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Tiger PAWS

St. Philip’s College Volume 7, Issue 2 Fall 2018


Tiger P.A.W.S. (Personal Academic Writing Space)

St. Philip’s College Volume 7, Issue 2 Fall 2018

Cover Art: Regional at Best By Brandy Bernice Guitron Digital Art Cover Design: Phuc Gia Bao Nguyen

Tiger P.A.W.S. is a student publication consisting of prose, poetry, art, and photography created by currently enrolled St. Philip’s College students. The student editorial staff reviews dozens of submissions, selects works to be published, and creates the journal layout each fall and spring semester. The selected works may not reflect the attitudes or opinions of St. Philip’s College or the Department of Communications and Learning.


Acknowledgments The Tiger PAWS staff wishes to thank the following: Dr. Erick Akins—Title III Director, Title III Grant Management Dr. Diane Gavin—Chair, Communications & Learning Dr. Audrey Mosley—Faculty, Communications & Learning Dr. Jeanette Passty—Faculty, Communications & Learning Lauri Humberson—Faculty, Communications & Learning Dr. David Torres—Faculty, Fine Arts Velia De La Rosa—Administrative Services Specialist, Communications & Learning Shannon Gonzales—ICT/Client Support Specialist Enida Rehome,—Educational Support Services Kim Thompson—Facilities Coordinator

Hope Center Church The UPS Store Department of Communications & Learning St. Philip’s College Public Relations Department St. Philip’s College Media Services

©2018 St. Philip’s College Selections for Tiger PAWS are printed with the permission of the authors and artists cited. Copyright reverts to authors and artists immediately after publication.


Editorial Staff Student Staff:

Faculty Staff:

Ezequiel Acosta

Dr. Karen Cunningham

Francisco Chavez

Alicia Dominguez

Michael Chembars

Stephanie Gibson

Daniel Davalos

Spencer Key-Galvan

Alexis De Leon Lindner

Jamie Miranda

Doreen Garza Hansen

Marissa Ramirez

Martina Guitron

San Juan San Miguel

Rodnekka Hall Danielle Nadeau Julieta Nations

Phuc Gia Bao Nguyen Esmeralda Olivares Amanda Olveda Saren Perales Vanessa Perez Reshonna Rifenbury

Submissions for the next edition of Tiger PAWS in Spring 2019 will be accepted through March 8, 2019. Enrolled SPC students are encouraged to submit essays, short stories, and poetry in English or Spanish, as well as artwork, and/or photography.


Table of Contents Entanglement by Julieta Nations ..…..……………………….………………. “Fluoride and Cavity” by James Dale Kotchey..………………….. “Sixth Grade Life Change” by Conley Boatright .………………. “Nineties-Rosa: An Ode to Giovanni’s ‘Nikki-Rosa’” by Emily Hawley………………………………..…………………….……. “I Don’t Want to Go” by Daniel Paramo …………………....……….. “The Sword” by Tikisha Franklin.……….....................................

8 9 10

Stargazing by Danielle Nadeau……………………………....................... “Just the Moon and the Stars” by Arianna Chavez..……..…...

16 17

The City beyond Cities by Kimberly Simmons..……………….………. “Lonely City Lights” by Neyma Cerna……..….……………………….

18 19

Native Cheetah by Juan Crispin………………………………………………… “Child of the Moon and Sun” by Joselyne De Leon..………….. “The Frog” by Tikisha Franklin……..……………………………………….

20 21 23

Galactic Orchids by Brandy Bernice Guitron……………………..…… “Ebony” by Kayla Wilson…………………..………..………………….………

24 25

Path of Success by Saren Perales..……..………………….……………..…... “Grandma’s Porch” by Rodnekka Hall....…………………..…..……. “I Am Not a Victim” by Jasmine Richardson..………………..…...

26 27 29

I Am Me by Oscar Gonzalez…..…………………………..…………………… “Record Player” by Sidney Walker..……..…………………….………..

30 31

Ruby, Take My Hand by Brandy Bernice Guitron..…...……………. “Blood Heart” by Tikisha Franklin...………..……………..…………….

32 33

Shelter from the Rain by Lindsay Swaim...………………….……….……. “The Call of Duty” by Enrique Ortiz.………………...……….…………

34 35

Before the Movie by Oscar Gonzalez ...………..…………..………………. “My Love for Her Is Immeasurable” by Monica Ridge.…..…

38 39

A New Normal by Danielle Nadeau……………………………....………… “More than What Is Seen” by Cristy Medina .…………..……….

40 41

Elephants of the Kingdom by Vanessa Perez...…………………………… “Family Love” by Aracely Rangel ……………..…………………………..

42 43

Wildfire Lake by Noah Rairdon…………..………..……………………...….



12 14 15

Table of Contents “The Lonely Dandelion” by Jessalyn Reyes..……....……………...


Blood Stained Leaves by Daniel Davalos …………………………..……… “The Love That Got Away” by Dexter Aniekwena…...…...…

46 47

Remembering My Uncle by Oscar Gonzalez …………………….…..…. “Mijito” by James Martinez…………..………………………………………..

48 49

The Steel Bamboo Forest by Phuc Gia Bao Nguyen………………….


Triparoo by Madison Lewis………………………………………………..…… “Those Three Words” by Micah Klassen.…………………………….

52 53

Stop and Smell the Ocean by Lindsay Swaim…………....……………… “Selfish Mama!” by Robert Yanez…………....……………………………

56 57

A Rose of Education by Damaris Atilano…..…………………………….. “Coffee Bliss” by Ixzamara Sopon…………..…………………………….

58 59

Online Beauty by Brandy Bernice Guitron…………………………...... “Where I’m From” by Essie Richardson.…….……………………….

60 61

Mountain by Yolanda Martinez……………...………………………………. “The Last Irishman of Howard County” by Willis Roberts

62 63

Sunset Dreams by Vanessa Perez……..……………………………………….


My Home-brew DND Land by Armando Urdiales.…………………. “Elves” by Amber Martinez..…………………………………………………..

66 67

Azul by Oscar Gonzalez………………………………….………………………. “Life Is Precious; Open Your Eyes” by Amber Martinez..…

68 69

Nightmare by Emanuel DeJesus……………………………………………….. “A Misused Curse” by Maya Joy Zenon……………………………….

70 71

Dog Days of Summer by Billy Linares……………………………...………. “Oh, Maizie, My Maizie” by Madison Brummett.………………

72 73

The Dreaded Fish of Death by Reshonna Rifenbury………………… “Going to Swim Practice” by Alex Garriga………………………….

74 75

1964 1/2 by Oscar Gonzalez……………………………………………………… “My Grandfather's Spurs Cap” by Grecia Sanchez……………. St. Philip's Guitar Ensemble…………………………………………………… Our Judges ………………………..……………………...………………………………

76 77 78 79


Entanglement by Julieta Nations



“Fluoride and Cavity” by James Dale Kotchey

When there is ever present in the procurement of a life-sustaining body something nourishing in its proper capacity. . . they will convince you that it kills. Because it can. Nothing was ever so simply designed – it’s actually a causing agent in that its presence sustains what foundations are made of, a resulting agent in that it’s naturally a byproduct of coexistence, and a combustion agent almost entirely present, if minimally, in every stage of life. And still, you’ll let them convince you that its inception is designed by our own hands to poison – This is what they will do to us. And you have ultimately and systematically hollowed an irreparable damage upon yourself… perhaps even unintentionally, and the ramifications leave a piece of you exposed – an internal piece of you that feels like you don’t even want to know – This is what we do to each other. —— a painful combination —— fluoride & cavity


“Sixth Grade Life Change” by Conley Boatright

Never would I have thought that the little mustard-colored classroom covered in educational posters, Bible verses, and of course the alphabet, would be where I would learn some of the most valuable lessons of my life. Jamesetta McKnight is a tall, older, yet no one actually knows her age, African American lady. I guess one could say she is classified as a “professional teacher,” who can give one quick glare, and every one of her students would fall silent and behave themselves. Before having her as a teacher myself, I had only heard scary rumors about her. The kids claimed she was very strict and mean. Though her being strict is true, she definitely does not have one mean bone in her body. She actually is one of the sweetest, most caring, influential teachers I have ever known. Because of Mrs. McKnight, I am now more responsible, godly, and confident. Within the walls of that little yellow classroom, I learned responsibility. Not surprisingly, Mrs. McKnight was very strict when it came to turning things in on time, and she never changed the due dates to my advantage. She held me accountable for doing my work. If I did not meet these standards, she was highly disappointed, and she made sure I knew it. By applying this pressure, it helped me to be more conscientious. It became evident how important responsibility is even in the smallest of things. This valuable lesson would help me throughout my whole life. It would help me in school, college, and later on when I pursue the job of my dreams. I remain thankful that this “professional teacher” embedded this important attribute, responsibility, into my little sixth-grade mind. In like manner, Mrs. McKnight not only helped me grow mentally but also spiritually in godliness. This exceptional teacher remains one of the strongest believers in God that I have ever met. She is never afraid to share what she believes with anyone. She prays constantly about each one of her current as well as past students. She is friendly, and every time I passed by her in school, she always cheerfully remarked, “Well, hello, Miss Boatright! How are we doing today? How is your mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa? Tell them I 10

said, ‘Hello.’ I have been praying for y’all!” She made my day! Jesus’ light most definitely shines through Mrs. McKnight, and Mrs. McKnight, and there is no doubt that everyone can see it. After exposure to this extraordinary lady, I decided to be more like her by living a more godly life. To this day, I am still trying my best to be a Christ-like role model. If it were not for Mrs. McKnight and her godly example, I would probably not be the strong Christian I am today. Finally, Mrs. McKnight taught me to not doubt myself or my abilities. I am definitely a perfectionist, always pushing myself to be my best. I hate that I cannot be perfect all the time, but at least now I know that it is clearly impossible. I always turned in my homework, submitted assignments on time, and always studied hard for every test. Even though I was well prepared for the tests, unfortunately, I was extremely nervous to take them. By doing this, I was doubting my knowledge as well as my studying abilities. I lacked the confidence. Being the “professional teacher” that she was, Mrs. McKnight took notice. She often would tease me. She would say, “ Stop worrying! You’re going to get an ulcer!” Although she said this jokingly, I knew, deep down, that she meant it in all seriousness. She let me know I needed to have faith in myself, and I believe this is a very important lesson for everyone to learn. Helen Keller once pondered, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Putting faith in myself more often has made a huge difference in my life, and without Mrs. McKnight to help me do this, I would still be the worrisome perfectionist that I was in middle school. At the close of my sixth-grade year, Mrs. McKnight had taught me many beneficial lessons. In fact, I could write a book about all the things she taught me. Some of them were very small life lessons while others were huge and extremely important. I only shared three of the important ones, but I know that all of them shaped me to be the responsible, confident, God-loving person that I am today. She influenced me to take my education seriously and do my best. I was so blessed to have Mrs. McKnight as a teacher. I only wish that everyone could have an amazing teacher that impacts their life like she impacted mine. A good education is not always about the books and grades; sometimes, it is the teacher that you learn from the most. 11

“Nineties-Rosa: An Ode to Giovanni’s ‘Nikki-Rosa’” by Emily Hawley

Childhood remembrances are always a drag If you never got to have one. You remember things like the days in your mother’s car With no dinner Or lunch Or breakfast And when you grow up You never get to talk about how content you were To have the stars as your ceiling And the pavement as your bed How nice it felt when the tank of your home Was full of gas And the entire world was at your mother’s fingertips. When you talk about your first house, No one hears the resignation Or understands that to have a house Isn’t To Be Happy They imagine the holes in your clothes


And the dirt on your shoes And the salt in your hair

And assume that’s all you felt too To them, a house is safety To them, a house is contentment To them, a House is a Home But they will never understand that my star roof and Pavement bed were my Home more than a house could ever be And that, then, I was happy


“I Don’t Want to Go” by Daniel Paramo

You held my legs one night; I cried into your chest the next. The problem came from me, But I threw it on you instead. My mind is overworked, But my heart is full. We live apart, and it hurts me so. I hate this so much; I just don’t want to go.


“The Sword� by Tikisha Franklin

Strong and sturdy It is clutched in the hand of its master Piercing foes with every blow

It knows no right or wrong For the hand that wields it Decides its destiny

Good or Evil, it has no rights

But every strike has a story That shows the life it must live

As a slave to its wielder It bleeds for answers that never come But the blood will forever be on its hands


Stargazing by Danielle Nadeau

Photograph 16

“Just the Moon and the Stars” by Arianna Chavez

You have been by my side in the sky watching over me as I grew up. The moon, the stars, you lit up the night sky; you sparkled while witnessing my tears of problems drop on to my wooden staircase to my back porch of my house. The comfort of your presence kept me at peace as my mind was full of thoughts overflowing in my head. There were times where I couldn’t express my feelings, so I would write them out on paper; that is how I would speak to you. I would write to you as if you would read it soon. At times, I would even just lie in the grass and stare at the night sky, listening to the wind, as my troubles and regrets from my past filled my mind. You have inspired me more than anything; you inspired me to be stronger, to be more self-reliant, to be different, to be who I am; most of all you inspired me to always be curious and explore beyond our universe. The sound of the wind and the warmth of your presence, a necessity I need at the end of a long day. I wish there was a way to thank you for being there for me when I felt like no one else was. There is no better meaningful way to say thank you without using your words. Thank you for the inspiration and advice you have given me over the years. Thank you for always being by my side. Thank you for lighting up the night, whether there was cloud cover or no clouds at all. Thank you for accepting me for who I am, who I want to be as I continue to grow. Thank you for all that you taught me and have done for me. Beneath you, just the moon and the stars.


The City beyond Cities by Kimberly Simmons

Photograph 18

“Lonely City Lights” by Neyma Cerna

alone at night she gazes at the city lights trying so hard to figure out why, she hopes the sound of her heart breaking answers why it was broken. she pictures you, holding her tight and she’s filled with butterflies. she yells at the sky still asking why, wakes up and realizes, it was all in her mind.


Native Cheetah by Juan Crispin

Photograph 20

“Child of the Moon and Sun” by Joselyne De Leon

I've come to an epiphany that I'm not the world’s, and the world is not mine I'm the daughter of the moon and the sun I am no one’s, and no one is mine My soul cannot be weighed down to conform to the chains of this life This life of perpetual deception and war Before my heart had chains around it and shook tremendously But those chains were broken with a loud "Clang!" As I realized what was happening, I looked up to the sun And its brilliance radiated me with peace and light and joy I shut my eyes, and the warmth on my eyelids was ever so comforting I was finally home Under the firm grasp of the sun You see, I'm a wild child My heart beats ever so fervently at my childlike tendencies I'm alive with rash decision-making I cannot stay in one place I must keep growing The wind in my face, the flowers in my hair, the moon shining in my eyes That is what people see Now what we feel is something else When we love, it consumes us with a passion that is so strong it could only stem from a celestial being I've loved and been loved And, yes, I said I belonged to nobody, but that was a lie 21

My body and soul belong to the love of my life For without him, there would be nothing left of me Only the embers of a flame without an end The dust that would be my body would be dispersed over the Earth And I would come back as a tree, yearning for my lover to come graze me If you didn't know this, I am a moon baby Which means I see galaxies in his eyes And the very existence of humanity is for me to find my soulmate And I found him Under the shade of a coconut tree waiting for me to come join him in an adventure But the truth is he keeps me safe, and I keep him wild We are both on this adventure called life Where everything is unpredictable One day we are here Yet tomorrow we are only a memory Of simpler times But what fun would we have without the extremes of passion and love and happiness I am one with the earth


“The Frog” by Tikisha Franklin

Hop, hop, hop Across the river the frog moves Hop, hop, hop, the frog jumps on the lily pad Following the river to find its next spot to call home

The river runs green like the grass on a summer day Yet the frog is not taken by the swampy waters Hop, hop, hop, the frog jumps from one lily pad to another Until it spots another frog in the distance

The frog’s eyes begin to sparkle as it moves closer Hop, hop, hop, the frog jumps on the same lily pad To discover it was a female frog as radiant as the sun His eyes couldn’t look away from her

As she looks deep into his eyes that pierce through her heart They stare at each other as the lily pad flows down the river The frog doesn’t have to hop anymore For he realizes his journey has ended; he is home


Galactic Orchids by Brandy Bernice Guitron

Digital Art 24

“Ebony� by Kayla Wilson

Black is not scary or any form of fright. Black is what holds the glistening stars at night. Black is fierce and strong yet gentle and kind. Black is the juiciest berries we make into our wine. Black is the passionate will to win his fight. Black is the powerful back that sustained every strike. Black is the great Stallion running free in the wind. Black is the gorgeous array of melanin within. Black is coal from which diamonds are formed. Black is the dark gold that kept us warm. Black is the thick, full, and bodacious body parts. Black is the beating drums we have in our hearts. Black is the strong stature that can withstand burdens of time. Black is not ugly. Black is divine. Black is not silent or afraid or weak. Black is beautiful beyond belief. 25

Path of Success by Saren Perales

Photograph 26

“Grandma’s Porch” by Rodnekka Hall

“Come out to the porch with me and sweep before the sun goes down. Don’t sweep the trash out the door once it’s dark unless you want to see someone you love go to jail.” “No, ma’am, Big Momma.” “It’s alright to roam around the yard barefoot in the summer. If you catch cold in the winter, put Vick’s chest rub under your feet and wear wool socks. Always keep your heals oiled up when wearing sandals. People look at you from feet to head, not head to toe. Soft pedicured feet are a must unless you want to replace your bed sheets every month.” “No, ma’am, I would rather buy pretty dresses with my money.” “Don’t pop your knuckles. No man gone put a ring on a woman’s hand bigger than his with black knuckles. Take your church outfit out on Saturday evening. That way you won’t run late for Sunday school.” “Do I have to go every Sunday when I get grown?” “This is how you check your stockings for runs before you put them on. Always go to church looking your best. Never come as you are. The Lord don’t bless no mess, chile. Don’t go being too familiar with them mannish boys down at the church either. Make sure to sit with your legs crossed. Everybody don’t need to know your business. The secret to fabulous hair on special occasions is to always keep a good wig on hand.” “But I’m not bald-headed, Big Momma.” “Unless you learn to cook, you will never keep a man. He will always go sniffing in other women’s kitchens when he gets hungry. Always clean your meat with apple cider vinegar before you season it, especially pork. You see them pigs out there. They is something nasty. Keep some apple cider vinegar in the bathroom too. It does 27

the same to your body when you not feeling so fresh.” “That stuff stinks, Big Momma.” “Back to this cooking, chile. Season your meat then season your flour. Mix them up together in a paper sack while your grease get hot. Season your collards with turkey necks and your red beans with neck bones. If you cooking that turkey on Thanksgiving, you best take it out by Monday to thaw. Save the gizzard pieces to mix in the cornbread dressing. Don’t leave the food out overnight; it will spoil. Don’t put the food in the icebox while it’s still too hot; it will spoil. The first two sweet recipes you will learn by heart is 7-Up pound cake and teacakes. Do not be like your mother. She never learned to bake; that’s why all her ex-husbands always got caught sniffing in other women’s kitchens for something sweet to eat. If you gone make a pound cake, take your butter out at night before bed so it will be soft. You can make the cake early morning before the chirren wake up. If they run around the house, your cake gone fall flat. Most important thing is to learn your husband’s favorite dish. Make it good, just like he likes it. If he still goes sniffing in other women’s kitchens, it’s because he is a dog. Now, you can go trying to figure out life on your own if you want. These the things your great-grandmother Ella Margarett raised me up on. I didn’t listen until three husbands and five chirren later. But listen here, a hard head makes a soft behind. You hear me? “Yes, ma’am, Big Momma.” (Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”)


“I Am Not a Victim� by Jasmine Richardson

I am not a victim; I am not a victim of your wrongful crimes. I am not a victim of you whipping my back a thousand times. Nor did I sit here and watch my father die, As you lynched him and made him suffer and cry. I am not a victim of you judging my brown skin. I am not victim of what you hating on what I'm working with! Curvy bottom and breast as big as then. I am not a victim of you taking my happiness. I am not a victim of you raping me. Nor am I a victim of you chasing me. I am the lamb of all your crimes, All your crimes all down the line. Slavery is past my time, but the memories are still alive.


I Am Me by Oscar Gonzalez

Prisma Color Pencils 30

“Record Player” by Sidney Walker

My record player is my universe. She’s there for me at my worst. I love her blue leather cover. I love her bright silver buckle.

My record player sounds like heaven. She takes me to another dimension. She’s a distraction from my problems. She’s the bright side of my losses.


Ruby, Take My Hand by Brandy Bernice Guitron

Digital Art


“Blood Heart� by Tikisha Franklin

Looking through an open heart as it beats The heart knows what it wants For not what it needs For it surrounds itself with organs that play its every rhythm Broken by the empty promises and shattered dreams The sun beams to shows its innocence As the bleeding-heart searches for its lost soul Taken by the one who struck it with love Torn by what is fiction or what is friction Blood begins to flow through the veins As the heart awakens from its slumber It breathes life into the sleeping corpse Silencing those who dare to speak The sun sets waking the dead from their graves Tears of blood fall from their eyes In remembrance of the pain that once owned their heart For the blood and the heart are one

Forever bonded by love and broken promises


Shelter from the Rain by Lindsay Swaim

Photograph 34

“The Call of Duty” by Enrique Ortiz

Have you ever looked back on a period in your life and wondered how you were able to make it through such difficult and rough times? Sometimes your goals and plans in life don’t always go exactly as you would like them to. The ability to adapt and overcome obstacles that life throws at you is a true testament to your mental, emotional, and physical strength. During my early twenties, these attributes would be put to the test during my service with the United States Army. My time as an active duty soldier was coming to an end; it was a day that I had looked forward to after five memorable and gratifying years. It was my last day in the Army, and I eagerly awaited to complete my out-processing for the day. I had one last appointment before I was done, and that was to meet with the post retention office. It was the Army’s last chance to try and persuade me to re-enlist instead of getting out of the military. When I walked into the office, a staff sergeant stood up from behind his desk and greeted me with a firm handshake. “How are you doing today, Sergeant Ortiz?” he asked. I replied, “I couldn’t be better, Staff Sergeant; thank you for asking.” He was interested to hear about my time in the military and what my plans were for the future. I told him that I had recently been accepted to start the application process for the United States Border Patrol, which was the career I wanted to do even before joining the military but was unable to due to not meeting the minimum age requirement. He could tell by the way I was talking about moving forward with my career that there was no way he was going to convince me to change my plans and re-enlist in the Army. 35

We talked and traded stories for a while then he signed my final out-processing forms, wished me good luck on my future endeavors, and thanked me for my service. As I left his office, I felt both a sense of accomplishment and sadness, knowing that I had a successful career in the military but that this would be the last day I would be donning my woodland camouflage uniform. Five years’ worth of memories rushed through my mind as I drove out the main gate of the installation for the last time that afternoon. After a year and a half long application process, I finally received the call I had been waiting for, a job offer from the U.S. Border Patrol. I jumped at the opportunity and accepted whatever duty assignment they had an opening for. Two months later, I was getting sworn in at sector headquarters in El Paso, Texas, ready to embark on a five-month training academy. I found that my time in the military had prepared me for the challenges this academy had in store for me. From the first day of training, the familiar sites of platoons being marched around the facility and the sound of marching cadences resonating between the barracks buildings reminded me of my time in the military. Everyone had a scared look on his or her face, not knowing what to expect as we exited the bus and hustled into formation. I knew that I had the mental and physical strength to be able to handle the yelling and physical demand that was about to be delivered by the instructors standing in front of our section. The cadre welcomed us to the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, and we immediately began to endure a smoking session that felt like an eternity. Since I had previous military experience, the cadre put me into a leadership role on day one as a section leader for my class. As the weeks went by, I could tell that the majority of my section was adapting to the Border Patrol way of life. You could really tell the difference, both mentally and physically, that some of the trainees had undergone. I was looking forward to graduating with my classmates and continuing on to our respective stations to learn the job and grow as an agent. One afternoon, after a long day at the shooting range, I received a phone 36

call from my mother letting me know that I received a certified letter from the Army. I told her to go ahead and open it and read it to me over the phone. She stated, “Enrique Ortiz Jr, you are relieved of your inactive duty status and ordered to report for active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a period of 545 days.� I was pulled from the Border Patrol Academy immediately and reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for active duty. At Fort Bragg, I was assigned as a squad leader for my platoon; a position that I was familiar with and proficient at. I transitioned seamlessly back into the Army as the leadership role I held became second nature to me. The knowledge and experience that a combat veteran can bring to a platoon is invaluable. Some things cannot be taught in a classroom and can only be experienced by actually performing the tasks at hand. The leaders that I looked up to as a young soldier helped mold me into the leader that I had become in the eyes of my young soldiers. This would be the key that would allow me to bring all of my soldier’s home from combat to their families. In conclusion, life threw me a curveball, and I had to be able to adapt and overcome any obstacles that came my way. In these three major events in my life, my mental, emotional, and physical attributes were put to the test. I was able to dig deep down inside and push forward to become successful over any task that I was given.


Before the Movie by Oscar Gonzalez

Digital Art 38

“My Love for Her Is Immeasurable� by Monica Ridge

My love for her is immeasurable; My heart melts when hearing her purr. One quick glance and my attention is hers; The day crawls by slowly when she is not near. Her soft, pillow-like fur falls perfectly; Her color as black as a starless night; The bell hung upon her neck sings; I adore the sensation of her tiny paws all over me.

Meow, meow, meow; Her cries echo along the stairs. Up, up, up she climbs; She is ready for bed. My fearless, ferocious lion now slumbers, Curled up alongside my arm; I look upon her and I wonder: Oh, how my love for her is immeasurable.


A New Normal by Danielle Nadeau

Photograph 40

“More than What Is Seen� by Cristy Medina

Towering above like a gallant guardian spirit, Flying high and so mighty, with honor, grace, and so much glory. The colors signify more than what the eye can see. The gleaming white is representing the purity, innocence, and unity of the six bold stripes and five-pointed stars of fifty. Seven stripes as red as can be, just like the blood that was shed by courage and bravery. Blue as bold as the souls that fought with determination and justice for you and me. "O, say can you see," and "I pledge allegiance to the . . ." are ways to show our pride and loyalty.


Elephants of the Kingdom by Vanessa Perez

Oil Pastel and Acrylic Paint 42

“Family Love” by Aracely Rangel

Forever bonded by blood and love Always together and never apart Many tears and frowns we’ve repaired Immense happiness through a lifetime we’ve shared Love and devotion to each we give Years with one another we still have to live Luckiest person on Earth, I feel Often thankful that my heart they steal Value is nothing compared to what they mean to me Eternal love in my heart will they forever keep


Wildfire Lake by Noah Rairdon

Photograph 44

“The Lonely Dandelion” by Jessalyn Reyes

Stood tall among the grass braving the harsh blades of a mower yet picked for others’ wishes blown in hopes of becoming true. Whispers and secrets in the tiny seeds traveling in the sky like clouds landing lightly, likely to grow for picking to start this cycle again.


Blood Stained Leaves by Daniel Davalos

Photograph 46

“The Love That Got Away” by Dexter Aniekwena

Sunsets are when I usually think of her. They both share a simplest beauty, Which is the reason I can’t stand them. Roses were her favorite Only because of the sharp thorns on the side, So I stomp on them as I walk by. I can’t drink lemonade anymore. It was her favorite drink,

The sourer the better, to be as sour as her soul. Spiderman! Spiderman! Is all she ever talked about. Reminds me of when I spied on her with another man. I would be lying if I said I stopped loving her, And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happier this way. . .


Remembering My Uncle by Oscar Gonzalez

Prisma Color Pencils 48

“Mijito” by James Martinez

“Mijito, don’t be afraid of the ball; it’s not gonna bite you. Get up in there and attack the ball!” “OK, Grandpa.” “Pump your arms faster when you’re sprinting; watch all the guys that are faster than you and run the way they do.” “I can’t!” “Yes, you can; you gotta want it, mijito! When teeing off, get into an athletic stance; you can’t swing right if you’re all hunched over like that. Swing the club from your hips, mijito! Don’t take your eye off the ball.” “I hate golf, Grandpa.” “What, mijito? No, you just gotta want it! When you shoot the ball, aim for the x’s on the backboard, and that will help you bank a shot. Dribble with your left hand more; practice makes perfect. You gotta play ball with all the kids that are better than you if you wanna get better.” “I don’t wanna’ play anymore, Grandpa.” “Yes, you do, mijito; you just gotta want it! When playing outfield, don’t close your glove until you feel the ball; otherwise, you’re gonna get a shiner…again. When you’re on deck, spread your base and pull with your left arm to swing through the batter’s box. Don’t try to kill the ball every time, mijto; let it come to you.” “I hate baseball, Grandpa; it’s so boring.” “No, mijito, you just gotta want it. When sparring, don’t let those other boys push you around, and when they hit you, you hit them back harder! Here, put your hands up. Control them with your jab. Keep that right hand up. You have long arms; use them; use your reach. Get violent, mijito. Mijito, you gotta want it! Mijito, bring me a sodie. Mijito, get me some ice cream. Mijito, cook me some weenies. Mijito, get you a good job with the union.” 49

“I don’t like the union, Grandpa.” “Mijito, think of mijo; how are you gonna take care of him?

Mijito, you need a job with good benefits. How else are you gonna take care of your momma?” “I’ll figure it out, Grandpa.” “Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. Mijito, you need to get your butt in church.” “Church is so boring, Grandpa.” “Is that what you’re gonna say when you meet Jesus, mijito? Mijito, why do you do everything the hard way? I don’t know where I went wrong.” “Um, sorry, I guess?” “Gosh, mijito, your grandma can make good tortillas, can’t she?” “Mmm, yes, Grandpa.” “Get you one like her, that’ll take care of you mijito, not like that devil of a woman you had before.” “Em…OK, Grandpa.” “Mijito, take grandma to the church festival; I’m gonna go hit balls. Mijito, when you gonna cut my grass? And the alley too? And trim the bushes for your grandma? Mijito, how come you don’t learn to play the accordion?” “I play guitar, Grandpa.” “Yeah, but I love the accordion, mijo. Mijito, how come your brothers never call me?” “I have no idea, Grandpa.” (Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”)


The Steel Bamboo Forest by Phuc Gia Bao Nguyen

Photograph 51

Triparoo by Madison Lewis

Acrylic Paint 52

“Those Three Words” by Micah Klassen

“I saw it coming. I knew it was going to happen since the moment I met him. But I tried anyways. I’d known him for so long. Five years to be exact. We met in middle school and remained what I thought to be best friends all the way up to our senior year. In all of those years, we never really fought. Just stupid disputes over meaningless subjects and the occasional differing opinion. But I loved him. And that’s why it hurt so much. Because even when my family wouldn’t talk to me or my other friends wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence, he was always there. No matter what. To pick up the broken pieces and glue them together with his reassuring words. But one day, instead of mending my broken heart, he became the reason for it. He shattered it ruthlessly with three simple words. Three words that would never leave my head. I never would’ve guessed that he would be the one to finally do it. To break me. To be the final straw. The day began just like any other, a horrible morning filled with the endless screaming of my parents and the never ending tears of my siblings. Horrible day at school. Constant harassment from my “friends” and several breakdowns in the bathroom stall. He didn’t even show up that day. My only hope. The only person to give me a moment, no matter how small, of joy. But we had plans that day. Plans to go to the Quarry and hang out. So I persevered. If only I’d given up beforehand. We always seemed to be at the Quarry. There was nowhere else to hang out at in this God forsaken town. But it didn’t matter because whenever I was at the Quarry, I was with him, and when I was with him, I was happy. The only time I was allowed to be happy in this miserable hellhole they call life was when I was with 53

him. So why’d he have to say it? Those three words. I was complaining to him again. I always did. It’s not like I could vent to anyone else because they were the reason I was venting. Maybe that’s what it was – what set him off. Usually, he’d listen patiently, allowing me to get it all out before giving thoughtful words of advice. But not this time. This time he stopped me. “Enough.” I stopped mid-sentence. I slowly brought my eyes to his. He was kidding, right? No, the annoyance and fury in his eyes were enough to make me blink repeatedly in disbelief. “Just. Stop. Talking.” “Wha– . . . what?” was all I could manage. He had never been frustrated with me. Always patient, never angry, always kind, never cold. What had I done wrong? What could I possibly have said to upset him, to drive him to the edge? “I can’t do this anymore,” he stated plainly and without any semblance of sympathy. “You’re driving me insane. All you do is complain. About everything. You think I don’t have troubles? You think I don’t ever get sad or want to vent to someone? It’s all you do; you never let me speak. Unless it’s to help fix your problems, of course.” By now, tears were streaming down my face, but I didn’t sob; no, I didn’t make a sound. I listened. I waited patiently as he slowly sliced through my heart with a knife. That’s what he had wanted, right? “We’ve been friends for years, best friends, but now you’ve changed. You’re just this pathetic husk of a person that I once knew. I doubt you care about me; you only seem to care about yourself and what’s happening with you. I can’t take it anymore! Please . . . shut up.” There it was. Those three words. I don’t remember anything after that moment. Suddenly, I was at home, staring at myself in the mirror. My tears had dried up. I couldn’t cry anymore, only think. 54

Think about what he said. How pathetic I was. And the small razor blade in my hand. Don’t get me wrong; I had been in this position on multiple occasions. Almost every night, in fact. But this time it was different. I had absolutely nothing holding me back. So I hope you read this. I hope you see the damage you’ve done and know without a shadow of a doubt that you did this. You did this to me. You were the one to fix me and the one to break me once and for all. No one else is to be blamed but you. My death is on your hands. -Your “Best Friend”


Stop and Smell the Ocean by Lindsay Swaim

Photograph 56

“Selfish Mama!� by Robert Yanez

I see in the way you sway as you weigh the options of what the world has to offer Your smile to the world, yet I see the tears in your smile I hear the wails in your laughter, the silent midnight hiccups I feel the sadness in your heart, Mama

But you are selfish as a fox at the same time a lioness

You try so hard to hide the scars on your hands You try so hard to hide your bruised palms and scarred soles Just so you can wipe away my tears Your selfishness is breaking my heart, Mama I will also be selfish For if you find out, it will kill you


A Rose of Education by Damaris Atilano



“Coffee Bliss� by Ixzamara Sopon

Every morning I wake to drip, drip, drip, My mouth waters as I imagine the first sip; The liquid dancing and waving to greet me in the morning, The first drop quenching that of my soul was yearning. As the aroma skipped like the rhythm of my heartbeat, Making the never-ending sleep obsolete; Joyous java beans jump in my coffee jug jazzily, The dark roast caffeine that will mix with my blood gleefully. Reminding me of my roots with hints of chocolate and cinnamon, The sweetness and bitterness mixes, as I take my first sip, causing adrenaline; The fresh hot brew caresses my skin invigorating my spirit; The coffee runs through my veins making me feel fearless. As I leave the shadow of night behind and step into the light, With every savory sip swallowed, ready am I to take flight; As the ending of the mug approaches within sight, The fire in me ignites ready to take on the daylight.


Online Beauty by Brandy Bernice Guitron

Digital Art 60

“Where I’m From” by Essie Richardson

I’m from black hair products and from Moesha braids. I am from a riveting culture I am from the shea butter That’s used for everything I am from the kwanza And the Christmases From the Bas and Richardsons I’m from the skin of day And the skin of midnight From the fights And sleep tights I’m from the Hallelujahs And Assalamualaikum BUT I know I’m from God I’m from the I was born in America BUT I’m from Africa And chicken and jollof rice From the thick natural Afros that society does not like I’m from hot combs and big chops I’m from the Mother Essies and Mother Teresas The kindness that’s taken from weakness And the dollar given to the homeless man across the street And Mama saying you can’t help everyone I’m from the beautiful dark faces that carry stories of warriors and royalty The Mansa Musa, nzingas, Maba diakhou Bas, Nefertiti, and King Tuts I’m the 400 billion dollars of cultural wealth paved from Africa to black Wall Street I’m from the roots gifted to me. 61

Mountain by Yolanda Martinez

Acrylic Paint 62

“The Last Irishman of Howard County� by Willis Roberts

I am writing this because I am still angry at you; I am writing this because I love you; I am writing this because we are still grieving over you. I do not cry over you because you are truly hurtful. I do not cry over you because now I can get on with my life. I do not cry over you because of how you damaged the lives of my uncle and mother. I did cry for your wife. I did cry for the farm because it was the only home I knew. I did cry for your struggle, as that it turned you into this. I have cried because I know you loved me. I have cried because people said I was the favorite. I have cried because I was once afraid I turned into you. I am sorry you could not read. I am sorry your father beat you. I am sorry you lost an infant daughter. I am sorry your mom committed suicide at 14. I am not sorry because I was not baptized in the Catholic Church. I am not sorry because I have not yet gotten married. I am not sorry that my parents were upper middle class. I am not sorry for being different.


I am happy people respected you but did not love you. I am happy for the lessons you taught me. I am happy because I come from a family of Irish immigrants. I am happy you are now at peace. I am sad it took me so long find out who you really were. I am sad you were more feared than loved. I am sad that because of poverty and family tragedy you had no choice but to turn into the Person you are and always will be. But I am proud to have the name Willis and to have gone through similar struggles and not turn into you, a grandfather I revered, loved, hated, and will always think about. My grandfather, Willis Joseph McGee, born August 25, 1926—deceased July 13, 2018. Buried in the last Irish plot of Calvary Cemetery, Cresco, Iowa, in Howard County.


Sunset Dreams by Vanessa Perez

Acrylic Paint 65

My Home-brew DND Land by Armando Urdiales

Mixed Media 66

“Elves” by Amber Martinez

Little men Living in a den Pointy ears Tiny Feet If you’re lucky In Your lifetime Then you’ll have a chance to meet An elf Now pinch yourself Then go ahead and greet Sweet little Dandy Quite handy Candy is his favorite treat Elves are cheery never dreary Never dull Always upbeat


Azul by Oscar Gonzalez

Mixed Media


“Life Is Precious; Open Your Eyes” by Amber Martinez

I was at the park I saw a monarch It was so pretty it was On the tree bark Lately there are butterflies All around the city At night even sunrise Candy for your eyes

They’re really magical Colorful too In all sorts of colors Red yellow and blue Migrating and mating To continue their line Hard work and perseverance Time after time Pretty little butterflies Flying in the sky Fluttering their wings They soar a mile high


Nightmare by Emanuel DeJesus

Sharpie Pen 70

“A Misused Curse” by Maya Joy Zenon

Once there was a man who was always correct, though he did not know it. From birth, all the things he predicted to be true came true. As a boy, he conceded to remaining illiterate until his death, like his mother. And so, it came to be that he would never learn to write or read. As a young man, he figured, like his father, he would grow up to be a poor farmer. And so, it came to be that his harvest would never be fruitful and his days filled with labor. As an aging man, he assumed there would be no woman of strong mind that would consent to a marriage with him. And so, it came to be that he would marry a dunce. As a man on his deathbed, he said to no one but himself and the misused curse he possessed, “I am sure my children will share the same fate as I have.” And so, it came to be that his offspring and their offspring bore the same curse as he. Not just the curse of always being correct, but the curse of pessimism.


“Dog Days of Summer” by Billy Linares

Photograph 72

“Oh, Maizie, My Maizie” by Madison Brummett

Oh, Maizie, my Maizie, so sweet so soft, Always ready for a quick little frolic. How I love your complete loyalty to me, Always willing to fight to the end for me. For the most part, you are a good little poodle, But sometimes you can be a bit hard to handle. In my eyes, you are the whole kit and caboodle, You’re the best dog there is; nothing can hold candle! How funny you are when you are ready to play. You let out a quick little bark, then dance away. When you’re done, you lie down to rest for a while, Or until your energy is back, then up, up, and away you are. You’re my best friend and study-mate; you’re my hero without a cape. As I study, you lay at my feet, always coming to my aid. Even when I’m in a mood, you always stay and don’t escape. I love you to the moon and back; my love for you will never fade.


The Dreaded Fish of Death by Reshonna Rifenbury

Photograph 74

“Going to Swim Practice� by Alex Garriga

As I walk in, the smell of chlorine hits my face. I see a glimmering square, which could put me in a trance. My next two hours will be dedicated to this place. The water, as still as night, will soon ripple and dance. As I jump in, the water goes plop and splash. I see a calming, deep blue hue surround me. My next move will be to kick and thrash. The water, my personal trainer, will be as busy as a bee.


1964 1/2 by Oscar Gonzalez

Colored Pencil 76

“My Grandfather's Spurs Cap” by Grecia Sanchez

You were left behind when my grandpa passed. When grandma and I found you Hidden under the mountains of clothes and photo albums, I knew there was a reason you showed yourself when I was there. You may no longer be in mint condition—worn out and with sweat stains— But neither were my Spurs, my grandpa, or my heart. Now, if I ever have a bad day, At least it will not be because of my baby hairs flying in ever direction. You can accompany me when I go outside And it’s as hot as the saunas my grandpa enjoyed so much. You can come along to watch the games with me, As I try to remember what it felt like to watch them with my grandpa. You can even make for a nice decoration in my room Because you are everything I love— A reminder of my city of San Antonio, my team, my culture And, most importantly, of my grandpa.


St. Philip's Guitar Ensemble Maria Andrews Rodrigo Benavides Dexter Boone Elijah Cantu Juan Mata Alyas Pacheco Bruce Panagopoulos Celsa Valero Mi K. Yi Under the direction of Dr. David Torres and Christian Tristan Dr. David Torres has been teaching music for St. Philip's College since 2007. He currently teaches Music Theory, Music Appreciation, Private Guitar Instruction, and Guitar Ensemble. He is excited to work with the ensemble in making the music program grow and branch out to other areas of the college.


Our Judges Fiction: San Juan San Miguel is the Academic Program Coordinator of the Rose R. Thomas Writing Center and an Adjunct Instructor at St. Philip’s College. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UTSA. He enjoys travelling, cooking (and eating,) cycling, reading, writing, and funding Kickstarter campaigns but most of all basketball and aviation! He is currently in pursuit of two of his lifelong ambitions: 1, to be a pilot and 2, to be an NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Coach! Nonfiction: Alicia Dominguez has been a part of St. Philip’s College for almost 30 years. During those years, her job positions include adjunct faculty for Remedial Reading and Remedial English. Currently, as a full time staff member and adjunct faculty member, she teaches INRW. She finds outdoor activities most satisfying. Her personal favorites are long distance running and landscaping her home’s outdoor space with vegetable, floral, and xeriscape gardens. Poetry: Marissa Ramirez has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College and a Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of Texas, San Antonio. Before embarking on a career as an English instructor, Ramirez worked as an event organizer with a local cultural arts organization. She has an eight-year-old son, and together they love to travel the world, eat ice cream, and sleep under the stars. Photography & Art: Jennifer Agricola-Mojica has been a part of the St. Philip’s College Art Faculty for 15 years. She holds a B.F.A. degree from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and an M.F.A. degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Jennifer’s work is part of the Linda Pace Foundation, and she has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including in Prague, Czech Republic. 79


Profile for Tiger PAWS

Tiger PAWS Fall 2018  

Literary art journal composed of St. Philip's College students' writing and artwork and edited by a student editorial staff

Tiger PAWS Fall 2018  

Literary art journal composed of St. Philip's College students' writing and artwork and edited by a student editorial staff

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