Below is the 9th installment of The Prism Pages that was featured in the September + October “Go!” Issue. Original poetry by the talented Lena Chipman and Elaina Nicholas. Enjoy!
The Trans Magical Girl Credo
BY: LENA CHIPMAN
I am a Trans Magical Girl!
I am chosen of the goddesses Cybele and Inanna, and beloved by the Many-Faced Moon. They smile upon me and imbue me with their power. I am blessed with their secrets and their strength! I come to share their wisdom and knowledge with the world!
With my brilliant light, I defend and spread Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love! I am a voice for the voiceless and a beacon for the questioning and the lost.
My challenges are many and my foes stronger and older. But I stand with other Magical People and together, we are the rainbow sword and shield that brings Hope to strike down despair!
I am a Trans Magical Girl!
For Someone (Luminé)
BY: LENA CHIPMAN
I was a ball of wax
In darkness, crystallized, smooth, untouched
In the blacklight I’d shine for a moment
Never warm, slowly fading
An aging artifact behind dusty glass
“Do not touch!” Each day another sign, a new barrier Razor spines pointed inward
Then a spark burst on my glass
Blazing fire, growing like a meteor fall
Crashing through my transparent walls
The heat of your truth and joy (even if you didn’t see it) Melting me
Now my flesh is soft
sculpture in motion
Now my self is liquid
raging rivers upon a cartography of broken glass Cutting a new landscape, snapping those spires
Your light, your spark, your solar flame My voice – the thunder it calls
That dusty glass shattered to glitterdust And now I, too, am a spark
Set to ignite a fire.
Lena Chipman (she/her/hers) is an out and proud transgender woman, technology executive, hacker, activist, and writer. She channels the joy and sorrow of being a lifelong queer in Memphis into bittersweet bites of text.
The Ballad of Rosie and Rapunzel
BY: ELAINA NICHOLAS
There once was a princess in the Kingdom of Nettle. The most beautiful princess there could be, christened Briar Rose for her glorious fiery red hair. Poor Briar had come upon the marrying age, albeit unwillingly. “You are betrothed!” Her father, the king, roared.
“I refuse! I do not love him!” she shouted back.
“You will do as I say!” he commanded.
And with that, Briar ran away. But only so far as to bump into her friend, the scullery maid. “Oh Anya, you must help me!” She pleaded with her. Anya was a witch, at least on her mother’s side.
“I’d rather die! I’d rather die!” The princess sobbed into her friend’s arms. Anya knew of poor Briar’s plight, for she bemoaned it nightly.
“No, dear princess, you are too young to die.”
“There is no other way out!” She practically screamed.
Anya shushed her, soothing Briar, as she hatched a plan. Briar had agreed to it, once it was all laid out. reconsidering the finality of death. “You will not die but sleep, frozen in time until true love’s kiss awakens you.” Briar looked up from Anya’s tear soaked shoulder.
“But how are they to be my true love if we never formally meet?” She asked. “Well you see, when others are in your proximity you may enter their dreams you will be a creature of the night realms, if they are close you may speak to them if you choose.”
Briar nodded, “What must I do?”
Once Anya had gathered all the proper ingredients she produced a thorn for Briar so that she may prick her finger and begin sleep everlasting. “Good luck, Princess” were the last words she heard before she went on into that great night.
When the king found his daughter in such a state he was struck down by grief and refused to tend to his kingdom. The thorn that Anya had used on the Princess began to grow more, soon overrunning the kingdom, and the people grew desperate.
As the kingdom fell into despair a young couple had found themselves with child. But they were poor and food was scarce and the mother was always hungry. She pleaded with the father to go into their neighbor’s garden and fetch her some lettuce. The husband complied, but not without reluctance for their neighbor was a witch. But lettuce was eaten and the child was born seemingly without penance. And once the child reached the age of ten her parents relaxed, perhaps the witch was more forgiving than they thought. Their celebration is of course premature, for that very night the witch went and stole their daughter, “a debt overdue,” she said. So the child, who the witch renamed Rapunzel, grew up in a faraway tower while the princess remained asleep.
The thorn of Anya had grown into wild thick bushes that completely suffocated the kingdom and beyond, until one day when Rapunzel was fully grown they reached her tower. Rapunzel had grown to despise her captor who neglected her to the point where her hair was never cut and it now winded around her small room in an unkept braid. The thorns had crept into her windows, and one fateful day she found a bird speared upon one. On closer inspection, she realized the bird had not died from a stab wound but rather from a poison that must have come from the thorn itself.
Her captor had made the poor choice to sleep unarmed that very night. Taking her revenge, Rapunzel plunged a thorn deep into the witch’s chest to make sure she never woke again. With the aid of her hair as thick as a rope she managed to climb down the tower and began her journey homeward to Nettle.
Her long hair dragged behind her making the journey long and exhausting, so in a fit of rage she chopped it to her shoulders, leaving most of it behind but fashioning some of it into a proper rope tied around her body. The journey to Nettle would take three months’ time and Rapunzel was already weighed down by the exhaustion of the day. So, she found a patch of soft moss and bedded down.
The scene around her shifted. She couldn’t tell you how but something had changed. Maybe it was the lack of thorny branches or the haziness that seemed to accompany the dreaming—or maybe it was the gorgeous woman suddenly standing before her.
“I must be dreaming,” Rapunzel whispered, astonished. The lady giggled.
“And what makes you say that?” She asked.
“Because I’ve never seen someone as pretty as you before,” Rapunzel admitted.
The mysterious lady blushed a pretty shade of pink that matched her nightgown. Rapunzel gently took the lady’s hand and kissed it, a courtly gesture she had seen displayed in her books.
“Come sit with me, or is this earthly moss not good enough for your majesty?” Rapunzel teased. The lady cracked a small smile. Rapunzel gently pulled her down by the hand and the lady settled, resting beside her. “Name’s Rapunzel, I’m guessing yours is Aphrodite?” She smiled at the lady, the lady in turn tucked her head on Rapunzel’s shoulder.
“You flatter me, but no, my name is Briar Rose. My friends call me Rosie.”
“Could I be your friend?” Rapunzel asked, embarrassingly quickly.
Something warm settled in Rapunzel’s chest, Rosie was a pleasant weight at her side. “Now, what’s a precious thing like you doing in these dark and dangerous woods?” She pried.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Rosie replied.
Rapunzel blushed at the implication that she could be precious, no one considered her that before. “If you really must know I’m cursed. I live here in the night realms, I can enter others’ dreams and you happen to be dreaming of a forest. So technically, it is your fault I’m here,” Rosie explained. “Now,” she continued, “What are you doing in a forest?”
Rapunzel was still trying to process the fact that Rosie seemed to gloss over the severity of her curse and eventually regained enough of her senses to tell her tale. “I’m journeying to my home of Nettle.”Rosie made a disgusted noise.
“What’s wrong with Nettle?” Rapunzel asked.
“I live in Nettle. Well, my body is there. It’s a wretched place with a wretched kind with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.”
The princess was worked up so Rapunzel wrapped an arm around her to soothe her.
“I’m sure Nettle has some redeeming qualities.”
“Like what?” The princess huffed.
“I mean, you live there, don’t you?”
Rosie playfully slapped her arm. “Oh, you are such a flirt.” Though she enjoyed the attention.
“When I get to Nettle, I’ll find you and help you break your curse, how about that?” Rapunzel said, elated at her brilliant idea.
Rosie suddenly stiffened, “Oh, I don’t know about that.”
“Why? Do you doubt my abilities?” Rapunzel asked, teasing once again.
After an uncomfortably long pause the princess whispered, “No… you are quite charming.” The world seemed to shift on its axis, Rapunzel became disoriented and it was increasingly difficult for her to see. “What’s happening?” She panicked.
“You’re ok. You’re just waking up.” Rosie said, getting up from Repunzel’s hold. “When will I see you again?” Rapunzel asked frantically, this couldn’t be their only meeting. “In your dreams,” Rosie faded behind the trees and with that Rapunzel awoke. She was now determined to get home and find Rosie.
The journey to Nettle took longer on foot. She had tried to flag down traveling merchants to make haste on her journey but none of them wished to go near the kingdom. As she drew closer, the thicket grew ever thicker and she tired more easily from having to climb all the brambles. So whenever she had a chance or found a particularly soft spot on the ground she would fall right asleep. And her lady was always there waiting for her.
She would regale Rosie with her adventures she faced that day. And Rosie in turn would tell her about various people’s dreams she had traveled to. “None as nice as your dreams though,” she would always say.
They would spend hours in each other’s company. Learning of their vastly different lives. They spoke of their interests, apparently they both held a passion for reading. They had become fast friends. Although these interludes with Rosie were prolonging the trip, Rapunzel didn’t mind, not if it meant she got to hold Rosie in her arms nightly.
One night whilst dozing in a meadow Rapunzel asked a question.
Rosie mumbled an unintelligible reply: she was currently cuddled on top of Rapunzel and didn’t feel like moving. Thank you very much.
“If it’s alright to ask… how’d you become cursed?” Rosie’s head shot up from where it rested on Rapunzel’s chest and nearly knocked into the other woman’s chin.
“Woah calm down, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” She added hastily. “I suppose it’s right of you to know. My friend cursed me as a favor. I was about to be wed forcefully and I couldn’t face it so… I asked her for a way out and this was it.” Rapunzel rubbed up and down her arm soothingly as she told the story.
“Don’t you ever get lonely?” Rapunzel asked.
“Not anymore,” Rosie said punctuating it with a kiss on the cheek, then she went back to dozing as if nothing had happened.
Rapunzel was suddenly a lot more eager to get to Nettle.
After six months of travel way beyond the time it should have taken aided by her many naps Rapunzel reached her kingdom to find it desolate. The entire place overrun by thick briars and the few people that had chosen to stay in the kingdom lead miserable lives, no one batted an eye at the newcomer but some wondered how long it would take her to be eaten alive. She came across an elderly woman who made the mistake of making eye contact with the determined Rapunzel.
“Excuse me ma’am do you know where I could find a woman named Rosie?” Rapunzel was buzzing with energy. The hag simply scowled.
“No Rosies here I’m afraid.” She grumbled.
“Alright, well I probably should have started with this but she’s cursed-“
The woman’s eyes lit up in recognition.
“Oh, you mean Princess Briar Rose.”
Yes, her Rosie.
“Yes, do you know where I can find her?”
“She’s up in the castle over there, good luck trying to talk to her though, lass is dead asleep, they say only true love’s kiss could wake her up,”
Rapunzel froze, true love’s kiss? Rosie never mentioned that.
“That’s all you want? Scram!” The woman’s outburst pulled Rapunzel from her daze.
Getting inside the castle was unnervingly easy seeing as there were no guards in her way. She wandered the halls until she stumbled across a massive bedchamber, with Rosie fast asleep. Rapunzel needed to talk to her. She decided it was best to sleep on the floor because she didn’t wish to startle Rosie if she awoke.
It seemed the closer she came to Rosie the sleepier she became possibly an effect of the curse for soon she drifted off.
“Rosie!” She called out. This dream had taken place on a balcony outside of the castle. Rosie was stargazing and jumped at Rapunzel’s sudden appearance.
“I’m here,” Rapunzel said.
“What?” Rosie tilted her head to one side so strangely enduring.
“I’m here in the castle in your bedroom actually, why do you have stone floors? It’s going to kill my back.”
Rosie chuckled. “Are you asleep on the floor?”
Rapunzel rubbed the back of her neck embarrassed. “Yeah, it didn’t seem dignified just to hop into bed with you, without asking.”
“My bed is always open to you.” Rosie said.
Rapunzel turned beet red and Rosie seemed unaware of the implications of that statement. “A lady told me that a true love’s kiss was needed to break the curse, do you want me to go out and find you a prince?” Rapunzel asked someone dejected.
Rosie stepped closer, “Why would I need a Prince if I have you?”
Rapunzel’s heart swelled.
“You love me?” She asked.
“Yes I do, do you love me?” Rosie asked in return even though she already knew the answer. “More than anything Princess.”
Rosie pulled her into a hug.
“Call me Rosie.”
The world began to shift once more.
“I’m going to wake up soon, are you ready?” Rapunzel asked.
Rapunzel awoke with a twinge in her neck.
She approached Rosie who looked even more beautiful in person.
She kissed her softly and was slightly startled when she was kissed back. She leaned back in surprise.
“It worked!” She cried.
“It worked,” Rosie said, pulling her in for another kiss. “Run away with me?” Rapunzel asked, already knowing the answer.
Elaina Nicholas (she/her) is a queer senior in high school. She spends much of her time in her school’s theater department. When she isn’t bringing life to the stage she enjoys other creative pursuits such as playwriting and art. She spent this past summer at SCAD taking creative writing and illustration classes.