Dancing in the Streets

New York City on Saturday // becca strassberg on Twitter.
There were people dancing in the streets
All over the states on Saturday.
A collective sigh of relief was had by those
Who had been filled with anxiety
And fear for the last four years.
Anticipation for normalcy and steadiness,
Instead of divineness and unpredictability
Expanded quickly as music started playing,
And cars started honking.
Crowds gathered with masks on
To cheer for the news that change is coming. 
A right to celebrate after a long week
Of staring at screens and refreshing Twitter.
Eagerly waiting for confirmation that indeed
Biden would be our next President.
It's a sign that so many people are ready
For someone who lead for all of us,
Not just those who support him.

This Isn’t A Painting

The moon shining in through the window,
bright as the sun at noon.
I capture this photo with my phone
that doesn't have night mode.
It looks more like a painting
than an actual photograph.
The colors are muted through the lens
looking into the darkness.
The outline of the room
still appears in tact.
The night sky is lighter,
the mirror is visible.
The line of light on the floor,
a strip of the moon in late October.
The other strip on the wall
above the old-fashioned phone.
A moment of simplicity captured
during a chaotic time in our history.
 



Light & Quiet

When snow blankets the earth, life quiets.
Stepping outside feels like the volume
You never notice has been turned down.
The only sound you hear is your steps
Making a path that will melt
When it meets the sun.
The night brings light to the darkness
When the full moon bounces off the snow,
It creates a view that's rarely seen,
Especially by non-night owls.
It's quieter when the stars are out,
The few souls brave enough to
Venture out have said goodnight.

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.