Poetry: Caught Between

I wrote this 2001 when I took a break from writing angry breakup poetry-lol. As an immigrant that grew up here, I’ve struggled with my identity for most of my life. Issues with identity are also another trait of BPD. I think this was a time in my life when I was especially reflecting on this part of my identity because I was become aware that men were fetishizing me.

me in 2001 around the time I wrote this poem

Caught between two worlds
what am I made up of more
hopefully I won’t ever have to choose
sometimes I wish to just cut loose

Too Latina for the American side
Too Americanizada for the Latino side
So what is the politically correct term for someone like me?
Not American, not born here
Not fully Latina either
for I lack that latin allure

So I’ll call myself one of a kind
a girl with much Latin beauty and an American mind
like a delicious half and half cream
whose taste is an amazing mixed dream

Poetry Review: When Pens Become Megaphones

When Pens Become Megaphones

McKenzie Harpe’s debut collection, When Pens Became Megaphones is aptly named because of how powerful the writing is in this book. The poems in this book are passionate and compelling in examining a variety of themes. A few of the themes covered in this book are mental health, relationships, family, racism, and social injustice. . The book is divided into four sections which are, “Speak With Yo’ Mind”, “Speak with Yo’ Soul”, “Speak with Yo Fist” and “Speak with Yo’ Heart”. Harpe does not mince words or is subtle to express herself in her poetry and that is something I greatly admire. I also want to mention that the format and presentation of the book is very professional and flawless in how it’s laid out making it very appealing for the reader. I will discuss 2 poems from each section that really spoke to me.

The first section “Speak With Yo’ Mind” talks frankly and honestly about anxiety and the feelings that come along with it and how the poet copes. The poet presents a true understanding of how some people feel with the burden of anxious thoughts and how trying to find peace with that can feel like an uphill battle. A poem that spoke to me about dealing with anxiety was Medicine. The poem Medicine talks about the healthy coping mechanism that music can be for someone with mental health issues. This is presented in the fourth stanza with the lines “music is my only redemption/the only prevention/for lost hope” (Harpe,15) As a person with mental health issues myself, music is one of my healthiest coping mechanisms. When the world gets too “noisy” for me, I tend to put my earbuds in and play something to either calm me down or hype me up depending on my mood. Another poem from this section that resonated with me was Evicted. Evicted presents a picture about kicking anxiety out. This is presented when the poet states, “see, I only came to organize/my thoughts on my hanger, /but now I’m cleaning out more than my closet. /I’m kicking you out, anxiety” (Harpe,17) There is a power in that verse which shows the poet taking her power back from anxiety taking up space in her mind. As a person who also suffers from anxiety, I completely get it.

The second section pays a tribute to where the poets come from and her family. Harpe does this by talking about the women in her family as well as her friends. One poem that I especially loved was My Day Ones where she captures the ease that comes from long term friendships or connections. This is stated in the poem, “a necessary vent/ after years/of personal growth/and that vibes still the same” (Harpe,31) This poem resonated with me because it reminded me of the connection I have with my childhood friends from Hawaii. Weeks or months can pass by without us talking and out of the blue one of us will say something in our group chat and we’ll catch up on life. Another poem I absolutely loved from this section was Auntie. It displays the resilience and strength of a woman who has breast cancer. Harpe shows this woman’s strength from the first line, “I know a woman/who’s not afraid of monsters” (Harpe,36). This poem resonates with me when I think about breast cancer survivors and victims of breast cancer . Another thing I like about this poem is that Harpe captures the essence of this woman going through something really harrowing in a way that respects her humanity.

The third section Harpe explores the great social injustices that have been happening and still happen in this country. Harpe does this by talking frankly and honestly about racism and white privilege. The poem Armed is one of my favorite poems in the whole book. It speaks about how words can be weapons of change. When Harpe says, “I load my pen with thoughts/the aim with precision/ spit fire on these pages/ and hope you see my vision/ this is more than just a poem (Harpe,59), she speaks the truth with how people tend to underestimate the power that artists can have when to comes to social change. This poem reminded me that one of the reasons I write is to give a voice to the marginalized immigrant community that I come from. Another poem that really resonated with me in this section was the poem The Five Senses. This poem addresses how white privilege continues to undermine and oppress minorities in this country. I was blown away by how the poet used all of five senses to do this. For example, for the sense of hearing in stanza 2, the poet states “what does it sound like? /hearing a native language/and calling it a threat. /yelling at minorities/to go back home/to places they never even met/like we didn’t forget/you never discovered/this country to begin with, (Harpe,66). That stanza gives me goosebumps from how powerful it is in addressing racists and calling out their hypocrisy. This part in this poem really resonated too since I have been subject to prejudice and discrimination due to my ethnicity and former immigration status.

The fourth section “Speak with Yo’ Heart” explores themes related to love and it’s not just centered on romantic love, but it also talks about self-love. I really resonate with the poem Dramatic. In the first stanza the poet states “when you date a poet/understand that your attitude/will become similes/your emotions/will become metaphors/your actions/will be the starting line/for each stanza ( Harpe,83) How true is this for many poets who will take their inspiration from their romantic relationships. Some of us even have a blog dedicated to this type of poetry (😉😏). Another poem that really stood out from this section was Saving Grace. In this poem, Harpe talks about her “toxic relationship with anxiety” and how it has impacted her. A powerful verse in this poem was “this time I felt sad/lonely/and nonexistent. /turns out, he had changed into this person/called depression (Harpe,93). Harpe shows how agonizing it feels like for a lot of us when our anxiety turns into depression. I also want to mention that the end of this poem was very hope and filled with faith. Once again, Harpe captures the painful truth that most of us with anxiety and depression must live with.

With her debut collection, Harpe presents an amazing talent for being open and honest about life, identity, social justice, and mental health. My only complaint about this book is that I wanted to read more. Yes, that’s how good this poetry collection was. I don’t usually read a book in one sitting but Harpe’s writing captivated me in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes poetry that’s inspiring and empowering. I look forward from reading more from this poet. Below is a link to When Pens Become Megaphones

Poetry: Joe Goldberg

I wrote this poem in January of this year for a DBT exercise about being creative.

Me and Joe

My love for Joe Goldberg is for real

even if he is a psycho serial killer

he might kill me but won’t abandon me

or break up with me

My love for Joe Goldberg is  healthy and lovely

It brings a calm and serenity like no other 

My love for Joe Goldberg makes me understand

Myself better

I’m like him,  in love with love

My love for Joe Goldberg is the only one I want 

for now

I’d rather deal with a fictional crazy Joe

rather than a real life asshole

Poetry: Nothing More

I wrote this in December of 2002. Towards the end of the year, I was depressed abotu dating and romance. I hated feeling like I was always just used for fun, objectified, and then discarded like trash. .

exactly

Now that I know
That between us
Can me nothing more
Than a story of pure lust
I feel so dumb
And wonder once again
If it’s possible to go numb
From all of the jerks that are so damn lame
You fucking jerks that don’t want to see past
Me being a great piece of ass
And I ask myself these questions
What does it take for someone like me?
To find someone that will make me happy
To find someone who doesn’t use me just for fun
But maybe it’s okay
Maybe this is just my fate

Poem: The Objectification of Eliza

I wrote this in 2019 when I was reflecting about the way men have often objectified in a way that they almost always seem to just want the fun and sexy part of me but seem to often have problems seeing the rest of me. I’ve almost always felt like I’ve been good enough to be their lover but never good enough to be introduced to their mother. Do I still feel this way? I honestly don’t know. I like the attention and validation I get from men because of my looks but sometimes it feels so hollow.

Often men want this girl…the ones that’s always down for a “good” time
BUT run away from this one….the other girl …the vulnerable one that has a realness hard to accept

Tell me I’m pretty, tell me I’m sexy

Tell me I’m beautiful

Objectify me, fuck me, 

Forget about me

And then

Try to come back to me

And when I deny

your lust filled request,

Put me down, threaten me

Try to hurt me-

Your words mean nothing to me

You’re not the first 

But will be the last

Who tries to destroy me

You’re not the first 

But will be the last 

Who treats me like a doll

to fuck at your convenience

You’re not the first

But will be the last

That tells me I’m not good enough

Tell me you miss, tell me you want me

Tell me you’re sorry

Be persistent in your quest

In trying to get me in your bed

with empty promises

about how this time it will be different

Sorry to my past, my present, and

future lovers-

I am pass being the girl

that’s just used for fun-

I am pass being the lover

you never introduce to your mother

I’d rather live in a world 

of solitude and calm

than to once again fall

into the objectification trap 

Playlist: ANGRY AF

Today is National Getting Over It day and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it than by sharing my ANGRY AF playlist. A huge part for me getting over something tragic in my life is to get angry. And when I get angry, it’s almost like a volcano eruption. This is actually pretty healthy for me because I’ve felt that at times, anger has saved me from feeling all of my sadness at once which for me can get really overwhelming right away. I can even say that Anger has probably saved me from spiraling into an abyss of sadness that would be hard to crawl out of. In other words, anger has helped me survive whatever trauma has come my way. I used to be so ashamed of being angry because of how it would turn me into the most self absorbed and reactive person. I don’t feel that way anymore because I’ve learned how to better manage my anger. Instead of drinking or hooking with random dudes because I’m angry; I exercise or write while I listen to music. Most of the songs in this list are geared more towards someone going through a breakup because that is when my anger comes out the most. Thanks, BPD. Lol. In bold are my favorite songs from this list. 

Lyrics from Olivia Rodrigo, Fall Out Boy, Matchbox Twenty, and Taking Back Sunday

For the Brokenhearted: I’m ANGRY AF Edition (the only where you scream out the lyrics):

  1. FUCK YOU, GOODBYE-The Kid LAROI , Machine Gun Kelly
  2. abcdefu-Gayle
  3. SELFISH-The Kid LAROI
  4. SAME ENERGY- The Kid Laroi
  5. good 4 u-Olivia Rodrigo
  6. Cute Without the “E” (Cut from the Team)-Taking Back Sunday
  7. Sugar, We’re Going Down-Fall Out Boy
  8. Tell that Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today-Fall Out Boy
  9. The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes-Fall Out Boy
  10. traitor-Olivia Rodrigo
  11. Better Than Revenge -Taylor Swift
  12. Push-Matchbox Twenty
  13. You Oughta Know-Alanis Morissette
  14. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-Taylor Swift
  15. Stronger Than Me-Amy Winehouse
  16. Priest-Julia Michaels
  17. Sorry-Beyonce
  18. Death by a Thousand Cuts-Taylor Swift
  19. Closure-Taylor Swift
  20. Look What You Made Me Do-Taylor Swift
  21. Your Name Hurts-Hailee Steinfeld
  22. Great Romances of the 20th Century-Taking Back Sunday
  23. Lying Is The Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Her Clothes Off- Panic! At the Disco
  24. BEST FOR ME-The Kid LAROI
  25. I Bet You Think About Me-Taylor Swift
  26. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things-Taylor Swift
  27. Head Club-Taking Back Sunday
  28. Screaming Infidelities-Dashboard Confessional
  29. Ignore Me-Betty
  30. Sue Me-Sabrina Carpenter

Below are links to the playlist for your listening pleasure:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Hg8JGwHHy2b230WuCFdTF?si=qRqMZm3qQLKh7S-JhNIHPw&utm_source=copy-link

Poetry: Extremely False

I wrote this about John in 2002 after he ghosted me after taking me to see his mom. His mother didn’t approve of me-an uneducated single mom. It was rough and of course I took it personally. So John fell off my pedestal and it was a long fall.

truth

Perhaps you feel too smart
to let someone as ordinary as me
into your heart
Perhaps you think I’m not good enough
to be deserving of your love
Perhaps you are only sure
I’m just good for pleasure
Perhaps you wear a know it all smirk
And believe I’m just like any other girl
Perhaps you believe in your head
I’m only good to warm up your bed
But darling I’m sorry to say
You won’t get your way
Because I respect myself too much
To let myself melt with your touch
Because I am worth a lot more
than any of your trophy whores
Because I have an actual mind
Without you I’ll be just fine
But mostly because I would never fall
For someone so extremely false

Turning 41: Changing the Narrative

“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 what 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.”

I wrote this a year ago and so much has changed. I can tell you that my 40th year didn’t go as planned. I’m not involved in any romantic relationships.In fact, for the first time in 26 years, I’m not chasing love or the adrenaline rush of being in a romantic relationship. I can honestly say that I am in the healthiest and happiest relationship at this time-with myself. This time last year, I thought that personal growth meant sustaining a “healthy” relationship with someone and now I’m not so sure. I have more to say about this but that’s something I will share later on.  I could talk about everything that went wrong this year but I won’t. Honestly, there are parts of that year that I’m not done processing and not ready to talk about and that’s okay. I learned in therapy that grief isn’t linear and I have to honor my process and not to suppress my feelings. It’s hard to write this but it’s my truth. What hasn’t changed is that I’m still working 2 jobs and am actually paying off new debt that I incurred when I went on several binge shopping sprees this summer and fall. I do have to say that my wardrobe is amazing and I’m the best dressed person in the office. I’ve had tremendous growth this year in a lot of areas. I’m in the best shape of my life after I took up angry power walking and running this summer and lost 20 pounds within a 3 months period. I beat this driving phobia I had through exposure therapy. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality this summer and successfully completed a therapy program that has helped me manage my symptoms in a much healthier way. I started blogging again. I’ve lost count of how many poems and essays I’ve written because this year has been beyond inspiring. The best thing that has happened this year is that I’m finally the woman I had always wanted to be but was too afraid to be. It’s taken a lot of hard work, tears and so much introspection to get here. Here is a place where I no longer run away from my life but I run to it instead. Here is a place where I’m comfortable and in love with solitude and am no longer chasing the high of love in someone else. Here is a place where I look forward to each and every day because I finally understand that my life is a gift and not a burden. Here is a place where I’m no longer just surviving but I’m thriving. Here is a place I want to stay in for a really long time. My goals are for this year are simple:

  1. Continue to thrive by keeping my life as uncomplicated and drama free as possible.
  2. Say “yes” to anything that brings growth and progress even if it might feel uncomfortable at the time.
  3. Say “no” to anything that feels unhealthy or will stagnate my growth and progress.

Here is me looking forward to a calm year full of growth and progress.

February 23, 2022

Poetry: Thirty-Nine

I wrote this poem on February 22, 2021. I wrote this while I still in a relationship with my most recent ex. I really thought he would be the one to stay but it wasn’t meant to be and that’s okay. I look at year 39 that in spite of facing constant depression and craziness because of COVID, I still had something important in life and that was love even if at the end it didn’t work out. It was a year full of magical moments that I will never regret.

February 22, 2021

Last day of thirty nine
and I look back on this decade
with love and no regrets
The decade started with my third
miracle of life
and ended with the miracle of love
The decade started with a once stable
and normal suburban life
and ended with a chaotically busy and poly life
The decade started with a half loved marriage
and ended with an almost separation
Toxicity ruled 2 and a half years of the decade
but he left
Now I’m left with a new determination
to fulfill my potential and let no on
e
or nothing stop me

Poetry: Thirty-Eight

I wrote this on February 22, 2020. I had started working at Kroger in October of the previous year, was still trying to stop my situationship with “C”, and had just started dating my most recent ex-the second Andrew. I was becoming hyper aware of my unhealthy relationship patterns and didn’t want to repeat them and had my guard up but life happens and well I fell in love.

February 22, 2020

On the last day of 38
I’m filled with so much hate
Hate for the life I never had
Hate for me and my soon to be ex spouse
and for our toxic codependency
The year has been filled with highs and lows-
I was prolific with my poetry about my toxic lover
My toxic lover that follows
a pattern of toxic lovers
since the age of 15
Toxic lovers that abused me, used me,
and discarded me like trash-
Toxic lovers that made me
question my worth
Toxic lovers that left me breathless
with chemistry that felt like a drug
Toxic lovers that I kept coming back to
out of the habit of not loving myself enough
Toxic lovers that never want to define an “u
s”
Toxic lovers-that starting 2 weeks ago
I will leave forever alone
And on year 38
with all of my hate and rage
for my mediocre life
I decided to fight
Fight with determination and purpose
for the life me and my kids deserve
Fight with my body
working endless hours
with fatigue and sore knees
for the future I always wanted

A future that looks independent and thriving
on my own
A future that will become
my own universe who no one can enter
I may cry, I may want to die
but I will not give up-
not when I’m so close

And even though I met a ray of hope
with my first lover’s name
towards the end of year 38
My walls will stay up and guarded
No piece of my vulnerability
Will be exposed to him
until I’m sure it’s not the same old toxic codependent story

On the last day of thirty eight
I work on inner healing
I work on inner peace
I work on goals
to finally emerge as a butterfly on year 39
On the last day of 38
I say forever goodbye to toxic patterns and lovers
I say forever goodbye to the old insecure me
to welcome the new and confident me-
I say forever goodbye to my once comfortable
and mediocre life to welcome a universe
full of great potential–

Poetry: Thirty-Seven

I wrote this poem on February 22, 2019, the last day of being 37. It was a chaotic year that was filled with lots of ups and downs. It was the year I met “C” and who I now referred to as my “good” ex Jake.

February 22, 2019

Last day at 37 and I am humbled
By the calm that comes after the storm
That was last year
Several waves came
In the forms
Of the average millenial fuck boy
Pretending to converse
In hopes of DTF
It was fun, it was sexy, it was tiring
And when I was ready to quit the tinder world
My blond hurricane
Torpedoed into my life
One sweltering and lonely July Night
He took over my damaged heart
And mind
He took me on a rollercoaster of emotions
From rays of happiness
To rowdy winds of devastation
With more hellos, goodbyes and I love yous
That I’ve had in a lifetime
It was crazy, it was chaotic,it was love
And in one of our
Almost solid goodbyes-
In waltzed the amber of hope
He slowly put back together
The broken pieces of my heart
The hurricane had left behind
He made me believe hope
Was within my reach
He calmed down my chaotic thoughts
He held my peace and happiness
In his hands
It was good, it was easy, it wasn’t enough
And I just crashed back into
My previous existence
Of married monotony and routine
Again, I am alone and empty
In my solitude of motherhood and marriage