Daydreams and Writing

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

If I am smart, I catch my daydream before it floats away into the abyss. I station myself at my computer, chaining myself to the keys as I begin to think about typing. I sit and think about it so meticulously, resetting the font and fixing my margins before I settle into my desk chair to propose moving away from my desk in a whirlwind. I spin round and round in my swirling swivel chair until I hit the edge of my bed, picking up my laptop and propping up my feet to type. I taste test a few words and phrases, frantically spitting them back out, the stark blue-white  of my blank page beginning to burn my retinas. Finally I discover my fault.

I need a theme for this piece. How could I possibly imagine writing another word of this dribble if I can’t even imagine when its published and inevitably adapted into a film? I push my blank page to the side and open a slew of photo editors, not-so-quickly whipping up the future book cover of my New York Times bestseller. I put it on the blank page proudly until another blank page follows suit.

I begin to look around desperately for a sign, listening closely to the faintest whisper of an idea. My eyes land on a blank space, a pair of ethereal eyes materializing before me. They’re followed by a faintly shaped mouth and mess of hair, a full ambiguous body holding it all together. I narrow my eyes to look more closely at them, their familiarity unnerving. I move to name them and stop. This person can’t be named in such a haphazard manner.

I turn back to my laptop and pull up a deep catalog of names , the meanings and origins attached. My eyes sway between the list and their face, more details forming with each name rejected. Finally I land on something good enough, landing in the grey space between generic and difficult to pronounce. I test the name on my tongue, the slew of letters rolling smoothly off my tongue like warm butter. The figure is delighted by the sound, their ambiguous form making a joyful gesture.

I return to my blank page, the bane of my existence. My newly named figure walks over to me to bear witness to the lack of commotion. We both stare at the glowing screen for a while in deep conceptual thought. The figure of ambiguity leans down, bringing a nearly silent whisper to my ear. My fingers stretch around the keys as quickly as I can, trying to catch every word they have to say. The words are jumbled and messy at first, but with each new letter we begin to find their voice and untangle the kinks in their story. Soon I have a shiny picture of their face on my nightstand, their smile as clear as day.


My struggle with the prompt (write about writing) was that my personal relationship to writing has never had anything to do with writing. It’s always been about the interesting people I come across or the characters swimming around in my subconscious. I tried to portray that relationship’s importance the best I could. Writing for me is also tied to my intensive daydreaming as a way to capture those ideas onto paper.

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Where Youth and Laughter Go

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

Flawed Crystals:

I keep my eyelids sealed tight,

the tightness of muscles slowly succumbing

to the weight of life and death in one vessel.

I drag him–

or what he once was–

behind the neighborhood of wooden framed houses

and futuristic dreams

I must drag him

with crimson fingertips

and a blank mind.  I accept my cowardice

as we walk through the darkness. The dirt

gives way to its fallen king

(or maybe its homecoming prince)

the indention the sizing of sorrow.

The hush of fallen leaves,

sound like bittersweet sizzle

beneath my feet as I let my

tears fall to quench

their insatiable thirst

for more blood.

 

My darling malediction

rests in his linen casket,

the bend of skeletal elbows and knees

bubbling across the surface.

I must rest here,

sit on the beheaded stump,

to accompany the weight and ache

of my sins.

I rest my eyes,

letting the veiny lids close

to see his decaying bronze eyes. The pupils

follow my dreamlike gaze like ducklings

follow their mother across still waters

(maybe still water is where you belonged),

and shadow hands left their familiar prints

across the canvas of my neck. I’m awake

before the air leaves my lungs.

My fingers grasp the tail

of the rotting and dark cocoon

as I begin to walk slowly

with ache in my shoulders

and injury slowly corrupting

the shallow chambers

of my faded heart.

 

The Loop:

The clearing rips away the chance of escape

and I am a lonely figure crossing it.

Your voice slithers into my ears,

every whisper like a piercing wail

for mercy or vengeance

(or worse merciful vengeance

from the realms of the afterlife.)

While you rest across the collection of crossed branches

I look for my breath

faint pants of nervousness

too small to elicit

the most infant flame.

 

I am the Libra,

balancing your life between heaven and hell:

hell for the eternal flame you gave me,

and heaven as the birthright

to my fallen angel

(although the last of your kind

crawled into the depths of hell.)

I am the slave turned master–

you found comfort in the recklessness

of your ancestors

while I searched for my reparation

in the wake of your apathy.

We fluctuate our power

although I always had to rip mine back

with carnivorous fangs.

 

I grasp this bag’s zipper

to look at your pale face once more,

ebony hands grasping

your chilled cheek

(the flames will warm you beautifully dear

just you wait and see.)

Trembling fingers grasp the smallest matchbox,

smoothing the side grooves with my thumb

and then a matchstick

to cast away the nights unbreaking darkness

and to drop in my beauty’s resting bed of branches.

 

Glimmer of God:

In the dark of night

flames of bonfire burns brilliantly,

consuming the ailment of what once was.

Two shadows creep behind in its wake,

the scales of insanity and humanity in each of their hands.

The first shows its face to speak.

 

In the fight for bravery

we lose our ability to grasp at the tendrils

of what made us so courageous at all.

The dreams of tomorrow never meant anything,

not to you whose mind had been poisoned

by those who remain imprisoned

by the idea of destiny manifested.

 

This bondage was not yours to inherit

and your malediction

was never your benefactor.

You have the body of a woman

and the mind of a forgotten generation

left behind by their ability

to see the world as it always has been

all too quickly–

 

The second shadow consumed the first,

the dark tangle of arms and legs

twisting into one entity. The scales

teetered side to side in their indecision.

The second crawls towards the light to speak.

 

Your lionheart will tear away at you

faster than any flame

could singe your brow.

It will become easy to run from the horizon

while your eyes beg nothing more

than to watch the burning hues.

But be warned–

 

With safety bears the beginnings

of an apathy,

tearing away the walls of your stomach

until it rips the inner chambers of your heart.

His jaded eyes will become your own

in an attempt to become a memory

that you will become successful

to forget.

 

The shadow receded back into the dark,

the scales dropping into the fire

with flames of the same color

taking flight into the air.

 

In the Dark:

As the fire dies out and decomposes into ash, hellfire consumes his body, slowly reviving his ashen limbs. He will walk for days before reaching the rose colored apartment door, bruised knuckles knocking against wood. Its hinges will whine desperately as it opens and reveals a pair of doe eyes he had once looked into fondly. Her eyes will shift around under the gaze of her predator and the slow ache of their oscillation. He’ll walk in and shower away her betrayal before climbing into bed, wrapping skeletal limbs around her corpse before his mind is consumed by the dark.


This piece is ideally the first draft of a bigger project. I’ve been very attached to the album Blonde lately, especially since listening to it sends me into an intense daydream sequence I’d like to bring to life at some point. Writing in narrative verse was inspired by the book Blood Water Paint and the title comes from Siegfried, a veteran turned poet. This one of my favorite pieces I’ve done and I’m excited to see what else I can do with it.

Lovers Rock

Clara looked like a barbie doll whose hair had been chopped off haphazardly. The thought burned in the back of Adam’s brain as he watched her on the other side of the bed. She leaned against the headboard, long legs splayed across the cheap and tattered covers, her eyes closed and her head tilted back. He liked the way her eyebrows jumped every now and again to the beat of the music while she swayed back and forth. Playing the record had been her idea, although he had no idea how he’d managed to find a way into finally getting time alone with her.

Maybe it was be a part of their little game. Adam was playing his part, he knew that much; he hadn’t stayed up past two in the morning since high school. Clara stayed up just so she could watch the sun sink down in the horizon only to float back up into the sky a few hours later. She had said it herself once when they were going their separate ways after a night of avoiding conversation with each other. He wouldn’t mind watching it too if it meant that he could be with her a little bit longer. Maybe it’d convince her that he deserved a chance, if not just for the night.

Adam sighed, resting his head in his hand, his shoulder propping him up as he laid on one side, trying desperately not to fall asleep to the lull of the record playing. He almost jumped when Clara’s eyes opened again, warm hazels finding his dark brown ones across the bed. She moved closer to him until they were face to face in the same position. Her smile made Adam want to scream his passions out the window.

“You ever heard this one before?” she murmured, her words slurring together with residual drunkenness. Adam shook his head, paused a moment, and nodded, his tight curls bouncing softly against his forehead.  Clara giggled, the sound feeling the fuzzy in Adam’s ears. Clara raised a hand and ran her fingers through his hair, pulling him in a little closer. Her nose crinkled as her smile grew wider and her eyes more dazed.

“You’re hair is so…frizzy,” she snickered. Adam laughed along, closing his eyes for a few seconds as he breathed her in, remembering the scent for later.

“Well yeah. It’s an afro after all.”

Clara tapped a finger against her full pink lips, her eyebrows scrunched together. “I guess that makes a lot of sense.”

“I guess it does.” They sat and watched each other. To Adam’s recollection, this had to be the longest conversation they’ve ever managed to have. If he really dug into his mental archive, this was the longest amount of time that Clara had ever acknowledged his existence. The thought made his insides swirl around.

“Y’know, um, I was thinking, maybe, if you’d be into it, it’d be really cool if—” Adam’s eyes were already closed before his brain could process the feeling of Clara’s lips on his, her hands tangled in his hair. He hesitantly let his hand find her waist, only pulling her closer the tighter her grip on his hair became.

Adam didn’t realize an entire song could feel like a lifetime until Clara pulled away as the chorus faded into silence. Clara didn’t look at him before turning behind her towards the open window. Streams of light began to paint the walls of the bedroom, the shades of purple and pink sunrise forming outside the window. It framed itself like a photo as it began to fill the room, the record setting itself on repeat at the sign of a show.  As the light hit Adam’s face, he felt his body float away from him as he became overwhelmed with the memento mori.

It took Clara’s soft snores to pull him back down to reality. She was curled up on the pillow, the golden beams making her hair glitter in the light. Adam let out a sigh as he climbed off the bed and pulled on his one-size-too-big hoodie and walked out of the room and into the brisk damn of fall.  

 

the way home.

We were squished together like sardines

in a dark blue hallway,

the linoleum lights giving a warm and tired glow

on our sweaty and tired faces.

Tiny feet beat down on the ground

causing the ringing of drums to spiral

down that black blue hallway.

Then there was me—

tall and wearing too many layers for fall,

straight hair pulled too tightly back in a ponytail,

my tiny fist clinging to my shiny black box of plastic

with the only numbers inside being my mother’s and the house.

 

When the bell rang, the children sprang free

from the confines of the brick school house,

grubby hands pushing and shoving,

tiny feet drumming on pavement

until they hit the grass and took off

running across the hills toward wired fencing.

We all sang when we crossed the wired fence,

our feet slowing to a walk

until our hands found our silver door knobs

and we were finally home.

 

Polaroid Memory

The following I wrote in an effort to find sleep after finishing Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. In the first few chapters she suggests writing of childhood. Since I am still a child, I have years of material to pull clearly from. I had taken a trip to France the summer before freshman year and stayed for eight weeks. During one of those weeks My cousin brought me along to a church camp in Switzerland.


It wasn’t cold, surprisingly. Summer by the snowy mountainside had granted the privilege of soft, cool humidity, making the team task of dish washing less insufferable. We had eaten our lunches before anyone had come into the lunch hall, entering into a makeshift boiler room where all the dirty dishes were held. A sweet older Swiss woman greeted us, assigning us to different stations (one of which I can no longer recall but I imagine had something to do with organizing). I was given the duty of washing and drying whatever dishes came by. I kept my mouth shut while the rest of my team joked around with each other while completing our task, a flood of dirty dishes descending down their miniature elevator in quick increments.  I hadn’t spoken for so long that I began to feel my throat swell up permanently until the older woman turned to me and asked my name.

“Kirsten,” I said affirmatively, my shoulders instinctively rolling back with pride. Her face broke out into the widest and most cherub like of smiles.

“What a wonderful name! My nephews name is Kirst.” The name is male supposedly, and I had never heard anything like it. She began gushing over her dear nephew in a way I couldn’t help but smile at because she’d been the second person in my three months of solitude that my name and presence had provided pure joy to.

The other person had been a month before during another forced camping trip. His name was Adrien, mixed Danish and African and the eye of my cousin’s affections. I would tease Edna about him constantly, but I wholly understood her infatuation—hazel eyes, smooth skin, and a devilishly kind smile. He spoke fluent English—he was one of the few campers that did—so he felt like a saving grace. His only flaw was that he smoked weed the way Mafia gangsters smoked cigars and it had been causing a rift in his family as of late. 

At the introduction of my name he had told me that my name was danish (I was already perfectly aware of its Germanic nature but I ate up the compliment ravenously) which he loved because he was danish. I shot an onslaught of questions about his background, all of which slip my mind now, before he was pulled away into a rugby game. The ball was blue and white and rubbery and I was wholly confused by the sight of it. They ran across the wide, open clearing tossing the ball back and forth, offering now and again for me to join for me to decline and quickly retreat to the side away from the commotion. My eyes remained on Adrien still. We’d bonded so quickly over so little, I couldn’t help but want to kiss him as a form of compassion, of thank you, of a possibility of the romanticized future of summertime romance that has never been in reach.

the utmost kindness

His jaw slacks ever so slightly

as his laugh echoes around the chambers of my heart,

the ripples cascading down my veins,

Soaking up the oxygen in my blood until I am light and weak again.

 

Do I love you yet?

I can’t help the way the stars reflect so clearly within my eyes now,

and I wonder how he became the cure to the ailment that plagues being human.

 

I want to hide in between the hollow ridges of his rib cage

easing his breath,

matching it with mine as I slowly grow to be with him,

welding my soul onto his:

Intertwined.

 

He brought me flowers,

their petals wet from morning dew and the deep smell of pasture.

And he’s beginning to try so hard

and I watch as the stress begins to pull lines across his face.

 

Do you love me yet?

You can’t help the way that valleys form themselves across your cheeks,

and you wonder if you had ever really laughed in your entire life.

 

You told me three days prior

that you wish you could live in my head,

sorting away the thoughts that haunt me hours before I can rest.

 

And I told you

that I have never known such kindness.

Daring to be desired

In Call Me By Your Name, a film directed by Luca Guadagnino, there’s scene in which two of the main characters—Elio’s father, Professor Perlman, a historian and Oliver, an American working with Professor Perlman for his thesis—look through pictures sent to them of ancient Romanesque statues. The statues are mainly of men, each hold a certain ambiguous curvature to them, inspiring Professor Perlman to comment that it’s “as if they’re daring you to desire them.”

I’m enamored with that phrase: daring to be desired. It speaks of an unspoken beauty, one built on alluring instead of catering, an inarguable elegance to the whole affair. Confusing but understood. The only thing I’ve thought to myself since is how wonderful it would be to be so captivating.

I consider myself beautiful. I try not to argue with the fact too much, since there are plenty of other things for me to gripe about. I especially like to think of my hair as my best feature, because my hair is truly the only medium I can truly become whatever I decide I want to be at that moment.

I’ve never been at odds with the coils on my head. Being black and female, there’s a history that comes with my hair, especially since it’s natural and I find that the history makes my hair seem more beautiful than it objectively is. Older black women adore it, for it makes them warm inside to know that little black girls like me don’t face as much scrutiny for the curls atop our heads as they may have when they were younger. White people find my hair to be this amazing attraction, a shapeshifting essence just full of small surprises.

I don’t mind at all. I’ve always enjoyed the reactions, the compliments, the curiosities. My hair allows me to be a bit more interesting than I am on the surface level, as if it’s the opening to the tunnel of all my tiniest idiosyncrasies. But at a certain point during the first semester of my junior year, I simply stopped—no braiding, no styling, nothing. I had gotten my afro cut the semester prior, so my hair was too short to do much with until it grew out a little more. By the time it did grow out and I started to get creative with scarfs and hair care tricks, it didn’t matter anymore. I found a sense of center, of ease, and it was blissful.

Over winter break I decided I needed to change once again, and everything shifted out of place. The hair wasn’t the problem: sleek black box braids never hurt anybody. It was me. I lost all of my cool, my calm, my sanity at a certain points. I fell into a bit of an identity crisis for a while, because every time I looked in the mirror, I saw the thirteen year old version of myself, a version of myself I could only describe as a self-devouring monster.

I had always been in control of my hair. I could color it as much as I wanted without consequence. It could be short. Long. Wavy. Curly. But the power of one minor slip has the potential to unravel everything. However, box braids are meant to left alone for at least a month, so I found other ways of shuffling myself back together. I meditated for a while, talked to people who mattered, cut out people who didn’t. I followed routine with my hair, and every now and again do something different. Soon I came to like the long extensions on my head and the way little kids giggled whenever they saw a bunch of tiny braids cascaded across my shoulders.

And I cut them today.  And soon they will disappear.

And sitting on the floor typing away, the roots of my curls, pushing back against the bunches of intertwined strands, I feel desirable, although quite far from myself.

Last Thursday as my mother drove me home from school, a rarity now that I can do it myself, I told her about an article I read about free locs. I reminded her about my 5-year hair plan I made in the eighth grade, around the first time I braided my hair pink, recalling how I had wanted to cut my afro short freshman year of high school, and then twist the strands into locs my freshman year of college.

She turned to me, smiled and told me, “That would be cute.” I felt excitement bubble in my chest at the thought of free locs on my head because free locs weren’t meant for beauty but convenience. Yet they had always allured me with the expression of life and living they seemed to stand for. I’d only imagine the scrunched up look on my father’s face if I came home with them, but I didn’t mind it at all. All I could think about was how desirable I’d look with as much life on my head as there would be in my eyes.