The Void

Black rock cliff by stormy sea

A hole
Black as the void
Bottomless as the night sky
Center of a man
Ripped out, left to die

A raging sea
Eroding the land
That makes the existence, of this weary man
As edges crumble, and walls fall away
He trudges ever onward, to face another day

An endless cycle
Stand up and lay down
Trying endlessly not to fall to the ground
Not to break, not to crack, not to scream or stamp
Trudging onward, ever onward
And resisting, always resisting, that void so black

Tiring to do, a job so bleak
Looking outwards and inwards, seeing nothing
Not even a peek
Of break, of rest, of shelter so sought
Nothing but a raging sea, a turmoil of endless thought

From the Author

“I wrote this poem from my own experiences with depression, especially in the last half decade or so. When you are struggling with this formless thing it really can consume you, warping the way you see things or experience them. I tried to put these feelings into words by describing the way it felt, and the images I would see when I thought about myself. 

Every person experiences depression differently, but I do hope this poem helps you understand a bit more about the experience of living through it the way I did. I hope it helps you verbalize your experience. 

For too long there has been an unspoken stigma about these things, and the only way to break the silence is to normalize talking about it- and asking for help when you need it.”

Editor’s Note

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, you can text the Crisis Line. Sierra College also has mental health resources available to students that include a list of local resources. And the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) offers information to support self-advocacy and educate the public.

Written by Malcolm McDougal | Photo by Milo McDowell, Unsplash

Malcolm McDougal is a Computer Science major at Sierra College working towards an Associate’s Degree as well as a transfer to later achieve his Bachelor’s. He hopes to go into a field involving programming, one thought being game development.

Do You Know What It’s Like?

A car that’s not that far away,
It’s just another sunny day,
Music in both ears and a spring in step
A walk that’s made with happy pep

Smile bright,
Step light,
No threat in sight,
No thought of flight,

A headline here,
A story there,
Reports made in fear,
Now we beware

A car that feels so far away,
Headlines, protests, every campaign,
The story of a friend made prey,
Of daily walks that end in pain

Smile bright turned smile tight, 
Oh so polite, 
Bodies close, feeling small,
Til even thin smile isn’t there at all

One state’s risks we learn and know, 
From numbers in past years gone by,
Of one hundred thousand hopes to grow,
Three hundred voices will yearly cry

Look left, look right,
Ears free of any distraction,
Metal keys gripped tight,
Can we call it overreaction?

Attempts made, attacks started,
hear the news, gone cold-hearted
Smiles bright, still under twenty-five,
Tomorrow’s report has now gone live,

Cases in the news today,
Yesterday, yesteryear, 
Three hundred yearly truths laid bare,
These next truths could be anywhere

Growing pressure on our smallest choices,
A question asked by many voices,
An experience on the weekly radar,
“Do you know what it feels like to hurry in the dark to your car?”

Smile bright a year before,
Smiling tight forever more,
Keys in hand and music off,
Headlines made that music stop

 

Written and Photographed by Olivia Walters

Olivia Walters is a Psychology major at Sierra College with a curiosity in Journalism. She hails from Georgetown. In fall 2022, she plans to pursue her major in forensic Psychology at Sacramento State University. Her interest areas include creative writing, studying astronomy, and music.

Yes I Am

lock on fence with 'sos' reference that also appears as 's loves s' because a heart-shape stands in for 'o'

Words were screamed across the room
A man was beaten, battered, and tried
Everything comes to a halt
It all comes down to this; who lied?

I watch from the safety of my own home
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard,
The trial that is being seen across the world

The comfortability and safety of my own life
Sits in the back of mind, rarely coming out to play
For others, their safety is dangling off a tightrope,
A finger away from falling into the depths

One in four women
One in nine men
10 million suffer
10 million too much

After a marriage full of hate, fear, and humiliation
Witnesses are brought to tell the truth as
Everything comes to a halt
It all comes down to this; who lied? 

Interruption, objection, hearsay
Years of being silent,
Depp is silenced once again
But now is the time to tell his story

Seeing toxicity since childhood left him bruised
The shadows of trauma followed him to his adulthood,
He didn’t have a voice then, but he has one now
In horror I listen to the audio clip playing at the end of testimony

“Tell them Johnny Depp, I, Johnny Depp, a man, 
I’m a victim too of domestic violence”
What did he say?
“Yes I am.”

 

Written by Jessica Mananquil | Photo by Georgy Rudakov, Unsplash

Jessica Mananquil is a Journalism major at Sierra College. She plans on transferring to San Francisco State University to pursue her interest in news and feature writing for fall 2022.

Unthawed Nightmare

Strolling home from work, careless and free
Headed home to make my bed, clean sheets off the line,
What a shame to do at bedtime.

Entering my home, I notice no one, I see, I hear nothing
Suddenly attacked, impaled throughout my body
In and out, with such malice.
Forcibly violated, and left cold as ice.
Floating in a pool of my lineage as it drained from my veins.

Taken from me my spirit, stolen; my spirit.
What gave you the right to me?
Robbing me of my safety, my life, my future?
Who told you it was ok to play God and decide when?
When my last breath was taken, my last moments with family.

42 years I lay frozen, forever a 20 year old with the world at my feet.
Shattered in a moment of impulse.
42 years until my family would rejoice, “I feel like I can go on with my life now.”

The terror, pain and heartache frozen with me
Unthawed as handcuffs squeeze your wrists.
My soul set free, my nightmare unthawed.

 

Written by Vontress Ortega | Photo by Manjari, Pexels

Vontress Ortega smiling with long black hair and legs crossed
Vontress Ortega is a Journalism major at Sierra College and published author. She plans to transfer to Sacramento State University and continue in the major in fall 2022.

Motherhood and Me

Becoming a mother at 17 was scary to me. I thought that I would ruin my children’s lives before they ever had a chance. Following in the footsteps of my mother and determined to break a cycle. Just a teenager not knowing myself or even who I would be. I did not understand the responsibility that I was taking on, not for just one child, but six.

I had to strive to be better than I’d ever been and understand that mistakes would potentially put me and my children in a bad position. It was up to me, and only me, to ensure that my children had everything under the sun, no matter the curve balls thrown in my path.

Continue Reading

Disappearance

Wild, untamed
Peaceful before the hunger for money
The King, the danger, the deadly
Few more million than one can count
The tallest, the fastest, and even the smallest
That the world has ever seen
Living on one continent
With whispers of the finest sunsets
Accompany where the wild roams

Believing in what science has proven false
Herbal remedies, black markets
The importance of a narrow-minded belief
Serves more highly than the lives of the wild
Lion manes, rhino horns, elephant tusks
Sold under a criminal act
A trophy on the wall
A smile for the picture
Forever remembering a hunt for the endangered
Ignoring the position as the dominant species
To protect and preserve the lives of ones who do no harm

Don’t turn your head
Look at the numbers
This world has life greater than a desire for selfish needs
Populations low as extinction lists grow
Animals who were here long before
Won’t be here to witness

Written by Nicque McMullen | Photo by Geran de Klerk 

Fire- Money- Power

Four million to influence California
Politicians knew and took the money
Convict in this story isn’t a person

Newsom received more than $200,000
But is it ethical?
Lobbying to achieve
Legislative package to help Utilities
Reforms of legal liability

Gas explosion killed eight, a neighborhood was destroyed
Never forget what happened in San Bruno
A jury found PG&E guilty, convicted of six felonies
One count of obstructing investigation

A corporation cannot go to prison
Yet, we expect to be judged by our actions
Television ads apologize, we’re working every day,
Safest energy company in the nation

Since being sentenced in 2017,
Wildfires kill 107
“Camp Fire” killed 85 when it destroyed Paradise

State’s conclusion, PG&E line started the fire
$3.2 million flowed to candidates
Eight out of 10 lawmakers took money
Oh, how it’s going to cost us all.

 

Written by Eric Pacheco | Photo by Marcus Kauffman 

Femicide

It’s the start of a new relationship,
I get ready for my date, hair in soft spirals,
lips stained red while the color upon my eyes are smoked,
body adorned by a sleek bodycon.

Love took over my mind, the insides of my body filled with floating butterflies,
He’s sophisticated, smart, and charming,
A man that wants to take care of me, wanting what is best for us,
It’s too good to be true.

Cracks start forming, another man emerges,
It’s my fault, I can’t do anything right,
Apologies aren’t enough, thoughts spinning in my head, telling me I’m crazy,
Suddenly, my skin is blemished with bruises, my face stained with tears.

I need to get out, but no one will help me,
After filing several complaints, police won’t help me,
I can’t get out and soon it will be too late for me,
As I will be strangled by the cracked image of a man I thought I loved.

I would be alive today if I was listened to,
Now I am just another number among the women killed before me,
For I have died by femicide, murder committed by my partner,
But there is an outcry for us, activists rallying for a change.

Posters littered amongst the walls under tunnels,
An image of me, the woman I once was,
Displaying the reality of domestic violence,
With the intent of making women before me, victims of femicide, visible.

Written by Taylor Hamilton | Photo by Jean-Luc Mounier