• Nonfiction,  Poetry

    Today as an American

    By Allen Ginnett I wake up everyday- with intention. Intention to change. I have the freedom to decide who I am. Who is that person? You may ask, but the answer is right in front of you. I am American. Watch me smile because I am happy; Feel me when I hurt. “Wow!” How do I express how thankful I am? By enjoying every minute of it. I am American. Today I told my mom, pride was a bad thing. But, I am proud to be American. Let me push forward, adapt. Be proud to be proud. Bring forth the bad habits. We can take it all on. American is…

  • Nonfiction

    I Miss You

    by Johanna Kumpula I grew up missing someone I never knew; a role model turned monster. When I was born, my father started drinking. He would leave in the middle of the night and hole up in a musky bar with cheap beer and stale peanuts. Sometimes he would be gone for weeks, with no explanatory note or phone call to check in. When he finally did return home, he smelled of alcohol and fruity perfume. My mom would be worried of course, all she wanted was a simple explanation on why he didn’t call, but his excuses were pathetic. He would get mad, because she didn’t believe him or…

  • Nonfiction

    Isabella Becomes a Poet

    by Isabella Valdez Anyway, there’s this video circulating of me reciting Ocean Vuong’s “Anaphora as a Coping Mechanism,” and it’s a pretty clean read for the first minute and forty-two seconds, until, at one forty-three, I stumble over the phrase “smoke-soaked skin,” first straying, “snoke-smoked,” then sputtering out, “soaked,” so off beat it grows wings and abandons the poem, completely fucking up the meter, and it’s at this point that you, the viewer, can tell that I’m for real affected by this collection of words even though, and this footnote is not included in the recording, I’ve never actually lost someone I’ve loved. But, really, I’m concerned for myself here.…

  • Nonfiction

    Sparrow

    by Allison O’Leary I hope you decide to come home one day. I hope that as the days get colder, your tiny house stays warm. I hope you treat her with kindness and patience, and your heart mends itself until the ice melts away.  I hope you can forget all the things half-said and the things we did to hurt each other. I hope you are as full of as much strength and love as the wool your mother weaves into sweaters for your father. I have so much hope for you, my sparrow. You were only trying the best that you could. I will love you and love you…

  • Nonfiction

    That Time I Almost Killed My Friend and That Other Time He Maimed Me; or, Childhood Memories Are Overrated

    by Sarah Cooley   I have a difficult time recalling my childhood memories.  Not to say that I have amnesia, but most everything from during the first several years of my toddling existence just sort of blends together and coalesces into a sort of dreamy mess where nothing is definite or distinct.  Sometimes this is annoying and disappointing, of course I want to remember my first time sledding or riding in a canoe, but even when trying to recall the memories as best as I can—I only ever seem to get vague a sensation of color and sound, like a blurry screenshot from an old foreign film.  Other times I suppose my problem is a bit of a blessing in disguise—there are some events that I know happened back then that make…

  • Nonfiction,  Poetry

    “You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.” 

    by a Friendly Neighborhood Queer ~~~~~~ “You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.”  The way you say these words is friendly, you’re joking, being playful, trying to get a laugh from me.  And I do laugh, your arm linked through mine.  But on further reflection, it’s impossible for me to find this phrase funny.  I don’t know exactly what you meant.  I’m constantly trying to eke out the complex meanings in exchanged words, assigning too much purpose to each syllable.  I have trouble seeing things at face value.  You’d “pretend to be gay” for me.  What does that mean?  Are you comfortable enough around me to not feel threatened by my queerness?  Do you think it’d be funny if we shocked and amused…

  • Nonfiction

    Missing the Hype Train: My Thoughts on Season One of Stranger Things

      by Aurelia Gonzalez I would like to start by saying that I almost never get the ride the hype train when it comes to new pop-culture phenomena. If ninety percent of the folks on any given Twitter feed are freaking out about something, it’s a safe bet that I know almost nothing about it, and won’t read, watch, or play that new thing for at least another five months. Due to the quirks of my upbringing and my own lazy, unmotivated free time habits, I think the only thing I’ve ever experienced while it was hot was Pokemon Go. And even that was only because my sister picked it…

  • Nonfiction

    Is Bruce Springsteen Cool?

    by Allison O’Leary There are a number of reasons why I would say Bruce Springsteen is cool. For one, Springsteen himself is a very cool man. In my opinion, Bruce Springsteen’s coolness peaked around 1975-1992, when he had the whole carelessly political, deeply troubled, woodsy vibe that drew in so much of his audience. Pre-’75, ol’ Bruce kind of reminded you of that one guy in your political science class who won’t take his damn newsboy cap off and keeps misquoting Kafka. Greetings from Asbury Park, Bruce. Move on. Springsteen’s heightened cool phase brought us several great albums, including Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town and…

  • Nonfiction

    Immaculate and Grace

      by Allison O’Leary A picture of two girls sits on my desk. One is a smiley teenager with long braids. The other is small with soulful eyes.They stand, smiling, next to a building in a clearing of the jungle, in matching green uniforms.This picture is of my surrogate sister, Immaculate, and my surrogate daughter, Grace. In 2012, my family began to sponsor ten-year-old Ayiyo Immaculate, a girl from Uganda’s Ssese Islands. While my family paid for Immaculate’s school fees and home care, Immaculate and I wrote letters of encouragement and love to one another for four years. In 2016, my mother and I visited Immaculate at her home, which…

  • Nonfiction

    First Climb

    by Sean Johnson The true beginning of my outdoor rock climbing career began on December 12, 2014, a completely unassuming night. I was grabbing dinner at the campus dining hall, my actions thoughtless as I selected my eating utensils, my feet shuffling along until Dasan, my best friend, walked in and asked me what my plans for the night were. We conversed in hasty, hushed tones as if we were exchanging our deepest secrets. He invited me on an adventure and instructed me to go back to my room and gather my harness, mountaineering boots, helmet, headlamp, and gloves. At the command, a hunger awoke in me that could not…