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Poetically Yours - Inhale life

Bryan Franco

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours usually showcases poems written by northern Illinois writers but this week’s featured author is from Brunswick, Maine. His name is Bryan Franco.

Franco is a gay, Jewish poet. He took part in a 2014 California poetry slam and has been featured in other poetry events across the world. His poem Your Smile Never Ceases To Exist As Part Of Who You Are took seventh place in the NAMI NJ Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest. His poem I Never Thought I Could Be A Cartographer just won that same contest. In 2021, he published his book Everything I Think Is All in My Mind. He performed at the New York City Poetry Festival in 2022 and 2023. Here's his poem "I Never Thought I Could Ever Be A Cartographer."

Imagine if there were a map a person could follow to achieve joy.

Being a human being is about being,

is about breathing,

is about waking up every day,

is about putting feet onto floor and getting out of bed,

is about living life,

is about deciding to do all of the above.

Some days, I wake to birdsong outside my bedroom window,

to sunshine peeking through the blinds.

But there are days I wake to rain.

to rain that tap dances across the roof as if it were my destiny,

to rain that that feels destined to flood my day.

Those days are days I need to slip on boxing gloves or brass knuckles

to fight for the right to put my feet on the floor.

the right to get out of bed,

the right to live life.

Those are the days when turning the knob on the shower

feels like pushing a Sisyphus boulder,

but the second the water sprays from the shower head,

the steam rises against my face,

the torrent touches my back,

the boulder shrinks to the most miniscule pebble

and washes down the drain into oblivion.

I put loose Kashmiri green tea, allspice, cardamom, mace, and white peppercorns

in a drawstring teabag then steep it in boiled water.

I drizzle coconut milk into the tea to create a chai that tastes like hope.

Joy is achieved.

Sometimes, I listen to sad songs or watch a tearjerker till tears turn to laughter.

Sometimes, I go to a diner and sit at the counter to breathe in the sound of people.

Sometimes, I go to a museum to sit on a bench and

stare at a painting in silence.

Colors and brushstrokes sound like jazz,

music I close my eyes to listen to.

I am in a trance.

I am levitating.

Joy is achieved.

I am charting a new map to find joy every day I wake and decide to live life.

Every map is a map I must decide to chart because I don’t need joy to breathe,

but it sure does make life more worthwhile.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.