Jack-O-Lantern

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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A jack-o-lantern rests

On wooden steps

Guarding the house

With its bright, carved smile

And triangle eyes.

A little flame flickers

Behind its rounded nose

Letting everyone know

That autumn has arrived.

When the sun sets

And the stars come alive

The jack-o-lantern’s light

Is three times as bright.

It illuminates

A familiar path

So that a family

Can always find its way

Back home.

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Butterflies in the Garden

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s butterflies in the garden

And plastic, pink flamingos

Standing tall above rows of tulips

As robins sing in the tree branches above

 

Bumble bees visit the daisies

Drinking nectar in the summer sun

And blades of grass

Tickle our bare feet

 

Cool water falls from the sprinklers

We drink lemonade and blow bubbles

Sometimes a day can be simple

And memorable all at once.

Cave

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s a cave

Looking out at the ocean

It’s cool and dark

But sunlight pours into its mouth

Like honey.

Waves crash against the rocks

And the air smells like salt

As spiders spin webs

Between rows of stalactites.

There are secrets here

Drawings on walls

Of lovers’ hands

And an abandoned compass

With a broken needle.

And yet the cave feels

Completely unexplored

Like the ocean keeps all the memories

Hidden in its depths

Always making space

For a new heartbeat to come along

Disrupting the silence

Just by listening.

Sun Shower

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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Rain falls

And the cool drops

Pitter-patter on the sidewalk

 

Birds find shelter

In tall trees

As a gentle wind rustles the leaves

 

The sun shower kisses your hands

And your face

And everything smells like spring

 

Flowers drink up the water

And your worries are washed away

Today is a new day, a fresh start.

 

Laurel vs Yanny

[Note: this post gets political.]

Yesterday, a clip was trending on social media where some people heard the word “yanny,” others heard “laurel,” and some heard both. People have been comparing it to that dress that appeared to be a different color to different people.

It’s interesting that we can all have different perspectives and that we can perceive things differently, even though, in most cases, our experiences of our senses seem to be similar and somewhat universal. This whole thing has made me think about something that has permeated our (United States) culture much more over the past couple years–politics.

A lot of people say that, politically, the U.S is divided. For some, this division is about republicans and democrats. For me, this division is about racism. It’s about homophobia and transphobia. It’s about Black Lives Matter, affordable healthcare, affordable education, and affordable housing. It’s about policing and controlling women’s bodies. It’s about the fact that there are states that I am afraid to live in because there is a higher chance that I will experience discrimination in the workplace or other settings. It’s about the fact that people who claim to be nationalists are more outraged about political protests than they are about homeless veterans.

It’s about the fact that Nazis and the KKK STILL EXIST. It’s about the fact that there are people who care more about displaying confederate flags than they do about respecting and protecting minorities. It’s about the fact that brown people who commit acts of violence are terrorists or thugs while white Americans who commit mass shootings are “mentally ill,” “troubled,” “lone wolves,” “isolated,” and “bullied.” It’s about the fact that gay pride, Black Lives Matter, and DREAMers being supported by mainstream media (at times) does not mean most places in this country are safe for marginalized groups.

It’s about the fact that sex workers are shamed by the same politicians who watch porn, hire escorts, and cheat on their spouses. It’s about the fact that immigrants and people seeking a better quality of life are shamed by a country founded on genocide and built on the backs of Black slaves. It’s about the fact that people of color, LGBT people, and women are astronomically underrepresented in history textbooks.

There is a division between me and the people who are contributing to the above issues. There is a division between me and the people who turn my existence, and the existence of my friends, into a political battle daily.

This is my perspective. This is my “yanny.” But the fact is, not everyone is hearing what I’m hearing. Not everyone is seeing what I’m seeing. Not everyone is feeling what I’m feeling. My values are not the same as everyone else’s. Other people are hearing “laurel.” And maybe some of us can hear both at times, just like some of us can at least empathize with a perspective that is different from our own.

We all experience life in our own way and there are perspectives I will simply never understand. And there are people who will simply never understand me. Everyone is fighting for their own existence to be validated, heard, represented, and understood. We are seeing different stories unfold. We are seeing the same dress in a vastly different color.

I want to feel safe and respected. I want the people I love most to feel safe and respected. That will always be the force that drives my perspective. That will always dictate the color I see and the sound that I hear. I don’t think divisions can ever go away while anyone’s identity is be swept aside.

At least, that’s the way I see it.