Rhododendron

rhodoSweetly soaked pastel petals

Floated, removed from their spindly stems

Their tops bobbing briefly to the surface

Of her lukewarm bath from early this morning

She had asked for roses, but instead

Received rhododendron

Dull tones to match her skin

Sinking, the flower buds wait to be saved

While she stays at the bottom

Lifeless in a porcelain vase

Definition of Music

In my Introduction to Music course that I am taking this semester, my professor asked the class to define music in our own terms, and I thought the best way to describe it is with a blog post.

The past weekend I went to Winter Jam in Philadelphia, PA, which was a free outdoor concert. When my friends first invited me, I thought they were completely crazy, because not only was it an outdoor concert, but it was an outdoor concert during one of the coldest/snowy weekends. I didn’t think my first choice for a weekend outing would be standing in the feels-like-below-zero weather and snow, but I was clearly mistaken.

My friends and I stood at that concert for more than five hours, but it’s a memory I hope to hold onto. During the concert, I had to just look around and see how many people had showed up. It was such a surprise to see that many people willing to stand in the cold for a concert, but it made sense to me. Music brings people together.

There’s something amazing about that idea, that no matter the weather, the time, the place, if music is somehow involved it’s like none of those things matter. Complete strangers can get together and bond as one unified group for the same love they all share: music.

This concert stood apart from all other concerts I had attended. I was able to bond with complete strangers, hold hands with girls while we danced to the music, sing to my favorite songs with my friends and crowd members, let go of agendas and stress and just enjoy the sound of talented musicians and crazy fans. There is no textbook definition that could best describe music as an experience like that.

 

A Fishy Relationship

A impromptu short story completed for my creative writing class, where I partnered with  avid writer Becca Lynn. Our prompt was on a relationship, with the incorporation of a goldfish somewhere in the story. 

 

John and I never seemed like a couple that would break up over something so trivial. One day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to leave him. I had to get out. He came home from work one day, and I don’t know…I lost it.

“I hate its bulging eyes and its white flecked scales and the round bowl that you have it in. It’s so oddly placed on that dresser, look at it…next to your dying plant that you refuse to water,” I paused, taking in the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

I continued my rant, watching him set down his briefcase and take a step back. Was he afraid of me?

“You never forget to feed the fish though. It swims around, in its pathetic prison—waiting for you to feed it!”

My voice echoed in our apartment. Thank goodness the window was closed. I’m sure the neighbors would be scared to hear such a fight from what they thought was a forever-in-love couple. They didn’t know about the fish.

“Jodi, no,” John mumbled.  “Why are you saying these things?  Where did all of this come from?  You know how much this fish means to me!”

I heard what he said but I didn’t care. I kept thinking about the fish, glancing over to the bowl with a sick feeling in my stomach. It’s not the fish, although, it was a little. The fish is just simple and boring. I don’t see a point in something that swims around, never changing its path, always remaining a sad, little orange creature that lives in a comfortable home on top of a comfortable dresser.

But he loved that fish. I could tell he was about to cry, or tell me why the fish meant something to him.  He took a step closer to me, his eyes glazing over and his eyebrows quivering up and down in confusion.

“Jodi, I just don’t understand.  We have been through so much together and now you’re getting worked up over a fish?”

He kept looking at me in those wide eyes, searching for any ounce of sympathy that I wasn’t willing to give him.

“I love you, Jodi, don’t you get it?  You make me so happy.  I would change for you, I really would.  I just love my fish so much.  I would do anything for you, as long as I can keep my fish.  You know you love coming home from work and seeing her swimming around in her little bowl chasing bubbles around in the water.”

He was running out of breath but didn’t give up.

“Well,” he swallowed.  “Now you’re the bubbles and I’m the fish and I’m chasing you.  Eventually she gets bored of chasing her bubbles but I could never get bored of chasing you.  I promise.  All I ask is that we keep her!  I wish you could see how much this would mean to me.  I want to swim through life together, with you, forever, Jodi.”

I looked down at the floor and took a deep breath.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.

“John, I can’t remain in a place created upon routine, each day the same thing,” I saw his mouth quiver.

“Jodi!  It’s a fish!  Just a fish!  One of the most simple, easy-going creatures on the planet!  You don’t even have to take care of her—”

“You bet I don’t take care of that thing!” I interrupted, shouting a little louder than I intended.

“Then why does it matter to you?” he demanded.  “This fish completes me.  I love her.  But I love you more!  Believe me when I say this, Jodi, I love you, and you mean the world to me.  I just need both of you in my life.”

He stood waiting for me to say something, probably hoping I wouldn’t go on about the fish. I had to continue.

“Each swim around the tank is just another day for that fish. You can’t even give the fish different color rocks at the bottom of her tank, remember? I suggested those purple rocks, at least give her a chance to have a change in scenery.”

I sat on the bed, looking away from the fish and John’s face as he desperately searched for air. Like a fish, I thought.

“You know what, I feel sorry for that fish. He’ll never get that from you: change. Life will stay the same, just like our relationship.”

I stood up and walked toward the window, my back is again to the fish, and to John.

I stared out the window and wished to say something else but I was lost. I was swimming in my own pool of frustration. I tried to understand what he was saying, but I only hated him more. I walked to the door and saw him hold out his hand.

“I never wanted the life of a goldfish,” I whisper, and I was gone.

 

 

 

Unhappy

A snow globe held

tiny fragile plastic

specs of white

and shiny glitter

in a slushy sort of

watery membrane,

mixed in a liquid

that bubbles to the top

when shaken.

A miniature tree rests

next to a cobblestone house

with a red door and

checkered windows.

Something feels the need

to interrupt its stillness

and the settled snow and

shiny bits that look so tempting.

The whiteness rises to the top

and cascades around the

baby building.

Everything swirls

and it looks silent

and serene but it’s

really just chaos.

It’s shaken twice more and

then it’s allowed to rest,

but the tree

leaks teardrops

and the house

is horrified

and suddenly

the snow seems

dull and the glitter

doesn’t shine and all

this entire bubbled-up scene

wants is a moments rest,

some peace to forget

it’s constantly being

disturbed.

 

Summer Swimming

She wondered

With one quick thought

Who he was

And where was he going

Becoming quickly familiar with

His sun-kissed curly hair

And eyes of baby algae;

The kind that floats on

A warm lake

Late in the afternoon

Only for a moment she allowed

Her tanned skin to

Submerge in their coolness

And she wanted to never

Return to the surface

But she could only hold her

Breath for so long

Finding it was realistic

For her to float

In some comfortable

Puddle of water

She soon became familiar

With distance

And her inability

To swim

But she remembered

Him and the summer’s past

And she found a way

To stop treading,

Hold her breath

And jump in deep,

Happily never

Reemerging.

An East and West Egg Love

Across the ocean I see the green light

My eyes peering through the darkness

Hoping for a day when our love can unite

And thinking it is more than blindness

Hold me until you see my train depart

Whisper secrets for only me to hear

I promise to be strong when we part

If you swear to rid yourself of your fear

Every girl will become a beautiful fool

But that is the best that we can do

Because we see the world and how it’s cruel

I know my feelings for you are true

But parties and gifts mean nothing to me

Only your trust of what this love should be.

Frigid

A house built with ice

Sits frozen on what could be

A familial street

Those that reside inside

Wish for warmth

But instead given

Cold glances and are

Forced to look past the

Barbed wire that

Entangles the front porch and

Stretches before the doorway

Where a house mat tries to

Welcome in guests that are

Never allowed past the corridor

Careful breaths are taken and

Held in, only to be released

Seeing each molecule of

Gas float and disappear in an instant

It takes so long to breathe but

Seconds to remind us that we walk a

Thin cable between living

And just making it by

But sometimes breathing inside of

This wasteland of

Tundra bricks and mortar

Is the only thing that stops the patients from

Losing what is left of their minds

Still, they forget they have

Slippery tongues and they

Accidentally allow

Ungrateful words, regrettably exchanged

Icicles that hang

Shatter like the

Broken bits of inhabitants,

Those that sit and wait

Wondering what will set off a

Fire that aims to burn down

The ice-house

 

Burning, it melts

Goodhearted laughs

Board games and clean dishes

No matter—it can be put out

With a headshake and

A whisper,

“What’s the point of going on”

Bile rises in two or maybe three throats

But no one can release the tension

They hold inside every half-hour

The ice always returns

Unbreakable and surviving

With elements of

Pretend prayers and frozen water and

Flames that can be put out by

Tears of twelve-year-olds and

Closed doors that no key can open

The prisoners shiver silently

And hope that one day they

Can destroy the ice that

Has been attempting to hold

Everyone together