Poetry: Countries

I wrote this poem in 2016 when I was reflecting on how different my children were. At the time, my middle son was going through a difficult time and it was hard to deal with.

my 3 sons in July of 2021

Living with my three children

Is like living in three different countries

My oldest would be Singapore

With strict rules and laws, 

He hates flaws in himself 

And others and is unforgiving

It’s challenging to live in 

Singapore

My middle child would be a war torn ridden country 

Like Syria

That’s currently filled with constant chaos,

He is trying to find himself in a place 

He feels unwanted and lost

It is an unpredictable struggle

To reside in Syria

My youngest child would 

Be an established and friendly country like Spain

He is vibrant, laid back yet energetic 

Occasionally you hear about political protests 

That reminds me of his occasional tantrums when

His life feels unjust

It is almost a predictable and easy existence to 

Live in Spain 

Poetry: My Son Throws His Blocks

I wrote this poem in 2006 about my middle child who was toddler at a time. He’s actually my birthday twin and very much like me personality wise.

My Second son as a toddler

My son throws his blocks

They hit me like rocks

So much damn temper

Within my little fellow

Little does he know

About the bad people that sew

many, many spiderwebs

to put you under duress

and he throws and he throws

Like life’s unexpected woes

Those wooden things hit my head

he won’t listen to what I say

He sure has an arm 

for knowing how to harm

In this just a phase

in this life of a maze

Finally he stops and looks

It is another tantrum in the books

I think this is a preview 

to his ever changing mood

Poetry Review: Visceral

Visceral by Melia Cogan

The debut collection of poems Visceral from Melia Cogan is appropriately named since it will make you feel a multitude of intense emotions internally. As a person that feels intense emotions, I loved this book. The book is divided into 3 sections titled Love, Rage, and Death. Reading this book felt like going through a roller coaster of emotions-from sexy to anger to sadness. Personally, for me, this is a good thing. I resonate with poetry that makes me feel my emotions.  I picked my favorite poem from each section. This was hard since all the poetry in this collection is amazing. 

The first section Love captures the magical feeling of what it’s like to be in love, make love, and be loved. Her poems in this section makes even the most jaded of us feel like there is a world where love is possible. The first poem “Daemon-Lover” leaves you breathless with the raw emotion and sensuality felt throughout the poem.  The second stanza is fire as it states, “With a spirit strong as seventy/As his throbbing passion sears me/ With its ‘blind encompassing throbbing power ”(Cogan, 22-25)   It makes you feel like you are witnessing passion on display. You might have to take a cold shower after reading this poem. The other poems in this section not only capture the passion of being in love but also the complexity of other feelings that come with it. 

The next section of the book is Rage, and you feel the anger and rage within this section. 

My favorite poem in this section is Women’s Inheritance which captures the essence of what’s like being a woman in the 21st century. It addresses the misogyny that our modern patriarchal society continues to administer to women. The poem also conveys the disappointment that women feel after being used and discarded nonchalantly by men. The sixth stanza captures this feeling as it states, “Finally, you who I love with my whole self / Could not display this mythical manly bravery/ To tell me the truth/ Why not?” (Cogan, 30-33).  The other poems in this section captures the anger felt with different experiences in life ranging from expectations in relationships to abandonment issues. Cogan expresses a raw truth about anger that most people are afraid to express and that is a kind of bravery you don’t see often. 

The last section is Death and I’ll just say that you should have a box of tissues by your side because it will probably make you cry. In this section, Cogan is versatile in exploring the theme of death. In this section, my favorite poem is Remember Me for the Birthdays which is how the poet wants to be remembered by her loved ones. The eleventh stanza conveys this as it states, “Remember how I filled you with the urge/to push forward and explore/To engage life, expanding in all good directions” (Cogan, 37-40). Cogan is skillful at portraying grief in a conscientious manner that’s both thoughtful and respectful. 

Melia Cogan brings a raw vulnerability and talent to her debut collection. I highly recommend this poetry collection if you are looking for a versatile collection that explores the depth of the human experience. I’m excited to read and review her next poetry book, Love Pangs. Below are the links for both Visceral and Love Pangs

Visceral: https://www.amazon.com/Visceral-Melia-Cogan/dp/B0915DH7W4

Love Pangs: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Pangs-Melia-Cogan/dp/B09PHJXX19

Turning 40

My last year in my 30s ended up with me being an essential worker during a pandemic while being a mom of three and being involved in two different romantic liaisons. I could look back on what I have not accomplished in my life and be sad but instead I’ll focus on my growth and my goals for the next year. I’ve made a lot of progress this year both financially and personally. I’ve improved my credit score by 100 points by working 2 jobs and paying debt off. Also for the first time in my adult life I’m in a healthy romantic relationship with a wonderful man. This time last year I didn’t think either was possible and at times I don’t feel like I deserve all of the good fortune in my life. As I look forward to my next year and my new decade, I hope to really focus on becoming a confident driver, submit my writing everywhere and try to get published, and continue to work my two jobs to save up to buy 2 houses. I’m kind of excited for how the next decade looks like. My thirties taught me I can survive what I once thought would not be survivable. During my thirties, I felt myself merely surviving. In this next decade, I look forward to thriving.

February 22, 2021

Poetry: Father Son Mile

I wrote this in 2002 about my oldest son’s father. I really wanted him to step up to be a dad to our son despite our turbulent past.

truth

You make me think
to look past that fateful night of fucking
So I forced that memory to fade fast
Even when a baby was made
Cause you chose her over me
I had to assume it was fate
That there could neve be a “we”
Just forget about that night
And clean our slate white
And walk with him the father-son mile

Poetry: A World Full of Regrets

I wrote this in November of 2002 about my oldest son’s dad. I guess I was trying to view things from his perspective. Seeing him again felt surreal and almost like a dream.

for real

His memory draws blank
Trying to think of that naïve girl
And how they made that baby
He would later on deny
And five years later
After meeting again
That once precocious girl
Turned into a woman
He remembers her tender beauty
And the sexual tension
That drove them crazy
to that baby making night
And meeting his son for the first time
He encounters a world full of regrets

Happy Anniversary: A Different Kind of Love Story

December 9th, 2010

Today marks my 11 year anniversary with my husband and while me and him are no longer in a romantic relationship; I’m still celebrating it. This might seem strange to a lot of people including myself. I honestly didn’t think I would write this blog post for today. I thought I was just going to post a salty ass poem about him and I still will but why not celebrate this man that has been my ride or die for the past 18 years. While yes, I still plan on separating and divorcing this man in the near future; my heart does not hold any resentment and anger towards him like it has in the past. I love him because he is my chosen family that has and will always be there for me no matter what. I’ve told my perspective about our relationship in this blog and while that is my truth; I feel that in some ways I’ve painted him in a very negative light and may have been unfair to him.
A lot of that was anger and resentment that I felt towards him at the time and towards myself for our relationship not working out. Now that he and I are in our third year of being co-parents and friends, I look at him in a different way and really accept him for who he is. It’s been a long journey to get here but I’m
glad I’m here.

us in late 2005

As I look back and reflect on mine and his journey what strikes me is how loyal he’s been to me throughout my worst of times. He could have abandoned me when my oldest son was diagnosed with autism early in our relationship, when I got unexpectedly pregnant with our first child together, when I use to yell at him and emotionally abuse him, after my suicide attempt in 2016 and after I asked him to open up our marriage. But he didn’t. He stayed and was supportive in his own way and yes sometimes that came off as controlling but I think now that it was his way of being over protective. He’s accommodated to whatever crazy and impulsive choices I’ve made and he’s stood by my side when I’ve had mental health crises. He’s not the type of man to ever run away when things get hard. In fact, he’s the type to stand by you until you get back up and after. Maybe that’s why I was in a romantic relationship with him for 15 years, he stayed no matter what. He also could have given up on me many times before we decided we wouldn’t continue our romantic relationship. He could also have kicked me out even after I flaunted my situationship and new boyfriends in front of his face.

our last picture in 2018 as a romantic couple, I only took this pic to post it on social media to make my boyfriend at the time jealous..lol..yeah I was fucked up

Also, I could have not lucked out more with having the best father for my children. This man is extremely devoted to our three children and loves them more than life. He makes sure that they are always very well taken care of. And co parenting with him has been an easy ride with a few mishaps.

Him with our 3 kids

As I write this, I’ve realized how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am to have him in my life. It sucks that our romantic relationship didn’t work out but what doesn’t suck is still having him in my life as my co parent and friend.

Poem: My Sleeping Poem **trigger warning**

I wrote this poem in December of 2016 after my almost love affair with death on December 5th. It’s strange how aside from my journal entries from that month, I hardly remember that month. I just remember feeling so broken inside and like a failure after that happened that it was so hard to get up every morning. I do know that writing saved me during that time because I started journaling way more consistently. I would learn years later after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder that up to 10 percent of people with BPD die by suicide. Five years later, I’m glad that I had people by my side that prevented me from becoming one in ten. I’m glad that afterwards, I was able to slowly come back from this even if I was mostly depressed the year after and it was a fight to get up every single day.

For more information about the high risk of BPD and Suicide, here is a link from Psychology Today with info about it:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201512/the-destructive-power-borderline-personality-disorder

me and one of my best friends in December 2016

I wanted to sleep

Sleep beckoned me

Like a magical place

Where I could forget

Forget-

The burdens and responsibilities

Forget-

The performance reviews, the report cards, the bills

Forget- 

The husband, the kids, the friends

I wanted to sleep

So I planned my journey there

Call in sick, act natural,

Take the bottle of xanax

I wrote love letters 

To my children, my husband, and friends

Just in case I fell in a forever dream

I wanted to sleep

Selfishly, without interruptions 

I wanted to sleep

So I didn’t have to think 

About my mediocre and suburban reality

My lost dreams of greatness

My wastefulness on this earth

I wanted to sleep

But I was interrupted

By my husband shaking me

Halfway carrying me 

To the couch, forcing coffee

Down my throat

I wanted to sleep 

But I had to wake up

And endure the reality of life

Reflection: I Am America

It’s been 4 years since I took an oath to become an American citizen. I took an oath specifically to Trump which makes me nauseous typing BUT I also took an oath because of Trump. Before making the decision to become an American citizen, I had never really cared about politics but that was until Trump got elected. If you were a POC or immigrant or both, you felt the shift in the racial tension in the U.S right before the election but especially after the election. Racists overtly made their ignorant beliefs known that immigrants were not welcomed in this country. DACA was in the process of being repealed. DACAmented kids who should have been protected were being deported and there was a rise in deportation for undocumented immigrants as well or well the media made it seem like that. I felt that as an immigrant with LPR (legal permanent resident) status, I could possibly be next. In February of 2016, I sent my paperwork to USCIS to solidify my relationship with America. One could say that for better or worse, I finally decided to make a commitment to this country. Here is my blog post about the process:

What has changed in the past 4 years since becoming an American and what does being American mean to me now?

Well, I’ve voted in 2 elections since I’ve become an American including the national election in 2020 (yay, no more Trump). In October of this year, I applied for my passport and have received it. Now, I can take a trip out of the country without any worries or concerns. While it is an immense privilege to be an American citizen since I  now have a whole new world of opportunities opened up and I can travel anywhere; I feel that I haven’t really changed on the inside. I still see myself and identify as an immigrant  but now I also call myself an American. But to be honest, my idea of being an American has changed. I used to think I needed a piece of paper to say “Oh, I’m American” but  for better or worse, America is and has been ingrained in me since that hot September day in 1986 when I set my foot on American soil at the age of 5.

I was an American when every morning at school I would say the Pledge of Allegiance in my broken and terrible English at the age of 6 and 7.

me in 1987

I was an American when I went back to Peru at age 9 to get my resident alien status solidified with my family.

me at age 9 in Peru during my trip with my family to get our LPR status

I was an American when I met my childhood best friends in Hawaii at age 11.

me with one of my childhood best friends from Hawaii

I was an American when I had my babies at ages 17, 24, and 30.

me with my three kids right after their births

I was American when I started working for the government at the age of 18.

me at the age of 18 in 1999 working for the government

I was an American when I got my college degree in 2009 from the University of Georgia .

me in 2009 with my parents at my graduation from college

I was an American in 2016 and early 2017 when I attended protests and marches for immigrant and women’s rights.

me in January of 2017 at the Women’s March in Washington D.C

And I was an American when people told me, “my english is good for being a Mexican” or I’ve been discriminated against or oppressed in this country by the people that don’t want “my kind” here.

I used to believe that I didn’t belong here because of the racism, prejudice, and ignorance I’ve encountered but that’s no longer the case. This year, I finally let go of those beliefs because I’ve embraced that I am America and America is me. My life may have been harder in many aspects because I wasn’t the average “American born” citizen but I will tell you that I wouldn’t trade my experience as an American to be average. I I feel that working harder than the “average American” for my success has made me appreciate my success so much more and for that I am thankful. My parents had no idea of the many hardships they would endure making the decision to immigrate to this country but I am glad they made that journey. It’s taken me 35 years to get here but today I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an American. 

me in November of 2021 telling my crazy story about being an essential worker

 

What Does Thanksgiving Mean to an Immigrant

When me and my family first immigrated to the U.S in September of 1986; Thanksgiving was a foreign concept to us. We were introduced to Thanksgiving by our extended family members who were seasoned veterans in celebrating this American Holiday. I was 5 when I immigrated to this country so my memories of our first or second Thanksgiving are pretty blurry. 

What I do remember is going to my uncle’s house where my aunts, uncles and numerous cousins would gather. My mother sat with my aunts and grandmother while they shared the latest chisme (aka-gossip) while they cooked and later on served dinner to the kids and the men. Yay for machismo culture <insert sarcasm>. My father and my uncles drank together while they joked around. I remember playing with my cousins or following my sister upstairs with our teenage cousins to the bedroom with the TV to watch music videos with George Michael ,Rick Astley blasting on MTV. Maybe that’s how I acquired my sometimes basic taste in music.

I also remember that since we were away from adults, our cousins took the opportunity to teach me and my sister all of the bad words in English. Haha. Another fond memory that comes to mind is the newest babies being passed around the aunts or the older female cousins. There wasn’t such a thing as asking permission from the parents for their baby unless of course the child is being nursed. I also remember hating the taste of turkey. It tasted like rubber to me.

me and almost all of my cousins circa 1987, I’m in front in the frilly blue dress

There was warmth and laughter in this idyllic setting of Thanksgiving but that’s not the whole picture. There was also unpleasantness. My mom is one of nine children and with that many personalities; there was no way to avoid drama when all of them gathered in one space. There were more than a few petty conflicts between family members on Thanksgiving and other holidays gatherings.

My mother decided after a couple of Thanksgivings it would be better to celebrate Thanksgiving at home by ourselves. So my mother learned how to season and make a turkey and stuffing. Instead of the traditional green bean casserole or sweet potato pie; our sides were Peruvian Potato Salad and Macaroni Salad accompanied by Peruvian Hot Chocolate and Dad’s famous alcoholic Peruvian eggnog. We would watch movies rented from the local video store while we waited for the turkey to be ready. When my dad started getting tipsy, he would start playing Spanish Christmas Carols, Huaynos, and Musica Criolla. It was music that my teenage sister would cringe at and me and my brother would tolerate. I didn’t realize then but I do realize now that my father was in his own way trying to make sure that we wouldn’t forget our roots as we were living this new life in America. My parents tried their best to make sure that our strong Peruvian culture and traditions were not forgotten as we acclimated to the the new Americanized way of living. When dinner was ready, we would sit down at the table. I ,being the youngest and most impressionable by my then Catholic School upbringing, would ask the family to say a prayer and ask them to say something they were thankful for. I think I was seven or eight at the time but I guess my parents thought it was a good tradition to start. And of course, my siblings would get annoyed but they did it.

Despite those first few Thanksgivings when we lived very much under the poverty line; it was still a happy time for us as a family. My parents made sure that Thanksgiving was almost always filled with  warmth, love, and laughter. One could say that  what Thanksgiving meant to my newly arrived immigrant family then  was learning how to incorporate our culture into a new American holiday like Thanksgiving. While my parents understood the importance of assimilation; they still made sure me and my siblings didn’t forget our culture.  Today, I’m filled with gratitude that my parents brought the best of both cultures to Thanksgiving and most holidays in their own unique way. I’ve been able to bring these bicultural traditions to my own family while also making new traditions.

me and my family circa 1986, I’m the one sitting on my mom’s lap

Poetry: Miserable Memories

I wrote this in 2002 after a trip to California. That trip was strange for me. I was filled with nostalgia but also felt triggered by revisiting traumatic parts of my childhood during that trip. I did make peace with my past during that trip. I don’t talk much about my childhood because of the trauma attached to it but I think I need to. We should talk about the things that are hard to talk about. I believe that my childhood trauma played a big part in me having BPD.

The 2 bedroom apt I grew up in from ages 5 to 11
My aunt, me and my grandmother during that trip. My aunt was not a nice lady BUT thats another blog post .

Gone back to my old miserable childhood world
Everything has changed and yet remains the same
Old memories I had buried in the back of my mind
Come crawling back to the surface
Of the pain, poverty, and misery
That scared little girl emerges once again
But this time as a brave woman
To proclaim that she is no longer
Frightened by the people who caused her so much hurt

Betty Draper and Me

So I wrote this essay a couple of years ago as I was reflecting about the end of my marriage:

As my eight year marriage comes to its inevitable end, I’ve been rewatching the series Mad Men. When I first watched the series, I admired Joan and Peggy for being strong female characters in the show but I always thought there was something about Betty Draper that I could relate to. It’s strange to think about considering she’s a white upper class sixties housewife in New York and I’m a working class millennial immigrant Latina woman in Georgia. It’s hard to grasp that there would be any similarities between but there are many indeed.  

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Betty and Don at Fancy Event

 

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(Me and Hubs at my brother’s wedding reception)

Betty feels trapped in her suburban idyllic existence and often times feels frustrated; I’ve also felt this way throughout the past fifteen years. Betty wonders if there is more to life than what she is living which is rearing children and being a good wife; I’ve constantly wondered the same thing except that I have the added burden of working.

Don, Betty’s husband acts like she should be happy with her life and gets mad at her when she shows real emotion, kind of accuses her of being crazy and sends her to a psychiatrist that he secretly talks to about her sessions without her consent and knowledge. My husband never went so far but for most our relationship he did accuse me of over reacting and/or accuse me of being crazy if I got “emotional” about something and/or brought up needs that weren’t being met in our relationship. It always felt that I was expecting too much out of our relationship for wanting normal things in a relationship. My husband has also acted like I should settle for what the little he can give me in terms of companionship and be happy with that since he was. For a long time, I felt that maybe I could and should settle for this but settling made me miserable for several years. 

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Don also kind of stopped investing time and energy into his marriage. He  took Betty for granted because they were married with two children and hid behind his work and his many dalliances. My husband was never one to make time for us or continue to woo me in any sense after we started living together. Instead, he hid behind the raising of our children and the fact that he was always tired. He could never spontaneously compliment me and I was always either too fat or almost too skinny for him.  Betty overlooked Don’s lack of affection for several years in the same way I overlooked my husband’s. I feel that this had to do with how women are conditioned to be polite and swallow their emotions because again–we’ll be accused of being crazy and/or hysterical. 

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The beginning of the end of Betty and Don’s marriage started when Betty eventually gets fed up after having one of Don’s affairs rub in her face and throws Don out but later they get back together because she finds out she’s pregnant with their third child. Don does try to be a somewhat better husband but eventually goes back to his philandering ways. There have been a few times throughout our relationship that I did try to break up with my husband but because he always apologized and said he would change, I always took him at his word and wanted to believe he would change. We even planned our third child and got married shortly after getting pregnant. I think I subconsciously did this because I thought a baby and a marriage would be the band aids that would fix “us”. 

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Betty eventually gets tired of Don’s lack of effort and also his lies and eventually asks for a divorce, she tells him something like, “I don’t feel anything when I kiss you”; it seems that this was when she knew that it was over for her and Don. For me, it took me a couple of years to be firm in my decision to divorce my husband. I think that I finally realized that there was no way I could continue the façade of our marriage when I realized that I no longer cared that he didn’t notice me or felt anything remotely like romantic love when I kissed him. It took him a while to understand why I wanted a divorce since he was happy with “us” and his main concerns were, “what about the taxes?” or “what about the kids?”.  But like Don, he eventually agreed to it and said that he wouldn’t fight me about it. It’s kind of eerie that women like myself can still relate to a sixties housewife when it comes to relationships, marriages, and the stigma of divorce.  I’m sure that people wonder why I would stay in a stagnant and awful relationship/marriage; that’s simple; I loved my husband. I thought that loving him meant that I had to settle for a marriage devoid of any real affection. I thought that the love I felt for him would be enough to change him one day. 

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Poetry: My Sister y Yo

I wrote this poem in January of 2020. This is about me and my sister being polar opposites on almost every level in life. We’ve never really have had a close relationship and there have been times when we’ve had fights that have lasted for months . Recently, as we’ve grown older, we have been better about accepting each other for who we are and getting along much better.

me in January of 2020

She’s American

   I’m an immigrant 

She loves Trump

   I’m a borderline socialist

She believes in money and brand names

   I believe in love and poetry

Born from the same womb

  But living in different worlds

She’s the clean upper middle class

  I’m the gritty working class

She forgot everything she once was

  I remember and continue to live it

She’s Latina when it’s trendy or when it suits her

   I’m Latina every single minute of my life

She’s the definition of assimilation

  -and I-the forever brown girl trapped in a white America

She’s the American Dream

  And I’m the immigrant activist

She’s the Doña

  and I’m cabrona

Poetry: Ghost of Mamacita

I wrote this poem in 2018 shortly after the death of my maternal grandmother/mamacita. My grandmother lived in a time where her opportunities were very limited by society’s rules about what a woman should be.

The ghost of my grandmother 

  hangs above me 

Her spirit swallows and 

  Envelops me-

It tells me to live

  a life full of passion and love

Without self imposed boundaries

It tells me to stop 

 being afraid of my promise 

  and potential

  and takes risks and 

  Go for my dreams

  No matter how many 

    obstacles stand in my way

It tells me that I only 

 have one life left to live

And I need to start 

living it fully instead

 of standing on the sidelines

Waiting for something or someone 

to rescue me

It tells me 

Stop waiting

Now it’s your turn