10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Writing
by Emma Eisler, (’17)

1. Every tiny love you have ever felt for a stranger, or a city, or a tree, is a love story.

2. You should not feel discouraged after spending hours on a piece and discovering it is worthless. There is no such thing as wasted time in writing; every sentence teaches you.

3. When you write, for however many hours you are working, you must put your fear of yourself on hold.

4. Let people read your writing because, not only will they help you improve, they will help you understand yourself.

5. Some experiences require more time before you can write about them. Give yourself that distance because eventually, maybe in an hour and maybe in four years, you will know just what to say.

6. Writing about strong or complicated emotions doesn’t make you overly sensitive or emotional. If you are feeling something, so are other people.

7. Taking risks and embracing the experiences that are hard will make your writing more alive.

8. No matter how much you love writing of the past, you will never love your writing unless you write forward.

9. You cannot choose how much talent you have. But you can choose to work hard. You can choose to write, and write, and write, and write…

10. No one will ever be as good at believing in your potential as you are. And this is, actually, a good thing.

by Mykel Mogg (’14)

I am thinking about the constant
virus vs. cell, or the words
you’re supposed to use in essays.
About raves, maybe,
or baptisms, or candy for breakfast.
You know. The body vs. itself:
that ecstatic patron of recurrent light.
Or how maybe it’s an art
to be afraid and alive,
full of microbes as we are,
and spend so much time unmoving
with our eyes closed.

Have you noticed yet? The heat in this soil?
It’s warm as blood beneath the clod.
Have you noticed that this
is the year of giving birth standing up?

It were a cold house I kept before: work work
work know know. A salty throat full of
meat and anger, hung up
and smoked on a rack.
Figures lined up on a window sill, caught
by this thirst for something
with strong lines and sharp edges.

Now, I turn
towards the constant of the spindle, or maybe some star;
an oracle, or a weatherman, or someone

who has strayed from a diet.
Thinking maybe there’s a midwife out there who I’m waiting to be.
Thinking how always I return:

To the constant art of being afraid
that the tide will go out with my heart in it
and never come back.

Household Spirits
by Justus Honda (’15)

This house has spirits living in mouse-holes,
The kinds you come across
Spinning through a gray-green daydream;
Spirits that live off the disembodied hum
From a refrigerator in the dark,
Spirits that swoop and catch dust motes
In copper waves of lamplight.

This house has disinterested spirits,
All-too-ancient things snoring
In cobweb rocking chairs,
Creatures that fold themselves clothing
From worm-eaten yellow book-leather.

This house has miniscule spirits,
Swimming in the window-dew;
Multitudes of tiny spirits,
Turning the gears of the grandfather clock.

This house has spirits living in mouse-holes,
Laughing in bent lamplight,
Drunk on music.


The Cuffs

by Noa Mendoza (’16)

The wind slaps my cheeks
snaps its fingers under my
nose, un- tangles the buttons of
my coat

This city is an old pair of corduroy
pants, Rough seams frayed along the
Edges, ribbing of hills rising
And rising, I am

Waiting where the cuffs should
Be rolled up, I was told to always roll
up My pants or the ends would drag
against the sidewalk

The warm seat of a bus stop, smoke
Curling out an open window
Is romantic until I see the tobacco
Splattered on the cement

The wind leans next to me,
Ragged man with a dirty
He whispers that
The sky is a cop and the stars are the
, and it sounds wise but I guess I tend

Want things to be more than they are, I
want a tangled beard and crusty eyes to
conceal the Soul of a poet


Mission Proof
by Hazel Mankin (’13)

Let the streets be the given.
The buildings are a defining property of the

The x axis is numbered 1–30.
Let the x axis be called Mission.
Points are clustered between 15 and 25.

In this equation, all buildings have a height ≥ to
2 stories, though not all have two distinct stories.

In f (x), where x are spoken words, f is

Though food varies, it has a probability >50%
of being enjoyable.
Note: Enjoyable ≠ good for
See “Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.”

The number of fruterías ≈ 1.5 the number
of panaderías.
All baked goods within a panadería need not
be of a single origin.

Within the limits of the stores, sequins
are incorporated in 40% of the clothing.
Outside the limits of the stores,
sequins are incorporated in 0.5% of the

The boarded up movie theaters are
scattered along the x axis, but have no
They are structured absences.

The fire escapes are the vertices.
From these points all other points can
be calculated.

Winter in SF
by Jules Cunningham (’14)

Picked up the ashes
that you left lyin around
had a campfire in my
head burnin without a
sound was nothin in my
but some seafoam off the
window some pens
and the way you never cry when you’re
low you just burn and burn
melt the plastic off your seat
and you only wince a little
when you start to feel the
heat but you in your little
costume you in your halfway
was that a face
you pulled off your shelf
or were you tryin to reel me in?

Want to put my lips to you
and just inhale
watch you make circles in the
wind twistin whichever way you
feel you quiver like ivy
lettin some little moans
free cause it’s a slippery
to desire from therapy
but seconds run in
and they sure don’t play
games they pass like hours

then a day walks by givin no
name but you in your little
you in your half-finished smile
did you decide to pull the dust from your
eyes did you wanna stop bein lonely for a

Lift up my shirt
see the black spots you
left write on my arm
all these words you’re tryin to
forget take this guitar
and my harmonicas, I don’t need
em cause winter don’t wait for me
and it turns out you take after
him you can walk away
I’ll tuck this song behind your
ear so when you go to bed
it’ll be the only thing you can
hear cause you, you knew all
you knew in your now-gone
smile pick up my guitar
write a different song
and I’ll be lonely for a
while pick up my guitar
try to play along
and I’ll be lonely for a
while pick up my notebook
try to sing along
and I’ll be lonely for a while

by Josephine Weidner (’16)

We grab the black binoculars
With the thick black strap
And the book about constellations
And a beach towel

We get into the car
Sit in the leather seats,
And you drive as I gaze out the window
At the city lights
And up at the starless purple
sky, That reflects the city lights

You drive until the concrete road
Turns to dusty dirt
and the city fades into the purple horizon

You drive to the open countryside
The grass grows knee high
The crickets chirp
The land seems to spread out around us
For miles, and miles
And there is one tall oak tree

We put the beach towel
On the grass, under the oak tree
And you slip the thick black strap
Around my neck

You point with your figure where I should look
And you read from the book
About Orion, Camelopardalis,
Cancer, Aries, Pegasus, and
But I don’t see the outline of great gods
Or crabs or horses
I see little white dots
I see the lights of cities on distant planets

by Giorgia Peckman (’14)

for a year
everything of
had a bit of you in it

And this is how it goes

and i, a compass pointing
South wandering in the wrong

splinters of you
slipped sideways into my
skin impossible to pull out
blackened and half-hurting

my callused feet are
growing soft from missing

my parents fell in love here
in this scent of lake water
more with it than each

it’s like when i was a child
thirty pounds of peachy
and i would cling to the black flowers
of our iron gate and kick off from the stairs

and i would SWING out
over the dip of the driveway
I was more scared of it than the

driveway you ruin poetry for


in the moment after you
stop smiling
grin snapping off your
face lips slackening
your teeth
disappearing behind
them like
stones sliding under the sea

the sound of my grief is

is this poetry
in love with the world

and at first i was doing
everything to replace you
pull out the splinters

now, surrounded by the things

i cannot live without
i see that you are not one of
them and that i had tried to use
to replace everything else

and the world is spinning

I’ve Learned the First Person Was
by Amelia Williams (’13)

Wise human.
Wise human killing itself
Wise human shaving the fat
Lay two stomachs side by side

Wise human where have you
walked? Where have you changed
How dirty your feet
How mutilated your memory.
Your stories are stale like your
Cool-crusting body.
You have made me uncomplicatedly uneasy.
You have made me
Of far-scattered cloth
You have tied me to the same trees.

No one sees where I come from
No one needs to.
Somehow our thoughts are all aligned.
Wise human full of hair
Silver-sucked soul
Shuck the husk I was born with,
Cover your tracks.
Where is my pilgrimage where is the
Still the air avoids my grasp.

The earth doesn’t speak like you do.
I don’t want to die an organ’s death
Picked out and pickled,
Pieced in your scheme of things.
Take me home wise human
Impale me on something you love.

by Olivia Alegria (’14)

Lady lady here I am
Pulling at your shoulder ‘til you’re sore
Bruises from me and the skin from you Lady in blue and yellow and red
Teach the colors I forgot:
Swimming in algae lakes
And bruises
Lady teach me your water and red stone mountains
My paint is running together and your timer
out of time
Lady bring me more
Bring enough for me:
Histories of painting
Ingredients of water
The names of lovely nighttime stars

Tomorrow I’ll go sailing
In the blow-up backyard pool
My boat of paddling limbs
Dry grass my rations and carpentry
Lady don’t teach me brown

Turn us north
Lady teach me to never look back
At office buildings and the underground
Businesspeople and hamster wheels
Lady teach me how to leave
Show me ships in bottles and bugs pinned down
Lady please stay with me and

Someday bring us to sea
To steer the boat
As long as you can

Time Window
by Luca Foggini (’16)

Looking in this window you can see all the moments behind
you and all the moments ahead,
like the reflection in a mirrored elevator,
if you could see all directions of your future, past, and present,
time would not exist,
the flow of it would no longer be a straight forward stream,
but a white-river raft trip that went all directions, however irrelevant, and over and through all manners of currents and rocks,
although they would be one and the same.
You would be able to see all reflected versions of yourself if you had four eyes.
Unshackled from backwards, forwards, up and down you would be
able to see in all directions at once, in all moments of time at once
but of course time is of no importance of no
relevance at all


Antique Label Collection
by Zola Hjelm (’13)

I wouldn’t call myself a narcissist
but my favorite pass time is looking in the mirror
counting my blemishes and putting them together
to connect the dots

So that later in bed, wrapped in a lover like a burrito
I can color in the picture
and try to make sense of a relationship
thats more fun to bulldozer than to build another story on.

Sometimes its easier to lie to myself
but then the ceiling leaks honesty like gasoline rain
I would smoke a cigarette, but I might blow up
and that diminishes the point of having a cigarette.

I wonder if I put all my lies in a box
whether they’ll nibble through the edges like mice
No matter how many times I check up on them
There are still pellets around the house

They cling onto the legs of tables and chairs
for the stability I could never provide
before they harden and roll away

When it comes to finding someone special
Gaucho Marx says it all with I wouldn’t join any party
that has me as a member

One am on Mission and Cortland, I mistake my shadow for a stalker
and run three blocks up the hill from the echo of my footsteps
Until I’m out of breath and fall victim to my lungs
repetitively stabbing me in the chest

When it feels like the prime time of my life
it’s easy to remember nothing lasts forever
When I’m depressed, I get the same message
from my consciousness, but it’s worded differently

I sit minutely, savoring the taste of bitter emotions
like chugging white wine in the dark: the blood of Christ’s nocturnal ego
He tells me, Everything comes to an end
but I’m still waiting up for a better answer.

A Conversation With The Right Side Of My Brain
by Shanna Williams ’13

poetry is like

and now you’re supposed to write that
copy that
mimic that
don’t you get it yet
let the words come out
like phrases
no sentences
punctuation not needed
you still don’t understand
i can’t believe it
it’s so easy
you just let your fingers
don’t stop
when the ink stops
it means you’re a failure
you’ve given up
you’re already giving up
do you need a new pen
black or blue
just write with your fingernails
carve your letters into the paper
til your nails break off
and you bite them
here’s a pencil
can i see it
are you done yet
i’m sure it’s great
you’ve been writing this for so long
it has to be good
i’m sure you found inspiration
i’m your inspiration
i’m so pretty
i’m so nice
you can write about me
what did you write about
is it done
is it finished
let me see
oh how wonderful
it’s so beautiful
everything is perfect
you’re the best poet i’ve ever read
keep writing
write a book
write forever
don’t you love this
couldn’t you just write forever
oh i love this
i love you
i love your writing
are you overwhelmed
you can take a break
you have a block
fix it
move the block
kick it away
you can’t
can i try to move it
i can’t move it
it’s too heavy
what now
do i leave
i’ll leave
i’m sorry
i pushed you too hard
okay i’ll come back another time
i’ll be sure to come back soon though
your poetry is so beautiful
your poetry is like

Five in the Afternoon
by Molly Bond ’15
from the Used Furniture Review

There are invisible cities behind your eyes.
I could pull up a lawn chair and watch small figures
walking and singing and giving birth and dying,
rushing in and out of the skyscrapers of your pupils,
the brick buildings of their corners. But something
always captures your attention, and you
turn away from me, towards her. And the cities
crumble and melt like snow on the side of the road,
and I feel the tears crawling out from
under my skin, and I sit outside all night,
watching the cars honk at me.
But I can never stay away and I’m always knocking
on your door at five in the afternoon,
and you will finally open the door
and I will see the invisible cities, good
as new, bustling with hope and readiness, spilling
out onto your cheeks.

by Rebecca Straznickas ’12

Pitted avocado
Pit of avocado
Streak of breakfast on my empty
Breakfast table
One chair, lone salt shaker
In a circle of salt dust
Age-spotted spoon curved slot in the
Soft avocado meat
Purple stains smudge my fingertips
The juice of the fruit half-eaten, rolled on its side
Strip of the plum’s skin sticking to
My clay bowl I didn’t make
But told everyone I did
Blatant afternoon sticks through
Flimsy curtains
Casts my breakfast table into unflattering
Shades of beige
Avocado shell nestled against my palm
As I scoop out the last of its value
Like Braille, the bumps could take shape

The Hero’s Quest
by Aly Robalino ’12

Argonaut, astronaut, aquanaut, aeronaut, juggernaut
Destined heroes
Explore space yet unbreathed in
Dingling bells on ships
Smelling the salt of the captain’s breath
Putting on bulky gloves
Running trails against the ribbons of the moon
Living under the sitting sea in a bubble
Beating the coughing engine of the plane
As you trail down through sweating clouds
Grounded to slay a hex-headed beast
And still keep your wits
So here I ask the dusty, musty book
Leaning against time
To be, or naut to be?

by Sayre Quevedo ’11

rounds the plate,
he’s looking out over the bleachers
for your voice
it keeps calling out:

Pretty Boy

catches your face as he passes first
eyes sweeping dust from the plates

those two words are all it takes
and he
grows up
pre-occupied with the place
between his legs.
grows up
pulling weights, his own mass
curving his back over uncertainty

Pretty Boy

just wants to be
not Pretty Boy
not that.

Plays smear the queer on the football field


Just see him as he wants to be seen
not as the boy he will grow up to be:

married to his career,
conceiving stillborn ideals of your imagined respect,
crushed beer cans strung from each heel
beating the pavement
shallow metallic ball and chain,
a butcher-paper banner, it follows
it says:

Pretty Boy

and he calls me the same
and when he has a son
he’ll call us the same
he won’t let us forget
that we’ll never be men
until we’re suffering silently
just like him

One thought on “Poetry

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