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Writing Samples

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.

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.

Coffee & Company

Don’t fill up

on coffee,

she said,

Because the grinds are too simple–

they sit

in your stomach– they

rub your intestines like

sandpaper. Coffee is straightforward

and bitter

like your grandmother’s humor.

Instead, break the fast

with orange juice– something sweet

yet sharp.

Start your morning with

a complication,

hydrate your soul

with sympathy and jealousy,

be an enigma, a twist, be a mystery

they ponder,

because the one who takes the time to solve you

will be the one who always sits beside you at

the breakfast table.

 

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

Lighthouse

Your eyes were

staircases spiraling inside

towering licorice lighthouses;

I watched some nights

when you’d pry open my craters

and release my moths and

let them collect on your

glittering railings.

Your pupils shined on

my royal violet failings,

but you always loved

to blink

my name.

 

Speaking of poetry, it’s the middle of the month and submissions are still open! Send your pieces to the Contact page. ^.^

 

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

Earth and Everywhere

I was in Wales when I realized that God is everywhere.

Tintern Abbey was lathered in light. I tilted my head back to gaze at the monastery, the pillars, the blackened stone. I looked down at the fresh, soft grass speckled with daisies and bumble bees. I felt as if this place, this place of warm tranquility, was Heaven disguised as Earth. Every step was sacred. I felt Him beneath my feet and in my hands and in the mountains.  My friends gathered in the middle of the meadow, whispering so that they did not crack the fragile quiet.

The day my sister told me that she didn’t have faith, something inside me crumbled. I suppose she didn’t remember that moment when we sat on that Pennsylvanian hill, counting fireflies. She squealed and wanted to capture each insect in Grandma Gayle’s glass jars, but I told her to admire them while they’re free. So we compared the fireflies with the cloud of stars above us, pulsating and blinking back at us. We splayed our bodies in the grass and giggled.

Didn’t you feel God then?

A few years later, she showed me the jagged scars on her wrist. She hauled out her anatomy textbook and paged through all the chapters regarding the nervous system. Her eyes were wide with realization. “There is no such thing as a soul,” she said. “The brain controls everything.”

I fall in love with people who worship math and blame God for the problems they can’t solve. But a calculator cannot tell you why we feel the night is ours to hold. It cannot tell you why we might decide to live for someone else. 

Sometimes I feel as though I left God in Wales. When I walked off the plane, suitcase in hand, maybe I left Him behind.

Or, maybe I just have to keep looking everywhere.

 

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

August Writing Contest Winner

2B or Not 2B’s monthly writing contest has been on hiatus for a few months due to a busy summer. However, I’m happy to say that we are now back in business! Submissions are currently open; if you would like to submit any piece of your writing, you may do so here. Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a lookout for new artists featured on this blog!

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I would like to congratulate Nitesh (AKA Sketchesbynitesh) for being August’s poetry winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! His writing is enchantingly philosophical and filled with potent imagery. His piece “Eternal Rest” spins the concept of death so that readers perceive it as a state of peace and serenity (rather than a state of gloom). I hope you enjoy his work as much as I did.

 

Eternal Rest
written by Nitesh

Between the lines of truth and blame, death is certain.
But there is a better day, a better way, behind the lines, walking, talking, but not the same.
There’s God, there’s heaven, but no pain.
I’ll be at peace, on the day I’ll die, my restless heart at rest, under the haunted sky.
There will be no heaviness in my head, I’ll be broken, dazed, speaking of death.
There will be nothing to accomplish, in all the broken promises.
Gentle and brutal companies, they become inseparable, because once around the bend, there is no question about
how much space eternally remains.
But in the hearts of all, who lived by my side, I will crawl to them, until there’s nothing left inside.
And in the smoke of my body, that burns and smells, there will be no trace of anguish or conflict
in my rushing eyes.
But one last thing to tell, here I go, my love, erase me completely from your memories,
here I go, my bride, free from all the blind rage,
here I go my love, turn the page.

 

*If you would like to participate in the September writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

I’ll be looking forward to September’s submissions!

Coin Laundry

It is seven in the morning. The sun barely grazes her fingers across the horizon’s bare back, and she kisses his shoulder as if she is afraid to wake him. Soon, though, he will open his eyes and rumble the lakes and rivers to life; he will start tsunamis; he will open reservoirs. The sun savors this loving silence until she can no longer.

The laundromat is quiet except for the metallic tinkling of the intercom. My mother has been alert (she’s always fueled by Dunkin’ Donuts caffeine) since 4:00 AM, heart thumping rapidly since she unsealed her eyes. The hairs on her arms stand upright like millions of masts, and her muscles are rolling oceans still tense from the fight she had with my father last night. She wrings her hands and shifts her feet.

I sit in a cold, plastic chair. A water bottle I had coerced from the vending machine sits unopened on the floor, condensing into a pool of water between my mother and me. Groggily, I watch the puddle shift and expand, crawling toward the chrome appliances.

My eyelids droop downward like old fabric and my head sinks forward as if I am about to fold in half. I think about the whirring of machinery; my little shoulders slump into the chair and my head bobs forward. I am slipping in and out of reality. The world is a washing machine. I can make out the faint tapping of my mother’s impatient foot, the jingling of the quarters in her purse. People fall and fold into each other; they tangle and unknot; the suds between them shift and squish. It is a slippery kind of relationship.

I wonder why the continents don’t slide in their places across frictionless planes. After all, the world’s people cling to one another with Dawn Soap arms. Their skins rub and slip, warm flesh against warm flesh, popping watery bubbles. And, after the sliding is over, after the fingers rake through sudsy hair, a new body tumbles into another, and He begins a new cycle.

Some people claim the world began with the Big Bang.

I say that God simply pushed a coin into a laundry mat.

 

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

May Writing Contest Winner

I would like to congratulate Temidayo for being May’s prose winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! This piece especially stood out to me due to its modern applications. Massive, global societal issues exist, yet they are merely glanced over by the media and Western culture. I hope you will enjoy this piece as much as I did.

You can explore Temidayo’s blog and her other works here.

Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a lookout for new artists featured on this blog!

 

The Chibok Girls
by Temidayo

April 14th was the third anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 girls, from the Government Girls Secondary School, school dormitories, in Chibok, Nigeria. This poem is a cry for the safe return of the rest of the 195 girls that have yet to return.

It’s been three years now. Three years since the 276 girls were taken by force, in the dark of the night from the place that was the foundation of their aspirations. It’s been three years since 195 girls have last seen their families.

It is hard to comprehend. Always has been. It is difficult comprehending how people said that human beings could celebrate the kidnapping of girls on the path of a better future. It is difficult comprehending why the government has yet to rescue the 195 of them. However, it’s a luxury for those whose problem is to comprehend how such an evil could happen, and not in how it had happened to them.

There are things many of us will fail to fully understand. The emotion the parents feel when the next girl, who was managed to make it back home, isn’t their daughter. The emotion a mother feels when her daughter comes back with a baby although she is almost half the age, her Mother was when she had her first child. The agony some of the girls felt losing their babies while escaping.

However, despite the mess, a few thing are clear. Justice shall prevail, we are not afraid, and we shall #BringBackOurGirls.

 

 

Photo Courtesy: CNN Stephanie Busari, Nima Elbagir and Sebastiaan Knoops

I Steal the Silence

I steal the silence.

The air is crisp tonight, and my chest hums with a certain happiness,

a broken quiet.

My lungs are feathers

molting noiselessly

between breaths;

in, out.

Slowly, I bury my toes into the soil and I feel them

thrum below the earth.

The roots of the trees

spread signals across my feet;

primitive neurons clamber up my ankles.

The street lamp pulses through

its vacuum of voices,

and I swallow it up, absorb it in my pores.

 

I close my eyes

and listen.

 

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

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