You May Think

You may think I am an unsocialized homeschooler, but I talk and communicate with so many people outside of my home. 
You may think I'm a greasy Italian--I'm not, I just did a bad job washing my hair this morning.
You may think I'm aggressive because I'm from New Jersey, but I'm not, unless you cross me. 
You may think as an actress I'm overdramatic, which I can be, but it doesn't stop me. 
You may think that because I wear many, many outfits from Hot Topic I may be emo, but I just really like the style of dresses. 
You may think I'm odd; I just dance to the beat of my own drum.

 

New Jersey

 I'm from New Jersey and excited to be involved in writing.

The Man with an Old Guitar

I wake up like I always do, in a cold sweat. I have a problem with nightmares. I don't know why, but it seems to be incurable. My nightmares aren't normal ones, like, "Oh god, a t-rex almost ate me." They're about me turning on the people I love. I get up and fix a nutritious breakfast of Oxygen--yep, I'm broke. I just moved into an apartment by myself and I need a job. I grab my purse and set out on a quest to get a good job. Not like minimum wage, but just, I don't know. 

Uneven gritty sidewalk reaches through my thin shoes. I pass the new, but almost now familiar sights of graffiti. I pass the words GOKI, SICK, and some unreadable twists and spikes that make my morning a little brighter with the colors. I walk past a community part to see an older African American man wearing a tattered old denim jacket and brown pants. He's strumming an old guitar with the name Laurieli carved into it. I t makes me curious. I'm not one to talk, so I tell myself to keep walking. But my stupid mouth bursts, "Who's Laurieli?" I almost face palm right then and there, but he openly responds, "My wife, but she died before we could have children." 

"I'm so sorry," I say. Just then a man on a moped rides up and says, "You, sir, are trespassing!" with a nasty face. 

"This is city property," the man with the guitar counters, a bit crass. I scowl at the man who has the nerve to ask someone to move out of a public park. 

"Don't make a face at me, girl," says moped man. "If you keep your face like that, it'll stick. 
Enraged, I yell, "You learned from experience, did ya?" I cannot believe I did that. He was ugly though. His crazy thinning salt and pepper hair looked as if he never brushed it. His elfish features seemed crammed together at the bottom of his face, giving him a huge forehead. The man walked up to me. I tensed, then he slapped me and drove away. 

I hurriedly dropped a dollar into the guitar case and ran. Ran into the city, not sure where I was going, but feeling guilty for not talking to the guitar man.

 

Richmond, VA

This is a 13 year old girl from Virginia

I'm No Caged Bird

with you, 
i'm soaring the skies, 
flying to the rhythm
of my own beating heart. 

with you, 
i spread my wings
and let the throaty chirp of yours that i fell in love with
carry me
into the unknown world. 

with you, 
there's a sense of infinity, 
a sense
of lifelong eternity. 

with you, 
i believe in love. 

with you, 
i remember the feeling of loneliness. 

i remember when i was a
caged little bird, 
and when you
set me free.

 

Richmond, VA

Claire Jun, 14, resides in Richmond, Virginia, and loves to raise questions, study, and better the community. In her free-time, she likes to play tennis, practice violin, and enjoys writing anything and everything.

United

I am scared. I am unreliable. I am not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. I am worried. I am weak. I am a bad friend, daughter, student. I am annoying. I am loud. I am known to say the wrong thing. I am all of these bad things, yet they do not hold me down. I am confident. I am well-spoken. I am trying, even if I cannot succeed. I am sarcastic. I am witty. I am intelligent. I am friendly. I am understanding. I am accepting. I am beautiful because I am not bad and I am not good. I am beautiful because I doubt myself but I do not disappear. I am beautiful because I know how to be terrible and wonderful. I am beautifully dynamic, ever-changing, yin and yang, light and dark. I am me.

 

Richmond, VA

I am a 17-year-old girl from Freeman High School.

 

Silence

Silence
One of the best things for me
But also one of the worst
It's terrifying being trapped with your mind
And I've made myself trapped
But it also gives me time to think
To get in the right state of mind
It feeds dark desires
And wakes up unused ideas
Silence
Something that's both dark and light

 

Richmond, VA

Agree to Disagree

I know everyone thinks people are too offended by everything these days, and everyone is too politically correct as they constantly police things.

Perhaps some people do overreact, but I also don't think it's too much to be compassionate and considerate of others.

You have to know your audience, and if they're not okay with something accept that and move on. There may be a better place, time, or person that would appreciate what you have to say. Respect other people's boundaries and treat others as you would like to be treated.

I know there was this joke I was told that I did not want to hear, and though I politely asked the person not to tell it three times—he did not respect that. He made a joke about someone hanging themselves. As my uncle had committed suicide I will never find that appropriate or funny. His excuse was that he didn't know and he didn't know my uncle.

He couldn't seem to fathom why I was so angry. I was less offended by the joke as much as I was annoyed that he didn't stop telling said joke when I asked him to stop. His blatant disrespect was hurtful. How you treat people matters.

So instead of insulting someone for their point of view learn to accept that we all have different perspective and not everyone shares yours. Agree to disagree.

 

Meadville, PA

Linda M. Crate is an author, poet, and writer whose works have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines both online and in print. She is the author of three published chapbooks and the Magic Series. You can find Linda here: https://www.facebook.com/Linda-M-Crate-129813357119547/.

Grayland

"No! Come back!" I pedaled furiously as the white-feathered thief began to take off into the sky. Its loud wings carried it higher every second as my legs worked and strained themselves. As I neared the white pigeon, I freed one of my handlebars from my right hand's death grip to reach upwards. It was too late, though. The snowy avian climbed into the sky as I swung my arm, missing it.
 
I lost my balance and my bike tilted to the left until I found myself tossed onto the sidewalk. My body skidded to a stop, as did my bike. I stood up, anger burning my stomach as I saw my receipt and the bird nowhere to be seen. Now I'm really screwed.

 

Ashland, VA

This author is a 14-year-old citizen of Virginia. They love all kinds of fiction as well as music.

I am... (Who am I?)

I am many different things.
I am the shadow in the corner, watching your movements with great enthusiasm.
I am the emoji you always consider putting on all of your texts but never do. 
I am the centipede, and all of my legs represent your deepest fears.
I am the washing machine to whom you carelessly entrust all of your dirty laundry. Yet I am also the malfunction that causes said machine to make the clothes even dirtier. 
I am the group of teenagers who egg your house every Halloween. 
I am always there and aways in view, like your abnormally long pinky toe. (I am aware of that, too, for I am always watching.) 
I am here, and yet not. I am amused to see you trying to work out what I am. I am considering speaking more in the future, just to see you squirm.

 

Richmond, VA

17-year-old male

I Don't Remember

I don't remember my only white Christmas
I don't remember coming home to smiling faces and open arms, maybe because my parents work late or maybe because of something else
I don't remember where that F in English came from, I swear
I don't remember where the cuts came from but I'm guessing 3am and unkind words
I don't remember the first song I ever wrote but it's out there somewhere
I don't remember what hugs and soft cheek kisses feel like. Do they feel nice? I hope to know someday
I don't remember the first sleepless night or his angry face when he lashed out at me. Why can't I remember?
I don't remember the first night in any of my new homes nor the first day in any of my new schools
I don't really remember when that house stopped feeling like a home
I don't remember my dreams anymore
I wish I didn't remember the pain
I think that's all I remember
The pain, tears, confusion, faded happiness and disappointment splashed on the pages and carved into my memories

 

Richmond, VA

A 13 year old from Richmond, Virginia.

At the Bottom of my Book Bag

Like free people, and the funny things.

See with abundant green, 

a community of good life, call home. 

Visit,

or bloom with competition. 

The dramatic architecture just getting started. 

Covered decks and porches. 

There is a new fermented water you take everywhere. 

October folks share innovative decades, 

tucked away. 

Outside a wood-fire, the brain-child of spring and fall. 

The independent celebration features emerging galleries. 

Comfort keeps you staying mapped out, 

A robust soul.

 

Corpus Christi, TX