Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, & Where We’re Going

I’ve defaulted to the phrase “things are a mess” a lot over the past year, though more recently I’ve tried harder to avoid it. It originally began as a result of self-consciousness  over my habit of over sharing. I started realizing if someone asks how you are they don’t really want to know every detail of your over packed schedule and work load, or all of the ways in which you feel like you’re continuously falling behind. Saying something along the lines of “things are a mess” made it easier for me to explain to people how I was feeling, without having to explain all of the reasons why.

I’m tempted to use the phrase here to explain the way my creative pursuits have gone the way they have. I’m tempted at the same time to explain the finer points of why The April Project (my over ambitious personal project and general mass output of content) went the way it did. Realistically, neither make sense. To say “it was a mess” discredits it and makes it sound like a failure, when really it just wasn’t a total success. In this way oxymorons are a man’s best friend.

I laid plans, they went awry. Ultimately it isn’t a surprise. When I planned The April Project I did it half expecting it not to work out. Despite falling short of all of my goals it was worth it; I learned a lot about myself, about output, about planning. To challenge myself in my creativity and my efficiency in creative pursuits was ultimately the point, and in this way things were a total success.

Another thing I’m learning is that 1. there isn’t this mass audience out there expecting me to put out content from any or all outlets on a regular schedule and 2. even if there were the point of half the things I do is for the project itself, I can’t get hung up on what other people might want or expect. Would it be nice to put out content on a regular basis and slowly grow some form of following? Obviously. But if I let that be the only thing I’m worried about then there isn’t much point.

Right now I’m learning how to produce and share content in the first place, doing so on a regular basis comes later.

(To see what content did come out of the April Project you can check out This Page on my blog, my YouTube Channel, and my SoundCloud profile)

Now, obviously, April was now two months ago. Normally I might have continually played catch up the next few weeks, but I intentionally chose to put things on pause and place my focus else where. I took a Maymester summer class that has required a fair amount of attention and that resulted in a new small collection of poetry that I’m quite proud of, and by not worrying about old goals from April I was able to focus on new ones for May. I’m in a period of starting at the bottom and building my way back up. I’ve taken this summer to focus on personal reading I’ve planned, as well as building a routine that will allow me to be more successful as a whole in the future (i.e. avoiding late nights and late starts to the next day). At the same time it’s been a good opportunity for me to take a step back from everything and everyone I’m usually around. I’ve been giving myself permission to take things easy, to brainstorm, to plan, knowing that if I do so now it will leave me better off in the future.

At this particular moment I’m getting used to the new schedule that comes with the rest of my summer, I started working agin this week and I begin another summer class this coming Monday. I’m giving myself room to breath and think, to be proactive and not just reactive. I have plans for work I’m wanting to produce and share over this summer, but they’ll come with time, no reason to set goals now in such a way that they become restrictions, because then they aren’t goals at all.

So a toast: To summer, to the plans we lay that go awry, and to self, always self

Stretching the Song – National Poetry Month – 4/10

I’m so sorry

If i’m reading this book all wrong

I’ve been flipping pages

And I swear the song they make could’ve been our song

I can’t help the way I fall

I’ve got a Pinball for a heart

But you’re the first girl in a while

To put a quarter in the slot

Sure I’ve known plenty of hands

But they tend to skip that part

But still, I’ve read this book

Played this game

I know time is almost up

But until it is just hold my gaze

Don’t look down or up

And if I cry

Know each tear is a day I pictured us together

And every other

is a year of them

I’ve given up

Everyday

You take my breath away

I’ve bit my tongue

Hoping to stretch this out even just a little ways

But even if you left right now

I wouldn’t call it a waste

If the flower was too much

I hope you at least thought the color was in good taste

And that it wasn’t overkill when I left it for you in glass

i aint been too good – National Poetry Month – 4/11

I ain’t been too good

At all of it lately

Ain’t never been things that go well ever

Me

All of it

But I’ve always given myself more

If a net only catches 2 fish of a whole school

Then you’re ought to always be tryna find more schools

What I mean is

No matter how little I do

I’ll never be good at all of it

So I do all I can

So the some I am

Is as much as it can be

But still that leaves me with all of these weights to carry

Leaves me with alot of dropped pieces of metal

It isn’t that I go anywhere else

I’m just better at imagining here

as something different than what it actually is

When I stare out the window in class

It isn’t because I don’t care

It’s because I’m imagining a world in which I can actually keep up in class

Or even picturing a plan to make it real

But then my teacher calls on me to answer a question

And there are five more I have to answer for myself before I can get to what she is asking

And she looks at me like a failed project

She says its the simplest thing

She asks someone else

and that

Is how you discourage someone from wanting to actually be where they are

 

Decatur Ain’t My Spot – National Poetry Month – 4/9

Decatur always been good to me

A long drive, but my love has always come with at least a few mile markes.

I’m starting to think it ain’t my spot though

Not that I ever did

But I’m just thinking now more so that it aint

There’s something here though

And maybe that’s why I’m always showing back up

I’ve always been the one willing to go out of their way for the things they love

And for a while that seemed noble

But I’m running out of gas money

So perhaps in the next chapter

I go out of my way to build something with what I love

So no one else has to just to get there

Decatur been good to me

But these days I ain’t much of a player

But a bulldawg

and I’m slamming my way back to the classic city

Musical Theatre Love Poem – National Poetry Month – 4/8

I’d carry a bomb out to the football field for you my love

I could make it Beautiful too

Full of beats and melodies

I’d belt my final verse for you, and actually hit the notes for the first time in my life,

Just to sing my last words almost falsetto soft

Then I’d slip into the river and go swimming off into the sunset

Gills, fins, and all

The chorus singing me out

But then I’d jump out of the water

Backflip through the air

Landing center stage

Hitting my mark perfectly

As a spotlight hits me

Dripping wet,

In a full tux

Everything stops

and I snap four times

On the last, my head whips towards you

And I reach out my hand

You take it

I spin you

And suddenly we are all black and sequin and that jazz

The whole stage, steamy

The river straight up evaporating away

But not before I grab my gondola

Cover my face

And say hop in

We take our exit

Not to the catacombs

But out to the stream

and the woods

And by the brook you stop to drink

But I say there ain’t no need

Cause with you girl I could already last forever

So we take off

Going deeper still through the trees

To find, to have, to get, to keep

And home before dark

And ya maybe it takes two

But it can be us, and only us

But not yet

Because that’s all Act 2 material

Right now

My blocking doesn’t even have me on stage with you

Cause I’m outside and in the rain

On my own

And that’s ok

That’s where I need to be right now

I’ll get to you by intermission

Just meet me at the dance in the gym,

At the opera,

The circus

On a bridge in whatever country you like as long as it isn’t in Ohio

And trust me

There’s a duet waiting for us that I don’t even know the words to yet

But I got time

Cause you’ve still got a solo left

So sing it

Like no one is watching

Because they are

But this whole world’s a stage

All of us merely actors

But as far as I’m concerned

My whole world is in black out right now

Save a single spotlight

And girl,

You always knew how to hit your mark

An Eve – National Poetry Month – 4/7

I rush to sleep tonight

as others of similar youth as I rush into the night itself

I will no longer call it wasted,

Instead perhaps I will find me

calling myself rested tomorrow

That I do call a gift

Today

There is always more gifts under the tree

In the morning

I will wake

And say to myself

I am me

And that is enough

Then I will leave my bed

And become so much more

Tonight

I say to myself

Sleep

You are the best version of yourself

You have ever been

In Which I, Too, am Kendall Jenner – National Poetry Month – 4/5

I.

If this is a poem in which I, too, am Kendall Jenner –

Young, white, liberal,

Concerned about things –

Then during a week in Manhattan

I drink nothing but Pepsi and

It is somehow revolutionary, as though

I am the first person to ever discover it exists

II.

I join a crowd and immediately walk to the front

I tell the story later

Add something about never being a follower

Or having a fear of lights

III.

I happen upon the wave by accident

But how warm the water is on my skin

Like floating in the Atlantic

Birds, white and glinting in the sun,

Flying above me

And dolphins swimming in circles like

It’s a ship route they learned years ago

I tread water and

Never dive any deeper

IV.

I go to the march.

Not sure what the signs say,

The white dripping all over them and

Words get turned into other words,

But the aesthetic works

V.

While I’m in these streets

I do everything I can

To make everyone here

Be seen.

I don’t even try to speak.

I never say a single word.

VI.

I go home from the march

VII.

I go home from the march with my skin,

as far as I can tell, glowing as much as ever

But when I go to check again in the mirror I realize

There isn’t one at all.

A whole day spent looking at other people and

I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror in

Probably years.

VIII.

I tell myself

I can stop being concerned about things and rest easy

Knowing that I helped break down this system of

Benefitting from the oppression of

Other people.

IX.

When I wake up in the morning

My room smells

Tropical. Like sugar cane

When I get dressed

I suddenly get the worst case of cotton mouth

I get to the restaurant for brunch

Order a black coffee

The waitress says

“We’re all out. Is Pepsi ok?”

And I say…

I could keep going

But if this poem is one in which I, too, am Kendall Jenner

Then it is in fact all of my poems

And when I say

In which I, too, am Kendall Jenner

I was not talking about this

To begin with

I was talking about reality

Which this, too, is

Yesterday, and today, and tomorrow, and the next

If this poem is a case of performative allyship

Then it is all of my poems

It is in fact all of my allyship

If this is the end of the poem then it is, too, the beginning

I drink an ice cold soda

And if you asked

My youth

My whiteness

My privilege

What it tastes like

We’d say