tossing manes / circle pits

as a child
before hopping on the merry-go-round
i’d survey each of the painted ponies spinning
looking to choose the steed that most struck my fancy – 

not too plain & not too pink 

a little bit of lightning in its eyes,
a few hot coals stirring under its hooves.

i’d swing up into the saddle
the music would burst
& all at once we were sent: 

motionless & spinning.


at the age of 23
i dragged myself coughing up north to a stage set for a skinny jean teen
prophesying her vision of swinging to the loudest versions of chasing-defining
struck by the fancy of “there could be nothing after this” –

came to the show with a boy in love with me or my denim vest / patched & distressed

­          he knows.

          i won’t be corralled in a tower stance
­          ­‌shielded from the stampede of fists and humeri
­          hurricane of sweat spilled beer & biochemicals

­          i’ll dive

like forked lightning into that little thunderstorm,
a few hot coals stirring under my converse hooves.

i chomp at the bit before i spit it out
& when the music bursts
all at once we are sent:

(he lets me go)

Ice: Void (After Spencer Chamberlain)

First love   Let me take you somewhere I cannot explain   By Underoath   Thy songs art the bloodflow in the tunnels of my soul   I see you in these halls and these casketed memories wake like this post-hardcore anthology of a buried band   The cracked jewel case   I pop in the disc and the howls echo through the walls all over again   End cycle   And the same laughter oscillates in your mouth   A kind of music not heard until after years 

First love   I’m stumbling right in front of you now   Trail run   Fantasize leaving us behind   Old ash, stone circle   Now are we Lost   My feet with scars to show   For my ears, speak up, of you   Now is this the Sound of Separation   For my ears, speak up, of what is real   I swear   May this concern  May this be more than a simple conversation

First love   There’s nothing but red and all the mess I’ve been   Created Void   How can the world ever be the same for me   This drum beats inside my body, as always, with the strength of these trees that surround our home   Tap on the shoulder, dirty spoons, my blood may freeze   At a loss for words   Could I ever do this for us, for truth    Could I ever speak up, of what is real    Inside my mess   Inside my red   Far apart    We sleep outside tonight 

First love   They will never understand what eats at our insides   Understand   Without choking up   I’d be lying if I forgot   Can your hands   Tend foreign and familiarity with adept functionality  As knowledge sweats through the seams    So loud   Faith reached out but I lost grip   Slipped   Catching Myself Catching Myself   The Cave   This summer I practiced pull-ups   Watch me climb out   Not halfway there, aware, it’s all on me   Can I recall   This is our place   Can this be Home

Forget not:   Conversation sparks   What an easy way to break

Poem: Brutality (after Gertrude Stein and Underoath)


This is the state of proving
The state of Would he like it if I told him
Would he like it if this is the way I walked in
If this is the way I walked out.

Surely this is a matter of business
The business of walking in
The business of walking out
Surely this is a dealing with business
If dangerously
Or if not
Or if this is dangerous business.

If this is the business of walking in
Is sterility
Is peroxide
Is paper towels
Is tested Hurt-Free bandages
If this is the way I dealt with business
Would he like if I told him
Would he like it if this is the way I walked in.

If this is the business of walking out
Is asphalt
Is S-curves difficult to nail
Is killer speed wobble
Is bailing when it’s too hot to handle
Is ripped then bloody
If this is the way I dealt with business
If this is dangerously
Would he like it if I told him
Would he like it if this is the way I walked in after walking out
If this is the way I deal with business
If this is dangerously.

Would he say
This is brutality
This is the way of wolves
Or would he say
This is a dealing with brutality
This is the way it appears
This is the sound of wolves
Would he say this if I told him.

Would he say that S-curve is brutality
Or a dealing with brutality
Be honest now
Or would he say it either way
Would he say I am a wolf
Or the sound of a wolf
Be honest now
Or would he like it either way
Walking in after walking out
Having dealt with business in brutality
The business of nailing that S-curve
The business of almost nailing it
Be honest now
Would he like it if I told him
This business is dangerously
Would he like it if I told him
Be honest now.

Portable Landscape: Listening Tree

If you know what a “portable landscape” is, you’re probably very artsy. I guess I’m pretty artsy, but it still sounds weird when I try to explain it.

Basically it’s like a place that you’ve made…that you can pick up and move…so it’s not an installation. However, apparently “place” is a very broad term. My professor showed us a picture of a student’s portable landscape made out of a pair of pants with plants growing out of it. Cool story…anyways…I think I’m just gonna call it “three-dimensional art” like normal people do.  

The purpose of the piece was to create a place where I felt at peace or close to God–a place where I felt free. I fused two of such places together: nature and music. For now, I’ve titled it “Listening Tree.”

There may or may not have been music paraphernalia harmed in the making of this project….But I think they like their home a lot better now than when they were trapped inside my CD rack. I used strips of album cover artwork from music that has impacted me artistically, emotionally, and spiritually in both the past and present. Specifically featured appearances are made by Underoath: They’re Only Chasing Safety; ShowbreadNo Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical and Nervosa; Oh SleeperSon of the Morning; Secret & Whisper: Great White Whale; Burden of a Day: Blessed Be Our Ever After; Flyleaf: Flyleaf; Superchic[k]: Beauty From Pain; Chasing Victory: Fiends; As Cities Burn: Come Now Sleep; and The Devil Wears Prada: With Roots and Branches Below.

Other inspirations and influences include: Ansel Adams, Yosemite, Olafur Arnalds, Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, my solo hike in the woods, Family Force 5, the swing under the magnolia tree by my friends’ apartment, and my study abroad term in the mountains. And We Are Ansel…to anyone who is a fan of that band, yes I was thinking of the song “Look at the Tree!” the whole time.

Underoath–not just a band, I’m not just a fan

The day I heard Aaron Gillespie left Underoath, I almost cried. I think people thought I made a really big deal about it. I told others, and myself, that this is why the news was so terrible to me:

1. Gillespie simply is an amazing drummer, and the chemistry that he and Spencer Chamberlain (lead singer) had as vocalists was really quite unique. Songs like “Too Bright to See. Too Loud to Hear” just wouldn’t be happening anymore.

2. I admit, I have a soft spot for Gillespie….the product of a past teenage-girl crush I had on him. Sorry. Don’t blame me, he was the red-headed drummer of my favorite hardcore band! What was I supposed to do?

3. Gillespie was the last remaining original member of Underoath when it started, from the ground up. Knowing he wouldn’t be there anymore was just weird.

4. I never would be able to see THIS in concert ever:

pig(Photo credit not mine)

So, those were the reasons I thought I was so upset about dear Aaron Gillespie leaving Underoath. As life moved on and I accepted my heartbreak (yeah, so dramatic), I still continued to follow Underoath, and I was happy to receive their new album
Ø (Disambiguation) for Christmas.

Yesterday, though, I watched the music video for their single “In Division.” Out of all Underoath’s bizarre, raw music videos, this one ranks at the top for me. Seriously; here’s a screenshot I found online of one of the scenes:

As I was watching the video, though, I found myself saying, “Oh my gosh, Tim!”…”Whoa! Look at Chris! He’s so crazy!”…”Haha, oh, James…”…”Aw, Grant!”…and, “Oh no! Spencer’s drowning! Sad…”

Then it hit me–even though I’ve never met any of these guys, much less seen Underoath in concert (truly a sad thing), this band has been part of my life ever since I started listening to them back in my early high school years. From the first time I watched their video biography from debut They’re Only Chasing Safety, it was like I entered into their world. And for the next couple of years, I grew up with the Underoath family–that was the special part of Underoath, how they never changed since Chasing Safety; no lineup rearrangements, no breakups, no hiatus. Unlike a number of other bands I listened to, Underoath held to consistency.

So when Aaron left, you could say this wasn’t the typical so-and-so-band-broke-up-that’s-too-bad-they-were-pretty-good sort of deal. No, we’re talking about a my-big-brother-just-moved-halfway-across-the-world-I-may-never-see-him-again sort of deal.

I was rather relieved to realize my feelings weren’t simply the product of a very disappointed fangirl.

Though I believe Underoath will never be the same without you, Aaron Gillespie, I will still listen, support, and love them. Ø (Disambiguation) is a rather fantastic album, and the “In Division” music video is a pretty good way to express its hardcore awesomeness.