Stretchmarks On Parchment


This manuscript had gone through many cuts and additions. There have been about ten pieces removed and ten added over the course of molding this. In the beginning it had a more medical feel as there were medical erasures from medical articles full of medical jargon. The main reason these were cut was because they were pieces hard for a reader to connect with and felt very sterile and clinical. Therefore, a big goal of this manuscript became the want to include pieces that at least someone could find healing or relatable, even if it's just one other person out there who has gone through the trauma. Most of these pieces are about rare illnesses or other traumas. There's a strong theme of pain woven throughout as well as the loneliness that can accompany situations like having rare illnesses. There's also the themes of birth and death both in tackling the subjects of difficult pregnancy and the many times fear of death related to ailment comes up such as in "Pandemic Pantry" or 'IIH island." I chose to structure this hybrid thesis with my nonfiction piece first, my fiction piece, and then my poetry, much of which is prose poetry that blends the lines between CNF and poetry due to also being spoken word in nature. This manuscript reflects much of the experimentation I was open to through the course of this degree. There is a great deal of variety from trying many different forms and stepping out of my wheelhouse of performance poetry as well as experiments in performance poetry. For instance, the song erasures are meant to be performed in avant-garde type spaces as very disjointed and sung aloud pieces capturing the broken melody. While the full experience cannot be captured on page alone, I chose to include such pieces because they display the full range of experiment I was willing to tackle on the journey of writing here in this program. The surreal fiction piece, "Ghost of Retail Past" is perhaps the piece that feels most different from the rest of the thesis. It was almost not included as I had about twenty more pages of poetry that could have been in it's place. But it does touch on the theme of difficult pregnancy. The metaphor of being trapped in a big box store as time passes by is meant to parallel how Alice is actually going through this whole pregnancy feeling trapped in a miserable body. Therefore this is another piece that touches on a medical situation that I think comes full circle with the poems toward the end of the manuscript that mention the subject of abortion, pregnancy diseases, and motherhood in more detail. In lieu of current proceedings with Roe v Wade and the new pieces I wrote on the subject being some for my most recent work, I felt "Ghost of Retail Past" became more relevant to include in this manuscript. Overall, I believe this manuscript as a whole reflects a desire to use writing to heal from painful subject matter. It contains pieces that are not afraid to be dark and triggering. It does not tiptoe over harsh realities. You'll be able to pick up on hints of inspiration from poets such as Sharon Olds or spoken word poets like Blythe Baird and fiction inspiration such as Flannory O'Connor but also in all these influenced being so different, you'll get a wholly unique voice out of me in many pieces because I've allowed my work to be influenced from several different styles.


Michael Torres

Committee Member

Robin Becker

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Program of Study

Creative Writing




Humanities and Social Sciences

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