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Welcome to CICADA!

CICADA is many things—a YA lit/comics magazine fascinated with the lyric and strange, a safe and inclusive community for creative teens, a lighthouse in the weird stormy seas of the internet.
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  • Hello, CICADA Readers!

    CICADA can be smart, funny, weird, hopeful, dark, defiant—it’s a space where teens can see their truths explored and celebrated. We frequently publish teens’ work, as well as fiction, poetry, comics, zines, and interviews by a variety of established writers and artists. CICADA is an intersectional, LGBTQAI+ friendly publication that strives to ensure that teens see their authentic experience reflected on its pages.

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    • "Dude, we should make college mankinis those would totally sell"

    • That sounds awful! Hopefully reporting him will help things. Is there someone at the camp you like and respects you? If so, maybe try to stick with them. Argh

    • i oversaturate shamelessly, for the psyche in my brain back burners

      that i don’t see but that courses like electricity through my body

      skull cluttered subconscious parts that bleed through when i don’t mean for them to

      if my ichor ran like acrylics when i hurt, would you

      believe i was a masterpiece inside and out?

      i want to be your color splash, your tinted glasses, your eleventh marilyn

      so vibrant your eyes burn

      baby, i’m my own magnum opus and i know it

      venus, mona, they’ve got dead eyes

      but i’ve learned that blurry cameras equal authentic smiles and the beauty in real people

      so don’t be surprised

      i’m the heat lightning in the dark and i’m a short circuiting wire,

      a force like gravity, i’ll make you fall deep and paint my name inside your eyelids

      oh, darling,

      i’ll set rome ablaze before you realize

      what you’ve set


    • hey so i'm at this thing where i take two college classes with kids my age in three weeks and i'm out as genderfluid/gay here and there's this guy and he told me the following:

      "i'm dating someone but you're very easy to look at."

      "wait so you practice like three religions isn't that too much?"

      "so i think i'm erin(name i go by at this camp)sexual now"

      "hey can i sit next to u at dinner" i was like sure and he said "ok it's a date then" and during dinner he was like "hey so why are u being so cold to me on our date" while his gf was sitting next to him

      "are you gonna get the surgery, what will that look like"

      "hey can i put my hand on your leg" i was like omg absolutely not and he said "okay then can u put your hand on my leg" 

      i finally reported him to the program assistants and shits gonna go down tomorrow but im so fucking scared rn please provide guidance. also i had like just recovered from the suicidal stuff and now i've fallen back to that so agh...

      (oh and one of the program assistants is fucking attractive omg) 



      There was once a time, where you heard the voices of your friends and family, there was once a time where you actually saw them. During this time, you could touch that person, you could share the food you enjoy, or play with your kids who begged you for hours to play catch with them. You walk outside and you can see the stars, you can feel the breeze. If you needed to go somewhere, you took a horse and rode there. This reality, was only a hundred years ago, a single generation. Life was a fabric, a quilt  that you could change any element of, you could add patches to repair holes, or make it larger to keep more people warm. All throughout history We wonder about the things we don’t understand, sometime it envelops us, even consumes us. People go to religion, people meditate, people check out from the things they are afraid of. This idea of technology, how it’s ever growing and constantly changing, and how technology one year is the peak of engineering, and another year its outmoded and forgotten. Now the things we have are not long lasting, they are made to break. It terrifies me that people check out and ignore the problems they have. To some, a simple idea; That humans create a tool to makes a job easier, and more efficient. The work we as humans do, is becoming more inefficient, and technology is supposed to enhance our lives, and make working easier. Does Easier correlate to having a better environment? Many companies today do the things we thought impossible just a mere 20 years ago, the idea of curing cancer.  Celldex Therapeutics, Medivation, and BioMarin. These few companies are spending billions of dollars to go against evolution, and change the course of human history. Some say that these companies are miracles in the making, that they are the future as we know it, But others are saying, are they playing God? When will they go too far? We have started to ponder the very real idea of Artificial intelligence, or machines that alter the genome of a fetus, to remove terrible disease, cure future ailments, and give the parents the option to pick hair color, and eye color of their child. I believe we are tugging a thin piece of twine, and I believe these companies, the silicon valley, tech giants and prospering GoFundMe projects, all with the promise to deliver new technology, and things that prolong life itself, is the greatest paradox of all time.


      A phone is at the heart of every single problem we face today. In every function of society a single piece of technology sits in your pocket. This phone generates anxiety, and addiction.  Companies stick ads geared to conform to your life. They know if they make it intuitive, user friendly, and seem like you are in control, that you will keep using it, until all of a sudden you are now dependant on it. They track where you eat, what you buy, and they stick propaganda in between you and your hand. This technology has come a long way in the past 50 years, it started as an idea, then a prototype, and all of a sudden, we are engineering self driving cars, machines that take your place in the workforce, and a phone to listen to your conversations and track where you go. While technology is ever growing, and unstoppable, it is your job to be aware of this dreaded truth, that your life now conforms to technology, and you can't escape it. There is nothing we can do to escape the companies that have made every single human being dependant on their products. The only thing we can do is observe, or in extreme cases, decide to live off the grid.


      Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, all of the companies that create some of the biggest names in technology today, Iphone, Android, Computers and Software, all have started the process of brainwashing every single human being living on earth, with the very idea that they need to be reliant, and dependant on the computer that slips in your pocket, or sits at home. They have created the idea that to live a happy life, you need these things. They insert information and material to convince you of something. You read propaganda everyday, in news, advertisements and other means. Not only are you not aware of it, but it is so fine tuned and manufactured, that it is the perfect way to slowly and consistently alter on a massive scale, how people think. History is repeating itself right now, This quote, is how companies and Social infrastructure function, in the form of propaganda. “All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction.” I have chosen this quote from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, because I want to set the mood for how serious this situation has come to be, and how we are oblivious to the truth we are, and how vulnerable we as a society have become. Hitler took over an entire country with this knowledge, And we all sit here and do nothing about it. You have been treated as the lowest intellectual everyday. Propaganda was engineered to serve the widest audience, and with this, you have been conditioned to listen, and read things meant to be understood by a child. In what circumstance is being treated like a child on a massive scale good for society? . People have been conditioned to need their hands held when taking in information. They need to be guided through the data, because they can no longer filter it for themselves. Eventually you will be conditioned to be below average intelligence, and have no means to think freely for yourself, and you will be conditioned to believe everything you read. You will be Slaves, and You won’t know it either. Technology is the new fabric of society. It no longer is an heirloom, filled with patches that tell a story. Technology is disposable. It is used, thrown away, and made better to fill the gaps that the previous model failed to do. The old Fabric, you could give to your kids for generations to come, what will you give them now?

    • Welcome to being a human.
      We are forever in a time continuum, wondering what dictates the transition of one moment to the next.
      Thats all time is really, how we percieve the forward path of the next moment. 
      We use a clock, as a poor visual representation of life, death, growth, and loss, all moving foward, forever advancing.
      See, the things that we use to visualize the motion of theoretical time change, are wrong.
      Our minds, are the only thing that keeps times existence, without our mind, time forever stops. 
      Some people ask, what happens when an unstoppable object meets an immovable wall, time, and the human mind is the answer.
      Time, in our relative mind, is forever moving foward, but when the only vessel of that wisdom dies, time no longer exists.
      Everything exists, and doesnt exist. 
      When you die, the sun has burnt out, the human race no longer exists.
      The earth has been obliterated by the suns explosion, our galaxy has succumbed to a black hole, the fabric of reality will have existed, and not existed, the Second you die.
      Time, in our minds, is the reason 1 minute is 1 minute, and 1 lightyear is 1 lightyear. When you stop percieving time in this way, it moves on, infinitely, all at once.
      Welcome to being a human, where the only reason the universe hasn't stopped existing, is because of you.

    • in the brown velvet night

      when i was half asleep

      i saw orion

      behind speedometer reflections

      and the engine's hum

      that sounds like music if you let it


      in the empty summer night

      there was eternal corn

      like the lake

      but without the shimmer

      and the world was hollow

      like being hungry


      in the ancient iron night

      i believed that stars

      were tears in the great blanket

      but not that they were made for me

      i am far too unimportant

      for the skies to notice


      • Like 1
    • lancaster county, familial birthplace, your thunderstorms lend me the peace of mind to continue.
      when i was younger, and wishing to be undone, i blamed myself
      for not loving god enough. i said i was rotten, and didnt know why.
      my eyes only knew how to glare

      because i was scared of smiling, or of not deserving to, or
      of letting go of that hurt, or of losing my identity if i did.
      im still scared of dying. that didnt change.

      and one day, after letting myself stop pretending
      to be godly, after letting myself love being rotten, just a little,
      you became a monument to learning the word hate.

      where would i be without your shame and your conditional love?
      i had no idea what passive aggression meant
      until you had a reason to teach me. you remind me how to glare,
      and how to be undeserving, and thats a kind of rotten too.

      you carry churches on your back
      like god is my fault, and sometimes i believe you.
      it is as if you have come from the past and youre upset the world is leaving you behind,
      and thats my fault too. 

      you are not a kind county, a home, or gentle despite the rolling fields,
      neither a place for outsiders nor one to give up a warm body without a fight.

      you are as lonely as a postapocalyptic movie's deserts,
      and your cities beg to be left empty
      and standing and dirty just so theyd fit so perfectly at the end of the world.

      these cities are paved with bricks and paint and god.

      you arrive bearing washed out, low-contrast hues of green
      and undersaturated brown and every photo ive taken
      looks overexposed. i have marveled at your night sounds, at 
      the tar lines clacking
      under the tires on the highway, and yet
      youve never been beautiful.

      the closest thing to beautiful is the full moon, orange with pollution, rising over 
      the lakes dug out of the prairie and filled then with rocks and fish and water.

      youre the stadium that becomes a city every weekend, youre lincoln,
      or youre the storms in the night that put hail the size of my fist through the windows.
      you are a 754-block coping exercise.

      just as i let myself love being a christian's rotten shame, just a little,
      you are as oppressively godly as a rural town with 192 churches on a sunday.
      you are not made of tomorrows, or of opportunity, but
      you are definitely just green enough to think so.

      how frightening you are too, where i am scared
      of being gay but losing myself in the closet, and afraid of that too.
      oh, old cheney road, you are the apothecary's witness
      and a false sense of safety.

      it could only be the echinaceae, but laying in the ditch on the side of the road is halfway beautiful.

      without you i would have grown up more slowly,
      and learned to love myself a little quicker.
      with you i am nothing but homesick.
      this is why, lancaster county, you are made of towns of empty architecture
      and lonely streets, where only the animals and the crooked trees are content

      this is why you refuse to progress, why you cling
      to old, tired bigotry hastily rebranded as belief like an beloved, frayed blanket
      clutched protectively in a fussy toddler's hands.

      i have praised many things, but for me you are more unloveable than you told me i was.

      to my eyes, you are a thing waiting to die.

      • Like 2
    • I identify with this so much and it's beautiful

      • Like 1
    • The children in the sitting room

      Rocking on my chair

      Are whispering to each other

      Playing with their hair

      I tried to speak to someone

      But they said they were not there


      The children in my sitting room

      Rocking on my chair

      Whispering and twirling hair

      Are they really there?



      So these kids my sister baby sit are all ways whispering. It's kind of creepy. I think they can summon things... One has a friend who we can see. 


      Help me.