Happy summer, dear readers and authors!

We would like to again congratulate those who were published in Issue 37 this year, and thank everyone for their support.

As we are an entirely student-run journal, we would also like to remind you that we will not be reading submissions during the summer, and will start again in September, Fall 2017, during the academic school year. Please know that while we are happy to receive your summer submissions, you will not receive any responses until September.

May your summers be full of creativity, productivity, and sensitivity! Happy writing, everyone.

— Alagia Cirolia, Managing Editor

Lauren Cooper, BFR Managing Editor

I can’t forget the day I met him. Surrounded by books from my mother’s shelf, I leafed through page after page of white and black. Reading was, and is, like air to me, and that day I breathed it in without hesitation. Shakespeare and Shelley drew me into their complex worlds of love and nature, Neruda showed me some of his favorite dreams, and I reveled in the woods created by Frost. But I saw nothing of me in the poems I read until, turning the page, Allen Ginsberg stood with his hand outstretched, ready to lead me to his Supermarket in California.

I began to skim, tired from my journeys and wary of entering yet another poet’s world, built of words and punctuation. But as I read, I breathed fresh air. Choppy lines filled the page, and syntax flowed to the beat of an unheard drum. Dialogue filled my ears, as Ginsberg talked to Whitman, Whitman to bananas. He spoke of life and time, how neon fruit and grocery boys have replaced the simple past; he asked the world at large what the future would bring. And I listened. I shared in his uncertainty and echoed his honest questions. In the midst of his stream of consciousness, I glimpsed myself.

Ginsberg asked where the past was hidden, where the next step might lead. I looked into his eyes and answered, who knows? His questions were my own. He had spoken the thoughts that I had yet to verbalize, and in that moment I knew that I, too, had something to say.

I had never written much poetry, preferring analytical essays to emotional poems. But, with his talk of peaches and penumbras, Ginsberg inspired me to search for an answer to my questions and his. He had shown me that poetry could be as true as not. An imagined world of neon fruit could speak volumes about reality; it could recall the forgotten past. Unsure of how to begin, I simply started to write, letting the words guide my hand and give me the answers that my mind alone could not create. Unformed thoughts spilled onto a blank page, as black ink lay down next to the white. I wrote of nostalgia: radios and an analogue watch, the how-do-you-dos of woe-be-gone days. I wrote of dial tones and handwritten letters, of memory’s persistence, as moving pictures marched through test patterns and static. Soon I had an answer, a finished piece, a world that we had created, Ginsberg and me.

And I knew that I was a writer, a purveyor of truth and fresh opinion. One simple word piled upon another and another had captured an image, a part of my soul displayed to the world and ready to be understood. It came in waves, then—the anxiety, the vulnerability that comes with making that leap, with allowing my soul to be read like a book. What-ifs echoed through my mind as I fussed over commas and capitals, for each letter had a purpose, and each letter could bring failure if it were read the wrong way. Yet, if Ginsberg had done it, then so could I. In him, I had found a kindred spirit. Perhaps someone else, someone far and away, might find one in me.

Sophia Zepeda, BFR Editorial Staff

    When summer with her hot sun does shine,

A band who have Fallen to drugs and wine,

Five addicts go seek a helping hand

To rid them of their shameful brand.

Of America they to Rancho Mirage go,

For the salvation that rehab does bestow.

The Betty Ford Clinic, our destination,

A simple van driver is my vocation.

At this bus stop I do collect these strays,

Some five poor souls I find this day,

Forced to come with me or face police custody,

A pilgrimage we shall take to find sobriety.

I task myself to explain their character

So that you may more easily follow this adventure.

First among the group is a soldier brave

Who fought for freedom he hoped to save

In far off lands he showed his merit,

From the Gulf to Afghanistan he bore it,

He never faltered in the face of fear,

Many tours he has served, the cost was dear.

In Iraq he saved the lives of many,

His sacrifices were bold and plenty

A patriotic soul, he is kind and true,

A worthy son of red, white, and blue.

There was also a man most foul and fat

Who sold used cars with words that spat

Falsehood, fibs, and exaggeration,

Selling cars not fit to be driven.

A most disgusting man, food always in his beard,

He lecherously looked at any woman who came near.

Advantage he would take if he thought that he could,

Promoting his wares though they were no good.

In moral company there traveled a man

Who trustworthy seemed, sought profit from God.

A televangelist, he preached to the many

Promises of salvation for only pennies.

Great rhetoric he gave, always wearing a smile,

With their shame of sin he does beguile.

He welcomes all from Sacramento to Des Moines,

He takes checks, money orders, cards, and bit coin.

On this journey does travel a wealthy doctor,

A plastic surgeon, beauty for money he does offer.

Facelifts, tummy tucks, implants aplenty

For an exorbitant price he’ll work on any.

He lives a life modest, not spending a cent

On hoarding wealth his soul is bent.

To spend his wealth would be a terrible thing,

To his tower of gold he will surely cling.

Last of our fellowship is a woman, most vivacious and broad,

Five husbands she widowed: Dick, John, Peter, Jimmy, and Rod.

Each richer than the one last wed,

Each one struggled to match her in bed.

Her virtues are extolled throughout the land,

Her appetites mighty, her repute is grand.

She is draped in designer clothes from head to feet,

Her taste in fine jewelry cannot be beat.

She laughs easily and freely at any amusement,

And of out the group she is the most joyous and most pleasant.

On our journey to the clinic, to pass the time

I requested a story of their drama or crime

The best tale will win its author a momentary reprieve

On the green outside the walls before I take my leave.

To my terms they agree and the soldier begins to speak

As the van begins to role with a jostle and a creak.

Madeline Johnson, BFR Staff

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Oh what soft sweet merriment

That carries with it such a beauteous glint

In the hearts of all those who feel its wonder

To cross their paths to make them ponder

On the love that dwells

In their souls as deep as wishing wells

Upon silken soft delight

Oh these creatures of the light!

Reflected loveliness

Within those fledgling nests

Bedded down amongst the downy feathers

Shed by loving mothers and fathers.

Protection sweetness love and wonder,

Dwells within the heart and yonder.

The soul that carries such a beauteous glint

Oh such soft sweet merriment.