Burning Out

Temple Coleman, Grade 11

Blue Dot

Parker Denson, Grade 10

A blue dot in a red state.  

That’s what they call my city.  

Maybe their right.  

But I feel like a blue dot in a red world.  

Not like a democrat, 

Just a different color, 

I don’t match.  

In fact, I clash horribly.  

But is my city really a blue dot? 

Or is it just slightly classier than the rest? 

Because if Birmingham is a blue dot, 

Why do I clash with it?  

A Southern Feminist's Manifesto

Margaret Schedler, Grade 11

Southern feminist: 

Grown down in the blackbelt 

between the Spanish moss 

and rotten cotton fields.  

Legacy and history as rich and dark 

as the soil beneath the poplar tree.  


Lives separated by redlines 

Cut deep like a thumb, sliced. 

Separating one identity with a red welt 

That weeps some blood and poverty 

down the swollen knuckle, 

till it pools at the thick roots.  


Raised by Blue-Dog Democrats, 

but still Democrats. 

Alabama winter, wet and windy.  

Dean preaching inside a hooded pulpit. 

Southern lisp, spitting down upon the nave: 

Forgiveness, vengeance, and crucifixion.  


Southern charmers dressed in mother’s pearls 

and modern innovations: 

Rebellion, equality, and agency.  

Beat down over Sunday brunch 

with a southern drawl, directed  

at the women who speak like men.  


Lost in cheap air-conditioning,  

government housing, and the patriarchy.  

Drilling lessons of white hoods, white robes, white men- 

into the soft surface of a forearm, 

and learning to fear the generations of old: 

Fat tobacco farmers and angry white mobs.  


Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek: 

Their heritage removed from the root 

and struck with the heels of Southern forefathers.  

Antebellum homes built upon their battlegrounds, 

villages, and graves until Sherman took them back 

and set the South on fire.  


Family reunions in Mississippi mid-summer. 

Melting down into the sandy swamp at 100 degrees.  

The taste of chlorine and the feel of cold water wrapped- 

around a Southern body.  

The taunts and jeers at that same Southern body 

when she reveals too much skin and when she covers it up.  


Fall in Tennessee when the oaks drop their leaves 

but the air toasts a person inside-out. 

Classroom disputes over the right to exist in  

a body with two breasts and a uterus- 

as if it were a disability or disadvantage.  

Fighting for respect under the title: woman. 


The stigma of a Southerner in the North 

like a bad smell, bad taste, bad news.  

Taking up space in academic institutions 

where caricatures of dumb, incestuous hicks 

are all that can be seen when a Southerner speaks.  

The mouth opens and “I Wish I Were in Dixie Land” croaks out. 


Baptized in home-brewed sweet tea and the sound of cicada, 

down, way down in the South where women there have  

fought, loved, lost, lived, and died, leaving their legacy behind. 

Sexism may suggest the Southern female is no feminist: 

Too nice, pearled, and perfumed, 

letting the patriarchy suckle at their bosom (look, now it has a face!). 

But a feminist has no face, nor a single body. 

The figure looms and laughs.  

The Northern feminist sees a cutout and gags,  

gnarled on objectivity and how a woman wears her face. 

While the Southern feminist sees the world split open, 

digs the pit out like a peach, and declares it defeated.  


James Stephens, Grade 10


1 ~Editor's Note~2The Dragon's Toe3George's 4Exotic Flavor5Paper Cutter 6Masked , Big Fish , A Plant , and Pass, Hit, Set 7The Stories of Colors 8The Lightning Monster9The Rainy Life of the Weather Named Stormy 10Tables, Reflection , Arachnid , and Distant Forest 11Discovery 12Etched Blossoms , Owl, City Scape , and Puppy 13Superior Species 14Those Butterfly Wings , Converse , Tunnel Vison, and A Cloud 15A Sea of Red 16Nebula Metro17Life of a Diary 18Flowers , Swan , Waves , and Grass 19The Dragon's Tooth 20The Girl in a Dress 21Burning Out , Blue Dot , A Southern Feminist's Manifesto , and Silhouette 22The Fire Kindling: Chapter 1 23The Perfect Student , Social Pressures , and The Perfect Student 2 24Patina Nightmare25Eventide26Creative Shutdown, Eye's Through A Looking Glass , Head on Collision , and Writer's Block 27The Road to the Championship 28Reconnecting With Nature , Eos , you were a summer thunderstorm , and Reconnecting With Self 29Senior Spotlight: Ava Muller, Photography, The Landing , Tranquil , One-eyed Flyer , Grief , Dreamer , Fractured , Breakin', Lost Lives , and Lilypads 30Senior Spotlight: Maggie Huffman, Digital Illustration , Nice to Meet You!, Exploration of "Circe", Surfs Up! , The Return of Morales , Companionship , Mandalorian , Ambush , Just Hangin', and The High Priestess 31Senior Spotlight: Jolie Stumpff, Poetry , Don't, Muse, Being a Boy , In Search of a Cosmos, Overstimulation , Wheels , and Final Moments32Playing Time Struggles, Head in the Game , Sky High , and Moment of Glory 33Pollination , Azure Afternoon , Creator of Color, and Elegant Emu 34One , Fido , Heart Handles , and Early Birds35Dedication: Katherine Berdy