The Remains 

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The ones I love,
and have been
blessed to keep,
are sleeping
as night’s low
pitch hums slowly
fades.

I walk along the lake
with only the birds
to keep me company.
The clouds sticky,
but devoid
of cotton candy,
offer no sweetness.
I move through stony colors,
a stillness in my
soul.

The water churns,
dark froth travels
in its wake.
I cry for some
inexplicable reason.

Through my tears,
I stare out into
the silence,
and think of those
who make me the happiest.
And then I wonder
about those
who have come
and gone.
The ones I have lost,
lost loves, lost friends,
a litany of history.

Memories reclaim
me for a moment.
Has life carried
them where they
want to be?
Does the dusty world
ever taunt them, too?
Do they ever
wonder why time
offers no explanation
for grief and regret?
Do they ever weep
because whatever
we’re made of,
we can never alter
the ticking clock’s
hands.

I hope that there’s
a table set somewhere
for them, and morning kisses
to greet them.

The past opens quickly,
but recedes just as
fast.

I pick a dying
wild flower from its
sidewalk home,
just as a boat
heads off into the gray,
brushed stroke
of the mist.
A lone crow
plummets toward it,
like granite.
The first faint orange
spot appears in the
sky.

Lifting my chin to the sun,
to brightness.
I discard the unbreathable,
dizzy smell of nostalgia.

I bathe in the now,
and wash my soul
in today’s syllables

Thankful for what was,
but even more grateful
for those that remain 
I know without them,
the air would taste
like nothingness.

Standing on the bridge
in the space between
yesterday and today.
I walk back toward
the scent of nectar,
of happiness
Eating up the sunshine
while I still can.

-Tosha Michelle

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Paradoxically is Such a Fine Word.

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I’ve been besotted with chocolate.

I’ve been confused
by broccoli.

I’ve been stung by hornets,
but still I stirred the nest.

I’ve tripped over my mangled
spirit walking the narrow way.

I’ve prayed with fervor.
I’ve sinned with grace.

I’ve courted darkness.
I’ve loved the light.

I’ve questioned the sun.
Its answers reflected back
in the hourglass.

I’ve remembered to thank the academy of monotony:
laundry, vacuuming, dusting.

I’ve had it all: the sky, the finicky moon, the unfolded map.

I’ve got lost in a roundabout,
trying to navigate my mind.

I’ve lived well in unsettled hues.

I’ve been Saturday, Sunday,
and Monday.

I’ve tasted ash, eaten roses,
demanded a life of flames.

I’ve been a lunatic and lover.

I’ve been the Patron Saint
offering my protection.

I’ve been Judas,
freely spending the silver.

I’ve nearly drowned in the past’s harsh syllables.

I’ve held a grudge.
I’ve forgiven.

I’ve found a second soul.
I transcribe it in chaos and peace.

My heart circumventing the paradox.

I’ve learned how to rearrange the letters of myself in a sentence that fits.

Casting away yesterday’s syntax.

Coming unmoored.

I move toward clarity’s
swinging door as fast as
a sip through a straw.

I make my getaway.

The quarrel with myself over.
I stand at attention,
dust free.

I’ve survived.

-Tosha Michelle

Turn It Up

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Sometimes we just have to
tap our foot at the life we have
like we would to a familiar tune.
Sometimes there seems to
be a halfway point between
where you’ve been and where
you want go. But you’re stuck
on the side of the road where
the landscape looks dead, but
still you find some pretty in the trees
and that song in your head.
You sing full-lunged as you
toe tap down the highway.
And for a moment it doesn’t matter
what came before or what came after.
You don’t think about where you live
or where supper comes from.
You aren’t concerned with hunger or restlessness.
You just keep going forward, windswept and hope kept,
all too ready to be struck by something reckless,
something mad. Something so intensely hot
it could strike you dead.

-Tosha Michelle

Stage Leaps

Renewal happens in stage leaps

and high dives.

Under the water waits another 

life, another world 

Listen to the keening of the day.

Spring always comes around again.

The sun doesn’t move but we can.

Don’t be afraid to shimmer 

to put on new skin.

Let your heart be hungry 

Knowing whatever you become

next will be better. 

Shed your claws, your regrets 

The air is brighter but the time

finite. Jump into the arms of 

the novel of your life while

there still time to live the story. 

-Tosha Michelle 

On Friendship

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Dedicated to Jane and Niles.

On days that should be remembered for
their cold rain, because of you all I see
is the sun breaking through.

You wrap me in a wool coat
and we wander through years of experience-
heartache, loss, hearty elms
and wilted vines.

Our friendship knotted with the binding
thread work of love.

We are the roses on the vines

Always pausing as another
flower is cut from our lives.

Knowing in the end none
of us is spared.

We walk on hand in hand.
The light of day disperses.

The light of our friendship
never shutters, never wavers.

The tint of the years fades details.

Age will eventually tint the nuances
but time can’t touch our souls.

Our heart won’t forget.

Thank you for always being
the one constant sky
I have prayed for.

-Tosha Michelle
Listen to You ve Got a Friend2 by Tosha Michelle 2020 #np on #SoundCloud

How to be an Expert at Life

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If you can’t leap
then fall.

Correlate. Equate.
Arrange. Rearrange
Be an apprentice of the years.

Sometimes breathing is in the
spinning as the still world passes.

It not the heavens that matter,
but how you soar through them.

Teach your broken spirit
how to navigate landmines.

Remember that yesterday is just as
relentless as tomorrow.

Your griefs and sorrows are not
the worst of griefs and sorrows.

Find hope in pain. The new pain,
the old pains that returns.

Teach your heart to be sensitive
to the music of your bones.

Don’t be afraid to tear your
skin away and begin again.

Don’t become immune to
the overwhelming.

Listen to your nude soul’s intuition
Let your mind await instruction.

Don’t concern yourself with the
breakable dawn.

Use your talents, the seeding
of grain to nurture survival.

You are the boat, the canopy,
the light, the decree.

Remember the eternal sleep,
the erasure, always lurks
in the shadows,
ready to loosen souls
and carry us toward some
unspecific light.

Life is all in the choosing.
Come September, come
December, then April
For today, choose to live.
Choose to be.

-Tosha Michelle