Mess and All

(Inspired by the first line of “Stand It” by Ashley Ralr)

By Lydia Abigail Metzger

She curls up.

She can be unraveled.

But who would want to see that,

Who would want to see her in a mess.

Tangled and fringed,


she looks better like this

she is better like this


this, is not her

and so

she stands,

and stretches,

she makes the world see her

her mess and all

her imperfection.

And how

the stars shine brighter,

the wind smells fresher,

and the people are beautiful once more,

all with their own messes;

they are so amazing,

to her.


Angel Wings


by Ashley Nelson


Angel wings flutter

in the midnight breeze

as the mother lays her head to rest

and wanders off to sleep.


Sparkling stars dance

in the dark night sky

as she kisses their heads.

and hums her lullaby.


Biting wind blows

in the wintry cold

as she sings to them softly

and tightens her hold.


Bright streetlights flicker

on the empty path

as she tiptoes down the hallway

to escape her wrath.


Autumn leaves rustle

in the midnight breeze,

as he strikes and beats

ignoring her desperate pleas.


Slithering serpents grin

in the bright yellow moon

as his laugh fills the air

and he whistles his evil tune.


Angel wings flutter

in the midnight breeze

as the mother lays her head to rest

and wanders off to sleep.

She Can Swim


by Nicole Musgrave


People don’t see, but she’s drowning.

A tidal-wave in the middle of the sidewalk,

she’s trying to grasp the air that wasn’t even meant for her.

It manifests in her lungs, and violently courses through the rest of her body.

The pain is relentless and unforgiving, she finds it hard to breathe.


Confusion sets in heavily on her brain.

Once again life has blown the cold wind,

freezing her shadow.

Using her as target-practice.


She isn’t sure if she should give in

and duck her head and cry, letting life win,

or if she should keep her head up and keep trying.

How could she possibly keep holding on when it was time to let go?

Just when she thought she could handle what was thrown at her,

she was sucked under the surface and fighting once more.


The people around her carry out delightful

conversations amongst themselves, smile happy smiles.

Nobody sees her, so they don’t stop.

There is no comforting hand on her shoulder,

nobody telling her that it will be alright.


No comforting hug awaited her,

she’d come to stop expecting that years ago.

They don’t see the rocks she hit on her way over the edge,

down the waterfall people labelled as emotion,

just to be met by the rushing rivers named life and be washed away again.


She needs them, but they don’t see.

She needs a comforting soul,

but they only ignore her. She is invisible.

They see her as “just playing”.

To them, she isn’t really sinking.

Because to them,

she can swim.


by Alex Kramer


You hear something once,

you hear something once,

Then you hear it again,

then you hear it again,

like a mimicry rhyme,

like a mimicry rhyme,

It echoes simple, and plain.

it echoes simple and plain.


Do you hear an echo?

do you hear an echo?

Or was it a person in reality?

or was it a person in reality?

It messes with perception,

it messes with perception,

And eats your sanity.

and eats your sanity.


But what if it changed?

but what if I changed?

Didn’t repeat exactly what you said.

don’t repeat exactly what you say.

Would you even notice?

would you even notice?

It would mess with your head.

I would mess with your head.


Then it echoes more,

then it echoes more,

then it echoes more,

But something is wrong,

but nothing is wrong

but something is wrong

It takes you a second,

it takes you a second,

it takes you a second,

But it took you too long.

but it took you too long.

but it took you too long.

The mistake was gone,

the mistake was wrong,

the mistake was gone,

Yet you heard it right there,

yet you heard it right there,

yet you heard it right there,

Your mind  is gone,

your mind is gone,

your mind is gone,

What’s that sound in the air?

what’s that sound in the air?

what’s that sound in the air?


Say goodbye to your mind,

say goodbye to your mind,

say goodbye to your mind,

It’s running away,

it’s running away,

it’s running away,

You will never catch it,

you will never catch us,

you will never catch it,

It just will not stay.

we just will not stay.

it just will not stay.


Can’t run away from your mind,

can’t run away from your mind,

can’t run away from your mind,

So why fight and resist?

so why fight and resist?

so why fight and resist?

Take that punch from reality!

take that punch from reality!

take that punch from reality!

Realize it’s REAL!

start to think!

and never…


Untitled no. 1

by Olivia Hamilton


her eye was like

the old and crinkling bouquet of

lilies and anemones:

(sitting on the dirty plastic countertop

that she hated)

purple petals bloomed around

her iris and crinkled

into that sickly yellow-green

then faded,

like the splash of used vase water

spilled onto the white linoleum floor

when she went to throw them away

(the stems covered six months thick

with mold) and

a little trail of wine dripped

from her left nostril

and landed in her cup

which she raised slowly

                to her blueberry-stained lips.

The Floors

by Olivia Hamilton


the floors are orange,

and they smell like cheese and dirt.

they are riddled with the tracks of tiny car tires

and green scuff marks from laundry baskets.


the floors are sticky:

there is smooshed rice on the bottom of my

sock that i (lazily)

rub off onto the carpet

because “i don’t care where it goes”

as long as it isn’t on my sock.


the floors are old,

they don’t want me to walk on them anymore:

it’s like a very aggressive back rub,

and they moan to let me know that

they really don’t appreciate the weight of

my feet.


the floors are dirty

they are covered in a million random food particles

encrusting the space between the slots of

damaged wood, and little grotesque

creatures infect the horrendous

amount of crumbs.


i hate the floors.


everytime i walk downstairs

there is always rice stuck to my sock.

it adheres effortlessly, digging its unseen teeth

in through the threads of my sock

into my skin, refusing all

entreating towards retreat.


the floors are cold

you can’t go barefoot.


without a  sock, the rice will shoot straight through

your skin and into your veins:

where it will lodge itself inside the arch

your  heart, or the branches of  your lungs;

burrowing inside some important place where it will tear,

without discretion and without healing.

Careful What You Wish For

By Cazi Busbee


Still in diapers,

obtaining the strength of a monkey,

it climbed those prison bars to freedom.

Grin of accomplishment.

Nothing could knock it down.

Waves of sound rippling


across its dreams,

shattering its spirit.

Flash goes that smile.

That box screamed terror.

Bombs bashing in its mind.

Chattering of the picture,

Guess it should have stayed

in that prison it called his house.

sedentary at once.

Home of the Brave

by Brittney White


Home of the brave, land of the free

But in my land I’m not free to be me

We hide the hands of the ones we love

In fear of shame from the guy above



Don’t walk at night, don’t walk alone

If you do, there’s a chance you aren’t going home

Wear loose clothes, nothing tight fit

If you do, I guess “you’re asking for it”



If you’re colored, don’t walk by cops

Even if you’re innocent, you’ll be stopped

If you question it, you’ll get shot

Just another poor man left in the streets to rot

Lanterns strung up among oak trees

By  Shyanne Calvin


Lanterns strung up among the oak trees

Fireflies dance around the lights

Feet  kick up dirt

Faster and Faster

No looking back

Children of the sky race through the forest.

So bright, so alive

They couldn’t catch us if they tried

Fall down and the ground catches us

Soft mossy beds of safety

Eyes closed, a deep sleep.

Songs of the free echo all around

No more tears

No more sad songs of the past


Eyes open

A lamp light flickers on the nightstand.

Police sirens in the distance

Dogs bark, babies cry

No more children, no more lanterns.

Deep breath

Lights off.

These battle scars

by Jasmine Perez


These battle scars

They’re not fading

They’re never going to go away

These battle scars

Have the troubling of life

All I want to say is “Goodbye”

I’m done with all your little games

These battle scars

Have a story that’s now known

Weight lifted off my shoulders

I can finally move on

These battle scars

Have a representation

Showing I can make it

Giving the message that I fought my battle

And won