StairwellI’m not here,
but I’m near.

Don’t look for me
because, where I am, you can’t be.

I’m an image you can’t see.
Do you agree??

I’m unreal.
I can’t even get your attention
when I do a cartwheel.

I’m quarantined,
and all I ever wanted was to be seen.

like a ghost in the dark.

I feel like a
fictional book.
Why can’t you just look?

I have an idea, a thought,
a plan.
I’ll chase you wherever you go, like

Until the day you
That’s the day it’ll strike
a nerve.

I’m hidden from everyone,
and only you know.

Am I a friend
or a foe?

When you finally notice,
that’s when I’ll show.

Just standing there
waiting for you to say “Hello.”

You walk over and
lay a hand on my shoulder.

My true colors start to
My heart and love are clear
like a windshield.

We are no longer foes, but lovers
with BIG hearts
that can be seen.

Julia, high school, Badgerdog alum



zebuStanding in Rio Verde you can feel energy

The people so full of life
if a hurricane were to hit Mexico
it would pass right by

Driving down the dirt roads
you can see tall bushy trees
that look like humongous broccoli

Driving with the windows down
you can feel the hot dry wind
like a heater blowing on your face

Sebu cows walk on the road
like skinny skeletons
with humps like mountains on their backs.

Hector, eleventh grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center


Inspired by the life and writing of Luis J. Rodriguez


Days of laughter and days of sorrow,
Partying and crying.
Too many times I almost died for watching your back.
You’re not only my friends but my family.
I always confronted the police for you
But something went wrong.
Why did you come shooting at me?
Stabbing me in the back when all I did was to protect.
My friends? My family?
Tell me that I’m dreaming. Somebody pinch me!
Man, I got fooled all these years.
My thoughts are twisted.
Against this wall with the Virgin Mary drawn.
On the ground taking cover because of them.
Not believing what just had happened.
I’ve never felt this pain.
Not even with a girl.
I guess you really don’t have friends
No homies, no protection.
But only doing it for yourself.
No more days of laughter with you
No more days of sorrow.
On my own on this road.
No one will I follow.

Haide, twelfth grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center

Photo courtesy of El Random Hero, LA Eastside.

Two More Minutes; That's All We Needed.

an excerpt

It was midnight on a Friday night. I was doing what I would normally do on nights like these—get the house all cleaned up and ready for when my girlfriend came over. My parents usually left the house to me from Friday morning till late night Sunday. I used to have a babysitter come stay and watch me, but that stopped after I told them I was old enough to watch myself. I mean, come on now, what kind of eighteen-year-old needs a babysitter? As for my girlfriend coming over, my parents loved her. We’d been dating for nearly a year, and I saw us going somewhere. She normally stayed the weekends with me, but since her mom left out of state for business, leaving her with her stepdad, she wants to stay every night she could. It didn’t bother me. The more she stayed over, the closer we got, the more my heart knew she was the one for me.

I was done straightening the house up, taking a shower and cleaning my room by 1 a.m. She normally walked over; she didn’t really believe in wasting gas, especially since we lived not even ten minutes away. Driving to go and get her was out of the question. She was an environmentalist, which I thought was really cute. I peeped out the window, hoping to see the silhouette of my baby at the front door.

She was standing in the little glow of my porch light, so I went to open the door.

She came in without a word spoken, which was highly unusual. I leaned in for a hug. Just like any normal couple would. She went around me, so I just played it off and closed the door—locked. She took off her shoes at the door before she stepped onto the carpet, and continued to my room. I soon followed.

I sat back down on the floor, and continued watching the movie I had started, before I started cleaning. A couple of scenes had gone by before I even remembered Mina was still not there with me. I looked over at my room door, and she was just standing there looking down.

“Crap babe, you scared the hell out of me. You okay?” I asked her as I turned the movie off. “Hon, what’s wrong?”

She didn’t know what to say. I could tell by the look on her face as she glanced up at me. I got up from the floor and started walking towards her. I broke midpoint, and she fell to the ground. I took a huge step towards her, as if I could catch her before she hit the floor.

“I have—,” she took a deep breath in, “I have something to tell you. I-I’m just so scared,” she said in a soft tone, almost whisper-like. Her voice was cracking every other word.

“Mina, baby, what’s going on? Please don’t tell me, you cheated on me.” It had to be something that bad—if not worse. She tells me everything, as I do her. We have an open relationship.

I was standing directly in front of her. She was wearing her favorite pair of skinny jeans, deep blue, and I loved her in them. She had on her little green jacket, with pink and white strips on the shoulders,unzipped half way. She wore two hair clips to pin the sides of her hair back—her grandmother gave them to her just before she passed away—but her bangs were just hanging there like wind chimes, blowing softly from the AC vent above her. She was my everything and it was killing me to see her this way.

I bent down to her level, and leaned in closer. I put my arms around her half-frozen body. “C’mon. Let’s get you warmed up.” I spoke in a normal tone as I helped her up to the bathroom. I noticed her clothes were damp, “it’s not raining outside is it?”

redhandShe shook her head “no,” removed her jacket and threw it on the bed. I looked at my hands and noticed it wasn’t just wet, it was also red . . . I didn’t know of anybody who sweat red.

Ali, eleventh grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center

This week, we’ll be posting the finalists for the Rose Million Healey Award in Short Fiction. Come out to our community-wide reading Saturday, May 2, to meet the authors and find out who the winner is.


juliaAs I write my name all the time I sign “yes”
To every page “yes” that was me there.
“Yes” that was my work done.

So I’m here doing my name saying “yes” as I write five
Little letters.

I’m very proud to have my name
Even though people steal it their can
Only be one me.

I’ll make my name known to the world.
Keep saying “yes” to every little or big thing I do.

I love writing “yes” to where I’ve been.
I’m not done yet I still got a lot more to

Julia, eleventh grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center

Why Hope

Why Do we hope
..Why Do we care
.everyone says things
like Gandhi, MLK & the Pope

Bad things end up happening
after a Big Speech

..They die or get shot
.They don’t give us hope
.........just another reason be sad.

They put words in our head
to show how they can
change the world and life.

..Look What happen to 9/11
..What did Bush do to help?
Kids yelled and screamed. that proof?

So why do we hope?
why do we care?
............I don’t.

Julia, eleventh grade, Manor Accelerated Academic Recovery Center

The opinions expressed in this work are those of the student and do not necessarily reflect the views of Badgerdog Literary Publishing.