Scenes of a Past I’m Still Living
White letters on a bright teal rectangle,
Avenue of 18 years
of memories, tucked within the fourth house to the corner
My four walls,
painted peacock blue as the paint swatch read,
adorned with tokens of my best years,
The parking receipt from the happiest day of my junior year summer
The biodegradable coaster from a Colorado diner,
the weekend I knew my soul was home
My climbing bag hung on the wall,
waiting for my next adventure,
an allusion to the mountains awaiting
The childhood home of who?
The halls I walked from fourteen - eighteen
E033, my oasis in the sea of metal doors,
Six digits holding secure
the tattered notebooks, empty wrappers, and spare pencils
to our names
The landmark of after last bell conversations
“Meet me at my locker”
Within, my bag hangs
Filled with cleats,
running shoes, a tennis racket,
Depending on the season
The once-locker of who?
The coffee shop
which imprinted my automatic greeting of
Most mornings were such, there
The warm embrace of steamed oat milk and the gentle molasses of brown sugar
greet my nose, in a way this is home
Five hours every
Saturday and Sunday
Laughs and soulful conversations
Aprons painted with abstract drops of scalding coffee
The part-time job of who?
As I walk through my days,
Soon to come:
The last closing of my dresser drawers,
The last shutting of my locker,
The last latte served,
It is still undefined
whose past this will be
Footsteps to pave,
shoes to fill,
finish lines to reach,
I put one foot after the other,
and step forward into the future.
A man devoid of cowardice
walks against the tide,
his heart cannot be burdened by fear,
or he will be pulled under by the tumultuous sea.
The endurance of endless strife against the roaring melancholy tide
overwhelms those who chose to dive in
The rise and pull of the waves wash away warmth
It is a watery grave of lost passions,
Making victims of those with burning hearts.
The enigma is born of starlight,
his presence is incandescent.
He is built in the image of man.
Stoic in stature,
yet holding himself in a grotesque slouch.
Empty eyes of amber, search the horizon for affinity
His hand reaches for his chest, feeling only a hollow void,
And a static feeling of emptiness
He is both grotesque and of starlight.
The Enigma stands alone.
Amidst the crashing waves,
His feet remain stagnant.
In faith, he will be brought to shore by open palms.
The shore is a mirage of paradise,
That gives sailors a starry-eyed gaze.
With his convictions of salvation,
he exists not in ignorance or delusion,
but in purposeful optimism.
As he traverses the sordid sea of blackened water,
draped in ashen clouds,
He marches endlessly through this basin of sorrow.
The distant stars keep the life in his eyes.
They remain scattered amongst the night sky,
Empty reminders of distant companions,
Companions of a time before his travels.
He walks mile by mile alone.
He left his allies resting idly in the sky.
Not a tear shed for the weeping stars.
As he continues his aimless journey toward the horizon,
the night slips into the dawn.
The rays of the sun blind him with uncertainty
The illusion of shore scorns his mind.
Even though he thrives in its depths,
He falls victim to the tide.
The Enigma weaves through the shadows of the tide,
Surrounded by empty stretches of water.
He is lost to the sea,
His only companions are the memories of kinship
He reaches for the lingering warmth of desolate stars
And his hands burn at the touch of divinity,
He flicks his wrist, skipping the star across the horizon
Sending a jolt of light across the stretch of water,
He brings life to the cold emptiness of the sky.
Sparks of amber and ivory shatter the royal blue waves
Filling the sky with an intensity that forces the Enigma’s eyes shut.
The enigma continues his travels,
An eternity had passed when he finally arrived at his precious mirage
A luxuriant palace of verdure and winding dunes.
The lull of water ceases as the man draws further onto land.
He had only one foot in the sand when he claimed it as his own
Unbeknownst to him, his mirage was already inhabited
Amid the towering trees there was a spark of life
He gently reached his hand forward
Feeling the soft fur, and tender gaze
The gentle warmth, the soft pulse,
The heat seeps into his hands and floods his chest.
His heart spurs and burns.
His head erupts with heat that thaws him momentarily.
He withdraws his hand and raises it with apprehension
Suddenly, his hand comes down,
he strikes the creature,
The warmth escapes the enigma
And the cold overcomes him once more
His palms lay empty at his sides,
Without a trophy to add to his collection.
Upon this hallowed ground now lay the blood of slain swine.
A crimson hue washes up on weathered rocks.
The blood of the martyr stains the enigma.
With every step, the blood dissipates
He flees this field and begins his descent upon undiscovered plains.
He crawls back to the beach where
The waves catch his feet and he disappears into the abyss
He is carried by the tide
his heart is burdened by fear
he is pulled under by the tumultuous sea.
The enigma is content in his cowardice.
Into the tide
In the year 2013, in a normal elementary school, two girls met on their first day of 2nd grade at a new school. They both came to school earlier than most and hit it off from the start. These girls were once close, practically inseparable. One of these girls was quite the artist indeed, the other was the inspiration for her art. The second girl would spout out nonsense and the first would draw it out, capturing the scene created from pure imagination. They played like any two little girls should, by running around the playground during recess and using their made-up game as their guide. That friendship however, could not last.
Show Me Love
The Quiet One
Sally Slasher Story
The waves subsided from the cave and Sally came to shore. She strode atop the surface of the sand, a sack slung across her back. She strove to beat the storm and drove right through the night. Sally set her sack outside. She was home, strained by the sinister sight to come.
From the sack, a seashell she drew. In a second, she slipped it in her suit. She headed to the shed. The doors extended, swinging across the grass. Sally picked up some scissors and thought it through. No, this won’t do. Then she saw a saw, shimmering beneath her eyes. Too bloody? she surmised. A spade? A stapler? A sickle, scythe, scalpel or hand scraper? No, but there it was, swinging on the wall. A shovel, its spear-like head sparkling above them all. Sally swung it on her shoulder. And there she stood, a silent sight, starting to stroll under starlight.
Sally sped through the passage to her house. Stress stretched from sole to soul, sweat slipping down her skull. It was silent but two sounds: the sound of snores seeping through the ceiling—beneath her shoes, the sound of floorboards squealing. Up the stairs she stared. They seemed to stretch to the sky. But one by one she scaled those steps. Until step six; then still, she stood. She scanned the shovel, sifting through her thoughts, scaling the “do”s and “do not”s. She set aside her skepticism, going on to step seven. Yes, step seven. Six were done with six to come and step seven makes thirteen the sum.
Sally stood aside his bed. There he slept supine. Once a high school sweetheart, then a soon-to-be. Once sworn to be a soul mate, now a divorcee. As his sonorous snores oscillated through the atmospheric air, Sally was shackled by suspicion. Why so still and serene? Show me a sign! Spur me into smiting you! Show me your sordid, squalid scheme! Strange, for he was a somnambule and a somniloquist but now was subdued by somnolism. Is he seeing my thoughts? Is he scoffing and scorning at my shilly-shallying? Is he goading, sure I shall not swing? Surely not.
Like a sword, the shovel soared! It swung and struck, splitting his solid skull! A squall! A squeal! A series of sporadic squirms! Saliva streamed and spewed. Blood spurted and blotched his slimy shirt, ending with a squirt. A second stroke, and his skull soundly sundered! The storm had started; the sky suffused with thunder. The screeching screams ceased. The sporadic spasms suddenly stopped. Nothing subsisted but a strong, sanguineous scent.
The stone-cold, sadistic assassin studied her stagnant prey. No snivels nor sobs, only a shy, spiteful snort and snicker. From her side pocket, Sally swiftly pulled. A seashell slid out, sandy white and cold. Shell in fist, surrounding his scalp, she spoke words of sacred speech. And out shot a specter! A shallow sketch, a spirit of the slain. His soul swam through the air and right inside that strange seashell’s domain.
As I Sunk Deeper
I found myself on the shores of that beach
The one with the clearest ocean
Her presence there was calling me
I could not deny her
The reef and her colorful fish
Were the jewel of her creations
They danced around each other
As she would give them life
I stood there with my toes in the sand
As the lapping of the shore would visit me
She beckoned me to lie down
Envelop myself in her waters
And there I lay with my head above the water
Letting my body sink with each wave
I resolved to catch my breath
But I closed my eyes instead
The lights refracted from above
Stole the darkness of my eyelids
And she told me to open them
As I could feel her gentle caress
Her calming voice convinced me
And I opened my eyes
Although they stung from the salty brine
I did not close them back again
I saw thousands of fish
Swimming with curiosity around me
The rush of color served to excite
Their innocence was beauty
I found myself sinking deeper
Passing through the coral cities
The hues engulfed my sight
My focus diverted to its grandeur
And I sank deeper, the cities more distant
The lights from the surface guiding my path
I wondered how much further
Its beauty would sustain
And then I found myself in darkness
The light from above, gone
The depth of the sea was paralyzing
And I could not feel her here
The breath I had sustained
Was pulled out from my chest
I could feel my lungs failing
And this dream became a nightmare
All around me were the schemes of
The sharks, the eels, and the squid
The feeling of their skin were all around me
Taunting my sinking form
My body sank further
Until my head hit the sand
My heart could bear no more suffocation
And alas, I was lost.
The Little Things
All children grow up with wild imaginations and intricate fantasies. They dream of becoming the impossible, seeing things far and wide, believing everything they think is real. But sometimes, when they see things, are they actually real?
Livia clasped onto the rusted, golden pendant of her necklace. Unhooking the chain, she gazed relentlessly at the glimmering dust contained in the heart-shaped jewel. Mesmerized, she finally took her eyes off her enchanted pendant, and stared out the window of her dingy apartment complex. Livia just couldn’t help it - she giggled at the musty, dank, mid-spring weather, where storm clouds collided. She will always remember the day it finally happened, the day she finally saw it, the day when she first believed it was real - and it was.
“Livia? Livia! Where are you?” Tim Mae called, breaking a sweat as he frantically rummaged through the house, looking for his daughter.
“She must’ve wandered off again,” his wife, Mollie, responded nonchalantly. “She’s probably playing in the back.”
“I checked there earlier! She’s not there!”
Hidden in the depths of a secure and isolated park just across the Mae residence was an exuberant, tiny young girl, about the age of five with deep red hair - almost scarlet to be precise - and a cheery smile with shimmery crevice eyes. She roamed around the park, squealing at the vivid butterflies, throwing her hands in the air. She clapped her hands together, dancing animatedly as she found a swarm of roly polys and lady bugs that ran through the bushes. Children were easily excited by the littlest things, and Livia was the epitome of this.
She ran to the bush, and picked up a few flowers, in hopes an ounce of magic would burst through. Examining their ornate petals, she was easily mesmerized by the sight of their lavish color and delicate texture. Slowly, she took each petal off, one by one, her interest rapidly growing more and more until suddenly it was nothing but a mere stem. Nothing. Zilch. What a shame!
The scarlet-haired child tossed it in the air in disenchantment, becoming bored. Livia continued to scrutinize the area, searching for things to do. The playground was massive and the staircase to the jungle gym frightened her due to its height. That was not an option. Going back to her house struck her mind, but she came to the realization there wasn’t much to do over there either. The plants became too lifeless, too lackadaisical, too boring- so she continued to survey the area. Aha! Livia’s mind boggled with excitement. The murky waters of the nearby lake caught her eyes. It was time to go for a nice swim.
The scarlet-haired child prepared her stance to take a massive leap into the lake until suddenly, she saw a strange figure, hovering in the distance. It was wavering, and oddly turning its head in many directions, as if it were thrown into a foreign location with no recapitulation of where it was.
Who’s that? Livia moved closer to scrutinize the figure. It appeared to be a man. He looked scarily uncommon to her and stared back.
“Aw, you, you look like a man!” she babbled. “A silly one!”
“Uh...” he replied, awkwardly. His voice sounded fruity.
“Why are you above the gwound?” she asked.
“Um, I can’t really say.”
“You look like this man I read about in a book! Why?”
“I-I might be?”
“Can I call you Mr. Silly? What’s your name?”
“I can’t tell you that one.”
“I just can’t."
She kept asking more questions, only receiving the same answer that he was unable to explain. After a series of relentless interrogations, she gave up. The tedious conversation caused her to grow disinterested, thus leading to anger, since she was desperate for fun. Suddenly, she narrowed her eyes.
“Play with me!” she commanded angrily. “I want fun!”
The man looked startled, taking a step back. Nervously, he picked her up and raised her up high. Livia was now flailing her legs in the air.
“WEEEEEEEE!” she screeched. “Let’s wrestle!”
She began to kick his head, causing the two to start roughhousing.
“AHAHAH! Why did that hurt? You’re a tough one!” he winced. However, he was amazed by her energy. She was going to the extreme, not only kicking him with her tiny feet but even smacking him. He was trying to avoid her attacks, but she always found a way to throw a fierce blow. Since shame and morals prevented him from attacking her back, he decided to continue to avoid her attacks. Unfortunately, the majority of the time he failed to do so.
“WOOO AHAHAH!” she laughed energetically. She was now in the air as he held her up and bounced her in his transparent arms.
“Now you’re a fairy! Where are you?”
“Right behind you!”
He shook her upside down, causing even more of a fit of giggles. He then placed her again on his back, which this time, without needing help, she flung herself upwards, landing on his shoulders. Just as he thought she was settling down, Livia smacked his face.
“Ow!” he winced.
“Ahehehehe!” she laughed. This was the most fun she had ever had.
The two had been playing for what seemed like twenty minutes until the mysterious man grew tired. It was also growing dark outside yet Livia, still vivacious as ever, bounced up and down wildly, squealing about how much fun she was having.
“You should meet my daddy!” she said. “It would be so much fun to play with him too!”
The man bent down, putting his shoulders on Livia.
“I’d love to, but I can’t,” he sighed.
“You should play with us! I love fun!”
. Hastily, he spun his head around, as if he were checking to see if anyone was around.
“Your father must be a very nice man,” he spoke lowly. “I’d love to meet him, but keep in mind, I’m not supposed to be talking to you, or any humans out here. You’re the exception, though.”
“I love daddy. If you can’t play with us, at least meet my mommy, too!” she exclaimed.
“I can’t meet your mommy either. She’s not like me.”
“But mommy is fun to talk to, and she is probably better at playing than me,” she assured him, rubbing her hands together.
“Kid, I’m just not allowed to meet your parents. It’s against the rules.” He shook his head.
Her eyes widened. “Your eyes are dark! Like my bear! Play with us tomorrow!”
He smiled, now laughing at her childlike thought process. Hugging her, she accepted it, and beamed at his warmth. Who is he? Why couldn’t he meet her family? And what made him significantly different from everyone else?
“You should come to my h-”
“Livia? Liv! Livia Mae! Where are you?” It was her father, Tim, calling out for her again. This time he was nearby. The man looked startled and instantly stood up. Suddenly, transparent flaps emerged from his back, with the evening darkness making the strange sight crystal clear. Quickly, he waved Livia goodbye and ascended, disappearing into the night sky. Livia stared above in awe.
“Liv? Liv? There you are!”
Her dad ran over to her while she was still staring up above. She was amazed at how the mysterious man flew, his swift movement. She wanted to fly like that, like a fairy, like the one he made her as they played.
“There you are, Livia!” Tim said, picking her up. “I was looking all over for you.”
“Daddy Daddy! I saw a silly man! He was so cool and we played and he flew in the sky!”
“That’s nice Livia, but I think you just need to get some sleep,” he laughed. He didn’t believe her, for he thought all children just had wild imaginations. Tim could relate, for he had one of the biggest as a little boy. When Tim was a toddler, late at night, he thought he had seen the Easter bunny and imagined having a few playdates with him. He and his brothers, Cian and Michael, would always imagine seeing the tooth fairy as well, and dreamed of flying with her late at night. Livia reminded him a lot of himself.
“He was flying and went in the sky like a fairy!” she exclaimed enthusiastically. “It was so much fun!”
“Oh Livia,” he laughed.
Half a Birthday Cake
Out of the Boat
the things they carried
Cabin in the Woods
He wanted to know why I was so proud of my culture. He wanted to know how my Spanish was so good. He wanted to know how I preserved my accent so well.
I could tell him my address. Where all the Salvadorans in town live. Where I’ve lived my whole life. In a small apartment. Sharing a room with my 10 year old sister. But him knowing where I lived wouldn’t show him how I lived.
Where I’m from El Salvador stays on our mind. Our music blasting in the summer. The smell of Pupusas filling the air. Where our moms leave the door open all day because they don’t know what time we’ll be home from hanging out with the neighbors.
Where I’m from drunk guys walk around at night singing. We know them just from their voices. The dads offer them food and water. The kids play soccer with them. The moms tell them to go away.
Where I’m from there’s always noise. Maybe it’s from the factories across the street. Maybe it’s someone shooting fireworks. Maybe the neighbors threw a party. Maybe it’s the boys racing their cars.
Where I’m from everyone knows everybody’s business. You talk a little too loud and the neighbors will hear you through the thin walls. 20 minutes later the whole block knows what your conversation was about.
Where I’m from our moms beef with each other. Maybe because we played our music too loud. Maybe because the neighbor’s kid was being rude. Maybe because their husband got drunk and said something offensive.
Where I’m from our culture never dies. Where I’m from we communicate in Spanish. Where I’m from everyone is proud of their Salvadoran roots.