Steffan Triplett, 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow

Steffan Triplett, 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow



this is from a lyric essay called uttered by people did you hear what I said No from a lyric essay called butterfly people in China silver rain third that's worth me life again wins news in grade school we drew monarchs and plastic bins we sat in rows learning times tables in exchange for ice cream toppings each day was simple each day was boring until the last metamorphosis a change in nature of a life and is something wholly different a worm – a pod – wonder what daily walked into the classroom and saw orange means where men had been before these butterflies always returned home we were taught not a full truth but we smiled at the promise of predictable life we went outside to give the butterflies to life more natural my mother must let go of her kids we were told a lesson within a lesson our teacher removed a green chopper but the beans clung to their walls she gave the been a shake and they fluttered onto the grass and enjoy the moment of bliss and the breeze suddenly a voice stomped on them he laughed the Sun was shining I went to tears from my eyes and I've said the butterflies never had the chance to fly be very different the crumpled beauties in dirt covered them and dried grass a promise extinguished in front of us I think of butterfly people in my mind funnels I picture humans not with arms but symmetric means Brown shattered glass lines and matching holes on each side these beings smile and look at themselves with wet they shouldn't exist a mural in old downtown commemorates the day of the creatures squirrel den on the corner of 15th and maimed an exposed wall of the Tipsy printing building there are paintings of butterflies or people or children or aliens and tonight at all I've never seen that before only viewed images here he heard about them in whispers the mural where's the partial Hughes poem in time of silver rain the butterflies of silken wings to capture me will cry and trees put forth believes to seem enjoy the Neath the sky I don't like to imagine the trees singing not our trees trees without limbs are a sad song a somber melody and minor-key I can still hear it when I look at them now they stand dismembered and twisted some saw a rainbow that day a rainbow of butterflies I thought God was done fighting earth long ago in fourth grade we learned that mixed accusers from Joplin he wasn't here long the place you were born doesn't always take home our lessons grew heavier with age the teacher asked me to perform poem in front of the class dream variations I had emotions to his words dance world world as Sun I spent around and around smiling a both joy in the basement I put into my skin at the poems end nine coming tenderly black like me kids laughed at my spinning dizzy I returned to my seat the horn felt different now it wasn't the same as when Paris at home I thought my presence and body and the spins and from classmates I felt different than it was the first time I wanted to flee was Langston really from here of all places was he loved we learned that Langston died far away from home on the 22nd thing that made did he'd ever FEMA coming back I wonder when children at his funeral that day this guy changed that day and another promise was broken that day the sky turned majestic and Minah it was all types of color the rain went sideways for 38 minutes a tornado came through home the sky and arbre a Sunday a storm came through Drummond left all these broken trees and homeless and bodies it left all these dreams people that go there kids their parents their love on the 22nd day of May we handed over gifts to the great arm of the sky children in town saw butterfly people they saw them with their eyes and their minds and their dreams the story is common out folklore like that busy day spinning wind trolling rains people launched into the air wasn't it pretty they were carrying people into the sky a child tells her mother it's how the kids explain what happened is how they believe they are protected it's how they believe their lost loved ones are safe now did you see the butterfly people wasn't it pretty I'm not sure I believe in angels I don't want to know how it feels to fly [Applause]

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