Lightbulbs

In one small section of my brain,

the door eases shut,

but the light remains.

Around the corner down the hall,

a different storage room collects dust.

The room’s old light bulb is ice cold to the touch;

frail and unused — surely unable to stay on

without blinking with uncertainty.

 

In this hall, the floors are cracked,

stained with years of

children scurrying to and from,

knowledge expanding

beyond the walls of just one room.

 

Over time the department gets smaller

and smaller.

Old lightbulbs collect inside a box.

Soon, the hall empties — boxes stack,

stored untouched.

Walls weaken with age,

doors rust unused.

 

Occasionally, maintenance is done;

a curious growing child goes back

to her roots, seeking what she once knew.  

Boxes are pried open, doors swing wide;

the hall lights up as the dust is washed off.

Each room brightens temporarily.

 

At the end of the day, the girl goes home,

and the boxes shut;

seemingly neglected still,

dust piles again.

She leaves with intentions to go back;

to revisit and clear the dust.

One day she hopes

to keep the department alive,

for as long as she can help it.

Pixelated Parchment

the future is a blank canvas as i draw rough drafts at every moment,

as i map my past and present.

if i zoom out i see what’s really there; a blur of feeling and subjective perspective.

in the fog, i see what i want to see.

i breathe the fresh air, feeling the wind rush between my fingers.

if you try to catch the wind or the rain

you will be empty handed, wet and cold wondering what you can grasp.

in life it is best to grasp at two things;

your own freezing cold hand and those of your nearest companion.

perhaps he who sits across from you at the dinner table

or who sleeps beside you beneath the sheets.

it could also be your loveliest friend,

each serving a purpose to keep you grounded

as you navigate the world

as you see it, as you see fit.

it never ends;

in one moment i hold the reins for myself

but in the next i’m the co-pilot

advising someone on their next landing.

as the plane halts to a stop it dawns on you;

together you did it, diving head first

into the depths of this world—

in that moment— to alter the course of time.

the map readjusts its pixelated landscape 

to your new predicament.

you clutch the parchment

as you walk, blindly clinging onto the shift in the pixels;

hoping for the nearest treasure—

hoping you, your companion, and your map

will find a good hiding spot to lay low

and watch as the canvas finishes itself.

the plane lands, flown by an expert

and a very confidently helpful co-pilot.

Unconquered Lands

I am speck in time

connected by moments pinned on a board.

As I watch, the string hangs,

disentangled from the past.

In my mind time plays like a black and white movie,

a distant memory.

 

Waves of longing no longer crash into me

instead, sputtering up to where I stand at the shore

as a reminder.

A brief encounter with what was,

the ocean of experiences is now open for tourists

and I am its first and most frequent visitor;

reminiscing in its scenery, hesitant to dive into its depths.

 

The beach that is memory lane is never far.

Some days I make the drive

but others, I turn away and go home.

Choosing to look at all that’s in front of me,

I see myself as a whole;

a little bird stuck in a forest of trees,  

surrounded by endless unconquered lands.

 

I stopped longing for the water

when I flew home.

With a distant feeling of weightlessness and

something bittersweet,

my vacation goggles are off, stored safely in an old shoe box.

The chain breaks at last;

life renewed, larger oceans to be discovered.

the Roots

i look back and i see the shadow of what used to be,

and if i look forward i see all the different versions of me.

as the night sky changes, time freezes.

past me and my music tastes,

past me and my vocabulary.

 

little things remind me of what is different

and what is not.

above all, they show growth.

deep down, nothing truly changes;

the roots are buried and there to stay.

with experiences, their weight shifts.

 

in all the whirlwind of life,

time may stop for memories

to come back, to be revived and relived.

things that once held my heart and clouded my head,

all buried in the ground; visible once peeled

beneath layers upon layers

of the created self.

 

once the playing field changes,

a new beginning looks down

toward the roots

for guidance.

all that was, resurfaces.

the ants and the weeds

all float up to the ground in plain sight

showing what life was once like.

 

past capabilities and personality unfolds.

after every changing moment,

the self makes room for a different version of that,

an altered version

all connected by one growing seed

and its massive rooting system.

Point Of No Return

The seed lands between two cement blocks,

getting fed and fed by the earth

until it can’t stand being a seedling any more.

A sapling then grows out of the earth between the cracks.

 

People notice it,

they nurture and love it;

and one day, it decides it feels grown up.

People stop calling it a sapling as it grows and grows

and it reaches

a point of no return.

 

It reaches a point where no doubts can be found.

As it grows,

the cement around it cracks

and expands.

It cannot go back to being a sapling;

it must continue to grow

and grow.

 

Until one day it settles above the torn cement,

its roots buried deep,

it no longer destroys its cemented surroundings.

It only solidifies itself,

sinking lower and lower into the ground.

The tree is complete.

 

It is strong and beautiful,

all because one day, the seedling could not bear to be a mere seed,

and the next day, a sapling wanted to grow.

It now stands, tall and proud;

ready to show itself as it is,

without a doubt,

a tree.

In The Depths Of The Ravine

Sticks are what I use when we’ve been hiking for three hours, and occasionally as mum admires the flowers, my brother and sister sword fight with sticks. To the side I draw a sun in the dirt, dragging my stick behind me as I run to catch up with them when I notice they started walking again.

We continue like this and even cross the canal; hopping from rock to rock as my fingers tingle and my mind screams “dont get wet, you can’t swim” until my sister and brother splash each other and I have the sudden urge to dip my shoe in the cold stream.

When we get to the deep end, mum finds flat stones and skips them on the shore, and my brother even gets a few. My sister tries it too, but her rock slumps on the water with a splash which taints the cement holding the canal together.

 

At some point as we gaze in the distance, as mum teaches us about the birds, I drop my stick and forget to pick it up again and I’m flushed with embarrassment because I didn’t see or hear any birds. When we get back onto the path I pout as I watch mum and my brother hug each other. I kick a rock, and my sister runs after it; she laughs and looks back at me expectantly so I giddily punt at the rock and it goes flying again. The rock is a soccer ball and though my aim is off and the rock makes dirt rise, we play until my sister hears mum whistle — we ran too far.

As we wait, my sister notices the both of us don’t have sticks, but she finds two twigs and for a moment we cast spells and I laugh as she mimics herself crashing into a tree. I see my brother running up to us and he stops, drawing a long stick as he plants it firmly into the earth “you shall not pass,” he says, his voice carrying out behind us and we all laugh as he bows.

I wait for mum, and they talk about video games so I decide to sit on the path. On the ground I notice ants carrying pebbles so I picture myself carrying a boulder, and what that’d look like to a giant. On the side of the path I see a couple brown snails in the grass, and one hanging from a leaf.

 

I distantly hear mum come back and decide to climb up a trail up to the top. As we walk my brother says, “I wonder what’s under that rock.”

Mum quickly replies, “No! Don’t lift it,” and he snickers. When we get to the top I see plastic bags and beer bottles and even a blanket near a fallen tree and I wonder quietly, shivers creeping up my back as I see the roots of a tree curing around a rock and beside it a lighter and a crushed white and blue pack of cigarettes.

My brother hands me another stick which I lean on as they talk because I’m standing to the side so I can’t hear mum whispering. Below us, at ground level, the grass leads to a road and I count the cars as I realize we’ve been here a while.

On our way back down I use my stick so I won’t fall and mum even takes my hand a couple times as my sneakers slip on the earth and my feet tingle because my mind screams “dont fall you’ll break your arm.”

 

Once we get back to the canal mum bends and takes some beautiful rocks, glistening from the water, one is green and smooth and one is ridged and brown, and I stuff them both in my pocket as my brother and sister lead us to the stairs, and I fall behind again after I leave my stick for a dog to fetch and pant my way up to the car.

Little White Shell

you bend down at the shore and it’s there, glimmering as water passes over it, foamed and vicious, crashing onto the sand. the white curve draws you down to it, spotted just as it glides with the water, bumping against your shin.   

you reach blindly as another wave crashes and almost lose your balance as the white swoops under while you seek it. lifting it out and cupping it in your hands as the sun glimmers and wet, mud-like sand falls out. you rinse it underwater again and it is no longer bare and white. instead it’s creamy and a little green as the sun passes over it, rays cooling your skin in a delightful contrast to the cold water at your feet.

you stand there bathing under the sun, like a cat on a porch, blinking at its brightness, a sigh escaping your lips as clouds pass over, and you wonder to what lengths this small item has passed to end up in you hand, or how much longer for it to become a bit of sand.

you think it was probably lived in, but you’re not sure by what. it’s too sturdy to be crushed by a sea carcass or a foot. it has a hole in it, whether from the waves or from a small creature, you’re unsure.

 

you take it back to your beach towel, stumbling and distraught for a moment, where’s my towel again? wrinkling your nose as your weighty feet crush into the sand, you walk with clumps of warm sand sticking like glue to your toes. the walk is slow, each step a mission as your hips jar and your heels work while you seek out a path that won’t fling sand into other people’s eyes.

the pearl coloured treasure clasped in your left hand as you walk, you finally get to your towel, dropping to your knees onto it, making sure not to get too much extra sand on your safe island of cotton. you dry your back first, and the sun still blinding you even though you aren’t facing it. the creamy colour stands out even as your vision fogs and your eyes water in attempt to see through the brightness of the sun.

 

when your back is dry you turn over, using the object as a sun block even as you continue to stare at it, twisting it around and around, playing with its shadows. this is the good thing about the sea. despite the sand and the obnoxious sun, this creamy green gift is a collectible. its as useful as jar of sand, but that’s the thing, it’s not sand. a smaller one might become a part of a necklace, or a bigger one might be a paperweight or shelf decoration. but this one is creamy and has had a full life under water. now it can have a full life as you twirl it in your fingers, guaranteed not to become like the stuff that sticks to your toes.