(Poem) Acknowledgment

We don’t hate you.
We don’t blame you.
In fact, we’ve probably
Known each other for a long time.

But I have to say it
With love in my heart
And fire in my veins:
You are acting out your privilege.

We know you’re full of respect
And openness
We are some of your friends, you say
Or family
Or coworkers
You don’t look down at us
–Intentionally

But when you’d rather not be
Uncomfortable
About what we say
Seen, felt, lost, heard
When you say
“But not all…”
“But I’m not…”
“Oh but some of the protestors…”
You’re acting out your privilege.

We know there are bad apples in every tree
Including ours
We know there are good ones too
We know some people shout
And others speak calmly
But can you blame us
When nobody is listening?

So let me ask you:
Are your minutes of
Uncomfortableness
More important
Than our fears of discrimination
Policies
Representation
Deportation
Or worse–death?

You can shake it off
Go back to blending into the majority
That you will always be a part of
No matter where you are in this world.
Sadly we cannot do the same.

We know you have had it hard
We know we are blessed too
In many ways.

We are simply pleading for
Acknowledgment
Reflection
About why your name may have better standing
And not mine
Why our features matter so much
Yet so little next to yours
Why we’re more likely to get trapped
In cycles of poverty
And everything it’s tied to
Why speaking up is spoken out against.

We just want you to think
About the privilege you benefit from
Right now
Whether tangible or not.

And if you say “But why me?”

It’s becausw we’ve already acknowledged
Our place, our privilege, our shortcomings.
We had to.
We’ve had plenty of time to reflect in our skin.
Now it’s your turn.

Because if you don’t
Acknowledge your privilege
You don’t acknowledge us.

And we’ll be acting out
The same drama in perpetuity.
Prompts: privilege.  What would you write given the same prompt?  Leave a comment or Contact Us to submit your work–you may be featured!

(Writing 101) 5 tips for better Creative Writing OR Technical Writing

So you’re someone who’s a little bit more artsy, love to express yourself in sonnets and imagery but have a harder time with technical writing?  Or maybe you’re great at writing facts, non-fiction, and being very concise but you have a harder time with creative writing?

Don’t worry, whether you’re one or the other–you’re in luck.  Here are 5 tips that might help get you through your thesis or get your creative juices flowing.  And always remember: writing is a skill.  Even if you grew up writing acrostic poems while the rest of your class were deciding between “I love you, Mom” and “I ❤ U” (true story), it is still a skill.  It needs to be honed, practiced, and critiqued before it gets better.  So don’t worry if you’re not the next poet laureate or David Sedaris (I love you).

1.  Get familiar with what you’re trying to write.

Read.  Read.  Read.  Read.  Read.  Read until your eyes bleed.  Okay, maybe not that far.  But the point is, read the kind of writing you’re trying to emulate.  As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery, so you’ll learn some things or see some things that you might want to borrow and make your own.  Read lots of theses or dissertations or scientific articles.  You’ll learn about the kind of language they use.  You’ll start to discover a basic template that you can use.  If you’re trying to write creatively, check out well-known authors and unpublished, random works.  There are so many great creative minds out there that have zero ambition to publish, but their words can be just as inspirational.

2.  Your first draft is going to be sh*tty. 

Even if you’re David Sedaris, your first draft is not going to be Shakespeare.  You have to get over that real quick.  Hell, maybe even your second draft.  Or your third.  But slowly it will start to take shape, and you’ll start to see it take a form very close to where you want it to be.  So, the point is: just get something on the page.  You might just word vomit your thoughts or ideas, or you might brainstorm bullet points or you might make a Venn diagram.  Whatever works for you.  The scariest part of any work is just starting.  You got this!

3.  Let people read it–but remember you’re the author.

And be prepared to get red marks and criticism about a section of your writing that you thought was brilliant and genius.  It always helps to have more than one set of eyes read your work.  They might spot something that you miss, or they might have some words of wisdom that gives you a lightbulb.  But always remember: you are the writer.  And you have what I like to call…the “writer’s veto.”  Meaning, you don’t have to take all their advice, you can veto anything.  It’s your work.  You take everything with a grain of salt.  If you have an editor, then it probably behooves you to listen to what they say very seriously, but ultimately, it’s your choice.  Maybe there’s something you want to fight for because of Reason X.  Who knows.  If you have an advisor, then yeah, maybe it’s a good idea to approve all their edits because if you don’t you’ll be stuck in grad school forever and spend your nights crying alone in the dark staring at a blinking cursor wondering why “via” sounds dated.  But again, if you have really strong feelings about something, it’s still up to you, and eventually they’ll back off.

4.  Focus on your strengths.

If you’re more technical or more creative…own it.  That’s what you’re better at.  That’s great.  Some people are crappy at both, you should be happy.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve the skills you’re weakest at, but you should use the tools you have right now.  If you can’t write prose in your thesis, that’s understandable, but you’ll probably have a fun time using your creative brain by looking at a thesaurus to find the best words.  Because using the word “utilize” a million times is so boring, am I right??  Or maybe you’re having a hard time letting loose for a creative piece, but you’re really good at making outlines or planning.  You can gather the gist of what you’re trying to write, and then practice word vomiting on the page.  Go back to Tip 2, just write something down.

5.  Take a break.

When we focus so much on trying to do something, sometimes we can become resentful of the task.  This can be particularly bad if you’re trying to write a thesis and you’re gathering more and more debt the longer you stay in your program and would rather pluck all the hairs on your body with a tweezer than stare at your dissertation.  In other words, take a break.  Close your laptop.  Stop thinking about it.  Do something else.  When you’re ready to come back to it, do your best to re-frame the way you view it.  Maybe you find it boring or overwhelming or too difficult or not good enough.  Find something positive about it.  Or make your goal smaller.  Or accept that that’s how you feel about it but focus on what you can do to get it done.  Focus on what you’ll get when you get it done.  Like having everyone stop asking you when you’ll finally graduate because if you hear it One. More. Time.  You can do it!  And if you have the luxury of going back to it later…try that too  If you’re not finding joy or purpose in it, try something else.

Did you find these tips helpful?  Do you have any tips of your own?  Like this post, leave a comment, and subscribe for more writing tips!

(Poem) Take Care

Take care of your soul
For your work cannot thrive
Will not oblige
If you cannot dance
Without cares of the world.

Take care of your soul
For your loves will all see
That you will deceive
If your fires ain’t burning
And your heart isn’t full.

Take care of your soul
For your life will be lost
Wrong purpose, what cost
That you’ll never get back
And you’ll feel like a fool.

Take care of your soul
For one day you’ll be done
Your body will be gone
Do you really want
To live with an unfulfilled you?

 

How do you take care of your soul?  Is it something you’ve been able to turn into a career?  If not, how do you make sure to prioritize it?  If you struggle with selfcare, tell us about it, you’re not alone!  Leave a comment or Contact Us with your original work and you may be featured on our site!

 

(Featured) An Experimental Foray Into Acceptance

Hello everyone! Today is the first day that All You Need Is Unicorns is featuring original work by other writers. We don’t own any of these works, we just want to share these works with you with their permission. We’re going to be doing this every Friday, so it will be called #featurefriday!

We love the idea of sharing ideas and thoughts and art. We love the inspiration that others’ words give to our own creativity.

If you’d like your poetry featured on our site, feel free to send us some poetry, prose, haikus, lyrics, art, whatever floats your fancy.

So, it is with great pleasure that we showcase this first piece. We think it is fantastic. Let us know what you think!

An Experimental Foray Into Acceptance

The taste of bitter gourd is a stale pale
Scorch of yesteryear’s fire in my taut mouth
Along with hard things that were left unsaid
I press my cheeks inside making more spit
Letting go easy-down my throat the words
That used to explain you (heartbeat, heart-keep)
Willing hard for tasteless saliva to
Neutralize the newly rough tang of them
My tongue moves restlessly towards sweetness
Without even knowing where sweetness would
Again come, and soon as I’ve rid the un-
Pleasant intruder on my buds (you were)
I take another bite of the melon
And swallow more, more down, down the gullet

Jasmine-Green Milk Tea is a simple poet who enjoys the simple things in life, which includes good food, good liquor and good vibes 🙂  Check out their website at: http://poem.icecreamsoup.net

(Poem) Look Alive

Make a move, you said
Couldn’t hear you past
the hair in your eyes
It seemed to always fall
At inopportune moments

It was 11am
The warmth of the lazy sun
Reaching our slippers
We both sip our coffee
Trying to forget
That love hurts

We had been at this for three hours
Going in circles
Making promises, promises
But in our attempt to dig at each other
We were simply throwing light grenades

Are you in? you asked
And in that moment
Of disheveled hair
I wanted to say I miss you
I don’t know where we went
But we were far from the good

I took another sip of coffee
That I didn’t really need
Closed my eyes
To remember your smile lines
The adolescents we had been

When I lay my cup on the glass table
The rays lit the cup, solo
As I had been for the last three hours
Just me in my slippers
Arguing with memories

Maybe you are in a nebula
Maybe
It was still nice to know you

I walk away
Leaving the cup to catch the sun
Because I could use more light
Right about now
Pardon me
It’s time for me to make myself

 

 

Inspiration taken from one of my favorite bands. Can you guess who? Also, if you were to be inspired by your favorite band, what would you write? Leave a comment or Contact Us to submit your work–you may win a chance to be featured!

(Poem) Breathe

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When we’re born
We
breath
Gasp for air
Into tiny, miniscule lungs
Then we learn the rhythm
Of it
An in and out
Expand and contract
Unconscious mostly
But there
are times
When it’s purposeful
Or all-encompassing
A
slow
draw…
An. Anxious. Staccato.
A LABORED EXHALE
A wh-wh-eeze
An excited gasp!
And we take
This simple
Life
Perpetuating Mechanism
For
Granted
Until one day
We take
our
l
a
s
t

Prompt: Breathe. What would you do with the same prompt? How does this poem change when you read it out loud? Leave a comment or Contact Us to submit your work–you may get a chance to be featured!

Don’t forget to breathe, guys. You got this. You’re fabulous.

(Poem) How High, You Say?

It’s not that we can’t fight
Or forgot how
Not that we’re not strong
Holding up our worlds
Theirs, yours, his, hers
With a smile on our face
And when you say “Jump”
We say “Sure, let me pencil that in”
Mostly happy to oblige
Struggling to keep our heads up
And the water reaches our waist
We shout “Stop! Wait!”
We taste salt
Something suddenly feels wrong
Don’t understand how
This love, this gift, this work
Became tainted
Wrecked
It’s not all our fault
But we cannot pass the blame
It’s a choice, it always is
And sometimes
When we lose the will to fight
We gotta figure out what’s wrong
Send an SOS
Put our pride away
To point at the lump in our throat
Acknowledge its existence
To know
Things may not be the same
Things will shift
We learn to hold the irreplaceable
Instigate the change
To put on our gloves
To float like a butterfly
To sting like a motherfucking bee
To change our life
Find the will
And when you say “Jump”
We’ll already be jumping
To the next stone
One day looking back
At all the stones we’ve crossed
All the fights we’ve fought

This poem was written during a stressful time, when I was going through a period of burnout. I ended up doing what was best for me and taking my self-care more seriously. I’m still at a point in my life where I’m struggling, but I appreciate the ending of this. It’s very me, ever the optimist.

What poem would you write, if you were in a dark place? If you were struggling? Leave a comment or Contact Us to submit your poem with a chance to be featured!