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Destination by Kaylyn Kim (SEA selection)

Ever Lost. New Had. by Alex Gabennesch (SEA selection)

A Series of Septembers by Doonyah Alucozai (High School Creative Writing Contest winner)

Fourteen Weeks by Kaylyn Kim (SEA selection)

Remember Me by Lydia Laker (High School Creative Writing Contest winner)

Trapped in the Closet by Latrice Young (SEA selection)

If it holds up by Latrice Young (SEA selection)

S.A.S. by Latrice Young (SEA selection)

Lonely by Israel Baker (SEA selection)

100% Cotton by Nathan Phuong (High School Creative Writing Contest winner)

Reciprocation by Bradlge Gordon (SEA selection)

Snakepit by Paige Mekola (SEA selection)

The New Blues by Israel Baker (SEA selection)

Tinnitus by Israel Baker (SEA selection)

Maa by Genesee Winger (SEA selection)

January 25, 2018 by Genesee Winger (SEA selection)

Destination by Kaylyn Kim

How I wish I lived in a house!
She mutters in shallow annoyance,
as she hears the reverbs of her neighbor’s footsteps
in her high-rise New York City apartment.

How I wish I lived in a bigger house!
Her lofty Southern California residence,
a five-minute walk from the ocean,
what it has in location, lacks in size.

How I wish I had some nice clothes!
She follows and idolizes fashion blogs,
mimics their effortless lifestyle,
but wonders why it doesn’t feel so right.

How I wish I had some nicer clothes!
She shops at upscale boutiques exclusively,
because fair trade clothing is important, she heard,
and she’s not one to skimp on quality, she says.

How I wish I had a boyfriend!
Her neck rotates an unnerving angle,
she checks the diameter of her back,
for any marks that might repulse the opposite sex.

How I wish he loved me more!
As she reads a surprise greeting card,
the one he writes whenever he dreams of her.

Ever Lost. Never Had. by Alex Gabennesch

She draws the breath
Through her fingers, smoking
The ghost of a cigarette.
I’d offer her a light—
If I could,
But I don’t smoke.
I don’t.
I don’t need to (yet).

For she is
Wine—that warmth and dizzy pressure
Holding up
My smile.

I’ll keep it in my pocket—
The front one, not the back,
And touch it to
Remind myself of a future

Ever lost, but
Never had.

A Series of Septembers by Doonyah Alucozai

September 11, 2001
Parents waking up to devastating attacks
Others starting to blame, point fingers and hunt
Yelling and accusing Muslims of these crimes

September 11, 2002
Mourning the lives of loved ones lost
But also welcoming the lives of ones given
Happy tears and bright eyes welcome the newborn into the world

September 11, 2003
Baby girl surrounding and lifting the family for a year
Smiling mother and carefree father showering their love
Doting sister and loving brother guide her every step of the way

September 11, 2004
September 11, 2005
September 11, 2006
September 11, 2007
September 11, 2008
September 11, 2009
September 11, 2010
Parents never forgetting

September 11, 2010
Brightest smile and kindest heart runs home crying from school
Father cradles her in his chest asking what’s wrong
Tears streaming down her face, she looks up
Fracturing her father’s heart with a single question
“Am I a terrorist daddy?”
Left speechless, father envelopes her once again, only now tears streaming down both faces
Words left unsaid knowing that his baby girl is no longer a baby;
Her innocence stolen

September 12, 2010
Brightest smile and kindest heart does not show up to school ready to learn and excited to play
Brightest smile and kindest heart does not raise her hand and volunteer to help others
Brightest smile and kindest heart no longer believes in a world of love
Brightest smile and kindest heart is gone

September 11, 2011
Nine years old
Accusing faces and pointing fingers follow her
Dirty looks become common ground
Not faltering
Coming home from school that day and not letting a single tear drop until father and mother are asleep
She, too will never forget

September 11, 2012
Never forgetting
But is never letting love in worth it?

September 11, 2013
Never forgetting
But is never letting peace in worth it?

September 11, 2014
Never forgetting
But is never letting hope in worth it?
She falters

September 11, 2014
Mature enough to wear the hijab
Proud enough to walk with her chin held high
Happy enough to laugh and joke with her friends
Strong enough to never forget, but learns to always forgive

September 11, 2015
Telling her story to the people around her
Loving others for accepting who she is and loving herself even more

September 11, 2016
Telling her story to the people who make fun of her and can barely look at her
Loving even those people knowing she was once just like them

September 11, 2017
Refusing to see Republican or Democrat
Refusing to see Trump or Clinton
Refusing to let hate triumph over good

January 1, 2018 and Beyond
I, a Muslim American, refuse to let hate, anger, and violence interfere with who I am.
I, a Muslim American, hold my chin up high and walk with confidence.
I, a Muslim American, believe that love can win through faith in God.
I, a Muslim American, refuse to let others believe they aren’t good enough for this life.
I, a Muslim American, know it may be difficult to forget, but I can always forgive.

I, an American, have forgiven.

Fourteen Weeks by Kaylyn Kim

Since the cells clustered into
a pulsating something,
amoeba? embryo? larvae?
I don’t really know.

My father won’t look me in the eyes,
My mother sends me articles,
Left unread but undeleted.

In front of the clinic,
a woman rushes to hand me a pamphlet,
She has pleading brown eyes,
Kind of like my own.

Baby, you are the size of a pea,
and I have a lump in my throat,
the size of a golf ball,
from the thought of you.

Remember Me by Lydia Laker

Arbeit Macht Frei
Translates to “Work will set you free”
But really promotes false hope.
Number 87098.
Name is Max Manheimer
But 87098, that was
My true name
Knowing Dachau frontwards and back,
I cried with despair and joy.
Bodies proliferated
Small disasters
Jail cells screaming for help
Souls silently swaying
Through the grounds.
I’m a Survivor.
I was a window
Constantly hit by rain
But never fully broke.
I’m like Robin Hood
Helped my friends escape
But followed the capitulated SS’ orders
With carting the corpses
Into the mortuary.
Victims around had no penchant for me
They believed I was just like the troops.
As a skeleton,
All skin and bones,
No alacrity,
I served my life in Dachau.
Work won’t see you free
Work was just a grueling activity to make the time pass.
Work killed the weary
Wir konnen die Geschichte nicht wiederholen.
We cannot repeat history.
Remember this camp, now a memorial.
Remember Me.

Trapped in the Closet by Latrice Young

A broom stretched out to welcome us in.
We couldn’t help but grab it and fall under
the mop head barely brushing our heads…
She looked up and pulled the dusty light string
He turned away and found the blanket hidden in between
dusty shelves of wooden Jack-O- Lanterns
They wrapped each other gently with
toilet paper all over—
brown paper towels thrown in the air,
slamming the door shut—
“Wait, wait! Let me go first!”
First, I was first.
Ready to break out of there just to see light shining in every direction,
but First, I remove cobwebs from my face.
Second, you went second.
Swiffer pads underneath your shoes, you slide more quickly.
Then second, you managed to turn the faucet off from drenching us any further.
Third, they split third.
Holding on to their last breaths because the air was suffocating
And third, they panicked, playing who wins first, second, third
in a locked closet,
Mr. Custodian happening to walk by
on a Sunday morning, looking for a dust pan,
pulls out the golden key and unlocks the door
and I

If it holds up by Latrice Young

Time waits for no one— not you in the back or me in the front of the classroom, not him standing with a glass of water in line or her milking the cow in the country. Time just happens and there’s no stopping it.

We wake up every day unaware of the prize we’re granted to say, “I’m alive and well, life is great”.

It’s time to stop looking at the countless mistakes— we should cry when our dogs die, smile when we spend time with family, wave at neighbors across the street.


If it holds up an emotion where the heart refuses to reject negativity,

If it delivers a psychological impact where the mind speaks louder than the announcer at a WWE wrestling match,

If it rings the Bells of Freedom heard even up in the mountains,

If it lays out the Flag of Persecution waving in the distance,

If it protects the warriors fighting every day, with their lives at risk—

It probably, may be

something we should cherish

S.A.S. (Spoken word poem) by Latrice Young

To the students sitting in class trying your hardest to convince the people next to you that you're not dumb, that your inability to process what the teacher is expecting you to learn cannot possibly be a representation of your intelligence, this poem's for you and every other creator out there:
Straight A's are great when they're made and praised by institutions using the makers as solutions to solve problems society created as resolutions to understand what evolution is and what it means to live on a planet embedded in secrecy and tyranny.

Grades are beautiful... in school and can take you to places you've probably only dreamed of going but you never really believed you'd get there because your academic GPA doesn't fit the world's standards of genius mentality. Your brain works around a different reality and unfortunately the economy isn't going to support the artist industry unless you're selling your soul giving them Control of all your creativity. Don't sell out!

Don't feel disappointed when you're struggling to keep your hands still from writing books and plays, when you can't stop that choreography from being made in your head to the point that you just get up and dance and find your way outside the classroom, when you can't stop acting out multiple roles, seeing yourself on stage accepting all the awards possible, when your feet won't quit tapping to the orchestrated beats, the ones you hear playing dramatically in the background of some mass media, communicating to you right now that in order to live you have to know how to survive and for that life, you can't thrive off of Broadway shows or performances on the road because your tours don't measure up to the study abroad experience. You're told that all you'll ever be is an SA, a starving artist, someone who can't make a way for themselves without working 3 other low-income jobs. But please, don't stop.

Keep painting those magnificent drawings that started out as classroom daydream sketches, keep singing and rapping those chart-topping songs, keep playing those instruments even if you're inventing new ones because the moment you stop creating, the moment you give in to what the Corporates are saying, is the moment you let go of yourself and that is when you stop living.

It's hard knowing that you possess a quality society doesn't value as much as they do people pursuing science and math degrees. It's difficult to sit in that class feeling trapped and incomplete because the real you wants to break free and perform on stage but you stick it out for that thing called financial security though it'll never bring you mental or spiritual stability all things needed to keep the human body alive and well.

When someone asks you why you're choosing this route, the one you actually enjoy and will work hard for daily over any other job/career, when they ask why you dread being in the corporate class: You tell them, "Because I've got S.A.S., Starving Artist Syndrome and the doctors said the only treatment that will help me, the only medicine they can prescribe for me is Art!

Lonely by Israel Baker

My bones are blue
Like silence in the night
Like broken jazz.

I am an empty street
In a cool Harlem night
I am an incestuous father
In a twisted rural world
I am the smallest book
In the biggest library

I am lonely
And I miss you.

100% Cotton by Nathan Phuong

his name was Victor White, black
whose great-grandmother watched fluffy white
pods float by as she ached cotton
from the sweaty soil of a white man’s plantation. he
lived in New Iberia, Louisiana, a town where
'pepper' was ground spheres of black peppercorn adding heat
to spiced crawfish gumbo, was a black man
peppered with gunshot wounds and clubbed to death.
the rusted railroad tracks to the north ---
bisecting this little town with its long history of bigotry ---
might as easily have been prison bars pressed flat.

his name was Victor White, but everyone called him
Little Vic. as a child,
he would get into trouble
when his brothers misbehaved, a constant
but he stayed in New Iberia and his
newborn daughter was his little vic-
tory against the black-blood blooms
marring prison cell walls, the tear
gas ghosting over Brown Sugar Festivals,
the discrimination in all respects --- without respect.

since his arrest at the railroad crossing,
Little Vic has had his hands cuffed
behind him, wrists locked together
between dual loops of steel. he sits in
the back row of the police cruiser,
the mesh divider between him
and the two police officers in front
rattling with the links of his handcuffs. the black-and-white
guzzles off in the garage of the local patrol
center. the driver slaps his hands on the steering
wheel and curses under his breath.

Little Vic nervously shifts in his seat
and watches the policemen slide out of the car,
their gun holsters flipped casually open…
the police account is soon released:
‘Victor White committed suicide…’
there were no surveillance cameras in the parking lot where Victor White died.
‘…using a concealed firearm that had slipped past a police pat-down…’
the camera installed in the police cruiser had been turned off.
‘…Mr. White fired a .25-caliber pistol, sending a bullet through his back…’
autopsy of the corpse revealed that Little Vic had been shot through the side.

in the morgue, Little Vic lies ---
another victim of an unseeing white
the detectives only permit the viewing of his face.
his parents know him last
as shattered black-
and-blue cheekbones, a crushed eye but never
a crushed ‘I,’
dusky death daring past the creases
of the morgue’s bleached white sheet.

And there stands Victor White Sr. he is Little
Vic’s father, the Reverend
revered to no end
by his congregation, who pulls together
a petition to bring change to a corrupt police department.
he gathers signatures to ensure that Little
Vic won’t be just a footnote in a police report, so that other
black parents won’t have to sort
through glossed public announcements looking
for answers to their worst nightmares.

the Reverend wears a simple white shirt with
Little Vic’s profile splayed over its front. the shirt is
a sweat-soaked memorial to Little Vic
and it is of the most pure

Reciprocation by Bradlge Gordon

//Hackerman on reciprocation

using Noun;

using Verb;

using Fear;

using Candle;

using Memory;


namespace HackermanThoughts{


     class OnReciprocation{

                //define reciprocation

                noun reciprocation = "an act or instance of reciprocating";

                verb reciprocating = "to give, feel, etc., in return";


                public fear Absence(){

                     return Fear.notEquals("absence of reciprocation");



                private emotions Give(emotion){

                     //not needed

                     emotion = null;


                     return Self.GiveEmotion();



                public void PrintThoughts(){

                     Console.WriteLine("What I fear when my flame finally dies, is my scent is forgotten");

                     Console.WriteLine("Not infused again, not passed down");

                     Console.WriteLine("Just the minute ash in the bottom of an empty glass bowl");



                static void Main(string[] args){

                     Fear self = new Candle();




                     if (Candle.burntOut())


                           memory = forgotten;

                           //error forgotten is null

                           //cannot define 'forgotten'







Snakepit by Paige Mekola

If you’ve ever felt drawn to a snake pit
let me save you the trouble
of the tumble down.
I’ve found myself in several
where the dirt walls I was unable to climb,
surrounded by the coils and the hushes
of a thousand forked tongues
whose mouths could open to cradle you
in a hollow belly.
I used to scratch poems into the dusted floor
wherever they were not-
etched into ground titled What I Deserve
a list of synonyms that
imitated fire.
I consider if I might be a pyromaniac
I consider the smell of burning scales
I find that I am, too, afraid of matches
and who wouldn’t be in
their own home?
When I say the word 'serpent' in my head
it sounds like a sophisticated dinner,
like an evening out in green velvet.
And now I feel the comfort of the snake pit
the tongues a fork on my own plate-
I’ve always been fed here.

 The New Blues by Israel Baker

Tonight I am motherless,
Attention paid in full to the poor poor child,
The reoccurring polygon approaching normal,
Riding on the back of syllogisms, sarcasm, and starshine.
Holding no one to one’s own, or one not holding to one’s one.
Unity in a rose-tinted amygdala.

Packing back from a page,
I see infinity again as I disappear into self-doubt.
A Garden of Eden where Eve glares up at me,
And I squander existence.
Smashing glass, letting sucrose leave my tongue.
Hoping the two worlds will someday be one.

There’s the sound,
Coming through again to convince me.
A reminder of a beauty unhinged,
Living day to day in intoxication,
A melodious incense and ingenious liberation
From a coincidence, the dull modern world
Just taking what it wants.

Tinnitus by Israel Baker

There's a ring in my head,
I would like you to hear,
I think it's from a lost marriage,
Or a telephone no one picked up.

It could be God calling to say,
"I miss you."
Or a statistic calling to say,

Maybe it's the disoriented sound of
A first-world thinker,
As oxytocin breeds bacteria,
And discontent.

Maybe it's a shitty requiem
For all the people
That should be dead
But aren't.

Or perhaps it's just Tinnitus,
And I don't need to worry.


Maa by Genesee Winger

through rising and falling 
Mother’s still calling
She’s waiting, she’s waiting
Her Love never fading 

it’s okay to walk slow  
we might be delayed
there’s no rush, there’s no rush
but there’s no other way

we’ve got to hear the music
It’s sung so pure
endlessly loving, endlessly loving
no rush, we are coming

be still in the darkness
it’s all a circle, don’t be afraid we had It once, we had
It once It’s coming now again

leave it all behind
suffer, clinging to bliss
what goes up will come down
all there is is this Grace

don’t try to speed up
we’ve got eternity for This
Be Here Now, Be Here Now
received by the Essence

January 25, 2018 by Genesee Winger

I am watching the sun rise. In the Universal Hurricane, the sun still shines. It always shows up, giving all it can give. Let’s be more like the sun. Replicate the quality of True Unconditional Love. I don’t care if the sun shines so brightly that it burns up my body. Anything for Love--it’s all Love. Though baffled by the Hurricane, I can’t help myself but find the beauty which resides in destruction. Everything is perfect and free will an illusion, as I’ve come to understand it. Now, cotton candy pink clouds accompany the rise of the sun. Purple hues showing behind the trees. Everything is a gift of Love if we open our eyes to it.