Street dogs and humans

Amid a pack of male dogs who gather around a female and have a hormonal frenzy, there’s also a street dog who walks besides a human that he claimed, or that claimed him, vice versa. They sit on the stairs to the closed store at night outside, and when the human figures that it’s time to head back home to his shitty life, the street dog gets up and walks next to him. They walk slowly at night; the man with both his hands in his pockets, and the dog agilely on his four little legs. They disappear into the dark. There’s packs of dogs in different gangs who cry together at night, who howl by the moon, and little rascals who tip toe cunningly inbetween moving street car lights. They sit by the roads, they walk with the humans. They bark at each other when there’s disputes with other four legged archnemeses. The world flows like a dog that zig zags inbetween cars and moving people. The world chills like the dogs that cuddle next to dirt by the side of the road. There’s humans who walk on four limbs from disabilities, and there’s dogs who walk on three limbs from injuries. Yet they’re just there; chillin like villians. These dogs are so smart and badass; even if they may have a short life span. It’s much better than getting your balls cut off and being put on a leash or cooped up inside containment for the rest of your life. Or get put to sleep by the hands that feeds them. The street dogs always seem a bit rough, but they’re so much wiser and free. Life isn’t easy for them, but that’s what makes them striking.

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Beauty intervention

“Big sister, how do you like my hair?”
She asks sweetly as she touches the puff of hair on the top of her head. Her hair’s chemically treated straight and painted black.
“Looks good dear” I respond.
She gets up and stretches down the tight skirt she’s wearing, as I stare in disbelief. I can’t believe she has the guts to walk down the street wearing that. My aunties are aging and busy caking makeup over their faces in the meanwhile. They’re gonna walk arm in arm with her proudly down the street so that everyone can stare at them. All of a sudden, they divert their attention randomly at me and talk about how horrible I look.

“Wear some makeup! Dress better! Fix your hair! Don’t you want to stand out?”

Those days are gone. I’ve lost that kind of interest. I’m no longer a teenager. I don’t need that type of attention anymore. Everything feels too late. It just feels different nowadays.

I say, “Don’t need to” apathetically and continue to recline on the bed. I feel like a faded, colorless fish. The fancy and glamorous girl in me, dead for years.

My aunty’s large eyes grow massive and she comes to grab me by the arm, “Get over here! I’m not going to let you embarrass us!”

My aunties hold me down and style my hair, smoothe out my eyebrows, and give my clothes a fitting. I enjoy beauty sessions with them. However, I managed to get away with not getting my face caked with makeup.

“Oh my god, look at how pretty she looks now!” they all congratulate themselves. They rave about how much they’ve improved me.

It’s an odd yet a special feeling. Around my young-at-heart aunties, I’ll always be a little kid that needs fixing… no matter how much we all age together…

My aunt grabs me by the waist and makes me sit on her lap like an overgrown baby, and we pose for a picture, with genuine smiles.

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Needy soul

Missing people when they’re right here
Thoughts of missing people when they’re gone
Memories of people and missing them
Missing people when they’re right here
Thoughts of missing people when they’re gone
Missing what could have been
Missing when there’s nothing really missing
Missing people when they’re right here

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Stepping into the rain drops with my cat

You wouldn’t expect a rainy, cold, dark day around summer time. Everything’s back to freezing, and I hate having to wear winter clothes that I’ve put aside once more. The cat himself is a bit confused and is circling around not knowing what to do. I pick him up and smother him with love, and I know he hates it, but he’s so cute and fuzzy. We have a battle where I brush him up and he gives me an attitude with a couple of scratches and a play bite. To be honest, I’m more of a dog person anyway and he’s not really my cat anymore, but he was beamed in from a spaceship into this household long ago and now he claims it. Now and then I imagine him in zero gravity, and that’s enough said.

As I step into the yard to throw away his ball of fur, he follows right behind and sneaks out. It’s a drizzly cold day, but the trees and the plants are so green and my orange boy looks so vibrant. He sniffs a couple of plants and tip toes with the subtle rain drops. We walk amid the green lush, and he searches with his alert whiskers while I breathe in fresh air. We roam and explore a new world outside, and we don’t want to go back in.

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Greasy pizza

We were little kids who sat in the school cafeteria during lunchtime. The cafeteria special that day, as it was every other day, was pizza. I used to think that pizza was a big deal, but the school pizza really, really sucked. I had a friend from Botswana next to me and a friend from Korea across. The Botswanian friend grabbed her slice of pizza and downed it. She slurped that stringy white cheese and said it was good. I glanced at my piece of oozing pile of lump before me. There was hardly any pizza sauce in it. The cheese looked man-made; it was was white and tasteless. I turned it a bit and looked under it. The dough was almost white and seemed uncooked. The bread had little holes in it that made it look like a big soggy biscuit. Amid my dissatisfaction, I grabbed it by my hand and took a bite off its cold triangular tip. The cafeteria was white and windowless. It looked like a big gym, but when I had revisited it many years later, I found out just how tiny that place actually was. It’s funny how things appear so big and grandiose when you’re a kid. I somewhat recall what I was wearing; probably light blue jeans, white sneakers, and a sweatshirt. That was the type of outfit I wore pretty often during those days; although they weren’t of my preference. My hair was probably half tied in a pony tail with a colorful clip that had strings and charms on it. My skin was smooth and wheat colored. My grandma used to say that to indicate that I was neither light skinned nor was I dark. It never looked like I was smiling, but I was a pretty
happy little kid. I always wanted to be around people and have fun.
All around me kids ate their respective soggy pizzas.
This was a big deal to me.
It took great distance and a lot of effort to get here, but here I was, in America, making new friends. Kids were just kids, no matter what our skin tones were or what our cultures were. We talked to each other like the vacant vessels that we were. Empty, and so open. We were filling it, I was improving on my English. Such genuine friendships, such innocent jokes and real laughter. We finished lunch, I threw away my greasy pizza. That, I just couldn’t open up to. I headed back to class with hands in my pockets alongside my friends.

1994

Closed classroom

When it began, I was just a timid girl with the weight of the classroom around me. Foreign faces and loud voices. I clearly couldn’t open up here. But your projects were interesting, Mrs. J, and you gave me a mission. I ran into the classroom the next morning with new ideas, and we tested them out with experiments. Science was a dose of therapy; a curious mystery. Sometimes I could sit on the lab stool and forget about the world while pipetting samples. Once my heart beat fast while awaiting the sugar cube experiment. We had a mission, professor, and we had energy. We bounced ideas; there were no dumb questions. The school was a haven. And this classroom; once apprehensive and full of uncertainty, became a fun backyard.

But then then the funding waned, and the project ended. And the season was over.

Seeing this once energetic hub now with empty seats and scattered papers gave me a sinking feeling. And then to see you, professor, with your look so timid and your voice subdued; I got the feeling that this is the end.
This is what the end feels like–
a sinking feeling,
a closed classroom.

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