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heavy dreams & lofty responsibilities

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Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:46 am
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alliyah says...

alliyah's 2018 NaPo Collection
Growing Up & Letting Go: heavy dreams & lofty responsibilities


This is my second round of National Poetry Writing Month and this time I'll be trying to focus on the theme of growing up and letting go and everything that goes with that. In the last year I graduated from college early and entered graduate school, so there's a lot on my mind of how to shuffle about old dreams and relationships, new responsibilities and choices, and figuring out who I am in the mix of it all. Regardless of where the theme ends up taking me, that's the inspiration.

My goal is to do all thirty poems and hopefully one each day. I am excited to write and read in this journey with you. Good luck to everyone, wherever your writing endeavors take you!



2018 Camp NaPo Thread: alliyah's logbook

Contest Thread: alliyah's contest log

Inspo Thread: alliyah's inspo journal

2017 Thread: a collage of mismatched contemplations
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:50 am
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alliyah says...

Poem Links

1. loose thoughts 4.1.18
2. window watching 4.2.18
3. new homes 4.3.18
4. to believe in regret 4.3.18
5. senbazuru 4.4.18
6. moving waters 4.5.18
7. yws writing jam thoughts 4.5.18
8. breaking glass 4.5.18
9. dreams i let hang in the sky 4.5.18
10. you matter 4.6.18
11. heavy dreams 4.7.18
12. love letter to my father 4.8.18
13.pass with care 4.9.18
14. grey 4.10.18
15. wisdom in seasons 4.11.18
16. unfiltered bus stop thoughts 4.12.18
17. untitled - 17 4.13.18
18. I only use my words - 4.15.18
19. untitled - 19 - 4.16.18
20. busy 4.17.18
21. untitled - 21: it's complicated 4.17.18
22. straining stars 4.17.18
23. plot mapping 4.17.18
24. just breathing 4.18.18
25. empty skies 4.19.18 hard 4.20.18
27. i should try tea 4.21.18
27.5 bittersweet 3.11.18-4.21.18
28. untitled- 28 4.22.18
29. cloudy thoughts 4.22.18
30. חוכמה 4.23.18

Bonus Poems: (to complete the Poem-A-Day challenge)
31. a time to run 4.24.18
32. living forward 4.25.18
33. let me write in dark cyan 4.26.18
34. virulent 4.27.18
35. growing pains 4.28.18
36. reassurance 4.29.18
37. one more poem 4.30.18

After the end of the month, here's all the poems from my NaPo thread as a word cloud.

I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:49 am
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alliyah says...

Poem 1

loose thoughts 4.1.18

lately, my mom forgets where she’s put her keys,

or her phone, and the echoes of stories we’ve shared
no longer seem to have any meaning and I wonder
if it’s time lost or if it’s still somewhere deep in her mind
touching at the corners, some last lingering significance.

she’s getting older and I suppose that means, I am too
and despite the anxious thoughts that roll around my head
each night, I cannot think of anything more terrifying
than losing all that I remember. of forgetting who I am.

it’s funny how thoughts are meant to be liberated,
until we need something concrete to hang onto
someone to call ourselves, and we reach for stable ground
some unshaken memory to cling to, to tell us who we are.

I see my memories are coated too thick in dreams
to be authentic, but they’re mine, and so I hold them tight
until my fingers turn blue and the skin grows
around the memories scaring clenched hands.

and recently I keep finding myself in odd places
old scrapbooks filled with a child I don't recognize,
old emails from friends of the lives of other seasons,
or in the rings on coffee tables left from years without coasters,

in the stains and loose-ends I wonder at my essence,
but surely these stray emotions are not me.
and like waves to sand I keep coming back to my mother,
who I worry one day won’t know my name,

but I want to believe she’ll love me even then,
and so for now I try not to worry about losing myself.
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:53 pm
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Audy says...

I relate to this feeling with my own mom as well, as she's getting older. The piece felt super vulnerable and true - but I also like how there's a duality of ideas here, because there's also the narrator coming to that realization of memory, what part it plays towards our identity, what it could mean to lose it, but also - how small it is in the picture of who we are and how false it can feel. That aspect of it gives me hope towards the first part, where you think that something like Alzheimers means you might be losing everything - I really enjoyed that second look and exploration :)

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Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:49 pm
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alliyah says...

Spoiler! :
Thanks for your comments Audy! <3

Poem 2

window watching 4.2.18

my cat sometimes stares through the window glass
watching robins dive-bombing the ground for worms
and she makes this clicking squeaking chirping sound
and I can't tell if she has confused her species, thinking she's a bird,
or if she is trying to trick the robins into coming closer.

sometimes I also catch myself staring outside
watching people walk by while I sit at the piano bench
and I imagine what I’d say if I was walking with them,
or how their lips might smile if they could hear me.
as they pass I’ll sometimes hit the notes harder

and I can’t tell if I crave attention or just interaction
or what I might do if they could hear me,
if they turned their heads and waved to me watching them.
so I stay inside mostly, and play out this world in my head
the piano's notes and cat's meows becoming my conversation partners.

sometimes my cat perches on the window sill and paws the glass
she must know she is trapped inside, that the birds are outside
and yet she watches them, pacing back and forth
leaping at leaves falling and hissing at bugs landing
separated in what might as well be another world

I never feel quite safe when I’m surrounded by other people
I call myself an introvert and read and sing and dance alone
yet there are times when I step outside, when I throw myself
into the fray of interaction and in my fear
I both thrive and cower and am not quite sure what to do.

once in the mid-spring, I stepped outside to grab the mail
without shutting the door, and I waved to a passer-by and smiled
laughing at the weather and feeling free as a bird in flight
and the stranger laughed along with me and pointed to my cat
who had escaped from her indoor prison or sanctuary

and for a moment I longed for my cat to just run
to catch a bird or become one or whatever her heart longed for
but she cowered against the wall, and made her chirping cry
so I scooped her up and brought her inside
knowing sometimes freedom is paralyzing.

my cat still chirps at birds through windows
and I still play piano concerts for anonymous neighbors,
but lately, I try to be more comfortable in open sunshine
and find other people to speak my words to.
I don't want to discover I've trapped myself from the world I long for.
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:34 am
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alliyah says...

Poem 3

looking towards home 4.3.18

x temporarily removed
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:08 am
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hexglass says...

I enjoy your poetry so much. Your writing is empathetic and vulnerable, and I can feel the emotions so keenly that I walk into each piece as a moment and a space. The cadence is rhythmically beautiful and I don't know if I've told you this before, but reading your poetry is both new and old - neat little turns of phrase to articulate a complex feeling, and the strange sensation of coming home to an old friend.

and recently I keep finding myself in odd places

speaks to me deeply enough to ache a little. Thank you for writing :)

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Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:26 pm
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alliyah says...

Spoiler! :
@hexglass thank you so much for your comments! I so admire your own poetry, so I really appreciate it! :)

Poem 4

to believe in regret - 4.3.18

someone I loved recently told me they don't believe in regret
and I think for them that is admirable or poetic
or at the very least a healthy admission of their reality.
but I don't believe in not believing in feelings anymore
and I feel regret like I feel water when I swim,
or cold in the snow, or smell the acrid burn of fire.
I wish I didn't. I wouldn't if I could. but I will not deny it.
I don't believe in denying how I feel anymore,
because for someone who overthinks things as often as I do,
I end up regretting my regret before I do anything regrettable
and decide that love must be loved in past-tense, because
it's too sharp any other way on my lips.
so preemptively pretending I don't feel a certain way
sounds an awfully lot like another method of self-sabotage.
and I'm sick of people implying my overthinking
might be linked to overfeeling, because how can someone
feel too much? and my regret, is not a rejection of
what I once felt, or who I once loved, or pretending it was right
but a declaration of faulty logic and a recognition
of the gap between the stars and the night sky
and naming that space where hurt still runs deeper
than the water on my skin or cold settling in my bones.
it's there like fire consuming sometimes, or else
slowly smoldering in the background between my thoughts,
but there is no denying it. and I don't just believe in regret,
I don't just name it, but I embrace it, because how can you let go
of something you never believed in?
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:03 pm
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EditorAndPerks says...

I don’t know which poem I love more! Your poems have such good flow, even when there’s not really specific stanzas. You don’t need them anyways!

#1 reminded me of my nana who had dementia, but I love your aspect on it.

#2 makes me want to hug you and never let go, from your cat being scared to yourself being nervous, I love the personal insight and not being scared of revealing what goes in your brain sometimes. Thank you.

#3 I’ve yet to ever change houses, but your description here is so good, just with the mix of literal and figurative aspects, like “blank spaces add up and color the rooms darker.” Brilliant use of sight and senses and dang.

#4 blew me away literally. The repeated use of “regret” and “love(d)” is so well-done and I like the comparison of the water, the cold, and the fire. Great way of getting your reader (*meaning me*) to really think about things.
Nothing's perfect, the world's not perfect, but it's there for us, trying the best it can. That's what makes it so damn beautiful.
- Roy Mustang

fraey -> EditorAndPerks

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Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:41 am
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alliyah says...

Spoiler! :
@killeham thank you!! thank you!! Thanks for all those comments and encouragement! :)

Poem 5

senbazuru 4.4.18

I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:23 am
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Cadi says...

Oh man, loose thoughts really hit me. My grandma suffered from dementia in her later years, and you've really captured the kind of existential anxiety that you get when you realise how horrible it is to forget.

looking towards home, as well, I found really moving - changing homes and growing up is weird and sad sometimes.
"The fact is, I don't know where my ideas come from. Nor does any writer. The only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn't collapse when you beat your head against it." --Douglas Adams

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Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:36 pm
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TheBlueCat says...

Oh my gosh I love all your poetry so much <33 My favorites are window watching, which reminds me of myself, and senbazuru, which is just so adorable. I love how well you mix easy to understand variables with deeply hidden thoughts. I'm still figuring out how to read and understand poetry so the easier to understand poems are my thing. They're all just so beautiful! <3
Unofficial Blue Cat of YWS =^-^=

"You can never look at a book the same way once you've read it"

My PM box is always open for anything and everything <3

~Never stop looking up~

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Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:56 pm
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alliyah says...

Spoiler! :
<3 Thank you @TheBlueCat & @Cadi!

(this is a re-write of a poem I started for YWS Olympics, so not all new material, but I'm counting it...)

Poem 6

waters moving forward - 4.5.18

****removed for submission*****
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

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Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:16 am
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alliyah says...

Poem 7

@Holysocks was running a writing jam, and I can't seem to write a normal poem right now, so here's what we've got for the day - inspired by the different writers and colors in the jam.

thoughts in a yws writing jam - 4.5.18

Here we write in dark cyan,
punctuated by lines of avocado wedges,
soak in lavender dashes,
with adventures carved in pale yellow
or maybe amber lines.
If we find our way, we'll loop verses in limes
and end our story with bold magenta.

For here we write in colors varied,
in different states and countries
we craft our worlds with words.
At times it may appear we are
a mess of colors and ideas.
But do not underestimate us,
for we meet under one glorious banner
the Young Writers Society.

Poem 8 + Poem 9
The marvelous @Aley ran a jam, and helped me work on brevity with some structured poetry.

breaking glass: a nonnet - 4.5.18

forgiveness feels like swallowing glass
and reminding myself to smile
but I've tried everything else
to let me forget you
so I grimace teeth
and swallow pride
and say, "I

dreams i let hang in the sky: a lanturne - 4.5.18

find myself
wishing on stars
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

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Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:50 am
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alliyah says...

Poem 10

you matter. - 4/6/18

trigger warning: suicide
Spoiler! :

author's note - I realize that suicidal tendencies are a lot more complex than this poem addresses. And I don't think it's generally useful to blame other people (or blame yourself) when someone takes their own life - so I'm hoping this poem isn't interpreted as blaming anyone or making light of a serious issue. I had a close friend attempt suicide in the last couple years, and it is terrifying and heartbreaking and the worst feeling I know. My heart absolutely goes out to you if you've dealt with this, and wish there was something more I could say. -- alliyah


i keep thinking about the woman who jumped off the bridge the morning after easter. and imagining the water cold as ice and the bridge looking over the housetops of my small town where I was still asleep and her fear. and trying to understand.
_____ but i can't.
and i don't know what it means.
or how someone could hurt so much that they'd jump off a bridge the day after easter, without a note. and i don't even know this woman, but i saw a picture of her in the paper and i started sobbing.
_____ i don't even know her. but i see the tired crinkles under her eyes and her soft smile and hair that curls a little too far to the left like my mother's, and i can't stop crying. and if i had been there, i would have said anything to stop her from jumping.
_____don't jump! please, you matter. you matter i can say that without knowing you. and i have no idea what your pain is or your heart ache nor the roads you have traveled and traveled. and i cannot say it will get better. but you are a part of this universe we both inhabit like one star in the night sky making the world a little brighter. and i would notice if you left it. you matter, you matter, your life matters to me.
_____i keep thinking about the woman who jumped off a bridge the morning after easter. i was still asleep in my bed, and if i had shouted out into the void that i was in pain, that i was hurt, if i had said i didn't want to live anymore, someone would have answered. my mother or my sister or maybe even my horrible cat. would have wiped my tears and told me i was loved.
_____and i can't
know how it must feel to shout into the world and not have a voice return to you, saying that you matter. and i don't know how it feels to be so scared or tired or beaten down by the world that you don't even dare to shout.
_____but i hope
that the people who i find by my side know that i would answer them if they shouted to the world. that if they stood on a bridge and threatened to jump that i would shout and hold their head to my chest and cry with them just to imagine their star removed from the night sky.

and today. i heard they found her body. divers turned coroners searched all week, and carried her from the river that had taken her away. with a special reverence for this life now gone, cradling her body like a mother holding her lost child.
_____and i know i am not the only one who cannot stop thinking even now, about the woman who jumped off the bridge to end her life. and i am not the only one who rages against the river and the bridge that we could preserve only her life-less body this time.
_____ but i can only give my own words. so i give them to you.
you matter. you matter. you matter. your star is brighter than you could see yourself and your life important. if you ever stand on the bridge, i only ask you to wake me, so that i might say it again. you matter.
I only respond to Alliyah from now on and I hate dark cyan. dark cyan

- signature content provided by @JesseWrites

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
— Eric Hoffer