826 LA

Inklette’s blog shall be featuring organisations, groups and individuals from all across the world that work to promote creativity among children and underrepresented communities. 

We would like to thank 826LA for being a part of this initiative. Special thanks to Art and Photography Editor, William Higgins. 


From the Crazy World Down Here                      

Deisy Garcia


Dear grandma,


I miss you a lot and I wish we could be together right now. People from el rancho would tell my family, “Oh! She looks just like her grandma!” And I only saw you when I was eleven months old, basically a baby. I don’t have many memories of you.

I have a short, faint memory of you, grandpa, and your son—my dad—when I was running around in the summer where there were crops and dirt. You were all running around, you were giggling and laughing, and so was I. But I still love you a lot. Cancer dragged you out of this world and God knows why. And a couple of months later my dearly loved grandpa took flight and went to the wonderful paradise with you. I just miss you a lot, and I hope to see you one day and be with you forever and ever, and laugh and play with you and grandpa.

I wish that we were together, with grandpa too, and never ever be separated.


From the crazy world down here,                                   

Deisy ❤

Just One Day

Samuel Luis


All I know is that I used to be a nice kid that would do his work and was focused on his future. With time, that vision I had about myself faded away. Now it seems like I don’t care, but really, inside me I feel bad about myself. When I try to refocus and try to get back on track, it seems like it runs away from me and I go back to not caring. The teachers’ words come through one ear and come out from the other. My mom tries to talk to me but sometimes I just don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know what it is. I want to get back on that track of success. I argue with my mom a lot now and I feel bad for my mom because she has to deal with me. I feel sad and worried about my mom’s health, she works hard to support us since my dad left to Mexico, not caring about us. That’s why I just wish  I could go back in time and try to change stuff I did. Change something. Change what I did wrong. At least just change one little small thing that would change my future, my present, my past, change something in time. Then I think about it, maybe this is how my life is supposed to be. Maybe God decided to make my life take this path. On times when I’m sad I tend to believe maybe God doesn’t exist, maybe he is just fake. I have asked myself that question and can’t come to the conclusion of whether he exists or not. Why does my life have to be like this? Did I choose for my life to be like this? Maybe I’m looking at my life from the wrong perspective, maybe I need to think deeper. Just maybe I need to think better about my life. All I know is that I will one day change and will get back on that track of success that I seek, and will become that kid that I once was. Not the same but similar. Just one day I will seek what I’m seeking: peace between my thoughts and my feelings. Just one day all the arguing with my mom will stop and there will be peace. Just one day I will have peace. Just one day.

Blue Nail Polish

Nadia Villegas


Blue nail polish has a big meaning for me

To others it is just a color

To others it is just nail polish

Blue is my favorite color

After all, blue is the most popular color in the world

Yet that is not why I like blue nail polish

I believe that blue nail polish transcends gender and sexuality

I am surrounded by people wearing blue nail polish, whether they are a boy or girl


This is amazing because blue nail polish allows you to express yourself

No matter who you are


Yet there are ignorant people that think it’s not right for men to wear blue nail polish

How can such a small little jar of the color blue bring such discrimination?

There is no law or rule anywhere that says men can’t wear blue nail polish

Yet people find it a problem

Why do stupid people start opening their big mouths by calling them gay?

Blue nail polish is freedom

Blue nail polish is expression

Blue nail polish is defiance

Blue nail polish is ignoring what other people think and staying true to yourself

Who Is “Pretty”?

Michael Rodriguez


To be “Pretty” takes responsibility,

Cute is Ugly’s best friend,

But Is Ugly really a thing?

You can not call another “Ugly” if you

Can not look at yourself as “Pretty”

Pretty is Perfection,

The real you, it is the best version of you.

Pretty is Reflection,

Reflection on any major events that make you unique.

Pretty is Effort,

The more effort you put to think you are “pretty.”


Pretty is Thoughtful,

Thinking of others can affect you more than another.

Pretty is Time,

It takes time to call yourself reliable.

Pretty is Youthful,

Unite with any generation showing purity and youth.

It Has No Meaning

Daniela Martinez


Have you ever had someone tell you, “You’re ugly!’’ or, “You are NOT pretty!’’?

Lies, LIES!!!


I mean no one, NO ONE, was born good looking or perfect.

“Pretty,” that word can make you feel better or sometimes worse. To me, the word “Pretty” really doesn’t mean a lot.

All the time, ALL THE TIME, I used to get bullied, and all because of that word.

People tell me that I am ugly, that no one will ever go out with me. I mean, some girls say, “Who needs guys anyways?!’’ I totally agree. Dating can wait.

But times change and people change. Time changes when you don’t expect it and people change when they hurt you verbally or physically.


I was too scared to go to school because I knew that once I stepped into class, I was going to get bullied. I always heard that they called me names behind my back. When I was at school the only thing I could think about was getting home. By the time I got home, I cried like a baby. And ‘til this day I feel that I am dead on the inside. Thanks to those people, I am shy around people, I am not social, and I am quiet. People that know me don’t know that. Now they know. I am just dead on the inside.


I can love my family and friends, but the people that hurt me—NOT EVEN ONE BIT!!! Every time I see them I feel like I want to torture them for every moment they made me suffer. I don’t want anyone suffering like I did. I just heard that my friend got beaten up by a tenth grader. I heard how they called him names. People that go through that: SPEAK UP!!! Don’t stay quiet the same way that I did. It is NEVER too late to say, “STOP!!!”

Who has the rough face now?

Lily Rodriguez


I was bullied when I was little for a lot of reasons. I hit puberty at a young age, especially acne. I never had the ability to control how my body was working. I never wanted all the other kids at school to make fun of me because my face was not as smooth as theirs. All the other kids would tell me, “You need some Proactive.”  I did in fact use Proactive, but it only made my face breakout even more. I tried all the acne products, like Proactive, Neutrogena, and even used a lemon. My mother told me to stop touching my face continuously. My mother eventually ran out of money to buy all these products and gave up for a while. It seemed like everywhere I would go I was never safe from these judgments. I began to think that it was not natural for a second grader to be taller than other children in the class, and to have a face that was rougher than all of the other children’s smooth faces. I even began to take birth control pills in the fourth grade! I had to follow so many rules, like not eating certain things at certain times. For example, not eating two hours before taking the pill and waiting thirty minutes after I took the pill to eat. I hated my skin. It was not natural. As I got older, my acne started to fade away; however, the scars still make an appearance.


Ciro Benitez


I remember a time when I truly missed someone. It’s usually not a good feeling when your pet dies. There are times when you have bad days and all that cheers you up is your pet. My family had a guinea pig, our second one. We adopted her from Petco, four months after our first guinea pig died.


She was really cute. I loved her so much that at times it was torture for her. It felt amazing every time I held her, fed her, and overall being with her. When she was dying I felt as if my heart was torn out of my body and thrown into a chest, never to be opened ever again. I felt sad but my eyes didn’t even water. She was struggling to walk in her cage, she couldn’t keep her balance and her whole body would tilt over when she tried. I attempted to feed her but she couldn’t chew. My mom was by my side and maybe that’s why I didn’t shed at least one tear. I don’t like crying in front of others, not even my family. At some point, Barbie––that was her name––just stayed in one spot. She was still breathing but I knew she wouldn’t be moving from that spot. My mom put a big towel over the cage and I went to sleep that night in the same room where my guinea pig was. I will forever remember Barbie and of course every other pet companion I have had or will ever have.

My Thoughts on Prison

Nasim Zarenejad


Prison is a place with a lot of personalities. At first you only see delinquents and rebels roaming around the hallways trying to act tough and brave. But if you took a second glance and understood each and every person carefully, you can see that most of them don’t have a simple life but a complicated one. Each and every person has their own story, which brought them to that bad place known as prison. They all had a reason to come to that nightmare and they need help. They committed a crime because of a mistake they wish they had never done, or because of an urge for a pleasure because they couldn’t control themselves.  Regardless of whether they regret what they did or not, they all need help emotionally and mentally. I believe that prison should not be a punishment for their crimes or mistakes but a somewhat “school” where they all could learn to understand and fix their problems.


Top places I want to go to

Milanka Patterson


The top places I want to go to are Paris, Hawaii, New York, Florida, London, and Guatemala. There are probably many other places, but I want to go to those for now.




Paris is such an amazing place and I want to got here because of all their amazing food and of course, to see the Eiffel Tower. I also know there’s lots of things about modeling in Paris, so that’s another reason to go!




I want to go to to Florida because it’s very beachy and summery like Hawaii. I mostly want to go there because of Disney World and to go to Miami and see an alligator in somebody’s pool.




I want to to go Guatemala because there are lot of volcanoes there and I really want to see a volcano! Plus, I have family there and I heard they have beaches with black sand––I want to see that! It also seems very adventurous and I love adventures!




I want to go there SOOO BADLY! I will one day. It’s super beautiful––all the animals, the beaches, and all of the different activities. I can’t even explain how many things I would do, all the pictures I would take.


New York:


I also want to go to New York because all the headquarters for acting and modeling are there. Plus, all the lights! The fashion shows! Everything!!!




I don’t really know why I want to go to London, but I do and I guess it’s because of the queens and kings. I think that’s cool.


How would I get there?


Whenever I travel, I go with my family. But as I get older maybe my family won’t want to be traveling all the time. So instead, I would want to go with my best friends! Imagine going on plane rides, staying in hotels, going on adventures in a city you’ve never explored before with the people you love! That is my ideal life and how I would want to spend it!


Luz R.


Mexico is important to me and my family because Mexico is the place where my mom, dad, uncles, aunts, and cousins were born. My mom and dad were born in San Sebastian Tutla. They left when they got married, and haven’t seen their moms and dads in a long time. Whenever I go there they take the trip seriously because instead of them going to Mexico, they send us to visit the family. Whenever we go to Mexico they get sad because they would like to see their families.

The Lake

By Xavyer Fletes


There is a myth that people tell of the forest in Pikoro Village. They say in the heart of the forest is a big lake that is full of life, animals, and plants. The lake is said to have a magical essence of a celestial spirit who was once a king. He was the king of the Fiore region. He was the greatest king ever, he made sure the citizens were never in poverty. He made sure everyone was healthy. The kingdom was at the highest point of its renaissance, but the prince was jealous that everyone loved the king and had never paid attention to the prince. The prince took the king’s life, poisoning him with a box of vipers. He put it in the king’s bed and in the morning the king was dead. When the king died the spirits had given him a second chance, but in another form; he would be a lake and control what happens around it. The king wanted the people who drink from it to have some kind of power, so they can carry on his legacy and capture the people who are ill-hearted. To get there is a treacherous journey. Only people who pass are pure of heart, but the people who are tainted are usually not able to come back in one piece, mentally or physically. The king is able to tell who is pure of heart by making a series of challenges they have to pass. He can sense the essence of good-hearted and tainted-hearted people. The king makes sure if they are good-hearted by the test he lays out. The ones who do get through in one piece (which are tainted) would run at the chance of power and destroy everything at sight. The lake has one more defense of action. The sirens would drag the tainted-hearted to the deepest part of the lake and never let them go. The good-hearted people who drink from the lake are granted any power their heart desires.

Venice Beach, California

Ashla Chavez Razzano


The salty sea air of Venice Beach, California drifts through the beach town’s streets and past my window. The sun is covered in gloomy marine-layer this morning, like every morning, until the warmth of the afternoon burns through the grey. I spend my time on my roof, balancing above the incline. Balancing above the longtime-locals that roam the streets, artists and surfer and skaters alike. On my roof, I gaze at the streets’ movement and distant buildings, trees, and mountains. At different times of day, the scene changes, reflecting the change in mood of the community. My favorite time to be here is dawn, when the fresh scent of day is soft and cold, and the dim blue sky is slightly illuminated by the oncoming sun (5:35 AM). Soon the morning becomes noon and the warmth of the day reaches its peak. Summer, and weekends, the crowds of locals and currents of tourists run through the neighborhood, holding skateboards and backpacks full of towels with sand stuck to their flip flops. This is when chatter fills the air, with my neighbor’s “oldies-radio” playing loud from their front yard. The day is anything but still (3:17 PM).


By the evening, my neighbor’s radio has been turned off, and behind my home I see other locals chain smoking on outside tables, holding conversation as the sky darkens and their windows’ lights create shadows under their tapping feet. With the dozen or so restaurants and bars and cafes on my street, there’s still a distant chatter. It’s calm and soft, but surrounded by movement (6:53 PM).


Did you know…

Estefania Flores


You grab

the ball, you dribble

and you shoot. You throw

the ball after you aim, and

eagerly watch the round sphere, hoping

it will go through the net. You can’t

travel or kick the ball. You

cannot even dribble with

two hands. Yes, I play basketball.    

I don’t look like the kind of

girl that plays a sport. But… I’m #14

on the court, don’t judge.

MISSION STATEMENT:  826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.

Cave of Hands


Pinturas Canyon, Argentina


Like the blind

signals of bats



against naked cliffs,


these rust-

red silhouettes


of palms,

fingers fanned,


must mean

to tell us something.


Maybe hearts

are like this


when they flit into the dark

of woods, hover over


rock outcroppings,

find homes


in crevices

among the scraggy


brush, cling

to rough dust-


covered sandstone—

to feel and feel again.

MARTHA KALIN has received awards for her poetry including a Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan and several fellowships from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Recent publications include poems in Anastamos, Don’t Just Sit There, and Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century, published by University Press of New England. Her chapbook, Afterlife and Mango, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts in 2013. She lives in Denver, Colorado. 

Where My Mother Put Her Faith

LHL illustration 2.jpg

Illustration by Ashlyn Metcalf

When I was fourteen,

she’d spend her days in front

of the ironing board to keep

my father’s pockets tucked

with the crisp, white

handkerchiefs she’d press;

hours of devotion

in front of General Hospital.


The spike of her cigarette

burned flower stems of smoke

from the wide glass ashtray

stationed at the end of her board—


the glossy shift of sunlight

diffused through the half-drawn

drapes of the unwashed

living room window, an early twilight

and the hiss of hot iron

scorching the starched cotton flat—


the corners halved, pressed,

halved, pressed again

with the clean formality

of the iron’s sibilation,

the litany of:

fold hiss fold hiss fold hiss.

Lord have mercy.


LORRAINE HENRIE LINS is a Pennsylvania Poet Laureate in Bucks County and serves as the Director of New and Emerging Poets with Tekpoet. She is the author of a full-length book of poetry entitled, All the Stars Blown to One Side of The Sky (VAC Poetry) and two chapbooks. Her work appears in journals, anthologies and magazines both in print and online. Born and raised in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, this Jersey Girl now resides outside of Philadelphia with her family and several dogs, where she has learned to pump her own gas.

ASHLYN METCALF is an introvert, painter, creative writing nut, and artist. She studied art education at Northeastern State University and worked in education for 4 years. Moving towards painting full time felt natural although ‘a task difficult as hell’. Metcalf lives and paints in Tulsa, Oklahoma where the cicadas hum on summer nights.

Brother With Ruger 10.22

I, too, have seen the ancestral photographs,

square grandfathers squatting

against a deer, rifles on their thighs.

The carcass propped up by it’s belly,

a preamble to dinner. Last night,

I dreamed my brother was as glistening

and blond as a wasp. Instinctual.

A murmuring scripture for slaughter.

His eyes, a cluster of tiny

bullets, simmering and dull all at once.

He got his first gun at thirteen.

A whisper of metal, melting into the coils

of his limbs. It is a thing I find all too

nimble. Glassy like the threads of a wing

pinched between my thumb and trigger

finger. A nameless, swooping curve of muscle

braced for the crescendo of a bullet.

EMMA CAMP is a seventeen-year-old poet from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming in Moledro Magazine, SugarRascals, Al.com, Rookie, The Blue Marble Review, Alexandria Quarterly, Venus Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, and Glass Kite Anthology. Her work has also been honored by Hollins University, Gannon University, The Alabama Writers Forum, and the Jane Lumely Prize.


There’s something honest in old walls of pine,

the winding lines, hard knots and shades of gray,

broad streaks of sun-baked orange and dandelion.

I’ve heard some say they wouldn’t change a day,

not one minute of an hour—the walls know better.

LELAND JAMES is the author of four books of poetry and a book on poetry craft. He has published over 200 poems in journals and magazines worldwide including The Lyric, Form Quarterly; Rattle, The South Carolina Review; The Spoon River Poetry Review; New Millennium Writings; HQ The Haiku Quarterly, and The London Magazine. He was the winner of The UK’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, The Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, and the Writer’s Forum short poem contest. He has received honors in many others competitions and was recently nominated for a Push Cart Prize. www.lelandjamespoet.com

The Birds

The birds fly out. The birds fly out.
A simple unthinking, possessed

by metaphysics—an urge
or inkling to move on.

The sound of their leaving
splits me. I lie in bed,

an insufficient woman,
limbs sporadically gone

numb as if bound
by some tenuous intervention.

I have no way of knowing how
or why I will be discarded.

First a hand, then an arm—
when it needles my head I panic

and shake it all back. My eyes
reach for the window. The birds fly out.

I wanted the children. The clatter-
sprouting house, the perfect messes—

hot fevers I could make
better, hot fever of my husband’s love.

Sometimes one kiss from a wet mouth
makes me new again,

for a while. The birds fly out.
A cold ache. Outside my husband

and son are stacking firewood.
Breathing in the dirty scent

of cut oak, maple, birch—brown
on brown on brown.

There is an art to this,
the stacking—place the cut

ends into the scent of danger—
the most prevailing wind.

My husband’s instructions,
my five-year-old—his little hands,

little pink face. I pack this memory
neat into my mind.

I don’t know when I became
so afraid. I don’t know why

so often. I lie in bed,
watch the window, and wait.

Later I will go downstairs
and push the iron into the fire,

flame chewing on wood until
it takes it all completely.

Yes—later I will feel better.
For now the birds fly out,

going south, going somewhere.
What is the name of that tree—

half dead and dripping
with squirrels? Tell me

again the name. The birds
fly out. I should mention

the wind but I forgot how it feels
when it feels good.

In one formidable blow,
the birds fly out.

I am anxious. I am moldered.
I should mention the sky.

KATE HANSON FOSTER had her first book of poems, Mid Drift, published by Loom Press and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Center for the Book Award in 2011. Her poetry has appeared in Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, Tupelo Quarterly and elsewhere. She was recently awarded the NEA Parent Fellowship through the Vermont Studio Center. 

September Becomes Another Continent

How strange it is to live

in a place without coyotes

to snatch terriers from their gardens,

no burgundy angst calling

like a lover from the stringy woods

behind every teenage home. Instead:


one endless, golden morning

smeared across your vision like a paint stroke.


Like feeling for a hand in the dark and realizing it’s not

dark here, was never.

I am trying very hard to fill my body

with a home I haven’t arrived at.

Exhale of a song on my neck

like an infant hot and dense in the hands,

like touching trees older than us

and wishing to see them sprout, take

root, entangle.

There is something to the falling.

To being brave enough to fall asleep

in the passenger’s seat, whispering

thank you with all your being

to no one in particular. Elsewhere,


blue light flickers through an attic window

and I am suddenly unafraid to die.

The orange glow of your childhood kitchen

is something you carry inside you now,

the ghost of an ember.

You don’t have to feel guilty anymore.

ERIN SLAUGHTER is currently pursuing an MFA at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches undergraduate writing classes. She has been a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, and her work can be found in River Teeth, Juked, Gravel, and the Bellingham Review, among others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Elegy for the Body (Slash Pine Press, 2017).