The Poetry Snapshot: Trusting to Fly

The first sight.
Light gleaming in my eyes,
and I squint to make sense of the complexity
within the simple sunrise in front of me.

The first few moments adjusting are uncomfortable.
Yet, we manage to blink through the discomfort
to catch a glimpse of color.

We wake up to see the sun rise
because we trust in the beauty of the sight.
Yet when it comes to our sense of freedom,
we fall short.

We do not trust in the value of our freedom.
Not our political freedom
or any other constructed version of liberty.

Rather, our innate freedom,
the free-falling freedom of life.
The feeling of opening our wings,
and taking a leap.

Nashville Wings © Neha Allathur Photography

We do not trust in the value of our freedom.
We do not think the leap is worth it,
because we find comfort in our seat.
Trusting to fly requires hope,
that the flight will be as vibrant
as the morning sunrise.

Open those wings,
you do not need to know the beauty of the flight
before you fly.
Trusting to fly is beauty in itself.

“what is art?” #15 – Ariel Friedlander, “Queer As In”

As an art student, it is inevitable to meet people with different art practices and messages. As an art student at the U of M… this theory is further expanded because the art school is within a larger university. There is an infinite amount of opportunity here and one of my favorite parts about being a student in Ann Arbor is getting to see others use art as a form of discussion and watch them grow at the same time as myself. 


One of my favorite artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is Ariel Friedlander. I met her in my 2D Studio course that we were both taking as a requirement. I learned that she is both an art and art history major and I grew to like Ariel not only because of her personality and artwork but also because of her innate ability to constantly challenge our assignments and professor. Her confidence with what she was creating inspired me and continues to inspire me and how I create my own work.

In class I watched Ariel make art pertaining to her Jewish, queer, and diabetic identities. I loved watching her connect these ideas and start discussions about intersectionality as well as also focusing on pushing boundaries of other topics. My favorite moments were when she made individuals in our class and our professor question what something meant and then hear her educated and organized response back. 

Ariel is always churning out a multitude of work at a time and is constantly updating her social media with the work she creates. It is great to watch her build a community with her art especially when she posts about her travels.  

She recently has been working on curating a portrait photography and text series, “Queer As In”. In this project, she explores, “the nuances of queer identity through collaboration with self-identified queer individuals.” Ariel had noticed banners and pickets with slogans like “Queer as in fuck you” or “Queer as in abolish ICE” from activist experiences. This inspired her to create this series and have the model she photographed “fill in the blank with a
word they feel is important to their LGBTQ identity.” The color on the portraits are chosen by the model as the color they believe connects the most with their word. The final arrangement shows the photos creating one large pride flag. 


Tonight from 7-9pm in the Michigan League’s first floor lobby is the opening of her “Queer As In” art exhibition on campus. The show will be up from February 11th until March 13th and is sponsored by Spectrum Center and RC.  

As a community, it is important to show up to events and art shows like this to show support and interest. The effort of trying to learn and have an open mind is what sometimes is the most important part of the shows themselves. Ariel’s work is 110% worth the time to check out and I recommend you all go either tonight or within the next month to see her stunning curation. 



Hope to see you there! 🙂

P.S. Check out her cool ass earrings on her Etsy account!

P.P.S. Photo creds to her Instagram!


The Poetry Snapshot: Mom

To my best friend. My love. My mother. My rock.
Everything happened so fast, I’m still in shock.
You are the strongest person I will ever know.
Now I hold on to our memories, but they seem so long ago.

Neha Allathur Photography © Source Lake, WA

Playing Candy Crush at midnight,
Teaching me to drive,
Watching Rema dance at Ignite,
You kept telling us “Live, don’t simply be alive.”

You were always right,
but I still liked to argue.
You said, “everything will be alright,”
I miss your advice.

You always put others before you,
never thought about it twice.
Now I hope you are finally at peace,
In your own paradise.

“I have cancer,” you said as a fact,
Yet you didn’t shed a single tear, you stayed intact.
Through all the treatments, the chemo, and pill,
You still smiled and had such a strong will.

You sacrificed everything for us.
You worked hard for us.
You hid back your tears from us.
But you were taken away from us.

Your beautiful smile,
Your quirky laugh,
Your ambition and drive,
I will always look up to you in awe.

You taught me to be adventurous and wild,
You were always the cool mom.
You taught me to be gentle and kind,
Determined and focused,
You said, “happiness is just a state of mind.”

I cry, I wish, I hope
that this is just a dream.
Because you, Rema, and I, we were always a team.

Now I’ll carry on your legacy.
Fulfill all your wishes.
I know you’re guiding me from above,
So I’ll be ambitious.

You lived, you loved, you laughed.
This I hope you see.
The only question I have for you is,
Are you proud of me?

Mommy you are my entire world,
You are as precious as your black pearl.
Every day I miss you more.

Signed…Your Little Girl.

I wrote this poem almost 4 years ago. However, it resurfaced recently through a conversation. Over the course of the semester, I have been posting poems that have been reflective of the environment around me through my perspective. It felt right to post this one right now as I’ve been finding moments that remind me of my mom.

The Poetry Snapshot: Community

To your left,
a man with a briefcase
and slick hair.

    Neha Allathur Photography © Nashville, TN

To your right,
a mother with her child
who needs care.

All of you cross the street
without acknowledging each other–
without acknowledging the dramatic lives
each of you have lived–
without realizing how different
your paths have been.

But somehow,
right now,
you all cross the street.

What a magical effort of time,
to bring together people
in such small ways.

People with incredible stories
will cross paths with you
for brief moments.
But we tend to miss out
with all the noise in our own life.

We are strong when we are together.
We grow from each other.
Next time you cross the street,
take a moment to meet
the person passing by.

The Poetry Snapshot: A Different Kind of New

As you grow older,
you set expectations
for the future.

   Neha Allathur Photography © New years 2019, Snoqualmie, WA

You expect every new year
to be the one where you
stick with your goals.
As if, you cannot be capable now.

You expect the future
to be where happiness lies,
and you continue to miss
the joyous moments passing by.

Be excited, feel renewed,
but do not hold onto
expectations for the future.

Falling into the unpredictability,
the only thing that is certain is change.
If you are capable to set goals for the future,
why not start today?

This new year
is a different kind of new.
Not a new year
that starts as a clean slate,
with new habits or new goals.
This new year
is built off the lessons from the past;
being open to change in every way.

The Poetry Snapshot: Explore Deep Waters

Loud voices, outspoken personalities.
The glimmering attraction of success all around us.

Seems as though there is only one
right path to take in this infinite world.
One right path for people to be impressed by me.

 Snoqualmie Falls, WA © Neha Allathur Photography

But is that what I want people to be? Impressed?
Without comparison, impressive is a positive adjective.
But there’s another i  word I prefer.
Another i  word that elicits
action and fosters dynamic change.

Ironic, how similar and interchangeably,
these words are used on the surface level.

But how can people be inspired by someone
who follows the one set path to success.

How can people feel inspired by someone
who stays in shallow waters and
does not explore uncontrollable waves.

It is easy to fall into the spotlight of success
and feel its withdrawals.
But stay strong.
Impressive people will fade away with time.
Inspiring people spark a change in their environment
as their legacy.