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

 

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.”