The Dragonfly and Raven

The Dragonfly and Raven

Thursday, April 30, 2015

This Is Your Final Notice

"THIS IS YOUR FINAL NOTICE.YOU. ARE TO VACATE THE PREMISES BY NOON TOMORROW. FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL RESULT IN FORCIBLE REMOVAL."

She sets down the notice, placing it beside the others.

"Ms. Turner: It has come to my attention that you are late on your monthly rent. Please enclose in a sealed envelope a check to the sum of $1000."

"Ms. Turner: For several months you have failed to submit your rent check. If payment is not made, I will be forced to evict you."

"NOTICE OF EVICTION: DUE TO YOUR FAILURE TO MAKE PAYMENT TO YOUR RENT, YOU ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO VACATE THE PREMISES BY THE 3OTH OF MARCH."

She stares at the notices for a moment, tears running down her face.

A knock comes from the door.

"Helen Turner? Open up. Police."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Integrals

Trigonometric functions all blur together,
Sine, cosine, tangent, secant--a jumble of radial operations.
Integrate this function times that one.
Make sure the interval is right.
Antiderivite it.
Wait, too soon.
Substitute in a u.
Make it the natural log's derivative first.
Now antiderive.
Plug all the numbers back,
And finally an answer!
Just remember to add a C.
No.
Wait.
Shit.
That's just f(x).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blood is Blood is Blood

Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter whose blood it is,
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if your a man or a woman.
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if your gay or straight.
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if you don't come from the same country,
Or if you come from the same continent.
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if you speak the same language,
Or if you pray to different gods,
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if your skin is colored different,
Or if your hair or your eyes.
Blood is blood is blood.
It doesn't matter if you eat meat or not,
Or if you like rock or jazz.
Blood is blood is blood.

It doesn't matter what your differences are with others, 
Shedding blood is an act of violence,
It is unnatural.
It is wrong.

What is natural though is love.
Compassion, caring for others. 
That is natural.
That is good.

Love is hugging friend,
It is kissing a lover,
Sleeping with them.
Love is holding a suckling babe close,
Feeding it, keeping it safe.
Love is how you treat your mother and sister and brother. 
It is how you treat your neighbors and teachers and pets.

Love is natural.
It is what we all do and express.
Violence is not natural.
It is a crime, and no matter what justification you may have,
Blood is blood is blood.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Vegas Rendezvous

"Rachel? Rachel Carter?"

"John Kero? What are you doing here?"

"Well, I just got married. Her name is Steph."

"A Vegas wedding? I never took you as the type, John."

"Well... we eloped. After we split up... well my family hasn't really approved of anyone else."

"But that was after we graduated high school! That was seven years ago John!"

"Yeah, but you've met my mother."

"Good point."

"So what are you doing here Rachel? Celebrating putting another sleezeball behind bars?"

"No, actually. I... um... I just got married as well. His name is Tom."

"Wow! Congratulations! Gosh, what are the odds?"

"I know!"

"So... um... what are you doing here alone at the bar?"

"Well... I... I just needed to be by myself for a little bit, you know?"

"Yeah... same here."

"So, how have you been?"

"Good. Good."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. You?"

"I've been good."

"Good."

"Say... do you want to... go get a room or something, and catch up?"

"That would be nice..."

"Cool, come on, let's go."

"Wait... John, what are we doing right now?

"We're going to go catch up."

"No John, what are we really doing?"

"We're going to catch up Rachel."

"No, we're not. Goodnight John. It was nice to see you again. Congratulation about Steph."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Boy and His Blocks

A little boy sits on a hard oak floor playing with wooden blocks and plastic cars. His mother and father stand in the next room, arguing and crying. After a short time, the father walks out of the house, a stack of signed papers in hand. Soon after, the boy gets up to see his mother in the kitchen, asking her for food. She tells him to go back to playing, and that she will bring him something in a moment. She goes over to the cupboard and opens it, revealing bare shelves, save for a loaf of bread. Then, she goes to the refrigerator, grabbing the only thing that it had--a stick of margarine. Choking back tears, she forces herself to smile as she brings toast out to her son.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Casting Off Our Consumer Chains

We should turn up a large surface of life,
Not dig mines into geological strata.
Have not we learned from the epochs of history,
That the lines of humanity, near the bosoms of business,
Care not for anything but their bottom line?

The world underneath our own,
Is filled with the glowing hues of life,
Life that these businesses fail to recognize.
Thus we must communicate no longer by words,
But through a medium they will understand--action.

The sooner that we grapple with business,
The sooner that we can cast off our consumer chains.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

De Septem Cathedras Imperialis Potentia

This is either the prologue to a much larger story, or a story unto itself. I am not sure what I am going to do with it quite yet.


De Septem Cathedras Imperialis Potentia

The human race has created many things, many great and terrible things. The Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China, created via slave labor. So many lives lost, just to showcase the power of the ruling class. But what kept the ruling class in power, besides military might? Religion, some argue. Charisma, others say. Perhaps the fact that the general population is easy to fool. These all were factors in how those in power were able to keep control, but there is another, hidden explanation. De Septem Cathedras Imperialis Potentia, or The Seven Seats of Imperial Power, were seven chairs created by the Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, the sixteenth Emperor of Rome. Marcus Aurelius is well known as one of the greatest Roman Emperors, and was considered a philosopher king. During his war with the various Germanic tribes and the Sarmatians, Aurelius discovered an enormous tree, in what is now the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.

The tree in question was colossal, a yew. According to secret journals of Aurelius, the Germans believed that the tree was planted by the goddess Thrud, granddaughter of Wodan. They believed that whoever controlled the tree had the favor of the gods. Marcus Aurelius, upon slaughtering the Germans, he ordered the tree to felled, and brought back to Rome. There, he had his master artisans create the Seven Seats of Imperial Power. Each chair was was crafted in the image of the six most powerful gods of the Roman Pantheon―Jupiter, Minerva, Apollo, Venus, Mars, and Neptune. The seventh chair was crafted with the image of the Caesar in mind.

Upon the completion of the chairs, Marcus Aurelius had them put away in a hidden cache in the Alps, except of course, the chair that was crafted in the likeness of the Caesar. This chair, the First Seat of Imperial Power, would be passed on down the line of Emperors until the fracture of the Empire. It would then be taken to Constantinople. There it remained, to be used by the Byzantines Basileis, and Ottoman Sultans, until the first World War, when it was taken by the British. They then took it to India to help cement their power there. Unfortunately, it was lost during the independence movement, and the new Indian government gained control of it.

The remaining six chairs would stay hidden within their cache in the Alps for several centuries, until Pepin the Younger, King of the Franks, discovered them shortly before his death. The chairs were willed to his son Charlemagne, who would form the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne chose to distribute the chairs to his chief advisers, giving one to Viceroys of Neustria, Austria, Aquitaine, Lombardia, and one to Pope Leo III, in return for his crowning of Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor. Charlemagne decided to keep one of the chairs for himself at the Imperial Capital of Aachen.

For many centuries, the chairs remained dormant, not surfacing during the time of the Karlings, or the first few crusades. The chair given to Pope Leo III―the Fourth Seat of Power―remained within the walls of the Vatican, and is currently occupied by Pope Francis. Much like the First Chair of Power, it moved very little.

The chair granted to the Viceroy of Lombardia―The Third Seat of Power―has a more bloody history. It remained in Lombardia for several centuries, and its power was forgotten by almost all. So, in a gesture of good faith, the Duke of Milan gave it to the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick III von Hasburg, the first of the Hasburgian Emperors. Fredrick knew of the power that the chair possessed, as Hasburgs held the Sixth Seat of Power. In an attempt to improve their diplomatic reputation, and their relations with the newly formed Spain, Fredrick gifted the Third Chair of Power to Isabella I of Castile, and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon. The chair was used by the Spanish to fuel their conquest of the New World. It was at one point sent to the new world, to provide more power for the regional governors. It was seized by the Americans during the Spanish-American War. It was brought to Japan after WWII, and was gifted to them after the withdrawal of American troops. The Sixth Seat of Power, the one held by the Hasburgs, was the same that was granted by Charlemagne to the Viceroy of Austria. The Hasburgs would use the power of this chair to secure the Holy Roman Empire for the five centuries, eventually gaining control of the crowns of Bohemia, Germany, Hungary, and Bavaria, and beyond. The chair would be taken by the British during WWI, and taken to Hong Kong to secure British trade dominance. Shortly before the British were to return Hong Kong, they made plans to bring the chair back to England. Their plan did not see fruition though, as Chinese agents intercepted the shipment. The chair now resides within The Great Hall of the People in Bejing.

Charlemagne's chair, the Second Seat of Power, would pass through many hands over time. It stayed in northern Germany though, and it was utilized by the Fredrick the Great when he formed Prussia, and the First Reich. The chair stayed in the hands of the Germans through World War II, when it was taken to Moscow by Stalin. It remains within Kremlin, and is currently held by Vladimir Putin.

The Seventh Seat of Power was granted by Charlemagne to the Viceroy of Neustria. The chair would remain in the region for quite some time, finding its home in what is now known as Normandy. The seat eventually ended up in the hands of William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy. It was through the Seventh Seat's power that William was able to take England, becoming William the Conqueror. The chair remains within Britain. The exact location of the chair is uncertain though, as during the London air raids in World War II, Prime Minister Churchill had it moved to a protected, undisclosed location.

The fifth one ended up in France. The Fifth Seat of Power was granted by Charlemagne to the Viceroy of Aquitaine, which was his son, Louis the Pious. The chair was passed on to his son Charles the Bald, and his son Louis the Stammerer. It would be passed back and forth between the rulers of the Kingdoms of Aquitaine and West Francia until their eventual union, with the formation of the Kingdom of France. It was during the the reign of King Louis XVI that the Fifth Seat of Power finally was moved again. Louis XVI, facing massive internal strife, and being good friends of the Americans, gifted the chair to General Washington. Washington used it to win the Revolutionary War, and it was passed from that point on from president to president, and is currently held by President Obama.

That is the story of De Septem Cathedras Imperialis Potentia; The Seven Seats of Imperial Power. Crafted from a yew sacred to the Germanic tribes of Bohemia by Caesar Marcus Aurelius, the chairs were used by the rulers of nearly every major Western power after. From the German Kaisers to Spanish Kings and from the Austrian Archdukes to the American Presidents, the chairs were used by those in power to rule over their citizens, and to expand their spheres of influence across the globe.

―Special Thanks to Chris Van Allsburg, Whose Picture Inspired This Story. And to Ms. Jan Priddy, Who Gave Me The Assignment That Prompted This Story.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Funky-Punky Haired Girl

Funky hair and vibe,
She goes from place to place,
From person to person,
Getting what she wants.
Owning the air around her,
And the ground below her.

She is kind,
She is quirky.
She is a good friend.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can I?

Can I justify,
Her waiting for my answer?
No, I suppose not.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Every Day

Every day I wake up at five thirty AM,
To a half dozen blaring alarms.
I'm lucky if I get six hours of rest.
Even when I do though, it seems like I didn't sleep at all.

Every day I drag myself out of my inviting, heavenly bed,
Running through the frigid morning air of my home,
To jump into the scalding water of the shower.
I enjoy it though,
As the temperature variation helps to wake me up.

Every day I hop out of the shower,
Returning to slightly warmer air as I scurry back to my room,
Pulling on underwear and socks,
Before diving back under the blankets of my bed.

Every day I lay in bed in a post shower bliss,
I rest my eyes, and try not to fall back asleep,
And I surf the web,
Catching myself up on what happened while I dreaming.

Every day I have to get dressed,
Forcing me to leave my bed again,
Rushing to throw together an outfit,
As I waited until the last minute.

Every day I have a large cup of coffee.
Usually, it is without anything else.
I prefer darker roasts, French or Italian.
I take the rest of the pot in a thermos.

Every day I leave my house and walk to school,
Taking a seven block stroll,
Four feet away from cars,
Steel cages whizzing by at fifty-five.

Every day I get to school by seven twenty AM.
Finding the building mostly empty.
It is a quite, somber time,
That I use to read or write.

Every day at eight AM I go to my classes,
I study English and history,
Mathematics and music.
And somewhere in there I have a lunch.

Every day after school I have some sort of activity.
Some days I am rehearsing for a play.
Some days, I am working on a student government project.
Some days, I am working on scholarships.

Every day I go home to work on homework.
I walk directly from the front door to the coffee pot,
And then, mug in hand, to my desk.
To peck away at paper after paper.

Every day I eat dinner,
And do my chores,
And chat with my family.
And watch videos.

Every day I go back to my room,
Stripping off my clothes,
Falling into my bed,
Embraced by fatigue and darkness.

Recharging before I do it all over again.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Telling a Story Through Setting OR Showing, Not Telling

Here is an assignment I recently received that focused on telling a story by showing, not telling. The goal was to do it in a paragraph or less. The three stories were as follows.

1. The story of a Civil War soldier.

2. Someone landing on Mars.

3. Someone getting accepted to the school she wanted to go to.

Here is what I wrote. I challenge you to do the same, and if want, to leave them in the comments below.

1. Two large armies meet on the field of battle. An army of blue, and one of gray. Albert crouches behind the makeshift battlement his army had constructed, firing his rifle at the horde of enemy troops.

2. Galileo 5's RCS thrusters gently set it down on the barren, red soil. Its hatch opened, and Jerome stepped out in his skin-tight space suit.

3. She reached into her mailbox, thumbing through assorted bills and advertisements. She threw them down onto her desk, and they scattered themselves out, revealing one with a Harvard letterhead. Slowly, a smile crept across her face. .

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Just Another Day

She grabs a bright red apple, and sets it down gently onto an opaque cutting board. Holding it in place with her right index finger, she slices through the fruit with a cold, stainless steel blade. Slowly, she takes the two symmetric halves, and sets them beside each other. She then proceeds to turn each half into quarters, and the quarters into eighths. Now finished, she walks over to the sink and cleans the blade with her hands. As she finishes this, she punctures her finger with the tip of the knife, sucking the small globules of blood that spew forth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Open Heart Transplant

He sits on a black leather coach in the waiting room. Doctors and nurses walk quickly by in blue and green scrubs. The left side of his hair is in disarray, and his suit jacket is wrinkled. In one had, he clenches the Holy Bible, in the other, a dead Blackberry and a picture of his wife and kids. He stares blankly at the grey-green wall, his eyes twitching slightly, as a frowning man in surgical scrubs and a lab coat approaches.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rocky Mountains High in the Sky

High
In the sky
Are the peaks of 
The Rocky Mountains.
They reach up and up and up,
Creating a natural divide between the
Great Plains states and the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm Thinking About

I'm thinking about the future.
I'm thinking about the paper I have to turn in in a few minutes. About the one that I have yet to write.
I'm thinking about the book that I have to read. I'm thinking about the test I have to take in calculus. About substitution and integrals and derivatives. About x and y and z.
I'm thinking about Vietnam and the counter-culture. About how many kids LBJ killed each day.
I'm thinking about all of the songs that I will be singing for the upcoming choir competition. About how bad I am at sight reading. About my insecurities, my fear of failure, of making a mistake.
I'm thinking about the dance that Ii'm helping put on. About the male beauty pageant I'm running.
I'm thinking about the play that I just got the script for. About how I don't have my lines down. About how it has to open in three weeks.
I'm thinking about college, about what dorm I will be in.
I'm thinking about scholarships. About which ones I'll win. About how much debt I'll have.
I'm thinking about my writing blog. About what will go up today.
I'm thinking about both of my family's cars being broken.
I'm thinking about the main water pipe to our house needing to be replaced.
I'm thinking about my family. About my brother and sister whose academics I worry about. About the health of my parents, both mental and physical. About my grandparents, slowly withering away.
I'm thinking about the hunger gnawing at my stomach. About the fatigue and the lack of sleep assaulting my eyes and my mind.
I'm thinking about what others think of me. About my looking "stupid" or not. About looking "cool" or not.
I'm thinking about the girl I have a crush on.
I'm thinking about today and tomorrow and the day after that.

I'm just sitting here, thinking.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Fastest Trip to Seattle and Back

One car,
Two car,
On the mechanic's floor.

Bad breaks,
Ball joints,
Broken parts galore!

Dashed hopes,
Bad moods,
Anger is abound.

Sad girl,
Mad girl,
Hear her anger sound.

Must wait,
Three days,
To make it right.

Sadly,
Wedding,
In Seattle tonight.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Mechanic's Shop

I sit impatiently in the uncomfortable black chair.
A TV drones in the corner,
Glorifying mediocrity.
Band and hisses and pops come from the next room, where men in overalls slaved away on cars.

I was already running late to the joining of two of my friends in holy matrimony,
When my Explorer's ball joint decided to fail.
So now I sit in an uncomfortable black chair,
Drinking liquid dirt masqueraded as coffee,
And eating over-salted popcorn.
Here I sit.
Here I wait.
I wait to see,
If I can watch,
Two of my friends become a family.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Two Days, Two Bombings

15 April 2013:
Bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Many hurt, several dead.
A national tragedy.
A headline story.

16 April 2013
Drone strike at an Iraqi wedding.
Hundreds dead, 
Many women and children.
A terrorist was killed though.
A single ticker line at the bottom the screen.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bomb Terrorists Wherever They Be Found

In a hot, dry part of the world,
A village of a hundred and two,
Packed into mud-crafted homes.
In the central market square,
Men trade livestock,
Women exchange clothes and fruits.
Children play ball games in the streets,
Running in circles, laughing and playing.
Everything is perfect here, tranquil.

Then, a booming is heard.
A concussive wave shakes the village.
Children scream in pain and fear,
As American bombs rain down,
Engulfing the terrorists in an unearthly inferno.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Woes of Falling for a Friend

We sit together and I look at her.
Her medium length amber-orange hair,
Illuminated by the rising sun,
Her head blocking it like the moon during an eclipse.

Her face is one of legends,
One that could rival that of Paris' wife.
Upon it there is a plethora of brown-orange freckles
As magnificent and numerous as the stars in the sky.
Her eyes are two great wells of blue,
Portals into her mind and soul.

She catches my gaze and asks me if something is wrong.
Her nose moves up just a bit as she says this.
I don't know why,
But that scrunch is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

I can't tell her the truth though.
I can't tell her about how I love the little accents she gives words.
I can't tell her about how dumb she makes me feel by comparison.
I can't tell her about how much I love her refusal to wear skirts and dresses,
Even though she wears them well.
I can't tell her about how my heart beats just a little bit faster when she says my name.

But I can tell her about how much I appreciate her friendship.
I can tell her how much her kindness means to me.
I can tell her that I was just staring off into space.
A white lie, but better than spoiling a friendship.

This is a painful existence--
Caring for someone and not being able to express it.
Even more painful though is moving on.
Giving up.
It is incredibly difficult,
But in the end the wounds of the heart heal,
And the friendship remains, better than ever before.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Meander of Smoke

An old man with a cancer stick,
Burning tobacco and other additives,
Creating a putrid black smoke,
Smoke that enters him,
Invading his lungs and poisoning him.
Rending great scars.
It also attacks those around him,
An overwhelming olfactory barrage.

A circle of friends in a thicket,
Sitting on dried stumps of trees.
In the hands of one is a pipe,
A pipe of blown-glass,
Filled with a strong indica blend.
They burn the grass,
And share in its inhalation,
Allowing the tendrils of the plant to wrap themselves around their brains,
Squeezing them much like a boa constrictor does a mouse--
Bringing great joy.

A coal-colored storm cloud over a coastal pine forest.
The Wrath of Zeus rains down upon the tall Douglas Firs.
The jolt of electricity sparks on contact,
Like a hammer striking steel on a blacksmith's anvil.
The torrential winds topple the gentle giant,
Spreading the greedy fire,
A disease that poisons the entire forest.
Smoke rises from the razed wood,
Spreading out onto the sea like a typical coastal fog.

A dozen or so friends huddled about a campfire,
The only light around, like a candle in the darkness.
From all directions there can be heard chirps and hoots.
The gurgling of a nearby creek.
They all grin ear to ear,
Extending skewers with hot dogs and marshmallows over the blaze.
The smoke of the fire shifts with the wind,
Following some of the teens trying to escape it.
But the smoke is not bad.
It may irritate the eyes, but it stimulates the nose.
It smells of smoked salmon,
And sweet, sweet sap,
And of the friendship and the companionship and the intimacy of the night.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Always Learning: The Story of My Academic Success

This is a creative nonfiction essay I wrote for my writing class. I hope you enjoy it.

Always Learning: The Story of My Academic Success

I was not always a know-it-all. I did not always know about the formation of the German State, or of the tectonic plates shifting beneath our feet, or of western imperialism and its lasting impact on the lives of everyone. I was not always a know-it-all—it had to be learned.

Public School is one of the most important things in the world. Having an educated population benefits everyone. It provides an informed electorate and civil servants, like engineers and doctors. It creates a population of intelligent, thoughtful people. And if nothing else, having free public schooling brings literate, somewhat well mannered people who can do basic mathematics into the workforce While I learned many things in public schools, the majority of my knowledge originates outside of them. It all goes back to my fourth grade year.

When I was young, I used to get sick quite often. It was always at the same time of the year—like clockwork. Every October and January, I would be wheeled into the doctor's office, and every time I was assaulted with a battery of tests, and given a new drug to try. It became a problem in the fourth grade though, when I ended up missing the entire month of January because of the same barking cough that came very year. Eventually, we found out that the cough was triggered by my body treating scotch broom pollen as a foreign invader and a common cold. After the first week or so, my symptoms were psychosomatic. Which basically means that my brain was telling my body that I was sick, even though I wasn't.

Instead of falling behind like most people would after missing over a month of school, I thrived.  Being stuck at one's house alone for weeks tends to make one bored. After exhausting my video game collection, and after watching television until my eyes ached from the brightness of the LCDs, I decided to read. At first, I read fiction. I read of fantastic rebellions against Magician-Kings and of deep space outposts guarding valuable shipping lanes. Then I moved on to science and history—natural jumps from the science fiction and fantasy that I loved. From there, I was off to the races. All of the free time that I had was spent reading and learning—bettering my life.

By the time I got to seventh grade, I wasn't learning a thing in school. My days were spent sitting bored on my ass, creating cartography of imaginary worlds, or simply staring off into space. I had just about checked out. I was arguing with my teachers—winning too—and I was being sent to in-school detention. What I found funny about this was that the in-school detention supervisor was on my side, and so when I was sent to him, he almost always let me do what I wanted.

The school—and all of my teachers—knew that I was smart, that I was not like the rest of my peers. The only option I saw was to be moved ahead—to skip a grade. The school feared that this would cause severe social repercussions for me, as many studies show that children often discriminate based on age. For me though, this proved to not be a problem. In fact, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Moving into a new grade was difficult, but I managed to scrape together passing grades. This is because I continued learning after school was out. Around that time, I began to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Instead of listening to music, I listened to Click and Clack talk about cars. I listened to Neil DeGrasse Tyson speak of the stars—whose dust we are all made of. I listened to Sun Tzu explain The Art of War. I listened to all of the stuff that I missed in history class, from the Encephalitis Lethargica outbreak to the Tunguska Event.

Around this time I also began to play video games that had a historical basis. Through these games, I learned about Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire. I learned of the evolution of Christianity: of the Great Schism, the Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation. I learned of the fall of the Ilkanate and Mongols, and the rise of the Ottoman Sultanate. I learned of all of these things from video games, and while a few of the finer details of history were altered for gameplay purposes, the games served as a launching point for my own research into subjects such as the Burgundian Inheritance.

I also started watching educational videos to supplement my learning. The advent of the internet, and the rise of Youtube has created a space for people from anywhere in the world to share what they know. Khan Academy, started November 2006 by a guy trying to teach his cousin. Today, Khan Academy has its own website, and a large staff that teaches everything from math to art. Other Youtube channels provide crash courses in subjects—like psychology and biology—while yet others explain the science behind our everyday lives—like why an object can appear to be two different colors to two different people. To this day, this is how I enjoy spending my free time—learning.

Public education is an extremely important social institution. It has its purpose, and it is here to stay. Because education is the silver bullet. It can, and will fix so many problems in our society today. It can combat poverty and reduce drug addiction. It can save our environment and out culture. It creates human beings who care about other people, and not just themselves. It levels the playing field for people of all pigments and creeds and nationalities and classes. What is important to realize though is that education does not, and cannot end when school is out. Everybody must continue to learn throughout their entire lives. For me, video games and podcasts and educational videos do the trick. I was not always a know-it-all. I had to learn how to be one. I had to put in time and effort, mental strain and sweat. At the top of the hill looking down though, it is clear to me that it was worth it.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Eyes of the Orchid

It stared at him. He didn't quite know how, but it was staring at him. It didn't have any eyes, nor did it have ears to hear that he was coming, or a nose to smell him. Yet there it was, staring at him, the orchid. It was just sitting there in its pot, soaking in rays from the sun—staring at him. It had three main budding flowers, pure white that looked as soft as snow. The center of the flowers was a light—but rich—violet. Those three violet centers served as its eyes, staring him down, making him question his purpose. The more that he stared at it, the more he became unnerved. It felt like it was getting closer to him, this most sinister orchid. It made him feel claustrophobic within the large open room that he had all to himself.

The more that he looked around, the more he realized that it was not just the white-violet orchid that was looking at him. Right next to it was a green, shrub-like plant. It too was watching him. The goldfish in the tank were watching him. The dragonfly sculpture above was watching him. The painting of sunflowers on the wall, the man on his coffee mug, the door picture of his family. They were all watching him. He started to hyperventilate. The world seemed to be closing in around him. The room was getting smaller and smaller. The hairs on his head stood on end, and he began to shake uncontrollably. Then, there came a knocking on the door.

It was as though someone had shined a light into the depths of a very dark cave. He saw this beacon of hope, and strode toward it, jumping out of his chair, and away from the eyes that watched him. He glanced over his shoulder on his way to the door, still nervous. But everything was returning to normal again, the room back to its normal size. He stopped shaking, and his breathing calmed. He stopped for a brief moment before the door, closing his eyes, and taking a deep breathe. Then, he opened the door, smiling.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

There is a man in a gray flannel suit.
He works in  the city from nine to five,
In a plain rectangular cubicle.
He works for a corporate commission,
Taking the metro train five days a week,
To slave away on a QWERTY keyboard.

The man in the suit has a family.
He has a pretty young wife named Ilene,
Who he had been seeing since seventeen.
They were sweethearts through high school and college,
Marrying June, after graduation.
They have a small little girl named Sarah.
Sarah has her father's brown chestnut hair,
And her mother's glinting bluish-green eyes.
She has her father's curiosity,
And her mother's compassion and kindness.

The Man and his wife and daughter lived in,
The suburbs of the city were he worked.
They lived in a blue-white Levvittown house,
With a large green-grass lawn and a driveway.
The two story house has a large garage,
Were there is a gray Volkswagon Jetta.
They have a chocolate lab named Sadie,
And a calico cat named Liberty.
Here the man and his wife and daughter live.
Together they are gay, living happy.

At least, that is what an outsider sees.
They wife and daughter are happy, not he.
He lives in a constant state of sadness.
He is ill with a disease of the mind.
A terrible sickness--a depression.
For years and years he hid it well,
Continuing on for his wife and kid.
But one Tuesday it all became too much.
And so instead of going to work he
Waited for his family to leave the house.
He ducked into the garage as they left.
Grabbing some rope and a small step-ladder,
He fashioned for himself a hangman's noose,
And kicked the ladder out from under him.

They found him there a few hours later,
Swaying ever so slightly back and forth,
To the horror of his young, little girl.
A crumpled note, the only thing he left.
He said it was not their fault, it was his.
He said that he loved them but he couldn't
Continue on living in agony.
He said that this was the only way he
Thought could finally give him a respite.

For years and years Sarah was sad, angry.
She was furious with her dead father,
Thinking that he was a selfish person.
Blaming him for everything bad happening.
She stayed in this state of anger until
She was a woman of twenty seven.
Her rage destroyed all her relationships,
And drove her to a deep, deep depression.
But when she was twenty seven years old,
She finally realized she needed
To come to terms with what her father did.

So Sarah sought help with a therapist,
For the first time since that day
Sharing all of her bottled emotions.
Sarah looked deep inside of herself to grasp,
Why her father killed himself that fateful day.
And eventually she understood it,
Able to move on, forgiving the man.
Able to live outside of his shadow.
The man who once wore a gray flannel suit

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Monster Sentence

This is an assignment that I did in my writing class. It is simple: create a sentence that is at least 100 words long, that is grammatically correct, and without any run-ons. The idea was to start with a base sentence, and then work out from there. Here is my sentence, and I challenge you to try to write your own, and if you are so inclined, post them in the comments below.

The Monster Sentence

When we think about those who are dead, we think about different things: about the little girl at the end of the street who fell into a pile of leaves—hitting her head, and while unconscious, being run over by a teenage girl who was too distracted by a text message from her boyfriend to notice—taken before her time, about the brother who died in a foxhole—fighting a war in the Middle East against men of the sword and crescent for black gold—by jumping on a grenade to save the rest of the men in his unit, or—like me—about a grandfather stricken with cancer—living in agony for months and months, unable to care for himself—who finally passed away—putting an end to his suffering.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Special Drink

In order to wake in the morning,
I have to drink my special drink.

In order to make this drink,
I have to order many small,
Mexican children,
Which I have shipped directly to my house.

When they get to my home,
I put them in their own special room,
Crammed together without nourishment,
So that they can dry out.

Every morning I pick out about three dozen,
And throw them into a special device,
That grinds them into a fine, brown powder.
Run hot water through this mix,
And one will get my morning pick me-up,
A fine cup-of-José.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On the Couch

I open the front door of my house,
Walking into the living room,
Exhausted after a long day's work.
Then, I see her.

She is laying on the couch.
Naked, clothed only in fur
Draped over her exquisite form.

She perks up at my entrance,
And calls me over to her.
Removing my tie,
I join her on the couch,
Running my hands through her hair.

As I sit down, she gets up,
Positioning herself onto my crotch.
I put my hand onto her back,
Following the curvature of her spine,
Moving around to her chest and stomach.

I can hear her begin to purr,
As she falls asleep on my lap.
My loyal cat.