Freedom Flows Like Ink from a Pen
With this black ink I let freedom fall like drops. I write of a revolution, a new story that must be told, a story of the past and the present and the future. Freedom for every man and woman, no matter what race. I watch my curling letters spell out the hopes of a land freed from hatred and division, freed from corrupt politicians and the filth hanging over our lives. I write of light and happiness and joy that will come soon, very soon. Because, as the earth groans, someone listens. As the people cry, someone listens. And as freedom ebbs, someone listens.
Guardian of the forest, it stands tall against the tide of humanity coming to destroy it. Sternly it watches the invaders, holding fast against that hated word—progress. Watching and waiting, watching and waiting, the Guardian refuses to fall, holds on, holds on...until its Lord shall return and give it new life in return for its stewardship.
#nature #tree #prose
How to be Latina (as defined by American culture and media)
1. You must be part of an inner-city gang
Darn. Missed that boat since my family moved to the country. I don't think I'm mean enough either. And I can never understand slang and all that stuff. I hope this doesn't lose me too many points.
2. You must be on welfare
Never. Ever. Ever. I don't take cash from the government. Ever. No thank you, Big Brother. Gosh, I have a job...why do I have to take other people's tax money again?
3. You must steal other people's jobs
Uh...no? Look, it's not my fault if my employer thinks I'm more qualified than the average teenager? I don't even get what this means. The more people you have the more picky you can be about who you hire. It's a competitive market. That's the beauty of capitalism; you can hire the hard-working people and fire the lazy ones. So...I still don't get this.
4. You must be from Mexico and eat tacos.
I love tacos. And Mexican food. But just cause I mark "Hispanic" on my SATs doesn't mean I hail from sunny Mexico. Try the Caribbean, people. Plus, the food's not as spicy.
5. You must work in manual labor
Look at my dad. He works in a nice air-conditioned office looking at other people's taxes. Definitely not minimum wage. And while I'm doing manual labor now, it's only cause I haven't been to college yet. Sorry, I'm not going to meet that criteria once I get myself a degree.
6. You must also be lazy
Excuse me? I'd like to think I'm a pretty hard worker. I mean, I pretty much work every day but Sunday. I worked almost forty hours this week, which is the legal limit for my age. Not including gardening and studying for SATs and the ACT.
7. You must be passive
Ok, this might be the only criterium that might possibly come any near to fitting. At least on the outside. I might look cool as a cucumber, but I can be furious and nobody would know it.
8. You must also be sexy and promiscuous
Uh...no? I'm sorry, but no no no. Please don't look at me like that, it's not my fault I look this way. I don't even like wearing a bathing suit. I want to get a wetsuit to swim in cause I'm so self-conscious. I will never meet this criterium, and I'm a little insulted you expect me to just because of my ethnicity.
9. You must be hot-tempered
That seems a little contradictory. Maybe sometimes? I don't know. I'm pretty chill most of the time. Until you people start putting stereotypes on me. It's kind of irritating.
10. You must have many children
Okay, this is the only one that hits right on. I want tons of kids. More than the average American household, definitely. But that's just me. Everyone else in my family would be good with like four or less.
11. You must be a criminal
Not right now, at least. The only illegal things I've done is brought a knife into a school (it was by accident; I forgot it was in my backpack) gone over the speed limit by about fifteen miles per hour, smuggled pretzels into a baseball game (their snack prices were ridiculous), sang a worship song in a public school and prayed for people in a public school (I don't know if that's illegal everywhere). So, yeah, so far nothing major. I might end up doing something illegal someday if they make it illegal to do some stuff I like doing, like shooting guns or bows or whatever. I try not to, however. Definitely never going to kill someone or steal. So, sorry, don't really match this one.
12. You must wear tight low-cut clothing
Didn't you read the above notice. Not me. At all. I like military-style collars that go right up to my chin, thank you very much. I'd wear tight clothing more if I lost a little weight, but not like tight to the point of immodesty. I'm pretty conservative with my clothes. Please stop staring.
13. You must come from a huge family
Fine. You got me. I guess anywhere over three kids is huge in the U.S.
14. You must have numerous kids at a young age
Are we talking teen pregnancy here or something? No. No no no. Not me. I'm not having kids till I get married, and no time before age twenty four or so. You're looking at the wrong Latina, go find my cousin or something.
15. You must work as a maid or housekeeper
I'm terrible at cleaning. You should see my room right now. It's a disaster. I'm off to college, and I don't think you can get a degree in housekeeping there. I do have to learn how to clean though if I ever want to have my mother over to my house someday.
16. You must be an immigrant
You're looking at a second-generation American here. Or whatever. My dad was born here too. I'm an immigrant from Heaven? Or more of a visitor.
17. You must only speak Spanglish or Spanish
Spanglish? Seriously? English was my first language. I've only now mastered Spanish enough to hold a conversation, and that was after ten years of Rosetta Stone and two weeks spent in a Spanish-speaking country. I still don't know all the vocabulary, and my grammar stinks.
18. You must speak English with an accent
Okay, you might get me there. But it's more of what I call a "homeschooler's" accent, because I haven't learned to speak like public school kids, who in my opinion all sound the same (no offense, public schoolers). I have the accent of my family's English, and my own accent that's a mix of Irish and southern and British and occasionally Spanish. It's weird, I know, but it comes from watching too many other-language films.
19. You must be exotic
What does this even mean? I like exotic foods and plants, but I figure I'm pretty ordinary. Besides wanting to go back and live in the 1700s. And being the only girl in my area who'd rather get an air soft gun than new clothes. I'm not some tropical fruit here, dudes.
20. You must be curvy
Why do you people seem so obsessed with my appeal? Leave me alone. You're kind of right on this one, but that's really none of your business how I look. Just happens to be in the genes. I'm done with this test.
YOU ARE NOT LATINA
What...but I thought...my dad...my abuela? Gosh, papi's going to be so mad that I failed.
I first set headlights on your parents
A young couple
Two wrinkled babies and a little stick-haired girl.
That was you.
Driving and listening to those little brats cry all the time.
While you sat quiet in the backseat.
You were such a funny little girl.
I remember when your crazy grandmother borrowed me to drive you
With your no-less-crazy aunt by her side
Something wasn't right
I felt it as soon as they started me
It wasn't my engine...something wasn't fastened.
As your grandmother ground my brakes and pumped my gas
Making me worry about getting into a fight with another car if we collided
I felt your little toddler hands clutching me like a lifeline.
"Don't worry, Nana, I'm holding on," you called.
Crazy little tyke you were
But braver than a little wolf pup
I remember when the two other kids came.
Oh glory! Barf on the seats all the time.
For five years I smelled like sour milk.
I still smell like sour milk sometimes.
Your father was the worst though.
Leaving pastrami in my backseat.
So a mouse could get in and chew on my poor chairs.
Or that time he got sardine oil on my carpet
That smelled horrible for a month
But I think the gasoline was the worst.
Your cousins weren't so pleasant either
Especially the little squeaky one
Who borrowed her mother's perfume
And doused my seats with it
I really wish you people would take care of me better
After all, I take you everywhere.
But I'm happy now
For you to be driving me
Off to college
Cause you're all grown up now
And I'm grateful that you haven't replaced me
I'm your van
Go go go!
That wasn't a foul!
Cotton candy making my fingers stick
Sugary funnel cake filling me
To shout for the team winning my game.
Hit it! It's a full count!
Burn those cleats!
The other team cheated!
This player always bunts.
Begging my dad for a hot dog.
Wishing my little brother didn't whine.
Nobody appreciates my game.
You crack that bat or else!
See that dirt and turf fly!
Another inning gone by
We've gotta win!
Night comes, and with it mosquitoes
My family grows restless.
No...we cannot abandon my game.
In the end, we go.
Too many siblings who don't like
#poetry #sports #baseball
You'll find me as a little violet, peeking out among the blades and blades of grass. That's what I'll do. I'm always standing out; I'll forever be standing out because I'm not meant to go with the lawn; I'm a violet, shining bright purple.
And every spring I'll bloom, looking so delicate and easy to pick because I'm not the sharp blades of grass that cut you. But every day when they mow the grass will be cut because of its sharpness, while I simply stay close to the gentle ground and keep blooming once the mower has passed over me. I will shine my flowers to the unseeing deer, who eat the grass and eat the weeds, and when winter comes I will wait again for the spring.
For the strange feelings you might feel, the youthful uncertainty of first love. The pink-red coming over your tanned, freckled nose, the look of confusion on your face as you are unable to comprehend what is happening as you look at her.
Rosy colors in her cheeks as she notices you shyly glancing at her. Her own olive-toned face, now a deeper shade that looks like an orchid. Her favorite flower, you remember, as you fall deeper into love.
The color of the sunset you gaze at with her—your first date. It took forever to get up the courage to ask her, but you're glad you did so. Now it's the two of you, and the sunset has never seemed more red with sweet happiness.
It's the barrette in her long, dark locks as she speaks, the barrette you're trying to look at as her kind but devastating words fall harshly on your ears. I can't hang out with you anymore...my mother doesn't want...I have to go to college...
You don't want to hear it, but you have to. This is life, this is the world, and you are not rich, you are poor and only a stupid boy who tries too hard but will never be the wealthy, genius college man she's supposed to marry. You blink and all you can see is that blush barrette, bobbing in the hair of a girl who will never be able to love you back.
You hate it, that your ears go this color when you see her again. You're supposed to be friends, only friends now. Her mother wouldn't approve. But you don't care, somehow. You let the pink and red spread over your face as she smiles broadly, happy to see you. So happy—has she gotten a boyfriend yet, in that fancy college of hers? You wonder, but you dare not ask.
The color of the roses you bring her that Valentine's day. You can't help it, and you can't help the stupid grin that comes over your face when she laughs that guffaw-like laugh she has. And as she does, you wonder if you have a chance. You've got a better job now—your time in trade school is done and you're branching out as an electrician. What if...
Her cheeks again, bright as the flower in her hair, the flower that you put there in an effort to be romantic. She's almost teary as you get down on one knee, trying not to fall over in your anxiety. You think you know the answer, but you're not sure...you've never been sure of much, not completely.
That's you, now, as she whoops "yes" over and over again in her tomboyish way, as she throws her arms around you and nearly knocks you over, never mind that she's as tiny as a precious violet and you're tall as a tough sunflower. And you're so much in love, but that love is the color of every time you've ever seen her.
The color of love.
That's the color of the blooms in your hair, neither white nor yellow but both. You look in the mirror and you smile jubilantly, adjusting the veil in your long dark tresses as you imagine him waiting outside by the two trees that will serve as the end of the aisle. You're a shining maiden waiting for the greatest day of her life to begin. As you step out of the house that will soon be in the past, your parents' house, your mother adjusts the flowers in your hair. Her gown is the same color as the blossoms—creamy yellow and white, now a symbol of her heart's love for you as she loses a part of her family.
And outside the pales leaves on the beeches are similarly colored, for the new life and love of this day.
Orange blossom—the color of youthful joy on a wedding day.
The color of the green shoots coming out of the ground as the happy couple walks the last few steps to their new house. The color of life, and spring, and joy. Pale green, green of new leaves and new love and new hopes.
"Look at the morning glories, already growing up the trellis," she says.
"You were right, they've come so fast," says the man.
"Remember sowing them?"
"Yes. I didn't think they'd grow so quickly."
Green, springsong vines waver in the wind, but cling steadily, full of expectation and growth.
"It's not baby blue, it's periwinkle baby."
They look at the pale sea and sky walls of the nursery. The mother-to-be crosses her arms triumphantly over her belly as she grins at her befuddled husband.
"Have it your way," he says, shrugging. "Always the poetic one."
She is, and they know it. Periwinkle baby, she thinks. Fresh and new and uncertain and curious. And hopefully calm. She smiles, despite the backache. She can't wait.
That's the color of the girl's eyes, twinkling in the lights of the hospital room as her mother smiles down at her puckered baby face.
"She looks like you," the father says, rubbing the soft dark fuzz of her hair and peering into those alert, purply orbs that gaze out at this new and exciting world. She's calm, calm as the periwinkle baby paint coating the walls of her and her brother's nursery at home.
"And he looks like you," the mother replies with a tired grin, patting her son's back soothingly; he wasn't so happy to come into the world. The storm of last night had been in earnest when he was born, and he had wailed with the strike of lightning that lit his arrival as firstborn.
The girl does not care, however. Her violet star eyes only bead with her father's proud affection, and she gurgles happily.
"You're going to be happy to go home, won't you?" the father asks, tickling under the folds of fat on her neck. "Little Violet."
Home, yes. The twins will grow up in the house with the springsong vines growing up the front. They will see the dried orange blossom flowers their mother wore on her wedding day; Violet will play with them as a little girl. And when they are gone and grown their parents will remember the blush that colored their faces at the beginning, the beginning of a life journey together.
#romance #family #fiction
Fear and Doubts and Thoughts
I always wondered how it would be like to live in these times. Now I know. I didn't think we were coming upon it so quickly, until it was really here. So many people are afraid, and yet I feel terrible because I'm not. You know I'm not—you've always said I wasn't afraid of anything. Should I fear? For you and for Grandpa, because you're older and more at risk? I try to be, I try to feel frightened and panicked like everyone else so that I can fit in, but I'm not. I'm at peace, completely at peace, and here I am feeling guilty about it, as if I don't care. I do, though, but it's so hard for people to believe that because I'm not afraid.
Fear? Anxiety, though...is it really a good thing to live in it? There is always the next thing they want us to be anxious about. Climate change, social justice, immigrants, the list goes on and on...and yet I'm not afraid of any of it. I feel horrible because they're all saying, act, act, be angry, be afraid, be upset. Maybe it comes from Dad and his Hispanic nonchalance. Not to play stereotypes, but it's true. My father and his side worry about nothing, while I've never seen two more fussy, finicky women than you and Mom. No offense. Should I be more worried about things? Should I get upset more instead of being an impassive, low-key wall of calmness?
I'm not sure. Worry does terrible things to your body. And I don't like getting angry, at least not when others are angry. Perhaps it is best to face the upset, indignant, furious world with that chill look my father always gives my mother when she's upset. Some paz, like Dad says. People can rage however they wish, but I begin to realize, as I grow older, that the best response is a calm, quiet manner and a gentle word.
I don't know what you'd think of that; you've always been one to speak your mind. And I have too, though only among my family in friends. It's hard, sometimes, to keep your opinions silent when the world is spreading lies and fear. But I guess it's a surer way to win people than insulting them.
Just some thoughts from your ever-dutiful granddaughter,
Boxes must be in alphabetical order
Fruit in the shop stacked just perfectly
Books on a shelf in order of title
Or in height, so they look nice
A stray hair causing agony to a tired mind
Constantly obsessing over little things
Rows of tomatoes perfectly spaced
A single plant out of line...ugh
The world must be logical
The world must be in order
It isn't, but that's people's faults
The screaming ones, the disruption
Like a clot being scratched from a wound
Order, please, order
No riots, no yelling
Quiet tones, like a library
Quiet, please, quiet
Don't scream in my face, it hurts
Let's just be silent and think about logic
Logic, beautiful, impartial logic
The Current of Doom
Aye, and let me tell you a tale this day
Of a ship that surpassed all ships
Of a mystery current as dangerous as Hell
And a cruel captain wi' gold at his fingertips
In the South China Sea, the natives all say
There's a current from a god of the sea
But white man didn't believe, till ships all went down
When they sailed with this current on the lee
Tale grew to legend, and legend to fears
And captains turned away from this route
Until one springlike day a commission was made
For a clipper ship headed by a brute
Captain Billing, his name was
And he was greedy and ugly as he looked
But the pay was good, and the journey long
So on the ship a young man booked
Ah, here we have another fellow
Important to this story
Though he's not one to speak up
Or take all the glory
Young Nate Perry was his name
And that springlike day he arrived
To the ship Molly Jane
And through him the crew survived
They set sail in April, and the captain at once
Went to snarling and beating and cursing
But it was clear to the crew, from the Horn to the Cape
Captain didn't know the waters he was traversing
And so they sailed on, from Salem towards the East Indies
Bearing storm and pirates under his hand
Until young Nate wished for home and his mother's food
Or at least a sight of American land
And then, from the whispers
Of sailers in the deepest night
Captain Billings heard tell
Of the treasure of the Undersea wight
Now greed overtook his sea-worn face
And turned his thoughts from the company's due
"I'll take that treasure, come gale or great whale
And be richer than a king, if the tales are true."
The crew quaked and feared these words
These boasts and snarls of doom
For the current of the South China lay
Where the Isle of Undersea did loom
Nate Perry they sent to speak with the capt'n
To plead for their lives and their ship
But Captain Billing was adamant, and replied in kind
With forty lashes of the nine-tailed whip
The crew, they grumbled,
And the cabin boys, they cried
For to follow the current was death
But Nate—his time he did bide
And when the Molly Jane neared the sea
Where the current of death lay broiling
Nate pushed Captain Billings o'er the ship
His foul plan completely foiling
But now, where were they?
Committing such atrocious crime?
They couldn't go back, for mutiny's charge
Would have them dead in quick time
So the first mate took the helm
And set Nate ashore to hide till 'twas safe to return
For justice isn't always the easiest way
And corruption is often lost at the stern.
#ships #sea #poetry