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: When Something Bad Happens

I wrote this in May of 2003 when one of my close friends had a miscarriage.

It’s so funny and ironic
When something bad happens
most people says things
Like “it’s God’s way”
or the famous
“Whatever doesn’t kill you
makes you stronger”
It makes you wonder if there
are actual people out there
who would say,
“It’s okay to be mad at God’s way”
or
“It’s alright to be weak instead of strong”
or that it’s perfectly fine to scream out loud
“FUCK THE WORLD”
If there is a least one person like this,
I want them to become my new “best friend”

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: Control Myself

I wrote this poem in 2019 when I got into a fight with a friend because he was cruel to one of my friends. After this fight, we didn’t talk for 2 years but we ended up reconnecting in the summer of this year.

random pic of me pissed in 2019

Control myself, he said

As I called out his misogyny

His fragile ego couldn’t handle

hard truths thrown at him

He thinks that he has a license to offend

Because of the organ between his legs

and the pale color of his skin-

He thinks that I’m wrong 

for not sitting still and silent

He thinks that I have no right 

to stand up for myself 

Control myself, he said 

and “fuck off” I reply to him

you won’t even be able 

to control a woman like me-

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

Poem: Strength

I wrote this poem in January of 2020. Maybe I was mad at the patriarchy or just feeling weighed down by the expectations that society has on women. I know that for me, it has been a huge burden at times to constantly keep up an appearance that I am put together balanced woman even if I am falling apart.

me in January of 2020

The strength we have to carry as women

  is obscene

Endless expectations weigh on us

   generation after generation

We are buried in the burdens 

  that society has placed on us 

  since before we are born

Be sexy but don’t show your body

Be smart but your opinion is not wanted

Be motherly and nurturing

  but still a productive member of society

It is a never ending nightmare 

 to try to reach 

  the ridiculous standards

 of beauty, wealth, and motherhood

Some of us seem to do it with grace

Some of us are barely hanging on by a thread

Quite a few of us would rather die 

  than continue with the facade of the myth

  of the balanced and beautiful woman

My Love Affair with Music

My relationship with music is probably the healthiest life long relationships I’ve ever had. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. I listen to music as a way to process both the bad and good things that happen in my life. Music is one of my favorite coping mechanisms I have when I’m having strong emotions. I have a playlist for almost any kind of mood or emotion you might be having: Feeling Sexy- I have a playlist for that, Feeling like a Bad Bitch -I have a playlist for that, Feeling like Your Heart has been shattered in a million pieces and you’re gonna be alone forever- I have a playlist for that too. I like to listen to music first thing in the morning to get my day going. I also listen to it throughout the work day to break up the monotony of the day. Sometimes I even spontaneously serenade my coworkers with my horrendous singing-haha. Music has saved me on numerous occasions from the bad and intrusive thoughts I do have from time to time. I also love to listen to super loud music when I’m power walking and jogging. I listen to all kinds of music from gangsta rap to mainstream pop to boleros. My favorites artists are usually singer songwriters like Taylor Swift, The KID Laroi, Shakira, and Alejandro Sanz. I am super fortunate to be bilingual so I have a huge music catalogue to choose from. No matter what happens in my life, music has always been a way to either help calm me down when I’m angry or perk me up when I get in one of depressive moods. I will be sharing some of the playlists I listen to depending on my moods. Below is a link to posts about a few of my playlists.

Luis Miguel, Olivia Rodrigo and Easy E

Playlist: For the Brokenhearted: Sad Edition (the one where you cry)

Playlist: Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself

Playlist: Let’s Get Sexy

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: 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

Playlist: Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself

This playlist I’m sharing is called “Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself”. This playlist is filled with songs about feeling empowered after life gets you down because of a job loss, a break up, or maybe even just a bad day. It’s about getting your strength back and remembering who were in the first place and getting ready to conquer the world. It’s about finding yourself after losing your spark. It’s about feeling like a bad bitch again. I’ve put in bold my favorite songs from this playlist.

1.Confident- Demi Lovato

2.7 Rings- Ariana Grande

3.It’s Like That-Mariah Carey

4.Build a Bitch- Bella Poarch 

5.Everything I Want to Be- Save Ferris

6.Lose Yourself-Eminem

7.Independent Women Part 1-Destiny’s Child

8.Make It Happen- Mariah Carey

9.Moments-Tove Lo

10.Good Thing-Kehlani

11.U.N.I.T.Y- Queen Latifah

12.Look at Her Now- Selena Gomez

13.Truth Hurts-Lizzo

14.Brave-Sara Bareilles

15.Express Yourself- Madonna

16.None of Your Business-Salt N Peppa

17.Most Girls- Hailee Steinfeld

18.Free Your Mind- En Vogue

19.Good As Hell-Lizzo

20.THAT BITCH-Bea Miller

Below are the links for your listening pleasure:

Flash Fiction: Passage of Regret

She came in before him into the same house she was at a year ago. She wonders to herself why she‘s there at all. She knows the minute she steps into the room; it will be like welcoming back a ghost into her life. She feels like she has no choice. He offers her a drink, and she gladly takes many, hoping that this will numb the outcome her mindless and impulsive actions have taken her to. She wants to say “no” and that she has a boyfriend she wants to be faithful to but knows that now it’s too late. She stops him for a minute after he takes off her shirt and unhooks her bra. She tells him she needs to use the bathroom, and in the bathroom, she writes this. A night she would like to forget.