Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Photograph by Nicole Dahlmer

I'm Stuck by Sarah Zuidema


I'm stuck.
in a hole,
in gum,
in a chair.

I'm stuck.
in conceit,
in deception,
in despair.

I'm stuck.
in sin,
in mistrust,
in lies.

I'm stuck.
in stereotypes,
in expectations,
in a perspective.

I'm stuck.
in work,
in impressions,
in words.

I'm stuck.
in the past,
in the present,
in the future.

I'm stuck.
in hope
in touch,
in love.

I'm stuck in the net of the human race.
in the world's norms,
my own goals,
my life's pounding.

Time to break free.
Who but me holds me here?
Who says I can't live with integrity?
Who says what I've done is worthless?
Who says I'm not already who I want to be?
Who says I'm stuck?

Portrait by Pauline Cruz

Photogram by Pauline Cruz

Books for Sale by Pauline Cruz

As I lie on my back, I nervously watch people move around the room, sometimes passing my table without a second glance. I look over at the others; some are sleeping and some are staring straight at the ceiling. I shift my glance at the giants standing guard over us with bored, blank looks on their faces. I look away and start praying for my pages. I’m a used book, you see, and today my friends and I are going on sale. I remember the good old days when I was fresh off the printing press. I was packed in a big box with my clones and shipped to some bookstore in some city. I watched as people came in the store everyday and browsed around. Every day, I sat back as my clones were picked up by someone. Sometimes, they were flipped through and set back on the rack in the same moment. Other days, they were carefully leafed through and, if they were lucky enough, taken home by that person after an exchange of money with the cashier. Soon, it’s my turn to go and I am promptly taken home by a female with her parents and her siblings. I tremble at the memories that were planted in my mind after my purchase. After years of having my insides ripped and torn, having various liquids spilled/written all over me, and being tossed and thrown around, my salvation finally came when I was put into a donation box for a library. The librarians almost rejected me, but after careful restoration to my pages and binding, I was ready for the shelves. The kids that borrowed me varied from day to day. Some of them would take me home, flip through my pages, and stuff me in their backpack so they could return me they next day. Others took me home and scrutinized my insides carefully; drinking in the story I had to offer. Now, after years of going back and forth from the library, I’m here lying on a table, ready for a new home…or so they think. I’m shaking inside, praying to my author (wherever he/she is) that I won’t have to go through the torment I had to endure after my first purchase. But with my luck, I’ll probably get someone with a massive dog that’ll use my as a chew toy. I can already see it now. Pieces of my pages flying all over the place. Me trapped in a prison of sharp teeth and disgusting saliva. I tremble just thinking about it. But just as I think I’m a goner, I look up and see her. A female looking down at me like I’m some sort of gem or precious treasure. She gently picks me up and starts to flip my pages, examining them and making sure I’m readable. After what seems like an eternity, she hugs me to her chest and asks to buy me. After the usual exchange of money, she turns around and walks out the door with me in her hands. I look up at her and see her smiling and I know that I’m going to be well taken care of for the rest of my days.