Search

2B or Not 2B

If Poets Were High Schoolers

Happy Friday!

This weekend, I’m planning on seeing a comedic play about the relationship between Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson, which made me think of doing something like this. Here’s a humorous piece that places modern-day labels on famous late poets. Enjoy!

Walt Whitman
Whitman is known to walk into places barefoot and proclaim his love for nature. Other kids call him a transcendentalist, others a realist, others a hippie. Personally, though, he despises labels. Sometimes he blurts out nonsense words, particularly “YAWP.”

Charles Bukowski
The John Bender of the millennial age, Bukowski is a smoker who has a way with the ladies. He refuses to implement correct capitalization or punctuation because he believes he is “too cool for school.”

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar is that kid who sits in the corner of the classroom listening to classical music through noise-canceling headphones. Despite how noise-canceling these headphones may be, he still swears he can hear a heart beating beneath the floorboards… Oh well.

Robert Frost
The art freak with a love for the woods. He’ll arrive at school late in the morning, trudging in from a long morning hike. He is a classic modernist, focusing on reducing human life to fragments. His sense of direction is poor, though; he always takes the road less traveled and frequently finds himself lost.

e. e cummings
Cummings is that defiant kid who does everything his way. He’ll write a bunch of poems for his significant other, but she won’t be able to understand a word of it. He takes pride in his individuality, even if it sometimes means that it takes an expert to understand his writing structure.

William Blake
An obsessive theater kid. He’ll only speak to you in verse and he idolizes Shakespeare. He regularly mumbles something about a tiger burning bright, but people rarely pay attention.

~~~~

Speaking of poetry, it’s the middle of the month and submissions are open once again for the monthly contest! Send your pieces through the Contact page.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Writing the Beginnings of Stories (And Only the Beginnings)

As an experiment, I’ve written the start of a few short story ideas. If you’re a writer, doing this really helps the creative juices flow for the projects that you’re working on.

I hope you enjoy them!

 

The Musician: Carla, the cleaning lady on Clermont Street, has a son who is engaged to a white singer. Whenever one of her clients asks about her son, Carla claps her hands in delight and swears he will be a musician someday. Sure, all he has ever known are the crescendos of Spanish and the staccato grip of a dustpan, but soon he will strum a guitar with his moreno fingertips. Just you wait.

Five years later, her son’s wife is singing in Carnegie Hall. When she leaves the stage, roars of applause cling to her clothes, the spotlights dim, and the curtains close. Carla’s son strolls onto the stage. He slides a dustpan along the floor, pretends he is strumming Cancion de Mariachi with a broom, and happily sweeps up rose petals into a pile.

Carla frowns in her living room.

girl-342839_1280.jpg

Escape: The first time she saw her reflection, she gasped. The ripples in the water distorted her features, but she could still make out the tangled knot of hair, the scars on her nose, the mud on her neck, the bloodshot eyes. Her orange jumpsuit clung to her shoulders.

reflection-2139435_1280.jpg
The Most Nutritious Meal of the Day
: Breakfast here meant fried worms, frog intestines, and eel skin. Thomas plopped into the dining room chair and licked his lips.

frog-540812_1280.jpg


Monster
: Horrified, Victoria opened her mouth wide. Black tar oozed from under her tongue, from under her gums. She screamed and gurgled ebony liquid.

An hour later, her mother opened the bathroom door and found her daughter unconscious on the floor; her fingernails were smothered in black, her pupils were completely dilated, and her hair was the color of ink. Her mother gasped. She covered her left hand over her mouth, backing away and shutting the door with her right.

bathroom-1336164_1920.jpg


Orphanage
: Emily dragged her comforter down the stairs: thump, thump, thump. She had to squint in the dark (only candlelight prevented her from missing a step), and she slid one hand down the railing for support. She could make out the faint glow of a flashlight wiggling underneath a tent of blankets in the sitting room. As she padded across the carpet, she could hear the excited whispers of little girls, her friends, beside the fireplace. They had started without her.

stairs-2279865_1280.jpg


Washing Machine
:
 Her dress is a feast fit for kings: pink tulle skipping down the middle; seems popping in unseemly places; careless cotton; rainbow juice stains.

Her mother grabs the tattered dress and marches to the garbage can. “Mommy will get you a new one, honey.”

The little girl, wearing just her underwear, clings onto her mother’s skirt, clawing at her legs. “Feed it to the wash,” she pleads. “The wash will make it better. You always feed it to the wash.”

Her mother glances down before walking toward the kitchen. Heels glaring, she stuffs the dress down the trash can’s throat.

washing-machine-2425434_1280.jpg

Pursuing a Career in the Field You Love

While I was growing up, my father said that it wouldn’t be smart for me to become a writer.

In middle school, I used to pride myself in the idea that I would, one day, find myself to be a famous author. I’d hand my father a short story as he reclined on the couch, my hands restless and my feet jittery. When he looked up, my stomach flipped; I respected my father’s opinion greatly, and I was nervous to hear what he had to say. He’d clear his throat, force a smile, and say something along the lines of, “You know, you’re a great writer. But you won’t be able to make it in the real world. Have you considered going into business?”

I like to think that, on the inside, my father rooted for me, but society told him not to. It isn’t smart to let your daughter enter a career with no money involved, society said. Passion will never get her anywhere. 

book-bindings-3176776_1280

Once my father figured out that I was serious about my writing, though, he took me to writing seminars and conventions; he helped me build my juvenile plots about mutants and mad scientists; he encouraged me to listen to writers’ advice and to self-publish at an early age. He never told me that I would make it, though. Never explicitly. But I would see it in his eyes when he looked at me across a seminar table.

So is it worth it? To follow your dreams? To block out any voice of doubt around you? To keep going? The short answer, dear reader, is yes.

I have a friend who gave up her love of history in order to make money in the medical field. I internalized her loss for her; to lose a passion is to lose a part of your soul. Never let go of it. Cling on to it like it’s your lifeline. I assure you that, if you are talented in the field you are passionate about, you will find a way to make a living out of it. That is a promise, and it is a promise I’ve offered myself as well.

I hope you all have an amazing day, and always keep writing!

Submit Your Writing to Stoneman Douglas – “Art for the Heart”

Dreyfoos School of the Arts’ own literary magazine is initiating a program to help the students at Stoneman Douglas. We are asking students to submit visual and/or written submissions that are meant to heal the students and faculty at Douglas. All submissions should be sent to seedsmag@gmail.com; we also launched an Instagram page called seeds.artfortheheart, where students can follow this initiative live. Seeds is going to personally deliver all submissions to Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.

Art for the Heart.png

 

Solace

When everything churns and sinks in reverse

and the moon pulls back its tides with taut strings,

the waves of the ocean crash and disperse

in the tumult of my imaginings.

 

But oh, let the continents shift and quake,

and let the sun’s final rays brush the shore;

his promising light is what my heart aches:

a glistening star I have fallen for.

 

I would gladly suspend in endless gloom

if it meant I could hold his ardent light,

because only he can make my heart bloom

with flowers basked in his beaming delight.

 

Let the world dive, let my words fall to sea;

my star will glow, his light will comfort me.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

The Rose

A delicate rose perched on a bush,
her hand beneath her chin.
Her sigh froze dew drops in the air;
her patience was waning thin.

For she was awaiting Autumn—
he hadn’t visited in days—
and he had promised that he’d bring her
the sun’s sweetest golden rays.

But ‘twas Winter who had stolen Autumn
when he blew his chilling kiss;
the maiden: “Where art my Autumn dressed in white,
the lovely warmth I miss?”

Winter cloaked himself in velvet blue,
and his eyes were cold as ice;
the maiden: “Where art my Autumn’s tender passion,
his fragile warm device?”

The rose began to shrivel,
her bud began to decay:
“Have mercy, oh cold Winter;
please let my Autumn stay.”

But Winter merely stripped her
and ignored her wish to weep.
He listened to her last breath
as Autumn sang her to sleep.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

The Librarian

There is a librarian who

organizes fluttering

memories.

The birds fly in with ebony words smeared on

their wings and they always

soar with more

questions than answers;

her thoughts are dust-covered dancers

twirling behind

crumbling books locked

in skyscraper-shelves;

she told me to look

for your book

yesterday and I peeled it open and there were

too many blank spaces between unfinished words;

question marks licked each page

and each page crinkled at my touch

and my touch left nothing but an indent (between the words “loss” and “love”)

and love was felt with your entire being

but being sick left you torn at the binding;

 

I took

your book

and slammed it against the table—

I watched the pages flutter

like feathers

and then I left

the remains to the

librarian.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Why I Wanted to Be a Writer

I used to want to be an astronaut, floating above the earth and watching the stars; instead of a story teller, I wanted to be a listener.

My great-grandmother wobbled over to the dining room table every morning to slip her mug in the microwave. She plopped down in the sunlight, dunk her tea bag, and splashed cream into the hot water. In her wobbly voice, she regurgitated the weekly news on politics like she had the day before, and I nodded or loudly answered back in agreement.

The evenings, though, were when her mind switched on and she was exceptionally cognitive. I’d sit across from her in a velvet, worn chair and we’d talk for hours about Grandpa Lacrosse and their cabin on the mountain. “You’re so mature for your age,” she said one day as we sat in the back, gazing at the Pennsylvanian snow. A plump chipmunk shuffled across the pavement and gazed at her, then me. “You remind me of me.”

I used to perceive the world as an outsider, floating above the earth with wide arms and closed eyes. I depended on satellites; I absorbed information, but I did not reflect them back to the people beneath me. I was external.

astronaut-893388_1280.jpg

Before cancer took him away, Matt liked to talk about his days as a color guard in high school. And when he wasn’t talking about them, he gazed at his coffin in the living room with ferocious intensity, as if he challenged it to swallow him. When he visited the day of my Prom, I listened to his memories of his friends, of his competitions. “Thank you for making me feel alive,” he told me. The sentence caught in his throat, and the astronaut inside me wavered.

Bishop Mark, the man who, over the years, became more of a grandfather to me than a bishop, reminisced of his days as a student in Rome. Tears pooled down his cheeks as he remembered the man who taught him that theology is learned through lives as well as scripture. The stories he told me made my heart swell, and I felt as if I needed to do something with them.

When my great-grandmother died in 2016, I began telling stories rather than just simply listening to them. Stories include memories and experiences– the world’s most valuable commodities. With experience comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes wisdom. So I gather these stories in my mind for the sole purpose of telling others. I write them down in poems, in prose; I photograph them. Something tugs at the soul when you connect to another soul. I want to grant others this feeling of connection.

robonauts-600979_1280.jpg

Years ago, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to observe people from the outside. Now, I am internal; I am human. I am a writer.

To Love a Bird (Is to Paint Her Red)

I am azure-headed,

ruby-breasted,

emerald-winged. I flutter

into your embrace,

only God and His sun

as my witnesses.

You tell me that I dazzle color,

even when my feathers are

plucked, even when all that is visible is

the white plumage beneath the surface.

When my toes are ripped, you stitch

them back; when my beak is scratched, you

flip me onto my back and

place a healing kiss to the wound.

“You are my painted bunting,” you say,

and I squint into your eyes—they are my stars, that twinkling choir—

as my breast swells with a certain fire.

I was born

blue-headed and green-winged,

but you, my dear, you are the artist

who painted this chest red.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑