Essay, Flash Fiction, Prose

A Simple Thought – Aksel Taylan

We spend a lot of time in our short lives thinking about the long term. What’s going to happen to me in ten years? Fifteen? Thirty, even? In severe cases, we let this presumptuous worries diversely affect our everyday actions and choices. This principle has a number of glaring flaws, but the main one to focus on is that the future hasn’t happened yet. You are writing your own novel; you are the only one with a pen. In other words, it is fully within your capabilities to control most of what happens in your life. However, we fail to understand that not all of it can be controlled. People get in car accidents. People get deathly ill. People are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, should you let these worries take hold of how you express yourself if we don’t have absolute control? Sometimes, doing something wrong allows a person to grow, to become stronger, possibly even teach others the right way. The right way, which everyone hungrily seeks, cannot be found without failure. Take a left when you think you’re supposed to take a right, eat raw cookie dough, or even, if you’re feeling really adventurous, stay out an hour later! Fight the norm with all you’ve got, because succumbing to the proper choice makes for a dull, uninspired life. Need I remind you, you only get one of those. I think it’s in your best interest to make it count.


Her – Iman Messado

She didn’t move mountains–

she couldn’t swim rivers–
she didn’t know how to fly figure eights around the redwoods of California—
Her eyes weren’t romantic–
And the curve of her lips was rather sinister–
She wasn’t the least bit interesting–
the left pinky toe held more mystique than her entire head of thin brittle hair—
She walked like an old dog that knew no tricks–
Her voice was a high whine–
her hands were large, knotted and manly—
yet she was enough to drown me in the lakes of Venus—-
she was enough to singe my eyelashes in the heat of her gaze—–
she was enough to make me drink from all the moon’s glory——
her name was indistinguishable yet it is all I can mumble in my sleep——-

Regalities of Plainness, pt. II – Bryn Bluth

I gasped,

Over and over again I gasped.

Maybe he was in my lungs

And that’s why I had such a hard time breathing,

But he wasn’t there-

I know because I’ve always had bad lungs.


Perhaps that’s the reason I haven’t caught him,

My lungs gave out

When he took his leave.

Which I’m okay with- 

You can’t run very far without a spine.

Poetry, Prosetry

Floral Denizens – Richa Gupta

With angles jagged, bits of ceramic protrusionsstarkly contrasting with the linoleum floor,

its remnants scattered confusedly about,

mingled with shards of shining glass

that reflect the sunlight as it glares

down, its golden force enough

to unsettle an immovable 

object, for isn’t the sun

an irresistible force?

Having settled on

the mantelpiece,

for years on end,

housing the flowers

that had woefully keeled

due to the harsh sun that refused

to reduce the passion with which it burned,

due to the sorry paucity of sustenance, of respite

from stifling days whose ardor never cooled, due to an 

unfathomable weakness that had never existed before, did

the flowers drop from the pride of an incomparable beauty, to

the misery of loneliness, whose only comfort was the lone ceramic

vase whose cracks widened with each elapsing hour, courtesy of the

overwhelming heat, whose ardor never deigned to cool, whose rays

forced grace to stoop to inelegance, which compelled the formerly

vibrant stalks to yellow and crumble, also obliging the once purple

petals to wither, to droop sadly to the side, upsetting the precious, 

the delicate balance of the plants, letting the vase tip one day, 

precariously, to the right, sending it hurtling, streaking to the

linoleum floor, ending in a deafening shatter of ceramic

against the unyielding, beige flooring, then creating

absolute chaos from tranquility, unsightliness

from past beauty, violent pink fragments

from a united piece of ceramic craft,

whose denizens lay dispersed

amid the wreck of skill,

which was provoked

by the glowing sun


The Best Dog I Ever Knew – Ally Ameel

it was my second favorite skyentirely blue

dotted with

sporadically placed clouds

I wanted to whisper into his soft ears


they painted the sky for you today


it’s funny how such a beautiful sky

could be a day when a goodbye is said

a permanent goodbye

when something leaves

that you know is never coming back


if there is some afterlife

or a heaven

I know that he’s there

he’s running faster than he ever did


I saw him running just yesterday

before the little spots of cancer

became not so little


I like to think that he fought until the end

that he put on a smile

despite everything going on in his head

but in the end he won


the woman in the white coat

let him go

she freed him


and now he is running

through the sky

I can see him through the clouds

that I once imagined

held castles

but now holds my best friend

the closest thing I ever had

to a little brother


so thanks for the last 11 years

of chasing each other through the sprinklers

while you tried not to get wet

for sneaking you bacon treats

and our walks through the neighborhood

I hope you never forget

all of the secrets I told you

the times when I sat with you

even when I said nothing at all

I’ll never forget you

and when I think I might

all I have to do

is look up at the sky

Flash Fiction, Poetry

Yesterday’s Summers – Pamela Loperena

When the cold slips in,

I can feel my heart start ticking,

like a time bomb waiting to fracture.

And I wish the sound didn’t hurt you,

but by the looks of things, it already has.

And I wish my soul would scald a dove’s wing

because I am more empty than pure;

more fed up with forevermore.

Yet sleep is somehow comforting.

I revel in its sores

—still bruising, since yesterday’s summer.


The Evening News – Alexandra Mayer

Black bodies seep through our T.V. screens and into the living room.We don’t notice at first. 

We’re outside, watching the heat from the Barbeque quiver.


But the gunfire from the screen drifts to the patio,

over the Azalea’s—a fleshy pink like my sister’s cheeks after too much Sangria—

and lingers by my mother.
“Turn that crap off.”

Then nothing.

But the clink of Pellegrino and polite laughter.


“How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?”

We don’t think about it.

But there is a man who does.


He’s a father,

the kind who feels like rusty button downs and lose jowls—maybe a couple smile lines—

But he leaves his son,

and he leaves his wife,

and he leaves his Barbeque


to aid the forgotten ones

to save bodies nobody cares about –

disposable and black, like the clip on earrings Grandma wore to Grandpa’s funeral twelve years ago.


And he wraps a string around his heart

and seeps it in their pain

drinks atrocity like tea

and fills up on rage.





He’s seen crimson swallow streets

and war swallow bodies

and machetes take ladies for lovers.


He’s a doctor,

the kind who reeks of impartial and feigned condolences—maybe a stern handshake—

But when he saw designs carved into her body and cum slathered on her face

He felt something,

Perhaps despair, but not so deep he could crumble.

He never once lowered his chin,

but had to repeat, let the phrase squirm under his skin:

“I’m a human.

I’m a human.

I’m a human”


So he convinces himself he can turn rage into productivity

so he rages into the next mission and speaks out on the T.V. screen

the camera zooms close to his face,


But we don’t see him,

despite his ivory skin,

and we’re not listening.
There’s nothing but the clink of Pellegrino and polite laughter.


If we did slip away from the patio to turn on our eyes,

our lips would quiver like the heat from the Barbeque

and wonder,

“What could drive a mad man to reality?”













What could drive a madman to reality?


Back Again – Camryn Garrett

Back Again


I am not the only one uncomfortable here

but I am one of few.

Jose says that there’s more here,

more than enough rainwater to go around.

If you work hard, you live well.

The way things used to be at home.

Clara and Carlos agree,

Mama just offers a rubbery smile.

Papa’s eyebrows furrow




he’s rebuilding.

I wear a smile that mirrors Mama’s at school,

where American children speak English

and smile

and joke.

I tell them about Castro and the beach and being almost wealthy.

They smile.

Is it the same as a joke?

I have not eaten plantains since the trip.

Sometimes tears roll down my cheeks at the thought.

We are so close, and so far, all into one,

but my friends are still a world away.

Mami used to grow plantains,

and I feel like I won’t remember the taste of sunshine.

The surf here is saltier,

the beach has less sun.

But I still spend all of my time mingling with the waves.

If I stare long enough, I can see my island.

The waves have the power to carry us to another shore,

the way they carried us here.

I want to love it here, the way the others do.

I do.

Papi says it’s harder to find things in plain sight.

America is a land paved with opportunity.

I will find it.

I will.

Essay, Flash Fiction, Prose

Survival (Lesson One) – Caitlyn Beauchamp

I’m going to teach you a lesson. I’ll lay out each step, provide an outline, but you have to do the rest. You have to act. This is how to live life. This is how to survive.

First, I want you to wake up. Open your eyes and take a waking breath. Welcome this day. The past may flood back into your mind, but keep your focus on today.

Next, get out of bed. This is a bit harder. Moving takes motivation and determination, even though, it seems so simple on the outside. Sometimes it may feel like there is a weight on your chest, pinning you down, holding you back. You have to find the energy to fight back somehow.

If you made it to this step, feel proud. You kicked off your day when many others couldn’t even find the will to get out of bed. Now, go to your nearest mirror or somewhere you can see yourself. Once you’re there, look at your reflection and smile. Smile because you’re alive and that’s your most important job, your purest purpose, and you’ve done a great job so far.

So far, you’re moving and smiling. You’re doing great. You should eat something now or at least provide yourself with a beverage. Part of life involves taking care of yourself. It isn’t too hard, but I find some people fight themselves on the topic of it. They refuse to. They group it with bad acts. Remember, food keeps you alive. You’ve come so far already; why stop now?

Now, you have two options: rest or work. You get to choose, but keep that smile on your face. Whichever you do, make sure you do it right. With a smile. If you’re not going to put that effort into it then don’t do it at all.

Once the day comes to a close, I want you to sleep. Put everything aside and just lay down. Block everything else out. I know it can be tough shutting away your worries and thoughts, but you have to muffle them somehow. Your body and mind both need sleep, so try not to deprive them of it for petty things. I hope you’re still smiling. Now, repeat this tomorrow.

So, maybe this sounds like “faking it,” but I think this layout is efficient. You’re valuable, and you’re just constantly reminding yourself of that. Always keep moving. Always keep fighting. Never feel like today should be your last day. So, remember, do it right with a smile or don’t do it at all.

This concludes Lesson 1.


Inside Out – Camryn Garrett

The beach is where I become one.

Grains of sand form my skin,

Waves help me to swim.

Rays of sun combine to form my glare

and seaweed dangles in ringlets down my back.

Grains of salt are the Spanish words that fall

out of my lips.

They surf along the waves where Castro

will not find them.

Though I have the legs to stand,

they all,


              the surf,

                                the sand that forms land,

have more of a voice than I,

a spoiled little girl from Havana.

Papi built his business



                  from the


like the seeds of Mami’s plants.

When people stopped wanting cars, Papi could make do,

              just like the broken stems of weak plants do.

But the problem is when no one needs.

Castro says Papi doesn’t need to own,

so out of Papi’s hands and into Castro’s the cars go.

Once, we were not far from being rich

But with

              Mami and Papi


              Jose and Maria


              Clara and Carlos, plus a new baby on the way,

              we’re so much farther from wealth now.

Especially since our new houseguest,

the one they call Communism,

takes so much from many,

and says we’re all to get the same.

Why doesn’t he understand

not every seed can grow with

a measly inch of rain?