WWPH Writes with THE CAREER ACADEMY: Issue # 25

Dedicated to Poetry & Fiction Writers in the DMV

Welcome to a special issue of WWPH Writes featuring the work of young writers from the Career Academy, an alternative public high school in Baltimore. This project was a first for the Washington Writers’ Publishing House—to use our acclaimed anthology, This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Fiction from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, to encourage young people to write their own poetry and flash fiction. To our delight, it also inspired one student to submit their songwriting (we have a link to the music as well), another first for WWPH Writes!

The result is this extraordinary issue.

Thank you to the Maryland State Arts Council for the Creativity Grant, which made this all possible; to The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore for arranging for the copies of the anthology donated to the Career Academy; and most of all, to the school and its students. These student-writers inspired me with their creative writing, and I hope their work inspires you.

Lastly, a huge thank you to principal Jamel Crandall and to Adam Schwartz, a WWPH award-winning author for his short story collection, The Rest of the World, a twenty-year-plus veteran of the Baltimore public school system, and a caring and masterful teacher.  

Read on to a selection of the extraordinary works from the students at the Career Academy in Baltimore!

Caroline Bock

Co-editor, WWPH Writes


Students from The Career Academy in Baltimore at WWPH Creative Writing Workshop, Spring 2022.


by Larry Watts III

“Witches are for chicks,” they said.

What if the witch wasn’t a chick?

What if lashes have power?

Long minks I can wear for a couple hours

leaving men sour

Taking their devour

looking good isn’t my only power

What if that witch wasn’t a chick?

I’m not trying to trick,

biting my tongue because my mouth

is slick

People always whispering in my ear

Saying I should do this

That some fucked up shit

Just because this witch is cute and thick

You still can get hit

I’m glad I’m not a chick

Because witches are bad bitches

Did you get the message?

Someone had to address it. 


Career Academy students writing original poetry and fiction our WWPH lunchtime workshop (and waiting for the pizza, courtesy of WWPH, to arrive).
Teacher Adam Schwartz, also an WWPH author, consults with his students.

What It Feels Like for The World to Change for A Day

by Sincere Butler

What if I walked out of the house and the world changes for one day?

Jayden lived on a creepy street. She had very angry neighbors. Suddenly, one day she went outside and everything was colorful and joyful. It was also weird because the neighbors had spoken. Jayden wanted everything to be back to normal, not because she liked creepy but because it didn’t feel right, and she didn’t feel like herself.  

As the day went on, people were knocking on the door asking Jayden to come have fun. Of course, Jayden said “no” because she thought the people were being strange because they were usually rude and mean.

At night, Jayden’s friend Zoei knocked on the door. Jayden had been upset from the previous people that came and knocked. So, she was happy to see Zoei. They went to get ice cream from the corner store. While they were getting ice cream, a creepy man was watching them. They finally noticed him. He started to smile at the two girls, and they hey ran away from the man. Just when they thought they had gotten away, he was at Jayden’s house waiting for them. They were very scared.

“Come here,” he said, and they screamed. He had on a mask, dark clothes, and big boots. He caught them and put them in the back of the truck. They were crying. Nobody knows what it’s like to be kidnapped by your own neighbor.

Jayden lived alone. She had nobody she could call. Zoei lived with her mom. She called her mom, but her mom was a drunk. She thought they were playing. This made them panic even more. They finally got to the place where he took them. He got them out of the car and locked them in a cage. It was late, like midnight.

They went to sleep and woke up at Jayden’s ask. Jayden asked Zoei what happened. They remembered little things but not a lot. When they went outside, it was back to the nasty creepy block.

Jayden walked Zoei home. As they were walking, she noticed the little things that didn’t change. She thought about what happened and walked by the ice cream place again and Jayden instantly remembered everything. She didn’t tell Zoei she remembered. She just took her home. Then she went back and knocked on the neighbor’s door and stood there until he opened it.

“Why did you kidnap us?” Jayden asked the man.

“You need to go away. Now!” the man said.

Jayden went home, and she began to think of a plan to make him suffer. She decided to sneak into his house at night. As night came, she went to his window. He was asleep on his couch. She climbed in, put a bag over his head, and held it tight. He struggled free, caught her and hit her. They fought, and Jayden hit him with a vase and then ran home. She called the cops, and they came and took him away. She was very happy that he was put away, but still wanted to know why he did what he did to them.  

What To Write?

by Richard Preston

“What to write? Why can’t I think of anything? I just had an idea, but now it’s gone!” The fool is thinking to himself, mentally unclear, as bugs crawl up and down his back, as self-doubt drowns his mind, as fear of failure makes him search fanatically for ideas. Envy amplifies his ear to others’ success but pride mutes and deafens his voice so he does not cry out for help. As the seconds pass, he believes that his worst fear is coming true—that he will be the last person in the room with nothing on his paper. He feels like he is going to vomit, as everyone stares at him, or so he thinks. If the woman with pencils in her pockets walks up to him to ask if he is okay, he will cry like a babe, unprepared for what will be said to him. Each step forward increases the self-loathing, tearing him apart from the inside out.

The woman with pencils in her pockets is now in front of him and can definitely see that he has nothing on his paper. His heart races and his eyes water. As this person goes to tap him, he braces as if about to be hit. This teacher asks, “Are you okay?”

Night Shift

by Maya Johnson

Most people aren’t suicidal but working a long night at the local 7-11 from 11-7 certainly made a man think. The smell of the buffalo wings wafting throughout the crisp counter air, whilst counting the cash register, he often found his mind wondering what time it was appropriate to clock out of life. The man wasn’t suicidal, but his birthdays were not enjoyable. The 21st celebration of life was made out to mean liberation, but all he felt it signaled was another year dedicated to going through the monotonous motions of life. Multiple months of restless nights without sleep made him think. Then curiosity struck in the dead of the night until finally, he wasn’t anything.  

WWPH president Kathleen Wheaton with students. All students in the school received a copy of
WWPH’s anthology This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Fiction from DC, Maryland and Virginia.

The Fear of My Powers

by Ashia Baker

My name is Myiah. I feel everyone’s pain and joy. When I was about ten years old, I could feel the pain everyone goes through, and I see the guilt and how it affected them in my dreams. Before anyone feels pain, I feel it first.

I hear a girl screaming my name, Myiah! In my bedroom I see this beautiful girl standing before me, beautiful eyes with beautiful brown hair and a good soul. She tells me, “You have a power gift like none other.”

I ask her, “Who are you?”

“I’m the person who can see the future, my love, and I’m here because I’m your friend.”

“I’m very confused,” I say. “How do we have these powers?”

“I can’t answer that. One day, we woke up with them. I’m Kash.”

Like me, Kash is a young teenager who sees the changes and differences in people. Kash started to see everyone’s future at six years old.

Suddenly, we both look to the left and we see another girl. She has red eyes and sharp teeth. “Hello children, my name is Ashia.”

Kash says, “I know who you are, Ashia.”

“Who am I?”

“You are a hybrid half-vampire,” Kash says. “Half lycon, half-human. Stronger than both.”

Myiah says, “My soul is telling me we are meant to be friends who are stronger together.”

Ashia smiles. “Oh, yes. We will be great friends, darling.”


Before Myiah knew it, her parents were coming up the stairs. Kash and Ashia hid in the closet. Myiah’s father asks, “Who’re you up talking to in the middle of the night?”

“Nobody,” Myiah says. “I just had a bad dream.”

Myiah’s mother says, “Okay, baby. Go back to sleep now. We’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Myiah says.

Soon, Kash and Ashia came back out and suddenly Myiah had a flashback that showed Ashia’s life.

“I’m very sorry,” Myiah says to Ashia.

“For what?” Ashia asks. 

“I feel your pain,” Myiah says.

Ashia laughs. “You’re crazy. A person like me don’t feel any pain because I don’t care about anything.”

“Hush and hear her out,” Kash tells Ashia.

“You lost a lot of people that you love,” Myiah says. “Family. Friends.”

Ashia’s eyes turn red and her teeth get sharp. “I think you’re dreaming. And you don’t know anything about my past.” Then Ashia disappears out the window.

“Oh my gosh,” Kash says. “Where’d she go?”

“Did I do something wrong?” Myiah asks.

“I don’t think she likes talking about her past,” Kash says.

The next morning Myiah meets Kash at the park. Ashia is also there, hunting for blood.  Ashia sees her lunch, a deer eating grass. She jumps from the tree and goes in for the kill. As Ashia drains all the blood from the deer, Myiah hears the deer cry and feels his pain. Ashia’s face is covered in blood.

Myiah is heartbroken. “She didn’t have to do that.”

“That’s how she survives,” Kash says.


by Tyrell Bethea

This story is about a boy named Rain. He’s at an all-time war with himself, meaning his mind. Now he’s a good guy. Just the little things make a big scene in his head, and sometimes it gets so bad that he now has his own way of thinking. Like he literally lives in his mind, a second home. Only he’s not outside of that, meaning his smell or body. He’s loving, warm, and a very fun person. You can ask him anything and he would answer, give his opinion or debate with you on it. He’s kind of like a clown. He looks happy and cracks jokes all day, but who and what is he when he goes home? Nobody knows because everybody sees him as a happy clown with make-up, not the person under it. Thing about it, you just see the make-up, the painted smile, a guy with friends and a handsome face. Look deep enough into his eyes and see what nobody else don’t—what nobody else won’t. Feel his pain and you just might understand why he’s going insane. I call him Rain because when he falls into his state and everything around him goes dark,  it always comes back. With this mess of a mind and death of a mood, Rain hopes to find nirvana.

Our Potential

by Kynard Singletary

What if we had love? Would we still be filled with hatred? What if we had guidance? Would we still make such poor decisions? What if we learned to grow? Would we still be stuck in the same situation? What if we reach our full potential?


by Trayonna Gary

What if I give up? What if I feel like I’ve reached my breaking point and decided I’ve given it my all?

Have you ever had that feeling?

Reading poetry and fiction from This Is What America Looks Like for inspiration with author Caroline Bock


by Jazmen Lovelist

What if I went home and my house is gone? You walk towards where it is placed and you feel you’re home. So, it’s there, just invisible. My head is shaken up because my home is invisible, and I just hit my head on the invisible door. I have a million and one questions, but my number one question is how? Another is where is my family? My first thought is: pull out your key. See if it works. So, I do. It fits perfectly. I’m more scared than anything else. As I’m turning my invisible doorknob, I hear my door opening. I move out of the way because I learned my lesson when I walked right into the other invisible door. I walk into the house that I can’t see, watching my step because I don’t know what could be. Good thing about this is that I know my home like the back of my hand. But I am scared to walk around too much because I might step on the invisible cat. I tiptoe, hearing everything, my baby sisters, my Mom, my Dad, my cat. But it’s hard to find my way. After bumping into three doors and the stairs, my head hurts. Then I close my eyes and rest, wishing this would all be gone. When I open my eyes, everything is back.

© The Career Academy 2022


These lyrics were written outside the creative writing workshop and submitted by Victor Spicer, a student at the Career Academy. We share them with you as an example of songwriting, as poetry, and as Victor Spicer’s insight to what his America looks like. We also share a link to his performance of this music. Our first WWPH Writes multi-media experience. Read the lyrics and listen to the music here on Spotify.

Plenty Munie

Plenty money ah better advantage yo bitch ass realize

A biga picture different issue we so treacherous

as a matter fact send niggas back to back I’m on some desperate shit

Ain’t worried about a bluffin bitch cause I got more to risk

I called his ass aint have to call again he said he coming nigga

Supply the drop 200 shots saved 90 ammunition thats my top shotta 4 dollas

As known as double l sinna middle finger to these niggas I really can’t trust nobody

Big mad oh you got your shit snatch 

that’s ah double L you got your snatch ain’t no get back

I sell it give me racks now disrespect by callin


Imma back out

Let you rethink all this

Reverse the karma card I toat the rod 

so nothing happen

Even if it happen fuck at least I’m not one lackin

Ghost 17 Best believe Im doing damage

Ain’t no trackin  ATF can’t even seem handle it

It’s free Sosa till it’s backwards hava celebration

money instantly no working for it Gotta have that mask up

Spending cash limits free leak land up on the camera

Spreading money pictures perfect 10’s 20’s 50’s 100’s I had divide em

Plenty money ah better advantage yo bitch ass realize

A biga picture different issue we so treacherous

as a matter fact send niggas back to back I’m on some desperate shit

Ain’t worried about a bluffin bitch cause I got more to risk

I called his ass aint have to call again he said he coming nigga

Supply the drop 200 shots saved 90 ammunition thats my top shotta 4 dollas

As known as double l sinna middle finger to these niggas I really can’t trust nobody

Big mad oh you got your shit snatched 

that’s ah double L you got your shit snatched ain’t no get backs

I sell it give me racks now disrespect by callin or

imma back out 

let you rethink all this

© Victor Spicer 2022

WWPH Community News

JOIN US at our first WWPH fundraiser in a very, very long time! SUNDAY, June 5th from 4-6 pm at THE WRITER’S CENTER in Bethesda. We will raise a glass of bubbly to GRACE CAVALIERI, MYRA SKLAREW and our outgoing president KATHLEEN WHEATON and welcome Caroline Bock and Jona Colson as our new co-presidents (don’t worry, we are staying on as co-editors of WWPH Writes…and Kathleen is staying on as our VP of Fiction!) TICKETS are $30.00 for one person and $50.00 for two. All tickets INCLUDE A WWPH CLASSIC BOOK of your choice, bubbly drinks, and treats. We’re calling this our Bohemian Ball: a literary celebration befitting a 47-year-old nonprofit, cooperative press founded by hippie-poets, including Grace Cavalieri. Dress is summery, fun, bohemian; event is summery, fun, bohemian. All tickets represent tax-deductible donations. GET TICKETS HERE. Email us at wwphpress@gmail.com, if you have any questions. Please join us for literary fun with fellow DMV writers!

The Washington Writers’ Publishing House will be live and in-person at the upcoming DMV-area book events, with WWPH books and authors and more: The Lost Weekend, a community literary festival on Saturday, May 14 at Greedy Reads in Baltimore; and the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21st at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg.

First, another big shout out to our 2022 fiction and poetry winners: “The Witch Bottle and Other Stories,” by Suzanne Feldman and “You Cannot Save Here” by Anthony Moll. Look for their books to be published on September 28, 2022 by The Washington Writers’ Publishing House. We will be sharing much more news about these exciting titles in the coming weeks! And our 2023 manuscript contests will open on September 1st, so keep reading upcoming issues of WWPH Writes for details.

Thinking of submitting to WWPH Writes? We are looking for poetry and fiction that celebrate, unsettle, and question our lives in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area (DMV) and our nation. We seek work that is lyrical and dynamic, and we believe in cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment of content, form, risk, and experimentation. New perspectives and voices with craft and fierceness are strongly encouraged to submit. It’s FREE to submit, but you must live in the DMV. Please send us your best work–challenge us with your ideas and writing. Submit here.

THE WASHINGTON WRITERS’ PUBLISHING HOUSE has a Bookshop! Click here and browse all our titles at our bookshop.

Special thank you to the Maryland State Arts Council for awarding WWPH a Creativity Grant for this project! And thank you for reading this special issue of WWPH WRITES featuring the work of the talented students at

the Career Academy in Baltimore.

Caroline Bock

Fiction Editor, WWPH Writes

Jona Colson

Poetry Editor, WWPH Writes