So I've started going back to "The Word on Wednesdays", a weekly, open mic night put on by UCLA's Cultural Affairs Commission (CAC). I used to go A LOT during my Freshman year, but during my second year, after I got diagnosed with the vocal cord polyp and GERD, I had to abruptly stop. But I've missed going and have so much of my writing that I'd like to share. Here's a poem I recently wrote last week that I've been eager to get out there into the open:
"Society" - February 2014
I’m tired of beating myself up
and trying to modify everything I aspire to be.
How about turning it around
and beating up society?
I’m perfectly innocent,
but they act like I’m a criminal
just cause I’m content,
I’m comfortable with who I am.
Just cause I can’t conform
to what? What’s conventional; the norm?
F*ck that, I will not repent
Just cause I’m nontraditional.
I am an original.
I saw a picture on my Facebook newsfeed
while I was carelessly scrolling along
it had the worst advice that I’ve ever seen
it said “keep calm and carry on”
but excuse me
why should we when everything is wrong?!
No, I refuse, that goes against all of my hopes and dreams,
but while still on Facebook, I saw, yet, another meme
it read “don’t keep calm, go change the world”
and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with this spoken word.
Cause as our foremothers swore
with their immortal folklore
The PenDragon needs no sword
for its weapon is the word.
And just like Audre Lorde conceives
“Poetry is Not a Luxury”
and to me, this is a firm belief
Because she’s right, it’s not, it is a necessity
And it flows through me
Just like electricity
For within my poetry
lies my legacy
it will continue to live on
long, long after me.
If I can use my inspiration, innovation to create
it can facilitate our efforts to derange
with the restrictions and constraints that we abstain
we can celebrate our differences and grow from our pain
we can animate the images and stories to which others may relate
and therefore form a community connected in producing social change.
‘Cause as the minority
up against the majority
we’re faced with blatant poverty
evident in the discrimination
perpetuated by our nation
that goes as far back as the plantations
where nothing but cruelty and subordination
were passed down from generation to generation
with race, class, religious denomination
body type, ability, undocumentation
gender, ethnicity, even sexual orientation
We assert ourselves as powerless.
But that’s just what they’d like us to think
So they can sail the ship away while we are left to sink.
Like Freire says in his “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”
we become our own oppressors
and we become obsessed
with keeping each other down,
But if we were to turn it around
we can reverse the pyramid
that leaves us limited and inhibited
destruct the patriarchal ties
the hegemonic hierarchies
Bring truth to the lies
and have the opportunities
to finally achieve
No one should go out casting stones
When there isn’t a single one of us without sin
And if we really wanna make the world a better place
We must learn to embrace the lasting change that comes from within.
Cause these ideas, rhymes, repetitions and visions are my child,
but I just have muster up the strength to bear it
and we all have so much cultural capital
but we have to be open and willing to share it.
So let’s deconstruct
this reality established by society
one with unity
that won’t relent
to make its priorities
not what’s best for the only the one percent
but for all of humanity.
This is all I have to say
Thank you for listening to all of the thoughts I worked to arrange
But remember the message I give you to take away:
We are not done, we never are. There is always room for change.
And because it is finally raining after all of this time, I thought I'd add another one of my poems that's relevant to the weather:
"It Rains" - June 2011
Ten trillion droplets of my pain.
pour gallons of my sorrow
Desperate for the sun to come
and dry it all tomorrow.
Storms of misery and tragedy
The lightning strikes with agony
The pedestrian stops to stare
everyone has become aware,
Do you even notice?
Or take me in vain?
the falling droplets of my pain
my emotions burst with me into tears
It's not a secret that I hate the rain. I really do. In SoCal, I seem to be one of the few people (usually the only person, in most occasions) that hates the rain with a passion. Everyone seems to like it and enjoy it, since it's so rare here, and currently because we're in a drought. People find it romantic and calming, they like to fall asleep to the pitter patter of rain drops falling on the ground or tapping on their windows. But I don't care, I will always hate the rain. And that's hard to say because I honestly don't hate anything. I don't have the energy for that. Who does? But the cold, wet, winters have never been kind to me. . .
People always ask me "Why don't you like it?" and I have to say that it's a number of reasons. I grew up very poor, and I never had a car to go places with. My main source of transportation was riding a bicycle (as I've mentioned before in a previous post) and that was all I had to get to school with and go shopping for groceries. Well, whenever it rained, my mom, uncle and I would get drenched by the storms, leaving the roads slippery and tough to navigate with the weight of food hanging in bags on your handlebars and the difficulty to see the oncoming traffic with the foggy haze corroding your eyes. My immune system was never strong as a kid, especially since I grew up with malnutrition and second hand smoke that permeated my entire house at a certain point, so much so that our white walls were stained yellow and people complained of leaving our house with the smell of cigarette smoke absorbed into their hair and clothing. In fact, I lost several friends when their parents said they could no longer visit me or talk to me because they were disgusted by the living conditions that were a normative reality at my house. Anyways, I already got sick several times, as is seen throughout my diaries. My younger cousin and I recently read through the old diaries I kept from 4th grade till 6th grade, all 11 of them, and it wasn't hard to conceive that I was sick at least every 3 months, no exaggeration. That's how bad it was. I'm pretty sure I've had every cold germ known to man EXCEPT for pneumonia, thank God. And when it rained, I got even sicker and had to miss days of school that I really shouldn't have. Not to mention the horrible process my mom would make me go through whenever I got sick. She would shove cloves of garlic and onions down my throat instead of giving me conventional medicine, chicken noodle soup or tea, because she was and always has been into "alternative remedies" that really don't work for sh*t. That was traumatic in itself. But the rain never made any of this better, and like I illustrate in the poem, it only represented if not added to my pain. So I hope that you can at least find comfort or an instance of empathy within my words, cause I know I do.
And an exciting poetic adventure is up ahead for me! For my current English M107A, Women's Literature, class, there's a creative writing option for the upcoming assignment, so I'm going to present a collection of newly inspired, fresh poems! Stay tuned for that!
Thanks for reading. :)