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.
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
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.