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notes on doing what you can, when you feel like you’re not doing enough.

A community poem.

By Literature

On October 12, 2020 the F News editors came together to create a community poem. This exercise challenges the capitalist idea of ownership in art, inviting art to instead be one with the community. Contributors participated in a 7-minute freewrite and then chose their best lines to submit to Lit Editor Ishani Synghal, the editor/compiler of the poem.

notes on doing what you can, when you feel like you’re not doing enough.

every day I don’t think I actually heal the earth eating means I can’t put the thing tray thing into the recycle bin and it always goes into landfill which kinda hurts because of all the oil so maybe the trick is to stop eating oil but things are cooked with oil the earth is cooked with oil because we harvest oil from it but in terms of healing I like to think that I breathe air and expel carbon dioxide and somewhere somehow that helps a plant take a breath of its own so that everything falls into place though I don’t know how it does and at the end of the day I go to sleep in an un-air-conditioned room but do I deserve to feel good about the electricity I save and is it worth waking up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat and tossing and turning and having a migraine throughout my 9 a.m. honestly at what point does the need for sacrifice overwhelm the need to save this dying planet and why is it the people who have to do the saving and not the corporations and the CEOs and the people with actual power to do more than just wake up make tea attend class all day why is it my fault that I eat the oily food that they make me and don’t want to sweat through the hot weather they made.


hand-molded clay, just mounds,

like small birds

resting on a brick wall,

facing the pines — where my brothers built the treehouse

and we watched raccoons burrowing at the base

trying to find a way to climb up

to us, in our heated sleeping bags,

stars in the sky, the buzz a million miles away —

and holding the grip, just so,

as my father is teaching me,

and wondering if I should shoot.


i try, i try, i do try. i’m not sure i try hard enough

avoiding the grassy parts of the sand dunes

paying attention to the sky

giving my laugh to the sun 

growing sprouts around me

remembering the root of the root the bud of the bud

enhancing my identity to reflect true embodiment 

of energy beneath me


I count ticks plant peas with water no chloride 

I drift as the power reaches in ripples away from the source

I research in a fervor, too many podcasts.


How can I sustain a non-human life? 

I can’t even keep a plant alive

So I bury my past first

and then force my future to join it.


I live and breathe.

I live.

I breathe.

I breath.

I breat.

I brea.

I bre.

I br.

I b.



Then I help others to live and breathe.


This community poem was created using submissions by: 

Zeinab Ajasa

Zee D’Nae Battle

Olivia Canny

Paul Elitzik

Ilai Gilbert

EJ Kok

Michael Miner

Ben Kim Paplham

Jade Sheng

Leo Smith

Ishani Synghal

Kaitlin Weed

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