Author: admin

Some Questions for Elaine Medina

Editorial intern Kevin Herrera had a few questions for author Elaine Marie Medina

Is “Buzzing Bees” based on something in your personal life; and, if not, what is “Buzzing Bees” based on — what was the inspiration for writing it?

“Buzzing Bees” in some form is based on a relationship from my youth where I allowed myself to be ruled by my heart, consequences be damned. It was a way to let go of a bad situation that still haunted me. Writing has always been a way for me to sort of exorcise emotional demons and this semester I really let it speak into my writing.

How long did it take you to write “Buzzing Bees” and what was the process like? Was it difficult or easy for you?

I first worked on “Buzzing Bees” last semester. It took me about a week 2 weeks to write it and this semester through the wonderful guidance of the Lit & professors I’ve been better able to get the true essence of what I was trying to express and I hope you guys enjoyed it!

Did COVID impact this piece of work and if so, how did COVID impact this piece of work? Did it make you change, in some way, how you wrote this piece or why you wrote this piece?

Honestly, if it wasn’t for COVID I don’t think “Buzzing Bees” would have ever existed. Due to being out of work and staying home and away from loved ones, I decided to enroll back in school to further my career: but mostly to chase my passion, which has and will always be writing.


Read Elaine’s flash fiction piece “Buzzing Bees”


Image credit: “Pollen Heart,” Danny Perez Photography. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. 

Buzzing Bees

by Elaine Medina

Busy worker bees clamored along. Shoppers buzzing around, honing in on flowers and selecting the ones they’d be choosing. The sweet old lady with her grandson, buying him a lollipop that his mother surely would not approve of; but it brought color to his face and made his eyes beam.

“Granny, could we get a slice of pizza before going to mom’s house tonight?”

The supermarket manager had dribbles of saliva flying out of his mouth from yelling at an employee who’d dropped one too many cases of milk: spilling the liquid like a white flood coming to engulf her and sweep her away. Maybe if it did then I wouldn’t feel so lost. Thinking of a man who is with another– who has always been with another — leaving me like a wilted flower that all the bees seem to overlook–

“How many times am I going to have to take this out of your pay?! Maybe I should just fire you!”

All these bees buzzed and zipped around, not even noticing me. Was it finally happening? Was I finally disappearing, the way he had from my life? The way he’d just thrown me away like I didn’t matter. Maybe I don’t.

I tried to focus on the one-sided cell phone conversation with my friend but lacked the energy. Without my bee I couldn’t focus. But I had to try. He has another. He has another; I kept telling myself. I had to let him go.

“Gwen, are you even listening?” Was I even listening? No. I had no desire for this phone call to continue, but I knew deep down Rose did it out of love. She knew the state I was in. But it was pointless. She was just another droning sound. Another bee buzzing at me. As I stood there in the middle of all these busy bees in the supermarket aisle, I wondered why I even came out to this store? Why did I want to be around all these bees, buzzing and searching when I didn’t know what it was I was searching for?

Then I remembered Rose insisting I start getting my life back in order. To try and forget the man who only wanted my heart in stolen moments. Moments I would give just to have him, even if only for a little while.

“I see him,” I said to Rose. I saw my bee. I saw Devin. After being apart for so long.

“Who? Who do you see?,” came from the cellphone, barely resonating when my eyes were on my bee. On my love yet not love. Because he wasn’t mine. I needed to remember this.

“No one. I have to call you back. I think it’s my coworker.” I pressed the glaring red button to end the call three times just to make sure I’d actually done it.

I lied of course, because if Rose knew who I saw, she’d scream at me to run the other way — even when I couldn’t. My body would never let me. He was like a magnet, pulling me to him.

I could see him through the stacked cans of beans. Could he see me?

Yes. YES. He did. He saw me. He did! He walked towards me. He was coming for me. Coming back to me. He needed me like I needed him. I was his Queen. All the other worker bees buzzed out of his way. And he buzzed out of my way too. Walked right past me.

“Devin…” I called out. But he kept walking.

And I did the only stupid thing I could do before he was gone.

I reached out for him.

I knew I shouldn’t. He for once in our sordid relationship did the right thing, and here I was after everything I told myself after two months apart. Desperate to reach him, when I should be pushing him away; I just couldn’t bring myself to retract my fingers.

I grasped his coat tugging him towards me.

“Devin…” What I wanted to say was I miss you and pick me. I’m yours, not her. But all I could say was his name.

“Gwendolyn. I didn’t see you. Hey.”

I stood there gaping at him. If we’d been in a cartoon, my mouth would have dropped to the floor.

Those were the words that left his mouth after two months apart? He no longer recognized me or knew who I was? I was just this forgettable thing. Something you had to make a sticky note for because he just couldn’t bother to remember me. Couldn’t bother to realize how he’d just ripped me to shreds again.

The buzzing in my chest intensified. The bees gathered around my heart protecting their hive after I opened it and left it exposed again. I knew better and yet at the first sight of him, I went right back.

I let go of him, feeling the burn of his words on my fingertips, like I’d grazed my fingers too close to a candle. Because that’s what Devin was: the beautiful flame dancing atop a candle. So alluring, enticing a bee to its own demise.

I wanted to melt into the shoppers buzzing around us, trying to ignore the show I just put on. I grabbed the basket with the little groceries I’d left discarded and rounded the aisle to make my way to the cashier, but now Devin stood, blocking my path.

“Am I still so invisible you don’t see that you’re blocking my way?”

“I’m sorry I–.”

“Sorry for being an utter and complete asshole or sorry for blocking my way?” I knew I was being immature but at that point I didn’t care. I wanted to hurt him how he’d just hurt me yet again.

“I suppose both.” He gave me that lopsided grin that used to disarm me. I could feel the bees buzzing near my heart, their hackles raised more than my own.

“Marvelous. Wonderful, you supposed both.”

I tried to side step him but he blocked my way again.

“Is this what you wanted? To have me still pining for you? Well revel in the tiny glimpse you almost saw of you having any sway over my life, my emotions, my being because I will never allow you to do that– this to me again. You will never have power over me. I am a Queen. I am–”

And he did the only thing that could have probably stopped me from going further into my tirade.

He kissed me.

He consumed me. Gripping my shoulders, pulling me to him, setting my body alight and all the bees in my chest hummed with pleasure. With no regard for the shoppers buzzing around us. Without a care for who might see us as we held onto each other — with everything we had our bodies melding and mouths devouring one another under the fluorescent lights of the supermarket aisle, with shelves of pastas and sauces surrounding us.

He took until I had no more to give and was too exhausted to fight.

Devin I’ve lost you,” I heard her say from one of the other aisles, “did you get the sauces?”

Hearing her voice incensed the bees in my chest and they wrapped around my heart, bringing me to my senses.

The hands that were just gripping his chest now pushed away. He released my shoulders and I immediately missed the heat of his touch. I stared at his mouth thinking of what we just did, and that it changed nothing.

“You’re here with your wife.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement. I’d know her voice anywhere.

“Yes. I’m here with her.”

I turned away before he could see the tears fighting to be released.

I went to move around him and leave the aisle and this time he relented.

As I made it to the register I saw her join him with their cart full of things for their life together.

We locked eyes one final time, as if reaching for each other.. Hearts and souls wanting each other.

But never meant to have each other.

The bee buzzed back to his queen.

And I thought: maybe I wasn’t a queen, or the flower Devin would ever choose. Maybe I’m just a bee who’d lost her way.

 


Check out our questions for Elaine Medina.


Elaine Marie Medina writes fiction and poems. She was born and raised in the Bronx. She is a Daycare Provider, but don’t judge a book by its cover.


Image credit: “Honey Bees,” BluDawson. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

This Story Has a Ghost In It

by Earthnova 

Veronica was in a spacious office. The well-polished furniture and loosely packed bookcase resembled a minimalist but not modern aesthetic, and the large windows had a view of the gridlocked traffic below that stretched for miles. 

“So, Ms. Veronica, why did you apply to work for me?” He laid down the resume he had pretended to read and leaned back slightly in his leather chair. Veronica concentrated to ignore her hunger pangs and drowsiness and smiled brightly.

I am an avid reader so when I saw the ad to work for the best writer of our age, I knew I had to jump at the chance,” she said. As she maintained direct eye contact, the same way she practiced while on the previous dozen interviews that week, she could see his blue irises had green straight diagonal lines in them that intersected with his pupils.

Well, I’m flattered to say the least,” he said. “To tell you the truth I owe all of my success to my story consultants.” He sat upright. “And one of the perks is that you can spend most of your time reading anything I have in the lobby that you will be working from. So I hope you’ll make use of that.” She stared at him with a neutral expression, expecting to hear a downside. “In short, other than setting appointments and maintaining my calendar the only ‘work’ you will be doing here is making sure I am not interrupted, under any circumstance, when I am speaking with my story consultants,” he said sternly and gestured to the empty chair next to Veronica.

Take Reggie here for example. Just because he is a ghost and therefore cannot be seen, everyone assumes they can barge in here and demand my attention whenever my office looks empty. This can stop the groove we were in, wasting the whole day.”

…What?” she said, with her smile cracking. Veronica began to think quickly, replaying in her mind the previous minute of noises coming from the author’s mouth and she pondered how she could have misheard what was said so badly. 

“Oh, I should explain. See, all of my story consultants are ghosts of people who died before finishing that great book they were working on. I write it for them, and then with all of their earthly business done, they can get to the afterlife.” 

Veronica started to grip the arm rests of her chair. “What?” she said with a small panic in her voice. She realized she did not mishear, he actually believed that he saw ghosts. Dread and disappointment overtook Veronica in equal measure. 

“That’s how I became the preeminent ghost writer you see before you,” he said with a rakish grin. She frowned. 

“That’s not what the phrase ‘ghost writer’ means. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is the reverse of what it means.” 

“Oh, tomato potato,” he said dismissively. He looked over to the empty chair. “Really? I think I’ve heard it my way before,” he said as if he was talking to someone.

Veronica looked back-and-forth between the empty chair and the author. “And you can see these ghosts, how?” she asked. 

“Inherited. People like me who were born with angelsight,” he said while gesturing to his eyes. “Have the ability to see the unseen. Some of us see through walls, some see cancer, I see ghosts.” 

“If it’s from your eyes, how can you hear them?” she asked with increasing incredulity. 

“I don’t … know.” He said after a pause without confidence. His head perked up and he glanced at the empty chair. “Yeah, that is possible,” he said to nobody.

Do you expect me to believe that you built your career by stealing stories from ghosts?” she asked while staring him down. He became irate. 

“OK, so first of all, I don’t steal anything. In exchange for writing their stories down, and taking credit, their torment of clinging onto the mortal coil ends. That is completely fair. Secondly, I don’t expect you to believe anything. I expect you to tell appointments: ‘Sorry, a story consultant just stopped by so your meeting has been pushed back. He will be with you shortly, please wait here,’ while I conduct my business with people like Reggie here.” He said while nodding his head to the chair that still looked empty.

Veronica realized she had wasted her time again. Although she had not decided if he was a charlatan or a loon, she was sure that working here would have no future. This was just like that pyramid scheme she spent 6 hours interviewing for the day before last.

 “Oh, uh… Look at the time!” she said, looking at her bare wrist. She forgot she had to pawn the watch she usually wears on it to pay for her resume printing. “I have somewhere else I have to be.” She proceeded to stand up while the author lunged forward with a hand outstretched.

 “Wait! I give unlimited vacation days, payroll is run weekly, and the health plan has a zero dollar copay,” he said quickly. She cocked her head.

 “What’d you say?” 

“Unlimited vacation days.” 

“No, after that.” 

“Zero dollar copay.” 

“No, between the two.” 

“… Payroll is run weekly?”

One week later…

“Sorry, a story consultant just stopped by so your meeting has been pushed back,” Veronica said casually between bites of her overpriced sandwich. “He will be with you shortly, please wait here.” 

The man standing before her sighed and turned to sit on the plush bench on the other side of the lobby. But he immediately spun back around to face Veronica: “It is absolutely vital that I speak with him now. Otherwise his contract with the studio will eliminate residuals entirely.” 

“That does sound important, but so is your client hearing from his consultants,” she said, and then added “Unless you can pass through walls too, you’ll have to wait until he’s ready.” 

“What do you mean ‘pass through walls too’?”

 


Listen to an interview with editorial intern Jin Martin and author Earthnova


Earthnova is a File Clerk from Ridgewood Queens. They are currently enrolled at LaGuardia pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts: Social Science and Humanities. Their likes include Anime, Card Games, and Stand-up Comedy. Their dislikes include Social Media and Flash Photography.


Image credit: Sit Over There, Thomas Hawk. Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0.

Some Questions for Madelyn Romero-Melgar

We had some questions for author Madelyn Romero-Melgar

What inspired you to write “Into This World”?

When we were asked to write a “home” piece, it was really hard because I moved a lot and I never felt that “home” feeling, even until this day it still feels like something is missing. I was inspired to personify my old homes by Colson Whitehead’s “City Limits” where he talks about being a New Yorker and what stories your old apartments would tell. I liked the idea of my old addresses being sort of an old babysitter that looked after me and taught me things. I was also heavily inspired to open up by Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez’s “Witness Mami Roar.” I cried deep belly tears reading her essay and related with it so much.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

I did not intend for my essay to end the way it did. I actually left my mom looking like the bad guy at first, but the more I revised it and started finding the double meaning to “welcomed into this world.” I realized that she never felt at home either and she struggled to be accepted in this “world” that we were more easily accepted in because we were born here. This piece helped me open my eyes about a lot of things as I wrote it.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

Because of the pandemic, I had time to go back to school and take a writing course. I think the quarantine helped me slow down and reflect on a few things. I forgot that I loved reading and writing. What has happened during the pandemic is tragic and it still feels very hard but I would say writing again is the silver lining to it for me.


Read Madelyn’s nonfiction flash “Into This World.”


Image credit: “Apartments,” Stu Rapley. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Towel

by Stella Gleitsman

I thought a towel in my room was a man today
I thought a clothing rack was a man when I went out shopping
I thought there was a man behind the shower curtain this morning.
I keep on being a delusional woman
I keep on seeing shit that’s not there
Is this what being a girl is?

Having a vision that is untrustworthy, a mind playing all these tricks on you.
Making these accusations,
yelling at nothing, screaming at clouds,
At all the birds who pierce through them.
I tell everyone how small that boy made me feel
How he violated my spiritual space, harassed my body.
They burst out laughing, tell me, everything’s fine, no one’s out to get you, relax.
But I can’t relax, see, I am afraid of everything, even shadow puppets.
I see a man everywhere
I see a death everywhere
And aren’t they just about the same thing?
You see the man and then the woman’s body turns up a day later, bloated, mangled, frozen, ripped to shreds.
At times I think what I’m seeing are ghosts, stuck here, going through the motions of violence until it ends differently.
The ghosts are ten feet tall and breathing down my neck, eyeing my every move.
I am frozen and shaky and stupid before them.
I’ve noticed I’m always waiting for male violence to end differently,
to end in softness,
in tears, in love poems.

But the truth is that man was waiting for me to get out of the shower
The clothing rack man had been stalking me in my closet for weeks
The towel followed me home from the corner store– blocked my path, asked me to come back to his place
When I said nothing — when I said I needed to get home
He covered me in his starchy terry cloth
He wrung me out dry
I don’t bathe for years,
I reek of sweat
My hair in knots
Oh, I’m so tired of soap
Oh, I’m so hungry for dirt.

 


Listen to Stella Gleitsman read her poem “Towel.”

 


Stella Gleitsman grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is a Writing and Literature major in her freshman year at LaGuardia. She has been writing poetry ever since she was 13 years old, often about mental health, feminism, Jewish identity, and spirituality. She views poetry as a place of healing, catharsis– a safe place to speak freely–and hopes that her poetry can connect with others and touch their lives in some way. You can find her on Instagram @stell__uh, and as well as her poetry account, at the handle @stellaisapoet.


Image credit: “Towel,” Kevin Steinhardt. Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

Ode to the Sun

by Stella Gleitsman

We think we are big men

But the only big man is the sun

The sun is the biggest crone in the galaxy
And we owe her our life

She is stretched and blistered skin on the back of an aged woman

She is the witch in the nursery rhyme

I see her lying on the corner every day, I keep my eyes forward and up

The sun is everything that makes your head ache and sway,
It is every hateful thing women have done to themselves,
Every descent into madness from heatstroke

Water that’s so hot it’s icy
Love that looks so much like hate it grows back as love
When it’s so hot, your tears melt your cheeks away
When it’s so hot, your skeleton shivers,
When it’s so on fire that it’s home again,

It’s mother’s arms again,
dressed in blood again.


Stella Gleitsman grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is a Writing and Literature major in her freshman year at LaGuardia. She has been writing poetry ever since she was 13 years old, often about mental health, feminism, Jewish identity, and spirituality. She views poetry as a place of healing, catharsis– a safe place to speak freely–and hopes that her poetry can connect with others and touch their lives in some way. You can find her on Instagram @stell__uh, and as well as her poetry account, at the handle @stellaisapoet.


Image credit: “Sun,” Nigel Howe. Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

rancour, black

by Amir Bouanane

the gathering of ether,
the dancer in the morgue
and the crow perched
awaiting the toll of 6 p.m.

then it bites the night, this
gavel that fares better for
its midday patrons, no matter
still; it’s an alcoholics reception.

that’s the way it oughta be,
says my father. it all breaks
into the dregs of autumn,
and i protract a thought—

segment it, parse out the
divinity. i offer it bare,
flesh pink—throbbing and
portly. he just nods.

stifles breath to muffle
and on cue, death begins.
real death; he who commences
the unspooling of shadows


Amir Bouanane is a New York City based, Moroccan-American poet, writer, artist and life observer who finds comfort in the gentle magic of words—through which he aspires to translate the soul imbued in scenes of life to give others a measure of catharsis or amenity.

October Silhouette

by Amir Bouanane

she bought two bottles of raindrops—
matched the evening with a light.

drowning rituals, exhales for past
-time; in every game—an outcome.

the memory vendor omits
this part—

it doesn’t undo the feeling of
ghost company. death too can

be a bargain, like the words
“if suddenly,” followed by

pause. then who is it that comes to
collect the bottles; why is it, now, when

i press my ear to the world, i am starved
to the sound of everyone living without

me.

 


Listen to Amir read “October Silhouette”


Amir Bouanane is a New York City based, Moroccan-American poet, writer, artist and life observer who finds comfort in the gentle magic of words—through which he aspires to translate the soul imbued in scenes of life to give others a measure of catharsis or amenity.


Image credit: “Bottle,” Bruce Osborn. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Educe

by Iris Triunfel Flores

My mind is a thief at the bank of comfort;
drop of water lands on tissue
disease makes the body ache
hug lasts too long
ball bounces far out my grasp
glue keeps my back against the wall
sugar rush brings me down
mosquito hums too close to my ear
      tiny bass player
an affliction of the heart
a flea sticks to fur

 
My mind is a white room with one window;
I love you leaves you speechless
pill with a long list of possible side effects
      speedily acknowledge
words slice another’s soul
possibility of boarding a train about to leave
balloon was supposed to soar high
crushed snail
Daylight illuminates the rough edges
Moonlight reigns over someone that’s not me.

My mind is the brake to a speeding car;
a flower that blooms
box decorated with truth
an extension cord of all connections
      home to the curious
unit with omnific intent
it is the wick that burns

 


Iris Triunfel is currently a sophomore at LaGuardia Community College, majoring in Writing and Literature. She started writing poetry in her second year of high school and has since been dedicated to further expanding her knowledge of writing. She never had taken a poetry class or shared her writing before but LaGuardia Community College, more specifically the poetry writing course, was the first place where she shared her writing pieces and learned what it meant to truly write. There is a certain vulnerability in sharing your creativity with others, but Iris believes one of the most valuable things is the feedback you receive from people that want to help.