member my grandfather, an immigrant from Odessa, Russia, singing me to sleep in Russian, a sound and language that accompanied me into adulthood. How many of us bring those early immigrant memories into our adult lives?

I remember Donald Duck Orange Juice in the can

I remember staring at the television screen, wide-eyed and mouth agape, as they reported five journalists had been killed in their own newsroom at the Capital Gazette. I remember how my heartbeat quieted, and at the same time, how it filled with fear.

I am thrilled to remember all the moments young people of come to a realization through learning important for our world in generations to come. Young people learning is our future!

The border: Why does such a word exist?

"The wall." Turn on the radio, you hear about it. Turn on the TV, you hear about it. Turn on Twitter, you hear about it. I don't see the point in all of it. These borders--these walls--are pushing us further away from each other. We need, now more than ever, to come closer.

The border is a line that passes through time and never ends

The border is a line that crosses a land and makes it countries
The border is a word that should not exist

The border is the end of the world

The border is a limit
The border must go away
The border is a bird without wings

Work is not simple. Work is meaningless--I am meaningless--without passion. I could write, bake cakes, cut down trees, listen for heartbeats all hours of the day, but the weight of an empty box sits atop my soul when there is no love in the action.

Work: where I go because I love you.


Work is guiding, molding, inspiring, challenging young minds and souls...

I walk to work every day to keep us afloat. You, too, will one day walk to work every day. This is how the world spins.

i saw someone make their own music from leaves and twigs

and someone heard and stopped to listen

and distance not existing


young and old connected


I imagine you in the snow. Bleached cotton drifts pulled back to mud-drenched doorsteps .

I imagine you in Moscow, drenched by the summer heat, strolling down the Street of All Fridays

We stand apart, reflected back against eight time zones, against geopolitical divide, and reach beyond what may be on the other side.

My mirrored heart whispers to you, how long have you gone unseen? Just because you have been invisible to tall men with battered hands does not mean the sea forgot your name. Promises whispered to the wind are unforgotten.


I would paint the air charging inward

the gray of my father's beard


closing my eyes for a kiss on a sunny day: that red

that read:

Our America is the voice of our heart fighting the scared little voice in our heads.

When you step foot onto American land, America becomes a part of you.

An exchange of backgrounds, conversations, and fireworks.

The voice of our heart overcomes the fear.

The poem that makes you cry in front of your class

hovers in your mind long after, and wakes you up at night


The poem is an unsettling thought; mutinous, like a small stain on a polished table.

The poem can find anyone in the world and give them the inspiration to ignite a change in others.

I am hungry for the discomfort that means that world

is about to shake, shutter and grow a whole lot bigger.

I hunger to see new expressions of life piling up and pouring over the old.

I hunger for the shock of the new, the familiar, the misplaced and unanticipated context.

I hunger for inhibition to music the freedom to move with passion

My body thumming with ancient rhythm to become eternal living sound I hunger for embraceable melody to shimmy, shake and shine voices harmonizing and held in universal language

My Hair is a nation...full of Tribes with cultural stories of Breath

My Hands are Wombs....Giving LIfe to everything they Touch

My Eyes are golden chestnuts glancing around the ever changing world

My nails are bright unicorns directing my majestic words

Only when we mimic the Atlantic waves reaching for the moon,

we may find peace within ourselves and co-exist as one unit.

Even the darkest of hearts have a piece of peace shining inside.

Peace prospers in people who seek potential voices.

Peace will come when all the women in the world have sleepovers and braid each other's hair and talk into the night and break bread in the morning, sleepy-eyed sisters sharing their humanity.

My body is a bundle of copper wire vibrating, oxidizing, and hearing.

My body is an engine with too many operating hours.

My ribs hum like the soundboard of a piano.

My funny bone sings bad jokes and corny words to a crowd full of brittle bones.

I write across the borders of memory, the barriers of my mother tongue

Borders are the empty space between our arms reaching for a hug that we fill

with hopeful hearts

My story crosses the border of your ears in snaky lines

Untethered to borders, my pen writes free

Each day like a wrapped present,

I shake it, and need to know.

Remembering my fifth grade teacher's voice,

the softest voice I had ever heard,
still loud and strong in my heart

Crocuses breaking the ground in early spring

bursting through the frozen earth
with the message of green

The difference between the world we live in

and the one we can create together

Akron is a place to explore.

Akron whispers the swish          and swash  of down coats           in January

Akron lights 

dance in the evening
and signal
a brighter future
for me

Akron warms me on cold evenings.

My voice whistles like the pine needles on a hemlock

My voice babbles like a brook.

My voice hums and thunks

like an old diesel truck 
chugging down the road.

My voice bubbles like a lion cub's first, powerful roar.

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The Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas workshops, exhibits, and programs bring poetry to people’s everyday lives and encourage new voices through innovative methods and digital platforms

For more information about how to bring Traveling Stanzas to your organization, contact David Hassler, Director, Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University.

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