ISSUE I: P(art) of the Soul

P(art) of the Soul is The Global Youth Review's inaugural issue, whose structure is based off of the Tripartite Soul and consists of three chapters: 1) logos, 2) thymos, and 3) eros. We warmly welcome you into a space filled with talented creatives hailing from over 20 countries, all united in their efforts to express through literature various emotions, ideas, and thoughts. Designed by Sena Chang

P(art) of the Soul is The Global Youth Review's inaugural issue, whose structure is based off of the Tripartite Soul and consists of three chapters: 1) logos, 2) thymos, and 3) eros. We warmly welcome you into a space filled with talented creatives hailing from over 20 countries, all united in their efforts to express through literature various emotions, ideas, and thoughts. Designed by Sena Chang


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Santal.<br />


OCT 2018<br />

Issue to<br />



<strong>ISSUE</strong> I<br />

-I-<br />

-ONE-<br />

-<br />


( P ) A R T O F T H E<br />

S O U L<br />

<strong>ISSUE</strong> I 2020 Y.<br />

T H E G L O B A L Y O U T H<br />

R E V I E W<br />


FOUNDER:<br />

Sena Chang<br />


Talha Hasan<br />

Helena V.<br />

Sanjana Rohra<br />


Sulola Imran Abiola<br />

Vinicius Amano<br />

Abdulmueed Balogun<br />

Dimitar Belchev<br />

Mario Calvo<br />

Arisa Chattasa<br />

Sarah Chaudhry<br />

Jake Colling<br />

Rodrigo Curi<br />

Jose Da Rocha<br />

Shaunak De<br />

Charles Deluvio<br />

Yang Deng<br />

Bruno Dias<br />

David East<br />

Hasin Farhan<br />

Kamil Feczko<br />

Victor Forgacs<br />

Kath G<br />

Mohammad Gh<br />

Joshua Hoehne<br />

Hwoman<br />

Richard James<br />

Alexander Jawfox<br />

Jr Korpa<br />

Juliana Kozoski<br />

Andraz Lazic<br />

Sunny Liu<br />

Jonathan Marchal<br />

Artem Maltsev<br />

Lorna McBain<br />

Nathan McDine<br />

Rosalind Moran<br />

Tim B. Motivv<br />

Will Moyer<br />

Jyotsna Nair<br />

Charles Nnanna<br />

Mike Norris<br />

Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean<br />

Mary Oloumi<br />

Jokob Owens<br />

Cristian Palmer<br />

Ashley Pearson<br />

Daniele Pelusi<br />

Cindy Phan<br />

Hanna Postova<br />

Laoise Ní Raghallaigh<br />

Dmitry Ratushny<br />

Tom Robertson<br />

A.R. Salandy<br />

Ilya Shishikhin<br />

Kelly Sikkema<br />

Alex Smith<br />

Samuel Sng<br />

Eduardo Soares<br />

Hennie Stander<br />

Mr TT<br />

Nota Vandal<br />

Mikita Yo<br />

For advertising enquires contact: <strong>the</strong>globalyouthreview@gmail.com<br />

Copyright by The Global Youth Review<br />

Cover Image: Unsplash<br />

Magazine Designer: Sena Chang<br />

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2 0<br />

sel f-expression<br />

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Table <strong>of</strong> contents and a letter<br />

from <strong>the</strong> founder --<br />

1<br />


The Rationale: REASON--<br />

2<br />

LOGOS<br />

The Spirited: HONOR--<br />

3<br />

THYMOS<br />

The Appetite: DESIRE--<br />

4<br />

EROS<br />

Featured contributors and<br />

acknowledgements --<br />

5<br />


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3<br />


C O N T E N T S<br />

P. 20<br />

(P)ART OF —<br />

— <strong>the</strong> soul<br />

Photography—Cindy Phan, Bellevue Botanical<br />

Garden<br />

P. 6<br />

On Self-Expression—<br />

Sena Chang<br />

P. 19<br />

spirited cloth —<br />

Sarah Chaudhry<br />


P<br />

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P. 20<br />

P. 28<br />

P. 24<br />

i am tired —<br />

Kath G<br />

Keeping My Wits About<br />

Me—<br />

Rosalind Moran<br />

P. 34<br />

Censored in <strong>the</strong><br />

Supermarket—<br />

Lorna McBain<br />

GYR<br />

NO. I<br />

Untitled —<br />

Alexander Jawfox<br />

P. 36<br />

P. 48<br />

P. 42<br />

Stork —<br />

Ashley Pearson<br />

Into Paradise —<br />

Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean<br />

Power —<br />

A.R. Salandy<br />

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Self-Expression<br />

Sena C. as Founder<br />


Throughout<br />

human history, populations<br />

have been marginalized, oppressed, and<br />

chained from embracing <strong>the</strong>ir true identities.<br />

These <strong>the</strong>mes seem to persist in modern society,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> unfortunate instances <strong>of</strong> police brutality making<br />

headlines <strong>the</strong>se past months and trends such as <strong>the</strong> "fox eye"<br />

gaining traction in <strong>the</strong> media. Taking <strong>the</strong>se happenings into<br />

mind whilst editing, creating, and revising, our editors have worked<br />

tirelessly to capture <strong>the</strong> essence <strong>of</strong> this very idea—one <strong>of</strong> a perpetual<br />

dance between a struggle and embrace <strong>of</strong> self-expression. Issue I <strong>of</strong> The<br />

Global Youth Review has prompted writers to take <strong>the</strong>se ideas in mind<br />

when creating and to flesh out a story <strong>of</strong> one's struggles, joys, and victories<br />

with self-expression, as well as find <strong>the</strong>ir inner voice—itself a gateway<br />

into one's true identity. Without fur<strong>the</strong>r ado, I present to you issue<br />

one <strong>of</strong> The Global Youth Review, a magazine dedicated to showcasing<br />

<strong>the</strong> voices <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> youth. With over 20 countries represented and<br />

diverse voices speaking on behalf <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> underrepresented<br />

and unprivileged, P(<strong>art</strong>) <strong>of</strong> The <strong>Soul</strong> is an issue that<br />

is unforgettable, touching, and insightful, but<br />

ultimately, one that captures <strong>the</strong> essence<br />

<strong>of</strong> what it means to express.<br />

Sena<br />


P<br />

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Connect on<br />

Social —<br />

media<br />

By MR TT<br />


@GlobalYouthRev<br />


@<strong>the</strong>globalyouthreview<br />

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logic<br />

LOGOS<br />

"The fact that logic cannot satisfy<br />

us awakens an almost insatiable<br />

hunger for <strong>the</strong> irrational."<br />

A. N. Wilson<br />


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"I could invent a new self, one who<br />

wasn’t pre-stencilled by family or<br />

friends or shop assistants who knew<br />

my face. And I did."<br />

By Laoise Ní Raghallaigh<br />

I<br />

have a team <strong>of</strong> women to keep me alive and healthy and looking<br />

altoge<strong>the</strong>r well. I met my dermatologist about four years ago, when<br />

my sister began seeing her. I watched as her skin lost its redness<br />

and became smooth again, like a freshly resurfaced road. Months<br />

later when my own skin st<strong>art</strong>ed to rebel against me, I went to <strong>the</strong> same little <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Woodquay, and within three months <strong>the</strong> worst <strong>of</strong> it was gone. My optician flips<br />

lenses and switches and tells me how she remembers <strong>the</strong> first time I came in to see<br />

her when I was eight, claiming triple vision. My doctor, who takes my bloods, and<br />

my consultant who analyses my bloods and prescribes me medication. There’s my<br />

dietician, who probes me about my portion sizes and exercise regimes. There’s my<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r, who pays for almost all <strong>of</strong> it, and my sister, who drives me to all <strong>the</strong> various<br />

appointments when my mo<strong>the</strong>r’s busy.<br />


P<br />

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I<br />

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M<br />

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. . .<br />



YOU SEE?<br />

Lewis Carroll<br />


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PROSE<br />

I<br />

t’s only now, when<br />

I have medical<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals on<br />

all levels looking<br />

after me, when every step has been<br />

taken after all <strong>the</strong>se years, that I’ve<br />

finally begun to feel like it’s doing<br />

something. Maybe it’s a reflection on<br />

myself, that I need someone to keep<br />

an eye on every errant body p<strong>art</strong>.<br />

It has long been instilled in<br />

me by numerous sources -<br />

mostly <strong>the</strong> girls I saw around<br />

me - that my body was not<br />

what it was supposed to be,<br />

nei<strong>the</strong>r inside nor out. For<br />

years I half-he<strong>art</strong>edly tried<br />

this diet, <strong>the</strong>n that. I dragged<br />

myself to <strong>the</strong> gym after<br />

school, I drank innumerable<br />

litres <strong>of</strong> water. My he<strong>art</strong><br />

wasn’t in <strong>the</strong> effort to change,<br />

but it sank heavier all <strong>the</strong> time<br />

when it became clear that it<br />

wasn’t working. In around<br />

all this was secret trouble.<br />

Undiagnosed hormonal<br />

issues, potential infertility<br />

looming. I put it to <strong>the</strong> back<br />

<strong>of</strong> my mind, and <strong>the</strong>re it<br />

stayed. Even when <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

seventeen months between<br />

periods. I’d researched it,<br />

vaguely. I had a deeper voice<br />

than my friends in school,<br />

and between that, my volatile<br />

skin, weight retention and<br />

excessive hair, I concluded<br />

that I had polycystic ovaries.<br />

I mentioned it to my mo<strong>the</strong>r;<br />

she said we’d keep an eye on<br />

it. I did blood tests at <strong>the</strong> local<br />

GP’s <strong>of</strong>fice in early 2016, which<br />

came back normal. Two years<br />

later I finished secondary<br />

school, having had four<br />

periods since I’d first walked<br />

through <strong>the</strong> glass front doors.<br />

We were driving somewhere in July<br />

when my mo<strong>the</strong>r suggested that we<br />

try going to <strong>the</strong> doctor’s again. It’d<br />

be good to get this sorted before you<br />

st<strong>art</strong> college, she said. I agreed. We<br />

made an appointment again with <strong>the</strong><br />

local GP, who was a new lady. She<br />

had <strong>the</strong> gentlest voice <strong>of</strong> anyone I’d<br />

met, and cool hands, and she spoke<br />

to me like I was an equal ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

than a child. It looks like polycystic<br />

ovarian syndrome, she told me.<br />

Or you could call it by its catchy<br />

initialism, PCOS. Good to know that<br />

my internet diagnosis was accurate.<br />

We did more tests - hormone tests,<br />

blood tests - and <strong>the</strong> little plastic<br />

tubes <strong>of</strong> red were sent <strong>of</strong>f, with<br />


‘‘ We did more tests...and<br />

<strong>the</strong> little plastic tubes <strong>of</strong><br />

red were sent <strong>of</strong>f, with all<br />

my hopes riding on <strong>the</strong>m.’’<br />

all my hopes riding on <strong>the</strong>m. The<br />

diagnosis came soon afterwards,<br />

and I was referred forevermore to<br />

a well-respected endocrinologist.<br />

I was given a prescription and a<br />

dietician’s appointment, and my new<br />

life as a university student began.<br />

It wasn’t drastically different,<br />

medically speaking. I had to<br />

remember to take <strong>the</strong> bitter white<br />

pills with my meals, along with<br />

vitamin B supplements and vitamin<br />

D in my water. I had to keep a food<br />

diary. I had to log every bit <strong>of</strong> exercise<br />

I did, so that I wouldn’t end up looking<br />

like a fool trying to remember it all<br />

in my appointments with Elaine (<strong>the</strong><br />

dietician). My portions were difficult<br />

to manage. I was supposed<br />

to eat granola and yoghurt<br />

for breakfast; for lunch, at<br />

least two eggs on bread, or<br />

two chicken breasts, or ham<br />

and cheese. Some kind <strong>of</strong><br />

large protein for dinner. Cut<br />

back on fruit, double up on<br />

vegetable snacks. She was<br />

very specific, in fairness to<br />

her. No more than seven<br />

blueberries in <strong>the</strong> granola,<br />

and a strictly measured<br />

portion <strong>of</strong> any carbohydrate.<br />

Twenty-seven grams <strong>of</strong> white<br />

rice, thirty-five <strong>of</strong> pasta. I hit<br />

a little snag very early on;<br />

my food intake had to go up<br />

by a significant amount, but<br />

my prescribed medication<br />

has <strong>the</strong> unfortunate side<br />

effect <strong>of</strong> being an appetite<br />

suppressant. I <strong>of</strong>ten went<br />

for an entire day without<br />

eating anything, because I<br />

couldn’t stomach it. These<br />

days I kept from Elaine;<br />

she probably wouldn’t have<br />

approved. My mo<strong>the</strong>r would<br />

ring me in <strong>the</strong> evenings and<br />

ask if I’d eaten enough that<br />

day, and <strong>the</strong> answering sigh<br />

when I said no, probably<br />

not, grew louder all <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

The consultant, when I<br />

saw her in January, was<br />

immaculately dressed and<br />

her <strong>of</strong>fice had doors which<br />

went from floor to ceiling. Between<br />

snippets <strong>of</strong> medical jargon and<br />

terminologies she asked me about<br />

my college life, my aspirations, my<br />

friends, what I thought about <strong>the</strong><br />

place I was living in. My answers<br />

for <strong>the</strong>se were easily spoken, having<br />

been said a thousand times before.<br />

P<br />

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PROSE<br />


When you’re eighteen all people<br />

want to know is what you think <strong>of</strong><br />

college. I didn’t expect my doctors to<br />

be any different.<br />

‘‘ It was a dash <strong>of</strong> water to <strong>the</strong><br />

face, sobering and electric. A<br />

failing on my behalf to perform<br />

basic bodily functions.’’<br />

Then she moved on to discussing<br />

solely my biology, and <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

eight seconds in which I was gripped<br />

with some unspeakable fear, which<br />

shot down to my marrow. At zero: my<br />

consultant said that PCOS would lead<br />

to infertility if left untreated. It was a<br />

dash <strong>of</strong> water to <strong>the</strong> face, sobering<br />

and electric. A failing on my behalf<br />

to perform basic bodily functions.<br />

At eight: she reassured me that my<br />

case had been caught relatively early<br />

on, and it was, in all likelihood, going<br />

to be absolutely fine, provided I did<br />

what I was told.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> car on <strong>the</strong> way home I couldn’t<br />

speak. I had never felt anything like<br />

those eight seconds. It was visceral,<br />

like being disembowelled. I have<br />

always wanted to have children,<br />

but I didn’t think that it would feel<br />

like that, to have one option<br />

potentially taken away. The<br />

one coherent thought in my<br />

head, for <strong>the</strong> hour’s drive,<br />

was <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> note in my phone.<br />

The note I began when I was<br />

fourteen, <strong>the</strong> note that has<br />

been saved and uploaded<br />

and downloaded again with<br />

every new phone since <strong>the</strong>n.<br />

Eighteen words - eighteen<br />

names, for my children.<br />

What would happen to those names?<br />

Would I throw <strong>the</strong>m away on my<br />

children <strong>of</strong> ink and plasma, <strong>the</strong><br />

children I wrote into existence?<br />

It was an absurd<br />

thought; mine is, by<br />

all accounts, a happy<br />

tale. It has a medical<br />

happy ending, at any<br />

rate, and I don’t take<br />

that for granted.<br />

I used to feel like<br />

p<strong>art</strong>s <strong>of</strong> me were<br />

being stripped away.<br />

Maybe that’s still true.<br />

By JR KORPA<br />

But <strong>the</strong>y are p<strong>art</strong>s I have no use for,<br />

p<strong>art</strong>s I would ra<strong>the</strong>r be without, even<br />

if I don’t know exactly what <strong>the</strong>y are.<br />

I am being distilled with every ounce<br />

lost and every centimetre shaved <strong>of</strong>f<br />

my hips. My orange pants no longer<br />

fit me, and <strong>the</strong> black floral dress is<br />

too loose across <strong>the</strong> chest. But I can<br />

wear <strong>the</strong> white blouse that belonged<br />

to my mo<strong>the</strong>r, which I had to put<br />

away into a vacuum pack when I was<br />

fifteen. I could take in <strong>the</strong> trousers;<br />

I am very fond <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> orange ones, it<br />

must be said. A whole new wardrobe<br />

<strong>of</strong> possibilities lies open to me now.<br />

I can revert to <strong>the</strong> fashion choices<br />

<strong>of</strong> four or five or more years ago,<br />

embrace myself as I was in my<br />

angriest and most frustrated time.<br />

That girl is something <strong>of</strong> a stranger<br />

to me now, but I could get to know<br />


P<br />

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PROSE<br />


her again, through <strong>the</strong> clo<strong>the</strong>s she<br />

wore.<br />

Although maybe <strong>the</strong> past is better<br />

left undisturbed. I never liked <strong>the</strong><br />

person I was during secondary<br />

school. She had a questionable taste<br />

in clo<strong>the</strong>s, music and friends, and<br />

was altoge<strong>the</strong>r volatile and far too<br />

sensitive for her own good. It’s only<br />

in coming out <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side, as it<br />

were, that I can recognise how things<br />

were. My Snapchat memories show<br />

me photos <strong>of</strong> a girl whose skin looks<br />

swollen, turgid like an overwatered<br />

plant. Her eyelashes are long;<br />

obscenely long, my sister says, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> eyes look a blink away from tears.<br />

I can feel her weariness through <strong>the</strong><br />

screen.<br />

There was a p<strong>art</strong> <strong>of</strong> me for a long<br />

time which believed that my life<br />

would be better, in all ways, if I<br />

was thinner. I would be confident,<br />

I would be desirable, I would no<br />

longer worry about things because<br />

I would have far less to worry about.<br />

And I am more confident now. But<br />

<strong>the</strong> source <strong>of</strong> this confidence is a bit<br />

<strong>of</strong> a mystery; it has very little to do<br />

with my measurements. A lot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

time I don’t think about it. Strange<br />

now that I’ve ‘done it’, per se, that<br />

I’m a standard size 12, that I don’t<br />

care at all. Well, not at all, but far less<br />

than I thought I would. When I went<br />

up to a size 14 it was <strong>the</strong> worst thing<br />

in <strong>the</strong> world. When I went up to a 16<br />

it was worse again. Both my sisters<br />

have always been slim - slimmer<br />

than me, at any rate, which was not<br />

difficult. Nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m was a size<br />

14. This meant <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> hand-medowns<br />

and signalled <strong>the</strong> new era <strong>of</strong><br />

hand-me-ups. My sister, who is four<br />

years older than me, got my clo<strong>the</strong>s<br />

when I outgrew <strong>the</strong>m. I thought it<br />

was funny, and <strong>the</strong>n I didn’t.<br />

My diagnosis was a relief; it wasn’t<br />

just me and my terrible eating habits.<br />

It was my hormones. It was beyond<br />

my control. There was something<br />

larger and more menacing afoot<br />

than <strong>the</strong> fact that I ate a frankly<br />

ludicrous amount <strong>of</strong> pasta. Now I<br />

can’t really eat pasta at all, which is<br />

perhaps one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> greatest tragedies<br />

<strong>of</strong> my life. I have no appetite<br />

anymore. There’s also <strong>the</strong> danger<br />

that anything I eat, which may have<br />

previously had no effect at all, will<br />

now trigger a migraine or nausea<br />

or both. I’ve never, luckily, been<br />

prone to migraines, but I am now.<br />

The nausea has gone down since I’ve<br />

gone <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> pill, but <strong>the</strong> migraines<br />

haven’t gone anywhere. Nobody,<br />

not <strong>the</strong> doctor, not <strong>the</strong> consultant,<br />

not <strong>the</strong> dermatologist (although that<br />

would have been a very long shot)<br />

has anything helpful to say about it.<br />

It’s just a thing that happens to some<br />

people, said <strong>the</strong> consultant when<br />

I told her, and <strong>the</strong> medication can<br />

exacerbate it. You’ll need to watch<br />

out for triggers. Except that I haven’t<br />

<strong>the</strong> slightest notion <strong>of</strong> what triggers<br />

<strong>the</strong>m. Maybe I should hire somebody<br />

to just sit and observe me for days on<br />

end, come to me at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> a week<br />

with a notepad <strong>of</strong> comments and all<br />

my problems will be solved. Until<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, it’s Minesweeper.<br />

Medicated weight loss is a strange<br />

and uncomfortable thing. Since I<br />

began taking Metformin I’ve lost<br />

over two stone. I fit into size 12 jeans<br />

again, which I absently thought<br />

would never happen. I probably have<br />

to buy a load <strong>of</strong> new bras. Nearly<br />

every tweak to my body has been<br />

for mechanical reasons. I got braces<br />

because my adult eye teeth grew in<br />

behind my front teeth, and I was<br />

going to end up with no canines<br />

at all if nothing was done. I'm on<br />

medication that causes me to lose<br />

weight because its main function is to<br />

lower <strong>the</strong> risk <strong>of</strong> developing type two<br />

P<br />

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By SUNNY LIU<br />

P<br />

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PROSE<br />

d<br />

iabetes, and I have a medical condition which means I am four<br />

times more likely to develop it. I am doing this because I want to<br />

have healthy pregnancies and healthy children, at some point.<br />

Living through <strong>the</strong> boom <strong>of</strong> body positivity has made it difficult to<br />

remember that I am not losing weight for cosmetic purposes. It almost feels like a<br />

betrayal to feel happy about <strong>the</strong> weight coming <strong>of</strong>f. Like I'm somehow selling out<br />

because my body is shrinking. It’s a hard thing to bear in mind. I was ashamed <strong>of</strong><br />

my body before, I admit. I didn’t take care <strong>of</strong> it, and I didn’t enjoy dressing in nice<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>s or giving anyone any reason whatsoever for <strong>the</strong>ir eyes to linger on me. But<br />

I came to accept it. It was like a mantra, every morning while I got ready for school:<br />

my body does not have to be beautiful. It houses me and carries me from place to<br />

place. And that was good enough.<br />

The doctor’s appointments forced me to come back to awareness, to be cognizant<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> body that held me. I couldn’t just be a floating mind; I had to take care <strong>of</strong> my<br />

organs, my skin, my teeth. If I wanted a normal life <strong>the</strong>n I had to care. It was hard<br />

to reconcile with, that constant awareness <strong>of</strong> my body and what I did with it. In<br />

a time where I was frequently losing my temper, feeling trapped and lashing out,<br />

<strong>the</strong> last thing I wanted to be was aware. But in time it was less cloying. With <strong>the</strong><br />

ending <strong>of</strong> secondary school and exams, it was college in my mind, and college only.<br />

September, when I would be moving across <strong>the</strong> country to Galway, that colourful,<br />

salt-sprayed city clinging to <strong>the</strong> rocks. I could invent a new self, one who wasn’t<br />

pre-stencilled by family or friends or shop assistants who knew my face. And I did. I<br />

became someone else, someone lighter. I went to class, I hung out with new friends<br />

who were sm<strong>art</strong> and bookish and who genuinely liked me, ra<strong>the</strong>r than just being<br />

stuck with me. I don’t know that I had ever fully realised just how thrown toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

we were in school. The girls <strong>the</strong>re had little, if anything, in common with me, and<br />

in my snobbery, I didn’t care too much to find out much more about <strong>the</strong>m. They<br />

thought me strange, I suppose, and I was fine with that. But university was a new<br />

world. I had been a big fish in a decidedly small pond back in Meath; here, I was a<br />

sprat, milling around with all <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r sprats. And it was wonderful.<br />

I’m glad that <strong>the</strong>re was such a leap from my secondary school life to my college life.<br />

A cross-country move and diagnosis will do that to a person. It was good to see<br />

a difference in how I was outwardly, and not just be overwhelmed by <strong>the</strong> seismic<br />

rupture I felt inside myself. Everything changed within <strong>the</strong> space <strong>of</strong> a few weeks;<br />

everything I thought was permanent and unchangeable revealed itself to be just<br />

as passing as <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> it, and <strong>the</strong>re was suddenly nothing familiar in sight. New<br />

wardrobe, new room, new school, new friends. New me. In <strong>the</strong> beginning I shed<br />

weight like a snake shedding its skin, and my reflection looked wholly different<br />

to what I’d become accustomed to seeing. It was how an eighteen-year-old was<br />

supposed to appear: I looked fresh. My eyes were clear and alert, and I thought<br />

maybe, maybe, I could finally embrace my body instead <strong>of</strong> pretending it didn’t exist.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

17<br />


E<br />

Enigma<br />

By Charles Nnanna<br />

G<br />

Is a fact more unsettling than that <strong>the</strong> seed<br />

must first die to become tree?<br />

That <strong>the</strong> birds nesting under it are oblivious<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> innocent little grain that died?<br />

What paradox is bitter as this:<br />

that <strong>the</strong> chick in order to live would have to break<br />

<strong>the</strong> egg, <strong>the</strong> generous house<br />

that housed it when it had no legs to kick? Or<br />

N<br />

that <strong>the</strong> woman must break in her own blood<br />

so she'd hear <strong>the</strong> cry <strong>of</strong> a joy indescribable?<br />

Truly a he<strong>art</strong> can’t know joy unless it's broken,<br />

just as a dream can’t know reality<br />

until it breaks many a bitter sweat.<br />

M<br />

I<br />

look at <strong>the</strong> world through<br />

a broken lens, not a magnifying glass. Helps<br />

me see myself as I really am before <strong>the</strong> mirror. A<br />

broken being<br />

in need <strong>of</strong> God's tool box. / And sometimes, verily,<br />

a thing has to be made very dirty before finally it<br />

becomes clean. The world, perhaps, is<br />

just a pile <strong>of</strong> mud every dreamer must first climb<br />

on before ascendency.<br />


Enigma<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G 18<br />


spirited<br />

cloth<br />

Sarah<br />

Chaudhry<br />

They decry at my hijab and see a threat<br />

I look at my hijab and see pride<br />

The hijab is a statement, not one <strong>of</strong> oppression<br />

or feminism<br />

But a statement <strong>of</strong> choice<br />

The hijab is my lifestyle, a silent gesture that<br />

spirited cloth<br />

speaks enormous volumes<br />

I am bound to my religion like I am bound to <strong>the</strong><br />

black soil and <strong>the</strong> blue sky<br />

The hijab is not a mystery, not something arcane<br />

The hijab is eloquent, a source <strong>of</strong> pride and<br />

power.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

19<br />



Poetry<br />

Keepin g<br />

My Wits<br />

ABOUT ME<br />



POETRY<br />

I<br />

like to keep my wits about<br />

me:<br />

yapping at novelty, helping<br />

me see.<br />

They run free through <strong>the</strong> house,<br />

scratching floorboards, doors –<br />

and though I keep <strong>the</strong>m close<br />

when we go outside, I make sure to<br />

walk <strong>the</strong>m on gold leashes, proudly;<br />

and let <strong>the</strong>m run wild in empty woods…<br />

I like to keep my wits about me.<br />

A tangle <strong>of</strong> leashes, wrists bruised red;<br />

a mongrel pack, all shapes and sizes;<br />

snarling and arguing, sniffing out answers.<br />

I encourage nosiness, <strong>the</strong>ir taste for blood.<br />

Dragging <strong>the</strong> scarlet <strong>of</strong> falsehood fox<br />

along <strong>the</strong> ground to train <strong>the</strong>m in tracking…<br />

Unpack strawman arguments; scatter <strong>the</strong>m<br />

wide.<br />

I like to keep my wits about me.<br />

Gnawing on bones and peeing on newspapers;<br />

making <strong>the</strong>m play ball in fields <strong>of</strong> thought<br />

though caring little whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> ball comes<br />

back…<br />

The chase is what counts. The hunt; <strong>the</strong> trail;<br />

<strong>the</strong> accurate sniff and wagging tail at <strong>the</strong><br />

smell <strong>of</strong><br />

a lie; a scare campaign; a slogan or a logical<br />

fallacy.<br />

…My pack is young, but learning quickly.<br />

I like to keep my wits about me –<br />

though many question if this is sage…<br />

In a time when words so <strong>of</strong>ten bite <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

masters<br />

is it wise to hone wits – and to rarely tell<br />

<strong>the</strong>m <strong>of</strong>f<br />

or nurture mongrel thoughts yet to debut<br />

in public?<br />

…And if I must own wits, couldn’t I at least<br />

make <strong>the</strong>m<br />

bland yet fashionable? …Does IKEA massproduce<br />

a catalogue for ideas? I’d like to sink my<br />

teeth into it!<br />

I like to keep my wits about me<br />

in a time when we’re asked to keep <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in cages,<br />

and some dump <strong>the</strong>m quietly on <strong>the</strong> side<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road<br />

before st<strong>art</strong>ing <strong>the</strong>ir <strong>of</strong>fice job. Well – it<br />

may be easier<br />

to bury opinions, to avoid debate, to keep<br />

<strong>the</strong> peace;<br />

but when debate becomes hate and hisses<br />

at your door<br />

you will want your wits – eyes bright, ears<br />

pricked –<br />

ready to be set on <strong>the</strong> tongues <strong>of</strong> one’s<br />

enemies.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

21<br />




emotion<br />

THYMOS<br />

"To express <strong>the</strong> emotions <strong>of</strong> life is to<br />

live. To express <strong>the</strong> life <strong>of</strong> emotions<br />

is to make <strong>art</strong>."<br />

Jane Heap<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

23<br />


POETRY<br />

i am<br />

tired<br />

By KATH G<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

24<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

25<br />


POETRY<br />


BRAIN<br />

ROT<br />


C<br />

rusty<br />

lids crest <strong>the</strong> sagittal hurting<br />

Grey weeps bleak come daylight<br />

flirting<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essionally scribbled pages unintelligible<br />

to me<br />

Sat for wrong reasons underneath <strong>the</strong> Bo Tree<br />

Gummy fruit lips split cranberry jus<br />

Inkwell spill made <strong>the</strong> datum confused<br />

Low battery teaspoon stained in <strong>the</strong> sink<br />

Nothing done day night in a blink<br />

Flesh grips flesh 'til <strong>the</strong> flesh is torn awaystaying<br />

in bed 'til I gotta st<strong>art</strong> <strong>the</strong> day<br />

Julienne talk leaves ribbons <strong>of</strong> my rye<br />

Grain turns to rot, phrenovoid like Dalai<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />






By YANG DENG<br />




P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

27<br />


POETRY<br />

C E N S O R E D<br />

SUPER<br />

MARKET<br />

IN THE<br />

Stemming from <strong>the</strong> ideas <strong>of</strong> exhaustion<br />

battling political and social problems,<br />

Lorna McBain <strong>art</strong>fully encapsulates <strong>the</strong>se<br />

emotions in "Censored in <strong>the</strong> Supermarket".<br />


E<br />

mpty aisles in a Supermarket at night<br />

Brash lights, hollow eyes, I’m exhausted too.<br />

Filled with freezing air that chills my bones<br />

And muted silence<br />

Feels like communicating with you.<br />

I’m speaking with a fist in my mouth<br />

Censoring <strong>the</strong> words, I mutter<br />

That I would ra<strong>the</strong>r shout.<br />

No use, we are silenced now.<br />

Why does no one listen to what I have to say<br />

They’re deaf! Deaf I tell you<br />

Deaf to <strong>the</strong> ideas I express.<br />

I’ll slip my neck into <strong>the</strong> noose <strong>of</strong> your hands<br />

And wait for you to let go<br />

So I can attempt to speak again.<br />

But in <strong>the</strong> meantime, I’ll hang here,<br />

Silenced by your ignorance<br />

Sickened by your fear.<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

28<br />


P OETRY<br />

Death happens. / And<br />

it's usually no question <strong>of</strong> how, but when. A when<br />

that's independent <strong>of</strong> age & choice.<br />

The why question has long<br />

become a cup from which<br />

no one drinks — like it contains <strong>the</strong> water <strong>of</strong><br />

insanity. / It could be a stone too heavy for<br />

anyone<br />

living<br />

to roll away. / Perhaps those who've<br />

spent <strong>the</strong>ir lives trying to roll it have successfully<br />

lived <strong>the</strong>ir lives rolling<br />

<strong>the</strong> stone<br />

that blocked <strong>the</strong>ir tombs. Death found <strong>the</strong>m before<br />

I<br />

immediately<br />

collapsed on my knees while carrying a<br />

heavy he<strong>art</strong> on married palms facing <strong>the</strong> heavens.<br />

I<br />

immediately<br />

wrote this poem without bearing any pen to<br />

paint my anguish. / It's a prayer, it's a supplication.<br />

Lord, I haven't asked <strong>the</strong> what or <strong>the</strong> where question,<br />

'cause many things could<br />

end a man, and <strong>the</strong> globe<br />

is just too big a place to choose <strong>the</strong> perfect where, / or<br />

perhaps too small that <strong>the</strong> perfect where becomes<br />

overcrowded with grief. But<br />

I STILL<br />

IN<br />


miracles<br />

<strong>the</strong> answer came. So<br />

<strong>the</strong> question <strong>of</strong> why is no question at all. / Yet<br />

something hits differently when I see <strong>the</strong> flier<br />

<strong>of</strong> a life demarcated from death by<br />

only a thread. One could say everyone<br />


a life <strong>of</strong> no more than thirty-seven lies in <strong>the</strong> hospital,<br />

looking death in <strong>the</strong> eye. Please stretch your arm<br />

and lift<br />

him from his sinking blue bed. / I still believe<br />

in miracles.<br />

is only a step away from oblivion in many different ways,<br />

but tonight I saw a flier that bled my he<strong>art</strong>. A young<br />

life lying on a blue bed just little above a sinking ground.<br />

Words read that he could finally sink<br />

without an urgent two million naira deposit so<br />

his saviours in white coat could do <strong>the</strong>ir saving.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

29<br />


POETRY<br />



nothing<br />

By HWOMAN<br />


«Her pain is mine; my pain is hers.»<br />

NDoor knocks<br />

Teardrops<br />

Visualizing buried circles that once<br />

were close to her he<strong>art</strong><br />

But circles can no longer be lines<br />

Do you remember <strong>the</strong> first time your eyes caught <strong>the</strong><br />

sea?<br />

Do you remember when you breastfed your firstborn<br />

child and named him happiness<br />

It’s hard to close your eyes every night thinking you<br />

have been abandoned when it’s just bedtime<br />

Tired <strong>of</strong> being in <strong>the</strong> same places<br />

Tired <strong>of</strong> seeing <strong>the</strong> same faces<br />

Home used to be in every room<br />

But now home can barely be felt in my mo<strong>the</strong>r’s<br />

arms<br />

Every time her arms open up and I get closer<br />

A sound a breath speaks up<br />

A very loud and strange voice pushes me away<br />

I think this is not my day<br />

But <strong>the</strong> days have passed along<br />

It’s been months it’s been years<br />

And I’m still falling into my own tears<br />

Tears <strong>of</strong> fear<br />

Tears <strong>of</strong> confusion<br />

You know what<br />

Sometimes I think this may just be an illusion<br />

I am no longer welcomed in smiles<br />

I am no longer seen in <strong>the</strong>ir eyes<br />

I am no longer mentioned in <strong>the</strong>ir he<strong>art</strong>s<br />

I am no longer that piece <strong>of</strong> paper that flew across<br />

<strong>the</strong> sky<br />

A piece <strong>of</strong> paper that wanted to deliver <strong>the</strong> truth on<br />

every ro<strong>of</strong><br />

Now <strong>the</strong>y call me weakness under <strong>the</strong>ir night covers<br />

Now <strong>the</strong>y call me sorrow but only when <strong>the</strong>y don’t<br />

need to borrow<br />

My pencil has been borrowed just enough<br />

And I have never received it back just like how it<br />

looked like when it left my body<br />

My pencil always returns broken<br />

It’s like throwing a crystal on <strong>the</strong> floor<br />

It’s never broken into a piece or two<br />

It’s always broken into thousands and billions <strong>of</strong><br />

pieces<br />

I feel like my he<strong>art</strong> is a crystal<br />

A crystal that can no longer be one<br />

My crystals now are circles<br />

Circles that can no longer be lines<br />

Opening <strong>the</strong> windows was my decision<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G 30<br />


POETRY<br />

Hw0man wrote this poem in<br />

2019 about <strong>the</strong> connection <strong>of</strong><br />

feelings between her and her<br />

grandmo<strong>the</strong>r. Both her and<br />

her grandma feel some type <strong>of</strong><br />

confusion with what <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

around —<strong>the</strong> people, <strong>the</strong> energy,<br />

and events as well.<br />

I thought it’s a way out<br />

I needed light inside my darkroom<br />

I needed to breath<br />

But once you open up a window<br />

The wind will be welcomed<br />

Your crystals will break into pieces<br />

And your he<strong>art</strong> will no longer be one<br />

You ask people for directions<br />

They lead you to questions<br />

Questions that don’t even make no sense<br />

Questions that lead you to unexpected pain<br />

Tell me how do you feel again?<br />

I heard one plus one equals none<br />

I never understood this until he was gone<br />

Question<br />

What’s <strong>the</strong> reason behind our existence?<br />

We are born to build to love and create<br />

But instead, we kill we burn, and hate<br />

Comma<br />

My scars are opening-up<br />

Comma<br />

The paint inside me is turning into blood<br />

Question<br />

is this ever gonna stop?<br />

Comma<br />

The hardest loss is losing <strong>the</strong> memory <strong>of</strong> his<br />

existence when he still exists<br />

And no this is not some ex’s bullshit<br />

This is home<br />

Home is a cup, my body is water<br />

He taught me how to merge green and blue we called<br />

it “our land”.<br />

My home is a land,<br />

And home is not a home when he’s not <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

A land is not a land when he’s not <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

Jumping from a couch to ano<strong>the</strong>r, we called<br />

ourselves heroes.<br />

We let our fingers dance through <strong>the</strong> strings <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

guitar.<br />

We saw <strong>art</strong> in every move and touch, we sketched it<br />

on papers.<br />

A combination <strong>of</strong> sweet and sour.<br />

The white bed burns, walking hurts.<br />

Teardrops run down from his big brown eyes every<br />

time he feels us around.<br />

Coma is my bro<strong>the</strong>r’s new best friend.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

31<br />



POETRY<br />

We've<br />



We've come this far, trudging this sodded land,<br />

that renders <strong>the</strong> seeds <strong>of</strong> efforts dormant, in its<br />

soil.<br />

The cypress <strong>of</strong> dreams became blighted:<br />

when planted in its he<strong>art</strong>---<br />

and budded caustic fruits.<br />

This land is a dimmer, it dims <strong>the</strong> glow <strong>of</strong> smile<br />

shimmering on our faces.<br />

We've come this far,<br />

treading <strong>the</strong> road <strong>of</strong> hope, but, our journey seems<br />

like an unending blues:<br />

our bones are now rusty and fractured,<br />

our hopes are dwindling into dust,<br />

our faces are powdered with <strong>the</strong> kohl <strong>of</strong> grief.<br />

We've come this far,<br />

hoping to find a light gleaming at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> our<br />

journey, but,<br />

our journey when viewed from <strong>the</strong> lens <strong>of</strong> actuality<br />

seems to be a mere imagination--- endless in its<br />



Prose<br />


<strong>of</strong><br />


Exploring <strong>art</strong> as a<br />

form <strong>of</strong> catharsis and<br />

self-expression<br />



A<br />

uthor bio: Rita<br />

Fahey is a<br />

twenty -three<br />

year old mass<br />

<strong>of</strong> chaotic energy. She loves mango<br />

milkshakes, cups <strong>of</strong> tea and novels by<br />

Ernest Hemingway. She blogs at The<br />

Red Teapot.<br />

The above statement is not a lie,<br />

but it’s not <strong>the</strong> truth ei<strong>the</strong>r. Rita<br />

is a blogger, an author — and a<br />

waitress— because you don’t get<br />

paychecks based on how many words<br />

you write a day , all for yourself. She<br />

deals with <strong>the</strong> dirty dishes and <strong>the</strong><br />

dirtier words her customers throw<br />

at her <strong>the</strong> same way she deals with<br />

everything— a fake smile. She lives in<br />

a studio ap<strong>art</strong>ment she’s been living<br />

in since her freshman year <strong>of</strong> college.<br />

(Don’t mention <strong>the</strong> word college<br />

to Rita, though. She’ll st<strong>art</strong> ranting<br />

about how she spent thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

dollars on learning something she<br />

hardly gets paid for, when she could<br />

have studied finance or molecular<br />

biology instead. And <strong>the</strong>n she’ll cry.)<br />

She mostly cries at night; on <strong>the</strong><br />

rare days she falls asleep on her<br />

bed instead <strong>of</strong> her laptop. For <strong>the</strong><br />

usual reasons— her inability to<br />

pay rent, her lack <strong>of</strong> social life, her<br />

recent weight gain. And she cries<br />

for <strong>the</strong> reasons only fellow <strong>art</strong>ists<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

34<br />


cry about—she has writer’s block,<br />

one character seems like such a<br />

Mary-Sue, her worry that her voice<br />

is too imperfect, too childish, too<br />

dull. Because sadly, Rita can’t just<br />

be a writer. She’d be fine if she<br />

didn’t have to<br />

worry about<br />

money and<br />

her dentist<br />

parents<br />

who’ve turned<br />

up <strong>the</strong>ir noses<br />

at her M.F.A.<br />

She’d be fine if she could just write<br />

and find satisfaction in <strong>the</strong> catharsis<br />

it brings her. But no, she is a human,<br />

which means she has to worry about<br />

‘‘ Yes, maybe she’d be fine if she<br />

was a robot—emotionless- free <strong>of</strong><br />

bo<strong>the</strong>rsome feelings.’’<br />

a million o<strong>the</strong>r things o<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

writing. Rent. Friends. The aunt<br />

who has cancer. Inability to afford<br />

Netflix. Parents. Inability to afford<br />

Netflix. Mean boss. Inability to<br />

afford Netflix.<br />

Yes, maybe<br />

she’d be fine<br />

if she was<br />

a robot—<br />

emotionlessfree<br />

<strong>of</strong><br />

bo<strong>the</strong>rsome<br />

feelings like self-doubt and sadness<br />

and anger. She could just write...<br />

and write...and write… (But what<br />

could a robot write about? Circuits?)<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

35<br />



P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />


PROSE<br />

Some days, <strong>the</strong><br />

words come easy.<br />

They flow out <strong>of</strong><br />

her and onto <strong>the</strong><br />

screen. Her fingers glide over <strong>the</strong><br />

keys, as if <strong>the</strong>y’re covered in butter.<br />

Hope is sickening.<br />

Her parents sometimes visit, always<br />

with casseroles and Tupperware<br />

boxes filled with food, certain she<br />

stories: her sister ‘s new car, her<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r’s latest bonus. Their story<br />

about Rita is a tragedy; <strong>the</strong> tale <strong>of</strong><br />

a girl foolish enough to follow her<br />

own dreams, only to be crushed<br />

under <strong>the</strong> weight <strong>of</strong> broken wishes.<br />

Most days, it feels like she<br />

has to physically pare <strong>of</strong>f<br />

each letter, each space, each<br />

comma from her body with<br />

a knife, until she’s left with<br />

a pile <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. Most days,<br />

it feels like she’s pushing<br />

a boulder up a hill— only<br />

to have it roll back down<br />

and crush her on its way.<br />

Most days, her fingers are<br />

still and fat and hover over<br />

her keyboard until <strong>the</strong><br />

screen flickers and dies.<br />

It’s not that <strong>the</strong>re aren’t<br />

victories. After all,<br />

sometimes, she gets okay<br />

ideas. Her blog gets a few<br />

more hits. It’s just that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

seem pa<strong>the</strong>tic and small<br />

and insignificant compared<br />

to <strong>the</strong> glaring mound <strong>of</strong><br />

failures she’s collected.<br />

Because <strong>of</strong> course <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are <strong>the</strong> rejection slips.<br />

At first, she had kept all<br />

<strong>the</strong> letters , and had even<br />

faithfully archived <strong>the</strong><br />

emails, believing (like <strong>the</strong><br />

little naive fool she had been)<br />

that when she was successful,<br />

she could look back on <strong>the</strong>m<br />

and smile! She’d mapped<br />

her life out like <strong>the</strong> plot <strong>of</strong><br />

a bildungsroman: first <strong>the</strong><br />

rejections, which were to be<br />

expected (<strong>the</strong>y were p<strong>art</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> package, weren’t <strong>the</strong>y?)<br />

Then she’d find hope and<br />

rise into <strong>the</strong> climax <strong>of</strong> her<br />

story, having triumphed<br />

over <strong>the</strong> odds, with several<br />

illustrious publications<br />

on her resume and phone<br />

calls from publishing<br />

companies begging to sign her on.<br />

Now, she trashes <strong>the</strong> rejection slips.<br />


‘‘ Most days, it feels like<br />

she has to physically pare<br />

<strong>of</strong>f each letter, each space,<br />

each comma from her<br />

body with a knife, until<br />

she's left with a pile <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>m.’’<br />

must be starving herself to pay <strong>the</strong><br />

rent. They sit on <strong>the</strong> edge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

s<strong>of</strong>a and relate to her <strong>the</strong>ir own<br />

Rita listens, and she wonders<br />

why <strong>the</strong> hell she does this,<br />

asks herself <strong>the</strong> same<br />

questions her parents do.<br />

Why she’s chosen late nights<br />

and unwashed hair and cold<br />

cereal as her staple meal when<br />

she could have had anything<br />

else. There are days when<br />

she wants to demand her<br />

seventeen -year -old self why<br />

she chose creative writing<br />

as her major <strong>of</strong> choice. She<br />

doesn’t realize that she knows<br />

<strong>the</strong> answer. The answer is in<br />

those moments when she’s<br />

trapped in a cocoon <strong>of</strong> her<br />

own words and dead to <strong>the</strong><br />

world outside. When she’s so<br />

busy building an imaginary<br />

universe, letter by letter, that<br />

she forgets <strong>the</strong> one she’s<br />

living in. She doesn’t know yet<br />

that she’s chosen happiness,<br />

but she will one day.<br />

Because although on most<br />

days it sucks to be human and<br />

needy and full <strong>of</strong> feeling, <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are days when she doesn’t<br />

smile fake smiles. Because<br />

although <strong>the</strong>re are nights<br />

when her tears and her cries<br />

are her lullabies, <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

also nights when she’s wide<br />

awake, and dancing to Kelly<br />

Clarkson, and from <strong>the</strong> way<br />

she’s waving those arms you’d<br />

think she’d won <strong>the</strong> lottery or<br />

something. But it’s not that—<br />

it’s that someone left a nice<br />

comment on her blog- it’s<br />

that a magazine accepted one<br />

<strong>of</strong> her short stories. Because<br />

right now she is human,<br />

and imperfect, and full <strong>of</strong> a<br />

happiness no robot (and not<br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r people) could<br />

ever understand, and that feels<br />

absurdly, ridiculously, wonderful.<br />

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r7Sq5uBTlc<br />

can’t tell when <strong>the</strong> light begins<br />

I<br />

I can't tell where <strong>the</strong> journey ends Troubled waters behind me<br />

I had to leave to be free<br />

There's no place like home<br />

That's what <strong>the</strong>y told me<br />

But what do I do<br />

if I am all alone<br />

Without a place to call my own<br />

To be safe<br />

I had to go<br />

I need a fail-safe<br />

not a happily ever after<br />

But maybe <strong>the</strong>re’s some peace and laughter<br />

I am going into paradise<br />

Detrimental sacrifice<br />

But I gotta have hope<br />

for <strong>the</strong> ones I love<br />

paradise<br />

I have to take a leap<br />

The jump with uncertainty<br />

I can't weep<br />

There’s no sense <strong>of</strong> normalcy, normalcy<br />

Because I’m searching for paradise something you don't find twice<br />

To be safe, I had to go<br />

I need a fail-safe —not a happily ever after<br />

But maybe <strong>the</strong>re’s some peace and laughter<br />

Paradise<br />

Can I escape away from this pain n’ fear—Paradise<br />

I'm letting go <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> madness right here—Paradise<br />

Into paradise<br />


Music<br />

INTO<br />

Paradise<br />

"Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean emerged out <strong>of</strong><br />

a pursuit to inspire and support <strong>the</strong><br />

community, and a desire for actions<br />

to speak louder than words."<br />

Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean<br />

Youth Organization


Featuring<br />




«Protecting and aiding refugees through <strong>the</strong>ir journeys»<br />

Near <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2020, The Global Youth<br />

Review was given <strong>the</strong> opportunity<br />

to virtually interview Crossing<br />

<strong>the</strong> Ocean, a youth-led nonpr<strong>of</strong>t<br />

organization dedicated to combating stigma<br />

against immigrants and to raise awareness about<br />

<strong>the</strong> refugee crisis.<br />

Q: Please describe <strong>the</strong> main missions and goals<br />

<strong>of</strong> your organization.<br />

A: Our mission is to protect and aid refugees<br />

through <strong>the</strong>ir journeys. To do this, we want<br />

to first inform people about who refugees are<br />

and <strong>the</strong> struggles <strong>the</strong>y are facing. For example,<br />

in <strong>the</strong> United States, <strong>the</strong>re is a misconception<br />

that <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> admitting refugees into <strong>the</strong><br />

country is not secure and terrorists can easily<br />

enter <strong>the</strong> country this way, causing many people<br />

to be opposed to helping refugees. The truth is<br />

that <strong>the</strong> screening process takes 18-24 months,<br />

making it <strong>the</strong> most difficult way to enter <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. legally. I think if more people were aware<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> facts, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y would be more inclined<br />

to help and support refugees who come to <strong>the</strong><br />

United States. Additionally, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> biggest<br />

struggles refugees face in any country is learning<br />

<strong>the</strong> language. I believe if <strong>the</strong> natives <strong>of</strong> those<br />

countries made a small effort, this is an issue<br />

that could be easily solved. To help refugees, we<br />

have to first learn <strong>the</strong> facts and how refugees are<br />

struggling to survive.<br />

What makes our organization different from<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs is that we organize numerous events<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> year. For our first event, we<br />

produced an original song as a fun way to<br />

introduce <strong>the</strong> struggles <strong>of</strong> refugees to o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

who are unfamiliar with <strong>the</strong> topic. Right now,<br />

we are conducting interviews with refugees and<br />

organizations who help refugees to gain a better<br />

insight on <strong>the</strong> most effective way we can use our<br />

organization to help.<br />

Q: What inspired you to found Crossing <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocean? Do you hold any personal ties to <strong>the</strong><br />


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"Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean emerged out<br />

<strong>of</strong> a pursuit to inspire and support<br />

<strong>the</strong> community, and a desire<br />

for actions to speak louder than<br />

words. We are an organization<br />

driven by progressive ideas, bold<br />

actions, and a strong foundation<br />

<strong>of</strong> support. "<br />

mission <strong>of</strong> this organization?<br />

A: I became inspired to help refugees after<br />

visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Refugees<br />

were receiving help from organizations like<br />

UNHCR and UNICEF, but <strong>the</strong>re was still so much<br />

more to get done. For example, some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> living<br />

qu<strong>art</strong>ers were very crowded, and <strong>the</strong>re was one<br />

where three families had to live toge<strong>the</strong>r in one<br />

room, and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> kids did not have clean<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>s to change into. By creating Crossing<br />

<strong>the</strong> Ocean, I wanted to engage more people and<br />

publicize <strong>the</strong> refugee crisis more. Unlike issues<br />

such as global warming or poverty, I feel like<br />

so little people know what's happening with<br />

refugees around <strong>the</strong> globe. If <strong>the</strong>y knew <strong>the</strong> facts,<br />

I think <strong>the</strong> public would want to help more than<br />

<strong>the</strong>y do now, resulting in refugees being treated<br />

more fairly.<br />

Since we don't have to meet in real life, we can do<br />

all <strong>of</strong> our work online. However, <strong>the</strong>re were some<br />

activities we had to reconsider because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

pandemic. We wanted to invite a guest speaker<br />

to talk about <strong>the</strong> refugee crisis at some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

schools around us, but because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pandemic,<br />

<strong>the</strong> speaker was not available.<br />

Q: What do you feel is <strong>the</strong> greatest strength <strong>of</strong><br />

Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean now?<br />

A: Our greatest strength is probably <strong>the</strong><br />

members. We are all still young and curious<br />

about <strong>the</strong> world, so I feel like <strong>the</strong>re is a lot <strong>of</strong><br />

potential for us to grow from here. Everyone has<br />

new ideas to help our organization grow so we<br />

can help more refugees, and although we just<br />

st<strong>art</strong>ed a few months ago, we made so much<br />

impact already.<br />

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your<br />

organization?<br />

A: We actually st<strong>art</strong>ed this organization during<br />

<strong>the</strong> pandemic. I think one good thing about<br />

having everything online is that our team<br />

consists <strong>of</strong> members from all o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

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Q: Is <strong>the</strong>re any message you'd like to share<br />

with young leaders that would like to st<strong>art</strong> an<br />

organization?<br />

A: Be passionate about what you do. If you want<br />

to st<strong>art</strong> an organization, you should have a<br />

purpose.<br />



appetitive<br />

EROS<br />

"There is no <strong>art</strong> without eros ."<br />

Max Frisch<br />


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Prose<br />

STORK<br />

""Stork" focuses on <strong>the</strong> definition<br />

home, <strong>the</strong> disparities <strong>of</strong> childbirth,<br />

and discrimination amongst <strong>the</strong><br />

world's most vulnerable population:<br />

babies.<br />




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PROSE<br />

W<br />

ith its mammoth<br />

mouth and<br />

oversized wings,<br />

<strong>the</strong> stork has<br />

always struck me<br />

as a strange creature to represent<br />

birth. As a mostly mute bird, <strong>the</strong> only<br />

sound coming from a stork would<br />

be one <strong>of</strong> alarm, perhaps because a<br />

newborn has suddenly been placed in<br />

its mouth. I think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> stork cursing<br />

to itself, begrudgingly thinking, <strong>the</strong><br />

universe has damned me again.<br />

It is not important to know who I<br />

am. I am but a mere observer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

universe, a passerby from below<br />

looking above and perceiving <strong>the</strong><br />

world around me. All you need to<br />

know about me is that I know storks<br />

are carnivorous little bastards known<br />

to snack on a small alligator now and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n.<br />

And storks have teeth, you know?<br />

They are as terrifying as geese<br />

teeth. Ragged, jagged, and all things<br />

terrifying and bad, <strong>the</strong> teeth line<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir mouth like tines to a fork. When<br />

storks carry little bundles <strong>of</strong> joy, do<br />

<strong>the</strong>y cut <strong>the</strong> straps? Do <strong>the</strong> babies<br />

ever inadvertently fly on <strong>the</strong>ir own?<br />

Mortality rates are no kinder to <strong>the</strong><br />

baby than <strong>the</strong>y are to <strong>the</strong> stork. Storks<br />

are victims <strong>of</strong> predators, losers <strong>of</strong><br />

bloody battles shown on Animal<br />

Planet. Once <strong>the</strong>ir legs are broken, it<br />

is as if <strong>the</strong>y have been tied down to<br />

<strong>the</strong> ground. Unable to fly. Unable to<br />

take <strong>of</strong>f. Ano<strong>the</strong>r victim <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cruel<br />

mistress; E<strong>art</strong>h, or more specifically<br />

Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature. She watches from<br />

above with her hands held up in selfdefense,<br />

as if to say, “You did this to<br />

yourself.” Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature nurtures,<br />

but also controls <strong>the</strong> world with an<br />

iron fist. I think, in that sense, she<br />

seems lonely. I wonder if she thinks<br />

<strong>of</strong> her loved ones, or which she has<br />

few.<br />

I can’t imagine <strong>the</strong> sun, moon, or<br />

stars are great company.<br />

My company are <strong>the</strong> strangers I<br />

observe. I learned long ago that it was<br />

not worth my time to make friends or<br />

have lovers. All people, animals, and<br />


things pass me too quickly.<br />

Many times I also wonder, how <strong>of</strong>ten do<br />

birds think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir loved ones? Birds<br />

are quick and tricky creatures. Their<br />

lives are much shorter than mine. Do<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r storks ever cross <strong>the</strong>ir minds<br />

once <strong>the</strong>y are gone, leaving <strong>the</strong>m as<br />

lonely as Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature or as imp<strong>art</strong>ial<br />

as I? I could sit at home and ponder<br />

<strong>the</strong>se questions all night long.<br />

Home is a tricky word. It sits bitterly on<br />

my tongue, like a nest collapsing during<br />

a storm. It is a human’s natural instinct<br />

to look away from a trio <strong>of</strong> dead baby<br />

birds. They may feel sorry. They may<br />

even pout. Almost every human likes<br />

to gawk, whe<strong>the</strong>r it be in <strong>the</strong>ir own<br />

backyard or from behind a glass wall.<br />

Behind any glass wall <strong>of</strong> a hospital<br />

nursery lie hundreds <strong>of</strong> thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

babies: squealing, gooing, crying, silent.<br />

Are <strong>the</strong>y home? Why <strong>the</strong>y have been<br />

dropped <strong>of</strong>f with <strong>the</strong>ir families, haven’t<br />

<strong>the</strong>y; cradled in <strong>the</strong> sterilized arms <strong>of</strong> a<br />

faint mo<strong>the</strong>r, ogled by a grandma with<br />

<strong>the</strong> camera flash on too high, serenaded<br />

poorly by an aunt from Louisiana.<br />

Yet, a number <strong>of</strong> babies, as many as<br />

those that lie behind glass walls, lie in<br />

plastic domes.<br />

A different kind <strong>of</strong> gawking occurs<br />

during an early delivery; one that is<br />

not so kind. Sure, some happy endings<br />

arrive later than expected; A gooing<br />

baby being driven away in a Blue<br />

Suburban, <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r riding in <strong>the</strong><br />

back just to gaze fondly. Yet, it is <strong>the</strong><br />

quiet pushing <strong>of</strong> baby-sized stretchers<br />

down hospital halls that I think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

most. The places where no stork is<br />

allowed.<br />

Like a stork migrating through <strong>the</strong> worst<br />

<strong>of</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r, I find it hard to escape <strong>the</strong><br />

West, <strong>the</strong> United States in p<strong>art</strong>icular.<br />

The ideal West. The ideal United States.<br />

The American dream land where all<br />

babies are heard and seen and dropped<br />

<strong>of</strong>f. Where <strong>the</strong> storks are immortalized<br />

in announcement signs and banners;<br />

a pristine white stork, <strong>the</strong> vision <strong>of</strong><br />

responsibility, cradling a grinning baby<br />

in its wake. A delivery man. A viral USPS<br />

worker.<br />

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Glorious.<br />

Storks are good at keeping<br />

humankind’s secrets. Evil or<br />

sympa<strong>the</strong>tic bastards storks are<br />

hiding behind dumpsters or landing<br />

at fire stations and watching <strong>the</strong><br />

darkest underbellies <strong>of</strong> birth;<br />

accidental misfires in a bathtub,<br />

escapes from public restrooms.<br />

These birds are <strong>the</strong> ones you don’t see<br />

on signs. Dirty things, sad and tragic,<br />

no time for grand announcements,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are too busy in o<strong>the</strong>r places.<br />

Don’t even get me st<strong>art</strong>ed on <strong>the</strong><br />

flocks <strong>of</strong> storks.<br />

Flocks are no secret keepers, at least<br />

not in <strong>the</strong> traditional sense. P<strong>art</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

an open secret or scheme maybe.<br />

Certainly no Scorpio, Taurus, or<br />

Pisces. More <strong>of</strong> a fire sign, fanning<br />

<strong>the</strong> flames. The babies in <strong>the</strong> flames<br />

are loud and nasally, akin to braying<br />

donkeys. Desperate to make contact<br />

with o<strong>the</strong>rs. Desperate for human<br />

touch.<br />

The bray is <strong>the</strong> noisiest at orphanages<br />

where babies are kept like donkeys;<br />

two to a bed, a group on <strong>the</strong> floor,<br />

all vying for <strong>the</strong> same attention. The<br />

cribs are lined up like stalls. Feed me,<br />

touch me, play with me, <strong>the</strong>y say.<br />

And again, humans gawk as humans<br />

do, shoving a bottle in <strong>the</strong> baby’s<br />

mouths like it’s a carrot for a donkey.<br />

Haw. Haw.<br />

Westerners from thousands <strong>of</strong> miles<br />

away love to watch <strong>the</strong> flocks <strong>of</strong><br />

storks go by. I think <strong>the</strong> storks are<br />

like airplanes to <strong>the</strong>m because <strong>the</strong>y<br />

always squint at <strong>the</strong>m with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

binoculars. Wait for <strong>the</strong>m to pluck<br />

a passenger from a young, povertystricken<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r’s arms after <strong>the</strong><br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r has groggily signed a set <strong>of</strong><br />

papers. Pay close attention to <strong>the</strong><br />

color <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> basket. Look for <strong>the</strong><br />

perfect one and gawk at hundreds<br />

more. With that, <strong>the</strong> Westerners<br />

bring <strong>the</strong>ir tried and true traditions.<br />

They clap when <strong>the</strong> storks land and<br />

place a baby in <strong>the</strong>ir arms. They pay a<br />

pretty penny to fly home.<br />

No need for a stork in that situation.

PROSE<br />


Like storks migrating across <strong>the</strong> ocean, home is<br />

interchangeable for babies. Home is moveable,<br />

if you pay <strong>the</strong> right price and have <strong>the</strong> right<br />

resources, <strong>the</strong>n home can be anywhere. Illinois.<br />

Maryland. Delaware. Ontario. And I have seen<br />

just as many successful adoptions as failed ones.<br />

I have seen just as many good storks as bad ones.<br />

However, no matter <strong>the</strong> outcome, <strong>the</strong> stork<br />

becomes a meaningless symbol to me, just a silly<br />

mascot to plaster on walls and cars.<br />

Like migration, <strong>the</strong> route <strong>of</strong> orphans also repeats<br />

itself. It’s a complicated path with more endings<br />

and beginnings than one can count and it’s a<br />

path storks stay on <strong>the</strong> sidelines for.<br />

Maybe a formation <strong>of</strong> a workers’ union is<br />

overdue because somewhere along <strong>the</strong> way,<br />

a stork confuses a nice two-story home in<br />

American suburbia with a crowded foster home<br />

consisting <strong>of</strong> a dozen starving kids. Ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r stork dies crossing a foreign border. It<br />

drowns, flapping its wings; a silent, desperate<br />

call for help. News consumers gawk at <strong>the</strong> sight<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> scatterbrained bird. The surrounding<br />

storks gawk too, afraid <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own fate if <strong>the</strong>y<br />

do not escape <strong>the</strong> muddy waters. Thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

people share <strong>the</strong> video, once, twice, three times,<br />

before it enters <strong>the</strong> trending pages and leaves<br />

just as quickly as it was posted. Stared at by<br />

thousands, yet saved by no one.<br />

With its gaping mouth and beady eyes, <strong>the</strong> stork<br />

still strikes me as a strange beast to represent<br />

<strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> new life. But, I suspect that <strong>the</strong><br />

stork is not all at fault here, for it cannot help<br />

its funky looks and strange motivations. A stork<br />

can also not control its own destiny. It is ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

mere victim <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cruel universe, ano<strong>the</strong>r victim<br />

at <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature, humans, despair,<br />

and all terrible things in between, just like <strong>the</strong><br />

baby it carries in its beak.<br />

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Feature<br />

Lost in <strong>the</strong> Pangs <strong>of</strong><br />

OUGHTS<br />

"Lost in <strong>the</strong> pangs <strong>of</strong> thoughts is a<br />

photographical representation <strong>of</strong><br />

an average man who in <strong>the</strong> course<br />

<strong>of</strong> sailing through <strong>the</strong> storm <strong>of</strong><br />

life came in confrontation with<br />

an 'iceberg'. To continue <strong>the</strong> sail<br />

became a hard decision to make;<br />

moving forward- a herculean task;<br />

retracting- seemingly impossible."<br />


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PROSE<br />

W<br />

hite walls adorn <strong>the</strong> sparse compound where crisp leaves whisper<br />

sour truths along <strong>the</strong> opaque floor where sun dried fea<strong>the</strong>rs flutter<br />

in <strong>the</strong> morning air. But soon fiery skies will open to lambaste stony<br />

archways, barren and dilapidated. A place where radioactive ignorance left a human<br />

wasteland to grow unkempt and anomalous amidst stretches <strong>of</strong> lush scenery.<br />

This <strong>of</strong>fshore land sat hidden amidst <strong>the</strong> façade <strong>of</strong> tropical splendor where new<br />

technology served to deceive <strong>the</strong> masses as memories sat as fallacies expunged<br />

from <strong>the</strong> great cannon <strong>of</strong> popular history derived solely from masculine arrogance,<br />

a device so easily weaponized by bureaucracies contrived and driven by inertia. But<br />

still in <strong>the</strong> memory <strong>of</strong> some sat this tragedy where thousands lay under tropical heat<br />

simply awaiting an eternal rest dignified.<br />

But this microcosm served as a constant reminder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> folly <strong>of</strong> men never<br />

quenched by enterprise and fiscal growth. For deep in valleys now dark and e<strong>art</strong>hen<br />

could hollowed homes be seen amidst <strong>the</strong> decaying carcasses <strong>of</strong> trees beyond time<br />

and human exploitation, now left to die in slow rot amongst fields flattened by<br />

substances derived in some far <strong>of</strong>f laboratory and maximized to ensure destruction<br />

fruitful to a victor callous and deluded.<br />

However, chosen spectators in suits white do venture to <strong>the</strong> cusp <strong>of</strong> this vast plain<br />

from time to time as vibrant wreaths darken over <strong>the</strong> spoiled ground, saturated<br />

by <strong>the</strong> slow descent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dep<strong>art</strong>ed into a place <strong>of</strong> rest adorned with <strong>the</strong> <strong>art</strong>ifacts<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> living. But this microcosm is no dystopia, nor no idle fantasy, much like<br />

history repetitive and molded by hands mischievous. For deep in <strong>the</strong> he<strong>art</strong>s <strong>of</strong> all<br />

intellectuals lies a stain <strong>of</strong> conceit guised under achievement where revenge and<br />

inflicted suffering serve only to bolster a hunger for power so insatiable that to<br />

destroy, is to truly live.<br />

By A.R. SALANDY<br />

ER<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G 51<br />

E<br />


W O R T H<br />

M O R E<br />

POETRY<br />

M<br />

T H A N<br />

T H E<br />

W O R S T<br />

W E ' V E<br />

D O N E<br />

E<br />

R<br />

C<br />

W O R T H<br />

M O R E<br />

T H A N<br />

Y<br />

T H E<br />

W O R S T<br />

W E ' V E<br />

D O N E<br />


POETRY<br />

WORTH<br />

THE<br />

worst we've<br />



DONE<br />

Inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy”<br />

The humanity we share is but a stack<br />

<strong>of</strong> our brokenness. A thing<br />

that's better understood when <strong>the</strong> mind<br />

<strong>of</strong> mercy, &<br />

Yes,<br />

sees through <strong>the</strong> fractured perfect lens<br />

<strong>the</strong> he<strong>art</strong> beats from a temple stained colourfully<br />

by guilt & grace -- an unmerited favour.<br />

<strong>the</strong> whole world is but a long thread <strong>of</strong> brokenness,<br />

roped to a small<br />

steadily<br />

but mighty needle — mercy — patiently but<br />

carrying every he<strong>art</strong> through <strong>the</strong> s<strong>of</strong>t silk<br />

<strong>of</strong> hope, fostering solidarity.<br />

a great warrior,<br />

breaking <strong>the</strong> lawless<br />

& fastening o<strong>the</strong>rs to <strong>the</strong><br />

trolley <strong>of</strong> electrocution. / But<br />

Justice, sure, is<br />

perhaps<br />

Sure,<br />

Guilt & Guilty<br />

aren't only found behind bars, <strong>the</strong>y live in<br />

all our he<strong>art</strong>s, in all our homes. / But light<br />

doesn't care where <strong>the</strong> darkness has swallowed,<br />

it goes in all <strong>the</strong> same. So maybe<br />

we all need grace,<br />

<strong>the</strong> light <strong>of</strong> peace that penetrates even where guilt<br />

has consumed.<br />

she'll be strongest when she wields <strong>the</strong> sword <strong>of</strong><br />

forgiveness<br />

yet without tilting her perfect scale.<br />

By MIKITA YO<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

53<br />



Prose<br />


SUMMER<br />

"Small Town Summer" takes<br />

inspiration from Ashley's hometown<br />

and is loosely inspired by <strong>the</strong> people<br />

and places she has encountered.<br />


PROSE<br />

T<br />

he emo kids<br />

always bought<br />

Monster Energy<br />

drinks. They were<br />

<strong>the</strong> cheapest at your local Dollar<br />

General: $1.00. The drink was also<br />

$1.00 at <strong>the</strong> Aerco down <strong>the</strong> street,<br />

but <strong>the</strong>re was a chance <strong>of</strong> being<br />

heckled by old haggard-looking men<br />

<strong>the</strong>re. You did not understand why<br />

<strong>the</strong> darkly clad teens loved <strong>the</strong> drink<br />

so much. To you, Monster Energy<br />

tastes like Mountain Dew that has<br />

been left in <strong>the</strong> sun too long. You were<br />

always a tea person and that summer<br />

you were especially addicted to Gold<br />

Peak sweet tea, despite its sickly<br />

sweet taste.<br />

The emo kids stuck out like a sore<br />

thumb in your small town <strong>of</strong> 10,000.<br />

They huddled toge<strong>the</strong>r like penguins<br />

under <strong>the</strong> light pole. On your<br />

way to work, you would always<br />

see <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong>re; smoking a pack<br />

<strong>of</strong> swiped cigarettes, passing<br />

around a joint, or pooling money<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r for a Monster Energy<br />

run.<br />

In a way, <strong>the</strong>y were cute, definitely<br />

endearing and some <strong>of</strong> your<br />

favorite customers. You became<br />

acquainted with a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

over <strong>the</strong> long summer. You remember<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir youthful joy after coming back<br />

from Warped Tour. The group <strong>of</strong><br />

kids had visited your workplace <strong>the</strong><br />

day after <strong>the</strong>y returned from <strong>the</strong><br />

concerts. Apparently, seven <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

had crammed into an old Honda<br />

Civic for <strong>the</strong> three-hour ride up to<br />

Chicago. They all rented one room<br />

out <strong>of</strong> a dingy motel and spent most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir money bribing managers<br />

to get backstage. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> kids, a<br />

16-year-old named Jenny, came back<br />

with Gerard Way’s signature tattooed<br />

on her lower forearm.<br />

As a rising senior in college, you<br />

thought <strong>the</strong> tattoo was hilarious.<br />

Now, you wonder if Jenny ever<br />

covered <strong>the</strong> tattoo up, or if she is<br />

still crowd surfing at a My Chemical<br />

Romance concert.<br />

--------------------------<br />

You were stuck in <strong>the</strong> small Illinois<br />

town for <strong>the</strong> summer against your<br />

will. One <strong>of</strong> your pr<strong>of</strong>essors wanted<br />

you on campus for a research<br />

project; some outdated, outreach<br />

program about <strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong> SARS.<br />

Turns out, a research project did not<br />

equate to an internship and despite<br />

spending hours going door to door<br />

with a SARS survey, you were not<br />

getting paid by <strong>the</strong> college. You were<br />

unemployed, 2000 miles away from<br />

home and your dad had just been let<br />

go from his job. You were broke.<br />

You applied for several jobs but soon<br />

found out that small towns liked to<br />

hire locals. It did not matter if you<br />

were older or more experienced<br />

than <strong>the</strong>m. Even if <strong>the</strong> applicant was<br />

‘‘ One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> greatest challenges<br />

is being yourslef in a world<br />

that’s trying to make like<br />

everyone else.’’<br />

sixteen and had just gotten <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

license, <strong>the</strong>y were still preferred over<br />

you. Nobody knew you, and frankly,<br />

it did not seem like a lot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> locals<br />

liked you.<br />

Maybe it was your distaste for eye<br />

contact and verbal communication<br />

or your love for athletic wear. You<br />

had never met such talkative people.<br />

You had never seen so many people<br />

in button-up shirts in one place.<br />

It was astonishing.<br />

You ran into one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> emo kids, a<br />

boy named Andrew, during one <strong>of</strong><br />

your job interviews. It was at <strong>the</strong><br />

local Dairy Queen. You both stuck<br />

out like sore thumbs in your own<br />

ways. Andrew’s eyes were ringed<br />

with charcoal black eyeliner and had<br />

an eyebrow piercing. You forgot to<br />

wear slacks and a shirt that wasn’t a<br />

tank top. The manager, a well-known<br />

soccer mom in <strong>the</strong> community,<br />

looked at you both with disdain. You<br />

thought that maybe you had a chance<br />

at getting hired here. You even took<br />

out your ear piercings specifically for<br />

<strong>the</strong> interview.<br />

You both didn’t get far into <strong>the</strong><br />

interview before being abruptly<br />

dismissed.<br />

Andrew shrugged at you and tried<br />

to scrounge up enough money for a<br />

small blizzard. You ended up paying<br />

for blizzards for both <strong>of</strong> you and he<br />

gave you a nod <strong>of</strong> approval before<br />

skateboarding into <strong>the</strong> afternoon.<br />

Dollar General became your safe<br />

haven. It was <strong>the</strong> town outcasts’ safe<br />

haven. The flickering yellow sign was<br />

<strong>the</strong> outcasts’ red light. The dingy,<br />

dirty building on <strong>the</strong> Southside<br />

<strong>of</strong> town rarely received any<br />

applications (or foot traffic) from<br />

high school students. The light<br />

poles surrounding <strong>the</strong> building<br />

only worked about half <strong>the</strong> time<br />

and local mo<strong>the</strong>rs did not want<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir precious children to walk<br />

alone near <strong>the</strong>re in <strong>the</strong> dark.<br />

Even <strong>the</strong> emo kids’ parents were<br />

apprehensive <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m being hired<br />

at <strong>the</strong> store, despite <strong>the</strong>m hanging<br />

around <strong>the</strong> light poles almost every<br />

day <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> week. It always smelled<br />

like a mix <strong>of</strong> marijuana, Monster<br />

Energy, and butchered pork in <strong>the</strong><br />

parking lot. There was a cheap, dimly<br />

lit, deli next door.<br />

There wasn’t a lot <strong>of</strong> competition.<br />

So, you were hired on <strong>the</strong> spot.<br />

The store needed a lot <strong>of</strong> help.<br />

Despite being midsized, <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

only a few o<strong>the</strong>r employees, all<br />

middle-aged white women with<br />

baby boomer names; Mary, Susan,<br />

Sandy, and Terri. You thought Terri<br />

was <strong>the</strong> store manager, but all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

women ran <strong>the</strong> store with an iron<br />

fist; sweeping every hour, making<br />

sure <strong>the</strong> emo kids and o<strong>the</strong>r local<br />

teenagers weren’t stealing candy<br />

bars, both check-out lanes always<br />

open, candy arranged by size and<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

55<br />


PROSE<br />


brand, fake flowers arranged by<br />

color. Business came in waves and<br />

some days passed by with hardly any<br />

business at all. You <strong>of</strong>ten wondered<br />

how <strong>the</strong> Dollar General stayed open,<br />

‘‘ In a lot <strong>of</strong> ways, your baby<br />

boomer co-workers seemed<br />

like <strong>the</strong> only stagnant people<br />

you knew. "<br />

or if it was still open today. Before<br />

you graduated from college, a new,<br />

shiny Dollar General was being built<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Northside <strong>of</strong> town and you<br />

had not visited <strong>the</strong> small town in<br />

over ten years.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> your college career, <strong>the</strong><br />

emo kids had migrated elsewhere.<br />

Some ended up going to college and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs joined <strong>the</strong> workforce. They<br />

grew up. They went away. Maybe,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y even went to work at <strong>the</strong> new<br />

and shiny Northside Dollar General.<br />

In a lot <strong>of</strong> ways, your baby boomer<br />

co-workers seemed like <strong>the</strong> only<br />

stagnant people you knew.<br />

You remember a regional director,<br />

a man by <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> Paul. He was<br />

a hot topic during lazy afternoons.<br />

Paul lived in a pretty, two-story brick<br />

house in a gated community<br />

a city over. He hardly came<br />

around and you only met<br />

him a handful <strong>of</strong> times. You<br />

remember his handshake<br />

being a little too firm and<br />

a little too sweaty. His<br />

mustache grew too long over<br />

his lips and his dress pants<br />

were around an inch too<br />

long. Mary said he owned all<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local Dollar Generals<br />

and was making a fortune, except for<br />

<strong>the</strong> one where you st<strong>art</strong>ed working.<br />

And all he had to show for it was his<br />

allegedly beautiful home and leased<br />

new model Nissan.<br />

Susan said he was too<br />

busy in his in-ground<br />

pool to care about<br />

his pants dragging<br />

too low or a bunch<br />

<strong>of</strong> women making<br />

minimum wage.<br />

All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ladies had<br />

pristine looking<br />

uniforms. The collars<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir black polos<br />


were stiff and <strong>the</strong>ir black Bobbie<br />

Brooks slacks were always lint-free.<br />

Terri even kept a lint brush from<br />

<strong>the</strong> bargain bin by <strong>the</strong> cash register.<br />

There was not a strict dress code at<br />

Dollar General; black shirt, black<br />

pants or jeans, and badge with your<br />

name. You had everything but <strong>the</strong><br />

badge stuffed in your dorm closet;<br />

a plain black top from Km<strong>art</strong>, plain<br />

jeans from Abercrombie and Fitch,<br />

or your sister’s slacks from her<br />

debate days. You received <strong>the</strong> badge<br />

from Terri on <strong>the</strong> first day <strong>of</strong> work.<br />

She pinned it neatly on your shirt.<br />

Terri shook her head at you when you<br />

clocked in for your first day <strong>of</strong> work.<br />

She let out a disapproving grunt and<br />

handed you a lint brush. She ordered<br />

you an embroidered Dollar General<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />


PROSE<br />


polo from a crumpled employee<br />

magazine and took <strong>the</strong> money for it<br />

from your first paycheck.<br />

“You need to get an iron,” Terri<br />

grumbled on your lunch hour. “Kids<br />

<strong>the</strong>se days don’t iron anything.”<br />

“I have a steamer,” you replied<br />

and Terri only shook her head again<br />

and mumbled something about<br />

“Californians.”<br />

You picked up a small, handheld iron<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Home Goods section that<br />

night after work. It was blue and it<br />

was cheap, but it lasted you until late<br />

last year.<br />

You remember Sandy saying “We<br />

don’t get a lot <strong>of</strong> people like you<br />

around here” when she bagged<br />

your iron. You were sweeping <strong>the</strong><br />

yellowing tiled floor as she bagged.<br />

It was your third and last sweep <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> day and you were relieved. You<br />

wanted to climb into your bed, turn<br />

on your television, and fall asleep,<br />

not think about your place on this<br />

E<strong>art</strong>h. You dumbly asked what Sandy<br />

meant and Sandy only laughed in<br />

return.<br />

You thought Sandy was talking about<br />

how Dollar General didn’t attract a<br />

lot <strong>of</strong> college students. After all, you<br />

were <strong>the</strong> only one you had seen at <strong>the</strong><br />

store.<br />

That night, before falling asleep,<br />

you looked into <strong>the</strong> cracked mirror<br />

in your dorm and let out a long “oh”<br />

and tied back your long, black hair<br />

and sighed.<br />

Sandy hadn’t been talking about you<br />

being a college student.<br />

You looked at your desk. There was<br />

a pile <strong>of</strong> surveys stacked high on <strong>the</strong><br />

right side <strong>of</strong> it. You sighed again and<br />

rubbed at your temples. You received<br />

an email from your mo<strong>the</strong>r that<br />

night. She asked how work was going<br />

and if you carried your pepper spray<br />

with you.<br />

--------------------------------<br />

You looked a lot different from <strong>the</strong><br />

people living in your college town.<br />

Your long black hair, tanned skin and<br />

deep brown eyes contrasted from <strong>the</strong><br />

sea <strong>of</strong> light haired, light eyed, light<br />

skinned citizens. Your nose was a<br />

little too big and wide. Your eyes were<br />

too small. Your hair was too thick<br />

and coarse. Sure, <strong>the</strong>re were people<br />

who looked like you at your college,<br />

but your campus was separated from<br />

<strong>the</strong> town. More separated than you<br />

initially thought. To you, <strong>the</strong> campus<br />

was a haven. It was its own little city.<br />

On every college flyer you received<br />

in <strong>the</strong> mail, <strong>the</strong> admissions <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

boasted students had everything<br />

<strong>the</strong>y needed on campus. There was<br />

no need to venture <strong>of</strong>f into <strong>the</strong> real<br />

world when <strong>the</strong>re was a bagel shop<br />

next to <strong>the</strong> dining hall.<br />

You didn’t leave campus a lot during<br />

<strong>the</strong> regular school year. You had<br />

several friends who you liked to hang<br />

out with. You liked to grab c<strong>of</strong>fee<br />

with <strong>the</strong>m and study toge<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong><br />

big, old library. Occasionally, you all<br />

would venture <strong>of</strong>f campus to grab<br />

McDonald’s, or, if you were feeling<br />

p<strong>art</strong>icularly rebellious, you would<br />

carpool to <strong>the</strong> nearest city. The city<br />

had a mall and a Walm<strong>art</strong>: every<br />

shopping essential a college student<br />

would need back in 2006.<br />

Looking back, you realize that a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> your friends were sheltered. They<br />

came from gated communities and<br />

luxurious condos. They were afraid<br />

<strong>of</strong> venturing outside your college<br />

campus. It was <strong>the</strong>ir safe haven. It<br />

was <strong>the</strong>ir red light.<br />

Your college friends didn’t have a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> experience with being outcasts<br />

or outsiders. Your college friends<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

57<br />


PROSE<br />

couldn’t stand <strong>the</strong> thought <strong>of</strong> finding<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves on <strong>the</strong> “wrong” side <strong>of</strong><br />

town. The summer you worked at<br />

Dollar General, you kept your mouth<br />

shut about where you worked. For<br />

all <strong>the</strong>y knew, you could have been<br />

working at <strong>the</strong> local McDonald’s all<br />

summer, and even that disgusted<br />

<strong>the</strong>m. Your friends were all from<br />

places where McDonald’s was a place<br />

you only ventured if you were drunk<br />

and wanted fries and your favorite<br />

gourmet burger place closed before<br />

midnight. It was never a place you<br />

went to if you were actually hungry.<br />

They weren’t used to working at<br />

all, aside from some small gigs on<br />

campus, but you highly doubted that<br />

working at <strong>the</strong> library in circulation<br />

was comparable to working in retail.<br />

---------------------------------<br />

It was an early morning when Mary<br />

accused you <strong>of</strong> tearing down her<br />

parents’ home, her childhood home.<br />

“You tore down my mom and<br />

dad’s house.” She blamed you over a<br />

morning c<strong>of</strong>fee (black and bitter, <strong>the</strong><br />

only kind in <strong>the</strong> break room). She was<br />

only teasing you about your college<br />

buying up properties and tearing<br />

<strong>the</strong>m down, but it was too early in<br />

<strong>the</strong> morning for you to recognize<br />

that and <strong>the</strong> caffeine had not entered<br />

your system yet (you were still used<br />

to caramel macchiatos). Instead, you<br />

raised your eyebrows in shock.<br />

“I’m from California, Mary,” you<br />

replied.<br />

She laughed and laughed. It was a<br />

hoarse, “rattle your bones” laugh<br />

that made <strong>the</strong> air smell like smoke<br />

and nicotine. Snorts came loudly<br />

from her nostrils, and she coughed.<br />

“I know that honey. Anyone around<br />

you would know that” She caught her<br />

breath, and wheezed “I mean your<br />

college. You shoulda’ seen your face-”<br />

“My college?”<br />

Mary let out an impatient sigh,<br />

and clambered for her inhaler, “Your<br />

college tore down my parents’ home.<br />

Built that nice science building<br />

where it was...didn’t have enough<br />

money to fight <strong>the</strong> bank for it even<br />

though mom left it for us kids, so <strong>the</strong><br />

college bought it instead. You know,<br />

big bucks,” She made a big circling<br />

motion with her hands and handed you<br />

a broom.<br />

Before you could say anything she said,<br />

“Doesn’t matter now, get to dustin’<br />

missy.”<br />

And you nodded and got to dusting.<br />

Andrew, Jenny, and <strong>the</strong>ir friends whose<br />

names you can’t remember, came in<br />

later that day. You were stocking shelves<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y were buying copious bags <strong>of</strong><br />

Doritos and Cheetos. You asked <strong>the</strong>m<br />

about <strong>the</strong> college tearing down homes<br />

and reacted casually as if you had asked<br />

how <strong>the</strong>y felt about a Billboard pop<br />

single from ten years ago. They told you<br />

it happened all <strong>the</strong> time. The college<br />

tore down a lot and <strong>the</strong>ir parents<br />

complained about it. They didn’t care.<br />

But, <strong>of</strong> course, <strong>the</strong>y were just kids who<br />

hated <strong>the</strong>ir small town.<br />

“The college is rich and we aren’t.”<br />

Jenny shrugged and chewed at her lip<br />

ring, “That’s just how things are. That’s<br />

how <strong>the</strong>y’ve always been.”<br />

-----------------------------------<br />

Sandy’s husband almost shot you in <strong>the</strong><br />

head a month into your job. You were<br />

not at work, but instead doing door-todoor<br />

SARS surveys. It was a slow day.<br />

At least four doors had been slammed<br />

in your face and only one person had<br />

not been reluctant to give you data. It<br />

was Jenny, <strong>the</strong> emo girl who frequented<br />

<strong>the</strong> Dollar General. Jenny was a minor<br />

and you were not supposed to ga<strong>the</strong>r<br />

data directly from minors, but sixteen<br />

rounded to eighteen and, as Terri would<br />

say, you were up shit creek without a<br />

paddle.<br />

Sandy and her family lived up <strong>the</strong> street<br />

from Jenny in a tan double-wide with<br />

baby blue shutters. She had flowers<br />

planted out front: blue and white<br />

Hardys. There were hanging baskets<br />

<strong>of</strong> pink petunias on metal hangers,<br />

rainbow-colored spinners, and stone<br />

statues <strong>of</strong> little girls. Dandelions<br />

intertwined with overgrown grass and<br />

windchimes blew gently in <strong>the</strong> wind.<br />

What you did not know was that Sandy’s<br />

husband kept a shotgun<br />

next to <strong>the</strong> front door<br />

or how “weary” he was<br />

<strong>of</strong> solicitors. He saw<br />

you walking down <strong>the</strong><br />

street and watched you<br />

through <strong>the</strong> bedroom<br />

blinds as you walked<br />

up his porch and<br />

knocked three times.<br />

He watched from <strong>the</strong><br />

kitchen as you tapped<br />

your foot impatiently<br />

and opened <strong>the</strong><br />

unlocked screen door<br />

to knock on <strong>the</strong> front<br />

door.<br />

He stared you down<br />

and pointed <strong>the</strong> barrel<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gun at your<br />

temple.<br />

You dropped your<br />

survey papers. They<br />

scattered around you<br />

like a herd <strong>of</strong> doves<br />

escaping a bullet. You<br />

raised your hands,<br />

high, and dropped<br />

to your knees. You<br />

squeezed your eyes<br />

shut and could feel <strong>the</strong><br />

world spinning around<br />

on its axis.<br />

The bullet never came,<br />

<strong>of</strong> course, it didn’t, you<br />

were still alive after all.<br />

Sandy’s husband<br />

dropped his gun and<br />

stared at his hands.<br />

Before he could say<br />

anything to you, you<br />

took your chance<br />

to run. Jenny saw<br />

you running. You<br />

remember seeing her<br />

blank stare and tiny<br />

o-shaped mouth. She<br />

looked down <strong>the</strong> street<br />

and back to you and<br />

shut her blinds. She<br />

never mentioned <strong>the</strong><br />

situation directly to<br />

you, but when you saw<br />

her again she stared at<br />

your forehead like you<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

58<br />


PROSE<br />

had a third eye.<br />

You locked yourself in<br />

your dorm for a few<br />

days. You called sick<br />

into work and emailed<br />

your pr<strong>of</strong>essor you<br />

caught <strong>the</strong> flu and had<br />

a fever <strong>of</strong> 103 degrees<br />

in <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong><br />

summertime.<br />

You didn’t do doorto-door<br />

survey testing<br />

after going to Sandy’s<br />

house. Out <strong>of</strong> sheer<br />

luck, your pr<strong>of</strong>essor<br />

assigned you to do<br />

lab work instead. God<br />

forbid, you cause a<br />

flu outbreak in <strong>the</strong><br />

small town. To you,<br />

<strong>the</strong> flu was <strong>the</strong> least<br />

<strong>of</strong> your worries. But,<br />

you supposed that a<br />

flu outbreak would be<br />

disastrous to a small<br />

town where half <strong>of</strong> its<br />

population couldn’t<br />

afford a general<br />

checkup.<br />

You never told your<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essor what<br />

happened at Sandy’s<br />

house. A little voice in<br />

<strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> your head<br />

told you if <strong>the</strong> college<br />

knew about Sandy’s<br />

husband, <strong>the</strong>y would<br />

tear her house down<br />

too. You never told<br />

anyone, although you<br />

suspected all <strong>of</strong> your<br />

coworkers knew what<br />

happened. Their once<br />

nosy questions about<br />

SARS and surveys<br />

ceased to exist once<br />

you went back to work.<br />

You noticed on your<br />

next paycheck that you<br />

were paid for your sick<br />

days.<br />

You did not tell<br />

your parents ei<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

According to your<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r’s monotone<br />

voice and your mo<strong>the</strong>r’s overly cheerful<br />

tone during phone calls, <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

bigger problems to worry about.<br />

You never called <strong>the</strong> police. Something<br />

in your stomach told you that it was<br />

wrong to. Maybe it was liberal, big city<br />

thinking, but you thought <strong>the</strong> police<br />

could not solve this type <strong>of</strong> problem.<br />

And maybe it was dumb, but you<br />

could not stand <strong>the</strong> thought <strong>of</strong> hurting<br />

Sandy’s feelings. You had to work<br />

at Dollar General for <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

summer after all.<br />

And who knows, maybe your dad<br />

would commit tax fraud in <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

Anything to meet ends meet, right?<br />

-----------------------------------<br />

You found out you were almost shot<br />

by Sandy’s husband <strong>the</strong> next day you<br />

showed up to work. Sandy apologized<br />

to you pr<strong>of</strong>usely as soon as she saw you<br />

walk in <strong>the</strong> door. You were confused<br />

at first, but things quickly clicked<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r. Between her choked sobs, you<br />

could make out <strong>the</strong> words “husband”<br />

and “sorry.” You hugged her tight. She<br />

handed you dozens <strong>of</strong> crumpled SARS<br />

survey papers that you later recycled at<br />

your dorm.<br />

Sandy took you out to dinner that night.<br />

She took you to <strong>the</strong> nicest restaurant in<br />

town: a small steakhouse bordering on<br />

<strong>the</strong> city limits. You knew she couldn’t<br />

afford to take you <strong>the</strong>re on her minimum<br />

wage income, but you let her take you<br />

anyway. You ended up paying for half <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> meal after seeing Sandy was paying<br />

with a tattered credit card. You slipped<br />

a $20 bill to <strong>the</strong> waiter while Sandy was<br />

in <strong>the</strong> bathroom and <strong>the</strong> waiter knew<br />

what to do with it.<br />

You both looked terribly out <strong>of</strong> place in<br />

<strong>the</strong> steakhouse in your Dollar General<br />

uniforms. You ordered fettuccine<br />

alfredo with some kind <strong>of</strong> fancy steak<br />

and Sandy ordered Top Sirloin. You<br />

remember how tickled she was that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y put chives and green onions on her<br />

side baked potato.<br />

You guys made small talk. You mainly<br />

talked about <strong>the</strong> bread basket between<br />

<strong>the</strong> two <strong>of</strong> you. You both weren’t used<br />

to eating sweet buns.<br />

After a while, you learned that Sandy’s<br />

husband had PTSD from <strong>the</strong> Vietnam<br />

War. He was <strong>of</strong>f his medications<br />

again. He was <strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m frequently<br />

due to how expensive <strong>the</strong>y were and<br />

how inflated <strong>the</strong> costs have gotten<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years. The nearest veteran’s<br />

hospital was over one hundred miles<br />

away and <strong>the</strong>ir car, a beat-up Honda<br />

Accord, only worked on certain<br />

days. Carpools were easy to find in<br />

town, but carpools up to <strong>the</strong> nearest<br />

micropolitan area were much harder<br />

to come by.<br />

She thanked you for not calling<br />

<strong>the</strong> police. Sandy feared <strong>the</strong>m. As<br />

unhappy as she was in her marriage,<br />

she could not bear <strong>the</strong> thought <strong>of</strong><br />

losing her husband. She feared him<br />

being whisked away to a psych ward,<br />

or even worse, jail or prison.<br />

She said you reminded him <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

war with your long black hair and<br />

wide black eyes and you just nodded<br />

your head and chewed your sweet<br />

bun thoughtfully.<br />

---------------------------------<br />

You spent half <strong>of</strong> your paycheck<br />

getting your hair bleached, cut, and<br />

toned sometime after your dinner<br />

with Sandy. You felt a little guilty<br />

afterwards. You could get your hair<br />

done, but your parents were not<br />

sure if <strong>the</strong>y could replace <strong>the</strong> broken<br />

microwave or fix <strong>the</strong> leaking ro<strong>of</strong>.<br />

In one email, your mom had put in<br />

between sparkling cat pictures to live<br />

a little.<br />

So you did.<br />

You don’t remember specifically<br />

when you got your hair done, but<br />

you remember your hairdresser.<br />

Ironically, it was Andrew’s mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

despite Andrew being <strong>the</strong> only kid<br />

in his friend group with natural hair<br />

color.<br />

She had his pictures taped up to <strong>the</strong><br />

big lit-up mirror and tsk’d when you<br />

said you knew her son (<strong>the</strong> eyebrow<br />

ring is removable).<br />

CHAL<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

59<br />



P<br />

A<br />

G 60<br />


PROSE<br />

"H<br />

e’s so sm<strong>art</strong>. He’s<br />

a good kid, but<br />

all he wants to<br />

do is leave town<br />

since he opened up a My Place,”<br />

She sectioned <strong>of</strong>f ano<strong>the</strong>r chunk<br />

<strong>of</strong> hair, “Every kid’s been<br />

leaving town or cooping<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves up on that<br />

goddamn college campus<br />

and <strong>the</strong> town’s left with a<br />

bunch <strong>of</strong> nobodies like me.”<br />

“You’re not a nobody.”<br />

“Oh, baby, I’m a hairdresser.<br />

I know that I mean somethin’<br />

to people, but you said,<br />

you’re what pre-medical?<br />

Look at where you’ll go and I<br />

love it here, but, I’ll be here<br />

forever.”<br />

--------------------------<br />

Your dad was hired for a<br />

new job in August. He made<br />

more money than he had in<br />

his entire life and <strong>the</strong> first<br />

thing he told you was quit<br />

your job. He wanted you to<br />

focus on your studies and<br />

go into a stable career, one<br />

where you’d never be fired.<br />

And, you did quit. At <strong>the</strong> end<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, you were a college<br />

student. You missed having<br />

fun on campus. You missed<br />

not knowing what you<br />

learned over <strong>the</strong> summer.<br />

And things worked out for<br />

you like <strong>the</strong>y always did.<br />

You tried to keep in contact<br />

with your co-workers,<br />

but <strong>the</strong>re was a divide<br />

between you after you quit.<br />

Even with Sandy.<br />

You were a regular college<br />

student again and <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

just a bunch <strong>of</strong> southside<br />

townies. They noticed your<br />

new purse when you visited<br />

and you noticed <strong>the</strong> dark<br />

circles underneath <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

eyes. Sandy dropped <strong>of</strong>f treats<br />

outside your dorm a couple times. She<br />

stopped after a few months though.<br />

You never found out why, but you<br />

suspected it was because you lived<br />

with girls who got gourmet cupcakes<br />

delivered to <strong>the</strong>m on <strong>the</strong>ir birthdays.<br />

You watched <strong>the</strong> emo kids leave one<br />

by one from town. Potential going to<br />

cities and states around <strong>the</strong> country.<br />


‘‘ And at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

day, you feel nothing.<br />

And at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day,<br />

you can still do nothing.’’<br />

And you were proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. You<br />

still are proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. You sent a<br />

friend request to Jenny and Andrew<br />

on Facebook and was glad to see<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are doing well. And you tried to<br />

ignore <strong>the</strong> dilapidated states <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

parents’ houses and <strong>the</strong> clean floors<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir ap<strong>art</strong>ments and houses.<br />

You lived in a clean floored<br />

house yourself, located in a nice<br />

neighborhood just outside<br />

<strong>of</strong> a big, liberal city. Your<br />

parents lived in a nice<br />

neighborhood too. They<br />

lived in a condo in a nice<br />

little retirement community<br />

in Florida. You think that<br />

in a lot <strong>of</strong> ways, money<br />

bought happiness for <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

-------------------------<br />

Sometimes you feel guilt<br />

in <strong>the</strong> pit <strong>of</strong> your stomach.<br />

There are nights where you<br />

lie in bed and think <strong>of</strong> why<br />

you couldn’t have paid for<br />

Sandy’s hospital bills or built<br />

houses around <strong>the</strong> college.<br />

But, you were just a kid and<br />

<strong>the</strong>re’s nothing you really<br />

could have done. And, still,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re’s little to nothing to<br />

do. You are a doctor now, but<br />

it’s not like you can treat <strong>the</strong><br />

entire town for every illness<br />

and disease free <strong>of</strong> charge.<br />

You have to live too.<br />

But, still you feel guilty. You<br />

make <strong>the</strong> occasional donation<br />

to <strong>the</strong> local public school. You<br />

send over toys and books<br />

for <strong>the</strong> annual Christmas<br />

donation drive. When you<br />

come back for class reunions,<br />

you try to host some sort <strong>of</strong><br />

free clinic. You’re an alumni <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> college now. You allocate<br />

your money to <strong>the</strong> town and<br />

college connections and<br />

pray it actually goes <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

And at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

day, you feel nothing.<br />

And at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day,<br />

you can still do nothing.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

61<br />


WRIT<br />

IS T<br />

GEOME<br />

OF T<br />

SO<br />


ING<br />

HE<br />

TTRY<br />

HE<br />

UL<br />

T<br />


<strong>ISSUE</strong> ONE<br />

Contrivutors<br />


We are beyond honored to<br />

showcase <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> many<br />

talented photographers, <strong>art</strong>ists,<br />

and writers in our inaugural<br />

issue.<br />

Over 20 countries are<br />

represented in our magazine,<br />

including Ireland, Japan, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

POETRY<br />



Laoise Ní Raghallaigh<br />

is an Irish writer<br />

living and studying in<br />

Galway, Ireland. When<br />

not writing she enjoys<br />

playing music, reading<br />

and walking <strong>the</strong> Salthill<br />

promenade.<br />

"Instances in Mirrors"<br />

was written to reform<br />

incoherent thoughts<br />

about living with<br />

polycystic ovarian<br />

syndrome, and to<br />

provide a perspective for<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r girls and women<br />

who live with <strong>the</strong> same<br />

condition, so that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

may potentially see<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

struggles in a piece <strong>of</strong><br />

writing.<br />

Laoise has previously<br />

been published in<br />

Perhappened, Vox Galvia<br />

and Reflex Press.<br />

POETRY<br />


Charles Nnanna grew<br />

up in a humble space<br />

somewhere in Abuja,<br />

Nigeria. He has always<br />

loved that amazing<br />

realities could be created<br />

on paper, thus for most<br />

p<strong>art</strong> <strong>of</strong> his life he has<br />

aspired to be a writer, or<br />

a storyteller as he fondly<br />

calls it. He still has <strong>the</strong><br />

aspiration. His writings<br />

primarily aims at<br />

provoking introspection<br />

— as evident in <strong>the</strong><br />

three poems written<br />

by him — about mercy,<br />

supplication and <strong>the</strong><br />

irony and/or paradox <strong>of</strong><br />

life. He's ei<strong>the</strong>r sleeping<br />

or reading if he isn't<br />

scribbling. Sometimes<br />

he's doing all three at<br />

once. Let's holla on<br />

Twitter; @runnyink_<br />

POETRY<br />


Sarah Chaudhry is<br />

a Pakistani Marvel<br />

enthusiast who lives in<br />

New York. Besides her<br />

love for watching The<br />

Avengers over and over,<br />

she loves to listen to<br />

music, read YA novels,<br />

and write poems and<br />

stories <strong>of</strong> her own. She<br />

aspires to become an<br />

author and publish a<br />

novel. She is a feminist<br />

as well as an advocate,<br />

and “spirited cloth” is<br />

an example <strong>of</strong> that. She<br />

has work published in<br />

Cath<strong>art</strong>ic Magazine, Ice<br />

Lolly Mag, and IRIS Mag.<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />



POETRY<br />


Rosalind Moran is a<br />

British-Australian<br />

writer <strong>of</strong> fiction, nonfiction,<br />

satire, reviews,<br />

and poetry. Her work<br />

has been featured in<br />

Prospect Magazine,<br />

Meanjin, Overland, The<br />

Lifted Brow, Rabbit<br />

Poetry Journal, and Kill<br />

Your Darlings, among<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs. She received a<br />

Highly Commended in<br />

<strong>the</strong> 2019 June Shenfield<br />

Poetry Award and is<br />

currently a postgraduate<br />

student at <strong>the</strong> University<br />

<strong>of</strong> Cambridge. Her<br />

favourite poems <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

involve political allegory.<br />

@RosalindCMoran is her<br />

Twitter handle.<br />

POETRY<br />

KATH G<br />

Kath G is a Filipina<br />

writer. She is a full-time<br />

editor for an educational<br />

consulting company. At<br />

this time, she dedicates<br />

her writing for herself.<br />

She likes to be reminded<br />

that writing is not all<br />

corporate work. Her<br />

writing has appeared<br />

in Unpublishable Zine,<br />

amongst o<strong>the</strong>rs. You<br />

can follow her through<br />

her Twitter account: @<br />

KathG_writes.<br />



Cindy Phan is an ice<br />

skater, inline skater,<br />

and outdoor adventurer.<br />

She prides herself in<br />

being that one friend<br />

you’ll never get bored<br />

around, as she's full<br />

<strong>of</strong> ideas, and always<br />

tries to get people out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir comfort zone.<br />

Photography, horror,<br />

heavy metal, wine, and<br />

animals are a few <strong>of</strong><br />

Cindy's interests, which<br />

are ever-expanding<br />

because she literally<br />

aspires to do everything.<br />

Cindy's only fears in life<br />

are losing <strong>the</strong> people she<br />

loves, and leaving this<br />

world without satisfying<br />

all her curiosities.<br />

POETRY<br />


Alex Smith (he/him)<br />

is an anxious and<br />

depressed Brit with a<br />

penchant for expression<br />

through writing. He<br />

studies Psychology<br />

academically and<br />

Philosophy in his free<br />

time. He gets inspiration<br />

for his writing primarily<br />

through his own<br />

mental health, but also<br />

through spiritualism,<br />

existentialism and<br />

horror. His writing<br />

frequently plays with<br />

cryptic messaging,<br />

subverting expectations<br />

and personifying<br />

symptoms <strong>of</strong> illness. His<br />

piece here, Brain Rot,<br />

reflects a typical "down<br />

day" experienced by<br />

many, especially in times<br />

like <strong>the</strong>se. You can find<br />

him on Twitter here (@<br />

asardonicspirit).<br />

POETRY<br />


Lorna McBain is an<br />

English young poet<br />

who has previously<br />

been published in<br />

RISEN Magazine, Ice<br />

Lolly Review and Love<br />

Letters Magazine. After<br />

developing a love for<br />

writing, it slowly became<br />

Lorna’s passion. Despite<br />

writing as a child, she<br />

never realized how much<br />

she adored writing and<br />

how natural it felt. When<br />

she's not writing Lorna<br />

can <strong>of</strong>ten be found<br />

reading, watching old<br />

movies and listening<br />

to an eclectic range <strong>of</strong><br />

music. 'Censored in <strong>the</strong><br />

Supermarket' stems from<br />

<strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> exhaustion<br />

after sociopolitical<br />

frustration.<br />

POETRY<br />

HWOMAN<br />

Hwoman is a young<br />

female creator and<br />

writer based in Saudi<br />

Arabia.<br />

She is mostly inspired<br />

by her circle, from<br />

its people, languages,<br />

culture, and music.<br />

Art has been around<br />

her since birth which<br />

gave her an opportunity<br />

to get to express and<br />

experiment from a very<br />

young age, later <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

after high school, she<br />

decided to proceed<br />

with her education<br />

in <strong>art</strong> by majoring<br />

in Architectural<br />

Engineering.<br />

Art was introduced to<br />

her in a lot <strong>of</strong> great ways.<br />

She learned to see it and<br />

feel it in <strong>the</strong> simplest<br />

details that she grew up<br />

around. Hw0man is <strong>the</strong><br />

story <strong>of</strong> a human woman.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> her pieces talk<br />

about how she perceives<br />

her feelings and energy<br />

she’s surrounded with as<br />

a woman and a human.<br />

“Questions That Lead<br />

to Nothing” is a poem<br />

Hw0man wrote in 2019<br />

about <strong>the</strong> connection <strong>of</strong><br />

feelings between her and<br />

her grandmo<strong>the</strong>r. Both<br />

her and her grandma<br />

feel some type <strong>of</strong><br />

confusion with what <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are around, <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

<strong>the</strong> energy, and events<br />

too.<br />

The only difference is<br />

that she is still growing,<br />

learning and questioning<br />

while her grandma<br />

is just getting older<br />

and <strong>the</strong> symptoms <strong>of</strong><br />

Alzheimer’s st<strong>art</strong>ing<br />

to show more clearly,<br />

it made her question<br />

a lot <strong>of</strong> things she had<br />

already been introduced<br />

to. From faces to places<br />

and events. The writer<br />

felt connected to her<br />

grandma based on this<br />

new chapter she entered<br />

in her life. Everything<br />

sounds confusing and<br />

different.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> writer says <strong>the</strong><br />

piece connects her with<br />

her grandmo<strong>the</strong>r since<br />

it speaks about <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

merged emotions and<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir strong relationship<br />

since she practically<br />

grew up around her<br />

grandmama.<br />

(Her pain is mine; my<br />

pain is hers).<br />

POETRY<br />



Abdulmueed Balogun is<br />

a Nigerian, and currently<br />

an undergraduate<br />

studying Medical<br />

Laboratory Science,<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Ibadan,<br />

Oyo State, Nigeria.<br />

Writing poetry is a<br />

dream come true for<br />

him, and every day he<br />

strives to stretch his<br />

poetic wings. Poetry had<br />

changed his perspective<br />

<strong>of</strong> life, and to him, poetry<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>oundly is a blessing.<br />

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PROSE<br />


Jyotsna Nair is a<br />

seventeen-year old<br />

currently living in<br />

Kerala, India. She mostly<br />

writes prose fiction, and<br />

her work has previously<br />

been published in<br />

Canvas Literary Journal,<br />

Cath<strong>art</strong>ic Youth Literary<br />

Journal, Ogma Magazine,<br />

and The Apprentice<br />

Writer. She is a firm<br />

believer in <strong>the</strong> power<br />

<strong>of</strong> banana bread, and<br />

has been known to<br />

consume copious<br />

amounts in alarmingly<br />

short intervals <strong>of</strong> time.<br />

In her free time, she<br />

enjoys exploring real<br />

and imaginary worlds<br />

with her writing.<br />

MUSIC<br />


OCEAN<br />

"Where Shall We Flee<br />

To Now?" An everyday<br />

phrase for <strong>the</strong> refugees.<br />

Life as a refugee is<br />

characterized by<br />

uncertainty. Often even<br />

family members get lost<br />

on <strong>the</strong> journey. In order<br />

to avoid human rights<br />

violations and abuse, it is<br />

sad and ironic that most<br />

refugees flee, yet <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

precarious situation<br />

as refugees exposes<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to more violations<br />

<strong>of</strong> human rights and<br />

violence. Walking away<br />

from danger with one's<br />

valuables makes a<br />

refugee vulnerable to<br />

robbery from armed<br />

marauders. Occasionally,<br />

refugees <strong>of</strong>ten have<br />

trouble accessing food<br />

and water since <strong>the</strong>se<br />

services are mostly in<br />

short supply and are<br />

<strong>the</strong> key targets <strong>of</strong> armed<br />

groups.<br />

Crossing <strong>the</strong> Ocean is<br />

a group <strong>of</strong> determined<br />

high school students<br />

aiming to raise<br />

awareness for those 79.5<br />

million refugees- unsure<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir destination<br />

or whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y will<br />

ever return home from<br />

a war or oppressive<br />

government. It’s a<br />

collective effort. We<br />

need your support, your<br />

generosity to save those<br />

innocent lives. These<br />

days, many <strong>of</strong> us feel<br />

as though everything is<br />

out <strong>of</strong> our control. That<br />

may be true, but we are<br />

reaching out to see if<br />

you would be interested<br />

in coming toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

to do something that<br />

is possible even now:<br />

helping and caring for<br />

refugees around <strong>the</strong><br />

globe.<br />



ABIOLA<br />

Sulola Imran Abiola<br />

(The <strong>of</strong>ficial Sulola) is a<br />

Nigerian photographer<br />

& poet, a lover <strong>of</strong> <strong>art</strong><br />

& a public servant. He<br />

his passionate about<br />

telling stories in a<br />

dynamic & compelling<br />

way—ways that lead to<br />

same conclusion. His<br />

works have appeared<br />

or are forthcoming in<br />

The Quills, Undivided<br />

Magazine, and The<br />

Best Of Africa amongst<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs. If he's not<br />

scribbling on pages <strong>of</strong><br />

square sheets, he's ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

savouring <strong>the</strong> sounds<br />

<strong>of</strong> camera shutters<br />

or savouring mama's<br />

delicacy.<br />

PROSE<br />

A.R. SALANDY<br />

Anthony is a mixed-race<br />

poet & writer whose<br />

work tends to focus<br />

on social inequality<br />

throughout late-modern<br />

society. Anthony travels<br />

frequently and has spent<br />

most <strong>of</strong> his life in Kuwait<br />

jostling between <strong>the</strong> UK<br />

& America. Anthony's<br />

work has been published<br />

86 times internationally.<br />

Anthony has 1 published<br />

chapbook titled 'The<br />

Great Nor<strong>the</strong>rn Journey'.<br />

'Power' analyses power<br />

and mechanisms<br />

<strong>of</strong> societal control<br />

through a narrative<br />

arc that questions <strong>the</strong><br />

detrimentality <strong>of</strong> nuclear<br />

weaponry.<br />

Twitter/Instagram:<br />

@anthony64120<br />

PROSE<br />


Ashley Pearson is a<br />

Creative Writing and<br />

Pre-Med Biochemistry<br />

double major at Knox<br />

College. Adopted from<br />

South Korea in 2001,<br />

Ashley has spent <strong>the</strong><br />

majority <strong>of</strong> her life<br />

calling Monmouth,<br />

Illinois home. Currently,<br />

she divides her time<br />

between Monmouth<br />

and Galesburg Illinois.<br />

Her short story<br />

"Stork" focuses on <strong>the</strong><br />

definition home, <strong>the</strong><br />

disparities <strong>of</strong> childbirth,<br />

and discrimination<br />

amongst <strong>the</strong> world's<br />

most vulnerable<br />

population: babies.<br />

"Small Town Summer"<br />

takes inspiration from<br />

Ashley's hometown and<br />

is loosely inspired by<br />

<strong>the</strong> people and places<br />

<strong>the</strong> people and places<br />

she has encountered<br />

while growing up. Ashley<br />

values bringing light<br />

to important issues,<br />

realistic relationships,<br />

humor, and iconic<br />

one-liners. Her love<br />

for writing stems from<br />

a vivid imagination<br />

and encouragement<br />

from friends, family,<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essors, teachers, and<br />

peers.<br />


THANKS TO:<br />

Iris Fu, who has united<br />

our staff toge<strong>the</strong>r during<br />

<strong>the</strong> COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

We would also like<br />

to acknowledge that<br />

<strong>the</strong> pandemic, while<br />

devastating in its effects,<br />

has been a source <strong>of</strong><br />

constant inspiration and<br />

motivation for our staff.<br />


P<br />

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ABOUT US<br />

THe global youth review IS A literary<br />

and <strong>art</strong>s MAGAZINE THAT is dedicated<br />

to amplifying <strong>the</strong> voices <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> youth,<br />

especially those that are traditionally<br />

marginalized.<br />

THE<br />

G L O B A L<br />

Y O U T H<br />

REVIEW<br />

Founded in 2020, we use words as a vehicle<br />

with which we unify and empower young<br />

voices. Our mission is to combat divisive<br />

narratives and bridge cultures, people,<br />

and ideas toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

P<br />

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67<br />



REVIEW<br />

<strong>ISSUE</strong> I<br />

JAN 2021

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