Educated

EDUCATED

Educated
The trees taught me how to whisper,
While the clouds showed me grace.
The sweet little fawn liked carrots, like I did
And the birds were the ones that told me to fly away.
Tiptoeing on pine needles,
I asked to befriend the crickets
So they would let me lay with them at night.
But eventually, the blossoms had to bid me goodbye
As I kissed my last dragonfly,
The one that sat on top of the cattail
By my family’s old pond.
The one I would plunge into to scream or cry
And on my way out, soaking and wrecked
Would eat the blackberries that hid under the deck.
I used to hide too,
Under our soon-to-be Christmas trees
That lined my family’s property.
Those old woods feel haunted to me now.
A grown woman staring at grass
And all the memories that have now come to pass.
The streams all dried up.
The light dimmer than it was,
Calling it home, just because.
Nostalgia smells different to a girl like me.
What I lacked in lullabies and story time
What I may have missed from board games and birthdays
I was given.
I was given countless kisses from the rain
And tickles from the leaves
An imagination on fire.
Nature gave me the gift of listening
She warmed me with her blanket of sun
And granted me a life being forever young.
When we live among giants,
Like the great eastern white pines of Michigan
How can we feel like we do not have teachers?
The rings of their age
Their wisdom and their sage
They are the religion,
Our most literate preachers.
For my next breath, I will have the space to look up
The seeds are planted, and my roots are deep
For the sky reminds me to be big.

It Is All For You

IT IS ALL FOR YOU

It Is All For You
It’s just you in this field,
But I’m here too.
You breathe me in
And don’t even notice.
Your words drift on my wind
As your hands graze my grasslands
But your eyes look past my mountains.
My birds sing for you
And my branches always reach out
Asking only for footsteps in return,
I’ll give you all of me.

It’s Not Black and White, It’s Gray

IT'S NOT BLACK AND WHITE, IT'S GRAY

It’s Not Black and White, It’s Gray
Birds twirl in the sky like sheets of loose paper
As raindrops fall in the absence of my footsteps.
The clouds marbled and wispy
As I whisper,
That I’m wistful.
New trees arch toward their spotlight
While dewy kisses plant on my cheeks
From the darker side of the sky.
I like getting wet, getting muddy
The raw grit of the Earth.
Pour down in buckets
To cleanse and to coat
Leave me soaking and silent on this street.
I’m happy here, alone and cold with you.
I found the place you wanted me to,
Where it’s okay to be gray.
For just like the sky,
So am I.

Painted Ladies

PAINTED LADIES

Painted Ladies
Painted ladies brushstroke by
As the ink sets in to dry
Truth sets you free,
But where are you, and where is he?
Softly stepping on the sidewalk
As men sleep in driveways
Under the slowly warming sky.
These ladies broke through their cocoons
To migrate and mate
As I’ve done.
Both heading towards the Pacific Northwest
Somewhere with trees
In hope of creating families.
I’ll float alongside you, little butterflies
I’ll take each step with closed eyes,
The tiles may be falling off the walls
But I’m outside now
In motion, and in love for no reason at all.
Brushstroking by
Underneath the still warming sky.

You Are Stronger Than You Think

YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK

You Are Stronger Than You Think
When everything is quiet
And you’re nowhere to be found
I begin to blacken pages,
Writing to sages,
About girls in dresses
Walking alone in sunsets
And butterflies silhouetted by moonlight.
We’re all just homesick.
Touching trees and one another
Getting one step closer.
I’ll see you all there
But right now, I’m in repair.
I’m glad it’s warm out,
My sweat reminds me to release
With every breath, I feel a little more at peace.
I close my eyes and walk on ledges now.
My heart is louder than it used to be
Seeing rainbows on my skin previously unseen.
So go ahead little girl,
You have what you need in this world.
You want new words?
Then write to them.
Put jasmine in your hair
Gift love and lightning everywhere.
They might have stars on thars,
And you might have scars on yours
But Jesus, you are brave.
You never wanted normal anyways.
A pang of hunger and curiosity fit for a Queen.
So conquer, love harder and stand up in your dream.
Dance with your own shadow
Kiss your weak knees
Fill your lungs, wraps your hands, stretch your muscles that aren’t yet sore.
Look up to your home and say, “Please,”
“Give me more.”

Craving Connection

CHINESE NEW YEAR

Craving Connection
The nameless old man walked slowly down the street.
Purposefully he placed each foot
Like a gentle kiss on the Earth beneath him.
Walking towards her
A beacon, on the sun-drenched stoop.
Her golden, red hair and head in prayer,
Quietly he approached her.
Not to break either meditative concentrations
But with thought, he asked,
“Why are you so sad, little girl?”
The sleepwalking sweetheart only raised her head.
Like a buttercup humbly accepting the first amber glow of day.
Her arm extended like a morning stretch
Moving through water,
Breath low in her belly.
She simply touched his arm in connected relief.
Without breaking any code of silence,
He heard her unspoken words.
His body a bristlecone pine,
A living witness to more than a million sunrises and sunsets.
The ground became a symphony of economy
And her, the conductor.
Stillness lowered the gravity of the air around them.
And just for that moment,
The only two people in existence
Were the nameless old man and that sad little girl.

A Dying Man’s Last Breath

A DYING MANS LAST BREATH

A Dying Man’s Last Breath
As the ripe November moon rises
The not yet old man lays dying.
Not on his bed, nor on his floor,
Somewhere in between.
Discerning his last breath,
For only a moment, with gravity and importance.
Fragrant childhood fields of tiger lilies
Begin to bloom in his married room,
And the smell of old red and rotted barn doors.
Fantastic is the taste of a sweet and plump tomato,
Round and robbed right out of his mother’s garden.
The only background music,
A soft hum of Indianian wind through cattails.
Endless sunshine soaks his skin which now is filled with absolute youth.
Thousands of unreserved sunsets
That turn to a lifetime of coruscating evening skies.
66 years of first kisses grace his lips,
So does that bitter bathtub gin from senior prom.
Accomplishment arrives in his chest,
Inflating with words from his father, “I’m proud of you, son,”
Awakening in his fading ears.
Then he sees her.
In a form of remembered innocence,
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his taste for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Looking down, now dressed in his bridegroom clothes.
And her,
In a springtime of white and wonder.
Hearts hopeful with promise and eager to begin
His hands idle to build something.
A home.
Seemingly no time passes before she is quick with child.
And then he sees her.
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his adoration for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Feeding her watermelon with salt sprinkled on top
Just to watch her little nose crinkle.
The smell of fresh-cut, summer-kissed and dewy dawned grass
And her little toes.
How could anything ever be so tiny?
His arms warm with heavy bodies of wife and child.
A warmth that cascades
A warmth like a waterfall of tenderness over steep rocks of stoic features.
Seemingly no time passes and yet another miracle is delivered.
Then he sees her.
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his thanksgiving for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Pink satin swirling in his room,
His girls dancing in princess costumes.
His hair, now, a black and white photograph
As his girls all shine with vibrant hues of tenacity and resilience.
Flying and soaring over his perfectly manicured landscape
He planted over 100 pine trees,
His living picture frame proudly displaying what he had built.
Hands now lined, scarred, tattered and weak
As they grasp the bedside table in preparation for his last exhale.
His final act as a husband.
His final act as a father.
His final act as a man.
As millions of others have done before,
But not quite like him.
No, not quite like him at all.
He stood, so very tall,
Overlooking his kingdom,
On the sanded, stained and decades-old porch he built with his own two hands,
And the hands of his wife,
And the hands of his daughters.
Gentle snow or ash or princess glitter falls, tingling on his not yet old skin
As he smiles,
Welcoming the warmth of a new day.