Magnolia | Quick Piece

The scent of magnolias overcame me as I walked along home. It was a comforting scent that reminded me of nights with my mom. I would lie in her arms and she would tell me about the drama that happened at work. “I don’t know why Sharon would always think that I’m stealing from the office storage! What would I do with 50 boxes of paper clips?” my mom laughed and sighed. “I’m getting tired. You should head to bed, it’s a big day tomorrow!” Somewhere in my mind as a nine year old, I wanted to give her advice because when I was lying on her chest, I could feel her ragged breaths and skipping heart. I knew from my science classes that hearts and lungs shouldn’t make that kind of rhythm, but my mom’s did. “It just can’t be helped.” I said to myself. “You just have to keep going.” I said as I continued walking down the street back to my apartment.

The next morning, I woke up with a bottle in my hand. I don’t even remember going out to drink because I swore to myself that I wouldn’t have anymore alcohol in my house after what happened last time. I groaned and rolled over to my side. “Where is my damn phone? Please don’t tell me I lost it.” I muttered as I dug through a pile of my clothes. I managed to find my phone in the pocket of a pair of jeans I like to call, butt enhancers. I only wear those jeans when I go out. “Fuck. I went out last night. What did I do this time?” I said as I scrolled through my text messages. It seemed like my “friends” texted me right as I got home saying if anyone wanted to go out for a couple drinks and I was already regretfully too deep in my reminiscing to even realize that I was going to do more damage than intended. I laughed out loud and shouted to no one in particular. “According to this fucking group text, I hooked up with my ex-last night! Good thing I had the right mentality to tell him that I didn’t want to sleep with him! Goodness gracious!” Without realizing it, tears started flowing down my face. “The day hasn’t even fully started yet and I’m already crying! Wonderful!” I bawled and cursed as I struggled to get out of bed and make myself a little more presentable. In my frantic state, I somehow managed to drink 2 cups of water, call up my best friend from high school and get out the door to meet her at our favorite donut spot.

I arrived at the store and I couldn’t get out of my car. I pulled down the sun visor and stared at myself. I was still wearing last night’s eyeliner and my hair was so greasy that I could make fries from them. Usually I don’t care about what I looked like, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about my mom. If she saw my like this, she would tell me to get myself together and move on. “Mothers! They just know exactly what to say, don’t they!” I screamed as tears started flowing down my face again. “I hate this. I hate this pain I feel. Why does it have to be me?” I rested my head on the steering wheel and closed my eyes, comforted by the silence that surrounded me. A sharp rapping at the window startled me. My best friend was frantically knocking at my window and screaming my name. “I’m okay!” I called out and opening the door. “I was just so tired. I think I just fell asleep. Sorry about that!” My best friend rolled her eyes and said, “Cut the bullshit.” she reached over and wiped my eyeliner from my cheek. She pulled a hat from her purse and said, “Donuts are on me and let’s talk in the car, okay?”

Advertisements

It’s All Human | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

Here’s a fun fact about squids: A giant squid’s eyeball is about the same size as a basketball.

It’s All Human

My dear, don’t think about the amount of toothpaste you use in your lifetime.
How the plastic tubes sit in landfills.
How the chemicals accidently make their way
around your digestive system.
How you have to make a difficult decision
between the $3 toothpaste and $1.00 toothpaste.
How you somehow know that these statistics are recorded
and put into world record books, just for kids to wonder
and for adults to fall into an existential crisis each time they throw out the trash.

It’s hard being a human.
Remembering to put on chapstick so your lips don’t peel.
Remembering to wash your clothes, so you have underwear for tomorrow.
Remembering to eat your greens, so your bowels don’t cease on you.

We create cringe compilations of those beyond the spectrum of normality
as a laughing stock or perhaps as a lesson to learn, a lesson to conceal.
We hide from any remark of racism and avoid all topics of ethics
because it’s “not our problem” and “it’s not going to do anything anyways”.
We twist and turn beliefs until they’re completely distorted
and not even a single plea will be properly translated without being manipulated.

It’s so hard being human.
Worrying about human trafficking
or if I could pay next month’s bills.
Worrying about my children’s education,
if they can get out of the system so they won’t have to suffer.
Worrying about rapists, bigots and, albeits
or if I could have enough time to buy groceries.

It’s hard being human –
why be indifferent or
why weigh one heavier than the other
when it’s all human.

This poem took 2 weeks to write. It started with a trip to Trader Joe’s and I was looking for a better alternative for toothpaste, but when I got to using it, it tasted really bad and didn’t seem to whiten my teeth. As much as I wanted to be more sustainable and try to make decisions that are better for my body, there are some things that you can’t sacrifice. For me, toothpaste must always whiten, clean and prevent my teeth from developing cavities. You can’t really find natural toothpaste that does those jobs, but if you know of some, let me know. 😉

On a more serious note, this poem is about most of the injustices that occur on a daily basis mixed with the responsibilities that come with being human. Using the word, human, sounds a little indifferent to the fact that each individual is unique with a wide variety of backgrounds, but you get what I’m saying.

You’ve been through a tough time and someone is counseling you. They say, “You should be grateful that you don’t have it as bad. There are people out there suffering things that are a lot worse than you.” Honestly, I hate it when people give me sympathy like that. It just sounds like they’re putting down what you’ve been through and not valuing your pain. Yes, there are people who go through worse, but everyone has their own journey, so how could you compare them? Just like how there are many issues in the world right now and I covered a few in my poem, but there are also the “less important” issues in your personal life. While paying for rent isn’t as “weighted” as surviving a war, they’re both necessary for survival.

Although this doesn’t mean that worldwide issues should be diluted to receiving the same attention as daily issues. I’m calling for an equal treatment that’s deemed respectable for each unique situation. That’s why it’s hard being a human because you need to know how to properly discern how to respond to an issue. We are the humans, the most complex creatures and how we react will determine its worth, so why not react better?

Thanks for reading & I hope you have a great day!

Alice

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.”

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