Lights | Quick Piece

The rain trickled down the windowpane, the beads rolling together and slipping down together like a coordinated waltz. I press my fingers against the beads, trying to feel the cool wetness through the window. I flicked my wrist and a small ball of golden lights appeared on the palm of my hand, casting a soft golden glow around the room. “No, it’s not quite right yet.” I muttered, and clench my hand. The lights disappeared as quickly as they appeared. What use were my abilities if I can’t even master them? I heard a soft knock on my door and opened it. “Hey, what are you doing?” my brother said, throwing his backpack onto my bed. “Evan, why do you always have to do that? Throw it onto your own bed!” I groaned as I tossed his backpack across the room where his bed was. He plopped onto his bed and groaned. Without thinking I extended my pointer finger toward him and a small beam of red light shot towards him. As soon as the light hit him, it sunk into him and he jumped up. “Hey! That didn’t hurt at all!” he sarcastically said. He extended his right hand and brushed his hand through the air. A stream of silver beams exploded from his hand and rushed towards me. I quickly ducked under my desk and all of them swerved around me at the last minute. “Evan! You’re not supposed to do that!” I yelled. I cringed. I kind of reminded myself of my twelve year old self. He laughed and shot a beam at the ceiling causing it to explode around the room. “Well, what am I supposed to do on this rainy day? I can’t train outside, so I’ll just train while I’m inside.,” he said with a smirk on his face. “Plus, it looked like you could use some extra training.” I frowned and sat back on my bed, crossing my arms. My abilities didn’t seem so special when your brother could do it better than me. He sat next to me and nudged my arm. “Come on, I was only teasing earlier. Give it a shot.” I sighed and held out my right hand. With a gentle flick, thin streams of golden light streamed out of my fingers, racing across the room. My brother turned to me and shrugged. “That wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t strong enough.” He extended his hands and shoved them through the air, thick and fast silver beams exploded out of his fingertips and hit his blankets, causing them to fly into the air and gently cascade down. “You just have to focus on what you’re aiming at and throw your strength into it. I’ve seen you run and you can definitely run faster than me. Use that energy for your abilities.” he coaxed. I started to argue, “All of my running came from my training-“ He rolled his eyes, “Well, what do you think I’m doing right now? I’m training you, Ruby.” I sighed and tried again, extending my arm and quickly flicked my fingers towards my brother’s beds. Bright golden beams flowed out of my fingers, glowing so strongly that the entire room had a gold hue. They rushed towards the blankets and pushed them up against the wall. I relaxed my hand and dropped my arm. At the same time, the blankets fell back down. I turned to my brother and found him gaping at what I had done. He rose up slowly from the bed and walked to his side of the room. A quick glance couldn’t tell that I had pushed a slight dent into the wall and there was a medium sized hole in the blankets. “Wow Rubs, you’ve got dad’s abilities.” I smiled and walked over to him. “Thanks Evan. They would be proud.” He nodded and whispered, “I know they would. The Gould family never disappoints.”

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Beautiful Humans | Quick Piece

I’m sitting in front of you watching your fingers weave in and out of each other, but your voice sounds confident like you’re sure that everything happened for a just reason. “What do you think?” you ask, looking up and your hollow eyes meet mine. For an instant, I’m filled with your emptiness and the room falls silent. I draw my gaze towards my own hands and find them clutching each other like a good-bye hug. “I don’t understand what you went through, but I see what you mean.” I finally say, hoping that my words bring the warmth back into the quickly freezing room. You sigh and lean back in your chair, the creaking speaking more than our silence ever could. “Yeah, it’s hard, but you’ll learn. I’ll teach you how to deal with things.” you finally say, your gaze directed towards the rugged ceiling. A smile slips through my teeth, but I quickly stow it away. I don’t want you to know that I’m glad for a guide. You seemed like you wanted to bask in your past for a moment. I glance at my hands again and they’ve seemed to leave their own artwork on the table, spiraling and dancing. You stretch and break back into the barriers of the present. “Now what do we do?” he asks, a goofy grin resting on his face. Your eyes remain hollow, but they lack the dull gleam. The crevices of your face bend over in guttural laughter and I release my smile and shrug. After a couple minutes of deliberation, we decided that we were hungry and needed some sustenance. Before we left, you said something so truthful and resonant, I was rendered speechless. “You know, I like talking to people. Everyone’s so interesting because we’re just so messed up. You have to remember that everyone goes through hard times.” It was true. There was something about how people cry and scream at the world when everything collapses onto their shoulders. Emotions are so raw and strong, even if you have a hard time relating, you’ll find yourself also shedding a tear. The best part of it is that after we’ve finished crying and shouting, we have the ability to put ourselves together with each other. Everything is pieced together through story telling and it gives you sort of a warm and realistic feeling when you finally think about it.
“It’s so beautiful and messed up.” you say while getting up from your seat and stretch, exhaling deeply, breaking and adding to my train of thought.
We walk down the street with our steps in unison and our breaths catching the cold in fogginess. Your laughter cracks the chill and I find my own laughter mirroring yours.

Similar Steps, Different Paths | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a great week so far!

“Similar Steps, Different Paths”

Side- by-side we stand
Side-by-side we walk
Our steps pressing down hard onto the concrete
but my toes are pointed to the right
and yours are headed to the left
yet we continue walking together unbeknownst to you.

What does ‘together’ mean?
Does it mean our faces light each other up?
Does it mean your name rests comfortably on my tongue?
Does it mean you can confide in me without any fear of betrayal, not even a glimpse?
Does it mean our steps match each other’s rhythm or
syncopates it?
How can we be ‘together’ if
not a word is exchanged?

We intersect and it’s mysterious
Our eyes flicker and meet, grasping familiarity
in how you walk
in how you dress
in how you fit into the world.
We pass each other by
and our steps briefly match
and then every fleeting memory of each other
quickly fades away.

This piece was a lot of fun to write! Granted, I did write it in my Biology lecture, but bear with me. My inspiration for this piece was basically random people I see on campus. There are a certain group of people I see every day because for some reason, our schedules are similar, but I don’t know their name. Sometimes I see those people more often than my actual friends. I find that really interesting. Sometimes I want to know who those people are, but I’ll just let them be.

There are times when I find myself walking behind the same people and then we part ways which is what fourth line on the first stanza is saying. As a writer, I find myself being pretty observant so the last line means that that person may or may not notice that I see them at that particular time.

In the next stanza, I start an internal questioning. What does ‘together’ mean? To answer, I add in even more questions to narrow it down. All in all, I’m just suggesting intimacy and vulnerability – key parts to having a valuable relationship whether it be friendship, familial or romantic. The last question brings it back together in the sense that with those people I see around, should I consider them even friends? Should I even say that we’re ‘together’? Personally, I wouldn’t say so because a friendship requires two parts and when you just see each other and you don’t break the barrier of being strangers, then you remain strangers.

The final stranger is a demonstration of what happens in my head when I see someone I’ve always seen. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. You see them and a brief moment of judgement passes through your head. Afterwards, you just forget everything about that person. It’s very interesting the way we behave like this with these people. I don’t know why we do this, but all it takes is a simple hello to break that barrier you would find yourself getting further from being strangers the more you talk.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this piece and I’ll see you later!

Alice

Smart Stars | Quick Piece Breakdown

Smart Stars

Firstly, I apologize for publishing this so late. School has been pretty hectic and I was trying to get back onto the routine again after Winter break. Secondly, I think you have noticed that the Quick Pieces schedule is a little off because of this. As of next week, things will be back to normal again.

This piece was experimental in the sense that I was trying out a better internal dialogue. I tried not to write it so that it would be a stream of consciousness and to keep true to the plot I was building up. Basically this is a story of a girl who likes this guy who she saw, but she’s overthinking to the point that she thinks that he could have someone else already. She dreams up grand fantasy sequences which essentially distract her from what she was actually in the library for. In the end, she finds out the the guy was also watching her and his situation mirrored what she was thinking about until their paths officially collided. When she finally embraced herself even though it wasn’t the fantasy that she dreamed of. In the middle of the piece, it was like her fears came true when another girl sat with the guy she liked. I didn’t make that sequence that long because I didn’t want jealously to be the main focus of the piece. That girl simply became an after thought because I chose to make the story turn for the better. If I chose that that girl was actually his girlfriend, then the main character would dwell on her more. Since she was victorious, the girl just disappeared in her thoughts. The “minor” girl could’ve been his sister or a really close friend. As their meeting went on, the main girl grew more confident with herself as the interaction went on and it became more natural.

It’s called Smart Stars because the stars could represent both the main guy and girl as well and they were both smart to pursue each other based on their common interactions. The stars could also be whatever caused them to be attracted to each other, such that it could be themselves or fate. Everything is connected to each other in its own unique way.

I hope you enjoyed the story and breakdown! Have a great day!

Alice

Chords | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I’ve missed writing poems! Well, I’m back at it again and I’m going to try my best to keep it up!

Chords

Whole chords
feeling like my steps echo in the dark hallway
and each steps turn on the light
Gentle and light
feeling like a brush against my cheek
caressing my smile
and keeping it safe
Heavy and strong
feeling like my heart could escape
like a convict, never wanting to be held to a cage
ever again
never again
Soft and quiet
feeling like my heart could ooze golden warmth
until I lack none to donate
until I’m empty
until a need for whole chords
comes again.

On the first read, it’s evident that this piece has two layers where the first layer is about the musical part and the second layer is about life. My life has always had a strong musical presence in it. When I was little, I first learned to play piano and then violin. A little while later, I learned some cello and fell in love with it. I also taught myself how to play two percussion instruments, the cajon and djembe. I tried to learn how to play the guitar, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I also enjoy listening to various genres of music from indie pop to EDM. On the bus to main campus, I’m plugged into my ipod and depending on my mood, I enjoy listening to either EDM or indie pop. Lately, this EDM song has been on repeat for the past couple of days and even if I haven’t been listening to it, it constantly repeats in my head. I can’t get enough of it! The song has a lot of base chords that really structure the piece around them. I decided to write this piece based on this song and link it to life.

This piece is broken up into four parts: whole, gently and light, heavy and strong,  and soft and quiet. Each of these segments are about different types of chords I noticed and how they invoked feeling in me as well as various walks of life. With each “chord image”, is an analogy, expanding on how I feel. For example, for whole, I’m writing about how I feel practically invincible and fearless hence the image of my steps turning on lights. In the next “chord image”, it’s a soft chord and the happier and better part of life. I feel like that in these moments, you’ll be able to find comfort with yourself.

In the next part about heavy and strong, I talk about wanting for an escape from a cage, which means that I want to break free from all the burdens I’ve carried. By breaking free, you become stronger since you’re pushing away from what you’re confined in with a promise to not wanting to be stuck. The final image talks is related with the first image in the sense that they’re both for good and we all need something, someone or a moment to solidify our lives.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Poetry Breakdown!

Alice Chen

PS. This was written in two classes 😉