Nonfiction Excerpt

Carmeltucky: Like Kentucky but Worse

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I’m taking a nonfiction class this semester, and this is an except from my first graded assignment about the town I grew up in and where I still currently reside. It’s titled, “Carmeltucky: Like Kentucky but Worse”

One Thursday afternoon after school my mom reminded me of the fact that Goodwill was supposed to pick up garbage bags full of clothing donations, and she sent me to our front porch to see if they had made their journey down our driveway and seized our bags in the same manner a pigeon would a french fry: swoop in and leave with it immediately. I checked the porch only to see that the bags were still there, piled on top of each other like nesting bowls. I told my mom and she opened her address book to find their number.

She tucked the phone between her shoulder and ear. “You didn’t pick up my donations!” she exclaimed, followed by “I live in Carmel.” She stood there in silence as the person on the other end spoke.

When she hung up the phone I asked, “what happened?”

“They said they picked up our donations,” she said, staring at me, her face washed blank with confusion. But there was a moment when her confusion turned to shock, completely cadaver-like, simply lifeless and pale. “Oh my god. Goodwill took our garbage.”

I imagined the workers ripping open the bags of putrescible waste masquerading as clothing. Fermenting liquids warmed up from the morning sun amid banana peels, cat litter, curdled milk. Every time someone would enter the area they’d be gunned down by waves of nauseating stink, acrid smells. They’d curse, maybe search the surrounding donations for a gas mask. Our local Goodwill no longer accepts our donations.

With love, Alyssa

*Featured Image was taken from my living room on a rainy day, and is of the park built behind my house

Guided Writing Portrait

Insegnami a Volare translates to he/she/they (singular) taught me how to fly. I’ve just finished intermediate classes for the language, no biggie.

I’ve just finished up my sophomore year of college (all A’s!) and have finished up the class necessary to take in order to work in the writing center. In that class, my professor introduced several ways to guide ones writing for our projects on literary sponsorship. My guided writing portrait–

Assignment: Choose someone who appears in your literacy narrative draft and write portrait about them. One paragraph. Based off the directions given in class.

Insegnami a Volare

We had been seeing each other after school on Thursdays for a few weeks straight. Each session I brought my Italian text book, Amici, that she adored thumbing through, the cover striped to mimic the flag: red, white, green. We bonded over Italian hand gestures, signaling we both had a bloodline relationship with Italy that water couldn’t loosen. Both of our ties to the country were as strong as steel, and together we fleshed out each other’s stories about heritage and the language itself. It was on these Thursday’s that we’d sit down in a classroom on the fifth floor, adjacent her office, and remind ourselves of basic and complex words, cultural experiences that occur in Italy, and of the sights we were set to see. It gave her a Mediterranean smile. A wide smile, wide like her wingspan, which slightly stretched the neckline of whatever dress-shirt she wore. We had a lot of laughs during our session and I often find myself wishing we could meet after school every day to click more and more. It wasn’t hard for me to feel this way, in fact one Thursday we spent an entire half hour talking about the cats that roam freely in the colosseum in Rome. We made mountains out of molehills in terms of meliorism of the language.

Soon enough, our sessions finished, we were on the plane to Italy and were adjusting to Rome. Days later she and I sat on stairs in Venice that overlooked murky, dark blue water—the smell of the Old Rock Cafe a yard from us was of potent cigarettes. She was like a guardian angel, I realized the first night in Rome, after I was sick and she waited outside the bathroom for me with a stick of gum. Fantastico. She taught me to fly abroad—insegnarmi a volare.

With love, Alyssa

The Drive – Villanelle

The drive was the very worst

The Drive

 

The drive was the very worst,

Under canopies of trees it was evident

our quiet conversation was clearly coerced

 

Flowers we nurtured together died of thirst

and left behind petals soaked in malevolence

The drive was the very worst

 

Our roses died yet we still tried to nurse

all but one, who remains desolate

Drive it to the hospital, you coerced

 

You hit redo like a car in reverse,

hit a tree stump the size of an elephant

The drive was the very worst

 

Windshield cracked like an outburst

yet I never voiced my sentiment

until now—confessions coerced

 

Our roses died yet we still tried to nurse

all but one, who developed an impediment

The drive was the very worst

My silence, thereafter, uncoerced

With love, Alyssa

September by the Bay

I still ask myself, was my hair actually akin to Lombard Street?

One drummer

Plays in his one-man golden gate garage band on an askew street

Cymbals echo for several blocks

 

My father yearns to question tourists, though

If he says

“I am like you,” it

Nullifies my memories.

 

1.  A man hiding in the bushes, unaware of his own scent

Cannabis and salty air,

Startled me as I ate

 

2. An ambiguity between legs and

The trees of Muir Woods that only

Made me question my vision–

Was my hair actually akin to Lombard Street?

 

I am not like you

 

Mom made me stand in every cell in Alcatraz in front of

Decaying walls like sunburned skin

I can’t bind myself to this history, and to suns that bleed like molten lava

With love, Alyssa

Upbringing

I turned nineteen today and finished this poem in the car while on my way to celebrate with friends. Growing up is a daunting task, but so is growing apart from who you used to be and who you used to visualize yourself as whilst aging. I don’t perceive myself so poorly anymore.

Upbringing

 

I thank my roots

For growing from

Imperfect weather patterns and learned helplessness

Where

Obviously is too harsh a word

      Obviously you should try harder

      Obviously your feelings are hurt

Well,    obviously, not everything is written on my bedroom door

And     obviously you should find a synonym

 

Ask me what town I’m from

I’ll tell you

I’m from

Toilet lids,

A strategic game and

Arriving early

All of the above in urgency

 

I’m from movement

Sometimes lack thereof

See me in

Potential and

My mother’s face

Chewing on words instead of sustenance

Find me as vexing as scum

In your open wound

But far less noticeable

Hear me

I’m from a loud voice

Presented as a miniscule sea shell with the ocean

Inside it

 

My grandmother likes to mark her

Grandchildren’s heights against

Her wobbly basement door

One poignant

Fight from falling off

Its hinges

Every time I stood

Against it

A ruler and a pencil scuffled my hair

And once my eye

And the

Thought of one day growing up

Worried me, though

 

What petrifies me

Is growing        apart

From all of’s and from’s,

And obviously

This

With love, Alyssa

A Beach Poem

I stole no less than 30 shells from a beach in Naples and this is a poem about it

Beachcomber

 

Enter minnows territory

Don’t be

Afraid,

They don’t bite

You’ll feel

Seaweed- don’t

Be afraid.

Your grandfather is watching

With his

Bad eyes

 

Hide your toes

In stirred up

Jewels and

Grit

Lose a black shell

You’ll spend six subsequent

Days searching for.

Forget the shells

The color of a

Hanes T-Shirt

And just as common

 

Find the ones that

Tell a story

The ones with

Bullet holes and

Phantom limbs and

The ones with

Two tiers of

An auditorium

 

The waves will

Rock you like a hammock

In a wind storm

A faint lullaby

Sounds from above

– it’s just thunder

They’ll say.

It’s just a tune

To motivate you

To find the missing

Black shell

And fast.


Hang up

“Have You Seen Me?”

Posters under umbrellas

Only to drip the sea

Into your mojito.

Swim amongst

Mint leaves and pretend

They’re seaweed.

Ice cubes and shells

All the same.

Collect the ice in your right

Hand, filter them to

Your left.

Stuff them between your

Fingers and

Carry the overhaul

In your right.

Stroll back onto land

By the time

Your grandfather

Wakes up

With love, Alyssa

A Deer Gave Birth on My Front Lawn

A poem to a fawn (born around 7:02, June 16)

Authors note: A deer gave birth on my front lawn this morning, and the mother and its fawn stuck around a while. At first I thought the mother was hurt, as she laid down between two bushes next to my front steps, but then I realized it would be a safe location to care for her fawn for a bit. My front door is in a secluded area, giving the deer and its fawn privacy within the first day or so of their lives together. I wrote this poem to the fawn in the voice of its mother.

 

Circa 7:02

 

Allow yourself

The grace of

Failing when

Foliage is out

Of reach.

Don’t stir up

Silt in cloudy

Waters

 

Some days you’ll

Wonder when the time

For the driver

To be blinded

Will arise

When will

Hunters lose desire

To hunt;

Predators the

Desire to hurt

 

Do not be afraid,

Fawn,

A buck will show

Strength using its

Antlers,

You will prove

Your eyes are a

Paramount

Chief

With love, Alyssa

 

World Water Day

This narrative explores a time in which I purposefully dehydrated myself. I did it for the fans. I did it for the art.

World Water Day occurs every March 22nd, focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.

Last year, I took the five hour water challenge as part of my English grade. The challenge was to refrain from using or drinking water for no more than five hours, but being me, I messed up a little bit. Here is the A-worthy narrative, fabricated due to my experience as an educated dumbass. 

Continue reading “World Water Day”

An American in Italy

This narrative on my time abroad explores the importance of literacy.

Written for my college english class. Enjoy.

Literacy is a dying art. We’d much rather travel the world than sit down and read another mandatory chapter from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye for our high school English class. But why not combine work and play? Why not go abroad and read the foreign signs? Why not learn a few words from another language and hold a small conversation with a stranger? After all, literacy is everything.

Continue reading “An American in Italy”