Humanifest 2021 Online Gallery
LCSC Creative Writing
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. If it’s going to be this way
Then I don’t want to be here.
Yes I said it, I don’t want it.
I never wanted to be born.
I never asked and was never asked.
I’m not the one that’s broken.
This is what the world that shouldn’t be has done to me. I wanted to escape what we’re not supposed to be.
Do not tell me this is “just how life is.” This is a hell we’ve created for ourselves. No devil could ever be as cruel as us.
What do we mean when we say “paradise”?
We don’t mean the buildings, plastics, and highways, Not the screens, engines, and streets,
Crowded by people living behind eyelids.
We mean the trees, lakes, and earth,
The animals, skies and clouds,
The “Amber waves of grain”
And “purple mountain majesties”
That’s what I was promised the day that I was born.
So don’t look down on me for not wanting the life I see.
This isn’t just a cry for me;
It’s a cry for Her,
For the paradise we’ve forgotten, For the air and plants we breathe, And the water we drink.
For everyone, like you and me
I beg of you please, don’t let this all be. Open your eyes as I will keep mine. What you’ll see shouldn’t be
And it’s up to us to show the ones,
who come after us,
What we’re supposed to be see, What we should be.
LCSC Creative Writing
The Aisle in Walmart
We stand there waiting, my papa and I, in an aisle in Walmart while grandma picks up lotion then puts it back, she found another she liked better. Papa and I stand at the end of the aisle. I put my arm through his and he holds it tight to his side. This might be the last aisle we walk down together because he is old with heart problems and the virus is everywhere. Grandma continues further down the aisle, walking slow to browse the shelves. We follow her down the aisle with my hand held tight by papa. I imagine this is my wedding and I’m in a white dress and the mask is my veil and papa in a tux and the rest of Walmart are my pretend husband’s family watching us as we make our way down the aisle towards the next destination grandma has in mind. Papa and I continue our walk. We keep to ourselves and talk about grandma’s spending habits. This is good, walking, giving me a memory that I can look back on someday. I don’t know if I will get married, maybe someday in the future. But at least I will know we, my papa and I, got to walk down an aisle together. Arm in arm, the rest of the world watching this moment six feet away. We have this, this moment in time we will both remember.
Zel Marie Baker
LCSC Creative Writing
The Lightning and the Goo
She held her breath and looked up for the hundredth time at the green goo seeping down from the mystery of the second floor. She was only ever here for the mysteries. Maybe it started as something else, but now it seemed like all she did was stare up at the ceiling and think about the possibilities inside that green stain. Any way to occupy her mind. Joshuah was a skinny thing. They had met at a basement party, and she felt like there was an instant connection. There was lightning. There was an attraction. They both had the same dark circles under their eyes, and with that she thought there was an understanding. As it turned out, a lot of things can make a person tired.
The stain was growing. It looked wet and it had been seeping down from the spot on the ceiling to the wall over the last few months. It wasn’t in any rush. It was just getting comfortable. She leaned back on the plush pillows of the probably once-white couch and let out a groan. Fake suede may be cheap, but it felt okay against her naked back. She wondered if god knew about fake suede, and all the dinosaurs that died to make the microfibers. Maybe the stain was some sort of science experiment gone wrong. A ten-year-old kid thought he had cracked the code to nuclear fusion but created a gooey monster in the process. He kept it in a cage above them and fed it microfiber blankets to keep it from ravaging the earth.
She didn’t smell anything strange from the stain. Joshuah’s apartment always smelled like cannoli, and coffee, and vodka, and urea. She hadn’t really started to like it, but she had learned how to breathe in just the right way. Deep and slow, and thinking of something else. Maybe the green was alien blood, they crash landed one night in the room above Joshuah's apartment. The pilot sent everyone else out in the escape pods but couldn’t save herself in time. Joshuah hadn’t told her about hearing any aliens upstairs, but of course he probably wouldn’t hear them.
He told her he was in a band. He told her he would write her a song. He told her she could have the last chocolate cannoli. He made it seem like the whole world.
There was a yellow lamp in the corner and no overhead lights in Joshuah’s apartment. That was a good thing because the low light amplified the mysteries. She was only ever here for the mysteries. As soon as I know, I'll leave. I'll take the last chocolate cannoli and go. But how could she figure it out? How could she concentrate? How could she possibly unravel the mystery of what was in that green goo, when he kept kissing, and pushing his way in.
LCSC Creative Writing
the weather improves
bright, beautiful, bountiful.
Days get longer
Baby’s Breath, Bachelor Button, Bee Balm Flower
Begonia, Bleeding Heart
burgeoning and blossoming
All blasphemers of blight
and too long nights.
LCSC Creative Writing
Under the Bridge
One night’s journey on foot into the solitude of night lead me down the road, across the bridge and under it. Underneath the river crossing I stepped onto the path that was my destination for the evening. The asphalt path usually meant for joggers, and happy dogs on walks was left completely to me, I thought. As I passed under the grey concrete, in front of me I heard a sound. Meow.
I immediately called back with my best cat impression that had served me so well in the past years with roommates’ cats. “Meow” The small white smudge appeared out of the bushes by the water. It walked towards me with the attitude a cat has when walking towards its owner offering food. The cat quickly stepped across the path and right to me. In the past when I had met stray cats, they are often cautious and would rarely let a stranger pick them up. This cat was different.
It walked right to my feet and stood up on its hind legs leaning on me. Its tiny white head was swallowed by my hand in pets. As it moved closer, I could see the young kitty was white with subtle grey markings down its back. It let me pick it up, the ultimate sign of trust a stray animal can give a stranger. I stood under the bridge petting the cat and giving it all the love, it was obviously missing. I tried to walk a few steps with it in my arms, but it was too much uncertainty for a new friend. The cat squirmed and I set it down.
I walked a few paces thinking our encounter was over. The cat called out for me, wondering where I was going. I called back and told it to come along. A short distance down the path I had coaxed the cat to a bench. We sat on the bench and I wondered where the cat came from. It was in too good of shape to be homeless, but why was it down here under the bridge? Why was I here? In the moment it felt like we were meant to find each other there. We were two lone wanderers who happened to chance each other’s compassion in the dead of night. It was different than just a sighting of a stray. I felt an instant connection with this cat, and I had to make sure it was taken care of.
I decided that it was probably someone’s cat that had escaped for the evening, so taking it with me was not something I wanted to do. It would get home at some point if that were true. I decided the best thing I could do is leave it some food and see if it stuck around. The cat was sitting in my lap getting the attention every cat deserves, but the store would be closing soon. I set the cat on the bench next to me and started up the path towards the store for a can of tuna. The cat followed.
Meow… Meow… Meow.
The kid called for me like I was its mother, so I called back and continued to see how long it would follow me. I led it all the way to the major intersection I needed to cross to get to the store. It was naturally afraid of the road and wouldn’t cross with me. I lead it around a building and a down the street from the intersection. I thought maybe it would cross where there wasn’t so much light. At the next crossing attempt, it stopped following me. I called out to it and tried to coax the cat closer to the store. It refused to cross the road, so I decided that I had to just go quickly and hopefully it would stay where it was or go back under the bridge. Almost the whole way to the store I could hear the cat crying out repeatedly.
Meow… Meow… Meow
I returned to the spot where I crossed the road shortly after and there was no cat. I went back under the bridge and again there was no cat. My stomach felt hollow and empty. I had no clue where the innocent little kid had gone. I looked at the cans of tuna and realized I had no can opener. I never saw my cat again.
LCSC Creative Writing
I stand atop the unidentifiable wreckage. The city gleams through the sleet in the distance, an emerald blur. The scrap and junk spreads in every direction, hills and valleys of rust and memorial, meadows of melancholy. The ocean seeks to reclaim it all, spilling in far in the distance. Can’t go that way. Behind me are my captors. I know this. I must press forward. I do not know what they want to do to me, but I know it is painful and horrific. I know it is. At the crest of the next junk pile is an old city bus balancing atop the bridge of a fishing vessel. A light flickers between the frozen droplets flying in sideways, nature’s static. I push onward toward the shelter, but when I am near enough to grasp the door handle, it flies open and out steps the skipper from hell. I cannot see his face, but he is old, far older than I can imagine. I see this age in the glow of his yellow eyes. His ancient, yellow eyes. He opens his mouth to scream and out comes a quiet crackle, like he is clearing his throat. It would be nothing in the hum of everyday life, but here it is the only sound. The pressure of it builds in my ears and they become hot.
“You aren’t supposed to be here.” I fall backward and I am swallowed by the trash. I used to remember them all. Every single one. I would awake for the day having experienced something wondrous or terrible or beyond the veil of my mundane suburban childhood in small town America. Even at that young age, I could see the beauty in the horrible and terrifying. I could brush off the fear and continue with my day having felt like I really felt something. I could appreciate it, because after all, there was always tomorrow night, where something more pleasant might grace me. There was always tomorrow, when the embrace of dreams suffocated the hum of reality.
When tomorrow finally graced me, I noticed how little they came anymore. I hadn’t seen them in years or, at least, I didn’t remember them. After years of frustration of trying to chronicle them to others or put into words the way they made me feel, I took to journaling them. As soon as I had re-entered our place, I would write every detail which came to mind, but their scarcity has proven this to still be a futile effort. Most fail to call forward any familiar imagery when reread, no matter how many times I do so. This will never change. I am left here with these few I remember only in writing, their unfamiliarity mocking me.
Following image and poem depict sexual violence.
LCSC Creative Writing
Home alone, aching with fever, sweat on your
Still darkness embraces you like a
Lulls you into a
That will not last.
Shrill ring of the phone,
your healing sleep, a sharp knife through
He knows your name and asks if you’re
You think, he must know your mother
so you answer.
Never stopping to consider that your mom is
if this man is her friend he, surely,
must know that.
So you answer.
“Do you want me to come over and lick your…”
You understand the word on some level,
but never before
heard in this context.
You know enough to understand
That the context is not nice.
Not from this man.
Not at age seven.
Heart skitters in your chest,
phone finds cradle, slammed down in
Palms slick, tiny fingers coil in on themselves.
Entwining with the twisted phone cord;
a spider’s web.
You struggle to free yourself but the more you try to
shake off sticky tendrils of panic
the tighter they wrap around you.
Your stomach roils but not from the flu.
Even now, looking back, you feel sick,
no longer frightened but
Bitter and resentful over the loss of your
It was the first hard lesson you learned -
gender can be used against you
as a weapon.