Optics Catharsis 2012 Volume 3
Letter from the Editor My grandparents had a book of stereograms, a type of optical illusion that seems to consist of an abstract, repeating pattern, but that actually contains a hidden image. Only when you focus beyond the paper, crossing your eyes and then letting them relax, will the threedimensional shape emerge. Whenever I visited my grandparents, I would curl up on their couch, flipping through the pages of the book, and struggle to unfocus and refocus my vision in search of the hidden picture. The challenge of uncovering each illusion’s secret appealed to me, because I knew that each page was a mystery I could solve. Optics, the branch of physics that investigates how we see the world, is based on light waves REFLECTING, REFRACTING, and INTERFERING. Our minds transform these waves into images and colors. In our encounters with our surroundings, we rely on optics, unaware of its role in our vision and perception of reality. Of course, our perception is rarely perfect, and we are fascinated by the inconsistencies in our vision that
create illusions. As I stared at the stereograms, I didn’t understand what process was converting the twodimensional patterns into the sharks and pyramids that seemed to jump off the page, but I knew that with a little effort, focusing on something that did not actually exist, I could always access a unique and rewarding picture. Pushing the boundaries of vision, both literally and figuratively, is central to creativity; a willingness to test new ways of seeing the world, paired with the faith that even the intangible is accessible, yields results with a refreshingly new taste. Insight expressed through art and writing comes from this vision, and though each artist or author brings a different perspective to his or her work, we can all appreciate a twist on the old, or a work revealing a bit of imagination. The pieces selected for this volume of Catharsis exhibit this originality, coming together to create a magazine that stimulates both the eyes and the mind.
Catharsis Volume 3 2012
Optics “For any man with half an eye/ What stands before him can espy; But optics sharp it needs, I ween,/ To see what is not to be seen.” John Trumbull, M’Fingal - Canto I American Poet, 1750-1831
Madeline Cowen Editor-in-Chief Volume Three is dedicated to Madeline Cowen, Alexa Langen, and Sophia Aitken, three fearless, dedicated, and remarkable students who took a leap of faith in 2009 and embarked on the journey of creating a Literary & Art Magazine for Coral Gables Senior High School’s Creative Writing Program. Catharsis could not have become the award winning publication it is today without the hard work and commitment of these three incredible students. To Maddi, our fearless and talented leader; Alexa, our impeccable and sarcastic literary editor; and Sophia, our creative genius— I thank you. I am truly at a loss for the right words to express how much you have changed the course of this program and the lives of the students around you in these past three years. As you graduate and embark on the next chapters of your lives, I hope that you will always know that you have achieved something phenomenal in your creation of Catharsis, and I hope you will always call Catharsis your home. With love and gratitude, Ms. Camile Betances Adviser
Catharsis is the official publication of: Coral Gables Senior High School 450 Bird Rd., Coral Gables FL 33146 Phone (305) 443-4871 Adviser: Camile Betances e-mail: email@example.com www.catharsismag.com
Cover: concept & design, Sophia Aitken; photography, Nicole Sielsky & Camile Betances Special thanks to our model, Cindy Castro
i reflection Pieces of Me Paradise She Was All Grown Up A Persisting Thought Life Lessons ... Puddles The Ocean Revision Coral Gables High Could’ve Guessed Seven Seconds
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Bianca Perez Paulina Picciano Michelle Garcia Tarilyn Taylor Febrian Moten Alexa Langen Madeline Cowen Rinita Rasheed Elizabeth Gonzalez Yamilé Cruz Cindy Castro M.M. Eisenhart
aL lex A , d lute Invo
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contents table of
D: Drama; F: Prose Fiction; N: Prose Nonfiction; P: Poetry
ar ke r
ii refraction An Obituary for Summer The Lost Girl Cracked Fees and Customer Service Searching Parallel Beauty Romeo & Juliet, Seussified Dear Connor Smith The Trigger Hospice
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30 32 34 36 40 42 44 46 49 50
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Isaac Andino Natali Hernandez Alexa Langen Isaac Andino Ivan Shapiro Anadaniela Garcia Christian Ortega Patricia Passwaters Madeline Cowen Nicholas Arias
iii interference Clandestine Particle December Night Stat Sheet Redline The Accountant Anarchist Collective A Martyr’s Eulogy Death’s Friend Piece of Shih Tzu The Monster Lurking Within
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56 59 60 62 64 68 70 72 72 74 76
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Anadaniela Garcia Various Authors Katya Sarria Mario E. Olivares Alexa Langen Matt Gajewski Gabriela Diaz Maxwell Wood Christopher Arias Carlos Baez Cecilia Fields
A wave hurtles toward a surface and bounces back toward its origin. This change of orientation allows the following pieces, rife with introspection, different perspectives on past events, actions, words, and thoughts.
Pieces of Me
am a writer. All of my senses are touched by words. I explain myself through vivid expression; my precise choice of vocabulary caresses my emotions. Writing purges the toxins from my mind. Writing gives me endorphins. I am a singer. Singing comes from within my soul, pouring out, bouncing off the walls, coming back to me. My voice keeps me company. It makes me feel beautiful. I am a runner. The intense speed strengthens my muscles, my mind, and my heart. The wind whips my hair back; my legs push my body forward, telling me to never give up, to always move on. Life is scary. Every day something happens to remind me that I am not in control. Whether it’s a devastating natural disaster, a death in the family, a miracle, or a mistake… We are not in power. We cannot bend life into a shape, making it what we want to be. However, we can make ourselves into who we want to be. Life has karma. It gives you what you deserve, and what you think you don’t. Everything has a purpose. All things in life happen for a reason, riddles and puzzle pieces of events slowly taking their place in the world and unfolding into our lives. Our past and present portray opportunities of our possible fate. Out of the many memories and events and occurrences that I’ve undergone, there are three that have molded my life into its present shape. My brother’s birth shattered my shallow world. He taught me that I was not the center of the universe, not even my own. I despised him. But then, as I matured, I grew to love him. I appreciated him for teaching me the value of words, showing me true love, speaking for myself. My parents’ divorce tore down my perception of marriage. I used to believe that marriage was everlasting, a perfect promise of undying love and friendship. But my father never loved me, and knowing that never phased me. Knowing how he treated my mother, however, showed the strength in me that I never knew I possessed, the strength of protecting and piecing my mother back together. Losing my first love permanently eliminated my belief in fairytale endings. I now know that love is not always kind, sweet, and beautiful. I see the bittersweetness of it, the sorrowful grace and unfathomable pain. It makes every moment priceless and intangible, and incredibly addictive. Life is palpable, alive, enriching, heartbreaking, and true. This may not be who I am exactly… but these are pieces of me.
Identity Crisis, Cindy Castro, Collage
Ah, to be in blissful paradise, Away from the maddening masses, And far from those whose hearts are colder than the Arctic ice, Only having to shield my eyes with a pair of sunglasses. Unlike the cacophony of the masses, The waves entrancingly whisper relaxing words. With the help of the orange sunglasses, I can sit back and photograph a couple native birds.
Later on, the waves continue to softly speak their words. Now there is time to listen with the company of a cool breeze. Down below are the chirping birds, And close by are a couple buzzing bees. Unfortunately fleeting, there goes the breeze, Replaced instead by a heat that rapidly melts the ice, Yet it has no affect on the hungry bees. Hmmm, sweet paradise.
Star Fish, Ali Stack, Digital Photography
I sat by the coat rack while everyone continued to pile up by the fireplace. Guess they all longed for the cheesy, passionate kiss in front of burning wood (pun intended). It had snowed for the past two days. My feet would sink into the white fluff as I walked to the convenience store blocks down, and my bones had never felt so fragile, until I found her sitting near the window. Her every breath fogged up the blue edged window, and her fingers tore gashes in the fog, allowing sunlight to enter the room and suffuse her pale cheeks. I couldnâ€™t feel my fingers, nor any part of my body except my throat, which closed up, almost choking me. What I felt was purely an instinct, a desire, a need, animalistic. I walked up to the window and placed my hand on it, the heat from my nervous hands turning her breath into water. We watched it ripple down. She took my hand and I followed her into a room in the back. I held her close, kissed her neck. I was in med school at the time; my knowledge of the human body filled my head as I held her tighter and felt her external and internal jugular veins fill up with her pulse. I imagined her subclavian vein, subclavian artery, axillary artery, inferior thyroid artery, even her goddamn facial veins pumping blood everywhere because of me. I kissed her orbicularis oris and tasted her, tasted those red, red lips.
Em iline , Eli zab eth G o
nzalez , Oil on Canvas
All Grown Up
ommy was the bravest and most adventurous of the Rugrats, and was not afraid of anything. But I could never truly relate to him. Tommy was the leader; the gang listened to him and considered everything he said, and then they did it. I didn’t have that. Everything I said seemed silly, a joke. I was Chuckie Finster. We both wore glasses and were shy. We both were afraid of the world. We both lost our moms and wanted one desperately. We both prayed for one. Lil and Phil, twins, were daring; they loved to consume disgusting things like worms and were often on board with Tommy’s exploits. They reminded me of how my brother and I acted when we were around each other. We would automatically agree on everything from the rules of freeze tag to who was supposed to sit in the front seat. Now, Angelica was the bossy older girl. She was a brat and got what she wanted. She would throw a tantrum and hold her breath until she was blue. I tried that once, but had to stop when I realized I wasn’t turning blue, but dying for air instead. Susie was who I wanted to be. She was nice and brave. She was adventurous and everyone loved her,
except Angelica. I realized what attracted me the most to the show was the idea of eternal childhood. I could relate to some characters and aspire to be others, but what drew me the most to the show was that the characters were always young. Growing up seemed overrated. The Rugrats had no responsibilities; they played all day and slept all night, just like my brother and I did during the summers of our childhood, where we would spray each other with a hose and jump on a trampoline until we fell asleep to the sound of the television in the background. But, like the Rugrats, I became a teenager and started to have responsibilities. My dream of constant fun died. Then I realized that the Rugrats were still having fun. Their adventures were just now more interesting. I began to realize that growing up was not that bad. I could do more things independently, such as tying my shoes or walking home with my brother. At the same time, I had fun; I could still go out to play if I didn’t have anything to do. The way I see it, everyone has to grow up, so I might as well find the fun in it.
The Spectator, M.V.D., Watercolor on Paper
I’m not unappreciative, I swear. But somewhere among all the well-wishes and warm hugs and tinkling laughter, I can’t help but wonder about you.
A Persisting Thought FebrianMoten
Where did you go? What have you been up to? How are you? How are we? What happened to us? “When your birthday passed and I didn’t call...” The lyric keeps playing over and over in my head. When my birthday passed and you didn’t call or write or even text... After all of the lunches and laughter and outings with my friends, I feel whole again-complete. But then you show up, even if just in remnants: your friends, your favorites, even your mask on my beloved’s wall. “Where did you get that?” “Some quince.” “Oh. Hers. I should’ve been there.” “Well, what happened?” I don’t know. And then all of a sudden, his plain walls seem too plain; his blue room seems too dark; his room feels too hollow; and I remember: you’re gone. What happened to you? What happened to us? He beckons me out of his room, but not before the question escapes from me: What happened? Because I miss her.
Ali Stack, Digital Photography
from a Moldy Sandwich AlexaLangen
very now and then, a demon sweeps through my house. Unlike a succubus, whose business I would comfortably sleep through, this demon fills my parents with the kind of fervor that cannot be disregarded. For hours before 10 AM, the house echoes with the banshee wails of a vacuum cleaner, the wet gurgles of cleaning fluid gushing over the floor, and, hardest of all to ignore, the barking rasp of my possessed father’s summons. To this harmonious chorus I arose last weekend, the sun’s dawning rays tickling my eyelids. Finding almost unparalleled fun in aligning my mood opposite to those around me, I entered the living room, where the demon had set up his temporary lair, with a rakish grin. “You know, you ought to check you haven’t vacuumed up any gold dust by mistake,” I said. My father struggled to control a voracious vacuum cleaner. When he heard me enter, he silenced his familiar and turned to me with a blaze in his eyes usually reserved for football, Mercedes convertibles, 16
and the acquisition of lawn furniture. “Your backpacks from eighth grade have been festering in the closet for the past three years,” he said. “Get rid of them.” I informed him that rummaging through bubblegum wrappers and crumpled hall passes did not actually feature on my agenda for this Saturday morning, but if he wished to schedule my services he could contact my secretary three weeks in advance. He informed me in turn that I would see neither light of day nor sand of beach nor face of boyfriend until the only remnant of middle school in this house existed either in my memory or in two-megapixel photographs of railroad-track smiles—“And go easy on the photographs,” he added. After that, I decided it probably was not the best idea to tell my father my intention of leaving it there as an expression of modern art. Instead, I took a deep breath and dove into the crumpled papers and nibbled pencils of the past. To the eye of a critical high school student, the cross I bore throughout middle school was now a pile
of useless splinters scattered across the terrazzo floor. I saw a diagram of the four cow stomachs, whose names I had once known in German. I saw blueprints not for a futuristic shock absorber but for an egg carton that was now possibly choking a manatee. And there, on top of it all, I saw a sandwich. I feel I should provide some background about my squeamishness threshold. I once found a mushroom growing in my driveway and a loud cry of “Cool!” unfurled from my tongue without my control. When I overheard my dad telling my mom about the mold colonizing the Ford Ranger, I was out the door to catch a glimpse of it before you could say Aspergillus nidulans. Possibly the only sight that can turn my stomach is, for some reason, the disturbingly closely spaced circles of a honeycomb. So the sight of a sandwich the same age as my cousin Eva did not cause me undue concern, but rather assured me that waking up at such an ungodly hour had absolutely been worth it. Excited, I seized the Ziplocked relic and studied it. The crusty ooze within its moldy crusts may, three years ago, have been peanut butter and apricot jam,
which explained why it was still in my backpack. I hated apricot jam, but, unwilling to throw away perfectly good food, I left the problem to resolve itself; maybe a homeless person would find it as my bag lay by the bus stop and eat it, or it would combust spontaneously. It was obvious as the congealed filling disintegrated in my hand that it had not resolved itself. However, it had become much easier to deal with. There was no longer any question about disposing of the decomposing disgrace. Every crumb of doubt, every morsel of worry or concern moldering in the back of my mind, dissolved at that moment. From that point forward, I have, rather than stressing out, dealt with my problems with calm, logic, and the certainty that, just as no sandwich looks the same after putrefying in the dark for three years, no problem will look quite so grave after time forces a degree of removal. That I now take a little bit longer to reach conclusions just goes to show that sandwiches have so much more to offer than what sits within their crusts. 17
Puddles MadelineCowen Today we passed two pieces of sky on the path. They were just lying there, unnoticed, forgotten. It had rained recently; fragments of sky must have dislodged during the downpour, and collected as the sun reemerged. They lay there, gleaming, vulnerable, gazing up at the rest of the sky, to the place they came from but could never return to. As we approached them, they changed color, reflecting different images of what they once were. We kept our distance. One misplaced step would shatter their surface, reveal their fragility, disperse their pieces, unleash their tears. We left them staring at the sky hopefully. Perhaps they would soon be joined by other sky fragments, or perhaps they would trickle into a stream and leak into the sea.
Ripples, Paulina Picciano, Digital Photoraphy
hail to the world of nymphs and krakens,
reatures swimming beneath the waves,
fficacious waves whispering amidst the tides,
nd lost travelers drifting on the great waters,
aive to the ways of the sea.
Glass Door, Rinita Rasheed, Digital Photoraphy
Going back and wondering what on Earth I was thinking at age 11 ½. ElizabethGonzalez [This exciting essay reviews a book with a hint of salsa I added as I reread it. I hope it will one day make me so famous that people photograph me on the street and I can’t be convicted of murder in a court of law.] And Then There Were None is an exquisite book [Apparently, I used to be a middleaged Frenchwoman]. It is mainly about ten people who go to an island thinking it will be an adventure [I guess my invitation got lost in the mail], but find themselves in a trap [It was too good to be true, wasn’t it?]. They are all destined to die, each death following the steps to the ‘Indian Nursery’ rhymes. Vera, Wargrave, Armstrong, Emily, Lombard. Martson, MacArthur, Mr. Rogers, Mrs. Rogers, [Shaggy, Scooby, Velma, Daphne, a single peanut] and [cue annoyed sigh] Blore, now have to escape from the island and what the anonymous killer, “Mr. Owen,” is doing. Day by day, another person dies [You’ve really painted a picture for me—I feel like I was there]. At some point they realize that there is nobody but that group in the island and that the killer is strategically, amongst themselves [WHERE IS OPRAH WHEN YOU NEED HER?]. Now they have to rely on themselves to keep safe, not on any other person [Girl, where you from? Trinidad? Texan border? Guyana? Stop, please. You can keep yourself safe]. When the last person dies, Vera, the anonymous “Mr. Owen” reveals to be Justice Wargrave, the judge who [ironically] has a lust to kill [at this point, so do I]. The movie And Then There Were None is basically a brief summary of the book with limited alterations. However, I will compare and contrast them. Ok? [No.]
In the movie, Anthony Martson has a different name. There was also a kitty with the people stranded in the island. [The kitty was an obvious ploy included to attract the twoto five-year-old audience.] Lombard and Vera also have some sort of relationship, while in the book they do not feel anything for each other. Als [My “Als” went to the store, bought an O and became an “Also”], four guys went to check around in the island while we read that it was three. When Emily Brent is killed, according to, the movie, the hypodermic syringe that she was injected with, was found near her, but that’s not what happens in the book [So, many, unnecessary, commas]. We read that the syringe was found crushed above a rock just outside the house. In the book, after Armstrong murdered one of the individuals he operated accidentally, he quit alcohol for good, but in the movie he decided not to do so. Also, in the book, the marble that killed Rogers was shaped like a bear, but it wasn’t in the movie, it was just a rock [I had a pet rock at the age of two to compensate for my lack of friends]. If I were to choose which is better, the book or the movie, I would choose the book [Isn’t it obvious?]. The book leaves you hanging [literally, off a bridge], wanting to read more, while the movie is just a summary about it. With the book, you can imagine anything you like and it helps enhance your vocabulary [I find that “Boyz in da hood: Luvas” also enhances my vocabulary]. I personally do not like when the movies change all the important details from the book. It’s not cool [No. No it is not]. Also, one of the best parts of the book is toward the end when Vera hangs herself [I still feel similarly]. In the movie, Lombard and her run off and have a happy ending. I dislike the movie, but recommend the book [I lied].
Coral Gables High Translation by LarissaWeinstein
Sin miedo a llegar muy lejos Partí de un lugar lejano Con una bolsa de reflejos De sueños que no van en vano. Las puertas se me abrieron Cuando todo lucía cerrado Y mi lápiz y libreta no me abandonaron. Gables me despertó una sonrisa, Un amor y miles de poesías, Me sanó una alma hecha trizas Y al amar el “día a día.” Por los 500’s pasé Dejando varios besos y abrazos, En la cafetería me senté A oír gritos y chismotazos. En Gables salí corriendo, Cuando el timbre tocaba, No por evitar detentions Sino para ver al que mas adoraba. Yo aprendí allí un millón de cosas, Me quejé del almuerzo unas cuantas veces. Rogué porque el Mr. no viniera, Pero lo extrañaba después de dos meses. No sé si quererlo es por gusto, O perder todo el tiempo que hay, Pero decir que la quiero es justo Y ¡que viva Coral Gables High!
Without fear of getting far, I left a place far away With a bag of reflections Of dreams that do not go in vain. The doors opened When everything looked closed And my pencil and notebook did not abandon me. Gables woke in me a smile, A love and thousands of poems, Healed in me a broken soul And the love to seize the day. By the 500s I passed Leaving many kisses and hugs, In the cafeteria I sat To hear screams and gossip. At Gables I took off running, When the bell rang, Not to avoid detentions But to see the one who adored me most. At Gables I learned a million things, I complained about lunch countless times. I begged for the Mister not to come, But I missed him after two months. I don’t know if loving it is for fun, Or losing all the time there is, But to say that I love it is correct— Live on, Coral Gables High!
Grassy, Mary Koehnk, Film Photography
Could’ve Guessed CindyCastro
[Spits out tobacco] All this technology saving you all from breaking a sweat nowadays. Got you gettin’ degrees without having to, and I say this lightly, GIT’ CHO LAZY ASS UP. I’ll tell ya. Ooooowee, if I was young. Buy myself some snazzy slacks, have my ma iron it all mornin’. Gotta look good [wink]. I could just see it now: change my pesky brown eyes to blue, have all the songs in the world at the tips of my fingers. If the moment feel right--you know what I’m talking about--I just bring out my ol’ buddy, Barry. Or if we’re in public, I’d send her, right, [spit] I’ll say, “lookin’ mighty fine today, my little kitten.” And she’d blush and smile at me from across the room, but no one will know she’s mine and I’m hers, ’cause it’s just no one’s business. We’ll have an entire conversation in a split second, and I’ll have her hoppin’ in my flyin’ car the next. Hhnng…You got it real easy, boy. Real easy. [Dave went to his room, threw himself on his bed, and took off his shoes. His head sank deep into his pillow as he reached over to his nightstand and picked up his phone.] Sent about two hours ago Hey, can I ask you something? Received about an hour ago I guess Sent about an hour ago Will you go to prom with me? No New Messages
Natali Hernandez, Digital Photography 85
Two years are two years—two fantastic, amazing years at that, but in my life, it’s just two years, and I need you to understand that I have to do other things. I want to hear something different than the mix tape of Diana and Fred. Maybe we’ll be like that couple that owns the pet store, break up for eight years and see each other on the metro one day to find we’re still in love, but for now, I need my eight years. Listen, Fred, I’ve been having this dream, and it’s every night, like those things you hear about, those… those… recurring dreams! I have it every night and it’s the same. I’m lying in bed and there she is, on top of me, and it’s like, it’s like nothing we could ever do, she’s touching me and I’m scared, but in a shy way, not in a, like, not in like a frightened way and after a while, I end up on top of her and she’s beautiful: her chest, perfect, those little blonde hairs on her stomach, but she’s not insecure about them; her legs, not smooth like she just shaved; but smooth like she shaved yesterday and I love it. I love her. And I’m loving her and she loves me and I know all this from a dream that’s probably, in reality, only seven seconds long. But when we get into it and she’s arched and I can feel it, she’s getting louder like she’s going to, she’s louder than I am and she just looks at me. She looks inside my eyes, she doesn’t shift from one to the other. She’s just staring and I’m looking back. Her eyes are perfect; they’re brown, but they have little green flakes, different in each eye, and her brows, they’re darker than her hair, but it’s not because she dyes it. They’re just naturally darker and she has smooth freckles on her nose, they’re light, but I’m so close I can count them. And her eyes widen and I wake. I just wake up and our seven seconds are over. So, I need you to understand. It really isn’t you. I am the one who has the problem; I just need a different kind of intimacy right now. I’m sorry. I do love you, Fred.
Gallifrey, Natali Hernandez, Pencil and Watercolor on Paper
A propagating wave passes into a different medium, changing speed and direction. It sets forth a new course, forever altered by its journey into new surroundings. Taking different approaches to traditional ideas, crossing boundaries as they bend and twist, the pieces in this section contain sudden insights that often angle toward unexpected conclusions.
al Ph , Digit
Hold On Tight, Time Slips Away, Josue Brizuela, Digital Photography
he entire school population was left with a gaping void yesterday at the passing away of Summer, cherished for her free spirit and optimism. This comes as no surprise to many who believed her death was inevitable, especially after Summer’s painful fight with denial and procrastination. Despite her frail health in later weeks, students throughout the county will mainly remember her for the freedom and possibilities she seemed to personify so well, not to mention the countless midnight and beach adventures she facilitated. Indeed, numerous students feel like it was just yesterday that they first got acquainted with Summer, way back in early June; at the time it felt like she was destined for a long, fruitful life of joy and glee. In those days, now barely remembered, students and Summer forged an unquestionably close and passionate relationship that bordered on true love. As countless painfully remember, rumors surfaced in July that Summer might be too grand and vivacious to last forever. Shortly thereafter she announced, ever dignified, that she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness from the School Board and had only a month to live at most. After this, students kicked their social plans into high gear, trying to spend every waking moment with Summer before she was gone forever. Upon entering the month of August, students and Summer still continued to see each other frequently, but the mood darkened as many realized that Summer was in her last stages of sound health. By the middle of the month, students were in a deep period of mourning as Summer became bedridden and unable to leave the house with as much flexibility as before. Forever faithful, students could be found at Summer’s bedside providing emotional support and well wishes. To occupy the time, they helped finalize her paperwork and read Anna Karenina. On August 22, 2011 at exactly 7:15 AM, Eastern time, Summer drew her last breath. A period of deep silence and grief was observed by all and her presence was immediately missed. Students agree that they had never met someone as full of life and happiness as Summer, and fear they never will again. A memorial service for Summer will be held this on August 26 at 8:00 PM. All of Summer’s friends and family are encouraged to come pay their final respects to the beloved woman who touched so many.
... Summer was in her last stages of sound health.
An Obituary for Summer
l r i G t s o L e Th andez
Zen, Alexa Langen, Digital Photography
’ve started walking a lot more than I usually do. I guess I’m sort of on a flying strike. It’s not the actual flying that I’m against, believe me. I love flying—the violent ripples of wind through my hair, looking down and seeing the spectacular view of Neverland. The mermaids and their tails just small, colorful specks perched on the rocks that surround Mermaid Lagoon. The pirates on Captain Hook’s ship scurrying around on the main deck, never leaving themselves exposed for too long, lest the Lost Boys (or, God forbid, the Crocodile) make a sudden appearance. What (or whom, I should say) I’m making a statement against is the person who first taught me how to fly, all those years ago: Peter Pan. You’ve probably heard of him. He has this great reputation. People assume that our relationship is completely carefree, full of laughter and excitement. The first year we were together was pretty light-hearted and fun, but his immaturity soon got old, even though he didn’t. The sad truth is that Peter Pan needs to grow up. He’s jealous (I can’t even look at one of the island natives without him going off on me), he’s controlling (he needs to know what I’m doing and who I’m with at all times), and what most peo-
ple wouldn’t guess is that he has a wandering eye. I’ve noticed the way he looks at Tiger Lily, the Chief ’s daughter. I’ve seen the coy whispers delivered to the mermaids, even right in front of me! I tried to speak to them about it once, and they tried to drown me! He didn’t take the incident seriously at all, even condoning their behavior by saying, “That’s just their way.” Well, I’m done with it. Although I’m not proud of the way I’ve gone about it, I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been secretly seeing Captain Hook for a few months now. The guy gets a bad rap, but honestly, he’s just misunderstood. He’s actually very sensitive and sweet. He really understands me, and he’s a great listener. We’re eloping together next week. I’m sick of Neverland. The way time stands still, Tinkerbell’s mean stares, the dense, uninhabitable woods. The cold loneliness of the Lost Boy’s cave, where I’m stuck all day while Peter goes off having “adventures” and doing God knows what else. I only feel comfort and warmth in Captain Hook’s arms. I’m taking him to live with my family and me in London next week. The next time we see each other, I’ll be Mrs. Wendy Hook.
t was John Hunter’s firm though perhaps oldfashioned belief that there comes a time in the day when a man is entitled to a few certain things. Usually this time was about five o’clock, although since he had gotten married, he had learned that appointments were more negotiable than his Momma and Poppa had taught him, and so were their durations. His so-called “Happy Hour” had lately become, if he was lucky, a “Happy Fifteen Minutes.” John really only wanted four things from life— “Four things,” he would say, “Am I really askin’ too much?” Pop a remote control in one hand, a bottle of Bud Light in the other, and lay a sheepdog next to him and John would want nothing more from the world. Right now these desires were being met three for three. Even better, good old Skip was lying on the coffee table so John could prop his feet up on his warm fur. John’s finger hovered over the remote’s power button and his beer bottle had just sealed with his lips when he heard a screech from the kitchen. He jumped off the couch and blazed through the swinging doors, where he saw his wife pressed against the wall as if the bowl on the counter had just emitted some sort of sci-fi force field. “Well,” John said, “I get a little emotional too when the sugar starts dissolvin’, but—” Emily threw herself in his arms and heaved deep, shuddering breaths. “I can’t—I don’t even—what did I—all of a sudden—it was just—” “Take it easy there,” he said, used to these nervous outbursts. Nothing to do but wait ‘em out, try to think about something else. He took a pull from his beer bottle over Emily’s head. He wondered what innate sense had made him bring it with him. He hoped that he would think so clearly in a crisis situation: Stop, drop, and roll, but don’t forget your beer! Soon her breathing stopped sounding like the Ford’s choking engine the first and last time he’d tried to teach her stick. “Look in the bowl,” she said. He shuffled over to the bowl on the counter, Emily still clinging to him, and peered into the mixing bowl perched on a pile of eggshells, spilled sugar, and a recipe for angel food cake. In a nest of yolk and assorted dry ingredients lay a small, pink squidge. 34
“Honey,” he said after a moment, stepping back. “Where’d ya get those eggs?” The engine was stalling again. “I just went—I ran out of the ones in the fridge so I—I went out to the coop and just—” “You took from one of the chickens?” John said. “No, of course not, I wouldn’t want to touch one— but there were some eggs in a glass box in the corner. I thought they were infertile—” “Usually the ones in the incubator ain’t,” he said, and sighed. “But it’s okay, Em. It was an honest mistake.” “I hate it here, John,” she said, crying. “Can’t we go back to the city?” “C’mon, hon.” He laughed. “You know this’ll be better for John Junior.” She didn’t even lift her head to glare at the joke she hated. “I’m never going to get used to living on a farm. I’m just not meant to be here. I can’t cook with gas, I never remember to shake out my boots in case of the snakes, and the bugs! Oh God, the mosquitoes! Maybe we should—” “Maybe we should what?” he interrupted. He stepped away from her. “I lived in the city for two years with you. You think it was easy for the country kid, who never thought he’d do anything but pump gas, to move to New York? No, it sure wasn’t.” She opened her mouth but John waved a wooden spoon at her and she was silent. “You think I had any idea what a subway was? Or that I liked looking up at the sky and never seeing a single piece of natural light exceptin’ the moon because all the rest was airplanes?” “I didn’t mean—” “No ma’am, it wasn’t easy. But when you’ve just filled up that pretty little Bel-Air and her even prettier driver, just visitin’ for a week from the city, asks you if you wanna go on a date sometime, and then one thing leads to another and you move away with her, and you wake up one morning and the birds are still chirping same as always but you’re married, married for Pete’s sakes—” “John, stop!” He lowered his eyes, and his arms fell to his side. The wooden spoon dripped batter on the floor. “All I’m saying is,” he said, “you make some sacrifices. You
Maria Ceballos, Digital Photography
gotta.” Emily looked at him for a while, wiped her nose and then her hands on her apron. “Look, John, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean we should get a divorce. If you had let me finish, I would’ve just said that maybe we should hire some help.” He shook his head. “We gotta make this a home for ourselves just you and me. We can’t just be hiring people whenever something gets rough.” “John, you took a cab to work for weeks because you couldn’t stand being packed in an ‘underground rocket sardine can.’” He blinked. “Well, that was—” “Different? No. If you can pay to put your life in some seedy taxi driver’s hands, I can pay for a nice girl to cook for us,” Emily said. She ran a finger through the layer of flour coating the counter. “I’m terrible at cooking anyway.” “No, you ain’t!” John said. “Dear, we ate out every day.” “Yeah, but then you used to make that amazin’ angel food cake—” “No, honey, I used to buy you that amazing angel
food cake.” John’s illusions cracked like the eggshells strewn across the counter. “That’s what I was trying to do now,” Emily said tearfully. She turned her back to him. “I wanted to see if I could make a better one for you. So I wouldn’t be so useless.” John sighed and pulled her toward him again. “Em, you ain’t useless. I reckon you’re the only person on this good Earth who loves me and if that ain’t at least a self-esteem boost, I don’t know what is.” Emily laughed, and as she whirled to face him, the afternoon sun caught in the tears on her eyelids. John figured he just about had the most beautiful wife on the planet. “How about we get some pizza?” he said. “Oh, honey, the nearest place is twenty miles away—” “Well, Em.” He smiled down at her, leading her out of the kitchen; they could deal with the disaster area later. “It’s high time you learned how to drive stick anyway.” 35
Fees and Customer Service IsaacAndino
t Transnational Airways, Inc., we couldn’t agree more that flying is among life’s greatest pleasures. The artificial recycled air, the obnoxious fellow passengers, and the thrill of wondering how long your flight will be delayed all add up to a wonderful experience and great stories to exchange with other disgruntled globetrotters at cheap airport bars. Needless to say, Transnational Airways constantly strives to make this experience as affordable and pleasurable as possible. Unfortunately, thanks to astronomically high fuel costs and a weak economy, expenses continue to rise despite our best efforts to prevent any increases. Therefore, it is with the utmost regret that we inform you of new fees effective immediately. These fees are the bare minimum that our superb accounting department at Transnational has concluded that, you, the customer, should pay in order to ensure the smooth flying experience we all value (not to mention our continued financial solvency). Please review and familiarize yourself with the new (and old) fees, and if you have any questions you are welcome to call our corporate call center in Ahmed-
abad, India, where you will receive personalized, courteous attention from Japur and Gupta (although they’ll probably introduce themselves as Paul and Barbara). TRANSNATIONAL AIRWAYS, INC. NEW FEES EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY Basic Services – $500.00. We try to provide a great and affordable experience for all our customers, but it does cost money to buy 50,000 gallons of gas, load a ton of luggage, and safely fly 3,000 miles at 500 mph. This straightforward fee covers most of our costs. Actual Services – $345.55. Anyone that has flown with any airline in the past 30 years cannot deny that there is a wide gap between what airlines advertise that they provide and what they actually do provide. But even the pitifully few things Transnational provides, such as a seat with 12 inches of leg room, cost money. (Increase of) Peanuts Fee – $12.00. Flying is an indulgence in itself. Eating while flying is a downright
luxury. Due to the civil war in That Random Country in Africa, peanut prices are up across the board. For a small fee, delicious synthetic peanuts will be available in salted and honey roasted flavors. Plastic Bag Opening Fee – $20.00. Although of little economic value, many of our treasured customers complain about the hellish sounds from a person opening a bag of chips or peanuts. The loud, crinkly, crunchy sounds are painful for everyone and can distract our pilot (even though she or he is wearing headphones, behind a closed door and more than 200 feet away from you), resulting in a tragic crash. This fee is designed to discourage loud bag opening noises, but not to the point that no one wants to buy a bag from our gracious flight attendants in the first place. Carry-On Charge – $55.00. Carry-on bags can add up to 30% of the total weight of a plane. With complex mathematical formulas, we’ve determined this increases our fuel cost by anything from 0.973569% to 99.9375%. Helpful tips on how to pack a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries in a bag that can barely fit a
sweater can be found at our website, www.tnationalflights.com/pack/efficiently/save-money/fees956. Automatic Weight Fee – Varies. This fee is meant to alleviate the increased fuel costs that come with a heavier plane. Passengers will be billed $1 for every pound they weigh (1-99 lbs), doubling to $2 for every pound over 100. Breathing Surcharge – $150.00. Why spend the effort breathing when holding your breath is such an economical alternative? It is unbelievably expensive to be continuously filtering air on eight-hour transatlantic flights, so any flight in excess of fifteen minutes will automatically include a $150 breathing surcharge to cover basic breathing-related expenses. Mysterious Corporate Fee – unknown. Most passengers may be unaware that Transnational Airways, Inc., is a major corporation, with more than $1 billion in revenue. After all, we have that fancy “Inc.” at the end of our name. So, in the tradition of Big Business, we take advantage of our customer’s lack of financial savvy
and levy ridiculous fees they have no idea about.
Once more, Transnational is extremely reluctant (not really) to roll out these new costs, but economic necessity forces our hand. We sincerely thank you for your compassionate understanding and for continuing to fly with us. We strive to deliver to you the highest level of service possible from poorly paid flight attendants at 35,000 ft in the air, and we are working hard to bring back the Golden Era of flying. As it is, we only had 1,076 cases of food poisoning last year due to outdated food. 1,076. Phenomenal. After all, consider the unparalleled level of service we provide you. We treat you like royalty, giving you access to bathrooms, artificial air and food, in-flight entertainment, legroom, a cushioned seat, and a moreor-less reasonable chance of arriving safely. And think of the lifelong friends you make while traveling, such as the wailing kid across the aisle in 33B or the morbidly obese man blocking the aisle at 15C. Flying is wonderful. Transnational really thinks that the fees are worth it, and please remember the increases are just as painful to us as they are to you—we really hate to inconvenience a valued customer and are doing this simply to ensure a continued positive experience for both passengers and employees. Thank you for understanding, and thank you for flying Transnational. We’ll get you there!™
Federal, State, Local, International, Solar System and Galaxy Taxes - In the spirit of pure capitalism, we’re spreading out the cost of flying among all our customers. Taxes vary by flight origin, destination, flight time, political ideology, gullibility, and chances of arriving alive. Federal, State, Local, International, Solar System and Galaxy Taxes Part 2A - See above. Bathroom Costs – $10.00. Using the bathroom five miles above the Earth is tricky and involves a fair bit of technology to prevent golden showers. While we do understand that our passengers have needs, we have financial needs, too, which no one but our accounting department seems to care about. (A deduction of $5 will be provided should a passenger bring his/her own toilet paper and manage to dispose of waste independent of Transnational resources.) Sudden Cancellation Costs – A last-minute cancellation on a flight is a huge issue for an airline. To help mitigate the losses a cancellation brings, our new cancellation cost program allows would-have-been customers to pay off their sudden betrayal to Transnational in 3 easy payments of $99.99, or 6 small payments of $99.99.
Total New Fees* for Transnational Passengers: $1,987 .
...it is with the utmost regret that we inform you of new fees effective immediately.
BWC Costs – $15.00. This fee is included simply “because we can.”
Your humble steward, Leroy Rosenberg Matters Jenkins IV, CEO
Never Sleep, Alexa Langen, Digital Photography
Running through a bare-ended space Caught up with confusion, things have changed Havenâ€™t you? Wondering, wishing, touching, seeing, kicking, running, driving, breathing, screaming How about we try something new Never Apocalyptic sights, lucid measures reacting to unchanging consequences Wondering, waiting the sights to see Life, a brilliant show running through the night A sight to see A wonder to watch Time zones infecting our wayward wandering Moving without direction Thinking without inspection Realization without introspection Voting to spite the election Getting up despite my detection Remembering with no recollection These are the things that define me
Blazin Sunset, Josue Brizuela, Film Photograpgy
he knows about politics, she knows about God―and all his personalities. I’m not sure how she knows so much: five hundred digits of the square root of pi, and how many moons revolve around Jupiter. She says things like, “I saved $4.72 from buying these shoes at the flea market—you can never save too much money in this recession. Now I can buy a slice of pizza and ingest 472 calories.” I don’t know why she does that, mention the calories of every food she eats. I mean, 472 more calories won’t break the scale―it’s been broken for too long now. I like how her chubby cheeks jiggle when she walks, along with her stomach that surpasses her waist line, and I can’t help but stare at the cellulite running down her thigh. I play connect-the-lines with her stretch marks. I enjoy her company—I enjoy the way I don’t need to act like I know what the word “juxtaposition” means, because she clearly does. And I don’t need to look nice anymore. She’s taken all the ugly for herself so even when I look bad, I still look good. I always laugh at the way she pinches her nose right after
I mention I’m going to fart. And the way she always tells me she didn’t eat the last slice of cake, but we both know she did. I don’t complain about any of this. In the past 50 years I’ve learned to love everything weird, out of place, and round about her. But 51 years ago she didn’t know about politics. She didn’t put much thought into religion and she believed that little place where they put the water inside Catholic churches was a birdbath. She hadn’t had time to memorize the first five hundred digits of the square root of pi and she certainly didn’t have three stomachs. But among all the things she didn’t know or have back then, she didn’t know or have me. I was only a ghost of the future, someone she would eventually meet and fall in love with. And regardless of all the things I had to give up, her physical beauty that died, fifty years of endurance have shown me that she still looks just as beautiful.
Arthur Vandalay, Natali Hernandez, Pencil on Paper
Romeo & Juliet, Seussified
Characters CHORUS/MAYOR PRINCE THING 3 (Sampson) THING 4 (Gregory) BALTHASAR Peter SAM I AM (Benvolio) GRINCH (Tybalt) WHOPULET (Capulet) LADY WHOPULET (Lady Capulet) MONTAWHO (Montague) LADY MONTAWHO (Lady Montague) JOJO (Romeo) FOX IN THE SOCKS (Paris) CAT IN THE HAT (Mercutio) Prologue [Enter CHORUS.] CHORUS: In a town called Whoville, a town in a small speck of dust, There lived two Who families whom to know is a must, The Montawhos, who were daring, brave, and strong, And the Whopulets, who liked to sing many a song. These two Who families had two Who children who would one day meet, And their love will produce joy and dangerous fears. So without further ado, I present a fun story of some Whats and some Whos! Act I, Scene I. Whoville. A public place. [THING 3 and 4 fighting with BALTHASAR. Enter SAM-IAM.] SAM: It is I, Sam-I-Am, so stop this fight and have some green eggs and ham! [Enter GRINCH.] GRINCH: Why do you fight with these Whos? Bah, green eggs and ham, I despise them as I despise you, Sam-I-Am! [Draws sword, about to fight. Enter MONTAWHOS and WHOPULETS.] WHOPULET: Give me my sword, wife, for I wish to end a Montawho life. MONTAWHO: Hold me back, milady, for I may hurt a Whopulet or his baby. [Enter MAYOR.] MAYOR [in a booming voice]: Attention all Ifs, and Whos, and Whats! All disturbers of the peace of our Ville of Who, I don’t care who started the fight, whether it was you or you! You two Who families 44
have been fighting awhile, all of us are sick of all your Who bile! The next who-tastrophe, whether by words or by knife, the bad What or Who will lose his life. [Exit all but MONTAWHOS and SAM.] LADY MONTAWHO [sighing]: That’s the Grinch, to a fight he can never say no. Hey, where is Jojo? SAM: I do not know where be Jojo, but more than likely, he sulks where he be nightly. MONTAWHO: Ah, he be at his special spot. Nowadays, he go there a lot. Now Sam-I-Am, eat your green eggs and ham, and please go look for that young man. SAM [with a full mouth]: Okay. [SAM goes to find JOJO.] SAM: Jojo! I have been looking for you, you sulking Romeo of a Who. JOJO [apathetically]: Hey, cousin, was that the mayor talkin’? SAM: Yeah, Balthasar fought with some servants of Whopulets, started by the latter, me bets. JOJO: Whatever… I liked Rosie, I liked her a lot… But when I asked her to be mine, she answered back with a simple nein. SAM: I have told you before, put those hormones aside. Listen, I’ve been told of a party this evening, The Cat be going, you best be believing. JOJO: Not in the mood, Mr. Sam. I don’t want to go for sad I am. SAM: She is but one she-Who. At that ball will be Ifs, Ands, Whats, Things, and Theys, maybe a Who with whom to play. JOJO [sighing]: Fine, but don’t expect much of me, I doubt any other girl will set my heart free… Scene II. Whopulet Manor. [Enter WHOPULET and FOX IN THE SOCKS.] WHOPULET: Might not be hard to put old fights to an end, maybe this endless bickering we will be able to mend. FOX: You both are of high reputation, ’tis sad you have a separation. Now what of my Whounionization? WHOPULET: Well, you may have my consent. For my daughter my life is meant. If you receive her love and respect, then her hand in marriage you will get. Scene III. A street. [Enter JOJO, CAT IN THE HAT, SAM with six masked Whats and Whos.]
Friendship, M.V.D., Watercolor on Paper
JOJO: So do we show up unannounced? SAM: Naw, we shall do as do, we show up, people will judge us as they see fit, we’ll have fun and dance, then we shall split. JOJO: Do what you want, I will leave in a bit. CAT: Dude, you go, you dance, for I chose to wear my best hat, but if my name is the Cat, you will have fun and that is a fact. JOJO: But I dreamt a dream tonight. CAT: I dreamt one as well. JOJO: What did you dream? CAT [whispers in JOJO’s ear]: That dreamers often lie. JOJO: Asleep in bed of course, but what they dream is always true. Ah, I see Queen Mab has paid you a visit… [He bursts into song.] As small as a fly is she, but a witch she also be. Planning spells, fantasies, and
nightmares like hell! Mab will set you free. She looks like a fair maiden, but she associates with ghosts. Her carriage is drawn by bats, driven by a rat; you won’t want her as a host. She rides her beasts to your beds, and to some she implants love in their heads! To soldiers they see victory, but when they wake, they see naught but misery. So as I illustrated now, you see, Mab is a liar, that’s all she be. JOJO: Chill, Cat, chill! Your words just spill. CAT: True, I talk about dreams, that’s a fact, but now my song is over, so that is the end of that. But now I think that we are late; I do not want the kitten to wait [He purrs]. JOJO: Well, I still believe that something tonight may be the end of me, but no worries or frets; let’s go, now I’m set! 45
Dear Connor Smith PatriciaPasswaters
o you remember that one night we had a picnic at the park my dad would always take me to when I was smaller? You told me you loved me that night. Do you remember when we met at Manny’s family birthday party? The only time we spoke was when I asked if you wanted water. Or how about the time we went to Orlando with my sister? We didn’t speak the car ride over there. Yet, the next day we were sitting in the backseat holding hands. I was so nervous; I had never really held hands like that with anyone before. A couple minutes ago I was rereading our old emails. We really tried, huh? We tried everything to keep us together. I had a lot of faith in us; I was almost positive we would be one of those that would make it. I wanted to be like that one couple we saw at JCPenney. We were so irritated that the little old lady with the short blonde bob wouldn’t leave the fitting room, but it was cute how the little old man would bring her more clothes to try on. You would smile; squeeze my hand and say, “Watch, that’s going to be us.” I know you think I’m the one who gave up, the one who lost interest, the one who let you go, but I didn’t let you go and I still haven’t let you go. I just wanted you to stop suffering. Like my mom says, we’re young and we have our whole lives to live. I didn’t want yours to go to waste, I didn’t want yours to revolve around me, and I certainly didn’t want what was happening to destroy you. I wanted you to get out of here, to make a new life for yourself somewhere else. You were going to stay and wait for me. But, while you sat there and waited, I watched you suffer until I couldn’t anymore. I’m not trying to make an excuse. I’m not asking for you back. I’m asking for your understanding. The last thing I ever wanted was to cause you more pain. You may not realize it now, but you will thank me for this one day. I saved you. Maybe it wasn’t the way I wanted to and maybe it wasn’t the way you wanted to be saved, but I did it. As time passes us by and you look back, you’ll see what I’m talking about. As soon as you thought I had let you go, you left. Now, look at you! You’re staying with your grandmother in Gainesville, you have a job, a car, you go to school, and you have a life. There was no easy way to do what I did, but when you really love something, you have to let it go even when you don’t want to. Hopefully, you’ll never have to go through that lesson, because it’ll destroy you as much as it did me. I hope I’ll get to hear from you soon. I’ll be waiting.
Innocence 2, Ali Stack, Film Photography
He had taken a bite of Chalk, Ground, mixed with water, And it coated his mouth with sliminess. The mysterious chunks, Enveloped in molasses, Shattered into powder When pressed against the roof of his mouth. Spitting it out started the Convulsions, the Almost instinctive shaking, The pleas for mercy that fell On ears as deaf as the concrete around him. He was drowning in Awareness, awareness of his Pores, Of the stains that covered his shirt, Of the relentless streams that trickled down his chin, Of the eyes on him, On his imperfections.
Sinatra, Cesare Giuffredi, Pencil on Paper
But the fourth clean breath Freed him from his panic. The shudders slowed. The only pressure holding him down was his pride. A glance up Revealed an empty street, Not a schoolyard full of children. He clenched his jaw, And the chalk crunched. But he was already moving, Already pushing himself up, Forcing the mud to Relinquish its hold On his hands, His briefcase, And his memories.
Hospice Inspired by the album Hospice by The Antlers
Day 1: Interview “Mr. Silberman?” “Yes? Me?” “Yes, sir. We’re ready for you now.” “Okay.” *** “I got up, and she led me down to the office. It was cold that day, and pretty much every day I spent there. The office was not the most attractive: pale white paint covering the walls, standardized hospital-waiting-room chairs that were spread across the room. No one could share armrests or even hold hands, they were so far apart. But it definitely was clean. That’s for sure.” “How old were you?” “I had turned 18 in February. This was in June. Right after school.” “And why a hospice exactly?” “I needed a job, and it seemed ideal.” “How is a hospice ideal for an 18-year-old kid? You had just finished school.” “Anything’s ideal when you need money. And I needed money. College was going to start soon, so I needed some cash to get me started.” “I didn’t read anything about you going to college in your file.” “Well no, I decided not to at the last second.” *** “Please sit, Mr. Silverman.” “Actually, Mr. Richards, it’s Sil-BER-man.” “Oh, God, I’m sorry. I hadn’t even looked at your resumé. Just my receptionist mumbles everything,” he said laughing. I pretended to laugh. “It’s fine.” “So let’s get down to it, shall we?” “Certainly.” “So to start off, I think I need to ask the obvious: why here? I’ve worked here for 12 years and you’re easily the youngest person I’ve had apply here.” “Well, I’ve always been involved with the community. I put on my résumé that I worked at doctor’s hospital for a couple summers. Volunteer work. Feed50
ing patients, and things. Volunteer work.” He paused. “Young man, this isn’t volunteer work. I don’t mean to undermine what you did for a few summers, but this is a whole other animal. People aren’t here to be cured. They’re here to die.” *** “Yet you persisted?” “Like I said: I needed money.”
“No. No, I didn’t.” “How come? You couldn’t have been this desperate for money.” “I think by then I felt like I had to prove I could take it. The whole time I was there so far everyone seemed to think I wouldn’t be able to. I had to show them I could. Typical teenage spirit I guess.” “I guess. Please, continue.” *** “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, yeah.” “We’d understand if you’re having second thoughts.” “No, no. I’m fine. I still want to the job.” “You know, you’re the youngest to ever apply here.” “So I’m told.” “All right. Well, that wraps this up. Let’s go fill out your papers.” ***
Day 2: Tour “Here’s your locker. We have a uniform ready for you. Put this on at all times. Just leave your stuff in here. It’s safe.” “Okay.” “Here are the showers. This is only for emergencies. In case a patient vomits on you or anything like that.” “Okay.” “Here are the bathrooms. Please try to keep your visits to a minimum. A lot of people use this area to hide from a patient and as a place to vent, but I’ll ask you now not to.” “Why would I hide from a patient?” “Seeing people in the condition we see them in is often traumatizing for most workers. Please save all questions until the end of the tour.” “Sorry.” “It’s fine. Would you like to see them?” “Now?” “A lot of people usually quit on the spot of seeing them. We can tell if you’re serious about this position sooner rather than later.” “But didn’t you already make me a uniform?” “It’s my alternate. I always use it. Please, come in.” *** “And what was that like?” “Noisy. A lot of them were hallucinating and trying to communicate with what they saw. I wouldn’t blame anyone for leaving after seeing that.” “But you didn’t.” M.V.D., Watercolor on Paper
“Just like that?” “From what I remember, yes.” Day 3: Employed “Hey, you’re new, right?” “Yeah. Yeah, I just started. First day.” “Awesome. Well, I’m Kelly. I work reception and visitation.” “People get visitors here?” “Mostly spouses. Kids usually skip visitations when the patient is being treated at a hospice. How old are you by the way?” “18. I just finished high school.” “Oh, you’re not going to college? That’s cool, I—” “I am, actually. This is just temporary. Good experience to have.” “I’ll say.” *** “Now this is, who?” “Kelly. She worked at the front desk.” “How old was she?” “In her mid-fifties. I remember thinking that she was the oldest Kelly I’d ever met. Still is.” “And how long was she there?” “Not long. I would say that about a week later she quit.”
bed from getting stained. Just spray it with this. Nothing too fancy. Remember, as soon as they’re done with their showers we need to get them back into bed ASAP so look alive.” “All right.” “Once you remove the linens then replace them with the clean ones. I organized which are which for you. Eventually you’ll have to do that yourself. And then after you’ll be giving them showers. Okay, we need to get started; we’re already four minutes late.” “I’m ready.” “Okay, we’ll start with Morgan in the back. Back right, got it?” “Got it.” *** “Who’s in charge?” “This is Sharon. She still works there now.” “Did you get along with her well?” “I think we got along. I never had a problem with her.” “So this is your first day of work. How much longer until we meet Ms. Slayer?” “A couple days. Should I just skip until then?” “Just briefly summarize what happened in the next following days.”
*** “Okay, first we need to change their sheets in the morning. Michael and I will take them in to the showers. Here. We do the patients in order so you know whose sheets to change first. If you see any stains from overnight, just stick them in the washer. We have a plastic sheet under all the linen to protect the 52
Days 4 - 8: Routine “I would get up in the morning around 5. I had the morning shift at first. Eventually I asked to work nights. But for now it was mornings. Mornings from 6:30 till around 12. I’d go in everyday, change, change the sheets, and then give them the medication they
were prescribed. The pills aren’t to cure, they just make them numb. Lithium, stuff like that.” “Did you ever use any of these pills yourself?” “Whenever a patient died the pills would be thrown out. So rather than put them to waste, I would use them, yes. But it depended on the pill.” “Mm, I see. Okay, and then what?” “Well, then I would assist all the visitors the patients would have. Kelly was right: kids rarely came. It was mostly spouses who were lonely and had nothing left. I’d bring them anything they needed. Water if they were thirsty, blankets if they were cold, or tissues if they were crying.” “And this went on for five days I see. Is the next day when you met Ms. Slayer?” “Yes.” Day 9: Entrance “Hey, Pete. We got a new one today. I’m gonna need you to change the sheets on 22L, all right?” “Sure.” *** “That’s when I saw her. They brought her from Doctor’s, where I used to volunteer. When they wheeled her in, I couldn’t believe it. She was definitely the youngest person admitted there.” “She was 26.” “Exactly. When you’re used to seeing the old timers, a young patient really stands out.” “Was it only her age that drew your attention?” “No. No, it was her hair. Dark, real dark, hair. Bangs on the front. Didn’t look all that styled, but it just caught my attention.” “Okay, well, that’s wasn’t only it, was it? Just the hair?” “She was beautiful. To me, she was beautiful.” *** “Who’s that?” “The new patient, Sylvia Slayer. She has bone cancer.” “Christ, how old is she?” “Says here she’s 26. 26 and married.” “Where’s the guy?” “Not here yet. Which is a tad problematic, since he needs to sign some forms. But that’s my job, don’t worry. Your job, however, is done for the day. Do you get paid today?”
“No, actually. Tomorrow I do.” “All right, well, goodnight.” “Night.” Day 10: New “Hey, Kelly.” “Hey, Pete. You’re here early.” “Yeah, I got lucky. Hardly any traffic on the way in.” *** “Why were you early?” “I came to see her.” “That is, Ms. Slayer, right?” “Yes.” “Did you know she was married?” “Yes.” “And that didn’t stop you?” “I never really cared. I still don’t.” *** “How are you feeling?” Days 11-22: Bedside Manner “This was the time when I switched to the graveyard shift and spent more time with her. I kept trying to talk to her but she was too drugged to say anything. Maybe even hear. So after the first couple days I stopped giving her the drugs for the pain, in the hopes that she would start talking. It didn’t work and I began to get frustrated. What was even stranger was that the husband never showed. That’s one reason I didn’t really care about the guy. He didn’t love her, and doesn’t now. I think about a week and a half in is when she stated coming to her senses. I could tell she was in a lot of pain so I started giving her a little bit of painkillers. Not much.” *** “Sylvia?” *** “Did she speak to you at all?” “It was the first time she looked at me.”
The clash of two waves, interference may be constructive or destructive, but in either circumstance, it results in the synthesis of an entirely new product. Each quivering with its own waves of energy, the pieces in this section embrace the extremes, from the highest crest of levity to the most somber trough, that spring forth from the clash of ideas and experiences.
V. D .
Regina Phalange, Digital Photography
here was a leak in the roof that I discovered the hard way when it rained for seventeen hours straight. My apartment wasn’t very spacious or pretty: my futon was my bed, there was a TV on the floor because I didn’t own any tables, the mold grew everywhere in the bathroom except on a little spot next to the door handle, the kitchen didn’t have a stove, and the walls were made of brick. But when you’re seventeen, you’ve just been kicked out of your house, and you’re working at a grocery store for $7.25 an hour, having a place to crash for four hundred bucks a month sounds like a dream. Sure, the place was falling apart and the guys down the hall were cooking up some meth, but that only meant I had to keep the window open at all times. I remember once, when Chalo was late on his rent, the manager brought him out back where the ladies used to hang up the laundry. When they got back, the manager had his money and Chalo had a broken arm. I also remember Carmen and her fishnet stockings. She would walk the streets at night— swaying her hips. I’d watch her from the window on those nights when the air conditioner would break and I’d have to sit there because the heat was
unbearable. I’d stay up for hours, sometimes until the sun rose, waiting for her to come back. A few times I got lucky, when she’d finish her rounds early, and I’d watch her as she walked toward the building in her fishnet stockings. On her days off, I would watch her do the laundry from my room until she caught me once and told me to help her carry it upstairs. I found her attractive and she found me funny. I picked up smoking after she had me try some rolled up cigarettes she offered her clients. She never wore makeup around me, which she said made her feel alive. I once bought her an entire loaf of Cuban bread when she mentioned she hadn’t eaten bread in thirteen years―I remember her eating it all in less than ten minutes. And on those rare nights when she’d come back early or not walk the streets at all, we would stay up telling each other jokes out of an old joke book she had saved from high school. It was a chilly January night, if I remember correctly, and she had been drinking. She sat in front of our building, with her legs spread apart, her head between her knees, and a bottle of alcohol on the floor next to her. I whispered her name, not wanting
to startle her, and when she raised her head— I stared in amazement. I had never seen her cry. Her face was flushed and her cheeks stained from gliding teardrops. I didn’t know what to do; I’d never seen a woman cry except that one time my aunt Gracie caught my uncle in the coat closet with Tammy, my piano instructor. To this day, I don’t know what Carmen was crying over. It wasn’t something either of us brought up later. I did, however, sit down and turn to her. She cocked her head. I didn’t know if she was staring at me or through me—women are like that, perpetually incomprehensible. She raised her right hand to my face and patted it, then stumbled her way to her feet and stretched out her hand to me. “Coming?” A response was unnecessary at that moment. I had one chance, one night to leave my mark. I promised her the world that night, promised her so many things that just sounded right. I ran my mouth with lie after lie as I slid it from her lips down her neck. We both knew none of it was true, we both knew nothing was real, none of the promises we made, even we weren’t real. We were simply mirages created to keep us alive among the rubble. She was a
33-year-old hooker who lost her children to alcohol and a bad gambling hand. I was a 17-year-old dropout who never knew anything beyond my parents’ safety net. It has been 19 years since I was 17; 10 years since I’ve seen or even heard from Carmen―until yesterday. I was at work, it was a Wednesday, and the call came to my home phone. I didn’t get there on time―the red light I didn’t run still haunts me. I ran to intensive care, third floor, left wing. Crashed through the double doors and watched as the doctor disconnected her. It was something he saw every day. There was nothing unordinary about it. I walked over to where she was, or had once been. The only thing left of her was a cold body. She looked so different from the Carmen I knew. I wish I hadn’t seen her again. Maybe if I hadn’t, I would have remembered her alive. Time is tragic like that: once it hits you, you begin to realize how fast it actually flies. But when you finally realize it, it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s gone, forever.
par•ti•cle (pärt’i-kuhl) n. NicholasArias, CindyCastro, M.M.Eisenhart Particles in the air.
I always talked about them, in some form or another. But I never really listened. It’s like I couldn’t hear them and I still can’t. But they’re there. Always.
Understand that I am not the only one. You can hear them, they whisper!
a•lone (uh-lon) adj. On one’s own; by oneself; isolated and lonely; only; exclusively
Always taking shape in my mind or your mind or his mind. Molesting what we know or think we know. We ignore what we can’t understand. I want to understand.
Whisper when we are alone. When we are together. Or apart. Easy to ignore, but even easier to focus on. Focus on what is real. What is really there. Even on what isn’t. Isn’t it nice? Nice to see the particles. Playing hide-and-seek, hiding from each other. Not from us. Just as we. Now. Now we wait. Wait to collide by chance. Isn’t that the game, the game we cannot play when we are alone? a•lone (uh-lōn) adj. On one’s own; by oneself; isolated and lonely; only; exclusively The way we are when nothing is close.
Amanda Sampson, Digital Photography
December Night KatyaSarria
he house was still. Only the sound of the faucet running disrupted the silence that had overtaken the residence. Emma peered into the kitchen, watching her mother grip the rim of the sink. She had stopped washing the dishes long ago, even though there were dirty plates still untouched. Her mother was upset again; all the signs were there. Her eyebrows were furrowed. Her hair, normally left alone in loose waves, was tightly pulled back into a bun. She was speaking to herself in hushed murmurs, a habit she had recently acquired. The movement was so slight that it was impossible to tell what she was saying exactly, but it was noticeable to Emma nonetheless. Emma knew what was going on. It was a recurring process. The clock was reaching 10:45, several hours after her father was supposed to arrive home. She walked back into her room, shutting the door and making her way to the window to inspect the driveway. The black Corolla that belonged to her father was nowhere to be seen. Just as the clock hit 12, Emma heard the familiar jingle of keys. Her father pushed the door open, trying in vain to keep the noise down. She listened to the sound of his heavy footfalls as he walked through the house until he made an abrupt stop. Emma tiptoed to the kitchen and cracked the door open, trying to get a glimpse of both her parents. “And where have you been?” The question was a mere whisper, surprisingly subdued compared to her mother’s clenched fists. Her father threw the keys on the dinner table and shrugged out of his jacket. His white shirt underneath was a little too wrinkled. “Come on,” he said, giving her a crooked grin. “Is this how you welcome me home?” Her mother shook her head, feigning a calm attitude. “You are absolutely disgusting, do you know that?” The following pause made Emma’s heart stop. She knew this would not end well. “Where do you get off acting like you’re better than everyone else?” He ran his hand through his 60
cropped hair. “You do this every time. Give it a break, will you?” “Did you know that Mark called me today?” At that, her father visibly tensed. “He called to tell me that you had a personal emergency to attend to. It simply ‘could not wait.’” She emphasized the words with air quotation marks. When he made no move to respond, she walked towards him and pushed him on his shoulder just hard enough to elicit a scowl. “What, exactly, made you leave work early? Do tell.” He gave a bitter laugh. “Just leave this alone, Noelle. I can’t deal with you right now.” Her mother was too riled to stop now, though. “To deal with me? I’m not an object that you can disregard at your leisure.” At this point, Emma was holding her breath. Her chest tightened painfully and she tried to blink away the sudden burn behind her eyes. She could hear her younger brother beginning to cry from his crib. “You should probably get that.” He walked around her, pulling on the tie that was already half undone as he walked to their bedroom. “Do you even hear yourself?” she spat with disdain, crossing her arms as she followed him. The baby continued to wail, seeking attention. He looked over his shoulder, sneering at her, “You were the one who wanted another kid.” “I didn’t think it’d be like this afterward.” The smile on his face didn’t reach his eyes. “Thought it would fix our problems?” “Something like that. One of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.” “Of many, that’s for sure. Now make it shut up, I’m getting a migraine.” Emma’s eyes widened as she watched her mother approach her father, hitting him squarely in the back. Again and again she beat him, hysterical with rage. Emma cringed, shrinking back to make sure she was not seen. “I want you out. Out of my house, right now! How dare you! Is Melissa really worth our marriage? Does she make you feel better about yourself, is that it?”
The house was quiet once again.
He turned, wincing as she managed to make contact with his jaw. Trying to avoid getting hit again, he made a grab for her wrists, holding them even as she struggled against him. “What marriage, Noelle. This is a joke. It’s always been a joke.” “I don’t understand how you can just stand there and completely ignore your family for some woman you met at a bar!” “You can’t be serious,” he managed to say through gritted teeth. “Leave Melissa out of this. She has nothing to do with us.” “Of course she doesn’t. You’re just sleeping with her to spite me, then. I’m sorry, I should have realized sooner. How stupid do you think I am?” “Enough to get pregnant with Emma when we were just 17.” There was an instant change in her mother’s demeanor. She pulled away from him, as if struck by the truth of his statement. Her father gave the first sign of being weary, weary of their life together. “We were just kids. Do you know what I’ve sacrificed for you two?” “You haven’t sacrificed anything. That would mean you actually care about someone other than yourself. I gave up my future to live an empty life with you,” she whispered. Looking away, she rubbed the red marks on her wrists. “You can have your life back. I’m ready to file for divorce papers any time. Just tell me when.” She shook her head. “Yeah, that’s what’s most disappointing yet.” Shaking her head, she didn’t even give him a second glance when she walked towards the door Emma was hiding behind. Emma felt her heart lurch. She couldn’t see what was happening anymore from her vantage point. She hurried back into her bedroom and leaned against her door, trying to catch her breath. She strained to hear their footsteps. The front door creaked open and Emma heard the click of her mother’s heels as she walked down the stairs and out into the December chill. The house was quiet once again.
Koe Da houz, Mary
y ph a r g oto Ph 61
27 touchdowns, 2,005 passing yards, and four interceptions for the entire season.
could not go up to five. The numbers were irrelevant, but that’s all that everyone else cared about. He was the core of his football team and all everyone else ever saw were his accurate passes, unparalleled decision making, and charisma. But no one was around to see why his passes were so accurate and his decisions impeccable― it was his commitment to success, the ultimate motivator that drove him out of bed two hours before practice and forced him to stay after to get every pass perfect. Suddenly, Aaron felt a gush of air across his face and heard a raspy laugh. “Hey, man, you’re early—again. I figured you were going to be here so I came to tell you that coach just arrived and we can start getting padded up. How about we practice a few routes, one last time?” said his teammate, Stephen. Aaron put his playbook away and pulled his gym bag over his shoulder. They walked in silence because Aaron could only think about one thing: today was his last practice as a high school football player, the last time he would practice with his teammates. The door to the locker room was half open; Aaron got a glimpse of all the guys getting their gear out of their lockers. He grinned, thinking back on the first day he had arrived at that locker room, weak armed, pimple faced, and not atheltic. Back when the stats were nonexistent, back when he overslept on Saturday morning, before he became their Varsity starter half way through freshman year. He walked in with authority; his teammates were all padded up and waiting for their captain. To his left side, the coach began to rally all the guys into a line and turned to Aaron. “Keisem, to the front of the line. Take your team outside.” Aaron walked toward his locker to get his helmet and let out a chuckle, then huddled his team around him. “Let’s make it happen!” he screamed, and led them outside one last time.
O O O O
t was four in the morning. The track was wet from the dew that extended the whole length of the field. The sky began to change shades of blue and practice wouldn’t begin for another two hours. The football flew 55 yards in front of him through the left corner of the uprights, spiraling into the ground and bouncing ten yards back to him. Aaron ran after it, feeling uneasy about the throw; it barely split the uprights. It was down to the wire. He’d been playing for seven years and there were expectations to be met, people whose time and energy had been sacrificed just to train him, and people who scrutinized his every move―college scouts. And there were dreams, his dreams of playing in the League. All of this, every last hour he spent training, every ounce of sweat and blood that emanated from his body, was riding on this last game. State Finals. It doesn’t mean much to most people; actually, it only meant something to a select few. “Quarterbacks carry the entire team on their shoulders. Their decisions are critical; their mistakes are the most dangerous. God help them.” He replayed those words in his mind as if a recorder had been perpetually lodged into the space between his ear and his brain. Aaron threw the ball once more. This time it was dead on point, split right through the center of the uprights. “Yes!” he yelled and jogged towards the ball. He was nervous, his throwing arm was tired, and the sweat trailed from his forehead down to his chin. He picked up the ball and plopped down on the wet grass. Next to the uprights was his gym bag with his playbook in the left pocket. He’d read it a hundred times before, about fifty times in the past week. They were expecting perfection because he was Aaron Keisem, after all. Everyone “knew” he could do it. Everyone believed so, except for maybe himself. “27 touchdowns, 2,005 passing yards, and four interceptions for the entire season,” said the stat sheets. The numbers were engraved into his head; that four
Redline 0mph The key slotted in with a crisp snap and clicked as she twisted it forward, once. Samantha had never sat in the front seat of this car, which was just as cushioned as the tenured position that had paid for it. She felt out of place with all her sharp angles jutting against the leather seats, casting shadows in the gradual brightening of the dome lights. Even the air spilling through the vents felt silky. The cabin of a brand new Mercedes was no place a father would ever want to find his teenage daughter with a license so freshly printed it was almost still hot, even one whose driving skills were just as hot but not as new. The Professor would disembowel her with his scalpel if he ever discovered she’d driven without a license, but, oh well, add it to the always growing list of things (mostly involving alcohol, late nights with her boyfriend, and the police, sometimes all at the same time) that he would never know. The Mercedes started with a low purr. Samantha would have preferred the roar of a sports car she sometimes heard tearing past her window late at night, but the V8 engine would be more than enough for her purposes—though when she thought about it, maybe “purpose” implied too specific a goal. All she wanted, as she reversed out of the driveway and set course for the expressway, was to go fast. 30mph The silver car scissored through the heavy fabric of the humid night. The houses she passed were big, dark, and identical. She felt like an old film reel was unwrapping outside her window, not quite fast enough for the clips to blend together. Guiding the car along with the fingertips of one hand, Samantha reached in her pocket to straighten out all the old presidents pressed against her thigh. The bills totaled $250, and these, unlike the car, she had 64
not stolen, but accumulated as birthday presents from those same rich friends who had taken her drag racing. Though Samantha knew she couldn’t exactly make a case for having earned the money—turning 16 was no grand accomplishment—it was nonetheless hers, but when she had mentioned at the dinner table what she planned on doing with it— Stupid, stupid, why had she said anything? In her birthday elation had she forgotten how her father felt about spending money? Why had she been surprised when her father brought his hand down on the dinner table and told her what the blinking speed monitors were flashing at her not three hours later— Slow down. I’m 16, she thought, gritting her teeth. I’ll slow down when I’m dead. She turned onto the expressway and gunned the engine. 80mph Samantha barely noticed the drone of the police siren over the thudding music. Reluctantly, she let the car coast a while before bringing it to a stop on the shoulder of the road. “License and registration, please?” said the policeman. Samantha handed him the documents. “Hope you’ve got a job because this one’s not going to be a lightweight,” said the cop. Samantha rubbed her fingers on the dollar bills in her pocket. She couldn’t hide her grin, the exquisite thrill of speed flushing her cheeks. Happy birthday to me.
Thermal Strategies, Christopher Silvera, Digital Photography
M.V.D., Watercolor on Paper
Striving, Alfredo Garcia, Andrew Langen, MVD, Digital Rendering
Gia Ponti, Cesare Giuffredi, Oil on Canvas
Gabriel Osorio, Colored Pencil on Paper
Roxana Mendez, Pencil on Paper
M.V.D., Scratch Painting
El Aguador, Cesare Giuffredi, Pencil on Paper
The Indian, Natalia Ramirez, Pencil on Paper
hen I was five years old, I was convinced that an accountant lived beneath my bed. I could not see him, but could hear him the moment the lights went out: “Mathilde,” he whispered. “Two copies of the income statement for the third fiscal quarter.” Who is Mathilde? I thought, trembling. And: What is a fiscal quarter? My parents were of no help. They peeked beneath my bed, announced, “No accountant,” and flicked off the light, leaving me alone with the sounds of his typing, faxing, invoicing. I was on my own. I slept with a knife beneath my pillow. I taught myself the rudiments of Tae Kwon Do. I tossed leftover baked beans onto the carpet to dissuade the accountant from hungering for my blood, flesh, and bones. “Mathilde,” he said. My fingers gripped the hilt of the blade. In time, my parents discovered the baked beans. They discovered the Tae Kwon Do manuals, and the knife. They were not pleased. “Stop being ridiculous,” they said. “There is no accountant beneath your bed. And even if there were, accountants are not dangerous. They take care of our money. They are our friends.” But they did not hear his whispers. They did not hear his rasps. They did not hear him call out, “Mathilde,” again and again in the night, demanding bank statements, expenditure reports, subsidiary ledgers, balance sheets, accounts receivable, his voice dripping with wantonness and lust. The accountant was no friend of mine.
Unmade, Rinita Rasheed, Digital Photography
he hallway was silent except for the sound of the rain pit-pattering on the roof outside and the occasional guttural moans that, for the most part, didn’t bother the students at R.S. Lionheart High School. They had all been taught that the key to dealing with a restless spirit was to show no fear. Implementing the buddy system had also been a great help. It was a dreary day, which meant a schoolwide lockdown. No one was allowed to wander the halls and students would stay in their classrooms until the weather cleared—all day, if need be. Many complained about the strictness of the lockdown, but nobody ever disputed its rationale. It simply wasn’t safe outside when the sun didn’t shine. Things that go bump in the night are more likely to do so on a stormy day than a sunny one; any first grader could make that deduction. Of course, even with a stringent system and the best efforts made on the part of the school to make sure every student was as well informed as he or she could be, there were still accidents. Accidents like the one that occurred, for instance, involving Stephanie Bower, star singer in the school’s show choir, whose numbers had begun to dwindle in recent months. If there’s one thing that irks a spirit, it’s covers of Journey songs. Stephanie was in her English class. She was, once again, complaining. And, once again, she was being far too irritating for her own good. “This is ridiculous. Those things are way too stupid to get inside the school, even out in the hallways,” she said to the class, which tried and failed to ignore her.
“Oh, yeah? Zombies may be stupid, but they’re strong. Do you really think you’d be able to fight one off?” challenged Neil. Neil was usually one of the calmer kids in the class. When the teachers took a “sick day” (i.e., every rainy day that they didn’t feel like risking their necks to go to work), he was usually the one that led the class. The funny thing was that people actually listened to him; even when they weren’t handed a good education, many students actually took initiative and tried to learn anyway. But a couple of weeks ago, Neil had been struck by some pretty awful luck: his big sister Lea and little brother Mike had both been Turned. Lea was a sucker and Mike was a zombie. Now Neil was dealing with two madly grieving parents who were seriously considering pulling him out of school and going to hide in one of the safe underground havens that were out in the suburbs. Lionheart High wasn’t a big school. Stephanie knew full well everything that had happened to Neil. She smiled at him. “Brains will always win against brawns,” she said sweetly, grinning like a crocodile. Neil grinned right back, knowing well that she had neither. “You know what? If you want to leave, the door’s right there,” said Amy, fed up that she wasn’t getting any work done with the noise. “Easy for you to say,” said Stephanie, snorting. “Bet your half-breed boyfriend’s got a deal with all the ghoulies to leave his human slice alone,” Stephanie taunted. Amy blushed. Her djampir boyfriend Michael was a constant source of teasing for her, despite her best efforts to convince people that there was a huge difference between him and his vamp parents. That is,
Oh, yeah? Zombies may be but they’re
they would kill each other in a heartbeat if given the chance. “No, she’s right. Leave,” said Elena, immediately springing up to defend her best friend. Something was changing in the classroom. The atmosphere had begun quietly vigilant and alert, the usual demeanor expected in a dangerous environment such as, well, public school in a world where zombies, vampires, spirits, demons, and werewolves are all threats to your life that roam freely. Now it was getting charged. With anger and distrust, the students whispered to one another, agreeing with Elena, agreeing with Amy and Neil. Life was hard enough without whiny twits like Stephanie. There were twenty-five teenagers in that classroom. More than half of them had lost a parent, at least seven of them were completely alone in the world, and all of them were angry. Angry at the world, at adults, the government, the supernatural beings that they knew nothing about yet were expected to hate, the fact that they were expected to hate them. Angry that the last time they had fun was too long ago to remember clearly, angry that they were hiding instead of fighting, cowering instead of exploring, being fed everything that they knew about the bizarre world that surrounded them by adults who had never seen the world. And, last of all, angry that Stephanie Bowers was still complaining and shaking her head and stomping her foot angrily, shouting, “Don’t tell me what to do!” To a class of angry, repressed teens, this was like waving a red flag in
Zombies, Mary Koehnk, Film Photography
front of a bull. “GET OUT!” the class roared in unison. Stephanie shrieked, scrambling into a corner of the room. “You c-cant be serious,” she said, trembling like a leaf, no longer the smiling crocodile, now merely a scared, stupid kid. They were dead serious. Two of the football players lifted her up, carted her out into the hallway, and left her there. They hurried back inside and Amy and Neil bolted the door quickly.
A Martyr’s Eulogy
Immortally bound to the eternal slumber. Their passing came well expected. They drifted away, From the horrors of a known world, Into the dreary wonders of the uncharted. Death was no longer applicable, Nor was any limit they were accustomed to. They had failed to destroy the reign of an unrelenting force, But faced the burden of apathy and ignorance. Through the oppression, Their wicked chants echoed out to the crowd. As the sharpened axe fell, and when crowds roared, Their liberation came. As a new day dawned, They gladly retired from the world.
oed out Their wicked chants ech
to the crowd.
To each a life full of happy sorrow, For you know not life’s design be for you. Thus the Tyrant will wake me tomorrow, With fear, my heart, I wait for Death’s form true, Because you and He skip hand in hand. Oh, My kinsmen, once here, have met You the same. You, whom I once called friend, I shall now call foe, Again You meet a new level of flame. Your life is forfeit: Your end will be fit, For man is not man once he dance with Death. And once I have gone, oh, I shall not quit, Till You see, like I will see, Your last breath. At last I long for You to meet Your Friend, When it comes to Your time’s befitting end.
Starter’s Trip, Cindy Castro, Collage
There is a blank stage. No furniture or props are to appear until instructed to do so. Make the appearance magical. It doesn’t really matter how they get there, but as long as they get there. Connie can be played by a woman, but is a man. CHARACTERS HOWARD – A very ordinary man in his late 20’s. CONNIE – A very well dressed and classy man. His attitude is similar to Howards, but a bit bolder. Dim blue lights up. We see a man wandering around a blank stage. He seems lost and sleepy. Lights up. HOWARD: Hello? Umm… excuse me? Is anyone there? VOICE: Howard. HOWARD: Who’s there? VOICE: Howard, please, we’ve been through this. I am your conscious. HOWARD: Oh, that’s right. I’m asleep talking to you, or to myself. VOICE: Yes, that is right. I am you. HOWARD: Well, can I see me? [Enter a sharply dressed man. He saunters.] HOWARD: Oh, that’s better, so now what? VOICE: I guide you and your decision-making abilities in your sleep. This is a problem solving dream. HOWARD: Well, Mr. Conscious— VOICE: Please, call me Connie. HOWARD: Uhh… all right, Connie. I’m not sure if I have any problems— [Connie laughs wildly.] HOWARD: Really, and even if I— [Connie laughs] I don’t think I would feel comfortable sharing my prob-
and handsome water polo player named David. HOWARD: Yes—wait what? CONNIE: Well, you gave the woman a Shih Tzu named Cuddlebuns. I would’ve left you for a short Puerto Rican horse rider named Enrique. HOWARD: I’m just still surprised you knew his name was David. CONNIE: I know everything Howard. HOWARD: God, I hate you. CONNIE: Self-loathing. [He scribbles.] How have you attempted to deal with your “situation?” HOWARD: Well, I can’t bring myself to take him to the pound. I know you’ve seen those commercials where they’re all like “Save an animal. Give him a home.” And they show you three-legged Chihuahuas that were raised by coke addicts, so that was out of the question. I offered him to friends, but nobody wants a dog.
Tuna, Natali Hernandez, Pencil on Paper
great idea, Howard. HOWARD: What are you talking about? Now that I think about it, it’s the best idea. I’ll just shoot him. Dig him a doggy grave and badabing badaboom, I’m free. CONNIE: What are you going to tell Nancy? HOWARD: She did kind of love that dog… Well, it’s her fault for leaving it at my place anyway. I’ll just tell her he choked on some doggie snacks. Fat little bastard ate them like they was going out of style. CONNIE: How are you going to explain the gunshot to the neighbors? They might call the cops. Animal abuse doesn’t go down so well with the police. HOWARD: I’ll shoot him in the grave, nobody’ll see nothin’. CONNIE: Are you feeling okay? HOWARD: Yeah, better than ever. Say, Connie. We’re friends, right? CONNIE: Howard, we’re the same person. HOWARD: But like, in a manner of speaking. CONNIE: Well, yes. I guess you could consider us friends. HOWARD: I like that. I never really had a friend before. I mean, I had Nancy, but once she left I never really had anybody to talk to. CONNIE: I’ve been with you since birth, Howard. HOWARD: Yeah, but how many times have we had a nice little chat like this? It’s refreshing. CONNIE: I guess you’re right. Do you drink? HOWARD: Why, yes I do. Whatcha got? CONNIE: Scotch. [A table with two glasses and a bottle of scotch appear. They drink.] HOWARD: God, I can’t wait to kill that dog.
Piece of Shih Tzu
lems with you. [Connie attempts to speak, but can’t make a word past his laughter] HOWARD: I HATE MY DOG. [Silence. Two chairs appear. They sit. Connie pulls out a notepad and pen.] CONNIE: I see. HOWARD: Well, it’s just… It’s not my dog. I got it for Nancy, back when she was living with me, and once she left she didn’t take the dog with her, and now he’s just stuck here. CONNIE: What kind of dog did you say this was? HOWARD: A Shih Tzu. CONNIE: Now, why do you dislike the dog so much? HOWARD: Hate. I hate the dog. The dog has a mild case of epilepsy, for starters, so I’ll be sitting there watching Dolphins game and bam. I’m holding the tongue of a slobbering 30 pound piece of— CONNIE: Shih Tzu you said? HOWARD: Yeah. I mean I got it for this girl or whatever because we were living together and I don’t know. Thought she might like it, but who likes Shih Tzus anyhow? I’m pretty sure people in China use them as mops. I frankly don’t see any other use for them unless you enjoy having pounds of dog fur all over your couch, because I sure as hell don’t. CONNIE: What’s your dog’s name? HOWARD: Do we really have to talk about this? I set my alarm so I should be waking up any minute now. CONNIE: What’s the dog’s name? [HOWARD mumbles something.] CONNIE: I’m sorry? HOWARD: Cuddlebuns. CONNIE: Her name is Cuddlebuns? HOWARD: His name is Cuddlebuns. CONNIE: Ok, this is pretty simple. You have an intense hatred for an epileptic Shih Tzu male named Cuddlebuns that you gifted a woman who left you for a tall, dark,
God, I can’t wait to kill that dog.
CONNIE: Have you contacted Nancy about maybe taking the dog? HOWARD: Oh, she’s got a big old wiener dog that plays water polo already, know what I’m saying? CONNIE: I see. HOWARD: Well, I do have this one idea, but… nah, never mind. You’re going to judge me. CONNIE: That’s my job, Howard. I judge everything you do, so you might as well just say it. HOWARD: All right. I got this crazy idea… I’m going to kill the dog. CONNIE: I’m sorry? HOWARD: I’m going to kill the dog. I’ve got my uncle’s old handgun, and I’m going to take the little flea bag outside and BAM. Shoot his fuzzy face off! CONNIE: Maybe that isn’t such a
Nicole Sielsky, Digital Photography
hy don’t you want to go to prom?” I sighed, “I just don’t feel like it, okay?” “But you’re so pretty. I’ll get you a green dress and even a limo,” my mom said, taking a sip of her beer. I could feel my irritation rise, bubbling beneath the surface. “That’s nice, but it’s not my thing,” I said, leaving the room. I love my mom. She’s always there for me and encourages me to be the best I can be. But sometimes her hold is just a little too constricting for me. I feel like she tries to change who I am by telling me to be more girly and become more social. But that’s not me. I can’t be like my sisters Breyana and Kayla, who have this great sense of fashion and magnetic outgoing personality that attracts people. I like to be alone with my books and that’s just the way it’s always been. But she has
these moments where I see the darkness within her. When my mom drinks she isn’t my mom. She’s someone else. She’s less caring and gets angrier than ever. It frustrates me so much at times that I just want to cry and shout at her. Doesn’t she know that drinking isn’t going to make anything better? I know she’s a single parent providing for me, my sisters, and my grandmother. But aren’t we enough that you don’t have to drink a pack of beer a day? The scariest moment of my mom’s dark side was when she was so drunk that she fell asleep and forgot that there was food on the stove. At the time I was asleep, and the next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake by my sister Kayla. Immediately I was assaulted by the smell of something burning, and when I left my room the whole house was full of smoke. We called my older sister, Breyana, and she rushed to the house as
soon as we did. “Y’all okay?” she asked, carefully checking us over. I nodded shakily, my body trembling. She stormed into the house over to my mom, who stared at the TV. “You were supposed to be watching them!” “Don’t talk to me like that,” she slurred. “You fell asleep! They could have died in here!” She pushed my mom back, sending her stumbling onto the couch. My mom shakily got up and pushed her back. Before things could get serious, my uncle came and stopped them. He sat us down and told us that we couldn’t do anything to stop her. That was the moment I realized that things weren’t going to get better. My mom
won’t stop drinking no matter how much we tell her to stop. You can’t make someone change if they don’t want to. They need to want to help themselves first. I know some kids want to grow up to be like their parents, but for me, it would be the worst thing to turn into.
The Monster Lurking Within CeciliaFields
MARA CHEMERINSKI, ESQ. Attorney at Law Specializing in Immigration and Nationality Law Email: firstname.lastname@example.org TEL: (305) 704-3284
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The 2011-2012 Catharsis staff would like to thank all of our generous sponsors for their support. Volume 3 would not have been possible without you!
Colophon Catharsis is a literary and art magazine produced by the Creative Writing III and IV Honors class as part of the Academy of Communication Arts, Film, and Digital Media at Coral Gables Senior High School. Volume 3 was made using Adobe InDesign CS4 and Photoshop CS4. Volume 3 uses Lane for all headlines, bylines, photo credits, and pull quotes. Gentium is used for all copy text and Myriad Pro for all informational pages. The Printing Post, Inc., located in Hialeah, FL, printed 250 copies of this book on 80 lb. gloss text. The cover is printed on 100 lb. gloss cover. Catharsis solicits submissions of writing and artwork from the entire student body as well as faculty and alumni. All work submitted is evaluated for content and technical quality by the advisory board and approved by the adviser. The views expressed in the published pieces do not necessarily reflect those of the Catharsis staff or Coral Gables Senior High School. We actively recruit new staff members from the entry level Creative Writing classes. The staff writers completed various writing assignments for consideration into the magazine. Although class time was used to complete this magazine, countless hours were spent after school and on weekends working to ensure the magazineâ€™s completion. The section division descriptions and all informational text pages were written by Madeline Cowen, Alexa Langen, and Camile Betances. The goal of Catharsis is to promote literacy in our school and local community. We encourage writing and artistic expression for all students, faculty, and alumni. The editors and staff would like to thank everyone who submitted work to Catharsis, especially those who were chosen to appear in the magazine. We would also like to thank the faculty and administration for their support in this endeavor, especially our principal, Adolfo Costa; Assistant Principal of Curriculum, Nestor Diaz; Assistant Principal of CAF&DM, Aida Diaz; Activities Director, Ana Suarez; Language Arts Department Head, Paula Munnerlyn; and our devoted CAF&DM Academy Leader, Ana Zuniga.
Magazine Awards 2011 Volume 2 Evaluations: Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA): All Florida Rating National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA): First Class Rating Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA): Silver Medalist Rating Southern Interscholastic Press Association (SIPA): Excellent Rating National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE PRESLM): Excellent Rating Awards: National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA): 4th Place National Magazine Design of the Year 2011: FSPA Spring Convention Second Place Literary Magazine Team Design 2011: FSPA Spring Convention First Place Poety Writing (Madeline Cowen) 2010 Volume 1 Evaluations: Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA): Silver Rating National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA): Second Class Rating National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE PRESLM): Superior Rating Awards: 2011: FSPA Spring Convention: Fifth Place Sunshine Standout @ the 2011 FSPA Annual Convention
2012 Scholastic National Art and Writing Awards Isaac Andino Gold Key Finalist: Fees and Customer Service Madeline Cowen Gold Key Finalist: Moments of Silence; General Writing Portfolio (Multiple Titles); The Trigger; Freedom Madeline Cowen Silver Key Finalist: The Firemen; After Alexa Langen Gold Key Finalist: Snowboy; General Writing Portfolio (Multiple Titles); One Small Step; Life Lessons from a Moldy Sandwich; Submerged & Flux; For Keeps Alexa Langen American Voices Award Finalist: Snowboy Michelle Garcia Silver Key Finalist: Mentalism Natali Hernandez Silver Key Finalist: The Wheel of Choice Rinita Rasheed Silver Key Finalist: A Day to Remember Ivan Shapiro Silver Key Finalist: Suffocating Nostalgia 85
Editor- in- Chief Madeline Cowen
Literary Editor: Alexa Langen Layout Editors: Sophia Aitken, Isaac Andino
Business Managing Editor: Nicholas Arias Web Managing Editor: Gabriel Sardinia Managing Editor: Patricia Passwaters Social Media Editor: Carlos Baez
Anadaniela Garcia, Elizabeth Michelle Gonzalez, Paulina Picciano, Rinita Rasheed, Katya Sarria
Section Editing Team
Poetry Editor: Marianne Eisenhart Drama Editor: Jonathan Leal Fiction Editor: Anadaniela Garcia Nonfiction Editor: Tarilyn Taylor
Arlet Aguiar, Christopher Arias, Cindy Castro, Victoria Cooper, Michelle Dubon, Nathaly Fierro, Michelle Garcia, Natali Hernandez, Lianet Llanes, Kathleen Lopez, Mario Olivares, Ivan Shapiro, Lisaimi Talavera, Brandi Troup, Alexis White, Justin White
2012 Regional Miami-Dade Youth Fair Awards Blue Ribbon, 1st Place: Isaac Andino, Madeline Cowen, Michelle Garcia, Natali Hernandez, Alexa Langen, Rinita Rasheed, Ivan Shapiro Red Ribbon, 2nd Place: Arlet Aguiar, Nicholas Arias, Carlos Baez, Marianne Eisenhart, Anadaniela Garcia, Elizabeth Michelle Gonzalez, Jonathan Leal, Kathleen Lopez, Patricia Passwaters, Katya Sarria, Lisaimi Talavera, Brandi Troup, Alexis White White Ribbon, 3rd Place: Cindy Castro, Victoria Cooper, Nathaly Fierro, Mario Olivares, Paulina Picciano, Gabriel Sardinia, Tarilyn Taylor Yellow Ribbon, 4th Place: Justin White