my rainbow

note: just a simple play on the rainbow… rainbows have always been symbolic to me as a representation of Christ’s promise to us, so this poem plays on that. (also is anyone else excited for the onslaught of sweater weather?.. no? just me? k..) x

you are the red of the world
you burn holes in walls and caves in kindling with an insatiable passion
you peek over a shattered landscape and breathe hope, hope and life
you dance to the beat of your own drum, unleashed, uninhibited, undaunted

you are the orange of the world
you paint the canvas with bold streaks of emotion
you splash into the cup like so many drops of gold
you dissolve the shadows and spill warmth into the oblivion

you are the yellow of the world
you wash away the stains of the night and usher in the morning
you kiss away the dew from the leaves and leave them glistening in the light
you bring the dawn, the sunrise after the storm, the sparkle in the eyes

you are the green of the world
you provide shade for the weary, the overburdened, the lost
you are untamed, untouched, like moorland grass so you forge your own way
you sing in the rain, thrive when cut, laugh in the hurricane

you are the blue of the world
you shine like tears not fallen, potential not released
you drown the stormy skies in the rain that is yet to come
you know no warmth, yet burn hotter than the fiery fires

you are the purple of the world
you breathe life into a dull and lifeless garden
you fade away like the pain of yesterday, like the bruise gone but not forgotten
you are rich in love, glittering like a jewel yet humble, kind, noble

you are the color in my world
in the grey depths of my soul you painted the rainbow
in the darkness of the night you showed me the stars
and when the world robbed me of color

you became my rainbow.

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dear july // 2018

i.  life plays dodgeball with you sometimes. you get hit or you escape. but with the passage of time, you become more agile, more swift, and more deadly in your retaliation. maybe one day i will escape unscathed, but until then, i will wear my battle scars with pride.

ii.  and you came back. i questioned you and your answer brought tears to my eyes. my brother, you don’t need to fight your battles alone. you don’t need to suffer in silence. there are people who care about you and who are always there for you. if you can’t see the light, i’ll sit with you in the dark.

iii.  my first movie and i was over-the-top excited, but my anxiety held me in a vice grip and refused to let go. sometimes i just get so tired, tired of fighting and tired of losing.

iv.  little green-tinged notifications with your name on top make me so happy.

v.  the pain engulfed me and in a split second, the world went black. i just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, but i had a commitment to keep and music to practice, so i fought against the tempting darkness.

vi.  i received the news and my heart stood still. my golden buddy, i won’t see you again. i won’t feel your head on my foot as i play the piano. i won’t see your large mournful eyes as you follow me around the house. teddy, i’ll miss you.

vii.  i feel so alone. disconnected. unable to fit in. they’re in their own cliques and you’re in a different state. so i drown myself in music, in music and in service.

viii.  your radiant smile transformed my day, and in that moment, i knew that i’d found a new friend. don’t doubt yourself. always believe in your own prowess and always believe that you have what it takes to ace the sat. i believe in you, and i know you can do it.

ix.  we’re going to be ripped, you and i. we keep each other accountable and we strive to reach new heights. one day, we’ll both hit 200, but until then, we’ll keep pushing and encouraging and doing big things.

x.  i saw you again and that was all i needed. but i got to hear you sing again, got to hear you belt your heart and soul out, and got to talk to you. there are so many things left unsaid, and i desperately wish i was there for you when you needed someone to talk to or hang out with. emulcs, i missed you.

xi.  you brought me a taste of my heritage, whether through your familiar accent, your prowess at basketball, or simply who you are as a human being. and then you left and the house was empty again. i’ll look forward to next year, when you two can come back and visit. to me, you’re now family.

xii.  college searches and college applications make me doubt myself. i’m not smart enough, i’m not brilliant enough, i’m just not enough.

xiii.  friend, joy is a choice. i want you to learn how to choose joy and choose humor even in everyday “serious” circumstances like work. sometimes the happiest people are the saddest people. so choose laughter and choose to change your perspective.

xiv.  if i was dying, would i do anything differently? would i change the people i hung out with? would i change the words i said? would i change the things i did?

xv.  i’m sorry. i’m sorry for all the times i doubted Your promises. i’m sorry for all the times i ran from Your embrace. i’m sorry for all the times i disobeyed You because i thought my way was best. thank you for showing me true hope. for showing me true peace. for showing me true love.

xvi.  through the darkness, Your loving-kindness tore through the shadows of my soul. the work is finished, the end is written… hallelujah, praise the One who set me free. hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me. You have broken every chain, there’s salvation in Your name, Jesus Christ, my living hope.

dear june // 2018

i.  and i’m soaring upwards. i can’t see the ground, i can’t see the sky, and i can’t see the future. but it’s okay. i’m okay. you’re okay. and everything’s bright and cheery and hopeful once again.

ii.  the basement was cold, colder than i could’ve ever imagined, but that warm and fuzzy feeling was spreading through me, thawing my frozen heart, and shining through my eyes. and you became the reason to get up each morning, to get up so bright and so early each morning. i miss you.

iii.  the final panic. flashbacks to the good ole days where i fought with every word in my drained body. but this time, it wasn’t a battle. it was an adventure, with you beside me, everything is an adventure.

iv.  you light up my world like nobody else. we sang, we danced, we jumped. and in that moment, i knew that i wanted to live like i was dying.

v.  one simple thursday, one simple friday,  marked the beginning of a lifetime, the end of an era, and the beginning of the end. but child, i’ll always be there when you need me, whether as a photographer, a makeup artist, or just a friend.

vi.  love comes so slow and goes so fast.

vii.  and we sang together, our little quartet that soon grew in size. the music seeped into my soul and set my anxiety-caged heart free. koriandmaxkoriandmaxkoriandmax.

viii.  you wrapped your jacket tenderly around my shoulders, poked my arm maybe not-so-gently, and stared into my soul. last year were those sweet potato fries. this year, well, this year was the beginning of a lifetime.

ix.  hair dabbing. friend, you are my sunshine.

x.  heart maps. life graphs. bare souls. the five of us, we didn’t know each other, we only read the names off of the name tags hanging around our necks. but we bared our souls truthfully and courageously and the truth set us free.

xi.  we stayed up late that first night, talking about anything and everything. i felt like the luckiest girl to have such a sweet and wonderful roommate as you.

xii.  personality type tests. quiet introvert moments. warm and fuzzy blankets in times of cold. you march to the beating of your drum (i should say cajon) and you are simply unapologetically yourself.

xiii.  suddenly the lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and the rain came pouring down. stuck without shelter, frantic to set up the tent, worried about my mascara. i was soaked through and through, dripping as i walked, but that was a highlight of my week. there’s nobody i’d rather be drenched with than with all of you.

xiv.  we glided over the ice together, i spun, you clung to the walls. and i dare to call you daddy, even though i’m grown up. and i will always call you daddy because you will always be my daddy, my father, my hero.

xv.  i asked you to come, but you refused. days later, i asked again, but still you refused. but dude, i won’t give up asking, because i want to see you again. i want to see you at the other side. i want you to come to church because i care about you.

xvi.  you suddenly disappeared. everybody had their lips sealed shut. and i almost went crazy with worry. please come back.

xvii.  you must be crazy, she said. getting up early just hours before your flight. but let me tell you, it was worth it, feeling the ivory keys beneath my fingers, hearing the sound echo throughout the oaken room, and gazing at the familiar faces below me.

xviii.  what’s wrong, woman? we haven’t been able to talk lately, or hang out, or have our heart-to-hearts, and i really miss you. i know i haven’t been the friend you needed or the guitar player you needed or the dog-caregiver you needed, and i’m sorry. i miss the rambling messages on the answering machines, the late afternoon music videos, and the bright lipstick escapades. come back soon, friend.

xix.  i thought the corner would be lonely, but You came and sat with me. i thought the corner would be cold, but You came and wrapped Your arms around me. i thought the corner would be saddening, but You showed me that with You, all things are possible.

xx.  some steps that we take leave an everlasting mark even death can’t take away. so, if you’re missing me, just look inside your heart. i’ll be sleeping in the stars, shining through the dark, watching, smiling, singing out into silence. everywhere you are, i’ll be sleeping in the stars.

falling star

all i see is darkness. i cannot see my hands in front of my face, i tilt my chin upwards but even the moon has left me. enveloped, crushed, swallowed alive. no light to guide me, no one standing beside me.

lean your head on my shoulders again like you did just nine months ago. look into my eyes with understanding, compassion, oh take away the bitterness i see there. there are no splashes of color across the inky blackness like so many ribbons of light. i see no beauty reflected in the night. the darkness whispers my pain.

i want to run, run, run away. run away and leave myself behind. i want to rip, burn my ever-present mask and scatter the ashes to the wind. i want to set my soul free and never look back.

but i’m too far gone now.

the line of people, and nobody chooses me. a gathering of friends, friendsgiving: when you invited me to sit beside you my heart gave a leap. but soon you were gone with the others. i stood by myself. the soapy water stung and burned my cut hands. later when i left i wanted to tell you that i was sorry but goodnight, i said, we’ll keep in touch. i’ll text you tomorrow, you replied with a smile.

but no, i won’t be there tomorrow.

all i see is darkness. you point out the light streaked across the brilliant night sky, your face enraptured. but i am blind to it all. do you see it? you ask me. do you see the beauty in the night? no. no, i cannot, and i’m sorry.

girl, i feel we haven’t talked much lately, we need to catch up, you said when you dropped me off. the truth is, i have so many things to tell you but so many things i don’t dare to tell you. help me shake myself free, shake my hair free, and let it all blow in the wind.

i’ve always saved a little corner of my heart for you, and you, and you. but there’s no heart left now. no heart and no corners. just ashes, my charred soul, and smoke.

“do you see the stars?” she asked, tugging on the corner of my sleeve and pointing a finger at the blackened night sky. “they say that when a star falls, someone dies.”

i shook my head, shrugging her hand from my shoulder. i didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge the pleading whisper in her voice, didn’t search for the wistful longing in her dark orbs. her squeeze on my forearm went unheeded. the look of faint determination in her eyes as she swallowed her pain to tend to another went unheeded. her smile didn’t reach her eyes, but that went unheeded.

and in that moment, a star fell.

dear march // 2018

i. i’m dangling off a cliff, clinging to a rope with both hands. the rope is frayed, unraveling, it won’t last much longer and nor will i. i’ve given it everything i got and now, now maybe it’s time to walk away. walk away before i give up on myself.

ii. telephone pole down. they’re walking. a frigid late winter day and a steep walk uphill. i wish i could run, run and run and run until i got to your workplace and sit on the front porch until you arrived. i wish i could stay outside in the blinding wind and bone-chilling cold. i wish i could do anything, anything to get away from the pain that awaited me in the warmth.

iii. a piano that wasn’t tuned. questions that weren’t completely answered. candles that wouldn’t light. but what the day was was greater than what it wasn’t. feeling the strength rush through my fingertips as i pressed the untuned keys. a long car ride that revolved around teleportation, the future, and being on-time. a day that i will keep beneath my heartstrings forever.

iv. i can’t take this anymore. i’m giving up.

v. my special day. but i don’t feel special anymore, nor do i want to. i just want to disappear beneath the leather seats, away from the love songs that wrenched my heart, away from the cramped weight slowly crushing me, away from somewhere i didn’t belong.

vi. i wished you’d slow down, not because i was afraid to die, but because i was afraid you’d die. my heart fluttered in my throat and i prayed desperately that in case the 84 went to 0 in a split-second, i would be taken, but you, and the girl in the front seat, and the two guys beside me, would make it out alive.

vii. my bandaged wrist. i wish my anxiety would vanish and never come back.

viii. every day spent in that building and that house seems like a nightmare. i want to wake up and see that nothing’s changed, that you still welcome me with a grin and a fun remark instead of drowning me with disregard on your face, that i still pour into the people i love without being caged like a criminal.

ix. thank you for burned ears. the pain will go away but the memories will stay. i felt like a queen, a hobbling queen, but a queen nonetheless. my eyes shone and my heart sang and every time i looked at you, i knew that everything would be alright.

x. you’re a beast. am i a monster, you think? am i who they say i am? a failure, an inept burden, a puppet without a voice of her own? tell me, i beg of you. i need to know the truth and you’re my last grasp at hope.

xi. absolute bliss, absolute freedom, until with a jolt, i went down and the shattering pain snaked through my knees like a million fiery needles.

xii. you’re like a breath of Jesus in the lives of the people you meet. the best day of my life.

xiii. write about me. and i did. you thought those lines funny, but when i sent that poem to you i sent a piece of my soul with it. when you read it aloud the day after, i lost that part of my soul forever. i wish that you, both actually, but especially you, knew the truth about february 21. but i don’t have the courage to tell you.

xiv. when the road gets too difficult for me to navigate, You picked me up with Your nail-pierced hands and carried me. when i wrestled with You, You could’ve knocked me over with just the look of Your eyes, but You chose to lead me out of the swirling darkness and into the blinding light.

xv. amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. i once was lost, but now i’m found, was blind but now i see. my chains are gone, i’ve been set free. my God, my Savior, has ransomed me. and like a flood His mercy rains. unending love, amazing grace.

dear february // 2018

oh hello there. it’s been so long since i’ve last written and i am so sorry. this will be kind of like a medley of january and february so bear with me through this novel of a post. x

i.  words can’t even encapsulate the pain i feel. a dull, throbbing pain, a pain that sneaks up behind me when i am laughing and having fun and puts me in a chokehold, squeezes the life out of me.

ii.  4 am. a buzz of the phone. three words. and she left this earthly world behind and entered the arms of her Father. a touch from the angel transformed her into an angel. we love you, chandler. i have so many words unsaid and memories unshared but one day, we’ll sit down together in the garden of heaven and catch up.

iii.  i held your little hand and listened to your rolicking laughter as you jumped and danced and had fun. stunted, they said you were, different and incomplete and lacking. but i think you’re the most perfect of little ones. you don’t have developmental issues. you see the world through different eyes. you aren’t physically incapacitated. you are born to mold the world with the strength of your fingertips. i love you, little one.

iv.  i saw all of your beautiful faces from the future, from the light of two phone screens and reflection of perfect faces. but my heart ached, because i’m so far away and i’ve always been so far away and i’ll always be so far away.

v.  i showed you the land of my heritage, but i desperately want to tell you that my heart and my home will always be there, with you, with all of you. i don’t want to be different. listen to my heart’s cry, oh please do, i don’t want to be different, i just want to be like you and be part of all of you.

vi.  i made a mistake, started on the wrong song, couldn’t focus my stupid mind. i can never hold my head again. i made a mistake, i, who should and can and must never make a mistake.

vii.  pain zigzags across my fingers, but i will tie those skates all over again. the pain will go away but the memories will stay.

viii.   everybody’s different. i don’t know why. he’s left his gentle-teasing ways to become someone who’s jokes feel like a stab to the heart. she’s still a sassy and spirited individual, but there’s an edge to her, a sharp edge that never ceases to shock me. and he, he’s different, he’s changed, and it hurts my heart. and she, my dearest friend out of all dear friends, has become more weary, more tired, more torn apart. oh what would i give to erase the lines stress and carry your burdens for you. my heart hurts.

ix.  and i chose to give up on you, not by choice, but by force.

x.  friend. we haven’t talked much over the last month, haven’t we. i feel as if we’ve drifted apart while drifting closer. we’ve become too caught up in our own lives and our problems to leave space to listen to the other and share stories about life. i miss the time we almost hit a deer, not the hitting the deer part help us all no, but the strengthening friendship part. let’s catch up sometime. i want the good old days to come back.

xi.  a last-minute call for the nursery, but two hours of absolute bliss. we laughed and played so loudly that everybody came running. we sang uproariously and had so much fun we spilled water all over the table. and then i carried you on my hip for the rest of the night while you sucked your thumb contentedly and gazed around you. oh i cannot wait to become a mother to houseful of squirming, happy children.

xii.  don’t think, don’t feel, you’re gonna be okay.

xiii.  i fought the yarn for hours on end, until the clock read 1:00 am and my eyes wouldn’t stay open. no, i didn’t fight the yarn. i fought myself. i fought myself and questioned myself and dug out every hidden fear. i wrestled with God, cried out to Him for help, and spoke the name of Jesus over the pain in my life. all the while i twisted and pulled and knitted, shaping the thumb, shaping the cuff. but woman, it was all worth it. it was all worth it and i would never trade the experience for anything.

xiv.  a touch of the hip and a jagged gash of pain. i won’t let You go until You give me Your blessing. i walked away from You and hid inside myself, but You spoke to me through my injury. You are good, my Father, and i will sing of Your mercies forever and ever and ever. amen.

xv.  you’re an overcomer, stay in the fight ‘til the final round. you’re not going under, ‘cause God is holding you right now. you might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless. that’s when He reminds you that you’re an overcomer. you’re an overcomer.

the man and the piano

via

i live across the road from a haunted house.
i mean, it’s not exactly haunted, just old.
the owners moved away around thirty years ago.
nobody has taken care of it since.

the paint has cracked and mold is now growing in the cracks.
the shutters are all broken and hanging askew.
even on sunny days, it’s musty. dark. spooky.
but i heard that the scariest part in it is the piano.

the owners left their piano behind when they moved out.
it used to sit in large living room, draped with silks
all the guests who came to the house admired the piano
a handcrafted beauty, it was passed down through generations.

but the passage of time had been harsh.
it now stood in the musty corner of the abandoned living room.
all of the keys are discolored, covered with algae from the leaking ceiling.
some of the notes don’t play. they’re stuck. broken forever.

there’s a homeless creep living in our neighborhood.
i mean, he’s not exactly a creep, just old.
his wife died thirty years ago and his house was taken away.
nobody has taken care of him since.

his hair is long and stringy. there’s bits of dirt in the knots.
his clothes have gaping holes, exposing his bony flesh.
even on sunny days, his brows are drawn together in an angry line.
but i hear that the scariest part of him is his eyes.

he left his soul behind when he buried the love of his life.
his black eyes used to sparkle and shine as he laughed with his wife.
all of his friends used to admire his youthful spirit.
he was fun-loving, energetic, full of life and vigor.

but that fateful accident ripped his heart out and left a gaping hole.
when he couldn’t pay the bills, the bank took his house.
his children left without a goodbye, leaving him penniless. homeless.
he now wanders the streets. alone. forsaken. broken forever.

I looked out the window this afternoon when I saw the creep shuffle up the sidewalk and stop in front of the haunted house. I mean, that old man stopped in front of that old house. He gazed at it for an eternity, then he climbed the rickety stairs, turned the rusted door knob, and disappeared into the darkest oblivion. The door swung shut behind him.

Out of curiosity, I unearthed myself from the fluffy quicksand of the living-room sofa and followed him.

My hesitant footsteps drew me closer and closer to this deserted house until the rafters loomed above my head, casting dark shadows that swallowed me alive. With one shaky hand, I pushed the door open. The high-pitched wail that sounded from the rusty hinges sent chills up my spine.

I stepped into the house.

I hear him walking around so I follow the sound of the footsteps until, abruptly, they stopped. I tiptoed through an archway, then through another opening in the crumbling walls, until I came face-to-face with what used to be the living room.

The window in this room had cracked, allowing dirt, leaves, and grime to come pouring in, borne on the wings of the wind. One overturned paint tub spilled its contents all over the carpeted floor. Some critter had walked through the now dry paint, spreading it all over the room and walls. It took me quite some moments before my eyes adjusted to the shifting darkness.

Then did I see the piano, standing forlornly in the corner. To my surprise I saw the man sitting, his head bowed, in front of it. Even as I watched, he lifted his hands slowly from his lap and placed them on the rusted keys. Dirty hands they were, hands that had seen their share of tribulations, hands scarred and streaked with mud.

One solitary note echoed in the gloomy house, followed by another. Then another. Its voice was streaked with age and misuse, warped by the pain from simply living, but the piano was singing.

One solitary tear dropped onto the withered keys, followed by another. Then another. His hands moved haltingly over the keys. But through the music, his heart spoke.

It spoke of pain, of bitterness, of desolation. It spoke of the pain that gripped his heart when he saw the love of his life lying lifeless in the hospital bed, her head covered with bloody gauze, tubes running in and out of her body. It spoke of the bitterness that hardened into a stony ball when the bank evicted him from his own home because he couldn’t pay the hefty bills the hospital demanded for trying— and failing —to save his wife. It spoke of the desolation that drowned him when his two children hung up their phones on him and cut off all contact, moving far away, rejecting their father, never even once looking back.

For the first time I saw him for who he was: a man, torn by the years, rejected by society, crying for help. But nobody listened. Until now.

the man and the piano
in their brokenness they found each other
unloved
but loved at last.