Poem: Lives of Fire

Lives of Fire

(For Next Generation Fellowship Program)

For the dreamers, night shakers, difference enhancers, star gazers, for you,

Who build lives into backbone, we mistook these shoulder blades for airplanes, caught our limbs in the sky, so they named us feathers of fly,

For we flock of the same shade

On this island, where we found ourselves every month describing our emotions’ moments in the breath of simplistic phrases, filing through pages of our lives, diving into quotes and guest speakers that often wore our own reflections, testing our soul’s honesty

Sifting through self, swallowing snapshots of each other’s failures, as if it were salvation

Discussing leadership “do’s and don’ts,” “definite and disappointments,” “development and donor relations”

We understand these relations more than we know, don’t quite understand our glow, how these artistic nonprofits always ask us to paint their faces with our brush strokes,

Land, where vulnerability cast her net into the sea of our insecurities and caught the golden fins of our hearts, we are more now than we were then, brothers into men, sisters into women, the hymn of camaraderie’s crescendo in our wombs,

As we sat, assessing ourselves through poems, carving ourselves into the imprint of our own novels, allowing the forested woods of our lives chisel us into our own nakedness,

It is here, where I learned to shed my skin, where “that woman from that one nonprofit,” actually became my friend

Here, where we wipe each other’s tears , from each other’s plates we food, souls growing plum on each other’s stories,

Everyday, using every gathered tool to teach us better how to lead

You weep when I weep, rejoiced when I rejoiced, caught my tears with every sweet voice, breathing through a hug or “I understand” or “you can make it” or “you will make it another day,” “this is just the beginning of your race,”

We found our voices in small space rooms, wide opened minds the size of Jupiter, discovering every galaxy that lives inside our peers,

Did you find your voice here? Did your voice find you here? Scraping landmines from your tongue into notepads, how my burdens found themselves in my fellow neighbor’s prayer

Land, where we peel back every layer of ourselves just to find ourselves,

And all these years, I’ve been searching for open wooden doors, not even realizing that I was made of cedar, my mouth a twisting doorknob, my tongue of metal key and I am turning, every new encounter flowing forward,

How so often we find ourselves walking on water, not realizing our strength, the fins of our limb’s faith

I shed the skin of other’s expectation and crawled out of my own

I don’t just call this NGL Fellowship, I call this place “home”

Swollen inside my belly like it’s a poem, found courage in the bleeding wounds of wrong turns, these mistakes were designed to learn,

Pour from my pores, yet I am not afraid of the rain of my life, this body of water, the ocean of my mouth rising with the sun,

Every new friend who won’t allow me to become complacent in my complacency, forces me to find comfort in my discomfort, and the more I know you, the more I discover me

How these months taught me to embrace every season of my earth, land where listening is the greatest virtue I could ever birth

How we pass this down to Next Generation like generations who came before, built an innovative culture of “more”

Where every generation weaves the fabric of rhythm into the next generation’s chest

Here, is where we lead with lives of lighthouses, light sabers of mouths, humility poured into our bones, community riding our backs, we’re focused and on track, voice thickening our paths,

I am because you are, No longer afraid of my midnight, for you became a star

You have funded this soul’s profit with just your smile,

So I charge you, to birth every galaxy in your belly, every morning shine bright

For you have been flame in my voice’s torch, inspired this journey with every blessing of miracle

I have called, “your life”

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