Each month, with community help, YWP assembles the very best writing, images, audio and video for display in The Voice, our monthly digital magazine. This magazine celebrates the very best that this community produces. This month casts light on the amazing energy and entertaining content from Vermont Writes Day and the events surrounding it.
Apocalypses don't come smashing down from the heavens, destryoing civilization in one easy wave of fire and sending everybody into a frantic scramble to survive twisted political ideals and stay alive. They don't steamroll over people's lives, destroying political and social concepts all at once. They don't dry the Earth up all in one giant cloud of dusty red smoke, leaving us on a Martian desert land full of prehistoric beasts. Apocalypses don't scream their intentions as they slam down onto our heads, and they don't wipe out live as we knew it, not noticeably, anyway.
No, I think that in real life apocalypses arrive so subtly that people don't always realize they're there. One simple, reasonable step after another until it's too late. We go on and continue our regular lives,
Long beyond the swollen, commanding flow of the Mississippi, in the far, unknown west, lies the quaint and hopelessly secluded town of Driftwood Springs, Wyoming.
Not much has changed since my departure, which may as well have been a lifetime ago. Orange-haired Margot waits at the Wild Cactus Diner for me; sitting behind the wheel of Dad’s once-scarlet ’72 Chevy. Waitress apron still on, her shift must have just ended. She grins, cigarette between lips, as I kiss her cheek and whisper, “Hello, little sis.”
I watched from outside myself perhaps in the mirror, perhaps I was the mirror, sitting formless as my body wearing jeans and staring at my stomach from the side, searching out imperfections and wondering if it really is small enough or if I really was so wrong to continue skipping lunch or if I was actually putting on weight, if all the stress from school and the donuts sometimes and the bagels for breakfast and the ice cream for desert sometimes and the stress from wondering and the stress from watching and the stress from being stressed and the and the and the and the.
I am a overgrown king in a prince’s castle. My back pushes heavily against Rafters made of branches, That I once could only reach If I stood on my tiptoes. The knights have left their posts, Dragons no longer attack my woodland fortress. The vivid magic that once filled my brain Has drained out through the soles of my feet, And I now lay in the residue. There is no longer a crown on my head, but a veil, I am a widower to a past filled with light. I know I must leave soon, The car stands still in the driveway, My belongings and mother waiting for me. I was leaving my childhood life And going to an adult one. I linger a moment more, I took a deep breath and ingrain the smell of pine into my mind. Taking off my hood, I crawled out and into the uncertain sunlight.
European tragedies call for changing profile pictures to the colors of a flag. We rally together in times of need and support each other with pixels. We color our faces to match the flag of those who have fallen. There are vigils. Candles. Prayers muttered on knees and clenched hands. We tell our loved ones how much we love them. How thankful we are for them.
Middle eastern tragedies call for silence. We blame Islam. We blame black presidents. We blame everything and offer no sympathy. There are no vigils. No candles. No prayers muttered on knees and clenched hands. We say nothing. Nothing.
European tragedies call for blaming rising muslim populations. Facebook comments rally together, chanting over and over again "This is why we cannot mix cultures" "Islam is a faith of war"
it took a while to get out there a seemingly endless up hill bike ride cluttered with the high pitch hum of sidewalk people and the screaming of car engines all growing fainter as his feet worked in tandem with the bikes warn tires and pushed him towards the woods where he hiked first on trail then, ignoring his parents advice, veering off pulling himself up cliffs and bounding over streams for an hour or so, if he didn't stop for a break, until he reached his spot among the trees in the shade given off by their leaves that dampen any remaining sound that could slide in from the contaminating world outside
there, he would lean himself against a sturdy but aging birch pull a pen and a notebook from deep in his bag and fill the pages with thoughts
A head full of butterscotch dreams keeps me from the lull of sleep. I’d rather not dream than see these mirages of a love that will never be, with love itself being the reason that they daze and confuse me.
Oh how love burns. It burns deeper than the fires of the most cavernous hell. Deeper than the thought of nothing past the stars, no heartbeats, no bloodstreams, no one to tell you how much they need you with them.
Imagine, a rot begins in the aorta and it moves throughout the whole body, pulsing through veins until there’s nothing left but a hollow shell. Shallow skin sinks. Eyes roll from their sockets. The tongue becomes bluer than even the ripest of berries. Imagine an energy that burns with a toxic fog, paralyzing everything in a matter of seconds
"Spill" I've been waiting to say it all day Waiting until we were all alone on the ski lift Waiting until your brother was well out of earshot Two chairs behind us Even though no one could hear us anyway We still lower our voices "Tell me everything. Every single detail." We look down at the people on the slope Shout random things at them and dissolve into laughter Banging our heads against the metal bars Then You tell me Everything "Lucky" I tell you Because you are We both grin "True confessions" You say And we spill all the secrets Large and small That we have accumulated since We did this last Over analyze every action of the boys we like See who can spit the farthest Argue in jest about nothing
Beneath the blanket of snow covering the land – as far as one can see – lie the forgotten leaves of last fall. Crumpled and brown, they wither where most are afraid to look.
But it is possible to look beneath the undisturbed layers of snow to the remains that wither. They are the memories, far below mounds of insignificant worries, waiting. The crumpled, patient, life-giving but forgotten
memories that our lives are built upon. Forgotten to us except in those unexpected moments when we look upon them once more – rising, crumpled from the hard packed snow to remind us that they are not far but need recognition in order never to wither.
Without continual visiting from their maker, they will wither and die – slowly, quietly – forgotten
I could never leave this place, Where I see the blades of grass, tipped with green, shaking the dew from their stalks with the help of the wind. But perhaps I’ve left already, With my heart at college and my mind on exams, tests, and college applications.
I could never leave the sunrise sneaking over the trees and shining in my eyes when I try to do math in the morning at six a.m. But I’m already sipping coffee with nineteen year olds, while deciding our majors.
I want to stay and be sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen forever, Never leaving the safe, sheltered comfort of home. But September of 2018 will come around, And I might be in the Shenandoah valley, or in Pennsylvania, staring at De Sales.