Prose poem

His Speakers

My father prefers to speak through songs rather than with words. Through time, he has created a collection of all sorts of musical devices: he owns a wide spectrum of headphones, LP and CD players, and those in our home’s history remember a couple of iPods and iPhones... This could go on and on but his favorite ones are the speakers you can find in the room at our home where he sometimes works. I remember being younger and the various times where my dad showed me how different music could sound, all depending where it was coming from. For a man of few words, he has a habit of religiously telling me that I need to feel it: The sound and tempo of strings, piano keys, and the beat of drums can all become tangible if I want to. Every weekend he gives himself time to test the different kinds of settings his speakers have and change them to his desires and preferences. They've been with him through it all: since the first day we moved to this house, to all the jazzy dinner meals he has prepared for us. Almost every Sunday he cooks us chicken and vegetables while he listens to his favorite songs from sessions of MTV Unplugged. Once he turns his speakers on, it feels like as if he's not in Monterrey anymore but in a land somewhere far away in his mind. There are times where I can’t differentiate the sounds between his devices but he can get so excited about them that I just can’t say anything else than “Yes, I do”.  Sometimes though, times are gloomy and he puts his music very quiet and stays inside his office all day long. I remember when he discovered a radio station from Montecarlo and how he used to put it on nonstop; he said it reminded him of one of the dreamiest trips he has experienced with my mother. Sometimes, she doesn't like it when (for her standards) the music is too loud. So when she’s away because of work, my dad sets up a daylong concert including genres such as bossa nova, jazz, 80’s Argentinian music, and much more. It’s quite funny how he secretly adds up speakers to his collection without telling anyone, they just appear in our house randomly. I don't remember a time in my life where music has not been relevant to his life.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Prose poem dedicated to my father.

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My dad's football

On a business trip to Germany back in the summer of 2006, the same year the FIFA World Cup was held over there, I asked my dad to bring me a present. So, as I was hoping for, he brought me a replica (I had all intention of playing with it so an original one wouldn’t be such a good idea) of the ball that was to be used for that World Cup. It had a very simple yet appealing design, with those squiggly, black lines making something of an 8-like shape with golden edges. It felt very smooth and with not much cushion in the first layer, you could tell it would be a hard hitter. At that time, I played football with my dad every Saturday and Sunday, we would go out to my garden and stretch our feet for a couple of hours. He always bugged me about using both feet (I’m right footed), but I never really wanted to. I could barely hit the ball with my left foot let alone give an accurate pass or shot with it. A couple of days after he returned from Germany, whilst we were getting ready to play with that same ball, he came up with an exercise to make me get better with my left foot. In our garden, there’s a big wall on one side covered in bindweeds which has something of a vertical line or column of bricks that stick out of it (with a width of about 30 cm, no idea why it’s there to be honest). It’s fairly noticeable. He told me I had to hit, from about 8 meters away, a spot on the column that was about three meters high, with my left foot! At that age (around 8 years old), you’re not guaranteed to lift a football upwards of three meters every single time, even with your natural foot let alone hit a 30 cm column from almost ten meters away. Giving it a try with my left foot, I struggled to make it reach the wall in the first place. So this became our ritual. Every day, before playing, I had to have at least 30 go’s at hitting that same spot on our wall with the same football. There would be some times where I would lose my balance and fall, others where the ball would simply not reach the wall, and every now and then I would be able to lift the ball only to see it hit far away from the intended spot and brush some bindweeds. It was excruciating, but I wanted to play so I would just get on with it.  I really can’t remember the first time I was able to hit that spot with my left foot, but I guarantee it was at least several months later with that same World Cup ball my father brought me, which was probably full of scratches and green grass marks by then.

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Strings

Strings

 

Fingertips against the strings. That’s what I remember. The muffling sound of a thousand notes entering my ears, and going straight up to my head. From early in the morning, with the sun rising from the edge, to the most beautiful sunset in the beach, grandpa used to sing songs to me of the old Mexican masters, the true artists he called them: Los Panchos and Agustin Lara, those were his favorites. He didn’t play the guitar, he made it sing. And he sang along to it. It was like hearing a conversation between him and the mate-brown, black-back styled guitar. It was as old as time. Crafted in Spain, it crossed the Atlantic Ocean, all the way down to a God-forsaken small town (or at least felt like it), next to one of the most dangerous border cities of Mexico. I figured it must have been destiny to be in the same place it was. I asked my grandpa to teach me how to play it. To which he responded- “Little man, there’s no such thing as teaching someone how to play the guitar. It comes straight from the heart”. He played a string and said – “That’s a note. I don’t know how people call it, but it shouldn’t have a name. People tend to theorize music as if they were going to forget it.” And that’s the thing about music, it never leaves. Like a dim light in the shadows, he told me, music saved him when he was at his lowest. He traveled many places with his guitar, wrote a lot of stories and lived many more.  A moment later, he played 2 other strings, one after the other- “I can’t teach you, only it can.”- he said- “Listen to what it has to say, and you may find it knows more about you than yourself”. As a little 5-year-old, most of those words were heard but not understood. But as time goes by, and one grows old, everything starts to make sense. I learned all the notes from C to B, all the scales and theory I could find. As I bought many other guitars, I understood what he meant. I wasn’t just learning about music. Every song, every note I played, revealed something new. As if they were breaking a mask I had built on myself. Until one day, I found it again. That day, I came back to her like you go back to home after a long day. It was “her” from then on, like a person, because when I played that guitar, she talked. She sang about all these beautiful untold stories from the past to the future, as if she was writing history over time itself. And I… well, I listened.

Word count: 460 words

 

While reading, listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnch9At5WQ4

 

 

My grandma's garden.



I have visited my grandma’s garden ever since I can remember. She has always loved and cared for her plants as if they were an extension of her flesh and bones. Her garden wasn’t aesthetic. It wasn’t big, either, nor would it be considered astonishing in the eyes of the average beholder... yet it had something that, to me, made it seem as a real life Wonderland: somewhere where you could hide between the green of the leaves and get drunk on the flowers perfume. Some place where your wildest thoughts could come to life. She grew flowers and succulents long before they were popular in the hipster community. She harvested tomatoes once, but other than that, no edible grew there. Butterflies and hummingbirds were common visitors. They would wander around this tiny jungle and sometimes, “play” with us, the grandchildren. Looking back on it, it was more of a hunting game where tiny humans got a hold of the poor butterflies’ wings and tossed them around until they could no longer fly. I wish I had known I was hurting them. I didn’t see the harm back then. I was naive enough to think I was just “appreciating their beauty.”

This caused our flying guests to stop coming. The garden was just as fun as ever, yet it felt some kind of lonely. One particular winter, the cold killed most of my granny’s plants. The grandchildren didn’t want to play there anymore. Outside, the garden’s corpses laid on pots, fragile on the dirt. Everyone gave up on them, everyone but my grandmother. She sang and spoke to them as if she were to get a reply. She watered them religiously until she brought the magic back from the dead. Eventually, her plants grew vigorously again. It recovered its old charm, and, as of right now, it remains. Not too long ago my grandmother adopted two little yellow birds because she loved their melodies. Everybody was very glad for her because, as time went on, it became harder for her siblings to visit her as often. The birds keep her company and, in return, she gives them all her love. Her garden is their home, and now, it is the most beautiful it has been in a long time. You literally can not stand straight without hitting your head with a pot. It’s amazing.It blows my mind to realize that her garden has aged with us. It has been a key witness to our family development: it was there during my mom’s childhood, my aunt’s pregnancy, my cousin's departure and my first date. It has been our quiet companion and confidant through all these years. If it could speak, I wonder what it would say.


My Friend's Car Collection

My friend was always very passionate about cars. He could go on for hours talking about them, the shape, size, color and all other contents that it had. He spoke of a car like a husband should speak of his wife, he took care of his cars like a doctor should care for his patients, but he never drove them. He loved the cars interior and exterior beauty and knew the model, brand and year of each one he owned. His collection consisted of more then 100 cars and it kept growing with each passing year. Each time he lay eyes on a car he liked he would go ahead and admire it, then his feelings would change and he would want to own that car, possess it, and eventually he would go ahead and look for it, and buy it.

 He was very proud of his collection, always showing It to visitors when they arrived at his house, you could say it was his most prized possession and he loved his cars as if they were his children. Each morning he rose alongside the sun and checked that they were dust free and impeccable; they had to be presentable at all times of the day, you could never know when they would be seen. Of course, he loved all his cars, but amongst his collection, he had his favorite. The car that held the most special place in his collection, in the very center, with a huge spotlight making it shine above all else, was a ’69 Mustang Shelby, wearing all black with two red stripes cutting it right through the middle. This car to the common spectator, was not that impressive and definitely not the best in his collection, we all have different opinions. But it held a special place in my friend’s heart as it had belonged to his grandfather. That same car had been passed down from father to son, until it was finally his. The special significance this car had to him was impressive, sometimes we believed he loved that old, black car even more than his own family. 

Years passed and his ever-growing collection, suddenly stopped growing.  Time went by and the cars started to gather dust. You see, people change and their interests not always remain the same. And his most valued collection soon became meaningless. For in the end all you could see of his once impressive collection, were shelves and shelves of little, toy cars.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

PV

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My grandfather’s “magic shed”

My grandfather’s “magic shed”

 

 

You may think of a small sized shed, maybe being simple, but My grandfather’s shed was nothing like a normal shed. Since when I was a child, every time we had a problem there was something in the shed that could repair it, and I always saw it as a magic house with the answers to all my future problems. That shed was the size of a small house, was made of wood and contained a lot of small pieces and tools that helped with almost everything we needed when something was not ok, even a medical kit. My grandfather is a conservative man, he likes the old on top of the new, and believes that having an answer to any problem he might encounter should be registered with its respective tools in the shed. Back in the days of the shed, it was located in the backyard of an old part of the house, where the light was just provided with a small lantern and everything in there was nothing but memories and old stuff. My cousins and I used to play in the shed, like if it was our house because of its size. One of the most shocking memories in where my grandfather managed to control the things with the help of the “magic shed” was the day my younger cousin, (which at the time was around 5 years old) was running in the second floor’s bathroom and broke the sink, leaving a huge mess and my little cousin injured. My grandfather told us to calm down and go to the shed as there was only my cousins, both my grandfather and grandmother and me and the house was almost fully flooded. He went to the back of the house and got the tools to repair the sink and the water as well as a new tube to replace the broken one. Then after he checked my cousin and told us everything was fine we were able to return to the house and help with the mess my little cousin made. There are some other stories involving the shed, we always considered it as “magic” because it was also the place where the gifts of christmas were brought from, with the excuse of being santa claus’ secret storage room. I still remember the last day I saw the shed, it was a few years ago, the shed was demolished because of how old it was , hygiene, and also because the backyard was going to be renovated. That shed was a fun part of me and my cousin’s childhood and even though it was nothing super special, I have enough memories to believe it was.

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My Father’s Cameras

Ever since I can remember, my father has had a camera in his hand at every event. He learned how to use one as a boy with the help of my grandfather. They would spend days taking pictures and experimenting to get the result they wanted. Of course they used really old film cameras that are really hard to use like the German Rolleiflex which is a medium format camera with twin lenses. His first, very own camera was the Minolta 7000; the first automatic film camera in the world released in 1985. With the Minolta, taking pictures was so much easier because of the automatic focus and the automatic light meter but since he already knew the basics it was even more easier. As the years went by he kept “updating” his cameras until they weren’t film cameras anymore and he started buying digital cameras. No, my father isn’t a photographer but he likes it as a hobby. I thought of the cameras as my dad’s treasures. He didn’t let anybody use them or even touch them and we all respected that up until I; the youngest of my siblings, started loving photography and wanted to use them so badly. I thought my dad liked photography because of all the technique that it needs but one day he told me that he liked to take pictures to capture moments, capture memories that one day your mind will not remember and will want to remember. He then showed me a really fat album he had stored in his closet. I had never seen it in my life; he had pictures of all my family, one at a time, one year at a time. Now that I stop and think about it my dad is a genius and I admire him for that. He used these cameras to remember the simple laughters, the beautiful moments we have in this life that don’t last if we don’t have something to remember them by. My dad then started teaching me at about age ten and we started having these unusual bonding times because of this precious object. To the date, my father and I still learn about photography more and more and now he even lets me use his old Minolta to learn how film cameras work and how they compare to the “new and (not so much) improved” cameras. If it weren’t for these cameras, I think I wouldn’t be so close to my dad.

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Yellow Cars

YELLOW CARS

 

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about my father is… yellow, yes the color yellow… he has this thing with this color that makes you want to hate it just because he loves it so much. He could buy everything and paint everything in this color. When it comes to yellow, democracy is utterly lost at our house; we, and by “we” I mean everyone else that is not my father, don’t get to say whether we want something in another color that is not yellow. That’s how we ended up having a couch that no one really likes except for my dad. Usually, when he gets the opportunity to say whether he could buy something for us, he will always try to make you buy the one that is yellow, say it’s a watch, a rain jacket, tennis shoes, you name it and he will try to find it in THE color. The second thing that comes to my mind when I think about my dad is cars, he absolutely adores cars and he knows everything about them, maybe he is not an expert, but he knows his way around them. He loves them so much that he has a collection of small toys cars – of course he would want to have a collection of real and life sized cars but we don’t have that amount of money and are definitely not rich – but he is actually quite satisfied just with the ones he has. Whenever we had to buy a present for a cousin or nephew, again, no one else had the chance to say another option that was something different to toy cars, and if we insisted enough he would buy both, but never leaving behind the cars. So it was not a surprise when, eight years ago, he decided we needed a new car and we were torn between a black and a yellow car, and by torn I mean my father wanted the yellow one and all of us wanted the black car, but ended up buying the yellow. This car really is one of his most beloved possessions and still has a lingering smell of new, even if it’s been almost ten years and still hates it when someone else has to drive it. This car is the representation of the two things he is really fond of and there is no better way to explain it. The most amazing thing about all of this is that now, every time I see something yellow I have the need to buy it because it reminds me of my dad and his crazy love for yellow and whenever I see a small yellow toy car I want to get it for him. 

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My friend´s pink necklace

Not just for going out on weekends but for a casual day, my friend Pamela uses her pink necklace for every occasion since we were in junior high school. A combination of gold and the most vibrant pink I have ever seen. It is the perfect piece for every outfit she has. She loves using vibrant colors, she even uses that pink necklace with green and yellow shirts. From all of her necklaces, this one represents her personality; she is all bubbly, happy and feminine. In other words, she metaphorically lives in a pink world.  Pamela loves makeup, clothes and everything that you can relate to the term girly. Also, she is studying to be a fashion designer. I have seen her drawings and they all have several colors, most of them are different tones of pink. With just one necklace you can see through all of her personality. Every time you think of that color the first words that pop into your mind are girls, pretty, feminine, romantic and love. And if you ask me to put a name on those words I would say Pamela. She is also the most romantic girl I have ever known. She is a hopeless romantic. When she meets a guy, her world changes. When the guy speaks to her then she is the happiest girl; if she feels confused or ignored then every aspect of her day goes wrong, even the stuff from her school. When a friend and I bought the pink necklace for her we never thought that she was going to wear it that much and that it was going to become so representative of her. It was her seventeen birthday and my other friend and I were looking for the best gift we could ever get for her, and we found it. It is funny how a necklace can make the difference, at least for her. When she is going out somewhere she always needs jewelry, a little bit of color besides her clothes is a must. If she is not wearing something that screams feminine, then she feels uncomfortable, she actually says out loud how uncomfortable she feels when not wearing earrings for example. Let’s just say that jewelry and pink are her signature thing and color respectively, and both together are the perfect combination for her. She feels happy wearing that pink necklace; she lives happy living in her pink world. 

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