Mar 06

Counting up again

     A daughter arranges sympathy cards on the mantle, changing places, angles, trying to make them fit. We’re sorry for your loss. With sympathy. Our thoughts are with you.
     Thoughts, words, too many of them printed in store bought colors on grocery aisle cardstock, too many superficial, no matter how heartfelt they were intended to be. 
     All of them wrong.
     There should have been something. Should have been closure. 
     There should have been a funeral.
     Her father had wanted a funeral. He’d given her song requests, told her which relatives to force onto the dance floor, made her promise there would be strawberry pie. It should have been out in the sunshine, should have been healing, should have been together. Instead, his heart had stopped in a stark and lonely hospital, and they had all stayed in their homes, made tearful phone calls, emptied wine bottles by themselves in the dark.
Mar 05

Paper cranes

We are all just human,
affected by the changing world around us.
Like a perfect square of origami paper
that a child folds into a crane, 
we are manipulated. 
The folding pressing shaping,
fingers of society telling us we have to be
like the other paper cranes. 
But really, none are alike,
it's just an illusion created by repetition.
A child folding one hundred cranes,
the pressing fingers of society affecting each page differently.
All based on its material, its past,
the future planned for it,
and the ways it is bent to fit
the shape that is most pleasing to the eye.
Mar 03


5:30 a.m.

No one is here

Only me and my dad

In the truck

Ice like veins on the windshield

A frozen vignette in the morning

The houses lay dead beside the road 


This early nothing breathes

As we drive past

The building windows glare

Like camera flashes 

Tearless eyes in their wooden lids

Watching us pass

The mailboxes come quick

And leave faster

Maybe they only exist when the headlights

Find them

Maybe we are passing through a never ending 

onion of layers of dark

Filled with listless houses and strange mailboxes

Wordless in the 5:30 dim

The yellow line we climb is the only

Color at 5:30

The two of them seem out of place

On the asphalt

Two can be lonely at 5:30
Mar 03
rant 2 comments challenge: Unjust

Is this normal?

Here's what I need. Next time you speak to me, call me a baddass before you talk or ask about my ass. I need every person who makes an objectifying  comment, sexual advance, or otherwise problematic innuendo, to imagine they're saying it to their baby sister. To their neighbor. To the kindergarteners we walk past out in the world, to the mothers who fought so hard for equal opportunity in the workplace. I need each and every person to ask themselves before they speak, "Does this sentence use a woman as an object? Am I going to benefit the people around me by saying this, or am I simply insecure?"

Because while I can recover from your comments, jokes, and phrases that are seen as normal in our culture of harassment, I don't know if she can. I don't know if the next girl can. I can't sit back and watch while those around me suffer. This language is not normal. It CANNOT be normal. It's ludicrous that women are subjected to crude comments wherever they go. 
Mar 02

A letter for everyone on YWP: Thank You

For Everyone on YWP, 

I don't normally write letters, or tell people what I'm about to write...but this is special. 
This site, and all the people on this site, you have so helped me. I can't thank you enough. I write to cope with hard things, to get all my words I can't say out loud, out of my head. And it helps even more, when other writers read those poems/rants/wordbursts.

Mar 01
rjiang's picture

Where I'm from

I am from chapter books,
from smartphones and pencils.
I am from the freezing cold winters of Vermont.
I am from the maple tree,
the soft grass lawn.
I am from noodles and dark hair,
from Andrew and Coco.
I am from the glasses,
and chopsticks.
From “work hard” and “never give up”.
I am from atheists and respectful people.
I'm from the south, in Alabama, 
and the rice and noodles.
From the hard-workers, the first-comers,
and the heart-warming. 
I am from the family album, which records our past.
Feb 27


I have learned to interpret silence. My mind splutters, on the verge of an idea, and once again disappears into the abyss. An ocean cannot freeze. Sometimes I wish it would. 

Enthralled by mysteries, the intoxicating paradox of my mind brings extreme hilarity. 

Do I strive to become another Daphne, or let this perplexity lead?  

I live in stacks of books, with no more room on the painted bookshelf. White polished furniture built my habitat. My poems are full of obscure imagery. I seem to be a nomad with a single destination.

Iceland engulfs my eyes. Mountain arch brows trace my unspoken thoughts. My wind-nipped face slowly softens as the day disappears. 
Feb 26
poem 2 comments challenge: Wonder

A child forever

I want to never move on
And yet I want change.
I want to see my friends again 
So time must pass
But I do not want my time to pass.
I turn thirteen 
In a week.
I do not want to forever be labeled "teenager" or "adult."
I am a child.
I still cry at movies and books.
I still run up to dogs on the street and pet them.
I still play childish games.
Does this make me a child?
I no longer go to bed at 8.
I no longer have "playdates."
I no longer want to play pretend or go to the playground.
Does this make me a teenager?
I hope not.
I want to remain in my childhood
But time has passed too quickly,
Much of it taken,
Less of it spent.
Why do I have to go?
Forced into this state of being
Where I have to pretend I don't want to go play tag with the kids in the yard,
Where I have to pretend I want to listen to the adults' dull chatter,
Feb 24


Joy isn't just the sunny days
with ice cream drips and perfect words.
Love isn't just the first few seconds,
flawless moments and romance books.
Life isn't just laughter that bounces off the clouds,
the birth of new things or smell of leaves.

Joy is the rain falling,
sweet relief pouring across your face,
moments when your value of everything,
every little thing,
is the largest thing.

Love is the tears of a resolved argument
dripping into a well of shared emotion,
the unconditional
"let me wipe your eyes with my sleeve and hold you close when you dislike me most."

Life is the constant cycle
of last and first breaths,
of holding onto things so tight
only to realize you are most fulfilled when you let them go.

See your scars not as reminders of the bad you went through
but as the strength that allowed you to survive,
feel your pain not to wallow in it
Feb 23
essay 0 comments challenge: New
madeleinec0's picture

The consumerism cycle

The feeling of new is sickeningly addictive. From a young age, we quickly discover that new stuff makes us "happy." New toys or foods or places or clothes, bring us so much excitement and temporary joy, that for a moment we forget all other worries. This feeling brings a rush of excitement and light into our lives, yet the feeling fades quickly, into boredom and dissatisfaction, thus calling for the cycle to repeat.
Feb 23

To be a writer

To be a writer is to be many things, and before one considers putting pen to paper and writing those first, flurrying words, let me tell you: it is too late. Those who are writers, and who aspire to be, are so far gone in their trade that it is best that one remains out of it all. To be a writer, one cannot be the average hoo-bob that sits around and talks of philosophy or science. To be a writer, one cannot, must not be arrogant, nor foolish, nor susceptible to the whims of mankind, for if they are, they'll never get done what needs to get done. Or, if they remain so, then the process of writing will wear them down. After putting finger to keyboard, the most arrogant man will have been humbled before the power of the idea, and the fool will have sat with himself long enough to have become wise. He who engages in alcoholism and drugs for recreational purposes will unlearn his addiction, for writing will replace whatever lust he had for substance abuse.
Feb 23
poem 0 comments challenge: Climate

Time is not on our side

Whittlers while away time with sticks and knives. 
Me, I wait with diamonds, scratching lines into the sky. 
Down, down, down, down, and then one across 
One for every hour that waiting has cost. 
Waiting in lines, praying for movement, 
Praying for a movement, temporary resolution 
Are we still, are we silent? 
Are we quiet, defiant?
I see our hourglass, and it is mine 
Time is not on our side, I'm running out of time 
Jokes pile up in boxes on my table 
The tales of our defeat stack up like fables 
Lost, losing, choosing not to fight 
Will we stand up, will we do what is right? 
And then; what is? What is our salvation? 
Will it come like rain, soothing our nation 
or will it come like a wrecking ball 
and leave us broken just like we were 
so we can pick up our photographs, marked 2031?
But when the stars align, and fossil fuels fail 
Will we perservere, or die leaving a trail 
Feb 22

Winter oxygen

We walk the brisk winter field,
following the steps of those before us.
I doff my aired out mask,
and inhale the frosty draft.
The animate cold greets the roof of my mouth
and travels through my throat.
My lungs fill, as the air hits my inner self.
It feels nice.
Feb 21
rant 3 comments challenge: Year 2
IceGalaxy's picture


conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
"it's quite normal for puppies to bolt their food"

That's the thing about our
species as humans. We adapt
over time; learn to make the best
of what we have. We are
survivors at heart; it is 
in our blood and nature. We
have been taught to prepare for
natural disasters,
a bunch of random things that could
destroy us. But I swear to god
or anything or anyone up there,
no one could have been prepared
for this. 

My friend has his bar mitzvah 
on the full year of quarantine:
March 13th, 2021. Shocking, 
if you think about it. A full year
of isolation,
facetime calls,
empty nothingness...
it's become normal. 
We've adapted. Now we know
to not leave the house without
a mask and hand sanitizer, 
Feb 20

The crow on the lightpost

Caw, caw, caw, caw, caw.
I hear the crow
Sitting on a lightpost
On a mountain trail—
It's mocking the racers
Who skid down ice-coated slivers of ground.

It's a very rude crow.

It likes making fun of those below it,
Calling, "caw! I am the one
Who sits on my light post,
Who determines whether the light goes on or not—
I am the one
Who determines whether you see
In the night which is as black as my feathers!"

Of course, it isn't the one who determines such things,
But perhaps it's best to let it think that it is,
Lest we make it feel bad about its lonely existence
As it mocks the racers below the light post.

(Read the sequel, The Crow on the Tree)

Feb 19
poem 0 comments challenge: Year 2

My midnight rant

I know that I’m lucky,
I know that I’m blessed
For the billions of things that I have, and yet,
I’m going to do it –
I’m sorry I must –
Life is annoying, I’m making a fuss.
In these strange times
There is nowhere to go.
I was completely ecstatic to go food shopping –
At the store there were people
All wearing a mask,
But a bunch only wore it on their lower half.
And their kids? Didn’t wear the damn thing at all.
Safety's important, but youth outrules all.
We got home, it was later
And darker, no doubt,
Which diverts a quick rant on the sun's whereabouts
Because daylight still dwindles
By 5:30 Kay?
And I sleep in so late I see four hours a day.
Yea my fault, I’m aware, but it’s part of this rant
As the fact that right now there’s no ‘cans,’ ample ‘can'ts’
And sure there’s a global pandemic, I know,

Feb 18


the stars don't watch with judgement 
and the moon doesn't shine to tell you what to do
nobody's seen the clouds fussing
over who said what to who 
sometimes the only way to escape 
this dramatic social hullabaloo
is to look up 
up from the table 
at which you are bound by the strings of compassion
from the screen that you feel trapped in 
up from the tissues and cough drop wrappers
look up at the sky
look up at the rafters
the walls of this house don't whisper with envy 
the soft sway of branches don't scream in a frenzy 
of first world issues, and problems so petty 
am I your friend or am I your enemy? 
it's never been clear 
though I want to be friendly 
I'm lost in this world of teen drama and distractions 
somebody please
give me directions 
all I can do is look up 
up at the sky that could be the sea
tempted to make the next line
Feb 16

Thither comes a dashing gentleman

When wind whips my hair and blows it across my face dramatically, 
I pretend to be in a Jane Austen novel.
For, what! I cry to the sky through my hoarse throat,
thither comes a dashing gentleman!

(the sky is grey like murky tea.)
Dear, dear me, I am faint! I sweep my hand to my forehead and stumble across the ground.
Are you alright? (I switch to being a handsome young man in a grey waistcoat and a concerned expression.)
Just a little… c-cold, I stammer helplessly.

He regards me and invites me on his horse,
(I am quite faint at this point, and my skin is turning blue.)
and rides home with me draped in his wool coat and clutching tight to his horse (and most certainly not him.)
I am propped in bed with warm tea, the colour of the sky, and he waits anxiously in the parlor, as when he carried me in I looked quite cold and he is wondering how I am doing. 
Feb 15
fitzgerg's picture

It's We Who Have Done This

Traveling here for a different life, 
what greets them brings much fear and strife.
Finally a glance of Freedom and Hope
on the other side of a precarious tightrope.
Across the sand, over a wall,
what for them awaits, is too early to call.
Took many risks; left behind their conflicts,
it all was for this, the only way to exist.
They have nothing left, but their own very soul,
when around them congregates Border Control,
pulling children away from their parents
into a facility full of adherents. 
Trapped they are there, with no one who cares;
detained for illegal, foreign affairs.
People of power don't try to fix this;
very young children alone reminisce.
They didn't say goodbye to their family,
cornered in a cage that is very chilly.
Confused and scared,
needing mental repair;
unsure of the future,
no Mom or Dad there.
If this sounds pretty bad, remember this:
Feb 15

A frostbitten moon

In my dreams
a frostbitten moon feels warm
and lemon blossoms
scent the air

People ride
on origami paper cranes
and the roads are paved with sandstone
implanted with seaglass

In my dreams
everyone lives
in brightly colored birdhouses
up in trees with
strands of marbles glittering
in their branches

Vendors sell fresh orange slices
dipped in honey
and tissue paper flowers
bloom at night while
people dance with their soulmates

In my dreams
there are long sandy beaches
lined with turquoise water
and coated with honeysuckle blooms
There is no sky
the sun and stars hang
and the snow that falls
is any color you want it to be

There is no climate change
no racism
no fossil fuels
no hunger

In my dreams