Photo Poem Challenge!

Hey my little red pandas,

I’m working on my next collection of poetry!! I’m working on a lot of things, really, (the EP, the album, composing classical work, etc.) but I’ve been trying to write a poem a day amidst all my ongoing projects. I posted a photo on instagram recently and decided to write a short poem with it, and it felt pretty neat. I thought that it might be a cool way to explore form and encourage different ways to think about poetry, and 30 days feels like a healthy number for poetry (much like the 30/30 NaPoWriMo Challenge). Sharing is a unique part of the writing process that is unnecessary for some and vital to others, but I personally find that it strengthens my writing and voice. Sharing is often difficult for some as it requires courage in one’s vulnerability and comes for many at the risk of being self-indulgent or ostentatious. Let me be the first to say- sharing thoughtful art is a gift to the reader/listener/watcher!

Sharing in the context of social media, though- I understand that dilemma…
My relationship to social media is complex, but overall, an enjoyable one. My favorite is when it’s used as a unifier and facilitator of ideas, but of course is sometimes used in the pursuit of vanity and can be an anxious place to spend wistful hours living comparatively to one’s peers. But this is not my essay on social media’s complex implications- this is a blog post about rousing my poetry mind and hopefully inciting yours as well!

SO! I’ll be posting a photo and poem a day on my social media platforms and I’m inviting you to try it with me if you are looking to experiment with writing and sharing. I’ll be using the hashtag #30PhotoPoems and will try not to make each one a photo of cats with bad haikus (no promises).

I have so many more things to share- most importantly: my team has successfully retrieved my website from my old record label, so now I’m free free free and also my website is free free for me to blog and tell you what kind of cheese I’m eating (pecorino!) and I can post like this blah blah blah and nobody can stop me because I’m a powerful unicorn goddess that is captain of this website and I can eat ice cream for breakfast and do whatever I want WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! More updates to come, cute butts. I said BUTTS!

Butts butts butts butts

 

Real and Honest Feelings Friday (Sometimes on Sunday) Poetry Extravaganza Not For Little Babies

It’s officially Sentimental Sunday, which is a close relative of Feelings Friday, which mostly means ‘hi, I ate excessive amounts of cereal and watched re-runs of “Amazing Race” instead of writing poems for the last two days sorry not sorry’

HOWEVER This week’s poems were my favorite of this whole series, little lambies. Even the ones I picked of my favorite favorites, I found so hard to pare down!!

So much love to my favorite favorites Susan Manners, Kaitlin Boatman, and Clara Johanna for their beautiful writing, and to all of you for your bravery and thoughtfulness with your writing. Excerpts of their work are posted to below.

This week’s Real and Honest Feelings Friday (Sometimes on Sunday) Poetry Extravaganza Not For Little Babies is our FINAL prompt. I’ve had so much fun reading your writing and loved being included in your processes. It’s been an honor to feel so connected.

Today is International Women’s Day, and there is a campaign going on called, “Dear Me”. I thought- WOAH DUDE THAT’S A POEM WAITING TO BE WRITTEN.

So your final challenge is to write a poem to your younger self. It could be you at 16 or 19 or 5. You could warn yourself about that burrito that smelled kind of funky but you ate anyway, you could encourage your younger self, tell your self to invest in google, to hug your mom more, whatever you want! As always, you can submit your work to marylambertsing@gmail.com.

Look out for a video of A BRAND NEW POEM that I’ll post later today based on this prompt!! EEEEE HAPPY WRITING!!!

I love you, cute little lambies.

Happy Sunday!

xo

M

________________________________________________________________________________________________

SUSAN MANNERS–

I never miss a chance to hike the rolling hills & covered bridges of the Laurels, or Stroud’s yellow and pink wildflower fields or The Meadow Garden at Longwood. Thank you.

I never miss a chance to see and cuddle babies Eloise, Ben, and Wyatt and big girls Grace or Ella. Thank you.

I never miss a chance for watching a pink and orange winter sunset with tunnels of sunlight touching the sky. Thank you.

I never miss a chance for a good morning kiss, the last of the day, hand on cheek, good night, sweet dreams my love kiss, or the in-between, I’m heading to work, hello, I’m home, or I’m walking past you so let’s kiss, kiss. Thank you.

KAITLIN BOATMAN–

There is this girl with bright blue hair

And electric cobalt lipstick

I swear tacky has never looked so good

She is sometimes the only silence I find on bad days

When the world is too loud

And my brain refuses to rest.

There is this girl who dons a clean face

She owns a pair of loud green sweat pants

Proof that beauty can’t be found in a bottle

I catch myself over-sharing

Spilling everything

I’ve never dared say to anyone else

I freeze when our knees bump

Shoulders touch

Hands brush

I can feel the chemicals rushing through my body

Hoping for just a few moments more

CLARA JOHANNA–

“You know, if you hurl clay with the right velocity at a cement pavement, it sounds almost delicate.

The blue mosaic pot that you made during the summer you said I need to keep busy.
You’d said, I’m recreating the ocean, in concentration your tongue curling like a wave over your lip.
Cyan and azure and aquamarine and deep, black-blue.
Palms scratched and running red rivers.

The red sea parting.

Hands soaked.

I had always been a horrible swimmer.

Après moi, le déluge.”

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT FOR REAL AND HONEST FEELINGS FRIDAY POETRY EXTRAVAGANZA NOT FOR LITTLE BABIES

Hey cutie pies,

YAY IT’S FEELINGS FRIDAY!!! I’m drinking tea with honey and apples and the sun is happy and I wonder how all of you are.
I hope the day is kind to you and you have warm toes and you are excited about how your life is unfolding. I loved reading your pieces over the last week. You are all so thoughtful and I am so grateful that you are sharing your work with me! I picked excerpts of my three favorite poems below:

“Dear Mustard Yellow Shoes,
…I hope you don’t take this letter the wrong way, because I truly love having you around. Perhaps just be more cautious of getting too close to the edge. Oh, and next time maybe stop by for lunch instead? I simply don’t want to somehow be a part of taking yet another pair of lovely shoes away from this world.

Be well, my friend.

Yours truly,
Lancaster Bridge”
-Cait B.

“Letter from Needle to Vinyl Record;
..Your sophisticated velvet black exterior
gleamed as you slid from your crib.
I sat in awe staring
Wishing I was that breathtaking.”
-Emily P.

“To the Tree,
…Even physics foresees my kinetic life fulfilled.
The sun will shine on my leaves
and I will dance in its warmth and sway with the gentle zephyrs
The earth delivers…”
-The Sapling
THIS WEEK’S PROMPT FOR REAL AND HONEST FEELINGS FRIDAY POETRY EXTRAVAGANZA NOT FOR LITTLE BABIES
This weeks prompt is going to be very simple. It is a list poem.
In this poem, you are going to start every sentence with the same beginning. You see lists a lot in popular music- it’s an awesome way to find consistency in verses by creating familiarity for the listener. I find that writing these types of poems are best created out-loud. I do my best writing when I write on my computer and read every line out-loud as I’m creating. I find that my brain already knows what it wants to say. It’s also totally cool to go off on a tangent, once you’ve started a line. Don’t feel restricted that the starting phrase has to repeat every line. It could repeat every stanza, if you choose.
Here are some examples:


“I am…
I am…
I am….”

“Dear ___,
Dear___,
Dear ___,”

“I can’t remember the last time…
I can’t remember the last time…
I can’t remember the last time…”

“When I am with you…
When I am with you…
When I am with you…”

I chose two poems this week, both from one of my favorite writers and spoken-word poets, Rachel McKibbens.
In both of these pieces, Rachel uses the tool of repetition, and then twists it. It’s like she finds a new meaning with every line.

“Its okay to hang upside-down like a bat,
to swim into the deep end of silence,
to swallow every key so you can’t get out.
It’s okay to hear the ocean calling your fevered name
to say your sorrow is an opera of snakes,
to flirt with sharp and heartless things.
It’s okay to write, I deserve everything,
to bow down to this rotten thing
that understands you, to adore the red
and ugly queen of it, to admire
her calm and steady rowing.
It’s okay to lock yourself in the medicine cabinet,
to drink all the wine, to do what it takes to stay
without staying. Its okay to hate God today
to change his name to yours, to want to ruin all that ruined you.
It’s okay to feel like only a photograph of yourself,
to need a stranger to pull your hair and pin you down,
it’s okay to want your mother as you lie alone in bed.
It’s okay to brick to fuck to flame to church to crush to knife
to rock to rock to rock to rock to rock and rock.
It’s okay to wave good-bye to yourself in the mirror.
To write, I don’t want anything.
It’s okay to despise what you have inherited,
to feel dead in a city of pulses. It’s okay
to be the whale that never comes up for air,
to love best the taste of your own blood.
—  Rachel McKibbens, from “Letter From My Heart to My Brain”

“And you will hear yourself say:
Last Love, I wish to die so I may come back to you
new and never tasted by any other mouth but yours.
And I want to be the hands that pull your children
out of you and tuck them deep inside myself until they are
ready to be the children of such a royal and staggering love.
Or you will say:
Last Love, I am old, and have spent myself on the courageless,
have wasted too many clocks on less-deserving men,
so I hurl myself at the throne of you and lie humbly at your feet.
Last Love, let me never roll out of this heavy dream of you,
let the day I was born mean my life will end
where you end. Let the man behind the church
do what he did if it brings me to you. Let the girls
in the locker room corner me again if it brings me to you.
Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves
if it brings me to you. Let me pronounce my hoarded joy
if it brings me to you. Let my father break me again
and again if it brings me to you.
Last love, I have let other men borrow your children. Forgive me.
Last love, I once vowed my heart to another. Forgive me.
Last Love, I have let my blind and anxious hands wander into a room
and come out empty. Forgive me.
Last Love, I have cursed the women you loved before me. Forgive me.
Last Love, I envy your mother’s body where you resided first. Forgive me.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Forgive me.
Last Love, I did not see you coming. Forgive me.
Last Love, every day without you was a life I crawled out of. Amen.
Last Love, you are my Last Love. Amen.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Amen.
I am all that is left.
Amen.”

-Untitled by Rachel McKibbens

So there’s this week’s prompt, boo-boos. Create a list, using the same repeating phrase. Make it personal. Twist it. Find new meaning.
As always, you can keep it for your own personal work, or you can share it with me! Send it to marylambertsing@gmail.com.

xoxo
M

FEELINGS FRIDAY!! MARY’S POETRY EXTRAVAGANZA OF FEELINGS NOT FOR LITTLE BABIES!!

First off: YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! Thank you for all of your wonderful poems last week, little lambies. Here are a few uninvented inventions that I liked:

  1. “Perception Optics. We all could use them.  Being able to see yourself the way others view you.  Not just physically either.  To know what their thoughts are about you.  To feel the impact you had on them. Some people only learn hands on.  Maybe society would finally be willing to understand before they hate.” -Chelsea M.
  2. “… What I need is something to send a buzz through my blood stream
    When I am writing love poems for someone who could never appreciate a strong stanza.
    I need a ringing in my ears when I am wasting minutes of my day on someone who’s brain does not tingle with my name…Name it what you want, I call it my own personal revolution.” – Morghan F.
  3. “Tunnel Vision: A moment two souls can lock onto one another and see the truth behind our human form. We can reach each other from the purest, deepest levels of time and space. Crossing cultures, mountains, gender, oceans, the sun, and the reality we call home to see our soul, who we are.”  -Molly H.

Gorgeous, you guys. I loved every single submission. Thanks for sharing with me!

I am so so so excited for this week’s prompt, I can barely contain myself. This week, I want you to write a letter. Not a letter to your crush or your boo or your cute mom- this one is very different. And of course, a little complicated.

Instructions:

  1. Think of an inanimate object. Something you like looking at, eating, touching, something that speaks to you, something that you, you know, would enjoy writing a poem about (a bridge, shoes, ceiling fan, a mango)
  2. Think of a second object- one that interacts with your first object.  (Ex. Skyscraper to bird, coffee to MY MOUTH, ocean to cruise ship, gluten free pie to MY MOUTH, whoops I’m hungry)
  3. Write a letter from one object to another.
  4. If you want, write a response from the 2nd object!

I nabbed this exercise from a poem in Rose McAleese’s book “Strong. Female. Character.” The poem is “Match and Flame”:
letter from match to flame

“They told me this was a coming-of-age thing,

a rite of passage,

That this is what is supposed to happen.

But I am beginning to question the ways of the world.

Why must we both go the second you are born?

 

Our lifespan is too quick, not enough time to know each other.

First we are put under such pressure,

forced to spark.

 

Does this heat ever get to you?

Is this too rough for you?

Does this hurt?

Oh, love. The friction makes me so aware.

 

You are split from yourself and moved to wick

One that holds you longer, one that holds you tighter.

I can’t help but stare and watch you go.

Hurrying up the walls,

a wedding dress made of smoke.

 

I watch as you linger from my tip to the ceiling.

Where do you go from here?

Are you locked in the vents of the floorboards?

Do you soak the wallpaper with your sweat?

Press yourself clean to windows, head north for the valley above.

 

Such bitter partings, my beloved.

 

***

 

letter from flame to match

You are so young, weak at heart.

Made of wood,

Earth’s best creation, man’s worst conductor.

 

You are so naive. You wish nothing more than to be their soot, their chalk, their ash.

Don’t you see what they do with me,

what damage they make of me,

what harm I am capable of?

 

All you see is my smoke,

a veil fit for a funeral.

I hurry away not for the mystery but out of shame.

If only I could leave you faster.

 

There is no beauty in my creation.

My scream, a warning;

they should have listened to the crackle from my rush

My throat is raspy; it’s hard to breathe.

 

No need to sweeten this.

You are just my maker,

I met you with such disgust in mind,

arranged marriage.

 

I flicker out of struggle, not of dance.

 

******

Check out Rose’s stuff here! Also Shira Erlichman (“Uninvented Invention” from last week) has a neat website and SHE TEACHES POETRY!

Have fun with this prompt! When you’ve chosen your objects, make sure you give them life! Connect yourself to them. Give a personality to the 20-year-old couch in your parents basement.

As always, you can keep these poems very close to your heart and not share with a soul, or you can share with me, and I’ll pick my favorites next week! marylambertsing@gmail.com

Thank you for your bravery,

xoxo

M

 

FEELINGS FRIDAY #2

First of all, you guys made me cry and I’m so happy and I had so much fun reading your writing!! I got 200 submissions! SICK! It was so fun picking favorites! Thank you for your bravery and vulnerability. One little reminder: these prompts are about writing NEW work. It is very cool to have a collection of old pieces of writing in your catalog that are not related to the prompt, but let’s write new stuff! It’s fun! I promise!

Here are my picks for favorite submissions:

-Amanda Hawk (she juxtaposed her name with her body which I thought was super cool and original)

-Salla Junetunen (broke down their name with the feelings of each syllable. Sounds have connotations! COOL!)

-Donny Winter  (his poem was multi-layered, but one of my favorite layers was about seeing his name published as a writer, which stuck out to me because names are also tied to recognition! Like when you win an award, they don’t call you by your moon-child-spirit-self, they call you by your name.

-Troy Osaki (Just read this: “America has taught me to be less foreign- an unmarked atlas of where I am from. A Japanese accent pronounced like a small war in my mouth conquered in english”. LIKE SHUT UP AMAZING UGH)

-Annabelle Zaluski (Journey she had with her name from first as a little girl, to teachers in school, to then hearing her partner say it- names grow with us- they evolve and we evolve with them. Neat direction!)

Now to this week’s poem and prompt!

ONION-VISION by Shira Erlichman

I.

A man who forgets himself is poor at making bread.
That is a cookie fortune I never got.

Three virgins in the sack are like three happy vowels: aoe!
That is also a cookie fortune I never got.

The mountains have really big hands.
Once more folks, a cookie fortune I never got.

Don’t turn around – there are babies being made.
That is, again, a cookie fortune I never got.

II.

The bubble bath was filled with lemons when I kissed her.
A secret, just nobody’s secret.

The extra pillow is to hump.
Somebody’s secret, someone close by, maybe right here.

I lick every scented marker in the set.
Gregory “Long-legs”s not-so-secret in fourth grade.

Every bad thing that ever happens to you
is either a thermometer or barometer.
A secret I wish someone had told me sooner.

I am not brave.
The heart’s secret.

I am too brave.
The heart’s secret.

III.

A dishwasher that plays the dishes as notes.
Uninvented Invention #23

A holidiary where everyone shares entries
in a highly ritualized public format.
Uninvented Invention #68

“Burn the water” – a blues song revealing
the impossibility of abandoning those that abandon us.
Uninvented Invention #104

A miniature movie-theater suspended above the forehead
during sleep to, of course, project movies to a loved one.
Uninvented Invention #19

Walking campfire: built small and safe enough to store
in the breast pocket and familiar to all, so all may sing along.
Uninvented Invention #859

Onion-vision, so we may see sadness as it is, artichokes
as they are, sound, muscle, the truth as it is.
Uninvented Invention #44

Word-kites: you tie them to what you say
and they go wherever they want to go,
like, a tree-tangle or your mouth, some hot moon like that.
Uninvented Invention #960

So here is my challenge to you:

What is your uninvented invention? I want you to avoid the literal type of invention, like a different kind of soap dispenser- BORING- though I myself have tons of inventions! my drummer, Heather and I came up with something called “Shoe Party” and I would tell you what it’s about but I can’t because it’s genius and we’re going to go on Shark Tank someday and Lori Grienier is going to put it on QVC and we’re going to be bagillionaires and everyone will have “Shoe Party”.

INSTEAD- Everyone knows that the best inventions solve problems or make things easier, so I’m asking you to write a metaphysical invention for a metaphysical problem. Are you having a problem in your life? Are you going through grief? Are you having trouble communicating? Is there someone else in your life that could use a metaphysical solution? You can even think bigger- go global! What could solve world issues? Go magic! Go surreal! But I want you to think really carefully- spend your whole day observing people, observing yourself and think about this issue you would love to magically fix- and think about the name! Naming your uninvented metaphysical invention is half the fun.

Just like last week, you can submit your writing to marylambertsing@gmail.com.

Love you guys. You are inspiring.

xoxo,

M

FEELINGS FRIDAY

Today is our inaugural weekly FEELINGS FRIDAY where we write about our feelings in poetry and it’s Friday and I love you and your beautiful feelings.

My first poetry prompt for you is based on a poem by Tasbeeh Herwees.

i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due.”

Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me

via Rachel Mckibbens

I love this poem. It feels like an instruction manual of how to honor yourself, starting with your own name. Do you like your name? Do you like it when other people say it? How does it roll off your tongue? Is there another name you’ve always wanted to go by?


If you want to share your poem with me, send it here: marylambertsing@gmail.com. I’ll pick and post my favorites next week!

Tips:

-Follow your instincts.
-Freewrite first and then edit later. Let the critics in your head take a backseat today- nothing is off limits, nothing is wrong, nothing is stupid.
-This is simply a jumping off point! Sometimes I end up so far from the prompt itself, I can’t even remember what it was! Though I also never remember where I parked the car when there are only two other vehicles in the Stop & Shop parking lot, I find that when I stray from a prompt, it is often my inner-self hungry to process an issue. If I end up writing a soliloquy to a sandwich, I may just be hungry. To me, free-writing is as much poetry as it is therapy. Go there, boo boo.

I can’t breathe/Make me a paintbrush, lungs

I lay in a too-large bed watching the sunset in a hotel high rise,
decadent truffle wrappers strewn on the sheets
of the most comfortable bed I have ever laid on
Newly purchased clothes haphazardly hurricained around the room
narrowing my eyes
angry about a fly 
that is now dancing a mating ritual around my kombucha
Asshole.
Simultaneously I read the headlines from my friends
about another body killed without accountability

If this were two years ago
I would be skipping work
marching alongside my friends
Writing poems,
Asking questions about allyship,
Burning with the desire for political justice, for social justice,
For human rights.

But I’m a pop singer now. I have fans. And a record label.
Not to mention a persistent insect asshole roommate that won’t leave my delicious beverage alone.
After all, I wouldn’t want to let the fans down by speaking out.
It could offend people. It could make them uncomfortable.
After all, people only want to listen to my music, right?
Not be force-fed my ideology or stance on human rights

But when I think about it-
Isn’t being a plus-size, bi-polar, crop-top wearing lesbian inherently political?
If not me, then who?
If not now, then when?

1. The word “indict” means simply to bring to trial.
Just because you didn’t mean to kill somebody doesn’t mean that they are not dead by your hand.
2. Drunk drivers never mean to hit families
3. Sometimes I get drunk
4. Sometimes I get drunk with my own privilege
5. Perhaps talking about race isn’t easy. Perhaps the conversation should be about police accountability. There are a lot of necessary conversations. Perhaps we should talk about the asshole fly trying to weasel itself into my expensive drink.

6. Yes. All lives matter. This conversation is not about white people and the thirst to be included, white people. This conversation is about being a person of color and that relationship to authority.
And the naiveté of some whiteness, along with the concept of being “colorblind”
is endearing at best
Segregation ended in 1954, but there is no statistic I can give you
that says systemic racism ended just because you were born.
I appreciate your soft youth, your hunger for peace
If you are indeed “colorblind” my loves,
How could you ever see the vibrance of any canvas
Of Magritte or Basquiat or Picasso
Or the world around you

Reality is terrifying.
Humanity is frightening.
But when you see the dark
with full eyes, wide as all
You have the gift of illumination
To see also the facet of humanity that is starkly beautiful
That is the core of humanity’s magic
To stand shivering in it’s wake
Aware of your own humanness.

7. I want to be a paintbrush
I want to paint this beautiful sunset on the eyelids of every single one of them surrendering mid-death
mid-cop
mid-justice
half-life
hands up
i can’t breathe
My sheets are twisted around me
My sheets are crisp and rich and the building is tall I am sweating in my own privilege
and the fly is back.
Did I mention the fly
Did I mention the fly was black
Did I mention the fly was a black man
I didn’t kill him
I went on the patio of this high rise
and wrote this
while the sunset held my hand with unfiltered indigo and pomegranate
Did you see it too