Poem: Auld Lang Syne by Robert Frost

In honor of the best worst year ending and the beginning of a better one, I’m posting my favorite poem. I’ve lost a lot this year, but I’ve gained a lot too. And I’m proud of the resilience I found and thankful for the friends that helped me find it.

Peace and happiness, my loves. Thank you for sticking with me for the last six months. It has been a privilege.

Cheers to many more Sunday’s with you all.

Sincerely,

Kariana

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!

And surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,

And pou’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

Frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d

Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!

And gie’s a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

Poem: How is it already the 24th

It is the smell of pine that reminds me to hope.

It is the taste of chocolate fudge that reminds me that life can be good.

It is the sight of wrapped secrets that bring back memories of being little.

It is the sound of Christmas music that makes me yearn for what was.

Merry Christmas, my loves. Believe in magic, today and always. Joy and peace to you all.

Excerpt: Here She Lies (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my YA Fiction novel. If you missed the first excerpt, you can find it here. Enjoy!

Charlie turns the radio down, and Van Halen fades away. Charlie looks over at Milly but can’t catch her eye.
“If he was that bad, you could have just come over earlier,” he asks.
Milly shakes her head, but she won’t look at him still. “It’s not a big deal. I’ve avoided him most of the morning.”
After a while Charlie asks, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
Milly plays with the bracelet on her wrist, rolling a circular bead over and over again, counting under her breath. One tire, two tires, three, four, five. “I already know what you’re thinking. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“You always say that.”
“Because it’s always true, Charlie. I’ve lasted this long. I just have to finish school, and I’m gone. Another year isn’t going to kill me.”
Charlie takes a deep breath. “You sure?”
“Yes.” Her eyes fixate on the road, away from Charlie’s gaze.
Charlie’s mouth opens to say something else, but he quickly shuts it again. Milly straightens her back and puts on a smile. “Would you just calm down? Stop worrying about me.”
“I won’t let this go.”
“Oh what do you know, Junior?”
“Hey! You say it like it’s a bad thing. ”
“It is,” she teases. “Just give it a rest. I can’t handle another lecture this summer.” Her smile remains plastered to her face, but her eyes aren’t wrinkled up like they are when she’s actually happy, and her knuckles turn white as she holds onto the bracelet.
Charlie focuses back on the road, taking a deep breath. It doesn’t matter how much this bothers her. Eventually, she’ll listen, he thinks.
“Maybe if you moved with your aunt, you’ll have to go to another school. But at least that way you won’t have to face everyone after last year…”
“Drop it, Charlie.” The smile leaves Milly’s face. “I’m not moving, and I’m not running away from anything or anyone. Last year is no one’s business: including yours. You promised.”
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“No one’ll remember what happened last year anyway,” she says. The pitch of her voice rises. “I’m sure a lot of things happened over the summer for everyone; they won’t even care about me anymore.”
The car is silent. They pull off the freeway. Palm trees spring up every few blocks, and front yard after front yard sports brown lawns. Charlie turns the air on. It feels like a boulder sits in his stomach—he shouldn’t have pushed it. Everything changed last year, even Milly and Charlie’s friendship. She won’t admit it, but Charlie knows she thinks about last year a lot. She shifts in her chair and plays with that stupid bracelet, rubbing it like a genie that can fix all her problems. He slows at a red light. The only noise comes from the traffic of the overpass and the incessant click-click-click of his blinker. He can’t stand it anymore.
“Nova?” She looks over at him, holding his gaze before the car has to move again. He pulls off the freeway. “Please let me do something. You’ve taken enough hits for me to last a lifetime.”
Milly lets out a deep breath and turns to face the window again.
When they were younger and Charlie’s parents were out of town—which was very frequent—they left him at her house. It was Nova and Charlie against the world ever since the time Milly was five and Charlie was four. The broken vase was one of their many adventures gone awry.
“You know, I wouldn’t have to protect you if you lived somewhere safer.”
“Charlie…” she says as a warning.
“I know, I know, but there’s got to be somewhere—someone—better.”
“We’ve been over this a thousand times; there is no one besides you.”
“And why can’t you ask your aunt?”
“Maybe I don’t want to live with her? I know it doesn’t make sense to you, but that’s home to me—”
“God knows why,” he says while rolling his eyes. She glares at him. “Sorry,” he says quickly as he pulls off the freeway.
“I know it’s really hard for you to understand, but I’m going to ask you one last time: don’t bring it up again. This is my senior year, and I’m not moving before it even starts. I feel really good about this year, and nothing that happened last year is going to stop me from having a good year. Just drop it, okay?”
“All right, all right. I just really hope you’re right,” he says.

Poem: Taxman Jones

The Corolla screams as it slows to a stop, 

Resting at a weeping brick building.

Both the car and the walls are gray and peeling.

A flick of the wrist and the engine shimmies

And clunk, clunk, clunks.

Silence.

My frown deepens to the point

It hurts.

My hand caresses the handle and

SLAM.

My shoulder pops and the door pops,

And out I tumble into the wind.

I dust off my hands,

Tattooed with gravel,

To pull the thin crocheted sweater closer,

Closer,

Closer.

Mom made it white.

Time made it yellow.

My feet push on.

Left, left,

Left, right, left.

I stop at the front door.

At attention.

Jingling keys sing the national anthem,

Before I shove them into a weather-worn hole.

The shops walls are the patches of a quilt,

Stuffed with graffiti.

The “Closed” sign glares at me.

“You’re late,” it yells. I ignore it.

Again. Instead,

I scan the horizons for any sign of life,

But it’s gray up there.

Dark, then light, then dark.

No blue today.

Or yesterday.

Or the day before.

No blue tomorrow either.

My eye catches on the vinyl sign hanging above the shop doors.

It should read my name and profession.

It should trumpet in each day, and herald my exit,

but

instead, it dangles from a roof,

wishing it adorned another.

“Axman Jones,” it says.

An angry client tore out the “T,”

And not even a Sharpie could

Save the sign, much less

The business.

At ease solider.

My shoulders sink,

Deeper and deeper until I am nothing but a shell.

“Would Jesus even hang out with me?”

I scoff and straighten my back.

Jesus picked better sinners.  

The wind of ice and fury sings “Taps” in the distance.

I open the door and lock it tight behind me.

Poem: A Most Fitting Cliche

The final cut:

Like fresh shaven legs

Or the snip-snip of a “new do”

Or a new dye job

Or trashing an entire wardrobe

Like wanting everything to be different

Wanting nothing to recognize

And no memories to ache

Or photos to caress

No name badge to don

And no ducking behind walls

No working in silence because if I speak

I will scream

Because seeing their face is enough—

Enough to swallow an ocean

Enough to warm the entire globe

To melt the ice caps

To bring hell on earth

 

Only severing will do

Only axes will do

Only chain saws and hacking away at the future

And the broken promises

And the hope that brought me back

Again and again.

 

My eyes will not see

So the scabs will flake off

And the pink flesh beneath

will prove me a victor.

And I will make new promises

that I will keep.

 

The comfort I sought

But no longer need

No longer benefit

And maybe no longer healthy.

 

The saying goodbye to what was

And welcoming a new me

And promising myself

 

That it is mine.

This change

This year and

 

The finality of change

is the change I choose for myself.

 

I am the decision maker

And no longer the captive to time

No longer captive to being disappointed

By other people

By myself

But by deciding that I am worth more.

So much more.

 

It is the closed door I will not open.

But through the window I will climb. 

Excerpt: Beyond the Fragile Glass (Part 3)

If you missed the previous excerpts of this story, you can find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE. Without further ado, here’s the next batch:

I pass her extended arms and stand in front of the mirror, desperate for something else to think about. My shit-colored eyes stare into the mirror. I lick my hand and run it over the tar-colored frizzy lion’s mane that pretends to be my hair, but to no resolve. My brow furrows, so I shift my focus to the mirror itself, rather than my reflection in it.

It’s funny how I’ve never thought of the mirror before. The outer edges are carved cherry wood, an antique passed down from a dead Grandma. The etching gives way to flowers of different sizes and in each corner, a small cherub blesses the mirror with delicate smiles. This mirror always gave me the creeps, but Mom insisted it go in my room. The plus side is that I think the mirror is sort of bent, like in a circus fun house, so I always look taller and skinnier in it. In some corners of the mirror, patches of the silver have faded over time, giving way to indents of black and dark purple marks that crawl towards the cherubs, who seem blissfully unaware.

“How does it work?” I thrust my hand at the mirror, but my fingers crush into the firm glass. “Ow, ow, ow.” I cradle them. “What the hell?”

“You can’t get through without me, only me and people like me can get through.”

“People like you?” My fingers throb, so I squeeze them tighter, trying to focus on the breaths coming in and out of my lungs instead of the pain.

“Guides. We open portals in the mirrors and transport humans in and out.”

“Humans?”

“I’m not necessarily a human, more or less like a fairy from Neverland. Magic, you could say.”

I drop my fingers and stand tall. “You’re telling me we’re going to fucking Neverland?”

She shakes her head. “Glass is nothing like Never, Neverland.”

“Fine, let’s explore, shall we?” I grab her hand and turn back to the mirror. I gently poke at it this time, and the glass ripples from where my finger touched it. I jump back, still clinging to her hand. “Woah.”

“Are you ready to go to Glass, Haize?”

“I hope so.”

She turns her back on me, standing between me and Dead Grandma’s mirror. Ah, I realize, not a ponytail, but a fishtail braid all the way to her ass. I stand corrected. Hana stands in front of the mirror, and sticks her leg right through it, and over her shoulder, she says, “you’ll have to hold your breath, but it’s not a very long walk, so you should be fine.”

The rippling glass quickly envelops her entire body, leaving only the hand that tugs at mine. I close my eyes and lean into the mirror-or where I expect the mirror to be. Rather, my skin pushes through the bouncing glass. When it hits my skin, goose bumps burst all over my body. I was unprepared for the cold and hard substance, like jelly, as it wraps around my arms and legs.

“Open your eyes,” Hana says. It doesn’t sound like I expect her voice to, like if we actually were underwater, but I obey.

The area around me looks just like water. My feet slosh through the glass, one pulling along the ground right after the other. My hand holds tight to Hana. She looks so natural in the glass. Beyond her, it looks like I’m underwater staring up. There’s a light ahead that’s interrupted by green and white waves. On my right and left, there’s an endless ocean of water, permeated by light. Unlike the ocean, I can see right through the lit water into the infinite possibilities of more portals and more people and more guides and more watchers and more unknowns. Once again, I try to ignore the panic swelling inside my stomach, creeping up my esophagus. Anchor, anchor, I need an anchor. But nothing is familiar, and nothing feels safe. I trudge harder through the watery world I find myself. Hana looks back at me and must register my panic. She also picks up the pace.

I need to breathe. I need to breathe, right now

The glass ahead still moves like an ocean current. We’re only feet from it, but my face feels like someone’s trying to blow a balloon inside of it.

Hana pulls harder at my hand. There’s a dark outer ring in my vision. Fan-fucking-tastic. If I pass out, I swear to God…

Hana’s leg pushes through the edge of water into what I assume is the other side of the portal. She quickly falls out of the glass, giving me a final tug. We both go flying through the last of the glass. I hit the dirt, face first. I roll onto my back with heaving breaths.

Poem: Last Week Sucked (Poem In Progress)

I tuck my hand between my pillow and face, and the Fitbit on my left wrist lights up the room.

1:53 AM.

It snuffs out and the room goes dark. I shut my eyes again, but the seconds tick by and I am still awake.

Fluorescent light slithers between the threads of the curtain, despite the second sheet strewn over the curtain’s rods, and my eyelids flutter open.

I can’t help but notice the glowing, throbbing electric strobe coming from the neighbor’s backyard porch light.

It’s arms open wide ready to greet me, welcoming me to a restless night, saluting my futile clinging mental fibers.

The humming fan fights a losing battle to the owl hooting outside my window–a new addition to the soundtrack of my insomnia, but

it seems to fall in pace with the cricket hiding in my closet.

I roll onto my left side for the sixteenth time and close my eyes.

Chimes blow up on my phone, and a half-growl/half-groan erupts from my throat. I flick my Fitbit to check the time.

It’s 7:30 AM. Time to get ready for work.

Poem: I hate this poem 

I was once a little girl
Spinning in circles, eyes cast down
Watching my dress bloom around me
from my waist, detaching at the knees
reaching out, around and
around until the galaxies kept in my brain
Exploded, and I fell to the ground in ecstasy,
while the earth reminded me that She is indeed
round. She makes me her center, and I am
the sun about which the living room rotates.
I cling to the brown carpet digging my short,
dirt marred fingernails into its fibers
And smile.

I was once a little girl
Who dreamt of the life I would have
And the woman I would be. And for
the little girl who slept with sadness
and knew much more of her own brain
than the interests and personalities
of fellow children, I dreamt of happiness.
The kind I must one day know as a woman.
And the companion who would know my brain
like I did. And I would know his like my own.

I was once a little girl
who–by no means of my family or an
ill-childhood to speak of–knew my soul
was deep as an ocean and the depths
with its unknown darkness was the place
I was most comfortable. I believed in the
universes contained in the brain, partitioned
chaos that made life have meaning–People
were good because there can’t be
so much expanse in one being without
the possibility of goodness.

How I wish to be that little girl 
and believe so much in everything.

Poem: Love, 

Love, the word.

Love, the verb.

Love, the lie.

Love, the grave

I lay me down to rest.

Love, the poem

I can’t get out of my head.

Love, the feeling

ripped out my chest.

Love, the loneliness

strangling me at night.

Love, the wolf

burrowed under my bed.

Love, the heaving,

gasping chest.

Love, the sunshine

become the clouds.

Love, the unmade bed

where I lay all day.

Love, the rain

whispering at my window sill.

Love, the silence

of my phone.

Love, the texts

that never come.

Love, the mascara

staining my pillows.

Love, the scarlet sunset

from the beach I stand alone.

Love, the frozen memory

of slipping away in the night.

Love, the fight

desperate to keep away.

Love the boy

with the broke heart.

Love the fear

of being alone.