Untied

Here’s a poem that I wrote during my poetry workshop last semester. There are a couple poems that I wrote for that class which I’ve already posted here, but as our final project, we were required to revise them. Maybe if you guys are interested I’ll repost the revisions I’ve made. This one was one that I really liked that needed to dive in deeper into the character’s mind. It needed to become more personal. Hopefully I’m getting close. I feel like it’s still a work in progress.

Untied

There are riots in the street,
looting of stores and flags burning.
For once, I don’t feel sorry.
Frustration explodes
in the sea of thousands,
destroying everything
in its path, leaving behind:

windows smashed on Broadway,
and rocks laying silently;
fires burning bright, and
singed nostrils from the scent
of burning rubber;
tear gas stings our eyes, leaving
a salty taste on our tongues;
a brick wall, the divided nation,
splits us apart,
forcing us to choose sides;
shots are fired, but only rubber
this time.

In eight years, the knot stayed
unraveled, they’d finally left it
loose to hang around my heart.
In one night, they let it slip
tight around my neck again.
Who knows when—no…
Who will just leave it
untied?

Background Noise

Here, I’m focusing on two specific things. The first is the sound of my lines. You should notice the alliteration throughout the piece, but hopefully not to the point where it takes away from the story itself. The second is looking at something from multiple perspectives. This story was written as a homework assignment for a “Tiny Text” class which focuses on flash fiction, ten-minute plays, prose poems, and all other short forms of literature.

Background Noise

Diana, despite having to dive headfirst into the dozens of papers that needed to be graded by Monday morning, woke up and went right to work with a big smile on her face. Diana was the disturbed individual you could find at the register of the grocery store whose attitude was never anything less than the happiest they had ever been. In fact, Diana worked at Doreen’s when she was in tenth grade with her best friend Diane, her next door neighbor, whose mom drove them to school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while Diana’s dad drove on Tuesday and Thursday. Diana had a carafe of cold-brewed dark roast coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts waiting for her in the kitchen. She went to the fridge and found the fruit salad one of her students’ mothers had given to her as a gift for helping Francesca with her French history class. Diana taught English, but she spent two semesters abroad in France while at St. Francis College.

After sitting down, feeling full and satisfied, energetic and ready to grade, she put The Beatles on Spotify and went right to Blackbird. Her father taught her the chords when she was in chorus so she could play guitar while she sang. She raised the volume but got herself distracted. She was happy she still remembered the chords and found the guitar her mother gave her as a graduation present, after receiving her teaching certification. She played and played until her fingers bled. Every song that came on brought back a happy memory. When she was on a roll, she couldn’t stop. But she soon realized what time it was and a panic ensued. It was Sunday night and the grades couldn’t wait any more than they already had. Plus, there was a lesson plan that needed to be made and approved by her mentoring teacher; it was a requirement for newly hired teachers fresh out of college. In a fit of panic, she decided a movie would be best and went to bed exhausted, her fingers sore and a smile on her face, happy she still remembered everything from when she was in high school, despite the tears pouring down her face.

The Dark, Lonely Coffee Shop

This is a short story piece where craft was more of the focus. I wanted to play around with anaphora, which is starting sentences with the same beginning repetitively. I also wanted to try out writing longer sentences. I really like how this story came out. I’m hoping to expand upon it one day so look out for it. Enjoy!

The Dark, Lonely Coffee Shop

In that dark, lonely coffee shop on the other side of town where few people thought to venture—mostly out of made up fear—sat a lonely, middle-aged man whose wife of twenty-two years had passed away prematurely, who had both moved to the neighborhood immediately after being married, before hard economic times and the rezoning of school districts sent their long-time friends, and neighbors, all white, running for Florida where they could retire early from their union jobs and enjoy the benefits they built up over the years without worrying about being taxed into oblivion, despite the fact that Florida’s Republican governor’s lack of approval for universal healthcare and desire to deny global climate change while denying the more frequent superstorms that were slowly, and surely, destroying the coast, where the majority of the sixty-five-and-up crowds, including the lonely, middle-aged man sitting in that dark, lonely coffee shop on the other side of town’s friends and former neighbors, lived.

In that dark, lonely coffee shop on the other side of town where few people thought to venture, the lonely, middle-aged man ordered a small coffee, dark and black, which reminded him of his late wife who had prematurely passed away while fighting cancer for over six years, who had always told him she believed that black coffee was the secret to her living and being able to fight for so long despite the circumstances, who ultimately passed away anyway, but the lonely, middle-aged man was unable to let go of those words because he knew, and was able to see, that his wife truly believed what she had said, that that cup of coffee held more weight than the chemo, which made her feel sicker, and the endless pills of various shapes, sizes and colors. In that dark, lonely coffee shop on the other side of town where few people thought to venture to, the lonely, middle-aged man was reading a folder given to him by the doctor about possible treatments that were all too familiar, but he read them as if it were the first time because a part of him still couldn’t believe that his late wife had actually passed away, and then instinctually ordered that small coffee, dark and black, knowing that there was no reason to rush back home because all of his friends and neighbors who had moved to Florida were still gone, and even if he had gone home to call them and inform them of the news, no one would come back to the old neighborhood because that fear they all shared still existed in their minds, and how would the lonely, middle-aged man whose late wife of twenty-two years find peace from anyone other than his late wife’s words and voice that always calmed him, like on those dark, lonely nights after his friends had run away to Florida?

Orion’s Belt

I’m beginning to get a nice stockpile of work for you all, provided you all still follow me. You’re still interested, right? I haven’t forgot about you. This is my last semester so it is constantly crunch time. My thesis is coming along nicely. I’m working on my first revision. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll have a good mix of short stories, poems, and microfiction for you all. To start, I have a small microfiction piece I came up with after reading some kind of article online. Hope you enjoy. Keep an eye out tomorrow for something new.

Orion’s Belt

Have you ever thought about the stars where their light finally reaches us, sometimes long after they’re already gone? Do they ever run out of light? Is there a known case where a well-known star ran out of light, vanished forever? What happens to its constellation? Does it disappear or could it create something new? Could you imagine Orion’s Belt without its center star? Would Orion notice he’s missing a belt buckle?

The Suburbs

Sorry for the delay! Trying to play catch up on all my school assignments. This is a poem that’s going to be workshopped on Monday. The class is so tough. Everyone is really talented. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up just to get to their level. Anyways, here’s my attempt. Enjoy!

The Suburbs

Mario’s Pizzeria on a busy corner of the long
stretch of Broadway—where cars fly up and
down, weaving in and out, back
and forth between bagel shops, 7-Elevens,
CVS’s, Home Depots, Ralph’s Italian Ices,
Rita’s Italian Ices, another Mario’s half
a mile down (have you tried the clam sauce?
The red sauce. Buy a bottle of Blackstone),
Carvel, All American, Vote for Trump
on the back of pickups that serve no purpose—

Welcomes the same people who’ve been
coming since the joint opened, ordering
the same watered down red sauce (not
gravy) that their grandmothers from Italy
would roll in their graves over.
Their watered down sauce pairs well
with their watered down lives, afraid
of Black Lives Matter, afraid of
clowns, Hispanics, the city, their pasts,
Hillary—“Lock her up,” they all yell!
They’re all informed, they’ve faced
hardships, Depression babies, who remember
the cold nights in Manhattan with no
heat and little food. Money hidden
throughout the apartment—just in case.
Under the pillow, a loaded gun, safety
off, just in case.

As they leave well into the night, the
moon bright, blindly pulling off the curb
not a care in the world, they drive
home, slow and steady, rinse and repeat
another day, exactly the same,
watered down sauce,
in an aluminum tray in the back seat
permeating the car, and their clothes,
and their fridge, and their skin.

Car Crash

Sorry for the short break. I’m not done yet. I still have another poem for you guys. I hope your weekend was as good as mine was. I spent it upstate with my family and girlfriend, and it couldn’t have gone any better. I’ve never been happier.

Lately, I’ve been trying to write more politically with my poetry, but decided to take a step back from it. The other students in my poetry workshop are so incredibly talented that I really felt like I needed to try and write something better and more focused. After watching a horrifying video online after a shooting in Afghanistan. There was footage of a woman seeing either her child or loved one being carried out dead. She let out the worst scream I’ve ever heard, shaking on the ground, her body unable to even process what exactly happened. I hope I never see/hear something like that again.

Car Crash

The pain of not
Being there to help,
Of not being there to find
The right words,
Will forever hurt
More than the pain
I felt in my heart
When she walked out.

Like lighting a fire with
Wet kindling,
Like holding back
From a kiss when you
Feel you have heartburn,
And you know
They need to feel your lips,
The one thing that
You can provide is
Love, but you
ruined your chance.

As the birds chirp
Deep into the night
To no one in particular,
While the street lights shine
Their yellow light
On those just passing by,
A young father,
A former father—
Still a father?
He remembers the scream;
It pierced his ears
As they pulled her out:
Her mother’s scream,
And her body rocking
Back and forth
In the ditch, near the trees.

The crumpled car,
And the blood from her ears,
down her neck,
On the seat,
On her shirt,
On my hands, on my hands.

He walks away.
He can’t look back.
Mosquitos in the middle
Of summer, attack
His arms and legs,
The price—he feels
He has to pay.

He could have stopped her,
Said not to go, that he was
Sorry, he didn’t know.
It was just a joke,
He shouldn’t have said
That he didn’t care,
That she can’t love him back,
The love of her young life,
That he needed to go.

International Day of Peace

The streak continues! This time I have a poem that I wrote on the International Day of Peace. Yes, the title is ironic. I got mixed reactions in my poetry workshop but I like how it sounds so I’m posting it anyways. Hope you enjoy too. I’ll have another lined up for tomorrow too.

International Day of Peace

A young man, tall and thin
sits in front of the television.
Day after day, night after night
he wonders can he do anything right?
Can he walk out his door and
get to work, get paid, put it away?
Without getting put away?

He heard them say
“He looks like a bad dude,”
but it was just a breakdown–
quick run to the store, out of food.
Next thing, they scream “Get down!”
His hands go up, he gives up,
he does what he’s told, a heart of gold,
his goal’s to grow old
and give his kids the chance
to truly live.

But they take it away with the
pull of a trigger, everything to lose
is lost, a victim of abuse
from the system that continues
to refuse their right
to live like everyone else.
A bit of wealth is all he needs,
but even then, he sees himself
on his knees as he pleads
to live another day.
He’d go to jail and make bail with
his family behind him, thankful
He’s not six feet under,
No thunder from the roar of a gun.

His work’s just begun.
Back to the streets, back where
they want us, where we’re born
and raised. Where we’ll make our stand,
where I make my stand
against the system that allows
terrorists to live, rapists to walk free.
In the land of the free–
Is there room for me?