The Poetry Snapshot: The Lotus

Chaos is grasping for water when you’re drowning,
but only swallowing muddy water.
It feeds off this fear and thrives in uncertainty.

Lotus by Maria Venardis 

You stand by the edge,
looking out at the pond, patiently.
Today is when the lotus begins to bloom.
The only flower to bloom petal by petal.
Like the consistency of flowering,
you like predicting the future
and staying on track.

A large lily pad is by your feet.
You pay attention to it,
but keep your distance.
And then a Child steps on.
Fearlessly and effortlessly,
without a second thought.
For a moment, this Child was God.

The Child looks up directly at you,
not with any sense of urgency,
but as if warning you about what comes next.
Because God cannot be blindsided.
The Child dances off the water lily,
and you are still caught off guard.

Trying to look past your concentrated fear of chaos
you jump into the pond for rescue.
But your disarray only drags you further down.
Even in the muddiest of waters,
a lotus finds the graceful power to blossom.

You watch the Child flow through this chaos;
unbothered and elegantly just like the lotus,
and you are rescued.

The Poetry Snapshot: Simple Sunlight

Rising in the east,
we slowly wake up to a soft yellow hue
peaking into our bedroom.

Sunset in Honolulu, Hawaii

Setting in the west,
the dynamic bursts of pink and purple
revitalize us after a long day.

The beauty of sunlight,
at every moment of the day,
is that it does not need our validation.
Whether we recognize the sun shine,
or see the colors change,
the sun continues to rise and set.

Day in and day out,
no matter what the season.
The simplicity of sunlight is its confidence.

“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.

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. 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 slicked back hair.

His face is motionless,
as though captured in a photograph.
He keeps his head tucked down
and is lost in regret.

To your right,
a mother with a small child,
crying for care.

The mother’s eyes blink in exhaustion,
but the child commands her full attention.
Still, the mother carries unconditional love and gratitude,
for finally being able to hold a child of her own.

Nashville, Tennessee

All of you cross the street
without acknowledging each other;
without realizing how different
your paths have been.

But somehow,
right now,
you all cross the street.
For the next ten seconds,
you will share your lives together.
And then,
you will never see them again.

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

The Poetry Snapshot: 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, Washington

But is that what I want people to be?
Impressive should feel good, but it feels empty.
Impressive should foster change, but it falls short.

Impress. Inspire. Impressed. Inspired.
Ironic, how similar and interchangeably,
these words are used on the surface.

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

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

I fall into the spotlight of success
and feel its withdrawals.
Impressive people fade away.
Inspiration leaves a legacy.