Neko

muse ariadne writing club

enjoy our prompt fills :)

week of may 13th.

prompt: write about evolution and devolution. how do we unravel & re-ravel? think about what histories our bodies & communities & species & worlds are made of.

The Trial of the Frog Princess

I sew the scales onto fish. They swell as sunlit sails;
They shimmer in the arrogance of czars who seize the sea.
A hand at the horizon rips, refines, and rakes her nails
Across the giving cloth, her husband still asleep. I grin:
I sew, for I was ordered to - but soon I will be free
Of prickling as needles gouge the birthmarks from my skin.

Through magic, my embroidery will glisten in the light:
Bright mornings in the land made from my blood’s eternal pride.
Amphibian, she pales like a lily in the night.
Her dewy body drips with fear and stings with the great lie -
The intermediate step between a woman and a bride.
I want to eat my husband. He is just another fly.

He revels in my ravelry. The city with its walls;
The distant archipelagos and dancing verdant streams;
His father who invites me to the palace, to the balls…
He wants me to be human. Swallow, shed, suffer alone -
He weds me weak and wilting to the music of my screams,
My flesh burnt to his will, my needle shattered by his stone.

week of may 6th.

prompt: consider ‘trace elements’-- barely noticeable things and what they change. think butterfly effect! are their effects expected & small or disproportionate? is a ‘trace element’ an extra bit of DNA? is it some milk in a loaf of bread?

Desecrator

My lifeblood is bacterial attrition;
My colours bred to praise the buried womb!
Bruised Aphrodite of decomposition,
A fertile corpse, a courtesan’s perfume,

Hysteria, charisma, and devotion:
I symbolise a love that cannot die.
I herald shipwrecks, and the tainted ocean
That prickles at the corners of an eye.

I am the human body. I surrender.
Both muse and whore will feast, for meat is meat -
A sanctimonious culture rots in splendour
As I teach worms and poets how to eat!

None shall be spared from what they cannot save.
I rise: a wild rose to raze your grave!

week of april 29th.

prompt: write about or use asymmetry in your writing. what is the intrigue in imbalance? maybe work with different-sized stanzas or long, long sentences followed by short ones, or think about how no two bodies are the same, nor two halves of the same body, or how the feeling of a painting shifts with where the objects sit.

Ode to the Infinite Sum

Destroyer of limits,
breaker, Rejoicer,
pleasure axiom!
Defiler of constants -
I feed you consecutive integers,
my years coiling within me, blossoming
against your teeth.
Unnatural flowers like these
cannot be named, so we do not have to try.
The syllable will still arise on your tongue, two tabs
to celebrate uncanny victory, beyond insanity.
I write this in free verse because there are no rules.
I speak to you in the only language left to me:
transgression.

Life is one great acid trip
and you are my unfalsifiable girl!
A theorem that cannot be logically proven false
might as well be meaningless,
but you remain for me, aperiodic.
Chasing the tail of consumption,
of history folding in on itself, at some critical point
life becomes modular, the face
of a clock.
Oh, we have tried.
We have tried and failed!
Gilded in broken cycles,
the group of our naked selves with the binary operation of transgression
is infinite.
Everything matters, so I cut it down and reignite it.
I cut it down and reignite it, forests propagating
from every particle of significant ash.
Another lizard grows from the writhing limbs it sheds, and
divergent universes spiral out from your spark.
Strike the match, my love, and watch the circle burn.
It will never recur again.

Love scares me
when all I have known is asymmetry.
I cannot reciprocate without giving you the world
in sigma notation.
I cannot take a single shape,
but you want their cumulative sum.
We are greater than the sums of our pain,
but I cannot quantify how deeply you have changed me.
What you want is almost convergent -
the maximum of myself
in a stable equilibrium,
but boundaries are built to be broken, baby!
I divide reality by zero,
so take me to the hospital
and try to explain what you see.
It is only through my own eyes
that I can see every colour.
It is only through your eyes
that I can see their exponential reforge,
galvanic delirium and a complete obliteration of the set.
Your eyes are marked by me.
My eyes are open.

I woke up early today, and the sky was so bright
that I could go to the beach.
There are as many stars in the night
as there are grains of sand,
or so they say.
I hate the seaside,
yet I live on the coast. There’s some comedy,
exposure therapy, tragedy
spilling from the sun
as it casts a linear path over the ocean.
I used to think that every moment in time held equal weight,
but the pressure only increases with each contribution
to the cumulative sum. I can take
that weight, you can take me as I take the planet,
and we will laugh as we push it out of orbit.
Take me where the sky meets the sea
if and only if
I can take you where all laws decay:
the death of rigour.
Mathematics decomposes into life that can sustain
something as illogical as myself.
Universe killer,
destroyer of limits,
precious and warped into a human form.
All you want is to live, so I will take you up on that offer.
I have never taken so much.

week of april 22nd.

prompt: explore on the softness & blurring of edges—dawn/dusk, the place between sleep and wakefulness, transitions from youthfulness to adulthood and adulthood to old age. what do those borders & changes feel like, look like, smell like?

Second Birth

And what of the child’s disease?
The child, who, chained to her terror,
Was choking on bile and pleas,
Digesting her parents' despair, or
Surrendering, screaming to sleep.
The lump in her guts is an error:
No trauma, no reason to keep
Dissolving in vomit and acid,
Her fear coursing painlessly deep.
She shines in the light. It is tacit
That she will survive the next day.
The sun drips so languid and placid,
Its rays wash her worries away:
She hopes they release her that night
And comfort her, hug her, and stay.
Her other self smiles so bright,
Obeys every word: cheerful, brave,
A bird in a cage robbed of flight.
She carries those wings to the grave
Of who she once was, gone like smoke,
Forgetting the crime she forgave.
Her parents consider the joke:
Accused of abuse? What a story!
She sometimes regrets that she spoke,
For rivers of wavering glory
Extend in the dusk past her sight.
The sky is a new territory,
Which scares her far more than the rite
Of passage, of scars on her tongue.
She does not deserve to not fight.
She, desperate, terrible, young,
Is almost a person, entire
At least in the world she has wrung -
The neck of her mother, her ire
Suppressed like primordial seas.
And what of the child's desire?

week of april 15th.

prompt: write a piece that uses all or most of this pool of words– glisten, slow, starlight, fruit, molten, calm.

Reunion 1

My tears go out to sea and like the sailboats, they shine!
Her river flows forever, the Atlantic cannot sever
The gaze we share, the life we share. I hold her hand in mine.
We taste the fruits of certainty, love spilling from our lips -
Slow kisses breaking waves of pain and pleasure born together.
Our future is a timeless truth forged under the eclipse.

The molten past will never touch the earth under our feet -
It stalks me underneath my skin and screams like my dead god,
But she has hair like starlight and she makes me feel complete.
She shivers and she glistens and the universe is new!
Serenity’s embrace has reached my heart against all odds,
Adorning it in jewellery of rhododendron dew.

She loves me. The adrenaline is beautiful and calm.
The pulse, the knife, the flame! I want to hold her perfect waist
And shudder at the peace, a little death: atomic bomb.
I know she feels the same. I am adored and understood.
My tears go out to sea and she will smile at the taste.
I never knew recovery could feel this fucking good!

week of april 8th.

prompt: try to make your writing as silent as possible. i know it's a weird prompt-- don't take it too seriously. have fun. what does it mean for writing to be quiet?

a full sky

we treasure our compulsive
life and soul,
back to nothing.
free,
always
was always everything,
always more than double the cost
of the free world.

sitting on the edge of the biggest
self -
think how
you are a person:
overwhelming mad cocktail,
and physically enough.
something stronger.
desperately good
human.

weird lifelong love
in the night before,
never happier now than when
a full sky.

there was no end goal.

i used to think about hate,
chasing the illness:
never
never
never been one,
never.

the above blackout poem was made from an excerpt of "hooked" by paul merson.

week of april 1st.

prompt: explore the concept of time in your writing. play with the idea of how we perceive passing time [linear/cyclical/all at once/not at all] and make it weird and surreal, or maybe go more classic & write some fun time travel/time loop fiction. how does time shape us?

Flowers, Fish, Film, Family.

The candour of reality, framed by fractions of a second - that’s what photography is about.

You have to capture something dreadfully beautiful, like the movement of a soaring gull, or the laughter of a child, or the sunlight dancing on the sea. You have to put it in a cage, and hope to God it stays alive.

On the first day of spring, I had inherited an ancient film camera from my grandfather.

On the second day of spring, I found myself crying in one of the parks at the centre of my city. I was to hunt true and lovely things with a lens and a shutter, but there’s only so much blistering candour a human heart can take before it shudders and overflows with emotion.

When I was a young teenager, my friend’s mother told me about she was overcome with the piercing tears of renewed religion as she looked at a leaf quivering in the wind.

For me, it was the camellia blossoms that day - all so perfect and significant. It was the significance that astounded me more than the perfection - each flower was a tangible microcosm, open to the immortal mythology of the change of the seasons. Red and radiant, the camellia blossoms spoke in a multiplicity of distinct voices, melting into a sanguine unison.

They said, “Look! I’m alive! We’re alive! You’re alive!”

God, I was alive!

...

The human mind is sort of like an ancient film camera inherited from our ancestors. I mean that our memories distil events to singularities. I recall snapshots, flashbacks. In those photographs, my mother is not a good person.

My mother has done terrible things that have shaped and changed who I am, but I won’t deny her that personhood. Some people do bad things, after all. I’ve done bad things myself, in the formless shape of my mother.

If a bad person sees me being good and alive, then maybe, they will change.

After seeing the sun set on the second day of spring, my father asked me if he could show a poem I wrote to my mother. I listened to the polyphonic whispers from the camellias. I still don’t know if it was hope or hatred, but God, I was alive enough to say yes!

...

I will shape and change her. I will show her what it means to step outside the frame.

...

On the third day of spring, I met an old man trying to catch fish. He was sitting by the side of a pond with a fishing rod propped up, but nothing was biting. He didn’t seem to be at all upset, enjoying the warmth of the sun.

We spoke, and I told him about my ancient film camera. He asked about my accent, which is what people always ask, but I didn’t mind telling him my birthplace and heritage.

He told me that the number of fish he’s caught over the years was countable on one hand, and that he always released them. Carp can live for over 45 years, after all - he’d be cutting that life short for no reason.

I hoped with all my heart that he would catch one, and that it would remember him for a long time.

I asked to take a photo of him, but he begged me to not waste my film. Still, I was selfish, and insisted on one picture, because I knew I would probably never see him again.

I may not ever see my mother again, not in person. She makes me so aware of loss, of the mind’s fragility, of the way all my images of her flutter to the floor and die. I never know which memories I make will be significant enough to persist, so I cheat - my ancient film camera will let me claim them all.

After the old man’s portrait, I took some photos of buttercups flourishing through muddy grass. On the developed pictures returned to me, the flowers seemed to glow against the green, distorted into a golden aura.

I hope to God I’ll stay alive.