The Garden of My Heart, Savanna Snead

The Garden of My Heart

Once you were as rain,
Splick splock splatting to the beat of my heart,
Falling to land on rose petals and vines of ivy.
But now my garden grows in the desert
And it has learned to live
Without you.

Once you were the may sun
And you shown down upon my garden
So that the flowers bloomed and reached up to greet your rays.
But now my garden grows in the darkness
And it has learned to live
Without you.

Once you were the soil
Upon which virulent red poppies, golden chrysanthemums and lily-colored tulips grew from.
But now I find that my garden grows from stone
And it has learned to live
Without you.

You, who helped sow the seeds of this garden,
Helped me bury and water them with dirt-stained hands
So that flowers would bloom in this desolate world.
You, who plucked the weeds from this garden and pruned overgrown branches, twisting into the sky,
So that beauty would grow in this world.
But though you have gone, I have found that my garden still grows,
Not from your hand but from mine.
I have found that my flowers bloom ever onwards
From the light that I give it,
From the water that I sprinkle,
From the soil that I have become.
And my garden grows not because of you,
But without you.

We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful. Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.

-Rumi

A Visit To My Mind, Savanna Snead

A Visit to My Mind

Savanna Snead

I once paid a hypnotist so that he could trick me to stop smoking
And when he took out his magic pendulum, lulling me to sleep,
I fell into a black void and a voice told me that I was in my mind.
There were avalanches of chocolate brown hair, collapsing into purple goo that spun like a whirlpool
And old thoughts that spontaneously combusted.
I was joined by my old imaginary friend, Jim,
Who had grown a beard like a raggedy hipster in a rock band,
Wearing a Che Guevara shirt and converse sneakers.
He told me he wasn’t mad at me for telling my mom he ate the chocolate chip cookies she baked
But could I at least have saved him one?
I ditched him at the Theatre of Dreams and skipped onto the yellow brick road,
Which broke apart as I stepped on it, shooting me into the black sky,
Where I saw ideas glowing like the sun, running on idealism instead of hydrogen.
I tossed and turned like an insomniac
Waiting for the shotgun blasts of an owl, screeching hoot-hoot-hoot into the night
Before being spit out into a storage room where old thoughts and ideas were filed into categories
Like Dangerous, Way Too Stupid and Forgotten.
My stomach growled so I went over to a restaurant
Where nothing but baked potatoes and apples were served.
So I ordered from an oompa loompa, took directions from a pirate, and went to see the Great Guide,
Who turned out to be a GPS system with the voice of my mom,
Saying “Hi, I’m Sharon. Where would you like to go?”
And I typed in a phrase and shot through a cannon over to my unconscious,
Who was busy watching id and ego fight
While super-ego shrieked, “Why can’t we just get along?”.
I watched ego lay a Muhammad Ali on id, who Mike Tysoned the hell out of him back
And I walked back to the Theater of Dreams, just in time to see a sneak preview of tonight’s dream
Where I met up with Jim again. He led me to the Hall of Memories,
Where all my achievements were lined up like trophies and my failures were stashed in a back room
So they wouldn’t have to be seen.
He took me to a special screening room
Where I watched myself win a free gift card, lose my keys, and have my first kiss.
And when I was done, the  inhabitants of my mind wished me farewell
With a slow song until I floated out of my mind and into my body again,
feeling like I’d gone through a car wreck.
Now I don’t have to smoke anymore
But I wake up thinking about Jim, who asks me, “Why did you leave me?”
And see my id and ego laying blow after blow on each other
While the ideas from the Forgotten cabinet turn to dust
And I say I’ll take better care of my mind,
Maybe do some spring cleaning or hire a decorator
And I’ll feel better about the things I’ve left behind
And the thoughts that I will never visit again.

Daughter, Nicole Blackman


One day I’ll give birth to a tiny baby girl
and when she’s born she’ll scream and I’ll make sure
she never stops.

I will kiss her before I lay her down
and will tell her a story so she knows
how it is and how it must be for her to survive.

I’ll tell her about the power of water
the seduction of paper
the promise of gasoline
and the hope of blood.

I’ll teach her to shave her eyebrows and
mark her skin.
I’ll teach her that her body is her greatest work of art.

I’ll tell her to light things on fire
and keep them burning.
I’ll teach her that the fire will not consume her,
that she must take it and use it.

I’ll tell her to be tri-sexual to try anything,
to sleep with, fight with, pray with anyone,
just as long as she feels something.

I’ll help her to do her best work when it rains.
I’ll tell her to reinvent herself every 28 days.

I’ll teach her to develop all of her selves,
the courageous ones,
the smart ones,
the dreaming ones,
the fast ones.
I’ll teach her that she has an army inside her
that can save her life.

I’ll tell her to say Fuck like other people say the word The
and when people are shocked
to ask them why they so fear a small quartet
of letters.

I’ll make sure she always carries a pen
so she can take down the evidence.
If she has no paper, I’ll teach her to
write everything down on her tongue,
write it on her thighs.

I’ll help her to see that she will not find God
or salvation in a dark-brick building
built by dead men.

I’ll explain to her it’s better to regret the things
she has done than the things she hasn’t.

I’ll teach her to write her manifestos
on cocktail napkins.

I’ll say she should make men lick her enterprise.
I’ll teach her to talk hard.
I’ll tell her that her skin is the
most beautiful dress she will ever wear.

I’ll tell her that people must earn the right
to use her nickname,
that forced intimacy is an ugly thing.

I’ll make her understand that she is worth more
with her clothes on.

I’ll tell her that when the words finally flow too fast
and she has no use for a pen
that she must quit her job
run out of the house in her bathrobe,
heaving the door open.
I’ll teach her to follow the words.

I’ll tell her to stand up
and head for the door
after she makes love.
When he asks her
to stay she’ll say
she’s got to
go.

I’ll tell her that when she firsts bleeds
when she is a woman,
to go up to the roof at midnight,
reach her hands up to the sky and, scream.

I’ll teach her to be whole, to be holy,
to be so much that she doesn’t even
need me anymore.

I’ll tell her to go quickly and never come back
I will make her stronger than me.

I’ll say to her never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember

never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember

never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember.

In Which I Talk About the Gays and Whatnot

Today I spent my lunch period skipping class. I know, I know. I’m ‘bad’. Shame on me, blah blah blah. I don’t regret it. Anyway, my friends and I were helping to sell wristbands and cranes for Japanese club. They’re selling them to help Japan. It’s a great cause and I wanted to show support for this cause. And so commenced my awkwardness. I yelled out to people. I called people over to our booth, people I’d never met nor saw before. I called them by t-shirt color, by the jeans they wore-anything. I used an auctioneer voice. I told people that I loved them. At one part I told a guy that he could “buy a crane for your sweet heart…or your boytoy. Whatever floats your boat.” All these things embarassed my friends. I was the loud drunk friend in a bar who keeps yelling, “You know what? I love guys! You’re so cool. Let’s hang out more.” to everyone he’s just met.

My friend Tia was participating in the Day of Silence (She wrote her blog entry on the subject and why she supports the gays here) , in honor of LGBT people. We joked that had she been able to talk, she could have stopped me. Anyway, I began with this story because I wanted to talk about the Day of Silence (and also share how much I make my friends embarassed. It’s quite a gift I have). It’s a day that’s meant to point out the lack of a voice that many lesbian, gay and bisexuals have. We exclude them. We bully them. We restrict their right to love. The Day of Silence is one of those things that’s there to point this out. It’s there to point out just how intolerant we can be. It’s a shock and awe campaign at heart, something there to make people ask “Why aren’t you talking?” and go “Oh, I didn’t know that was happening.” It makes people think.

Tia said, “I want to coexist with the people of the world. I don’t have to always like or support them, I just have to live my life and stop trying to interfere in their way of life. If you want to be against homosexuals, fine, you don’t have to support the idea, you just have to let them live their lives and receive all the benefits of being citizens of the United States of America. It just irks me when people refuse to get along. I could argue for hours about it, and get really upset because I can’t help but think what if it were me?” in her blog post about the subject. The last part really makes you think. What if it were you? What if it were you that was being harassed? You would care.

Sexuality doesn’t define us. Our personalities do. Our choices do. Sexuality is neither good nor evil. And I really do believe that it’s genetic to a point. I mean, do you really think that in this intolerant society that someone would choose to be gay? You think they’d choose to be gay in a society where they wouldn’t even be able to marry their lover, where they would be discriminated against, harassed, bullied? They’re told that God hates them, that they’re going to Hell. Who would choose that? What person in their right minds goes “Yep, that’s the life I want.” Sexuality is something deeply ingrained in a person. It is unchangeable. We need to understand this if we’re to better ourselves as people.

In Which I Talk About Sex…

Lately, I’ve been thinking about sex. I know, awkward subject, Savanna. How dare you speak of that? But that’s my point exactly: why is sex so awkward? We view sex as both this forbidden thing, this sacred thing that must be shared with one you love, that must be kept until marriage and yet this thing that we do with friends and call it “benefits”, that we sing about in vulgar songs, that has become so casual. How can sex be both casual and sacred?

I know that it’s religion that makes many people view sex as sacred. I remember a conversation I had with my best friend. She told me that she planned to save herself for marriage because it was a tribute to God. I was doubtful that she could do it. I gave a speech which came down to me saying that, in this day and age, it’s harder to save yourself for marriage and that it’s not as important to people. We’ve got peer pressure, we’ve got the media. It’s much harder for a sixteen year old girl to say, “Well, I’ll wait until I’m married.” when she probably won’t get married until she’s almost thirty. In the ‘olden’ days, girls were married off much younger…they had sex much younger. There wasn’t all this hullabaloo about having boyfriends first and then working your way up to mister right.

I’m all for the right to make your own decisions in relation to your sexuality. If you want to save yourself, go ahead. It’s your choice. What I’m pointing out is that it’s extremely hard to do in this day and age. The Christian establishment puts all this blame on girls that have lost their virginity though. They’re ‘impure’ and must be born again as virgins. Since when did being a non-virgin make you automatically evil? Is this the mysterious 11th Commandment that Moses forgot to etch into stone? Your sex life is exactly that: your sex life. Save yourself if you want to but if you find someone that you love, if you find someone that you want to intimately be with then do it! Don’t let people tell you that it’s wrong, that you’ve committed a spiritual crime.

I’m of the impression that God as amazing as he is, doesn’t really care whether or not your hymen is intact, girls. God is forgiving. God is loving. We shouldn’t make him out to be this overbearing figure that is prejudiced and unrelenting. Although I believe in the bible, I realize that it was written by men who were living in a time of different standards. And I believe that they put some of their ideas that were shaped by these standards in the bible. I mean, for God’s sake, some of the books of the bible are letters. Yes, they’re letters from prophets but they’re still letters. This isn’t God directly speaking to us.

My idea of God is shaped by what I’ve seen in life, what I’ve read in the bible and of what I instinctively know to be true. I suppose I’m getting a little anti-religion but I do believe that organized religions can sometimes restrict our spirituality. And back to the topic of this post, it can restrict our sexuality. I mean, if God didn’t want us to enjoy ourselves a bit, why would sex feel good? Don’t be a slut but enjoy yourself a bit. Do what you want!

Now, for the casual side of sex. Sex has always been to me something that you do with a person that you love. That’s just my opinion of it. I mean, I think that casual sex is, if you want to do it, fine. It’s just making sure that you’re ‘safe’ and not becoming a complete slut that people need to remember. But once again, sex was made to be enjoyed. I do think that our society has become too focused on sex though. We’ve had these sexual revolutions. Sex has become more casual. It’s everywhere in the media. We’re all encouraged to be these raging nymphomaniacs. Just like with religion, don’t let the media control your sexuality. If you want to wait, wait. If you don’t, don’t. Just don’t let anyone else decide for you.

A Life Lived Full; A Poem by Savanna Snead

Cherub-shaped girl, growing into
Woman and Crone. Creation more
Serene than the CRACK! of plates
shifting angrily beneath all, forming
mountain and volcano from chaos.

as a Girl, running wild
in an eternal summer, cuddling
a tattered and loved bear,
She sucks a thumb that
still tastes of dirt and
adventure. Laughter as She caught
a frog by the creek,
how it wriggled through her
fingers and bounced away. Licking
sticky sweet syrup from her fingers.

in Adolescence, She finds warmth
in four eyes connecting, crinkling
in wry smiles, shy kisses
on the porch, embraces in
the dark, togetherness in legs,
tongues and hands moving to
a primal beat as they
danced around the fire of
their passion. And when winter
came, dimming the sun, twisting
vines came to annihilate the
red-brick walls of the
dream they’d hidden themselves in.
She found the emptiness of
sorrow – red-rimmed eyes accusing
all, wailing in the night,
unfiltered despair as potent as arsenic.

in Womanhood, She learned joy-
mouth opening wide as tinkling
laughter spills out, a disease
to all that hear it.
She learns to love kneading
dough, dressed in a cloak
of flour, knitting thick woolen
sweaters, digging up turnips, coaxing
life out of the earth, to
love the man who wears
the mangled red sweater and
eats handfuls of burnt bread,
professing that it’s his favorite.
He slips an arm around
her waist and they dance
to a symphony heard only by their ears.

Motherhood begins with spring, bringing
two fetuses, floating idly in
her lifeblood. She hums as
she runs fingers over the
enlarged belly, baffled by creation.
Time comes to her dressed
in a soft breeze, tickling
her cheek as she slumbers,
bringing two girls – one soft-spoken,
the other tall and proud.
summer colored days pass, full of love.

She embraces Old Age. Back grows
crooked and formerly limber parts
ache. Wrinkles form in the
soft skin, etched into the
body like tattoos of time.
the end comes,
like decaying roses-red-in
an autumn wasteland. There
is a soft whisper of
a breath, exhaled, then gone into the air.

Dear You,

Lately I’ve been enamoured with the concept of penpals.

The idea of writing to another person, miles and sometimes oceans away is so romantic to me. I love blogging but there isn’t the intimacy of handwritten letters, of longing to get a new letter and the thrill of finally getting it in the mail. It’s beautiful. A lot of people just don’t understand that. They get an email and it fulfills them. For me, I want something different. I want something personal.

My first penpal was in second grade. I think her name was Tara-something like that. We grew into good friends, although we’d originally been forced to write each other. We promised to write each other after school ended. She never wrote me back. Maybe that wasn’t the best experience but it did get me hooked on penpals. I’d scour the internet for penpal sites when I was ten. Of course, I could never join any of these communities because my mother was convinced that forty year old men with handlebar mustaches and white vans were just waiting for a pretty young thing like me to write. And so I didn’t write.

Finally, with my teenage discovery of livejournal (and also, coincidentally, teenage angst) I found penpal communities. I wrote little “about me”‘s and emailed back and forth with a few but none really came to anything. Even now, I’m only on my second letter. But still, it’s the thrill and joy of sending and receiving. I’ve three penpals now. They’re all quite darling. They’re all also older than me. Apparently teenagers of my generation either do not like me or don’t frequent the penpal communities I do.

Penpalling is something I do to feel close to other people, to bridge the gap between worlds. Instead of IMing someone, there’s a personality to it, a distinct quality that comes with each letter. There’s the stationary, the stickers, the drawings and the mixtapes. You can’t do this things with an email, with a text. So even as my generation abandons traditonal forms of communication, I’ll hold on to the someday barbaric act of sending a letter.