Dec 05
Opax's picture

The wonders of having a cat

Now and then, I am struck with the epiphany that I am not the only consciousness in this world. This realization does not come when I talk with other people, but rather when I am with an animal.

It happens most often with my cat, and I am always amazed by the realization that he is right here, in this moment, with me.

Our interactions are somewhat peculiar. He refuses to sit on my lap, and barely tolerates being held. But if he is lying on my bed, and I lie down next to him, he becomes incredibly friendly. He will get up, and start rubbing his face against mine, purring loudly. After several minutes of this, he will lie down next to me, and I have the privilege of watching him.
Dec 04

Typewriters, literature, and wildflowers

he makes tea when he tries to have 
conversations with himself. they never
end the way he wants them to. 
instead he leaves the world
for crinkling leather books,
tries to draw in coffee-stained notebooks. 

i don’t think he knows that there are other 
people like him,
who love the sound of clicking typewriters,
who sit in cafés to listen to rain,
who spend hours in libraries and bookstores
just because they love the feel
of literature. 

i don’t think i know that there are other people
like me,
people who read poetry to feel something
and love and live and die,
people who press wildflowers 
into the pages of books
because then they can look back
on beauty
and see that it
Dec 03

It's winter again

I felt your footsteps on the stairs again –
I heard the creaking from the wood.
Daddy, this house is banal and rusting –
It badly needs some polish and oiling.

The paint on the walls is flaking off
And every deadly fume I breathe in –
I exhale in a lovely grey smoke ring
And twirl around thinking it’s winter's greeting.

The corners' shadows protrude on walls –
Casting darkness on past family pictures.
I light candles to avoid drowning. 
Daylight savings is time spent wasting. 

When it shivers the shutters tremble –
Leaving us scavenging for the covers.
The cold water dripping down from the ceiling –
This is the epitome of the winter feeling.

Dec 01


Why do we not teach the young
how to explore pain?
We all endure these twists of fate,
yet we paint them with disdain.

For a species that defines itself
as supposedly superior,
our tolerance for feeling things
is so intolerably frail.
We have no time for the one reason
all else was deemed, ‘inferior.’

The pride we give to our emotions
rivals diplomas on a wall.
We think it shows that we are able
but if we truly were,
would we need to tell the world,
to flaunt that fact at all?

Nov 30


Bated breath
Shadows, sullen whispers
And eyes. Infinite eyes – the audience collected. 

Gentle rhythms rock the night. 
My feet on the ground. Hand on the door. Cup on the floor. 
Syncopated. Deliberate. 
A life?
An endless piece. 
Snatched, taken out of time. 

The curtain’s been here for years.
They are not content. 
They do not jeer – no compost thrown. 
But they plead
More! More! 

We all have our obligations.

March on, my love 
There will be time to think one day.

Nov 30
poem challenge: Glittering
Noell.k21's picture

Strangers' love

I set my mug down on the table.
I couldn’t manage to figure out the word cross.
I frustratedly dragged my hand across my face,
And decided to take a break.
I looked up at the crowd, and my eyes immediately found them.
In all my people-watching, I had never seen people like them.
Their eyes were so full of affection,
And joy radiated off of them like a golden cloud.
All of this love felt so warm, even from over here.

I watched their smiles grow,
And their conversations flow,
But only for each other.
They never seemed to notice anyone else, 
Their attention never strayed elsewhere.
I had never seen a bond such as theirs,
So beautiful and raw,
Just pure everlasting love.
There they sat, in all their glittering glory, far across the room from me.
And all I could do
Was yearn for a love like theirs.
Nov 29


By the end of one school day I’ve somehow lost my last 
two pencils, have transferred my hair from down to a ponytail at least 
three times and have spent the last
four hours in absolute confusion from a combination of both my own stupidity and the 
five hours of sleep I got last night.

When I get back home I immediately ignore my homework until about 
six p.m. when it becomes unavoidable but after about ten minutes of science and just
seven minutes of math homework I’m ready for bed but spend 
eight more minutes on my phone until the hour hits exactly 
nine p.m. due to my own personal obsession.

Then I head to bed only to spend another 
ten minutes thinking about the embarrassing slip and fall I took in front of the 
eleventh graders during lunch, which were french fries, a 
twelve letter series of words which I noted for Scrabble.
Nov 27

Paper wings (broken dreams)

In the valley of the mind, a dream takes flight. It rides the wind, dipping and twisting on the path of a starling, and slows naught for the doubt that nips at its glowing heels. The moment it leaves the ground, the valley is its own. Fog swirls in playful currents, twisting under delicate paper wings as the dream smiles, delighted, and dares to break through the clouds into the sky above. As the chill of the mist washes over it, it blinks open clear eyes. You could look right into them and see nothing but stars; pinpricks, twinkling bright and sweet with promise, yet unfathomable distances away. 

All of a sudden, a new light breaks the horizon. Once hazy and muted, the skyline erupts in bronze and gold. 
The sun rises. 

Nov 26

The Brothers Nine

Once upon a sordid time
There lived the brothers nine
In a castle, ivy vined
Each did walk a deadly line.

The first of whom was power wrought
Through blood and war had he been taught.

The second showed his colors true
Rose one day and bid adieu.

The third was a slippery fellow
Hands of thieves and hair of yellow.

The fourth spent his time in books
Cunning for quiet is often mistook.

The fifth had a heart of gold
Mind of strength and eyes of old.

The sixth lived all alone
Striving, striving to atone.

The seventh chose a life of luxe
With selfish heart and vain looks.

The eighth had a dreamer’s soul
Till life’s trials did take their toll.

The ninth was hungry, to his bones
Sought nothing less than power of throne.

For these brothers, numbered nine
Fate had come to break their ties.
Nov 26
nonfiction challenge: Thanks
isabelle.chen's picture

Thankful for me

I want to thank the voice in my head.
The voice that stays confined in my headspace and communicates solely with me.
The one that whispers to me in the dark and coaxes me out towards the light.
The very voice that reminds me to stand up and keep hacking away at the obstacles in my current pathway.
The one that doesn’t give up on me when I want to cave into a pit of despair.
This voice rationalizes and strategizes my next moves of the day,
And uplifts me to pour my heart and soul into things that bring me happiness.
Without the constant pushing, I wouldn’t be on the pathway I am today.

I want to thank the body that has been behind all the actions I’ve done to date.
All the running on trails that have led to rewarding mountaintops could never have been done if it weren’t for my body putting forth one foot in front of the other.  
I’m able to help out my family’s restaurant which requires standing for hours on end.
Nov 25


Again, from a class. The style is called a triptych 
Nov 24

Flowers that bloom by night

Outside my window, there is a flower that blooms by night
During the day it is simply a stick blocking my view of the evergreens
A withered bulb, white petals that are wet-cat damp, colors washed out like community pool towels
It only seems to bloom when I am not awake, and by morning it looks again of tired tea leaves
But I will not dig up this flower, I will not corrode the stem or pluck the sometimes-weepy petals
Because at night she is a dancer
Her perfume waltzing into my dreams on the wind of a loon call
Coming to rest above antique books and grandmother quilts
Drifting down to dance
Glissade across the bridge of my nose
Gather like a misty purple crown above my head to crown me queen of the dreamers
What this flower cannot do by day 
It engulfs at night
Outside my window, there is a flower that only blooms by night
And though others may wish to pluck it
She will always find a home by my windowsill
Nov 20


Love when leaves tumble to meet
the crunch beneath my boots
burning tea, home-made scarves
red-orange roads, blurry windows
holes in my cardigan
you mended
but not anymore
and I was never good at sewing
creased books
dog-eared & desecrated
no one to tell me not to
no one to smooth out the pages
Love when rain smelled new
you were petrichor to me
relief from the sun, cracks
you mended
but not anymore
and I can’t remember
your perfume
Love falling
asleep & into & for
but not down
never down
Nov 18
fiction challenge: Winter

Snowless season

I dream sometimes, of love and hate and snow. Here in California, where summers rage with endless flames, where each spring and autumn brings another dusty wind to my window, there isn't much to speak of. But there is a sweet release for three months, when the weather cools and all becomes still. I dream of corporate buildings rising from a flat skyline of roads and highways stretched over a desert in disguise, and the month of January. The new year is welcomed with celebration and joy, fireworks and sparkling lights, barren trees and frigid cold, and death in every ash-grey branch devoid of visible life. Winter is a season of mortality: a beautiful, ephemeral, and tragic one. 
Nov 18

In the fish tank

Being new gets old like cake frosting left in the fridge for too long. First it’s fun, snow on the ground in April, blue and squeaky school floors. A clean, clean room with a big window and all my boxes. My friends from home asking how cold it is, and if people wear snowshoes to run errands. The forest out back teeming with big rocks to stand on and even bigger trees to climb. Everything around me is a clean slate waiting to be painted on.
Nov 17

Corner lot

Someone finally bought the corner lot
Right next to the movie theatre
And everyone hoped it would bring a promise,
Something the locals could appreciate.

But when the Porsches pulled up,
And built up 
That little corner lot,
That I could view quite clearly from the window of my dad's office,
The view of the water was blocked. 
It was only for the wealthy 
Who may have booked a room. 

That corner lot should have been for everyone. 

Nov 16

Money pit heart

If I gave you the keys
Would you settle down in my money pit heart?
She’s a fixer-upper,
But you always loved the feeling of a hammer.

Together we’ll work these calloused hands –
Compose a home fit for the two of us.
Ignite a fire in the hearth, then slip on our cozy socks –
Settle down and let the seasons change –
While our love remains, always the same.

Nov 15

The bed that wanted to rot

There was once a bed that wanted to rot
The poofed pillows and slathering of silk bedsheets and furniture polish that was lovingly applied
Only made the bed itchy and lonesome
For this bed wanted to rot
To be haphazardly thrown in the back of an old pickup truck
The mattress thought it would very much like the stains and oil it could lounge in
In the truck
To be sped down I-89 without buckles and restraints
Jolting merrily
Splintering with every speed bump
To fly
The feathers in the down pillows wanted nothing else but to be airborne once more and remember the taste of wind
The bed thought it would like to land in a half-dead thicket in the darkest and dampest part of the wood
First gone would be the wool blanket
Gnawed on by chipmunks and squirreled away by squirrels and frozen and wrung out in the winter

Nov 14

Perfect for me

When someone says 
many immediately think
They hear the word,
and they picture no
no issues, 
nothing to worry about.
But how perfect 
would this world truly be,
if there was nothing to
worry about,
nothing to strive for?
If I am scared,
nervous about something,
it simply feels so much better
when I work hard 
to acknowledge it,
to achieve it,
to adapt to it, even. 
What would life look like 
with no goals,
no dreams,
nothing to try for?
When someone says,
"Nothing's perfect,"
know that nothing can be
exactly right,
but it can be exactly right 
for you. 
When I think of perfect,
I think of something being
perfect for me,
for my life,
for my world. 
Nov 13

November floating

Late afternoons in November
have me noticing
all the things I missed,
the dust growing like grey shadows
on the piano keys,
the dark circles from glasses of lemonade
standing out on the wood
I now trace in the 5:00 darkness,
the glitter reflecting occasionally 
in my hairline.
The words of the songs I used to love
now fade as the waves glide over them.
The summer memories of hot ice cream
dripping in the sand
and seagulls riding the salted wind
now sting like migraines when they return
and the things we said in August
echo back to us in November
with new meanings
and new names
and the lotteries I didn't win
are fraying red papers in short pockets
and the summer blush
rubs off on my mask
and confusion sets in
when the sunset flares too early
because if
October is a lifegaurd
November leaves us floating