to dance

group of people dancing

is to revolt.

to dance

is to be aware of the people staring

and choosing not to care.

moreso, to shift your care into the wave of your hands

the jump in your feet

the toss of your hair

the freedom that runs through your soul

and bursts from your skin.

to dance

is to listen to a beat that you can hear

loud and clear

even if it goes unheard by anyone else.

to dance

is to smile at frowning people

staying still on the ground

whose eyes roam over your body

and attempt to make it still itself

and to move on, anyway.

to dance

is to refuse to be weaponized

by a system that demands rigor mortis

by the fear that has always controlled us

to raise your head and laugh.

to dance

is being willing to go it alone

to trust another person

to join a group

united in individual movement.

to dance

is a love letter

encased in melanin

and tendons

and stretch marks

and beauty.

to dance

is a fist extended into open palms

knowing directed force

has more power when applied to certain points.

to dance

is freeing, joyous,

when you can learn to dance for yourself

that’s where it starts.

to dance

is to let go

of the positions you have known

afraid of moving on

but ready to do so at all costs.

to dance

is a protest

is a performance

is perfect

in its own way.

to dance

in whatever shape or form

whoever your feet move for

may in every little way

you find your dance

today.

w

assorted bottles on display in store

w

walmart shopping after work, after the end of the day and everyone’s ready to grab their frozen pizzas and go home.

“uhhh.” you stare at your camera, and then you stare and the rows of mini backpacks that hang before you. your sister slings an arm around your neck and pats a sleek looking black half pint.

“see anything you like?” panic. how are you supposed to choose anything? the idea of getting something absolutely brand new is foreign, almost dirty. everything you’ve ever possessed with the exception of your precious camera has either been stolen from dumpsters or carefully picked from thrift store racks. there’s something thrilling about getting something for your very own, something terrifying.

“the marvel ones look cool,” you mumble, eyes a captain marvel one in the kids section. you’re still a kid, after all.
“unless you wanna explain a flaming superhero on campus, i’d settle for something more discreet.” they rest their arm on your head simply because you’re short and you glower. “or not. whatever catches your eye.”

you pause. “do you mean that?”
“always.”

the walmart is left with one bobbing brown leather backpack and a jojo siwa balloon punched in the face.

i

two persons playing hockey on ice field

i

“i can’t keep TRACK of all of you,” the skate guard laughs as a bunch of little kids push them around the ice, tiny handmedown skates running against the cold to push this giant human around, for, you know, practice.

it is the second to last week of the skating season, and you wait for your friend to finish wrapping her scarf around her head as you have a small conversation about skating.

“i like it, i just wish i had lessons,” she sighs, staring over at some other girl on the ice whose teacher cheers her on as she does a cool one-legged spinny trick and doesn’t fall over. on the other side, the little kids have all fallen into a heap and their adult takes turns picking one up and dragging across the ice, giggling as they feel the sensation of floating on cold air.

“me too,” you agree. you take off your coat and step onto the ice, carefully pushing yourself off. you skate for a while, it feels like forever.

“hey, hey kid!” the skateguard comes up to you and the other children on the ice. “this is how you make a stop the hockey style, okay?”

without question everyone stands still and watches as they dart across the ice, sharply leaning on one side and letting a spray of ice fly across the rim. someone applauds. they come back proud.

“now you try it and see how it goes.”
“in figure skates?” you protest.

they throw their hands up in the air. “they’re all skates, aren’t they?”

t

poor lighted hallway

t

“…therapy?” the nurse asks kindly, handing you flip flops to walk in instead of the strange cloth sock contraptions they give upon arrival. you take them shyly, you’re not used to being offered anything, you feel guilty, you need to be tough, you have nearly died.

“is it expensive?”

the nurse laughs. “maybe, but your mind’s worth it.” they sit down and explain a way of healing you’d only ever heard as a joke, as a taboo element of life nobody wants to hear about, as something you never thought you needed. it sounds… it sounds good.

“we can set you and your family up for a session after you’re discharged,” the nurse finishes. “or… just you,” they add, watching your face crumple from passive to pained. “do… you want to talk about it?”

“uh, can i take you up on your offer another time?” you might be sidestreet, but you have manners.
“okay.”

when another time comes, you talk, and for the first time, you are listened to.

hallway light

it is four am.

yoooo sup, welcome to another night of this amazing thing called insomnia.

all things considered the vibes are almost immaculate. just forget the microwave that was supposed to be cleaned

and this paper due in three days

and a myriad of problems that have all been shoved to the side and run away from for as long as possible

and the lack of air conditioning

and it’s a pretty dang great scene

like

fans running at full speed tempting the fates to shut the power down

like

a microwave brownie mug cake whipped up and resting on the desk with steam coming from the cracks in the aesthetically pleasing top

like

the sleep podcast that streams through my ears and promises to be my buddy while i drift off

which i appreciate

like the world promises to be at peace at this time

and of course the world always lies, but you know what i mean?

“therapy,” someone cries. “jo you need therapy” to which i reply

in THIS economy?

money is such a sad thought that my foggy brain can’t think about it without deciding to cut off that necessary evil known as serotonin, and look at that, now we’re viben’t

but see like

the thing about insomnia is it’s so invitingly stupid

perhaps there’s a better way to phrase this

but the One time that i voluntarily attempt to be a body at rest is the One time where everything screams Life! Liberty! The Pursuit Of Being Contrary! Song Lyrics! Wake Up!

it’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s four twenty in the am

how ironic, to watch time slip past as rest taunts you from afar

awwwww can’t sleep can’t sleep look who can’t sleep look who sits side by side with their demons look who makes mug cakes for the monsters under the bed

shut up

it’s true it’s true true true true

listen buddy i don’t need advice from my doubts right now end of conversation

and then my mind laughs because in shutting it down i have quoted a lyric from nf and now i’ll have something new to ponder over for an hour

sigh

i don’t know

i want to feel alive, i want to feel something new, something different

to run away

to leave it all again

equally

you could say what my mind is crying for, thinking about, searching so desperately, never finding is not, in fact, pulling a santa fe, but actually being a decently functional human and going the fudge to sleep

i want fudge

and your point is proven already

at this time in life sometimes i’m glad i’m alone, because imagine having to deal with a waking monster child that wanders the house asking what the meaning of life is and hadn’t we put the world on timeout

i mean, i have to deal with myself and that is a terrifying statement

the podcast gently occupying my ears makes no sense and i relate to that on a personal level

and here i feel the need to spin this into some inspirational little piece of words, but the plain and simple truth is i do not want to

i wish for peace upon the world, but i can’t bring it

i hope everyone can find rest but i don’t know where it is

and i think sleep is lovely and if you find some tell me how

i’ll be waiting in my stuffy room and the hallway light is on

many thoughts head full

isn’t that a funny thing

when the dreamer is wide awake

sigh

please

go to sleep

you’re no use to anyone dead

like you’re useful alive?

well

well that’s something we find out tomorrow, isn’t it

now, goodnight.

but is it—

AHHHHHHH

the giant cloudman


looks at me angrily, his long tubular nose pointing down at the little leather cushion i have placed myself on. i’m here because i have nowhere else to be; the power’s gone, my phone is at 32%, and i’m missing acting class as we speak.

giant cloudman is here because he has nowhere else to be too, only, he is the power, and tonight is his night to expend it all.

“shouldn’t you be asleep?” giant asks me in much coarser language. a bolt of lightning runs through his body, causing me to jump. i don’t doubt he smirked at that in the darkness.

“probably,” i reply.
“then shouldn’t you be bloody well at it by now?” giant cloudman is a rough brit, apparently.
“perhaps,” i say, tilting my head up to stare at the immense space of sky giant takes up. moly and mice, he’s huge. imagine him picking me up from my small spot in the roof to have a sterner chat. i’d both be dead from fear and insisting he fly me over to the moon, and then we’d have a talk about different levels in the atmosphere, and probably out of spite he’d reluctantly zoom me over to my sister’s flat in the states and i’d have to explain why i was wet and also with no other clothes except a tank top and some shorts (typical jo) and then i’d turn around to blame it on giant cloudman and he’d be gone already—

giant sighs. thunder echoes through the trees, and i nearly drop my phone.

“then why aren’t you?”
perhaps his first sympathetic question all night.

“i’m a creature of obstinance,” i begin.
“ah, don’t fool yourself dear, you jumped with that bolt of lightning.”
“well. yes. but i’m still here, aren’t i?”
“you shouldn’t be—“
“precisely! and so i am.”

is that the wind flapping back and forth or is giant shaking his head?

“you— you—“ he stumbles in his words, taking a good look at my hunched over appearance, trying to figure out the right words to address and scold me by.
“take your time,” i tell him. i reach out for some crackers in my other pockets and munch in his confusion.
“—you young… people make no sense these days.”
“didn’t you just form like, tonight?”
giant cloudman laughs in my complacent ignorance.

“don’t you know the saying? water has memory. and i,” he gets closer, rain starting to fall.

“i remember everything.”

i taste the rain and brush off a struggling ant off my leg as i look the giant in the eyes. “how’s that been like for you?”

he seems taken aback at my camaraderie. “tiring. very tiring. in such a short time this place seems to be getting worse and worse, thanks to fools like you.”
“tell me about it.” i munch on a another cracker.

there’s a volley of lightning that ripples throughout the sky, evoking purple and red and blue all at once in the lonely, young night. i cross my legs and watch as giant cloudman has conversations with his coworkers in the storm making business, and he eventually returns to me.

“you enjoy this stuff?” his brogue tries, but it can’t hide his confusion.
“he— er, heck yeah,” i say through muffled crackers.
“do tell why. i’ve never seen a child grin at lightning. are you mad?”
“oh, definitely,” i say. “it must be amazing to have such power. so… gah. so cool, so strong, so in control.”

i might’ve stoked his ego a bit. the giant gets louder. “ahh, and you wouldn’t know what that’s like.”

i stop.

“no.” i say honestly. “i would never know what that’s like.”

it’s the giant’s turn to stop.
“oh.”
“yeah.”
“well… i’m uh, sorry,” he says gruffly. i don’t suppose he’s used to making apologies.

“you get used to it,” i tell him. i look around at the darkness around me and inhale. the power has been off for a while, and yet i’d rather stay here and have this little chat with a being that could potentially kill me given the right motives. i’m not sure what to make of that.

there are murmurs in the air as the storm people begin their nightly torrent, and giant man sounds quieter when he says “in all seriousness, you should go find some rest.”

i stifle a laugh. “hmmmm. that doesn’t happen for people like me. doubt you get any of it in your kind of work either.”

the giant almost smiles. or maybe that’s the sudden curve of electricity that runs through what i imagine is his mouth. “you’re observing. it’s people like you that can’t be left alone, you’d find out how the world works and try to fix all its broken parts.”

i would respond if he doesn’t immediately crouch down to where i am, the roof space around me getting darker and darker, and i’m about to back up against the wall when he whispers (well, rumbles, he is a cloud after all),

“don’t give that up now, alright?”

i manage to stutter. “i…”
“promise?”

he doesn’t have to get me to notice his quickly dissipating form, i can see for myself that it’s fading into the blanket of clouds that are coming to shred the sky with more electricity. it’s now or never.

“yeah, no, absolutely,” i say. “i’ll… i’ll keep… observing.”

giant cloudman drenches me in water. i imagine that’s cloud affection for ruffling someone’s head. “good. good then. i better be going.”

but then he turns. and stops. and turns back to me. “i never caught your name.”

“i never caught yours either,” i reply. “perhaps it’s not very important.”

giant cloudman doesn’t seem content with that. “then i’ll have to name you. let’s see… small, cocky, slightly tragic, i’m calling you little storm. farewell, little storm.”

he turns to leave, and as a goodbye i yell through the steadily pouring rain, “why little storm?”

giant cloudman keeps floating away, but his voice echoes in the next rumble of thunder that passes over me.

“because you’ve got a bigger one coming.”

yearning

low-angle photography of man standing on stone with arms wide-open statue

“i just want to be *Held”

“can you imagine *human touch*”

“i would kill for a *hug*”

the following was taken from the nsfw channel of a chaotic server i mod, which was created for discussing how to write murder and other dark topics but instantly veered from gory character motives to spoilering the desire to be able to interact with humans for comedic effect.

it’s been rough lately.

most of us haven’t gone out in months, myself included. most of us aren’t in the best of situations physically, mentally, or spiritually. most of us are anxious, and sad, and creating messy characters and plots and stupid jokes is how we cope. most of us are vibing. all of us are alone.

someone (who absolutely shredded me to pieces with a connected series THE PAIN) said it best.

“everyone’s baking and protesting, and we’re stuck here yearning.”

11 people instantly reacted with the f emoji.
to, you know, pay respects.

i mean, are they wrong?

i think about that, today, after waking up and showering and getting my favorite shirt and get a meal of crackers and salmon lox cream cheese. yearning. hhhhhh imagine that.

i’m listening to rend collective’s latest album and my chest (as foreign and dysphoric as it feels) is throbbing with… with relating. with singing. with truth. with desire and fear and so much yearing.

i haven’t talked much about faith as much as i have the world in which faith is so desperately needed, not because i don’t believe it’s not important, but it’s been so, so long since i’ve had any kind of community or sense of belonging– and not just with, like, faith, with every single intricate dang part of myself.

(oh hah guess what i’m writing about that talk about projecting babyy!)

and it’s like how can i claim to talk about truth and God and uhm, being a light when i’m literally in the darkness, you feel? but i’m sure you do. it’s july 2020, and we are all tired, and governments are not doing their jobs, and people are broken, and my goodness, how alone we must all be right now.

creation groans, and so we are literally crying for something more, for something real, for something true, to look into someone’s eyes face to face with no threat of disease stopping us, for justice to be served.

there are names and names and names of people who are gone and it’s not right and it seems like everyone is finally waking up and realizing how broken and wrong the world is and we’re yearning, crying, for anything right, and man, i have clue what to make of that. like, i have to take tutoring for algebra, i’m not mentally equipped for answers. i don’t think any of us are.

but we yearn to do something good anyway. but there are people right now chanting and learning and educating and fighting for right and they’re doing amazing and there are a bunch of people signing up to teach me and a bunch of other lost, nerdy kids how to sing, how to dance, how to dream this summer, there’s stars and there’s sun and there’s a spotify playlist that is streaming truth and beauty and goodness and how, how can anyone look at this world and not realize what it could be, what it was meant to be?

my God really made some amazing things, and yes, they’re so messed up now, but even with their serious flaws they’re beautiful. that is wild. that is so wild. can you not feel that?

if the hate that fueled all these horrible people (read: all of us) to do what we’ve been doing for centuries was replaced with hearts, with love, with holy sacred rightness, what would the world look like?

idk man, but it must be… beautiful.

so i’m here now, filled with a violent urge to create. and sing. and write and fight and scream and care. and to be cared about.

it must be only heaven where one can be at peace and to be among peace.

but if, through what i do and who i am and the amazing people i know, just a tiny bit of heaven can be brought to earth, well, it won’t take away the desire or the yearning.. but maybe rather, remind us that we’re not hoping for nothing. there’s something, there always was Something. and that’s faith fren.

i wish i could knock on the door of every person in the server, in my chats, in my neighborhood and tell them that. i only know how much i would die to hear those words said to me.

oh, and also *hug*. that’s very important.

~we are the strong, we are the brave, we are the dreamers, jo~

color outside every line

assorted-color Crayola crayons

i finished outlining today.

hhhhhhh! i did something today!

Starkid Rachael Soglin GIF - Starkid RachaelSoglin ICanFinallyLayDown GIFs

and you know what

it’s… not good.

there’s so many plot holes. i don’t have any of the characters fully fleshed out, the ending is somewhat anticlimatic, it’s messy and it’s me and it may never see the light of day.

and i think that’s like, that’s something that tends to run through every artist’s mind, you know? like instagram ruins our pictures, we miss a few dozen layers on a project, we hear a wobble in a cover of a song, and we sigh because it’s not good, it’s not right, it’s not perfect and it’s just pathetic and sad and us, which somehow makes it worse.

isn’t that sad? to be disappointed in the thing that makes us us?

i guess.

back to the outline. i don’t even know how much of it i’m actually gonna follow, you know? and like, i was battling a pesky mosquito that was attacking my feet while trying to decide the future of an imaginary person in an imaginary, broken world, and–

that’s not good. but it’s not bad either.

creation, as a concept and as a reality, as a process and a finished work, has always been messy. i think the only person who ever properly nailed a piece of art on the first try was God and like, look what happened to that. we just… messed it up. free will and what not.

and so, we’re left with this yearning for beauty and for substance, for validation and for acceptance, we put pen to paper and brush to paint and fingers to frets and we try and try and try and it’s just a little bit off, and somehow i suppose we feel a pang of disappointment that just pushes us to do better.

what if… the slightly off… is… enough…?

i don’t know what i was trying to say after that,

but it was gonna tie in to me looking over what little of a story i have and being like “hey, that’s actually kinda interesting.”

but catch me being coherent, right? ha. no.

can anything be truly perfect? no. people are mean. life is hard. the world is messy. there’s a literal virus spreading around. how can we demand perfection from ourselves when the whole of humanity has been trying and failing for like, at least a thousand years. maybe two thousand.

but yet we still stare at the moon through an atmosphere with a hole in one of its layers, and it’s like “oh, what a pretty moon” even if it’s the same one that’s been around since 2001. and we eat ice cream from walmart and still call it delicious, and who knows how much artificial food coloring is in that? and we look at a kid’s messy wax crayon drawing and we go “masterpiece! this is going on the fridge for at least a week!”

so i’m just thinking, perfection is not the source or the equivalent of good.

even broken humans need grace, right?

but that kinda makes it easier, to create art that is flawed and songs are maybe a little offkey. stories that maybe have problems but also bring a whole lot of comfort.

and i just think that’s so cool

that i can find someone’s hastily written work apologizing profusely for how messy and unedited it is and i’ll read it and i’ll be laughing and crying and saying “HEY COME BACK! YOU DID GOOD WITH THIS I LOVE IT!” and then it’s not just a messy work, it’s a messy, good work, and that makes all the difference.

i wonder if that’s a thing God did, before it all went south. to instill a sense of Good that isn’t swayed by brokenness? yes? no?

maybe?

so, anyway. i finished my outline. and i have loads of expired chocolate and a computer that is dying every second it’s being used, in a world that cries for the thing that i’m now choosing to accept.

good.

it’s kinda cool, really.

~i’m serious, let’s make a list, jo~

favorite discographies

it’s the month of writing. and death. and summer.

and music.

and thus, here we are.

(no i would never be able to take any of the following photos, creds to their site or to imdb)


Rob Simonsen Picture

rob simosen is cool. like, really cool. like life of pi and stargirl and love, simon and captive state cool. i first heard his work in gifted last year and it’s been a beautiful symphony of music since.

favorite recent listen: butterfly 1 (chu and blossom)

ryan o’neal, or as you all may know, sleeping at last, has been the composer of my childhood background music, summers, trauma, most of my life really. the work he’s done over the years is just really inspiring and mindblowing (a bunch of shows, films, and ads, atlas, the sleeping at last podcast, to name a few) and his covers and singles are just… hhh. amazing. i’ve been playing many beautiful things and atlas ii on repeat lately, it’s been great.

track that peeks into your soul: two

you should know who alexandre desplat is, he scored a few magical wizard kid films, and also little women. if you don’t, that’s okay, you’re probably familiar with a lot of his work through just classic cinema and maybe the academy awards. i find that interesting about certain artists; you learn to love their art before you even know who the artist is. it’s really fascinating.

best album to burn midnight hours to: probably little women, that’s a whole trip and a half.

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Never look back…📸 @officialmvidesphotos

A post shared by Pinar Toprak (@pinartoprakcomposer) on

pinar toprak is a breathing genius, and i find it really sad that the film industry and its eager audience sleep on her work and the work of so many other female film composers. we pay a lot of due attention to john williams and hans zimmer, but toprak scored captain marvel, purl, stargirl, krypton, and a ton of other tracks that’s not being recognized nearly as much as it should, which seems off. anyway i just think she’s neat please check her out and go make hollywood actually try for once ty

track that will knock you into finishing that project: i’m all fired up, captain marvel

 Braille Focus / LeBrun S. Jackson Digital Artistry

tamar-kali has a really cool vibe with her work that i stumbled on listening to the spotify mixes at like, four am one time and it’s really entrancing and invigorating and just. ahh. really great get lost in your head music.

something vaguely different yet familiar: mudbound. like. all of it.

terence blanchard‘s sound in blackkklansmen was so chillingly fun, and harriet equaled if not beat that standard of musicality. i could easily get lost in those sounds for hours. a tale of God’s will and flow are some of my favorites. at this point i’m just geeking out about all of this but then i suppose i have good reason to.

the track that Will force you to stop and go “wow”: goodbye song, harriet

The Peanut Butter Falcon

this one was a collab and i don’t remember everyone by name, but this one is just,, so– idk what the world is, euphoria inducing? clara shared it a while ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorites and then i want to go watch the movie which leads to another rant nobody asked for so i’ll stop right there, but if you ever feel like wandering and being home at the same time, give this a listen.

the “i want” song you’d hear on the radio going to the lake and never being able to forget: running for so long (house a home)

is this a nerd thing to do? perhaps. but i can’t think of a new month or a new season or anything new and exciting without music, and well, these artists make amazing music. so. that’s that.

anyway okay that’s it byee

~time moves fast now, like tires on the road/but i don’t mind it, i always dreamed to go/the long nights over, and i’m starting to believe/i’m not as broken as some made me out to be, jo~

do?

person tying his shoe on road

everything, i think. i want to do everything.

and also nothing. i also want to do nothing.

and also i want to eat pizza.

i have a *great* train of thought.

i’ve done what i think is my brightest idea, and that was to unplug the janky laptop and move to my room, with the aqua fan that isn’t as powerful as it was a year ago, with the horrible pink colors and the splash of blue i added as a minor act of rebellion. personally, it makes the space more lively. the window’s doors are open, and rain is softly hitting the leaves and hopefully taking away pieces of the poor bird skeleton that rests on the ivy. i have no clue what it’s doing there and i’d rather not know.

i’m playing the stargirl soundtrack, and i’m alone in my room, and i think,

“i could live forever.”

i haven’t decided yet what i’ll do after this odd little ramble is over. perhaps i’ll watch a movie. or a tv show on the list i promised myself i’d finish in the summer. or maybe i could *actually* do the s.t.e.m homework i’m supposed to do so i don’t have to repeat a grade in the fall. or maybe i could conquer the world. or dance in the rain. the possibilities are endless.

or, i could trash cats (2019).
because, honestly, everything started going downhill when that accursed trailer came out, no?

fine.

there is a strange little gap between want vs need that insists on being as difficult to traverse as possible. do i need to speed through a couple of units that i’m already late for? yes. do i want to record songs i wrote last year on the ukulele in the bathroom (that’s where the great acoustics are)? yes. am i gonna forget the standoff and hop between tumblr and pinterest for the rest of the day? you know what, probably.

indecision will be the hardest choice i ever have to make.

i saw this guy sit outside his house, connect a guitar to some old speaker, and play a soft tune to echo through the street in the middle of tuesday heat, and i wanted to go and listen, because music. and because once a few months ago i was playing ukulele and he came up with the guitar and asked me if i thought it was a good guitar. and then i played it and i said it was great. and then he told me he made it himself. that’s when i felt really bad i avoided people as much as i did. because people.

but that was a few months ago, and here we were, and i stood in the middle of the living room, and thought that i could alter the course of my fate by going downstairs, walking to his place, sitting down, and playing along with him. or i could just crawl up on a kitchen table and look up the legend of korra until i passed out, but that didn’t seem fate-altering. somehow, either step i took would be a path toward something.

so i didn’t move. because fear.

i guess i won’t know what the rest of that day would’ve looked like if i followed the music. did i want the music? i’m not sure. did i need it?

i’m not sure.

and so, i didn’t do anything. how odd.

but… i want to do more. and be more. even if it’s just a little bit. i think, in a way, so does everyone who walks the earth and watches the news and exists on this weird little planet. more. to want more. perhaps that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it is a human thing, who knows?

but even if i don’t become more, does that limit me from doing more?

it’s funny how i say this right after waking up from an accidental nap. my thoughts are all jumbled. oh well. nothing pizza can’t cure.

WAIT—

~my grand plan, just you wait and see, jo~