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3 W R I T E R S

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WRITERS ROOM is a place for writing, reading, thinking, and being. Here, members of the Mantua, Powelton, and Drexel communities are creating a shared story.

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WRITERS ROOM

ANTHOLOGY 3

F O R E V E RYO N E W H O H AS A S TO RY TO T E L L

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I N T R O D U C T I O N This volume represents our third year of Writers Room. We take you through the seasons of our year. We start with now — with spring 2017 — because our anthology celebration is happening in spring, in the spirit of new life. We continue with the fall of 2016, reminding you of our NEA Big Read, and the events surrounding Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Finally, we end with the winter, a time of deep reflection. We hope you’ll take this opportunity with us to breathe deep and think of all we have spoken, talked, and written about together. This was a year of firsts: a first NEA Big Read grant, our first Visiting Writer — the magnificent Major Jackson — and a first collaboration with Mighty Writers. In fact, collaboration and partnership has been a constant theme for us this year, so you will find many works in this anthology that blend the voices of more than one artist. The theme for our side-by-side class this spring was Poetry of Place, and the works you’ll find generated from that class conjure up places real and imagined, from our pasts, presents, and futures — places where we live, write, and dream. To paraphrase Rachel Wenrick and Victoria Peurifoy: We write who we are trying to be because the world refuses to embrace each other’s differences and simply love one another. At Writers Room, we are aiming for love.

Rachel Wenrick, Kirsten Kaschock, Danielle Jernigan & Valerie Fox

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TA B L E O F CO N T E N T S

I WRITE TRITE THINGS BECAUSE I AM TIRED by Alina MacNeal + Lauren Lowe

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I WRITE OUT BUDGETS THAT NEVER MATERIALIZE by Norman Cain + Lauren Altman

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WHY I WRITE WHO I AM by Johngeline Ferguson

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BECAUSE I AM THREE-QUARTERS GONE by Carol McCullough + Kirsten Kaschock

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WHY I WRITE by Yonique Myrie

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I WRITE LISTS by Rachel Wenrick + Victoria Huggins Peurifoy

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I WRITE WHATEVER I THINK... by Rosalyn Cliett + Earl Hackett

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SPRING JONNY by Andres Jaime-Cavanagh

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TO ALL THE BOYS I USED TO LOVE by Ebony Drummond

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SUN GRASS by Johngeline Ferguson

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MISTY, MURKY DAYS. . . . by Rahkinah Laurel

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MY TIME by Earl Hackett

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TURQUOISE IS A MOOD by Victoria Huggins Peurifoy

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SUN SPRING by Laura Blackwell

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SUN by Liz Abrams

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I AM AN ARTIST by Jordan McCullough

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IN FEBRUARY by Rosalyn Cliett, Valerie Fox, Annie Haftl, and Rahkinah Laurel

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HAVE NOT DISAPPEARED by Rosalyn Cliett

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THE HEART YOU GAVE TO MADNESS by Kyle Howey

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W R I T I N G 3 0 1 M I X - TA P E CONCERT by Diana Hillengas

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COFFEE PSALM by Jennesys Aviles

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WHAT ARE COWBOYS MADE OF? by Carin Spotted Eagle

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ENCOMIUM by Kyle Howey

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ODUNDE by Norman Cain

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A LETTER TO WRIT 301 by Kirsten Kaschock

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THE END (MARK 10:27) by Liz Abrams

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DEAR SUN by Yonique Myrie

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OUT OF BOUNDS by Daye Kassie

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THE HAIKU by Brenda Bailey

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SOME SLICK SHIT by Andres Jaime-Cavanagh

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GOD’S HEART MUST BE CRYING by Victoria Peurifoy

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TIME by Rosalyn Cliett

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FALL THE HORIZON by RuNett Ebo Gray

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FROM SPARK TO INFERNO by Norman Cain

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DEAR ZORA by Brenda Bailey

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3 FOR THEIR EYES by Yonique Myrie

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AUNT HAZEL’S STEAK AND NOODLES by Chanda Rice

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SHADOW AND LIGHT FACES AT THE PERELMAN ZORA, I ADORE’ YA by Carol Richardson McCullough

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LAND OF WOOD AND WATER, LAND OF EXPLOITATION GOLDEN SHOVEL HAVEN (∏ = 3.14159) by Diana Hillengas

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WESTERN TALE OF EASTERN MEDICINE by Daye Kassie

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TRAIN RIDE by Lauren Lowe

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A N O N Y M O U S I N S TA N T P O E M S I FOUND A PHOTOGRAPH STILLWELL AVE GO LEFT MY ADVENTURES DRIVING WE GOT LOST DIRECTIONS FOR POEMS

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WINTER THERAPIST by Chanda Rice

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DEAR TIRED FATHER’S EYES by Kyle Howey

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HUE-MAN/OMEN BEING THE INVISIBLE MAN by Carin Spotted Eagle

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DRESS UP by Brenda Bailey, Norman Cain, Lauren Lowe, Chanda Rice

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YELLOW SOCK by Natasha Hajo and Nimra Sohail

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A LETTER TO TINA, THE CAT by Jennesys Aviles

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THIS HOUSE by Andres Jaime-Cavanagh

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THE HAUNTED CARNIVAL by Chanda Rice and Fred Siegel

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HARRY by Emily Phillips

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PHILADELPHIA by Laura Blackwell, Patricia Burton, Yonique Myrie, Donald Reese

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THIS IS THE PLACE I GO TO by Brenda Bailey

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A QUIET STORM NURSE ANGELINE by Victoria Huggins Peurifoy

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MIGHTY WRITINGS by Mighty Writers West

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THE STAGES OF LIFE by Rosalyn Cliett

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ANOTHER EMPTY BUILDING... by Earl Hackett

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MAPPING YOU by Valerie Flower

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THE HIGHWAY OF RUINATION by Norman Cain

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SHINJUKU STATION by Yonique Myrie

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DESCRIBING MY SISTER `by Alexa Josaphouitch

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DAYDREAMS INSIDE DAYDREAMS by Norman Cain

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WRITERS’ BIOGRAPHIES

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THANK YOU

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I W R I T E T R I T E B E C AU S E I A M

T H I N G S T I R E D

ALINA MACNEAL + LAUREN LOWE I write trite things because I am tired. I write origami because the world is a hard web to untangle. I write folded up messages that look like cranes because I am equal parts curious and fearful of knowing myself. I write toupees because I am blank. I write soap because I am worth saving, over and over again. I write “There will be hell to pay” on a protest sign, which is just copying someone else’s protest sign, because I am someone who has an undercurrent of jittery anxiety coursing through everything I do. I write messages in bottles because I am in need of slowing down. I write in my head while opening my gym locker because the world is not just a collection of places on a map, but a community of us, intersecting and coinciding without even thinking about it. I write to find the right combination because I am full of questions I am still learning to ask. I write the Polish accordion player in the west entrance to city hall, Paweé (?), who gave me his picture, which I started to fold to put into my back pocket. “Don’t do that!” he shouted. “I gave it to you to put on your refrigerator.” So I did, because the world is not as fucked up as we fool ourselves into believing.

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I W R I T E O U T B U DG E T S T H AT N E V E R M AT E R I A L I Z E B E C AU S E I A M H U M A N NORMAN CAIN + LAUREN ALTMAN I write out budgets that never materialize because I am human. I write about my frustrations, because to verbalize the same would spoil the atmosphere, because I am resilient. I write the way I was taught: cursive, penmanship—because I am clear. I write when I should be paying attention to something else because the world is cold. I write quickly when dead lives draw near because I am strong. I write fiction, as opposed to non-fiction, because I am a dreamer, because the world is beautiful. I write because when it sounds good to me--I hear myself smile because I am highly sensitive.

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W H Y

I

W R I T E

W H O

I

A M

JOHNGELINE FERGUSON Because I like to think about so many words Because they are a representation and my interpretation of who I am Because of the dictionary and the thesaurus making me increase my vocabulary Because the words develop into my most intimate mental processes Because I see the sky as grey minus its brightly shiny star Because at night I still can go into deep delta sleep and dream about who I am And to be quite candid, who am I “me� just a peaceful soul--Ashe!

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B E C AU S E I A M T H R E E Q UA R T E R S G O N E CAROL MCCULLOUGH + KIRSTEN KASCHOCK Because I am three-quarters gone, I write open-ended definitions. Because the world can be scary and unfair sometimes, I write the doors shut. Because I am still searching to find my way, I write to fill the gaps between hither and thither, there and you. Because the world is a ravenous beast ready to chew up people and spit out their bones, I write knives and forks and p’s and q’s and zippers. Because I am a patchwork quilt with pieces of my family and former lovers cross-stitched to cover me, I write madness and joy and hiccups. Because the world is going mad, I seek some moments cuddled up with a book, and I write like mad. Because I am so tired of your same sorry bullshit, I write death out as a preventative and a warning. Because the world keeps opening, I write bubbles and buckets. Pop and Bob. Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me—(shout out to Emily D!)—I write confessional science fiction. Because the world is so much black and white, I write chocolate moons on vanilla sky with sprinkles. There must always be sprinkles. 4

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W H Y

I

W R I T E

YONIQUE MYRIE I write about the life I live with confetti and bubbles I write about the places I have gone that have caused my trouble I write about the journey into me Because it quenches my thirst Because it comforts me Because no one really cares Because it’s magic Because I have children Because I am courageous Because there are so many injustices Because my life is crazy Because I am crazy Because I am different Because of love ones lost and lives gained Because I have too much fluid in my brain Because I am in pain from really loving and not being loved Because I want to move to paradise Because it’s the only thing that is keeping me alive

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I

W R I T E

L I S T S

V I C TO R I A H U G G I N S P E U R I F O Y + R AC H E L W E N R I C K I write lists because I am a senior, and I see the world differently. I write e-mails, lots of dumbfuck e-mails, because the world is confused by alternative truths. I write wishes because I am unwilling to accept a lie as true. I write lines to connect me to people long gone. More binding than blood. More lasting than bodies, theirs, mine—because the world is worse off than after WWII, Vietnam, Korea, or Kuwait. I write eulogies because I am tired of the news and false facts. I write what I can’t say because I am stuck on “in my solitude you haunt me.” I write who I’m trying to be because the world refuses to embrace each other’s differences and simply love one another. I write love letters because I’m tired of sons dying.

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I W R I T E W H AT E V E R I T H I N K B E C AU S E I A M A C H O S E N V E S S E L ROSALYN CLIETT + EARL HACKETT I write whatever I think because I am a chosen vessel. I write how I feel whether imaginary or real because I am hopeful. I write to make it right when it’s really wrong because I like unity. I write to protect the weak from the strong because I love to help people. I write past the mental blocks because I am running out of time. I write until it’s time to stop because the world has changed so much. I write times four so I can be done and because the world is in trouble.

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SPRING

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artwork by unknown

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SPRING

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S P R I N G

J O N N Y A N D R E S JA I M E-C AVA N AG H Trench coat Empty wallet double rum Vegas life alive, busy, rousing, cigar smoke Sour, leave tiresome Midnight Heavy rain, solo, where’s a cab? A shadow whispers, turn around, whips a knife Wide eye, sinking fast Cut ribs Water rinses red pulpy wound The shadow runs, left lying amongst glamorous pigs Is this how he’s doomed? Thrilling Out, in of what’s real, vividly Wake up, bright lights, polished white, glistening Pink roses by the bedside

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S P R I N G

TO A L L T H E L OV E ...

B O Y S

I

U S E D

TO

EBONY DRUMMOND My heart goes out to the one that lost me to this cruel world. My condolences. I feel for the ones that got lost in me and are now stuck in a sunken place within me. Forgive me. Forgive me, if you ever felt you took a loss with me. My apologies. My apologies for your misconceptions of me. I’m sorry you missed the goddess in me, because I flaunt this crown so gracefully. I’m sorry you missed the light in me, because this little light of mine shines so radiantly. My apologies to you if you forgot how strong I rise like the sun, beaming harshly into those weary eyes. Day to day, night after night, I carry the burden of forgiving you. So eager to feed you everything, I leave myself nothing, See, I’m a holy and caring women. I know what it’s like to give life to a being, holding them down with no man around. It humbles you. Slow to anger. 11

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I’ve practiced how to hold my tongue long enough to let the burning flame of my quick tongue find serenity while my mind seeks tranquility in the chaos my heart has caused. I’m frightened to say good-bye, afraid you were under the impression I was made to please you, and only you, but I was under the impression you understood me better. I guess not. The truth is, I’m a superwoman, wonder woman. Sometimes I’m an angry woman, even a crazy woman. But today, I’m feeling like a lazy woman. Still waiting, still loving harder than the day before, even while my heart aches. Still trusting, still believing I am worth more. Still waiting to be the beautiful tragedy ...I’m ready to be the beautiful tragedy. Still searching for someone to love me better.

I think I found him...

XOXOXO

Inspired by Reyna Biddy and Life

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S P R I N G

S U N JOHNGELINE FERGUSON The giver of Life too Miracles, abundance of vitamins human/animal’s lover Sun, I love you

G R A S S JOHNGELINE FERGUSON Scents of fresh cut grass Green healthy, thick, full of perennial life Lying down, embracing the grass

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S P R I N G

M I S T Y ,

M U R K Y

DAY S .

.

.

RAHKINAH LAUREL The rain poured down on the wooden, blue cabin. The cold air blew against the brown trees. The clouds moved swiftly through the skies like a leopard moving through the forest. The rain was like Australian crystals or diamonds shimmering throughout the atmosphere. The cabin windows reflected a rainbow that spanned to the heavens. As the cold air whistled like a tea pot, a gold pigeon flew from one rooftop to another. Misty, murky days. . .

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S P R I N G

M Y

T I M E

EARL HACKETT

I like April because it’s the month I was born Flowers bloom, and I swoon

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S P R I N G

T U R Q U O I S E

I S

A

M OO D

V I C TO R I A H U G G I N S P E U R I F OY Turquoise is reflective love. Give it to fabric, jewelry, rings or a needy wall. There is a joy In calmness that sings melodies of praise, smooth jazz, and spirituals, hummm. Turn turquoise loose to fly to the sky; to climb a mountain high. To Forge through war and bring tranquility and peace, as if it were star lights. Turquoise shifting between a gray spindle on my cranium and light blue energies, Aztec bungalows and a glimmer of sunlight’s love. Oooh, Turquoise come and change sullen moods. Headache, sink into the core of a Doberman’s play toy. Soft sounds of life I need… now.

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S P R I N G

S U N LAURA BLACKWELL Sunshine makes fine wine Not the rot of the stop go Dark night hides sight of Gun’s fright

S P R I N G LAURA BLACKWELL jazz runs up the avenue playwrights are high in Malcolm Park barbeque smoke up Fairmount Park spring is here summer near

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S P R I N G

S U N LIZ ABRAMS Blue green lights streaking cross the sky at night Sunshine spasms Aurora borealis brings forth sun rays phantoms Are we entities part of sunshine flakes or are we particles of rays left behind the quake Of course we’re created by the SUN that breathes in us by the SON

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S P R I N G

I

A M

A N

A R T I S T

JORDAN MCCULLOUGH I am an artist I don’t remember my past I know it was hell Young, gifted and black At the age of 26 Of course I’m a male A want to travel A successful businessman No lazy slacker I’m a good writer It’s hard to find the right words I’m a slow reader I’m not a poet I do enjoy poetry I’m smart and funny I’m not a people person I am a people pleaser. *Mic Drop*

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S P R I N G

I N

F E B R UA R Y

R O SA L Y N C L I E T T, VA L E R I E F O X, A N N I E H A F T L, AND RAHKINAH LAUREL Clouds changing like cotton candy in a cotton candy machine, and this a bird singing and flowers begin to bloom before the season, out of season. We’re all out of season, sometimes. Clouds flowing throughout the heavens. . . The sound flowing out of a sense of completion and also of being in the middle. A place of completion half full and half empty a place to move forward or go back. Can we move forward? It’s humid in February.

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S P R I N G

I

H AV E

N OT

D I S A P P E A R E D

ROSALYN CLIETT

People you haven’t seen in a while, act as if they have been looking for you but____. I haven’t move moved, I didn’t leave the city, and sometime I don’t even leave the porch, I___have “to go on Facebook,” or skype___ so they say, So other will know where to find me I’m___Not interested in these corrupt engines of communication, for people to know I haven’t ___disappeared The day started out very dreary, with rain drops pounding the pavement until___The afternoon sun came out with a vengeance, shinning so bright on the___Boulevard that people started pouring out of building like ants spilling out of an ant hill___Is a bit overwhelming to see, in the afternoon on the streets of Philadelphia ___full with so many people and it wasn’t, a parade or a championship win___Of famous athlete’s or stars performing, yet in the excitement of the day___My heart was filled with the joy of the Lord, knowing he leads me, and guides my___steps “The steps of a good man, are ordered by the Lord” which is a part of his Heavenly___language that help remove the messes in our lives, which delivers us from the___grave clothes that kept us wrapped up in pain, misery, and hurt that made us stagnant and my__yesterdays are no longer a part of me, and I am free to make a decision, and I will not---wear the grave clothes from my past, I’ve been made a new creature in Christ, so the person__ they would be looking for no longer exist, she was erased, by his Word, The Word of God has renewed my mind, encourages my heart and His peace has lifted my head which becomes, the light on my__ face which brings light everywhere I go, and it’s an eternal light that will never___disappear no matter what comes my way, He has thought me to be a base and how to abound in___all things so I don’t live my life wallowing in self pity, nor laying down my life in a ___coffin

Written by the hand and help of my creator / and me, Roz

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S P R I N G

T H E H E A R T M A D N E S S *

YO U

G AV E

TO

KYLE HOWEY Even once, if you were there For us, my world would be the better; and you’ll realize that it is Never fair to let a heart dry up; like stone and dead, but always Better worn by some. A heart that you would proudly give to madness. And coming time, you will be fine with basking in Another’s arms, a nest of which you truly think is love, A gaze that only ever treats you less, but No one’s there To save you when it comes to turn; my heart is Not a lock and yours the key; but then again it also Opened for you anyway; the trust I gave, but always Better worn by some. Keep living in your world without reason, A world that you will never find me in Because I am just another heart you gave to madness.

* A Golden Shovel: “There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

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W R I T

3 0 1

P O E T R Y O F P L AC E M I X TA P E

P O E T R Y O F P L AC E M I X TA P E

W R I T

3 0 1 24

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W R I T

CO N C E R T

VILLANELLE

FOR

301

ZOE

DIANA HILLENGAS But let’s get back to Momma’s funeral. I watch you play, dressed all in red. Across the dark the measures glide. (Your baby fist behind my head.) I know that flute-sound in my head, once heard from windows opened wide. I watch you play, dressed all in red. Once you reached for me instead and dug fat toes into my side, your baby fist behind my head. Now music is your daily bread, your staff of life, your spirit guide. I watch you play, dressed all in red. I’d sing sleep-songs to you in bed, and hold you closely when you cried, your baby fist behind my head. Such pride I feel. Some tears I shed. A woman now, you leave my side. I watch you play, dressed all in red. (Your baby fist behind my head.)

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W R I T

CO F F E E

301

P S A L M

J E N N E S Y S AV I L E S For I once thought your smell was equivalent to that of burnt popcorn And I could not comprehend something with that awful a smell to be desirable But now I find myself, eyes closed, nose just above the rim of the mug, deep breath in Breathe out. The smell of your roast intoxicates my senses, it tingles through my back, sets me to rest for a moment I cradle the mug between both of my hands, as I feel the warmth you provide is truly bringing me back to life this morning Lips pressed along the edge, I take you in slowly, but my mind reacts quickly, nerves charged and connecting, my eyes open widely I crave this moment with you, often a couple times a day, and even before bed every now and again I admire your variations in taste, preparation, presentation But I appreciate you most in your simplest form You need not be sweeter for my taste buds to indulge I’ll take you as you are, dark and bold with a slight bitter bite Each sip will fuel me and elevate me to begin to embrace the next A buzzy feeling trickles through my limbs, my neck sits more erect upon my shoulders

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At times, I take too long to enjoy this moment and as you change from warm to cool, the bitterness starts to unbalance and overtake I’ll take the last sip quick, head tilted all the way back. But I consider, maybe another For I may not be quite awake

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W R I T

W H AT M A D E

A R E O F ?

301

CO W B O Y S …

CARIN SPOTTED EAGLE Romantic romance-made of 100% beef It’s all in the hat, how they swing the rope you see Some ride horses, others-pluck a guitar, many lasso, a few are known for prodding cattle… also know the sound “he-haw…”, “gitty up…”, “whoa…”, “ooh doggies…”, “ride’em cowboy…” often spoken like a champ! Generally, each are physically… well fit! Do you know a Cowboy? Let’s compare! It’s more than just the jeans/genes… Some can do Jack Daniels and live in saloons. Some drive cars instead of horses… it’s an attitude! It’s in looking at them from the back: “O’ La! La! It’s in the Heart, a lifestyle: how they earn their buckles… their Yes Ma’ams: politeness, outer image, rough and tough to say the least. Of course some know 60+ dance steps: some can dance the night away, many can do the Texas Two-Step Some ride with or without saddles; You say? Line dance! How many do you know? It’s in the strength of their legs… The kerchief, handkerchief, morale upstanding… Proper with style…. The Texas two step---and other’s the way they tilt their Hat. If you know a Cowboy you just may agree: They can be the most Royal Man A star in Chivalry! 28

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Cowboys, O! Cowboys… Real Cowboys versus Pseudo… Please. You are ‘cream of the crop’ Please! Oh… cowboy “tush-push” my Soul It’s all in the Boots… Pick partner and Let ‘em lead… Listen to the Calls and let’s rock ‘n’ roll. Watch ‘em sashay… Cow Girls: Let’s go!

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W R I T

301

E N CO M I U M KYLE HOWEY Not by enough light in every day; that she so ever sweetly spent; Not by enough love in every heart; that hers ever ran dry; but itself like glass to demons, only she herself could truly feel; Not by enough time in all the world; that I could take her pain, were I to share in the vehemence of them, and hers never once deserved; I would bear them, for your sake, as well; Not by enough words ever spoken; that I would have loved to know her more; that greatly a mind woven with such beauty could escape so young; but in her obstinate goodness, that even by her gracious hand, is still that she remains with us; with you, as you are, today; Not by enough delighted eyes; that patience and profession lent; and by all beds except her own; but so it was a lowly cruelling irony she found; though, all accepted, and in truth, that you are proud to call her yours; Not by enough dark clouds that ever pass; and each, you’ve felt it differently; but forward fortunes since, for each, as well; that you could be as strong as she; you were, and are, to me; Not by enough laughter ever had; and not only in memory; but that her thoughts and words outlast the stars; for goodness is convergent, were it not so hard to find in some; though, of your own, it stays; Not by enough meaning in a life; that hers will ever be to mine; and yours, of course, until we chance to part 30

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W R I T

301

O D U N D E NORMAN CAIN Philadelphia Odunde Festival is Yoruba New Year Lois Fernandez Founded this event after a Nigerian trip Always held in June On historic South Street No rain check prevails Sweat rains down the face Of drummers pounding congas Dancers twirl their souls Orishas appear Riding the thumping drum beats With ancestors Pungent smell of cuisine African food remembered Chicken fish yams beans Taste of ginger beer Cool and tangy satisfies A ravishing thirst 31

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The slow inching crowd Bodies brush as they shuffle through Humanity The Hebrews join the Buddhist Christians Yoruba Muslim in friendship Reunions with long Lost friends in African garb Handshakes hugs catching up Merriment on two Stages enthrall the crowd with dance Music poetry Odunde revives The African Market Place Revelers Rejoice

32

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W R I T

A

L E T T E R

TO

W R I T

301

301

KIRSTEN KASCHOCK Dear Class, you have class. I know this from the kind ways you treat one another. I know this from the words you let loose and the ones you soak up. I know a little of your hearts from the heaviness of the doors you’ve cracked open to them. Oak doors, dark-oiled oak doors with knockers that make a hollow sound far back into the house, a sound that cracks off back windows I’ve not seen. When you ask me things, I want to ask them back but I was taught to have a class is to be the answerer, so I try even though I know your answer is on some inner sill. Some pie cooling, some paring knife with which you’ll go after your cuticles no matter how many times told not to. I will not tell you not to. Mostly I’ll ask you what the pie smells like. Which berry you picked to put in it. What season grows that berry best. I’ll stand on your stoop and sing praises to that pie I can almost taste when you tell it. But I won’t invite myself in, and if you ask me and we sit down together -- curled around the pale shock of a teacup -- you’ll see I eat my fingers too. So there. Love, Kirsten. 33

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W R I T

T H E

E N D

( M A R K

301

10 : 2 7 )

LIZ ABRAMS Now the disciples were on their way to Jericho And Jesus walked

ahead

As they followed him nervously Their hearts were filled with dread

Taking the disciples aside, Jesus reminded them again The Pharisees will kill me, Put me on trial, I’ll be condemned But Lord why are you repeating this Is our future just as grim? Jesus said I’ll be dead 4 a little while Yet I’ll rise again For my death will be THE BEGINNING for you A new life and not THE END 34

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W R I T

D E A R

301

S U N

YONIQUE MYRIE Embrace me Gently caress my face Let your warmth seep Into my pores Fill me with the energy To ride your rays Out to the edge of time Hide me from the dark clouds Hovering over my eyes Save me from the rolling thunder and tides Rise up and waken into me blossoms of happiness Set in me a bed of roses Whose colors change with your kiss So that I can taste just like skittles.

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W R I T

O U T

O F

301

B O U N D S

DAY E K AS S I E I’m westward bound, bounding up the stairs with sharp turns as if it’s my Mission. A community bound in blood, I can hold all my sisters and brothers. I’m pushing my bounds far and my kins’ further. Gapping the ages, bondage, we are bound to each other, and I want to overstep my bounds. I’m listening to Bound 2 and some of my family members are confused, they’re not amused. Jesus! this is just what I needed. Their preference being at the boundaries of my comfort zone; it grows. I’m back within bounds. I’m realizing my journey is bound to end and I can’t ignore the sonder. I look inward and see I was not the glue that bound. Speak of the Devil and they are bound to come... I’m homeward bound and we talk little due to raging ennui reflecting on the leaps and bounds and gratitude, oh the magnitude! Mortified, I need to run and hide. I’m forging forward due to my duty-bound mind. I’m ripped from my kind. The melancholic nostalgia kept me inside, bound, like a noose wrapped across my eyes. I was blind before when I didn’t mind all the chores, but now I kept myself bound in a blanket. I’m still packed, all my belongings bound neatly in a suitcase, sitting on the floor as if 36

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I’m bound to leave again at any moment. Ready to bound out the door. I’m ready I’m waiting I’m telling myself it’s bound to end. I’m listening to the stories of others and my tears are connected to fishing line, bound to the floor. Given time to unwind, I’m rebounding now that I see community all around and with values placed in my core I’m a warrior, a climber, a friend, a colleague, a student. All this I remember as I take my place as a community member. I’m overwhelmed with the bodies of work. They overlap and the more lines that lay on top of each other the more they fade. I look around and suddenly I’m out of bounds.

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W R I T

T H E

301

H A I K U

BRENDA BAILEY I. you say you love me but the rain keeps falling gray is the new black. what kind of love you giving? II. sits in the sun all day eyes closed, head held high to receive the rays the sun gives warm kisses feline sun worshipper. III. tears flow from the sky flowers, grass, trees, reach up. to give thanks grace and mercy once again reign. IV. cool fingers massaging me, hot breath on my neck warm fingers caress my body be back tomorrow.

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W R I T

S TA R R Y

301

E Y E D

B R I T TA N Y S WA R T Z I always believed that the stars had eyes, Each star having one indivisible eye that never bats a lash. Monitoring our every step until the beginning of each sunrise — right up until the moon and sun clashes This thought entered my mind at the age of four, My father would tuck me into bed, my mind wanted to see the sky. The gleaming light was too challenging to ignore And I would stare at each one: dead in the eye. They now hide behind the city’s lights, No longer visible for me to see, At times I confuse them for late night flights. — I can no longer see them, but they can see me.

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W R I T

O N

S O M E

S L I C K

301

S H I T

A N D R E S JA I M E-C AVA N AG H Close, can’t be touched, cause I’m king of the classics But still rhymin robust, chicken wing, you passive No attention span, mind box spring, hot passions Kills the mic, deadpan, fast spitting, need captions Toast to the assholes, raise your glass up for me For I’m a black hole, I encompass, you’ll never flee Po’nil I’m that MC, got plenty class, if you ask me Post-crack peewee, got plenty grass, brew, I’m trashy No I don’t like to rap, punk rocker to the bone Bills I’m wrapped in ‘em, smooth talker, I’m Al Capone Coast cross words, like saucers, then take out a small loan To cop herbs for whoppers, cook the game, where’s the throne? Coast cross shows, plain to see I’m your local street superstar Joe schmoes just like plain tees, not vocal, not going far Schmoes pose, know so little, I go postal, Pablo Escobar Flows so sick sickle, hoes throw rose at mogul, can’t reach the car

40

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W R I T

G O D ’ S

H E A R T

M U S T

B E

301

C R Y I N G

V I C TO R I A P E U R I F OY I’m sure there’s days when He is hurting; to see his children in such despair. His dreams for them were much more exciting. But this old world just doesn’t seem to care. Should our eyes and ears be shut down to warring factions? Assaults abound around us to and fro. Why do we continue to hear the moans of mothers? Whose babies have been shot down, shot down, shot down? God’s heart must be crying Politicians do not care; don’t care about nothing at all. It’s their pockets, their pockets that must have a flare. Number 45 wants World War III; anyone in the way is collateral damage Number 45 wants World War III; anyone in the way is collateral damage Overdosing children and adults is at an all-time high. It’s only an epidemic now, because European cherubs are being cut down. There’s no grace, there’s no mercy, there’s no grace or mercy in these streets. There’s no grace, there’s no mercy, there’s no grace or mercy in these streets. God’s Heart, God’s Heart, God’s Heart Must Be Crying.

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W R I T

301

T I M E ROSALYN CLIETT TIME Time is a Funny Thing One minute you have it, the next you don’t You can’t stop it you can’t change it you can’t slow it down. TIME Time is Nurturing That wound is going to take time to heal. Time helps you to get over the loss of a loved one. Time nurtures a young girl as she starts to develop. It takes time to heal a broken heart and a broken relationship TIME Time is fast, and sometimes, time is slow. When you are having fun, times move quickly. But when you are at work, time just creeps along. There are times you have to wait for time, other times you have to catch up with time. Have you ever tried to race time? You’ll find you can’t beat time, that’s when I cheat and I pray and ask God to either slow down time, so I can make an appointment, or speed me up. TIME Time Rules If I’m not on that corner at a certain time, I’ll miss the bus. And my employer said I have one more time to be late, and I’ll be looking for a new job. I had a Doctor’s Appointment at 9 o’clock, but I was too late and had to reschedule. 42

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TIME Time is a Necessary thing It takes time to bake a cake, time to clean a house, was clothes, etc. There is a time to start something, and a time to stop. I remember a time I questioned God on his timing, and his response: “I Am Time” TIME Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season and a Time to every purpose under the heavens” Time is every where, time is is every thing Oops my time is up!

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FALL

artwork by Robert Heister

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FALL

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FA L L

T H E

H O R I Z O N

R U N E T T E B O G R AY Early morning, waking up in the islands when the day says hello the sun against the blue sky is so mellow The blanket of blue meets the ocean two shades deeper but also blue That line that separates the two also joins earth and sky That line that disappears when a storm comes and the sky closes its big eye so you can’t see where the sky stops and ocean begins It can be scary to see but so is life The storm passes, and ocean kisses the sky again the line re-appears and we can relax once more looking out from where water meets the shore

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FA L L

F R O M

S PA R K

TO

I N F E R N O *

NORMAN CAIN So they enslaved us Beat us down to a Spark but the wind of perseverance Turned the spark into an inferno Fired us up to become Vesey, Toussaint, Harriet, Turner We sang “Go down Moses” “We shall overcome” Sculpted our dignity Created blood plasma Saved a waning agricultural South with multiple ways to use the peanut

* “So they beat him down to nothin’ but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song” -Zora Neale Hursto

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FA L L

D E A R

Z O R A

BRENDA BAILEY October 17, 2016 Dear Zora: I found we have something in common, like Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, we have had to depend on the kindness of strangers. She left me in Georgia alone. I thought we were best friends. The sign on the door said, “Eviction Notice.” What am I going to do? I have been accepted into college, and I really want to stay. Landed a part-time job, things were looking up for me. Went to my part time job looking sad and Peggy said, “Why are you looking like death?” Mickey left me with an eviction notice on the door. To my shock without hesitation she said, “come stay with me.” When I heard the story of you moving around doing your research and being housed by adopted families, I felt a familiarity. Having strangers reach out showing love and kindness, is this southern hospitality? The artistic community I envision has people I have met on my journey, not family. I have met a collage of people from different backgrounds, ages and at different stages in life. My community is defined by those who are not afraid to reach out to people. Sometimes you need to let GOD and the HOLY SPIRIT be your guide. For those who do not know GOD it is what your call your “gut feeling.” Everyone is not out to do

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you harm, we learn from each other. How to use your voice to express yourself? We begin to understand what sayings like, “that which does not kill you, makes you stronger,� means to you. My artistic community would have people who step out of their comfort zone and see change as a challenge to be embraced. Peace and Love, Brenda Bailey

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3

F O R

T H E I R

E Y E S

FA L L

YONIQUE MYRIE

3 for Their Eyes

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FA L L

AU N T H A Z E L ’ S N OO D L E S

S T E A K

A N D

CHANDA RICE Your ingredients are: 2 packs of Ramen Noodles Bread crumbs Onion The packet of seasoning that come with the noodles And a Steak Salt and pepper Directions: Now the 1st thing you do is, “Get up and go to the market.” Don’t draw attention to yourself by walking too briskly, pace yourself. Scope your surrounding as you enter the meat section. Look around inconspicuously and shove the steak down your pants so it doesn’t fall out. And then walk out briskly. When you get home put on the water on for the noodles. Take the steak out your pants and cut it into cubes. Then coat them in the bread crumbs. Sauté the onions and take them out. Fry steak in the same pan. Mix together at the first sound of a siren. Eat up fast, ‘cause they are coming for you! At least you got your good “Last meal” on the street because you are going to jail !!! 51

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FA L L

S H A DOW

A N D

L I G H T

CAROL RICHARDSON MCCULLOUGH He’d moved in on the opponent, faked deep and low, Slapped the spherical ball right out of the guy’s hand — On the move now, he zigged and zagged down the court Just at the key he had a space so he pivoted then dipped Collected his energy knees bending, then ascending, He sprung from the balls of his feet through his toe tips, Gaining lift-off, heels rising toward his glutes, he’d pushed up hard at an angle, a beautiful angle With grace and style and power — Taking flight, Arms inward, rising, he was poised in mid-air, positioned to take that shot — Then Boom! He made it. He scored. Perfection. I’d freeze that frame in time at the moment right before He thrust the ball out into the air To capture an image of all the work, the beautiful work That went into achieving the outcome Shine a light on that body, toned and athletic Strong calves, muscular arms Glimmer of sweat glistening at the effort Exertion in mastery of form — Yeah — I’d want to save that image Send it forward — I’d hold onto that Without a shadow of a doubt.

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FA L L

FAC E S

AT

T H E

P E R E L M A N

CAROL RICHARDSON MCCULLOUGH

Photographs on display Like black and white encapsulated moments Glance at genius paused as if to say, Look at me. I stopped just long enough To freeze-frame a remembrance, so long after my book, My protest,

my oration,

or my dance,

Or any glorious artistry has been done, you will see beyond Remembering what I looked like in that moment Look closer See beyond my strengths into my fears, That graceful beauty cloaks my tender spirit You gaze upon my public face —

Delve closer toward my hidden truth Preserved here now, forever, Look

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FA L L

Z O R A ,

I

A DO R E

YA

CAROL RICHARDSON MCCULLOUGH Dear Zora, My father was the one who created in me the desire to learn to read as a very young child, and he introduced me to the joy that could come from immersing myself in a story contained within the pages of a book. But he never really read books for himself. He was a coach — a sports aficionado — so that was how he spent his free time. During one particular summer I commuted between Charleston, West Virginia, where I lived and Huntington, the nearby city where I was taking a grad lit class at Marshall University. I would arrive home after the drive and put my books onto the dining room table, grab a snack, take a break, and then return to begin my studies. One day as I got ready to read, I noticed my book was not there. I went to ask my dad if he had seen it, and low and behold, I found him seated out on our porch, reading my copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Later on the book reappeared on the corner of the table. The next day it happened again, so I asked him, “How do you like that book you’re reading?” And he said, “That Janie is a pistol.” He also picked up on the famous line about the Black woman being “the mule of the world.”

54

So I thought, “Daddy is really getting into this book.” I think he found ease in reading the vernacular dialect of the characters, as their speech most likely reminded him of the way the people in the community of his southern boyhood home in Lexington, Virginia sounded in the 1920’s when he was a child.

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You gave me a moment where, for the first time, I, the daughter studying to become an English teacher, was able to offer my father a book and watch him enjoy it, as he had done for me when I was a little girl. You had captured him with your language. For me though, it was the characterization of Janie’s life journey, finding a love that would not stifle her but would welcome expression and provide an everlasting joy. Reading your book was like we had both just unwrapped a special gift. For that dear Zora, I adore ya. With love of the literary kind, Carol Richardson McCullough

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FA L L

L A N D L A N D

O F O F

W OO D A N D WAT E R , E X P L O I TAT I O N

DIANA HILLENGAS Chris Columbus went looking for India but he found Jamaica instead. He found a million Arawak Indians and in a century all were dead of syphilis and smallpox: the European bane. No gold, no gems, no Western route-but there was profit in sugar cane. Cutting cane is hot, back-breaking work so began the Great Slave Trade. Thus Spanish pride and England true hauled horror, death and chained misery from the Old World to the New. Bauxite miners scraped the green land red and siphoned profits to First World shops. Police jail subsistent ganja farmers but smugglers reap millions from their crop. We pimp out our white-sand beaches with hotels where only tourists stay; and suffer ugly chain-link fences which bar wistful barefoot children from the beaches of their heritage where their parents used to play.

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FA L L

G O L D E N

S H O V E L

W I T H T H A N K S TO C A R L S A N D B E R G : “ T H E F O G C O M E S I N O N L I T T L E C AT F E E T ”

DIANA HILLENGAS I. Crying “Mommy!” is a trigger. The brain on auto-pilot in a fog snaps to waking when the trigger comes, locates the child, turns thinking on, and moves to action with a little mental shift, the way a falling cat twists mid-air to land upon its feet. II. His braying shocks, and assaults my peace –the hollow man, the bigly fraud. Each fresh fog of fake news films the lens of trust. It comes seeping into mind each dawn. To move on past rage, I sip hot honeyed tea a little while, and watch my silent sphinx-eyed cat smooth her patchwork fur sliding round my feet.

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FA L L

H AV E N

(∏ = 3.14159)

DIANA HILLENGAS Numbers are kind. Numbers are safe. Five won’t seem four somehow. Eight can’t present in some other way. Words are sly. Words twist on your tongue. “Not what I meant,” you say. Words become weaponized on their own. There’s safety in numbers. To know that two plus two is four, now and tomorrow, is to be at home.

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FA L L

W E S T E R N TA L E M E D I C I N E

O F

E A S T E R N

DAY E K AS S I E Put your heart in the bag and don’t raise any suspicions this was to be my mission I was grinnin’ like a possum eating a yellow jacket Swore you filled a calico although you lacked tit Return to my room feelin’ fine as a frog’s hair Expectin’ to sample your fine fair I opened the good book it was hollowed and empty My goods were took I thought what you’d given me was plenty The ale went It’s back now, my ailment saloon door wont stop swinging Your voice in my head singing Even with these mantras it’s stinging I won’t quit despite my belly aching A ghostly riff upon the piano Notes spinning around the room It’s just me. I know. Hop back on the saddle Well shucks I better take my yellow belly and skedaddle

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FA L L

T R A I N

R I D E

LAUREN LOWE Dear Reader, In the time since I first joined, Writers Room has developed into the heart of my education as an undergraduate student. With it, the people have become an enduring presence in my life. The opportunity to think, write, and be with this particular group of folks has expanded my sense of self in relation to the world around me. These experiences have provided a catalyst for me to think more critically about the intersection of different races and cultures, leading me to consider how those two entities influence the way I interact with myself and the people in my life. The following piece is part of a project I began working on in the fall of 2015. During Kirsten’s Name-calling workshop, I wrote a couple of short paragraphs about the Chinese name given to me by my paternal grandmother. Throughout the course of the year that followed, I worked with Rachel to develop those sparse paragraphs into a fleshed out essay, which has turned into the basis for my senior project in the English major. The piece that follows is a bit of the connective tissue for the whole project—fitting, as most of it takes place on a train. I invite you to take that ride with me now. LL

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TRAIN RIDE I didn’t really like Texas. I tell my father as much. We’re seated in a mostly empty train car, riding the airport line back towards 30th Street Station. I sit leaned away from him with my head resting against the window. It is too dark to see much of the passing scenery, but my eyes continue to strain in effort to discern the shapes of different shadows outside. We had been in Dallas with our local Chinatown community group for the Chinese-American basketball tournament that was held annually around various cities across North America. I spent the weekend more or less alone as a false chaperone for our youth teams, surrounded by adolescents who felt much younger than myself. I had turned down their invitations to go to the pool or to walk to the strip center across from the hotel (separated by another four-lane highway) in search of ice cream. Even my father, who is lactose intolerant and has no real desire for dessert, attempted to cajole me out of the hotel room. I rebuffed him, citing a deluge of schoolwork that needed finishing before the end of term, pointing to the novels and essays and notebooks sprawled across the writing desk in the room as evidence. At the tournament gym, I strolled between the courts in an aimless pattern, saying hello to people who knew me without stopping for deeper conversation. I kept my hands in my pockets, feeling equal parts haughty and disappointed in my weekend status as an inconsequential spectator. “Eh, Dallas,” my father starts, murmuring noncommittal noises and tilting in his seat as the train rounds a bend in the tracks. “It was alright.” “It was muggy. And nothing but highways and strip malls,” I tell him. “So is New Jersey.” 61

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I wave him off. “It’s different.” “Because you grew up there.” “You’re the one who decided to raise me there.” He draws his lips to the side and bobs his head back and forth for a moment. Leaning forward, he clasps his hands in front of him. Finally, he shrugs. “Well. Jersey is alright.” I look at him and scoff. He glances at me, lips still drawn. “It’s alright,” he repeats, and I soften my reaction with a small smile. The train slows to a stop. I look back out as the platform comes into view. The conductor barges into the car, bellowing that we have arrived at the Eastwick stop. Nobody looks up. One person from the car ahead gets off and begins to shuffle away from the train. “How many more stops are between here and 30th?” I ask my father, watching the figure move away on the platform. He shrugs. “Just University City. I’d say we probably have—” he scrunches his nose and squints as he thinks, “three more stops until Chinatown though. If I’m right.” As I nod in response, my phone buzzes. I smile. It is a message from my girlfriend, asking to know where I am in my journey home from the airport. After almost a year of dating, more and more of myself has seemed to reside at her apartment. First a toothbrush, then an extra pair of clothes stuffed into a backpack, then a duffel bag, then two duffel bags, then four jackets; my belongings there swelling to include pairs of shoes, boots, the retainer I had been avoiding wearing since I started college, the fuchsia Fruit of the Looms my mother had forced upon me (the ones I always swore I would never wear in front of anyone)—all of my pieces accruing in a quiet fashion over days and weeks until one day I woke up next to her and realized I had not left in three months. My father and I skirted around this shift in living arrangements with awkward linguistic acrobatics. I was always staying “on campus” for the night because I had a lot of work, was exhausted from classes, had met friends for dinner and drinks. I’d tell him I would come back home 62

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for the weekend, but staying the weekend in Chinatown somehow kept getting delayed until the following week or getting changed to meeting him for dinner one night out of the week. He always told me to rest up and study hard, to have fun with my friends. I never told him in explicit terms that I was sleeping at Jen’s, with Jen, and he never made mention of the bedroom I left empty in Chinatown. “Felt a little different not playing in the tournament this year, didn’t it?” my father says, glancing sideways at me again. I don’t look up as I type a response to Jen, telling her that there is one stop left before 30th Street Station. I frown at my father and give a quick shrug. “It was different. I don’t think I would have wanted to play though. I’m getting too old.” Returning my attention to my phone, I send another short message to Jen, telling her that I don’t know how to tell my father I am not going home with him. When she responds that it would be okay for me to stay there and see her later in the week, I shake my head at the screen. I tell her I’ll handle it. My father lets out a short laugh. I furrow my brow, turning my phone over in my lap as I stare at him. Seeing the look on my face, he laughs again. “You are not old. I know you think you are, but—when I played, I played for a long time. Running up and down that court five, six games in a row. You know…” As he continues, I turn my phone over in my lap, end over end. I push myself off the window, sitting straighter in my seat. My palms grow slick with sweat. “It was always good to get to know the guys from the other Chinatowns at tournaments,” my father goes on. Every so often, I make faint noises of assent with the robotic instinct of a person too intimate with old family lore. “We were all friends—we did some crazy things, I’ll tell you—but when we were on the court we were—” “On. The. Court. I know,” I finish for him. He nods, not seeming to hear the flatness in my tone. A faraway look takes over his features. For a few minutes, I eye him as we sit in silence, wondering how far back his reverie is taking him. 63

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My father had played in these tournaments—and all of the smaller regional ones that filled the season in the lead-up—from the time he was in middle school through his late twenties. Basketball was the one thing in his life that he never downplayed his love for; it was the one thing I watched move him to palpable emotion. Over the years he accrued stories of his escapades on and off the court. As often as I heard him tell them while I was growing up, he always reminded me that he hadn’t shared even half of them with me. “You still went though.” My father’s voice again. I look at him. There is an appraisal in my father’s eyes, wanting to know the answer to a question he avoided all weekend in Texas. Asking, why’d you even bother? Answers run through my head in quick succession. The first, grandiose: I had gone under the pretense that I would hold out until the last second, when, the team in critical need of a leader, I would reveal that I had, in fact, packed my basketball shoes; stepping on the court surrounded by younger teammates, I would lead the charge to a surprising victory. The second, nonchalant with the ease of a twenty-something eager to see the world: I had gone for the simple thrill of the vacation, to escape from looming exams and indulge in the exploration I’d never been. In the end, I shrug, answer, “I thought it was important to still go and support the younger girls playing as a veteran player. I don’t know.” My phone buzzes with another message from Jen. I glance at the screen, rolling my eyes when I see that she has asked me if I’m only choosing to stay over because I miss cuddling. I tell her to shut up and that I’ll see her soon. I lock my phone after she confirms that she will meet me at the station. Folding my hands under my thighs, I lean over to glance out the window. More lights are beginning to show, and I can more easily make out the silhouettes of skyscrapers clustered on the near horizon. “Did you talk to the New York girls?” “Huh?” I turn back to look at my father. “Did you talk to any of the girls on the New York teams? They’re all closer to your age, right?” 64

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I glance back out of the window, trying to formulate an answer. “I—uh— yeah, some of them. Only a couple. They’re nice.” He smiles and nods, looking towards the front of the car. The conductor stands in the doorway, preparing to lean in and call the next stop. “They’re a good group…talented too,” my father muses. I nod. The train begins to slow, and the conductor bursts into the car once more. “University City!” he announces. Several other people in the car begin to rouse themselves, reaching into the overhead racks to gather their belongings. “You know, you might consider playing with them next year.” The train comes to a stop. I watch as people disembark from the train. My phone buzzes. It is Jen again, telling me which benches to walk towards to find her when I arrive. A heavy, shaky breath pushes through my nostrils, unbidden. I pinch the bridge of my nose for a couple of seconds. My palms remain damp and warm. “I think it could be good for you, playing with them,” my father tells me. “I’m sure they’d have you—” “I’m getting off at 30th.” I look back at my father. He is staring at me, his mouth hanging open at a slight angle, his lips still forming around his next word. He looks as though I have slapped him across the face. “30th?” he repeats in a slow voice. I look down at my phone. “I haven’t seen Jen in a little while since we were away…I want to stay there tonight,” I admit. He nods. “Okay.” For a minute, we sit in silence, hands clasped in front of us in identical positions. He continues to look taken aback. I wonder if this was what he had looked like when he dropped me off at school for the first time and was surprised to find that I hadn’t looked back—hadn’t, for the first time, needed his resolve to help me leave him. I examine his hands, counting the darker spots that have begun to proliferate across his skin. 65

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With a frown, I try to remember if he has always had so many. His age is beginning to show. I suppress a sudden urge to cry. “Will you be able to get the suitcases?” I ask, my voice a whisper. He nods. “I’ll be fine. Can you get all of your things? I can—” “Jen’s meeting me at the station, so she’ll help me carry the extra bags.” He falls quiet for a moment. “You know, you could have told me you wanted to stay there.” “I wasn’t sure until a little while ago,” I respond, clenching my jaw. He turns halfway towards me, drawing himself into the pose he adopts when he’s getting ready to lecture me. “You never communicate with me—” “Can you not, right now? Seriously?” I snap at him. He pauses, then looks away with a slow nod, drawing in a heavy sigh. An immediate, instinctive apology forms on my lips. I lean toward him for a moment, but teeter back towards the window with the train’s momentum as we enter a curve on the tracks. I suck the soft skin inside of my cheeks between my teeth and bite down hard. A burning sensation pricks behind my eyes. I scrunch my nose and glance out of the window. The train slows again. Others in the car begin to stir, gathering their various belongings, forming a haphazard line down the middle aisle as they ready to disembark. My father looks at me before sliding out of the seat. I slide out into the aisle after him as he retrieves my suitcase from the overhead rack. “You’re sure you’ve got it?” he checks again. I nod as I take it from him, pushing it ahead of me in the aisle. He puts an arm out. I duck into it, hiding my face in his shoulder for a few seconds. When I pull back and look up at him, he is looking at me almost like he has never seen me before. I wipe my palms on my jeans. “Are you going to come back during the week?” he questions.

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I turn away from him as the train comes to a stop. “I’m not sure yet,” I mumble. “Probably later in the week. Maybe on Thursday. I’ll text you.” “Remember when I dropped you off for your first sleepover?” he asks. I glance at him, eyebrows raised. His features mirror mine with a sort of blank surprise. His own question has caught him off guard. I was three or four years old. I was supposed to sleep over at my older brother’s house. He and his wife lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in a large, creaking, stone house. I had never slept anywhere other than my own home, and I had only ever been to my brother’s house for family gatherings. My father dropped me off in the early evening, an hour or two before dusk. My mother was not there, despite the fact that my brother was her son. I shuffled my way around the house as my brother and my sister-inlaw gave me a tour of the house, allowing me extra time to settle in with them. While my father remained in the living room on the couch—go, he had mouthed when I turned to see if he was coming—they led me to the guest room, bed already made up for me, pointed to the towels hanging in the hall bathroom, let me pick out nighttime movie snacks from the pantry, pulled out board games for us to play later. The list of preparations they had made felt endless. Before my father got ready to leave for the night, the atmosphere in the house shifted. All three of them seemed to tiptoe around me as I sat down on the couch. My sister-in-law handed me a blanket and left to make popcorn in the kitchen. I wiggled my feet back and forth under the blanket. My brother was saying something to my father, down on one knee in front of the television, fiddling with a VHS tape. My father stood next to the couch, his hands balled into fists at his hips, his lips pinched and pulled sideways. I glanced up at him. With a note of finality in his voice, he asked me if I would be okay. I wiggled my feet again and returned to watching my brother. With the false bravado of a stubborn child, I told him I would be fine, feigning exasperation. As soon as the words left my mouth, panic began to well inside of me. He leaned down, running his hand over my hair. I only offered my cheek for a goodbye kiss, still not looking at him. Keeping my eyes on my brother, I watched my father’s figure withdraw in my periphery. His silhouette seemed to pause in the outline of 67

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the doorway for a moment, but when I blinked he had resumed his movements. I listened to his voice grow fainter as he said goodbye to my sister-in-law, trailing through the kitchen, out on the step, and then gone, finally, as the screen door swung shut. I looked around the room, through the large windows on the far wall. The backyard looked darker than I expected. The sun had almost finished setting. It was dark in the living room too. My brother had turned the lights off. The television screen cast a harsh, pale blue glow over the living room. I wasn’t sure what movie we were going to watch, and I was too shy to ask. What flavor popcorn were we going to have? I never had anything other than whatever we had at home. I realized that there was a lot about the place that I didn’t know. What sounds the house would make during the night, if it would be too hot or too cold in the guest room, if the sheets would be soft or scratchy, if the pillows would smell like they did in my bedroom at home. I realized that home was very far from where I was, where I would continue to be. It was on the other side of the river, across a bridge I could not recognize, separated by streets and roads I could not name. Home was with my father—and right that second, home was receding down the driveway, and in another moment, it would be halfway down the block. I lurched out of my seat. Throwing aside the blanket, I called out for my father as I bolted towards the same door he had left through. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, not stopping when my brother turned to me, or when my sister-inlaw said my name, or when my feet touched the pavement and I realized I was still in my socks. I didn’t stop sprinting until I was sure that yes, my father was still there, at the end of the driveway, and my feet stepped into the golden glow of headlights that stopped moving away from me. I don’t remember all that came after, but I remember sitting in the car with my father that night as we left. I cried a lot. From the stress of the situation, from the guilt of disappointing my brother and sister-in-law, from the fear that my mother would be angry with me, but also from the relief that I was in the car, with my father, going home. I nod, turning back away from him. “I lasted all of two minutes after you walked out and came careening down the driveway in my pajamas before 68

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you could drive off,” I recall. “Yeah…you were still little.” Not anymore, I want to say. I bite down on the inside of my cheeks again, thinking better of it. “Well, uh, let me know when you meet up with Jen,” my father says. I nod. “Tell her I say hi,” he adds, after a moment. The conductor opens the door and smiles at me. I glance over my shoulder. My father looks down at his seat, just seeming to remember that it was still there. When he is seated again, he looks back up. I wave. He gives me a small smile, and in a rare moment, I think he might begin to cry. I coach myself through my next steps. Gather your things, yourself, get to the stairwell. Don’t look back. Don’t look back. Do you have your keys? As I pat my pockets, checking for my most pertinent belongings, I hear the train screech and groan into movement behind me. I want to turn, to wave the train down, to tell the conductor that I’ve made a mistake—I got off at the wrong stop. It was a mistake; it was all just a misunderstanding. The third, most genuine answer materializes: I went because it was my duty to do so. Because I am the upholder of your legacy, on or off the court, and it feels like I am quickly running out of time and space to continue to be that person. Don’t look back. You’re fine. I move towards the stairs, shoulders squared, clutching the strap of my duffel bag. The train screeches once more. I pause, my hand nearly on the door to enter the stairwell. After a second, I glance back over my shoulder. My father is looking down at his hands.

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I N S TA N T P O E M S

I N S TA N T P O E M S Anthology_Dornsife_Guts.indd 70

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I N S TA N T

I

F O U N D

A

P O E M S

P H OTOG R A P H

I found a photograph in my father’s humidor. The x’s are men. The y’s are women: X

Y X

Y

Y

Y

The middle x is my father. He is wearing a Hawaiian (sp) shirt and is doing a “bit” with one of the women. He is brash and his eyebrows are bushy. He is master of the revels. The women are wearing peek-a-boo nighties that have silhouettes of hands over their breasts. My father—young—with “good-time gals.”

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I N S TA N T

S T I L L W E L L

P O E M S

AV E .

Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island. First you go down stairs, then up the ramp and through the dark passage. You’ll smell French Fries. There are inflatable items for sale. Walk to the light of the street. The Cyclone is on your left.

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I N S TA N T

G O

P O E M S

L E F T

Go left. Go right at the house Go under the bridge & over the creek. Go left again Go left Go left young man. You are home. It’s where you were. Minus the bridge Minus the stream.

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I N S TA N T

M Y

A DV E N T U R E S

P O E M S

D R I V I N G

I have gotten lost on my adventures driving & working around the state of NJ. I usually found my way by driving around in big circles.

W E

G OT

L O S T

We got lost in the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Stuck. After closing. Closed exit. We saw some kids, and dad asked, “Where’s the nearest hole in the fence?” They told us and we slid through.

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I N S TA N T

P O E M S

D I R E C T I O N S F O R P O E M S AT O N E - B OO K P R E - PA N E L W R I T I N G INSTANT POEM Follow these directions. Answer each question with complete sentences. Where did you get lost, once or twice? How did you find your way or get found?

ANOTHER INSTANT POEM Follow these directions, if it is convenient. Pretend you are at a certain bus stop or subway stop. Give somebody directions to a specific place, starting from there.

ACTIONABLE POEM Write about a time you discovered something surprising about someone. Maybe you found hidden letters. Or other sorts of documents. What action did you take? Make this poem in the form of a diagram. 75

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WINTER

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artwork by Chanda Rice

5/30/17 5:10 PM


WINTER

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W I N T E R

T H E R A P I S T CHANDA RICE Tuesday, January 17, 2017. I had a hard time at spelling so I came up with this way to remember how to spell them correctly. THERAPIST, the rapist—that way I was sure to spell it right. The funny part about it was after I had to go see one, it felt like I spelled it! I am 11 and my grandmother is in a nursing home because she had lost her eyesight and her leg due to stepping on a rusty nail coming home from work one day. My brother and sister are of the partying age and don’t want to be bothered with me so they send me to E.P.P.I. ( Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute) which was across the street when the weekend came so they could go party. Ok, tell me what brought you in today? I notice that he has gray hair and a smile—the kind that cha-chings like a deposited coin. Now I don’t know what to say. I sit down. Can I tell him of these people I have that’s called family and the things that they are doing to me? 78

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Will he help me? I wrench my hands. I can tell he’s not ready for this. I begin to tell my story, but I see that he is getting aroused. So how old were you when this started to happen? (Prying/Delving deeper into my life). Because he doesn’t believe me. Sweat is beading on my forehead. I tell how I am getting beat during the week and fucked on the weekends. Trying to get down to what is really ailing me, but you look bored because now you’re looking at your watch!? It’s like the first time you tell on uncomprehending ears. After you have told others and they can’t believe that this is happening to a child. The hurtful part is to have someone there who knows and won’t intervene on your behalf. You have peeled every layer of protection I thought I had from me, whether it was a holey broken umbrella or a trash bag, it was mine. I am naked. I have nothing to protect me from the elements. Oh, I’m sorry, but your time is up! WHAT? Can I at least put my clothes back on? You have to go, I have another patient waiting to come in. So you pick up your clothes and get out, naked to the world. Not knowing whether to keep going or stop to put them on. Later, you are so angry that you don’t realize that you have been walking around for a week with your ass out! So you keep the appointment. When you come to yourself, you find yourself sitting in his office with your clothes in your lap.

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But what you have failed to realize is that while you were walking around unprotected, you became a “Dirt magnet!” So those things that THE RAPIST stripped off of you — that was your protection like an invisible cloak — are no longer working so you start attracting things like old potato chip bags, chewed gum, leaves, used bandages, and old cigarette butts, which you pick off while he acts like he doesn’t see that you now have new things on you and asks, So where were we?

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W I N T E R

D E A R

T I R E D

FAT H E R ’ S

E Y E S

KYLE HOWEY Dear tired father’s eyes, I am still yours to learn. Even though mine seem to have only just met you, I am grown enough now to realize the sunken loneliness you feel. You have taken burning years without a blink, Surrounded with wrinkled scars, veins that were induced only out of fear, Fear that you shared. To blink would mean to let the aching hammer drop, Embedding resolution that would take from you by an instant. The wonder that such bloodless apparitions could abuse you in the dark. No, even then you are worthier still. With a wounded vision only heroes could avow. Paternal, restless eyes. Now you can finally blink. If you can trust me to tell you it’s okay. Yours always, -Kyle

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W I N T E R

H U E - M A N /O M E N

B E I N G

CARIN SPOTTED EAGLE Ode to us, The U.S., United States of Ameri-can! This has been History Her Story My Story Your Story Under the very essence a Golden thread: JUST US Known as Justice; Just the United States Just Ameri-ca(n) Inherent is a society known to communicate, sing “Glory Days” This country was discovered with Purpose to mother Her way Your way His way My way “…Justice for All…”

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Yet color, religion, finance, clearly separates one’s call! There are those with melanin; Those without, in a country now distinguishing whom obvious with clout Until the constituency realizes their bout. It’s Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Neighborhood, Unconditional Love, which count. Color of skin, complexion, oil in hair and/or religion ALL ARE HUMANITARIAN… On & Upward with Humanitarianism!

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W I N T E R

T H E

I N V I S I B L E

M A N

CARIN SPOTTED EAGLE

Object number 1990-51-99 artist Daido Moriyama, Japanese born in 1938 a new way of seeing The invisible one A shadow in the light of an 1982-84 subway ride Man with a hat and rain coat Tailored, refined, traveling down a rail Face invisible darkened camouflaged accented by a sprinkle of the sun’s rays He remains invisible like a palette of color before painting the medium on an easel

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W I N T E R

D R E S S - U P BRENDA BAILEY, NORMAN CAIN, LAUREN LOWE, AND CHANDA RICE I learned how to dress up from Paulette’s Barbies. My brother learned from the older cool guys. Crinoline slips are my favorite with white ankle socks. We’ve all got distinct flavor or style. Don’t do no good if you don’t wash up!

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W I N T E R

Y E L L OW

S OC K

N ATA S H A H A J O A N D N I M R A S O H A I L I was running late for yoga, but I couldn’t find my yellow sock. Suzy told me I wasn’t allowed to go to yoga unless I was wearing a yellow sock. In my haste, I bumped into the dirty clothes hamper, spilling the contents and mixing clean clothes with the dirty ones. If Sam were here, he’d tell me to take a dirty yellow sock even though it might be stinky. “That’s disgusting!” I’d say to Sam and he’d reply with “What does it matter? You’re disgusting anyway.” He isn’t wrong! So I picked up the yellow sock from the dirty clothes and made my way to yoga, in all my stinky glory.

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W I N T E R

A

L E T T E R

TO

T I N A ,

T H E

C AT

J E N N E S Y S AV I L E S Although you’ve spent the greater part of your life Raised by four college students We soon will go our separate ways And I will not longer be your caretaker But I want you to know You have been very much mine Of this fact, I think you are aware We met first You were so grateful to be out of the cold that January That you thanked me by retaining constant Forced contact Of your forehead on my calf As I paced the first floor I felt guilt when I made a box barricade To trap you in the kitchen while I sprinted To the corner store for food and litter Only to find you’d broken through in my absence And impatiently waited at the front door You slept in the dip of my back every night for the first month Now -- three years later You’ve grown to prefer your space Except when I decompose on the couch after a long day I wake up To find you nuzzled in my arm 87

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Tina, I want to thank you For always knowing when I need you For coming into my life just as I needed you And helping me out of the January cold too

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W I N T E R

T H I S

H O U S E

A N D R E S JA I M E-C AVA N AG H This house of his was many things. Heaven and Hell. Friday nights and Monday mornings. The farthest ends of space and the center of it all. This house of his with dingy rooms, sprawling twinkling lights, and cheap lava lamps. Beaded doorways, dead flowers, and scribbled writings on the walls. This house, a sanctuary for neurotic minds and fucked up people. Guarding them with colored vitamins, empty dreams, and white lines on the mirror. This house where he could get as close to God as he wanted, but never feel his touch. Where the illicit met oblivion. This house where his dusty guitar was frozen amongst a rubble of the past. Unfinished lab projects, childhood photos, puzzle pieces, and pastel paintings. Video games, rotten take-out, and a laid out row of credit cards. Where Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin stared down like gargoyles from their patterned posters on the wall while the stereo blasted banging basslines that made the wine sway. The gospel to his rituals. Where his trash heaped in piles on the floor in a strangely neat manner. Cardboard sheets, broken glass, bloody needles, and tiny plastic bags. Where every movie we watched was a silent picture. Only for him to stop watching and dance an awkward groove like a puppet and his puppeteer. 89

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Where he gave many freebies just to make sure folks would stick around. Only for us to leave him as we drifted into heaven. Where repeated visits turned conversation into a sacred scripture that needed to be said again and again. What are you on? How much? Who gave it to you? A closed smile on his face, no words, but fear in his eyes, shook and jittered. This house, where he sat down on the rugged couch and basked in the holy black light that ricocheted across the living room table. Looking up in fixation and enchantment as hours passed by. This house, where beside his mucky bed was a trail of red stained tissues and a bucket of last night’s dinner. This house, where meaning might be found at the bottom of a ziploc of angel dust. A place of longing, ecstasy, pain, and fragmented memories. This house, where the cops came in and found him lying on the wooden, cold floor. This house, where the blue-faced devil took him in. Where I remember who he was.

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W I N T E R

T H E

H AU N T E D

C A R N I VA L

CHANDA RICE AND FRED SIEGEL Smoky was the hour when they blew into town. Cranky was the man, Walter, when he appeared at the cab stand. “Do you have any oxtails?” he asked as he moonwalked like Michael Jackson. Melissa, the angry, off-duty clown, watched Walter with amusement. Walter shook his ass and asked her did she want some popcorn? “I love popcorn” said Melissa, and she shook her ass right back. And they shook their asses happily ever after!

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W I N T E R

H A R R Y EMILY PHILLIPS Harry stands at the window, peering out through the dingy lace curtains. “Harry, are you still up?” His mother appears in the doorway to the living room, cup of tea in hand, curlers in hair, bunny slippers encasing her spidery, gnarled feet. “Don’t you think, love, time for bed, eh? Tomorrow is a big day. Have to be bright and chipper.” She noisily slurps the tea, spilling it down her stained nightgown. Harry pulls back from the window, running his fingers through his tight brown curls. “Go to bed Ma. It’s late. I’ll be up in a bit.” He begins to chew on his thumbnail, gnawing at the already broken skin. “Ok, love, just don’t stay up too late.” His mother walks towards him, raising her hand to caress his cheek. Harry shrinks back, bumping into the edge of the blue armchair. She stops, hand mid air. “Ok, darling,” she sighs, lowering her arm, “Just remember, not too late. Have to be ready to greet the day!” Leaning into the worn and splintered banister, she climbs the stairs, spilling tea with each upward movement. Hearing her door close, Harry, thumb bleeding, turns back to the window. Lights are out. Now is the time. There is enough money in the Linley’s house to set him up nicely. Away from all of this. From mother. He would send her money, of course, so that she would still have what she needed. But he would be free. Free with enough money to… The worm has made its way again, causing Harry to grab and squeeze his head between his head. It’s worse now. Naegleria Fowleri. Harry could barely pronounce it. Had to make the doctor write it down. Said it would kill him cuz he’d let it go too long. The only way was to cut it out. Cut his head open. Harry sees himself on the hospital table, head split open, worms spilling out onto everything. “No, no, no!” He pounds his head, feeling the worm burrow deeper inside his brain. 92

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After a couple of minutes, Harry’s breathing now slower, he releases the clutch of his hands on his head, blinking back tears. Wiping his nose clean with the side of his denim sleeve, he puts on his bomber jacket, patting the side pocket for the shape and reassurance of the gun. Going to the front door, he looks upstairs, flicks off the hall light, and quietly lets himself out.

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W I N T E R

P H I L A D E L P H I A L A U R A B L A C K W E L L , PAT R I C I A B U R TO N , YONIQUE MYRIE, AND DONALD REESE Scrubbing marble steps and hopscotching That cheesesteak not for the cheapskate I hear that soulful music Jump up and dance and then I lose it

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W I N T E R

T H I S

I S

T H E

P L AC E

I

G O

TO

BRENDA BAILEY This is the place I go to for courage, to say no, yes, maybe. This is the place I go to touch the gift I keep hearing about, what is it laughter, service, written words, spoken words, words of comfort. This is the place I go to. I am learning to ignore people telling me what I should be doing, this, that, the other. How do you know what I should be doing? Do you know what you should be doing? When I was a vegetarian and you ate, drank, and smoked, did I tell you what to do? To change your eating habits, drinking habits, smoking habits. You were a mean drunk. myself.

This is the place I go to scream, holler, curse, overeat, or starve This is the place I go to for me, to be selfish, petty and small.

This is the place I go to thank you for delivering me--you took me out of darkness and brought me into the light. Could not see in the darkness, I was walking into walls. This is the place I go to Praise you for opening my eyes, to see what I did not want to see, living like a nocturnal animal, coming out in the darkness to hunt. This is the place I go to for comfort, my soul reaches out to you from my closet, from my place. This is the place I go to for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a listening shoulder, I want you to tell me what I need to do. 95

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This is the place I kneel down and pray for forgiveness. This is the place I go to share my secrets, I know you will not betray me, nor will you use them against me. This is the place I go to, I know you are there waiting, you are there without judgment, you are there with love. This is the place I go to DAILY. myself.

This is the place I remember you came for me, brought me out of

This is the place I go to and look at myself in the light. It is alright to be me. I thank you for who you made me. This is the place I go to and say, “Father, I Praise you, Jesus, I Love you, Holy Spirit I adore you.� AMEN

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W I N T E R

A

Q U I E T

S TO R M

V I C TO R I A H U G G I N S P E U R I F OY Two weeks into therapy, the quiet in my storm came with the assistance of an angel; God confirmed my belief in Him when an angel came to visit me one night. I was lying in my special bed, when pain began to travel up my neck and continued to my brain... then back down to my feet. The ability to push the button seemed virtually impossible. When the nurse appeared, all I could say was, “Pain!” She asked, “Did anyone tell you that before you go to sleep, to ask for your pain meds?” I said, “No!” She gently helped me move; placing her hands and arm behind my head and back, helping me move to an upright position. She let me sit on the edge of the bed for minute, administered my medication, and then helped me to the restroom. Her name tag said Angeline. I thanked her for her help. The next morning when I asked about Nurse Angeline, the nurses said they didn’t have a nurse on staff for day or night shift named Angeline. I was awe struck! God sent me an angel in disguise. I remembered a glow all around her; but I thought it was my imagination. I wondered how she moved me without hurting me. I know now that God was with me that night and every night and day of my recuperation. I love the angel he sent. I knew from that point on, that regardless of how difficult my recovery would be, I would weather my storm...until... 97

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W I N T E R

N U R S E

A N G E L I N E

V I C TO R I A H U G G I N S P E U R I F OY Spiritual blessings always abound. Never do we expect what comes our way Glows of mercy touch our hearts each day. Nurse Angeline, who no one knew, Treated me with care. She exuded such grace And mercy too. An Ordinary appearance at first, Later she was deemed extraordinary. She was unknown to anyone, but her presence Blessed my heart with her gentle hands. Nurse Angeline, may God forever bless you... for Blessing me. February 1, 2017

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M I G H T Y W R I T I N G S B Y M I G H T Y W R I T E R S

B Y M I G H T Y W R I T E R S

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M I G H T Y

W R I T I N G S

B Z Z Z — CASSIDY AND CHRISTINA Bzzz—I’m a bug, a huge mosquito on the screen of the window on Cassidy’s private yacht. She is lying on the floor still startled that a ghost was playing with her soccer ball. It was midnight cause that’s when she’s most active. She heard punk music playing and wandered down the hall in search of where it came from. That’s when she saw Christina playing rugby in her dining room. I saw her come in two days ago with a traveling pack on. I guess she was trying to catch a ride. Then Cassidy got smart with Christina so I bit her.

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M I G H T Y

W R I T I N G S

ALI Sometimes adults stereotype youth and get it mostly wrong. But they see us, read us, and can put it in a rap song. Like brother Knowledge, even though he doesn’t like to write, he has a lyrical insight. Like brother Josh, as quiet as a mouse, but sly and analytical like a fox in a henhouse.

KNOWLEDGE Mr. Ali looks like he from the South and if he talk back to his mom he’d get smacked in his mother. Born in an era of rap he would fight the power carry his beat box and pick his fro every hour. As he grew up he got some class he got an interest in some jazz. He did love rap life long until he heard some Louis Armstrong I’m done.

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M I G H T Y

W R I T I N G S

JOSHUA This unreadable force that has been attacked by evil carries the strength of a mustang that’s a horse. He skims through his history to keep exceeding the expected epitome of his mindset. He has no idol but is an idol to all. He grasps life’s essence like a palm on a basketball. He feels as though pets are pests. He lives his dream job better than the rest in his profession. He is Joshua but goes by HAYZE. Listen closely and make sure the message gets relayed.

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M I G H T Y

T H E

W R I T I N G S

L A D Y

K AV I, A L I, A N D V I C TO R I A The lady the older lady with the job of four kids. She had a cat. It wasn’t hers but she treated it as if it was. The cat was one of two children that were separated from their mother. It died suddenly. The other cat died two days after. She wants to vacation at a beach at a beach that darkens her tone. She isn’t afraid of dying. She is fearless. She is the definition of fearless.

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M I G H T Y

B L U E

A N D

P I N K

W R I T I N G S

M O R N I N G

S AT Y R A , W I S D O M , A N D K I R S T E N It was a blue and pink morning. I almost went crazy Because I wanted to be in Paris But then I realized there was cotton candy all around. And then I had to go to the bathroom And because I had eaten so much candy I peed purple. And my stomach exploded all over the refrigerator And then I was hungry because I was skinny and all my food was all around the house. So I tried to eat peanuts And blasted music—pop. Then I was sleepy But when I tried to lie down I woke up because this was all a dream.

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M I G H T Y

L I T T L E ( A

W R I T I N G S

S P I D E R

C H I L D R E N ’ S

S TO R Y )

ANTHONY AND SINAH Once upon a time there was a young girl sitting in a room. And in this room she was listening to a groovy R & B tune. She sung and she danced and she wiggled about. A spider appears and she lets out a bit shout. “Go away, little spider! Go away!” she pouts. “I do not like spiders and I want you out!” “Calm down, little girl. I mean you no harm. I was just enjoying the sounds that you made with such charm.” “I don’t care,” she said,” “Get out of here!” “But I need to stay so that I can hear!” “You can stay, little spider, but there is no doubt that if you touch me, I’ll stomp you out.”

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M I G H T Y

T Y M I R

L O V E S

W R I T I N G S

S C I E N C E

TYMIR AND RAHKINAH Tymir loves science; he dissected one hundred frogs in science class and won a million dollars. Tymir moved to Italy when he won a million dollars, and he sent Drexel a scholarship for Rahkinah to be a doctor. He bought a castle in Italy. Tymir and all his family and friends and colleagues had a pizza party in Italy. All the ghosts fell asleep in the castle.

O N C E

U P O N

A

T I M E

S E N E C A, N AS I R, A N D VA L E R I E* Once upon a time there was a teacher and she had two favorite students. She treated them like her kids. Their names were Nasir and Seneca. But as the years passed by, the students surpassed the teacher in knowledge and wisdom. She did not like this. But one day they went bowling. Then they went to the movie theater to see Jurassic World. Nasir and Seneca were not frightened but the teacher was so scared she clutched onto both of their hands throughout the entire movie. They had to take her to the hospital and for their bravery they won a million dollars. Nasir got a career for being a racer and Seneca got a career as a hair stylist. They all lived happily ever after. *Valerie Flower 107

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W I N T E R

T H E

S TAG E S

O F

M Y

L I F E

ROSALYN CLIETT As we were traveling to our destination for the day, we passed by an open door of a theater. So my friend and I walked over to peek in, they were trying out stage set (scenery) for their play, so we watched. The first set was full of brightness, joy and fun with a sense of serenity. The next scenery seem to have an uncertainty about it, it was waves of mountains and valleys, light and dark, with different roads you could follow which causes some scary elements of the unknowing. And my friend and I stayed to watch them set up one more scenery, this one started out casually slow, yet confident in the direction they was going. They set up a couple of trees, one a little sparsely in that it was not yet develop, and another one that looked more developed, different kinds of flowers, sunshine, and a park bench for someone to stop an collect themselves. It was a beautiful sight. Then Suddenly a Loud Thunderous Noise and the sound of rain that not only scare us, but made us very curious to what was happening next. Then there was spirals of colors moving like a whirlwind, some bright colors, some not so bright, some even dark and they had the tendency to interact with one another, and when you would hear the sound of the wind they would separate. One of the spirals of color (Not So bright), would start to move so fast and would spiral up like fireworks and then a very loud burst of color would start to twinkling down like stars covering the stage; then the next spiral of color (Dark), then the next (Bright). When the storm was over the stage would go completely black‌ Slowly the sun would start to lighten the stage, until you could see the park. I notice the tree that seemed more developed looked disheveled, split in 108

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half because it didn’t have much flexibility, but the tree that was a little sparsely, was standing strong, because it was flexible enough to bend and recover… It was then I realized I was watching my life, as it played out before me. The First Scenery was from my early years, My Childhood of 5yrs of age until, The Second Scenery, My Preteens & Teen years. And the state of being uncertain, doubtful, and hesitant with limited knowledge. And the Last one covered being a Young Women to Womanhood. Showing the world winds of life’s changes. I left that day feeling a sense of Gratefulness to God for all he brought me through and for making me flexible enough to Bend and Snap back in place, a better place then I started out in. P.S. Life can throw you a bunch of lemons, “But God” will help you to make Lemonade…

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W I N T E R

A N OT H E R A N OT H E R

E M P T Y B U I L D I N G O N CO M M E R C I A L S PAC E

EARL HACKETT As I sit in this strange place, I’m reminded of what it use to be. I remember the fan fair of the new UNB (United National Bank). I came in to bank and I smiled, Black Capitalism had arrived in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. I’m from Motown, and we get down. I even came to do a meet and greet, as they were trying to wet their feet, to increase their community involvement. At one time, I may have tried to touch base with the CEO. Oh yes! I’m bold, in that way. If you want to get something done, start at the top. Why let a subordinate stop you in your flow. Anybody can say NO, but only the top can say, GO! I listened to the Major (Major Jackson) and I was a Captain (US Army). As a military veteran writing is what we do. Mail call was an important part of each day. To get letters, meant you wrote letters, that’s something you had to do. It was a sign that you had family or someone who cared enough to write from back home. You never wanted a “Dear John Letter” because that meant that Jodie had you girl, and she was gone. We sang about it daily, on our little four mile run.

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Writing is even more important when you are a long way from home. Even farther with you travel on silver wings to where people speak foreign languages. I recently wrote a letter to my youngest son; I went back to when I was a son. Vietnam was going on, but I was sent to Germany. You don’t have to be in the war, to be in harms way. There is the heat of battle and the cold war of danger. I’m not a poet, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it. I don’t rap and I can barely sing, but when I get to writing, I do my thing. I am the Duke of Earl, and I’m still looking for my girl, so I can still give her, my final twirl. In the words of Major Jackson – “I have not disappeared. The boulevard is full of my steps.” I would like to add that “Motown is where I’m bound”.

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W I N T E R

M A P P I N G

YO U

VA L E R I E F L OW E R We have codes and we have maps. Evidence of our scientific longing for a way through, Evidence of our aesthetic search for understanding, Evidence of our fear of being lost. Can our realities be understood by longitude and latitude when they are so often etched in sand rather than stone? Can our midwestern need for north, south, east, and west, find peace, here and now, in a world of cow paths, so deeply tred into the fabric of our nation? America is no labyrinth. It is a maze. The map is in flux. At their best, maps are collaborative enterprises of give and take. But most are based on a biased and powerful combination of fact and fiction. They are made by victors, with noticeable vacancies, and an everchanging tango of colors and cartographies. What lies beneath our maps, yours and mine, the bumps and bulges that shape our white sheets of slumber interest me most. I wish I could map you with words, like that woman wanted to, long ago. But I cannot see you, or know you, or shape anything real. 112

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W I N T E R

H I G H WAY

O F

R U I N AT I O N

NORMAN CAIN He recklessly maneuvered his self-absorbed Come What May impetuous self through The congested traffic of his discombobulated Mind onto the throughway of ruination. Eventually tragedy intervened, for on the highway Of expiration, he had a head-on collision with reality. He then realized that his fervor for the frivolous Proved furtive, caused him to inherit vanquished future. The ill-fated illusion he had worn Like a tailored suit of armor, Embellished with rings, watches, and Chains of brazen bling -- which were Coordinated with obnoxious bravado -Snazzy gangster hats, and sleek, shiny Rides that screamed conspicuous consumption As he rapidly drove across the narrow roads Of righteousness and unhurriedly cruised across The throughway of ruination. Gangster rap blasting gibberish from his state of the Art speakers led him to the park bench Where he will dejectedly sit with his alcoholSoaked soul throughout forthcoming eternities

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Shaking his head in pity for the young Swaggering men--who view him with contempt--as they Recklessly maneuver their self-absorbed Come What May Impetuous selves through the Highway of Ruination

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W I N T E R

S H I N J U K U

S TAT I O N

YONIQUE MYRIE No one goes to Shinjuku Station Not for want but for need Avoid the rush of sardine tins Armpits in the thin air Feet moving, ever so swiftly To divide the lines Lost To the left, to the right North, New South West, East Up, Down All around Japanese Rail reigns supreme 16 platforms hidden in plain sight In and out To and fro The maze has no conclusion Known destination is your only solution Go straight towards the red light Kabukicho or Golden Gai Shopping zone opens late Practice counting 1... 2... 3 Moving through endless passage of confusion Taken back to the time

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When I started to unravel Reading pictures as sign Overtaking bodies to avoid the lines To the terrace Journey back to the old Capital That whispers prayers in attractions Painted in gold and silver Perched on hills Nestled in the bosoms of streams I see the dance to the unheard beat That grabs at his feet Trying hard to stay with the rhythm He dips and jumps Holding firm to the column It takes him alive On his back Muscles too weak to sit up The rhythm won this round Hold him to the ground Covers his mouth with bubbles He tries to speak He tries to get on his feet All in vain All in pain In the middle of Shinjuku Station Anime eyes catches sight Suits begin to move Bodies touch the ground Buzzing sound in his ear Cold to the touch He can’t hear much A kiss on the lips perhaps Ear against his chest Heart pumping still Misplaced silence hangs heavy Men in blue go to work Cornering off the area with a skirt So long to hide the scene That collides with Shinjuku Station 116

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That plastic bag in his hand Puzzles me His drunken slumber Catches me I pause myself To watch him still A mother’s instinct I push her to the side Waiting for him to clear the intersection So we can continue through to our destination I watch him go against his will Swept up by the tide of Shinjuku Station

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W I N T E R

D E S C R I B I N G

M Y

S I S T E R

A L E X A J O SA P H O U I TC H In class the first week of freshman year in college, we had to turn to the person next to us and describe our family. I froze. My older sister moved states away, and I had not prepared a lie to explain the reason. I said the first thing that came to mind: she was living life. Everyone had to report to the class what they had learned. I listened to my lie roll off the tongue of the boy who was my partner in this exercise. I did my best to avoid him for the next four years. The first time I wrote the words, it was in the spring of that year: My sister is an addict. I cried looking at them. I cried when my professor read them and widened his eyes just a bit. I cried almost every time we met to discuss my paper, where I took those words and tried to make meaning of them. It got to the point where I could avoid telling people. People began to look surprised when I mention I have sisters. As often as I feel torn in the middle of fights between my older and younger sister, I feel torn between telling people the truth and not saying anything at all. I wonder how simple it must be for my older sister to describe us. I used to identify myself as the middle child. 118

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I stopped because I started avoiding talking about my older sister. I’ve started again since I’ve begun writing the words again and again…

My sister is an addict. Math makes it easy to describe my family. I am one of three sisters. My older sister and I lived together for seven years. After my younger sister was born, the three of us lived together for twelve years. My younger sister and I lived together for five years, and still counting. When talking about siblings, each of us will say we have two. My sisters and I only have a few things in common. We take longer getting ready than planned, every time. We love to have pretzels with a bowl of ice cream. We are stubborn. If we are really laughing or when we’re laughing because we are surprised or when it’s the laugh that makes us curl over with tears, at a certain point, our laughs will sync and for those seconds, we will be in harmony. Then we take a deep breath and become separate once more. Sometimes, when I say the words or write them, I still cry. Not from fear, or sadness, or regret. It’s from knowing I’ve the strength to be able to say them at all.

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W I N T E R

DAY D R E A M S DAY D R E A M S CO M P L E T E

T R A I N

I N S I D E ( A N

E XC E R P T

F R O M

T H E

N A R R AT I V E )

NORMAN CAIN I was always worried I would be left down. I was a poor student. And I was always fearful of folk in the South asking me if I had been promoted. So those last days of school, when I was in grades 1 thru 4 (ages 5 thru 9) was a time of apprehension for me. During those days we had a half–aday in school and were granted free time at the end. I would just sit quietly at my desk while the other 30-or-so students enjoyed their pre- vacation teacher-allotted free time by engaging in any activity that suited their fancy. A group of giggling girls might entertain themselves by playing patty cake—their bodies shaking and swaying to the rhythm their hand clapping produced. A group of boys might pore over baseball cards, admiring the batting average of Jackie Robinson or Roy Campanella. But I would sit quietly at my desk in a panicky state, beads of perspiration finding themselves upon my brow immediately after I wiped the previous flow away with sweaty paws. Fear sat heavily upon my soul; inwardly, I silently whimpered in despair, my heart beating like a rapidly struck bongo drum; my lips were sealed tightly, my eyes looking down, struggling to contain tears. If I were left back, I could not face my relatives in the South. It would be too shameful for me. Each member of a family had the responsibility of maintaining the image of its clan, as the entire family would be judged by the misdeeds of one of its members. For my high-achieving kin to look down at me as a failure would have been devastating. My self-esteem was already low. * 120

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I suffered from a learning disability. I rarely spoke. I was constantly harassed by bullies, and so withdrew. I was always the tallest student in the class, which meant I was always the last in line, a situation that made me feel isolated and different. My clothes were inferior to the other students’. While I was not unkempt, I nonetheless had to wear hand-medowns: pants that were outdated and either too large or small. My shoes were not in vogue and often had holes in the soles covered by cardboard, a situation that caused problems when it rained. I fantasized of being a great dresser. I conducted many window shopping expeditions down Lancaster, where I would glare through shop windows at two-tone shirts, leather overcoats, and shoes named Cordovan, presidents, Ambassadors, Stacy Adams, Snakes, Alligators, wingtips. I longed for headwear like the newsboys wore: Apple Derbies, Fedoras, Beavers, Stingy brims, Velour’s and Stetsons. But this was not a time for fantasizing. I was worried about failing. Sitting behind my desk, drowning in the possibility of being left behind, was unbearable. I wished time would fly, so that my fate would be revealed. I did not even want to engage in my favorite activity: reading. While I excelled in reading and had a poem displayed on the bulletin board in the main hallway of the school and always received outstanding marks for reading on my report card, I failed all other subjects. My teacher, on three occasions, tried to have me placed in a special education school. Each time my mother protested; as a result of her actions, I remained in that same teacher’s class for four years—the first through the fourth grade. One of the reasons I enjoyed reading so much was because it gave me an outlet for my unhappiness, enabling me to find solace in fantasizing. * The texts that we read, Dick and Jane and Time and Places, were full of vivid images that provided fuel for my imagination. I immersed myself in pictures of white picket fences, and the manicured lawn hosting brillianthued daffodils. Dick and Jane had ample room in their home; they were able to move about effortlessly; they had separate bedrooms and ate meals that were fit for royalty. They were always well dressed. They had a dog: Spot.

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My house was not like theirs. Concrete bordered the steps that led into a scantily furnished but well kept row house, where I dwelled with my father, mother, and two sisters. Stray cats and packs of wild dogs roamed the narrow alley-like street in front of my house. There were no daffodils in sight and our meals were meager. I became enthralled with Dick and Jane and wished I could live in the manner in which they existed. That fantasy played itself out in my art work, which always contained pictures of modes of transportation: airplanes floating across baby blue skies hosting deep-yellow radiating suns, cruise ships occupied by stick figures smiling from decks at rollicking waves, automobiles manned by smiling men in baseball caps driving down roadways bordered by magnificent houses set behind fully-leaved trees. Near those houses, I drew fluffyeared wide-eyed dogs that looked like Dick and Jane’s Spot. And I drew passenger trains galloping across tree-lined rural areas, as they did when I rode them South. I particularly enjoyed drawing trains in motion, probably because of my father, an amiable, quiet, lean, tall, bald well-proportioned, copperskinned man, who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He took advantage of his entitlement to free train tickets to various locations on the Eastern seaboard, which made it possible for my family, during the weekends, to periodically visit our relatives, who lived in Washington, New York, and Baltimore. I was no stranger to the rails. Because of my time on trains, I became accustomed to traveling and became astute at recognizing landmarks during my travels. I also knew all the spots in the various states that my sister and I rode through on the train during our annual visits to South Carolina. It was during those trips that my Dick and Jane fantasies became reality. * My grandparents’ home was undoubtedly the most magnificent house for miles. It was prettier than the homes of area white folk. While there was no white picket fence in front of the huge yard that lay in front the house, there were two trees on either side of the yard—a lemon tree and a chinaberry tree. There, at least six dogs resided: beagles, bulldogs and a little black-andwhite dog that looked like Spot—a replica of the dog forever present in my drawings. He followed me everywhere I went on the farm. He followed me when I went to the well for water, to the barnyard when I poured buckets of slop into the trough for the hogs squealing in 122

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anticipation. He followed me when I tossed hand full of hardened corn kernels to clucking chickens ever mindful of their position in the pecking ordered. He was with me stride for stride when I dashed down the red clay road in front of the house. * It was finally 11:30 am, the time report cards were distributed. Our teacher had a student hand them out, and cautioned us not to look at them until after she had escorted us outside. Walking from the classroom to the schoolyard seemed to be an eternity. “Please God,” I repeated to myself over and over again, “let me be promoted.” Once outside of the schoolyard, I slowly pulled my report card from the manila envelope and forced myself to look at it. I disregarded the list of red unsatisfactory notations that preceded the courses that we took— Unsatisfactory meant failure—and directed my eyes to the bottom of the card where the terms Passing or Failing appeared. When my eyes reached their destination, I jumped for joy, exhaled a gleeful whoop and sprinted towards home. I would be heading South without shame.

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T H E

W R I T E R S

LIZ ABRAMS is a Writers Room community member and a member of the sideby-side class Poetry of Place. LAUREN ALTMAN was born and raised in Montgomery County in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is a graduate in the Music Industry Program and is beginning her MBA at Drexel University. She plays bass in Plainview, an indie band, and owns and operates D6 Merchandise. JENNESYS AVILES is 23 years old and from Bethlehem, PA where she spent her entire upbringing planning how to get out. She split her time between indulging in the beautiful grit of Philadelphia and disappearing into the wilderness. Writing became her expressive outlet to combat her stresses. She finds herself writing when she feels she’s lost direction and needs to find her way back to her center. BRENDA BAILEY is a Writers Room community member and a member of the side-by-side class Poetry of Place. LAURA BLACKWELL is a member of the Writers Room community. PATRICIA BURTON is a member of the Writers Room community. NORMAN CAIN was born in 1942 and raised on Olive Street in West Philadelphia. He graduated in 1964 from Bluefield State College in West Virginia where he majored in social science and minored in English. A retired social worker, teacher, father of five and grandfather of seven, he is active in several writing groups, including the Best Day of My Life So Far at the Germantown Senior Center. ROSALYN CLIETT is a native resident of Philadelphia who loves to write and do anything creative. She came to the Dornsife to use their computer when she heard of the Writers Room, then the side by side Philadelphia story, which are not only exciting but stretched her. Both are essential to her destiny. EBONY DRUMMOND was born and raised in West Philadelphia, mother of one son, Ethan Ford, whom she loves and cherishes unconditionally. She works as a public safety officer at Drexel University. She has an upcoming shirt line with her loving boyfriend called “Don’t be Great, Be Legendary.” Loves to read and write whatever is on her mind. Favorite quote: “Chin up or the crown slips.” 124

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RUNETT NIA EBO studied Elementary Education at Clark College in the late sixties but her career path changed when she decided to devote her time to using her poetry to reach young people, women in transition and individuals in and out of prison. She is a self-published poet and has contributed two poems to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She established a poetry venue called POETIFY: Poetry to Edify (2006) that she co-hosts with Victoria H. Peurifoy. JOHNGELINE FERGUSON is a member of the Writers Room community. VALERIE FLOWER, Ph.D. is an actor, director, and theatre educator based in Philadelphia. Her specialties include theatre for social justice and medical theatre arts. VALERIE FOX teaches writing at Drexel University. She is especially interested in collaborative and interdisciplinary work. She has been doing collaborative writing with poet Arlene Ang for over ten years now (time flies). EARL HACKETT is a writer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur born in Detroit MI. He came to Philly to attend Drexel after serving time in the Air Force. Graduated and commissioned in the Army, he is now retired but writing. The Writers Room makes him look at things a little more poetically. ANNIE HAFTL is a Drexel student, a member of the student newspaper The Triangle and editor for Maya Literary Magazine. She was kind enough to run a haiku workshop for Writers Room in April. NATASHA HAJO is a Drexel student and staff writer for the student newspaper The Triangle. DIANA HILLENGAS is a Chinese Jamaican naturalized US citizen. Jamaicaborn and Jamaica-grown. She chose Philadelphia over 30 years ago. Socially she is neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. She writes poetry because “girls can’t do science” but she understands Pavlov’s dog and Schrödinger’s cat; because “girls hate math” but she loves numbers: rational, irrational, real, imaginary, and transcendental; because she finds the Midgard serpent as fascinating as the internal combustion engine; because Zen koans and murder mysteries and the flavors of quarks are not incompatible interests… Poetry is where she fits in. KYLE HOWEY is from Ocean City, NJ. He believes that while writing is fundamentally the second most essential aspect of human interaction, it is the self-ascribed writer whose passions deliver beauty to communication. Writing is the one of the most inclusive and welcoming practices in life, and especially 125

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through written word do we understand one another, as well as ourselves, the more, and often the better. ANDRES JAIME-CAVANAGH is from Buenos Aires, Princeton, Philly; but really he’s from all places. He believes writing is a chance to be yourself in almost every capacity--beyond what is real or psychical. Up until the limits of language. Writing is also a chance for Andres to drop some HOT bars. DANIELLE JERNIGAN is a member of Drexel’s MA in Publishing program. Her close attention to detail in the curation and proofreading of Anthology 3 is greatly appreciated. ALEXA JOSAPHOUITCH is a graduating senior from the accelerated BA English/ MA in Publishing program. Try as she might, she has yet to leave South Philly. Luckily, she only has an accent when she gets angry. She is learning about her writing by acknowledging herself, and she’s learning about herself through her writing. KIRSTEN KASCHOCK is an Assistant Professor at Drexel and a bit of an elf. She is a poet because she believes things put together in just the right way make magic. DAYE KASSIE is a Philadelphia-born student of science and art. Communication is what he worships; it is a glimpse through a window of our true meaning and intention and the only way for us to truly express this. Being able to write how he feels in a way that forces others to analyze it gives him hope. CARIN SPOTTED EAGLE THE OLDEST BUTTERFLY (CREEK NATION) spends time in Indian and First Nations Reservations. Carin Spotted Eagle began writing poetry in 1989 and has accumulated 797 typed poems. She has written a series of eight children’s stories and four additional manuscripts. She writes for several blogs and has produced Mr. Jolly & His Posse in the Last DNA. LAUREN LOWE is from somewhere just across the bridge in South Jersey, but finally migrated over to Chinatown, Philadelphia last summer. Currently a senior English major and a peer reader at the Drexel Writing Center, she is fueled almost exclusively by words, sports, and dumplings (in that order). ALINA MACNEAL’s grandmother taught her to read children’s poems when she was four and she fell in love with words. That was in Polish, in Warsaw, where she was born. When she was nine her family came to St. Louis and she had to learn to read English, which doesn’t rhyme nearly as well. She’s lived in Philadelphia for 35 years. 126

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CAROL RICHARDSON MCCULLOUGH writes to give life to her fantasies, dreaming out loud on paper, to capture things that might otherwise slip away -- remembering, exploring, processing, recording, sharing, and celebrating -- because the world is filled with wonders too fantastic to ignore. She is an Afrolachian poet and memoirist at heart, a native West Virginian now residing in Philly, re-writing her life’s story. JORDAN MCCULLOUGH was born in Washington, DC and has lived in Philadelphia for two decades. He is a graduate of Philadelphia Academy Charter High School and the Mural Arts Philadelphia Art Education Program. He is an avid movie fan who enjoys drawing and writing every day. Frequently he sits in on workshops and Writers Room events, lending his unique voice. Creativity is key to his world. YONIQUE MYRIE grew up in Jamaica, where she developed a sense of uniqueness and a desire to explore. Such exploration took place through writing. Her writing provides her with an avenue to express that which is left unspoken. She writes from the heart. EMILY PHILLIPS has just transplanted her roots from years of being abroad and traversing many lands and magical territories. She has an MFA in Scenic Design from UCLA and an MA in Art & Museum Studies from Georgetown University. She is currently looking, learning and listening. VICTORIA HUGGINS Peurifoy is a retired federal employee. She is a poet, spoken-word artist, author, ghostwriter, photographer, facilitator, student, Uber driver, mother of four, and a grandmother of eight. A native of West Philadelphia, she currently resides in Germantown. DONALD REESE is a member of the Writers Room community. CHANDA RICE I am Cinderella living this new life GOD gave me as I trust him in each step. I am an overcomer. Chanda Cherise Corley Rice is known as Muffy. She was born in 1961 on the train from New York to Philadelphia and was raised in North Philly by her maternal grandmother. She is a resident of Mantua. NIMRA SOHAIL is a Philadelphia native, born and raised. Writing is a way to make sense of her thoughts and feelings, and Writers Room provides an outlet to create work that is unique to her. Nimra helped greatly in compiling work for this anthology.

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FRED SIEGEL’ is a Drexel professor whose scholarly interests include composition, creative nonfiction writing, deception, American popular performance, theater arts, dramatic literature, and horror literature/film. As a performer, he has been in six Philadelphia Fringe Festivals and three improv groups, plus he writes and performs shows based on his life. BRITTANY SWARTZ was born in Northeast Philadelphia but moved to Cherry Hill, New Jersey when she was 12. She’s always had an interest in English as a subject and hopes to teach it one day. RACHEL WENRICK is a writer and a teacher who used to be a waitress and a roofer. All of these require paying attention.

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T H A N K

YO U

This book would not have been possible without the help of Andrea Abrams, Amanda Abene, Adrian Arce, Deb Ahrens, Shivanthi Anandan, Patricia Austin, Richard Astro, Jen Britton, Danny Barron, Jamie Bowers, Dominique Coleman-Williams, andre Carrington, Alejandro Cons, Jonathan Deutsch, Dan Driscoll, Anna Drozdowski, Victoria Durand, Nomi Eve, Nelson Eubanks & Evan Clayburg, Elise Ferrer, Jerry Fuller, Adam Feldman, Nan Gilbert, Anne Haftl, Lynn Haase, Onna Hepner, Gabriella Ibieta, Tania Isaac, Andrew Issa, Jennifer Johnson Kebea, Debra Johnson, Alexa Josaphouitch, A. Yemisi Jimoh, Matt Kaufhold, Lucy Kerman, Keith Leaphart, Lauren Lowe, Brian Lofink, Janel McCloskey, Ryan Moys, Donna Murasko, Kathleen Volk Miller, Tara Alexis McCoy, Catherine Murray, Jacklynn Niemiec, Chris Nielson, Pauline Nyren, Ed Pavlic, Leslie Perrine, Bill Rees, Cyndi Rickards, Khalia Robinson and Mighty Writers West, Stephen Ruiz, Ira Taffer, Eva Thury, Cynthia Ann Schemmer, Allen Sabinson, Sarah Saxton, Tyler Shine, Fred Siegel, Nimra Sohail, Sarah Steltz, Cyrille Taillandier, Mary Tasillo, Katy Travaline, Suzanne Urminska, Miles Waldron, Cheryl Wall, Darren Walters, Scott Warnock, Robert Watts, Amy Wen, Patty West, and Kalela Williams. Special thanks to Antoine Mapp & the West Powelton Drummers and to Darla.

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Editors:

Designer:

Layout Editor:

Imagery :

Fonts

Rachel Wenrick Kirsten Kaschock Danielle Jernigan Valerie Fox

Miles Waldron

Bill Rees

Jen Britton Kirsten Kaschock Chanda Rice Robert Heister

Montserrat by Julieta Ulanovsky Tryst by Philatype

Printed in West Philadelphia by Replica Creative

Š 2017 University Writing Program All rights are reserved by the artists and authors.

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HTNA GOLO Y

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Profile for Writers Room

WRITERS ROOM | Anthology 3  

Our annual publication of work collected from the 2016-2017 season at Writers Room, including pieces from the fall's NEA Big Read Festival,...

WRITERS ROOM | Anthology 3  

Our annual publication of work collected from the 2016-2017 season at Writers Room, including pieces from the fall's NEA Big Read Festival,...

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