The shout finally bursts out of me as I grab my paper and try to dramatically slam it down. It generally flutters to the ground, so I groan, pick it back up, and rip it into shreds of failed poetry.
“Zeke,” Samara sighs, “poetry does not suck.”
“Does not!” She huffs.
We exchange arguments for a couple moments—because my best friend and I are just so mature at fourteen years old.
“Poetry sucks,” I repeat, “and you can’t change my mind on that.”
“Poetry is an amazing art of expressing your emotions. Why do you hate it?”
“Maybe not for you, with your whole nature-inspired artist thing going on, but for me, a guy who only excels at sports, it is!”
Awkward silence fills the room as my words hang in the air.
“Zeke,” Samara says slowly, “you’ve gotta work with me here.”
I sigh but eventually give in. Poetry lessons with my closest friend are better than ones with dozens of trainers, all trying to force their knowledge of a subject into my head.
I suppose I should tell you who I am.
Well, hi! My name is Zeke Jackson, and I’m the teen son of Kira Jackson, the head of the wildly successful business empire.
My rich parents expect me to have a talent. Not any talent, though. A creative talent.
My parents are successful and happy with their jobs, but they think that the arts are better for people as people. They want me to suddenly be amazing at things like art and music. Writing. Even acting.
Sadly for them, my only area of strength is basketball, and you don’t exactly pour your heart out while shooting baskets.
Anyways, my parents are constantly hiring tutors to teach me those things.
It's safe to assume every single one of them fail.
So here I am, in my bedroom on a Saturday, with this ‘new approach’—learning creative arts from my creative best friend.
“What do you want me to do?” I say wearily.
Samara grins. “Free verse!”
I dramatically flop on my bed. “I don’t know what the heck just came out of your mouth, but I’m so sick of being clueless I’m not even going to ask.”
Samara rolls her eyes and grabs my arm. She hauls me back to the table standing in the middle of the room, covered in pencils and paper.
“Hey!” I complain as my friend stuffs a piece of lined paper and a pen into my arms.
“Too bad,” she says smugly. “Now. Write whatever comes to mind. This isn’t even real free verse—just jot down the string of thoughts you’re thinking right now.”
I take a deep breath and start to write.
Normally, when I’m being taught by just another tutor, I’d write, I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care. But I had one week left with Samara to show my mother I was making progress with my friend as my teacher, so I needed to try.
“I’m done!” I holler, jumping up from my chair and handing the paper to Samara. Her green eyes glint from behind her curly gold hair as she takes the page from me. I hold my breath as her eyes dart across the page.
She smiled. “Nice, Zeke! Now that your creative juices are flowing, it's time for actual poetry.”
I groan as Samara starts pacing in front of me. “For now, just write a quick poem about anything. It can rhyme, or it can not. It can be super emotional, or it can be cheerful. Whatever you want. You decide! You have five minutes, so ready, set, GO!”
I grab another sheet of paper and start to scrawl down:
cнeeѕe—wнeɴ yoυ тαĸe α pιcтυre, ιт’ѕ ѕoмeтнιɴɢ yoυ ѕαy
cнeeѕe—wнeɴ yoυ’re нυɴɢry, ѕoмeтнιɴɢ yoυ eαт
I pause for a moment as I watch the timer on Samara’s watch slowly shed time. What should I write next?
There’s barely 30 seconds left, so I quickly scribble,
cнeeѕe—ι lιĸe тo plαy
cнeeѕe—plαyιɴɢ cαɴ’т вe вeαт!
I cringe as the timer goes off. My eyes fall to the ground as I place my ‘poem’ in Samara’s hands.
“It’s…” she hesitates for the right word. “Interesting.”
“I know it’s bad. Just tell me how it can get better, please.”
Samara inhales slowly then lets the air out the corner of her mouth. “Well, your topic was a bit iffy. I like how you formatted it, and the first part was clever, but then you suddenly switch topics to playing—while still starting it with ‘cheese’. No offense, though.”
I smile at her. “You can’t be offended for something you already know: that you suck at poetry. I mean, I do.”
“You don’t suck,” Samara punches my shoulder, “you just haven’t mastered it.”
“I’m never going to master it,” I say.
“Yes you will!”
“Yeah, no,” I laugh. “I mean, I’ll still try, but it’s a losing battle.”
“Poetry isn’t a battle,” Samara smirks, “and you’d win, anyway.” Her face lights up. “Ooh, I have an idea. I’m going to take you to what I call the…Poetry Place.”
“This is it?”
She frowns at me. “Whaddya mean?”
“I don’t know. I was expecting something more…something.”
My artistic friend had led me to the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. A single metal bench was installed dangerously close to the edge.
“This place is amazing,” Samara says, “especially for writing poetry. C’mon.”
She trots to the bench and I cautiously follow her. We both plop down and gaze at the waves in their calming pattern: in, out. In, out.
We sit there for what seems like hours, the salty wind pressing against my face. The sun starts to set, letting the sky on fire with hues of red and pink and yellow.
Without taking her eyes off the sun meeting the horizon, Samara says softly, “Many think poetry is cheesy. To them, it is. Cheesy is the word people use to mask their fear of raw emotions—what poetry is often about.”
I hear her take a deep breath. “Poetry is the heart of the matter, what you really think and feel. You can’t fake it. It’s a form of self expression anybody can do, but it’s tricky to do it well.”
She stands up and walks closer to the edge of the cliff. “You have to capture your ideas, your emotions, your thoughts and your dreams in words as best as you can. That way, others can truly step into your shoes.”
We watch the sun dip below the horizon, the only sound the win whistling in our ears. Samara eventually checks her watch. “It’s seven-oh-clock. You've got to be back home by ten, right?”
“Yep,” I say.
“Here.” She hands me more lined paper and a pencil. “Write any sort of poem. This isn’t a poem to share—it’s a poem for you to have for yourself.”
“Are you going to write a poem, too?”
She grins. “You bet I am.”
So we get to work. Almost an hour later, I’ve filled the whole sheet of paper with fragments of myself. There’s a trace of a smile on my lips when my friend finally stands up, stretches, and turns to me. “Did you finish?”
“Yeah,” I smile, “and I’m pretty proud.”
“Good,” she grins. “Don’t show anyone. Hey, do you want to see mine?”
“I know it’s going to be super deep and poetic and make me feel bad about mine,” I say as I raise an eyebrow, “but sure. Hand it over.”
Samara tossed me her neatly folded paper then flashes me a smile as she starts to jog off. “Meet me at the boardwalk in ten minutes!”
I wave and unfold her poem. Etched on the paper, in Samara’s beautiful handwriting, was her poem:
𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓊𝓃 𝓈𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑒𝓈 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓀𝓎,
𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓋𝑒𝓈 𝒸𝓇𝒶𝓈𝒽 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝒽𝑜𝓇𝑒
𝒫𝑒𝑜𝓅𝓁𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓁𝓀 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒶𝒸𝒽,
𝒷𝓊𝓉 𝐼’𝓂 𝒶𝓈𝓀𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑒
𝐼’𝓂 𝒶𝓈𝓀𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒶𝓃𝓈𝓌𝑒𝓇𝓈,
𝐼’𝓂 𝒶𝓈𝓀𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓉𝓇𝓊𝓉𝒽
𝒲𝒽𝒶𝓉’𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝑒𝒶𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔?
𝒲𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒’𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓁𝑒𝓊𝓉𝒽?
𝒲𝒽𝓎 𝒹𝑜𝑒𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒾𝓃𝒹 𝒷𝓁𝑜𝓌?
𝒲𝒽𝓎 𝒹𝑜𝑒𝓈 𝒾𝓉 𝓇𝓊𝒻𝒻𝓁𝑒 𝓂𝓎 𝒽𝒶𝒾𝓇?
𝒮𝒾𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝓃𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓈 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝓂𝒶𝓃𝑒𝓃𝓉,
𝒾𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝓎𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒?
𝑀𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝓆𝓊𝑒𝓈𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈,
𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝒷𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑒
𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒽𝑜𝓁𝑒 𝓌𝑜𝓇𝓁𝒹 𝒾𝓈 𝒸𝓊𝓇𝒾𝑜𝓊𝓈,
𝓈𝑜 𝑜𝓅𝑒𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒹𝑜𝑜𝓇.
“Did you like my poem?” Samara asks as I jog towards her.
“Yeah,” I pant. “Hold…on. Let me catch my breath.”
A moment later, I add, “Your poem was great. I mean, I hardly understood half of it, but it was very poetic.”
“Gee, Zeke, thanks,” Samara says wryly.
“Are poetry lessons over for today?”
“Yep,” Samara says. “I am no longer your teacher, I’m your best friend!”
“Nice,” I grin. “Since we’re done with poetry, do you want to go shoot some hoops at the park?”
She returns my smile. “You bet.”
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I discovered the name Samara a couple days ago, and now I’m obsessed with it. Does anybody else like it as much as I do? Hehe...
Yep... Samara is a beautiful name💜
Samara is actually a plant too and it is of Arabic origin and its meaning is guardian or protected by God.💕🙌
What language/place is the name from? because I think one of the tribes in my country have people with that name ( i say i think because I'm not sure which, they're just too many...)
Hmm, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s Hebrew (I swear, there are sooooo many Hebrew names) but it might not be.
Probably. I think so too. Now that i think about it, she might well just be bearing a Hebrew name, it isn't unpopular...
Great story as always Aerin! I was actually going to write a story for this prompt about someone learning to write as well! However, it isn't going to be poetry, just plain old writing. We'll see if I even get to it this week. ANYWAY back to your story... The poem is so well written and hope you write more poetry on Reedsy. Your dialogue also flows really well and it has an interesting backstory. Congrats on making the top ten! Hope you write more this week. ~Amany
Thanks! I hope you DO write a story! Learning to write will be interesting to read. Thank you so much!!! I normally don’t do poetry so I’m glad it turned out okay. I enjoy writing poetry, but I never know what to write ABOUT. Thank youuuu! Celeste just upvoted me a ton (THANK YOU!) so YAY! You're in 11th, though, so you’ll be top ten super-soon! (Hopefully when I’m in 9th so I don’t get kicked off the board LOL) Thanks again! ~Aerin
No problem! Yeah, I mean like story writing, it's not going to be like a toddler. Yeah, lol. I guess we maybe just need to kick someone else off **evil laugh** No prob!
Sorry, that’s what I meant. Story writing. Although it WOULD be funny to read about a little kid learning to write...yeah I have a weird sense of humor. Hehe, yeah. *cackle* ~A
Hey, for today's riddle, don't airplanes have 4 wheels? I'll keep thinking for a better answer...
TECHNICALLY that works, but I’m looking for something else. Think about the different meanings of the words in the riddle. Keep guessing!
Hey sis! Finally got to reading this and Its a another good one! As always, very creative. I like the humor in this: "Sadly for them, my only area of strength is basketball, and you don’t exactly pour your heart out while shooting baskets." 😂😂👌10/10 fun and fresh sis. The poem samara wrote is beautiful. I especially like this part: 𝒲𝒽𝓎 𝒹𝑜𝑒𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒾𝓃𝒹 𝒷𝓁𝑜𝓌? 𝒲𝒽𝓎 𝒹𝑜𝑒𝓈 𝒾𝓉 𝓇𝓊𝒻𝒻𝓁𝑒 𝓂𝓎 𝒽𝒶𝒾𝓇? 𝒮𝒾𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝓃𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓈 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝓂𝒶𝓃𝑒𝓃𝓉, 𝒾𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝓎𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒? There's something so deep and pretentious about it (the good kind!)
Haha, thanks so much, Celeste! I’m glad you liked that clip of the the poem. Hehe, thanks!
Just wondering- is this title purposely the same as Lord Cassius's book in KotLC or accidentally?
Ohhhhh lol I didn’t even notice that until now! Yea, that was an accident, but thanks for reminding me 😂
Yes, now that I thinlk about it Samara is a really cool and unique name! I liked this story! It was great and the poetry was really beautiful, I really enjoyed it. The friendship between the charactes was also amazing.
Thank you! I wrote this story when I first dicoveree the name, and now it’s my pen name everywhere but here. Coincidentally, Samara in this story writes poetry, and Samara is now my name on a poetry website. Hmmm Thanks so much for stopping by!
aerin, congrats on 3000 karma points!! 🤯🥳💖im so jealous😝
Hehe, thanks! Couldn’t do it without you 😆
This story was amazing as always! The way that you incorporated poetry into simple writing was mind-blowing for me. I have never been able to write poetry very well. I would love to read more of yours. Also, your characters were very believable and realistic. Outstanding job! -Brooke
Thanks so much, Brooke! 😁😁😁
Hey, Aerin! Just to let you know, I took your would-you-rather quiz, and I entered myself as "Brooke". I was going to do my Reedsy name, but I didn't. That doesn't matter. I gave it a ten-star rating! It was awesome!
Thank you!!! I’m gonna go check out your answers ;)
You're welcome! 😁😁
Answer to your riddle--> A hose?
REEEEEEEALLY CLOSE! But sorry, no. You're getting there, though! Keep guessin’!
Wait, A FENCE! Am I right, am I right, am I right?!?
YES YOU AAAAAARE *I’m very enthusiastic*
YES! I AAAAMMMM RIIGGHHTT! Lol🤣
Also, I just noticed... CONGRATULATIONS ON COMING INTO THE TOP TEN! 💜💜😜🎆🎊🎉
Yay, thanks for noticing! I’m super excited. Thank you Celeste and Amany for upvoting me a ton (last night we all upvoted one another)!
hehe ur welcome
I really like how the story unfolded. You got the main essence of making the starting line highly interesting. Keep writing 😊💜
Thanks a ton!
Plus... Answer to your riddle! A fence runs around the yard, right?
My heart 💓 shooketh on reading. It was great! Especially the last line. It was quite a marvelous way to end the story.
Thank you so much!!!
that's really good story ! Please read my story and comment on it
Good stuff as always! 👍🏽 The part where they sit down on the cliff she explains to him what poetry really is was so touching, I loved it. 😁 And I think you should incorporate more poems into your stories because it’s definitely your strong point! That was a super cute addition at the end there. Keep writing! 😊
Thank you so much! Haha, really? I’m just glad the poem didn’t turn out awful. I like writing poetry, but I never know what to write abouuuuut. But maybe I’ll try. Thanks again! 😊😊😊 ~A
Yes, really! 😁 I remember you did a similar thing in your story about the star, and that was a really fun read. Putting poems in your stories could be your own unique signature if you ask me 😉
Hi. Couple things I wanted to point out. First, you want to make sure you're not putting too much direct exposition in dialogue: - “Maybe not for you, with your whole nature-inspired artist thing going on, but for me, a guy who only excels at sports, it is!” This, for example, sounds a bit alien, and I'd rather have it outside of the dialogue. Second, make sure that the events in your story follow each other logically, this part in particular was awkward: - I’m going to take you to what I call the…Poetry Place.” - “This is it?” Yo...
Nice story, Aerin😍 Keep writing & stay safe:) -D (P.S. Congrats on moving to #9 on leaderboard👍)
This story gave me serious deja vu... I was better at writing than sports, and had a lot of conflict over it. Thank you for this one...
Thanks so much!
Beautiful work on another beautiful story. I love poetry. And Samara is right about everything she said about poetry. As a poet, FINALLY someone isn't polar wrong about one if the most beautiful forms of literature. Do you do poetry yourself? My favorite part is: “I don’t know what the heck just came out of your mouth, but I’m so sick of being clueless I’m not even going to ask.” 😂😂🤣 I RARELY, if not NEVER laugh out loud reading stories on Reedsy. You are the first. I am gonna start using that!! I think the only minor problem is the...
Thank you so much! Actually, I don’t ‘do’ poetry, but I sometimes write some for stories. Haha, I’m glad that made you laugh! Ah, okay. Actually, it’s grammatically correct, but it’s helpful to know it’s still awkward to read. Thanks again!
Your most welcome. You're a very good poet!!