Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Am From

By Luke Campbell

I am from

the dog that stared too long
into the sun and bit the apple from the rotten branch, on a tree, in someone else's
neck of the woods, a thousand seasons away.

I am from

A broken chain in a room,
lost in the middle of a day in space
Waiting for a moon to escape on.


I am from

the vibrations of echoes in the chambers of dying heart,
casted out from the lies of an honest man's last beg.

I am from

the star's last goodbye to her
universe at the end of the day,
and at that end of the day
when you pull away my skin
I'm from the dark,
lost in the haze
of our vindictive hate.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Outstretched Hand

By Chip Newcome


It begins soft and slight,
a rhythmic tap, tap, tap.
Insistent and incessant,
it becomes white noise, unnoticed,
a forgotten fan in a child’s room
at night helping her fall asleep.



the tapping is answered;
the one who answers
disappears, and a hole
opens, an emptiness
never again filled.  
Grief follows.



without warning, white noise becomes noticeable.
Tapping ceases and is replaced with a deep silence
extending into the recesses of space and time.
Waves ripple the fabric of our universe.
Silence is filled with wails of mourning.

And the tapping is replaced
by a powerful


knocking.  A deep, hollow sound.
echoing through eternity;
No longer white noise, it brings fear and pain,
an expectation, not of everyday life,
but of life every day, It is its equal, an
opposing force.

It is


night to morning
ignorance to education
old to young
fire to water
war to peace
Heaven to Hell
life to death

It continues; the door cracks and
with a deep thud, closes.
A mourning silence, and, once again,
knocking resumes.

Once heard,


it is ever present,
never again to be white noise;
a hollow sound that haunts humanity
until we pass through the door,

walking into the outstretched hand.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fourteen years, 89 days

By Maddie Ray
Fourteen years and 89 days I've lived with a disabled mother. At age 37, she birthed a happy, healthy baby weighing in at 8.7 pounds. She had been diagnosed with a nonfatal variant of multiple sclerosis when she turned 30. She turned 40 and life became a spiral of crutches, ace bandages, and compression socks, leading to a wheelchair. Any hope of walking again was lost by age 49.
My whole life I’ve never seen my mother as different. I’ve always had to explain that my father would be picking me up, not my mother. I don’t notice the odd looks from strangers. I don’t think of her as less. But every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to be able-bodied. I see how much more work simple things I take for granted are for her. I am grateful to have been raised to see those that are different as equals. I am grateful to have been raised to open the door for those who can’t.  I am grateful to see disabled people the same as an abled person.
Recently, I met a girl on the street who was in a wheelchair. She needed help opening a door, so I opened it. We both happened to be going to the same place, so we went around the store together. I could see she had bruises on the back of her arms, so I offered to push her. We talk for hours shopping and having a great time. A worker at the store had come up to us and told us the store was closing. Shocked, we paid for our items and left. I asked her if she wanted me to go with her and push her home. By the time we reached her house we didn't want to stop talking. We exchanged numbers and she told me that I made her day. I realized how much simple things like holding the door can change a person's day. Had I just walked past her struggling, I wouldn't have made a new friend.
I believe that the able-bodied should be more grateful for their lives. I see people on the street stare and mock others for things they can’t control. I see people shove past and hurt those who are undeserving. I see able people walk past those who need their help without blinking an eye. The things I see are things most people wouldn’t  think as rude or disrespectful, but from my experiences with my mother, I know what they do is wrong. Most people don’t realize how hard life is for the disabled.

You never know what that disabled stranger on the street dealt with that day. A simple “Hello,” or opening the door for them can make their day a bit brighter. Shoving them and staring at them won’t benefit anyone. I hope that people will realize that the disabled are just as valid as those who are not. I believe that people can change and can benefit from helping others.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Try to Focus: A story about ADHD

By Jade Rickman

As a nine-year-old, the only thing I understood was that the problem was inside of me.

I remember sitting at the kitchen counter staring at the math homework I had started two hours ago and still wasn’t any closer to finishing. This is how it was every single day. I would come home sit and stare. I would find myself daydreaming for hours, creating stories in my mind. I would daydream about superheros, royalty, and all kinds of things. My imagination was endless. But I had work to do. Why couldn’t I focus? What was going on? I had no idea what a twisted road I had ahead of me.
I knew there was something wrong, but I only started worrying in third grade. I would be sitting in class trying to work on a paper to the best of my ability, but I couldn’t. The room was quiet. I was sitting in the back of the classroom, what could be wrong? Even though there was no noise everything seemed so loud, so distracting; time was moving faster than I could even write a single sentence. As a nine-year-old the only thing I understood was that the problem was inside of me. I didn’t know what the problem was or how to solve it, but at least I knew it was there.
I remember my mom taking me to a huge sparkling building in the middle of Baltimore, Maryland. I knew this was where my mom worked but I didn’t know why I was here. She walked me through the silver skyscraper taking me to a plain simple white room. A woman with a tired smile told me that we were going to take some tests and that they would help her understand me better. The tests took all day long and I couldn’t focus on any of them. By the end of the day I was frustrated and tired. I just wanted to know what was wrong with me.
When the woman came back, she had a serious look on her face; her smile was gone. She spoke to my mom like I wasn’t there, using words I couldn’t understand. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I knew it was serious.
Finally, I got my answer: I had ADHD. I really didn’t understand what that meant until I got older, yet I was happy to know what was wrong with me. As I got older, the doctor suggested that I take medication to help me focus better. The medicine does help a lot, at least when I remember to take it. I am slowly learning how to cope with my ADHD, though it is a struggle. I sometimes find myself getting distracted and end up frustrated. But I know not to worry, because even though ADHD can’t be cured, as I get older, I am able to control it better.

I was going to continue with a closing statement, but of course, I got distracted. So this is where the story ends, for now.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Cherry Tree

By Jade Rickman

There is a cherry tree by the creek,
Where my friend and I played hide and seek.
We splashed around and played all day,
Until our parents came to carry us away.

In winter we skated on frozen water,
And fall was when we looked for otters.
In spring we watched the cherry tree bloom,
And we wished that summer would come soon.

As time went on and we grew older,
Our relationship grew into something much bolder.
We sat under the tree our feelings undiscovered,
Yet somehow we became lovers.

There is a cherry tree by the creek,
Where my daughter and I play hide and seek.
We splash around and play all day,

Until her father comes to carry us away.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Illustration by Emnet Abraham

By Mikayla Kennett
It makes its way through a broken town
The wind it carries makes a soft, haunting sound
No hope remaining, for they have drowned 
Cracked roads to buildings yet to fall down

The sea glistens with its many lights  
The birds on ships ready to take flight 
As they'll soon arrive to this broken town
no other life to be seen around 

Poles and wires lay out and about
The waters before it surely brought doubt
As the ocean restrains from its next bout 
The town lays broken, inside and out

Before the storm, the town was alive 
And in its streets many people thrived  
The warning too late and the town on its bay
The waves that had cast their town away 

Panic arose from this catastrophe 
No one ready to be carried at sea
The town now empty and on its own
The souls that linger seem all alone 

Few survived but the town is now gone 
They watch their home at the break of dawn 
On a boat in the distance, they sing soft songs 
Away they go for a journey so long

Friday, February 17, 2017

Step by step

Step by step.
Hand by hand.
Brothers and sisters we stand.
Together we will band
for a new world.
We will rejoice with our fellow man.
Change life for the better.
Equality, no matter the face.
Living in a better time and place.
Knowing the people who fought for
these rights had their hearts in the right place.
Now their work is encased
in our society.
Different everything,
the variety.

-Samalia Nivens

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Believe in Yellow

I believe in the color yellow. Growing up, I lived in a constant power struggle with anxiety. I would start my day overjoyed at the prospect of going to school and spending time with my classmates. But when I was there, I felt awkward and out of place. I was petrified when the teacher called on me, unable to vocalize a single word, much less an answer to a question. I thought that every time another kid laughed, it was directed towards me. Sometimes I became so nervous, that I would run out of the classroom without any warning and hide in a bathroom stall. The aspects of everyday life seemed impossible for me to take part in.
In my mind, I was this bubbly, curious, and funny person that yearned to interact with the world, yet on the outside I was just the sad little girl with the blue personality. My emotions became a tidal wave, knocking me down and trying to wash me away. For a while, I let them. I thought that as long as I kept everything bottled up inside me, someday all the pain would just magically disappear. As the years progressed, I opened up more and made a few friends, foolishly believing that my anxiousness was gone. In reality, after spending five years in school with the same people, I finally felt a little more comfortable. By the time I started middle school, I had closed back up, reading and hiding instead of getting to know new people.
It wasn’t until seventh grade that I realized that something about the way I was living needed to change. I had already figured out I had anxiety, but I hadn’t done much about it. It was the middle of December, and I had just run out of class, only to be reduced to tears on the cracked tile floor of the girls’ restroom. In my state of obvious distress, I thought of my mother. I remembered her singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ while she scrubbed away at grimy dishes in the kitchen. How whenever we indulged in a bag of M&M’s, even though I considered them all alike, she would boastfully claim that the yellow ones were certainly the best. And if you asked her what her favorite color was, she would always say yellow because it was the happiest. Thinking of her, of the woman I adore and struggle to be more like, I made a decision. I chose yellow.

Yellow to me isn’t just a color. It is making friends and pushing myself out of my comfort  zone. It is smiling and laughing and being open about my flaws. Most of all, yellow is the security in knowing that even if I feel inconsolably miserable, I still have a family that loves me, friends who care about me, and a whole world for me to explore. I understand now that my anxiety will never disappear like the white rabbit in the magician’s hat. I also know that I will have days where I am reduced to a weeping mess because I am convinced that I made one conversation slightly awkward. I’m never going to be perfect, but for every panic attack or horrible day, there is a  tiny bit of yellow...waiting to be discovered.
-Grace Brumbaugh

Friday, January 27, 2017

Entrapment of a Flame

Entrapment of a Flame

Night Three
Of my captivity.
From the chambers of the glass
My light bleeds out,
Pleading with the earth:
The dank, damp sponge
On which she treads
With hesitant repose.
She parts the reeds.
Twitching and dry
They extend the expanses of
Their brittle limbs,
Seeking to free me.
But the reeds
Tease the aloof surface
Of the glass. As I dance within
She inhales
The quiet frenzy of a forest.
I feel---weak.
She exhales
And I glance about,
This flirt with freedom
replenishing my will.
In a glade,
She falls upon
The earth. Grasses
Prick her chocolate skin
Scarred and smooth.
Staring blatantly
At night’s velvet mask
Eyes glazed with inky tears
Reluctant to drop,
Battling gravity
Then wet acceptance,
Tears turning iridescent
As they meld with Earth.
A lost child giving back to her mother
All that was given
To her.
As for me,
I yearn to break free!
To ignite!
I can nearly feel
This cage melting away,
The girl, this wood on fire:
A symphony of flames and sparks
Smoke overwhelming the senses!
I swear I’d mock the heavens.
Yet here she rests.
Distilled passions lurk
In the frigid pipes of her veins.
What entrapment has she known?

-Mariana Kornreich

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Fighting stereotypes

I've broken numerous stereotypes of people with a disability.
I've overcome many hurdles in my life.
I've proved others wrong about people confined to a wheelchair.
I am far from another statistic or stereotype of disabled people.
I've accomplished many goals.
I've been on a long journey.
I've come a great distance,
But I still have lengthy journey ahead of me.
I've opened a multitude of doors;
although I know there are multiple paths I can take,
and multiple doors I can open,
stereotypes will always follow.
One day, I will prove more stereotypes wrong,
And I will open the door that leads me to the perfect road.
I will leave those stereotypes in dust.

-Tori Rittelmeyer