I do not want easy.

We do not know the meaning of the word easy. Only perseverance. Only tenacity. Only pick yourself up and try again tomorrow. Try harder. Fight harder. This has never been easy.

We only know this: the taste of dirt in our mouths once we have been pushed to the ground so many times our knees forget how to lock and our skin forgets anything but this soil. Dirt from dirt. Ashes from ashes.

And we might not be phoenixes but try to light us on fire and we will scream until our lungs run out of air, and when they run out of air we will scream even louder. We will not try to calm the flames. Instead, we will place our hands on yours and embrace you. Not because we love you, but because we would see this whole city burn down before we stop this battle. Arson is a crime, but this – this is a protest. A silent revolution. No, not silent. We will never be a silent revolution.

We might not be sirens but you cannot drown us. Because the moment you try to hold us beneath the waves, we will start to sprout gills. Our flesh will tear. It will be painful. But the first breath of water filling our lungs will feel like the sea saying hello after an eternity of being away. These cells were not made for the ocean, but that does not matter. We have sat through lifetimes of being told that the things we wanted were not meant for us. That does not matter. We will take them anyway.

We might not be angels but we’ll fly if we want to. Don’t give us your horror stories about Icarus flying too close to the sun. Everyone forgets that while Icarus did fall, he also soared. And if we’re going to fall anyway, we might as well fly first. We will strap the wings onto our backs and melt the candle wax into our own skin and we will jump out of this labyrinth. We will defeat your prisons. In the millisecond between jumping and flying we will be terrified, but soon the wind will catch us and we will soar.

We will come kicking, biting, screaming, and we will fight every inch of the way. We do not know the meaning of the word easy. We only know how to stand up after you have kicked us to the curb. Our legs will wobble. Our eyes will be swollen. But we will stand up and we will fight back.

We do not know easy. We only know struggle.

So that is all we do.

Words fail me.

Over two thousand languages

have never been written down –

                                  the way words have never been enough

                                  to describe the way the sunbeams reflected off the sea

                                  and we all thought this moment would never end,

                                  or how some days all I do is wonder if one day

                                  we will head into the darkness and never return

                                  or that instant we realized that we’d have to grow up,

                                  that today was the one day we had been putting off

                                  or freezing up in a crowded hallway at the sight of a ghost

                                  on the horizon of memory I’d almost forgotten about  –

and scientists say that in just three dozen years,

there will be seven thousand more extinct languages;

               that is seven thousand more languages I will never learn,

                         seven thousand ways I might have said I love you,

                         seven thousand ways I might have said goodbye.

Crayola.

I’m no artist, but I have always loved colors. Sometimes words aren’t enough (I have spent too many of my seconds flipping through thesauruses searching for the right words, always coming up empty-handed), but colors are infinite. Not the kind that come in a 64-pack of crayons. Not even all the paint in all the art stores in the world.

Words fail me, but the deep blue of the middle of the ocean is different from the navy sky of a summer thunderstorm. The red crimson of blood is almost (almost, but not quite) the vermilion of the rose whose thorns caused the blood to flow. Neither is quite the same as the tentative red of the lips that kissed it better.

My skin is not the same brown as coffee (no matter how much of it I drink). Eyes were never hazel (that’s far too cliched) – they have always been melted sunlight (even that isn’t quite right; words have failed me once again).

I heard once that we have no way of knowing if the blue you see is the same blue I see. Maybe that’s why people keep saying “forever” but mean such different things. Forever is an absolute, you see. Kind of like how white is an absolute combination of all colors of light (I learned that in physics class, so long ago now). That didn’t make sense to me back then; the white of eggshells and teeth and paper and old people’s hair are all so different.

Even black isn’t always the same (you’d think it would be), not even just one kind of black isn’t always the same. The black skies of midnight are so bright in this city, a thousand lights outshining the stars. It’s black out, I say, but it isn’t really. Really, black is my heart. Really, it’s what’s inside of my chest now that it’s missing whatever used to fill that space.

Words are never enough.

Sometimes when I’m by myself I look up at all the trees (there aren’t as many trees to look at here). Trees are funny because their leaves aren’t all the same green. Like the tree couldn’t quite decide which green it felt like, so it chose all of them.

I’m the same way. I can never decide. I can never decide where I want to go, so I’ll just have to go everywhere. Or nowhere. I haven’t decided yet. Maybe I never will. For now, I am ROYGBIV. I am azure, cerulean, lavender, magenta, salmon, tangerine, dandelion, mint, mocha, sapphire, ruby. I am gray, gray, gray, gray, gray.

Astronomy Lessons

i. 

The lights are too bright in this city

I can hardly see the sky

 

ii.

Mistake flashing lights for lightning bolts

Confuse aeroplanes for the North star 

(Sailors used the sky to navigate)

Try to follow the stars home

Walk until my feet are bloodied and bruised

Find out that these stars never stop moving

 

iii. 

I cannot see the stars anymore

But if I squint hard enough

The broken glass on the pavement

Forms a constellation

 

iv. 

Every now and then

I miss the cool embrace of darkness

But the city lights are

Far more beautiful

Anyway