I bloom in secret
Because few know how expansive I am
When nothing blocks the reach
Of my wings
I bloom in secret
Because few know how expansive I am
When nothing blocks the reach
Of my wings
There is more to be earned from forgiveness than from bitterness.
I was once a burning-bridges type of human
The one that feels the sting of rejection and malintent
And cannot forget it.
And cuts ties to reduce the persistent pain.
But I have learned there is much to lose from not forgiving.
Even if I have loved more, given more, been more for the other person,
They may still have something genuine to offer
It is enchanting: the power of pushing away what has proven difficult
But what bewitches me more these days is the idea of not how others can improve
But how I can improve, for one
Doling out more chances for imperfect humans
To provide some sort of shelter for us both
Sometimes the strongest bonds are also the most volatile
And other times, if a mountain of energy is gifted for little to no return
It is time to let them go.
But one should know
Only after trying, really trying,
To form something real-
Because deep below the surface, profoundly, within all of us, exists
A desire to connect and an obscured ability to do so
So maybe all our comrades need is a reminder
That the effort is worth it
That their humanness means something to you.
What the fuck is public decency
You haven’t given me your time. Your contact of eyes
You have left me untouched, unbrushed, no single piece of you has transferred to me
Why do you believe a human existence is something to take for granted?
Why do you want to me to be silent, and not bother you, and not provoke anything inside of you
And not stir anything in humanity?
My precise obligation is to make you uncomfortable in thought
I bleed to remind you how it is to be truly raw and unapologetic
If you don’t welcome me I will thrive on my own without a single soul to steal my shine
A candle burning with a single light not relying on anyone else to provide me my spine
Without you I am better without you I am lighter without the weight of your emptiness
You are one of those hollow shells of humans that breathe simply because your brain tells you to
You have no idea why you’re alive
You have no idea what it’s like to be me and reach for more
We don’t connect on anything, you drink alcohol like water and build your nights around your lack of self-control
Meanwhile I just peaked.
Meanwhile I just reached somewhere you will never see because you’re too numb to understand me.
I can’t get through to you; you are nothing to me.
Retreat to the void in your heart, and go tell yourself how you’re complete.
When I think of you I break in half because you are not here to share the minutes and hours
You are not here to share the seconds between moments, where the indescribable happens
You are not here to share this bed and frame my head with yours
In your absence, I feel no touch, no kiss, no embrace to which I surrender
Nothing enchants me quite like these memories, I hold in my cerebrum like the antidote to all pain
Our passing moments, each day the ones I have forsaken to leave you crumble me into pieces
I struggle believing I could go on this way forever, in your absence
Missing your real-time emotions and laughter and energy and vibrancy
You are a light that feeds my soul, nothing compares to your hand I can hold
Nothing can replace your body, our love in a space and a time that is defined
Nothing can erase the heart palpitations the image of your presence brings
Sustaining this flame, I wait until I have my soul in full form again.
There’s something I call, in my element.
Comfortable, calm, confident.
Cool with every curve and corner I find of myself.
Moving from an intrinsic type of motivation and not extrinsic validation
Moving from, I feel my muscles and my fat and I am okay with that
Moving from, something deep is satisfied when I care for myself in this way
Caring for myself like no one else can because there isn’t a fortune teller that could dictate my mental health
That could tell me I have reached my own threshold, and I should surrender to human sacrifice
Sacrificing that which does me no good for the difficult good I know I must need
That I know I must deserve something I feel for myself
Insulating myself from the misunderstandings of others and accepting myself for every uncommon intricacy I hold
For every contradictory measure I take to incubate my nervous system from the harsh outside conditions
The strength I embody just by merely existing in this world, and in such a fiery language
I believe in the underlying beauty of all things, disconnected and then reconnected when the time is right
Everything must run its course including my sense of attachment to this world, imperfect it may be, wavering it may be, it always returns to me
Like a cold knife in my chest, like a rush of adrenaline, like a drug, like a force I can’t ignore, it is my belonging despite how much I have resisted and excluded myself,
A ribbon reaches out and wraps around my foot, pulling me in. assuring me, you are one. You couldn’t separate yourself enough to lose the rest of us, the best of us take their time to settle down through their sit bones and you have done so. You have found your way to the light. Now embody it.
My life outstretched in front of me, I decided to extend my arms longer although I thought my arms had made up their mind. No farther.
I hijacked my body for hundreds of miles, although each fiber conspired to remain.
I lost everything that ever meant anything to me and found my meaning in having none of it.
I laughed at how painful it was to keep moving, and moving, and abandoning the world I had claimed previously.
Realizing, the world is not mine to claim.
I am simply its pawn.
It has claimed me and assigned me to this mission.
So if you love me, let me go far-
Let me go tell the others the heaven that awaits them
When they take that next step, and
Grasp their chance at living.
I never ever ever want children. // I would have your children.
Thank you for humanely removing bugs from my room. // he called it “his room.”
He mentioned our honeymoon. // how many times can we talk about the future until it is upon us?
Pain is leaving your side. // strength is allowing myself to break each time.
I’m not vulnerable. // I cried during sex. // tears of joy // when will you show me your tears?
You called it the best day of your life. // all I did was come home.
I apologize for leaving so often. // wandering hurts when you’re in love. // a tether to home
How can we survive this? // hard times ahead // that has never caused fear before
You swept me off the ground // lifted me to the heavens // kissed me like it was the first night
The moment stole my words // nothing so perfect as our silent bliss // can we freeze time?
Wrapped myself around your body // refused to let go // every laugh is like the first // you // out of anyone fill me with life // there is nothing without you // I can’t call you anything else /
I will never get a tattoo. // I would get matching ink with you.
I teach you various languages and you pick up certain phrases // media naranja // my half orange //
I searched the galaxy and came up empty // lost in your eyes // I knew it // my soul- mate
**Trigger warning: sexual assault**
Conscious rap is a term that describes rap that aims to impart knowledge on listeners and has a higher meaning than other rap. For some, it’s a preference. I believe it is necessary.
As I explore more rap, the more I discover its damaging aspects. First, there’s the misogyny. This is so much of an issue that there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to it.
Tied to this misogyny is the disgusting usage of rape as a joke. Tyler the Creator rapped about raping a pregnant woman in “Tron Cat.” Eminem says in “No Favors,” “I sodomize like an ass-raper.” These two artists continuously promote sexual assault and abuse with their lyrics, and it’s not something we can laugh off.
Sexual assault should not be mentioned in a song unless it’s to raise awareness for the alarming rate of it. (See: Lady Gaga’s “Til it Happens to You” from the Hunting Ground)
As rap becomes more popular with young listeners, the more damaging its overt talk of drugs, crime, and sex becomes. For young men, it’s encouraging. For young women, it’s threatening.
I don’t have a problem with explicit lyrics, but I do have a problem with misogyny and the glamorization of drugs and crime as attributes of success.
I will be the first to admit that I do listen to problematic rap. My favorite rapper, Kanye West, while “conscious” in many ways, is also famed for his misogynistic lyrics (“I made that bitch famous”). I still believe the rap world needs more conscious rappers. Rappers like Kendrick, Logic, Raury, and Cole address social problems and use the attention they receive to educate the public on things that matter. And while they aren’t without their flaws, I recognize their efforts to address social issues and use their art to promote a positive message. I worry that other rappers have strayed from their original intent to do the same.
Rap has been a heterosexual male-dominated genre since it originated, and time is well overdue to bring justice to women and LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s already hard enough for anyone other than straight men to succeed in the game, and to succeed female rappers typically must either masculinize themselves enough to be on par with male rappers, or sexualize themselves enough to receive their validation. Justice is long overdue for women and queer folks in music. The continued exploitation of sexual assault in rap is threatening to their well- being and provides an overall unwelcoming environment for their success.
It’s time to open the world of rap to more social consciousness. As more and more citizens become engaged with social justice, they will no longer tolerate ignorance in their music. Artists needs to catch up to the times. I don’t believe all rap needs to be conscious rap, but all rap should be free of blatantly irresponsible lyrics. If you’re going to rap, say something worth listening to that doesn’t demean anyone.
While conscious rap is on the rise, with albums like All Amerikkkan Badass by Joey Bada$$ and Everybody by Logic addressing the current political sphere, there remains a large portion of rap that continues to perpetuate not only negative, but destructive ideas. Rap may be free from clean language, but it should not be a free-for-all where all ethics go out the window. Rappers receive ample attention and fame, and they should use their influence to advance knowledge. When they promote negative ideas, their artistry is trashed and the name of rap is defamed. Rap has deep roots in protest culture and pride in one’s identity. A return to this will not only appeal to more listeners, it will help empower the public to continue fighting for justice.
Conscious rap selections, from top to bottom: Logic’s Everybody, Joey Bada$$’s All Amerikkkan Badass, Childish Gambino’s CAMP, and Vic Mensa’s There’s A Lot Going On
Moving back into my father’s house, I was unpacking suitcase upon suitcase. It wasn’t an extreme amount of stuff, since it could fit in my car to make the journey home, but it was enough to take me over an hour to organize. It was too much.
After downsizing my life and trying time after time again to sell and responsibly ditch my possessions, I had too much.
Was I a fake minimalist?
What is a minimalist anyways?
You apparently must buy a very small number of things from the day you start bringing things into your life. I will be twenty this year and I am still drowning in possessions.
This is a warning to everyone: stop buying stuff. You don’t need even half of what you buy.
Re-evaluate why you bring things into your life. Do you feel better when you buy things? How long does it take for that feeling to fade? Then you’re stuck with less money and more junk. More things and less space in your home, and less time since you must spend some of your time organizing and tending to your possessions.
Your possessions will possess you.
It happened to me.
I went through an emotional process of purging myself of possessions, and I still have too much. I have repeatedly had to confess my sins: my past prioritization of possessions and my past purchases from unethical businesses. The businesses I paid to enslave other humans for my benefit.
I have been disgusted and disappointed with my former, ignorant self. And I have drastically transformed my habits. Now, I only buy what I need. I shop from responsible retailers, and I promote sustainable choices to others. I try to repent for my sins, but I still have the evidence of my former self.
I have realized nothing I do now can erase my past mistakes. I will be shedding these remains for years to come, as I learn, my style evolves, and I let go. I realize I am more myself, less stressed, and can travel more easily with less stuff. I can’t erase my past mistakes, but I can make better decisions today. Now, I am extremely hesitant to purchase anything that is not a necessity. Now, I stay woke about the movement for fair labor, and I stay active in pushing for this. But still, I can do more. I can write to companies asking for better. I can use my voice to speak to mainstream companies, rather than just opting for ethical alternatives (a boycott might not always be the best solution- more on this later).
I am less concerned about the “minimalist” label, and more concerned about the role I play in the overconsumption that swallows this country whole. Now when I stumble upon my mindless purchases, I can acknowledge where I was when I made the decision to bring that item into my life. I realize how far I have come, and how healthy it is for me to keep letting go of my old possessions. When I brought these things into my life, I was trying to fill a void. Now, when I let go, I can fill that void with something more meaningful: travel, introspective time, and exploring. The less I have, the freer I am.
Heed my warning now and save yourself some heartache: stop buying so much stuff.
To become more aware of the impact of your consumption, visit:
She is breaking her spine to love you.
Splitting vertebrae to render her spine yours.
Turning limbs in every wrong direction,
Fracturing her extremities to fit your theses.
She is dividing herself within in order to let you in.
She is piece by piece removing fallen branches
Returning the debris to her innards
So you are unable to see her dying.
Her world is curling up, so you may breathe
She is igniting forest fires.
To let you run free
She is conquering herself in private
So you are convinced you are supreme
She is demoting herself to lender
So you may take ownership of her bones.
You have taken her keys, and invaded her home.
Your capability of cradling a life form
Displayed with one minor tongue flop
Overcome with grief
“I am no longer weak in the knees
I am just weak.”