Michael J. Sielaff

Actor ~ Writer ~ Freelance Dancer


Thanks for checking out what I have to say!  The majority of my ramblings can be found on my blog, Learning To Breathe.  I hope you enjoy the poems I've posted (and watch the Spoken Word ones on YouTube).  One reason I write is to ignite conversation.  So, if you're moved, let's talk!

Less Money Well Spent

First class is blocked by a see-through curtain-

Thin enough to veil only subtle differences.

All eight seats are filled by unrecognizable, financially sound sleepers

Whose backs have faced the majority before.

Although cramped in 9E (a middle seat- even at 6' 7” I refuse to pay extra for the exit row),

My eyes find humor in SkyMall

But are distracted by a bearded gentleman a few seats in front of me.

This gentleman looks like he just came back from the North Pole-

Either Santa's illegitimate brother or an aged Grizzly Adams.

To say he looks out of place is redundant.

His eyes are a mixture of attentiveness and confusion.

I hope security didn't confiscate his hunting knife.

He stares through that see-through curtain and into first class-

Not his idea of luxury.

He rotates his gaze to the sun streaming through the oval window and smiles.

Morning is beautiful when allowed to interrupt routine.

But unlike the Wilderness Survivor's window-seat neighbor

(Who sleepily shields himself from the morning heat by pulling down the shade),

Breathing in beauty IS routine.  

On his left, he observes a college-aged guy with ear-muff earphones engrossed in an iPad,

Chuckling periodically.   

The old man's creased face reads

Give me an unpopulated forest, pipe, honest conversation, and I am content...

None of which can be found on his fellow flyer's To Do List.

The old prospector might not have time on his side, but may just take a train when he travels next-

Romance trumps convenience. 

The sleepers surrounding him are not necessarily dreamers.

But while jettisoning in the sky like an overweight bird,

Reality usually doesn't care if it chats with fact.

Truth is, technology and nature don't butt heads,

They aren't even on the same plane.   

Fame + Fortune = ________

Yeah, I love Zooey Deschanel!”

And I hear she gives a lot of money to charity!”

She's so funny!”

I watch her every week- I make sure I don't miss her!”

Ms. Deschanel wouldn't say the same about you.

What if we started admiring people we know?

Not Facebook know,

But personally.

Erin's hilarious! And she's such a good friend!”

Post it and see how many “Likes” accumulate.

Talking behind backs could be a good thing.

Celebrity means visibility,

Being there means...

Assuming The Worst 

Rejecting a hug is a strange feeling.

I was chatting to acquaintances after a night of improv

When out of nowhere

A large black man with a scuffed white t-shirt, wild hair and a sleepy smile

Is suddenly standing beside me-


I ignore him.

He gets uncomfortably closer.

I glance over expecting to recognize him or see him begging for money.

I quickly take a step back, realizing neither scenario is true.

He advances again and his large hand carelessly grazing the stomach of my shirt.


I remove myself from his perimeter and our group walks away.

The man is left watching us as he holds himself up against the railing.

You just missed a chance at getting laid”

An acquaintance joked.

My intuition agreed...

But what if

All he wanted was a


First Impression




Not yet anyway.

Wait ‘til life catches up.

Wait ‘til feelings end abrupt.

Wait ‘til images corrupt.

Wait ‘til emotions wear thin.

Wait ‘til being left out

Fades desire to be let in.

Wait ‘til the realization of sin.

Soft face.

Drawn on smile.

Flushed pale skin.

Should we begin?

To laugh at her sadness,

Mock her happiness,

Bury her with social stress,

Ignore her beauty-

Could he?

See through flesh

And into her sea green eyes,

Rather than focus on her plain clothes

Or crooked nose…

Behind her absence of energy

And expression that’s never there

And short, straight, matted hair-

There is a soul shouting,

Needing to be heard,

But is suffocated

By eyes and word.

Stay In Character

“Thank you for your time! It was great meeting you!”
Forced smiles have become natural as she waves goodbye to her next hope at living the dream,
Of getting one step closer to that one role that would make all this worth it.
She closes the door without turning her back the casting directors-
Leaving them with one last image of her cast-able face
(She's been trained well).
Once safely out of the room she releases a muffled sigh-
Not out of the clear yet.
Don't give them an excuse to throw your headshot in the trash.
The receptionist, casting associates, the intern-
One wrong move....
If she's not professional, smiling, responsive,
The blacklist is waiting.
She's replaceable.
There are thousands who look like her.
She knows this.
Fears this.
Ignores this
Because out of all these pretty girls,
She has to believe her
Hair shines brighter, eyes spark more intrigue and curves attract extra attention.
They have to...
They must.
She's going to make all the right moves and meet all the right people.
Otherwise she might as well move back home and live the life she knows
(Her mother wouldn't mind).
“Thank you for your help!”
The receptionist is on the phone and gives her a nod with a instinctual smile.
She walks through spotless glass doors to the outside, swings a right, and
Takes in a deep breath of smog-soaked air
With the looming sun-drenched sky beating down on her-
No sign of happiness,
Just relief.
She walks briskly- the last thing needed is another parking ticket.
Approaching a '91 Toyota Camry with three missing hubcaps
And a peeling, unrecognizable college window-sticker,
She opens the door, gets into the sauna and quickly rolls down windows.
Air conditioning stopped working four years ago-
Which was when she considered majoring in elementary education.
She starts the car with three and a half turns of the key
And quickly pulls out of her metered spot on Highland.
She has 13 minutes before her shift starts.

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