• 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…

  • Nonfiction

    Two Stages, Two Outcomes: Dealing With Who I Am in Two Opposite Situations

    by A. Montgomery I don’t pretend to know why I needed to come out last Christmas break. High school had been easy; I had waltzed my way to the top of my class, created a small, impenetrable world around myself, a false front that could fool anyone. The art of inauthenticity is easy. People who try to be “morally sound” say it’s hard to be fake, but for me, that’s not true. I was well-practiced in pretending When I was younger, my family successfully convinced whole communities that we were perfect, only to shatter the screen with a violent divorce. So I learned early on how to make outsiders see…

  • Nonfiction

    Taking Flight

    by Carly Boyd My instructor told me everything would be fine. Just do what you’ve been doing; you can fly by yourself now. I thought about engine failure, about the possibility of collision, and, in case they were needed, I ran through all the emergency procedures we had practiced thoroughly. My heart sped up; I could feel the heat moving through my body as I started to sweat. Immediately, I became aware of how hot the day was. The sweat began fighting through my shirt and onto the warm corduroy cushion against my back. Soon, the dampness overtook my entire lower back. Surprisingly, the airport at Birchwood was peaceful, unlike…

  • Nonfiction

    An Essay Regarding Touch

    by Isabella Valdez Since meeting you, I’ve been considering what it would be like to skin myself. The idea of hooking a fingernail underneath some loose cuticle and just ripping mercilessly until my arms are no longer arms, rather a collection of twitching tendons and weathered veins, is an amorous one. Sometimes, I see myself as a whole person, sometimes as a body and the chance to tear it apart. But most of the time the only taste in my mouth is the sweet of something rotten. Other people, however, never lose their animation before my eyes, and it’s fascinating to me that the street corners do not whisper to…

  • Nonfiction

    Giggle Box

    by Chris Davis I am in the kitchen making my grandson, Jay, a turkey sandwich when I hear his crystal laughter twinkle from the living room. Setting the mayonnaise down, I peek around the corner to see if he is pestering the cat again. Jay is squatting in front of a cardboard box that Rachael, my wife, brought home. This box has been his favorite toy for the past week and its shape belies the attention Jay has given it: torn flaps, creases on its sides from where Jay has tried standing on it. It’s large enough for his three-year-old body to crawl into and he loves covering himself up…