Black Lives Matter


What I’ve learned

is that blacks don’t just have the ability to rap

But we

carry a tune that knocks classical notes out of your bones

and shoot smooth rhythmic jazz into your soul.

We don’t only have the ability to be enslaved by our oppressors

by living lies we’re expected to replicate

we don’t just procreate

but we invent

we have minds that extend far beyond

the term twerk, thot, baby mama, and big booty june…


this is the sound of our defense

our revolution

our wake up call

Our deliverance from the lies televised

the injustices hidden

because no one wants to believe a white man killed him

He wasn’t racist

he was just doing his job and got a little overzealous

Never mind the fear that strikes the eyes of black mothers everywhere

Never mind the eggshells he has to walk on

When he decides to wear a hoodie

Maybe stop by the corner store to pick up some skittles

Never mind that he’s innocent


Never mind.

That is the word used to define

the ignorance that plagues this nation

Delayed hesitation.

unwilling and unable to say that something is happening

a breach

killing the singing preached by black grandparents, great aunts and uncles

saying we shall overcome someday

when is that day?

When will we open our eyes

take off the rose colored vision

and recognize that freedoms bells haven’t been ringing

When will our song rock you to your core



will we decide that black culture is not something to be taken lightly.

When will we say no.

Black lives matter

how many lives have to shatter

for that to become clear to us


Wake Up.


Free Verse: Why Did I Do That?


I’ll hang my head in the bottom drawer because she’s the only one who knows
That the Abuse is happening just few inches from her handles and there I am next to the music completely faded away just like I’m just another half note in the melodies that make me alive
I am alive through the crutches I hold tight in my mind
I think I need them but I long for the opposite
I’m not just another darkness, parts of
Me have light
Especially with a lighter
The books will be written and the songs will be composed out of the substances that are taught as a sin
Gateway to the shiny golden gates of a new life
Life is forgiving and there’s Your second chance
Maybe third or fourth
But who’s counting

Free Verse: Empty Hands


Roses, dozens of roses, dozens of wonderfully red wishful roses waiting so patiently at my doorstep
Dozens of roses
I didn’t mean to scare you when I screamed but your love was too gigantic for me
It filled my belly like a baby, shone its light into my world so brightly I had to shield my eyes
I close my door on your hundreds of roses
and creep quietly back to my romance novel with a blanket and flashlight in hand
How small am I? So small.

I read about your kind of love in between the lines of my books and in the ending of movies, I see it in the meadows and up the valleys where the flower stems intertwine and grow up and up
How small am I? So small.

I keep my love locked in the corner of my room in an envelope with all the other letters to the boy I haven’t met yet-

A boy who isn’t coming.

And yet you’re here with your roses, dozens of roses, dozens of wonderfully red wishful roses and I am so small. I am so deaf to your poetry written in ways I haven’t heard before,
I am so silent to your questions spoken in ways that haven’t been asked before-

Not to me, at least
And I cry and I cry and I cry to the pages of love in my hand
Tears fall, there they go, goodbye
And you cry, and you cry, and you cry to a girl who is real and in your hands and she is me
And I’m sorry,

But these pages are my blood while I am your blood
I am not ready to be somebody’s love
Yet you love me with your dozens of roses
And I close myself off with a dozen goodbyes dozens of woefully whispered goodbyes, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Science Fiction: The Charade, or The Truth


The United States was at war. The war broke out in 1993, and it is still going on today. This is one of the reasons why the Americans wouldn’t give up. On November 13th, 2003, an American pilot was captured by the enemy forces. His name was Jonathan Adler, and he was only twenty-one years old. Everyone in his legion of soldiers was killed except for him, and they took Jonathan as a hostage. For years, his parents pleaded with the government to let him go, but they would not. They demanded P.O.W.s, money, war arsenal, you name it. Finally, on July 31st, 2008, they let Jonathan go in exchange for eight hundred thousand dollars. Everyone thought that it was an outrageously low amount of money, and many were suspicious until Jonathan returned home. It was a glorious day when Jonathan Adler returned – the people celebrated and paraded him through the streets.

That night, Jonathan’s parents took him home, crying and hugging him until late at night.

“Oh, my little Johnny, we’ve missed you so much!”

“We’re so proud of you, Jon. We still can’t believe it. It’s all like a wonderful dream.”

Jonathan got undressed slowly, as he always did, and slipped into his favorite t-shirt and boxer shorts. He then brushed his teeth and went to bed, as if he hadn’t been gone at all and tonight was just like every other night.

There was just one small problem. One minor flaw.

This wasn’t Jonathan. Not at all, not in the slightest. The real Jonathan’s body was back in Madonia.

It was no actor posing as Jonathan; it was something much more sinister. The Madonians had spent five years and nearly fifty thousand dollars creating and perfecting the robot replacement of Jonathan Adler. His memories, routines, hobbies, personality, fingerprints, and voice had all been electronically transferred to the synthetic clone, which bore the appearance of Jonathan at the time of his death.

And, as a matter of fact, there was another small problem. The clone had become so human by absorbing Jonathan’s being that it had developed a sort of simple personality of its own. It was like it was just someone else–someone who acted, spoke, and looked exactly like Jonathan.

As time wore on, the clone began to struggle with ethics. Jonathan’s parents were so deliriously happy, so blissfully naïve of the fact that their real son was dead. It was so cruel to keep up this charade, and yet, it would be crueler to tell them the terrible truth. Or was it? To remain happy, or to live a lie? The charade, or the truth?

Poetry: Gone


They played on that couch.

They sat there when they watched television,

Every Saturday morning.

They played with blocks on this glass table.

They ran outside to climb trees through this door.

They sang songs from school right here.

Right here.

And now they’re gone.

They’ve disappeared,

And no one knows when they’re

Coming back.

They ate breakfast here on the stool.

They roasted marshmallows by the fireplace.

They helped clean this floor.

They helped decorate the Christmas tree right here.

Right here.

And now they’re gone.

Broken memories that may never

Come back.

Poetry: Why?


I woke up this morning, tired as always

and asked the Sun how she was feeling.

She smiled brightly at me.

I furrowed my brow and jumped out of bed.

With a jump in my step,

I ran outside and called for the Sun.

“Yes dear,” she replied.

I smiled and knew that’s what I wanted to hear.

“I have some questions.”

And so I asked:

Why is the sky blue?

Why do flowers bloom?

Why do bees sting?

Why do you make the sky pink at sunset?

Why does grass grow?

Why are clouds fluffy?

Why is it warm?

Why do waves crash on the shore?

Why do mountains scrape the sky?

Why are there so many things I don’t know?

The Sun laughed.

She nodded at me.

“Think, my dear.”


We Are Guilderland: GHS celebrates school spirit week


As a newly-appointed assistant principal, Ms. McManus was tasked with leading Guilderland High School’s “community enhancement” programs. “I was totally excited about it,” says McManus, who cherishes the opportunity to work with the many students and clubs of GHS. McManus began by bringing together a committee of staff members to brainstorm ideas for the community enhancement effort; it was at the committee’s first meeting that the idea of a spirit rally was born.

After that initial meeting, the concept of the spirit rally went through a long period of growth and evolution before it was announced to the student body. McManus spoke to students to see if they were interested. Teachers on the community enhancement team surveyed their classrooms to see what their students thought. The leaders of student government thought of ways to get as many students as possible involved in the event. McManus says that throughout the planning process, Guilderland students were always generous and enthusiastic in contributing to this idea.

On Wednesday, February 25, the Guilderland High School community saw the ultimate product of the long evolution of this idea: an hour-long spirit rally, showcasing the diverse talents of the Guilderland student body. From musicians to cheerleaders, poets to dancers, actors to dodgeballers, the event highlighted the many contributions of students to our school community; perhaps most notably the support for each other from many Guilderland students, demonstrated by the loud cheers after each performance. The event was part of a week-long celebration of school spirit that culminated in the annual dodgeball tournament.

Until a number of years ago, Guilderland held annual “pep rallies.” That the new incarnation of this event was called a “spirit rally” rather than a “pep rally” is an important distinction. As McManus points out, the pep rallies used to focus primarily around an athletic team, whereas the spirit rally highlights all the diverse aspects of GHS – athletics and otherwise. McManus says she hopes that this will allow the students to recognize the contributions of everyone to the community. Right now, she says, “I see students that are connected to each other,” but McManus hopes that, through this event, students were able to see that everyone in the building contributes to the community.

Ultimately, McManus says, she hopes that the event allows everyone to feel included in the Guilderland community. After all, she points out, students are here for almost eight hours a day, 180 days a year – “you should want to come here,” she says. “You should feel welcome here, connected here, you should take pride in being a student at Guilderland. I want, at the end of their four years here, for students to be able to say the Guilderland was a home to them. And for those students that don’t feel connected to the school, I hope that the spirit rally helps them feel that they are a part of the Guilderland community.”

The long-term effects of this spirit rally, of course, are yet to be seen. McManus says that the goal of the community enhancement team is to generally increase morale and spirit among everyone in the building. McManus hopes that this event will continue to evolve and grow over time; she sees this not as the solitary example of Dutchmen pride, but as the starting point for the continued efforts of the community enhancement program.

But although this one event many not, on its own, heighten the morale of the school community, it did, at the very least, bring the school together for an energetic, celebratory hour. Sitting in the bleachers, I suddenly realized that this was truly the first time in my four years at Guilderland that the entire student body – every class, every club, every team – was together in a room with the common purpose of celebrating everything that is good in our school. Now, reflecting on the event, I am reminded of the African philosophy of Ubuntu – which tells us that that our humanity is bound to the humanity of others, that I am because we all are. At some level, we are all influenced by our experiences in Guilderland High School, and every member of our school community has, in even some small way, influenced the people we have all become. If the existence of our individuality is tied to those around us, then the spirit rally, in bringing the entire Guilderland community together if only for an hour, showed us all that we belong here, that we all contribute to the greater whole of everyone around us – if We Are Guilderland, then I Am Guilderland too.

In conjunction with this celebration of who we are, The Journal has collected personal showcasing the diverse stories and perspectives of Guilderland students. It is by no means all-inclusive, but we hope that, in exploring the work and perspectives of other students, your own pride in our community may only grow. We feature here some wonderful work by Guilderland students, from personal essays to memoirs to, as always, creative work, photography, and poetry. We have even republished pieces that we felt were particularly relevant to the theme – such as Kyle Levy’s piece about his experiences in the Red Sea and our Humans of Guilderland High School series. I have learned through this project that everything we do represents our story, our individuality, our perspective on life – and in this way, all of us add to the whole of our community. This is a celebration of who we are as a school, a celebration of the wonderful truth: we are all Guilderland.

I Am Guilderland: Kyle Levy


There is absolutely nothing like seeing hundreds of kids packed into one small section of bleachers cheering until they simply cannot get a single word out of their mouths. There must be a reason tons of students show up every Friday night, right?

As everyone in our school knows, and pretty much everyone in the Capital District knows, Guilderland is one of the schools that really focuses on school spirit. Our student section, the Red Sea, is known for being one of the best around. School spirit is what gets me through the week and truly gets me excited for the next week of school. I love walking in and seeing everyone in their red shirts, I love the pure passion that some students and players have, and I definitely love the trash talk on Twitter.

There is something about school spirit that makes is different from everything else. Everyone is welcome and nobody cares who you are, where you come from, or what grade you’re in. If you are loud and simply want to support our school’s teams, the Red Sea is the right place for you. Sure, some people may not enjoy going to games and watching them, and that’s okay. The one thing that does anger me is when people get upset because the “Red Sea didn’t go to their game.” Needless to say, there are some members of the Red Sea that “lead,” but that doesn’t mean that if they’re not at a game other people can’t be. The Red Sea can be five kids or it can be 500, it doesn’t matter. The Red Sea is the whole Guilderland High School student body and everyone can represent that.

School spirit obviously isn’t only about sports. It’s much more than people coming together once a week and cheering on a sports team. School spirit is wearing Guilderland apparel just because. School spirit is attending or participating in fundraisers for your class. School spirit is joining clubs and getting involved. It’s all about the little things, you see – the little things that people do in this school are truly what make it a wonderful and exciting place.

Humans of GHS: Lexie Hawley

“I’m stressed out about paying for college. I’m worried about having loans and not being happy at the college I choose and having to transfer. I’m the first kid in my family to go to college so it’s scary.”

Lexie Hawley, Senior.

Lexie’s picture was first posted on the Journal’s Instagram account in the fall as the first installment of our Humans of Guilderland High School series. At the time, Lexie was applying for colleges. Since then, she decided to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst next year! Look for a full list of the colleges this year’s senior class will attend in the Journal’s annual senior issue, distributed at graduation.