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Chelsea Jean Jul 2016
Let’s talk about what happened while you were watching Syria turn to dust.  
The mango tree in the yard burst into life.  
Our front lawn was a splash of yellow for weeks.  
Local children bit into the flesh, juice spilling down their chins and staining their tunics.  
The sun set over the ***** rooftops that night, and the next.  
You stopped sleeping.  
In the next room you drew maps instead, studied the political borders.  
You’re trying to find a place where cities don’t disappear.  
The morning after the bombs finally hit Aleppo, after the shrapnel pierced through the night,
you woke at dawn and watered the mango tree.  
When the children came running, they found the gate locked.  
The stench of rotten mangoes filled the house for weeks.

There are countries in this world that I can’t look at straight on.  
There are too many faces, too many hands that look like my own.  
You are not afraid to stare into the face of oppression.  
To be the revolution.  
You give yourself as sacrifice;
the nest of charcoal hair resting above your eyes,
calloused brown hands from years of hard labour.  
The softness of your skin when you finally collapse into our bed,
after fighting for so long.  
Gunfire crackles through the humid air as our legs tangle.

The trauma of your mother and sisters sits inside of you.  
The memory of your brothers, playing at the outskirts of the city.  
The soles of their small feet stained black from the dirt.  
Their silhouettes, bent in prayer.  Childhood laughter silenced.  
You give the grief a face.  Let the name roll over your tongue.  

Our home no longer a home.  
The sun-bleached walls and rosewater baths gone.  
Candles kept the rooms warm during the power cuts.  
The sound of gunfire over the hills greeting us in the mornings.  
Still, we rose and spoke with God.  
Asking for just one more day.  
That the taste of mango will once more grace our mouths.  

Let’s talk about what happens now, while the ashes of our country still smoke on the horizon.  
Now, there is a face, a pair of hands just like ours growing inside of me.  
My mother brings us food and fresh flowers, tells me that it is the size of a mango.  
At night, you leave your maps and lay beside me.  
Each breath you take carries the weight of a country.  
The revolution inside of you has quieted.  
No more gunfire, just a steel resolve.  
In the mornings, you water the mango tree, watch the tanks in the distance.  
We eat dates with our fingers,
spitting the pits on the ground while we
talk about the dust surrounding us.
On Syria and love.
Chelsea Jean Jul 2016
This year is standing on the sun-filled stones, reaching out to touch the light.  
No more phone calls spent crying to my Mother,
but breathless at the glory of it all.  
Always with family, someone there to cup my elbow and push gently forward.  
Writing in the one air-conditioned room before heading out onto
the lake, the ropes, the paths.  
This year is feeling God in every greasy pan, the homesick kids, all of the services in the woods.  The full sound of young voices rising together in song.  
A place where the tea on the shelf is always fair game, and I am not afraid to take it.  
I am not afraid to give all that I have and all that I am.  
I will run myself into the ground, just to get closer to the soil here.  
Feel it underneath my fingernails.  
Once a week, I call my friends at home.  They say they miss me, ask me to go back.  
But not yet.  
Please, not yet.  
Just let the summer roll on a little while longer.  
The finish line is still far from sight; let’s slow our pace.
Summer is rolling on by and I am loving every minute of it #camplife.
Chelsea Jean Jul 2016
1.
So one of the worst times of my life ends without a bang.  

2.    
I know now that
the trees and rain will not listen to me
until I realize that I am smaller than both.

3.    
These days, someone else lives in my childhood room.  
Children play in the driveway where I grew up, their footprints covering my tracks.

4.
We can’t all be the Chosen One, but that means one of us must be.  

5.
The sky and lake are a form of holiness and grace.  

6.
Wishing to change the world is not the same as actually doing it.  

7.
Sometimes, a whisper in the dark can be sacred.  

8.
Growth does not always lead to being outgrown, just a new stage in the canopy.  
Look out at all that surrounds you.  Take it in.  Keep climbing.
A collection of thoughts about the past two years of my life, and just general growing up.
Chelsea Jean Jul 2016
Give me a God &
I’ll crush it.  
It’s not my fault,
It’s just human nature.

I don’t mean to approach every altar, every temple, with my fists held in front of me.  

See, I’d rather believe that Holy Water
pours into my shoes every time it rains.  
I want a God sweet like honey, to move the bulrushes in a soft summer breeze.  
Worship in between the trees,
where my eyes are free to move up.  
Above the tree line,
the blue,
the blue, the blue.  
To all that lays beyond.
My last poem written during my World Religions class.
Chelsea Jean Apr 2016
There is something good and clean about the way that we all stare at the stars.  
Still, even now.  
Even after the summer is over and the leaves have fallen.  
After we’ve tucked our hopes under our tongues,
biting down until they disappear.  

This is a love letter to my friends, the ones who keep coming back for more.  
The night we carried a canoe around town,
hearts so warm that I couldn’t feel the cold.  
We move through life burning like matches, keeping each other alight
when the flame wanes.  
I still think there’s something magical about
driving down the road with your friends,
watching them shiver at the gas pump.  
I still think it’s a small miracle when someone loves your feet,
just for holding you up.  
I still think it’s a form of grace to stay up nights, talking.  
When there’s always someone there, with the calamine,
a hot cup of tea, a bowl of cherries.  
And I know this is too much,
sticky fingers and
spilled hearts and,
          and,

I’m trying to forget about everything except the love I’ve been given.
I only want love protected by the pines, love that’s hard,
but that I can sink my teeth into and taste July.
A poem about my amazing friends and the love I have for them!!!!!
Chelsea Jean Apr 2016
Last night I dreamt that we had a child
made of the same dust as our bones.  
We gave him a name, one that I can’t remember how to pronounce.  
He had my yellow frizz for hair and your tan skin,
a warmth I tried so hard to touch.  

I woke this morning without the soft swell of stomach.  
No bundle of joy, nothing to cradle in the crook of my arm.  
His name sits on the tip of my tongue all day, memory lost somewhere behind my breastbone.  The sounds and shapes pulse through my veins, running, the pitter patter of tiny feet.  
I grieve for my child.  
Mourn the loss of someone imagined for days.  
I get the desire to wear black, remain quiet.  

In my dreams, I know everything going on in the hospital at once.  
In the ER, people wait.  All with broken arms or missing fingers,
a concussion they don’t think is worth the wait.  
Paramedics rush into the room with a stretcher.  
A stabbing victim lays prone
critical condition, pulse rate dropping fast.  
A grandfather and grandson sit together in the East wing
waiting for an MRI that has the potential to tear apart the generations between them.  
A little boy is born on the fourth floor of the hospital at 7:32 pm.  
He weighs in at 6 lbs 3 oz.  His parents give him the name Omar,
meaning “Eloquent’, meaning “Speaker”.  
Meaning blessing, meaning gift, meaning miracle.  

It is easy to forget that we all come into this world red faced, squalling, afraid.  
That we all have specks of the divine within us.  
When you fail a math test, or the rent check isn't in on time.  
When he doesn’t call back.  
The odds of our very existence are small, close to none.  
Every day brings us closer to the day that we will die
and we must honour our names.  
Make your miracle worthwhile.
Inspired by a real dream and every one of Anis Mojgani's spoken word pieces.
Chelsea Jean Apr 2016
The summer after high school feels like the beginning of the rest of your life.
June like a peach, the juice spilling over your bottom lip and down your chin.  
A woodsmoke July, the chill of the lake in the mornings.  
August comes nostalgic and familiar, the dark creeping in early, the pulse of the party.  

People say that when you’re young,
summer should be short skirts and hey-baby hips,
cold drinks at the beach, the taste of another tongue in your mouth.  
Ours looks more like an indie movie,  
how the trees hang low above our heads.
The world spins slow.  
The creak of the stairs and you playing guitar by the fire.  
It’s nothing like I wanted it to be, but more like what I meant.  
We dance through the night, not magnificent,
but we promise ourselves that it’s okay to be kids, if only for a night.  

Sitting beside you in your pyjama pants,
I can’t stop thinking about where my body ends and yours begins.  
The negative space between our elbows.  The warmth of a boy after dark.  
We toe along the edge of something larger than us both,
wanting it more than we can say.  

You remind me of the way a bed feels in a house that is not yet home.  
Crawling into sheets that smell like hotel quality fabric softener.  
Home now is the old high school,
the country back roads that I remember too well,  
an apartment behind the liquor store.  
September comes: the leaves change, class starts.  
And you, walking down my street,
the smell of fresh coffee, rain and hope all around.
A poem about summer time.
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