Panorama Novelty // Sample Chapter

Panorama Novelty by Ashlee Craft - Cover

& I Will Do It

finally, I looked you in the eyes / & heard the sound of the sea crashing against the wall, stone walls, brick walls / I put the walls up so you could not find me / rain, washed down empty windowsills, storm drains, I wished things were different between us / books on empty windowsills soaking in rainwater running down the panes / pain, you said, was just the way it was, & then you started crying, & I reached out to you but you turned & ran away & I didn’t know where you went

there had been you & your perfect life, you with your meticulously planned-out ways of being / your face was a mask; it was all put on, you were always pretending to be something different than what you were, you were always hiding in some way or another / when you were young you wrote a plan in your notebook, how to fit in, how to be normal / you would be invisible, you would not stand out, you would blend in / you would be just like the rest of them / you would be normal, whatever you could do to follow the route everyone else had already carved, to stay out of trouble, to follow the path those around you were all taking / the safe life, you called it / your goal, all the things that people are supposed to do / but it was all a mask / it was all a facade / in your soliloquies in the darkness, you looked in the mirror & practiced how to be exactly what they wanted you to be, nothing more, nothing less

I was the first person to whom you were real with / I was the first person who saw you / I was the first person to throw a wrench into your persona / I cracked the mirror, I ripped the veil, & the real person you were finally was revealed in broad daylight / you with all your flaws & insecurities & troubled pasts & dreams & goals & fears & great loves & great sorrows, & your hidden yet very human capacity to feel / you were never invisible to me

Take Care, Take Care

you made me feel so loved :
the way my name gently slid from between your parted lips,
the certain beloved strong fragility in which you said it
an oxymoron; your great near-fearful tenderness,
afraid of accidentally making me turn away
& the strength by which you loved me; I was the solar system
& the strength by which you knew I could handle being loved
& loving in return


knowing what the sound of the wind is like
through board empty boards of houses,
a match on rough brick strikes,
the flame burning higher & higher into the sky
wearing neon yellow blouses;
I called out into the wind asking where you were
& you replied it was all a lie,
the mask you’d worn for so long
we walked on the beach & the sun was a blur
behind growing gray clouds & the height of the sun
tendrils of a rainbow blooming
& nothing was wrong,
not anymore

Hurry, Hurricanes

no / I said standing in the light of a blue moon & shading my eyes from the creeping poison ivy climbing up the house / I smiled at the college building that read EDUCATION on the front & ran towards anything & everything / what did I want to feel, you asked me / INTERESTED I replied, shading my eyes from the sun & trying to hide from the beams that reached out gently towards my skin / to feel as though there were things worth learning & doing & that these things would be good to do / a deep seated passion / it didn’t make any sense, the way the flowers grew towards the sun, as if the sun that shone from your face every time you looked at me really could be all I needed to get by

Kindle Edition