It's Like

i know what it’s like to hold on
like at six—when you clenched a fist
full of rocks from the playground
wrapping your sweaty fingers around
fool's gold
and it made no sense to anyone else
except to you and the dirt
that held them
before you found them
these diamonds in the rough
glittering pieces of nothing
now mean something
because you discovered them

i know what it’s like to let go
like when the ribbon of a balloon
tickles your hand
dances across your palm
and you release it
to test the patience of your mom
as you walk the short distance from the store
to the minivan
and she tells you to get a grip
but you cannot
because you are too curious
about what it looks like when a balloon
disappears into the sky
how far before your eyes
can’t see it anymore

i know what it’s like to have loved and lost
and also to have never loved at all
and also to have loved and found
and also to know that there’s more love out there
than the whole scope of us can wrap around
fourteen billion arms
like the black space between the stars
and the stars themselves
and the rings of jupiter
and the volatility of the sun
that god decided to put close enough
to us to keep us alive
but also far enough away
to keep us in time
with the seasons
all four of them
and there’s probably more of them, to be honest
or less, if you live in south florida
but i’ve learned that there’s love for all seasons
and then there’s love that doesn’t belong in seasons at all
but it shows up anyway
covers the world like global warming
walks right through your ozone layer
melting your glaciers
and makes the roaring ocean in your body
a sight to be seen—
believe me—
a flood of serotonin
makes the deserts of your mind
reel with mirages like movies
with temperatures hotter than last summer
you’re certain

i know what it’s like to say f*ck the haters
and then cry into your pillow because the haters were your friends and your heroes
what it’s like to be mute
and for their words to become dictators
to your emotions
napoleons taking over your motherland
throwing your motherboard overboard
and for your emotions to reject
the new member of the Good Intentions Club:
“i don’t care what other people think"
and for you to care so much
that you cry in public places
or leave them for fear of crying

i know what it’s like for no one to understand your story
and for everyone to tell it
boredom-born story-tellers
what it’s like to wear the scarlet letter
like a patch on your cool jean jacket
alongside metal pins that say “i tried my best”
and also “never give up”
all of that to say, i know
what it’s like to be a contradiction
to be so ashamed that you fight yourself
and the screaming minds of silent strangers
by yelling “i’m a good person! i’m! a! good! person!”
but never out loud
always very quiet
always in your heart
and never in your head

i know what it’s like for your heart to break
for your spirit and your bones to ache
what it’s like to inhale
the mistakes you’ve made
and radiate
like you swallowed the moon
like you took what life threw at you
and you threw it back
and you lay in the grass
and you stare at the night
with specks in your eyes
and you know that there’s love in those spaces between
and you exhale the song the stars sing

Wonder

Truly grateful to have been a part of this new single from NP Nights. It's a song about faith--laced with words that bring back the poetry and intimacy of what has been deemed "worship music." I was thrilled when Jordan, who wrote the song, asked me to sing it--the R&B-like-melodies spilled out of me like I'd been waiting for a song like this to come along (I had), and the words ignited a fresh perspective on a theology I've become all too familiar with.

Written by Jordan Mitchell, vocals by yours truly, and musical magic made by the hands of so. many. talented. humans. (Connor Rosemond, Jared Hamilton, Mallory Boyle, Grayson Arias, Trent Bilodeau, Holden Fincher to name a few...). Click on the photo to take a listen on Spotify. 

Potential

And it's like a seed bursting disastrously open in the hopes that something comes out of it. Maybe it can be the tree it's been told it is on the inside--as comically far-fetched as it feels to dream of tall, sky-gracing branches while buried underground. It is dirty and messy and dark. It will take hard work and miracles. It is everything inside you waiting for the rain. It is everything inside you reaching for the sun. But it is possible, friend. It is possible.

Shame

Every word spoken
A testimony
"You can believe me"

If I may
be so bold as to ask--

When I get back to the place
where I can
make eye contact again
with the person looking back at me
(in the mirror)
Can I look into yours?

 

Well, I'll be.

Well I'll be--if I didn't reinvent my story
So it would fit inside your ear
Land comfortably in your mind
Spill confidently out of your mouth

If I didn't find myself on your wheel
Keeping it spinning
Thoughts running
With every word you wanted to hear

If I didn't lose myself in your vision of me
Who a strong woman ought to be
What a strong woman ought to think
Where a strong woman ought to sleep

Well, I'll be.

Gravity

Sometimes I turn my face towards the sun
Close my eyes
Feeling its daunting heat on my skin,
I melt into the awareness of my existence

Were the sun just a few inches closer
Or the oxygen a little less in supply,
I would know that my being here has very little to do with
Conscious eating
Or responsible bill paying

I would know that my being here has very little to do with me at all

Except that it is me here.

And these atoms don't belong to me
(Who do they belong to?)
Yet they are mine

And this ability to move my feet
Isn't my invention
Yet I am the one who tells them to move
I am the body they carry through spaces I cannot explain -
Matters of physics and biology -
Only to arrive at a place that I call my home.

And are these thoughts even my making?
And how did they enter this mind?

The arrogance
Of claiming ownership

The irresponsibility
Of denying it

I am made up of seven octillion atoms
(There are three hundred billion stars in the galaxy)
More reactions in this body than the Milky Way
And I alone am one of seven billion

It is a miracle that I am here
It is a mercy that I belong

"Ears don't have lids..."

"As a delivery device for moments of inner emergency, no art form can approach the immediacy of popular song. A novel cannot assault you while you wait in line at the supermarket; a painting cannot reach out and turn your head as you walk on by; a poem’s feet cannot chase you down the street; a movie cannot screen itself. A song, though, can steal upon you in the dark, on a road, far from home, blow out your tires and leave you sobbing, in gratitude, at the wheel. All other art lives and dies in a medium that mandates we engage if we are to receive its gifts. Songs live in the air. Ears don’t have lids that can keep the songs there." 

-Wyatt Mason, Three Iconic Musicians on Artistic Creation--and Its Importance Now
 NYTimes Style Magazine

Will You Show Up?

What will you do when things don't come easy--
when rubber meets the road--
when privilege has taken you as far as it can go?

What will you do when
it's up to you--
in the quiet?

What will you do when
it's not just you--
in the noise?

When the crowds aren't roaring behind you,
will you lose your voice?