by SHYANNE BROOKS
“No!” I scream at the unwavering swarm
I’m tired of society telling me what is enough
What if I want to be something more
So what if my life might be a little rough
That is my choice and consequences to endure
The world isn’t always gruff
And their actions almost never pure
Why should society tell me which dreams to snuff
why should the world tell me my cure
How to be beautiful in my own skin and don’t scruff
To be beautiful in the world's eyes they adjure
Why should society become my judge
by SHYANNE BROOKS
Mirror, mirror on the wall
You always say too dumb, too small
And then you say too smart, too tall
I cut it off and paste it on
All to change what you look on
Mirror, Mirror on the wall
Stop making me feel so small
I put on my mask to help it all
Only in hopes to change the call
Of my evil mirror on the wall
by SHYANNE BROOKS
I’m tired of fighting
Can we please make it end
This anger is blinding
Exhausting, it is
The aggression is biting
I just want a friend
I can’t take the timing
That I’m expected to spend
Why are we so uninviting
Why must we always defend
So today I will begin writing
A peace treaty shall impend
by SHYANNE BROOKS
I am the warrior
You are the war
I fight myself
Through all your hell
I prepare for battle
More and more
My mind is weak
My armor worn
I’ve spent many nights
Preparing for fights
On the battlefield
Long and hard
I lunge and thrust
With all my might
Maybe, just maybe
I can win this fight
It’s raining and cold
The condition is rough
This is getting old
But it makes me tough
I can’t comprehend
Why you’re doing this
I know things tend
To be bad enough
Please stop this stuff
This pain and torture
It’s all too much
End me now
I beg you war
As I lie bleeding
On my floor
I can’t fake it
I can't take it
As I reach for my gun
It’s all for you war
This is it
One single shot
I’m growing colder
I see you cry
though it’s not true
Sometimes I wish
I were you
All high and mighty
With many jewels
But then I remember
Your evil soul
The time has come
I must go
I’ll remember the face
Of my foe
For it was mine
I fought myself
On right and wrong
Now I see
The trumpets singing
A better song
Than metal ringing
All night long
I close my eyes
Take my last breath
In and out
I welcome death
by SHYANNE BROOKS
I dig a grave
For you, you see
I’m tired of you
And all I’ve felt
I’m done with you
And your chaotic hell
Your intentions are lucid
To slowly kill me inside
A warrior is not diluted
Today my foe must die
by SCOTT WILLIAMS
Bloody towels and rusted blades,
The season's at its changing.
I grasp the pain as it slowly fades,
My emotions rearranging.
The years have been fragile.
My hope’s struggling on.
I'm choking on this putrid bile.
Where did it all go wrong?
The mole hill into mountain,
I guess the cliché goes.
Knew nothing of the putrid fountain
Out of which my hatred flows.
Was told "you're wrong" through childhood.
I was shunned and disapproved.
So I focused on becoming good,
But the motive I’d told'd been moved.
"Now you're all mighty, you just want attention,
"You think you're the best there is.
"You're filled with self-righteous and full of pretension,
"You're such a damn know-it-all whiz!"
So now as I'm told, at the same damn time,
"You're nowhere near perfect, but you're better than us?"
I don't see a reason, I don't hear a rhyme,
But don't lose your temper and don’t make a fuss.
I notice I'm different, the others don't like me.
I guess it's something I must've did wrong.
I eat lunch alone, so I guess that it must be
The problem's been me all along.
But at least there're three people who tell me I can,
While everyone else says I can't.
To them I'm okay, to them I'm a fan:
My mother, her mother, my aunt.
At the ripe age of eight, in the month of July,
My aunt helped her kids move away.
She never came back, never did say goodbye.
I guess heaven's just too hard to say.
The days press on as I sit in the classroom,
To have friends my one wish could You grant?
I'm left there for hours, to sit in my gloom,
As I'm told "she was only an aunt."
I try to press on and go through the motions,
With words stinging hard every day.
They sting in my eyes, they cripple emotions.
I burry my troubles away.
The moment has come and the bell still resounds.
I look for my mother's car's gape.
I'm carried on home where I hear the same sounds.
The mean words I can never escape.
The years come and go and I've still got my mom.
She chases my foes as a lancer.
The phone call comes in at the drop of a bomb.
My hero is told she has cancer.
The struggle is clear and it clear takes its toll.
My mom sleeps away on the couch.
My dad does step up and replaces her role,
But not without grumbling and grouch.
My mother gets well and things pacify,
At least for a moment or two.
I'm sick all the time and the pain makes me cry.
My mother unsure what to do.
The hospital calls and we rush off at once.
We plead for the doctor's entreaties.
I'm told of the news and my heart gives out grunts.
How at twelve do I have diabetes?
I quickly adjust to disease-ridden life.
I grasp at thin threads of control.
But as well as I do, I am stricken with strife,
And the unbalance starts to take toll.
The OCD comes, the depression starts.
I start to discover new things.
The bullies continue with new sharpened darts.
Oh what lovely woes high school brings.
My grandmother dies, I discover the blades.
Depression deepens once more.
There seems not a purpose to focus on grades,
When my life is a greedy, cruel whore.
But alas, I find strength as my faith's been restored.
I began to find hope once again.
I grope to hold on, my God I've implored.
I once more am trapped in this den.
These stirrings so odd that I've pushed down beneath,
For too damn long now to ignore.
My longings, desires now start to take teeth.
Why haven't I noticed before?
I realize I'm different, admit to myself,
And slowly one friend at a time.
But soon all at once, it falls off the shelf.
The light shows I've committed some crime.
The three holy matriarchs held my love until
One's leg clotted up, the other's heart had exploded.
The third tried her best, said "I love you still,"
But my world it seemed had imploded.
This boy came along and we grew to a team,
Spent are days hanging out for five months.
He encouraged my outing and built up my esteem,
Helped me tear down my walls and my fronts.
My church that had saved me when first I did grieve,
Turned its back now, they showed me the door.
They said that they loved me and they hoped I'd reprieve,
But I'm told I must change or I'm welcomed no more.
I'm hurt but quite numb and it doesn't quite sting,
But the pastor (my mom) comes to rescue.
She says they aren't Christians, their heart doesn't sing.
They had no right to ask what they've asked you.
Well the summer tarried and my mom started learning.
My senior year was approaching quite soon.
She realized she'd said that her love deserved earning
When I came out to her back in June.
Well the boy severed contact, haven't heard from him since,
"I don't have the desire to talk to you." He said.
All that confidence he'd built down the drain it did rinse,
And reassured everything at which my childhood had led.
I walked into school with my head held up high.
I was out, I was proud, eight months would be cake.
I soon learned it wouldn't, contrary was I.
I'd learn that I'd made a mistake.
Each day was a burden I hated with fire.
I turned to the blade as before.
The pain it came sudden, and grew so much higher.
My friends and my hobbies lacked allure.
I severed most contacts and started to fade.
November came hurried at last.
Then one horrid day I came home to the blade.
Never figured it'd escalate so fast.
I woke from my nap and realized I'd failed.
Imagine the heart break I felt.
My mom saw the scars and my coffin was nailed.
My lucid old life began to melt.
The hospital days were a regular hoot,
DBT skills and therapy groups.
And though at the time the lessons seemed to be moot,
My muscles grew as I jumped through these hoops.
I got out of there and went back into school,
A brand new man to tackle the world.
I made it to spring with my handy new tool,
Even with fists clenched and toes curled.
I relapsed a bit and still starved now and then.
I was doped on stratera and zoloft.
Depression still struck, anxiety trumped zen,
But the hardness of life began to soft.
Spring took a toll as anxiety rose,
Breaking down in the bathroom, spending most days at home.
I had promised myself things and was now eating crows.
I pushed on with an unsteady biome.
Then May came at last and I grew to adulthood.
Eighteen years never took quite so long.
I started to work, graduation felt good.
I began humming quite a new song.
I'm growing each day and am halfway to recovery,
Though I slip down the mountain quite often.
But when you fall down on rocks, you discover the quarry.
Building up makes the hiking to soften.
I'm now off at college, and still relapse a lot,
Though I find strength as I look all around.
I'm still climbing that mountain, a good ways I've still got,
Though it seems I'm on leveler ground.
The peak's in the clouds but I know that it's there,
Above where the oxygen reaches.
I realize it's impossible to trek to no air,
But the ones close enough send beseeches.
The clouds clear away and the trumpets let out,
The Maker calls out my name with such joie de vivre.
He tells me He's proud, I ask "what was that all about?"
And I smile as I hear what's in store for me.
Though we travel through life unsure of what we find.
We play ignorant so very coy.
We must know that facing trials of any kind,
Must be considered nothing but joy.
by PAJAH WILLIAMS
Weight shifts from one foot to the other
Invisible beads of sweat seem to drench your entire t-shirt.
Knees shivering with weakness
Wandering eyes because you don’t know where to direct your gaze
You’ve been caught off guard with spontaneous human interaction.
Body tense, a natural response to the persistent fear of being scrutinized
Mind never ceases to assume the worst
Humiliation, shame, guilt, embarrassment
You’re such an embarrassment. You embarrass yourself more and more each day.
Every step you take. Every moment of eye contact. Everything you do.
It is irrefutable truth that you are physically and socially awkward.
Don’t say that. Don’t speak. Don’t think that. Don’t forget to breath.
Ah, inhale. Exhale – wait what was the question?
“Your name, sir?”
Alas, your mind morphs into a vague tunnel of blackness.
Palm to face
by JESSICA HOLLAN
I took the long way to my building today
It was cold outside
I had no jacket with me
And by the time I reached my room my fingers were numb
But today I walked
I walked for all those who will never walk again
I walked for those who are too afraid to walk their streets
I walked because I am safe
And I am blessed
And I need not fear terror in my small town
So today I walked
I walked for Paris
For everyone who fears their streets
Today I walked
It was quiet on my walk
It was peaceful on my walk
It was safe on my walk
On my walk I knew that I will never experience the pain those who are terrorized will feel
So today I walked slower
Because I am lucky
Because I am safe
Because I take my walk for granted
Over 1000 people died yesterday
Over 1000 people who will never walk
Today I did not walk for me
Today I walked for them
by NICOLE BEARD
You and I spiral
Gliding and sailing
On a gust
Brushing and creating friction
You and I falling
Shoving me away with a will unnatural and callous
Holes have been chewed into the face of me
And devouring what you want
Fresh and supple when we started
My warty underside becomes food, but never satisfies thy hunger
Now you are ravenous, are you not
More and more you take, less and less I give
Crushed and disregarded
I'm lost among the faceless
by NICOLE BEARD
A bird caged
Is a flight unflown
Icarus doth fly too close
But what of those that fly not at all
Paralyzed by sharp tongues and iron-bent hands
Nothing stands in their way
Yet they remain dormant
Dashed of fear and freedom
Still they drown in their stagnation