Rae Fairchild (MRB)
I love to write; putting pen to paper fills my heart and calms my soul!
Rae Fairchild is my pen name. (Because why not? Pseudonyms are cool!)
I do publish elsewhere under my real name, Mary Rae Butler. (Fairchild, an old family surname.)
A Reading from the "Good Christian Book": a Cento-style Poem (WARNING - PLEASE read the disclaimer).
This is a WARNING. PLEASE do NOT read any further until you read my disclaimer. This poem contains religious themes as a vehicle for a thought provoking discussion on the twisting of information to fit a particular narrative. The Community Guidelines state that “we welcome stories and conversations that discuss religion in historical and journalistic contexts.” Vocal "cautiously moderate stories that take an overtly religious stance." It does NOT state that these stories are prohibited, only that "similar to our stance on hate speech, there's just no home on Vocal for content that divides us, rather than content that engages us and brings us together." https://vocal.media/resources/community-guidelines?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Story%20Rejected%20%5BTriggered%20Mail%5D%20(Redesign) PLEASE understand. I am NOT promoting one religion over another. I am NOT preaching to you as to what you should or should not believe. I am NOT trying to alienate or divide my readers with this content. I hope that you read this poem not as a sermon, but as an invitation to think about how the same message can be twisted and distorted by people to fit a particular narrative. In the current climate, I want it to be thought provoking that, one can read the same thing and derive two different ideas from it. I want you to think about all that we hear, see, and read in the media each and every day. This information can be altered and slanted as well to fit a certain message that people want told. This is a cento-style poem, which uses passages from other literary works and weaves them into a new piece. In this case, I chose the Bible as my literary work. Bit and pieces are “cherry-picked” from the same literary work and woven into two very different messages that were originally placed into two side-by-side columns. I chose this to highlight the juxtaposition of the contrasting themes. That formatting did not translate into the Vocal system. I chose the Bible because, when I looked at the visual art piece that this poem was written about, I felt it had religious undertones. This poem is a reaction. It was a competition and I decided to publish my poem here, as it was not selected as a winner. I have published other poems from similar competitions that had religious aspects to them without issue. I have included links to the poetry publication to which I submitted this poem for further information and as "proof" that I did not write this poem to be "preachy" or to further a particular religious cause. And I ask you PLEASE, if you do comment, do NOT comment on the “religious content” of the poem, but rather on the literary juxtaposition of two contrasting themes, pulled from the same material and formatted to fit a certain narrative. I hope that this disclaimer is enough to satisfy the moderators. Thank you. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This poem was written in response to the Rattle® Poetry Ekphrastic Challenge for October 2023 and was ultimately not selected. You can find more information here. https://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/ The image that this poem was specifically written about can be found here. (October 2023 – Arthur Lawrence's “Shadowland”) https://i0.wp.com/www.rattle.com/ekphrasis/EC23Oct.jpg?ssl=1
Apostasy: Fatima's Third Prophecy
This poem was written in response to the Rattle® Poetry Ekphrastic Challenge for October 2023 and was ultimately not selected. You can find more information here. https://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/ The image that this poem was specifically written about can be found here. (October 2023 – Arthur Lawrence's “Shadowland”) https://i0.wp.com/www.rattle.com/ekphrasis/EC23Oct.jpg?ssl=1
After my mother died, I began to bury things in small places. I folded her hand-written recipe for cornbread and oyster stuffing deep inside the oil-stained pages of my cookbook. I recorded old spiritual songs she used to sing in the strings of the out-of-tune piano in our front room. I tucked an empty glass bottle of Poison, her favorite perfume, in the corner of my sock drawer. But most of all I buried memories in my mind. Of baking Christmas cookies while the snow drifted down outside the kitchen window. Of running my hands through the rich black soil of the garden as we planted cucumber seeds. Of her fingers stroking my temples as I listened to her read the Harry Potter series out loud to me.
The Seamstress's Shop: a sestina poem
This poem was written in response to the Rattle® Poetry Ekphrastic Challenge for August 2023 and was ultimately not selected. You can find more information here. https://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/ The image that this poem was specifically written about can be found here. (August 2023 – Lily Prigioniero’s “Seamstress”) https://i0.wp.com/www.rattle.com/ekphrasis/EC23Aug.jpg?ssl=1
Hidden Amongst the Cattails
The words of a nearly one-month-old newspaper headline screamed across the page, its bold letters seething with anger. “Prominent St. James figure accused of sexual abuse: former alter boys speak out on allegations from decades past!” A picture of my younger brother John smiled from underneath it. I just stared down at it as I felt a nauseous feeling twinge in my stomach. I slid the top newspaper off the pile and saw another headline just like it. “Prominent town figure also led Boy Scout troop: former members allege abuse there as well.” I slid that paper off to the side too.
Examining My First Story
The recent fairytale challenge on Vocal had me digging deep into my computer’s memory to find a story that I wrote almost twenty years ago. It was a short story about a young girl who finds a coin in her washing machine on a very hot summer day. She makes a wish on it and it comes true; the temperature drops by twenty degrees! With a second load of laundry, she finds another coin in the machine and makes a wish on that one as well. That second wish is for an awesome thirteenth birthday.
A Children's Book Called Sister Anne's Hands
“Roses are red, violets are blue. Don’t let Sister Anne get any black on you.” Decades later, I can still remember that line. It comes from the children’s book Sister Anne’s Hands, written by Marybeth Lorbiecki and beautifully illustrated by K. Wendy Popp. My mother would always read to me when I was little and this book was one of her favorites. I didn’t have an epiphany at six years old when it was first read to me. And as an adult, I didn’t have an epiphany either when I re-read it to write this piece. It is hard to say that this book “changed me.” Rather, I would call this story a stepping-stone on the path that I try and walk today, its poignant message carried well past the age of reader the pages are targeted towards.
This poem was written in response to the Rattle® Poetry Ekphrastic Challenge for July 2023 and was ultimately not selected. You can find more information here. https://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/ The image that this poem was specifically written about can be found here. (July 2023 – Elizabeth Hlookoff's “Here I Go”) https://i0.wp.com/www.rattle.com/ekphrasis/EC23July.jpg?ssl=1
The Washing Bucket That Was a Wishing Well
The sun beat down on Elizabeth’s back as she plunged the paddle into the dirty clothes sitting in the wooden washing bucket. With a great heave of her shoulders, she hoisted up the kettle of hot water off the fire and carefully tipped the water into the bucket. Grabbing the paddle, she spun the laundry around, turning it over, before throwing in a few handfuls of grated soap. Her younger brother William sat in the shady shadow of an oak tree, leaning against its trunk. He hummed as he grated more soap for the washing, his bare feet scrunching up the green grass. Sweat dripped from Elizabeth’s brow as steam rose up to her face.
Aliens: A Critique
Ripley’s second round with the xenomorph has it all! ACTION PACKED! Badass colonial marines, cute kid, weird robot guy. And of course monsters, more monsters. Bigger and badder. Ripley in Caterpillar Power Loader exoskeleton machine fights massive alien queen. Best sequel ever made. Dare I say, better than the original?