For my Mother on Mother’s Day.

The word that comes to mind is contempt. Perhaps

it isn’t worth mentioning the fever

I had still living in your house.

Sweat poured from my forehead and bile from my tongue

and when I asked you to make it stop

you told me that you were never any good at this

nurturing stuff. It was in that moment I realized

that this was all I’ve been waiting to hear.

A confession, no, an explanation to the cruelty

that becomes you. It was confusing,

but made perfect sense, your capability

to give away your kindness to strangers and leave

none left for me.

-Lindsey Jayne

Lesson in Respect

Last fall my family moved to Georgia and my brother started his sophomore year at a new high school. I can imagine the transition for him was unnerving. Being the new kid is tough, but with his passion set in guitar and trumpet, he sought out people with similar interests and quickly established his niche in the school’s music program.

After being a member of the marching band for only a year, my brother earned a position as Field Captain. For those of you unfamiliar with the ranking system of marching band, the Field Captain is second in command to Drum Major, who is top dog. Where the Drum Major oversees and runs rehearsal from a platform, my brother will be on level with the rest of the band members to keep them in check. Leadership roles in general demand a certain amount of respect in order to be functionally efficient. In band, such positions traditionally go to those with seniority. Worried that his age and “new kid” status will sabotage his authority, my brother came to our grandfather for advice.

“How can I lead these people who are supposed to be my equals? How can I get them to take me seriously?”

To my brother’s question my grandfather replied, “Tell them that they don’t have to respect you, but they should respect your position.”

I’m sure my brother is not the first person to encounter this conundrum. He did everything right by applying himself and working hard to earn his position, but no amount of credibility can redeem him if his fellow peers only see him as a cocky underclassman from out of town. By telling his peers to separate his title from personal identity he establishes a boundary; they don’t have to like him, but when it comes time for rehearsal they should recognize that their director made him a leader for a reason, and they should respect that.

Philosophy on Chess & Life

I was first introduced to chess as a child, and I have been hooked ever since. I can’t recall whether it was my mother or father who taught us the essential piece movements, but my younger brother and I used the knowledge to keep us busy on slow days. We would set up the board, take our usual sides, and play until one of us lost all of our pieces first. It wasn’t until we were a few years older that we learned the concept of the game: trap the other guy’s king first. Interesting enough, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I applied the concept to issues beyond the board game.

Chess is a game of strategy, and it dawned on me one day that is life too. No, not the Hasbro simulation, but the one we experience every waking moment. In chess there’s an objective: there’s something you want, and there are a number of ways to go about achieving it.

There are three types of chess players: those who start the game with a set plan, those who develop a plan during the game, and those who completely wing it.

Starting out with a set plan in either chess or life isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You may think you have it all figured out: finish high school, go to your first choice university, graduate and get your dream job, maybe get married and start a family, retire to an exotic island. If you know exactly what you want, they say that the quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. The problem with the straight line strategy is that it doesn’t accommodate the curves. Your opponent has a plan of his own and I can guarantee that it won’t always jive with the one you’ve set. For example: you may have your win riding on your bishop, but if you don’t consider your opponent’s knight, he may throw your game off completely. Respectively, if you only apply to your dream university and don’t consider the possibility of being declined, it could throw off your entire plan.

At the other end of the spectrum, the people who use the “wing it” strategy will run into problems as well. There’s nothing wrong with having a laid back, stride-for-stride type of attitude. Actually, it tends to be preferable to the tightly wound “A-types.” However, having a sense of integrity is essential to any game, especially life. Sure, there are those who make out well with their nonchalance, but one must consider how much more they had to endure to get to that point. Going to college without an idea of what you want to do can be hazardous to your time and bank account. You may get to experience a wide variety of subjects, but because your scope is too broad it may be difficult to narrow it down to a specific degree and career path. As for your chess game, without a plan your piece count may dwindle drastically before you realize what’s going on.

It is vital to your game that you find a happy medium between the straight-line and haphazard strategies. There are pros and cons to each style, and after experimenting with all three I’ve found that I prefer to play with an adaptive strategy. By being assertive in my moves, and responding appropriately to my opponent, I’ve been successful. I analyze each piece position and work out the possible outcomes of each following movement. If I move my queen to this spot, which of my opponent’s pieces can take her, and where can she go from there? Or, any piece I move will be in danger, which move would be the least devastating? I’ve become more practical in my movements on the board and in life because of this strategy. In high school I had it all figured out. I was going graduate early and move out-of-state to go to my dream ivy league school, and I was going to be the best damn neuropsychologist in the business. But, things happen and life gets in the way. I hadn’t planned on dual-enrolling at the local community college my senior year of high school, or being overwhelmed with my course load to the point of dropping three classes, or deciding to switch my major to English in my fourth semester. However, I managed to adapt to these changes and make the best of it. Things may not have gone the way I had initially planned, but things are going just as well.

For my Love; I’ll see you in Dreamland.

Billions of stars. I’ve never seen so many

adorning the tear between yesterday and tomorrow.

We look in awe, you and I. Heads tipped back

like we could suckle the heavens, drink their nectar.

Dripping from dipping into the cosmos

I feel you steadily guide me

back from space. You pull

my gaze to yours, cradle my head

and lower me to the grass. Your kiss

like midnight dew. I wish we could stay

here forever, poised on the edge of eternity,

escaped from the grasp of cruel reality.

Just me and you.

 

It’s almost morning, love.

 

I feel myself falling.

Gravity rules apply.

I wrap my arms around you

and try to make you stay

but no matter how tight I hold you,

you start to fade.

I shut my eyes and beg you to come back,

scream your name.

I’m desperate to prolong our precious time together,

but my efforts are in vain.

I blink awake to flooding light

and scrambled covers

and my arms around a pillow

where your image decayed.

Railway Ballet

Image

You can’t stop her, no one can.

In this moment she is free,

the first she’s ever been.

She’s made her getaway,

severed all ties to her past;

she knows not where she’s going

only that her dreams lie at the

end of the tracks.

She’s feather-light, weightless,

tiptoeing gracefully along the steel rail.

Powerlines are her only audience,

standing indifferently in the dry field.

The summer breeze

catches her sheer white shift

and caresses her exposed skin.

She spreads her arms in expectancy,

waiting for her earthly binds to give way

so she can float effortlessly into the wind.

Mommy’s Girl

Such a sweet girl, pretty girl,

let Mommy brush your golden curls.

 

Charming girl, darling girl,

sit still and straight and quiet girl.

 

Good girl, porcelain girl,

dolly-like, my perfect girl.

 

Mommy’s girl, lovely girl,

poised and silent, violent girl.

 

Icy girl, angry girl, lying

beneath golden curls.

Before You

I knew nothing greater than words, and the passion

they could provide. Seductive, eager to appease me,

words were suitors, ready to bend to my will, spin themselves

into intricate tapestries.

I couldn’t have known the power or eloquence

of silence and breath, and a single glance, where words

fall meaningless around the connection of soul and flesh.

Words couldn’t have prepared me for you, or the moment

of height, when meshing lips and hearts accelerates

blood and sweat, and renders every notion of speech primal

to carnal cries. Only words could satiate me.

Now their fragile figures feel cold in comparison

to your kisses travelling my neck and thighs.

 

Before you, I’d only experienced the world through

stories, but never have I seen anything more beautifully

composed than the universe written in your eyes.