These are the works of members of the Fall 2019 English 30AB Creative Writing Class, Sections 4170 and 4173, at Santa Monica College. These are the works of writers young and mature, experienced and novice. We invite you again into our garden of Profound Lettuce. May the selections feed your spirit.
Copyright is held by the authors and Santa Monica College.
I didn’t want to write rhymes and poems
I wanted to write fiction of every kind
I thought about dropping the class and going home
This was going to be a waste of time
Dear Poetry class
I decided to stay just for the grade
I hoped my eyes wouldn’t roll up into my head
I would keep my mouth shut and not throw shade
I hoped I wouldn’t snore like I was home in bed
Dear Poetry Class
I woke up out of my dreamy half life
My eyes opened to an ocean of cobwebs
Thick and gauzy, but there was no spider in sight
The spider was me
Dear poetry class
I started to swim upward
Ripping and tearing my way to what was real
Remnants clung and fell away as I made my ascent
Drawn to words that became a symphony
A musical, lyrical, and raw
A kaleidoscope of humanity
Rich in a rainbow of colors
Red benches seated in passion and contemplation
Red doors swing open ripping away cobwebs
Entering the chambers of my heart yet to be explored
Dear poetry class
I heard an orchestra riding on the waves
Of every human emotion
I heard your songs of truth
Pushing through mild discomfort
And at times blinding, trembling fear
Armed only with unabashed courage
And the fortitude of poetic gladiators
Dear poetry class
I heard your songs of experience
Of broken hearts shattered
Of open wounds being licked raw
Of hearts mending with the strength of personal will
Of time colliding and collapsing in on itself
Past, present and future
Becomes a big bang of a moment
Of stiffened fingers from a winter’s frost
Of the soft moist innards of cacti representing the heart
And its outer thorns of protection
Of the softness of an infant’s skin
So many pictures painted with lyrical words
Challenging and pursuing my imagination without chase
Dear poetry class
I am fully awake and aware
My surfaces hold an invisible new depth
The thought pool of my mind has more chop
From nothing to the unknown, form into something,
Two lovers fishes swam, to get her.
Till land rose, a fish gifted land to get her out of the ocean and into her own land.
To give her a world of her own, space of her own.
Bitterness of the salt from the one who she comes from.
The ocean waits on his love to come home
She builds him a palace of her own, ready a lone throne for them in the green in the trees
New life she’s made she sees her rays in waves from the palace she’s made,
For the life she’s made, she waits on for his entry, to see what she became.
From what was never estranged.
The clock seemed to be ticking slower then usual. I had started my shift at four and wasn’t out until eleven. I watched as the clock stroke ten forty five. Almost there. It was my best friends birthday and he was having a huge get together at his apartment then we’re all going to our favorite bar downtown, Sharky’s. If you were wondering, my name is Marvin and I’m twenty-five years old. Let’s just say it’s taking a bit longer to get my degree than I had thought, I’m a History major who hopes to teach one day but for now I am checking out food items and stocking shelves at Safeway. It has been a gloomy week here in Washington and today is no exception, I can hear the rain as it splats every five seconds outside on the pavement. Today was just like any other, the rush of people came in around five to stock up for the weekend but I’m assuming everyone now is already out at their party or event. Ten more minutes to go, all I can think about is that ice cold beer waiting for me at Connor’s place. Usually there is another guy that closes up with me but he had to leave at ten to catch a flight, so tonight it is just me, how exciting. I sit and refresh Instagram on my phone, scrolling to pass the time.
I hear the familiar jingle of the front door opening, I look up and see two men. They both look around forty or fifty years old, dressed in all black, their dark long hair soaking from the rain. A shiver ran down my spine, something about them seemed off. “Hi! Just so you know we close up at eleven.” They both look at each other then quietly grunt as they walk past my register. I watch as they walk to the end of the other side of the store, walking into Aisle 3, I guess they’re just looking for some late night cereal? There’s only a few minutes to closing now so I start to put my jacket on and pack up my bag, until I hear a faint gasp coming from aisle 3. I freeze as I listen closely, it sounds like a muffled scream but definitely not from one of the men, it sounded like a woman’s voice. I’m becoming anxious and confused, did a woman slip in without me seeing? Maybe she has been lurking around the store this whole time. I listen again as it sounds like she’s whimpering and crying, it is all distant though so I am hoping my ears are just playing tricks on me. I then hear the intimidating voices of the men, their words are muffled but I could make out “Owe us” and “Not our problem.” This must have been some drug trade gone wrong or maybe she is an escort? Prostitute? All that I know is that this woman is in danger. I knew it was a bad idea to insert myself into this potentially dangerous situation so I slowly slipped my phone out of my pocket, the only thing I can do is call the police. I’m about to unlock my phone when I hear a loud “pop!” I am frozen in fear. I creep around the corner to see the lifeless body of a young blonde woman. Blood is pouring out of her head and all over Aisle 3. This can’t be happening, I’m just a regular grocery store clerk, I am not apart of any of this. This just can’t be real. The men begin to shout at each other, “Nice job asshole, what do we do with the body!” the other screams back, “You didn’t have to shoot her yet.” “She was getting on my nerves.”
As I let the men argue and yell, I run to the back entrance, leaving my jacket, bag, everything behind, I just had to get out. I’m still clutching my phone, about to call 911 as soon as I leave the building. My heart is about to burst out of my chest, I can feel this morning’s breakfast creeping up my throat, I reach for the door handle to exit when I hear in the distance, “He went that way!” Shit. My adrenaline at an all time high, I push
myself out the door and run. Running into the night, no clue where I am going. There is a small forest behind the store, I find myself hunched over behind a tree, sitting in the mud, hiding from whoever may come. I don’t hear anything but the tapping of raindrops on my boots, so I finally pick up my phone and call the police. I explain everything and tell them that they need to come as soon as possible, the dispatcher says she is sending officers and an ambulance over. I sit, shivering in the mud and dirt when I hear the familiar sounds of police sirens in the distance.
I run back to the store to see a body bag being lifted into the ambulance, but no men in sight. The officers ask me, “So you say there were two men responsible for this?” I nod yes and give the most detailed description I can. “Well when we arrived the cash registers were all broken open and the woman was lying there right in the middle of the aisle, it was quite horrific.” I told the officers that we had security cameras and that they should take all of footage. The ambulance drives off and crime scene photos are taken, I go back to my register to grab my bag and jacket only to realize, they are both gone. My heart sinks as I know I left my wallet in that bag, the wallet with my drivers license, credit cards and cash. I instantly call my bank and ask them to cancel every single one of my cards immediately. I didn’t even care about the cards but my license has my home address, phone number and name. This is a nightmare. The officers give me a ride home and tell me they will be close by if I need anything but not too worry about it, these guys are probably trying to leave the country right now.
Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything from the police, good or bad. I carried this ball of anxiety with me everywhere I went, I would only feel at peace once I know these guys are locked up far away. Three weeks past since the incident and I was starting to feel a bit better, I just came home from playing basketball with the guys when I noticed a letter sitting on my doormat. The letter just says “Marvin,” that’s kind of strange, who sends letters anymore? I rip the envelope open, my heart drops as my eyes read the paper. Written in dark red blood, it reads, “You’re Next.”
The clang of sword and shield subside. The last man on the field had died. No sound but harsh invader’s cheer did reach the ragged captain’s ear. Four thousand men he bravely led lay cold beside the riverbed. The blue and white his men’d salute now muddied under marching boot. With tears for comrades in his eyes, sought cover on the wooded rise. Desperate to ‘scape the hangman’s noose with heavy heart, fled Robert the Bruce
The dark’ning sky brought wind and hail, and freezing rain did pelt his mail. The bark of hounds carried on the breeze, and torchlight danced between the trees. He out of briar bramble crashed. A row of caves in lightning flashed. Against the crags of rock confined, and Robert to his fate resigned. His foe’d arrive by break of day. One last night in a cave he’d stay. Out from the rain and storming sky, Robert the Bruce would wait to die
In dimness of the cave he peeped. Across the wall a shadow creeped. Venomous spider silent crept above where Robert would have slept. Dagger-drawn, primed to smash with hilt, he stopped and watched the web be built. He watched the spider slip and fall and again to climb the wet stone wall. So Robert sheathed his blade and said, “By morning light I will be dead by soldier sword or spider’s bite, no need that two souls die this night.” He smiled on his last evening’s truce. Closed his eyes did Robert the Bruce.
The soldiers came with morning light, hoping to catch and kill and smite. They stalked the face of cliff severe and searched each cave with torch and spear. Robert’s shelter they’d soon detect, but these hunters found their progress checked. Across the mouth of cave they found that silver strands of web were wound. A vast entangle, silken veil did Robert’s hiding spot conceal. The men recoiled and backed away, shunned the domain of spiders’ sway. And soon among them was agreed to search this cave there was no need. Surely no man could breech this space without the fragile web displaced. Hidden, they left in mornings gloom, Robert the Bruce in earthen womb.
Emerging into light of morn, Robert the Bruce stood a king reborn. He mustered men for one more fight and raised the tattered blue and white. They fought till the ranks of rivals thinned and drove them back with a northern wind. And to every man, when the fight got rough, he told of the night of the spider’s bluff, of a mercy returned from beast accursed, and all knew the tale of Robert the First.