Twenty-Six Students in a Mixing Bowl

Twenty-Six Students in a Mixing Bowl

Twenty-Six students in a mixing bowl,
boiling to escape

They’re sliding cards
and “f*cks!” across the table
Public Displays of Affection without discretion
“It’s not just a kiss,” I say.

There’s confrontation:
a girl about to beat the sh*t out of a boy with long hair
and someone worried about impregnation

Twenty-Six students in a mixing bowl,
boiling to escape…

but when summer begins
and reality sets in
where will they go in haste?



This is a new poem… second draft.


I stand,
admiring the edge of clouds along the sky
but I can’t connect to their certainty of being,
and action.

I’m floating like an air molecule,
“invisible to the naked eye,” but I’m here.
Fluid like ocean water and swimming amongst many.
I’m strangely relevant,
but irrelevant.

I can’t define the source of my fragmentation,
as I was born embedded in the Source.

South Beach

This is another old poem I wrote in college… undergrad maybe.  I think it’s strange how I wait years and years to share things I’ve written.  Do you other writers do that?  Anyways here it is

South Beach

Lavender moonlight nudges
sun rays creeping behind
the horizon.
But a khaki colored morning
sighs, the brown haze
glaring over remnants of

Early morning
gnarls its face, hoping
that in a few more minutes
the scattered crazies
will retreat behind their posters.
But more people arrive,
their tie-knots choking them,
lying saleswomen
and skimpy tramps
showing off their pale behinds.

Golden light struggles to
climb out of its ocean bed
knowing it will only be red hot
by midday;
realizing that
as night approaches,
black bass thunders,
disturbing sleep.

My Hair

I wrote a lot of poetry in college. My sophmore year (2005) I debated whether or not I should stop relaxing my hair.  This poem was written at the very begining of my transition.  This is my favorite poem that I’ve written.

My Hair

I like to examine
the way my hair grows
at the roots,
The fuzz of my frizz
and the contours of my curls
I can’t remember.

Every six weeks
I burn them with chemicals,
breaking down the beauty
I was Given.

For simplicity, perhaps
or maybe
I’m trying to reach a standard
expected of me
I can never achieve;
a straightness
that wasn’t Created–
by God–
for me.

I want it to grow back
all of it.
I want a mane
like Leo,
the lioness that I am.
I can’t remember what my hair looks like!
Because beyond the roots,
only the raggedy, scraggly wannabe
of something I’m not, I see.


As you can see, I went through with the transition. (December 2005) Glad I did 🙂

© Talia Clay

Two things

# 1. Sometimes I wonder if I wrote everyday, would I be so tightly wound up? Would I be a control freak?

#2. I’m sitting in my room, on the floor, eating a brownie with my fingers out of a bowl, with the lights off.

It’s twilight. I opened my curtains, pulled back the blinds, and opened the window.  I placed my boxfan on the window sill, plugged it in, and turned it on.  First Medium. Then High. I didn’t wan’t all the neighbors to see inside so I turned off the light from my vanity, which is brighter than my floor lamp.  I guess 4 bulbs would beat 1 bulb in brightness any day.

That moment, in the twilight, transported me to another place in time.  I was a child, living in Newburgh, New York (where I grew up).  We didn’t have air conditioning, so in the summer, we had a fan, with a small head that eased air back and forth. The base of it was cream- colored, and the fan part, when spinning at its top speed, was an orange-brown.  It was always really dusty.

Nonetheless, we placed that fan in the window, and it would blow moderate amounts of air into our bedroom at night. It never really cooled the room with the humid evening air it brought inside. Still, that moment, where remnants of day faded into night, was bedtime for me when I was a child.  It was too light to really go to sleep.  But since my moment here in 2011 only lasted fiive minutes until night arrived, must have lasted five minutes in Newburgh too. And instead of savoring the twilight, as a child, I’d fall asleep.

Now back to # 1.  I’ve been so wound up and having trouble relaxing.  But I haven’t been writing. That “poem” about my “moment” is the first I’ve written when truly 100% inspired in a long time.  When inspired writing comes easily.  That “moment” made me want to work on my book.  That moment made me want to make a commitment to something, to a career choice.  I may be moving forward with the teaching thing.  Really soon.

I’m having a hard time letting things just be.  I still have to finish laundry, and organize my room and do homework and all the other crap I’m obligated to do.  And there will always be crap. Always, and it stresses me out.  It always stresses me out.  I cant just let my room be a mess.  I thought getting rid of crap would help it be less messy.  Apparently not.  Why can’t I let life be messy? and let life be out of control sometimes?

I’m having trouble learning LA style salsa because I won’t relinquish control.  I get so absorbed by myself and what is supposed to be happening, I get so short sighted, and I screw up.  Salsa class has become a metaphor for my life. I have to give up control to someone else and follow along. That is, go with the flow. It’s so hard.

When I get angry…. (and a poem)

I stew.  My blood boils.  I want to snap tree trunks in half.  I want to take a sledge hammer and destroy doors and windows. I want to take expensive electronics and hurl them so they shatter into a million pieces.   A therapist once suggested that I throw ice cubes against a brick wall.  I would love to tell her now, sweetie, that’s small time.  It’s like a mist, when I feel like a monsoon.

To all the rude, obnoxious, and impatient customers out there: !@#$%^&*!@#$% ^&*!@#$%^&!@#$% ^&*!@#$%^&*!@#$%^&*@#$%^&*!!!!!!!!!  What I want to say, isn’t even legal to think.  Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve this.

When I get home from work, I can feel all of the stress tension in my neck, back and shoulders.  I can feel my heart rate still elevated and my body tense.  I’m still calculating the horrible things I could do that would destroy my frustration.   When I get to be this angry, I get irrational. I spend money. I eat junk food.  I wish I had a car so I could drive fast.

Oh, how the exhilaration of a roaring engine from zero to sixty

thrills me.

Even a tamer zero

to forty-five.

There is something about just pulling away

from every thing I hate

at such a rate

that I enjoy.

Something about letting the dust settle,

after I am gone.

Taking a drive

not  recklessly

but aimlessly

calms my mind,

and frees me from that bond.

Not sure why I just broke out into a poem there. Wow.  That was the first time after a long time; and after a major dry spell too. Lol. Goodnight.

The Slug

A giant slug of a woman,
dressed in an unbecoming tan
and excrement brown,
left a stinking trail of air
that wafted behind her
A hint of cherry
squeezed through her stench

I looked up from the safety
of my counter
The slug,
looked into my eyes suggestively
her cracked lips
wrapped and twirled around
a red blow-pop

Her teenage daughter
should have been embarrassed
by her mother’s dirty cleavage
and fraying mini skirt
—-but she wasn’t

I looked down,
completed the sale
less further eye contact

Grain of Salt

I’m starting to freak out about my blog.  I’m wondering if it is keeping me trapped in the unemployment line– far away from any job I’ve ever wanted.  I’m wondering if its preventing me from obtaining clients.  If people, when they visit my site they get into intimate, neurotic details and freak– run far away and say “this girl is crazy.”

For a while I had about 5 blogs and it was frustrating me to maintain them.  One for writing;  one for when I want to talk sh*t about the government or politics; there was another for more personal matters; another, still as a weight-loss diary; and finally one for my salsa adventures.  My need to acquire blogs for various purposes was getting stronger, and out of control.  I couldn’t keep up with all of them.

My boyfriend suggested that I just have one, one with lots of categories. And I condensed them all as he continued to explain to me how it should work.   And thus we have Copyright 2009. Talia Clay. All Rights reserved.  But now, my paranoia about what people– professional people– think of me.  Lord help me, I’m a writer, I should be able to say whatever I want.

And how do you know I’m not making this all up right now?  How do you know that the “I” I refer to doesn’t represent some fictional character that only represents an 8th of myself?  The crazy neurotic bitch who can’t get out any other way but through words on a WordPress blog?  Have “I” truly reveled myself in any other way that you can prove that this is really me?

Maybe you caught me.  Maybe you know more about me than I’d like to admit. Or perhaps I’m just a better writer than you’d like to admit and can devise a character so deep, and so complex that you’d mistake it for the real thing.

You decide.  (If you are a potential employer snooping around to see what I’m really like- take all this with a grain of salt.)  Good night.

Just start writing

For grad school, I was considering applying to their fiction programs.  Such an application would require like 30 pages of fiction. And considering I’m not that experienced, I thought that maybe applying to a fiction program wouldn’t be such a good idea if I actually wanted to get in.  I wanted to try to write something but I was having some sort of a mental block.  So my baby sister suggested (she likes to write short stories)  that I just write and make it up as I go along.  After rereading it, it sounds kinda interesting.  I haven’t finished the part about the little blonde, but  This is what I have so far  (no edits):


His mother should have arrived back home from work by now.  She worked as a police officer for Miami PD, working the shift after the moonlighters that began at 7:00am.  Even if there was an accident on highway 826, where the way people drove you’d think they were asking to be killed, she always arrived promptly at 7:00pm.  What she did after her shift ended, Sam never really knew what was in store for any particular day.  It could have been a suitor or the gym, but she always arrived at seven. Her predictable arrival allowed him to have the house to himself for three and a half hours.  And for days with little enough Algebra 1 homework he could finish at lunch the next day, he could do whatever he wanted as long as all the evidence was gone.

It’s not like his mother was completely oblivious to his behavior afterschool.  She was vying for the available crime scene investigator position with the police department.   It’s not like she didn’t care either.  She set three rules in place when he started high school:  Follow the law, do well enough in school to go to a 4 year college, and use condoms to avoid STDs and impregnating women.  And Sam obeyed for the most part, that was good enough for her.

This afternoon Sam stepped off the bus holding hands with the little blonde who lived in the neighborhood up the block.  She got off a stop early to have some alone time with her boyfriend.  He enjoyed the way her thin hair stuck to her tan cheeks in the humidity……..

It was 9:30pm and Sam was curled up on the old brown leather couch.  He awoke to his neighbor slamming the car door across the street. None of the lights were on because he had fallen asleep after eating a couple of hamburgers.  He thought his mom would be home soon, but knew she wouldn’t care because he had already cooked dinner.  Looking around he squinted to see the clock on the cable box.  9:36.  “Ma!”  he shouted.  No response.  “Crap,” he rolled on to the floor and forced himself to walk down the hallway.  He pressed his ear to her scratchy bedroom door.  It wouldn’t be the first time that she slipped in with a date without waking him up.  It was difficult to hear breathing over rain pounding on their new roof.  It didn’t survive the last hurricane and they had to replace it with some fancy material they saw on in infomercial.  It made the rain loud as hell, but a soothing sound after a long day to ease him to sleep.   There was no breathing on the other side of the door. He peaked inside; the black curtains were still open, so the yellow streetlight barely illuminated an empty bedroom.  If she wasn’t there, she wasn’t home.

It sounded like someone dropped a large set of keys on the front steps.  His head turned sharply to the right.  Running to the front door, hoping that was his mom.  Peeking through the peephole, he didn’t see anyone.  He never let anyone know, but having your mom as a cop was tough.  If she wasn’t home on time, she might never be coming home.  She patrolled one of the heaviest crime areas in Miami…

copyright talia clay 2009.  all rights reserved

My First Real Story

I have written short stories before, but I am feeling particularly ambitious and I have started something.  Not sure if it will develop into a novel or just a short story, but we shall see.  It’s pretty raw– not edited. Have a look.

Chapter 1

I’m at rock bottom.  I told my blog readers that if I moved back in with my parents it would be as good as six feet under.  They didn’t respond.  Of course.

When you’re sitting at the bottom of a well, no one cares anymore.  They watched as you tripped and fell in, lending artificial words, “Oh no!  I can’t believe you didn’t see that rock lying over there;” when you know damn well that life pushed you. They reluctantly reached out a hand as you scraped your arms and legs against the side just trying to get to them; they were too afraid that they’d fall in too.  And when you’d lost your grip and tumbled down into the darkness, they wondered if they would be blamed.  When you stopped screaming for help because you were unconscious, that’s when they walked away realizing there were no witnesses. And only after they were gone did you awaken from the concussion to your head.

Do you know why people kill themselves?  Because no one listens to them anymore.  See, by the time a suicide happens, that individual has reached out to many.   Probably as a dark shadow cast over many friends who have longed to rid of it. When your “friends” complain of complainers, and you don’t want your boyfriend to leave you because you are such a “Negative Nancy,” you just stop communicating.  You stop speaking to everyone.

I haven’t spoken a word for 24 hrs.  I just don’t feel like talking anymore.  What am I going to say?  That the blow from falling down this well has left me unable to feel?  That I’m alive and conscious, but that’s all?  That life sucks right now? Nope.