2018 back-to-school contest: 'A fresh start' by Iris Lee

Iris Lee

We asked our readers to write a poem or a piece of creative writing about "a fresh start" for their chance to win an amazing back-to-school haul. Here is one of the entries, which has not been edited

Iris Lee |

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Romanticism: an Analysis

She was running to see the mandolin man play in the corner under the orange streetlight.

Orange because it was statistically benign, jaggedly pragmatic. When she came to know of this, she had been upset. She had always imagined a curly haired young man on the council who wanted orange streetlights because he liked the way it reflected the rainwater on the sidewalk, because he was a romantic and liked to watch the rain dip playful fingers into puddles. She imagined that he was fired promptly after his proposal, a paper lined with whimsical run-ons only coherent when placed in the context of the parallel universe in his puddles, definitely not by stone faced members of a council who had a city to run and whose time was very valuable. Every scraggly note of a mandolin bored a hole in their brain and let a bit of their polluted water out, which they could not stand (they loved their polluted brain water), which was why they fired the romantic and recycled his proposal and used the recycled paper to print a couple sentences on it that said you couldn’t play music on the streets.

This was why the mandolin man only played at midnight. The cops did not care as much at midnight. Some of them were curly haired romantics who loved the way their wives felt in their arms, some who thought about lighting their uniform on fire with their late night smokes but never did.

The girl thought hard as she ran, found the right word. Her lips wetted the syllables and rolled them around in her cheeks, melon collie, melon collie. He had teased her for pronouncing it like mel lan kully. They had been walking together and she had breathlessly described the shades of blue falling on skyscrapers as mel lan kully. She did not tell him that when his lips kissed her fingers he breathed some mel lan kully into her too.

The mandolin man knew how she felt. He knew how everyone felt, she thought. He distributed fresh starts to all who listened.

Check out the other entries here