feel free to knock out a few
of your sweet teeth,
so you can get down to business
drinking this bitter bean juice

i keep screaming that it's just. not. smart.
if you keep cutting ties, you'll never get a job.
for one thing,
short ties look unprofessional
you'll not make much of an adult
without some more support
you need to put yourself out there
and find it on your own

the real world is scary
if the window cleaner would dig a little deeper
and you were less blinded by the shine of my bleached teeth
i'm sure it would be clear

You watched me grow,
my colors shined like diamonds,
but you forgot about me.

You forgot how fragile I can be,
now I have fallen at your feet,
yet you can’t see me.

My tides break, My shores quake,
and my coral fray
washing away with the waves.

Climate change can be a serious thing,
it’s up to you how it changes.

You think you’re so small?
You think you don’t cause change?
Oh how ignorant you are,
you are too blind to see,
you even effect me.

Just because you can’t see something
doesn’t change if that something is real.
Just because you can’t feel something
doesn’t make it less physical.

You think you are insignificant?
Then look closer at your life,
for even now you’re affecting
your surroundings just by being here.

Is that not the point to living;
to experience and grow with
those experiences?

Well I am serious
we need to make a change.

Our Earth needs us to wake up,
and take notice of what we need to do
to help her to keep growing
and stop life from dying.

We need to make the change
before the climate makes it for us.  

© 2017 Amanda D Shelton

I don't remember when we stopped
Going to the grocery shop together
When the silence grew too loud to talk over
When I'd stopped trailing after you with the rattling bones of canned soup, clutching the well rusted handles of the shopping cart asyou pioneered your way
Down the discount aisles proud and dusty
Stopping to pick up another sugar laden piece of the American Dream

I do remember my first day grocery shopping alone, squeaking with my empty cart hesitantly down the aisle waiting for you to come and tell me to put back the extra box of chewy chocolate chip cookies
The scuffed tiled floors shone, the fluorescent lighting cast a dull glow and I swear I heard soft angels humming over the white noise from the refrigerators
As I headed home to our white picket nightmare, the blue bags in the backseat shone like medals, subtle victories.

lmbf 5d

she wants to know me.
where i am from,
who i want to become.
i want to know her, too.
she asks me questions about who i was
and tells me i'm worth the fuss
i smile, knowing everything's alright.
but dear sister, though we win with words
i never was the type to have my voice heard
and i'm sorry for all the times i couldn't just say something
and for every time my glance didn't quite meet your eyes.
yet i promised in that summer promise
that one day we'd shine as bright as his stars and our city lights
and if you can forgive me for endless sorries
i think now's the time we just might.

to my sis, this one's for you.
Tashea Young Jul 18

I Fully comprehend what they mean by the struggle is real.
My true self is what I tend conceal
Afraid of what I feel
And lately it hurts as I began this process to heal

It's my pride I wish would die along side with the plenty of tears I cried
Its the chambers of secrets that silences My truth I tend to hide
Its the bottled up emotions that internally lie.
Its the unheard voices on the inside

Its the toxic and venomous things I can do without.
Its the violent roars from the untamed screams and shouts
I breathe in, and I  breathe out
I'm letting it go, I'm letting it all out
Then I sense the spirit of nature surrounding and filling me all about

Its what my mind perceives as pain that  My soul and body feels, embraces, and dances in the midst of the storm's rain
As it cleanses and purifies my lower self composed of dirt, blemishes, and bloody tainted stains.
Its all about the experience of learning, character building, and strength to help me sustain.
Because one would never know joy without pain, or sunshine without a little rain.
And now I'm alive again With Gold,  Royalty, And Power Flowing through my veins carrying microscopic Intellectual messages to and from my Renewed brain.

Gaib Jul 16

Okay kid here's the deal, you'll come into this world and everyone will tell you how to feel.

Fast forward, fifth grade, you're in the bathroom stall. The first time you knew the word gay, it was written as a slur on a dirty cement wall.

When your brother came out it shouldn't been a surprise, but even
you became accustomed to the fear behind his eyes.

Using art as an outlet, you set your electricity free, bleeding words onto paper, grasping for being who you wanted to be.

Drunk on idealism and Tumblr walls, discovering yourself, refusing to fall.

Into the same routine and monotony like the rest, you took your pain to the stage, ripped your heart open and confessed.

Screaming I AM WHO I AM, with your arms open wide, who knew one day you'd finally refuse to hide?

lmbf Jul 16

we fed caterpillars with the neighbors' honeysuckle
while you taught me how to shoot my shot (literally)
danced like t&g in those movies
when the days seemed longer than the millipedes we caught
we spun cartwheels on the dewy spring grass
barefoot and content
i tumbled over for the first time,
and we all laughed while our girls taught us cheers
we cruised away, knowing we'd have to come back and do it all over again
yet we were happy
we taught each other language and history
just the ten of us, telling stories
struggling to remember
don't you remember
the feeling of those good old days?
before i said "i ain't a kid no more"
long after you said "we'll never be those kids again."
we both walk away,
i say "it's not the same."
tried to find you in other people but it's not the same.
guess we both learned the hard way
that one day, all butterflies must fly away.

line 14 & everything in quotes are from "ivy" x frank ocean

Never trust a rose,
they might seem pretty;
until they prick you with their thorns.
______

You might like it
if I were shady like you.
Maybe then you won’t judge me
like you do.

Though that doesn’t change
who I am,
not unless I choose
to be shady like you.

Though I would rather be a daisy,
then a rose with a bloody stem.

The roses can’t make up their minds,
do they like the sunshine
or the shade?

I want freedom to grow
wherever I plant my roots.

I don’t care about being trimmed
or proper in the end.

Let my stem grow tall
and my roots grow deeper in,
so that I can become stronger
still and support my friends.

That’s all.

© 2017 Amanda D Shelton

Josh Jul 13

You are to come
As I did too
To that time
That shall frighten you
Your body will change
The world will seem strange
Your mind won't work the same from day to day

You will begin to notice things
That make no sense just yet
Feelings, you won't soon forget
Yet society tells you its wrong
You don't ask for fear of the answer
You are silent out of fear
Shaped by your fears
Fearing telling them, afraid of what you'll hear

Told, its just a phase, you'll be fine in time
Your heart, unlike your head
Isn't shaped by society but shapes itself instead
And as your heart leads
So follows your mind
And if you chase them
See what you may find

Society fills us with pointless noise
Girls are girls and boys are boys
Boys like girls, and nothing else
You are part of society there is no "self"
But they're lying, that's what they do
They use their words, to control me and you

But your love is your own, its natural
Who you are changes, it's not a disaster
You may be born, a clean slate
But its your choice who paints you
Are you going to be covered in words
Society's criteria of importance
Or will you be covered in art
Painted by life lived to the fullest

By lovers, friends
The start of relationships, and the ends
To make yourself a stand against society
A beautiful picture of anarchy
So please live free, live happily
Don't let society define you
Don't make the same mistake as me

From my self published book "ivory and gold" available on Amazon.

(Prelude: This piece is a parable with the imagination of a female named Allison with a ghostly presence residing in a suit of Knight's armor).

“They are of a better order” said the armor,
“A better order of beings in heaven.”

“Have you been to heaven?”
Allison asked the armor and
Quickly upon his ancient, blank steel gaze
She instantly felt a civil triumph
Hidden within her inquiry.


“Strange,” he responded,
"Strange it is that it is so far away
And yet it is right here
Inside of us all along.”

She gave him the hint of a
Curious gaze before placing
Her hand on her chest while saying,
“Are you saying heaven is in here?”

He replies,
“You think about it for a while and
When you have sufficiently parodied
The thought we shall think
Upon it again for I give
Up the argument for now -
I must retire” - and so he went
Wherever a ghost goes to rest.
There he wandered around
In the infinity of his mind until
A knock on the steel helmet came.
He answers through the opening,
“Who is it?”
Knowing all the while whom it was.

He opened the visor,
Showing the emptiness within.
She looked in his visor and
Giggled a girlish giggle
Saying, “I would carry this picture
With me to my grave -
My self professed conscience standing
Here in the doorway of my life
Looking into a metal head as
Empty as a hollow balloon,”
She giggled some more.
She pushed the visor open wider and
Stuck a finger in without
Any further solicitation
Saying as she looked about the emptiness,
“Shall I set foot in your dominion?”
Then she turned to him placing her hand
On her chest again as before,
“Or shall you set foot in mine?”


McDermott peaked thru to answer
Allison to find her now sitting on the edge
Of the bed – skillfully untying and
Removing her shoes as
She looked about the room.

Before he could answer and
Just as skillfully
She changed the subject, “You have a
Fine room here, quite roomy,
I think it must be twice the size of mine.”

The sun was setting outside the doubled
Windows and through the curtains
The light that filled the room tinted the
Contents of the room a crimson red.

There they were, quite all alone,
Her sitting on the bed,
Him encased in his Knight’s suit of armor.
Each waiting for the other
To make some sort of move.
Turning away from her,
Not to avoid the inevitable but
To experience the possible –
McDermott says,
“But this is your room.”
Pointing to the room receipt
On the top of the dresser,
“See, it has your name on it.
I am merely a figment of your imagination,
Something you have conjured up.”

“I know, I know,
You have said all this before,”
Pounding her fists into the
Bed as she cries,
“Cannot you for once come
From inside that
Silly suit of armor so that I may see you?”

“Look at the receipt, what does it say?” McDermott answers.

“I told you, I know,
It has my name as the registered
Guest of the Knights Inn, so what?
Have I not been coming here
Every year for three years,
Every year for the week of All Saint’s Day,
Just so that I can be with you?
And every year it’s the same old thing –
You speak like you are
Somewhere in a barrel,
And I never see you, I just feel you.”

“It is not with your ears that you hear me,
It is with your heart,”
McDermott explains,
“You come here year after year
Looking for truth –
Can you accept that I am
Only here if you are here?”

Sprawling out backwards across the bed,
She replies with disgust,
“Truth – what truth is this –
That I have lost my mind?”

“One can only loose what one has
Not unlike one cannot
Have what one wants,
For having and wanting
Are diametrically opposed,” he explains.

“Stop with the philosophical
Mumbo jumbo,” she says as she
Turns to scream into the pillow.
“I’m so sick of it that I could die.”
At the moment of that last syllable spoken, Allison can feel another
Weight joining her on the bed.
Daring not to whisk the feeling away
She holds her breath, listening –
Feeling for more confirmation.

“You cannot love another until you learn
To love yourself,” McDermott whispers.

Jumping off the bed and to her feet,
“You’ve told me all this before,
But why am
I here if it is not to love you?
And if you are as you say you are,
Just another
Of my creations, then pray tell me,
Why can you not accept that fact and just
Simply be here with me?
Why else am I here?”

“You are here to find out who you are.
That’s why anyone comes here.
That truth is something that No ONE can
TEACH you.
It is something that you
Have to remember.”

Looking about the empty room
Allison once again turns and
Sits on the bed.
“OK, I give in –
YOU tell ME, WHO AM I?”

“Just lie down and get comfortable.
You need your rest.
We’ll talk in your sleep.
We have much territory to cover tonight.
Tomorrow is All Saint’s Day, your day.
But tonight we must explore
All the wonders of you,
For in the morning you
Shall awaken knowing
The real you – the one that you
Have been searching for.”

Slithering out of her dress and
Removing her bra
Allison turns her head to the empty
Pillow beside her,
“You promise?” she asks.

“I promise,” McDermott replies.

Drifting off into a shallow sleep,
Allison is listening as
McDermott recites poetry.
It’s an odd recital but somehow it seems
As if she has heard this verse before.

“Sand sifting through my fingers
Measuring the time ‘til our bodies linger.
To know the smell of the center
Of your hand,
To see into those deepest of eyes -
Oh, to feel those sighs.

Sometimes I don’t think I can wait
Not another day but then it’s too late.
How can I know that all this is real
When I’ve not even a finger to feel.
Thoughts, visions of heart –
Feelings of soul –
Up to now that is all that I know.
So if you find me lost in this moment,
Please release me from this sweet torment.
For inside the fire is burning
Hotter than hell and so full of yearning.

Maybe this is not the right place -
Maybe this is not the right time.

But I ask you, is it a crime
To watch the sand as it rhymes?
Measuring the time ‘til our bodies linger
And I have the you – lost in my fingers.”

“What is the title?” Allison asks in her sleep.

“Oh you know the title very well,” McDermott answers.
“Think about it and you will remember.”

Allison’s eyes move beneath the
REM sleep with closed eyelids,
Back and forth, back and forth,
Looking for the title to the poem.
Then she answers with a smile,
“Hourglass, the title of the poem is,
Hourglass.”

“Very good,” McDermott confirms.
“See you do remember.”

“But how do I remember –
Something tells me that
I am not supposed to remember.”

“Your mind tells you that you
Have no memory of the poem
But your heart tells you that you do.”

“Yes.” she answers.

“Could it be that just when
You find your dearest love
That you also meet your greatest fear?
Then too avoid the fear –
You try not to remember."

“Why do you say that?” she asks.

“Because those are the two sponsoring
Thoughts behind all human endeavors.
All of the human emotions stem from
Either love or from fear.”

In her sleep Allison turns
More toward the empty pillow,
“Who are you?”

“Have you not determined
To call me McDermott?
Why do you struggle to believe that
I cannot be unless I have a name?”

“I suppose it’s because everything
Has a name.” Allison responds.

“No, everything of this world
Has something that it is called,
That does not exactly mean that
It has a name or needs one.”

“Then who are you?”
She asks breathing in deeply.

“It matters not what you call me –
That has been one of the great
Mistakes of human nature,
What is more important is that you know
That I am, just like that
I know that you are.”

“Are you God?”
She asks shaking her head.

“See, there you go again,
Be careful of those labels,
Once you put a label
On me, then by that labeling
Do you place upon me your expectations.
And once something is expected
To do something in a certain way,
Then have you created boundaries,
In essence,
You have created walls around me,
Walls around your own thoughts -
To the degree that we can
No longer communicate.”

“How would you prefer that I think
Of you?” Allison asks.

“Do not “think” of me in terms of
Mere words,
For words fall far too short
Of explaining any of truth
Of who or what I am.
You should think of me as
You would think of yourself for
Are we not one in the same?
If I said that I am the great 'I am'
And if you were to believe that to be true,
Would not that make you the
Great 'I am' too?”

“I’m sorry, I do not understand,
Are you saying that you are me?
Am I talking to myself?” she questioned.

“You are asleep, when you awake,
Would you say that we are talking?”

“No, I would say that I was dreaming
And that you are like you said that you
Were before I went to sleep,
I would say that you are a
Figment of my imagination.”

“Does that explain how it is that you
Know the name of the poem?”
McDermott asks.

“I don’t know, I’m dreaming I suppose,
Dreams don’t have to make any sense.”

“Is that how you feel?”

“Not really,” Allison answers.
Even though she is asleep
She can feel herself
Turning over and pushing away
Some of the bedding.
“Give me an incontrovertible way
Of knowing that you are real.”

“Oh Allison, the only way that
I could ever give you such proof
Is if I were
To physically touch you and to do that
I would need a physical form.
Yet I say to you,
I have no need of anything physical
For all of your physical reality
Is but a part of the grand illusion.”

“Grand illusion,
Are you saying that my life
Is just one big illusion?” Allison questions.

“In a sense, yes.
For it is you who does create
Your own reality.
And if what you create is
Not what you want,
Is that creation not what
The definition of “illusion” means?”

“But why would I create anything that
I do not want?” she asks.

“Good question, why don’t you tell me?”

“Who’s to say that I truly have not created you?”
Allison asks.

“Another good question, what do you think?”

“Why would you talk to me?” she asks.

“I talk to everyone all the time.
The question is not to with
Whom do I talk,
But who listens?”

“I’m listening.” Allison exclaims.

“Another good answer.
Maybe it would be easier if
We exchanged the word
“Talk” for the word communicate,
I think that’s a much
Better descriptive word.
If we try to simply just talk then we
Are restricted by the limitations of words.
I do not communicate by words alone,
In fact, I rarely do.
I usually communicate through
Feelings for feelings are
The language of the soul.
For this reason,
If you want to know
The truth about anything,
Look to how you are feeling about it.
Hidden in your deepest feelings
You’ll always find your higher truth.
I can communicate with thought
But don’t confuse thought with feelings.
When I communicate with thought
I often use images, sounds or pictures.
Are they not much more descriptive?
I also use experience to communicate with.
The fact that you remembered
The name of the poem
Is a communication by experience.
It is only when feelings,
Thought or experience
Fails that I use words.
However, words are the least effective
Communicator because words
Are too easily misinterpreted or confused.
Words are not a good way to get
To the truth for they are part
Of the illusion of trying
To convey the feelings,
The thoughts and the experiences.
The irony in this is that
So many place their feelings,
Thoughts and experience in the words
That they try to say and very little
On the experience of who they are.
The same is true of how
You define who you are.
You define yourself within
A set of words and
Lose all reality of who you really are.
Therefore you create
The illusion of yourself
Just as you have created
The illusion of me.”

Allison turns on her side into
The fetal position,
“You said that tonight
That I would discover who I am –
Does that mean that in order to discover
Who I am that I must learn
To know who you are?”

“You are not learning anything.
You are remembering who you are
For you always were and
You always will be.
You cannot learn what you already know.
You can only remember.”

“And what is that?” she asks intently.

“You are your creation,
I come from you so that you
Might know yourself.
That is why I exist,
So that you may experience yourself.”

As Allison drifts between the alpha of
REM sleep and the delta of REM
Into stage three of tonight’s slumber,
She carries with her into her deepest
Sleep the thoughts of herself
As one with all of God’s creation.
“God the father, God the son,
God the holy ghost,”
She whispers aloud.
“Are we all your sons and daughters?”
She asks.

“Yes you are,
The trinity would not be complete
Without you,
Not without every one of you.”

“So that is who I am?” she whispers.

“Welcome to who you are,
Who you have always been,
Who you ever shall be,
Today, it is All Saint’s Day,
What reality will you create today?

Always remember,
There are only two base emotions,
Love and fear.
You can choose to act out of love
Or you can choose to act out of fear.
The choice is as always –
The choice is yours.”

“Will you be with me today –
To help me to choose?”

“I am always with you.”

“Will I find love today?” Allison asks.

“You question is improper.
“You should be asking yourself,
Will I create love today?”


“But wouldn’t that be another illusion?
Another figment of
My imagination?” she questions.

“Is there a difference?
And even if there was, does it matter?
All that matters is that
Through your own experience,
You remember who you are
And experience
What you really want to be.
That is the truth of creation.”

Drifting off into the deepest sleep
Of her life,
Allison listens to McDermott
Reciting his poetry again and again.

I bled a lot writing this piece. I hope that somehow, somewhere, someone can read it and create that which they were destined to experience.
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