Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing


Having read innumerable writing rules, I first thought the article is just another one about writing. However, I found one truth that I never realized, until now:

“Deep down, we all want to be poets.”

In the literati ladder, the poet occupies one of the highest rungs with his enigmatic way of making music with the pen as her instrument. Thus, which lover of words would not love a poet? Which aspiring penman would not look up to a poet and aspire to be one himself?

But alas! Not all of us can be poets. We can all write but not all of us can make verses sing because that is a gift poets are born with. Because poets are born, not made like the rest of us.

Still, we keep writing verses, hoping that with each poem we take one step up that ladder. A long way to go, yes, but still a little bit closer to that coveted spot because no matter what they say and what we know, deep down, we all want to be poets.

Sometimes, not even genetic endowment can restrain the desires of the heart.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

shawna kenneyBy Shawna Kenney

First thought, best thought; revise, revise, revise. Write first thing in the morning when the mind is alert; write at night and never while sober. Do it alone, in an office with the door closed, surrounded by books; write in coffee shops, surrounded by stimulating characters and conversation. Use traditional quotation marks and capitalization Unless You Are a ‘Genius.’ Journal in longhand; always type fast. Sentences longer than three or four lines are unacceptable and tedious, unless you are William Faulkner, William Beckett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, David Foster Wallace or one of those other people who can get away with it. Short is good.

Write with an ideal reader in mind; fuck the audience. Never show anyone an early draft; find a workshop for feedback. Write to please everyone; quit workshop and hire an editor. Take classes…

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Be My Muse


I can promise you forever —
yes, I really can!

I can make your beauty immortal,
you youth eternal.

Every man will sing your name,
longing or not, they will all the same.

Every lovesick maiden will know your happy tale,
and they will follow your famous love trail.

Just take my hand and be my muse,
together we have the world to amuse!

The Missing Muse


It is night and the moon is cold,
watching another love poem unfold.
For the poet has come around
but alas! His muse is nowhere to be found!

He turns back then and goes to bed
and dreams of verses left unsaid.

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I would tell you I had loved you


If we were having coffee,
I would tell you I had loved you.

I would tell you how much I loved
your deep purring voice,
the scent and warmth of your skin,
the softness of your embrace,
the letters you have given me.

But then, I had loved you
for you are no longer that sixteen-year-old boy
and I am no longer that fifteen-year-old girl.
Five years have passed, can you believe it?
We are not the same anymore.
We do not have the same love anymore.

If we were having coffee,
I would tell you I had loved you.
But then, you do not drink coffee.

Oh, how am I supposed to tell you now?

Watch and Tell


She just stands there,
watching.

The people dance.
They hold each other close
and they waltz to their own melodies.
They kick and flick.
They bang their heads.
They shimmy.
She watches.

The people fall in love.
They make out and break up and make up.
They get married and have kids.
Some just get dogs.
They grow old together.
Many others divorce
and get married again.
She watches.

The people cry.
They fight and scream.
They hurt one another
with punches and words.
They betray.
They leave.
She watches.

The people live
but are too drunk to remember.
Then they will all come to her
and their stories she will tell.

For that is what wallflowers do —
they watch.
They remember for all.

Original Sin


I. The Serpent
I watch her eye it hungrily
and I know I have succeeded.
Soon shall come man’s downfall —
but the battle’s not yet won.
This is only the beginning.

II. Eve
“No,” I pleaded, “We must not.”
But he fixed me with this stare —
knowing, laughing, and mocking.
“You shall know,” he said.
“You shall not die.”

III. Adam
I know we must not.
But she handed me the fruit
and I just cannot refuse.
For she is mine.
Everything that’s hers is mine.

IV. The Tree of Knowledge
The fruit I bear is both gift and curse
for I am good and I am evil.
With that first bite, he gained both.
Hence, man sealed his fate —
Death.

He used to write to her


He used to send her love notes every day — letters and poems, long and short.

Not once did she reply. Religiously still, he wrote of her chocolate eyes, her rosebud lips, her angel’s hair. He wrote of love.

He could have written more but the ink has run dry.

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It’s A Moldy Towel, Dude


Magazines say that
you get to know a girl
from the contents of her bag.
So I grabbed my tote
to see who I am
and was shocked to find…

My worn-out lab coat
(how long has this been here?),
A specimen slide of heaven-knows-what,
Returned exam papers from two semesters ago,
A notebook I lost months ago
(so this is where it has been hiding all along —
between the pages of an overdue library book),
A barbecue stick from the banana cue I had a week ago,
Plastic that wrapped the turon from yesterday
(yes, I love bananas),
Packets of ketchup from McDonald’s,
Several hankies
(I thought I lost them),
Crumpled, faded receipts,
and (drum roll)…

A moldy towel.

A Moldy Towel.

Moldy Towel.

Moldy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I  have an announcement —

I am now a dude!

A Girl and Her Mirror


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Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
who’s the fairest of them all?

Is it she whose face
no paint has taint?
Or she who wears
a camouflage of maquillage?

Is it she whose body fair is wrapped with care
(not even an inch of skin to spare?)
Or she who wears hers with pride
(not even the finest fabric would it dare hide)?

Is it she whose neck and arms
are unadorned with charms?
Or she who wears
litter that glitters?

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
here my plea:
In my nakedness,
let it be me!