Tanaya Winder, poet



good morning everyone excited to be here and thankful to let me be a part of sunday chatter and hearing the music and grateful to be able to share some words with you awful one day you want counter a house flooded with water there are no drains or lifeboats to save you rather dozens of ships inside bottles massless within the glass boundaries you built them in your image impractical on the brink of capsizing each time you let yourself fall the stability and his voice threaded through the holes within you one slight tug of the string heaved you into unhinged then it was on to the next a new thread a new threat so you bottled up moments thinking love could be salvaged naive you tried to fill winless sales with whispered wishes cast away cast away each encounter was just enough to propel you down the rivers already flowing inside you from one life to the next it wasn't such a bad track record you only fell in love about sixty percent of the time not wanting to lose control or end up in pieces later you will see your actions coincided with leap years though it was never about to jump or fall not at all anchored in illusion you never fear collapse ruined your rigging to risk drowning and make-believe because you are young and it was so much easier to pretend to fall in love back then when you didn't know a damn thing about dying so when you find yourself in a house with water rising spread your arms two lengths wider than loneliness could ever reach embrace those parts in you the hardened you that will always be a thirsty hungry and overflowing ocean Patrick would never say the word love so when he volunteers to read the poem for class that day he does so only on the condition that he doesn't have to say that word so he reads and when he gets to that word he pauses looks at me and waits for me to say it love before continuing it sounds a little something like this the saddest thing in the world has got to be when you love someone unable to provide the love and support you need and I do it like this dramatically shouting perhaps to make my students laugh as I fill in the gaps you see Patrick he's one of the most talented students I've ever had he scores his pain beautifully on the page like he's constructing arias four operas with poetry Patrick makes sense of things his remembering like his mother's drinking or her suicide attempts driving off a cliff with him at her side after all what kind of mother would want to leave her child behind in another piece Patrick calls himself a bird without wings after class apologizes for always writing sad things but he can't help it the teacher in me tries to create reinforcing messages like sometimes it's the sad things we need to write in order to release let go break down and cry I tell them maybe try to incorporate music I know it lifts me his response but mr. nya I don't think I can sing I say baby it doesn't matter whether you're on or off key it's about honoring and using your voice his song of choice I believe I can fly the next day he rests between verses I used to think that huh gonna go home in life was nothing but now full song and he hits every note at the back of his throat I can hear past anger turned into harmonious hope and though he still won't speak it he sings it later he'll tell me there's a difference but now I know the meaning true love performing his piece inspires the quiet this other girl who sits in the back of class raises her hand and says she also believes she is a flightless bird but maybe she too can learn to rise with music she asked if she can share no longer scared she begins soon Dale wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds of behind me her voice leaps off the page her cantatas our rage written in jagged lines to release memories growing up in a household where her mother's boyfriend's came into her room at night it was then in the darkness that she wanted to rise into flight where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops that's where you'll find me but they pulled off her wings a flower d pedaled she goes on to tell us this continued from third grade until just last year we are in tears when she's finished she rips her pace burger places pieces on her tongue like sacrament thinking if she swallows the words this simple act might save her so I sit beside her but a piece in my mouth too I want her then the class to know that you don't have to eat your rage pain and sadness alone but they don't know I need to eat these words to to feel full that once I lost a friend who I loved and when he killed himself his body hung from rope like pendulum marking the times I never said it enough so today I make sure I speak teach pray and say love maybe even too much I'll play love on repeat my love my love my love when students right piece is weighted in grief so when the flightless sing birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can't we share an experience the clash joints and put pieces in their mouths too together we can still dissolve the heaviest ink turn hurt words into notes to form chords and create a common course I believe I can fly if I just bad my wings together we can fill in the gaps for those who need help not just saying but believing in words like love I have two more a little short ones I like to tie mix I don't ever like to go over the limit but I guess I didn't account for applause so the next one I'm going to read is from a literary journal that I helped co-found with a friend called as SS base for women of the world and we published writing by indigenous women and women of color and this is our inaugural issue in the cover art is by a Santa Fe artist Jolene yazzie there's an interview with joy Harjo and lots of different um poets in some new mexico poet so we have some if you want to find me after this one's called somewhere being written I'm convinced someone somewhere is painting the moon stretching its canvas to extend from one planet to the next he covers it in hues that encompass galaxies the heavy pigment even tempts lost planets into orbit paper-thin I am pulled into the London that begs for line so I rearrange constellations to spend a message across the Milky Way we both need to believe in something bigger than ourselves ask are there limits to loving the sky responds halfway to ecstasy we forget we are ever star far away to hand searching for each other in the dark the moon grasps at oceans and we envy its ability to rise not knowing the moon mourns unable to keep waves from leaving the shoreline strangers wish upon fallen stars never looking up to listen the moon hums repetitively come back to me come back to me come back to me a prayer so near silence we can barely hear the lift into daylight as it carries us away from this life into the next okay the last one doesn't have a title yet so if you think of anything you can tell me I was raised on musicals like Greece Annie funny girl memorized the words reenacted plays on my make-believe stage I dreamed of ending up on Broadway those characters taught me lessons I thought everyone should know like your clothes maybe Bob Romilly they stand out a mile but brother you're never fully dressed without a smile and everyone for a while thought I was charming and cute until somebody bought me a kazoo which I play daily without fail until it mysteriously disappeared those musicals taught me about fear and going all-in they introduced the concept of you get what you give don't tell me not to live just didn't putter life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade though they didn't totally prepare me for the pessimism the world would bring one day but they hinted at the probability of longing heart ache and timing being everything with each age I obsessed over different show tunes that went in tune with my life at the time like the phases of empowerment take me for one again who I was meant to be and if you give a day him take me baby or leave me and it didn't end there no the musicals turn to songs in general when I was 12 I was obsessed with watching Ally McBeal love the way she blurred her imagination with the real but my favorite part was the fact that she had a theme song which I realized I had all along several in fact depending on my mood when I needed to feel good sometimes all it takes is just a small town girl living in a lonely and when it's over I'm pumped ready to take on whatever bowls my way and on days when I'm sad I blast she's bad man JAMA the just as fun as she can be songs still become anthems to help me see myself in the world in the best of ways and today I turned to music thinking it's some told some universal truths whether it's don't stop believing or accepting the vulnerability and meeting people people who need people are the luckiest people in the world and at the end of the musical or song it's not about work money doesn't define your worth and I'll always believe that whether or not life brings you joy or hurt it's what you wear from ear to ear and not from head to toe that matters you

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