This short story full of distinct characters was submitted by Owen Connell, a senior English major at Clark. When the brusque and jaded Marcus finds out that his favorite bar has a new singer, he cannot hide his displeasure. When Isobel takes the stage, Marcus’s mindset is altered in more ways than one. Continue below to dive in!
This piece employs some racial slurs to accurately portray the attitude of the main character during the period in which the narrative is set.
The world kept shifting in and out of focus, like torn film running on a damaged projector. The air smelled of piss and whiskey, while the thick cigar smoke hazed the lights in the room.
Marcus steadily picked his face off from the scratched table, the sticky booze covering its surface peeling off his stubble like Velcro. He lifted his glass to his chapped lips only to find that it was long since empty.
He lazily raised two fingers.
“Jackshon,” he loudly slurred out. “Gimmee-uh-gimmee ‘nother rounda whishkee on the rocksh.” Continue reading
Jess Hoops, a senior English and Philosophy double major, has been the Editor-in-Chief of Clark Writes since the end of her freshman year. She is also President of Clark’s English Honor Society, a writing consultant at Clark’s Writing Center, and an editorial consultant for a literary agency in New York City. Although Jess spends most of her time working with other people’s writing, she enjoys crafting the occasional poem and has placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in Clark’s annual Prentiss Cheney Hoyt Poetry Contest.
Her poem “Immortality” was inspired by the writing style and “tone of playful irreverence” frequently showcased in the work of Emily Dickinson. Jess describes the poem as “forcing a ton of legendary quests for immortality and conceptions of the afterlife into the same space so I could poke fun at them on equal terms, while still demonstrating my intense interest in them.” Read “Immortality” below.
How simple – how impossible
To turn the sands of Time –
The hourglass – Infinity
If placed upon its side
To blunt the blades of Atropos
All mortal fools desire
Late Summer feeds these fever dreams
‘Til Winter – bids retire
A few relapse those final hours
The ‘glass remains upright –
They are but moths bewitched by Flame
Their light dimmed – seeking Light
Others are blind – their whole lives through
And pay the ‘glass no mind –
Assured it is a bauble they
Will someday leave behind Continue reading
This vivid piece was presented at our most recent forum by Owen Connell, a senior here at Clark. To experience an intriguing story with an interesting take on an everyday perspective, read on.
There seemed to be nothing, just a fuzzy red glow and a sensation that was not quite cold yet also not quite hot. Hands felt wet and heavy and blindly fumbled through the air, desperately clawing for some sort of distinguishable item or landmark in the inky void. After an unknowable amount of time, a hand touched something cold and metallic. Feet cautiously walked forward and quickly found themselves falling forward and hitting the ground hard. It was a staircase, formed from short yet long steps. Hands pulled back up on the railing as the feet solely began to descend, the only thing that seemed physically possible in the black.
This second installment of Kate McNicholas’s travel journal series is a story inspired by a famous piece called An Italian in America by Beppe Severgnini. In “Errori,” Kate navigates Italian cultural conventions and learns from her (often humorous) mistakes. Read below for more!
They are wearing shorts! I watched in absolute horror as young, Italian girls passed by in waves and rows, their bare legs taunting me and calling out my ignorance. I had been misinformed, as had my wallet. Before leaving the United States for my four month visitation to Italy, I dove into cultural research. How does an Italian act in certain situations? Do they tip their waitresses? How much, on a scale of Beyonce to Trump, do they hate Americans? What does an Italian wear? I asked the holy god of Google, who can do no wrong. Google, and its many voices, informed me that Italians never wear shorts.
The key to fitting in was covering your American, gun-owning kneecaps. Eureka! I hit the mall and filled bag after bag, under the impression that all the clothes I wore on a normal basis would be equal to kindling for a public trash fire in Italy. Five hundred dollars later, I packed my suitcase. So now here I am, in the middle of a Perugian street, on a balmy day in August watching bare legs like they are an ocean wave about to drown me. I guess it is time to do some more shopping. Continue reading
Today’s post was submitted to us by Anna Schaeffer, a senior studying Environmental Science and English. She states, “In my writing, I am interested in exploring themes of cultural isolation, violence, and prejudice as a manner of understanding crime, specifically in America. I was inspired after reading “Where is the Voice Coming From?” by Eudora Welty in July of last year in light of the shooting of Philando Castile. I think that in this time of chaos and brutality, writing is an ever-important tool for navigating what’s happening in the world around us, and I hope that I can share my own insights with the rest of the Clark community.” Read “Hotelier” below.
Hermon didn’t know what time it was. He rarely did, because instead of numbers
on a clock, Hermon operated by the mechanisms of task and motion. He woke up, walked eight steps down the hall and two to the left, to the refrigerator. Herman drank Mountain Dew by the liter and would swig down enough of it to shake off the residual fog of sleep each morning. From the kitchen, Hermon took eighteen steps to the closet, reached for the iron and spray starch, and set to work at his most important task – smoothing out every perceptible wrinkle from his green polo shirt and worn-out khakis. It didn’t matter how you measured the time because it was the same every single morning, and Hermon Cote was never late.
July settled over Lisbon Falls hotter and heavier than the town had ever seen. The air itself seemed to sweat, taking on a soupy, cloying weight as soon as the sun rose. For weeks, talk of the heat wave had dominated conversations on the radio, on TV, and between the locals themselves. But on a Wednesday morning in the middle of July, a piece of news splattered across the morning paper jolted the town from its heatstroke and sent aftershocks of unease reverberating through it for months to come. Around two-thirty a.m., while the rest of the town was fast asleep, Miller’s Variety Store, a twenty-four-hour hub for late night purchases of cigarettes and beer, had been robbed, and Jason Miller himself had been shot three times. It was one of the first violent crimes that Lisbon Falls had seen in decades, and the only witness had been Jason’s drooping basset hound, Frank. Continue reading
This piece was submitted by sophomore Ruth Fuller, a writer with a talent for using beautiful language to describe everyday experiences and ideas that are truly relatable to everyone. Read on to experience “Phosphene” for yourself.
Phosphene, noun: a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.
You know those little colors you see when you close your eyes really tight?
Tonight I chased them.
I am still thinking about
the politics and technicalities of his left shoulder on a Sunday morning.
I paid attention in sex ed,
but nobody told me that when I unpin my bra,
dignity doesn’t have to come off with it. 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
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
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
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your life and then be forced to do it all again? This piece was performed by Emily Buza at our Love Poetry Open Mic, and it presents an interesting take on the mystical world of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia.
Did it hurt?
Not just being taken from your home,
your kingdom and castle left to rot,
But in all the little ways,
the mundane moments.
Did those hurt, too?
The skinned knees and splinters
from tumbling out of a wardrobe
weren’t the worst of it,
Did getting dressed the next day hurt?
Seeing a child in the mirror
when yesterday you were a queen.
Opening your trunk to find
blouses and schoolgirl skirts
instead of your gowns and cloaks.
Touching your flat chest and knowing
that it will take half a decade before you can
again fill out a corset
that you have already worn for years.