(This is a short exercise I did for a workshop. The prompt was to write a story that took place over 10-15 years in two pages using only three-word sentences. Definitely worth a try). I told stories. They started small. Built with Legos. Sometimes with nothing. Sometimes I’d sit. Looking out windows. I’d start talking. Four years old. An only child. I’d start talking. Not to anyone. I’d talk whenever. Talk to whoever. Anyone who listened. And I listened. When people talked. They told me. Four years old. I’d talk whenever. My head moved. The film projected. People told me. And I listened. What they said. It helped me. Leaving was possible. Stories were possible. Because of them. Because of others. Because of listening. My brain talked. Whenever it could. The film projected. I saw people. I wished constantly. I wanted expression. Language found me. I learned quickly. I told stories. Built with Legos. But Legos disappeared. An empty room. My favorite toy. Everything happened there. My friends loved. I loved them. They were siblings. But the walls. The walls lasted. Blank, empty walls. The film projected. My brain talked. Picture and sound. Far away things. Places colorful, distant. I told stories. By myself, happy. Happy to leave. Loving my home. Loving my parents. Still loving rooms. An empty room. Nothing was there. Nothing but me. I was everything. Everything I’d heard. First grade, writing. Teachers named it. Called them “stories”. An “active imagination”. My leaving, named. Imagination, beautiful word. A sudden realization. Others knew them. Others felt them. Others heard stories. Had their own. I fell quickly. I loved people. I talked whenever. 7 years old. Anyone who listened. I slowly grew. I held fast. Loved and sang. Happy wherever, glad. Glad to listen. Glad people talked. Satisfied, being there. 11 years old. In sixth grade. Writing I hated. An obligation, chore. Meant for schoolwork. Fancy a girl. Heart gets broken. Sixth grade heartbreak. The sharpest kind. Ignored the walls. Forgot the rooms. Remembered the girls. Always remembered girls. Remembered my friends. 13 years old. Got a phone. Remembered my inbox. Remembered my grades. Legos long gone. &nb
(This is the piece that I wrote for entry into IYWS. It has since been unedited)
I sit here alone, in a pitch-black room of reminiscence. Memories come and fade with the ticking of a clock. Moments of every depth play themselves around me like a firestorm of thoughts. A slideshow plays itself on the iris of my eyes. Words are screamed and whispered into my ears. It is an aura of insanity.
My legs have weakened and I am driven down onto my knees. Sweat drips from the tip of my nose, and spit drools from my lips. My eyes are dry in their sockets. I am here alone; that is my greatest punishment.
If a wish could ever be granted, may it be that I am able to see her again. Just once more is all I could ever ask for, but she will not come; I know it.
I sit here alone, in my dreamy sanctuary, awaiting the presence of another to settle my aching thoughts and throbbing heart. I lie here and wait. I lie here and wonder. I lie here and hope; but know it is in vain. I cannot expect it to come, like a bastard child waiting for his father to hold him it does not come. Who am I to think I deserve such a thing? I feel the hopelessness of it all, yet I still wait. Still wait so that I may see her once more. Still wait so that her eyes may capture me; see the contours of her face, the ridges of her smile; see everything of her that made me want her so much more.
I sit here alone, but I can almost feel her presence beside me; her finger traces the folds in my hand to tickle me, while her other hand cups it beneath. She sings a childlike tune as we sit together. Sometimes, at the high notes her voice cracks, and if I laugh she turns to me and teasingly hovers her lips just in front of mine. I would feel her breath palm my chin and neck as she makes my lips twitch with--
--No, that part of me is over. That is a scrap of my mind that has disappeared inside. I search through the binding labyrinth of my spirit with no destination, and find myself broken, for through the travels of my mind I am shocked, scorned, stabbed, spit upon with the turn of every corner. This wearing battle has sucked the life through my outstretched fingers. This piece is missing, and I can summon no further will to continue on without it.
My vibrant heart has faded with every poisonous sting. It has weakened and wrinkled, and no longer resembles anything of quality. I take every hit. I’ve grown accustomed to it. It has become my abode. It has become my only sanctuary. The pain is constant; there is no hope, so there is no letdown. How a heaven of such contradiction can exist is beyond logic, but hell does not give me an invitation to otherwise.
A picture flashes before my vision and embeds itself to memory. I see a man and a
This is a project we had the first week of class. A mandala is a circle that shows your soul. http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/9448/201108120004503622.jpg
here is a link to the drawing
My mandala says many things about my inner self- my desires, my fears, my tendencies, and my thoughts. It is not organized too much, although it is mildly. There are about six different portions and some flow into others.
I first drew a fish, this is representation of me. I try to swim through the world and I try to embrace life. The fish is smiling as I smile when I embrace living. Waves are scattered on the fish’s skin; it is the tranquility of the fish and life in general. It is bigger than the boat in another scene; I think a fish has a significant amount of importance even though it is only a fish.
A large leafy tree is growing out of the middle of the circle. This tree grows like I, myself try to grow. It grows stronger, older, and larger and becomes abundant in life. It stems out to more and more branches and that explains how everything is related to everything and that all life is a common miracle. I climb the tree which shows my respect and love for it while also showing how I want to enjoy my life.
The least detailed part of my mandala is the black sliver. This sliver is small but gets bigger. This is darkness, sadness, anger, and craziness. Darkness can envelop in a person and destroy their mind. It can consume one completely and control one’s thought; this is shown by it going out of the circle.
Another scene reflects common day life and how I try to make everyone happy. I hold a balloon and the people around me are in bad states of mind: sadness, anger, and frustration. Someone can see the beauty of everyday life and show up with a balloon by their side instead of a rain cloud over their head.
Below the fish is a big scene, although it starts with an ocean. The ocean goes out of the circle showing the passing of time and a life of consumable happiness. The man in the boat shows how small he is compared to the ocean. On the left part of this bottom scene is a snake. The snake is darkness as well, but also fear. Fear for life, fear for love, and fear of going crazy. The snake is staring at a figure of me when I’m older. I am happy and successful in what I try to do. I stare at the snake like how I flirt with danger, take risks, and try to understand darkness. If I get upset and give up, the snake eats me. I stay standing on the border of the ocean and occasionally look into darkness.
I’d been tormented for years by a horrible demon. It devoured my soul and filled me with lies of worthlessness and self-hate. I believed everyone had a chance in life but me. At Sunrise I was born, by noon, I’d been given away, and before the sun set, I’d be forgotten. I’ve been told I must have known what was coming because I refused to be born, I came days after I was due and even when they forced the labor, I refused to turn head first or allow them to turn me. Therefore, I was snatched from the wound through the belly and presented to the world against the will of the woman I’d been living in and my own. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the woman, but she seemed to let me go easily, I never even sampled her bosom for milk; she had no nurturing to give which was something that would haunt me for many years to come. We are born with blessings and curses and though we often get the two confused, life volunteers to teach us the difference. _________________________________________________________________ _________________ This is a story, a story about a girl who learned to separate her blessings from curses and learned to love herself when she thought there was nothing left to love, journey with her.
chorus: (don't sing until after v1, when marked)
* you've failed
# scream to the surface
() let it rise and let it drown
& see the shining light
@ let it hit your face
~ let these words fade away
$ and drown in sorrow
heads to the sky/as you wonder why/crashing down all around/line between good and evil/as the clock reaches zero/given all you have/no more left inside/short breaths of fear/you stare me in the eyes/the reason why/caught in between/what's right and wrong
lock your stare/with the eyes of death/scream to the surface/look to the sky/left at the feet/of your eternal judge/plead your case/don't lose your face/your life/you've failed/i have you/by the heart/torn from the chest/left to rot/in the dungeons below/follow my lead
your life already/worthless/die/let go/leave your world behind/you know they'll be better off/stricken down/by the forces of disappointment/and abuse/and it's all because of me/your master/you failed/became weak/lost the fight
chorus and instrumental
now all that's left/your worthless life/so let it go already
* - ~ (1time)
* - () (2times)
tendered flesh where your
found my skin—
[jaw lines, joints, appendages twixt]
indistinct regret as my
turnt my chin.
reminiscent of your essence,
everpresent in all my recollections
seeps between discretion.
you linger like a dream
lining my subconscious,
you stick to my clothes—
[jeans dirtied, hair tousled]
you re-emerge in inhalation and contemplation;
disrupt the surface with ease.
the smudges left,
the rubber burnt,
the charcoal scent stains
in a chest pit;
fueled with every
the skin-to-skin sensation
and each beat accelerated—
a feather-lined stomach
wont to sway in anticipation
stays its state
as if it were expected.
and to lie beside
is more than welcoming,
to sit with a firelit
until the morning; tempting.
loyal like a dog,
loyal to a fault,
(I've always been heavily influenced by latin magical realism, but it's a hard form to write. I always end up tying myself back to reason and force my stuff to obey unnecessary rules. This is one where I deliberately forced myself to be non-linear and a bit stranger, and I'm fond of the result. Hope you like it!)
Every seat on the bus is taken and much of the space a person could stand in is filled by something that perspires. There are hands running through hair and gathering wetness, brushing the damp bangs from in front of faces. Mothers, sons, daughters, the occasional father, they’re fanning themselves with whatever papers they have, slow as they can, to draw out every ounce of the cool from the heat that hangs around each of us.
20 minutes ago everyone on the bus was milling around in the lobby of the University of Iowa’s main theater, Hancher Auditorium, trying to navigate crowds and lines and follow signs telling us where we might go to begin the process of freshman orientation. My mother and I had snuck in the side door and I watched, from outside the largest throng of people, the parents with proud, nervous smiles and the prospective students with jittering insides. My step carried a swagger, my hands resting in my pockets, the right corner of my mouth turned up slightly with eyes half-closed to create an all-knowing smirk. But the hands in my pockets had torn apart an old receipt in a fit of nerves and my walk was slow to calm my heartbeat. The swagger didn’t exist for my sake, but for the sake of the several hundred girls my age that, at least from my perspective, encompassed most of what was interesting about the scene.
On the bus there’s a smaller group than there was then and I can overhear most of their conversation. Conversational zones insulate the bus, no one ready to expand out of the immediate, comfortable interaction their families and friends can offer. A boy gets frustrated with his mom for trying to fix his hair, a bit mussed in the heat of summer. In response, she’s wise enough to smile, enough to see her days in his.
2 hours from now I’ll be sitting in a conference room being told what I should expect from my college experience.
The future CEOS, the astronauts, the authors and the entrepreneurs, those are what I see. There are people around me who will fulfill their dreams or won’t. I look over the sweating faces and find it difficult to see the academics and the substance abuse and the quick, sudden expansion of worlds and horizons that I’ve come to associate with college. It’s more, I think, that I’m surrounded by futures. And in this moment I choose to look to my right from my spot standing at the left rear of the bus. There’s a girl sitting down at the back that I can see in between the arms of someone grasping at something to brace themselves for the bus and its nauseating swerve. Their arms form an odd, ovular frame around her face and torso that secures my focus.
Some minimalist poems that I have been writing lately. I'm trying to better at concision.
Circular rugs fraying
at the edges, underfoot and
disappearing, ground into smaller and
smaller fibers, the unwashed
flags of exasperated sighs and
prayers gone unanswered tucked underneath the corners
of aging sofas, turned to hide the stains under lounges and dark
bare witness to endless soles and the dry
dust of experience fall off our heels.
Our keepers, timely graces,
last line before the ground we fall to,
rug then wood then dead and dirt
and the strands intertwining in August
and wilting apart by December,
and the place you laid down at midnight
and told her all about freedom
and said something quoted from Tolstoy
and broke yourself and your misery
and your worn, microbial being,
You who forgot what it was to be everywhere,
you who wove away from teh middle in fine, concentric
circling 'round everything,
everything under your feet.
An old poem revised about the Luddite's place in the digital world.