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VOICE

a literary magazine

Cass High School 2013


“I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.” Pablo Neruda

Cover Image: Miranda Love

Cass High School 1000 Colonel Way White, GA 30184 770-606-5845 Copyright © 2013


VOICE Staff 2012-2013 Editors: Rebekah Owens, Editor in Chief Amanda Holley, Written Word Editor Lenny Munoz, Visual Arts Editor

General Personnel: Alyson Hubert Angela Woodfin Areli Pineda Cortny Sellers Emily Heath Jacob Morson Jason Alexander Jazzy Harrison Karla Rojas Kayla Cochran Koree Wilburn

Leah Pemberton Lorrie Holcombe Michaela Lague Miranda Love Nedalys Delcid Samantha Sanders Savannah Casey Savannah Edwards Sophia Broadaway Zach Jennings

Faculty Advisor: Brittney S. Holland

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Cass High School Contributors:

Jennifer Burk Christi Covington Veronica Cuevas Ashmita Dalwadi Katy Gramling Hannah Guthrie Jazzy Harrison Joey Johnson Anthony Kraut Tristan Lance Maile Liu Ben Long Miranda Love Heather Miller Christopher Milligan Raven Moore Lenny Munoz Alexandria Needham Leah Pemberton Jason Purdy Hazel Quick Kayla Raines Cortny Sellers Logan Van Hagen Audrey Ward Imani Whitfield Koree Wilburn Megan Wood Samantha Sanders

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VOICE Lessons in Colors Bloodshed for what? Orange, yellow, Green, blue Purple, or black? Well let’s ask little Jack. That was the color I was taught to spell that day, red. R-E-D were the letters we wrote on the papers that were left underneath the big hematomess that covered all of our desks. Red was the color of my daddy’s face when he found out it was me who was dead. The thought that I’d never fall heels over head in high school for a girl that I’d never wed. Those were the thoughts that went through my father’s head as he cried the tears he thought he’d never have to shed. Red like Taylor Swift’s new album that my big sister couldn’t stop playing in the car. While Dad would rather have listened to NPR. And how just yesterday she sang: “Trouble, Trouble, Trouble.” How thrilled she was when she heard me begin to sing along to the words, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in…” But the word trouble can’t even begin to describe the man who would murder my friend Noah and leave behind his twin. That kind of evil can only come from within. And we’ve been told the stories of the people who go ballistic, If only he’d used his insanity for something a bit more artistic and a little less narcissistic. But first let me step out of this equation and be a bit more realistic, because in a perfect world evil wouldn’t even be a characteristic.

~Jazzy Harrison

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Cass High School Serenade the Ill at Mind I’ve played these keys for quite some time. They are my only company. My fingers danced through life …through all my sorrows. Seek me out in the dead of night until I’m falling…

falling… F A L L I N G A P A R T I’ll serenade the ill at mind.

~Miranda Love

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VOICE Root of All Evil What is the root of all evil? A wise man once foretold, It is in the wealth of the world, The jewels – silver and gold. Ah, my young student, That is where you are wrong. Gold cannot order children To work in sweatshops all their life. Silver cannot wage wars And sacrifice soldiers’ lives. Jewels are only jewels, And money is money as a whole. Evil lies not in money, But the desire for it in one’s soul. ~Cortny Sellers

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Cass High School Lost and Found See the people scream and shout. See the men run about. Hear the women’s desperate cries. Hear the caws on the skies. See the swords bang and clash. See the lives pass in a flash. Hear the battle at its peak. Hear the sobs of the weak. See the cause of this grief, All because of an unknown thief, One who stole a precious jewel From an arrogant selfish fool. Many lay dead on the ground, Full of those lost and found. ~Alexandria Needham

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VOICE Time You all have lied, those who said time could erase the pain An eternity has passed, yet his memory remains, His touch remains in everything I see And everything I hear. Yet from so far away, it’s as if he is still here. I look for the place foot has stepped on not, And hope maybe he’ll release me from this curse he has brought. Oh, but he has not brought this curse on me. No. I’ve brought it on myself. Yes, since the day I announced his world my own. ~Lenny Munoz

~Miranda Love

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Cass High School Annual Laws of Life Essay Contest 10th Grade Winner th 5 Place – State Competition “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -- John F. Kennedy

The orange leaves rustle across the dying grass as a light gust of wind sweeps through the cool air. I look around -- yes, fall’s here, no doubt about it. It feels like it could stay like this forever, but I know that soon the rest of the leaves will fall and winter will set in. It’ll be a hard one this year; goose bumps are already rising from my skin from laying out here. As I turn my head, my eyes focus on an old redpainted picnic table sitting peacefully in the front yard. Only months ago my grandfather, who now lies on a hospital bed, sat in that very bench. I never really knew my grandfather that well; he spoke Chinese while I was raised in an English-speaking home, so communication was always limited to short “hello’s” and “thank-you’s,” plus a couple of generic Chinese phrases taught to me by my mother. I guess that’s the worst part of it though. I always thought I would have time later to get to know him -- that I would learn Chinese and one day be able to look into his deep brown eyes and wrinkled face and listen to him paint stories of China, Malaysia, and of my ancestors. Yet, now he lies on a hospital bed. He is beginning to have trouble remembering my little sister’s name. I guess that’s what it’s all trying to tell me -- the falling leaves, the gusting wind, my dying grandfather-- that it’s time for change, and change is nature. You can look at something one moment, blink, and it is gone. The only certain thing in life is that life is uncertain, and if you can’t accept that...well, you’re like a leaf that refuses to fall.

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VOICE It’s colder now -- the goose bumps on my skin have been replaced by shivering; I should probably head inside. The wind has grown harsher too; not many leaves are left on the trees. The ones that remain cling desperately to the dying branches. He smiled at me. During my visit at the hospital, my grandfather looked at me and gave me a wrinkled smile. I don’t know why, or if it was even directed at me, but that small smile somehow comforted me; I could feel the deep, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach fading until it was finally replaced by a sense of almost freedom, maybe even a little joy. Life may have the ability to change from good to bad in an instant, but just as suddenly it can change in the opposite direction. Now I walk back inside, brushing off the cold, and I see my family sitting in the living room, talking and staying warm by the heater. My little sister must have said something funny; there’s still a hint of chuckling in their voices. Only hours ago, they left the hospital with solemn faces and heavy hearts. I realize now -- life will go on, and that’s probably what my grandfather truly wishes for us. Seasons change constantly just as life does; leaves die and fall as autumn changes to winter, but just as inevitably as winter slips into spring and new green leaves break out of their buds. We have the choice to accept this fact and flow with the changes, but there are still a few straggling brown leaves that clutch painfully to their dead branches. Just remember: if you dwell too long lamenting over the cold, hard winter, you might end up missing your spring. ~Ben Long

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Cass High School Sultan of Malice I come to your land, Searching for what cannot be found, I destroy and burn your houses, Filthy putrid swine, Your walls cannot save you, I crash upon them like waves on the beach, Your blood will go as my tribute, With blunt force my men breach, Run while you can, For time is but a waiting game, Your guards fall like flies, All just pawns in my scheme, I spit upon the idea, Of you on a throne, I block the door, We are alone, Like Cain and Abel, You are a lamb left to slaughter, And your severed head on a pike, Shall serve as my trophy ~ Cortny Sellers

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VOICE The Eagle’s Eye Give rise to my degredation. Throw me in chains. Steal my land. Spit on the bodies of the slain. Murder my people, But their souls will suffice. Even though your heart is filled with the fires of rage, Ours will stay the stony indifference of ice.

Oppress me with your government. Enforce your trivial laws. Steal what’s left of my liverty As I’m torn through with claws. I’m bound, But my soul is free. My persecutor Can no longer hurt me. I reach up Wanting to touch the sky. The freedom I see in the Eagle’s eye. ~Megan Wood

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Cass High School Agony Blinded by anger, Stumbling around, A dark, troubled mind Is all that is found. Heart filled with hatred, A sinister thought. No one could fathom That one could be so distraught. Eyes brimming with fire, Hot tears of despair, If only they knew, That someone did care. A dagger of fate Lies there o nthe floor, A crimson stained blade, They felt pain no more. ~Christopher Milligan

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VOICE A Troubled Nun’s Gospel I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees Asked the lord above "Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please" Mmmmm, standin' at the crossroad, i tried to flag a ride Standin' at the crossroad, i tried to flag a ride Didn't nobody semm to know me, everybody pass me by Mmmm, the sun goin' down, boy, dark gon' catch me here Oooo, eeee, boy, dark gon' catch me here *italicized words are from Robert Johnson’s song “Crossroad Blues”*

Despicable, dashing, and damned is she, When the shadows bleed through her unfortunate eyes Like a moth destined for the fly-trap; Let her descend, through long and selfish but desperately lonely nights, The whispered plights Of ceaseless lights in bankrupt girly shows And shady bars with living prose: Complexes of both the Napoleon and Cleopatra variety Of childhood trauma To force her to question all she was raised to be . . . Softly, they scream at her, "why, why, why?" She starts to sprint and they make her lose her breath. In the waiting room the nurses whisper secrets Doctors acting like medical prophets. The itch that begs to be scratched hides under false pretenses The rash of self doubt and addiction require attention It spreads its wings and makes its nest in California and Gommorah Loitering, habit composes a self-deprecating symphony, Dependence hemorrhages from the aneurism of compulsion, She embraces a scintilla of sadness, but a moiety of murder,

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Cass High School Laying silently, brooding and beautiful She satisfies her craving and fades to black. Surely she can escape the demons of her past For even the devil must believe in second chances , She, the twin of an earthly Lucifer demonstrates her fall from grace; There will always be parallels, there will always be parallels To shame her into a hope of her ship coming in at last; There is no vacancy in a heart that has nothing to hunt, And space is a commodity found only in her absence of emotion For like the morning star, she was once the brightest of her creed; Boundless potential, but a suicidal desire to be free, And liberty yet from a god-less throne And independence forever from an addiction of blood and bone Before the blossoming of the flowers of the Judas Tree. In the waiting room the nurses whisper secrets Doctors acting like medical prophets. She disregards the paradise she’s lost As she begs an unnamable deity, "Care!” and, "Be aware!" She lowers herself onto her knees and recites a selfish prayer, With a black spot upon the core of her heart— She starts singing:"Lord i'm standin' at the crossroad, babe, i believe i'm sinkin' down!" Her black scarf, her favorite turquoise plastic crown, Her faux fox skin coat, wrapped around her simple purple evening gown— And she’ll sing:”I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees” Like Venus Does she carry the dawn?

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VOICE In a second she can light up a room and just as quickly snuff that light out. For she has given it up all before, her love sacrificed along with Meadowsweet; Having known of the birds and the bees, She knows the implications of the words “thank you” and “please”; And she can name all the weeds that grow in the cracks of the concrete And so she hastily must harvest the thorny Devil’s Shoestring, To rid her of all the evils that the Devil will bring. And so she goes to see another priest, though she’s heard it all— The Latin he speaks never penetrates her tainted soul, And the scriptures seem out of date, old men speaking of piety, And the pews are rigid and uncomfortable, But on the inside she’s screaming and clinging to sobriety, She can never find salvation through this institution of control, But what other choice does she have? And so she goes to see another priest, though she’s heard it all— With their pockets devout only to those holy golds and greens, [Turning the minds of the youth into drab, homogenized machines!] Does she persist for their false love Or for the forgiveness of the supposed lord above? Regardless, she trusts the church to find her the approval she craves, But what other choice does she have? And will it matter? .....

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Cass High School

She sits on rooftops and watches as the sun blooms across the horizon, And she watches as it slowly melts back into the darkness Of the night, until she can welcome the stars that she believes to be the face of god . . . She’s convinced she’s a Harpy Sent on this Earth by god to destroy the lives of men. But all she’s destroyed is herself. ..... And by dusk, or twilight, she’s forgotten the longing! Soothed by the awkwardness of the mottled sky, Restless, but tame, she’ll take a walk Through a garden of weeds and old tin cans Of plastic bags and broken glass men, To her it is shelter, a damned Garden of Eden. As if the garden is destined for Hell for its beauty, like her, its splendor is sin. There are no apples (nor fruit of any kind) to be picked in this patch of concrete, Only prophecies written in gold spray-paint litter the street; And she knows she could be the queen of this sacred Hellhole, With the blackest of souls as clear as coal, But she wants paradise, and she’ll kill to get it. She, the greatest of mistakes, has become a nun She joined the choir, and She blows out the candles, After the service, she sweeps the floors and polishes the handles, Is this what she had in mind? To have her spirit hidden under a black and white gown, To have her fears traded in for complacency To spin the cravings into satisfaction, To pray: "Lord I am yours, take me as you will, Use me as you please, I am your servant"

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VOICE She is not who she was, and she has forgotten what she wanted. She should say, "All I wanted was forgiveness. Not to change, but be accepted." And by no means is she happy, but she doesn’t know why, She is numb, she is unfeeling After the service she is filled with the presence of God, After the prayers, after the hymns, she has nothing left to fill herself with— Is that soul that was once black, pure now?— Only God knows! But this redemption she receives is like a useless and oldfashioned home remedy: Only forgiveness can be the medicine that saves her If only she knew, that a life of servitude is not the same as salvation, She would lay herself down, and she would say: "All I wanted was forgiveness. Not to change, but to be accepted." ~Jason Purdy

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Cass High School Truth Unveiled Stretching far, It consumes the entire surface of the earth. Rising and falling, its paths are many; But few are the chances to follow. The ebb of the flow is fleeting, far-in-between. Misfortune and beauty, Crass Nature finds balance in all. Stretching far, The latticework is purity. Reflecting to us our depths, The unknown is hidden here— Beneath the façade of normalcy. Truth unveiled hurts far more than living, For we all live lives of lies .~Hazel Quick

~Christi Covington

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VOICE Sunset’s Grace Oh, how sweet Is the sunset’s hidden treasure. It’s time for today to go to sleep And to pacify the restless souls, To dream about gifts tomorrow will bring, When these shadows will be gone. Imagine the possibilities. The shadows, Lingering, with our last waking breath Remind us of the beauty of this past day Cacti, trees, and purple skies In our memories shall never fade. As the day goes and allows our rest, A new one is prepared. ~Samantha Sanders

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Cass High School

Get in the Kitchen and Make Me a Sandwich Gender roles in society are formed early in childhood and are represented in many different areas of media, whether it be music, literature, television, or movies. These ideas are not blatantly placed in the eyes of children, but the underlying message is loud and clear. The roles being presented influence young people of our society and affect future generations’ lifestyles. Retailers catering to the gender roles presented in media also reinforce these ideas. The societal acceptance of these roles is overwhelming, yet in many ways they harm the psyche of adolescents and warp their perceptions on the available stations in life The history of traditional gender roles started at the dawn of humanity. Women prepared the food and birthed and took care of the children, whereas men were hunters and protectors of the familial unit. When civilization became more settled, these roles didn’t change much. The women still took care of the children and housework, and the men went into the business world, and as the popular phrase says, “brought home eh bacon.” Many intellectualists would say that we have come a long way from this generalization, but this is not always true. What is in a Disney fairy tale? Has anyone ever delved behind the pleasant smiling faces of the Disney princesses to what the message really is to young girls and boys? If one did, they would find some rather disturbing information. For example, in Cinderella, the adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale by Disney, Cinderella is only saved from her beauty at a ball which she wouldn’t even have gotten to without the help of a fairy godmother. This movie sends out the message to young girls that to be loved and valued, they must first be beautiful. It shows young boys, which influences their thinking as grown men, that beauty is all they need to look for in a girl for her to be a prospect for a good wife. Another example would be The Little Mermaid, also a Disney film for younger children. In

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VOICE this film, the lead female role is portrayed as very strong willed compared to other lead Disney females, but in the end she sells her voice and life in the sea just to be with her “ideal prince” and goes as far as changing her body to fulfill her wish to be with him. This movie presents a very disturbing message to young girls – that it is completely acceptable to change their full appearance and who that makes them in order to get the “prince” they want. The most recent Disney movie lead female that can be added to the list of inappropriate role models for young girls is Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Even though Tiana’s character is “modernized,” being the first Disney princess to hold down a job and to be African American, there are still underlying messages that young children are exposed to that shape their development. For example, Tiana may be a strong-willed, independent woman, but she ends up being thrown together with a man who is not her equal. This teaches young girls that they do not need someone on their level to spend the rest of their day s with, but that they can find someone that they can nurture and take care of for the rest of their lives. This should be unacceptable, but as the reader can see, societal perceptions of gender roles haven’t come as far as many people believe. Movies are not the only media enforcing these “acceptable societal roles.” Children’s literature plays a part in the influential development of gender roles. There are many books about little girls being like princesses and little boys being rowdy and playing outside. These books portray girls as docile and content to stay inside and play with their anatomically incorrect Barbie dolls while boys are portrayed as wild and more confrontational. This just adds to the pressure to conform to their accepted societal positions. At the mention of Barbie, the reader would automatically think of a girl. This goes to show that gender roles are so deeply ingrained in our culture that there is segregation between children’s toys. There are boys’ toys and girls’ toys. Dolls have been given the name “action figures” to make them more masculine and to fulfill

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Cass High School society’s requirements. The color of toys even has to do with gender. Boys’ toys are normally blue, while girls’ toys are normally pink, and many are centered around a princess theme. Moreover, girls are encouraged to make clothing and play house with fake stoves and, in older girls, cook with an Easy Bake Oven. Making clothing may include little purse or shirt kits that come with iron on appliques and jewels. These appliques often say “brat,” “princess,” “soiled,” or “diva.” These words should strike the reader as odd. The message being sent to girls from these words is that to be loved and accepted they should embody the words they are placing upon their wardrobe. While girls are being groomed to be the next happy little homemakers, boys are expected to toughen up and play rough with their peers. The aforementioned action figures, with their muscles and strong masculine appearance, inform young boys that to be accepted as a “real man” they must be muscular and aggressive. Young boys are also expected to get dirty, make messes, and play with G.I. Joe. None of these activities would be considered socially appropriate for a young girl. Said girl would be labeled a tomboy because of her interest in the opposite sex’s play items. This label demonstrates society’s need to place girls, and therefore, women, in a more docile and confined area of existence. It also illustrates that boys are not allowed to travers the line between femininity and masculinity. In the eyes of society, a boy man no more play dress up and house than a girl would roll around in the dirt and play cops and robbers. Overall, these collective views prove that society has not progressed much since the establishment of gender roles. The force that has the greatest amount of influence in a child’s development is the parents. Unintentionally or intentionally, parents reinforce gender roles presented by the world. They buy their children the gender appropriate toys, they let them watch gender role enforcing movies, and they don’t do anything to correct the perceptions that the child might have. Many parents have a tendency to covertly emphasize gender roles to their children. A young boy

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VOICE would be rewarded if he mimicked his father shaving. But, take this same you boy and place him smearing make up on his face, and he would be punished. Some parents go as far as correcting the youngest of kids by not allowing boys to play with dolls and by dressing little girls in nothing but dresses. Whether parents comprehend it or not, they are the driving force that shapes their children’s attitudes and perceptions of life and their station in it. The media’s influence on children’s roles in society shapes the world and future generations’ lives. These influences have caused discrimination and many problems on both fronts, male and female. Whether gender roles are portrayed in a movie, literature, music, by toys, or by television, they can harm a child’s image of self-worth and falsely represent what their adult life should be like/. ~Katy Gramling

~Christi Covington

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Cass High School MaryAnne (Let Me Hold It) “Just let me hold the guns,” She pleaded with her husband day after day after day. He finally grew tired of her begging and sighed “okay, just this once.” All giddy she picked up those two handles squealing, (Pushing her luck she’s wondering) “Can I see it? The holster I mean” He hands her the holster and she wraps it around her waist, grinning. He sets up his camera And she smiles again, Her smile sweeter every time. He snaps the photo of his darlin’ in front of that cacti. And a look of discontent shows over his face as he thinks about What it’d be like if his wife took part in a horrible war. How quickly she would transform From a humble housewife to a person who even she wouldn’t recognize… ~Jazzy Harrison

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VOICE Mountains Wrestle not with rumors of doom For above our heads dreams ever loom Every step we take, No matter the size Comes to our rescue one day, Every day A step never dies. Once we reach the tip of the peak Only another mountain is left to seek At the top we open our eyes See the colors smeared in the skies Brilliantly and everlasting, How could this view be so contrasting? May you ask this never more For when you open an untouched door Surprise will greet you anyway But remember this view is no one’s but our own, And for no other time than right now, today. ~Samantha Sanders

Sleepless Nights My eyes are heavy, my head Needs to calm down, but only My heart seems to fight against The sleep. The tossing and turning in silence Keeps me awake just lying there thinking; What would it be like, to get one Night of great sleep? ~Kayla Raines

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Cass High School A Tale of Love Oh my friend of woe, Why must you run from the light? The sun wishes to dry your tears. You used to be a magnificent sight among the other flowers, Fragrant in your nature, And fanciful in bloom. You seem to only fear the noise Of words of grown men That know not of the joys of life. We live in a ravaged world, A world cruel and shunned to the Master’s eye. Too many time s you’ve gone astray. As children we are left to discover. The wonders of the world were ours to uncover. We are forever forgotten in our eternal slumber. Do not talk, for your breath is cut short, As the fish that have washed ashore To be eaten by the unmerciful birds. You see in a different palette of colors Than others that share our world. Too many times you’ve gone astray. To see your shining face One last time Is a pleasure I would give anything to partake. The snow has fallen upon the ground And surrounded us with its miserable cold, Yet its beauty is shadowed to your crystal iris.

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VOICE Your eyes are the mirror to your soul; The grace hidden behind them is immense. Too many times you’ve gone astray. The ocean is a pond to your intellect, And the mountains are mere hills to your work ethics. Too many times you’ve gone astray. Hello? Where have you gone? Too many times you’ve gone astray. I can feel the wind beating off your wings; Your soul is screaming to be freed. Too many times you’ve gone astray. Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust, Too many times you’ve gone astray. You squirm at the Lord’s mercy As he twists your arm. Too many times you’ve gone astray. As Prometheus’s eternal punishment, You too know the wrath of the divine. Too many times you’ve gone astray. You run, You can’t hide, You feel the creeping agony. The only crime you committed Was merely existing. Too many times you’ve gone astray.

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Cass High School Like a fallen leaf in the wind, Mangled by fate, Like a child treats a ragdoll, You beg for mercy And receive no answer. This pain has grown, Like a malignant cancer, Eating at your very being, You struggle to cope, With the means you are given, The executioner’s blade Has a dull edge. Too many times you’ve gone astray. I would save you, But you are too long gone now, Lost in the world. You give birth to a child, But you hold no recognition. Too many time s you’ve gone astray. You think you can throw it all away, The baggage of the years has grown Into a burden not known. You can burn it all. Too many time s you’ve gone astray. See the silver lining. Too many times you’ve gone astray. My love for you has waned As a rose wilts. So, too, does my patience.

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VOICE I diverge all of my life, Cut the ties that bind To free myself from the chains of imprisonment. You are a bird with a damaged wing. Nature holds no special place for you, Destined to die and return to the ground From whence you once came. I return to you my love For my soul had grown weary of your company, Only to find horror in my dismay. Your neck hangs from a dusty noose Like a child playing with a yo-yo, The pain inside, I could not display. We are all but God’s playthings. I have carried her life for all my love Too many times have I gone astray. ~Cortny Sellers

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Cass High School Upstairs I dance in the light that filters into my sanctuary And ponder between adventures that await The wooden floors creak as I pace back and forth, indecisive. I’ve chosen to stay here between the two worlds. Up and down my small feet stray in and out of reality My kingdom, My play place, A world of my own. They call me down I hate to leave ~Miranda Love

Shine I used to cry, I used to cut, But then you came and held me. You held the key, You held what they kept from me, And you gave it for free. You know everything about anything About me. I’ve never met someone that makes the world Shine as bright as you, Because everything you do, And because you make me shine, too. It’s all because of you, You know it’s true. We all shine for you. ~Lenny Munoz

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VOICE Willow Snow fluttered along Whispered rumors of the woods Birds dared chirp the song Of the girl who slept herself away Her skin like porcelain So pale, and oh so perfect Hides the fear within Effaced her very being that day A jealous flurry An attempt to bury her Though the ice hurried It only melted, never to stay The beautiful girl So unaware of it all Of the snow’s gentle swirl Sweet serenity is all she prays The flowers below All waited in agony To bloom all aglow Silence engulfed her, long as it may Long black strands trace The hard cold earth, like feathers Soon brushing her face She will not stir; wants not to stray Tranquil eruption Among the awestruck creatures Admire disruption Sanity of the dreaming girl frays ~Miranda Love

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Cass High School Sane Truth in my head, Lies on paper. Too much to be said, And we’re already dead. Maybe I’m not ready, Or maybe I’m too late. How should I know I’m the only one sane. Maybe we should run away, To a place far away. That place we all dream of, Where everyone is the same But how should I know I’m the only one sane. We’ll never learn, Some things never change, I’m tired of asking for things To stay the same. So when I break away, Don’t expect me to change, Because unlike you, I’m the only one sane. ~Lenny Munoz

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VOICE Blue My broken vines lay on the cold ground, Trampled under the feet of an unmerciful beast, Left to rot hearing echoes of sound, The caustic bugs make me into their feast, Everyday I wait for the sun, To heal me in its warm embrace, But the sun does not shine in this garden, I know not the sun’s face, In this hole I remain planted, Since the time I sprouted as a seed, Though I grow I’m left empty-handed, Deprived of the nutrients I need, My fruit will fall where I lay, And they too will know the torment I had, Because although my blossums may decay, My berries are sweetest when I am sad ~Cortny Sellers Echoes They sing to us, The echoes from the past, Even when all they knew is now dust. What they have created lasts. Painted on cavern walls, Even etched deeply into earth, They exist after civilizations fall, Waiting for someone who knows their worth. ~Logan Van Hagen

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Cass High School Going Through the Motions Today is just another day. Going through the motion, Playing the same game. On the outside you’re happy as The sun. But inside you’re crying, Like the rain is falling. Not a word said, For there’s nothing to speak.

~Leah Pemberton

~Jason Purdy

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VOICE The Nightmare I see him in the dark. He is watching me. I see him through my windows. He is stalking me. The sunless nights are his allies. He is death. The suit of souls, taken from others, A blank, expressionless face, The long slender limbs stretch towards me, hypnotizing tentacles, they shall make you its victim. All fear him, Children adults, and the elderly. He will feed on anyone. He stands there waiting as I come, Hypnotized, I have no control. He controls my all. I walk into the night with him, Disappearing into the night. I am gone forever. ~Maile Liu

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Cass High School Jealousy in Wonderland Jealousy is such sweet insomnia, It rings and pours itself into silence In a birth that lasts a billion days With storms that rip and tear in infinite ways For dreams For nightmares, They grow and breath in melancholy sickness And when the snow falls she seizes you, Glittering in trashy sunlight She sleeplessly walks on fields of sapphire gold. Jealousy was the last true sin, Showing blue snores and pink whores Of damnation, love melted Below the belt of the earth in Blood that ran purple but flew yellow A cold summer, dying new-birth Hints at the softest of knives that cut through Our lies. Fields burn bright with high romance and Cajun ladies dance in drunken moonlight, With bloody light strangling softly And the milky monochrome sunset That bleaches Spring flowers Threaded emotions clothe a lonely heart That flitters from dark to light to dark; But there are lavender flowers, And then there were purplish blues That conclude in soaked scarlet’s and vibrant violets Nebulae hush the unruly children Bought from low poetry, Their stars are but low-hanging fruit on the tapestry of God With drought buried in forgiving gravity,

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VOICE Their Parisian streets an example Of a beautiful Hell. Civilizations of thought on glass tabletops, Bought and sold from silent stars that blaze like Infinity on High They listen through the keyhole As if They didn’t already know They are addicted to neon and those golden hues That throw caution on amber streetlights Their whisperings are but long shadows on a grandfather clock Where blue-eyed wolves hunt brown-eyed gossip, and The bubblegum trees grow in a licorice haze For soldiers don’t exist here, And neither do They. Love and beauty unmade, In the land of bronze rivers and unborn spirits Of the hills of the flatland These are the things we dream of When we sleep in wonderland. And so Jealousy was the dining room Eating loudly we remained stationary Beleaguered, we sang for unceasing drought It took our hearts to the limit and the edge But cut gently. Antithetical content threatens beautifully, Caressing and strangling the baby breath, Still left in the cradle. It mingles with neon blues to form regret. When lions and wolves congregate, it’s time to conflagrate Old waxen paper peels, While the wooden statue drips and reveals.

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Cass High School Mud dolls hide death-darkened stains, While castles of sand conquer snowy kingdoms in a glass bowl. Ugly stepsisters of the mirror fly fast, They trip and steal and want to tear the sun down, Generic beauty queens and Cinderella’s, always first and last, Easier to find a girl to wear a glass slipper than a glass gown. Jealousy lives as it dies, Without a care. Hatred deep like sea and wide like the skies, It makes living worse for the wear. ~Jason Purdy

Seasons Changing Smothering snow fell, and we felt alone. Harsh winds did blow as the ground and crops froze. It stung the eyes while it chilled to the bone. River was ice in the lowest of lows. Now deathly winter has faded away. Fresh flowers do bloom in this time of spring. Crisp colors congregate every day. The cadences of new life sweetly ring. Children grow and feel no pain. Our merciful sun warms the changing earth. Until clouds swell with replenishing rain The green, beautiful meadows welcome birth. Summer soon approaches with supreme heat. A timely fate the flowers will then meet. ~ Raven Moore

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VOICE The Sorrows of Holmes Benedict The wind, with her chilled fingertips, Caresses my hard, solemn face As I stand above this place of night less day. The wind, she pushes and pulls me, And I sway on the edge. Down, down, down, And up, up, up, Either way, I’m always stuck. I shift restlessly, nervously And let out a whimper. I gaze about to distract my mind. Like clockwork they move: One goes this way, The other goes there, No beginning and no end, Just an endless round Of gears that spin. But life, life is not so. The end is always in sight. I hear their screams, I hear their cries: Over and over their endless “Whys” I shudder and turn But the memory stays And the repulse I feel For none other than myself Grows and grows until it overflows. I am a coward.

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Cass High School I want to say: “Come stay with me, They need our help!” Instead I shout, “Get out! Get out!” I watched it fall In fiery spouts of red and orange, Bursting up and falling down I hear their screams, their cries, their pleas to die. The wind, she was there. As she is even now. Her cool breath on the nape of my neck, Her cruel laugh tormenting my ears with pain. Until she brought her biting pet, rain. The ash, wherever I looked, Had cast a coat of dark, black soot. Inside and out. There was ash on our skin. My body, quite numb, My heart, quite cold, They ushered me back to the place with the pole. I peeled off the red, covered in black, And carefully walked home, dreadfully alone. What had I done? Who was this man? Where was the courage and bravery of the firemen? I hear their screams, I hear their cries, I listen as they die. I wept and wept for the shame. I had played and acted, It was all a big game.

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VOICE But disillusionment’s price was too high. He warned me repeatedly, He stayed by my side, But I refused to listen Until the price was too high. As David, as Jonah, I now see my mistake. A coward, a coward, That is my fate. Down, down, down. And up, up, up. Either way, I’m always stuck. Once more I look all about, With fear I turn and look way down. I see the lights in this endless night Save three that once burned so bright. Three, One, two, three, All lined up in a neat little row. The uniformity offers no glimpse, No glimpse as to the “who”. The ocean in her eyes, The night sky in his hair, The babe’s unearthly stare, And their never-ending cries, Swim throughout the air. Remorse. Regret. It floats all around. It covers me from head to toe. I am drowning in it.

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Cass High School I hear their screams and their cries, But most especially, I hear their “whys� This height, quite dizzying, Fills me with dread And I try to jump without turning my head. But, that will to live, Once so strong, Holds me back, One second too long. I turn away And I walk back downFar away from that endless howl. One mistake I did make, This left me bare and broken But I found my inner strength, Easing every breath I take. A villain? A hero? It is undecided, But my actions will show. A life for a life, But I am one man, not three. Instead, I shall live to give life, To keep them free. But always, always, They lie in my memory. I hear their screams, Their cries, The sounds that are made as one dies. The end is always in sight. ~Hazel Quick

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VOICE A Farewell to Feeling Amongst the wreckage, Forsaken souls were found, Sanity forfeit, To madness they were bound, Lost and wandering, No purpose to be had, Left alone for all this time, Surely they’d gone mad, As I pondered their misfortune, A thought occurred to me, How long could it last, This frail reality, Thoughts lost to brooding, I almost didn’t see, There amongst the wreckage, Man was finally freed, Shackles fallen, Chains released, Realization dawned, They’d made their peace, Blithe and listless they float, Not a worry to be thought, Lost in sweet serenity, See now what man has wrought, From the ashes, Born anew, Into this world, Struggles grew, Into the pit, I thought to stare, And from thence on, I simply did not care. ~Tristan Lance

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Cass High School Hidden Truth A face Is merely a mask Temporary It never lasts Beauty Is never satisfying Fleeting Your need intensifying Monsters Are never as they seem Creatures Even they dream ~Megan Wood

~Miranda Love

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VOICE Misunderstood She’s coming around Giving everyone the same sheet of paper, yet not. Some high five each other, others groan in contempt. Soon it will be my turn – to groan. It’s not my fault I always do badly in this class. I even tried really hard this time, I honestly did. The day of that test I thought I was ready for sure. I was confident I would pass it Not with an A though, but possibly a low B. The teacher was sitting at her desk grading homework Which I think I may have forgotten to do. In front of me lay two pieces of paper stapled together Waiting for me Anxiously I began writing, but soon I looked up. There was a squirrel on the tree outside. It had been tapping a nut against the bark, to get it open But now it was staring directly at me. It may have wanted to tell me something But I ignored it, I honestly did. Reading question number five, I heard a sound. The clock’s incessant ticking mingled with the fans squeaking Tick tock, screech screech And the yelling was all back sharp as ever. The screaming of insults and shattering of glass The couple argued furiously downstairs, While upstairs I sat with my three siblings All hugging me, waiting to be told it was all ok. But I couldn’t tell them that. I couldn’t lie like that. Not to a ten year old who thought the solution of everything was ice cream. Not to six year old twins who believed their toys came alive at midnight. I was their big sister, I couldn’t corrupt them.

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Cass High School I couldn’t take away the innocence from their trusting eyes. Yet I couldn’t lie to them to protect them. So I did the only thing I could do. Hug them and let my arms create a shroud of safety. But, no! Stop. I have to focus. What is it called when a substance goes straight from a solid to a gas? Electronegativity? No. Electronegativity is something else. It’s uh… It’s umm… It starts with an S! Sally? Shortening? Salt? Singer? Sorrow? No, it’s definitely not sorrow. I know sorrow. Sorrow is that awful feeling that invades both your stomach and mind. It swallows you whole. The Pacific Ocean it is, and you a sailor lost in the middle. All around is water. You can’t escape it. Struggling and kicking you try to stay afloat All while it pulls you deeper into it. Then it stops. You think you are free. You began swimming towards shore But there’s one problem. Which way is it? You don’t know so you choose a direction and begin swimming. After a while you start to worry and panic. There’s no shore, no land in sight. No ship to help you. This is a journey for only you to undertake. No one can help you. The ocean all during this time is waiting. Just waiting for you to get tired and give up. It will pull you in so slowly, you’ll barely notice. In the end you had no chance. There was no land, no hope. Just water. Gruunchh grrut ghur! It was the pencil sharpener. Jill’s point had broken and it was taking forever to sharpen.

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VOICE It sounds just like our dishwasher before it broke. Now all the dishes must be washed by hand. One more chore for me to add along to the list. Cooking breakfast, packing lunch Washing faces, being rushed Looking after the little group of three. Making sure they do their best Then there’s my school work upon the rest. Our mother is hardly home. She works two jobs to keep us warm. I know she means the best But I miss her in my life. A substitute mom is what I feel like. And I want to help her. I truly do, But where’s my mom? I need mine too. The work I do is way too much. I’m not ready for this. “Ten more minutes,” announced Mrs. Gainor. Oh, no! I still have a lot to do! After answering a few questions, I start wondering “How far along is everyone else?” Raising my head I look around and see. At the far right in the front was the group of five. The five were always together and were very smart. Their papers were turned over on the far corner of their desks. Their heads lay on the desks, signaling that they were done. A few students were beginning to turn over their papers too. The others were still working diligently. Begrudgingly I turned to my own paper. I tried to answer the remaining questions. They were tough enough to get into the Salty Spittoon. The night before I had failed to get enough time to study. The twins had gotten into an argument. And ironically they were calling each other ugly. After calming the two down, I sent them down to bed.

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Cass High School As luck would have it the light went out a few minutes later. The pupils around me began moving. The rustling of papers informed me that we were turning in our tests. Quickly I scribbled down a few answers Hopefully I at least passed. “What did you make Lily?” I looked down on my desk. There was a white sheet of paper, with a red mark. Upon closer inspection it was a number. Fifty-six. I made a fifty-six. I didn’t even pass. Fourteen point short of passing. I am not a failure, but according to this sheet of paper I am. This system is unfair. Biased I say. I know how to run a household. How to shop efficiently. I understand the reasoning behind adding yeast. All the things needed to live a normal life. I’m not dumb, school is. Trying to tell a person whether or not they will be successful in life. But not me! I will be whoever I want to be! A school can’t judge its students. Not all students have the same opportunities.

~Ashmita Dalwadi

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VOICE I’ll Never Know I kept telling myself That one day I would get it right, That someone could break it down Into a language I could speak, That someone could teach me How to be me. Then you came, All it took was Hello. What did I do to deserve you? I’ll never know. ~Lenny Munoz

~Jason Purdy

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Cass High School Phoenix Flames leap and dance, Casting orange light into the sky, As they continue their pernicious prance, Soot and ash learn to fly. Strong timers shrivel black, Flowers wilt and compost, Life is what the once vivacious forest lacks, Now perished from the fire’s upward thrust. But what is this that I see? A mere sapling fights Against burnt embers to be free, Reaching, striving for daylight. It shall become a vibrant pink flower, Despite what the land had been through. Fireweed drapes across the hills they cover, A reminder that life always begins anew. ~Logan Van Hagen

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VOICE

~Koree Wilburn Night Sun falls, night rises, It all stops. Not a sound, Not a soul in sight. Peace is finally here, Cuddled up around a warm fire, Curled up in a hole. Not a muscle, Not a breath. No sound, No movement. Shhhhh, Quiet. ~Leah Pemberton

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Cass High School The Range Burial I am dark and foreboding. I have no shelter. The opportunities you wish to find are lost to the earth. Fortune is my law, unmistakable by toil or sloth. I am not judgmental, I welcome all. I am the cold ground that lacks corners. I like to remember the Beginnings and the Ends. It is my lack of Beginning that interests me so. I will contemplate it till my End. I’ve come to believe it is a part of me. But it is fickle and won’t stay the same. And so a lack of Sun is the only force capable of my End. Now I am a grave. A crowd digs into me, Searching my reaches for what I really am. Then they leave their Ends in a box, or is it the beginning? I can never tell I see to their ungrateful dead, and return them to their Beginning. I hold the Host of Heaven in my soil and am purely Elysian. I am fair to those that dwell through me. And so they come and go. Every daybreak replaces the face of Death with the visage of the Sun. And they go about their day in the time between Beginnings and Ends. That time is the Present and it terrifies no one. ~Jason Purdy

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VOICE Mutton We gathered things and began our travel Along the reservation’s road. The evening before mother prepared What would be our sustenance, fry bread and mutton. Not only did it sustain our stomachs, Going to a place different than what we were used to, It sustained our hearts. It was time to go and be free of the Res we all know and love. Father, with his foot on the pedal, led us into a new world. Toward Flagstaff we were headed, not yet very far when Thoughts of the destination pondered through my sister’s skull, “A different place than what we’re used to,” She said aloud. And likewise Her words went by Terribly unnoticed and thoughtfully unrecognized. ~Jazzy Harrison

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Cass High School To Dance through a Day Early in the dewy morning Sleep has blanketed the young dancer’s mind She rolls herself out of bed Like a discordant orchestra, doors open and close through the house Gliding her hair into a restricting ponytail Adding curls Lighting the face with pinks Watery blues rest on the eyes Arriving, Her mentality an empty shell for nerves At bay she keeps them, Like water behind a dam Striding past younger girls, She slips on the tutu. First on stage Ballet is foremost She slides on shoes Flexing and pointing her toes Warming up like a marionette, Facing the battle Of incoherent sections of choreography Struggling with the piece Lights as bright as the sun Practically blinding the young girl Blurred faces fashion the crowd No familiarity, yet familiarity Fifth position A forty-five degree angle of the right foot

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VOICE Left toes brush the heel of the right Making an opposite forty-five The feet themselves forming a visible angle Awaiting the downbeat, The music drips with calmness Light footing like that of Pheidippides contrives the piece Complimented by broad grand jetes, As the dancer lands lightly in puddles of rhythm The music flowing like a stream, Carries a story to the large, ocean like audience A complete costume change is in order The skin transforms, As her costume moves from blue to red Dazzling red – Police lights Uncle Sam And stemmed red roses, Both sweet and sharp She slides on shoes Flexing and pointing her toes The kajillion watt lights Blindingly hot Rolling sweat beads heat her face The red adding heat to the already broiling stage Music changes, as mindset changes From soft, sophisticated To the sounds of tap – Tapping Clicking Clacking

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Cass High School Quickening pace set Feet faster moving In the audience, singular familiar faces are spotted Blurring as she shuffles across the stage A bonafide Shirley Temple, In black, silver plated heels The grind of her heel like a shift of tectonic plates, Creates tension A volcanic eruption, At peaking mountain tops of music notes Tap gives way to jazz, Earthy tones shift to a fiery intensity The fierce red staying, Brightness of the costume standing out against tannish skin tone She slides on shoes Flexing and pointing her toes Backstage, Sounding like a cacophony Distant from uniformity, The Stage With flaming fervor flickering in her soul, The girl shimmies and sways Always keeping up with the sultry, passionate movements of the choreography Reaching climactic moments, As if the flames were rising Only to subsided like doused flames, As the music ended Second costume change, From red to blue, -so familiar-

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VOICE Volcanic red, to watery skies She slides on shoes, Flexing and pointing her toes Harsher shoes Made of wood Rough on the feet The dance is a flight Each note a gust of wind, Lifting the wings The feathers lightly floating on the wind A migration from stage right to stage left Resting for the spring in a final pliĂŠ Image of a vacant stage Memorable stories place lightly, By the gentle footpaths of dancers on its distressed floor The last look over her shoulder Stepping off the stage Entering the audience No longer the dancer Hugs from loved ones Overwhelming is the perfume, From the carnations and breathes of babes Tears slowly dripping to the floor, And dissipating like the long forgotten stories. ~Hannah Guthrie

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Cass High School War is Hell Scarlet hearts, sorrowful pride Suffer the heat that emulates tide. Burning ash, haunting glow Mountains of soot, cinders fall like snow That inferno of shame and sorrow is Sherman’s and Sherman’s alone For the hands of the Hanging Man are always stained with brimstone. Fireflies blend, children scream Smoke transcends, city agleam Soldiers march, flags unfurl Cannons roar, rotting pearl Fiery destruction deceives the human eye, Like how Fall leaves are at their most beautiful when they’re about to die. And Somehow both War and Hell have beauty destructive, Its glow warms you while burning your soul. You lose sight of where you begin and where you end Because tears for the lost places of past will blind you. These intricacies of pain lead us by the hand to conflict, And we expect the promise of nostalgia that comes with losing what’s precious to us. And so flames(wars) that sever(divide us) are the same as emptiness(lack of conflict) that binds(unites). War and Hell are necessary evils that are both bittersweet to the mind. ~Jason Purdy

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VOICE Tilt-a Whirl At age 5, she wants to be a ballerina A perfectly normal dream for a perfectly normal girl Who knows only her ABCs and that her mother is her best friend, she crie when her mommy yells at her At age 8, she wants to be an astronaut With her childish ambition and learning about space in science class She wants to be powerful like her mother who she stills calls ‘mommy’ and she stills cries whenever mommy yells at her At age 10, she wants to be a teacher Because she has seen how much a teacher can influence lives and she wants to be a big influence. This is the first year she is bullied for calling her mother ‘mommy’ So she runs home crying, bursting through the door, saying “mommy, I mean mom, the kids at school are making fun of me for calling you ‘mommy’” Her mom tells her to get over it and she cries and doesn’t bring it up again At age 13, she wants to be a doctor Having always loved school, she gets bullied daily for her acne and yellow teeth and begins to believe what the bullies says, carving into her mind and skin alike. She calls her mother ‘mom’ and doesn’t bring anything up again.

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Cass High School She cries in her room every night , her mom has no chance to yell at her The bullying continues, getting worse everyday At age 14, she is failing school from missing so many days due to her now crippling social anxiety and the cuts on her skin. She doesn’t speak except to say “I’m fine, just tired” if someone bothers to ask what is wrong She now believes what the bullies say and stull carves it into her body and mind alike She tries to drown out their words with two different types of bottles. At age 15, she wants to escape And she moves her situation elsewhere, now living with her father not mother. She redoes herself in hopes that it will be different this time around. But it is not, it gets progressively worse until it is just suffocating, until it is unbearable and she just wants to die but she can’t let her grades slip in fear of disappointing her father who has put so much faith into her. She is crumbling underneath all the stress and pressure and just don’t know what to do. She trying to stay strong but am proving to be weak. Her life is becoming a tilt-a-whirl pinning her against the wall, not letting her move

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VOICE She is another insult away from a breakdown and is trying so desperately not to dig the blade down too far. Her days are filled with shaking, trying not to cry, and clenching her fists until she can try to escape with her books and her pen At age 15, she wants to die She doesn’t think of the future anymore because she doesn’t want to hurt anymore. She doesn’t want to feel anymore.

~Audrey Ward

~Jennifer Burk

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Cass High School Looking Looking. The mirror and I are the same. But, in all actuality, the mirror lies. This is me. I will not stay in the mirror. You gaze. You see. You understand me. Us. Until you don’t. Search. Under the glass is Truth. You see in a spectrum of color. Transduction, neural messages from the eye: they only understand light. Beating: my heart, my blood, my soul. Inside is me. Look beyond and still see me. The mirror understands: seeming does not define us. Mirror, we are one and the same. ~Hazel Quick They Become One, Seamless and Right Still and strong; immobile she stands. Resolute and unafraid. Both guardian and prey. She juts out, brighter and more absolute than the sky. A mother, guiding the way. As one, they march; united in their strength. A secret, a shadow, there lies the power. As the defenders, they bare a soldier’s might; unshakable and firm, they rise. The base of the mountain, the cornerstone of her life. Together, united, as one they fight. Though she is theirs alone, there are threats, and they fight for their lass. From darkness they arise, into the light they become one: seamless and right. ~Hazel Quick

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VOICE Outsider There is a gun to my head It is always there Waiting Waiting for me to grasp it with my hand And pull the trigger Letting my demons out. But to let them out would be to admit I have them, And according to my façade, I don’t. I have no demons because I always have A smile, A joke, A laugh Up my sleeve at the ready. But there are scars up my sleeves Fading slowly. They are from the battles When I last admitted my demons’ presence. Slowly, maybe faster I am going to war again Weapon in hand The battleground becoming bloody The sky, a sheet turning red, sagging down Being wrung out at the end of each day. When I can retreat, I retreat to my pen. I escape in my writing, blood red, rain gray Taking the weather too personally, Reading into too many things, Listening to my demons’ breath in my ear With a gun waiting against my head.

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Cass High School There is a gun to my head I feel the cold metal against my temple. I feel it against my sanity. I can reach up and grasp it in my hand. Every day the pressure grows greater, My head being forced sideways, It breaks my neck with every push, The gun being dug into my skin, The blood slowly trickling down my cheek, My arms being held steadfast at my sides, Not allowing me to wipe the deep red away. I am taking a beating To my chest, head, legs, arms Cracking ribs, bones, skull, neck Bruising knees, eyes, sides, back I am an outsider All of the time With my family, friends, school, everyone. I am an outsider ~Audrey Ward

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VOICE Annual Laws of Life Essay Contest 12th Grade Winner ~Hazel Quick Often, people think they cannot give unto others if they are their selves lacking. Thankfully, such thoughts were never found in my home as I grew up. From the earliest moment I can remember, our too-small home was being shared with others. My dad did not come from what could be referred to as an ideal home—his was far from that. His father was very abusive which led to his parents divorcing. His mom moved from Texas to Georgia and got a job that kept her away from home nearly the whole day. My dad was off at college by this time, but his ten brothers and sisters basically had to raise themselves. Several of them dropped out of high school, despite the fact that they were all very smart. The instability in their home led many of them to make some pretty messy choices. So, almost from the moment my parents bought their first house, we always had family members staying with us. Our home was always open—and there was always someone in need. They did all of this while we had almost no money. My dad was a teacher and my mom stayed home—there was never such a thing as extra cash, and, at times, there was barely even enough. And, there was no way any of our “guests” could have paid rent—they were worse off than us. Instead, our house was a little, free rehab for my father’s family as they encountered trial after trial. But, I have always been taught that to give is more important than to get. So, that is why I continually strive to live by a quote given by Nelson Henderson. He said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” My parents did not and do not expect to be repaid by those they helped. It was an act of love and kindness that led them to do these things. This simple rule seemed to be just that as a child—simple. But now, when faced with the same circumstances, I find it really hard. My

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Cass High School family is, once again, sharing our home with others. It may have to do with the fact that I am older now and don’t go with the flow as easily as children do, but changes like this are harder. Although we live in a larger home now, I feel as if our house is far smaller than our old one ever was. It is hard to be at home with strangers there—but I try. I try because I know they need our help. They need to see what a normal, functioning family looks like. They need to feel like they are loved and wanted. It is strange to come home and see my uncle—who we just recently met for the first time—sitting on our couch. It is hard to feel like he is family when he doesn’t act like my family. Adjusting is hard, but it is also a wonderful thing. We are helping this little family get on their feet and preparing them to live in the real world. I can already see the difference we are making in their lives as they adjust to a better lifestyle and as my dad offers counsel to them. My little qualms feel like nothing compared to what the eventual result for them will be. I don’t expect to sit in the shade of our efforts—I am just excited to help them. Difficult circumstances and a bad lifestyle led to their need for help— a loving family and helping hands will, hopefully, be their fresh start. I think of my extended family now, and although not all of them are in the places they wanted to be, all of those who my dad helped are on their feet and have beautiful families. They lead successful lives and they are, most importantly, happy. That is reward enough for my parents. That is reward enough for me. I am determined to always follow the example of my parents in serving others—that is the best way to live.

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VOICE Empty Love Roses are red, And violets are blue. My love has been said, Please take it true. Daisies are yellow, And tulips are white. I fancy a fellow, Who’s the love of my life. Oceans are calm, And winds are fierce. My emotions are a bomb, Waiting to show my tears. Fires are warm, And ice is chill. Your silence is scorn, It’s likely to kill. Day is light, And night is dark. I’m not going to fight, You’ve already made your mark. Hearts mean love, And stars are small. When push comes to shove, I’ll be the one to fall. ~Alexandria Needham

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Cass High School Black Feather It comes in the night, Producing no sound Stealing my sight So I’ll be bound It takes me in its grasp Leading me away Its emotions are masked So they won’t betray Then it sings of us Lolling me to sleep I’ve given him my trust I’m his to keep We disappear together Never to come back What’s left is a feather The color pitch black ~Alexandria Needham

~Jason Purdy

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VOICE Gun Control? or Right to Bear Arms? If I had it my way the principal would’ve began her pursuit of the evil man with a gun at her side. She would’ve shot first and that man would’ve died. But this world is not mine and I have no control. So let’s talk about something we’d all like to have a say in… Gun control? Yeah, because if he’d never had access to a gun to begin with, this all would never have happened? Sure. I believe that without a gun someone would’ve died maybe not as many people but this man still would have tried. Maybe with a knife or poisoned dihydrogen monoxide or carbon monoxide poison. whatever. Gun or no gun, evil would’ve ran it’s course. So we can choose to take away all the weapons we want to but while we’re at it take away food because obesity is a problem too! And how about we take away vehicles because the thirtynine-thousand-two-hundred and fifty-two fatalities that took place this past year were caused by cars. The bad drivers or alcohol? those aren’t the problem. (oh yeah, and airplanes were the cause of the fatalities that took place on nineeleven) Blame the object, spare the human because he did no wrong. Pretend he’s not at fault, and if guns were controlled this wouldn’t have happened. Pretend his gun loaded itself, his car drove to the school and his shoes walked into the classroom and the guns he was holding. Not his hands, but the guns! The gun cocked, aimed, and shot twenty small children! The gun cocked, aimed, and shot the teachers and his mother! The gun cocked, aimed, and shot the man.

The man who had nothing at all to do with these killings because the real reason these individuals died were the gun

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Cass High School control procedures our government lacked. Everything you’ve ever said in favor of controlling guns take that back and think about what could’ve happened if every teacher who was shot that day had packed. ~Jazzy Harrison

~Jennifer Burk

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VOICE Shook Senior Alcohol, pills, oh yeah! Puffing some green All emotions, ranging from mellow to mean Whispers and laughter, the back of the bus Pressure awaits, I am feeling the rush Round one is over, now on to this class I should of said no, just shut-up and pass The shakes of their heads and glares from my mates I can’t seem to see, my future’s at stake GPA, Scholarships, my cap and gown Mood enhancers, no flex, easin’ thru town As I wonder the hallways with my crew I now notice the numbers are so few I’m done; I’m out; it happened oh so fast Was running first; now I am dead set last Sports events, and cool kid after parties Squad pressuring; “now down this Bacardi!” Skipping school, and becoming a junkie Food on my mind, is that called the munchies? House is a mess, lookin’ like a smoke screen How’d I become this? At only eighteen Now I am broke, I thought I was the –ish Now I’m a dropout, this wasn’t moms wish. Looking back everything felt like a dream Everyone is gone no shoulder to lean. ~Joey Johnson

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Cass High School The Pier As she wakes, warm sun rays flood into the bedroom. Birds chirp, and kids play just outside the window. Blue sky sings of its own wonder as it looks at those under it. The perfect day is the explanation anyone would give. All except one, Julie Meyer. All she saw was suffering, childhoods that would end too soon, birds interrupting the peace and sun They would just cause all sorts of problems. You may think our young girl is cynical, but you cannot see what made her this way. You never see the broken hearts, the grandmas who died of cancer, the boys who took what they wanted and left her, the ones she trusted who stabbed her in the back. You cannot see the fragile heart she hides behind carefully placed bitterness, the tears she cries once her door is closed or even how her strict manners hide the loneliness she felt the moment she moved out of her parents’ house just weeks ago. She is broken and tired and no one sees her. When she cries to the sky people pass by her yard oblivious to the girl who can no longer keep it together. She goes to the mall and when the sales girl goes to check out her purchases she bites back bitterly un knowingly making it where she will always be lonely. One night is the worst, no longer being able to take the suffocating walls the keep getting smaller and smaller she jumps up and runs out the door, she runs and runs and runs until the world slowly fades behind her. Her heart finally shattering as she collapses on the ground she contemplates why she even tries. She believes nothing can get better or make her better. She cries her heart out until the sun begins to rise over the pier. Julie finds arms strong and warm wrapping themselves around her. For the first time in a long time, she did not fight back. She let this man embrace her as she took in his scent, laundry detergent mixed with soap and a smoky cologne. She buries her head in this stranger’s shoulder. After half an hour of this, she slowly emerges and looks at the man who saved her life. He was undeniably beautiful

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VOICE with thick brown hair, deep blue eyes and the most perfect lips, he had strong arms and was wearing a surfing shorts and no shirt. You could see the small tattoo of a cross on his upper right shoulder. Even as she pulled away he did not let go, he looked longingly into her eyes just as she did his. In the back of both of their minds they knew this was this, their soul mate, the one they had been looking for, there other half. Julie smiled for the first time since she could remember as pure love and happiness filled the once shattered heart. She looked deep in his eyes and thanked him for stopping and he told her that his name was Dylan. His smile was uncontrollable as she told him her name. She stood and he took her hand and asked if she would like breakfast and she could explain what had upset her. As they sit under the sun that just yesterday she hated she felt hope as she spilled her whole story the bitterness the brokenness and even the contemplating if it was worth it. With every word his heart broke more and more. He thought how lucky he was to find her before it was too late but how he wished he had found her sooner not just for him but the beautiful girl who had been broken and needed hope more than anything else. He tells her his story much less pain but there was still some they both know it and everyone who can see them know it, that this is true love. They talk about their lives, their jobs, their childhoods, what college they attend, where they went to high school, they even talked about their favorite singers from when they were 12. It’s not long before he takes her to very place they had met on the night she almost gave up and he had saved her. He drops to one knee with all the love of the entire world in his eyes as he looks at the most important person in the world to him. He begins to tear up as he holds up the ring to her. Her eyes flood down with tears but unlike last time these are tears of joy. She can barely choke out a yes before she is yanking him up kissing him right here in the middle of the pier. Passing pedestrians clap for the happy couple and

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Cass High School they can be nothing but happy when staring in the face of such obvious true love. Plans for the wedding begin almost immediately, the choose their location on the pier where they met, and he proposed. She picks out a beautiful white dress and their parents fly in. The days tick by and thoughts of their upcoming life consumes there mind. They choose a house to move into once there officially man and wife. He moves in to get the house ready, they choose the Caribbean honeymoon location. It was all falling into place perfectly. The morning of the wedding arrived her sister helped her dress and her mom brought her, her something borrowed. Her dad walked in and asked if she was ready. She took a deep calming breath knowing he was waiting on her was all it took to get her feet moving towards the aisle. The precision goes as it always does, until finally came time for the bride to make her way down. The music starts and she comes into view beautiful in her wedding gown. The moment he sees her, his heart warms and tears start to fall down his face. She had openly started crying the moment she saw his tears. They said their vows and moved the whole congregation to tears including that of the old minster. They had their first kiss as man and wife and 100 butterflies were released. The reception came and went and the couple went on their honeymoon, and of course they lived happily ever after. ~Heather Miller

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VOICE

-Miranda Love

You Were Made for This Run free. You are young and wild and you should have no care in the world. Wind should fly through your hair as you run faster than lighting Run with Passion. It should move you with fierce determination. Water should blur your vision. Run. Run. Run. Don’t ever stop. Run. Run. Run, and don’t ever look back. Run with passion. Run with strength. Run with determination. For this you were made. ~Heather Miller

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Cass High School The Miserable Scientist to His Wretched Creation A wicked man am I for creating a wretch as you! Your existence, my ignorance deplores me each day anew. I only wish that you would leave me be, That my family and I could live happily. But no such inclinations would I hopelessly await, You’ve taken my all—toward you there’s only hate. The smiles of dear Elizabeth, of William, dear Justine, My father and of Clerval, are gone now, evil fiend! I blame myself for giving you life. Because of myself, I’m emaciated from strife. For all my miseries and misdeeds I seek repentance, But my only solution is, now, to seek vengeance! The wilds of Switzerland, the perpetual ices of the north, I’ll pursue you anywhere for hope of repair thenceforth. No matter the weather, distance, time, or lack of breath, I will never relinquish this hunt until my very last breath. What a naïve young fellow was I upon your creation, Little did I know that you’d be an abhorred abomination. Time ensues when your plans to torture me will be askew, I will be more than cheerful to bid you adieu. For the agony and suffering you’ve brought about, For your horridness and malice that fetches a frighten and shout, For all of my life that has been cut through, I bestow my misery, despondency, and loneliness to you! ~Veronica Cuevas

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VOICE Monday Mourning a mother rises from her bed she’s dragging her feet it’s Monday.

she begins to brew a pot of coffee Starbucks Christmas

blend

she reaches into the refrigerator, peanut butter and jelly she then pulls the bread from the cupboard humming the same morning song as always, she walks in to her baby’s room and begins to sing, “good mor… her voice trails off.

her baby is gone. and again she has forgotten that her child, her baby, was stolen away from her. she’s made lunch for an angel, but her baby is gone, “good mourning,” she says aloud ~Jazzy Harrison

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Cass High School

~Jennifer Burk

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VOICE My Brain, it Falters My brain, it falters A skipping track. So many lost thoughts I cannot bring back. My brain, it falters A skipping track. Connections aren’t made Coherently with cracks. My brain, it falters A skipping track. Paranoia clutches tightly; Clarity is what I lack. My brain, it falters A skipping track. The monster eats away inside of me. Words crawl, actions without tact. My brain, it falters A skipping track. The urge, it grows; Progress backtracks.

My brain, it falters A skipping track. So many lost thoughts I cannot bring back. ~Logan Van Hagen

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Cass High School Annual Laws of Life Essay Contest 11th Grade Winner ~Imani Whitfield

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 was the day the most important promise to me was broken. I lost my dad who had a major impact on me when it came to basketball. My dad and I were pretty close. We often talked about and watched sports on the television. He told me numerous times not to rely on basketball as a career and to have a backup career. We always had something to talk about when it came to basketball, and I could ask him anything because he played when he was younger. However, we never played a single game together. When I started to play basketball in middle school, my dad was always busy with work. I had games on Thursdays sometimes, but he was still busy with something else. He tried to make my games, and he would often ask how I did when I got home. Until one game I looked in the doorway to the gym and I saw him and my mother walking in. I got so excited. So that game I showed out, making threes everywhere, stealing the ball, and hustling down the court every time I had a chance. When we got home he told me what I did wrong and what I did right. I changed those mistakes to corrections the next game. My eighth grade year was the year I got acknowledged the most. I told my father about the different awards I received, and in return I got a hug I’ll never forget. High school, boy was so different when it came to basketball. My dad would tell me, “it isn’t a joke when you get up there, so always do what you are told and practice so you can stand out.” My freshman year I played both JV and Varsity, and that’s when I had to step up my game. I would start to ask my dad, “hey, can we go to the park this Saturday and play?” My father would always reply, “maybe next weekend.” From then on it was always the same answer.

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VOICE Freshman year my dad made me a promise that changed my attitude towards basketball. He promised me that we would start playing basketball together on his off days. I was so excited! Even though he made a promise, it wasn’t physically shown. Wednesday, May 4, 2011, my father committed suicide. It was like he left my family and me without a goodbye or even a reason as to why he felt that way. He was a good man, and coach to me off the court. It hurt me to know that I would have to take what he taught me about growing up and basketball and achieve it by myself. All I could think about was how he had broken his promise. I’m currently in my junior year, and I’m just on the varsity team. I don’t think I would have made it without the motivation my father left me when he passed away. We learn from the mistakes of others as well as from our own. From his, I learned that through bad times, always see the good out of the situation. When I touch a basketball, I think of my father. I think of how he would want me to affect my family, my team, and myself in every game. I put in my head that now, he will be able to watch every game I have, and he was and still is the best coach I will ever have. He taught me that with hard work comes a reward. I won’t sit here and say, “oh I wish he was here to see this,” because I know he is watching in heaven. The promise might have been broken, but it made me a better person, student, daughter, friend, and most importantly, a better ball player.

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Cass High School My Fifth Year* General Stonewall Jackson had the greatest strength to be had This winter he longed to meet his newborn daughter Just as I longed to see Dad We played pretend, and started a trend Played hide and seek twice a week His meetings over, just to play To play with me, everyday All the fun and all the smiles Seemed to never ever go away I’d spin in circles and dance around, I’d take his hat as my royal crown. We’d laugh-and joke-and read some stories, Carry on and on, and of course play horsy. But then he left. And then I died. The tears he cried he couldn’t hide. He had been my “other dad” My bestest grown-up friend And despite the fact that I’m in the clouds Our friendship will never end. Jackson won’t take for granted even one single day Because he knows how fast things might get taken away How important it is to smile, How depressing it is to frown, But on top of this, he knows too, that even stonewalls can be broken down.

~Samantha Sanders * Janie Corbin was a five-year old girl who lived at Moss Neck Manor, and her dad, a soldier off fighting the war, allowed Stonewall Jackson and his men to have their winter camp on his land one year. Right after they left, Janie died of Scarlet Fever.

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VOICE Life, She is My Dearest Friend Life, she is my dearest friend, I walk and talk with her daily. Though sometimes it is rough, I dance and prance along her side, and occasionally find a friend. Mother left, father passed, my friends are fast and quick to leave. Jim, he taught me how to shoot, but life took him away. Sister Susie— she was sweet. Little Timmy and Baby Joe were there when I shot the Red Skins. I fought for friends, but they all left. So I was left alone with Life. I learned to live, to dream, and to survive this world with Life by my side. No regrets and no tomorrows—I live today only once and thus have no sorrows. I am Crystal the Pistol. ~Hazel Quick

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Cass High School The Beauty of the Summer Solstice What can this one mean? I wake up this cold Saturday morning with another mysterious marking on my body. It is in the shape of a flame. Close to the like of a small-contained flame, that has just been ignited. The first time I see it is in the shower, I already have several others that I have figured out the meaning to. The solar system on my upper right arm reminding me that we are not alone, that whatever we do affects everything around us no matter how small the act. Birds in flight on my left shoulder showing that I am of my own free will and I can touch the sky if I truly want to. A clock rests on my upper left arm reminding me to live my life to the fullest because one day it will come to an end. My job marking appeared on my neck two years ago today, music notes; I became a pianist soon after that. When I first started to get my markings I didn’t know how to decipher them. I soon discovered that each one is different in ways of figuring it out. With some the meaning comes from common societal archetypes but with others you have to delve deep inside your mind to find the metaphorical meaning behind them. I used to wish that I could change the path my markings set out for me until I realized that I could. The rules of the path are not black and white but more of a gray. They have a certain fluidity that can be bent and twisted to fit both your desires and the desires of the universe. I didn’t realize this for most of my life though. I thought that I had to shape my life around the markings on my skin instead of using them as guidelines. I also discovered that you are allowed to mess up sometimes, be insecure, and seek approval. I realized that you have to have trial and error in order to find your true path in life. A few days had passed after the flame had appeared; my life was still full of searching. The longer it took for me to get out of this ambivalence of not knowing what the flame could represent, the more aggravated I felt. I felt as though the universe was trying to infantilize me for

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VOICE not being able to figure out something so seemingly simple. Archetypally, a flame is used to represent power, strength, and passion. I already had passion for and from my music, strength from my knowledge, and power from my impact and influence on people’s lives. Could it mean that I somehow needed to use my passions otherwise? I decided that I was going to take my mind off of the perplexing situation at hand before I resigned to not knowing. I had a show that night which sold out, people from all walks of life had come to see me play my compositions on piano. I focused in on my show; I always liked to tell a story with my music. Tonight’s show was titled “The Beauty of the Summer Solstice-a Tale of Strength and Survival” with songs that I was able to put raw emotion and experience into. That night as there was a story told with no words, I felt as though I moved the audience. I moved them in a way in which I don’t believe I had ever done before. The audience gave me confidence all throughout the show and allowed me to give them the gift of more music with a total of three encores. I felt energized and uplifted; they certainly helped clear my mind. The next day, I began to think of my passions and I began to piece together a plausible explanation as to what the flame could mean. Another marking appeared in the shape of a river. I was very confused because it conflicted what I was coming to think the flame meant. I thought that the flame could mean I have to let my passion be represented in every aspect of my life but the water contradicted this. Water is used to represent serenity, patience, and purity, things that fire was not. Once again I began to think of what the meaning behind the markings could mean. I tried my hardest to look inside myself for an answer to no avail. I decided to take a break from the seemingly endless searching I was forcing myself to do. I then remembered a poem my mother used to say to me:

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Cass High School There is a place where the river bends A beautiful place where the rocks gather And the rocks lead the river in its new direction It has not always been this way The rocks used to try and stop the river The river tried to push through One day there was a fire The river could sense it was near The fire taking the forest Drew closer to here The river pushed through the rocks The fire moved through everything They met just past the river bend The fire had been destructive The river oh so calm The river told the fire to know what it did wrong The river said patience is a virtue That the fire needed to learn The fire told the river that It was on its own The fire tried to destroy the river as well The river’s strength and perseverance Sent the fire back to hell Thinking of this made me realize, I have spent too much time trying to force the answer to come instead of letting it come on its own. A river cuts through stone not because of the water’s strength but because of its patience and determination, stopping when it has formed its own path. A fire has determination but no patience, instead choosing to burn through a forest yielding only when it has nothing left to destroy. This is why the river could destroy the fire. In this way, passion is a good thing to have but left unchecked, it can be destructive; you need patience and care to keep it in check. ~Audrey Ward

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VOICE Murder It was only a couple months ago when she first passed by. With hair as blonde as desert sands, and the most beautiful eyes. For only I would this change in such short time, for a simple crush turned into an obsession. I'd watch her walk by me often, like a judge to a barber's beautiful wife. I could tell anyone everything about her. What kind of music she liked, her hobbies, anything. In the beginning it was nothing more than just noticing small things. Little did I know it would become this serious... I was becoming obsessed... Obsessed with this girl. She soon started to notice me, although she had no clue who I was. To her, I was nobody. To me, she was everything. But to have her, I'd have to be dreaming. I would often dream of her.. Her and I. Together. I would dream of the perfect utopia. Just her and I. Together. Happy, loving, careless. Nothing would ever get in our way. This obsession was overwhelming.. I couldn't take it much longer. I was obsessed...

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Cass High School Obsessed with this girl. I approached her. After two months, I finally gathered the nerve. I walked up to her and tried to speak, but nothing came out. Nothing but air. Embarrassed and ashamed, I quickly ran. I hated myself. I hated myself for not speaking. For not having courage. For being a coward. I would not give up. I approached her again. This time, words came out. I started things off simple. Informal greetings and small talk. It seemed as though she may have liked me. I couldn't be so sure. Not yet. I continued small talk for a few days, until she finally asked my name. "Isaac", I answered calmly. She seemed comfortable with me. Again, I couldn't be so sure. She commented on my name, which was puzzling. She said it was "cute". I didn't know how to interpret this "compliment". Whether it was good or bad... Should I be offended? Should I be flattered? Who knows? The obsession continued to grow. I HAD to get closer to her! I wanted her so very badly...

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VOICE I was obsessed... Obsessed with this girl... I couldn't take it anymore. I went to the local floral shop. I bought the largest, most expensive bouquet. I waited for her. I waited for hours, until she finally arrived. I approached her, handed her the flowers, and my feelings poured out of my mouth. Like blood pouring out of a bullet wound. She seemed.. Disgusted. She took the flowers and ran. I sat down. Consumed by silence. I was sitting in my own, dark world. No one was around me, not a single soul. Then I was struck. By what, I hadn't known. Until I phased back into reality. Standing, towering above me was a man. Her boyfriend. He beat me until I could hardly breathe. And left me there, stranded. This obsession had evolved. It had evolved into a callous vendetta against her boyfriend, as well as an undying lust for her. Obsessed... I was obsessed with this girl... I would have revenge. I must have had revenge. Non-violently, of course. I had been a pacifist for as long as I could remember.

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Cass High School So I waited for the right time.. I just had to have her. No one else could. Only me. I had purchased a bottle of chloroform prior to all of this, and I intended to use it. I went to the spot in which I normally met her. And waited. Again, I waited for hours. She never came. So I began searching. After seeing her pass by for so long, I recognized where she had to go at specific times. I waited at this one spot, like a husband waiting on his dying wife to come out of the emergency room. She had arrived. As she came around the corner, I grabbed her. She was in my clutches. I had her. The chloroform went to good use. Hours later, she had awoken, Only to find herself in a strange place. My house. She tried to scream, But nothing came out. I tried to soothe her, tried to calm her down. Finally, it worked. She sat there. Silent. Still. She just stared at me. It seemed as though her eyes were asking "Why?" That's when I grabbed the knife. I sharpened the knife.

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VOICE Cleaned the knife. Polished the knife. Held the knife to the thick, juicy, flesh. I ran my fingers across it until I finally gathered the nerve. Slice. Silence. I untied her. Sat her at my table. It seemed like her soul had left her. She sat there, motionless. I gave her the plate. The plate of food I had prepared. I had steaks stored in my freezer, which was what I was slicing. She understood my good intentions, but still would not become more than just my friend. It's hard to even say we were friends after all that. I later let her go free, and re-entered my own dark world, a world in which only I was present. No one was around me. Not a single soul... It seemed like an eternity before I had finally awoken. But upon waking up, I found myself in a very strange place. But it wasn’t strange, just unfamiliar. It was bright. Very bright. Not a blinding bright, but a comfortable, soothing bright. All around, it was white. There were windows on the wall. I was lying in a bed. It was the most comfortable bed I’d ever laid in. Next to me, laid this girl. THAT girl.

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Cass High School I had no idea what was going on. I had also no memory of the previous night, or anything that had happened when I went into that dark world. How could this be happening? Is this real? Am I dreaming? Surely, I couldn’t possibly be dreaming. It was as real as real gets. She had awoken, she said things I never thought I’d hear her say... “Good morning, sunshine.” I looked at her. I was in complete shock. She looked into my eyes, noticing the shock. She grabbed my hand and began to speak, but, at that moment, the room grew cold. I started breathing heavily, and my mind went blank. My mind was being flooded with memories. Memories of an almost perfect ten years of marriage with her. That girl. Her name was Delilah. We had gotten married exactly ten years prior to this day. It was our anniversary. This all seemed too surreal. I didn’t know what to think of it. That whole series of incidents... It had to have been a dream... Although, it wasn’t. It was a nightmare... ~Anthony Kraut

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Cass High Literary Magazine 2013  

Cass High School White, GA 30184

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