By Elizabeth Rotunno
Science has taught me that bubbles are the best way to blind someone.
World History has taught me that premeditated murder is easier than you'd think.
English has taught me that a pool noodle and a ramen noodle
are equally precious on a deserted island.
French has taught me that slapping people
is more effective when wearing a ring.
Lunch has taught me that yanking someone's ear
is an efficient distraction to steal something from their hands.
Civics has taught me nothing but how to swaddle a baby.
Math has taught me various methods of thievery.
Band has taught me the best ways to exact revenge,
most involving oobleck and wind instruments.
Computer Science has taught me how to endure all manner of
unknown substances that may have fallen on the keys of a keyboard.
Health has taught me more about Chess than anything else.
Advisory has taught me that all good business occurs in Singapore.
Saying school doesn't teach you anything is like saying robbery
isn't a marketable skill: You're just not looking in the right places.
Elizabeth Rotunno is 14 years old and lives in Massachusetts. Some things
she likes about Woven Word are the creative opportunities
and the many fun prompts that provide inspiration.
By Sarim Chaudry
I am from a language that never gets used
I am from food I doubt you have ever eaten
I am from my parents complaining about people calling it chai tea,
chai means tea, you’re pretty much just saying tea tea
I am from eating everything mango flavored
I am from a place that's just grouped together with india,
personally I don't see the difference,
but don't get my parents started on it,
only the slow creeping fatigue will stop their wrath
I was going to write one about procrastination but I will just do it later
I am from a family of doctors
I am from too many missed opportunities
I am from doing the minimum on projects
I am from indecisiveness
I am from christmas happening in summer, but still being in America
I am from “that's a good deal, but let's wait until there is an even better deal”
I am from my parents telling me that back in their day
they had to outrun 3 cheetahs just to get to school
I am from never getting it right the first time
I am from never ending questions, wait does that make me smart or dumb?
Sarim Chaudhry is 14 years old and attends Hopkins Academy in Hadley. One thing he loves about Woven Word is that he doesn’t have to worry about possibly messing up with his writing. He likes to try new things.
By Ada Bouthet
I spent my girlhood wrapped in jeans,
in dusty rooms of poor-ish means,
and staring down, with all my might,
the kitchen's air, the orange light,
and here the hens who shared my years
would curl their hair and pierce their ears
and curse their growing, deadweight breasts
and plan their weddings, build their nests,
and press their mouths to mouths so sweet,
force boy-ish boys to soft-capped knees,
but tied to earth by poet's pens
I'd never live the lives of hens.
So now I'm old like denim worn,
like blooming rose, like photo torn,
my chin upturned by bloating soul,
forgotten breasts, and lost control,
and here's the salty beard of man
with long, long legs and massive hands
and curling hair and darkened eyes
of thoughtless looks - the killing kind.
I deemed myself a big, strong girl
for lack of love and lack of twirl,
but here's the salty beard of man
with long, long legs and massive hands.
I'd give these jeans a thousand rips
in hopes to kiss his bitter lips.
Ada Bouthet is a senior at Hopkins Academy in Hadley. She’s been a member of Woven Word for five years, and has enjoyed every single one. She values it’s openness to poetry, prose, and experiences of all kinds. She spends her free time writing in her school notebooks, advocating for social justice, and watching romcoms.
By Maddie Raymond
I stand here before you to showcase my proficiency
in the heavily marketable skill of grinding myself into dust
I have not slept in seven weeks, and do not plan to anytime soon
I have earned badges in crying,
writing out my tax forms by hand,
and tearing out little clumps of hair when I think no one is watching
I am skilled in pretending nothing is wrong when I feel little bits of my humanity flake off and fall into the growing void inside my body
Before you, I can attest that I have not felt real sunlight in at least the last quarter My contributions are unmatched, my people skills are beaten into me in a perfect spiral
I have savings
I have a car that I can drive with my eyes closed
I’ll gladly take my earrings out
Dye my hair
Dye my eyes
I’ve heard blondes are better for customer service
I have logged hundreds of hours
and I haven’t even turned eighteen
I pay all my parking tickets the same day
I have honed my skill of becoming nothing
just so someone I don’t know personally c
an become a god
And I prostrate at their feet
After all The greater good is just a code word
for someone that’s not you
I am happy for you
I am only happy for you
Of course I’ll wait fifteen minutes
I have infinite potential
Growth sitting in my belly
Just enough fire in my eyes
To give me a good attitude
Learning is a skill
And I have learned the skill of servitude
I’m very good at being okay with being nothing
I stand here before you to reiterate my skill
in giving everything I have to someone
who would never do the same
And forcing myself to love every minute
Maddie Raymond is 17 years old and lives in Goshen. Through writing, she has gotten to explore new perspectives, discovering things about herself along the way. What she loves most about writing is getting to experience something other than the day-to-day. Her favorite part about Woven Word has been the friends she’s made within the local writing community.
By Leah Mendelsohn
Your mind is filled with trinkets and tinkers,
tying into words only spoken by drinkers,
your name is all over the walls and empty halls, leading to vines,
leading to gardens of wilting flowers where ‘she loves me, she loves me not’ is written on every petal.
A kettle is screaming waiting to be poured and served,
strings of steam pulling up from the cup,
a white button up with a velvet coat,
afloat on cloud 9 with a glass of red wine.
The poet mind is a place of messy pages and rages.
Leah Mendelsohn is 13 years old and goes to Amherst Regional Middle School. One thing she loves about Woven Word Young Writers is the atmosphere created where she knows she will get positive feedback. It’s somewhere where she can experiment with her writing.
By Serena Gross
I prefer my words when you repeat them back to me.
You make them sound like poetry.
Real poetry, not the kind of stuff I pump out for a deadline.
You treat my words like sugar glass.
They are sweet and delicate and light.
They must be handled with the care they deserve and be served atop honey and lemon cake along with tea in cups that were kept on the top shelf waiting for special occasions that never came.
I like how you think I think about the meaning behind my words,
Use every stroke of my pencil to start a new movement.
When in actuality, I am relying on you to find the metaphor for me.
I write my words like beautiful women,
deadly if you stick around too long.
I write my words like dried petals,
Delicate and difficult to hold without them shattering.
I speak them like shards of painted over mirror
And you manage to return them to me as sugar glass and poems and daintily gift-wrapped tea cups.
Serena Gross is a seventh grader at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School and has attended Woven Word since third grade. When she is not writing, she enjoys musical theatre, fashion, and listening to podcasts. She loves Woven Word because it pushes her to be more creative with her work and exposes her to “out of the box” styles of writing, courtesy of her fellow writers.
By Ollie Mae
Leopold Baker had wasted most of this life locked in his study trying desperately to write something real. He often joked with his close friends that an author spends all of his life arranging and rearranging the twenty six letters of the alphabet over and over again. It was enough to make anyone insane. On the night that Leopold Baker died he had been sitting at his desk, staring at his typewriter and the blank page before him. At around 2:30 in the morning, surrounded by cigarette smoke, crumpled pages of forgotten first drafts, and half full mugs of lukewarm coffee, Mr. Baker had a heart attack and died peacefully. Or at least, that was what Mrs. Baker told the police.
Mrs. Baker often joked with her close friends that the only thing her husband had managed to accomplish in his forty two years of life were those first three pages of his novel back before they had been married. She had fallen in love with those first three pages, that love letter he had sworn was inspired by her. They were the most beautiful arrangement of words she had ever heard. But he couldn’t continue it. And years later, in a drunken daze, he had spilled liquor over it one night and the ink had all bled together into one great smear of gray. An entire life's work, gone in the amount of time it took for her self-righteous husband to knock a glass of brandy over. Mrs. Baker had taken it all with a rather dignified sense of amusement, as if she was observing some old fashioned sitcom. After all, it was funny. Wasn’t it? That she had devoted her life to this man, this poet in the attic, enveloped in smoke who smiled like he knew who she was, who she really was. That one could go from loving someone to despising them so fast. That she had stood at the altar with him and given him her future, given him everything she had just so he could have the chance to write something real. And he had thrown it all away in the amount of time it took for him to spill a glass of brandy.
At her husband's funeral, Mrs. Baker sat in the front row of the church pews and debated what people would say if she didn’t cry when they carried the casket away. Mrs. Baker had never been one to cry. That had been her husband’s job, to feel all these emotions, this insane spectrum of humanity, and then turn it into poetry. It had been her job to fold the laundry into two matching piles on their bed and collect the empty mugs of coffee off his desk each night. Mrs. Baker had spent most of her mornings standing over the sink, staring down at his dishes. Wishing so, so badly that she had been the one blessed with his gifts. Mr. Baker often talked about his gifts. He talked of how he had always known he was a writer, even as a young boy. He talked of how god had blessed him with this talent to bend and twist language to his will.
At the funeral, while she sat staring at the casket that concealed her husband’s dead body, Mrs. Baker wondered what her beloved Leopold would have written about his own death, if he had had the opportunity. He often wrote about Death. But he wrote about Death as if he was a person. A living feeling being who remembered every life he had taken. Mrs. Baker had always assumed this was a strange habit of her husband's that he had acquired as a young boy to cope with his own fear of death. But as Mrs. Baker had stood in her husband’s study the night that he died, staring at the back of his head as his fingers furiously flew across the keys, she could have sworn she felt him. Death, like a shadow dancing at the edge of her vision, waiting as if he already knew what was to come. The outcome of decades of abuse, spilled brandy, clouds of gray smoke, and dirty dishes. He stood, hands outstretched before her husband, reaching for the oblivious writer. And Mrs. Baker almost laughed at the thought, that even with all his gifts and blessings, Leopold Baker had no idea when Death stood over him.
Mrs. Baker thought she would live a happy life after she killed her husband. But instead she spent every day watching her back and her nights lying awake in bed, hands shaking, terrified that he would find her. It wasn’t the police she was running from. No she could handle them. It was her husband's old friend, Death. The one that had cursed her with this creeping paranoia, this crazed obsession, and this bitter disposition. Mrs. Baker never stayed in one place for too long. She had become familiar with hotel bedrooms and strangers’ living room floors and the cold wood of park benches. And every new place she saw, every new experience, she wondered how her late husband would have described it. How would he have described the light that filtered through the dirt stained window of the taxi cab, the floral wallpaper and moth eaten couch in that overly friendly bartender’s apartment, the condensation that swirled from her lips when she slept out in the cold, the frills of the maid’s cleaning uniforms as they bustled down hotel lobby hallways?
After a decade of this, her running turned to chasing. And she found herself chasing after the ghost of her husband. Mrs. Baker went to his childhood home, to the room he had been born in where God had blessed him with his gifts. And she went to the city, where he had spent his early twenties standing at bus stops wondering how all these strangers' lives connected and intertwined and overlapped. And she went to the Grand Canyon, where she stood on the cliff edge and imagined that she was flying. And when she finally made her way home to the cluttered office where her husband had wasted most of his life, Mrs. Baker sat down at his desk and, with shaking fingers, began to write.
Ollie Mae is a 14 year old homeschooler who has been attending writers workshop since almost before she can remember. She loves reading and writing, cares deeply about climate justice, her best friend Morgan, and her two dogs. She knows that writing will always be a part of her life whether she goes on to become an investigative journalist, a forensic psychologist, an astrobiologist, or a poet.
By Moloaa Daterao
I walk while I think,
I think about a red fox I saw while at a skating rink,
The blueberries sit at the tip of my tongue,
While I remember the birds that had just sung,
A butterfly comes and sits on my nose,
While minnows in a stream tickle my toes,
I smell bittersweet pine needles while I walk,
And just feel the urge to talk,
To talk about the forest wonders,
At the same time rain come down and so does thunder,
Here I wait beneath a tree at night,
Waiting for the first sign of light,
Soon light filters in and I walk away,
Good bye I say,
And that’s what I remember to this day!
By Dash Merrill
I will remember the day this is all over
who cares if the Sun’s not shining
because it will be shining in my mind.
Who cares if it's wet and rainy
cause it will be the rain of freedom.
I will remember the day I will walk downtown again
I’ll get a big, sweet cookie at the café,
the kind that’s not too chewy but not too crunchy
the kind that will melt in my mouth
just the way I like it.
I will remember the day I can talk to the store clerk again
the day I get to hug my friends again
the day when I don’t have to stray from the strangers walking past
or wonder about the way the restaurants and benches are being cleaned
the day I can sit in the park and say hello to all the birds
who have been wondering where everyone has gone for so long.
But until that day comes, I will have to sit here and witness the destruction of time,
witness history that will one day be in the classes we are free from today.
Until that day comes, I will wave from a far
and give my wishes through pixels.
But I’ll let everyone know that
I will remember the day this is all over.
Dash Merrill is a 16 year old student at Amherst Regional High School who loves to write. Woven Word has been a part of Dash's life since 5th grade and he has enjoyed every second of it. He has met so many amazing people and had so many amazing experiences in Woven Word and wouldn't be the same without it. Woven Word has been a great artistic outlet for him to get out all the stories and thoughts crammed in his head which only sometimes make sense.
By Morgan Brown-McNeil
Trains on tracks,
Moving through dirt,
Rain making mud.
We once walked freely,
But now it's almost as if someone's put a damper on the Earth.
Oxygen seems scarce.
Shutters close over Windows,
Restaurants and other humanly objects criticized for trying to survive.
We line up six feet apart,
Afraid of a bug.
We wonder what cleaner the gas station uses a few miles down 91.
We search for the good in life on a screen,
Pixels guiding us through time.
Our dreams are filled with little Boxes,
All separately titled,
Covered in paper.
Smoke rising from lips scares us all more than sharks,
Seeing how far visible air from lips goes.
We run from our shadows,
Hoping they stay six feet away.
We gasp at the movies that have taken over our reality.
Wondering how so many people could be so stupid as to go without masks,
All an elbows length from one another.
Morgan Brown-McNeil has gone to Woven Word for three years. She's passionate about climate justice and loves spending time, barefoot, in nature. She loves to read and play music and she is very interested in outer space.