Glassworks Apprentice Spring 2022

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Spring 2022

glassworks APPRENTICE

A Creative Exploration and Acknowledgement of Land through Marginalized and Minoritized Voices in Southern New Jersey

a publication of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing

The staff of Glassworks magazine would like to thank Rowan University’s Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, Dean Sanford Tweedie & Associate Dean Larry Butler Lecturers in Writing Arts Cherita Harrell and Juliana Rausch, Singularity Press editors and interns, and Catherine Buck of Mighty Writers, Camden, NJ Cover Art: The Gatherer by Leonard D. Harmon Cover Design & Layout: Katie Budris

EDITOR IN CHIEF Katie Budris MANAGING EDITOR Cate Romano ASSOCIATE EDITORS Emily Nolan Ariana Tucker Eric Uhorchuk Glassworks is available both digitally and in print. See our website for details: Glassworks accepts literary poetry, fiction, nonfiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, micro essays, art, & photography. See submission guidelines: Glassworks is a publication of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing Program Correspondence can be sent to: Glassworks c/o Katie Budris Rowan University 260 Victoria Glassboro, NJ 08028 E-mail: Copyright © 2022 Glassworks Glassworks maintains First North American Serial Rights for publication in our journal and First Electronic Rights for reproduction of works in Glassworks and/or Glassworks-affiliated materials. All other rights remain with the artist.

glassworks APPRENTICE Spring 2022 Volume 5


About Glassworks Glassworks magazine is a publication of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing program. In addition to providing opportunities for graduate students to participate as literary citizens, Glassworks publishes literary work from both emerging and established writers from across North America and around the world. We value writing that is well-crafted with a range of forms, subjects, and aesthetics, and we seek nuanced complexity in work with insight, depth, honesty, and emotion. We especially seek to promote work by new authors and those from marginalized communities. Glassworks magazine is founded on the aesthetic narrative and metaphor of Glassboro’s fascinating glassworking industry, embracing the primacy of artistry, a deep pride in individual craftsmanship, and the willingness to explore and test conventional boundaries. So when we decided to create these special community outreach issues, we extended the metaphor once again and decided to take on “apprentices” for our magazine.

About this Issue This apprentice issue of Glassworks is the culmination of work completed by students in various high schools and programs throughout Southern New Jersey: LEAP Academy University Charter School, Mighty Writers-Camden, Pemberton Township High School, and Rancocas Valley Regional High School. The project, which was possible through a grant provided by the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, is entitled “A Creative Exploration and Acknowledgment of Land through Marginalized and Minoritized Voices in Southern New Jersey.” We live in a moment when discussions of land, geography, and sustainability are prominent. From acknowledging how we have come to occupy the local land on which we live, work, and play to thinking about how our planet will be shaped by ecological threats, it has become increasingly important to recognize the stewards, occupiers, and heirs of our land, and the conditions of our physical environment. The purpose of the project is to highlight the youth voices, especially those from marginalized and minoritized communities, who are helping to shape our understanding of these topics and who are contributing to a future where land can be equitably preserved and sustained, and, more importantly, acknowledged and respected. The youth who participated in the project shared their creative works in multiple genres: fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. But, more importantly, they shared their experiences, their community, their voices, and their reflections. In particular, they reflected on how they’ve been shaped by land and the environment, and shared their visions for what our future world should look like. The poems, essays, and stories that follow certainly capture these reflections and visions. We hope you enjoy these powerful voices, and that you are just as inspired as we were. We are grateful to have had the chance to work with these amazing and talented students. Cherita Harrell & Juliana Rausch Lecturers in Writing Arts, Rowan University

Table of Contents Art Dylan Ayars, Scheyichbi | 14 Leonard D. Harmon, The Gatherer | cover Fiction Dekari Harrell, Land of the Free | 20 Ingrid M. Lisboa, No Life on Mars | 8 LÉLani Mendez, What Do You Think? | 3 Nonfiction Sofia Bass, Remembering the Camden Riots | 17 Aliyah Lateef, Missing You | 13 Janjabill Tahsin, +880-Home | 11 Poetry Lola Cooke, She Stands | 2 Lillian Drueding, The Story of Earth on her Deathbed | 23 Khalaya Jefferson, Their Reason for Rain | 19 Liliana Nemorio-Cruz, Caution | 5 Neglect | 6 Venture | 7 Emily Pierre, Black River| 15 Can You Tell Me | 16

The following land acknowledgement was written by Rev J. R. Norwood, PhD, citizen and Tribal Judge of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation: The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape, called “Lenapehoking.” The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.

She Stands Lola Cooke There is a tree in my backyard, She stretches above our house, above our yard, above the summer spring and fall. She stretches with the knowledge of all the many things she has seen. She grows with the triumph of all the families she has shaded. She grows with assurance that she will shade many more. There is a tree in my backyard, She blossoms during the spring, and her leaves litter the yard. She blossoms and I can hear the birds, and smell the rain, and feel summer. She sings quietly, when her branches bump together. She sings quietly when the wind blows. There is a tree in my backyard. The winter comes and she weeps. She is lonely. She weeps because it is cold, and because she misses the birds. But still she stands, steady and sure, knowing this will pass. Hoping this will pass. She stands still, even when the other trees are gone. She stands because otherwise she knows she will fall. There is a tree in my backyard. She weeps, because winter has come and gone, And she is still lonely. She weeps because there is no one to shade, I weep with her.

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What Do You Think? LéLani Mendez I was sitting there, staring at the clouded sky. I couldn’t think, I could only manage to space out surrounded by nothing to catch my interest, my eyes angled at the passing clouds just above the trees being blown around by the wind. I, myself, imagine that my eyes were tired as they gazed outward, as I sat on a white marble balcony in an oversized nightgown of the same pristine hue. Now, I wasn’t sitting in a chair, I was sitting on that marble floor, leaning against the cool marble pillars. The wind lightly tossed my hair, never covering my face, but instead being raised at the tips, flailing about. The wind may have been strong, but its voice was weak, the whisper barely able to reach my ears. “Hello?” It whispered to me, its little voice barely able to grasp my attention. I believe I answered back with confusion, a small, “Hi?” The wispy little voice seemed a little cheerier, lightly giggling as if it were really smiling with its voice. Then it spoke to me again, “I’m sorry if I scared you at all little one, but I’m just very happy this worked out for me again. Talking to humans is much harder now than it used to be—” “Used to be?” I cut the little voice short, brows furrowed in complex confusion, a perturbed expression. I wanted answers, but I didn’t feel I’d get them soon, if at all. With nothing to look at, nobody, I continued to stare out into the sky as it droned on: “See, it was far easier to reach you mortals hundreds of years ago, talking to bold leaders with a…” It paused, changing the topic, “I suppose I’m more mortal than I thought. I see it as rather patronizing now that I think about it. As you humans used to say to yourselves as mortals, Memento Mori…” “Memento Mori,” I echoed. I had to take a moment to remember the phrase, one I had surely heard before. Though it didn’t take long for me to piece the memory together. “Remember Mortality.” It made a bit more sense to me now, the fragility of the situation. I felt that if I could help in any way, that I could at least indulge it in its banter. The voice hummed a bit as if trying to nod to me, “That’s right little one.” A now still silence filled the air, the wind blowing a bit more over me rather than the distant foliage. “Do you like nature?” It was a random question, but I decided to go with it, softly nodding in response. “Oh that’s nice… do you like to hike? Go out bird watching?” it asked with innate curiosity. I shook my head. “I don’t like going outside.” From the Sky, a confused hum and some muttering that I

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couldn’t focus on. “If you like nature so much, then why not go outside? Isn’t that a bit counterintuitive?” I sighed, fixing myself on the floor of the balcony. “Mind you, I heard you ask if I liked nature, not being in it. I’m one who prefers to watch from afar.” Then a moment of silence. A long and still moment. “No outdoor activities?” it asked me again, hoping for something, it seemed. “Could you at least tell me why you care for the outdoors if you cannot bear it?” I considered it for a moment. “Well…” I paused, contemplating, “yeah… I like playing in warm rain. As for that second question, I still care about the Earth. Pollution like the massive trash islands are a problem for me. I just don’t like the bugs and that sweaty feeling of dew mixing with the humidity that makes it feel like you’re sweating out all of the water you’ve ever drank.” Another hum of approval. “Well then, do you have any way to help me at all? I mean, the environment.” I nodded, shrugging. “I raise awareness and learn more about the state of the Earth as it is, and I’m only 15; I can’t do too much.” I took one more moment to sigh, “I’m sorry…” A light breeze blew over me, bringing a wave of calm over me to blow away the worry and guilt I held just a moment before. “It is not your fault, little one. It was a problem that has weakened me for generations. You are not alone in helping me but, what you are doing now along with others is a heartwarming deed for me.” Its voice was calm and reassuring, trying to lift my worries. To all avail, the Sky did make me feel better, made me feel as if my efforts were not in vain. “Now tell me, you said you liked playing in the rain, yes?” I smiled, shifting on the floor. “Yeah, nice warm rain is fun to play in. See, I went down a slide once in the rain…” I laughed at the memory, letting out a small snort, “and I found myself nearly five feet from the darn slide.” I could hear the Sky laugh, rather hard actually, though laughing that hard with such a frail and weak voice filled with fumes wasn’t a good idea, leading the Sky to cough and wheeze. I wanted to calm it down but there was no way for me to help something without a body, instead needing to let it calm down on its own. “Ah…” it took a deep breath, “that was a rather funny image, little one. Tears of my clouds make others happy, and that in turn makes me happy as well. Warm tears.” Its voice was back to the soft little whisper it was talking to me in before the coughing fit. We laughed about it for a while longer, letting the Sky tell me about natural slides made by erosion, water running down

I, as well as others, am prone to an overactive imagination, but this was not it in my eyes. “Ma!” I retorted, “You gotta hear me out… I felt everything.” “Like you feel yourself falling from a huge height, like a building, in your sleep?” Mom looked at me with a sort of smile. I mean, she had a point, but I was conscious, and able to feel that wind and hear that voice. I was convinced it was real, but Mama wouldn’t budge on it being the most bizarre dream I ever had. But, the truth is here, if you choose to listen to me that is. The Earth has its voice, the voice that I was lucky enough to hear for myself. Though, despite my best efforts to tell my tale, it only ever boiled down to a strange dream. So, nobody believes me, but I still believe. The Sky is kind, in pain, yet not vengeful. With this story I can only hope others will start to believe me.

LéLani Mendez | What Do You Think?

the slope much like a modern day water slide. Humans that migrated from land to land found this place and used it for leisure, old and young. Really makes us wonder how far we’ve come in some aspects more than others. I felt a bit closer to the Sky, it seemed to share many ideas with me, it seemed sensitive, and quiet. But, it still had passions and ideas it was fixated on. It didn’t know how to fix its land, or its seas, but it learned something about its air. “You see, I’ve noticed something little one.” The clouds above whisked by, the Sky bringing up a new topic. I responded with curiosity, “Hm? What is it?” “Ever since this pandemic,” it went on, making sure I was listening before continuing, “It seems that when you all began to stay inside, I’ve been able to use my voice more.” I nodded as if I understood, only to tilt my head the next moment. The Sky picked up on this rather quickly, rushing to explain: “I can talk to humans like you again, little one, and not choke up as much. There’s less smog. But this was a bit of a double edged sword in my case. See, how can I talk to humans, when no humans can go outdoors?” “Ahhhhh, I see now.” I nodded, sitting up and looking down at the street from behind the pillars, ultimately looking at the road of nothingness below. “Less pollution in the air brought back your voice.” “Indeed little one, indeed!” the Sky giggled and mused. At this point, we were talking for two hours, the time blown away by the Sky and my chatter. I was running out of responses, as I do when I am burnt out of conversation. “I suppose it is time I take my leave, little one?” the Sky pondered, making sure I was still awake. “I mean, I feel bad just letting you leave, you reached out to me for a reason, right?” In all honesty, I felt bad having to leave the Sky just because I was tired. It was so kind, to have chosen me and to have dealt with me for this long. It sighed, “No, you must rest… I must thank you again, little one. You have given me the best chat I’ve had in a while. A long, long while. I just want you to know that you have done good by me and to not be filled with guilt for your bodily needs.” Its voice was calm and reassuring to me like it had been to me before, the hours ago when I was filled with a strange sense of guilt. I eventually gave in, agreeing to rest, tilting my head down to look at the road below, still empty. ~ “Next thing I knew, it was bright the next morning and I was laying on the floor of the balcony.” I took a deep breath, my ranting leading me to a light head. My mom just kind of rolled her eyes at me, “I don’t believe that actually happened. I think that it was just a trippy dream…”

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Caution Liliana Nemorio-Cruz Beware, you shouldn’t run there Harmless demeanor but dangerous essence Well, you wouldn’t know without ever being in their presence. Many still go on this trail Despite knowing the risk, They keep going, they insist When given into temptation Whether a displeasing location Or a welcoming place Be prepared for a threatening chase How unsettling… Foolish they are, really Even in your secure abode Home could be gone in a matter of seconds, explode Silenced are our small voices trying to reach shelter Years of fear accumulate in the pack They are stationed near our dens, Have overtaken our land by force One word is all it takes Kills the wind and seas we need Wipes out the trees who reach up to the sky We plead They are self-destructing… But our end will be first

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Neglect Liliana Nemorio-Cruz An innocent individual would have a pitiful end Tirelessly running, there’s no time to lend It’s not up to you The wise man is too smart for our own good Screams so muffled in the void Ignorant bliss would Mother Nature say Disconnection leads you to a misdirection We are the problem, fellow humans We made this our products of destruction Our creation of law oppresses this What’s so special about this being For agreeing to be the “superior race” Similar perhaps habits and actions But their thinking is different, feelings, appearance, distinct Like a snowflake as we see the beauty and its uniqueness As much as you can’t control others’ actions, You are letting us die And in the end, you will be saying your goodbyes Excuses for ignorance Greed clouds your vision Our needs are last envisioned The limit flew through our heads And now our progress is threatened Washed beneath our feet Denial is not avoiding So what justification do you have for this gruesome act? You are dooming the coming generations Could your mistakes be redirected?

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Venture Liliana Nemorio-Cruz A weed would falter at the fate of crossing paths with them Blessed are the ones who last more than a minute, and are not condemned A whistle of the woods Might keep you sane for the rain Or in some instances The rain leaves you bloodstained Extinction is not unheard of, But it’s hard to admit Because they like to be hypocrites Natural rights is a statement in history Yet we turn a blind eye, but why? It’s a mystery Incredible are the things plants do for us Air, food, medicine The breeze of the trees And somehow supply chains squeeze themselves in Underrated is something so important like herbal essentials Their life they take for granted They chew on the hands of their provider, And little by little the provider withers away But we don’t like to acknowledge that They focus on themselves They are perfect, one of a kind The superior race as they call themselves Like a fool they are ignorant May they prepare for self sabotage

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No Life on Mars Ingrid M. Lisboa JULY 9, 2045 As a kid, my mother always told me, “When the world is green your lungs stay clean,” and I never really understood that phrase until now. Now I know why she made me recycle all those years and why we’d go down to the shore to pick up plastic bottles and other pollutants that Oblitioners left behind, or Obs as I like to call them. Obs were people who refused to recycle and didn’t believe in climate change or pollution. You could tell them apart because they had this secret code embedded in their clothing, usually hats or tags, that said, “LIFE ON MARS.” They believed that even if the Earth gets destroyed by climate change and global warming that they can start a new life on Mars. But that’s not the case. As a kid I remember going outside and feeling the Earth’s life giving oxygen flow into my lungs. I remember the rich blue skies and the fluffy passing clouds, blazing yellow sun, birds flapping about, ruby red roses, and the murmuring of the city. Now the city murmurs nothing, but a silent whooshing of the wind, and the growls of mutated specimens that strive off intoxicated water sources. Now, in most parts of the world, the atmosphere is completely obstructed and water sources are mostly filled with toxins left over from the factories and nuclear power plants that once operated under the government’s authority. The birds no longer sing their morning songs and the heavy smog paints the city a sad gray. Was there anything I could have done to make a difference? Did I waste my time thinking I could actually save this planet? ~ JUNE 1, 2035 NEWS FLASH: AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES GETTING OUT OF HAND Reporter: “Reporting live from XYZ News, people down in Adelaide Hills are reporting wildfire warnings and ordering evacuation immediately. As you can see, violent flames are tearing through this forest and firefighters are on their way to stop this calamity. There are a few people who managed to save some Koalas and other species that are currently suffering injuries caused by those flames, you can see homes being burned to crisps…” ~ FEBRUARY 18, 2036 NEWS FLASH: DROUGHTS IN AFRICA MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR VILLAGERS TO GROW CROPS

Reporter: “Reporting live from SOX News, droughts have been making it impossible for people here in nearby villages to grow crops. Without crops, these people will be forced to find new land or worse, suffer from dehydration and malnutrition. Without water, there is no life.” ~ DECEMBER 31, 2039 NEWS FLASH: AS FOSSIL FUEL FACTORIES MULTIPLY GLOBALLY, DANGEROUS LEVELS OF AIR POLLUTION FORCE PEOPLE TO EVACUATE THEIR HOMES, MAKING THE CITY UNINHABITABLE ~ AUGUST 8, 2043 NEWS FLASH: EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY – GO TO NEAREST UNDERGROUND BUNKER – ATMOSPHERE IS DEPLETING – AIR POLLUTION SURPASSES NORMAL LEVELS – RABID ANIMALS POSE DANGER – *NUCLEAR WARNING SIRENS* ~ JULY 10, 2045 - Vineland, New Jersey *static radio* I’ve been trying to reach a news line for about two years now and I’ve got absolutely nothing. I can’t even believe I’m still here. The Earth somehow managed to sustain itself for about two years but I doubt it’ll last another two years. This is the end. This is reality. Maybe even my fate. Before all the factories went out of business we managed to get a few supplies to build our city. Sometimes it rains acid and smog clouds engulf our city forcing us to stay indoors for about three days. But our city is built to withstand the new norm. Thanks to our AI unit, it is able to alert us when bad things are headed our way. Our city is protected by a molecular amplified glass dome that acts as a barrier against acid rain, smog clouds, mutated specimens, dust storms, and all the other good things climate change and global warming has to offer. Sometimes we have to travel to other cities just to find clean water because our only water source nearby was contaminated by a local factory. The soil is already eroding and without water there is no solution. Today I’m on a mission to get some water down in a small town that was recently discovered called Talon Hill. Hopefully, I’ll

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run into some survivors there. As I make my way to the armor hall, I equip myself with a titanium infused military vest to prevent getting fatally injured by the Mutes. Mutes is short for mutated animals. Then I buckle a water resistant weapon holster around my waist which holds a taser-gun to neutralize the enemy, and I also carry a small handgun on another holster. Then I strap on my acid resistant boots, and grab my water resistant bookbag. Before I exit my house I listen to what my AI unit has to say for today. AI WEATHER UNIT SCREEN: “Good Morning Wyn, it is currently 8:15 AM. Atmospheric depletion is currently at 23%, chances of acid rain is at 57%, humidity in the air is currently at 17%, GreenHouse gas emissions are currently at 11%, air pollution levels are currently mildly polluted at 35%, it is currently 83 degrees fahrenheit, radiation levels are safe at 5,000 millirems. Take precaution and wear protective equipment to prevent intoxication of air pollutants, acidic burns, radiation poisoning, and any other harmful substances.” As I set my AI unit to adventure mode it will automatically transfer itself to my AI watch and notify me if I am in close contact with radiation or any other danger I may not be aware of. As I head outside I see the oxygen preservation facility which produces oxygen daily from the plants down at our greenhouse. I see the environmentally friendly houses that have been renovated to protect this city within the dome. I see all the facilities we have to ensure that we purify the water we collect. As I make my way to the entrance of the city I am joined by Angel, Oscar, and Irene, they will accompany me on my mission to collect water down by Talon Hill. Oscar: “You got the bikes ready, Angel?” Angel: “Yeah, but I need to patch up Irene’s tire because the wheel made contact with acid a few days ago.” Oscar: “Alright. Hurry though, there’s a chance of acid rain today. And Talon Hill ain’t that close.” I haven’t been on a mission in a while due to the fact that I’ve been at home trying to find other survivors on the radio. As we make our way out of the city we strap on our air pollution masks which attach to an oxygen tank that we have installed on our bikes, and off we go. As I step outside I’m instantly in a new world. It’s hot but it’s not your usual warm summer feeling. It feels warm, but the air is heavy and smoggy, I can feel the thickness within the air. In the past, the soil used to be soft and pillowy, but as I take a few steps I feel the empty grittiness of the dirt. Its color is no longer a rich deep brown, but now it is a sad gray. Cracks within the earth fill the whole area. The trees are no longer trees, they are just rotting, forgotten pieces of wood. The sky no longer gives a beautiful light blue, now it gives a dark, foggy orange. Since the atmosphere is depleted in most areas, you can see holes in the sky. Through the holes there is just emptiness, a dark void is all that remains. The ambient of the Earth makes me sad in a way, since I’ve been stuck in the city for

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so long, I forgot about all the damage that was caused to our planet. I’m not in a familiar place anymore. Since my hometown was severely damaged I had to run. I had to run away from where I felt at home, where I felt complete. There were many factories where I lived, and sometimes the air would get mildly polluted and we had to wear protective face masks if we wanted to go outside. But one day it all went down. One of the reactors at a nuclear power plant exploded, and because there were so many factories nearby some of those factories exploded as well. Radiation, oil, toxic waste, and other pollutants sprayed all over the city, making it inhabitable. Since I wasn’t too close to the reactors at that time I was blessed to make it out alive. Angel: “You alright Wyn?” Wyn: “Yeah. Just thinking about what life was like before all this happened.” Angel: “If only those Obs opened their eyes earlier, maybe things wouldn’t have ended this way.” Wyn: “Yeah, I’ve tried getting their attention for years but nothing ever seemed to work. I made podcasts, I set up flyers at school, I made videos and posted them online, nothing seemed to grab anyone’s attention.” AI WATCH: “Warning: acid rain expected to fall around 11:45 PM. Seek shelter immediately.” It’s currently 9:00AM, we’ve been bicycling for about one hour and we should be reaching Talon Hill by around 9:30AM. As we are bicycling, we pass by stranded broken down factories and abandoned, empty cities that once flourished with life. Irene: “That city up ahead looks pretty suspicious, and it’s most likely infested with mutes.” Oscar: “We’ll be alright if we speed through and avoid them. But first we should approach the city slowly and listen if there are any nearby.” Angel: “You’re right but instead of speeding through right away I think we should walk through slowly to avoid attention, then if we get attacked or noticed, then we speed through.” Oscar: “You’re right. Let’s do it.” As we approach the infested city with precaution, we get our taser guns ready in case we get ambushed. We slowly stop pedaling and listen. The only sound present is the soft, warm breeze. The buildings are completely charred, most of the windows are blown out. There is debris everywhere and no sign of life. Smog fills the city making it hazy and limited to visibility. We slowly start making our way into the city keeping our ears and eyes on high alert. My feet stop moving, pausing for a second. I hear a faint, deep growl in the distance. Wyn: “Do you guys hear that?” Irene: “Yeah…” Oscar: “We’ll be alright, just keep moving.” As we keep walking, I feel a heavy presence behind me

Will you please allow us to enter?” Nicolas: “Sure, just make sure to stay behind us at all times.” As the two men turned around, I saw something that made my body stiff. “LIFE ON MARS” was engraved on the back of their military vests. Rage blazed through my veins and my heart began yelling a distressed cry. Because of these people before me, my home was destroyed. I’m going to find out what they are doing here. They open these huge steel gates and I cannot believe my eyes. As my eyes scan the area, I see signs that say: “Oxygen Preservation Center”; “Soil Restoration Project”; “Atmospheric Reparation Program.” I thought these people wanted to end life on Earth. Then why do their vests say “LIFE ON MARS”? Wyn: “Excuse me sir, why does your vest say “LIFE ON MARS”? Nicolas: “Oh, these vests are our old uniform, but we are working on making environmentally friendly vests that decrease air pollution.” Wyn: “So you guys aren’t with the Obs?” Nicolas: “We used to but we realized all the harm that factories were causing to the environment so now we are trying to go back on our mistakes. Though it seems impossible to return life back to Earth, you never know until you try. This is our mistake and we’re here to fix it.”

Ingrid M. Lisboa | No Life on Mars

forcing my body to turn around and look back. Through the smog I see a black shadow in the form of a big, bulky animal. I can’t tell what animal it is but it’s definitely been following us, and it’s surely a mute. Oscar notices I stopped and turns around. Everyone is suddenly paralyzed with fear. I see Oscar from the corner of my eye slowly pulling something out from his side and pointing it directly at the shadow. As I slowly turn to look at him, he has his pistol in his hand, ready to open fire. Then I slowly pull out my taser gun aiming it at the shadow too. The shadow starts getting closer and closer until we can finally see what it is. A huge black bear with big scabs and a drooping face. Its fur is sparse in some areas of its body revealing its gray bumpy skin. Its eyes are almost bulging out of its sockets and its teeth are way too long to fit into its mouth. Unfortunately, this is the result of animals drinking contaminated water. The bear lets out an angry roar and suddenly charges at us. When it’s in range, I shoot my taser gun multiple times electrocuting the bear. Wyn: “Guys let’s go!” Oscar quickly puts his gun back into his holster and we all get on our bikes and scram. We finally make it out of the city and continue on our route to Talon Hill. Irene: “That was a close one.” Oscar: “Sure was.” We pass by a sign that says “Welcome to Talon Hill” and we finally make it to the outskirts of the city. To reach the entrance of the city we have to go up and around a hill. You can see the city off the side of the hill, and I bet it would have looked more beautiful if there were trees swaying their lime green leaves and luscious grass covering the Earth. As we get closer to the entrance I notice two people standing guard at the entrance. Wyn: “Hey, there’s never been people standing guard here before has there?” Oscar: “No. That’s new around here, don’t let your guard down though.” As we slowly approach the guards, I notice that they are both males, probably in their mid 40’s, with black and red military vests. They both have holsters containing a small handgun, and what seems to be a type of taser gun with advanced modules attached to it. One of the men has a light complexion with brown, short straight hair, and big, round, hazel green eyes. I think he may be French, and his tag says Nicolas. The other man has a caramel complexion with jet black long wavy hair with some gray hairs sprouting here and there, and slanted brown eyes. His tag says Keanu. Their city looks modified and it appears more modernized, which is odd. Keanu: “Y’all ain’t from round here are ya.” Oscar: “No. But we came here to gather water. We’re from Vi–” Wyn: “Villton Hill, we just want to gather some water.

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+880-Home Janjabill Tahsin In the summer of 2019, there was a miscommunication between my family and my therapist. My family believed that therapy would no longer be beneficial to me, so they planned to send me to Bangladesh to help relieve my stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, Bangladesh worsened my mental health, and the people there were the largest contributing factor. I experienced the shift from America to Bangladesh in 2014 when I was nine years old. I don’t remember much of the trip, but I do remember the dust particles always present in the air and the accumulation of trash in roads, public squares, parks, and beaches. I’ve never seen a sky as blue as the one in the United States when I was in Bangladesh, and when I came back to visit, it was like nothing had ever changed. But I knew whose fault it was: it was the people. In my experience, I felt alienated in my parents’ own country. Every time I went outside, people would stare at me, constantly judging me and my every action; however, I did the same. The number of times I watched someone litter and walk away in the streets, or the lack of food safety taken from street food vendors, constantly disgusted me. The bathrooms were a nightmare for me because they were riddled with cockroaches crawling on the floor. Yet these people were okay with this, and they adapted to it as a lifestyle. I always turned to my parents for stories of what Bangladesh was like, and as they described it, it sounded nothing like the Bangladesh I experienced. The Bangladesh they experienced is a place called home, but the Bangladesh I experienced was brimming with people as the gap between the rich and poor was increasing every day. I saw hundreds of people walking through the congested streets begging for money, and I saw everyone else pretend not to notice that these same people were missing limbs, such as an arm or a leg, and they continued to limp in the hope of receiving Bangladeshi taka. This makes me consider what “home” means. To the people of Bangladesh, it was every day life, but when it came to me, they always told me not to trust anyone over there and that they were all liars who wanted to have an advantage over the next person. I could not even trust some sides of the family because my parents favored their sides over the others. However, what I saw in Bangladesh in the three months I was there in the summer does not equate to what my parents experienced growing up. The best answer given to the question, “Why do you love Bangladesh?” was that “It is their home” and that they saw something comforting in the lifestyle.

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In my opinion, though, when you become used to something bad, it’s hard to admit that you need a major life change. That change was America for my parents, and as the years went by, that interest in going back home has decreased because home has been redefined for them here in the United States. Unlike before, they have the freedom to express themselves and are on equal footing. No longer does my mom have to face discrimination for being a woman. No longer does she have to experience favoritism towards men by her family. But the lingering question is, “How did Bangladesh get here?” Fifty-one years ago, Bangladesh gained its independence on March 26, 1971. During those years, Bangladesh expelled tons of greenhouse gases because of a combination of old technology, weak environmental law and enforcement, and a lack of corporate responsibility. Water pollution due to the use of commercial pesticides is also a problem. One of the main reasons is the country’s hostile political beginnings and struggle for independence, which resulted in the country’s lack of development. The government has been trying to manage Dhaka well, but has not been as successful as expected. While Bangladesh’s population is majority Muslim, Hindus were singled out for persecution during the country’s war for independence from Pakistan and remain subject to discrimination. A distant memory I have is of one day, during the summer, when I was with my cousins in their apartments. There was a Hindu parade, and the hatred of Bengalis was everywhere. The crowd booed and shouted hateful things at the Hindus and demanded that they leave Bangladeshi territory by throwing anything they found off of the ground, including dirt, trash, and more. Even my cousins went as far as to call them “dirty.” I was upset with them all because of the Hindu friends I had in America, and I lectured them all that if they expected to immigrate to America one day, they would need to put the racial bias aside and understand that Hindus are no different than you, as we are both people at the end of the day. Unfortunately, they would show the same treatment to the LGBTQ+ community as the word “gay” is coined as an insult, but same-sex relationships are less talked about because the topic is still considered taboo over there. Years of hatred were built up among Bengalis. That hatred originated from war, and carried on as hatred towards the government. As long as the government continues its reign of power over Bengalis, the Bengali people’s mistrust of the government will worsen the environment, as the land we once fought for will replicate the societal unsympathetic attitude of the people. However, as hate builds, it is harder

Janjabill Tahsin | +880-Home

to control, and can become the only reason someone goes on living, being hateful. In my opinion, you can blame it on whatever; change does not come from hate, but from acceptance and being willing to accept help from others. The moment you can contain the hate from within, the sooner the country’s society can change.

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Missing You Aliyah Lateef “We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share.” –Maya Angelou There is no pain like losing a loved one. You think back on all the good memories to smile, laugh, and cry. The memories are the ever-lasting pictures and videos of all that you ever were. I will miss the smile on your face whenever you would find out good news. I will miss your laugh when you see something funny on television. The sparkle in your eyes showed me how much you admired the world. Your laugh was the only thing that could make me smile. Will I miss you? Yes, without a second thought. Just because you are gone does not mean I won’t remember every smile, every laugh, every tear, and every hug. You were my light, the one to bring me out of the darkness whenever I felt sad. We used to sit up late and listen to Hamilton and make fun of some of the lyrics. I love every second, minute, hour, and day that I spent with you. There will always be light when I think about all of the times we spent together, especially the way your nose crinkled up when you did not know what to watch or you were confused. My grandmother, the beautiful star, and the light of everyone’s world. The breeze from the wind smells like the roses you would plant on Sundays. Nature always knew when it had a caretaker, and you were her, you were our mother nature. You cared and grew us like it was a daily task. You will be missed among us. I love you, Grandmom.

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Scheyichbi Dylan Ayars

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Black River Emily Pierre We used to come down to the river To wash our faces Now, we come down to the river To wash ourselves away. We used to tell stories to one another As the fire crackled Now, we count the bodies of one another As the fire grows too strong The river that once supplied us Runs black, washing away our children Into the abyss The river rises with ambition. We used to dream of the sun and lemongrass We used to go out into the town to buy milk We used to dust our hands after a day’s work What do we do now? Now, our children hide Under the black of our nation Now, our silent cries ring out to nowhere Now, we are not a nation. Now, we wait for tomorrow. For a star to be born, and Save us from our own turmoil To save us from the black river.

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Can You Tell Me? Emily Pierre Chaos, Confusion, a Cluster Of all types of men, they confuse and scatter our soil Our land of high mountains? They’ve all lost their luster As the air becomes arid, we watch our ocean boil Taínos, Creoles, Blancs in a flux They disrupt our dreams, puzzle our audacity To profit off us and our land, this is the crux Their tongues wag with vigor, their eyes gloss with tenacity The grandfather looks forward, and so does the father and in turn the son But who is the one to look back in time and see? Who was the one to lose this battle, or was this battle won? How did this lovely tragedy come to be? Can you tell me?

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Remembering the Camden Riots Sofia Bass Exploring the atrocity that happened 51 years ago and how it impacts society today In the early 1900s, Camden was an economic and industrial powerhouse. Now, in 2022, it is one of the poorest cities in the nation. Once known for its booming industries, its reputation is now tarnished by crime and poverty. In the late 1800’s, Camden was facing an influx of immigrants looking to become working members of society. There was a large community of minorities in Camden at this time, including but not limited to Latinos and AfricanAmericans. As time went on, the township flourished economically. The population had exceeded 100,000 in 1920, and Camden became known as “A second Brooklyn.” This success would not last long, for a tragedy would soon change everything. There were two deadly race riots in Camden occurring in both September of 1969 and August of 1971. The riot of 1969 is one of the most fatal race riots ever, yet it is rarely mentioned or talked about and left out of history books and news outlets. The riot had a significant impact on businesses and resulted in a majority of people leaving Camden. Two of the victims included a young girl and a police officer; their killer was never found. The riot had begun a day after Labor Day when a rumor had spread that a young black girl was beaten by a white cop. In support, around 300 people from various streets and blocks gathered at Cooper University Hospital. For two days, the city was in chaos, and no one had been charged with the killing of two victims from the riot. Rose McDonald (15) and police officer Rand J Chandler. This situation has significantly weakened Camden economically, and police brutality has become more prevalent in the present day. After these events, there had been a calm that had lasted for around two years, which led to 1971. Rafael Rodriguez Gonzoles was a Puerto Rican and a former Camden resident. On July 3rd, Rafael was beaten to death by white police officers. Six days after this incident had taken place, a group of Puerto Rican leaders spoke about the fact that this assault was uncalled for and unprovoked. The leaders had called for the officers to be suspended; however, no action was taken against them. Two weeks after the beating, the two officers had been charged but stayed on the job. On August 20th, there were 50 fires, 87 reported injuries, and three people shot. All of the events led to a curfew being implemented by the mayor. Overall, these efforts were successful and led to the prosecution of the two officers.

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Camden was never fully recovered from the riots. The events caused an increase in poverty and decreased its once flourishing economy. Now Camden consists of a 27% white population, and the rest consist of Black and Hispanic people. Less than 70% of people in Camden have received a high school education. Overall, Camden has a poverty rate of 33.6%. This means over on-third of Camden’s population is living in poverty. ~ How have the Camden Riots impacted the environment and/or land? After the Camden riots, a change could be seen in the job opportunities and quality of the environment. If one were to drive around Camden, one would see dilapidated houses and neighborhoods in distress. To provide job opportunities, factories were added, which ended up doing more harm than good. Camden has faced environmental issues, including pollution, the spillage of hazardous substances, noise pollution, septic systems, and the inspections of public areas. The Camden Department of Environmental Protection had permitted the St. Lawrence Cement Company to operate a blast furnace slag grinding facility in the neighborhood. Camden was supposed to receive more jobs for the unemployed, but this company would only provide 15 jobs. These operations produce over 70,000 diesel truck trips, and these trucks release 100 tons of pollutants per year. This factory would be located near the waterfront of Camden, which is home to primarily minority communities. These areas would be heavily polluted, causing a plethora of side effects such as cancer and illnesses from inhaling toxic chemicals and materials. Camden’s air quality usually is ‘fair’ and acceptable but can cause issues for a community compromised and predisposed with health issues. Camden was never able to recover from the events of the riots because they were never given a chance. Providing jobs that expose its workers to toxic chemicals released into the air is not okay. Not only is it endangering the workers, but also the community. Putting these factories specifically in minority communities does not allow society to reset and have sustainability. If one were to drive around Camden, they would not see pristine houses. Instead, they would see worn-down houses surrounded by dry grass. When driving on the roads you would face rough lands with never-ending pot-holes. ~

Camden has recently had many foundations and investors interested in bettering the community. Activists and community members devoted to the improvement of Camden have worked to create blueprints that will help Camden once again prosper. There was a success with a stimulus bill that would attract new investments. However, it caused controversy among the residents. Local residents fought against the idea of gentrification, and this bill had denied the issues that had occurred in Camden, including the riots. Although from the outside Camden seems to be a place that still holds high crime rates with much crime, poverty, and murder, members of the Camden community see it going through a renaissance. In 2013 Camden had dissolved and stopped funding its Police. This allowed them to rebuild after the previous strategies, and Camden became a model for other communities across the nation. Camden’s previous attempts to defund the police were held back by the restrictive union contracts and the culture of the police department. Jose Cordero, a former New York Police officer, created the blueprint for Camden’s reform. By abolishing the police department Camden could find a way around the police union in order to hold bad cops responsible and get more good cops on the street. “This meant Camden’s police were trained to de-escalate, and only to use force as a last resort,” said Nauman and Chaffin for The Financial Times. “The cops also were required to spend more time interacting with the community, walking their beats, instead of driving around in cars, and even hosting neighborhood barbecues,” according to Howard Gillette, Jr., author of Camden After the Fall. All of these efforts led to a decrease in crime and violence. ~

Knowing what Camden once was and the success it once had. Work should be done to get Camden back in a state of economic and social prosperity. Camden needs help to become the best city it can be. Who is willing to acknowledge the past to scale the future?

Sofia Bass | Remembering the Camden Riots

How is Camden working to recover?

How do you improve a neglected town? Camden needs to improve and create a better environment for the people that live there, and the generations after. However, there is no way for a town to improve if it is neglected and ignored. For Camden to rebuild and improve, it needs to be given opportunities and funding. Instead of focusing on introducing cement companies, Camden should focus on repairing roads and providing environmentally friendly jobs, jobs that would help both the community and the members living there. Rebuilding Camden after the riots requires providing competitive education, STEM and STEAM programs, clean air, and safety for residents. Instead of ignoring the past, the Camden Riots should be included in the textbooks to learn from the past, and acknowledge that not much has changed.

Sources: Nauman, B., & Chaffin, J. (2020, June 15). Camden: The US city that sacked its police and started again: Free to read. Financial Times. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from Gillette, H. (2005). Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City. University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Their Reason for Rain Khalaya Jefferson The morning darkness cold and foggy in the distance The percent of rain changing each minute 50%... 60%... 30% They walk unprepared for the weather a broke umbrella with two holes on the top that slightly lets the rain wet their forehead almost every five steps the rain drops drip and drip it makes a path that flows down the road that eventually makes a river a crying river full of the tears of my ancestors, your ancestors, our ancestors the tears make a pattern of sounds and unity as the path leads to a beautiful rainbow view where the sun sets to reveal all the wet footsteps from the ones who occupy this cold planet Earth some destroying it, mistreating it, denying it and wanting to leave it Others repairing it, sheltering it, embracing it, and loving it Then there’s them walking unprepared but don’t care because they know all about the place they call home and have come so close to the beauty of nature they could walk barefooted, hungry and unprepared, and still feel safe

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Land of the Free Dekari Harrell “We are not apart from nature. We are a part of nature, and to betray nature is to betray us. To save nature is to save us.” - Prince Ea Devin knew he was in trouble. The party for the football team had lasted longer than he’d anticipated. Well, that was only partially true. Devin knew what time the party was supposed to end, just like he knew what time his mother had told him to be home, but who left a party early, especially a good one? It was better to ask for forgiveness, right? It was a foggy night, nothing new in the Pine Barrens. The fog reminded Devin of smoke, of slivers of white floating in front of him and breaking through the pitch-black darkness. Devin didn’t mind the fog or the dark or the trees. He liked the quiet of the land around him, especially at night. He’d roll his windows down, open the sunroof, and blast Yot Club as the trees swayed and whispered around him. There was something about the drive, something about being by himself on those dark, foggy roads that usually put him at ease. Usually. As Devin neared the main road to his house, he saw that it was blocked off by a line of orange cones. The signs behind the cones read “Construction Ahead” and “Detour.” Devin pulled close to the cones and looked around. There was no arrow on the detour sign indicating where he should go. If he turned around and headed back toward the party to take a different route, he’d be even later than he was now, and his mother had already called five times. Devin tapped the screen of his phone and opened his GPS. He knew the area, he had lived there most of his life, but he didn’t know all of the back roads, and the Pine Barrens had a lot of them. Most were safe, but there were a few that everyone in town avoided. There had been rumors over the years of kids going missing, mainly kids from the football, basketball, and track teams. No one in Devin’s friend group knew for sure if the rumors were true. The kids who had supposedly disappeared were much older and had attended Devin’s high school years before he started there, but there was one girl in Devin’s class whose brother had disappeared a couple of years ago. She never talked about him or confirmed how he disappeared, but everyone knew something bad had happened. The GPS beeped, and an alternate route popped onto his phone. Devin didn’t recognize the road, which meant he wasn’t sure if it was one of the safe ones or not. As he considered his options, his mother called two more times. He turned the car around, drove half a mile, and turned

right down the backroad. This road, like all the others, was dark, but Devin swore for some reason that it seemed almost darker and foggier and creepier. The next time his mother called, he knew he had to answer. “What took you so long to answer the phone?” “I’m sorry, Mom, I wasn’t paying attention to the phone. What did you need?” “Where are you? I said to be home at 11:00 and it’s 11:23.” “My bad, Mom. The main road was blocked off, so I had to take one of the backroads.” “Which road? You know how dangerous–” Before his mother could finish her sentence, Devin’s phone shut off. He tapped at the screen, but nothing happened. It was dead. “Where’s my charger?” He turned on the light in his car and started to reach around the front with one hand as he drove with the other. It was only a second, but that was all it took. He took his eyes off the road to look for his charger, and when he looked back at the road, something bolted in front of his car. Devin swerved to avoid it, and his car went off the road and into a ditch. He hadn’t been driving that fast, but it didn’t matter. There was no way he was getting his car out of a ditch without help. Now with a dead phone and a crashed car, he was stranded. The stories about the missing kids had never really scared Devin. Maybe because he’d always questioned if they were true or if the rumors were just new versions of the Jersey Devil stories he’d heard since he was a child. But with no car, no phone, and nothing around him but the fog, darkness, and silence, his heart jumped a little. Plus, he had no idea what had bolted across the road. He convinced himself that it was probably a deer, but if it wasn’t, whatever it was was still out there. Devin slowly opened his car door and stepped outside. The car wasn’t as badly damaged as he thought it would be, almost as if he’d landed in the softest part of the ditch, if that was even possible. He took a step and immediately fell against the car, a sharp pain in his right knee. He hadn’t realized he’d hit his knee when the car crashed, but he definitely felt it now. Devin knew that his only chance of making it off the road was to walk, but in his condition, he wasn’t sure if it was possible. The thought of waiting in the hopes that someone would drive down the road didn’t seem the safest option to him either, but he didn’t have much choice in the matter. About five minutes went by before he was startled by loud rustling in the trees. Devin looked around frantically. Whatever was out there was blocked by the trees and the darkness. He sat back inside the car and

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began to scramble around, searching for anything that could provide light. He opened his glove compartment and began rummaging around in it until he found a flashlight. He took the flashlight, pulled himself out of the car, and started shining it into the trees, the fog kicking the light back at him. As he was about to turn away, he heard the same rustling noise again, but this time he could see what was making the noise. It was big, too big to be human, but Devin swore he saw what looked like human arms and legs. The body was dark, blue-black, almost the same color as the sky. But what scared Devin the most were the eyes. They were bright white as they darted through the trees like they were searching for something. Or someone, because as soon as the eyes moved toward the direction of the road, the direction where Devin was leaning against the car, they turned a deep red. “Oh my God,” Devin whispered. He shut off the flashlight and moved as fast as he could to the other side of the car. The fog seemed to thicken a bit, almost as if it was hiding both Devin and the car. He listened for the sound of the trees moving, but he heard nothing. He peeked over the hood of the car, but the eyes had disappeared. At this point Devin was unsettled; he was stranded with whatever he had just seen in the woods, and he only had one good leg. Waiting around wasn’t a good idea, so he tried his luck walking. The pain in his knee wasn’t as intense, but he definitely wasn’t as mobile as he needed to be. He limped to the back of his car and opened his trunk to see if there was anything back there he could use to protect himself. To the side of his trunk was a toolbox. He opened it, saw a few different-sized wrenches in it, and grabbed the biggest one. Devin closed the trunk, and although he knew he needed to move, he was reluctant, especially since he wasn’t sure which direction to go or where the thing in the woods had gone. The breeze began to pick up around him. It hadn’t been windy earlier that evening, but it was now, and it felt like it was pushing him forward, pushing him away from the car and toward the woods on the opposite side of the road. Devin felt lost and scared. The pitch-black woods around him held uncertainties, but nothing was more uncertain than what he had seen in the woods and what was going to happen next if he didn’t get out of there. He was stranded with barely any way to protect himself and a banged-up knee. He had to move. He knew it, and it seemed the wind knew it too. Devin limped along the edge of the road, the wind firm against his back, pushing him into the trees. But after walking for a while, it felt as if he had made no progress. Everything around him was completely silent, except for the occasional shifting of branches. As he moved deeper into the woods, he saw what looked like an orange light blinking in the distance. He stopped, unsure if it was a house or business or streetlight, or if it was whatever had been in the woods before. Going off into the woods wasn’t the smartest idea, but his

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knee was hurting more and more, and Devin realized he was desperate. As he ventured deeper into the woods, it seemed as if the light was getting farther and farther. Eventually, he got frustrated and turned around, deciding it was best to go back to the car. That was when Devin realized how deep he had ventured into the woods and that he had no idea where he was. He turned back around, and the same light that once held hope was now gone. Feeling helpless, he sat down on the ground and closed his eyes. “Help me! Please!” he shouted. He couldn’t explain what happened next, but things began moving around him. It seemed like the land around him had heard him and reacted. The wind started to pick up, the trees started shaking, and everything around him seemed to come to life. He started to feel as if the land was telling him to keep going, so he got up and began walking blindly. But the land wasn’t the only thing that had heard his cries. There was a growling noise that seemed to be all around him. The same silence that had unsettled Devin before was now something he wished for. Devin looked to his left and saw the same white eyes appear in the woods, yards from where he was standing. Devin was frozen with shock as the eyes started to creep closer and closer to him, but now they were no longer white; they were red again and moving quickly toward him. Devin tried his best to run, but his knee wasn’t having it. He limped and hopped through the woods, weaving in and out of the trees that were the only barrier between him and whatever was behind him. Devin didn’t know if he was going deeper into the woods or getting closer to safety. He took one wrong step, putting too much weight on his right leg, and ended up falling. His flashlight and the wrench both fell out of his hands, sliding in opposite directions. The light to the flashlight went out, and Devin started patting around the ground, trying to find it. As he searched, his hand touched something wet on the ground. He was confused but couldn’t see anything, so he continued searching for his flashlight until his hand landed on it. As he picked it up and turned it on, he saw a stream. He remembered learning that following a stream downhill can lead to civilization, so he decided to test his luck. Devin slowly started to get up when he heard the growling noise again. Struck with fear and adrenaline, he moved toward the stream, his foot hitting something on the ground. He looked down and saw a thick branch from one of the trees lying on the ground. It was long enough to use as a cane, and Devin snatched it up and began following the stream as fast as he could. The pain was catching up to Devin, but every time he tried to stop to lean against a tree, the wind would hit against his back, pushing him forward. Nothing around him was allowing him to stay stationary. He had to keep moving. Devin saw the orange light again. This time it wasn’t moving away from him; it was moving closer. He could hear

Dekari Harrell | Land of the Free

the growling behind him, so he knew the orange light wasn’t the monster. The hope he had when he first saw the light was coming back, and he allowed himself to believe, for a moment, that he was getting closer and closer to freedom. Devin neared what seemed to be the exit to the woods when he was stopped by several fallen trees blocking his path. Seeing that there was no way around them, Devin knew he had to climb over them to get out of the woods. “This can’t be happening right now,” he said. He felt there was no way he was going to be able to get over the trees and make it home, but he had no other choice than to try because whatever was chasing him was still coming. He dropped his stick and placed the flashlight in his mouth. He tried a few times to climb the branches, but the pain in his knee was almost unbearable. He heard the monster moving closer, and he could see out of his peripheral the glow of the red eyes. Devin bit on his lip as hard as he could and tried again. He cried out from the pain, and again, it seemed as if the land heard him. Devin started to climb the branches, and every time he grabbed and placed his foot on another branch, it felt as if the branches were assisting him, pushing him, lifting him, guiding him. Devin pulled himself up over the pile and fell to the ground. He looked back toward the pile of fallen trees, and he could hear the monster on the other side. He slid away from the trees, expecting the monster to jump over them, but it didn’t. It was as if the trees were a gate that it couldn’t cross. Devin heard the monster as it turned and disappeared into the woods. Devin stumbled to his feet and looked around. He hadn’t realized how close he was to home, but he could see his street in the distance. He limped toward his street, toward home, and fell onto the lawn in front of his house, his body resting on the cool grass. Around him, the trees swayed and whispered, and the fog thinned. “Thank you,” he said. Behind him, the front door opened, and he heard his mother’s strained voice. “What happened? What are you doing in the yard? And where is your car?” Devin sighed. “She’s never going to believe this.”

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The Story of the Earth on Her Deathbed Lillian Drueding Part I: Fire In the green and everlasting woodland, The Tree opens up her delicate arms To capture the Fire in her timber hands. Entranced by his light gaze and simple charm His destructive nature she soon forgets So she doesn’t notice his red flames creeping. From her leaves to trunk, her composure sweats His Red is crawling; she’s rooted, weeping But is his demolition essential? She nurtures his Flame with her debris In return her fate is consequential. His beginning of Life blazes our Tree And all her innocence smolders away. The Flame must extinguish to save her soul, But is she already too far burned Gray? Too many flames have lost their control, And they raze their forgotten devotion. Thus is the story of Man and the Earth. Part II: Water Her Waves who once gently greeted the Shore Find themselves submerging the yellow Sand. Her Ice who kept polar bears afloat for Hours now leave them distressed, treading for land. She cries and her waves enclose overtop; Didn’t her tears once evaporate all thirst? Now we’re all sinking, but she can’t stop; Our negligence has left us all cursed. It has been far too late for far too long. The Shore’s words bubble for the final time Her calls for help turn into the Wave’s song. She drowns us for her tears and for our crimes. But what about those who plunge as we do? Realize it is beyond ourselves, we kill, Beyond even our dear Earth’s Green and Blue. Her sorrows will deluge all things until— Unless something finally will change. Thus is the story of the Sea as she rises.

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Part III: Air The Cloud is sick, beyond a wet rain cloud. Her ailment is not snow, not sleet, not hail, No one saw that her cough isn’t a thundercloud Or how each lingering wheeze makes her frail. The frog in her throat is a charcoal Gray, And it has the rancid, foul stench of Man. As the Cloud clutches her delicate airway, The rest of the world gasps up what they can. She tries to breathe the Gray out of her lungs, And she isn’t the only one overcast. The Gray seeps its way down all of our tongues. “Please just save our Air,” was all that she asked. If no one hears, it’s too little too late. Yes, we killed her, but we killed ourselves too. Will Man choose to simply meet his Fate and Inhale the thick smog in its dark Gray hue? “Make a choice,” the Cloud whispers as she chokes. Thus is the story of Air’s pollution. Part IV: Earth The tired Earth is crying on her Gray deathbed, Weeping for the Flame; his Red destruction, Crying for the Sea and the floods she bled, Bellowing for the Air; health’s abduction. Mourning the youth she once had and then lost, But most of all she roars for what Man made, What his greedy industrialism had cost. His Fire was to the guiltless Tree a blade, His melting heat, His car fumes, his— She paused, trying to breathe her smoky air, To uncloud her brain from it’s sooty whizz, To realize blame would get her nowhere. Her bark was not what ignited her, But no one can put out fire with more fire. Resilience may only prolong and defer, But inevitably she will soon tire. Please save her—before Gray is all that’s left. Thus is the story of Earth on hospice.

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About the Artists Dylan Ayars is a photographer and is currently enrolled in Cumberland County Technical Education Center for Studio Production and Broadcasting. He is a member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe of South New Jersey. As a young student, he enjoys creative photography, videography, writing, and journalism. Leonard D. Harmon is a member of the Nanticoke and Lenape tribes of Delaware and New Jersey. He was born in 1983 in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Oak Orchard, Delaware and the Washington, DC area. He was named after his uncle Leonard A. Harmon, an artist who has pieces in the Heard Museum and private collections. He attended school at Johnson & Whales University in Charleston, South Carolina, learning the culinary arts, but is mostly self taught. Leonard comes from a long line of artists and craftsmen and carries on their traditions. He has always been involved in creative endeavors, whether it was practicing what he learned in culinary school, dancing with The Bronx Boys Rocking Crew, celebrating his culture through traditional crafts and dance, or traveling across the country as a D.J. Performing shows. His artistic style is contemporary mixed media. He uses his experiences to create art in a way to show his perspectives on life, our shared experiences, and things that are important to him. When asked what inspires him, Leonard said, “I create because I have to. It’s ingrained in me, it’s a form of self expression. I’ve always been drawn to creative expression. Now I’m channeling all that into my mixed media art, it’s how I use my voice.” Leonard has cultural pieces in the Camden Historical Society Museum and the Nanticoke Indian Museum. He recently showed more contemporary pieces at 21 C Hotel Museum in Cincinnati, OH as a part of the Indigenous People’s day exhibit. There was also an article written about him in the National Park Service website. Leonard currently resides on the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians reservation in Siletz, OR where he is creating his newest body of work.

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Contributors Sofia Bass is an emerging writer from Cherry Hill in South Jersey. She is very active in her school’s extracurricular activities and sports. When she isn’t in school or writing, she enjoys reading, painting, and enjoying nature. Lola Cooke is a current junior at Haddonfield Memorial High School. She loves reading and writing, especially concerning the environment or other subjects she cares deeply about. She enjoys many activities pertaining to the arts such as theater, and she plans to pursue creative writing in college. Lillian Drueding is currently a junior at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, where she is a member of the Inklings Literary Magazine. In her free time, she is on the school track team and plays travel softball. Dekari Harrell lives in Browns Mills, New Jersey. He is an AVID/Honors student at Pemberton Township High School. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, video games, and being around friends and family. One unique thing about him is that he has dreams to visit Bora Bora one day, and he wants to swim with dolphins. Khalaya Jefferson lives in Lawnside, New Jersey where she writes short stories and poetry. She enjoys rainy days and cloudy weather because it helps with inspiration for her pieces and thought process. Other things that inspire Khalaya’s writing are music, incense, reading fiction books, and DIY projects. Aliyah Lateef is a student at Camden High School. She lives in Camden, New Jersey with her sister, cousins, and aunt. Her favorite activities are writing, singing, and helping younger children. She is seventeen years old, about to turn eighteen, and she would like to pursue a career in writing or English. Ingrid M. Lisboa is a Junior at LEAP Academy Charter school in Camden, New Jersey. This is her first time joining a writing program as well as her first time getting the opportunity to potentially publish a story of her own. Ingrid has always enjoyed writing fictional stories as a kid and creating worlds where everything is magical and fun. She believes words are powerful and they have the ability to change others. LéLani Mendez is currently a high school student in her freshman year, studying topics from world cultures, to geometry, to the body systems. She aims to be an anatomist, but also finds love for the fine art of writing. She is known for pouring her heart and soul into all of her works, in and out of school, and no matter the task. Liliana Nemorio-Cruz is a student who recently picked up writing as a hobby by the recommendation of a teacher. She has started working with Mighty Writers as a youth worker, and uses media as a muse for her writing. Emily Pierre is currently a junior enrolled at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, who aspires to continue writing literature throughout college and far beyond that. She is an emotional student who scribes her passions of world peace and worldly gratitude in and out of the classroom. She writes for the hope of Haiti, her family’s birthplace, that someday that nation will be free from strife. When she is not writing, Emily enjoys her free time studying nature and playing her bass guitar. Janjabill Tahsin is currently a student at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, where she is involved in various writingrelated clubs, such as her school’s newspaper, The Holly Spirit, and Literary Magazine. She has published articles in The Holly Spirit and a short story in Inklings. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering to make a difference in the community. She dreams of a future in which all voices are heard.

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Sofia Bass


Lola Cooke Lillian Drueding Dekari Harrell Khalaya Jefferson Aliyah Lateef Ingrid M. Lisboa LéLani Mendez Liliana Nemorio-Cruz Emily Pierre Janjabill Tahsin

with artwork by Dylan Ayars Leonard D. Harmon

About This Issue This issue is a collaboration between the editors of Glassworks magazine and South New Jersey students from LEAP Academy University Charter School, Mighty Writers, Pemberton Township High School, & Rancocas Valley Regional High School.

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