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Barbershop Blues


As always, this place has nobody in it. (Shakes head) I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to take care of this place anymore without any help. Someone help me please! (Walks over to chair and takes a seat) Oh, this chair. I chopped up so much hair in this chair. The bank thinks they can just tell me I have to leave. They want me to leave my legacy, leave my career. Where am I gonna go? What am I gonna do for a living? How will I survive without this place? I’ve lived here all my life. Am I just gonna live the rest of my days rotting in the street. No! Well at least I hope not. Ugh. (Stands up and wanders around the shop) Grandpa always used to tell me that this place wouldn't lose business. Look at it now. Abandoned...

(Pause)


I've let my family down, because of you. You're the only reason I ever had any passion, or any will to live at all for that matter. Now I'm all burnt out. Without you nothing makes sense. Nothing, not even waking up in the morning. I need help. More employes, but how would I pay them with no money. Oh my god! Something needs to change. The only reason that i'm standing here in this spot today is to say I tried! Isn’t that enough! I’m tryin’ honey, i’m tryin’. I thought that my efforts would have been good enough, but I guess not. What else is left for me? You and the kids were my life. What do I have now? An outdated barber shop and a one bedroom apartment above it. Even that's gonna be taken from me soon. I just can’t win, they might as well take away my soul too. (Customer knocks on the door) "Hey are you guys open. I need a fresh cut"


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go away

Wilson Biggs


*walks into view*

*cups ear as if listening* *looks at watch* Is it really time to go to school? Whatever. I’m not gonna go today. Not because I don't like school, but because I don't really care about school. I have no reason to. The only thing that’s accomplished at all is getting a day closer to college. To spending forty thousand dollars to get a part time job at Taco Bell. Stressing out to the point of breaking down, which happens at least once a week, isn’t worth that. I’d only go to college get a job anyway, which I’d only do to try and survive while I actually do something I enjoy. It’s not worth it. I want to be creative, not serve Doritos Tacos to people in a train station. That’s definitely not something I aspire to do. *sigh*

There’s really no point in thinking about this, anyway. I'd rather just lay face-down in bed and do nothing. You know what? I think I will. And after I do that for a long time, maybe I'll stare at the wall. I don't care enough to be bored by it. Or maybe I’ll sit at my computer and do nothing productive for a while. That sounds okay. I’ll do that for a bit, actually.

*on computer* Heh. A picture of Tom Hiddleston saying something vaguely philosophical. Reblog. A gifset of a TV show I haven’t seen since 2004. Like. What does that say? “wow. such doge.” Reblog. Oh look, someone’s pizza man started singing to another pizza man or something. I don’t know. Like. *humming pompeii*

Well, great. My mom's yelling at me to come downstairs and go to school. *yelling down* No. Because there’s no point. I’m really tired. I don’t want to go. Everyone there hates me. Leave me alone. I don’t care about school. I don’t care about anything anymore. *stops*

Eh, whatever. I'll just go shut and lock the door. Put headphones on. Listen to some loud music. Go back to sleep. That sounds pretty good. I don’t really care if I get in trouble. It’s not like that would be the worst problem in my life anyway. *sigh* I’ll set my alarm for 3pm. I need the sleep anyway. I was up until two in the morning studying for a test about some stupid equations that I’ll never use anyway. Whatever. Sleep. Yeah.


*walks out of view*

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Rolling Through Imperfectness

See yesterday night, I decided to put my little brother’s perfect outfit together. He has no style, whatsoever. All he wants to do is play his dumb video games with his little friends and read books. He always wears the same gray t-shirt and the dull blue pants. So, you know, I had to put together his outfit. I want him to look good in public.

People would beg to be his friend after wearing what I’d put together. Everything was ready. I even told him how to style his ugly hair too. But then the next day, he wore his same old outfit! I was like, “What are you wearing? Go change! I told you to wear the outfit I put out yesterday.” He didn’t listen though. He had decided that he wanted to ignore me and leave out the door. How dare he, you know? I was trying to be nice and help him out, but he wants to ignore me? I was done. I had to take a deep breath. Who does he think he is? No one cares what I have to say, no one cares about me. I’m always trying to help you. I try to help everyone. Why do I always end up volunteering myself to be the shoulder you guys can lean on? Through every situation, I’m the one listening to all your b.s. I’m not saying I don’t want to be there, I’m want to. I want to listen to you guys, I want to care and understand for you guys but also, remember I still exist.

 (After a little moment of silence). Well, I’m glad you guys aren’t in my spot. At least you guys don’t think about everything as much as I do. I hear all of them, you know. The words always stay in my mind. “Don’t talk to her, she’s mean, she’s crazy.” Blah blah blah. I try to take them all out of my mind because I know better. I know that people do and say things, things which might not be the most pleasant things to see or hear. I try hard to forget it. Its not easy though. Who do they think they are? Going around saying stuff about me. Its never easy to forget those actions. Everyday, I look at myself and I think to myself, I’m strong. I don’t cry. But I guess its not my day today to be strong. No one, not even my close friends seem to care about me. I just feel like hiding myself under the bed or disappearing into the sky.

I’m always trying to be the perfect friend, the perfect sister, the perfect person, listening and helping everyone out but you know what I realized? I learned that there isn’t a world where everything is perfect and revealing what you are feelings is okay. My brother wearing the same outfit everyday is okay. Life is hard, you will fail, not once but multiple times. You just have to pick yourself up and brush yourself off and stand strong.    


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Sarah, Our Daughter's Name

(*Roneay is sitting on her bed listening to music, when she gets a Facebook notification on her phone. It says: “Tyrone is now in a relationship.” Then she sighs.)

His name is Tyrone. He was cute. So darn cute. Everyday I would... just…just…just. How can I put this? (*She pauses) Stalk him. That’s how cute he was!

I remember the first time I saw him like it was yesterday. He was getting something from his locker. Wait…! I remember what it was! It was that black and white marble notebook that he’s always writing in. I wonder what he writes about? Wait… what if it’s me?! (*She says excitedly, then calms down) Well not after what happened today.

So, anywho, he dropped the book on the floor and reached down to pick it up. But I rushed to get the book for him, because I thought it be a polite thing to do. So when I handed it to him, he looked me right dead into my eyes. (*Pause) My heart was beating so fast, I couldn’t control it. Then he said the most sweetest thing ever. I was so mesmerized. He said… he said… “Thanks.” (*She puts her hand on her head and sighs) I almost fainted at the sound of his voice.

So that’s where my obsession began. Everyday I would follow him in the hallway. I would sit next to him in English class. I would even try to sit as close as possible to his table at lunch. He would always sit with his guy friends, in the corner of the lunch room, laughing at ever was so darn funny on his cell phone.

So then I would memorize all his classes. Everyday, he would have foreign language first, then math, then chemistry. And after that, he’d have English class, with me. And his last two classes would be an elective and history. So I thought that stalking would allow me to get to know him, without even knowing him.

Everyday I would go on Facebook and search, Tyrone Gibbons. I would see if he made any new statuses, if he uploaded any pictures, or if it said that he was in a relationship. I was so relieved to find out that he was single. So that gave me the chance to make my move.

I really loved him. Honestly, I really did. He was so cute with his rosy red cheeks and his deep dimples. Everytime he smiled, his dimples would get deeper and deeper. Then they’d just disappear. I also loved his brown, curly hair. He wore it in this flowing, curly afro style, so everytime he jumped, his hair just flopped around on da’ top of his head. Then there’s his eyes! His crystal blue eyes! When you look into them, you feel as if you’re floating on the wave of the Pacific.

He was so beautiful. So, I thought, we would have some awesome babies. They’d have long, curly hair. And be fair skinned. And be geniuses, of course. If we had a girl, we’d name her Mary or Sarah. And if we had a boy, we’d name him be Samuel or Miles.

We would have a perfect life together. We’d live in some big old house, somewhere in the suburbs. I planned that we would grow old together, very old. Very, very old. So when I found out that he rode the same train as me, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some sparks flying, if you know what I mean.

So after school today, I saw Tyrone waiting for the train. Our train, that is. (*She creepily smiles) So I inspected myself to make sure I looked good. I thought:

Hair down. Check.

Clothes fixed. Check.

Lip gloss on. Check.

Okay. Then I was ready to walk over there.

So went, but I was so nervous. I food that was in my stomach, was  about to come back up outta my mouth. But I sucked it up like a man. For the man, or boy, I loved.

So I was like, “Hey don’t I know you from school?”

And he was like, “Yeah.”

I acted like I didn’t know his name, so I said, “You’re...um...you’re...um...um, Tyrone, right?” I didn’t wanna be no pushover.

So he said, “Yeah, we in ‘da same English class. Don’t you remember me? You always sittin’ behind me.”

I lied and was like, “Oh yeah. I remember you now.”

And then I said, “Well my name’s Roneay, just in case you didn’t know.”

He was all cool, nonchalant about it and said, “Yeah I know. And I’m Tyrone, just incase you didn’t know.”

My heart almost popped out of my chest. He knew my name!

So until our train came, we just talked. He was telling me ‘bout himself and stuff like dat, and the whole time I was tryna look cute and all, and be a little flirtatious. And he was kinda flirting back with me. So I knew he had to be checking me out.

Then our train came, and we got on, and I sat next to him. Now, I tried to sit a little bit closer than just next to him, if you know what I mean. And he seemed okay with it. But then somebody called his phone, so he moved over to answer it. He was talking about himself being on the train, and then he said he should meet up with whoever was on the other line. I was kinda of curious to know who that person was. But I didn’t say anything because I didn’t wanna seem too nosy. So I just let it slide.

Like five minutes went by on the train. And then, Tyrone just starts smiling outta nowhere. Now I thought he was smiling at me, because he liked me or something. But oh no he wasn’t! (*She yells) He was smiling at some girl. Some ugly behind girl! She came over and said, “Hi.” How dare she have the audacity to say hi to me. But I just said hi back. And then she just squeezed right in between us.

Now I was ‘bout to smack this girl! I couldn’t believe it! Then Tyrone was like, “Roneay this is Sarah. My new girlfriend.”

Instantly, I felt like the world was falling down on me. I thought he liked me. But no! He’s sitting ‘round going out with ‘dis piece of trash, like Sarah, when he coulda had me! And her name was Sarah. How dare she have the name of our future daughter! So I just stayed calm and was like, “Oh hi, sarah.” Then I said I had to go.

I got off the train, even though it wasn’t my stop. And I just sat on the bench and cried, and cried, and cried until the next train came.
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A Mother's Reflection


I do not understand. What did I do wrong as a mother, as a caretaker. The last thing I wanted Jada to do is follow in my foot steps. I remember when I first met DeAndre. I was 17 years old, he was 19 at the time. And we were walking down the street and he said “Imma make you my girl forever.” Me being  young and in total bliss believed him. A year later I got pregnant with my son Keshawn. I remember when I first told DeAndre, I was scared because I did not know how he would react. It was life changing. It was no longer us out anymore, it was us and the baby. I knew DeAndre was “selling” but thats how we made ends meet.

JADA ! JADA ! I know you hear me talking to you. Get ya ass down stairs.  What the hell is this . . .  a pregnancy test?!
Is this yours because I’m surely not popping out no baby ?
Are you pregnant Jada ? …
When did you take this? How long ago?
Well I’m waiting, you know what don’t answer. Take ya ass up the steps.

Another mouth to feed. Who the hell she think she is trying to bring life into the world.  Me & DeAndre were young and dumb back then. With Keshawn selling like his father, he’ll end up just like him. In jail or in  hearse.
[ Yells Jada’s Name ]

Come down here now we need to have a talk.
When did you miss you last period?
Two months ago ?!
You mean to tell me you are 2 months pregnant. When did you think you were going to tell me, before or after the baby was born. You know what I’m done yelling, explain how you got pregnant.


Well what is his name? And I do not want no damn nickname I want his government name. Oh Jordan huh, Jordan who ? Jordan Nelson? And who is he, and what is his occupation and who is his mother? He’s a senior and he traps. Dammit Jada I am  trying to get your brother to get out of that trap life and you trying to bring a child in it. I want you to do better than I did.

Why did I not notice all the signs. Her eating habits were crazy, one minute hot cheetos, then seafood and after that some icecream. I thought it was her on her grow spurt. The constant wanting to sleep the days and nights away. I knew that day when I got a call from school the nurse said she had “morning sickness”. I was in denial, in denial to the fact that my only daughter is a now a statistic like her mother. I wanted her to be better than me.   

I did not know she was even sexually active yet, she only 15. She should be focusing on those two D’s she has in English and World History. Always worried about someone else. “ Oh mom, can I this”, “Oh mom, can I that “, “Can I get this “, “can I have that.” All I hear is can I, can I , can I . Where is her appreciation, it was not easy raising two kids when I was 19. I was a baby having a baby and now she is too.

Jada have you decided on what you are going to do with this baby ? I will let you keep it on the conduction that you graduate school. I will take care of the baby while you are at school. But when you come home you will have to face reality. You are not in this on your own, but you will be responsible for your share in work. For this is a life lesson for you as well as others.







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Check Your Phone

Check Your Phone: By Todd Samuels

“Hello TJay The Poet is there anything I can get for you?” said the assistant in the studio.

“Just some water, please call Magic my engineer his number is in the book on your desk and turn the microphone on for me. Make it quick!”

*Checks emails from producers*

*sips coffee and opens email*

*Listens to the tracks from friend in disgust*

*slams down coffee*


*scrolls through phone to producers contact*


Yo dawg this music isn’t right you sent me 10 beats and I only like 2 of them. Which means you’re only giving me 20%. I need 100% of everything that we do or we’ll be recording in your sisters basement forever. Of course I’m glad she let us record here but in order for us to take this to the next level we HAVE to have the best beats. Everyone is trying to be a producer now a days in order to not be considered wack you HAVE to be better I’m only telling you because  I care about your well being. I want the best for us; the best for you.  


 We could be like Jay Z and Timbaland or Drake and 40 we could be the greatest but you choose not to be great you settle for mediocre not I don't care what you have to say you've said enough I'm done listening to your excuses I'm asking for better , we can't even finish a full project because the tracks never are similar either they're too fast too slow too sad too loud or I just don't like them I want to help you get better but you have to want to help yourself in order for us to get better.


Yes I said us not I we need to be a team we need to be like Kobe and Shaq don't tell me what I should be doing because I know what I'm doing it's the poet. This game is about consistency! You have to be on the same page as me! You don't do anything right we have deadlines! Everything has to go accordingly today I pay my money for studio time and my beats from you aren't finalized they aren't even done. I can't believe you're the only producer I had and you've been my friend since kindergarten! I don't understand why this isn't working but I know I need you to be better I constantly try to be better too I work on my craft every night I'm always trying to make us better I don't think you understand how much better you would be if you gave me better tracks in fact I'll make them myself I don’t need you..


And no no do not cut me off I’m not finished talking. I should have just stopped working with you a long time ago you aren’t even worth the effort. I hope you consider what I’m saying because I came all the way to the studio and you still have nothing valid to say. You know I’ve always been there through when you started making beats you were terrible. I even paid for your first piano with my share of the money “we” made shoveling! I want better, better than better we have to do better as a team. You’re a recluse you just sit in the house and tap tap on that piece of shit piano! Oh, and that tag you use on all your beats guess who”s voice that is ?! Its mine once again helping you. NOW help me your friend your brother.

*assistant walks back in*

“Excuse.. m” said the assistant being cut off by me.

“No get the hell out I” fired back.

“But sir” the assistant  responded.

“Hold on” I said to my producer on the phone.

“Now what do you want scrub” I said to the assistant.

“Well I hope you know since you are sitting in the booth you do not get service in there” said the assistant.

“What you really interrupted me for that?” I said.

I looked at my phone pulling it away from my ear then I realized it was black, I wasn’t even talking to anyone.

I slammed my phone on the floor, it does have an otter box so it didn’t break.

“Sir?” the assistant said the microphone was on the whole time too, and you have a guest.

“Who this is a private session” I said.

“Your producer” the assistant said.

He was on the other side of the glass looking dead at me apparently he heard everything I said anyway.  





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Led to Destruction


Jackie Middleswarth 11-20-13


(Puffs a cigarette) I take another breath in, and another breath out(takes a swig of alcohol). Ha. What has my life come to, yo.

(Talks to guy next to him) “Yo dawg, what is this shit? I’m on cloud nine right now…”

A couple years ago, I started high school. Ya know, the awkward freshman, wearin’ the nerd glasses, buttoned up shirt, and jean shorts to the belly button. Livin’ up to that angel image your parents’ wanted, nah mean? It was all bullshit. I mean, my parents just wanted the best of me, or so I thought. Most of the time, I think all they wanted was a kid they could show off to the world.

(Yells toward the sky) “WELL LOOK AT ME NOW, MA, PA!”

Ha. Perfect my ass. Look at the world today, just look at it. I was never told I had to be perfect, but that’s all I was accepted for by my folks. Ya know, I was a straight A kid, first through tenth! Anything under an A, and it was “No TV, no dinner, no nothin’.” One time I got an 89 out 100 on a test, and then a smack across the face(shutters).

This is something they should be proud of(takes a puff of a cig), I’m their boy, they should see me now. Just look at the world today, you never gonna fix the whole world. There’s always gonna be a shit ton of problems.

You see this?(Points to face) This damn scar? Oh, well, “I fell outta a tree,” or, “My cat scratched me.” I don’t own a damn cat, never did! My parents swore they’d never huuurt me.

(Looks up at sky, as if to talk to his parents)

“THIS IS ALL YOUR GUYS FAULT! Abandoned me in 10th grade, and even before that you guys didn’t appreciate me! I was never loved! You guys were too selfish, and only wanted a trophy son! I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to have the pressure off my back though when you guys died! You guys constantly badgering me to get honor roll, and do extracurriculars so I’d have a bright future. You know how many times I got kicked, and punched by classmates because I was ‘weird?’ I only said they were bruises from sports, so you, Pa, wouldn’t hit me even more when I came home! Yeah, it wasn’t my future you guys were worried about. No, it was just your image you guys wanted to build. And since you guys being perfect outside of home where the truth lied, what better way than to build a perfect son? You gonna keep me now? Your pothead of a son, or would I even be considered a son? Ma, you would just sit there and look heartbroken, like I stole her precious child, and Pa, you would smack me across the face. The same thing, everyday. You guys had to just die, I found you guys both dead, in the bathroom, blood smeared everywhere because I didn’t turn out how you guys wanted. You were gone just like that(shakes head downwards). No ‘bye.’ no ‘I love you, son.’ YOU WERE JUST GONE! EVEN THOUGH I RESENTED ALL THE TORMENT I GOT, IT’S NOT RIGHT TO JUST LEAVE THIS WORLD FROM YOUR ONLY SON WHEN HE’S ONLY 16! What bright future do I have now? Graduation is tomorrow and I have no scholarships, and no money. I have below a two GPA. Thanks guys, I thought you were supposed to be here for me(Gets up and starts to leave).”
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A Mother's Reflection

I do not understand. What did I do wrong as a mother, as a caretaker. The last thing I wanted Jada to do is follow in my foot steps. I remember when I first met DeAndre. I was 17 years old, he was 19 at the time. And we were walking down the street and he said “Imma make you my girl forever.” Me being  young and in total bliss believed him. A year later I got pregnant with my son Keshawn. I remember when I first told DeAndre, I was scared because I did not know how he would react. It was life changing. It was no longer us out anymore, it was us and the baby. I knew DeAndre was “selling” but thats how we made ends meet.


JADA ! JADA ! I know you hear me talking to you. Get ya ass down stairs.  What the hell is this . . .  a pregnancy test?!

Is this yours because I’m surely not popping out no baby ?

Are you pregnant Jada ? …

When did you take this? How long ago?

Well I’m waiting, you know what don’t answer. Take ya ass up the steps.


Another mouth to feed. Who the hell she think she is trying to bring life into the world.  Me & DeAndre were young and dumb back then. With Keshawn selling like his father, he’ll end up just like him. In jail or in  hearse.

[ Yells Jada’s Name ]


Come down here now we need to have a talk.

When did you miss you last period?

Two months ago ?!

You mean to tell me you are 2 months pregnant. When did you think you were going to tell me, before or after the baby was born. You know what I’m done yelling, explain how you got pregnant.



Well what is his name? And I do not want no damn nickname I want his government name. Oh Jordan huh, Jordan who ? Jordan Nelson? And who is he, and what is his occupation and who is his mother? He’s a senior and he traps. Dammit Jada I am  trying to get your brother to get out of that trap life and you trying to bring a child in it. I want you to do better than I did.


Why did I not notice all the signs. Her eating habits were crazy, one minute hot cheetos, then seafood and after that some icecream. I thought it was her on her grow spurt. The constant wanting to sleep the days and nights away. I knew that day when I got a call from school the nurse said she had “morning sickness”. I was in denial, in denial to the fact that my only daughter is a now a statistic like her mother. I wanted her to be better than me.   


I did not know she was even sexually active yet, she only 15. She should be focusing on those two D’s she has in English and World History. Always worried about someone else. “ Oh mom, can I this”, “Oh mom, can I that “, “Can I get this “, “can I have that.” All I hear is can I, can I , can I . Where is her appreciation, it was not easy raising two kids when I was 19. I was a baby having a baby and now she is too.


Jada have you decided on what you are going to do with this baby ? I will let you keep it on the conduction that you graduate school. I will take care of the baby while you are at school. But when you come home you will have to face reality. You are not in this on your own, but you will be responsible for your share in work. For this is a life lesson for you as well as others.







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Oblivious Abandonment

“Why did he go? Usually when he throws you, Ball, he wants me to bring you back to him. Why did he go? Why did he go? Is he coming back? I know! He must have forgotten... I’ll go after him... and find him. I mean it must just be a big mistake, he wouldn’t just leave me here. Right. Right? Ok I will just try to find him. I will just walk down the road and, oh a car! It’s not his car... I will walk down the road in the direction he went. I should have ran after him right away instead of waiting for an hour because I didn’t understand what was happening. It’s okay though, I can still find him. Why am I still carrying you anyway? There is no point to carry you!

You are just weighing me down I am going to drop you. Good bye. (Now talking to self) where did owner... What’s that rustling in the bushes! its a squirrell! NO! No I have to find owner my life depends on it. (mumbling) Wait does my life actually depend on this do I actually need to find him? (Now loud) Yes! Yes I do, I mean what would I do without him? What would he do without me! Who would he go to the park with? Who would he rub while watching TV? Ooh another squirrel! I must catch it! I can bring it to owner to show him what a good boy I am. (Now talking to dead squirrel he is carrying) Owner will be so happy when he sees that I brought you to him, and He won’t be worried about where I am anymore. He will be so happy to see me! He must be worried sick right now!

Hmm. It’s getting dark I wonder how much farther it is squirrel. Do you think he is looking for me? I am getting kind of tired and hungry. Maybe I should stop, and sleep here for the night. I can keep looking for owner in the morning. No, I must keep looking. I have to be close now! (long pause) Where is he?!? I have been walking for hours. What... What if he didn’t want me to find him? What if it was his intention to get rid of me. I think he did! I think he wanted to get rid of me! What did I do? (sobs) I thought I was always a good dog. Was it, was it because I peed on the carpet yesterday? That wasn’t my fault! He didn’t let me out that morning. Where was I supposed to go? (sobs again) I’m really hungry now. I don’t need him, I can find a new owner! One who doesn’t come home late and one who doesn’t forget to feed me. I’m really hungry now. I think I’m just going to eat you, squirrel.


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Push to the End

I have been playing football since I was little. My mama got me into playing football. Now that I think of it, football changed my life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have football. Football turned me into who I am now. Going into high school, I made Varsity as a runner-back because that was the position I usually played. I made a lot of friends and I was popular. There wasn’t much to complain about. My dad wasn’t around for much of my life, so it was only me and my mama. Let me tell you about my mama -- she is a hard working lady, but even though she was busy she ain’t never miss one of my football games. She always supported me no matter what.

My team was down by 5 points and all we need was a touchdown. We only had 1 minute left in the game and we were on ‘Offense.’ Quarterback said he was going to throw it deep to anyone who was open. I told him “Quit, that bullshit, man, let me run it, I got this- just block.” He said “Okay.”  As I heard the ‘HIKE!’ I ran toward him and got the ball, I followed my teammates then ran off. I broke two tackles-got hit badly-but I caught my balance and then did my signature spin move to the left and ran to the endzone. While I was running to the goal, I felt like I was slowing down but I pushed through. After getting the touchdown, my chest was hurting and my lungs felt like they were about to collapse. I couldn't breathe. I pushed through the pain because I knew I was better than that. But man it felt good to win. Everyone cheered. That had to be my best game in the whole season. Coach told me that there were scouters in the stands watching me play and they said I had some talent. Coach said to me personally after the game, “You got some talent kid. You might be able to play pro-football.”

Yo, that was the best news I ever heard, man. I walked to the locker room to go shower and messed with some of the guys, making some jokes with them. I got to my locker and I fainted.

I woke up in a hospital room and then my mama came into the room screaming and kissing me. I told her, “Chill out ma, I’m fine.” The doctor came into the room and I asked him “What happen to me, Doc?”  He told me when I got hit the impact was really hard on my head and I got a really bad concussion and some brain trauma. Also he told me he found something else about me. He said I had a tumor between my heart and my lungs. I asked him if is there any way to remove it and he said no. I asked him, “Doc, can I still play in the championship game next week?” He said to me, “I wouldn't recommend it-- you could get seriously injured or die. You still can live your life. Your football career might be over.”

I turned to my mama and asked her, “Ma, what do you think I should do?” “You can have a future ahead of you or you can continue to play football. Just know that you might be giving up your life if you choose to play football.”

Do you know what it’s like to hear that your football career is over? I didn’t know what to do. Football makes me who I am. Because of the momentum-- without football, what would I be waking up for everyday? I look forward to waking up every day knowing that I will be out on that field strengthening and supporting my team. I don’t want to give up on my team just like that. I didn’t know what to do….


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Jump or Stay

Adowa Mohamed

The Bridge

(Talks towards the sky standing on a bridge)Dear God,

I am at the point where I just wanna go, life isn’t the way I had expected. People are always  talking bout “Oh its okay, it'll get better. Just wait and see. But I’m done waiting. Done looking and see what the future might have in store for me. I wanna go and I wanna go now I don’t know what to do. I just hate my life and everything about it. I feel like the world’s better off without me. Im better of being dead, no one wants me around anyways.

WHERE ARE YOU?

You said you’d always be here for me... but you’re not. *Sigh* Would anyone even notice? Probably not. God, if you’re out there, I’m tired, tired of being used and hated. I don't belong here. I don’t belong anywhere. I just can't stop thinking about how better off peoples lives would be without me. I mean, no one would care. Where are they, huh? The people who said they’d always be there for me... well they’re not and probably never will be. Okay. Continuing with life just isn’t worth it anymore. People don’t want me. Especially Alexis. “shakes head” *sigh* Oh how that girl would always think she was better than anyone. Always pushing me around.

(Looks to either side)WHY DON’T YOU PUSH ME NOW, HUH? PUSH ME OFF THIS DUMB BRIDGE, MIGHT AS WELL, YOU COLD HEARTED, BITCH. Always making me feel unwanted like I didn’t get enough of that already at home. You lied just like everyone else in my life. Telling me you’d always be there for me, and leave when I need you the most. You were my only friend, my best friend, and I trusted you.

(Turns back to God) God, I told that girl all my secrets and she turned them, every single last one of them into a joke. Said things like, “Ha Thats why yo daddy ain’t love you nor yo mama and left y’all in that house to die.” God, where is daddy.

You left me with mom and told me you’d be back. Told me you needed time alone. I don’t know why I believed you. You lied to me just like the rest of you people. How could you just walk out my life like that. *Sobs*

God, I give up.  (takes a step closer) I can’t .. I just cant. If I leave mom on her own what will she have then. I can’t treat her like these people have to me. She needs me. I just gotta stay strong, hold on the the good. God. But it's just so hard. *slowly begins to cry* Maybe some day I’ll figure out what I’m doing (sigh). But for now I know I can’t. Mom needs me just like I needed Dad. (gets off the bridge and sadly walks home alone kicking a rock.)



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Sleepless in Philadelphia



I guess I should start out by saying what this is (holds up book) ,Its the book I wrote. I finally finished it, it was put out in a few bookstores yesterday. Now before you crack the spin and turn to the first page you should know that it’s about relationships, Specifically one of mine. Now hold up a second before you start judging me ok with your looks of disappointment and disapproval, you should know that yeah I made a stupid choice but I have learned and lots of growing and maturing came out of it. Alright so how about I read you a couple pages, now you can crack it open and follow along.  

Page 5 chapter one “ when sally met harry“:  “Ever since I was little I always dreamed that one day I would mean that so called special certain someone. I would stay up late watching movies like while you were sleeping, Big, pretty woman, love and basketball, brown sugar, and when harry met sally. All those silly romantic comedies that give you the wrong idea of love.”

Ok stop reading for a moment please, I just want to let you know in advance that I really took these movies to heart, I truly believed that in order to be happy this must happen. Hey don’t look at me like that, we all know that you have watched at least one romantic comedy within your lifetime, and you what the hell are you laughing at we both know that when you are crushing you sit in your room and think of different stupid scenarios of how you two would fall in love. All of you need to stop looking so smug.

Anyway as I was saying ( opens book and begins to read aloud ) ” I would constantly find myself daydreaming about when I would meet this dream guy whether it was across the room at a crowded party or he would help me pick up the christmas gifts I had dropped on the train. Of course this never actually happened and I didn’t really have a crush till middle school when everything changed. He was in the class above me his name was Isaiah. He had eyes that were more beautiful and darker than the night sky and a smile carved from angels. My main priority wasn’t school work anymore it was getting him to notice me. I started to wear less tomboy clothes and more womanly wear, and started putting my hair in a bun. It wasn’t working until my last year …. the 8th grade. I had invited him to go to a poetry slam with me, that day I spent the whole time before the slam getting ready. I put my hair in a high ponytail and wore a dress, and I even put on some eyeliner.” (Stops reading and flips through the book) sorry i’m just skipping around a bit I want to get to the juicy stuff, I mean I can’t spend all day  reading this…. I have a book talk at the coffee shop down the street ( smiles widely).

Oh wait here it is page 9 chapter 1 “when sally met harry”:  While we were at the slam he said he was hungry so we walked to dunkin donuts .... pretty romantic right. On the way back we stopped at bench and sat. He put his arm around me, I couldn’t believe it the guy of my dreams was touching me my heart was beating so fast I was scared he might hear it. Then it happened he leaned in and kissed me I thought I was going to puke I was so happy nervous and stressed about what was happening. So many thoughts raced through my head. This is perfect the guy of my dreams is kissing me in front of a dark beautiful city night sky line,  Im basically sandra bullock . After that night I knew I would never be the same, it was my first kiss and it was with my so called guy of my dreams.” (closes book) ok since I know all y'all are gonna say “it’s just a kiss like calm down”. You need to understand just how hot he was like you really don’t understand. The boy I liked for mad long kissed me….. a kodak moment I think yes.

So we are going to speed ahead to the next week. Page 20 chapter 2 “while you weren't sleeping. ”:   “A week after the night of my dreams he texted me saying it wouldn’t work between us. I was devastated I had never experienced a ( does the quote fingers ) “ heart break” before, and if I am being honest.... It hurt like a bitch. I cried for what seemed like weeks till he texted me saying he wanted to hangout.” Let me just stop to say now I see how stupid of me it was not to ignore him after he hurt me the first time, but I just couldn't I had convinced myself that I wasn't happy without him. back to reading: “ Half of my summer we spent together and then he asked me to be his girlfriend. Once again I felt like puking, mostly because I get stress pukes a lot. I threw up in my mouth then ran quickly to the bathroom. I cleaned myself up and turned to look in mirror. “listen dude this is the best thing that has ever happened to you, don’t mess it up” I said to my reflection.  Everything in my life was perfect I felt like the happiest girl alive until… he dumped me.” I think you should know upfront that It wasn’t a normal break up. It was the type of break up you know… where he dumps you for a girl with the same first half of your name...hasn’t that ever happened to you?

Anyway reading on: “The rest of that summer was hell, I had a hard time getting up in the mornings at that time. I honestly didn’t feel any reason to try anymore. I was depressed and ill.” ( closes book ) now before you be a jerk just listen to the next section I read. (opens book and starts to read) “Then one day woke up and realized that I really needed to get over it, I needed to stop be selfish and get back up on my feet.  I needed to accept the fact that sometimes yeah life will knock you down but you still need to get up. So to keep myself busy I wrote, I started to write. I wrote about everything around me. I would write down everything I did. I was doing great for the first time in weeks I was actually happier than when we kissed that night. “ So I am not just going to read two more chapters, I can’t be late today.

(opens book) Page 40 chapter 4 “pretty man”  “After that I did something I am not proud of, I said yes to going out with I guy that I had no feelings for what so ever. There was no excuse for messing with another person's emotions just to help my own selfish ones. I got two letters in the mail sent from a rehab center, they were from Taye. They said that he was sorry and how much he missed me, he said something he knew would make me fall back into his arms again he said “ I have changed”. I can’t believe how stupid I was to fall for his bullshit, he was a complete asshole he knew I was in a relationship. How dare he try to win me back knowing that , It was selfish and unfair. So I ignored him and never responded.”

( looks up ) So here is the last bit. Page 100 chapter 15 “ Small “: “ Later I found out that he had a new girlfriend. I don’t know why but this crushed me I was scared that I had given up on the one chance I had at getting my dream guy. In my polluted mind he had been perfect and I was the one that was wrong and mean. I was a messed up for a long time until one day while I was listening to M.I.A it hit me. If it was really that bad then I should let other people know so they don’t make the same stupid mistake I did so i got up and got my life back. Thank you I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love you.” (shuts book)

Well that’s it I hoped you like it. So now you all know and can go buy your book to have it for yourself. You are going to buy it right, What…. I knew I shouldn’t have read my book aloud I basically gave it away for free. I have to go now to talk about my book to some real buyers not just sponges. see ya in a few hours (smiles).


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A City Speaks.

City- synonym for cesspool.

These are my people and their stories,

Stories I helped them write.


A Truth.

They own nothing.

They want everything.

No one knows who we really are.

They don’t have pretty plastic dreams manufactured by their parents.

Searching for love, but then turning to drugs.


A Romance.

Empty Lots full of booze cans and empty prescription bottles.

No pretty green fields filled with roses and marigolds.

Makeout sessions that come in the flavors of Cigarettes and Jack Daniels

Going further than that one sweet suburbanite kiss on the Gymnasium dance floor.

Prowling the malls for free chinese food samples.

No home cooked family meals with Mom and Dad meeting the boyfriend.


A Prince.

Drive thru drug deals at Johnny Rockets.

Buying diapers with coke money.

Coping jars of baby food from K-Mart after school.

All for the baby, the mistake.

The one she helped him make.

Because city thugs dont use condoms- 13 or otherwise.


A Princess.

Three story house instead of a castle.

Two angry cats instead of friendly birds and deer.

No evil stepmother, No dead father, No siblings.

Instead of sudsy water filled pails, There is a red Pep-Boys bucket full of empty Pall Mall packs.


A Break Up.

Broken pieces of glass showering across the asphalt.

Like pretty pink cherry blossom petals.

But RED.

He cheated, so she swung,

no death...just 17 stitches and a nasty scar.


Let us be true here my friends, I do not turn out all evil.

I was built- and named after mind you- Brotherly Love.

I am not as bad as congress and politics would like you to believe.


A City Couple.

Walking in love park

A white sun dress for her and a black polo for him

strolling along.

The sit at the fountain, and he pulls out the ring.

Two hours later they are standing in line at city hall.

Four other couples as their witnesses.

No family for miles.


City Newlyweds.

No money for a honeymoon,

but enough time off at work for a five day weekend,

cooking and cleaning together.

Sitting and watching American Horror Story.

Living the life.


A City Mother.

She worries, the stress of work weighing down on her.

Can’t lose the baby.

After he is born she knows-

she will love and protect him.


A City Father.

He worries about her, and the little one.

While she was in labor he almost passed out.

It was so unsanitary.

But know he knows...

He will love and protect them.


The Babies,

One Tiny and clean and full of potential.

One born of lies and infidelity, still full of potential


Then I have to decide, I have a choice to make.

Will I ruin them, or will I build him up to all they can be?

In a way I am the most human city there is, with my possessiveness,

and indecisiveness. With my whimsical ways and last minute decisions.

This my fellow nations, cities, and towns is what I ask you.

What will we decide with our citizens?


Will we be saviuors, or the shepherds of the Damned?






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Memory

Felix d’Hermillon

English Monologue


What happened? *Try to lift up hands but they are handcuffed to the bed.

Where am I? I think I’m in a hospital. I have no idea who I am and I don’t know how I got here. I’m looking around the room. There’s a tray to the left of his bed which has bloody knives. Tries to sit up

Ugh, my leg.

There’s a nurse. Hey! Where am I? What’s my name?

Hospital? What hospital?...What do you mean, John doe?

Why am I handcuffed to the bed?

The Police?! Lifts knees up to his face while obviously fighting through pain.

What happened to me, what’s wrong with me? Why am I here?  He yells with his face still in his knees. No response.

He is so frightened he passes out.

Unngh... Wakes up in throbbing pain. Grunting faintly. Lifts his head slightly to see if anybody is there.

Ugh… His leg is completely slashed. He starts screaming and panicking.

AAAHHH!! UUNNNGHHH!!

He realizes he’s not able to walk on it and he starts panicking. There is blood dripping down his leg.

Hello?!?! Yelling frantically.  

What’s that on the floor? Blood? From what? Looks down at hands, the handcuffs are gone. The handcuffs are sitting in the puddle of blood.

What the… Moaning? Recognizes that the moaning is not far from here.

Hello? Is anybody there. No response.

Hello!!! Still no response.

Where is everybody? Yelling furiously.

“God, please help me out here.” Tears filling his eyes

What happened here? What am I supposed to do?!”

Takes a deep breath and is in shock.

Amber! Oh No please no, let her be ok!

Amber was there. I have to get back to her. Oh no. Whimpering. No don’t let anything happen to my baby girl. Don’t let anything happen to me! She has nobody else to go to.

Stay strong John, you have to stay strong John! You have to get back to Amber!

A cell phone rings next to his bed, how could he have missed that.

How did I miss that? He yells in anger, furious with himself. He pauses, not sure wether he should answer it. He answer’s it after 4 rings.

Hello? he answers.

I need help. Please I don’t know where I... he gets cut off.

Tell me this is some sort of sick joke. He replies with a crack in his voice.

How long until the poison kicks in...? 15 minutes? cracking voice.

No, No, No!!! You let her go you sick bastard!!! He bends over and starts sobbing.
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Voices

Katie Katie let’s play tag!

Okay Jane. You’re it!

Nooo! I’ll get ya! Oh! Tag! You’re it!

Not for long!

Heeheehee! Oh Katie you made me fall! *giggling*

I didn’t mean too Jane. You know I would never hurt you.

I know Katie, it’s okay, my tushy is just a little ow-y. *giggles* Do you want to play again?

Well I think our parents are worried.

Well I’m okay. It’s okay. Do you want to do tea party instead? We can go in the treehouse!

See them? In the kitchen window?

I’ll go get the tea cups!

Mommy and daddy are looking at us funny.

I’ll get the pink cups, they’re in the sandbox.

Look at them.

It’s okay Katie! I’m just playing in the yard!

I don’t think they understand, Jane.

We were just playing! I’m not hurt or anything!

But who were you playing tag with Jane? Who are the tea cups for?

C’mon Katie. It’s tea time. Tea for two!

Look at our parent’s Jane. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know us at all.

I don’t think so Katie. Are you-are you sure? They do look a little sad...
They’re stupid grown-ups. They don’t care about us Jane. We’re just another thing to worry about.

No no no. Mommy and daddy are nice! They love me very much. Maybe they feel left out! Maybe they want tea!

You know that isn’t true. You just don’t want to know.

No no no they are nice! I know they’re nice!

Then why are mommy and daddy looking at us funny? Why do they never play with us? They never want to have a tea party, or play tag, or hide and seek. You hear them talking at night sometimes. You know they don’t think I’m here.

But.. but you’re my best friend Katie.

Yes Jane. I am your only friend. I am always here for you. Is mommy here for you? Is daddy here for you? Look. Now they’re not even at the window anymore.

Why.. where did my mommy and daddy go?

They left the house. They’re talking about how messed up you are. They’re finding you a new mommy and daddy. They left you. All alone Jane. You’re always all alone.

But I’m with you.

Mommy and daddy don’t think so.

No.. Katie.. I like my mommy and daddy.

No, you don’t. We hate them. They never loved us.

No no no! Go away Katie! Mommy and daddy were right! You are bad. Bad bad bad. *covers ears*

Your mommy is wrong Jane.

No!

Your daddy is wrong.

No.. be quiet.. no..

They live in a stupid grown-up world with stupid grown-up thoughts.

Katie…

Do you remember this morning? When daddy hit you and called you stupid when you told her about me?

I don’t remember that Katie… that.. that didn’t happen… daddy would never do that.. daddy loves me..

Remember last week Jane? When mommy yelled at you for singing me to sleep after bedtime?

No no no… I... Mommy never yells.. she couldn’t..

They don’t love you Jane. They don’t love us. Do you want to live with people like that?

No.. I… Katie..

Show them what I mean to you.

I don’t want to do that! I told you! I told you! No!

Find mommy’s new kitty. The one she always feeds before she makes us breakfast. The one that always gets brushed before our hair is brushed. The one mommy always says I love you to.

No. Not the kitty. No no no.

Do you like her more than me Jane?

No.. I mean… no-Katie I can’t do that!

Of course you can do it Jane. I’m here, I’ll help you. Just take one step forward.

No! No no no. I can’t I can’t I can’t. The kitty never hurt me, mommy and daddy never hurt me.. it’s-it’s not right.

Everyone is hurting us. No one see us. No one hears us. This will make them understand. You’ll see.. you’ll see.

Why?

Just get up Jane. Off the ground. All you need to do it walk -

NO!

YES!

STOP!

Just go.

AHHHHHH! Mommy?! Daddy!?

No!

Help! Help… *Jane starts to sob*

Help…

*Jane curls up on the ground and cries until found by her parents*

Everything will be okay Katie.

Everything will be okay Jane.
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Graduation Day...Or Not

Today is my graduation day and my parents are very excited. The only problem is I’m not graduating this semester. This is my seventh year in college and I have not completed my bachelors degree yet. Furthermore, I have not told my parents the bad news yet. What am I going to do? I must tell my parents that I am not going to graduate this semester. 


I call my mom on my cell phone but there is no answer, then I try to call my dad, still no answer. Wait. They must be flying to Ohio, not driving from Wyoming. I get out of bed and brush my teeth, then take a shower. As I put my watch on I remember that I am suppose to pick my parents up from the Port Columbus International Airport at 11:15 AM. I grab my keys and head towards the door, then I remember that I told my friend Sam Lowe that I wanted to study with him for our finance exam at 5:00 PM. I don’t know if I should go study with Sam or if I should go pick up my parents from the airport.  


Before I do anything, I have to get something to eat. I walk to the dining hall. Should I grab a breakfast sandwich or should I just get a donut? I’ll get the donut. I pay for the donut at the cash register and walk out of the dining hall. I walk back to my dorm room and sit down on my bed and look at the ceiling. Then I said to myself, “you just need to tell your parents what’s really going on and see what they think you should do.” At 12:15 pm I hear a knock at my dorm room door and when I opened the door, my parents were standing on the other side of the door and my mom says to me, “hello Brad White.” I invite my parents inside my dorm room and ask them how their flight was from Wyoming. They both said fine, and they asked me how school was going. I said, “hey where is my friend Sam?” They said he went to go park his car and said he would be right up. I stare at my parents knowing what they are waiting for me to say and then Sam walks in. 


Sam looks at me and says, “what’s up dude”. I look back at him and say, “what are you doing in my dorm room and why are you here?” Sam said, “I’m not going to miss the biggest day of your life.” I stare at Sam and think to myself, does he not know that I am not graduating today? I look down at the ground and think about how I can say this in a way that my parents will understand that I am trying to get a college degree. My mom says to me, “what is it?” I tell her that I am thinking about how long it has taken me to get this degree and all of the memories I have at this college throughout all of these years. My dad says to me do you just want us to meet you at the graduation and we can talk there?


“No!” I scream. I have to tell you all something. I’m not graduating today and my dad says, “what do you mean?” I said,  “I mean I am not going to graduate today.” My mom sits down on the couch and just takes a deep breath. I tell my friend Sam to give me a moment with my parents and I’ll talk to him later. My dad asks me, “how long have you known that you were not going to graduate today?” I say to him, “I have known since the beginning of the semester and I wanted to tell you sooner dad but I needed to tell you in person face to face.” I look my mom and dad in the eye, and say that I am going to transfer to Western Wyoming Community College and leave Ohio State University. My dad looks at me and says, “are you sure” and I look at him and say, “yes I’m sure dad.” I tell my dad, “that I will come back home to Wyoming in the next week and that I will move back home with him and my mom.” My dad gives me a handshake and my mom gives me a hug and they walk out of dorm my room.          


                                

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Cuz Snoe


Cuz Snoe

(In Imanis bedroom, talking on the phone to her best friend Jamie)

“Hey, I ain’t even hear my phone, I was busy with the boo! I just got home I’m in mah bedroom”

“What...What you have to tell me”

(she laughs)

“Whats the big deal, like?”

“Okay, I am calm! Just tell me now.”

“What! Oh snoe! I don’t believe you!”

“No, he would neva”

“David would neva cheat! He in love with me”

“No, girl, you don’t know ‘bout him. Hes always tryna get at me. Like you don’t understand. He really want me. For you to tell me that he been sneaking around with some other girl is wrong. You’re lying to me. You know you are.”

“Yes you are! I don’t get you, like. Why are you doin’ all this. Like for what? LIke who are you! You don’t make any type of sense right now.”

“Yes, I remember that obviously. That was forever ago. You ain’t even know what you be talkin’ about sometimes. we was barely going together. That was barely even the start though. I was only thinkin’ ‘bout cheatin on him, I didn’t actually do it! You ain’t about to hold all that against me! Thats the past. I ain’t even worrying about that no more. Foreal though, I ain’t even care about him. He care about me!”

“Well, thank you I guess...I mean I ain’t even know if you tellin me the truth. I’ll just stop talkin’ to him anyways, like. I don’t care. I just don’t understand why he would do something so stupid like this! ”

“Its true, I don’t! Alright let me go so that I can talk to him”

(They hang up their phones, Imani throws it, and then begins to cry)

“I can’t believe this! Like how he gonna cheat on me! when I be so nice to him all the time! Why doe. I love him like he is my world. I would do anything for him. Why is it that I am beautiful and boys always do me wrong. Is it because I intimidate them? I’ve tried so hard to keep these guys, and I never can. What am I doing wrong! Please, somebody just help me, I can’t do this no more. I can’t stay with him now! He just gon’ do me wrong again and again! There gotta be a better guy out there for me. Let me call him right now. Psh, he gon’ try to explain himself, but no.”

(Picks up phone, and begins to dial)


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Hey Mom

I’m half in love with death. The other half, I’m partially in love with the life. Or maybe I’m in love with the idea of life, I don’t really know. I’m bad at decisions, aren’t I? I can’t even decide why I feel the need to die. But, I’m in front of a jury right now, right? I’m always, constantly, in front of a jury of eyes that don’t even know they are judging me. Friends and family who naturally avoid me, as if touching me might result in catching the suicidal. I leave the hypothetical jury wondering, questioning, because maybe my death isn’t justified enough. If I squeeze my eyes shut hard enough and look back into this mirror, this bathroom doubling as a courtroom behind me will disappear. Because seriously, who wants to die in a freaking bathroom? (sigh) Maybe I’m just a I’m my mother’s kid. I always have been, always will be. It’s not like going to college magically makes you grow up, I learned that the hard way.

In college, there is no grey area, it’s pass or fail. Do something with your life or, ya know, live on ramen noodles for the rest of your pitiful existence. I always expected to fall into the latter. Is that why I can’t make decisions? Because decisions might rock the boat of my future and I’m not trying to do anything unexpected. Wake up, take my medication, go to school, come home, take my medication, eat a microwave dinner, take more medication, sleep, and repeat. I can’t afford to make something of myself. Not with these shaky hands and uneasy eyes, I might accidentally break something.

This one time, I dropped a test tube in bio lab. My professor had a temper, which we all knew, but, but I made a mistake. I dropped the test tube. Following the smash was a yell, and then a scream, and and then a shriek and I just stood there, right? I just stood there and took it because, because otherwise, I’d be doing something unexpected. People with anxiety don’t yell back so I stood there. I did what any depressed, anxious, bipolar person would do. Stand there. And take it.

I told her about the test tube. She asked what I did in response and I said nothing. No, no I didn’t say nothing, I told her that I said nothing in response to my professor. She told me it’s time I get over the idea of being ill, that I can fix this if I put my mind to it. I nodded sensely, and did what any depressed, anxious, bipolar person would do. I stood there. and took it.

You have any advice? I mean, you aren’t exactly the shining example of survival. But still, Mom, been there done that, ya know? So whatdaya say? How did you make it for 35 years. What did you say when people called you dramatic and when Dad said, (In impression of man’s voice) “It’s about time you get over this nonsense.” (laughs uncomfortable) Huh Mom?

(Sits silently for a second. Mood goes from uncomfortably, maniacal to desperate.)

Come on, Mom, I’m your daughter you can’t just sit there and watch this. This is your fault anyway! I got my screwy genes from you.  I don’t want to go yet, but I seems like my only option. Even from death, you’re pulling my sanity down a drain and just begging me to join you. Wherever you are. Because you’re not here. You never were here, in life or afterlife, you always hovered on the outskirts of shadows acting as if you hadn’t began a life that you had to finish.

Then you left. You didn’t finish what you started and quit mid race. You let me and Dad down. He’s the one I should be talking to right now. He’s the one who didn’t bail halfway through like you so no, Mom, I don’t want your damn genetics. And I sure as hell refuse to turn into you. Maybe I can vomit up your genes along with these pills.


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Suitcase

(Sitting in the center of the bedroom, around miscellaneous belongings and other unfamiliar things; looking open and vulnerable like a human. This is, essentially, a personified version of a suitcase.)

Your mother will miss you when you’re gone; you can hold me when you’re homesick. Your ex lover would have forgotten about you; you can punch me with memories and worn souls until my back is as black and blue as yours. I will hold your tears, I don’t mind. I will fold your clothes into love letters and apologies.

(Take the belongings scattered around the bedroom)

When your father calls and asks if you still have the ring grandmother gave you, I will have it safe and sound. I will keep with me all the picture frames you don’t want to look at. When the hotel room is scattered with ancestry and diary entries, you may fill me up with all you have. You’re the last thing that keeps me from being a casket. Drag me along the dirt, suffocate me in the trunk of 8AM Taxi, smear my face with guilt, with mourning, with running away, with running home, and kiss me goodnight when the plane departs. Leave me, lose me, find me, rip me apart and put me back together; do to me what everyone else has done to you. They’ve gone away now; the keepsakes you’ve tucked behind my throat are all you have.

(sitting on the floor of the bedroom, staring up.)

I am a detached umbilical cord shaped like flags I’m not supposed to hold and I do not want by body to be an atlas anymore. I bear burdens that look like mountaintops of countries and passports plastered on my chest like crucifix. I will marinate every remnant from your lineage with the scent of lost land. I am a prostitute to native country, and a nomad of culture without pulse. Whenever I see the faces of heritage, I cannot help but take what I can; I want to learn about how your body speaks, and how your tongue moves. I want to know what it’s like to sit at a dinner table. I want to know what it’s like to be surrounded by faces that look just like mine, I want to know what it’s like to come home.

I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and all I could see were tally marks. I counted every time I had killed myself and took along another life to a destination I could not remember. I stood tired, I felt bones, I tasted like empty room. There is nothing more that a world could give if you have already taken everything that it can show. There is nothing more that a body could give if you never get a chance to own it. I put a price tag on the tip of my ear and crawled into a plastic bag. I do not need to be an atlas if all I have left to be is a closet. So long, bon voyage, do not wake me when the plane lands.

(Close when your job is done)
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What Should I Do?

*Phone rings:Girlfriend calling*

*Jermaine picks up phone, and sits back down*

“God, what am I going to do? Please help me......”

*Phone rings:Big Brother calling*

*Jermaine answers call*

“H-hee-hey, Bruh...Watchu mean why I sound so nervous?...Why you still up anyway?...I’m not avoiding the question...It’s kinda late to be talking about it, man. Moms sleep and Ion wanna wake her...Well..Okay, so to be honest bro, I gotta huge situation going on...You remember my girlfriend, Leah?...Yea her, well uhm so I made a huge mistake...You know the crazy jawn round the corner?...So me and Leah was you know fighting and shit  and I uh-...uhm I uh-..sorta cheated on her with the jawn...Yeah I fucked up, but that’s not even it....She pregnant.

That bitch lied and said she was on the pill...and my dumb ass did the worst thing...Yup, I went in raw...*Looks at phone and other line rings:It’s Leah* I keep ignoring Leah’s calls and I know she snappin’....I want to tell her, but I have another plan...Ima try and get the jawn to get rid of it, she’s only a couple weeks and I can’t afford to lose my scholarship...You know that, and I love my girlfriend...I know I shouldn't have cheated, you don’t have to rub it in...Not to mention how mom would kill me if she found out. I’m not ready for no child...I know man, you’re right, but I’m going to college and play football on my scholarship....ARE YOU CRAZY? I’M NOT DROPPING SHIT FOR THAT BITCH !...That baby probably not even mine*laughs*...I know this aint funny...I didn’t even tell you that the jawn is Shemekia...Yeah, that’s the jawn that cut that boul...what’s his name?..Yeah, but I think she tryna trap me, bro*puts head down*...Mom said that all these hoes want is a dolla’...I know I shudda known, but it was good at the moment...And you know I’m not tryna be like him*starts crying*

He’s the worst. I would never leave my child, but...I HATE HIM!..Damn, man. Ima wake moms up yelling, dawg...I don’t understand how Dad could do that. I swear he ain’t shit...How he gone leave moms for that ratchet philly bitch?! She knew he was married...Man, these philly jawns be outta hand, no wonder why niggas treat them the way they do...what you think I should do?...You think I should talk to the jawn? Or nah?*wipes face*...Ion know man, I’m really thinkin’ bout this abortion*shakes head*...I know it’s the wrong thing to do, but I love my girl, and I’m not tryna miss out on this opportunity to this college...I should have thought about this before I even...Yeah I know, but...Ya right, Ima just think bout it and Im-*Girlfriend calling*Listen Bro, Ima call you back. My girlfriend calling...Yeah, Ima just be honest wit’ ‘er.*Hangs Up* *Answers Call* Wassup babe, I think we need to talk...










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One Hundred Dollars

Ameer Forte            One Hundred Dollars


One hundred bucks is crazy money in my book, and on this very day last summer my mom had gave me a one hundred dollar bill for my 8th grade graduation. I’m in tenth grade now but I still remember doing everything with that dollar. It felt like I had that thing for forever too, I mean like I said I did everything with it, took it camping, to the beach, to the pool, to the park. This all of course was stupid, my mom did always tell me “keep it home Ameer, thats a lot of money.”

Yeah yeah I know it was a lot of money, but what good was one hundred bucks if I just had to leave it home all the time. I mean i’m not an idiot, I knew better than to go around showing it off like some 1st place trophy, I just wanted to, you know hold it in my wallet and feel that rich feeling of “I got one hundred dollars in my pocket”. So, over the summer I had taken it everywhere, to work, to the park, to grandma’s, I figured I had nothing to worry about except if someone would’ve mugged me or something but I had that covered. Every day I carried a three inch pocket blade in my sock and I swore if anyone stepped to me funny they would have a three inch deep slit in there eyeball. Fortunately that was never necessary, but when school started back up I became a paranoid animal.

I remember the first day of Highschool like it was yesterday. My best friend Tony, who had knew about the hundred dollars when I got it, met me at my house. School was like a block or two away so we just walked that day. I remember him saying something like, “Yo dogg it’s the first day of highschool. Ya mean playa, this day decides who's who and what's what, is you hype or naw.” And in my mind I’m just wondering why he sounds like a popular rap song from 2002. No I wasn’t hype, I was more anxious than anything. Plus there was a lot going through my mind that morning, like which pocket would be the safest to hold my wallet that was definitely more important to me than the stupid first day of school. I responded anyway though.

“No, I’m not hype. Why should I be it’s just the first day of school, and stop talking like that, you sound like Snoop Dogg.” After I said that he just talked even weirder to get on my nerves, I just remember ignoring him until he asked,

“Yo, you heard that?” I hadn’t heard anything except his big mouth that whole walk so I don’t know how he thought I could’ve heard anything else. I asked him what he was talking about, instinctively checked my back left pocket to see if my wallet was still there and, it wasn’t.

“Shit. Are you kidding me! Yo dude did you see a little black wallet anywhere around here while we been walking?”

“Nah man, don’t tell me you dropped it.”

Yup I had dropped it, and boy was I pissed. I texted my mom telling her I lost my wallet and she gave me the normal that’s what you get, I’m very disappointed crap. Whatever, I had just lost one hundred bucks I didn’t freakin’ care how disappointed she was. I just went to school mad. I went to class mad. I ate lunch mad, I even remember punching this short stubby fat kid with no shoulders in the mouth because he wouldn’t stop saying “Hotdogs”. And man do I feel bad about that, but were all good now I think I eventually bought him a hotdog or something. My mom had to come me up from school but didn’t seem all that upset during the ride I guess it was because she had an excuse to leave work early but that didn’t stop her from putting me on a three month punishment when we got home. So I sat there in my room just staring at the walls and I spotted a little green strip with 100 on the corners and I’m pretty sure the last thing I said that day was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”.  



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Maybe if I was Prettier- Greta Haskell

Maybe if I was Prettier

Greta Haskell

*Laying on bed writing in journal*

Have you ever felt like you just want to give up? Thats how I feel 95% of the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm just there. I'm not living I'm just there observing everyone else. I feel weightless, I'm like a cloud, and I’m floating above everyone and I’m looking down at everyone else. I can see them and they can see me but I can't communicate with them. I'm a totally different species than them. And sometimes I can change, I turn into fog, and I'm still a cloud but i'm a little more blurry and not totally myself. But I'm close to the ground and I can almost reach out and talk to the people but all the sudden I lift and go back to my status as a cloud.

If I'm like this, and no one else sees me, why am I here in the first place? I ask myself that a lot. I don't work in school because I've given up. Sometimes I take some of my moms sleeping pills before I go to school. Shes always hungover in the morning so she doesn't notice. I just sleep through the day and no one even bothers me. Sometimes when I'm home and i'm alone or mom is too drunk to pay attention to me.

*Looks at picture of ex-boyfriend*

How come you left me? You were making me better, and all the sudden you found someone else. I'm sure you're much happier now. You found a prettier girl, a skinnier girl, a funnier girl. You didn't need me anymore, so you just left me. Now I'm more miserable than before. Maybe if I get skinnier, and wear more makeup, and be more sociable, then maybe you’ll like me again.

But now I feel like I'm stuck. I'm in this in between. This feels like something out of a movie, how could this be happening to me? I feel like I'm dreaming and just sitting idly by but I know this is happening. I know this is real life and I can't stop it. You chose Emily over me. She blonde and skinny and tall so know i know what you really want.

I stopped eating. So that you would like me again. But you hardly seem to notice me. You don't notice that you're the only person I smile at at school. You don't know that I talk to you every night, wishing you would just come back. But you don't notice because that pretty bitch is always stuck to your hip. If you don't love me I know no one else does. I might as well just hide for the rest of my life because I know I’m worthless. Nothing I could ever do will make you want to come back to me. And I’ve known that all along, but I can't let go to you. The oxygen that once filled my lungs.
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Redemption in the Verse

[Dog barks loudly. Annie gets up from bed and walks passed the calendar and glances.It’s late at night.]


God, I miss him. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already. I don’t know if I can stand it anymore without him. I needed him. I need him. He… We needed each other. He was my other half. My other half who got ripped to shreds by that drunk… [opens door for dog to go outside] fucker who threw his car off the road. No one cared. He had no family. They threw his death to the wind. But not me. I remember. I remember every. single. day. and every waking moment I think about that god damn man and how much I loved him. [Looks up] Why did you have to work so much? I barely got to see you! And look at how you died… on your way to that shithole. Can you tell I haven’t slept very well since the last time that we spoke? [Looks down] He used to tell me [wipes tears from eyes] “I know that I am here, and you are there… but we still have our love.” It’s some song quote, I don’t know and I don’t care. None of that matters now. He’s gone. [Looks up again] Maybe we still do have our love, huh? But guess what I don’t have? You. All the love’s still there. I just don’t know what to do with it now. [Goes into the refrigerator and downs a bottle of alcohol. Coughs] What do I have to do to bring you back… what do I have to do? Please understand I’ve been drinking again and all I do is hope. Please… [breaks down and cries] Ya know… [opens door for dog to come back inside] this isn’t what he’d want. He’d want you to be strong, to be brave and move on, find someone else. But I c- Yes you can. You can and you will. For him. I can’t forget about him. He was… is my everything. If love is a labor, I’ll slave til the end. I don’t care. I’ll die loving him just like I- what the fuck am I doing? Is this what it’s come to? Talking to myself? He’s gone. Deal with it. Forcing things to be bright just makes the darkness underneath even darker. Look at me I’m doing it again for fuck’s sake… like there’s two different people in this room, what am I? Crazy? I should just go back to bed, I need a break from all this… Hell, I need a break from myself. [Walks away singing] “...but we still have our love. I’ve been to heaven, I’ve been to hell. I’ve been to Vegas, and God knows where… But nothing feels like home… like you babe. I love you more than you will ever know.”
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Monsters in the closet

(Jonathan is tossing and turning in his bed because he is having nightmares about a monster from childhood.)


(Something falls and Jon Jumps from his sleep) All that I know, from every creak in this wood and every bump in the night is that there are too many bags sagging under your eyes to keep them closed half the time. I always find myself back in this same place with you and I can’t find a way to let you go!! Its like I-I-I can feel you breathing down my neck every second that it gets dark and I’m tired of thinking that I’m crazy! Remember when mom said if I was ever scared, to hold onto my kneecaps, because our kneecaps are the closest we come to god before bed, but my kneecaps, are ashy and scared. God has never taken a seconds breathe out his time for me and why should he. I’m still a boy trying to face my childhood demons under the covers. As if goose feathers in fabric will somehow protect me from what lurks behind splintering wood. And yet, you’re the only one who ever listened. Mom was always gone off to work cus’ of that no good bastard who only gets off  using his semen as a legacy. Spitting out children like mucus and he wasn’t the only one. Remember the two after? Coming and going like zombies tearing up used condoms and when I screamed she never heard me. After I told her that-that-that THE SOUND OF JINGLING BELT BUCKLES felt like fingernails on chalkboards but too quiet for anyone else to hear. YOU WATCHED! and I screamed.  Monsters were never made easy work of but befriended in this house. Fathers are supposed to protect their sons the only way a Father could. But every man that comes through that door is another bruise on mom another scream another tear,  so I guess I don’t deserve that because everything just comes and goes as it pleases. Ghosts, Zombies, Terrorists, dressed in sweatpants and tattered t-shirts. Came and left, but you, You’ve always been faithful. You never left just got louder! Just listened! and every time I woke up you were waiting to be my nightmare in solid sound. Breathing and creaking, because you only came out when it was dark and cold. It’s always cold when you’re in the closet! The only thing I have ever talked to honestly yet my bones tremble every time I’m waking up in the middle of the night! Because you’re here! Shaving the enamel off my teeth in blood curdling screams. I should have never let you stay, but it seems monsters in the souls of men are the only things that I am familiar with. I hate you. Because you make me a coward as well as a child in one body. When I hold my stomach to open the closet! or when I tremble on cold nights tossing and turning, to afraid to get up because I always regret finding surprises under the bed. I am tired of treating you like an ally when are you have ever been is a concoction of painful memories wrapped up in fear. A monster in the closet.


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Christ-Mess by. Serge Mass

Serge Mass Christ-mess


Oh my god! I am just so excited for christmas Tommy, you do not even know. What do you want santa to bring you? (take a pause)

Oh thats cool and let me get my list from my mom or see if she has it. Give me a second…  


Hey mama do you have my christmas list that you mailed to santa, I wanna tell Tommy what I want Santa to get me. (take a pause)

No I can’t wait, I need it now i’m on the phone with him now! (open up the door)

Mom… wait… what is… that? Wait woah what are you doing with Need For Speed: Most Wanted? Toys for Tots don’t accept video games and Ian already got it……… Wait… is that for… Me?


Mom, are you santas helper? hahaha I knew it! (Take a break and observe)

How mom? There is no way he is fake. Nooooooooooo! (take a break)

Uhh Uhh! (say with confidence) Mom, all my friends all get gifts from Santa except for JJ because he is jewish and he gets presents from his parents but, you… you just don’t undewwstannndddddd! There is no way that you can buy me these gifts mom, its just too much… Santas elves made these presents. (take a break)

Fine then mom please tell me how “santa is fake”! (wait a little bit)

So I sat on some guy that was dressed up as santa at the mall for the last 7 years?


Uhh Uhh you and pop would ever lie to me, not for the last 7 years no way! Anyways last week you guys told me to never lie. When… when I threw my lunch box at JJ last week and I told my teacher I didn’t and I lied… you… you got really mad. Well now I am mad mom… you two lied to me.  I don’t understand… why, why would parents lie to their children for all of these years?!?! (take a break)

Mom that makes absolutely no sense at all, but if you say so, then I guess it’s true just like SANTA BEING REAL! Ugh I… just cannot believe this. Well how will I do this for my kids when I get older? I don’t want to lie to them! ( take a break)


Well… I guess I understand, but when do I tell them… when do I break the truth to them? (Take a break)

What do you mean “I will know when the time is right”? I just found out the hard way mom. Ugh you… you are just… I don’t know… Wait… wait… wait a minute. I guess this was the time! Ohhhhh I understand now… I have got to tell everyone!


*runs to grab phone and starts dialing*


Tommy guess what I found out?!





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