only $12

in the thick of expensive cigar smoke,
i noticed your clarks and wondered–
maybe i’d be better at math
if everyday calculations were less troubling.

$12 in my jean pocket
(because jeans go with everything)
and i rummage through goodwill sales
where cute black tennis shoes are only $7.99
(i wish i had a pair)
and beautiful blouses for my new job are $10.99
(because unfortunately, dress to impress)
shit, a shirt or the shoes?

i leave goodwill with the shoes and blouses in memory–
i’m running low on soap and tampons are more expensive
than they should be.

$12 in my ripped bag
(i just haven’t had the money to replace it)
while at target i remember that i should get a pillow
(i’ve learned to sleep without one, but still)
and i see the most beautiful choker:
coral, white, and silver crystals hang like
chandeliers, a serene luxury–12.99.

i leave target with only self-reflection–
i have slept without a pillow for over a month now,
and i need to pay my coworker back.

the cigar smoke couldn’t mask your class.
and when you whispered that you scored a
great deal–chocolate for only $12!
i couldn’t help but wonder who’s better at math.

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one

we can only respect our cultures
when they respect our women.
the rugged path they paved with womens’ bones
is lit by orbs that hold dreams they forced us to forget–
dreams in which limits only came from our fears
and not systemic cages and structural, inevitable dead ends
where men stand in the dark like vampires who use glamour
to feign trust and to illustrate humanity’s tenderness.
forced to walk barefoot on this path, the stones sting
like cigarette burns and pierce like
coerced body art at a tattoo parlor; right before
her tattoo session she screams that
she refuses to go down this aisle with that pale man
she’s run away from in her dreams
because in her dreams she awoke to a man’s
fate tattooed on her collarbone. she chants that
she is no one’s keeper, she is no one’s anything
but her own.

word vomit⎮ summer reflections

as my summer comes to a close, i have been thinking about how i spent it. it is my last summer vacation, and i still cannot fathom what that means to me. i think that it’s so difficult for me to grasp because it reminds me of my youthfulness, my lack of responsibilities, childhood traditions, and that i will soon enter into adulthood officially once i graduate from college. i am excited, frightened, nervous, and eager to enter this new chapter in my life.

anyway, during the beginning of my summer vacation, i googled job and internship opportunities day and night. i filled out countless numbers of applications, contacted many employers, and went to several interviews. thankfully i was accepted as a volunteer for a wonderful nonprofit organization. due to high transportation costs, i didn’t volunteer as often as i wanted to—i only went 4 times. even so, after my last day with them, the nonprofit still emailed me a thank-you note and invited me to volunteer with them in the future. it meant a lot to me considering that i wasn’t such an active volunteer.

when i volunteered the few times that i did, i felt like i had a purpose. my purpose was to clock in on tuesdays and assist the organization with their weekly citizenship clinic by translating application forms for clients who couldn’t understand english very well. throughout the rest of week, however, i felt like i was wasting my summer away. i think i felt that way because most of my friends were spending their time interning, working, or attending summer school. i kept comparing my volunteer work to theirs, and for a time, i was dispirited. i chastised myself for not spending my summer more wisely.

in an effort to speed up the rest of week, i indulged in reading (for leisure), a pastime i didn’t explore since entering college. after finishing my first book this summer, i realized how much i missed reading. i made weekly trips to my local library and read fiction, autobiographies, and nonfiction works. soon after, i also rekindled my passion for writing.

i stopped writing when i entered college because i felt intimidated by my peers and professors. then, three and a half years later, one of my study-abroad instructors commented on how she enjoyed reading my writing (we had to write responses to creative writing and critical thinking prompts). at first, i thought she probably said that to everyone. but, a small voice whispered, maybe not…?

needless to say, i decided to try writing again, just like i had with reading. it was difficult at first. i used online creative writing prompts to trigger my thoughts, and disciplined myself to write at least once a week. at the same time, i posted these writing exercises on this blog. gradually, i wrote more often, and next thing i knew, i remembered what i had once loved so much and now love even more: writing. i missed tasting words, feeling their texture, rearranging them, and imagining them. i missed experimenting with poetry and creating stories. it’s true, as cheesy as that all sounds. and, i’m grateful for all of my WordPress readers and friends who have and continue support me on this writing journey. your likes, comments, views, and followings mean a great deal to me. thank you for that.

essentially, i thought this summer was going to be a waste of time. i thought that because i didn’t get an internship or job i would be even more lost on my path to adulthood and life. if anything, i’ve realized that this summer has been one that has brought me wonderful joys: self-exploration, long contemplations regarding life, revived passions, and spending time with those who are close to me. it was a different, much needed, well spent summer for me.

Word Vomit (2)

my second word vomit. sometimes, throwing up words is refreshing. i feel calmer because i’ve released the annoying bacteria on paper and it doesn’t nestle in my stomach anymore, biting me. scratching me. like vomit, my words here aren’t very pretty. and that’s okay, because sometimes not everything in life is pretty.

life. i felt so happy a couple of days ago when i felt like i discovered the meaning of it. maybe it’s a phase of mine, and tomorrow i won’t feel the same. but right now, i feel peaceful because i’m content with my discovery.

it happened when i finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie. it’s a good book. lots of great life advice, but not many things i haven’t heard about. anyway, i was at a laundromat with my family, folding clothes. it was a typical sunday afternoon. when i finished folding my little sister’s yellow “i mustache you a question” shirt, i realized i agreed with morrie. i understood that one of our purposes here on earth is to “love and be loved”.

there are many things morrie discussed. family. guilt. marriage. but, for some reason, i understood “love and be loved” the best. what is the one thing that the poor and rich can do? what exists before and after death? what is the world’s most abundant resource? what makes us feel happy and what makes us feel angry? what can’t we live without? Love. it’s so simple. and for me, it’s true. maybe that’s why it’s so cliché, because others have discovered it too. Love. whats makes us see, hear, and speak although we are blind, deaf, and mute. everyone, from all walks of life, love. everyone, from all walks of life, are loved. when we don’t love, we are unhappy. when we aren’t loved, we are unhappy.

or maybe it’s just me and this is a generalization. but i feel happy knowing that i am fortunate to have the chance to love, that i am here on earth where love is in our flowers, families, foods, trees, lovers, oceans, ourselves, and friends. love, like energy, cannot be created or destroyed—it is inside us, it is what makes us laugh and cry and think about that person who cut me off while driving— why didn’t that person love me? why didn’t they understand that they could’ve hit my car, scratched it, and i would have had to pay so much money to get it fixed?

i hope this word vomit makes sense to you. sometimes it’s hard for me to convey these sort of thoughts to others. i also hope you are having a wonderful day or night. 🙂 at the moment, peace is love, and maybe it is or can be for you too.

closed off

free, like the free glass of water at a fancy restaurant, the kind of place where everyone puts a cloth napkin on their lap and speak in small voices.

free, like the birds who fly with their families to revisit their old homes in hopes of escaping the cold breath of winter.

free, like the bubbles that pounce on the air without wondering about their size, their color, their shape, their lifespan.

free, like the ocean who is not allowed to flirt with cities, towns, or people because she might love them too much and devour them.

free, like redeemed coupons, but not really, because the cashier says the free soft drink is only available with the purchase of a #7, it says so in the fine print. Sorry, she grumbles, chicken nuggets are not included.

do i really want to be free?

word vomit (1)

people use word vomit a lot. at least on youtube. “excuse my word vomit”, or, “this video is just going to be me ranting about life, like, its my word vomit.” i’m sure people don’t want to read about vomit. maybe if i was someone like lana del rey, they’d wonder what her word vomit sounds like. i decided to include word vomits because i think i may enjoy them. who knows. it looks like i’m doing a good job though–there’s a lot of word vomit here already.

 

oh, angelite, i love you. you and your pretty brown eyes and quirky sense of humor–i love you. sometimes i just do things to make you smile. you rarely smile–and i love your smile. i tickle you when i notice you’re ignoring the cat rubbing against your legs. i tickle you when you seem upset, just to get you to tell me to back off while you giggle. oh angelite, my little sister, how i adore your witty comments. i think its amazing that you’re so young and yet, you’ve scrutinized films that i haven’t noticed until college, and you ask me, isn’t that sexist? when my mother tells her that because she is a young lady, she needs to learn how to cook. yes, angelite, that is sexist. and yes angelite, you shouldn’t have to do anything that you don’t want to. you are perfect the way you are. you can eat two tacos instead of one–don’t worry about the calories. that isn’t what matters. what matters is that you’re healthy and smiling. i love you, so dearly, my little sister.