In March, DIME and the MS Museum of Modern Art invited budding writers, journalists and storytellers to share their words with us for a chance to be published in DIME. The following submissions are the contest winners and other entries that we enjoyed. Winners of the contest are invited to experience the inspiration behind the Modern Writers initiative by performing public readings of their work during Museum24, the museum’s 24-hour, action-packed celebratory finale of the current blockbuster modern art exhibition, on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016.


WINNERS

 

Sunset Over Water

Simon Ladner, 17
Saucier, Miss.
Ocean Springs High School

sunset over water
the sky, cerulean from heat, freckled by clouds, stretches towards the horizon.
the sun, its glowing beauty mark, dips from five o’clock to six, falling west, leaving east.
time elongates as azure fades to purple and the sun ignites the sky into redpinkorangeyellow.
the gulf is no longer blue, or brown; it’s now the sky, psychedelic; colors swirl to the edge of the world.
the moon looks on from noon’s roost as her brother drags the sky from afternoon to dusk.
sunbeams slice through the puffs – now spread thin like broken ice – and cut the fire with blades of white.
the sun faints below the horizon, time ticks from six o’clock to seven, and dusk ages into twilight.
the trees lose their color, their volume, to become black silhouettes against the inferno painting the sky.
the fire dies as night bleeds from the east; black smothers light; the sun has abandoned its creation.
the water fades from passion to sedate darkness – the full moon drips white onto smooth low tide waves.
the stars wink into existence, one by one, as the last ember of day slips off the edge of the world.


An Elephant in the Holy Land

Delaney Williams, 19
Pass Christian, Miss.
Brown University

Tell me why –
It’s good to be happy but not always
happy to be Good,
Or why open spaces make me
weep, deep
in my heart I know
The sluts have already won
At least they’ve done something.
Right?
I am an Elephant in the Holy Land,
She stumbleth over
Burning bush with the Grace
of an
Elephant
Irrelevant, deep in my heart
I hear His blood thump like my gray, impatient feet
on these fleshy crossroads
Will they open the Gates for me, Papa?
Or will I open my legs for the first man who says he loves
I runneth over.


 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Born Again

Kyle Crockett, 23
Jackson, Miss.

Mom was born, then again, now she’s waiting on me to “find it” again
Dad was born, then again, and he’s been reading about why he did it since it happened
Sister was born, then again, because the life she wanted depended on it
Sister found a husband, born a man
Sisters husbands again was born to last

Nephew was born then baptized snack-sized
His again will be the it’s-your-choice-but-youre-gonna-do-it kind,
Sorry nephew

I sank and came up before I knew what it meant
So does everyone
No one tells you it weighs on that coat hanger of conscience until it snaps

Then all you have is a broken coat hanger

I heard again with Handel, Hallelujah
Cue the soprano, and suddenly
There was with the Angels a multitude
A multitude of emotion
Glory to God, I felt something and I still do
I know I still do
I’ve been a friend first ever since
A golden ruler

I heard and understood and believed and
took heart.

I heard the Lord God alrighty
More than some can say
You’re no Christian ’til you’re born again some can say
 they wrote the right words at the right places
to score the right degrees of 
congregation


Dark Rides Home

Chelsea Lauren Lewis, 25
Brooklyn, Miss.

  It was a blessing to be in the company of similar mindsets, ideals, and passions. We all, willingly, moved to rural Mississippi: a state consisting of suffering, tradition, but also promise. All caring about our students, social justice, the “achievement gap” in public schools, and finally the individual. We would gather together in the small towns of the delta: Clarksdale, Cleveland, Leland, Greenwood, and especially Indianola. We discussed our past, our work, and the connection in between. We laughed, drank, smoked, flirted, and some cried. We meant much to each other, and there was something long lasting in the connections. Some would complain and you grew tired for hearing their frustration, but granted each mercy because they were still there. I loved and needed their company, their conversations, their opinions, and their compassion. I valued most the four individuals that make me proud to be a woman. I feel my true growth came in the long dark drives home. As I drove home, looking at those flat, dark, quiet fields I knew they were not empty and my experience in the Mississippi Delta was certainly not empty. I thought about the individuals I valued: her story, her past, her words, her expression, and most importantly her purpose. I thought about this place: its history, its structure, its suffering, its promise and most importantly its children. Finally, I reflected about myself. I thought about Chelsea Lauren Lewis, and the woman I was becoming. I thought about the strong women in my family; their convictions for equal treatment, grace, and education. I learned that in the midst of darkness and silence there is always hope.


Afterthought

Delaney Williams, 19
Brown University
Pass Christian, Miss.

She couldn’t shake the feeling that one of her legs was longer than the other. Well, she could, she could shake the feeling for little increments – she’d press her little thumb down on the paper so she couldn’t for a moment see that little asterisk that would always stretch out its little tentacles and tickle her, tell her she was living topsy-turvy, topsy-turvy, like an angel had just cut the strings that held the clouds up – but then the feeling would come boistering back, like how she would lopside boister glide with the clickety clack of her heely boots on the pavement; and she liked the word boistering (was it a word?) because of how the “o” and “i” made a little cupping sound (did she make it up?), like how she’d cup her breasts sometimes in the dark before she went to bed at night, because it felt quite doughy peaceful, and because all women did that (all women do it, right?) and because it was like all of a sudden she was connected to all of womankind, here, in her room in the dark as she’d hold her breasts by herself she was one with history-herstory, somewhere between her flat palms and button breasts she’d make a time machine covenant with every cry/moan/squeal of every woman ever everywhere, but also how dare she, how unfair of her to assume that all women have breasts, because of course not all women have breasts, she was so stupid, so stupid, but also that’s besides the point (what was the point?) – haha! like how in the night her fingers’d be beside the points of her——- and no, no, no, no, yech, no; what she was trying to say, trying to say (what was she trying to say?) was that one of her legs was certainly longer than the other and she didn’t like that very much at all.

 

 

The closing celebration for the exhibition When Modern was Contemporary: The Roy R. Neuberger Collection features a vast array of performances, music, art-making, specialty tours and games spread throughout a 24-hour period, from 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Museum 24: Modern Finale will be celebrating Modern Mississippi with performers from across the state that have been nominated by Mississippians. Visitors look, listen, feel, eat, drink, dance and, ultimately, participate during this art part of a lifetime. Be Modern. Dare to differ.

Written by

Capricorn. Hufflepuff. Pop culture junkie. Aspiring music journalist. And probably the biggest Britney Spears fan in Mississippi.

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