Hannah: My name is Hannah Cook, and this piece is titled HIGH FOG.

High Fog

fragile, foundation of a soft
bed of velvet.
Tears yet to spread.
Let’s reach into our bag of regrets and hurl them at each other.

Spitting on your ogling eyes,
you have seen this before.
Liquid oozing out
as in.

As in life,
as in death will melt.

Delicacy remains shape withholding.
Walls will feel the creeping of snow and take a sharp breath of reprieve before
roots dig in.

Remarks cycle into apologies,
hurt hardening into the shape of forgiveness.
Weak and Powerful and
weak and powerful.

Noelle: I just want to ask you a little bit about your poem, HIGH FOG. What are some other inspirations for this specific poem?

Hannah: Probably would be like Jennifer Egan. She's super vague and I feel like that's a vague poem. It doesn't really mean you don't get to the direct point of it. That's the type of mood I was in as well. I was not able to answer direct questions and that sort of the title of HIGH FOG comes in because I felt like I couldn't think at that time and I can relate well to that inspiration.

Noelle: So tell me more about that mood that you mentioned. Is it more of, couldn't feel like you could answer direct questions or more of avoidance?

Hannah: It was avoidance like I didn't want to look at certain things in my life and how they were not good and obviously I was aware of that as I was writing that poem. I think on a creative level I knew I was unhappy and on a personal level I was unwilling to admit I was unhappy.

Noelle: I'm Noelle Schrock. This poem is entitled OUR FIRST HIKE.

Our First Hike

On our first hike, we sat under a canopy of pine, maple, and beech trees. We sat on a cliff overlooking the smallest man-made creek in Ohio. We tasted like strawberries and Heineken, our socked feet tangled together as we fell backwards on our checkered blanket. Between kisses, I laid my head on your chest as your hand wandered down the small of my back. As your fingers brushed across my skin, with the hem of my shirt in your hand, I could hear your heart accelerate.

I know what happens next. You know what happens next.

On our first hike, an older couple with walking sticks, smile at our flushed faces and messy hair. I wonder if we remind them of when they were young, blazing their first trail of warm kisses over their once taunt skin, now beginning to sag.

On our first hike, the tops of the trees became a roof giving us a false sense of privacy. As we fell backwards together, I became encased between the outlines of twigs and rocks. Through the checkered blanket and the pressure of your body on mine, we made our own house. In the moment, we decided together to build that house, I think we became like the leaves in our canopy roof.

On our first hike, as we became leaves, we floated down from our carefully constructed roof. We spun and twisted around each other. We intertwined our wind patterns. And our frenzied fall ended when we reached the ground, landing with a soft sigh.

Our first hike, became our last hike, when we realized we shouldn’t have built that house in the woods together.

Hannah: So in your questioning of me, we had some ideas about the writing process and I actually don't really know any of your influences in writers. Could you name some?

Noelle: A lot of my inspiration comes from a very biographical place through poems.

Hannah: Well, it's funny you say that because I can hear that influence in your poem just in the fact that it is poetry, but it definitely has a narrative and a storyline connected to it. Whenever you were writing it, how much time had passed since the memory?

Noelle: I think not quite a year. It was probably coming up on a year, so nine to 10 months probably, so not too long afterwards.

Hannah: What is your writing process?

Noelle: I feel like I don't even really know. I feel it's very circular. I have a lot of small kind of journals and things that every once in a while I'll go back through and like type them all out and compile them and then go through and take out phrases and then build off of those phrases that I think are good and then work from there. Sometimes I'll throw just a whole bunch of good phrases together and see if they can work as a poem.

Hannah: What inspires you to write? Do you remember when you first started writing?

Noelle: I think really strong emotion certainly is my main inspiration. I think I have a hard time identifying and acknowledging emotion in my personal life just in general expressing it and so writing is my way to get it out.

Noelle: I was writing that during a period of time where I was not in a great emotional state and a lot of my writings that were coming out of that were very -- they were darker pieces I guess. I was kind of processing some grief that I wasn't used to dealing with that I had never dealt with before and so I think that kind of seeped into everything else that I was writing. Whether I was trying to be funny or happy or whatever mood I was trying to portray in my writing. I think some of that seeped into it for sure.

Hannah: In your last line of the poem when we're talking about, we discovered that we couldn't build the house together, can you expand on that a little more?

Noelle: It was just a moment where, and I honestly don't think it was a mutual moment, but for me I had this realization that it just wasn't something that I could pursue at the time, was a continuation of that relationship. There were a lot of factors in play I think that I used as an excuse, but I feel like I just wasn't ready to be with anyone in the way that this person was ready to be with someone, and so I wrote it more mutually, but I think that it was more just on my part.