There’s nothing fishy about the fact that Maria Connors recently got the 2nd place award in the English Department’s Prentiss Cheney Hoyt Poetry Contest. In her piece, “Tidal Eyes,” Maria uses beautiful imagery and diction to create a relaxing picture that is no less enjoyable than a day on the beach.
She dreamed of impossible dreams
and held the ocean in the palms of her hands,
her eyes like the moon,
pulling the tides
moving sailboats from coast to fingertip
with the ease of a blink.
She watched the tidal pools that collected
under the tips of her nails,
harboured rainbow fish
and sea stars,
let the waves take them back out
when the moon so beckoned.
And when the Milky Way stretched the horizon,
and the ocean was drenched in navy
it was the soft hum of her wind
that rocked lonely seabirds to sleep.
Clark Writes editor Laura Barker was the winner of this year’s Loring Holmes & Ruth Dodd Drama Contest. Her play explores a multi-racial family before and after the infamous 2016 election. Laura was inspired by how race, sexuality, and gender played into the political environment we live in today. Read 2016 below.
KEVIN: The father. A easy-going man who tries to see the good in everything.
ISABELLA: His Hispanic wife. She’s too busy being pregnant with baby number three to care about the election.
FELIX: Kevin’s son. He’s flamboyantly gay and hell-bent on being a YouTube celebrity.
VALERIE: Kevin’s daughter. An outspoken liberal.
OLIVER: Felix’s boyfriend. Sweet, socially awkward.
CRAIG and FREDDIE: Patrons of Kevin’s bar.
REPORTER: A reporter covering the events.
A Indiana suburb in the year leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election.
ACT I, Scene 1
(Afternoon, the living room of a typical 21st century suburban house. ISABELLA is plays a game on her iPad, a hand on her stomach. FELIX applies purple lipstick and checks his reflection in his phone, taking the occasional selfie. VALERIE does homework. FELIX sighs.)
You know what your abuela would have to say about that.
Yes, yes, “You’re not bored, you’re just boring.” Well, what does she know? Bingo is the most exciting thing in her world. I want to do something. Let’s go out to eat tonight. There’s an incredible little Thai place that just opened up and everyone’s been raving about their dragon berry nom yen. Or we could go for a sunset walk on the beach.
Or you could do your homework.
I wasn’t asking you.
You only want to do that stuff so you can post it on Instagram.
So what? There’s nothing wrong with a little glamour. Not everyone wants to live their life in sweatpants. Continue reading
This poem received first place in the Prentiss Cheney Hoyt Poetry Contest held by the English Department here at Clark. It was written by Cassidy To, a senior Psychology and Asian Studies major. Writing has always been a constant in Cassidy’s life – mostly in journals, reflecting on experiences and fanciful daydreams. She has recently taken her first and only English class at Clark: Writing the Novel, a course that has challenged her to pursue the “one day” dream of publishing a novel. Cassidy has also been inspired by Clark Writes to explore poetry, and “I Am” has surfaced as a result. Originally a class assignment, this poem follows some of Cassidy’s experiences with language and culture as an Asian American. Read it below.
Born and raised in the Bay
From San Leandro to Fremont to Hayward to San Ramon
Frequent visitor of Oakland Chinatown
Where yeye mama gunggung popo reside
Where Cantonese lies heavy on the tongue
My name is 蘇曉彤
Lover of a land of language lost to Mainland ears
And lost to my sisters’
A loss to my children
For my tongue grows heavy
In my lost vocabulary
Not lost to my parents who raised me
They speak the language I wish to master
I am their progeny Continue reading
Through her original script and storyline, Clark University Players Society Co-President Toni Armstrong creates a simple but beautiful tale of love, understanding, and experience, all with a touch of color.
The Color of Sunshine
VERA lounges on a comfortable red chaise couch, playing with balls of multicolored yarn. She is not knitting, but might be braiding or finger-knitting or knotting the yarn. She is a woman of respectable age, and wears a long robe or nightgown. She is fidgety, can’t maintain eye contact, or look at one place for any length of time.
CHARLIE enters. He matches VERA in age, and wears simple neutral colors. He hangs his coat by the door he enters from, and joins VERA on a chair across from her.
You’re looking very red today.
What shade of red?
Oh, a darling one.
Is it the color of the couch?
No, no, you know the couch is colored like an old potato.
Don’t sound so cross, I’ve told you this a thousand seventeen times.
If not more.
Definitely not more. Continue reading
Sarah Wells describes her piece as “looking at ennui from the perspective of a beam of light. Photons move at, literally, the speed of light and as a result never have a chance to slow down and experience their existence. While this problem is particularly salient for such fast speeds, it’s also an anxiety we deal with at the human pace too.”
Waiting to Decay
I wonder what it feels like to be finite.
To feel the passage of time,
With the warmth and comfort of the sea.
I wonder what it’s like to age.
To feel pieces of myself fall apart,
Feel sorrow for my breaking;
Feel alive because someday I won’t be.
I wonder what it’s like to move slowly.
To have a connection,
Not a collision.
To return to safe havens,
Instead of continuing on,
Into the roar of the dark.
How I long to decay,
To break apart in a shower of pieces;
To realize that I have pieces,
That I’m made of more
Than a single permanent moment.
This memorable piece was performed by Sebastian Baker at the Neil Hilborn open mic. Read on if you want to be given a look at the struggles that people face, and the way imagination and literature can offer some form of escape.
F. Sebastian Baker
Give me dragons instead of depression.
Give me zombies instead of anxiety,
Giant insects instead of insomnia,
Demonic possession instead of obsessions,
Skeletons instead of self-loathing,
Killer robots instead of intrusive thoughts,
Alien invasions instead of awkward conversations, on those bad days when I’d rather fight for my life than talk to someone I like.
I think we all fought monsters as kids, we all had or imaginary enemies, in our pretend games by day and in our bad dreams at night.
I know I did, and adults told me I’d grow out of it.
I’d get bored of those games when I grew up, they said,
I’d stop having those dreams when I got older,
but for this child soldier, the war still isn’t over,
only now I know the monsters aren’t under my bed, they’re inside my head and they won’t go away until I’m dead. Continue reading
March’s Clark Writer of the Month is Aliyah Rawat, a student from the University of East Anglia who’s studying abroad here at Clark. She’s already a staple of the creative writing community, performing her original work at Yoni Ki Baat and Clark Writes forums.
LB: Did you write your own monologue for Yoni Ki Baat (South Asian Vagina Monologues)?
AR: Yes, I wrote my own monologue. I initially wrote my piece about growing up as a queer South Asian, because no one else was doing a piece directly about sexuality as a South Asian. It’s a topic in South Asian culture that isn’t discussed when you grow up and is really heavily stigmatized. I started writing about that, but then I ended up writing about a bunch of experiences that all linked together. I ended up writing about being queer, South Asian, Muslim, a survivor of different traumas and mental illnesses, and stuff like that. It ended up being this thing that weaved throughout my life from when I was twelve to now.
This piece was performed at our most recent forum by the very same Lee Friedman that won our space poetry contest! If you’re ready for a side-splitting short story, read on!
I was just trying to buy a fucking plant. But apparently that was too goddamn difficult for the world today, because no one had thought to tell me it was a Thursday which meant that the circus of little hipster kids with their carts of vegan, organic, recycled, non-GMO, can-you-even-call-it-food-at-this-point were surrounding the square and blocking Grafton Street. Isn’t that against some kind of building code or something? Traffic Laws? No? Maybe they lift those on Thursdays.
You know, it was a Thursday that had gotten me into this mess in the first place. It was last Thursday, in fact, when some asshole had decided to steal my fucking plant. I had gotten this kick-ass little cactus from my mom who literally never sends me anything so I was like fuck it, I’m gonna keep this little cactus and I’m gonna water it and put it on the windowsill and call it Jerry. Jerry the kick-ass cactus. But some asshole musta climbed up the goddamn fire escape and swiped Jerry right off the window ledge like some kinda plant-stealing ninja and because I’m a really fucking neglectful parent (blame my mother who literally never sends me anything) I didn’t notice until last night which brings me to today where all I want is to go down to that little flower shop on Grafton and buy another goddamn cactus. But I can’t. Why? Because it’s a Thursday. So instead I’m gonna have to walk down Babson until I get to the other flower shop which is not as nice and not as cheap and a struggle and a half just to get to. But you know what? I had committed, I had made a goddamn commitment to getting a new cactus and nothing, not even the day of the week was gonna stop me. Continue reading
Christian Farren is a senior English major and Department representative who has “always had a fantasy/supernatural bent” but has been experimenting with darker themes after reading an H.P. Lovecraft anthology last Christmas. The following poem focuses on stories that Christian “started and abandoned” when he was younger, brought back to life by his new inspiration. Read “Opus” below.
All things tender dear.
Forged in dragon bone.
A succubus’s smile
Honeyed venom, demon’s guile.
Pagan paramour, born of dying dreams!
Condemned to the cold,
But I am no stranger here.
Know you are loved. Treasured.
Through the twilight, I will keep you safe.
“The Seeds We Grow” is a piece by Muhammad Kasule that personifies the intolerance faced by a lesbian couple using floral imagery. This poem is delicate and poignant in its presentation as it connects with many universal feelings on the topic of forbidden love.
The Seeds We Grow
Love that sprouted, in secrecy
Where heaven’s light doesn’t shine
Seeds will grow, left peacefully
Blooming as we intertwined
But sadly, we never fully blossom
The topsoil won’t let us through
They say our seeds are truly rotten
And what we feel, isn’t true
Our truth might not be theirs
But what we have, feels the same
Like drowning lungs catching air
Or barren roots, soaking rain Continue reading