Alone and together,

Together, yet alone,

We stood so many years,

But those years are gone.

I’m driving on a dark route,

Let’s call it sixty-six,

The cop that’s on my ass,

Is making me feel brass.

That’s not how I had imagined,

Pursuing this old, desolate road,

But asking, what if I got pulled over?

Is making me feel bored.

What if? What if? What if?

Just runs through my head,

But it’s not the marijuana,

And I’m not paranoid, I laughed.

It’s been a few long years,

Since I took this bizarre street,

But I’m only going forty an hour,

Without a maniacal creep.

I am kidding off the margarita lime,

But perhaps he was bipolar,

Psychologically coiled,

Similarly foiled, just like me.

I smoked no grass with him,

Yet anxious I still had been,

Afraid of the authorities higher,

I clenched onto his wheel.

He was the one toking,

Smoking on our time,

What once made me nervous,

Just no longer applies.

There is no longer authority,

Standing over my head,

No one to say I’m wrong,

No one to say I’m bad.

So, all in all, I think that I’m alright,

And so is the maniacal creep.

The police are alright too,

They follow the system’s rule.

Some men are good, some bad,

Some just a little better,

Some of them end up sorry,

Some of them will blame forever.

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

The question really mattered then.

Today, it’s no longer suffocating,

To live inside my brain.




A sad saxophone in my ear,

Just the tone I want to hear.

It’s the music to my life,

Up and down in melodic strife.

I thought that someone had paid,

The lovely saxophone man,

To play the same song on repeat,

But in vain this I had wondered in defeat.

Four hours in and two cigarettes down,

He’s making me feel like a clown,

Playing “Careless Whisper,” with no care,

Only if he knew I was in despair.

One drag, two drag, three drag,

Four… a table just got sat.

Sorry, if that’s your last one,

These guests need water and really don’t care,

If you can’t afford another cigarette pack today.




I walk uninspired,

Getting so tired,

Of being mute.

Why can’t like Hughes,

Could I produce,

Some poetry.

It would be grand,

To see it unveil,

In my thoughts.

But it’s better the pen,

Suffer this concern,

For it does not mind.


Tommy is limping around his dirty apartment like an injured antelope running away from its predator. Ever since last week, when the old man “fell and couldn’t get up” out of his tiny shower stall, he has been subjected to the grueling task of using crutches for support. He promised the doctors that his beer belly and foul alcohol breath had nothing to do with fracturing his foot, that he had only had one glass of wine, and that he knows he has a heart thing going on.

He trips over an empty package of Natural Light, stubs his bad toe on the television stand, and swears grumpily at the top of his tar filled lungs. “Fucking piece of shit!!!”

Fuck the box, he thinks to himself. Fuck it.

He picks up what’s left of the innocent cardboard and demolishes it with three swift moves. There is no relief to be felt. There is no consolation in the action. He throws it on the ground with a temper tantrum of a five year old child and proceeds to beat it with one of the crutches.

When the momentary, pain-induced rage finally subsides, Tommy takes the object of his anger to the fly infested kitchen. Greasy dishes smeared with yellow topple over the sink with no room for more. Withered cranberries, used to make his favorite juice, are permanently stuck to the counters. Dry chicken bones, some with grey meat still attached, are scattered around the floor.

Yet nothing in the kitchen seems to irritate Tommy, except for the incessant buzzing of the flies, now circling around and around and around the ceiling lamp.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Bzzzzz. Bzz buzz bzzzzzzz. Bz. Bz.

A fly sits on Tommy’s weak forearm. Without hesitation, he smacks the area, but misses the little fucker. He fantasizes about ripping off their little body parts, piece by piece, and fly by fly.

Adding to his aggravation, is a knock on the door. He ignores it, but the visitor is persistent. The knocks do not stop and Tommy feels forced to open the door, prepared to tell whoever it is to leave him be.

But his demeanor quickly changes, because a beautiful, radiant young woman in green scrubs smiles at him. His eyes reveal a hint of surprise mixed with admiration for what he sees. Her skin is a glowing caramel, sun-kissed by the warmer city weather. She has long, curly, brown hair, swept back in a neatly ornamented pony tail.

“Hello,” she says, but Tommy does not answer her. Her voice is subtle, sweet. He has known it before.

“My name is Monica. I’m a home health aide from Care For You Inc.” she quickly adds.


“I thought they gave you a call I was coming today? You need help because of your cast?” Nothing.

“Uhh… Sir?”

Nothing comes out of the old man’s mouth.

They stare at each other and Monica continues to smile amidst all of this confusion. Tommy is deliberating and decides that she’s right. He was expecting a health aide, but not Eve.

“Welcome,” he utters coldly and lets her in.


Once upon a time, about two and a half years ago, I stumbled upon a bold publication with a name as powerful as its content. The Vindicator, a student run magazine at Cleveland State University, intertwines multiculturalism and social justice. It ultimately provides a safe zone for the expression of all voices, especially those that may have previously been unheard.

Intrigued with its frank and unselfish nature, I automatically decided to contribute to the upcoming month’s issue. This edition’s theme was supposed to be identity.

With my own identity buried in the duality of being an immigrant, my first article ended up being a reflection of this experience. I had quite a few life changing realizations while recanting my fading memories, perceptions, and feelings.

But perceptions and feelings are just that, they are constantly in flux. Reading the piece in retrospect, I noticed that my identity has evolved drastically and realized that certain aspects of this “immigrant existence” have changed radically.

With the political climate raging with reforms in the immigration arena, I feel compelled to say that my experience is purely, authentically, and once and for all –


Because after all… what does it mean to be American anymore?

Our stellar American school system (hopefully) produces stellar American citizens; with their cores and hearts deeply embedded in their taught American values.

Whether we came here legally or illegally as young children, we were bound to eventually continue our journeys, as –