No Parenthesis 2021

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Cover credited to Alex Ponte, Class of 2021


No Parenthesis Staff 2021 No Parenthesis Club Adviser

Mrs. Brackman

Senior Editors

Elizabeth Gill Joseph Aeschliman

Assistant Editors

Hana Lee Julia Middleton Sofia Zhao

Senior Editors at Senior Sunrise


Dedication This year, the No Parenthesis magazine is dedicated to Mrs. Thurston. Mrs. Thurston, you have shown the Westwood High School community exactly what it means to express individuality through art and what it means to be different. We wish you the best of luck in your retirement and all of yourfuture endeavors beyond teaching!

Special Thanks We are also celebrating Mrs. Brackman as she retires and embarks on exciting new adventures. You have demonstrated to the No Parenthesis staff, and countless students who have come through your door, how to be confident and stand up for what we believe in while absorbing as much knowledge as possible. You have left your mark on Westwood High and have made it a truly special place. You will be dearly missed!


Imagine a world without pain, without sorrow. The first time we think past tomorrow. Imagine a child without innocence, without purity. All that is lost at the end of maturity. The world is a sphere of suffering, of sin. What did we do to make it so dim? A bite from the apple, a kiss from the sun, Nothing’s the same when the day is done. I think to myself, “is there any hope?” When we cut off our end of the rope To God, to hope, to the joys of the world But wait. We don’t have to imagine a peaceful world, When we know there’s something beyond Imagine a heaven, full of life and light, There are angels singing, what a beautiful sight. Imagine a world with precious stones as decor, The streets are paved with gold. And the palace is filled to the brim with love, The sanctuary of the sacrificial dove. “Dream” Lillie Doherty


“Blue Collage” Alex Ponte


According to many studies, beauty Is the most important aspect within an individual. Society judges people based on their weight, Preferred appearance, Perfect personality, And their capabilities intellectually. In this flawed world, intellectuals Are not seen for their true beauty, instead insulted for their “nerdy” personality And are a commonly stereotyped group of individuals Frequently characterized to have the large framed glasses appearance And heavy brain weight. Others can’t run away from their weight. Criticized by a person who believes they are some kind of intellectual. Too skinny, too fat appearance. Victims drown in their unrealistic thoughts on beauty Which is forced upon them by society’s individuals. When will they love themselves, and end their self-destructive personality? Gloomy masked people hide their true personalities, Peers idealistic thoughts’ weight is heavier than stone. And the individual Seals away their original intellect, follows the static beauty, And changes themselves to match the expected internal appearance. Aiming for the “barbie” appearance leads to an unattractive addictive personality Shocked that it doesn’t create a magnificent beauty The realization that it was not worth the loss of weight Within the bank, reminds the intellectual to follow the heart of the individual. Although society leaves heavy pressure on individuals, It’s essential to stop pursuing the classic appearance, Unlock the cell of the inner intellectual, Remove the mask of the hidden personality, And accept everyone for their body and weight. Be unique, it’s never too late to express your true beauty. For once you portray your real personality, And entrust others with your fancied appearance Only then will they begin to see your internal beauty. “Beauty” Lizzy Collins


“Untitled Sculpture” Sam Dubiner


i cannot draw or paint or create a visual representation using the primitive hands i’ve been gifted with it always comes out not quite right from the image i wanted to recreate in my mind. i feel as if i’m committing a crime as i take something once beautiful enough for inspiration and twist it into a fraud that doesn’t reflect its true worth. i fumble the paintbrush as my own perfectionism clogs my creativity like a cork in a bottle, with the wine of my self esteem still trapped inside. let it sit and it only ages, my own frustration outweighs the satisfaction and i, frankenstein destroy my own creation my monster, to think it could encapture the eye of beauty, only for it to become a living embodiment of harrowing fear a mistake on display created by yours truly. so to put it lightly yes, i would rather write “i cannot draw” grace mcmurray


“The Last Girl on the Edge of the World”

It has been thirty days. Thirty days of silence, thirty day of just me. I’m sitting on the rocky ground, and I can feel the salty wind from the ocean biting my skin. If I look ahead of me all I can see is an endless expanse of ocean. The waves crash against the base of the cliff below me as I squint at the setting sun. I have sat in this spot every evening since they left. Since they all left. Eventually I pick myself off the ground and turnaway from the ocean. I walk down the path that leads away from the cliff. I walk past the rows of empty houses, if it wasn’t for the eerie silence that has settled over the town, the houses almost look like they could still be occupied. I finally reach the driveway of my house, and walk through the unlocked front door. The house looks the same as it did when they left, I haven’t bothered to change anything. Looking out the window I can tell that the sun has almost completely set, so I deadbolt the door. I go to every window and door in the house and lock it. This routine of mine reminds me more than anything, that I’m alone. As to why I’m alone, I may as well explain. Thirty days ago the night terrors became too much for my town to handle. For years the beasts have terrorized our town, sometimes we have gone months without being attacked, but other times we have had 5 attacks in one night. When it finally became too much they had to leave. Everyone, my parents, my teachers, my friends since I was little, left. It was unanimous, leaving was the safest thing to do, but I just couldn’t leave her. My younger sister had been really sick, we knew she didn’t have long, and there was no way in hell that she would have been able to be transported on an already crowded ship to some place so far away that no one even really knows if it exists. Our town seems to be in the middle of nowhere, for all we know it could be the only place on earth, but they had to try to find somewhere without the night terrors. I still couldn’t leave her all alone for her last days. She begged me to go but I couldn’t bear it.


So I stayed. She lived for about a week more, and now I’m alone. I don’t regret it. Not at all, no one should have to live their last days alone, but I guess I will be. I lie down in my bed and keep all the lights on. I haven’t been able to be in the dark since I have been alone. I hear noises coming from beyond my window and I try to block them out. When I finally drift off, my own nightmares come for me. I'm terrified everytime I close my eyes I realize how alone I am. There's nobody here with me, and the reality is I'll probably never see anybody ever again. I shudder at the thought, I don't know how long I can sustain a life like this, but I can't just give up. Another day passes and my routine stays the same, I try to keep myself occupied all day and then while the sun is setting I sit at the edge of the cliff and watch the ocean where I saw the last of my people leave. This day repeats itself so many times that I lose count, I talk to myself to push away the silence but it doesn't help, I don't think it ever will. One day I'm staring at the sunset when I hear a noise behind me. I look around frantically, it's not night time yet, the night terrors shouldn't be here. I have no clue what else could have caused the sound so I stand up abruptly and jog back to my house. I don't want to find out what could have been watching me. That night I'm sitting in the living room of my house and preparing to walk up the stairs to my bed when I heard a furious pounding at my door. I almost scream but I muffle my outcry with my hand. My mind is racing, I can't imagine who or what could be waiting for me out there. Every fiber in my body is telling me not to open that door, it’s a deathwish, but as the frantic pounding speeds up I begin to feel guilty. To the dismay of common sense, I stand up and cross the room to the door. I slowly begin to undo the deadbolts. My heart is racing, I really do not want to open this door. When I finally finish undoing the locks I crack the door open, even just that little give is enough for the door to fly open. Somebody tumbles through my front door and I immediately slam the door behind them. Not even turning around to look at them, I begin to lock the door again, nothing is getting through this door after sunset. When I finally turn around, I am


looking at a boy around my age. He has dark blood matted hair and his skin is pale with fear. There are gashes on his arm, but he looks otherwise unharmed. I stand there for a few seconds, in pure shock of the sight of another human. Then I realizeI should probably help him. I loop my arms under his and drag him to the couch, he’s gone weak so I struggle to support all of his weight. When I finally have him propped up on the couch I run to the kitchen to get some rubbing alcohol and a towel. When I come back into the room I can already see the color returning to his face. I begin to clean his wounds and he doesn’t protest. He hisses as the antiseptic hits his wounds. I inspect his face, I’ve never seen him before, he must be from another part of town, but why on earth is he even here? I was the only one left behind, or so I thought. He is still wincing so I start talking to distract him, “My name’s Delta,” I say, not knowing where else to start. He picks his head up and looks at me. “Charlie,” he says, studying me. I finish cleaning him up and as I do he tells me his story. “I was supposed to go with them,” he says, “ I didn’t want to, I just can’t believe that there would be anywhere else to go. I just don’t want to leave just to come to some random uncertain death.” I nod, he makes sense. I finish bandaging the last of the gashes and I sit on the coffee table across from him. He asks me why I’m here, and I tell him, no use keeping secrets, who is he going to tell anyways? Even though I know nothing about this kid it is still comforting to have another person around. I haven’t heard another voice in so long. It’s not hard for me to feel comfortable around Charlie, I think I just need the company. It wasn’t even a question that he would stay at my house, the night terrors didn’t seem quite so scary when you weren’t alone. We fell into an easy routine, it was similar to mine before Charlie, but now I wasn’t alone. Every minute we had, we talked. About everything. Just hearing ourselves talk and be


responded to was something to savor. We would finish everyday sitting by the ocean and watching the sunset. It was months like this. We had to have spent at least 6 months living like this. I don’t know for sure, every day just blended together. Eventually our days would grow monotonous. We would run out of things to talk about, and all that was left was to sit in silence once again. Charlie and I grew extremely close, I don’t know if we would have been, had we met under different circumstances. Still, the days and nights became unbearable. Boredom turned into resentment and every minor inconvenience we snapped at each other. Soon we began going days without speaking, this lifestyle is unsustainable. Finally we have the conversation that changes it all. We decide that it’s the right thing to do. This evening we walk down to the cliff again. We sit down and I lean my head on his shoulder. He puts his arm around me and I bury my face into his shoulder. We don’t say anything, all I can hear are his breaths and the waves crashing against the cliff. I watch the sun sink farther and farther down. The sky gets darker and darker and this time we don’t leave. I feel Charlie squeeze my hand as night falls, the sky goes dark, and in that moment, I shut my eyes tight and just hold on.

Diya Gopal


“Cranes” Stacey Li


“No Time To Waste” “F-f-for you madam. A letter from M-Macbeth.” The stupid servant gently motions to me with the thin yellow-ended paper. I place my ink pen aside. I rise from my desk, scraping the old wooden chair along the bare floor as I push it backwards with my legs. Click! … Clack! … Click! my black stilettos press against the creaky wooden floor as I stride to the doorway. My razor sharp jawline lifts high into the thick summer night air, for no one deserves to be above me. I snatch the note from that weakling’s shaking hands. “I-um. Ahem. I wish you well, madam. G-good night,” the servant trembles. “Hmph. Away with you,” I retort, dismissing him towards the stone-walled hallway with my newly painted red fingernails. Creeeeak! I shut the door, my eyes glued to the paper. “Dearest Lady,” I mumble the words aloud, “I am writing to inform you of my current situation. My love, we have been blessed by God. I have been promoted to Thane of Cawdor. Since you are at Inverness, I will meet you there soon. Oh, I cannot wait to see you.” I finish processing my husband’s words. Thane of Cawdor?I thought. Huh, Thane-ess of Cawdor. Has a nice ring to it. I toss the note onto my desk, only to notice the writing on the back. There’s more. I continue to read aloud, “Now for another bit of news. I saw three mysterious creatures a few nights ago. Witches. I was with Banquo. They said, ‘You, Lord Macbeth, will become the ultimate ruler of this kingdom. You will gain the throne, no matter how difficult it may seem.’ What does this mean? We must discuss in the near future. All my best. -M.” I freeze again. My muscles tense for what seems like an eternity. I dart my eyes along the gold-trimmed bedroom ceiling, down the dark green walls, across the wooden headboards, below the red velvet pillows, back up the next wall, only to stop at the mirror. My green-eyed stare hardens at my appearance. I fluff my jet black hair, smother my daily bright red lipstick over my lips, and nod my head in satisfaction. Better. Now I consider


Macbeth’s words. I feel my heart rate thumping faster and faster. I inhale deeply to calm my shaking limbs, only to gag at the disgustingly musty smell of the room. Suddenly everything looks fuzzy, and my legs become unstable. I cannot think straight. I must lie down. It takes me a moment to find the bed, for the room begins to spin. Toppling over onto the silky sheets, I shut my eyes instantly and grimace at the feeling of nausea gurgling in my stomach. Must. Calm. Down. MUST. CALM. DOWN! I force myself to relax. Macbeth could be the king. I could be Queen. But how? Duncan is the rightful ruler, not Macbeth. What do those witches mean? WHAT DO THEY MEAN? A messenger knocks at the door, interrupting my state of delirium. I flinch at the startling sound. He announces, “Lady Macbeth, your husband has arrived here at Inverness. Will you greet him in the main room?” “No, fool. I will be waiting here. Now get out!” I scream. The messenger, startled and alarmed, shuts the door and runs away. Suddenly, blood rushes to my brain again. I spring up from bed, ruffling the red sheets. Click! Clack! Click! Clack! Click! My heels sound as I race to my desk lamp. I flick the light on. “We must kill Duncan.” No time to waste. Wait. “No!” I exclaim to the empty bedroom, “he is too full of the milk of human kindness. His heart is too pure to kill Duncan!” What if my Macbethis not manly enough to undergo this kind of murder?I must manipulate him to gain the crown. It’s for his own good. And mine, of course.“Spirits, unsex me now! I must put my femininity aside in order to encourage these sins. I --- no, Macbeth -- must seize the crown. It is now or never!”


Fast footsteps make their way down the hall. Suddenly, Macbeth bursts through the door. “My lady, what is the matter? I heard screaming. Are you well?” he inquires worriedly. Time to plant the seeds. “Oh, nothing, my lord. Just thinking about Duncan,” I casually dismiss his remarks. “King Duncan? Oh! He plans to depart quite early tomorrow morning. Why do you mention him?” “Oh, my innocent, kind, oblivious husband,” I begin. Macbeth raises his bushy eyebrows to question my description of him. I continue, “The king will never see the daylight of tomorrow. And I know why.” Macbeth stares at me in shock. “What on Earth do you mean?!” he exclaims in suspicion. “Remember the witches? Their prophecies? Macbeth, just leave it to me. Have patience, my lord. You will see,” I respond mysteriously. I pace back and forth on the wood, tapping my bright red nails together. I can feel Macbeth’s skepticism rising by the second. Tension increases. This is the perfect scenario; it’s exactly what I wanted. Now to tell him the plan. I swivel around to face him. Click! Clack! Click! Clack Click! I run towards my husband and grab his shoulders. “We must kill Duncan!” I exclaim. No time to waste.

Yvette Easton


the older i get the more i realize the true beauty and value of a sunny day a day without second thoughts, worry, or fear i used to have a treasure trove of sunny days so many that i rolled them up and put them in bottles and foolishly i threw them into the ocean assuming that they would always be in my grasp but alas my precious sunny days went away and the weather hasn’t been the same i could search every single corner of the world every inch of land every drop of sea and i would find nothing nothing that brings back the embrace of my dear old sun to the arms of my youth my ship has sailed with no going back i can only look back at what i’ve left behind how does one swallow a situation like this? a voice in my head shouts Jump off the boat, idiot! You can still salvage this! i know myself very well i may be a decent swimmer, but i would fail a thousand times clinging onto the past so i move on “inspired by an afternoon conversation” grace mcmurray


“The Mandalorian” Maddie Mulligan (drawing done with graphite pencil)


“The Fighter” Ali Tariq "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hand can't hit what the eye can't see.”


The push and pull, the endless cycle of the ocean hitting the sand as if it had something against it. Deep beneath the surface life goes through the motions struggling to survive, but they will never quit. Anger takes its form through the storm which makes the waves grow, electrifying the water on a dark and dangerous night. The calm that follows after is a feeling of hope, something that saves the chaos that once seemed impossible, and now it is bright. The creatures beneath the sea are familiar with the temporary dark, they know they will see the light shine once more. The never ending movement, the constant voyage it chooses to embark, the ups and downs of the world, all coming back to the start: the shore.

The Shore Ava Harrington


Emme O’Keefe American, 2002-Present Don’t Look Down Magazines, Elmer’s Glue, Adobe Photoshop 2020 O’Keefe invokes the fragility of childhood innocence through her use of found images that convey the creative and adventurous aspects of childhood. While on the opposite side, she conveys the dangers of materialism and society that can deteriorate childhood innocence as time goes on. The main subject displays a child playing on the swings who will be inevitably drawn in by the pressures of society. Characters whispering convey the toxicity of gossiping and how it adds to pressures to conform. Other influences include, money, labels, and beauty. The use of rigged teared photos represents how childhood is often torn away from us too young. Childhood ends as the desire for pleasure and external validation increase and enjoyment, imagination, and curiosity decreases.


“It’s Not Safe Outside”

Sweet. Savory. Mmm. Before I even opened my eyes, I imagined the perfectly snow-white, round, steamed pork buns sitting on the kitchen table. One last sniff...ah. I opened my eyelids, excited for the day to come. It was Sunday, my special day with Gong Gong, my grandfather, in which we went to the largest market in San Francisco’s Chinatown before grabbing a bite at our favorite restaurant, Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House. Sometimes, we even made it early enough to the corner bakery to catch a good batch of egg tarts before they were all sold out at noon. I glanced at myself in the mirror on the door. I sighed a little. At the starting age of puberty, I was growing, but it already seemed like all the other girls in my class were far ahead of me. I shifted some of the hairs in my bangs and nodded, for my appearance was not the most important thing to me today, finally spending time outside with Gong Gong was. Fleeing down the stairs, I jumped at the table, my hand snatching one of Mammy’s - the Cantonese pronunciation of mom - delicious pork buns and chowed it down before I could even sneak in a second to breathe. “Na Na,” - which was my name - “man di la, man di la, mo cung say nay zi ge la,” Gong Gong said, in which he told me to slow down and not choke on the buns. Mouth still full, I exclaimed, “I’m ready!” Gong Gong smiled at me, pride and joy in his eyes. I started jogging over to get my backpack, but before I could lay a hand on the straps, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around. “Na Na, you guys shouldn’t go out today. The Covid-19 numbers are rising. Gong Gong is in his eighties, it is not safe. His leg is getting worse too. It is hard for him to walk all the way to the supermarket these days,” Mammy said. My cheeks sagged as I looked down, saddened. Mammy was right. Was it selfish that I wanted Gong gong to risk his life just so I could enjoy a day out? But before I could


continue to feel sorry for myself, Gong Gong came to my rescue. Gong Gong said my mother’s name, “A Mun,” and told her that we would only go to the market today, not the restaurant and bakery, and thankfully, Mammy agreed. Soon, we were out the door with the February, bitter breeze flying past our skin. We wore the warmest clothes we had, though Gong Gong still shivered, only wearing a thin black puffer jacket and lending me his fur-lined, red down jacket instead. His tan, wrinkled fingers, covered in freckled sun spots cradled the handle of his wooden cane. He pushed the stick in front of him and then proceeded to painfully put weight onto his weakening left leg. Then, he took a step with his right foot. Each painful step repeated and he held out for my hand. We began our journey. The walk to the market was about one mile, the precise distance for an average of two stories about Gong Gong’s past. Today’s first story was about Gong Gong’s only toy as a child in the farmlands of Guangzhou. I had heard this story multiple times already, but I yet again decided not to tell him. He passionately described the never-ending folds of his old paper cube and the infinite number of shapes it could make. By the time the story had ended, we were at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Stockton, about halfway to the market, right on time. But little did I know, this time would change everything. “Go ha tian ah, yeet do say la,” which translated into, “that summer was hot to death,” which were the words that started Gong Gong’s second story. I leaned in, eager to hear every word of this new story, but when my eyes met a mid-twenties restaurant worker, standing outside Dan’s Diner taking a smoke with his hand inside his dirty apron, I lost focus. For a millisecond, the man looked at us like we were just another group of people passing by. But when he looked at me, really looked at me, something shifted. His eyebrows scrunched up, hiding behind his shaggy brown hair under his American flag baseball cap. Oh that American flag baseball cap. Red, white, and blue, so bright, so proud to be American. He threw his cigarette onto the ground, crushed it with his foot, and


walked towards us. He walked with exaggerated swagger, his body thinner than most, but not showing signs of sickness or poverty. “Hey you! F*** you, you filthy virus!” the man exclaimed. “You bat-eating chinks are the reason we’re in shutdown,” he barked. Blink. I looked at Gong Gong. He looked at me, eyebrows slanted in worry. His lip quivered. Hesitating, he whispered in Cantonese, “Let’s go, let’s go. He’s crazy. Let’s go.” He grabbed my hand and turned to the way back home. He limped quickly, barely using his cane anymore. But Gong Gong’s aging physique was failing him, I knew we weren’t going to get away from the man. “Hey! Hey! Where do you think you’re going, huh?! You’re going to get what you people deserve, chink! Ching Chong motherf****er! You’re the reason I have to wear these f***ing masks everywhere! Everywhere! I can’t go to parties no more. Bars are all closed. I had tickets to the 49ers game you know, but now it’s canceled. Canceled! Did you hear that?! All your people’s fault! Y’all gonna be punished!” He was less than a few feet behind us now. Goosebumps climbed down my neck as I could feel his hands grasping strands of my hair. Thump. Thump. Thump. There was no point in walking away anymore. He was with us. We turned around. What happened next was a second that felt like a lifetime as I stared into the never-ending darkness of his pupils. Blink. That image of his stare would haunt me forever. Our stare finally ended with a whack across my face and upper body, covering my eyes from what was to come. It was Gong Gong’s arm, I had later realized. I had felt the thinness of his forearm pressing on my forehead through his outer layers. He had protected me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do the same for him. “No hurt...us. We no...bad. We...good. Please. Please...no hurt,” Gong Gong begged the man in his broken English. I stepped behind Gong Gong, silent and scared, waiting for an answer. But the man just laughed. Then, the man jumped forward, and with the force of his flexed biceps and shoulders, which


were bigger than I expected, shoved Gong Gong, hitting the left side of my body as he went down, causing me to trip backwards. Looking behind me, I found Gong Gong a few feet away. “Ah...ah...Na...Na,” he said breathlessly. The man was now gone. I leaped to help Gong Gong, examining the bloody gash on the back of his skull. It was bleeding, non-stop. His face, almost robbed of life. He shivered uncontrollably. His breath got slower and slower. He needed help. My brain froze. I was numb. What do I do? What do I do! Panting, I searched for people on my right, and then on my left. Nobody was around. Since we often left early in the morning to avoid contracting the virus during the busy day, the empty streets were expected. What do I do? Watching the blood insidiously poor out, I had to stop the bleeding first. I ripped off the bottom half of my cloth t-shirt, pulling the ends and tying it around Gong Gong’s head. I yanked off the fur-lined jacket and laid it as a blanket on top of him. Okay. Now I need help. Eyeing the stores a street down, I sprinted, adrenaline pushing each step. Please, please be open! Please! But peering into the glass windows of the dark room, I saw no one. Bang! Bang! Bang! I pounded on the window. “Someone, please help!” I cried. I continued down to search the rest of the stores but found nothing. “Country roads...take me home...to the place…” the voice on the radio belt. Hands on my knees, still panting, I turned around to see a flash of an old, light blue pickup truck. Ah! “Ahhhhhhh help me! Help! Help!” I chased the truck with my hands flailing in the air. Please. Please stop. Please see me! Please! I prayed. But the truck zoomed past us on the empty road, my cries only sounding like a faint whisper. I dropped to the ground, cold, shivering. What was I to do? No one to call the police. Call the police. Call. Call! That’s it! If I couldn’t find someone to help me call the ambulance, I needed to find a way to call myself. But we don’t have a phone, I thought. All of a sudden, a bright light from a reflection caught my eye, stinging it. Suddenly, I remembered the shiny coins Gong Gong had always kept in his pocket as change. Racing back to where Gong Gong lay, I felt his forehead, so cold it sucked the warmth out


of my arm. “Almost, Gong Gong. Almost. Hold on a little longer. Hold on. Okay?” I pleaded. I waited for his slight nod, and then slipped my frozen fingers into his left coat pocket and sprinted to the nearest payphone, which I had recalled to be near the stores I had seen earlier. 9.1.1. Ring…..ring…..ring. “911, what’s your emergency?” the person answered. “Help! My grandfather’s been attacked! Help! He’s bleeding. We’re near the Jing Ying Giftshop. Help!” I begged. “Okay, honey, stay calm. Help is on the way,” the lady proceeded. I sighed. Help was on the way. When the ambulance arrived, I was laying next to Gong Gong, sharing the little body warmth I had left. A mid-twenties, curly blonde woman came out of the back and greeted me. The paramedics lifted Gong Gong onto the stretcher. Lastly, holding the nice lady’s hand, I stepped up into the ambulance, taking a seat on the bench beside her. “You did great, sweetie. The wrap around your grandfather’s wound was smart. You saved his life,” she said, eyes apologetic, mouth curving up for a slight smile. “Do you remember what the attacker looked like?” “He wore an American flag baseball cap.” Stacey Li


“DNA Spiraling” Stacey Li


Shall I come to thee on a rainy day? When monsters stroke the fading eyes of man, Thy heart may even turn a ‘yoncé stan. Will you turn my April into a May? When snakes may stray to gray the green-ish bay, And, Nay! Dow Jones hast fallen down the can; Precipitation crashes dreams of a blind man; Poseidon hears Jay-Z from far away — Under his umbrella, clouds' wrath doth end! The shield that glistens in the warring night, From dusk to dawn, or rain, or shine, to thee I’ll always be the friend who seeks to mend. Like light from sun, forever sounds just right; And still through an entire PoeTea.

“‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna” Emily Liu


The Spice of Life First comes the base, the main ingredients Just like the heart of who you are inside Then add a little sugar, just a pinch A sweetness that can hold you through the night Next thing to do is measure out the nuts Like the size of your personality Your crazy side might not come out too much But when it’s out, it’s there for all to see Now over to the kitchen drawers you go To find a whisk, the hand that you are dealt Just mix your feelings all up in a bowl And together your emotions will melt Now go scrape off some of a lemon peel It gives a touch of zesty bitterness A little attitude can let you feel And give you life, like little citrus bits Now here it comes, it’s the final hurrah It ties it all, wet and dry, together It really gives your dish a sense of awe The Spice of Life -- it keeps getting better! The cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, too A dash of cumin, whatever you want It opens hearts and helps them ring out true, A diverse touch when life may seem to daunt Now, you might be a little bit confused And ask me, “Ma’am, what’s the recipe for?” Well, that depends on you; your life, your truth And it’s okay to be a bit unsure So now, it’s time; what recipe are you? A full-on meal, a light souffle, maybe? Or you might be something completely new But when you know, you’ll finally be free

Sophie Ritz


“Colorful Days” Tania Martin


When did childhood? Suddenly I'm older I thought it was pretend, but here I stand looking in the mirror at this face that's apparently mine, but I don't recognize it. Remember those times? In the playground running around without a care in our minds. Remember those days? When we were all friends no matter what, we start together until the end. But who would have thought that the end would come so soon I did not, no I didn't. oh Can we go back to those colorful days? When growing up is only a dream, but here we are facing the reality that time is up this is the end. No one told me the truth about growing up and if they did well I didn't listen. Cuz how was I supposed to prepare myself for all the pressure and stress not to be a disappointment, getting a job, going to college, picking a major that determines my life, leaving my friends, making new ones. oh god it's too much Can we go back to those colorful days? When growing up is only a dream, but here we are facing the reality that time is up this is the end. Can we go back? I want to go back. This is the end, our time is up. But here we are moving on to the unknown. Experiencing things that I've never known before hey this isn't that bad just more colorful days “Colorful Days (cont).” Tania Martin


“Speak American Stacey Li


“The Girl and The Clock” Jonathan Wessler


“The Girl and the Clock” The girl wandered through the lands, lost. She walked over hills and through valleys. She carried with her a heavy clock, though she couldn’t remember how she got it. The ticking sound it made helped her relax, and as she walked across the land, the clock ticked on. One day, she wandered into a village. Upon seeing the girl and her clock, the people left their houses and gathered around her. They looked at her with wary curiosity, as she clearly wasn’t from nearby. One person, an older man, approached her slowly. “You’re here,” he said, in a heavy foreign accent. “It was true.” The girl stared, confused at what he was talking about. “We all prayed for a princess,” the man continued. “You’re the one He told us about.” The village people closed in around the girl. They looked at her with relief and happiness, then led her away, towards a tower at the edge of the village. They led her up the stairs into a gorgeous room adorned with golden framed paintings and a queen-size gilded bed. As the girl sat down on the bed, the village people left her alone, locking the door behind her. The girl didn’t mind, though. She was just happy to have somewhere to call home. As she took stock of the room, the girl noticed that her clock had stopped ticking. It was frozen at the time she had entered the golden room. She lay the metal clock on a table, not thinking too much of it. Late that night, the village people re-entered her room under candlelight. They gently shook the girl awake, and stood around her. “God told us to keep you here, so you can be safe from the dangers of the world. Be calm, princess. Everything will be okay,” they said.


The girl, still not knowing what was going on, just nodded. As the people left her room again, she silently slipped back to sleep. Over the coming days, the girl became relaxed, keeping herself busy by painting various landscapes. Occasionally, the people would come to her, asking for guidance, and she would help them to the best of her ability, although sometimes she couldn’t understand their problems. Over the coming months, the girl became bored. She stared longingly at her reflection in the clock face, before glancing at its hands, which were still frozen at the moment she arrived. Over the coming decades, the girl became confused. The people kept coming to her, although they were older than when she first arrived at the village. She couldn’t understand what was happening to them. The people seemed to age, but she didn’t. Over the coming millennia, the girl became terrified. She watched generations of people come to her tower, only to be replaced by their children. All she wanted to do was to be free and explore the world. Whenever the people came up her tower, she feigned being happy, but she was miserable. She stared at her frozen clock. She just wanted to hear it tick again. One day, a deafening crash came from the tower. The worried people rushed up to her room, finding the door blocked. After forcing it open, they discovered a smashed window, and no sign of the girl. They scoured the lands, but she was long gone. The girl felt relieved. She wandered through the lands, tightly gripping her now-ticking clock. As it ticked, the girl felt older, more mature. She felt more ready to do what she knew she was destined to do: to explore the world.

Jonathan Wessler


“Assef/Hatred, Festered” Caroline Woodard