Spooky?

Bumps in the night, the flicker of a light

    And the objects that role and roam

Are all signs to the hosts that they have a ghost

    Inhabiting their house and home;

And though some may say all night and day,

    “It’s just a draft that brings the cold,”

There are those that believe and are not deceived;

They know what the shadows hold.

 

When I was child, these happenings were wild, but they gave me stories of gold.

Built years ago on ashes like snow, my house, you see, was old.

Father was away and would return one day, leaving just mother and brother and me;

Within those walls is where secrets crawl, but outside you’d see maple trees.

 

It starts with a story told by Mother to me of a small rubber shoe;

It belonged to Bondo, who was six feet below, whom Mother never knew.

It appeared every night in our living dog’s bite, no matter where it was hid.

That toy still knocks in our new dog’s toy box; of it, we’ll never be rid.

 

While father was gone, mother slept alone, alone as the evening light died.

Well, that’s what she thought until footsteps brought a form to lie at her side;

She could hear it breathe, but fear did not heave its way into her chest;

Rather she lie and watched the night sky through window as she fell into rest.

 

Mother heard me cry and ran to my side, to find what was wrong with me;

I told her a bandit had stolen my blanket; where it was, I could not see.

So Mother searched and found it perched neatly on the lower bunk;

It was out of my reach, and so caused my screech; a presence we could not debunk.

 

After that night, I grew used to the sight of things moving themselves;

A table was jerked or a statue worked its way off a stable shelf;

Stuff even went missing and I heard strange hissing, but never did fear cross my face.

When cousins heard tales they would nervous their nails, and leave in haste.

 

She became a friend whom not to offend by calling her imaginary;

During the day, we would play and play, and at night she sang as a canary.

I named her Lovey, known by only a covey, and she kept me from being lonely;

While others feared what they found weird, my mother believed me only.

 

If you think I lie, I beg you to try visiting that house for proof.

In the darkness of night with the moon shining bright onto the old shingle roof;

Go on inside and you’ll change your mind as outside the maple branches swing

Just close your eyes and wait for sunrise; you’ll hear our Lovey ghost sing.

 

Bumps in the night, the flicker of a light

    And the objects that role and roam

Are all signs to the hosts that they have a ghost

    Inhabiting their house and home;

And though some may say all night and day,

    “It’s just a draft that brings the cold,”

There are those that believe and are not deceived;

They know what the shadows hold.

 

This poem was born of a homework assignment for one of my education classes. I had to come up with two products inspired by the poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” The first, was a botanical representation of the ending of the poem (See the image at the bottom of this post), and the second was this poem. I was trying to mimic the eeriness of the original poem through the content and use of internal rhymes. How do you think I did?

Also, my posts are officially being moved to Saturdays instead of Fridays. I have had too much going on Fridays to keep up with my posts, so lazy Saturdays have been recruited for productivity!

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Late and Lazy

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I had a wild day yesterday, including shopping with a friend (I got some awesome new teacher clothes and some great new music!), and then Gamefest all night. And today has been loaded with things like racquetball, swimming, and longboarding. I’m wicked sore, with new bruises from speedy rubber balls and one giant scrape on my knee from my most awesome/painful longboarding crash yet, so I cheating tonight and posting an older poem. It is far from being one of my favorites, but it will have to do for now. Please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments!

PS: Father, I know it doesn’t rhyme every line. If you don’t want to think of it as a poem, just think of it like a broken up series or paragraphs.

Enjoy!

 

One thousand hopes

One little girl

One thousand problems

One giant world

 

How can I change it?

How can I try?

How Can I help?

How can I fly?

 

Why are they starving?

Why are they lying?

Why are they scared?

Why are they crying?

 

When will they stop it?

When will the see?

When will they start?

When will they flee?

 

You’re not helping!

You’re not in need of comfort!

You’re making it worse!

You’re prayers need effort!

 

When rape and hate are lies

When our protectors need protecting

When rape and hate are real

When our protectors are failing

 

I am too small

I cannot save you

I cannot be enough

I need help too

 

Can I be the butterfly?

Can I spark the fire?

Can I tip the stone?

Can I light the world’s desire?

 

One thousand hopes

One little girl

One thousand problems

One giant world

 

Zombie Apocalypse

Hello once again!

Let me start off by saying that this past week has been wild! Why, you ask? Well, Humans vs. Zombies started last Friday, and ended last night!

Here’s a brief summary: Humans vs. Zombies is a game that is quite popular on some college campuses. Everyone who signs up is given a band, which they usually wear on their arm to mark them as human. At the beginning of the game, an OZ (original zombie) is chosen to be disguised as a human until they make their first tag. When they tag a human player, both must remove their arm bands and place them around their heads. This marks them as zombies. Any humans they tag will become infected, and in turn have to turn their arm band into a head band before continuing the cycle of infection. Humans are usually allowed defend themselves with sock flails (long socks with other socks balled in the toes to weight them), sock grenades (balled up socks), and Nerf guns to stun the zombies (putting them out of play for a designated period of time). Some schools play for sheer survival, while others have detailed plots and missions for the two populations to participate in. Some of these games can last for weeks, though the one at my campus only goes from Friday to Thursday.

Why should you care? Well, you obviously don’t have to, but I have been a dedicated player for six rounds now (we play once a semester at my school), and therefore, I care quite a bit. I care enough to write an entire blog post about it, so I think you should care too. Here are a few notable happenings from my 6th semester playing this epic and thrilling game.

This semester’s game is especially important in my mind. You see, we have had a lot of drama over the last three semesters, usually resulting in temporary suspension of the game. This drama has ranged from a faculty member reporting one of our players for being a school shooter because he had a cloth tied over his mouth in a gangster-fashion (apparently the brightly colored plastic of a Nerf gun is easily mistaken for a real weapon), which almost sent us into a complete lockdown to incredible amounts of bullying and rumor spreading. However, there was almost no drama this year.

I also used HvZ as a way to promote college to a 5th grader from a school group who approached me while I was waiting for a chance to safely leave the building without being massacred by zombies. I was speaking to a zombie I had a class with when this little boy noticed my Nerf Rotofury and ran up to me gushing about how cool it was. While I would not let him shoot it (not for lack of effort on his part), I told him that as long as he worked really hard in school, he could go to any college he wanted, and he could make sure that college had HvZ. As a future educator, this is probably not the best way to promote college to a kid, but if he the possibility to shoot copious amounts of Nerf darts at other people is the tipping point for him to go to college instead of try to make it working at McDonalds fulltime for the rest of his life, then I will be proud.

HUMANS WON! This was the first solid human victory in several years. At the end of the final mission on Thursday night, there are usually no humans left. The only time a human had one in previously in the time I have been playing was when a guy by the name of Tom managed to sneak around all of the zombies while the main group, which I was a part of, was slaughtered. We had returned to the meeting point, thrilled at our zombie victory, only to find Tom waiting for us, having completed the mission on his own. This year, however, was different. The individuals who made it to final mission had mostly done so through experience and skill. These aged survivors were a good omen for two reasons. 1. They were good players who you could trust to have your back. They had the skill and the experience to hold their ground and use their weapons effectively. 2. These people were also some of the most threatening zombies for the same reasons. They had immense experience and practice. However, because they were humans, they could not be zombies until they were tagged in the mission. This final mission was an escort, where we had to defend an NPC (non-player character) while he moved around campus. Amazingly, we pulled it off, and had a decent group of humans (I can name 8 off the top of my head) survive. This was my first time winning as a human, and man, did it feel good.

 

Finally, I would like to speak a little bit about what the game has come to mean to me and how it has shaped my college experience. When I was a freshman, I spent my entire first game as a zombie. This allowed me to learn the game. My second semester, I made it to the final mission as a human, though I was quickly turned into a zombie once the mission started. I only survived because of the escorts I received to and from class by the experienced players, as well as the tricks they taught me for survival. I also was incredibly lucky. At the end of that final mission, I watched a tradition be created. I watched a man named Tyler take off a vest and hand it to a man named Holden.

I would come to learn that this vest belonged to a legendary player for B3 (Blood Bath and Beyond), a team of very skilled players. It was created by Tyler to hold sock grenades that could be easily accessed and thrown at the oncoming hordes. It was handed down to Holden because Tyler saw him as a player with a heck of a lot of promise.

I got to know Holden over the next for semesters. He was darn good. He could take on multiples zombies at once and still come out as a human. As a zombie, he was incredibly deadly. He was also an honest and kind player, who stood by me and my friends when our team came became the victim of false rumors; he even made sure that the good things we accomplished were recognized. The dedication, bravery, and kindness Holden showed during the semesters we played together just really, really made me want to be a player worthy of that vest, even if I never got to wear it.

Last night, at the end of Holden’s final mission, he handed that vest down to me. This vest, which had become a sort of idol in my mind, representing all the best aspects of HvZ, was being passed to me. Talk about being intimidated! I have some big shoes to fill next year when I wear this vest of legends, but I’m going to do my best to be as great a leader and player as Holden and all the other senior players who have made my HvZ experience so amazing.

If any of my HvZ comrades are reading this, thanks for being so amazing and making this game a blast, regardless of whether you were fighting by my side or trying to eat my brains. Let’s hope next year is as great as this one!

Me with my darling Rotofury, affectionately named Steve Rogers

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The vest I earned, with one of the grenades securely in place (ignore the poor lighting, please)

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Disclaimer: Yes, I know I’m making a big deal out of a game, but when that game takes up every part of your life when you are not in work or class, it becomes a big deal. You should try it sometime!

Well, time for me to actually catch up on my sleep. Being out at missions until past 10, coming home and having to shower, pack, and get to bed, does not make for a lot of sleep when you have to be up to open work at 5… Good thing it’s the weekend!

The Mantras of My Life

**Sorry this is getting posted late. I apparently never actually hit the publish button last night. You didn’t miss much, as this was a short piece anyway.**

Today, I have decided to make a list of my personal mantras that get me through each day as I deal with the stress of just being a human. So here goes!

  1. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This classic saying always reminds me to try to find the good within the bad. I also really love lemonade and all other things lemony.
  2. Life sucks and then you die, so make the most of what you’ve got. Because I feel the need to protect my bitter reputation, I rarely say the second part of that sentence aloud, but I always have it ringing in the back of my mind. I think of this when life gets me wicked down because it reminds me that yeah, there’s a lot of bad in life, but you can always make something great out of the scraps from the bad. You just have to have a hefty dose of determination with a substantial helping of creativity.
  3. Step away until you can say, “It’ll be okay.” I love how this rhymes! I blame my father for the obnoxious appreciation of rhymes that led to the creation of this mantra (he doesn’t consider poetry to be poetry unless it rhymes). Anyway, my version of “stepping away” usually means going to work where I either get to jam to my favorite music while watching patrons in a pool, talk with some of my favorite dry-land patrons while I clean the gym equipment, or teach adorable little spawnlings how to swim (they give me small human hugs, too!). After a shift at my home-away-from home (aka, the fitness center), I am usually ready to deal with whatever has been bothering me.
  4. Burn the bad. This is a more recent addition to my collection of mantras. Since I started college, I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of the things that kept me from thriving. These have included inhibitions, people, and many of the craps I give about what people think. ‘Burning’ all this negative stuff has paid off. I am much more satisfied with who I am today than I was when I first started college. Also, if you are one of the people reading this who has not been ‘burned,’ thanks for not making yourself into an ugly piece of firewood just begging to be lit up.

Please note that I am not actually burning people or things; this is a metaphor.

  1. Everything happens for a reason. This mantra is especially important to me because I believe that everything that has happened to me in my 20 years of life has made me who I am today. Everything from the heartbreaking bad to the I’m-so-happy-I-could-fly good has contributed to the person writing this post. Even if I don’t know why it happened, I would never risk changing it. What if I became a terrible person or lost any of my endearing qualities, such as my sarcasm? It would be horrible.
  2. Be the person you wish you knew. I always try to be the person I wish I knew growing up or that I had as a friend (not that I would ever change any of my friends. Seriously guys please don’t hate me). I want to be the kind of person who cares about the world and nature and people who need someone to care about them. I want to be the person who is a great role model for little kids and who makes people smile when they need it the most.
  3. Live your life with mistakes, and you will have no regrets. This final mantra is most important to me because it embodies the way I want to live my life. The feeling of regret is honestly my least favorite. I would have made a million mistakes than have a single regret. Why? Because mistakes mean that I tried, while regrets mean I did not. I know that’s not the textbook definition, but it is my definition, and that’s what’s important.

Well, times to head off to bed. I hope you enjoyed these mantras, and feel free to let me know about your personal mottos in the comments!

Homage to My Home

As many of my readers know, I love my home state of Maine. I grew up in the back woods, but have always loved the mountains and the ocean that characterize this amazing state. No matter how far my wanderlust takes me, I know Maine will always be my home. I was reminded of this when my work as a swim instructor took me to Rangeley. The drive through the mountains was breathtaking. As a result, I was moved to write this poem. It has not been edited or reviewed at all, so please appreciate any rough edges for what they are.


Homage to My Home

 

My home is not where my head meets my pillow

For I could not know so many homes.

My home is not where my loved ones gather

For my love spans far and wide.

My home is not one tiny box filled with food and comfort

For my soul is too substantial.

 

My home is in the woods

Where the chickadees call to me.

My home is in the swamps

Where the peepers croak me to my slumber.

My home is on an old dirt trail

Where the river of my youth flows beside me.

 

My home is in the mountains

Where the distant peaks are still powder white.

My home is on a winding stretch of pavement

Where yellow signs with moose outlines outnumber those with numbers.

My home is on a rock in the center of a meltwater stream

Where I dip my toes in a trickle that will soon become a torrent.

 

My home is on the coast

Where saltwater winds beckon me near.

My home is on a sandy beach

Where waves caress glass smooth.

My home is in the icy ocean

Where the water pulls me down and lifts me up

 

My home cannot be bound steadfast

Because I am open skies and not four walls.

My home cannot be the whole world

Because I am too easily lost.

My home cannot stray away from me

Because I may tire too soon.

 

My home is where my heart can be set free

And where on a whim it can change.

My home is where I can thrive,

And where I can fuel my soul with peace

My home is a place for me to rest

And a place for me to explore.

 

This is my homage to Maine.


I’m curious to hear about where you consider your home to be, so feel free to tell me all about it in the comments!