kerosene-soaked bridges

The truth is, I know when I’m setting fires.

I watch myself light matches,

I let the smoke rise, I let the flames catch.

Knowing I should put it out.

Knowing I won’t even try.

Because I want to see what happens next.

Don’t burn your bridges, they say,

but I build mine of kerosene-soaked timber

and laugh as they are destroyed.

We can all pretend we don’t see it coming but

I do — I see — and I stand in the ashes when it’s over.

You can’t blame flames for destroying,

for consuming everything they touch.

Can’t blame me for standing transfixed

As pieces of my world break apart,

watching it fall into a storm-wrecked sea below.

Destruction fascinates.

Even though you won’t admit it,

even whispered to yourself in a dark room,

even when consequences hang in the air all around you.

You know it — you feel it — you see it all the time.

The twisted metal of a car you weren’t in.

Clothes ripped in half, because taking it off was taking too long.

The shadow-pain you feel when pressing on a bruise.

Glass shattering into a fragile spiderweb.

You can’t look away.

You want to.

I don’t.

I know I’m causing destruction,

I just like to watch.

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Guest Writer: Sidney Allen Quaid

Relationships are like winging a recipe.

You know they should be healthy, so you reach for whole wheat flour.

You know they should be sweet, so you add some sugar.

But if you put in salt by mistake, you can’t take it out. You can’t take anything out once it’s in the bowl. You can only keep adding to it until you can’t taste the salt anymore.

But sometimes, nothing you add can drown out what’s been put in. You’re stuck adding things one after another until it becomes a total mess.

Sometimes the only way to get rid of the bitterness in your batter is to throw it away.

-Sidney Allen Quaid

libraries

step into my office and

see how our stories live,

not interconnected webs

but unique entities,

rows of mismatched novels

lining mahogany shelves.

circumstance alters which shelf we sit upon,

whose covers rest against our skin,

how intimately we let them touch us.

you can build a book together,

you will hold chapters of other names,

you will contain multitudes,

but other stories do not become yours

you do not become theirs.

go somewhere new and suddenly

your shelf shifts,

tipping you into a pile of strangers

all touching, piled around,

but not becoming, not intertwining.

and then your cover slips, for just a moment,

and you allow them to read some pages

not those ones

just a few here and there,

let them see the parts you like best,

close it again before they see too much.

sometimes you rest against

a story, a shelf, a life

that changes the rest of yours.

but they do not have the power

they do not have you

you have not become one another.

touch them, witness their lives,

let them read yours

until you can’t make eye contact anymore

and know

know

that you are a story, a life

a complete entity.

and know beyond doubt that

even

broken,

you

are

whole.

#writersresist

CALLING ALL WRITERS! If you are upset by the status quo, if you do not accept the leadership that has been thrust upon us, if you want to publicly and boldly proclaim your dissent for recent government actions, check out this page and get to work!

Peacefully protest. Use your voice. Be heard. We are not made to blindly follow. We are made to stand up and have opinions and emotions and thoughts about what happens around us.

STAND UP.

http://www.writersresist.org/writers

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

I am writing this because we all owe you an apology. We, as Americans, need to apologize. For letting you get this far. For allowing your ego to get so vastly out of control. For reaching a point where you honestly believe that you should hold the most important job in the United States. For giving you that power. We as Americans should have taken this seriously a long time ago, all the way back when you announced your candidacy. For awhile, I think everyone thought it was a bit of a joke. Ha ha, the crazy rich guy wants to lead our country. By the time it became clear it wasn’t a joke, we watched nervously, the way you stare at a car crash on the side of the highway. Ooh, that’s terrifying, I’m glad it didn’t happen to me.

 

But you are happening to all of us. Your actions, whether we voted for you or not, now represent the views of this country — at the very least, the Republican half of it. The day they gave you the title of Republican nominee, you began to represent the views of the majority of Republicans. I’m not a Republican, Mr. Trump, but there are Republicans I respect; you are not among them. None of your views are ones I recognize from that party.

 

It doesn’t matter whether we’re Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents….I think political affiliations are almost irrelevant here: the words you use are not based on the core values that hold this country together, and they are not words that I accept — from either party, ever. They do not represent the America I know.

 

I am writing this because I have seen comparisons between you and your opponents, in which your misdeeds are listed, simply, as “said mean things.”

Not a single one of your political rivals are perfect; they all have significant flaws. They are human, after all.

But why are we minimizing the power of words this way?

 

You’ve made comments about many groups: Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, members of the LGBTQ community, the disabled, and others; anyone who is different, anyone who is not like you. You’ve told people at your rallies that you will pay their court costs if they get arrested for violence on your behalf. You’ve thrown protesters out into the cold without their jackets because they disagree with you. You have said you could walk outside and shoot someone without losing any voters. You’ve said that if a woman is sexually harassed or assaulted at work, she should quit and work somewhere else.

 

Are these words not powerful?

Are words not indicative of future actions? Of our beliefs? Of our ideals and values?

Are we really saying that words cannot impact the way we feel? The way we act? That “mob mentality” does not exist? That leaders do not rise to power by voicing their beliefs and policies?

Are we actually saying that  “said mean things” is as trivial as they attempt to make it sound?

If words have no power, why do we have campaigns?

If words have no power, why do we hold debates?

If words have no power, why do we make speeches?

If words have no power, why do we record so many of them?

 

And we have recorded you, Mr. Trump. This election has afforded you an unprecedented opportunity for all of your “mean things” to be heard.

It’s your comments on women that I take the most personally. I wouldn’t presume to speak for the LGBTQ community, or for Mexicans, Muslims, or any other minority you’ve attacked. But I can speak as a woman. I can denounce you as a woman.

 

You ought to be more careful, Mr. Trump. We women make up more than half of the US population. We outnumber you.

Let’s take a look at your views on women, shall we?

 

  • “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?” (Vanity Fair, 1990)

 

  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (Esquire Magazine, 1991)

 

  • “There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else. The other is the calculating woman who refuses to sign the prenuptial agreement because she is expecting to take advantage of the poor, unsuspecting sucker she’s got in her grasp. There is also the woman who will openly and quickly sign a prenuptial agreement in order to make a quick hit and take the money given to her.” (Trump: The Art of The Comeback, 1997)

 

  • “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.” (Trump: The Art of The Comeback, 1997)

 

  • “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” (Daily News, 2004)

 

  • “A woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.” (The Howard Stern Show, 2005)

 

  • “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” (ABC News, 2006)

 

  • “So when he had plenty of money, she liked him. But then after that, not as good, right?” (Access Hollywood, 2008 – in reference to Anne Hathaway’s divorce)

 

  • “You have to treat [women] like shit.” (New York Magazine, 2009)

 

  • “You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting.” (to the opposing lawyer in a courtroom, when she asked for a break to pump breast milk, 2011)

 

  • “It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.” (Celebrity Apprentice, 2013)

 

  • “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” (Twitter, 2013)

 

  • “I mean, we could say politically correct that look doesn’t matter, but the look obviously matters. Like you wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.” (To a female reporter, regarding Miss Universe)

 

  • “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” (Rolling Stone, on Carly Fiorina, 2015)

 

  • “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” (Twitter, April 2015)

 

  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” (CNN, August 2015)

 

  • “She’s playing that card like I’ve never seen anyone play it before. All I’m doing is bringing out the obvious, that without the woman card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to even run for a city council position.” (Today show, April 2016)

 

  • “She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was real problem for us.” (Twitter, on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, September 2016)

 

  • “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily… I moved on her like a bastard, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.” (Access Hollywood, video footage released October 2016)

 

  • “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything……Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” (Access Hollywood, video footage released October 2016)

 

Have you heard enough?

So have we.

 

You’ve been saying these things for longer than I have been alive, Mr. Trump, and it is one of the greatest tragedies of this generation that you have been allowed to get as far in this system as you have. A country hailed as “the land of the free and the home of the brave” should not have a racist, xenophobic, homophobic misogynist standing at its helm.

 

You do not represent me. I do not agree with a single thing I have heard out of your mouth since the beginning of this race, or before it. I reject you.

 

You do not represent the two-party system. I do not accept that you were the best the Republican party had to offer. I reject you.

 

You do not represent women or minorities. I reject your closed-minded ideals and instead refer you to those engraved on the Statue of Liberty, who represents what the United States was born to be:

 

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

As an American, as a woman, as an LGBTQ ally, as a member of this “melting pot” of cultures that our country was meant to be, as a caring and compassionate human being, I reject you.

 

You do not represent America. I refuse to accept that America is full of people who agree with the toxic hate spewing from your mouth every day. I am putting my faith in the American people to put a stop to your poisonous words and actions. My America does not resemble the picture you paint of her.

 

I won’t even mention the other names on the ballot because I don’t need to; when November rolls around, I would vote for every last person on it before I would vote for you.

 

Most sincerely,

An American Woman

 

Interview with a Poet: Coki Kay

What prompted you to begin writing poetry?

Honestly, I used to hate poetry. I used to say that it was kind of boring, rhyming, fluffy….it wasn’t my preferred way of writing. I wrote all the time, but I didn’t see the value in poetry — I think because I didn’t understand it. I tended to think that poetry was very limiting, in terms of what I could say and do and describe with that style. My first poem that I took seriously was something that I thought of on my way to work one morning. I was thinking about a recent breakup that I’d had, and thinking about how I really wanted to go to the beach — because that’s where I go when I want to think about something and really try to heal from something. And I started thinking about how I could just do some kind of visualization, something with the waves — that each wave was a memory, and let it crash over me, really feel it, and then flow back out to sea and let go of it a little. And I just started putting that idea into words, and as soon as I got to work that morning I wrote it down; and that was the first time I wrote a poem.

 

Where do you write?

For ideas, I can be just about anywhere. Out with friends, or in my car, or listening to music, or even at work. Something will trigger an idea and I end up writing down a line or a phrase or a metaphor for something that really inspires me. I typically sit down and write the whole thing when I’m at home; I’m on my couch with my laptop for most of my writing.

 

What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

In some ways I think my written voice is more honest. Although maybe honest is the wrong word — more open. I’m much more willing to discuss my feelings on something in writing than I am speaking, and I think it’s much easier to connect with feelings when you’re writing them down as opposed to trying to explain them to someone. So I think my writing voice is more open to emotion than I am in a real conversation.

 

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do if it happens?

Writer’s block is so frustrating, and it happens to literally every person I’ve ever met who writes often. What’s more frustrating to me is that during those times, I really WANT to write something. You know, you get that that itch to write and you just have no inspiration. Or everything you write down, you just HATE, and you end up crossing things off and deleting things and moving things, and you get frustrated because none of it seems right. None of it clicks or sings for you. That’s the most annoying thing for me, is that I really WANT to write, but I can’t express myself the way I want to.

As for how I fix it, that’s tougher to answer. A lot of times I can’t. I just have to wait and ride it out, and hope that inspiration comes to me again. It always comes back eventually. But one thing I did find extremely helpful was at one point I had writer’s block for a couple weeks, and it was really making me crazy, because I think as a writer you have this constant compulsion to write things, and when you feel like what you’re writing isn’t good enough to share, or isn’t up to your usual level, it drives you a little nuts. But I found that deciding to write something every single day for a month was both challenging, because I’m very competitive — so I didn’t want to give it up at any point — but it also made me write SOMETHING. Even if it wasn’t good, even if it wasn’t interesting, even if it was the worst thing I’ve ever written in my life, I was at least writing something down. And I think doing one every day for an entire month successfully unblocked that for me. And some of what I wrote during that time was good, and some of it was pretty bad, but overall I got a lot of writing out of it and I got over my writer’s block. So I guess I would just say — write constantly, and don’t delete anything. Even if it’s terrible, even if you hate it, just keep writing and eventually something will click and you’ll be writing the good stuff again.

 

A lot of your work deals with pretty dark subjects. What inspires you?

Life! Writing is my therapy. I’ve said before that I write my darkest stuff when I’m at my happiest, and I think that explains it the best. It’s just a safe way to explore the tough stuff, I think. I’m more willing to explore how I feel about things in writing…so a lot of the problems that I write about are subjects that are tougher to talk about in my normal day-to-day life. And poems have become this amazing way of talking about certain subjects and themes, looking at how things happened and why they happened and how I feel about it. So a lot of it is events from my life; discussions on relationships, and what they should look like, and what they sometimes do look like. A couple are stories that happened to me, but viewed from someone else’s perspective. A few of them are even stories that I’ve heard from other people, that inspired emotions or ideas in me. So it’s a lot of things.

 

Out of all your poems, which is your favorite?

Oh boy. When I hear that question I always think about this interview I saw of JK Rowling (one of my absolute idols, by the way) when someone asked her which Harry Potter book was her favorite. And she said that it’s such a difficult choice that it’s like choosing between your children. And I think she’s really right about that — obviously I don’t think it’s on the same level as choosing a favorite kid, but that’s the FEELING. Every piece of your writing is a piece of you, and it’s a story of yours, and an experience of yours. And they’re all different. Both the story and the process of writing it are a part of you, and choosing between them is really tough. So my favorite poem changes depending on my mood.

That said, I’m quite fond of my poem Days of Stitches at the moment. I think because, as mentioned, a lot of my poems are so dark and they deal with such dark subjects, and this poem is more about healing and getting your life back together after something shakes you. It was like a breath of fresh air to have that one come out after a lot of dark and twisty stuff. But I always love hearing which ones are other people’s favorites! Poems hit everyone differently.

Entertainer Blogger Award

Entertainer Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Entertainer Blogger Award by gorifithichttps://makhailrehman.wordpress.com/) – thanks for the nomination!! What fun!

EBA

Interview questions….here we go!

 

  • WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD ITEM AT THE MALL?

How delightfully random.

I get coffee there nearly every time I go, but my go-to treat has to be a chocolate malt milkshake from Johnny Rocket’s. My cousin got me one a few years back and I’m obsessed — chocolate is my weakness!

 

  • WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK?

This is always the hardest question for me, because I read so much. There are so many sub-categories to this question.

My favorite series, by far, is Harry Potter. I reread the entire series about once a year because I get something new out of it every time, and I think there are so many interesting characters and storylines and messages in there.

I will always read anything by Shakespeare. Anything. My favorite tragedies are Othello and Julius Caesar. I also love As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For a kid’s book, I’d choose The Little Prince. I’m obsessed.

As far as sci-fi, I’d go with both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow (both were fascinating), as well as The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

I’m also in love with Agatha Christie novels, particularly And Then There Were None  and Murder on the Orient Express. Anything featuring Hercule Poirot is 100% worth the read.

Other favorites include, in no particular order: In Cold Blood ; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest ; Fight Club ; most recently,  Gone Girl and The Martian ; and probably dozens of others that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

 

  • WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I needed an outlet. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and it became a kind of therapy. I’m Irish and therefore stubborn and disinclined to discuss my emotions, so writing is a way for me to explore my feelings and experiences without (god forbid) talking to someone else about them. When I had a few poems written, I really wanted a place to keep them all together and get feedback from both friends and strangers, so I created a blog and named it these are her stories in reference to Law & Order: SVU, one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

 

  • WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?

Write! I write almost every day. I also obviously love reading, even more so if I can do it out in the sunshine. I love to cook, so I’m always trying new recipes. I like to watch movies if I want to relax. And I love being near the ocean, especially if no one else is around.

 

-SHOUT-OUT TO THE PERSON WHO NOMINATED YOU:

Thank you to EVERYONE who reads my work, and special thanks to gorifithic (https://makhailrehman.wordpress.com/) for the nomination!

 

-CHOOSE TWELVE BLOGS TO NOMINATE:

I hand-picked these nominations straight from the list of my earliest followers, to thank them for being the first ones to support and comment on my writing. Check them out – these are all people whose writing I have continued to follow and enjoy.

Writers supporting writers — cheers!

 

Mukthi Raja
https://songoftheforlorn.wordpress.com/ 
Diya
https://diyalogues.wordpress.com/
Seb Dani
https://yourwebhome.wordpress.com/
Tween Online
https://tweenonline.wordpress.com/
Elan Mudrow
https://tricksterchase.com/
John White
https://doubleupoet.wordpress.com/
T Ponder
https://tpcreativeworks.wordpress.com/
DragonBolt54
https://dragonbolt54.wordpress.com/
Miriam
https://outanabout.com/
Midi Mike
https://midimike.com/
Kunal Thakore
https://randomrantsruminationsramblings.wordpress.com/
Dead Bluebird
https://deadbluebird.wordpress.com/

 

the truth

The truth is, none of us know what we’re doing. We’re all just winging it, doing our best, making the best decisions we can with the information we have. We’re all living through life’s insanity together. Some of our choices are awful, and some are great. We learn from both. But let’s be real, life is ridiculous. So laugh a little. We all say and do and think stupid things, we all have absurd things happen to us. So share a little joy. Share the stupid things you’ve said and the awkward moments you have, because you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Have a little fun with it, take those weird moments and laugh at them. They’re going to happen. Just enjoy life and all it’s weirdness.

Enjoy your day everyone!

#OrlandoStrong

I’m weighing in on the Orlando shooting in the only way I can: let’s be a little nicer to each other.

 

After something like this happened, isn’t that what we all need most anyway? Some good old, stand-together, we-are-Americans, we’ll-fight-this-as-one….kindness?

 

Every single one of us hearing about this mass shooting wants to blame someone. We want to point the finger and say, “THAT is the problem”, “THEY are who we should blame”, “THAT is what caused this to happen.” We want to blame someone because we, as a country, are hurting and we want someone to pay for what happened.

 

We are enraged for the LGBT community, because the target was a gay nightclub. We are enraged for the Latino community, because those names appeared so often on the lists of the dead and injured. We are enraged because another mentally ill person snapped and went on a killing spree. We are enraged because another person had access to weapons who shouldn’t have. We are enraged because someone, somewhere, “should have known.” Someone, somewhere, “should have done something.”

 

In every situation like this, every shooting, every killing spree, every tragedy, a list exists. A list of all the things that never should have happened. Of course there is — we make this list, every time, because we want to come up with a way to stop this from happening ever again. So there’s this list of every single thing that is someone’s fault, every single thing that we can assign blame for. Every step that was skipped, every sign and red flag that were missed along the way. I get that. We’re angry, we’re hurt, we want to help, we want to fix it…..and we don’t know how.

 

What I don’t get is why we’re attacking each other. This is the time to stand together, to talk to each other, to support each other, to listen to ideas other than your own — in hopes of helping everyone. This is the time to think about the greater good, and not just yourself and your opinions on the subject.

 

This tragedy did not happen for one singular reason. It was a situation born of a hundred situations and variables. So it needs to stop being a debate, and start being a conversation.

 

Because this IS a discussion about hate crimes.

This IS a discussion about protecting the LGBT community.

This IS a discussion about gun control laws.

This IS a discussion about mental illness.

This IS a discussion about terrorist acts on American soil.

 

It is a conversation about all of that, and more. These are ALL factors. They should ALL be considered. Solving one of these problems, making changes for one group or one law or one situation, will not be enough. The only thing that will be enough is discussing it together, getting everything on the table, and coming up with a solution together. So that we can do better next time. So that maybe, if we’re lucky, we can prevent a next time.

So maybe we all need to be a little nicer to each other. We should think about the victims in Orlando, about the families and friends who are getting news of death today, instead of ourselves and our own opinions.

 

My advice? If you don’t know how to help, go donate blood. By doing that, you are actively helping someone live. Don’t trample around the internet calling people idiots for disagreeing with you on gun control or terrorism. If you’re feeling helpless, go save a life.