A poem by: Francisco Dosal
Belittle be gone
Be with, beyond
A poem by: Francisco Dosal
Belittle be gone
Be with, beyond
This is a topic that I have been contemplating to write for some time now. Since, I could not decide whether to write it to the public or personally to Mrs. Johnson, my sophomore teacher. Who for eight years now, kept my feelings of poetry in limbo. I didn’t know if I should shove my once love for poetry to hell with or embrace it heavenly in the form my teacher enlightened it. But after many years of replaying what Mrs. Johnson had taught me, I have learned that she was after all wrong and I, all along, was right.
She had just finished a poem about an individual who was preparing to write but lacking the tools suggested that all a writer ever really needs is a pencil and paper. I vaguely remember the details, but I remember very clearly how it made me feel towards life. I felt as if our goals could be accomplished with the simple desire to accomplish them and that no one should feel discouraged if one lacks the resources and tools. I felt that in life, all that is really needed is the simple things like, ambition. I explained all of this after she had asked the class to explain what the poem meant, confident I rose my hand, not expecting her to backfire my opinion. She explained that the poem meant nothing of what I had suggested and that it was a simple suggestion towards every poet who felt intimidated of ever writing their work. I couldn’t deny her answer, it made just as much sense as my opinion and the opinion of the rest of the class. And for eight years now, this moment of time has caused me to never read a poem having felt that I could never actually read nor understand poetry. But then the question rose from my soul. How does one write and read poetry, correctly?
Trying to write poetry correctly, is impossible. There is no right or wrong way of writing a piece of art, it is something that is simply written. A poet simply feels and some divine spirit takes control of their hands and before they realize it, a poem has been formed in a piece of napkin, wrapping paper, and even, in my case, toilet paper. In a weird way, understanding poetry is understanding the soul and the human spirit. Having a correct way of writing poetry would only destroy the possibilities and the desire of writing. It would only question our ability to write and destroy the sprite of writing. So their is no correct way of writing, one simply writes without ever questioning what is writing by trying to understanding it. Because something within suggested the words to be printed on paper and understood or not they must be important to the heart. So now the question: should a poems be understood?
Poets should never be understood (at least I don’t think they should) nor should they understand themselves. It defies being a poet, understand the working of their spirit,in a sense, imprisons their wondrous soul from venturing off and returning with poems. I do not think they want nor understand themselves. Yet, scholars have a particular goal and that goal is to strip a poem inside out rather than letting the poem strip them. That by understanding the poem, one could have a better understand of the poet. But what good will that do? Why study the life of someone else than their very own? So by questioning the poem rather than letting the poem question the reader destroys the purpose of poetry. The purpose that a poem is not to be understood by any one. It is simply a piece of work that should run through us so that it may inspire us in whatever fashion; in the same way the writer was inspired to write it. Because poetry is meant to influence us passionately in whatever way one understands it. One may understand the poem in one way and another may feel the poets pain and joy. Neither readers are wrong but simply have different perspectives towards it. Their perspectives should not be judged nor declared wrong but respected. There is no right way of reading a poem because there is no such thing as having the right opinion.
Mrs. Johnson left me cornered, leaving to never write another piece of poem or read one. Perhaps, since dropping out, she has left other poets scared of ever coming across a piece of art. So in an effort to restore the spirit within I have written this, in hopes of helping at least a single individual to write away and although not understanding their very own work to not fear what is being felt within. As well as to who feel intimidated to reading poetry and not understanding them when subconsciously the poem had been understood clearly. Because trying to critique, compare, and understand a poem, the enjoyment of reading them is destroyed; as well as the enjoyment of writing one in the future, if one is going to be studied rather than simply admired. So write away, with no understanding, limitations, or fear.
Please comment your opinion of the subject, like if you enjoyed the read, and share!
I envied the man. Every morning, I would stand behind the wooden counter and watch through the glass window as the man stepped out his luxurious car and into the coffee shop. What was so different form me and him, I wondered. Nothing! His watch always blinded me as he pulled out his wallet and payed for his morning coffee. Walking out, I always wondered what was his secret, or what was the secret.
“Excuse me sir,” I asked one day before he ordered his coffee. At first, he looked at me confused, then fallowed a face of amusement.
“Can I help you?” he asked in his old english tone. Maybe the secret was having an accent I thought at times.
“Whats the secret to success?”
“Clearly good decision, old sport!” he stated firmly. He was ready to demand for his usual morning coffee when I cut him off.
“I’ve never made a mad decision in my life! Anyways, how does someone make good decisions?” I asked.
He looked at me with a smirk on his face, “Experience. Nothing but good old experience.” I was ready to reply rudely with another question when he interrupted. “And how does one get experience.” Not only was he successful, but he can also ready minds I thought. “Bad decisions.”
“Bad decisions,” I said under my breath in disbelief.
“It isn’t a secret old sport, its just hard for some people to accept their own failure. In the end, the real question is are you smart enough to stop looking at others peoples wrong-doings and fortunes and start looking at your own mistakes and start admitting to them.”
Nothing was said until he received his coffee, “Its sad, many live their whole lives knowing the secret to success.”
Nothing exists. An individual and everything else is merely a figments of the mind’s imagination. The self image of oneself is a creation perceived through the ideas of whatever society one lives in, like an avatar. Everything in our everyday life, is a creation of man. All forms of art, creations of passion, and ideas are a creation of the mind and are as much as real as one makes them. If one does not recognize them, they don’t exist. As for everything else like time, space, and the universe, it doesn’t exist either. How could it? Without the mind understand it and a conscience mind giving it meaning everything is void. Beyond the realm of the human mind is the true meaning of reality. A realm beyond our grasp of our understanding. Perhaps in death will one understand what it truly means to exist in a world where nothing truly exists.
By: Francisco Dosal
I think high school for anyone is rough. I was in my senior year in high school and like any other teen I had a lot of question about life. Being Catholic and in the twenty-first century I began questioning if God even existence and was college something I desperately needed that I would consider leaving my family and leaving the state? It was all too much for me that I fell into a hole of confusion where I couldn’t sleep and barley ate, that was until I met Death.
I heard bones crackling and a knife being sharpened. My heart dropped. I opened my eyes and tried to get up. I looked over my shoulders and saw a figure standing by my door. He stood there watching me. I wanted to yell and ask who he was and what he wanted, but I couldn’t. I panicked as fear, confusion, and adrenaline rushed into my mind and body. I tossed and turned. It did not matter how much I struggled to set myself free, it was all in vein. I tried yelling but nothing came out my mouth. After an hour, I finally gave up. I looked over my shoulder and the figure was still standing there.
“You learn a lot faster than the rest,” said the figure. He had a funny voice. Is was not demonic or threatening. It was the voice of a man who had a sense of humor. “I’ma let you go now,” he said as he snapped his fingers. As soon as I felt freedom I jolted up to attack the intruder. But as I approached him I was quickly frozen by what I saw. He had on a black robe that floated freely around him like smog. I tried looking into his face but saw nothing. I stumbled and falling back I stared trying to make sense of it all.
“Who are you?” I asked in horror.
“Death’s the name and killings the game.” He glided over to a couch I had on the corner of my room. “Cool if I smoke in here bro?” A puff of smoke came from the couch as he sat down.
“Sure,” I faintly said. He raised his hand and out of thin air a cigar formed. His fingers were long and his skin was black as tar. Placing the cigar on what I believed was his lips, it lit. I hoped the cigar’s cherry would provide enough light to see his face. Inhaling slowly, the cigars sherry lit but his face remained in darkness.
“So kid how’s it going,” Death started.
“Fine,” I replied. He was ready to say something when he stopped and without saying a word vanished, all that was left a puff of gray smoke that surrounded my couch.
Since then, he continued seeing me. I would always wake and he would always lock me up, preventing my body from moving. He said he enjoyed seeing me struggle for life, he thought it was hilarious. He explained that he found it amusing watching a human being struggle for something that had no point. That death was part of life he would say. I remember telling him people were scared of death because no one knew what was after life.
“So what’s after death, Death?” I asked him once.
“Nothing,” he said plainly. It sounded pleasant coming from his. It sounded better than hearing there was a chance I was going to hell.
Whenever Death came, we talked about my day and his day. He talked about how every other person begged him for more time. I mostly talked about life, constantly asking Death what it was all about. The best advice he ever told me was that it did not matter what humans did, whether good or bad everyone dies. To spend as much time with loved ones because one day, “he’ll be a knockn’.” I remember asking him if he ever gave anyone more time and before he could answer he vanished into thin air.
“The big guy. He makes all the decisions, I can’t do anything about it.” Death explained. It had been nearly a week since I had last seen him.
“God?” I asked. “He really exists?
“Yea, he really does. Let me speak it in a language you understand. Is zero a number?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“See, you do believe God’s existence,” he lit up his cigar. I looked at him confused. I think he could see that I wasn’t fallowing. “The definition of a number is a quantity or amount. Zero is neither. It had no quantity or amount. Its nothing, void, yet it is considered a number.” Puffing on his cigar he blew out some smoke. Slowly, the smoke began forming into numbers. “Multiply three with nine and you get twenty-seven, if you dived twenty- seven by nine you go back to three. Now, if you did the same with zero you get something completely different. Three times zero is zero. So mathematically speaking dividing it by zero you should go back to three. Instead, you get nothing. This nothing, this void destroyed everything that exists; just as it creates it.”
He waved his hand around the numbers made of smoke. Erasing the numbers, he started anew. “So multiplying three by nine and then dividing it will bring up back to three right? Right! So multiplying three by zero than dividing it will bring us back to three? Sadly not. There’s a lot of power in something that doesn’t exist don’t you think? Anyways my final point. So let’s say that three times zero divided by zero did get you back to three. Let’s say that happened to any number.” Blowing more smoke into the air more number appeared. “What we come to find out is that zero equals three, twenty-three, one-thousand found hundred and fifty-three as well as eight-nine. Zero equals everything and anything.”
“Basically what I’m trying to say is zero can be anything is wants to be. God is everything and nothing; just like zero. Zero is void and infinite. God is the same way, for some it’s a man sitting on a grand chair and for others it’s a lizard with a magical staff. That was a joke by the way. That’s what’s amazing about not existing. You exist even when you don’t and exist it whatever fashion others want you to exist. Look at all the different religions and names he has.”
He left me with more questions than answers. “So he does exist?”
“Who would have thought right?,” he said puffing on his cigar.
“So why doesn’t he answer me, when I talk to him?”
“Because he doesn’t exist! Where were you when I was just explaining this?”
“I’m confused than why religion, why pray, why look towards him or her?”
“You’re talking religion, something he had no part of. You see, you have it all wrong. God exists as a concept. God, is the idea of infinite possibilities. The hope in your heart. The freedom to be human and to express yourself. Besides would you really want him talking to you, answering your prayers, and solving every crises? Think about it. If that happened every human being would stop communicating with each other and would grow apart. Having your prayers and crisis answers, pain would cease to exist. Pain brings people together. You know how many families I’ve brought together? The whole point of living is to suffer, so that you can find each other, God doesn’t want to interfere with human life but he’s there.”
“So,” I started but before I could finished he vanished, once again all that was left was a smoke.
Five years passed and I never say Death again. I had done research about my episodes and came to discover it was called rarer recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (RISP). It explained my mid-night wakes and not being able to move. All possibly triggered by stress during my senior year in high school. I’d like to believe that it was RISP but it all seemed too real, especial our last conversation. To this day I still ponder on what he told me. He made sense and made things clearer and simpler, and that always a good thing. Because of him I’ve become more neutral in things. I do not pick sides in what is good or bad. I spend more time with my family by attended a near college. I quit attending church and praying. Although, I still believe God exists and is, in some way, watching over me. Just the same way I like to think Death is doing the same thing, watching over me until his next and final visit.
By: Francisco Dosal
“So how you been, how’s the realist estate life?” Susan asked as I stood in the living room waiting for Ben to appear.
“Good,” I simply answered. Walking towards the kitchen I started looking through their cabinets.
“You hungry,” she asked as Ben finally appeared.
“You won’t find any alcohol,” Ben explained. I rubbed my face in frustration.
“No, I’m not good,” I started. “I haven’t been in a long time. I quit my job. Did I tell you?”
“No. Why?” Ben asked.
“What am I doing? Why am I working? Why am I here? Why are we all here?”
“Because,” Ben started but I cut him off.
“I feel like,” I thought hard of what I wanted to say but nothing came together the way I wanted it. “I just need time to think. I came over to see if you’d let me borrow your shotgun. I think there’s a raccoon digging around my trash. You know I hate street animals.”
“In your state of mind, I don’t think you should be holding a gun,” Ben explained. Offended I stormed out.
It was a Sunday morning and I was not yet a religion man. Instead of church, I would sleep in and wake up near noon but during this morning, for some strange reason, I woke earlier. I woke expecting something or someone expecting me. I paced my house trying to understand these strange feelings. Something was missing. I could not figure it out. It was the same feeling that made me quit my job. I felt I was working for nothing and existing for no reason at all. For a while I felt like I was living with no purpose and so I began questioning what I did and why I did it.
Sitting in my study room I heard someone walking about my trash can outside. The raccoon I quickly thought. I looked outside the window expecting to see the creature but instead I saw two feet sticking out like antennas. Then the legs bent in and disappeared inside. I walked outside to confront the intruder and as I stepped out I could hear someone munching on my leftovers. I did not know what to say or do and so I waited for the hungry individual to present itself.
Finally, a head stuck out like a hedgehog in spring. She had thick dark brown hair and dark skin. Her upper lip was under her lower lip and her eyes suggested she was scared as she looked at me.
I did not know how to respond. I expected a male in his adolescence and instead I got a young girl who looked in her late teens. I simply asked. “Are you hungry?” and she shook her head. I asked again as I could hear her stomach growling. At a time when I had no idea what I was doing; all I knew was that I had a young girl possibly starving to death. Thinking back, I’m glad I invited her in because it would be her that saved me that day. “Come inside, cause I’m hungry.” I walked inside and left the door open for her to enter. She did not enter until I started cooking.
She did not say much. I guess she could not say anything with a mouth full. I asked her what her name was, she answered but I could not understand as food flew out of her mouth and into my kitchen table.
“Kitty,” she finally said swallowing.
She had on a pink backpack, I assumed than that she was a run away and noticing a bruise on her left shoulder, I assumed she came from an abusive household; only assumptions but who knew what her story actually was. I could not imagine why anyone would want to hit her. Watching her finish her plate I tried thinking of what to do. I wanted to call the police. I imagined them taking her back home. I figured I should get to know her before I made any impulsive decisions. Maybe if I got to know her situation I could make a clear decision or maybe she already had a plan and I would only be getting in the way. Or maybe she was not a run away at all.
“Are you a runaway?” I quickly asked. She raised her eyes in fear. Her upper lip hid under her lower lip. “That’s a yes isn’t it?” She nodded her head. “So where are you headed?”
“Nowhere,” she said softly.
“You shouldn’t be running around like this. There’s horrible people out there who will do nasty things. I mean God forbid you get raped or,” I stopped and saw her face go pale. “Not appropriate dinner conversation,” I thought.
That’s when I thought of Abigail. “Let me call a friend, maybe she can help.” I walked away to my study where I made a phone call. I explained the situation to Abby.
“I’m kinda busy at the moment. Let me call you back,” Abigail said quickly hanging up.
I returned to see Kitty making herself home. She had found herself asleep in my couch. I found it strange that she slept with her upper lip tucked in her lower lip but I had yet to see the strangest of all. I walked over to her and gently shook her shoulder. No response. I shook her shoulder again, she only turned over. That’s when I heard her snore, only it was not a snore. It was more like a cat purring. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen and heard. I sat down trying to think of what I could do. Nothing came to mind but one thing was for sure, I could not allow her to roam the streets anymore. She would stay inside my house until Abbey and I could come up with a solution.
I did not have a job at the time. So when Kitty woke Monday afternoon I had all the time in the world for her. She did not say much. I would ask questions and she would mostly like answer with a shrug or nod. I was getting nowhere and as the day was coming to an end I realized I had to throw in the towel. Giving up, I turned on the television and that’s when she sparked up like fireworks in July.
“Omg,” She yelled as soon as an image came on. “Don’t change it! Leave it!”
I dropped the remote as she nearly gave me a heart attack. Her attention was quickly drawn towards the television.
“You like this?” I asked not looking at what was on.
“Yea! I mean who doesn’t?!” she replied. “I’m so far back in episodes,” she stared at the television for a while. “I think this is. Omg! It is!”
“It is what?” I asked very confused. I began wondering if I should be just as concerned as she was. She did not respond. “Do you watch this back home?”
“No! Joseph don’t work. So he sold the television,” she said. “And mom don’t work either she’s always in her room sleeping.”
I was beginning to get somewhere. Than an announcement came on explaining a marathon. Kitty screamed, jumped up and down on the couch than looked at me.
“Can I please,” she said. I did not know how to respond. I did not care. She was not my child yet she made me feel like a father figure. Something I had never intended on being nor planed in the near future. “I promise to keep it down.”
“Sure,” I said faintly. She screeched and fell comfortably on the couch. She was young, innocent, and like any young girl she did not seem like a trouble maker. It seemed she was running away from a horrible life and in search of something not greater but something fair.
As she watched a reality T.V. show I guess she gained entire trust of me. She explained her situation back home. She was the middle child of five. She had a mother that only looked at her children as government checks. Her father had never lifted a school book nor any kind of tool. He did manage to lift a bottle of liquor and his hands on Kitty. She attended school but with horrible parents as role models, she could never unlock the potential within. But in my home surrounded by knowledge and the desire to learn, she quickly found an interest. I let her watch her marathon and as it ended she entered my study room.
She read or glanced through every book I had or what she called, “strange yet interesting books.” But she found a particular topic that she fell in love with. She loved reading about freedom. Freedom from the world. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from pain and suffering. I tried my best answering her questions and helping further her studying and fueling her desire for knowledge.
“When we die,” Kitty asked one dinner night. “What happens?”
“Well what do you think?”
“Hmmmm,” her eyes wondered. “I think we are finally free. I think in life we suffer so that we are longer scared of death. I think death becomes more embraceable knowing it honest and true freedom. What do you think?” she said very curious to what my answer was.
“I don’t know. I agree with what you say.” I stopped to think. “I think when we die we go to heaven,” I said. She burst out in laughter.
“I thought you were atheist.”
“I am,” I said confused to my own answer.
Kitty had been living with me for three weeks and in the process I returned to my job feeling fulfilled. I now had a purpose or felt that I did. Every day I worked I did so with meaning. I lived so that someone else could do the same.
Abby came over on a Tuesday night. She was in her formal attire. I think she had just left a courtroom. Placing her briefcase on my kitchen table, she looked at me tired. Falling in my arms, she looked at me tenderly. I enjoyed her visits. I felt she did so as well, because she could let go and allow herself to fall into someone’s arms.
“Why do we work ourselves to death with no end? What’s it all for?” I was ready to answer with the new revelation of mine. Than Kitty screamed. Abby jumped and heard her footsteps all around the house. Then she appeared and ran to me.
“He finally kissed her,” Kitty said than ran back to the living room.
“Who’s that?” Abby asked pulling away from me.
“That’s why I called you. She’s a runaway and I don’t know what to do.”
“Well you don’t let them in your house. You call the cops and let them deal with it. You don’t want problems with the law, remember.” Abby explained thoroughly but I only understood bits and pieces. She explained how Kitty had to leave. That I could end up in jail. In the end. Finally, she gave me the address of a shelter for runaway kids and teens.
“What’s for dinner?” Kitty yelled. “I want pizza,”
“I’ll order pizza for the three of us.”
It was awkward. No one said a word. Abby paid no attention to her. Kitty on the other hand, kept a close eye on her.
“So Abs. What do you do?”
“It’s Abigail,” she stated sharply. “And I’m a lawyer.”
“That’s cool, so can I ask you something,” Kitty said. Abigail only looked at her. “What is right from wrong?”
Abigail did not think about the question she quickly answered, “Whatever the government declares right from wrong.”
“So was killing Jesus Christ the right thing to do? What about segregation? Oh, and slavery?” My heart skipped a beat or two. I looked at Abigail. Her jaw opened, surprised at the young girls wit. If only she knew she spent more time in my study than I did. Then she turned towards Kitty and simply said with a smile on her face.
“I like you.” Abigail said smiling at her.
That night was blissful. Kitty would ask a question and Abigail would gladly answer her. I could only guess her feelings. I think she felt, as I did, that her life and life itself had meaning and that meaning was to pass down her knowledge to this young child. Abigail was talking about politics when she looked at me. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the future. A future where I was a father and Abigail a mother and I think she saw that same thing. The very idea never crossed our mind. We had been friends since childhood and even after splitting and going to different colleges we found ourselves inseparable by fate.
I could not sleep that night as I thought about how I was going to tell Kitty she had to leave. I did not want her to leave. I did not want to send her off to a shelter but Abigail was right. She could not stay here she needed to find a home, a proper home. Summer would soon be over and school would start once again. Thinking back, I wish things could have gone differently than how they did.
Kitty was in the living room giggling at whatever show was on when I got home from work. I walked over and sat next to her. “My whole life I been looking for something and I thought it was success.” I said as Kitty looked at me confused. “I thought that was the point of life, but after I graduated college and succeeded in everything I dreamed of I never really full filled myself as a human being. I felt like a human corpse. I felt factitious, because everything I had was factitious. The money, cars, house, and just everything.”
“What’s factitious,” she asked.
I wanted to say how she gave me purpose. That I saw her as my child. That she was the only thing that actually felt real and created real feelings but I could not.
“You can’t stay here anymore!” I said rudely. I was ready to explain my reasons and the shelter she could go to when Kitty quickly got up. Her face was red in anger. “Kitty!” I called after her. She grabbed her backpack and ran out the door.
I have a purpose in this world and I think it is everyone’s as well. I think we are here to love each other but mostly love what we create. Even though I did not create Kitty, I wish I had. All she wanted was to love and be loved in return the way every child desires.
That very day Abbigail walked inside without me knowing. She came inside yelling and hollering about legal work that I did not understand.
“Slow down,” I said.
“Let’s adopt her!” she said firmly. The void in my heart was filled again. The words shook to my very core. For the first time in my life I learned what it felt like to be happy. I jumped up and kissed Abby than ran to see Kitty but by then it was too late. She was gone and I had no idea where to search.
I had walked into the abandoned house. The house creaked, I thought it was ready to fall apart as I walked through the door and inside. I stood in an empty living room looking at all the renovation needed and that’s when I smelled it. I smelled copper. My heart sank into my stomach as a heard a child crying. I walked into a room, no one was inside but the smell of copper got stronger. Slowly I walked into the bathroom scared of what I might see.
The bathtub was halfway filled with blood and warm water. I remember her snow white knees sticking out like two little islands surrounded by a red sea. I cried. My lips did not shake and I did not scream in agony. Tears just escaped my eyes as if a pipe had broken loose inside my head. Her pale face was calm and for the first time she was in peace. It had been nearly a year since the last time I had seen her. I could only imagine the pain and suffering she had gone through but now she was free from it all.
I do not know if it was that day but I become religious. There had to be a God or something out there that made events occur so that everything came together perfectly. It seemed everything from my career to my personal life had led this event. As if I had been destined to be here looking down at this child and her newborn.
Me and Abbigail married and took the child as our own. We named her Athena. I do not really tell the story on how she came into our care because it sounds so bizarre and unreal, like something out a fiction story. I simply say she is ours although she resembles Kitty a lot and looks nothing like Abigail or me. She even purrs and tucks her upper lip under her lower one when she sleeps. A day has not gone by that I do not think of Kitty and wish everything could have ended differently. But we are all human beings trying our best to figure the chaos around us. And sometimes we figure it out when it is too late, but that’s life right?
“To Change the World”
By: Francisco Dosal
The streetlights of a 4-way intersection turned red. The large crowd of impatient pedestrians rushed to cross and someone walked into the middle of the road. No one noticed him until he pulled out a pistol and shot a warning shot into the air. A woman screamed and a baby started crying. The majority of the people ran in fear. Others crouched down as if to avoid the bullet. A nearby cop quickly pulled his own gun out and demanded the young man drop the weapon.
“I want world peace!” yelled the young man.
“Terrorist attack!” some yelled.
The young man then placed the pistol on the left side of his forehead and held his other hand on the right.
“I want world peace!” he said again. Then, one last time before he fired, he yelled, “to change the world!”
He was the first. At first, no one understood what had happened. The young man’s body lay on the city pavement, one hand holding the pistol and the other holding the bullet that ran through his skull. The event was so puzzling that is didn’t even make it to the evening news.
I remember the first young man who started it all. I was there when the first young man shot himself in the head. The blood made my stomach turn. I didn’t know what to make of it. The gun being fired and his declaration, “I want world peace,” played over and over in my head. I heard his words so many times that, for the first time, I, too, wanted world peace. For the first time, I cared.
It happened again.
The second one was different. He was a college student who was majoring in philosophy or literature. I can’t recall exactly, but the point is that he had a bright future ahead of him.
According to eyewitness and classmates, he had been eating what looked like hundred dollar bills. He walked into the city, shot a warning shot into the air, and, before anyone could react, yelled, “Education is to liberate the being but now it shackles the flesh and soul with debt.”
Everyone waited for him to pull the trigger. Instead, he pulled a string and exploded. Bloody hundred dollar bills flew everywhere. Some gently landed as others floated in the air for a while. It was quite a scene to have witnessed. Nobody grabbed a single bill, not even the homeless man who just minutes before had been begging for money.
“End racism! Am I not your brother? Am I not flesh and bone? I too feel!” yelled a young black male in a subway station as he pulled out a knife and began tearing flesh off his arm.
People screamed in horror. No one tried to stop him.
“End racism!” he yelled again as he pulled up his shorts and began cutting skin off his thigh.
He was under the influence of so much morphine that he could not feel the knife as it sliced through his skin like butter.
“Pollution, pollution, pollution!” yelled a girl.
She held a container tightly as she ran up and down a mall. After she gained everyone’s attention, she stopped and yelled, “This is what’s happening to mother earth!”
She drank whatever was inside the container she was carrying. She vomited some of the liquid back up, but managed to hold enough inside.
She took out a match and yelled, “What’s the difference between my body and Mother Earth?” Flames shot from her throat as soon as she placed the match to her lips.
Many more protests occurred. A week followed of constant protest, all yelling their desperate desire for world peace or an end to starvation and poverty, or anything suggesting a better future. Most simply shot themselves as they demanded whatever it was they were protesting about. Others committed poetic suicides. Their bodies acted as the canvas and the world their inspiration. They committed masterpieces, not mere suicides. Some were so unforgettable that you no longer saw the world as you once did. Death became a powerful tool, a tool that without hurting anyone or disrupting order caused a great awakening. So the revolution started.
Every revolution should revolt against the way its society revolutionizes. No longer can one revolt either peacefully or violently against these bodies of governments and corporations. They, like any other entity, physical or metaphorical, have adapted. They have become immune to both violent and peaceful fevers. So it came to this. The body’s own tissue and cells no longer desired to live within a narcissistic body, a body that has forgotten that is cannot exist without its working components.
The body cannot be that ignorant. Or, can it? These governments and corporations cannot simply enjoy depriving and inflicting pain on their very own cells and organs. Has killing your own working components become a pleasure? It had come to my attention through the deaths of many that this system is a narcissistic being. A rapist does not enjoy the pleasure of sex; he enjoys taking the power away from an individual. So goes this diseased entity in which we live.
In conclusion, I will not give this system the satisfaction it desires of raping me of my freedom and manipulating my life. The powers forces that exist have forgotten their role and yet we continue to serve loyally as the internal components. I will protest against banks and government. I will not blow up any bank or stand against a national army. Instead, I will protest in this new fashion. If you are to join me, do it artfully so that it sticks into the minds of others. Death does not scare me. Death is necessary in a revolution. Rather than sacrifice the life of others, why not mine? Is that not what a martyr is?
When a man kills another man, one man dies. When a man kills himself, he kills hundreds.
“Denied By God”
By: Francisco Dosal
After graduation Julie had planned to get a small job, she needed some extra money and time to kill before he went off to college in the spring. She was a devoted Christian and a kind hearted young girl. She always looked for ways to help younger teenagers her age succeed and create a brighter future. That’s why she planned to go to college and one day become a teacher but until than she was blessed with a job helping high school students register at Hope Academy.
Hope Academy was a Christian based school; it was unlike any other traditional school. Rather than coming in every morning and staying for eight hours, an individual would come get the necessary work, complete it at home and return it in a week. Hope Academy worked for teenagers who troubled through their years in high school and those who dropped out of high school could after all graduate.
Julie could not wait for her first day on the job; she could not wait to help others just as her teachers had helped her. She arrived early and was the first to enter the small building. She admired the logo that was painted behind the counter on the wall. She believed in his power. She stood proudly behind the counter table as she waited for the first person’s life she was going to help achieve a bright future. A smile slowly grew on her face; it only helped brightened the room even more, as if God was present in the room.
At evening only an hour after Julie’s arrival a young man walked in. She smiled and greeted him as she asked what she could do for him, as if she had no idea what the young man wanted. He asked what he had to do to be a full student and Julie gladly helped gave him the paperwork to fill out. The young man filled out the paper work in minutes and handed it back to Julie. She handed it to Mrs. C who was in charge of filing the paper work.
“Is that all?” asked the young man, making sure he had completed all that was necessary.
“Yeup, you’re all done,” Julie said with a pleasant smile on her face as the young man began to walk out of the building.
“Excuse me young man,” Mrs. C yelled before the young man left the building. He stopped and walked back to see what she wanted, “You forgot to provide us your social security number.”
The young man did not respond. He looked at Mrs. C with a face that said, “I don’t see what my retirement fund has anything to do with my education.”
“You do have a social security number, right” Mrs. C asked waiting for the young man to respond. The young man did not respond as he glanced to Julie giving her the same face he had giving Mrs. C. Mrs. C waited and realizing what his face was saying, she got the Principle and explained the situation. They discussed between each other when the Principle came to the young man and asked with hesitation and embarrassment.
“Are you an illegal immigrant?” he said as he waited for an answer. The young man said nothing.
“Yes,” said the young man finally, trembling through the word, he felt ashamed.
“I’m so sorry, but,” the Principle stopped in mid-sentence. Then finally finished, “we can’t help you here.” He had never spoken those words through his entire time working in Faith Academy.
The young man slightly lowered his head in disappointment. Julie did the same, ashamed, disappointed, but most importantly heart broken. It seemed time stopped and eternity began, no one said a word. The young man finally looked up, breaking the spell and said in a soft calm voice.
“You should paint over that,” indicating the quote behind Julie. With those last words he left. Julie worked that entire day helping other young adults apply but no matter how many she helped she could not get over the one she did not.
The following day as she came into work and walked inside, she stood and looked at the quote. Thinking of what it meant and of the young man from yesterday. She failed in achieving her goal, her dream, but the worst of all she failed in helping someone achieve their goals and their dreams. Tears escaped her eyes as she thought what the young man’s goals were and what his dreams could have been. “Through God not everything is possible,” she thought looking at the quote. She felt disgusted with herself and with the school.
“What about separation of church and state,” she asked all her peers.
“That’s just the way things are,” they would reply or “this is a private school.”
“Are we not servants of god and not the state?” she would think of saying but never would. She no longer wanted to be part of this school if in reality it did not work for the lord. She could not see her peers the same or stand firmly below the quote. That same day she wrote the principle her letter of resignation for she had lost faith towards the school and now it all seemed dimmer inside. She could not help the young man that had walked through that day but she felt she had done him a favor by leaving and painting over the entire quote.
I Fell In Love Once and Once Was All I Needed
By: Francisco Dosal
He drove down to the lake like every other Sunday. No longer for a swim or to talk to the locals who, after Sunday mass, loved taking out the grill and drinking down some “cold ones.” Instead, he now drove his truck around the lake watching the sun slowly disappear until, after growing sick of driving in infinite circles, he stopped and lit a cigarettes as he stared at people grilling or at whoever was swimming in the lake. A smile would sneak its way in and he thought about jumping in the lake or joining the local grillers like he once did. But he caught himself and dismissed the ideas. He could not return to that lake. He had too many memories there. He felt as if he returned alone, he was accepting something but not knowing what that something was bothered him.
He remembered coming to the lake. Waving at everyone as they returned from Sunday mass. He could smell the charcoal as it traveled up his nostrils, it always made his stomach growl with hunger and after laying their blue blanket under the green summer grass a small mist would emerge. Their mouths would water as the aroma of BBQ travelled in every direction. They would always swim for a short time and would walk over to however invited them to eat. After eating they always left, and she would always forget her sandals somewhere near the lake. It was not until he was ready to pull in her street when she would remember.
“I fell in love once and once is all you need right?” he thought as the sun started to sink underneath the Earth.
His cigarette was near its end. Flicking it out into the pavement he lit another. Someone yelled in excitement as they cannon balled into the lake. He remembered jumping in that very same spot as he held her hand.
“I don’t’ want to move on,” he thought as he exhaled the smoke. “If I do. I will probably grow to love her as well but than what is the point of love? If I can grow to love anyone than love does not exist. Then I never loved her. Meaning it was a lie. Meaning love is a lie. Than what is love?” His mind raced with thoughts and ideas, hoping he could answer that question but nothing ever came to mind. He finished his second cigarette as a couple stepped out the lake. He did not know if it was disgust or jealousy but his stomach flipped up-side down.
He drove around for another lap than broke away from the infinite circle. Driving down the road, he could almost hear her giggling and the smell of her coconut conditioner, which he loved so much. He looked over and hoped his eyes would play a trick on him. He hoped he would see her for just a second. Sadly, he saw an empty spot in his truck. He sighed as his throat tightened up. He felt regret inside. He wished he was braver against love. He wished he would go back in time but he could not. He would have to redeem himself in some other way.
Entering the main road, he grew agitating and furious at his cowardly character. He was scared, scared because he knew that the love he had for her would now eventually disappear and he would date another and all this would be another memory. He now wanted to love once and only once.
It was all this useless thinking that had ruined his relationship and here it was again ruining him like it always did. His mind continued to race and without noticing, he was slowly pressing down on the gas and accelerating his speed.
The road was dark and misty but he could see the street that still belonged to her. He grew angrier because now he would be passing the street light that lit green.
“Babe, I forgot my sandals,” he heard a ghostly voice whisper. He was going 85mph when he made a sharp U-turn.
An ambulance showed up to a wrecked truck. It was so demolished they could not make out the exact year or model. Two men rushed to the scene. A body was found inside. He was faintly breathing but breathing nonetheless. Managing to pull the individual out without doing any harm they saw a bloody face and his torn shirt.
“No,” the body said painfully but neither of them could hear his weak voice.
He didn’t want to be taken anywhere because he felt that he was ready for whatever came after life. He had loved and been loved. What greater joy could this world give him. He faintly smiled knowing he would die side by side this love and not watch it faintly disappear and be replaced by regret, hate, and pain.. If only he understood this earlier. Understood that she was his first love and that letting her go because of fear was a horrible mistake.
“Liz,” he said. They heard him.
“Don’t worry well contact her now,” one if them said.
He awoke days later in a hospital bed to the familiar scent of coconut. Looking over he saw Liz sitting next to him.
At the age of twelve, I smoked my first cigarette, drank my first alcoholic beverage, and was associated with gang-affiliated individuals, an easy lifestyle. That same year my mother told me, “Las puertas pal dismadre siempre estan abiertas.” At the time I had no idea what she meant, “The doors to chaos are always open?” That same year my family and I crossed the border into The United States, the land of opportunity. The sentence played over and over as I walked endlessly through the desert.
As I lay on the ground one cold night, the wind no longer blew against me. It blew through me. The ground’s vibration no longer tickled my back. I now shook with the world. I found myself between life and death. One understands a lot more when ready to cross over towards death. Ironic, is it not? But I lived, and crossing into The United States I said I would create something out of noting. I no longer wanted to continue down my wicked path. In the land of opportunity I could creat myself in whatever fashion. I did not want to be the next rapper, singer, entrepreneur, or the next star. I would go to college, join the army, or just simply join the labor force.
That is what most young immigrants dream of. Sadly, in the end, it is nearly impossible. Politicians believe we are convicts transporting drugs for cartels. What better life would I have if I worked for a cartel? What is better than respect, money, and power? An honest life! So, rather than a dishonest and chaotic life, let us join an honest nation and contribute to society and become honest men through education, fraternity, and/or through the labor force. Yet again, we are stopped by schools we cannot attend because we lack the money and political support. We are not born citizens so we cannot join the military. All we can do is work and try to do the best we can to make something out of nothing while others claim their jobs were stolen.
Preventing young immigrants from further education and, despite the fact that we have loyalty to no other country, forbidding us from joining the military leaves us cornered, defenseless. Without the options or possibility of living an honest and better life, we are left but to live as criminals whether we want to or not. Working under a false SSN is a felony and driving without a license is a crime. The basic tools for living are luxuries to us. Every step we take is a crime as we are undocumented immigrants. Some will turn to crime because it does not judge them and gladly opens its doors with loving open arms. Others continue the struggle to justify their existence. I am not asking for immediate immigration reform, but when innocent eight-year-old children are crossing the border alone for a better life, something must be done. Pave the road ahead and guide them away from the wicked. Ignore young immigrants and those with horrible intentions will adopt them. The children come because they need help and dream of a brighter future. If young immigrants continue being ignored, or worse, attacked by politics, the doors to chaos will engulf them and they will turn to violence, chaos, and anarchy. We speak of peace and so here is our first step towards that vision.