Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two People Are Leaving a Building

Two people are leaving a building. No, wait, scratch that. Two people are fleeing a building. Sandra and David emerged from the prison as they waited for the deafening sirens to snitch them out for their master prison-break. By the time this occurred, however, the couple was far enough away to know that they were free. They were picked up in their friend's getaway car, making out the whole way to their sparkling piles of stolen gold jewelry that would make Scrooge McDuck seem like a common bum. Sandra and David slid the car door shut and held hands as they frolicked into the warehouse that had sheltered their loot. No one could find them here. Hand in hand, the couple descended into their gold pile and looked at the rusty, mysteriously stained roof. Jesus could walk on water, but Sandra and David were walking on gold. As the couple lied down in their treasure and gazed into each others eyes, they realized that there was nothing more romantic than spending a Tuesday evening breaking out of jail with your beloved.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meet Minnie Bonnaire

  1. She is seventy-five years old
  2. She is a retired cruise ship captain but now works as a fortune cookie writer
  3. She lives alone in a small apartment in Saint Petersburg, Florida
  4. She has three cats and four dogs
  5. She has two birds, Reggie and Sampson
  6. She has a fear of confrontation
  7. She is secretly insanely wealthy
  8. She has short and curly graying red hair
  9. She is terrible at art but she does it anyway
  10. Her favorite show is Arrested Development
Minnie Bonnaire loves giving the illusion that she lives a peaceful life, but she hates actually living one. She wakes up to the sweet sounds of her birds, Reggie and Sampson, having a conversation about how much they love each other. Or hate each other. She can't really tell, but it sounds nice. After making her bed, she heads to the kitchen to make some breakfast. She always burns her toast, but she blames it on her toaster rather than her negligence in favor of her rambunctious clan of cats and dogs. Life was simple enough so far, but this was only the first half hour of a very long day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Character’s Answers to Insightful Questions (Minnie Bonnaire)

  1. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A soft knitted quilt
  1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A life without animals
  1. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Oh heavens, Come on now, I know a book/movie/show/quote that reminds me of this...
  1. Which talent would you most like to have?
To be a great chef
  1. Who is your hero of fiction?
Lisa Simpson
  1. What is your greatest fear?
Awkward situations with other people
  1. What is your greatest extravagance?
My plants
  1. When and where were you happiest?
Visiting Disney World for the first time as a young girl
  1. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My pets
  1. What is your favorite occupation?
Fortune Cookie Writer

Renee’s Answers to Insightful Questions

  1. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Those magic shades for windows that lift up (you know how)
  1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Fahrenheit 451 book burnings
  1. Which talent would you most like to have?
  1. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Indeed, Oh my goodness
  1. Who is your hero of fiction?
African American pirate from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ode to a Librarian

Behind every Great Gatsby,
Every Cat’s Hat,
Every Sorcerer's Stone,
There is a librarian who cares.
As Swift as Jonathan,
As many Hughes of happiness as Langston
As much magical Frost as Robert.
You are our Giver,
Our Greatest Expectation,
Our Adventure in Wonderland.
You are our librarian.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ode to Mr. Loesch

You lead the classroom with the strength of Sparta
And teach us with the wisdom of Athens.
You guide us with a heart warmer than a Chicago summer
And a wit sharper than a Chicago winter.
More poetic than the rains of London,
More loving than the brotherly love of Philadelphia.
And like Alexandria, the pearl of the Mediterranean
You are a pearl of Trinity High School.

Sonnet for Movie Theaters

There’s something magical about movies
That connects humanity far and near.
But there’s magic not found on DVDs
For that, I go to the movie theater.
I buy twenty dollars worth of theater food.
That’s a small popcorn and a fountain drink.
But even though draining my wallet sours my mood,
“I Want You Back,” just like boy band NSYNC.
Watching new movies on a home TV
Is just not the same and just upsets me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Junk Drawer

Tasoula Michelakis’s Junk Drawer
  1. Scuffed up plastic sunglasses from a family trip to Wisconsin Dells
  2. A two dollar bill with a smiley face drawn on in sharpie
  3. A small cheap action figure from an old Burger King kids meal.
  4. A travel sized bottle of conditioner that was a prize from a carnival last summer.
  5. A spork.
  6. A box that used to have chalk in it but is now filled with tiny colorful nubs.
  7. A black GameCube controller.
  8. A now scentless air freshener.
  9. A hair brush for dogs.
  10. A dried up pink sharpie.

Tasoula was known for many things, but being neat was not one of them. Although she appreciated the way that a junk drawer can tell a strange, fragmented life story, opening it up was always a tedious task, and her heart beat fast every time as she anticipated how much of its contents might explode out. She jerked the drawer until it finally became unwedged from the GameCube controller she had hidden there years ago to keep her siblings from begging to be player two. As she studied its contents, searching for the Sharpie she knew was in there, she noticed a strangely contorted piece of bright yellow plastic. Suddenly waves of red overtook her vision as she recognized the villain: a spork. Why was there a spork in her drawer? She hated sporks. The prongs are too tiny to be an effective fork and too painful to be an effective. They’re just so dumb and pretentious. Sporks are not fun. They are not helpful. They are not contributing to society. She picked up the fork and threw it away. Such a vile utensil has no place even in a draw as junk-filled as Tasoula’s.

We Are All Movie Stars

The galaxy is a movie,
And we are its stars,
But we never considered
Who could be watching.
Is it God?
Santa Claus?
Probably not.
What I think
Is that there is an alien out there somewhere
Who sits through every war,
Every romance,
Every underdog,
Every single one of humanity’s stories,
With a bag of popcorn
And a photo of their favorite human
Hoping to someday meet them,
Get their autograph,
And tell them how much they love them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Real Estate

Being a a real estate agent in such a mudpile of an economy has never been easy, but I think today is the day I finally quit. It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and earlier today I was setting up a newly renovated house after the poor thing was the victim of a drugs bust about a year back. Since then, the cocaine has been removed from the walls, the neighbors have forgotten those blaring police sirens at 2 am, and Old Man Shallenberg has “moved out.” As I breathed in my signature lilac air freshener, I added lemon circles to the water pitchers and headed to the doorway to greet visitors for today’s open house. This was my favorite part of the job: the house is empty, I am wrapped in the artificialness of my off brand Febreze, and I can just pray that someone is feeling adventurous enough to buy. As I basked in my scheduled five minutes of peace, I heard a faint screeching sound. Weird, but I didn’t care enough to investigate. The sound grew louder, however, and I recognized the sound to be music. Screamo music. Surely Old Man Shallenberg would not have had any screamo records laying around, and being a lover of jazz I knew it wasn’t me. This might have made for a great story, but I am not a storyteller. I ran into the kitchen to retrieve my air freshener and bolted. There is just no way I am dealing with some emo teen ghost. I smacked down the open house sign on the lawn and kicked off my heels as I sprinted down the street, my heart pounding out of fear and how out of shape I am. It was then that I realized two things: One, thank god that my Fitbit is charged, Susan at reception can eat my dust. And two, a career in real estate is just not for me.


I hear Baby Gap is hiring.

I Don't Understand

I don’t understand
Why parents let their children watch Caillou
Why Kidz Bop has so many albums
Why there are five films too many in the Sharknado franchise.
And I really don’t understand
Why good shows get cancelled while The Big Bang Theory is still on air
Why Nickelback was ever a thing
Why people thought La La Land was a good movie.
Somehow, however, I understand
Why television is not a graveyard of brain cells
Why music is found in the bones of humanity
Why cinema is still alive.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


You were there
As I entered the gates,
Waiting for my painted face
To light up with delight.
I would wait for you,
And you would wait for me,
And together we were happy.

You were there
As I stood before you,
Listening to your wisdom
To ensure that you were safe
And I was safe,
So that together we could be happy.

Yet as time went on,
As pages on the calendar fell like petals,
You still were there,
And I was not.
The world went on,
And you did not.

I entered the gates,
Waiting with my painted face
To light up with delight.
I ran to you,
And you were not there.

Irreplaceable, yet replaced.
Unforgettable, yet forgotten.
Young, yet too old.

Because for some reason Universal Studios thought it would be a good idea
To just up and get rid of the iconic “Back to the Future: The Ride” and
Replace it.
Yes, replace it.
Replace you, my love,
With The Simpsons Ride.

The Simpsons Ride.

The freaking Simpsons Ride.

As I entered the gates,
With an unpainted face
Dimly lit with content
I ran to where you once were,

And I noticed that Universal Studios was trying to be slick

And put Back to the Future references into the freaking Simpsons Ride.
But when my vision cooled,
When my melancholy melted into mere nostalgia,
You were there.

Point of View: Kellyanne Conway vs. Ashlen Trapalis

My Point of View

In a cafeteria as disgusting as this one, you can only expect to find more disgusting things. A shriveled up french fry here, a mysterious grease spot there. But my standards are pretty low, and the amount of dollars in my wallet after ordering more horse head masks off Amazon than I needed is even lower. I can’t afford to be picky. As I walk down the discolored main walkway, avoiding multiple sticky spots and scanning the menu for anything vaguely edible, I realize that this place doesn’t even sell french fries, so I’m not sure what I actually saw back there. Soaking in the grossness of “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash,” I realize that spending one second longer in this dump would be a mortal personal offense, so I decide to take “Cheapo” up on his offer and, well, “Dash” as soon as possible. As I wait for the pimple-faced minimum wage worker who clearly hates his life make my food, I notice a familiar-looking blonde woman sitting on her knees in the corner, hastily scrolling through her iPhone as though any divergence of her thumb would be her doom. Why she is like this, I can’t say, but--wait. Oh my god. Kellyanne Conway? I almost shout to her. What is she doing at “Cheapo’s?” I’m pretty sure this place used to be a landfill. Kellyanne! You work for the president! You’re better than this, babe! God, this is weird. I bet I’m going to be watching The Rachel Maddow Show tomorrow night and discover that there is a whole secret scandal about this place having connections to the White House, just wait. I thought the vileness of “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash” would have ended at the steaming pile of “Burger with Cheese” that the depressingly deflated employee just plopped down on my tray, and yet I am somehow able to find one more disgusting thing.

Kellyanne Conway's Point of View

No one who comes to “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash” is going to recognize me here. You cannot tell me that any one of these people has turned on any channel other than TLC. I feel so safe and free; I can do whatever I--No. Nooo no no. Oh no. A teenager just walked in. And a female one, at that. Alright, Kellyanne, just play it cool. I feel sweat drip down my forehead, but I quickly wipe it away as she does some stupid looking dance moves to to avoid the especially grimy spots on the floor. Or maybe that is just what the kids are doing these days, who knows. I make a note to look this up later on. Ha, she just went to push up her glasses but then realized that she wasn’t wearing any; what an idiot. Alright, this is no one to worry about. It does seem as though she is staring at me… Yeah, keep staring like a democrat! I should have stayed with Ted Cruz, I don’t need this! Okay. Okay. Calm down, Kellyanne, calm down. Oh god, is she tweeting? I can’t take another hashtag. If I have to invent one more fake massacre, so help me God, I just might quit.


Inspired by "Litany" by Billy Collins

You are the soggy bowl of oatmeal deliberately spilled into the rain for whatever reason,
the glob of gelatinous goo that suspiciously crawled out of some guy named Boris’s sink.
You are the nugget of hair swept up by the underpaid hairdresser at the sketchiest salon in town,
and the feeling too reminiscent of overloading on squat thrusts at the gym.
You are the sticky toddler getting pushed into a shallow marsh by his slightly older brother,
and the equally sticky brother that pushed him in.

Of course, you are not the sticky brothers’ lovingly stern father,
the results of intense gluteus maximus workouts,
the underpaid hairdresser herself, who you might want to hire to fix your sloppy haircuts,
nor Boris himself. I hear he's actually a pretty nice guy.
And you are not the actual bowl that the chunks of oatmeal were splashed out of.
You are too dysfunctional to be the actual bowl that held the sloshes of oatmeal.

Now maybe you are the mysterious seepage always oozing next to that one Dairy Queen that got shut down years ago due to health code violations,
Or the summer barbecue that fell to the ground that you know is teeming with bacteria but is still eaten due to your allegiance to the five second rule,
But do not think for one second that you are the manager of that DQ back in its heyday,
Or the khaki-clad dad who made the BBQ in the first place.

And the whole world can see that you are neither the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
nor the lesser villain Slimer,
but rather the monstrously lugubrious result of those two if they ever decided to get together.

Not that it concerns you, but I am--
You know what? No.
You do not get to know that I am the action of slipping on a banana peel.

And you are certainly not allowed to know
that I am headed towards the star
on top of the giant Christmas tree downtown.

I will not even mention that I am [insert metaphor for creativity].
You do not get to know that I am [that metaphor again, reworded to make it more interesting],
because you are the soggy bowl of soiled oatmeal that is still sitting there dumped in the rain.
You will always be that overly moist, gravy-like oatmeal,
and that phlegmy mix of a liquid-solid that Boris thinks he will just let sit for a little bit and maybe it will go away,
and that clump of split ends at the end of the hairdresser’s broom,
as well as the sweaty squats and, of course, the two sticky brothers.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Was Shrek Really Life?

Was Shrek Really Life? 
An Original "Block 4 Period 1 Creative Writing" Collaborative Story

Even in November you can find beauty in nature. However, this was February, and the snow that plagues our city and creates a mound of slush is anything but beautiful. Today I watched my sixty-four year old neighbor slip from the slush and I realized there is no beauty in February. But, I thought about it and realized that February is beautiful because my sister was born. She and I donned our snow gear and started walking to school; as always, I instructed her to hold my hand. However, she was being stubborn as usual and got hit by a car, which is pretty unfortunate considering my mom will totally blame me. Shrek flew from the clouds and resurrected my sister. He really is like an onion, you know: layered.

When I got home, my mother noticed a green tint to my sister's skin and instantly glared at me. She tried to again blame me for my sister's skin having a green tint. Of course, I couldn't tell her about Shrek because even though it wasn't my fault, she somehow would make it out to be. Then I woke up; my sister was there, holding a toothbrush.

"Time to get up," she said.
"I dreamed you were resurrected by Shrek," I told her, still half asleep.
"That would explain my Shrek-like antler-looking ears and the reason why I am wearing this completely hideous outfit. I made a new friend," my sister said, and donkey walked into my room saying he's making waffles.

My sister may have been happy, but I live in fear to this day.

Ode to Flow

The meaning of life
Has been pondered for centuries.
Philosophy chases after the question:
“Why are we here?”
And for some reason
We are unwilling to accept
That maybe we are just supposed
To find something to do.
To keep ourselves distracted.
To find flow:
A prelude to purpose.
A symphony of stimulation.
A finale of fulfillment.
You keep us grounded
In an invisible reality
Only sensed by
The innermost parts of ourselves.
We could get lost in the throes
Of “Why are we here?”
Of depression.
Of anxiety.
Or we could just
Find something to do.
Keep ourselves distracted.
Find you.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chain Poetry


Art is creating something out of passion.
It is to sculpt the meaning of the word "fun."
It is to paint a room of eyeballs.
It is to draw a page of tacos.
It is making a museum of you.


Why do we find comfort in the light?
We fear the uncertainty of the dark
And we take shelter when the sun abandons us each day,
Only to return to our homes and revive it through artificial lamps.
We are nothing without the feather-like softness of clarity.

Monday, April 3, 2017


Stress, stress,
A wonderful mess.
A wonderful mess of extreme hopelessness.
A hard game of chess.
A pointless process.
A way to impress just how much I digress.
Nonetheless it's best not to acquiesce
To a thing that possess,
A thing that oppresses.
Stress, stress
A wonderful mess.