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 high school senior in New York City. Her work appears in Blue Marble Review, Bright Lite Magazine, Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine and YR Media and she has won numerous Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Over the past year, Ilana has been quoted in Teen Vogue, The Lily (publication of The Washington Post) and the New York Times. When Ilana is not writing, she advocates for social justice and engages in public policy. She was recently appointed to the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Council and was a STARS CGI Fellow.