Springtide Hymn

May 31, 2016

Few places are stranger
Than a graveyard in spring.
Both forces of nature are
At hand, marching onward,
Decay and growth entangled.

(Someone once told me
Cemeteries always have
The greenest grass, simply
From their unique fertilizer.)

True, it can be unsettling,
How beneath boughs of
Aspen and hemlock wreaths
Lie fallen soldiers and wives
Buried too young, taken by
Gods older than the soil itself.

Though death resides below,
Above ground, life blossoms.

MSBQ

2015, The Year of Fulfillment

December 31, 2015

What an incredible thing this year has been. As the world around us changes (and not always for the better), it’s important to remember that the most important things in our lives are the people we hold close. I learned a lot this year- about what not to do in a classroom, about what inspires me, and how sometimes blood isn’t always thicker than water. By fulfilment, I mean that 2015 was the year where things in my life are finally starting to take hold, put down roots, all that jazz. I got engaged, we’ve travelled together, and are more stable (in multiple ways) than ever before. And that’s important to acknowledge.

I hope that if you are reading this, that you feel as touched by me as I am by you. My priorities have changed a lot in the last twelve months. But my family and friends and the love of my life will always be number one. (If it seems like I forget that in 2016, please remind me)

Let’s take a look at how well I did accomplishing my resolutions for this year:

  1. Become a part of (or start my own!) book club.
    While I didn’t start a book club, I’ve become part of one between some of the other English teachers in my department (among others) who want to learn and discuss our methods. Sounds boring, but it usually involves alcohol as well.
  2. Renew old friendships.
    I feel like I can’t really scratch this one off, but maybe you’ll disagree. The wonderful power of the internet is its ability to bring together people who don’t live near other physically. While some of my best friends in the entire world live 50, 75, or 2000 miles away (HI ALEXA), it doesn’t mean that our bonds have gotten any weaker. In fact, I’d say for most of them I feel closer than ever. It’s important to renew old friendships, but I can’t help but remember the new friends I’ve made as well.
  3. Survive my first year as a teacher.
    I definitely made it. Was I successful? That’s another story entirely. I made it through my first year teaching and all that that encompasses, and I am proud of that. My second year, somehow, seems even more stressful than the first but all along I am more confident than I was. It makes a difference. Here’s to 49 more years in the profession!
  4. See some more cool stuff.
    I am happy to say that I definitely checked this one off. We made more than a few road trips around Washington this year, but the clear highlight travel-wise for me in 2015 was visiting Boston. I’ve always dreamt about visiting Boston and this summer we got to go there… It was amazing! Such an incredible mixture of the old and the new, seeing the roots of our country and where it all began, and eating the most delicious Italian food in the entire world. Yeah, it was good.
  5. Keep writing!
    According to WordPress, I wrote 19 poems this year to reach a blog total of 200 posts! While that sounds impressive, I didn’t really keep up with my unwritten goal of two new poems per month. I’d like to continue forward, and as I finally settle into my own unique writing style I’d love it if you came along for the ride. Hearing other people appreciate my work has been an unexpected pleasure. Don’t stop doing it, please.

 

There are so many people I’d like to sit down and talk to, some folks I haven’t seen face to face in a long time. Hopefully, this year will be one to remember, and that will include seeing you! I can’t thank the people around me enough for supporting me, being willing to buy me a drink every once in a while, and listen to me complain about my students. 🙂

Here’s the skinny on my resolutions for 2016:

  1. Enjoy the last year of my twenties.
    Yikes! The next resolutions post I write will be 2+ weeks away from turning 30, and that’s somewhat terrifying. Help me enjoy 29 as much as I can!
  2. Try to eat a little better/work out a little more.
    Recently, I’ve felt somewhat unhappy with the way I look. I mean, I’ve always been a little chubby but I want to make sure I’m taking care of myself, too. No, I’m not joining a gym.
  3. Don’t be afraid to branch out (school-wise).
    Don’t panic. This means multiple things to me: a) always keep looking for better employment, b) always be open to moving up in the degree world, e.g. getting a Master’s. Stay open-minded!
  4. Continue to write poetry (and think about prose).
    Part of this could be a tough one for me, mostly because I’ve always thought I wouldn’t have the creative juices necessary for writing a longer piece… Who knows?
  5. Get married.
    We’re already engaged, but it would be cool to finally tie the knot next year. Despite being teachers, we don’t really plan all that well sometimes. This can be fixed. 🙂

 

Well, that’s it. My resolutions for 2016 are actually kind of difficult. Help me achieve them! I hope that you have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve and a pleasant weekend. Don’t be a stranger.

MSBQ

 

Where There’s Smoke…

June 10, 2015

What we are told
About what happens
After our wicks are
Finally snuffed out is,
I sincerely believe,
All wrong, misguided.

It is a deeply flawed
Machine that chews up
Men’s lives in service of
Hollow ideals and pure,
Untainted fear.

What have we to fear?
The whips and barbs of
Eternal punishment seem
All too dull, the hellfire
Promised for (let’s be fair)
Almost every one of us
Turned out to be a pale
Flickering furnace, barely
Capable of heating the
Frigid faces inside.

The ugly truth of it all
Is that we control both:
We hold the targets,
And we hold the guns.
The worst imaginings of
Our final Revelations
(Such a fitting name!)
Are just that: imaginings.
The emptiness inside of
Our minds and hearts
Will, one day, consume
The rest of us as well.

MSBQ

Preservation

June 3, 2014

Broken speech:
Thick tongues
Whisper softly in
Hushed voices.

Outsiders speak of
The jungle as a
Heart of darkness
But, in truth, this
Is where the light
Shines brightest.
We spread like
Tributaries of the
River of humanity,
Leaving nothing but
Concrete, rebar, and
Former ambitions.

Nature’s last vestige
Of life and purity,
And we are closer
Than ever to losing
It completely.

MSBQ

Wake

February 25, 2014

Dark eyes flutter open,
Today was the day;
Black ties and dresses,
Don your somber faces
For now we mourn.
The man buttoned his
Suit jacket carefully,
A wake does not
Call for haste.
Now a slow drive to
The quieter side
Of town, crossing the
Bridge and paying
Respect to those
Who have floated on
Into the ether.

Familiar faces stand
Still, but vibrate
Quietly with tears.
The man gets up,
Wishing to speak his
Thanks and regret,
But none can hear
His whispering.

Alive in every sense
But the obvious.

MSBQ

Black Sheep

January 25, 2014

Distant streetlights bounced
To and fro as he jogged down
The puddle-ridden lane. The
Torrential rainfall had finally
Subsided, and now as he made
His way along the river-bank,
A thick mist lowered itself onto
The city skyline. Everything
Was damp, soaked to the bone.
He stopped, briefly, at the
Very edge of the bike path,
To catch his breath and gaze
Across the hazy river, moving
So slowly that it was almost
Imperceptible.

He remembered his father’s
Final words, as he stood there
Still unable to process them:
“Fortune favors the bold.”
As if there were some magic
Doorway that he had only to
Step through and his life
Would fall into place.

The nurses had said he went
In the night, peacefully.
How did they know he didn’t
Wake, and question himself?
How could they know?
Black sheep still give wool,
And his father would not
Accept Death’s shears
Without a good fight.
Now, as mist permeated
His loose layers of clothing
And saturated his soles,
He could almost hear his
Father’s stifled laughter:
“Go out there and live.”

MSBQ

2013, The Year of Promise

January 1, 2014

Hey there! This is, yet again, my one time for looking back at the year as a whole and setting some goals for the next one. Firstly, as usual, I want to thank the people in my life who have been there through thick and thin, and who continue to be there for me when I screw up. My family has been extraordinary this year in lending a hand when I am up against a wall, whether that be financially or literally. My friends have been better than ever, despite many of you living far away. I love you guys, and I don’t mean that in any kind of way beside the raw appreciation of someone who would not be where they are now without your help. My incredible, understanding, and amazing girlfriend… You go above and beyond for me all the time, and this year really showed me how important two people can be to each other. I love you.

As with all times of transition, things are lost and things are gained. This year was not without its pitfalls, both those endured directly and those indirectly. I know some of you may read this, even though we have not spoken in a while… And maybe we won’t for a while yet. I also met a lot of new folks this year, and got closer to people I hardly knew, and that is rewarding in its own way. I just hope that 2014 becomes a time where all of us may blossom into the human beings we are meant to become. Fulfill your potential this year, do yourself a favor. You won’t be disappointed.

Let’s take a look back at the resolutions I made for 2013:

1. Rewatch the television show LOST.
Thanks to a chunk of my time being largely empty this past summer, I did manage to watch almost all of this amazing show again. It’s more than just a story to me, and I know only some of you will appreciate that. And that’s okay. I’m just glad I did it.

2. Get a teaching job. For real this time.
I think I can count this one as accomplished. Starting in March 2013, I started in the Bethel School District as a substitute, and it has been so rewarding. I am doing pretty much what I have always wanted to be doing, just not in my own classroom. One day that too will become a reality, but in the meantime I am truly having a blast.

3. Continue saving money and become more financially responsible.
Saving money and trying to improve my credit and everything has been an uphill climb, but one that I have been making nevertheless. Hopefully I will only continue on this route.

4. Visit a national landmark that I’ve never been to before.
I almost thought that I would miss out on this one, but over Thanksgiving, my Mom and family went to Las Vegas (no, that’s not the landmark). One of our jam-packed days on the strip, we took time to drive out to Red Rock Canyon, and it was breathtaking. I love surrounding myself in nature, and that afternoon was really an awesome experience. Oh, and we got to have In ‘N’ Out burgers, so that was nice too!

5. Become a better human being.
Looking back, this is so subjective that I can only hope I have done it justice. I have made some mistakes this year, but to err to be human. One day, I want to get to the place in my life where I can really embrace my mistakes, and learn from them. Those two things are harder to accomplish together than it sounds. Hopefully, I have done right by you this year. If I haven’t, well, give me a chance. 2014 is a new year.

Whew. I’m glad I had the forethought to limit myself to five resolutions instead of ten. I think it will help me to focus on getting them done. I’d call 2013 a success, at least for me. Now for the hard part: figuring out what goals to set for myself in the new year. What kinds of things will I aim for in 2014?

1. Focus on financial responsibility and independence.
I’m about to turn 27, I should definitely be pretty good at this by now. I’ll be doing my best to improve my credit, keep saving money, and think about my future.

2. Read at least a dozen books.
This resolution should be pretty easy to accomplish… Just looking at my history on GoodReads has shown me that I am capable of reading at or above the level I was reading in college. And I’m thankful for that. Let’s keep it up. Also: more non-fiction!

3. Donate to charity again.
I used to donate for a short time to an organization for aid in Africa, but to be honest my donation could be anything. I could spend time working with an organization for the homeless or donate to another worthy cause, or both. I want to do my best to help my fellow man (and woman!) in need.

4. Keep writing.
This one has become a little more difficult, and at times it was tough to meet my (self-imposed) bare minimum of a new poem every month. The last couple months have been so busy that I haven’t taken time to reflect. Those of you who frequent this blog know what that time means to me.

5. Get outside my comfort zone.
I think this one really fleshed itself out on that trip to Vegas. I am often not a risk-taker. It’s just not in my blood. So when confronted with a tough situation, my usual response is to retreat into myself and work things out on my own terms. This year, I want to get out there a little more, and do things I may not always be comfortable with. (Within reason)

There it is. 2014 should prove to be quite interesting. I have called it a year of promise, but really the potential lies within us, within me, to make this year better than ever. I just hope we all make it through to another resolutions post. Until then, keep coming back to read my work, and don’t be afraid to say hello… I won’t bite! 🙂

MSBQ