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Deviant for 4 Years
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(Contains: violence/gore)
I had a dream I was with my family, woke up here.
Missed home, remembered that America is burning
at the broken bridges of our different skin.
Thankfulness sits at the edge of the scene, shy
and unsure how to enter. There is none of it now
that is not hollow.

What should burn in me remains hollow,
limp and useless when I am an ocean away from the storm, when I am here.
I can hear the throat-ripped shouts, the sound of now
the loudest thing ringing. The sight of buildings burning
drains the appetite for even the pretense of cheer. Shy
is the mouth at a time like this, when it’s set in my skin.

Grey is the color of the English sky’s skin,
bigger than a body, six times as hollow.
The people are shy
with shock, a six-bullet body doesn't happen here.
Only London was burning
with protest, shouting out the same “now.”

All time zones recognize a now.
Now is the instant the world hears of blood-stained skin
lying on the street, burning.
A holiday back home should not make this hollow,
and there is no excuse to turn your head here.
America has not been shy

about what we’re not grateful for. There’s been enough shy
voices that hesitate to speak before the gun. When we sit, now,
at the table, does its sound echo here?
It depends on the family’s skin.
Some hearts are hollow,
others are burning.

As the stove keeps burning
for the family feast, remember that we aren't shy
of fuel for a different fire. One that doesn't lick the hollow
edge of a pot but is still smoking now
on the streets, among the ashes. In our skin.
It has never not been here,

but it has cast off shyness now,
burning brighter, forging a thicker skin
to cover the hollow throats that shout they've had it up to here.
Thanksgiving '14
I wrote a sestina about the uncomfortable overlap between Thanksgiving and Ferguson from the perspective of being abroad (I'm studying in England at the moment). It's probably the longest poem I've ever written.
As I walk under gray skies, I take the tropics of Sublime and the passion of Regina Spektor with me:
enough of an escape to close my eyes in movement.
I notice how my gaze sets on others passing in varying temperatures and hues.
My mind swirls with all that is ahead of me.
My mind is ready for work.
My mind is ready for a nap.
My mind is ready for...
Stream of Consciousness
Not a fully formed poem, but something I liked enough to want to save. Maybe I'll come back to it later. c:
We trudge along some Polaroid-colored highway
in a nameless march. Trees spring-green, asphalt blinding.

Up ahead, Grandpa is waiting. Thin, gold sunrays fall around him,
touch the deep green grass, pierce the grand tree he stands under,
abundant with green.

His voice is back.
His face is back,
his arms are open.

He puts one around me, cars muffle.

Despite our hesitance for his age,
his slow, thin body,
he walks on with us.
I had this dream last night. Wish I could remember more.
In England, you see a lot of flowers that bloom in the rain:
pointed petals arch downward, bouncing above the two-legged stems
that glide beneath them.

Their roots are restless and tread earth quickly,
sending neural signals to shrink the petals
back into the bud from where they began.

I've seen one of these buds dangle from a girl’s wrist,
it was pink and delicate, hanging upside down.

In full bloom the flowers tower over us, their webbed metal fingers
outstretched like the bones of a bat,
keeping us between the water that nourishes them
and the sidewalk they float above.
A Study of Urban Botany
Done for a class exercise. Can you guess what this poem is about? c:
Mom, when I think about your birth,
I realize that your mother spent three years of her life
pregnant to make your family,
and you spent three years of yours to make us.
That’s incredible.

Your kindness nourished us from our roots up,
like giving us a jar of fireflies
only to teach us how to set them free.
When I think of you I hear your voice through your letters,
remember bread and the salt of butter,
the sweet hand lotion you used, the ships you’ve sailed.

When I’m thousands of miles away
your thoughtfulness still floats to me in ripples,
still asking about things I’ve already forgotten about.
When I’m not home, you’re making my bed to feel closer to me.

I know there are clichés in the tea you make us,
in the tampons you taught me to use;
it’s still love.

I may be twenty, but like the child’s misspelled valentine
this poem’s inadequate to all you do,
I couldn’t ever count the ways,
I don’t even know how old you’re turning.

I just hope I’ll age as gracefully as you--
with grey hairs weaving long into my braid,
with glitter in my eyes,
with your smile.
Mom's Birthday Card
This poem's on its way to her right now inside a package filled with English treats. I hope she enjoys it. ^_^


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