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Experiments and Explorations in Writing
Steven Brunwasser
Realities
Experiments and Explorations in Writing
Steven Brunwasser

Copyright © 2011
for Anne M. Reynolds
Reality
:Reality of the Real

Reality
one reality
or many?
Torn between the two
three
more.
 
Is this a dream?
I remember it clearly now.
Later it is gone,
fuzzy,
false,
or is it?
 
The sun sets on this dream,
this reality,
this truth,
and I wake up,
wake up to the real.
 
But the dream never ends.
Man At Bus Stop
:Reality of the Surreal

Where two roads meet


he stood,
waiting,
for the bus.
His l o n g
slender arm
cut the air,
a knife through butter,
giving birth to a rigid breeze.

His cold,
silver watch
stared back at him,
watching him,
clenching time in its grasp—
hands
jerking
in circles,
struggling to hold on.
These Are the Things in my Pocket
:Reality of the Material

These are the things in my pocket.

The tissues from when I was sick. Those cold days. Those awful
days. Those days of laying in bed for hours on end. Those days
come back sometimes. They are endless.

The bracelet from my childhood. Those happy moments, when


the sky was blue, and the earth was warm—those were the days.

The ticket from the fair. When I took her there on her birthday.
When we laughed, and had fun, and didn’t have a care in the
world. That was a good day.

The eraser from my drawing days. Those days when I would


draw for hours on end, my mighty pencil in hand, creating entire
worlds on paper. Those long hours spent drawing in the park.
That day I met her.

The keys to my house. Protecting my private life. Holding my


secrets. Keeping my home safe from others. One day I forgot to
use them.

The knife. I asked. They let me keep it. They didn’t need it any-
more. From that awful day.

Her glistening ring. Keeping her with me. Her smile. Her laugh.
Her joyful spirit. Her aura. Her love. For my days to come.

These things I keep with me forever.


Into The Woods
:Reality of the Allegory

Tall trees tower over my head as I walk.


They soar into the sky, stretching their trunks, touching the
night in just a way as to welcome the stars into their branch-
es to join their leaves.
Their living trunks, thin but long, covered in green life,
mossy life, keep them company throughout the ages.
The trees surround me here in these woods—they are here
with me and I am with them.
Each tree has its own form of branches spreading their way
from the trunk to greet the neighboring trees. It’s a for-
est community, a forest family. Each loves and protects its
brethren, no matter the cost.

There is one tree here with a hole in its trunk. The hole is not
big, but it most certainly is not small. I believe there to be an
owl who calls this hole home.

I see the owl.


It swoops out of its hole and dips toward the ground—an
unexpected appearance.
As I followed the owl with my eyes, I noticed something I
previously did not: a path through the forest, between the
trees.
The owl landed on a branch and watched me, wanting me to
take the journey.
My curiosity overwhelmed me.
I traveled the dirt path through the forest, winding and
bending around the tall trees. I wondered where this path
goes, where it would take me.
I continued down the path, observing the forest around me,
as the forest observed me within it.

I see something glisten in the distance.


It sparkled, a star held within the branches of the trees.
The path continued towards it. I followed.
As I approached, I came upon a rock: an ordinary rock,
except for the fact that upon this rock was the glistening star
shining before me.
It was a golden chalice.
It shined in the night without light falling upon it.
Filled to the brim, the chalice was empty, but its contents
sloshed within when stirred.
The trees told me to take it, so I did.

I continued into the path, chalice in hand, wondering what


was contained within.
I looked toward the ground, just for a moment, and illumi-
nated by the light of the chalice was an old skeleton key.
I picked it up.
Though it was rusted, the key was smooth to the touch.
Though it was old, the key brought with it the fighting spirit
of youth.
Though it was on the ground, engulfed by the dirt path, the
key had the aura of importance, of royalty.
The owl looked at me and told me to continue on my path.
I put the key in my pocket and continued on.
Though the key was hidden, it was in plain sight within my
mind.
Covered by trees of old, surrounded by trees of new, the
path curved through a tall structure in the forest.
It was old.
It was red with rust from the rains of years past.
It was slanted with the winds of time.
It was standing with dignity, none-the-less.
The structure arched as I approached it, the rusted metal
iron creaking as it gracefully, with age, changed for me.
The light of the chalice shined youth on its skin and the
structure sighed with ease.
I thanked the structure.
The structure thanked me.
I continued on my path.

Shadows through the trees.


The trees stood, watching as I walked, waiting for my reac-
tion.
I looked for the shadows.
Though the chalice would not illuminate the shadows, I
could see them through the darkness.
They were big.
They were on fours.
They were bears.
Watching me.
Were they my predators?
Were they my protectors?
The woods have put me through many trials, but I could not
know if they were with me or against me.
The bears approached.
I hesitated.

I greeted the bears.
As the bears came closer, the chalice shed more and more
light on them.
The bears slowly stood upright, towering over me almost as
much as the trees, but they did not harm me.
They walked with me, on the edge of the light.
Were they my protectors?
I continued on.

The path dipped and swayed.


I came upon a river, long and wide.
The path dipped into the flowing water.
The chalice light just barely spread across the river, and on
the other side I could see the path rising out and continuing
on its way.
The bears stopped at the edge of the water.
Hidden, the key shone into my mind.
I took the key out of my pocket and brought it above the
edge of the water.
A door on the shore, I placed the key into a keyhole midair
and twisted.
The old key, with dignity, parted the river, and revealed the
path dry and clear.
I thanked the key, returned it to my pocket, and went on
through the path.
The bears followed.

Another structure approached.


It shone through the forest, clearly ablaze.
Its wooden frame eternally on fire, never ceasing, never
breaking, always burning.
The bears wept.
The key cried.
The chalice shone brighter.
I took the chalice in hand and heard its contents slosh. I
threw the contents towards the structure.
The unseen and the fire raged together, battling each other.
Only one could win.
The chalice shone brighter.
The fire screamed and the structure sighed.
The bears stopped weeping.
The key stopped crying.
The structure relaxed and sat there, enjoying the stillness
and darkness.
I continued, through the structure, to the path.

The path came to a stop.


In the foggy woods, there was a tall stonewall, vines growing
on the edges.
The wall extended to infinity in both directions.
The bears went up to the wall, grabbed it, and pulled.
The wall stretched and an old door appeared, the bears hold-
ing it in place.
The door was simple and blue, paint chipped over the years.
The door had a window. Through it, I could see a land so
marvelous, so bright, so happy.
I took the key out of my pocket and placed it in the keyhole.
The key was sucked into the door and turned itself. I heard
the click of the tumblers.
I grabbed the doorknob and turned, but it was still locked.
Suddenly, I grew thirsty.
Suddenly, I grew weak.
Suddenly, I grew tired.
The chalice begged me to drink.
Though it was no longer full, I drank.
The tumblers clicked.
The door opened and revealed the beauty of the other side.
I smiled.

The Two Lovers


:Reality of the Lover’s Dilemma

The stars beamed down on him, lying in the field. “Is anyone
there?” He feels alone in the windy field: only the moon to
guide him.

She sees the sun in the big blue sky and sighs. She sits on
the park bench, her face falls sad. The sun is warm but she is
lonely.

He wanders in the night, looking for her through the


tall grass. Her sighs blow the wind. He rushes towards it,
but there is only the bench under the tree, empty in the
moonlight.

She sits there waiting, under the tree.

The sun comforts her, tells her “It’s going to be okay.” The
clouds can see their reflections in her sky eyes as she looks
for him out in the field. They can see him in the night as he
struggles to find her. The clouds sigh, “If only he knew.”
Icarus
:Reality of the Myth

Flying was his dream, his ultimate goal. More than anything,
Icarus wanted to soar through the sky. He spent days toying
with his thoughts in an attempt to summon his dreams into
the realm of reality.

Very supportive of their young son’s drive to achieve his


dreams, his parents supplied him with all the books and
materials needed to fuel his imagination. They wanted noth-
ing more than their son’s happiness.

Reading about flight, tinkering with cardboard, Icarus did


his best to build himself a flying machine of his very own.
Many contraptions were created, but most were deemed
incapable of flight.

Daedalus, his father, headed Icarus not to use his flying cre-
ations: the innovative spirit was important, but the danger
of flight and the risk of injury far outweighed the benefit of a
chance to glide among the clouds. Yet, here and there, Icarus
would test one of these inventions off a rock or small cliff in
his back yard, just to see if they worked.

Finally, Icarus was sure this one would work; this one would
be the perfect flying machine.

From his bedroom window, he carefully climbed up onto


the roof of their house. Down below, his mother prepared
supper for the evening. Daedalus sat in his study reading the
daily paper, relaxing after a hard day’s work.
Icarus readied his contraption for flight: all pieces were
where they belonged, all parts were firmly secured to the
main, and Icarus himself was safely strapped in.

He looked into the awaiting sky above his yard. “This is it,”
he thought, “I’m finally gonna fly.”

He backed away from the ledge. “Three.” “Two.” “One.”


“LIFTOFF!” Icarus ran to the separation of shingle and air,
and jumped.

Activating the device, he flapped his carefully crafted wings


and peddled his legs to keep the propellers consistently spin-
ning.

Icarus was flying, and he was happy—his dream realized.

Until he started falling.

Icarus slammed into one of the many tall pine trees in his
back yard, knocking him unconscious. His body plummeted
to the ground, hitting spiny branch after spiny branch on the
way down. His flying machine destroyed.

His mother, through the kitchen window in the corner


of her eye, saw his fall. She screamed, dropped the family
supper on the ground, and ran to save her son. Daedalus,
shaken by the crack of dishes breaking on the floor, sudden-
ly froze in fear. He could hear his wife’s screams, and knew
what they were for.
They had Icarus rushed to the hospital. They hoped the in-
juries would heal. They hoped Icarus would wake up. They
hoped they would wake up from this nightmare.

Gentle
:Reality of Change

computers
trees
flowers
 
surprised
she was interested
smart;
normal.
something new and something different
 
about the future
 
the future
 
mist of gray
by the Mountain
 
a wild look
sharply focused
this time see it
real and obvious
 
Have you heard?
 
What?
 
the future
 
technology is very great
the effort to keep up
the change
a whole new
we can’t even imagine.
 
I don’t want to live forever

I Sit Here
:Reality of the Observer

I sit here and watch.


The world reveals truth.
Entrusted to me,
a secret.
I
see the beauty unfold before me,
a glistening flower in full bloom.
Here I Am
:Reality of the Position

Here I am. And I’m here too.


And I’m here.
And
here.

And h
e
r
e
.
I say i can be in two places at once.

But this
is where
I am not.

Of what importance is my position?

Does
it
matter?

I say i can be in two places at once.


Under the Sun
:Reality of the Perspective

The two of them sat in the field; the sun watching over,
delivering gentle warmth. He spoke. She laughed. They
drank. They were happy with each other, love pouring out of
their veins. He liked her glistening eyes. She liked his gentle
words. They kissed, and the sun smiled.

I was walking through the park one warm summer day,


and noticed what seemed to be the happiest couple under
the sun. Although I could not hear what they were saying,
I could see their actions. As they sat in the field, he seemed
to speak, and she seemed to laugh. They drank wine and
talked, and it was apparent that they were both very much in
love. The warm day complimented their bliss in a way which
seemed to imply that the sun itself grew happy over their
love.

I remember that day as if it was happening now. I had taken


you to the park—it was a beautiful day after all—and we
picnicked out in the field. I remember your glistening eyes
and your blissful laugh as I talked about some incident I had
there, in that very same park. I picked the best wine for us
to drink, something vintage, and I remember how funny we
thought it when it tasted like vinegar. We kissed there, in
the field, and at that moment, in the glowing embrace of the
sun, I knew you were the one.
Notes
:Reality of the Explanation of Experiment

Reality :Reality of the Real


subversion of voice

Man At Bus Stop :Reality of the Surreal


surrealistic poem

These Are the Things in my Pocket :Reality of the Material


inspiration through everyday items

Into The Woods :Reality of the Allegory


guided imagery

The Two Lovers :Reality of the Lover’s Dilemma


surrealistic narrative story

Icarus :Reality of the Myth


rewrite of myth

Gentle :Reality of Change


word collage poem

I Sit Here :Reality of the Observer


structure based on sequence 5, 5, 5, 2, 1, 9, 9

Here I Am :Reality of the Position


form and structure poem
Under the Sun :Reality of the Perspective
multiple narratives of the same story

See Me Clearly
:Reality of the Name

So you think you know me?


sTop and
seEk the truth.
traVel to the ends of imagination
and sEe the world as i do.

See Me Clearly :Reality of the Name


diagonal name acrostic