I wanted to post a few of the results from the "bat test" assignment with my current crop of Creative Writing students at SUNY New Paltz. This is Creative Writing I -- theoretically, these are beginning students, at the bottom rung of the program's ladder. But they've done some wonderful work for me.
Mountain in the room where
Only mother bat soaring crazily
Across the moon can
Detect the cardboard cliffs
Wilted dizzy flaming leaves covering
Car wreck on the red rocks, charred from
Desert fire last December
After night when air disappeared
Everyone was caught walking with heads
Down hoods up
Hands pocketed eyes
Pinned open when Mountain was revealed
-- Jessica Ritacco
On the bed:
his sweatshirt and my black bag.
There’s an email on the computer screen,
a letter in my hand.
How did this happen?
Don’t ask. Just pack.
For the city:
I’d want my going-out
clothes: tiny top and tight pants.
Underwear of the sexiest order,
Going farther south?
Pack less and more,
good books to read.
Don’t worry about what you’ll wear to bed.
Forget the eyeliner, take lipstick instead
and your favorite flavor of tea.
To stay here
all you have to do is
shove that black bag
back under the bed.
Put his sweatshirt back on.
Step into the night.
A bat soars crazily
across the moon,
her mouth full of insects.
You watch her flight
and the blue clouds
bluer because you’re by the Mobil sign.
It's a warm night.
You don't really need the sweatshirt.
-- Jennifer Whitton
Tapping an ordinary pen
It looks blue, against her chin
This child of a bat soars
Crazily across the moon
Moving nimble fingers
Through hair tinged in a wheat colored hue
Her mouth full of insects
Spewing forth the flies as a foam
Cracking knuckles, coupled with scratching on a pad
Those studious contemporaries
Resting their heads on hands
While with legs crossed her foot played out a beat
A solitary crimson star
Stitched by hand, on a pant seam
This swirling motion can draw you in
As the muted boy attempts to speak
There must be so much more
Yet all I know are these
Aesthetic things, Lives of aesthetic dreams
She’s turning to leave, walking slowly.
-- Keith Donnelly