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.

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Poetry

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——-
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Poetry

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.

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Poetry

Back Again – Camryn Garrett

Back Again

Florida

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

every

night

because

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.

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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.

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Poetry

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,

water,

              the surf,

                                the sand that forms land,

have more of a voice than I,

a spoiled little girl from Havana.

Papi built his business

              right

              up

                  from the

                                ground,

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

              and

              Jose and Maria

              and

              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?

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Poetry, Prosetry

Random Musings – Brooke Safferman

Why is there a cotton ball in the Advil jar?

Did you tell him a secret that he couldn’t keep?

Did you tell him that you would always love him, before you threw him away?

And why, oh why, would you think that it would be any different this time?

I hope there’s peanut butter still left in the jar in the pantry

I can’t remember what happened last night but I do know that peanut butter was involved

So involved, why do we do this to ourselves?

Humans, trembling and vulnerable, yet we bring this cruelty into our own lives by our very own doings

Telling each other lies because the truth is awfully boring to bear and

Why do my fingers keep typing when all my mind wants to do is SCREAM!

This is not right, this is not right!

And let these words ring out, free and unadulterated (much unlike you and I)

And let them echo out into the vortex that is the nighttime

When you are alone and isolated

And a teenager.

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