bend oh bend my child
hear my will and bow
beneath the clouds of Seattle
for I am with you now
remember who I made you
remember your birth mark
the stamp of love I gave you
the flick’ring crimson spark
find rest in me my child
I’ll hold you in the night
beneath the clouds of Seattle
and watch your dreams alight
I just stood up from the table abruptly
after reading some Billy Collins with Bubba,
and the upward/forward motion of my torso
caused me to cough violently. I don’t know why.
Ten seconds or so of the kind of cough that
warms the forehead as you feel blood running
to your face and pressure building between
that forehead and the top of your cranium.
Along with this bizarre sensation came a memory
of Meg from my days at Catholic elementary school.
Meg, an Irish girl, whose cheeks were flushed
with bright crimson sparks of facial fireworks.
She said that these were actually blood vessels
broken by… actually I forget her explanation,
but it made sense to my 10 year old self
who would’ve killed to have some of my own.
For, as I met more Irish people—and descendants
of Irish people—I realized that these cheeks
were more of a defining trait than anything my
Gerwelshwedeslavscotswinglish roots gave me. Continue reading
The sky may be grey,
but I am counting colors
growing in the buds.
Falling from the trees
beautiful linen petals
like ash from heaven.
originally published in Lingua, Fall Zine 2012: exclusion & embrace
I posted this a year ago on my tumblr blog after an extended amount of time on Google Earth. I gave it a facelift last summer.
The bedroom I left in late December of this past year was grey. In a reactionist swerve away from the key lime pie green of middle school, Dad and I covered the walls with an adult ashen grey—the shade of embers found in the heart of a fire that is just beginning to die. With my new wall-mounted bookshelves and IKEA furniture, it looked like the bedroom of someone who wants a PhD in something eventually. I really liked it, so the room stayed like that throughout high school.
But there was little color or light. The only window in the room faced away from the sun. It opened out underneath the deck. After reading Jonathan Safran Foer and listening to an art prof who said “Forms and colors can speak directly to human emotion. Does this red square speak to you? Any hands?” I began to see how color can speak to my spirit and alter the emotions I have about present life as well as memories of the past.
Going to school in Seattle, I became well aware of how color, or rather, the lack of color can compound my depression, something I have quietly dealt with since middle school. For me, depression is greyness: being void of emotion. And if there are emotions, they are sadness and self-loathing. They occasionally leave me numb. And there I was, standing on a hill in Seattle, surrounded by grey clouds. It could feel like the earth was reaching to dip me into those clouds and swirl me in them like a stick of lint-flavored cotton candy.