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Lucia Orozco Editor-in-Chief

Tiffany Payne Managing Editor

Lia Scarinci Art Editor

Peter McFarland Graphic Design Editor

George Regojo Layout Design Editor


AXIS

Arts and Literature Magazine • Miami Dade College, North Campus Volume IV, 2007 Faculty Advisors:

Special Thanks To:

Elena Perez-Mirabal—Axis Magazine Advisor Lisa Shaw—Axis Magazine Advisor Jon Kitner—Arts Consultant Elio L. Arteaga—Graphic Design Consultant

North Campus President: José Vicente Academic Dean: Pamela Menke

Staff Members: Carlos Acevedo Daniel Brillant Rutmann Desauguste Sonia Gutierrez Stephanie Lugo Johanna Merizalde Spanish Language Editor: Helen García French Language Editor: Nirva-Manouche Pierre

English Dept. Chair: Josett Peat SEDT Chair: Ernest Goodly Daniel Martinez Johanna Merizalde Margarita Orro Luis Prado


Poetry MDC Haiku Isabel Betancourt

8

A Father’s Hug Roberto Rojas

57

The Perfect Sin? Daniel Joshua Brillant

9

Haiku of Nature Tiffany Payne

58

A Love in December Lucia Orozco

13

The Measure of a Man Nichole L. King

59

Autumn Haiku Marsha Myers

14

61

Wind Carlos Acevedo

15

You Can Be Sid Vicious and I’ll be Nancy Lucia Orozco

63

Dream Catcher Tashieka D. Weatherspoon

16

Haiku of a Modern Geisha Lucia Orozco

64

24th Ave Carlos Acevedo

17

Tanka Alexandra Salazar

The Measurements of Life Lia Scarinci

20

Turtle Soup George Regojo

22

Haiku 68 Alexandra Salazar

To the Night 23 Isabel Betancourt I Didn’t Want You Anyway 26 Isabel Betancourt Haiku Tashieka D. Weatherspoon

27

Unusual Times Rudy Joly

47

El Engaño Helen García

52

Pequeño Dicho Stephanie Lugo

53

Pleitos de Gigantes Helen Garcia

54

Ce n’etait qu’un rêve Paul Jean Francois

55

Entrega Ivette Hernández

56

What’s

Inside.


Prose

The Gallery

My Friends: 10 Crystal, Rashaka, and Parks Crystal Parks

Self Portrait Gabriel Solano

28

The World Around Alexander Prieto

29

Home of the Free Elizabeth Melecio

30

Lisbon Girl Elizabeth Melecio

31

Night Light Barbara Cymring

32

Roses are Black Lia Scarinci

33

Matchstick Blossom Marisha Kelly

34

She’s the Blade George Regojo

35

The Darkest Hour 48 Barbara Kiersz

Sketchy Night George Regojo

36

Yanka and Myself Yanka Diaz

60

Sea Sick Jessica Sanchidrian

37

A Nameless Morning After Crystal Parks

62

Self Esteem Gabriel Solano

38

Excepts from John Doe’s Journal Lucia Orozco

65

After the Dream Yevgeniya Litvinenko

39

A Primer for the Punctuation of Healthy Living: A Pastiche A revision by Brian Mueller

66

Untitled Martin Reyes

40

Untitled Alexander Henry

41

Untitled Mackenson Delne

42

Tree Laura Llamazares

43

Waiting for that Ride Gunther Felix

44

Who Says People Can’t Fly? Yevgeniya Litvinenko

45

Ghost in the Night 12 Jose Ruiz Appetites 18 Marisha Kelly A Tribute to Mothers 21 Crystal Parks Boy 24 Saintia Dorestal Christina’s World 25 Isabel Betancourt Precious Land: 46 A Letter to Haiti Michel Ange Cenatus

...


MDC Haiku By Isabel Betancourt

Concrete giants Surround the source of life Wisdom lives here

8  AXIS  2007


The Perfect Sin?

By Daniel Joshua Brillant The serpent slithers on the ground And consumes the dust of man. I question if I can Ever walk with God again. And converse like we did, Oh, so long ago? I have missed the bond we shared. There is an emptiness in my soul. Remember how we walked And I named everything I saw? Do You remember how You introduced me To all the demi-gods? I was shocked that You were so proud When I was simply being me. You made me perfect how I was, There was no way I’d rather be, Than exactly how you created me, Everything in place; And then when You created Eve, I fell flat on my face. And thanked You, not for time and space, But for her very life; And I asked You what she should be called, And You answered, “Call her wife.” We enjoyed our romp through paradise, But it was all destined to end, When one day by the Tree of Right… He called out from the limb. And before long, both old and new Succumbed to that mighty fate. Now I must tithe my flesh, as to undo, The consequence of what I ate.

2007  AXIS  9


My Best Friends:

Crystal, Rashaka & Parks Sometimes I wonder to myself, “How could I acquire such a strange bunch of friends?” They are all VERY different yet they blend together very well. I have known each one of them since birth, you might as well say. Some say we even favor each other in appearance but our personalities could not be any more different. Our mother raised us all together under the same roof forcing us to become best pals. We had no choice but to live in harmony, whatever character trait one of us lacks the other possesses. Instead of confusing you, maybe I should tell you about each one of them, in order for you to gain a better understanding.

Crystal: Crystal has to be the most humble out of the bunch. She is a strong woman and not afraid to reveal her feelings or how she is affected by a situation. She is always laid back and never breaks her neck to make a fashion statement, especially not on special occasions. Calling her a little frugal would be an extreme understatement. For her brother’s wedding she opted to wear a tuxedo instead of a bridesmaid dress because it was cheaper to rent rather than buy a dress that she would only wear once. Her daily attire consists of sweatpants, a baggy shirt and 10  AXIS  2007

any pair of slides that she can find whether they belong to her or not. She is oblivious of the piercing daggers that are thrown at her by my other best friends when she comes charging out of the house with her shirt worn backwards, her pants rising above her ankles, and mix-match socks with her trademark flip flops. Yes, Crystal walks around with her head held high like she doesn’t have a care in the world. I admire her calm demeanor and ability to never coordinate with the latest fashions. The one thing I just wish that she would catch a clue with is her personal relationships. Ever since I can remember, Crystal has always had a steady man. Even when we were all in kindergarten, Crystal had a little boyfriend who would bring her oatmeal cream pies for them to share during recess. It was cute back then, and I for one must admit that I was kind of jealous, but now I think that things have gotten out of hand. Whether it’s her baby’s daddy or some new guy, there is always a man to occupy the other half of her bed. It’s almost as if she can’t live without a man. She has become co-dependent on the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, here’s a perfect example of her current situation: she’s been with this one dude for close to 10 years now. HELLO!!! That’s like a whole

By Crystal Parks decade! That’s more than half her adult life. I mean you would have thought she would have put her foot down by now and asked for a ring. She barely comes home anymore because they’ve been shacking up together for the past year and a half now. This has a lot to do with that bastard child she had out of wedlock. See, in her mind, she’s doing the right thing by spending countless nights at her baby’s daddy house giving him every opportunity to screw her brains out. She swears that they’re making love when really, they’re only making a mess! The only thing that’s going to happen is them conceiving another bastard child! What kind of example is she setting for her illegitimate daughter? I thought she would have woken up by now but apparently she is in a VERY deep sleep having a VERY good dream.

Rashaka: Now that bitch is crazy! She came out her mother’s vagina screaming and hasn’t shut up ever since! Rashaka was born with a big ass mouth. Maybe she was mad about the hideous name that her mother was about to brand her with. She is the one person who reminds Crystal and everybody else for that matter, of their shortcomings. That girl has to have one of the loudest mouths


I’ve ever heard. She is not confrontational, just very opinionated. She makes sure that her point gets wherever and to whom ever it is directed to. Come on, you know the type, the girl who always has to have the last word, making you feel as minute as a grain of salt. She is the essence of arrogance. There is not an inkling of doubt in her self-esteem. Her sassy attitude is further personified by the way that she dresses. The only thing that makes up her wardrobe is tight jeans, tight skirts, and tight tops. What’s the key word for her, class? TIGHT! That girl has to be seen on every scene. She makes sure to do her rounds and circle the event she is attending. You would think that all that negative attention would cause her to slow down at times. You are so wrong! That only feeds her ego, making it hard to be seen with her sometimes. My other best friends shy away from attention from guys but Rashaka absorbs it without the slightest care. You are probably thinking that Rashaka is one of those fast girls who have a ton of kids from different baby daddies of every race, color, and creed. Wrong again, Rashaka is just the opposite. She is the one girl who does not need a man to justify herself. Men beg to occupy her time as they feed into her cynical and degrading speech. Her sarcasm is always laced with comedy and meant to hurt. I’m not kidding! Personally, if I was a dude I would run the other way from her after she opens her mouth. She has to be doing something right because her phone is constantly ringing off the hook and her voicemail is always

full! Shoot…. I couldn’t even leave her a message if I wanted to. Most people would say that she is coldhearted and cruel. Others would view her as very guarded and defensive. Me. I admire her for not taking shit from nobody. Sometimes her mouth could be a bit of a nuisance but the situation always works out for the better. Rashaka is just one of those no nonsense kind of girls who doesn’t take any slack off nobody.

Parks: Now Parks is what you would call the intellectual of the gang. Sophisticated, classy, and elegant are just a few things that Parks exemplifies. Her name can throw anybody off because it sounds completely absurd (at least to me). Her mother prayed for a boy because she already had two daughters. At her baby shower she insisted that every one purchase only boy clothing and accessories. When she finally did have Parks and the doctor called out that it was a girl, she went hysterical! She unraveled her naked baby out of her safe swaddle and searched frantically between her parted legs desperately for a penis in vain. Even after she talked to the hospital’s psychiatrist, she still insisted upon naming her baby Parks and dressing her like a boy. It probably would have worked if Parks would have actually turned out to be gay! But Parks is the total opposite. Her style and demeanor force everyone who ever meets her to address her as Ms. Parks. She is the portrait of how a lady should act. Never taking a break to just relax

She came out of her mother’s vagina screaming and hasn’t shut up ever since.

and unwind, she is a dedicated work-alcoholic. She does not take shortcuts and finishes everything that she starts. Parks is dull and boring just like her wardrobe. I don’t think that her closet has a stitch of color. Everything consists of dark bland colors. You’ll never catch me borrowing any of her clothes unless I have a job interview to go to. Even her hairstyle tells how much of a bore she is. Parks’ hair is always pulled back into a super tight bun that hasn’t moved since her mother started letting her fix her own hair. She even wore her hair like that to the prom. The only thing that she added was some raggedy flower to try and give it a little attitude. She is just too damn serious for her age. She needs to lighten up just a bit and maybe, just maybe, she might land herself a man. Ms. Independent. Ms. Too Damn Independent! I don’t think she has ever had a boyfriend besides Hewlett Packard, Dell, and Compaq. She always claims that she doesn’t have time to dabble in any extracurricular activities. A man is not an “activity,” it is a necessity. I explain but she always brushes me off by saying that having a boyfriend is not a part of her “plan.” She is too busy concentrating on her future to deal with the present. She’s not going to know what to do with herself once she finally does reach her status mark. Despite the diverse differences, I am Ms. Crystal Rashaka Parks. Some days I am more like one than the other. Other days I am equally balanced. I cannot predict who I will be from day to day. Every night I lie down to sleep wondering to myself, “Which name will I wake up with in the morning?”

2007  AXIS  11


Ghosts in the Night by Jose Ruiz

T

here he is, the one sleeping on the bed: the college boy, the achiever, the machine. He does not know me now, he can’t. It has been a long time since he forgot that I existed, that he turned his back on me, that he constructed a wall to separate our worlds that does not allow him to realize my presence. I sit on the old chair and watch him sleep. The clock ticks. My heart beats. My eyes scan the darkened room for abuelo’s picture on the night stand, only a little piece of paper, a combination of black and white dots. Tomorrow, this other boy, the one who sleeps in darkness, will wake up, go to school, go to work, come back home, do homework, go to sleep. His life can be summarized in a sentence. The past two years of his life can be summarized in the same sentence. But I, the one who sits on the chair, watching, I, the one who dreams with papalotes flying in the sky, with old roads destroyed over time, with taburetes adorning the insides of guajiros’ houses want to see more than the black 12  AXIS  2007

and white pixels of a photograph, refuse to accept the ridiculous routine that governs that boy’s life. That life filled with strange people, a strange language and strange traditions. What is he, other than nothing aiming for everything that will drive him to nothingness? He is never satisfied because the achievement of a goal sets the starting point of another goal. There in his sleep he has forgotten the life we used to have, when papi was around, when all our family could meet on Christmas Eve to celebrate. What happened to those hugs abuelo gave us? Restricting those has been the price he decided to pay. However, now I sit on this chair, watching him take over my life, take over my feelings, take over my heart. Now I watch him. I try not to see them—the college boy and the one who analyzes him—not to feel them, not to listen to them but yet, they are there, sitting in the chair, lying on the bed, they are my life. I don’t know if I like this anymore. We were once one; we all fell in love at the same time, we

had the same goals. Now they are different; one asks me to give him strength to reach the sky, the other asks me to give him strength to find the way back to where he came from. I am not sure what to give to whom, I just don’t listen to them anymore, I just beat—that is my job. I can hear the clock ticking. I can listen to their dreams, I know what they want, I am in them but not as a whole, not here; both left a part of me in an island, in a dream. Both will suffer until they see the world is not more important than me. The morning is coming, it is getting close to 5:45 a.m., the clock is about to start ringing. At any minute we will just turn into what we are, ghosts. I must go now, I must remain in silence; I don’t want them to be perturbed with my feelings. I must go, today has been a great night, now another weird day is about to start. I must go, I must finish my strategies, I must go back, I must remain silent, I must… keep dreaming.


A Love in December By Lucia Orozco Warm like a winter morning’s body heat And the sun rays that peek through the cracks of the window pane Lighting the room to catch your eyes’ gleam. That’s the feeling of floating towards nirvana. And the sun does rise everyday As I lie In this bed of silk, Where no bad ever sleeps. Except when we retreat Into sinful harmonies That climax and run through us like rivers; Putting out the flames on the bed… on the couch… in the kitchen. Oh how I do love that bad that you do. And when we get out of bed-out of the houseDown the block-to the coffee shop When the moon is up Glistening on the snow I lean towards your ear and reminisce on our winter morning’s body heat. 2007  AXIS  13


Autumn Haiku By Marsha Myers

Cooling water mists, Moistens and soothes my dry skin Aiding this warm day

14  AXIS  2007


Wind By Carlos Acevedo

Descending onto the earth’s surface Through heat, water, and flesh I pass Soothing away doubt and pain.

2007  AXIS  15


Dream Catcher By Tashieka D. Weatherspoon

I’ve got dreams as big as California I’ve got dreams where I touched the sky I smiled and the heavens opened up and simply smiled back But I’ve also got nightmares I’m standing stock still In a field of golden possibilities---imagine this--Fear crawls up my spine and it shatters like crystal glass The horizon is beyond the gate that’s the keeper of all hopes and dreams My goal is within my periphery The heat kisses my skin with a touch that scorches like a thousand suns And just before a black gust of demons envelops it I swoop down. I won’t be deterred I’ll crawl if I have to With the last ounce of strength within me I heave myself across the golden path to my destiny And just as I get close, so close that I can taste the heat, feel the energy, and touch the plane The vision transforms into a mirage and vanishes There’s a piercing screech that penetrates the ears of the deaf Then I awake in a puddle of fear 16  AXIS  2007


Every street has stories to tell, Within each brick a secret, a confession Young children walking, choosing the wrong heroes. Cars driving, claiming ownership of the streets, denying friendship. Corner stores on wheels, fruit for sale on the avenue. Generations pass, familiar faces age.

24th Avenue By Carlos Acevedo

2007  AXIS  17


Appetites By Marisha Kelly

I

n all its irony, only fate could have worked itself so magnificently to bring together such beings from opposite ends of the spectrum who, in turn, shared so much—even in the worst of situations. I found myself in a period of longing, an appetite for something, and the void of not knowing how to satiate it. All I knew was that I could no longer be amidst his vile retributions, his obscene ignorance and his blasphemous indecencies. I had to get out. Driving well over the speed limit (my attempt to rid myself of his hellish existence immediately), my thoughts muffled the sharpness of reflexes. I slammed the brakes too hard, too late, spurring a chain reaction of bangs, booms, dents and scrapes. Four other cars were involved in the scene of the accident, and I was the perpetrator behind it all. Fate had buried me in a

18  AXIS  2007

dark hole, and the likelihood of someone finding me under all the rubble would take hours of anxious and impatient waiting. And there he was—tall, dark, mysterious, dressed in Armani, hair slicked back, and if he cracked it, a smile so white that it would have illuminated the ever growing darkness of the current atmosphere. He stepped out of his brand new, totaled Mercedes Benz, the expression of his face, the starry-eyed blue windows of his soul, resembling that of a disappointed child on Christmas on the verge of endless tears. In the lights of all this radiating sensitivity, I saw right through him: a man hungry for status, success and money. And now, the one object which represented all the ass-kissing of his cutthroat business was a trashed piece of metal bearing no strings of resilience. I almost pitied him. In the distance, a boisterous

woman in her mid-twenties lay glued to her cell phone arguing with the insurance company. I learned her name was Isabelle, her attitude as fiery and as red as the color smeared on her Volkswagen convertible. Her lack of sophistication was attributed to the loads of make-up caked on her small-featured face, and her revealing sense of style: a tight-fitted corset that made her breasts look augmented, a pair of taut shorts riding up the seams of her scanty underwear, and a pair of towering gold stilettos. She exuded the bittersweet desires of love and freedom achieved (or so she thought) through a life of promiscuity—as eager to drive with the top down on her car to feel liberated as to take her top off to feel wanted, needed, and validated. As I sat on the curb trying to gather my senses and control my breathing, I could not help but notice the nonchalance of a lard-


ridden man wearing a brightly colored yellow t-shirt advertising Mr. Swirley’s. The sweltering sun had doused him in a sea of sweat. Despite the over-churned tubs of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry product oozing from the bent metal carcass, he looked on to the present pandemonium with awe, swerving his tongue across a large cone swamped in a rainbow of sprinkles. I knew food was the only thing that brought him happiness. Still, she was beaming with the utmost innocence, generosity and care, as thin as paper and as easily torn. While I had turned her day upside down, a mess so mammoth that it would have topped off the city landfill, she sat by my

side soothing the harsh pangs of strengthening anxiety rising within my blood. Her weakness: a natural people-pleaser at heart, one who paid so much attention to the needs of others, and yet neglected the individual that truly mattered most—herself. She craved perfection, the dotting of every “i” and the crossing of every “t.” And, if her surroundings reflected this esteemed ideal, only then would she feel gratified. Her car, nevertheless, was far from flawless. The minutes turned into six long hours; but, at last, a cop car arrived to direct this awful scene in the movie of my life. The door opened, and out plopped a husky woman in her late forties, her

…she sat by my side soothing the harsh pangs of strengthening anxiety…

hair adorned with the staples of old age. She spoke to the five of us as if we were in the next cliff off the Andes Mountains. Overbearing was a euphemism for her character. She was an authority-seeking female who craved power and respect, and only then could she satisfy the years of this imposing anorexia with a badge and gun. This walk in the park was only in its beginning stages. And, before one could carry on with the scheme of daily roundabouts, we each had to explain the course fate had dealt us only to find the award-winner of a hefty ticket and a four-hour crash course on safe driving procedures. All along, I sought peace, the quiet corner in a library full of studying students, the soothing sounds of waves washing up the shoreline. And, if no one fed it to me, I would soon fall victim to a concussion passing out on the pavement.

2007  AXIS  19


When I became four, 32-25-32 meant I knew how to count far. When I became nine, 32-25-32 meant The candies each of my friends ate on Valentine’s Day. When I became thirteen, 32-25-32 meant The crushes I had had in the last three months. When I became fifteen, however, 32-25-32 meant Perfection. When I became twenty one, 32-25-32 meant Why I had no friends; and When I became twenty five, 32-25-32 meant why I got a divorce. When I became thirty five, 32-25-32 meant I had to go to hospitals for days and even weeks. When I became 32-25-32, I finally rested in peace.

20  AXIS  2007


A Tribute to Mothers

By Crystal Parks

Mother My originator, My reason for being, The creator of my existence, My epitome of what a woman should strive to be. Grace, Beauty, and Charm don’t do any justice because you surpass each and every one of their meanings. A woman with your elegance and style should always be worshipped. Men should spoil you rotten with compliments because you deserve every one of them, The ground that you tread upon should be treasured, And the words you speak should be cherished by everyone who has the privilege to hear them. A woman of your caliber should be treated as the true queen that you are. I believe you to be royalty, Always carrying yourself in the daintiest manner, Naturally classy, embodying all the characteristics that some women long to portray. So I say to the one that I owe thanks to for bringing me into this world, On this day, you have not grown older, but you have matured. Time has allowed you to age tenderly making your appearance lovelier by the day. I pray every day to measure up to be half the person that you are, And I thank God that he has given you to me as my mother because without you there would be no me.

2007  AXIS  21


Turtle Soup

By George Regojo Marsh swallows my feet Below by the broken down tree I sit beside the firefly Covered in dirt Where the fungi grow There’s something in the water Draw me in Reflection looks away Blink, I submerge, ripple-

22  AXIS  2007


To the

Night

By Isabel Betancourt As the sun gently sets A moist blanket covers the earth. The streets are draped with a beautiful serenity As the humble stars compete against a condescending moon. While the city sleeps, I remain awake Underneath a celestial veil And among the harmonious peace I find solace from the chaos of the day. The cool gentle breeze restores my strength with every breath and the cricket’s symphony presides over redundant dreams. Oh heaven knows I need the light, But I’d be nothing without the night! 2007  AXIS  23


BOY By Saintia Dorestal Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl

H

ave you gone to check on that baby yet? I hope you don’t become the man your dad has been and still is. You know you’ll be cursed if you don’t care for your responsibility, but that isn’t my baby. You need to get a job, or else you’ll become the man your dad has been and still is. Pull up your pants no one wants to see your behind! When was the last time you accomplished anything to better your condition. You have so much potential, but lack the confidence. Get into somebody school for God’s sake. Take up a trade so you can have a steady job. Why do you insist on living this way? That drug money ain’t gone get you anywhere but sent to jail. You better stop before it’s too late and then you’ll be right where your dad is. I don’t want any of that drug money in my house. You need to check on that baby, to see what she needs. That’s not my child. She looks just like you, stubborn boy. Now where are you off to now? You gone get caught up out there. How many times did I tell you to get your act together before it’s too late, huh? Now just look at you, you ended up right where I tried to stop you from going. 24  AXIS  2007


10 Christina’s World

By Isabel Betancourt

after Andrew Wyeth’s painting

It’s barely 10 AM and I’ve already had to change her three times. The constant nagging from the confines of her room echoes through the walls and penetrate every crevice. No peace. I long for peace. The silence of the field is overshadowed by her bitterness. The swallows migrated already. I didn’t even notice summer had passed. Her wrath is rusted as the hinges on her wheelchair and her heart stiff as her joints. She could scream until she passes out. No one will ever find me way out here…

2007  AXIS  25


I didn’t want you anyway By Isabel Betancourt The days linger Like an old redundant song Boredom overwhelms me. I sit with thoughts of you Fluttering. You think you’re so smooth But I am immune to your rugged handsomeness. I have learned you lack even an ounce of compassion And I am just one more triumph proudly displayed with ink upon your chest. If you think I will ever confess the pain you pray I faced, You’re in for a rude awakening. I’m starting to like the emptiness. Everyone said I could never tame a rogue, A maverick never has a home If they only knew All the wild things I planned for you I bet you would’ve had more competition. But you will always be a rebel Never satisfied with what you have. So if you wish I’d miss Those crystal baby blues Or the innocent soft side no one knew you had, You are sadly mistaken. I didn’t want you anyway. I tell myself I don’t long for your embrace. How could I have handed myself over so carelessly? I’ve always been negligent. May the road be kind to you, You have a disease no medicine can cure. It must be a blessing in disguise Inspiration stems from broken hearts. 26  AXIS  2007


By Tashieka D. Weatherspoon

Haiku

On a sunny day Surrounded by mourners They lowered her down Down by the lake We sat hours pondering The rain soon followed I sat for hours In excruciating heat Looking for her car Her eyes were open And her feet curved awkwardly What a painful death Or She died painfully With her feet curved awkwardly Her eyes were open

2007  AXIS  27


Self Portrait Gabriel Solano acrylics

28  AXIS  2007


The World Around Alexander Prieto mixed media

2007  AXIS  29


Home of the Free Elizabeth Melecio mixed media

30  AXIS  2007


Lisbon Girl Elizabeth Melecio mixed media

2007  AXIS  31


Night Light Barbara Cymring photograph

32  AXIS  2007


Roses are Black Lia Scarinci ebony pencil

2007  AXIS  33


Matchstick Blossom Marisha Kelly digital photo

34  AXIS  2007


She’s the Blade George Regojo digital illustration

2007  AXIS  35


Sketchy Night George Regojo photograph

36  AXIS  2007


Sea Sick Jessica Sanchidrian photograph

2007  AXIS  37


Self Esteem Gabriel Solano acrylics 38  AXIS  2007


After the Dream Yevgeniya Litvinenko photograph

2007  AXIS  39


Untitled Martin Reyes acrylics

40  AXIS  2007


Untitled Alexander Henry pencil

2007  AXIS  41


Untitled Mackenson Delne photograph

42  AXIS  2007


Tree Laura Llamazares digital art

2007  AXIS  43


Waiting for That Ride Gunther Felix watercolor

44  AXIS  2007


Who Says People Can’t Fly? Yevgeniya Litvinenko photograph

2007  AXIS  45


Precious Land: A Letter to Haiti

By Michel Ange Cenatus

A

simple look at yourself hinders you from growing. A simple thought of your past makes you regret your existence. A simple attempt to change seems to result in failure. Having shared your blood, I am suffering when you’re sad. Having a goal to achieve, I feel depressed when my sisters can’t even dream. Having heard about people’s impressions, I know there are no grounds to believe them. Why are you suffering when you contribute to your friend’s freedom? Why do you cooperate with your friend’s objectives when you don’t help yourself? Why are your relatives so ungrateful when you sacrifice yourself to protect them? If you regret your existence, I will be incapable of identifying myself. If you agree that you’re the worst mother in the world, I will be unable to say that my mother loves me. If you do not stop my brothers from hurting you, both you and I will perish. I know that you feel defeated when your children abandon you; I know that you feel heartbroken when your children deny their relationship with you; I know that your melancholy intensifies when your children adopt other mothers. Always remember that you will remain an amazing mother. Always keep in mind that nobody can take away your pride.

46  AXIS  2007


Unusual Times By Rudy Joly Pizza driver arrives faster than the police, Women’s waist size determines potential, A person who manages money is called a broker We exhibit our luxurious cars on the driveway and protect our useless junk in the garage Big “NO” for underage drinking Full support for underage military enlistment Odd is the relationship between obesity and poverty The poorer you are, the fatter you become. For the doctor, long gone are the reassuring words: “Are you hurt?” But rather the dreary sentence “Are you insured?” High plausibility that Adam and Eve domesticated a T-Rex Hey! Probably we were not even created by the love of God, but rather by the lovely attraction of some molecules! And what’s next! Oh Yeah! Frenzy over colossally priced custom-made babies. 2007  AXIS  47


B

by Barbara Kiersz

48  AXIS  2007

efore I answered the call, I checked the time: 4:00am. It was the chief. He sounded terribly alarmed. “Rosenblock,” he said “report to the office. Immediately!” And before I could ask what had happened, he hung up. I dressed, brushed my hair and teeth, had a coffee, and left the house. I drove my dented Chevy, gumball wailing on the roof, to the office. When I got there, George Headings was sitting down, leafing through some pictures. “Thank god you’re here.” “What happened?” I asked. “What’s the problem?” “She’s back.” “What?! We saw her die.” “I know it sounds crazy, but....” He didn’t finish his sentence. “Take a look at these pictures before you say anything else.” I grabbed the photographs and started thumbing them one by one; I knew she was back. I suppose the chief realized what was in my mind, because he immediately said, “See what I’m saying? SHE IS BACK.” The pictures were exactly like those taken five years ago. “Can you give me the photos of...” “Here.” “Same discolored skin, same position of the body, bruises…” It had to be her. Nobody knew about her case; only the crime scene investigators. The


only possible explanation was answered back. “And if I, the that she was back. The only head of this department, trust problem was how. Headings and you with my position as chief, it I saw her in her car as it fell off means that you are worthy of it.” the cliff; we saw the car smash “Look, Mr. Headings, you to pieces. may trust me, but I’m not as Maybe it was another psygood a crime scene investigator cho who would end up just like as you are. You, the most excelMelinda Florins. lent investigator Killing him/herof all times, “Are you going want to leave self. Maybe... Maybe it was a to contradict the us? What will one-night-murbe left of us? best investigator derer, and not Besides, I don’t a serial killer. of all times, who know if the rest But whatever of the departalso happens to was happening ment trusts be your boss?” couldn’t be told. me.” I couldn’t If the rest of believe what the department my ears were found out, they would make it hearing. The chief? Leaving us? I public. And if the whole town couldn’t possibly manage to run found out, everyone would leave, the whole department by myself. and we couldn’t let that happen. And what if the others working “You know we can’t tell with us started asking why I a soul, don’t you?” The chief got to be the new head of the asked. “This time, we have to department? What had happened keep it just between you and tonight, the murder, couldn’t be me.” He paused, and then said told. How was I to explain why something to himself. from one day to another I was “Don’t worry, chief. I won’t let the new boss? you down.” “Rosenblock, you just said “I know you won’t. That’s why that I am the most excellent I called YOU. And if everything investigator of all times, right?” goes right, you will take my “Of course, sir.” place at the office. “Then, when the best in“Why? Are you leaving us vestigator, and also your boss, chief?” tells you that you are going to “Probably” take his place, it means you are “Why? Without you, this deable to. Furthermore, if I, the partment is nothing.” most excellent investigator of all “But with you, this departtimes, tell you that you will take ment is EVERYTHING.” He my place, it means that you are

an excellent investigator as well.” He gave very good answers to my arguments. “Are you going to contradict the best investigator of all times, who also happens to be your boss?” I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t have an answer. He had just used what I had said against me; and if I contradicted him, I would be contradicting myself, and saying that he wasn’t the greatest crime scene investigator of all times. “OK. You win.” “Thank you.” He said with a grin of satisfaction. “Now, back to where we were, you will take my place if nothing goes wrong. And don’t even try to mess up on purpose.” “I’ll try to do my best, chief. But I can’t assure you that I will be as good a boss as you are.” “Not only will you be good, but you will also be better than I am at the job I’ve had for the past 40 years.” he said proudly. I can’t remember exactly what happened between the time I was at the police station and the time I got to my house. But I do know that I would not sleep unless I found Florins. She was the biggest case I ever got; a merciless, antisocial killer. I followed her work for seven years; I got to where I could predict her every move: I ate like her, smelled like her, slept like her. That is how I caught her: I knew exactly where she would be because I thought of where I would be. Then, of course, I had 2007  AXIS  49


The Darkest Hour  (continued)

trouble getting rid of the bad “We caught Florins.” Surprishabits I picked up from her. That ingly, he doesn’t sound ecstatic. is the misfortune of most excel“Then why aren’t we celebratlent investigators, such as mying?” I am starting to cheer up. self and the chief. The chief was “I told you, Rosenblock, it so concerned about my mental is more complicated than you health that since the sixth year think…” of looking for her he sent me to “Then explain it to me. and paid for psyPlease.” “you would be chotherapy with “OK, just give Dr. Eisenhawk. me a moment; I shocked to see “Melinda, need to get somethis, but...you’ve thing.” He leaves wherever you are, no matter what it killed 28 people and comes back takes, I’m going to with a square during the past catch you again, hand-mirror. I and this time I am don’t understand seven days” going to make it what is going on stick.” and begin feeling confused once I open my eyes, the light is more. “This is going to be a hurting them; I feel as if I have shock.” been asleep for a month, but I Headings starts to flex his am very disoriented and conwrist backwards, raising the mirfused. ror until it is before my face. “Where am I?” I say, squint“What do we need a mirror ing. for…” I can’t believe my eyes. “You are at the police sta“What are YOU doing here?!” tion, Rosenblock” I recognize the Staring back at me is none other chief’s voice. than Melinda Florins. “I don’t “What happened?” I am still understand! What is this?! What disoriented. A moment ago I did you do to this mirror? Why was at my house, thinking about are you doing this, chief?” Melinda; the next, I am at the “I’m not doing anything; don’t station talking to the chief. “Did go crazy!” the chief says. “Try to Florins get to me? What did she relax,” He puts the mirror down, do to me?” but the image I saw reflected on “Well, it is more complicated it remains frozen in my mind: It is than that…,” the chief says; he as if Melinda’s face is inside and sounds depressed and exhausted. outside of mine, while my face is “I’m replacing you as head of outside and inside of hers. “Dr. the department, right? So, WHAT Eisenhawk explained that you HAPPENED?” I am awake by now would be shocked to see this, and feeling like my old self. but you left me no choice; you’ve 50  AXIS  2007

killed 28 people during the past seven days.” “What do you mean ‘I killed’? Don’t you mean Melinda?” I am alarmed and confused. “I thought the treatment would have been enough; I did everything I could to prevent Melinda from taking over again... Dr. Eisenhawk warned me that sometimes the treatment does not work permanently; in your case, it only lasted for five years.” “What treatment?” I can’t believe my ears; I won’t. This is clearly a joke; a terrible joke, a trick the chief is playing on me before he resigns. “Stop playing, chief; please! It’s gone far enough!” “This is not a game, Linda. I know this hurts… “When we first began looking for Melinda, her physical description made us wonder if you had a twin. But we discarded that possibility because you told me you had no siblings. The years went by and you started adopting her personality little by little, until you became her. You have always been her and she has always been you, but I discovered this to be true during the sixth year of our hunting. I couldn’t afford to lose your expertise and persona. I sent you to Dr. Eisenhawk so that you could get a treatment to get rid of Melinda. Under hypnosis, you saw her fall off a cliff and die; but this was only in your mind. I was by your side throughout the treatment to


ensure that you would be able to keep working in the department with me (even though Dr. Eisenhawk warned against it because Melinda was ‘likely to strike back’ someday). I don’t know exactly what triggered her return after five years, maybe you have been over-worked;” He begins to cry. “I’m so sorry, I blame myself.” “I still don’t believe this. How can I be a murderer?” “You are not; Melinda is.” “But according to you, Melinda is me.” “She is you. And I am so sorry you had to find out this way, but I have to keep you here so you can’t kill anyone else.” “I don’t believe you! This is a trick! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!” “I want you to be healthy and happy.” If this isn’t true, he should go to Hollywood. The chief understands my silence. Me? Linda? “I am Linda. Oh, my god! So it is true! I am her! She is me!” I can’t believe it; all these years I had been looking for myself. That is why the chief didn’t want anyone to find out; if anyone did, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the department or even alive; they would have put me on trial and the judge would have sentenced me. I realize what I have to do to protect myself and others; no one must discover the truth. I start to cry. “I am so sorry, chief. But I have to do what I

have to do. You’ve left me no other choice.” “What are you going to do?” I grab the chief’s gun that is lying on the desk. “Please, Melinda, don’t kill me,” the chief begs. “I am not Melinda, I am Linda, chief.” I raise the gun pointing at the chief, then past him, and then pointing at me. I open my mouth and place the gun inside. I pull the trigger. Two for one; a good bargain is always expensive.

2007  AXIS  51


El Engaño By Helen García No se si los poetas Puedan escuchar más que una voz No sé si las trompetas Alegrarían su corazón

Mientras él luchaba por irse Irse con la otra a volar Su esposa era la ciega e inconsciente Pero él no podía fingir más

No sé cómo contarles La historia que vi hoy Al parecer es una historia Que nunca esperé contar yo

Así él olvidó todo aquello Y se dedicó a navegar El engaño y la mentira No le dejaron razonar

Él se fue a una vida A una musa en particular Ella ya no inspiraba sus sueños Y él prefería volar

Ella lloró por lo sucedido Y ha prometido olvidar A él y a su amor entero Que sólo fue una mentira más

Pero cuando él quería marcharse El amor de ella lo arrastraba de nuevo Como cadenas a un inconsciente Como luces a un ciego

Historias de la vida Cuyos hombres son personajes Pues sus mentiras llenan el alma De cuentos y paisajes.

La otra lo confundía Y al cabo él se enamoró Él no falló sólo con su mente También con su alma la traicionó

52  AXIS  2007


Pequeño Dicho By Stephanie Lugo Escribes para desahogar, Te desahogas para olvidar, mas ella se convierte en una huella para recordar.

2007  AXIS  53


Pleitos de Gigantes By Helen García

Oh! guerras de dolor Y de miles de muertos Que a unos diste poder Y a otros desconcierto

Pleitos cuyos conflictos No hicieron más que biografías De hombres listos que soñaron Un día con conquistar la vida

Muerte de miles de inocentes Cuyas memorias son ausentes Cuyos recuerdos aún avivan De sus familiares, las mentes.

Que la gloria de la libertad Se convierta en pleno gozo Y que la guerra jamás ahogue La alegría del corazón

Pleitos de gigantes Que aplastaron a pueblos Que acabaron con sueños Que murieron en los puertos

Libertad que rompiste De los pleitos las cadenas Ahora borra del mundo Las hirientes y crueles huellas.

Pleitos de los que soñaron Con un puente a la libertad Y desgarraron sus corazones En esa lucha banal

Pleitos de gigantes Cuyos nombres aún quedan Que su voz sea la antorcha Que en el mundo la paz encienda.

Pleito de ideologías Y de grandes pensamientos De ilustres héroes y generales Que ahora yacen bajo el cemento

54  AXIS  2007


Ce n’etait qu’un rêve By Paul Jean Francois

Drapée dans un fastueux velours pailleté d’or Je vis venir celle qui est mon vrai confort Enveloppée dans un éblouissant sourire Accentuant encore cette raie d’élégance Qui restera fort longtemps dans mes souvenirs Comme sous la magie d’une extrême éminence Pourrais-je oublier la fée aux yeux satinés Couronnée d’une tresse parsemée de fleurs Flottante, radieuse, dans un nuage abondé D’anges fin parés de mille et une couleurs Oui, c’était bien ça; elle me tendait la main Si fragile et m’entoura d’un grand câlin Comme ensorcelé par une force inouïe, Je m’empressai, courrai, voltigeai, m’envolai Vers cette éclatante et rayonnante beauté L’ai-je touchée? Car j’étouffai un perçant cri Elle plongea dans le néant ; vide de sève J’ai compris, harassé, que ce n’était qu’un rêve

2007  AXIS  55


Entrega By Ivette Hernández Yo puse el esfuerzo, él la desconfianza. Yo el hondo silencio, él la palabra. Yo senda y camino, él la distancia. Yo puse los ojos, él la mirada. Quise entre mis manos retener el agua Y sobre la arena levanté mi casa; Me quedé sin manos, me quedé sin casa. Fui raíz oscura, el tronco y alma, Y para que la cuenta del amor sumara Él puso el cuerpo, yo el dolor y el alma. Él todo viento, yo toda montaña. Yo pura resina, él pura llama. Y una noche oscura se fue de mi casa. Cerré mis ojos para no mirarlo, Clausuré las puertas para no llamarlo. Puse rosas negras sobre nuestra cama Y a la luz dispersa de la madrugada Me quité la vida para no matarlo. Yo lo puse todo, Vida, Cuerpo y Alma, Y él, Dios lo sabe, nunca puso nada.

56  AXIS  2007


A Father’s Hug By Roberto Rojas

Sweaty, thick, stubby. This is my Father’s chin. The part I remember the most from his hugs. Fifteen years have gone by since I last felt it. I loved the feel of that sweet sand paper on my cheek However, he could never know. My kids too will know the feel of my chin.

2007  AXIS  57


Haiku of Nature by Tiffany Payne

The flower stands out Apart from its green terrain Under a tree’s shade.

The turtle treads close Curiosity nags him It lifts its head only.

58  AXIS  2007


By Nichole L. King

I’ll define you, I bet I can, Your dip, your stride, Your hat turned to the side Your sag, your doo – rag! What measures you … Man! I’ll define you, I bet I can, Your dreads, your braids Your used-to-be fades Your saggy, so baggy – your walk just draggin’! What measures you … Man! I’ll define you, I bet I can, You listen to P. Diddy Chingy, and that ½ dollar kid, You changed yourself because of that song he did. What measures you … Man! I’ll define you, I bet I can, Black, White, Hispanic All melted in a pot, Letting others measure you, because you think his game is hot! What measures you … Man! I’ll define you, I bet I can, You’re you, not him, Not we, but he, Whom God created you to be . . . Individually! That’s your Measure … A Man!!! 2007  AXIS  59


Yanka and Myself By Yanka Diaz

60  AXIS  2007

At

night, when life is test. “How stupid,” I say. She submerged into tells me I disgrace my spirit with the silent noises such words. She points out the of the dark, she time I was the only one to figure comes out as a ghost that hosts out a math problem in an aptitude my body. She is the one who test. I am fearful. gets credit for my ideas. I can I picture my prospective life, even consider her my best friend the positive and the negative posbecause I know her entire profile. sibilities at the same time. I start I have been with her since the dreaming and nightmares come. day she began to know the world. I always ask, “What if?” I am She might not know me as well scared of being an obstacle in as I know her but still she is the her life. I would never forgive myone who cries when I feel bad; self if I ruin her career because therefore I own her tears. of my insecurities. She tells me, When my parents decided to “You are my heart. I see colors come to the United States, I said because of you. What would I be “No, I want to stay in Cuba.” She without you?” said, “Yes, this is the opportunity Yanka has achieved the majorthat will make us get out of this ity of my objectives and I am abyss and discover what the real proud of her for that, but I do not world looks like.” know to which one She dried my eyes You are my heart. of us the merit and gave me the I see colors because belongs. Probably confidence I needed to me because I to stand. of you. am the one she She has an carries inside extraordinary ability to transform her. Besides, I am the one full of a vague idea into a rain of acprejudices so it is harder for me complishments. She stays up to break them in order to achieve writing a paper the whole night something. However, the merits if it is necessary, even when I could belong to her because keep begging her to please go to she is the one that gives me the sleep. Sometimes, her attitude strength to do what I want. gives me the sense that we are Sometimes, I wonder who she two different persons. However, would be without me. Would she her determination is the rock I be a better human being or a stand on when I am depressed. I machine without feelings? stay silent and I remember when I got a 65 on my first Chemistry


By Lucia Orozco

Heroin, suicide, and a love note. That’s what they found the day I died. Other than my pale, wide eyed, doll-face.

“Baby I love you but our story is done,”

Such a pretty little thing, Sprawled out on a red, satin bedspread.

“It’s okay because, doll-face, Nothing beats dying young,”

Dramatically tragic.

The little boy said.

At the age of thirteen I met my first love A little boy who took my soul and sent it spinning Down a spiral Into the city of lost hopes

So I went back home All alone and hung-over Dreading the mind-state Of white-collar-sober

There I wandered through my teenage years Following white rabbits Asking Alice Why it feels so good To drink from the chalice Of chemically enhanced dreams

That’s when I found The letter that said,

Why life is not as good as it seems When your pupils dilate And you’re dancing through a crowd of beautiful people And when I saw the little boy wandering deeper into the city When I saw his hopes were dead and mine were dimming It hit me As he puked up the bottle of whiskey and took another bump.

The little girl said.

I wake and walk barefoot Through streets of needles To hear what feels like your voice Wrap around me. Love, Yours truly. That’s when my chest Sank into my lungs And crawled towards the city With note in hand And that’s when they found me. Sprawled out on a red, satin bedspread. 2007  AXIS  61


A Nameless Morning After By Crystal Parks

Like a hangover, my body aches this morning. Exhaustion consumes me by just thinking of last night. Occupied is the current state of the usually vacant spot beside me. A vague unmistakable scent still lingers in the air. A smile makes its way across my face as clips from the ­previous night play back in my mind sequentially. As my hand rakes through my hair, I realize that it is not salvageable because of all the tugging that you’ve done. Your body shifts as I stretch and my eyes travel over your physique. My body grows rigid at the mere thought of tasting your chocolate covered frame again. I pause as my gaze hovers over you lips. I have yet to taste them but I can pretty much guarantee that they are just as sweet as the rest of you. You shuffle again as I squirm around to avoid stains that serve as evidence of our dirty deeds. You find my waist and reel me in until our bodies melt together and appear as one. I relax and relish in the idea 62  AXIS  2007

of waking up in this bed with you every morning. I am convinced that waterbeds were made especially for sex since we both outdid ourselves upon this one. Rhythmic waves crashed beneath us as sweat cascaded down both our bodies. Your awaking instantly reminds me of your presence. Hopefully your mind is brewing like mine. There are no barriers that exist between us as we lie here naked upon a soiled wrinkled bedspread. You begin to grow between your legs and I become easily aroused. We exchange no pleasantries as we begin to perform an exact replica of what went on last night. Hands roam freely and explore my body debating just the precise spot to land. My body has become sensitive to your touch. I casually turn over and you moan as I prepare to taste you once again. My mouth travels north and I gently nibble on your earlobe as I whisper, “ I didn’t quite catch your name.”


The scavenger feeds On the flesh of the Young once subtle calf. He told me I had The body of a dancer, “I’ll make you a star!” I see my face now, Colors of a nebula Black, Blue, Yellow, Red,

Haiku of a Modern Day Geisha By Lucia Orozco

Covered by Make-up For daddy’s money tonight. My soul a black hole, “This is not the star I wanted to be,” I said. But I can’t get out. The tracks on my arm Become longer by the day. Help me Mrs. Jones. The music goes on, “Dance for me take off your clothes,” Say men with the cash. “Come back to my house, I got what you need gorgeous,” Say men with the drugs. He films this mess on The bed, but I’m not the star I wanted to be. The scavenger feeds On the flesh of the Young once subtle calf. 2007  AXIS  63


Tanka By Alexandra Salazar

Liquid glass is pierced Curious fish peeks at danger Now a meal to a stranger Tragedy; our sure gamble Curiosity leads the path

Blooming through the trees Spring awakens a paradise Autumn kills the glow Trees and flowers grow dim Winter forgives no one 64  AXIS  2007


Excerpts from John Doe’s Journal By Lucia Orozco Thursday; Feb. 12, 2006; 5:15 A.M. Last night I had a dream. A village in Ancient Egypt was mourning the loss of their king. I was looking in on this village from above, and I could see the queen turn pale as she looked into her husband’s glassy eyes. They pointed at her confirming that they served no other function. She was mortified. Her tears rolled down periodically, at the pace of a slow-motion pendulum. Her hands held her cheeks as if her jaw was too pained to hang open by itself, when deep within her she let out an agony that I could feel from way up high. It has been the first thing I’ve felt in years.

Friday; Feb. 13, 2006; 1:30 P.M. As I look around this office, people sit in their cubicles, structured for distance between relationships. Their eyes point towards their memos, and then into space, then towards computers and back towards space, like robots. Humans conditioned to expel their ghosts so that only their shell remains. I am a shell; carrying out my tasks in an emotionless reality, ignoring how seasons change the beauty of a landscape, incapable of understanding the concept of beauty. Still, I cannot deny the humanity in feeling something, anything; even if it is pain. So before they rip through air, skin, and jugular, I look at my reflection in the sharp edge of these scissors, and all I can hope is that this will hurt.

2007  AXIS  65


A Primer for the Punctuation of Healthy Living: A Pastiche

A Revision By Brian Mueller with respect to Jonathan Safra Foer and the New Yorker The “language web” signifies a presence of language, and there many in the story of a family like mine. Always used in conversations that I had with my Polish grandfather about his life in Europe during the War, the language web is a staple of familiar communication. My grandfather, whom I used to call “Zeide” (Yiddish term), talked a lot. Note how the language web works in the following brief exchange with my Zeide, when I was 11 years old: “Listen,” he said, and then looked at my eyes very intensely. “I have to tell you about the actual end of the son of a bitch. Hitler didn’t commit suicide.” “I already knew,” I said. “That son of a bitch was hidden. He knew it was over for him…” “So what happened?” “You want to know?” “I need to know” “OK. We, the Jewish Partisans and the allied forces tracked him and found him in his bunker in Berlin, in 1944. He was forced out. He had hidden like a miserable, dirty rat.” My Zeide would make sure to use the crudest adjectives when referring to Hitler; he couldn’t help it. “So? Tell me more,” I requested anxiously. “He came out with his secretary, a secret lover from Austria, and of course,” he said in his poor non-native Spanish, “the fucker rapidly realized that he had hundreds of soldiers surrounding him and his cheap lady; it was a perfect circle, with two Nazis in its center, ready to receive what they deserved.” “Were you there?” I knew he wasn’t, but I had to ask him, just to keep the conversation flowing. “Sure I was there; everybody was. We were all aiming at their heads.” 66  AXIS  2007

“So you and the soldiers shot them to death!” “No, the coward didn’t let us. He took a gun from his coat, shot the bitch, and then himself.” My Zeide’s face showed everything but satisfaction right after this sentence. “But… what happened to the bodies?” “Well, that’s something nobody is sure of. The army took them, and I heard that they burned and buried them. Days later, the world received the news: The Russian army has found the bodies of Hitler and his lover. Apparently, they committed suicide.”

As it visually suggests, the “rat tail,” is a weird version of an exclamation point rotated 45° to the right. As rats represent, for many, misery and filth, this symbol reminds my family of the dreadful conditions that not only Jewish people but every single individual persecuted by the Nazis suffered during the Holocaust. The best example of its usage occurred when I was a boy. My Zeide was driving me home from school in his yellow Chevy and stopped as the light became red. He turned back to me and fixed his small eyes on mine. Almost whispering, he said, “I hope that you never have to begin your day with a rat for breakfast.” “Why?” I responded laughing, as if my Zeide was kidding. “Have you done that?” “While working in the mines in Russia, I was taking care of my mother and my younger brother. They were all the family that I had left. I was 21, trying to survive, and trying to imagine that someday life wouldn’t be so miserable. I had to do it.” He stopped


for a second, looked down at the floor and then his eyes came back to me. “Tell me more,” I demanded, now in a more serious mood. “I was working for a piece of bread or whatever food the Russians would give me. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even get a chance to get some food for myself, and my family was my priority.” He stopped and froze. I could feel he was back in Russia, smelling the snow. I always wanted to listen to him; I demanded his stories, his reality, his words. The light turned green. My Zeide was still looking at me, eyes frozen. “Let’s go Zeide,” I said and showed him that the light was now green. Several cars honked at us. “Come on, ‘boludo’!” one guy shouted. My Zeide was still lost in the mines in Russia. “You know,” he concluded, “back then, rats didn’t taste so bad; not bad at all.”

The “snowflake” is used at the end of a unique familial phrase. For example, “I was not in the Holocaust, and neither were my parents; but my grandparents were, so where does that leave us?” Well, life continues. I was not in the Holocaust, true; I didn’t get to see how they killed and tortured my grandparents and their cousins, relatives, and friends; but I felt the anger, frustration, hatred, and sadness of my grandparents’ experiences. It’s not easy to leave those memories behind, they will always be there, making me aware that I could have been born in a small, quiet town in Eastern Europe, but ended up somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. But we, grandsons, and future generations shouldn’t suffer; our grandparents wouldn’t be happy if we did. Somehow we have to get over it; to let it go and live, as we only get to live once. And we shall never forget these stories, as they are necessary for others to know what really happened in the Holocaust.

The arrow is used when what appears on either side elaborates, summates, implicates, etc., what’s on the other side. Here are some examples: Sometimes, my eyes water when I speak about the especially between history of my family when my family was forced 1938 and 1945 to escape from their native lands, but not before suffering the worst atrocity of humankind. My grandmother’s happiness of at least surviving my mother’s happiness of having been born to my happiness the hapmy grandmother piness that will come after me. To be Jewish, everything right To be Jewish YES. with that. Living – All of it “Zeide, there are people who are not able to tell your stories; not able to let others know what occurred during those years.”

“I’m glad you told me that. However, there are other families that survived like we did, but prefer and need silence. They develop ‘heart conditions’ and pretend that silence is the cure for that.”

“Well, it seems that rats tasted bad to them.” “I want you and the ones that will come after you to to look forward to the future; but be happy NEVER forget what happened.” “I’ll always remember, and never in silence.”

2007  AXIS  67


Haiku By Alexandra Salazar

Imagination Dancing with ink on paper Takes me to heaven

68  AXIS  2007


T

omorrow, this other boy, the one who sleeps in darkness, will wake up, go to school, go to work, come back home, do homework, go to sleep. His life can be summarized in a sentence.

—Jose Ruiz Ghosts in the Night


Miami Dade College, District Board of Trustees Helen Aguirre Ferré, Chair Hank Klein, Vice Chair Armando J. Bucelo Jr. Mirta Canton Benjamin Leon III Peter W. Roulhac Marielena A. Villamil Eduardo J. Padrón, President, Miami Dade College José A. Vicente, President, North Campus The Miami Dade College Foundation supports the mission and values of Miami Dade College by encouraging gifts from a wide variety of sources, particularly in the areas of scholarship and program support. For more information on how you can contribute to the College, please call MDC at 305-237-8888.

Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity affirmative action institution. This information is available in accessible formats. For this or special accommodations, call 305-237-3032 TDD: 1-800-955-8771


Axis Magazine Vol.4