Poetry, Words
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Genesis (or, how to write a story)
by Deryn Mierlak

With small cuts the story
comes into the world. Face. Hair.
A kiss, hanging off a pink circle. You grab at images
milk-soft, rolling in waters and lights,
the skin of their words
polished and shiny, splitting like an insect’s shell,
as they near you.

They fall through your skin, leave faint marks
then cut through. Their edges make lines of pain across your body
that form into blunt hieroglyphs, that natural history
of ordered lines,
then words.
The story demands blood–
with each drop you give
it resembles something closer
to simian, intelligent,

you tell it how it should live
without gods, you let your dirty voice scratch its ceiling.
a genesis is the creation of space
sudden space, angles poured out into darkness.
it is that which cannot be replicated, nor stolen:
you do not know it
but it is the story
of your pain.

notes/comments on this poem:

writing a story is hard. Like giving birth, in a way. There is much pain in the process but also this part that feels starry, celestial, like there’s a hole cut into the very highest part of the sky that lines up with a hole cut into the top of your skull and occasionally something interacts within that space, the way light interacts with air or the planets with gravity. But these moments are meant to be fleeting and transient, I think. The rest of it–the meat of any story–is pain, a pain secreted through effort. That’s what separates a good story from a bad one–our best ideas are rooted in pain. i really hope nobody finds this part too pretentious, i just really wanted a reason to write out that line about the skies and the holes and didn’t have any more room to do it in the poem. okay. thanks.

Photos by Somi Jun


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