Aristotle, noun, Greek philosopher. Famous quote: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
When I was young, I thought I was going to be a veterinarian. I went to farm camp in an Amish town in Ohio and collected eggs and milked goats for one blissful week each summer. Aristotle said that the gender of goats depends on which way the wind is blowing. At age nine, with young human hands on old goat udders, I knew this wasn’t true.
I am from Jalisco, Mexico. I lived in a very small town with not a lot of people, but with a lot of space. It was free and unnoticed, this little town where I had my friends and my house.
I went to a small school, but it’s considered big over there. It was flat, with a really big courtyard and soccer field.
A tranquil summer night at the Buckingham Fountain with my family
The circular fountain was surrounded with golden railing
Water swiftly arose and reflected off of the enormous skyscrapers
Mixtures of pastel colors intertwined in the sky
Take me out to the ball game take me
To the crowd. one of my most favorite thing
About Chicago is their baseball games.
Seeing the white sox play in their league
It always makes me excited to see who are they against.
Once, there was a king mole in a big castle. Other weird animals lived in the citadel, such as a bearkat, which was literally a cat that looked like a bear and smelled like buttery popcorn.
They needed gold and rations because their castle was in a remote area. It was old and the propeller didn’t work underwater so they put it on the top of the back of the boat.
En un obscuro bosque de tantos lápices y papel,
aparecieron errores mortales en todas partes.
Yo deseaba un borrador.
Un borrador para limpiar los errores sucios
¡Y encontré uno!
In a dark forest of many pencils and paper,
deadly mistakes appeared everywhere.
I was longing for an eraser.
An eraser to clean those dirty mistakes.
I found one!
“Hey dad!” I yelled, “Are we going to México this year?” (Sometimes he doesn’t listen to me, so I have to be emphatic).
When he turned and looked at me, he said, “Do you really want to go this year?”
I replied happily, “Yeah of course.” I was super excited because I haven’t gone to México in five years.
Red. My favorite color was red. As the red flames engulfed my childhood home, I could not stop thinking about my favorite things.
There was the broken music box that played “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in a cringeworthy key, every note flat– but only slightly.
Dulcelandia…Dulcelandia es un lugar maravilloso y está lleno de caramelos y dulces.
En dulcelandia, los dulces son saludables, pero las frutas y verduras son terribles para la salud.
Candyland… Candyland is a wonderful place. It’s filled with candy and sweets.
In Candyland, sweets are healthy for you but fruits and vegetables are terrible for you.
Yo vengo de la línea de
Mis padres y mis ancestros.
Del olor de los Chiles Rellenos de mi Abuelo
La receta que ata a la familia unida.
I am from the trace of
my parents’ ancestors.
The smell from my grandpa’s chile rellenos recipe
that ties the family together.
Daylee, a frog, was juggling many emotions. Her house was practically falling apart, piece by piece. She had just lost a husband.
This hit her like a tsunami. This frog was confused about how to feel about life––whether to be sad, okay, worried, surprised, or happy.
One hot, mucky day, there were four scuba divers: Diego, Jen, Bob, and Zoe.
It was time for them to go on a deep sea adventure. All four were sitting on a boat and then they dove into the water.
The sea had fish and amazing coral reefs. They were swimming deep down in the water when a long, dark figure darted past them. They all began to worry when right then something rushed by their backs.
I remember when I came out to my parents, friends, and teachers.
The moment was not easy, yet I did it.
I remember it was a late afternoon, and I had told my parents that I had something to tell them.
Era el 31 de octubre, Dia de las Brujas en la escuela Jonathan Burr. Era la tercera vez esta semana que nos dieron tomates para el almuerzo.
Esto le molesto a David entonces le lanzó un tomate a la Sra. que sirve el almuerzo. ¿Que clase de tomate? Uno que estaba grande, rojo y a medio cocer y medio crudo.
It was October 31st, Halloween at Jonathan Burr Elementary School. For the third time this week we had tomatoes for lunch.
This upset David so he threw a tomato at the lunch lady. What kind of tomato? A big, red, ½ cooked and ½ raw one.
You try to wink for me
I don’t care that you are in fact blinking at me
Because the same intended mischief is there
Try as you may
You can’t separate the flaring of your nostrils
From the attempted winking
Morgan, a humble 17,000-year-old mage who lived in the depths of the Forest of Fears, leaned out the door of her home and looked towards the beautiful Hawaiian beach.
As her wavy blonde hair blew in the wind, she inhaled the beach’s salty, fishy fragrance—the scent that she loved the most.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to host the greatest race of the century… The Magikuplo Tour!” exclaimed the announcer.
“What a beautiful, hot summer day in Ethiopia on the 20th race in history.”
I am from Imagination
traveling through the sky on a panda, wearing
the knitted blanket my great-grandmother gave me
before she passed away.
I am from a mother
who says she is not the best, but by believing
in me, she is.
Once upon a time, there was a little star named Cheeseburger. He named himself that,
because cheeseburgers were his favorite food, and he had no parents to name him something a little less silly.
Before I knew how to make homemade
constellations, I used to
draw out the ones that had already been
Before I knew how to ask the clouds for
advice, I used to ask friends with
You are probably wondering: what’s her favorite holiday?
Well, my favorite holiday is Christmas. And no, it isn’t because of the presents, because I don’t get that many.
It’s okay If I’m not the one you wake up
to every morning
It’s okay if I’m not the girl you always dreamed of
I just hope that I’m the girl you think of about
20 years from now
When you’re staring at your coffee cup, disappointed.
Dear Mom, I love you Mom.
Thank you for everything you have given me
You shine like Aphrodite (goddess of love and beauty)
Because you are loving and beautiful
Family is the smell of oxygen
because it lets you live.
Family is the feeling of fur
because there is a soft touch
to every relative.
I am from wonder
From gardens and parks
I am from the land
of skyscrapers spiraling up into the sky
and the land of Chicago hot dogs
The starlit evenings catching fireflies after dinner
Once, there was a girl named Kelly. She was on her phone talking to Brandon about the monster who likes tacos. Brandon was a boy she liked in school and he liked her back.
They got off the phone in the night, and then Kelly heard really hard stomping, which she thought to be an earthquake. When she looked back, she saw the monster.
has a string on his back.
is on the moon.
There is a flute.
The moon is trying
to catch the bee.
The moon wants to
play the flute to the bee.
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
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.
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.
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.
When I am alone, I dream of nebulae;
embracing open clusters
of newborn young stars waiting
for their place in constellations. I envy
the way the stars are never cold or alone
I’m offering this poem to you since I have nothing to give
you. Take care of it like a child when it’s winter.
Hug it to keep cozy when cold starts to rise. It keeps you warm
My private anger has never
been when I get a needle in
When it hurts I
get angry and sad.
pulls it out, I say, “Ouch!”
I discovered my identity as a woman when I was eight years old. I was obsessed with the movie Tarzan
and loved the idea of running wild with all the animals and just being free in every way.
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Angel Olsen
conducted by 826CHI’s Teen Press Corps at the 2017 Pitchfork Music Festival.
My mom would always make the soup while I was being the sickest child probably ever.
Me sitting watching TV on my bed, waiting for my soup to be ready.
T. Rex out on the prairie
chewing rattling cattle
lead laughs & T. Rex falls down dead His body is a rotten jelly
It melts away
Won’t you celebrate with me for the life that has been given as a gift?
The bronze, bold color that I have been given to show with pride and honor...
One day, I woke up and looked at my mother’s face. I was confused...
She looked sick to her stomach when she told me, “we have to go to the hospital..."
I wiped my nose and put my hands in my coat pockets.
I could feel my fingers slowly freezing to the point that they started to burn...
I am intelligent, yet confused
I wonder if imaginary numbers exist
I hear the silence of sound I want wisdom
I am intelligent, yet confused...
My secret code name is Roberto Alemán The First.
It was my grandfather’s name.He died right before Super Bowl 49...
Charlie the Seal was born in the mountains.
He lived on the brown, sunny rocks. His family lived there with him...