Gabrielle Montesanti may be based in Missouri right now, but she once cast her shadow on the sidewalks of the Vine Neighborhood. Pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the moment, she was inspired to write an essay called "I Used to Run in Kalamazoo," and it is filled with imagery that is once woefully nostalgic, and also haunting. She seems to capture the early-twenties Kalamazoo experience, complete with all the prejudice and ferocity parts of this city and that age can bring. The inequity is palpable.

She writes:

 I ran back onto campus, where my classmates shaved the bottom half of their heads, smoked cherry flavored e-cigarettes, got punctuation neck tattoos and called themselves heteroflexible, androgynosexual, platoniromantic. This woman sometimes came onto campus begging for money for a Happy Meal. I have a child, she said. He’s so hungry. I gave her a 5 once, pulled it right out of my sweaty bra and pushed it into her hand and held it longer than I needed to.

It's crazy how compartmentalized this city can be. The college students that never venture outside their dorms or activities on campus don't experience the same Kalamazoo that the lifers seem to. Take a moment to read "I Used to Run in Kalamazoo." You'll be glad you did.

Bonus Video: Bad Poetry Night at Portage Library