Tag Archives: city life

the hiding game 

across the tracks
wearing sunglasses even though
we’re inside
you’re propped in your own world
as am i –
on the train, heading
opposite directions
we glimpse
for a few seconds while
our worlds pass by –
each other: two women
in silent reflection, each
hardened from outside
bonded by
shroud of city –
forced anonymity –
we carry
this burden
when others try to get in
(though sometimes they win)

doors open
and reveal
my fellow femaleforgedinsteel
across the platform and
i can see
your invisible coat, like
purposeful indifference
your layer, built
for protection –
and we nod
ever so slight but
acknowledgement strong –
laying low, separate trains,
calm, behind shades
worlds away …
but aren’t we one
and the same –
both players –
both experts
at this hiding game.


F the Fright

how many times

did i start over
think i’d landed
believe this was my grip –
my toehold –
i’d finally made it to
my life

just in the last seven years
just in the last city

of dreams
wrapped in a nightmare
i didn’t recognize
and muse:
who’s life am i living?
this unfamiliar
how did i get here
and how to get back

to the familiar strange:
i could make sense of …

(how many times)

how many chapters
did i
live through
how many lives
in this city and before
…and here i am again…

fresh at a start
trying to learn from
my heart
seeking to make real, this time
what before i couldn’t find
is this the one
the one where it starts –

how wary am i
so often fooled
like a noose it grips tight –
i beg to run forward,
on: fuck the fright

Oakland, CA

(alternate title: Bullish)

A heavy bronze pendant drapes down from my neck; behind the glossy shine of its surface is the Oak tree – the symbol for my town – artistically drawn with its roots extending and its branches reaching, and it feels like a metaphor for me now more than ever. You see, my town is really a city – a bustling breathing lively city which I happen to love deeply, a place that taught me how to grow roots AND grow taller in my life – however it’s been tough love from the beginning. It’s been one of my hardest relationships, me and my city. It wasn’t easy to love – but I never cared. Since day one when I realized every single street sign came with an oak tree on it, I was smitten and hopelessly charmed; I surrendered to my new love with no qualms. It tried its best to eject me like a bucking bull – kicking in fits and spinning me in circles – but I only held tighter. What can I say, I’m stubborn. As all hell. But, the juiciness and slight thug-of-character it takes to survive here has infused my path with wisdom I needed, and given me the (painful) gift of transformation into the woman I needed to become. For the last seven years Oakland has been my home and my teacher and I’ve been grateful – even when all signs pointed to disaster. It’s been my grounding place and my launchpad. It was terrifying at times while also soothing. It could’ve been much easier on me but I couldn’t have loved it more. This is my home, my Oakland. So I wear this pendant like a proud warrior with her medallion: remembering the courage it took to get this far, while also honoring the source of the challenge.
I 💗 Oakland.