Chains n Shackles by Academy Monthly

Cop I was just minding’ my own business

I wear my lucky socks so I dont go down sorry I get superstitious

Why? cause you always put me on the ground it’s ridiculous

What? You gone take me to jail I can tell today your ambitious

I guess it’s part of ya job it’s the same damn thing repetitious 

Jus’ cause i’m smoking a cig now you all suspicious

Pretty sure I saw you do the same thing when you got out ya car, wow VICIOUS!

Really? I’m getting 4 years now because you went into my file so malicious

Ok I left my troop to early but I been out for 6 years asking God everyday for forgiveness

I jus’ wanna be with my family this year for christmas

But naw I’m getting locked up for a nonviolent crime that is not tradition

This system yall have designed for a unarmed man like me is twisted

If I gotta stay behind these bars for another day I think I may catch some type of sickness

I am a black man unarmed, honest, innocent, and free of charge

But all the cops sees on my file is a false military honorable discharge

My Children by Academy Monthly

I wrote this poem for an assignment in my English class, AP Madmen and Geniuses. My initial idea behind this poem came from a topic I was interested in writing more about. I had planned to include it in a presentation Meaghan Toscano and I did on the atomic bomb, but it did not fit, and this poem presented the perfect opportunity. What I wanted to analyze was this idea: usually, when talking about the effects of the atomic bomb and science, we only mention the damage done to human lives, and disregard the environmental consequences. This question was inspired by Cat’s Cradle, as well as the research Meaghan and I did on the atomic bomb. The poem is focused on human selfishness and greed in relation to the Earth. Therefore, the speaker of this poem is Mother Earth. Throughout the poem, humans are referred to and presented as one of Mother Earth’s children, along other living creatures on this planet. As a result, the poem explores a unique parent-child relationship. The mother, Mother Earth is selfless, giving her all to humans, but they take advantage of that and use her to their own benefit. Humans use the Earth’s resources for science, but end up destructing it. To illustrate this idea better, I included a few allusions in the poem. The first one, “freeze my waters,” is an allusion to Cat’s Cradle, specifically ice-nine. Felix Hoenikker creates ice-nine as a scientific wonder; however, it ends up destroying the Earth at the end of the novel. His scientific creation is used as a weapon against the Earth. The second allusion, “infect my fiery deserts,” refers to the atomic bomb, as it was first tested at the Trinity Site in New Mexico. The atomic bomb, although a great discovery, was extremely detrimental to the environment. Finally, the third allusion, “luscious carmine apples,” refers to the story of Adam and Eve. Their story is another example of human greed. Through these allusions, I tried to connect my poem to greater examples of human destruction and selfishness. 

You are my children, 

Among many others.

I give you food and water.

I give you

Life.


I see you bloom. 

I see you build.

I gave you my world,

My land, my skies, my seas.

Where did I go wrong?


Freeze my waters, melt my slopes.

Watch the drips trickling down. 

Catch them in your hands,

Not letting one hit the ground.

Dry the land, quench your thirst.


Scorch my lush paddy fields, 

Warp my majestic ranges,

Slash my towering Redwoods,

Befoul my bounteous seas, and

Infect my fiery deserts.


My tears bring your harvest, your

Luscious carmine apples.

The blood of your siblings

Fills your ravenous stomach.

Their soft skin,

Ivory tusks, and

Velvety fleece 

Are your embellishments.


You used my soft grass to crawl. 

I gave you my hands to stand.

I held your hands when you walked.

I nursed you and fed you with my bare hands.


You cannot be without me.

I give you life, yet

You are killing me.

The Embrace (Inspired by Brokeback Mountain) by Academy Monthly

I wrote this for an assignment in AP English: Crazy Love with Ms. Lintgen. We read the novella Brokeback Mountain, and had the opportunity to work on creative writing. This poem is inspired by a memory that Jack, one of the main characters, recalls. His memory is of an embrace he shared with his lover, Ennis, that has stuck with him after his life with his one true love falls apart. 

There’s never enough time,

Never enough

Not for us.

What “us”? 

Has there ever actually been an “us”? 

Because all I can remember is one “us,”

And we left it on Brokeback Mountain. 


You see, all I remember is you. 

Arms, wrapped. 

Heartbeat, steady. 

Happiness, charmed. 

And time didn’t matter then. 


That’s the issue.

Time didn’t matter then, 

But now there’s not enough.

There’s no time to go back and 

Rewrite what has already been

Written into those fucking stars above 

Our fucking mountain. 

And the worst part is that it’s 

Your fault. It’s my fault. It’s our fault.


And so all I am left with is 

A single memory of one soul,

One “us”

Up on our mountain. 

Closer to the heavens than

I’ll ever get again. 

 

And no matter how hard I try

To quit you, 

We will still linger, 

And I’ll never forget. 

I’ll never unfeel your embrace. 

God, there’s nothing I can do. 

Let be. Let be. 


(39-44)

Proulx, Annie. Brokeback Mountain. New York, Scribner, 1997. 

Mare of Night by Academy Monthly

Begone to thee, foul demon of the night!

As dark as Void, as black as shades and mares,

Though thou beést nought but the dreamer’s blight;

These demons shown bring fear beyond compare.

Herald of restlessness, usher of fear,

Infecting sleep, forbidding peaceful rest,

Inspiring shivers as to beds you near,

Thou callest dark phantoms for us to wrest.

Rings of string, woven, dangle round the room,

Feathers and beads drip off them, dreams they catch,

A last line of defense against your doom,

But away the last strands of sleep you snatch.

And yet your biggest strength is, too, your fall:

We wake and don’t remember you at all!

Until the next layer falls-- by Academy Monthly

Falling, the snow drifts through the air,

Catches on the trees, settles on the dry floor,

Covering, with a fresh layer, the dying world.

The wilted foliage and stripped branches

All resting under a blanket.


Come the pure wool,

The youth speed for the fleecy hills,

Singing the song of a sparrow,

Creating wondrous castles and angels,

Leaping into the cloud.


Come the silent shroud,

The animals, once gracing the soil,

Now nipped by the biting frost,

Dart into trenches, hide till the chill departs, dodge the coming freeze,


Waiting for the warmth to arrive,

Like the night waiting for the day,

When the sheet weakens,

When the seeds wake from their dormancy,

When it is time for them to emerge once again,


Until the next layer falls--


New Life by Academy Monthly

Diving into a new life.

A world in which I've never been before. I hear it’s nice

Cold. Wet. Large. Magical.

Crystal blue world filled with beautiful creatures

Floating trees and clusters of stony colonies

Pink. Orange. Red. White.

The work of the citizens that live in this grand country.

Diverse in many ways

Large. Small. Fast. Slow.

Cold blooded; warm hearted

I hear they welcome people like me into their world.

Curious. Adventurous. Observant. Lost.

Someone seeking to find a new world.

A world without hate. A world that is new.

Love. Peace. Easy. Gentle.

I wish to see new life. This magical world.

To capture this moment of a lifetime.

Without the the distraction of the other side.

Learning. Growing. Exploring. Experiencing.

Living the life of this magical community. Becoming one of them.

But nothing like them. Still the same me just with a different view of life.

Free. Content. Blissful. Euphoric.

Imagine.

Dreaming a dream born of this world. Lost in this luxurious existence.

Troubles and tenderness dissolve as I float into magic.

Whole.

Hiking in Paradise by Academy Monthly

Hiking in paradise takes pain and wraps

It up in unmeasurable beauty.

The narrow trails that cling to mountain caps

As strong magnets are drawn to their duty

Give only the briefest security

To the hiker that passes deep ravines,

Cliff’s edges views of blue obscurity.

The trickling spring runs constant, tests the means

Of those who choose to cling, blindly grasping

For the unfeeling indented wet rocks.

The last trial before views of crashing 

Water, a valley of rock and green moss.

 

Hikers pause before the sheer majesty,

A waterfall lives in real fantasy.

Tea and Honey by Academy Monthly

 

I want my babies back

I want them drawn into me like English tea in your white kettle

Pure, warm, rich ebony, filling me to the brim

Giving me energy, electricity, life

 

I use my energy, my electricity, and my life

Daily, in the field, without my babies

Only for it to be lost in the thick tufts of white cotton

I pluck it gently but my fingers get caught, cut, blood drawn and

seeping into the cotton like a bad conscience

 

My mark is made in blood

On your sheets and your pure white dresses

 

My babies are yours and my babies are mine, Sir

They are all of my goodness and all of my pain

You provide the pain and I provide the goodness

They live with weights on their backs because of you

And what you did to me to make them become real

 

I want my babies back, Sir

From the wrath of your Honey

She sticks to them and she sticks to me

Their ebony tea doesn’t melt Her honey

My babies are reminders of all of your sin to her, Sir

And she does not let her sweetness seep into their softness

Only the stick

And they can’t shake it, Sir

The burden

And they can’t forget her

 

I am a log in a fen

Sulking in the stagnant

Alone and weighed down

My bark was removed long ago

I am vulnerable and I am seeping

I will not crack

For my babies are far more strong than I

The End of the Lotus by Academy Monthly

Does a single soul notice
You’ve ceased nibbling the lotus,
In an unexpected drop and sudden stop?
Can they tell that you’ve awakened,
You’ve distinguished all is fake and
The end is something you can’t really top?

With that small, sharp shock
Forms a poor stopped clock,
Waiting that horologist’s knock.
Your skin turns to ice
And there’s no one for advice,
So you’re forced to take
A cold and lonely
Walk.

Yet still, the sky is blue,
And the weeds amok with dew.
Perhaps it’s not so bad, this universe.
It can make you sad and scared,
Make you lonely and impaired,
But It’s hard to picture
Things could get much worse.

Grandma Had too Much to Drink  by Academy Monthly

It starts with just an innocent *clink*. 

Grandma takes a gentle sip of red wine. 

A reserved woman, less so with a drink, 

A widow who isn’t embarrassed to cross the line. 

 

Merry Christmas to those here and those not. 

Now we are discussing immigration. 

For my grandpa, down goes another shot, 

And up comes more talk of our “broken” nation. 

 

Here comes the Swedish liquor on a tray, 

The drink she found too strong five years ago. 

“Tradition” she says, putting it away. 

Things pass, like her reasons to say no. 

 

Sly glances exchanged by those of us sober, 

Her drink is diluted and passed on over.

Veil of Naiveté by Academy Monthly

Face downcast, hands clamped, eyes grieving;

Sitting, back straight on the stiff, wooden pew;

I gazed at the marble box of ashes on the altar

Pondering how my grandfather could be in there.

 

I stared at the white, ornate cross dangling above the box,

Hoping for my grandfather’s salvation;

I closed my eyes and prayed, with everyone else

And the image of him nestled in heaven eased my woe.

 

As I grow older, reason and skepticism seep into my mind

While innocence and faith are sieved from my blood;

I’m aware his ashes are now nothing but lifeless specs of dirt 

In the cold ground; but my family suspects he lives on, 

And the fallacy ameliorates their grief 

But steels their veil of naiveté – as it once did for me.

Lily Pad by Academy Monthly

 Dear lily pad, oh lily pad,
I’ve scaled the mountain’s crown,
And since I’ve found your lovely lake,
I’ll never go back down.

Dear lily pad, sweet lily pad,
How bright your colors gleam,
With pink and yellow crest so fine
I must be in a dream.

Fair lily pad, pure lily pad,
With clothing so divine,
If only I could swim to you,
Then you’d be only mine.

But lily pad, no, lily pad,
What lays atop your leaf?
An oafish, ugly, stupid frog,
The dirty, rotten thief!

So lily pad, oh lily pad,
I really hate to go,
But seeing you weighed down as such,
It brings me awful woe.

Beat and Mind Intwined by Academy Monthly

Beat is unfixed in its paces,
Mind’s eye ousting unclad faces.
Sun gave light and saw inside,
Now in this somber pen I hide,
Reside alone, awaiting meal,
With not one here to help me heal.
But soft… what’s this?
A flame anew,
That sings the songs
And paints the dew,
Bringing light to blind men’s eyes,
Imparting guidance oh-so wise.

“Sullen in undue misplacement,
Limited with harsh abasement,
Truth is often pure in art,
Your wealth lies in your soul and heart.
You walk in worlds they cannot see,
That they may say could never be,
Yet we both know the awesome truth,
That’s been retained beyond our youth,
Since all our reals are in our heads,
They may as well be in our beds,
As we sleep and dream the dream,
Shatter walls with flaming beams.”

Beat remains unfixed of late,
Though fear of it became abate,
For mind’s own beat is absolute,
Outside of it, what’s real is moot.

Black Girl Burdens: A collection of poems by Academy Monthly

I am a fighter

 

Dear black girl,

As I step into these last decades I pray the lord my soul to take

I have been beaten,

Bruised,

Looked over, and down on

I write to you in hopes that my words will help keep you lifted

My girl, they want to keep you on the ground

To be a black woman in America, is to be accustom to the struggle

To be black

And a woman

Is to be

The most disrespected,

Unprotected

And neglected person in America

Black girl you have no choice but to be a gladiator.

The color of your skin will always be the elephant in the room

Walk with your shoulders pushed back,

Too many people went low

For you not to go high

They will beat you with their words

And they will smite you with their eyes

Black girl, my girl

You have no choice but to fly.

Fly away from here, go the furthest you can imagine

Then fly a few feet more, because black girl

They don’t think you’ll take action.

To be a black girl in America

Is to be the smartest women in the room.

The elegance you exude, trumps the stereotypes they presume.

Black girl you are no victim

They don’t feel sorry for you,

But I understand you.

Your pigmentation will always be the topic of conversation

But it is up to you

To choose whether or not you let discrimination be your downfall

Do not expect an apology

Never await a “thank you”

Black girl, the inability for them to see your worth

Does not change your worthiness.

I will be gone,

And I’ll soon have no choice but to watch you soar

Your success is a testimony

Black girl—you are magic

Black girl—you are a fighter

Black girl you are a queen, because you fought for your crown

-Mama

 

I am an intellectual

But I’m not supposed to be.

I think that I am beautiful,

But I am not supposed to think

Think

I think about life

What can I be?

What am I allowed to be?

What am I expected to be?

Mama says I can do all that I put my mind too,

But I am supposed stay away from distractions

“Stay away”

“Stay out of the way”

Girls like me are not supposed to find their way

But you

You are allowed to be anything you want to be

In a society that oppresses the black girl trying to be somebody

I challenge you to be somebody

Be curious

Be bold

Be so good they’ll have no choice but watch in awe.

Be so passionate that they can’t help but feel your pain

Make them understand

Understand that you are a light in an otherwise somber existence

Let your melanin be your light

I am naturally me

My hair curls so tight

They’ll make anyone spiral into confusion

Confusion is okay

It is okay to not know who you are

Identity is America's greatest query

Assimilation is America’s worst past time

You owe them nothing

You owe yourself everything

You read, you write, you fight

Because you can be everything they say you can’t

Opportunity waits for no man,

So you step up, and be a woman

Life will try and push you down

But you rise above

You set the tone

Be so good they can’t ignore you

You are intelligent

You are my sister

-Beneatha

 

I am your eye

And I see through their lies.

In this world dominated by white men

I remain your spy

Looking out from the inside.

And what I find is rarely a surprise

To me

Because I know

that we will always be the independent variable—

In their equation of assimilation.

Racism is born of ignorance

And ignorance we know,

To the ignorant is bliss

White people are not your friend

You do not get to be comfortable

The minute they see

That you think you are the same

You have become a threat

And they will have no problem putting you back in your place

You and they—are not the same

The color of your skin will forever be

The barrier keeping you from getting a seat at the table

But I am your eye

And I see through their lies

And when they do offer you a seat at the table just know,

that it is not because they enjoy your company,

It is because they enjoy your fidgeting.

Yes, I stand and I watch

And I smile and I wave

Because they stay waiting

For a reason to test you.

They’ll mock your intelligence

They ‘ll question your competence

And It is not your fault

It is however your burden

You are not their friend

You are not their token  

I am your friend,

I will be your friend

-Francine

 

I am every black woman in America

Suffering from the harsh reality

We call black privilege.

Black privilege is the blood that flows through me,

That was the blood that flowed through my ancestors

That is the hung elephant in the room.

Black privilege is always having to put a smile on your face

After some asshole says a racist joke

And you don’t want to cause controversy

Because then you would fall into the stereotype—

So you smile

In order to keep everyone around you comfortable

You smile

Because black privilege is making sure everyone around you is comfortable.

Black privilege is having a sense of humor,

Being forced to laugh when all you want to do is cry.

Black privilege is being scared all the time

Prying every time your father gets into his car,

That he won't be stopped by the cops

Hoping your brothers remember to pull down their hood when they walk into the corner store

Black privilege is me thinking I’m safe

As if the bullet cares about my cleavage and my wit

I am every black woman in America

And I am tired,

Tired explaining why my hair gets longer when I straighten it

Tired of appropriation

Tired of listening to white people talk about their encounters with discrimination

Tired of every story on the news being about a black boy,

Gunned down,

Heart stopped.

I am tired of wondering if I am safe in my own country

I pray for peace

I pray for equality

I pray for somebody to call my pretty,

And not finish the sentence with,

“For a black girl”

One day every skin tone will be beautiful

Dark won’t mean dirty

Light won't mean white

Nappy won’t mean nasty

And loud doesn't mean problematic

I am every black woman in America  

And I will not apologize anymore

For making you uncomfortable

I am your reflection,

-Lena

 

 

 

 

Tiny Vessel by Academy Monthly

On the tiny vessel
The Captain stood in command.
Lacking experience,
He grew brute grit.
Born a flightless bird,
He settled for sailing.

October summoned the cold
As the Captain slipped from control.
Into the midnight waters,
He fell.
Silently,
He fell.

They slept smiling, blind,
Dry, warm on land
Ignoring the fall of the Captain.
Surrounded by leaves,
Was a bud thirsty to bloom.

Refusing to sink,
He treaded in pain.
Pain
Of the frigid salt
Upon his tongue.
Muted, he desperately pleaded,
Begged for a drink.

Surrounded by a sea,
With no moon to light
The desert of liquid,
Or currents to guide him to shore,
The Captain’s tiny vessel floated without
Command.

Disowning the tiny vessel,
The Captain sank,
Forgotten.

Drifting,
The tiny vessel found
Land.
Sailing,
The tiny vessel found
A purpose. 

Undying, 
The Captain found remembrance,
In the tiny vessel.

A Garden of Magnolias by Academy Monthly

I could never have him
Nor hate him.
Never would I know what it is like
To be the queen to his king, 
The bow to his arrow,
The shield to his sword.

How could a daisy like me
Uncontrollably float down a stream
And hope to pass alongside
Violets, when all I ever had,
Were stone cold
White daffodils.

A lion towers above
Higher than the gazelle stuck below
Praying to see.
Waiting for him, and his
Abuse
In a garden of magnolias,
I search for a single ambrosia.

Dark crimson roses will be planted
In my honor by
The controller himself.
Lilies given to me from him,
Murderer of my father, but
Who wants flowers when you’re dead?
Nobody.