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xcerpt

The anonymous issue

The art and literary magazine of the Derryfield school

Xxxvi, issue I Winter 2012 1


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~ Dedication ~ To Mr. Craig Sellers, Head of the Derryfield School

Front Cover - “Water” Back Cover - “Femme Cowboy” Title Page - “Leave No Trace” 2


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Staff Celine Boutin

Managing Editor Madeline Hodgman

Editor Emmie Lamp, Kate Ridinger

Art Editors Maxine Joselow

Business Editor Mia Sobin

Communications Jamie Cordova, Chelsea Kimball

Publishing Editors Lily Karlin Jim Larson Lindsey Matheos Megan Dillon

Staff

Ms. Josephson

Faculty Advisor

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Table of Contents Higher Highways (poem) …..…………………………………..6 Collage ………………….………………………………………...9 Essay ……………….……………………………………………10 Sketch …………………..………………………………………...12 Dance (poem) …………………………………………………13 Once Chance (poem) …………………………………….……14 Portrait …………………………………………………………...15 Hell (poem) ………………………………………………….... 16 Painting………………….…………………………………….…22 Beauty (poem)………………………………………….……….23 Portrait. .………………………......……………………………….25 The Seat (poem) ……………………………………………….26 Pursuit of Happiness (story) ………………………………27 Painting…………………......……………………………………...29 Gray Cardinal (drawing)……...……………………..…………30 Poem ……………………………………………………………31 Sculpture………………….....……………………………………32 Mile (poem) …………………………………………………….33 Essay ………………….…………………………………………35 Sketch …………………………..………………………………..37

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Wandering Evermore (poem) ………………………….……38 Poem …...………………………………….……………………...40 Painting…………………..……………………………………….41 Sketch …………………………………………………………..42 Grandma (poem)………………………….……………………..43 Sketch …………………..………………………………………..44 Don’t Bother (poem) ……….………………………………….45 Thoughts (poem) ………………….…………………………..46 The Bridge (poem)………………….………………………….47 Painting …………………..……………………………………...48 Poem ….……………………….………………………………….49 The Arms of America (story) ….……………………………50 Painting………………….………………………………………..56 Insanity At Its Finest (essay) …......………………..…………57 Sketch ………………….………………………………………...60 The Rapture of Self (story)…………………..………………61 Poem ………………………………..…………………………….68 Colorful Christmas (drawing) …………………….…………69

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E Higher Highways I slow, then stop…then look behind me. People are zig-zagging On the criss-crossing highways Co-mingling and dispersing And if I stand still I see flying colors. It seems no one stops for a minute to catch up on who they are, Not to update their data chip or re-charge their battery. Meanwhile I’m still figuring out who I am, what I am. I’m not just another Facebook status, a single emotion newsfeed item. I’m more like a range of emoticons, and you’ll have to use them all for me. I can’t hurry around like an Energizer Bunny, like an aimless robot, I have purpose and I don’t plan to waste it. What do you see when you whizz by me, On those rainbow freeways? You can’t possibly see anything good, right? Too fast to see color, too fast to see beauty, too fast to see anything but that small sliver of light up ahead of you that you never ever will reach no matter how long your strides are. You just keep going, going, going …aren’t you tired? Stop. 6


E Come stand with me for a bit. Look at all of them. Such fools, such fools. Can you believe we used to not see either? They think they have it all figured out… Groups of friends, family, pets, sports, free time, laughing, giggling, getting high, drinking… Their happiness is complete I suppose. But I don’t want to be all figured out, To be able to describe my life in a single double spaced page… I want my history to go for a hundred miles, For my influence to touch a thousand people For my words to be ingrained in one million minds… and to still not be finished. People ask me what I like to do, and I say everything, because I want to try everything and experience everything. What do you do? I smile, I cry, I laugh, I whisper, I wonder, I sigh, I regret, I hope, I dream, I puzzle over, I finish, I doubt, I scream, I yell, I leap, I dance, I fall…and I try again. I can’t be described. Don’t even try!!! You can’t be described either. Trust me, you’re too complex for words. Want to know why? A minute ago you were scraping along with the rest of them, being pushed from behind, going at a mind7


E boggling pace, until I pulled you out. Your eyes were glazed over, blind, uncertain…Now they’re wide open. See all that? That’s the world. Look at all that possibility. Until I pulled you over, you didn’t know how fast you were going. Until I gave you a ticket, you didn’t know you were past the limit. Your limit. Drive more carefully next time…got it? Don’t let it all get ahead of you; don’t let your world get caught up in the details. Slow down. See who you can be.

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E untitled I am sure I appear to be the ultimate teenage stereotype: a skinny, blonde, class president who is dating the football captain. How original. To add to the cliché, I ride horses, live in an upper middle class suburb and attend a selective private school. For most people being high school Barbie would be easy, but for me being bendable plastic was not enough. I had the growing desire to add dimension to my neatly packaged life. The flavor I craved came in an unexpected form. The casual knob-twisting began innocently; when my peers’ choice of music –Hip Hop- began to all sound the same, I started the search for a new radio alternative. Country music satisfied me for a few weeks, and then 80’s rock the following month. However, I was still left with a hungry ache during my thirty-five minute commute to school; it was as if I was craving coffee and could only get ahold of decaf. One day this fall, while idly pressing the scan button on my radio, I found the cure for my indelible yearning. My fulfillment came from a most unusual place – an anomaly in my conservative world: National Public Radio. Initially I was ashamed of my newfound love. I began lingering, incognito, in my car until the first bell. I longed to discuss what I heard each morning, but was

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E too afraid of being scoffed at to mention it to my immediate group of friends. Yet, my façade began to slip. During a class debate pertaining to a national flat tax I quoted Renee Montaigne, a reporter on Morning Edition. I blushed hoping no one knew who she was. A girl sitting to my left piped up with, “Oh, I heard that too!” My heart swelled – at last, someone to share in my love of Science Friday on Talk of the Nation! I knew that this girl was a liberal, yet I never would have guessed that she was a secret nerd like me – or in her words, an “informed citizen.” My partner in crime’s self confidence wore off on me. I began to mention what I heard on NPR at the dinner table and in class. Slowly my inner liberal emerged. I started to bring my lunch to school, complete with a cloth napkin, metal spoon, and tofu. My car, to which I snuck out every day during lunch to listen to Word of Mouth, acquired an Appalachian Mountain Club bumper sticker. Wait, Wait…Don’t tell me” began to define my weekends. My conservatism was irrevocably tainted, and I became a more multifaceted version of myself. I still ride my horse, I am still dating my football player, I am still skinny, blonde, and class president. However, I am now a latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, NPR listening, tofu-eating liberal…and proud of it.

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E Dance

Spirits. Lights. Little sprites. Dancing, In the moon lights. Joy upon Thy face. I will sing again.

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E One Chance I felt the sun on me, smiling down, Curled my toes and lips, embracing the sand. He called me his princess, gave me a crown, Jumping the waves, my daddy took my hand.

My childhood passed, my innocence was lost, I took from him, betrayed every day; His pain and his tears were not worth the cost. I became a monster, and he was my prey.

I moved far away as soon as I could, Never called or visited; I was done. Little did I know, I misunderstood That he was precious; goodbye had begun.

Now that he’s gone, my memories crush me. And when I miss him, I think of the sea.

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E Hell You have to understand This is what I think Of Hell And of you Two nouns Not synonymous, But maybe they are First off, Hell Dante says there are nine circles I say there are none Hell is a comfort zone In a sense A realm of numb A state of being Maybe deriving from an Uncalled for Unwanted Cataclysm That has derived from you But please, Let me finish My thoughts On Hell

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E In Hell, Memories follow (And are known to sporadically attack) You like a swarm of bees How vicious A person in Hell can be Surrounded Or enveloped By the entire population of Hell And still, they will feel Completely Utterly Alone Upon entering Hell, One will find That socializing has become Quite the challenge A challenge that, Perhaps, Can only be compared to scaling the Great Mount Everest After one night in Hell, It might be found That it isn’t easy anymore 17


E To sleep as per usual Periodically, Almost methodically, One will wake up and not be able to find The blatant comfort Of deep sleep Occasionally, Hell delivers you a care package Of razor blades and vodka and pills What did you expect from Hell? Seeing as one may be Uncannily Bored and Uninteresting and Unmoved and Unmotivated by anything else Hell may offer, The care package seems alight. Please, put down the razor Put away the vodka Don’t swallow those pills My final thoughts about hell Come in the form of a warning: Watch out; Hell will Willingly Devour 18


E Everything On to you, Many of my thoughts on you Are probably (Most likely) Too crude (Impolite) To put here So, reader, remember this: The rest of my words are written with The utmost caution Discipline And, most importantly, A strict filter You Put Me In Hell You dragged me down here While you looked for your own escape route Me, caught by surprise By somebody I Trusted

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E To be fair, I had hurt you But now, You’ve hurt me too Rewind, Back to before Hell, Before I screw up And kick-start our decline We were happy. But nobody could tell, I couldn’t tell, That you really weren’t Hell had already delivered you that care package I wish I had noticed I think this daily Routinely Too often Fast forward again, I’ve already screwed up You’ve already forgiven me Thus begins my Slow (And at first, unnoticed) Descent into Hell Present day, We’re not talking 20


E Your choice I had no say in the matter (But not for lack of trying) So, this has been my toast of sorts, To Hell, To you dragging me there Pity It took me so long to see How absolutely terrible You are for me Still, I’ll be waiting in the wings You can’t act forever.

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E Beauty Long legs, Chameleon eyes, Glossy hair, Perfect eyes.

Why would anyone notice me, without such grace and symmetry?

I wish, I wish, I wish I might, Radiate an equal light. I look into a funhouse mirror; It distorts my being-- only flaws are clear.

Dark circles, Lifeless locks, Pudgy tummy, Nails like a hawk’s.

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E My confidence boosts are insincere, Self-deprecation is what I’m programmed to hear. I seek reassurance in every eye. “Someone, tell me I’m pretty!” I want to cry, But somewhere I know that the mirror tells lies. The distortion is invisible to all but my eyes.

French nose, Soft, clear skin, Forget-me-not eyes, A winsome grin.

This is the painting that others see, Crafted with skill and a steady hand, “She walks in beauty.” Each curve, each pigment, each stroke is dear, This is the girl who looks back through the mirror.

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E The Seat The cold, blue plastic seat. How uninviting and reserved! But it is still warm from where you were sitting. In that cold, blue plastic seat, the warmth embraces me, both delightful and sickening.

I can still smell the faint aroma of your lavender-rose perfume. The smell surrounds me, both delicious and nauseating.

A single strand of your long, golden hair imprints its shadow on misty windows. Through the mist, which distorts the image of the outside world, colors and lights whizz like a surreal kaleidoscope perpetually stirred by an infatuated child.

I am enamored, yet dissatisfied.

Your Love, The man who sat in your seat after you left the bus.

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E Pursuit of Happiness A “normal� day of my future happiness would have a combination of factors, which would all contribute to my general well-being and development as an individual in society. I would start my day off, waking up at my own time, not having to bother with any alarms to warn me of any pre-designate destinations. I would have my favorite breakfast, boiled egg with soldiers, while listening to my favorite music. Then I would go on my customary meander around the surrounding neighborhood, casually conversing with locals about local trivial events and ideas. Returning to my residence, I would venture out into my gardens to sample some of my Persian poetry. Out in the garden I would be accompanied by my collection of majestic animals, each one showing deep affection for their master. I would eventually go to work at the American embassy in New Delhi via rickshaw. I would repeatedly stop off at local vendors to top-off my favorite Indian drink, a mango Lassie. Upon arriving at the embassy, I would be allowed (as usual) to select

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E the meetings I wished to attend, based on my interests, in connection to American politics. These meetings, after one hour, would all be concluded with a series of Bollywood dance routines, each explicitly tailored to entertain. Finishing up at the embassy, I would travel to the local Hooka bar (near my residence) to meet up with friends. I would consume Kalyani Black Label until I became blissfully ignorant of the world around me, not knowing whether or not my moral inhibitions are at all restrained. I would be completely open to act without fear of being judged, to allow my subconscious to fully express its dormant desires. Eventually I would awaken a couple of hours later, finding myself lying within the chambers of my pavilion on my personal Tempurpedic bed. To a degree I would be sober and without any sign of a hangover looming over me. To pass the time until I would eventually return to sleep, I would sit in the gardens surrounding my residence, drinking chai and entertaining myself with a series of games and puzzles. I would eventually start to doze off, and without any issue, I would be able to bring myself, at a sloth’s pace, back to my quarters. 28


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“Gray cardinal”

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E Untitled The phonograph’s voice is broken in the shell of an empty room (it used to sing of why, will be ‘til nevers began to play).

Why, will be (the greatest hymns the phonograph hummed them, all by all). The air they made sway both up and down, then, stop, the nevers came.

The nevers killed the phonograph’s voice in the shell of the empty room (and now the air is flat and static forever ‘til why, will be).

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E Mile As I walk along the path of life I remember all the times we have laughed But even as the laughs grew thin We remained in the clouds And the sun shone down on all When the snow began to fall And so did we As time passed, daffodils bloomed Yet the laughs were still thin And I wanted more I wanted him to joke again, Play around and embrace the joy High school only comes once. It’s not that I don’t enjoy his current state of mind But I think it’s time for him To be a child more than once in a while Even though he runs more than a mile Sometimes it’s hard to find his smile Amongst the books I remember when I could catch him with jokes But now he needs the most intelligent worm that speaks to him in Greek 33


E Yet I still seek Come play and work Life has to be balanced Find the balance and join us We miss your inner child

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E untitled My nose. It protruded like a fisher’s hook between my eyes and cheeks, creating a misaligned midpoint through my circular face. Its sharp deviation blocked the passage of oxygen almost entirely, causing any attempt at breathing through my right nostril to be impossible. My nose was my quirk, the oddity that shaped me. My nose was far from perfect. In fact, it caused any equilibrium or proportion my body had to be completely cartoon-like. Its odd shape jutted out from the contour of my face for what seemed like miles. It made me an individual. In most forms of literature and cinema, my type of nose would be characterized as a witch’s nose; the kind often associated with the villain or villainess of any cartoon or adaptation of the good versus evil story arc. “Big nose Breanna,” they all called me. Throughout both elementary and middle school, my nose was the constant source of ridicule. I became the classic school bully, the mean girl, in order to seem more confident and instill a sense of power in myself. I pointed out other young girls’ flaws to feel better about my own. I took on the role of villainess, fittingly fulfilling the character my nose was associated with. My insecurities reached a pivotal moment when I was in seventh grade. After convincing a childhood friend that she was “too awkward” to continue our 35


E friendship, my class had an intervention. We were told that our behavior was “unacceptable.� Everyone knew who was to blame for this intervention, but I blamed my nose. Perhaps this was cowardly of me to blame a simple structure of miscellaneous bone and cartilage for how I treated people, but I knew my true persona was being masked by my biggest insecurity. Much has changed since I was that awkward and lanky thirteen-year-old girl trying to compensate for my own self-doubts. Instead of trying to work around my nose, which was seemingly impossible due to its size, I learned to work with it. My nose became a defining characteristic, a trademark. I was known as the girl who had the bird’s beak of a nose, but I accepted it. It made me recognizable. My nose made me fearless of any criticism. Now, I no longer have that nose. I underwent a septorhinoplasty this summer because I suffered from several sinus infections a year which interfered with both my health and my ability to sing. Its shape changed, and my identity changed with it. I have been learning to cope with staring myself in the mirror and not recognizing the girl before me. I miss my nose. It taught me the most valuable lesson I have ever had the privilege of understanding: appearance does not define a person; yet the confidence that derives from facing your flaws is timeless. My nose was a part of me, but appearance is a small fraction of the person I have become. 36


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Wandering Evermore

Twinkling lights, Out in the distance, Eyes misting As I look at what I’m leaving, But, a wanderer I am. Traveling Is in my blood. My bones, Made of the rocky paths I travel, Hair, Like rays of the Dawn light, A face made Moonlight As the final decision Is made, And I float off on The wind. With a non-existent body,

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E A wandering ghost. “For Evermore,” The wind whispers. “Evermore… Evermo… Ever… Ev… …”

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E Untitled A “Found” Poem Using words from “The Masque of Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe The eastern chamber hung in blue, vividly in blue. The second purple. Tapestries, ornaments and panes in the apartments. Green, orange, white, violet and the seventh, shrouded in black. Blood tinted panes cause disconcert throughout the whole company.

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E Grandma Go Fish She said with a twinkle in her eye I have no words, I say As she finds the one I did not see Go swim in the lake And come in before dinner Roast marshmallows and put Some bug spray on Awaken to rain Roll a seven The pennies keep dropping Dream big my grandchildren Be brave for you are strong Move on even though I am gone

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E Don’t Bother I cut. There, I said it. I cut myself. On my left hip, That’s where they are. You can think I’m sick, It’s true. I need help. Who else would hurt themselves like this? It’s disgusting. Big surprise; I disgust myself. No wonder. I’m fat. I’m ugly. But if I said that to your face, You would laugh at me. So I won’t tell you. It’s okay, don’t be worried for me. I’m already broken. You can’t harm me any further; There’s nowhere left to break. It’s all broken. Every little piece, smashed to smithereens.

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E Thoughts The weather gets hot and then quickly gets colder Bright rays of sun still shine as we grow older Our thoughts change just as fast as our looks Those thoughts bounce off the rocks of the Rapid-moving brooks. What go through our minds each and every day Are simple words we might never have heart to say. Or maybe it’s the right timing that The words will not receive. But say… perhaps the timing WAS there Despite what you believe. Would you take that challenge to say what you want? Or would you shrink away and Let the words continue to haunt? That decision is not one I could make for you, Or you for me. Maybe you’ll take that crowded path; We’ll have to see… But it’s possible you’ll take the one With fewer marks among. With this choice you’ll be happy You weren’t holding your tongue. Either way, I’d hurry because the weather gets hot, But then quickly gets colder; Those bright rays of sun will still shine But you will always get older. 46


E The Bridge the bridge scares me. not because i’m afraid of heights, but because i see my reflection in the water, beckoning for me to come play. it whispers for me to jump and come down. i’m scared that one day, i might listen to her, and i’ll go play with my reflection in the water.

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E Untitled The wind is sharp As I gaze upon your site. A life full of wonder Reduced To nothing more than a few feet. How will I know now, What to do? I need someone to talk to, That someone was you.

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E The arms of America Anthony stepped off the bus and stretched. It had been a long time since he had smelled the fresh air, and the scent from the Canyon below was heightened by Arizona’s intense heat. All around him there were crowds of people; in his twenty-seven years he had never seen so many nationalities in the same place, except perhaps back in the army. The tourists were milling about without a care, and Anthony gave a sharp burst of laughter at their ignorance. He began to shuffle away from the group, and Miss Newcomb barely glanced in his direction. It was almost a confirmation that Anthony didn’t need those people anymore. He quickly made his way to the chain link fence between photographers and their subjects, despite the looks of aggravation. Leaning over the edge, he saw the ribbed Canyon below and thought of his wife Joanna. She would have loved this. He thought of her perfect smile and how she would laugh melodically as she peered over the edge. Mostly, he thought of her

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E bright blue eyes the only eyes in the world who really knew him. His own eyes, a dull brown, scanned the Canyon below. No danger. He adjusted his baseball cap so it wouldn’t fall off. Ever since Vietnam, he’d needed something on his head, and they wouldn’t let him wear his helmet anymore. He used to be able to wield an M-15 without clenching a muscle, but now his muscle had melted away, and he clenched his jaw all the time. He was still a soldier, and even though they had taken him out of combat, the battlefield had stayed with him. He jumped, suddenly aware, and turned to scan the crowd. The Spanish family was still taking pictures. The Indian family was fussing with a map. A Swedish group was being led by a flustered tour guide. Anthony relaxed: no danger. But there was something…. A disturbance that he was unable to name kept his murky eyes on the crowds and clumps of people. The people began to blur and swim together. They became a fluctuating mass, constantly changing and flowing like the swamps of Vietnam on a monsoon day. Anthony lost focus; he needed something to pay 51


E attention to, something to grab on to before the merciless tide swallowed him up. He found it. He had to look twice. It was a small girl dressed in a blue checked jumper with small mary-janes. She had tiny red lips, a ski-jump nose, and sandy blond hair done in two braids sealed with bows. But what Anthony was most taken by were those piercing blue eyes that knew him. The little girl tilted her head. Her face was expressionless, but her eyes read, “Follow me.” Anthony knew exactly what he had to do. Just like he knew what to do when he came back from the big white building. After four months there, it had been easy to get out; all he had to do was lie. They let him out, and he called up a taxi home, thinking of his lovely Joanna. He remembered the first return, after the war was over: Joanna was so happy to see him that she cried. It would be just like that with his second return. But when Anthony got to his old house that day, Joanna wasn’t there. She was gone. All her things were gone. All of his things were gone too. But more 52


E importantly, their future was gone. Because Joanna had left with their baby. After the first return, the one when Joanna was there, Anthony had done everything to protect her, just like in the army. He’d hear the beep of what sounded like a radio communication and jump on the alert until he could make the call: no danger. It would happen on subways, in restaurants, even in his own house with the TV on. He was a good soldier, protecting his Joanna. After a month or so, he learned he was protecting his baby too, and it made him extra careful. He had to protect his family - his future. Then Anthony noticed Joanna crying more often and making lots of phone calls, and then one day he was in the big white building. For four months he sat within chalky white walls and dreamed of his baby. He just knew it would be a girl. She would have Joanna’s bright blue eyes. And there she was, standing in front of him in her little blue jumper with her hair in bows. The crowd swarmed and snarled around them, and he needed to protect and save and hold onto his little girl before they both got swallowed up. It was like Lieutenant

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E Smith giving an official order: his body snapped to attention, and he blindly followed. It was that same drive, that blind following of orders, which made him do what he did on his second return. Anthony had realized what to do as he walked through his empty house. It was a command, and there was no other option, because Joanna had betrayed him. As a soldier, you didn’t question. You just did. You were the Arms of America. You followed the Brains back home. You trusted your commands and carried them out without fail. On the second return Anthony knew that the memories had to go, and as he watched flickers and then flames crawl up the walls, he knew he had done right. It was fitting: they had burned their dead comrades-in-arms in Vietnam, and his comrade-in-arms was dead to him. But their daughter was not. She practically shone with life. She turned to him with a slight smile and began to walk a little faster. And he followed her because he had to. He didn’t know where Miss Newcomb and the others had gone, but that was okay because he didn’t need them anymore. What he needed was the child in front of him who was running towards the chain link 54


E fence. He finally caught up with her at the edge, and he was running fast, and he tried to grab onto her with her braids and bows and jumper, but then she wasn’t there. And suddenly, there was absolutely nothing to hold on to. “Where’s Anthony?” asked Miss Newcomb, as the others in her care filed onto the long white bus.

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E Insanity at its finest I am, without a doubt, insane on all counts. This is the best conclusion that I could arrive at after considering the extremely intense and occasionally dangerous situations I put myself through daily. Every evening between five and nine, I push my body past its physical limits, take harsh critique, and compete with not only every other girl in the room, but myself. I struggle day in and day out for a taste of perfection and to feed an undying will to be the best, for myself and for others. Some days I can actually hear my body screaming at me to stop working so hard (cries that are soon silence by Aleve and ice). Though mentally and physically grueling, I have a passion for dance that is unmatched by anything I have come to experience in my life. I find so much joy and reward in the struggle and fight with my own mind and body to produce beauty and perform at my best. Every day I knowingly enter a world that makes me feel a little nutty, but I absolutely cannot live with out it. I thrive on the critique and hunger for the competition that keeps me focused, alert, and ready to attack whatever is thrown at me. Dance is my passion, and it has always been my outlet to express myself and my emotions. Even in my darkest of days, dance has always helped to shed a little light, and I’m a happier person for it. It allows me a means to channel 57


E every stress and insecurity that has ever haunted me and use it towards a positive outcome. Nothing has ever come close to the feeling that comes over me when I perform, that initial rush from entering the stage to the evolution of my character, the story I’m telling the audience, and my exploration of their emotions as the story unfolds. I get the chance to transform into whatever character I want to be and express what I’m really feeling with total confidence in myself. Perhaps it is not within the struggle and competition that my insanity lies, but within my unending desire and perpetual need to dance. Every day, the itch to dance creeps through my every nerve. All that I long for is to be at the studio just living in my element and having the freedom to be who I really am, devoid of the stereotypical, societal confines. It can be challenging at times to try and fit into the mold that society forms for girls nowadays, but dance is my own way of breaking that mold in an environment where quirks are desired and exceeding boundaries is nurtured. For me, the best moment of every day is walking through those studio doors into that hot, humid, smelly room and stepping onto that floor, drenched with the remnants of my heart and soul from the day before, and just leaving it all out there. At the risk of sounding corny or generic, I really feel as though I have truly found my place, and I’ve figured out what it is I am supposed to be doing with myself. I’ve tried to imagine my life without dance, but 58


E I realized that I would be living in someone else’s story. Dance has become a part of me, embedded deep enough inside me that I have no choice but to pursue it to the fullest. I’ve embraced the world of dance whole heartedly, unafraid of what the future holds. I know that with my drive and enthusiasm I can achieve anything I set out to do.

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E The Rapture of Self He sat in the high-ceilinged kitchen, wrapped with blue damask stripes along walls that cut into the gray clouds, which were not actually gray but more of a dead blue streaked with charcoal, the day after God found him. For he had cried unto the Lord: “Give unto me a sign, that thou may be revealed.� And as he said this (in more colloquial syntax), the Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim clamored to form an encore, and they (the Cherubim) clumsily clapped arrows to their curved bows, and proclaimed that something ought to be done, as they had never done before in the arched dome of the heavens. And a dove down dove1 to the bed of him (the man) covered (the bed) with damask sheets drenched with hope and sweat. By now the coffee2 (in the pot, in the kitchen) had cooled, condensing, little bubbles forming on the ________________________________________ 1

(Sic.)

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Always drunk black

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E inside of the clear pot. It was always the same amount of coffee, never tea, caffeine needed to produce the day, even as rain showers down itself upon thirsting plans, while crusty farmers watch from their tincovered hovels and mutter among themselves, chills in their bones as they lift aluminum pails into desiccating troughs. The sky shone brilliantly, actually, through the kitchen’s morning light, more flowing in as he continued to look. A contrast, he thought, between the night, when it is only self, and God, and her, and them, in the hypnotic beat. That night before, from which he was now recovering, the night (after all the other nights) when God found him, and he (the man) was revealed to, that he (God) is there and manifests himself3 in the munificence of her, under the pale black light of not the night but of lamps on unadulterated white. For he had called upon God, and God answered ________________________________________ 3

Or herself, for that matter, not that there really is a difference in

the gender of the ultimate being (isn’t there one – being), but if there is an issue, assume that himself is really ‘itself’ or, more hyphonetically, ‘his/herself’ 4 God obviously did not say this

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saying “Wanna dance?” twice as himself but through the mouth of her, causing the seraph to cease their song. How un-Angelic was she – for the hair was long and black in the light, and shoulders around and wearing white, and legs that receded away towards the floor that was sticky and packed with the stress and emotions of college and midterms and preliminary finals, hot and cold and tall and short crammed5 together out of some desperate need to be alone with a partner in the midst of others. But the legs and the eyes and the lips (all hers) moved and said, “Do you believe?” and he did and he does as much as he believes that it takes thirty-five seconds to heat up a partially-filled cup of stone-cold coffee in the little black microwave with the table that only turns 3π/2 before reversing direction. He had noted that he did not remember how she became attached to him and could not remember any of The Time before, but one is not supposed to doubt God and doubt he did not. The television was

________________________________________ 5

Actually, more attracted to each other like Cheerios™ in a bowl

of milk, just that the bowl is a dance-location

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E on, and for the first time life in there (the TV) felt less real than life then (dancing) or now, or was it now and6 then that he felt than7 then8. At that one point the nexus of God’s influence coalesced around him, emitting high-pitched synthesizers and electronic noise from oversized, black gridded, mesh speakers perched upon slender poles. The Gospel according to him, then at that point, would most likely read something like this: “Hey.” ________________________________________ 6

and/or

7 than,

conj. Pronounciation: ( /ðən/ ; as a separate word called / ðæn/ ) Forms: α. OE–ME ð-, þonne, (OE ðone, ðon); β. OE ðanne, þænne, OE–ME þanne, ME þæne, ME þane... Etymology: Old English þanne , þonne , þænne , also þan , þon ... Definition: a. The conjunctive particle used after a comparative adjective or adverb (and sometimes after other words: see senses 2-4) to introduce the second member of the comparison; the conjunction expressing the comparative of inequality (cf. as adv. 3). In use it is always stressless, usually joined accentually to the preceding word, e.g. more than, less than, other than c. Followed by that, or by inf. expressing a hypothetical result or consequence. OED Online ©2011 Oxford University Press. Easily confused with ‘then.’ 8 then, adv. (conj., adj., and n.) Pronounciation: /ðɛn/ Etymology: Old English þanne , þǫnne , þænne , þenne , Middle English þenne , þan , þen ... Definition: a. Demonstrative adverb of time. OED Online ©2011 Oxford University Press. Please stop confusing with ‘than’!!

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E Wow what is going on wait why did I “Hey.” This is going completely differently from what I would have previously thought “This is really fun.” Understatement “…” Uh oh no response does that mean I am wrong or is it a good thing I hate ellipses “…” Thank God for ellipses “Yeah. Dance?” This is too easy “Sure.” No not complaining at all “Cool.” I cannot in any singular fashion reason at this moment9 “…” ________________________________________ 9

Ironically a reasonable-sounding statement

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E Did I say that out loud Need something to say “Music’s pretty good.” Oh come on that’s so weak you can do better than that don’t hate me “Yup.” For God had heard and God had answered sending her or her being sent for just fifty-five minutes of unbroken St. Theresa-like revelation, that light bulb moment in Algebra, jumping off the cliff when feeling that tug in the diaphragm flipping over the edge, the sensation of learning to fly and you know you can’t stop but once it is over it will never be grasped again, for you savor, breathing deeply, the stray hair in the way of the perfume and the vision. And yet the vision is all that remains in the room with the blue damask walls with glorious shining light poured in, coffee consumed metabolizing in his system, slowly firing neurons and poking the brain, clearing the fog10 of the room (last night) from the throbbing head, not with a headache but with that beat-stamping like they did over the great Khan’s grave. ________________________________________ 10

More presumably condensed sweat

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E For God had found him and had a sign handed over. It came as a bolt of lightning, and he knew that fleeting flash would float away as soon as she had arrived. He (the man) did not lament or hold anything against God or whosoever is up above, for they had been justified, and he had been satisfied, and that one night proved to be enough, for he knew that it was better than any rebuff.

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E Untitled Your big brown eyes, Those un-severable ties, Through you I can uncover Solitude’s demise. Past deceptions of forever, Haunt my conscience. However, Through you I do discover True human endeavor. So I lie here watching the moon wane Because your absence seems to be my bane. Through you, my love forever, I’ll never again feel pain.

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E

“Colorful Christmas”

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Profile for Annie Branch

Excerpt, Winter 2012  

The art and literary magazine of The Derryfield School.

Excerpt, Winter 2012  

The art and literary magazine of The Derryfield School.

Profile for abranch