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  Oct 2022 Rachel Armstrong
Your flag
Your pride
Your accent and voice
The way you dress
The way you greet others
Your money

Your hair
Your face
Your tongue and the language it speaks
How you trip over words
Of a language which isn’t yours

But not too much
We already know your name
And your story
All by one look
All before you’re granted a chance to speak

Our children will stare at the gringa who passes
Whose tongue flicks with an anglicized mark
And crowds will glare with eyes of disgust
And shield our children from the alien before us

But we will also stop you in our streets to speak with you
But not because we care what you have to say
Rather because we want to practice your language
And make it ours
So we may criticize you in a way you’ll understand

But you’re here to study
And here to learn
And we want your money but not you in our schools
You take classes with your own kind
And speak with your own kind
And suffer with your own kind

We try to keep you all contained.

You can try to speak Castellano
Or learn how we think
But it doesn’t matter what you do
Every action is already explained
By the fact you’re a foreigner.

Where do you come from?
You couldn’t tell she’s American
By her flag, her pride, her accent and voice?
Your country seems like a different planet
Are you sure you came by plane?

Are you an alien person?
But it isn’t a question of your place of origin
It is of your humanity.
Are you an alien person?


Your name is too American
Write it like this.
Never mind that, it is too hard to say.
Here is a new one.
You only have one surname.
What did you do to disgrace your mother?

Come observe a new culture, never participating.
But we will observe you from across the Atlantic.
And your semi-barbaric ways
Because we know if the choice was ours
We’d house the lady
And you the tiger.

Come to our country where we may serve you poisoned fruit
And send you to our prison-hospitals
Where you will stay in your cell until yellow swims around your ankles
And you cry loud enough to be an annoyance
And when your bill arrives, te haremos confundido por Castellano
Never offering you el lujo a entender
Never offering ni paz ni amistad.

But you chose to come here
You cannot be surprised to you pay thousands to clean your blood off our floors
When you chose to spread your enslavement and war.
You are all so violent to spill so much blood
So barbaric.

Who will believe you if you say you don’t fight?
We see the news of you failing to protect your children
And how Oedipus permeates your state of mind
And the permanence of a confederacy keen on killing Kenyans
You walk your streets ready to spill your brother’s blood
And the blood of a million foreigners as you have done before

You circumcise your sons the moment they cry
And just stop there?
Why not cut off the rest
So your kind may never reproduce?
And your brother may live in awe of you

But we never enslaved nor conquered
Nor cut the hands or feet of any right-doer
Nor colonized, evangelized, or spoke a wrong word
We stayed neutral in war, fighting civil for the civil
Our history is filled with the taste of sweet sugar
Curated by the hands of people who adored us
Violence is all too western
And by that we mean American.

You chose to abandon your land
To study here
And to learn here
To hunt for our money and spend it on alcohol
So you may drunkenly stumble with your own kind
And speak with your own kind
And suffer with your own kind
And play the most dangerous game

A gamble with your money
A gamble with the law
A gamble with your freedom
All contained in a troublesome roulette

Because here the game is always rigged against you.

You are giants
Coarse, crude, and caustic
Who infect every perfect thing you touch
Turning our fine shores to gravel lots
Spitting oil in our seas
And turning our precious wine to water
All for the sake of bettering your newborn nation
Which ***** on the *** of its European predecessors

Wipe your streets with the blood of your children
And the blood of your women
And the blood of every barbarian who dares to hold a gun in the name of freedom
And there will be no one left to sing your anthem

We will eat you and your country alive
And burn your body among our forgotten tyranny
With the victims of our cultural dictatorship
And your country will pay no mind
And your death will be not so much as tragedy as a mere statistic.

Because to you it is life and death.
But to us it is a bet
How long will the gringa last?
Before xenophobia eats her alive
And her last words fall victim to a false deafness
Because this language should not be hers?

Yes, this is a ballad to your loss
The coming of a new era
When the gringa hangs on her cross
With the ashes of white and blue behind her
As her blood spills red
And she looks up to the stars
As her guts spill out
Striped with the acid of her nation

And we will watch as she sells her guts to afford her surgeon
In that country which pays her no mind
In that country which sees her as meat to be hunted
In that country which plays the most dangerous game
In her country who wins the most dangerous game
In her country who saved her life
In her country who she calls home
In her country who wants her home.

And she will cry waving her bloodied flag
Screaming “I’m American!”
Because her heart lies in her imperfect land
In her imperfect home
With her imperfect people
And she has an unfathomable love for her flag
Stained with the blood of a million foreigners.
A commentary on my personal experience with Spanish xenophobia
Rachel Armstrong Oct 2022
We exist to have one speck of stardust in a universe which we call our own

Merely one tiny point in a cosmos that can't care even if compelled or forced.

no heaven.
no hell.

We are here by fate unknown to us ******.

We may be here by our sins or by the fate of our dice.

We are not even the end result so desired,

We see ourselves too highly.

We try so hard to make our little speck brighter

We hurt ourselves trying to brighten our piece.

Yet, in these infinite cosmos,
We, our specks, mean nothing.

Still, we struggle, why?

We are without a doubt the most important specks in the cosmos
Every one of those little specks,
no matter how bright
no matter how small,

Without them all, we would have nothing

The ones that shine brighter and attract others to rightful causes
Cause entropy to reverse and for disorder to become order.

As Joni Mitchell once said,
"We are stardust, we are golden, we are all the same,"

When we are not together,
we skip lonely through the void,
awaiting what we know we will never find.

Apart, we are merely dust, drifting silently searching for love.

When we give up that hopeless dream,
then finally, by becoming one,

We can create stars.
i love you, maia.
Rachel Armstrong Dec 2021
O old Gods who wait in morrow, let me shine in sacred sorrow
I proffer, and offer, my marrow, bone, flesh, to thine altar borne,
lone in meeting, only fleeting, silent here for duty sworn
My old Gods who sit in waiting, might I power just to borrow?
Only briefly you must loan me the magic to sunder torn.
Weak and trembl’ng, weak to muster, I sought courage, but I crumble,
at the sight of just thy vision, for to me it seems e’er unseen
naught to know but thy own master ‘til I patient, sorely lumber
wondering if fear has stolen me to thine own sacred meadow
when suddenly, fervently see thine true shape and face and form and
terrible dreams enter my soul e’er to stay and e’er to fecund
for death I prefer to understanding the truth our Gods have shunned.

Yet little more did I then speak among the dead and too the meek,
falling towards an abyss so deep that makes my heart and soul weep
dying truly like a phantom lurking in the shallows creep
and yet falling ever faster and so overwhelmed by deep
my eyes and ears saw nothing and heard nothing, not a leap
from the darkness that consumed me e’er more did I fail to seek
that which cannot only reap the dead and tear them ‘til they so reek
so sharp and pointed so it was even I could witness and speak
“Who have I wronged in this place so awful that I am gaoled oblique?
Yet can still think and ponder the widow’s peak and in vain self-wreak?”
in sacred toil among the stardust that makes us shine so mystique.

What does thou will, O lord, my lord, of more than we can ever tell?
I know it is not my duty not to know. Ask I must, ask besides
the husk of my body is yours and yet I know little of thee
by whose authority do wield such magics and more asides?
it is not plain to me what sort of horror lies ‘neath the scorched ground
so why do I? Why do I scream? Why do I see the beast in me?
The hound that hunts for those who must be slaughtered despite what else they seek
the wolf inside that hunts, rips, and tears, taken apart piece by piece
the awful sound of howling that’s for me to not and never cease
the stars themselves align to my fate fear in mind and e’er besides
‘tis here that I myself sit alone and finally soon to die.
for death I prefer to the fate our Gods have brought to us benumbed.
practicing structured poetry. not very good at really understanding syllable stressors yet without a guideline. meter makes sense though. this is lovecraft inspired for a section of a novella i am writing.

this website doesn't let the lines work properly since they get moved down sometimes which is annoying, not wide enough for 1080p

gave a bunch of poems including my own here sunshine to support the website that lets me indulge myself on a pen name whence no one can find me.
Rachel Armstrong Nov 2021
as I drift to sleep
every night, the same
fans whirring, not a meep
in the dusk, the night, the tame

I begin to wonder
and I begin to ponder
how I could deter
these thoughts of mine.

of the serenity
and the intensity
the calmness
and the soft embrace

as the lace of my mind
fades into time
and I remember, my kind
and hope they, benign

I wonder, and wonder
I wonder, and ponder
I wonder, and sunder
I wonder, and blunder
into a new kind of comfort

that the darkness I wish
that I want to dismiss
yet seems so delicious
despite the dread
that exists only
in my head

I think of the darkness
and of what sort of kindness
the end of my existence might bring
drifting into silence
with no malice, no chalice
no cup overflown

no words to express
the cozy love I condone
that might be known
if I just take the one step
and end it on my own.
Rachel Armstrong Nov 2021
there was a little girl
with brown hair and green eyes.

when she was very young,
her family seemed broken,
and she became very quiet.
before long, she was able to forget
and as she became older,
she began to talk again.
she began to read,
and everyone told her she was gifted.
she could read far above her age
and she could easily retain knowledge
and could even infer things she had never read at all.

her family protected her
and kept her safe always
and yet, she was so sheltered
that she did not learn to survive
and as she grew older
others found her smart
clever beyond her age
but she was reserved,
and once more,
she became quiet
to her,
the world was confusing
and especially people
and she worried every time she spoke
that her words would be taken
in a wrong, hurtful way
she was afraid of being judged
but had nothing to be judged for.

amidst all this,
the girl was lost.
she did not know where she would go,
or what she would do,
or how she would make a difference.
when she seemed most lost,
she met a boy.

the boy was also alone,
and struggled with his words,
and feared being judged.
she did not notice him at first,
but he vied for her attention,
and soon enough,
the two admitted their love.

they grew closer and closer
and the girl finally felt,
for once in her life,
she had something to live for
someone to care about
and she finally found hope in the lonely dark.

she decided, on her own,
that she would do anything for him,
and would try her hardest to keep him safe,
and to give them both a life.

as she grew older still,
her resolve never wavered.
she faced many trials
learned things she never thought she could,
and overcame her own weaknesses
and made them her strengths
all in the pursuit of the happiness
she envisioned with the boy,
in some distant future,
that seemed not so far away.

she was finally proud of herself,
and became more confident with her words
and stopped worrying about being judged.
but she felt something was wrong.
she felt her soulmate was keeping something from her,
and when she asked, he fell silent, every time.

she screamed and yelled and asked what was wrong
because she only wanted to help, to understand
but he said nothing.

and every sleepless night
she would finally find respite
and say she was sorry,
and that it was her fault
for overthinking
and worrying.

the feeling never left her
but her infatuation kept her from realizing
that the fear was well justified
and she had known the truth all along,
but refused to accept it
because the hope of that future
could not ever be replaced
without losing something of herself.

when the little girl had finally found her way
and had overcome her struggles,
and became something greater
than she had ever once thought she could
the boy disappeared.

she asked after him and asked his friends,
and asked anyone she thought might know him
and know where he went or that he was safe,
mostly that he was safe. only that he was safe.

she met another, who echoed her concerns
but in the same manner,
that this person loved him too,
and she realized,
as the other did,
what had happened.

the girl, stricken in grief
over knowing her hope was gone,
lost as fast as it had sparked,
knowing things would never be the same,
finally found the boy again.

she told him she knew,
and she had accepted it,
but she wanted to know why.
he admitted everything,
and she believed him when he said
he did not think he was good enough
to be a partner to someone like her
and had fallen into his lies and deception
to stay with her for just a little longer
he was on the street,
and he had given up,
but she had not.

she was now stronger,
and she saved him from himself,
and despite the wrongs he had committed,
she still stretched her own willpower
as far as it could go
to save his life and keep him safe,
because despite shattering her heart,
and leaving it broken,
she still loved him,
if not as a life partner,
as they would never be, and never could be,
but as someone who had proven
that she could be loved
she still felt he had helped her overcome herself.

unable to bear him any longer,
she asked him to leave, for good
she did not want any repayment
she did not want him to have debt
she simply wanted him to move on
and find a better life, and to be honest
to himself, and to those he knew
and she hoped her kindness
would help the boy change
but she would never know for sure
because he was gone forever.

as her pain worsened and corrupted her,
she finally was unable to bear
seeing the dream she once had
broken and lost over and over,

every day,

every hour,

every minute,

painful and excruciating

in a place she wanted to call home
that instead became a prison
of her own self-deception
and self-hate.

so, the little girl began to wander
in dreams and in flesh
and she found peace in nightmares
and sought dysphoria and introspection,
dancing with Alice and singing with Tina,
because she had lost so much of herself
she felt she had to journey to reclaim what was lost.

she searched every nook,
every cranny,
every alley,
high and low,
but found nothing
and ran out of hope in the process.

after journeying as far as she could go,
she collapsed, and gave up.
she fell on her back,
and stared at the stars,
and wondered how she could possibly live
without the idea of him, not of what was, but what she hoped for.
but she knew it was over, and her dreams were gone
and ever
and ever.

she stood up, one more time
and met her family again.
but this time, her fears were realized
they were broken, moreso than her
and with all she had learned
she could finally see it
and realizing this,
she knew she could not go home
and that there was nothing for her there
they disagreed,
but she knew better.

she met many more people as she wandered
now aimless, and often kowtowing
to those she did not care for or respected.

she began to listen

and to hear their cries,

and their anxieties,

and their worries,

and their dreams,

and their fears.

and she realized

that all these people

were just like her.

they all had the same problems
the same anxieties,
the same worries,
the same dreams.

her final weakness had been conquered
and she understood others
often better than they understood themselves.
they were all a step behind
they still worried about and misunderstood
the intentions and assumptions of others
while to her, it seemed obvious.

and as the little girl listened and helped
and brought peace and comfort to many souls
who had no other way to find it,
she had forgotten about herself
and she began to slowly slip further and further
away from who she was, and away from who she wanted to be
until she found herself giving everything to help others
and never once helped herself.

when asked how she knew their worries so well
and could explain their fears and doubts
with such clarity and ease

she said she had felt it all before

many times

many, many times

and rather than be defeated by them
she reflected, and pondered
and wondered why she felt this way
and with her gifts, of language and reason,
she could put her feelings to words
but never for herself, only for others
because she needed a catalyst to bring this talent to bear.

the girl became more world-weary
and became more alone
as her gifts were temporary and ephemeral
and she lost those she helped
she never became angry, or discouraged
she knew they had their own lives,
and she was satisfied if they had, even a little
appreciated her time, and her thoughts
which had all come from pain, and strife
that she had been able to survive.

as she lost the last of her friends
and lost the last of her hope
and finally crumpled, in a sorry state
and found her own strength wanting
after carrying so many others on her back
and after all that had happened,
and after all she had done,
and after all she had endured,
thinking of everyone she hurt,
everyone she helped,
every heart she broke,
and those who had broken hers
she finally found
somewhere in herself
the courage she had thought she lost long ago
and let herself cry.
Rachel Armstrong Feb 2021
i used to spend a long time with you and thinking about you.
i would write and sing yarns and threads of your life.
we busied ourselves for hours, days, away from
just about whatever it was that kept me sad.
it seems like a lot of years have passed
and even though we're still so close
it seems more and more like i,
just can't spare the effort to.
i love you and always will
don't think that changes
but i can't write letters
or play pretend with,
all my secret friends
i just feel tired yet,
not forgotten or
alone or lost or
is there a way,
an expression
of how wiser
but without
i feel now?

maybe just
fully lucid
and aware
the clarity
of a mind
only idle
that life
my life
at all.

and that it wasn't worth the fatigue it took to get here. but what can i do? i am at a dead-end, there is nowhere to go. if i write a longer line, i break the trend. the trend wasn't even very good to begin with. i think a few of those lines are too long for the pattern. i spent some minutes trying to resolve them but i wasn't satisfied.

in truth, though it often takes that idled age to realize, past the self-conscious judgement and harsh, masochistic self-critique
the point is not to be unique or force anything.
it's to express the heart,
because that's not something anyone gets to do very often, especially not to strangers.

if i've gone long past being frightened of death or spiders, i'd expect some words to not spur my anxiety so much.

anxiety is just that; fear of my, your own unreasonable expectations
not the fear of being ridiculed, or the complex fear of success;
not even a fear of being hated, or forgotten and never remembered
it's the fear of never being known to even be forgotten
that awful dreadful horror of not being noticed at all.
not becoming stronger as an individual, but less.
and it can be fatal.
Rachel Armstrong Aug 2020
then apart,
faithfully two,
desperately prying,
for anything I felt so
maybe, in recollecting,
needy and wanting then
watch it all fall apart again
complex, long, feels the worst
yet there's still more to go
i try my best to stay alive
knowing what's to come
forgetting what I found
losing that feeling of
righteous doubting
in myself, not you
that silent regret
always with me
nightmare, no
just a dream
forget it,
it's only
just wanted to make a nice gradient
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