Rachel’s Thoughts: To Helen (Poe)

Prose adaptation/modification/completelydifferentversionof  Edgar Allan Poe’s To Helen.

Helen, you look like a boat. Now don’t get me wrong; you’re pretty, and practical, too, like one of those log canoes the Indians used to paddle around in. But the kind of boat you remind me of is less the Nicean bark and a little more at home in the swamps of Florida.

Ever since you chalked your hair purple, your skin has seemed even more sickly pale, like mold. You’ve put on airs; you’re thinking Greece, or maybe Rome, but you’re more like London…in the middle of the plague.

You’re always posing–no, literally, posing, trying to look like Shakespeare and Arabian Nights. Even now you’re parading back and forth in front of the window. That flashlight in your hand: what are you doing with it, one if by land, two if by sea? Austen was wrong; your figure does not appear to best advantage while walking. Remember, love, you’re built like an aircraft carrier.

Perhaps I should be glad, my dear, that you don’t speak English, in light of what I’ve said. After all, you can’t help your looks, and I might wound your poor little psyche. But if I can offer some advice, my Arabian battleship, perhaps you should eat a little less?

Advertisements

Rachel’s Thoughts: The Secret Place

This was my third creative sketch of the late night and wee hours of the morning, and I think this one might just fit the bill.

A gap in the bushes separated our yard from the grasses of the secret place beyond. Tall hedges encompassed the whole enclosure, so that when you crossed into it you stepped into a separate world that smelled of lavender and dead leaves. An oak tree grew in the middle, surrounded by lavender bushes and a little cinderblock wall. Its branches were long and the leaves thick, so that in the summer the roof threw green shadows that danced on the ground. A swing hung from one limb.

In fact, it was rather like the Wood-Between-the-Worlds, except earthier and suited to being occupied by children. The oak gave off the feeling that it was the only thing holding the world together, and that like Atlas it held the sky on its shoulders. It was an anchor binding this world to all the infinite realms of adventure, so that you could always return from forays into imaginary places.

It was perfect for a six-year-old girl to get wildly lost in Narnia. Plots could be hatched, house could be kept, and it could easily be defended against pirates. The secrecy kept it a sanctuary, and the wildness left it the sort of place where anything could happen and something always would.[1]


[1] Phrasing courtesy of Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine.

Rachel’s Thoughts: My First Rare Steak

I was going to use this for a creative sketch declamation, but wasn’t sure if it quite fit the guidelines. So.

Many, many, many moons ago, I had my first rare steak.

Malevolently. That was how it felt like the steak was staring at me. It was the kind of steak that had probably sat on someone nice in a previous life. I had ordered my bloody slab of cow medium to well done, and this was just so…not. I mean, the edges were singed and all, but I prefer my food dead, thank you very much.

Anyway, there it was, sitting on my plate like it owned the place. The cook had refused to take it back, jabbering something in Dutch about the World Cup. Apparently Holland was playing Spain and, being smack-dab in the middle of Amsterdam, he didn’t feel obliged to provide customer satisfaction on such an important night. Evidently he wasn’t concerned about customer safety, either, because this was precisely the sort of steak that might at any moment pull a Calvin-and-Hobbes move and attack me with my own fork. My personal theory was that he too was intimidated by the gimlet eye of the beastly thing, and was secretly chortling about it back in the kitchen. And still the steak just sat there oozing blood, defying me, practically daring me to try to eat it.