Tag Archives: creative writing

Re—

“Write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues on fire. Don’t let the pen banish you from yourself. Don’t let the ink coagulate in your pens. Don’t let the censor snuff out the spark, nor the gags muffle your voice. Put your shit on the paper.”
– Gloria Anzaldúa

Put your shit on the paper.

Five months have come and gone without a single specimen of creativity. Five months have come and gone without the tapping tap tapping of the keys. Five months, and I haven’t put my shit on the paper, at least not intentionally, not voluntarily, not the way I want to. That doesn’t mean there’s been nothing to say. On the contrary, there’s been more to say these past five months than any other time in this chapter of my life:

go to the office, put your butt in a chair, but why?, I love you!, om nama shivaya, om shanti, please take three minutes to complete your Do Now silently and independently, AzMERIT, step one, step two, everybody line up!, I want you, good morning :), coffee?, Hi my name is Savannah and the word of the day is, take your hat off please, this is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, namaste, step your right foot forward between your hands, 20 school days, 3 school days, I HATE water day, thank god it’s summer!, good morning, I love you

The words have poured out of my mouth and into space. Sometimes like tears, sometimes like screams, sometimes like raindrops, like laughter, like wine, like water, like comets, like waves colliding with people and hurling them down into the sea… but never like ink pouring onto paper. I’ve found these past five months that I can speak, but I cannot write. This paradox has led me to think about what it is that allows me to put my shit on the paper and what it is that never lets it land there. I think the determining factor has a lot to do with the prefix “re-.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines “re-” primarily as “once more; afresh, anew.” It then follows this definition with many more, the second being “with return to a previous state” as in “restore” or “revert.” For me, writing is a means of reflection, a sort of review, a revisiting of past events, thoughts, and lessons. All of those “re-” prefixes imply returning. To return means to steer yourself to a previous place, condition, or experience rather than continuing with your eyes set on what lies ahead. Hence why I’ve found it nearly impossible to write: living fully for the past five months has required that all of my energy and effort be directed forward. I’ve not been able to reflect on what has come and gone; I’ve only had room enough to bask, and burn, in the present.

With that said, I can now take refuge in a more fluid, slow-moving present: summer. During these short months, I have the space to revisit what I’ve learned and felt from January to June. I can review moments in which I made and grew from mistakes. I can restore the rhythm of the rapping on the keys. I can return to the past so that I may arrive in the future a little wiser. I can breathe. And as I exhale, I hope the breath will turn into words and travel down my arms into my fingertips where the words will turn to notes and the notes into music and the music into truth.

sunset in Tucson, AZ

Renew. Return. Rejoice. 

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Filed under Prose

My Lady,

You are beautiful.

I use that word because I mean it.

Beautiful like

a breeze kicking up leaves amongst the cigarette butts,

beautiful like

a million lights glittering behind the building across the street,

beautiful like

a manicured green that is nonauthorisé.

Something as beautiful as you cannot be sit on.

It can only be pictured again and again

until every strand of memory weaves itself into a canvas

to hang over a hole in the drywall,

or a sheet

to drape over the chair that just can’t be gotten rid of.

What I mean to say is

I can’t let go of the way

you smell like butter and piss and Chanel No. 5.

I can’t stop hearing the crinkle of your rolling papers,

the sigh of your train as it cools on the tracks,

the cry of seagulls who mistook your river for the sea.

I can’t purge you from my palette, either,

scrape you from my tongue,

nor can I wash out my resentment.

 

I thought I’d beaten you the moment I said

“I will never come back.”

I meant it then.

Funny,

my return is all I can imagine now;

my arrival on your doorstep is all I can foresee.

My entrance will go unnoticed,

but the sound of my shoe on your staircase

will shake you from your ambivalence.

 

Cruel vixen,

though I may cringe at every step up your tower,

when I reach the top there will be

nothing more you can do to me.

I will have skipped the elevator,

refused to settle for the second-to-last étage,

elbowed my way through your hoard of suitors,

survived it all.

And then, at long last,

your wind will wash over me like water

and all I will hear is your wayfaring voice,

pleading me to never forget your luster…

 

In time, my love,

your brilliance may be eclipsed by the young,

and your splendor overshadowed by the bold,

but your beauty

is untouchable.

 

My Lady,

the day you turn to ash

will be the day

this world goes black—

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Filed under Poetry

Maybe if I scream

Hello blogosphere. Long time no see. Unfortunately, when the work grows mountainous the blog has to become the last priority, the neglected middle child. But sometimes a person has to stop and write. The following poem poured out of me this morning in a manifestation of all that has kept me silently marching along, eyes to the ground, ears tuned to the orders of an omnipresent yet unidentifiable drill sergent. So here it is, for you. 

***

I told myself I would never bow to this.

I would never bend my back into a broken branch

to hang over dead leaves and frozen ground.

I would never shape myself into a chiseled arch

to tower above a city of men and women

who’ve lost their freckles scars grey hairs fat ankles

veins

to the travel section of the New York Times—

I swore I would never bow to this.

And yet

my hips ache when I wake each morning

and my coffee no longer tastes of reflection

but of reaction

to the alarm clock beside my bed.

 

I bought it when I was twelve

to wake me up when Momma was states away

and couldn’t be there

to tickle my eyes open.

Since then it’s been interrupting like a school bell

to tell me to comb my hair a little more

to clothe my body a little more

to study my books a little more

to be

a little less.

And still I press it silent,

my hand falling heavy on the sound waves

like a gavel to choke dissent—

I haven’t remembered my dreams for eight years now.

That’s two thousand nine hundred and twenty empty nights,

with few exceptions,

and yes—

You are one of them.

 

You come tumbling into my sleep

like a stone rolling onto asphalt and I swerve

but there’s no avoiding you.

You end up lodged in the exposed metal of my engine,

speeding along with (in) me toward the alarm clock.

When the invasion arrives

you do not retreat,

you do not jiggle yourself loose,

no—

You burrow deeper and the heat of my whirring engine

welds you to my rib cage.

But darling,

that’s not a safe place for you.

 

Those bones are failing.

Slit the bark a little with your fingernail

and you’ll see the wick is a ghostly shade of hardly-green.

One more winter without sun to the melt the snow

and it will be dead altogether.

Those bones will snap soon

and tear through my skin,

the grey, rubbery bark protruding like a plank for you

to jump from.

Leap, my love.

Do not fear the icy water below.

Know that once you slice it with your outstretched hands,

the heat of your body will make it bearable.

 

Maybe someday we’ll find each other there,

wading in the water,

turning to coral from the waiste down

and doing our best to keep our hearts above the surface.

It’s a nice thought—

but I can feel myself folding,

and my body is molding itself into a bridge,

not a diving board.

 

If I put my foot upon that bridge

and you see me start to walk over life

like a Parisian crossing the Seine

without taking a moment to appreciate

the wake left in the iridescent river

by beaten souls seeking inspiration—

Call my name.

Cry out to me and tell me

to search my blood vessels for my pulse.

Tell me to taste the particles of carbon dioxide

that dry my sanded-smooth tongue

and turn to phantoms in the cold.

Tell me to cross my eyes

and wonder at the oil that shimmers on my nose—

And tell me to scream.

 

For once I hear the crash of my vibrating vocal chords

shattering this white-noise world—

I just might stand straight again.

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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Filed under Poetry

À l’autre côté

It’s been a very long time since Untethered has seen a poem. As any writer knows, the poetic energy ebbs and flows, and sometimes, it disappears completely, like water down a drain. Luckily, I believe my life here in Paris is giving me new inspiration, and I’m feeling the urge once again to paint with words. Below you’ll find the first poem I’ve ever written in French, followed by an English translation in italics. Happy reading!

***

À l’autre côté de la rue

il y a un grand batîment,

sept étages,

et chaque étage a des grandes vitrines,

fenêtres commes des portes.

Tous les matins et tous les soirs,

je regarde ces vitrines

et les vies qui se passent derrières.

Sur le quatrième étage

il y a un bureau.

Là, les ordinateurs illuminent les salons

commes des lanternes,

et une vielle fille travaille sous ses lumières

jusqu’à huit heures, sans cesse.

Sur le sixième étage

il y a une maison.

Là, deux enfants courent et jouent

derrière les fenêtres

et ils sourient à moi,

la spectatrice à l’autre côté de la rue.

 

Je connais leurs vies,

je connais leurs comportements.

Mais toi, mon voisin,

je ne te connais pas.

Je peux entendre tes pas et tes soupirs,

juste à l’autre côté du mur.

Je peux entendre quand tu pars,

et je peux entendre quand tu rentres,

et je peux entendre quand tu secoues les clès.

Mais ton voix, mon voisin

juste à l’autre côté du mur,

je ne l’entend jamais.

 

Dans les reflets

dans les vitrines

à l’autre côté de la rue

je peux voir ton balcon.

Là, il y a une chaise blanche,

retournée, oubliée,

et tu ne t’assieds jamais dehors.

Mais je sais que tu vis

derrière les vitrines.

J’imagine que tu joues et souris là-bas,

que tu regarde les vitrines à l’autre côté de la rue,

comme moi.

J’imagine ton ordinateur et son lumiére sur ton visage.

J’imagine que t’écoutes

quand je pars

et quand je rentre,

t’écoutes moi.

 

Non, je ne t’ai pas encore vu,

mais je sais que t’es là,

juste à l’autre côté du mur,

mon mystère,

mon rêve,

mon voisin.

***

On the other side of the street

there is a grand building, 

seven stories, 

and each story has grand windows, 

windows like doors.

Every morning and every evening, 

I watch the windows

and the lives that pass behind them. 

On the fourth story

there is an office. 

There, the computers illuminate the rooms

like lanterns, 

and an old maid works beneath their light

until eight o’clock, non-stop. 

On the sixth story

there is a home. 

There, two children run and play 

behind the windows

and they smile at me, 

the spectator on the other side of the street. 

I know their lives, 

I know their habits. 

But you, my neighbor, 

I don’t know. 

I can hear your steps and your sighs, 

just on the other side of the wall. 

I can hear when you leave, 

and I can hear when you return, 

and I can hear when you shake your keys. 

But your voice, my neighbor

just on the other side of the wall, 

I never hear it. 

In the reflections

in the windows 

on the other side of the street

I can see your balcony. 

There, a white chair waits, 

overturned, forgotten,

and you never sit outside. 

But I know that you live

behind the windows. 

I imagine that you smile and play there,

that you watch the windows on the other of the street, 

like me. 

I imagine your computer and its light on your face. 

I imagine that you listen

when I leave

and when I return, 

you listen to me. 

No, I haven’t seen you yet,

but I know that you’re there,

just on the other side of the wall, 

my mystery, 

my dream, 

my neighbor. 

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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Filed under Poetry

Passing through Poseidon

Sun-burnt sand poured in from all sides

to bury their footsteps as they walked

silently arm in arm

feeling the wind frigid against their skins.

The beach, speckled with shells, subsided into waves

frozen-blue, ravenous,

and a redwood’s trunk lay petrified in the distance

rising from the sand like an outstretched hand grasping at redemption.

When they reached it she perched on the fingers;

he turned to confront the waves.

He drowned his knees,

set his eyes on the afternoon sun

and waited for her.

She knew it,

so she stood and ran like a girl to meet him,

the sea.

 

No pain met her there;

Her feet turned numb upon collision–

He took her peacefully.

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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Filed under Poetry