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Transmissions: Issue 1

At the Writing Center, we have the honor to be privy to the work of the next generation of artists and thinkers. Every month, JBWC Youth Ambassadors will be selecting three creations by writers involved with the Writing Center. Enjoy!

No Place For Art

Haya Elamir, Liam Rio, Abuk Aleu, Keira VanDerBeck

It surprises me
that some people
haven’t considered the
wonderful idea of
shutting up.

I’m all for opinions,
I’m all for speaking your mind,
I’m all for interaction,
but sometimes, the thread of your
mouth needs to slip back into place.

If the grand, beautiful sun knows when
enough is enough and sets every day,
maybe that’s a hint or two.
Little tiny swords aimed at little tiny hearts,
make little big scars.

So listen to me, don’t listen to you,
listen to us.

Here I have this voice
you can hear it —
feel it bounding into something
that looks vaguely like a
inconcrete and riddled with dreams.

Do you feel it?

This space
that’s yours, to do your

I’m surprised that here —
now —
I don’t feel like I’m doing time.

Not clocking out anymore.
no, in,
anticipated over.

Now I’m running out of time.
To use this time,
to do everything
within anything
riddled with dreams.

I’m choking on barbed wire— words
my mouth
As if to say space is a thing we cannot take up
And weight a thing we do not carry
but you see
These hands are drenched in decades-old mildew
The filth being these walls
And my mouth sewn shut together
Being the silhouettes clothing this skin and these walls and that barbed wire
—the filth being the silhouettes that will lead us nowhere but here

I’m not a short story read while drifting off
I demand space

Every day I am shaped and found
Given room to sprout in this little corner of the world

Being is understanding your power
and intelligence is admitting you know nothing

The future is skittish but ready
And with them you must impart your dream
How beautiful it is to be free
Enveloped in the acceptance of generations

This poem, written by Youth Ambassadors of the Just Buffalo Writing Center, was composed for No Place for Art: A Symposium on Youth Voice in Education presented by the Youth Arts Advocacy Council on February 24, 2023 at Burchfield Penney Art Center. In partnership with Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology, Buffalo String Works, and The Education Trust. Check out the broadside version here.




Frequent Flyers

Theo Bellavia-Frank

everything is more alluring in
between, you see, this airport is
anticipating & slavering & promising
you everything & giving you nothing.
Spit & survive & keep your head down
to earth & your eyes up to heaven, like prayer,
but different — head down because eye contact
makes this world real & solid & if the walls
aren’t ghosts you can’t walk through them anymore
but they’re still listening. Eyes up because gate
B11 can’t be that far. Trade in hours
& sandwiches & glances, a place like this
is democracy, it’s accurate, it’s a random sampling
of everyone who needs to get out of here, fast.

we are both running, my love, & the walls are not ghosts anymore.
i am but mad south-southwest; you are the blue glow overhead & the mountains leftward.



don’t believe it til you see it

Leni S.

I walk through the town, the sleeping town.

Too early,
yet too

I walk, and find a yelling man clutching papers, scratchy handwriting across the surface.

I approached him.

“A chance of a lifetime”

it reads…

“to ride a real dragon into the clouds.”

I didn’t believe it, and neither should you.

Till I saw its scaly body and leathery wings.

I didn’t believe it till I was even

The last two poems were written during JBWC Open Hours, in response to the below prompt created by Youth Ambassador, Zelda, and JBWC staff:

Write about you or a character taking a journey to somewhere different and new. Focus on the journey: What vehicle or mode of transportation is used? What do you/they experience along the way? What obstacles are faced? *Extra challenge: Start in one genre and end up in another!