Tales of Toil + Trouble

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Cleo Florence

Cleo Florence is studying creative writing at the University of Arizona. She hopes to become a successful and published author and poet. She started writing books and short stories when she was fifteen years old, and starting writing poetry at sixteen. She is very excited to see what the future may hold as she continues to peruse her dream of becoming a full time writer. The piece entitled “Letters from a Twisted Prince”, sheds light on a new and slightly dark perspective of the classic fairytales many have been exposed to as young children.

Letters from a Twisted Prince

To My Wicked Snow White

Candy apple red, glazed over the blood spilt over you.
You ate it, you should have known.
Its poison fills you like cider, warming you inch by inch.
Just until you become new and tarnished
And forget yourself hidden in your own regret.
I told you not to bite that apple
But your own vanity betrayed you
And now you’re paying the price.
Her pensive glass broke you
The moment she decided to infect your soul with her sweet venom
Inside that unimaginable fruit that touched your strawberry lips so gently.
The poison creeps into your veins like cider, warming you more and more.
Just until you forget yourself, self-destruct
And now you’re paying the price
Of her unstoppable yet beautiful curse
That so blessedly fell upon you.

To My Sweet Brier-Rose

You slept on a pillow of blue and gold.
You drew wildflowers in the garden.
You knew only kindness from the fairies who raised you.
Aurora, sweet Aurora
Foolish, so foolish
I told you not to get caught up in your usual imaginings.
The cursed one is your new name.
Trapped in your own thoughts
You couldn’t ever see the danger
That lay upon the spindle of the spinning wheel.
You couldn’t escape
The voices that conquered inside your sweet brow.
You bowed to the rightful king who caused you pain.
He who threw you out like you were nothing.
I understand you had no other choice
But still the villagers call you mad,
Maybe you are…
Even so, I’m sorry
My false love couldn’t save you
But you are sleeping with beauty now.
In the rareness you somehow wake up,
I hope this letter finds shelter in your soft hands.
They can’t touch you now that you’re gone,
Endlessly sleeping forever.
Because my kiss couldn’t save you…
And it never will.

To My Forever Wilting Rose

To you my dear I enclose my heart and soul
In this tea-stained ivory letter.
You came to me quick,
I’ve kept you close ever since.
I never doubted your loyalty, not once.
Your indiscretion was valued most highly.
I wonder what made you think
You could wander up to my western tower…
Your toes tread so delicately across the creaking floor
As the candlelight dims slowly around you.
You must have known the danger
Behind those curtains of velvet crimson
And yet you predictably followed my trail.
That deep cherry red rose wilting in the background
Almost amuses me today.
To think of the moment you touched that demon flower
Born from the deep scarlet flames.
My muse died in the shadows of a void you created
The moment you left.
And now I am dust,
Wasted away
Forever in an empty mansion alone
Except for a few fancy plates and a chipped tea cup.
It’s unbearable to live in the echo of your memory.
You shouldn’t have left me here,
Although I don’t blame you.
For in the end,
You deserved all the burdens that fell upon you.
I may be left this hideous thing
With no one to turn to,
But you will never know the love
I once had planned for you.
You and me in my tower,
You wouldn’t have wanted to leave.
You and me in my tower,
Even if you had the option to linger.
In love is what I made you believe.

To My Girl with the Lost Golden Slipper

Clocks ticked so slow that night
When midnight struck
That’s when the witching hour began
You spoke of a pounding in your head
That was the voice that made you abandon me
And you ran into the forsaken forest post haste
You left a golden slipper on the spiral staircase
I tried to find you, but I never did
All I had left was a shoe that will never find you
I wish you would have stayed that night
Oh, how I wish you stayed
I would have never left you like that
Heartbroken on the balcony,
Watching as your dress flowed as you ran from me
You once told me about your family
The cruel sisters that torment you
The sisters who appear in your dreams
Well, I don’t know much
But I know you deserve better than that
Let me reverse time
Before I lost you
If I could, I want you to know
I would whisk you away to a better life
Into the world we used to live in
Into the past people we used to be
Please, take me back to that night
That night I fell in love with thee

To the Princesses Hurt by a Twisted Prince

Oh, how the burdensome woods are never clear
Oh, how the frost so endlessly bites
You hide under a quilted cover
Woven with tears and regret
Suppressing childhood, try as you might
Such a vicious sight for your honey nectar eyes
Dark and twisted hazel tree
These branches wrap around you
Like a needle sewing fabrics of silk
Ready for the kill with a knife of woe
Audacious empress full of sorrow
Your tea has had a bitter taste
Ever since you’ve had to face
His inevitable indifference
And still after all of this
Your tastebuds never did recover
Your prince took something from you
You try to find it late at night
When no one else is around, all alone
They wrote you letters
Written with a wicked tongue
You hide them all beneath your mattress
Trying to find any sliver of redemption
Left in your prince’s eyes
But still, you find nothing
So instead, you hide
These letters under your bed
And stay up all the night long
Glowing twilight moon starring down
While you stare up at the bleak golden ceilings
Trying to find your old self again
And forget his unforgettable cruelness
That crushes you like a falling hazel tree
Maybe someday you’ll forget his evil wit
To redeem your power once again
And the tea you once sipped with such joy
Will taste like how it once did
Honey spice dripping down your antique tea cup
And maybe someday you’ll burn all these letters
And watch as they burn so sweetly
Inside the red fire that dances in your newly daring eyes