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Andrew T Jan 2018
A band played tonight
The first person walked inside
He saw things in black and white
He shook his head, and left.

A band played tonight
The second person danced inside
She saw the love and peace
She nodded her head to the beat.
Andrew T Apr 2016
You don’t want to be an Old Man
And think
Your problems will fly away
They might
For a day
An hour
A minute
A second
And then you’re alone.
I thought the pain would go away
But problems do not, they grow
Because each night
pills go through your mind
And you fly away instead.
pills old young fly away
Andrew T Oct 2016
I look at your face and it never shows you’re down
A smile spread around that’s taped over the frown
Concealer under your eyes to hide the long nights
Hearing your mom fight has your big headphones on tight

But pop melodies can’t drown out all the loud screams
Dishes left unclean, parents as scared as the teen
Food rots in the fridge, “Keep Out” sign hangs from the door
Damp tissues ignored, scattered across the floor

Try to make her laugh, but my jokes aren’t funny
Shows love through money, dries up the nose when runny
But the low hats and dark shades only cloaked her eyes
Wouldn’t notice my, mouth curved in when I’ve spoken lies

I bet you did see both my pupils wedged with glass  
In sports getting last, cuz I was too effing smacked
Our lamps burnt out, the light in the house faded
In school berated, little girl how did you make it?

You saved the castle when I couldn’t be controlled
You took on new roles, cried for me to be consoled
Writing gave me back my voice when I became mute  
My leaves wouldn’t shoot if you didn’t water the roots

You, you are my blood, without blood my heart won’t pump
When considered a flunk, blood made my heartbeat jump
Really didn’t mean for my lack of energy
To make enemies, but what’s done is now memory  

What happened to me, to us, was unexpected
When it got hectic, everyone was affected
But my family, and Vicky especially you
Kept stable and true and that is how we got through
Andrew T May 2016
A Monday morning in Richmond
     is like waking up with your head
   shaking with commotion.

You pray while you take a dump.
       You end up going across the street to Starbucks,
    with three-sixty left on your credit card.

For some reason unbeknownst to you,
you feel that you're a Renaissance artist,
brought to earth to perform studies on human beings.

Little by little you realize that you're the son of God.
There's a moldy tennis ball in
your pocket labeled: God.

Rap, or is it, Rock music that pumps through your ears?
And you're not afraid anymore.
You start to notice the handwritten facade built around your surroundings.

The State Farm billboards
perched above the scaffolding.
Your nose drizzles with crimson.

Memories of the Christopher Walken Impersonator stains the keyboard.
There is no real difference between the garbage man
and your best friend, the one who supplies you with mescaline.

And the comedown feels like a Indian Monsoon.
Electrocute your senses
until you've turned numb to your baby sister Victoria.

The Toyota Avalon cruising up
the street corner with the yellow high beams
is not the white witch from The Wizard of Oz.

Trip falls.
Inhale smoke.
Speculate more.

Dirigibles in the clear, blue sky plummet down.
You listen to your parents while you're high on *****,
wondering why mom dukes looks like Johnny Depp.

Fingers tremble as you try to type out
a handwritten letter from prison.
You meant to text message your mom, "Happy Mother's Day."

And instead
you typed out to her,
"Happy Birthday Mother!"

Lows and highs permeate through your heart.
Caving in, the walls crush into each other.
That girl was married and you gave her a head start on life.

You stole your best friend's birthday money to buy M. You tell yourself everything
is going to be okay as you swivel in your leather recliner,
A ****** dollar bill jammed up your left nostril.

Long, blue rails dotting the wrinkled notebook paper,
used up from the last owner. You
can't stop coughing.

You throw up on your clothes.
And you start to think that
maybe you are ******* up and you can't stop without an intervention.

Then
you start to think,
maybe this is all in my head.

The cold wind nips at your exposed ankles.
Red sores develop on the back of your elbows.
Local pariah is far away from his hometown.

Your favorite Uncle has stage 4 lung cancer,
and you're chain smoking menthols
to ease the edge that splits your brain in half each morning.

What is struggle without the lost—
without the success on the other side of sanity?
You pop prescriptions to ward off the insects gnawing away at your eyeballs.

Gouge your intestines with a straight edged blade bought
from the dollar store.
Ode to Keroauc.

The unholy manuscript written with pen and needle.
Cool story bro.
But you have nothing, but mistakes to offer to this unjust world.

And earth continues to spin on an uneven axis.
When it comes to a point where fiction and nonfiction
        are void of speculation.

           When it comes to the point where reality and dreams coincide
and you begin to stumble
over your shoelaces that are tied.

When it comes to a point where
               your enemies and friends seem the same that is the point
when you attempt to sleep.

But sleep will always allude you, you Danny Art
          So read your poetry aloud to the unsung.
To the sleepless.

The Walkers dressed in rags approach you,
smoking on black and milds, dark rings
circling their eyelids.  

And the time of night which you so longingly search for
in the face of listening to The Dark Knight soundtrack, gives you a pulse, a sudden click that boosts you into peril.

That bloodstain drenching
the corner of your eye sweats profusely. And that's when you start to wonder:
is everything that I'm doing baked in fallacy and witchcraft?

The comedown.
The comedown.
The comedown.

You are the burden of my fellow constituents, lost in reverie,
gone in madness, forlorn from deeds,
that are too great to imagine.

Your tears mean nothing
in comparison
to the world at large.

And that's okay.
And that's okay.
And that's okay.


You begin to discover,
that you do not write poetry,
but you write greeting cards in a journal.

Or a pen and pad,
ink
and blood.
Andrew T Dec 2016
At 2:30 a.m., I drink a beer,
as if it is a crushed Ambien.
I light a joint (the parents are gone for the weekend).
My girlfriend is asleep in the basement,
eyes closed, lightly snoring,
the left side of her face is covered in scars
and burn marks.

I look around my room:
white and blue Ralph Lauren shirts
hang from the lampshade,
the collars and sleeves are layered with dust.
The bookcase is littered
with shoeboxes, novels,
and poetry collections.

I take a drag from my joint
and realize my ears are full of static,
as if they had been packed
with black and white TV sets.
There’s the faint sound
of a car
passing by.

The car is a reminder: Civilization,
glass buildings,
happy hour
at my favorite hole-in-the wall
in Chinatown.
I’m naked, but
not totally bare.

All I’m wearing are blue boxer briefs,
as though it is my uniform
for my current occupation
as a poet.
The blinds are open
and I wonder if I open the window and jump out,
will anyone give a ****?

My therapist will probably label me as suicidal,
if I mention that last thought.
I think I’m just restless and idle.
I take another chug from my beer.
I’m hunched over a notebook,
and writing with a blue pen,
not because I think I’m an authentic writer.

But because my computer’s in the basement
and I don’t want to wake her; I love her.
But I can’t stand her critiques, in regards to me.
Maybe I can’t handle the harshness
in her honesty, as if it is a foreign language
coming from a stranger who I’ve known for years.
I’m not sleepy.

I’m scared.
Scared about growing up,
scared about having to stop
giving a ****,
and finally having
to care about
my life.
Andrew T Apr 2016
This large square ceiling hanging above my body
is a blank canvass that needs to be painted
with bold strokes and bright colors,
with smooth orange and ocean blue,
rapid pummeling rhythms dictating tone and mood.

I have a pen in my hand that squirts out black bird ink,
but to me it’s a stone sculpting tool that carves deep inside my imagination,
and scoops up newborn thoughts before they disintegrate
when I wake up from my daydream.

So I climb on top of a cocktail chair with malleable
aluminum legs and I attempt to shape the dry whiteness
into something colorful and beautiful.

I want to create beauty because I don’t enjoy surfing the channels of Comcast digital entertainment
having to paddle through the brainwashing
and the ******* and seaweed that washes up
on my hometown shore.

The waves are all the same across the television screen, I am desensitized and numb to the upper class Anglo-Saxons,
who mind-****** my favorite poets and Hip Hop musicians in the mouth, so that they cannot speak with

honesty
and
compassion.

I don’t wonder anymore why some prominent media-figures choke on the microphone; it’s because they have been force-fed
chicken-****
and injected with
snake venom.

That’s why I don’t take all my time of leisure resting back on a tan cushioned boogie-board, riding a cable channel that will not take me anywhere except for an escape from the loneliness of living alone, away from close family and good friends.

That’s why I prefer to sit below a yellow and red pinwheel umbrella and stretch my toes in the wet sand, I don’t even need a beach towel to lie on, and sometimes I just want to sink into the grainy sand
and
forget about time,
forget about love,
and
forget about my reason for being here.

But back to molding a new form of living; that top white wall takes up the majority of my apartment and I think it deserves to be drawn on, painted on, spread with posters of voluptuous artists and cool brooding actors.

A canvass needs to have flesh, just as a skeleton needs meat and skin. I stack my sandy tan sofa cushions one after the other on top of the cocktail chair and I reach up to brush long and wide strokes of bravery and euphoria.

The bristle-tips flicked up specks of green apple paint and sunk deep blotches of red heart into the ceiling.

I danced on top of the spongy sofa seats while they swayed to and fro, but I didn’t think of falling down, what is the point of thinking about

failure?

That will only impede progress and I’m not merely trying to fabricate an illusion to drape myself with a safety cloak. I wish I could have pranced and jumped on the wavering cushion tower,
but instead I begun to grow a look of seriousness and submerged myself into a pool of
focus
and
concentration.

Nonsensical imagery floated adrift from my mind and the energy pounced onto my fingertips and I started to write and draw, and draw and write. I popped a small remote from my pocket and made the stereo sing opera, followed by jazz, followed by something bluesy.

Those songs carried me into this calming state where nothing mattered except for the now kaleidoscopic landscapes and the spacemen with hypnotic eyes. I wasn’t jacked up on Columbian coffee beans, diet coca-cola caffeine, nor psychedelic highs and lows, I was just going with the current baby.

When the canoe is in in the river and you’re rowing with a chipped paddle and without a life-vest, don’t even try to make an adjustment when the water gets rocky and the water pushes you around like an elementary-school ***** bully.

You keep paddling and you don’t throw a rope onto a branch and feel the scene; go with the flow and travel down-stream,
because where you came from is long gone and there’s no point in wallowing and pleasuring yourself late at

night just

to feel better about your ****** life.

But, I don’t even want to think when I’m in an artsy mood, I just want peace, and if peace won’t come to my doorstep and will not call me back when I left five messages, then **** peace,
I’ll settle for a shot of cheap ***** and a scrunched-up cig.
I stop drawing and painting and writing
for a while and take a nice long gaze
at my chaotic collage and smile until the jester frowns.

In huge messy cursive were the words, “LOVE YOURSELF, DO NOT SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS AT A WHIM.”

I was now beginning to struggle to smile. This wasn’t easy to be so straight with yourself, I’m used to bending my back in the wrong way

                 and not accomplishing anything in the process.
Andrew T Jan 2017
The radio
plays a different song
depending on your mood.
So I make you turn sour grapes
and suddenly Jimmy Eats World
hits the speakers.

I wait; nothing great ever happens.
Blame it on me,
as I drive under the tunnel.
You put the window down,
light a cigarette, and tell me,
"I put my soul into this art ****."

I don't know how to respond
to that statement, so I keep driving.
The smoke leaks out,
covering the night like a quilt.
You ask me, "Where'd you leave the drugs?"

I don't respond.
Tap my shoulder until I twitch
and say, "Cut it out."
But this time, you open the door,
step out to the road,
and ditch me to go watch "La La Land"
with your ex.

I go home and make a tuna melt.
The sunlight is fading and nothing
good is playing on TV.
The couch pulls out into a bed
and there I shut my eyes.

And I tumble into dreams,
dreams where you exist
to hold me up,
instead
of pulling me down.
Andrew T Jul 2016
Andrea
Breathes in the frigid air
Sighing deep
Trying to forget about her day
Her head is consumed
By pounding headaches
An reminders
Of the mistakes she’s made
Either that or
She’s craving nicotine
Tired
Of Running
From her mishaps
So, she sits
On a park bench
In down town Chicago
She reaches in her purse
And pulls out a pack of Camels
But she can’t find a lighter
The sun is turning dim
She could use some light in her life
Instead she mumbles to herself
Sits back on the bench
Closes her eyes until
All she can see is black
Opens her eyes and
Nothing’s changed
Andrew T Apr 2016
Love is the weirdest emotion, a person can feel for another person. It's something you have to experience, and something you shouldn't experience. Being in a relationship forces you to think about someone else other than yourself, which is good, but in the process it's easy to lose a piece of yourself.

Before you even enter a relationship, you're alone and doing your own thing. But when you meet someone for the first time and get to know that person on a deep level, it affects you greatly.

Sometimes these moments are brief, sometimes they are extended and you end up becoming attached and connected to them for a long time. It's crazy, months go by, even years, and you don't know where the time went. You can either have regrets for past, or have fond memories of the experiences you've shared with that person.

When a relationship is a sinking boat and you're looking for a life vest, as the waves crash around your feet, it's easy to forget how you got there in the first place.

Maybe you met her at a bar on a Friday Night and you had too much to drink, causing you to talk to the only person sitting at the bar. You strike up a conversation and talk about movies, say you saw Michelle Williams in Synecdoche, New York and how it really made you see her in a different light, because she showed acting range that was different from Dawson's Creek.

She perks up, smiling, and touches her brown hair, tousling it. She says she didn't really like Dawson's Creek, but that she's always been fascinated with Andy Kaufman movies. Her eyes sparkle with a vibrant green like seeing peas washed under a faucet.

And that's the moment, you buy her a jack and coke, and you have one yourself and in the back ground music plays from an iPod. Something like Billy Holiday, but you can't place the sound. So, you just listen to the music while listening to her speak about how her dad passed away the last weekend. You want to ask her how he died, but you don't want to ask her something personal, even though she brought up something personal.

It's last call, you try to figure out your plans for the rest of the night.
She says, "Wanna get out of here?"

You know that means she wants to hang out with you, but you don't know what you two will do. You've seen characters in movies say things like, "Wanna get out of here?" and you know what happens next. But life isn't like the movies.

"Where do you wanna go?" you ask.

"I don't know, but somewhere exciting. It's still early and I'm not tired yet."

The Billy Holiday sounding song switches into this Mac DeMarcoish type of tune. An upbeat, energetic beat howls from the speakers and you get into the groove, take her hand, and walk out the bar.

The stars are starting to shine and the streets are filled with people, just like you and her. But for some reason, you feel unique in your situation, though this story is bound to happen again and again, even after you've departed from the living.
Andrew T Apr 2016
I met Lori at a beer pong table. She was tall. A trash talker. Beach blonde hair. Eyes blue, blue as the sky on an afternoon in July, when the weather was cool from a light rain. This was post-college—a house party, for young adults who wanted more from life than the typical 9-5. She wasn’t from NOVA. She was from Weston, FL. Her teammate was a guy she was with at the time—they ended up breaking it off and for a while she was dating Cam, a pro-bass fisher, a long distance relationship, but they loved each other. But at the table, I was competing with her teammate, later on I ended up mentally competing with Cam, which didn’t do any good except to make me chain-smoke jacks and drink bourbon. I had a girlfriend at the time—let’s just call her Voldy. My teammate was Lori’s best friend Erica. This girl had swagger; played beer pong like Dr. J, always got us roll backs. I was tall as **** for a Vietnamese American—still am tall as **** for a Vietnamese American (Don’t worry my guys, my family’s from the Southside)—and in college we had built a beer pong table, at a spot called the pink house. “We,” meaning my roommates and I: CJ, Trevor, and Samuel. The U.N. I had practiced daily, playing before class, playing after class. Height made a difference; some great basketball player once said you need to have game on and off the court. I wasn’t sure what court I was on when I was in that moment. Lori was more than appearance; more body language; more eye contact; more southern twang; and more astuteness, than a TED Talk combined with NPR, combined with The New Yorker, combined with Al-Jazeera and linked with Wikipedia on a ***** binge. I could talk all day about how she looked, how she dressed. But I told you what you need to know. She shot first, her right arm shaped like a swan, the type of swan that sits on a lake in the middle of a spring morning, the type of morning when the sky is blue with the eyes of a girl who has seen too much, been through too much, and has heard too much. She sank the shot. Her teammate roared. But all I could hear was Lori’s voice; soft as the piano notes played by Sakamoto’s right hand, loud as the piano notes played by Sakamoto’s left hand. Blu was not how I was feeling. Or maybe I was.
Because at this table I had to either take a loss,
or seal a win. I didn’t know what I wanted. But I wanted her. Wanted her, like how you wanted a postcard
from Santa when you were 5 years old, and it was opposite day. So you got the address wrong,
and the letter was never received. And your parents told
you to keep trying so you did, you did, and you did,
but you were young and naïve. You didn’t know
what was real and what was not real. And now I was
at a place in time, when the setting didn’t matter,
and the alcohol didn’t matter, and the drugs didn’t matter.
All that mattered was her.
Because when I shot that orange ping-pong ball,
I kept eye-contact with her eyes.
Blue, much more blue
than the water in the red solo cups we were playing with.
I wish it were water from the beaches in Florida,
beaches I could read a Salinger story on,
beaches I could rest on
beaches I could lay on,
lay and take in the sun
that rises above my soul
that aches for something more.
But Lori wasn’t Brett Ashley,
she was more Daisy Buchanan
than anything.
But does that make me Tom or Jay?
Jimmy or Nick?
I didn’t know and I still don’t know.
What I do know, is this;
the ball sank into the
first cup of the triangle.
Lori’s face went from cocky,
to frustrated, from frustrated
to relaxed,
from that
to a smile.
One that I remember, and one,
I won’t forget.
Because all I want to do is forget,
Take my memory and squeeze
the bad **** out,
twist the living **** out of it,
and burn it with a match.
Because she thinks I’m the one,
Who did her wrong, but it wasn’t me.
I put that on my integrity, even if my words don’t mean much to your ears: please listen.
I was inebriated, 3/4ths of the time we chilled.
So I didn’t know what was false and what was real.
You can check my temperature,
Because when you’re in my thoughts I get a fever
And hey, I shouldn’t have made a pass on your roomie
I should have thought before I texted, because now your trust in me has been affected.
We’re not talking. I can keep apologizing for what happened, but you don’t want to listen to a broken record.
I wish the bad memories would pass away and I guess they’re all in the past today.
Look, I don’t have a time machine
strong enough to change all the mistakes that I’ve made.
But take this as a time capsule,
this piece that I’m sharing. Like that piece we were sharing. The one that belonged to you.
The one I wish I could kiss again,
Because your lips touched it,
And mine never touched yours.
Hey, guys this is my first poem. I used to be on Hellopoetry and then I deleted my account a long time ago. But now, I'm back on the site and I'm excited to start reading poetry from others in the community! Hopefully, my creative work is something you can find connect with and find meaning in.
Andrew T Oct 2016
Walking on top of muddy grass I head to my car
Open my rear car door and I see shambles mountain.
Papers fall from my backpack gum wrappers sprawl out
Half-empty plastic water bottles on the floor
I throw all the trash into a white plastic bag
As I dump the filth into the bag my clothes appear
Underneath the heap of unwashed clothing
Lies a bible in the backseat of my sedan
Its blue paperback cover is bent out of shape
Crumbly creased pages fan out like clipped angel wings
The book has sunk into the grey lumpy leather
Dust coats the molded edges of the scuffed pages
I pick up the book and clean it’s raggedy cover
With the bottom of my white-t shirt, now it looks fine
Flipping through each of the old pages I wonder
Why did I leave it in the backseat of my car?
I look at the disorganized landscape and sigh
It all comes back to me as I rub on the binding
Up and down on the tattered spine, I see my church
Inside the church laying on a tabletop counter
Is the backseat bible, my hand grabs it and I leave.
Both church and daydream, the book sits softly in my hands
All of a sudden my cell-phone plays an oldie
I’m late for the movies with my friends, I close the door
Jumping into the front seat I tell them I’ll be late
My seatbelt wraps around my body clicking in
In the passenger seat I place my bible beside me  
I pull out of my driveway, and drive in a new direction
Andrew T Dec 2016
Her dreams are packed suitcases,
sitting on the driveway,
a piece of cloth sticking out,
ready to be unfolded and opened,
and then carried around.
I miss her
like how Americans
will miss the Obama family.
Touching her lips with my fingertips
is like rubbing healing ointment
onto an open scab.
Mom says, “You will always regret it,
if you don’t send her a text back.”
I dump my phone into the fire,
watch the plastic and metal burn,
the embers and ash piling up.
A black hand reaches for my shoulder,
before I wake up in a cold sweat.
I open up her suitcases:
a blue Grand Canyon blanket,
a laminated receipt
from a Sushi Restaurant,
a deflated basketball,
her knockoff Gucci glasses,
a worn piece of my heart.
I touch my chest.
and I feel nothing there.
Andrew T Apr 2016
When Napoleon walks into my house, he doesn’t shake my hand
Instead he nods, clears his throat, and says my other name, “Thien.”

“Chu,” I say. He sniffs the air like a K-9 from Denmark,
presses his lips into a line, like one found on a blank page,

like one found on a mirror, and like one found in McDonalds.
He smells the smoke from the Marlboro lights on my black-Tee shirt.

I reach into the pocket of my trousers, searching for cologne:
Tommy; ocean; breeze. It’s lost. I mutter, “son-of-a-bi—”

Chu stares, tries to punish me. I want to laugh, want to shrug.
“Anh-Thien,” says a young voice. I close my eyes. And see my cousin.
Andrew T Aug 2016
Each night, indigo blue smoke bloomed from the candle sitting on the patio table while the tall brown-eyed girl spat chewing tobacco into a Styrofoam cup leaning forward with her elbows on the porch railing, watching the black birds pick apart a chicken bone as they teeter tottered across a sable telephone cable. Her name was Candace and she wore a backwards baseball cap, that belonged to her brother Joshua. He had died from a brain aneurysm last year.

She always would tread her fingers around the wide brim of the blue cap, close her eyes and remember how her brother use to take her
to softball practice back when she was in elementary school, driving
her around in his lime green Mitsubishi GT 3000, with the windows down,  and Pink Floyd percolating from the soothing speakers built
into the dashboard. After Joshua had died, Candace dropped out of Mary Washington. She found a job at Movie Theater down the street from the baseball diamond, working at behind the register, arms propped on the countertop, wishing that she had tried out for the club softball team at college. When her shift would end
she’d go back home and sleep in until midafternoon. Then she’d wake up and march over to the library to read the picture books while snuggling  on the lumpy couch with the plump giraffes and short elephants, the toy animals with the holes on the bottom of
their rear ends where the stuffing would roll out whenever she’d squeeze their heads.

One rainy day she strolled to the lake and stole a rowboat from the wooden dock. Dipping the plastic oar into the calm current, she paddled through the blue water, yawning, stuck in her daydreams about winning that soft ball championship back when she was ten years old, and after the game her brother had bought her a fudge brownie sundae
and a strawberry milkshake, with a ****** cherry sunk in the whipped cream.  The night grew darker, as her memories turned more emotional. So she  came back to shore, tied the rowboat back to the dock with looping a knot around the nook with a thick rope cord. Then she went back to her apartment house and
crashed on the couch, the blue baseball cap falling onto the floor.

When she woke up from her nap she put her cap back on her head, and
went out on the porch, lit a cigarette, then gazed out at the shining moon
suspended in the clouded sky. She reached out with her arm, her fingers stretched.

The depths of Joshua’s soul lay beyond her touch, and she knew it.
She grounded out the cigarette, went upstairs to her bedroom, shut the door. And then she cried, cried until the hot tears turned icy with the pain, that was wracking her heart with an emotion that staggered like Joshua had when he was in the kitchen that one day, swaying back and forth. Dropping

to the tiled floor, blood running out his nose like a baseball player
stealing home. Then the memory dissipated from her mind, as if it never
come to fruition in the first place. She took off her blue baseball cap.

She held it in her hands. She clutched the wide brim and treaded her fingers around the stitching, wondering why Joshua had to leave her life.

And why she couldn’t let go of this baseball cap.
Andrew T Apr 2016
Wimbledon’s playing on the TV in the living room. Dad and I are watching on the sofa.

In the kitchen, Mom cuts carrots and cucumbers with a long blade. She slices the vegetables one by one. Orange pieces. Green pieces.

I glance over Mom chops up the carrots and cucumbers without a cutting board, taking each long carrot and cucumber and slices it with precision, as though she’s a professional like the film with Natalie Portman and Jean Reno.

But she’s not a little girl and she’s not a Frenchman. She’s like a mix-in-between, like the asphalt in our driveway and the grass sprouting in between the cracks.

Dad is a computer engineer. He used to be an artist. Used to study technical drawing in a university in Saigon.

He met mom when he was working on a play. She was the lead actress. Shakespeare had said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

He’s right, but right now I can’t tell what act I’m in. Dad focuses on the TV. Watches Federer and Djokovic, his eyes, darting from left to right like the mood of a young boy that crosses back and forth from light to dark, and back again.

Blade in hand, Mom makes longer and deeper cuts across the cucumber, cutting away the skin, leaving deep cuts in the vegetable. Dad turns his head towards her, his neck cracking like the forehand swung by Federer.

He clears his throat, softly, soft as gas leaking out from a stovetop from a studio apartment, like the scene in Fight Club, a match about to be struck.

Mom sets the blade down on the table, and bites her lip. Her nostrils flare. I press down on the couch arm, and stand up, my head bent, my eyes wandering to the doorway.
Andrew T Jan 2017
For a week straight, I avoided going to the supermarket, even when my stomach grumbled and the fridge stayed empty and lonely. And instead, I looked through my binoculars from the tree house my dad had built with a few planks of wood, nails, and a rusty hammer. A place he’d built before I was put into my mother’s arms and put into a bright blue cradle. Blue as the shirt Abigail was wearing, the same day the cops busted her for giving head to my best friend Isaac in my Toyota Camry. Right in the middle of the parking lot of the supermarket, as I bought pancake batter and cage-free eggs for breakfast.

And Abigail never ate that meal after she spent a week wasting away in a cell block, reading JD Salinger stories over and over, as though his words could heal her marks and bruises.

Today, I made pancakes and eggs for breakfast.  I waited for the TV to load a Netflix show, hoping Abigail had learned from her mistakes. She passed me the salt and pepper shakers, as I lit a cigarette, sat in a chair, and smoldered.

Abigail put her face in her hands, cried for a bit, even reached for the ***** bottle.

We went to the supermarket later, walked down one aisle, and picked up meat and potatoes. As we headed for the self-checkout line, I passed the breakfast section and saw the pancake batter and the eggs. Abigail crumbled to the floor, said, “I’m so sorry.”

After that, we never touched breakfast.
Andrew T May 2016
A recent BBC Headline reads: US orders ban on trans-fats. In a day when fat-discrimination has been thought to have stopped, the US is discriminating against the fine and upstanding obese community. Eliminating trans-fats from food will save lives by preventing heart attacks, but it will also eliminate fat jokes, which will set back standup comedy for years to come. Health experts say that Americans continue to consume too much foods with trans-fats, even with trans-fats information labeled on food; in scientific studies done by Dr. Kazuo Takitani, research shows that Americans "Do Not Give A ****" about their health due to entitlement and fatty privilege. Taking trans-fats out of food will reduce coronary heart disease, but it will also make fat people who are stupid more confident, not necessarily smarter. Supporters of French Fries have taken to the streets and are calling on President Obama to stop the War on trans-fats. The Obama administration has responded with a statement in regards to the trans-fat crisis, and have said, "Go To The Gym." Obese people are in danger of becoming skinny, and already the obese population of the United States, are hoarding Cheetos and pizza rolls in their ***** packs, in order to stop the madness. In this day and age, health is a choice, skinny and **** people, the ones who are supporting the ban on trans-fats, do not know the irreparable damage they are doing to the fat American white male, who's narrative will always be ingrained in the American consciousness. A chubby boy named Paulie was interviewed earlier today as he was eating French fries and a large soda: "The government doesn't care about Fat people. We deserve better treatment. We matter. We exist. How am I supposed to survive without Mickey D's fries? Do I look like I can exercise? I'm moving to Canada." When Paulie was informed that Canada was strongly thinking about following in the US's footsteps, Paulie suffered from food coma and passed out in his chair. The United States is slowly turning towards becoming healthy and fi; many people oppose this trend, while others embrace it; all that can be said is that change will shocking, can give some people a new perspective on life. Stay tuned for more details. Now here's Marcus with today's weather report.
Andrew T Dec 2016
We watched Rogue One in a theater, sitting in the handicapped seats because I had made an error in judgement. You forgave me. Nights we kept the house party bumping with Dr. Dre and Drake, as the girls and guys, our friends, grind and rattled along to the beat pulsing from the speakers. I lost my new chick, after I slept with an ex-girlfriend. This happened a week ago, on Monday and I was sober.

So I took a few days off, sleeping the nightmare away on the lumpy couch in the basement, the windows drafty and condensed. And when I woke up, I saw her face in the TV screen, her face wearing glasses covering her blue eyes, and her hair blonde. She put her hand up against the screen, breathed on it, so the glass fogged up. I moved slowly and carefully to the TV and clutched the edges with my bare hands. I leaned in closer and kissed the screen. The TV buzzed and crackled with static, then shut down, and then went black. I crumpled to my knees and put my face in my lap, as I sobbed uncontrollably. I opened my eyes. Everything got colorful.

I was sitting in a restaurant, to upscale for my taste, white table cloth and waiters rushing around in white shirts and black vests. Her face ******* up, looking annoyed and resentful. She asked me to talk. But I looked down at my hands instead, decided to take my time, and drank the cheap scotch. As I set the glass down, she crossed her arms over her chest. No *** tonight, I could tell. Every gesture she made told a story, one secured over an unhappy conclusion.

And I ended up not being a knight and going up to her castle to slay the dragon.

Instead, I burned.
Andrew T Jan 2017
Kiss me good-bye until the thunder stops clapping,
until the moon starts glowing, until we all crawl
back to the fireplace, where the logs are burning
and the kids are laughing. Take me to the underground,
to a place I’ve never heard about.
Make me forget how I’ve hurt you.
Ask me questions, even if I can’t give you
all the answers.
Please accept my excuses, even if they’re useless.
Drink coffee with me, beneath the terrace,
as the smokers vape, and the drinkers guzzle.
Tell me what you love about the sunshine
that peeks under the rainclouds.
And tell me to stop,
if I’m talking too much.
Because I can listen to you speak,
on this cassette tape, over and over.
Press play.
Andrew T Oct 2016
I took a breath of air. Breathed in once, breathed out twice.
She departed now, and I don’t feel any regrets. Because,
We weren’t meant to be connected together, with one another.
She treated me wrong. And I treated her badly as well.
I was under a storm cloud for the longest time,
Trying to find warmth in a frozen pond.
A relic was what love could be—lost potential—found,
In the depths of another lover’s hands.
Lies. Lies. Lies. I plugged my ears with small foam pieces,
Because I couldn’t bear to hear her strained voice.
Broke me into shattered pieces,
They’d spread over the floor. And my soul swathed itself
In the glass, blood staining my cheekbone.
Andrew T Jun 2016
An airplane crashes into an uncharted island and hundreds of people die in the burning debris, and somewhere a group of boys and girls are taking selfies as they stand next to a burning office building.

Thousands of teenagers sit on the couch and eat ice cream until the buttons on their pants explode off.

Kids light themselves on fires as if they were monks from the Tiananmen Square, trying to gain acceptance, their dreams of stardom translated through a series of YouTube comments.

We can't afford books for college because the tuition is ridiculous, but these glossy tabloid magazines are only a few bucks; pick one to set the course of your life.

Middle-aged people spend their lives indoors, away from the thirsty, hungry, withering children, and check how many likes did their photos receive on their smartphones.

Pornographic images in front of our tired faces, our eyes locked to the screen and we do not blink as our memories become embedded with objectification.

So we don't look up and see the chaos transpiring.

Cat memes and colorful gifs hold our attention while our parents slave away at their boomerang-shaped desks, trapped in clustered cubicles.

I saw a post on Facebook of a girl who was sexually assaulted at a house party and now her name was being hashtagged and kids were posing in photographs, laying on the floor, legs and arms sprawled out, left and right, trying to mimic the injustice.

We swipe right to find our future hookups, but what if our future husbands and wives were on the left?  

Society spends millions of dollars on drinks to numb our conscience, until our brain cells are wretched like the homeless guy on the street corner drinking liquor from a coffee mug.

Israel and Palestine battle each other day after day while our generation gossips about Solange Knowles beating up Jay-Z with her patent leather purse as if that news conquers every other bit of information out there.

The world will always be corrupt, but it suffers more from the apathy that belongs to us.
Andrew T Jan 2017
While the light faded from the windowpane,
I tried to encourage and push you
like a door swinging slowly on its hinges;
But nothing ever made you happy,
nothing ever satisfied you--
as the cool air grew thick and muggy with warmth,
you stomped on top of the floorboards,
which concealed my wounds, my scars, the bruises
I would never let anyone examine.

We struggled to get on the same page,
couldn't even reach the same sentence.
So when you screamed at me, aggressively and loudly,
I gave you the silent treatment,
your threats unable to rattle me.

Why can't I stop thinking about the way you'd
dry the wet off your back with a bath towel?
Don't you miss how I would blow your belly button,
or how you would moan softly as I scratched your back
with my guitar pick?

The cinema plays homevideos of the two of us
laughing at the drunk girl who wrecked her bumper
on the parking space concrete, and the two of us
holding each other's hands at the John Mayer concert.

A nook, a camera, a pair of sunglasses,
a Michael Kors purse, an emerald bracelet;
gifts to show you I cared, to show you I wanted
more than just one night cuddling in
your younger sister's apartment.

F. Scott Fitzgerald died in his forties,
holding a wine bottle in his hand like a newborn,
as his wife Zelda built a fire pit
and burned his stories, page after page, until
the characters twisted and rolled into ash and charcoal.

Are we the writers?
Or are we the characters?

Tell me you don't love me anymore,
so I could finally close the door shut.
Don't leave me voicemails, or send me text messages
with emojis and memes.

I remember we would cruise around Maryland
and Virginia, in my dad's silver sedan,
blasting music and smoking *****.

But now we're swimming
in the deep end of the swimming pool.
You're wearing a life vest and I'm trying to keep afloat,
as the strong water hits my chest,
and the cold chills my bones.

You are Kate Winslet,
and I'm Leonardo DiCaprio
giving you the inflatable killer whale,
so that you could stay above water,
as I slip under the current of our decaying memory,
the years we've lost,
and the time which we'll never regain.

The door is closing on me
and everything darkens from the lights
to your face.

And I know now, that a piece of my heart
sits at the bottom of your mason jar,
like a corroded anchor
dug deep in the floor of the ocean.

Keep it,
and whether you come inside the house,
or walk out to the driveway,
close the door
like eyes
shutting for the last time.
Andrew T Aug 2016
A Grande Iced coffee sweetened with whole milk always
supplied Trey, the Zombie, with energy. On a bright yellow morning
Trey sat down on a canvass deck chair outside of Starbucks.
He puffed on his e-cigarette. Then he took a sip from his plastic cup.
And as he tasted the refreshing creamy coffee, he remembered
what it was like to be a human being. Before the infection decimated
the world’s population of men, women, and children, everybody
was killing each other with double barreled shotguns, sleeping
with their best friend’s girlfriend to prove that they were not
in love with their best friend, forcing girls and women of all
ages into cramped basements leaving them with a bowl of
white rice and a cup of water, telling them that they had to sleep
with strange men who lived in America and other countries polluted
with lust and desire, or else they would get sent to the bottom
of a swamp where the Alligators roamed the muddy shores in
search of flesh. Trey remembered that he had been a college student
living at home, working as a tennis instructor part time at the
rec center down the street from where he resided at.
This little girl Amy bit him on the ankle. It was the first time
he had taught her how to hit a topspin serve with such
velocity that the tennis ball would bounce off the service box
and rise over the chain-linked fence, where the zombies were, crawling
over and up onto the hard courts. As Trey drank his iced coffee
he realized that life was more pleasant now. People didn’t shoot each
other anymore. Closeted **** and lesbians didn’t sleep with their best friend’s boyfriends and girlfriends just to prove that they were heterosexuals. And wicked men with shaggy hair and yellow teeth didn’t buy young girls and women from cramped basements and **** them because they had the money and the motivation to follow their lustful desires. No. None of this happened anymore. Now that the Zombies had taken over. Everybody just went to Starbucks, and drank iced coffees sweetened with milk.
Andrew T Jul 2016
Control the guns. Or unload on one. Under the hopeless sun. Or control the shooters who stole his future.
Patrol in stupor when the gaping hole is super. Rolling in supras.
Holding and maneuver, round the bend. Good lord, glad I found the pen. But white men found the pen. In there, Black men down and spent. And they're wasting away in the pen. Write a letter to their friends. Either their behind the bars, or drinking in bars, or rhyming these bars. Spit it like I got tobacco juice in my mouth. Another shooting in the south, while I watch from the couch.

Kendrick said we gon be all right. And I'll believe him, when everyone has the same rights. When the white man know wrong from right. But just because you're light in your skin, it doesn't mean you're gone from light. Let this song break fights. Still though, as long as we're nice, you'll still invite us to smoke bongs and pipes.

But when the summer heat scorches the streets and the Porsches, next to the fortress with the smooth grain porches, you will ignore this. Warning shot coming at you, hot enough to light torches. I wake up every day thinking life is gorgeous, but at night I still walk like the tortoise.

No more of this.

Blood spilling on the pavement, now you wonder why I lounge in the basement. They say practice patience. They say keep waiting. They say there's saving. Pop a pill, forget about life, start raving. Po-po after the po, so send Edgar Allen Poe with a raven. Calling us kings, like this Game of Thrones, but this war is ancient. God vs. Satan. Medusa vs. the Maiden. Neo vs. all the agents.

Take hits before I escape to the matrix. Tired of eating fake ****. Make spliffs, out of makeshift wooden ships, that Cuba Gooding Jr. Gripped. Won't take lip, go and save it. Why are they loved and we hated?

Emotion flowing from the mac and the healing potion flowing from the track. Go in the back. Put the slow motion in the stacks, the records from class, tethered in snacks. America's anger is growing in fact, because every one knowing life's back. Shoot the body and throw it in the back. Fiction, or reality? Turn on the television, that has driven your vision to a complacent state of living. And you wonder why we're so forgiving?

But we're never forgetting. This here is armageddon. This is how life be when karma getting to be like, getting to be like, getting to be like fatal. Like Cain did abel. Death, or disabled. Missed the fable, because I kissed the label. Then the bottle, as I went and risked the stable. Now I'm gathering my crew and we're ****** and a holes.

Hear the shot ring from Baton Rouge to Chicago. Thinking about becoming a florist. Foreigner in this land of tourists. Listening to beats from Morris. Joshua hit me up for the chorus. How many black Americans need to die? If it were white people, would you ignore this?
Andrew T Dec 2016
Dance with me,
under a raincloud,
as sunshine bursts,
like schoolchildren;
leaping through the double doors,
of a rustic brick building.
Flowerpots filled to the brim
with cigarette butts, and bad
decisions, ones made
after dancing on the boardwalk,
as the darkness shrinks away,
for the sun brightens and shakes.
Quivers—the world spinning and spinning.
Andrew T Jul 2016
Do we really want to leave our hometown?

To hell with this middle-class neighborhood, decorated with manicured front lawns of emerald grass smeared in geese ****. Nobody, but Arnie looked behind the identical white-brick houses for the skeletons half-buried in the backyards. Arnie used to be distracted by the pure white porches, the perfectly red-layered brick, and the ebony pavement seared from the heat of the cascading sun. As the summer morning stretched in monotony, Arnie went over to his mother’s house and looked more closely at the aluminum siding, sweeping his fingers across the crookedness in the fortifications. He touched the void in the blackness and the cracks outlining the surface. Underneath there, no rich substance laid in the soil.

But he knew something full of dread and full of anger resided in the dried-out bark and withered flower petals. With his shovel, he sifted through the dirt and wondered how much longer the seeds could sustain themselves in this soft and vulnerable soil. The ground decayed under his tennis shoes as Arnie closed his eyes, and felt the wind brushing up against his shoulder. He imagined the weather cloaked itself in the guise of a carpenter, chopping down the ancient trees with scythe and axe, and snipping down the stalks of tender flowers before they could grow to maturity.

Later that day, his mother told him children in this neighborhood either blossomed early, or never even experienced first bloom. Arnie ran around in circles, wishing the leaves and petals lost their infatuation with the wind, so they wouldn’t drift away, floating aimlessly from town to town searching for their heaven.

He knew no one wanted to live in this small town their whole life, wasting away in the sunset as the birds weep alone in the nests lined against the rain gutters. His mother and father worked every single day, consumed with their busy selves, they forgot to schedule for an exit-plan, their get-a-way maps stayed locked up in the bottom desk drawer, the hinges rusted over the years.  

When he turned, sixteen Arnie’s parents bought him a new shiny red 2010 civic. They handed him the keys and right then and there, he thought they wanted him to travel, to see worlds that looked different from the one he dwelled in. As he turned over the engine, Arnie realized the automobile appeared less and less as a transaction for his spirit. Not an anchor, but rather a cement block tied around his ankles, the knot tightly secured. The candy coat paint was too bright and too shiny.

He slept in bed that night and wondered would he ever leave his cozy room, as the blankets warmed him up from the approaching winter. He knew he was sheltered, but this shelter was home.

He kept forgetting if the walls were supposed to keep the elements out, or barricade him inside. The roof over his head made him feel secure, but sometimes he felt his home confined his body, his soul, and his spirit, as if his house was a bird cage. He told his mother, Don’t tell me the sky is the limit, when this ceiling
prevents me from spreading my wings, and flying towards the heavens.
I’m leaving this town, he thought.
Our generation believed we were the salt of the earth, as though we’d conquered the city, and yet we still ended up salting the earth, daring anyone to defy our intelligence and uniqueness. Yet, we were not original, we were not even different.

Arnie napped on his autumn red couch and his body didn’t feel made of flesh and bone. It felt composed of stones, and he couldn’t get up. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get up. He had millions of ideas that roared through his mind every twenty minutes. Like a subway train, but they always became derailed. Off the tracks before they came into fruition, before they reached the station, with every sip of wine with every **** of bud. So he waited patiently for the next train,
hoping to go somewhere with his life. Though eventually, he knew that train would not come whenever he pleased. He had to leave this couch, get off his *** and go.

Suburban mansions furnished with comfortable furniture and luxurious amenities. Wide flat LED screens were the new remedy. We had become tolerant to obscenities that flash and sparkle in the highest resolution, surround sound, so the brainwashing was soothing, as the subliminal messages were grooving. Through our ear canals and advertisement clutter pollution. Soul distortion as Arnie watched graphic images, but it was in the clearest quality. So he was in awe and disgusted, but at the same time he ******* loved it.

So stop saying you invented this and you invented that. Arnie knew the sun already scorched every original idea into smoldering ash.

But he didn’t want to burn. He wanted to survive. He didn’t want to remain a burnout. He wanted to rekindle the hearth and leave this godforsaken slow-burning ashtray, where everyone was trying to find a match to bring the light back

But we sit in assigned seating,
complacent in our concrete prisons, our youth decaying rapidly,
angst already cemented in our minds
Faux utopia where young minds rot in classrooms
Classrooms with no windows
We have opulence
but no oxygen
we can’t breathe but
we don’t know if it’s from this airless building
Or the smoke that surrounds us
so I guess we are LOST
Can’t you see? This (grab shirt) this is false confidence
we fuel our arrogance with shallow compliments
we are hypocrites
a walking contradiction
only our masks hide our lies so well.
Our souls are engulfed in sin from the day we are born
So I guess you can say we were all born
with something original.
But Arnie is oblivious to the shadows
that attach themselves to his weak shoulders
He’s stopped his afternoon naps by the tree,
The shade
is the brother of the shadows
There is sunlight
only a few feet away
Arnie only has to reach
Reach out with his hand,
To feel the warmth of the sun,
there is light
in this dark world.
Andrew T Oct 2016
Ok, so you want to meet the love of your life, or at least a sophisticated N.S.A. relationship. Here’s how to do it. Guys leave the pick-up lines at home, many girls are smarter than you’d like to believe. Besides, a poorly-executed pick-up line will only show how your wit is mediocre. And you don’t want that. You want her to believe that you’re funny. Make a girl laugh and you’re in; not in her pants, unless she’s vulnerable, or easy, and do you really want that kind of person? If you’re going to use jokes, and you really desire to prove to your potential soulmate/hookup that you are indeed the next-coming of Louis C.K. then tell her a funny anecdote, involving your younger siblings, or older relatives. Those stories will go over well because they suggest that you do have a heart and a conscience, because you adore your family. But maybe it’s better to not do that. Because sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut. Trust me, the more you say, the more chances you have to mess things up. Plus you’ll look all cool and mysterious because you’re listening intently to her. Save the cocky-****** routine; you’re better than that. Point is, don’t try so hard. You don’t have to appear super awesome to her. You will probably never see her again if you act like you’re somebody that you’re not. And look, girls love to talk. So let them talk. Unless they’re mutes. Then, you should probably say something. If neither of you two talk, there’s definitely no chemistry, so just say thanks for the company, and leave the bar. Another thing; don’t gaze into her eyes too much. Of course, making eye contact is an indicator of confidence, but doing it too much is an indicator of creeper status. This is real life; not a bad romantic comedy, she will bolt from the bar to the dance floor and into the arms of that ******* who wears an Ed Hardy Tee. It’s okay to be goofy, but not too goofy; only the guys who get laugh with, get the number. And please be yourself. Unless, you’re a lunatic. Then try to emulate a normal person. Lastly, have fun because everybody only lives once. Except for Jesus, but he probably didn’t have a tough time getting girls, when he could turn water into wine. Another thing; don’t whine if she doesn’t like you. Not every girl is going to like you. Deal with it. Read a self-help book. Lose the beer belly. Or gain the beer belly, because some girls dig that. But most importantly, be honest with yourself. Did you really want to be romantically involved with her, thinking that it was love at first sight when you looked into her eyes, which were so big and so round? Or were you looking at things that were also so big and so round? If you don’t know, then reevaluate what you’re doing. It will work out in the end. Hopefully
Andrew T May 2016
Restless in bed, the stir of warmth blossoming in his heart,
the girl he loved has gone,
drifted from his house to the field of vacant stares.
Rainstorms brew in his mind, shifting from one end to the other,
the current forming into a large sheet of distance damp with disconnection.
He thinks of fire. As he rolls out of bed.
Grabbing a cigarette from his ashtray,
he lights up. Old habits stay kept in the roof of his mouth. Fresh air
permeates through his nostrils as he steps out onto the front porch.
He props his elbows on the balustrade,
brushes against the grainy wood
tarnished from the skywater.
The sun droops below the gray cluster of clouds
hanging over a horizon colored with blues, reds, and yellows.
While he smokes on his cigarette he remembers the girl. Her name is a
wrinkled photograph stored in a dusty shoe box.
She has green eyes and curly red hair.
Her body is shaped in an hourglass figure.
She's tall and gaunt, but her
legs are toned from running several miles on her treadmill
each morning before the dark slips away into the fog of light.
He grounds the cigarette out on the porch. He steps onto the driveway. There's a red
Honda CRV parked across from the two-car garage.
He hops in. The key turns.
Booming engine roars out loud.
The wheels churn backwards. He pulls out of the
cul-de-sac. And he drives, drives,
until he can remember the road map, the one
that she stole from him to follow her dreams, and hopes, the aspirations that he had
once shared with her. A thin, white film of mist
belays across the windshield.
And for a short second he wishes that he were dead.
Dead so that he could have the
perspective of an omniscient narrator to oversee everything, and everyone.
But where is his girl? She's not the one who got away,
she's the one who abandoned him, the
night after he ate the sweet nectar,
the fruit, little drops of dew splashing onto the back of his tongue.
The red Honda CR-V careens down the interstate, windows down, subwoofers pumping
with something similar to apprehension,
tense with overwrought poems.
The substance lacking from trying too hard,
for something that wants nothing to do with him.
Andrew T May 2017
Thu used to live in Saigon. When the war ended,
she had fallen in love with a boy who lived next door to her.
He was her first love. He would write love poems to her.
Sometimes they would hold hands.
Once they shared a kiss.
They were young and deeply in love.
But as the war finished, they moved on from each other.
The boy went to live with his family in Australia, while she moved to America.
After they broke up, Thu would still think about him.
He was the one who dumped her.
The breakup crushed her heart.
But she didn’t let it mar her dignity.
Time passed, Thu moved to Virginia
and she went to high school in Fairfax County.
The letters started pouring in from the boy.
But she had too much pride and she didn’t respond until one day.
That was the day that John Lennon was murdered
in cold blood.
She was heartbroken like every other person in the world.
Yet, she also thought of the boy and how much he loved John Lennon.
Thu remembers reading the newspaper, seeing John Lennon’s face
on the front page of the paper.
She took a pair of scissors
and cut a square around John’s face.
Then she wrote a letter to the boy.
And then she sealed the newspaper clipping and the letter in an envelope.
Begged her mom over the phone to send the letter to the boy.
Her mom was still in Saigon and somehow she made contact with the boy.
And she gave the letter to him.
A month later, she opened the mail and there was a letter from the boy.
She read the letter, stifled a cry, and then proceeded to write.
The next day she sent the letter.
Thu was happy to read his words.
It was as though she could hear his voice through his sentences.
Like he was there next to her, looking at her,
speaking to her spirit.
Days passed.
Weeks passed.
And then after a month, she realized he wasn’t going to respond back to her letter.
She couldn’t believe that he didn’t give her a response.

“And that’s the end of the story,” Thu said to her son.
“What do you mean that’s the end of the story? That can’t be the end!”
“Well you’re the writer, right? Think of an ending.”
Andrew T Nov 2017
We covered our bodies in blankets, in the shadows of each other, not wanting to admit feelings, that may have bloomed from an excess of drinking jack and smoking *****. We met each other in January, and you offered me a glass of red wine. I drank it and floated in your eyes, like laying in a bathtub full of warm water, just soaking in the heat. You played me your cello, gliding the bow across the strings, chuckling lightly when you made a mistake with your fingers. Maybe this isn’t love, maybe this is infatuation, and maybe I shouldn’t get ****** up when I’m hanging out with you. Because the moment I reveal how I truly feel about you, is the moment you can choose whether to hold onto my hand tighter, or push me away. Distance—a total of three months—made me contemplate our status together. I guess I never felt I was really good enough for you, and that’s what made me try that much harder to impress you. I thought impressing you, would drive you towards me. However, it’s not January anymore, it’s November, and my feelings for you still haven’t changed. I’ve waited for you, staring at my phone, hoping it would blink with a text. Last night, I’ll always remember. When the text popped up on my phone, I almost drove my car into the median. I shouldn’t be texting and driving. Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking and writing. I love how you poke your fingers up my nose, and laugh, and how you don’t mind when I do the same. I don’t know how to describe it, but when your body is pressed up against mine, I feel less dead inside. You make me feel happy. I wished I didn’t snore, so that I could lay next to you all night, without waking you up. Let’s agree not to argue, let’s agree not to fight. I don’t know how much longer you’ll be living in the city. And I’m not going to prevent you from getting on the next stop to your journey. Sometimes, I don’t know why I waited for you in the first place. But I’m sitting in this chair, smokes in hand, and I have this window to look out at. And I’m looking into the distance and realizing you’re not so far from me this time. You could be right; usually you’re always right. But I hope you’re wrong this time, I really do. I can’t promise you that I’ll never have feelings for you. It’s the way you look at me, as though you can see through my ******* and my façade, and still allow me to be vulnerable. And don’t even get me started on the kissing; because, when we touch lips, I feel we have enough electricity to recover the beat back into a resting heart. This is all still so surreal for me. Last night, didn’t feel normal. It felt better than normal. Just let it happen, you told me under your breath. I’m probably too honest with you. But at least you know how I feel.
Andrew T Jun 2016
Toni Morrison wrote the Bluest Eye, but why does Kanye wear blue contacts at the Met Gala in front of the whole world who have their phones out, ready to snap a photo?
The window to that life of fortune is half-way open and all the doors to success in this townhouse are closed shut, so it doesn’t make sense for me to cook these eggs and hash browns, when no one is coming over to eat and to share the blueprint with me.
Because, I don’t know whether to squat down and roll the dice outside in the alleyway,
or keep climbing the fire escape until I reach the clouds of heaven.
The air-conditioner rattles and clanks nothing but old air. And it’s a heatwave outside.
Bodies sizzling on the pavement like the pancakes baking on the frying pan.
Pop told me the white man is unholy, and then he goes and wears a cross around his neck.
Radio, oh radio, oh radio; if it keeps playing the same, **** rap and pop songs,
My mind will become a turn-table.
No scratches.
Just the crisp sound of decay.
Please be quiet Pop, let me watch this program.
Control me another day.
Thank you for the heartache.
What happened? Is that what you’re asking me?
A lot did, lots of stuff.
You want me to tell you?
I don’t know if you want me to excavate this ish from my mental,
Or tell it to you in the raw and gritty.
You sure?
Okay then.
I remember the white bag covering my head while my eyes were open wide, closing my vision and shrouding me in my own blackness. The brackish, heavy water from the James River rushed and flowed over stones and broken branches as my friends hummed gospel hymns to unite us across this journey of baptism. We walked barefoot along the muddy ground filled with tiny rocks and snapped twigs and followed one another, our chests convulsing from the anxiousness of the unknown, arms drooped into a V with one hand over the other to keep our fingers from shaking. When brotherman put his palm on my chest, I could feel my heart exploding with excitement, as he dipped my body gently backwards. Immediately, freezing water flooded the bag and my head became soaking with a coldness that was like a flat of the hand striking my tender cheek. When I emerged from the shallows of the dark river, still dripping with water, my lungs expanded as I gasped for air, for relief, and for an opportunity to restore my tarnished soul, a soul that is inside of a body, the same body that sits on this couch with lumpy cushions, staring at a TV screen showing black boys getting murdered in cold blood and not a ******* thing I can do about it, and why worry about a cycle of bad news, when I can just buy these clean, white boat shoes. But, I remember the coldness of the river as I stood knee-deep in rolling water, which seeped into my red shirt and my shorts, my feet caked in mud. Glad, I took my kicks off. Paid way too much money to mess up my new boat-shoes and that’s real **** to be perfectly honest.
Don’t worry Pop, I used my own hard-earned money to pay for these.
So I’m white now?
Would it make a difference if I switched from laces to Velcro?
If I took a brush and painted a black swoosh over the sailboat?
If I wore tall white tube socks instead of going barefoot in these shoes,
Then would that change your opinion?
Okay, the silent treatment, right, lay it on me.
Wow, now you’re making hand-gestures.
Talk too much? Me talk too much?
This house talks too much! The floor creaks and the faucets leak.
The shutters clatter and clang from the wind.
Pop, all I want to do is go outside, cuz I’m going crazy right now.
The sun is shining a bright light over this house,
And I know I can’t see a **** thing.
Because my eyes have yet to
Fully
Open
Up
Wrote this for a friend to be used in a screenplay; the character is supposed to be a young, black male dealing with whiteness and identity.
Andrew T Jan 2017
Finger at the blue in the sky
Say I want be like that guy
You say you want me to fly
Like the falcon in the sky
Floating, soaring and climbing
Touching white clouds of heaven
But fog chokes the clean lining
Mists like comics with no timing
Yet I can’t understand why
My wings have to still be tied
Down steel chained to the ground
Can’t move on to new chapters
When the pages are bound
Cuts are bandaged by laughter
It’s that why I rest at the nest?
And you stopped the beat in my chest?
I want that heart of a lion
Instead there’s chicken in my breast
Yes, when I was hatched I was immobile
Pure and noble yeah no sight no vocals
Kept me alive never en danger
But now fam-iliar is the stranger
See brown leaves fall and drift from trees
Bark ripped open soil has frozen
Branches broken missing me  
By a couple of feet I’m beat
My feet are perched, ready to drop
Will I hit the ground or see the top?
***** for you I found the key to the lock
Ya see when I want open doors I don’t knock 
Eyes closed and dived, felt like I died
Til the wind caught me for a ride
Touches my tongue breeze fills my lungs 
Arms now glide, I become alive
Rising, plateauing, descending  
Wings can't brake, till my brash bones break
Tears fall beside me befriending
Me, close to my face, my ending
Ladybug bums buzz hovering
Below my beak, two hit my cheek
Flashback when there was smothering
Ate treats of sweets and flesh at my peak
Now how can I flap forever?
Mood severed, Rain struck the weather
Rain drops plop on me like puddles
That and oil in my feathers
I look back and hear organs playing
Baby chicks clinging, Gospel singing
Knees dove deep in bark they were staying
Rain dropped she thought God heard her praying
Let her have his shy reply that’s brief
Let her have peace and hours of sleep
There’s no need for her sighs of relief
Have brain release, there’s no deceased
Looking forward I need to land
Eyes skipping off until I’m crossed
FML
Andrew T Apr 2016
FML
Some years ago, on a Monday, I met Joyce at Whitlows.
I bonded with her over bourbon and cokes.
She wore a black dress; sloping V, open back
It clung to her thigh, as though her skin
Was coated in sweets: sugar, honey, syrup.
Her face shined under the light overhead:
Denim eyes, velvet lips, an upturned nose.
She went to G.W.; read Junot; rode thoroughbreds;
Spoke Arabic; ate okra; watched Kubrick.
At the foosball table, I touched her wrist. She touched my arm.
The next day, after coitus and coffee,
I went to my car and found a ticket.
Andrew T May 2016
We sat in deck chairs, our feet entrenched in the sand,
as the water crept up the shore
and splashed gently on our toy sailboats.
The fire pit roared and rose with flames
under the moonlight. Our friendship was anchored
in the beach for years, since second grade.
I kept watch on your sailboat,
knowing it would soon cast out into the sea of adulthood.
We spent hours talking about our dreams,
as though the sandman truly existed
apart from
our imagination.

Remember when we dropped our textbooks in the trash compactor?
Because we believed in the Lost Generation and The Beats, and not some phonies from academia.  
We even sprinted away from the security guards after we used our slingshots and shot rocks at the The Verizon Center's Marquee.

Smoke and drink.
Smoke and drink.
Smoke and drink.

We lounged in the dugout while the sky poured buckets of rain on the baseball diamond, as our lighters ran out of fluid.

*

By accident, you shot me in the mouth with an air-soft gun. The beady plastic pellet zinged through the air, and sawed off half of my front tooth. Frantically, you sprinted inside and came back out with a glass of whole milk. You snagged the chipped up tooth from the lush lawn, and dropped it into glass. The tooth got swallowed up by the milk, leaving a trace of ripples.

But you had pure intentions, only lukewarm aim. On a porch chair, I sat bent over with my upper lip bundled with wet paper towels. There was no blood, no flesh wound; just a clean shot. I dabbed my tender gum gently with the damp towel.

You walked up to me and slapped me on the back. I shook my head, rolled the towel into a paper *** and chucked it at your nose.

You caught the projectile in mid-air and threw the afternoon’s remnants over the pointy picket fence. You turned around and saw my back, as I walked on the neighborhood sidewalk away from your house.

Ten years later, in the summer of 2007, we stretched out our limbs on Rehoboth beach and smoked headies out of a papier-mâché-looking piece; we called her Old Glory. As we toked and held in the gray coughs, we took in the view. Small waves barreled over and flattened out onto the fine sand shore. Our toes were tangled in the snare of the ivy green seaweed.

We didn’t want to let go of this.

This picture frame memory, the wooden frame lacquered with fresh pine comb.

A peace pipe shared between each other to rekindle their friendship. I stared at the bright fire of the lighter, watching as red sparks turn into violent black. Light gray debris collected on my swim trunks. We both looked up at the starless sky, as if we were searching for twilight. The moon glow shrunk the longer an eyeball looks, you said.

I nodded, got up, and walked right into a tall wave. I took the full force of the water, standing my ground with a bird’s nest chest. You laughed and lolled your head back off; you were exhausted.
I walked back up the hilly shore, and treaded my finger along the ridges of my ceramic tooth. A replica embedded in my mouth. I felt the jagged edges, the flaws, and grinned a little.

Just enough, to feel like I was on the verge of epiphany, on the beginning of seeking out the correct approach of life.

We hit the piece again. And the sun began to rise.
Our eyes closed, breaths quiet, and our memories entwined
for days to come.
Andrew T May 2017
Sometimes your love may come and go,
like light shining down from the sky
before the clouds set in and night arrives.
Tomorrow, the sunlight may never show
replaced with the rain streaming down my face
It'll keep hurting for as long as we live.
Please let me have some more time to rest
so that we'll have these days to spend in bliss
"is it weird that I can't stop thinking about you"
were once words you've said.
Now you say, "You've grown those words
in the garden of your mind."
Maybe I have, watered them with beer,
but that's something you'll never get to know.
I wrote you these lines
for you to read, next time you gaze
into the mirror. And I'm afraid,
we'll never get another chance
to walk your dog across the park
while we hold hands.
I don't want to sleep with someone else,
nor do I want to sleep alone.
So I stay up, late at night,
smoking and overthinking,
staying awake,
not going to bed.
Andrew T Jul 2016
Backstory: A Memoir

For Vicki

By AT

5

While I was downstairs, folding laundry in the basement, I heard my sister Vicki stomping upstairs to the room that used to be mine, slamming the door, and locking it shut.

I was a ****** older brother. And Vicki learned that action from me.
Then, I heard more footsteps. Louder stomping. And I knew, with certainty, it was Mom coming after her.

I'm not an omniscient narrator, so I don't know what Vicki does when the door is locked.

But I do imagine she is reading. Vicki’s been using her Kindle that Mom got her for Christmas. She adores Gillian Flynn and Suzanne Collins. She's starting to get into Philip Pullman which is swagger. I remember reading His Dark Materials when I was in elementary school.

The Golden Compass ***** you into that world, like during June when you're hitting a bowl for the first time and you're 17, late at night on Bethany beach with your childhood best friend, and the surf is curling against your toes, and the smoke is trailing away from the cherry, and you begin to realize that life isn't all about living in NOVA forever, because the world is more than NOVA, because life is bigger than this hole, that to some people believe is whole, and that's fine, that's fine because many of our parents came here from other small towns, and they wanted to do what we wanted to do, which is to pack up our stuff into the trunk of our presumably Asian branded car, and drive, drive, until they reach a destination that doesn't remind them of the good memories and the bad memories, until memory is mixed in with nostalgia, and nostalgia is mixed in with the past.

Maybe I'm dwelling on backstory, maybe you don't need to hear the backstory.

But I think you do.

Life isn't an eternity,
what I'm telling you is already known, known since there was a spider crawling up the staircase and your dad took the heel of his black dress shoe and dug his heel into that bug. And maybe I'm buggin’, but that bugged me, and now I'm trying to be healthier eating carrots like Bugs. Kale, red onions, and quinoa, as well. Because I want to be there for my sister, Vicki my sister. All we got is a wrapped up box made from God, Mohammad, and Buddha.

Soon, I heard Vicki’s door handle being cranked down and up, up and down.

Mom raised her voice from a quiet storm to a deafening concerto.  
Then, there was silence, followed by a door slamming shut.

Welcome to our life.
Later on that night, Vicki sped out of our cul-de-sac in her silver Honda Accord—a gift from Mom to keep her rooted in Nova—and even from the front porch of my house, I felt a distance from her that was deep and immovable.

I sank deeper into my lawn chair and lit a jack, but instead of inhaling like I usually did, I held it out in front of me and watched the smoke billow out from the cherry.

I always smoked jacks when she was not there, because I didn’t want her to see me knowingly do this to myself, even as I was making huge changes to my life. It’s the one vice I have left, and it’s terrible for me, but I don’t know if she understands that I know both things. Maybe instead of caring about what jacks do to my body, I should care about what she thinks about what I’m doing to myself. This should be obvious to me, but sometimes things aren’t that obvious.

4

As we grew older Vicki and I forged a dialogue, an understanding. She confided in me and I confided in her, sharing secrets, details about our lives that were personal and private, as if we were two CIA agents working together to defeat a totalitarian government—our tiger mom.

But seriously our mom was and still is swagger as ****—rocks Michael Kors and flannel Pajama pants (If I told you that last article of clothing she'd probably pinch my cheek and call me a chipmunk. Don't worry I'm fine with a moderation of self-deprecation).

The other day Mom talked to me about Vicki and explained that she was upset and irritated with Vicki because of her attitude. I thought that was interesting, because I used to have the same exact attitude when I was my sister’s age and I got away with a lot more ****, being that I'm a guy and the first-born. I understood why she would shut the front door, exit our red brick bungalow, and speed away in her Honda Accord, going towards Clarendon, or Adams Morgan, spending her time with her extensive circle of friends on the weekdays and weekends.

Because being inside our house, life could get suffocating and depressing.
Our Grandparents live with us. Grandpa had a stroke and is trying to recover. Grandma has Alzheimer’s and agitates my mom for rides to a Vietnamese Church. Besides the caretakers, Mom, Dad, Vicki, and I are the only ones taking care of my grandparents.

Mom told me that she believes that Vicki uses the house as a hotel. Mom didn't remind me of a landlord, and I believe that Vicki doesn’t see her as that either.

I didn't believe Vicki was doing anything necessarily wrong.

She had her own life.

I had my own life.

Dad had his own life.

Mom had her own life.

I understood why she wanted to go out and party and hang out with her friends. Maybe she was like me when I was 21 and perceived living at home as a prison, wanting to have autonomy and freedom from Mom because she was attempting to make me conform to her controlled system with restraints. But as Vicki and I both grow older I believe that we see Mom not as an authority figure; but, just as Mom.

Vicky and Mom clash and clash and clash with each other, more than the Archer Queens of The Hero Troops clash with the witches of the Dark Elixir Troops.

They act like they were from different clans, but they're both on the same side in reality.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. And in this case the tree wants to hang onto the apple on the tip of its rough, and yet leafy bough.
Because the tree is rooted in experience and has been around for much longer than the apple.

But the apple is looking for more water than the tree can give it. So the apple dreams about a summer rain-shower that will give it a chance to have its own experience. A similar, but different one, to the darker apple that hangs from a higher bough, an apple that has been spoiled from having too much sun and water.

3

During Winter Break, Vicki scored me tickets to a game between the Wizards and the Bucks. From court side to the nosebleeds, the audience at the Verizon Center was chanting in cacophony and in tempo. Wall was injured. But Gortat crashed the boards, Nene' drained mid-range shots, and Beal drove up the lane like Ginsberg reading Howl.

Vicki and I both tried to talk to each other as much as we could; unfortunately, Voldemort—my ex-gf—sat in between us and was gossiping about the latest scoop with the Kardashians.

Nevertheless, Vicki and I still managed to drink and have an outstanding time. But I should have given her more attention and spent less time on my smartphone. I was spending bread on Papa John's Pizza and chain-smoking jacks during half-time, and even when there were time outs. When I would come back and sink into my plastic chair, I'd feel bloated and dizzy.
And I'd look over at Vicki and either she was talking to Voldemort, or typing away on her smartphone. I didn't mind it at the time, but now I wished I had been less of a concessions barbarian/used-car salesman chain-smoker, and more of an older brother. I should have asked her about her day and her friends and her interests.

But I didn't.

Because I was so concerned about indulging in my vices like eating slices of pepperoni pizza and drinking overpriced beer. There's nothing wrong with pizza or beer. But as we all know the old saying goes, everything is about moderation.

Vicki scrunched her nose and squinted her eyes when I would lean forward and try to maneuver around Voldemort, trying to talk to her about the game and the players in it. I imagine that when she smelled the cigarette smoke leaking away from my lips, that she believed I was inconsiderate and not self-aware.

After the game, we went to a bar across the street from the Verizon Center, and bought mixed drinks. Voldemort was D.D., so Vicki and I drank until our Asian faces got redder than women and men who go up on stage for public speaking for the first time.

I remember this older Asian guy was trying to hit on her.
I took in short breaths. Inhaled. Exhaled. I cracked my shoulder blades to push my chest forward.  

And then, I patted him on the back and grinned. The Asian guy got the message. You don’t **** with the bodyguard.

Vicki had and still has a great boyfriend named Matt.

I guided Vicki back to our table and laughed about the awkward situation with her.

The Asian guy craned his head toward me and did a short wave. And then he bought us coronas. Either, you’re still hitting on my sister, or it’s a kind gesture. She and I better not get... Or am I overthinking it?

But seriously, I wished I had been the one to spend money on her first—she had bought the first round of drinks. Because at the time, my job was challenging and low-paying. Or maybe I just wasn't being frugal enough and partying way too often.

I still remember the picture that a cool rando took of us, drinking the Coronas, and how I was happy to be a part of her life again. Our eyes were so Asian. I had my lanky arm around her small shoulders, like a proud Father. She had her cheek propped up by her fist, her smile, gigantic and beaming, as though she had just won Wimbledon for the first time.
I was wearing a white and blue Oxford shirt that she had gotten me for Christmas with a D.C. Rising hat. She had on a cotton scarf that resembles a tan striped tail of a powerful cat.

My face was chubby from the pizza. Her face was just right like the one house in Goldilocks. The limes in the Coronas were sitting just below the throat of the bottles, like old memories resurfacing the brain, to make the self recall, to make the self remember how to treat his family.
Or maybe this is just a brand new Corona ad geared towards the rising second-generation Asian American demographic? I'm playing around.
But end of commercial break.

Vicki pats me on the back and we clink bottles together. Voldemort is lurking in the background, as if she's about to photobomb the next picture. Sometimes I don't know if there's going to be a next picture.
Either we live in these moments, or make memories of them with our phones. And like sheep following an untrustworthy shepherd, we went back to our phones. She made emails and texts. I went on twitter in search of the latest news story.

2

Before Vicki and I opened each other's presents, I remember I blew up at Mom and Dad, and criticized everyone in the family room including Vicki. It was over something stupid and trivial, but it was also something that made me feel insecure and small. I was the black sheep and she was the sheep-dog.

I screamed. Vicki took in a deep breath and looked away from my glare, looked away to a spot on the hardwood floor that was filled with a fine blanket of dust and lint. I chattered. She rubbed her fingers around the lens of her black camera and shook her head in a manner that suggested annoyance and disappointment. I scoffed. She set the camera down on the coffee table and pressed the flat of her hand against her cheek, and glanced out the window into the backyard that was blanketed with slush and snow.
Drops of snow were plunging from the branches of the evergreen trees and plopping onto the patches of the ground, plunging, as though they were little toddlers cannonballing off of a high-dive.

She turned back and looked at me straight in the eye, so straight I thought she was searching for the answer to my own stupidity.

I cleared my throat and said, “I need a breath of fresh air.”

Vicki bit her bottom lip, sat down, and put her arms on her knees, a deep, contemplative look appearing on her face.

I stormed into the narrow hallway, slammed the front door back against its rusty hinges, and trundled down my front driveway, the cold from the ice and the snow dampening the soles of my tarnished boots. I lit a jack at the far end of the cul-de-sac and counted to ten. I watched the cigarette smoke rise, as the ashes fell on the snow, blemishing its purity and calmness. I inhaled. I exhaled. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach that Vicki knew I was having a jack to reduce my stress, stress that I had cause all by myself. I ground the jack against the snowy concrete, feeling the cold begin to numb my fingers that were shaking from the nicotine, shaking from the winter that had wrapped itself around me and my sister.

When I came back inside of the house, I told Mom and Dad I was being an idiot and that I didn’t mean to be such an *******. I turned to Vicki and put my hand on her shoulder, squeezed it, and smiled weakly, telling her that I didn’t mean to upset her.

She nodded and said, “It’s okay bro.”

But her soft and icy tone made me feel skeptical; she didn’t believe me. I didn’t know if I believed my apology. Minutes later, I gave my present to her.

Her face brightened up with a smile. It was a gradual and cautious smile, a little too gradual and a little too cautious. She hugged me tightly, as though my earlier outburst hadn’t happened.

She opened the bank envelope and inside was a fat stack of cleanly, pressed bills that totaled a hundred. Being an arrogant, noob car salesman at the time, I thought it was going to be a pretty clever present. I could have given her a Benjamin, but I thought this would make her happier, because it showed my creative side in a different form.

I remember seeing her spread the dollar bills out, as if the bills were a Japanese Paper fan. Vicki told me not to post the picture I had taken on insta or Facebook. I smiled faintly and nodded, stuffing my smartphone back into my sweatpants pocket. I understood what she wanted, and I listened to her, respecting her wishes. But I also wasn't sure if she was embarrassed and ashamed of me. And maybe I was overthinking it. But again, maybe I wasn’t overthinking it. Social Media, whether we like it or not, is a part of life. And in that moment, I actually wanted social media to display this a single story in our lives. I wanted to show people that Vicki was the most important person—besides my parents—in my life. Because I was so concerned with how people viewed me and because I lacked confidence, lacked security, and lacked respect for myself

Vicki's present to me was a sleek and blue tie, a box set of mini colognes, and refreezable-ice-cubes. I think she called it the car salesperson kit. But I knew and still know she was trying to turn me into an honest and non-sketchy car salesman. And you know what, I was genuine, but I also couldn't retain any information about the cars features—to reiterate my Grandma has Alzheimer's, my mom writes down constant notes to remember everything, and I forget my journal almost every time I leave the house.

After Christmas I wore the tie to work a few times, but the mini colognes and ice-cubes never got used by me. They stayed in the trunk of my Toyota Avalon. I should have used the colognes and the ice-cubes, but I was too careless, too self-involved, and too ungrateful.

1

Back in the 90’s, when we were around 3 and 6 years old, Vicki and I shared the same room on the far left end of the hallway in our house. She had a small bed, and I had a bigger bed, obviously, because at 6 foot 1, I was a genetic freak for a Vietnamese guy. I read Harry Potter and Redwall like crazy growing up, and I would try to invent my own stories to entertain her. Every night she would listen to me tell my yarn, and it made me feel that my voice was significant and strong, even though many times I felt my voice was weak and soft, lacking in inflection, or intonation.

I had a speech impediment and I had to take classes at Canterbury Woods to fix my perceived problem. I wanted to fit in, blend in, and have friends.
Back then Vicki was not only my sister, but my best friend. She used to have short, black bangs; chubby cheeks, and a dot-sized nose—don't worry she didn't get ****** into the grocery tabloids and get rhinoplasty. She wore her red pajamas with a tank top over it, so she looked like a mini-red ranger, and her slippers
Dedicated to my baby sister, love you kid!
Andrew T Aug 2016
You constructed a towering cathedral out of popsicle sticks
and blue Lego pieces, searching for deeper meaning
through building a foundation from discarded dreams
and stuttered melodies. I listened as you played folk and bluegrass covers on your acoustic guitar, wondering if we would ever cross our arms into a figure-eight on a rainy morning,
in the middle of a fire-fight between the Vietcong
and Francis Coppola.

Remember when we watched “Lost in Translation” and you asked did I feel isolated and anxious around large groups of white people? I wanted to nod, but instead
I smoked green out of an apple and ate the core,
as smoke lingered under my chin. You tapped my shoulder,
stared me down, and forced a grin, as though you knew
my answer would be nothing but manufactured nouns and verbs, gibberish, and Pig-Latin with no room for form, or design.

The sun belted heat rays down on our tired faces, stopping only
when a Mac Demarco song crooned from the boom-box on the
patio table and as we heard the beat and the lyrics,
we took shots of fireball and had a discussion on EDM festivals
and the rise of smartphones capturing moments of racism
and hatred with each video, each picture.

I wanted to read “Kafka on The Shore” to a six tennis players
from my country club, but they were too busy
staging a protest for an increase in minimum wage jobs
and besides Murakami spoke with a thick Japanese accent,
which turned off white people who revered his prose.
A shame you didn’t draw a faux Calvin and Hobbes
comic strip about Susi Derkins finding nirvana
in watching “Game of Thrones” while sleep-deprived
and eating half a bar of Xans. We drank the entire bottle
of Captain Morgan’s and still Drake’s Uncharted story mode
didn’t seem any less fascinating.

Your cousin Bonnie crashed
a white Ford Mustang into the back of U-Street Music Hall
and I cringed as I rode shotgun, the airbag releasing and smacking into my ruddy face, all the life I’d lived gleaming
beneath the shadowy figure I bought last weekend
at the thrift shop on West Broad Street.

You could have come over last Thursday to listen to
me play jazz on the piano for Epicure’s open mic night,
but you were too busy playing saxophone on the veranda
in Georgetown’s Waterfront and anyhow,
you wanted a relationship forged on trust and great ***,
and I could barely get out of my townhouse without
writing a diary entry etched in bone marrow and angel dust,
plus you told me, “I love your imaginary brother.”
And all I have is a teddy bear named Franklin.
You could have come over last Thursday to listen to
me play jazz on the piano for Epicure’s open mic night,
but you were too busy playing saxophone on the veranda
in Georgetown’s Waterfront and anyhow,
you wanted a relationship forged on trust and great ***,
and I could barely get out of my townhouse without
writing a diary entry etched in bone marrow and angel dust,
plus you told me, “I love your imaginary brother.”
And all I have is a teddy bear named Franklin.
You could have come over last Thursday to listen to
me play jazz on the piano for Epicure’s open mic night,
but you were too busy playing saxophone on the veranda
in Georgetown’s Waterfront and anyhow,
you wanted a relationship forged on trust and great ***,
and I could barely get out of my townhouse without
writing a diary entry etched in bone marrow and angel dust,
plus you told me, “I love your imaginary brother.”
And all I have is a teddy bear named Franklin.
Dedicated to my homeys
Andrew T Aug 2016
Fairfax Station’s socialite, a trustfundee
Still hallucinates on a lone hammock
In her penthouse.
Her ex-idols still burn the light green foliage
From the Tree of Experience. Her sister’s a screenwriter
Who lives near downtown in a cobwebbed basement.
Each morning she composes a page of dialogue. Usually
There the fragments of yesterday’s conversations
With an insomniac. She is the turned page
In a worn storybook.

Her shutter snaps mental photographs
Through a blurred lens. The girls’ father
Is a patient in an asylum, in his leisure, he treads
Water in a soiled bedpan. Psychotherapy and straightjackets
Cannot restrain his work ethic for Art. Before his admittance
To the institution, in his studio, on a giant canvass
He painted the green youth that struggles to
Grow in an elementary school. The socialite is undeclared
In her major. Unsure of faith leaping.

Remains pessimistic at charity functions. Vast
Auditoriums with smudged tablecloth. She’s accompanied
By an entourage of underdeveloped emotions.
On occasion she side glances from a hand mirror
At a potential love interest. It’s too soon.
The spring is a late bloomer, blue frost clings
To the edges of grass blades. At a coffee shop on
The corner of Main and North Harrison Street,
The screenwriter raps away at her laptop; talking
To herself.

Her coffee foams at the mouth with expired cream.
A welcomed patron to this local getaway;
This is where her father used to read her articles
From the Washington Post. He nearly hanged himself
After the car accident. His wife’s body smashed
Halfway through a windshield. Around his wrist
Is the Movado, she gave him for their anniversary.
For months now, for an hour before night class,
Our writer opens up her treasure chest of demons
To a word document.

She’s almost thirty. The divorce took her strength,
Along with her two legacies. Yesteryear, or
Was it the day before yesteryear? The talented
Family met at a Hibachi restaurant. They had a
Gift card to use. It was a day after the funeral; there black
Clothes were wrinkled, just a bit. Napkins lay
Folded over their laps. Silverware untouched.
Hot bowls of miso soup grew cold. Visits to
The bathroom were common. Tsnumai of
Mixed emotions: trickled, flooded, filled there eyes.

The foreign chef noticed their mood, he
Could only offer body language. In the air
Swan eggs were cracked into two halves.
The yolk sizzled on the aluminum surface.
Fire soared from an onion volcano. Mouths
Watered, and eyes were parched. Kobe steak,
Grilled vegetables, juicy chicken, fried rice.
They chewed their food with shut mouths
And gutwrenched eyes. They sat and ate
Until every last morsel disappeared.

Over her balcony, she leans on the railing
Of her loft. Ashtray spills Marlboro’s remains
That plummet onto a city of funny people.
She can’t use humor as a defensive mechanism,
Why should she? Her credit card is her alcohol.
Her eyes daydream of elevators
And clothing stores. She lays out in
Her hammock, wondering why an automobile
Had to be the antagonist.
They all live above the billboards, below the heavens.
Andrew T Apr 2016
We live our lives staring at screens on our phones
giving attention to strangers living behind the screens
who are living beyond their means, garnering fame through memes.

Invest in a pair of binoculars and from a distance,
zoom in on what's popular. Or, see what's trending on the newsfeed: another black male shot by an officer. If you feel bad about the loss like a FaceBook Status, from the comfort of your home for no cost. Another tragedy in the chapter, as you live on happily ever after.

Close the novel and step into the grass in your front yard. And then make sure to inhale the grass in your blunt hard. Hold your breath until your cheeks turn blue as the blue in the sky on a summer night in July. Exhale.

Check mail. Write a message and watch the text sail
Through the air, the space that we inhabit together.

They always say nothing lasts forever, must be why
we record video footage and take photographs
of the times when your friend passed out and that hobo laughed.

Or the time you drank five brews, got behind, the wheel and almost crashed. That was the day you spiraled down a hopeless path.

Sober up in the morning as the rain trickles down the rooftop
, bathe in the water, and rinse away the negative vibes.
You go jogging down the neighborhood trail to that sedative high
of life. Think about who we lost this year: David, Prince, and Phife.

And many more, names you've never had the opportunity to learn. You take a turn as the path grows steeper. Thoughts in your head appear as you hear the positive message that's clear.

What if you hadn't wasted those afternoons watching TV commericals
on the sofa? Could I have invested in a real estate property, if I spent my funds properly and not on soda? Chug another cola yea, polar bear, because in the end what matters is if you truly care.

Life isn't fair, so when your cards are dealt, have a card up your sleeve. Because the deck is rigged, but you knew that before you've ever lived
Andrew T Apr 2017
We walked through the woods,
when it was growing thick with shadows, the way smoke funnels
out a chimney. She wore a hoodie and yoga pants,
attire to match her mood: relaxed and comfortable.
Her eyes reminded me of what lies beneath puddles,
after a rainstorm had passed through
the small hometown, which disowned you.
We wrote songs while sitting on tree stumps,
chewing tobacco and drinking gin.
Because, we wanted people to write movies about us,
like the ones they played before the explosion
took out a half of Paris, DC, and Sydney.
Test me again, and I will never talk to you,
you said those words and you meant it.
I regret ever running
into you at the house,
and falling for you,
like how I'm falling
over on my ***.
And now we will never text,
have a conversation,
or hold each other in bed.
Kiss me goodnight,
but don't say
that you ever cared about me,
because I don't believe
in the lyrics,
your favorite musician sings.
Andrew T Jan 2017
Hillary,

In regards to your previous email, we’ve checked your account and have decided that “alllivesmatter666” is not a sufficient password. Your password requires a letter with caps, and a special character. Furthermore, we regret to inform you that S.O.S is an urgent distress signal, and shouldn’t be used as an acronym for “Secretary of State.” Please refrain from using the words “Secret” and “Classified” in the title box of your emails, this will undoubtedly let foreign spies and officials know the significance of the subject in your messages. If you have any questions, or comments please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Best regards,

Benny Benghazi,
ITT Manager
(202) 567-9028
Andrew T May 2016
After drinking a glass of bourbon, Calvin popped a videotape into his VCR and lounging back on his pull-out futon couch, he watched the large television screen crackle, then cleanse, and then brighten with a clear image of his dead wife Marcy playing Mozart's Symphony No. 40 on a baby grand piano. She was sitting straight and tall on a plush leather bench, spreading out her delicate hands in an effortless and graceful motion. Marcy smiled and fluttering her fingers, she pressed down the black and white keys with a deft, light touch; a powerful and full sound burgeoning from the instrument. Her cheeks were sunken like capsized buoys and her lips were pursed together tight. She wore a dark red dress and ballet shoes. Marcy played many chord progressions, swaying left to right, synchronizing her body to the rhythm. Her curly locks of brown hair tumbled down her bare shoulders, and her green eyes were trained intently on the sheet music, as though the notation possessed a hidden map that held clues leading to nirvana. She released her fingers from the keyboard and turning around, she said in a smoky voice, "Baby I'm getting pretty thirsty. Aren't you thirsty? Let's drink some water and I'll play more later, okay?"

Calvin reached over and lifted up the bottle of bourbon from the tabletop and poured more bourbon into his glass. He watched Marcy get up from the bench. Calvin’s arm shook as he drank the bourbon. Marcy stared right into the camera and winked. Calvin cleared his throat and heard a cheerful voice leak out the television speakers, and on cue he synced up his tone and inflection with the voice and said, "Honey you play like an angel, a beautiful angel. You’re so talented and you’re right water sounds great right now. I'll put some ice in your water, would you like that?" Marcy beaming a smile, nodded. She walked towards the camera and closed her palm over the lens.

The television screen blurred with gray pixels and white dots, and then faded into black. Calvin turned off the television with the remote, walked over to the VCR, and popped out the videotape. He stared at the tape and cried in silence, wishing that the video was longer than five minutes, so that he could hold on to a stronger memory of his wife. The tape was a worn plastic rectangle with black spools of footage that were frayed from repeated viewings; 462 times, equating to one year, three months, and five days.

Calvin remembered recording the tape on June 8th 2013, which was the same day that Marcy took her own life with a gun. He felt that the videotape preserved Marcy’s voice, her appearance, her piano playing, but what it didn’t do was reveal her motivation for killing herself. Calvin had searched through his entire apartment and he had not been able to find a suicide letter, which was frustrating and confusing. A letter could have provided him with answers. He wanted to know why she ended her life. Didn’t she care about him? Weren’t they happy together? How was she feeling at the time? These questions couldn’t be answered, but when Calvin watched the videotape, sometimes he felt like Marcy was speaking to him through her piano playing and giving him insight to her thought process. And sometimes he felt that she wasn’t speaking to him at all, and that if he kept watching the videotape, the reason behind Marcy’s suicide would haunt him for the rest of his existence. Calvin put the videotape back into the VCR, turned on the television again, and watched Marcy play the piano.
Andrew T May 2016
A pretty girl sits down at a patio table across from me.
She takes an acoustic guitar
out of her leather purse. I’m drinking coffee grounded from Carver Stories
With one hand, she tunes the guitar,
and with the other she strums the strings
with a beating heart.

I feel an emptiness,
deep from within my chest,
that is like a ceramic jar
missing its precious soil.
The lyrics to her songs
come from a radio station on the moon.

The one that plays
music made out of
empty friends and unplanned successes.
I hum along to the pauses
between her words and clap
to the punctuation marks, constraining her lovely voice.

She sounds like my future.
She sounds like a songbird.
She sounds like running your fingers
through a round, bald head.
The girl looks up from her guitar
and smiles at me, as if I am her second boyfriend.

The same one who she marries
out of necessity,
out of income,
out of security.
I offer her a piece of gum
Etched with masculinity.

She takes a bite.
Then spits it out at once.
I laugh.
She laughs.
And it’s not the kind of laugh that is forced,
or given out of sympathy.

It’s the kind of laugh that says:
“Hey I see you and I know,
I miss the stranger in your smile.
And the kick drum in your heart.
And all love
that I have never received, due to my stubbornness.”

I blinked.
And the girl transformed into
a mirror.
And I changed into the girl.
And then the mirror became the girl.
And the girl became me.

Then we looked into each other’s eyes,
and made love under the spell of a song,
the same one she played in the beginning,
with music notes that sounded like the anguished cries
that come from my heart, the same heart
that she uses to play her guitar.
Andrew T Jun 2016
Journal Entry No. 43

We lived in a house made of sand and glass, far away from the mainland, across from a vast ocean covered in snow. I exposed your eyes to the television that was full of light and promise, and then I took it away in the middle of the night and dug a hole in the muddy ground and filled it with your extinguished passion and slices of your cadaver. From Chattanooga to Washington D.C., we traveled in a rowboat across treacherous waters, waves the size of skyscrapers, coasting through narrow passages packed with sheet metal and raw ice.


For hours I laid on my blue sofa and read multiple pages of The Windup Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood, hoping the characters would resolve the inner conflict that I harbored deep inside of my pit.


Cecilia never wanted to plunge her body into the swamp, while the alligators chewed on the bones of caribous, it reeked of misplaced pleasure and broken promises. I promised you I would build a white cathedral, but the smooth stones sat in the gazebo, waiting to be cut and shaped, the red brick stayed untouched, like the small of your back. Crazy women have entered my dreams and have died in my nightmares.

Cecilia gave me a rusted anchor and tied it around my neck, loosening it only to plant a wet kiss on my adam’s apple, as she leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “A universe exploded in the bottom of a wine bottle.” I followed her into the depths of the lush green forest, carrying a dagger and a flashlight. I shined the light on the brown bear that was eating honey from a collapsed hive. The dagger felt heavy in my hand, but I didn’t budge, and for minutes I stood there observing the eating habits of the brown bear, sweat dampening below my wrists.

Years went by, Cecilia growing bitter and resentful, having to mop off the marble floors with a wet rag, and wipe down the counters with a paper towel. Chore after chore, all this weight and animosity created something fierce and unsavory in her. I climbed a Mountain in California, wearing nothing but black sunglasses and a long white tunic. Pebbles became lodged in the back of my hiking boots, pressing into my skin, reminding me that some things would always remain tangible and difficult.

Warm and sticky, the rock candy lit up into a bluish flame, the pipe glazing up, the smoke percolating out and life being simple and free, dissolved into endless hopelessness. We were young and we were hungry; fighting off wolves and tigers that were starving like us. The smell of fresh meat bloomed through the air like oxygen breaking up into atoms.


Sadness permeated through the picturesque land, a storybook ending and a cinematic conclusion. She held the shotgun, pointed it at my chest, and pulled the trigger right as a deafening applause broke out from the grass tennis courts behind the open plain. This horrible and massive pain shot through my heart, causing me to fall back and hit the ground, hard, a lump in my arm emerging, my stomach turning in knots, as I felt my thundercloud softening into willow spring and silkworms. She moaned and screamed; I unable to grasp the intention in her words. Not like it was on purpose, but you get the gist of it.
Andrew T Dec 2016
Jules why did we come here? We're walking across wet sand and hugging onto boulders, that are boomerang shaped. You hold an electric lantern and glow with light, as you walk along the shore. The stars shine brilliantly and I am sad because you don't look at me look the way you look at that lion-shaped rock.

I chew on gum and try to forget about the fact that you're puffing on a Marlboro light. My Uncle died of cancer two months ago, and this is why I now chew on dentine ice. You tell me to stop smacking my lips. I want to push you in your chest, grab your cigarette, and burn a hole in your cardigan. But I bought that cardigan for you last Christmas. It cost a whole paycheck.

I need a better job. But you got me that job. So at the same time, I'm grateful to work at a country club, sweeping the tennis courts with a broom, as I watch young people swing and miss with their racquets. The clouds begin to darken and cluster above the beach. My knee shakes violently and I know it's about to thunder and boom with hard rain.

I open my mouth and try to put my arm around you, pulling you in closer. But you start to climb a rock, crawling on its lopsided surface, and digging your heels into its cracks. You toss the Marlboro **** and brighten the intensity on the lantern. The light spreads across the rock and the beach, like glass shattering onto a tiled floor. You hold the bright lantern in front of your face.

I can no longer see your brown eyes, your black, curly hair, and your jagged nose. You look at me. But all I see is that bright and shining light covering and shrouding your silhouette. You turn right and stare affectionately at the lion shaped rock. I swallow my gum. I pick the cigarette pack from the sandy floor. I flick the lighter. My eyes close.

I miss you.
Andrew T Oct 2016
The days shorten when you’re
about to collapse into the pile of ashes.
Make way for the young, the generation that hypes.
Write to find a journey within the sand
; eat and be merry.
Find your compliments through ART
Andy—he looks right at me—dream on.
Look towards the cross-eyed mannequin,
slipping into a coma. No one wants to be alone,
and vulnerable. We want to touch each other’s
skin, lay in each other’s arms, kiss; nose to nose.
Andrew T Dec 2016
A drop of water races down the windshield of a 98’ Honda Civic.
Art feels queasy from drinking too much milk with his coffee.
There’s a battle in his inner eye and recovery cannot be seen
in the distant future.

Garden snakes wriggle between the blades of
grass while the lawnmower hums
like the orange glowing streetlamp
outside my apartment building.

The cold wind spreads a blanket of wrinkles
onto the pavement smeared with blood and
my pa’s tears.
He spent his entire life hiding in a turtle shell, his head
buried in his guts.

The highs and lows fluctuate within the soul
of a poet who stabs his pen through
notebook paper staining his
leather ledger with black ink.

Songbooks bungee jump off the scaffolding of
red brick tenements as the moonbeams trace concentric circles
round the puddles of
dead rainstorms on the pale concrete.

My pa picks up a bow and arrow,
plucks the string back,
and shoots the target painted
on the granny apple falling

from the heavy branch of the dogwood tree.
LMS
Andrew T Feb 2017
LMS
I don't feel safe,
as though a predator has found
the combination to my comfort zone,
and now has unlocked it,
and is stealing my peace of mind.
"Please stop," I plead.

My arms are shaking, my hangover
is bigger than Trump's Wall.
The same blocked number appears and reappears
, then repeats on my phone screen.
I had to block you on my Gmail (Is that even a thing?).
Tinder used to be for fun,
and now I have contracted a haunting for five lifetimes.

My old friends do not want to speak to me.
I understand their worries, finally,
and I hope it's not too late to listen.
But your screeching voice is deafening
and it's hurting my sanity.

I'm sitting on my soft couch,
writing this poem,
and my fingers tremble as I write.
Because I don't even feel safe in my own house.
Once upon a time,
I thought we would say the "I dos."
Now, all I want is whiskey until I reach oblivion.

IRL is the steepest road to travel on,
but I chose a shortcut,
and now I have fallen off and into a descent
into a madness that Ginsberg has only whispered about
during smoke breaks at the temple building.
Quitting to smoke cigarettes is easier
than dealing with your stab-wounds of sentences.

Like my FaceBook Status,
if you've ever felt violated and controlled
by an old flame.
Then grab a fire extinguisher,
press the lever,
and put out the conflagration,
before it burns your life away.

-Andy
Andrew T Dec 2016
A White girl figure with a blank face and
a dress cropped over her knees lays
smeared flatly onto a restroom door;
a black star encrusted shoe kicks open the
Door.
In comes a knocking the delusions
of grandeur that stay suspended in the
Fragrance of workaholic soccermoms.
In one of the bathroom stalls
swims a ****** rosemary, teenage midlife-crisis
Averted. Theses tests were ironically
positive for the genesis of an unborn
Icon. I might have just used the wrong definition of irony.
Moving on. A hand flushes
the remanents of immortality down a sparkling, smiling toilet.
Rolled poems become unscrolled
when writeen on the pampered virgins paper.
In the next stall,
there lives substance for the homeless man
in the deep, brown soil
Of the marsh. A trash can is hunched over the sink,
attempting to dispense it’s
Apathy for a commercial world.
He turns the corner and sees writeen on the wall in
legible, abstract graffetti; “Ugliness is shrouded
under layers of positive
contradictions.” The words are engraved
deep into the cracked out, white tile wall.
Socialist Olympic torches blaze before ash
crumbles into communists tendencies.
The water is clear but the benches
are polluted with foreigner sea ****,
and
beneath the jangled sands
lie the zombies stuffed deep in the black body bags.
Andrew T Jun 2017
Walk the nature trail when it's dark outside and the children are fast asleep, tucked under blankets stitched by their immigrant grandfathers. Let your shoes soak in the muddy ground, collecting dirt and crushed leaves, as you walk deeper into the forest. The birds weep as their lullabies get lost and twisted in the shadows. A deer or is it a gazelle hurries across the dirt-trodden trail, leaping into the a patch of ancient shrubs. Somewhere, miles away from civilization, is a city running on the labor of your Vietnamese father, his hands caked in red brick dust and pollen. Currently, all that matters is that the tab of acid you've taken has settled in your belly, as you cross the corroded wooden bridge to the other side of the trail, where the young adults are playing the ukulele and drinking Heineken.

I am empty like the pill bottle on my brother’s nightstand.
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