Purely Me

Composed 3/17/14
Description: This week, WordPress’ Weekly Challenge is called “Power of Names.”  Therefore, the challenge is to write something about what our name means to us, how we were named, etc.

I have always had an interest in this topic (and there was a Daily Prompt about it some time ago), so it’s not surprising that I’ve already written a poem about what my name means to me. Of course, while it would be easy to re-post that same poem, I hate reblogging the same poem multiple times, and I feel like there is more to say about the topic.

My name was chosen through group consensus; though, the greatest credit goes to my grandpa. My mom liked a few similar names, like Karen and Caroline, but everyone else in the family hated them. They also wanted a name that was not already in the family (a plan that ultimately backfired), so that was an added complication. After much debate my grandpa finally said, “How about Kathleen?” And everyone stepped back and said, “Yeah, that sounds good.” And that’s how I was named.

Meanwhile, my middle name was simply a small derivative from my mother’s maiden name. I recently discovered that when you put my whole name together it ultimately translates to “purity brook oak wood” — a pure brook running through the woods.  So unbeknownst to them my parents gave a very elfish name to very hobbity girl! Though, I do love my name because of this meaning.

I’ve always believed that names can go two ways: your name is either fitting or ironic. I’ve always struggled to decide where I fit on this continuum. With all this in mind, here is a poem about this struggle.

I am a pure brook
Sweeping though the
Hills, trees, valleys
Of the expansive woods
But even unchanging
My name changes meanings

My life began with
My name embraced
I bubbled and babbled
Brightly in the sunshine
My water as clear as the
Sky above me

But as I drifted down the hill
My course brought me into the thick shade
Of the forests’ dark center
Sticks and darkness muddled me
And I became
Uncertain
Of my first name
Of purity
So I drudged along in the mud
Feeling a misfit to my own name
An imposter

But as the trees became more sparse
And sunlight filtered in
I realized that purity
Was less a restriction
And more an aim

So I let it inspire me
And I swept through the forest
With fervor
As sticks and mud and leaves fell in
Others flew out as I swept the corners
And even some debris that I acquired
I kept
Because some debris
Some flowers, rocks, and leaves
Made me more beautiful
Than a pure brook
Running through the woods

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Suffocating

Composed 3/14/14
Description: You could say a lot of “romantic” stuff is happening in my life. I’m a senior in college, and therefore I am expected to gleefully wave goodbye to my youth and wax on the beauty of how all my childhood years have brought me up to make me who I am today. Though, perhaps more importantly, yesterday my best friend got engaged, and, as the best friend, I am quite obligated to be chipper and sigh-y and mushy about the whole thing.

The thing is, though, with college, the reality hasn’t hit me, and I address the subject in general with much reluctance and many mixed feelings. I still feel like a sophomore, really, and I know getting out into the real world will likely be a nasty slap in the face. With my friend, well, I’m just not a mushy person I guess. I quite logically acknowledge that this is good for her and she’s happy, but putting on more than a smile and congrats just has not possessed me.

Meanwhile, everyone around me is so opposite. People can’t wait to get out there and start their life. They have dreams. They have fiancés. They squeal about people getting engaged. They have so much hope.

I think at one point in my life I was romantic, perhaps. But the years have dragged me down. I essentially major in “people have problems” and minor in “relationships are hard work,” so it’s hard to imagine a life for myself that ends on giddy fairytale note at the present time. And, thus, I think it’s hard for me to see it for other people too. Or maybe, my outlook for myself is so grim, that I’m reluctant to note when people have it going really well.

Though, apparently, sometimes my laid back attitude with regard to typically mushy things is appreciated by my friend. She knows she can come to me when she needs to chill out or get out of the spotlight. Still…

Somewhere
Within the folds and furrows of my heart
A hopeless romantic is struggling to breathe

Gasping
Under the massive weight laid upon her
A hot twenty year stack of ruthless realism

I know
It’s just going to take that someone
Who has a lot of sweet oxygen to give

Finally Free: The Sensations of Spring

Composed 3/11/14
Description: WDBWP’s poetry prompt came at the perfect time. It’s theme? Mood.

Yesterday I was in a good mood. In such a good mood that I wrote about it. And then I saw the prompt. Fate.

Yesterday I got what felt like the first taste of spring. Instead of twenty, teens, or below with patches of snow (which has been the average over the last few weeks), we had sunny and seventy. I felt like a different person. I could go outside without a jacket? I enjoyed my walks to class? Had sixty, seventy degrees always been this warm? It was culture shock. But a very, very welcome shock.

The day was so beautiful and glorious I knew I had to capture it in writing somehow. The result is found below.

How can I capture the beauty of this day?
I could run through the field
Stripping off clothes in laughter
Until I was free in my skin
And I would dance through the valleys for hours more
Unashamed
Just warm in the sun
Just
Free

You took my home
And made my haven my prison
And then you opened the door
And whispered
Run
Run!
And I dashed
Tossing chains
And dawning leaf-flower crowns

I could leap through tall grasses
And chase dust in the wind
I could climb every tree
Satisfy all desires
No one to hold me
No sword to smite me
Just my own body falling
Elated
To earth

Literary Arts Magazine Feature!

Hello, fellow bloggers! I have some exciting news!

The 2014 spring edition of my university’s literary arts magazine was released yesterday, and I was fortunate enough to have all three of the pieces I submitted accepted and published in the magazine!

I also had the pleasure of attending the release party last night, which included readings from the contributing authors and an open mic for anyone who wished to read their poetry or prose. To say it simply, I was blown away by the quality of the pieces read. You would think that submitting to and reading this magazine for a few years would get me used to the talent of my fellow students, but I am always pleasantly surprised! I daresay this is the best one I have been a part of!

Of course, I also appreciate any opportunity I get to read my writing in an open mic setting.  I feel like many poems have a greater impact when spoken with feeling, and I enjoy the chances I get to try and “find my voice” while reading my poetry aloud. I also had the fortune of being greatly supported by a good number of my close friends who were in attendance, and their sincere compliments, high fives, and words of encouragement were very nourishing to me as a writer.

Okay, have I got you feeling depressed that you were not exposed to this glorious outpouring of literature? Well, feel depressed no more! The magazine is online and free for anyone to read, so take a look and support some writers by going to: http://aulitartsmag.tumblr.com/

The theme of the magazine was “bildungsroman” – a German word meaning “coming of age.” I contributed two poems and a prose piece: Slaying Monsters, No One Comes of Age, & Introduction.

I hope you enjoy what you read!

We Forget

Composed 3/3/14
Description: Do you ever hear anything, and it just hits you? Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of bad news, several rumors, and it just made me remember how little we really know about one another, how we have no idea what’s going on in another person’s head. And sometimes we don’t know until it’s too late.

So saliently I sense
The piercing of my own heart
That my mind lapses and
Skips
Over the trials of others

I forget that it’s not
I
Alone
That suffocates under the
Grip of isolation
It’s not just I who
Gags on the
Sour twinge of rejection

My brothers
Have been kicked out of their hearts
And wander in the wastelands of their minds
My sisters
Reside in their hearts as they’re breaking
And let their woe bleed out
In silence

My friends
We all shuffle
Instead of face one another
With our affliction
Because we forget
We’re all afflicted

But healing only comes
Under the synthesis
Of many minds
Of many hands

Confidant

Composed 3/3/14
Description: I started this in mid-February, but I finished it today. Simply, this is the importance of writing.

The pen my true voice
The page my sole confidant

When I must hide my thoughts from the eyes of the world you remain
To contain my soul in the hearts of trees
And bury my worries in pixel sleeves

You drain the pain of my mind through my fingertips
Without the burden of worry and regret
But you preserve the raw so I won’t forget

The true identity of my soul
The lessons of a life lived