Reclamation

I will reclaim the hidden corners of this city
That remind me most of you.

I will venture to these quiet places
To find new moments and new meanings
With new people
So that the memory of you in these retreats
Will not shatter me.

I will return to these places,
The ones that remind me most of you,
And though the echoes of happier times
Cannot, will not be silenced,
I will take these places back
And make them my own.

For all that you have broken,
For all that you have done,
You will not wrest this city from me.

You will not taint my home
With memories bitter and painful.

I will reclaim these places for myself,
These places that remind me most of you,
Until a day dawns when I return
To these once-hallowed walks,
And your presence is
But a single shadow among many,
The memory of you one in a multitude.

Air Travel aka The Poor Man’s TARDIS

I’ve been traveling quite a bit this week, and my journeying isn’t even over yet.  As of about 9pm tomorrow I will have been on three planes in six days.  Flash forward to a few weeks from now and that number will have jumped up to a total of six plane rides in a month.  As someone who (much to my chagrin) has neither the time nor the resources to do as much traveling as I would like, that is a lot of time spent up in the air, soaring amongst the clouds.

It is perhaps because of that reason that I have recently been marveling at the sheer miracle that is air travel.  Or marveling at it more so than I normally do.  Because think about it: you get on board a huge hunk of metal that really has no business at all in even dreaming of flight, and then what does it do?  In a mere matter of hours it spirits you away to a completely different spot on the globe.  A journey that not so many generations ago would have taken days, weeks, or months to complete (depending on how far you’re going) can now be made in a matter of hours.

It’s easy to forget such an astounding fact when the whole process has become so commonplace – even mundane if you do it regularly enough.

And that’s not even the most extraordinary part of it all.  There’s also the whole low-key time-traveling bit.  While all of my travels this month are confined to the west coast of the US and I therefore don’t have to change time zones, I always think back to my flights to and from London when I studied abroad there for a semester (and which are the current record-holder for longest flights I’ve ever been on).  Flying to the UK from California sent me forward in time.  And the return flight to California sent me back in time – to the point where after I had spent 11 hours up in the air, I’d only lost about 3 hours on the ground.

I don’t know about you folks, but that’s amazing to me.  It’s certainly the closest I’ll ever get to being a Time Lord, so I’ll take it.

Now if only airplanes could be bigger on the inside, too…

On enthusiasm and inspiration (creative and otherwise)

This should come as no surprise to any of you, but one of my favorite things about living in LA is the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a two-day event that takes over the entirety of the University of Southern California campus (Fight on, Trojans!) and is a weekend-long celebration of the written word.  There are dozens of panels and discussions with authors; local (and not-so-local) vendors of books and all things literary set up shop in booths all across the university; live music serenades festival-goers throughout the day; food trucks assemble to create a makeshift food court.  And over 100,000 people descend upon USC over the course of the weekend to take part in it.

100,000 people who are as big a book geek I am.

It is magical, and not just for the obvious reasons listed above.

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Measures of Success

The measurements of success
Are shifting in my mind,
Their tectonic plates
Shaking my assumptions
With every inch they move.

The change is arduous and slow
And not without its pangs –
It is, after all,
An alteration in the landscape
Of what I’ve always
Thought to be true.

But should the day arrive
When a new definition of success
Settles into place,
I suspect the view from atop its peaks
Will be a brilliant one to see.

via Daily Post: Measure

Heavy with the Weight of the World

The world weighs heavy on my soul.

It crushes.

It kills.

It screams out in pain.
Can’t you hear it?
Can’t you hear it calling for release?
Begging?
Screams that echo into the void,
For words are far too small to contain
Such a tempest of grief.

These tears I shed
I shed for its cries
And the cries of all the millions
Who call this world home:

“It’s not supposed to be like this.
That’s not what they taught us.

It’s not what they promised.”

The liquid salt drops from my eyes
In rhythm to that discordant chorus.

My soul is heavy with the
Weight of the world,

For I am just one person

And there is so much hurt to heal.

 

 

(Author’s Note: I actually wrote this poem last year, giving it the oh-so-original title of “2016”.  While I don’t recall which specific tragedies prompted its creation – there have been so many, after all – I really wish it would stop feeling so relevant so much of the time.)