Posts Tagged ‘Prose’

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I was falling.

My descent was so slow that if felt like I was merely floating on a down gust of air. The hole seemed to be never-ending—a well of gigantic proportions. At first, I couldn’t see anything in the darkness, but after a few minutes of weightlessness, my surroundings became lit by what I was startled to recognize as lamps. Along with various knickknacks and antique objects, they were nestled between bookcases lining the circular wall of the chasm. It appeared as though someone paid very close attention to the decoration of the hole; of course, the ambiance one feels when one is falling through the earth is of the highest importance.

“This makes no sense,” I said, my voice creating an echo.

I extended my arm out to try and grab a book from one of the shelves, but I could not reach any of them. My eyes scanned through the titles: A History of Wonderland, The Art of Painting Roses, A Study on the Architecture of the Hearts Castle. Each volume seemed odder than the next, some having been written on places and people I’ve never heard of and others dealing with absurd concepts like shrinking and the eternal stopping of time. It was ironic to me that when I had been with my sister just a short time ago, I had scoffed at the thought of reading and now I was dying to get a glimpse at the pages held together by these intriguingly labeled spines.

“What’s the point of having all these books when you can’t read them?” I complained to no one other than myself.

I wondered how much longer it would take for me to finally hit the ground. The fright that had seized me once I had jumped in was long gone, and now it was being replaced by an agonizing boredom. I let my mind wander; I contemplated on where this hole led to and what would happen to me. I wondered who the old man was and why he was so nervous about being late. I hoped everything would be okay at home and Alexandra wouldn’t panic once she realized I was gone. For a second, I wished she was here with me—“She would go crazy with all these books”—but then I modified my wish and applied it to my cat, Diane, instead. She was a much more peaceful and much less judgmental creature.

Suddenly, I felt myself being forced into a sitting position, and I realized that I had fallen onto a chair that had appeared from under me. It was a rocking chair, which made things quite disconcerting, for when I leaned back, the chair did so as well, and I knew that if I went too far, I could go tumbling head-first through midair. I took a peek down below; I could now see a tiled floor and an old rug patterned with flowers. My chair sank to the ground at a turtle’s pace and landed as lightly as a feather.

I was in a circular room, facing a brick fireplace with a row of small silhouette portraits arranged on the mantle. They appeared to all be of the same woman, with a delicate profile and a slightly upturned nose. From her likenesses, she seemed to be beautiful and confident; her head was held regally high, and her chin jutted out boldly. Between the portraits was a large clock—though it wasn’t a normal clock by any means. When I took a closer look at it, I discovered that it ran counter-clockwise, the seconds being counted backwards and the minutes ticking by in reverse.

“This place just keeps getting weirder and weirder,” I said.

I rose from the rocking chair and noticed a large wooden door near the exit of the room. The door was locked, and there was no keyhole. I ventured into the narrow hallway that led out of the room and saw more doors like this one, all neatly arranged in a line on both walls. “How strange,” I said. “I bet each of these doors opens to someplace incredible, yet I’ll never know where.”

Scurrying ahead of me was the old man, his feet pattering against the floor so frantically that I knew he had not noticed I was behind him. He turned a corner, and I followed suit a few moments later. I found myself to be in a small room furnished only with a round, glass table and a ceiling lamp. The old man was out of sight—though how he had managed to disappear baffled me.

On the table was a tiny glass bottle with a note attached. Drink me. I held the vial against the light so that I could inspect the liquid inside. It was a clear, colorless substance—“Like water,” I muttered. “Or vodka.”

Next to the bottle was a heavy-looking gold key. I looked around the room, wondering what it opened. My eyes fell upon a door that I had not noticed before; this door, unlike the others I had seen until now, had a keyhole. The key on the table, however, was not the same shape as the keyhole, and in any case, it was much too large to open the door, which was so little that I would not even be able to crawl through it. Nevertheless, I picked up the key and put it in my pocket, for, as I determined, “It must lead to somewhere.”

The small door was the only exit in sight. I wondered if I would be trapped here forever—here in this odd, sparsely decorated room. My gaze seemed to gravitate towards the bottle, and the words “Drink me”, written in scrawling print, flashed like lights in my mind.

“Maybe it can get me out,” I said. “But how?”

I took up the bottle once again, considering the mysterious liquid inside. “Oh, but what if it is poison? Then I really would be stuck here for eternity—I would die and no one would find me. Except the old man, perhaps.”

I undid the stopper and sniffed the contents of the bottle. There was no smell that I could perceive. Deciding that poison must have its own distinctive scent, I raised the vial to my lips and drank the liquid in one gulp. It tasted wonderful—like dessert and a fine dinner all in one.

Suddenly, I felt a tingling sensation in my throat. It spread as quickly as a wildfire to all other parts of my body, and for a second I feared that I had drunk poison all along. Before I could scold myself for my foolishness, however, I underwent the strangest experience in my life.

I was shrinking.

It was as though my entire body was becoming compact—like a foldable umbrella becoming closed or a telescope shutting itself up. Once it stopped, I estimated I was about a foot tall. From my new height, my surroundings were gigantic; the glass table looked as tall as a building, and I had to crane my head up to gawk at the faraway ceiling lamp. I feared my size would begin to diminish again at any moment; if I became any smaller, I would surely go out like a candle.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I whipped my head around and caught sight of the old man. He was as tall—or rather, as short—as I, and he was running toward the now average-sized door with his pocket watch swinging from his hand like a pendulum. I followed him as quickly as I could while trying to keep out of his range of sight. My tiny legs could only cover so much distance, and the room was now as vast as a field. The old man hurried with more coordination than I did; he seemed to be used to being so little. Nevertheless, he was slower, and I managed to keep pace behind him.

Once he reached the door, he paused and bent over to rest his hands on his knees. “Oh dear,” he said, panting, “I cannot be late.”

He withdrew a silver key and slid it into the keyhole. The door opened with a click, swinging out wide enough that I could see the forest beyond. It was a mixture of shadow and glittering green—of tree trunks fat and tree trunks towering—of leaves that spread out like fans and of branches so winding that they seemed to create a labyrinth. There were flowers I had never seen and those that I had—fields of daisies even more never-ending than that in the churchyard at home. The butterflies were all the colors of the rainbow, and the ladybugs were so large that only one would be able to fit in the palm of my hand. It was a place to be marveled at—a place of curiosities and things that could not be found anywhere else. It was a place you could wander for years and never truly understand.

All this I understood with one glance.

“Wonderland,” the old man muttered before he rushed toward the woods.

I stepped through the doorway and saw that was exactly where I was.

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meet me in October,

and we can relive

that moment when

the focus of my life


became trying to get

outside of this fence that

chains me in—

holds me in—

and into your heart,

into your mind,

never regretting a thing.


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Thoughtful onlooker—

The world is alive; you watch,

Petrified in stone.


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You are my color—

Every hue, every tint is part of a masterpiece,

Which only now has been unveiled to me:

A work of swirling shades and dizzying tinges,

Of impeccable details woven together into a vision

That makes the onlooker gasp and the artist beam with pride.

You are the sky after the storm,

When the rain turns into drops of the sun

And the flashes of lighting surrender to your fireworks,

Whose crashes and booms will away the song of thunder.

Your eyes are blind, you cannot see what I behold,

But your words are art; you are my color—

The only splash of paint in a world of charcoal.


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Throwing pebbles that skim the surface—

The water’s depths will always remain a mystery.

If you spoke to the fish, they would tell you

That I’m wading in my mind’s shallow sea

And glimpsing at you through the waves—

You, the moon who quietly ebbs the tides.


A self-absorbed onlooker is all I am.

You are the only one who can pull me away

From my own mind, from my own surface.


All the world’s wonders combined, I see in you;

The Great Pyramid a mere pile of blocks

And the Taj Mahal a tombstone—

New York City a small town, if you’ve never been there,

And if you have, a world in and of itself.


We step in the same circles and lines.

Your air is mine, and the wind that caresses your face

Is the wind that tangles my hair and whispers to me

Things of the past, things beyond this wretched present,


Where we are unchained bandits and uncensored gamblers

Who put our money on the things we tell others

And choke on words left unsaid face-to-face.

Others forget, we never forget—

We never learn, we never try.


And so I wonder if silence is truly golden,

Lips glued shut, tongue dry,

My eyes cast down and yours like they were that October day

When all this started.

Yet—this is nothing, nothing at all on the surface.


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           Latin is considered by many to be a dead language. Once the native tongue of thousands across the Roman Empire, it nowadays is spoken fluently only by a certain few, including the Pope and other members of the Christian clergy. The use of Latin in modern times does seem limited, but upon closer examination one realizes that the language still lives on. It is the basis for some of the most spoken languages today, it has many English derivatives, and it is taught in schools around the world.

            The Romance languages branched off from Latin. Millions of people throughout the world speak these languages, which include Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. Some of these languages are very similar, such as Spanish and Portuguese. Others, like French and Romanian, seem vastly different, but even those are linked together by certain words and grammar structures. Whether the parallels are obvious or subtle, they exist and can usually be traced back to the ancient mother language: Latin.

            Even English, which comes from the West Germanic language family, has several similarities to Latin. There are ample Latin derivatives in English, and the prefixes and suffixes most commonly used in English have Latin roots. Examples of these are the prefix anti, which means “against,” and the suffix –arium, which, in Latin, denotes a place where things are kept and, in English, can be seen in words such as “aquarium.” Some English grammar structures were also taken from Latin. For instance, the plural forms of the words “octopus” and “cactus” are “octopi” and “cacti” respectively. One is able to see the same structure in Latin, for the nominative singular ending of a second declension noun is usually “-us,” and when it is plural, it is “-i.”

            Perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration is that students, teachers, and scholars in institutions across the globe are keeping Latin alive. In primary schools, secondary schools, and post-secondary schools, Latin is a commonly offered language course. It widens the vocabulary of students and even helps them become better test-takers. In the U.S., statistics prove that students who take Latin achieve better results on the SAT than students who take other languages. In college, one may continue on the Latin path by becoming a Classics major and thus hoping to be enlightened and enriched by Latin and the corresponding ancient culture throughout his or her life and career.

            So to those who say Latin is dead: mortui vivos docent, or “the dead teach the living.” Admittedly, the flame of Latin has smoldered, but after more than a millennium since the fall of the Roman Empire, the fact that it still makes an impact on the daily lives of people in the modern era is impressive. Latin pervades cultures worldwide in its derived languages, words, and grammar structures and in its being taught to younger generations, thus ensuring that the language persists into the future.

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The day came upon us like Indian rain,

And with it, our fruits of labor grew,

Seeds that we’d been planting for months now,

All twenty-six of us, savages,

Nestled halfway between the Florida sun

And the storm steadily brewing in the distance.


When we danced, we sounded like a thunderclap,

Our feet ferociously pounding upon the pavement.

The beads on the hems of our T-shirts

Swung like pendulums,

And our painted faces gleamed with sweat.

The sound of the beating drum,

Thump thump, thump thump,

Woven together with the lonesome melody of a flute—

That was our heartbeat, that was the sound of the spirits

Watching us as we twirled in the midst of crystal droplets.


I still remember his clammy hand in mine,

The broken savage with the big brown eyes—

Two stars about to blink away before the dawn—

He and I.

I slipped off my feather earrings and

Stepped into the storm.

Thump thump, thump thump.

My beating heart willing me to look back.

But I never did, I never did.


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It’s funny how faulty faultlessness is

Compared to your eyes under these

Fluorescent ceiling lights.

I don’t know the color of those eyes,

Even though I’ve stared at your pictures

For hours on end—pixelated masterpieces

That put the work of Da Vinci to shame.


For there is no muse more worthy than you,

But perhaps it is all in vain

Since when I paint you into my memory.

I get so breathless I forget the details,

And I forget where I started, and where I should end,

And my train of thought screeches in its tracks—

Crash—what color are your eyes?


The half-light is streaming in through the window;

It was sunny today—it wasn’t supposed to be,

But it was.

Now the sun is gone—

Welcome to the city of gloom,

Where I never have seen more light,

Especially radiating from you.


I just hope you remember the girl

With the half-pretty face

And the smile half as bright as yours,

For you are wholly perfection—

Holy perfection—

The only being I could ever truly worship,

But you never look down when I kiss your feet.


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Fallen stars are all we are,

Alighting with a pitch black silence

Into this void we call a city—

A city filled with celestial things,

Things from the heavens,

Fallen stars gone astray—

They have fallen into hell.

Do they know? Do we know?

All we are is falling,

Falling with a heavenly grace

Into this extravagant underworld.


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From here, I can see the world.

The ocean blues of the sky and the sky blues of the ocean,

The milky dawn and the purple twilight acting as bookends

For the expanse of time in which the sun’s rays shine.

And then the stars—oh how the stars blink into existence

As the moon rises gracefully into its own perch—

But not as splendid a perch as mine.

From here, I watch the people.

They act as if they are alone, not watched by even God,

And it is endearing to see them—

To see them dancing when the rain drizzles,

The light of the street lamps making halos around them.

To hear them singing under their breath, whistling, humming,

Throwing their head back as they laugh.

I watch them as they fall in love and fall in despair

And hug their arms around them when it’s cold,

And in the heat, their faces turn shiny—they feel it all.

I feel it all.

But they don’t even think to look up.

I watch them in silence, always watching

From this magnificent, isolated perch I found.


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