Tag Archives: Poetry

You Are Time

Imagine you know you’re part of an army but you don’t know who your allies are. You know you’ve got enemies, but you don’t exactly know who they are. For all you know, they’re invisible. They’re often smarter than you, and they’re masters of trickery. It’s dark, you’re tired, and you know your side is losing. You start to wonder if resistance is futile. Eventually it really starts to seem that way. Then something drastically changes. Defeat seems inevitable until a new ally suddenly appears. He fights valiantly and he teaches you his ways. He heals your allies and defeats innumerable enemies.

Then, once again, something changes. He warns that it is only a matter of time before his death, but your victory. He is captured, tortured, and killed, and you are forced to fall back, but miraculously, just days later, he is alive and your enemies vanquished. He was right, and he celebrates your victory with you because now that enemy you faced is conquered for good. He eventually says that he has to go, but he will send his spirit so he can always love you and guide you and help you, and he keeps his promise.

Centuries go by until it seems that the whole world knows him, or appears to know of him. He is glorified in acts of heroism that mirror his own. He is honored in acts of love and goodness. Fantastic works of af art are created by those who love him still. You find, nonetheless, that things inevitably change. Slowly but surely, in many places he is forgotten; in many places is made into a laughing stock; even his very name is dishonored, thrown into the mire of language with unutterable words.

And you ask, “what does it matter? What is a name?” A name is how you are known. You are known by your name as a writer or a thinker or a worker or a finder, or something else that makes you who you are. He is a hero, still here, still living, and his very identity is used as a curse. His name has weight; it is precious.

Red

My favorite color is red. I mean bright, LOUD, obnoxious RED!!!! It’s followed by blue-purple, then black. Apparently only 10% of women in the U.S. say their favorite color is red, which I thought was cool. I was bored one day, so I looked it up. If you looked at all the stuff I own, you’d know my favorite color. My mom got me a new bag for my birthday, and it’s delightfully red, and significantly bigger than my old one. I was running out of room.

I was thinking about why my favorite color is red the other day, and I think I have an interesting reason. I’m just one of those people who have to have a reason for everything. Generally, I think, most colors have at least vague connotations for different people. To me, red exemplifies power and energy, but also love. Of course it’s also the color of blood. Interestingly, I got into an argument about this with a friend on Facebook. Red has negative connotations for him because it mostly represents blood and, therefore, death. For me, it can also represent blood, but I generally associate this with life.

At various times in my yet short life, I’ve been obsessed with things. When I was a little kid I was obsessed with dragons. When I was in middle school I was obsessed with a mythical world my friends and I created that, of course, we had to rescue from Agorauth, the evil wolf demon. When I was in high school I guess you could say, in a sense, I was obsessed with myself–or rather, the fact that I was “alone.” When I was in college, for the most part, I was obsessed with school, partly in the pursuit of Truth.

These days I think it would be accurate to say that I am obsessed with art; with creating things. I feel like my art–in whatever form it takes–has to have a reason behind it. I don’t think you can create art for art’s sake. At the very least, artists create because we want to. Even if one isn’t trying to say anything in particular, there is something of the individual in every created thing.

Most of my art isn’t visual. I mostly work with music and written pros. I don’t create in color per se, but I definitely live in color. Everyone does. How we dress, how we decorate, and what we carry with us say something about who we are. Most of my important stuff is red and, in some cases black. These color choices have musical, not just visual connotations. I grew up on 90’s punk and alternative rock. From the age of eight I wanted to be in a band, and when I started guitar lessons at fourteen, I knew I specifically wanted to be in a punk band. That didn’t happen, but it translated to how I carry myself. Red and black are very 90’s punk.

As I said, I don’t usually work in a visual medium, but about a year ago I designed a piece that, until recently I didn’t do anything with. I can paint, though not incredibly well, and it takes me forever. The design I came up with was complicated, so that was out of the question. I thought about getting a tattoo, but no one would see it, and it’s important to me. Finally I was able to create a digital version of my design and I’m having it made into a pendant. I’m rather proud of that. The design is a butterfly on top of a rose that is being held by two hands clasped together. The butterfly is supposed to be white and the rose is supposed to be red, but I’m having the whole thing made in silver.

The colors were symbolic in my original design. The white butterfly was meant to represent redemption and change. The red rose was supposed to represent life and sacrifice. The two hands together represent togetherness with God. I think the design will look nice in silver, but I still think it would have been nice to find a way to make it into something with color.

I don’t think you can have too much of a good thing. We just haven’t found a thing on Earth that doesn’t end up being not-good after a while. Everything eventually ends up being boring or unhealthy. When I was in middle school I ate pickle-and-mustard sandwiches for lunch every day. Eventually I got sick of them and, to this day, I hate pickles.

During Lent I’ve been taking a class about knowing Jesus better. Last week we learned something interesting. People tend to replace God as a priority with four basic things: power, honor, wealth, and/or pleasure. The thing is, none of these things will ultimately satisfy us. We’ll just always want more. This is definitely the plight of the artist… or at least for me. It’s never quite good enough, so I keep creating, or I keep editing. Sometimes I hit a home run and I can consider a project finished, but it isn’t often, and I throw a lot of material away. Part of it is that I’m much more careful with my novel than I am with my songwriting lately. I haven’t written a really good song in a while.

It’s hard to write a really good song about a specific person or thing. I find it’s easier to write about ideas and invent specific details, or to start with something random off the top of my head and see where it goes. Some of my best songs have been the result of what started as “mind spew.” I have a new musical project in mind. It’s an instrumental piece because it’s supposed to convey something I haven’t been able to express in words (and trust me, I’ve tried). In a sense, it’s supposed to be synesthetic. You’re supposed to feel it as you hear it.

I find I can much more effectively convey emotion through sound than any other medium, whether it’s musical sound or something else. Specifically, I’ve only really been able to convey a sense of peace through music. A lot of my visual art actually tends to be angst-ridden for some reason. My favorite color is red, and while it represents love, I never really think of it as representing peace.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Between Time And Eternity

Last night there was still a lingering remnant of light in the sky at 7:00 PM. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

Today, I went outside and took the long way to go to my second class because it was finally warm. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

The days are slowly getting warmer and longer. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

Soon I’ll be able to go on my daily wander around the neighborhood without my feet freezing. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

Soon I’ll be able to bring my bird outside and show him that the world is bigger than our kitchen. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

The snow is finally melting and the first patches of grass are appearing. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

Things will start growing.

The icecream shop down the street will open and we’ll go there when it’s still too cold for icecream.

In May we’ll open the pool, even though it’ll be too cold to swim.

We prepare for Summer because Spring is here; Spring is coming.

My dad will order seeds for when it’s time to plant them, and every year our garden grows. Spring is here; Spring is coming.

We are now between things. It’s been a long winter.

This is the time of careful steps; of love; of touch and sunlight: and Grace is found in the cracks between Time and Eternity–the spaces where there is found suspended disbelief and miracles and hope

The Kingdom is here; the Kingdom is coming.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Be Brave

In my heart I know that this is what I want:

I know in my heart that when I see violence, I do not want violence in return. I know in my heart that when I see people kill, I do not want them killed. I know in my heart that when I see these things, I don’t want them destroyed, I want them to change. I want them to know I want them to change. I know these words might never reach their ears; might not reach their eyes, but my prayers are with them. My prayers are with them like a black cloud: a promise. My prayers are with them as a stone on their backs. My prayers are with them as a weapon: a threat.

I want them to change because I know what’s coming. I want them to change because my God–their God–loves justice. I want them to change because they are my enemies. I want them to change because I have no enemies. I want them to change because they hurt my family. I want them to change because they are my family. I want them to change. I want them to change.

I want them to know that our God is Love. I want them to know that our God loves them. I want them to know that I love them, and because of them I know sorrow. I want them to know the names to the faces. I want them to know the lives they have taken. I want them to know. I want them to be sorry. I want them to change and to know that I’m angry.

I want them to stand where many have fallen. I want them to stand and break their own rules. I want them to stand and see their reflection. I want them to stand and know they’re forgiven. I want them to know that it’s hard to forgive.

My prayers are with them.

Be brave.

Be different.

Be changed.

Be defiant.

I ask that all of you would pray in your own way for the victims of any kind of violence, but also for the perpetrators, and for a more peaceful world.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Be

My Enemy (Final Version)

My Enemy
by Katie Rose Curtis

We’ve started dropping bombs on Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others have joined us in the effort to destroy ISIS.
Civilians will die.
Countless civilians have already died.
We will train “moderate rebels” to be our ground forces.
This will take a year.

Israel drops bombs on Palestine.
Palestine fights back;
and that’s not all.
We have never seen the
beginning of war.
It’s all we’ve ever known.

Parasitic.

Cyclical.

We watch it on TV, and change the channel
because we don’t want to see.
But it’s still there, somewhere.

Countless little countries whose names we’ll never know;
who we’ll never bother with because they’re not a trade partner
or a threat,
fight each other;
fight against themselves.

And we pretend we’re sophisticated.
We pretend we’re above it.
We hold conventions
and make movies
and write stories,
But somewhere there’s a riot.
Somewhere there’s a protest gone wrong.

Somewhere a white man has killed a black boy.
Somewhere a mean man yells and beats his wife.
Somewhere a straight man breaks his brother’s heart.

And someone somewhere is alone.
In every high school it’s the same.
There are the ones who hate each other
and the ones who hate themselves.
“Kids are cruel,” they sometimes say
and write it off.
They won’t read between the lines.

Some kids grow up broken and perpetuate the problem,
but the ones who survive
learn to love or die inside.

History is the great master of bitter irony.
It’s hard to deny that the nicest men,
the one’s who want the world at peace:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
Christ,
are the first to die.

Someone once asked Jesus,
who is my neighbor?
who is my brother?

And Jesus told him.
Our brothers are the ones fighting far away.
Our brothers are the ones we’ll probably never see
and never agree with.
Our brothers are the ones who, like us,
need love.

But we fight in the name of God.
We’d fight in the name
of all our cousins’ cats if it came down to it.

The Buddhists believe that one should never harm a living thing.
One should love the least of these.

Forgive the people.
Don’t forgive the deeds.
People are wrong.
People are human.
It’s all a matter of degrees.

But the rhetoric is wrong.
We say we have to
fight for peace.
We talk about what it will take to
destroy the enemy.
Destroy,
break down,
eradicate;
these are people we’re talking about,
and I have no enemy.

My Enemy

Last night we started dropping bombs on Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others have joined us in the effort to destroy ISIS.
Civilians will die.
Civilians are dying.
Countless civilians have already died.
We will train “moderate rebels” to be our ground forces.
This will take a year.
What will happen in that time?
Who else will die?

Israel drops bombs on Palestine.
Palestine fights back.
We were born into this.
We have never seen the beginning of war.
It’s all we’ve ever known.

We watch it on TV, and change the channel
because we don’t want to see.
But it’s still there, somewhere.

Countless little countries whose names we’ll never know;
who we’ll never bother with because they’re not a trade partner
or a threat,
fight each other;
fight tyranny;
fight against themselves.

Here in America it’s a constant game of checkers
with our present
and our past.

We pretend we’re sophisticated.
We pretend we’re above it.
We hold conventions
and make movies
and write stories,
But somewhere there’s a riot.
Somewhere there’s a protest gone wrong.

Somewhere a white man has killed a black boy.
Somewhere a mean man yells and beats his wife.
Somewhere a straight man breaks his brother’s heart.

And someone somewhere is alone.
In every high school it’s the same.
There are the ones who hate each other
and the ones who hate themselves.

There are those who feel alone
and those who are constantly told.
“Kids are cruel,” they sometimes say
and write it off.
They won’t read between the lines.

History is the great master of bitter irony.
It’s hard to deny that the nicest men,
the one’s who want the world at peace:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
Christ,
are the first to die.

Someone once asked Jesus,
who is my neighbor?
who is my brother?

And Jesus told him.
Our brothers are the ones fighting far away.
Our brothers are the ones we’ll probably never see
and never agree with.
Our brothers are the ones who, like us,
need love.

But we fight in the name of God.
We fight about semantics.
We fight about technicalities.
It doesn’t make sense.

Forgive the people.
Don’t forgive the deeds.
People are wrong.
People are human.
It’s all a matter of degrees.

The Buddhists believe that one should never harm a living thing.
One should love the least of these.

But the rhetoric is wrong.
We say we have to fight for peace.
We talk about what it will take to destroy the enemy.
Destroy,
break down,
eradicate;
these are people we’re talking about,
and I have no enemy.

The List

Things I want to do:

Get married
Get payed for playing music
Travel (everywhere if possible)
Be philanthropic
Change the world (on a small scale would suffice)
Own at least one pet (this will be happening soon)
Pay rent
Buy groceries
Start over at something
Start something new
Go skydiving
Sit at the top of a mountain
Burn the ships
Get utterly and completely lost and then find my way back
Be an aunt
Read lots of books (working on this one)
Live a century
Be happy (in progress)

It isn’t exactly a bucket list, but in some ways it is.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Songs Of Good And Evil

Last night I played an open mic at the Gulu Gulu Cafe. It was great fun. There weren’t too many super great performers, but it didn’t matter. The hosts were horrible and hilarious as always and the audience was pretty into the music, which is always a plus. There was also one slam poet who performed a very personal poem about getting sober. Artistically, it was nothing special, but it definitely came from the heart, and that’s really what matters when it comes to poetry, in my opinion.

I finished writing a song yesterday. It still doesn’t have a title. I almost played it last night but ended up deciding not to for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t feel like I had the lyrics quite memorized enough. Secondly, the feature performer played a song that he said was basically about the fact that there is evil in the world. While he was introducing the next song, my dad said, “You should play ‘Good In Things.'” It was sort of funny because “Good In Things” is basically the  polar opposite of his song. I don’t normally talk about God when I perform, even though I want to, partly because I’m chicken and I don’t want people to think I’m a dork. I’ll admit, I am self conscious when I’m on stage. Last night however, I got on stage and said, “I’ll make this quick since my first song is kind of long, but it’s called ‘Good In Things’ because yes, bad things happen, but it could always be worse. Furthermore, God has his hand in everything. Ergo, everything is awesome and there is good in things.” Then I proceeded to play a seven minute long, obnoxiously happy song.

On the way home, my dad told me something that really made me happy. He said, “When people are up there the audience is usually sort of doing their own thing: eating dinner or playing games or what have you, but when you’re up there, there’s usually a handful of people who are absolutely captivated. I think it’s because your lyrics are so positive. You may end up saving someone’s life. There was a woman in the audience tonight who had a look on her face like, ‘maybe the world is worth saving after all.'”

I tend not to watch the audience when I’m performing because I sort of go into my own little world, so I really didn’t know this. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to hear, though. It made me feel like even though I’m pretty much unknown on a large scale, my music is touching and maybe really helping people. That’s really what I want from it. I don’t care so much about being famous. I just want to be well known so that I can reach more people. I’m ready to start outwardly talking about the real meaning behind my lyrics when I perform. Before I got on stage last night, I asked God to bless my performance, and I think he did. There is evil in the world and evil in people, but we are created in the image of God, and this is his world. We just have to drown out the evil with love and joy, and we can totally do that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dedicated To Harris Curtis

Harris Curtis was my grandfather. He passed away in November, and I still think about him. Anyway, I was thinking earlier today about how weird it is that Grammie-and-Papa has been just Grammie for several months now, so I wrote a poem about it.

We See Things In Our Sleep

Life is not a sitcom.
It was weird
when Grammie and Papa’s
phone number became Grammies’
phone number.
It was weirder still
when Grammie and Papa
became Grammie.

After the fall
things just fell apart,
And he had to leave home.

I remember reading somewhere
that life comes and goes
full circle.
We are born small and
speechless, and he died
small and speechless.

I wasn’t there
for the two-day vigil,
when my father dreamed,
and his father breathed
his last breath.

I was there for the funeral,
to play a song and send him off
wherever he was going.

We see things in our sleep.
My father and grandfather
walked amongst the trees
and strange creatures, until
they came upon the lantern man.

I walked with Death, who smiled
and said it would be fine.
Another night I heard angels sing.

Grammie saw her husband
kiss her son goodbye.

I saw him smile in a perfect photograph.