The sad thing about Happiness,
Is that it always goes away;
An all too welcomed guest,
That never wants to stay.
When I was somewhat younger,
It all seemed back and white.
You could work hard to achieve it,
And it came when the time was right.
And when it came it felt,
Like sand beneath my feet;
A contentedness that seemed,
Typical and neat.
And when it went away,
I wasn’t sad at all;
The way I felt when seasons changed,
From summer into fall.
But then a strange thing happened,
And it was then I knew,
That I was never happy ‘til
I fell in love with you.
Then happiness became,
A carousel of lights,
A parade of violins,
An endless starry night.
Every sound was choral,
And every taste was sweet,
And everything was everything,
But typical and neat.
And then I thought that maybe,
I would never cry again,
And never did I think,
That Happiness would end.
But then beloved Happiness,
Packed up its bags and went.
So suddenly it bailed,
That it didn’t pay the rent.
And then when precious summer,
Mutated into fall,
I cried waking up from dreams,
After not sleeping at all.
Old Happiness comes to visit,
Every once in a while.
Guilty, it pays out generously,
In laughing fits and smiles.
But these days when I’m happy,
I’m equally afraid;
Anticipating all the while,
When it will go away.
How to breathe under water
Some tips on how to breathe under water will come in handy very soon, I assure you, so read these step-by-step instructions for some advice. First, stand out at the edge of the ocean. You are unsure of how much you can handle. Something tells you that you can’t; that something will go wrong and you’ll end up in over your head.
Steady as the waves fold in and pull out; the deep, dark monster-ocean breathing in a way that makes you believe in its consistency, you know it shouldn’t be trusted. Go ahead and convince yourself that it’ll be okay. Let others convince you that it’ll be okay. All you really need is reassurance. But who are we kidding? You’ve been excited all long. You’ve been waiting for this so go for it.
The next step is to wade out and dive in head first. The water is steady and beautiful, clear and calm, sweet and forgiving as a child. A sharp chill will wake you up, as if life itself had just been breathed into your chest and nothing would ever be more invigorating. A sun shines above you and you are sure that nothing could be so wondrous. Let it wrap around you. Don’t take a moment to think about it. Swim out further and further. Dive down going deeper and deeper each time. Don’t give it a second thought. This is important. Just keep going. Everything is fine isn’t it? Everything is beautiful. Nothing could ruin it. The feeling makes you unending. Aren’t you?
The sun shrinks down below you. Pay it no attention. What is the sun to ruin everything? The ocean starts to get a little rough. But it was rough to begin with. There’s nothing to worry about. You notice you’re alone. It’s not like you didn’t know this to begin with. It’s a little strange but it’s okay. The ocean gets a little rougher. Don’t panic. It’s okay.
But things are out of control and why did you listen to yourself in the first place? Why did you go and listen to your friends and this stupid list? You let your guard down this is all your fault. You should try to swim away. This doesn’t work, does it? The waves are rougher and the sweet ocean you trusted has turned its back on you. Don’t panic. Panic.
You’ve lost the surface. Claw. Claw quicker. Claw harder. Hold your breath. Reach. But no matter how long and hard you scrape there’s nothing there to grab. No air to file past your fingers. Just water. It’s dark and it’s cold and you’re alone and now you have no time to think. You should’ve thought about it earlier. There were signs.
How to breathe under water? You can’t breathe under water. It’s impossible. Foolish dreamer. Good luck.
He is small flowers drawn on the back of pink papers
He is the seat next to me in English 8
He is a silver compact car
He is the house down the road from mine
He is the silly, unintelligible handwriting on my papers
He is the railing in front of the pick-up area
He is that black jacket with bright blue writing on it
He is the end of the year
He is the end of that time
He is the 11th hour
He is my friend
Nate didn’t know that signing up for a human development class would require him to put together a “family photo collage,” as shouted excitedly by Ms. Fran; a family photo collage that would require photos, photos that would require taking, taking that would require a camera, and a camera that would require having.
It’s not like Nate didn’t have friends. In fact he had lots of friends that he could borrow one from. He was one of the coolest guys in his class, which was exactly why he could not tell anyone that no one in his family owned a camera. His grandmother developed a serious phobia for them. She swore by the fact that there was a leprechaun in a photo her husband had taken of her and God forbid those blasted Irish make their way into her eyesight. Because his grandmother lived with his family, no one was to own a camera for fear of a sudden fatal panic attack.
And so there Nate was, purchasing a newspaper for the first time in his life at the counter of Quick Stop. “That’ll be 50 cents,” said the grimy young cashier. Nate knew he saw him somewhere before, probably at school judging by the resentful look he wore. Nate slipped the money onto the counter and turned right to the classified ads.
“Free triple A map of Texas. What?” He said in dismay. He had no idea why someone would pay to have an ad for a free map in the newspaper.
“Why are you here?” said the grimy boy. Nate had never really traveled in that part of town before. He usually stayed out of the way of places that weren’t necessarily up to par.
“’S a free country,” Nate said. He knew it was the corniest, most overused line there was, but he didn’t have time to come up with a witty comeback – one of the things he was famous for at school… [Read the end of this story in the print edition of We Digress… being released on May 9.]
In a quiet plane
In a quiet plane
you look out the window
you make me feel
like floating away
You look out the window
in colored thoughts
like floating away
beneath the stars
In colored thoughts
you make me feel
beneath the stars
in a quiet plane
My Hawaiian could make me write a chant
My Marketing could make invest in more stocks
My Seminar could actually give me work
My Math teacher could actually grade my work correctly
(and give me an F)
My Journalism teacher could push up my deadlines
My senior project mentor could disown me
My senior project partner could disown me
Tana could take away my solo
Andre could change my costume
All of these things could get a thousand times worse
And that’s why I shouldn’t worry
A Man From Bordeaux
There once was a man from Bordeaux,
Whose dream was to dance in a show;
But he got cold feet,
Went down the wrong street,
And found himself buried in snow.
A Lady in Bath
There once was a lady in Bath
Who never could do simple math
So instead she found pleasure
In learning to measure
Because men with guitars made her laugh
The blaring but comfortable sounds that surrounded me, sucking me into their world for what seemed like could be for forever, mixing in with my thoughts and worries and freedoms; suddenly flew out and past me to my left. They were inhaled like dust being taken by a vacuum, only to evaporate into the air and float away like distant, happy memories. Sigh.
“Have a good day at school!” a mature voice.
“Hurry up!” a younger, squeakier voice.
Yeah, have a good day at school. It’s not like I didn’t want to enjoy school. Believe me, I did. But it was somewhere I was forced to go every morning, only to face people who cared less about me than I did them.
I walked over into the art building and down the stairs past a boy on his laptop. He was mouthing words to some strange rock song, the way I might’ve been doing only minutes earlier. I walked down the stairs and over to the tables outside of my first block class. Here I would wait for school to start. Here I would be left alone, in the quiet, to think insecurely.
Morning was my favorite time of day.
Introduction from a personal narrative entitled “Easy”
Open, colorful, and unfamiliar: my kindergarten classroom on the first day of school. My parents dumped me off to fend for myself in a new world full of strange smells and people. Though, the only person I really noticed was Ms. MacDonald, who was not my kindergarten teacher.
I held my cardboard box, wrapped in flowery paper and filled with school supplies, in my hands; clinging to the only piece of home I had left. It was as if I had been dumped off on a new planet with only a couple of crayons to remember Earth by. A hand was placed on my back and I was directed to the left side of the classroom in the third row. There were posters with shapes on them, pictures of people and things, and funny lines I later discovered were letters and words. It was a strange and overwhelming blur, the kind you experience when your brain is taking in too much information. You want to close your eyes and keep them open all at once because everything is new and scary and wonderful.
“Hey, we’ve got the same pencil box!” rang a voice, similar to mine only a little cheerier. I was startled; I had forgotten that there were other children in the room with me. In all the exhilaration of sights I chose to ignore the sharp sounds coming from kids just like me. But there she was, my new best friend, Nikki…(read the rest of the story in the print version of We Digress, being released in May 2011).
This is the Poem That Sits on Your Eyelids
This is a poem that sits on your eyelids,
In the morning.
That keeps your eyes closed just a few more minutes;
Because a dream is the place of what you can do,
Because a dream is the place of who you can be.
And when disappointment awaits you on the other side of thin eyelids,
A sad and wonderful world full of more possibilities then you would like to admit,
This is the poem that keeps you safe;
Beneath the fine line between what you can change and what you can try to change,
Like the fine line between flying and falling.
My Favorite Place
Backstage at Keopuolani Hale is my favorite place to be. Here I can see a swirl of blue lights like stars through a mist, darkness getting darker as it gets further from the light the way the green of a tree gets darker as it gets further from youth, and people like shadowy clock hands meandering about and retracing their steps. I can hear the brumbling hum of the audience, the frantic whispers of the backstage manager, and the urgent but cautious footsteps of my cast mates. I can feel the refreshing air conditioning sweeping across my face and my hair getting stuck as it blows onto my sticky lipstick while I lay on the stage like stone beneath my body right up next to the curtain just before the show starts. I can see, I can hear, I can feel in my favorite place backstage at Keopuolani Hale.
I had a whale, which was pretty okay,
But I couldn’t hear what he wanted say;
The poor little guy, so timid and frail.
Hello out there! How is your whale?
A Message to You
I went to Washington
And did not take you with me
You said that you would rather
Stay closer to home
Please forgive me
It is wonderful here
And the grass is much greener
Because of all the rain
She likes me! She really does! Oh, I couldn’t tell if she did or not. When I asked her out and she said yes, that was enough, but now this! Things couldn’t get better. I felt like I was spinning and flying and on top of the world and- wooooom. A low rumbling that signaled the shaking of the building. Looks like I was on top of the world.
I’d been saving money for months and months. I don’t know how long it’d been since I got that job at McDonald’s, but it’s all paid off. There I was at Le Fantaisie, the fanciest restaurant in town on the top floor of the tallest building in the state.
She told me to meet her downstairs as she rushed off to go fix her make-up in the bathroom, and there I was. Waiting for the elevator after the most miraculous thing my young life has seen thus far. My first kiss. And with her! The very girl I’ve been in love with since the first grade. The night was truly spectacular.
Ding ! Sounded the bell that alerted me that my elevator was here, a billion floors up from the ground. I really didn’t want to keep her waiting so I hurried in and repeatedly pressed the button for the first floor.
The doors shut and I sighed a sigh of complete and utter joy and contentedness. I closed my eyes dreamily and thought about that wonderful mome-
“CONGRATULATIONS!” shouted a cackled voice from behind me. I spun around frightened to see an elated old woman wearing an elevator attendant’s uniform. “You, young man, are my one millionth passenger here on old Petunia!”
“Old Petu-?” she must’ve been 93-years-old.
“CONGRATULATIONS!” she exclaimed jumping, and as she landed, her hands fell all over the elevator buttons, pressing the button to every last floor. “YIPPEE! Let’s make it last!” the old woman began dancing around, shaking her fragile, little hips and kicking out her bony legs. “WAHA!”
What was happening? I needed to get downstairs to see the love of my life! “No! Wait no!” I started breathing heavily and looking around. The elevator stopped and the doors opened.
“OPAH!” The woman shouted as the doors closed.
I need to get out of here I thought. So the next time the doors were to open, I planned to jump ship. But when they did, in came a couple, blindly fighting about who’s turn it was to pick Sally up from daycare, and I was unable to make my way through. “OPAH!” the old woman shouted at them without them noticing.
It continued on like this for forty-five minutes until we finally got down to the first floor. I was so relieved and in a panic that I dashed out, frantically looking around the lobby.
She was gone. All that work and that beautiful kiss for nothing. The old woman came up behind me and sighed with a tear, “And now I can retire back to my old home back in Greece.”
“Take me with you,” I said defeated. And with that we caught a cab to Greece Town and instead of being on the phone with my almost girlfriend, I spent my night sharing stew with old Anya, four of her children, eleven of her grandchildren, and sixteen of her beautiful and single great-grand daughters.
The Misplaced Unicorn
He had small feet, but they were good for one thing: sneaking, which is exactly what the Unicorn did once he had had enough. “I bet you’re wrong,” they were always saying to him. “I bet you’re wrong.”
The things the Unicorn said were things he could not demonstrate or prove for a lack of opposable thumbs and telescopes. He lived in a group that had a Squirrel, an Elephant, and a Deer, none of whom ever believed a word that came out of his mouth. They all had rather small brains, save the Elephant, who used his brain to argue the Unicorn’s logic.
Once the Unicorn said, “The earth is round.”
“I bet you’re wrong,” retorted the Elephant.
But the Unicorn could not prove it. He only knew. He tried his best to explain it to his friends, but failed to make a convincing argument. “Then you are wrong,” said the Squirrel nodding proudly toward the Elephant. The Deer looked down and blushed, and the group continued on with their day.
With conversations like this taking place at least once a day, it came as no surprise to the Deer as to why the Unicorn had left.
“We must have misplaced him!” said the Squirrel, chewing nervously on a stick.
“He was such a trouble maker full of foolish lies that he probably got lost somewhere,” said the Elephant indignantly. “No bother, we can make it along fine and probably better off, on our own,” and with that the Elephant marched on.
“No!” shouted the Deer, speaking up for the first time in ages. “No, it was the way you were treating him. Constantly saying, ‘I bet you’re wrong’ just to put him down. He was not foolish. He was wonderful and sweet and intelligent.” The Elephant and Squirrel made no attempt to reply to such a statement. “I’m going off to look for him. Who’s coming with me?” The two stared at her. “Fine.” And she was off in the other direction.
The Deer bounded for days and days in search of the Unicorn without any luck. Until one day she found him at the border.
“What are you doing here?” He shouted in shock.
“F-finding you,” the Deer stuttered in embarrassment. “Where are we going?”
“Canada.” Canada was a land of opportunities (Sidney Altman), and so there they were headed to do whatever an intelligent Unicorn and a shy Deer could do in Canada.
I put down the pencil and left it open ended.
It had gone nowhere.
Spent the last 30 pages on the same thought
Who cared if the story came to a point or not?
It had gone everywhere.
To every street corner, forest, and dainty little cottage
To every rose garden, back yard, and over sculpted lawn hedge
And who to blame?
I thought about what it was like at first
And that time we went on that hike in the mountain
I was all but dying of thirst
Then we came to a clearing and that was when
Hitting the bottom with a wondrous sound!
With all of that energy there!
The possibilities were endless!
The rush in the air!
But then as I watched
It bubbled for a while
Then calmly flowed on
With a keen little smile
But carried on then still.
So I sat back down and picked up my pencil.
Writing is the word that has an image and a sound.