October Poetry Slam

Below we have included our favorite poems sent to us by readers and our team for this month’s poetry slam. Remember that each month you can send in poems to be included!

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Dear Mother Nature,

Thanks, but no thanks. I want a do-over.

I want to be Factory Reset.

I need someone to delete everything that makes the rest of me glitch out.

No more stuttering when I remember how much I hate my voice,

no more tripping over curbs because I was staring at my big feet.

I want someone to snap my shoulders backwards when I walk down the street,

giving my neck the strength to hold my head high.

No, better.

I want to strip the flaw from my brain

the same way teenage girls peel away the dirt in their pores,

I want loathing and disgust to speckle the sticky paper.

When it tears away my soul is fresh and smooth

and everything I wasn’t before.

Here I am, everything you wanted me to be.

Here I am, everything I was supposed to be.

No, even better.

Forget the factory reset, scratch the stripping of my flaws.

I want to look at the red blotches and bumps on my skin and see constellations

like the girls with Instagram feeds filled with skinny, perfect bodies say I should.

I want to look at the bags under my eyes as something other than ugly purple stains.

I want to look at my doughy thighs and see a place for someone to trace their fingers,

smooth and soft and gentle,

tickling my skin like a paintbrush tickles a canvas.

I want to look at my long legs and arms like watercolor wings,

as dainty instead of daunting,

or graceful instead of gawky.

I want to be placed in a museum so that I can be told I am a work of art instead of a childish crayon drawing.

By Sydney Fallon

Self Analysis

last night i looked into the mirror like i would if i was watching a bad storm outside my window; frightened, yet somehow still intrigued. i imagine the eerie-ness of this old creaky house after the lights go out would completely embody who i am, or, rather, who i’ve become. tons and tons of inconceivable pondering. i push the thoughts back into a dark corner of my mind in which i never plan to visit; kinda like the one in my room with the tangles of mangled spiderwebs that im not entirely sure how they got there. no, this reflection i gaze at is not conventional. im accepting that i will never be the white picket fence american dream. but i am ethereal in my own way, all the same.

By Kaiti

The Real World
A perfect universe, is it real?
Where the hallows walk among us and the sinners stay too low
A perfect universe, define it
Does it consist of unwavering truthfulness from strangers? Do you dare to utter a lie?
The world that we exist in, in which heroism gets buried so you only get to save yourself
See earth is impractical, men in black with their fastidious behavior
Almost like robots roaming around to find imperfections
They adjust their ties, then get going with so called important life or death matters
Pitch black suitcases that carry your insignificant life
Dreary faces that usurp your right to freedom
In earth you don’t always get to breathe whenever you want, you need a green card
You have to pay your way through evolving
But men in black aren’t the only ones making this world a better place
Can’t forget about impeccable characters that rebuke the lower middle class
Trying to delude us into their propaganda set ages ago
Those sanctimonious, self righteous and superior men thrive on weak power
For world domination? Or to gain personal pleasures from the life they claim to love
In long towers and wide mansions, empowered with the sound of the broken wood from the homes they destroyed in order to build their infamous yet squeaky clean reputation
This is the perfect life, the one that causes silenced uprisings
A life in dark shadows which is ignored yet so loud.
#TakeAKnee #DefendDACA
Hitchhike Your Way
Dedicated to the embodiment of inspiration, Fai
To love yourself is more than just an eventful trip,
full of stops and continuous improvements.
To love yourself comes deep within.
That doesn’t just include your skin but also your cells.
To love what made you, all your thoughts and emotions.
And that’s the real trip
To love what goes inside your head and forgive yourself
To stop harboring resentment and let go of all the uncomfortable feelings you made yourself develop.
You get so accustomed by how much you wrong yourself, you forget
You forget that your clinginess that you hate, is what reminds others how good it is to be important.
And all the enthusiasm you show, is what keeps your loved ones so eager to tell you.
To love yourself, comes deep within.
You keep traveling around the world to find that pill you can just take and suddenly love yourself.
But never settling on a land’s soil is hard, and even harder when you can’t settle in your own skin.
But to love your outer surface is a mission too.
To let a standard determine your beauty is something, and letting those around you determine your beauty is what we’re guilty of.
Kids love themselves, until they realize that their skin is too dark and their eyes too small.
Don’t let your right get stripped from you, take a risk and love your thick skin and big nose.
Love the body you never chose but it still protects you.
Adore your scars, your thoughts, manufactured flaws and break all the standers.
Love your short legs, your weak hair, your small eyes, big nose, and petite body.
Love the body you didn’t want to be born in and love the thoughts you can’t stop.
Don’t feel obliged to apologize for being outstanding.
Self love comes deep within so dig deep and capture your astonishing core.
By Robin
Palm

she lay down as the last rays of brightness snuck through the slivers of her eyelids.

he holds her head as she whispers and weeps,

but he can’t hear her cries.

she asks him why me, why me.

the sugar swirled with her tears in her stomach as she yelled louder and louder,

she just wants to be loved for what she is.

deep down she would do anything for whatever being walked the earth.

her heart had once been full and she yearned to return it to that state.

but what she is is a monster created by everyone in her life.

everything they have ever said has pierced her skin, and poisoned her heart,

and left her hopeless and helpless.

every time they touched her, they broke off a piece of her soul

creating an empty space inside of her

mind

and leaving behind

rage.

she had an ounce of sunshine left that she stretched out for everyone she knew

because she thought that she might receive some light in return.

but she kept finding darkness until she couldn’t see through the thick black atmosphere.

a fist formed from the depths of the deep enclosure and grabbed her by the neck,

suffocating her until her eyes rolled into the back of her head.

she had been sheltered her entire life in attempts to keep her safe just to find it was the

same shelter that was killing her.

she was lying in the darkness pleading for help but he just sat there watching her.

begging for a being to let him hear her.

she reached out and touched her palm to his,

just to watch his own figure slowly fade to black,

and sink right through her fingertips.

By Virginia Cannella

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Saudi Women

Photo credit to Nouf Abdullah
On the 27th of September 2017, females in Saudi Arabia were finally given their simple right to sit behind the wheel, destroying the longstanding policy that became a symbol of oppression in this kingdom.
It’s saddening when Saudi Arabia has been around for more than seventy years in which a various series of events occurred yet still, women just earned the right to drive.
This royal ruling should take place on the 18th of June; in the mean time I have a few things to talk about.
Personally I saw outstanding courage in the women driving, in protest, against the misogynistic narrow-minded rules, in small towns driving big cars with more skill than a man who’s been familiar with driving for a long, long time.
Funny thing is that it wasn’t legalized because they saw justice or decided it was for the better, but for the soiled reason that it was starting to damage the Kingdom’s international reputation and the fact that this would boost the failing economy of the Kingdom.
Why? Why withhold this decision for so long when women around the globe have a right to and access to many things — not everything — but a sure difference from our Middle Eastern community.
In my opinion our male leaders love the control they have over us, pleasing their ancient mindset that this kingdom shall be run by men who are — of course — wiser than women, though we were never given the chance to speak up about this matter, or to let our words and actions make a difference, or to prove ourselves responsible of our own rights.
That is, until the 6th of November 1990, 47 unforgettable remarkable women staged a protest against this discriminating policy that prevents females from driving. Keep in mind it’s the 90’s and they were the only country to violate this basic human right. As a display of protest against this injustice the women drove around the Kingdom’s capital city, Riyadh. These women took matters and steering wheels into their own hands accompanied by supportive husbands and brothers. Their actions had been planned carefully and not used to riot against religious views. They were mothers, wearing their Abaya and Hijab and nothing about the protest was anti-Islam.
So a protest in the 90’s supported by men, Saudi’s favorite creature, still didn’t do it; instead what was a Kingdom’s precious reputation. What does that tell you about a country that runs on brainwashing politics? It tells you about the enslaved women and immigrant workers, how trapped females are, and the control and power men have over us.
It’s displeasing how insightful the outside world can be about this topic and how little one can talk about it without facing trouble too, but us Saudi females have suffered way too much to just continue to be silenced.
#StopEnslavingSaudiWomen
By Robin, a Saudi queer.

Films With Vivid Cinematography

As a photographer and visual artist, cinematography is a very important part of learning capturing movement, good composition, and knowing the right angles for subjects. I am becoming more and more interested in film, and may be making my own short film soon! Here are films rich in meaning and still shots.

The Virgin Suicides (1999) Dir. Sofia Coppola

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To understand some of the symbolism and rich meaning in the film, paying attention to cinematography is crucial. Pay attention to the girls’ room, the bathroom filled with beauty products and tampons. How Lux’s hot pink bra is draped over the crucifix. If you are a teenage girl this movie (as well as every other Sofia Coppola film) is a must-see. It is my all time favorite.

Blue Velvet (1986) Dir. David Lynch

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Notice the stark colors, and how her blue eyeshadow and red lipstick match the roses in the opening scene. This film is strange and it took me some time to process, i’m not sure I completely get it, even now. But I did have an appreciation for the cinematography.

Palo Alto (2013) Dir. Gia Coppola

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An incredible director and photographer of youth and freedom, Gia Coppola knows best. She captures desires and vulnerability in stoic and tough characters or subjects better than anyone else. This film makes me want to move to California and start over with new friends. This film makes me appreciate being 17.

Jackie (2016) Dir.  Pablo Larraín

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Jackie should have been made a long time ago. Natalie Portman’s beautiful performance paired perfectly with cinematography that portrays Jackie Kennedy as strong, extremely poised, and independent. The films scenes are quiet but powerful and elegant just like she was. I cried, and you will too.

American Beauty (1999) Dir. Sam Mendes

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Notice the use of color and lighting in these scenes; the intense red heightens the mood and themes of desire and the nature of humanity. Just watch it for yourself. Seriously.