It’s Loud

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Portrait of Glenn

This was a poem I wrote in High School during that creative writing class. The prompt was just this painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Then, I eventually did this painting later. Of my poem. Just think it was cool to write a poem off another artwork, then another piece off of that poem.

This was my pastel on canvas after the poem was written. I think I did it about a month later. This is also my first pastel piece.

Loud
Loud to me
It’s just clutter

Clutter that clatters
Crashes in my
mind – only mine

Bounce off the
walls of this canvas
Songs, beats- lies

Lies to the beat
Of this song that I hate
And only I know

I only know
Because only
I hear.

It sickens me
Alone
Alone with the

song only I know.
But it’s back in
my mind- cycle

Through my system.

out
get it out everywhere
Unhinge my jaw

Just to get it
known
someone to hear.

My eyes glow
With the song
I lost myself

My solid yellow eyes
Something’s wrong
Clearly wrong.

Make it clear
Expose the symptoms
It’s contagious

I refuse to die!
This sickness of a song
I show the signs

but they- they died.

Deaf- they were
Unable to hear the song
The song that made them sick

They held it in
It killed them
Killed them clean.

It’s trying to get me-
this ill literacy-
This- this killer lullaby

But I’ll never
Let it stay.
I spit it out.

Over and over-
Get it out.

 

 

When the Butterflies Fly Away

On a hike down a little trail, the smell of the Kentucky River was strong, and hot rocks on the shore emitted that slightly metallic aroma. Dannon followed Eve down a thin trail, which was more just a path of parted grass that the girls had to comb through to continue through to their destination.

Dannon followed behind Eve as quick as she could, but the grass brushed her legs far more than grass usually would have on her average day drawing at her desk. She had to continually shoved aside the thought of the bugs that were probably crawling all over her, but Eve was a good six feet away, pounding through the tall grass after the sound of the water. Eve’s urgency to reach the river made it a lot easier for Dannon to feel the exciting sense of adventure, even if she was a little out of her element.

“Have you ever been down here before?” Dannon panted from far back. She could see the shore of the river glowing from where she stood in the shade of the trees.

“Yeah! All the time. It’s beautiful.” Eve‘s voice responded from far away near the edge of the trees.

Dannon was in no disagreement. The entire hike took her breath away, both in beauty and in the physical sense, she was one hundred percent sure she would be sore for the next three days, but all the color and the peaceful sounds of the forest were more than worth it to her.

Eve chuckled watching Dannon shuffle down the steep end of the trail until she finally came to a stumble at the shore. The sun bounced off the rocks in a way that the heat felt thick and solid. She squinted to see anything, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the bright sun after being in the shade of the trees.

As Dannon walked along the shore, she kept tripping over the unstable rocks, trying to see as much nature as she could before she would recluse in the indoors again- and Eve sat on a large rock, overlooking the wide river that ran below the precipice towering above her, it lorded across the water, and from below Eve sat in awe as usual.

The girls were unaware of the importance of this hike. See, they were actually somewhat strangers, Eve and Dannon had only known each other through a friend, but, Eve wanted to go on a hike- so bad, she was willing to invite that short girl she knew from student council last year. And Dannon was just itching to meet someone new, and if it meant stepping out of her comfort zone, she was happy to do it.

Even in the silence during just those twenty-six minutes on the rocks and the soft breeze mixing around the heat, there was something there neither girl knew was there, right under their noses.

Dannon walked back closer to the trees, the rocks were reflecting the bright sun into her eyes, putting her in almost a haze that left her moving and thinking slower, so she was put in a motion that she couldn’t help but be in deep thought. She caught her foot on a rock- and suddenly there was a burst of white butterflies that rose from the ground out of nowhere.

At first, She noticed the quick movements of the shadows they cast. she was thrown off, because She had not been quite as aware of her surroundings as she was the world in her head, but she quickly understood they were just innocent, soft wings, and they all hovered over the rocks for a while. She just stood, smiling, taking in such a wonderful little thing, thinking about how the gentle bugs just chose to swirl around together at her feet, even though she had disturbed the place they were, they all hopped in the air below her, almost as to just let her enjoy the simple blessings they were.

She took the opportunity in her hazed state of mind to contemplate how she related to those common white butterflies, she grasped the magical moment like it was temporary, because it would only last as long as she needed to learn-

Enjoy the moment now, and even more later.

And as the butterflies dispersed as quickly as they came, Dannon let out a small sigh through a crooked smile.

She turned around to get a look at who would be her new best friend, the girl who watched the butterflies from her rock. The second she made eye contact with Eve she sprinted over to her.

“Did you see that? That was so pretty!” Dannon was still beaming at the thought of the new memory.

“It was,” Eve pulled her little backpack up off the ground. “You ready to head home?”

“Yeah- OH!” Dannon was amazing she hadn’t asked such an obvious question yet- “Do you want to spend the night??”

Eve almost always said no to that question.

But there was a pause. “Sure!”

One year, two years, three years, they stuck together. Concert tickets, sleepovers, talks in the car, amusement parks, everything best friends did. Time passed in a blurry mix of fun and emotion.

But one summer, Eve left on a trip.

Texts between Eve and Dannon proved Eve wasn’t gonna be the same when she came back.

Eve’s new friends weren’t as excited about talks in the car, or sleepovers or amusement parks. It was more about the parties and grown up things.

And when Eve came back, things just stopped being the same.

Dannon didn’t think about the argument often, in fact, Eve said not to talk to her again. But things change, people change, it was okay.

For Dannon: New friends, new life, different concerts, new sleepovers, her own car to talk to friends in, that new amusement park. Dannon found it pretty easy to fill a day with productivity and throw some fun in there too.

And after a few months, Dannon realized… she hadn’t journaled in a while.

She knew it was because her next entry would be on Eve, regarding all the good times had, and how things aren’t like that anymore. She knew she would write about the fun times and the concerts and the amusement parks… She knew she would write about how quickly she came and how quickly she left. She knew she would write about how wonderful her memories were with Eve. How a friend like her to just spend time with, to be close to in your high school years, is normal. And yes, high school friends change. Just like anyone else. In the end, they were just normal, common girls. But she was so happy she got to spend that simple, exciting time of her life with someone.

And now, sitting here, on her bed, a dim light and a hot-chocolate candle, She writes:

“And then the butterflies flew off. I almost felt like I didn’t deserve to enjoy them, in a strange way, especially for as long as they chose to fly with me. They all dispersed as quickly as they appeared, but I was still left with that smile. In fact, I noticed I chose to be more happy when they left then when they came, happy I saw that beauty, that I got to experience those common white butterflies.”

 

When the World Went to Sleep.

I took a creative writing class in high school. It was a snow day, and where I lived they had “NTI days,” where even though it as a snow day, the teachers had to give us online assignments or send us home with a packet to do or something. Personally, I hated them with everything in me, they were usually a lot harder and more time consuming than just the regular school work, but my Senior year I had just Work Blocks, English, French, Creative writing and my Independent Art Study, (which I basically used as another work block- I was running a graphic design business- that’s art, right?) so none of my assignments were ever horribly unenjoyable.

In fact, I looked forward to having to write all day. My creative writing assignment this day was a prompt to write a short story centered around a physiological conflict. I went ahead and spent as much time as I wanted on it, trying to get it well-written in under a page.

I still love this original one. This is the story that I went on to turn into Lonely Awake later.


When the World Went to Sleep.

I drew this a while after I had written it, just playing around with the idea bit more.

It was a cold morning, snowing, but she kept the room warm with a space heater throughout the night, and with school obviously canceled, she woke up to her room feeling more like a summer day. She shifted from her side to her back, and looked at the ceiling for a good while, thinking about what summer felt like. Her sixteenth birthday was last summer, she had a small party with all her friends, she loved that day. She thought about how on the more quiet days of summer, she would throw the covers off herself and go have coffee with mom- Oh, right. Coffee. She picked up her half-finished coffee by her bedside from yesterday and went out to the kitchen to make a fresh cup, knowing full well she should only fill it halfway, but she didn’t. Maybe she would finish it today, put ice in it after lunch… some whipped cream to spice things up a bit.

She usually would expect to hear the dog’s nails tap on the floor for it’s daily dollop of whipped cream, but she didn’t feel she needed to poke her head in the living room to know he was still sleeping. These mornings, everyone was still asleep. She talked to herself though, a lot these past few months. It was very quiet, with everyone sleeping all the time… None of them have been awake since she wrote the date this lonely phenomenon started. She had used to keep a tally on the whiteboard on the fridge, but she didn’t like how she was running out of room on it, or the feeling of herself as a prisoner scratching the tally onto the walls of a cell. She knew she wasn’t in a prison, but she didn’t want to leave. The image of the late-shift cashier dropped asleep from when she first went to restock on food still snuck its way around her thoughts, she would talk to herself to change the subject. But even these ice breakers with herself began to have their awkward silences at the end. Though, she was starting to appreciate them, thinking about how talking to people was an art you had to master, and she felt she had had lots of time to practice with herself in the mirror, it was still a relief to see a human being reflect expressions back, to blink and move.

She understood she was going crazy, and expected it from the day she wrote “June 25th, 2017” above the long count of tallies.

It was sick, the spell. Everyone is asleep, as close to death as you come, but it gives the false hope they will all wake up. She thought a lot about sleeping beauty, how the story showed mercy on the princess, making her fall asleep. No, this spell, that creature said, will tear her piece by piece, and she had begged him, begged him to tell her what he had cursed her with, all he said through a long fit of laughter was “Oh, it’s coming! It’s coming! Then, it will hit! But then the spell will be gone- but all too late!”  And now that it has “hit,” she was able to put together what the monster meant by, “-but all too late.”

To be asleep like a princess, not even needing to feel hope- just simply unconscious– unaware of how close she is to death, how miserable the princess would be, had she been awake.

Oh, what she would give to be unconscious right now… to feel that peace the people around her are experiencing… to be like that princess. She would give her very life; and that is what she was about to do. She knew that once she drank this coffee with all her mother’s expired pills, when she made her last breath, the world would wake up again, in that unfortunate irony the creature laughed at, everyone would wake up, but all too late.

A Ship to Sail Out

A Ship to Sail Out

There’s a deeper whoosh than a pencil
When I take my pen to my tablet.
There is an elegant completeness
In each invisible stroke-
A stroke only I know.

But even in my quiet uncertainty,
Each stroke sounds as sure
As the releasing of a sail on a ship.

The wind, that is, my latest creation-
I imagine, Is caught in my strokeless sail of a pen.
As I draw, the ocean air watches,
With the wind and my sail,
I’ll head out into the sea I call my tomorrow.

To Simply Be.

To Simply Be.

I’d like to gather the wings
Of many different birds.
The life that inhabits the sky,
Keeping their feathers to their kind.
Among this array of feathers
I could find myself admiring
The many forms of soaring
Gliding, and singing.

If I could find myself in the tangled jungle
Green, crawling with predators,
I could hear the distinct calls
Of the birds of paradise
And I would seek to acquire
The boldness stretched along their wingspan.
The colors, as loud as the trees
Despite the dangers of the places their nests claim
They take off in bright, fluorescent flight

As of the woodlands,
The desaturated sister of the jungle-
So silent my steps are careful not to disturb her-
I only know of the presence
Of the birds of prey.
In honor of these, I would request
the carefulness in each worthy swoop.
Silent, still, even in a killing catch
The balance they bring to their kingdom
When they take the life of the snake.

And even by my own nest,
The simple suburban neighborhood,
Where all four seasons pass by my window,
I love the mornings I hear my friends-
My neighborhood robins and such.
I would ask if they would lend me
A little lesson in humility.
I’d ask how to be truly pleasant,
To be a sweet compliment to those around me,
Because it shines through them when they sing.

While I’d never quite fully have these traits
In the way nature physically possesses them,
Each bird deeply and completely embodying
The qualities they have,
I watch them from the ground and let them teach me.
And I realize-
The only have one focus.
To Simply Be.