A Series of Chronological Haikus

London I
xxx
Countless days, wasted
Ever been this desolate?
Never sleeping right.
xxx
Belgium
xxx
Rude, nice, confusing.
Why are they excluding me?
Who are these children?
xxx
Catania
xxx
Me, mom. Three others.
We shouldn’t have come here with
Them. Please stop fighting.
xxx
Highgate Cemetery
xxx
Wet: moss, ivy, leaves
Darling wife, mother and. She’s dead.
Bodies keep melting
xxx
Amsterdam
xxx
Lights, fur cloak, champagne
I feel so old for sixteen,
Incompatible
xxx
Berlin
xxx
I am connected
Me/the city is pockmarked
Pain she remembers.
xxx
Istanbul
xxx
Yellow, blue, gold. Cats.
Mosques sound like muffled beehives
Nature conquers faith
xxx
Seattle
xxx
Sun, long car rides, lakes
I’ve never been happier
Laughing endlessly
xxx
Cumbria
xxx
Sheep bleating, dew grass
I cry on a mountaintop
The world is ending
xxx
Mother Nature doesn’t give a fuck. She will defeat us soon enough. 
xxx
London II
xxx
I learn to love you
No more wasted days.
Becoming home
xxx
Kew Gardens
xxx
Conservatory
Nice but, not real, not nature
What’s urban wildlife?
xxx
Scotland
xxx
Peat, fog, Irn Bru
Where the dinosaurs once roamed
Cold wind. I’m grinning
xxx
Edinburgh
xxx
Rusty typewriter
City of daffodil hills
A charming grey place
xxx
New York
xxx
Be my saving grace
Too much crying over boys
Dumb. Angry lipstick.
xxx
The summer of no bras and not shaving and wanting to heal myself.
xxx
Chiswick
xxx
Crystals, matches. Poof!
Blaze. Memories up in smoke.
All to heal myself
xxx
Portugal
xxx
Gold: peaches, shells, sun
Back hurts. I can’t get up. Please.
Make me a sand throne
xxx
Seattle
xxx
An entire year, gone
Slicing meat, taking names, I
Have to split, cut quick.
xxx
Oregon
xxx
Water’s inviting
Where the dinosaurs roam, but,
Be careful, don’t slip
xxx
Lopez
xxx
Dirty kids play drums
We are bad at making fires
Fresh. Doors stay unlocked
xxx
Montreal
xxx
I feel rain on me
Wet, not made by my own skin
Elation chokes me
xxx

 

Breakable, breakable

I thought I was breaking your heart,

but it was you who broke mine.

And it was silly to think, because you’re a city and

I am just a blip on your massive timeline.

I am just a human. I am nothing to you.

I didn’t even etch a single mark into you.

You are a collection of age old buildings and cobblestones.

You have survived great wars.

I am a collection of breakable, breakable bones

and skin that’s so easy to tear.

I haven’t survived anything.

You became my favorite place in the world and I was easily forgotten.

Nothing But Nostalgia

Nothing But Nostalgia

I miss the Romance of European cities. Maybe more than the cities themselves.

I miss Paris and Amsterdam and Berlin. I don’t miss them in the same way I miss London because they were never home.

I miss these other cities in a superficial way. I miss the foreign languages and the new food, the museums and the history. I miss Paris’ light in the winter and Amsterdam’s bicycles and Berlin’s pockmarked walls. I miss thrift stores that are cramped and old and full of unusual silhouettes. I miss the monuments.

I miss the way I felt, exploring new places, tasting stories. I even miss being annoyed at my parents in the way only traveling creates. I miss drinking champagne and eating artisanal truffles on my sixteenth birthday.

I miss walking ancient streets, noticing the sunlight in a new way. The light is different in every city.

I’m romanticizing; Paris is dirty and Amsterdam is sinking and Berlin is crumbling. But I drew and I walked and I wrote.

I miss the cities I see in photographs. In an intimate but distant way. It is not an ache, it’s only a twinge, but it runs through the roots I grew halfway across the globe.

img_6572The monuments,img_4754the light,img_6566the museums,img_4842the ancient streets,img_4844the creating,img_4828and the history.

 

 

Creativity Breeds Compassion

The current state of the world, and especially America, my home, is heartbreaking. There have been more violent shootings in the United States than there have been days in 2016. Within a recent 24-hours, two pre-meditated shootings happened in the same city. One was the murder of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who I personally admired since she was about 19, for her incredible voice and kindhearted nature. The other was the brutal attack on a gay night club, resulting in the deaths of almost 55 members of the LGBTQ+ community and almost the same number of injuries. Although these two crimes were of different calibers, they reiterate clearly many issues that come up again and again and again within our society. It’s hard, seeing this type of violence happen somewhere I call home, to people I feel a bond with. Although I did not know anyone involved in either event, I love and support both the LGBTQ+ community and anyone who has dedicated their life to performance (artists performing at the club were also targeted). I feel I have never held such a heavy heart. It’s hard to think positively at times like this, when it seems like the state of my country is only deteriorating. Although nothing can atone for the tragedies that have befallen the friends and family of these people, it feels like a reprieve when we can be reminded of the good in the world.

The night following the massacre in Orlando was the 70th Annual Tony Awards. One of the reasons I continue to fall in love with musical theatre every day is because it is inclusive. Watching those beautiful history making people perform in the wake of so much tragedy only added to it’s power. The nominees for awards this year were especially incredible. Not only do four of the nominated musicals have almost completely non-white casts (Hamilton, The Color Purple, Shuffle Along and Get On Your Feet), but one also has a cast of deaf young adults working alongside the singing performers (Spring Awakening). On top of that, all five of the biggest awards for musical theatre were awarded to people of color: Lin-Manuel Miranda (best musical), Leslie Odom Jr. (best actor), Daveed Diggs (best featured actor), Cynthia Erivo (best actress) and Renee Elise Goldsberry (best featured actress). Four of those winners were in Hamilton, and all played characters from history who were white, which shows that casting does not need to be discriminatory to be powerful and relatable.

Theatre, and musical theatre especially, has always been a safe haven for people who are different. It’s a welcoming environment where people can begin, from a young age, to express themselves. Other art forms offer this as well, but I’m focusing on musical theatre because I have seen the effects. I worked in a youth theatre for three years, performing in seven shows. Even at twelve, I was able to see kids blossom from almost silent wallflowers into performers that could belt with the best of them. I was never on stage, but I played in the pit orchestras. I was able to be part of a creative ensemble of professional adult musicians and other kids like me, and it shaped me into who I am today. These talented kids I got to watch loved what they did, and their passion (as well as my own) was greeted with open minds full of respect and knowledge ready to be shared. When I was thirteen, I discovered the ukulele, and in four years, my mediocre playing has led me to be more confident than I would have ever thought I could become.

Although I was lucky to be raised in a community ripe with creative opportunities, I don’t see them being promoted as heavily as I think they should be to kids. Creativity is therapeutic. I have not only felt the positive affects of playing music, writing in journals and singing, but I have seen the way visual art has helped every one of my sister’s friends, and how every person I know who has some sort of creative outlet in their life is grateful for it. The arts are important because they allow people who often go unheard share their voice.

The world can be a terrifying, disgusting, horrific place, but in the aftermath of tragedy, we must find what is good in order to invoke change.

As Lin-Manuel Miranda said in his acceptance speech, “Love is love is love is love is love. It cannot be killed or swept aside.”