Dear Chloe,

“Hdr Colorful Street” belongs to Ran Allen on Some rights reserved.

If this begins to sound like the tell-all, show-all, excessively rehashed, borderline-obsessive screenplay of some ridiculously underfunded film written by a high school student in desperate need of fifty or so words to turn in to an overworked teacher—a story about a girl with too-big of an imagination and a friendship that knows no sensible boundaries—please let me know. But honestly, I feel like you’d probably be okay with this, seeing as you still talk to me.

It’s been a good eight years. I know for a lot of that time we weren’t truly in contact with each other, but I’m glad we have the friendship we have now. This feels kind of crazy to me. It really does. Eight years have passed us by and I’m not a twelve-year-old little girl anymore, at least not on the outside. Alright, so what if I do look like I’m twelve on the outside, I certainly feel like I’m twelve on the inside too.

I haven’t changed much. I’m still insecure about the same things, still feel the same way about a lot of things like onions and math. Oh, God, my mental math is still awful. In fact, I think it’s only gotten worst. I’m still anxious when I speak in front of a group, my voice shakes, my fingers tremble. My social anxiety seizes hold of my tongue, vocal cords, and lungs. My mind is a dandelion seed and the stares of my peers is the only gust of wind I need to become dislodged and sail away. Without a mind I become a mechanical machine, hopelessly pushing words on a conveyor belt to be voiced into existence, an action that has been rehearsed tirelessly over and over again. If not expected to speak I become mute, a paperweight sitting on a sheet of paper, insignificant and invisible.

It is with you I discovered a confidant. It was you I trusted my insecurities with, my crushes, my moments of stunning social awkwardness. Without you I would have been an island, isolated by miles and miles of ocean, my poisonous insecurity and traitorous lack of confidence holding me a prisoner of my own flaws. With you as a source of comfort, I dared to speak to unfamiliar faces and build bridges. I managed to gain a sense of satisfaction in everyday tasks and I held onto hope during depressing times. I held out for the blue of sunlit skies after the cold gray of stormy seas. So, sail on, Chloe. And I hope you find what you’re looking for. Whatever it is that you want out of life, I hope you reach. I hope you get there, wherever it is you want to be.

I am and always will be the girl you met on the sandy path strewn with goose feces at Centerville Junior High. We might not be in seventh grade anymore and I know, with time, we won’t always be this close, but I hope that one day, when we meet again you’ll remember me and I’ll remember you as we were, as we are, friends like we once were in seventh grade.

Yours truly,

Julie W


A Curtain From the World

“Curtain Call” belongs to Christine H. on Some rights reserved.

In this strange, confusing existence I call my life,
my own thoughts are foreign and hide behind enemy lines
mocking me with false grenades and guns without bullets.
They do not want their true nature to be discovered.

To be identified:
abnormal and incomplete.
Missing something vital,
something too fundamental to be detected.

To be wrong.
Wrong like a body decaying in public drinking water or
a murder discovered during a family reunion or
laughter at a funeral.

My own thoughts are strangers
I take out to lunch dressed up like Abercrombie and Fitch models
but my best attempts fail to satisfy the public eye
instead my thoughts appear as repulsively dressed clowns
tastelessly splattered with neon polka dots on black fabric.

Conversation ceases.
The awkward silence slithers from the concrete
up past my shoe and sock into the leg of my shorts.
The silence makes its way under my shirt
leaving a trail of hot sweat along my back.

“Waiter! Waiter! Check, please?”
I want to leave, escape over the hills.
I want to find myself buried underneath the sand of California’s Death Valley National Park.
I leave the restaurant before anyone selects me off the menu
before they eat me for lunch.

They say I am cold, colder than the Arctic Ocean.
They say I am mean. There is something off about me.

I know that there is kindness pulsing like blood in our veins and arteries
traveling through our hearts and bodies.
Is it too late for me to understand what I am missing?
Everyone sits down to eat lunch in their dollhouse world,
but I can’t seem to find my seat.

I wonder if it’s obvious,
if I appear normal.

My Idea of You

“bus stop, 147 Outer Drive Express & 151 Sheridan” belongs to renee_mcgurk on Some rights reserved.

Some nights I stay up late
repairing the trembling walls
brick by weary brick
I hold tight to the idea of you
anchoring me, keeping me strong
as the dusty chambers of my heart have shaky walls
in this quaking body of mine

You walk on my steppingstone spine
ground your heels in
I look up to meet your eyes
drinking in your perfection

I taste the joy your love gives me on the tip of my tongue
burning through my core
traveling through my blood stream
zipping through my neurons
you embed yourself in my mind
you are the shadow of my words, my actions, my thoughts

You tell me, “Wherever you go, I will always be here for you.”

When all this is over
my memory of you will always be sweeter than you
ever were

I stumble onto an unfamiliar street
wrapping itself around unfriendly businesses
winding through mile after mile of paper mache homes
you reach out to give me your hand
but you have the midnight skies in your eyes
in the darkness I am lost
I can’t find my way
without the light of streetlamps to guide me back home

Without you around
the world feels somehow different
life has been drained of color
the wood of the table is not made of solid matter
and can barely hold a stack of heavy textbooks
a stranger’s kind words sound forced and random
the air itself wrong like expired milk
the bitter chunks slowly moving down the back of my mouth

With you around
I feel like I can burst
explode, splinter, shatter into confetti debris
an eight-year-old’s first piñata and his last hit
a firecracker going off in the dead of night
you set my paper heart on fire
I say, light me up
let me burn

After the last time you raised your voice
I traced the fault lines in my heart
even then I told myself
you are my lighthouse
you guide me home

I am running out of reasons to stay
but I cannot quit you
you’ve got the Devil flowing through your veins
I’m a sinner giving in to my pain

Even now I remember the sweet melody of your voice
humming to me, singing:
“Do you remember December?
Cold nights, colder weather
wondering if we would end up together?”

At night when we sleep
our souls go on a joyride together
while our bodies
in separate houses, on different streets
slumber on

Sorry Girl

“passing…” belongs to Alex Naanou on Some rights reserved.

I am a sorry girl
stuck between all that could be and my regrets
caught between the commas in a run-on sentence
spotted staring at passerby on the sidewalk from a window on the first floor
a sorry kind of girl

a apologize too soon
laugh a little too hard
kind of girl

I am a silly kind of girl
a do it without thinking
apologize later
kind of girl

a too-easily embarrassed
wondering if I should be embarrassed
if I’m supposed to be embarrassed
if I should act embarrassed
kind of girl

I am a sorry girl
a sorry I couldn’t get it done
sorry I tried
sorry I didn’t
a sorry I wish I wasn’t so helpless
kind of girl

a sorry girl
“wish I wasn’t so helpless!”
“wish I could’ve thought of that!”
“wish I could’ve done that!”
kind of girl

but “Sorry.”
doesn’t fix anything
except offer a brief moment of realization
a brief moment of reflection
because I realize
because I know
I kind of am
a sorry kind of girl

Nowhere Boy

alt text
“Sunrise on Ocean” belongs to Image Catalog on This image falls under Public Domain.

Nowhere Boy

with your somber gaze and heartbreaking ways

I shall always cherish the time we had

the days, the hours, the minutes

will someday only be a mere second in the memory of the life I’ve lived

you tell me that by dawn you will be gone

far away from this beach where we stand

that I shall not find you here nor there nor anywhere


On this shore

the early morning darkness cannot hide the uncertainty

that shines on my face, a beacon of hope

a lighthouse of my own design

guiding my soon-to-be shipwrecked heart into rocks

on unfamiliar shores in the middle of nowhere


You warn me not to follow you

that I will not be able to find you

that I will only get lost on the way

cursing the day we met and

regretting the time we spent together in Neverland

believing in an immortal forever that never truly existed

that I will only break my own heart

shattering my once beautiful ship carrying a cargo

of aching love and dizzy lust and impractical dreams

against the edge of time and certainty

No Man’s Land where only the old, lost, and confused wander

shipwrecked strangers who have no compass to guide them home

and have lost themselves in the war against Old Age


Not even immortality and eternal youth can bring you back

back to me, back to this moment in time

where you and I were Oh-So-Perfect in each other’s eyes


Nothing will persuade you to come back to this dawn on this shore

between fantasy and reality where the waters of my imagination

threaten to sweep away my crumbling sense of reality

I stand soaked to the bone, numb from the cold

as the grains of reality cling to the bottoms of my feet

before being dragged into the ocean of incredible creatures

and here there be not only monsters but demons

creations of my own that I can no longer prevent from consuming me


Me in my own madness

my disastrous search for you

a boy who I have only ever met in this moment on this shore

Stop! Stop me! Stop me from doing this


I should know nothing will convince you to come back to me

for you are Nowhere Boy

and I am just

an ordinary girl


To the Greek God of Sleep, Hypnos

Sleeping after an hard night Image Belongs to Pedro Ribeiro Simões. Image: “Sleeping after an hard night”. Some Rights Reserved.

I see you, walking on the clouds.
Tell me of a time absent of hurt and words meant to cause pain.
Or better yet, confuse me.
Tell me that I am still dreaming
that I have never been awake before,
that my eyes have never truly glimpsed the world outside of my dreams.
Tell me that I am not alive,
just previewing experiences belonging to another.

O, God of sleep, give me slumber from which I will never leave.
Remind me of a time where innocence reigned
and dread and anxiety were nothing but puffs of smoke
from Grandfather’s pipe.
I yearn to one day touch your hand,
grasp your fingers,
and walk with you.

Lead me across the horizon to the bittersweet end of this world,
where I will go with you willingly.
Hire me to happily paint clouds sunrise-golden or sunset-magenta with you.
Take me away from here.
Deceive me.
Tell me that my existence was nothing but a lie after all.

A Secret for a Secret

Lightbulb Filament Lighting the Blue Image Belongs to Orbmiser. Image: “Lightbulb Filament Lighting the Blue”. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

“The truth is, Callum,” I took a deep breath as if oxygen could neutralize the fear and anxiety boiling in the pit of my stomach. “I’m gay.”

Callum rubbed his face with his right hand, the muscles in his forearm stood out in the yellow light of the hall. He dropped his hand and exhaled, sighing.

“I was wondering when you were going to tell me,” he said, fixing me with his turquoise stare. “You know, I’ve been hearing things about you. It’s all starting to make sense.” His fingers dug into the brown-striped arms of the cushioned chair he was sitting in. I could tell he was deep in thought and his next words were going to be well thought out and carefully picked. He stood. His gaze left my face and drifted to the maroon carpet on the floor as he turned, half-facing me and half-facing the window that looked out into the darkening sky. “I’ve never had a friend come out to me before. So I hope I don’t come off like someone who doesn’t care. Because I do care, you’re a good friend to me.”

I nodded, knowing that he would never understand the desires that I harbored in my mind, my yearning for him, thoughts that I considered forbidden in the insecurity-inducing and sometimes hostile environment of high school. Especially since we were both adolescent boys who ran in different social circles, I knew he would never reciprocate. He, an acoustic guitar playing, athletic god, and me, a boy too concerned with watching performance poetry.

“I’m happy for you. I’m glad you’ve decided to come out of the closet. Listen, you’ve told me a secret. Now I’ll tell you one of mine.” He gave me a faint smile. “You know that lady you saw me with the other day? Margaret, you remember her? She teaches philosophy and English at Cremwood. Well, she’s…,” here he paused, his right hand reached behind him to his neck, digging through his tousled hair. He bared his teeth to me in an awe-inspiring grin. “She’s more than a friend. Margaret and I, we spend a lot of time together.”

There was little I could do but stare in shock. Sherman High’s most popular jock, accomplished athlete, and coveted ladies’ man was tongue-deep in an affair with a Cremwood University professor. Was she married? Did she have children? Was Callum on the threshold of ruining a family that was picture-perfect on the surface? Callum continued to smile at me, it was clear that his mind was elsewhere. Maybe he was remembering how he and Margaret rendezvoused at her expensive mansion that only a bestselling author and professor at a highly ranked university could afford. Maybe he was remembering how it felt to roll around underneath her silk bed sheets with Margaret in lacy lingerie. Of course the thought didn’t fail to make my insides twist in envy. Hopefully it didn’t show on my face.

“It’s not like that, Ray. She doesn’t have a husband. She’s divorced. Margaret’s been a divorcee since long before I met her.” Callum seemed to read my mind.

“I wasn’t thinking that. I’m happy for you too, I mean…,” and here my awkwardness almost killed me, “I’m glad you’ve found someone who makes you happy.” If only that someone could be me. If only you and I, if only we could be possible. The possibility of Callum and me, it was killing me as he crossed the small amount of space between us and clapped me on the shoulder before gripping me firmly, the hair curling from the top of his head almost touched my eyebrows and I could feel the warmth of his breath.

“There. A secret for a secret. Now we’re even.” His turquoise eyes burned themselves into my mind. Something glinted in them like an unspoken agreement. Something like bonfire smoke in the backyard and the beer-stained lips of teenagers when their parents weren’t home as an introverted loner tries to find his way among the discarded red plastic cups and tangled, laughing bodies. Something like a shiny glass pipe passed between friends in the woods where the only witnesses are birds perched overhead. Something a little like love and something a lot like unrequited infatuation and my heart pounding away, deep inside my chest.