365 Poems in 2018: Week 1

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Happy New Year, my dear friends. 

The end of 2017 found me both elated and heartsick, an imbalance from which my heart has had trouble coping. It's true that the year brought me endless triumphs: I successfully self-published my second book, hosted my first book signing, completed another year of National Novel Writing Month, and I completed my graduation requirements for my Bachelor's degree. Yay on all fronts! But it also brought heartache, particularly in its last four months, and coming off the heels of devastation has left me tired in a way I haven't felt in years. 

In the throes of this bone-deep exhaustion, I found myself drawn again and again to the pen, to notebooks, and to fresh Word documents. Not all that I've written has been good, of course. Many words will remain buried in piles of crumpled pages and stuffed deep in hard drives where only the biggest virtual dust bunnies dare dwell. Such is the nature of the craft. But I've be reintroduced to the idea that the best way for me to come to terms with life, and to understand my emotions and, through them, myself, is through writing. There's got to be a reason I've been at this for twenty-some years, right?

And so, in 2018, I'm making a commitment. I will write one poem every day for 365 days; a full year of poetry! I'll be sharing them here each week, until New Year's Day comes around again. 

Without further ado, I present to you: A Year in Poetry 2018: Week One!


UNAPOLOGETIC | January 1

I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE

for taking up space, 
for it is mine to take.
I will not shrink myself
to fit your mold.
You cannot stick me
in a box for safekeeping.
I am wildfires and
hurricane winds, and I
cannot be contained.
I cannot be lassoed, I
cannot be stamped out.
You will not water me
down, for I am the envy
of the ocean and I will
drown you in my waves.

This is me:
messy and wild,
untamed. 
This is me:
screaming and
silent.
This is me: 
and if it is too
much
for you - 

I am not sorry.

STARLIGHT | January 2

You look at stars
and wish that you
could harness their
radiance, 

Envy the constellations
their nightly glow.
And you draw maps of
the cosmos, circle

Sirius - Canopus, 
Vegas and Capella.
And once your
father told you
about the bright
North Star, how
men search the
night sky for her

and you fell so deep
inside the tale,
so obsessed with the
light pin-pricking the night,
you never realized:

you are the Moon.

THEY SAY | January 3

"They say" is what you tell me when what I’m doing is not acceptable to you. It is not acceptable to you because it is not acceptable to them. And oh, how you follow them with your head down. You kiss the ground they walk on. They say jump, and darling, you jump so high you hit the sun and, yes, it burns. Sears you, scars you. Like Icarus you fall on ashen wings and, oh, when you hit the ground, they are nowhere.

And yet, when I emerge in moonlight, you turn your head to the sky and scoff, "They say the sun can soothe the soul. And that the moon will make you crazy."

PAPIER-MÂCHÉ | January 4

I made of pages fallen from old books
folded into a caricature of a person,

with frayed edges
and the scattered thoughts of bored
students scrawled hastily in the corners

scraps of other people’s thoughts
stuck inside,
surrounding a heart of first drafts,

my ribs spell out of tables of contents,
my leather-back spine - unbreakable,

and a papier-mâché skull
too small to hold the stories stuffed inside,

all the lifetimes I have lived
inside the books that built me.

WEIGHTLESS | January 5

I will no longer harbor hatred;
this body is not a haven for hostility,
nor does it exist to safeguard harsh energy.

If you cut me, I bleed only well wishes
and forgiveness, for I choose to live in harmony
with the demons that you left me.

I will set a place for them at my table
and nurse their weary souls - they are welcome in this heart,
for I have furnished the empty rooms you left inside.

I have packaged anger, and hurt;
they are in boxes at the end of the drive and
if you want them, they are yours to take.

I will not let their leaden weight pull me,
for I would rather walk this earth with scars
than stay buried underneath it.

HIDE & SEEK | January 6

We never played hide-and-seek;

when I was young you taught me to play chess on a glass board. I don’t know where it is now, but I remember rescuing the pieces from a dog’s wagging tail. We played Chinese checkers while old Westerns played, and you said all the lines before John Wayne did. You beat me in Scrabble every time we played - sometimes you would cheat, but sometimes you would teach me words I’d never heard before, and I didn’t care much that I’d lost the game because I’d won a vocabulary that sounded like yours.

But we never did play hide-and-seek. If we did I’d make some metaphor about how it feels like you are hiding, and I am meant to find you. But you aren’t hiding. And we never did play.

And now would be a silly time to start.

MUSINGS ON THE MOON AND SUN January 7

Do you ever wonder what the sun says to the moon
in their quiet passing on the cusp of dusk,
or the edge of dawn?

What secrets are shared between them?
These rulers of the sky, what do they in those brief and fleeting moments
when the sky turns purple to end the day,
or greet one new, say to one another?

Do they scream ‘I love yous’ in thunder claps, or whisper in summer breezes?
Or maybe they are softer, still.
In these cyclic moments that pull day and night overhead.
Wishes for pleasant days, or quiet nights.

Golden rays and silver moonbeams reaching, never to touch,
but always to love.