Fall Issue 2019
By Michael Green
On comes the evening, both seeking ends
Peace in my hand worth twice than a friend.
Imagination begins to wonder, life becomes a blunder.
The moonlight takes its toll, my thoughts are never bold
Like what’s a bird without its wings, unable to fly up to things
I think and feel, but it’s not real
Time flies when you’re having fun, but that’s not always the case
The moonlight tends to hinder things, reveal the truth
I learn about myself and the character I love to portray.
He races my mind, and fills the time,
until through the blinds the sunlight shines.
In comes the morning, haunting us with the beams
Solace ain’t as far as it used to be, it begins to blur as we get older.
Summer’s not as long as it used to be, everyday counts like crazy
That night I reminisce about the past,
I notice that the seasons don’t seem to last
The family begins to spread, and now half the clan is dead
Now what’s left is the last two, we cling together like a bad hairdo
In comes the morning, haze
Off to better things, listen to the church bells ring
On comes the evening,
Here is the moonlight, all of our troubles slightly out of sight
Nothing else can run my mind
Now it’s time to say goodnight.
Inspired by Frank Ocean
By Sydney George
First I look up at my ceiling
the first feeling is a yawn
Then I look for myself in the bathroom mirror
My post sleep face shows this girl
She didn’t wake up “like this”
Eye crust is normal
Third. my eyes find the floor of my bathtub
And finally with each soapy scrub my senses emerge
On my skin
Then I’m seemingly awake. Consciousness is necessary for the school day. My lips hidden from view as I try to win the war with
My Own Hair
My relaxed lips as I walk out of my bathroom holding my victorious weapon called
My mother. Woken up before me, she walks in for her turn to whiten her peary smile
Fourth. i search for the smell of something cooking
Leaving my nose highly disappointed and
My guts to a boxing match
Ding ding DING
Syd’s Guts vs. Syd’s limited amount of belly skin
aaaand the weight of my infamous- very much a burden- backpack
adding approximately 6 pounds to my 140 pounds
If only I could flip off the fifth
The mta.bustime website telling me about a bus that’s 10 stops away
But it’s 7:40 already
My feet walking to school
Trying to imprint my legacy of my own on the sidewalk
By Marco Garcia Nueva
I woke up wondering what time it was. Was it night time or was it the morning? Having no windows in my room made it impossible to tell. This was of importance because it would dictate whether my homework would get done or not. I looked at pikachu who was propped up next to my desk and stared at me blankly, telling me that he too was lost.
I groaned and rubbed my eyes. My hair is itchy and filled with static and it bothers me, and I know immediately that it is a mess. Usually my hair isn’t too messy and I can go to school without fixing it too much. When that happens, I know it’s going to be a good day. Not this time though, it’s going to take me a while to fix my hair today.
“Great” I say as I sit on my bed. My chest is itchy with sweat because again, a windowless room isn’t the coolest place in the world, especially not on a hot morning. I decide I will take a shower – if I don’t, I won’t be able to live with myself for the rest of the day.
I walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror. I contemplate the mess that stares back at me. He has poofy red eyes, his face is red, and his hair is awkwardly pushed to one side. He grabs his toothbrush and applies toothpaste and begins brushing. This is one of the best moments of his morning routine because after he finishes, he can show off his teeth to me and I smile back at him, feeling proud of him. One of the very few times I ever feel proud. My teeth aren’t particularly special but I think they’re nice. So after I finish brushing and rinsing, I smile to myself, now I look like a happy mess.
I get into the shower and imagine the warm water wash away all my stress and problems. I could stay here all day and just relax with the water gently falling on my body. The shower serves as a kind of therapy, it helps me clear my mind and organize my thoughts. I think about what is to come: the rush to school, the first two hours of calculus ready to mentally destroy me, the friends I will see, the assignments I will have to finish last minute, the amount of homework that I will receive today, the tiredness I will feel after soccer practice, and the battle against exhaustion later today as I try to complete homework without falling asleep. I think about how I will have to repeat this all over again tomorrow. It’s a terrible, cruel cycle and thinking about it bothers me.
A banging on the bathroom door brings me back to reality. “Get out! I need to brush my teeth!” my brother says. I grab my towel and dry up with resentment, knowing this is the only time in the day where I will feel relaxed and now it has come to an end. I long deep sigh.
I get out and walk towards my room and get dressed. I feel better but knowing what is to come keeps me annoyed. I put a hat on while my hair dries because if I don’t it will fall in my face and it will make me want to pull my hair out. I have a love hate relationship with my hair. It can be nice and just the way I want it to be sometimes, and other times it could be unbearable. I put my lucky socks in hopes of making my day just a little better. I put my pants on, the pants which I hate. I put my shoes on, ones which I think are nice. I proceed to put on a light undershirt. I do this because if I don’t, I feel naked. Then I put deodorant on. If I had put deodorant without putting my shirt on first, the deodorant would have adhered to my shirt on a particular spot, right under my ribs, it would’ve looked weird. Finally, I put on my school polo and look at myself in the mirror. I look alright I guess.
The open window gave way to sunshine glimpsing my face as the sun started its day just like me. The blue screen caused my adjusting eyes to cry out in pain, I cursed out at my forgetfulness. The water droplets of the dark abyss of the room filled my body, mixed with the bubbly sensation of the bar of soap. The breezy air of the hallway gave me shivers as I got dressed for the day. As Rosanna and Lori chattered about the drunk school bus driver who was accused of drinking while driving the students, I left my living compartment as I reflected on my dislike for Mondays and the beginning of the week. The quiet streets stood silent as I managed to pull a fast act and chase the bus. I reached and pulled out that slim book and metrocard and began to read the story to myself.
Entering the foyers and compartments at Uncommon I head through the double doors and make my presence known by swiping my identity into the Uncommon computers. Making my way to the Caf I’m greeted with teachers and students from previous years to new as I head to get breakfast nonchalantly. The open void of the caf was filled with that scent of that mystery muffin and the voices of students enjoying themselves. As the bell rang for the day of classes to commence, those staircases filled with a uproaring yell of the 4 grades going up one set of staircases.
The bathrooms were my daily pitstops away from the voices of several hundred, a place of comfort and alone time. The mirror reflection revealed the eyes, body and face of one who hasn’t heard of the word “Sleep” before. The chilling water mixed with the soap cleaned away the stains of the morning meal. The second bell rang abruptly and for a longer duration as I head to the end of the hallway to start my government class. I wonder how much time I have left until school ends so I can go home and sleep drifting to the endless nights. The sunny clear skies returned through the classroom and lit the room with that good day sensation.
Dreams and our imaginations are what keep people feel alive from the commoner life and what drives people` . As I attempt to close my eyes and head into night slumber, I look into the night sky at the many stars in our galaxy compared to the vast number of people that wander our planet. As I remember the long lectures, the off task students whispering to one another and the amount of work my body endured during gym, I fall asleep wondering what new experiences might come and what my future will hold. Soon, the sunny clear skies of the next day will bring about a new day with a shiner horizon towards the future, I look out wondering what will come out of the new start.
Some Things Just Stay Broken
By Vanessa Bailey Matthews
Late night stroll through the city.
He was of darkness and
Photograph by Sydney George 2019
she was his light, going separate ways for the night,
Sad farewell in sight.
Car came to take her away, it’ll be awhile before they see each other again,
He wanted her to stay for she was his motivation, his reason for breathing.
She’d only been gone a little awhile, but hours turned to days, weeks, years.
He still had questions but no answers. He’d cry for her sometimes. Time didn’t make him miss her any less.
Little did he know that she cried out for him too,
For in her heart he was so close, yet in reality so far. She was still full of light but her sadness filled an inner darkness,
She wanted him to move on though it would hurt.
Luckily, she couldn’t feel anything at the moment, but heartache and sadness.
A selfish part of her wanted him to be with her, but she knew that wouldn’t be fair.
He’d visit her sometimes, hoping that bringing flowers will somehow make it better, just trying to make it one day at a time like everyone’s been telling him to.
They’d say “It’s okay,” that “everything will be fine,” or that “you need to move on.”
They say time heals all wounds, but some wounds just run too deep. Too deep for them to ever be fully sealed. Too deep to swim out of so they drown, drown in their misery, and their pain.
Some things just stay broken.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough glue to fix a broken vase, enough dreams to fight the nightmares or enough needles to stitch up a broken body, some things just stay broken. Time heals all wounds but try telling that to the families of black men and women who were shot and killed by police, to the mother who lost her son to gang violence, to the parents that lost their children to a school shooter. Try telling them that.
Try telling that to the man who lost the love of his life to the incompetence of a drunk driver, who was released on bail and paid his way to a “not guilty” verdict.
Some things just stay broken.
By Rafael Flores
The boom of thunder crashes
Across the limitless sky,
The wind sweeps across the blades of grass
The feeling of water droplets against my face,
The cool air refreshing like a cold glass of water
With the slight smell of smoke from passing cars,
As I stroll along the path
The crunch of leaves underneath my feet
The sound of geese flying to reach warmth
On this cool November morning
By Berenize Garcia Nueva
No le vamos a hablar español aquí, Mr. Freddie remarked as my four-year-old hands held onto my mother’s arms tightly. My mother seemed scared, not because it would be the first time we ever spent apart, but because my tongue would be twisted into the harsh, hard words of los gringos.
Ms. Monzella. Ms. Monzella. Ms. Monzella, she repeated. Now everyone with me, Ms. Monzella. Ms. Monzella, my ESL teacher, she was an angel.You should come to my birthday party I mentioned jokingly. But I guess she didn’t get the memo. Because she appeared on our doorstep. I have never been more ashamed of los compadres o los tíos.
Your family must be from one-town, Mr. P said. This was after we read a short story about a Mexican family. Everyone in class had pointed out that the town only had one TV, one house, one dog, one everything. You must be from one town, his coffee and cigarette breath now burning away my nostrils and dignity.
No, I had two TVs.
Start of Middle School. Start of puberty. Too many horny sixth-graders. Sex education? A disaster. Sex pamphlets? Left on the ground near the supposed pee puddle of an eighth grader. Condoms? Used as water balloons at the annual carnival. Pads or tampons? So, my mom uses diapers? The teachers were not paid enough. Enough said.
Mi hija, levantate, my mom said as she shook me awake. It was mid-August at the early hours of 11:00 am. Te me vas a la escuela hoy. As I walked down on what seemed like the longest hallway, teachers smiled at me. The students stared at me, their eyes expressing welcome to prison. And that’s how I became an Uncommon student, with oversized khaki pants, and a navy blue shirt.
Inspired by “Indian Education” by Sherman Alexie
By Jae’da Brannigan
My birthmark cuts straight down my body like a blade,
Sharp and defined.
The hated image in the mirror is me, prevailing as a
Mutual disappointment amongst my peers and
The abstract art of a five year-old,
Scattered across my skin,
Messy and multicolored.
You tell me that I’m beautiful, but I can’t
My self-esteem is growing in proportion to my
Looking around at the different displays of skin,
Mine more decorated than others,
My birthmark cuts straight down my body like a blade,
Sharp and defined.
The loveable reflection in the mirror is me,
Prevailing as a mutual bliss amongst my peers and
You tell me that I’m beautiful, but this time
Thanks to Arkeen Dunlap (Class of 2021) and Brandon Gayle (Class of 2023) for their help creating and designing this issue!