A Poem for 9/11

Thirteen years ago
My mother didn’t come to get me out of bed.
My father left work early
A reporter – his name I do not even know –
Shook the corners of our
Home.

The fire lit the sides of buildings.
The smoke bellowed.
It was so high.
I remember baffling over how high it was.

“People work up there?”

Some kind of evil

spell
I thought.

A horrid black cloud.

Screaming people.
Running people.
People I had never met – I thought they were family anyway.
The mind of six-year-old

there are no strangers in war.

the mind of six-year-old.

“Is this normal?”

Well, I’m a full grown woman now.
But the girl who saw 9/11 on the television system

Is the same little girl who still remembers it today.

Is the same little girl

facing life daily

Still asking
why

Was part of the youngest generation who witnessed 9/11

on their television systems
across a nation.
a nation

now of other adults like me.
adults looking back on 9/11
still asking why.

God hearing them.
Adults facing life, politics – work, school, and family, – a background voice –

the voice of a child, as bellows through -

“Please explain to me, again – violence. What’s this about the greater good?”

the six-year-old girl
the six-year old girl whose family lost she’ll never meet.
will not leave me alone.

Of Course I Do

So I’ve been getting it these past few weeks. Life’s been hard. I’m not going to even try to sugarcoat it. I’ve just about had it. I’ve had friends do me wrong, parents give me the silent treatment, financial stress more powerful than any I have ever experienced, and emotional responsibility recklessly thrown on my back. Emotional responsibility I have to keep in check by the hour. Emotional responsibility I don’t think I can handle every morning when I wake up, but I force myself out of bed – convinced somewhere deep down inside that even this shall pass.

Sometimes friends do us wrong. It’s not an anomaly. What matters is how we deal with the friend when they do us wrong. Anger solves nothing. Anger pushes us away from resolutions, traps us in a pit of our own unforgiveness and rage, and limits our responses to emotionally unstable and unproductive solutions. Wallowing in our own self-pity does us no good either. I’ve heard a lot of people say that you are only the victim if you choose to be the victim, but I have to say I disagree. Sometimes we are the victim. We don’t have a choice in this. If we choose to believe we not a victim when, in fact, we are a victim, we limit our knowledge and understanding of the situation and therefore end up making unhelpful or unwise decisions. I’ve been a victim this week. I’m not so prideful as to try and convince myself I have everything together. That I’m unwoundable. I’m not unwoundable. I’m vulnerable. Just like you.

Sometimes parents are not there for us when we need them. This is not exclusive to people whose parents who have passed away, had an ugly divorce, or have addiction problems. Sometimes our parents can be one room over and still not be there for us. Sometimes parents can have an appearance of perfection to a bystander, when in reality, the entire family is in disarray and upheaval. What’s in the family stays in the family. There are plenty of people just like me. You don’t want to talk badly about your family to outsiders. You internalize your hurt. You vent into pillows. I get it. I’ve been there my whole life.

Sometimes money does control our life. No amount of Hallmark card mushy-gushy lip service can convince me that a life cannot be either saved or destroyed by means of a presence of or a lack thereof money. There are people dying right now because cannot afford another meal. Because they cannot afford healthcare. There are young people who cannot attend college because their family cannot afford to send them, so with this, they face a lifetime of penny pinching and poverty in an increasingly degree-oriented work world. Money can save a life. Money can pay for a meal. Money can pay for healthcare. Money can pay for college. What about love? Money can forge relationships and create connections. Money can network. Money can relieve stress. Some of us don’t have money. Some of us are handicapped. I know. There’s no solution other money either.

Sometimes emotional responsibility can far exceed the suggested average for a person your age. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we have a right to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we are overwhelmed. This isn’t a crime. It’s not a fault on your part. It’s a reality. So what do we do? We push forward. We wrestle hourly. We fight to keep our emotions balanced. In tune. Healthy. Wise. Sometimes we have to get in the shower, turn up the water and let ourselves cry. Sometimes we have to go run it out. Sometimes we have to write a journal entry – a completely honest one, this time. Whatever we can do. We strive to keep everything together. I understand. I’ve been in places having me struggle by the second.

Sometimes we cannot see people’s hardship. Sometimes wounds are invisible. Sometimes people cannot contribute their hardship to a death. To a divorce. To a relationship failed. To an obvious sickness. To a family problem which can be spoken of. To a feeling – definable, easily describable. I’m not one of these people. I have problems I can’t talk about with other people. I have questions I can’t ask. I need help I will never attain. Some of us understand this. Some have problems just like mine. We can never talk about them. But know, here! They exist. I know how you feel. You know how I feel. We are never alone in our solitary state. This is what gives me peace. Strength. This should give you peace and strength.

Why am I telling you this? I want to share with you how I deal with the hardship. Do I still text my friends back after they hurt me? Do I still give my parents a chance after they let me down? Do I still fight for financial stability when it’s all I can do to pay for the bills I have now? Do I still choose to wrestle with emotional responsibility even when it would be easier to just throw it off my back? I do. Of course I do. I will not stop until I die.

The Flower

The flower is like its purple kiss
from heaven.
Beautiful and silent
Like twas laid in blankets of motherly
prophecies.
Essence bowing to air in breath of
mountainly brethren,
and consciousness laid in everlasting motions.
So twas the night when hit its
glory figments -
and drowned the world out of all
correspondence.

The Flower

When and Why We Pray

I have a problem.
I’m trying to figure out why people pray when they don’t believe in God.
The answer is in my heart somewhere – though I cannot seem to find it at the moment –
I trust it will come to me soon.
Forthcoming.

God.
Who is God and why do so many people have a different perspective of the same thing?
I imagine it’s just like anything else – we all see things through different lenses, perspectives –
Are these different perspectives; all the same thing.
Could be.

Then why.
They contradict each other and destroy the other person.
When and why do we pray?
Perhaps to the same God.
Need.

Need.
We all need something when we pray.
We are all looking for the same things – comfort, success, self-assurance, love –
The God of the human beings must carry; all of these things -
Must.

For else –
Why would we pray?
When we pray these things – could we, maybe, pray to the same supernatural being?
Though we know by different names; perhaps God, the thing inside all of us calling out

Forth

Love.

Self-assurance, success. Comfort.

Then and thus
God is peace.
When and why we pray.
Peace.

Ah, the very thing we fight over.

Just Yes

Love.
Sometimes

I wonder

Why love’s confused like the exponent in your algebra problem.
Too low to be a number.
Too high to be

irrelevant.

Bring me two more, and I’ll

square it for ya.

You can’t expect everybody to get it.
There are two of them.

I went to the farmer’s market with them.

One for the sale and the other for show.
That seems to be the way it goes.
Sometimes people have one person for each

Thing

One thing for each

NEED

I went and scored the whole sale item on the super sale package.
It’s called popularity.
Apparently more to friendship can be forged than a trip to Pasadena.
There’s two kinds of love.

Both of which

End in

death and life together.

A result

the switched disposition.

I came through to the meeting.
The meeting of the two.

The both

Of them.

The love to kill –
bring back to life again.
The love to run rapid.
Die like the rest of us.

My favorite person in the world wasn’t an exposition at all.
He was a simplified digit.
A one on a parallel boundary.

A double

single.

An impossibility multiplied by its exposition.

Just yes.

But why yes?

Word on the street is ‘no.’
No singularity.
No unity.

x can’t equal three when two is an exposition.
Two can’t equal three because x doesn’t equal either.
Three squared seemed to be the world’s new favorite number.
I’ll go with the almighty one.
The one without

the zero

Just yes.
Why yes?
Because I don’t even get my own poem, but it makes sense anyways.
Just like math.
Just like a hidden exposition.
Three squared isn’t my favorite number, per say -

But perhaps nine can be.

Hatcher Pass, Alaska: An Attainable Wild

Today, I’m going to take you on a tour of Hatcher Pass. A popular sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and snow-machining attraction for Alaska residents, and a beautiful treasure to tourists alike – Hatcher Pass is one of the favorite wilderness getaways. The pass itself can be easily reached by by car, and is in driving distance of the Mat-Su valley (approximately Anchorage area). Hatcher Pass, specifically, is located in the southwestern region of the Talkeetna Mountains in Alaska. Its name was wrought from an Alaska gold miner and settler, Robert Lee Hatcher, who first began prospecting there in 1906; and the area still showcases a ghost town forged in the late 1800s / early 1900s. Yet history aside – Hatcher Pass is one of my personal favorites because of its accessibility.

Truth: a lot of us don’t necessarily have the time, money, experience, or even will power to face the wilderness head-on. During my time in Alaska, I encountered a lot of tourists who would inquire on “hidden treasures” – beautiful and easily reachable locations only seasoned Alaskans seem to know about. I mean, sure. There are plenty of gorgeous locations – practically a photographer’s haven – maintained by the state. But even these require some miles of walking; though trails impeccably kept – some people simply cannot hike into places. Hatcher Pass offers something more, however; the overall drop-dead beauty of this northern wonder can be reached simply by car! To give you a bit of the feel, I’ve photographed some of my favorite things about Hatcher Pass in the following pictures.

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 1.1
This photo was taken while driving up to Hatcher Pass. You can see the Mat-Su valley down below. Even in the dead of winter, this road is maintained for travel.

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 2.

This photo was taken while driving as well. (Little secret: I never even stepped out of my car to capture this one!)

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 3.

As stated earlier, Hatcher Pass holds a major sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and snow-machining attraction. If you look hard enough, you can see hundreds of tracks in the snow. But never fear! Plenty of these mountains offer gorgeous photography spectacles without the presence of humans. Speaking of humans: do you see those two tiny dots near the southwest / middle of the photograph? Yeah, those are people.

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 4.

We’re here! This is the bottom of the most popular sledding and snowboarding hill, located at the end of the main road leading up to Hatcher Pass.

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 5.

So there is clarity, the above photo shows parking available. You can see vehicles on the far right side of the picture, while also taking into account a few buildings from the gold mining ghost town and a summer wilderness lodge (shown on the middle left side of the photograph).

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 6.

Hiking out! Here, a group of hikers are shown heading deeper into the pass. For those major adventures out there, a collection of abandoned buildings (shown near the center of the photograph) can be accessed within hiking distance of the parking lot. Be weary, however; the snow is deeper than it looks! This picture was taken while standing just outside my car. It isn’t difficult to capture a great picture without having to walk anywhere.

Bradham. Hatcher Pass 7.

It’s nearing evening-time at Hatcher Pass. This is a similar shot of the gold mining ghost town and parking area shown earlier. The mountains are beautiful as the sun is going down. Shades of gray and blue emerge across the landscape as the lighting changes. Evening time presents one of my personal favorite aspects of Hatcher Pass; the texture of the snow may be captured in photographs when light is reflected off the crystals.

Obviously, several pictures posted here were gained only after hiking up a mountain. Aside from the two photos showing the parking area, however, each and every part (and more) of what was shared in this post can be seen without ever having to step out of your vehicle. Out of all the places in Alaska (most of which are unreachable – unless you’ve lived there a long time and/or have a ton of money), Hatcher Pass is the place I would recommend for anyone. If you’re looking to take in a bit of the wild – without the ‘life or death’ aspect – make sure this northern beauty tops your list!