Random thoughts, stories, reflections, and ideas as they occur to me. - - - - - - - - - - - - *PLEASE NOTE* I respectfully request that use of my original writing, except for the purpose of reblogging on tumblr.com (with attribution), be subject to my express permission in writing. I am more than willing to distribute my work, but because I have taken the time and effort to produce it, I would like to be recognized for it. Thank you! Creative Commons License
This work by William Swain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

counter on tumblr

 

A Matter of Perspective

The cold has come, the sun is gone,
skies are overcast and gray;
there’s little more I’d like to do
than stay inside today.

Although I fancy cups of tea
and Netflix in my bed,
I have to face the facts, you see:
there’s much to do instead.

An essay on a subject that
I’d much rather not write,
a proposal for a final project
that’s due tomorrow night;

A lecture I’m supposed to give
in just about a week
on a topic I have not rehearsed
and have little to speak.

I must collect my roommates’ rent
and pay December’s due,
then get myself to campus for
a psych study or two.

And even then the list’s not done
it could go on and on—
for not this week (but next, thank god!)
my finals will have dawned.

Although I must admit that I
am fretting this and all,
it brings me joy to realize
this transition from fall.

The rain that trickles down to earth
forms puddles all around
but it lets me smell the petrichor
(the scent of rained-on ground).

It may be cold on long bikes home
but this is a two-edged sword,
for once I’m home my robe goes on
and warmth is my reward.

When things are sort of shitty
as they sometimes seem to be,
I shift my mind to focus on
the good surrounding me.

I have never more than now wished to simply become lost in the world. I want to wander, to fade into the darkness with soft-scuffling footsteps and shallow breaths. I want time to be irrelevant for just an hour, or two, or three; I want contradictions to lead me away when all I should do is remain under loose sheets. I want to reclaim the feeling of rose stem pinpricks in my chest when I put pen to paper. Bleeding has never been the hard part—allowing it to escape has always been the challenge. I often wish for a return to the past, if only because when the world was so complex I could greater feel the urgency of the challenge. Everything is too soft now, and yet pierces even more deeply than the sharpest pain from before. I can’t console myself with pity nor find comfort in despair; shoulders once leaned on feel foreign and occupied. 

So maybe I do need to be lost for a time. Maybe I need to feel a chilly ache in my bones to be reminded of all that pain had driven me towards before, all that sadness had strengthened me for. 

It’s just a pair of shoes and a jacket away. 

Home

fromtheheartofmymind:

They say home is where the heart is,
but my vagabond heart has long been restless
to find a place to reside.

Never before welcomed with arms that beckoned
without reserve, without hesitation, without expectation,
tired eyes and sluggish feet have dragged out
semaphore smiles in the sand,
kicking up dust and sediment with
empty sentiment that drains and slides away
through a sieve.

And home has been nothing if not transitory:
fickle as a thrifty spender just looking
for the cheapest purchase available.
No loyalty, no consistency, no reliability. 

But now—confronted with a new life
and every that comes with it—
home has never felt closer,
more evident, more comforting.
Home is where the heart is
and my heart is happy here.
So I will whisper to myself a mantra
that will never ring more or less true
than it does at this precise moment:

Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home.  

Home

They say home is where the heart is,
but my vagabond heart has long been restless
to find a place to reside.

Never before welcomed with arms that beckoned
without reserve, without hesitation, without expectation,
tired eyes and sluggish feet have dragged out
semaphore smiles in the sand,
kicking up dust and sediment with
empty sentiment that drains and slides away
through a sieve.

And home has been nothing if not transitory:
fickle as a thrifty spender just looking
for the cheapest purchase available.
No loyalty, no consistency, no reliability. 

But now—confronted with a new life
and every that comes with it—
home has never felt closer,
more evident, more comforting.
Home is where the heart is
and my heart is happy here.
So I will whisper to myself a mantra
that will never ring more or less true
than it does at this precise moment:

Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home.  

Delusion

Vanish, hide, slip and slide
away from the hidden corners
where you might just capture
the essence of shadows
between sticky fingers and
moribund heartbeats. 

There sits the inherent antichrist,
shouting from the bully pulpit
of lies, shame, more lies,
cheats between teeth
caught fast against
tonguetips and tiptoes
and the holey soles
of holy souls.

Verily, nearly peeling eyes
like banana peels makes
appealing sights to those
that lurk like watchers in the night
in the cold, dank recesses
of perfectly blended,
pastiche poisons inside
that quick-fix mixed drink.

Blur fact and fiction and realize
that they’re the same thing,
really, because it’s all
just a matter of perception,
really, and we should all
just take a moment
to open our damn eyes,
really—don’t you think?

And in and among the
sweet, cool whispers
of water droplets and
subliminal sublimation,
icy cold like gaseous steel,
find beauty in irony
and never stop
laughing. 

A “Hella” Handy Guide

As a student going to a UC where the student body is heavily composed of people from all over the state, there is a very large number of students coming to Davis from SoCal. It never really occurred to me how frequently and unconsciously I use “hella” as part of my vernacular, and even less did I consider how baffling and difficult-to-grasp its use could be for some—especially those from the southern part of the state. To ease the confusion and provide what I hope is a degree of clarity for those who aren’t familiar with the multifaceted uses of “hella,” below is an examination of the etymology and a handy guide to proper usage in conversation so you don’t utterly embarrass yourself when trying to sprinkle it into a conversation with a NorCal native. 

For starters, “hella” is often thought of as an evolution of the phrase “hell of a.” While the phrase may be part of the origin of “hella,” its current uses are no longer precisely synonymous with “hell of a”—specifically, substituting “hella” for “hell of a” in a sentence is a surefire way to sound “hella illiterate” to your NorCal peers. Secondly, whereas some might consider “hell” to be vulgar language (look, there are some people who think that, don’t laugh at me, jackass), in absolutely no context could “hella” be considered profane or offensive. Now for a breakdown of common and proper usage of the word “hella”: 

1. The most common use of “hella” is to express an adjective of degree, akin to saying “extremely, very, super, quite, etc.” The intent is to describe something to excess or levels exceeding expectation; for example:

That test was hella whack, yo.

"Hella," in this context, is used to express the degree to which the test was "whack" (or "difficult/unfair," for those readers of a certain older age group)—ridiculously so. As a quantitative measurement, "hella" may or may not be considered superlative, but the specific intention of the degree depends on the context. Regardless, one will most often hear "hella" used in this capacity—to describe degree. Other common examples of "hella" used in this way:

  • "Hella stupid"
  • "Hella dope"
  • "Hella excited"
  • "Hella bored"

2. Another common usage of “hella” is as an expression of assent. This one is a bit more nuanced and requires more familiarity with a more “casual” usage, but “hella” is, nonetheless, a way to acknowledge agreement or confirmation. Examples include:

A: “Man, I can’t wait to finally get to college. I’m tired of high school.”

B: “Hella.”

Or, because some might think that “hella” is being used in its adjectival form to modify the degree to which A is tired of high school (it’s not), here’s another example:

A: “So I’ll meet you there at five then, yeah?”

B: “Hella.”

Saying “hella” as a single-word response—in this context—demonstrates understanding and agreement with something else stated or expressed. The ways in which “hella” is used as a single-word reply are always evolving and changing, so it may take quite a bit of practice and experience both listening to and using “hella” to pick up on subtle nuances in this usage.

3. Finally, in the same vein as the previous single-word-reply mentioned above, “hella” can be used sarcastically or derisively in response to something that seems absurd, completely incorrect, overly dramatic, or otherwise conflicting with the reality of the situation. In essence, this use of “hella” is effectively the same as the previously mentioned usage, but because of specific intention and the speaker’s facetious inflection, conveys mockery and/or disagreement. Example:

A: “I think Kim Kardashian is completed underrated. Nobody talks about her contributions to society. It’s soooooo unfair!”

B: “Oh, hella.”

This form of “hella” is almost exclusively used by NorCal natives who are fluent in “hella” and are comfortable using sarcasm in general. With practice, it can be used effectively to shut down someone else after they say somethig utterly insipid or moronic and also score major respect points from like-minded NorCal friends.

Hopefully this guide has been somewhat (or should I say hella, eh? Eh?) useful in dissecting, explaining, and demonstrating the meaning, purpose, and correct usage of “hella.” Now please, SoCal friends: STOP ASKING ME WHAT “HELLA” MEANS AND STOP BUTCHERING IT BECAUSE YOU FIND IT TO BE A NOVELTY.

You know better than to do that now. Cheers!

If…

If I wanted to wander through parks and gardens
at hours when the sun had gone to sleep
and it was midday for the moon and stars,
would you take a stroll with me?

If I wanted to lie on the grass in silence,
listening to the inevitable chirp of crickets
and pondering everything and nothing at once,
would you be there beside me?

If I wanted to be true to myself,
but was too afraid or unsure of the consequences
to abide by my own heart and mind,
would you instill confidence in me?

If I wanted to plummet to earth,
engage in free-fall and never look back,
pull the cord at the last possible second,
would you leap from a plane with me?

If I offered you the world,
with grit and rind and imperfections,
but the world in which I live, I exist, I am me…
would you take it and share it with me? 

Would you take my hand, someday, just because you believed I was sad?
Would you rest your weight against me, again, just to show you felt safe with me?
Would you cry into my chest, if needed, just to relieve the world’s weight?
Would you dream about me, on occasion, just because I was in your thoughts?
Would you consider the past with regard to the future, eventually?

Would you still be my friend if I couldn’t give anything less than love?

Sometimes questions come with unspeakable answers,
no matter what the unspoken truly means.

Relinquish

It started with flat palms. It started with, “Look. If we press our hands together, we become equators. Our fingers, the meridians. The way we interlock looks just like the world.” It started with being foolish. It started with lightning storms in the bases of our necks, thunder tumbling from our lips as we kissed like we were made out of hurricanes. It started with, “Love me.” It started with, “Okay.” It started with learning to hold each other’s shadows, your eyes burning ember into the dark. It started with fucking so hard that we had bruises on our legs in the shapes of continents. It started with skin. It started with quick glances and I wonder if he’s looking at me the way I’m looking at him. It started with, “Can our veins be the rivers?” It started with, “Yes.” It started with love letters in the way we told each other how to be silent, how to be secret, how to disappear into the way we were just here. It started with, “Be mine.” It started with midnight trips to the sea so that we could see how our bodies look when we pretended to be bioluminescent. It started with wings. It started with, “I’m just so happy.” It started with black hole eyes and soft, galaxy words. It started with held palms.

This is me holding on. 

It ended with clenched fists. It ended with bitterness and resentment spewing from untapped wells, a noxious and corrosive sludge that washed over everything. It ended with, "I’m sorry, but feelings can’t be forced." It ended with, "You don’t think I realize that?" It ended with clouded skies and even cloudier understanding, with downpours and saltwater thoughts mixing in with the rain. It ended with, "But I’m still in love with you." It ended with, "I can’t be convinced, my mind is made up." It ended with memories conjured up like black magic, torture so sweet it was impossible to avoid, a new definition of masochism. It ended with collapse, as pillars and columns that provided an unshakable foundation were cracked and chiseled until they imploded, until fingers clutched at pain buried in unreachable places and gingerly sought to pluck out porcelain heart fragments. It ended with sketches as fingernails traced lines in pliant skin, attempting to carve comprehension out of vacancy and rediscover the lines of old scars once healed over. It ended with I wonder if she’ll ever realize I still look at her the same way. It ended with the shattered remnants of parking lot promises, with self-defeatism and suffocation and crushed bones. It ended with nonexistent inadequacy, with Charybdis engulfing hope and happiness and direction in her vortex, fire extinguished so small that even embers would have the appearance of a conflagration. It ended with, "I’m just so sad." It ended with broken promises, broken spirits, broken hearts. 

This is you letting…letting go. 

_________________________________________________


Normal font by Solange (shesanargonaut)
Bolded font by Will (fromtheheartofmymind

A New Modest Proposal

We should ban life jackets and other flotation devices. They only encourage risky behavior. The only 100% effective way to prevent drowning is total abstinence from going in the water.

And if you do, by chance, find yourself struggling with drowning, then no life-saving procedure or act should be allowed to be administered or employed. You got yourself into this mess, you have to live with the consequences. 

You should see this drowning as a gift. 

Also, if you’re forcibly pushed into the water, don’t worry—if it was a legitimate shoving, your body has mechanisms to shut out all the water and help you survive the drowning on your own. 

Tell your local representatives that we don’t want or need flotation devices. They’re extraneous and unnecessary privileges, not rights.

Elusive

By light of day, the moon spoke in whispers
but only she was listening.
She charred vineyards to bleed out expression
and the stark soul left to waste into somnolent stillness
found its 
place;
A myriad of possibilities could have danced the burlesque
at the wave of my fingertips, complete with curly haired opportunity,
done up in her very best brazier riding a unicycle.
But fiction creates doubt.

The rising sun touched your smile, your eyes,
and my heart bound itself to the beauty of your soul
that shone from within.
Sand tangled our toes, and the moon danced in our eyes—
"Don’t forget me," I smiled into your hair.
We were enjoying the last warm rays of love
until winter drafted love away,
taking our teenage hearts with it.

The voices on the wind whisper things to me,
only I cannot understand them until that moment
just before I close my eyes. 
If life was a collection of open windows,
I would hope you would peek in mine.

Crickets chirp, and the skies are still silent.
The answer remains elusive.

______________________________________________________________

This was a community poem with no active collaboration between contributors; each bold or italicized set of lines stood alone until they were woven together into the full work. I claim no creative involvement in the poetry of the words and lines, but instead worked to weave each disparate thread together, adding line punctuation as I saw fit. 

Thank you to each submission. 

The italicized submitters, in order of appearance:
embeeness
motivesandmemories
whisperingofdawn
thecookiemomma 
anonymous

The bolded submitters, in order of appearance: 
emptyfunerals
poetdreamer
mymanyramblings
tarnishedsoul
anonymous