suzanne highland, writer
"Whether you love what you love or live in divided ceaseless revolt against it, what you love is your fate."
[…] I’m making this announcement here because I’ve become interested in the idea of artistic transparency, meaning, in my mind, a taking-down of the walls that sometimes exist between a writer and a reader. I’m interested in sharing my process – all the good, bad and totally damning parts – and seeing if any part of it takes hold with any of you, if any of it feels relevant, enlightening, or interesting. So in the interests of this artistic transparency and in the idea of starting from the beginning, let me begin by sharing this: I have no idea if it will, and being that I’m already sort of uncomfortable with the idea of marketing myself as a writer, I’m super SUPER aware of coming off as an egotistical art-teest. But you have to start somewhere, so I’m just going to say…fuck it! Let’s see what happens!
The lovers wait to lose their balance. They would dive
gratefully into the half-dark, picking fingers, thighs, lips
and tumescent parts. But wait, let’s stick to beginnings.
Before a rustle in the chest, there were first meetings
in crowds and along unremarkable corridors. A grin, a look
and the memory shrinks to the here and now, re-playable
for future use in the hour before sleep, the hours before
they meet again. Living is an endless piece of rope.
The lovers are jaded funambulists, steady gait slowed
by the weight of loneliness. But legs quiver now, the bait
already cast. And whose heart is not a hungry fish?
— Cyril Wong
"True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, as those move easiest who’ve learn’d to dance."
I know a boy who called his girlfriend’s body a “crime scene.” Dad, my body is a crime scene. My body is lint and gasoline and matchstick. My body is a brush fire. It’s ticking, Dad, a slow alarm. I have rain boots. Lots of them. It isn’t raining anymore. The words are coming back, Dad. The way they fit and jump in the mouth. I want ice cream and long letters. I want to read long love letters but I don’t think he loves me. I think I’m used up. I think I’m the grit under his nails, the girl who looks good in pictures. I don’t think he loves me. I think they broke me, Dad. I think I drink too much and it’s because they broke me. I heard about two girls recently, two women crushed like cherries in a boy’s jaw. It opened me, Dad. My body is melted wax, it is ripe and stink and bent. It is a mistake. I walk like an apology. I don’t hate men, Dad, I don’t. I want a washing machine. I want someone else to do the dishes, someone to walk the dog. I have a hornet in my head, Dad. A hornet. She’s an angry bitch — she hurls herself against my skull. She stings. And stings. I know I don’t make sense, Dad. This is the problem. I’m a sick girl, a crazy wishbone. I have razors under my tongue. I’m sorry I cut you, Dad, I’m so—so sorry. I gave you a card for Father’s Day once, it said you were my hero. You are. Your laugh is a thunderclap, you love like surgery. I think they broke me, Dad. I can’t erase their faces. I want to swim, Dad. Remember when I used to hopscotch? I used to make you laugh. My feet are hot. The bottoms of my feet are scorched sand, August asphalt. My body is a slug, a mob of sticky wet rot. No one touches me anymore because I’m rot. Because my body is a spill no one wants to clean up. They cracked me open, Dad, I know you don’t want to hear about it. You don’t want to hear how they scissored me, how they gnawed me like raw meat. No one wants to hear how they made me drink lemon juice, how they kicked the dog, how they upturned the furniture, no one wants to hear how my skin turned to a dark thick of purple and black and lead. I watch the homeless a lot, Dad. I watched a man with a cup of coins and chips of skin carved out of his face. He had freckles. He needs medicine, Dad. He needs to stop the hornet. My body is a hive. I am red ants and jellyfish. A yellow sickness. My body is a used condom in an alley in Jersey City. I don’t think he loves me, Dad. My body is a fetus in biohazard tank. A Polaroid pinned to a corkboard in Brooklyn. I think I’m hurt, Dad. I think I was the tough girl for too long. My body is a wafer, a thin, soft melt on a choir boy’s tongue.
— Jeanann Verlee