Cicada Magazine for Teens

The Best of The Slam

Every January, Cicada rings in the New Year with Best of The Slam. The Slam is our online writing forum; it’s a space to post poetry, short fiction, critiques, encouragement, and supplications to the Great Miffed Emu (patron bird-saint of The Slam, known for its beneficence toward online writers and its lack of tolerance for typos).


If your teen is longing for a smart, kind, wildly creative online community, they should check us out at


Want to know more about the Slammers? Here are a few things we’ve gleaned from our weekly Tuesday Afternoon Poll:


  • 5% of Slammers would bring a power bar to the apocalypse. 30% would bring a Mad Libs pad.
  • 9% of users are SpongeBob SquarePants fans. 9% of users want to turn into a banshee. (Same 9%?? Further research is required.)
  • 25% of Slammers name Medusa as their mythic fashion muse . . . But according to another poll, only 12% of Slammers think they belong in Slytherin. Suspicious[sssssss]ly low?

Here are a few pieces that made it in to Best of The Slam 2015. We’re crazy excited to see what happens on the space in 2016!


Handful of Grackles by time traveler 

Handful of Grackles
lead pellets stuck high
on dogwood branches
scrape the rising moon


fire by Ainm

chickens have dragon eyes,
he says—imagining the flames
spouting from their inquisitive beaks.
(it’s rather funny when cowardice and bravery are the same.)

the hillside is sketched
with charred sentinels, burned
skeletons from the same day
we caught the falling ashes
on our tongues like snowflakes.

crackling popcorn-light
tracing smoke
across the kitchen sink.
the smell of matches
clings to her fingers,
tasting the salt of bare skin.


How to Tell if You’re Hooked on The Slam by No_Wisecracks_Please

  • You can be found there late at night when you really ought to be in bed.
  • You write a new story or poem and find yourself thinking, “I wonder what the other Slammers would think of this . . .”
  • You have dreams about it.
  • Few things make you as happy as seeing that someone on The Slam critiqued your work.
  • Your family and/or friends have taken to asking, “What’s new on The Slam?”
  • . . . Namely because you bring it up in conversations. A lot.
  • You have used the phrase, “As we say on The Slam . . .”
  • More than once.


For more great stories and poems for your literary teen, be sure to subscribe to Cicada, our magazine for teens ages 14+.