By Tess Nealon Raskin
A self-reflective, nearly-narcissistic poem about being a writer.
it’s to catch flies with honey, not vinegar. pull the sweet out of the bitter and package deepset ache in brown-paper boxes To sell. it’s to lie for the pillow-feather sugar of words and the Currency of clouded eyes and little smiles. it’s a liar’s job, you know. to martyr the dead ants in the bathtub instead of cleaning them up to feel their sticky limbs cling to your body as they swirl around your feet it’s a mortician’s job, or a necromancer’s. priestesses and priests of small death alike cut off their own heads and watch themselves in the mirror. it’s a farmer’s job, or a pest’s. watching the apples ripen Red in the sun until they fall to the ground and open themselves to the salty earth and their sweet insides. but most won’t let them fall, for the sake of a bite because above all, it is a liar’s job.
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
I wrote this poem during a time when I was writing constantly—at least once a day. At that time, I was beginning to develop a love for writing while realizing the effect my words could have on other people. Though my writing came from a place of true emotion, I felt like a con artist when I saw people be moved by my poetry. I loved when people loved my writing, but I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I rediscovered this poem later when archiving and organizing tons of discarded work, and the emotion of it continued to resonate with me deeply. Upon sharing it, I feel the same strange guilt I feel when I read it.
Tess Nealon Raskin is an aspiring poet, artist and screenwriter who lives in Brooklyn.