I usually write term-based pieces for Inspired Mag, but I’ll admit: I was too embarrassed to submit this one for their readership. However, I think this poem exemplifies taking an
Look, I’m not going to go into some long diatribe about how tech has altered the literal face of human interaction (I mean, I’m on the Internet to write this post, so who am I to talk?)…but I figured I’d write a little somethin’ somethin’ about my perception of the way things have become. I’m a member of the transitional generation: I remember electric typewriters and beepers, VHS players and Facebook when it was only open to college students at a select few colleges. I remember little notes in my lunch, and post cards sent from Vermont or the postal museum in DC. I remember cursive written poorly on a lined paper, reading stories alongside my grandmother at night while she turned a literal page. I remember the darkness of the room, with the only glow the small green light from our new computer. And funny to think, I’m only 26 through all this. So much has changed so fast, I’m worried I might be losing that happy darkness for the sacrifice of something so much more…meaningless. Active wastes of time. Addictions. Habits. Selfies. It’s hard to believe a sense of modesty was more present in our lives only ten or so years ago. Now we ask the world to judge us. Now we ask the world to see how happy or sad we are. Leggo’ my Ego. It’s become so big it might burst. Like, like, like. Like, like.
So here’s a poem, you know, to further the cause.
I knew you once when I was small,
a little girl of six or so
watching grandma in the kitchen make baked apples,
the smell of cinnamon so easy on a little nose.
I knew you once when I was bigger,
school a scary place then, but full of opportunities,
boys scared to call the house because my grandpa might answer,
his voice gruff with protectiveness.
I knew you, in the messages and wait times of dial up Internet,
listening to the music of connectivity
and the hope of four-hour conversations about nothing and everything,
a teenager who thought she knew the world.
I knew you when I told him no, I’m not ready for this,
and pushed his hand away like I’d swat a spider, even now.
You stood by me always, and I felt proud and shy and confident
that I was going to be someone worth something.
But like most friends, we started to grow apart.
With the social, came the need to be accepted;
with the need to be accepted came the photos of nearly everything,
the updates of nearly everywhere I went.
My Privacy, another friend, decided he couldn’t stay,
unable to adjust to change in necessity to keep private life,
And Modesty, you tried. You called me every chance you got, until one night,
I texted you,
fingers full of need to tell, tell, tell,
and you couldn’t stay.
You told me I’d changed.
You told me it wasn’t the same.
And years later, when I found how much liking had superseded love,
I called you,
begged for you to come back…
we chatted like old friends do,
as if it had only been minutes instead of days,
and laughed at the ways the world was mocking Privacy,
pretending to be friends with him,
the way friends do when they need something.
To feel like they hadn’t lost themselves
I am very much aware
there in between year 1 and year 2
there was a time when I
was sad or crying,
about my intentions or how I was really feeling
when you said that,
or just didn’t.
There was a time,
I laughed so hard the car shook
with joke-heavy drops
of happiness slowly soaking into the seats
like cigarette smoke
into even the most resistant hair.
between year 1 and 2
flying without reason,
through similar seasons,
where every day is spring or summer
to have missed the first flecks of snow,
but you cannot miss what you didn’t know,
that I could be so different,
like machinists installed me with
so automatic I forgot
to be sad or to cry
my heart pumped so high
I ignored the fact that I should pop.
And when the moments stopped—
When I breathed again.
I could feel you,
there between year 1 and year 2,
nestled down in runner’s gait,
ready for year 3 through 98,
for the auto-happy,
of which I am very much aware.
I want to take my week
throw it in a ball
and rocket it, expert aim
into the trash, lined with a bag
because buying the bags that fit
tiny trash cans
like death too young
19, 26, 60
(60 is the new 35)
or forgetting moments
that should have mattered,
goldfish memory peeking
through a fish tank brain,
moments popping in rapid-fire bubbles,
dances, crushes, firsts,
pop pop goose
a broken sphere and the memories float
into the air.
still living the past in photographs,
long due conversations,
watch this week in awe:
life, a claw machine
so weak, its grasp,
that you can never quite catch
that stuffed T. Rex,
you’re stuck with second best:
the rainbow unicorn giggling
in spectrum glow
knowing what you don’t know…
how to beat it — this arcade game called life,
the tears, a token,
more interested in ski ball
than claw machine,
know real survival
is in the center cup,
because even if you don’t hit it,
you’ll still win tickets,
the currency of gods
and your tear tokens
your memory bubbles
your life lived—
a gift to the odds,
the claw machine
a false practice in disappointment,
not fully lived.
I much prefer ski ball.
I was told very recently that I should not stop writing poetry, despite life’s tendency to make me procrastinate. But I haven’t procrastinated, not really. I started working at a job I really enjoy. Still doing Zumba (getting certified on Sunday!). And still making changes to myself I didn’t think were possible. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, and I have my friends, my boyfriend, my employers (both current and previous not counting my internship), and my family to thank for it. So here’s a poem about young love, because love should always remain youthful—butterflies and all.
Young Love, A Poem
I fell in love for the first time,
when I was seven
because at seven
were easier to come by
than Followers and #hashtags,
walls you couldn’t climb
and photos unfiltered.
I used a typewriter then,
to finish science projects and school essays
taking paper to the back of paper,
to get rid of a mistake;
if all else failed
used White Out
before White Out
I fell in love again
when young love kissed me on the forehead
without me knowing,
one year older
but not wiser
that one day
he would break my little heart
like cracking open a piñata
with a bat.
And from there the candy flowed,
pieces of piñata heart fluttering—
playing with the air like twirling curls
(much like I did at sixteen,
because I’d seen it in a movie once).
And if he saw me now,
another piñata heart later,
he’d see me whole again,
plastered together with little bits
of super glue
sun glinting differently with every
life turn or “I love you”
whispered in older ears,
against the faint jingle of mnemonic bells:
a dream a heart had wished it made,
a kiss to wake from sleeping,
the dragons finally slain.
Internet, it’s been too long…I think more than two months. But oh, it’s been good.
So I won’t make promises. I won’t say I’ll write tomorrow or a month from now. My only promise: I will write. An occasional postcard in the form of a poem. Like today, sent from the 90s.
8 7 95
I picked up a photograph—
the already ancient kind—
processed when sharing
meant showing you an album
in the form of a book.
Time stamp: 8 7 95.
One look: amazingly content.
And I stood,
hand up to ear, elbows bent
like teapot handles.
No fear of the future,
only upside down roller coasters
at Disney World.
I was 7.
My arm cocked, model-style
like the older girls in my mom’s magazines
yet to be a teen
or even 8 (there were still 3 months til then).
But I knew more then
than I know now.
I knew I’d be older
I knew I was happy
I knew how to erase words
on a typewriter.
(“What the hell’s a typewriter?”)
And now I’m decked with unsure:
and several years
But when I turned eleven,
I did learn plenty.
A picture worth more than a thousand words.
More like a zillion minutes
since August 7, 1995.
I have been writing so often for work, I have neglected my own site. A terrible thing, but a wonderful one. Because it means I have a job. And that means I’ve stopped twiddling my thumbs and that I could finally afford a new phone on which I play Candy Crush Saga all too often.
So at this job, one of my responsibilities is blogging. So here’s a poem about that.
The Blog Post, a Poem
I left you unattended, untitled
for click or clack
of computer keys,
the virtual “Hey, I found you,”
the Internet’s validation
that you just might be good enough
to warrant analytics.
But my first mistake
and a sentence,
too long for any eyes to breathe
properly without blinking
for at least three gulps of air,
oh, the second mistake
was believing quantity over quality could attract
lovers of your words,
without keyword or caption,
image or infographic.
But the world is different now.
Content—good content—is lord commander.
Your facts, limited.
Your entertainment value,
perhaps slightly humorous
with a hint of,
“I feel like I’ve heard this before.”
And that’s what you get
when you put rank above substance.
You get cookie-cutter and repetition.
And I wasn’t proud.
So I left you unattended, untitled,
so no one would find you,
so Search Engines would be Lost and Never Found Engines.
I feel like I’m always apologizing for taking forever between posts, but I’m proud to say the reason it’s been taking me so long is because I got a job. Yes, me. No more screwy internships or time spent at Starbucks doing nothing but submitting resumes. And believe me, I am super happy about it. Plus, today marks my one month with SEO Brand and I’ve been feeling awesome all day. Cheers to cool things happening.
And to emphasize the dorkiness that is my life, and to stick with what I’ve been doing ever so recently, here is a poem about designing a newsletter—sort of.
I wanted to tell you
that something good has happened,
but you ignore me
like you do
to all my emails
even though I tried
to spice it up
like I added makeup
and something more comfortable
a few nights prior
for the other you
the one who still
will not read my face
because the idea of it
goes directly to your spam folder
as do all faces
that show you love
as do all emails
that show you opportunity
when sent with a subject
and when I made
filled my email with imagery
and a better way
you glimpsed it briefly
and I could not reach you again.
Miami Vices, a poem
I wasn’t innocent
like I tell them in my stories,
hiding behind crushes and blushes,
little words like,
“It’s all his fault”
“I didn’t do anything”
“He was such an ass.”
Not all him.
him and others
like I hurt
just to feel the Miami-style drama
that goes along
with Miami-style love.
Like, oh my god
the man is such a boy.
You feel me?
You’ll say this to friends,
who live vicariously
through your crazy
and you, complaining about the stress
of trying love out for a second time,
you tell the world you want calm
on Facebook, beside a photo of a cat,
on Twitter, #singleandnotlovingit
on Instagram, duckfaced for all;
but it’s obvious, linda
you want the drama
because when it comes to relationships,
commitment is boring,
the stories too innocent,
the city somewhere outside Miami,
with less than 305 ways to say,
“I need you.”
Have you ever had a bowl of Lucky Charms? This is a poem about Lucky, the leprechaun on the front of the box. Yes, I’m serious.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Lucky in Love
The marshmallows may have changed over the years,
but I have not:
my love for you still filled to the bowl brim
red balloons floating in the air,
being picked from milk-colored skies
because the cereal itself
is just not so good
to warrant floating.
You clamp your feet down,
purple shoes neighing for attention,
under blue moons curved like a smile.
Stay a while,
and I’ll let you have me,
blinding like the light
from a thousand orange shooting stars.
Envy, all will envy.
Faces clover green and
pink hearts racing,
and facing each other,
we’ll exchange words like bits
of potted gold,
whether young or old,
I’ll keep you through rain and rainbow.
Despite claims too much affection is malnutritious,
despite kids beyond vicious…
Our love remains:
I’ve spent a lot of time at Starbucks these days: job hunting, caffeine consuming, wishfully thinking. So this is me, writing a poem about it.
The Coffee Shop, a poem
I like the way you mispronounce
the word espresso to sound like
that word we use
when we’re on the go, go, go
your words so quick,
I feel slow
reading Italian names
like I was supposed to know them all my life.
The caffeinated unite
to greet you,
your java tricks slick
on the upsell;
like a lady in the sun,
for maybe three hours.
When you ask me what I want,
embarrassed in front of barista and bean
for ordering a cup of iced tea mixed with lemonade;
the scoff of coffee drinkers
strong like their liquid,
three shots to no sleep.