The Gulf

One wave
One sound
One body
She is the Ocean

Her name is a wave that clashes against the
Burning southern sand

She floods the minds of her loved ones
Majestic and beautiful to the eye
But wild to the heart and soul
Many have polluted her with hurt
Her cries are like tsunamis that are seen
From miles away
Her deepest trench holds
her heart hostage
Is it possible to drown within yourself?
Surrounded by the suffocating truth of life

Her rivers are her scars
That flow into her to show the
Absence of a inner life
She fights her own currencies
In hopes of a breakthrough
She refuses to let her waves break

She rises high
Her biggest wave full of the
unknown and uncertainty
What do others see?
They dive into her waters
To explore her deepest parts

As they swim further they see the shipwrecks
And creatures of her life.
Her currents take them through her journey
They see that
She is strong
She is wise
She is a survivor
She is the Mother Ocean

Nyasia Hinton

A Trip to Clarksdale

Sitting in the blazing Mississippi heat, on my porch. The darker-than-normal concrete stairs were hot and somewhat damp from the rain just the night before. I was waiting on my band director to pick me up for a trip to Clarksdale, Ms. A couple of my friends that were in band, went as well. I was picked up first, but we still had to go pick up the other two. Getting in the car, I see two of our dancers; both short, with natural hair, and one darker in complexion. The car was crowded and they weren’t going anyway, so we had to drop them off after we picked up the other two of my band mates. Once we dropped the two dancers off, we got on the highway.

Once on the highway, there were all types of things going on. There was road construction that took up half the road, fast drivers that made the car shake as they flew past, loud music coming from other cars that could be heard even with the windows up, 18-wheeler trucks that said “WIDE LOAD”, and there was a car wreck that had me wishing that nothing bad would happen to us on this four hour trip. After being on the highway for about 8 minutes, I realized that we left our instruments, so we swung the nose of the car around and headed to our band hall. On the way back, the same things could be seen. Almost as if a copy machine spewed out extra copies. As we neared the band hall, we saw people we knew walking to the store right at the corner near their homes. When we got there, we just simply walked in and got our instruments and headed back down the highway.

As we head down the highway (for real this time), we sat in the car listening to band music and talking to each other. As we got past Jackson, Ms, there were a lot of things to be seen that one normally does not see in the town in which I stay. The view from the front seat was like having an unobstructed view of heaven almost. I saw a lot of normal and natural things, but strange ones as well. There were horses and cows, the occasional goat or two, and a llama. The horses were all shapes and sizes ranging from calf size to full grown stallions kicking up grass and running around grazing and playing amongst each other. The cows doing the same. I saw a couple of goats just sitting back chilling and looking around as if they were confused. Just when I thought I had seen a lot, I then saw a llama. It was tall as the horses but instead of being white like it was supposed to be. It was a tan color from being dirty and living a life of being outside and laying in dirt.

After seeing all of this, the images came more quickly. Spewing out one by one. Just like that of a copy machine. A swamp or two. The water was layered with green moss or algae as well as the trees with a darker moss as well. Cotton fields. Layered white all over like it had just snowed not long before we took the drive. Cotton Transport trucks. I had never seen any before then and when I did, the cotton coming off it was as a portable snow machine.

All in all, I loved the trip and have always wanted to go back since then.

Zedric Taylor

“Hey Ken”

I pull the familiar door

As the bell rings as I enter

A sense of happiness warms my heart

The smell of butter hits my face

The cool breeze makes a chill down my spine

The sun has beams down on the shop

Making it a glow attraction to the customers

I clock in with my voice

As my co worker greets me happily

“Hey Ken”

Taj our boss tells our duties of the day

He has a company to feed

Floors to mop

Dishes to be clean

Ready for rest tonight

Kentavis Terry

Getting Ready for Mardi Gras in Mississippi

Every year, my whole family goes to Pass Christian, Mississippi for their yearly Mardi Gras parade. As we are driving down the highway, I see trucks hauling big, black grills and colorful floats painted with all different colors, but primarily, the colors are purple, green, and yellow. After an hour long trip to the parade site, the laughter of excited kids and adults travel through the light, February winds.

        Soon my cousins, uncles and aunts, and grandparents have arrived. We start to unpack and setup our picnic area with chairs, tables, and tents to block us from the beaming sun. “Okay, y’all go play ‘til the parade start,” yells one of the adults over the loud blues music. This was the moment all of the kids were waiting for. We sprint towards the playground as if we were track stars. Running in the wind, I was getting whipped with smells of Southern style barbeque. It felt as if it took forever for me to get to the play area, or maybe it was my anticipation to see what awaits me at my destination. The playground looked as if it was a jungle. It had huge green slides and a sand box with a giant fossil in the middle of it. All of the kids on the playground were so welcoming to all the newly arriving kids, they instantly invited us to come play a good game of “cops and robbers.” I guess this experience would be the first time I really ever experienced “good ole Mississippi hospitality.”

In the distance, I began to hear the bands playing New Orleans style music. I see the adults running towards us with plastic grocery bags for us to put beads, footballs, cups, and moon pies in. I caught my favorite item a pair of big, shiny pearls. There were thousands of people already awaiting the start of the parade. My family finally found a clear spot so all of us little people could see and catch beads. The parade was filled was excitement; we hated to see it end. We raced back to our picnic site with our bags full of an assortment of beads with every color on the spectrum. “Time to eat,” yelled my grandfather. After we ate the succulent, falling off the bone, glazed barbeque, we headed on the long journey home down highway forty-nine.

Times like this is what makes me glad to be a natural born citizen of the great state of Mississippi.

Camryn Killingsworth

Eyes On You

               All eyes are on you. But I mean it’s kind of hard for them not to be you are the center of attention. You have a sparkly purple and gold shirt on and skin tight black jazz pants. The emotions that the crowd are evoking you can hear are mixed. Some are for it and some are against it. You continue to twirl your flag with the biggest smile on your face. Deep down your hurt by the comments you can hear, you want to quit and run away, but that would only show that they have won. Your eyes start to water and it all becomes too much your heart starts to hurt and you get into your head, you’re fumbling over yourself and forgetting the routine. What do you do?

            For as long as I can remember I’ve always been infatuated with boys, from the way that males have stronger jawlines than women to the ways that the voice is deep and firm. The attraction that the common man has to women has never been there for me it’s never made me stop and think about whether I was different of not. I always was. For a lack of better words I would say it’s always lead me to bad places. Once I was comfortable with the newfound development for men I embraced it. I went to Lillie Burney Elementary school in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The kids were always mean to me, but it never bothered me for some odd reason. In the adolescent mind the word or the lifestyle Gay wasn’t really there, it was always told that it was bad thing. But why? We were all moving into the stage of finding ourselves and our true identity never really knowing who we were, or what we wanted to be in life. The problems only seem to begin once I got older.

            Once you get older you start to learn more and that’s what the kids started to do. I started my middle school career at N.R Burger Middle School it was scary, because I was fully comfortable with myself. The problems were not as promenade as they were once I moved to Petal, Mississippi. The atmosphere was really bad. It lived to the reputation of rednecks and country boys for sure. The atmosphere was different at petal, the students were very close minded and religious in the sexual preference department it was like a freaking nightmare. There were times at this point in my life where i felt that i wanted to give up. There were definitely times where i felt that the best way to get over it where to try things that i normally would not try. It was taking over life at this point. I felt the need to give up, Until Coach taylor stepped into my life. She gave me a new outlook on the way i handled certain situations. She was kinda like the god i never knew i had. During this time i was pretty good at hiding my situations so she never really knew how much she was actually helping me. I have a very love hate relationship with mississippi i love it because it helped me become a stronger person, i hate it only because i went through it in the first place. As i close this out i sit and have a direct reflection on my life and all the things i’ve had to overcome. Mississippi has made me a stronger and better person. It was all for the best.  

It’s always good to find someone who can help you when you’re feeling low. Never… NEVER be afraid to reach out and find help. Help is at every corner.

Enjoying time lasting

Fireworks explode over the jubilee

The screams from the fireworks

almost put you in the mind

of kids screaming or someone in trouble or

in need of help

A Breeze  across your face from the ride

Going up, down, left, right…..

Family and friends enjoying their time with each other

Enjoying steaming 12 inch corn dog on a stick

It’s kinda hard to eat the corn dog cause the be fresh out the hot grease

This is an event that everyone will be looking forward to have fun with nothing making your night going bad

From people wasting popcorn

The way people spend a lot of money trying to win a game or, trying to win one of the biggest teddy bears.

Or you see kids crying because they didn’t win the game or just not tall enough to ride the teen rides.

Listening to the screams and cheers from the rides

Older kids getting punted out the rides because they are nervous and letting the Younger brother or sister

Eating all types of food before getting on one of the scariest then out of nowhere..

Puck is flying everywhere

So much mess on the clothes in hair

It all comes to an end everyone starts to leave and the lights from the ride are going off and the people will always say “See ya again next year”

De’Neldrick Maxwell

Lake

On the brittle, soft wood, I sat and splashed my bare feet in the cool water . Although my brother and sister had already jumped in, in the back of my mind I knew we were not supposed to be there because our mother wasn’t aware that we had disappeared. At the dead end down from where we lived, it lead to a pathway under the bridge that went to a lake. My brother, sister, and I decided to go for a swim that day.I was still hesitant even though the water and fresh smell seemed so inviting and nice. When I leaped into the water, I could feel myself sinking into it. I held my breathe and began to push my feet in fear of not feeling the ground anymore, the pushed towards the wooden post.

Submerged in the blue water, my brother and sister were diving into it. I held onto the wood post because I was afraid of the depth and also I didn’t know how to swim. My brother and sister had already knew how to swim. I felt consumed in the water after looking around and not feeling the ground anymore. It seemed like I was stuck, but then my sister came over and put me on her back. She took me out towards the middle and asked me was I scared. Of course she knew I was, so she put me in a place of comfort and asked me would I like to learn how to.I was scared to respond because if I was to say yes, I would have to face the water and what might happen if I fail at learning.

Although I grew up seeing this lake very often, I still fearing getting in and facing one of my fears. Everyone has certain thing that they are often scared to face. But after I said yes, my sister went underwater and let me go. For a moment I felt like had lost all control and thought I was going to die. Then I began to push my feet and my sister told me to move my arms and I floated.

One of the best factors of helping overcome that fear can be certain people that help you and support you through it.

Stephanie Willis

The Bigger Picture

As the sun slammed its rays over me like a blanket from hell, I concluded that this, along with the horseflies and sweatbees, was an obstacle that seemed insurmountable.

Camp Hidden Lake is not seen instantaneously but is uncovered gradually as you follow the extensive, winding road. It is not uncommon to see a adult water moccasin resting in the grass, soaking up the sun. In fact, it would be an anomaly not to see one. Moreover, it’s egregious that the weather is having an identity crisis, considering the constant temperature shifts that occur. The air is normally stiff unless it’s about to rain. The aroma of rain eradicates the necessity for a meteorologist’s presence, honestly.

At my school, there’s definitely a dearth of like-minded people that I can associate myself with. The vibe given off is not only clamorous, but it drains me in every imaginable aspect. With that being said, you would normally find me during the summer at a Salvation Army camp, being refilled by simply gathering around people trying to pursue a better life. Like, it’s equivalent to your brain having its very own spa day. Can you imagine multiple wavelengths traveling in the same direction? People that actually understand you?

Contentment filled the air is I received the email saying that I got the job. “Ropes Course Assistant” is what it said in the email. Plus, it paid $250 a week. Easy money. It was there I met D’Wayne, a soon to be good friend of mine. One particular day, Ashley and I were bumping heads (she enjoys getting under my skin). The procedure on the ropes course is to make sure that the children are transferring correctly. They ask for permission to transfer, I say “watching.” They check it, and I say “clear” if it is clear. The same follows the second time around. However, today was especially aggravating.
“Permission to transfer 1?”

“Watch-”

“Watching,” Ashley said, interrupting me.

 

Initially, something like that wouldn’t have even phased me. However, the night before, sleep and I fell into a huge argument, and she left me for that night, leaving me wide awake with nothing but a vivid imagination. In addition, the sun’s heat was relatively immense, so that didn’t ameliorate the situation at all. With me trying to juggle all of the tasks at hand while remaining optimistic, I tripped over Ashley’s annoyance and my positivity broke my fall, therefore altering my mood drastically. Silence clung to my vocal chords along with a blank countenance for the rest of the day.

As the day ended, I quickly hung up all of the material we had used for the day. The ropes, the carabiners, the captive eyes, were all into place. I attempted to close the day off, but I was hindered by D’Wayne calling my name. I went over there to see what was the matter.

“You can’t tell me when something isn’t wrong with you,” he said.

I merely shrugged.

“Listen, if someone can really alter your mood, change the way that you intended to behave, then you’ve lost. Never let someone determine who you’re going to be.”

Believe it or not, those 28 words moved mountains. In the midst of the anger, I found something that’s salient to remember. That it is your job to be yourself, and no one should be  able to take that away from you.

This, my friends, is the bigger picture, and it’s crazy. It took being in the midst of chaos to find a key component that would ensure true serenity.

 

 
Jonathan Frelix

Grandma’s House

I try to think, but yet can’t seem to fathom, the boredom that would surround my grandma’s house if there was no vegetation. Yes, of course she has trees in her yard, but I’m speaking about her own craftsmanship displayed throughout the yard with an articulation such as that of one of Picasso’s famous masterpieces. The way in which the brush strokes the canvas holds as much detail as how she digs the hole for her mustard green seeds to be placed in, or something as simple as a slight color change in the backdrop could describe why she chose for the lemon tree to be planted so close in proximity to the candy apple red tomato plant climbing it’s supporting, wired structure. The contrast in color catches your eye, right?

On this particular day, it was an early morning filled with the kind of cool and crisp air that makes you want to roll down the window opposed to turning on the A/C. As I pulled into the gravel filled driveway and exited the car, I walked into the side gate that opens to the sidewalk and noticed my grandmother kneeling down over one of her hand built garden beds. It was one of 2, located on the south end of the house, towards the back, branching off of the wall of the den where the couch was placed on the inside. Made of 3 6×6 logs of solid wood, in the shape of a large square, where the wall of the house played its part as the final side rounding off the complete figure, it was the trademark of her yard. Walking towards her, I looked up to the sound of my all black German shepherd, Dexter, jumping on the fence with so much enthusiasm that it rattled over and over in a continuous shutter, leaving a slight ring in my ear.

As I approached my grandmother, she began to stand with ease. As she rose, a sudden look of hesitation and pain ran across her face. Her arthritis was giving her trouble again. I reached out for her hand to assist her the rest of the way up, we embraced in the warmest hug, that only she knows how to give. She always added that extra squeeze. While still holding her hand, I then took a step back just to admire her in all of her beauty. She’s a short woman, of light complexion, with the wrinkles of a good life impressioned on her face. I absolutely admire this woman.

As I stood there I could do nothing but thank God for such a blessing. She resembles her garden. Such a diverse array of characteristics that revolve around one specific entity. She is my garden. She has planted her seeds of life in my mind and heart and mounted her roots. An eternal blossom of knowledge will forever be with me.

Aliyah Barlow

 

A Place of Diversity

I could see the spirit in their eyes. These round objects were like oracles.

They had shown failure and triumph covered in sweat and layers of pain, they had revealed motivations of success without saying a single word, and for a short period of time I had become the teacher and the student.

It had been something new for me, but life requires an ability to adapt.

The impressions that I leave on those I come in contact with is important to me. I had in some way dedicated my time to health, fitness, and encounters with different people, and different people bring many experiences. Every day has become less redundant. To experience a life without routine is my aspiration. The people that surround me are a branch of my family, and they had began to sweat and work together. They come from all walks of life, but of course Mississippi was a small place to those who had no history here. We collaborated as if we had known one another our whole lives only separated by our past experiences. Heat had begun to consume us, but there was a sense of accomplishment surviving the wave.

Mississippi is a place of diversity, so one could only attempt to relate. We all are aware of this; it doesn’t stop us. The instructor of the class carried his voice and it carried the class. We knew that it was coming to an end. Training had always been intense. “Down Up, Down Up, Down”

Marq Graves