Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Poetry

Gravity

By Evette Davis

You guzzle salt…
Hypersaline, you’re a dead sea
of dense dreams…
deconstruct yourself.

Whole worlds collide at setpoint,
it’s you

who knows not of balance,

you
who has yet to find
that worlds can be held by polarity.

Chaos is just emotion
stripped of gravity.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Poetry

Noir

By Derek Frazier

I came home at twilight,
sore from work, tired from the hours.
The sky was ebony, no birds in flight,
lights gleaming from the city’s towers.

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love all over again in the black.

You were laying on our bedroom floor,
wearing my shirt, its color matching the door.
No makeup. Your hair was undone.
You were staring at the wall as the clock spun.

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love all over again in the black.

The honeysuckle sweet of your lips
had more sugar than a bible verse.
I can still feel the velvet of your fingertips
on my body, running across my worse
scars. The blue of your eyes was the only light I could see
as I felt your arms envelop me.

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love all over again in the black.

The Moon’s silver light
made sparks out of falling rain.
The red of your hair was crimson in the night,
and your soft laughter bubbled like champagne.

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love all over again in the black.

My eyes tried to take in all of you.
You blushed and closed your eyes
while I lost myself in your black bird tattoo.

The window’s candle slowly died.
I pulled you close to me,
inhaled, and exhaled, breathing you in.
You said: “you make me live breathlessly.”
I replied: “kissing you makes my head spin.”

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love all over again in the black.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Poetry

Red

By Rachel Shaw

It’s still him, you know.
He didn’t shed his sins after you told him
that you can forgive but not forget.

That hand he’s holding you with is the same hand
that slapped your daughter.

The hand giving you roses is the same hand
that drew blood from her flesh
to match her tear stained cheeks
and the color of the blossoms.

He has hurt this family in more ways than you
will ever know.
But you let him back.

Why?
Wouldn’t you rather be given daisies?
After all–they don’t have thorns.

 

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Poetry

Shattered Stained Glass Or, Living Amongst the Stars

By Sara Malott

She sits on the cushioned church pew
staring out the window.
She doesn’t quite know
what she’s looking for,
but she won’t find it here.

Help her,
hold her hand
and tell her change is coming.
She doesn’t need Jesus;
she needs something she can see.

We used to exchange baseball cards
and friendship bracelets.
Now, we are trading pictures
of worlds we wish we were a part of
and almost-real memories.

Someone told Church girl
her friend just bought a one-way ticket
out of this world.
If the big man couldn’t save her,
can he save anybody else?

I’m asking to go back to when
the only distance that mattered
was how far I could ride my bike.
I’m asking to go back to when
scars could only be accidental.

We try to open our ears
and let in everything we’ve tried so hard
to push away.
It’s hard to tell the difference between noise and advice
and the difference between advice and unanswered what-ifs.

They are praying for peace.
Praying for health, love, and prosperity.
But when it comes to our sons and daughters,
struggling to make it to morning,
everyone forgets how to fold their hands and speak.

When we close our eyes and close our minds,
nothing will ever change,
the stones stay unturned,
and the flower remains untouched
when the child doesn’t come out to play.

They ask how any young child
might know enough
to want to live amongst the stars.
“She was just a teenager,” They say,
“She hadn’t seen the world yet.”

They don’t understand, and it makes them angry.
But they should be thankful.
You see, it is a much simpler life
when you don’t understand
why anybody would want to give it up.

But Church girl, they need to understand
and you are going to be the teacher.
They’ll listen to you, honey.
You’re an insider.
And you’re the last chance we’ve got.

So now I say to you Church Girl,
shatter the stained glass panes.
You can have my hand to hold,
but you can’t change a thing
if they never hear your voice.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Poetry

To Those Who Will Date My Little Sister

Inspired by Jesse Parent’s “To the Boys Who Will One Day Date My Daughter”

By Derek Frazier

To those who will date my little sister.
I am warning you now.
My little sister will not come
with a warning sign, or any label
of any kind for that matter.
But you will fall hopelessly
in love with her.

You sucker.

You will fall in love
with the sideways curve of her smile,
with the massive collection of pillows and
stuffed animals on her bed.

You will fall in love with the messes she will make
on her bedroom carpet. That massive pile
of random things from her numerous hidey holes
and shelves. And when you ask what she’s doing
with all of those things she will look you dead
in the eye and calmly say
“Go away. I’m trying to get my life together.”

You will fall in love with her incredibly
rusty Korean, her obsession with manatees,
her dreams of becoming a mermaid, and her
insistence that “everything tastes better with ketchup.”

Don’t freak out when she randomly decides
to make velociraptor sounds during quiet moments.
Don’t question when she suddenly declares
that she is a potato.

She will flip the world you live in upside down
and inside out. You will right yourself and
come back wanting more.
Losing yourself in the blue of her eyes,
the hiccups of her laughter as it echoes
throughout your bedroom.
She will take your heart and treat it
gently because your love wasn’t a gift,
it was a privilege.

Six billion people walk this earth.
Only one of them is my little sister.
Please, hold her close when she cries
and promise her that tomorrow will be better.
Be the reason I hear her giggle on the phone
when I’m away at college or far away living
my own life.

Comfort her, take care of her, love her,
promise her the world and mean it.
Be the saltwater to this little mermaid,
and it wouldn’t hurt if you took the time
to learn a little Korean.

 

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Non-Fiction

Dear My Itty-Bitty Self

 By Derek Frazier

Dear itty-bitty me,

Relax. Discover. Dream. And don’t doubt yourself.

Relax. Math will always be something that challenges and frustrates you, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle. Your anxieties will never go away. You will experience true and earth shaking anxieties. Anxieties about fitting in, and not making friends, whether or not you’ll ever fall in love. You’ll fit in just fine, you’ll apply to an art school where being goofy, tea addicted, and book obsessed is almost a requirement. You’ll make friends, lots of them. Friends who will always have your back and who you will always be there when you’re angry, sad, or lost in the world. You’ll never stop being a big softy, kind and polite, and there is nothing wrong with that. You’ll fall in love too, a lot. But that’s okay, because you’ll learn that to become the person writing this letter you’ll need to understand what it means to truly love someone more than life itself. And how much it hurts when you lose them.

Discover. Branch out. Pull yourself out of the fantasy-obsessed trench you’ll dig yourself in sixth grade. You’ll learn that you are a pretty good poet, that creative nonfiction isn’t as bad as you thought because you love journaling. You’ll learn things like how to find the volume of a cylinder, that weight is actually the amount of force gravity has on an object, and that your second favorite color is grey. You’ll learn about other religions, realize you want to be a confirmed Christian, you’ll learn that even though you’re terrified of being an adult you love the idea of being a father.

Dream. Dream big. Dream about owning your own brewery. Daydream about how good the way “Professor Frazier” sounds. Make being a paleontologist a life long ambition. Buy every fossil you can find and spend days covered in dirt. Imagine smiles on your future children’s faces when you read them The Hobbit as a bedtime story. These dreams will allow you to do incredible things, to keep going. You’ll get into an art school and study to become a writer , you’ll climb a waterfall, and you will spend sleepless nights writing poetry.

Speaking of which, don’t doubt yourself. You are stronger than you know, both physically and emotionally. You can do this. Sure, going to school for almost a quarter of your life sounds intimidating but don’t spend your time worrying about that. Think of the family you’ll create, the friends you’ll make and all the things you’ll accomplish. Don’t doubt your abilities, and don’t worry about what tomorrow brings. Because as Mom will one day tell you, “you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.”

Wishing you all the assurance in the world,
the much, much taller you

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #02, Non-Fiction

He Proved I Wasn’t Bulletproof

By Sean Callahan

If I were able to say two words to him before I moved to Virginia, it would’ve been “thank you.” Not because he submitted to listening to my insane Transformer theories, dreams, and stuttering. Not because he played video games with me until eleven at night, and participated in plastic lightsaber duels with me on weekends. And it wasn’t because he was the only nerd who understood me for who I was. I’m thankful for all of those things, but they don’t compare to the truth.

I’m thankful for Joshua’s choice to break off our friendship. I’m thankful for the end of his visits, the declined PlayStation friend request on my TV screen. I’m most thankful for the day in sixth grade when he shattered my heart into glistening shards of frosty glass with his venomous parting words. Because it was the day I realized I had a heart all along.

I didn’t have one before that day. While we found joy in our video game nerd-outs and Lego wars, I didn’t know how much I’d been hurting him. His other friends slipped into the picture frame of our friendship, and I didn’t like it. For me, our picture frame could only hold only me and him, and no one else. I didn’t like how they’d tease me when I pronounced a word wrong, how they’d ridicule me for being too oblivious in a game of hide and seek. Joshua would join them, and I’d start crying. In the days that followed, Joshua would have silent talks with his father behind closed doors. Sometimes I heard him cry.

I wouldn’t find out until years later why Joshua had these talks with his father. He didn’t know how to react to my breakdowns properly without hurting my feelings, so he’d been consulting his father for advice. So he kept these feelings built up inside, until the day he decided to cut me out of the picture frame.

I’d been playing video games. My eyes were fixated on the TV screen, watching the PlayStation 3 brighten to life. I went to my friend list. Josh was not on it. I thought it was a small mistake, and restarted my PS3. The list loaded again, and my chest began to tighten. Josh still wasn’t on it.

After seeing my attempt at a friend request had been deleted, that’s when I wrote, “why did you delete me?” I wanted to be sure it actually happened. After all… Josh wouldn’t have dropped me without telling me why… right?

“We’re not friends,” was the message that proved me wrong the following morning. I tightened my grip on the controller and shivered where I sat. Already my fingers were slippery on the buttons as I responded. My anger increased as I got more and more negative responses. “Have you thought about the way you’ve treated me? Ever?” He finally messaged. I stopped messaging, turned off my PS3, and began to cry.

I then knew why he’d said what he said. Why he’d managed to penetrate my bulletproof ego with just a few digitized words on a TV screen. The times I cried when he or his friends would tease me, the times when I would break Joshua’s toys as a younger child when I got angry. The times I would embarrass him in front of his friends when I break down crying from the littlest joke. The time when he got me a book for my birthday, using the little amount of money his family had. And my ungrateful, venomous reply. “Uh… a book?”

My arrogant ego blinded by my lack of emotion was not compatible with Joshua. It only caused me to fade out of the picture frame even more, away from Joshua’s friendship, until I couldn’t see him any longer. Until he couldn’t see me as anything but an irritating little dot in the distance.

I wish I could tell him that he helped me learn from my mistakes. I wish I could show him that I hold no grudge against him anymore. I wish I could tell him: Thank you.