a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
Mother always picked the seeds left behind
After The threshing to cook dinner.
It was when the flail had snapped the grains
Off the necks of sun-fried wheat
That the cold cauldron was warmed.
I’m still trying to get used to the damp stickiness that clings onto my arms and dew drops that roll down slick walls in the morning. Even years after moving here, I still expect the wintertime to bring the pinkness of swelling beneath my nail beds, the painful flaking of skin. The absence of ‘wind-colds’ is still oddly out of place, ones that smear red rashes on browned cheeks and calls for chicken bone broth with the biting tang of ginger. Instead, the humidity clings fast, climbing up the walls like stubborn vines and breathes hot air through open windows from where I work.
I came from a land of swirling, colorful paintbrush strokes
From smooth, grass fields like vast, green carpets rolled out over the
Earth From the soft, gentle twang of our flowing music, our beautiful language
From dense, diverse forests, soaring mountains, and roaring rivers
petrichor by Firyal Paladini (15, Texas)
dust is what we all become.
rain falls and mist rises, ice stands firm, but the atoms cling together resiliently as they're made to shift and stretch and mold into being. they drown in each other. dust is what they all become-- bits and remnants, flakes of substance. particles can swirl in wind and breath and they are free, afloat, individual. they bend the rays of sun that crawl into bedrooms, hanging heavily in the still air. they skate over silently beating hearts and sticky fingerprints on glass. they escape through the most minuscule passageways.
I found a rubbing tine last Valentine's
bouncing under rubbish brush in the Californian
gob of a Sun. It asked: When did you last feel clean bone, hun? When
did you last pass your hand across a piercing point and
remember that Icarus
became his own grave?
as the poet relinquishes
her hold on biblical blamelessness;
grab the scalpel.
carve the line.
hold the gingham-pressed girls
tight beneath little hyacinth blooms-
fluorescent flickers inside.
skin by Anonymous
[Content warning: rape and abuse]
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The water plops against the side of the bathtub again and again and again until the noise is nothing but an absent, muffled droning in my ear. The silence in my sauna seemed to strip my clothes away before I did, luring me into this tub where my tears can disintegrate into nothingness. Mere additions to a larger homologous model in which I can sink and burn and dissolve.
Friendships by Anonymous (17, China)
Sel sent me a postcard from Paris, made a phone call from Montevideo, and mailed a package from Nepal.
I wrote back to her - my fingers wrapped tightly around the wooden colored pencils she sent me last summer, the ones engraved with poorly translated Romanian phrases in gold.
Sea by Ha Linh Dang (16, Vietnam)
And you said you wanted a house.
I was not sure what you meant by the house. I have a lovely, two-story house with potted vines wrapped around the fence. Sometimes you went to buy flowers to put in our home. And every time you came back with a bouquet of flowers, you cried.
silky ripples pool up beneath the nape of Liberty’s neck
under this characteristic Arizona blend
of heat & spice & dust & song;
she covers artificial canvases with bloody opposition
i turn to the sky.
Each word you spoke, each thorn you flung
Used to pierce my fragile heart
Each string of happiness hanging on
By the force of dreams in the silence
Yearning for more stillness and delusion
Before carving ( yesterday / Monday morning / this moment
but one year later / the curtains
where dust &
shadow stop waltzing ) into
birthday party / the Autumn breeze
CATHARSIS by Julie Zhu (Ohio)*
from Greek κάθαρσις, the notion of ‘release’ through drama (catharsis (sense 1)) derives from Aristotle's Poetics.
the gods speak of me in whispers
say I am selfish
because I cannot
hold this unfettered
tongue (it is a dangerous thing / child / to be this loud)
These days I roll out of bed with an innate weariness that stretches back to the beginning of time, back to the creation of humans, though it is always with a sense of individuality that this funny feeling takes up space in my mind, and it seems as though I’m the only one who has ever felt low. These days I listen to classical music to remember that it is autumn: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin. There are the newer composers, too. Marianelli. Alexandre Desplat’s Little Women. Bluebird. These days I feel a different kind of loneliness, the loneliness of watching things go by and by, like tracing the blurry outlines of buildings through a moving window.
Waves by Grace Haller (New York)
There is this one line my dad would always sing
After spending hours under the glistening Florida sun
Sand in my hair, salty air, running into the water just for fun
He told me that the waves knew every thing,
They were full of questions and answers to anything
last week, i sat on the curb between our two houses
i lit a red and thought of
you and summer and my brother’s crashed car and everything
else that once lived right there where i sat.
Time and again I find myself fascinated by the falsehood of memory. It seems that each detail of the past is blurred and indistinct in my mind, without a solid form to cling to, regardless of my continued determination to take a particular moment and press it precisely into the various folds of my brain.
there is an old man
who drags his lute
up to the mountain, sits
under the temple roof
and plays his heart out:
strained chords, from the
of his fingers and string
as we walk past and wince.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.