Sitting in the sand, with the sun radiating warmth, a slight breeze blowing past, I can hear children laughing, people all around. The water laps at my feet, almost cold, but not quite. I can feel the sand in between my toes, soft and sharp at the same time. I close my eyes, content, the shushing sound of waves lulling me to sleep.
it starts off slow like
the kind that could put you to sleep
but quickly, it picks up
you can feel it and
i can feel it, too.
and then you’re dancing and
i’m dancing with you and
you can feel it and
i can feel it, too.
it turns intense
almost violent if i knew what that meant.
you’re getting carried away
in the music
you can feel it and
i can feel it, too.
out of nowhere
the lamp has fallen
its bulb is
across the floor...but
“no time to clean it up”
waits for no one.
a slap on the face was not enough for you
you took your hands
your big, hairy hands
and used them to hold my head under the water
gasping for air
my eyes began to close
darkness surrounded me
until i woke up.
grabbing my sheets, panting
i look at my clock
it’s two in the morning
and this is the fourth time i’ve awakened
my face is wet with tears
my heart pounds
i move to pick up my phone
but soon i remember
and am enveloped by fear.
and i wait for my eyes to close again.
Maybe you were helpless once,
And you fought to rise up, but now you
Kick others down - that’s not right, for
Everyone’s voices must be heard.
All the time, I’ve been hiding from you, your knife-edged words
Meant to take away who I am, my dreams, my future-
Even though this nation says we’re equal, my
Rights are an illusion if you continue to act, because
I am not dangerous, vapid or sweet, and I don’t
Care how I look - is that such a crime?
And still, they support you, and it makes me sick.
Go, please, away - leave, you’re not going to make it better,
Righteousness is what this world needs, not
Ethics like yours, spewing poison at
Any and all without your skin, your organs, your religion-
There’s proof that you hate us.
An election shouldn’t bring tears.
Greatness doesn’t come through repression.
And maybe you can’t hear us, but our voices are there, and they will never cease, and
I want to love my country, but you are-
Not my President.
Choose which path you follow, stop before the opioid takes
Hold. Why do you
Abuse? You used to
Sing for joy all day
In your dorm, away from parents with
No idea how hard you have it, how much you
Give. Do I stand by while you
Throw away your career, your
Happiness, your family? You needed help,
Even before the needle found a permanent place in your
Destroyed arm, the veins shrinking away from your
And hatred towards yourself.
Get up! You ARE beautiful. Heroin will not make the monsters go away,
Only wake you at night. Sleep is too peaceful for your master to allow.
No therapy you scream,but is methadone any better?
Please, just get help.
Cocaine - a powerful stimulant,
Often highly addictive.
Causes intense depression, fast heartbeat, and increased risk for HIV.
Altering the chemistry of the brain, cocaine use will affect your life forever.
Increasing your level of dopamine, cocaine changes your mind’s reward path.
Never give up on recovery - local treatment centers are available like Mossrehab in Jenkintown.
Each person’s addiction is different, and help options include inpatient, outpatient, and behavioral therapies.
Alcohol, the most commonly used drug in the US, is a strong depressant.
Leads to insomnia, nausea, high blood pressure, fever, and possible seizure.
Can cause a physical and mental dependence - you think you need it to survive or you get sick.
Often drank casually in social situations, but addiction causes you to drink in an abundance.
How much is taken changes for each situation, but alcohol reduces your ability to think rationally.
Options for treatment are medications to reduce withdrawals, rehab, and counselling.
Local treatment facility is Malverne institute in Willow Grove.
I think the worst part is wanting to participate but not being able to. This is my body, my mind, so why can’t I control it? I can do these things. I know I can. But my mind is rebelling against me.
“Go talk to them, go have fun!” “You know they’re having fun, go with them!”
These phrases slowly morph into something else. That little voice in the back of my mind saying,
“They’re having fun without you.” “They don’t want you here.” “You’ll just make things awkward.”
So I stay in my solitary corner, watching. Wishing I could be like them. Then–rarely, I admit—someone turns and beckons me over. They know what it’s like. That corner of the room, the back of my mind. Dark. Lonely.
They come to me, and suddenly the lights work again. They show me how to live again. Hold on to that person. Those people are your way back, your way to join the world again. Thank you to the people who have been there for me. Maybe this will inspire others to be that person for someone else.
Scenario: As you sit on the edge of the mist and tornado section, you wonder what horrendous literary monster lurks in the shadows. Little do you know that it is the demonic Mr. Hyde.
After our close brush with Dracula, Datura, Onyx and I decided to make camp on the edge of the mist section. Each of us has protection based on what we read in the copy of Dracula I find on the ground, most likely dropped by another tribute as they sprinted away from the terrifying Count. Ony has driven our wooden stake into the center of camp and has a clove of garlic in her pocket. I wear my cross on my token, the bracelet of pearls that was my grandmother’s. Detour hung her holy water on her hip and proclaimed that her hip flask was, and I quote, “MINT, almost to the level of Pual!”
This had led into a discussion of our absurd stylists, for she had gotten that phrase from designer Crnogbog Farceletta. Go figure. I get to hear more about the eccentric style Crnogbog before Onyx starts about her own experiences.
When she’s done, I share the best and only funny story of Cronborg.
“So, I’m sitting there at the vanity while Cronborg does my hair before the interviews. My stomach is twisting and churning with anxiety as we sit in silence when I suddenly blurt out to her my worries and fears of failure. Cronborg pauses before telling me that if I get to nervous and tight to just pretend that I am drunk.” This revelation brings peals of laughter from the others before we settle down with Onyx taking the first watch.
It takes almost no time for me to lose consciousness and my last thought is one of peace.
When I wake up, I have absolutely no clue where I am. I am alone with no sign of my allies anywhere around me.The ground around me is smooth granite, similar to the surface where we started these horrendous Games. Sitting up, I carefully take stock of my surroundings.
I am surrounded by what I can only describe as whiteness. There is nothing visible anywhere except before me. I take a few hesitant steps forward, through what seems to be a path. I know this is where the Gamemakers want me to go, but I’m tempted to turn and head into the unknown. However, I know doing so could send me plummeting off a precipice, so I resign myself to being a reluctant puppet.
I notice quickly that there is a steady wind blowing for it threatens to rip my bag from my backpack.
Scenario: You can see nothing, yes, absolutely nothing because a sudden fog blinds you and causes you to stumble and trip. You can feel the moisture of deadly fog drip with your anxiety-induced sweat. You roll down a mountainside because a faulty step from the dense mist. As you land, you gaze up to see the fog dispersing and Dracula wave his cape - to allow you to see his bloody fangs….
After my close brush with the squid, our trio decided to lie low. Our hopes were that there would be other clashes occurring and that we would be left in peace.
We’ve made camp on the edge of the misty section home to the dreaded Count Dracula, a vampire as we were informed by commentator Claudius Templesmith. Onyx is already deep in slumber, all of her body but her head hidden by her invisibility cloak. Datura is slumped against a tree, fatigue evident in her gaze.
“Hye, go to sleep. I’ve go the watch. You should rest while you can,” I whisper, careful not to wake our other ally.
“You sure?” the caution in her tone betrays her hesitance to leave me unprotected. She still doesn't completely trust Onyx. I’m not sure I do either. Coming from a typical Career district, it was hard to believe that she would really want to team up with the tributes from District 12 of all places. I keep waiting to wake up with a knife in my back, to see the life draining out of Detour one morning, or to find that Onyx left in the middle of the night.
“Yeah. I’ll be fine. No one’s getting past me- I’m still jumpy from this afternoon.”
“Okay, but get me before too long, And, I’m glad you’re still here,” with that, she slides down the tree and curls up.
Alone, I stand up and cross to the fire. I add some more fuel to the dying flames. We decided to risk a fire, deciding that the mist native to this section would mask any telltale smoke. The snap of branch alerts me to a new presence and I spin, grabbing the cross hanging from my neck with one hand, my other fingers closing around a clove of garlic.
I’m prepared to fight off a fearsome vampire but all that has changed is the fog. It seems to have thickened and built up into it seems to surround me. I move back towards the packs getting ready to kick my allies awake if needed. I’m hesitating, because what threat can the water vapor really pose.
Then, I see it. I flash of a fang, the hint of blood in the air.
In a few swift fluid motions, I throw my backpack into my back and slip my sword into my belt. Pulling the invisibility cloak off Onyx and stuffing it into the bag it had concealed wakes her up.
“Triple Espresso, vodka - make it snappy.” As if to illustrate his point, Ryuu Griswold clicked his calloused fingers together once, twice, lethargic gaze fixed somewhere above his barista’s head. His entire posture - lanky form, hunched and vaguely hungover, illustrated perfectly the point he seemed to make - You are THIS beneath my notice.
The waitress - the epitome of punky, bearing streaked hair, black eyeliner and so many piercing she could have been taken for a cyborg - scrunched a sour face.
“We don’t serve alcoholic beverages. And don’t tell me to make it snappy, or you just might be waiting past closing time for that trippio, Mr. Smart Aleck.”
“Who hired you?” Ryuu demanded, not breaking his monotonous pose.
“I don’t see why you care.” She sniped, metal bracelet jangling on one wrist. “Now - do ya want the coffee or not?”
“Fine. Triple Espresso, please. Just - hurry, if you would. I have to be somewhere in - now - nine minutes.”
“The coffee moves at its own speed. Don’t rush the coffee, man.” A lanky teen with what looked like an entire sheep on his head swayed over.
“Nigel, if you don’t stop coming to work like this, I’m going to shove that ridiculous wool hat over your face so hard it splits in two!” snapped Punk Girl. “Now get your rear end in gear and man the counter.” She leapt off her stool and flounced towards the back, where the aroma of ground coffee beans permeated the air, strong enough to be tangible.
“Whatever you say, Via..” Sheep Boy mumbled, and proceeded to slump at the counter, pose interchangeable with Ryuu’s. Then he perked up. His face, an overlong white oval that had never seen the sun, tilted towards his customer.
“What’s in the case? Because if it’s an animal I’m calling the Humane Society-”
Ryuu twitched imperceptibly, his scarred hands wrapping even tighter around the battered leather valise. The marks across his palms matched perfectly with the straps, as though a long history of clutching this package had left their scars.
“It’s not. It’s mine though.” He shifted, shrouding the suitcase in his dark, tattered coat, glowering under his hair. “And you won’t be taking it.”
The teenager - Nigel - jolted back, knocking into the partial wall between the preparation area and open space for customers. He trembled, from his tree-bark boots to his sheep-wool hat, lidded eyes flaring open to their full extent. The reaction would have been humorous if it hadn’t been for the expression of terror affixed to his face.