I wrote a dark poem about volcanoes 8 years ago

I wrote a dark poem about volcanoes 8 years ago

What was I thinking? Let's find out.


I have always had a problem throwing things out. When the end of a school year came and I had mountains of graded papers and assignments, I would just shove them into my desk and leave them there until I opened the drawer again the next year to put even more trash in there. After cleaning my room before I left for college, I found all of the trash that I should have thrown out, but instead of just doing it, I looked through the work, mostly to laugh at how easy it seems now when then I thought it was difficult. I came across a very poor drawing of a volcano with a poem written inside of the mountain. I passed it off to my friend, Will, to show how my drawing skills might have actually decreased over time. Will laughed at that and then he read the poem, expecting it to be simple writings about how cool a volcano erupting looks, but instead read a darker story about the devastation volcanoes can cause. I don't remember if I knew about the volcano that destroyed Pompeii at the time because it was 8 years ago and I was 11 years old, but if I didn't, then I accidentally wrote a poem about it. Anyways, here it is:

Here's the picture of the volcanovia My iPhone

Bursting flames and fumes out of its head,
The beast has awoken once again.
Red-hot water bathing our streets, cleansing our whole world.
An eruption of sadness in my heart watching the volcano destroy all we have worked for,
leaving nothing but some of our lives.
Chaos spreading like a plague, infecting everyone it touches.
How could this happen?

Seeing the silent mountain explode with life,
destroying all of the things we cherish.
I can feel their pain, and I think why would this happen?
We are all God's children, why would he do this?

I have to go there to help those in need,
I can help rebuild, and help adjust.
I can be there to make them feel cared about
I can pray...

The religious themes of the poem come from the fact that I went to Catholic grade school, shout out Prince of Peace in Plano. I guess even at a young age, I was curious about why suffering occurred while God was all powerful and therefore able to prevent it. Since then, I've had many explanations that God allows this to happen because God loves us and wants us to have free will, and I still haven't decided if I accept that answer. Another thing that I noticed is that I refer to God as "he," which now I have consciously stopped doing. When giving God a human pronoun, we are reducing a supposedly all powerful being to a human, which would be disrespectful should God exist.

The real reason that I like this poem is that it was the first time I did something in English class that I was proud of. As background, in grade school I was good at most things except for writing. I despised writing. Since that time though, my love for writing and reading has grown exponentially, and I believe that this poem is in large part to thank for that. It marks a pivotal moment in my life. Also, it marks one of the first times that I saw how destructive and dangerous explosions can be, while when I was younger I saw them simply as a spectacle.

The main reason that I really appreciate this poem is the last stanza, although I would make one small change. I love the fact that I listed all of the proactive things I could do to help this fictional town that was ravaged by this seemingly "silent mountain." If I could go back, I would move the last line of the poem to the beginning of the last stanza. I would do this because, throughout the poem, I doubted God's efficacy to help or save those who worship God, and having the last line laud the power of prayer seems to counter that point. If I put it at the beginning, then the message of the poem would be about taking action to make the world a better place, instead of relying on faith. This would go against the modern day message of "thoughts and prayers" that many people share after a tragedy and promptly forget about the awful thing that happened. Don't get me wrong, it is pretty easy to take action AND also pray, but having prayer anchor the end of this poem seems dishonest to what I think the message is.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to the young kid who wrote that, discuss the meaning of the poem and simply interact with that version of myself. Sadly, I know that's impossible, but at least I can appreciate this piece of work for the pivotal role it played in my life.

Cover Image Credit:


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A Day In The Life Of A Middle Schooler In The 2000s

If you were lucky enough to have a cell phone data plan with 30 texts per month... then you were lucky enough.


Hey all you twenty-somethings out there, let's travel back in time to the glory days of junior high. Welcome to the early 2000s. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. (Honestly it probably wasn't the worst but you posted angsty away messages on AIM that made it seem like it was). Your world consisted of "American Idol," sk8er fashion, MTV dating shows, Dane Cook jokes, Ugg boots with jean skirts, Texting on T9, mall trips, "Club Penguin" and chain messages.

7:00 a.m.

You wake to the sound of your pink Razr cell phones alarm playing "Temperature" by Sean Paul. You lay back down on your pillow with the built-in-speaker and look up at the ceiling. It's less like a ceiling and more like a shrine of Tiger Beat teen pop sensation posters. You blow a kiss to Jesse McCartney's "Beautiful Soul" poster and wonder how a boy with better highlights than you could possibly be so perfect.

7:20 a.m.

You grab a Chocolate Vanilla Crème Pop-Tart (RIP, now discontinued), slide on your extensive collection of Livestrong bracelets, scrunch your hair and speed off to school on your Heelys.

8:15 a.m.

You get to homeroom. You and your friends pass notes on Lisa Frank notebook paper and say things like “chillax" and “bling bling."

You decide to pull out your bangin' iPod Nano and jam to some tunes.

During these days, we heard R&B; Usher and pop-punk music. Preppy girls from upscale suburban neighborhoods suddenly wore arm cuffs, hair feathers, bedazzled camo and ripped skinny jeans. They poured their hearts out in their AIM bios with Blink 182 quotes like “don't waste your time on me you're already a voice inside my head </3".

Your “most played" list includes: "Sugar We're Going Down Swinging" (so dramatic), "Move Along" (so over you) and "Hollaback Girl" (you can finally spell "bananas").

Your friends that listen to My Chemical Romance are “emo" because they claim to be lost and dark. During this year, Pixar released a new movie and Nemo was lost in the dark sea. Pixar rocks. Pixar is hip on trends.

It was also the year of depressing yet surprisingly upbeat ballads like “Bad Day" and “You're Beautiful" which I'm sure you downloaded off of Limewire.

11:30 a.m.

After some tiring 40-minute-long classes of art (gel pens), math (PEMDAS), and gym (this mile run is going to ruin my straightened side bangs) it's lunchtime. Major nomz.

12:00 p.m.

You and your friends sit together while laughing and eating white bread sandwiches. You don't consider the consequences of refined grains or high glycemic index because you're young and it's fluffy and covered in peanut butter and everything is awesome because your fast metabolism is the coolest thing since… sliced white bread. After much contemplation, you trade your sandwich for Emily's Lunchables and Ritz crackers. Sure, the cheese is scary and unnatural, but you won't start caring about that until high school.

You chat about the nice girls of Hollywood like Lindsey Lohan and Amanda Bynes. You wonder aloud when Timmy, the love of your life, will finally ask for your AIM screen name or landline.

3:15 p.m.

After school is out, you wait in line for “last name M-Z carpool" and have an overly-emotional hug-and-goodbye sesh with your friends as if you are moving across the world and will never see each other again.

3:30 p.m.

Fifteen minutes later you are over it and slide off your 20-pound backpack stuffed with trapper keeper binders, art supplies and Market Day orders.

You race over to the computer and launch Instant Messenger. You haven't seen your friends in almost half an hour and have much to catch up on. You're annoyed that your screen name is x3broken_hearted_soccer_girl_giraffelover21xx but whatever, everything else was taken. You proceed to sign off and on for five minutes hoping Timmy will notice you. If he doesn't IM you then you will probably post an away message like “BRB clubbin wit my b3stie$!!! TTYL !!! LYLAS <3 Hit meeeeee up!@)*@*$ Single but looking* </3" or “ppl r so confusing O_o" and then sit on your bed and watch "Laguna Beach".

After the longest 10 minutes of your life, your crush finally texts you and says, "hey wut up." You reply "nm lol." Your heart is fluttering and you can't wait to three-way call your BFFs and tell them the details.

4:30 p.m.

Later, everyone puts up away messages. So, you get on Myspace.

Not only do we all look awkward in middle school, but we also post equally awkward photos of ourselves on the internet featuring the classic 45-degree-angle-outstretched-arm-duck-faced-selfies. All photos had bad lighting, smudgy mirrors in dire need of some Windex and Picnik captions saying things like, "Good friends are like four leaf clovers. Hard to find, but lucky to have".

Top friends? Ugh people don't give early 2000s middle schoolers enough credit. Not only do we have to do long division math homework, but we also have to decide how to rank our closest friends. “Kristen hasn't instant messaged me in like two hours … does she still deserve to be third on my Top Friends or should I bump her down to fifth? If I move Timmy up to second, am I taking things too fast in our non-existent relationship? Also where do I put the creator, Tom?"

7:00 p.m.

Before you know it, it's 7:00 p.m. which means it's time to get crunk on Mountain Dew. It's school dance time!

You smudge an incomprehensible amount of glitter onto your eyelids, cheeks and arms until you look like a human snowflake. Next, you douse yourself in Warm Vanilla Sugar body spray. Now that you look more like the glass slipper rather than Cinderella herself, you're off to the ball.

8:00 p.m.

You get to the gym-turned-dance-floor and scout out the fashion. Every girl (including you) is wearing the same outfit: A denim mini skirt with a Hollister Co t-shirt and ballet flats. You are caught somewhere between loving that you are all wearing the same outfit and hating that you are all wearing the same outfit. On the plus side, you don't have to ask your friends where they buy their clothes because the brand name is printed across the chest. For the next few years, you will be a walking billboard.

For the boys, some are wearing jeans that their moms picked out and others are wearing basketball shorts. You ask yourself, are they wearing more sprays of Axe? Or more pockets on their cargo pants? You don't even try figuring it out because the closest your teachers will let you get to any boy at this dance is a full arm's-length distance apart.

8:15 p.m.

So, the guys are all on one side laughing and obnoxiously pretending to punch each other. Meanwhile, you and your girls are rolling your eyes and making fun of the guys. Truth be told, you're just trying to be loud and giggly in the hopes that they will notice you. After much anticipation, you lock eyes with your crush Timmy for three seconds and then look away quickly so you don't seem too eager.

Eventually something will need to break the ice. It will probably be the Cupid Shuffle, or worse, the Cha-Cha-Slide.

8:21 p.m.

Finally, everyone is together and dancing and awkwardly shaking their hips from left to the right. Everything is fun and carefree until suddenly Aerosmith's “I could stay awake just to hear you breathing…" softly plays through the stereo. Everyone stops dead in their tracks. Slow dance time. What do you do? Grab the first guy you see? Pretend you are hungry and go grab a nacho? Two nachos? Make eye contact with a male? Call your mom? Before you can properly assess the options, Timmy is tapping your shoulder and (in a voice barely audible to the human ear) shrugs and says “wanna dance?" You look like a deer in headlights if deer wore lots of glitter eyeshadow and Hollister t-shirts and quickly muster up all of your strength to say "yes."

The girls don't know whether they should opt for the safe choice and simply rest their hands on the guys' shoulders or if they should be a little riskier and wrap their hands around his neck. The guys' hands look like velcro because they are stuck to the girls hips and do not move once. You don't know where to look but you do notice that Timmy isn't blinking and you wonder if he is okay or paralyzed. You wonder what it would be like to dance with Edward Cullen. You continue assessing your hand-placement options.

A.) Cup the shoulders?

B.) Wrap hands around neck?

9:00 p.m.

Before you can make a decision, the song ends and now everyone is jumping and singing along to “1985." The sixth graders are shouting so loudly that the DJ looks miserable and the teachers are kicking themselves for agreeing to volunteer at this dance on their Friday night off. But for you and your pals, life is good. It's only 9 p.m. which means you have a solid hour before the carpool parents come in and start taking photos. The night is young and so are you. After the dance, Timmy promises to text you later. Even though your data plan only has 30 texts per month, you are thrilled. You decide to move him up to second on your Myspace top friends, after all.

And there you have it. A day in the life of an early 2000s junior high pre-teen. Sure, middle school was awkward, and sure, we were in a hurry to grow up. But we all miss those days. Everyone says 90s kids are nostalgic. It's because there have been more technological advancements within the past 15 years than ever before. We're the first generation to grow up with both ends of the spectrum.

While we can appreciate the fast-paced world of today, it's nice to backspace to those T9 days. We were the kids in America.

Life was chill. Life was relaxed. Life was… chillax.

Cover Image Credit: ranthollywood

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