Graduation Poem

 

Four years ago, I was planted in the soil right where you are sitting today.

I sprouted up slow, looked toward the sky each morning and begged for my days to be numbered.

Now that it’s here, and I am full grown next to my peers, limbs long enough to touch the stars,

I find myself with empty hands, longing so dearly to hold onto the days which I shed as easily as the leaves in Autumn.

However, this is not the end.

I walk through the crowded halls of this school, shoes squeaky against the linoleum,

Catching bits and pieces of familiar faces, some of which I have greeted each day since kindergarten,

Some of which have slipped underneath the door without notice, leaving me to wish they had navigated the messy map of my life much sooner,

With teenage indolence, we roll our eyes, tell ourselves that essay can be written easily in just one night,

Feeling like we are handcuffed by the people above us, yet in reality we are given every key in their collection;

It’s up to us to find the right fit.

Certain careers are pushed toward us, poured over us like water, almost drowning us

Yet others are little prizes. Locked behind secret trap doors, knocking, begging to be released by the beautiful talents that are buried deep within us.

As a senior, I have been hiding behind the curtains, pulling down a single blind and peeking out at all the pathways set before me.

It can fill even the bravest with fear.

But, my favorite quote goes something like, “This world is made of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick out your tongue and taste it.”

That is what we must do.

Whether you are traveling miles from home like myself,

Or rather sticking to the roots which have held you so carefully all these years,

We are setting off on this journey together.

We will be scattered across the nation like lost puzzle pieces,

Connected in ways that not even the greatest among us can comprehend.

From 800 miles away, I will reach toward this pinpoint on the map of my life,

I will trip over my own feet searching for those old writing classes where I first found my voice,

I will laugh at the tears that reached the brim of my tired eyes and spilled out on the floors of AP Calculus,

I will find myself lost when I reach out to embrace the teachers who have been a bright light in terms of my future,

But I will grow.

Seniors, we were planted here years ago.

Now is our time to spread our roots,

Grab our dreams, hold tight, and grow taller than the treetops we thought we’d never reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bird Bodies!

 

Light fell onto the streets and splattered across the length of sidewalks, just barely missing my body. I had to sway back and forth to avoid the rays of sunlight pouring like rain. I could almost feel the gears of my mind turning, trying to figure out what time it was, or even where I was located, but to no avail. My mind was completely empty except for thoughts of the prickly feeling that made its way across my skin like a snake. I watched the curtain of night fall over the sky, my feet planted in one place the entire time. My eyes could make out shapes and colors, nothing more. Suddenly, I found the trees pulling me into their embrace, their smiling faces seemingly normal at the moment. Their teeth were quite yellow. I stumbled over roots that reached for my feet despite my requests for them to leave me be. I continued to make my way through the dark and desolate forest, beams of light floating before me and guiding me down the twisty trails, my hands ardently attempting to catch them. Soft voices whispered in my ear, claiming they had something to show me for some time now. Fireflies carried me to an opening, and there lay an animal never seen before. I felt my body lie down next to it on a nearby pile of damp leaves, my eyes staring at the creature with pure curiosity. I could no longer stifle my loud laughter, causing colorful birds to fly out of treetops, greeting me with animosity. The creature before me stayed put, however, it’s puppy face and owl body showing no sign of life. However, each time I tried to reach out to grab it, wanting to pull it closer and examine it carefully, it scurried just out of reach with its tiny legs. I began to follow it down an overlooked path, shrubs growing on each side and nearly toppling over. It came to be a sort of game, following the animal and trying to catch it, a “tag-you’re-it” type thing. However, before I knew it, my ankle was captured by the evil roots and I was pulled deep into a never ending abyss.

Revisions and Revisions

The sudden noise of a slammed door cracked like thunder and reverberated throughout the silent, summer night; save for the hum of crickets and the soft boom of loudspeakers fading in and out from a party somewhere near. Sticky air pulled the wide-eyed girl outdoors despite the late hour and beckoned her to leave behind the mess of events that remained trapped within the suburban brick building she called home. She expected her parents to come storming out after her, almost hoped they would, yet after several slow minutes passed by with her feet planted along the steps left with no sign of a possible truce, she found herself unexpectedly carried down the street.

As she walked, the young girl reached up and slid her glasses up the bridge of her nose, quickly wiping away the dry residue of salty tears. No more crying, she told herself. Somewhere in the distance, she heard the familiar sound of breaking glass and, soon after, obnoxious laughter. With a gulp of air and furrowed eyebrows, she was surprised by her own actions as she made her way over to the location of the noise. The sound of her heartbeat was still audible over the melody flowing through the air.

Her steps were followed by a quick examination of herself; a comfy sweater could make it through party doors, right? Her fingers trembled as she made her way to the mansion planted right in the middle of the cul de sac. She knew who the house belonged to, and how they were well-known for throwing the craziest parties around town. The yard was littered with shiny, plastic cups and broken glass bottles, causing her to cringe inwardly.

Analysis of My Writing

Writing at the Beginning of the Semester

 

Personally, the last time I had been in a writing class was freshman year. Of course I had taken English, yet creative writing and academic writing are two extremely different things, with almost no correlation. I hadn’t written in a very long time. Reading my very first piece, “Obituaries”, you can almost hear the nervousness in my tone. I was rusty from lack of consistent practice. My vocabulary was elementary and I lacked the ability to provide concrete detail.

The quote “…sadly suffered from a fatal heart attack after seeing her favorite band live in concert” displays just how simple my sentences were. It lacked style and a voice because, frankly, I had forgotten what voice I had. Moving on from the first assignment, our next challenge was to write an open letter to some version of our past selves. I chose a touchy subject, hoping to evoke emotion and detail from the depths of my writing, yet on the first attempt I was left with nothing but dissatisfaction.

I knew I could do better. Writing had always been my thing. It was the one thing I could proudly say I was good at while I simultaneously enjoyed it. I went home after being giving the open letter assignment and revised, revised, revised. I found myself eating dinner while reading my piece and still revising little things. By the time I was finished, almost a week later, I was proud that I had finally found my writing style once again. That is still my favorite piece I’ve written within this class.

 

Improvements

 

My main improvements have been located within the realm of poetry. Before this class, I truly had no idea how to write poetry. Sonnets, sestinas, and villanelles have certainly helped. These forms of poetry have most definitely been a challenge, yet I enjoyed pushing my abilities to the limit. I was overly content with the outcome. I found a keen liking for writing poetry, whereas before I only enjoyed viewing it from the sidelines, admiring poets from afar. My favorite poem that I have written was “The Patient”, a sestina based off of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. “Anger is an IV stuck in my arm; my emotions are no different from yours..” Trying to portray Plath’s insanity was a challenge, seeing as she was thoroughly crazy.

Along with this, my detailing abilities have remarkably improved. You can easily see this by comparing some of my first pieces to the ones I conjure up now. I almost have too much detail. I love writing vignettes now, because they are always packed full of detail.

 

Favorite Lines

 

She knew my facial expressions better than anyone, and as her comforting hand reached for mine, raindrops began to fall on the windshield.

 

Feet resting on the dash, the glowing moon shone down on my pink tinged face and cherry red, sunburned lips.

 

A metal smile and a simple nod intertwined and rolled her way before I allowed the bright blue to take me under, my lungs filled with nervous air.

 

I had torn various pages of prose and pretty words out of books, tacked them onto my walls, scattered them about and wrote them on my hands which begged to see sunlight. An earthquake erupted in her voice as she told me this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. I knew the quote well, fought the urge to find it among my bookshelves, and let the flick of her hand pull me up and push me into the blistering sun.

 

Moonlight crept through my windowsill and tugged at my eyelashes, beckoning me to come and see all he had to offer, the stars scattered around the clear sky like Dippin’ Dots.

 

Her hands ached and she silently cursed herself for writing long into the crisp autumnal twilight, her thoughts flowing like wine onto the pages, leaking without a sign of letting up.

 

These quotes all have one thing in common: detail. I love the way they ooze of imagery, the description providing a perfect picture within the reader’s mind. That is what I’m always striving for, and these are a few moments where I feel as though I’ve reached my goal.

 

A Perspective on Spring Break

Driving at night came to be one of my distinct pleasures in life, especially when the highway was involved. My eyes stayed trained on the road ahead of me, headlights nowhere to be seen but too far ahead and too far behind. Our limbs tired and our eyes heavy, Allison and I remained enveloped in an unspoken agreement of little to no conversation. We allowed the melody flowing out of the radio speakers to communicate for us. Like usual, I had everything on my mind all at once, woeful attempts at pushing him out of my brain.

 

Touring the university today, just a short drive away from the sand and sea salt which I loved so much, I knew it was meant to be my home. The “Lumina Theatre” within the commons area sort of tipped me off. Coincidence doesn’t exist within the realm of my beliefs. To break it down, long distance was not what he signed up for. Albeit nagging thoughts of missing him ate at my brain as I drove away that night, I knew that I had to think about myself and my needs. For once.

 

My fingertips trailed along the surface of the steering wheel, Allison’s worried voice infiltrating my thoughts, asking if I was too fatigued to drive. With a simple shake of my head, I alleviated her concerns, yet I still caught her out of the corner of my eye, watching the road closely to be sure I stayed on track. I found it extremely humorous that, over and over, she would shine her flashlight in the backseat and floorboards to double check that there were no ghosts or creatures of any sort.

 

Suddenly, like an eighteen wheeler, the thought hit me that this would be one of our last trips together. Allison would not be there once I  finally got my bottom braces off. My best friend throughout the entirety of high school and I were going separate ways once autumn rolled around. Although we would have chances to video call and text, our little adventures much like this one would be no more. She knew my facial expressions better than anyone, and as her comforting hand reached for mine, raindrops began to fall on the windshield.

Spring Breaking

After clumsily changing into breathable clothing in the backseat, I sat upon my passenger seat throne while my eyes ardently sifted through the array of stars littering the midnight sky, my thighs stinging from remnants of the evening sun. Feet resting on the dash, the glowing moon shone down on my pink tinged face and cherry red, sunburned lips. I found myself feigning for the night wind to creep through the car window and soothe my sticky skin. Neither of us had showered that day, Lumina and I, and driving away from the beach that night I felt as though we carried the ocean with us. Earlier that day I had swooned over the taste of sea salt present on my lips while Lumina scowled, waves crashing on both of our scrunched-up faces.

 

A frayed aux cord paired with small bands which we shared like secrets intertwined, my eyes closing momentarily as Lumina’s silky voice flowed, mingling with the chorus and creating my own free, personal symphony. Her voice grew shaky and weak with drawn out notes, a result of our previous performances, hair in our faces with a water bottle microphone, lyrics screamed so loud that anyone on the highway could listen in.

 

Time after time, strangers marveled at the two of us, stark opposites and an unusual pair of best friends. Her chestnut, Laotian skin next to my fair complexion, her dark silky hair, my frizzy blonde strands. Looking at the sunset that day, her voice rang in my ears as she spoke. “I wish I could paint this right now.” She smiled as I rebuked, “I could write a thousand poems about the sky right now.” We never agreed on anything. With the topic at hand, we had no explanation or reasoning to give. Simply put, we fit together perfectly. I felt on top of the world with Lumina, invincible, and this was when I could be the truest form of myself. Tonight I felt free, miles away from home, miles away from strict parents, miles away from my worries.
On this particular night, her feelings were mixed due to a recent breakup. My strained voice offered what advice I could, seeing as I know nowhere near as much as her regarding the issue at hand. This resulted in the slow music that now played on her old radio; cheesy, heartbroken lyrics that somehow said all of the things she needed to hear. Affection snaked its way into our lives at the rarest of moments, once in a blue moon, and our fingers intertwined and shone bright blue underneath the night sky.

Flashbulb Memories

The aroma of sweat and hairspray filled the locker room that Friday, multiple girls fighting for their turn at the single, large mirror within the vicinity. My nose turned up with newfound sass, my eyes taking one scornful survey of the glittery and prim faces around the room, my languid smile saying been there, done that. I kept close to my tribe of “returners”, our freshly plucked eyebrows and rosy cheeks lined in a perfect parallel. We mocked the younger girls with shaky knees and wide, curious eyes as we waited in a swirly line outside of the gym for our turn to present ourselves to the row of high-strung and perilous judges. Tiptoe stances stayed by the door, craving a peek at the current performers while multiple, determined girls practiced toe-touches and cartwheels.

 

My number was twenty one. This was somewhat of a good thing; I did not perform first, yet early, so the unstable nerves would not last long. Horror stories were passed down the line like weapons; returners who didn’t make it, broken ankles, sprained wrists and, God forbid, a fallen hair pin. I was thankful that Sienna was number nineteen, her thick eyeliner a familiarity and slight comfort.

 

A pair of eyeglasses and a clipboard called my group to perform; everything went blank. A blanket of stage fright wrapped itself around my mind, yet my body somehow remembered the entire routine and various counts. Next thing I knew, my ridiculous spirit fingers were raised toward the sky as a parting sign, my feet carrying me toward the enormous double-doors and into the sunlight.

 

Every other weekend, I visited my mother, and this just so happened to be one of those weekends. An agreement formed between Sienna and I of taking a dip in her pool to kick off summer break. We linked arms and strode off together.

 

“Do you think I’ll make it?” Sienna’s voice became a small thing in moments of hope and self-examination. A wave of chlorine polluted water swept over my sunburned face as I searched inside myself for a response.

 

A metal smile and a simple nod intertwined and rolled her way before I allowed the bright blue to take me under, my lungs filled with nervous air.