1,000 miles: step 66

He’s like a bird in a cage, who’s noticed he has wings,” she says.

How could you not love language…?” I ask.

This is my friend and me talking about a class assignment. I’ve been hearing her complain about writing for over a year now. How difficult it is. How she hates it. Hates the idea of writing so much that her words are starting to echo poems.

I should be the one writing papers. Instead, I’m helping teach children, tomorrow’s future. So noble a cause I don’t need poetry & stories to read and write of my own. Right?

She’s a business major, who really wants to be exploring fashion design.

Life isn’t always fair.


And yet, I believe that the obstacles put across our paths are obstacles we can learn from. It’s surviving challenges that make a person stronger. While every day of life might not come with rollercoasters, fireworks, or island vacations, there are moments that add up to a life well-lived.

Like being thanked “for all that you do” by a classroom filled with 7th and 8th graders, who weeks ago were giving you attitude.

Like watching ducks come by the packs to two toddlers learning that some creatures think bread tasty.

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Like redeeming your cupcake-making skills by making blueberry muffins with oozing, sweet blueberry.

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Like laughing so hard you start to wonder if cameras are watching you be silly.


1,000 miles: step 63|musings

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It’s the third week into National Poetry Month, and I don’t have much to show other than a couple of musings.

I don’t write down half of what I spend nights pondering over.

I don’t write love poems. I don’t write angry poems. I don’t write pride poems… honestly imperfect human poems.

I was recently asked to proofread an essay–nothing atypical there. Yet, I loved every bit regardless of grammar because of the content. I was reminded of the different worlds people come from. The U.S. has given me my second, remembered part of childhood. I’ve learned to love what is American, including exaggerated pride. Though I’m an immigrant, it’s a label I forget: I have never missed my country because there isn’t much for me to miss. You can’t miss what you don’t remember.

As I read the essay, something rung true with me: American stress. My mom is always telling me how everything is so rushed at her job. I see that in many of the people I know. They’re all in such a rush, so much to do and so little time for things that matter…. things like a good night’s rest and time well-spent with family and friends.

That stress is gnawing at me, too. Yes, volcanoes will erupt if our bills aren’t paid. Yes, the stars will collide and cease to exist if I pick part-time school over full-time. Yes, every decision I’ve ever made must come undone before anything works out.

Yes, that was sarcasm, dear reader. American stress = drama queens.

On still nights I can hear

On still nights I can hear
the wind in solitude breathing,
roaming in habitual journey.

It goes through cycles
with murmurs and tantrums.

I remember that in a dimmed sunlight
the wind envelopes my sides.

My scarf and blue ribbon sway at large,
flowing and spreading out, wings
if only I learned to pull at freedom:

To finally become free motion through
bits of particles bowing decisively

into existence

1,000 miles: step 56

A first-world problem: the app on my iPhone wouldn’t update the schedule for the bus I had to take earlier tonight. I took the next best bus route. When two people got off, I realized they were the last two people for the night.

Just the bus driver and me, and I had typical commuter questions. I was in the mood for polite and light conversation–beats the sibling bickering at home. It was a short ride, and I got off surprised. The driver said, “thanks for talking with me.” She was so sincere, like I had done something special. And in a way, I had, though the option of sitting on the bus in quite silence wasn’t really an option.

I don’t carry around headphones: I like making myself available. I like observing people on the bus or listening to the driver and a passenger talking. It’s interesting the bits you learn about people in this way. Like I know some bus drivers have a spouse, who share the same profession, and wait for each other at the end of the day. Like I know talk about football is a favorite topic. Like I know some bus drivers can tell where you’re going by what you’re carrying or wearing. And some of them really, really can’t stand when phones are on speaker. And some of them smile at every baby that gets on the bus. Every time.

And they’re all better drivers than me, except for the ones that occasionally honk too much. Nowadays, I get the chance to drive myself… I’m a mess. I’m usually under the influence of being disorientated. It takes me repeated trials to get a route embedded in my memory.

And so, I’m grateful for kind people who drive buses.