by Tamra Cosby
[trigger warning: sexual assault]
by Tamra Cosby
[trigger warning: sexual assault]
by Vivian Ortiz
Download here or read below.Primary Longing
Vivian Ortiz was born and raised in Jackson Heights, NY. She is of half Brazilian, half Puerto Rican descent. She loves animals, the beach, swimming, fresh seafood, singing karaoke, and dancing. She is passionate about film and technology and her goal is to have a career where she can meld the two together. Her favorite genre is mumblecore. She loves that it is heavy on dialogue, improvisation and focuses on the relationships between people in everyday scenarios.
She went to college at Arizona State University. During that time she spent a summer in Telluride, CO, and considers it one of the best summers of her life. She has lived in Pennsylvania and Hawaii. She lived in Oahu, HI for two years and considers it as one of the most beautiful, warm and welcoming places. She came back to New York in 2009 and has been here ever since. She is now getting her degree in Programming and Software Development.
by George Webster
Download here or read below.Mi Lupita
George Webster worked as a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant and managed a catering company before returning to school to study computer science. He is grateful to LaGuardia for providing a space to explore and expand on his lifelong interest in storytelling while changing careers.
by Diana Athena
deeper and deeper
into the softness
of white cotton
on my tippy toes
over the hardwood floor
of the living room
with the corners
of long lashes
of sapphire eyes
into the warmth
of comforting pillows
Until I no longer know
What is real?
Am I even here?
…are still breathing.
Through a stream
large palm leaves
after the sweet potential
of something bigger
Than this World
under the fog of fear
and a constant thirst
for something more
I need to get out
deeper and deeper
Into the softness
of a clear night.
There are days when life is too much to handle.
Diana Athena started to develop an interest in writing as a teenager, writing poems and short stories. After moving to New York from Russia at age 19, Diana rediscovered her passion for using the art of words to express herself and started exploring writing in English. After performing one of her poems as her monologue in an acting class, and receiving positive feedback from her acting coach, Diana knew that writing was her calling. Diana is currently working on getting her AA in creative writing at LaGuardia Community College.
Caiwu Chen studies Computer Science at LaGuardia Community College. He was born and grew up in mainland China. His Chinese background, food, and family are his values and inspiration for creating.
by Tenzin Diki
Tsampa: my customary food, both salty and sweet.
Prepared with bare hands.
Roasted barley flour,
Yak butter, Chura ཆུར་ར་ cheese and churning salted tea.
Sacred ingredients of a wealthy food culture.
We should all savor
offering to the Lord Buddha
treatment of illness
everything for a Tibetan.
Tenzin Diki is a freshman at LaGuardia Community College, currently majoring in Biology. She was born in the Tibetan refugee settlement in India, immigrated to the United States in 2017, and attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, New York. This is her first-ever writing to get accepted for publication.
by Jason DeMartino
Temporary treasure trove.
Hardened and experienced. Durable.
Deciding the essentials.
Personality of a chameleon:
shifting its entrails,
adjusting to different destinations,
and changing ages.
The suitcase grows as we do,
from diapers and bottles,
to diapers and bottles,
to diapers and bottles.
Packed with fragments of a familiar scene,
bound to a foreign set,
cast and crew.
Traveler, nomad, vagabond…
Whore of the Earth.
Unzip to take what’s needed.
Zip up to silence.
Always leaving to stay.
Opening a beginning,
closing an end.
Jason DeMartino is a native New Yorker and musician who currently lives in Queens. Since graduating high school, he has completed semesters at City Tech college while steadily maintaining a full-time job at a bustling midtown restaurant, and has returned to school with the objective of becoming a writer. This is his first publication and he is currently at work on several songs, poems, and compositions.
by Iris Alufohai
[Author’s note: In horoscopic astrology it takes Saturn 29 years to orbit the sun and return back to the same place in the sky that it was in when you were born: a cosmic rite of passage marking a transition in your life into adulthood, after facing challenges and obstacles in your late 20’s to early 30’s. It’s a time where you come into alignment with your true path in life. You begin to gain wisdom and become sure of yourself and goals.]
I am Thirty
and gravity has betrayed me
the man I cannot live without
still looks at women on instagram
It’s no secret
how come my feet are
always so ashy
anxiety whispering what if I die
and I’m home alone
better make sure my door is locked
I have to lose weight
in time for my next vacation
my closet is too small for all my stuff
suppose I die lonely because I decided to
go thru his phone
see what’s going on in his messages
there’s nothing they wouldn’t do
to have their cake
and eat it too
my thoughts become redundant
and I’m home alone
better make sure my door is locked
Nobody even stops to think
that it’s the meat killing us
paying for services that
keep us sick
I don’t want to go to work tomorrow
will I Iive to see a million
better start creating
while I’m home alone
making sure the door is locked.
Iris Alufohai is currently studying health science to pursue a nursing degree at LaGuardia Community College. She is 31 years of age: born and raised in the Bronx.
by Melany Tapia
I remember the smell of beer spilled by a guy whose head bopped to the beat of the drums.
I remember bumming cigarettes off pierced, vibrant strangers.
I remember smoking outside between sets.
I remember hopping the L train at 1 a.m. after a gig because most pigs are asleep at that time.
I remember the girls who were loose with no drink and ready for fun after three.
I remember the moshers stomping so proudly, pushing love from one to another as the bass increased its speed loudly.
I remember the melodies created by fingers who seemed to have a mind of their own.
I remember the smokey haze of a room that left my ears ringing.
I remember the broken down bathroom and how a friend had to stand by the door for it to close.
I remember the metalheads leaving white powder on the sink.
I remember graffiti filled art on rotten walls that held in the sound.
I remember dropping my phone in the middle of a set and a stampede of Doc Martin’s cracked my screen.
I remember the crowd surfers that would ride us like the waves in Hawaii.
I remember the beer runs to bodegas when we knew we already had enough.
I remember the energy and smiles and the willingness of everyone to share their poisons.
I remember jumping off stage just to be caught in a net of arms still dancing as they lifted.
I remember the long waits and transfers to trains that stopped running once you got there.
I remember knocking out cold for fourteen stops just to wake up exactly at mine.
I remember the wretched burps after having a little too many.
I remember not remembering how I got home, but making it anyway.
I remember crashing hard into bed just to wake up two hours later to rush to the toilet.
I remember waking up with a headache.
I remember the morning after where I would look through videos of the night before.
I remember living with no rules and no one to cage me.
I remember punk shows daily.
Melany Tapia is an English and Literature major in Creative Writing. She is part of LaGuardia’s graduating class of 2020. Her plans are to continue her education at Brooklyn College and receive her BA in Secondary Education. As an aspiring writer, her main goal is to one day get published and recognized for her work. Five years from now, she sees herself pursuing her Ph.D. in English and helping young writers find their path.
by Nicolle Jaramillo
[trigger warning: sexual assault]
I could be a pretty girl
I’ll wear a skirt for you.
–Clairo, “Pretty Girl”
I’m 5 years old or maybe 6 already, it doesn’t matter. I’m in the first grade waiting in line, although I can’t remember why. For the first time I feel someone’s hands — someone else’s hands on me, moving around and feeling me. I turn around, furiously confused, to the kid in my class with the most atrocious bowl cut I’ve ever seen smiling at me. I know this is wrong. I know this is disrespectful, my mom told me to never let anyone touch me there–or anywhere for that matter –but still I can’t figure out why. I shriek and run up to my first-grade teacher Ms. Sullivan, who’s at the front of the line, and tell her what had happened. I remember that the boy was named Kevin, because her stern face called him over to her, after she told me not to worry and called me a “pretty girl.”
I’m 7 or so now, not much older than the first time Kevin laid his hands on me, but that’s not on my mind anymore. My mom and I are headed towards my friend Jimmy’s house; we were in the same class in kindergarten and our moms became friends through us. What I didn’t know then was that Jimmy had some kind of crush on me, and that his mother encouraged this as well. I would grow to hate this family so much over the years, for many reasons,while my parents got closer to them, until they couldn’t stand them either: but all of that comes later. Our mothers are in the living room chatting, and so were we until one of us got the idea to imitate Spongebob. Back then Spongebob was still something kids liked and wasn’t forced down our throats, as it is now for ratings. In the “Krusty Krab Training” episode, our favorite character Spongebob washes his hands continuously until they disappeared. We wanted to try this out and see if our hands would disappear if we washed them as long as Spongebob did, and for that we headed to the bathroom. After a few attempts of scrubbing our hands furiously and giggling and our mothers yelling to not waste so much soap and water, Jimmy decides to close the door.
“Nicolle, I want to show you something,” he says while tugging at his pants. Remember, I’m seven now: so I know a little more than I did when I was six, and I know that private parts are called private for a reason. I closed my eyes and yelled at him not to. After a moment of silence I open them and saw him holding “it” in his hand and looking at me with a serious face. I freak out. This is the first time I’ve ever seen someone else’s privates and I feel disgusted. I run out of the bathroom and look at my mom and his mom. I couldn’t tell them what happened. I knew he shouldn’t have done that and that it was wrong, but I didn’t know how to tell my mom. I say nothing and they assume we went on to play another game. I never end up telling my mom what happened in the bathroom and I stop thinking of Jimmy as a friend and more like a creep. That night when we leave, his mom tells me I’m such a pretty girl.
I’m now in middle school and I’ve had to withstand Jimmy’s gross passes, like hugging me from behind and grasping me so tightly; no matter how hard I tried to get out I couldn’t, while he made weird noises. His mother would laugh and talk about how “cute” we were even though we didn’t share mutual feelings. Her laughter would be heard over my screams of protests and when I acted out or tried to punch or pull my way free. I was the one who would get reprimanded for my actions. A kid in my 7th grade ELA class, who was often known for acting out and bringing attention to himself, would tell me while looking me up and down, that I’m “growing into such a nice body, pretty girl.”
Walking home from school or walking to school or on the train the neighborhood bums and drunks stare at a pre-adolescent girl with watery eyes, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. A short drunk almost my height calls me “hermosa” and blows me a kiss.
I’m now sixteen and starting my junior year in high school. Rumors start to spread about a boy in some of my classes, asking about me. I’d hear my name being whispered by the same voice but every time I’d turn around no one would say anything. The first time he talked to me, he asked if I wanted to buy cookies he was selling for his soccer team. A few days later my friend informed me that he was asking around for my snapchat.hen I got his request, I accepted to see what he had to say to me. After his attempt at small talk, he tells me I’m a pretty girl, and that he’s been asking around about me because he’s been too shy to talk to me. For the first time I believe that I am a pretty girl.
We keep talking for several weeks and become friends, until he abruptly kissed me while walking me home from the mall. I still remember the date, November 3rd. For the first time my feelings reciprocated those of another who liked me. Shortly after that we start dating and he is more comfortable and confident with me. He shares his misogynistic views on how women “can’t” drive and how men are smarter than women. I am no longer a pretty girl but rather “his” girl. He starts to talk to me about sex and I tell him I’ve always felt uncomfortable talking about it. He says he respects that. He doesn’t. He starts to bring up sex in everything conversation, so much so that I feel brainwashed into giving in to him.
The day that it happens I am late to his house from trying to avoid running into my mom on the streets, after she drops me off at the bus stop. He is restless; cmon babe hurry up I just wanna be inside you, be your first, he messages me. When I finally get to his apartment, I get a warm welcome from his dog Micky, who seems to be the only one who cares about my feelings. Not even halfway into the apartment, he starts trying to take off my clothes. Eventually what happens happens: because I think I am ready for it, I think he really loves me, I think we are in love, I think I am a pretty girl. I later come to blame myself for the hurt, because it was me who let him inside me. It starts to hurt like nothing else I’ve ever felt down there or anywhere else. I let out an agonizing scream and tell him to stop; I am not aroused, I am definitely in pain.
“It’s gonna hurt babe, it’s gonna hurt the first time,” he keeps repeating while pushing further as I keep screaming in pain for him to stop.
I think about the way I was raised, how I grew up being a good kid most of time, always calm and quiet and dependent on God. Please God please forgive me for this, don’t punish me, I think while turning my head to the side. It starts to hurt so bad my arms move by themselves to try to push him off, like a reflex.
“Stop trying to push me,” he says.
When it is over he tells me I am bleeding and gives me a paper towel. We walk to school like nothing happens and we miss AP English.
“That was terrible,” he says to me about it. Suddenly I am not a pretty girl anymore; I am not even “his” girl. I am terrible. We go on like nothing happened for the rest of the day. I get home and lay on my bed and turn on my music. I hear Lana Del Rey ask me: “is innocence lost?” And I don’t know if it is, or if it already has been.
I haven’t felt like a pretty girl in a long time; so long that I can’t remember when I haven’t been thinking about how big my nose looks, or whose makeup looks better than mine. When I don’t put on makeup to go out, the whole world makes a big deal about it. My grandma motions to me to at least put on some lipstick by running her finger around her lips. My mother scolds me for going out on family days looking like death for not “fixing” myself.
“You’re going out like that?” my aunt asks me when I’m headed out the door bare-faced.
“Asi te ves bonita,” my grandmother says with a smile, when she catches me putting on makeup, on the days that I feel like trying.
I can’t look at myself without staring into my eyes for a while. I don’t know what these experiences mean in terms of how I am perceived as an actual person, but I do know that to everyone else I’m only a pretty girl for a while. I’m only pretty when I get male attention, I’m only pretty when I let things slide, I’m only pretty when I wear somewhat revealing clothing, I’m only pretty when I have something to offer, I’m only pretty when I fix my face with makeup. I’ve been called a pretty girl so many times for different things; but I truly do not know what it feels like to be a pretty girl or to be called one, without the feeling of disgust running through me.
Nicolle Jaramillo is a second-year student at LaGuardia Community College who will be transferring to Hunter College in Fall 2020. She is currently studying Childhood Education with a concentration in English. As a childhood education major with a concentration in English, she has trained to perform highly in different fields such as journalism, creative non-fiction writing, and creating lesson plans.
Born and raised in New York City, she is of Peruvian descent. She grew up absorbing the different cultures around Queens. Her hobbies include guitar playing, writing poetry, and knitting. Authors and poets such as Lang Leav, Emily Dickinson, and Oscar Wilde inspire her to keep pursuing poetry as well as trying different genres of writing.