Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America














On that faithful day ten years ago I had no idea that one day I would be living in one of the best countries. First it was my Uncle, my aunt and then my mother. I grew up in a tropical island paradise of Trinidad and Tobago, why would I want to leave. My mother moved to the United States for economic, financial and self improvement. My mother was divorced which led to brother Kwame and I moving to stay with my aunt and uncle. I was too young to realize the events that happened. When I grew older I was told my mother was in America and she was trying to get us into America. The was an ongoing task which took three years. During this time I lived my life in expectation of what I would encounter in America.

While waiting to go to America my brother and I visited my mother in America. However this was ephemeral. We had to go back home to wait again. It took about three years before we came back to America. The conversion of money was such that one US dollar equaled six Trinidadian dollars. This made it possible for my mother to send us money to buy whatever we needed. Even with this money we still yearend to be with our mother. The wait was long and difficult, since one time we thought we had gotten through but we did not.

I continued my routine of school anticipating that day which I would go to America. In school, each year someone would drop out of class and the teacher would ask where that person was and the students would say he or she went to America. One day, when the teacher asked where a person was and the students said he went to America, that person was me. The clock struck midnight on November 18,1996 and began November 19 and with it the beginning our journey to America. We finished packing and got ready to go to the airport having already said goodbye to our friends the night before with a party at our house.

At the airport we said goodbye to our family and began our steps into America. We went from Trinidad to Miami then to Boston which took ten hours. The last time I was on a plane I was too young to remember and now everything seemed so new and exciting. Upon our arrival we were greeted with harsh cold weather. It something we were unprepared for since Trinidad only has a wet and dry season. Luckily however our mother had brought us winter coats. To go from warm and sunny to cold and dark was a great change. Everything was so new.

The buildings were much bigger, the building were made out of wood instead of bricks. We arrived at our new hose and went up the stairs. We spent the rest of that day in our house unpacking. We were both excited that we had new rooms. And so began our new life in America, finally reunited with our mother. This was a long struggle but thanks to our persistence we were able to over come the many obstacles in our way.









The Other Garden of Eden

     What is necessary for a piece of land to be named obsolete? A lack of land, plant life, animal life, the possibility for life? This space has none of the requirements for being obsolete, then why is it. Today people want perfect order in the world, so for a place to be occupied by humans it must be perfect. Thoreau said, “Cultivate poverty like a herb, like sage.” This means that we should live life off the bare essential of what we need to survive. This lot is the “herb”, why has it not been cultivated by humanity. Nature seems to thrive and even depend on this. Nothing begins perfect, so too with this lot, it starts out as the other Garden of Eden.
     Things seem so new when you take the time to notice them. Passing by this lot daily and never noticing the various things that have interacted with this Garden of Eden. A bent down old iron chain link fence marks the only entrance to this apparently desolate Garden of Eden. Like a wall trying to keep those who are not worthy of it’s beauty out, the plant life springs up blocking the entrance. There are other tall plants within the lot but the tallest seem to be clustered at the entrance. Even more evidence that this Garden of Eden is trying to stay hidden. The only entrance, which is to the left and tall bushes blocking it, also has all of the plants leaning to the left as if to add support to this natural wall.
Also as if put there as a last line of defense is a hedge. It not been cut so it is tall and branches out acting like a net to catch and entangle intruders that may have gotten trough the bushes. Encased on three sides by a fence and by nature on the fourth it seems that this Garden of Eden has succeeded in being impenetrable. Evidence of this is shown in there being about three basketballs that have gotten in and cannot be retrieved with ease. This other Garden of Eden seems to be protected by nature itself as nature’s private sanctuary.
     A feeling of life and the loss of life emanates from this Garden of Eden. It is autumn and will soon become winter. As if agreeing with the season the plants turn yellow and brown. However as these plants slowly die others cling to life and other are prepared to survive the winter. Some plants are still green but are slowing losing the battle and subjecting themselves to death. The trees which are pine seem to give in to death a little as they let off some pines but seem to keep the majority. Only one tree which is not a pine lets go of all it’s leaves and goes dormant as it prepares for it’s reawakening in spring. The green vines now dried look like spider webs as the connect the plants to one another. Like rain that drains life falling down upon them, the taller plants turn brown and yellow first, as they slowly collapse to the earth, while the shorter plants keep their green color yet they are beginning to crinkle up. The taller plants bend in an arch as they die, almost as if they are trying to reach the shorter plants to share with them the death that they are experiencing.  
At the same time, however, a tree seems to be trying to touch the shorter plants as if to give them life but it does not make it, only by about three inches. Maybe since the taller plants, which are dying, are touching the shorter plants and not the tree, which is full of life, the shorter plants are dying. There is a log on the ground with trigs around it. It may have been a fallen tree that had finally given up the struggle for life. Now it just decays. Like watching a wave far out in the ocean slowly coming, the yellow seem to flow slowly enveloping all the plants. The sun rises and looks spectacular and when it set it sustains its glory. In the same way, the lot came about full of life and it leaves with bright colors that look as good as when it started.
     This Garden of Eden is one that makes humanity want it gone. A “clean it or lien it” sign was put up recently but by some mysterious way it came down. Further examination of the Garden of Eden revealed an older sign with the same message written upon it. The plants hide the older sign and the newer one has come down. In an act of self-preservation nature may have blown the newer one done, to inherit the same fate as its predecessor. There is a bike, old basketballs, a white bottle, a piece of wood, a car tire, and even a sink in this lot. Humanity seems to be using this lot, as it’s personal trash site. Human neglect has created the lot to be the site that is now yet humans only want their own errors gone and not repaired. Nature however, keeps on going no matter what humanity does to try to stop it. Nature is adapting to humanity instead of humanity adapting to nature and as a result nature has to pay for humanity’s errors. This is the other Garden of Eden because it varies from the other one where humanity and nature coexist peacefully. Instead nature has to cope with humanity and humanity with nature as if they are conflicting forces striving for their existence, but it still retains the original gardens peacefulness.












      On a cool spring day at Forest Hills T station, as usual there are busses coming in and out and people constantly moving. A bus is late and there are a lot of people waiting for it. When the bus finally arrives everyone tries to get as close to the door as possible. The people on the bus come off and try to get through the crowd, but then the bus driver also come out and goes and talks with the other bus drivers.
      After about fifteen minutes the bus diver returns and tell the people waiting to get on the bus by the order of arrival at the bus stop. He yelled, "Get on the bus by order of arrival at the bus stop or no one get on." as soon as he finished saying this the crowd of people started murmuring and getting agitated and confused. Out of the crowd comes "No Way!" and then "let us on!" followed by "Just do your job!"  Sensing that the crowd was getting angry the bus driver get on the bus and starts the bus. The doors of the bus close and then reopen.
     One person tries to get on the bus but others pull her back saying that they came to the bus stop first. So one by one they begin to argue who came first. "I was here first!" "No me!"
"I was her at 8:30!" "I was here at 8:15!" This continues for about five minutes. While they argue the bus driver says, "The schedule of this bus is to leave at 9:00, it is not 8:59" Only one person heard him. It was the same girl who tried to get on the bus before. She gets on by sneaking on using the back door. A split second later the bus leaves and the only person on the bus is this girl. So the crowd stops arguing about who was first and now starts yelling at each other. Meanwhile on the bus the girl goes up to the front of the bus and pays the bus driver. Then she says, "What happened out there with that crowd waiting for this bus." The bus diver answers "You don't know" and then she says, "No, I just got here."  
     In the end, in an argument over who got to the bus stop first, and who would get on first, it was the last person who got on.














      All of Emily Dickinson’s poems are about the understanding of a greater idea. “The Brain-is wider than the Sky”, and this idea-is deeper than it seems. In Emily Dickinson’s poem she compares the brain to the sky, the sea, and god. The brain is the entity, which governs the human body, and by comparing it to these ideas, she is saying that the brain is limitless. Also she is saying that the most important part of a being is the brain and fully using it will allow you to manifest your destiny into whatever you desire.

     Dickinson shows that the sky is part of nature, and nature is unpredictable. Man has not yet been able to tame it but is beginning to. The sky can make rain fall to give life to crops and people, or it can also transport a plane so that people may move great distances. But it can also create storms, hurricanes, tornados and extreme cold that can destroy life. However, with the technology developed we can predict the weather to help us master it. In Dickinson’s poem she says, “The one the other will contain” by this she means that if we use the power of brain we can gain mastery over the sky and not be limited by nature. In this stanza she is saying that the brain cannot be limited by anything physical.

     Everything is dependent on something and is therefore limited, without the brain. “The Brain is deeper than the sea” The Sea covers the majority of the earth and all things depend upon water for life. Without the sea all life would die, this makes it seem like the sea is a governing power over life and all life must respect it for their very survival. In her poem she says “The one the other will absorb-” which means that with the brain, one can use it to have the sea depend upon the brain, and not the brain depending on the sea. Even though all beings themselves are made of water, the brain allows to governance of the forces upon which you are dependent.

     There is a governing force over everything, but the brain can control all. God, the ultimate force that governs all that is, yet “The Brain is just the weight of God-” God is the omnipotent and created the brain and will decide whether you live, die and what happens after death. However, even though God is omnipotent, Emily Dickinson is saying that the Brain is even greater that the power of God. Her belief is the idea that the creation has somehow surpassed the creator. This quote explains this idea, “And they will differ-if they do-As Syllable from Sound-”. The brain is the syllable and God is the sound. Even though the sound is a complex expression of the syllable even the smallest change in the syllable can change the sound. Therefore the sound does not make the word, but instead the syllable does. In the same way it is the brain that decides destiny and not God.

     What the poem “The Brain-is wider than the Sky” means is that the brain is not limited by the physical, nature, the spiritual, God, or by the very things it needs for life, the sea. Instead everything needs the brain to have a purpose. The brain is needed so nature has something to affect, so things are a necessity and so that everything has something to govern.