© 2019 Cambria Williams

What’s in my Journal 
(Inspired by William Stafford)

Magic, that’s for sure 
The kind that still waits up for Santa Claus 
Tears, both the kind of sorrow and  
Joy 
But the kind that get answers in the end. 
Baseball games, quiet nights on the lawn, 
And picking “He loves me” daisies 
The smell of lavender and tea 
In a real secret English garden 
Where I could have been lost for  
All the ages and really understood Sylvia 
The blood and guts to get to know 
Myself 
The way he did after one meeting over sushi 
Sunsets scribbled 
Over the Maine shores, the waves of Hawaii, and the coast 
of a laughing Cayman sea 
Pages of blue, in all the right shades 
But a serenely, happy life in the end, maybe mine.

 

Waste 
(A Teacher Opens Her Eyes)

They trudge in, I mean 
Literally their feet could not move 
More slowly. 
Their eyes glazed over, nothing 
In hand. 
  
I think, “what a waste.” 
Waste of my time, waste of  
Money, waste of space 
Don’t they know what they are wasting? 
I want to smack them into their 
Own future and say, see? "I was right." 
  
But, when I overhear one of them  
Say, my dad hasn’t been home 
For three days, or, I was up 
Last night with my little sister 
Because my mom works graveyards, 
I look at my puny 45 minutes with 
Them and think, what a waste 
  
For when they trudge in, they 
May have been the man of the  
House for too long and are weary, 
Not slow 
  
Their eyes are glazed over because  
They have grown-up problems 
They didn’t ask for 
And I’m not helping when I sneer,  
"where’s your pencil?" 
They come with nothing in  
Hand, because that’s all they have

 

Shattered

A quiet drive to work.  Shattered 
By surveying an accident that’s turned  
Two worlds upside down 
  
It makes you want to always be crushed with gratitude 
It makes you want to say sorry to those wrongly done 
It makes you want to seat-belt your people in an airtight  
Embrace 
  
It makes you wonder if your last kiss was long enough 
It makes you wonder if your wave good-bye was really suspended of   
any and all ill thoughts you’d ever had 
And instead, packed only with the cavernous joy of your journey 
It makes you wonder if you’d be remembered for braking for the 
Wrong or for the right 
  
It makes you look at the mountains with a little more awe 
It makes you look at your daughter’s blankie in the backseat  
With total emotion 
It makes you look in the rearview mirror and say,  
today I’ll change the world 
  
A quiet morning at work.  Shattered 
By my own thoughts that if I’m not doing enough 
I can turn my world upside down

 

I Still Wait Up  

I still wait up 
Can’t sleep 
My feet squirm and shake 
Listening for the bells 
The pitter-patter 
  
Others have sang their carols of  
Doubts, 
Have dismissed his presence, 
Rolled their eyes 
Or said, I was this old when I knew. . .  
But not me 
  
The word, disbelieve isn’t part  
Of my vocabulary 
The world needs magic 
  
So, I still wait up 
For the spirit to fill the air 
My milk and cookies 
Set out with all my childhood 
Hopes and dreams 
  
The mix of winter’s chill and the  
Warmth of the hearth 
Dancing with sugar plums 
Still waiting up

 

The Are No Farewells

There are no words, no whispers, 
No smiles, no waves in any 
Language  
That can replace the spot you have, 
That can fill the emptiness, 
That you would leave 
If we were to have a  
Farewell 
  
That last gaze is not always the  
Most memorable 
Seldom is, really 
When you turn around, you see 
A jagged, bumpy, capacious, steep 
Turn of events  
sprinkled before you 
Like bread crumbs leading  
Your memory back to the  
Person . . . 
  
The person you lost, the person 
You found, the person you hoped  
To gain in this mess of a life 
But sometimes, that last gaze, 
It’s the highlight 
And that’s when you know it’s  
good-bye 
  
There are no farewells, and there are 
no beginnings 
There is only a continuum of an 
existence  
you were either a part of,  
or not

 

Because Writing Flies 
or  
F Words 
(A Slam Poem for My Freshmen of '15)

With one fumbled, awkward instruction from the lady who stands before you today, you took off.  You flew.  Your words soared away into the brightest sun that has ever touched these four walls and gave you freedom.  And your words flew off the pages and pierced my soul and reminded me . . . 


Of why the lady who stands before you today, stands before you today.  You reminded me that the formative years are filled with F words.  Friends and fiends, and forsaken dreams, and forced group projects and fears.  Fears of failure, foreshadowing and forward moving, and the future.  Yes, the biggest F word of all, hanging high in the air unknown. 
But, I am here.  As the lady who stands before you today to tell you, that yes!  Your words matter.  They flew off the page to dive down and touch the bottom of the sea of a heart that remembers what it was like to find her party invitation in the garbage, who remembers what it was like to have your best friend hate you with a fervor that can’t be reasoned on either side, who remembers that even by the time I could drive, people still drove me insane with their biting statements.  Insane enough, to play with knives . . . in the kitchen . . . when mom’s not home.   


But, I flew.  The lady who stands before you today, sputtered nonsense onto a page, like a bird trying to take off with one wing.  Until the day that those scribbles finally made sense and finally made sense of me.  Because writing flies.   
If you have something inside you, thoughts inside you, longings inside you, voices inside you, emotions inside you.  Fears inside you, Big fears.  Fears enough to fill the Hindenburg.  F words between you and the sky,  you write.  Because when you write, you fly.

  
But, yes, I am here as the lady who stands before you today to confirm those F words.  The formative years are strong-willed and will try and break your wings, the future hangs high above us, taunting us at times that we can’t possibly climb up to touch it.  But, with pen to the blank space of a page, you create heavens more stunning than your wildest of stumbles.  Because your writing flies.  It sets free all that’s inside so that the little bird trapped behind the cage of everything and everyone, who not only wants you to keep your feet on the ground, but six feet under too, can soar into the open sky and say, you, yes, you, writer, you will fly too!

  
With one fumbled, awkward poem, the lady who stands before you today, stands before you today, to write to you with her words, thank you.  For letting me observe one of the most breathtaking take-offs to ever streak the sky of this classroom ceiling.  The honor of watching your incredible heart-breaking, tragic, and impossible beautiful words ascend above me brought the lady who stands before you today, to tears.   
Because writing flies.  And with your astounding bravery and your words—wings fluttering, we took flight.  And fluttered. Together.  Free.