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The Zone’s Teen Art & Literary Magazine

winter 2020


“Oceans” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar, 12

Winter 2020 Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dohrmann Creative Writing Specialist from Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Guest Teen Editor Uriel Solis Thanks to Russell Mindich and family, and to the staff of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital

Co-Executive Editors Diane Rode Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy Director Asari Beale Executive Director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative

To view this issue online visit: mountsinai.org/childlife Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital 1184 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029 212-241-6797

Founding Editor Russell Mindich Art Directors Christina Auriemma Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator Jaclyn Craig Facility Dog Coordinator and Creative Arts Therapist

Teachers & Writers Collaborative 540 President Street, 3rd floor Brooklyn, NY 11215 212-691-6590 twc.org

Audio Director Todd O’Connor Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor Original Design Melissa Alvey Former Art Therapy Intern

Interested in contributing to our next issue of SURGE?


Send creative writing to Sarah Dohrmann, our Editor-in-Chief: sarah.dohrmann@mountsinai.org

Be sure to check out our new audio files featured in this issue! Throughout this issue you’ll hear patients read their poetry, play music or conduct interviews.

How? There are 3 ways! 1. Use your smart phone’s camera to scan the QR codes featured on a page. 2. Download any QR code reading app and scan the QR codes­by using your phone’s camera. 3. Search the links in any internet browser.

Try this QR code to hear this issue’s entire audio playlist!

For art and audio, contact Christina Auriemma, our Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator: christina.auriemma@mountsinai.org 1


Table of Contents 1

SURGE Winter 2020 audio playlist


Table of Contents

3 “Rainbow Magic” by Kayla Griffith

11 “Los Campos de la Repúplica Dominicana” by Kiamaly Cabrera-Ureña (Spanish) 12 “Rainbow” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar 13 “Haves and Have-Nots” by Anonymous


Letter from Sarah, Editor-in-Chief

14 Artwork by Lauren Burkes-Moore


Letter from Uriel, Guest Teen Editor

14 “Dear Patient” by Lauren Burkes-Moore

5 “Uriel with Diane Rode in KZTV Studio” audio

16 Artwork by Kiamaly CabreraUreña


Mixed media by Taloni Williams


“Inside Me Is a Lion with Courage” by Trejar Brown

17 “How to Stay Strong While Hospitalized” by Nia Taylor


18 “Ode to Myself” by Grismely Cedeño (English)

“Hey What’s Up Man” audio by Brian Chaclan-Tzic

19 “Oda a mi Mismo” by Grismely Cedeño (Spanish)


“Business” by Meng Yao Jiang


“Sunset” by Paulina Dominguez

20 “Night” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar 20 “The Soul” by Simran Dhodi

10 Artwork by Olivia Fulton 10 “The Fields of the Dominican Republic” by Kiamaly CabreraUreña (English)


22 “Remember” by Uriel Solis 23 “Mountains” by Bryant Caltitla

24 Uriel’s Q&A with Lu Borges

36 Interview with Ezequiel (“Zeke”) Contreras by Todd O’Connor

26 “Road Trip” by Kayla Gumbs

36 “Zeke’s Tone” audio by Ezequiel Contreras

26 “The Day I Disappear” by Wang Hao 28 “LOVE” by Carlen Tineo

38 “The Withs and Withouts” by Ryan Hochstaedter

29 “Self-Generosity” by Jordan Brewer

39 Artwork by Lauren Burkes-Moore 40 Artwork by Christopher Garcia

29 Artwork by Taloni Williams

41 “The Things I’ve Seen” by Kaylah Williams

30 “Positive Colors” by Kimberly Barbecho 31 “Unconscious Thoughts of O’neil” by O’neil Ogilvie 32 “Sandy” by Mya Robinson 33 “A Letter to Sandy” by Mya Robinson 33 “A Letter to Sandy” audio by Mya Robinson 34 “Dear Cancer” by Fanny Aucacama 35 “Rainbow Magic” by Kayla Griffith 35 “Life in the Hospital” by Orville Francis

“Rainbow Magic” by Kayla Griffith, 11


Dear Readers, Welcome to the second collaborative publication between the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W), a New York City literary arts nonprofit that seeks to educate the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for young people and adults. The French Cubist painter once said: “Art is a wound turned into light.” Likewise, writing offers a window into the soul. To write helps us to understand ourselves, our feelings, our circumstances, and our lives in ways that no other art form can. When the teen writers and artists in these pages share their artwork and poetry, they are connecting not only to themselves and their personal struggles but also to you. To create is a loving act of connection as much as one of self-empowerment. Special thanks to Diane Rode, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Director, and Asari Beale, the Executive Director of T&W, for their continued support and guidance as the partnership between Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and T&W continues! Sarah Dohrmann Editor-in-Chief


Welcome to the Winter 2020 Edition of SURGE! SURGE has been a great experience for me because I got to share my poems with other people. But it also allowed me to learn from others. Reading the poems from other kids at the hospital really inspired me to become a better person and to understand how important writing is and the difference it can make in a person’s life. For me, writing has given me many opportunities and helped me to discover new interests. But more importantly, it has given me a new voice where I can express myself without feeling judged. I hope poetry can continue to inspire people to not be scared of sharing their stories, because writing and poetry can also become your best friend with whom you can fight all of your problems—a friend you can tell everything and he will never judge you. Uriel Solis Guest Teen Editor Listen to Uriel share his writing with Diane Rode in the KZTV studio! tinyurl.com/Uriel-Interview


Mixed media by Taloni Williams, 11 6

Inside Me Is a Lion with Courage Trejar Brown, 12

Inside me is a lion because I have courage at certain points when I have to complete something or do something or when people try to belittle me, it gives me courage When people say that I can’t do things, she’s the courageous animal that comes out, depending on what they said or how they said it She protects me She protects her pride, her king, she takes charge when it comes to family and friends If something is done to my sister, I get really defensive—any of my family members and I try to keep my family together with other family members because that’s what family is supposed to do Listen here to c’s song Brian Chaclan-Tzi Man”! “Hey What’s Up



Business Meng Yao Jiang, 17

People going to work

Like birds finding nests

They’re busy doing different jobs

Sewing and working at desks

They’re busy as many birds flying in the sky Some birds going north, some going west I’m the little bird watching them work and fly I feel lonely but I’m interested in watching them I hope I will be one of them I will not work at a desk or sew I will be a cop to protect weakness I hope little birds will grow into becoming


“Sunset” by Paulina Dominguez, 16


The Fields of the Dominican Republic Kiamaly Cabrera-Ureña, 18 I love the fields of the Dominican Republic best You can walk on the grass without shoes and go barefooted You can feel the area around you – the warmth You can see hummingbirds flying around – so many! You can smell the sweet Angel’s Trumpets trees – A smell so strong that you can smell them a half hour away from the field, all the way to my house My mom used to have a little house on the field and I loved it because it was quiet Me, only 14, surrounded by peace

Artwork by Olivia Fulton, 12 10

Los Campos de la República Dominicana Kiamaly Cabrera-Ureña, 18 Me encantan los campos de la República Dominicana Puedes caminar sobre la hierba sin zapatos e ir descalzo Puedes sentir el área a tu alrededor - el calor Puedes ver colibríes volando, ¡tantos! Puedes oler los dulces árboles de las trompetas del ángel Un olor tan fuerte que puedes olerlos a media hora de distancia Desde el campo, hasta mi casa Mi mamá solía tener una casita en el campo y me encantó porque estaba tranquilo Yo, solo 14, rodeado de paz


“Rainbow” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar, 12 12

Haves and Have-Nots Anonymous, 17

With beautiful eyes I see the world Without a tumor is how I want to be With good health Without worries With a family that loves me Without hurt pain fighting or lies With a voice that everyone can hear & understand Without having to shout With good manners Without fussing or fighting With a big bright smile Without socks on my feet With a hairless head


Dear Patient Lauren Burkes-Moore, 16

Artwork by Lauren Burkes-Moore, 16


As boring as it seems, As tiring as it seems, As annoying as it may be, Life as a patient has its pros and cons, And so you will see. Lots of questions, lots of checking, lots of worrying Between those lines. You’ll probably get used to the concerned looks Of the adults you’ll see. The food is okay, if you like it then stay, Be creative like a tree trying many different Things. It may look like you’re playing with your Food but please, you can be fancy too. Needles, needles, needles I know you hate being poked and plied. Your left arm, now right?!?! Then you counted and they’ve stuck you FIVE times! It’s too early for this, it’s only 4 in the morning. The brights are burning your eyes, I know you feel like a vampire at this time. Let’s go to some positive things: The arts, the music, the creative arts! Forget about the worried faces and create some art. Scribble, doodle, dance to some music. Let your mind be at rest and busy at the same time! So dear patient, don’t worry too much, don’t stress Or become sad. Hospitals aren’t too bad, you just have to mix up Your positive attitude and see the bright side. From your bubbly girl, Lauren Burkes-Moore


Artwork by Kiamaly Cabrera-UreĂąa, 17


How to Stay Strong While Hospitalized Nia Taylor, 16

Stir three ounces of hope (feel free to add more) Add slime, beads, and lots of glitter Brainstorm ways to save the earth You can make posters to encourage others To pick up litter Add a pinch of love & care Or play a game of bingo if you dare The Zone is a great place to make friends & share Mix up some activities & I’ll see you there! Allow the mixture of art and creativity to bake Until Strength makes you feel replenished & new I’m starting to feel stronger & I hope you do too!


Ode to Myself

Grismely Cedeño, 15

Grismely, you are as kind as The breeze in the heat You are crazy –

Always happy

All the time I love everything about you I hope for you healing from Diabetes and that you’ll be Somebody who can be Recognized as a Marine who helps a lot here In the U.S., just like your cousin


Oda a mi mismo Grismely Cedeño, 15

Grismely, eres tan amable como La brisa en el calor. Eres loca— Siempre feliz Todo el tiempo Amo todo de tí Espero tu sanación de La diabetes y que estarás Alguien que pueda ser Reconocida como una Infante de marina que ayuda mucho aquí En los EE.UU., al igual que su primo


THE SOUL Simran Dhodi, 13

“Night” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar, 12


Is the soul a shadow on the wall? Does it get lonely and angry? Does it smell like regret or does it smell like the joy of a carnival? Is it the voice whispering in my brain? Does my soul wish to escape me? Or has it already? Maybe there is no such thing as a soul. Or maybe the soul is only made up of memories. I think that the soul is an idea, and a presence, and a million other things all at once. In the end, are we the shadows on the wall? A reflection of our soul? Do we think for ourselves, or does the soul make our decisions? The soul is like the universe, starting as a single point, and exploding into everything it is now: a million things all at once.


Remember Uriel Solis, 17

Remember that even if the last leaf on the options tree falls off, I will always hold on to you. I want you to know that even if the river of people running behind your house dries up, you can always come to me when you are thirsty. If one day you are lost and you feel that the maze of problems deep inside your heart has no way out, I left my footprints. I want you to always remember that if the city that never sleeps finally turn off all its lights and you can’t even find your own shadow, I will shine stronger than the stars to guide you on the right path. Now I want you to record this very well in your head: If you ever come to think that there is no reason to go on and you feel that you no longer have the strength and decide to give up, remember that because of you I found my strength and my reason to continue.


“Mountains” by Bryant Caltitla, 18


Guest Teen Editor

Uriel’s Q&A with

Lu Borges

Patient Technology and Media Coordinator KidZone TV Production Supervisor Uriel: So tell me a little bit about yourself. Lu: My job here is to help all the Child Life staff use technology tools to do their job. I also work directly with the kids using 3-D scanning, the robot, or even gaming. I also work in the studio where I oversee everything happening there, including our live shows, and make sure it’s a place to have fun and explore the environment for patients and families. Uriel: How did everything start for you here? Lu: My interest started in college when I studied art and sculpture. I realized how art wasn’t just a personal outlet to express the self, or a way to make a living, but that art was another language that everyone has. It wasn’t until I was exposed to the therapeutic way of art-making that I understood it was a way of communicating and that it could become a language for children. I really got interested in using this creative skill as a way to let people help themselves. In college I volunteered in hospitals and ultimately ended up here—first as a student, volunteer, weekend staff, and now I’ve been working full-time for 20 years. Uriel: What’s your favorite memory or moment here? Lu: I have a lot, but the earliest memory that impacted me was my second week here. My supervisor sent me to work with a child in the dialysis unit and I planned to take art supplies, but I got lost because it’s such a big


hospital. I kept seeing people doing things in the hospital, moving patients, fixing things, and when I finally got to where I was working with the child for a play session, I realized that there is so much happening all over the hospital but everything is meant to help people’s experience, making sure the lights are working, the rooms are cleaned. Getting lost that day, I found my way around and found what I was supposed to be doing. Uriel: And so that’s how you’ve stayed? Lu: I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else. But another thing I really enjoy about being in New York is really special, I get to meet people of so many cultures and languages and help families who speak Spanish connect with the hospital by to helping translate for families. I feel like I can be part of that connection and it’s one of my favorite parts about working here. Uriel: Do you feel like the work you do influences the life of the kids? Does it help them change how they remember the time they spent here? Lu: I hope so. I think it happens in two layers. When they’re here they can have fun, explore and create, and use all the activities to help them cope and get to the next step in their lives. I hope when they’re at their next step, home or next phase, I hope all of that is inside of them so they actually have all those tools internally, the memories of the activities. Uriel: So when you’re not working, what do you like to do? Lu: Sleeping… [laughs] but I also have a young family, helping with school things, spending time as a family, taking care of my garden. Really helps me focus on something that is very special, something I can watch grow. Uriel: Thanks for having me here. Lu: It was so nice to meet you and talk with you.


The Day I Disappear Wang Hao, 17

“Road Trip” by Kayla Gumbs, 15 26

I close the door Up to my road The sun hasn’t awakened yet Because it’s sad to see me go The traffic light isn’t red yet He will keep going and never care The leaf is still falling down It is dancing and making fun The car runs then slows down Finally my tears are dropping Across the street Across the crowded Across the grasses A message spreads It says Remember me



Carlen Tineo, 17

Love, love lives in every part of the world It has a house that it calls the heart It can be shared with everyone in this world It makes you sad, painful, but mostly happy But it will be always there for you Love likes to eat sweet things The myth says that we can find love in Paris But it travels around the world Love likes to play with people’s feelings Love likes to make people feel happy And make people die for each other Love is the most beautiful song for the heart, the melody that drives the smile every moment. “Showing love you can make people happy”


Self-Generosity Jordan Brewer, 16 I love my hands: long and large and good for playing guitar—and pretty strong, I guess. My lips look cool because no one in my family has lips like mine.

Artwork by Taloni Williams, 11

I love my legs; they’re strong and carry me when I don’t think I can carry myself. I love my lungs, still trooping even after all of this, and my brain that allows me to formulate my own thoughts and beliefs. Dear body, I have been annoyed by you but now I am accepting that we’re a team.



“Positive Colors� by Kimberly Barbecho, 18

Unconscious Thoughts of O’neil O’neil Ogilvie, 16

I dream of a future I am musical I hurt a lot people From now on, I won’t forgive anyone else I used to play the bass in church I thought I was more than I am I forget nothing I regret saying a lot of things – like opening up about feelings I give my help, my support, my love, and anything they really need at the moment to my loved ones I understand a lot of things people have been through and I can help them out of it I love my best friend Latalia I will strive for greatness I crave pizza with really hot wings from Wingstop and a burger with bacon-cheese fries I won’t turn my back on a friend I fear a lot of things – but not death 31

“Sandy” by Mya Robinson, 20 32

A Letter to Sandy Mya Robinson, 20

Sandy makes me happy

every night and every day.

She likes to go out to the park so she can run and play. Dogs are woman’s best friend. They are loyal to you until the very end. They do so much for us, but we don’t do as much for them. I want to thank God for putting Sandy in my life, ’cuz with her there’s nothing but light!

“A Letter to Sandy,” Mya Robinson, 20




M ya

read her p oem !

Dear Cancer Fanny Aucacama, 18

How can you be so cruel? How can you hurt me so bad? Is it easy for you to take lives? How can’t you realize the damage you make In my heart? How can you expand so quick? You came without asking As if you own that person’s life Why don’t you realize the suffering of the family? Dear Cancer, would you please just disappear? Would you please give my aunt one more chance? You are making me feel without hope All I want to do is run Maybe with time, I will be able to heal


Life in the Hospital

Orville Francis, 13 In the sick bed

Wondering about my real bed Stuck in wires Losing blood every 6 hours Struggling to go to the bathroom Feeling hungry through the night Worrying if I will eat the food I love All I could do was lay and pray The next day, God performs a miracle Preparing myself to leave here soon All the worrying and wondering goes away Next time I don’t want to live A life in the hospital

“Rainbow Magic” by Kayla Griffith, 11


Interview with

Ezequiel (“Zeke”) Contreras, 13 by Todd O’Connor, Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor

Todd: What instrument do you play? Zeke: I play drums. Todd: Any other instruments? Zeke: Um, usually sometimes guitar. Yeah, just drums and guitar. Todd: And what do you enjoy most about playing or making music? Zeke: The beat. And how it sounds. Making it all flow, making it all be on the right track. Todd: And what do you mean by “making it be on the right track”? Zeke: ’Cause when someone sings, then you want to have it balanced on the right track. You don’t want to have it like, on the wrong track. Todd: It sounds like you’re speaking to some of your experiences recording music in a studio.

us inal m g i r o to Lis ten by Zeke!


“Zeke’s Tone” by Ezequiel Contreras, 13 tinyurl.com/Ezequiel-Contreras


Zeke: Mm hmm. Todd: Do you want to say a little bit about what that’s like — what’s it like working in a music studio? Zeke: It’s very good. It’s very cool. It’s amazing actually… you’re just having fun, just doing what you want to do. Whether singing, whether rapping, choosing the beats… play drums, doing this or that, or you can just chill and get coffee or something. Todd: If you were going on a long journey and you could only take one instrument with you, what would it be? Zeke: The drums. Definitely the drums. Todd: How did you get into drumming? Zeke: It all started…with my big brother. My big older brother, Joseph, he was the one who taught me how to play the drums. Yeah…that’s how it all started. But my music and stuff, my passion is music. Todd: And what kinds of musical groups have you played with? Zeke: The Squad. Todd: Who’s in the Squad and what instruments are in the Squad? Zeke: They got all the instruments. Todd: What kind of music does The Squad make? Zeke: Every music. Our own music and stuff. As a matter of fact, when I get out of here tomorrow, I’m going to go on Friday to the studio. ’Cause tomorrow I’m going to rest, but on Friday I’ll be out to the studio because I have to finish that song I was making. [Zeke softly sings a bit of his song while tapping the beat] Todd: Is there anything you want the readers to know about this improvisation [“Zeke’s Tone”]? Zeke: No, just to enjoy. 37

The Withs and Withouts Ryan Hochstaedter, 18

With fishing skills With brown hair, brown eyes Without ileostomy With open tissue and eventually a scar With anxiety that’s constant, and long days Without school for the time being Without graduation With need of a miracle to go to the ceremony With hope With a great mother and family With love Without an appetite With Seton Hall in the fall With a love of sports Without physical strength But with mental strength to endure


Artwork by Lauren Burkes-Moore, 16


Artwork by Christopher Garcia, 15


The Things I’ve Seen Kaylah Williams, 15

I believe in the living I believe that dreams can never fade I’ve seen love fail I’ve seen even the innocent be guilty But I’ve never seen the hope of a dream Slip away I believe in the circle of life And that life can never end I’ve seen people kill others Just because they didn’t achieve their dreams I believe when you have someone by your side, You can do anything


“Writing has given me a new voice where I can express myself without feeling judged.” —Uriel Solis,xlii Guest Teen Editor

SURGE 2020 Issue # 1 Winter  

SURGE: The Child Life Zone's Teen Art and Literary Magazine

SURGE 2020 Issue # 1 Winter  

SURGE: The Child Life Zone's Teen Art and Literary Magazine

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