short poems

Beautiful and Broken

by J. A. Anderson 

The most

Beautiful art

Comes from the

Most broken

Minds

 

Stories Never Die

by J. A. Anderson

The smell of

Pages aged by

Time

The binding

Broken by

A hundred hands

The title

Almost unreadable now

So faded,

But not gone

And yet the

Stories never

Die

 
Dad’s Shoes

by J. A. Anderson

when i was little

i used to wear

dad’s shoes

and stomp around all day

but Now

I only stare at his

Military boots

And cry over the

Only thing

Left of him

 

 

More Poetry at “always anxious, sometimes brave.” and “A Handful of Roses.”

anxiety.

Anxiety

by J. A. Anderson

They are watching me

Even if you say they aren’t, they are

I feel their stares

Can hear their comments about me

Whispered harshly under their breath

The eyes of them stalk me

Even if i am alone

I can’t breathe unless I tell myself to

My stomach always acts as if I’m about to lose everything in it

Where are the exits?
Where is the bathroom?

Where, where, where?
This room is too small

Too dark

My mind is too small

Too dark

My thoughts don’t stop

They just

Go. Go. Go.

I’m drowning inside

Though I’m dry

I’m dying when I am most alive

I can see everything in color

But why does it seem so black and white?

Nightmares haunt my waking days

Where are the exits?

Why are they staring?

When can my thoughts

Just

stop.

 

Boys Will Be Boys

Boys Will Be Boys

by J. A. Anderson

 

i’m in third grade

a boy pushed my to the ground

and sat on top of me

he didn’t move until i made him

no one tried to help

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in fourth grade

a boy threatened me with

chunks of concrete from the black top

no one stopped him from

throwing them at me

i had to defend myself

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in the fifth grade

a gang of boys chased me

grabbed me

pulled on my hair

held onto my arms tightly

they didn’t let go until i got free

no one yelled at them

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in sixth grade

and i sit with my legs open

it’s comfortable and

a boy sits the same way

i’m told to sit like a lady, with my legs closed

no one told him to sit with his legs closed

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in the seventh grade

a boy made a sexual joke

about me

no one told him to stop

i didn’t make him stop

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in the eighth grade

a boy called me a bitch

no told him to shut his mouth

he didn’t apologize

and i didn’t make him

Boys Will Be Boys

 

i’m in the ninth grade

a boy smacked me across the face

i hit him back

no one told him not to hit

he still thinks it was okay

Boys Will Be Boys

Held Responsible For Their Actions.

Just. Like. Girls.

Changed Me.

A short story by J. A. Anderson

 

That’s all it was. A window. With two sun-bleached drapes hanging limply on the sides, a small crack in the corner, chipped paint covering the wood around it.

And yet, it shaped my life.

My sister jumped out of the window a few years ago. Maybe it changed me for the better. Maybe for the worse. All I know is that it changed me.

I have stared out of this window at the city streets below, watching cars slosh on by during thunderstorms while rain splattered the glass. I watched the sun dip below the buildings and then watched as a few orange slivers disappeared beneath the horizon. Maybe that changed me, too.

One day, I saw him outside the window. He looked up while I looked down and he smiled a small, crooked smile. I scratched my number on a paper airplane. I wish I could say we met and fell in love, but that was a fantasy.

The airplane fell into the puddle he had been standing in. He had walked away and never looked back. The crooked smile was misread, the squint in his eyes not disbelieving my beauty. I was not as radiant as the sun or as mysterious as the moon.

And maybe that changed me, too.

I guess I’ll never know. Life throws little things at us. And big things. All that change us, for better, for worse. For whatever reason. And I guess I’m happy that something changed me.

If you are changed, you cannot go back to the same person you were.

Maybe that’s better.

Maybe that’s worse.

 

I hoped you enjoyed this little short story. It is completely made up. Want to read more? My Wattpad account is linked here!

Thanks for reading!

Gorillaz Gave Us All Sunshine in a Bag

written by Kelsey May
July 9, 2017

All who attended the first U.S. Gorillaz concert (2017) at Huntington Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois were blessed to experience such profoundly moving, inspiring, and genuine art. Gorillaz (aka Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett plus their brilliant cohort of collaborators) is one of the best examples of activism done well. While the crowd was diverse in taste, personality, life experiences, age, and appearance, we shared a love for good music and – hopefully – a commitment to “be loving each other no matter what happens.”

gorillaz concert.JPG
Photo Credit: @soulkash

Setlist (with commentary and highlights)

The stage design featured a large LED-lit circle, which displayed various video clips and images throughout the show, and a video screen backdrop, typical of many Gorillaz performances. The circular screen briefly displayed an Illuminati-reminiscent eye, and when the screen moved to hover over the performers, it seemed to symbolize the reminder that this night – as with every day activists are alive and upsetting the status quo – was under watch by the powers that be.

one) Gorillaz opened with “Ascension,” to the delight of many.

two) “Last Living Souls,” a song I understand as commentary on the deadened nature of those who limit their perception by refusing to use psychedelic drugs, as well as those who don’t care about others (the two characteristics, funnily enough, are often found in the same people).

saturnz barz
Photo Credit: Joshua Mellin

three) “Saturnz Barz”, during which Albarn played the melodica.

saturnz barz melodica
Photo credit: Lisa T Lien

four) “Charger”: The video backdrop featured electricity bolts and created a beautifully intense mood for the live performance. XXXX made me (and others, I assure you) swoon.

five) “Rhinestone Eyes,” which is one of my all-time favorite tracks, particularly because of its important subject matter and commentary on climate change and consumerism.

sex murder party.JPG
Photo credit: Paris Henderson

six) “Sex Murder Party,” the ironic murder ballad that – sadly – was especially relevant to the city of Chicago, both past and present. Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz were both present to lend their talents. Following the song, Katz encouraged us to “start a revolution… of love.” Now to follow through…

seven) “She’s My Collar,” which had one of the most creative (and damn good) video accompaniments: a pelican (with toucan or eagle coloring) flying over a photo collage of women’s bodies. Fine art. I was disappointed that Kali Uchis was not on the performer docket, as this is one of my favorite tracks from Humanz.

noodle 2.JPG
Photo credit: Angelina M. Cole

eight) “Busted and Blue,” which was dedicated “to all those in the grandstand… [and] all those in VIP”. The video accompaniment for this song was also fine art; it featured the Humanz album artwork of Noodle. Images of Noodle’s past phases bloomed in each lens of her glasses, spilling the ink of her history across the stage and our hearts. Its shifts in lighting supported each crescendo in the song perfectly.

lighthouse.JPG
Photo credit: @iaminatx

nine) “El Mañana,” during which the circular screen above the stage featured additional imagery of clouds and a helicopter, thus expanding the ambience of the traditional music video.

ten) “Carnival,” featuring Anthony Hamilton, whose vocals were confident and somehow even better live than on the album.

broken 2.JPG
Photo Credit: @superstar_gorg

eleven) An extended version of “Broken”

twelve) “Interlude: Elevator Going Up”

thirteen) “Andromeda,” with a stunning video accompaniment displaying a green-toned star-strewn sky in motion. Also, Albarn’s falsetto was on point during this performance. I particularly loved that Albarn paused the show to re-perform the song’s ending, insisting that it be performed right.

fourteen) “Strobelite” with Albarn on keytar and beautiful stage lighting.

out of body
Photo Credit: Lumpy Head Studios

fifteen) An altered version of “Out Of Body” with outstanding guest performances by Little Simz and Zebra Katz. “All that’s left for us to do is move,” Simz instructed, and the trippy video accompaniment winked with the details.

sixteen) New track “Garage Palace,” an anthem featuring Little Simz. It assured listeners, “This is our time.” The video accompaniment was a compilation of neon sign art overlapped and arranged in alternating patterns, one of my favorite aesthetics of the evening.

noodle
Photo Credit: Joshua Mellin

seventeen) “We Got the Power” was the final song for the initial setlist, and Albarn ensured that the audience understood why we ought to be there: to remember our “heart[s] full of hope” and that our love is “indestructible even when we’re tired.” (And fuck, this fight for justice, this march for peace, this country, these people, we’re tired.) This song was the epitome of beauty, featuring Noodle’s album art again but with rose-colored glasses, a direct statement on how we need to continue seeing and hoping for the world.

Encore,
which happened after a record short interlude, perhaps one and a half minutes, just enough time for the band to walk backstage and guzzle some water.

eighteen) The classic hit “Stylo”

Kids with Guns.JPG
Photo Credit: Lumpy Head Studios

nineteen) An all-out performance of “Kids With Guns,” another satirical piece that splays out social problems and forces you to imagine solutions. (Because how can our kids have guns?)

Del.JPG
Photo Credit: @superstar_gorg

twenty) “Clint Eastwood,” which was, as Albarn put it, an enormously special treat. Del the Funky Homosapien grinned his way onto stage, and we sang our guts out together. “I’m useless, but not for long,” Albarn admitted, by which I mean he assured us that ethical perception-expanding is how you become useful.

church.JPG
Photo credit: Brittlyn Tyler

twenty-one & twenty-two) The evening’s final songs (and, in my tear ducts’ opinion, finest moments) were “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” and “Demon Days.” Simply speaking, this performance was a spiritual experience. “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” is a song which begs listeners to shrug off the temptations to abuse opioids and other life-destroying addictions: “Don’t get lost in heaven / They got locks on the gate / Don’t go over the edge / You’ll make a big mistake.” The choice to play this song at the evening’s close highlighted the importance of the city’s own struggle with hard drugs: in 2015 alone, 32,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. In the past two months, dozens of Chicago residents have died from a new addictive prescription drug that is marketed as safe.

“Tomorrow is a brand new day,” the gospel choir sang, looping “Demon Days” over and over while behind them, an image of stained glass rose onto the video screen. “So turn yourself around, turn yourself, turn yourself around.” Their voices reverberated around the pavilion, and I shut my eyes, lifted my face, and wept.

What do you want to change about your life? Albarn wants us to reconsider who we are and what we live for. What can you commit to doing this next week? I asked several people post-show.

Vincent Perez said, “I left hoping that the feeling wouldn’t fade. The only change I would make would be to have a positive attitude towards my week.”

Robert Fraser said, “The same things I always want to change about myself. I want to be more disciplined and productive with my time. I want to give myself reasons to make art beyond aesthetic.”

As for me, I’m continuing to advocate for self-reflection, mental wellness, spiritual health, peace, justice, and socialism. I’m writing poetry, curating this blog, and learning music. I certainly need to pick up the pace on my projects and use my time intentionally. I also need to give myself space to breathe, and I need to take pride in all I’ve accomplished and all those I’ve touched thus far. And I want to find:

“Some kind of nature
Some kind of soul
Some kind of mixture
Some kind of goal
Some kind of majesty
Some chemical load…
Some kind of gold”


Featured image credit: Robert Fraser

Nature Is My First Love

Nature is my first love

The sun has a golden touch

But the moon

Can whisper the sweetest love letters

The tallest trees

Have the most beautiful voices

But the grass whispers

The secret of life to the wind 

Snowflakes kiss

My eyelashes

And fill me with hope

But the rain

Caresses my skin and

Washes away my fears

The stars

Wink at me

From across the skies

But the smooth rocks

Along tide-washed shores

Beg to be held

And while I can never

Truly be with the moon

Or the rain

Or the smoothest of stones

I can still dream of them

Because nature is my first love

-by Jamie Anderson

***Do not forget about the Wattpad Contest, ending tomorrow! Click here!!!

in front of the mirror

So im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking at my body
And i dont know how i got here
So im going to retrace my steps
And try to change the view
So im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking at how
My waist turns into my hips
And my hips turns into my thighs
And my thighs turn into my legs
And i dont like it
So im standing in front of the mirror
And i see how ive sculpted
My waist and my hips
And my thighs
 with starvation
And im looking at the hollow scars
That carve my ribs out
And make my hip bones sharper
Than their words
So im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking at how
My pale face is littered
With acne
and flaws
and dark circles
And i dont like it
So im standing in front of the mirror
And i see how ive hidden
My true skin
With a porcelain doll’s face
The only crack in the mask
Is the hollow look in my eyes
So im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking my clothes
Which are comfortable
And casual
And anything but sexy
And everything that says prude
And i don’t like it
So im standing in front of the mirror
And i see how
Ive changed my entire look
With a skimpy black
Mini skirt
Red lips
And a hickey barely hidden beneath my
Collar bone
And everything that says slut
So im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking at my feet
Which are flat
And unpainted
Unpolished
And bland
And i dont like it
So im standing in front of the mirror
And im see how
I have reformed my feet
The bones harshly restructured to
Fit heels that do not
Fit me
And im standing in front of the mirror
And im looking at her body
And i don’t know how she got here
So im going to retrace her steps
And try to change our views.

Time Changes

a Summer 2017 poetry workshop mailer

Week 1: Time & Personal Growth / Identity
Writing & Reading (Rosalynde Vas Dias, Cecilia Llompart, Kaveh Akbar)

Week 2: Time & Relationships 
Writing & Reading (Hanif Willis Abdurraqib, Ada Limón)

Week 3: Time & Appearance 
Writing, Reading (Blythe Baird, Daniel Garcia, Jan Beatty, C. Samuel Rees), & Editing

Week 4: Time & Mental & Spiritual Health 
Writing, Reading (Toi Dericotte, Kaveh Akbar), Editing, & Recording

Week 5: Time & Community 
Writing & Reading (Ada Limón, Siaara Freeman)

Week 6: Time & Society 
Writing, Reading (Natalie Diaz, Craig Santos Perez), & Recording


View Kelsey May’s credentials here. Questions? Email kelseymayfraser (at) gmail (dot) com.