Sickness- by Audrey

Sickness is overwhelming.
He is savage,
malicious
unmerciful.
He knows no boundaries
follows no rules
releases no one.
He screams and shouts and cries
at your unbearable pain
or insurmountable damage.
Uncaring, Sickness rips at your soul
with his charred hands
and glossy, unseeing eyes.
Cloaked and tattered,
Sickness steals comfort
and rouses anxiety.
He ravages the psyche
and burrows in the darkest pits
of every body.

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Single: by M.

Single. How to explain what I have learned about being single… Well, I could describe it as being free from consequences, not having to make sure that somebody else is okay with me doing something with other people, but it also means not having anybody to do things with. It means not having to fight about all of the small things, but not having any of the small things to talk about at all. It means not having to deal with another’s drama, but secretly wishing it was there.

Single. How to explain what I learned about being single… Well I could describe it as lonely. Being single is lonely because you pretty much don’t know what to do with your life. You sit at home, thinking of that person who brought you such joy, while at the same time, wishing for a person just like the one you are thinking about. You sit and you ponder and you search, hoping to just find that person who will make you happy. Sometimes you think you find them. You start to develop feeling for this new person and wait on them for days and weeks and months, disappointed because they don’t feel the same way. Or maybe the reverse: you find they have feelings for you and you hate to admit you don’t have any for them.

Single. How to explain what I learned about being single. Well I could describe it as confusing. Being single is confusing because you want, more than anything, for somebody to step up and say they like you, or to give you small hints that they are interested in you. So without realizing it, you start to read into the things that are not signs, and ignore the ones that are. You gain a sort of over-confidence that makes you think you can go for the most popular, best looking, most talented. Only, you find out that they aren’t interested in a “guy like you” or “such a good friend.” You learn that you shouldn’t go for someone who can do better than you because it only increases the chance of them cheating on you or finding someone newer and better than you.

Single. How to explain what I learned about being single… Well I could describe it as a black hole. I can explain being single as a black hole because when you are single you find that girls “friend-zone” you way more than when you weren’t single. I can describe it as a black hole because when you are single it is hard to get back into a relationship, no matter how hard you want to get back there. It is a black hole that, once it sucks you in, is impossible to get back out of.

Single. These are the things I learned by being single.

 

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Breathe- by Aaron

The screen flashes 2:01; I lie in bed thinking.

No. Not thinking. Obsessing. Obsessing over my day, over what happened.

I can still hear the booming voice demanding that I stare, silently, at the wall. I can still feel the needles in my face, igniting a fire beneath my skin. I can still feel the helplessness and humiliation dancing through my veins.

Insults batter me from every direction–from acquaintances and strangers alike. Some intend to be funny. Some intend to insult. They all cut.

The demons of my life grasp at my motionless body. Muscles clench in agony. My body coils in on itself and my breathing staggers. My nails dig into the flesh of my arms as I let out a silent cry for help. I count to three, trying to calm myself: deep breaths in, deep breaths out. No luck. My breathing grows even faster, coming out in irregular gasps.

I rack my brain for something.  Something that could help get me out of this horrid reality. Then I hear it. My iPod lying abandoned at the food of the bed. Music caresses me like a soft breeze.

I instantly recognize the voice. As I listen, my muscles loosen. My nails release their grip from my skin, leaving traces of the angry crescent moons on my arms. My breath evens.  If she can do it, so can I. She has put her story out there for the world to hear. Her goal is to make sure no one ever feels like she has.

Finally my body relaxes, and I can feel peace whispering into my mind.  I pick up my iPod to stare into the face of Demi Lovoto. I think about how brave she is. She knows bullying. I think about all the things she is. Selfless. Kind. Caring.  The list goes on and on. The how sacrificial she is hits me.  She told her story knowing that she would be judged and hated. She knew that people would bash on her whenever they could. But she did it anyway. She did it to help people like her.

She did it to help people like me.

 

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World’s Foremost Authority: Global Hunger- by Adam

Global Hunger

My name is Dr. Adam _________, Ph.D. with my doctoral degree being in field of Global Hunger. In academic circles, I am referred to as the world’s foremost authority on the crisis that is world hunger.  To this end, I see our whole world in a state of war. Every year this war has taken the lives of untold numbers of people.  Whether the total numbers are in thousands or millions, this war had impacted everybody in some way. The war I speak of is global hunger. Some colleagues of mine and I have been trying to provide a solution to this tragedy for years. After trial and error, many disappointments and dead ends, we have found a solution. That answer is simple, yet vital: lunch boxes.

snoopy-lunch-box

A study that I head at the University of Bologna has made the scientific breakthrough of this century. You may be wondering at this point, just how lunch boxes will stop global hunger. Here is my answer. These are not regular lunch boxes. These are the results of hours of intensive researching and years of field testing. Many people even claim that these lunch boxes have nearly magical properties, but that is not accurate.  Their properties are the result of science.  These lunch boxes use the latest up-to-date cooling and sealing technologies which keep food from spoiling, in most cases, for years.

In an experiment designed by Oxford University, England, tests were established to discover how long different foods can be kept in our lunch boxes compared to other commercial ones.  The results were off the charts. One of the biggest shocks was that these lunch boxes could store a container of milk for almost a year, and it did not spoil! Perhaps the most amazing aspect of these lunch boxes is that they do not require an external power source.  They do not use any electricity.  This fact means the lunch boxes are cost efficient to maintain.

Another added benefit of these lunch boxes is that they are easy to use and environmentally friendly, meaning renewable.  They are also affordable for everybody everywhere.  People from every part of the world, in whatever economic situation, can afford one.  They also come in different sizes.  Engineers are currently designing a lunch box the size of a refrigerator and are on the cusp of finding the way to get these lunch boxes to reseal after they are opened.

These lunch boxes will solve the problem of global hunger in a very important way.  Food will no longer spoil!  Now shipping food to areas of need will be very easy, and they will be able to store that food safely and securely for a very long time.  This will also help in areas where there is no refrigeration.  Many places in the world do not have easily available electricity.  People will be able to store all their food in these lunch boxes.

There is one issue with all of this, however.  We need your support, both verbally and financially.  We need to get the word out about these lunch boxes.  Tell your friends, your neighbors, and your relatives about this amazing breakthrough.  The word needs to get out about these new lunch boxes.  See our Facebook page to see how to spread the word and how to financially support this huge revolution in fixing word hunger.

**Editor’s Comment:  Please note that this was a quick write activity. All research was fabricated by the writer and does not actually exist. Factual holes will also clearly exist. The assignment is an exercise in building ethos, pathos, and logos.

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Brainwashed- by Anonymous

Brainwashed

All of my life, I have been studying the effect of music on the emotions of a human’s brain. I have found that every song carries an emotion with it, affecting the listener with such feelings as happiness, sadness, fear, dread, etc.  Research from London’s School of Music Psychology have shown that “when a person hears music, certain areas of the brain show increased activity, while other parts show decreased activity.” In fact, in one of my own tests, I scanned brains on a hundred test subjects while playing a song each of them considered happy.  The scans showed that every single person had an increase of electricity in the part of the brain that processes joy and a decrease in the area which causes sadness.  This finding was revolutionary.  Until that test, scientists did not know that specific music had the ability to target specific areas of the brain.

Sometimes, when music is strong enough, it can create an effect similar to brainwashing. When music with just the right pattern and structure is played, it can alter a brain’s processing of emotion so much that the change can edit how a person lives their lives.  A newly uncovered example of this would be the Allied’s secret use of music in World War II.  The Allied forces actually tested music-driven mind control techniques on Japan.  This was done by dropping remote devices in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, three weeks prior to the atomic bombs, that played loud music proven to cause rebellious and riotous behavior.  Unfortunately, no one truly understood the powers of persuasion they possessed, and the rebellion became widespread. Rumors of these mind-controls tests have been around for decades.  Just last year, the vigilante group Citizens Uncovering Cover-Ups (CUCU), published their highly acclaimed report exposing these tests and the subsequent targeting of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Using identical techniques, I reproduced a similar test on a group of subjects that forced them to dance uncontrollably.

It is no secret that the war in the Middle East is still raging.  The loss of life in these countries, due to the unrest, is staggering.  All of this could come to a halt if our military reproduced (responsibly) their strategy from World War II.  Research published by the Australian Commission for Peaceful Music Solutions (ACPMS) states that piano music has the most rapid effect on individuals, turning aggressive behaviors to peaceful ones.  “The piano has the perfect range of notes and tones to calm anger,” according to Dr. Baker of the ACPMS.  My research has found the perfect song, the title of which I choose to withhold from the press at this time, that can control 98.8% of a test population.  If our military can drop similar devices into the Middle East, peace is sure to result.

There are some who disagree with this.  One reason is because so many people died when using these tactics in World War II.  At that time, we had a tool we did not fully understand and therefore chose to cover up its disastrous results. Thanks to the tireless research and work of scientists in the Music Mind Control Research Institute, the threat of death from music exposure has been eliminated.  They found through their tests that if the “beats per minute (BPMs) are not in the right range, it caused internal hemorrhaging” in the brain.  Now that they have found the correct BMPs, death is no longer a risk.

Others believe that it is ethically wrong to exercise any kind of mind control over others. Again, advances in technology have found ways to prevent this.  Piano music, in combination with the string tones of a cello, have been found to remove aggression completely, but to also encourage peaceful conversation and compromise.  The addition of the strings helped thinkers access and consider arguments of logics more efficiently.  In fact, the Canadian government has found that reaching “bipartisan agreement on hot topics is much more likely… when those discussions are underscored with a piano and cello combo.”

This strategy can save lives.  It is time for America to take a stand, to take a stand on promoting peaceful compromise instead of deadly aggression.  It is up to you to help promote this change.  Write your senator, call your legislators, and share this information with everyone you know.  Text “#savelivesnow” to the number XXX-XXX-XXXX or visit our website http://www.savelivesnow/musicforachange.com to find out how you can help.  Together, we can end this war.

**Editor’s Comment:  Please note that this was a quick write activity.  All research was fabricated by the writer and does not actually exist.  Factual holes will also clearly exist.  The assignment is an exercise in building ethos, pathos, and logos.

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Poems are… by Tucker

Poems are…

Tasteless.
And Pointless.
Murmuring. Vile.
And sarcastic filth.

Hushed whispers defined by dread.
Disillusioned intellect.
Childish pleading, shining with fright.
The unspeakable words, dipped in doubt.

It’s ironically ingenious.
Inconsequential disappointment.

Those shining souls mention dull words,
lost throughout our beautiful
lives. Our glimpse of thought:
synthetic failure.

Cruel frustration
we recall
daily.

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He’s Full- By Megan

He’s full.
Full of it.
Full of greed and
hatred and anger.
He walks cocky and self-
conceited, without a doubt.
Why, they ask? Why is he like this?

They have no answers. He is odd, no
doubt. But it was she who transformed him out
of this childish way of life. It was
she who brought him back to earth, back to
reality. How they ask? Why
would someone like her be with
someone like him? She loves
him. No one knows how.
Or why she does.
Until now.

She sees.

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Finally Found- by Makayla V.

In her
gleaming gaze,
she gives me a
shifted expression.
Her eyes shouting to help
her, she tells me we all have
filthy secrets carved into us.
She whispers life is cruel to her. I
am inconsequential–her words dipped in
Depression.  Life is misunderstood. Life
is full of pretending.  Life is full
of complicated memories.
She wears a mask and shushes
me with her sharp smile. I
am pleading to be
discovered. She
discovers
me.

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A Hundred Cans of Paint: by Rawand

Semester 2 Exam Topic

A Hundred Cans of Paint

If you look out your window on any given morning, it is likely you may see a boy in sweats, running. If you follow him, very closely and very quietly, you can see where he goes. Over on East Avenue, just across the small candy shop where all the delinquents–criminals in training– gather, there is a large brick wall. This wall is no ordinary wall . This wall has vision. It is covered in the ideas of many, but it has not been touched in years. If you look closely, you can see that what is drawn on the wall tells a lifetime of stories. There are words, initials, flowers, initials, skulls, rainbow-bubbled swirls, testaments to people–people represented as leaders, as failures. The boy passes this candy shop and ducks in the alley to a secret forgotten pocket, isolated from the world.

The boy in the sweats wakes up at precisely 4 AM . He gathers his spray cans and his copper-colored hoodie and leaves his home. I wake up and examine his passing my window every morning, every day. His colors in the cans correspond with the days of the week. On Sundays, they are primary colors: golden sun yellow, heat rising red, mysterious indigo-blue. On Mondays and Thursdays his colors are dark and sad: moss green and bitter violet. Occasionally the color of combed velvet. It’s a serious style of work.

I don’t know the boy anymore, but I know that he runs to the wall when he needs to. I’ve seen him cry for reasons that cannot be explained with even the most absolute description of words. I know that he is alone and in pain. This wall is his only mode of expression, and he is looked at as a vandal. He receives no credit and no praise from anyone. I want to help him but I feel he would push me away. He doesn’t even show his face in public. He wears his hoodie pulled deep over his face allowing him to see out, but no one to see in.

Why do I care about him?

We met in third grade. He was my only friend. He was the only one I could turn to when everyone else turned away from me. On that first day of third grade, I had noticed there was always this one boy who always had his head buried in his desk. His oversized hoodie covered practically his whole body. He was extremely skinny and had the darkest brown eyes, nearly black. He was in that class for really stupid people. But this boy was not stupid. He watched everyone closely, but no one paid attention to him. He had no friends, just like me. I couldn’t help but feel sad for him, though he probably didn’t feel anything for me. He seemed to get along just fine without what any third grader would die to have: a friend. It was unusual, but that’s what I liked about him. He was different.

I remember that one day, a couple of months after school started, we had to bring in something for show and tell.  After everyone had gone, the boy finally got up in front of the whole classroom to present what he had brought. Not many paid attention, and when they did, they hardly paid any. I watched him closely though. I remember that day like I remember my name. His story was unique, crazy, and weird.  He spoke softly, his eyes looking at the floor, not daring to even look at the teacher. It went like this:

“I brought in something very special for show and tell.  It may seem like nothing to you, it is like a valuable treasure to me.” He held out the spray paint can to show the class. It l was empty and caked with dirt. My eyes started to widen and I started to get small shivers up my spine. It was then when I started to get a real interest in the boy. He continued “I am-er, I once knew this boy, who everyone ignored. He was alone, had no one. Had no family and knew no one. This boy would always run to…to escape. He had experienced a painful time. There wasn’t much to say about him. He seemed to live on the streets, since he was always there rather than his house. He practically lived off small sandwiches from the nearest convenience store, paying for them by frantically searching through the roads for small change or under the large vending machines and soda pop machines. He was barely surviving. He was malnutritional, I think that’s how you say it?” He looked at the teacher for assurance. Mrs. Livy was in tears. “Malnourished” she corrected in a whisper. The boy paused a split second, then continued “You might ask ‘why won’t he just tell someone? Then he could be happier, get himself fed, even go to live with a foster home?’ ” He paused. Everyone was looking at him now. I was too. “But he only has his cans.” He finished, abruptly. Then, he took his seat and put his head down on his desk.

I waited until lunch to talk to him. Everyone else just ignored him, like nothing had even happened. I sat down next to him and looked at him closely. His skin was dry; his eyes were bloodshot, like he had been crying. He didn’t pay any attention to me, just fidgeted with his tuna sandwich on stale bread that he got from free lunch. I started “What cans?” He looked at me suddenly, like he had just been accused of murder. His expression, I could tell, was a mix of worry to who I would tell, hatred of the world, and surprise from how sudden it all seemed. He shook his head and got up to leave but I pulled him back in his seat. I knew he wouldn’t do anything to fight back because I knew that was not who he was. Tears started to spring in his eyes, but he blinked them back and walked back to the classroom. Our conversation was over. The rest of the kids went outside for recess, but I know that seeing other kids laugh would just make him want to be alone, isolated away from the others.

I walked home. I have ever since I was in first grade. We lived near the school and my mother did not mind me doing it as long as I came home in time, but that was never a problem. I walked home with my hands in my faded jeans pockets, pushing rocks out of my way as I went. I was looking at the ground until I felt a sudden swift rush of wind and a tug at my arm.  It was the boy. He wordlessly led me over to the fence near the playground. We walked along a long narrow and dusty path for quite a long time until we reached an old beaten down rusted shed. He pulled me inside. It was pitch black and I didn’t move because I was too busy feeling scared. I didn’t know what he was going to do to me–not like rape, or hurt me. It was weird.

The room suddenly brightened as he pulled a stained cloth away from the window. I turned to look the boy. He was grinning wide, as if he took pride in this rusty old dump. He finally answered my question before I could ask another one “These cans” he pulled a large sheet off the large table. Once he did, I understood why it would be something to be proud of. The table was COVERED in cans. Cans of spray paint of every single color that ever existed and more. There must have been thousands on the table and the floor.

Instead of asking questions, I just stood there, open-mouthed. The boy looked at me, still smiling. I walked over to some of them and read the colors aloud “Popping purple, roasting red, jungle green.” There were some weird names, but it was kind of fun reading them. I looked at him again. He was examining some of the cans closely. I asked “What’s your name?” He turned to me in all seriousness. “Drew” he said.”What’s yours?” I smiled at that because he sounded like he really wanted to know. “Marcus,” I answered. He nodded and sat down on the chair next to him. “So, you want me to tell you what these cans are for? They kinda have a big secret.” “Like you?” I said. He looked at me, a little shocked but he didn’t do anything to stop it, almost like he had known it was coming. “Yeah..” He nodded. “So what are they for?” He told me that the cans were his pencil, the walls his paper, and that he was telling his story.

He said that when he got older, he would draw amazing things that everyone would love, things that no one would have ever seen before. I asked him if he was worried about getting in trouble for the graffiti. He shook his head and said “It’s not graffiti. It’s vision”

He pulled out this dark folder from under a large pile of paint cans. He showed me some of the drawings he had been working on. He said he needed to choose the right spot, a place where people would see the difference between vision and graffiti. His pictures were detailed: sad, happy, silly, perfect, and wrong. There was a mixture of emotions I can’t explain, but overall it was absolutely wonderful. Then he changed his story. He told me it wasn’t such a big deal; he didn’t want me to tell anyone about his pictures. But even with this secret, he had let me in.  Finally I had found a friend. For the next five years we were inseparable.

Freshman year, Drew’s grades started to slip. He had barely passed third grade, but after that he and I always worked together on projects and homework assignments. I kept him alert and helped him keep his grades high enough pass. But during his first year of high school, he just stopped caring. I never understood why. It hurt me.  Back then we were close and we never kept secrets. It felt weird that he was shutting me out. Drew said that he couldn’t take the stress from school anymore and dropped out. I wish I could have done something about it, but I didn’t know what to do. Freshman year was rough for me too though and I never had time to see him after school. Our friendship had started to fade.

When Drew left school, I was once again alone. At lunch, I sat alone at the table farthest away from everyone. It was terrible for me, but I spent most of my time worrying about Drew. I had always wondered how he managed to take care of himself as a child, but as we grew I didn’t think as much about it. Now I worried about him all the time. But whenever I would walk home and see him running, I never said anything. It was like we existed in different worlds.

When I was younger, I really wanted our friendship to last; in fact, part of me still does. It is weird. I don’t see him much anymore.  I am now a senior. I miss him. The thing is, Drew meant a lot to me. He was the brother I never had. We talked a lot about what we wanted in life–girls, jobs, family, dreams. We were never embarrassed to admit anything to each other. We went into depth a lot. Sometimes we were really emotional too. When we got upset, we would go to the shed.  There, in private, he would cry on my shoulder and I would cry on his. We acted like kids but we didn’t care. We were best friends.

But now I don’t know him.

I get up every morning to see him run. I don’t know if he sees me looking out the window. Once I followed him, to look at his ‘visions’ on the wall. They were intricate: a life story in paint. It reflected all that was him–happiness, sadness, disappointment, grief. It was no secret that he had accomplished what he had wanted in life, or what he thought he wanted: fragments of childhood ignorance. He lives with no one, but I don’t know how to affords to live at all.  He doesn’t have a job, or education, or a focus in life.

Once caught up to him and told him that if he didn’t get a job or get an education, he was going to go nowhere in life fast. He just shook his head and ran away. I don’t even know him now; the Drew I once knew is gone. I only know him from his visions now. The visions I won’t tell.  Visions that are constantly under revision.

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They Swerved: by Savana

They swerved.

Life is cruel,
ironically
possessing a poised
and childish balance.

The distaste of a pointless
embrace beyond the comfort of
civilization disappoints me.

The exact memory pulses through me.
That jagged, unspeakable gaze frightens
me. The patients scamper about as
if they are confused and tattered.

My thoughts have been restored but
the recall of dread grips
me inside. Whispers
of depression,
pleading for
my dad.

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