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Although you were not blood related to me, you were and always will be more than that in my heart. You always made other people smile, but you never smiled by yourself. I am grateful to have met you, simply at my mother's doctor's office. You then became my aunt, and you always took care of me. I remember all the weekends at different Mexican restaurants, we ate like there was no tomorrow, oh how much you loved your enchiladas, then we would come back home just to eat some more. We would drive everywhere in your big black Jeep, you would sing Marc Anthony at the top of your lungs. I would get embarrassed at how loud you would be in public places, I was so young, but I would do anything to have that again. You’d make my mom smile from ear to ear and laugh, and you’d also make sure all the beer would disappear. Sitting outside in your garden on sunny or gloomy days, a garden that took you hours to perfect, reminding me that every time I see a butterfly, to remember you. After all the times you yelled at me for burping out loud, and said no boy would date me because of it, I wish you I could meet my boyfriend now. You’d hear the both of us burping, and I finally won't be the only one getting yelled at. I saw you a month before your passing, I was only 16 years old. Te quiero mucho, Tía.
Stratford’s Miniature Forest
In the isolated forest area within Connecticut, there flows ghostly vibes. To maps and pedestrians It is unfamiliar, all within this quiet state. The air is fresh, ripely plants BLOSSOM when walking the small path. Graciously welcoming you to their home Oddly, no one is sure of how the path was made, but This heart could pump even when it’s out of the body. Before heading to Pender’s field for the senior games, you’d probably lie against the oak in the middle. A place within a home. You’ll never fully grasp. A secret place for me and you, for wanderers and coyotes.
Raw fish wrapped in rice Delicious salmon galore Always my first choice Next to the heat lamp Juicy red meat right below Medium rare please Balance greens come next Chinese broccoli is best All potato dishes Fruit bowl of all fresh Watermelon cantaloupe Grapes honeydew too Ice cream always last Strawberry and coffee scoops Fried donuts if fresh
A Wake Up Curse
Carolyn Van Arsdale
Dddringg ddringg, Dddringg ddringg, Roll over, hit snooze, Catch some Z's, Dddringg ddringg, Dddringg ddringg, Roll over, hit stop, Roll on back, rub eyes, hold in hand, PING, New Tinder Match, Slide left, clear, PING, Today is Sam Levi and 3 other Friend's Birthdays, Slide left, clear, PING, Biden and Trump to face off tonight in Tennessee, Tap, open, read, Thumb x2 on home, Swipe up Thumb x1 on home, PING, You haven't logged your breakfast calories yet, do it now! "Ugh, shut up," Slide left, clear, PING, Connor Murphy Accepted Your Follow Request, Connor Murphy Requested to Follow Your Account, Tap, open, accept Connor Murphy's request, Tap on Connor Murphy, Scroll down, Tap on post of Connor and some other chick, Tap Instagram home, Scroll **30 minutes later** PING, Janevanars sent you 12 TikToks, Tap, open, see conversation, "HAHAhAHahaha," Scroll, **1 hour later** PING, Reminder: Dentist Appt. in 15 minutes, "FUCK."
I want to make my daddy understand No, I need him to understand What is wrong with me loving another man? Just because I don’t like girls, doesn’t mean that I’m any less your kin Just because I'm not the way you want me to be, doesn't mean that I’m strange It’s getting colder in here, it's getting harder to breathe I want to open the door and just fly free But there’s a lock and the people around me have the key They keep on pushing me back inside I’ve been confined to these walls for a long time I don’t want to be in constant fear of living my life Reading the news and being mortified Of the crimes against people being themselves amplified By the fact that some would rather drink cyanide Than live with the pain of freely being who they truly are And being scared of scars I’m scared of getting them scars And getting looked at like I’m from Mars Worried about what my friends will do when they find out What they will talk about I don’t have any doubt That what they say will make me want to scream and shout Has me wondering if it’s worth it to try
Cigarette smoke lingered in the air, Old rock and roll played in the background. As the big sign “Lone Oaks Campground” approached, My brother and I began to count down. We passed corn fields, and farmland with horses and cows. Every Friday, my mom would pull us out of school early, I always looked forward to that. As we arrived, we headed towards the field. And once our site was located, I exited the car, breathing in the fresh air. It smelled like campfire smoke, and I knew I was home. Mom and dad began to crank the pop-up camper open. My brother and I unloaded the truck Of all the different types of wood. Dad worked in a lumber yard all our lives, he made sure we knew what was what: Cedar, cherry, oak, birch, maple, pine. As my parents continued to set up camp, My brother and I ran to the office to get the activities sheet. Every hour, they offered Capture the flag, kickball, basketball, dodgeball, Arts and crafts in the rec hall, bingo later in the evening.
My Mother’s Home
But she never left home: Trinidad, My mother’s accent still lingers when she speaks, foreign to others mom’s voice to me “I’m making paster for dinner” she prepares bake n’ bacalao for breakfast. Her children- half here, half home her family- some here, some home she traded her coconuts for apples and her beaches for lakes. But she never left home: my mother she moved but she did not leave Trinidad planted the seed, America grew the flower- the roots remain at home. Her heart the shape of an island spews warmth during the New England winter, home sends for her every February followed by March’s post Carnival depression, she welcomes spring with Cuban rum It's not that she never left home, home never left her.
There is No Oxygen in Space
Carissa J. Larruiz
I tend to look up to the sky When I’m sad, hoping that This sorrow will fly so high To the clouds and let my tears fall flat To become the heavy rain on a summer day. And I desire to get lost in space By counting an infinite amount of stars along the way. My presence will leave no trace. Should I give up now Or should I continue painting constellations Free-minded alone, throughout this runaway vow? And I will endlessly dance with my self-aspirations To calm the river flooding from my eyes In the reflection of the moon’s euphoric disguise.
I turn the handle clockwise ever so slightly But then I freeze as ice cold spears hit my thin naked body Here I stand Alone Frozen in place I hurt all over So, I just stay standing And all I can do is ruminate while those spears still jab me In the very same spot, where I stand now, is where he fell Hit his head and bled to death It made cleaning up easy, the blood just trickled down the drain That was two years ago yet it feels like yesterday Since his passing, time is unhurried and so am I I look down at my feet They are ruby red yet I still shiver I need to rotate the handle counterclockwise now or I will never get out One step forward as I force my trembling hand My body jerks but I finally reach the handle Turn goddamnit! I rotate too far But I do nothing And here, I still stand alone as I continue to hurt all over But all I can do is ruminate while fiery hot spears jab me
I wonder what da Vinci felt like when he made the Mona Lisa? Did he think it would happen to be something literally Everybody would see and talk about? Or did he just think of it as another painting? Maybe he thought it was similar to his helicopter Or airplane, never meant to fly off the ground. Maybe he was too hard on himself And he didn’t even enjoy it. I imagine if I could create my own Mona Lisa And see it the way other people look at da Vinci’s work I could probably live on that feeling At least for a while.
Harken to me, sons and daughters Of our high and mighty lord! Cleanse our holy home of heathens. Let them feel His burning scorn. Snag them, drag them from their hovels. Let them face His holy gaze. Stack the pyre, light the fire. Set the heretics ablaze. Cinder, tinder, singe the sinners. Bind and tie them, raise them high. Char and torch them, sear and scorch them. Watch the blaze intensify. Flailing, wailing, flames assailing. Fire laps and licks their skin. Hear the faithless cry for mercy, Blind to their own dire sins. Flames are scathing, bodies bathing, In the conflagration’s grasp. They have spurned Him. Now we burn them. Roast the pagans ‘till they’re black. Bodies wither with the wicker Into soot upon the ground. Blaze is fading, naught remaining, But a smoking, ashen mound. Joy! Elation! Celebration! His will has been done this day. Sin has burgeoned in God’s kingdom, So we’ll burn it all away!