My glossy, stickerless guitar

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My glossy, stickerless guitar

sits in the corner of my room

begging to be picked up every now and then.

 

Last summer I fell in love with this urban-tinged instrument.

With the slick strings, waiting patiently to be

touched, picked, plucked by my

agile fingers, naive to the unknown chords.

 

I fell in love with its melodious vibrations,

sympathetic strums

acoustic, rusty taste.

 

My guitar,

hollow like one’s chest, empty, but with

strings like a tongue, allowing it to speak

a language all can hear

but only some can understand.

 

Pure notes, rich with passion

produced by memorized patterns

Sparking memories of my past,

leaving my eyes red and puffy.

 

Lines engraved into fingertips,

printed, stamped as evidence of having played for

hours off end.

 

A false note, repeat; again.

G, C, Em, D…

practice, practice, practice…

 

My glossy, stickerless guitar,

still sitting there in my room.

Knobs polished white,

strings tightened against the frame.

So serene yet with such a potential

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How Bizarre

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We were strolling down my neighborhood, hand-in-hand, silhouettes traced against the grainy stone beneath my purple Converse and his blue Vans. His jeans were far too hot to wear, yet he wore them all the time. The same ones with the torn up knees, from when he fell off his skateboard. The skateboard he held firmly in his other hand.

The sun was now almost gone, the moon tucking him under the covers, after a long day of shining bright. Street lights replaced the warm glow with a cold glare, making the night seem a lot colder than it really was. We kept walking, exchanging giggles and smiles. Oh, how I had missed him.


The blue lights were bright, but her eyes were blinding. Like a cat, she prowled through the night, her silver-gray eyes cutting through the dark like headlights. She led me down two streets, up another and guided me to the right. All in the same neighborhood.

I hadn’t seen her in years, even though we face timed very often. But being here, in person, was a whole different feeling. The eerie lights illuminated her hazel locks that rippled and twisted in the gentle breeze. She was shorter than I remembered. Or maybe I just grew. Our pace was steady, like our heartbeats, as we walked to the field of grass she’s mentioned a few times too often. That’s all she talked about, honestly. She said she needed to show me something here.

She gave my hand a quick squeeze as she came to a halt by my side. But I’m just glad we’re here together again. Oh, how I had missed her.


I felt his heat radiate from his body and transfer into mine, like a warm blanket on a chilly night, as he wrapped his arm around my shoulder. We’ve been best friends since kindergarten, and have never wanted to be more than that. I wonder if it’s different now.

Carefully I untangled myself from his soothing grasp and pulled him onto the infinite field of grass.


Her delicate fingers tugged on mine, gesturing me to follow her path.

I’ve known her my whole life and she was always the one to guide the way. She taught me what adventure really was. What “to dare” meant. To risk. To trust. Freedom, oh she made me fall in love with it. Without her, I wouldn’t know what it is to be alive.


Two whole years I’ve been waiting to be reunited. I’ve been dreaming of bringing him here. Showing him my little hideout I’ve used as a refuge all these years.

We ran, cheeks chilled by the autumn wind. The grass around us whistled and rustled creating a pleasant harmony, humming until it numbed our eyes. The familiar scent of pine. Refreshing like a cup of bittersweet tea. Almost there.


I had dropped my skateboard behind me, wondering if I’ll ever go back again. We trespassed the boundaries of the sidewalk, into the unexplored field. A field so large it could easily swallow us whole, leaving no trace but our footprints behind, hidden by the shrubs. We sliced through the darkest night. She held my hand. I held hers.


Almost there, just a few more meters. I subtly slowed my pace as I turned around to face him, still walking backward, placing every step with ease. I reached out for his hands and held on to them firmly, still guiding him with me. Like two dancers, we seemed to swirl around each other in the pitch dark. A few more steps.


She seemed confident. When was she not? But I knew something was about to happen.

And that’s when it did. She spread out her arms and twirled as if she was a serene tornado. From everywhere, millions of tiny light bulbs sparked and drifted into the air. Billions of mini hot-air balloons rose up and up. Swarms of what looked like stars, cuddled us, brushing across our arms and faces.

Not knowing what to do, I just stood there, watching her.

Her eyes were now warm like caramel, enlighted by the clouds of fireflies filling the air. Her hair looked like rivers of gold, flowing down the side of her face, neck, shoulders. And her smile. Oh, her smile. Twinkled with pride. With joy. It flashed happiness and admitted the painful ache of how much she had missed me. Begging me to never let go.

This was what she was dying to show me, and now I know why.

For a second I thought I caught a glimpse of curiosity in her eyes. Like a trick of the light, it flickered on suddenly and went out just as fast. Might’ve just been my imagination. But if it wasn’t, I knew she had more to show me. I wonder if she’ll show me the world some day.

 


 

How bizarre the night had been. Peculiar. Like a cliche dream, but deep inside I knew it was all true and that this would just be the first of many nights with him by my side.

Lost in Memory by His Side

 

Every night I dream

Of seeing him someday.

 

I miss him.

The words taste bitter on my lips

An ache that’ll never

Slip away from my heart.

 

The past stuck in a loop,

On repeat, as I’m

Lost in memory.

 

He’s taller now,

Brown locks, frizzy on his head

Now and then

Rustled by the pristine air.

 

His eyes just a little deeper than mine, with

Depths I’m willing to dive into head-first.

Pools of hazel-brown

Sprinkled with emerald green leaves.

 

His warm touch

Around my shoulder,

Sparking a wave of goosebumps

Down my body, to my toes.

 

His smile,

Oh, his smile…

Blinds me with affection.

I’ll always remember him the same.

A smile like my dad’s

Reconnecting the lines of our past.

 

How I wish for time to fly by, for once.

So I can break free

From these stiff chains

And discover the world by his side,

To guide each other to the stars,

Make our dreams come true.

 

But despite the temporary distance,

He’ll never leave my mind, for

Every night I dream

Of seeing him someday again.

Open Letter Pitch to New York Times Magazine

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Dear Jake Silverstein, Editor of New York Times Magazine;

 

I’ve been reading your previous week’s Magazine and saw that you were looking for someone to fill in a column. My name is Amaia van Dommelen, and I’m a vivid reader and full-time writer, as well as a true admirer of the New York Times Magazine. Over the past ten years, I’ve published dozens of books and poems, and I continue to update my blog every Tuesday.

 

A few days ago, I experienced the ferocious march in Charlottesville, first hand, from which I extracted my feelings and questions and converted them into an Open Letter to Liam. In this public letter, I was able to introduce a mixture of modern, controversial events with a little taste of storytelling. Writing to my classmate, Liam, I prove to others that stepping out of your comfort zone and putting your questions and doubts out into the public, you’re able to express your inner self and get things off your chest. 

 

Want something modern, something unique, something fresh? My writing has uplifted thousands and I’ll promise you it will touch millions if I’m granted the slot in your magazine.

 

My open letter is approximately 570 words, perfect to replace the empty column in the September issue. I would gladly have a coffee with you to discuss this topic further. I am available Wednesday through Saturday from 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm.

 

I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,

 

Amaia van Dommelen

Open Letter to Liam

Dear Liam,

 

A few days ago I was sitting in my living room, sipping on hot chocolate, when I flicked on the TV to see the chaos that was building up five streets away from my own apartment.

 

I’m an American college student and I’m currently finishing my last year of studying. I live alone in my small yet cozy apartment, apart from my best friend who comes to visit now and then. My building is near a peaceful park where I go to jog and to pet dogs. Just like every Saturday I come home and make myself a mug of hot chocolate and proceed to turn on the television.

 

But when I turned on that TV, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right here, in Charlottesville, Virginia, mobs of what seemed like angry people crowded the streets with lit torches and vicious expressions drawn on their faces. What was going on? At first, I thought it was a joke, a reenactment of some sort, but after literally standing there for about five minutes, I set my mug down and grabbed my scarf. 

 

Rushing through the traffic, most likely caused by this march, I dodged and made my way to the indicated area on the television, where I was confronted by a crowd of people yelling at the top of their lungs.

 

As I mingled with the horde of bystanders, I watched the event in awe, but then it struck me. Out of the large crowd, I realized that a great amount of the unknown faces were still glowing with youth. Teenagers, younger than I, were marching alongside adults, yelling just as loud and ferocious.

 

And that made me wonder. Who are these teenagers? Did they decide to come here themselves? Why would children younger than me join in such a risky and violent protest? Do they know what they’re getting themselves into?

 

I keep watching, eyes moving from one face to the other. And that’s when I see you, Liam. In the center of the parade, you’re there, shouting phrases no one should ever be passionate about screaming aloud. Just like me, you’re in your last year of college and should have more than enough on your mind. Even though we’re not friends, I’ve seen your face so many times in the hallway. Weren’t you the one to run for student council president? Such an enthusiastic guy. Anyways, you march by, too focussed to even notice me in the crowd, staring with my mouth wide open. So why Liam? Why did you risk yourself and portray so much hate against others?

 

As much as I agree with activism and engagement, especially amongst us, the youth, I still don’t understand why all this energy and effort is gone to waste into something so destructive and harmful, whilst it could be going towards a more worthy objective; something worth our time and devotion.

 

That night I got home, disappointed and startled. Voices like yours played on repeat in my head and kept me up all night. And that’s when I knew I had to do something about it. I knew I had to transform my frustration into action.

 

First thing this morning, is when I wrote this letter and submitted it.

 

I know there are other people out there, others that feel the same way. I want other voices to be heard as well, voices like mine. If we stay quiet, only their side of the story will be heard. And expressing your thoughts to the public is the first step to change.

 

 

Sincerely,

Amaia van Dommelen

Crimson Red Delights

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Candy-coated fruits: sappy,

Pulpy berries that are

Bittersweet

To the touch.

Hand-picked, crimson red delights.

Plump.

 

Teeny black seeds coating the outside like

Scattered stars in the

Night sky,

Flavorless and irrelevant

 

Strawberries,

Licked and

Groomed like a ruby by the rays of

sweet sunshine

 

The unmistakable aroma that

Tingles your nose.

A fragrance so sweet,

One could nibble on the air to taste it.

The smell of flowers and

Picnics,

Daydreaming and dozing,

Laughter and blushed cheeks.

 

Mouths,

Dripping with a luscious sap,

Sticky, syrupy sap.

The smacking of lips,

Tongues curling,

Swishing to catch the

Last drop.

 

Mouths dyed maroon,

Teeth stained pink,

The brand-new, white t-shirts now

Rosey

Like the fluffs hanging above by invisible threads

known as clouds, reflecting the sun’s

Last breath.

 

 

All Hell Broke Loose in America over the Weekend…

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All hell

broke loose

in America over the weekend

due to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

In short,

white supremacists

descended on Charlottesville

to protest the city’s plan to

take down

Confederate monuments.

 

But the demonstrations

quickly

got violent, as the white supremacists

intimidated

and

attacked counter-protesters —

and then a car,

driven by a

man with the white supremacists,

rammed

into counter-protesters.

 

Things

quickly spun out of control as protesters and counter-protesters

faced off and

clashed around the city.

 

Eventually,

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

declared a state of

emergency and police told the crowds to

disperse.

 

 

A “found poem”, inspired by the article below

Here’s a link to the Original Article

 

Vox News (Aug 14, 2017, 11:00am)

Charlottesville protests: a quick guide to the violent clashes this weekend

 

All hell broke loose in America over the weekend due to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In short, white supremacists descended on Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to take down Confederate monuments. But the demonstrations quickly got violent, as the white supremacists intimidated and attacked counter-protesters — and then a car, driven by a man with the white supremacists, rammed into counter-protesters.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s reaction — or lack thereof — became a major story in its own right after he refused to condemn the white supremacists, in particular, initially blaming “many sides” for hatred, bigotry, and violence. The statement seemed like yet another example of Trump pandering to white supremacists.

If you’re still catching up on a head-turning series of events, here’s a more detailed breakdown of what’s happened so far.

 

Protesters clashed in Charlottesville, and a reported Nazi sympathizer killed a counter-protester
  • White supremacists went to Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to tear down Confederate monuments, particularly a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. This has become a hot-button topic over the past several years, as civil rights groups and protesters have condemned the monuments as symbols of a Confederacy that fought to maintain slavery and white supremacy in America.
  • On Friday, some of the white supremacist protesters — made up of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan — brandished torches and marched onto the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. When they were met by counter-protesters, they surrounded and eventually attacked the counter-protesters, triggering brawls.
  • On Saturday, white supremacists planned to hold a bigger rally — dubbed “Unite the Right” — at noon.
  • Things quickly spun out of control as protesters and counter-protesters faced off and clashed around the city. Eventually, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police told the crowds to disperse.

Rites of Passage Reflection

1. When do you feel like a grown-up?” “What affirms this?”

As the eldest daughter in the family, I have always been the one to “look out” for my younger brothers. When I was little, I remember my parents always traveling. If it weren’t my mom for a week, my dad would be gone for three, but they always took turns. Therefore, ever since I was little I’ve had the responsibility to play the part of a part-time parent, feeling the need to fulfill their small gaps.

When I became 10 I remember that on my birthday I got my very first pocket knife. At this age, I’ve never owned anything that was truly mine. I had no phone or iPod, like all my friends, but I didn’t mind. Having something just for myself was fascinating at the time. I remember being very careful with where I would put it and I would always carry it with me. Having personal belongings helped introduce myself to the consequences of being independent. If I lost it, it was gone, and that was that, but luckily I took such good care of it, that it never left my sight.

As the years gradually went by I would feel the need to be the one in charge of things for I felt the need to become my sibling’s role models. It never really felt like an option, nor did it feel obligated; if anything, it just kinda happened. It all started when I was told that I could be the one “in charge” of my brothers when we were home alone. I started making decisions and taking care of my brothers ever since.

Nowadays it all seems normal. I’m the older one and therefore do the most chores, make dinner, help them with their homework and take care of them. At times this can be overwhelming of course, but I’ve learned that they need me. I have no clue what it would be like having an older brother or sister, but I do know that the least I can do is have their backs.

 

2. Do we still need rites of passage? Do we need the physical and mental ordeals? Do we need the formality? 

Growing up can be challenging, yet once you reach certain points you can’t help but feel accomplished. I believe that it is therefore very important to keep certain rites of passages in practice, allowing us young adults, who are transitioning through a tough part of life, to look back and feel proud of ourselves. Whether these are huge or even minor, I believe that this helps an individual’s mental growth for they can always go back to see what they’ve accomplished so far and drive themselves forward.

Whether there should be physical as well as mental ordeals really depend on the culture and the practices, but coming from me, I don’t think it should be mandatory to put ourselves to the test on a risky level. The formality shouldn’t always be a factor of such significance, either. This will always vary from one family to another and therefore shouldn’t be necessary. If they want to make it all serious and formal, perfect, and if not, sounds great too. Like I mentioned before, different families have distinct ways of celebrating and tackling these rites of passages and that’s the way it should be.

 

3. Do the old rites of passages still apply, or do we need entirely new ones that make sense in today’s world? If so, what would they look like?

I believe that old rites of passages should be kept. These rites of passages are original and were and still are the ones that were practiced centuries ago. Taking part in such an antique rite makes it special. In today’s world, everything has advanced at its own pace, including ourselves. Even though others might think it’s about time to “renew” these rites of passages, I still agree that we should hold on to our past. These have more of a meaning and can allow our pure culture and memories arouse.

 

4. Have you gone through a rite of passage?

Unlike many people who have gone through very formal and largely celebrated rites of passages, I never took part in anything that grand. Throughout my lifetime, I have always had small things here and there that counted as mini rites of passages. I remember first being allowed to go walking to my friend’s house all alone, fixing my own bike, hanging out with friends without a time limit and many other small things that came through the years.

In the future, though, I will be allowed to travel to my birth country (Dominican Republic), which I haven’t visited for the past 13 years, once I’m 15. This is our own version of the world-known Quinceañera. Instead of having a huge party and dressing up and dancing alongside my dad, I will travel alone with my grandmother.

Tankas – Poetry Friday

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young blood

 

Youth; us kids that roam

the streets like stray cats, prowling.

Slip through the crisp dusk,

grainy silhouettes traced, smudged

on the forsaken sidewalk.

 

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seeping away

 

Gleaming eyes; shiver.

Silence, a bitter absence.

Ready to crumble

Locked: broken past, torn future

Past, like a house of frail cards.

 

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Infinite

 

roads, traced on the map,

carved into the earth’s frail skin;

like tattoos, painful.

Wheels grind the pebbles beneath.

Wanderlust. Thirsty heart. Drive.

 

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raw nights

 

Shadows: witnesses

of our presence; company.

Our eyes like candles,

Guiding us through the brisk night.

Pristine air, fresh, almost sweet…

Brave New World – Satire

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Questions:

What is satire?

  • Satire is when someone uses humor, exaggeration, or irony to depict and give an opinion about a serious issue or matter. Satire generally criticizes people’s stupidity or the foolishness of an institution / larger group.

 

What is the tone of satire? (Horatian, Juvenalian)

  • Horatian is gentle and aims to correct the issue through sympathetic laughter. Horatian satire criticizes issues by drawing generally funny images. Juvenalian, on the other hand, is more biting and harsh; it aims to correct the evil in society by attacking it through ridicule. Juvenalian evokes severe feelings. The tone of satire I used for my drawing was Horatian. I was aiming for people to sympathetically giggle to the image so that they can understand the flaw that I’m trying to emphasize with a more gentle approach. My drawing isn’t biting nor does it attack the issue with anger. By making mine look like a newspaper clipping and magnifying the words to stretch the truth, I’ve been able to make it purposefully absurd.

 

What institution, practice or group is being satirized?

  • The practice that is being satirized in my image is hypnopaedia, also known as sleep-teaching. This practice is introduced in the novel as a method of conditioning children, under the age of sixteen, to memorize phrases unconsciously. These phrases are repeated to them 100 times, three nights a week for an entire year. Thanks to the repetitions they are fed, these sentences are cemented into their minds and those chained words are what they revolve their lives around. My satire is also making fun of all the “subjects” it teaches. What I did is state the obvious, or in this case, the truth that the government is hiding from the apathetic populace. The government is hypnotizing them with these phrases to get them to not as questions, follow instructions, and kill dreams.

 

What method is being used to construct the satire?

  •  The technique that I used to construct my satire is exaggeration. I made my satire look as if it were a newspaper ad clipping and then I used words to exaggerate the true depiction of hypnopaedia in the book. I stated the hidden truth to why the government put this practice forth, making it humorous. “COME BUY THE NEW HYPNOPAEDIC RADIO!! NOW FOR ONLY YOUR THOUGHTS AND INDIVIDUALITY!” This little quotation is revealing the government’s reasons for obligating their people to listen to these discs but through a very exaggerated way. I emphasized the word ONLY as if your individuality and thoughts were as worthless as a grain of sand. I exaggerated and stretched the words so that the faults are clearly seen.