As I Sit Beneath a Tree

This past week I went to San Francisco, Yosemite, and Chicago. While in Muir Woods, I wrote this poem sitting underneath a magnificent tree. 

And because I don’t rhyme and ended up ((sort of)) rhyming, you will find there is a lack of a rhyme scheme in this. 

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From among the trees

Of which I dream

There lies a stillness, a comforting

Embrace of branches surrounding me

Like morning tea

And as I dream, fingers of 

Mint green

Brush my cheeks and 

Whisper and sing

Melodies unknown to me that ring

A familiar note to those listening

With eyes alert and ear buds out 

Hearing keen

I strive to listen and be observant

A follower of all good things and

Trees

And bring respect to those whose leaves

Cradle me when I seek

A friend

And as the woods sing and bring 

A blissful offering

I slink into a deeper state

And await the dimming of the trees

From my sight

When I awaken

Of sudden

To dappled light

Flung across my sun-kissed skin

To find myself in the loving arms

Of a magnificent 

Redwood oak

Who cloaks me in his faded bark

Who hums and sings a song for me

Like midnight ea

Bittersweet

I rise and hug his worn out skin

And hear

And answer

Mother Nature calling for

Me 

 

-Z

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Medicine

You don’t have to be who you are

Pained, weak, hopeless

They told you to take these

Red, green, blue, white

Rainbow of colors in your hands

You don’t have to be small

Invisible

Unhappy

They gave you joy, in your hands

Small pieces of ecstasy that find its way into

Your heart, your

Mind

That make voices breathe into your conscience

But give you satisfaction

Longing for more

Two in the morning leaves you in a bliss

Two at night shows you the moon, and Mars, and Jupiter

Three in the morning makes you rich

Three at night gives you the sun

Four before breakfast

And the salty air of the ocean wafts in

Five after breakfast, five before dinner

Six after dinner

Ten before bed to give you trances

One more at midnight to send you into silly stupors and

Joyful dazes

You’re everything you want to be and more

So much more

One pill to congratulate yourself

You’re accomplished and content

One more pill because, why not?

Arrogant and subdued

You’re spinning round and round

Dizzy but happy

Dizzy and happy

All the while, spiraling into the pits of

Hell

Just another and another

Maybe

One more

The hardwood floor cool against your cheek

As happiness knocks on the door

And, dreaming, elated, you let fake smiles and forgotten laughter in

Child, what have you done?

It’s just medicine

It’s just medicine, you say

With a last smile on your soft lips

My child, you can’t do this

My child

Stranger’s tears on your cheeks

Hot against the dying flesh

A soft, agonized whisper, why?

It makes me happy, you say

I don’t have to be who I am

I can be whatever I want

I can be happy, do you understand?

And then numbness takes over

Your mouth parted, slightly, frozen

And then, pain, a flash of pain

Then

Bliss

And a hum escapes your lips

And eyes turn gray

Muted screams and shouts and cries in the background

And a cold, open hand to reveal

Tablets of euphoria, tablets of death

 

-Z

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As

As the car passes trees

Blurred green into black

Dark paint strokes against the light sky

As I look out the window

Rolled halfway down

A forgotten breeze caressing my face

As lives move across my vision

Separated, individual, unequal

Unfair

Glimpses of a laugh, a smile

A nod of a head to the beat

As the families

Disappear from sight in a cloud of smoke

Paper

Mysterious

Old graffiti faded

As we all feel a connection

Momentary tug on the soul

Being on the same path

As the joint spirits sever

Splitting into divergent

Journeys’ ends

As the link from a flash of brown eyes

To a white smile

To gray hair and wise looks

Steadily dies

As I am once again left alone

Oblivious to the gentle wind

That strokes my cheek and

Brushes my hair

As I close the window

Trapping the smell of strangers inside

Their physical bodies long gone

As I near my destination

Trees becoming one mass of color 

Filling the skies

And spilling onto the concrete 

As the car drives, and the birds sing

And the grass dances

As we crawl along our peculiar avenues

Like an endless string of ants 

 

-Z

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My Dear

My dear, I can see it in your eyes

The way your head droops and vision fades

The flinch of your fingers

Shrinking away from touch

The hollow smiles and haunted perceptions

The second life

My dear, I do not know the inner workings of your mind

The way your heart beats when you see something

You love

The soft touch of your hand and the

Flutter of your eyelashes as you sleep

The quiet hums you make with the music when you think

No one is listening

My dear, I do not know your soul

I do not know how much it aches to be seen

To be loved

I do not know the hurt you go through

I do not know your pain

I do not know the tears you shed, only

That you shed them

But my dear, I want you to believe

That you can do this

That you are stronger than this

That although words may pierce your heart and break your skin

They can never, will never, be enough to

Take away your life

To put your soul to waste

My dear, you need to believe

That although inside your pretty head no one

Cares

The truth is, you are a beacon of hope

To those struggling to go on

You are an emblem of strength

For those faltering

My dear, I want you to know that

You are a survivor

They have pushed you down

Penetrated your innocence and

Corrupted your body

They have stripped away your skin

And exposed your virgin heart

My dear, I am telling you that

You are a survivor

You fall and you fight

You will come back just as strong

Twice as strong

Three, four, five times

You will stand up and you will win

My dear, we are all broken people

Sew your splintered heart together and

Nurture your fragmented dreams into something greater

Greater

Shelter your vulnerable soul

Don’t listen to the voices in your head

Believe in yourself

Trust in yourself

Know you can do this

You are a survivor

You are a survivor, my dear

-Z

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Paper Faith

I apologize if this poem makes no sense- it doesn’t really make sense to me neither. I started this on a whim, two simple words that became one sentence, that became the ending, that eventually blossomed into the very first line. I wrote the poem first, and then I went in and added a prayer in between the lines. I decided that “paper faith” should be taken more literally, and should show the crumbling of a person on the inside while still seemingly normal on the outside. That really is the purpose of this piece. That people aren’t who they show, that millions of people out there are drowning within themselves without a way out, without a soul who knows. I’m here to tell you that I see you, and I love you, and I accept you. 

 

Paper Faith 

“Our Heavenly Father”

Another day, another week

Another life of waste

Simple

“I thank You for all You have done”

Words flow out of mouths without process

Without love

“I thank You for Your son, Jesus Christ”

Kaleidoscope views of dreams and screwed up dreams of colors and

Colors painted over cracked lives, faded faces, blurred tears on

Old pictures

“I thank You for giving me life”

Forgotten stories bound between the lines of

Reality

Of false hopes and boy meets girl and happily ever afters

“I thank You for the plans You have for me”

But what about-

The truth?

“I thank You for keeping promises”

In this world there are no happily ever afters

Boy meets girl

Encounters and absences and empty space and

“I thank You for the trials I go through”

Boy leaves girl

Filled with damp eyes and bleeding wrists

Again and again

Over and over

Sugar-coated repetition

“I thank You, thank You, very much”

In this bitter place humanity hides

And cheeks blush with sour slaps

“I thank You for Your kindness”

Sharpened knife twists into iron hearts

Makes them flow, souls ebbing away

Inches further, puncturing the center of the universe

“I thank You for loving me, always”

Last breaths, in and out

Inconsiderate and selfish

Desperate

“I thank You for saving me”

Last breaths

Glinting pupils of hatred, seconds of recognition

In and

Free after all these years

Out

“Amen”

And our little lives dissolve, built on blocks of

Paper faith

 

-Z

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Victim

I am a victim of your words

Cutting blades of letters strung into pain

Hanging in strands of saliva from the base of your mouth to the cleft of your chin

To the unshaven cheek

I am a victim of your flesh

Gathering strength flung across my skin

Cherry marks of blood and stings like bees

Alcohol breath and dizzy eyes 

Smears of salt and discarded tissues 

I am a victim of your love

Spoken thoughts in the dark

Whisper of hands flowing

Languid movements and hushed volume

Piercing eyes melting stone statues into

Lava hearts

A fiery conjoining of two people, two souls

Two spirits

One

I am a victim of your love

Joyful wastes and sweet nothings 

Promises full of unfailing 

Lies, lies

Needles of pain, fresh

Holes of innocence forced from my

Conscience 

Stripped down to raw sin

But…I want you

I am a victim of your love

I need you

I am a victim of your flesh

I love you

I am a victim of your words 

 

-Z

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Judgement

Please, this might be cliche, but please don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a person by his/her appearance. I know this is near impossible, but please, try and reserve any type of judgement until a real, meaningful encounter. I know that not even I have the capability of doing this, as judging is the first thing we do when we see something new or unusual or even refreshing, whether consciously or subconsciously. But I’m urging you to please limit these preconceived notions of someone or something before you fully know and understand them. If your parents are divorced or you are divorced, please don’t look at a married couple and be jealous, or allow thoughts of that kind to race through your mind. More times than not, those envied families will have problems and concerns of their own. They will not be the perfect couple, and their joyful facade may be hiding something deeper. The same goes for the other way around. Please don’t let your mind wander about how “horrible” the divorced are, or how “terrible” their life must be. Don’t think they’re a bad individual for having done what they’ve done. Everyone has their own life, everyone has their own secrets, and everyone has their own reasons. Just because someone else’s doesn’t match with yours does not justify you thinking of them any differently. 

I apologize because I realize now that this post does not really have that much to do with judgement, and I did not actually have anything new to add about this topic. I just reiterated what I thought very important. Maximize acceptance, minimize prejudice. 

 

-Z

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