Hey everyone out there in WordPress land! I am using my blog as a platform today, so please forgive this break in my normal poetry/short story posts. However, I am looking to start-up my own zine online. I would love to find some contributors. The topic is going to be geared toward LGBTQ youth. So, if you know anything about gender, history, fashion, coming-out, and would be interested in writing a 200-500 word article for me. Well, you know where to find me. I would love to have enough articles for the inaugural issue, and be ready to publish by the end of the summer. Please share this with your friends and other writers. Anyone that you know who would be interested in writing. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will share my email with those who would like to participate. Thank you!
I wrote this piece awhile back. It is for someone very important in my life. This person, even though she thinks I dislike her most of the time, I really don’t. It is true when I was younger, I thought she ruined my life. But really, she made me a less selfish human being. My sister graduates college on Tuesday, and will be all growed up. This is for her.
My Christmas Spirit
Tip toe, tip toe. There is no stumbling or fumbling as I make my way into a sea of darkness. This house, this place is mine. I learned to walk, talk, read, and love here. These white walls that surround my bedroom crawling with late night shadows are held up by my memories created here, the good and bad. I wander out into the blackness with purpose, blinded, but eyes wide open, adjusting. The darkness carries me; a guiding hand in my secret mission.
Quietly and quickly I creep across the entry hall. A lonesome, wooden cactus guards the front door (his years have now taken toll, as he’s been demoted to living room patrol). Falling stealthily against the kitchen wall; smells of fresh baked pie still cooling on the stove greet my nose, cherry and apple, I think. Earlier festivities resonate in my memory, but there is no time for that now. I have business to attend to. Searching the kitchen, empty counter tops leave no sign of life. The dishwasher light blinks monotonously at me, begging to be emptied. I can see a few dishes in the sink, clinging to remnants of turkey dinner with a think layer of film forming across left over gravy. Then my eyes approach the kitchen table, I see it. Crumbs scattered across the plate, half a cookie left, maybe. Yes! I think to myself, Santa does like Chips-A-Hoy. I was worried, I’m glad he didn’t take my mom’s pies.
Missing cookies was my cue. I scurried across the kitchen floor, almost tile surfing on my socks. First, I peeked cautiously around the corner of the other kitchen entrance catching just a glimpse of the tree in the corner and the flicker of the lights shining. They lit up my first Christmas tree ornament, other I hand crafted from kindergarten and first grade. Popcorn strings, I had insisted on decorating the tree with, hugged the branches. There she stood in all her glory, tall and proud, in the dark of night- like a piece of family artwork. My eyes fell towards the floor as I stepped into the living room, not before almost bumping the TV cabinet running along the wall on my left side. Recovering, I looked again, because that of course was what I had come for. The bike, orange, pink, and green, towered next to the Christmas tree. A two-wheeler at last! I had only waited my whole life! (All seven and three-quarter years) But, just as quickly that my joy came, it faded as my gaze slowly wrapped itself around the tree. It was a mound of presents dressed in pinks and pale yellows. Suddenly that mound look like Mt. Everest. I would never be able to conquer it. Waves of jealousy swept through me. I knew it had been a disaster from the beginning, when ten months ago, two words were uttered across my mother’s lips. Now, I was being haunted by ghost gifts that had taken form in Santa’s presence.
I moved a little further inward, the carpet warming my feet below, looking across the room my rocking horse was sitting in the corner playing in the shadows. My heart skipped a beat when I saw by my rocking horse, the baby swing- lingering music. My breath became shallower to a point where I thought I’d pass out. The tantalizing smell of cinnamon was my rescuer. Faintly traceable from the kitchen, the scent reached up into me stretching and driving forward finally settling inside; heightening my sense and awakening my Christmas spirit.
In that moment I realized just how beautiful the room looked at this late hour. The lights from the Christmas tree were dancing across the room as if someone had just finished the Nutcracker Suite when I walked in. The moon was shining through the glass doors, gliding along the floor creating a lake of light. It was magical.
I spun around to go out of the living room the other direction near our old leather couches when she caught my eye. She must have been there the entire time. Light was just barely glowing around her as the held a bundle in her arms tilting a bottle to it.
The room was serene. Time has stopped while I stood there watching as everything came together, the guardian tree, lights twinkling over them, just enough so their faces were in shadow. The moon looked on from a distance, protector of all things small. I felt if I had dreamt anything, or wished anything at this moment it would have come true. But, I didn’t have to because anything I had ever wanted was all right there before me, witnessing this great magic. I walked over and gently kissed the bundle on the forehead, knowing what I had really waited my whole life for, contentment radiating from every pore.
“Go back to bed Alex,” whispered my mom.
In other news: I’m officially moving to Portland, OR on June 1! Because of this, I am going through everything, and I happen to stumble upon some writing I did for my college writing class. So, I am putting it up. Hope you enjoy.
A Brief Whisper
The kiss I thought I had been waiting my whole life for broke apart.
“I don’t feel the same,” she whispered.
Her spearmint breath permeated the room and assaulted my senses. I looked up; she stared back at me, her blue eyes deep and foreboding, met mine penetrating right through me. She saw me from the beginning. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want more. I quickly glanced away staring back behind her; the desk litter with various items. I spotted the lifeless orbit wrapper lying there, used, like a piece of roadkill left for dead. It was always there; that I could count on.
We had gone to a friend’s party reluctantly together. She lived next door to one of my classmates who had become a good friend. However, that girl had been out of town for the weekend and arranged for us to go together. Three or four beers later and some terrible dancing we seemed to be on better terms. I followed her into one of the bedrooms where hookah was being smoked. Her long blond hair was falling on either side of her face, and in my drunken stupor I was enamored by her beauty. The hookah became an interesting affair when we began blowing the smoke in each other’s mouth. our lips briefly meeting in a whisper of a touch. It was enough for me to know that I wanted more. We walked home that night arm in arm to keep one another from falling. I grudgingly went into the house next door leaving her at her doorstep. I knew that I had to get to know her after that night.
There were late night volley ball games with our friends, dinners and target trips. I thought I would bust with collected information. We sang eighties music and blasted country with our friends. We watch the Suns and UofA basketball religiously, calling each other on the phone to congratulate the other if the Suns won or console the other if they lost. The way she would look at me with such intensity when I had something important to say, I knew she was truly listening. It was these small things that pushed me more. She lingered in my mind.
Then, the insane camping trip came about when everything came undone and altogether at once. We were jamming to The Joker, a favorite song, roasting marshmallows, and playing Frisbee. But, I tumbled over the edge with everyone else. A pandemonium broke out of dramatic irony. Everyone had feelings for the ones they weren’t with. However, I was left on the edge of this cliff. Even when she knew my real feelings, and I made my statement, it wasn’t enough. I still lost. We weren’t meant to be; even two orbit loving, Steve Nash fans, can only ever hold hands on the surface.
April is National Poetry Month. So, I am going to try and write as many poems as I can. I am not promising one a day, but I will do my best.
The Punishment House
Tear drops spill
staining her cheek
through the kitchen
hot air slices across
a raised hand
a red print stamps
anger spews, painting
the punishment house
An Open Letter to Doug Ducey and Arizona Citizens:
Let’s begin by discussing the expectations that the districts of Arizona have for their publicly funded schools. No matter what location the school is in, the expectations are equal. What does this look like? Your school could have a large refugee, immigrant, low income, middle class, special education, or wealthy population and everyone is given the same state and/or district test. The expectation is that these students are prepared rigorously for these tests even if they are monolingual and have just moved here from another country, or are in specific sect of the special education program. The student might have no support system at home and are only thinking about where their next meal is coming from, or if they will have electricity when they get home. Rigor is the only option.
Then, no name politicians without an ounce of educational background come in and take out the curriculum that has been used across the state to support this rigor for the past three years. The students finally have some kind of familiarity and then they want to yank the ladder of support the teachers have been so carefully building. Furthermore, in an already under funded work place the governor is refusing to give money to his public institutions of education. If the rigor was lacking before, it will be non-existent now.
A government cannot expect its people to create something from nothing. They cannot expect teachers to create rigorous readers when there will be no more reading programs. They cannot expect teachers to create rigorous math students when after school programs will be cut. They cannot expect teachers to foster learning when music and sports will be cut. They cannot expect students to continue learning when those counselors and social workers who ensure the safety of the student outside the school will not be around. They cannot expect teachers to continue down the path of public education when the government places no value in an institution that has been turning out some of the United States’ greatest minds over the last 200 years.
Our value is worth far more than the pittance we are paid. Which is obvious in the hours teacher devote in time spent not teaching but doing the job.
The expectation for teachers: to hold a child’s future in their hands. It is one of the most valuable and the most rewarding job in society.
If there was ever a teacher who had an impact on you, then stand against Doug Ducey and the corrupt politicians in Arizona. Secure YOUR child’s future. Do not let them take away your child’s or any child’s rights: to learn, to a valuable education.
Middle School Teacher
I don’t think I will ever understand this thing we have come to call life, or the people that inhabit it. Three days into this new year and another precious person has been taken from this world. What I don’t understand is not the death. That is part of the life that we live. But, how so many can choose to make a mockery of this life when there are those that will never have that opportunity.
Society sings about “dying young” and fills the young ears with echoes of “get high all day”. People drive at 75 miles per hour (drunk out of their mind) smashing into innocent victims, stealing their lives, without a care in the world. (This was in our local news yesterday and is separate from the above mentioned person.)
Not only are they teaching children to devalue the only life they have, but we are making fools of those who don’t have a choice. Who were not gifted with health, and opportunity. Who are fighting with every last breath to stay alive past the age of four, twelve, twenty-eight, thirty, forty-two. Why should their lives be of any less value than others?
It is time we take a look in the large mirror of society and ask: What kind of imprint do we want to leave on our children? On the world? From where I stand the life my mother fought for, my friends fought for, and that most humans want to live every day is made a mockery by the words that we allow to be exploited in the media everyday and ingrained into young minds.
Life is not about, “Living fast and dying hard,” but rather, “You must live in the present launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment,” as Henry David Thoreau stated. Only then can we truly be happy. When we simply stop and enjoy each other, remembering the moments, not the race to the end. We will get there soon enough, some far sooner than others. Why teach children to throw it all away before it’s too late?
For awhile now I’ve been asking myself what is the meaning in all of my writing. It seems as though all the ideas I have been brainstorming as of late are senseless, meaningless. And, then I just did it. I boycotted National Novel Writing Month. The one month when I was supposed to spend the whole month working diligently on one of my many novels, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t see the point. I have so many that I want to write, yet they all seem like nothing. That they will never be worth one good story, whatever that story is.What is that story? Where is it? Why am I boycotting writing in hopes that a story will come to me that is worth writing about? My whole notion seems senseless. Yet, here it is December 5th, and I have once again been writing for a little over a week now. But the writing is nothing of consequence. Where is the passion? I need something to once again threaten me and give life back into my words. I cannot say that boycotting a whole month devoted to writing novels is the right choice, though I feel like a book worm is making it’s way through my brain and eating my words as I type. I only hope that my inspiration returns once more, renewed and refreshed.