Corona Rona by Kiara Patterson


Corona Rona

My senior year is gone because of you Rona

Why do you like to hurt so much?

You’re like a crazy ex-boyfriend that will never give up

I walk daily to rid myself of your presence, but unlike you I think time is of the essence

You’ve disgraced this world with your impatience

Your bond to the human race is tenacious

Life with you in it has been a nightmare, and Rona Rona it’s really not fair

I get up just to stay in the house

Because of you people now eat food nibble by nibble as if they were a mouse

You’ve increased poverty, abuse, a rage of unpleasant emotions

You’re invisible but unlike a ghost, your presence isn’t unspoken

So what should the world do about you now, Rona?

From what we all know of you, we don’t like your persona

Although I can say you taught us a very valuable lesson

At times like this many may slip into depression

You’ve shown humankind how selfish some of us are

How quick we’ll get into a fight over toilet paper, as if we’re at a bar

But enough with this

Enough with the back and forth, you are dismissed

Don’t come again, don’t get me pissed

It was all fun and games until you started taking people’s lives

You give me heebie-jeebies almost like hives

My last words I have for you will not be sweet, unlike you I won’t be a cheat

A cheater of happiness, the pleasant life as I’ve known it

You are shameful but yet, you seem to own it

Corona Rona you are pathetic

But I will not stoop to your level

I am angelic

Perspective by Asya Akkus

“Asya’s definitely faking. She can’t be bisexual. I’ve never even heard her talk about being with a girl.” I distinctly remember standing outside my English classroom, listening to someone who barely knew my story assume that my sexuality was a choice. I wanted the words playing from the phone to cut out, but they didn’t. Mercilessly, the recording kept running. “I’m sick of girls like her pretending. It’s okay to just be an ally for the LGBTQ community. She has no idea how hard it is to be something other than straight. What a poser!” 

Too feminine to like women. Just confused. Unable to commit. Great for threesomes. Sin by definition. From my religious community’s criticism to hypersexualization by males to politicians’ hatred towards the LGBTQ+ community, I thought I had seen it all. Despite the hatred and disagreement, my identity had previously been acknowledged. Now, I was just faking it. 

Perspective has always fascinated me. In art, it gives meaning and depth it otherwise would lack. In books, it imparts a greater understanding of the author’s personal truth. Interpersonally, different perspectives lead to disagreement. They color the canvas of our lives. They force us out of our comfort zone, inspiring us to rework the brushstrokes that created the pillars of our truth and rewrite the stories we put on paper. Unfortunately, disagreement is all too often equated with invalidation. Feel free to spatter me with all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, but don’t cover me in black. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong in long, flowing letters, but don’t scrawl over the words on my paper. I am not invisible. And I cannot fake my sexuality any more than I can fake my ethnic heritage or gender identity.

Perspectives that protect the bisexual community from erasure and invalidation are hard to come by in contemporary culture and thought. I realized that I had to make a change, not only for myself but also for others. I remembered all the literature from ancient Greece and Rome that I turned to during my struggle to accept my sexuality. Achilles’ romantic relationship with his fellow soldier Patroclus in the Iliad seemed perfectly natural. Sappho’s passion for men and women gave me a safe space I could return to with the flip of a page. Later on, my perusal of Sigmund Freud’s work got me to discover his regard that bisexuality is a baseline orientation for the human psyche. In the coming weeks, I joined Gay-Straight Alliance at Shaker Heights High School and incorporated literature and history of the LGBTQ+ community during my discussions with Women’s Studies Club, an organization I head. I aim to educate my members on anything from transgender activists to the challenges gay and lesbian individuals face in society. Through sharing of affirming perspectives with others, no matter what their sexual orientation, I hope to bring about not only self-acceptance but also societal acceptance. 

My Cat’s Apartment/ Rodina the Angel/ Privacy by Julie Larick

My Cats Apartment 

My cat slept for days in his dirty apartment
under the white shingled house. When he slunk out, 

his brown fur matted in tufts and cooled his plump stripes from lying ages in the shade. 

I imagine him sometimes
sleeping under his roof
on the power-breaking, rain-pounding, tree-shaking stormy nights alone;
his proud snout brushing the floor of
dead leaves.
Did he tremble,
was he a cattail in the wind,
or was he quietly sleeping? 

Sometimes we look at my cat’s apartment,

through the thicket of mint sprigs and garlic cloves
and the single burgundy rose 

that bows its head towards the dirt. We only look for a second
before gazing upwards
to the vacant sky. 

Rodina the Angel 

When it reached 100 degrees in Iowa the graveyard air was heavy with dust. I was blind at the midnight stroll
to see Rodina the angel. 

Maybe it was peaceful but perhaps at the time, it was just dark.
I saw the statue; 

her face a shadow,
she blended in with the black,
her wings gracing the aging moon. Did her death bring her peace
or did it bring her old fury? 


The pavement-burning day in spring

sends people flying through my window.

Clear glass pane painted soft gold

washes my room,

bathes it in its clear,

crisp tedium.

People sit on the roof 

of the house next door.

Robins perched,

telephone poles 

stagnant in the wind.

They shoot holes through the glass,

their beady little eyes howling

and all I want to do 

is to pull the curtain

and bruise my room purple.

Salt Water by Lauren Sheperd

the ocean has an impeccable way of capturing me

i enter and never want to leave

i know i should

but that bright blue water

the feel of its power against my sensitive skin

it’s so vast; so complicated

i know so much

yet so little about it

flying high as i soar across the wild waves

diving in

unintimidated of the danger beneath

i’m in the ocean

i feel free

but the salt will always burn my eyes 

A Distraction From the End by Lindsey Cicero

This certainly isn’t how I thought things would end. If I am being honest I still don’t think that reality has set in for me. As a result, I haven’t felt overly emotional over the crashing and burning of what was supposed to be the end of my high school career. To those that have been hit hard by this pandemic, for whatever reason, I hope the future brings better times. I can’t quite bring myself to write some meaningful post about how the last four years, though stressful, have made me incredibly happy and inspired so much growth. So instead I will share with you some of my favorite artists that have kept me occupied during these strange times.

5 Seconds of Summer 

I started listening to their music again earlier this year, and let me tell you, a great choice on my part. I love the variety of songs they have. Wanna cry? Song for that. Wanna dance? Song for that. Wanna feel in love? Song for that. Truly amazing versatility and quality meanings to their songs. (also they just came out with a new album!)

Some of my favorites: If Walls Could Talk, Better Man, More, Castaway, Lover of Mine, Lonely Heart, and Red Desert.

New Hope Club

I found this band about a year ago because I had started to listen to the Vamps (another great band, though not on this list, I highly recommend) again. I love the vibe of all their songs so much. They are all pretty upbeat so if you are feeling sad this isn’t the best option. Nevertheless, they are super talented and the sweetest guys! (I got to meet them over the summer).

Some of my favorites: Fixed, Medicine, Permission, Paycheck, Let Me Down Slow, and You and I.

Sabrina Carpenter 

Sabrina carpenter is another artist that I have been listening to for about a year. I remember watching her on various disney channel shows and movies, but her music is even better. She has a pretty solid variety of songs ranging from emotional to empowering. Whenever I listen to her I feel like I can take over the world, and what else could you really ask for from music?

Some of my favorites: On purpose, Sue Me, Hold Tight, Bad Time, Shadows, Exhale, and Smoke and Fire.


The first time I heard MisterWives was my freshman year of high school at a Panic! At the Disco concert. Their music is so addictive it makes you want to get up and jump around. I wish I would have known about them before because when I got to see them live I certainly did’t appreciate it as much as I should have! 

Some of my favorites: Kings and Queens, Machine, Reflections, Our Own House, Oh Love, and Twisted Tongue.

Lewis Capaldi 

This is my ultimate recommendation for if you want to feel emotional, because oh boy will this do it. Lewis has such a rich lush voice and does such an amazing job conveying emotions in his song. He honestly makes me sad over relationships that I have never had. His music is just so good I feel like I am also heartbroken. His music is one of my go tos for when I am not feeling like dancing around and want something calmer.

Some of my favorites: Bruises, Hold Me While You Wait, Grace, Someone You Loved, and Before You Go.

I hope you can use this little list to make your quarantine a little less painful. Finally, I would like to say, I will always look back at my time at Shaker with gratitude and joy, so thank you to all those who have made it so special.

Turning Darkness into Light: The Incandescent Review By Esti Goldstein

So in these first batch of blogs, it makes perfect sense for everyone to be writing about these unprecedented times and the situation of social distancing/quarantine. A lot of concerning things are occurring right now, but I have noticed that quite a few spots of light have been sparking out of this darkness. I would like to share one during this blog (which may or may not be self-promotion but bear with me). During the second week of quarantine, I was lucky enough to be enveloped into a spectacular project created by my peers from a writing workshop I attended this year. They were starting a literary magazine: The Incandescent Review to give teens a platform to express their feelings about world problems and to produce a creative outlet. The name “incandescent” has two meanings, that of an illuminating gleam and a fiery passion while also holding the words “I can.” Their mission resonated with me and I was ecstatic, practically bursting with a need to get started. The crazy part was that the majority of these people didn’t know me at all, they just recognized me from the workshop. While I had made a lot of loving friendships this summer, with over a hundred kids it was impossible to connect with them all. I was amazed at the friendliness and kindness that they extended toward me, I had just joined them yet I was immediately comfortable joining their banter and jokes while feeling confident in expressing my opinions on the creation of the Review. 

 I am so proud to say that our first Spring Issue of The Incandescent Review is coming out, tomorrow, Sunday, April 19th. And while there was a ridiculous amount of hard work put in by its staff there was an equal amount, if not more, of love flowing into this project. I have been so blessed at this opportunity and I have so much respect for my fellow staff members. When reading the (80+!!!) submissions, I was shocked at the wide range of topics and the amount of talent that I was lucky enough to read. The work being featured in this issue is a fresh take on the problems that this generation is facing, and portrayed beautifully. I hope that this magazine will inspire others to create during this time, and turn the darkness into an incandescent light (I know, a terrible pun, but I had to). Check it out at!

Musings From My Room by Kevin Jiang

Actual photo of my room

In the spirit of the current times, my mind has been a bit jumbled the past few weeks. As such, I will simply list some unconnected thoughts for today, perhaps exploring some of them in-depth.

  1. The farthest I’ve gone from my room in the past four weeks is the end of my driveway. I suppose this one isn’t too bad. For the first two weeks my “going outside” involved sticking my head out of my window. Improvement, right? I’ve been jogging up and down the driveway, even just going outside to sit there in the absence of anything else to do. I was going to do that while writing this blog, but it started snowing. Which brings me to my next point…
  2. Cleveland weather! I’ve heard a lot over the past few weeks about how pollution has been reduced in many major cities, and the skies are now as clear as ever, and even how the Earth is now shaking less. However, every day when I go outside and look upwards, all I see is clouds. Other places see clear skies, but in Cleveland? Still overcast every day. I’m not even sure if the overcast weather is the natural state of Cleveland weather, or if the extreme air pollution we have contributes extensively. It’s probably a combination of the two.
  3. Do I really like structure or not? I can’t honestly say I disliked school. By senior year, school was so ingrained into my lifestyle that I was, in a way, forced to like the routine of school. However, now that I can hit snooze as many times as I want (or even not set an alarm at all), I’m rethinking whether I want that structure back. I suppose this isn’t an internal debate worth having, though. In four months, when the university year begins, in person, or online, I’ll have to figure out a new schedule.
  4. I made a DIY stylus for my phone yesterday. I’ve been doing a lot of tutoring through various programs, and I find myself needing to write on a virtual whiteboard a lot. It’s a good thing that Zoom has a virtual whiteboard that I can use, but writing with my fingers is simply too messy. Half the time, even I can’t tell what I wrote five minutes earlier. I wonder how they make it look so easy on Khan Academy and Organic Chemistry Tutor. My first tutoring session with the stylus is today, so we’ll see how it goes. Perhaps a bigger screen would help. Why couldn’t we have gotten Chromebooks with touchscreens? Oh, I’m not supposed to use that for non-school activities, you said? Pfffft.
  5. In lieu of watching sports (since I can’t bring myself to watch replays, e-sports, or poker), I’ve been experimenting with some sports-themed video games on my phone. I don’t have a gaming console, so my options are unfortunately limited to the likes of Madden Mobile and MLB Perfect Inning, rather than their better-developed counterparts Madden and MLB The Show. I currently have a lower batting average with 2009 Joe Mauer on PI than he had in real life that season. Maybe I’ll go work on that now.

What I’ve Been Doing in Quarantine by Gabbi Fortin

At first, when quarantine started I was bored out of my mind. But I’ve been really lucky to be able to find things to fill up my time, after school work, of course. Here is a list of activities I’ve been doing while practicing social distancing!

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

When I was really young I would play Animal Crossing on my DS with all of my cousins to fill time. When I heard that the creators of Animal Crossing had made a new version of the game, I immediately checked how much money I had saved upfrom babysitting and bought the game and the console needed. I am so glad I made the purchase! Not only am I reminiscing about my childhood, but it’s also just a really fun way to spend my time. The game takes a lot of patience and timeto get through, which is something I have a lot of right now.

      2. Running

With rowing canceled, I have no way to erg or get on the water. So in order to maintain and build my fitness level, I’ve been doing a lot of running. Although it’s something that I don’t particularly enjoy, I’ve definitely been getting faster and I’ve been appreciating the sport a lot more. 


3. Bedazzling!

This sounds lame, I know. But a few weeks ago I learned how to bedazzle things. It’s not an expensive craft at all, and it doesn’t require a lot of skill. All you need is glue, a syringe, tweezers, rhinestones, and of course whatever you want to bedazzle. Although it takes a lot of time and patience, the end results have been fairly worthwhile. So far I’ve only bedazzled my graphing calculator’s case and a La Croix can, but I’m brainstorming more things to bedazzle. A picture of my new calculator is attached!



4. I got a kitten!

Probably the most exciting thing I’ve been up to, I got a kitten only four days ago. Her name is Rose and she is so cute and so much fun to play with! Her favorite thing to do is to sprint all around my room at 7 AM. What a joy! Although my first cat isn’t too excited about the new addition, we’ll get her there. 


And that’s the gist of what I’ve been up to during quarantine! Even though it’s not the most exciting stuff, I’m really grateful that I have the resources to not be bored during quarantine. Stay safe, stay healthy, and please social distance! 

Dog Time! by Lane Murray

I really didn’t want to write anything quarantine related because I know that it’s all anyone is thinking about and reading about right now, so this is a precursor that, yes, this is something that is technically related, but I swear it’s not the focus of what I’m writing. 

I have been having a fantastic time spending time with my dogs every day. We haven’t gotten a new puppy, which I know a lot of families have been doing, it’s just that having my dogs by my side while I do schoolwork has been totally awesome. Aside from just being around them, it’s been great to be able to take a break from my work and sit with them on the couch, take them on a walk, or play with them outside. I know it may seem weird to call dogs therapy dogs that aren’t specifically trained to be so, but it’s clear to me that they have been therapeutic to my entire family and me, giving us the mood boosts we often need just sitting around in the house. 

Our dogs are here for us when we need it and this is the ultimate show all of how true that is. Being able to turn to a pet just the same as turning to a human loved one is something that brings me a lot of joy, whether I’m talking about myself in particular or the general sentiment of overall. Our animals show us compassion when we don’t even realize we need it and it makes every day a little better. For me, I sometimes let my mind feel a false sense of ease towards the daily wake up, schoolwork, an hour or two outside, eating, watching TV, and going back to sleep. We all know that there’s something about doing these activities that isn’t the same as it was before the current context of doing them, and that doing these things day after day can feel super negative. I know for me it’s felt this way, and for many of my friends and family as well. However, when I’m able to do them with one or both of my dogs around, it feels like I really do have a companion by my side to make things feel better. And think of how excited they are to have our attention all the time! 

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about how much I will miss them when I go to college because I’ve definitely had it on my mind all year. Before this, coming home to my dogs was one of my favorite parts of the day because of the kind welcome I am always met with. I miss those, because I’m not coming and going from the house every day, but everything that I am getting instead makes up for it. Being able to spend all this extra time with them before college in the fall, especially my older dog who is around twelve has truly been a gift to me, if not the only one to come from this.

How I Have Been Occupying My Time by John Stevenson

These last few weeks have been boring, to say the least. My daily routine is just so much different than it was before the pandemic. I have still been in close contact with my friends, as we are always debating when this crisis is going to end, and what life is going to be like after this. To occupy my time I had mostly just been doing my homework and playing video games, but then I had an idea. I wanted to organize a competitive basketball 3 v 3 for the summer, so I texted all my friends and they wanted in. This meant I could finally start practicing basketball again with my free time too, which I haven’t done religiously since 8th grade. 

Organizing the league was a long and rigorous process because we had so many people that wanted to be in it, and I wanted to make it the best league it could possibly be. I decided it was going to be called the SBA, the Shaker Basketball Association. I hosted the draft on a group facetime to kick the league off.  We had 24 players so I made eight teams with two divisions, the East and the West. Then I created a schedule by hand, which was very difficult because I had to make sure each team played the three other teams in their division twice, and have six away games. Each team then chose a “homecourt” which would be the best basketball court of one of the players on their team.  We then created an Instagram page to promote the league, as we hope to have fans for our championship game.