Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out of Ink

My pen slides along each page,
lifting at the end of each word,
but only sometimes between the letters,
leaving meaning to slip in and out of ink.

I stop briefly to read my writing
with loops and scribbles twisting
in hieroglyphic alphabet. Maybe
I’ll decipher what I meant later.

Elementary school taught me
to write in print and then in cursive,
languages in casual and formal wear.
Now my hand writes a messy combination

that spills out left-brained stigmata
through my pen perched between my fingers
at the point of the page that unites
white, lined paper with an inky rolling ball.

I remember desktops with sketches engraved
deep in their wood which sometimes
possessed my writing when the paper
overlapped against the creviced surface,

when I was given handwriting assignments
with letters to trace like connect-the-dots
on wide-ruled paper. The grooves
worked in opposition to the tracing lines.

I entered high school in 2001,
a small private academy in a small,
private town, where the teachers
loved the way I looped my l’s.

Maybe no one invented cursive writing
but I’ve always felt that whoever may have
would hate the irreverent way I mix
the conventions that distinguish it from print.

Or perhaps they would praise the way
I refuse to segregate, separate
my scripts, like I’m making advances
in civil handwriting rights,

where all letters are created equal.
The ideas are represented by an
objective race, regardless of appearance,
with readers discerning what is meant

solely by the combinations and construction.
My hand is always writing in curves,
layers that lean to the right of the page,
making script and stories out of ink.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Submitted for consideration at Tiferet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Respiratory Systems

My lungs reach maximum capacity and then my chest relaxes. I can feel the cool burn of air against my nostril walls subside just as I take another breath. I imagine my head a little lighter, with a little less pressure. The thousands of blood vessels God sent running through my skull expand with each burst of oxygen; all my muscles relax a bit.

Somewhere I got the idea that I enjoy swimming. Not just splashing in the lakes during the summer, but actual freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly swimming. I took classes on it; when I went to the gym, I’d head straight to the pool. Once in the water, the echoes of people talking or patting along the wet floor sunk into shifting murmurs, worlds away. I only heard water in my ear. Goggles tight against my eyes, I pressed off into suspension. Soon my arms and legs took over, propelling me further down the blue tile lane. Water swished in my ear with every pull.

Then I needed air. For the first few seconds swimming was natural. Slow jets of air would slide through my nose, developing individual bubbles I could feel grazing along my cheek. Everything went without saying, without a thought. Effortless. But when my chest began to burn, my throat would join the revolution. My arms grew weak. My legs all but stopped kicking, kicking being their natural method of argumentation. Rising to the surface I turned my head and let my mouth and throat and lungs do what they do best before I interrupted, again submerging my face below the restless water-level.

After a few laps, once I’d battled my body long enough over regulating the very thing that keeps me alive, I appreciated liberty in breathing much more. The same way I feel after a cold. The same way I feel when I’m alone, in my room, with my door shut; only God with me. And although we don’t talk much anymore, I can breathe easy with Him.