LITERARY MAGAZINE STAFF SENIOR EDITORS:
Rebecca Abbott Channa Rifkin
Noah Abramowitz (23) Joshua August (22) Shira Bor (18) Mackenzie Chyatte (12) Joshua Disney (26) Jacob Finglass (8, 19, 21, 27) Sarah Greenberg (12) Eyal Gurewitsch (24) Julie Harans (20) Elliot Heller (4) Brittany Herzenberg (10) Sam Hirsh (19) Shana Kaplan (34) Jack Kwatinetz (6) Gil Lehmann (5, 22) Ilana Levin (13) Ben Lipowitz (11) Joshua Lipsitz (16) Jordan Low (21) Eric Manski (11, 27) Hallie Miller (12, 33) Jennifer Neuman (3) Andrea Picciotto (7) Channa Rifkin (15, 17, 26) Itamar Rodban (3) Matthew Rosen (34) Hallye Rosenbloom (35) Jen Rubin (15, 22, 25, 28, 35) Hilla Singerman (29) Max Spitz ( 8, 9, 14, 15) Erin Sullivan (34) Yaniv Yaffe (9, 15)
JUNIOR EDITORS: Shira Bor Rebecca Hefter Brittany Herzenberg Gil Lehmann
FINAL PUBLICATION EDITOR: Brittany Herzenberg
FACULTY ADVISOR: Mr. Elden Schneider
STAFF FOR FINAL PUBLICATION: Rachel Blaustein Mackenzie Chyatte Aaron Finglass Shoshana First Shana Kaplan Rebecca Lavine Elliyahu Lucas Arielle Messafi Hallye Rosenbloom Jen Rubin Elyse Shumsky Hilla Singerman Tali Vogelstein
PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART: Rebecca Abbott (41) Dara Baker (41) Rabbi Aaron Frank (37) Shana Kaplan (4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 25, 27, 40) Jenny Katznelson (9, 26) Jen Rubin (5) Ben Lipowitz (11)
FACULTY CONTRIBUTORS: Rabbi Aaron Frank (38) Mr. David Green (36) Mr. Elden Schneider (38) Ms. Halaine S. Steinberg (39)
TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND LAYOUT:
Ms. Rina Goloskov
BACK COVER: Elliayu Lucas 2
Dear Diary, Age 11 by Jennifer Neuman Dear Diary, Today I made a wish. An extra special wish. Today is November 11, 2011. 11/11/11. At 11:11 this morning, an enormous number of people made a wish. I just know it. With all those people wishing, I wonder if mine will get a chance to come true. I wonder how many people made wishes about selfish things, like boys, or looks, or clothing. I wonder who wished for world peace, the end of homelessness. I wonder what my friends think I wished for. I doubt anyone will guess. No one could possibly guess. I haven’t told them, you know. I know I said last week I was going to, but I just couldn’t do it. How am I supposed to tell my best friends that I’ve been lying to them all along? That my parents didn’t really divorce when I was young, that my Dad doesn’t really live in a different state. I just don’t want their pity. I don’t want anyone’s pity. It’s not like there is anything they can do. It’s a hard phrase to stomach. I still can’t bear to think it, let alone say it out loud. I’ll never forget when Mom told me. I didn’t even know what it meant. And that was over five years ago. Yet, he’s still “Missing in Action.” I hate that phrase. It forces me to keep hope. It doesn’t allow for any closure. I just hope my only wish finally comes true. Sincerely, Me
The 11th Hour by Itamar Rodban The gunfire illuminated the sky The sounds of explosions emanated from the battlefield While soldiers continued to fall And on the 11th hour News of the end of the war reached the soldiers The men stood up from the cover of the trenches And stared at each other through joyous eyes Thousands of sighs of relief filled the air A soldier looked at his fallen comrades on the ground And muttered under his breath “This day will be remembered forever, This is 11/11”
Armistice Day, by Elliot Heller “The images, Max,” he said. “I’ll never forget. I CAN’T forget.” The man wore his military uniform once a year. Never on Memorial Day, a day he spend doing absolutely nothing. He never thought that anything could be worse than war until he saw the barbecues and parties. A day intended to honor our nation’s fallen warriors turned into a start-of-summer celebration. Sometimes he wished the draft were back, just so these young ungrateful “Americans” could experience what war really means, instead of reading about it in a textbook in an air-conditioned room in a secure building. “Grampa, Can I go back inside now? It’s cold.” “During the war, the temperature was about thirty degrees colder than it is today on a normal winter day. There was no heating. You don’t know what ‘cold’ is.” “Grampa, said the boy, now feeling guilty, “before when you mentioned images…” “Your mother thinks you’re too young to hear this, but I think you need to know to appreciate your history.” Max watched as his grandfather’s one working eye began to well up. He heard the crack in his voice as he told stories of war and survival, of brotherhood and toughness. “Back then, there was no such thing as PTSD. You dealt with your problems and moved on, just like in war.” After he finished, he took a moment to compose himself and asked, “Max, do you know what today is?” “Of course,” replied the boy, “it’s 11/11/11. Once in a century. What are you going to wish for Grampa?” The grandfather sighed. “Your mother was right,” he said, and he limped back into the house.
Photograph by Shana Kaplan 4
11/11/11 by Gil Lehmann 11 November, 1811 Middleton Colliery, Leeds, England At eleven o’clock on my eleventh birthday, my parents took me to the Middleton Colliery in Leeds to view the testing of the brand new steam locomotive, Salamanca. We stood near the railway for ten minutes, waiting. Suddenly, we heard an infernal “weesh” and clanking, and saw a thick, white cloud approach us slowly along the railway. I distinctly remember my parents telling me that steam locomotives moved very fast, and that in a flash, the locomotive would pass before my eyes. However, it took exactly one minute and eleven seconds for the locomotive, hauling eleven wagons of coal, to pass us. The weeshing and clanking crescendoed, until we feared that our ears would never work again. Steam billowed everywhere, engulfing us in a white, wet, magical, earthly cloud. We could just barely see the locomotive’s drenched, varnished-wood-clad boiler shimmering in the sun through the steam. As it slowly passed, I stared in amazement at the slow-spinning wheels, at the regular, oscillating motion of the vertical drive rods, and at the eleven wooden wagons of fresh, black coal. Eleven seconds passed before the train disappeared round a bend and we went home. Those eleven minutes and twenty-two seconds stuck in my memory, and, although the lack of speed disappointed my very young, impatient self, they still fascinated me enough to compel me to return to that spot whenever I could, despite having ridden on much faster trains since.
Photograph by Jen Rubin 5
Five Years Ago by Jack Kwatinetz Five years ago
He grew 6 inches
In my sixth grade year
In three months
He was not the same figure
And got a lot skinnier
That I am now
His pants worn at his hips
That boy was slightly Over five feet tall
Buttons and zippers Were his new choices
With quite a large belly And glasses to top it off.
He turned into me The person I am today
He was not the fastest runner
I run cross country and track
And wore his pants
And am five feet eight
Up to his waist
Wear contacts instead of glasses
Instead of his hips Spandex waistline was his choice
Of pants with no zipper or button
It comes to show How fast someone can change
You could have rolled Him down a hill He was almost like a ball Yet he had all the same interests That I do now
That although he May be one person One day The next day he may Turn into another
Then that summer
When I go back
Some kind of miracle happened
To those middle school days
It was like a butterfly
I remember the boy
Coming out of its cocoon
That once roamed the hallways
After its long rest
Wishing to be taller and skinnier Not knowing at all what lay in store
What If by Andrea Picciotto Every day’s the same.
I haven’t jumped on a trampoline in years. Maybe I’d do that.
Wake up, it’s still dark. Still half asleep, I shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, eat something.
Schedules and deadlines stress and possess us, but what if they didn’t?
Car ride. Still half asleep. It’s light out now.
What if I wandered into a book shop, browsing for a book that truly spoke to me,
School. Class after class. Lunch. More classes. Car ride home. It’s already dark again.
Free from the lingering notions that I’ll have to dissect its pages in an essay?
Essays, reading, and upcoming tests. But first, time to eat again.
Everyday is different but the same. It blends together, blurring the lines of months and seasons.
Exhausted, I set my alarm for the morning. And in a blink…
I like to wonder how it would be if this wasn’t so.
Wake up, it’s still dark.
But it is. So in the meantime, I should set my alarm.
Every day’s the same.
And get some sleep.
But what if they weren’t all the same?
But first, it’s time to eat again.
What if for once I could sleep in late? Wake up to an already sunny day,
Every day’s the same.
And have the energy to see what the shadows hide? Free from the shackles of daily dullness. Maybe I’d take a different route home, because it passes by a dazzling lakeside. Or what if I took a risk? Talked to a stranger, An old war vet, yearning to tell his tale to someone. There’s a vast world being ignored daily. 7
Raking Leaves by Jacob Finglass I hate raking leaves. Every November, my mother unfailingly handed my brother and me rakes and ushered us outside into the chilly air. She and my brother always seemed to enjoy it. She would remark how beautiful the autumn breeze felt, or how crisp the air seemed. My brother Aaron, would jump in the piles or make “leaf angels” on the ground. But I never shared their fondness for raking leaves. To me, those autumn days spent outside meant time away from my books. It was time wasted. Not that I would have done much else, but something about raking leaves really irked me. I hated the pungent odor of the damp leaves, the crackling sound of the dry ones when I stepped on them, and the scratchy feeling when they found their way into my shoes. Somehow, I always got stuck with the bad rake. Probably because I was always the last one out the door, but it didn’t help. While the others used new plastic green rakes, I toiled away with a rusty blue metal one the landscapers left at our house. They probably just didn’t want it. Though I abhorred this ordeal, finishing brought no relief. While the rest of the family enjoyed hot chocolate and chive tea, my sensitive stomach and my aversion to apple cider, tea, and coffee allowed me only a glass of water. I wish I could just grind those leaves up with a lawn mower. Why couldn’t my father have bought one? Childhood Fears by Max Spitz Sitting on the floor, he played “Cops and Robbers” with his action figures. Of course, the robbers were winning. They always won because that meant he was using his imagination. In real life, the cops always win. As he played he noticed a shake, but thought it only his mind. The shake grew and suddenly, with a loud crash, off fell the painting from the wall. The boy screamed, and fled to his mother in her bedroom. His heart pounding, eyes tearing up, the boy looked up innocently and asked, “Has the thunderman come down here?” With her ever so-soft smile the mother replied, “No dear, the thunder-man lives in the sky. That was only Mother Earth saying hello.” It was all the mother could do to calm her own beating heart. Photograph by Shana Kaplan
Dusk by Max Spitz The horizon folds up in a multi-colored crease and the sun falls away. Slowly but surely dusk comes on, with darkness close behind; Not harsh, not burning, darkness is calm. The nighttime is peaceful with its blanket of black. Many fear the absence of light, its uncertainty and chaos, But uncertainty is curiosity, chaos is discovery. The curtain of darkness means no harm in its impenetrability. Our monsters sleep through the night as well; They too awake at dawn. As night disappears,
Photograph by Jenny Katsnelson
so does its cool blackness, Burnt up, scalded by the sun; The dusk flees to rest before it is called on once again.
Advice to Myself by Yaniv Yaffe Take the lines on the clock
And get caught in a gust of wind
And let them guide you
Because you know it will drift far away
Let the thoughtful seconds
Leaving you only with the strains of regret
turn to productive minutes And these minutes into accomplished hours
So make every second count And count on every second
Every tick wasted
Count on yourself
Is a moment lost forever
Because you deserve it
Donâ€™t let it slip through your fingers
This Familiar Feel from the Near Past by Brittany Herzenberg This familiar feeling from the near past, Green floors and white walls, memories return. Caught up in life, one year passes fast, But neglect was never a real concern; For from our first trip, we had much to learn. The screams during the night still pierce my mind; Every screech I can forever discern, But a smile is not too hard to find, For the childrenâ€™s faces are all too kind. How can this destruction remain unseen? It must be because the world is just blind. And here people carry on their routines; Hoping that one day their prayers will be heard, But in a place like Haiti, most words are just blurred.
Four Corners of the Universe by Eric Manski They are going to send a box to outer space, Filled with human objects which can be embraced What should we put in this box? Maybe a pair of shoes or perhaps a pair of socks An envelope addressed to earth With a stamp placed in the corner to save their moneyâ€™s worth They most likely have never seen a letter Since we no longer write by hand, computers are so much better We could throw a laptop into the mix Maybe even a couple Facebook friends gained by a few clicks Whatever life forms may exist out there in the unknown Hopefully one day we will find a nice message waiting on the telephone
Upside-down by Ben Lipowitz Have you ever tried looking at a basketball hoop upside-down? Or the sky while lying on the ground? Doesnâ€™t the daytime sky look like the ocean and donâ€™t the clouds look like waves? All these questions just put me in a daze! Maybe more often we should try and notice things differently. Imagine how all the everyday encounters that will become new and not the usual Like a basketball hoop, but only upside-down.
Photograph by Ben Lipowitz 11
I Am Frozen by Mackenzie Chyatte I am frozen, Trapped between crème and charcoal. Black and white, Ivory and hatred, Darkness and pain wished upon me. How I yearn for your forgiving light, Yet my dark deeds have long since stained Our parchments of forgotten love; Now all I see is blood ink, spreading faster than I could ever fly. Oh, Where art thou? My grey-eyed Athena? Who has locked you away? In a corner consigned to oblivion long ago, Who shed their apathy, To reveal a coat of indifference, Locked you in a cage of emotion And tossed away The key of truth? How could I have forgotten? My dear Athena, It was I.
Photograph by Shana Kaplan
At Dawn We Raced Downstairs by Hallie Miller
All My Hard Work is Done by Sarah Greenberg
At dawn we raced downstairs Greeting the morning light As we sat down at the kitchen table Where everything seemed all right At the peak of our innocence We knew not of war or crime So we ate our cereal and milk One spoonful at a time We laughed at childish antics So loud the neighbors could hear And even today we reminisce of those breakfast days Even with adulthood so near For last night she cried and trembled Emblazoned with the light of the morning All I could think to do was bring her a bowl of ice cream – with two spoons
All my hard work is done. I stare at the computer screen and wonder… Will I get in? I read over my essays for a fifth time. Is there anything I can improve on? The yellow “submit” button is big; It stares me in the eye. It knows I just want to click and be done, but the thought of having no more control over my future scares me. I wait a few minutes. I think I am ready. “submit”
Lights Out by Ilana Levin The news is playing in the background as I work on my summer math packet. Am I really expected to remember how to graph linear equations? I stare at my paper and try to scan the file cabinets in my head to find the spider web-covered linear equation cabinet. “Did you hear that?!” my grandma exclaims as she points at the reporter on TV. I absentmindedly nod. Linear equations…hm…I remember that you can figure out the slope but do you figure out the starting point…My grandma turns up the TV. It’s so loud that you would think someone in the house is partially deaf. The reporter is saying something about Hurricane Irene being one of the worst the East Coast has seen in a while. My grandma starts mumbling something about having enough food and maybe cooking something now in case the power goes out. I can feel her staring right at me as if I have all the answers to her mumblings. I continue to glare at my summer math packet, hoping that if I don’t answer she’ll move on and ramble to someone else. After a minute or two, she decides to go to the kitchen and cook up a storm. Different smells of delicious food waft my way. Well, this isn’t helping me remember how to graph a linear equation. The lights flicker on and off. Oh G-d, please don’t let the power go out. The TV goes off and on. The reporter says something about the hurricane intensifying in the local area… the lights flicker on and off twice more quickly and then finally shut off. I hear my grandma start to panic and complain. “What am I supposed to do without electricity? No TV? Oh my!” she exclaims. My sister walks into the room and looks at me. “Hey kiddo, if you’re going to try to keep working on math, you should sit by the window so you have some light,” she suggests. I shrug and put my math packet away. Enough math for one day. I grab my summer reading book and go sit by the window. My sister notices how depressed my grandfather looks and offers to play a game of chess with him. He pulls out his old chess set like he used to do when we were little and starts to play with her. After beating her twice, my sister suggests that I play with him a couple times while she goes and spends some time with my grandma. While I play with my grandpa, he starts to hum “Hava Nagila” and I can’t help notice how happy he seems. After he kicks my butt twice in a row, he and I go join my grandma and sister in her bedroom looking at old photos. My grandma pulls out photos I’ve never seen; of herself and my grandpa as kids and teenagers, of their parents, of my father and my uncle, and my sister and me. We end up sitting and laughing together, not noticing how quickly the time is going by. The room starts to get darker by the minute and we all realize we’re starving. My sister and I go in search for a couple candles. We find and light them, and set them up on the dining room table and then set up the rest of the table. My grandma brings out the food and we all sit and eat by the candlelight. We all laugh at how romantic and cozy the setting is as we finish up our meal. Instead of clearing the table like we usually do, we all continue to sit and talk. One story leads to the next and suddenly I’m learning brand new things about my grandparents like parts of their childhoods, how they met, what their lives were like in Russia and so on. I end up snuggled up to my grandma, something I haven’t done in years. I close my eyes and smile. Suddenly, the lights flicker and go on. Despite how many times each of us kept complaining about the power being out, no one seems excited. We all mumble something about it being nice that the power’s back and start to clear the table. Maybe losing the power for a day isn’t too bad. 13
Memories are Strength by Max Spitz Drip…drip…drip. He stands beneath the bus stop. Drip…drip…drip. He straightens his tie. Checks his watch. Jonathon knows the bus is late. He expected this. Drip…drip…drip. His boss said he could stay home that day. His boss said that everyone could stay home. But anyone who went in would be paid time and a half, and to Jonathon that offer called out to be taken. And so, Jonathon looks down the street impatiently, urging the bus to arrive. Finally, it turns the corner and arrives. Jonathon quickly hops on, flashes his pass, and sits down. There is less traffic than he expected. Then again, the city streets are always packed, so less traffic more or less meant anything less than gridlock. You can’t drive in Manhattan; you can barely even park. Jonathan misses owning a car, but he likes his apartment. The bus arrives at the office. Jonathon does not worry about being late. In fact, the secretary had already clocked him in. She knew he would show. Jonathon always shows. He isn’t poor; he just learned never to a shirk opportunities to build up a bank account. You never know when the excess funds might come in handy, or save you from homelessness. He takes a seat at his desk, boots up his computer. For a moment Jonathon hesitates, he’s had enough of weatherman doom reports. But he turns on the radio anyway, hoping that he can maintain focus on his work. He has a report due next week, and power might be going out soon. He likes to be diligent. The radio crackles to life, “Ladies and gentlemen, the hurricane has officially made its first landfall. It continues to move inward at a rapid pace. Remember to get to a safe place before Irene makes contact wherever you may reside.” And like that Jonathon’s focus is gone…his mind drifts back; he begins to remember, not matter how much he hates to… The water is flowing quickly, but we have no choice! We can fly the chopper in this weather sir! I can fly it! There are people out here who need our help! The Ninth Ward could never have survived torrents like this…I know that it’s dangerous, but we can’t sit here and do nothing. There has to be some way to go out now! The rain is letting up, it’s still risky, but isn’t that why we do this? We risk ourselves to save others! Sir…please…I’m begging you to let me take the chopper out. My…my wife is out there! I lost cell phone contact with her just a few days ago…she’s in a better part of town, but still too close to the levees. If you could just let me find my house…if she’s on the roof I can save her! Please sir…please..sir… Jonathon shakes himself awake. The old nightmare is coming back. He hates the rain now. Jonathon reminds himself of his work. But first, he takes out his wallet. Jonathon looks down at a picture in the center. She was so beautiful.
A Prayer for Pure Souls by Channa Rifkin
Night by Jen Rubin
To the Lord above us and around us,
Some say that darkness hides sin.
please pay heed to this cry for help:
I don’t believe in sin. I say that darkness hides insecurity, And fear. People take risks in the night, People go on adventures, People admit their feelings, People find the true meaning to love.
Our pure souls are utterly corrupted by the force of society. We lose all our passion, our values. These passions and values are replaced with vulgar language and selfish acts. Our once warm hearts are transformed into cold shoulders. We turn on friends, neglect our families, and forget
how to be affectionate. Oh, Almighty God,
That is why the night is so exciting
assist us so that life experiences do not alter our
Because a time without insecurity and fear, Is the time we should strive for,
naivety – so that every man on Earth can trust knowing that it’s a safe place… so our children, especially the young ones, can stay innocent
And hope that at some point, Our insecurities will vanish in the sunlight.
longer, so they should know no hate, and stay pure in their hearts. Oh Hashem, our Lord, please grant us the strength to stay mighty in our
hearts, to resist the force of evil, and keep us blessed with pure and genuine souls. The Flood is Hungry by Max Spitz
A Thanksgiving Adventure by Yaniv Yaffe The road ahead
The torrents fall The monsoon winds blow Trees bend even at the thickest trunk As the storm grows, fear follows Streams slowly become rivers, and rivers spill Tens of hundreds of tributaries assemble, pumping their own form of adrenaline They have become one He is not tame He is not calm He is ravenous, angry, and unstoppable The flood is hungry.
Seems longer than it should When passenger seats are left vacant, When the radio repeats songs,
When the highway is jam-packed with Pickup trucks and SUVs Full of parents travelling with children Who whine from the back seat "Are we there yet?" "How about now?" Frustrated, Life moves slowly on the I-95 Southbound. Only 50 more miles to Georgia 15
Tuned Out by Josh Lipsitz A muscular man sporting a fitted pinstripe suit and a Lacoste fedora rammed into me, grunting loudly as he exhaled a puff of cigarette smoke in my face. “Turista,” he muttered under his breath while brushing off his pleated pants. This towering figure appeared like the marble statues dotting the cobblestone streets of Florence – majestic with a toned body and flawless features. “Sir, would you happen to know how to reach Ponte Vecchio,” I mumbled bashfully as I picked up the crinkled twenty-euro bill that fell from my pocket. Staring at me through a pair of white celebrity sunglasses, he puckered his forehead and strode away toward a café. Did he not just hear me ask for directions? Throngs of people swarmed into the ornate cathedral ahead, blocking the rusty street sign from view. Stepping on my tiptoes and jerking my head from left to right, I caught a glimpse of the sign with a bolded arrow pointing to the left. Yet the words seemed like a jumble of Japanese characters. “Excuse me?” I addressed the eccentric woman wearing a blinding neon pink shirt, but she shrugged her shoulders and continued walking. Countless people noticed my presence but simply turned a blind eye to me by continuing to talk on their cell phone, reapply lipstick, or rustle through their wallet. I halted amid the busting square as a thunderous herd of people seemingly circled around me. Impenetrable cultural barriers isolated me from the crowd, and I sensed a thick veil of invisibility enveloping me. Fleeing from the boisterous sea of tourists, I meandered onto a desolate street as narrow as a balance beam. Powder blue flowers tickled my neck as I entered an old-fashioned hotel with a flickering “Hotel Pierre” sign on its doorway. An eerie feeling of solitude pervaded the deserted lobby. As I sat down, the tattered sofa creaked as if it had not felt a person’s embrace for centuries. Shattering the uncanny silence by humming faintly, a woman with a messy bun and golden eyeglasses perched on the tip of her nose walked to her 1950’s radio. The deafening roar of white noise when she flipped through radio stations startled me. “Ciao, have you been helped?” she articulated in a smoker’s voice. Have I been helped? My mind flooded with images of people who walked briskly through the streets of Florence while I stood paralyzed and disoriented. All I have been is reduced to invisibility – tuned out like a radio. Photograph by Shana Kaplan 16
“Being Me” by Channa Rifkin I want to put on her clothes,
I want to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend,
I wish I could still wear those cute little dresses,
I wish boys had cooties again, Or why she’s friends with Lucy Finn.
Wear her makeup,
And for Lucy Finn to shut her mouth,
Not have to worry about makeup…
Just to read me a book,
Walk around in her high heels,
To go back to the days of circle time,
Why couldn’t I be so small?
Even just sit in her room while she braids her hair,
Steal her iPod so I can dance to it just like she does,
Even just have mom brush sweetly through my hair,
Not have a care in the world, But being little means it’s not mine.
But being little means I have to mind my own business.
But being big means I have to grow up. I want to hang out with her until 1 A.M.,
But being big means I have more responsibility.
I wish I could sleep more,
Being little means one day I will be older.
And play with her at home.
Being big means life will only get more complicated.
And just relax.
One day I’ll wear makeup,
To be included in the slumber parties,
Soon I’ll have to get a job,
To have cute little play-dates,
And walk in the prettiest high heels.
And go out everywhere with her and her friends.
And pay rent.
Not to worry about where the cool hangouts are. But being little means I get left behind. Being big means I’m never lame.
Invisible by Shira Bor “I really, really, NEED this,” I said practically in tears, squeezing the purple foam pool noodle. That’s when she took it out. THE list: the only thing standing between pure happiness and myself. I wouldn’t stand a chance, being compared to THE stupid list. I dropped the pool toy and sprinted across Aisle 12, where the Lean Cuisine and frozen pizza section was, noticing a pyramid of Entemann’s delicious sweet-baked crumb cake. “Please, Mommy, puh-leeease, can we get these?” I desperately begged, only to receive no as a response, of course. We moved to the first thing on THE list: pasta. As we wandered to Aisle 6 and its shelves upon shelves of various noodles, I suggested that my mom buy rigatoni or elbow macaroni, so I could make a necklace! As she reached for the bowtie pasta on the top shelf, I angrily said, “Noo! Don’t take farfalle pasta!!!” All she had to say was, “It’s pronounced fahr-fah-lee.” “You say tomato, I say potato,” I replied. Unfortunately, this reminded her of the cherry tomatoes she forgot to put on THE list. “Cherry tomatoes?! How about cherry Ring Pops!” But I was shot down – AGAIN! It was then that I grabbed the boxes of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and Zebra Cakes. My mom responded with the two words that will easily ruin any innocent child’s day: “choose one.” I wanted to tell her “choose one” form of cheddar cheese…Seriously! Who needs a variety of sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, white cheddar, cheddar jack, cubed cheddar, and shredded cheddar cheese?! You could simply cover all of your cheese bases with one simple solution…Cheez-Its! Besides, how can she expect me to choose one when I NEED all of these things? They are all equally delectable in their own unique ways. I realized that if I wanted to start getting what I need, I must think like an adult. I maturely pointed out that it was crucial we buy chocolate pudding because it is obviously very nutritional. “It has DAIRY in it, which is a very important vitamin.” I was extremely proud of myself for saying this, especially because adults always try stupid diets. I was sure that this time, my manipulation would definitely succeed. “Mom…Mommy…Mom? Mom! Did you even hear what I just said?” She didn’t even look at me, she simply continued to cross off “organic fresh basil” and “baby arugula.” YUCK! Then completely ignoring my question, she insulted my intelligence by telling me to be her “special helper” and look for Swiffer refills…Come on, I’m not four years old anymore, Mother. I’m already four and three-quarters. How long do you think that’s gonna work on me? It won’t distract me…I never get distracted easil-“MMMMM…graham cracker pie crust, Mommy!!” “No, we’re not baking pie,” she said. I patiently explained, “It doesn’t matter – it’s the best part anyways!... Nevermind,” I cried, “They have butterfly-shaped cookie cutters!!!” My senses tingled and my mouth watered as I approached the bakery where I could smell the warm, sweet aroma of heavenly pastries, muffins, snickerdoodles, and doughnuts – much better than anything I’d ever smelled…Meanwhile, my mom was grabbing Tylenol and toilet 18
paper from Aisle 4. It was obvious that I would not get any attention with my requests for food today…And then, my mind lights up like Time Square on Christmas Eve, when I see the section that reads “Candles, greeting cards, batteries, DOLLS/TOYS/GAMES.” Wandering amongst racecars, bouncy balls, hula hoops, Polly Pocket dolls, glitter pens, Halloween decorations, water balloons, PEZ dispensers, and Fisher Price toys, I don’t even know where to begin…”Mom, I PROMISE that if you buy me this stuff I will never ask for anything else, ever again!” When we arrived at the cashier to check out, I realized that this would be my final opportunity to get what I truly NEEDED. My plan was to stare at the Snickers, Twix, M&Ms, KitKats, Reese’s, Milky Ways, Almond Joys, Three Musketeers, Peppermint Patties, Starburst, Skittles, and Twizzlers, while the woman scanned THE list’s boring items, and then JUST MAYBE my mother would offer to buy me something! Nonetheless, she did not even notice me staring. I felt so angry the whole ride home, I decided to use the silent treatment. OR even worse: I’m so mad that I’m never ever going with my mom to the supermarket again. That’ll really show her… At least not until next weekend… Football Players Stretch for Every Yard by Sam Hirsh Football players stretch for every yard
Return the Armistice by Jacob Finglass The machine guns fell silent, caked in mud.
I stretch my tiny fingers to strike the white keys
From the trenches rose
Players find the emotion and leave it on the field
thousands of battered souls,
I find it and transfer it to the keys
And in the trenches lay thousands more.
The stadium noise pumps up the players
The war to end all wars was over,
The classical melodies enrich me
Yet ninety-nine years later
The offense’s progress stops
the fighting persists.
My patience has disappeared from
Where did the armistice go,
playing incorrect notes
when will it return?
The coach yells at his player’s mistakes My teacher yells at me because of
They say our boys will be home by Christmas,
my repeated mental errors
But I’ll only believe it when I see it.
We both keep playing
America’s century has come and gone. New global powers will emerge While old ones will fall. Let us not slip into the ash heap of history. Let America prevail. 19
Invisible by Julie Harans My little fingers gripped the polished metal knob, and, with a cautious silence, pushed the door ajar as I slipped into the room. The girls, immediately halting their activity, shot me looks of confusion and distaste. Aware of the unspoken requirement to tolerate me, the two kept quiet and continued to play as I gently nudged worn princess costumes and Barbie dolls aside. I lowered myself until I felt the welcoming softness of my sisterâ€™s pale pink carpet. I watched the busy girls as they rushed around the bedroom, zipping up gowns and adjusting tiaras. Sequins shone from the light of the desk lamp as reflections danced across the walls. Overflowing dress-up bins lined the walls and plastic-heeled, mismatched shoes were scattered on the floor. I sat still, my back against the cool dry wall, hypnotized by the glamour of the seven-year-old life. I tucked my knees to my chest and wondered how it would feel to run that sparkly blue hairbrush through my hair, squeeze my feet into those plastic shoes. Iâ€™d buckle the shoes and button my puffy teal dress and suddenly, I would transform into a princess, ruling my kingdom with limitless power and luxuries. I am beautiful, confident, powerful, admired, envied. Then, I look at my old grey nightgown. My sister turns to face me and begins to walk towards me. I anxiously prepare myself to accept her invitation, shifting my position so I can stand as quickly as possible. But she merely bends to retrieve the faux pearl necklace that had somehow been tossed by my side. The heartbreaking reality of my four-year-old status sets in, and I rise to leave the room. My bare feet thump against the fuzzy floor, desperate for any recognition from the girls, any last chance of a possible offer. But the princess world had grown old, and now there was hair to be pinned, tutus to be fastened, and ballet shoes to be tied. I took a last glance over my shoulder at the giggling best friends before pulling the metal knob until the door shut.
Photograph by Shana Kaplan 20
Naked by Jacob Finglass I will not die naked, I thought as the house shook. I stood in the steam-filled bathroom after a lengthy midday shower. I had just returned from a brisk four-mile run and my muscles were sore. The warm water soothed my tired body, and I couldn’t resist standing there under the invigorating jet of water. Just a moment longer, I kept telling myself. Then it happened. At first, it was just a tremor. I figured it was due time I got out of the shower, so I turned off the faucet and stepped onto the mat, shivering as I clutched my towel. Am I delusional, I thought? It must have been the shower. Nevertheless, the shaking persisted. I opened the bathroom door to a rush of cool air. By now, I could hear the house rattling. There is a burglar outside, trying to break in, I thought. But no, it got stronger. Could it be the washing machine? No, I was home alone, and had not turned it on. What could this be? There are no earthquakes in Maryland, and yet the ground continued to shake. The doorframe, I thought. That’s where you run to in an earthquake. I clutched it for dear life, beads of water continuing to run down my trembling body from my wet hair. Suddenly, I realized, I was naked. If this floor falls in, they find me naked, I thought. I will be as bare as the day I was born. For eighteen years, I have taken painstaking measures to protect my dignity, and now I will die in a heap of rubble as an animal. What will they think, that my clothes were torn off by the force of the quake? I could not let this happen. I bounded over to my bedroom, and threw on the first articles of clothing I saw, almost tripping as I put on my underwear. At least I won’t die naked. Darkness by Jordan Low A small bleak hut, dismal and broken, yet I cope
And without perfection I am punished,
My family was taken a fortnight earlier, no
disciplined by the light
warning, no goodbye
The blood of a slave
Rain leaks through the old, decrepit roof
rushes down my scarred back
Cold night winds slip through the creaky door
While the light, relentless and callous,
and loiter by my bedside
has its way
Everyday the sun’s light, harsh and impetuous,
My family observes overheard with dismay
sends sweat shooting down my face
Until the light begins to fade
Working endless days, seconds turn to minutes
The darkness, compassionate and understanding,
and minutes to hours
suppresses the light,
The punishing light refuses to subside, until the
Putting a twinkle in my eye,
work is done
and resting my head for tomorrow.
The light demands perfection, nothing less 21
Night by Jen Rubin Some say that darkness hides sin. I don’t believe in sin.
Left Behind by Josh August People are getting out of bed. The siren is getting louder. I notice that it’s the red light blinking again. How many times has the light blinked red
I say that darkness hides insecurity, And fear.
tonight? Last time I was not fast enough, left behind. This time I am not going to miss it. I am
People take risks in the night, People go on adventures, People admit their feelings, People find the true meaning to love.
out the door of the bunkroom faster than anyone
That is why the night is so exciting
others to get to my unit. When they arrive they tell
else. Within seconds I hit the cold, metal pole; squeaking, sliding down to the engine bay. No one had left yet so I was optimistic. I wait for the me that only two can go in that piece and I was the
Because a time without insecurity and fear, Is the time we should strive for,
third. I turn about in disappointment, hoping the engine has not left yet. To my dismay, the lights and sirens had already begun, driving off into the
And hope that at some point, Our insecurities will vanish in the sunlight.
distance. I was, once again, left behind.
It’s Dark in the Shade by Gil Lehmann One bright, sunny, Sunday morning in May I arrived at the Chesapeake and Alleghany Live Steam Preservation Society. Leaving my belongings in the shade of my customary tree, I met Mike, the vice president of the society in the station house. Together Mike, my friend, and I removed Wendy, the club steamer, from the depths of the building. With the help of our two bright yellow electric “maids-of-allwork” locomotives, we propelled Wendy to her steaming bay, under the same tree as my belongings. Mike had brought his beautiful, blue, thirty-two-year-old locomotive. With the help of a new member, he prepared to steam up, leaving my friend and me in charge of Wendy. Mike’s beauty had already raised a pound of steam by the time we lit Wendy’s fire. Before we had boiled our first pound, Mike’s locomotive had blown her safety valves, and was ready to start the day’s work. Wendy, on the other hand, took much longer to steam up, and after a long struggle to keep her fire lit, she finally raised a full head. In order to drive her onto the mainline, we neglected her fire for the five minutes it took to lift the turntable to the correct height, spin her to the access ramp, and reverse her up the ramp and into the yard. The ash pan below the fire gate looked suspiciously dark, so I opened the firebox door to check the fire. The whole fire had blown out, leaving the firebox as dark and black as the coal that filled it. Instead of relighting the fire and spending another two hours raising steam, Mike’s locomotive shunted Wendy into a siding, and we emptied the boiler. The little engine spent the rest of the hot, bright, day sulking under the shade of that tree with my belongings. 22
What If? by Noah Abramowitz The simple presentation of the question kills otherwise useful time. Are you unhappy with what Exists now, that you find comfort in a false reality, in some cobwebbed, ancient past, That you kill time, so much alive, with memories which you wish were different? The clock has ticked, the second passed, it cannot be recovered. This state is called being in “The Past”. What is it about these two syllables which wastes man’s time, heart, and mind? Is it the false hope that he will One day return to that past, as part of an odd reincarnation, Or transmigration or some author’s crazed interpretation, In which the past will be transformed, that he will Allow the clock to be turned back, time To be altered, the situation changed? Drop it. Let it go. Stop wishing you could answer the question. No doubt knowing the answer would displease you. Any wise man would answer that the question to be asked Is not, “what if” at all. Why let your time slip into oblivion, those seconds, More precious to man than diamond, go to waste, contemplating what was declared to Never be? Rather boggle yourself with a whole other question entirely. Until the grains In the hourglass run out, never to be returned, the tapestry is sown to the last stitch, the last line of the document composed and locked away forever, invest your Time in the query, “What Now?”
First Flight by Eyal Gurewitsch She approached me, crying. The hundreddegree Southern Israeli heat had turned me off to the whole project. I had been in the refugee absorption center for only an hour, with two more to go. The neighborhood was dirty; the rotten smell of sunbaked garbage filled the air. I aspired more to return to our air-conditioned bus than to engage in any volunteer effort. The thin, dark-faced girl with insistent eyes tugged on my shirt, pointing at my friend who had lifted another girl onto her shoulders. “Up!” she pleaded. I understood more from her
Photograph by Shana Kaplan
gesturing than her language. I placed Sarah on my shoulders, influenced more by peer pressure than
kindness. She spurred me in the side and directed me in rudimentary Hebrew: “Run, horse!” I had studied Hebrew for more than ten years in school. While I knew a few useful words and sentences, I hardly possessed conversational skill. But then again, speaking Hebrew must have been equally difficult for a seven-year-old orphaned girl from Darfur. “Faster,” she said. I accelerated my pace. “Faster, faster!” she urged again. Sweat glossed my face as I ran around the camp. I saw four children playing soccer with a deflated volleyball, using an overturned dumpster as a goal. I turned, hoping to join them, but Sarah expertly used my ears to veer me back on course. I kept running, searching for a place to set her down. I ran past the community counselor who had welcomed us at the gate. He was busy fixing a fence near the armed guard’s tower. Couldn’t my strength and energy be harnessed for more concrete assistance? Sarah didn’t think so. She pulled my neck, screaming at me to run faster. I noticed a bench in the distance and decided to oblige her. I darted off in a sprint, headed towards relief. Then, she spread her arms widely and yelled, “I’m on an airplane soaring the through the sky!” In that instant, the value of my effort crystallized. I had been searching for a tangible project on which to leave my mark, without recognizing the worth of my time with Sarah. Together, we transcended the moment, the place, the dirt and the heart, using imagination to escape her haunted past. Overwhelmed by her excitement, I felt pride in my effort and felt certain that I had left my mark. I ran past the bench. It wasn’t time for landing just yet, not for her. Finally, my body gave out. My muscles ached, and I was sure that she had torn off one of my ears. I asked my young captain for permission to land. Permission granted. I set her down and let out a sigh of relief powerful enough to have blown her over. We shared a swig of water and a smile. Feeling as if I made some small difference in her life, I asked her, “Would you like to go again?” 24
The Longest Walk by Jen Rubin I slip into my new clothing And walk out the door, Bag in hand, Heavy heart.
But thatâ€™s life I guess.
The dreaded day, The worst one in existence.
That concrete building, The one I have tried so hard to forget. But here it is again.
The leaves on the ground have fallen, But are not even crunchy, Taking away the one joy There is to walking down my street.
Just a few more steps, I can see myself in the tinted glass door, Forlorn expression.
Everything in perspective. This will not be that bad. I continue.
Am I making too big a deal? Calm down. Breathe. I open the door.
I am almost there. It is just around the corner.
The neighbors give me looks; They have not seen me this early for months.
Suddenly I am being hugged. My friends, I forgot,
But they should get used to it; For the next ten months, They will see me every morning.
The one thing that will make today bearable.
The Naked Tree by Eric Manski Standing straight at thirty feet tall Still undulating in the wind The branches shake And the leaves fall He is naked And everyone can see Oh the embarrassment
Photograph by Shana Kaplan
The Sabbath Flame by Channa Rifkin The bright orange-yellow flame thrives on the wick, And the air around it is still. The flame itself lights up the room on its own And warms the atmosphere. Another flame is born. Two hands wave over the lights Both flicker in sync. A woman covers her eyes with her two hands; And she sings a prayer in a beautifully lilting voice.
Photograph by Jenny Katsnelson
Creative Piece by Josh Disney I am like a peanut; Inside a hard shell that most people don’t get through, But if you do, you like me. Sometimes I wish I could break through my shell to everyone, But that just isn’t me. I come across as shy, But in reality that’s not even close to the case. I think I am starting to get better, Slowly but surely, Cracking through my shell.
No Keys by Jacob Finglass What’s that, you lost your wallet?... and your keys? …Ok. Don’t panic, I’ll be right there… You don’t want me to come?... Why not?... That makes no sense, I’m coming right now. Where are you?... Oh, so you’re not going to tell me where you are. Real mature, Leslie, you’re really mature. Just tell me where you are so I can come pick you up… I’m not going to judge you, I just want to help… I promise… How do you know you can trust me? Leslie, I’m your husband, just tell me where you are… No. You’re not going to call Jen; you’re going to let me get you… Say that again. I couldn’t hear, someone just turned up the music… I still can’t hear you. Hold on one second, I’m going outside. Ok. That’s better. What were you saying?... It doesn’t matter where I am… Yes, I can know where you are, but you don’t have to know where I am… I never said it was fair… Well, I’m not the one who lost my keys and wallet… What were you doing anyway?... Ok. Fine, it’s none of my business, just tell me where you are… Don’t you hang up on me… Don’t... Don’t!
Photograph by Shana Kaplan 27
Terminal by Jen Rubin He sat in the corner
But not three minutes later
And took a long drag
At four twenty six
From his hand rolled cigarette,
He detected a whiff of burning wood
Like he did every day
And rushed back to the corner
At four twenty three.
To see it up in smoke.
Precisely. His prized armchair charred beyond recognition, And he thought nothing of it
The curtains enveloped in flames.
That his ashtray was missing
The handprints of each of his children
And figured his wife
From their first day of kindergarten
Had taken it to wash
Lay on the floor, melted into a puddle.
And would put it back in the corner. Eventually.
His whole life, spent in that corner, ruined. And as he inhaled his dying breath,
So he just let the cigarette fall
He knew this was a better fate, an accidental death,
To the dark grey ground
Rather than the life he knew he had left.
And assumed it would burn itself out If he waited long enough
His wife came back sixteen minutes later
So he went back to his room
With his test results.
To do his daily chores Regularly.
A Simple Man by Hilla Singerman I am a simple man. I crave the reassurance of routine. Without the constant monotonous motions of everyday, I suffer. Change. Chaos. Stones raining on my pool of routine serenity kills me. But, one day, someone threw a pebble. A single pebble. Come, I will show you something. Come, I will show you the ripples. 5:30, the alarm rings. Bed springs groan. The sound of the water rushing through the pipes. Everyday, music to my ears. The closet door opens. A suit, gray, freshly laundered. A tie, Navy. Pull. Yes. The perfect knot. Then for the hair. As a composer before his orchestra, I raise the baton and carefully arrange the notes set before me. A symphony of perfection illuminates the mirror. 7:05, A masterpiece emerges onto 85th and Broadway. Step over the rubble lining the street corner, the risk of blemishing my shoes frightens me. Then down into the subway. The rush of air dislodges a single hair. It quickly returns to its proper place. The card slides. Through the gate and onto the platform. Avoid those with unkempt hair. Sagging eyes. Wrinkled clothes. Ah. A fellow gray suit. Shelter from this suffocating disarray. “Good Morning, Brian.” Yes, indeed it is. A quick reply. Firm. Hesitation opens the door to uncertainty. I nod, “Good morning, Scott.” “The acquisition gets finalized today, right?” “Yes, Scott. It does.” 29
“Jeez, Brian, when I was twenty-four my desk was a stool and a bar counter. Look at you, assistant junior executive on Wall St.” Nod and smile. The man knows only the four corners of his cubicle. I see the sweeping view of the river every day. Remind him who is the superior. “Yes, Scott, it is quite an achievement. Especially when accounting my years of experience when compared with yours.” The distant rumble of the Subway. The Number One zippers up the platform. The sudden halt. The doors open. The people pour out. I enter. The doors’ jaws clamp shut. Scott fumbles with his shoelace and the metal snake leaves him in the dust. Someone will be late for work today. I stand, avoiding all contact with these things. These people, parasites, invading my aura of serenity. A blur of misery on the backdrop of my Broadway debut. Simply scenery on my journey to stardom I find their slumped shoulders, their uncombed hair, their rumpled garments, suffocating. I rest my briefcase on the floor. I am happy. Thoughts of the upcoming promotion deafen their noise. Yes. What wonderful thoughts. I barely hear the thing, the woman. Yelling. Stones pelting my pool of serenity. “Sir, Mr., that boy, that boy took your bag.” Fantasy floods my reality. I follow the woman’s pointing arm and watch in horror as a scrawny figure leaps from the doors and drowns in the sea of people approaching the subway. My bag. My precious bag in his hand. Dirty thief. 30
I plow through. Pry open the Subway’s jaws and leap into the sea. Where is he? Don’t look frantic. Panic is my nemesis. Yes. The briefcase surfaces for a brief moment, then disappears up the steps. Run. Driving through the crowds, barreling up the stairs. I see him weaving through the crowds. Run. Heart chasing with my feet. Breathing heavily. Run. Yes, I can still see him. “Stop you little *&^%” He whirls around. I glimpse his face. Smears of terrified colors. Then he stumbles. Claws up for air, and runs on. Around a bend, passed another, left, right. The maze seems endless. Then an alley. He stops. Three quick strides and his shirt is clenched in my fist. He deserves to be punished. Show him his superior. I spin him around. … The boy, Merely a wisp of air, Is no older than eight. A gaunt skeleton, aged by scars of suffering. His eyes. Only his eyes are alive. And they gaze into mine. Pleading. Painfully begging. There’s a rustling nearby, I tear my eyes away. …and watch as another pair of pleading emerge. Her’s burn. I feel my heart singe, the smoke is blinding. A third crawls out. The baby sniffles. Where is its fat? All babies are supposed to be fat. Why are there only skeletons? 31
“Please.” The boy clenched in my fist begins to cry. Tears stain my suit. My gray suit that was so clean, so fresh this morning. Now the poisoned drops sting. Such little stones, but when they hit, they send crashing waves. For a moment I think of my office, of its whiteness, its serenity. Of what if I had waited for Scott, of what if I had waited for the next train? What if? I run my hand through my hair, the symmetry is ruined. Now there are crisscrosses, tangles, chaos. It’s not simple anymore. I unclenched my fist, the boy falls down. “Keep the bag.” “Come with me.” The older boy hesitates, then he picks up the baby and holds the girl’s hand. What a motley crew. We take the Number One uptown. When the bag falls down, I wait before boarding. 85th and Broadway. Up to my apartment. I bathe them, feed them. Nurse their wounds. I call the office, Someone will be late today. You see, It’s quite simple, I am not a simple man anymore.
The Great Gatsby Corner Gatsby by Hallie Miller This is my letter to Jimmy Gatz,
Gatsby, like you, like me, like us all
The “Great” Gatsby,
Wants that which he cannot have,
A man who, once upon a time, waited all night
And grips desperately to the books,
outside her window,
Preparing to climb the fortress walls to save his
Rapunzel from harm,
Fighting sleep, battling yawns, aching with hope.
A tortured faker trapped inside dreams five years
The empty life he built for two,
Obsessively wanting to share it all with her:
Holding fast to them, never letting go.
The voice in his head.
His lonely gaze constantly fixated on the prize,
The voice of his dreams.
The gleaming, glittering green just across the water,
The one that soothes and excites simultaneously
The light at the end of the tunnel that he can never
Like a flaming trumpet in the big band chorus.
The voice of his fantasies,
The fallen hero who loves with all his heart
The voice he will hear no more.
So deeply and so profoundly,
So I write for the dreamer,
He forgets the man he once was.
The broken-hearted knight in the most lavish of
Long ago, in a lifetime far, far away,
A young gentleman in a uniform
The prince who never witnessed
Felt complete and wholesome in her presence.
his fairy tale ending.
Her—undeserving of a name, or of a title,
The ship captain lost in a tempest,
The one who turned her back and left.
The eater of the poisoned apple,
The one that used her shiny dagger to stab him in the
The twitching hand of the clock that never moves
While he accepted the bullets aimed at her very chest.
The Great, Gorgeous Gatsby
The one who will never truly love him back.
Who can’t let go.
Who could not wait a moment longer,
Open your eyes, old sport.
Even for love.
Open your eyes.
Even for a happy ending.
Daisy by Erin Sullivan
George by Matt Rosen
This is my letter to you, Daisy
This is my letter to George,
To the gem of Louisville
Simple, deluded George
The delicate white flower, watching the
George, of the valley of the ashes
world from the safety of her garden
George, of the day-long, futile vigil
To the fairest of them all The unspoiled princess, ruling the world
George, of the unneeded gas pump
from the window of her palace
Unneeded- or unwanted?
To the scorned woman
George, of the opaque, ashen clouds of dust
The betrayed wife, aching to be the only
spewed from the wheels of cars of people
recipient of her husband’s firm hold
with from the wheels of cars of people
I wish I could shake you, Daisy
with places to go, things to do, people to see,
Wake you up
people whose dreams do more than dissipate
Make you see That no sum of money
like exhaust fumes from Myrtle’s car
No designer handbag
as she leaves to “visit her sister”
No sporty coupe
But most of all, this is my letter to George,
Will ever satisfy you
Will ever be what you need
George of the ashes and the dust—both remnants
Will ever be what you want
Of dreams gone to die “for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” Nick by Shana Kaplan
This is my letter to Nick:
It promised the future but it signified the end:
Always go forward.
The end of the dock, the end of a dream and the
Remember the past,
end of Gatsby.
But do not yearn for it again.
Do not end up like Gatsby.
Do not fall prey to the foul dust that floats
Turn from the staggered ticking of the clock
In the wake of dreams and haunts the reckless.
And drive away.
Remember that the green light was never your
Continue to go against the current
And always go forward. 34
Daisy’s Daughter by Hallye Rosenbloom This is my letter to Daisy’s daughter Whose sparkling eyes and naïve laughter radiate innocence A pretty white dress and a head full of long, blond ringlets frame your face Living in a picturesque house with a white picket fence, sheltering you from your parent’s lives Asking for your mommy and daddy but answered by a nurse A disappointment to your mother, stuck in a cycle of wealth and lies. They want you to be a beautiful fool, A porcelain child dressed in frills, Brought out to show off and then put away on a shelf again Do not be afraid to grow smart and strong Remember that you are more than just a doll.
Linda by Jen Rubin This is my letter to my wife, Linda
If only I didn’t fail you.
Who has believed my every lie,
If only you knew what went on up in Boston.
Whose face has remained calm,
The rustle of sheets and the creak of bedsprings
Never a glimmer of doubt
Are sounds distant in your memories.
In those large green eyes
But not in mine.
Surrounded by bags of sleepless nights
You could have caught me in my lies.
Of wondering when I may return.
But you refused to.
Your freckled and gnarled hands
And for that I thank you,
Have kept this family together
My dear Linda,
As you darn those damn stockings.
You could have had new ones,
Thank you for trusting me more than I deserve. Even though you shouldn’t.
The Faculty Corner The Time Machine by Mr. David Green The burgundy winged-back chair in the living room is not actually a chair In reality it is a time machine I settle in with only a dim light overhead It is late at nightâ€”dark and quiet Suddenly I am transported I am in Edwardian London, Yorkshire during the Regency Period New York in the Gilded Age The slums of Victorian London A Manhattan Speakeasy Or the trenches of the Somme I am pulling into the auto-park of New Scotland Yard Putting on my trench coat and fedora, Heading out into a drizzly San Francisco night Walking through the farm lands of Nebraska on a crisp winter morning Waiting for my dreams to come true
Love Among the Ruins by Mr. David Green You are sleeping on the couch in the living room with a blanket over you Your book and glasses closed by your side The kids are sleeping The lights are off The kitchen is cleaned up from dinner The homework is completed Backpacks are piled in a heap unzipped, binders and dittos sticking out The dog has been walked The house is dark and quiet, except for the occasional jingle of the dogâ€™s collar It is close to midnight and I should be heading upstairs to bed But instead I am bent over the island in the kitchen Standing under two pendant lights Foolhardily doing the crossword puzzle in pen
Photograph by Rabbi Frank 37
5:00 a.m. by Mr. Elden Schneider Pre-dawn Cold and dark No usual hiss and hum of cars On the cross-town street Just the whirr of the furnace circulators Iâ€™m awake before the alarm Anticipating its unpleasant buzz Anticipating a day that already seems Too long Too complicated Too crowded With too much to do With too many deadlines converging I would rather roll over I would rather return to blissful sleep But the day demands my attention Demands that I emerge from the covers Demands I leave the warmth and security In the cold and dark In the pre-dawn 5:33 by Rabbi Aaron Frank Til 6:45, I cannot see your face Or tell the difference between the blue of the sea and its thick foam. Just 72 minutes to check the inbox which was filling up through the night with comments about classes or students or programs or to read about a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th No, 5:33 is there, to smell the fresh grinds before they brew, To expand the mind, Read about fiscal faux pas on Wall Street or revolutions from far-off lands Or scan the best seller list Or the best seller To listen to the Boss or the Van or the Rebbe, To run under the stars or with the ducks, Or to open the heart on the blatt. Itâ€™s there to stop and bless, bless the blessed quiet Before the blessed storm. 38
Small Moments by Halaine S. Steinberg
In my memoir writing class I teach my high school seniors to grab hold of the small moments in their lives and spin them into the tales from which their stories will unfold. My own story evolved, in some part, through small moments chipped out of the days I helped care for my elderly parents during the last few years of their lives. On one of those days — a Friday afternoon — I had come to my parents’ house for my weekly visit and to pay the bills when my mother asked me to check on the jewelry she had stashed under my father’s tall bureau in their bedroom. Although my mother had a hard time trusting the caregivers who had newly occupied my childhood home, she trusted even less my father, whose Alzheimer’s caused him to hide things around the house and then forget about them. At my mother’s urging, I wedged myself into the small space between the dresser and the wall behind it and crouched down to pull out the cardboard box which held her hidden jewelry. As I had expected, I found the jewelry untouched. But I had not expected to discover another, smaller, cardboard box containing faded papers, soft and fraying at the edges. While my mother called out for me to hurry along, I pretended to take my time with the jewelry while, in fact, I quickly rifled through these old documents, dust particles dancing in the beam of sunlight that lit my way. My four sisters and I had long suspected the existence of family secrets; angry words thrown carelessly during my parents’ arguments over the years had given us plenty of material to create the fictions we invented about their past. But as the youngest daughter, I had heard the fewest of these arguments so I never really believed our stories were based on much more than our own overactive imaginations. Until that afternoon. Crouched in my parents’ bedroom, excavating this Pandora’s Box, I unearthed my parents’ birth certificates and two divorce decrees: I discovered that my mother and father each had been married to other people, marriages they left, I subsequently learned, after falling in love with one another. The court had ordered my father to pay child support for his son, a half-brother I never knew existed. As shocked as I felt to discover this alternate family history, I was even less prepared for the contents of my mother’s birth certificate. My mother had lied about her birth date – she was actually six years older than my father and eight years older than the age she had given out to everyone -- including her daughters. Uncovering my mother’s real age bothered me more, somehow, than learning of my parents’ previous marriages and my father’s only son. While those facts may have filled in pieces of my history, they made up my parents’ story, not mine. But my mother’s age?
My mother’s age changed my story. Sitting behind my father’s dresser that afternoon, I recalculated my mother’s age during all of the milestones of my life beginning with my own birth through my school years, college graduation and wedding. How old was she at the births of my own children, their Bar and Bat Mitzvot celebrations, football games and dance recitals? Growing up, I had felt that my mother’s over protecting hand had held me back from the pivotal moments I could experience only through the things she had forbidden me – overnight school trips, college dorm life. Years later, when I had three children under the age of three, I felt she had held herself back and did not offer me the help I needed. That Friday, I began to feel guilty for having judged her too harshly; in her defense, she had struggled with both her age and her secrets. But mostly I just felt sad. For months I had consoled myself about my frail and elderly parents with the hope that they had a good chance of living to age ninety. Now, in one small moment, my mother was ninety, and, that quickly, I had lost eight years with her.
Photograph by Shana Kaplan 40
Titian by Elliyahu Lucas