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Table of Contents Art

Peering...........................................................................................................................3 My Old Chair..................................................................................................................4 Untitled..........................................................................................................................5 Ireland in Silence............................................................................................................6 In the Garden.................................................................................................................7

Poetry To My Altair...................................................................................................................8 The Book Plague............................................................................................................9 Winter’s Quarry............................................................................................................ 11 Barcelona.......................................................................................................................13 Seven Days of Angels.....................................................................................................15 College Life Path of Stepping Stones................................................................................................17 Pop Culture Cooking Relationships...................................................................................................21 Short Story Birthday in Ecuador......................................................................................................24 Living with the Enemy..................................................................................................31 In an Emerald................................................................................................................34 Finding my Wings.........................................................................................................42 Political Detroit’s Depression......................................................................................................51 Autobiography Stuck in the Middle........................................................................................................57 In My Grandmother’s Kitchen......................................................................................61

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“Peering� By Elisabeta Pindic University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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“My Old Chair” By Ann Rummelhoff University of Wisconsin, Madison

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“Untitled� By Emma Hanley University of California, Berkeley

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“Ireland in Silence� By Julie Nelson Robert Morris University

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“In the Garden� Stephanie Butcher University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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To My Altair By Catherine T. Nguyen University of California, Los Angeles An allegorical poem based on the myth of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl I On summer nights, a river flows, Silver through darkened skies. See there, Altair and Vega fair, Their stars on either side.

II My daughter, he’s of mortal kind. Your love cannot go far. His life will end, with it his love, And you with empty scars.

Behind these stars is a love story That deeply moves the heart. Of lovers who see one another Yet still remain apart.

My heart I have given him, father. My will takes not it back. Death and time can never part us. Certain I am of that.

Altair was a handsome farm boy Whose charm lay in the flute. A man of music and of letters, His mind quick and acute.

Your Highness, though I am but mortal, My love remains undying. All manner of trials I’ll endure Or face eternity trying.

Evening came; the day takes leave, The night serenity lends. Then a maiden of immortal kind From Heaven’s halls descends.

So let it be as you both proclaim. A test I will put forth. A river I place between you two, Impervious its course.

Fair Vega whom Heaven adores Was skilled in weaving arts. Embroidery her hands perfect With silk pure as her heart.

Prove to me that love endures, That faithfulness stays true. And in the completeness of time, This ordeal I’ll remove.

Each night they met in secret But little did they know, The Jade King watched from high above, A frown creasing his brow.

Yet, even the Jade King was saddened To give lovers such harsh trial. Thus a bridge one day each summer Unites the two a while.

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The Book Plague By Elisabeta Pindic University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Books! Books! Everywhere books!

No need to go far for one simple look. A pleasure indeed you shall find Why, you’ll be half-way through in no time! At home, the library, or school Not to wander would make ye a fool! Go out, read your favorite style, Pages are richer than that remote control dial. See the epidemic of pervasive books!  Contagious, thick and rugged in looks. Observe the novelty, syntax, diction of each All set out just for you to beseech.  Symptoms and side effects, you can be assured, Never proved so creatively secured! Regard the myriad of words breeding one tale, Now heed the many letters all eyes come to hail.  How many words can one author compose? How many more letters do you suppose? Bound in every work are characters and plot,  The prospects are endless--how does one opt? To far away lands of fantasy and heroes you’ll soar,

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A world of imagination knocks right on your door.  Kings and elves and lovers and fiends, All beget a fancy now to your dreams.  Sail away with fantasy, fiction, or folk Or learn (be learned of the) with the Balkans, Bourbons, and the Baroque! Come, marvel at the art of this life wonder, Never has there been such a worldwide hunger!

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Winter’s Quarry By Nicholas Planty University of Rochester

True cold bites the softest cheek

Stinging winds desire a taste, as well Tight boots constrict chilled feet sinking into white quicksand Beautiful, yet deadly, the gleaming barrel Brown, petrified maps lead past clinging tree mushrooms Bound to their forest home, as I am to mine A twig snaps Thunder responds Pheasants flutter The white void consumes all but the fire of fallen needles

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Freezing, aching hands become frosted beggars Nippy, painful ears demand surrender The rabbit rests warm in his burrow

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Barcelona By Rylee Tomlinson Mississippi State University

Dancer of the Sardana,

Home to the Catalans, Beautiful, humid, happening city They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have heard of the horrible Castilian kings; And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: yes it is true, for I have seen the tortures endured by the people from King Joan And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: yes, the Ciutadella was not kind to Catalans. And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this great city, And give them back the sneer and say to them: Come and show me another city with heads lifted high, singing, dancing the Sardana, Happy to be free of anarchists, POUM, Castilian kings, Felipe, and Franco Fierce as a war affected child, a sly, cunning fox, poor, hungry, captured, recovered, succeeding, failing, success!

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Under the Spanish sun, million population, gangsters, Laughing the all-knowing laugh of a wise man Watching over children. Proud to be the Dancer of the Sardana, Home to the Catalans, successful at last. Barcelonans.

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Seven Days of Angels By Erlina Ortiz Temple University

On the First day The sky is opening up a trick Brilliant white falling softly Angels tumbling from their beds On the Second day The morning glow and glory Shine on the flat fresh surface Of huddled sleeping angels On the Third day They begin to dance away Their acrobatics twirl towers On the still cold sidewalks On the Fourth day They are tired from their Trespasses into this tumultuous World, they’re wet, they wilt

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On the Fifth day Each flake is purely stained Delicate piles of disaster The skin is smooth and hard On the Sixth day The world has wearied them No fun, time to dance back Invisible they fly away On the Seventh day We are glad they are gone Slippery dances at our feet Still we look to the sky and wonder Will they return?

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Path of Stepping Stones By Megan McSwain Middle Tennessee State University “I’d like to be an actor,” said a black boy with a southern accent. “That’s my goal.” He and two others were discussing their dream careers. I couldn’t contribute to the conversation. I didn’t know what my dream was. It was the fall semester of 2007. I still hadn’t declared a major. And I had one general education class left to take. We were all waiting in the advising office. Quickly the three other students disappeared through a maze of cubicles with their separate advisors.

I looked to my left and saw a religious propaganda pamphlet. “Even Mr. Nice Guy sins, but if you repent you can be born again!” it read. “God makes a

contract with no loopholes.” I was to meet Carla Hatfield. She was the one in charge of advising “upper-level” students, or those who put off declaring a major for as long as they could. She was going to help me decide my classes, my future. I was 30 minutes early for my appointment. I knew I should have brought Henry David Thoreau’s Walden along to help pass the time. Instead, Mr. Nice Guy and I were left to wait. A small, boisterous woman came in and started talking to some of the cubicle-concealed

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people. She wore a sweater that threatened to swallow her. Then she turned in my direction. “Let’s go for a walk,” she said. It wasn’t until we were out the door and following the blue arrows that lined the walls to her office when I realized she was Carla Hatfield. I had seen her photo when looking up her contact information. She seemed to look different in person. We walked into another advising office. It was small. Only three or four cubicles could fit in there. Carla’s desk was cluttered with pictures of children, and lined with papers and tennis paraphernalia. She pulled up an ACT career wheel on the computer. It looked like the color wheels I used to use in art class. I sat behind her, waiting for the page to load. Her tennis ball keychain was swaying as it dangled from one of the file cabinets. The career wheel had pie-shaped slices that, if clicked, would direct to various occupations based on a personality characteristic. Point and click. Point and click. I’d pick an occupation that sounded interesting or like something I didn’t think could actually be a job. Carla would then inquire about my picking careers on the wheel. “What made you want to click on that?” she’d say after every job description was read. Her eyes were dark. It was hard to tell the iris from the pupil. “I was just curious,” I’d say. That would never suffice. She liked to find some deeper meaning to my choices, to discover my interests. She liked using her psychobabble on me. She boasted about taking a couple of psychology courses in college, but that doesn’t constitute her as the next Freud.

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What about criminologist? she asked. No, but I think graphology is interesting. Ooh, what’s that? The study of handwriting. She wrote “graphology” on a small pink papered notepad. She had picked this up a couple of times before. She was probably shrinking me again. Time ran out of our advising session. I had to make another appointment with her so I could hopefully have classes to take for the next semester. Registration was soon approaching. With the enthusiasm of a scientist on the edge of a cure for cancer, she told me we would venture into the career wheel once more when we met again. We would find a place for me in the world of majors. I left her with a skeptical smile and exited the doors. I hoped she was right. A couple of days later I faced the career wheel once again. We had narrowed the wheel down to one section: creative. “What would you label yourself, if you had to?” Carla asked. Not creative. It seems almost pompous to declare yourself as creative, almost as if you’re saying “genius” accurately describes you. Click, click, click. Pick, pick, pick. More slices from the career pie had been eaten. We had ruled out any kind of hands-on creativity, like actual art. In my middle school art class, my art projects never turned out how I had visualized. When my squirrel-shaped teapot turned out looking more like a bear, I realized art was not my forte.

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Carla and I honed in on language. The search for my interests was becoming more specific, more promising, more real. “What is it you like about language?” she asked. Could she even talk without question marks? “Do you like foreign languages, English?” she prodded. “I like reading,” I said. She stared. “And writing, I guess.” I couldn’t be sure, but I thought the sudden jolt of light in her eyes might have made the iris discernible. Foreign languages were interesting, but not something I wanted to pursue. English was fine but nettled with formal grammar and sentence structure. That left journalism to stand alone. Carla encouraged me to “feel out” journalism. “You can build on the skills you currently have with writing,” she said, smiling. “Just think of these journalism courses as stepping stones.” Stepping stones. Perhaps it was just a way to ease me out of her office forever. I wasn’t complaining. I wouldn’t be taking just one measly English class for the next semester. I would have a regular class schedule and a major picked out. I had a path. Equipped with stones.

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Cooking Relationships By Grace Kiyabu Cornell University

Television programs, photography, and internet websites pertaining to food receive close

attention in today’s society where new styles and methods of preparation are constantly created. However, novels cannot be forgotten as they also uniquely integrate food to spice their plots. The preparation of food plays crucial roles in the development of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. In “Sexy”, Lahiri incorporates food and more importantly cooking into the relationship between Miranda and her lover, Dev. Cooking, both its absence and presence, reflects Miranda’s desire for connections while highlighting her carelessness and guilt.

The preparation of food parallels Miranda’s desire to build a relationship. Miranda and Dev’s

affair pushes Miranda to satisfy Dev, which she does by going “to a deli and [buying] a baguette and little containers of things Dev liked to eat, like picked herring, and potato salad, and tortes of pesto and mascarpone cheese” (93). In buying the food for Dev, Miranda reveals her strong desire to cultivate a relationship with him, despite the moral consequences due to his marital status. Miranda always buys the food instead of cooking homemade dishes, indicating the superficiality of the relationship. Like ready-made food, the product of the relationship offers immediate satisfaction. Just as she does not spend the time and effort cooking the food, Miranda does not build her relationship with Dev gradually.

Miranda’s intense desire for instant gratification leads to carelessness. From the preparation

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of junk food and the fact that “after lunch they made love, on sheets covered with crumbs” (94), Miranda’s carelessness emerges. This routine persists week after week, and the lack of care defines their relationship. Like Miranda showing no concern whether she makes love with Dev on crumb covered sheets, there is no concern for consequences of their affair. However, as the story proceeds, food, which symbolized carelessness in the beginning, also symbolizes guilt. Miranda eats lunch with Laxmi at a new Indian restaurant where Laxmi discusses the status quo of her cousin’s marriage. Similar to Dev, Laxmi’s cousin’s husband also has an extramarital affair. Moreover, when Laxmi describes her cousin’s situation to Miranda, it makes Miranda “feel the way she once felt in college, when she and her boyfriend at the time had walked away from a crowded house of pancakes without paying for their food” (97). Miranda’s guilt begins at this Indian restaurant, as she associates the guilt with the stolen pancakes. There is a clear metaphor between the stolen pancakes and Dev, whom she is “stealing” from his wife. Miranda’s realization of her immorality and slow revival of moral consciousness, triggered by this guilt which food directly symbolizes, terminates the relationship between her and Dev. Towards the end, when Dev routinely calls Miranda before coming to see her, Miranda is watching a cooking show. Still paying attention to the preparation of food where “a woman pointed to a row of apples, explaining which were best for baking” (109), Miranda tells Dev that he should not come over. This is the first time in the story that cooking directly appears. Miranda watching this cooking show while rejecting Dev thus indicates how her desire for a superficial relationship no longer exists. Cooking requires several processes, including creating the recipe and carefully choosing and putting the ingredients together. Similarly, the growth of a healthy relationship

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requires time and care. Miranda seeks to change her way of life through pursuing a relationship that is more morally conscientious and allows for the actual preparation of food rather than cultivating a relationship that is solely product based.

Lahiri uses cooking to illustrate a clear change in the kind of relationship Miranda desires.

Miranda evolves from being a careless lover who seeks instant gratification to a more ethical person who desires the discovery of a more meaningful relationship. Since “Sexy” ends with the final scene of Miranda’s new engagement to cooking, there is indubitable hope that Miranda will continue carefully cooking her own “recipe” of what a worthwhile relationship is for her: the perfect blend. Works Cited Lahiri, Jhumpa. “Sexy.” Interpreter of Maladies. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. 83- 110.

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Birthday in Ecuador by Cintia Roman Rice University No matter what, they always carried it with them. “So are you coming to the game on Friday?” my younger sister, Paulina, asks my mom at dinner. “Sí...ehh…¿cuando empieza el juego?” my mother inquires. “It’s at seven, remember? Wait, pa-lina,” I turn to my sister, “or is that when we have to be there?” “No, we get there at six-thirty.” “Who are they playing this time?” my dad asks excitedly. “SACS- so it should be pretty exciting.” “Oh cool! ¿Ya echaste sal en el arroz?” My father, changing the subject, asks my mother. “¿Todavía quieres más??” she asks, laughing at his usual request for more salt.

As a child, I was accustomed to these conversations of a jumbled language- English and

Spanish as one. It never occurred to me that they were in actuality two distinct spoken words. I realized this when my friends did not understand what my mom was saying when she talked to me. Or maybe it was in school when I thought learning the colors in Spanish was dumb, and the kids who struggled must have been slow. Either way, it was natural to me.

Our life at home is unique to say the least; Spanglish at its finest. My mom talks to us

in Spanish, but we answer in English, and my dad talks to us in English, but my parents talk to each other in Spanish- only sometimes it will be in English too. Confusing, I know. But it’s

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comfortable.

My parents always carried it with them.

Living in Texas has been a relatively smooth transition for my parents due to the high

percentage of Hispanics, especially in our hometown of San Antonio. Or rather, my hometown. I am not quite sure if this would be the same term my parents would choose. My parents were both born and raised in Ecuador- a small, beautiful country in South America, toes dipped in the warm Pacific Ocean, sitting nestled in between its bigger brothers, Colombia and Peru. This is where you would find the rest of my family.

Visiting Ecuador has always been an exciting experience for me, but there was always a

degree of discomfort when it came to the communication. I would not call it a language barrier per se because I understood Spanish completely. Actually speaking in Spanish was the issue, and conversely, my family there had trouble speaking English.

For this reason, there was a distance, beyond just the physical. Of course, I knew they

were my family, but they were not like my family. At times, it became hard to form that bond that you see other families have with their relatives. My cousins did not live just around the block, and my grandparents were not just a phone call away. And I never thought twice about it. On grandparent’s day in elementary school, I never felt left out. I never felt like I was missing out by not spending time making arts and crafts with my grandmother or drinking chocolate milk from the small cartons with my grandfather. It was just understood.

I knew I had all these cousins, aunts and uncles- all these people who had seen me growing

up whether through the occasional visit or through e-mailed photographs. All these people who filled up those lines on the “Draw your family tree” project that say “grandparent”, “cousin”, “aunt”, “uncle.” They were names on a line, faces in a box. I did not know them. Ecuador was

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there, the United States was here. The space between our homes, I felt, defined the space between our potential relationships.

For Christmas of 1996, we took a visit to Ecuador. For some reason I can never remember

the plane rides or the lines in airports, which I am sure were quite long and tedious. I do remember, however, the heat. It was December, and it was hot. Leaving the airport, I looked curiously at the hoards of people pressing sweaty palms against the airport doors waiting impatiently for their passengers to come out. Dark skin, dark hair and dark eyes- a physical appearance quite similar to my own, yet they remained foreign. I took a deep breath of this sweat infused air to prepare for the two weeks ahead of meeting new people (all family of course) and gluing to the sides of my sisters.

We were in the house of my tía, my dad’s only sister, on the day before my birthday. My

Tía María (a fun name to say, might I add) had the most peculiar home. The house itself was split in half inside, with each half inhabited by a different family. The most peculiar part about it was that the two halves were mirror images of one another. If you were to look from the front yard into the two houses, you would see two twin staircases side by side in the middle, with only a wall serving as their partition. Further in, you would see twin long hallways that stretch far back into twin living rooms, followed by twin glass sliding doors leading into twin backyards. From the second floor, you can see the pool appropriated to your side, but a simple glance to the right would reveal its counterpart pool in the neighbor’s backyard. The house was like the womb of a mother, holding her two children warm inside. Unfortunately, I cannot recall ever meeting the counterpart child. I only knew our side, the left side.

It was my seventh birthday. I probably was having some sort of mid-adolescence crisis

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because I can remember my dad sitting me down at the table in this unique home to talk about why turning seven should be exciting for me. “Do you know how important the number seven is?” He asked, sipping on his cup of coffee, a sweet and powerful scent that reminded me of my own home. “Not really,” I replied, attempting to look older with my similar mug. My mug of hot chocolate, that is.

I have never been one to like coffee. The taste just never seemed pleasing unless it was

doused in cream and sugar. And then it was not so much coffee as it was a cream and sugar drink, with a hint of coffee for flavor. But coffee was such a pertinent piece of our family’s home, and apparently, my tía’s home as well. The scent, however, is rich and tantalizing. The smell of coffee was the smell of my dad peacefully getting ready to go to work. It was the smell of a carefree Saturday morning where my mom lets us all sleep in, only to wake us with the music of Sarah Brightman blasting throughout the house. It is such a grownup thing- drinking coffee. All my life I have seen those who drink coffee as parents, teachers and people in commercials. Even today, people will offer me a cup, and offended, I think, “How old do you think I am?”

But on this day, in the left side of this house, I was only seven, and coffee was not my

concern. My concern was why should this birthday be any better than my other birthdays? Why should I feel like its my special day, when I am not even in a place I can call home? “How many letters make up the keys of a piano?” “A, b, c, d, e, f, g,” I count on my fingers, “…seven!” “How many continents are there in the world?” “Seven!...I think.” “Yes, and how many days in the week are there?” “Seven, duh.”

He went on to list that there were seven ancient world wonders, seven deadly sins, and how

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all opposite sides of a dice will add up to seven. A smile spread wide across my face- I was seven. I felt as if I might as well have been crowned queen of the world. Perhaps turning seven in Ecuador could be just as good as any other birthday in the United States.

A visit from my family to their native country was a special occasion. A special occasion that

required the attention of my parents from morning to night, bouncing from family home to family home, meal after meal after meal. Later on in the week, on one particular night, my parents went out for dinner, leaving my siblings and me under the watch of our grandparents.

As the night grew darker, the earth began to come alive. Winds stretched their arms wide and

joined hands as they swayed in a vigorous dance over the city. The sky was a disco ball of sporadic light, and the thunder turned up its deep bass.

I have always been terrified of storms, especially during the nighttime. I flat out refuse to

talk on the phone or take showers, for fear of being electrocuted or stranded in a dark shower with shampoo in my eyes. My dad would say, “It’s just the angels bowling in heaven.” My mom would add, “Yes, and God has to take pictures of them too. But when they lose, sometimes the angels will cry. That’s all it is.”

However, on this night, they weren’t there beside me to chase away my fear with silly stories. I

hated that I could not talk to them and that I was left not knowing when they would return. I thought about finding my sisters, but instead of interrupting their TV viewing session, I opted to sit in a room and try to preoccupy myself. The windows began to shake and clatter with each slap of the rain. Strange shadows darkened an already dimly lit room. What made it all worse was the fact that I was in an unfamiliar place. Yes, it was the house of my grandparents, but it was still unfamiliar to me. I did not feel that certainty that if all went wrong, at least I knew where I was, where I lived, and where to go.

It was getting late, and my parents were still not back. If I did not have them to hold on to, who

else was left to keep me safe? It was hard not to think about it, and soon enough, I began to cry in

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helplessness. Abuelito Alfonso- my grandfather- walked in wondering why this little rain (to him, at least) would be so frightful.

He was wearing these long pants that reached high across his midsection, tucking in a

light button-down shirt, open at the collar to let his skin breathe in the hot air circulating stiffly in the room. His hair was a light gray forming an upside down smile across the back of his head, delicately combed back in a style reminiscent of his youth in Spain. He addressed me in Spanish to not be so afraid. I struggled to translate his words quickly in my head, on account of the added colloquial lisp I was unaccustomed to hearing in my own home. He sat down next to me and put his arm around my shoulder and spoke his words of comfort. I can still smell his powerful scenta strong mix of cigarette smoke and a day’s worth of arduous sweat slowly evaporating from the rough hairs on his arms. As he spoke, I watched the flashes of light illuminate the pale walls and listened to the deep rumbles that ran richly through a familiar path.

“Ay mijita, no llores,” he implored. I could not help but allow a smile to escape the corners

of my quivering lips.

I have always loved how Spanish can make a word more meaningful with a simple ending.

It was not hija, as in daughter, nor was it mi hija, as in my daughter. It was mij-ITA [me-he-ta], an affection word that could roughly be the equivalent to “honey”, “dear”, or “my dear little child.” It was that little ending that added a touch of love, a touch of familial connection. He addressed me in a way my parents did; he spoke as they spoke.

He was not just anyone else’s abuelo- he was my own, my abuelito. His warm grasp around

my calming body was so familiar, like he had been hugging me everyday of my life. He was holding me as my parents held me. He was holding me because he was my family, not another cutout face glued hastily to a poster. I supposed being in that room with that rainstorm was actually no different from being in my parent’s room with our Texas rain.

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My parents had always carried Ecuador with them.

In that moment, I did not care I was not in San Antonio. I did not care that my birthday

song would not end with a “Happy Birthday”, but with a “Cumpleaños feliz.” My family tree felt thicker, stronger. Perhaps distance does not mean separation.

It was then when the broken rain became a smooth shower; the room was no longer

dim, but only a soft glow; the heat blew warmth. And a faint scent of coffee seeped from my abuelito’s breath.

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Living with the Enemy By Elizabeth Linn California State University, Northridge Journal Entry - 1 January, 1942 A Country under Occupation is a sad, depressing and dismal state of affairs at best, but at the turn of a new year, there is a poignant sense of despondency mixed with a faint glimmer of hope that someone somewhere will come and save us from this ever present darkness that has taken over our beloved land. Before they came there were promises of protection, aid and a swift defeat of the German army – in fact, many felt the Germans were “no real threat to Holland” – my how wrong they were! Certainly it would seem to me - and I, dear diary, am no military strategist - that Hitler’s swift occupation of much of the continent of Europe would certainly suggest the possibility of a real threat. Days, weeks, months and years have gone by since the day they arrived and it seems the allied forces are no closer to defeating them than the day they first arrived.

Everyone I know is living in a constant state of fear. Food is scarce now and it seems that

all of the supplies that come are kept to feed the German soldiers - forgive me for saying this, but it makes me sick to think that there are people starving – children starving – and all that food is being wasted on men who are no better than animals. God knows it would be better to use the food to feed the animals, and then at least we would have some livestock that was healthy enough

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to breed. Heavens listen to me go on. If anyone ever found these pages I am afraid it would be off to the Commandant for me, my dear diary.

Just when you think you have things figured out, they throw something new at you

– curfews change at the drop of a hat; one day you are allowed books, the next you are not; sometimes music is ok, the next a certain composer is on the banned list – especially if he or she is Jewish or of Jewish descent. Keen attention must been paid to these rules, for the consequences of breaking them are disproportionate to the crime for one and horrific for lack of a more descriptive word.

Let me give you an example that has broken my heart. My nephew plays the piano, fairly

reasonably. Now, he was giving a small concert for a group of friends – nothing big or fancy, just a small gathering of people. On a whim, he started to play the anthem of our beloved Country. People were moved beyond words! Quiet reverence; tears of pride and a renewing of human spirit flowed through the room as his finger flowed across the keys. Right as the piece hit the crescendo (I am not musical but I think that is what Nephew had said one time), in burst a whole regiment of soldiers – guns primed, shouting “Raus! Raus!” (I swear that is one of the only words they know – well that and “Juden Raus” or “Verbotten”). Shots ricocheted around the wooden rafters as the soldiers barreled their way through the crowd.

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Those who resisted were beaten, dragged to the street or shot. Unbending and unyielding

to cries for mercy or pity the Germans are cold, automatons – obeying mindless orders and killing at a whim. Vast amounts of lives have been lost since they came here; mostly our good friends who happen to be Jewish, those who help them in the underground, those who are different in any way or do not wish to conform to the cruelty being forced upon us – for that you risk you life. Wilhelm, my nephew, is in Germany now – apparently he is in one of those labor camps – we have not had word officially but have heard through the underground network that he was taken there on one of the transports that left a week ago – Christmas Day – can you imagine they even transport prisoners on Christmas!

“Xenophobia” – that is what I have decided I have – it is racial intolerance – I do not think that describes me or my feelings towards the Germans actually, although it is something that the Nazis have managed to take to a whole new level and meaning of the word. Yet I fear for myself that in all of my resistance and in all of my struggle to understand this extremely dark side of human nature we are exposed to on a daily basis, part of this darkness is reflected in my own heart and resonates through my being to the extent that I comply to their demands and live within their rules. “Zeig Heil” – that is their cry – I wonder if they know who it is they are praising?

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In an Emerald By Kaitlyn Davis Johns Hopkins University Anna pulled aside curtains of long branches, lightly moving the twigs to reveal more jade like stalks. While playing on her porch, she’d heard a door open and feet scuffle, noises from the townhouse next door, and decided to explore. The tall, dense. leafy wall of hedges blocked the neighbor’s house from her view. But she hadn’t meant to go so far in; she was just curious and decided to push a few stalks to the side, trying only to catch a glimpse. Nothing could be seen, so she kept inching forward until she was standing in the middle of a green sea with no notion of how to get out. She felt as though she were trapped in an emerald gem: in a beautiful prison. She kept moving forward, pushing and pulling against the branches. Tiny twigs scratched across her face, leaves entangled themselves in her hair, and the ribbons of her dress trailed behind her, trapped in the foliage. Her curiosity had given way to a desire to escape and Anna spurred forwards. She could hear the crackling of breaking twigs and the munching of her shoes stomping on leaves, and she fought on. Finally, Anna reached her hand out and met no more pesky twigs. Excited, she jumped through the opening and caught her ankle on a branch. Twisting in midair, she landed in wet grass with a thud, dirtying her dress beyond repair. She looked up at the clear blue sky above her and a smile stretched across her face; she was glad to be in the open air again. After standing up, she

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began to clean herself off by pulling at the little stems in her hair and plucking the bush leaves that had attached themselves to her knotted brown tresses. “Excuse me.” Anna straightened immediately and turned slowly towards the sound. A boy stood there, with his weight resting on one leg and his head cocked inquisitively to the side. He had shaggy black hair, a deep brown skin tone and next to his feet stood a stack of pristine white paper, ruffling slightly in the breeze and held down by a rock. He was holding one bright piece, luminous in the sunlight, and it was tightly folded together in the shape of a triangle. “What are you doing?” Anna stepped a little closer to him. She had never been so alone with a boy, her mother was usually around, and in school, she only played with her friends. During summer, the hedges of her vacation home usually held her trapped. “What am I doing?” he asked Anna while looking at her strangely. “Yes…with that paper?” She was hesitant to talk with him, wondering if she should just fight her way back through the hedge. “Making paper airplanes,” he said, while slowly creasing the sheet with his thumb. He didn’t ask why she had come, and Anna didn’t know what to do. She stood for a moment, looking at the boy, watching him fold the paper. Behind him stood a town house, just like hers, with a small wrap around porch and peachy walls. They were standing in his small backyard, and Anna felt comforted in its similarity to her own. She looked at the boy again, who had ignored her to work with his paper, and sat down

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next to him to watch what he was doing. Surely her absence would go unnoticed for a while, she assumed, and focused her attention. He folded one side, then flipped the paper quickly around and folded again, flipped again, folded again, and suddenly he held a perfectly formed plane in his hand. Anna had no idea paper could fly. He handed her the plane and she watched, mesmerized, as he grabbed another sheet and started to fold again. This time when he finished, he lifted his hand close to his eye and suddenly thrust it forward, releasing the plane. The paper sailed at Anna, frightening her and skimming past her face. After the initial shock, she laughed and retrieved the plane as the boy looked on, shaking his head. The next time he loosed one into the air, she snatched it up in her ready hand and they both smiled. The boy worked quickly through the stack, and a mountain of airplanes piled on top of Anna’s lap. Each one was different; their unique styles created different flight paths. Some raced, others slowly arched, and some gradually circled in little loop-d-loops towards her open hand. When he was finished with his work, he held a plane out to her and told her to try. Anna took it, held it close to her eye and launched it forward, forcefully. It spun to the ground and lodged there, nose first. She picked up a new one, and again it sunk. The boy walked behind her, covered her hand with his and showed her what to do; telling her how to fix her eye on the target and imagine the air passing under the wings, forcing the plane higher. This time, the plane soared. Anna laughed, and then smiled nervously at the boy. He lightly held her hand, and she could feel the heat from his skin even after the boy sat back down with a grin. Anna picked up a new plane, and decided to try by herself. The little white airplane left her hand and flew right into the boy’s lap. She laughed, and then bit her lip and paused before grabbing a new plane. The boy looked on, and smiled encouragingly.

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“What’s your name?” he asked, separating the planes into two piles as he spoke. “Anna,” she replied as she watched his hands quickly move, flying through the air like one of his planes. “And yours?” “Landen.” He filled his arms with one of the piles and walked over to drop the planes on her lap, and then walked back to his place. She tilted her head to the side questioningly, but he would reveal nothing. Suddenly, he grabbed one of his planes and threw it straight up into the air as high as he could. Without stopping to see where it went, he threw up another and another, barely pausing for a breath. Anna quickly caught on and threw all of her planes into the air. The little white planes swiftly disappeared in the glare of the sunshine. Anna looked up, waiting for them to come back down. Landen moved closer to her, looking up as well. He made Anna a little nervous with his nearness, and she felt her heart pound in her chest. They both straightened their heads, holding eye contact briefly before a white plane fell between them. Anticipating more, Anna looked at the sky, and tiny white specks began to appear. She flung her arms out to the side and spun around. Planes slapped against her hands as they dropped, and Anna laughed as the sky fell all around her. The more she spun, the faster her laughter came and the faster the planes seemed to fall. She spun and spun, and when streaks of whiteness no longer surrounded her, she fell on the grass in a heap, crunching planes and leaves below her. Her body shook with laughter, and she rolled to

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the side, unable to stop herself. Landen was still standing, but she couldn’t see his face. The sun was caught behind his head, silhouetting his features, but she knew he was looking down. Anna laughed more, her sides beginning to ache, and continued to roll on the ground, but she watched as Landen walked around her, picking up the planes that had scattered across the yard. When he had finished, Landen sat down beside her and began to fix all of the planes that had been crushed under her weight. Quiet now, Anna rolled over to watch him work. The brilliant white paper, in pearly against his bronzed hands, highlighted his every movement. Slowly, he smoothed his fingertips along the creases, crisping each fold. She took one of the planes and began to work along side him, following his movements precisely. While running her hands along the fragile plane, she noticed that her own fingers nearly blended with the paper. Landen reached out to help her, his hand touching hers softly, and Anna giggled while catching his eye for a brief moment. Flustered, she broke the contact and picked up a plane, letting it soar aimlessly across the yard. The white sheet drifted along the hedges, visible against the deep myrtle backdrop as it fell slowly towards the ground and sifted to a stop in a deep patch of grass. “Anna!” Jolted from her thoughts, Anna looked into the bushes, trying to spot her mother across the way. “Anna Marie!” She jumped up and raced back towards the hedges, stepping through the small hole created by her fall into Landen’s yard. “Bye!” Anna called back, turning her head quickly for one last look at Landen. He was sitting quietly on the grass with his head turned to watch her go, surround by his paper airplanes. Reaching her hand through the hedge, she again separated the sea of green before her.

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“Anna! Where are you?” “Coming, Mom!” Leaves scrapped her face as she forced her way past large branches and tiny twigs. Through little breaks in the shrubbery, she could see the side of her home. Her mother stood on the front stoop with her hands on her hips, and an apron around her waist. Anna stumbled out from the hedges, slowing herself to step as quietly as possible, but her mother’s head whipped towards her anyway. Bowing her head, Anna walked over to her mother. “And where were you, Anna Marie?” “I lost my…my ring and I needed to go look for it in the… the hedge.” “Inside the house now, young lady. Clean up and then come downstairs, dinner is almost ready,” her mother ordered while smacking Anna’s bottom with a spatula. Anna knew her mother wasn’t really angry with her, but raced up the steps regardless. Once in her room, she opened her curtains and peered out the window, trying to see into Landen’s yard. The hedges stubbornly blocked her view. Anna could see nothing of the yard or the boy she expected was still sitting there surrounded by pile of paper airplanes. Reaching into her pocket, Anna pulled out her own remnant of the afternoon, a crumpled plane, and pressed the folds to make the paper fly again. She looked up at the vanity mirror before her, and was caught by surprise at her own reflection. Leaves were still tangled in her hair, and even little twigs were caught up in the twirls of knots. Faint pink scratches lined her cheeks, dragging from the corner of her lips all the way to her ears. Her summer dress was caked with dirt, smeared with grass stains, and spotted with little holes. She admired herself, pleased in some way by the untamed look she had brought home. Moving from the mirror, she grabbed some tape from

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her drawer and stuck the little white plane to her pink wall. Anna washed her face, changed into a clean dress, and walked back down the stairs. Her family was already sitting for dinner, and she took a seat beside her older sister. Her mother was bringing the food in from the kitchen, her father was still in his coat and tie, and her sister sat with her university boyfriend’s pin gleaming from her chest. Anna sat up, matching her sisters posture, and listened to her family speak. Her father was working on a new case and he droned on about his workload. Anna’s posture slowly slackened as she tuned her family out. She looked out the window, imagining a pearly paper plane drifting past her windows and thinking of the boy who might have thrown it. “Anna?” She turned towards her sister who had poked her in the leg. “What?” “Are you alright? You’ve been staring out the window for about a half an hour.” “I’m fine, I’m just tired is all.” Anna replied on automatically, and finished her turkey. Once their plates were cleared, Anna helped her mother clean the dishes. The radio played softly, slow tunes that matched the quiet tempo of the evening. She sang along as she washed and tried to clean out the dirt still under her nails. When her work was done, Anna left the kitchen, climbed the steps and walked back to her room. Looking at her wall, she noticed the paper plane reflected blue in the darkness, catching the moonlight. She opened her window, letting in the cool summer breeze, and curled up under the covers of her small bed. That night, she dreamt of paper airplanes, hundreds of them, filling the air and fluttering down to reveal a tanned boy with dark hair folding more paper in his hands. She woke feeling as if

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she were still there with him in the sun. Not yet wanting to wake, she reached her hands above her head and arched her back, stretching. She heard a breeze sweep into her room, ruffling her things, and tentatively peered around her room. Her waking eyes adjusted, growing stronger, and she smiled and laughed at the surprise; sitting right there on her chest was a paper airplane, bright in the light of the morning sun.

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Finding My Wings By Marissa Standfast Florida State University Sitting here on this graffiti-covered park bench in the middle of the “Windy City” I see dark clouds veiling over the sun. I can sense the corners of my chapped lips forming a distinct frown. I need the sun now, this time of day especially. Almost mockingly, the red numbers of a digital display in front of a Bank of America across the street blinks the time 2:30. It’s the peak hour of my day. I need this time so I can ensure a lunchtime meal for my stomach, which keeps interrupting my thoughts, reminding me of its basic human needs. If I gaze into the conveniently placed bike mirror of a fellow bench-sitter, a college-aged kid of about 20, my empty stomach might prove to be a less-significant matter. The signs of aging on my face are truly apparent--- my dark brown, grayish facial hair patching around and below the thin line of my mouth. I don’t even want to start with the rather disagreeable grime and stench of my body, as well as the drooping rags covering my lanky, haggard shape. Maybe sometime this week I could sneak into the public swimming pool showers after my shift out here on this noisy, automobile and pedestrian-ridden street corner. Despite the weather, Randolph Street’s people are bustling and lighthearted in their step. The energy is almost electric. It is

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contagious. Maybe it is my newly crafted cardboard sign with Sharpie-scrawled letters, or the lazy flow of traffic that makes the people seem so at ease and friendly here today. If this mood keeps up, I will get my lunch in no time…as much as an hour to an hour and a half. That seems hopeful enough. Things weren’t always this way for me -- the worn, ragged clothes, the disheveled appearance, the need to rely on others for my own well-being. Outside of this Chicago park bench, this sidewalk, this street---- I used to have a life, and even a home. I remember everything so well. Back then, in my old life, everything seemed so right and easy. I had a steady job as an owner of a local, prosperous breakfast and lunch joint called “Calkins”. A warm meal was never a question back then. “Sunny side up?” My wife would ask me before each morning’s ravenous, hurried rush of people came in. I wouldn’t have my eggs any other way. There was something comforting about the runny yolk and my capability to always mix the egg’s white outside and yolky center together. This occurrence was routine for me--- I knew it no other way. As a boy, things were always handed to me in this sort of way. I remember being five or six with my father at a large department store. Walking through one of the squeaky, checkered tile aisles, an orange plastic ball caught my eye. As soon as my gaze was fixated hypnotically on this object, one swift movement of my father’s hand proved for me that this desired thing was now mine. As I peered at my delicate reflection illuminating from this ball, I came to discover the shiny rubber material composing this object was just a fallacy. It

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was supposed to shine brighter. When I arrived home, I spent hours attempting to make this object undeviatingly gleam. Even in childhood, I preferred a consistent lifestyle that was always under my control; yet I’ve discovered that life is not always as shiny and perfect as we try to make it. A quick, surprising tap on the shoulder pulls me into reality again. It comes from a middle-aged, red-haired woman that is carrying a large King James Version of the Bible across her chest. She hands me two rectangular green papers with George Washington’s profile on the front without a word, and prances away before I can manage a “Thank You.” I glance at this small contribution to my lunch investment and stuff the two worn bills into the front pocket of my grungy, plaid, flannel shirt. Awakened from my certain daydream by this woman, I feel the mist of a light rain on my skin. I am moved to relocate to the safe shelter of the bus stop across Randolph Street. I grab my large trash-bag of necessities and then play a body-maneuvering game through the mass of BMWs, Nissans, and Toyotas to the opposite side of the road. Before settling down and getting myself comfortable, I stop to notice a gray and blue-colored pigeon on the sidewalk in front of this transparent, plastic-encased shelter. This pigeon is not one’s usual feather-clad friend. This bird seems unperturbed by my quick movement onto the sidewalk, and seems to be looking up toward my face with hopeful eyes. I want to tell him I have nothing left to give him, although I wish I did; even two or three breadcrumbs would do. But the look on his face is not one that

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displays hunger; it exhibits feelings of bewilderment. I imagine this bird wants to be something else. Something more pure. Maybe it longs to be a white, peaceful dove. Doves belong in society, while pigeons do not. They are dirty, old things that just scrounge around for yesterday’s scraps or scavenge and beg for food from a nearby human. To be a dove, is this pigeon’s ultimate wish. I reach out to touch this other being I can finally relate to. But before I can feel his soft exterior, he flies away like a whispering current through the wind. The steady pit pattering of cold rain against the transparent hood of the bus shelter keeps in time with my thoughts. These thoughts keep buzzing through my brain like a steady electric current about the past, thoughts mostly surrounding my wife, Victoria. I miss her with all my heart. I miss her pleasing sweet pea-flavored scent, her sun-kissed hair, her freckle-splattered face, the curve of her body. I clasp my right hand around the rusted, aged charm that’s in the shape of a heart. For a second, I feel a frenzy of emotion take over me… so strong that I can almost faint. I open up this 3-dimensional item by screwing off the lid and then place a little dab of the sweet aroma of sweet pea with a tiny hint of wildflowers on my wrist--- my wife’s signature scent... it is enough to keep me going, just for the day. When the restaurant closed-down, all hell broke loose with mine and Victoria’s marriage. Her parents never liked me from the start. Whether it was my simple-mindedness, or my distinct Southern accent … they never were pleased with me. They thought Victoria could do much better. “Victoria,” they would say, “You could have any man.” And she could have had any other

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man. A man with an extra summer cabin, a man with a certain charisma about himself and vigor for politics, any man, in her parent’s eyes, would be fine except for me. Out of spite and love, Victoria chose me. “They” would hold me responsible for her decision for as long as I lived. Finally, they got to her. I remember the way she looked when she argued with them on the phone about me, about our mutual “unemployed” status at the time. The golden locks of her hair swayed back and forth as she shook her head with her hands acting as a second narrator. I watched through the sliding glass door, while her feet were dangling through the chipped, painted blue railing of the porch, sitting upright on a low-resting lawn chair. I will never forget this image because she left me soon after. “I just can’t stay, Marshall, why can’t you see that?” Victoria was packing all her belongings up in those hideous, flowery suitcases that I loved only because they were hers. Every item that she was attempting to put in her bag, I kept consistently taking out. Her face was starting to turn a little red; I loved it when she got all flustered like this. “I guess you don’t understand… I am really leaving. With all my belongings or not.” The dove looks into the murky puddle and stares at his reflection. He suddenly realizes he’s not a dove, and he’s never been; he has always been just a pigeon. I’ll always keep looking for her. That is my life’s task now. Adopting the lifestyle of a nomad, I thought I could make it alone staying with friends or crashing at a one-night motel every once in a while, from city to city. After a couple of months, I ran out of money. Becoming

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a vagabond was my only option, every day I still remain in search for her, because I know there was more reason to her leaving me. Even though some days I feel like a hopeless, friendless bum, I realize that there is meaning to my life through my search of Victoria. A day at Lincoln Park with the one I love. We sit there, in the cold mid-February afternoon. A wooden kitchen bowl is placed between us, containing scraps and breadcrumbs from the restaurant. Pigeons surround us, waiting to be fed. Victoria always gave them more than enough. She was too kind. However, she never wanted to stay for long. The pigeons would have to figure this out some day. Splattered raindrops covering the exterior of the diaphanous plexi-glass bus shelter don’t block the view of my certain wistful sight---flashing neon pink and green lights above my head read: The Café Papillon. In my romantic daydreaming, the plastic Solo cup I forgetfully place next to my side is filled with 3 more dollars since my encounter with the shy, kind Christian stranger. This means redemption for my hunger. As if in response to this just-discovered epiphany, my stomach gives a long, loud growl. Satisfying my ravenous appetite with a ‘croissant-wich’, fruit, and fries, I watch the people pass by on the damp street. I’m sitting outside under an umbrella-covered table on the porch of this favorite little independently owned café. The wide assortment of people that walk, bike, and drive by pacifies my jumpy sort mood. I am pleased to see such people living in complete and pure harmony at this moment in time. Business-clad men with black umbrellas march

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along with briefcases towards the gleaming, high skyscrapers in the distance, or their otherwise gleaming expensive cars--- Mercedes, Jaguars, Audis. Alternatively-dressed teenagers with their slim-shaped eyeglasses balanced along their noses, books in one hand, coffee in another, lounge in small, mostly dry corners, benches, and tables nearby. Older couples, with raincoats and goulashes hand in hand, browse nearby shops… never buying items, never looking for anything in particular. They seem content with one another. It’s 3:45. I realize this after I take advantage of the opportunity of a clean bathroom in “my café”, and glance at the circular, plastic clock on the decoratively adorned pillars in the interior of this cozy place. But I have already lost interest in the clock, its arrows…the time. My eyes are glued to the back of a longhaired blonde in the corner of the room, a coffee cup at her side; that just has to be my wife. Scanning the room, I pretend to engage myself in some of the merchandise that this tiny café sells, little trinkets that I balance from one hand to another, yet my attention is still on the blonde. I need to see her face. After a long moment of my speculating and touching of ceramic as well as plastic coffee mugs, coffee bean packets, CD albums, and handcrafted bookmarks… the blonde finally grabs her yellow, patterned handbag and shoots up from her spot in the back. I can’t get a glimpse of her face, there are too many heads, bodies moving to and fro, blocking my view…these blurring, mobile Chicagoans need to get out of my view of this woman. She pushes open the wrought iron door of the tiny coffee building to exit---- “Shit,” I think.

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In the mish-mash of movement surrounding me, I squeeze myself through a maze of people, and hurry out the same door that she just stylishly gaited from. To my astonishing luck, she is stopped at the end of the block, petting a grey-haired stranger’s friendly chocolate lab puppy. Something offensive catches her sense of smell----me. As she turns, I have to do a double take on her face. Her features include freckles, a wide, cat-like grin, and a small pointed nose. She looks like my wife, but her features don’t match correctly. Freckles scattered across her face are in the wrong position, and her eyes are a deep brown instead of blue. It’s not her. Deception is the worst kind of rejection. Letting out a heavy sigh, I walk quickly away from her, imagining my past life, flying high to immeasurable, extravagant heights, in my dreamland as a dove. I feel a wave of regret. Of things I didn’t do in the past when I had her. She wanted kids, and I objected. “A huge responsibility,” is what I would always say. How selfish I was. Always nitpicking things that irritated a man with too large an ego. He was too lucky to realize all the things in his life that he took advantage of every day. I spend the rest of my day in the green, wet grass of the local park staring at the clouds that drifted by, making up shapes out of these gray beasts. One particular cloud shape captures my attention: a steel-colored bird, wings outset into the expanse of an infinite, blue sky. I fall asleep to the sounds of motors and the reprimanding reflections of my own conscience. The last image through my mind before unconsciousness overcomes me is the fluttering of ivory-colored wings in a ready pose for takeoff.

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I wake up sweating with grass sticking to my sides in the dark moonlight, missing her. This torture can’t last forever. I can’t go on like this. I must wake up from this horrible nightmare and stop wallowing in my own self-pity. I must gather myself together, and come to the conclusion that things change and people change, either because they are convinced of a certain reality, or because they just can’t go on living with constant disapproval from others. Abandoning the need to live dutifully, and searching for something that isn’t there anymore isn’t the answer. I will overcome; I will make a new life for myself even though Victoria is not going to share it with me. If she comes back, she comes back, if not, then it isn’t meant to be. People go through this kind of internal struggle all the time. I’ll live through this; this pigeon is going to be okay. One day I just might find my dove.

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Detroit’s Depression By Robert Guttersohn Wayne State University “Let Belva stay! Let Belva stay!” a crowd of about 30 people chant while picketing in front of the Wachovia Securities building in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. With red noses and knuckles and against the cool, fall wind, the demonstrators struggle to hold up banners with the words “Moratorium Now!” written in large, black letters. The purpose for the demonstrators organizing, Belva Davis, is a middle-aged, black woman living alone in her eastside-Detroit home. Davis fell behind on her mortgage while working as a substitute teacher in Southfield, Mich. Due to this, the servicer of the loan, Ocwen Financial, sold the home to themselves in a sheriff sale, an appeal filed by her attorney said. Around October of 2008, Davis said she found steady work and was once again able to make her monthly payments. But Ocwen financial refused to reinstate her mortgage unless she was able to come up with an immediate payment of $19,000. Over the summer, Wells Fargo – the master servicer of her loan – took Davis to court to have her evicted from her eastside Detroit home. In August, the court ordered in favor of Wells Fargo. Davis’ lawyer, Jerry Goldberg, immediately filed an appeal. Within days of the decision, the mortgage company had dumpsters sent to Davis’ home despite their knowledge of her pending appeal, the appeal filed by Goldberg stated.

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“They did this in the middle of the day, while I was at work,” Davis said. “They were being sneaky and intimidating.” Today, Davis continues to fight for home. But she is not alone. Sadly, her story is only one of thousands in Detroit. True, life is hard right now for most Americans; life is even harder for Michigan residents that face the highest unemployment in Michigan. But living life as a minority in Detroit is almost condemning. This came to light on Oct. 7 when 35,000 Detroit citizens showed up at Cobo Hall civic center, the Detroit Free Press reported. The people showed up to fill out applications for a portion of the $15.2 million dollars in federal funds geared toward helping people avoid foreclosures and eviction, the paper said. But of the 35,000 people that came, only 3,500 will receive any money. This shortage of recipients created havoc in the civic center as those desperate for the cash began to push and knock over others in front of them, the papers said. Before the housing crisis began last year, Detroit residents were already in the midst of a long recession. Because the city – excluding its suburbs – is well over 80 percent minority, the condition of the city as a whole is a good indicator of the condition of minorities in the area. According to the department of labor, in September of 2008 – just before the financial crisis began – the city’s unemployment rate was already at 16.6 percent while the tri-county area that surrounds Detroit – Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties – averaged 8.7 percent. As of July of this year, the city’s unemployment rate was a staggering 28.9 percent. The tri-county area’s rate averaged 17.7 percent.

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In 2005, the U.S. department of housing and urban development performed a study that compared cities’ income to the income of their suburban counterparts. The study found that for every dollar a Detroit resident made a person in the suburb made $1.88. In 2008, Michigan’s poverty rate was 14 percent; Detroit was at 33 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which made the poverty line an annual family income of up to $21,384. Detroit residents, particularly African Americans, were deeply hurt because of the ailing auto industry and the predatory lending, said Abayami Azikiwe, editor of the Pan Africa Newswire and organizer of the Michigan branch of the Moratorium Now coalition. A Sept. 13 story in the New York Times said black people were targeted by mortgage companies with subprime mortgage loans. According to the article, a study done by United for a Fair Economy in 2008 showed that nationally “blacks lost $71 billion to $93 billion in home-value wealth from subprime loans. “ “They were definitely targeted, nationally” Azikiwe said. But in Michigan, the numbers speak for themselves. According to a study done by the Center for Housing Policy, the top 19 zip codes in the state of Michigan with the highest amount of subprime mortgages were areas in which minorities are the majority. Fourteen of the 19 zip codes were in Detroit. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan is a non-profit organization that provides food to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other aid groups around Detroit. Anne Schenk, spokeswoman for the food bank, described the organization as a buyer between retailers

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and aid groups. Through this, the organization has general oversight as to how much food is being ordered by relief organizations in the area. “It’s probably the worst hunger crisis we’ve seen in our history,” Schenk said in an interview with the Free Press. In a phone interview, she said that in fiscal year 2008, the company moved 28.6 million pounds of food to aid groups in Detroit; in 2009, the number went up to 30 million pounds. These numbers are expected to increase, Schenk said. “We are expecting demand to go up by the end of the year,” Schenk said. “It’s hard to put numbers on hunger but poverty is the best indicator.” Schenk said that unless unemployment benefits are extended for another 13 weeks, many people will be coming off it before the end of the year. Most of them will be unable to find work and will be relying solely on the places Gleaners Food Bank supplies. Longtime residents of the city are not the only ones struggling to survive. According to a study from the Human Rights Institute of Georgetown Law, there are 4.5 million Iraqis displaced around the world since the U.S. led invasion. Because of the high number of Arabic families that migrated after the Gulf War in the ‘90s, the majority that come to the U.S. as refugees migrate to Detroit, it said. “This refugee crisis is unlike most we have ever seen,” said Sister Beth Murphy of the Archdioceses of Detroit’s refugee resettlement office. She works in a small building on the eastside of Detroit working to create a new life for displaced Iraqis.

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A newly-arrived refugee is given three months of job-training workshops, six weeks of English classes and given eight months of financial support, which includes food stamps and access to Medicaid, Murphy said. But the English classes are inefficient, the wage support comes to about $5 a day per adult and social services are under-manned and under-funded, the Georgetown study found. The study said that the Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, which aids refugees in finding employment, received just enough funding to service 300 refugees in 2008. The LSSM wound up servicing 1,200 that year. According to Sister Murphy, the high unemployment numbers in Michigan have caused the services to be backed up with native Michigan residents and refugees looking for assistance. Therefore, some refugees will go months without receiving financial support. And the pay is not retro-active either, she said. The eight months of wage begins the day the refuge arrives in America, regardless if they have received any money at all. To add to the problem, there are talks in congress of cutting Medicaid to refugees altogether, Sister Murphy said. Yet, every one of the refugees that steps through the door of her building were displaced because of the “U.S. invasion and the consequences of the aftermath,� she said. The Georgetown study said most of the displacement occurred after the bombing of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra that brought Iraq to civil unrest in 2006. As the Sunni and Shiite religious factions fought against themselves, the Christians were forced out of Iraq and into neighboring countries of asylum.

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But the refugees soon found that their lives were no better in asylum either – where they were not allowed to work or to be educated, Sister Murphy said. Even as many people in the state of Michigan continue to lose their jobs and homes, Sister Murphy still believes it is important to invest more into refugee social services. “There are 14 million refugees in the world right now,” Sister Murphy said. As people continue to leave the state, “refugees and immigrants are the only ones coming to Michigan. They are human capital,” she said. “We need to invest a little for their future,” she said. “By doing so, we invest in our own.”

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Stuck in the Middle By Abbie Harper Miami University of Ohio As she sat there, finally ready to open up, to tell her mom how she really felt without holding back, Abbie couldn’t help but hesitate. Still trying to convince herself that this was normal and that teenage girls told their moms how they felt every day, she drew in a breath, ready to reveal herself for the first time, but after a few seconds of fruitless self-encouragement, she simply exhaled instead. She had been waiting for the perfect moment, and she wondered, could this be it? She wasn’t sure, and being silent for so long had made opening up all that much harder. She kept pushing forward, though, trying to break through the emotional barrier she had never intended to build. She formed the sentence in her mind, knowing exactly what she was going to say and predicting her mother’s response. Over the years, this had become customary for every semi-emotional comment she had ever made. Since childhood she had been extremely self-conscious, not about her body, hair, or physical appearance like most girls, but instead about her inner-self. She had no idea why she was so turned off by emotions. Maybe it was growing up playing every sport offered to her, surrounded by girls who frowned upon dolls and dresses and only noticed boys who posed a possible threat to their co-ed basketball team’s undefeated record. Or maybe it was her stoic father’s constant

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reminder of how shameful it was to “wear your emotions on your sleeve.” Regardless of the cause, she became the very epitome of “hard,” the only one of her friends who didn’t cry in chick flicks, who had never had a long-term boyfriend, who didn’t greet others with hugs and felt awkward touching anyone without sufficient reason. And now here she was, ready to open up, to say for the first time what she really wanted to say. Once again she opened her mouth slowly, knowing that for her this was completely unconventional, and however minute it might seem to others, for Abbie, this was a really big deal. As she began to form the first word of her revelation, in walked Evan, her seven year-old sister who always seemed to be aware of nothing and no one but what she wanted at that particular moment and who could help her get it. Now, Evan wanted to read her library book, and considering seven year-olds aren’t exactly fluent readers, she was going to need her mother’s help. Ignoring the fact that her older sister was clearly about to say something, Evan barged in and stole her mother’s attention.

“Mommy…Mommy…MOMMY!” Unable to ignore Evan’s relentless nagging, the mother

looked away from her always-forgotten middle daughter, telling her “it’ll just be a minute,” and then they would talk. And just like that, the perfect moment was gone. Abbie knew it would be much more than a minute before they would get the chance to talk. In fact, Abbie knew that the conversation she had finally been ready to have might now never take place at all.

Discouraged, Abbie got up and made her way to her room down the hall. She sat alone on

her bed, as she often did, and let her mind wander. Lately she had begun to desire that friendship with her mother that most girls her age had. She was getting ready to leave for college, and time

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was running out. She couldn’t help but think that it really was…well, hell…being the middle child. No other word to describe it. When she was younger, she saw it on TV shows all the time—the infamous “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” constantly being repeated on her favorite program. She’s so dramatic, Abbie used to think.

But that opinion had changed. She could understand Jan Brady’s frustration now. Her own

older sister, Lauren, was the family favorite—actually, she was more like the world favorite. People always talked about her “big heart,” how she was so compassionate and loving. They would then feel the need to console Abbie, praising her with, “Oh, you made all A’s? And you say you were in the paper yesterday for your basketball game? Wow, that’s great Abbie…really.”

You’d think these accomplishments would be enough to win their affection, but they would

immediately turn their attention back toward Lauren. She was the funny one, the one everybody liked. Abbie could see it in their eyes. When they looked at Lauren, admiration radiated from their faces; it was impossible not to notice. When their glances shifted to Abbie, their eyes went blank. It was as if they were waiting, anxiously anticipating the moment they could talk to Lauren again. No matter what she did, Abbie never measured up. The attention was either being demanded by Evan or awarded to Lauren.

Sitting there alone, Abbie began to get angry, angrier than she normally got when she

thought about these things. She was important too. She had done everything right. School, sports, friends—she had it all. She knew her family loved her, but she wanted them to show it, the way they did with Lauren and Evan. She had had enough. No more being ignored. No more being forgotten.

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She got up from her bed and marched toward the living room. As she entered the room where her mother sat still reading to Evan, she realized the emotional barrier within her had begun to degrade, with every thought of self-assurance destroying another cinder block of hardness. She squeezed in between Evan and her mother, and they both looked up in shock— Evan’s originating out of anger for Abbie’s infringement on her time, and her mother’s out of sheer curiosity. Abbie wasn’t fazed by their expressions; she turned to face her mother as a feeling of ecstasy rushed through her body like a drug. This was a high she never could have comprehended until now. Finally, after all these years, Abbie was claiming her share of the attention.

“Mom, I want to talk to you.”

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In My Grandmother’s Kitchen By Erin Horton University of South Carolina

In my grandmother’s kitchen, my cousins and I wanted to be big. The symbol of adulthood,

ironically, was not sitting with my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents at the dinner table, but instead at the counter that divided the added room with the large freezers and washing machine from the rest of the weathered kitchen. The kitchen air was always thick with heat from some stove, and the buzzing fans over the counter helped cool anyone below it. Several times, I fought with my sister and cousins over a stool at the bar, myself usually winning. The other winner, most often my older cousin Travis, would sit with me at the winners bar—the goal of the ambition to grow.

My first time on the stool was very thrilling to say the least. The cool brown leather

and worn legs elevated me to the point that I felt like I was floating. My own legs were happily thumping against the side of the counter. I was suddenly given the outsider’s view of my family, who were bustling about, filling plates. Closer to the stove than my grandfather, I could easily snatch the flat, crispy corn bread that we both loved so much. I could sit and eat my food without anyone asking me to move or pass them the salt. I could have a conversation with my bar mate and no one else as I sipped my cavity-creating sweet tea and ate at least eight butter beans. The

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most required of me as a new “big kid” was to say prayer before we commenced eating and talking. Nothing more needed. “God is Great, God is Good…” With my promotion came the satisfaction of my younger cousins watching me jealously as I listened to the adult’s conversations, lounging on my reddish-brown seated stool. I could now gloat about being sophisticated enough to sit at the bar while they, the unworthy, were banished to the metal high chair with a dirty yellow cushion, a favorite of all the little kids. Because of my new seat, I was also now privy to the antics of the older kids, who went four wheeling in the fields and forests while my mother had told me that I was too young. With my place in the kitchen, I was formally old enough to go play in the fields. With my unspoken initiation, I was allowed on expeditions of cow skeletons, old houses and sheds, and to the dilapidated hay house.

The air in the kitchen was always filled with the laughter and talk of children and adults

leaving us all with a feeling of contentedness and closeness. The closeness I felt was the closeness of being an adult, and then worthy of discussing “important matters” such as children and news with my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. The closeness, I now realize due to my growth and the sudden lack of it, was one of family, happiness, and frivolity, the way a family always looked in those pictures in the fifties—of people at dinner. That image has disappeared now, along with the rest of humanity, but it remains in my grandmother’s kitchen. The stool has lost its symbolism with the incorporation of new members by marriage, and the loss of old family. Nevertheless, our family remains together and warm, like those aged stools at the bar.

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Fall 2009 Collegiate Scholar