Colleen’s Pick: For another Great end-of-summer Re-Read, check out Allison Malecha’s poems, “Distortions”and “Creed to Deal.” Just when you think you might get nostalgic about summer slipping by, her poems will snap you out of the romanticized reverie – in a good way. Allison’s writing is tough and beautiful at the same time, telling it like it is, not the way she wishes it would be. Such a bold voice (almost sassy, but not snarky) would be notable for any writer, but I particular love seeing young writers who can manage the mood so precisely. And, as it happens, we’ve got a great lesson plan here that uses Allison’s poems as examples for other teen writers who want to create their own tough, beautiful, nostalgic or truth-telling poems.
By Allison Malecha
Remember the night in June
when we hijacked your dad’s speedboat, armed
with licorice and not-so-chaste intentions
breaking midnight’s calm with cannonballs
and waves of laughter, and the water
wrapped around like silk robes?
I remember goosebumps
under the blanket of summer air
at the thought of what you wanted,
fragile screams bubbling through the water
after hitting the surface like ice,
a fear of drowning in the hands
of Minnetonka’s asphalt colored waves.
Funny how the stars play tricks on you
the moonshine twinkling in your eyes
to the malaise churning across my face.
Creed to Deal
I believe in the power of Advil
to sweep this throbbing in my head away
and that vivacity requires only one 5 o’clock a day.
I believe the underbelly of my eyelid
is more necessary than the sunrise.
I believe running numbs racetrack thoughts—
I don’t stop until fire grips my calves
and fatigue fills me with weights.
I believe in the thesaurus, in the grassy
taste of a new word on my tongue
in the power of Twain to pull a veil
across Worry’s eyes—at least for a while.
I believe there is nothing wrong in believing
in high heels, lip gloss, and mini
skirts as solutions to sadness
or in knowing that polyester will always
pull at the wrong place in my self-esteem.
I believe in garlic over cinnamon
and that gum is a quick fix for arachnophobia.
I believe Mocha understands me better
through her puppy eyes than Thomas Epps ever will
through my articulated words. I believe skinned knees
and Disney band-aids will patch my broken heart.
About Allison: She’s a college freshman at Columbia University currently studying French, Czech, and the humanities. Aside from being Style Editor for the “Columbia Daily Spectator,” in her spare time she also likes to indulge in reading magazines, writing poetry and short stories, and exploring the hidden corners of New York.
Summer 2011 “Re-Read” Update: Allison is now a declared Comparative Literature and Society major in French and Czech at ColumbiaUniversity and just got back from a month-long creative writing program (in English) in Paris.