Our Twisted Renaissance

This is an all-inclusive, cross-cultural, temporal tantrum; a meeting of the minds on a mission of rebirth. Our culture is deteriorating and to watch it while doing nothing would make us accessories to its destruction. There is no more room for apathy, so all are welcome to join this creative community. Submit poems, short stories, songs, drawings, photos, short films or performances. Anything created is worth sharing and can be a part of Our Twisted Renaissance. - OTR Submit to Ourtwistedrenaissance@gmail.com Follow OTR on Twitter for updates on contests, events and posted work. Managed by The Seven

Sep 12

Identity

People used to call me smart
and while that’s nice
I didn’t want to just be
known as smart.
In middle school I was known
as the quiet girl
but I didn’t like that either
so I became loud.
For most of sixth grade
I went by Bertha,
I know, it’s a long story,
but even then people only knew
my nickname.
I have a big extended family
and when they sign cards 
it always says: To Kirk, Amy and the girls.
My parents sign cards the same way.
People used to ask me
what I wanted to be
but apparently “a good person”
isn’t a proper answer after kindergarden.
My answer changed each hour
and when I finally settled on forensics
they would tell me “you know CSI’s not real right?”
Neither’s your hair color.
I know it’s hard to imagine
but there’s more to me
than just this poem. 

-Paige Miller (secretkimchi)


The One Who Died Free.

I can’t breathe.

 Of all the thoughts whirling through my mind, this was the only phrase that I could manage to put into spoken words. I mumbled it to myself over and over as I stumbled through hallways and hallways of screams, smoke, and death. 

I could barely see.  
The electricity was off, and the smoke and ash had clogged the air in such a way that even the radiant sunlight of morning came in through the windows as thin rays, disorienting and misleading in ways that light should not be. 

Men and women in suits, skirts, and expensive shoes coated in cinders and torn from shattered glass pushed and clawed their way through the crowds congesting the doors to the stairwells.  Businessmen, sophisticated and accomplished just hours before, fought tooth and nail to get to the emergency exits to descend the thousands of stairs that led to escape. 

All mature human behaviors disappeared in the face of cruel death, replaced by a savage and aggressive fight to survive.

I couldn’t breathe.

Clouds and clouds of smoke billowed out around me, so thick it was a physical force that I had to fight to stay on my feet.

All I could do was stand there in shock. I couldn’t think straight.  The floor shook.  Cement and glass rained down from the ceiling.  My world flashed in images around me. 
I can’t breathe.

I needed to get out.  That was the only thing occupying my mind. 

The face of my husband flashed before me for a brief moment. 

I should call him, one last time.

To tell him I love him, in case…

The floor shook again. 

His face disappeared as fear returned.  Screams echoed from all sides, screams of terror and desperation.

“Help me.”

“Someone?”

“Anyone.”

“God, why?!”
I saw my fear reflected in their eyes, repeated in their screams.

I knew there was no one to help me, no one to save me.

I just need air.  I need to breathe.

I could not cry, and I could not scream.  
Dust had dried my throat.  
Ash had blinded my eyes.

My mind could not measure what was right and what was wrong.

What I should do and what I shouldn’t.

All I knew was that I didn’t want this violent death that was waiting for me.

I can’t breathe.  I can’t breathe.

I moved away from the violent masses and pawed my way towards the faint light. 

Windows where shattered, and as I clambered over the glass it made crunching noises under my shoes.
Many others had done as I wanted, and stuck their faces outside the 108thfloor of the building, not thinking of danger and only wanting air.

I moved until I found an empty window and pushed my way through the broken glass, scraping and slicing my hands on the sharp points.

I inhaled deeply, and clean air entered my weak and injured lungs.

I needed more.

More oxygen, more freedom, more life.

More, more, more.

As I sat there, gasping frantically for air, my head buzzed dizzily and my hands and lips tingled.

I faintly recalled what this was—hyperventilation. When the body exhales more carbon dioxide than then it can make, raising the pH of the blood.

But why would I care about that now?  I needed more air, and as I got dizzier and dizzier I knew that I could never leave the oxygen and go back into the rooms of horror and loss.

I refused to die in such an unnatural and violent way.

I looked out into the clouded sky, onto the streets of unmoving cars below.

It would be so easy to fall.

To let go off the glass and drop onto the street where people moved freely below.

To surrender myself to the most natural force in the world—gravity.

You may call me a coward for choosing what seems the easy way.

You might say I was selfish.

But you will never, ever understand the way a mind works when all it can sense is smoke, screams, and death.

I could not think of calling my husband, safe at home below. 

He knew I loved him.

I could not think of diving back into the mass crowd of panic.

For I could not be another nameless body crushed among the rubble.

I could only think of the open air and sky.

I only wanted that last moment of freedom.

I only wanted to die naturally, of the forces of the earth. 

Not the forces of evil.


[This is a tribute to the men and women who jumped from the World Trade Center, referred to as ‘Jumpers,’ on September 11, 2001.]

-loveisadressthatyoumade


Morning

The weather is soft and peaceful as I sit out on my small and quaint back porch. A breeze of crisp, fresh air weaves its way through the tiny holes in the screen and passes at the perfect speed for me to take in a deep breath and catch the essence of the peak of autumn weather.

I’m wrapped in my pink terry cloth bath robe and fuzzy slipper socks as I sit and enjoy my cup of coffee, black with a shot of skim milk, and listen to the remaining birds that have yet to begin their journey down south chirp away in various melodies.

My humming bird feeder has been drained dry by miniature birds that have such a large appetite. The same sneaky squirrel is still trying to get crunchy bird seed from the feeder without making a single sound. He doesn’t realize that I can see him through the translucent screen. He jumps from the tall cotton wood tree to the cheap wooden feeder from Walmart and lands gracefully on the edge. He began to dig his claws into the plastic glass containing the delicious bird seed and tries to extract a hearty amount to satisfy his hunger. I leaned forward with ease and push my chair back, which was loud enough to startle the squirrel and he abandoned his mission once again. I’ll never understand why that squirrel doesn’t just stick to the acorns that are in abundance on the other side of the yard.

As I stood, I took in the view of our open half acre of land that we know as the backyard. The grass is green and needs to be trimmed, yet again. The pile in the bonfire pit needs to be reduced and there is a dead pine tree in the south east corner of the yard that Ron, my husband, will surely cut down and burn over the weekend. All these thoughts of yard work have brought me back from my peaceful state of mind into cold, hard reality. I must bid adieu to my warm cup of coffee and comfy chair in the corner of my back porch to return to the hectic and stressful environment of a paraprofessional.

-flowersquicklyfading


I Am Human Too

Tell you you’re wrong?

Never.

Tell you you’re not good enough?

Wouldn’t dream of it.

Tell you you’re flawed?

Wouldn’t even cross my mind.

You’re human.

Who am I too judge? 

As I, am human too.

- Joseph Cusmano


Sep 9

  • Wild in the city, breaking these synthetic bounds
  • Bonds between us are all too real
  • Our strength laced with our flaws, why it’s ever real that we might break
  • Look at these young frustrated faces
  • Hearts in throats
  • Patchwork cover in a rage infused fist
  • Raise them for no cause, not even yourself
  • No mentality in the mob of those weak and exposed
  • Exposed, weak, hidden, mild mannered week
  • Mindless rage in the city
  • Mindless rage in the city, that’s the anthem 
  • Long gone minds, eaten by the rage, yeah that’s us
  • Skin ashen and grey
  • Cavities for eyes, how can you see without humanity’s spark
  • Spark up the flares in the city before the city consumes you
  • Throw your names in the air and freeze them with your emotion
  • For time’s flow will leave you dilapidated, motionless, and forgotten
  • The panic of an aged man equipped with a young, able body
  • Vocals in rambles, our minds in shambles, the written word is tried here and there, but some even too far gone for that
  • Comprehend your own immortality based in your fleeting morality
  • Bound to decay, return to the great cycle 
  • If entropy is our fate, the world must breakdown with us
  • Smash, bang, deface, destroy
  • Ignorant of ourselves and the world
  • However, just because we are not forever
  • Just because we’re not doesn’t mean something else can’t
  • So here and there, young and old, there are some who do not destroy, but create.
  • Destruction does not have to be painted as such, our fates do not have to be taken as such.

- Amman Woldegebriel 



Look outside these boundaries, the foundation of this macroscopic world. Thousands upon thousands of voices calling to youmillions of hands reaching out through this baked surface. The soul, they crave it, for they lost theirs long ago. These eyes, they can take on the tenses of the ignorant or the wise, the old or the young. Yet, no matter what state they take on, there’s always that longing. It echoes a hunger that can never be satisfied for the humanity within all of us is forever asking to understand itself and the earthly realms that we proceed through and that define us. Look at this product of someone’s unresolved humanity. For some, it fades into the urban background of worn grey. For some, its cries reach the ears of those who pass by as a whisper, to be dismissed as quickly as it came. For a select few, who are nothing but ordinary people that can elevate this life that is ordinary into something greater. This image will light flames within their souls. Did you wish to be a fireman? Do you know enough about yourself? Have you lost the passion that you held onto so vehemently that your knuckles turned white? Can you really not give me any consideration at all, to my placement, my presence, can you really define why you do not care? I was running to no place in particular, and this made me catch myself and slow my wild stride. This stark contrast spoke not only of daydreaming, but of a human being, someone like me, someone I could reach out and connect to, searching for a sweet, sweet insight that ever so eluded him. I considered taking the sticker to place on my laptop, but what purpose would that serve other than some self satisfying trophy. Who am I to potentially block off a portal of consciousness? So, I let the sticker be and placed one under it. My addition cannot be seen, only felt. Only understand through thought and exploration. Look deeply within, search out my presence in the code. 

- Amman Woldegebriel


- Amman Woldegebriel

- Amman Woldegebriel


I Am Home.

You voice begins to raise.

You’re walking around the kitchen in circles.

Three.

Two.

You drop your coffee mug.

It shatters.

One.

Your blood-shot eyes, bulging.

Your veins, throbbing.

Your forehead, perspiring.

You scream at the top of your lungs.

I walk away.

I’ve blocked you out. 

You’re no longer present.

I’m now in my room.

I’ve locked the door.

There’s a pen and paper nearby.

There’s no yelling here.

My eye’s are blood-shot too, yes,

But there’s no yelling here.

I inhale… and write. 

I am home.

-Joseph Cusmano


Game Face

Flick away the droplets of sadness,

A soaked face only shows weakness,

Blink away the devastation in your eyes,

Until they’re as dry as the witty banter,

you are sure to engage in moments from now,

A tennis match of crocodile smiles and forced laughter,

An impassive game of love all,

An infinite show with no intermission,

Just a quick back-stage breather,

Hurry now, get back on stage,

A few dabs of concealer and a quick swipe of blush,

Mascara coats away the truth,

Deep breathe, smile,

Flaunt that thousand-watt grin,

The wolves are waiting,

The music is playing,

Time to face it.

- Erin Matthews 


Sep 8

My Self-Destruction

You better get here early
Get front row seats
Its a must see
My self-destruction.


-ICWT

Dreams

There it goes.
Just out of my reach
always out of my reach
if only I could breach
out of the shell that I’m in
and finally dive in-
to the world beyond my eyes
even though I know I’ll die
or at least that’s what they tell me
the ones who are free
and choose to stay with me.
But the golden city beyond the gate
oh I know it will be great
if only I could leave this place
and oh would they give me a chase
but I know it would be worth it
if only I could find a little grit.
Then I would run like the wind
and see the rolling sky,
hearing them send
everyone out likes flies.
but I would be gone
and them too late,
for I’ll reach what I long
and it would truly be great.
But that’s only a thought
as I lie here this day
and I am truly bought
on whatever they say. 

- Zaylee Bell


But my my love, where have you gone?

He’s all I got. I’m left strung along.

I say I love you and you say you don’t mind.

Polite and considerate. oh, you’re too kind

Be sure that it’s clear, this life ain’t no fun.

Try to keep up, my lovin’s on the run.

Dont care where it takes me, I’d rather not know.

Part consideration and a whole lot of show.

So tear it apart and hold on to the peels.

I gotta feel to know what is real.

- Natalie Scavuzzo


String

We’re just like Rochester and Jane,

connected by a little string,

One end staunchly tied to my rib,

Right below my heart,

The other, likewise to yours,

The span of prairie sea,

Whittles it down to its last few strands,

You tug, I pull,

An act heavily persuaded,

By friends, family, society,

An act that left us with so few strands,

in the first place,

An act that, if repeat,

could crack the remaining strands,

The core strands,

Strands of only things we know,

Strands of secrets I’ll never tell,

Strands of moments I’ll cherish forever,

Strands that could only ever intertwine us,

just us,

These are the strands I hide,

The strands I bury deep,

deep down in my soul,

Too precious to risk,

Too treasured to share,

What if someone were to see?

What would they do?

Laugh? Play Cat’s Cradle?

I know there’s more than one,

who would gladly break out the scissors,

Because they wouldn’t know,

Nobody knows except for us,

Just exactly how intrinsic,

Something so flimsy and fragile,

Can be.

- Erin Matthews


Pointlessly Flawless

I can’t eat around you sometimes.

I dress the best I can around you.

I try not to stumble.

I try not to make mistakes.

I try to be flawless. I try to be perfect.

But I know we don’t match up. 

I know you’re not good for me.

You don’t respect yourself like you should.

You don’t respect yourself like I do.

How could someone so beautiful have such a downfall?

How could I know this about you… but still crumble for your touch?

Excuse me, I’ll need a minute or two.

I’m just trying to figure out if it’s my heart or if it’s my it’s my brain thats weak.

-Joseph Cusmano

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