by Nalli 10th
We’re running in an open field, leaving behind us nothing but a black sky, big enough to swallow us whole, big enough to make us feel like we are insignificant specks of dust.
I wish the Milky Way would come down and scoop me up,
“Will you pick me up from school today? I feel sick.”
I want to float, be cradled by the stars.
Will the universe do me a solid?
I know people won’t always be around to hold my hand, even when I am scared, because there are things you just have to do all on your own with no one to hold your hand.
And there is this relentless voice in my head that is always telling me everything is going to be just fine, and even looking up at the sky the smoke practically spells out “YOU'RE OK.”
Yet I still struggle to believe.
From the tip of your head, to the heels of your feet, you are made of particles and stars, a cosmic milkshake. You matter. I can see the significance in even the tiniest things that you do.
And I'll always want to hold your hand.
I had a nightmare a few winters ago, I was floating in the middle of this pool, my body full of peace. I could hear the water moving around me, crashing on the concrete. Then all of a sudden, I felt every feeling, person, everything I have ever known slam into my chest.
It took the form of a shark right before my eyes, this giant mess of a shark, all teeth and fins. Floating right in front of me.
Then with this crazy speed, he bit into my stomach.
And all these butterflies spilled out as he started to laugh.
He said “You taste disgusting.”
My stomach hurts, bring me a butterfly net and, please, try to catch everything that escapes my body.
Put it into a jar and label it “You’re Ok.”
by Bortybo, 11th
It’s clear that the generation raised in the 2000s is filled with mental ailment, but why? David Brooks attempts to answer this question in his New York Times article, “A Generation Emerging From The Wreckage.” He uses perspectives on the current status of The United States from students attending college. The answers given by the students reveal many negative notions surrounding the world we live in from how our government is run, to the threats against democracy. Basically, people aren't having a good time. But is it harder now than it was before? When examining common circumstances for America’s youth, it is more difficult to grow up in the 21st century because the worsening wealth inequality, death of the “American dream” and lack of faith in the government due to its obvious corruptions.
In today’s society most would agree that a lot of anxiety and frustration is situated around money. How are you gonna get it? Do you have enough? And will the ever-haunting lust to acquire it ever subside? People are getting annoyed and angry with the continuously growing feeling that their financial success is stagnant. American political commentator, Robert Reich, explains in an interview that people feel that they are “not getting anywhere…[they] are working harder than ever and [are] getting nowhere, and [are] getting annoyed, and the game feels rigged against [them]” (Team Coco). Reich illustrates how the growing difficulty of reaching economic success sets people into negative mentalities and ultimately depresses our population. This makes people think of America as anything but the land of opportunities and good fortune. Prior generations were observed to be steadily doing better off than their parents. This phenomena has ceased, and economic success is becoming harder and harder to obtain as the years go on.
At one point, America was mainly viewed as a promised land, home to opportunities, a country to show gratitude for living in, but this perspective has diminished today as the generation growing up in this century has a view of their nation painted in guilt. This feeling is derived from the U.S being deemed “the greatest country,” but this statement is actually a contradiction due to how immensely flawed it really is. Brooks interviews students about their perspectives of the country, and most respond with very negative notions of society and their government. The taught history of America becomes a rounding point for how guilt is an added factor into the rising youth’s perspective: “The U.S. doesn’t have a unified culture the way other places do,” one student says, and a second student laments, “I don’t have a sense of being proud to be an American” when asked about their observations of America (Brooks). Generation z, as referring to the most recent generation, and millennials are being brought up having little to no faith in what’s considered to be the “American ideal.” In fact it's a common theme for these generations to feel guilty for being American and consider the place they live filled with imperfection due to discrimination, inadequate human rights, and corrupt power. This lack of appeal to their own country leads many youngsters to question why the government hasn't made strong enough efforts to fight these predicaments.
Lowered expectations run rampant throughout today’s youth because most are living through times where institutions fail to provide basic security. With muted conjectures among the rising generation, it’s no wonder why Brooks receives the response he does when encountering them. Through an attempt to communicate a commonly felt frustration of our political establishment, one young Yale student declares, “I don’t believe in politicians; they have been corrupted. I don’t believe in intellectuals; they have been corrupted” (Brooks). This reduced trust in American establishments steals away any sensation of solidarity in being an American citizen possibly felt by prior generations. The youth of this country are pushing themselves harder than ever before, yet they are struggling to see a reason why.
It’s clear that the 21st century has not been merciful to those growing up in it. An ever-augmenting financial inequality, a fading American ideal, and distrust in large organizations has made certain of that much. The disproportion of wealth creates a harder to obtain lifestyle for the average citizen. The stigma and negativity surrounding what it means to be an American forbids a sense pride and induces one of guilt in its place. Incidents where large-scale U.S operations, such as government programs, elections, or military, fail to provide insurance to its people, leaving them with broken trust and lack of faith in the government that regulates them. If these problems continue to worsen, so will their symptoms: increased depression, harder to obtain healthy lifestyles, economic collapse, and the perpetuation of this cycle.
by S.T. 8th
It was Passover and I was in 6th grade. The sun had set not too long ago, (most Jewish holidays happen after the sun goes down) and I sat at my Aunt’s grand table feeling out of place and uncomfortable in the harsh light of the living room. My Mom sat across from me, focused on looking through the Seder book. I remembered the story of Passover while I sat. A short summary would be that the holiday retells of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
“Here comes the drinks!” My Aunt called from the kitchen as she expertly balanced four glasses of wine. She also brought a cup for grape juice for me but hesitated when she set it out in front of me. “Actually… Sarah, would you like some wine?”
“I’m eleven!” I exclaimed, shocked. “I'm too young to have alcohol.”
“I know… but I will water it down for you… It will be fine.” My Aunt always talks like she is relaxing in a hammock, worry-free. “Only if you want to.” She added with an inviting smile.
I looked up at my Mom, asking for permission. My Mom nodded her head encouragingly and said, “Its Passover.”
I wasn’t really confident in my answer, but I shrugged and said, “sure”, It can't hurt to try.
“Look at you, doing grown-up things.” My Aunt said as she poured half water, half wine into my glass.
After a little while, we said the blessing for the wine and everyone took a big sip. I smelled the drink first and the scent of cleaning supplies wafted into my nose. Then, I tentatively sipped and held the drink in my mouth to savor the flavor.
I still don't know a lot about wine, just that it is made from grapes. That is why I prepared myself to taste a flavor similar to the grape juice I would have been having. It did not taste like grape juice. It tasted sour and bitter. I remember feeling as if I was drinking something so old and awful it had lost all of its original flavors, just leaving the rotten, gross taste behind. Almost as if, as it moved down my throat, it would corrupt my mouth with rancid flavors. It was bitter grapefruit, old, raw broccoli, chocolate without sugar, and a smidgen of vinegar all in one drink. It was disgusting, disgusting, and disgusting. This is the time I discovered, there is nothing nice about wine. Adults always look so calm when drinking wine but in reality, they are tasting this! Why do adults like wine? I guess I will know when I am older. I cringed and crinkled my face up, disliking the liquid in all ways possible. I must have looked like I had smelled a skunk.
“I guess you didn't like it.” my Aunt said and everyone chuckled at my odd face.
“If this is what being an adult tastes like, I never want to be an adult.” My words received an uproar of laughter from the adults in the room.
“No one does.” My Aunt laughed like it was the most hilarious thing in the world.
Later that night, when the lingering aftertaste of the wine was finally gone, I sat, digesting the whole experience. I had said that I never wanted to be an adult but in truth, I did not have any control over that part of my life. After all, the wine was for adults and grape juice was for children. The fact that I had been offered wine meant that I was growing up. A year ago, I would not have had the opportunity. Not just the offer of wine mattered, also the fact that I had accepted meant something. Some part of me wanted to grow up faster and do grown-up things, or at least try them. At the same time, I wanted to be young and enjoy my freedom. I had to remind myself that this is something everyone faces in their own way and that I don't have to figure out now. This was just a part of growing up.
by MCM, 7th
O, white rice
The taste of nothing yet everything
Indulging in a huge pot for every meal
Savory, sweet, salty, you can be anything you want
Eating it with soy sauce, falling right out of my chopsticks
Warm delicious god-like creature
Looked over by everyone
But small and steady steps taking over all food
Who cares if it is “peasant” food it rules over me
I smell your non-existing smell
So high above everything
even my dog is named after you
Fluffy, soft, gooey, little pebbles
Food so easily accessed but I would keep you in a safe with all of my money
From the bowl right into my mouth,
Fate, your fate is with me
Food you are, loved by most
Loved by me
Oakland | East Bay, CA