Writing Catalog

Cam Kwon

Grade: 8

Ballard Brady Middle School

Instructor: Joe Paris




-Peppermint Gum
The first time I held your hand
the snowy breeze of winter
weaved through your long, flowy hair
and you laughed,
your breath fogging up
it smelled like the piece
of peppermint gum
you chewed that day,
and the blocky weight in my chest
from earlier,
went from ice
to mist
to nothing
and grew quiet.
Wisps of smoke
flew by,
and you scrunched your nose
at the smell of cigarettes
you covered up your face
with the sleeve
of your jacket,
and I smiled,
and you grinned,
reaching into the left pocket of your jacket,
and from it, you pulled out,
wrapped in silvery, shiny foil,
a small, thin, rectangular piece
of peppermint gum.
You held it out
to me,
so I reached for the piece
of peppermint gum
and my fingers found yours,
and I think we stayed there,
hand in hand
for way longer
than we were supposed to
but you didn't say a word,
and the silence felt so
so neither did I.
Time stood still,
frozen like the pinecones
scattered on the gravel floor,
until the recess bell rang,
and I didn't notice
until I got home, and realized
I never took the piece
of peppermint gum
you offered me that day,
but I think it was okay
because I still tasted it
in the hazy air, lingering, and for hours and hours,
I stood there, trying
to breathe it all in.

she has forgotten everything.
she has forgotten her past
her childhood
the days when nothing mattered
and nothing hurt.
she remembers only the pain
the screaming, bottles being thrown
leaving shattered shards of glass upon her neck and back
specks of dark red seeping through tattered remains of a shirt
and soaking it with blood
-all the wrong memories
it's been a while
since she felt pain.
through the shattering, the crashing
she feels nothing.
she has learned to stop sensing her surroundings
because maybe that way,
it wouldn't hurt as much
-she was wrong
little girl wears a dress.
little girl, no more than five
stands on the top of the playground's climbing gym.
little girl points her finger to the sun
to the cloudless light blue tone surrounding it like a blanket.
little girl is smiling
little girl is proud
little girl yells at the top of her lungs
she jumps off the platform
and flaps her arms in delight
-bird (without a cage)
little girl grows older.
she is not little anymore.
little girl becomes girl
but girl is still young
and sets off for the climbing gym once again
but this time she is pulled back
and though she doesn't know,
this time
would be the last time
-bird (with a cage)

-dear mom
when i'm all alone
and can't keep track
of myself anymore
i think of you,
how you survived
all these years of exhaust
could i ever be like that?
when the best of us
become the worst of us
and everything falls apart
i think of you,
the burden you carry, all by yourself,
heavy, weighing on your worn-out shoulders
could i ever be like that?
when i sit on the floor of my room
and stare of into space,
and cry for you,
for me, for us, for everything
i think of you,
and everything you've sacrificed
for me
could i ever be like that?
when i'm kneeling in from of
the headstone, your ashes
wrung out to the last bone
i'll think of you,
cry for you, for the last time
and think, now that you're gone
maybe i can be like that.

if i told you
the smoke, the remains of decades and decades of wars
could be replaced with skies forever blue upon forests forever green
would you believe me?
if i told you
the guilt, the bloodstains of loved ones splattered on all our robes
could be washed away by rivers of flowing honey-gold
would you believe me?
if i told you
the rubble, the wreckage of broken towns
could be restored to the carefree laughter of our children
would you believe me?
-what (didn't) happen