in an age of reflection

Part of my internship at Mount Sinai Medical School required me and my internship colleagues to submit a creative, reflective project. Since my study was on chronic bronchitis and emphysema of senior citizens, I decided I wanted to narrate the story of someone who is living with the disease, and how they look back at their behavior which caused it. More than 80% of those diagnosed derive the pulmonary ailments from a history of smoking cigarettes, many of them still smoke. Also, over 98% of lifelong smokers began before the age of 18. My poem is as follows:

I wondered if it would
be at all possible
to go back in time
if only for a moment
relive the frivolity
that were my younger
days. My comrades and
I would cackle and light up
behind dumpsters, behind
tenement buildings
smoke seeping out of
our mouths. We were
Kool lights, as
free as Mr. Marlboro Cowboy
galloping past the
stronghold of existence; invincible.
till one day my coughs would
erupt during inopportune
moments, my granddaughters
ballet recitals, and on my way
to the bathroom, in the middle of my
dreams. my friends whom i shared
smokey starlit nights with, are gone,
our generation died before the age
of facebook. and even still, would i
want them to see me, a cancer survivor,
phlegm pouring from my throat like tap
water? sinewy bones and my pitiful wobble -
i am weak and it was self-induced.
we encouraged eachother.
do i want to see my aggressor?
would she want to see hers?

Artist Statement: This poem narrates the life of someone who can remember the day they began smoking cigarettes and can live to tell the story of havoc a life filled with such a habit can eventually wreak upon the smoker. It is the reflection of someone diagnosed with COPD, who acknowledges the part they played in their own destruction, but also uses this experience to discuss the meaning and significance of friendship. She at once articulates the part she played in encouraging her friends and being wrongfully encouraged by them.

Jul 29
creative process

A good writer should know as near everything as possible. Naturally he will not. A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge. There are some things which cannot be learned quickly and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave. Every novel which is truly written contributes to the total knowledge which is there at the disposal of the next writer who comes, but the next writer must pay, always, a certain nominal percentage in experience to be able to understand and assimilate what is available as his birthright and what he must, in turn, take his departure from.

- Hemingway.

Jul 23
Jul 22
Jul 22

Can I be your friend?

Jul 21

Straightened my hair for the first time in a while. Miss my curly q’s already.

Jul 20

This song is so perfect.

Jul 20

P.S. My brother and I have a recurring theme in our interactions in which we pester eachother about our music selections… I bother him incessantly whenever he plays The Weeknd (because his music is pathetic), and when I played this song the level of disgust which seeped from his mouth and infiltrated our living room was hilarious. I haven’t been around my brother in a while, and it’s ironic how these are the memories which I most remember, and miss.

Frank Donofrio, a barber:

"I have been asking myself why I’m here most of my life. If there’s a purpose I don’t care anymore. I’m seventy-four. I’m on my way out. Let the young people learn the hard way, like I did. No one ever told me anything."

Jul 18
Jul 18

South Central Cartel - All Day Everyday

"Rollin thru St. Louis, what do I see? A gang of mo’ ni*&az dressed just like me".

Jul 18

Twinz - Jump Ta This

P.S. They are sooooo wonderful.