Fortune Cookies, Froth, and Fribble
Words always fail me but words are all I have
I used to think that I could write
Red marks and red checks cured me of that.
Disabused me of the notion that I had anything worth saying.
So, I'd write in secret, a prisoner of the gulag of conventional thought.
And when I was done, I'd reread what I wrote and smile.
Then I would destroy the evidence before the red marks appeared.
Stories, songs, poems, and plays.
A thousand characters born and died with only my witness.
Voices silenced when all they wanted was someone to hear.
So it went for years. My words wrapped and killed at birth.
Finally so desperate not to be silent I let the writing live.
Cursed birth name forgot, cast aside to write
As a name without fear, not hunted by red arrows.
Something caught your eye, something touched you.
You told me I wasn't horrible, that I didn't ****.
Others said the same.
Writing candy clouds, fribble, and froth.
The deeper message hinted but never said
Just when I think I can, I read something forgotten from another
Their sunlight dissolves my candy clouds.
I pretend to write. I'm a fortune cookie. A formula.
But people like their fortune cookies.
When I was in grade school, we were assigned to write a story that was related to our current area of study - Pioneers and the westward expansion. I wanted to write about a trapper bringing his furs to a western fort to sell. I asked my teacher if I could write the trapper and the soldier he spoke with with their accents. Dropping the 'g' from words, using 'ain't', and the like. My teacher said that was fine.
I wrote the story and was very proud of how I wrote the interaction between the two characters. When the paper was returned, it was covered with red marks. Every time the trapper dropped a 'g', saying "droppin'" for example, it was a red mark and a penalty to the grade. When I asked my teacher about the marks and what he had told me, he shrugged. He said it was a good paper and had been fun to read, but the grade of "D" stuck.
For a long time after that, years and decades, I didn't show what I wrote to anyone. I wrote and shredded or burned what I wrote.