Jay Wallerich: “I’m Empty Reality”

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“I’m Empty Reality” by Jay Wallerich My mind leaks empty reality; Onto these pages it spills Freely, Chaotically, Endlessly. Something profound festers inside but I have no words to work off of. The madness stays within. I feel need to explain the process in which my thoughts are growing from But my tongue is tangled in the weeds My teeth chipped from rocks, My lips dry from the dirt. Words become utterly useless. What is it called when one’s self is overfilling? Being held above oxygen level, looking down upon…

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Aidan Spurgetis: “Out of Sight”

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“Out of Sight” by Aidan Spurgetis He lost the staring contest because the stucco ceiling had too many eyes. He sat up stretched and yawned. It had been two days since his apocalypse and he brushed his teeth. The arm moved in the old pattern like an explosive jackhammer stinging the edge of his gums. It wasn’t self-punishment only habit. He didn’t know how long he brushed but he stopped when it felt right. He lost the staring contest with the mirror because he had water in his eye. and…

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Nancy Nahra: “The Roar of the Highway”

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The Roar of the Highway by Nancy Nahra The roar of the highway is the song I fight with every night. A hollow sound for the hollow road, Friendless rubber tires and fatigued metal boxes and Chills in fortissimo Amplify The beautiful sound haunting me from my balcony. Low, hazy bellows and hunger- ridden notes cushion and sing the suburbs to sleep. The roar of the highway Cools down the stars. Can you teach me how to have that power in my voice? How to make the desperation sweet when…

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“I Can’t Imagine” — But I Must Try

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By KENT MICK I can’t imagine how exhausted people of color are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine how exhausted my gay friends are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine how disgusted my Native American friends are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine how exhausted working women are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine how exhausted the working poor are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine how disgusted the disabled are when it comes to America. I can’t imagine, but,…

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Affirmation of the Unknown: “I Am”

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“The thought of everything society expects from the ‘American Dream’ hit me. There are all these expectations that our generation almost can’t meet — or that we don’t want to meet because we see that there could be a better way to live, a different way. So I examined life from the perspective of ‘the little things.’ ” — Jackie Duden “I Am” by Jaclyn Duden I am the question left in the bleachers after all the right plays took us nowhere. I am drifting somewhere in between “I’m proud of you.”…

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Fairfield artist strives to honor all creative efforts

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FAIRFIELD, IA — “Art is the first brush stroke on a blank canvas.” This all-encompassing nod to the value of all creativity is a key theme for Mia Story, a professional artist based in Fairfield whose work includes painting, poetry, graphic design and sculpture. With a style she self-describes as “gravitating toward realistic fantasy,” Story says her family had “subverted artistic tendencies until I came along.” After studying art and English in college and graduate school, Story says, she became a fully-devoted artist. (article continues below image) “Mermaids, faeries, goddesses…

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Poetry: Mount Pleasant activist ponders true meaning of respect

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“Often, people try to control discussion through a single word. It sounds logical, until we take a deeper look.” Bob Mueller wrote his poem, “Respect,” to challenge a word oft-repeated, and sometimes exploited. Bob helped found the new Mount Pleasant PFLAG chapter and is active in Iowa Welcomes its Immigrant Neighbors (WINS). He retired to Mount Pleasant, just east of Iowa City, from Chicago’s surburbs, where he lived for more than 26 years with his late partner, Todd. “Respect” by Bob Mueller Respect can come in many forms. And in…

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Coralville mom captures the emotion of her teen’s gender transition with “He”

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“Basically, I am a gay mom who is also raising a 13-year-old trans guy. Being the parent of a trans kid is a unique experience, but seeing your child bloom into exactly the person they were meant to be is one of the most rewarding things any parent can witness. There are so many highs and lows, and it’s a massive learning curve. But I wouldn’t trade my guy for anyone.  “A lot of people have questions about parenting a trans kid and have a hard time imagining what they…

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