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Refusal.

A Ramona Convent Literary Magazine. 2017.


Refusal

Putting together this year’s literary magazine, we were struck by the force, the weight of the voices at this school. With well over one hundred submissions, the work was as varied as it was unrestrained. This got us thinking: In a world that constantly demands we meet its needs, regardless of whether we find those requests just or desirable, what does it mean to look them in the face and say, “No.”

Editorial Team 2017

(Cover illustration by Izel Varela ’19)


Table of Contents “For a Brief Second” – Sophia Torres “As it Should Be” – Celeste Vasquez “Man” – Vy Nguyen “I Built My House” – Allison Hernandez “A Crushed Daisy in a Field of Rich Soil” – Angela Reyes-Gomez “iPh(own)” – Kathleen Ngo “Jacket the Color Black” – Olivia Virgen “Crime in the Morning” – Emily Leyva “This Year” – Natalie Martinez “Believe” – Christine Nguyen “The Qualifications” – Danya Samson “Oceanic Advice” – Annie Deusch “Park” – Valerie Acosta “Leaving” – Vanessa Gomez “Mellow Yellow” – Angela Domingo “Cupid’s Arrow” – Helen Cabrera “Behind Closed Doors” – Samantha Salazar “Saturday Night” – Donghan Yang “A Part of Me” – Izel Varela (Honorable Mention, Writing Contest) “Hunted” – Paulina Sanchez “Synesthesia” – Tiffany Guzman “Thumbs” – Reanna Salvador


“23rd and Union” – Liana Limeta “(untitled)” – Calista Rugama “The Past” – Krystal Chau “WHY AM I SO EMOTIONAL” – Sophia Sandoval (Honorable Mention, Writing Contest) “Whalien” – Alina Xia (Honorable Mention, Writing Contest) “Different” – Priscilla Fierro “War” – Emma Frias (Winner, Annual Ramona Convent Writing Contest) “The Friendly Man Inside My Head” – Stephanie Varghese “(untitled)” – Amina Shihab “Mexican-American” – Ambar Gutierrez (Honorable Mention, Writing Contest) “Life” – Asher Yiyin Wang “We Were to Grow Old in Silence” – Sophia Torres (Honorable Mention, Writing Contest)


For a Brief Second - Sophia Torres And for a brief second we were infinite. We were wild. Untamed beasts hollering hymns of hysteria. A concoction of piercing cries and bloated bellowing. The quarter notes lasted a lifetime, the sounds lingering on our lips. We owned the world. We ruled the world. We were the world. We were what we wanted to be. Nothing and everything. Beasts of a brief time, a wild creature which never existed.


As It Should Be - Celeste Vasquez Allow me to explain exactly what happened; I saw everyone treated with respect, no matter what they looked like; I saw girls who didn’t shrink in fear as they walked past a man and boys who didn’t treat girls like objects. I saw that no one went hungry and other glorious things. I saw a world as it should be. Oh, then let me tell you what happened next, dear reader; I woke up.


Man - Vy Nguyen People thirst for glory, While performing a flawless aspect of themselves In front of others But, inside‌ They are easily moved by the solicitude of A glance A smile A touch A farewell‌ All they cannot bear Enough to tear the whole world down.


I Built My House - Allison Hernandez I built my house near a deserted and secluded area where animals roam. And far distant from the city life from the chatter and the tin vessels creating noises. It is serene, surrounded by the fragrance of flowers and trees. A quiet, quaint house, simply open, welcoming fresh breezes of chilled yet warm air in the mornings. With birds softly chirping and faint rustling movements through the bushes in the background. The scenery is vast, with the growth of evergreen grasses and various flowers blooming at every corner. It beams brightly with vibrant hues reflecting onto the pond as the sun. Inhaling the sight of an area dazzles my mind. Straight onto my back, I lie in the grass, molded into the earth. I exhale and shut my eyes; no words could describe a meadow of tranquility.


A Crushed Daisy in a Field of Rich Soil - Angela Reyes-Gomez She can’t see herself Her shamelessly joyous innocence--dulling. Into marbled grey ashes Or the cloudy gloom just before a storm Is it that she tires Of calling names Never to be answered? Or maybe Sick of the silence that she confines herself to It seems no matter how I try, there’s no belief. I try to show her the end of the tunnel, a tunnel that she dug herself. The hole just deep enough for her I try to give her a voice, returned with less than a mutter. Her confidence is nothing but a crushed daisy in a field of rich soil.


Her will A broken alarm clock The paint chipped and springs bent. A stale pencil Its lead blunted to the brink of uselessness. If despair were an embodiment, it’d be her the subtle sadness of it cutting deep. But since it’s only the sadness of a young mind. It is a crushed daisy in a field of rich soil. A beautiful tragedy, with the possibility of repair.


iPh(own) - Kathleen Ngo I love the way you pick me up, your warm hands around my body The soft touch of your bare fingertips, wrapped around the nape of my back. It was a familiar feeling, your touch, like the home button on your phone. You slowly began to push my buttons, one joke, one disagreement, one swing at a time. I did as I was told, yet it was never enough. I gave you everything, but you played me like the games on your phone. Your hands became careless, dropping, scratching, denting me. It didn’t seem to bother you as you saw me shatter. Instead, it just gave you another reason to fix me It seems no matter how hard I tried, I became more painful to hold. The cracks on my face gave you cuts, making you see that this wasn’t going to be easy.


Jacket the Color Black - Olivia Virgen She walks around school without a care. Her face portraying anger; as if saying “don’t you dare”. Her heart is big but closed shut. Her dark clothes resemble her mood, her shirt always faded, her skirt a weird cut. She wears, on her back, a large jacket the color black. A statement everyone can see something that helps hide her sensitivity. She is the girl with the jacket the color black.


Crime in the Making - Emily Leyva Bang! Crash! In the dark alley, Garbage cans roll, sirens groan, Don’t let them know. The dagger sings, “Death is near” Cuts fresh flesh, Blood drips, Down, Down, The last breath flies away, a wailing ghost, a warning The heart’s last drumbeat, then silence Hide the body, they are near They can never know


This Year - Natalie Martinez Everyone said this year would fly by correction this journey would fly by I didn’t believe them At times it felt like it would never end It just dragged on and on and on But it’s all ending in three weeks I have to hold my tears back at the idea of leaving The idea of no longer walking through the pavilion Or hearing Mr.Lee’s music every morning Or Ms. Melieste’s wordy gurdys Or Ms.Dumas' poppin dance moves Or running from Ms.Green when you got a green note in class It’s all over


Believe - Christine Nguyen Human conditions and Human decisions can’t be seen can’t be touched like hearts stretched apart by worship, like random drops of blood how the human body can be so weak, immortality lived in a second, unconscious in the poverty of spirit how the human mind can be so strong only to be bound in silence by the desire of freedom Inside the flesh, is a ghost society. Living and breathing and rippling underneath the skin. Inside the flesh are hopes and dreams resting lifetimes away. Be conscious in the poverty of feeling. Manifest your soul in yourself. Feel the Tongues of Flames and the Fullness of God.


The Qualifications - Danya Samson When I look in the mirror, I don’t like what I see What has social media done to me ? I am nothing compared to them The other girls on the internet On Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr The girl with the pretty face And the tiny waist and a big bum The girl who is skinny and tall, Like most super models on the runway The girl who has double D cup breasts And curvy wide hips And thighs with just enough “meat” If you are one of these girls, You will be criticized for not being another There are too many comments and too many posts Too much negativity for girls to just be girls Cellulite and stretch marks are disturbing To the eyes of some people And beautiful to the eyes of others Why do they care if I wear makeup Or decide to go all natural ? Have I done something to offend them ? I am not comfortable in my own skin And it’s hard to gain confidence When you feel the judgement in everyone’s eyes I loathe my body Society this, Society that But we are society And I feel I am not enough But what exactly is “enough?”


Oceanic Advice - Annie Deusch If there’s anything the Sea has taught me, It’s to never fight A shark. Rather, wave calmly Like a big whale, Swaying with the Current. Also, never confine Thineself in a shell Like a hermit crab.


Park - Valerie Acosta Small and beautiful my park is Always filled with people, with kids running around on the playground or swinging on the blue tire swing. Parents sitting at the ugly green benches, some reading and others watching their children play. Older men sitting in the grass by the beautiful green field, stretching to get ready for their game of soccer. And me sitting on the squeaky swing set that’s placed towards the end of the park. Where it’s the quietest spot The forgotten spot. My spot. I sit there alone drowning in my music. Calm, relaxed, at peace. My squeaky swing set.


Leaving - Vanessa Gomez Cars speed away, the wind is cold, the highway’s fork, lights come and go and come and go under the bridge. The city lights form a crooked horizon in the dead of the night. I have to go, find my own highway, maybe another day. I have some friends to meet, I have a world to see.


Mellow Yellow - Angela Domingo As I sit On the cold ring I stare around At the yellow walls Around me Reflecting off sunrays From the window next door It warms my skin With a yellow hue It’s pleasantly relaxing To be in here All alone Filled with only happiness And strange odors It’s time to go and Kicking down the metal rod I watch the yellow spin


Cupid’s Arrow - Helen Cabrera I didn’t want to fall in love. I really didn’t. My mind was once a bare room, but Cupid shot his arrow and aimed the lethal missile at my innocent figure. You were there, too, with a portrait hand-crafted by angels epitomizing poetry waiting to be written. I began thinking of you in colors that don’t exist, defining you as the illusion I held accountable to prove my existence. Before you, I was afraid of the dark, being so that it’d resuscitate loneliness and revive afflicting diseases within me. But for you, I became nocturnal. You were my moon, a moon so luminous it made all the stars pale. Your lips tasted like an angel’s ashes, the type of lips that bring security to a soul after prayer. Each word of black and white that left your mouth painted colorful images in my blank mind. No filter could ever beat the one of your brown eyes, the ones that projected an expression of wilderness and beautiful madness all at once. And when I made a song out of the rhythm of your heartbeat, I swore we were eternal. I was atomically in love with you. You were a chaotic mess when we met, and then I, too, became all that you were. We were one. I needed all of you. I let your cries bathe my soul without minding the possibility of me drowning into an ocean of despair and would make love to your mind in hope that you’d grow to accept the shambles in mine. I lost myself trying to save you. And I did save you. My meticulous memory often reminds me of the times I’d scream helplessly in hope you’d try to cure my insanity; a glance from your too tender eyes could have been the potion that’d break the spell summoning pandemonium.


When you left, my mind was not only blank—it was blurry. I replaced your lips with burnt cigarettes while trying to figure out how to crawl again; it was never enough to stem the vessels bleeding out of my chest. The scattered remains of an unfinished story resembled all my open wounds and the scars engraved on all the parts of my skin you once touched. You came back telling me you tried searching for what we had in empty bottles and in mouths of strangers but never found it. And I took you back into my wasted arms. Just like that. You had once warned me you were dangerous to anything that breathes. Loving you was destructing, but I knew that leaving you would evoke death itself. The thought of your absence haunted me, reminding me of the possibility of one day having our memories become blurry without me having your kisses to bring them back to life. And when I told you you were losing me and received a blank stare from your vacant eyes, I knew you were far gone. “Kiss me,” I said. But you stepped back once you felt my lips growing cold. I cried and noticed you were numb to every tear. I no longer sparked your wings and, ever so willingly, you flew away in search of a better heaven. For you I was a slave incarcerated in the prison of infatuation. I was loving you while you were teaching me everything that love was not. You dug my heart a grave, and I am dead now. Place some flowers inside. Tear every petal and sprinkle on my tomb the crippled remains. What’s left will be the epitome of a deceiving phenomenon. An arrow was once shot and I overdose on a toxic love. The malice and agony my once-pure heart endured is existential proof that for the first time in recognized history, Cupid missed.


Behind Closed Doors - Samantha Salazar Behind closed doors, a mother puts her child to sleep. She lays the baby in his crib, prays he will be safe, And kisses him goodnight. Behind closed doors, the father is at work Conquering the mountain of work on his desk. He will stay there until ungodly hours of the morning Because rent is overdue and the electricity is out. Behind closed doors, the girl stands in front of her bathroom mirror. She cries at her own reflection, unable to forget the words she heard throughout the day. She falls to her knees, tears at her skin, and asks herself “Where did it all go wrong?” Behind closed doors, the captain of the wrestling team throws up in a locker room toilet. He has gained a few pounds and can’t afford anyone to notice. If someone knows his secret, his scholarship will be jeopardized. He needs help but who would believe him. After all, eating disorders only affect girls. Behind closed doors, the little girl sits at her bed in tears. She prays That the world will change and her own children won’t have to suffer like She did. She wipes her own tears and tucks herself into bed because no one understands her and no one ever will.


Saturday Night – Donghan Yang I couldn’t fall asleep. Windows were still open, Los Angeles’s extraordinary dry air by the wind carrying crashed into the nasal cavity. I feel the tiny dust particles are attached to the nasal mucosa, which make me want to sneeze. When the clock points at midnight, 12:13. I sneezed, finally. The tears come out form the corner of the eyes, and it will never stop. It has been in the flow, through the cheek, and through the neck arteries, warm again by arterial and then flow to the pillow. Closed my eyes. Pillow towel is blue, after it get wet became dark blue. The world is blue. Los Angeles dazzling red sun, the red ca of coke came out form the vending machines, our dark red uniform stands next to me, and then it is gone from me. Closed my eyes. World is blue, my hometown days all the year round color were grey blue, the plates my mother likes to put soup in were dark blue, the dress hides in the closet which I planned to wear it later were light blue. Blue will cover me, wrap me, and then protect me. It's raining outside. The voice of rain off and on again into the ears, I open my eyes, the room is warm red light, the humid rain were outside the window. My roommate, she dressed in a red pajamas said to me it’s very cold. It's cold. Got red eyes, no temperature, and is dazzling. I lay in bed, keep eyes open. I couldn’t fall asleep.


A Part of me - Izel Varela They call me crazy I wonder if it's because I can't sit straight Or maybe it's because my legs shake I clench my fists to keep my hands from shaking But even my fists bang against my desk Everyday there are new synonyms Stupid, hyper, dumb I don't know what they want me to become cause it is not me Mom says I need an outlet The pencil is my outlet It's me and the paper – everything else is white Time doesn't exist They tell me to focus They break my focus Eraser shavings are on my desk Scribbles are all over my test My grades drop I'm stupid, hyper, dumb But they tell me my art is beautiful They tell the doctors my art is beautiful Every morning I get white pills I'm not hungry anymore I stop eating The doctors say it's the pills But the pills make my grades go up I don't know what's more important What's more important School is more important I'm tired


But at least I'm not crazy I can't finish a sandwich even after the pills My hands still shake and I still can't sit straight My ADHD is a part of me It does not define me I define me And if I am to be mental I'll be mental on my own terms


Hunted - Paulina Sanchez We’ve all seen animal planet. The segment where the lion is hunting A gazelle, graceful and fast

Not fast enough.

We’ve seen the hunt and chase Faster, faster, faster She’s caught. Taken down with one blow He picks her up carrying her Dead, her limp body flops over. Lions stalk their prey So do men Middle of the night

out with friends

Catching a glimpse of him across the room She notices but ignores it. She’s graceful, beautiful Innocent He comes closer. Watching her movements Where she is going next First mistake a gazelle makes is straying away from the pack Left behind, curious.

Away from him.


Once alone, The lion pounces Taken down He doesn’t stop Taking away her life Her trust.

He pounces screaming Her innocence,

We’ve all seen animal planet The segment where a man is hunting A woman, graceful and fast

but not fast enough.


Synesthesia - Tiffany Guzman I remember when The taste of your name on my lips Was like dewdrops of honey On a sweet summer’s day. For every letter in it, I tried to savor. I remember how Your voice danced In fireworks Of carribean blue And how the tidal waves held me captive When you said, “Don’t worry, we are going to be okay.” But suddenly your name turns to ash, Bitter and foreign at the tip of my tongue. And your voice, Oh god, your voice, Laid to rest in saturated grey, The kind of grey that arises from A fresh-lit cigarette.


Now I see As you walk away, That a couple months Is a buried grave You strolled down Miles and miles below To a place I could not follow.


Thumbs - Reanna Salvador I have 126 notes in my phone. 126 records of reminders, usernames and passwords, lyrics, movies to watch, books to read, jumbled dreams, genius ideas Time stamped all the way back To July 18, 2014. My Notes app is an autobiography. My phone my sister’s Moleskine, mother’s sketchbook, father’s notepad. “Bury me with my journals.” Dexterity is a thing of a past. The internet is forever.


23rd and Union - Liana Limeta July 10, 1994, it six am and I just got home three hours ago from a party I went to. I'm about to sleep, but my mom comes in to wake me up to load the seafood truck from my dad, While she and my dad, uncle, and grandma prepare the seafood The smell of the seafood fills the house, like a smokehouse 23rd and Union, that's my block, my barrio where I grew up. The streets, where the whole neighborhood knows you and knows everything about you. Children playing on the block, homeboys chilling by the steps of the blue apartment complex, People waiting around my house waiting to see when my dad will leave with the seafood truck, Waiting to be the first ones there to get their plate of mariscos. Where the gueros from the valley come to LA to have a plate Some not even knowing what they're eating. My neighbors greet my dad by calling him, “Jose Camarones� And my dad greets them with a smile and fixes them a usual plate of jaiba. My homeboys get there and I finally get to relax after helping my dad prepare plates. I'm sitting on the hood of the car enjoying my plate of jaiba that dad prepared for me. My homeboys licking the plate as if they never eaten before. Enjoying the nice summer day, as the sun sets, we close up the truck to head home. 23rd Street is a place, till this day, I can forever call home.


(untitled) - Calista Rugama Nicaragua calls me Calixta Mexico calls me Calista White people calls me Culista My name, however, means the same No matter how it is pronounced Being unique is helpful It separates you from the crowd It allows you to stand alone Being powerful gives confidence Being independent shows that women can go far Calista shows them all Such little things can take a person far A name is the start It helps to understand yourself The way you grow Calista fits It works A family where girls are in charge Where names connect Where love is important Where my name is important Being in this world is an important Aspect to my family and life


The Past - Krystal Chau Flashbacks flood back From depths of repression Black widows hammer harmful visions Spinning intricate tales of woe From wee...mourn To dark, ominous night Visions become nightmares Sucking the simplest joys Like flowers withering from exhaustion


WHY AM I SO EMOTIONAL - Sophia Sandoval WHY AM I SO EMOTIONAL MAYBE I SHOULD CHECK MY ASTROLOGY SAYS HERE THAT THEY THINK SOMEONE'S FALLING FOR ME I GOTTA MAKE SURE IT’S NOT APRIL FOOLS BC DANG DID I READ THAT RIGHT? SOMEONE’S GOT THE HOTS FOR ME OH PLS I HOPE ITS RIGHT WAIT COULD IT BE RIGHT? SOMEONE’S GOT THE HOTS FOR ME? OH MAN THIS PROBABLY GONNA B A CATASTROPHE. BC THE LAST TIME I CHECKED IT SAID I NEEDED TO WORK ON GETTING OVER MY EX. SO I GUESS THIS HAS TURNED INTO A RACE. but i got second place bc first went to u and that new face. BUT WHAT DO TEENAGERS KNOW ABOUT LOVE ANYWAYS TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION I’M NOT RLLY ALL THAT SURE JUST KNOW THAT WHEN I LOOK UP AT THE STARS I ALWAYS FIND A CONSTELLATION W HIS NAME JUST KNOW WHEN I LOOK AT THE SUNSET I SEE THE COLOR OF HIS EYES BLEND RIGHT IN NOW THIS IS JUST YOUNG LOVE I SUPPOSE BUT I GOT ANOTHER THAT’S GONNA LAST UNTIL IM OLD NOW THIS HAS TO DO W MY PARENTS MY SIBLINGS THOSE THAT HAVE CARED FOR ME EVER SINCE I WAS JUST A LITTLE FIGURE ON A SCREEN NOT EVEN KNOWING MY OWN FAMILY NOW WHEN I LOOK AT THE SUNSET I DON’T JUST SEE MY MOTHER’S EYES I SEE MY MOTHER’S WHOLE EXISTENCE I SEE HER IN THE SKY IN THE SUN IN THE MOON AND EVERYTHING ELSE ABOVE


BC SURE YOUNG LOVE IS SWEET LIKE SOME CHOCOLATE BUT UR NOT GONNA SIT THERE AND TELL ME HERSHEYS HAS ANYTHING ON MY MOTHER WHEN SHE SAYS "I MADE U SOMETHING TO EAT" UR NOT GONNA SIT THERE AND TELL ME GHIRADELLI IS RICHER THAN MY MOMMA’S LAUGH BC HONEY IS SWEETER THAN CHOCOLATE AND THAT IS SWEETER THAN ANY HONEY I’VE EVER TASTED BUT LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT MY FATHER HOW DO U REPAY SOMEONE WHO HAS GIVEN U LIFE? NOW I’M NOT SAYIN BREATHING THRU UR NOSTRILS WALKING ON TWO FEET BEING A HUMAN TYPE OF LIFE IM TALKIN ABOUT SOMEONE WHO HAS GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING SOMEONE COULD EVER WANT IN THEIR LIFE. HOW DO U REPAY SOMEONE WHO INKS THEIR SKIN W YOUR NAME WITHOUT ANY HESITATION OR REGRET? HOW DO U REPAY SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN PAYING FOR EVERYTHING UR WHOLE LIFE? HOW DO U REPAY SOMEONE WHO HAS GIVEN YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND READ AND WRITE AND COUNT? HOW DO U REPAY SOMEONE WHO HAS CHANGED THEIR LIFE FOR YOU? THE ANSWER IS W LOVE BC LOVE IS PRICELESS LOVE IS MORE VALUABLE THAN THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT BC WHAT DO U THINK GOT THOSE WORKERS THROUGH EVERYDAY OF HARDSHIP? IT WAS THEIR LOVE FOR FAMILY THEIR LOVE FOR MONEY THEIR LOVE FOR THEIR CITY THEIR LOVE FOR LIFE SO THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE ASKS ME WHAT TEENAGERS KNOW ABOUT LOVE I WILL LAUGH AND SAY IM NOT RLLY ALL THAT SURE


Whalien - Alina Xia In the center of this wide sea, one lonely whale speaks lowly. No matter how much she screams, the fact that it reaches no one is bitterly lonely, she closes her mouth quietly. Certainly it’s fine, it’s nothing, when only that thing called loneliness stops at my side. I become entirely alone, a padlock of loneliness. Loneliness itself becomes something you can see. The world probably knows how sad I am. I tell myself that this endless message will one day reach someone, to the other side of the planet. My mother said that the sea is blue, she said to throw your voice as far as you can. Even the whales that are far from me will eventually see me. But what can I do, it’s too dark here and there are only entirely different whales. Above the surface of the water, when I breathe, the interest ends. But I always think, Now even if I take a nap, my dreams are like whales. This sea is too deep, even so, I’m lucky that if I cry no one will know.


Different - Priscilla Fierro We were all destined to be something. To follow the steps of our parents one by one, growing into the values of what it is to be “normal”. I remember my parents telling me that If I thought positive, nothing would oppose me. If I approached people clear, social and perfect, everyone would like me. If I overpassed my gloomy feelings, I’d be happy, life will go on. When I was at school, the jocks and the cool girls would embrace their high ranking superiority and normality. How the ‘better and the normal’ were the only to fit in and make it far in life. And Every time I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw myself going places too, but I couldn’t because I was inside my own closet. Keeping everything to myself. Being depressed, stressed, insecure, hurting, unhappy, blue, and thinking that I wasn't “normal”. Even though, it was going to be a risk of coming outside of the closet, rather than staying inside, I would only be a free bird, flying away from the blindness of society and following my own destiny.


War - Emma Frias my grandfather fought in Vietnam i’ve seen him in times when he quivers in the moonlight he once told me the stars were the only thing that made it a reality he said he lived in the sky which is every teenager’s petty dream but he was pulling teenagers into planes watching their dreams dissipate into the longest dream my grandmother’s husband fought in Vietnam she once spilled out her high school secrets like the girls who spilled all her secrets as bullies spilled all around my misunderstood grandmother as her emotions spilled and she stormed out of class and spilled into the understanding arms of my grandfather . she once told me that he was the only one who understood her and when they got married they bought a clock and it rang at the hour they got married at everyday it was supposed to remind her of the joy of the man he is but she said when he left it was just a haunting that nights when she heard how many men were gone she would hear the clock, but it wasn’t time it was just a tick tock my great grandfather fought a bottle he says it is what will warm you on a cold night yes mehitah it’s the hardest war you will suffer a war of endless confusion of self-worth and self-control a war of self where we watch him lose himself as he finds himself in an empty bottle of loneliness I once placed my hands on the shoulder of my great grandfather and he placed his hands off of a bottle he said he felt the presence of an angel


something so pure he didn’t sleep for nights in awe of emotional pleasure outside of a shot of whiskey we were not the whiskey he craved, but the water he needed they say it’s genetics, but that’s the wrong side of the family my mother drowned herself in a glass a night don’t worry sweetie ill cut down next week the swearing that it’s only on special occasions the swearing at my father’s attempts to solve wars the swearing that she’s perfectly fine the swearing that it’s her only source of relaxation forcing us to find a place of relocation my father fought himself in a different way when he was six he asked his father why he had to be living when you’re six and you find no sense in living being sixteen doesn’t make it feel fitting when sadness gets worse and he doesn’t know why resorting into a world where grown men go to die LSD before it was a cool thing I’ve seen my father hold my mother just as i imagine my grandfather holding his platoon as my grandmother holds him and the tick tock and my great grandfather holds gin on the rocks my family is a war zone a long line of battle scars and open wounds eternal wars literal wars as i feel a war come upon myself i sit with my tick tock my version of gin of the rocks LSD and my nonexistent time in the military i remember it’s just part of living


The Friendly Man Inside My Head - Stephanie Varghese The friendly man inside my head Seemed kind and sweet and true. I trusted him. He gave me hope, But beat me black and blue. He let me think that all was well. His voice was smooth and sane. He told me that I’d be okay If he stayed in my brain. I walked around and lived my life And no one knew a thing. I never contradicted him, Or else my ears would ring. And then one day his voice just stopped. My world turned cold and black. The friendly man inside my head Had stabbed me in the back.


(untitled) - Amina Shihab God when I was young I only saw you, I saw blue. As life went on, I grew anew. I found myself under rubble, I fell mute. Then I saw red, He was not you. Hatred wrapped itself around my waist, While the Devil kept asking me for an embrace. I found myself asking for your grace, I was clearly losing my faith. The more hatred I feel, The more I feel the Devil wanting me to stay. The angrier I feel, The more I think I am going to stay the same. Forgive me God, For when the Devil broke me, I ripped off my scarf, And I choked him to death. And just like that, Off went his head.


Mexican-American - Ambar Gutierrez growing up my grandparents made sure i knew spanish making it sure that i never forgot that i was mexican my straight hair not matching their crazy curls my skin color a bit lighter than their beautiful brown skin making sure i never forgot Mexican came before American my spanish with a slight american accent "mija yo no sé cómo tienes una A en español en cómo me hablas" well, nana i grew up whitewashed i went to private school i lived in what my cousins from sacramento called 'china town' i don't like beans i tell people my name is amber and not ambár when i go to mexico, everyone can tell that i'm nico's kid "y soy del norte" i call Mexico the land of my people but not my land i struggled but not as hard as you my mom worked hard so that i could have a good education, a house, even a phone she worked so that didn't grow up the same way she did, the same way as her drug addict brother did who dropped out of school & was in and out of prison only mexicans can tell that i am white washed, that i am not like them. with my white friends, their token mexican friend when i went to film camp (growing up in southern california, i never felt left out, my friends as white washed as i, pasadena only 15 minutes away from east la)


my camp director, a camp with the only other brown kid a boy from bolivia called my 'brand' - my race how can my "mexicanism" be my brand when half the people i know don't believe i truly am I am mexican, I know my culture, yo se me nombre y mi paĂ­s y mi lenguaje maybe i don't truly belong in either the US or Mexico, maybe i'm just stuck on a border between two cultures i am Mexican-American Mexico vieno primero but nana, that that doesn't mean i have to disregard that i am American


Life - Asher Yiyin Wang Under the eaves of the towel gourd seed In the spring under the mercy of the ground. This is a poor seedling, stone, brick, worms, and dark air constitutes its home. This is a tough life, has all the quality of the struggle against fate. He tried to climb, doesn't pass any to climb along the gap. A long struggle becomes a batch of another batch, biting the walls until the maternal gentleness! Winds, heavy rain – the rainy season came too! The wind tore off, heavy rain smashed its body. It scarred, in addition to high a few leaves, only the deformity of solitary rattan. It also constantly creep upward, roof is just around the corner, it made her. Plenty of sunshine, plenty of air, it stretches on, lower the head to look down at the ground. Hot, dry, dry season came to! Branches and leaves of heat tiles it sear parching the stalks suck it to dry. It uses the last drop of the green, smile and leave a body. Drizzle over the dry season, green recovery. It's dead, midsummer is over a lifetime.


We Were to Grow Old in Silence - Sophia Torres We were to grow old in silence A catholic kind of marriage, christened by the holy spirit and marked by hatred We don't marry for love , we marry so others can say love is real We were born to die A real martyr’s funeral, buried with a golden crucifix inside a humble box of wood Funerals are for the living The dead can't tell the difference between oak and mahogany Beneath my white dress i bled red The bleaching effects of holy water could not rid the stains made on an unwed bed Father forgive me for I have sinned I have told a lie I have said that I believe your falsehoods, but sadly I do not Father who is to forgive your sins? The Blood of Christ wavers on your breath And the cross you bare around your neck seems to be heavy

Refusal. A Ramona Convent Literary Magazine  

2017. Annual.

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