Saturday, December 23, 2006

one word - plastics

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to my Simon and Garfunkel CD and thought, "Huh. I've never seen the Graduate. You know, I'm about to graduate - it's an appropriate time to watch it!" So, a couple of days before I graduated, I watched The Graduate. I absolutely loved it. If you haven't seen it, rent it soon! It's certainly not a feel good movie, but it made me feel the awkwardness and sadness and desperation of the characters. It presented some good themes, and I enjoyed the symbolism. Since watching it, I've found myself reimagining scenes and thinking about lines and moments. There's something about it that I just can't shake.

I wasn't expecting to find many commonalities between myself and Dustin Hoffman's character, Benjamin Braddox. I'm not having any affairs with older men (or women). Like I've talked about in the previous post, I have a direction and I'm not just drifting by or floating around in the sea of life. But, one scene that I did connect with was the very first one, when Benjamin is at the graduation party his parents are hosting and some woman (his mother? a friend?) off screen starts going off, "Look, here's Benjamin's college year book. Look at this, his junior year he was Assistant Editor, his senior year he was Editor in Chief, and Captain of the Debate Team . . . " and before she can continue, Benjamin runs upstairs to escape it all. Even when I first watched that scene, I cringed and completely understood why Ben wouldn't want to hear this lady bragging about him.

The day of my graduation, I felt excited and proud of myself, but always felt awkward when someone commented on how many things were around my neck. I loved getting my picture taken with the Chancellor beforehand, but hated the moment myself and a few others stood above the seated sea of purple. With all my peers staring, I just wanted to hide and didn't want to stand out at all. The evening after my graduation, at home, my parents started talking about that moment. "How great that must have felt, staring down at the sea of other graduates." And then they continued, talking about my honors and my GPA, while I just wanted to run up to my room and sit in from of my fishtank and stare at the wall. I didn't run, and I don't have a fishtank, so I just sat and nodded and faked agreement with them.

Later, as I was reflecting on all these feelings, I wondered where they came from. Why do I often feel so uncomfortable hearing praises about myself? While I don't ever desire mediocrity, why do I not want to stand out, and just want to blend in with the crowd? Is it humility? Or insecurity?

On a different note, I find it amusing that Anne Bancroft, who's character is supposed to be old enough to be Benjamin's mother, in real life was only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman, who was 30 when the film was made.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


One thing I love about working at Starbucks is having a connection with fellow partners at other stores. As soon as I whip out my green partner card – BAM, conversation flows. I’m no longer just a customer, I’m a partner, a compadre, a cohort, a companion. We’re equals. It doesn’t matter if we’re young or old, Christian or atheist, gay or straight, partiers or homebodies, educated or not, we’re all similar. We’re all a little crazy, a little friendly, a little caffeinated. Whether we’re in school, working another job, single, married, parenting, we’re here because we want to be here. We may complain, but we actually like what we do.

A few nights ago, I visited another Starbucks that is fast becoming a favorite place to go and work. It’s near school, one of my friends works there, the cafĂ© is rarely crowded because it has a drivethru, and I’m getting to know many of the baristas, who take good care of me. This particular evening, I started talking to one of the partners about my impending graduation and my plans thereafter. This was the gist of our conversation:

Aaron: I remember my first break from school. It was fun, just working and making money and hanging out.
Me: Yeah.
Aaron: I mean, my friends that have graduated, they’re so gung-ho, you know? And I’m just not ready for that. I could finish, but I don’t want to be gung-ho yet. I’m still young.
Me: Yeah, totally. You’ve got plenty of time.

I stood there, listened, nodded, and verbalized my agreement with him, part of me feeling that my actions were true, I did agree with him, but another part of me feeling like him and I were on two different paths. Am I gung-ho like one of his friends? Graduating at 21, headed to graduate school, on a path, with a plan, with a passion? Maybe that’s the difference. I have a passion, and perhaps he doesn’t. I didn’t ask him if he had a passion or not, but I think that when someone has a passion, they can’t help but be gung-ho about it. But there are certainly plenty of passionless gung-hoers, and perhaps those were the friends he was describing. I know I have friends like that, who have no clue where or why they’re going where they’re headed, but they’re headed there at 90 miles an hour. If I was directionless, without a path, I’d rather be like my friend Aaron. I’d rather do what I like, take my time, not get to competitive about anything, and just try to figure out what I’d really rather be doing. I mean, yes, we are young. Who knows how old Aaron is – 21? 23? 26? It doesn’t matter. He’s not thirty yet, he’s still young. As my stepdad recently remarked, “I don’t even remember 21!” Of course, he was being facetious. He frequently tells college memories and still stays close with his fellow Masters of the Universe (yes, that’s what they called themselves) and they all shared a secret toast with Lone-Star beer at a tent at his wedding. But despite keeping those memories alive, he is a very different person than he was thirty years ago. Which makes me wonder – am I too gung-ho for a 21 year old? I somewhat envy Aaron. All he has to worry about is paying rent. Ok, that’s probably me being facetious now, but I don’t care.

I look back at myself as a freshmen in college, just three years ago, and wonder what I was thinking. I’m sure that at age 24, I’ll look back at my 21 year old self and wonder the same thing. But I don’t think there’s an age where we suddenly arrive and have all the wisdom we’re ever going to need. We’ll always (hopefully) be growing and changing. My roommate told me that even her grandmother feels that way. She remarked, “I remember when I was first a grandmother. Man, I didn’t have a clue what to do!” Somehow that’s comforting. None of us ever have a clue. And that’s ok. Especially if I keep trusting the One who holds the big picture. He’s given me a flashlight, with just enough light to illuminate a foot or two in front of me. Just enough direction and guidance to take that next step, though the path beyond each step stays dark. I can handle the darkness without fear, as long as I stay fixed on the light.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I only slept about four hours last night, because I have to revise my term paper, lead a Bible study, and cook Guatemalan food before 11am this morning. Boo! - not to the Bible study or the good food, but to the lack of sleep and having so much to do! But I'll hopefully catch a nap this afternoon and . . . in about a week I'll be done with my undergraduate course work :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why the heck not?

Thank you friends, for your suggestions on which poems to submit to the literary journal! I pretty much submitted all your suggestions, 6 poems in all. I was only intending to submit 2 or 3, but at the last minute I decided, “Why not?” I submitted Karma and Not in the Stars because they are two of my favorites, and Dead to the World because it’s so emotional and raw, and The Worst Mistake He Ever Made and 1 am because you guys like them, and Frontier Unknown because it was what started this all and it’s a dedication to a dear friend of mine. It’s been a couple of weeks, but I haven’t anything from them, so I don’t even know if they were received. I’m not too concerned, I’m just happy that I’ve tried because a couple of years ago I never would have done something like this.

Lately, I’ve been living by that “why not?” sort of attitude. You know that clichĂ©, “If you don’t ask, the answer is automatically ‘No.’”? Well, I’ve always had a tendency to make up people’s mind for them. “No, that professor wouldn’t want to do this for me – I’d be bothering him/her.” “No, that friend wouldn’t want to come to church with my tomorrow, I’m sure he/she has better things to do.” I’m now trying to reverse that habit. I’ve started inviting friends to more things, whether or not I think they’d want to come. In the midst of graduate school applications and my honors project, I’ve started asking more professors for help. I suppose this is helping me put aside some fear of rejection and pride that I hold onto. And you know what? That friend did come to church with me. Those other friends did come hang out at the farm with me. And all those professors? Every single one of them offered to help me! I wound up having to tell them no! This is so encouraging, and I feel like God is just exceeding my expectations. I’ve spent a lot of this semester stressed and discouraged, but now I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel 

No new poetry, sadly. I don’t know when inspiration will strike me again, so I’ve decided to keep this blog alive by broadening its purpose and writing other things on here – even if it’s just an update about my life. Xanga is dying, but I refuse to give up on it just yet, so I’ll probably start double-posting.

If you don’t already know, I’ll be graduating this December and have the semester off and just work full-time until I begin graduate studies in the fall. I’ve kept saying that I want to travel during this 8 month hiatus from school. Well, my traveling adventures for next spring and summer have officially begun – I booked a flight to New Orleans! My friend from there invited myself and another friend to join him for Jazzfest in April. I’m excited; I’ve never been to this city, and we’ll have a fantastic tour guide and be able to stay with his family – who will even take us out for nice dinners! This is the way to travel  Then, this afternoon I spent a little bit of time with my dad and mentioned how I wanted to go to Europe this summer, and he was very supportive. He said he would help me out financially (let’s just hope he doesn’t let me down) and agreed that I should take advantage of this time off, since in graduate school I won’t have anymore summer breaks. My plans are becoming reality!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Literary Journal

This semester I've been extremely busy with school, and as a result, I haven't had much time for writing. Hopefully I will be graduating in December - if I can finish my honors project in time. Right now, I've been focusing on grad school applications. I wish I could hire an administrative assistant to handle all this paperwork.

When I began writing these poems not quite six months ago, I originally intended for them to therapeutic, private matters, which I published on a semi-anonymous blog just to put them out there somewhere. Starting this blog has involved me a little bit in a community of writers and I've enjoyed it immensely. In recent months, I've even begin sharing my work with friends and family outside of this blog. Surprisingly, people like it. This private endeavor is becoming more and more public. Yesterday, a poster advertising our school's literary magazine caught my eye. I thought it would be fun to submit a couple of poems and see what happens.

So, friends, I'm in need of your input. Which poems (if any) do you think I should submit? The submission deadline is midnight, this upcoming friday. Leave a comment, and let me know any feedback you have. Thank you so much!

Little Slips of Paper

It’s those little slips of paper
That break your damn heart –
Reminders of what once was
And will never be again.

A post-it with a phone number
And a dead grandmother’s name
Reminding you to wish her a happy birthday.
Did you call her that day?
Screw it, she’s gone.

A small white sheet
Neatly folded, again and again
With lyrics to the Mexican birthday song you sang to him
From miles away –
Your heart bursting with longing and desire.
Was his cold as he listened to you?
Fuck it, it’s over.

Her Black Hairs

Her black hairs
stick to everything
Reminders of the woman
He will never escape
And all the risks
He’d never take
For fear of disapproval.

Her black hairs
Must be pried away
Day by day
But still they stay
Frowning, laughing, smiling.

One day, when she’s gone
The black hairs will make him cry
And he will gather them up
With loving care
And burn them all away.

Monday, September 11, 2006

in memory . . .

of Claudia Alicia Martinez Foster, who died five years ago in the World Trade Center in New York City at the age of 26. She was a broker assistant for Cantor Fitzgerald. This photo looks to be from her wedding to Kurt Foster, and what a beautiful bride!

On this website, I found where her friends and family members have left messages to her. She had a best friend named Chrissy, who's family thinks the world of Claudia. Her nephews and neices are taking their confirmation names after her. In her time on earth, she made a resounding impact on the lives of many who still love and remember her.

And on this site, I found more information about her relationship with Kurt and her family. They met when she was 14, and married in October of 2000. Claudia loved children, and before her death, her and Kurt were talking about starting a family of their own. Her parents were Blanca and Carlos Martinez, and she has three sisters, Sylvia, Diana and Carla Martinez, and two grandmothers who survive her, Ella Torres and Maria Martinez.

I never knew this young woman, but I wish I could say something that would truly honor her. I wish I could write something beautiful about the love she must have had for her husband, her family, and friends or about her unfulfilled dreams of being a mother. My thoughts and prayers are with those who loved her, especially her husband. I can't even begin to imagine losing your friend and lover of 12 years, just as you were beginning your lives together. Where is Kurt now? Is he still mourning Claudia, or has he found someone to love him as he carries Claudia's memory in his heart? And is there a day that goes by where Chrissy doesn't think of her best friend?

Claudia, you are a beautiful and kind woman who was full of love. This tribute pales in comparison to the honor that your family still brings to you. Kurt, Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Martinez, Sylvia, Diana, Carla, Mrs. Ella Torres, Mrs. Marcia Martinez, Chrissy, Ryan, Lauren, Danielle, and Connor - my prayers are with you as you remember your wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, and aunt today and every day. Carry on her legacy of love and cherish those who are still with you.

(This is part of the 2996 Project where bloggers are given a 9/11 victim to individually honor.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the worst mistake he ever made

With tears in his eyes,
He said goodbye,
And walked out the door
Into a lonely life.

They say when one closes,
Another one opens,
Only this open door
Has yet to bring more.

He remembered her smile,
He remembered her touch.
He remembered the way
She cared so much.

A year has passed,
And not much has changed.
His life is at a standstill,
With little desire to rearrange.

Each day the same,
With dreams on hold.
She asks how he is,
“Same old, same old.”

He goes to his job
That brings little joy.
Such is the life
Of a solitary boy.
She’ll break your heart
And you won’t even feel a thing
With a side hug and a smile
You’ll still think she’s a queen.

Baby, you’re growing up so fast,
Surely this teenage charisma can’t last.
It’ll burn out like a flame
Before you make any true gain.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

the warm place

On their small faces I saw
The same things that I now hold in my heart –
The grief, the hurt, the anger,
The tears that we hold back,
All laid bare before us –
Who would be strangers
Were it not for our common concern.

We all have our dragons to slay.
We all have loved.
We all have lost.

But we refuse to stop feeling,
To stop loving.
Once again, I feel the terrible glory
It is to be human.

dead to the world

Wrapped in the dog’s blanket,
I sink into the giant chair
Letting its cushions envelop me.
While my relatives on the back porch
Talk of cows, friends, the weather
And the woman who’s absence we all feel,
But no one wants to acknowledge,
I drift to sleep.

Just like I did when I heard the news
No goodbyes, she was gone.
Crying on my backseat pillow
I tried to ignore my stepmother’s words
On the phone, over and over again,
Telling the ugly news
Over and over,
As I swam in and out of slumber.

In sleep, there is escape
In sleep, there is no death.
And so I dream of strange sights –
Japanese lovers and war –
But still I dream of her
Walking with us -
Her spirit gone
but the body alive.

How logical and normal
To pick out caskets
And talk of flowers and songs.
And so we talk and we eat
And try not to look one another in the eye
For fear that we will melt
and dissolve
and be consumed.

I grow tired of the pain and the talk
And so I sleep.
Everyone else tosses and turns
Or talks late into the night,
But slumber is my solace, my refuge.

Eyelids heavy,
I sink into bed like the body is lead.
Dissolving into cotton and feathers,
The current world will fade
Or will it return to haunt my dreams?

It doesn’t matter.

I am gone.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

and now, for something completely different

A Game of Tag

Five Things in My Freezer
1. ben and jerry's
2. coffee
3. uncooked chicken
4. eggo waffles (mm, I forgot about those!)
5. corn

Five Things in My Closet
1. too many clothes
2. a shoe rack (with shoes)
3. spanish tracts
4. a box full of pictures from before I had a digital camera
5. drawers full of scarves and socks and undies

Five Things in My Car
1. a satin pillow
2. an old water bottle
3. window visor things that are falling apart
4. an empty starbucks cup
5. a couple of mix CDs

Five Things in My Purse
1. a pen
2. credit cards
3. a comb
4. blistex
5. receipts that i write everyone i need to remember on

I tag . . . Sheri?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

the happiest place on earth

Moving slowly along the ride,
The adjacent seat is filled with emptiness –
Not of someone who was,
But someone who will be.

Maybe it's because I'm in the land of fairy tales,
Where "someday my prince will come" isn't politically incorrect
That this ever-present emptiness feels heavy today.

Walt, why did you tell me that a princess I wouldn't be
Until my prince finds me?

My hand falls on the cool plastic.
I close my eyes, imagine a touch.
But when eyes are open,
only the emptiness remains.

I will return and say that I'm satisfied and whole.
But yet, "It is not good for man to be alone."

Thursday, July 06, 2006


“I don’t wear mascara,”
I remember you once said,
“It makes me look like a daisy.”
Is that statement now dead?

For now you do paint your face,
And wear your clothes like the others.
In a sea of dainty daisies,
You appear like just another.

But a common daisy you are not.
Your talents make you stand tall.
You are a beautiful lily,
Sprouting to be admired by all.

Perhaps you are not a flower,
Rooted in the world’s clay,
But a white heron
Who rises with the day,
Skimming across the river –
Your canvas, your stage –
Wings painted by art and melody,
Gifts you possess beyond your age.

The pale flowers watch you from afar,
Vanity fades, leaving nothing but broken stems.
But you soar higher with the wind
Your feathers lasting gems.

I wrote this three years ago for my cousin. In honor of her visit this past week, I've decided to post it. That, and my writing this past week just seems a tad dry. Oh well, you never know when inspiration will strike! But I am proud of this one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

1 am

“I don’t know you anymore.”
A broken bottle falls to the floor
Filled with the promises you can’t keep.
At the sight of it, I weep.
As the tears fill my eyes
I slowly realize
Who you are
And who I am not.

I am not your beloved,
Nor am I responsible for your joy.

With a towel in hand, I sink
And wipe away the last links.
I stand and walk from the pain
Trying hard not to notice the stain.

A few nights ago, around 1 am, I had just laid down (lain down?) to sleep when I wrote the first stanza in my head. I had to get up out of bed and find a pencil and scratch of paper to write it down on, and then I started writing more. I've since started keeping a pencil or pen on my nightstand :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Karma - It always comes full circle

It's some kind of karma, I suppose
You reap whatever it is you sow.
If you break someone's heart,
Yours will someday be torn apart.

And if your heart is maimed,
No matter how great the pain
Or the promises you make,
Inevitably, someone's joy you will take.

Inexperienced love is a loaded gun
In the hands of young souls.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Familiar Sadness

Strange how it’s a relief
To be sad about this again.
New grief can be frightening,
With no end in sight.

But this familiar sadness,
That comfortably drapes around my shoulders,
Heavy, but soft,
Will leave in a few days
After it has outworn its welcome.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The friends that remove my masks – how I love them! Her open sincerity demands that I return the same. My pretensions simply fall in her presence. There’s no hiding of emotions. As scary as it can be to stand naked before someone, before myself, I need it. To learn, to grow, to transform, to morph, I must understand who I am today. Exhausting, but necessary. You need not do much, but just be you to allow me to be me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I wanted you to need me.
Oh, to be rare and treasured,
Absolutely indispensable,

Needed by one who is lost.

I thought I wanted the best for you.
I said I would rejoice when your life was grand.

And now your life is great –
Without me.
I am not indispensable.

Really, actually,
I guess I wanted you to stay sad.

How cruel and distorted.
Why would I want misery for a friend?
To be needed.

I thought I mean(t) something to you.

Possession is an ugly thing that festers in my flesh.
How do I gouge it out?

Am I the one who is lost?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not in the Stars

I saw you the other day
You’d chopped off your hair
Once again, you look as you did
When I thought the world of you

I remember those days
When I wished you wouldn’t go
I kissed your cheek
And hoped you’d let me in

But love was not in the stars
Even as we gazed through your telescope
Standing on your roof top
The romantic’s dream setting

My memories are still fond
Untainted by pain or betrayal
Flying kites, dancing free
Dressing as laughing pirates

Why did you never tell me
Of the hurt you were hiding?
Did you fear disappointing
And losing a friend?

I hope you share with her
Like you never did with us
I hope she understands
In ways that none of us could

But our friendship is pure
As we laugh in each other’s eyes
You are still special
And always will be

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Some days, crackers and cheese are all I need
On a little plate from which I can feed.
I’ll take my time with no one to mind.
When I’m done, who knows what I may find!

I could love you if you would let me

If I could love you in spite of the wreck of a person you are,
with all the lies you believe about yourself,
with all the anger you have for the world,
Should I?

If I could let you into my life, knowing the mess you would create,
Should I?

If I could accept you as you are, never judging, always loving, despite your sea of faults and shortcomings,
Should I?

If I could love you and take you in, with all the baggage you drag along,
Should I?

Am I playing God? Wishing I could bring you hope and love and peace? Am I just being a friend? Reaching out . . .

When does selflessness become folly?

Note: The "you" in this writing isn't anyone in particular, but I wrote this about a number of people who have been in my life.

Frontier Unknown

Eleven months of waiting
A year of anticipating
And the marathon was over in a flash
Like it was just the 100 yard dash

I put on your veil
Honored you asked me to
She prayed over you
You couldn’t stop smiling
As you came down
On your father’s arm
And we wouldn’t want you to

I thought I would cry
As you said your vows of love
But I watched your veil dance
As if it would fly away
Does love truly make you fly?
Good thing she pinned it so
Perhaps it would have flown
And taken you along to places unknown
Perhaps it still will

You leapt in with a kiss
Your feet leaving the ground
But his arms keeping you close
For he is your lighthouse

You hugged your loved ones
I gave some words
That made you and I both cry
Which I didn’t mean to do
But it is true
I am grateful for this gift

We sent you off with smiles
And waves and airborne soap
Now I sit on the couch
With feet stained red
Trying to comprehend all I have seen
Despite the eloquence I gave
I could pour out words all night long
And still not really know what happened
Only morning will bring understanding
As the depth and weight of these moments
Burrow themselves into my heart

Funny how he said the same
A husband he wouldn’t feel
Until morning came
With you beside him
He will awake forevermore

To me, love is a great frontier unknown
But for you, it is a safe haven of home
Twenty-one years of waiting
And you have found home

Friday, June 02, 2006

a single step

I recently have started making some poetry attempts. They're not the greatest, but writing is a good way that I can process my experiences and feelings and thoughts. I posted some on my xanga, but the poetry was beginning to get more emotional. The last thing I want is for my xanga to become another emo-ridden site full of angst and lameness.

So, my xanga will go back to normal, and this site will become my outlet for poetry-type things. Like I said, this isn't literary genius, but I try. Whether or not they're good, I've put myself into them.