Young girl filled with big dreams it’s fine to carry on, all grown even when you cannot do it alone.
There will be others just like you who’ve survived the awkward teenager years, pimples, bruises and broken hearts.
They’ll care enough to remind you how perfectly precious you are.
It’s okay to fall or fuck up; when you’re doing your best.
Life will get harder than you can manage, but none of us carries the burden or heavy lifting alone.
I’ll be right here to remind you to soar.
I’ll be your gravity when you’re down in the dumps, spiraling out of your comfort zone.
Silly girl, your dreams will become quieter with age but never less full.
All the colors are yours to suit your mood.
I love you colorblind, and the blackest of Neptune’s blues.
You are prettier than the atmosphere three billion light years forgotten from here.
I will whisper in your ear when you’re fast asleep to always, always care.
To emote, to feel, to share.
To gift away love.
I hope you always, always care more.
Never, ever less.
No matter the cost.
Or the climate.
There are no grand secrets to surviving tragedy; it’s okay to experience pain and fear.
I will be here to keep your feet planted and your arms outstretched towards the stars, while tears cascade down your cheeks.
There will be many joyful, magic moments to sustain you.
Living is pretty even when it hurts.
You are loved because of your flaws; more than rainbows, puppies, unicorns and silly human things.
I am gravity and I am here to help you stay grounded to the earth.
You are the cosmic miracle of constellations and suns and moons colliding and exploding in the stratosphere.
You are the happy accidental human, dying since way before birth.
I’m done with the trolls and their hollow, spewing hateful opinions.
I am over the ambivalence.
I’m done with people who say they don’t care about politics, only the value of their stocks, guns and the art of the deal.
I’m done with friends and family who live under the crowded veil of ignorance.
I’m done with the bullies, the posturing, the greased palms, the narcissists.
We won’t recover from the great divide or reign of terror.
I’m happy I don’t have kids who’ll have to clean up the hate, greed and arrogance.
Will there still be a world with flowers in bloom and clean oceans to traverse, or will we be buried under a mushroom cloud fast forgotten?
If I could I would foster ten million lost children from the poorest, farthest, gang infested, malnourished corners of this earth.
I would shelter them all and tell them everyday how truly beautiful, strong, brave and tolerant they are.
Every single day, I would tell them over and over they were safe and loved showering them with pride filled kisses.
I would raise them up to be kind, curious, doers, artists, empaths, dancers, deciders, givers and leaders admired for their tolerance and passion.
I’m done with the assholes, “adulting.”
I’m not done with the belief that all children are born good.
I’m not done with our best and wisest hope for the future.
I’m not done with them; I’m down with that.
When they zapped my brain, I did not recognize the nurse who had been there all along.
I recalled my mother’s face, worry lines and all.
I forget sometimes with all these cells coarsing through veins, tripping up emotions that things came easier once.
Life was uncomplicated, and I took it for granted.
It was the little moments I shrugged off, the nothing less than important.
Vital lessons of joy and exhilaration.
With no electronic distractions and tortoise shell healing, I ventured out.
Creating fairytale landminds of imagination.
Words, oberservations, storytime coffeebook tales and me.
Those were the happiest, carefree minutes I can recall.
Where did the feisty, rebel rouser go?
One bad-seed simple cell becomes a life so jaded, so messy complicated.
Most days I am angry, sad, inconsolable, regretful longing.
Most days I’d rather be dead than carry the weight.
Most days I wish to hurry them along.
Stupid, stupid wild child be quiet and let me think.
Other days I long for a reboot, sunshine and a fresh start.
Palm Springs, majestic mountains and course sandy beaches.
The bloody burden of living.
To hell and back.
Am I allowed to say this?
Surely you’ve felt out of sorts.
No, no, no sour grapes please.
The vines are frozen solid anyway.
To choose life even when it stings.
To follow love.
To take a naked selfie.
And a big, big, big long look in the mirror.
Self-love requires discipline, conviction and a healthy dose of rebellion.
Post it notes are positively lovely.
Dreamy reminders that stick.
Even when all roads feel exhausted.
To choose the smallest room for living and sit in stillness.
That is torture and pain.
That takes courage.
That is patience.
Self-awareness and empathy are no small feat.
One red cell quantifies a fate.
I am not mean-spirited or selfish.
I am too damn honest.
Scribbling words you may not wish to hear.
Few have traveled where I visit.
You have not embodied this small room.
Egocentric, over-eccentric, paranoid, panicked, depressed, suicidal, and manic at times.
It’s all mixed-up.
The ugliest parts housed right alongside the beautiful.
So be it, mind of mine.
Some cells went haywire.
Others did not.
Shock me back to your absurd reality.
Fucking crazy, isn’t it?
To think we are all dying differently.
Call me a rebel rouser.
Insanity feels perfectly normal to me.
I had the craziest dream.
Sweet Gardenia blossoms grew immense enveloping firestorms and chaos, masquerading all traces of ash and burn.
The intoxicating scent of sweet perfume permeated the clean air, creating nursery rows of safety bubble greenhouses.
A young girl’s innocence remained pure and virtuous.
Flowering freedom rained dewdrops of kindness.
There were no guns, no mass graves, no starvation, no rape, no death.
No dead children.
No hate. No hate. No hate.
White rapids filled the streams replenishing and purifying waters.
Dirty DNA was washed clean.
Gardenia, Fig and Jasmine were the new currency whilst greed, power and ugliness got strangled, suffocating.
In the dream state, time was no longer a linear concept, and bountiful floral gardens grew happy.
Everyone had their own space to paint rainbows, waterspouts, and imaginary firestorms.
Humanity bore green buds of fragrant possibility where wishes and dreams flourished, fruit bearing trees.
Gentle desires on the wind of a someday, some glorious day, and a somewhere different.
Sweeter than here.
Where Gardenia, Fig and Jasmine blossoms grow through the cracks blanketing away all fear.
I had the craziest dream, and wrote it on the petals adorned in her hair.
Whispering wishes of a new pathway to love.
Floating away, and landing in a stranger’s thoughtful ear.
Believe that you are better than
Believe that if you haven’t lost someone you love
To Mass Shootings
You are blessed, the lucky one
Pretend it won’t ever happen
Pretend it’s impossible
Pretend doesn’t work much these days
It can’t happen?
Not today, not in your town, not in your house
The one safe space
And then indulge me
Close your eyes
Feel for a baby’s hand
A small child, maybe your child
So innocent and pure
The hand feels wet and cold and you cannot stop the chaos
The screams are all around you
You hear them as if locked in
Stuck in a nightmare
You cannot wipe the blood from your hands soiling your jeans
Pretend is only one day away
Reality states there’s a dark tomorrow
Believe you care enough to make a difference
Believe you can make a difference
Citizens of this great nation
Believe you have the right to say
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE GREED TURNING A BLIND EYE
I pray, I do but my prayers seem futile and nobody hears them
Until I remember
To be beholden
To believe in the toil and dreams fulfilled by our forefathers
Believe in your legacy
The past is our great teacher
And the present needs a new healer
Believe in the peaceful resisters who are protesting the ugly regime
The reign of terror
Believe in your gut
Believe in your voice
Believe in your heart
And stand up
Do the right thing
Let your conscience be clean when you lay your head down
Believe your life matters more than an AK-47, hatred, or idiotic, ignorant opinions
How you live is up to you
How you die well that is the disturbing, frightening question of the times
Believe that humans are inherently good
Be a good human
And stand together for everyone’s right to an honest, purposeful life
I must not forget, never ever forgo this one shot at an honest life. A well-played beginning, the hold on tight middle, and a serene, admired, beloved end. I have been given this offset jewel of a life for a reason.
Loosening my grip on the serrated edge, I grab tight to the rafters overhead.
When life throws shit at you, and most assuredly it will, remember this. I see you. You are stronger than you think. You are kinder, graceful, brighter, smarter, funnier, richer (and not monetarily), and unique. On the days I forget, and think manic depression will most definitely kill me, I dig deep. Who the hell knows where or when life’s reservoirs will dry up. I don’t, neither do you. Then, I remember. I am a goddamn, strong ass warrior and there are people who need, support and love me, same as you. It’s okay to feel down, overwhelmed, anxiety ridden. We all do, even the ‘normal ones.’ It’s okay to feel all the feels, cry, scream and curse. I understand it is a hell of a lot harder living with a mental illness. I was normal once, too. You know what? I’m no different than you. You have your own set of problems and heartache, so remember – I got you. I see you, I feel you and I’m rooting for you. In this shiteous, chaotic, beautiful place that is the world right now find a little piece of joy in your heart, take care of it and watch it explode. There is beauty in pain, and healing in holding on. Surviving, thriving, living. That’s life, that’s me, and that’s you. You are the miracle. Rinse, and repeat. Hate, resentment and anger have left the room, SURVIVOR. – Jacqueline Cioffa
If I Was Your Child
Would you cover me in a coat of armor
So my blood didn’t weep
If I was your child
Would you shield me from the dark
The boogeyman man that wiggled my doorknob whilst I sleep
If I was your child would you smother me with sweet scented well-meaning kisses
If I was your child would you teach me all the adventurous things I needed to be
Brave, bold, fierce, fearless and kind
If I was your child would you grant me an open-hearted curiosity and gypsy spirit
If I was your child would you fill my belly when it gurgled and hiccupped with hunger
Everyday ups and downs
If I was your child would you discover the planet with me and all her beauty with purpose
If I was your brave child that got broken with bruises
Would you share your coat of kindness and mesmerizing colors
If I was your child, but not yours to hold onto
Not for too long, too tight or for a million kisses
If I was your child would you prepare me for a cold, greed filled world where other children were not born into luck
If I wasn’t your child would you even bother to look at me
To open your eyes and be braver than your peacock feathered roots
Mother Earth and Father Time
Do not desire any cloak or dagger swagger
They carry the keys to infinity
Where words like kindness, grace, beauty and bounty succeed
Where all children are born
Surviving and thriving free from lock and key
Smiling in prosperity
A new sweet smelling earth
I shall believe because
If I was your child or another’s
I dared to dream
I look back on the road with no regret, humbled and in awe of where I have been, and the horrible days lived. I look cautiously towards the future, with trepidation, anticipation and hope. I would want no other me, no other life. I walk the path alone, without the ghosts and fantasy.
Just a girl, a simpleton, beat up and worn down by a mind she can’t control, dancing jazzy blue.
I do not care about the minor details; I’m counting on the bigger picture. I’m counting on God, faith and the blue people to see me through. My puppy and I wander aimless and free, the future mapped out by the gravel laid down before us. I bask in the simple. A drop of golden, yellow sun warms my pant leg as I sit on the bench, thinking about nothing. Nothing at all, except how good the heat feels.
The gap poetic, the blissful quiet that I have worked hard to find. I am present. I am here; here I am right now. The red bench and I molded into liquid steel, solidly put back together.
Tomorrow will come, or it won’t. I needn’t remind myself of that. I mustn’t worry over the minutiae.
THE RED BENCH