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Can You See?

09/19/11 5:00AM

Olivia Hern, a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School, wrote this piece after attending her first poetry slam.  "The poems there were some of the best I've ever heard, and I became overwhelmed with how beautifully they spun their words," she said. "Then I started thinking about words themselves, and how they could be woven to suit any purpose, and how amazing that was."

 

Words.

words that scream with beauty.
Words that are as delicate as tiny scraps of lace and
lighter and beautifully crystallized.
Words like exquisite.
Please taste that word on your tongue.
Exquisite.
Words that make your heart beat a little faster
or make a little black hole open up in your chest
or that feel like the lightest fairy wings dancing on your wrist.
With my words I can tell a person that talking to them makes me feel
like I am falling through a pillow made of cotton candy.
It's frightening and
I don't know
whether or not I am going to land.
But the trip is the sweetest I have ever tasted.

With my words,
I can tell you that you remind me
of something that crawled out from under a rock,
because your hate exudes out of your pores, like something
putrid
and wet that a little child will find under a stump, and bring home to his mother,
thinking she will be so proud.
And she puts on a brave face, then throws it out the window when she knows her dear little boy isn't looking
This is what I can do with my words.

With words, I can spin a spider web,
with tiny diamonds glittering on its almost invisible strands,
and the soft morning sunlight shining through
and leaving little dappled bits of light on the grass.
Can you see?

Well then, I can also make you see the little ladybugs and butterflies that lie still, weak from struggle,
just under that brilliant layer. And the spider,
the great beast,
twitching its threads here and there,
using those brilliant strands as a death trap for its meal.

My words are sharp as knives.
Watch me throw them-
Thorn.
Kill.
Scum.
Feel how sharp they are, and let them cut you.

But remember that you have been told that they are only words,
and cannot hurt you.
Because with words you have been told
all about the sticks and the stones,
but I tell you that that is a lie.
We are poets.
We are the blacksmiths of razor sharp words that can hurt deeper than a crossbow.

But remember, friends,
that blacksmiths too build filigree and horse shoes,
fanciful and utilitarian.

Remember that words can let me tell you
that your lips feel like melting chocolate against mine,
with no calories.
I can tell you that
every time your fingers brush mine,
every fiber of my being sings
because I know that in this very perfect moment, I am wanted.

And I can tell you,
that the very idea of letting you go feels like drowning.
I am a poet. And these are my words.

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