Thirteen Ways of Looking At…

This week GCAA creative writers imitated Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  This exercise allowed us to practice our image-making skills, as well as practice using the four building blocks of poetry: words, turns, lines, and stanzas. Here are some of our creations:

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Love
Averyonna Henderson

I.

Stress
Slumped over a desk
hair a mess
eating less

II.

Tears like a
fire hydrant
pouring out
with force

III.

Nervous,
sitting at a two-top
in my red bottoms
sipping on some iced tea
staring into his hazelnut eyes

IV.

Yvonne and Avery
manis and pedis
Number One Nail
Love like
Beauty and the Beast
(and she’s the beast)

V.

Platonic:
Intimate and affectionate but not
Sexual:
Sleepovers and movies
Parties

VI.

Self-love:
I use black soap every morning
and every night
Saint Ives lotion
It makes your skin real
smooth
Sometimes a little mascara

VII.

Cameron:
my chubby little best
Making sure I don’t sleep in class
Getting me fieldtrip forms

VIII.

Rally’s.
#thebesttoeat
The four for three:
An apple pie, a Rally Burger, some fries, and a
Drink.
Love like granny food
(except it’s Rally’s)

XI.

Teacher is the TeTe
Teacher this
Teacher that
Never say thank you
But I feel it

X.

I would say father and daughter
love
But
Mm—mm
Daddies don’t know how to love

XI.

We don’t internet love
honey.
We don’t participate with these
lame kids
And they ways.
Internet love
hurts
like tattoos.

XII.

My cellie
Like my husband that I don’t have,
it always
responds,
cares

XIII.

My baby
Duke
Black and white
green eyes
not potty trained yet
but I love him so

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Thirteen Ways to Look at Thread
Clare Whyte

I.

Somewhere between
a rock and
forgetting your face
the red thread
that once held our bodies
tightly together
is now dull and frayed
so much for soulmates

II.

There’s a hole in my sock
and I can stitch it closed
there’s a hole in my head
and fishing line
can close that too
there’s a hole in my head
what thread should I use?

III.

follow an ant
along a piece of string
and watch
as dimensions are folded
and tiny creatures
move through time

IV.

although you have carried my thread
from here
to there
your voice calling
Ariadne
is what truly unravels me

V.

a spider has moved
inside of my head
she spits her silk thread
and slowly weaves
her delicate web

VI.

out of all the people
in this whole world
I tied myself to you
now hold out your hand
you still have my red thread
knotted at your fingertips

VII.

play your guitar
and softly sing
tell me
that this is what it means
to pluck a string

VIII.

take a fine tooth comb
to that mess of hair
maybe
after a thousand knots unknotted
and a hundred times through
there will be enough dark strands
gathered in the sink
to sew shut this gaping hole
sew shut this gaping hole

IX.

did you listen to her
when she screamed out your name
you played her throat
like a violin
cords and tendons
and your bloody bowstring

X.

we were woven together
my dear
written by the fates
and I will shred this tapestry
back to the heartstrings
it once came from

XI.

my hair
my beautiful hair
pulled out strand
by strand
until I went down the drain
along with it

XII.

I am the snake
that bit your lip
tied to each other
by a red string
which I took scissors to snip
we are made for each other
fated lovers
we are both lying through our teeth

XIII.

there must be something wrong with me
scans and tests and
brightly colored pills
touch tangled wires to my skull
read your machine
and see
just what kind of monster
I might be

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Thirteen Ways You Could Experience Dissociation
Anonymous

XIII.

Waking up and you hear a loud noise
Someone talking louder than normal
A name
Why is a name being yelled into an empty house?
It takes a moment to realize the noise is your own name
That is your name, right?

XII.

In a crowded area and you begin to notice small details
The color of people’s eyes or a small hole in their shirt
It takes a moment to realize
But, someone you’re looking at looks a little bit more like yourself than anyone else
You can’t see yourself standing 10 feet away
That’s not possible
Is it?

XI.

In the morning when you’re getting ready
You look into the mirror
You’re scared
The person that’s looking at you isn’t you
Who is that?

X.

As you sit in class
Listening
All the sounds around you suddenly are one sound
Only loud static white noise
You can’t understand what anyone is saying
Do you even speak or understand this language?

IX.

Walking into a store
You only need one thing
Nothing else but this one thing
When you walk out of the store you look down
You’re confused
How did you get here?

VIII.

As you are chewing the food you picked
Suddenly you’re confused
This isn’t what you bought
You weren’t eating this moments ago
Where did this come from?

VII.

Driving down the road
Stopping at a stop light
You snap back
You wonder how long you’ve been driving
You can’t remember when you left
It takes you a moment to remember where you’re going
Wait, where are you going?

VI.

As you’re walking down the hall
Your eyesight blurs
As though it is going out of focus
Like a faulty camera
When it comes back into focus
You’re unaware of how long your eyes were unfocused
So many things have changed
Where are you?

V

You look down
This isn’t you
It isn’t your body you’re looking at
You don’t look like this
Who is this?

IV

Someone asks you what you did that day
Or maybe what you ate
Or maybe if you even have eaten
Suddenly everything that has been done all day is gone
It takes you a moment to remember what happened
It did happen, right?

III

Looking at a computer
Or maybe a book
Suddenly every word is no longer a word
But instead just a string of symbols that have no meaning
You don’t understand what these symbols mean
What is happening?

II

As you are with a friend in public
They go behind a corner or get lost in a crowd
Suddenly you are questioning if that person ever really existed
Did you make them up because you were lonely?

I

Suddenly you are not here
You are not where you were just standing
The conversation that you were in is not longer there
It is a fully different conversation
Where did you go?

0

Life seems like a made up concept
A dream that can be reversed when you wake up
“That’s a lie
This can’t be undone
There is no pause, rewind, or fast forward
You are real
This is happening
It’s not a dream”

-I

I think you’re lying

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Thirteen Ways to Look at the Girl Next Door
Anonymous

I.

Perfectionism is key.
In each movement, monologue, or miniscule moment.

II.

She is rarely home, always out working, striving
striving to be better

III.

A picture says a thousand words
and hers say two
She isn’t all she seems
She is mock

IV.

Perfectionism is key
Although she will never live up to the
expectations she is given

V.

She is rarely home, always trying
to escape the disappointed looks and
stifling gender norms.

VI.

Her smile doesn’t quite reach her
eyes just close enough to hide the bags
under them.

VII.

Her makeup covers what a few hours
ago
were tear-stained cheeks.

VIII.

She is so giving, always handing out
the pieces of herself she doesn’t keep
anything to protect herself

IX.

Her Perfect is cracked

XI.

Her picture is torn into two
stories. One of talent, skill, success, & perfect.

XII.

The other story is of her shortcomings,
disappointments & failures.

XIII.

But still she is your local girl next door.

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Five Ways to Look at Video Games
Shane McDaniel

I.

Getting up early, waiting in line at Gamestop.
$60 in your pocket, excited to have your game in your hand.

II.

The doors finally open,
everyone cheers.
You’re next in line,
it’s all yours.

III.

Running home,
Ripping open the plastic protecting your game.
You go to your room,
starting on your game console.

IV.

Opening up the plastic case
the smell of the new disc hits my nose
Taking the disc from its case,
I put it into the game console.

V.

Sitting alone in my room,
it’s dark and the only light comes from the TV
I get up and jump around as the words “Final Fantasy XV”
come onto the TV.

VI.

Turning up the volume on the TV
The sound of the game’s music fills the room
A bright smile forms on my face
And before I know, 4 hours have passed.
With the few snacks I brought,
the day was made:
Game Day!

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Thirteen Ways to Look at Religion/God
Sophia Piasecki

I.

At the end of the street there is a
Church.
It has three walls and vines that grow
On the inside
Where a cross might be

II.

Organized, excusable
Crime.
Organized, excusable
Extremities.

III.

Thank you for the
Food that
You
Did not
Put on this table.

IV.

God is good.
God cares,
About your precious
Virginity and tells
You to save it.
And sends you to hell
When you don’t.
God is good.
God sees,
The sick, the
Poor, the
Entitled
And does not
Raise his finger

V.

Stained glass figurines beam with light,
Someone speaks loudly,
As I stare at my shoes
Confused
Young and never having a say
On how I spend my sundays
To come to realize I don’t even
believe

VI.

Bless us oh lord,
With these
Gifts
We are about to receive
Or something like that

VII.

El diablo
Diabeł
Le diable
Il diavolo

VIII.

Thank you lord.
Jesus christ.
God damnit
Oh my god.
Oh my lord.
Jesus fucking christ
Damn
Damnit
Go to hell

IX.

My dad grew up
With god.
my dad now lives
without god.
He grew up,
Wanting to become a priest.
And 30 years later
He turned atheist.
God works in
Mysterious ways
Doesn’t he?

X.

How can you believe?
I’m not judging
I just want to know.
How do you believe,
I’ve always wanted to learn
But have had
Self doubt.

XI.

Excuses
Exclusions.

XII.

I want to believe,
Not in god,
But in something better.
Religion.
I want to participate,
In something better.
There has
To be something
Better

XIII.

The gathering of people
Of diversity that
Believe in one
Thing,
One person
is truly
Truly beautiful.

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