Which is more powerful,
Hatred of a race,
has rallied millions under its banners
in ways we are ashamed
to think or talk about.
It has formed nations,
showered wealth on victors,
heaped sorrows on the unfortunate,
hollowed untold graves for both,
and filled them
with thier sons and daughters.
just as many.
Perhaps love and hatred
are equally matched
because they are extremes
of the exact same emotion.
Should I write because I can
or only when I have something to say?
Do I write to build the facade of a writer
or because I need to express my thoughts
and feel I do that best in written form?
If the latter, why doesn’t my journal suffice?
Do I need my words to be read
and appreciated by strangers?
But writing is an act of faith
in the permanence of
the words being written,
and inherent in that faith is a trust
that someone will (eventually) read
and enjoy what’s recorded.
Is art a selfish process then,
used to inflate the ego of the creator,
or is it all presumption,
undertaken by those who
think they have valuable insights
that no one else has had?
Why do I even ask these questions?
Writing makes me happy, so I write—
but even that is rather utilitarian of me to say.
I’m from “work hard and you’ll succeed,”
from purple mountains and thumb sticks,
from haystacks and mutnicks,
from Pokémon and Power Rangers,
from picture books and Animorphs.
I’m from the smell of brine salt and cattails,
from catfish and rainbow trout,
from sagebrush, scrub oaks and aspens,
from glacial lakes and star-choked skies.
I’m from analog signals and black and white screens,
from libraries and late nights.
I’m from tackle football in the snow and Hatchet.
I’m from “Country Road” and “Lose Yourself,”
from aleternative, punk rock, and post hardcore.
I’m from wooden playgrounds and DOS,
from prison-pipeline gangs and Sunday School.
I’m from Y2K, September 11th,
and first generation Xbox controllers.
I’m from Hobbiton and Hogwarts,
I’m from $1.00 Big Macs and Fufu Berry Soda,
from Blindside, Smith and Edwards,
and Western Family.
I’m from public schools
and Mrs. Felt’s AP English Class.
I’m from Robert Frost and Harper Lee,
from my best friend’s living room,
and even from the Bible Belt.
I’m from these and a thousand other places,
and I still visit them sometimes
and in my mind.
We set my phone’s alarm ahead
then said our prayers and went to bed.
The beeping woke me from my sleep
when the event was at its peak.
I thought that dreaming changed your mind,
but if it had you were too kind
to tell me so, and so we crept
past the room where Ayden slept,
unlocked the door with with quiet hands,
and gazed up at the bloodred sands
a quarter of a million miles away:
the wolf-god Hati’s ancient prey.
From the starry depths of Mimir’s sky,
in the cloud of myth it hides behind,
God’s single, crimson-shrouded eye
rolled over the world, cold and blind.
When I lay here with you
I feel as if we’re boulders
touching in a mountain stream,
and time rushes onward
all around us,
fast with a Spingtime thaw
or slow with slushy frost—
now choked with leaves
and broken sticks
now thundering by
in seething foam.
The seasons blur before us
and wash the world
but here we are