Poetry Pt. 2

A collection of unrelated poems of mine:

to be perfect

i’ve always liked numbers, the way they add up perfectly

with only one answer, one solution. i used to wish all things were as perfectly

organized. i wished i were organized as perfectly,

wish i looked it, dressed it, acted it.

wished all my problems could be solved perfectly.

set equal to zero and isolate the x: a mechanical

procedure taught from a textbook. perfectly

scoring academic tests is easy enough

but answers in life don’t add up as perfectly.

people don’t work like 1, 2, 3, experiences aren’t

scored alphabetically, and i can’t live this perfectly,

because i am not.

i am not perfect or close to it. but i am perfectly –

imperfect.

summer rain 

i take her hand,

bare feet slipping on the soaken grass.

we watch the rain as it falls 

and speckles the pool surface.

“one, two, three”

interlaced fingers and shrieks of laughter 

as we fall with the raindrops.

two skinny bodies in polka dot underwear

crashing through the water.

together, we tilt our heads towards the clouds

and drink in the summer rain –

nothing has ever tasted so good.

untitled i

you kept me afloat for so long,

        when you drifted away

     i forgot how to swim.

untitled ii

i wonder if being

in love

will make me feel any less

incomplete.

untitled iii

i think it’s strange 

no one likes a caterpillar

but everyone likes a butterfly.

PC: https://media.istockphoto.com/id/89288958/photo/monarch-and-caterpillar-on-milkweed-plant.jpg?s=612×612&w=0&k=20&c=ID3GSnp161j8jHkye0GQhkOk1etXnlJktqOxsj-xhfw=

Reading Journal on Dr. Faustus i was kinda proud of

Beginning in the 1500s when Dr. Faustus was written and spanning to the modern era, the human race has pushed the boundaries of what is natural and tried to become gods. We invented the astrolabe, conquered the seven seas, built nations on the destruction of entire peoples, and constructed skyscrapers which seem to defy every idea of what is possible. Our health has improved, we’ve made life convenient beyond belief, but despite all this achievement we, like Marlowe’s arrogant celebutante “yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man.” 

For the past few hundred years mankind has become increasingly involved with the same internal struggle as Faustus. Each new level of knowledge we acquire we become more careless and ignorant. Everytime some new process or physic principle is discovered we slip deeper into the Faustian bargain we call progress. This rat race for discovery becomes paired with this nonsensical notion that we are the only important thing on the planet and that we deserve everything which we can fathom and more. This is the mindset which sent Faustus to eternal damnation, and this is the mindset which plagues the modern world. Regardless of all the power we may accumulate over the natural world we still are humans, flawed forever by stagnant ideas and held to earth by the unrelenting and unstoppable march towards death. 

 As private school educated students from generally wealthy families, fiscally or situationally, it is easy for us to fall into the Faustian mindset. I’ve been at fault of this, my friends, my family, and classmates––all at some point have looked at the world and thought “I deserve more”. This mindset ruins the last humanity which wisps gently between us, we become stale, ignorant, and spoiled, unable to understand that there are other people around, and even more so, other things. We all too easily divulge in the trap that we can do what we want to the world without consequence. 

Just as Faustus enjoyed his twenty four years of power which ended in a no bit unexpected end, mankind is still enjoying its twenty four years marching towards an end we can all see and yet choose to believe is not real. Like Faustus, humans are just people who happen to be in situations of extraordinary power. 

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Crush

I hate the word crush because it feels so naive. A child should have a crush, maybe a 6th grader. But, the more you think about it, the more the purity spills out of it. For a long time, I forgot what it was like to have a crush on someone. The definition of a crush does change as you grow, but the feeling that comes with it stays the same. There is a very specific feeling associated with the word crush. The feeling of your stomach spinning like a washing machine, whirring and flipping at a borderline alarming speed. When my entire face glows with a deep pink with just the mention of their two-syllable name. When you have a crush on someone, you think about them all the time, especially because you barely get to see them. I think that makes it more exciting, to be honest. The phone calls at 10 pm go on till 3:15 am. The inability to hang up because time moves so fast that I feel like I could never hear his voice enough. They make you laugh at the dumbest things that really shouldn’t be funny, but coming from him it is. Driving home from the beach after dark with my hands and body rising out of the sunroof. A smile was constantly plastered on my face. It makes me wonder a lot of things about myself, did I find the person that makes me laugh on my off days? Why are my walls falling so fast? Why can’t I be away from him for more than a day without pacing around the closing walls of my room? We can sit in the most comfortable silence studying each other’s faces, running and filtering through a million thoughts that could be filling their head at that moment. In reality, we are both thinking the same thing. I like you so much. I wondered why I was able to be so comfortable, but I realized that it is because my inner child is at peace. I have the same crush on him that I had on a boy in 7th grade, so innocent and pure. Like a string of light bringing two people together, encasing the two of you together and tightening until you feel as though you have merged into that person’s body. And suddenly, that feeling is born and fills your entire body and soul. I didn’t know I could smile for the entirety of a four-hour phone call.

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my baby kitty

‘The Things They Carried’ Essay Pt. 1

I wish I had the time to write something good but I am in a rush. Here’s part of an essay from earlier this year in English class:

  1. What servicemen chose to carry revealed who they were. Select 3 of the characters. Explain what each carried and what was revealed about that character.

The Things They Carried is Tim O’Brian’s semi-fictionalized account of his time spent fighting in the Vietnam War. Told in a series of short memoirs, the author jumps from character to character, a story to story, in order to explore a range of themes: from death and ethics, to love and the relationship between truth and fiction. In Chapter I, O’Brien describes the physical items each soldier chooses to carry during their march. With this, the reader gets a sense of the characters, their emotional baggage, and their coping mechanisms; all of which are expanded on throughout the novel.

In just the first few pages of the book, the platoon leader is introduced through his chosen supplies. Jimmy Cross, simply referred to as Lieutenant, carries with him correspondence from a girl named Martha, who lives back home in Ohio. “In the late afternoon, after a day’s march, he would… unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending.” Among these letters are also two photographs and an oval pebble collected from the Jersey shoreline and gifted to him for good luck. The Lieutenant’s memorabilia expresses that he is lovestruck, and wishful and turns to his imagination in order to escape his dire reality. In fact, Cross will one day be so absorbed in his fantasies that when a fellow troop, Lavender, is shot on his watch, he blames himself and burns the letters. Because, while he may be a romantic, the Lieutenant also has a great sense of duty. As the unit commander, “Jimmy Cross carried a compass, maps, code books…and the responsibility for the lives of his men.” Altogether, the Lieutenant’s possessions reveal his sentimental and dutiful true nature – two qualities that he relies on during the intensity of warfare.

PC: https://snworksceo.imgix.net/jhn/334322c3-3260-4fc4-a9ba-1e713aea3c73.sized-1000×1000.jpg?w=1000

the beauty in an off day

Today, I am having an off day. I know it when I wake up because I start my day with a sigh rather than a smile. I don’t bother to make myself feel good by putting on some mascara and emphasizing the pink on my cheeks, I let my eye bags express the weight falling on my head. I put on my Uggs, and I always wear Uggs on my off days. they remind me of my childhood and the ability to cheer myself up simply by the embrace of my mother. It takes more now, a walk or a bath won’t fix it. It sits deep within the structure of my body. It sheathes across all of my nerve endings, running through every square inch of me. It is not sad, nor is it happy, it just is. The feeling of simply not feeling it strangely comforting to me. It is not dark or sad, it is normal. It is okay to sit and let your mind drift into space. It is okay to sit on the floor of the shower and let the water trickle down your face and across your lips. It is okay to put on a show and not pay attention. It is okay to go for a walk and find yourself sitting on the icy pavement within 5 minutes. It’s okay to keep your headphones in all day and let your world be surrounded by something that you chose. I don’t know who needs to hear it, but it is okay. I often forget that this is not being lazy, unmotivated, or worthless. It is normal. Everyone has days where the air seems a little thicker and the light feels a little dim. Whether you choose to admit it or not is a choice, I do, because I want people to know that despite my sarcastic sense of humor and plastered smile, I too have off days. It’s really hard to see the bright side sometimes because maybe there just isn’t one. I mean sure, someone always has it worse, and hey, at least I’m alive. Believe me, I’m grateful, but for the love of god let me feel something. Anything.

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go outside and try to feel something.

My Best Friend

Last week, I noticed a blog post about the author’s best friend, which has inspired me to talk about one of my strongest relationships.

My best friend is named Ula. Ula is 5″8 with brown hair tinged red and green eyes streaked with gold. Freckles speckle every inch of her skin and someday she is going to get a dot tattoo to symbolize the love she has developed for this feature, as well as her womanhood and power.

Ula is beautiful. Her smile is one of the most radiant I have ever witnessed and a contagious laugh. Sometimes we laugh together to such lengths that no sound escapes our lips and we gasp for air between fits of giggles.

Ula wouldn’t hurt a fly. She rescues spiders from her bathtub, lets mosquitos feast on her blood rather than swat them away, goes on camping trips in cow pastures, and wouldn’t leave her dog’s side during its final days. Sasha is now buried under the oak tree on her property and when Ula thinks of her, her eyes well with tears. Ula will not lie either. On the rare occasion that she must, her voice grows timid and shaky, a pitch too high, and her golden green eyes will not make contact with another pair.

If Ula were a season, she would be springtime, and if she were a place, she would be a wildflower meadow cut through by a rushing stream. If Ula were an animal, she would be a smiley manatee. And if she was an emotion, my Ulita would be pure joy.

(My favorite baby picture of Ula) PC: Me

scraping

There is one word to describe the feeling that I’ve had all day. Scraping. my soul has been aching to claw its way out of me. I know what it wants, it wants to rip my chest open and thrust its way through the bars. My mind is filled with serrated lines shooting across the interior of my skull. I shake because I am so trapped in here. When I look in the mirror I can feel my eyes fall back into my head as they drown in the screams that shatter throughout my brain. I can not see myself. Why can’t I see myself? No matter how hard I glare at myself in the reflection I’ve trained to stay still, I can see my face morph and melt into the person I try so desperately to hide. I like to imagine my hands pulling my face as they slide across my skin, dissolving the only thing that is truly there with me at the end of each night. My skin tingles all the time, it radiates through me like small bursts of electricity stopping the beat of my heart with each one. It was supposed to be easy, “crying doesn’t make things better” I was trained for this. I was trained for this straight face and beautiful smile. Why can’t I see myself? “No one will feel sorry for you with that look on your face” I’m sorry, the tears burn their way through the gloss that shields my emotionless face. They leave scars you know, the tears, they ruin the smile. I was taught to cry only in front of a mirror, that way I can watch them disintegrate my complexion, I force myself to watch as I express the most basic human emotion and torture myself at the very same time. This is how I was taught to feel so excruciatingly uncomfortable in my very own skin.

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pc: me

School Bus Blues

I’ve always hated the school bus, my lack of power and choice of where it goes and when it arrives, it’s never the right temperature in a school bus. You sit there with a sweaty back sticking to the faux leather seats (why do they try so poorly to imitate leather, nobody expects a bus to be a Chariot of luxury) which somehow are always a little too upright. The smell of a bus can never be replicated, like a quiet locker room with some freeway pollution. Your knees press against the seat in front of you desperately trying to get comfortable, that’s an uphill battle— nobody has ever left the school bus feeling refreshed and ready to go. The moment I could finally get my license arrived after freshman year, never again would I be tainted by the horrendous thing they called a vehicle. Never again would I wait hours for it to arrive at the upper campus, and never again would I be forced into that place that’s never big enough, warm enough, or cold enough. Or so I thought since I’m writing this as I make the arduous journey to LA in such a school bus, it’s one of the last times I’ll ride one and there is something so reminiscent of a time I’d long forgotten. This is the new bus though, I never rode it freshman year, still, I’m sitting in the very back and every bump seems to fly us into the air. Still, I’m sweating more than I will in the cross-country race I’m about to run. And still, I think we likely will be late as we travel a whopping fifty-five miles per hour through Woodland Hills. There is something beautiful about a school bus though. The way it groans and struggles to move. Each mile, each foot it travels another desperate journey that it somehow completes without complaint. I like the sounds the bus makes. Every jolt leads to a new one, a hiss of air releasing from the suspension, the squeak of the seats jumping up and down, the sounds of students talking, and the ambiguous notes of music from someone’s AirPods turned up too loud. I like that I have no control over where I’m going or when I’ll be there, perhaps the most relaxing thing I’ll ever do is ride a school bus. The school bus doesn’t care about who you are or what you want, it doesn’t care if you’re working hard enough or if you need to take some time for yourself, it just keeps on struggling one more foot, one more mile, one more groan, hiss, and squeak. 

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pc: Me

frog and scorpion

famous fable I like:

One day, a scorpion wanted to cross a river, so it approached a frog for help. “I’d like to,” the frog said, “but if I let you get on my back, you’ll sting me.”

“Of course, I wouldn’t!” the scorpion said, “that would only kill us both.”

And so the frog let the scorpion onto its back. They swam out into the river, and once they reached the middle, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog called out “Why did you do that? Now we’ll both die!” The scorpion said, “it’s in my nature.” And so they sunk.

“But can’t you resist your own nature?” The frog pleaded, “you could have at least waited to sting me once we crossed the river and on land!”

“Ah,” the scorpion said, “but this is guaranteed to work. You can’t blame me for being a profiteer.”

“No” the frog retaliated, “now you haven’t just done something stupid, but you’re also too afraid of apologizing. You’ve convinced yourself that profiteering off greed is the way of the world- but you’re wrong because the world isn’t fundamentally unfair, the world is just full of creatures that make it so. You’re the problem, convincing yourself that everything is futile so you can give into your cynical impulses.”

“Just apologize and I’ll forgive you, even now, even at the end.” The frog said. “Oh, I never apologize” The scorpion replied, “it’s not in my nature.”

PC: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/70/30/3c/70303c3b108574fac7e07d0043ee20d2.jpg

Essay Pt. 2

The other half of last week’s essay:

Salem, being rigidly devout, is also a town of social restraints and inhibitions. “‘There is either obedience or the church will burn like hell is burning,’” Minister Parris threatens. Novels, theater, celebration, and any ‘vain enjoyment’ are forbidden, as is the Puritan way. The narrator observes: “Evidently the time came in New England when the repressions of the order were heavier than seemed warranted by the dangers against which the order was organized.” Order is the foundation holding society together, but it also causes frustration in those who are oppressed. Abigail and the other girls, who have been inhibited by the constraints of Salem’s theocracy, are inspired to rebel by dancing and running naked in the woods. Suddenly, they are granted power that has been withheld from them previously, and the Witch Trials occur as a result.

PC: https://mdtheatreguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/The-Crucible-550×361.jpg

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, The Crucible showcases the Puritan importance of a moral reputation. For example, when Parris suggests that Abigail’s name may be ‘soiled’, she is outraged at the prospect. “‘My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is soiled! Goody Proctor is a gossiping liar!’” comes her outburst. Abigail is not the only villager concerned with her reputation. Reverend Parris, himself, worries incessantly about his notoriety, as any bad word could threaten his ministry. “‘If you trafficked with spirits in the forest, I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it,’” he frets. It is evident that a reputation devoid of sin is of utmost importance to the villagers. To preserve their own good standing, they will not hesitate to bring down others, setting the stage for the brutality that is the Witch Trials.

This stress of maintaining a ‘clean’ name, together with an emphasis on the supernatural and strict social restraints, is at the core of Salem’s Puritan society. Ultimately, it is due to these characteristics that mass hysteria is able to take root in the town and spread like wildfire. Otherworldly explanations are sought out, social restraints encourage rebellion, and the concern of a reputation pits neighbor against neighbor. Miller’s writing reveals the forces at work in Salem, Massachusetts, and their dire consequences.