What Mothers Really Are

Mothers are warriors on the battlefield willing to sacrifice their lives to protect you. They are lions protecting their cubs from the dangers of the wild world. They are sweet wafts of perfume letting you know they’re there. They are spontaneous cookies to fill your belly and a clean house to come home to. They are lilies and orchids, either in their ear or potted around the house. Mothers are the sound of warm showers in the morning and the smell of grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast. They’re a whirlwind of colors and fabrics ready to face the day.

They are steady and strong roofs, protecting from the harsh storms that are unyielding outside. Mothers are handkerchiefs at the ready to wipe away your tears when you cry. They are warm hugs that mend the sad heart. Mothers are the light that keeps you going and chases away the darkness.

Mothers are the defenders of your bedroom, scaring monsters from their hiding places. Mothers are movies late at night with ice cream and cookies. They are the hot dry clothes that tumble out of the dryer. They are the slippery soapy floor during mopping time after dinner.

They are the unofficial lifeguards at the beach watch you with a careful eye as you swim. Mothers are the chauffer when you need to go somewhere, making sure you get there on time no matter what. They are the sharpened pencils at the beginning of the school year and the stuffed trash bags of worn-out supplies at the end of it. They are your good luck charm, your safe house, and your sustenance.

Mothers are the strongest people in the world, the type of strong that will get them and anyone they care about through the hardest trials of life. They are fearless beings. They are fearsome creatures that should not be tampered with or taken advantage of. Mothers must be respected at all costs. They are impossible to not love. They are your secret keeper, the one you know you can trust above all. They are there for you when everyone else leaves you, even when you think they’re not.

Mothers are strict. They’re tough, and sometimes scary. Mothers are hard, and full of expectations. But, they believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. They can see the future and know that no matter what, everything will be okay. Mothers are teachers and masters of the “tough love” act, and they do it to help you grow.  

Mothers are your rationale and all the sense you have. They are your compass that guides you in the right direction. They are the captain of the ship, ensuring order. They are the general in battle, ensuring safety.  

They are your protector and confidant, your mother, mom, and mommy.

How to Paint the Sky Blue

True fact: the sky isn’t blue just because it’s blue. There are actually people out there who dedicate their lives to painting the sky for the world. If you’re reading this, then you’re one of the lucky few who get the chance of a lifetime: to be the personal designers of the sky. The color of the sky rests in your hands- choose it wisely.

Directions to paint the sky:

The first thing you need to do is set your alarm to that grouchy-crabby-too-early-in-the-morning time. Maybe set a couple just to make sure you manage to get up on time. It’s a good idea to set your alarms in different places of your room so that when one of them goes flying towards the closet, there’s still a resilient one on top of your bookshelf waking you up.

After you’ve managed to roll your tired body out of bed you need to pick your color. Keep in mind that while you get to choose the color, you shouldn’t go overboard. There’s some pretty strict authority out there that would not be pleased if the general public woke up to see a purple polka dotted sky. By the by, no prints are allowed to be painted on the sky. That means no stripes, no patterns, no polka dots, no nothing.

 After you’ve picked your color you need to get lots and lots of paint. Make sure that the paint you use is water resistant in case it rains. They haven’t invented a blazing-heat-of-the-sun resistant paint yet, so your job is to get the paint up there on the sky and fast.

The best time to paint is early early in the morning while the sky is still a white blank canvas waiting for someone’s paintbrush to give it color. It’s going to be lots of work, and granted by the time you’re done you’re probably going to fall asleep and miss out on the fruits of your labor, but you’re painting the sky for the world- you didn’t think it was going to be easy did you?

Next get high up above the ground. A mere ladder won’t do, I’m talking about some serious height. If you’ve got a skyscraper handy that will do. Climb on top and grab your paint brush and dip it in the paint. Use broad strokes like the sweeping movement of a bird in flight. Stretch your arm and reach as high as you can let it come down in a smooth thick line.

Paint more than one coat so that you can achieve the bluest blue possible. Once you’ve finished one section move on to the next. Hop buildings, climb mountains and rooftops. Whatever it takes to reach the top of the sky. Occasionally if you happen to come across a low floating cloud, you can hop on that and paint as it rises higher in the sky. Be careful though, those clouds are pretty fickle and can decide to thin out at any moment. Only jump on clouds that look absolutely fluffy and thick. Avoid those damp ones especially.

After you’ve circled the globe and you’re back at the place you started your very first stroke you’ve crossed the finish line. You have managed to paint the sky! Congratulations! Now, you need to drag your weary body home, go to your room, lock your door, and sleep until night. Then you can start planning what color you’ll use for the next day.


She is notes and doodles scrawled across a notebook in class.
She is freshly baked brownies and cookies.
She is sparklers on the beach at night.
She is a movie marathon until morning.
She is sleepovers and night time adventures.
She is shelves of books stacked higher than my head.
She is random photo shoots when we get bored.
She is silly inside jokes that no one but us understands.
She is sorely missed.
She is my best friend.

A Late Goodbye

He left this world for another
I didn’t even say goodbye
Too scared to see what might be left
Remains of someone I still loved

I didn’t even say goodbye
I should have gone, I missed my chance
Remains of someone I still loved
I decided to leave behind

I should have gone, I missed my chance
He waited for me, I’m sure he did
I decided to leave behind
Everything he meant to me

He waited for me, I’m sure he did
I chose to stay and left him all alone
Everything he meant to me
I cut my ties without the tears

I chose to stay and left him all alone
Too scared to see what might be left
I cut my ties without the tears
And he left this world for another.

Kids Basketball Hoop

I look out the window, and I see them playing. They’re ducking and dodging each other as they try to get themselves set up for the shot. They wave their hands in the air to prevent a pass. I hear the slap of their feet against the pavement and their voices as they call out to each other.

Volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, every spherical object found in my garage is used in their game.  Slippers form a large rectangle in the driveway, marking the out of bounds. The pounding of the basketball echoes against the headboard as they wait to see if it will go through the net. The ball wobbles and rolls to the side, bouncing back on the pavement. They rush towards it, capturing it in their small hands as they begin the process again.

Occasionally, they’ll lift each other up so that they can each get a chance at a making a shot and scoring a point. They’ll make their own whooping noises and cheers. They’ll play to win the championship or an ice cream sundae until the sun goes down. They’ll play because they can, because they’re kids and that’s what kid’s do: they play.

Over the years, those hands got bigger, the feet slapped harder until I didn’t hear them at all anymore, and slowly but surely, those kids grew up. The basketball hoop that once was the center of warm afternoons and early nights started to get neglected. As the years of childhood slipped past, no one cared about a kid’s basketball hoop, things got too complicated for that.

They started worrying about boyfriends and girlfriends; they became concerned with the way their hair looked, what clothes they wore, and who they hung out with. They weren’t the kids that were so carefree and fun-spirited; they were over-dramatic teenagers who said things like “OMG, WTH, IDC!” letters that I still don’t understand.

Life changed focus. It wasn’t about bonding with the family over an impromptu game of H-O-R-S-E; it was about finding rides to the movies and sleepovers.

I don’t hear the slap of feet on my driveway, I don’t see slippers forming a rectangle to mark the bounds of a game, I don’t hear their cheers as they try to score a point. I don’t see them playing the sport that brought them together.  Somewhere between winning points and getting dates I’d lost my kids because when the buzzer sounded ending the game, it ended their childhood.

Kids Basketball Hoop- $10 (Wailuku)

adjustable basketball hoop, plastic, nicely taken care of, comes with the remains of a forgotten childhood.


What if I never got to fly?

What if I clipped my own wings for fear of falling?

What if I caged myself in because of doubt?

What if I hid away from opportunity because of failure?

What if I broke down because everything seemed too hard?

What if I gave up and never tried?

But, What if I did try?

What if I took a chance?

What if I defied fear?

What if I became free?

What if I began to soar?

What if I spread my wings to catch the wind?

What if I escaped through the bars of doubt?

What if I seized opportunity and chased it through the skies?

What if I could fly?

My Room on a Rainy Day

My favorite place is my room on a rainy day.

Here I can see the water droplets slide down the window pane like horses racing to the finish line in a Kentucky derby, the ominous misty gray sky like a journey out to see without a charted course, and the rain slicked roads slippery like a bar of soap.

I can hear the muted rain drops tap dancing on my roof, the excited splashing of tires as they speed through puddles, and the crisp page turning in my book.

I can feel the cool chill lacing its fingers around my toes, my fluffy blanket enveloping me in its protective warmth, and the stiff page of my book resting between my fingers, poised to be turned.

I can see, I can hear, I can feel in my favorite place, my room on a rainy day.

A limerick

There once was a poodle from France

Who couldn’t bear wearing her pants.

So she shaved off her hair

And while it looked fair

She never had any romance.


I like to remember the way she smiled. She had the kind of smile that would brighten any dark room. I also like to remember her laugh. Her laugh was like pure energy that when you heard it you just got excited and wanted to do something spectacular. Sometimes, I like to think about what she’s doing now, but not too often because it makes me a little sad. I like to think about how we would chat all night and share secrets because, well, that’s what best friends do. She was such an open and trusting person- even though sometimes I wasn’t the best of a friend. She was like a wall. Steady and strong, always there behind you, supporting you throughout everything. I’d like to be a wall for someone someday.

We don’t text very often. To be honest, we hardly text at all, we used to though. I guess that means she’s having a good time where ever she is. I remember the night she left. It wasn’t a sad day. That’s what strikes me most about it. I wasn’t sad that she was leaving. I was okay about it. I knew chances were that she’d never come back, and I was okay with that.

I must have been a rotten friend to think that.

She sends me a text message, or an email every once in a while, but I don’t always respond. It’s different now. She’s different, I’m different. It seems silly to me to pretend that we’re still close friends when we’re not. Somewhere between laughing after school about a stupid joke and saying goodbye on her last day, I’d let go. I had left behind everything that once was and moved on to things that will be.

I had said goodbye and moved on- even though I said I wouldn’t, because that’s what best friends do. They let go when the time is right.

Introduction to a personal narrative entitled “A is for Kindergarten”

My stiff school dress crinkled as I sat in my car seat. The seat belt pressed against the pearl buttons on my pink dress. I could feel my heart beat reverberate in the strap, the fast paced tempo of my nerves. My eyes squeezed shut as I bit my lip to hold back the tears. Time was going by too fast and too slow all at once.  Trees and houses whizzed past the window blurring like smudges of colors on a paint pallet. The car made a turn into the school and a backpack that felt all too foreign fell against my feet…(read the end to this personal narrative in the print edition of We Digress to be released in May 2011.)  

My fingers found their way to my keep-me-safe-in-kindergarten necklace mommy and daddy had given me the night before. It had my initial inscribed on it, a fancy Hawaiian “A” for my name. Now I clutched the charm and held it tight in my little fist. Maybe if I clutched it hard enough the car would turn around. We had finally arrived at school, a scary and unknown concept to me. The yellow gates loomed ominously in front of me as if they were warning me away from the unknown. My palms started to sweat out of fear…(read the rest of the story in the print version of We Digress being released in May 2011.)

This is a Poem that Wipes Away Your Tears

This is a poem that wipes away the tears that cascade down your cheeks
In the darkest moments of your day.
That helps you blow your nose
Because you need some help taking a deep breath,
Because even you need someone to lean on.
And when sadness overwhelms your life and makes you feel lower than low,
This is the poem that is there for you when no one else is
In the darkest moments of your day
Like the moon shining down on the blackest night
Telling you it will be okay.



I had a peacock that was quite pretty,
but she always said her feathers were itty bitty;
Even though I always told her that was a real beauty;
She would sit in the corner alone, just being moody.


But I Love You

I kept you up
Late at night
Just so I could
Hear your voice.
Hear you laugh
Just so I could
Of my stupid jokes
I told you all

I asked you for reasons
Why you loved me
Just so I could
Feel my heart beat fast

I had you listen to
My exaggerated stories
Just so I could
See you smile

I asked you to be
My guilty happiness,
The one I couldn’t
Live without

But I love you more
Than anything without
A shadow of a doubt,
Forgive me?


A Reason to Smile

My name is Greg Burns; I’m a psychology major at the local university down the street. I come from a small town where things aren’t always as they seem. I believe that everyone has a story- you just have to go and find it.

The walk to the local jail is a short one from my dorm. It’s my first day as the new psychologist for the inmates, or rather; one specific inmate who I believe is deeply troubled.  His name is Samuel Rivers, and he’s been recently admitted for the kidnapping and murdering of a young woman. The woman was tall and beautiful, with blond hair and red lips and a beautiful smile.

As I enter the building, the warden meets me at the desk and takes me to a small room around the corner. The jail is silent and oddly peaceful. Rooms with bullet proof windows line the hall, and inside I see inmates playing chess or cards. They look nothing like the sort of people who would be capable of hurting someone.

The warden opens the door and leads me inside. For the first time, my eyes meet Mr. Rivers face to face. I’d seen him before in photos documenting his arrest. He looks distinguished, neatly trimmed beard with hair just starting to get gray at the edges.

We sit down and I take out a pad of paper and a pencil from my briefcase. He looks at me with cold eyes that tell nothing of his past or future. I begin the questioning, easing my way into the harder questions, the ones that will require him to search through his past, through memories he’s been trying to bury.

The hands on the clock tick away, I’m only allotted a short amount of time with him. He claims to have lost something, something dear and important to him. Something he says he would be willing to do anything to get back.

As he says this, his eyes turn hard and the air around him stills, filled with an angry energy. I try to get him to talk to me some more, but he has shut down. Mr. Rivers houses a dark past and whatever he has lost, he has yet to let go of.

The warden arrives at the door with two officers behind him. The officers step forward and lift up Mr. Rivers as they prepare to escort him out. He shakes them off and walks down the hall to his cell on his own.

A few weeks later, Mr. Rivers killed himself in his cell. Next to his body was a note with only a few scribbled words, “I told you I’d do anything to get her back.” Attached to the note was a picture of a young woman smiling- the same woman Rivers was in jail for. Written on the back of the picture were the words “You are the reason for my smile. I love you, M.R.”


White Blank Page

From the darkness came the sound of jingling keys. The security guards were on their nightly rounds. I tugged the rope that hung suspended from the ceiling and slowly, my feet left the ground. Once on the ground, I quickly slid the skylight in place. I turned to my partner, Andrew, and whispered,

“It’s no good, with the guards making their nightly rounds, I’ll need more help. As soon as he leaves, you’re going to have to come down with me.”

“But Boss, you know I’ve never been nothing more than a look out on the job. I don’t know if I can do it.” Andrew fiddled with the rope; I could tell he was nervous.

“This is an important job, Andrew, and I need more than one set of hands.” He slowly nodded his head, resigned. I peered over and looked through the skylight on the roof, the coast was clear. I slid off the skylight and tied another rope to our base on top of the building.

“This is your rope. We’ll climb down together and then we’ll pick up where I left off. Okay?”

“You got it Boss.” I slid down the rope silently, but a big thump alerted my attention. I swiveled around to find Andrew in a tumbled heap on the ground.

“Dang it! Andrew! I told you to be quiet!”  He blushed and got to his feet.

“Well, you didn’t actually say to be quiet…”

 I clenched my hands, “Dang it! If you blew our cover I swear…”  My voice trailed off and I listened silently for a few moments.

“I think it’s clear. Let’s move. Be quiet and don’t touch anything!” 

He mumbled “You got it Boss,” and followed me silently.

I scanned the walls, looking for the office number. 211…212…213! I silently picked the lock and slipped inside and motioned for Andrew to follow.

“While I hack the PC, you search through those file cabinets and get me the file marked CONFIDENTIAL-ALISTAR. Got it?” 

Andrew nodded and bumbled over to the cabinets as I hacked the computer and pulled up the file I wanted. My finger hesitated, and then pressed delete. I satisfied smirk lit up my face as I saw the computer’s message flash:  ALISTAR FILE DELETING. Andrew came back to my side with the folder. My folder, I opened it up: ALISTAR, CAMERON: THIEF, DELINQUENT: HIGH SECURITY.  I shoved the folder in my bag, grabbed Andrew and ran back to our ropes.

Cameron Alistar, the CIA’s most wanted thief has just left the building.

When we reached the top, I felt exhilarated.

“Was that so hard Andrew?”

“No, it wasn’t, but I was a little scared. I’ve never done anything like that. Why did we have to erase all your files?”

 I took out the folder and held it in my hands and whispered,

“‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending” (Maria Robinson).


The Music Sheet

The notes splay across the page

Weaving in between the bars and lines

Each individual note requires so much attention

Just like each individual word I write


The notes flow throughout the music

And the words follow throughout my head

Each note, each sound I hear creates a story

Each word, each sentence I write creates a story


I pause to take a breath and then continue on

Lost somewhere in between the tangible lines

The complexity of being in two states at once

That of which I am, and that of which I create


My thoughts, my words; they never cease

They keep flowing and creating, and changing

They change in tempo, in meaning, in tone

Crescendo at the climax and slower at the end


The music flows inside me as I write

Fueling my ideas, feeding my inspiration

It powers my fingers as they poise over the keys

When I write I become music, meaning, words



Writing Philosophy

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but to say what we are unable to say, to put the whispers of our heart into words and create a world that takes us away from the harsh reality.



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