journey while traveling
By Ilana Drake
My piece “journey while traveling” was inspired by my high school experiences and transformation into a young adult. This poem starts with me as a young teen and progresses into my exploration of adulthood.
i. courage i used to swim in a sea of fear dreams floating on the blue surface but i picked my fins up and held my breath my eyes swelled like the times my body burst with shattered fins and fragile bones yet, i kept swimming i swam in circles fins flailing as waves crash over i couldn’t reach the coral reefs so i switched directions the bluefish watched me the clownfish gossiped the angelfish looked away while i flipped like a fish shouldn’t flip. ii. flip see the world upside down and you realize that the sea might not be the world because the birds swoop down their yellow beaks skim the water my home broken into fish trying to swim down near me hiding in the reefs i learned to dash i tried to sprint but then i realized our eyes never met. iii. together those dark brown eyes glimmered in the water right above me my small mouth gaped eyes wide as the ocean is deep except, i found hope tranquil waters shaken by hurricanes off the coast thunder that lasts for days rain that keeps pouring drip drop drip halcyon sands to the east troubled times to the west we start the new day together.
My piece began with exploring the ocean and delving into perspectives not usually seen in poems. As I look back, I realize that this poem is one of the most vulnerable pieces I have written. My high school journey and experiences are symbolized through the poem’s words and meaning. While the title “journey while traveling” may seem intuitive, the words on the page speak to me as I embark on a new journey, leaving high school behind and moving into uncharted territory.
Ilana Drake is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and The Tennessean. Additionally, her poems have been seen in magazines such as WriteGirl's Lines & Breaks, CHINCHILLA LIT, and Poetry as Promised Literary Magazine. During high school, Ilana served on the NYC Department of Education Chancellor's Student Advisory Council, and she has advocated for inclusion in schools. When Ilana is not busy engaging in student activism and writing, she can be found enjoying the Nashville weather, hanging out with friends, and swimming. Ilana's work can be found here: https://ilanadrake.wixsite.com/mysite/projects.