Keep The Peace

I bite my tongue to not make a remark I will regret.
I taste blood without feeling the pain of the pinch.
It will heal, forming a scar on my tongue I will never see.
Keep the peace. Keep the peace. Keep the peace.
It's the only mantra that keeps me sane.
You confuse respect with aggression.
Look, I don't mean to judge you. I am trying hard not to.
I didn't engage in this conversation for a debate.
The things running through my head that I will never say.
I have no choice but to be the bigger person.
To not engage when I really want to.
Because I know this conversation isn't productive.
Two opposing sides rarely see eye to eye.
One person's wisdom is another person's lie.
You're trying to get me to agree with you,
To see that your way of life is superior to mine.
I don't know who told you that when I am doing just fine.
If this wasn't your intention, to let me know
Your thinking is the only way to think,
I am truly sorry. We just live in two different realities.
It's funny, isn't it? How the definition of respect changes
With every person you talk to?
You've shown me my feelings don't matter to you.
The scar on my tongue will break open
When I bite harder to hold back my feelings.

Happiness

Autumn crisp
Changing leaves
Drives with no destination
Long walks while listening to audiobooks
Chapters ending on cliffhangers
Episodes ending on cliffhangers
Inclusivity in TV shows
Books I can't put down
Listening to old songs
Discovering new songs
Talking to friends over FaceTime
Writing down my feelings
Meditating without distractions
Beautiful sunsets, rare moons
Stars in a clear sky
Forgetting to check my phone
Turning off the news
Sticking with what I believe in
Voting early by mail

What Cannot Be Controlled

“I’m the vice president of panic, and the president is missing.”

– Paige Lewis

My right eye is filling up with water
As soon as it meets the morning light.
I am afraid to look at today's news.
I wonder which version of events are worth clinging to.
I want to remember this moment like a bad dream
I misremembered, though I am certain
I secured every detail accurately.
Which reality do you choose live in today?
The one where everything is fine? Or a lie?
Birds singing as the President waves to his supporters
As they react like they're seeing The Beatles drive by.
Or the one where uncertainty lingers heavy in the air,
Like waiting on rain you are unsure is coming.
I prefer the one closest to the facts
Often labeled by some as fake news.
Church bells ring at the top of every hour,
No one in the church on a Monday,
The thought has faded whether people enter on a Sunday.
It's against the rules to gather in crowds indoors.
Some people choose ignore the reality we're in.
Partying like rebellious teenagers who
Ignored their mothers' when they said to stay home.
Not wearing a mask like it's a sign of strength
To go against the grain of public health and safety.
This would normally be labeled as denial,
Instead, it's choosing the reality most comfortable for you.
I check Twitter to find yet another person
In the White House has tested positive.
My right eye is now overflowing with water,
A perk of recovering eyes that cry
Without telling me what's the matter.

A Plane Flew Over the Trees

Times slowed down as the noise grew loud.
I looked back at my mom, she was covering her ears with her hands.
"Wow, that's a very loud truck," she yelled.
Suddenly, I looked up and there was a plane right above us.
"Look!" I yelled and pointed to what I was seeing.
It looked like the plane was falling out of the sky.
It looked like an old military plane
I'd see in history textbooks in high school.
Black with propellers on the wings.
Time froze as we froze, unsure of what to do.
It felt like it was there for longer than it was.
The plane continued to graze the tree tops as it flew away from us.
We paused and looked at each other.
"Clearly, we would hear a boom if it crashed," my mom said.
We waited a few seconds for a boom, but we didn't hear anything.
We were close to the bottom of the mountain.
We walked a little faster down the trail. 
People in the parking lot were talking about the plane.
"Airplane, low. Airplane, low." A toddler repeated.
Good to know we weren't alone, I thought.

The Very Unhealthy Air Quality Gave Me A Headache

September 6th, 2020
Masks for COVID
doubles as mask
for very unhealthy air quality.
I go to the gas station
the day before a snow storm.
In summer!
It's supposed to snow
and there are still green leaves on trees.
It's early September
but it's clear climate change doesn't care
What time of year we're in.
Early September!
But whatever.
It still blows my mind
a sixty degree temperature
drop is happening tomorrow.
People are at the pool right now.
On Labor Day.
This year is weird.
Anyway, I get out to pump gas
and the smell of ash
lingers in the air.
It's so uncomfortable,
it's difficult to breathe.
I have my mask on,
The guy pumping gas
next to me has his mask on. 
I'm not the only one who knows
there's more than one benefit
to wearing a mask.
Who knows where
the smoke is coming from.
We got a warning about it
on our phones last night.
Current weather:
Very Unhealthy Air Quality!!
88 degrees.
At least the sunset looked cool.
I get back in my car and go
pick up my medication
at the drive-thru Walgreens.
It's only when I get home
do I realize the very unhealthy air quality
gave me a headache!
Headaches are triggered
very easily for me these days.
I drink a Diet Coke
and swallow two ibuprofen.
11:00 AM on the first Monday
In September.
Smoke is heavy in the air,
a snow storm tomorrow.
What is now?

Central Park, Deck 8

Golden Hour. Symphony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean. July 2019.
The one place I can find peace and quiet.
Central Park, Deck 8.
Above me, chaos ensues.
Children screaming, parents yelling.
The beauty of being on a large boat.
I sit under the shade of a cabana
With a Starbucks and a book.
I try to write but I can't think of anything.
Too much noise. My quiet place under
The sun is surrounded by activity.
I may not see it but I hear it clearly.
People around me roam and chat.
I sit in silence, turning to my phone,
The only way to block everything out.
Later in the evening, the chaos settles
And musicians play as people sit and chat.
I look up at the sky, clouds are faint in the distance.
Golden hour on a boat is pretty spectacular.

36th Street

After a long day of speech therapy
and wandering around the city,
I take a shortcut to return back to my hotel.
36th street.
A random street.
The sun has disappeared behind the clouds.
The street is quiet,
a welcomed change from Park Avenue.
I'm halfway down between
Park and Lexington
when I notice a flag
hanging from one of the homes.
Out of all the streets I could have turned on, I think.
I had been on this street before.
I had taken a photo of this flag through a rainy window.
It was pouring in October.
Mom and I were leaving the city,
as the reminisce of a hurricane was passing through.
We were stressed and soaked
from being caught in the rain
And our flights being delayed.
I took a photo when the car was stopped,
not thinking much of it.
Here I am, almost a year later,
golden hour on an August evening,
walking down the street.
Tired and happy.
Alone and content.
I smile and take a photo of the flag.
Rainy Afternoon. NYC. October 2017
Quiet Evening. NYC. August 2018.

My Happy Place

Camp. Maine. August 2019
When someone asks me
Where my happy place is,
I tell them it's on a lake
In the middle of Maine.
My aunt and uncle's camp.
A beautiful view, right by the water,
The camp has a cozy feeling
With a screen porch facing the lake
And an incinolet so you don't always have to use the outhouse.
There's always a puzzle in-progress on the table
And lots of quiet places to read.
In the evening, we take the boat out
To admire the different camps
Around the lake while drinking wine.
Then we roast marshmallows and share stories.
When the stars come out,
We lay on the dock
And look for shooting stars.
I'm reminded of how small
I am compared to the sky.


Grateful

Grammie’s House. Cape Neddick, Maine. August 2019.

The morning began with stillness. I watched as the sun rose over the horizon and filtered through the trees, still half asleep. My mother’s childhood bedroom, flower wallpaper, a quilt on the chair in the corner, two small vases on the window sill. I’d wake up most mornings I slept here and watched this view become brighter before rolling over and falling back asleep. A fan blowing air was the only sound in the quiet house I always felt was my home away from home. The place I went to every summer for twenty-five years. I will always cherish the memories I made here. I’m forever grateful for the stillness of summer mornings in Maine.