English Clash | Teen Ink

English Clash

April 7, 2018
By tantuwayam BRONZE, San Diego, California
tantuwayam BRONZE, San Diego, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

To break the sanctity of the white page

And mar its unblinking virgin stare
So devoid of ideas it’s a concept of its own
Would be the cruelest violation I could commit
I dare not scar the blue and red print bars
And etch banalities into
The parallel veins that stripe the paper

To break the calm of the white page
And emboss footprints into a newborn
Powder-paved snow bank
To scrape my pencil tip through the shush of static…

Maya, You have to

This assignment is due in forty-six minutes
And will be pored over with clinical scrutiny
So please
Shut up and
Cement the cracks over your creativity
And synthesize your cynicism
Until the decibels drone and hum at minimum volume
Literary criticism
This is not an art class
Here you are not a writer
You hold paper to an open flame that licks from your lighter
You're a critic with a looking glass
Making passes at what has already been created
Why teach creativity in class when it’s
Crass and incendiary

We've been taught to play it safe behind judgement

And agree with the statements of prefabricated essays
Offense is the best defense
And the snooty academic pretense
That the class calls formal tone
Is a stencil that I trace over template over template
And there is no mystery behind the uncanny resemblance Between what my classmates and i have been instructed to say
This “formative analytical assignment” is an ode mirrors, homage To our society’s message a lesson that self-expression is best Expressed through conformity
The word is dead
No longer spoken but read, meaning mummified beneath layers Of paper mache
Engraved and faded and yellowish grey

To mutilate the milky membrane that encases the white page
And fill it with lead
In a literal sense
Already wounding already wounding already winding
Across the margin
Is to assert your importance over blank space

To slaughter the silence of the white page
Imaginary ink drips from the spicket
Of my pen like perspiration on my upper lip
Shriveled are the fruits of my muse, dead in half-bloom, the Bruised refuse that will never enter this essay
Wiped out
Doubt is a drought
Draining my fountain pen
Reducing a wellspring of ink to caked droplets
Dehydrated tears
Congealed in the contrails that ring the penumbras under my Glazed eyes
Unfocusing hand trembling pupils dilating gaze vacillating
Vacating vacating my body
Like cut strings from a marionette, dangling, alien in a crumpled Heap against the cool floor.
Cry me a river, dry eyes
Cracked hands, write me a river
Write a me a river
Splash the essay to the banks
Pen me a stream with even the thinnest trickle of truth
To satiate whatever demons lurk wrapped around my fingers
And satisfy the ghosts that damn me to be damned behind this Infernal dam of expectation

If you have something to say then
Don’t wait for my invitation
Tattoo to tatters this page
Puncture format puncture form
With impatience a dull pen tip and the staple on a tea bag
Brew your own incantations
And accentuate your damn punctuation
Swivel the junctures stitch the sinews of sentences with dainty Cursive q’s
However obsolete
Own the monstrosities like possessives in apostrophes
String the syllables slant your slashes
Thrash out dash out laugh out loud
Because if this is english class
Where command over coexistence is paramount
I have as much mastery over the english language
As a pastor over God
Excuse the blasphemy
But it was never mine to domineer
My language is a seance
A channel to communicate not suffocate

Sentenced to write sentences
No more. I won’t lay them linear in train tracks
I’ll swing them and spit them and make them soar

In conclusion,
I want to reinstall the "say" in essay
And display my art’s crown jewel
My theses come in threes
Like the wise kings
Gentiles Jews and Pharisees
Poised regally upon the throne
Reviving the word like the savior in Rome

The spoken bellows and echoes like gunsmoke
Let them read it
Let them choke

Gasping through charred lungs
Like some burning prophet
Wheezing up words
Sneezing similes
Coughing cacophonies
Crashing and cracking apart consonants
Crackling like lashes from a barbed tongue
Poet you came today to seek
To seek
Not perfection but pure outlet of voice
Mellifluous soil to cultivate your tender sprouts
Boiled to the core element
Unearthed from underneath the irrelevant
Is to caress the venerable, vulnerable void of the white page
inking new phrases with velvet rage.

The author's comments:

This poem is dedicated to anyone whose English teacher has ever beaten the heart and soul out of an assigned reading class. Remember that literature is art. Remember that you too are a beholder of this art. And lastly, remember that art is in the eye of the beholder. 

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