The Man Who Will Never Shine

There once lived a boy by the sea

Who never knew anything but greed

His life would be long and sad

And he always made everyone mad.

He never did anything great with his power.

He wanted only women to deflower.

So when he grew up to be thirty,

his mind was nothing but dirty.

He managed to make all of his money

in ways that were tricky and cunning.

He pictured himself  a grand man.

He even went on to rule a great land

The boy who loved everything shiny,

grew up to be quite a bit whiny.

And now as a powerful ruler

he only learned to be much ruder.

For he never loved anything else.

He only knew how to love himself.

Bludgeoned Election

nyack-flag

Photographed by Elizabeth Colombini

 

We have all been following the car crash that is our presidential campaign. While some of us are appalled by the disturbing comments made by Donald Trump, others are unaffected. Mr. Trump’s statements about assaulting women was yet ANOTHER clear indication that he is unfit to be the person leading our nation. He is an embarrassment as a candidate, and would be an atrocity as a president.  People always say,  “Hillary is a crook”, “Oh, but how about that thing with Benghazi?”  “The emails!!!”  The people who say this, for the most part, are just regurgitating what they hear from ultra conservative news shows. Frankly, many do not know what they are talking about. But the deplorable things that Trump has said is not so much what bothers me. What bothers me is the acceptance of  this damaging hateful rhetoric by people in my community.  My stomach turns when I see a neighbor’s yard displaying that small red and blue Trump/Pence sign.  By staking that sign on their lawn they are pledging their allegiance to a xenophobic ideology and declaring,  I support the bigotry, misogyny, and the racism promoted by this man. Yeah, Trump tells it like it is.  But don’t we teach our children the opposite? Think before you speak.  This is a lesson to our children from an early age.  Little children have always strived to be the president of the United States. But if children wish to emulate Mr. Trump, that is a step backwards for our country.  There are consequences when we don’t think about what we say to others.   But in the case of Donald Trump, the things that he is saying is creating a real danger for the people he speaks ill about.  His “locker room talk”, his non educated view of immigrants, (particularly when he called Mexicans rapists and murderers), and his disturbing ridicule of people with disabilities are either ignored or praised. He’s just shaking things up. His campaign should have ended when he made offensive remarks about women, but it didn’t. It should have ended when he said those truly racist remarks about Mexicans, but it didn’t.  We have allowed this demagogue to promote his hateful speech.  If you still are on that Trump train, think about this: The KKK has even endorsed him. Mr.Trump keeps glamorizing “Make America Great Again”. Was he talking about “Great” when slavery was legal or perhaps, and not too long ago, during Jim Crow laws. Maybe he was talking about “great” when the United States took the lands of many indigenous people living here and exploited and murdered their people? As a Latino women living in this country, I am not only disappointed with neighbors who have waved the Trump flag, but I also fear for the lives of all Latinos and people of color. Trump has painted a target on the backs of all of us.  Regardless, of who wins the election, lines have been drawn in the sand.  We will constantly live our lives looking over our shoulder. Mr. Trump said “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”.  He has pulled that trigger.  His words are the bullets and his supporters help him reload.

The Fire that Fell From the Sky

The hospital had been the safest I’ve felt since they destroyed my home eight days ago.  Mama has been in the maternity ward since 5:45 this morning.  The doctors felt confident that the baby was okay and that I would be a big sister in the next few hours. The explosion had burned our bodies pretty badly but we were fine.  Papa was still missing but I couldn’t tell mama.  She had been through so much already.  The nurse told me that any more stress could be really bad for her and the baby.
The sky opened up eight days ago as hell rained down. My ears still rang from the explosions.  Mama was getting breakfast ready and papa was reading.  I was in my room brushing my hair, anticipating the arrival of my new baby brother and the many songs and stories I would teach him.   What would he look like, I thought? Would he laugh at my jokes? Would he like me?

My day dreaming was interrupted by a buzzing sound. I lay my brush on my nightstand. The buzzing transformed into a slow rumble. My hairbrush moved with the vibrations and then fell to the floor.  I walked into the kitchen to tell mama and papa. Papa had already run outside to see what was happening.  Mama grabbed me and we rushed under our kitchen table.  We had been preparing for this moment for years.
I could see papa through the entry way. Mama held me tight.  I heard the buzzing again. I yelled “papa!” I tried to reach for him. He looked up at the sky.  Then everything went black.  That was the last thing I saw before we were brought here eight days ago.

“Your mommy is having the baby now” the nurse whispered to me. “You will be a big sister any minute.”  “Can I see mama now?” I asked. “We will let you see her once the baby is born.”she replied.

6:30PM. I heard his first screams.  I pushed past the doctors and ran to mama’s side.   I watched as they cleaned him.  They wrapped him in a soft blue blanket and laid him next to mama.  I climbed onto her bed and rested my head on her chest.  She rubbed our foreheads, her heartbeat swaying my mind to sleep.

Elusive Chipmunk

Its morning.  The light from the sun shines through the glass doors.  I race down the stairs eager to start the chase.  I think about yesterday,  I almost had him.  Here comes mom down the stairs. She’s the best. Mom always watches her footing as the steps are always booby-trapped with Legos or action figures. She’s getting closer to the door. I need to devise a genius plan for the hunt. Wait. What’s that???!!! I SEE HIM!  He is menacingly  sitting under the bird feeder.  Mom calls him a Chipmunk, I call him breakfast! My plan is to walk slowly when mom opens the door and sneak up on him quietly.  Okay, she’s reaching for the lock. Click.  Now slide it open mom, but quietly so we don’t scare him off.  Ok. Ready, set RUN!!! BARK!!!!JUMP!!!DESTROY MOM’S GARDEN!!!DESTROY CHIPMUNK!!! WHERE IS THE CHIPMUNK!!!  Oh no. I did it again.  That elusive chipmunk always makes me look like an idiot.  Tomorrow we will meet again.

Elusive Heart

 

 The heart is the essence of all that lives. Red waves of spirit flow through its veins. It tears but it always finds it way back to together.  Sometimes it wanders from all it knows and loses its way.  It is swallowed up into the darkness.  The darkness wrapping its fear around it, asphyxiating it.  With each passing breath, the red waves slowly drift away. Be still my heart the darkness whispers.  Heart beats no longer heard. But the heart, ever so elusive, breaks free. Run. This is not the end.

The Sixth Little Piggy

You have all heard the story of the five little pigs.

It goes:

This little piggy went the market.
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef.
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

What many do not know is that there were actually six little pigs. It’s a secret that has been kept for hundreds of years.

This is the story of the sixth little pig.  It was written by a Queen long ago for her son.

Long ago there lived a pig in the quaint kingdom of Porcetta. His name was Norbert. He was a little different from the other pigs in the town for he wasn’t pink like the other pigs.  He was born magenta.  The other pigs laughed and pointed at him.  It made him feel terribly sad.  Norbert wanted so very much to have a friend.  It was something that he felt in the depth of his little piggy heart. He wished they could see past his exterior and realize that he was just like them.  He played ball like them, and loved to sing like them.  He even swam like them.  But they never gave him a chance.

One day Norbert went for a walk through the woods.  He heard a someone whimpering.  It was a little pig.  He rushed over to the piggy and asked, “What’s wrong little piggy?”  The little piggy responded, “I was trying to find my way to the market but I got lost.” Nobert took the piggy by the hand and said “Don’t worry. I’ll take you there.”  Norbert walked him all the way to the market.  The piggy was very grateful.  Then he hugged Norbert.  Norbert had never been hugged before and he like it very much.

Norbert continued his walk through woods.  He heard a soft whimper again.  It was coming from a house that was set deep in the woods.   He walked towards it.  There he found a pig dressed in a suit.  This pig looked like he meant business.  Norbert walked up to him and asked him ” Why are you crying?” The piggy replied “I have been working for a year straight and I am very tired. Today is my wife’s birthday and I wish I didn’t have to go to work.”  Just then he came up with a brilliant idea.  “Why don’t I go to work for you?” he said.  The little piggy jumped up with excitement and said, ” That is a tremendous idea.  My wife will be so happy! Thank you.”  Norbert went home put on his best suit and went to work.  Everyone at the office was amazed at how quickly he learned the job.  It was a great day for Norbert.

Lunchtime was Norbert favorite time of the day. He was on his way to his favorite restaurant, Le Pig Pen.  On his way he saw a poor hungry piggy sitting on the side of the road.   He felt very bad for this piggy.  Norbert went into the restaurant and ordered his meal.  He ordered French onion soup with a side of strawberry pie. It was delicious.  Right before he left he asked for one more thing: a side of roast beef.  He paid the bill and headed outside towards the hungry piggy on the side of the road.  “Are you hungry?” he asked the piggy.  “Yes”, replied the piggy.  Norbert pulled out a small container with the words LE PIG PEN written on it.  “Here you go. Enjoy” said Nobert.  The little piggy grinned from ear to ear.   “Thank you. You made my day.” Norbert felt that it was his day that was made.  He was just happy that he could help.

On his way back home that evening, he saw two pigs that had been arguing.  He went over to hear what all the bickering was about.  One pig was arguing because he had no money.  The other pig, it seemed, owed him the money.  They both had none.  They yelled at each other.  One of the pigs became so distraught he ran home crying.  Norbert followed the pig who went wee wee wee all the way home.  When he found him he asked “Excuse me. I don’t mean to be nosey, but I overheard you arguing about some money.  How much money do you owe the other pig?” “Twenty dollars,” he replied.  Norbert said “Why don’t I lend you the money to pay the other piggy? You can pay me back whenever you want.”  The piggy stopped crying.  He grinned from to ear to ear. “You would do that for me?”, he said.  “Sure,” replied Norbert. The other pig quickly took the money to the piggy who had none.  They became friends again.

The very next morning Norbert heard a knock on the door.  Who could be knocking on my door? he thought.  He opened the door.  There they were, the five little pigs he had helped the day before.  “Can I help you?” said Norbert.  They all replied, “We just thought maybe you could use some company.”  Norbert was thrilled to have visitors.  “Yes. Come on in.”

Norbert was very happy helping everyone.  That night he went to bed thinking about all the smiles he put on everyone’s faces.  Even though sometimes he felt like an outsider he was an honest friend and was truly needed by everyone. The five little pigs and him all remained friends till the end of time.

THE END

The Queen who wrote this story had a son who was born with polydactyly of the foot or as we know it, an extra toe.  She created the six little pigs to help him accept his uniqueness.

And they all lived happily ever after.

 

Final Farewell

There you were, all dressed up.  Your family came to pay their respects. But I was the one who saw you in your final days.  I fed you.  I tried to take care of you.  Although I hadn’t seen you since I was a little girl, I still felt close to you. I remember you being an incredible woman full of life and energy.  But when I came to visit you in your final weeks, I saw how mistakes you made in your life caused your body to become frail. You tried to hold on.  Your husband being your only support.  Your children were nowhere to be found.  No one made sacrifices to come see you.

They dressed you in a pink bow and a pink dress.  You looked beautiful.  You were at peace.  But I was not.  I felt that you died with a broken heart.  Your children were your life.  You raised them and took care of them. But they did appreciate any of it until you were gone. How tragic.  Now they morn.

There is a line in song that says:

GIVE ME MY FLOWERS
WHILE I YET LIVE
SO THAT I CAN SEE THE BEAUTY
THAT THEY BRING

 

Cherish everyone as if this might be your or their last day on this planet.  Remembering someone after death is not the same as making memories with them while they are alive.

The Never Ending Swim

The flight the night before was long. My mother, although not very fond of the beach, accompanied me on this trip. I convinced her that she needed to get away.  She didn’t know how to swim but she figured she could lay on the beach and read a book or chat it up with the locals.

We were tired and were glad to finally reach the island.  The air was humid and dense.  But I welcomed it.  It was nice break from the blistering cold back in the states. We got to the apartment we had rented and unpacked a bit. We settled into our beds and fell asleep.

The light of morning woke us up.  The only alarm that was set was the one on the coffee maker.  We were officially on vacation.  I walked outside onto our deck. It faced the beach. The wind was blowing warmly into our apartment.  The sounds of the waves hitting the sand near us was hypnotic.  This was paradise.  My mother had never experienced a real vacation.  Her vacations involved my brother and I in some silly amusement park, mostly fighting.  Our first day here would be one we would never forget.

My mother and I got dressed in our bathing suits.  I hadn’t seen my mother wear one since I was a little girl.  She hated the water. That included pools.  They scared her. She decided to dip her feet in the water. When she had enough she sat under a large palm tree and read her book while I went for a swim.

I was about 20 yards away from the shore.  The ground began to shake.  People began to scream.  I swam back to the beach and ran to my mother’s side.   The ocean began to rise.  We didn’t have any time to escape it.  It swallowed the beach as we stood on it.  I cried for my mother.  She couldn’t swim.  I tried to stay calm so that she wouldn’t panic.  We managed to stay afloat together.  The currents became stronger.  I held as long and hard as a I could. Why is this happening? Is the world ending? I couldn’t believe all the devastation that was happening around me. My arms were slipping from under my mother.  We screamed.  Then she was ripped from my grasp.  I watched as the water took her in.  She was gone.  I can’t believe it. Tears run down my face. I try to look for her. I’m yelling for her. I then wake up. It was a nightmare. Something that I have dreamed about many times.  I know my mother is at home in her bed. Far from the thing she fears the most.  This is not the first time that I have had this dream.  This is reoccurring and it’s always with different people.  All of us drowning. Unable to help each other.  I am relieved to be awake and alive.

 

 

 

 

Refugee

“We have nothing to eat. I’m so sorry,” I tell my son. My heart is breaking. I brought him into this world to nourish him, take care of him.  Have I failed him? I feel defeated. Starvation and turmoil surround us. The streets are filled with garbage from looters, and the homeless. Fighting erupts amongst people desperate for food and water. What has become of our village? Our life? The beauty that surrounded us is now gone. I remember picking mangos from the trees in our yard. In the afternoons we would listened to musicians while we danced on the street.   All a distant memory drowned out by a reality of shattered dreams.

We are nearing the border. My son wraps his arms around my neck. “We are almost there. Hope is over that hill my child. We will find it,” I tell him. We reach the top of the mountain and up ahead we see it. Our salvation. We slowly approach the soldiers standing guard. They allow us to pass.  I hold my son’s hand tighter. Hundreds of us march across the border.  We were uninvited guests in a new land. But we had no choice.  Die or flee.  We chose life.  As we crossed into this new territory, the villagers stood waiting for us.  They knew what we had endured and welcomed us with open arms.  They gave us food and water.  I looked at my son as he ate and I was at peace.  We were safe. This would be our second chance. This would become our new home.

The Day I Died

desert-natural-beauty

 

I think back to the day of the great flood.  My family and I slithering through the currents. Freely flowing as we maneuvered through debris from cities long forgotten.  This was our paradise.  The world was at peace.

As time passed, the waters changed.  They began to recede. We were no longer swimming as we did.  Everything around us was dying. Our food was scarce. We understood that the  world was coming to an end and we had to accept it.  Our time here was done.

It was my last day. The water around us had disappeared. We laid there in the hot sun. It burned and dried my flesh. There were small puddles of water under us. I struggled to breathe. Each gasp for air became shorter and painful. My emotions began to take over. With each inhalation I thought about my life and my children. But I tried not to let the fear set in.  I had to be strong for my family.  We listened to the wind and to the bits of air flowing through us. I closed my eyes and with my final breaths I struggled to say some comforting words to the rest.  Nothing came out.  They became part of the desert, as did I.