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.
This piece was submitted by a very talented first year by the name of Ruth Fuller! We believe her writing is great and can only get better! We hope you think the same, because this is only round one.
I did not know anything could melt at such a low temperature
but here we are:
envious of every dust particle
that has the privilege of brushing even the
of your knees
During our final forum for the semester, the talented Rosie Dunne presented her short story titled Loop. It’s a story of love and pain and the necessity of keeping your head up in times of trouble. Read it below.
I like to trace my fingers in circular motion. A loop, a routine, a habit of making everything in life repetitive, constant, non-stop. Something about going around, and round, and round, relaxes me.
In the morning, I begin my day submerging myself in the smell of washy coffee as I trace the perimeter of the cheap plastic lid on a travel cup, looking outside the coffee shop’s cloudy window at the people running in circle, chasing the ticking clock. My wretched mind would pick a memory, a time, years ago, to start my day off with, just in case I let myself feel too happy on a vacant Monday.
Another piece from the first Clark Writes forum was performed by the amazing Mal Sklar. Inspired by a dream, Tracing Lines is an intriguing short story with great atmosphere. Read it below.
High schools all smell the same. Kind of warmish and grubby in a way that sits on your skin, as if under the daily passes of Clorox and industrial-grade bleach, the place will never be truly clean.
If you had told me on the day of my high school graduation- robed, exultant, brimming with possibility, diploma held tight, my ticket to the world- that I would be back in that auditorium a scant three years later, I would have laughed in your face.
I sign in at the front desk and the bored security guard eyes me, maybe wondering if I’m a parent here to pick up my unruly child’s cell phone. I smile at her pleasantly and hitch my bag higher up on my shoulder.
This following piece was featured at the first creative writing forum Clark Writes held this year. Autumn Perez (you might just know her as the amazing girl with bright yellow-green hair), shared some of her “blackout” poetry, a type of poetry that is done by taking a book and covering all but the desired words with marker, forming a poem from another piece of writing. The book Autumn used is Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. Warning: mentions of rape and assault.
Men Explain Things to Me
Why bother dull young ladies? If you like luxury stay a little longer. Every woman knows it’s hard speaking up.
Crush silence. This is not their world. Arrogance is a war- an invitation to silence,
Mr. important, don’t forget that a certain amount of self doubt is a good tool. Raped survival, running naked. Kill her. Kill.
The idiot invited me out he insisted. His confidence so aggressive. I am an empty vessel to be filled with their wisdom. But intelligence is not situated in the crotch. Continue reading