Dear Readers,


“All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players”

-William Shakespeare


Each of us plays a role. We exist in our own niche of society, our actions, large and small, affecting the immense and intricate drama we call Human History. Some of our tales are tragic, some comedic, some romantic. No matter what is involved in our individual experience, one thing is for certain: each of our fates is intricately and inextricably linked to those of our fellow players. Our own narratives would not be possible without the influence of those before us and of those existing alongside us.  


This year’s theme of Theatre evolved from a visual subject in the early stages of the design phase into our literary theme for the entire issue. This gave us a wide umbrella to work under. We were able to capture a broad array of experiences, identities, themes, and forms, and to explore the plethora of work we received and evaluate each work on quality, free from an overly restricting theme. What began as a means of editorial autonomy quickly evolved into the realization that, regardless of whether or not a piece was accepted into the journal, it’s existence was crucial.


It often seems, in this time of political and cultural polarization, of baseless prejudice and incomprehensible hatred, that we are hopelessly divided. Let us cling to the one aspect of our world that links us all together: the universality of the human experience. We are progenitors. We are able to ignite the embers of change so desperately needed in our fractured society. As a mentor of mine reminds me: “He who tells the story controls the culture.” The creative process of producing this journal made me realize that we must not shy away from our own personally intimate narratives, but instead strive boldly to play the roles we were destined to perform. We cannot change our culture alone, however. We must also recognize the significance of other’s stories, especially those pushed to the margins of society. By lifting others up and encouraging their narratives to intermingle with our own, we allow for the cooperation of all to begin a true and lasting cultural transformation. All the world’s a stage, and together, we are the cast who performs upon it.


I’d like to warmly welcome you to the 54th issue of Progenitor Art & Literary Journal. I hope that by immersing yourself within these pages, you may come to realize the value of each story, each part played, each intimate second of human emotion, and in doing so, discover the value and indeed, the power, of your own.




Mary Innerst

Editor of Progenitor Art & Literary Journal



Dedicated to Chris Ransick, retired ACC English Professor
April 14 th , 2019


I cracked a Double-IPA despite the time of day, nervous or perhaps scared, and what the heck, it was a
Sunday. We had a scheduled phone call at noon, and it would be the first time I’d actually talked to him
since his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, though we’d traded emails and texts throughout the past few


The world had recently learned through a devastating update on the Go Fund Me site (our nation’s
largest source of healthcare funding) for Chris that he had made it through chemo, but the surgery to
remove the tumor deep within was aborted when the doctors found that it had spread to his liver.
His voice was more gravelly than usual, but it was his voice, and it sounded to me like the same beauty
found in listening to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt.”


The Progenitor Literary and Art Journal is a national-award winning magazine produced by community
college students basically since the inception of Arapahoe Community College 54 years ago.
Chris Ransick, the former Denver Poet Laureate, and a retired English Professor from ACC, oversaw
Progenitor operations from 1991- 2011 when he retired from his storied career at the college. When
Chris assumed the reins in the early 90s, the publication immediately began winning awards on the
national scene, and a new level of excellence was established.


Ransick believes that the student-staff must have the room to grow in what he calls an “arena of
brinkmanship” in which they are given a large swath of control over the entire process of producing the
annual journal, with a barely-visible perimeter of security (my job now, this). He encouraged me to allow
the students an opportunity to experience the “chaos of creativity,” which will enable true jubilation
when they are holding the finished product in their hand, as you are now, reading this.
Ransick told me of his first day of his first class of his first go-round with the Progenitor, that it had two
students, and that he “begged” select students in his other classes to join him for his maiden voyage. I
could relate. I begged at least half of the students on the current staff to join me in my first foray—and
what a ride it has been.


In 1992, Progenitor won one of its first national awards under Chris Ransick.
Since then, the publication has pulled in many awards, most of them at the national level. The
Progenitor makes Arapahoe Community College proud, and demonstrates that our little college can do
great things—because of the support from the school, yes, but because of the dedication of the teachers
within its concrete towers, and most importantly, because our students rise to the challenges we set
before them. Our students are dedicated people, with diverse lives and lifestyles, but the one thing they
have in common is the vast potential within them.


This issue of Progenitor, issue number fifty-four, is dedicated to one of the best professors to ever walk
ACC’s halls, Chris Ransick, who has vowed to “surrender nothing” to cancer and who, in fact, has one
book coming out in June entitled mummer prisoner scavenger thief, with two more on the horizon.
Thank you, Chris, for your work over those decades, and for your guidance over our years together.
“Low summer sun/ marks a long day but there’s time yet/ to finish the course./ Ten thousand steps will
take you/ to evening, but also to another place. How will you ever say goodbye well enough?/ Now’s not
the time…” ~ Chris Ransick’s “High Mountain Disc Golf” in Lost Songs & Last Chances


Jamey Trotter, English Professor
Faculty Advisor to the Progenitor