The Downtown Writers

These are the young writers who have followed in the footsteps of Lamont Bridges.

Yusef Pratt

The morning is black and dark as if during a war. The dreaming sky, like sandpaper, is rough and a drowsy little girl awakens at three A.M. A runner prepares for a morning workout and a wizard hangs in his lair like a bat. The sun and clouds are rooted in the ground like green carrots. A lonely man prays for the sun. And early sky is like flat milk.

Martha Vasquez

Listen to the motion of the Palm Tree
Listen to the people gambling under the Palm Tree
Listen to the rain dropping on the Palm Tree
Listen to the witch flying high over the Palm Tree
Listen to the red ocean which covered everything around the Palm Tree
Listen to the lizard who is miles from the Palm Tree
Listen to the splendid smell of breakfast on the prairie by the Palm Tree
Listen to the relaxed breeze passing by the Palm Tree
Listen to the dictaion taken by the wind from the leaves of the Palm Tree
Listen to the darkness in the forest behind the Palm Tree
Listen to the sounds like bells by the Palm Tree
Listen to the woozy whale who looked like wood on water near the Palm Tree
Listen to a seven A.M. alarm heard only by a girl on a lost island with a Palm Tree

Janaya Haney

His hands were like a toy store. Brand new. They were made of many things, even pieces of wood. During his childhood, he always wanted toys. Any toys. Even girl’s toys. It was odd to want girl’s toys but they handed them to him anyway. When he had to build, you would think he was an architect. When he tore it all down, he crushed it flat like a board. The remaining pieces of the building were pointy and you could see the bitter blood in the rays of light.

Leilah Williams

The smell of dawn came and the Moon became happy. Now was the time he and the Sun, his best friend, could play. As the moonlight became dull, the Sun popped out and finished their game of tag. This was the Moon’s moment of amazing freedom, almost poetic, as a ball of Sun came to the Moon, trying to chase him away. But mankind didn’t know that the Sun wasn’t playing tag; he wanted him out of his land, away from all people. The Sun did not feel the Moon was a true friend. The Sun wanted him to go away and never come back. As they chased each other through the air, the Moon began to realize they were getting a little too close to the earth. The Sun’s heat cooked a cook as he was making eggs for his wife. It dried up the land and brought on a drought. So homeward went the Moon so no more harm would be done. Although the tension was building, the Moon felt powerless against the ball of Sun. Some substance from the Sun was burning the skin of the Moon. The end was near. The Moon returned home, and the Sun slipped into his bed, sleeping like a tree.

Etoria Whitehead

in space having / a human crying
in a junction / of aliens
dancing wild on tender soil
they ruled all / the grinning
smiles and / glassy chaos
all around the world

Brian Bruno

Behind the picture lies a unique face
A face that shows no sorrow
Only curiosity
Are there aliens in this universe?
Will they bring chaos to our soil?
Will we be ruled by them?
Will they make everyone in the world hear a human crying every night?
Will we be able to see a smile ever again?

April Frost

Behind the smooth glassy tears of a crying human, there are grinning children who dream of aliens in space, and play in the thick soil, and still cry over scrapped knees and unbroken hearts. A world of chaos does exist but only in fairy tales, and hanging from monkeybars and dancing wild are everyone’s favorite things. Unique people are accepted for who they are and smiles can go on for days. A kiss from a parent can make the worst cuts feel better, and cartoons rule the land of T.V. You still think the bright moon is made out of cheese, and clouds are cottonballs. You see, every once in a while, you have to see the child you once were, and still are, and not the adult you’re trying to be, because in everyone’s tears there is still a grinning child.

Andrea Diaz

Like leather, his body presses against me
Like leather, his body keeps me warm
Like leather, he comforts me
Like leather, he keeps me from harm

Like leather, he’s smooth
he’s worth a lot . . .

he’s all that I got.

Elisha Ojo

People say his fingers lead him to his greed but he is proud of it. His body is decomposed and ashy. That’s why he needs some lotion. He’s dirty and he’s thirsty. Nobody wants to go near him because of his nasty fingernails. This guy keeps screaming, “Abstract, abstract.” He keeps making his hands walk. People know he’s nuts. He needs a shower. The only thing clean on him is his gold ring. He shows it off while drinking his Sprite. He wears a jacket of leather. Anytime it storms, he runs to the nearest supermarket and helps them out with anything that is under construction.

Craig Torres

It all started in peace and silence,
When no one was around, not even car sirens,
But then that stopped and came this worldwide violence,
All of these hate crimes, ‘cause of people droppin’ dimes,
People waving signs while gangs empty their nines.

Grace Marquez

Sometimes I wish I were transparent.
No one would see me.
No one would make a big deal about what I was doing.
Or sometimes I wish that I could make the whole world silent.
No more sirens pouring into your ears like acid.
No more rumbling of people worldwide.
Someday I’d like to a place where I feel smarter just by being there.
This place would be like oxygen to me
Because, sadly, everything seems to go wrong in the real world.
Things go wrong in my world.
You might call this place
“The Pupil Road of the Human Eye”

Gregory Scott

Taillights fade. She sees nothing but darkness. Then a hellish picture flashes through her eyes. She was in an undefined, unsafe place. Her eyes were raining tears. “Where am I?” she yells like a gunshot, “Where am I?”

Giovanna Figueroa

Into the snake eyes you
Purrs of scar stored inside turn
Into screams.
A portion
Of disbelief scares you
For you have
Just stepped into your muddy self

Kareem Banks

With a troubled thought about the rotten looking peach, he took a risk and took a bite. As he was chewing, he had a vision of about twenty rows of corpses laying on the surreal landscape, all with peaches in their hands, quite like the one he had. He stood there, eyeing the peach as if he was ready to cry like when a non-fiction book touches your heart. He stood there longer and it hit him that he was alone, in the afternoon , a violin playing, when a horse riding knight appeared. His armor was teal and sounded like sandpaper rubbing together. The man heard a wolf howling and was scared. The knight laughed and explained that he was a hunter and was after his prey. The bad news was that the man was the prey. The man began to run into the nearby woods as the knight shot arrows at him from the strings of his violin. Luckily, the man dodged them. He jumped down an eight foot cliff and landed on his feet. He thought that if he couldn’t out run him, he’d try hiding. He hid until he began to mourn over the fact that he’d have to live like this forever. Finally, he built up enough courage to confront the knight and call him a joker.
The man woke up distraught and confused, realizing it was all a dream. As he came to his senses, he seemed to feel assured. It was as if he knew the true meaning of freedom.

Daniel Rodriguez

I stared into the heavenly sunset
Tasting the smell of sand so wet
I watched a skyful of pink and red
Then I felt something hit me . . . dead.
I awoke to a doctor injecting me
With a green tennis ball, from what I could see
I stepped to the ground with all of my fears
Seeing my family crying real tears
I made a motion to them but I knew they were mad
Going to the beach without consent, then mad turned to glad
They took me home, I slept on the way
Pitiful as I looked, they didn’t say
It was a cactus morning that woke me up
Lonely in the desert while I drank from my cup
Eating some jelly, looking out at the day
For I will someday go back to the beach to stay

Vlad Kostanyan

Remember in the springtime, the air was smooth, the leaves were damp.
At nighttime you could smell the roses, you can hear the water, it was like paradise.
There was no danger.
The artist shows that this country was once like this. There weren’t any buildings or structures before.
This was how life was like almost every day before.
She is emphasizing how the earth should look.

Carmine Mahoney

I had a dream the other night. I was in a damp forest and there were a lot of leaves on the forest’s floor. It was like an animal’s paradise. I was really thirsty so I went looking for water. I saw some jumping mice. I was beginning to think I wasn’t on earth. I kept walking and finally got out. I saw The Artist from T.V. He was painting a picture of a garden in the summertime. He had some roses in the painting. He told me to smell them. I didn’t believe him. He looked crazy. He was probably trying to get me high off it or something like that. I am not that stupid. I did think I was in danger so I ran away. It was almost night so I figured I’d better check into a hotel. I started to look. I was pretty tired when I found one, but figured I could finally get some sleep. I went in and asked the guy at the counter for a room. He was wearing an indigo suit and he had smooth black hair. I said he was from the United States. I didn’t think he was. He started to tell me about his life and how he was in love with this girl. I emphasized the fact that I was tired. He thought I was condemning him so he got mad. After hours of arguing, I finally got my key and went to bed.

Zanaya Brown

My heart is depressed. It’s depressed the most in the daytime. I feel as if I’m taking a journey all alone through the ticking snow. Instead of being filled with overwhelming passion, I’m back in the state of caution. I feel as if the light in the slaughterhouse has gone out and I’m trembling in the darkness. I feel green and sick as if mercury is flowing into my veins.

Nicholas Marinez

Time has stopped as if dark had stayed forever
Looking at the hands that only pass after six
When only a key can start it moving
It seems like Manhattan
When people freeze and you are left alone

Brian Marshall

he sits in the rain the boy with blue baton with the drops hitting his soft cotton head
he has a key with him is it a key to his house or a key to something else it is a very
quiet storm and the only thing that the little boy hears is the soft tick tick of the
clock the rain has stopped he walks up the steps and puts the key in the door i
wonder what happened to button up boy who stands in the rain no more

Erica Pratt

a person wasted
who sees butterflies bleed
red, black and bold
drowning from drugs
confused and hallucinating
a person in fear
bottled up
don’t know how to escape
looking like the night
turning to drugs

Steven Ehlers

In this dark space, the sound of death is constant

Screams and deadly moans come from pitch black hallways
That frighten a man’s soul

The only light comes from a room filled with skulls
You race toward the light
You stop

A dagger-like pain enters your chest and heart
You stop and gather your thoughts
You glance around the room

And you see a magician standing over a body

As you make your way closed to see who it was
You fall to your knees to see it was you
In the dark . . .

Rafal Oszczapinski

There once was a teacher that lived on Construction Street. His name was Mr. Stubborn. He lived in a really small house. He had a small kitchen. In this small kitchen there was a big bottle of beer. Mr. Stubborn wanted to take the beer and finish it. He looked down into the bottle and all of a sudden a butterfly flew out. Mr. Stubborn was stunned. He feared butterflies. This one was red. Its wings were watered down by the alcohol. The butterfly was wasted, just like Mr. Stubborn. Some of the alcohol was still dripping from the butterfly’s little wings. Although soaked with alcohol, its wings looked smooth, like glass. At first, Mr. Stubborn thought the butterfly would make an idle pet but then he decided to let it go. Like the night passed by, the red butterfly passed by. Mr. Stubborn thought that the butterfly was intelligent because it drank his beer. Suddenly, he started crying.

It was an emotional night for Mr. Stubborn.

Denise Lewis

Smelling like summertime
Something’s coming
The sand is rising
The world is sinking
It’s so hot
Can I find it here
I need the wetness
It’s blowing softly
Yellow blue
Those are the only two
I’m now starting to lose it

Shawn Stokes

After the chilly journey homeward, after the smell of dawn, after the rising of the yellow ball of sun, the moonlight fades away. It’s poetic, really, how this man, a cook, seems so powerless while sleeping next to his pots and pans. Breathing in the air, all of my emotional tension is finally ending. I love having this amazing freedom. This substance called soil surrounds me while I am on my way home.

Nadia Aviles

It started heavenly
A pink cactus mourning
Winter in the air
Yet tears were still falling

The smell of wet sand
Was itching our thoughts
Melancholy or mad feelings?
I’m sure it was both

As we walked to the hill
All that was found
Was it staring, calling us
But we heard no sound

We started running
In an upward motion
How pitiful
Our devotion

We got to the top
Starred our eyes were
Too bad for us now
It’s all just a blur

Not thinking
Of what we just did
Making up stories
When we were kids

Megan Nellis

Listen to the tree in the forest
Do you hear?
Listen to the rain bouncing off the leaves
Listen to the dictation of nature

Watch the people gambling at the base
Do you see?
Watch the witch flying over the trees
Watch her face like wood, fly into darkness

Feel the tree with the lizard on the limb
Do you feel?
Feel the skin of the bark
Feel the smooth motion of the trunk

Smell the red leaves on the tree
Do you smell?
Smell the salty air on a lost island in the south
Smell the dog air on the prairie in the west

Taste the relaxed fruit the trees produce
Do you taste?
Taste the apples as the tree becomes woozy
Taste the juice as the leaves ring like a bell

You may not listen
Or taste this tree when you are awake
But when you are asleep
You are mine and in my world

It’s seven A.M.
And you are asleep and at home,
For now.