By Michelle Malkowski
By Catherine Schwerdt
The roaring lion as the wind whips the air,
Pushing the water closer and closer,
Faster and faster.
Creating swells bigger than mountains
Shoveling sand and debris onto the soft beach.
The once gentle waves now set to kill.
The dangerous pull of the current,
Dragging the innocent to the depths.
The rigorous motion set forth by the turning of the tide.
By Catherine Schwerdt
As the blue skies fade to dark gray
When the Swan Gourd begins falling away,
If moving gets too hard to do,
With skin littered with hues of black and blue
I never know how the days go,
Is it here or is it there? I don’t know.
The music tingles down my spine
From creaking bones as an aching whine
Endless colors I will rehearse
Colliding blues into a universe.
Echoing voices all around,
The blue tinged voices forever bound.
By Brandon Bartley
I am surrounded by people
And yet I feel alone
People have told me I can talk to them
And yet the person I want to talk to isn’t ever home
I now know the things I put you through and how your mind was over-run
I am devoured with shame and guilt at the things I have done
Because I too now feel the burden of living
I too feel as if I am alone
In my eyes the tears are always brimming
And like you I wish I would have picked up the phone
Because now it is me that wishes you would pick up
Now it is me that keeps fucking up
I think I’m doing the right thing
But its seems that it is only sorrow that it brings
I think I am finally getting through this
And then I look at the scars underneath my fist
I realize that this is what you went through
When I ignored you
I realize this is what you went through
When I drew away and wanted nothing to do with you
Yet the problem I come back to is that now I want to be here
I want to be here for you
I want to be the person you go to with your problems and thoughts
But we are acting like we are enemies from a past war terrifically fought
And it kills me
But I also realize that it almost killed you
It almost killed you and I was too concerned in my own problems to see
To see all the pain I triggered and caused you
I just want my friend back
But I don’t think it will happen even after all this Prozac
I don’t think it will happen because for it to
I’d have to accept and let go of this rue
You’d actually have to look at me in the hallway
And have more of a conversation than a one lined “have a good day”
More than the formalities between strangers
More than a conversation that is walking on pieces of glass platters
But it won’t ever happen because I fucked up
and I don’t think I can fix this one
By Aline Taylor
The girl who used to
love me exhales Hookafina
shisha and downs a shot of
Jack from a pitch and nickel
flask stashed under the table.
Turns the queen of hearts lays
a straight flush, slides twenty-four
quarters into her backpack, heads
out a side door to pee behind the dumpster.
The girl who maybe
loves me trips on jagged concrete and
tears a piece of flesh from
fresh Keyblade wrist tattoo; slams
into rusted bin, cracks head on metal; cradles
fissured face, rakes sanguine hair
crimson hand grazes garnet ear stud
a gift from me
on her tenth birthday.
By Jennifer Sherlund
You are fifteen. You go to your first party because someone called you an over-achiever who always listens to mom and dad. You break your parents’ rules. You’re in someone’s car on the way to the party, and some girl you hardly know yells, “Big girl shots!” You see her take a shot of cheap vodka without a chaser, and the bottle passes from hand to hand followed by that maxim. The girl from New Jersey hands you the bottle of 5 O’Clock and you repeat what you’ve seen. You tip the bottle up and drink. You cringe, but then yell “Big girl shots!” and cheer.
The next thing you know, you’re in a bed at the party. You’re wasted and tired. Some guy lies down in the same bed, but he isn’t lying against you, so you don’t care. He asks, “Wanna hook up?”
“No, I want to sleep.” And then you do, you sleep, or something like that. You wake up to a girl dragging you out of bed by the hair and screaming at you.
“You stupid fucking bitch!” she yells. She’s upset, although you’re not sure why. All you can do is focus on her face and the way she forms words. How her mouth forms the word “you” will stick with you for the rest of your life, like the letter “o” has become angry with you. It sticks with you because you’ll blame yourself for everything that happened that night.
The following Monday you will go to school. You will see your friends. They will talk about the party. Some guy will ask you if you really slept with the college football star, and you’ll think, “What the fuck is he talking about?” More people will ask, and you’ll piece everything together like some fucked up puzzle.
You’re eighteen now. You just started college, and everything is going better than you ever expected it to. You’ve made some great friends, and you’ve also met a guy. The guy seems like he could be your soul mate, as he’s the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. He’s a real gentleman, you never have to touch a door or lift a finger. He knows everything about you – from the the pet chicken you had when you were little to the guy at the party when you were fifteen.
“I hate when men disrespect women,” is his reply, and you think it’s sweet. You think that this means he won’t disrespect women. He asks you to spend the night, and you agree as long as he understands you don’t want to have sex. He pretends like he’d never expect such a thing, and you go. You spend the night. He comes onto you, and you don’t really push him away. He asks if you want to, but you don’t say no because that’s never been easy for you.
“I don’t know… Maybe later?” You pretend like later will be better even though it won’t be. He stops for a few minutes, but then comes back onto you. He doesn’t ask this time. He just keeps touching you. He moves his hands across your skin, and every piece of skin he touches feels like the nerve endings have died. You go numb. You wish you would die.
For some reason, you can’t push him off you. All you can do is lie there and stare at the ceiling. You stare at the rough texture of the ceiling, and all you want to do in that moment is stand on the bed and touch it. You want to touch it so you can feel something besides his skin scraping against yours. You imagine yourself dying and floating through the rough ceiling because it would feel better than anything you feel right now.
Now you’re eighteen, almost nineteen. You’re in the car with your mom. “Do you still go to church when you’re at college?” she asks.
“Yeah,” you say, even though you don’t. It would break her heart to know the truth.
“I’m so glad one of my three kids raised in our Catholic home still goes to church. I’m so proud of you, Lou. Do you ever carry that personal alarm I got you for Christmas, in case you were to ever get attacked?”
“No,” you admit, even though it’s not what she wants to hear.
“You really should. It could save you from something terrible. You never think it’s going to be you.”
By Erica Krol
Language rots under my tongue
It curls and twists between my teeth as it is preparing to be spit from my cold mouth
Truth eludes me to that patch of earth recently warmed by the sun
Down by that sparkling creek
Hands caress the sour smelling grass
Fluorescent goldenrod pours into my lungs
I gasp; run
My feet are enveloped by the fresh water
I step over the soft stones shaped by the harsh current
They grab my feet
They grab my arms
They don’t let go
Soon they have all of me,
My eyes open to the underworld
The angels and demons swim before me
They come closer and grab my neck
I try to inhale but I realize that I am already gone
Yet I still see the angels
And the stones
And the water,
rushing to go where no one knows
Let go so I can too