Writing Gallery



I am from the kitchen
From the high hanging cabinets
to the low laying drawers
From our spice rack we try to clean
to our fridge packed tighter than a clown car
I am from around the world
From touring all of Italy and trying real pasta
to going to South Africa and hearing my sister sing
I am from the Windy City
From winters so cold they make Antarctica look warm
to the deepest pizza you will ever see
and the loud cars and traffic on Lake Shore Drive
I am from a community that fully supports each other
I am from the best family there is
From my dad who is always there when I need him most
to my mom who just wants me to be happy
and my siblings who care about my feelings
From helping me with my homework
to being my personal chauffeur
The kitchen
a scrapbook of so many memories
which all led to shape who I am today
I am my own person
changing and forging my own path
Day after day after day

Shout-Out Poem

Here’s to Ola, she understands what I say and she loves me so much.

Here’s to Iraq, it makes me happy, living with my family.

Here’s to grandfather, I remember the last hug.

Hugged him when I wanted to come here.

Here’s to Alddawalimub, remembering me because it is family in Iraq

Here’s to grandfather, because he is a doctor and I would like to be like him.

Here’s to the sea, where I hear the voices of the waves.

Here’s to my sister, because she is very funny.

Here’s to Sunday, because I go on this day to church.

Here’s to One Direction, their song “Kiss You” is the first song I ever heard.

Here’s to Chicago, because it’s lovely.


In life, we face many problems. We all have our ups and downs, and even though you might feel like there is nobody there, you will always have somebody by your side. It might just take you time to realize who it is.

I’m a girl who lived with only one parent. My mom would work during the nights and during the days she would sleep. In my case, it could have been really easy to feel alone or just feel like nobody was there for me. My dad left before I was even born — when I was still in my mom’s belly. He said he was too young and left. Do I hate him? No. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be who I am now. Am I mad at his decision? No. If he thought that was the best reason then okay. He knows why he said what he said, and he knows why he did what he did. I accept that. It’s hard to, but I do. If anything I’m actually okay with it.

So my mom was nineteen and already had a kid. I gotta say, she was pretty brave for doing everything that she did. She gave up everything just to be able to have me and be able to give me the things I needed. I appreciate this. I know that my mom is eventually gonna read this, so I’m just gonna take a moment to say, Thank you for everything and I love you.

My mom was always working, so I would normally stay with my Aunt Yadira. She’s been there for everything. She’s also sacrificed a lot for me, and I appreciate it. Even though I wasn’t hers to take care of, she still did it. She’s been like a parent. She did everything to make me feel like all those little girls out there. She taught me all those things that mostly dads do, like how to skate, ride a bike, swim, etc. She’s been there to teach me all that even though she didn’t know how to do all that herself. She has been a person that I can count on for support. She’s a person that held me up. When I would fall, she would pick me up and not let me give up. She means the world to me, and even though we might have arguments and fight like we are sisters, I love her to death. What she has done for me is unforgettable.

Sometimes my aunt had school, so I would stay with my grandpa — another important person in my life. He is the best grandpa anyone could have and I’m lucky that he got to be mine. Ever since I was little, he would take me to the park to go eat paletas (or how we call them here, popsicles). He spoils me with everything. LITERALLY, he is just the best and I love him. Even though we might have our issues, he will always be the best person and best grandpa EVER.

Now that I look back, I realize that even though I might not have my dad with me, I have my family here supporting me and taking care of me. I realize now that I can count on people and that I’m not alone in this.

Let me just say this… if you ever lose someone, or someone ends up leaving, never feel alone because you have your whole family there for you. Yes, you might miss or think about how life would be if they were still here, but never EVER feel alone...you have lots of people surrounding you who love you.

Giant Furry

Once upon a time, I heard something in the woods. It was really loud. It sounded like the stomping of a big dinosaur’s foot. It was so loud my parents woke up. We lived near the woods, that’s why it was so loud. But then my parents fell back asleep. I got out of my bed and went outside. When I opened the door I saw something big but I couldn’t see it well. So then I ran to the kitchen to get a flashlight and a broom. Then I ran back and it was still there.

When I turned on the flashlight, it was a giant, furry, giraffe-looking creature. It wasn’t scared of me, so I got close to it and petted it, and I gave it a name. It was Furry. I noticed he liked that name because he started jumping around. He let me on his back and we climbed a mountain. When we reached the top of the mountain we were above the clouds. It was so cool and I was so amazed, but I was tired. Then a few moments later I fell asleep and when I woke up, I was in my bed. I looked out the window and it was open.

I saw a piece of fur that Furry left. Then I figured out it wasn’t a dream, it was real life.

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And the Rest Is Noise

Interviews & Reflections From The Students Of 826CHI’s 2017 Pitchfork Music Writing Intensive

by the 826CHI Teen Press Corps

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