old superhero things.
I used to write letters to the Man of Steel and wear a superman t-shirt under my everyday clothes. I would pray to the stars above that one day I'd get a cape and sail through space with ungodly control of my perfectly gelled hair. I would help people and beat up bad guys and win awards while walking through New York City without a single tip that I was the man of the hour, savior of the century. And sure, I'd get steam-rolled if kryptonite was a matinee feature or if some day, facial recognition exposed Clark Kent, but I'd always get the girl and I'd always save the day.
Then, I grew up and I wondered how he didn't grey. How he didn't seem to nurse his muscles back to health every night or beg for a day or a year off. How it must have been exhausting when the girls sort of understood and the guys didn't get it. How Superman must have been lonely and Clark Kent lonelier. How reading the comics might have helped clarify this, but how little time I had to invest in his character arc when I didn't even have time to make a premier.
Times have changed. I don't pray for capes because I get my wisdom from Edna Mode and I refuse to gell my hair for fear of its flamboyance and flammability. I'm still into girls and I still hope for awards with treasured anonymity. I accept that kyrptonite gets us all good and that technology is just far too advanced. And, still, I sometimes write letters to the Man of Steel but I don't ever ask for advice- I just inflate his ego a bit and iron flat that old t-shirt while I reminisce old superhero things.
last week i switched my shampoo.
there was something in the paper about
the ways sulfates rub and sc
rub and br
eak you hair
they sneak into
the finest little cr
acks and just
until they just can't take it anymore.
can make you so drained
you forget to switch your ringer on and you sleep through the most important meeting of your life and wake up with tears dried to your cheeks.
i think i
finally came to terms
with the fact that i am allergic
and that it's okay to change.
gas went up.
sulfates aren't always that bad.
when i wish upon a star
sometimes i forget what i am wishing for
and begin to make up stories
about why they might not be in store.
sometimes i try for big wishes
and smaller ones too.
sometimes i feel guilty for wishing too hard
and asking for things when stars might have more to do.
but, some wishes transcend pennies,
and dip in fountains clear,
fly past the heavens,
and settle in an angel's lone ear.
some wishes are made a lifetime ago
and continue to fill me with fear;
they make me feel warm on a lonely day
but produce a saline tear.
for if you listen closely,
you might just hear,
my very simple wish from now until forever:
"i wish that you were near."
life’s a little more should’ve than i wish it was.
a little too give
and take it back.
the tasteful aesthetic i’ve carefully curated in my mind
the converse i dangle from ledges and
use to stomp crushed up leaves and
smolder against painted murals, all while
dayglow plays in the background,
feel a little more side character in an indie movie.
should’ve opted for the combat boots-
or just bought new converse when these ones “artfully” ripped.
the windbreaker with burns from Bunsen Burners
and acid spillage discoloration coloring the bunched up,
elastic worn sleeves feel a little more
turned failing student,
should’ve tie-dyed a lab coat-
or just worn shorter sleeves to lab.
the angsty letters i wrote in high school to almost lovers,
all model united nations diplomats on weekends and
mountain-dew gamers on weeknights,
feel a little angry pink chick who stamps emo hearts into
her almost freckled cheeks so her my chemical romance
limited-edition vinyl feels more
should’ve written the letters by candlelight and burned them out of existence-
or just told the people in a timely fashion and moved on.
my pink slips in elementary school on
color polls for pointless reasons
feels so unoriginal,
so girl-next-door who’s desperate to fit in
because she’s tired of hanging out with random people
should’ve picked indigo or some crazy crayola sixty-four-
or just specified the pink i chose.
life’s a little more could’ve than i wish it was.
don’t be mistaken.
not all should’ve‘s are could’ve’s or can’s.
should’ve is a specific state of mind.
not concrete dreams,
but some long-lost,
half-formed passionate reflection
of a sunday daydream.
should’ve mobilized the figments as they came into a story of a thousand experiences-
or just gotten a tumblr in 2009.
#streamofconsciousness #poetry #freeverse
i remember those nights very clearly. the way the moon draped over her shoulders, the moonbeams braided into her highlights. the lingering scent of an Usher remix breaking up the frigid cold as her fingers entangled themselves in my hair, brushing a stray, oranged leaf out of the stressed grays. the blush still packed onto her button nose and the stars in her eyes as she caught me staring. the giggle when i turned away, her blush making rounds on my nonplussed cheeks as the pep in my step checkered the marathon in my heart. i remember those nights fondly.
the moment everything changed
locked eyes. turned away. locked eyes. glanced, shyly, at lips, then at my locked eyes.
an ode to overpriced coffee shops.
there is something absolutely divine about a six-dollar matcha latte.
the way the ice hits the plastic boundaries
and shifts the powdery green,
melting a million shades lighter
as it melds,
softly folding into some half-understood
alternative milk to match your alt music.
the hues of lucky a cold complement to a false,
complete with steam
and a hard "r" that makes the flaky,
buttery remanents of your half-breakfast
there is something shockingly satisfying about eavesdropping.
catching snippets of a conversation between
gushing about photoshopping themselves into photos with Harry Styles,
only to suddenly shift tone at the swipe of an insta pic,
passionately arguing that if abortion is illegal,
so should abandonment of the woman you impregnated.
there is something so incomprehensibly soothing about the voices of a coffee shop.
falling in love with the barista's voice,
as they read orders off,
marking what can only be the incorrect spelling
of some mother-loved,
hearing the clink and chatter of machinery,
pushing ever so softly against the mellow,
yet bold sounds of coffee house pop
that elevate the empathy between a middle-aged trucker
and his stranger-turned-confidant,
as he unloads a year's worth of resentment
and journaling on an unsuspecting,
there is nothing more lovely that falling in love at a coffee shop.
watching the sunlight frame your lover,
enveloping their soft curls,
adding a twinkle to their hearty,
yet suppressed laughter because,
you are in a coffee shop after all.
there's nothing like watching a tiny leaf,
go from green to brown.
filter through the shades of red,
wear a rustic, golden gown.
swim in circles gracefully
and settle on the ground,
covered in the crunchy markers
made for autumn sound.
and when a leaf dares to brave
the "bracing," "offset" cold,
the kind of chill that tucks you in
another lover's hold,
there will come a tender moment
when it chooses, "Free!",
but makes a home amongst the folds
of baby's fleecy sheets.
and as they gurgle,
with tiny arms outstretched,
the leaf will float,
on Sarah's nice white dress.
With a flick, Sara's swish
will offset leafy's dance,
and to the floor will tumble in some
and once again, the autumn spirit
doubles in romance,
as red and orange, brown and yellow,
fit pensive circumstance.
Chapter One: Napoleon and Becoming Reacquainted with My Arch Nemesis
When I took AP European History sophomore year of highschool, I fell in love with two people. The first was Napoleon Bonaparte, born Napoleone di Buonaparte. For some reason, I admired and empathized with Bonaparte’s egotistical, 6’2” vision for France despite his glaring problems of height, deference to authority, and temper. What really did it for me was the painting he commissioned of his coronation in 1804, “The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine on December 2, 1804”, done by Jacques Louis David. One of the most glaring alterations of his and his hunny’s coronation depiction is his demand that his mother be added to the scene. Now, Letizia Ramolino had said a big “fuck you” to Napoleon and refused to attend his coronation because of the friction between Napoleon and his brother (he said his brother could not be part of the imperial succession which rubbed his mother the wrong way), but Napoleon simply snapped his fingers and demanded that David highlight her front and center. And thou shalt provide.
Was it a dick move? Yes, absolutely. But I like to believe that it wasn’t as big of dick move as everybody thinks it was. Personal account, correspondances, and historians’ understanding of Napoleon and his mother’s relationship points to one of respect and devotion. Napoleon respected the hell out of his mother, admiring her resilience and pragmatism. And, I think it really bothered him that his mother hated Josephine. She thought Josephine was fast, indifferent, and spendthrift, very far from the frugality and conservative elegance of Letizia, herself. Napoleon was a dick to literally everyone else– the pope who did attend the coronation, Haitians, a majority of the era’s world powers, women, particularly after his marriage with Josephine failed due to her many affairs. But, despite it all, Napoleon would always love his mother and perhaps, that’s why I have a soft spot for Napoleon despite his outrageous dictatorial leadership. I mean something has to fuel a man who finds a way to escape his first exile and stage a coup. Some would argue it was wit, his incredible military stratagem and prowess, survival instinct, his inherent underdog status despite being such a prolific leader, or literally a million things other than familial relation, but I’d like to believe at least 1/100th of his strength was drawn from his love for his mother and hers for him, his inherent wish to be in her good graces, to fulfill the destiny she continually told him was his birthright. But, I digress.
Almost by association, I consequently fell in love with Jaques Louis David, the world’s most prolific hype man. Now, side note, I would like to quickly self proclaim that I am a wannabe art hoe. It’s true and this class did wonders for my examination and appreciation of Renaissance-era art and sculpture, as well as Neoclassical work of which Jacques Louis David was the preeminent authority, the CEO of the company if you will. I mean if you don’t love “Oath of the Horatii”, you are blind. But, it was his commissions from Napoleon that transfixed me. Just take a deeper look at “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” from 1805 for a brief second. Blows your mind.
While I was falling in love with two historical figures, I had been sitting front and center of the classroom. At some point, I shifted to the sides, had a moment, lived a life, and then shifted to the back row, back seat. But, bitch...
I hate the back row. I have glasses and because I lie to an optometrist, they are nearly always off. I’m a smart ass, but I also just want to be right in the center of the class action. I need attention and I crave validation. Truly, I have always been the individual who had, from an early age, strove to clarify that I am here to learn, I respect your time, and I would like to be acknowledged that I care. Student first baby and, while I will never stoop so low as to be an obvious suck-up, you better believe I wanted my phenomenal performance as a student to be remembered if my grades were ever in question, my eager attitude and work ethic a shining beacon. But, being placed in the back was frustrating as none of my charms could be evident from here. And, to my suprise, that would be the day I was reacquainted with one of my many arch nemeses.
Enter Bradley James Crenshaw. And holy mother of God, I was not prepared.
Call me Manisha Koirala. That’s not me and it is definitely not my name, but a girl can dream. Open up Google, type in “Manish Koirala”, and then click on Google images. She’s cute, right? Okay now close your eyes. Just pretend that I’m this below-average, dollar-store, could-be-Koirala if you squinted and were a mildly racist person and add the voice of a 20-something, neutral Indian-American. And call me Manisha. Or, if you feel a personal connection to me, I give you permission to call me “Misha”.
This is the story of how internalized white gaze and an inferiority complex made me fall in love with an astronaut boy. Astronaut boy, like young Matthew McCounaughey in Interstellar astronaut boy. I wish this was as funny of a story as my incredibly comedic timing but, being completely honest, it’s just kind of dumb– much like my comedic content. Love can be dumb and time-consuming and problematic as hell, but I would not change it for the world. To wax (and wane) romantically for a moment, go to your favorite streaming service and type in “When the Day Met the Night” by Panic! At the Disco. Listen to it while wrapped up in a blanket, staring out a window, imagining yourself in an indie music video. Get lost in the idea of being in love. Revisit this song when you read Chapter 2 because, trust me, music makes everything make sense. Every song fits a story, an image, a feeling, explaining my life better than my own words. As such, certain chapters will come with a song recommendation and there will most definitely be an appendix. Read my footnotes. They are hella necessary.
Now I’ll warn you this story ends pretty disappointingly. I really, really, really thought about how I wanted to finish this story. Logically, telling the truth makes the most sense. Be a reliable narrator, you know? But then I thought about Atonement. I’m not gonna spoil it for you, but bitch, I realized how easy it would be to make my story funnier, happier, cuter- better. But, unfortunately, I can’t. It just wouldn’t be right because this isn’t the story about how “the guy gets the girl” or how “I found out I was actually fucking amazing”. This is just the story of how Manisha fell hard and learned a whole lot about life in the process by being a good friend, a bad friend, and everything in between. It is what it is (and for my personal gratification, please say “it is what it is” out loud once you finish this line).