Reluctant Scribbles

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Zen, Aug 28, 2012.

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  1. Old Age

    Grandma I watched you in those home videos.
    Your hair is still black,
    You move like a dancer,
    And your smile is quick to appear.
    Your jade and ivory bracelets look so wonderful
    On your wrists.

    I watch you now,
    Sorrow and fear in my eyes.

    For your back is hunched,
    Arthritis is in your knees, your hands,
    Your feet.
    You ignore the Western doctor,
    and turn to the East for guidance.
    I want to smack you
    For your ignorance.

    I don't think you know how much it scares me,
    To see you like this.

    I heard you fall once
    And your scream of pain.

    I don't think my heart has stopped like that before.

    You don't wear those bracelets anymore,
    They wear you.
    But everyday you fix
    Three meals a day, like you did when I was little.
    God, I can't imagine the agony you go through,
    Day after day.

    I look at you now,
    And wonder about my fate.
    I know I will be just like you.

  2. This is beautiful. I know that I do not have a grandmother quite like this (mine also hates treatment, and fights against it, but she is more old-fashioned western), but I feel the same way looking at her and thinking of what she goes through, worrying about her.
  3. Written from my phone while I was in the Doctor's office today.


    Sweat gathers at my pits and the
    Back of my knees.
    It dries sticky.

    Upon my brow
    More sweat beads.
    My skin is clammy,
    But I pant.

    My room is a makeshift sauna,
    The fan sits in front of me,
    My mouth opened like a dog.
    I am Summer's slave.

  4. My grandmother told me,
    Two days before my uncle passed,
    That him and my mother both got into a fight.

    He died of cancer,
    So we knew it was coming.

    Grandma does a lot for me,
    As annoying as she is sometimes.
    I know she's like that
    Because she loves me.
    She did a lot for my mother too,
    Before my mom married into this family.

    Now you both hate each other.

    You fight,
    Grandma with her leveled voice,
    My mother's shrill and stuttering.
    These voices have never changed,
    Even now that I am an adult.

    Can't they see why I don't want to come home?
    Why would I want to see my family,
    Ripped apart from within?
    Grandmother is sick.
    My mother has a mental sickness.
    I know who will die first.

    As they fight,
    I see my uncle's face,
    His daughter's face.
    His wife's face.

    I hear you both arguing now
    And I decide.
    If my Grandmother goes,
    There is another voice,
    Joining the fight.
  5. Figured I'd ahead and change the prefix. >.<

    On the stage,
    Clarinet in hand.
    The lights are on us, the band.
    It causes my view of the audience to blur.
    So many faces staring up at us.

    I take my seat,
    In the second row, 2nd clarinet.
    Across from the flutes.
    We are all silent,
    The whites of our sheet music blaring against the black stands.

    Our conductor
    Stands at the podium baton in hand.
    As one,
    We inhale as he lifts his hands.

    The music rises, and swells
    Encompassing us.
    A crescendo, then sudden pianissimo.
    Stac-ca-to, then lagatto...

    Like a relay race,
    The melody is handed off to each other,
    Tubas, saxophone, flutes, clarinets,
    Echo one another now.
    There is dissonance,
    There is harmony.

    Listen carefully,
    Adjust your embouchure,
    Watch your posture,
    Tweak your pitch.
    We all work as one,
    To create this beautiful thing,
    Called Music.​
  6. Will the altar to our ancestors,
    Still be there when you're gone?
    Or will it be collecting dust?
    Who will be the one who lights the incense,
    And places it inside,
    Three times a day?

    What about those Chinese holidays,
    Where we offer rice, chicken, duck and fish,
    For our ancestors to eat?
    Even I don't know the prayers,
    Hell I can't even read the calligraphy.

    The garden in the backyard,
    Was planted there by you.
    It's a meeting place for the birds,
    And the neighborhood cats.
    A family friend called it a jungle,
    I suppose it is one.

    I'd hate to see it die,
    And see the correlation.

    You won't be making rice
    For dinner anymore.
    I'll be probably be the one cooking,
    I'm not sure if rice will be on the menu anymore.

    What else will go,
    Once you pass?
    I hope very little does,
    But America has a talent,
    For wiping out traditions,
    Through the generations.

    The "you" in the poem refers to my grandparents, my Ayea (grandpa) is 82, my Ama (grandma) is 72. I am the first generation of my family born in the United States, one of many millions of families who share similar experiences. Realizing the mortality of my grandparents, I often wonder about the traditions and practices that they brought over from China and Vietnam to America, and whether they will live on with their children. I've seen people like me, that are the same age, profusely refuse to practice or learn any of it. And there are others who are the exact opposite, they engross themselves in their native language and are prideful of it. The poem is about me questioning what I'm going to do once my grandparents pass away, and wondering how radically my world will change.
  7. What Saddens Me

    I gave you a book once,
    Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
    Old man, don't give me that, you have all the time in the world,
    Because you are retired.

    It's written in your native tongue,
    Read the book before you wheeze.
    It shouldn't be that hard, you'll read it with ease.

    You have a newspaper in your hand about all the current wars,
    Look me over, and say,
    "It's far too long, this book of yours."

    So I take my book to the library,
    I guess reading is not in your repertoire, I'm very sorry.
    Does this mean you won't read my books
    When I become published?
    Or will you bury your face in the news
    And call my shit rubbish?
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  8. I'm taking a creative writing class this semester. This is from our first assignment, to write about a memory from our youth.

    All of the adults in my family argued when I was little, grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, uncle - everyone. But my mother was notorious for starting and prolonging them. I never knew what it was that set her off, perhaps it had something to do with her day, her husband , the family - Me. Mercifully, my brother and I weren't always there to witness the verbal matches, but one time I was.

    It was a cool summer evening in the Bay Area, a common and welcome occurrence. The sky was painted with deep violets and blues, with yellows and oranges peeking over the horizon. Crickets chirped softly in the soil bed, interrupted occasionally by the cicadas. It was a perfect night to be out riding my bike or simply walking, but for some reason I was inside.

    I remember an explosion of voices around me in the living room. My uncle who at the time was undergoing treatment for cancer, screamed at my mother who, of course, screamed back in retaliation. In my family you don't back down from a fight. I don't recall what it was they were fighting about, but screaming in Chinese has a distinctive sound, full of random off key pitches and shrill notes that would have made Beethoven's deaf ears bleed. I never covered my ears when they argued, I just sort of lifted my shoulders up - Quasimodo style - and hoped that would be enough to muffle the sounds. It never did much but covering my ears felt too much like crying. It was a vulnerable pose.

    My father shortly joined them and I'm not sure if he took a side. Do you take the side of your wife, mother of your children or your dying twin brother? Needless to say, once he joined the fray the battle quickly got heated. As with any verbal exchange there was a lot of body language being thrown out: a pointed finger, a pointed jabbing finger, perhaps the other kind of finger, stiff shoulders, the tip toe towering over your opponent; all of that was enough to overwhelm my five year old mind and send me into Flight Mode.

    I grabbed my stuffed animal - a blue eyed white cat - and headed outside to the backyard. I silently sat on the swing and trembled. While the door to the house was closed, I could still hear them and see it through the glass pane. I could see my uncle, frail and thin from his chemotherapy, shouting himself red. In a fit of rage, he picked up my giant stuffed tiger and threw it across the room. It didn't hurt my feelings, I wasn't fond of that toy anyway, but he had to get his anger out somehow. I admit, I was scared.

    The yelling and screaming crescendo, and as the volume climbed I began to frantically pet my stuffed animal. I tried my best to ignore them. Despite being only five years old I knew that it was a bad omen for parents to fight. It meant instability, aggression, and unhappiness.

    I did things to distract myself, like looking up at the now darkening sky, or slowly swinging myself on the swing. I dug little holes in the dirt with my plastic sandals and hummed a tune. I imagined myself being in a happier place with a different family that laughed and smiled all the time. But I didn't stop petting my cat, after all she (I took the liberty of deeming it a she) had to listen to all of the fighting too. She must have been as distraught as me.

    I found myself uttering these words to my stuffed animal, "It'll be okay, don't worry. They'll stop soon. It'll be okay."

    No one came out to comfort me.

    No one said that things were going to be alright.

    But somehow saying that to an inanimate object made me feel better. All of this time I felt sorry for myself but now that I'm older I realize that I have something that my family never had the capacity to do: comfort.
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