Strength in Fragility and Cirque D'Etoiles (revised)

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Strength in Fragility

 

(A response to this poem I saw on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/vzSE0mwRHj/)

 

You put up such a strong front

Proud as a peacock,

strutting your stuff for all to see.

Inside, you see yourself as fragile

Using a stranger’s love

to fulfill some validation or need.

 

I understand the yearning for someone

But look at the truths that surround you

They speak of your true strength,

not the facsimile of pride,

but the beauty you have within.

 

You may be fragile, but you haven’t broken

In movement, you build up a warrior’s strength

Like a star, you shine brightly in the dark

and you don’t shine alone.

You are never as alone as you think you are.

 

It’s so easily to lose yourself

trying to gain a strangers approval,

to make an easy lie

with the click of a cameraphone.

Let go of all of that.

 

Jump over the fences blocking your way.

Keep dancing to the music

and go play in the street.

You’re just beginning to learn

how to follow your own beat.

 

 

Cirque d’Etoiles (Circus of the Stars, revised)

 

So many people have been passing away.

I wish it could stop.

Death has been constantly on my mind

ever since I first lost somebody I loved.

It was their time, I know,

but it hurt me because that person mattered to me.

I have people in my life who are growing old

I wonder when their time will come.

It’s never easy to understand.

It’s always sudden.

And it’s always painful.

 

What hurts more is when people lack empathy

when I try to make sense out of the senselessness of death.

Their empty hearts hurt

 

It doesn’t matter to me that I never knew these people

and that they never knew me.

These are people whose light shined into others’ lives.

Somebody out there

has just lost

a husband, a father, a son, a mother, a daughter, a wife.

They may have been as distant to me as the stars in the sky,

But their light still shined into my life.

And now their stars have gone out.

 

All things tend towards chaos

Life is the tightrope we walk to avoid it

Suddenly

Unexpectedly

Death arrives like the ricochet from a cannon’s blast

Throwing everything off-kilter

Down into the black without a safety net

 

Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints

Every life shines and fades as quickly as a meteorite in the sky

Millions of meteorites fall everyday,

yet supernovas are the ones that shake us up

We can understand the death of an old, worn out star

Yet when other stars die out, especially in quick succession,

it throws the universe off-balance

more than the deaths of little comets and meteorites

 

Is it just the succession?

The confusing juxtaposition between the end of one life

and the continuation of another?

The stars are supposed to be constant

yet they fall and they fade and they die

and nobody understands,

nobody explains why.

 

Maybe it’s not the fault in our stars

that throws us off our tightropes

Maybe each supernova

reminds us that we’re each a little infinity

and some infinities are bigger than other infinities

Stars fall and fade and die

but each supernova gives birth to something new

With each piece from the fallen stars,

we create an order out of the chaos

embracing the infinite

 

No safety net is needed

because our hearts are our wings

Love, the fuel that propels us to fly

You can take the stars out of the sky

but you can never take the sky itself

With love, we send a kiss out to the stars

Creating tiny pieces of light that shine in the dark

Catch-22 April Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 5

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Startup Stock Photos

Prompt: Experience/Inexperience

Most jobs have “experience” as a requirement
People casting out lines, learning the art of enticement
But you can’t get experience without a job
Even with a degree, people have to lob
Getting a real job isn’t something we instinctively knew
No knowledge from school is enough to break through.
Do resumes really capture the full extent of our worth?
Can a cover letter give us an opportunity’s birth?
Every interview feels like a bad date
You’re expected to dress up, show up and wait.
Then they ask you questions and you put on a good face
You ask them a few questions and try to make your case
Then they say they’ll call, but the line’s always dead.
Why can’t they just say “no” outright instead?
It’s especially hard for the awkward and shy
Whose true talents lie hidden to opportunistic eyes
Or for artists who want to break out of the mold
Only to “sell out” and just do as they’re told.
Still, there is hope that a living can be made.
Just think out of the box and make up a trade.
Create the right words and phrases and the money will roll in.
It’ll just take a while, but new chances will begin.

I Am A Woman: A Poem

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I am a woman facing uncertainty
Sometimes my best laid plains are just castles in the sky
Other times, my desires are like flowers
I learn to bloom where I’m planted

I am a woman like a tree covered with scars
I am not broken by those who caused them
Like a soda bottle, I get shaken a lot
Like a vodka martini, I never get stirred

I am a woman whose feelings stir her heart like the currents of the sea
I’m caught in their riptide, but i’m not drowning
I’m swimming for my life in an ocean of grace
More often than not, I find myself sinking

I am a woman who sinks down at the party, wearing a mask
Acting like a monster to scare people away
Sometimes I do this to see who’s left standing
Other times I do it so that they’ll leave me alone

I am a woman who feels lonely a lot
Trying to find belonging from anywhere and everywhere
Getting nowhere with my charade
Wishing for companions like how girls wish for horses

I am a woman who knows what she wants
My dreams become stories and I write them all down
Hoping that my words will resonate with others
I’m writing in the hope, in the knowledge that I am not alone

I am a woman

Hollow Vessels

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When is it ever gonna be enough?

Why can’t nice ever receive real good?

When can fear protect instead of leading to hate?

Why does love always end

before it ever begins?

How much of ourselves do we have to give

before we can begin to receive?

 

Too many times have we been burned

and yet strangers look at us-

These hollow vessels

and call it beautiful?

 

We are but shells

All we do is take in emptiness

and pour out love that was never ours

We give and give and give

until I can’t give anymore.

We are hollow shells of armor

knocked over by the slightest unexpected wind.

 

When can we let our walls go down?

When can we stop being afraid?

How can we ever be ready

when all we feel is pain?

 

From the Big Easy to the Emerald Coast

So I was pretty much out for four whole days, travelling to New Orleans and Northwest Florida. It was a really good weekend, given the beauty of St. Louis Cathedral and the gorgeous view from my hotel room and the epic awesomeness that was the Bad Blood music video by Taylor Swift.

The first stop on our road trip was New Orleans.

When I first wanted to go to New Orleans, we got lost and ended up in some run-down areas. Then, when we actually got to the city, it was crowded with traffic and a lot of party-goers, including a guy standing barefoot outside of a bar, drinking a beer. They don’t call New Orleans “the big easy” for nothing.

This time, my mom picked a different area for us to go to: Jackson Square. We arrived on a rainy late morning/early afternoon. The city wasn’t as crowded, even though it was a Friday, and I could see the beauty of the city. It’s a unique city, to be sure, and a very noisy one. But unlike New York City, the noise of New Orleans comes from the jazz bands and performance artists playing on the street corners. We ate lunch at a food court in a building called Jackson Brewery.

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My dad and brother, ever the NCIS fanatics, were quick to point out the various streets and landmarks that they saw in NCIS: New Orleans. I always love it when a show films on-location and a city like New Orleans is easily imitated but never duplicated.

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We went inside the Cathedral of St. Louis, the oldest cathedral in North America. There was amazing artwork on the ceiling and all around the church.

 

The only weird part was that I noticed a row of fortune tellers outside of the Cathedral. I guess rain isn’t a deterring factor for them.

After hours of driving, we finally arrived in the town of Crestview, Florida, which was a little outside of Destin and a lot rainier. My first day on the beach was cloudy and my glasses were tinted so darkly that even when the sun came out, I saw the whole beach as if it was dusk or early evening. It was also really windy, so I decided to just sit on the beach and do some light reading.

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I’m about halfway through with it and will write about it once I’ve finished it.

I really wanted to go somewhere other than the beach or shopping. We managed to find a museum, specifically the Air Force Armament Museum, but the place had a strict dress code: no shirt, no shoes, no entry. Given that my family and I were straight from the beach in flip flops and shorts, we wandered around the outside of the museum, which displayed a lot of old airplanes.

Most of the vacation was spent at the beach or hanging out at the hotel. I even got to swim in a pool for the first time in forever. But even out on the beach, my mind was still on Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and it did not disappoint when it premiered on Sunday night (although Taylor’s outfit for the Billboard Awards kinda did). I was really surprised that the video turned out to be a rap remix, but the video itself was awesome, with references to movies such as The Fifth ElementFight Club, and The Expendables. If I was in the video, my character’s name would be Illyria after one of my favorite characters from Angel.

Not everything in this vacation was perfect, though. For example, my family and I went to Mass at the closest church we could find. The church was nice-looking, but compared to the gorgeous cathedral in New Orleans, it was a few steps down. Then I had to endure a video about diocesan improvement during the homily, which really stinks given it was the feast of the Ascension. But I knew that churches did this kind of thing once in a while. Just when I thought things would be okay, though, the recessional hymn was the ever-dreaded “Go Make a Difference.” It was my first time actually hearing the song and I wanted to throw up in my pew. Even the worst of the Praise and Worship genre would’ve been a God-send compared to this song. And keep in mind I’m the girl who likes “Ashes,” “On Eagle’s Wings,” and “Here I Am Lord.” The worst part, though, was that I couldn’t decide what I wanted to buy from the church’s Lighthouse Catholic Media/Dynamic Catholic kiosk because they had a lot of great CDs and books. I ended up leaving without buying anything. But maybe, given the less-than-stellar Mass, it was better that way.

On my last day, we took pictures at the beach outside of the hotel and had breakfast at Waffle House. Then, we endured a lot of pouring rain on the long road home. We prayed a Rosary to get us through. By the grace of God, we made it home safely.

 

Going on vacation is always fun, but getting home is still my favorite part.

I was inspired enough to write 2 poems.

 

Song of New Orleans

The city is dizzy, filled with twists and turns

Always a party wherever you go.

The streets are alive with the noises of the city,

a mix of trombones and trumpets,

street performers, artists,

and steamboats playing merry old tunes.

The city mixes the old and the new

Its citizens dance along,

in a strange chaotic order.

New Orleans dances to its own strange beat

Making a symphony out of cacophony.

 

Oceans and Pools

Swimming in a pool is always safe

The water is shallow and warm

inviting and easy

clean and nice

but oh so small

The ocean is not the safest place to swim

It’s vast and cold

unpredictable and fierce

Sharks and trash swim in the water

and if you aren’t careful, you’d drown

But oh the pull of the sea

call us out of our pools

We face the waves

and let ourselves get swept in he tide

Tasting the salt on our tongues

that makes us thirst for more

Instead of the sterile scent of bleach,

we are intoxicated by the air of the sea

We keep our eyes on the beauty of the waves

A mix of seafoam and sky

The water mirrors the heavens for a brief moment

as it lays still on the sand

But like our lives, the reflections are washed by the tide

The oceans call us to go deep into their waters

The fear diminishes as we sink in

Immersing ourselves in the ocean of grace

 

Tomorrow Comes: A Sonnet on the Easter Vigil

40 days have come and gone

I went into the desert and came back again

There were days that I had to press on

Days when my spirit and faith were drained

And then there were days when my heart soared

Days that I learned many valuable things

Days when the right song would strike a chord

And all I wanted to do was sing

Now these days are coming to an end

Spring has arrived with flowers in bloomed

I learned to have home, on faith I would depend

Faith that came from an empty tomb

When the Son rises, we play the fife and drums

As we celebrate Easter when tomorrow comes

 

The Wreck of the Day On Red Hotel Paper

A Found Poem of Lyrics from Taylor Swift, Michelle Branch, and Anna Nalick

 

2AM

In my room

I’m still awake

The lingering question kept me up

Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?

I think of you

Feeling like I just lost a friend

Remember that fight in your car

The memories start

You say I’ve been driving you crazy

 

I see your face in my mind

as you drive straight ahead

Away from the wreck of the day

I’m calling on Jesus

I’m cursing your name

He’s everything I know

that makes me believe I’m not alone

He’s the teardrops on my guitar

His love doesn’t hurt so I know

I’m not falling in love

I’m just falling to pieces

I’m tied together with a smile

And I’m coming undone

 

I’m sitting on the citadel

On the outside looking in

I screamed so loud

Don’t worry about this heart of mine

Let me love you, let me want you

You’re gonna break my heart anyway

Hey can you talk a little louder?

I don’t think my heart is broken enough

But no one heard a thing

 

You just see right through me

You saw me there, but never knew

But if you only knew

I wanted everything

A part of this, a part of you

I’m the one who understands you

Why can’t you see?

Don’t just walk away

pretending everything’s okay

Cuz I don’t wanna lie

That I’m okay and I’m alright

 

It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time

I never planned on you changing your mind

I want you, but I’m not giving in this time

I don’t wanna be the only one who’s drowning in their misery

Someday love will find me

 

No one can find the rewind button now

I cradle my head in my hands and breathe

Let it fill the space between

I have to breathe without you, I have to

 

JMJ

Two Poems, One Retreat.

These are two poems I wrote during my first time staffing Bayou Awakening. Think of it as a “before” and “after” of what it means to learn humility.

 

Like Water

 

Dripping

Running

Flowing

Giving life yet getting nothing

I am poured out into an unknown place

Not raging

Not calm

Now flowing

A river constantly running

Like water, I am unseen

I am giving, yet I receive nothing

And I’m not sure where I’m going

I want to be still

Find the ocean of grace

But like a waterfall

I am poured out

Fading into the mist

 

Like Water

 

Poured

Running

Flowing

Giving life and receiving love

I am poured into His embrace

Not raging

Not still

But flowing

I am a waterfall

Giving all that I am in His name

Although I don’t know where I’m going

He is always with me

I flow to the ocean of His grace

Poured out

And filled with Him

The Monster In Me: A Poem

As a child I wanted to explore everything

Wanting to understand all I saw

Following stories of scientists and detectives

My role models were the kinds that wore uniforms and lab coats

But one day I got lost

I followed a rabbit where I shouldn’t have gone

 

All of a sudden, I started falling downward

Down, down, down

In love

In drama

In worlds far beyond my reach

I got lost in the stories

And in the stories I found a monster

The monster lashed out at my own friends

for not acting in a certain way

The monster despised the world I lived in,

preferring the chaos of her wonderland

Illusions became more valuable than gold

And all I could do was write

Write the monster’s laments as if they were my own

How little did I know, how quickly did I grow

 

In a large barren dust bowl,

my monster told me her name

Autism was her species

Aspergers, her claim to fame

She wasn’t the result of faulty software

but built by the creator with a different hardware

She processed my thoughts, filtering them like coffee

Strong and harsh and bitter at times

until I added some milk or some artificial sweet

to make some version of me complete.

I denied this monster’s existence for a long time

Still lost in the harsh blinding sun

Far from what I used to know.

I put her in a drawer,

hoping she’d be forgotten,

falling for the lies of different monsters instead.

These monsters came

in the form of handsome men

And it wasn’t until they were gone

that I realized they never saved me.

 

My monster came back with a vengeance

as I transitioned from high school to college.

We walked on a tightrope

between the dark wonderland we knew

and a land of a thousand stars that shined in the distance

My monster and I fell down again

but landed in a safety net

in the land of a thousand stars

Stars that shone brightly in the dark, black sky

But I loved each new day as much as the night.

I started introducing my monster to my friends

who were surprised she even existed.

Little did either of us know

that this starry paradise had hunters in the foxholes.

 

One night, I was caught in a tidal wave

and found myself naked for all to see

My monster took over and started shrieking

singing out her agony

We drowned in a torrent of negative thoughts

with no one to save us

Nobody helped.

As the tide washed out,

the Queen of Foxhunters took us to court

and commanded my monster to chop off her own head.

Instead, we ran as far as we could

away from the heartless queen and her hunters.

 

We made a plan to work together.

The monster learned to be more like the others

And I hid safely inside a white tent

until a knight in shining armor

came and asked me to dance with him.

My monster was puzzled by this new man

And sometimes she would cover my mouth.

While I worried about why my white knight

seemed to be walking a tightrope of his own.

 

Then all of a sudden

Everything started falling away

Changing too fast for either me or my monster to handle.

The white knight got on his horse and rode off without us

Then we lost a beloved friend

Then we had to leave the starry land

No more games in the clean, white tent.

No solid ground, no safety net.

 

Wandering around, we got stuck in a rut

Lost in a maze with no way out

A little maiden in the maze started stringing us along

But when we came to a dead end,

the maiden became a minotaur

My monster couldn’t handle the minotaur’s strength

With a pierce of a horn, my monster lost

She fell down again

Shattered

Crying

And I limped along with my monster to safety

Not looking back, fearing the minotaur’s chasing.

 

Out of the labyrinth, we got caught in a storm

Constant rain pouring down on us.

But we stayed in the storm and let it wash us clean

It became the source of our growth, the source of our healing

The water healed my monster and stopped the bleeding.

Then the rain was gone and the sun came out.

I saw a reflection of the monster in the water

Except the reflection was that of my face

The monster was inside me all along.

Like a softer Hyde to my little Jekyll

or a female version of that big green thing

The monster’s still in me, being sought by the hunters

Too bad they don’t know I have the strength to protect her

After all, she’s a part of me

 

She’s the armor I wear and the tears that I shed

She’s the sword in my hand and the thoughts in my head

She’s my curiosity, insatiable in her hunger

Devouring knowledge and building new dreams

She’s a part of me without being all of me

And I wouldn’t want it any other way

 

My Voice: A Poem

My Voice: A Poem

When I was a child, my voice sang songs of wanderlust

Wanting to go into other worlds and have adventures

Then life took an unexpected turn

And I found adventure on a West Coast dust bowl

My voice began telling stories and longing for love

Love found me, but fled just as quickly

As I journeyed onward to a land of cowboys and football

Where my voice relished in expressing itself

Singing along to music made from teenage dreams

And then a dream came true: I found a home

The seeds of childhood finally sprung to life

Under the glow of a golden sun shining over a white tent

My voice sang love songs to the shining sun

and the bright red star that shined at night

But this home was only temporary

As I left the golden sun and bright red star behind

My voice began to fade

Lost without the safety net of the dream come true

I became like a doll, with many people trying to put their voices in me

Until the Son came out on a dreary, rainy spring day

And walked with me as I healed

In dark autumn nights, my voice sang new songs

Gaining the strength of an Amazon, a warrior, a Slayer

When spring came around again, my voice found a new home

I learned to laugh and love and live again

Now I learn how to speak His voice,

Learning the melody of the Word Incarnate

Because He is the one who gave me my voice