UNDERSTANDING (DIS)ORGANIZATION

Lets talk about being organized! The SCARIEST thing in life since sliced bread. Wait. That’s not how that works. Anyways, being organized is something that I am simultaneously great at and terrible at. And I mean TERRIBLE. Like I have books in four different places in my room, and none of them are where I keep my books to be read. I have things in my clothing drawers that are not clothes. Like organization is not my strong suit at home.

But then at work, I organize nearly everything more systematically and efficiently than anyone else on shift, and I carefully keep up that organization. If a staple is out of place, I’ll know. If the inventory gets messed up, I’ll know. I mean, I can’t really do anything besides complain about it, because I’m not the store owner, but I knew there was something going wrong.

So what gives? You think I would care about my living space more, right? Well, I think it has to do with a few different things. Firstly, I am more comfortable in my living space than at work. Less people to impress. That’s why any of us would. Secondly, I’ve lived here forever. FOR-EVER. I know every nook and cranny of this place, and so when you ask me where my copy of Hamlet is, I can tell you it is in stack one, versus when you ask where my copy of Beowulf is, I can tell you it is in stack two. At the store, if you ask me where something is, I have to go check to verify nobody else moved it before I tell you where it is, because working with co-workers is HARD (insert heavy sarcasm because it really isn’t difficult to work with co-workers as long as they just put things back and keep the room a little cleaner than before but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO why would they do that. Ok, rant over).

Anyways, what do you think? Is your place spick and span, or do you have a well detailed map of the place in your head? Let me know!

 

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COVFEFE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

There is never a week that goes by when something entertaining isn’t going on. The Climate Change denial is real. The covfefe is real. The bragging about things that really don’t matter enough to be bragged about is real. But enough about Donald Trump. I can see the logic behind the argument against the Paris Agreement, but there is some fault in it. Namely, that if we don’t have a livable globe, the fact that someone is “for the people of Pittsburgh” is irrelevant. Because there will be no people left. Although, being for the people of Pittsburgh would indicate being for the people at all, which isn’t even clear to me. Though presenting a healthcare program that knocks some twenty million people off healthcare doesn’t seem to support a “for the people” position in the slightest.

Whatever. There are too many things to talk about today and I don’t want to get sidetracked through this whole post. Climate change. It is important because it is real. For anyone saying it isn’t real, take a moment and think to yourself: is it possible? If you answered yes, please read over the science, as I think you will find that your assertion is incorrect when presented with evidence. If you answered no, I’ll be responding personally.

So why not? Why can’t people cause climate change? Is it that the Earth is some sort of infinite object? For those of you reading along, this is one of the biggest reasons people don’t get climate change. They believe that the Earth is too big for us to have a real impact on it. This dates back to the Old Testament, and other religious inclinations that swayed society hundreds of years ago. The Earth is viewed as immortal, evergreen, etc. But think about it. It isn’t. It’s just a ball of matter.

Think of any ball of matter. Actually, lets think specifically of a ball of wood, the size of your hand. Put a lit match to that wood—just one. Now, it probably didn’t light up. Add in a few more matches. It might still not light up. But eventually, it will, right? Maybe after 10 matches, it lights up on the side, but dies out quickly. After 100, it ignites. That’s the problem with man-made climate change. It takes literally billions of matches to make an impact, because the Earth is huge. If you saw your house burning, you wouldn’t say “that’s nothing.” You would be thinking “Oh god! How do we put out this fire!?” The science is the writing on the wall, in the moments before ignition. The fires have started, and while some have burned out, people are still lighting matches. It won’t be long before it burns up.

Ok, yes it is true this is a bit of a crude metaphor, but it is a metaphor for a reason. And the logic is sound. The Earth is a ball of matter, like anything else, and it can only be burned so much. Pulling out of the Paris Agreement displays the ignorance of this situation. Truly caring for citizens—both of Pittsburgh and the rest of the world—is to protect them, their children, and all peoples there after.

——

 

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A MIDWINTER NIGHT

“Please come to me,” the old man whispered. His words were spoken out into the dark, quiet sitting room. He was seated at his wooden work table; a worn down candle was lit next to him. The dim lighting pushed feebly back against the night that surrounded him. Before him was a mess of papers—half finished lines, empty stanzas, unbalanced sonnets, and scrawls of other accounts. All of them stopped short.

“Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, please…help me.” But there was no answer. The man’s sad eyes stared through the window to his right. There was no moon. No clouds. Not even stars that night. Just empty blackness. He turned again, this time to the tomes on his left. His tomes. Perfect accounts of the greatest tragedies, the most tremendous comedies, and other master works that had changed how the world thought about writing. But tonight was different. Tonight the ink in his quill had seemed to dry up; the paper sat there stagnant, and his muses had abandoned him. The wax from the candle bled down onto the edge of the table, adding to the pattern of waxes already there.

Once, he would have reminded the weary world of the good deed that little candle did, shining out as a beacon against the darkness, but tonight no words came to him. He felt choked, as if his throat had been ripped from his throat by the bear from the theatre the night before. He had not been there. His legs were too weak, and his body was too frail to endure the cold these days. Even now, with his body enrobed in layers of clothing, he could feel the chill air prod at his heart. The very air he breathed felt like knives in his lungs.

He himself, beneath those layers, looked like an infant—too tiny to move his own body. Yet somehow, he had found his way to his desk. But even now he could feel the weight sinking into his shoulders, immobilizing him. The whites of his knuckles pressed against the table as he tried to rise—to breathe a breath of fresh air, and renew the pictures in his mind. He could almost taste the crisp frost of the air. The physician had told him fresh air, even if cold, was good for him. Still, as he tried to rise, he felt his tiny legs shaking beneath him. He was trapped at his desk, lest he wish to shed his only protection from the winter cold. Trapped, by the works he couldn’t finish. Trapped by the dried well of language that once flowed from his immortal hands. That is what they had told him at least: that he would be immortalized.

But tonight he did not feel immortal. He could feel the coiling in his lungs; every heartbeat like a popping balloon. He reached out, as if some entity—some beautiful woman—stood before him. He could almost see her. So perfect, so young…yet so aged and mature. He was so close he could nearly touch her. His arms trembled beneath the weight of his cloths. Three inches…two inches…then his body gave out and he crashed into his wooden table. The candle sputtered out, and he was left in the dark.

——

 

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FRIEND ZONED

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Today I wanted to discuss the dreaded “friend zone.” Which is a term I strongly dislike, but at the same time have experienced the feelings that tie to what people often deem “the friend zone.” Before I get into it, in case you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps you don’t really date nowadays), the friend zone is a space in which a love interest of a person does not reciprocate that person’s interests, however both people still want to be friends. I hear this situation come up most commonly where girls tells guys they think of them as a friend, rather than a romantic partner, though that may be simply my experience. I do not hear women talk about being “friend zoned” often at all.

Ok, so I don’t like the term “friend zone” because it dismisses one person’s opinion. I mean, not literally, in the sense that the person in the friend zone is willing to stay there, but it indicates that the relationship is not what that person wants it to be, despite the fact that being friends is what makes the other person comfortable. The friend wants to be able to say to this person “man I’m having problems with a crush,” and not have them say something stupid back, like “well if we went on a date I’d treat you right.” That does not help them. That’s selfish. I think it is reasonable to assume that if they are friends with that person, they probably view that person as a decent human being.

That being said, it is also a reasonable reaction to a situation in this day and age (what, you thought I would just cram my opinion down your throat? Nah, that’s not what we’re here for). Lets think about it. Today is often about being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. If someone doesn’t appreciate something, they should be able to tell that person how they feel. Someone should never feel trapped. There is always the opportunity to leave, but there is not always the opportunity to stay. Let’s take a Hollywood cliché love example. Guy loves girl, girl rejects guy, but he persists until she eventually comes around. I mean, everyone adores Beauty and the Beast, and that’s pretty much how it goes, right? So if this is the rhetoric that everyone hears, then it’s not unreasonable for a guy to be expected to persist, is it? The idea that love follows rejection leads to ignoring rejection. It reduces the “we are not dating” mentality to “we are not dating right now.”

This concept is supported in our culture in all ways. “Don’t give up,” “hard work pays off,” and so on. If a person just tries hard enough, they can be whatever they want. Even happily married. There’s something romantic about crossing a barrier to win over a loved one. Which I think is what the thought process is for those who believe in the friend zone. They think their interest just has not seen the beauty of them yet. Which is a hard thing to disagree with, especially when we aren’t willing to ignore the feelings of others.

——

 

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PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE

I pledge allegiance to the flag

 

My young eyes followed

Each word on the board dutifully,

As we spoke,

Because I had been told

That’s what a patriot would do.

 

Of the United States of America

 

My home.

Well, my country, at least,

My home was there, too,

But just down the street,

Next to Mikey’s house.

I had never been to somewhere like Texas

Or Tennessee.

Ma said it wasn’t safe there.

 

And to the Republic, for which is stands,

 

And what exactly

Do we stand for?

I wondered.

Uncle Rob and Mom

Were arguing over that

Just the other day.

“You poor people

Are all the same.

Fat. Lazy.

And so irritating,

Begging for my money.”

He had spit.

I remember the contempt in his eyes

When his gaze fell on me.

 

One nation, under God, indivisible

 

Of course, the divide in our family

Was made long before yesterday evening.

Mom had married a Muslim.

And because he translated God

To Allah

Uncle Rob acted like dad was a terrorist.

Then again, so did my classmates,

Which is why mom drops me off

Nowadays.

 

With liberty and justice for all.

 

At the time,

When I rocked back and forth on my heels,

Hand clasped over my heart,

I did not know the term “irony,”

 

But as I would learn,

In my public schooling,

The ideas of “liberty” and “justice”

Are riddled with it.

 

Where was the liberty

When my father was executed

By Mikey’s dad,

The “self-proclaimed” patriot?

 

Where was the justice

When my mother grew weak and weary

From over exhaustion,

While Uncle Rob

Grew fat

With his riches?

 

“For all,”

Echoed through my mind,

As we took our seats in class.

The tattered walls,

The creaky floors,

The wobbly desks,

All reminded me

What a perfect lie that was.

 

There’s no justice for us.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT DREAMS

Hello everyone,

 

Today seems like a good day to talk about dreams. If you haven’t noticed, I quite like using dreams as a reference point for my poems. I never have really discussed this with anyone before, so I figured why not give it a shot today?

Dreams are an awesome, beautiful concept—fall asleep for a little while and have your brain entertain you. The irony for me is that I very rarely if ever remember my dreams. When I do, it is in the way most people remember them—fragmented images and broken strings of plot, often blurry around the edges. Yet after twenty-two years of life, I can place what makes a dream so “dreamy” with some amount of ease. The vivid colors, the strangely familiar faces…and so on.

After seeing Get Out, the thriller film about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family (can’t say more than that, you should all go see the film), I think I can also talk about what makes nightmares so terrifying. At least some of them. One recurring one that I hear about is the nightmare where people have lost their voice. Often times, a loved one is in the distance, and something bad is about to happen to them. They call out—only to feel their voice catch in their throat. Try as they might, nothing happens, and they usually wake up in a cold sweat.

The movie took this idea a step farther, showing the conscious mind as trapped inside the subconscious in a “sunken place,” and it’s the core of every nightmare—the feeling of being powerless to do anything. Immobilized, silenced, and trapped. Not a place I would ever want to be. Personally, I think this is typically why I am glad when I cannot remember a dream—because even in dreams we seem to lack some amount of control, don’t we? In A Stroke of Red Ink, a poem I wrote fairly recently, I wrote about a dream that I had. Despite having pleasant factors to it, I still lacked control. Another dream that I remember fondly, is simply about walking through a void of ever changing color. It shifted and morphed, from wispy pinks to grassy greens, all through the color spectrum. I could almost smell the lush of flowers. Yet there was something unsettling about it—the fact that I was at the mercy of these colors. In an instant, they could have changed to a grotesque, bloody red, and suddenly I would have been in a hellish nightmare scape.

I think this is what makes lucid dreaming so appealing to people. All this power, this unchained imagination, reined in and harnessed, is empowering. Can you imagine waving a hand and watching the whole world change in front of you? The wind against your skin as you fly away? Can you imagine the person of your fantasies finally bending to your desires? It’s…well, it’s every person’s dream. What are your experiences with dreaming? Is it about power and control? Let me know!

——

 

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LOVE POEM #29 – WHAT TO DO?

What to do? What to do? What to do?

I really don’t know what to do with you.

 

You can be such a great guy

With a merry look in your eye,

But if the King finds out then

We’re screwed.

 

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Why did I go on that date with you?

 

I guess your head was in Rome

And your brain was your own

But I didn’t want more trouble

‘Fore noon.

 

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Well at least I‘ve got this lovely view.

 

Ah why not! What the heck!

Screw my dad! No respect!

At least now all my troubles

Are through.

 

He’ll come ‘round and demand

Who has taken my hand

And I’ll say…

 

I’ve got you! I’ve got you! I’ve got you!

——

 

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MONEY TALKS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Money Talks

All this money talks

Yet I don’t speak its language

Because talk is cheap.

 

Details

I looked at the desk,

And thought to myself, “what luck!”

They got it in brown.

 

Mutt

The perceptive dog

Will live more in its short life

Than the vain master.

 

Power

Now that is power.

To still fire with their eyes;

Not extinguish it.

 

Rice

Single grains of rice

Do not provide sustenance

When eaten alone.

——

 

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GOLDEN STRUGGLES

It’s hard to believe

Life is hard for everyone.

Even Donald Trump.

 

Although Donald Trump

Might not have it quite as hard

As a Harlemite.

 

Better dipped in gold

Than underneath a bootstrap,

Or invisible.

 

In the beating sun

Better to carry the whip

Than pick the cotton

 

That life’s more easy;

Even if they both get burned.

Only one gets scars.

 

But that’s hard to see

From a penthouse apartment

In your own hotel.

——

 

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THE INVADER

Take your broken heart

Make it into art;

Make your mind smart

Before things fall apart.

 

Lest you become an Okonkwo.

The greatest man of his tribe,

Yet he was brought low

Through the faults in his pride.

 

I don’t know what it is

That makes good people,

And I don’t know how his

Would follow a man so evil.

 

Except for that the invader

Is rarely held to his word.

He will claim to be the savior

Of an unsuspecting herd.

 

He’ll take them

And break them,

And batter and shake them,

 

He’ll blame them

And shame them,

And in the end enslave them

 

Until they are bruised

And broken

 

But at least he got his profit

At least he got a dollar off it,

At least he’s willing to speak his mind,

At least he isn’t expected to be kind.

 

And a hush falls over the crowd,

Now he has his chance.

He raises his hands and screams “Unite!”

And, defeated, they bow to his plans.

——

 

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