I’m in Hawaii again, on what will be my last trip to the island for the year. My project here is wrapping up and I’ll be flying home next Tuesday. It’s always bittersweet when I complete a project because they are usually a year-long endeavor and I spend a lot of time away from home. The project location usually becomes a sort of home-away-from-home and this year that was especially true. Because it takes 12-hours to travel from my home in Arlington, Virginia to Honolulu, Hawaii, I tended to stay longer in Hawaii, at least two weeks but often three weeks at a time. I made friends here who were willing to go hiking, hit the beach, go out to dinner, and just hang out with me. It truly became a second home for me. It even started creeping into my poetry.

Most people who are familiar with my poetry wouldn’t call it happy poetry. There are a lot of adjectives to choose from but I’m pretty sure happy isn’t one that would be at the top of anyone’s list. Dark, intense, heavy — these are words more likely to be associated with my writing. And I’m okay with that, after all, recently published poems include one about abuse (because, published by Minute Magazine) and one about women’s rights/bodies (This Body, published by Glass). Neither of these are especially uplifting or light but I do think they are necessary and I’m going to keep writing these kind of poems. But that doesn’t mean a lighter/happier/friendlier poem isn’t going to slip in every once in a while.

It’s winter here in Hawaii which basically means it’s a little cooler, a little windier, and a little rainier.  But rain in Hawaii also means rainbows. A lot of rainbows.

Hello gorgeous!


As I drove to work a couple of days ago I spotted a double rainbow. Later that day when I spotted two more. When I looked out my office window – yes, you guessed it. ANOTHER FUCKING RAINBOW. All this color and cheer prompted me to do something I never imagined I would do. I wrote a poem that included a rainbow. And then I wrote another. And then I realized what I’d done and I panicked and posted this on Twitter:



I wondered if this island was starting to affect me, if I was becoming a nicer, happier person. If I was going to give up my dark lipstick and black nail polish and I don’t know, start writing light-hearted poems. But before any of that could happen, life intervened.

Wednesday was an 11+ hour day in the office. I had to deal with a few major issues and I was swamped all day. I got too busy to run out and grab lunch which means I ended up with a raging headache by 2pm. When I finally left the office just after 6pm, the sun had set and traffic was shit. I got home, immediately fed myself, and then was in bed by 9pm, ready for sleep to take me.

And then nothing.

Well, not nothing exactly, more the opposite of nothing. So much was in my head that I couldn’t fall asleep. I lay awake for hours watching the clock march forward as thoughts raced through my head.

Insomnia isn’t anything new to me. I travel frequently and subject my body to changing time zones more often than some people change their sheets. It also probably doesn’t help that I’ve been in the emergency room twice in as many weeks – once for a migraine and once for muscle spasms in my back. Both are things I regularly deal with but when they get bad enough to require the ER and some serious drugs, it tends to take my body a few days to bounce back. So add that to a recent time zone switch, plus a super stressful day at work and you’ve got me, laying in bed, unable to quiet my brain and fall asleep.

At midnight I heard my work phone ping. It’s generally never a good thing if my phone goes off in the middle of the night and this proved to be no different. An emergency that kept me awake for another hour while we worked through the issue. Eventually the issue was resolved, as much as it could be in the wee hours of the morning, and I laid back down, trying desperately to fall asleep. I didn’t. Eventually I drifted off around 4am and slept till 5am, when my alarm went off. Because I was exhausted and knew I had several issues to deal with when I got to the office, I decided to skip my morning run and get a bigger cup of coffee than normal; I planned to head into the office early to get a jump on the day’s to do list.

I got in my car and had driven only a few blocks when I realized something didn’t feel right. I pulled over and confirmed, yup, a flat tire. I may have said a few choice four-letter words before calling my coworker to tell him I would be getting into the office late that day as I needed to change my tire. Then I got out of the car, pulled out the jack and the donut and got to work. My kind coworker showed up 15 minutes later to assist and decided the moment needed to live in infamy as it captured the true essence of the past couple of days.

Fuck off universe!


Eventually I got into the office and started slugging through work. I didn’t write a poem that day but I have a feeling the rainbows have left my poetry for a while. Maybe this weekend’s hike will bring a little lightness back into me. Honestly, as long as I’m able to get a few hours sleep, I don’t really care.