Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Bending the Truth" by Genghis

Growing up with strict parents I have learned two vital tools. To improvise, and to bend the truth. And by bend the truth, I mean just that; as lying has a different connotation. Simply what I mean is that I’ll always tell the truth however at times I won’t be very specific or I’ll withhold information I’d otherwise specify. I don’t do it because I want to, rather it’s out of necessity. As an only, first generation child, my parents are obligated to be as overprotective as they are. And I appreciate that, I know that they restrict me to protect me, and at the end of the day it's because they care about me. But, it can be hard to breathe with that amount of restriction.

The main reason their restrictions bother me is that it prevents me from making stupid mistakes. Mistakes that I need in order to mature and never make when I’m older. Most of my friends honestly can’t fathom that I’ve never had a sleepover or been paintballing.

I remember the first time I bent the truth to get out of the house. I had to stay after school for something I can’t remember, however the teacher was not there. I decided to go downstairs and just wait for my ride. I met a couple of friends there. They had invited me earlier in the week to go see a movie with them, Now You See Me 2. They knew my situation, but figured to ask anyways in case I was somehow allowed to. Of course I tested my luck and asked for permission, to which my dad replied, “No” without hesitation. They informed me about how they were waiting for their ride, a friend’s older brother, to pick them up. I then thought about it. I really wanted to go. It wasn’t because it was a cool movie, it wasn’t because I wanted to rebel. It was because I felt that I needed more experiences in my life. I wanted to be social but my parent’s rules forced me into being an introvert. So I made the most important decision of my life, to make my own decisions and go with my gut. Instead of texting my Dad that I was done, I told him I would finish at 5:00PM. I then went with them, that warm, June day to see a movie. I still have the ticket, and since that day I have collected every movie ticket in my wallet. Not only did that movie mean a great deal to me in terms of personal development, it was the last movie I got to see with my close friend Hamza who passed away two months later. Since then, movies with friends has been much more meaningful to me personally.

Since then, my parents have become much more lenient. My dad tells me his main concern was that he did not trust teen drivers and did not want to risk me getting into a car accident. Since I have a car and license now, my parents rarely say no. Of course they still restrict me from driving at night and driving my friends, I know they do it for my safety. And for the meantime, I’ll take what I can get and not be a brat.

"Of Hope" by Lucky

Hope is like the sun’s light.  Hope causes happiness at the thought of a positive goal, like the sunlight making the land shine with brightness. Hope can always be found, just as there is always sunlight beaming down on some part of the earth. Hope is not always apparent, and often even hard to find in this modern world. However, hope is important because it has the power to bring people together among chaos, and even strengthen them with a renewed sense of needed change. Hope is as strong as fire when first ignited, it inspires people to keep going. It may be true that trying to stay hopeful in the 21st century can be like trying to stay positive about our current president, one tweet after another. Hope may become hard to hold on to, especially during a failed leadership and a country of frustrated citizens. Hope is sometimes hard to find in extreme measures such as these, but can always be found even as hate is spread as fast as darkness of the night. The sun’s light will always be present, somewhere around the globe, even if it is not readily visible. Shady spots of overlapping trees, and dark storm clouds may temporarily block this light, but the light is still there. Hope is not always easy to come by, but is always there for someone who is really willing to search for it. Hope is like a mirror, people see what they want to see, and those who wish to stay positive are able to maintain hope. Hope is important because it gives people the positivity they need to overcome challenges of this modern world. Hope becomes as important as the freedom of an individual, seen in times of despair, when the motivation to keep going becomes significantly difficult to keep. People shipping their own blankets and food to families who need the supplies more in the flooded swamp of Texas, or praying for others grieving from a loss in Las Vegas exemplify hope’s importance. During tragedies such as Hurricane Harvey, or the Las Vegas shooting, hope is important because it brings people together and strengthens them to face what needs to change in the future. Hope is as important as a blanket to a newborn baby, it provides support and warmth.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"The Beehive" by Another Radio

Only after taking a short nap on the rock did I notice the beehive. It hung a fair distance from where I rested, so I didn’t budge as I recognized its presence. I saw the bees, buzzing and flying in and out the hive, seemingly endless work to be done. It repeated a pattern that had no end; leave the hive, collect as much nectar as your fluffy bodies can hold, come back to the hive and dump it all, restart. My mind, for some reason, say this as a high score challenge all bees compete in in a endless game mode. I shut my eyes and thought to myself, “Dude, you’re kidding me right? Just take a break from videogames for once, jeez. Can’t you think of anything else when you’re outside?”  I rolled of the stone and flopped onto the grass-filled floor. The cool cordillera winds flew through the leaves and slightly lifted my dark hair, spreading specks of dust and coal. The Bolivian weather was usually like this, and I began to appreciate the beehive my mind had managed to create before me. Of course, no bees would live here, less in my backyard. This looks like it came straight out of my cousin’s coloring book, with its messy mustard yellow and simple design. The bees were no different, and I tried to make the vision go away. At last, the hive slowly faded and I awoke from my daydream; back in the mountainous city of La Paz, Bolivia. Home.

I got up and went back inside, believing that enough fresh air was taken and it was time to leave. The small apartment-house where I lived with my parents was small, but seemed nice. Flopping again on my bed, I began my homework once more. The Spanish words on the page that had once baffled me now seemed common. School seemed easy, mainly since I was a good student with good habits and had a good family and possibly a good future, something that other Bolivians could only dream of. I felt like a master of two worlds as I breezed through the English assignment; having been born in the U.S. and having Bolivian family was a true benefit that would serve me for the rest of my life. Most of these things passed over my head and my blissful innocence blocked all these advantages. My parents worked hard, I went to a respected, expensive and exclusive school, and I had lots of family. I never knew why we had moved in the first place, what happened with my brother, my parents’ struggles to constantly give me and my brother what we needed, the protests in the streets, the anger in the country; all I knew is that I went to this cool school and lived a nice life with video games. Only when I became more mature did I see all these things and it left me dumbfounded. Was this indifference of my surroundings or innocence of the situations? So many things were revolving around me, but my mind and soul had been sold to Pokemon, Nintendo, and schoolwork.

Homework having been finished, I went to my 3DS, pressed the power button, and played away at Pokemon. Besides reaching out for some popcorn, I spent the rest of the day playing until my dad arrived home. We had dinner, and I went to sleep. That was my usual day, uneventful, yet somewhat enjoyable. Even though I wasn’t born here, I felt that Bolivia was my home, place of birth. Partially because I felt that that was where my life began and where my oldest memories lay. The mountain breeze blew once more through the windows, beginning the chilly night. Spot, my half-wolf, half-something-else dog, barked once, and fell asleep. I too fell into slumber as I wondered how the next day would be, ignorant of the turmoil happening elsewhere and the possible throwing of dynamite onto the streets or into a building.

"The Worst Pool Day Ever" by Clumsy



It’s a hot, sunny, sticky summer day, a pool day. My worn out old rainbows slap the ground as I lazily trudge around, my heels worn down and black from the hot cement. A not-so white tee sticks to my sweaty stomach, no pants, just a pair of ruffled black bottoms paired with a colorful top peeking through the shirt. I walk through a crowded pool bathroom, avoiding naked old ladies and bare bottomed babies being chased by mothers holding lost bathing suits. Country music blasting, a book and a towel in my hand. I scan the pool, jam packed. Great. Couple making out or group of middle school girls staring at some “dreamy” boys? I choose the girls, hoping they’ll leave me be. I immediately toss off my shirt and flops, throw my book and towel on a chair and dive into the pool, the water feeling cool on my sticky skin. All of the sudden my arms are frozen and I can’t move or scream. My lungs start to hurt and the water is pulling me under, the light disappearing. “Help, someone help, please help” all the sudden I look up and my doctor is there laughing at me. It gets dark, my fingers are pruney and my body like a noodle. I wake up sweating, the same shirt in the dream sticking to my sweaty stomach. Goddamnit not this dream again.
At age six I was fearless, skipping monkey bars, playing kickball with the boys, picking up bugs. I had no worries, every decision was a thrill as I lept into every opportunity. Ten years later I look at a bug and scream, running away like a classic, stereotypical teenage girl. Unfortunately, my range of fears has changed quite drastically. Along with bugs and a horrifying dream, I am now deathly afraid of death. Blunt, I know. Might as well get straight to the point, no lollygagging, no bs, just the truth. Frankly, I don’t want to disappear forever leaving nothing but a me shaped hole in my place. Wow, you must be thinking why would she be worrying about death? Well, I have Cystic Fibrosis, preferably called CF, for it sounds less serious and less medically correct and scary. CF is something that makes my lungs not work right, feel kind of shriveled up and I sound as if I smoke at least three packs a day, though if you handed me a cigarette chances are I would light the wrong end. My life expectancy started at age ten, moved up to sixteen and is now forty, IF I keep up with all my therapy. If things aren’t all fine and dandy I usually end up in the hospital and that’s where the long lists of fears come into play. 

Suddenly I’m not six years old hanging onto monkey bars, instead I find myself hanging onto dear life praying not to let go. I am sixteen years old, just got my license, and I can’t even drive more than one non-family member for two more years. How is it fair that every other high schooler is worrying who they should go to homecoming with, what they should wear to a dance, or how drunk to get every weekend, learning to hide hangovers. I’m learning how to hide picc lines and scars from surgery and what outfit to wear that will fit over the big tube wrapped around my arm. The worst of all is having to still act fearless, so my mom doesn’t stay up worrying, eyes red and puffy every morning from crying. In order to keep away from pointless arguments with my dad all because he is worried and I am stubborn and hardheaded. I wish I could be carefree and not have to take pills with every meal, do countless therapy sessions, or worry that my cough will scare off potential friends or raise questions like, “Do you have ebola? Or “you’re disgusting, get away from me.” Though that one isn’t as common, I still imagine that is what people think as I cough up a lung, red in the face sounding like a donkey. The reality is everyone dies, whether it be from drunk driving, a freak accident like acupuncture gone wrong, or old age. But, I am stuck fighting to live, staring a life expectancy straight in the face. Why get married when eventually I will leave my soulmate alone and heartbroken? Why even try having kids when they could be cursed with CF too? I wish I could say there are positives of all of this, but that’d be lying. My life is slowly deteriorating and I feel like i'm drowning, screaming for help, but all that comes out are the bubbles on the surface. 

Now, this is where my dream comes into play. I have been having “The worst pool day ever” dream as I like to call it since I was fourteen and none of it ever made sense. Why is the last thing I see my doctor laughing at me? I have begun to understand that my doctor is laughing because in my dream I will ultimately die and it is supposed to warn me it will be from CF if I don’t get it together, hence why my doctor laughs. I am not the perfect CF patient, I am not going to lie, sometimes I skip my therapy or do not take my pills, but the big tube in my heart is starting to make me realize I need to get it together or else I will never have the chance to not be scared. Today I fear for my life, dying being closer than the day before. Slowly grazing my fingertips over the end of my life, I fear dying, sixteen, unaccomplished and worst of all, lonely. But, with a little positivity, time management skills, and dedication I am going to kick CF’s frickin butt and live to die of old age checking out some granddudes at the pool with my ladies. So yes I may fear spiders, sharks, dying and now pools, but one day you’ll see “me Frinks, the oldest woman alive” on the headlines of every newspaper. Please read this at my funeral. That’s all, thank you and goodnight.

Xoxo,

Me, the girl who never knows what to write and always ends up off topic.(This was supposed to be about summer)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"I’ll Let My Feet Guide Me" EMMindigo

There are a lot of ghosts on this planet.

Geoffrey does not understand why his brain puts emphasis on this, spells out the p-l-a-n-e-t of planet. He does not remember being on planets besides this one.

He understands too much and too little about why he is a ghost and what these other ghosts are doing here at the same time. It as if all the personal information that had been built into his soul over the reincarnations has been repressed, swept under the rug, tucked away neatly in the back of a closet, or inside a drawer, out of sight. The only thing They had left for him was one of his names. Geoffrey.

Even his name, one of his names, isn’t a useful context clue for why Geoffrey is still roaming Earth as a translucent, slightly faded ghost. It doesn’t explain what purpose he is meant to fill.  

This lack of background knowledge makes him feel different from the other, more faded, ghosts he frequently meets as he wanders southeastward down the continent, who are all stuck in the past in one way or another, broken records. They are mostly still caught up in patterns, in problems they couldn’t answer or routines not even death could pry them from, waiting for the right person to come along to pull them into the astral plain proper. Few ghosts actually seem to wander the world of living for some purpose that doesn’t connect to their most recent life.

Geoffrey thinks he might be one of those ((un)lucky) few who is here again to fulfil some higher purpose. He has an unofficial handbook on ghosts and the afterlife memorized in his skull, factual knowledge of Earth culture, no memory of whoever or whatever he’d been before, and chronically wandering feet- searching feet. He fits the criteria.
He just doesn’t know what his higher purpose is.  

In some odd ways, ghosts have to behave like humans. Like…Geoffrey can climb in the back of a car, can sit in a corner of the bed of a pickup truck, can sit on a seat on the bus as if he still had a body. Sometimes he sees other ghosts on those buses, ghosts following their daily routines, or trying to get somewhere, one last time. Even though these occurrences are more common than expected, it always slightly off putting to see a ghost hunched over, asleep on a window, and a passenger sitting in the same seat, a solid form superimposed over a faded one.

He’ll walk on freaking running water, though. Some young ghost girl at a languidly moving river, frustratedly pacing and pacing from grassy bank to grassy bank, smooth current visible under her washed out feet, clues him into this.

The trees are tall and leafy green here, here with dilapidated small towns and white birds in the cow ponds with the cows and two lane highways and a lot of small backyard pools. The girl is washed out, but she the outfit she’d most often pictured herself in is a dress cut off at the knee, what was probably once light colored hair tied up in a simple flipped ponytail. She paces to the opposite bank he’s standing on, and when she spins on her bare heel, she abruptly and suddenly notices him and some of the faded look vanishes as she remembers why she was a ghost in the first place. The sudden blossoming colors draw the eye to a pair of slip off sandals thrown near the base of a tree leaning over the river, one floating stationary over the river water and the other lying propped up against the trunk. They look to have been thrown there in a fit of anger.

“Yes, I was trying to swim here,” she snaps at him, where he’s appeared on one bank, “no, I did not expect that swimming in a river that’s deeper than it looks with rocks on the bottom was not the best idea.” She stops furiously pacing to look at Geoffrey long enough to say, deadpan, “No I am not Jesus.”

Geoffrey knows of Jesus. He’s knows of Muhammad and Abraham and Moses and God and Buddha and Vishnu and any other number of things when it comes to that, but as he doesn’t know that much about any of them, this announcement that this girl is not Jesus seems like a non sequitur.

“I’m sorry,” he says hesitantly to the girl who’s gone back to pacing with a vengeance, “What was that about Jesus? And if you’re not Jesus, who are you? ”

“I can’t freaking drown myself and move on because I’m walking on water! Like Jesus! But I’m not Jesus, I’m Ellen!” she doesn’t stop pacing to say this, but her hands are balled into fists, and suddenly, she stomps over the sandal floating on the water, picks it up, and flings it very hard at the tree. It thwacks off and lands near the base.

“Um, ghosts can walk into still water,” he offers, because he found that out when wading through one of those cow ponds. He wanted to see if he’d walk through a cow.

“What does that have to do with anything? I drowned right here in this river,” Ellen points out, her voice sharp. She crosses her arms.

“Hey, hey, relax,” he raises his hands in a calming gesture. “I’m just saying, if trying to drown again in a river isn’t working, try something else. Like that nice cow pond back there,” he points back over his shoulder.

“I drowned in a river,” Ellen reiterates, tightening her arms, as if he hadn’t heard her the first time.Suddenly, she flings her arms out, anger flying wide, “THIS river!”

“Yell a little louder, why don’t you, I don’t think the cows heard you.” He says dryly and pointedly, a bit taken aback by how loud Ellen had suddenly gotten. If she has to drown again to pass on, why doesn’t she just go do it instead of yelling?

“I don’t want to try drowning myself in front of some cows! It’s not the same as drowning in this river! Where I already drowned!”

Geoffrey sighs, rubs a hand over his face. “Obviously, trying to drown again in this river isn’t working. The cow pond is another place to drown.”

She has gone back to crossing her arms and squints at him suspiciously, not quite believing him.

There is a silence.

“Look,” he says finally, “a drowning is a drowning, and it doesn’t really matter where it happens.”

“Changing the location of a drowning changes the experience of drowning,” Ellen argues, but her arms have uncrossed, she’s listening now.

Even if Ellen is listening, Geoffrey doesn’t really have a comeback for that response. He’s never considered that point before. He opens his mouth; then he closes it again. However, he still feels like he has to win some sort of point or they’ll spend the rest of eternity arguing, so he asks, “Why do you care about drowning again?”

Ellen blinks once at him, long and slow, as if he’s stupid. Her voice raises again, a bit, “because drowning was what killed me in the first place, and now I can’t get there-“Ellen makes a frustrated gesture at something she obviously can’t describe, Geoffrey knows because he wants to make the same one so often, “because for some stupid reason the river won’t let me drown myself again.”

Geoffrey is beginning to see what the problem is here, what lesson was so crucial to her soul that she needs to learn it before she can fully pass on.

“Why should you try to recreate the exact same experience, when another similar one will do just as well?” he asks Ellen reasonably.

She tugs at a hank of hair, looking into the middle distance, then turns her face at an angle and squints at him. He raises his arms at the elbow, spreads his hands out at about shoulder height, scrunches in his shoulders a bit. It’s a shrug.

“Drowning in the cow pond?” she asks, testing.

Geoffrey nods.

Her expression loosens and some of the squint fades from her eyes as she rights her head.
For a moment Geoffrey can see nothing behind her. She’s opaque, solid, fully colored. Freckled skin, turquoise blue eyes, butterscotch colored hair, and her dress is mauve purple with darker blue and dark crimson red accents.

“Huh. I never thought of it like that before,” Ellen says.

Ellen turns, and picks up her sandals, as if in trance. Her colors- not her colors - and solidity had reached their climax in her moment of understanding. The falling action begins, then, and her and those colors are fading as Geoffrey watches her take her sandals by the straps, fading as she walks out onto a certain part of the river and, fading until she’s see through and then she’s not even that. She’s gone.

With her seem to have gone the colors, and this wonder of watching a ghost move on loses some of its awe, for he is suddenly and indescribably sad. He can’t even find the words for why he is sad, only hazy images sliding out of his mental grasp when he tries to pin them down, only the deep and despairing feeling of watching something important slip out of his hands. Then there is a horrible shuddering fear, sinking invasive runners into even this, and he can’t find what memory fragments he was trying to search for anymore.

He’s happy for Ellen the Drowned Girl, but it’s only a small thing buried under the feelings of loss and terror.  

Geoffrey grimaces, toes the grass clinging to the edge of the bank a little with his boot, and then turns away from the river and starts walking in a random direction. Ahead of him are rolling fields of green and the occasional tree. There also appears to be a collection of buildings to the west, and Geoffrey heads in that direction, knowing there will be a road somewhere nearby.

He sighs, and lets the knowledge that his wandering feet are leading him toward some sort of answers push away the terrible feelings from watching the colors Ellen had chosen fade away. There is something right about seeking out whatever might be in his future.



"Awake" by Bear

Goodnight.
I close my door as I turn on the ceiling fan.
The weight of the day leaves my body.
My mind becomes heavy.
I sit in my bed recounting the day, the week, life; I look out the glare-covered window to see the reflection my lamp light, standing quietly dim in the foreground of the blackness outside.
I sit, then lie, thinking, eyelids falling up and down.
Why does darkness fall, and the sun rise?
This is what I wonder as I digress from the day, getting into my bed.

Darkness…

I forget that my light is still on, as my body has already switched into its setting of fatigue and weariness.
I get up, flick the lever.
Nothing.
No change in light; none in the window.
I still see my reflection clear as day.
I try again, finding the same result.
Fervently I flick the light switch, similar in manner of an impatient person hitting a button at a crosswalk, wanting to get to the other side.
What's on the other side for them?
Another side.
I consider my dilemma as something abnormal but at the same time all too real to be imaginative.
I realize that my body feels energized, almost as if I had just woken up.
One more flick of the switch.
Light, still.
Looking for more signs, I come across my clock, the red lines reading a digital 1:38 AM.
Weird, I think.
It's late.
I look again out my window into the silhouettes of objects too dark to make out.
I consider going to sleep, but I am no longer tired.
My clock catches my eye again.
It reads something new this time.
4:29 AM.
I rub my eyes.
How could three hours pass when it felt like 30 seconds?
I blink.
Is this real?
I turn quickly to my mirror.
It swirls and turns, it's matter being pinched and pulled like viscous liquid.
I question my reality, yet I don't know what to feel.
I can't feel anything but a high.
My body is numb but electrified by adrenaline and curiosity.

Lucidity.

I go to open my door.
My hand wrap around the knob, but goes right through it.
This, of course, makes sense.
I walk right through my door, which in an awake state prevents intrusion.
I am not awake, but alive.
I jump down the stairs from top to bottom unharmed.
There are no such physical limitations where I find myself living, breathing.
My mind opens the front door of my house for itself.
Out I go into the night, running faster than a cheetah.
My body feels no pain, no stress.
I am untouchable.
I jump and tell myself that I can fly, and I fly.
My body is not bound to anything.
It's only my mind at work here in this dream.
I fly near the moon, the planets, places hidden from the busy mind and busy eyes of the busy world.
Anything I think of, unimaginable to man, comes to life.
It is painted before me.
I am the brush of the reality.
My mind is the artist.
I sculpt my surroundings.
It feels like days pass by in this experience.
I find myself, however, negligent of time restrictions.
Time is endless here.

But nothing good, or bad, lasts forever.

I come down, eventually.
From my air, my space.
The vividness of the mind is unseen unless you will yourself to go deeper than what is plainly seen.
It's all a dream.
What seems like days, even weeks, can be blips of time for some.
Lucidity, I find is, active.
It excites; it dares.
It's a practice that can be applied even to our own world.
One full of dreams and reality existing concomitantly.
I wake up, hoping to say goodnight again.
Because the world I wish to live in is in my mind.


"Bending the Truth" by Genghis

Growing up with strict parents I have learned two vital tools. To improvise, and to bend the truth. And by bend the truth,...