The Marlin 2017

Without getting up from his place at the door,

The man checks I.D.s with a static approval.

After embracing the warm entrance,

The smell of cigarettes and alcohol violates the nasal.

Moving with soft spoken “excuse me” and “sorry” tensions,

Past bodies camouflaged by the gentle lighted expressions.

The ceiling is decorated with reds, oranges, greens, and blues,

Hues that awaken a feeling of duplication.

They are strangers that all look the same,

Like piles of repetition -doppelgangers sympathizing each other.

Faces bearing evident exhaustion,

Yet a sense of pleasure in the social precautions.

 

Beside stomping worn shoes and winter boots,

The ground is un-swept and the furniture un-organized.

Signed bills and posters litter on the ceiling out of reach,

This place adorns its unique name with pride.

Character flows to, from, and within these walls,

Inspired by the deep notes of the performer.

The keyboard player who looks up periodically lending a stare,

Shadows veil any sense of aesthetic physical qualities.

Leaving only his music exposed for appreciation, as it may be.

 

Distractedly, the doorman announces his stuffed nose,

Perhaps from cold that breaks into this basement.

Perhaps from the insistent exposure to the wafting chill,

Of the patrons bidding endless salutations.

It breaks the momentary spell with realization,

That this vice does not grant immortal existence.

Still there is this perception of eternity,

In the glossy eyes that form the audience.

 

Welcome the next singer,

Who comes in company of her own guitar,

And brings out the emotional melody of a virtuous muse.

A chuckle from across the room –the obliged pitch of flirtation.

The crash of a glass to the floor –the fumble of expectation.

Unfamiliar voices in and out –they swell and smooth,

Like crashing waves at the tail of a drunken hurricane,

Colliding harshly into the bouldering, stoic behavior of sobriety.

 

In this land of dreamers,

Nothing truly matters.

Except the building rhythm…

The search for sparked attraction…

And the laughter that carries the heart.

In the swarm induced by the spirit of tonic,

Voices and souls uniting in earnest connection,

Forming the most peaceful, jolly grin.

Brings the joy from the outside, to within.

 

 

I haven’t written for a while, returning to Alaska has been chaotic as I’ve had my hands full with winter preparation and juggling three jobs. With this busy schedule and minimal free time, I am obligated to reduce my activity.

For this post, I decided to feature my favorite poem, The Marlin 2017, which is the only poem I have had published. It was inspired by my favorite bar in Fairbanks, an establishment featuring Christmas lights for ambiance, single bills decorating the walls and ceiling, rustic and engraved furniture and bar top, and small entrance as it lays in a basement. Every Wednesday night, about the time of me writing this (11 pm) I would be there enjoying Open Mic Night. I would always sit up close to the band and the presentation, even when with others I never moved to a quieter place for conversation because I was always there for the music. There would always be lots of interesting and unique artists, so I would stay there into the early morning hours just to see them all even if that meant the next day was a painful drag. It was worth it, time and time again, because there was something magical about those moments there. It is difficult explaining… like a wistful sorrow, some melodic combination of joy and sadness experienced at the same time; sitting there enjoying a drink, watching the crowd become hypnotized or dance to the songs, hearing the long-drawn notes of one of the musicians -sharing their expression of emotion while feeling this subtle sense of joy… It was something indescribable enough that I feel like the poem itself doesn’t do it justice. I miss those days, as since then I have tried to go back and unfortunately the crowd and variety of artists isn’t the same. Perhaps it was one of those things you only get to experience for a certain time… Regardless, it has a fond place in my heart.

 

 

Desire ’18

There are quiet little spaces

Between signs and hesitations

Where a quaint stillness flutters

Like a dusted, caged bird

With the smallest little voice,

That breaks into the most lavish tune

But only for a shortened vacation,

Before it must return to its yearning state

One might become tired of a release,

That always ends up being torn away

I have known for years it would be this way,

Yet I am not accustomed to taking turn

Instead I plot like a thief

Trying to obscure time and attention from you

Has affection ever seemed so menacing?

I want to lend thought and touch to you

Unbound by a restricted timeline

For I’ve chased you like a thirst,

And miles have gone unranked beneath

Such chilled toes and sunken feet

To lead unto the short moment in which,

I might greet you face-to-face

For the resonance of my will,

Echoes in tides of affection

To come crashing about your shore

On more than a mere seasonal basis

Despite all you’ve given,

I reach out, in calling, demanding,

“more.”

 

This poem was written in the midst of 2018, some uncertain time between my transition out of the military lifestyle and adventures overseas. I wanted more than anything to be in love, back then, in fact for a little bit I thought I might have been. That affection was eventually smothered out, but the words remain there, forever reminding me that I had felt that way once before.

10 a.m. August 7th, 2018

 

There is this newfound love

Sprung in my chest

For I’ve caught my heart

Beating for that ocean’s jest

The will of the waves

The sway of the shore

And even the harsh breeze

I find that my mind is most clear

When it is nearer to the sea

And be it large waves,

Small ones,

Cascading rains or dry falls

From thunderstorms

To shallow waters

None of it truly matters

For my heart is merely content

To be near the ocean’s scent

To witness its power and beauty

In form most magnificent

I do not worry that I might best it

But I know that I need to be near it

My heart belongs to the sea

No lake nor pond will do me well

Like the oceans sway and swell

I know myself better than before

When I’ve got my toes in the shallow shores

And despite the affair I’ve felt

With colorful mountains far and wide

There is something stronger here

For I can feel a reckoning

The tide is calling

And the ocean is beckoning

 

 

It was another sunny day full of confused exploration in Iceland, not sure where I was going or what adventure I might get into but highly intent on going looking for it. On this particular day, August 7th, I was just outside of Olafsvik and driving within eyesight of the ocean. I could just see it an imagine the feeling of the water and the smell of the wind, and it filled me with so much happiness that I pulled over at the nearest stop and wrote this poem. It has been edited once since then, but I try to refrain from touching it for the simple fact that it takes me back to that time and place. Close to the water, where everything feels just right.

Being born in Indiana provided me little to no chance to experience the ocean. Lake Michigan was less than a couple hours away and there was a lake in our town but it wasn’t nearly the same. I learned to swim when another kid in the neighborhood taught me, but I was poor at it until I was in my early twenties. The first time I ever laid eyes on an ocean was Virginia Beach in 2011, when I had used a weekend in Advanced Individual Training (Army job training at Fort Eustis) to explore the coast. The next time was when I took myself to Kauai to backpack the Kalalau Trail in January of 2016, and I spent almost every day of that two-week trip either near, in, or on the water. It felt right, and in Iceland it gave me the same feeling.

Now, living in Fairbanks, Alaska, I don’t get to experience water so much. Rivers are abundant yet often treacherous and I’m not affluent in exploring them (one day I hope to), and most of the lakes have a combination of leeches and swimmers itch to discourage getting in the water. I miss the ocean so much and lately I’ve been thinking about trying to get closer to it. But I still want to be somewhere that experiences seasonal change, because I’m in love with winter, and that has mountains. I don’t do feel in extremely warm environments so it would also not have to be too hot in the summer. Friends have suggested California, and I’m thinking of looking into. All I know is I can’t live far away from water forever. This poem is that for me, a love poem of passion to be near the ocean, the urge to be under water scuba diving or even just floating at the surface, the want to try new things like surfing and sailing, and the wish to be on a boat surrounded by waves. One day, I like to think I’ll find myself there.

Zen-sation

Slipping naked skin into steaming hot water

Stepping into a room that smells of sweet vanilla

The loud crunch of untampered snow under feet in winter’s silence

Sleeping in a field under the noon-time sun

Sighing at the neighboring peaks of mountains

Fresh cerulean blue water carrying a salty breeze

Coming home after having been too long away

Laying in the dark awaiting the rise of the moon

And the way you look at me when you enter the room

 

Written December 14th, 2018. I am not one of the ones privileged enough to find that legendary-romantic love with another person in this world. I have accepted that (although it took a long time and was very difficult) and opted instead to try and find love in other forms, such as platonic love, love of nature, of love of adventure. Occasionally, however, I find myself stumbling upon these romantic connections with others; they often go away within a year, but I do cherish them for the feelings they give me. That gentleman who charmed me for two months might not be in my life years from now, but I can enjoy the time I am given to know him for the time even if our relationship never becomes intimate. It’s about the people, the joy of the connection, and the feeling of getting to share time with one another.

 

Being in love is by far the best feeling in the world, going hand in hand with being loved, and we strive for both. Some people never find love with another person, some find it with a single person, and then there are others, the one’s who experience a succession of great loves in their life. It hasn’t been determined which one of those I might find myself as, but in the mean time I am content enjoying little flirtations and admirations along the way. Meanwhile, I mettle in my other loves; poetry, art, music, and scenic explorations -they fill my heart with a unique joy that I have only recently learned to appreciate. It took a long time for me to learn to fall in love in other ways like this, and even more so I am still learning to extend this love and explore its many avenues. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy those little sacred moments of heart-racing alternative affections.

Fairbanks, April 27th 2018

To those delicate hours

Between the warm dusk and chilled dawn

Containing time untouched

By my hands, by my eyes

Filled with mystery outside

Of my subconscious activities

What it would be to embrace such hours…

But to acquaint myself into their silence

Would be to sacrifice another time in return

Ought I offer the morning sunshine,

Let it rise behind my closed eyes?

Or perhaps the middle day,

Where I can stage it longingly in the sky?

What of the evening,

The gentle moments of the dwindling night?

And why must our world work this way?

Where to reach the unknown we must give-

Greatly, even- before we take.

So here’s to another day in the sun, and to

Those ambiguous, inevitable hours

…to the existence of which I am aware of…

And the loss I must experience to know.

 

 

This is a good introduction to some of my poems named by the date and location which they are written. During the time this was written it was nearing the end of the spring semester where I was juggling four college classes, one full time job as a janitor, a part time job as an painting class hostess, and another part time bartending. Within this time I was constantly exhausted from juggling such a crazy schedule, I had a relationship that was crumbling and shortly after ended, and I had no time to really enjoy the things I used to enjoy.

One morning I remember laying in bed, before work, thinking about how strange it was that my sleep schedule was so spontaneous that I would easily lose track of which part of the day it was. It made me think about the typical daily schedule we all strive for, the way we sleep at night and wake up to the day; with this work schedule I was up for strange times of the day, and it was like seeing a different side of the city and made me think about how silly it seemed that I was so absent from such a period of time. I was fully aware that if I were to try and stay awake to see each hour of the day it would be costly to my physical and mental health, but having experienced those unseen hours (typically between 2 and 5 am) for the first real time made it seem a little absurd that I had to pick which part of the day I wanted to live in.

This confrontation with having to essentially plan my day within the boundaries of a day/night caused me to consider how quickly we become absent to world on a larger scale in the passing of our lives -as we are only part of the waking day before our memory fades out in the dusk that leads into night. The night before went on without us, just as centuries before our existence, and the night will continue on beyond us into the many years on the one-way street of time. In this sense, it made me think of sleep as little quips of our mortality, for in order to experience the next night’s hours we must come to our own ending of days.

This poem for me is a statement to those hours, to regard them alongside the times of which we want to cherish, the sunrise and sunset and midday; we ought to not go into the night so eagerly yet we must respect the inevitability of it.

A-lli-lens!

When I was a child in Gallilee

There once came a man down from the sky

With only two arms and two eyes

He had a bubble about his head

With bright blinking stars around his neck

And when I asked who he might be,

He told me that I was to call him Cree

Confused, but mused, I went on

I asked, “but sir, why come to Gallilee?”

He hesitated before he responded,

Then told me, “young on, I have traveled,

From many skies apart

To try and find a certain world

That which I may give my heart.”

Then he smiled a wide-eyed grin

As he laid his had to the ground then stood

And looked around whilst holding his chin

Pondered over the blue trees

Paced around the orange dirt

Looked interested, then suddenly-hurt

“Child, let me ask thee,

What sort of air do you breathe in Gallilee?”

I chuckled, he choked, I answered,

“Good sir, all Allilieens breath,

Is the carbon given off by the blue trees.”

And with that, and a frantic shake,

The strange body crumbled in a quake

When he hit the ground, his face turned pale

And his breathing hindered, then became stale

In a rush, I went to his side,

The stranger called Cree… well, he had died.

I looked back at his ship,

It seemed stranded and dim

Now without captain, as it had belonged to him

But I see, without Cree, the ship is mine

So I took to it hurriedly, not wasting time

I jumped right in, and started to push in

All of these strangely colorful buttons

Then came a full roar, an engine’s din

I grasped a control, and began hovering

When a voice came from nowhere,

And gave me a bother:

“Engine’s ready,” it loomed,

“Preparing seals,” it taunted.

Oxygen filters opened.” Gauges fluttered.

And I froze, because as every Allilen knows

We breathe the carbon from the blue trees,

But it was too late, I fell to my knees

And so died the last man who tried

To escape Gallilee, and its prison of time

 

I wrote this on June 15, 2018, based off of a dream I had one evening when I woke up and had the first four stanzas stuck in head for the whole morning. I began to write additional stanzas and before I knew it the poem was leading off into its own direction and sort of completed itself. I have edited it twice since then but it has mostly retained its original form. It is, to me, a story poem; a human is out exploring the galaxy and comes upon a new planet that just happens to be a planet inhabited by imprisoned aliens. The specifics aren’t really there, I had to sacrifice some of the story telling in order to keep it a certain way that I would like it to. But the ending of the story is that the alien attempts to escape using the deceased human’s ship (who foolishly inhaled the toxic air of the planet thinking it was safe) but then is poisoned by the oxygen tanks on the ship before taking off.

Somewhere Near Waterfalls

 

The cliff-side hangings

Are held apart by slim pillars

Rocky towers that have formed long ago

Keep the river flowing through

A lapse that could not be understood

If it were to be put to words

But the feeling is liken to

Stone-made colossal fingers

Prying apart the edges of the soul

Demanding from the void

That it let the river run through it

 

I wrote this shorter poem around the end of July and beginning of August in 2018, around the time of leaving Salzburg, Austria and arriving in Iceland to hike the Laugavegur Trail.  It was an enjoyable time in Salzburg up until I had lost my passport while indulging in a night of beer-fueled karaoke at an Irish pub downtown. It was a fretful time then, knowing I would miss my flight to Iceland, talking to the police to file the loss, and trying to coordinate so many moving parts just to get an emergency passport from the embassy in Vienna. While the disruption was rough on a friendship, costly, and extremely stressful it taught me a valuable lesson in learning how to handle that sort of disruption.

Time seemed to eventually decompress that tension especially since I was exerting so much energy while packing along the trail. Before I knew it I was finishing the Laugavegur Trail and finally coming to find some clearer thoughts coming to life in place of the previously stress-clouded ones. I was on my fourth/last day, traveling south towards Skogar when I came to some resolution about how this is just how things work. So in the similar way we often parallel our human experiences to be these minor metaphorical expressions of bigger acts occurring by natural forces, I was able to compare my own situation; I had tried to fortify and build up these plans to the point where they seemed unbreakable, but all it took was one slip-up -one little give- and the whole thing came apart at the first sign of trouble. Sure, I could have just dismissed it as bad luck faulting into a worse-case incident, but instead I chose to think of it as perhaps a hearty dose of clarifying chaos.

Maybe that little bit of chaos is a necessity helped me to achieve a better understand about myself, and perhaps there are many others who have had similar experiences/perspectives. That may be the proposed lesson then; that we can connect with that unexpected chaos in the same way we come to revere, respect, appreciate the many chaotic actions that shape nature; from the avalanches, to the storms, to the canyons… sometimes you just have to let the river run through.