My Job In a Nutshell by Kevin Hoover

Kevin Hoover

My Job In a Nutshell



Sometimes people ask me
what my job is
and I tell them
I work with kids,
but beyond this
it’s hard to explain
what it is I do;
so many kids,
each dealin’ with their own issues.

Maybe I’m crazy to think
that I could help.
Maybe I’m over-confident
or just full of myself.
Maybe I’m arrogant to want to help someone else
through things they live with
that I’ve never felt.

Somebody somewhere with a PHD
gave them names like ‘ODD’, ‘OC’, and ‘ADHD’.
I feel like I’m swimmin’ in a bowl of alphabet soup
and although I’m not a doctor
I’m not outta the loop.
I know that in addition to the medications
and psychiatric evaluations
and behavioral adjustment implementations
what they really need
is someone to be there,
someone who loves what they do
and someone who really cares.

Someone who instead of demanding it
will try to earn the respect
of kids with histories of neglect,
histories of people with a short fuse
who abandoned love
only to replace it with abuse,
histories of sadness,
histories of God-forsaken madness,
and histories of God-knows-what-else.

God forbid everyone should have
to walk in these kids’ shoes.
I’ve been more fortunate than that
and that’s why I’m here to
do what I can by doing what I do.
I’m trying to show them that
a journey of a thousand miles
begins with a first step,
and all the while
I try to crack a few jokes
and lighten the mood and make them smile.

At least one of these kids found it funny
to hear a white guy say
‘ya know what I mean?’
I always have to think about what I say-
I gotta be keepin’ it clean.
I’m an activist against a whole lotta cursin’.
I try to be a role-model person.
I’m not a ‘think of myself first’ kinda person-
I’m a different kinda person.
I think I’m a kind person.

I’m an experiment on the patience of human kind,
but I got mad love for these kids.
For real—you’d have to be blind
not to see it when I try to help them find
their souls
their path
a goal.
And if they lose sight of that goal
if they lose track
I try to help them back.

I’m a virtual reality beach
during an asthma attack.
I’m an advisor to kids
that don’t know how to act,
when they find themselves facin’
a given situation
and their angers give rise
to the cries of
‘well she did this’ and
‘he did that’ and
‘who did what, why, how’
but I say it’s all
slow it down
take it back.
I tell these kids,
‘You gotta calm yourself.
If you can’t do it alone
I’m here to help.
If you wanna talk
let’s talk.
If you wanna walk
let’s walk.
If you find yourself outta control
and goin’ off the deep end,
then reach out your hand
and I’ll pull you back in;
but you gotta swim just a bit,
and if you don’t know how to swim
you gotta kick,
and if you don’t know how to kick
ask me how.
That’s my job.
That’s why I’m there,
and now.

Now is your opportunity to work on yourself
and to help your peers,
to defeat your demons
and conquer your fears.
This is your chance to rise above
all the negativity in your life
that held you back instead of helping you up.
This is your time.

I spend my time conversin’ with Earth’s children
not believin’ for a second that these are the ‘worst’ children
knowin’ there’s no such thing as bad children,
only bad choices made by hurt children
workin’ with young children
workin’ with old children
workin’ with soul children
watchin’ ‘em become whole children.
and whole people.

See as people we’re never
entirely complete,
but the more we drive for it
and the more we strive for it
the more complete we become
and the stronger we get.
I’m tryin’ to reach them
in hopes to teach them
that the path in life they take
can be better than the sum of
the mistakes they make.

I think sometimes they respect me,
but sometimes they choose to hate me
and I wish there was something I could do
just to make things cool,
but that’s hard to do
when all they wanna do
is play the fool
just ta be cool
wantin’ to be rough and tough,
sayin’ ‘look at me the gangsta”,
givin’ no thanks ta
the words of wisdom
that I’m tryin’ ta give them.

Sometimes I have to be a little bit nicer.
Sometimes I have to be a little bit meaner.
I’m a bed-time book reader.
I’m a body guard in case of a brawl.
I’m an 8am wake-up call.
I tell the kids I’m a psychic
so don’t even think about an AWOL.

These kids make me tired,
they make me cranky,
and they make me frustrated
but they also make me a better person.
They teach me tolerance.
They let me into their lives.
They teach me patience,
and they open my eyes.

These kids…

they give me love
they give me laughter
they give me pause
they give me meaning
they give me cause.

These kids…

they give me hell,
but hey…
that’s my job in a nutshell.

Untitled by Antoine Merriweather

Antoine Merriweather


Girlfriend friend friend of girl can I be that to you again you’re who I miss sexy four sexy four wheel driven friends I miss being your 5th wheel I never felt like a spare my brain ran a flat trying to run you down be my triple A tow me back into your lives I can survive the impound forgive this boyfriend for being a no friend but an ass in the end the “s” on this Superman chest stands for sorry and I am I need back in your super sexy soul sista circle because Charlie can’t fly without his angels girlfriend friend of girl can I be that to you again you’re who I miss.

Queen Cinderella by Chelsea Kershner

Chelsea Kershner

Queen Cinderella

Her throne is her only home,

the only place she feels she is known.

She is welcomed nowhere beyond,

of her character no one is fond.

The power of her position

should never have gone beyond the kitchen.

Once a fair and equal maid,

without a thought of the trade,

fell in love with the Prince of Marrundew.

She left everyone she ever knew.

Now she finds herself a part of the fame,

and no longer answers to her old name.

With no compassion, with no empathy,

her jewels are now her only company.

The commoners are now full of dirt and disgust,

as the beautiful town of Marrundew begins to rust.

Neighbors that once were her own,

find themselves empty handed,

begging at the bottom of her throne.

Tolkien’s Fever by John Little

John Little


Tolkien’s Fever


A legion of days has marched past me thus far in this war. I have counted every day, with baited breath, hoping that one among the thousands would end my entrenchment in these murky, blood-filled pools. Unlike some of my fellows, I do not harbor any hatred towards the boys across the way, the Germans, for they suffer as we do. Those in control are dastardly creatures for sure, and deserve no less than a bullet to the brain or a bayonet to the heart, but I do sympathize with the men. The simple men who would rather plow their land and tend to their families than be bunkered down with the vermin and the parasites. Those are the things we share the most, a fondness for our homes and revulsion towards these filthy creatures. The rats seem large enough to give a terrier a good fight, that is, if one assumes a rat would fight fair. No, the rats are easy enough really, dreadfully afraid of noise and have at least some sense of self preservation. No, the real demons are the lice. I have not had the misfortune of dealing with the blood sucking beasts for more than the time it takes me to brush them away. Some men however have extoled the horrors at dealing with lice, and have even fallen ill to their incessant march on human flesh.

 The battle went well last night. A German dugout was captured and a few men, myself included, are being sent to inspect and determine its suitability for our troops. In crossing the war torn earth to the dugout, I saw numerous bodies littering the field. Most of these bodies were of departed German soldiers; this was not due to an overwhelming victory on our part. We were permitted to bring our dead back. The Germans had no such luxury for the dead cannot carry the dead.

 We reached the dugout, physically no worse for wear. After a close inspection we determined the place suitable for our troop’s occupation. As officers, our belongings were not long behind us. We decided to stay as a sign of good faith to the regular army men and bunkered down for the night. As I lay down and closed my eyes to rest, what felt like a wave of the lightest electricity washed over me. For a time I sat idle, believing the strange sensation to be a settling of the nerves that would soon pass. When the sensation did not cease and instead gave way to a series of thousands of pin pricks, my eyes flashed open. I sat in a sea of lice. I arose almost in panic and brushed most of the vermin off. None had penetrated my clothing. Of that, I was thankful. I visited our medic and asked if there wasn’t something he could give me to repel the creatures. He prescribed an ointment and gave me some pills to help me sleep. I returned to my bed roll and after applying the ointment liberally, and taking twice as many pills as I ought to have, I dozed off. Within moments the lice had renewed the attack and seemed only invigorated by the ointment.

I awoke to screaming. I rose quickly to see what caused the alarm and was struck dumb by what I saw. I had lost my dugout and was standing in a field in which war was breaking out as it never has on this earth. Men of the strangest assortment of sizes were clad in armor and wielding every sort of sharpened weapon imaginable. Swords and spears, daggers and axes were being wielded with such a deftness that does not often grace our modern society. In fact if it ever graced our civilization, past or present, I would be amazed. What seemed like legions of these men, ranging from average height to what surely must have been dwarves, and if one looked carefully a people of even smaller size, almost that of half a man, could be seen fighting for their lives. The creatures they fought were almost too horrible to imagine. With sickly green flesh, mangled teeth, and eyes fixed with madness, they lurched like a sea of venom against the men. Both men and creatures were falling at an equal rate. As one group would seem to gain a lead, the other would redouble its efforts and gain the field once again. Men falling to beasts and beasts falling to men, it went on for what seemed an eternity. One of the green, evil, fanged creatures saw me standing alone and seemingly defenseless. As he began his charge towards me, I went to my sidearm. To my horror it had vanished. I had so set myself as the onlooker of this terrible battle that I had not seen the mortal peril I was in. The beastie lumbered toward me with great strides, carrying what I could only describe as a scrap of wickedly sharp metal, and when he came close enough to strike he went for my throat. In the moment that I was to acquire my first and last taste of death I was saved by the tiniest of happenings. A fellow of no more than a meter or so in height appeared as if swept there by some unseen force to bury his blade into the bowels of the beast. After slaying the brute and promptly removing his sword he turned to me and gave me a look I will never forget. In his eyes were so many uncertain feelings, feelings of joy, hope, of pain and despair, of battles won and lost and friends found and fallen; it was the look of a man who has seen the truth of the world. I waited for a word, a statement, a scream, a roar, anything that would let me know who or what this little man creature was, but instead he did the most uncommon thing I have ever seen. He smiled, turned, and charged back into the fray to join his friends, all of which seemed unbelievable glad to see him. Before I could begin to contemplate this any further a great thundering began in the lines of the men, dwarves, and tiny man creatures.

Within moments, a great white light began to form on the side of the men. As it came together it formed into the shape of what I can only imagine God would look like: a being of immense age and knowledge yet living untouched by time. Joined by a small gathering of every kind of warrior on the side of the men it marched across the field as if to deal the final blow to the horde of grotesque creatures. I found myself wishing with all my might that this would be the case. As the figure was about to deal an earth shattering blow that surely would have changed the tides, a wisp of black appeared, then a flame, and then a shadow began to loom over the battlefield. As if from the dark hearts of the creatures themselves a being of fire and shadow emerged from the air and collided with the brilliant figure of the men. It roared, and raged, and bellowed fire and darkness across the field enveloping all those in its path. From within this darkness emerged a blinding light echoing from the form of the figure in white. The darkness receded and the two sides seemed to be holding their breath before the final plunge. The creature of fire and shadow roared, the white god stood shining brilliantly in the sun, and then the world crashed in around me.

I awoke, feverishly, to being shaken by my fellow officers. The lice, after their feast, had left me with an illness and an enduring fever. I had the vaguest recollection of what I had dreamed, but within minutes none of the details remained. No, that is not quite right, I did remember one thing. I could not get the image of those small men out of my mind. Why such a small people would be participating in what I vaguely remember to be an extremely important battle, I did not know. I began to ponder how a person of that stature would see the world and I must admit I have become rather obsessed with the idea, in the way that someone who is suffering amnesia obsesses over their memory. I just couldn’t seem to let it go.

The war is not nearly over but I do imagine that if and when I return home I will still have plenty to think about concerning these most unlikely adventurers.


Battle of the Memories by Jeremiah Sater

Jeremiah Sater


Battle of the Memories

Explosions rang out all around the man. Rifle in hand, he rushed across the battlefield, his closest friends and family beside him. A noticeable, but indescribable difference appeared between him and his companions. Multiple explosions impacted the ground around him, knocking him to the ground. Crawling forward, he stopped behind a small hill. His comrades dropped to the ground around him, each holding rifles and other assortment of weapons.

Peering over the hill, the enemy remained unseen. Only the explosions showed they remained in the distance. An elderly woman moved across the hill toward him. “Hold on. Don’t let go. You are so close.”

Standing up, he began to run again, his comrades close behind once again. The woman started coming closer, before an explosion hit the ground in front of her. Never stopping, the man continued to move forward as the smoke revealed the woman gone. Another explosion knocked the man off his feet again, but he managed to remain balanced to continue forward.

An elderly man ran forward, knocking him to the ground before another explosion blasted the earth behind them. “Keep your head up. Eyes forward at all times. Mind open, don’t forget. Don’t let go.”

Getting back to his feet, he began to run again. Stumbling, pain shot through his legs, but he ignored it. The words of the woman and the man resonated through his mind. He couldn’t let go, he couldn’t forget. Forward, he must go forward. As the old man continued behind him, an explosion originated from the ground, blasting him from existence.

His other friends and family began to spread out around him. Each wiped off the battlefield by random explosions. The man dropped to the ground again, holding his arms over his head, his body filled with pain. Looking ahead, a bright light reached his eyes. Struggling to his feet, he began to run as his legs went numb. Dropping to the ground again, he pulled himself forward by his arms as multiple explosions blasted the area around him. Most of his family and friends now lay dead or disappeared off the battlefield.

A young woman dropped to his side. Helping him to his feet, she pushed him forward. “Go! Don’t forget! Reach the light and hold on!”

The feeling returning to his legs, he propelled himself forward as the young woman disappeared in a cloud of fire. As he grew nearer to the light, an explosion blasted the ground behind him, propelling him into the ground in front of the light…

“Hello, my name is Dr. Stevenson. You are in a hospital. What is your name?”

He stared up at the man in the gleaming white clothes. “What? Who am I…?”

Improper Vision by Rebecca Burcham

Rebecca Burcham

Improper Vision



How can you look forward,

when all I can see is the past?

The ever-changing days ahead

will only leave yesterday unsurpassed.

Nothing in our future time

can change the departed age.

Where life was lenient, time was truthful,

and responsibility wasn’t a cage.

What does tomorrow have to give,

save for questions, doubts, and the pain?

You must see a different future than I…

Or is it me fighting against the grain?

Surely there are good things yet to come,

hand in hand with the bad, not a curse;

maybe your view—the positive one—

can see all the negatives reversed.

                                            Is it possible for life to be inherently good?

Can tomorrow bring hope from the gloom?

Maybe while I was busy looking back,

the future is beginning to bloom.

EM! by Prince Blake and Racheal Sooeko

Prince Blake and Racheal Sooeko





BOY: I like em short


Girl: I like em tall


BOY: I like em sweet


Girl: I like em with a streak


BOY: I’m kinda interested in the one I can walk down to the creek


Girl: Well I love mine to care what’s on my feet




Girl: I like a kiss before sleep


BOY: Cool I’m fine with some cute feet


Girl: Of course, I like to be the boss so I need one I can beat


BOY: Im not goin for that you not gon find that in me


Girl: Nobody asked you dummy, I’m hippin you ‘bout what comforts me


BOY: Well I don’t care how you like em


BOY: I like em




BOY: Anyway I like the curly hair ones


Girl: I like em with a nice coolio fade


BOY: I also like the ones that know a lil Spanish


Girl: I want one that would stay for longer than one night and won’t vanish


BOY:I like one who has future plans


Girl: What! One that will major in caring for and a stripper that dances for can goods


BOY: Girl you thought you knew the game plan


Girl: Boy you’re a lame!


Girl: Can I get a body builder?


BOY: So you want a man with lil nipples and no neck


Girl: Huuhhhh


Girl: I like em!


            HOW I LIKE EM

Destruction of Erudition by Leroy Mourer

Leroy Mourer


Destruction of Erudition



Fire in my soul

let me perish in the night.

From the ice in my heart,

I fear the destruction.

A world gone insane,

no help to suffice

or a favor offered.

Has desire gone by

to be filled with hate.

Struggle to survive

in need to be great.

The Ever Road by Patrick Willock

Patrick Willock

The Ever Road

My steps go walking clip and clop,

my feet go stomping flip and flop.

I see the land go rolling by,

I feel the rain go plip and plop.

I walk beneath the azure sky,

while little pebbles catch my eye,

and on and on my path does spread;

this path belongs to only I.

Now all along this path I’ve tread,

I see the ways my feet have sped,

and all the pits that blocked my way,

they dragged me down with sacks of lead.

But as I walk both night and day,

Someone keeps evil at bay,

and gives my head a place to lay,

and gives my head a place to lay.