Lorraine Durbin

War (Much Ado About Nothing)

Claudio, 
You had war and you had Hero. 

They say men are quick.
In bed, and in your case, also in gossip.
Me? A sixteen year old sixteenth century suicidal slut. 
Your silence really would have been the perfectest herald of joy. 
But you had to go and ruin my good name. 
The name you claimed for yourself in war: hero. 

A man’s word against a woman’s. 
What if they told you I was a Fairy Queen, 
with flowers for hair? Flowers everywhere. 
I’d been dusted with a petal of love in idleness,
By a wickedly mischievous spirit named Puck? 
And I fell in love with an ass?
Ridiculous.  
My name is not Titania, Claudio.
I am Hero and I get to pick who picks my flowers. 
Although, one part is true.
I did fall in love with an ass. 

What if they told you I was a sprite? 
Found in the cramped, scratchy bark of a tree
By an old corrupt mystical sorcerer 
Who promised me freedom eight times?
And I flew, swam, dove into the fire for him. 
That story, one of fantasy, told by a man, makes it true?
My name is not Ariel, Claudio.
I am Hero and I don’t need promised freedom to be free.
Although, before you dirtied my hands in lies,
I would’ve flown, swam, dove into the fire for you too. 

The hero who came home to Hero.
You were bored. 
I was the first maid in white you laid eyes on
When you decided you were ready to marry.  
You played hero in battle.
You played Hero in Messina. 
I shouldn’t be fighting you on the battlefield.
You should be fighting for my heart. 

I am now the Hero to the contemporary woman. 
For every bleeding heart slashed by the glass shatter of a crystalline rumor.
Every vagina shamed by a man’s pathetic penis. 
I know the agony a word can bring. 
I am a hug to any sister who has ever shed a tear over a snake. 

My female army stands behind me.
We’ve been bleeding since birth.
Biting our tongues, until we learn how to kill with words.
And then we bleed in the place you shame us for sharing with you.
We don our fabric armor until you prove worthy for it to drop. 
We drop our fabric armor if we just want to enjoy the heat of a luxurious bed. 
Either way, we are still heroes. 
My ladies are heroes. 
I am Hero. 
And you are almost as insufferable as Signor Bene-dick. 

Hope this found you well,
I want a divorce.

Hero. 

Immuhchre (Romeo and Juliet)

my deerest Romeo,
let mee spehl owt wut yew culdnt sea
owr familees reesentehd uz
for stahr crawssed luvers were we

we levt many ded
in owr storree ov greyt wohe
Juliet ahnd her swornuh enemee
thee groessley immuhchre
Romeo.

Mahmah warneduh mee ov boyz
lihke yoo
praying awn a therrteen yeer owld
beecawz Rosaline akchewally had a clew 

eye wuz yung
and yew were knot
thee consekwenses ov yore akshuns
were an afterthawt

eye wuzznt thuh ferst
yoo luved lihke thuh see
buht eye wuz thuh ferst
hoo willed two marree thee

and lewk ware it gowt uz
“stahr-crossed luvers” ded with no dignitee
with ahl my blehd owt hart

Juliet C. 

Prayer (Hamlet)

Dear Claudius
poisoned the mother,
poisoned the Son,
murdered the unholy ghost.
Amen.

Hunger (Taming of the Shrew)

Lord Petruchio,
I can taste it.
Your blood.
The rich metallic wine seething between my teeth, 
Swimming on my shrewd tongue. 
Your brittle bones turning to dust across my lips. 
Your muscles shriveled for me to savor. 
I’ll take my knife and slice the skin off you, peel by peel
Until you are the writhing, pitiful, lump of oozing red meat
You’ve held from me. 
I’ll tear out your ribs, one by one, 
Crack by crack with my own hands. 
A skill women haven’t needed to be taught. 
I’ll feast on your ego. 
Chewing it piece by piece until you are nothing but 
A begging little calf, 
Listening to me butcher your bleeding muscles. 
The pain will be so white-hot and blinding, 
You’ll scream for the swift hack of my cleaver across your bloody neck. 
I’ll leave one strand of a muscle alone, 
Your head dangling with broken veins and crimson-soaked arteries,
So you can watch me carve your limbs stump by stump for my meal.
You have been tamed, Petruchio. 
And you will beg for the shrew to return. 
Oh, hunger consumes me. 
Which is what you wanted, right?
Kiss me, Petruchio. 
Grant me an appetizer before my meal. 

I look forward to dinner,
Katherine. 

About the Author: Lorraine Durbin is a second year Creative Writing Major at Susquehanna University. Outside of writing poetry, she's a profound lover of all things Van Gogh, musical theatre, swing dancing, and Shakespeare. She is currently working on a debut novel about kids on Broadway and cannot wait to share it with the world. You can find her on Instagram at @Lorraine_Durbin_Writing