oh, what if they had taught our boys that it's not a sin to cry, they'd still have hearts today. (everyone has a heart but a heart that feels for other people what a rare thing my brother stopped crying because they told him that his tears were a matter of pride so i taught him how to cry again) oh, what if they had taught us genuine love for others, we wouldn't be the cold hearted bullies we are today. (it was like a never ending race they only cared about the winner no humanity, no empathy, nothing just kids pushing themselves to reach the top no kindness was ever shown in that hellhole so i taught kindness to myself) oh, what if they had taught us that our futures aren't decided by red stamps on papers, we'd be poets by today. (no one taught me how to write from the heart how to write poems so i became a poet myself) oh, what if they had taught us self love instead of meaningless equations, we'd still have hope today. (everytime i looked at my body i used to flinch in disgust because they only saw the flaws never did they teach me self love never. never. never (so i taught it to myself)
how i see art
they think that art needs to beautiful. i think that art needs to be angry. loud and catastrophic.
because they see art in intricate strokes of blue and green but i see art in my father's eyes; grey and exhausted of the country that rejects him because he's unable to string the english language in careful sentences.
i see art in the calluses on my mother's palms. she claims that all she does is knead dough, someone tell her she's built more than just a home.
i see art in a black woman who they belittled as a child, told her that she'd be nothing, that she'd never be at the top. spoiler alert: they all work for her now.
i see art in a woman giving birth to her son after two miscarriages at 3:06 in the morning. the rest of the world is dead but she's never felt more alive.
i see art everywhere and nowhere just at once. my heart is captivated by things that scream fury. it is captivated by things which screams empathy and not beauty.
i do not think that art needs to be pretty. it needs to be powerful.
"I'm a 23 year old from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I began using writing and poetry as a cathartic and healing outlet a few years ago after developing a physical illness at 19 that halted my athletic dreams as a martial artist. My poetry consists mostly of the frustrations of unfulfilled potential and lost love."
Bed ridden in a room with windows unable to be opened while temperature scorch creating a greenhouse of Misery, 10 long sleepless nights with the Agony of a crippled arm and immobilized leg torturing my lust for life. Morphine teases me with a moment of pain free consciousness and then mocks my relief as the pain reemerges from its brief slumber. Being temporarily dependent on others for survival rekindles my gratitude for human kindness. I suffer in the sorrow of what could be. Is this the cruel hand of fate or the chaos of the butterfly effect?
Scream into the Void Look at me, Starring at the clock on weekdays, Wishing for time to move faster, As I move slower through life, Waiting, For the weekend to come, So I can indulge in the pleasures of the damned, And drink my woes into oblivion, Until they are born again, Monday morning,
I have become the very thing i used to loath, Stuck in a motionless state of self centred pity, Or heading 100 miles an hour to my own self destruction, Years ago, My youthful exuberance and passion would defeat common place acceptance of stagnated living on a daily basis, While the dedication to dreams would subdue the demons of excess, A one tack mind trailblazing towards victory, But then, Sickness of mind and body took hold, Stifling my souls own story, Scattering paranoid thoughts, And Imprisoning hope,
It seems we either die before we get the chance to fulfil are dreams, Or live long enough to throw them away on a dead end job of Misery, Except for those lucky few, Who's courage, hard work and luck soar them to the mountain top of beautiful contentment, My ego breeds jealousy but my heart fills with pride, How I admire you so, .. Congratulations
"I am a 22-year old poet and performer from Phoenix, AZ who is still crafting my art and voice. Alongside poetry, I also dabble in comedy, a female-centric podcast, and assistant directing youth musicals. I hope to help people understand their emotions with my work, and remind all we aren’t alone and everyone goes through relatable experiences such as heartbreak, loss, and uncertainty."
A TOWN YOURS YET A TOWN NOT MINE
there were four separate times I saw you in the place you called your own in the place I called my future a big city with a grid system that mirrored the parallel lines you had trapped me in (so long)
the first time we reunited under racks of toys and spinning wheels your smile foreign to me for I hadn’t seen it since we last marched a field together my friend tagging along knew my intentions were set because I had been tied to you longer than I wanted to admit
the second time we convened under different pretenses months later holding each others hearts we linked fingers through walls of art spent the night for the first time tangling our minds to the idea that one day we’d be there at the same time in that town so bright
the third time we met up under the hood of unsureness our heads having collided weeks prior when the tickets had been bought our judgement clouded over after seeing one another again ready to remember what we were eating chicken fingers introducing me to your lifelong friends
the final time we reconciled under the twinkling lights of the town yours yet the town not mine the distance between our souls greater than it had ever been your heart no longer attached to me somehow you forged effort to see me for coffee to discuss the future of our place there
the town was not mine the town never was the town was a far-reaching far-fetched far far far far goal I stretched too much for the town didn’t want me
you’re (in) the town holding the heart and hand of another probably walking through those same walls eating those same chicken fingers figuring things out away from me even when promised you’d do it with me the town moved on threw me out when decided I wouldn’t make it there
the town is gone the town does not exist for me anymore
"I am a 14 year old girl who is currently living on the Gold Coast, Australia. I absolutely adore creative writing and clever words of any sort, and I’ve been doing my best to nourish this passion lately and write as much as I can. here is a product of my creative frustration."
Alice in Wasteland
Alice took a deep breath, let the arid air fill her lungs. The quiet chnk of the weathered front door behind her was wholly unsatisfying; she had long since abandoned the normal teen practice of slamming out of the house. She’d grown tired of the sound of her father’s voice, nails on a chalkboard, yelling at her for making the peeling cream paint flake with the impact.
She shook her head, expelled the thought from her mind. Took another deep breath. Pressed her bare foot into the cracked red earth, all segmented and coarse like the skin of her mother’s face.
Deep-set grey eyes, hands gnarled and bony, dry and scaly, too many years washing up in lukewarm greywater heated on the stove. Her mouth a thin line, fixed permanently after too many bank notices, eviction warnings.
Alice needed an escape. She needed time to think. Time away from those who left her in not only a drought of water, but a drought of contentment. She needed rain. She needed the sky to split in two and unleash a torrential downpour that spread thick across the parched, fractured terrain like butter and flushed the red dust from the horses’ eyelashes.
She also needed to remember there had to be meaning to all of this. Meaning to every overheard argument about the increasing price of cattle feed, exclaimed in hushed tones over the sound of the 7 o’clock news. Meaning to watching the property she’d grown up on whither and wilt under the harsh hands of the searing sun. She used to swear she could hear the ginormous fig tree she’d climbed daily as a kid whispering to her, I’m melting, I’m melting. Her mother had furrowed her wispy grey brows when Clara mentioned this, told her she’d been watching too much Wizard of Oz.
The memory was a thousand tiny needles in her chest. She dragged her subconscious, kicking and screaming, from the then and chained it to the now.Now was changeable, tangible. Now she could make a difference, get on a train and travel far from the dusty wasteland her home had become. To the city, where skyscrapers grasped at the heavens as if begging to be acknowledged by some sort of higher power. A metropolitan bliss filled with nameless faces, busy people with busy lives, young adults with brightly colored hair and overstuffed sketchbooks, searching for a deeper sense of self.
Alice looked at the horizon, the same horizon she had marveled at since she was a child. Baked red earth meets supple blue sky, a sky of possibilities and wonders, a sky that refused to produce rain. In observing the spherical curve of it all, it was easy to pretend that she was in a snow globe. Her feet were stuck to the land with crafters glue; if someone were to shake her little glass dome, she’d remain unmoved, where she always had been.
"I am a 20-year-old college student studying English and Graphic Design. I used to be a co-founder of Scheme Magazine, but my partner and I decided to shut it down once we moved from Connecticut to Chicago for college. I still love zine culture."
Close my eyes for me once I have become human waste, once my words cease to produce entertainment for my mind. Close my eyes and allow them to sink deeply, deeper into my skull. Providing distance between what once perceived the outside world and what it truly was. I can only hope you would then stow me in a closet behind pea-coats of blues and reds. Yes, I would surely stink up the place, as I would be very much dead. But I wish to remain there as the flesh falls off my bones. And I wish for you to smell my sweet death perfume in your lovely, lonely home.
Gracious, oh Heavenly's hated Graces. Pinpoint my sadness on another. I am entitled to my own spiral. I am descending towards one last eye-roll. All I feel is a fabrication of all I am, and both so happen to be absolutely nothing. What is this lull I have found myself in? This ditch in which I have left any respectable qualities I thought I had?
Black drowns me out, pulls me into nothing. How comforting. I saw your face, dull and dreary. I wanted to slice it off but refrained, as it would have only caused more pain. People only choose to care as a portrayal, they want your money and time. They want to drain you of everything you could offer, and you will let them.
"My name is Karolina Ross & I'm a recent college graduate originally from Frederick, Maryland. I'm trying to reconnect myself with creative writing after earning my degree in English. I love the use of narrative as a way to cope with and understand ourselves and our experiences. I haven't decided if I think I'm actually a good writer or if I'm just good at using a thesaurus."
Twitter: @karolimabean IG: @swervves
Try to ignore the spider inching across your ceiling. You have peacefully coexisted in this pastel room for the past several days, and the thought of crushing it beneath the bristles of a broom seems unspeakably cruel, seeing as it has done nothing but lurk stupidly behind your dust-covered piano all weekend. Now, as it draws dangerously nearer to the boundary of comfortability, you consider whether or not you should just leave the room and hope it is gone when you return. But then, of course, the terror would be intensified by imagining it suspended from a web above your nose while you sleep, or skittering over your comforter and onto the nape of your neck. You slink off the bed and over to your closet. Downstairs, your extended family whispers comforting musings into their coffee mugs. They stare at each other through heavy, swollen eyes. You tug awkwardly at the hem of your sweater, but you’re not young enough to be this awkward anymore. The fringes of maturity are still just beyond your grasp. Now, feel a creeping embarrassment begin to form about the posters lining your bedroom walls collecting dust. You think about whether now would be a good time to tear them all down, but then are reminded of the spider traveling along your ceiling and decide against it. The sunlight from your window suspends the dust particles you stirred from their rest in twinkling beads, like a sporadic rain shower that got lost and wandered into a sunny day. The stairs creak in that way they do when your mother is creeping up them gently, and you hurry over to lock the door. She grazes her knuckles against the frame in what can barely be described as a knock and whimpers something sad into the crack of the door. You feel guilty. You will be down in a minute, you tell her softly and too awkwardly. She retreats in the same gentle way she came but this time sulks into her own bedroom, which you can tell by the distinct melody of the creaking floorboards. When you were young enough, you threw a fit when your parents wanted to uproot the carpet you loved passionately for no understandable reason. You heaved guttural, mournful cries when they loaded it into your minivan and it disappeared under the shade of your tree-covered driveway. But now the wood floor was all you could remember, and if your parents threatened to replace it you would probably throw a similar theatrical tantrum. You trade the green sweater you’re wearing for a black one, something you think might be more appropriate. You have changed your outfit four times already and you can’t explain why. Your first outfit, an oversized t-shirt you slept in, was soiled with dampness on the left shoulder. The second, a pink long-sleeved shirt, was dirty around the wrists from you twisting it around your thumb and raising it to your eyes and nose as a tissue. The third was a green sweater, which didn’t have anything wrong with it. In fact, it was your favorite sweater, and maybe you didn’t want to spoil it with the memory of a bad experience. You unlock your door and reluctantly meander downstairs, giving the spider its privacy. The low hum of polite murmurings is only occasionally interrupted by a running faucet, silverware clinking against porcelain, and a muffled sniffle. Your cat flicks her tail at you in disdain. She sits annoyedly at the foot of the steps glaring at the congregation of people in the foyer. Beyond the front hall in the kitchen, people gather in silent worship around a cluster of picture frames erected carefully on the kitchen table, your aunt’s kitten heels scuff the linoleum. You are too young to understand how to grieve. When you woke up that morning to find the sun lower in the sky than usual and yourself uncharacteristically well-rested, you suspected something was wrong. Your father’s voice speaking quietly on the phone downstairs paused when he heard your footsteps on the staircase, and he met you in the foyer with a frown. You are now shepherded through the crowd by your uncle, whose arm has found its way across your shoulders. The familiar faces of your relatives are distorted by distractingly bloated pink eyes that pout at you as you are ushered slowly through the procession. Although It’s not technically a funeral, some people, out of awkward formalities, are dressed in black. Your mother’s best friend, who you have been authorized to refer to as your “aunt,” surveys the scene from overtop a casserole dish. Your older sister weeps loudly on the couch, clutching a damp tissue to her chest surrounded by a silent audience who occasionally take turns offering soft condolences. When your mother reappears in the kitchen after enjoying the fleeting moments of privacy in her bedroom, the attention is once again drawn back to her. You yearn desperately to return to the company of the spider in your room. Later, as the weight of bereavement curls up and nestles itself on your shoulder, you will cry. You’ll feel the unrelenting heartache of loss in its fullness. It will crash against you unsuspectingly in waves even years later when you have thought you have moved past it. And one day, you will struggle to remember the person you lost, but you will remember with unwavering clarity the feeling of the first death you experienced, and your first funeral.
Rhymes for Kalynn, Corrected for Truth (Lonely for a Cajun Lover)
I look at Sunset and only see a thousand cars in queue Is it only Louisiana eyes that see LA right through? And like that gaze, with fancies I was taken When I first met eyes with casual friendship
And from the swamp you’d claimed that you’d escaped But only a darker swamp I fear you’ve escalate Yet, like fan boats who birth the winds on which they’re sailing You birth some silly poems when you’re a hardcore fan of cost-benefit analysis
With abundant enthusiasm for what you’ll do tomorrow I’m afraid to ask if you have feelings I might borrow Torquing dispositions, my spine so awkward straightened Whenever I’m walking side by side with crippling despair
But for just a moment, allow me my sentimental semantics To creak some light upon my true nature romantic I proclaim it there upon my breast, emblazoned, written clear the name, my muse: Solitude.
"I'm a 17 year old writer, currently living in Munich, Germany. I made up stories, wrote poetry, and have been inspired by nature since I was little. When I found my roots again, I realized a big part of writing played in my life as a kid and I realized how much I missed it. I started writing again, every time my muse offered me a new project."
THE SUBSTANCE OF LIFE
I stumbled across death today, strolling down a pathway I saw how life was feeding on it I saw how it and death formed an unit, bound together by an affectionate dance I saw the playfulness and wild manner of life How it is coruscating whilst moving to the pulse of the hymn, sung by the breezes rustling through the wooden crowns, nature wears I saw how open it‘s mind is, to the details and beauty orbiting us And I saw how life and death fulfill each other, satisfying each void the other has To something that is astonishing That is complete
TRY HARDER BE PATIENT SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR GIVE BACK EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN SLOW DOWN GET REST START OVER GO TO SLEEP START OVER DO IT AGAIN EVERYTHING IS MORE PAINFUL IN THE PAST AND THE FUTURE IS INEVITABLE CRAVE HAPPINESS GIVE LOVE TAKE A SHOWER CRY FEEL BETTER CRY FEEL BETTER IS IT TEARS OR THE WATER REEL IT BACK IN THE FUTURE STILL GIVES ME ANXIETY MAKE IT BETTER GROW UP TRY HARDER FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS I'M FOCUSING TELLING JOKES TO HIDE THE PAIN NO ONE LAUGHED NOW I FEEL WORSE I'M THE BUTT OF THE JOKE NOW THEY LAUGH TRY AGAIN THEY HATE ME GO HOME SLEEP START OVER TRY AGAIN THE NEXT DAY RECOVER CLOSE UP REEL IT IN START OVER HIDING IN MY CLOSET FOR QUIET I CAN HEAR YOUR MUFFLED PHONE CALL ABOUT ME IN THE OTHER ROOM NO PLACE IS SACRED NOW I FEEL BAD THIS IS ALL I HAVE CRY CRY CRY CRY HARDER SPEW IT OUT REEL IT IN TRY AGAIN TOMORROW IS BETTER ANYWAYS MAKE IT BETTER YOU MAKE IT BETTER HOW CAN I MAKE IT BETTER WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE TOO BEING TOO REALISTIC THINK LESS SLEEP START OVER SHOWER DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE REMEMBER TO SHARE LIFE GOES FAST THERE IS NO TIME TO START OVER REEL IT IN TRY AGAIN SLEEP SLOW DOWN WAKE UP START OVER