Letters to Stories: Inside “Beast”

By Simon Heywood

From this cover art, I’m hoping you all could tell that this poem, on its surface, was inspired by Beauty and the Beast. On a deeper level, the symbolism of this poem was inspired by the song Monster by Gabbie Hanna (of course), but I couldn’t create a poem called “Monster” with the same exact meaning otherwise I would end my entire career off the bat (not that I have a career yet to begin with).

When Monster first came out, coupled with the music video for it on Gabbie’s YouTube channel, I was just sent so deep down into my emotions. I could relate to every word in the song (not the “Rebirth” version to the tea though). Like Gabbie said, at a certain point in your life when you just cycle through loss after loss, you come to a point where you question if it’s you that’s making everyone leave. Are you this horrible person, this creature, this monster that scares everyone away?

That’s mostly what my poem Beast also explores. I had to find a synonym for “monster” and it wasn’t that hard because of my Once Upon A Time-like mind. I decided to do a “Rewrite Monster, but make it more personal” type of thing.

Beast looks at first, how I’ve always had people come and go in my life. I was always lured with the glamour and energy of drama, failing to realize both those things were just a mask for the massive darkness drama carries. Getting involved in drama and gossip, I lost a lot of people. And my tendency for drama took many forms. It distorted my growing backbone, my ability to stand up for myself and also be witty, into this fountain of hate.

This touches upon the loss of someone I thought would be able to save me from my own darkness, and also brings into question how because life has tainted me, poisoned me, am I now also poisonous to everyone? Everything is so unstable because of my own instability and, because of that, I question into paranoia. By the end of all this, I started to see that I was becoming this horror some people saw me as.

At the end of the day, even the worst of us needs to have love in our lives, and we need that love to be stronger than anything else in the world. But because of all the times I acted upon my darkness, my impulses, all I see when I see myself is not a good person. All I need is love, but who could love this broken darkness, and that is a question that still goes through my mind today.

Beast is out now on my Instagram. Poems are released on my feed weekly on Sundays or Mondays.

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