The Shape of Today | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful and warm Christmas!

The Shape of Today

I think about your past a lot, mainly about
the ones you’ve held in your arms and whispered
precious secrets into their ears.
Their breaths would catch and they would vow,
“I will never be like that.”
Lo and behold, years later you hold broken vows
and a shattered conscience.

I think about my past a lot, mainly about my primitive years
and my yearning for the comfort and the extravagant at the same time.
I would happily say “I’m doing well!”
when I wonder how much pain I can give to myself before I disappear.
I’ve felt the wounds, the sharp stabbing pain and I vowed,
“No one shall ever feel this again.”

All around us, people are loudly declaring their love for one another
with long, scrolling paragraphs on Instagram and a shining ring
nestled inside a velvet box.
Singers belt out a catchy tune about the sexy bod they saw at the club
and the desire to feel all the curves and edges.
But the next thing we know, relationship statuses rock and roll
and papers start getting signed.
Now singers’ top charts are the ones warning about people
who will only toss you a lure and nothing else.

I think about our future a lot and whether or not we even deserve
to be conjoined in our or together.
Would our hands continue to be clasped or am I going to join the list of broken vows?
As much as I long for a title to swaddle myself in,
we would only end up falling away into a void
of more brokenness because of
the very things that broke us
now shape us today.

This poem is about a relationship I’m involved in. Talking about my life isn’t something I’m comfortable with, but I love still to write. To me, writing helps guide me through the challenging points in my life, especially with organizing my thoughts. I’m perfectly capable of writing a piece that romanticizes all the wonderful moments of my life, but I prefer to be honest with you and myself. And this relationship is a challenging one not because of the person, but because of the circumstances that surround us.

I had originally titled this piece to be “Letters to my lover” because I wanted it to seem like I was speaking directly to him. Yes, I don’t talk very flowery, but it was supposed to contain nuances where only we would understand, but still be relatable to you (the reader). The first stanza is about his past relationships and the second stanza is about my past with all my doubts.

The third stanza is a change in pace, like a step backwards. It’s supposed to have an envious tone in it because in my complicated situation, people are having idealistic relationships, which is something that we crave for, but we know what we’re doing is for the best of us as individuals and us as a whole. And the fourth stanza is going back and wondering about the future, but having an understanding where you can’t change the past, but you just move forward with it.

Let me know if you’re in a similar situation!

Thanks for reading!

Alice

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2017 | A World Around Us

Notice: I know it’s a Tuesday, which isn’t the scheduled day for A World Around Us posts, but next Monday is Christmas and this post is a heavy one.

2017 has been a difficult year.

With climate change upon us and ignorant politicians turning their head the other way around, we’re almost forced to hide our most vulnerable side and continue like the world isn’t melting right under our feet. It’s old news right now, but when we see a video of a starving polar bear, our heart aches. It’s not like 100% of the proceeds we donate will go towards helping those in need. With a leader acting on impulse and people’s voices being shut down, we feel as though our power no longer stands anymore.

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

“The faded voices of change.”

With shootings from one state to another and bleeding into countries, we shout and scream while we stare at headlines and while we hold onto our loved ones. These shootings have become too numerous where we’ve run out of adjectives to fully comprehend them. The visiting hours at churches should be extended until we’re guaranteed a sense of safety. In 1949, duck & cover was taught to give a sense of security to the children. As I crouched next to my classmates at 7:14am, my math teacher shushed us and furiously whispered, “What if there was a shooter in our school right now? What would you do?” A thought passed through my mind, “We’re all dead if the shooter breaks through.”

“Mommy! I’m scared!”

“Me too, baby.”

With celebrity singers releasing a song titled, 1-800-273-855, the suicide hotline, to someone at my church seriously thinking about ending their life, we quickly scour our minds for a solution, a way to help and a reason why. Stevie Ryan – YouTuber, Clay Adler – actor, Kim Jong-Hyun – singer. They have grounded us by reminding us of our fading humanity, but they’ve also lifted us up into their work. May they rest in peace as well as the many others who have taken their lives. As for us, let’s create an ongoing dialogue to limit the feeling of oppression especially when it comes from yourself. Let’s create an ongoing dialogue to save those who still have decades to go. And let’s create a healthy dialogue where we’re unafraid to share.

“How are you?”

“Terrible, but can we talk?”

 2017 was terrible, but in about a week, 2018 will be here, hopefully brighter and with lessons learned from 2017.

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

What an unexpected story after a long hiatus! I hope you enjoyed it!

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres

For starters, the title is French and it means, Hell is other people which was uttered by Jean-Paul Sartre who was the author of the famous, one-act play, No Exit. I haven’t read this play before because I literally just Googled “Famous French Quotes” in order for me to have a striking title that would fit my piece. Despite my ignorance, I suggest that you read it and I will eventually. The phrase is quite fitting for my piece since it deals with “the other person” as “hell”.

In middle school, I had opted to take French instead of Spanish because I loved the sound of it and I wanted to visit France one day. But while I was prepared to eat all the delicious pastries, I wasn’t prepared to digest the tough grammar. Since I went to a small school, everyone who eventually made it to the AP French, I had been with since middle school. As we advanced through French, I got worse at it and I got used to receiving grades dipping into the 30s. Yes, I admit that I had my lazy moments where I refused to study the conjugation patterns. I kept my cool even though other people started to freak out more since I knew how I learned materials best and my learning pace.

The couple of sentences at the beginning of the story were true. Someone had gotten a decent grade and cried over it while I received a reminder that I had to get my lazy-ass up to study. From there, I decided to spiral the story around my annoyance in seeing this reaction over a grade that I would’ve loved to receive. The violent instinct became the epitome of hatred. When you hate something, you typically want it to not exist. While I’m not going to reveal my intended ending, rest assured that the narrator of the story didn’t kill the girl.

The main point of this story is about academics and the short-term or long-term consequences it may have. What if the blond girl had very strict parents who would only allow grades higher than a 90? How come the narrator seemed to feel helpless about how to mediate the low grade? Why is there such unnecessary heavy burden and competition on grades? If education is a privilege, then why does it feel so suffocating at times?

I wanted to invoke a dialogue about education and how to better the aspect of learning where it doesn’t revolve around so much competition and hierarchal goals, but rather, it should involve proper interest and understanding of the education received.

I hope you enjoyed my piece!

Alice

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres | Quick Piece

She drooped her head and let her dirty blond hair touch the desk. “What’s wrong?” her friend asked, ducking under her head and tried to peer at her. “I got an 82 on my test.” she said with a voice full of sorrow. She sniffled and pushed away the test. I had to force myself to not roll my eyes. I looked down at my test and saw a glaring red 35. “Yeah, you’re stupid too.” I mentally told my test. I walked over to the pencil sharpener and deliberately made sure to pass her desk where two more people counseling her surrounded her. I threw her a nasty look, but she was too busy telling her pity story to even notice. As I ground the pencil into the sharpener, I wondered what it would be like if she had gotten my 35 instead of her 82. I smirked and walked back to my desk and felt the grade boring a hole into me. I shoved it into my backpack and waited for the class to end.

All day in my classes, I couldn’t stop thinking about her stupid reaction to a decent grade, how her face was red and puffy just like the red marks scribbled all over my page. When I came home from school, I crumpled up the test and tossed it into a corner of my room. I opened up my French notebook and took out a worksheet that the teacher handed out to help us practice the future tense. To be, to have, to eat. It was an endless list of verbs that we needed to conjugate. My eyes started blurring and the verbs started to shift. To maim, to stab, to kill. I furiously rubbed my eyes, but the verbs stayed the same. I scanned further down the page and saw, To kill, to torture, to burn. I crumpled up my assignment and the next day, my teacher scolded me. I looked to my left where she usually sat, but she wasn’t there which was odd because she never missed a day of class. My teacher handed out more worksheets to practice the imperfect tense and when I reached for my pencil, my hands were stained with a crimson red. The verbs on my sheet read, to be fulfilled.

The Temple | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all has been well with you! It’s the time in the semester where everything piles up on me (again), but instead of it being during my finals week, it’s the week before. This means that I have no time!

The Temple

Cocking my head up
just to see you clearer,
so that my ears can hear you better
but instead, I look like I’m peering down at you
with no regard for your morals.
My vision fades from me with skewed angles dipping in and out
just like how your perception of me turns foul.
Maybe I’m imagining it.

A whisper of my heart, not the dream they say
but a small, dangerous malfunction.
It drums out a syncopated rhythm and I skip along the sidewalk
matching my footsteps with the beat
to bring up my spirits and not fall into an endless pit of worry.

Scaly skin and brown splattered blotches
seeming like the child used the wrong canvas to draw
and used my skin instead.
A gentle touch turns into a scratch and I shield myself away
and bury myself deep into solving issues that doesn’t pertain myself.

If my body is a temple, then why does it feel so skewed sometimes?
With all it’s bumps and nervous ticks
and threats of a lifetime filled with medicine,
I see others like me with their fragile skin and strength in their steps.
I hear the cries of confusion and wishes to be cared for rather than inspected.
I watched dark circles emerge under my peers’ eyes but a smile glows from underneath.

Holding myself together despite it all,
I inhale and exhale knowing that it will be okay.

This poem is about most of the medical issues that I have. I don’t really feel comfortable specifying exactly what I have because this blog isn’t a medical diagnosis site, but a place of free expression. If you really tried, you can probably figure it out, but what I have isn’t the point of the poem. The point of the poem is about my physical flaws and finding the calamity in the chaos. Sometimes we have our invisible physical ailments that would hold us back and in order to conquer them, we need to accept them.

I tried really hard to write this poem in a way that doesn’t romanticizes the illnesses. I don’t want to have these issues nor would I ever wish them on anyone. They are simply artistic expression of what I have personally been experiencing. Each stanza highlights a different illness that I have experienced or am currently experiencing at the moment at varying spectrums of stress, pain and fear. Yet with the final stanza, I wanted to highlight all of the imperfections that the human body has and write as a norm.

It’s like the flowers that we see everyday and love. They have their imperfections such as blotchy petals, uneven flowers and bent stems. They are still wonderful.

We are all unique in different ways whether you speak this language or you have this culture embedded in you or maybe you have six toes. The most beautiful thing is that we are able to celebrate our differences and we can also celebrate our similarities. Right now, we’re struggling especially with the political drama. Wouldn’t it be ideal if we could find the right moments to simplify and stop complicating things? Wouldn’t it be nice to sit together and have a meal with good and healthy intentions?

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my poem!

Alice

The Rhetoric of iPhone | The World Around Us

On November 3, 2017, the iPhone X was released and as usual, lines spanning a couple blocks would emerge a couple days before the release date. Armed with tents and sleeping bags, the truly dedicated would sleep on the sidewalks to anticipate the release of the newest iPhone. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but over the past ten years of Apple product releases, this is the routine that has been built up over these products. There are two types of people sitting in these lines. Those of which claim to be die-hard fans of Apple products and those who hope to make some decent money off of the iPhone. No one in their right mind would be willing to sleep on the sidewalk for a phone unless there is something they can get out of it.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, then you wouldn’t be aware of the the reputation that Apple has been building up. Ever since it released its first iPhone, it changed the entire market of phone. Gone with the flip-phones and in comes the new touch screens. I’ve grown up in the “generation of iPhones” and I was mesmerized by having a necessity be so interactive. Each time Apple released a new phone, I was curious to see what they would do next. First came the multi-tasking abilities and second came the cameras and the new applications that would go with it and then came all the fastest and smoothest software. The phone looked classy, yet clean and it was pretty easy to use. It reeked of power, but looked humble in appearance. And with the expenses, you would have to have a decent amount of money to be able to afford it. This is everything we wanted to be — powerful and respected.

With that being said, everyone had to have an iPhone.

Because if you had an iPhone, especially if it was the latest one, then you would be considered powerful and respected. You would appear to have all of yourself together since you would have to have a decent amount of money to be able to afford it. Everyone wants to be friends with someone who has money because after all, they’re smarter. How else would they have been able to get that job to have all that money? They would’ve had to go to a top school with a relevant degree. And of course, you would’ve needed to be quite intelligent to get in.

In all seriousness, there exists a divide with iPhones and smart phones in general with those who want, those who desperately need it not for its software, but for its worth and those who have it. Why do people need to sleep on the streets just to get their hands on an iPhone and we only look upon them in fascination and admire them for the stamina rather than say, “Shouldn’t you be doing something else?” How come our society has transformed into revolving around what’s temporarily satisfactory rather than fixing the issues that surround us every single day? And what have we lost as a whole that has caused us to find comfort in the most powerful device in our pockets?

I was inspired by Casey Neistat’s video about the iPhone X where he decided to capture the perspective of those spending the nights on the streets, waiting for the iPhone X. He has made several other videos about each iPhone release and I definitely recommend watching them since he does a good job in showing both sides of why people want the iPhone.

iPhone X – FIRST IN NYC TO GET – slept on the streets for 5 days

Black Market Takes Over The iPhone 6 Lines

Thanks for reading and I hope this made you think!

Alice

Fuck You | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I’m back, but angrier and more raw than ever!

Fuck You

To the ones who told me I couldn’t do it,
here’s the biggest fuck you.
You bought down my self-esteem and crushed all the dreams I had.
I rummaged through my junk drawer
in hopes that I would find a plan B, plan C or a plan at all.
In reality, a dream started to form to prove you wrong.

You gave me your pitied smile and turned back and looked at your past
through your trampled past filled with
unlearned failures and rotting dreams
and told me,
“It will be for your own good.”

To the ones who told me that I needed to speak up and that I’m too quiet,
here’s the biggest fuck you.
Do you hear me now? Loud and clear?
You silenced me even more to the point where I wished for a broken arm
so that I could prove to you that I am hurting.
I wanted to be blind, so I didn’t have to bear the burden of seeing myself fade to pieces.
I wanted to be formally diagnosed, named and wrapped up in a box all because you suppressed a growing beauty within me.

Each time the words, “Shy girl” leaves your mouth, with each letter and each breath, glass shards entered my wondering soul and forced me to mold to
a false sense of confidence —
shaking uncontrollably with confidence,
crying every night with my shrieks soaking the pillow with full confidence,
becoming obsessed over a single ounce of love with confidence,
losing all sense of myself
with confidence.

To the ones who took advantage of my high morals,
here’s the biggest and loudest fuck you.
Fuck you! You stole the second chances I gave you!
And you come back to me asking for third, fourth and fifth chances.
Honey, I didn’t win that character award for nothing.
I didn’t build resilience for nothing.
I didn’t grow taller and stronger just so you can beat me down again.
Fuck you! You stole my kind heart and my laughter!
Then, you come back and tell me to stop being so ruthless.
Honey, I didn’t ask you to wipe away my tears.
I didn’t ask for your help.
Without you, I can soar until the tip of my wings grazes Mount Everest.
Without you, I am able to run faster than Usain Bolt.
Without you, I can swim through the Pacific and continue through the Atlantic.

To the ones who still loved me,
thank you.

This poem is my response to everyone who has ever told me to be someone I wasn’t and people who took advantage of me. It starts with those who told me that it wouldn’t be a good idea if I was going to pursue writing as a career. When I was little, I’ve always heard two phrases surrounding me. “Follow your dreams and do what you love.” and “Be practical and make money.” You can clearly see what which path I’ve decided to take. It’ll be a tough one, but worth it.

In the next couple of stanzas, I write about those people who constantly tell me that I’m too quiet. There have obviously been moments when people literally couldn’t hear me, so those instances are fair. Otherwise, I would be sitting and observing as I would, but people would tell me to talk more. What if I didn’t have anything to say? I’m a quiet person and that’s who I am. I hate it when people shut down attributes of someone’s individuality just to conform to societal standards. It’s ridiculous!

In the final “Fuck you…” I write about people who like to take advantage of my kindness and how they view me as someone who just hands out second chances like flyers on the street. I cannot tolerate people who do that to me and to others and they have no part in my life.

All throughout the piece, I’ve weaved in my coping mechanisms and how I dealt with each seemingly innocent remarks. If you call a child ugly, those comments are going to stay with them forever. I was doubted and shut down, so now is my chance to truly shine as who I am and I’m not going to say sorry.

Finally, through the thick and thin, I owe practically my life to those who have never failed to stand by me. They have taught me lessons and helped me gain the strength that I have now.

I hope you enjoyed this angry piece!

Alice