The Desert | Quick Piece

I felt the heat scorching my skin, but I continued walking. It’s been a week since I left home and I’ve come across this desert. Leaving home wasn’t a big deal, but I knew that once I reached this desert, the fight for my life would begin. The water in my backpack sloshed and I made a mental note in my mind. Just about thirty minutes ago, I drank about 4 ounces of water, which is about a quarter of a standard water bottle. I’ve got 2 more water bottles. “Crap!” I muttered to myself. “I better save my water or else I’ll run out.” The sun was bearing down on me and I felt my sweat run down my back. I pictured a bunch of sweat droplets landing on the sand and quickly being dried up by the sun. It’s almost as if a little part of myself was journeying to meet the sun and going back to the Earth again. Nearly three hours later, my eyelids were drooping and I was down to the final couple ounces of water in my water bottle. I had stripped down to my underwear and wore my t-shirt on my head to absorb some sweat. I fell down to my knees and started regretting my decision to leave home. “You bastard desert!” I cried out while pounding the soft sand. “I thought if I could take you on, then my life would be easier!” I sobbed into the sand and the sand clung to every inch of me. I curled into fetal position and saw the orange desert horizon hugging the blue sky one more time before closing my eyes and whispering, “You can take me now, desert.”

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Unlimited Balance | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

Sorry about the delay – my first day of classes was yesterday, so I had to deal with buying textbooks at a good deal and making sure I went to all my classes as well as trudging through the snow.

Unlimited Balance

Ever since I started reading, I’ve always loved to read fantasy books that contained some kind of magical powers. Naturally, I gravitated towards the Harry Potter series although my sixth grade teacher told me to pick another book to read after plowing through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Anyways, I’ve always found those type of books to be fascinating. As I developed my writing, I always seem to sneak in a “magical abilities” story which always end up coming out quite cheesy and cliché. For this story, I tried really hard like I did for “Incredible” to piece together a comprehensive story with my usual excitement.

This story is basically about a ritual a family goes through to gain their magical ability. As each child turns 10, they’re given the ability to pick an ability out of mystical jar. I didn’t want to focus on the details behind why the family did it like that. I wanted to focus more on the reactions and incorporate a little more comedy with the magical genre just so it wouldn’t become the usual fantasy piece. The kid ended up picking out the “unlimited balance” ability which confused everyone because it wasn’t as straight forward as it seems to be. I wanted it to be more so of an ability that is something that we wouldn’t really request for like teleportation or having food appear instantly in front of you, but it’s more of a “subtle ability”. It’s the ability to have a good and regulated life which is definitely not something a 10 year old would have. Eventually, the story concludes with a sweet ended about the kid, now a grandfather, telling his grandson about the stories of the choosing process.

As usual, I wanted my story to have a theme of family unity as well as some lighthearted humor. I also wanted to focus on the beauty of the simplicity that life can carry. Sometimes we can get caught up on things we need to do and things we haven’t done, but we should just sit in awe of how far we’ve come.

Thanks for reading & stay warm!

Alice

 

Unlimited Balance | Quick Piece

“Today’s the day!” I announced. My older brother patted me on the back and said, “It’s going to be great. I hope you get an awesome power.” Today was the day I’ve been waiting for since I could start walking. When you turn 10, you have the ability to choose an ability whether it be elemental manipulation, shadow control, animal shape-shifting ability or even invisibility – anything you can imagine! Two years ago, my brother got the ability to summon a large flock of birds. It sounds useless, but it’s great if you forget something at home. A kind little crow would bring him his notes and everything was fixed. I hope that I’ll get something cool like summoning fire demons or controlling bodily functions. “Honey, it’s time to pick your ability!” my mom called from downstairs. I rushed downstairs and saw my brother, mom and dad standing in a row wearing long flowing robes. I felt kind of inadequate with my favorite rock band t-shirt and plain jeans. My dad stepped forward and said in a loud booming voice, “My dear son, you’ve proven to us as a part of the Sullivan clan that you’re worthy. It’s now time to commemorate your 10th year by choosing your ability.” He held out a large jar that was constantly shifting through the spectrum of the sky and continued, “Reach into the jar and whatever is destined for you will come to you.” At this point, my palms were sweating and I was terrified I might get the ability that my aunt got – unlimited lemons.” I glanced at my brother who barely fits in his robe and he winked at me. I took a deep breath and reached into the jar. It felt cool and warm at the same time and I wasn’t sure if it was wet or dry. My family started to hum as I extended my fingers in the jar. Something heavy landed in my palm and I pulled out my hand. There was a small, smooth black box sitting in my palm. “Open it! See what it says!” my family exclaimed as they pulled off their robes. I sat down on the couch and opened the box with shaky hands. I pulled out a small slip of paper and read, “You have been gifted with the unlimited balance ability.” My mind was already going in circles when my brother blurted out, “What is that supposed to mean?” My dad got up from his chair and pulled out his giant book of magic abilities and started flipping through the pages while muttering, “I’ve never heard of that in all my years of being a mage.” My mom stared at the small piece of paper and said with a spark in her voice, “Maybe it means that you can’t be pushed over!” She gestured to my brother and told him to push me. My brother gleefully said, “I can’t believe mom gave me permission to push you!” He gave me a hard shove and I ended up toppling to the ground. My dad was still flipping madly through his books and he ended up consulting a 5,000 year old book, but he still couldn’t find anything. At the end, we never figured out what unlimited balance was supposed to be. For a while, I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t turn into anything or summon a beast, but to be honest I was pretty happy with myself.

“Hey grandpa, what did you get for your ability?” my grandson sat in my lap and fiddled with my beard. “Well sir, I got the unlimited balance ability.” I said with a smirk. My grandson wrinkled up his nose and said in a high-pitched voice. “What the heck is that?” I chuckled and said, “I guess it just means that I have the highest blessing to having a good life. And look! You came along.” I hugged him tight and felt my heart grow bigger.

Choices, choices | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I say this every year, but I’m going to try my best to create and post more. School will be peaking and then starting to bittersweetly wind down. By then, I’ll hopefully be starting a job or getting close, so I’ll have more time to write more. If I start slacking off, just yell at me!

Choices, choices

“Which one would it be?”
you say, a voice full of emotion and confusion.
You proposed a future coupled where falling in love
was something you took as a supplement
not as a main course.
My voice, silent and you asked,
“Why should I be there for you?”

Through the dark hallways, seeing the light shining down
and illuminating unusual crevices,
I make my way to your office.
“You have to either try harder or drop out.”
your beady eyes stare at me and I feel my heart rate increase
as each second passes by.
“You don’t want to have to drop out, right?”
she says smugly.
My fist quietly balls up and my eyes well up
where only the bathroom at the end of the hall
hear my sobs.

The air conditioning yells at me and a headache starts to ball up
under my neck.
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?
eyes straight ahead, but voice full of curiosity.
I think to myself,
Either I force this affection onto myself or I play dumb.
“If you kissed me right now, then I would say ‘why?’”
I was being honest, but you took it as a flirty notion.

I want to wake up from those nightmares
pinch myself as hard as I could
and step out of my body, so I didn’t have to be there
when I made the deciding choice.
One step and I could be dead on the side of the road.
Another step and I’ll be known as the impulsive and indifferent bitch.

Which would it be?

The first three stanzas were about three scenarios where it caused my heart to stop in its track, jump into my head and start racing like a madman. I’ve been offered to be an alternate love track, been given lousy advice from my academic advisor and someone mistook my honesty as if I was flirting. I used to shrivel up within myself and refused to make the decision. During these moments, I was forced to make a decision and realized that there were more than 2 decisions. Through trial and error, I finally was able to discern what would be best for me while fully knowing that there will be consequences either way.

This goes to the final stanza where I address the reality of all these choices. Most of the time, it’s really unpleasant. It sucks to have to make such important decisions since it’s obvious that someone is going to be affected. The thing is, we can’t go around living life full of fear of affecting someone. Instead, we should just embrace it! It’s a lot better to be moving progressively than stagnant.

I feel like this poem was very appropriate for the dry (and freezing) season of winter where it seems like after the holiday season, everything feels lackluster. It might be because of the holiday hangover, the fact that the sun sets at 5pm or there isn’t a holiday around the corner for a while. Maybe it’s all of the above. For me, a new school semester is starting and it’ll be my final semester as an undergrad. It’s a pretty crucial semester since I’m wrapping up my credits and program while looking for jobs at the same time. It can put a great deal of pressure on my back. My friends, family and random people ask, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” These questions make it really hard to stay optimistic since I always answer (too) honestly, “I have no idea! Maybe copy editing, maybe anything!” And my mind goes to the GoogleDoc I have of a record of everywhere I’ve applied to and a reminder of an empty email inbox.

All in all, you can’t avoid these choices because it’s like taking a step back. Take a bold step and see where it takes you! Let me know if any of you are going through a period of great changes.

Thanks for reading!

Alice

 

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

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

The Beasts of the Grey | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope this summer has been good to you so far!

The Beasts of the Grey

“I swear, it’s that squeaking fan.”
she mutters, glaring down the rotating metal,
clanking and blowing cool air around the room, yet
for some reason her mind remains hot and unsettled.
Down the street, she hears trucks driving
from point A to
point B with the latest summer hits, hotter than the summer sun
but her envious heart feels as cool as the end of Christmas.

Blood drips from her nose and she leaps to a start.
“What in the world! Why is my nose bleeding?”
The bright red color illuminating all life shakes her to the core
as she’s reminded of her origin story,
starting from two into a beautiful unification to multiplication.
She stares at the veins crisscrossing on her hands and
wishes she could see the blood racing around like messengers.
All she feels is the startling pulsating
and the quietness of her soul
and the words, stuck.

Thunder strikes the sky in frightening allure,
the roar quickening the pulse housed in her chest.
Her eyes remain glazed, glossy, gilded with a sheer covering of
tears, the supposed material of renewal.
Lightning flashes across the city, catching her eyes
as she looked for where it came from and all she could see
was a sea of grey, ominous and looming.
She wonders after a spark of color finally floods her fears,
drowning them and wiping them afresh.
“Where are the whales that swim in this sea?”

If you got a sad connotation from this poem, then you’re on the right track. This poem is meant to give off the vibe of helplessness in the ordinary, but with struggled attempts to better things. For those who have been reading my works, you’ll know that there is always a line where I tie everything together and oftentimes, that line is the spark of hope even in a sadder poem.

Basically this poem’s motive is to inspire getting out of a lackluster situation, specifically loneliness. We’ve all dealt with loneliness before ranging from you’re walking by yourself to being at a party, but finding no one you could relate with. With the narrator in the poem, she seems to be pretty trapped within herself especially with the act of pulling herself together. There are bought of frustration (the squeaking fan) and distractedness, yet in the end, the color comes back to life.

In the first stanza, it’s obvious that she’s envious of people traveling and doing things, but with the second stanza, she starts to ground herself and finds perspective in remembering who she is and where she came from. I took it literally and wrote about conception, the origin of life. And in the third stanza, the narrator is literally startled into a new state of thinking, breaking free.

This leads onto the title of the poem, The Beasts of the Grey. It’s meant to be a double entendre with the mention of the whales at the end of the poem and the “beasts” that can be anything that troubles you and the “grey” would be the mind. The main focus of the poem are those “beasts” that live in the “grey”, which often times we choose to hide instead of dealing with.

I hope you enjoyed the poem!

Alice