(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
I used to be called Maisie, or Margaret in the English way, daughter of highland rebel, Ewan of Cluny McPherson. But because of the failure of the Jacobite uprising many years ago, and the threat of loosing our land. I became Daniel Cluny McPherson, the name of my long dead twin brother. The English came to my brother, Duncan one day and told him if he could not pay the taxes now upon his lands, they would become forfeit and we would be evicted. They also told him the fastest way to pay was to join the army in the American colonies. Well, my brother had his wife and child and kind heart and would be no use in an army, my young nephew had not reached the age of two yet and thus was much too young. So I, at the age of fourteen, enlisted for my family.
Late one night in the spring of 1774 I took my brothers' dirk and cut my hair as short as I could. I then took his highland cap and a pair of breeches, a vest, and a light cotton shirt from a chest that belonged to Daniel. I thought it best to leave his kilt behind and instead took his hunting tartan sash and used it as a strap for my bag. Inside I put his dirk, a cloak and food enough for three days. The only possession I owned myself of any value was my Sgian Dubh, a smaller blade than the dirk, which went in its new place in my cap; usually the knife would have gone in the folds of my skirt, but the breeches were no hiding place for it.
I slip out the door into the cool Scottish night and take a long, deep breath of the highland air for what I hope will not be the last time. then off am I, down to the lowlands and the recruiting offices of the English redcoats.
It takes me about three days to make it down to the camps and I meet more and more travellers the closer I get. the first peddler I past, I was terrified my disguise wouldn't work; but he only tipped his hat and asked me if I wanted to buy a pair of his fine shoes. I looked down at my bare feet, which had been that way my whole life. I thanked him and said in as deep a voice as I could muster without it being too obvious "no thank you sir, I dinnae have money." and we went our separate ways. When I did make it to the camp, my mouth did open a bit in awe at the sight. never have I seen a English army with my own eyes, only in stories from my father and brother. This was nowhere near the full force but was at least five hundred men strong. walking stiffly through the first rows of tents I can feel wary eyes on me and my plaid sash. But I hold my head up proudly like the stubborn Scotsman I am and head up to the first table I see.
"Can I 'elp yew with somthin' boy?" said the sergeant at the table, glaring at my sash and my cap.
"Ah'm here tae enlist tae pay off my family's debt...sir." I say.
"Name?" He leans down over a piece of paper, uncaring.
"Daniel McPherson." I answer, and I get a glance then he scribbles on the paper.
"well, welcome too the winning side boy, you'll get to see the might of the British army in the colonies." he smiled and I bite my lip to keep from firing back at him. He looks
Did thou know'st that all the family recipes have nothing on thee?
For thou hav'st more mystery inside than that which causes customers lickin'.
Though a platter of the Colonel's makes me scream "Weee!",
thou art more sensational than a samplin' of fried chicken.
It is easy for me to get lost in thou'st aroma,
smelling the savory air causes one go dizzy.
Thou make me feel as though I have pleasantly gone into a coma,
thy odoriferous power focuses active minds from busy.
Thine flavor that thou hast is satisfiable,
outreaching possibility of extra crispy.
Make'st the world yelp seeing thou aren't quantifiable,
all the chicken sacrificed in case of thou'st appearances, even show'st briefly.
So in what box thou'st art found to satisfy one's splendored sensation?
Thou'st will see when we meet again, there will be a correlation.
Why are our livesAll about us?If our surroundings dissolvedWhat could we possess?‘Neathe the blue skyWe wander so at easeUntil we find the heavensAre transformed with diseaseBlack smog, grey dustNo longer green with bloomOur nature, Our MotherNow but all consumedThese polluted surroundings,Can’t be bought for newWhat we’ve given and done,An apology long over dueThe prognosis is grim,No known cure in sight,Your death, is our death,Amendments we shall incite
By the way...I will be uploading the first page or two of a piece that I'm working on. I had a dream a few nights ago about this world of my own, and I want to share it with you, so that is upcoming, hopefully tonight. :) peace off, audience!
personified by widened eyes
shutting slow & liquified;
hindsight an accompaniment to
lighten chest & shorten breath,
a calm perceived by susceptibility
and while surrender evolves into
an orchestrated act
(the motions predisposed,
the words set in stone)
memories of endings always remain
history repeating &
fatalistic reasoning, a suture pulled
drawing fro the curtains to reveal
an organ of mythological proportion
beating in&out& faster now
like a prodigal child shoved onto stage;
widened eyes, shutting not & petrified
he knows the lines, mouthing in
you don't see through my eyes...
(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.
For William Blake
with eyes of struggle
watch the wind blow history
from limb to limb
as experience foliates
leaves fall to deteriorate
in the soil of the retina
to plant innocence
in blooming vision
as the future oxidizes
events start to accumulate
in the wind breathing on my limbs
A good ol' fashioned concrete poem
Here's something I just recently put together. Simple, short. I'm not very poetic, and I know very little about modern poetry, so I'm mostly just slapping words on paper.