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Experiments and Explorations in Writing Steven Brunwasser




Experiments and Explorations in Writing Steven Brunwasser

Copyright © 2011

for Anne M. Reynolds


: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
Where two roads meet he stood,

:Reality of the Surreal


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.

for the bus.

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 anymore. 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 branches 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 forest 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 illuminated 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 reaction. 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 holding 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.”


: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 nothing 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 creations: 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 spinning. 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, suddenly 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 injuries would heal. They hoped Icarus would wake up. They hoped they would wake up from this nightmare.


: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
Here I am. here. And

:Reality of the Position And I’m here. And I’m here too. And

h e r e . I say i can be in two places at once. But this is where I am not.





my it

position? Does

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.


:Reality of the Explanation of Experiment subversion of voice surrealistic poem

Reality :Reality of the Real

Man At Bus Stop :Reality of the Surreal

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 Gentle :Reality of Change rewrite of myth 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