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daniela Apr 2019
my roommate tells me
that actually it can get you
on the *** offender registry
for ******* in a hammock.
she and her boyfriend were apparently
goin’ at it like chinchillas, like two teenagers
made out of nothing limbs and first times
and urgency, when the parker ranger shined
a flashlight on them. she tells me
how officer told them to be more
careful next time, as she nervous
sweat through her deodorant,
clammy palms and stutter heartbeat
as she had to fish her bra from
the bottom of the tree trunk.
and how ****** is it that two kids
trying to stumble through love with
no training wheels can become *** offenders
for wanting to feel july on their skin, but rapists
can sit in class next to me? move in next me to?
hold positions of power over me?
how ****** is that that can happen
and this country can elect a man who wants
to grab half of us by the *****? see, america
has always been a hypocrite with her ankles
crossed like a martyr. she will punish you
not for injustice, but for indecency.
hello anyways CUPSI really is that ***** and my creativity feels renewed af, here's something i wrote in a workshop where we were given eight minutes and 6 words we had to use in the poem
Apr 2019 · 298
life's not fair
daniela Apr 2019
it’s always national something day. national pancake day.
national sourdough bread day. national tweed day.
national jelly bean day. national talk like shakespeare day.
there are bakers with flour hands and runny batter
and elbow patches and rambling professors and assignments due
and the bertie botts every flavor beans that make you think of
hogwarts and sonnets. there’s always a tomorrow dragging
itself up over the eyes of last night.

today is national reconciliation day.
the planet has eleven years before it starts biting back
and your heart feels like a timer. you should see
hawaii before it sinks into the ocean. you should see the polar
icecaps before they melt. you should climb to the bottom of
the grand canyon and look up at the sky if you still see it
and celebrate national canyon day if we have one on the calendar.
you should accept that life is beautiful because it’s ugly.
you should call your mother more. you should tell her that
there is a word for “soul” in every language. tell her alma.
tell her you were buried under snow for so long that you forget
that your father, born of rainforest, still takes it for magic.
tell her that life’s not fair and you still want one anyways.
tell her that people always ask you how could you write
about love at time like this and you always
answer how can you not?
in my poetry class today we wrote poems in 30 minutes using adages or idioms as the titles
daniela Oct 2018
i am trying to get better at correcting people
when they say my name wrong.

i am both good and bad at conflict.
my hands were born into fists and they never quite unclenched.
when my mother tells me to pick which hill i want to die on,
i pick all of them. but sometimes i let people say my name wrong.
it doesn’t feel like they’re talking to me,
it feels like they’re talking to someone else.

sometimes i say my own name wrong, my tongue getting
tangled over a language that belongs to me
but doesn’t always know how to fit into my mouth.
maybe this is what america took from me.

my father didn’t give me all his names.
in america, you only use three names.
the rest is superfluous, they don’t fit in the boxes on forms.
he didn’t want to give my brother more than we could handle.

people always spell my name wrong.
the first time i ever got published they spelled my last name wrong.
my email inbox is riddled with mispellings, extra Ls and Is.

my name is not even very hard to say.
when my parents picked it out, my mother says
they wanted a name that worked in both languages,
portuguese and english.
i don’t think they always understand what they gave me,
the act of being lost in translation
before i even took my first breath.
daniela Aug 2018
i read somewhere that every face
we see in our dreams is just the face of someone
we’ve seen before, remixed and regurgitated
to fit seamlessly into a new background.
our bodies cannot conjure anything
that doesn’t already exist somewhere.
they don’t know how to.
when i dream about you, all i see is hands.
i don’t know what that means.
when i think of love, we are both sleeping.
i don’t know that means, either.
sometimes i fall asleep in the valleys of your body,
in the juncture between your neck and your shoulder,
and you let me stay there until i wake up
and i get greedy on borrowed things.
if i hadn’t been there, i would think that some part of me
invented the sound of your heartbeat under my ears.
it’s funny what you remember, what your brain holds on to.
we forget 90% of our dreams, within five minutes
of waking they’ve already evaporated.
i remember every time you’ve held my hand
and it’s funny because i’ve spent so much
of my life afraid of forgetting things,
my grandfather’s voice and my grandmother’s eyes
and all the times i’ve felt truly happy
and last summer when we were the only car
driving down the street to my house late at night
and our voices were fighting against the radio.
i’ve spent half of my life afraid of forgetting the things i love
and now i can’t forget anything about you.
when you talk sometimes i write around
the cracks and pauses in your speech,
i build whole worlds that don’t belong to us
in the in betweens of your sentences.
i try to turn your words into confessions
and then pick them apart into promises.
when i call you baby it gets stuck
in my mouth, caught under my tongue.
when you tell me you love me, i memorize the way
the words curve in your mouth and i dream about it.
i dream about your hands in my hair.
i don’t know what you want from me
and sometimes i don’t even know what i want from you.
what do i know about love anyways?
i want to keep it in my bedside table
and only pull it out when it suits me.
i want to swallow it whole and i want it to leave me alone.
my mother thinks we’re in love. so do a lot of our friends.
i think we are in love, sometimes.
if i read us like a script, i would think we’re in love.
it makes sense from a bird eye’s view, but it’s hard to see
with your eyelashes so close to mine.
you told me that you had a dream about me once.
you told me in the dream you got in your car, the old one,
the one where the speakers didn’t work
so you stuck a portable one in the passenger seat
and we just had to scream the lyrics extra loud,
the one we parked in the mud that one june
and had to take to the carwash,
the one that we sat in when you were supposed to be
driving me home and i just kept hanging on to the door
in the driveway, telling you one more thing
and one more thing and one more thing.
you told me in the dream you got in your car
and started driving and driving until you got to me.
you told me you hugged me and you held on
and you held on and then you woke up empty-handed.
so please, don’t tell me that you didn’t love me.
i was there too. i know what i felt.
i know what the quiet of my driveway sounded like.
i know what inside of the palm of your hand felt like
in the dark of a movie theatre or in the sunlight of july,
what your arms felt like across the my shoulders,
the way your breathing evened out under my cheek.
i don’t know i could have made that up.
i don’t know how i could’ve conjured that.
i can’t imagine something that wasn’t already there.
i can’t dream about something i didn’t already have for a minute.
hi i keep writing the same poem about the same person but it never comes out right so this is all i have
Jun 2018 · 236
gemini season
daniela Jun 2018
i’ve tried to write this poem a lot of different times.
my love poems are never my best work.
they always come sounding a little bit off,
like i don’t know what the **** i’m talking about.
maybe i don’t.
i’ve got an apology where my mouth should be.
i’m sorry i love you and i’m sorry i’m so bad at it.
affection tastes like blood in my mouth,
sometimes, and i try to talk in between it.
talking to you feels like open heart surgery,
sometimes, and i don’t have steady enough hands
to sew myself back up.
and sometimes i think of telling you,
when we sit together and you end up with my fingers
against your mouth in a parody of a kiss
and your eyes are somewhere else
and we are so good in the quiet that it almost hurts.  
i never loved someone so up close before,
so up close i can taste your name in my mouth.
i’m always too much with my heart, too greedy
and always reaching, and eventually people walk away
from that when they can’t stand the sound of
my heart beat in their ears anymore like tinnitus.
too loud. too loud. always too loud.
so maybe you don’t make everything about me
always feel quiet, but you never reach for the volume
to turn me down and that feels like the same thing.
no one loves me like you love me
and it always comes back to that, doesn’t it?
sometimes you love me too much.
sometimes i don’t know what to do with it.
sometimes i think i am an *******.
i want you, but i also resent being tied to anyone,
i resent feeling so in love and pliable,
willing to break and build the world for you
and i don’t know how to explain in a way that
doesn’t make me feel cruel.
in my english class, we read a story called
the husband stitch about a woman with a ribbon
around her neck and a man who wants
to possess every piece of her.
i think i was both of them.
in the story, they **** for the first time by a lake
and they don’t drown and all the ghost stories she tells
come half to life, like necromancy.
sometimes when i miss you, i keep you in my heart
as a zombie. reanimated. fictitious.
nothing more than disembodied hands in the dark.
it’s not pablo neruda writing free verse about your feet,
nothing so romantic, it’s just that if you were here whole,
i wouldn’t know what to reach for.  
sometimes i am a coroner.
sometimes i want you in bits and pieces,
can’t handle you all together.
sometimes i want to rearrange you, just barely,
and i know that’s not fair.
sometimes i still want you love me more,
love me differently, love me in way
i don’t think you love me
and i know that’s not fair, either.
going through bits of poems and retrying them in new ways
Feb 2018 · 472
oversharing
daniela Feb 2018
i have a very vivid memory of arguing
with my mother in the first grade on the eve of picture day.
i don’t remember what we were arguing about,
probably something about what i was supposed to wear,
but i remember telling her that sometimes i wished
i could just lay down in a coffin instead of doing this.
i know; brutal for a seven year old.
children are both somehow incredibly kind and incredibly callous.
i think i made my mother i cry, i don’t know i try not to remember.
if you want to get analytic, this could mean a lot of things.
i read a think piece recently about how millennials,
as a whole, have gallows humor.
most of us regularly joke about the impending collapse of society,
how to plan for retirement when your retirement
will most likely be the apocalypse,
how global warming can’t **** us if nuclear warfare does first.
we are nihilism and absurdism’s ugly red-headed step-children.
gallows humor is most common among soldiers.
the article wondered about what it says about the world we live in
that entire generation is under a comparable amount of stress.
and even though i’m an atheist, it’s difficult for me to think
of death as sharp as it is. as finite.
i don’t believe in an afterlife, of heaven and hell,
but maybe i don’t really believe in endings, either.
i still think about death like it’s sleep, hitting snooze,
pressing pause.
when i was 16, i hated holden caulfield
because he reminded me too much of myself.
we did this in class activity where we had to diagnose him
with depression and i wanted to claw my heart out
of my throat the whole time.
my sophomore year of highschool it seemed like half of my class
gave themselves stick and pokes, homemade DIY tattoos
out of india ink and mom’s sewing needles
etched dot by dot into their skin. can you blame us?
we all wanted to be something permanent.
my sophomore year of highschool, someone tried to commit suicide
in the bathroom during class and we didn’t talk about it.
we never talked about it. whenever people die,
i don’t know how to talk about it.
my hands are too cold to touch god
and so i keep writing, trying to generate heat.
i had a professor who told me that no matter what we write about
we come back to the same things —
we write about our obsessions. we write about ourselves.
we write about what feels closest to our hearts
or, maybe, what feels farthest away.
see, there are times when my life feels like it’s
happening to someone else.
if it wasn’t for poetry i think i’d be dead.
i don’t tell my mom that, please don’t tell my mom that.
it makes it sound like i have a problem,
i don’t wanna have any problems. she’s got enough problems.
sometimes i don't wanna be here, sometimes i don’t wanna be here.
i don’t know where here is.
sometimes i’m worried that here is everywhere,
that here keeps changing and following me and wearing down
new places to their bones.
but maybe this is human nature.
we feel like we’re not supposed to be here so we try to delete
ourselves from here or we try to delete here,
keep digging into there’s nothing left.
Dec 2017 · 700
soliloquy for superman
daniela Dec 2017
there is nothing more american than superman.
i know this, not born but raised in kansas.
at the movies, when the man of steel tells
the government agent that “ma’am he’s from kansas,”
the entire theatre starts applauding.
he is the only illegal alien people from kansas will ever clap for.
when i was little, my father used to tried convince me
that he was alien, just not an illegal one,
because, well, it was technically true.
he’s just like superman, really, a boy living in a world
that’s not quite his that he loves anyways.
white kids in my classes never laugh at that story
but i still think it’s pretty funny. white kids in my classes never
like a lot of things i keep talking about, writing about.
because they’re always talkin’ about bootstraps
like everyone is born with the same pair of shoes
and i can never stand that.
because america is not a dream, it’s a meritocracy.
i mean, superman, that’s why we love you, right?
you’re the best and we only like things that are different
when they are cutting edge, bodies sharp
but not knife blades, nothing too lethal.
the reason we should allow immigrants in the country is
because of how they stimulate the economy,
the reason we should fund public education
is to keep kids “off the streets,”
the reason we should stop burning our planet alive
is because we have nowhere else to go,
the reason we should care about another person is always
bound to how they affect us. and i’m tired of penning arguments,
aiming to teach people how grow empathy a few years too late.
stop talking about my people like they’re dollar signs,
like we’re only worth our output. you like us when we’re superman,
sob stories to success stories, model minorities.
but you hate us when we take up too much space.
you hate us when we’re too angry or too loud or too comfortable.
you like us grateful, don’t want us to ever ask for more.
can all our american dreams live at the same time?
or are they pack of cannibals, eating each other out of existence?
does a dead boy in kansas mean the same to you
as a dead boy in syria? do you cry for him in the same way,
is his body just as heavy in his mother’s arms?  
riddle me this, if a body falls hard against the concrete
and his murderers walk around as if they are not murderers
then does it make a sound?
how much is it worth?
how much is it worth?
Nov 2017 · 312
carminae CXVII
daniela Nov 2017
latin poet catullus was often called too personal by contemporaries,
he didn’t write about gods and monsters or heroes or epics,
he wrote about himself and that was terrifying.

catullus wore his heart on his sleeve
and his heart was ugly sometimes, this beating, ****** thing
that would never shut up,
chattering between the line breaks and skirting around the meter.

the opening line to his poem carminae XVI was
“pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo”
which translates pretty literally to
“i will ******* you and face-*******”  
my latin teacher called him “incredibly ******”
i call him “the realest ******* to ever live”  
catullus was the first person to ever write
an open letter to his senatores,
julius caesar burned at the stake of carminae LIV and LVII.
catullus wrote about his boyfriends and his married girlfriend lesbia,
who incidentally was not his beard
or one of sappho’s lovers.
catullus buried his brother in the shrine of carminae CI,
left offerings of wine and bread and coins over his closed eyes.
catullus always made the ugly sound beautiful, eloquent.
you could taste the blood in his mouth,
the pearls and gravel between his teeth.
when i translate his work, he’s the only classic poet
who feels like he’s still alive, laughing at me from his grave
and writing invective epigrams about my grammatical errors.  

catullus was a little bit of an *******, but maybe so i am sometimes,
and catullus was a honest *******.
that’s more than i can say, some days.
he never shied away from himself, not even
from all the ****** parts that are hard to make quiet.
he always wrote about himself because
he understood what ovid and vergil and horace were still learning:
you can’t write about anything if you can’t write about yourself,
if you can’t look at yourself in the mirror
and call your demons by their names.
catullus XVI is the world's ultimate diss track, if you don't know now you know
Nov 2017 · 206
things i've never told you
daniela Nov 2017
1.  i get nervous sometimes,
i get a little too nervous sometimes,
and i don’t know how to explain that sometimes
my anxiety is like the third person in bed with me,
tugging on my sleeves, stepping on my heels;
i can’t outrun it.
i wish you didn’t know me while i was anxious,
it makes the way you look at me, the way i feel next to you,
different. i don’t like that.

2. i didn't think we were going to be friends.
it was like 0 to 100, you know?
i used to never talk to you
because i hated the way your eyes would wander off
and next thing i knew
you were leaning in next to me, whispering
your thoughts over the movie
and talking until 4 AM.
everything else is sorted into before and after.

3. after,
i knew we were still going to be okay
because you talked in that voice you only use
when you're uncomfortable with talking
about serious things -- you know
the one where your voice goes high and reedy
like it's trying to climb right out your throat --
and made me promise to text you
if i needed something.

4. i like when we argue our other friends
about what is and isn't white people *******.
i've always been a little ethnic dot in a sea of white faces
and it could be so ******* lonely
and i like having an ally around.
i like having you around.

5. you’re the first person i’ve ever kissed completely sober.
daniela Oct 2017
as i tried not to yell at you
because i get paid about $8.25 an hour not to,
i thought about what i might say to you if i was off the clock.

first, i’d like to assume that if i met you in person,
you’d be the kind of racist who has a confederate flag
on the back his pick-up truck
and reposts ******* of facebook
with stars and stripes and “build the wall” in comic ******* sans.
but, then again, you might be the kind of racist who will smile
with your shark teeth and shake my father’s hand.
tell us we’re not like those latinos
like it’s supposed to be a compliment,
like being the model minority gives us some sort of ******* priority,
some of protection in a country that’s turning on people just like us.
i will assume you’ve never been homeless,
never been unsure where the **** home is.
i will assume that you wouldn’t bat an eyelash if we uprooted you
and sent you back to whatever european country
your ancestors hailed from.
after all, this country isn’t for immigrants, is it?
i’ll assume never worried about feeding your children
or keeping them safe everytime they stepped outside,
never been in a country trying to burn itself alive,
never been somewhere the only options were drowning
or jumping ship.
if you had, i don’t think you’d hit me with this *******.
and i’m so ******* tired of trying to find a better metaphor
to make someone understand
that people do not leave home without a reason
and i don’t know what to say to make some ******* donor
understand that people don’t leave their home behind,
houses unboarded and rotting into ****** shores,
unless home is crumbling under their heels.
people don’t leave home unless they’re afraid
that someday soon there will be nothing to come back to.
people don’t leave home unless they’re running
from something much, much more hateful
than you.
love my job!!! also love that i'm angry enough at least every month to write a poem about this topic!!!!!
daniela Oct 2017
“pero no amo tus pies
sino porque anduvieron
sobre la tierra y sobre
el viento yo sobre el agua,
hasta que me encontraron”
-- pablo neruda, your feet

baby, you have the most perfect body i have ever seen.
and when i say that you always roll your eyes at me,
embarrassed. and i get it,
women are only taught to feel beautiful in certain ways,
in ways to that fit women like you and me badly,
like hand-me-downs or things shrunken in the laundry.

the world does not teach us how to think
of ourselves as anything other than commodities,
things to be bought and eaten alive.
i spent so long reading stories riddled with
mocha, butterscotch, toffee, cinnamon, olives
that sometimes i look at myself in the mirror like i am something
to devoured and spit back out.

but, baby, i love you even when you don’t feel right in your skin,
like i know the way i don’t feel at home in my own.
and i love the way your heart keeps time to mine,
erratic and anxious,
and the way your eyelashes like to tangle in the corner of your eyes.
and i love those hands, ****, i love those hands
and the covinhas, the craters, the dimples in your cheeks.
i love you down your molecules.

see, i had a friend once tell me that she believed in reincarnation
simply because this universe isn’t as infinite as it seems
and eventually we’re bound to run out of matter
and the universe will be forced to start recycling --
a conservation of souls.
and i don’t know if i believe that, but if it’s true i have this feeling
that in the very beginning, we were two atoms
tangled up in each other, holding on too tightly to ever really let go
and ever since i just keep finding my way back to you.
and that’s *******, probably, i’m not a scientist,
but if you hate yourself right now, it’s okay.
i think we all do sometimes.
i still love every inch of you, even the centimeters
that don’t get that much attention
like the soft spot under your ear or the backs your knees  
and a body is just a body,
just remember that all we are is molecules, follicles,
and every fews weeks we’re brand new again,
we’ve got new skin and maybe it won’t fit right this time either
but, ****, i love the wrinkles and the scars and the words emblazoned
on the fragile skin stretched over your ribcage
and you can’t see it,
but there’s something misshapen etched in ink
with a stick’n’poke there, too.
i can only find it when i’m looking.
i run my hand down your side
feeling all the echoes of other people on your skin.
i worry that my hands are much louder than i want them to be.
i worry someday your feet your carry you somewhere far, far away from me
and i’ll be left memorizing nothing
but the shape of you.
i read a pablo neruda poem today and cried and then i wrote this
Sep 2017 · 184
the reeling
daniela Sep 2017
i’m back home for the weekend
and you’re in my basement like always
because, you and me, we’re creatures of habit
before anything else and my feet are thrown over the armrest,
spilling into your lap, and the episode that’s on
is one we’ve already seen
and i keep thinking about how it’s such ******* that we lived
fifteen collective years without knowing each other,
all this wasted time,
and i want to turn to you
and say, “man, i don’t know who’s ever going to love me
like you do,”
but i don’t because that would be too much,
that would be too much, and i don’t want things for us
to be too much.
god, it’d be so easy, though.
so ******* easy.
we have a scary big threshold for what’s “too much” for us
which makes me want things that i know i shouldn’t sometimes.
instead, i run my fingers through your hair
and start asking questions.
stupid **** about your day and your life when i’m not there.
i just like hearing you talk, i like hearing you talk.
i like the way you laugh at my jokes, even the ****** ones.
you always laughed more with me than you ever did with her,
i never understood why you only saw that in retrospect.
man, i imagine us dancing, reeling, singing like,
look at me, oh look at me,
is this the way i’ll always be? oh no, oh no!
and you’d say something like, “well, i like the way you are,”
because of course you would
and i’d do something dumb like tell you that
you’re the only person i ever really end up missing
and how it’s ******* hard to not love someone
when you know someone like i know you.
i’m not sure you’d want to hear that.
we always joke we know each other too well.
the shape of your hands,
the press of your mouth, sloppy and drunk and 3 AM,
the way you laugh and tell me i’m your favorite person.
i like the way you never make me feel lonely.
i like the way you make the unlovable **** about me feel quiet.
is that love?
you make my insides feel like the fourth of july, is that love?
****. you make me feel something, is that love?
but what do i know about love, anyways?
i've never even kissed anyone
sober.
shouts out to the reeling by passion pit. what a song.
Sep 2017 · 271
long winded girl
daniela Sep 2017
my poetry professor always preaches that brevity,
that specificity, is the hallmark of good writing.
this always feels like a slight to the inside of my head,
chaotic and chattering.
i wonder if he’s ever been to a poetry slam
and seen a sixteen year old try to fit their whole heart into three minutes.
i wonder if he’s ever written five straight pages free verse
and wondered at which branch of trauma to cut out
to fit the word count.
i wonder if he’s even been a thousand people at once,
crawling into stanzas from russian nesting dolls.

see, at concerts, i always have trouble deciding if i want take a video
or just let the night crystalize in my memory;
see, the problem is i'm liable to forget my heartbeat
if i don’t write it down in detail.
that’s my nature,
i am too much or too little
i am bad at letting things go.
i am bad at leaving things behind.
this is my biggest failing as a storyteller.
in revision, you always have to leave something out.
but when you cut the story in half, you muddle the meaning.
so i don’t tell stories,
i read eulogies. histories. anthologies.
i am not a storyteller, i’m a record keeper
and this is not dead poets society,
this a society of poets who wanted to die but didn’t.
i am always trying to explain
the inside of my head to other people who don’t think
in colors and disjointed poetry
and i am always falling short.
hey kids, long time, no poetry! i've been writing a fair bit but here's just a little something for now
daniela Apr 2017
dear five year old daniela,
querida.
with matilda bangs and a crooked smile,
you are caught somewhere between precious and precocious.
you chatter endlessly or you’re silent like a closed mouth
and you always feel like too much.
and i’m sorry, baby, but you don’t quite grow out of this.
see, even now, my mother calls me intimidating,
tells me all the boys are afraid of me.
you will spend far too long thinking that people don’t love you
because you don’t make it easy enough to,
don’t sand yourself down to fit into them.
there is not always a correlation between input and output,
you can give someone everything
and they can take it all and give nothing back.
you can give something your all and still come up short, with nothing.
you are complicated, and you are difficult,
and you don’t apologize for things that aren’t your fault anymore.
someday, the things about you that never seem to fit
will be the parts of yourself that you’re proudest of.
and i know it doesn’t feel like it now,
but you will grow up to stop crying,
to live your life as a clogged faucet, and you will grow to scoff
at the things that once made you so afraid
like the monsters under your bed were always just dust bunnies.
you will learn that crying is not weakness
and i’m sorry is not it’s okay
and letting go is not always giving up.
you will learn crying only means that you’re breathing, gasping for air
but now you are still young enough to think that your father never cries,
that he is the sole proprietor of storytime
and the architect of space ships, infallible.
you’ll be forced to learn better that, live to see the people in your life
who have always seemed rock solid begin to crack and quake.
baby, you will, too.  
and when your mother tells you that sometimes,
in times like these, it’s better to pretend to not be latino if you can,
to disappear and hide like you’re ashamed of something.
do not get angry at her. you love her.
but there are some things that she will never understand about you,
like how taking who you are off is never a real option.
accept that. it is what it is.
do not pack away your heritage into your closest
at the first sign of the thunderstorm,
your father raised you proud, even when it hurts,
even when it’s pouring.
you don’t know this now,
but from stonewall to seneca falls to the streets of rio de janeiro,
you hail from warriors.
you are made of steel and cyanide, of diamonds and satin.
there is nothing in the world that’s stronger than your own two hands.
and you will learn that some people will only love you
when you are half of yourself.
don’t cut yourself into pieces for them even when it feels like
that is only way you’ll ever fit into anyone else.
so if sometimes you wanna be the princess in the tower
and sometimes you wanna be the hero saving her,
that’s okay. that doesn’t change.
when you’re my age, you’ll find people whose hearts beat like yours.
know what you believe in, but keep an open mind.
learn how to argue and learn how to listen.
remember it’s important to fight the good fight, even when you lose.
especially when you lose.
and you’re gonna lose, a lot. i should tell you that now.
you’re not always gonna right the first time. or the second time.
or the third time.
never forget that the world you live in now is better
than the one you left behind yesterday,
the moment you stop believing that
is the day you stop believing in progress.
your heart will always feel too exposed on your sleeve,
but never be ashamed of that.
empathy will always be a strength, not a weakness.
baby, you’re gonna be fine.
you’re gonna be just fine.
daniela Apr 2017
TO: athens
you are a boy born to argue,
confrontation stuck between your gritted grin.
TO: athens
see, a long time ago, before i met you,
i spent far too much of my time apologizing,
minimizing, shrinking my words down until they were fine print.
i was born shy, tongue-tied,
but around you, i am out spoken.
eloquent, concise, not backing down.
TO: athens
and see maybe that’s a bad thing,
two head strong orators always talking over each other.
TO: athens
but i always like who i am with you
TO: athens
an argument
for the sake of argument,
for the sake of laughing over each other’s rebuttals,
for the sake of starting conversation,
for the sake of digging around in your heart
TO: athens
i have never disagreed with someone so much
and still liked them this much at the end of the conversation
TO: athens
i want to argue with you for the rest of my life
TO: athens
when i am tipsy and loud and laughing and leaning too close
to you on the couch,
and drunk enough to see the stars in your eyes
through any of the light pollution,
i imagine if i kissed you it would taste like franzia.
TO: athens
you are easy but i always try too hard
TO: athens
no, baby, you are impossible
and i know i’m ****** and difficult, but you and me?
that’s easy. ****, that’s easy.
TO: athens
i used to think of love as frantic, thrumming,
and then i met you and realizes it could sneak up on you,
quiet and comfortable and unnoticed
until it’s everywhere
and you don’t know how to scrub out the stains
TO: athens
you make me smile, simple as that
TO: athens
and to catch your eye across the room,
the laughter still stuck in my throat, maybe that’s what
i’ve been searching through other people for.
Mar 2017 · 403
in defense of the NEA
daniela Mar 2017
as the state of our union begins to crumble
like a first grade papier-mâché art project held together
with elmer’s glue and enthusiasm,
i wonder at a nation that thinks investing in guns and walls
will make the world better
than investing in art and empathy.

the united states of america already has a bigger military spending budget
than that of all the other first world nations combined.

you know, the best way to hit rock bottom is to keep building up
until the ceiling collapses in on you.

i do not worry for art
like i worry for a city gasping for breath through the smog
or a woman with smeared make up walking home alone at night;
see, art is hydra -- you cut its head off,
it grows back three more in its place that are singing.

but i worry for a world that thinks that it’s better to destroy than create

so here i sit and write this poem
before there are no more paint brushes, just rifles
no more ink stains, just bombs
and the earth is a canvas, soaked in blood.

remember,
after the world crashes and burns
there will still be someone who needs to write about the scars

and so i think
better to write than to erase,
better to sing than to scream.
inspired by other work i saw supporting the national endowment for the arts
daniela Jan 2017
on my mother’s side of the family,
we are german immigrants spider webbing out
from jasper, indiana.
those branches of the family tree are the sort of people
who like everything about the midwest
that has always made me chafe,
made me feel like i could never belong here
on the buckle of the bible belt.
for them, i think it’s comfortable,
living in a town where everyone is basically just like them.  

so i sit down for thanksgiving dinner with people
who voted for donald trump.
because people can love me, they can be friends with my family,
eat thanksgiving dinner with us, break bread,
be my own flesh and blood,
and they can still believe deep down somewhere inside of them
that this country belongs more to them than it does to me.
i mean, if they didn’t, what’s the other explanation
to hearing a man on the campaign trail call
latinos rapists and criminals
and threaten to build a wall to keep us out,
and thinking that was something that you were okay
with overlooking in your vote?
they can clap my latino immigrant father’s shoulder in one hand
and build a wall with the other.
and that realization is painful to reconcile
with the pledge i was taught to say everyday,
it’s difficult to reconcile with the american dream as i understood it.

so dear aunt cindy,
you shared posts on facebook are beginning to reek of white supremacy
and i just have to wonder, did you forget me?
when i was sleeping your guest room,
when i was eating thanksgiving dinner at your table,
did you forget where i come from?
did you forget about the half of me in paranavaí,
shifting, drifting away from middle america,
inch by inch, year by year, the product of tectonic plates.
dear aunt cindy, your daughter-in-law is an immigrant, too,
but she’s from europe, she’s white, so maybe that’s different.
dear aunt cindy, i don’t want to believe
every well-wish, birthday card, christmas gift has been a lie
but what am i supposed to think when you like a post on facebook
about white nationalism, about keeping “illegal aliens” out?
see, i don’t want to think that you’ve been lying all these years,
that you don’t care about me because i believe you do,
but when you also believe that this country belongs to you
more than it belongs to immigrants, to latinos,
to those who don’t look like you,
how can you not taste the aftershock of my name in your mouth?
dear aunt cindy, when you hate people like me,
when you hate people who come from where i’m from,
how can i not think you hate me too?

my mother, the furious peacemaker, says that she doesn’t think like that.
but that’s like coming out and telling me you still love me
but you… just don’t get it,
that you don’t think it’s quite normal, quite natural,
like i’m supposed to thank you for not spitting in my face.
maybe aunt cindy does not look at us and see “other”  
my father always says that my people will know me,
but i think if i ever have children they will come out of me
with our family history wiped clean from them.
their names will probably be easier, never mispronounced.
whiter than mine.  
and it’s the guilty reminder that, sometimes,
when it’s dangerous or difficult for me,
i am afforded the privilege of a choice in taking who i am off.
when it’s dangerous or difficult, i don’t have to be latino.
i can disappear.
but even when i am allowed to disappear, to pass,
i cannot scrub my heritage, who i am, off my skin
and i will not be ashamed.
so i tell people who i am,
because if you’ve got a problem with me,
well, then i’d like to know up front.
lol changed the name in case a relative ever stumbles upon this
Jan 2017 · 1.3k
a year, in review
daniela Jan 2017
january found me breaking my resolutions like breathing,
like you always do, no one ever does it like they meant to.
january found me trying to tie to heart myself to somebody else
like body to a brick, sinking, always sinking.
you only ever liked my mouth closed, you only like me smiling.
silent. teeth gritted into a grin.

february never found me.
salvation does not come from bottles or books or other people.
trust me, i’ve tried.

march found me writing, bleeding.
did you know that there is a word for “soul” in almost every language?
correlation does not equal causation, i know this,
but i like to think this means our hearts all beat in the same tempo.
i like to think that we can all build our compassion on common ground.
i have always found poetry to be a good way of slowing life down
into understandable pieces.
this is why we write about tragedy, i think, to make it easier to swallow.
so cities have become synonymous with gunshots.
we pray for paris and orlando and dallas and turkey;
we pray until our mouths go dry.

april found me burying my childhood in the backyard,
a pretending it didn’t ******* burn.
my mother plays purple rain until the vinyl warps,
until it echoes around our house like a catacomb.
her record collection is beginning to look sort of like a graveyard.
my mom says that older you get a lot of things begin to look like graveyards.
when prince died, he was younger than my father was,
but i don’t like to think about that.

may found me rewiring my nervous system
around my systemic nervousness
because i don’t call it anxiety because then if did, i might have anxiety
and *******, it’s only funny after the fact.
may found me trying, bleeding, failing at scrubbing myself
out of my own skin.

june found me sitting at the dining room table
in the pale afternoon light, trying fit my mouth around
the word “tumor” without choking.
my dad keeps saying, “it’s benign”
sipping holy water and brushing his hair down onto his forehead
like he’s hiding, all my life he’s never ever gone into hiding.
even when it was easier not to be himself,
he stood tall.
i always thought all my friend’s parents were so young,
but now i focus in on my father’s grey hair,
think about how in twenty years he might not be there.

july found me having reincarnations of this conversation
with myself on repeat.
i spent summer 2016 drowning, 900 ft above sea level,
because i couldn’t get my head on straight
and no one noticed mostly because i didn’t want them to
and when i blinked it was me and my thoughts in room
and it was suffocating.
june swallowed me up and spit me back out,
july played a symphony of my ribcage
and let the blood soak into the earth.

august found me saying goodbye
until my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth,
i’m told next year will taste the same.
we carry each other inside ourselves, like time capsules and russian dolls.
we are the reflection of the people we love most and the people we hate most.
we don’t grow up we just get lost and found.

september found me eighteen, but also somehow eighteen and eighty.
september found me hiding under my bed and dragged me out
even though i’d made friends
with all the monsters who lived there.
even though i knew all the demons by name.
september found me wanna-be fearless
and trying.

october found me eating my heart out.
truth is my heart is restless, breathless, willing to get tangled up
in anyone who seems willing.
see, i realized last april bleeding into may
that i could argue with you for the rest of my life and be so ******* happy.
see, i decided last june that that didn’t mean ****.
see, last october i didn’t even know you like i know you.
see, last october my heart was like this, too, indecisive,
see, see, see,

november found me waking up to a country
that no longer felt like it could belong to me.
november found my body an apology, my skin a statement,
and my family tree a liability.
november found me every morning waking up in a country that hates me
and sitting down across the table for thanksgiving with people
who voted for a man who makes unsafe in my own skin,
bigotry growing between the hedges and yard signs of my own neighborhood
like i’m looking at my neighbors and wondering which one of them
thinks that this country isn’t mine like it’s theirs.
breaking bread and the american promise,
breaking bones.

december found me drinking white wine out of plastic cups
in someone’s basement and trying to pretend
that you don’t make my skin spark,
make my heart feel like the fourth of july.
and sometimes i still find i am looking for you in everyone else.
looking back at 2016
Dec 2016 · 17.5k
unsent text messages (2/?)
daniela Dec 2016
TO: romeo
you could’ve loved me but you didn’t and that kind of ******
TO: romeo
i wish we could go back to when we were still possible
TO: romeo
i’d rather be just friends with you than nothing
TO: romeo
see, we only worked when the gravity wasn’t on
TO: romeo
see, i could only love you from 5000 miles away
and we’ll always have the last city we trampled through
TO: romeo
see, i loved you, on other continents and always at the wrong time
TO: romeo
see, i’m not sure i loved you because now looking at you is like disconnect
and maybe i just wanted you because i felt so small,
without a hand to hold under
the heavy weight of history crushing in around us
TO: romeo
see, you make me feel like i’m eleven again,
listening to “you belong with me” by taylor swift and wondering
is that what love’s really like?
not realizing that the girl in the video was wondering the same thing
TO: romeo
so “if you’re wondering if i want you to;
i want you to, i want you to, i want you, dude, i always do.”
TO: romeo
i can’t listen to weezer without thinking of you
TO: romeo
i have this bad habit of tangling up the things i love with people i’m trying to,
i have this bad habit of ruining them that way
TO: romeo
i want custody of our song back  
i want you out of the baseline, hiding underneath the notes
daniela Dec 2016
10.  it’s like when you get to the airport
just in time to watch your flight take off without you.
it’s like when you get up dance but the music’s already over.
i think sometimes we’re all scanning the crowd
for someone who is never going show.

4. baby, you make nervous
like i’m not talking butterflies, i’m talking a mass exodus of monarchs
shuttering from the trees in mexico
like the sky’s rippling around their wings.
i’m not talking fireworks, i’m talking atomic bombs.
i’m talking terrible internal bruising
and the first time i saw you was like the first time
i saw the sun rise.

6. please, please, please love me
even when everything about me feels like ****.

8. love will never ever feel like it did when i was 16, 17, 18.
love will never feel like it did the first time again.
and first love only seems perfect
because it had nothing to measure up to.
so i stopped trying to catch it, stopped waiting for miracles or for magic.
because i’m not sure it’s out there.
i’m not sure there’s The One in capital letters
but maybe more like a lot of ones. plural.
maybe everyone you’ve ever loved was The One right then.
see, love is not a choice but the way we do it is.
and sometimes forever is just deciding to stick out
for as long as you can make it.
because, sometimes, things start fading
and we either choose to throw them out or color them back in.

2. my heart is unfocused;
love is not obedience and obedience is not deference
and i love you is not i always will.

7. i wish i could send sixteen year old me
a letter about love like “baby,
you want to rip yourself apart to find space inside of you to fit them in,
this is not love. i know it feels like it sometimes, but this is not love.”
i wish sixteen year old me knew how the **** to listen.  

3. see, i am 90% bravado and bad timing.
a lack of serotonin and a closed mouth.
more fistfight than handshake, more gritted teeth than grin.
and i love myself like you’ve got to love yourself
when you don’t always really like yourself.
i am in the room full of my mistakes
and they are telling me ghost stories about you.
see, i didn’t love you, it was… just the music.
my heart got confused, caught up in the baseline.

9. and i’m always reaching for something that burns
the palms of my hands, leaves me blistered.
i am always trying to hold onto borrowed time.

1. and i know this isn’t the love letter you asked for,
but it’s the one i’ve got.
"love is poetry for the senses" the title is in french b/c i'm pretentious.
messin' around with new styles and such, trying to make scraps into poetry.
Nov 2016 · 1.2k
there are no poems for today
daniela Nov 2016
I went to bed last night crying my eyes out. I kept telling my mother that this meant that people were going to die. This was the first election I got to vote in and I was so fearful that would be the last if this is what the outcome was.

My dad has lived in the USA since 1984, when he came here for college. He speaks English with a thick accent but still more thoughtfully than many native speakers I know. He pays his taxes. He lives here legally. He may not be a citizen, but this is his country too. This is his home. And now I am afraid. I am afraid of what will happen in the coming months, now that the hatred of immigrants has been more than justified. I am afraid that he’ll face outright violence for being passionate and opinionated and unapologetically himself.

Yesterday, I was nervous, yes, and I didn’t expect a landslide. I expected the margin that was much of close for comfort but I still expected Hillary to win. We all did. The truth of it is, we all underestimated how utterly racist and sexist the country we live in is. A candidate in America ran on a platform steeped in racism and sexism, and we elected him over the most qualified woman to ever run. As CNN’s Danielle Moodie-Mills said: “This is white supremacy’s last stand.”

I recognize my privilege as someone who's Latino yet still very much white passing, but now I have to wake up everyday in a country who hates people like me because our culture is different, because we're not "from here", because we represent the other. I am the daughter of a Latino immigrant and to know that much of this country so afraid of us and so hateful for towards us, towards people like me and with families like mine, that this could happen is so unbelievably painful.

The fact that we could ever elect someone accused of ****** assault by dozens of women, someone who’s running-mate advocates conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth and overturn of Roe V Wade in 2016, someone who is so woefully unqualified and unfit because our nation couldn’t stand the idea of female president is unbelievably painful.

I’ve spent the six months working with local Democratic campaigns to reverse the absolutely irresponsible and disastrous direction that my home state of Kansas has been sprinting in for the last few years and now it feels like the whole country is following us on our way down. I’ve mades thousands and thousands of phone calls, knocked on doors every corner of my district, and spoken to countless numbers of other people who are fed up as I am. I woke yesterday at 4:15AM so I could be getting out the vote by 5 AM and I stayed up until they called the results last night and then a few hours after that unable to sleep.

There’s no way around how much it ***** when you get involved, when you canvass and you speak out, when you attempt to educate people, when you go out and vote, when you fight the good fight and you still lose to a faction of fearful people overwhelmed by hate.

It feels like my future and our country’s future has been stolen away by an older generation who will not even be there to see it, who are blinded by hatred and misogyny and racism.

In the last few weeks, I’ve sent off a number of college applications. In my essay I wrote about perhaps the most topical issue of this election and one that will always feel deeply personal to me: immigration and racism that bolsters those who are so staunchly against it, those who want to build a wall or start a registry for Muslims or bar Syrian refugees because they are so afraid of the changing face of America not being the same complexion as them. In my essay I wrote this:

“And yet as the Republican presidential nominee stands on a platform that is so staunchly anti-immigration and, frankly, racist that it might feel more at home in 1916 than 2016, I have hope. President Obama’s family tree, his American born mother and foreign born father, resembles mine in a way that no one’s before him has. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton bursts onto the Broadway stage, reminding us that America was, in its very best version of itself, born as country where even “orphan immigrants” could rise up and make a difference. An Olympic team comprised of refugees gets a standing ovation in the Opening Ceremonies in Rio. I am reminded of why my family, year after year, continues to run our booth. We don’t do it because it’s fun. We do it because we’re proud of where we’re from, we do it because we don’t ever want to forget that. We share our cultural in a fierce refusal to leave it behind. And that's important. Now more than ever.”

Yes, I feel completely disheartened by this election. As a woman and a Latina and queer kid, I feel completely failed by the American promise today. I feel failed by a political system where a candidate can win a large number of the vote but not the White House. I feel failed by the fact a major party in our country let racism and xenophobia swell in its base for years then had the audacity to act surprised when a man endorsed by the KKK became their nominee and president-elect. I feel like we’ve failed everyone I know who cannot vote and terrified over what this victory will means for them and those they love.

So yes, today is undeniably a dark day in our history. On the surface, my father is the one in my family who has the most to fear, but right now he is the most optimistic person in our house. So I cannot abide by being hopeless. And I know this is just another post, article, tweet, opinion, essay right now among a thousands of others. A drop in the bucket. But I remain committed to the belief that writing is powerful and important.

I know that it feels so incredibly hopeless right now, but it’ll only be more so if we let ourselves become apathetic. Stay committed to change and love and inclusiveness. Be loud, be angry, and fight a Trump presidency tooth and nail. Please, please do not become complacent. We cannot afford it.
my heart is so heavy.  be loud, be angry, be proud, fight back. do not accept that we cannot fight this horror. the majority of our country still believes in a better future and they voted for it. and please be safe, friends.
Sep 2016 · 632
sangria
daniela Sep 2016
you’re like art or something --
i don’t understand you and i always think i’m supposed to.
you remind me of stealing from my parent’s liquor cabinet,
i can’t look at you too long without feeling like
i’m gonna get caught up in something.
i can’t look at you too long without feeling like
i’m breaking some sort of rule.
now i know that love was the first time i saw weezer live,
that love was losing your voice because you’re singing too loud,
that love was pressing you down the backseat of your car,
that love was censored out of this poem.
too explicit. too tongue and teeth.
love was an honest liar.
love was at least 70% proximity, maybe.
love was not a victory march, just the drive the home.

we are terrified of it, maybe that’s why we like it.
there is no litmus test for love. just trial and error.
just… a lot of error.
love is hotel room we’re never going back to.
we existed there once
but we time ran out and had to return our keys, go home from vacation.
there are no good poems that come from that.
just 2 AM and missed calls and quiet.

see, i am bad at doing simple things.
my hands shake too hard and ruin dreams.
i hold too hard or push even harder.
baby, you were never hard to love, i just wasn’t any good at it.
see, i can write three page poems about the curve of your eyelashes
or the way your laugh sometimes gets stuck
in the back of your throat like a secret,
but i cannot seem to look you in in the eye
and be honest with you.

so tell me what to do when you’re staring god asking if he exists,
tell me what to do when every shot you’ve taken has missed.
tell me what to do when you’re standing on a dance floor
after all the music is gone,
like the fifth of july when all the fireworks have faded out of the sky
and all that’s left is casings and matches.
tell me what to do when you run out of words.
Aug 2016 · 946
empty houses
daniela Aug 2016
when you wanna go home, where do you wanna go?

the worst thing about growing up is learning
that you can always leave home but you can’t always go back.
the thing about roots is that unless you want to die,
you can't ever pull them out completely.
we are always going to be from somewhere.
we are always going to be from here.

when you move out of your childhood home,
will your mother clean out all your **** and make it
into the home office that she always wanted
or will she keep it like a time-capsule, so preserved that 20 years from now
you will come to the same posters staring down at you?
what dream is she still holding on to?
does she remember, did she give it up for you?

sometimes i think i am the last five things i gave up on,
a mausoleum to my mistakes.
i am bad asking forgiveness.
i don’t really believe in god, but for some reason or another
i write a lot about it him.
maybe it’s always easier to blame someone else.
because if god exists, i think he’s on autopilot.
see, god is good at letting go of things.
i know this because what else could it mean
when his disciples told me to find someone new to pray to?

all i remember of my baptism is white dresses and pinched shoes
and my cries echoed off stuccoed walls of the church.
my father has a rosary hanging on his bedside table,
he always likes to say that you’ve got to
believe in something.

and i know i don’t always make myself easy to love.
i keep saying “i’m sorry” so what does it mean anymore?
if you say something too many times, the meaning starts disappearing.
i guess that’s why i never told you that i love you,
but that feels like an excuse, too.
love called in sick again, i keep telling you that you’ve gotta get better friends.
they only love you when everything’s going wrong.
you can’t love somebody just because they love you.

love is mumbling you feel so good into the side of her neck.
love is promises. love wants to believe you.
she is beautiful like sunday, not friday. she is holy.
she is beautiful like sunday and tuesday and all the days in between,
like three weekends and six day work weeks
like ***** and soda pop
like sleeping in every sunday and staying up every saturday.
she is alternately the wild fire and the burnt shell of the forest,
the calm and the storm, the curse and the cure.
the hell and the highwater.
you want to learn to swim and learn to drown in her.
love is love is love is in love with you
but she wishes she wasn’t.
love is an unfinished symphony,
all the lullabies you’d sing for me, the clank of car keys.
there is no silence in leaving, there is no silence in believing.
there is nothing that feels better than never coming back.
there is nothing that feels worse than never coming back.

i’ve been too many people to call you home.
long time, no poem. i've been reusing a stanza of this in a lot of work so you'll probably see it again ;-)
Jun 2016 · 729
equilibrium
daniela Jun 2016
summer in kansas is like being underwater,
humid and oppressive as our state’s current legislature.
our skin would get stuck together, when we pulled apart
it was like we were unzipping parts of ourselves.
painful.
there’s a metaphor in there,
somewhere, i swear.

some breakups are like surgery; removing a part of yourself,
coming out of the operating room and still leaving things on the table.

we spent a lot of time stuck together
then being pried apart by the air conditioner, among other things.
you make me feel like i have too many nerve endings
and not enough skin.
i think it must be a ******* talent to make someone feel like
too much and not enough at the same time.
we spent a lot of time driving with the windows down,
music filtering out of them
like we wanted people to know what we had stuck in our heads.  
you groan when i turn on 95.7 and whatever top 40 tune
dubbed the “song of the summer” comes on.
see, i kind of hate people who hate pop music
because honestly get the **** over yourself
and admit that taylor swift songs are catchy already
but i still like you.

so the speakers are blasting “fix you” by coldplay
and i’m wondering why songs that are written about things
i’ve never really experienced
are always the ones that make me cry.
my mom always says that i am the most empathetic person that she knows.
it always just makes me feel ashamed of all the times
i have felted shuttered,
judgmental and close-minded.

i am usually glad that people don’t know me like i know myself,
i’m afraid you wouldn’t like the inside of my head;
it’s not like i always do.
sometimes when i’m sad and my head feels foggy
and i want to unzip my veins
or something else ugly and over-romanticized like that,
i think that universe is trying to reject me
like a bad ***** transplant
like i was something never meant to be here in the first place
and it’s trying to right itself,
find equilibrium.
i know it’s not true but i still think it sometimes.

i think i love myself too much or not enough.
i am not good at equilibrium.

when you said, “i think i love you,” i thought you were joking.
i don’t know if that says more about me or you.

i’ve always been afraid
there is something terrible and fragile and hopeful
about young love that i will never get to know.

love is probably at least 70% proximity and i’m okay with that.
so you're kind of like my spleen,
i could survive without you
but it be pretty ****** to have you torn from of my ribcage.
because love is not completing a set,
it’s just finding something you really ******* wanna hold onto.

sometimes when you’re a poet you tend to idealize love into stanzas
instead of realizing that love is not poetry --
poetry makes too much sense.
love is a long-*** novel that you get bored of sometimes.
love sneaks up on you, it grows inside taking root like… honeysuckle.
an invasive species.

and honeysuckle are no roses, they’re prickly in a whole different way.
just the same,
nobody tells you that love can often be so ugly.
but a lot of kids still pick handfuls of weeds,
dandelions and clovers and grass stains,
and present them to their mothers
with a fistful of pride.

maybe love is not a victory march.
maybe love is just… the drive home.
May 2016 · 440
are you ready?
daniela May 2016
some people only see the sun
as something that gets in their eyes when they’re driving
and i don’t wanna be one of them.
i wear sunglasses a lot so i can pretend i’m not bad at eye contact;
maybe it’s the same idea if you think about it like that.
god is still playing on the radio and all i can hear is static.
i don’t have a car, but if i did i think that it would still stall.

sometimes life tries to sucker punch me in face
and i’m really bad at ducking, i spend a few too many minutes
in front of the mirror wondering
if i’m going to grow into this version of hating myself
and ******* in.
not my stomach, but my lungs.
because whenever i panic, it feels like they’re caving in.
it feels like i'm new orleans after the levees broke.
every hurricane has a name and, sometimes, i’m trying to forget yours.
and i’m still trying to stay ahead of the curve,
i’m still obsessing over the curve in your neck.
i’m bad at details
but i could be good at the big picture.
i could be good at you.
which is a ****** way to say that
i wanna get drunk and tell you about my insides.
i want to tell you everything about me and still hear you say “i love you”
and not mean it in spite of anything
like if a tree falls in the forest,
it might not make a sound but it leaves a mark.
all these poems scrawled in my margins make their marks.
poetry doesn’t exist until someone hears it,
i do not exist until someone listens to me.
i used to think i didn’t really exist until i knew you.

and i know i try too hard sometimes,
but i figured it’s better than not trying at all.

yeah, i’m a few years behind, but i still listen to isabel and evan.
i don’t know about god and i can’t seem to believe in heaven.
i don’t know much about milk and honey,
but i know about rice and black beans.
broken hearts and bad dreams.
***** hands and rhyme schemes.
those kind of things.
because growing up is a whole lot of growing into yourself
and whenever i’ve got big shoes to fill i just stuff socks into the toes.
there’s a not a single “grown-up” that i know
that doesn’t wake up feeling 13 years old sometimes.
so i stopped waiting on a miracle.
i packed up all my ambition in my backpack;
the zipper got stuck but that’s okay.
i stuck my thumbs in my pockets, i’m walking.
there’s more time that way
and i think we all need a little  time in some kind of way.  
i’m a homebound hitchhiker who doesn’t know what direction to head in,
how do you get home when all the lights are turned off?
what does it mean when the place you call home
is somewhere you have not been in years?
i’d ask my dad, but i’m trying not be cruel on purpose these days.
my father protested in the streets,
young revolutionary trying to change the fabric of his country
into something more breathable.
do you have any idea how much of my life i have spent silent?
silence is the biggest privilege that i have ever had.
silence is the loudest thing that i have heard
silence is the sound of police sirens and fists,
of flatlining heart monitors and pretending you didn’t see that.

but if heaven exists, i still hope it’s quiet.
i want it to be quiet.
because there has to be a halfway point
between chaos and silence somewhere.
no offense but listen to "coloring book" by chance the rapper, it's got the creative vibes flowing for me. PS sorry i write about my dad so much but like if you knew him you would too
May 2016 · 1.1k
postcards from a plane crash
daniela May 2016
i. i don’t think i ever expected to live quite this long.
the bus has always been coming
and i have always been braced for impact.
i have never thought that another 80+ years were
automatically allotted to me,
life is too much loss and uncertainty.
i am 17 and i feel tired and oddly lucky.

ii. i’ve heard life is inherently more exciting
when you think of things in terms of “i get to…” rather than “i have to…”
i’m trying to apply it to my life.
i get to wake up tomorrow. i get to go to school, to have a routine.
i get to keep going. i get to live.

iii. some people are born content and some people are born itching --
you were born with ******* poison ivy.
dying to jet set the midwest, always swore
you were gonna leave this town before it burnt you to the ground.
a born nomad who’d never even seen the ocean.
i watched you disappear out the rear view window,
you’ve never left this town and i’d hate for the world
to let you down.

iv. i think that part of me is scared to leave home
because i know that you can always leave but you can’t always go back.
these are the things they don’t tell us growing up;
the way that places are just places
and the air around them can shift into something
that you no longer recognize.
it’s the feeling when you’ve been away for too long
and you come home to find it changed.
it’s the feeling when you want to go home
even when you’re there.

v. i heard you either write to remember or to be remembered.
i dream of crashes and my legacy of stained ink
confined to 15 gigabytes and 12 point font.
there’s thousands of other poets
with shaking hands, bright eyes, loud mouths.
it would be so easy to forget me when i’m gone.
i don’t know how much i mind it.
we are fleeting like fireflies and smoke signals and first kisses.
i still think you burn the brightest.

vi. it’s 10:32 somewhere over the ocean
and i miss you i miss you i miss you.
i’ve heard that victorians believed that if you wrote a poem in a airplane
that it stayed there, suspended in the sky.
your eulogy is hanging somewhere over the atlantic,
pinned up in the stars. waiting.

vii. i held your hand on the take off
until all that was underneath our feet were clouds.
Apr 2016 · 435
echoes
daniela Apr 2016
i’ve never been religious but i’ve always known how to pray,
words worn down by my tongue like a security blanket.
it’s been years since i’ve thought about what they actually mean;
it’s like my pledge of allegiance, i don’t pray,
i recite.

repetition repetition repetition
my brain’s in fission
i pledge allegiance to the flag--
we only loved behind closed doors
of the united states of america--
i’ve heard if you say something enough times it stops sounding like anything at all
and to the republic for which is stand--
i love you, i love you, i love you, i love you, i love you
one nation under god--

i usually leave that part out.
close my mouth, stand silent.

silence is for sinners and we are losing battles of people.

in my history textbook there is a picture
of a man shoving a flower in the barrel of a soldier’s rifle.
just the same,
you’re the kind of person who’d go planting flowers
on the side of the road just to make it prettier,
you’re always wasting your time caring about people
who couldn’t give a **** about you
and it’s probably tragic or something
but words like tragic and poetic are for different people than us.

i am so ******* bad at gentle and you’re deserving of delicate.
i think some people are less impressionable in the way the take up space
than they are in the holes they leave when they’re gone.

i used to imagine that there were phantom versions of myself,
standing everywhere that i have ever stood
like ghosts or maybe more like placeholders.
waiting.
it’s like how when i was a little kid,
i would try to picture what the spot i was standing in
looked like a hundred, a thousand years ago.
who has treked through through the same places
that i go everyday.
i still like to think like that sometimes.
i like to think we leave behind echoes of ourselves
in the places we’ve been.
i like to think that a hundred, a thousand years from now,
there is going to be a little kid trying to do the same,
picturing me standing here.
i still like to think there is a version of me
hanging around in my childhood home, six years old with
missing front teeth.
i still like to think there is a version of me
wandering around all my favorite cities i’ve visited.

by this logic, there is still a version of you
in the room i last saw you in,
still framed by the light pouring in from the window.
by this logic, there is still version of me
in the room i last saw you in… waiting.
for something.
Apr 2016 · 513
ordem e progresso
daniela Apr 2016
on sunday, i sat in our kitchen with my dad as the pale april sunlight streamed in and we watched as the brasilian government held the vote over whether or not to impeach the president dilma rousseff.

my brother’s at college, my mom was at work; it was just me and my dad.
a family friend told me once that my dad loves his country more than anybody they'd ever met.

i remember, we ate apple slices as we watched the government vote on the fate of the country. i am 17 and my dad still slices my apples, cuts my grilled cheese sandwiches into triangles, calls me querida.

my dad gestures at the TV, we both talk with our hands a little too much, and tells me that you can tell which way the politicians are voting based of the color they’re wearing.

the worker’s party, partido dos trabalhadores, called the PT is wearing red. they're the ones that vote against impeachment, eu voto não.
my father marched for that party in the 70s, 80s. they were born of the opposition to the military dictatorship of his childhood. he glares at the TV screen, now, like he’s angry for the promises they broke.

the TV in the kitchen is practically a relic, a boxy fourteen inches, older than me. we have a satellite dish in the backyard so we can get globo, the biggest television network in brasil. neighbor kids accidentally chuck their ***** into it, hitting the dish and scrambling over the fence to collect their toys.

on the TV, ricardo barros walks up the microphone. he’s a congressman from my family’s home state of paraná. my dad says, “hey, i went to college with him!”

they both majored in civil engineering, went to university in maringá.  
i remember i laughed. my dad knows so many people that he can find acquaintances on the TV. i asked my dad if they were friends. he laughs a little, too, says it depends on how ricardo voted.

ricardo voted yes.

my father was 7 years old in 1964 when the military took over brasil’s government in a coup. sometimes i wonder if for him this whole thing feels sort of like de ja vu, history repeating with a new face.

i don’t ask.
Apr 2016 · 3.5k
do you know her name?
daniela Apr 2016
they say in history,
behind every great man there’s an even greater woman.
so think of it like this:
do you know who marcia lucas is?
it’s okay if you don’t.
there’s a reason for that,
until a few months ago i didn’t know her name either.
but you probably know who george lucas is.
biographer dale ******* once said that marcia,
george lucas's first wife who he was married to throughout
the production of the original trilogy,
was his “secret weapon."
and the operative word in that sentence is secret.
because i have been watching star wars
for just about as long as i can remember;
growing up, my brother and i owned not only
half a dozen plastic lightsabers and a box set of both trilogies,
but my dad even likes to mimic yoda’s voice and speech patterns
when he gives me motivational life talks.
but i never once learned marcia lucas's name.
i know star wars super fans who can spout out more trivia
about wedge antilles,
an x-wing pilot with 2.5 total minutes of screen time in the entire saga,
than marcia lucas,
the women who edited the film together
into the cultural phenomenon we know.
marcia lucas is the woman who edited starwars
from a mess into a masterpiece.
the woman who has be described
as the “warmth and heart of the films”
who carved out her husband's characters into people
and developed with much of emotional resolution of the series,
coming up with the idea of killing off ben kenobi
when george lucas couldn’t resolve the plot line himself.
her fingerprints are all over these movies,
she shaped these stories and us with them
yet we never talk about her hands cutting the film.
the woman who edited the scene
where luke skywalker destroys the death star
from a 45 minutes crawl into the fast-paced moment
when the good guys win,
the woman who sewed together
the magic we watched on our screens
is nothing more than a footnote in the credits.
she has been erased from the narrative.
and as i write this poem,
i know that only some of you will never think of this name again.
and if you do it will probably be as trivia,
a fact to spout in a conversation about george lucas
or while you pop in a new hope into the DVD.
but sometimes you have to think about how many people’s lives
end up on the cutting room floor.
they say in history,
behind every great man there’s an even greater woman.
margaret hamilton is the lead software engineer
whose work took apollo 11 to the moon.
do you know her name?
you know the man on the moon but not the woman who put him there.
sybil ludington road twice as far as paul revere
to warn the local militia of the oncoming british attack,
fending off a band of highway robbers as she did.
do you know her name?
long before little richard and chuck berry
were ever even strumming at their guitars,
sister rosetta tharpe was pioneering a genre
with the first album ever labeled as rock’n’roll.
do you know her name?  
rose mccoy wrote the words to the song “i beg of you”
that elvis presley crooned,
along with countless more that other people sang.
do you know her name?
do you know any of their names?
maybe spotlights cast more shadows than they give off light.
we are a culture of people who forget everything out of sight.
they say in history,
behind every great man there’s an even greater woman.
we just... don't know her name,
no one ever bothered to teach us her name.
no one was supposed to.
history is not always about who you remember,
sometimes it is about who you forget.
originally written as part of a longer poem called “the bottleneck effect” that i’ve used at slams like LTABKC but i cut it from the first because it didn’t really fit and then turned it into something new and way longer
Mar 2016 · 319
paralysis
daniela Mar 2016
one of my best friends told me that
the first time she got high that she focused in on little details,
almost compulsively.
that she was scared of accidentally stepping on
the all snails on the sidewalk so she stayed frozen in place
for what seemed like hours.
paralyzed.
i was scared of loving you and accidentally ******* it up
so i stayed frozen in place and just… watched it slip past me.
paralyzed.
my finger still stretching, like they were planning
on catching… something.
now, i’ll never know what.
so i guess what i’m trying to say is
you can’t focus on the details so much that you forget
about the big picture
and you can’t love, you can’t live,
being afraid.
because sometimes being in love is kind of like
drowning while you're on fire and getting punched in the face.
repeatedly.
and yet you want it all the time.
handing half of your heart over to another person
and expecting them not **** up is insane.
and you’ve told me before to stop making
metaphors out of moments.
not everything is poetry somethings just... are.
but i love you as i imagine icarus must have loved the sun
before it swallowed him whole.
we are beautiful because we are so doomed.
life would not be nearly as incredible as it is if we got to live it twice.
living is sort of like dying with a seatbelt on.
we are a moment like a movie
where they kept the camera running for too long,
where they didn’t leave all the awkward false starts of conversation
on the cutting room floor.
Mar 2016 · 345
kickstart
daniela Mar 2016
i knew a girl once,
she got a tattoo stenciled “tabula rasa”
and could never see the irony.
irony is cruel, after all, and there’s a lot of things
we chose not to see, obliviously.
irony is a musician with a deaf daughter, a painter with a blind son.
but this was just a metaphor, what we’re headed for
always heading home in the wrong direction,
but i’m not a suicidal head case,
just a dreamer who got high on outer space
and this was what i wrote for icarus
before he gunned me down out of the sky
i don’t why, but my wings tend to get tangled whenever i try to fly.
typos slip past my copy edit and sometimes i still feel pathetic;
i am a gallery of scars.
if life is performance art then i’m a ******* masterpiece.
it’s all growing pains,
knowing better doesn’t always mean you do better.
so pain is necessary. so pain is unavoidable.
but i don’t wanna to live a life where every single week is
“i just gotta get through this week”
but good things don’t only come from pain
and poetry is not sad by definition.
i know we tend to romanticize the tears in our eyes
but i wanna grit my teeth into a grin,
i wanna know about sinking because i'm learning how to swim.
and gravity was never the enemy,
at least not how i thought it would be.
gravity was just doing its job,
it didn’t know the way it was weighing me down like quicksand
and making it so hard to get up out of bed.
i will never understand
why happiness is so attainable for some
and so unattainable for others.
but maybe that’s just the hairline difference
between happiness and joy --
one is more circumstantial that the other.
lately, my brain’s been stalling like an engine on overdrive,
it wants to die out but somehow the heart’s keeping it alive.
so this is the sound two hearts make when they collide,
we write poems and never talk about it.
i write mile long poems and i’ve got a tongue like a riddle
and love’s just a word, but don’t you dare tell me
that words aren’t important.
you know better.
smashing hearts like hundred dollar guitars,
we all wanna pretend we’re rockstars.
you know, some people get drunk just
so they can see something in the sky.
and i need these lines,
they build up the structure in my spine
i don’t know always who i am
but i know who i haven’t been.
i know who i want to be.
i didn't actually know a girl once but we can pretend
Feb 2016 · 2.3k
grey matter (ii)
daniela Feb 2016
i’ve planned out my whole funeral.
which probably makes it sound like i’m a lot more interested  
in dying than i actually am
but i just--
i think my problem is that i was never the type of person to plan ahead.
i never have imagined my college life,
or my future career, or how many kids i might i have.
i’m one of the only people i know
that has never tried to picture their own wedding.
my mom says that’s a good thing,
keeps me away from unhealthy expectations
but she’s my mom
and it’s like how your mom always tells you that you’re pretty
because what the **** kind of mother
doesn’t correct their kid’s self-loathing or at least try to?
my mom, she’s pretty used to me lying on my kitchen floor
in the throes of an existential crisis
because existential crisis is sort of my nom de plume
and before anything else,
i am afraid to be someone disappointed by my own dreams.
but i think because i never tried my hand at planning
i have no idea where i’m supposed to be in my future,
i have no idea what i want.

see the thing is,
i’m afraid i’ve never really fit in comfortably anywhere in,
i’m just really good at pretending i do.
if i wanted to swan dive into my psyche a little bit more,
i’d chalk it up to all my biracial bicultural biwhatever *******:
that feeling that i’m two things at the same time
and i don’t know where i fit.
in simple terms:
i’m too white for the latino kids
and not white enough for the white kids.
in complicated terms:
i’ve got close family about 4000 miles away
and i feel really ******* guilty for not loving them
as much as my family in the next state over,
and i resent them for not getting who i am
like my family 4000 miles away does.

i don’t think i know anyone who worries quite like i do.
see i’m not unhappy, really,
but maybe i’m the saddest happy person i know.
i try not to think about it too much,
but my brother tells me it’s because i think too much;
he’s one of those people who is frustratingly self-assured
even when he’s not.
i told him to play highway to hell at my funeral half as a joke
but mostly because i can’t even stand to imagine
the thought of outliving him.
we’re the weird kind of siblings who adore each other senselessly.
identical, two halves of a whole,
we are the same person a so many ways.
he’s the reason i exist in a completely unpoetic way --
he wanted a little sibling so much
that i joke that he begged me into existence.
he is the only person who’s ever laughed at the right parts of my jokes.
he tells me to stop worrying about tomorrow like he already has.
i think this is our key difference.

i like stories because i like escapism,
i think poetry is the only time i’m really… myself.
it is what it is and it isn’t what it isn’t,
and i loved harry potter because i wanted to be magic
and i loved star wars because i wanted to be a galaxy far, far away.
and i love how i met your mother
because everyone loves lily and marshall, right?
and everyone wants that, right?
to love someone that much,
to be so ******* sure about somebody
even when everything else is ****.
i’m just afraid that i’m never going to get that.
which is cliche but all cliches had to start somewhere
and i think people actually hate cliches
more because of the fact they’re so inescapable true
rather than the fact that they’re corny.
i’m mad at the TV for selling my a dream i’m not sure i get to have
and i’m mad at life for not imitating art well enough
and i’m mad at life for imitating art too well
and i’m ******* ****** at whoever told me that
i could be whatever i wanted when i grow up
because they were ******* lying.

so i tell you that at my funeral
i want everyone to get really ******* drunk.
and you tell me that jesus christ, daniela,
most people don’t spend their free time
thinking about their own funeral.

and it’s a matter of perspective, i guess.
some people never see the meteor coming
and some people can never tear their eyes away.
death is always walking towards me, the bus is always coming,
it’s just that sometimes it sort of speeds up
and everything else slows down.
so at my funeral, i want there to be an open bar
and i want to have someone collecting
other people’s stories about me at the door as admission.
i am not obsessed with my legacy,
just my end result.
i have never known where i’m going to end up
but i’ve always been willing to find out.

and at my funeral i want everyone to dance.
sloppy and uncoordinated.
i don’t want my funeral to be sad.
i can’t think of anything
less fitting.
trying to get back into the groove
Jan 2016 · 2.6k
silver screen
daniela Jan 2016
when i was six years old my whole family went to disney world and being the self-respecting born and bred star wars fans we were, my brother and i cajoled our parents into letting us buy pictures of our little faces photoshopped onto the faces of star wars characters.

my brother? anakin skywalker. and me? aayla secura.
who you probably haven't heard of, even if you're a pretty big fan of the series. to get you up to speed, aayla secura was a jedi knight and a general during the clone wars era in the prequel trilogy, which is all suitably ******* badass, but if i remember right she has roughly five minutes of screen time in the movies and even less in lines. and you probably remember her as that one blue chick.

and if i remember right she was also one of about three or four female options for the pictures. sure, there was padme amidala and princess leia, who are badass ladies in their own rights, but see the thing is that no six year old watches starwars and thinks to themselves, "hmm, i want to be a politician!" you think to yourself, "i want to be a jedi." and the only option that was a girl and a jedi was a background character.

but that's the thing isn't it? being a background character, a love interest, a side-kick is something girls grow used to seeing themselves cast as. sure, we're in the movie, but with half the lines and screen time. never the center of the story. never the hero, just the pretty girl with fluttery eyelashes he saves. too often i found myself having to invent my own characters and stories so that i could feel that i was part of a narrative, too.

and suddenly, more than ten years too late for for six year old me but just in time for a whole new generation of little girls, the person in the center of the poster clutching a blue lightsaber like a beacon of the light side was a girl.

so this halloween as i'm handing out candy i will see myself in every little girl with her hair twisted into three buns and light saber in her hand and the galaxy in her eyes. finally, finally the story is about her.
i wrote this in like five minutes after ranting to my mom so y'know i got feelings about representation in the media and sexism and also space
Jan 2016 · 806
2015
daniela Jan 2016
expecto patronum.
the first time i got on stage
and read my words to a library full of high schoolers
with wide eyes and open ears, i thought i was going to puke.
everywhere.
my hands were vibrating like all the molecules in them
were trying to break free and leave,
like i was trying to break free and leave.
but *******, i’d never felt so alive.
i’m learning that if you’re afraid of things that, sometimes,
it just means that they matter.
the first time i was on stage, i practically shook out of my skin.
i thought i was going to ***** or faint or explode all over the front row.
and when i didn’t, i realized nothing else would ever feel good enough
after that in comparison.
i guess i’ve always expected to be a poem that everybody forgot about,
not one they memorized all the words to so when i stood on stage
and people told me they like the way my heart beats,
that’s… that’s everything.

expecto patronum.
the time difference between rome and kansas city is 7 hours.
we pile all the pillows and blankets into my hotel room,
and we drink limoncello from paper cups,
talking about everything and nothing.
our mouths are always running away, tangled up with our hearts.
we have been laughing too hard and running into the ocean
without looking back for the last two weeks.
it’s a funny feeling, to know that you are in the middle of a memory.
there are places to be in the morning, places to leave behind.
you sing along to weezer, half asleep under a mess of blankets,
and i like to pretend that you sing for me.
you will always remind me of the sun of my skin.
i love every single person in this room so much it’s kind of ridiculous,
a bond born of late nights and dumb jokes and stranger streets.
this is the time of my life thus far.
around 3 AM the room clears and i feel a little less lonely
than i’d ever been.

expecto patronum.*
we are singing along to saturday, front row of the lawn.
it’s been twelve years since 2003 but we still know every word,
learned them along the way,
and fall out boy still closes the show on
the same guitar chords and melody.
some things don’t need to change.
the song gets more relevant by the year,
and that’s how you know art is good --
when it still matters after you probably should’ve outgrown it.
our feet still keep time.
so we’ll always have saturday and the songs we play,
blaring loud from borrowed speakers and mouths.
i close my eyes and sing along, not caring if it’s off-key.
my ribcage feels like it is not near enough to contain my heart.
and when pete wentz says
“can i see the kids on the lawn tonight get ******* loud?” into the mic, we all scream.

expecto patronum.  
i am seventeen today
and i still fluctuate between feeling seven and seventy,
but that’s okay.
today’s not a day for counting candles anyways.
today, we drove downtown to sit outside as it gets dark
and listen to other people sing because we can’t carry a **** tune.
later, we climb and sit, watch the city lights spread out beneath us.
in that moment, there’s nothing better. there’s nothing else.
we know it’s a lie, but it still feels like this city belongs to us,
at least for tonight.

expecto patronum.
we are groggy, somewhere between sleep and consciousness
as 2016 rolls in.
the last week of 2015 has been a good one,
full of sore feet and laughing and sunsets i’d never seen yet,
but we’re tired now.
the display menu for star wars: the empire strikes back
is playing in a loop on my TV screen,
we both fell asleep before darth vader tells luke that he’s his father.
upstairs i can hear people counting, cheering.
tomorrow i will drink flutes of champagne for breakfast
and think the snow outside is beautiful
even though i hate the way it feels.
the morning light will feel new and old at the same time.
my skin fits a little better now than it did a year ago.
i’m not always good, but i am so much better.
right now, there’s nowhere i’d rather be.
happy new year. i'm remembering the best of 2015. i hope 2016 is good to us all.
daniela Dec 2015
1.  i left my soul on the last stage i was on. i have this problem where sometimes it feels that i am only alive when i’m bleeding. we are double edged swords of people. we always get cut up. people are only the aftermath of their actions.

2. as long as you have hands, you can build something. as long as you have hands, you can break something. as long as you have hands, you can punch through walls. as long as you have hands, you can fill in the holes. as long as you have hands, you are not helpless.

3. disco inferno can be translated from latin to mean: i learn by means of hell. trial by fire. so unlearning things is hard. i don't believe in anything yet i still catch myself praying sometimes.

4. the entire world watched kate middleton’s wedding to prince william because we wanted so badly to believe that they loved each other so they’d stay loving each other. we like fairytales even more since we started realizing how often they don’t end in happily ever after.

5. sometimes love is the lie we tell ourselves to sleep easier.

6. you never start loving someone with the intention of hurting them. but nobody mentions their best intentions and we’ve all gotta live with what we’ve ruined. you were the last thing about me that made sense. no one ever made sense to me the way you did.

7. i don’t know if i believe in love, but i believe in the lack of it. i write a lot about love, but i fear i do not understand it. tell me, what were you looking so hard for that i didn’t even make your line of vision?

8. beauty is so often a matter of perspective. leaving is so often a matter of perspective.

9. so everyone lives and everyone leaves and everyone dies eventually, we hang up pictures over the holes we punched in our walls. we move on.
a french proverbs that translates to "everyone sees noon at their doorstep"
daniela Dec 2015
when my words don't start as twelve point font
they tend to come out all wrong.
you said you're no good at words but you’re a liar
you said you’re no good at words, i'm no good at saying them.
the air was always heavy between my heart and my mouth.
and sick to say, i’m coughing up a confession
i pretend every poem you’ve ever written is about me
and i know it’s not.
but you make every line i write make sense, every clumsy lyric
in my head into a symphony
while i still feel like cacophony of contradictions:  
i like liquor that doesn’t taste like liquor
and love that doesn’t love like love,
i am scared of love and i am obsessed with it.
i think i could have everything i ever wanted
and it still wouldn't mean **** without you.
now my head is so cluttered, gutted out from missing you
and when i said give me something to remember i didn't mean a scar.
but i could never hate you
how could you hate somebody who bared their soul to you,
told your 2 AM confessions to?
i ran out of way to write you down poetically,
and now when i talk about you it’s just pathetically.
always kissed me hello like you were saying goodbye
and this poem is not about love, this poem about leaving.
go on, jaywalk your way right out of my heart.
because poets don’t know how
say i love you and writing is remembering
but living is forgetting.
so brand it in my memory, poetry is always cheaper than therapy.
all my friends took psychology, rooted around in their heads,
but i took anatomy; cut myself up and open.
some people pick scabs and some people buy band-aids.
guess which one i am?
i am terrible, i do not want a love that’s good for me.
i want a love that takes me over
and turns me inside out.
i want you even when you want nothing to do with me.
you know me, just tryna kick that writer's block with some cliche angst
Nov 2015 · 618
white noise
daniela Nov 2015
loving you was kind of like oversleeping.
quiet and so, so loud
when i opened up my eyes.
i spend all my time running late,
shaking the daydreams out of my head.
something about you
reminded me of all times i just wanted to sleep the year away,
wake up next september and have everything be okay,
and how glad i was i stayed awake for july,
a few months past my bedtime.
it’s the line running on repeat in the cracks of my brain,
there’s a symphony in here playing, it’ll never be the same.
looks like the conductor called in sick,
so it’s like some ill-conceived medley
of tchaikovsky and biggie
and if you don’t know now you know
to the backing music to the nutcracker.
every book i’ve read and every movie i’ve ever fell asleep to
are so tangled up that i can’t make out the lines
i actually wrote underneath them.
what i’m trying to say is that it’s all cymbal crashes in here
and i’ve run out of metaphors, i fear  
that i can’t seem to say anything at all right now,
i am writer’s block at 3 o’clock
and the afternoon has no right to feel 2 AM like this.
i used to think loneliness only happened
when it was the middle of night and i was wondering why
i couldn’t seem to take up all the space in a twin bed on my own,
or when i was in the middle of crowd
and i kept catching myself searching for someone who just... isn’t there.
and this poem has been in process
in the back of my head for a long time,
for about as long as i’ve known you.
i keep adding lines and crossing them back out,  
i keep opening my mouth and sewing it back shut.
you see, it’s very… crowded in my head,
often i feel like i’m exceeding capacity.
like a thousand word per minute,
like a thousand poems and i could never finish it,
i guess that’s is why i “write like i’m running out of time”
i guess that’s why when i perform i speak so fast
my words get caught and my tongue gets tangled,
i’m stuck looking for new angles,
i haven’t met a cliche i haven’t mangled --
what i’m trying to say is
that there’s a lot of ******* going on in here
and you make it all go…
quiet.
and don’t get me wrong,
i love myself, in the way you’ve got to love yourself
when you don’t really always like yourself.
but still, i spend a lot time wishing i had a better handle on myself.
wishing i could press pause
just to give me enough time unscramble myself,
wishing that i was less;
less difficult, less rough, less soft, less messy.
because sometimes i feel so ******' chaotic
and you...
you make everything stop for just a second.
you make everything about me feel okay.
and now, i don’t know about god
but i believe in love and i believe in poetry.
now, i’m not much for destiny
but i believe in the way you sometimes look at me.
to put it simply, you make me want to write poems
about weezer and way you smile.
simple stuff. good stuff.
and i like you because you never pretended
that you were too cool to know the words,
our lips moving just the same.
because we are stumbling, tumbling through life
and i want to spend mine with people
who aren’t so ******* scared of admitting that.
because i measure my heartbeat in drumbeats,
in what’s pouring through my headphones,
and the fact that you get that makes me feel so much less alone.
all the chords/cords tangled like our hearts on the floor,
i’m not going to write you love song, baby,
i’m going to write you an anthem.
because you and i, we we're composed to same notes.
and i could find a lot of ways to phrase this --
we’re made of the same stuff, stardust, kindred spirits
or something like that;
because i’m so good at words,
but my words aren’t near good enough to find a way to say
that you are the space between silence and noise,
where my heart goes to rest.
this is love poem about a person but, like, also 90% about weezer
Nov 2015 · 14.9k
unsent text messages (1/?)
daniela Nov 2015
TO: icarus
i don’t feel anything when i look at you anymore
TO: icarus
but, sometimes, i miss your freckles like crazy
TO: icarus**
okay so maybe i lied
TO: icarus
i keep trying not to
i keep failing
TO: icarus
but i guess it’s just that
you are like no one i’ve met
TO: icarus
and it’s dumb to call you my first love
when you didn’t even love me back,
but… man, you were my first love
TO: icarus
i love(d) you so bad.
TO: icarus
and if i see you on the sidewalk,
i cross the street because i’m so afraid of brushing by you
and falling all over again
TO: icarus
i don’t think i’d be strong to crawl back out this time
TO: icarus
how dumb i was to think i’d be enough for icarus
TO: icarus
i loved icarus and he dragged me into the sun with him
TO: icarus
i loved icarus and he let me drown in the ocean,
grasping for the feathers of his wings
TO: icarus
you made me want to understand gods,
but i only knew about monsters
TO: icarus
god, you didn’t deserve the immortality
that i gave you
TO: icarus
you didn't deserve a single thing
TO: icarus
so if i’m ever the kind of poet they write biographies about
and whose work high schoolers are forced to analyze,
some underpaid english teacher
is going to have to talk about you
as the mysterious and slightly vilified figure
prevalent in my work
TO: icarus
you're in between every line
Oct 2015 · 1.2k
a tavola non s'invecchia
daniela Oct 2015
i am the sum of my worst parts.
i am best friends with my loathing,
i dress all my nightmares in sheep's clothing.
i tell my mother they're friends of mine,
i tell my mother i am fine.
we were terrible actors but, god, were we good at memorizing the lines.
but we both know that nothing’s worse than insincerity.
i think i was so lost i couldn’t stand being found.
it was all i knew, my old paint under the new.
you know what it’s like,
you get stuck in a sadness so sweet
you almost mistake it for something you deserve.
you become comfortable.
it’s a process, cut my losses
relapsed back into my sadness and all my bad habits,
begging you to lick the wine and water off my lips,
the way you grip my hips,
just press me down into the sheets until i don’t exist.
we wrote an album full anthems and we couldn’t carry a **** tune.
you’re just a big bleeding heart, an open wound of a person  
and everybody loves you
and everybody hates you
like the radio hit that made their favorite band big.
so this is for all the times you were told to bite your tongue
but you were so tired of bleeding.
this is for all the times you opened your mouth
but never spoke.
this is for all the times you talked to fill the air
but never really said anything.
you are what you think. you are what you say. you are what you do.
but, maybe most importantly, you are what you don’t do.
because what if icarus had been cautious?
what if icarus had never left the ground?
i guess one way to love somebody is when they're never around,
and i guess there’s people like that;
those who only want to hear songs they’ve already heard.
there’s people like that, those who don’t want to learn anything
that they don’t already know.
there’s people like that, those who don’t like to question things.
science and god sit at the dinner table as lovers.
they say their vows in verse,
in a thousand different languages.
neither of them have the whole story,
but together, i’m told sometimes they make a lot of sense.
science and god sit at the dinner table as equals.
art and wonder and the human spirit are their children.
love may be a myth, but it’s my favorite one.
we do not age at the dinner table
we do not know hate at the dinner table
we spit bullets and grow flowers into vases.
we knock elbows, and argue, and love, and reconcile, and praise.
we spill wine not blood.
we do not know hate at the dinner table.
and i find, at the dinner table, seated
between past and present
between heart-ache and hopefulness
between glory and insignificance
i am not so lonely.
inspired by the italian proverb
"we do not age at the dinner table / a tavola non s'invecchia"
Oct 2015 · 374
untitled
daniela Oct 2015
she got a tattoo stenciled “tabula rasa” and could never see the irony.
Oct 2015 · 767
the process of erosion
daniela Oct 2015
the marble stairs leading up the leaning tower of pisa
are worn down like lips beginning to frown.
this is result of 500 years of walking.

i know a lot of people who shrink into themselves,
arms crossed and shoulders hunched,
as if they are apologizing for taking up so much space.
this is the result of 15 years of walking all over somebody.

this is erosion.
this is the result of thinking that
if you wear someone down then they’ll fit better,
that you’ll find something different underneath what you’ve chipped away.
this is the result of thinking that you can change someone
or that they can change you.

and i know the dangers of thinking
you can find yourself inside of someone else.
it’s easy to lose yourself in other people.
and i had this terrible habit of being who ever you wanted me to be.

you only liked me quiet.
you only liked me when i was easy to hold.
you make me feel how the lovers in the movies do.
you make me feel the way it's silent in the theatre while the credits roll through.
you make me feel miles away even when i’m next to you.

and one day, i caught myself nodding along to opinions
i didn’t even agree with just on autopilot
and i was thinking to myself, my god, is this who you think i am?

i hate the way my name stains your mouth.
i hate the way you make me want to talk softer and softer
until i’m not even saying anything.
i hate the way you make me feel like i have to pretend.

i spent so long trying to be someone you could love
and i am so ******* tired of loving people who make me
feel ashamed of myself.

i am a ten page poem with no stanzas.
and if you don’t get me, then good,
i am not meant to be quantified and understood.
everything i am is right here on my sleeve
and i will not reinvent myself for someone who flinched
at how loud my impatient heartbeat
sounded in a quiet room.
i’ve spent too long thinking that people didn’t love me
because i didn’t make it easy enough,
didn’t sand myself down to fit into the edges of their lives.
i’ve spent too long feeling like i was intimidating, too difficult.
i have spent too long trying to make
myself smaller and smaller until i started to
disappear.

i don’t know how i ever gave you the power to make or break me
but i’m taking it back.
because i don’t want to give away myself,
i don’t want to be just a reflection of somebody else.
and i’ll admit, i do not want to be as complicated as i am.
i do not want to turn my wool black.
i do not want be fractured into boxes.
but i am bigger than your shadow and i am better than these bones.
maybe i am difficult and maybe i don’t care.  

because, baby, when you make me in your image
don’t you dare flinch away from
the reflection.
this poem means a lot to me in a weird way
daniela Sep 2015
sometimes falling for someone is like sky-diving,
and sometimes it’s like jumping off golden gate bridge.
sometimes falling for someone is like sky-diving without a parachute
and still expecting to land on your feet,
sometimes falling for someone is like jumping off the golden gate bridge
and wishing you could climb back up in the split second
before you hit the ground.
see, you and me, we’re a little like my teeth;
all the things i let get just a bit crooked
because i didn't try hard enough to keep them in place.
i think there's a metaphor somewhere in there.
i think there's a metaphor in everything if i look hard enough.
but the thing is, life isn't poetry.
it doesn't always have an overarching meaning and message.
and not everything makes sense in stanzas if you unscramble it.
so i think the biggest lie i’ve ever heard about love
is that it sets you free.
but in the same breath our heartbeats sync up
like all those people who made love look so easy, so simple.
you are a home i don't know how to find my way back to,
and i know you can’t make rest-stops into safe havens
and i know if you’re going to try to make homes out of people
then you can’t be surprised when your house falls apart
and you have to move away.
but you, you were good at making hotels feel like homes.
you were good at making things
like open roads and bedsheets and stolen moments
feel like they belonged to us.
like that twin bed and the two of us
with our feet are tangled and our wires are crossed.
we were always spilling over the edges.
you never fit into any part of my life, but you still squeezed.
and not in a bad way, maybe more of a i'm mad at you
for finding all this extra space in me
i never knew was there until you
and then having the nerve to leave it empty.
so i guess i don't really miss people, i just miss the spaces
they leave behind.
the cracks in my pavement.
and god, what a dangerous thing to think
that someone else can make you whole.
and god, what a dangerous thing to think
that someone else can save you from yourself.
Sep 2015 · 734
mr. universe
daniela Sep 2015
they say don’t become a teacher
if you want to make money,
become a teacher
if you want to make a difference.
true enough, when you’ve got hundreds of
young impressionable minds staring up
at you from 7:40 until 2:40 everyday
still unmolded like hunks of clay,
you’ve got a weird kind of power in your hands.    
so maybe it makes sense that
my art teacher starts class some days
with a ten minute sermon on the hazards of fracking
that blurs into his feelings on education in america,
all before we even make a mark on our canvases.  
my art teacher is a bit of a conspiracy theorist,
but i think all myths are rooted in some fact
and all conspiracy theories started with a little bit of truth
so i like to listen instead of rolling my eyes.
some days instead of painting and teaching us
about shapes of value
he takes up his worn down soapbox,
preaching to a choir that doesn’t care much for singing.
today, he starts talking about color
and way we perceive it
and as i watch, it spirals into a lecture
on the universe
and the way we believe in it.  
color is just reflecting light,
the world is just a reflection of how we perceive it.
matrix of the mind, we see through projector eyes.
the world is a CD, our brains are a scanner
the biggest video game there ever was.  
we’re all holographic minds, he says,
what will you find if you pick yourself a part?
nothing but 1’s and 0’s,
reading like a laser and telling you stories.
he paints a picture with more than brushes,
with his hands waving,
talking about the emptiness of the world
in comparison fullness we believe it to have.
the world isn’t there, the world isn’t real, he says.
these bodies of ours are just space suits,
how silly of us to care about their imperfections
and insignificant differences when really
they’re just just vessels.
we’re just tripping on an acidic universe,
the world is just a bandwidth
and how we read it is based on what we believe in.  
and isn’t that comforting? he asks,
isn’t that freeing?
to know that nothing is real,
so nothing can hurt you?
isn’t it incredible? he says, when you think of it
that way you have nothing to fear.
but you see, knowing is pretty **** different
than believing.
knowing that theoretically, technically,
nothing can hurt you
doesn’t mean you won’t still hurt.
human feelings cannot be quantified
and analyzed so neatly and completely despite our very best efforts.
we are all too messy, we are all outliers in our own rights.
knowing or believing that reality isn’t real
doesn’t change the way hunger feels or the way a heart breaks.
intelligence does not alleviate fear,
really i think it’s more likely to intensify it
because then it’s harder to ignore anything.  
you know what they say: ignorance is bliss.
and maybe reality is perception
and nothing can hurt us if nothing's real
but i'm pretty sure if somebody shot me in the head
i'd still be pretty ****** no what reality
i’ve been perceiving.  
perception does not protect you from reality
like a bullet proof vest does.
and he talks about how belief systems
dictate everything you do,
how they close you off from anything new.  
this enlightened guy who preaches about the universe
in one breath and says,
"you know, most girls don’t like sci-fi," in another,
doesn’t even realize what kind of beliefs
he has internalized himself.
but then i suppose we only see what we want to see,
only notice what we want to take in.  
and don't get me wrong i like him i do,
this art teacher with all his big ideas
about the universe we reside in.
i like him in that way we’re all familiar with
where you sometimes have to ignore
an off-handed comment to still like people
but that's another story, that's another poem.
so if a tree falls in an empty forest with no one around
to hear it then does it even make a sound?
if i am speaking to any empty room
then do my words even matter?
if i am alone then do i still exist without anyone
there to take witness?
what i’m trying to say is:
i don’t think the world stops existing
if there’s no one there to see it.
crimes still happen with no witnesses,
miracles still happen with no witnesses.
maybe the world is just a bandwidth
and how we read it is based on what we believe in,
and maybe your belief system colors your view
like kids with crayons and coloring books,
and in a lot of cases they can close your mind
like a trap door,
but there is nothing wrong with belief and believing.
for some people it is all they have.
and even if i don’t believe in god,
who i am to play the part
and try to shatter other people’s realities?
what good will come the broken glass?
maybe we are mice in our mazes;
but if we are happy here,
blissfully ignorant as we may be,
is that a bad thing?
and even in the labyrinth there is still sometimes light,
even deep in the maze some people
find a place to rest.
Sep 2015 · 928
polling numbers
daniela Sep 2015
i am the kind of kid
who when i think of birthdays i think
eighteen instead of twenty one.

i have been wanting to vote since before
it ever even occurred to me to look forward to ***** shots.

so fast forward to 2015, gearing up to the 2016 presidential race
and guess who of all people is in first place?
donald trump.

and it’s funny
because i had an argument with a friend the other day
over the importance of voting.
politics? he says he just doesn’t care.
  
he doesn’t understand.
ignorance is not a luxury we can all afford.

donald trump is not funny.
he is far too scary and far too real to simply be a caricature.
make no mistake, donald trump doesn’t care for people like my father,
whether they’re here legally or not.
donald trump doesn’t care for people like me,
whether we were born here or not.
his compassion ends within a five mile
range of the the rio grande
and donald trump wants to “make america great again”
by building walls around us to keep anyone south of the border out.
donald trump wants to run this country like a corporation
with the HR department cut.

make no mistake, donald trump is not funny.
donald trump is not funny,
he is terrifying.
he is reminiscent of a past we cannot afford to repeat.

apathy is not a luxury we can all afford.  
remember: we are responsible for our own ignorance
we are just much of what we put into this world
as we are what we take
out of it.

if we don't like who is playing god
and we don’t like the way he pulls the strings,
we have to remember who handed him the bible
so he could swear himself in.
daniela Aug 2015
good artists copy, great artists steal,
and the best artists reinvent what they’re stolen.
so don’t think of it as stealing,
think of it as borrowing.
everyone who has ever created anything
puts out something new for future generations
to leave their fingerprints all over.
and i’m hoping for a change in the weather,
rearrange my life into something better
frankenstein a poem in an a love letter.
all us poets, we've all been writing the same old things.
we're just regurgitated, agitated,
trying to say something that hasn't already been said.
but i've heard every story follows the same seven plot lines.
all stories are the same narrative essentially
but all stories are still worth telling.
no idea is original
but there are ideas worth being repeated, reinvented.
so i steal from the greats, piggy-backing off the shoulders of giants
and borrowing from my betters
in hopes to better myself and them.
legacies exist because of people taking great things
and continuing to strive to make them greater.
legacies exist because they are given away
to everyone who hears them,
kept alive by tongues and hands and hearts.
when you write you are contained inside yourself.
but when i am here,
when i am on this stage, i am uncontained and free;
i’ve given myself away to all of you.
the thing about art is that once you put it out there
it doesn’t belong just to you anymore.
i’ve got just as much ownership over my favorite song
as the person who wrote it does because i feel just strongly about it.
i’m writing poems for people i’ve never met
i’m writing a love letter that i’ll wake only to forget.
so i think it's funny people call writing solitary.
it's funny to me that people call
the purest form of communication in art a lonely pursuit.
because i think really most writers are just trying to use what we're best
at as an intermediary, a middle man,
trying to make a connection with someone.
every writer has written something down
and hoped desperately that someone a hundred years from now,
someone on the other side of the world
will feel something when they read what they’ve written.
it’s funny.
most people think that writing, that poems,
are something i do instead of something i am;
taking away my words would be like taking away my bones.
i have a deep, passionate need to be heard
so i will scream until someone tells me they are listening,
until someone tells me to shut the **** up
because i cannot imagine a time when the untameable need
to tell stories, to string together fragments of poetry,
will not be bursting out of my veins.
something is not real until i write it down.
so we take photos as the titanic sinks.
we pull out our phones as the twin towers fall, call everyone we know.
what else would we do? just watch it go down silently?
i think the most basic of human instincts is the urge to communicate.
to make people understand
our love, our joy, our anger, our tragedy.
we are just spectators to the tragedy, guilty bystanders to the crime;
we have front row seats to the end of the world.
and when the sky is falling
you know we’ll all be calling each other saying,
“you’ll never believe what is happening.
i don’t know how to explain it,
but i’m going to try.”
Aug 2015 · 668
hurricanes
daniela Aug 2015
i guess i’ve always
been something of a
storm chaser.
and i guess that’s why
i kept chasing
after him saying,
saying,
“this hurricane won’t hurt me,
no, i’ll be just fine…”
but i guess i’m **** at predicting
the weather
because, baby,
i was still learning
that when it rained, it *******
poured
and i was standing there
without an umbrella
begging him to
please, please stay.
but the car’s already running
and my legs are shaking
like they should be too,
because i shouldn’t
be here,
this isn’t how it was
supposed to go, not this time
and maybe if i run away fast enough
this storm won’t get
in between us…
but my feet stick
to the pavement like it’s july
and the tar beneath my feet
is so hot i might melt
into it.
god, what i’d give
for it to be july
again because i swear,
i swear you loved me back then.
but i asked him
where he was going
and he said,
“somewhere where this hurricane
can’t touch me,”
and i’m still trying
to figure out if
i was the hurricane
or the mess in his head was.
and i never wanted
to be his demons
i just wanted to know their names.
and i never wanted
to get caught up in a storm
like him
i just wanted to believe
it could rain again.
so suddenly i didn’t believe
in rain,
i believed in
hurricanes,
the kind trapped in that jar
on my kitchen table.
and when my mother asks
because she’s gonna ask,
a mother always asks
i’m going to say,
“i had to go,
it was like i was suffocating
when he held me
but it was like drowning
when he was gone.”
it always felt like losing
with him.
and it really was.
so when i ran into him
for the first time since i learned
the definition of a
hurricane
we crashed into each other
like a collision course,
like we always did.
and the back of my mouth
doesn’t stop
tasting bitter for a few days
after
because i realized that’s
all we ever were
going to be.
for a moment
almost more terrifying
than the last time he saw me,
i didn’t know what else to say
but to breathe out,
“i’m sorry,” so softly
neither of us
quite know what i’m
apologizing for
and he knows better than
anybody
i never knew how
to apologize,
neither did he.
but i’m learning
and i hope he is too.
our mouths
have already made a mess
of so many good things
but i don’t know how
to bite my tongue;
i’m just too terrified of bleeding
and i could never ******* help it
so i asked him
where he was going
and he said,
“somewhere it doesn’t rain,”
and i…
i really hope
it’s dry
wherever you are.
another oldie but hi i'm daniela and i really like hurricane metaphors
Aug 2015 · 664
the permanence of fireflies
daniela Aug 2015
when i was a sophomore in highschool
it seemed like half of my class gave themselves stick and pokes,
homemade DIY tattoos out of india ink and mom’s sewing needles
etched dot by dot into their skin.
we were sixteen;
we all wanted to be something permanent.
but even the ink fades eventually
and all that’s left is discolored skin and scars.
everything fades eventually.
even we all decompose eventually,
but i’ve been trying not too hard to think in terms of a legacy
because words like that are so heavy.
i don’t want to work so hard to have something to leave behind
that i have nothing while i’m here.
everyday the number of our hours fluctuates
with every little decision we make,
everyday the length of our legacy is determined
by what we’re leaving behind in our wake.
i'm afraid i've been taught to plan for the future so thoroughly
that it has stolen my lust for the now.
i could tell you my five year plan
but i’m not sure if i could tell you why i want to get up out of bed tomorrow
or what makes me excited to be alive.
in planning i’m always looking down at my hands,
always looking ahead of me but never right in front of me.
i’ve been trying to build a monument
but i forgot to make it mean anything.
so wash me away like footprints in the beach,
i was never really here unless i was with you anyways.
i have an ink-stained love letter and camera roll full of memories
as a testament to what was, or better yet to what wasn’t.
and everybody told me not count hours, but you know i never listened.
none of us ever listened, cautionary tales like warning signs
and we ignored them all.
we were all sixteen, getting chipped down and broken up
for the first time and we all wanted to be whole again.
you can put back together fragments,
but you’ll still see where the cracks were.
you take your broken bones and you learn to splint them
until they heal up,
until you only remember when it’s raining and you’re aching
for something you thought you buried.
we just a bunch of fistfight kids getting out of love
with ****** knuckles and smirks like “you should see the other guy”
we were all each other’s punching bags
and i think we all liked bruises
because we thought if we pressed them than they’d scar,
then at least something would stay permanent.
but it was 4 AM, all the hours flew away and all my tattoos were stick on.
you were always right and i was always wrong.
so let’s pretend that all this empty street in front of us is really ours
and let’s get pulled over for noise disturbances
like we were always laughing too loud, scared shitless
and staring at each other’s faces
in the red and blue lights until everything looks purple.
let’s stay out until the sun starts to rise like we’ve got nowhere to be,
fumbling around with bottle openers and each other’s hearts.
let’s do things not just to collect experiences,
let’s do things not just to say we did.
let’s do things that will only be immortalized by stories
because i think that’s why we tell stories, or at least i know that’s why i do:
the need to be remembered staves off the fear of being forgotten.
and i am no exception,
i don’t care about the slowly expanding sun, i just… want to be someone.
you see it’s just that a lot people want to go out with bang,
but i ain’t trying to go out at all.
because i used to be terrified of being forgotten,
i used to be terrified of leaving this world without so much as a foot print.
i remember i wanted to be quoted,
i wanted my words to live forever even if i had no pulse.
i wanted to know about immortality.
and i’m not all talk, i’m all writer’s block;
unable the eloquently string myself together like poetry.
because i’ve learned words don’t make you permanent,
they just make you a little harder to wash away.
and photographs don’t keep things from fading,
they just make it hurt more to remember them.
i’ve learned words just prolong death, they don’t dispel it.
so let’s do this.
it’s the closest i’ll ever get to the fountain of youth,
to undeniable truth, to lasting.  
let’s do this, let’s tell stories, let’s talk tongued tied with poetry.
again and again, every night.
let’s get on stage and root around in our chest cavities,
try to find where we misplaced our hearts for a start
and then try to find all the truths hidden inside ourselves
we always swore were there.
because this is the only time i feel like the world can’t knock me down,
because this is the only time that i wouldn’t even care if it did.
because i always want to feel like this.
i want to feel like i matter for one fleeting, fleeting moment.  
because if i could capture this moment in my hands like a firefly
then it would still die.
it would still die even if you had to pry it out of my cold dead fingers.
so something is not good because it lasts.
something is good because it matters while it did.
i think this one might make more sense performed rather than read
Aug 2015 · 454
layers
daniela Aug 2015
charlie chaplin
once told his daughter
that her naked body should only
belong to those
who fall in love with
her naked soul.
now,
my soul’s hardly naked.
it wears layers and layers
to keep hurt out,
sometimes to keep love out.
but if you can manage
to strip me down,
my soul bare,
and the rest of me clothed
but ******* shivering
like a little kid who got
caught in a blizzard,
trying to catch snowflakes
to keep under my tongue;
if you manage to pull that
all away
and strip me down
to a mess of
private parts –
the parts i don’t tell people
about,
the parts i sectioned off
and hastily labeled
mineminemine
because i wasn’t ready to
share myself,
and the parts of myself
i deemed too fragile
to withstand
your gaze.
you see,
i don’t dismantle
my walls
for just anybody.
but if you strip me down,
past the things we all use
to hide out,
maybe you could love
my naked soul.
i’ve never been the kind of girl
who liked the idea of
“belonging”
to someone but
there are much worse fates
i could think of
than belonging to
you.
this is 2+ years old and somehow i still like it
daniela Jun 2015
1.  apply for that job, to that university, to that internship. call back the friend you haven’t talked to in a while, call back the boy who left that voicemail you can’t delete, call the person you never said a real goodbye to. do it now, do it today. stop putting it off. stop waiting because you keep saying you’ll do it the next day, the next week, the next year like any of these are guaranteed and suddenly you’ve put your life on hold for a later date. stop living for days you might not have. if you want to do it before you die, if you’ll always regret not doing it, then stop putting it off.

2. do not say i love you just because someone else does.

3. don’t let the fear of saying something you’ll regret ever keep you from speaking. you have so much to say.

4. an open letters to all young writers, poets, teenagers and twenty-somethings with inked-stained fingers: you say your writing’s ****. and i’m not gonna lie to you, sometimes it probably is. but sometimes everybody’s best words and ideas still kind of ****. whatever’s on the paper right now might be no good but keep writing, because some day it might be something people find worth quoting or sprawling on their wrists in semi-permanence. we all started at the same place. some day people might read your words and find the truth they were looking for.

5. do not listen to anyone who tells you to curb your ambition, tells you to aim for less than exactly what you want. do not listen to anyone who tells you to aim for something a little more achievable. if you allow yourself to settle, to set your sights on something a little less risky than it’s true you will never be disappointed. but you will also never be satisfied. the risk is often worth it, and if it isn’t then get back up and take another one. life doesn’t not happen when you’re sitting still, so do not listen to anyone who tells you that not everyone can be a star. you do not need negativity. you have no use for people who don’t believe in you.

6. make peace with your demons, they are a part of you too.

7. decide you want it so much more than you are afraid of of it. your fear is like cough syrup - tough to swallow. but you need to, you need to. the things you’re scared of are the things you will remember. adventure is rarely found inside of your comfort zone and sometimes if you are terrified that just means that it matters.

8. never make yourself miserable for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

9. there is a time and place to sharpen your tongue; know when it is. sometimes you need to be mean, you just do. sometimes you need to be selfish, sometimes you need to protect yourself, sometimes you need to think about what you want. sometimes you need to put yourself first because if you don’t no one else will.

10. but in general, be kind. it might not get you everywhere you want to be, but you’ll usually find wherever you are you’ll be happier and sleep easier. so, be kind. be gracious. be grateful. remember, some people have to fight every single day for the rights and opportunities you’ve been born with. in the grand scheme of things, we’re pretty ******* lucky.
an ongoing piece / series
daniela Jun 2015
it's tempting sometimes.
the impulse to withdraw all the money from my bank account
and drive down I70 until the scenery changes,
the impulse to wander without bothering to find anything
let alone myself.
the impulse to disappear.
but impulses are just impulses,
i think this is just the way my mind convulses
and, obviously, i can't do any of those things.
or maybe i just feel like i can't do any of those things.
i mean, i've got responsibilities i've got people counting on me.  
i can't just up and leave my life
even though sometimes i'm itching to like i've got poison ivy
crawling all over my skin.
speaking of poison, i've heard people theorize that
maybe oxygen is slow-acting poison, taking all of our lives
to **** us under the guise of "natural causes"
i think if you stay anywhere long enough
the air becomes polluted, the air gets toxic.
my highschool art teacher,
who was incidentally a real conspiracy theory kind of guy,
once told our class that we're all too locked into our realities.
that life is only what we perceive it.
i had snickered along with the rest of the class,
the rest of the unwilling congregation to his soapbox pulpit,
because that's what people do when they're uncomfortable.
now i guess i wish i was a little less locked into my own reality.
i guess i wish i could be the kind of person
who bought plane one-way plane tickets and could be reckless
without first getting tangled in the repercussions.
i think the problem with running is
that no matter where i ran i'd still be me.
most people tie their feet to the train tracks of inevitability,
they will build a house there until it falls down around them.
they will live there until they're evicted,
with their hands still clenched in the sheets
and their feet planted in the backyard.
most people never leave where they grew roots.
but, see, the problem with roots is that unless you want to die
you can't ever pull them out completely.
i am always going to be from somewhere.
i am always going to be from here.
i am always going to be myself.
but life is a work in progress and i'm ******* working on it,
i'm not where i want to be
but as long as i know where i've been,
i don’t ever have to go back to where i was again.
my head is so crowded that sometimes i think it's exceeding its occupancy.
i think that i'm going to start having to get rid
of pieces of myself to make everything fit.
sometimes i just want to lose all my thoughts along the interstate
like i lose them halfway through a poem
i'm not quick enough to write down.
my head is like a graveyard with good ideas
buried under cracked tombstones that no one leaves flowers on.
sometimes i think of my brain as a black hole,
a place where light gets lost and doesn't come back out the same.
sometimes i think of my brain as a moratorium,
a place where dreams go
to get dressed for their funeral processions.
but sometimes i think of my brain as midas,
any idea can be golden if i get my hands on it.
sometimes i just want to hold my coalmine heart so tightly
that all that's left is diamonds.
the thing is, sometimes my brain is a like a black hole
and sometimes my brain is like a galaxy.
on my good days i'm golden, on my bad days i'm falling apart
and i lose a couple more more of my pieces every time i hit the ground.
but it's all internal; i think if i were to self-destruct
it wouldn't even make a sound.
and so often i think of the world as a battlefield,
i think i was born in the trenches instead of the home front.
i think i found myself in the worst place to get lost.
we went to bed as children
and woke up with the world on our shoulders
we went to bed as innocent and woke up as soldiers.
and you can't save people from themselves,
even though we've spent the last few millennia trying to.
we're like that sometimes, we never learn.
and even when i was drowning six feet under gasping for air,
you never needed to save me from myself,
my shadow is more than just the reflection of somebody else.
so go on, get your armor
so go on, get your battle scars
so take aim, so don't be ashamed
it's uphill sometimes but i kind of think we're getting there,
even if i don't always know where is.
sometimes you don't sink or swim,
you just thrash around until you start floating
our life jackets are all labeled "here's to hoping, here's to coping"
so **** your horoscopes.
you only listen to it when it tells you what you want to hear anyways.
so don't go to bed, kid, stay wide awake.
it's better for dreaming, it's better for scheming.
nobody is going to hand you your destiny,
you've got to ******* fight for it.
and we're all learning how to open our eyes
when we get pulled under by the tide and lick the salt off our teeth.
and if you're searching for purpose,
for something that might be worth this,
i can tell you where not to look.
kid, i've been there.
**** it, most days i still am there.
i built a house out of deflated life preservers there
and was surprised when it didn't float me home.
but this is what i know now:
i know i have a choice in how i look at this world.
am i going to focus on the brutal or the beautiful?
because for all the ugly there is so much that’s still lovely,
so don't let this ******* of a world steal your bright eyes,
cutting your eyelashes down to size.
don't let this ******* of a world tell you to settle for anything.
and when they tell you about icarus like a warning sign,
ask them "what good is a cautionary tale that doesn't **** up?"
new piece i've been working on. kinda digging it and wondering what people think. also let's play a game called "how many times will daniela reference icarus in her poetry even though she knows it's hella cliche because she doesn't care and loves it anyway?"
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