Poem on Saturday: An old forest fire

I have a midterm on thursday, but i’ll come over tomorrow

what are you doing

did you remember August?

They said you’ll never see him again, the voices

yeah fuck that,

i’ll see him tomorrow.

what are you doing

i’ll stop everything I’m doing, will

you let me tell you that you fucked it up?

that day we napped, kissed, tensions built up walls along my skin,

cement that cracked with skin and skin, and cement

and lips cracked too, open, my blood fell onto your eyes,

did they bleed too? or did you think I could trust —

coldly bruised, i knew that you’d hit me up 2, 3, 4, 8 months later.

with a couple of girls, yeah you remembered me most.

my blood stained your eyes, you felt my skin the other day,

Didn’t you?

you think it’s ok to leave things unresolved, tangled up, leave your necklaces wound up,

Leave your people and tell them tomorrow, or 8 months,

What’s the difference anyway.

what are you doing,

her tight ass, yeah you fucked her too, huh.

I saw you holding hands on Valentines Day, she’s your girlfriend?

i doubt it.

You can’t commit for shit, I know you mostly.

but i know that she’s hot, and you like heat,

reminds you of blood, my kisses on the windowsill,

when you yelled at me, “do you know how much it hurts, Brianna?”

yeah, i’ve been feeling it for months,

you didn’t ask though.

But you remembered, and you thought about it for a second,

math is the only thing you’ll ever love, i know that.

we know that.

I look at you and understand your brain, and i’m not mad,

but don’t fucking pretend,

don’t tell me you’re doing well,

You’re fucked up, will

you let me go?

doubt it.

 

**

B

On: Writing Poetry

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found sketch – incomplete. 

I often think back to when I first encountered poetry. I was about 6 years old and had just started first grade at Le Lycée Français, an international French school in Los Angeles. I had never had homework before, as they only started giving it out in first grade. So when my French teacher announced to the class that we would have to memorize and recite a poem of her choosing every Friday, I was both nervous and curious. Intrigued, I raised my hand and asked Madame Renoir, “qu’est-ce qu’un poème?” (“what is a poem?”). Amused by my innocence, she proceeded to read beautiful combinations of words I couldn’t quite understand — but I fell in love with the rhymes, the rhythm, the emotion, and the discursive nature of poetry itself. I didn’t know why it existed, or how anyone could understand the content, but I knew that I had discovered something very special indeed.

Fast forward a few years to 10 year old Brianna, and I had been reciting poems every week for four years, honoring the words of Jean de La Fontaine, Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Aimé Césaire, Racine, Jacques Prévert…etc. I was becoming quite the poetry aficionado, scoring 20/20 on every recitation, perfectly enunciating and inflecting, I had fallen deeply in love with this new language. It was like a secret code, a complex problem that could be interpreted differently after each reading. I was entranced.

In 6th grade, I was assigned to write my own poetry in English class. Not any different from my six year old self, I raised my hand and asked, “But Mr. Kennedy, what should we write about? I’ve never written a poem before, how do I do it?”. What I didn’t realize was that I could write about anything I wanted, and that there was no right or wrong way to go about it.

And I chose to write about my depression. And I shared it with the class, after everyone had shared their poems about trees, sports, traveling, and their pets. And I was deeply embarrassed. But I had discovered a new way to express myself, a way that I understood more than anything else in my little bubble.

So I went home and I wrote. I filled up journals with poetry, pages smeared with blood, drawings, scribbles, and calcified salt deposits. I didn’t show anyone anymore, because the more I wrote, the more honest I became with myself, which meant my words were pretty grim. I learned a lot from a very young age, and grew jaded quickly.

In High School, I wrote sophisticated shit — I analyzed my life and the absurdities I experienced. I wrote about love (or so I thought it was love), and I wrote about things I didn’t understand. I wrote about suicide because it was on my mind. And I wrote about nearly dying, about hospitals and doctors and trauma. But I was less honest with myself in High School.

I didn’t write as much my first semester of college, I was happy and in love so I lived life instead of writing about it. But once I experienced real heartbreak, I retreated back to the only think I knew: poetry. I spilled my heart out; I cut it open and dissected my feelings for what they were. I learned about myself and my limits — but I disregarded my limits, I went past them and discovered my middle school self again. I hadn’t changed a bit; I was just as empty as I had always been. I was just as alone. But poetry helped me realize that it was all okay, because the emptier I felt, and the more honest I was with myself about how I felt, the easier it became to accept life as such.

Poetry was and will always be my shoulder to cry on.

**

B

On: Falling in Love with a Narcissist

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My face is hot. I feel the cold air hit my cheeks as I walk down Piedmont, rehearsing my speech over and over again until I can’t even remember what I’m trying to do anymore. With each step, my heart beats a little faster than before, and I can feel the beads of sweat fall down the palms of my hands. I rub my hands on my skirt, trying to get rid of the sweat, but they only stay dry for a second. And I try to hold back tears that have been falling for days now, but my eyes start swelling and all I can do is try to hide the overwhelming bursting sensation in my chest from everyone walking beside me. I’m broken. But I am stupid enough to believe that I ever felt whole. Or that I thought he was my other half.

“I love you. I promise I’ll change, I promise. I want to be with you forever, like we’ve talked about. I want to live in that house with you with the dogs and the horses. I want all of it, and I’ll do all of it with you if you give me another chance”. Standing outside of Clark Kerr, I’m repeating myself over and over again in my head, waiting for someone to open the door to the building. At this point, my heart is beating so fast that I feel like he can hear my chest thumps from his room. “Stay strong, everything will be back to normal tomorrow”. And then someone comes up from behind me and opens the door. And I walk through. And all I can think of is turning back. What in the world am I doing here?

Taking a deep breath in front of his door, I knock once. And I hear voices coming from inside of his room, so I know he’s there. He’s probably reading about the Cold War, or laying in bed listening to Johnny Cash, or playing some stupid game on his new PS4… Regardless of what he’s doing, I wonder if he’s feeling the way I do, but I have no way of knowing considering it’s only been three days. Three agonizing days. As my mind moves faster, and as my thoughts become increasingly circular, I knock again. And then again. And then again, the knocking becoming more frantic as the minutes pass by. The voices stop after awhile, and all I can hear is the sobbing coming from my own pathetic self. People come out of their rooms looking for the source of the clearly audible weeping, but then realize it’s me and awkwardly retreat.

The sobbing doesn’t stop, and I haven’t moved from his door for an hour. His roommates text me to let me know that he refuses to open the door despite their pleas. He sits in his room listening to me cry for that entire hour, listening to me profess my love for him, listening to me make an awful fool out of myself. But I’ve lost the only thing that has ever mattered to me, so I figure that there isn’t anything left to lose at this point.

My head starts spinning and as soon as I know it, the two of us are in the study room next door, and my tears have soaked the collar of my shirt, the salt depositing slowly on my neck. Unaffected by my pain, he sits in front of me stoically and logically explains why we don’t make sense together. I look at him desperately, trying to find an ounce of empathy in his body, giving him the benefit of the doubt — after all, he must have a heart.

“Brianna, I am in so much pain right now telling you this, but I just can’t do this anymore. I am going to have to cut you out of my life completely”. His face is calm and collected, and he crosses his arms and sighs as if he had just told his daughter that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I’ve fallen to my knees, slowly watching the world crumble around me as he walks out the door without remorse, and without saying goodbye.

I’ve offered him my entire heart, life, and being, and none of it could ever suffice for him. I stay in the study room and nothing makes sense to me anymore. All of the memories we shared, the plans we had for the future, and the way we made each other feel — all of it was meaningless, all of it means nothing to him now. But until this moment, I hadn’t realized how much empathy he truly lacked, and how he placed his own self worth above all else. Of course he refused to open the door despite the apparent suffering I was enduring, as it would have been too much for him to handle. And now, still on the floor, my face entirely smeared with mascara and salt, I think back to all of the times where he valued himself more than he valued me. I think back to when I would ask him why he was so against veganism, and how his responses amounted to him just deciding that he just doesn’t care about killing animals. I think back to our political arguments, and how he was so stubbornly conservative. And I would ask him how he could just ignore the problems of so many good people, and to that he responded similarly. He just doesn’t care, as it doesn’t affect him.

Filtering out the beautiful memories, I realize quickly that the man I’ve fallen in love with is in fact a dark reproduction of everything I absolutely despise. But of course, I can’t live without him, because even though our views on nearly every single topic are polar opposites, this man has captured my heart unlike anyone else. His clearly narcissistic characteristics only truly shine through after realizing how disillusioned I’ve been throughout the entire relationship. And as I sit here thinking about my future, I start eliminating any possibility of a future with him, and the tears come flooding down my face again.

Even though I am capable of rationalizing the situation, I physically feel my heart splitting in two as I remember what we always used to say to each other.

“You’ve got me, and I’ve got you”, and these words stick to my heart like glue.

 

**

B

Weekly Tunes: BBB14

it’s ok to be angry.

**

B

Weekly Tunes: BBB13

Mourning music for sad situations.

**

B

 

 

How to do a flight to Paris the right way

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I’ve flown to Paris more times than I can even count, but this is the first time I’ve been here in a couple of years, and my experience has proven to be very different than it usually is.

On this trip, I decided that I wanted to test out some tricks to make my flight the best it could possibly be, while minimizing jet lag and getting some beauty sleep. Here’s my advice.

  1. Take an Edible 

Ok, so this was 100% my first time taking an edible before a long flight, and I do have to say that I was a bit weary, considering a lot can go wrong with edibles. All I can say is that it depends. First of all, I took an edible that I’m very very used to taking, so I know exactly how much I need to feel fantastic, and I know exactly how I’ll feel too, instead of being surprised and then having an anxiety attack on the plane. Secondly, although I took a sativa edible (which energizes), I actually had a really great time experiencing all of the new sounds and feelings that being in a plane can bring. Many first recommendation would be to take an indica edible if your goal is to fall asleep on the plane, however. But if you do want to have the trippiest plane experience ever, take a sativa edible.

Also, I opted to take the edible about an hour before takeoff, and it ended up hitting about two hours after that, which came to my surprise as I was watching a movie. It hit me like absolutely out of nowhere. But damn was it fun.

2. Come prepped with sleeping supplies 

Planes are cold and uncomfortable places (if you’re flying in economy, which I’m assuming most of us do!) To make your 11 hour flight much more enjoyable, bring a few things in your carry-on:

3. If you’re over 18 and flying to Europe, you can drink on the plane.

When the flight attendants were bringing drinks down the aisles, I noticed two things. Firstly, the flight attendants were French. Secondly, they were passing out champagne. Through various mental processes that lasted much longer than they should have, I reasoned that since the flight attendants were French, they probably wouldn’t I.D. me, since the drinking age in France is basically nonexistent. Also, I figured that if I asked confidently, everything would be fine. And it was. I had multiple glasses of champagne during my flight, and it definitely helped me sleep 😉

4. Bring Snacks!

I’m vegan. Plane food is awful. Vegan plane food is even worse. So I always bring snacks in the form of protein bars and sushi rolls! Usually I’ll just make a Tupperware full of rice rolls and bring them on the plane, and I’m a happy camper. And everyone else will be über jealous!

5. If you can, try to travel as light as possible and avoid checking any bags!

This may seem obvious, but it’s probably my best piece of advice in terms of traveling. The Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris has the worst baggage claim situation, and it’s honestly just best to skip it, or your wasting precious time you could be spending outside of the airport and in fucking Paris. But this stands for any airport in the world. Bring a little carry-on suitcase and a backpack, and you’re fine. You don’t need 3 pairs of shoes and an entire bottle of hairspray. You’ll live.

Happy travels!

With love, from Paris ❤

**

B

Weekly Tunes: BBB12

With love, from Paris. ❤

**

B

 

The Paris effect

IMG_1523.jpgI’ve been in Paris for 2 days already and I can’t imagine ever leaving. I’m contemplating even moving here after I graduate to just experience everything this city has to offer, and to just live. I’ve been really thinking about life and its purpose lately, and while I can’t seem to come up with a concrete answer to anything, I’ve found that perhaps the only solution is that there is no solution. Everyone’s wants are completely different, everyone finds joy in very different things, and it seems to me that no life is more successful than another if both lives were lived without regrets. And I feel that spirit here in Paris.

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As I was walking down rue Montorgueil last night with a new friend that I had just met at a tiny little bar, I couldn’t stop smiling. I asked this person if he felt the same way about the city as I did in that moment – filled with wonder and a sense of hope and joie de vivre. And having lived in Paris his entire life, he laughed a bit and told me that he wished that he could see the city through my eyes. But that he saw that the city had marvelous effects on people. And it does. It really reinforces my general outlook on life and helps me realize what I actually find important. My outlook is constantly changing with each new experience and it’s reshaped over and over again by both my own ambition and the suffocating societal standards I’ve been brainwashed to believe in my entire life. Being destined for greatness is a lot of pressure, and it’s a destiny that everyone around me, at least at Berkeley, is expected to fulfill. I’m alive. I’m human. I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. While we’ve been told this from birth, we have also been expected to achieve incredible things at a disgustingly young age.
“Honey, everyone makes mistakes, but you can’t.”

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Paris brings me back to my own reality. I’m transported to a world full of possibilities, full of love, full of passion and wonder – and yet I’m expected to be able to transition back to Berkeley in a week. I’ll be coming back from one of the most liberating experiences of my life and dropped into a world where my self-worth is dictated by how well I’m able to analyze Socrates’ argument in The Apology. I’ve read it, so why am I supposed to break it down for someone who has also read it a million times? While the world in Berkeley is supposedly “the real world”, my world here feels much more real than it ever has in my entire life. I’ve had a taste of living life to its fullest, and it’s difficult to go back to the complete opposite and be expected to transition in a couple of days. I’ll mourn my potential existence in Paris whilst I spend hours upon hours studying for something I’m not even sure I want. But this huge part of me is so scared of throwing away everything I’ve worked so hard for. I’m scared not only of living a life deemed unacceptable and sub-par, but what particularly scares me is regret. What will I regret more? Choosing to live freely or being stuck in the chains of society’s demands? The answer seems simple, but it is much too complex for me to even try to delve into.

All I have is this one little life and all I know is that I must live to its full potential, because living a mediocre life is perhaps even more frightening than death.

merci, Paris.

**

B

When you’re in a rut

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when you’re in a rut,

read some complicated philosophy, or a kid’s book, or the news.

light a candle and lay down. keep your eyes open and think.

draw something really good, or really bad, or really nothing.

talk to a furry friend about your rut, and be honest because you owe him that much. (I

drink a milkshake. they’re tasty.

write some poetry.

make a playlist about your rut. (or listen to the one I made below).

talk to a human friend about your rut. You don’t have to talk about everything.

drive around.

go to the ocean (if you can) and jump in the waves.

bring your furry friend to the ocean and he how happy he is to run around in the sand freely.

write a letter to yourself about the rut.

make a really good cup of coffee and drink it slowly.

watch a documentary that opens your eyes.

make your bed and then sit on your newly made bed.

make this drink: vodka + ice + lime + fizzy water.

help someone.

call your family. they love you.

tell someone you think they’re cute.

if it’s raining, sit in the rain. let yourself get soaked.

do some yoga and stretch out those creaky legs.

start a savings account if you don’t already have one. have it automatically transfer 20 dollars a month and watch your money grow.

rekindle an old friendship. (or an old flame).

roll a really good joint and smoke it. alone. and think.

watch some cartoons. or a foreign movie without subtitles.

and last but not least, acknowledge your rut and be ok with it.

 

Here’s the promised playlist:

 

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B