Way Better Than Kettle Corn – Brooke Safferman

I fall in love with the idea of you

Of people and places and things but oh, mostly you

Of some sort of better life out there

Of greener grass and sweeter smiles.

Maybe if we close our eyes

And wish and hope and dream that things will be all right (ha! A-okay!)

Then hey, maybe they will be.

And maybe the sky won’t seem so dark, and my heart won’t feel so damn h e a v y,

Because when the sun rises, our sighs fall,

and tears of joy trickle down my chin, making their own way down to you and

your caresses, so strong yet so gentle all at once.

Oh, and you fail to see the things about myself that I personally like the least, and

oh, you make me feel like the girl I wish I could see when I look at my damn self in the mirror.

You make me feel like I could never fail, at anything, ever, at all.

Because when our foreheads are pressed together, and I taste the salt on your tongue, I fall in love with the way leftover pizza lingers on your tastebuds, the feeling of chills on spines, and electric shocks on fingertips.

You make me feel like I’m already the person I could only dream about becoming one day.

The way you look at me, oh, you belong somewhere else, like in my bed or on my table, and I take a swig from the bottle when I finally come to the conclusion that any one of these days, you could just walk right on out of here, with that intoxicating swagger like you always have and that little smirk that always taunts me, and you could find something new that you like better.

Like hacky-sacks, or homemade Kettle Corn.

But oh – you make me feel so damn raw, and I mean that in the best way possible,

Like I’m still a little child with skinned knees – with you I might be bruised from before, from the past, but I’m still secure and safe with you now, and

When your fingers slip their way into my own, the way your little smirk slips onto your face, I smile, too, because

I know you like me way better than Kettle Corn.

Essay, Flash Fiction, Prose

On Self Fulfillment – Alex Esterline

Think of how the universe works and how fantastic it is that it all works. Regardless of who or what is responsible for its existence, how fantastic is it that it all happened? That you were put into this strange casing of skin and bones and blood that work perfectly, that your lungs are what deliver that vital substance, known as air, that we all need. That we are on the planet perfect for sustaining our needs, that we have no idea how we ended up here. Yet, for centuries, people have been focused on how we got here. And we’ll likely never know. We have no idea how we got here, and that’s not important. The why is. You need to think about what it is you want to do with your time here, not how you got here. Because at the end of the earth, there are no guarantees.

poem, Poetry

Wishing for Home – Elena Barrera-Waters

it’s funny, because last time i wrote,

i said i didn’t love my home.

yet here i am, writing away,

filled with the loneliness for home that i’ve

never yet felt.

maybe it’s that i know i’m gone long,

or that i won’t be able to see the things with which

i’m most familiar,

or be able to pet my dogs and take a long shower

and curl into the covers in my cold room.

but it’s hot here, in rooms without ac.

and it’s lonely. in a week, no one has hugged me.

(and you don’t think about how much you need hugs

until you haven’t had one in a while and

your body feels cold and empty and dirty

and lonelier than even your heart)

and there aren’t dogs here, no sight of my family

worrying about me, and my happiness,

from nearly 2000 miles away.

and maybe that’s not far.

and maybe 3 weeks isn’t that long.

but if i’m missing a place that i’ve talked about disliking,

then clearly something is off.

when i went shopping the other day,

i saw a book about home

and burst into tears in the middle

of the store.

and while i certainly wish that

i could enjoy myself while here,

wanting to be home is something

i wish far more.

Flash Fiction, Prose, Prosetry

Classical Challenge – Karlee Sanders

when’s the last time you listened to classical music?

the last time you appreciated the instrumental expression of emotion composed and compiled of notes on a page?
can you remember?
so many of us have become accustomed to the droning sounds of pop/rap music that we’ve declared classical music “boring” and “stupid”.
the mind numbing sounds of songs proclaiming the greatness of sex and drugs and living for yourself because no one else matters.
how long has it been since you’ve let the sound of a piano or violin take you to somewhere inspirational and calm?
it’s amazing the power that music itself carries, and I challenge you all to take a second, turn on some Beethoven or whoever you prefer, and let the music whisk you away.

Air – Harika Kottakota

I am captured in limbo
This air, a cotton-ball touch,
Dabs my arid skin
This peculiar air fights back
And strums my ego
Like a decrepit bass
Whisps of voices ricochet,
Hollow my veins,
Until I am left gnawing
On icicles for warmth,
An incurable insomniac
Clutching a snuffed candle
As I dig for phoenix feathers
Amid Winter’s roars
As this clement air
Ignites me in white flames

How to Smile – Brooke Safferman

Sleep, or something else quite calming seeps into my veins

Soporific, exotic, quixotic –

your free spirit kindles the kindred flame within my own heart,

and you tell me that you are glad that I exist

And then you let me in on a little secret

Together we fly away, in an airplane and only the two of us can feel the air

Streamlining through an atmosphere in which only we can breathe,

the two of us

and I forget how to say your name without a gasp of air escaping through my parted lips

But yet, I never forget

How to smile.


addressed to you, not texas – Elena Barrera-Waters

every. single. time. that i talk about how much

i love the rain,

someone always says


did you ever think that maybe it’s because you live here,

where sun and heat is all you see

and mosquitos tickle at your skin every time you go out?”

and every time someone asks me that same question

i say no, because,

maybe i love something just because i do.

and then they follow up,


do you ever think that if you moved to somewhere

that rained all the time

you would get sick of it

just like you did here?”

and i said no because, sorry texas,

i’ve never been particularly in love with

sunshine or swimming holes or the perfect sno-cone.

some things, you just love.

some things, you just don’t.

i think i understand love.

and happiness, too.

there’s few things that bring me the same comfort

as the pitter-patter of rain against a window

or the perfect smell of rain boots

or the puddles left for us to stomp in.

one of those is you.

and maybe you’re a little bit texas,

but i like you a whole lot better than

sunshine or swimming holes or the perfect sno-cone.

some things, i just love.

and one of them is you.

Short Story

Existential Angst (Act II) – Esteban Mayorga

3 months later…

Act 2: A Whole New World

Well, hello there. It’s been awhile hasn’t it? A great deal of shenanigans has been going down, and I haven’t really had time to tell stories.

But, the final push is planned for tomorrow, and there’s a break in the fighting as both sides prepare; so I guess i’ll just have to take this time to tell you what’s happened so far.

I went back to Valentina and told her about my change of heart, and she lit up like a christmas tree. She actually hugged me. I’m not saying it wasn’t nice, but it was just such a sudden shift from her usual stony demeanor, it caught me off guard.

She really believed what she was doing was right. With all her heart, you could see it in her eyes. She gained my respect right then. She started talking about her plans to free the rest of us, and what she would do after we won, and she said it all with a smile on her face. Admittedly, the smile was a little disconcerting when she went into details about how to best massacre government forces, but the sentiment was still there.

So I asked her, “what now”? Her response? “You have no idea what you’re in for”. And she was right.

Every day, instead of going to our lonely apartments after school, we met somewhere on the city. It was usually either an abandoned building, set to be torn down soon, or at some of the larger apartments owned by members of our little army. We trained, and we planned, and we gathered equipment in secret, preparing for war. There were only about 20 of us in all, and most of us were college aged or seniors in highschool , but there were only about 200 government officials all in all, and the majority of them weren’t powered.

Training was hard at first, and I wasn’t exactly trusted by the rest of the group. After all, would you listen if some supposedly crazy powerful kid showed up and you had to treat him as a leader? Of course not, people have to be shown their leader’s capabilities. Well, after our first raid, they never questioned my ability again.

We had been preparing for our first operation for about 2 weeks; a small raid on a supplies warehouse. If all went well, it would look like some Private Military Company or Research Corporation had ransacked the place, and the government would have no idea they had a revolution on their hands yet.

Unfortunately, things did not go well.

A security guard went for a bathroom break at exactly the wrong time; he found davey and I climbing in through the ceiling vent. I knocked him unconscious in less than half a second, but the government are clever bastards, as it turns out. They had these implants put into all the guards, and if any of them experienced excessive physical trauma or unconsciousness, an alarm would be set off.

So the alarm went off, and the stealth operation turned into a war zone. Everything was on fire, then it was all frozen, then electricity flowed through the ice and metal support beams like a raging river. We used our powers without control, causing maximum damage to everything around us. I didn’t kill anyone, but i’m one of the few that can say that. The whole world was chaos after we got rid of all the guards, and we knew there were more coming, but half of us couldn’t even walk. My legs were fine, so I had to carry each person individually back to one of our hideouts, and then run back for another. In the end I carried all 19 other members a mile back to base, and then I threw up and fell over.

When I came to, Valentina gave me a rundown of what happened after I passed out.  We won, but all of us were injured in some way, and our excessive display of force caught the eye of the government. They didn’t know exactly who we were, but they knew someone was planning to take them down.

“But hey,” she said, “at least no one is going to give you crap about being a kid anymore”. And she was right. Finally, they accepted me as one of them. It was pretty wonderful. The only short jokes I heard were affectionate, and I felt like I finally had a family.

So we carried on. We refused to give up, instead, we declared full scale war on the government that oppressed us. We got sympathisers to set put up posters advertising the movement when no one was watching, we took territory on the edge of the city for ourselves and stopped going to school altogether. The government tried to label us as terrorists, but it wasn’t working. We were winning the hearts of the people over, and our numbers were growing. The total student population was only about 2000, and the members of our little club swelled from 20 to 30 to 60 to 100 quickly. That doesn’t mean we weren’t without our losses. Davey got killed early on, and Valentina only has her left arm still attached now. There have been others, but I don’t want to go through their names. It still hurts.

We’ve taken more than half the city now, and the only thing left of any importance is the high school. About a quarter of the student body sided with the government. A couple people who hold their convictions high and believe they’re doing right. A whole lot of psychos that just love killing and see the government as their best possible employer. And a few that just don’t know anything else in their life or how they could get on without big brother watching over them. Those are the ones I really feel for. But nothing is going to stop us now. We’ve come too far, and I still haven’t taken a single life.

I’ve never wanted to kill, or even hurt others. I hold it as one of my highest moral achievements that I haven’t killed anyone in this bloody war.

But tomorrow, if anyone gets in my way, if anyone gets in the way of the freedom my family has died for, that my family has sacrificed life and limb for, I will put them in the ground.

And I won’t lose any sleep over it.