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Synchronicity, by Rebecca Lennon

Synchronicity, by Rebecca Lennon

Synchronicity, by Rebecca Lennon


Acceptance Into Mother Earth, by Jose DeHoyos

Acceptance Into Mother Earth, by Jose DeHoyos

Acceptance Into Mother Earth, by Jose DeHoyos


Cut, by Delaney Trezise

For 20 minutes, Jess had sat and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She could pay no mind to the mounds of hair clumped and scattered in the sink’s basin. “I did it,” she uttered shakily to herself. “I finally did it.”

Upon first glance, it seemed like any other Tuesday. Jess rolled out from under her weathered bedspread and got dressed for school. She inhaled her cereal, keeping a close eye on the time on her phone. She offered a quick “so-long” to her father who smiled and nodded, reclining contentedly on the family’s beloved chesterfield while sipping his coffee before his morning commute. She attended her classes and was pleased that she hadn’t been called on by the teacher, as she allowed her mind to drift from the grey chalk dust and outdated world maps adorning the classroom walls. Her pulse lulled into a steady synch with the gradual tick of the clock in the back of the room. Things were quiet. Things were normal. Things were fine.

But today was different. Cora looked at her. Today, Cora looked at her.

It was just a brief passing glance in the hallway. Jess had finished up early in Study Hall and had a few moments to spare before making her way to Geology, and so decided to take the slightly longer route. She enjoyed taking the scenic passage when she could, passing by the windows to catch a glimpse of the stubby shrubs garnishing the front parking lot. Spring had settled into their roots after months of lying cloaked in snow, as the small buds at the ends of the branches had sprouted into splendid, crimson red blossoms. She appreciated the silence in the hallway which, on any other day, would be empty. But today was different. As Jess reached the staircase at the end of the hall, Cora descended the steps.

Cora was easily the most brilliant and defiant student in the senior class. Her expressions of genius in her classes as well as her regular demonstrations of civil disobedience had garnered the attention of many in the school, Jess included. Though, for Jess, that wasn’t all that drew her to the rebellious teen. As if her blazing passion for knowledge and justice wasn’t enough, Cora was absolutely immaculate. She had hips that could shake a mountain and a gaze that could pierce diamond. She dressed in tight sweater dresses that complimented her ample curves, and had an owl pendant that rested comfortably on her bosom. Her hair color changed from week to week. She was never the same, but she was always perfect. Someone like her couldn’t possibly exist. But she did, and that Tuesday, she looked at Jess.

In that brief glance, Cora’s emerald green eyes pierced Jess’ soul. She felt everything all at once. It was an eruption of emotions and raging hormones, lashing at her gut to break out of years of her cultivated sexual restraint. Years of questions immediately pointed her to the same answer, in the form of this 18-year old nonconforming goddess with beauty radiating even against the dingy staircase. Cora smiled politely, shaking Jess down to her very core. As Cora continued down the hallway, Jess looked back. In that moment, she knew that she couldn’t hold back any longer. No boy could ever rock her entire being the way Cora did. She finally knew what she had to do.

Jess tugged gently at the ends of the strands, lingering slightly as she considered if some kind of remorse over the loss of her gorgeous golden mane was in order. She quickly pushed those thoughts aside. They wouldn’t be necessary anymore. Not to her, anyway. “Maybe a little too short, but I’ll make it work.”

Always second-guessing herself, she never told her secret to anyone. There was no turning back from a decision like this. For the longest time she had convinced herself that she was just having some momentary lapses in judgment. Consistently, she reaffirmed herself that teenage hormones were constantly running wild in high school. She couldn’t possibly know who she really was through all of the cluttered feelings and emotions.

After the incident in the hallway earlier that afternoon, however, Jess knew exactly who she was. For three years she had known, to be honest. She had grown accustomed to hiding her vibrantly blushing face in the girls’ locker room upon catching Cora undress, assuming it was just a phase. She had turned clearing out her search history on the computer into a sport, deleting her searches faster and faster each time in attempts to hide the burning questions she’d asked on countless Internet forums. But she knew now that this wasn’t just a phase. She knew who she was, and she couldn’t hold back anymore. Jess sought freedom, and her key came in the form of a pair of kitchen shears and an afternoon in front of the bathroom mirror.

A knock at the door, however, shattered her newfound confidence into pieces. Jess froze, mortified, suddenly realizing that facing society would mean starting with her family. “Jess, you doing okay in there?” Her father called out. “It’s been a while. We haven’t heard from you.”

“Just a minute!” Jess replied, scrambling to clean up the mess and trying her best to hide the tremble in her voice. It clearly didn’t work. Her father was always good at picking up on when something was wrongShe stuffed whatever strands of hair she could fit into her trembling fists, as she considered all at once the people in her life that she would have to face. She wasn’t ready. In seeking freedom, she had trapped herself between a dirty mirror and the bathroom door.

Can you please just open up? If there’s a spider that’s freaking you out in there, I can get rid of it for you. It’s just a bug, kiddo.”

Jess stopped her desperate gathering of hair strands and took a deep breath. There was no hiding any of this, no turning back. They would find out regardless of when she stepped outside the stuffy bathroom. Glancing at her reflection one last time, she accepted her fate. She reached weakly out to the vanity and gripped the scissors, hoping they would dispense some sort of security to her. Slowly, she grasped the door handle and pushed her way through.

The normally-pleasant disposition on her father’s face faded into confusion as he gazed upon his daughter’s newly-cut locks. The corners of his mouth gradually dissolved into a frown. He looked Jess up and down, and focused in on the pair of kitchen shears grasped tightly in her fist. He returned to his daughter’s eyes. “Jess?” he beckoned softly. “What did you do?”

The life immediately drained from Jess’ attempt at a reassuring smile, and she began to shake as all of her fears washed over her. She saw not only her father’s face, but the face of every friend, relative, teacher and peer, gawping at her in bewilderment. “I-I’m sorry Dad, I j-just…” she stuttered incoherently, the tears forcing their way through her façade in a constant stream down her cheeks. She paused and took a long, quivering breath. She peered down, her eyes focusing on what she had only moments ago viewed as the key to her freedom. Now the scissors felt heavy in her hand. “I didn’t have much of a choice,” she whispered.

“What are you talking about Jess, why are you sorry?” her father asked, the slight edge of his tone making her flinch. Noticing the weight of his words, he hesitated briefly before proceeding. This time, he spoke with more caution. “I just don’t understand. What’s going on?”

“I’m done pretending to be someone I’ll never be,” she uttered quietly. She took a deep breath and spoke the truth for the first time in three years.

“Dad, I’m gay.”


The Lights on the Hill, by Delaney Trezise

The sky felt pitch black

Against the light of the stars

Glimmering out from our torches.

Father in the lead, we ran through the fields

Anxious enough to explore the night.

 

That grassy bouquet would fill our noses

As the tufts brushed against

Our barren skin.

Shining our stars in every direction

Praying for safety on our trek up the hill.

 

Grandma’s house could just barely be seen

Atop the slope, in the blackness of night.

“Shut off the flashlights,” my father requested.

“I’m sure that the sky

Will lend us its light.”

 

A leap of faith and a dousing of torches

A moment of dark, a tremor inside.

But extinguishing what light we had

Helped the universe

Shine brighter above.

 

It was there that I learned not to fear the dark

And to not cling to my flashlight so tight.

For though you may not know it,

But in the dark on the hill

Is where the world hides its most glorious light.

 

 

 

 

 


Black Girl in the Burbs, by Mary-Alice Wise

 

My hair has never been naturally straight.

Blond and down my back like most of my classmates.

I had curves by the time I was in 5th grade.

I was pleasing to look at but none of the boys ever asked me to play.

I just wasn’t good enough that way.

Most definitely took a toll on my self-esteem growing up.

Let’s be real every little girl wants to be liked back by their crush.

Experience puppy love and be asked to the winter dance.

All eyes were only on me when reading a small chapter in history books about Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman.

Like I must have known them personally.

Or maybe they were related to me?

The only thing I learned in school about black history was slavery.

And on the 1st of February the principal read the I Have A Dream speech.

But who really listens to the morning announcements anyways?

I felt like the elephant in the room on those days.

Just by hearing my classmates last names you can tell who was Polish and who was of German descent.

Mine had no significance.

But because I’m dark I must have come from Africa.

No greater sense of self pride and culture.

So I went after theirs.

Thinking I would be accepted with Abercrombie jeans and straighter hair.

Of course that didn’t make me happy because I hated who I was inside.

I still wasn’t asked to slow dance at night.

And when I went back to my neighborhood I was exiled for being too proper and dressing too white.

Whatever that meant it kept me up at night.

I didn’t fit in here or there.

I was not comfortable in my skin anywhere.

So where does a young girl go from here?

She leads a life of confusion until she can struggle through life by figuring out who she is by trial and error.

Eventually learning that some people will accept you never.

That your worth is so much more than a boy kissing you and asking you to a dance.

Learning to appreciate the hue of her skin.

And the natural kinky curl of her hair.

Realizing that all are created different.

So there is no point in trying to fit in becaus


SOMOS LOS MIGRANTES, by Hamsel J. Lopez Franco

Somos quienes vuelan hacia sueños.

Somos los que saltan muros, cual dedo que salta en las teclas de un piano.

Somos quienes cruzan mares con anhelos de alargar la vida o hallar muerte digna.

Somos quienes huyen de las balas y del hambre.

Somos los que se desprenden de hermanos, abuelos, amigos.

Somos los idiomas que hablamos y el silencio que todos callamos.

Somos nómadas que obligan a sus hijos a ser viajeros.

Somos extras en una película de terror en la que rara vez sobrevivimos las peligrosas hazañas.

Somos el alimento que el paladar mundial disfruta.

Somos los que comen en el suelo, los que comen con palillos, los que comen con las manos, con cuchillos y tenedores.

Somos la música del laúd, del acordeón, del sitar, del charango, de la marimba, del bombo.

Somos pies descalzos, somos manos sucias, somos peculiares vestiduras.

Somos barbas abundantes, somos ojos rasgados, somos sonrisas blancas, somos manos coloridas.

Somos humildad, somos temor, somos amor, somos animosidad, somos perdón, somos olvido, somos cautela, somos duda, somos confianza, somos lealtad, somos melancolía, somos desprecio, somos alegría.

Somos del mundo, somos de lugares, somos de donde nacimos y somos de donde vivimos.

Somos la familia del mundo, aunque el mundo no nos vea como su familia.

 

 

————————————————————————————————————–

 

 

 

WE ARE THE MIGRANTS

 

 

We are the ones who fly towards dreams.

We are the ones who jump walls, as a finger jumping between piano keys.

We are the ones who cross seas hoping to extend our lives or find a dignified death.

We are the ones who run from bullets and hunger.

We are the ones who break away from brothers, grandparents, friends.

We are the languages we speak and the silent silence.

We are nomads who force their children to be travelers.

We are extras in a horror movie in which we rarely survive such dangerous exploits.

We are the food the global palate enjoys.

We are the ones who eat in the ground, the ones who eat with chopsticks, the ones who eat with their bare hands, with knives and forks.

We are the music of the lute, accordion, sitar, charango, marimba, bass drum.

We are bare feet, we are dirty hands, we are peculiar clothing.

We are long beards, we are slanted eyes, we are white smiles, we are colourful hands.

We are humble, we are fear, we are love, we are animosity, we are forgiveness, we are oblivion, we are carefulness, we are doubt, we are trust, we are loyalty, we are melancholy, we are contempt, we are joy.

We are from the world, we are from places, we are from where we were born and from where we live.

We are the world’s family, although the world doesn’t see us as such.

 

 

HAMSEL J. LÓPEZ FRANCO.


Tinkerer’s Syndrome, by Alexander Gasiorowski

If a friend or a loved one displays a mechanical inclination, spends long hours messing with broken gadgets in the garage, and refuses to buy new stuff when he claims the contraption he brought back from the garage “works just fine,” that individual may be afflicted with Tinkerer’s Syndrome. Yes, I just made that up. That individual is likely a tinkerer. “Why do you waste your time? You’re never going to get that thing to work properly, just buy a new one,” you may ask. Once upon a time, products were made to last and when they broke, they were repaired. This is no longer true. Many of the appliances, toys, gadgets and electronics made today are designed to be used for a time and disposed of when either a new, “better” product reaches the market, or when the item fails. Thus, it can be difficult to understand the practical motivation behind being a tinkerer; why a loved one dwells in the garage far into the wee morning hours, trying to determine why the battery charger keeps tripping the circuit breaker. To an individual to whom a broken gadget does not beckon, the mind and motivation of a tinkerer seems foreign.

Dictionary.com defines a tinkerer as: “A person skilled in various kinds of mechanical work; jack-of-all-trades.” I would further augment that definition to include all machines, mechanical, electrical, or other, not just mechanical work. A tinkerer is an individual who casually pursues an understanding of machines by means of first hand analysis or by studying the experiences of others. Being a tinkerer is similar to being a professional in a field, albeit often without formal instruction in that field. A tinkerer often takes a casual approach to technical fields and possesses the skills needed to do simple repairs or modifications to complex equipment, though the quality of work is not up to par with a professional. In a modern, disposable society, the practicality of being a tinkerer is brought into question. The primary goal of the tinkerer is not to bring the item in question back to working order. “Honey, I can fix this, you don’t have to buy a new one,” is just an excuse. Rather, the goal of the tinkerer is to expand his or her understanding the world; to learn the “how’s and why’s” of our world.

My earliest memories are of crushing my thumb with a hammer, attempting to nail together two pieces of wood at the age of two. When I was four, I would disassemble my Buzz Lightyear action figures and reassemble them, mixing and matching parts. At the age of eight, I took an interest in wiring and electricity. I studiously scoured Black and Decker’s Advanced Home Wiring and Basic Troubleshooting and Repairs manuals. Applying what I gleaned, I assembled a number of switched outlet contraptions and lighting circuits, occasionally blowing circuit breakers along the way. In each instance, my activities were not for a practical purpose, rather the goal was to gain a broader understanding of our world. Retrospectively, the questions I was seeking answers to in each of the aforementioned cases were: “How are these pieces of wood held together,” “What pieces make up my action figures,” and “Why do the lights turn on and off when I flip this switch?”

*I have acquired a number of friends I would describe as tinkerers. Like myself, they are all mechanically inclined and take an active interest in learning more about the machines that make up our world. My friends and I all have basic understanding in a wide variety of subject areas while specializing in two or three specific areas. While we are similar in that regard, we often differ in our areas of expertise. I hold an interest in cars and many types of electronics, while a tinkerer friend of mine is interested in woodworking, a field in which I have only basic understanding and minimal interest.

Being a tinkerer has led me to acquire the skills and understanding needed to repair and maintain the majority of appliances, tools, electronics, and other gadgets I own. A tinkerer’s interest in computers and electronics has led to a career in the Information Technology field. My mechanical inclination has helped me to fix and maintain my cars, vehicles with maintenance costs that would otherwise drive me bankrupt. Friends and family have benefited from the free and discounted work I’ve done on their computers, electronics, and automobiles.

If you have a friend or loved one afflicted with Tinkerer’s Syndrome, you’ve likely noticed parallels between the experiences I’ve recanted here and the experiences of that individual. Tinkerers often cannot help themselves. There is no cure for Tinkerer’s Syndrome. Buying a new toaster oven often won’t stop a tinkerer from trying to fix the old one. The best course of action is to be supportive of the endeavors of a tinkerer, understanding that the tinkerer’s goal is not to repair the gadget in question, but to learn from the attempt.

 

 

Works Cited

“Tinker” Def. 3 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 Nov. 2015. <Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/>.


Race, by Alexander Gasiorowski

“You’re late! Get out of bed!” Like ice water splashed on a sleepy face, fear flooded my mind. My crusty morning eyes shot open to see my mother, with a concerned scowl, standing in the doorway of my room. “We need to leave now if you’re going to catch the bus.” Evidently I had overslept. In my groggy state I must have turned off my alarm when it went off half an hour ago. What little grogginess remained was washed away with a splash of icy cold water as I rushed to get ready. It was Saturday morning, the morning of my first cross country meet. If I made it to the bus on time, this would be the first meet I would actually run in. Last week I was so stricken with anxiety that I vomited. Today would be different. Today I would learn to overcome my fear and anxiety.

Over the course of my high school cross country career, my cohorts and I had often joked that our sport is other sport’s punishment. There is certainly truth to that. Cross country is punishing, but the source of my anxiety was never a fear of pain. No, this anxiety ran deeper than a fear of running or of pain. I had a fear of being tested, a fear of reaching my limits, a fear of failure. It has been said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. My great concern was that when the going got tough, I would fail. I was afraid I would give up and thus I wouldn’t even try.

The last person strides onto the bus just as my mother and I pull into the parking lot. In a mad dash, I grab the bag containing my lunch and a few bottles of water, sprint through the crisp September morning, and slip onto the cozy bus. The bus is practically full, but I find a seat next to another nervous freshman. The old diesel engine roars to life and the bus lumbers forward. Except for the hum of the engine and the noise of the road, the bus is silent. Anxiety hangs sticky in the air. I quench my nervous thirst with a gulp of water and gaze out the moisture-laden window.

It was a half hour drive to the park. By now the sun had burned away the moisture left on the bus’s windows, but the anxiety remained. I busied myself with setting up camp, trying not to think about the challenge awaiting me a few hours from now. My mental avoidance continues through the rest of the morning, though the walk-jog of the course and through the other runners’ races. Fifteen minutes before the start of the race, my teammates and I stand at the starting line preparing to start our warm up stretches. By now the sun had reached its apogee, though the air remained comfortably cool. I spy nearly a hundred other runners surrounding us, everyone in their own little trance, pondering what was to come. From the starting line, three quarters of a mile of open field lay in front of us, followed by a massive hill, with the rest of the course snaking through the forest thereafter.

Out and back, skipping, stretching, jogging, that’s the warm up routine. Loose and limber, I join my comrades at the starting line. A colorful crowd has assembled to our right, emanating a low rumble generated by the collective hushed speech of several hundred spectators. A man stands in the middle of the field, two hundred yards away from the starting line wielding a miniature canon. “One minute to the start of the freshman boy’s race,” A voice booms over the loudspeaker. Thirty seconds later the loudspeaker cracks again: “Thirty seconds.” By now the starting line is silent. Even the great crowd of spectators stands silent. The loudspeaker quips one last time: “Ten nine eight seven six five.” My eyes are fixed on the man with the canon. It is at this point the mental dam breaks forth and the thoughts of the challenge that awaits me flood my mind. Hundreds of people will watch you fail, you can’t succeed. You should give up, why bother trying? But I knew this was coming. I had held back the fear and the doubt long enough. I can’t back down now, it’s far too late for that.

You see it before you hear it. Sound travels significantly slower than light, we all know that, though there are few situations in life where that difference can be experienced. This is one of those. A mighty cloud of smoke bursts forth from the canon. I’m already running by the time the sound hits me. Moments later the cloud of dissipating smoke moves by my moving feet. One foot in front of the other, the course blurs by. Fellow runners, whose race preceded my, own line the openings in the course, cheering me on. I see the faces, I know them, but my mind’s only ponderance is putting one foot in front of the other. Up the hills, down a few more and the end is in sight. The voices echo in my head: “Don’t try to beat the guy next to you. He’s faster. You will lose. You will fail.” The fear clears away, replaced by pure adrenaline as I begin a mad sprint for the finish. I bolt past the negative thought just as I pass the runner next to me. The race is done. I certainly didn’t get first place, but I won nonetheless.

To this day, seven years later, and likely for the rest of my life, I will be hounded by the fear of failure. It never truly vacates my mind. Even so, running cross country throughout high school taught me how to manage my anxiety. It was through cross country that I demonstrated to myself that I am competent and capable. My fear of failure remains strong, but I am ever stronger.


To The Brothers, by Patina Lawson

You are men of color

So, stand up

Understand from which you came

There is no shame

You are the sons of kings

Can’t you see?

Show your pride

Just don’t lay down and die

For your destiny lays in your own hands

For I cannot make you a man

Stop letting society define who and what you are,

Define yourself and self-worth

Stop waiting for change to come

Stand up and make a change.

 


Her Fire, by Nathan Wohlrabe

A warrior is running through the forest. He is running madly, being chased.  The forest is on fire and it is raging.  He is being chased by demons.  He is slaying these demons with a glistening sword.  Fighting for his life, he feels the heat as a cold embrace of death covers his body in sweat.  He kills demon after demon.  Their deformed bodies and grotesque faces are shrouded by a blazing forest.

He kills and kills until every demon lay dead, and the burning forest takes them.  He is covered in sweat and blood.  He is wounded and bleeding, however the forest continues to burn.  He runs until every inch of his body is on fire with a desire to live.

The fire is behind him; life and pain surround him.  He reaches a pool with a waterfall making soft and gentle music.  He goes to the pool to wash off the blood.  He falls to his knees and begins to cry.  He drinks from the pool like an animal.  He takes off his clothes and walks into the shallow water.  He looks up to see a woman with a pitcher.

She does not frighten but looks at him and she sees him bleeding.  She fills her pitcher from the waterfall and places it on the edge of the pool.  She comes to him in the water.  She takes off part of her clothing and bandages his wounds and covers his nakedness.

She looks into his eyes and says to him, “I saw you running through the forest, and I started the fire.”