Under His Care – Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah

It’s official: our first posted piece for our Spring 2020 season. And what a lovely way to start – we particularly liked this piece from Jacob. Enjoy.

Under His Care

Blacksmithing yellow fat made from milk ‘n’ salt,

O’Joe Cab becomes a backsliding & falling away

from close neighbours structured around

the heating hearth & a short day.

We wake up from this recovery to breathe in

something, yet to be done under grudging,

or suspicions, we struggle in your panic body,

lacking its real formation in oblivion.

A steady vibrating hum throughout the night,

Cab waits somewhere behind the gate

& the red clotting light in his eyes follows

those from their garages & their corner shops.

This late news acts as a comment on English life

strangers complain or depend on in order

to get along & find where their hyperbole

is catching. The coal miners uncover a false issue.

His immigrants, calling themselves “blacks,”

are used to fascinating names like ”Indian,”

“Pakistani,” “Bengali,” etc, something about

naming pride & its harrowing attitudes.

There’s a call from Ms. More, who keeps

cages of chickens for sale in the open market,

everything edging away from itself

& at the same time quick as apples blossoming.

This is your part & my size which is full & bright,

I open your eyes again on the disc & my pulse.

All those who come in a body to your health

are ushered into your gay heart at ease.

Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah, who is an algebraist and artist, works in mixed media. His poetry, songs, prose, art and hybrid have appeared in numerous journals. He lives in the southern part of Ghana, in Spain, and the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota. 

A Quick Update

Hello again,

Two things:

  1. Our first round of submissions (dating back to April 2019) are currently being finalized, meaning that many authors anticipating decisions should be receiving them soon. If you do not receive a response next week, it likely means that you are in the next round to be reviewed. We’ve received so many wonderful pieces, and whether we’re able to include you or not, we thank you deeply for putting yourself out there and considering us on your journey to getting your works published.
  2. The deadline for our first Spring issue, Return of the Roar, has officially been set at March 5, 2020. If you still have pieces (writing and art alike) that you’ve been meaning to send in to us, we encourage that you utilize this weekend and early next week to do so. We would love to hear from you.

We thank you again for your participation and support!


The Hedge Apple Team

And the First Theme is…

It is with our utmost excitement that we reveal the name of our first theme for the Spring 2020 Hedge Apple: Return of the Roar.

For this issue, we are seeking submissions that do any of the following: Reminisce on the past decade, peer into the upcoming decade (can be in an optimistic or pessimistic manner), allude to the other ’20s (1920s, that is), and characterize our current time, culture, and position in the world. We are embarking on a new decade, but what does that mean? And how does it relate to what we have seen in both the recent and distant past? What will embody the 2020s? What do we have to look forward to (or stay very far away from)?

It’s the ’20s again! Get creative, get honest, get roaring. We hope to hear from you soon.


The Hedge Apple Team

Editor Introduction

Hello, readers!

As the second week of the new semester slowly comes to a close, I thought it might be best to introduce myself.

My name is Lucy Kiefert and I will be the editor-in-chief of the Hedge Apple for Spring 2020. I am currently completing my final semester at HCC and, as I do so, I will also be in charge of online and print duties for the magazine from now through May. Needless to say, I am very excited to come into contact with you all over the course of the coming weeks as submissions continue to roll in. Having the privilege to partake in others’ art (of all kinds) has always been deeply refreshing and inspiring to me.

To offer some guidance for anyone who plans on submitting to our issues this semester (Themes to be announced in the next few days!), below are what I consider to be my editor expectations as well as my personal writing/reading aesthetic. I hope it sparks something in you — perhaps, even, a new piece will come out of it.

Happy Writing! I look forward to hearing from you.

— Lucy

EXPECTATIONS: Much of what I derive my vision as an editor from has to do with how much heart I can detect in someone’s work. Oftentimes, if I’m reading something and it feels half-baked or simply thrown on the page without much care for how it sounds or what it illustrates, I lose interest — if the author can’t even seem to care about what they’re saying, it does not come naturally to me to want to do that for them. Additionally, unconventionality, uniqueness, and insight are just a few characteristics that can make a difference for me as an editor. Overall, this is what I would ask of any submissions I get: that they’re thought out, with passion behind them, sent in by writers who — no matter what it is that they’re writing about — devote themselves to that idea. I want work I can get behind, throw my support into, and be able to spend a chunk of time editing if I have to simply because I believe in it. If I can connect with the author’s intentions in some way, and sense the power in what they’re trying to create, whether it’s through a beautifully worded line or a vivid image, then I consider the piece successful. And I’d be more than likely to include it.

AESTHETIC: Anything grimy, gritty, glam, grunge, sweeping, flowing, dynamic, vintage, rustic, raw; catching a bullet between your teeth; the happy in the sad, the sad in the happy; the dark in the bright, the bright in the dark; things meaning a little more to you than they probably should; a single second stretched into an eternity; nighttime; the importance of where you are, how it looks, and how it makes you feel; heat of the moment; kicking over the table; screaming just because you want to; whining about everything and calling yourself out for it… but then choosing to own it instead; romanticizing things that never even happened; feeling like a phony… but then choosing to own it instead; accepting that you’re rather small and the world is rather big (but believing all the while that something is undeniably waiting for you out there); there is no such thing as coincidence (This was meant to happen.); putting together what absolutely should not go together (But it works, doesn’t it?); chaos and peace are not mutually exclusive; sifting through everyday occurrences for some sort of meaning and coming up empty, doing it again and coming up with your hands full; seeing the beauty in the mundane and the ugly and the terrible because we’re writers… and so there is beauty in everything… because there has to be.

Now Accepting Submissions

Hello again!

We are pleased to inform you that Hedge Apple is officially open for submissions for Spring 2020. Themes have yet to be decided on and announced, but in the meantime, do feel free to send in any pieces you feel are eligible to be published on our site or in the coming issues.

Thank you for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!


The Editors

Hedge Apple is live!

Dear readers and contributors,

The Spring 2019 edition of Hedge Apple magazine has been officially submitted to Amazon direct publishing!

Contributors: expect your complimentary copies to arrive in the next two to three weeks.

Everyone else: Once Amazon’s review process is complete, the magazine will be available here!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more posts on a slow summer release.

It’s been a wonderful ride. Thank you all for being a part of it.

—The Hedge Apple Team

Themed Issues for Fall 2018

Hey there writers, readers, and lovers of literature! Hagerstown Community College’s literary magazine Hedge Apple has some exciting news. To broaden the scope of both our submissions and readership and to foster our participation in a much larger literary community, the Hedge Apple is no longer limited to accepting submissions from students and faculty of the college. We are now open for submissions from everyone! We, at the Hedge Apple, believe strongly in the power of the written word to connect and inspire humanity and are excited to begin a new chapter which includes innovative and different perspectives from across a larger geographic area. We look forward to receiving a larger volume of material with fresh outlooks and will continue to emphasize quality while remaining friendly and approachable to emerging writers.

But wait! That’s not all. Hedge Apple is also announcing some upcoming themed issues. We want to see what you lot of creative humans can do with the following themes (and honestly, we the editors want the fun and challenge of putting each issue together). The editors hope you will view them as gentle nudges to get those creative juices flowing, fingers clicking away at keyboards, pen scratching away on paper, or whatever else you do in your creative process. Perhaps, instead, you have a piece moldering at the bottom of a dusty drawer that somehow relates to one of our themes. In that case, dust it off and send it our way. The editors particularly enjoy reading pieces that have an original, outside of the box relationship to a theme. We challenge you to be bold and original!

And, as always, we’re accepting general submissions.

The Outdoor Issue

Our first theme for the fall issue of the Hedge Apple is our Outdoor theme. We want to hear about all of your outdoor experiences, from a quick walk in the woods to your month-long adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have a peaceful poem describing how being outside affects you, send it our way. If you have an impactful tale of a hunting or hiking excursion you went on, we want to read it. Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction are all welcome. We will begin accepting outdoor submissions on September 1st, and the deadline for outdoor submissions will be September 25th.  Ultimately, we’re looking for creative pieces that reflect what the outdoors means to you.

The Horror Issue 

What’s the one thing everyone loves in October? A good fright, of course! For this issue, we want all your Halloween-related tales. We want your most spooky and scary, fearsome and frightening, horrifying and hair-raising pieces. Make us hold our breath, cringe, and best of all, scream! Send shivers down our spines and make our blood go cold. And get creative! We love feeling afraid. Just remember not to go too far. Our horror theme will be accepting submissions from now until October 25th.

The Personal Identity Issue

We’re all different, and that’s great! Our wonderful differences fuel our individuality and give us distinct personalities. We want to know what makes you different from all the rest. We want to hear your stories; how you came to understand that you were different, how you’ve accepted your difference, how the world reacts to you, or how you react to the world. Whatever it is, we want to know about you and the differences that make you unique. Send us your poetry and short stories on anything regarding your personal identity. We want to hear about you! We will be accepting these submissions from now until November 25th. If you wish to be considered for the print version of the Hedge Apple magazine, make sure you submit by November 10th.

Hedge Apple Reception on Oct. 24th

The Fall 2015 Issue of the HCC literary magazine has arrived! Please join us for the annual Hedge Apple Reception.

WHEN:         Saturday, October 24th, 2015

1:30 — Conversation and sign-ups, quick group writing exercise

1:45 — Prose and poetry readings by contributors, followed by an open mic session


WHERE:     Black Box Theater, Kepler, Hagerstown Community College


The reception is open to the public and copies of the Hedge Apple magazine are complimentary. Please stop by for some or all of the reception.

Special congratulations to the 2015 participants of the Hub City Teen Writers Conference who will be published here starting on October 10th. Please check back for 5 great pieces of poetry and fiction!


The submission deadline for next year’s Hedge Apple is January 31st 2016.

Email your poetry, fiction, artwork, or photography, with a brief bio, to hedgeapple@hagerstowncc.edu