Brody Stofflet, "Grit and Wisdom"

Cross casted shadows falling on the stories of your face. Tales of the time when, you were young wrought with the fear of, what will I become? I remember the story running from your eye to your temple. You were only 18 everything was so simple. Drafted for the war, you would be a flyboy, this was it you knew it was no toy.

The tale of your bunker catching on fire, the day you were hired by NASA, when the astronauts cabin caught on fire as you watched. Houston, we have a problem. They rang you up, same way you came up. Special team #1 astronomical meteorologist, this stuff was legit. You brought them home the pioneers of the unknown. That story, can be found along the lining of your chinbone.

Each crevice on your face represents the race for survival of your memory. The cliff walls come caving in because to you, the memories are fading. The wrinkles are disappearing. I can try to help you be the pioneer of your unknown, but I know in the end, all that's left will be a little bit of your grit and wisdom.

Erin Levasseur, "Lean Close and Look"

I stand and face the ocean. The cold sea air whips against my face and fills my nasal passages with its sweet nectar. I am alone in this world wondering what misfortunes are yet to come.
My father raised me by himself. Yesterday I laid him in the unwelcoming ground. I am trying to fill my mind with memories to keep him forever. His most prized possession resides beneath my feet; a fishing boat. My father loved fishing almost as much as he loved me. Correction. He still loves me. I enjoyed spending time with him out on the sea. We were alone in a vast world. Nothing stood between us.
I inhale deeply and close my eyes. I allow my body to sink its pressure into a supportive railing. With a racing mind and a clear heart, I realize I am alone now.
My eyes flash open and fall to the ocean floor along with my spirits. A fish, probably a salmon, wriggles beneath. Subconsciously I reach out to touch his sliver back. In my effort to do so I knock over a large duffle bag I have brought with me filled with various belongings of my fathers.
No. I will not lose him again. Not this soon. Without thinking, I dive into the freezing water.
When I come to I am in an ambulance. My mind races back to the bag, to my father. To my relief a paramedic hands me the bag. “Looking for this?” he urges gently. I sigh, a large relief.
I quickly become aware of a large gash on my temple and an uncontrollable body shaking with hypothermia. The man continues on to say that I hit my head while diving in. They found me below the surface clutching something. Even when my body went limp I held onto the bag. Unfortunately both myself and the prized duffle became entangled with the seaweed below. I am told that I am very lucky to be alive, that I must have someone watching over me.
“Thanks Daddy,” I whisper.

Gage Hawkes, "I Set My Mind Free"

I set my mind free
let my imagination roam
the only beasts in my thoughts
are the fears
the ones that grasp
and disturb
every clear image i’ve ever had
they get stashed away
hidden in the back of my head
until i’m alone again
it’s like when a dam breaks
the stress cracks the walls around me
my whole world shakes
there’s a lot to hide
and keep safe
my emotions plummet
like water
destroying everything around me
then for a moment
like a motor with no oil
I seize
All my counterparts shatter
my insides stop
take a deep breath
gain back my self control
and clean up this mess
reconstruct the broken dam
and rebuild who I am.
start off with a stronger foundation
filled with metal and concrete
to be sure this won’t happen again
then comes my morales and values
the basis to what’s right
what goes around comes around
an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind
I’ve learned by experience
the common sense that I have
I don’t believe in god
but I do have a faith.
to be reborn into the Earth
in a brand new place
until I find the peace I’m searching for
and what if I don’t?
I’ll just blindly follow the world
No escaping the hell we know
Until times clock stops ticking
and the stars stop their show
Now my fears have a hold
of my conscience by the throat
The dam is cracking
The cycle continues.

Hayley Huntress, "I Can Be Good In My Own Way"

“Look at me.
No, really look at me.
What do you see?

Handle bars that are torn.
A wet seat decorated in rips and wrinkles.
A broken reflector.
Two worn tires.
Squeaky brakes.

All covered in a nasty color that you know wasn’t even cool in the 80’s.

To you, I’m a “rolling turd on two wheels,”
A trash heap,
A death trap,
An All Pro three speed likely to fall apart at no speed.

When I said look at me,
You looked at me.
You looked at what I presented,
Only thought about what you saw.
You never looked at me to see me,
You never gave me a chance to show you.

You didn’t see that once, I was a fun ride,
A great adventure,
A memory that will last a lifetime to the boy down the street.

You don’t know that I’m someone’s way around because they can’t afford gas prices.

You didn’t see that I helped a man loose weight when his life depended on it.

You couldn’t tell that I helped that girl chase away her doubts when her life was falling apart.

Every dent, scratch, and paint chip has a story, whether you take the time to read it or not.
Its there.

821 stories that you don’t know.
Now 821 stories that you wont know because all you did was take my picture and walk away.

Look at me.
No really look at me.
Through the dents.
Under the scratches,
Around the paint chips.

Read me story and know that:
I can be good in my own way.”

I’m not a bicycle.
I’m not that rundown bike.
But we have things in common.

I’m not a beauty queen,
I’m not the prettiest.
I’m not the fastest on a track,
I’m not the sturdiest or the most stable.

If someone pushes me, I fall over.
If someone hits me hard enough, I fall apart.
I shake, I stumble, I wobble.

When I fall, just like that bicycle, I have someone to pick me up.
Someone to put my pieces back together and get my gears in place.

Broken, torn, falling apart, pieced together, worn, lived on.
Sentimental value.

I might be all those things put together, but it means something.
I’ve lived through, lived with, lived without, and lived on.
Its my story.
Everyone has their own.
Mine has a few rips and wrinkles with a squeaky break.
But, I can be good in my own way.