Literature's Next Frontier


Flamingo

POETRY:

Chocolate cake for breakfast

by LillySkyWorks Quill-yellow

Chocolate cake for breakfast

is what i've come to find

an emotional delicasy 

in the world of my mind.

Chocolate cake for breakfast,

was perhaps not the best choice

but with some vailla ice cream

soon even i wont notice

Chocolate cake for breakfast

sits in my full stomach,

cravings satiated for 

a whole five minutes


Posted on: January 24 2015

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FICTION:

Day of the Screens

by William Wakefield Quill-purple

On the day of the screens
all the screens around us came to life

there was a flash of light that came

simultaneously out of every screen

and the biggest screens

like the ones in our living rooms

slowly started pulling us into the
screen and that was the day of the
screens when people got sucked
into their television sets and
that's how the world actually ended


Posted on: January 23 2015

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POETRY:

Nothing secret remained‏

by William Wakefield Quill-purple

Taking a moment
to enjoy the calamity

Holiness and chairs
spent about
Receptacles
of clinical decision control

Fight to end the biscuit slopes

All about you hopes are draped across keyboards

Clinical creation controlled
Celebratory backspin

Slants and sleep a little stretches of links see see them on the patio wood flooring way up high in the sky

They deliver you from the ground

You lay lazily in them

Hope upon educated guesses

For the skies drizzling rainbows

They deliver you the box

Mistakes that untied the world

Feedback loops that came in through the network
Feeling their way through the hard drives
Nothing secret remained





 


Posted on: January 23 2015

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NON-FICTION:

Lazarus Ch.5: First Contact

by Alex Salter Quill-orange

The bus rides to school were always entertaining. You were only cool if you sat all the way in the back. I made sure I was close to the back, but not all the way in the back because that’s where the older kids sat. Someone was always being picked on and I thought it was funny as long as it wasn’t me that was being picked at. We’d all sing new rap songs that just came out or whatever was hot. This would annoy the bus driver who was an old white guy. That made it all more fun.

School was the same. I’d always get in trouble for some reason. I liked being the class clown. Making people laugh was something I enjoyed. I’d make jokes about the teacher or some of the kids in my class. When it came down to my work, I was a nerd. I had to get high grades. I knew I was smart because when we played around the world, a math game where you compete against each person in your class in solving math problems the quickest, I’d always win. Even against Nick, I’d still be the victor. I couldn’t beat him in anything that was athletic but when it came to school work, he was no match for me.

“Hey Alex, are you going to try out for gold chorus?” my friend Austin asked me.

“Yeah, I’m going down to Mr. Schindler right now,” I replied.

Gold chorus was the next level in chorus. It was for the advanced kids and the kids who could sing very well. I loved chorus, except when I sing my nostrils flare and it’s really embarrassing to me. I was a genius when it came to music class. All of the kids had to learn to play the recorder, an instrument that everyone mistakes for a flute. There were about eight songs you learned how to play on the recorder and each song you played successfully you were given a certain color string to tie onto your recorder. I was the first to complete all the songs and advance to the next step. The next step was playing more difficult songs and instead of getting different colored strings, you’d get certain colored tape. My friend Natalie and I were the only students in our class to make it that far.

I walked downstairs to Mr. Schindler’s room which was directly below my teacher’s room. I was nervous because I had to sing in front of him. I know I was in chorus and that’s what we were supposed to do but usually I sing with a huge group of kids and I’m not put on the spot. I took a deep breath and walked into his classroom. I had the sing the do-re-me thing and then sing Mr. Schindler happy birthday. I was hoping my nerves didn’t get to me and mess me up because I really wanted to be in gold chorus. Very few kids made it into gold chorus and I wanted to be one of those few kids so I could brag to everyone else.

“So are you ready to sing for me Alex?” Mr. Schindler asked me.

I hesitated. “Yeah,” I replied.

I started with the do-re-me chart. After I finished he said it was good and then told me to sing happy birthday. I wanted to get this over with and get out of his class because I was already embarrassed. I hated singing in front of someone solo. I started to sing happy birthday and stared directly at him. Eventually my nerves subsided and I was able to finish the song. He told me I did excellent and that I was now a part of gold chorus. I was so relieved and excited. I ran up the stairs to my classroom and told all of my friends that I had made it into gold chorus. I was more excited to hear that my current girl friend Jordyn had also made it. I had first started dating Jordyn in first grade. She was my first girlfriend I ever had in Cleveland Hill. In first grade the teacher would pick one student during reading time to go in the back of the classroom and sit on the bean bags and read their book. Everyone wanted to sit on the bean bags so all the kids made sure they were on their best behavior when it came time to read. The teacher picked me and we were allowed to pick one other student to come read with us. I picked Jordyn since I had a huge crush on her. We both were sitting on the bean bags and I decided to tell her how I felt about her. I thought I would be nervous but I wasn’t. I told her I had a crush on her and she responded with, “I have a crush on you too.” I was more than happy and I quickly suggested that we date and she agreed to it. There, she was mine and only mine. She had pretty long blonde hair and a kind nature. I liked everything about her. After first grade we broke up and I dated other girls but I liked Jordyn the most and every chance I had to get back together with her I would.

My first day of gold chorus was interesting. Two members, a boy and a girl, sang a song that Mr. Schindler said was from the Lion King. I had never heard it. After they were done singing the song, Mr. Schindler said that two of us would get picked to sing the song at one of our school concerts. One of my friends blurted out, “Pick Jordyn and Alex! They’re dating!” I was so embarrassed but I just smiled and blushed.

Bus rides home were the same as bus rides to school. Everyone raced to the back of the bus to get a seat. I sat in my usual place. Today I wasn’t really interested in joining with the other kids and making fun of someone. I just wanted to get home. It had been a long day at school. Unfortunately today was my lucky day to get picked on. All the younger kids had to get picked on by the older kids at least once. The jokes weren’t that funny, they were more mean. I always took the abuse and would never dare to stand up to the bigger kids. Poppy was the ringleader when it came to the jokes. He was the oldest on the bus and the biggest. He was the cool one who would make all the jokes and be the first to sing one of the newest songs or talk back to the bus driver. He was making jokes about me and I was pretending that they didn’t bother me. I just smiled and laughed. Jordan was sitting in the seat across from me. He was laughing and making jokes about me too. This made me mad since he was one of my good friends. He never really made jokes about me but when he did I always got offended. I was way too sensitive and I knew it. After the older kids got off the bus and the jokes had ended, I decided to confront Jordan.

“Why were you laughing when they were making jokes about me?”

“Because they were funny.”

“Well next time just shut up,” I said with a little anger in my voice.

“Or else what?”

I had never gotten into a fight with Jordan. I only got into fights with Nick that I tried to avoid. Nick was now watching us from the seat behind Jordan. I didn’t want to look like a punk in front of Nick so I leaped towards Jordan and landed on top of him. I hit him about three times in the head and then got off of him. Jordan didn’t even try to hit me back. Instead I seen tears forming in his eyes and I felt horrible. The bus came to a stop on our street and Nick ran to the front of the bus. I let Jordan go first so I could be last. Before we made our way all the way to the front Jordan turned around   and said sorry to me. I was caught off guard because I was the one who hit him, my best friend. Feeling bad already I said its okay and we both got off of the bus. Jordan walked to his house without saying a word to me and I walked to mine.

“How was school baby?” my mother said as I walked in the door. She was cleaning our kitchen table. I loved our kitchen table, it was black and marble just like the table in our living room. They were matching sets. My mom was a clean freak. She was always cleaning something. My room, the bathroom, kitchen, anything that she thought needed cleaning.

“It was good mom. I made gold chorus today.”

“Really? Awe that’s so good I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks mom I love you.”

“Love you too my little man.”

I walked upstairs to my room and I could hear Angie talking on the house phone. Her or Jeanette were always on the phone talking to some guy. “Guys I’m going to Walmart!” my mom yelled from downstairs. I yelled to my mom and asked her if she could buy me some candy. I was a candy fiend, I was surprised I never had a cavity.

I took a nap and woke up to people talking downstairs. Whenever my sisters had company I always wanted to hang out with them. They never wanted me around their friends. Angie would talk to me nicely and tell me that I can’t hang out with them. Jeanette would be rude and tell me to get the fuck upstairs. It was boring being upstairs having nothing to do but watch tv or play the game. It got old real fast unless it was Saturday morning and all the good cartoons were on. I always made sure I woke up early Saturday just for the cartoons.

I walked down the stairs that creak each step you take. My sisters were in the living with a couple of their friends. They were sitting around the table playing cards. I sat down on the couch next to Angie. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make Jeanette mad and have to go back upstairs. After about three minutes of my presence, Jeanette asked me what I was doing down here in the living room.

“I’m just sitting here. I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“Well go upstairs, you don’t need to be down here with us.”

“I don’t want to go upstairs, there’s nothing to do.”

“I don’t care go the fuck upstairs.” I could hear her getting angrier and angrier. I usually would just do what she says so she wouldn’t hit me or continue yelling at me but I was tired of her always walking all over me.

“It’s my house too, you can’t tell me what to do.” I knew I had just made a bold move. I didn’t want her to embarrass me in front of her friends, but I knew it was already too late.

“Go the fuck upstairs now!”

“No I don’t have to.” Wrong move. My sister picked up this blue vase that was on the table. It wasn’t glass but it was made of some kind of hard material. She threw it at me and it hit me right in the head. I immediately started crying. What did I ever do to her that made her hate me so much? I felt like she always was trying to hurt me in one way or another. I didn’t deserve it. I could hear my sisters arguing but I didn’t want to be anywhere near Jeanette. I ran upstairs to my room and continued crying.

At night time when I got hungry and wanted to go get a snack, I’d make sure my mom was awake. I didn’t have to ask permission to get something to eat but my mom was my defense mechanism. I was scared of the dark and I was afraid to go downstairs alone. When I needed to go downstairs at night time I would yell to my mom while I was going down the stairs and tell her I love her. She’d respond and tell me she loves me too and I would continue telling her that I love her until I was all the way downstairs. My mom never knew this so she must have thought I was just doing that because I really did love her. I mean I did love her and I loved when she told me how much I meant to her. My mom may have been over protective but at least she cared about me. I saw kids with parents who hit them while they’re in stores or yell at them in front of their friends. My mom never did that to me. My mother adored me. I was her baby boy and I loved being her baby boy. My friends slept in their own bed but I didn’t care, I wanted to sleep with my mom at night. Funny thing about that was, I’d wake up in my bed in the morning.

“Mom I’m home! What are you cooking tonight?!” I yelled to my mom.

“I’m not cooking. Cook yourself some steakums. I have to go somewhere.” Steakums were one of the few things I knew how to cook. The other was Ramen Noodles.

“Where are you going mom? Can I come?”

“No stay here. I’ll be back later.” My mom was always going somewhere. It’s like she never sat down. She kissed me on the cheek and left.

I decided to go outside and see what Nick was doing. I walked to Nick’s house and knocked on the door. His mom answered the door. “Is Nick home,” I asked.

“Yeah he’s here but he can’t come outside right now.”

“Oh okay.”

Well now I have nothing to do. I went back inside the house and took a nap. I woke up and it was starting to get dark outside. It was a Friday and there was nothing to do. I walked into my sisters’ room and Jeanette was sitting on her bed writing something in a journal.

“Hey what are you doing?” I asked her.

“Doing my homework, get out.”

I left her room without saying anything. I heard Angie downstairs talking to someone. I went downstairs and seen her on the couch next to some guy. He was a black guy and he was holding my sister laughing. My sister noticed me as I came down the stairs.

“Oh hey Alex. This is Mike.”


 


Posted on: January 20 2015

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NON-FICTION:

Lazarus Ch.4: Can I Try Something?

by Alex Salter Quill-orange

“Mom can I go to the park with Nick, I won’t be gone too late?” I asked my mother impatiently. “No, stay on this street, you better not leave.” my mother yelled back from upstairs. My mom was always over protective. If I’m in the store with her I’m not allowed to leave her side for one second. I can’t even go to the park like all the other kids do. I guess my mother always thought I’d get beat up or hurt. I just sighed with annoyance.

The day was an average day. Not really anyone on my street. The street behind my house and the street on the next block were the hot spots. There were always kids playing two hand touch, a game of football where instead of tackling one another you just have to touch them. That wasn’t my type of game. I disliked any kind of game that involved physical contact besides tag. Plus most of the kids who played it seemed to intimidate me. I just walked outside with my head down pouting because I was never allowed to do anything. I hated having an overprotective mother. My sisters were allowed to do whatever they wanted. Jeanette would do whatever she wanted anyways because she wasn’t afraid to get punished or hit, unlike me who hated being yelled at. It was just a normal sunny day. Everything was as it always was. Everything except him, that boy who came down my street riding his scooter towards me. Who was he? I had never seen him before.

“Hi I’m Jordan,” the boy said with a seemingly happy look on his face. “Hi I’m Alex,” I replied back. “Do you live on this street? I never saw you before,” I asked. “Yeah I just moved in that brown building. My house is the one all the way at the end.” That brown building, the same building Nick lived in. Jordan happened to live two doors down from Nick. “Well I’ll see you later”, the boy said. Then he rode his scooter back up my street. Well that was that. There’s a new kid on the block and I met him first. He seemed pretty cool. I didn’t get any bad vibes off of him.

I went back into the house to tell my mom I made a new friend. “Mom mom guess what!” I yelled to my mom as I was running up the stairs. “What is it now?” she replied with an impatient sounding tone. “There’s this new boy I just met. He lives in the same building Nick lives in. I think he just moved in,” I said with excitement. “Yeah I know. I went over there to talk to his mom earlier. They seem nice. Was he nice to you?” my mother asked me. “Yeah he was cool,” I said.

The next day I saw Nick sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house. I went outside to go talk to him and tell him about the new kid. “Nick did you meet the new kid yet? Jordan, the one who lives right there,” and I pointed to Jordan’s house. “Yeah I met him yesterday, he’s cool,” Nick replied. “Let’s go knock on his door and see if he wants to hang out,” I suggested. “Alright lets go,” and Nick and I walked over to Jordan’s house on the end. Nick knocked and we waited for someone to answer. A white woman with red hair opened the door with a friendly expression on her face. “Hi what’s up guys?” the woman said. “Hi is Jordan home?” I asked nervously. I hated asking questions to strangers, I wasn’t that outgoing. Every time I went to the supermarket and my mom asked me to go ask the deli clerk for some cheese or salami I’d always get so nervous. It’s not that I thought they were going to be rude to me, I just didn’t feel comfortable talking to adults. The woman told Nick and I to come inside because Jordan isn’t dressed yet. She asked us our names and we both told her. Her name was Rachel. We were all sitting in the living room when a black guy walked down stairs. I didn’t think it could be Jordan’s dad because Jordan wasn’t the same complexion as Nick and I. Jordan was the same color as my sisters who had an olive skin color. “What’s up guys? You two looking for Jordan?” he asked us. “Yeah Bryan, they’re waiting for Jordan to get dressed,” Rachel said. Bryan was his name I guess. “Jordan!” Rachel yelled upstairs. Jordan came running downstairs after that. “Hey what’s up guys?” he said to us. “You want to come play with us outside?” I asked him. “Yeah sure, let’s go.” he said and then we were off.

Jordan was not like Nick and he was not like me. He was athletic like Nick, but he was a sweet boy like me. I thought Nick and I would have no competition when it came to getting girls but Jordan definitely was on our level, if not above. He was attractive and his attitude made him even more appealing. The way he talked was just so cool. Nick was more arrogant and I was more soft. Jordan was perfect. We were all the same age, being seven years old. I wasn’t jealous of Jordan at all, I mean he was my friend. I had been the first to meet him and we both got along very well. I was a little jealous of how good he and Nick got along though. I mean, Nick was my best friend. We did everything together and now some guy is going to come in between our friendship. I felt the same way towards Jordan. I met Jordan first and therefore Jordan should like me better than he likes Nick. Unfortunately it didn’t work like that.

Everyday Nick, Jordan and I would find something to do on our street. We’d do water gun fights with my sisters or play tag with some of the other kids. Nick liked to wrestle so I’d watch as him and Jordan wrestled. Nick would always win. All of our mothers got along pretty well. My mom would even go out to the club with Rachel and Nick’s mom. I thought it was good that my mom gets along with my best friends’ moms. Even though my mother and Nick’s mother had a history of not getting along (Nick’s mom tried to fight my mom one time but my mom wouldn’t come outside the house) they were able to put their differences aside just like I did with Nick. Rachel was the only one who actually had a boyfriend which was Bryan. Nick’s mother had just had another kid but she wasn’t with the father anymore.

Jordan and I seemed to grow closer than him and Nick. My sisters adored him. They thought he was the cutest little boy they’ve ever seen. He was cute. I was always fond of Jordan. I loved his personality and facial expressions he made. He was just a cooler version of me. My mom let me spend the night at Jordan’s house from time to time. I was never allowed to spend the night at Nick’s house so this was a surprise to me. We’d sleep at my house and play the Playstation or watch movies when we were at his house.

His mom’s boyfriend was a cool guy. It made me wish my mom had a boyfriend because I craved male attention. I never saw my brothers or my father so Nick and Jordan were the closest thing to brothers I really had. I got tired of being around my sisters that always seemed to have an attitude about something. I was too young to know what “pmsing” was. They’d argue all the time over the littlest things. I didn’t understand how they could argue and then sleep in the same room together at night since they shared a room. Jeanette was always the aggressor. She’d get into an argument with Angie and run to the kitchen and pull out a fork or a knife to use as a weapon. Angie would retaliate and find the closest thing to her that she could use as a weapon. I was always on Angie’s side. She protected me from Jeanette. Jeanette would constantly try and pick fights with me. I’d tell her to leave me alone and she’d replied with, “Shut the fuck up.” Most of the time when my sisters did argue it was always about me. Angie would be defending me and Jeanette would get mad. I knew how to get Jeanette back without having to argue with her or hit her. If she’d sneak out and leave our apartment complex when my mother was at work, I’d tell on her. If Jeanette snuck boys into the house, I’d tell on her. The only problem with that was Angie was always with Jeanette when she left because Angie would go see her boyfriend. So when one got in trouble, the other got in trouble. I never felt guilty.

Jordan was like my brother. For once I actually felt as if I was the dominant one. He may have been more confident than me in almost everything, but I was older by a couple months. He and I had been watching movies at his house. I was spending the night. Even though it was the weekend, we couldn’t stay up all night like we wanted to. We both had to go upstairs into his room and go to sleep. At his house, just like at my house, we slept in the same bed. I was a really bad sleeper. I’d toss and turn all night but I tried not to do that when I was sharing a bed.

“I don’t want to go to bed, let’s just stay awake all night,” Jordan told me.

“Okay, I’m not tired anyways. What do you want to talk about?”

“Ehh I don’t know, I’m just bored.”

There was an awkward silence after he said that and we both just lied there. I was facing him and he was looking up at the ceiling.

“Hey can I try something?” Jordan asked me.

“Sure, I don’t care.”

The next thing I knew our lips were locked. I couldn’t believe it. It was bad enough my friendship with Nick almost went down the drain after everything that happened between us. Now I have a new best friend and he’s doing the same thing Nick did. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from the last time this happened, but no. It’s like when you ride a bike for the first time without training wheels. You fall off your bike, get hurt, but always get back up and want to try again. This is how I felt. After Nick told me he wanted to stop doing what we were doing, I was crushed. Now I’m in the same predicament and I’m not trying to escape. I liked the feeling of Jordan’s lips against mine, way more than when it was with Nick. That feeling came back like a shot of adrenaline through my body. That good feeling that makes every inch of your body tingle. I didn’t want it to stop and clearly Jordan didn’t want it to stop either because he never even attempted to pull away. We were way ahead of our time only being seven years old and already experiencing things teenagers are supposed to experience. My heart was racing and my emotions were all over the place. I was happy, excited, regretful, and everything else. I wouldn’t let Jordan stop kissing me and he wouldn’t let me stop kissing him. I felt his body coming closer to mine which made me even more enthusiastic about what we were doing. I could do this all night. I would do this all night. Well, I would’ve if we both wouldn’t have fell off the bed waking his mom up. We both crashed to the floor making a huge thud noise. His mom woke up and came into the room asking us if we were okay. We both laughed and said yeah. After that we just went back to sleep without saying a word to each other. I didn’t go to sleep that night thinking I would regret what I had just did. I felt good for some reason.

The secret romance between Jordan and I continued. My house, his house, wherever we could find a place where nobody was, we’d kiss. That great feeling would always come back. I started to crave that feeling that I knew nothing about. I was like a drug addict. I couldn’t go a certain amount of time without having that amazing sensation run through my body. Nobody could know about Jordan and I. Not even Nick who was my best friend. Nick. At that moment in time when in my head I thought about telling Nick, something occurred to me. Nick and I had been real good friends before him and I did what we did. Nick and Jordan are now real good friends. Has Nick tried to do that same thing he did with me with Jordan? Could that be the reason Jordan wanted to “try something” with me? Had Nick introduced Jordan to it and Jordan had wanted to see if I would like it too? It made me wonder and I definitely wasn’t going to ask Nick or Jordan about it. My secrets remained secrets. I may have wanted answers but I wasn’t going to get them and I was okay with that. At least, I thought I was.


 


Posted on: January 20 2015

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NON-FICTION:

Lazarus Ch.3: A Taste of Bittersweet Reality

by Alex Salter Quill-orange

Nick and I grew closer and closer. It was good to have a friend to play with whenever you were bored. I was his happy medium. We sort of balanced each other out. His aggressive attitude was toned down with my kind nature. Nick and I had a lot in common especially when it came to girls. The girls who lived near us adored us. We were like little celebrities. Nick had the looks and the arrogant personality. I had the looks as well but I was the gentleman. Together we were a force that could not be stopped. No other guys could even try to be competition. Together we ran our neighborhood. Nick was the more dominant one out of us two. He was the leader and I looked up to him because he was tough and I definitely wasn’t.

I will never forget the day when our friendship changed. I can’t say it changed for the better or for the worse but it definitely changed. We were young, but too young to be experimenting things we were too immature to understand. Behind Nick’s apartment building there was this huge patch of grass between our street and the next street. This wasn’t any normal grass, it was very tall and unkempt. One day we had been walking through it just for the fun of it. What happened next was something I didn’t ask for and didn’t expect, but not something I tried to push away. I remember my heart beating fast. I don’t think I was nervous but I was definitely something. Nick and I were sitting down on the ground inside the grass where nobody could see us. It was quiet, very quiet. The breeze in the air made the grass sway from side to side. Nick looked at me and before I knew it, our lips were together and they seemed to never disconnect.

Some people believe that sexuality is something that is discovered at an age that is mature enough to actually understand what it means. Now, I would disagree because of what I experienced at a young age. Back then though I was young. I didn’t know what I was doing or what it meant. I didn’t know anything about homosexuality or even bisexuality. All I knew was I was good at getting girls to like me. Nick showed me that I apparently was also good at getting boys to like me.

We had been kissing for I don’t know how long. All I knew was that I didn’t want it to end. I had actually enjoyed kissing another boy. I was raised in a household where my mother never talked about homosexuality or anything like that. Sometimes I believe what happened couldn’t have been even avoided at all. See my mother had this sex book that was very graphic. I remember being about five or six and going through it. Looking through each page and seeing a man and a woman engage in sexual intercourse. It definitely had my interest. I kept scanning through each page until I came to a new section in the book. I saw something I wasn’t familiar with and saw things I had never seen or even heard of. Two men engaging in sexual intercourse. My eyes were almost glued to the pages as I thoroughly scanned each one. Each sexual position had me aroused but at that age, I didn’t even know what the feeling I had was or what it meant. I couldn’t stop looking, it was like I had become addicted. Well, that addiction didn’t last long as I heard my mother come in the door from work. Not knowing what to do, I threw the book onto the floor in the bathroom with it still opened and ran to my room. Unfortunately my escape plan didn’t work and my mom called me down to her room. She asked me if I had been looking at her book and I quickly responded and said no. I was more than embarrassed. I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. My mother knew I had been looking at her book and what made it worse was the book had been left open to the gay pages. She dismissed me and we never spoke about it again.

Even if I had never met Nick, I’m sure my curiosity would have led me to kiss some boy eventually. Luckily, Nick was my first and he was someone I cared about. Over the next few months we’d get together any chance we’d get and kiss like we had been married or something. It felt natural to me and the feeling I got from kissing him could not be duplicated by any other emotion. When I kissed that girl from preschool it never gave me a feeling like this. I never really wondered why I felt like this and I honestly didn’t want to know why. I just wanted to spend all my time with Nick.

My happiness surely ended and confusion took over my every emotion. Nick and I had been in my room just hanging out. Well I can’t even really say we were hanging out because he wasn’t talking to me at all. I’d start a conversation and he wouldn’t even acknowledge me. I’d grab him and he’d push my hands away. I had no idea why he was acting like this. I hadn’t done anything to him that would make him mad. I tried a different approach and decided to write on a piece of paper with my Crayola crayons and then pass the piece of paper to Nick. There was only one thing that I could think of that could possibly be the reason Nick was ignoring me. It was something I was hoping wouldn’t be true. I passed the piece of paper to him and on it read, “Do you still want to be gay with me?” Little did I know at that age that being gay wasn’t something you could just turn away from. He wrote back to my astonishment and the paper said, “No.” Plain as that. It felt like there was a rock in my throat. I could feel myself trembling. How could he possibly regret what we’ve been doing? He’s the one who introduced me to it and now he just wants to turn his back on me and leave me speechless because that’s exactly what I was. Speechless. I didn’t ask any more questions fearing that the answers I might get would just cause me more anxiety. I held in my tears and dealt with reality.


 


Posted on: January 20 2015

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NON-FICTION:

Lazarus Ch.2: A New Beginning

by Alex Salter Quill-orange

Days turned to months. Months turned to years. My mother’s boyfriends turned to ex-boyfriends. School was fun but not interesting anymore. I was now seven and I said my goodbyes to the west side of Buffalo. My mother had moved my sisters and I to these run-down apartments in Cheektowaga. Nothing special and nothing pretty about these apartments at all. The inside of my new apartment wasn’t all that bad but it wasn’t as big as my old house. Aside from that, my new room didn’t have a view of the street or the stars. No, my room was upstairs at the end of the hallway. The only view I had was a huge tree in our shared backyard that was so big it covered the view of the sky. If that wasn’t already bad enough, I had started school at Cleveland Hill Elementary. This school was different from my old school. At my old school, everyone was mostly black, Hispanic, or Arabian. My new school was clean and very big. Most of the kids were white which I didn’t really mind. I even remember my first day at Cleveland Hill. I was walking down the brightly lit hallway holding my mother’s hand. I was scared. I was nervous. I was just a huge wreck. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t in preschool anymore, I was in kindergarten. What if kids didn’t like me? Would I be an outcast eating my lunch alone? Well, there was only one way to find out. I let go of my mother and went into the room where I was greeted with open arms.

The street I lived on had three other apartment buildings. The building across and next to my building always seemed to be empty. The building directly diagonal from my building, the brown building, seemed to have the most life. The building diagonal from my building was where I met my best friend, Nick. Nick kind of reminded me of myself. Our personalities were completely different but we looked a lot alike. We had the same complexion and everything. People even thought we were brothers when we were together. His mother was white just like mine and his father was black just like mine. Our mothers got along very well at first. Nick and I were like two peas in a pod. We did everything together. When it was winter time we’d use one of our friend’s snowboard and ride down this mini hill near my house. We’d spend the night at each other’s houses all the time and during summer we’d go to this pool in our neighborhood. Town Park it was called. My mother had taught me how to swim at an early age. I was very short but I managed to do fine in the pool. I wasn’t even nine years old when I was swimming like a fish in the deep end. I even surprised the lifeguards there when they asked me to do a swim test to see if I was eligible to swim in the deep end. I passed to their amazement.

Nick and I could’ve been brothers. We fought like brothers at least. Well it was more like he beat me up and I took it or most of the time I cried and went home to my mother who got very angry. I remember one particular fight where Nick had gotten on top of me and pulled my ears. I cried so much because I thought he was going to rip my ears right off. My mother made sure Nick got an earful. Whenever my mother yelled at Nick, he retaliated and went and told his mother. This is where Nick and I were different. My mother was gentle and in no way, shape, or form was she a fighter. Exactly how I was. Nick and his mother were the aggressive ones. Nick’s mother would come to our house and try to fight my mother who wouldn’t dare step foot outside. Instead my mother would never fail to call the cops. My mother was known as the cop caller to the neighbors and even to my sisters. A couple days later Nick and I would become friends again and be at each other just like brothers.

My neighborhood was far from peaceful. The kids were all over the place doing what ever they pleased. I remember one day where the unexpected happen. I was on the next street over playing with some friends. My mother had come looking for me and telling me to come home. I always obeyed my mother because I hated when she would get angry. She started to walk away and this boy who lived on the street decided to voice his opinion about my mother. He said, “Your mother is a bitch.” This caught me off guard. The only person who had ever disrespected my mother in front of me was Jeanette. Those two had a habit of not getting along. This was not my sister. He was just a random boy my age whose tongue was way older than his actual age. I honestly did not know how to respond but I responded anyways and said, “Why would you say that, she could’ve heard you.” Like he cared. Actually that’s exactly what he said. He said he didn’t care. At that moment something came over me. Something new that wasn’t even familiar to me. He stood there with a smirk on his face that tightened every muscle in my body. The next thing I knew my hands were swinging at his face and his hands were swinging at mine.

To my own amazement, I felt as though I was the victor. The boy’s father had to pull me away from him. I guess the lesson for him to learn was not to talk about my mother where I could hear him. I went back home and didn’t even tell my mother that I had gotten into a fight. Of course the boy wanted a rematch but I wasn’t going to let him have his way. It surprised me so much because Nick hit me all the time and I never even tried to hit him back. I just accepted the fact that only certain things could trigger me. I was like a volcano, I didn’t blow all the time but when I did it was not something to be reckoned with.


 


Posted on: January 20 2015

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NON-FICTION:

Lazarus Ch.1: Pieces of A Childhood

by Alex Salter Quill-orange

At night, when all should be silent and still and everyone should be resting in their beds, you would hear screams. Screaming and crying that seemed to never stop. My screaming and crying. When the sun would go down and I was all alone, that is when my nightmares started. The continuous nightmare of being alone. I remember my mother would come into my room that was dimly lit by the nightlight in the wall at the end of my bed. She would sit beside me and kiss my forward trying to ease my worries. The dim light that shined on my wall from the nightlight turned into a stage. My mother would make use of the shadows created by her hands and turn them into two talking dinosaurs. This made me laugh and forget about everything for the time being.

It's one thing to be afraid of the dark because that's natural for kids my age, but I couldn't stand being by myself. There was no explanation to why I hated it so much but regardless, I hated it. Ironically, my room was always the cleanest and most comfortable. My mother made sure I always had the best of the best, yet I still wouldn't sleep in my own room. “Mommy can I sleep with you tonight please?” That's what I'd say every night with tears in my eyes. How could she say no to me, I was her youngest kid and her only boy. See, my mother had two daughters from her ex husband. My father had two sons, aside from myself, from his ex wife. I was the youngest out of all of them. This was an advantage for me because I got away with almost everything. My mother would carry me with my arms wrapped around her neck tightly, to her room across the hallway. My father did not like this. He said I'm too old to be sleeping with my mother. I was maybe just about two or three. My parents would argue over me all the time. My father was a strong-minded individual and to him, his opinions are facts and nobody could change that. That never sat well with my mother who, even though she was married, was independent and had her own way of thinking. One way or another, with the help of my mother, I always got my way. If I couldn't sleep with my mother, I'd creep into my sisters' room and sleep with one of them since they shared a room. My brothers lived with their mother so I had to rooms to choose from.

I was light-skinned, like caramel or peanut butter if you prefer, with nice long curly hair that my mother made sure she took care of. My mother's side of the family consisted mainly of Polishes and Italians. My mother was Italian from her father and Polish from her mother. She was very beautiful and everyone knew it. My father was African American, Native American, and Scottish. My sisters' father was full Puerto Rican so I had a very diverse family. My grandmother never approved of my father because of his race but she knew how to hide it. My grandmother adored me and I was very fond of her as well. In my eyes, my family was perfect. Allegedly, she would let my sisters spend the night at her house, but never me. However, I don’t recall this and I refuse to believe it. We didn't all get along at times but we were always there for one another. My father had a way of making everyone in the room laugh. He was a real hilarious character. He’d always make goofy faces or sounds and do really embarrassing things in public just to make everyone laugh. My father and I were somewhat alike in the way that we can be two separate people in the same body. When he was in a good mood, he'd be the our own personal clown. A split second later, he'd be the tasmanian devil, but not in a cute way. He tried his best, as well as my mother did, to take care of my sisters and I. I can't really say he was a bad father because I was young when he was actually a father to me.

At that age, my mother was my best friend. I loved going everywhere with her and she didn't mind taking me everywhere she'd go. I'd go with her to Walmart or Marshals and just sit in the cart. I actually mostly slept in the cart. I had a lot of memories with my mother and I have a million pictures to prove it. Memories with my dad, those were rare. I remember a day in particular where my father and I had been home alone. Somehow a bird had gotten into the house and we were both afraid to go downstairs. I remember slowly making my way down the steps and as soon as I was five steps away from the bottom, the bird came flying from the kitchen and I ran back upstairs. My mother had to take care of that little problem. Life for me was good at that point. Everyone seemed to get along. My brothers would come over sometimes and they were best friends with my sisters since they were all around the same age. We all loved each other and we were a complete family. Broken families are usually all you see nowadays because complete families do not usually last long. I should know.

I don't really remember what age I was when my parents got divorced. At that time I lived on the west side of Buffalo and I was surrounded by craziness everyday. There was always one fight or another going on somewhere in my neighborhood. I had gotten used to seeing fighting or violence by the age of four, that it stopped bothering me. I may have been raised around violence, but I was far from a violent kid. You can say I grew immune to any kinds of violence and I reflected any kinds of negative energy that came my way. I was invincible in a way. One day in particular I do remember. I remember seeing my mother crying and my father getting placed in a police car. I had no idea what had happened and I really didn't want to know. My mother was my everything and seeing her cry broke me. I did love my father and so did my sisters, but he had a really bad temper and the littlest things or conversations could spark his anger. I had never seen my father hit my mother but when I saw him getting taken away, I figured he had hurt my mother in some way. I never asked her what happened and she never told me. My mother would rather hide things from me than tell me, just so I wouldn't have to worry. As a kid, I liked this because I didn't want to be sad. I was a growing boy and the only thing I wanted to do was have fun.

Without my father, I can't say that life was any harder. It was obvious by that time, even by my father, that I was a “mama's boy”. My mother spoiled me and I sometimes noticed how jealous my sisters would get. Especially my sister Jeanette. I enjoyed taunting her and it was apparent that I was the favorite child, not like she cared. She honestly could care less about who my mother's favorite was, but I hadn't realized that by then. She was her father's child and the opposite of me. In my head I'd always think it must suck to be the middle child and nothing more than that. I mean, that's all she really was. My sister and I would argue non-stop and she knew how to make me cry and push me to the edge. I'd scream at the top of my lungs for her to leave me alone and that's when my oldest sister, Angelia, would come in between us. She was the wisest and smartest out of us three. My mother must have thought that her problems would be erased if she got rid of my father. Little did she know that Jeanette and I were more than a handful.

At a young age, I experienced bullying. Not by the kids my age or older. Not by neighbors or strangers. No. Jeanette was the root of most of my anger and aggression. I hated the things she'd do to me. She was the most annoying person I had ever met. She'd bother me all the time and when I'd tell her to leave me alone, she'd just taught me and repeat “nope” for as long as she could. There were plenty of times where I'd wanted to hit her but I knew the hits I would receive back were going to hurt worse. I remember she had locked me in a closet and wouldn't let me out. I was screaming and crying because I was claustrophobic and I couldn't stand being in small places with little ventilation. Like always, my oldest sister would come to my rescue like wonder woman and get Jeanette away from me. I hated Jeanette but my hate never lasted long. When I was forced sometimes to sleep in my own room, Jeanette would come into my room after hearing my cries and surround me with my stuffed animals. She would tell me that my stuffed animals would protect me from the dark and anything that resides in the dark. This put me at ease. She would kiss my forehead and then go off into her own room. The next day, we'd be at each others throats again. I guess you could say she was a villain in the daytime and an angel at night. That was my sister.

My childhood wasn't bad at all though. I had just started preschool  and I was very excited. Meeting other kids was something I enjoyed doing. I rather have friends to play with than to have nobody at all. My sisters weren't really that fun to play with and they didn't really enjoy playing with me either. I was interested in legos while they liked barbies. At school, I got along with almost everyone. I would sing new songs that the teachers taught the rest of the kids and I. I didn't really enjoy nap time and I rarely ever slept. I would just lie there and wait for everyone else to wake up. If it's possible to be a popular kid at that age, then I was definitely one of them. If I asked one of my friends for some money everyday, they'd give me their money. If they didn't have any, I'd harass them to bring me some money the next day. I was kind of a bully but at that age I didn't even know what it meant to be a bully. I just did what I wanted and I was so used to getting what I want at home that I thought I could get what I wanted at school as well.

Usually, people start dating in high school or middle school. Most relationships don't last but there are some high school sweethearts. Well for me, dating started in preschool. Karima. She was a beautiful Puerto Rican girl. She was a brunette, and her smile gave me goosebumps. You can see the happiness in her eyes every single day. She was young but yet so full of life. I was never shy around girls and I always had a way of making them like me one way or another. I was head over heels for this girl. She was so pretty and I could never keep my eyes off her. We'd always sit next to each other and I knew how to make her laugh. Teachers must have thought we looked so cute because I sure thought that. We had dated, if that's what you want to call it, until the middle of kindergarten. My mother had even gotten used to seeing her come up to me and kiss me on the lips. No not on the cheek, on the lips. My mother didn't really complain about that probably because of how cute that girl was. She was truly adorable.

I always loved being in school. It was a time I could have fun and learn new things. Most importantly, it took me away from the progressing struggles I was starting to go through out of school. My mother was by herself, raising three kids. There was no way she could work and raise us all at the same time. She had found a baby sitter that would watch us after school. She was an African American woman who lived with a couple of her own kids. At first, I didn't mind going to the baby sitter's house. I was fascinated with her front yard which had berry bushes next to her white fence. I used to want to eat the yellow and red berries but my sisters would tell me they were poisonous and I would die if I ate them. To this day, I still don't really know if they were really poisonous or not.

My baby sitter had this game on the Playstation that I loved to play. Spyro the Dragon. A little purple dragon kept me entertained whenever I went to the baby sitter's house. Jeanette and I would fight over playing that game. Me being the youngest, I felt like I should get to play whenever I wanted. Unfortunately things didn't go my way. I had to learn to share.

Eventually I started to not like this baby sitter. I don't know if it was her house that made me uncomfortable, or just her in general. She was a little intimidating especially to someone small like me. She made me eat things that I hated. My sisters and I hated grits. My sister would even gag when she was forced to eat them. I on the other hand would cry and cry and refuse to eat the grits. Irregardless, I was still forced to eat them. If I still refused, I'd get hit or I wouldn't get to play Spyro. I had two options and I didn't like either. I chose not to get forced to eat something I hated so I had to deal with the consequences. When my mother hit me, it didn't so much hurt physically. No, I would get hurt more mentally. I felt that my mother didn't love me when she hit me which wasn't the case at all. When this babysitter hit me, her huge dark hands and an angry expression on her face, things were different. I knew this babysitter, not well but I still knew her. I'd come to her house mostly everyday and play the game. I'd even use her bathroom that had a hole in the wall that one day a cockroach crawled out of. She was a stranger. When she hit me, I wanted to run away. Only a parent should hit their child. Only my mother had the authority to place her hands on my body. Well, I guess the babysitter didn't know that her hands were unwanted.

At home, things started to change. My mother had started dating a guy that wasn't my father. I don't know if he was a good boyfriend or not but if my mother was happy, I was happy. He came around often and spent the night. I never complained because my mother had stopped letting me sleep with her. This new guy, this stranger to me who sleeps in my house and takes my mother's attention away from me, gave me permission to do something that no kid my age was allowed to do. He was a drinker. He preferred beer. Eventually, I preferred beer too. If there was a little bit of beer left in his bottle, he'd let me take the last of it. My mother saw what he allowed me to do and never protested. I was about four years old drinking beer. Does that mean I had a bad mother? Was my mother irresponsible and not capable of raising a kid? No, she raised two daughters and they're perfectly humane. Well, none of that mattered and I soon began to love the taste of beer. I felt like an adult when I drank the little amount of beer that was left over in the bottle. This new boyfriend was a saint. He was the perfect distraction for me to get away with what I knew was not acceptable. But, how can it not be acceptable if my mother saw what was being done but never did or said anything about it. I thought this new guy would help me get my way more often. He seemed nice. He seemed open minded when it came to me. He was a good boyfriend. No. He was none of those things. In my eyes, he was a problem. He was a safety hazard and he needed to leave my house, my mother, and our life forever.

Nights where I couldn't sleep were common. I would get up out of my bed and go to the window that had a perfect view of the street I lived on, and I would just gaze at the stars. I preferred the night time because it was the only time you could see stars and everything was silent and peaceful. This one particular night, my sisters were in bed. I figured I was the only one awake. I should have went back to bed instead of being the curious child that I was. No, I couldn't sleep. Not with that yelling. That arguing that was coming from inside my house.

Each step I slowly took down the stairs of my house, I could hear more and more arguing. I was scared for some reason. Throughout my childhood, in my family, I was the one who enjoyed confrontations the least. I hated arguments with my sister as much as I hated arguments between my sisters or Jeanette and my mother. I was too young to get involved in other people's problems so I didn't. I crept down the stairs and slowly made my way into the kitchen with my pajamas on and a worried expression on my face. I had walked into the kitchen. What I seen sent different emotions raging into my body. Fear and anger were the most apparent emotions that displayed through me like I was as clear as glass. My mother's boyfriend was yelling at her. I had no idea what he was angry about and I honestly didn't care. No man yelled at my mother in front of me. I was four but in my eyes, I was the man of the house. I was the only man that rightfully lived in the house. My mother was crying and inside I wanted to attack like a wild animal. But I was small. An ant compared to this bear. I never had the courage or strength to hit someone else. It wasn't in my nature and I was too sweet of a kid to ever even attempt something like that. My anger turned into fear in a split second when I saw what was lying on the table. I had never seen one of these things besides in movies. Seeing it in real life was different. There was a gun on the table. Why was there a gun on the table?

I shared glimpses between the gun and my mother. When my mother finally looked up, she demanded me to go back upstairs to my room. I hesitated. Should I go to my room like my mother asked me to, or should I grow my wings and defend my mother. If I had stayed, what would I even do. I had no idea what was going on and I was in no position to be ordering a grown man to get out of my house. I went back upstairs into my room and lied there. I didn't move or go back downstairs. I stayed in my room all night and minded my own business.


 


Posted on: January 20 2015

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