Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Category Archives: Prose Challenge

Prose Challenge Inspired by “Hairs” from The House on Mango Street

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Missing Hair

Everybody in our family has different hair.  My father’s hair was soft and thick but thin on top. His face stood out more than his hair. One day, cancer took his hair, but he kept it bald. No one really knew what he lost.

My sister, Pam, always had more hair than everyone. Her hair pulled her scalp. Does being tender-headed hurt down deep like being hard-headed? She is tender-headed. I am hard-headed. Pam’s hair tangled and matted when she was a little girl because she liked to leave it alone. She cried when my mother bothered it.

My hair was a creative project. From 2, 4, to 6 ponytails, to press ‘n curls, perms, and French braids. I messed it up, fixed it up, and twisted it up like gossip.

But my mother’s hair, my mother’s hair, like events on an endless timeline. Little girl pigtails, big bangs, pin curls, wigs like movie stars, and rollers with bobbie pins, and then wigs again because one day cancer took my mother’s hair. I remember the day when chemo hair filled her hands like clumps of grass unclaimed by their roots. She decided to shave it all off. No patches. No pity. Just prayers for power.

I saw a lady who reminded me of my mother. Silver hair trimming a golden face. Royalty shining from each gentle curl.  I wanted to comb her hair, brush it into something beautiful like a painting that holds memories before its colors begin to fade. I wanted to stand behind her at a kitchen table cluttered with curlers and cream, and roll her hair while she told me stories about how much hair my grandmother had. She was tender-headed too. I wanted her to tell me she loved me even with my hair a mess. I wanted to smell the oil sheen and her perfume one more time.


Prose Challenge Inspired by The House on Mango Street

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Time to write prose. Sandra Cisneros’, The House on Mango Street, inspires this challenge.

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The Real House

I didn’t always live on Weybridge, Don Tomaso, Canterbury, Nordhoff, or Citrus. Before that, I lived on Don Felipe, Mommie’s street. Before that, in a small house next door to my grandmother’s house on 4th Avenue. That house, I don’t remember. I had less than two years of life there. I remember our house on Mommie’s street because that’s where we made the best memories.

The house on Mommie’s street was home. Where childhood was forever, family love unconditional. I didn’t have to pay bills or change diapers, and no babies depended on me. I was the baby. I did my homework at the kitchen table while Mommie made burgers. Piano banging interrupted quiet evenings at home.

I left our house on Mommie’s street because it was my turn to go. Go somewhere to begin my own life, my own family, make my own memories. I lived in a shoebox-size dorm before a series of apartments. When I wanted some place to call mine, a real house, I moved to Weybridge, half the size of The Real House filling my imagination. The house I believed would be mine had levels, gardens, walk-in closets, and a large private pool next to a bubbling waterfall. It didn’t have a cloudy pool all my neighbors abused with their spit and germs floating in it. It didn’t have a gated entry and rusty lounges smudged with dirty stickiness.

The Real House would easily accommodate family visitors or out-of-town guests. They would not have to sleep in hotels around the airport and UBER their way through the city. Its bedrooms cozied us, the kitchen kept us, and the landscape loved us.

The Real House is on a grassy hill overlooking my old house on Weybridge, Mommie’s house on Don Felipe, and the clatter of crowded urban chaos. It overlooks walls decorated in graffiti and garbage-stained sidewalks.  The Real House crowns a quiet street that winds. Winds up to serenity, to neighbors who love one another and share baked cakes and pies when it isn’t a holiday. Winds up to gardeners who carefully tend to our gardens more than their own; who speak and smile because we speak and smile first. Winds up to walking trails, meditation fountains, and peaceful prayer paths.

The Real House is there when my eyes are closed. But it hasn’t shown itself to me yet, when my eyes are open.