Noemi Martinez, 16
Noemi Martinez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and has been writing since before she started first grade. Much of her writing is from a perspective that omits gender identity and information about the narrator. Martinez enjoys the act of observation and says it informs many of the descriptions she uses in her writing. She uses the medium as a tool to figure out how to describe every situation she finds herself in: how people look on the train, what they wore, where she went that day. Martinez’s writing spans genres, from horror thrillers to survival stories. She enjoys challenging her audience, creating unpredictable situations to keep them on their feet. Her writing has been published in numerous 826NYC chapbooks and publications. In 2017, her writing received the silver key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the United States’s longest running recognition program for youth in grades 7 to 12.
Martinez is a proud feminist and a vocal proponent of the freedom of expression. She believes that the clash of people’s beliefs and opinions are due to the conviction that one’s own way of life is superior and one’s determination in forcing their own ideals upon others. As a Mexican-American, Martinez often feels the animosity from immigration issues in current politics. Sometimes, on the train home, Martinez feels paranoid and fears someone is going to attack or verbally harass her just because she is Hispanic. As a feminist advocate, she is disappointed that so many are unsympathetic and unwilling to understand that the wage gap for women still persists. As a young woman who has been catcalled in the streets, it frustrates Martinez to become part of the statistic that 84% of females under the age of 17 have been verbally harassed. Though Martinez frequently encounters people with opinions that differ from her own, she does not try to force her values on them. Instead, she peacefully discusses as much of the topic as she can to educate them in the hope of showing someone how they might be misinformed.
Martinez hopes to become a screenwriter or work in some capacity where the stories she creates come to life.
I Didn’t Stay Forever Like I Thought I Would
By Noemi Martinez
I’ve known Death for a while now. Since I was a child, Death has paid many visits to me. It was my best friend, or so my parents have told me. We lived in sections of the forest, like a tribe. My parents were the leaders and I was a warrior-in-training. Our government crumbled when the uprisings began. I was only a kid when it happened. The people had grown tired of a couple that was unfit to rule. A couple with the all power, an old man and withered woman. A couple that had no respect for its people. Their cruel and greedy ways were what got them decapitated in the first place. The old man had a cold heart and all he cared about was making money; some say he even did experiments on people from far, unknown villages under his rule. The withered woman, on the other hand, was an ignorant toad. She would ride into town inside a carriage laughing at the poor and would take a single bite of food and throw away food in front of them.
The people had had enough of this poor treatment. And one night, fire rose from the streets. The people had stormed the man’s house and dragged him and his woman outside. My mother stayed behind while father and his friends led the crowds. She covered my ears as they yelled out, ”Here he is, he begs for his life. Oh look at how he begs, like the ones that pleaded for mercy. Here he is, oh now look how he cowers before us. May you burn as you have burn others for your deeds.” What I saw that night was fire in the streets and the headless bodies of an old man and woman.
Their heads were stacked upon a iron rod, a message sent to other rulers all around. We were a threat to them.
When the sun rose, each of the men that led the crowds disappeared into the woods, taking the people that wanted to go with them, all going our separate ways. They kept in touch, setting up territory and rules they all made. My father and mother were the most trusted among the group, and soon they were the leaders of my tribe. Since I was their only child, I had to learn how to defend myself. Other rulers knew that we had to be killed to set an example to others who would try to think of an uprising. I had to be careful when I walked around the forest. Once a stranger came up to me and tried to grab me. But one of my people saw and ran for the others; they hung him that night. So Death always visited me when I was in danger. After many attempts, she became my best friend.
But it all changed when I met him. I saw him climbing the trees and seeking shelter from the rain. The first things I saw were his eyes, how they had a glow of the sun and ocean, a dull red rag clung to his neck. I couldn’t see anything else besides those eyes, as I slowly crept from the cave that I was in. I ran. I stopped running when I got back to my tent.
Stepping in, I suddenly couldn’t breathe. Gasping for air, I began to wheeze. I fell and, as I closed my eyes, I saw a figures barge in. Muffled voices shouted, they sounded frantic and then everything faded to darkness. I opened my eyes and saw that my dear friend Death was at the foot of my bed. She smiled at me. I had forgotten how beautiful her smile was. It seemed like hours. With just Death and me, we talked about how we'd been and then she extended her hand towards mine, like she was reaching for it. But I pulled away before she could even touch my fingertips. She looked at me with those deep midnight eyes and I drifted off to sleep. When I awoke, I was in my tent, lying there in bed with mother and father. I realized that Death had paid an unexpected visit and had left me feeling weak.