on to sanity,
like a child clutching a sad stringed balloon
but I am not meant for weakness
when I realize the truth
only in my morality am I alone
only in my world am I abandoned

and you who said there are better things to live for,

you’re wrong
and you who said,
that I didn’t know what I was striving for,
you might be right

unending words,
tied together by fish hooks
take the hand of a devil

red skin and emptiness,
take the hand of a savior
soul mysterious, with round eyes

Even with my knowledge of the upcoming change,
I couldn’t have anticipated the sinking sorrow
I couldn’t have guessed the nearness of
and the next

books and citrus,
curling papers and crinkling toes
vinyl records and burnt passions
this life is made up of perception and music
spoken in conversation,

drained by temptation
to live “normally”

more and more and more,
it’s not enough for me, no



Excited to be getting back into Cyanotype to do some work for the Bittersweet Zine this Fall. Here are a couple of photos of my prints from the early summer.

Check out to get acquainted with my next project which I am so honored to be a part of!

age is beauty

appointed by the time

given life then taken from birth to years to decades.

age is crippling, demanding, consuming

age is beauty

asinine ideas of how we can slow it down, make it better, don’t stand a chance against the strong

beauty of age

and society only teaches us to fear it, instead of fall in love with it

i fall in love with age every time i see a weary hand endure a hobby

every moment i find a tired eye light up

because age is beauty, and nothing is as beautiful as those who have aged.


tied up

i’m tied up,

my limbs and my tongue and my abdomen, twisted like a sad spiders web

i’m tied up,

from the inside out i’m weaved and stitched like a hand made gift and

i’ve seemed to have lost my starting point, where the needle first pulled through the fabric,

i’m tied up,

knots have been made where they weren’t supposed to be and

i’ve found myself once again, wandering.

searching for a place where everything is clean,

where purity overrides the tainted innocence of one’s life.

and i’ve said it once before, “look at all my clothes upon my bedroom floor!”

and it’s not the first time i’ve noted the mess in my mind,

but this time,

i’m tied up,

like a field of tall grass tangled around ankles and toes.

i’m like a tree trunk morphed from years of stories

untold, and here comes the exhaustion and it hurts,

the way i’m tied up and cannot break free from these

vines covered in thorns.

to discover where it first began would be a task I would never finish, not in the amount of years counted on one hand.

to reveal the moment where I could’ve stopped it all,

from creeping around me and tieing the bow,

would be like the mention of death in a hospital,

cold and frigid, wouldn’t help anything after all,

because i’m tied up in a place I hate to be,

but these ropes will have to lighten up, eventually.