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The Art and Literary Magazine of the Derryfield School XXXVIII, Issue I 2014

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Dedication

We dedicate this issue of Excerpt to Ms. Burdette in celebration and thanks for her enthusiasm as our newest faculty advisor.

Cover: “Dancing Water” by Lily Steiner‟14 Title Page Art: Lindsay Maeheos‟14

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Staff Managing Editor Lindsay Matheos „14

Editor Megan Dillon „14

Publishing Editor Sarah Wilson „16

Communications Director Patrick Finocchario „15

Business Manager Franky Barradale „15

Art Editor Lily Steiner „14

Faculty Advisor Ms, Burdette

Staff Matt Alfano „15, Cam Huftalen „15, Meghan Johnson „15, Olivia Husak „17 3


Table of Contents The Rock Shop by Tess Reagan „15………………………………………………6 In the Deep (Drawing) by Lily Steiner „14………….8 The Clock by Eadric Granok „17…….…………….9 Untitled Drawing by Brianna Smith „14..………....11 Boots on Red Carpet by Griffin Antle „14..…….….12 Black and White Statue (Photo) by Lindsay Matheos „14……………………………………………..15 Untitled by Anja Stadelmann „17……………………..………..……...……..16 Cigarette Burns by Regina Salmons „14…..……….17 Untitled Drawing by Kaitlin Cintorino „15......…...18 Calculus by Anonymous………………………....19 Untitled Drawing by Olivia LoChiatto „14…..…….25 Flower by Rosie Steiner „17…...……………..…..26 Untitled by Anonymous……………………..…..28 Untitled Drawing by Becca Teavan „15………..…..32 The Fridge by Anja Stadelmann „17..………..……33 4


Untitled Drawing by Olivia LoChiatto „14...……...35 Harmony by Isaias de los Santos „17..…...…...…..36 The Woods by Regina Salmons‟ 14..……...………38 What is „Happily Ever After‟? by Rosie Steiner „17...39 A Daughter‟s Revenge by Caroline Adie „16.………42 Untitled Photo by Lindsay Matheos „14……….…..50 The Voice: Alive Internally But Not Externally by Patrick Finocchiaro „15…..…………………………51 Girl With Glasses (Drawing) by Rosalie Steiner „17……………………………………………..57 Innocence: A Sestina by Anonymous………….….58 How to Fix the World by Anonymous…….………61 Untitled Photo by Patrick Finocchiaro „15….……..72 Untitled by Anonymous…….…………….……..73 The Puzzle-Piece Boy and the Invisible Girl by Sarah Wilson „16…………………………………..….80

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The Rock Shop Tess Reagan

Perched on the side of the road, at my lake house in Enfield, N.H. there is a small fixture with a sign that reads: The Rock Shop. This is where I sell hand painted rocks. For the past ten summers, several hours have been spent painting ordinary river rocks into a variety of creatures and logos including Boston Red Sox B’s, ladybugs, Mystery Machines, vegetables, ice cream cones, and countless other designs and images. The creations are sold in a self-serve manner operated by a small, glass money jar. All rocks are priced on the backside. Locals, annual visitors, and strollers whom happen to stumble upon the shop during their visit to the lake are among The Rock Shop’s customers. Often times special request notes are left in the money jar asking for a specific name or certain image to be painted on a rock. The painting is done in my house at a nifty craft table. The table is paint splattered and obviously well used by a passionate artist. The rocks that I paint are collected from rivers because those are the smoothest, but several are also collected from sheer luck off stumbling upon them while on a walk down the road or in the middle of a hiking trip. 6


I don’t have a “real” job. This is my job; yet, every summer I seem to say that it will be my last year painting rocks because I need a “real” job. However, to my astonishment, I listen to many people’s stories about how The Rock Shop has become a tradition for them. One man informed me that his grandchildren visit him every summer and each morning he gives them each a dollar to spend here. He explained how he would miss the fifteen minutes of a silent house, which he received every morning, while his grandchildren walked down the road, dollar in hand, to select new rocks to purchase. A woman exclaimed how she enjoyed watching the progression of detail in the painting over the years. Two young brothers reminisced with giddiness about all the rocks they have bought when they visit their cousins at the lake. These are the stories that keep me painting again and again, summer after summer.

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In the Deep Lily Steiner

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The Clock Eadric Granok

Old, worn-out, you barely tick. Yet, somehow, I still love you. Is it your rusted hands, who had lost their shine so long ago? Or maybe your paled face, battered from years of wear?

I still remember when I found you, in that antique store. You were the most beautiful thing there. You put the pastels to shame And not even the dim lights could suppress your luster.

I knew I had to have you. So I asked you, right then, even though we had never met,

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To marry me. Neither of us seem to regret that choice...

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Brianna Smith

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Boots on Red Carpet Griffin Antle

Snowflakes melt into the red carpet. They have been dragged inside from outside by careless boots that think they are only walking but are actually carrying snowflakes inside to the red carpet. Two pairs of boots sit silently at the door but another pair drags across the room leaving a trail of flakes that sits for a moment before absorbing the heat in the air and staining the carpet. A fire burns amongst the boots and the flakes and the carpet and the air. “The fire is too hot.” “I was only just thinking I ought to feed it some more, my boy. I think I will feed it some more. Should I feed it some more, darling?” “I do not wish to come between you two when you argue. You are both so unbecoming when you fuss.” “Do you want to feed the fire? I don’t mind doing it but if it would please you then you do it, darling.” “It would please me to stay where I am.” “Ok, darling. Is there any firewood I can use, my boy?” “The fire is too hot.” 12


“I understand, my boy. I will show myself to the wine cellar and choose the cheapest I can find so that we may drink and drink with no remorse or repercussions and we may drink until we forget ourselves and our tongues and the glasses in our hands and the snow outside and all that matters is the fire. I will be right back.” They torque their heads to look at their boots sitting lonely on the welcome mat. They shed the cold and burn with the fire in the air. “They look warm, love. Don’t you think they look warm?” “I don’t suppose there is anything warmer in the world.” “Has there ever been anything warmer in the world?” “I don’t know, love,” he says. They sit looking at each other but without making eye contact and she sees a salty bead fall down his face and they look back at the boots. “I grabbed the first bottle I could find. The label caught my eye. It is just so enticing, don’t you think, darling?” His boots drip onto the carpet and steam in the fire. “This party is so exciting! I thought red wine would be perfect for such an affair, don’t you think, my 13


boy?” He forces his eyes away from the boots and from the diluted carpet and from the red wine. “I do not drink red wine. I much prefer white wine. Yes, white wine doesn’t burn as much. I will drink fine red wine but not cheap red wine…” The guest pours too much wine and it spills in the exchanging of hands but it blends well with the red carpet and he drinks until he forgets about the stain.

“I suppose I will let myself out now. Be sure to enjoy the wine. It is rare to enjoy wine so much.” “Of course, my boy. I wish you would stay Don’t you wish he would stay, darling?” “No, I really ought to leave. It is much too hot for me. I really ought to leave. Goodbye, love.” “I understand, my boy. Your boots are by the door.” His tongue snatches a droplet of red wine from soft lips. “Darling, I am so cold. Could you get some more firewood?”

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Lindsay Matheos

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Untitled Anja Stadelmann Scruffy Tom thuds Across the carpet And jumps Onto the mattress. He makes himself Comfortable, Swishes his tail, And tells me stories.

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cigarette burns Regina Salmons swaying hips walking down corridors your eyes following the beat hands drumming the sound against your jeans click of heels marking the metronome

one swift pivot and the world shifts one eighty curves melt into each other and beautiful becomes a relative term

cigarette hits the floor before your jaw finds its way but my laugh never leaves my chest, rather, my lips find

yours.

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Kaitlin

Cintorino

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Calculus Anonymous

I’ve always found the Click, click, click, Of hasty calculator keys Comforting.

They fox-trot in time to the Pulse of your brain, Ticking away as you work.

The sound of them beating Is like A mechanical heart Keeping you alive enough to solve the problem Laid out on your desk.

I may like numbers, But sometimes I get tired of trying to Differentiate functions whose Graphs I can’t read. 19


I ache for the days when one and one Could be two Without imaginary numbers getting in the way.

Do I have to find the rate of change of Your function Just to find your limit?

I swear, I spend whole days Running around the Unit Circle Looking for the correct Multiple of pi With your sine and cosine So I can make us into similar triangles.

Let’s just pause for a minute. Go back to the origin Where our functions crossed.

You began with a constant slope But at some point your graph curved Away from mine. 20


Now you flow in long, swooping pencil strokes, Occasionally tangent to my graph.

And what am I? Well, I am but a sinusoid, Oscillating back and forth Between a positive and negative output, And bounded by my own physical form.

I am utterly continuous And predictable. And that’s great.

But either out of pity or affection, I click my keys a little faster When I try to find the equation of your graph.

It’s not as easy as just Pushing the buttons on your dumb calculator.

Because you have become a piecewise function. 21


You were almost continuous before, But then I tried to fill in a missing point And failed miserably, Creating the first place of discontinuity.

In response, the graph broke And you created a jump Of your own accord, deciding to Redefine yourself. This was the second instance of discontinuity.

No asymptotes have appeared yet But I fear the day when you elevate To infinity Because there’s always the chance that You may crash to your lowest possible point On the other side of that invisible line.

Listen to me.

No 22


Human Can Survive With Infinite Limits.

And though I know that I Have pushed you to that point, Your end behavior doesn’t have to be like this.

Yes, I worry For your sake.

Every time I recalculate what was said and done, I bitterly acknowledge that I created the Breaks in your graph.

And though I know that our lines Will never cross paths again, I will still work to find your equation So that I can 23


Help guide you If you ever fall within the bounds of my range.

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Olivia LoChiatto

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Flower Rosie Steiner

Tall and fresh, softly glowing around the edges With the thin pencil-like stalk supporting the head of the rose. Wide red petals curled up upon each other Circling around the center, getting smaller and smaller. Hidden beneath the petals of silk, And encircling the flower, the sweet scent of rain and roses is strong. Even as the day grows hotter The scent of sweet memories refuses to fade. A glittering drop of water treks down the soft inside Fully intent on flooding the flower. Peeling, curving, waiting, the flower isn’t swayed by the wind, And remains undamaged by the harsh sun or the beetles that Burrow right by the full red head.

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The flower adorned by leaves sits alone in a field, undisturbed. Dropped from a small hand, the rose lays in between the Untrimmed grasses, alone in a vast field of daisies. An outcast, it lays low Trying to not draw attention. But the glint of red through the green wisps Catches the attention of a little girl once more.

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Untitled Anonymous This is crap. I get what they say about doing well in school and all, and I want to, really. I just can’t. That’s different than not wanting to, not that anyone seems to understand. You get any kid who’s halfway decent in school and they think they’re a damn genius. Just because you can focus on a test and memorize some stuff doesn’t mean you’re the next Albert Einstein. Boy, that guy had some problems. I like to think that if he could turn out okay then maybe I can too. But anyway, back to the point. You learn things in school, but when are you ever going to use them? I mean, I can’t think of a practical job that I’d get where I have to know the ionic charge of some metal or gas or anything else on the periodic table. I don’t like science, and I’m not going to use it ever again in my life, so why do I have to waste my time sitting in a classroom getting angry and depressed? When you think about everything that you could be doing instead, everything you could be applying your passion to instead, you get this crazy wanderlust, and nothing else seems to matter. 28


I guess that’s what brings me to our central conflict. You see, yesterday I may have gotten into it a little with one of the teachers. Not physically--I’m not that crazy of a kid -- but verbally, and it was pretty strong. All I remember from it is a lot of “You’re privileged to have this opportunity,” and, “You need to set priorities.” But the way I see it, I already have. I’ ve set priorities and goals and that’s what has brought me to the situation I have to face now. I use the word “situation” lightly. Really it’s just the principal ranting about the teachers’ “grievances” against me. Grievances. C’mon, who even uses that word anymore? Especially when dealing with a person whose wellbeing is supposed to matter to you. They don’t actually care--I’ll be willing to bet that they get a bonus for rooting out the problem kids. I guess the sheer idea of these people-who are looked to as educators for the next generation of society, mind you--being paid off like some sort of cheap politicians was the thing that really did it for me. “...Devote their time to your education. These are people who desperately want to help you…” the lecture continued. 29


And then I guess I just said what was on my mind. “Bullshit.” “In your future endeavo--Excuse me!” She looked to shocked that I couldn’t help but to laugh a little. Only, it was one of those unfortunate nervous laughs, because, man, I was nervous as anything. Under it all though, I was excited. “I said, bullshit.” The poor lady was so shellshocked I decided to take it upon myself to keep going, “Your whole rant? This whole thing? It’s all fake. I can’t imagine for a second that you care. That’s the way that things work, and it’s awful, but the sooner that people realize that, the sooner they can get on with their lives and maybe try to make them better. But this whole business about lying to everyone and lying to yourself? I won’t do it.” “And what exactly, young lady, do you expect me to do about that?” Oh man, she was fuming like nobody’s business by that point. “I’ll get out of here.” Well, that sounded as good a plan as any. “I’ll leave and I’ll never come back. Everything will be better. Everything. I can do 30


what I want, I can do it when I want.” I was starting to get excited. “It will all be better. Everything.” I picked up my bag, shoved in the loose papers that the principal wanted to go over, slung it over my shoulder and left the room. I needed to get out.

To be continued

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Becca Teavan

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The Fridge Anja Stadelmann

Peanut butter and jelly Half eaten on white ceramic Besides a Mike's Hard Lemonade That supposedly tastes like summer. Watermelon, Balled, hiding in a green helmet boat Lined with lemon to add tingle and tang. Ancient blue cheese Rocks Break into pebbles and are whisked away By a brown and purple saucer. Another bottle clinks into place And down the drawer, Watermelon juice Drip, Drip,

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Drips. Sad melon spheres spritzed with spice to add heat and "house-warming". The green bowl takes up space. Stacks of fresh rocks Stand in the way of the ceramic: A blockade. Supposedly, Port tastes nothing like summer. Green Tupperware crams Melon chunks, Dusted with dirt, To add ease and a "quick-snack." An assortment of bricks line a plate of China, Slowly growing in flavor and price. One by one, being eaten up.

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Olivia LoChiatto

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Harmony Isaias de los Santos

A gentle spray tickled my cheeks As waves crashed against the narrow Stone cliff before me With my weight shifted onto the balls of my feet I carefully peeked over the ledge Beneath me, one more wave began its path to Crash against the cliff but it slowed its course Only brushing against the sand I kicked a pebble down watching It bounce against the jagged stones That stuck out of the cliff It bounced one last time before it Fell into the ocean with a ripple Everything stood silent As if the universe stood still Never to move again 36


she took the flower and stuck it in the space between her dress and the ribbon holding it together her thighs rubbed when she walked over to him she was no skinny love

he trembled in her presence his love terrified by her beauty she was beautiful, and she was his?

She said she was love’s, and love’s alone. Not his, but she belonged to love itself. But if he loved her, then love was willing to share.

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the woods Regina Salmons

she ran through the woods with the leaves catching on her heels damp wet earth clinging to the soles of her feet her hands, the branches each strand of wood saying hello to her calloused palms

she spoke to the open air with a promise of honesty each word resonating with the rhythm of the rustle of the leaves the candle in her heart flickered when the wind finally found her hair

he finally found her sitting behind a bench made of rocks covered in moss and caterpillars and he gave her a flower

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What is Happily Ever After? Rosie Steiner

What is 'Happily Ever After’? Is it three words. Sixteen letters One phrase Of joy?

Or is it three words Sixteen letters Of false hopes And empty dreams?

What is 'Happily Ever After'? A phrase after every fairy tale Told by parents To lull kids to sleep And dream about 'Prince Charming'

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Princesses And adventures.

Who is 'Prince Charming'? The perfect guy Of every girl's fantasy? Who is 'the princess'? The girl the 'Prince Charming' must save from impending danger?

Why does 'he' make girls’ hearts flutter And 'she' make boys’ prides and desires rise?

What is a fairytale? A false story That has been passed down From generation to generation In different forms.

What is 'Happily Ever After'? 40


And why does that Three word phrase Sixteen letter, False sense of security Make kids happy?

What is 'Happily Ever After'

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A Daughter’s Revenge Carolyn Adie A plate lies smashed across the table. Shards of a broken bottle glitter in pools of beer. A brawny man, face unshaven, chest heaving, stands holding a pot in one hand, a bottle in the other. He glowers at the young woman across the table. She stands steady, but her knuckles are white against the broom handle. A young girl, no more than six years old, sits curled up beneath a chair, hands covering her ears, eyes tightly squinted shut. Her mousy brown hair falls across her face as she rocks gently back and forth, hiding from the fight above her head. “Please stop, Frank. We can’t keep living like this. I can’t live like this. It’s not fair to Maria, or to 42


any of us,” the woman pleads, her voice quiet but urgent. Frank takes a step forward, pausing to swig from his bottle before replying, “You have a problem with the way I live? Why, honey, whatever is the matter?” His voice rises to a sing-song tone, taunting her. “Is it the drinking, or the smoking? Oh, I know! It’ s that I don’t have a job! That must be it, right? Or is it the affairs? ‘Cuz I could spend a whole day apologizing for all of those.” He pauses, his eyes hardening. When he speaks again his voice carries a razor edge, a sword cutting into his wife’s heart. “Well, that’s just too bad, isn’t it? Maybe you should’ve thought twice before you decided to marry me, huh? Oh, wait a moment, you only married me because of 43


that bitch of a daughter we have. And whose fault is that?” The woman’s knuckles grow whiter, her face redder. The broom shakes as Frank continues his drunken rant. Her nostrils flare before she snaps, “Shut up! Shut up! For once in your God-damn life, will you just shut up!” The pot flies across the table. The woman crumples to the floor, a red mark spreading across her face. Under the chair, Maria’s eyes snap open. “That’ll teach you to shut up,” Frank mutters as he collapses onto the sofa, promptly falling asleep. A minute passes. Slowly opening her eyes, the young woman pushes herself up from the floor. She does not meet her daughter’s gaze. She turns her back 44


as a tear slides from the corner of her eye. She reaches into a cabinet and pulls out a bottle of pain killers. She twists off the top, pours several white pills into the palm of her hand, and tilts her head back. Swiping at her cheeks with the back of her hand, she turns to face her daughter, still cowering beneath a kitchen chair. “Go to bed Maria. You need your sleep. Mommy loves you, okay? Go to bed,” she whispers, bending forward to pull Maria off the floor. Maria throws her arms around her mother, head pressing into her stomach. Her mother leans down and lightly kisses the top of her head. “I love you, Maria. Always.”

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The child tilts her head upwards, “I love you too, Mommy. Always,� before running off to bed. The young woman sits down at the table and puts her head on her arms. She is there, slumped over the table, a bruise still masking half her face, eyes closed and chest unmoving when Maria finds her in the morning. Maria, twenty five years later, sits at the end of a hospital bed. Her mousy brown hair is long and straggly, pulled back into a messy ponytail. Purple bags have formed under her eyes, and her face is pale. A middle aged man lies asleep under the hospital sheets. The information board lists him as 57 years old, but his gray hair and sunken, wrinkled face make him appear older. His breath comes in ragged 46


gasps. An IV drips into his arm, and a hurricane of machines beep and buzz behind his head. Maria sits at the foot of the bed, changing her focus between her father and the test results in her hand. She was reading through a jumble of medical terms when the doctor appeared at the doorway. “Do you understand the diagnosis, Maria?” “There’s not much to understand, is there? He has cancer. I think it’s pretty self explanatory,” Maria replied sarcastically, not glancing up at the doctor. “Yes, but since we didn’t detect the cancer for so long, there’s very little we can do. We can attempt chemotherapy, but the chances of the treat-

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ment working are very slim. The other possibility is finding a bone marrow donor.” He looked directly at her, eyes searching over her face. “If he needs a bone marrow donor, then put him on the registry. And you can contact his health insurance, if he has any, to pay for the hospital stay,” Maria snapped, standing to leave. The doctor moved to block her path. “Maria, you’re an exact match. If you agree to be the donor, your father’s chances of survival are much greater than if we simply put him on register where he could wait months or years for a donor to show up.” He paused, trying to look into Maria’s eyes, but she wouldn’t look at him, staring instead at the beeping

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machines. “Your father could die, Maria. You know that, don’t you?” Maria pushed past the doctor into the hallway. “He’s no father of mine. Put him on the registry.”

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Lindsay Matheos

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The Voice: Alive Internally But Not Externally Patrick Finocchiaro

We sit back and wait. We wait for opinions and viewpoints to fall into our laps. We wait for powerful figures to form opinions for us as we lounge around. All we do is listen, and thinking becomes a foreign concept. We listen to the views of the governmental leaders, professors, and lecturers, but we begin to lose the capacity to think for ourselves. Is that any way to live? To sit mindlessly in our armchairs at night, letting the media form our opinions on politics? To sit before a professor in a lecture hall listening to his or her views, but neglecting our own thoughts to receive an "A." We 51


are scared, afraid of public criticism. Our society is like a flourishing garden filled with tulips, roses, and chrysanthemums alike; we are beautiful and capable of sharing our rich 'colors,' yet we are dulled, silenced if you will, by ferocious aphids. Our leaves are nibbled, and our colors become gray as we endure the constant picking. Soon we wither away, our substance vanishes, and our courage fades; we are naked and vulnerable; we have nothing more to share, because the aphids decided our opinions without consent. As a collective, we all sit and watch the president make decisions, and never once do we hear the words, "What do the people of America think?" or "What are the views of my country?" Each and every one of us has a burning idea about how we should 52


approach foreign policy, the deficit, or healthcare, yet our views are never heard. We are flowers, and the president is none other than an aphid, sucking our resin-like ideas from our petals, leaving us only with his ideas that we reluctantly accept. When President Barack Obama proposed that we should be involved in Syria, I saw the idea as preposterous and unnecessary. President Obama failed to acknowledge the opposition he received from us, and felt that it would be best to call America exceptional, get involved for morals, and ignore the views of the general populace. On September 9, 2013, the night of President Obama's speech on Syria, I was utterly disappointed, mainly, with myself. For the first time, I threw my hands in the air, and said, 53


'What is the point of forming my own opinions? America will decide them for me." In that moment I believed, as I stared at the television in the middle of my living room, that the president's word is the end all, be all, and that my opinions are like trash that should be quickly discarded. Do I need to think anymore? I felt like a tulip that was about to blossom with a critical view, but, just as my petals were about to emerge, they were forced shut by the iron hands of a controlling America. I blame myself however, for being fearful - fearful of sharing my views with the outside world. We ask ourselves, "what if I get arrested for making a demonstration?" or "what if I get laughed at for my views?" America is said to be the "home of the free," but are we free? Is fear freedom? I think not. 54


Additionally, our thoughts are controlled by professors in the classroom who claim to, "know it all." We resemble a deceased corpse when we enter a lecture hall, vulnerable and open, on a cold, steel table, awaiting a thorough dissection by a superior. We become afraid of criticism from the professor, and we become silenced. We keep to ourselves, and are comparable to an unopened tulip. Our colors are vibrant on the inside, but they are never seen. We are petrified of projecting our views. Instead, we nod our heads slowly in false agreement, because we want a stellar GPA, or want to be seen as the 'best' by the professor-the aphid. All the while we are hurting ourselves by keeping our thoughts inside.

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Are we going to let the professors rule us? We need to speak up and share our opinions on the French Revolution, or communicate our views in Philosophy 101. We are acting like cowards. In the next class, we must state the contrary during a lecture and receive an "F". We must show the professor that our voices are more valuable than a precious "A." We must step up to the plate, once and for all. Can we speak our minds? The answer to that question is a reassuring "yes." The time has come to build up our scorching fire called courage. We have the power to make our opinions flow, even if those ideas are confusing, wrong, or downright ridiculous. At least we will be mindful individuals.

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Rosalie Steiner

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Innocence A Sestina I sit here staring at a blank piece of paper, While the window cries; endless, dripping tears. My mind wanders in swirls of color, But I can only see in black and white. Though I am a young adult, I have yet to pass innocence. Even so, it is impossible to sugarcoat the bitter taste of despair.

My inability to understand fuels this unyielding despair, Which I have tried to release on paper. I can no longer justify my insolent innocence, Without releasing a flood of tears. The paper glows a slightly dirty white. As the room runs out of color.

Lightning flashes, and as it leaves, so does the color. Thunder growls in the distance, promising imminent despair. 58


In the dark, everything is either a shade of gray or ghostly white. My eyes shift to the crisp sheet of paper. And they fill with jealous tears. For that sheet is pure white, embodying innocence.

But I can no longer claim innocence. I am not white, but black, devoid of all color. In a rush, I reach to find a lighter, and the fire makes golden tears. I hold it up to the worthless paper, watching it curl up in despair. I am a murderer; the hopeless destroyer of an innocent sheet of paper. I extinguish the flame, and in the dull light, my skin glows white.

If only I could go back to when I was still white, Living my life in blissful innocence. Instead of venting anger on charred remains of paper. If only I could go back to when my world was full of color. Instead of this muted cage of despair.

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Where my only companions are my own black tears.

As I sit wallowing in my paper-thin despair, I try to forget the others wearing the darkest color, as the sky opens up in tears. They all stare at the white body, and cry, because he kept his innocence.

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How to Fix the

World

I don’t want to eliminate problems.

Whenever you think that there is

Face it: if we did, life would A significant divide, the be incredibly colors And utterly

Bleed and coalesce,

Boring.

What I want to do

Ruining what you once believed

Is live in a world

To be a flawless image.

Where people Know how to solve

I only wish that there

Those problems.

Was a way that the gray

If everything were Black and white, Surely this would be an easier task.

Could be separated once again Into

Black And

But it’s not.

White.

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But that is incredibly diffi-

Your painting

cult

seems...lopsided

If you try to add copious amounts

Not entirely secure or stable

Of either color, You end up with a mixture

And no one will want to buy into Your wasted efforts

That is not entirely Black And not entirely White Either.

Amid the ceaseless flow of white To your already smothered canvas, Black will still remain And now you have to worry about the Mess That you’ve made By adding too much white

But a heavy addition of black To your original gray blob Will only create a vast mass of darkness Disproportionate to the white

And trying to add more White Or Black Is only fostering an illusion Creating a delusion Trapping the confusion And also yourself Into a never-ending mess 62


of gray.

Where people Do not settle for grayness

There are some instances

Where people

When gray

Know how to get rid of grayness

May be seen as Beautiful But those instances Only occur naturally Not in our world

Where people Try to be happy Where people Aren’t trapped in their own delusions

Of paints And one huge canvas

If someday a painter Were to find our canvas

But when you are tired of gray And want to add white or

And Brush in hand

black

Add

You just make more gray.

Perhaps A splash of blue

I don’t want to live in a world of gray.

Or green Maybe even orange To the canvas

I want to live in a world Where there is not monochrome,

Then there would be no more Endless 63


Wall of gray

I want people to wake up And notice

But that painter will never come Because no one can See

That They are sinking And soon will be Swallowed.

Or Understand The gray that they have created

But they don’t want to Instead, they add more black Or white

Eventually That grayness Will consume us

Paint And pretend that they are Solving Their problems

If no one can see Can feel

When in fact They are creating more

Can recognize That they are In fact Swimming in gray Then there is no progress

And when I tell them that They are really Adding to the gray They say That they are not 64


They actually

Feel to see

Really and truly

Their little babies

Care

Grown up And forgetting

But I know they don’t I can see it in their eyes Their willingness to drift

To put their toys away when Playtime’s over?

And wait for someone else To find a paper towel and

I doubt they’d be impressed.

Wipe off the excess Because they’re too lazy And they don’t care that They’re The Ones CAUSING It. Didn’t their mothers Ever teach them

And yet I am trapped in a way For there Are those Who also Do want to help Who aren’t lazy But don’t know where to start.

To clean up Their own messes?

How would their mothers

I am one of those people.

There is so much gray 65


That I used to always Ponder What corner of the gray Should we try to fix First?

And then it hit me: All of it can never be fixed.

There will always be gray Just as the sun will rise and set As long as the Earth is turning There will always be hunger As long as there is food There will always be loss If there is something to lose There will always be hatred Where there can be love And there will always be problems As long as we are human

Humans make mistakes This is a known fact 66


But there is a key Distinction That sets humans apart From most other mammals

Humans are innovative

But also destructive

We create automobiles And now people can die in A car crash

We improve hygiene And there are too many people

We create vaccines But people die as pathogens mutate

It’s a very vicious cycle, I’ll give you that.

But I believe, 67


And feel free to disagree, That if the people who create problems Can find a way to solve The problem That they Created, Then life would be much easier For all of us involved.

You can’t expect other People to swoop in And offer to fix all of your problems Because I doubt Superman makes House calls

But there are still people Who will, After reading this, Refuse to believe that they have a problem, That they need to fix it, And it is their responsibility.

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Responsibility is A noun Meaning when You take care of your duties

If everyone were responsible If everyone could Clean up their own mess And knew how to do it Properly Without leaving any spot of dirt On their bedroom floor Then they wouldn’t have To worry about cleaning it later

Of course, Your room will become messy again When you fail to throw Your clothes into the laundry Or don’t feel like dusting today Or just want a break From responsibility Then that’s okay 69


But when you let your room become a colossal Pigpen And your closet threatens To explode At just one twitch of the door handle Then you know that It’s time for you to clean Up your mess.

If possible, I recommend maybe throwing a couple of Those discarded shirts and underwear Into the hamper every day So that your room Doesn’t look that disgusting

Because we all know that No one wants to pick up your dirty Underwear off of the floor.

WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS.

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It’s okay to have problems. Just realize that they are yours Assume responsibility And fix them Correctly.

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72

Patrick Finocchiaro


Untitled Anonymous This is crap. I get what they say about doing well in school and all, and I want to, really. I just can’t. That’ s different than not wanting to, not that anyone seems to understand. You get any kid who’s halfway decent in school and they think they’re a damn genius. Just because you can focus on a test and memorize some stuff doesn’t mean you’re the next Albert Einstein. Boy, that guy had some problems. I like to think that if he could turn out okay then maybe I can too. But anyway, back to the point. You learn things in school, but when are you ever going to use them? I mean, I can’t think of a practical job that I’d get where I have to know the ionic charge of some metal or gas or anything else on the periodic table. I don’t like science, and I’m not going to use it ever again in my life, so why do I have to waste my time sitting in a classroom getting angry and depressed? When you think about everything that you could be doing instead, everything you could be applying your passion to instead, you get this crazy wanderlust, and nothing else seems to matter. I guess that’s what brings me to our central conflict. You see, yesterday I may have gotten into it

73


a little with one of the teachers. Not physically--I’m not that crazy of a kid -- but verbally, and it was pretty strong. All I remember from it is a lot of “You’ re privileged to have this opportunity,” and, “You need to set priorities.” But the way I see it, I already have. I’ve set priorities and goals and that’s what has brought me to the situation I have to face now. I use the word “situation” lightly. Really it’s just the principal ranting about the teachers’ “grievances” against me. Grievances. C’mon, who even uses that word anymore? Especially when dealing with a person whose wellbeing is supposed to matter to you. They don’t actually care--I’ll be willing to bet that they get a bonus for rooting out the problem kids. I guess the sheer idea of these people--who are looked to as educators for the next generation of society, mind you-being paid off like some sort of cheap politicians was the thing that really did it for me. “...Devote their time to your education. These are people who desperately want to help you…” the lecture continued. And then I guess I just said what was on my mind. “Bullshit.” “In your future endeavo--Excuse me!” She looked to shocked that I couldn’t help but to laugh a 74


little. Only, it was one of those unfortunate nervous laughs, because, man, I was nervous as anything. Under it all though, I was excited. “I said, bullshit.” The poor lady was so shellshocked I decided to take it upon myself to keep going, “Your whole rant? This whole thing? It’s all fake. I can’t imagine for a second that you care. That’s the way that things work, and it’s awful, but the sooner that people realize that, the sooner they can get on with their lives and maybe try to make them better. But this whole business about lying to everyone and lying to yourself? I won’t do it.” “And what exactly, young lady, do you expect me to do about that?” Oh man, she was fuming like nobody’s business by that point. “I’ll get out of here.” Well, that sounded as good a plan as any. “I’ll leave and I’ll never come back. Everything will be better. Everything. I can do what I want, I can do it when I want.” I was starting to get excited. “It will all be better. Everything.” I picked up my bag, shoved in the loose papers that the principal wanted to go over, slung it over my shoulder and left the room. I needed to get out. I could barely hear her shouting after me as I left the room, slamming the door behind me. Running through the hallway, I nearly knocked into this blondie, 75


Jessica. “Woah! Ryder, are you alright?” “Huh?” I responded distractedly, “Oh yeah, sure. I’m good, I’m fine.” I didn’t want to b wasting precious time talking to one of the conformists the school is filled to the brim with. “Oh, well alright… You do remember that Mr. Livingston assigned the analysis of the next two chapters of our book as homework for tomorrow, right?” She prompted, trying to draw my attention back to her. That’s the problem with these people. They think they’re the most important thing out there and that they’re God’s gift to society. I looked over my shoulder again, trying to discern if I was getting followed by the older woman, “ Yeah, yeah…. I remember. Hey--I probably won’t be in class tomorrow, could ya let him know that? Just let him know that I’m not in school?” “Well, where will you be?” She asked with a puzzled look on her face, complete with one of those fake little plastic smiles that all of these people seem to have. “I’m just gonna be out for a bit, okay?” I couldn’t tell her, she wouldn’t get it. That’s the problem,

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no one here would get it. Why should they? All of them are content to go through the monotony of this school, this society--I’m starting to think it’s the whole world. I hiked my bag higher up on my shoulder and took off quickly down the hallway. “But wait--Ryder. Ryder!” I ignored the faux concern she was showing in favor of turning the corner to arrive at one of the landings of the gigantic staircases that proliferated the campus. I scaled the stairs to my dorm room, grabbed a sweatshirt and the money I had been saving (who knows what for) and opened my window. Once you get out onto the sill, it’s about a five-foot drop to the fire escape--my escape. I crawled down the emergency stairs and hit the ground running, with my bag bumping along on my back as I flew across the streets. I had one destination in mind--the train station. Cars screeched to a stop as my feet pounded against the asphalt, crisscrossing this way and that, too wrapped up in the adrenaline pumping through my veins to worry about properly traversing the few blocks separating me from my bright and shiny new future. Suddenly, the station was right before my face, and when I walked up to the counter to buy my ticket I 77


couldn’t help but get a little anxious. I tend to do that when making decisions--heck, I do it when I decide what I’ going to do for the day, what to eat of wear or even who I’m going to talk to--but it just feels so permanent, you know? Like something could totally alter your fate and the slightest change in your thought process could be the difference between life and death. But wasn’t that what I was trying to do? I shook my head a little too noticeably and received some weird looks. I’m used to them by now though. They’re worse when I start talking to myself. Hey, sometimes you have to say things out loud for them to make sense! Anyway, I got the stupid train ticket--I can’t even remember where to--and checked the train number. It was the train leaving the soonest, number 413. I made my way down the steps to the loading platform, calmer now. There was a comforting sense of finality, which I was having a hard time understanding--usually I associate finality with anxiety and the sensation of being overwhelmed. Frankly, I’m terrified by the idea of something being over completely. I clenched my eyes shut. No, this is what I 78


want. This is what I need. Hadn’t I just been talking about how calm I felt? That’s it, that’s better. This will fix everything, the trapped feeling, the feeling that I’m never going to get out and do something worthwhile with my life. A small smile graced my countenance, and I made the last steps of my journey. The doors to the train closed with a quiet snick, and the change I felt was immense. So I’m sitting here in the empty train compartment, goofy little grin covering my face, because I just know, that this is the feeling I want. There’s relief pooling in my chest, and I can feel the stress leaving my body as I’m thinking out about what happened. I’m not an idiot, I know that they’ll find me; I doubt that I even make it three days (it’s not all rainbows and butterflies out there, kids). Even so, I can’t help but feel liberated. No matter how short-lived this escape is, it will stick with me. This is what flying feels like. This is what living feels like.

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The puzzle-piece boy and the invisible girl Sarah Wilson

The first time she sees him, it is dark. The littlest ones are already asleep, and the sound of their snuffling is the lullaby that draws him out of the corner. He is made up of fragments with ragged edges, steel and silk and splintered shards of mirror. His eyes are brown and wary. She sits at the head of the bed, legs crossed beneath her, and watches how cautiously he steps over the little ones on their dirty mattresses, like he is afraid of breaking. Maybe them, maybe himself. “Puzzle-piece boy,” she says, “What are you doing here?” He shakes his head, but when she reaches out her arms he climbs up to sit before her. The angles of him are sharp, all elbows and knees and the points of his collarbone, but he fits easily against her side. His hair is very dark, and tickles the soft place beneath her chin. He reminds her of paper cuts and the brilliant, pale light of the stars. It is hard to focus sometimes, in the dark, to keep where she ends and everything else begins straight, so she strings her thoughts in her fingers like a Cat’s Cradle, the way the nice lady with a briefcase 80


taught her in the back of the car, searching for someone to want her. “Here,” the lady says, but now there is a desk separating them, a continent of polished wood and immaculately kept files. “Write your name and draw me a clock.” “Could you, if I handed you stardust and bones, make a boy?” she asks, while she lines her numbers up with the lines of her palms.

He is waiting for her at home. He comes during the day, now, though he is shy of the sunlight. The other children stay away from them, and that is all good and well, because she has never liked sharing. The puzzle-piece boy sits across from her on the warped wood of the back porch, stares at the cross of his fragile bone ankles instead of her eyes, and when he tells her exactly where she fits in space, it becomes tangible in her hands. He presents his puppet-strings to her in the way he rests his head against her shoulder, where her fingers can slot in between his birdcage ribs. In return, she takes the butcher’s knife from the kitchen and knights him. The puzzle-piece boy hides, after that, curled up in the space beneath her bed with his knees up to his chest like a shield. She coaxes him out with a bar of chocolate that stains his fingers wet and brown, 81


like he had been playing in the mud. He watches her in wonder while she knits his splintered pieces back together with safety pins and ribbon. “Honey,” they say, the lady behind the desk, the man with the horn-rimmed glasses, and the people who are not her parents. “Honey, he’s not real,” and, “Aren’t you a little old for imaginary friends?” Her skin itches too tight and her shins ache from lengthening, from this strange thing called growing. “That’s what he thinks, too,” she tells them, but they don’t believe her. It’s okay. Adults come and go, come and go, and it only takes two to keep a secret.

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Profile for Annie Branch

Excerpt, Spring 2014  

The Derryfield School's literary magazine

Excerpt, Spring 2014  

The Derryfield School's literary magazine

Profile for abranch