Pretty Brown

pretty brown pic by chevonna

pretty brown pic by chevonna

by Chevonna

I’m not the darkest and I’m not lightest, fortunately I’m brown.
It took long but soon I found I’m pretty brown, brown brown.
I’m on!
Layers of rough, tired, suffering.
Milk chocolate, smooth and soft skin.
Covered pores filled with
 Pain, love and broken promises.
Using my flaws as excuses was the usual for me.
My big brown eyes that sparkle and glisten the truth of the real me.
Not knowing, I’m letting my beauty stop me.
My dirt brown hair showing the strands that show everything from my strengths loving me to my weaknesses hating me all the way
 To my weeping split ends.
Not no more. This is me, take me or leave me.
Do you see how I see? No one is flawless!
Spooda is a pretty brown… Brown brown.


Electrical Storm

By: Juan

Rainy Day by Juan

Rainy Day by Juan

There was no sky.
It was grey and purple, light rain,
Thunder and lightning flashes
Fifteen seconds apart.
We’d count. Me and my friend Nic.
They said don’t drink the water,
Don’t let any of the rain get in your mouth
Because it can be electrified.
It made me wonder what would happen
If I drank it. It made me kind of want to—
It’d probably feel the same as when I grabbed
An electric fence out in Doe Bay—feels like
Hitting your elbow and a shock running through your arm,
A general rush flowing through your body.

It was loud. It literally sounded
Like Fourth of July all over again
And people were still lighting off mortars.
But you could see the sky
Lighting up red sometimes.
Lighting up the whole house.
The sky was pinkish purple
And the lightening white, making a reddish color.
Even the morning aftwards the big cloud
Was still floating over Seattle,
Cutting off all the buildings,
You could see the sun shining,
But the electrical cloud was still there.

I’d never seen anything like it.
They say they only happen every two years or so.

I saw my first lightening strike too.
 It was the coolest possible.
It was like a tree. Like one bolt,
Then a thousand branches branching off,
Covering most of the sky. Crazy.

The electrical storm
Was like a creepy 4th of July. Like the world was ending.
I called some people and asked them if they were watching.
Everybody was. It was a new experience.
It’s like seeing a shooting star,
Like the feeling you just saw a ghost,
People jumping and freaking out.

It made me want to watch more,
Watch the sky
Because every time I heard the thunder
And the lightening,
I had an adrenalin rush.
You could feel it whenever it struck
I wasn’t worried it would strike me.
I knew it wouldn’t.
I just felt overwhelmed,
With knowing how powerful
Mother nature can be
And how small we really are.
God’s like a little boy with a big magnifying glass
And we’re just ants on a hill
And I’m like a worker ant
Wandering, pondering my existence.

When You’re A Child…

By Ester  

When you’re a child the only sickness you know is

chicken pox and a cold.

When you grow up chicken pox turns into herpes

and a cold turns into AIDS.

When you’re a child the only high you know is

swinging high on a swing.

When you grow up the high you used to know

 turns into a blunt and a crack pipe.


Ester Zine Intern

When you’re a child being good

means listening to mom and dad,

When you grow up

being good means not going to jail.

When you’re a child having a boyfriend means

holding hands and flying balloons,

When you grow up having a boyfriend

means sex and drama.


When you’re child an accident means accidently

not going to the bathroom fast enough,

When you grow up an accident means a car crash

that involves loss of money

and getting hurt.


When you’re a child,

 money is monopoly’s colorful money,

When you grow up money is

paying bills and the worry of debt.

When you’re a child you think

the world is a fairytale,

When you grow up

the fairytale turns into a scary movie. 


In some ways,

I’m still like a child because

I am only 15 years old,

And I like to have fun like my baby sister.


In other ways, childhood is gone

I had to grow up too fast,

And my childhood slipped right through my fingers like water.


Writing with Street Youth in Crisis

Check out an article written by Zine Instructor Shaun McMichael on writing with youth in deep distress. Published on Pongo Teen Writing’s website, Shaun’s article details challenges and lessons learned.

It’s a relevant read for providers, writers and those interested in engaging youth through writing.

A blade made of truth

by Natalie

cthulhu stencil by natalie

cthulhu stencil by natalie

Drugs used to hurt me
 Stab me like a knife in the side
 all that is left are scars now, deeper
than any cut I’ve made before
but not one you can easily see.
 You see drugs,
they no longer rule me. 
I’m no longer a weak pawn that breaks
down and gives in.
I see the other side.
 I know it’s there but I’m strong now
like a blade made of truth
cutting through the lies I used to believe
 and the vile monster I used to hide behind.
I’m aware you may try to sneak back into my life
 But I’m prepared. 
I’ve got   something you never gave me
something stronger  than you will ever know. 
I’ve got soul
and it will outshine any darkness you try to cover me in
any it will ward off any evil you send my way.
I may stand strong and tall
shinning bright like a peaceful soul
but I still weep for the others that have fallen in this battle
for the others that are still fighting
for the others that will never stop fighting
and most of all for the ones that no nothing of our battle –
people that don’t know the experience
and don’t know that sometimes people don’t have a choice.
Drugs are just like war,
 you feel like it could never come to your land
but someday, they could show up on your shore.

Youth in Focus comes to Zine

The Zine Project has just wrapped up a four day Digital Photography crash course brought to us by Youth in Focus.

Teaching Artist and Professional Photographer, Zorn B. Taylor taught the workshop, giving the youth a hands on opportunity to take their own photos and edit them in Light Room.

Check out some of the finished products from our talented intern photographers:

Photo by Ester

Photo by Ester, Zine Intern

Photos by Juan

Photo by Chevonna, Zine Intern

Photo by Juan, Zine Intern

Photo by Natalie, Zine Intern

Photo by Natalie, Zine Intern

Photo by Natalie, Zine Intern

Photo by Natalie, Zine Intern

Not bad for only four days. Our youth interns’ minds are fertile and sharp and with a little nurturing, they can produce some great stuff. The medium of photography is a particularly fruitful exercise for young people. It’s quick, hands on, and it prompts them to start looking closer at their everyday worlds, as you can see. Have a talent or a skill you’d like to pass off to young people working on an independent publication? Visit out Get Involved page or contact to find out how you could share it with them.

Getting off the streets

 By Sasha

Being homeless off and on for 11 years
On going for 4 years
Using meth just to keep me awake at
Night so I’d not be raped
Assaulted or killed.
Many nights not getting into shelter
Causing anger
And the feeling of
Self destruction
And loneliness.
One day I decided to get off the streets
To stop using drugs
And finish school.
I’ve had a few relapses.
I’ve had times where I wanted to use
Or drink and die
Because I was so mad upset with life
But to this day
I’ve been clean for two months
Sober for five and off the streets for
Over three months.
I’m doing this for my daughter
And my family
Because they don’t deserve to
Hear I’ve died due to my addictions.
I want my family and daughter to hear that
I got through it
And decided to stop using
That I’m a “brave heart” like my mom says
Because I’ve been through so much and am
Still fighting.
I want them to hear that
I’m a fighter
I won’t give up even when things get
really bad.
I want them to know I’m strong
able to empathize with people
who have been in similar situations.
I want them to know I won’t give up.