armor amour

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beetle in the bell jar
will you ever be free?
climbing glass walls with glassy eyes
an invisible sight to see

tell me what life was like
before it trapped you here
I’ll sit and blink and think a while
here, please take my ear

why not my cheeks and nose, too?
they could serve you well
see the world through my face for a day
and I’ll put on your shell

it’s dark and hollow in this place
you must not let much light in
through your shiny armor or
under your upturned chin

from the inside now I see
all the beauty that you guard
dewy mornings in the early sun
children playing in the yard

muddy fingers tracing wings
afternoons spent foraging
a soft heat melting gooey air
on which the summer birds sing

I see why you hide now
keeping safe in your deep shell
all the memories you’re missing here
living in a frail glass bell.

nostalgia

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Funny, isn’t it? How a place can hold so much meaning in our minds? A smell can make us cry, a crack in the sidewalk can take us back in time. A certain rock shaped like a chair, or a ferris wheel that spins too fast. All brush strokes in this dizzying abstract we paint over the course of our lives.

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Sometimes an entire town can wrap itself around us, weaving in and out of our pasts with a whole myriad of “times.” Good ones, bad ones, insignificant tiffs, overwhelming laughs. The little spot on the rocks where you told someone a big secret, the rocking chair where you said your first goodbye. Even as you watch the waves approach and retreat, though you know they are disappearing, it’s tempting to hang on to their imaginary immortality. Nostalgia likes to perceive perpetuality, even in the bold face of nature, as you stand in awe of her constant change.

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It’s an indulgent pursuit, to seek sources of nostalgia. Despite this awareness of our intentions, nostalgia’s captivating ruse can pull us in. The remarkable ability to find familiarity in something actually quite foreign; to chase a time long past. The human mind plays all kinds of pretty tricks, if you are willing to let go and let her.

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saltwater nymph

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circe can’t go home
oceanid with holographic hair
her formation is terrestrial
every cell hails de la mer

saltwater nymph
imprisoned in her own shell
destined to sway the unwilling
to hold them in her hell

historically avoided
her plea silent like the sea
to be requited is to be understood;
to be understood is to be free

tormented temptress
neither goddess nor goodness, she waits
for the creature who will create her
the only one who holds two fates

circe can’t stay home
her liquid lips must rise
to meet her lightning lover
in the heavy-handed skies

-rainy days in providence inspiring greek mythology poems

u know who u r

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I’ve been watching you
For some time
Can’t stop staring
At those oceans eyes
Burning cities
And napalm skies
Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes
Your ocean eyes

No fair
You really know how to make me cry
When you gimme those ocean eyes
I’m scared
I’ve never fallen from quite this high
Falling into your ocean eyes
Those ocean eyes

I’ve been walking through
A world gone blind
Can’t stop thinking of your diamond mind
Careful creature
Made friends with time
He left her lonely with a diamond mind
And those ocean eyes

-Billie Eilish, Ocean Eyes

a carousel of rays
your tide, a golden sting
ocean eyes are melting me
lips that silently sing

pressed to my chest
your rolling glow burns straight
there’s a new wrinkle to your spoke
unspoken words whirling without weight

bodies crushed
faces flushed
our dance so dangerous
a tango you can touch

sunny circles can’t keep up
with your warm, spiraling bake
you’re spotlighting my summer skin
in your precious golden wake.

 

moon stories

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Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style someday
Oh, dream maker
You heartbreaker
Where ever you’re going I’m going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting round the bend
My huckleberry friend
Moon river and me

 

strawberry moon
will you show us your face?
we’ve been waiting since noon
staring up into space

strawberry moon
your rosy cheeks run
please visit us soon
tell your tales of the sun

strawberry moon
bring out your sweet sign
pink night light of June
planets intertwine

strawberry moon
come give us a show
dip out past the spoon
galactic-tac-toe

strawberry moon
we’re wearing your flush
singing summer night’s tune
the lover’s light hush

strawberry moon
let us see you again
we’ll be waiting from noon
goodnight, good friend.

-words from a tired amateur poet at the end of a long, strange day

hot town, summer in the city

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It’s been a whole month (!) since Swan Lake. Several days after the final performance, The Great Flu of ’19 knocked me down for 2 weeks and well, you could say I ran out of steam. My annual lofty goals to “keep dancing all summer” fizzled under piles of tissues, and needless to say, I’ve been looking for motivation to get back into the studio ever since. Well guys, I think I might have just found it…

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We know the magic of Zarely’s super soft tights (I love the recovery compression tights for going out after a performance when my legs need a little love!) and elevated activewear, but did you know they recently released two leotards? Well, listen up. I’m out here shouting it from the rooftops.

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Have I peaked your curiosity? Okay, the review…

In keeping with Zarely’s design style, the Alicia leotard is cut to flatter. I was worried about her higher neckline, but the material (made in Italy) hugs so nicely. The lining is soft but effective- trust a busty ballerina to give you an honest assessment when it comes to support that doesn’t strangle you.

The base fabric is  thick enough to smooth things out without puffing up, but I think my favorite feature is the mesh panel…

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The designers at Zarely pay special attention to lines when creating each piece, and woah baby, it pays off. I’m not typically one for wearing mesh on the front of my torso, but this leotard dips a toe into the trend without being over the top. I’m a fan.

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So, what do you think?! If you’re interested in trying out one of Zarely‘s new leo’s (or any of their well-made dancewear) and want a little discount, use code KIRSTENZARELY for 20% off at checkout.

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photos by Jenay Evans for STB.

three-faced

 

dark to light

from day to night

black to white

sixteen swans in flight

a deceitful blight

a vision at height

a desperate love’s plight

triumphant truth’s fight

won with great might

now cracking dawn’s light

her transformation in sight

still daybreak burns bright

sparks of trust reignite

arms open and invite

twisting lovers holding tight

at long last all wrong is right.

-reflections on the Lake

 

What was strange about playing two very different characters in one ballet? I suppose the weird part was how very not weird it felt at all. Countless hours of rehearsal, nights laying awake reconsidering a sly wink here or a sharp gesture there, none of that seemed to matter when the lights hit. Odette’s trapped sadness felt real. The anguishing betrayal was not just a dormant memory in my own life’s experience. It seems a reoccurring theme. Odile’s slippery charm- while not exactly inherent- never felt altogether foreign, as if this persona was one I’ve tried on before.

I have waxed on about ballet life matching up with real life time and time again. I shouldn’t be surprised when this happens, but every time I find myself in awe of this art form’s ability to sink its teeth into my life and reveal bits of me that I didn’t know existed. How odd to have a piece of art explain your own feelings to you.

Thank you, Swan Lake, for being everything you are. The difficult pill that needs swallowing, the instructions manual that appears to be written in some language only decipherable through reflection. The glorious wave of warm sunlight when the water feels too cold to jump in alone. And thank you, Swan Lake, for showing me I can.