Here’s a few selections of my writing! -GMT
It's a summer of dripping
Sweat dripping down my newfound muscles to darken my yoga mat
Water dripping off the blade of my paddle
Time dripping like sand in a capsule, grain by grain, but with alarming intensity
I hear drips in the thud of volleyballs popping like popcorn against taut skin
Bikers at sea and kayakers on land
I now know what it is to be a soldier in the fabric of a company
To wear my blood and sweat every day as an extra layer of skin
To always put others first and resist mocking their stupid questions
I have to trust that when I'm beaten down, I will be built up
The water is stronger than me
It will rip me into a raw, new form
Sore and pulsing with life
We're the smallest creatures out there
At the mercy of larger machines
From above, I’m riding a hollow narrow banana while holding a twig
My guts burn with fear and anger when I see a wake
churning the unknown, innocent below and the vulnerable above
Why is there such little care given to the weak?
I see it on the streets when impatient cars zoom past my calves
I cannot rest. No one will wait.
I try to spread a dosage of care to the homeless eyes that tacitly watch me pass
But even when I open my wallet, I haven't succeeded. I wonder where that money will go & flood with guilt for the self-satisfaction that I feel.
It's just paper. I'm working for paper.
I'm working for the water that doesn't have a voice
The disgust that registers through my eyes and rings through my thoughts is for my own kind
The river didn't do this to itself
Rotting carcasses dressed in forgotten plastic
grimey fumes that make my vocal chords clench gravel
I'd rather listen, but I'm being watched
Hear, me, Chicago!
Things need to change
The water first
Then the streets
And finally, our hearts
The whole city needs to look down
At the cracked Earth in pain
At the people on an imaginary ladder with lower rungs
I've never been so hungry in my life
I need food
Not 50 calories of pretzels- hearty, calorie packed meals
People feel this way every day
I'm dripping again with silent tears, soaking wiggly trails down my dirt stained cheeks
I feel so weak in this world where men do the same labor with half the effort.
I am soft and beautiful, but that's not helpful now.
I ignore those parts until the sun sets and I strip the uniform.
There's one person who reminds me to smile and play every time I smell his sweat and hear his laugh
He is beautiful too.
I'll tell him someday.
For now, I'll let the waves crash over me. I'll let the wind push me,
and the spiders scurry over my thighs.
The whole time, I'll pull the water towards myself and know that I'm moving forward.
I refuse to live my life in fear
and yet I do
My actions speak much louder than those words
as I move to the side of the walkway and feign interest
in a rectangular shining screen to let you pass
Are you following me?
While others have found their matching magnet, I remain unrooted—
drifting from one concrete jungle to the next,
hoping that I will somehow find importance
wondering whether my independence is comfortable out of necessity
Inquiring mouths assume that I live here because I walk alone
But when a wanton man or woman approaches on the street,
My blood stays calm. Pulled towards the emptiness of their eyes,
listening to their plea. Weathered skin lining tumultuous insides.
A linguistic canon that doesn’t allow for calling time spent outdoors a “vacation.”
I don’t often supply the currency that they seek,
but I try to honor them with open ears and less judgmental eyes than the sea around them.
Perhaps I should be more afraid. Less wary of the majority, including those who find themselves in proximity at late hours, and
more cautious of the neighbors on the fringes. The spinners of stories both false and true. These are the encounters that I
remember—tinted with desperation, the potential of violence, and a lingering handshake between charcoal and snow colored
fingers. These are the scapegoats for danger.
And as I refuse to live my life in fear, they will remain my friends
I have a dream that I will one day
have a daughter who looks back at me
with identical mud-colored eyes.
Like most other children, she will enjoy
molding the earth. Dripping sand into
elaborate kingly dwellings. Ripping
yellow weeds from their root to determine
whether surrounding friends enjoy butter.
Staining the tub with black footprints
until the water again runs clear.
One day, she will walk outside with one
solitary mission. To dig. Perhaps to China.
Or until something else becomes appealing.
She will sink the ancient tool into the land,
gaining leverage with a stomp of her foot.
But under a thin layer of dirt, she will find filth.
Disintegrating diapers wrapped in Cheetos bags.
Mountains of plastic bags pierced by syringes and a few
I will gasp and rush her to the park.
Again, the green grass will only be a toupee,
covering mass graves of rubbish.
No space for dreams. A planet that is
spent. Our mud eyes will drip, mourning
the day when we can no longer play.
The world doesn’t stop for my tiny day
it continues to bustle
while I’m tryna hustle
hiding inside 4 impervious walls, full of anxiety and aspirations
but never feeling whole or choosing to breathe
the lemurs still swing
and beetles still crawl
While humans run faster than the world is spinning, clawing at a sense of purpose.
Have I done it yet? Am I somebody?
You’ll never catch up…nature just goes.
Our species with collective memory loss
To join the dance, you simply must stop
hear with your skin and wiggle your toes
We’ve known this for eons, but we like to forget
So we can consume without regret and wear a veil of ignorance
Eating beef & pork, never cows & pigs
building straws to suck out every last drop of oil—draining it fast
too fast until we can’t keep up and it seeps like deadly fingers across watery flatlands
the porcupines can still float
and peacock spiders splay their butts
There’s so much we can learn from the green and blue and brown
through labors of love: keyword labor
Hack into the earth, ripping and clawing down deep
After a sprinkle of rain, it is smooth without a trace of trauma
nature heals fast. no one has told it not to.
Plants cry for attention when they need it, unashamed by their need
After a kind touch, they perk up, vivacious and springy
I never thought I’d go to cosmetology school, but now I’m giving haircuts to quamash.
kneeling tender knees in squishy soil while a few symphony notes float over the shoulder hedge
and red-winged blackbirds circle above, threatening to swoop down and tug at my hair
I think of my friends who are scattering to new places
and look at the plant I’m holding. The roots so delicate and strong.
It’s so easy to pick up and move. It may be happier in different soil and sun, so I’m letting it try.
I want it to be happy.
When I begin to weed, I’m alarmed by how quickly my brain flips a switch. “Kill! Kill! Kill!”
Why is it so easy to search and destroy? Why do I enjoy it?
And I call myself a pacifist…
“When you’re done there, you can come do my yard,” he says as he passes
proud that he’s engaged me
“No thank you,” I chirp through a tight little smile
the creek still gurgles
and the canyons erode
An avalanche doesn’t care if my heart is bruised
it will eat me anyway, rumbling and tumbling
Not trying to hurt me. Not sorry either.
I pull a solidago loose from the ground and find,
intertwined with the roots, tattered and faded with time
A Skittles wrapper
What a gift it is to live in a place where I can clearly see the accumulation of grime
Watching thousands of fingers release tidbits into the wind until mine grip a little tighter.
Where did they think it would go?
They don’t want to know.
the clouds condense
and the ice thins
and the breeze lightly sighs.