“i don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.”
-jonathan safran foer
thanks to your creativity, you’ve made something excellent.
allison mendola The world is anonymous, Everything around me Watching, waiting For a new discovery Everythingâ€™s anonymous At least it is to me Things I do not know Things I can not find Life is full of mysteries Many I have yet to find Everything is changing Each and every time The world remains anonymous Forever in my mind
deaf blind and mute eva stys
If only I were deaf blind and mute Then I wouldn’t be able to hear you yell at me Wouldn’t have to see you leave Wouldn’t have to say things I didn’t mean You say it’s so hard to love me Why should you if I’m deaf blind and mute?
looking out the window brandon best
Could you please hold my hand? Either one: you choose. My young, inexperienced hands. They’ve grown cold and need a little warmth. It’s not just anyone’s hands I want to hold. It’s yours. I’m not sure why. It’s like Mr. Ollivander said, “The wand chooses the wizard, Harry.” Well, my hands have chosen yours. I promise I’ll be careful not to squeeze too tightly. Like a good handshake, I’ll be firm but gentle. My hands, I assure you, can be trusted. If you don’t want to talk, we don’t have to talk. Our interlocked fingers could express those hidden emotions that escape words. They say it’s wrong for our hands to hold each other. Don’t ask me to explain why. If a hand is feeling tired or cold, why should it matter who holds it? A hand is a hand isn’t it? Is it really important whether the hand belongs to a boy or a girl? My hands, they’ve grown cold and need a little warmth. Could you please hold my hand? Either one, you choose.
words of defeat
Tears cover everything i own Naked i stand alone Bones breaking skin, my face distorted Wounds, wounded If i bleed long enough Harm myself long enough Will someone see? will a person understand? Push me back and protect me Carry me, my dying corpse I had happy, but happy is the whore who cannot stay Runs from you when you love her Sadness, hate, dark they are my faithful lovers They whisper poison into me It wraps around my head Forces me to wither into hiding in my own home The path is closed, no light stays bright All thatâ€™s left are the voices whispering my name
you asked about music; i grinned and shrugged (i’m kind of awkward–my neighbor would vouch) soon i “got used to” the bodies you hugged while lying down on a cracked leather couch.
i’d fall asleep and imagine you there, forget about work i needed to do wake up and reason why i shouldn’t care and scratch until blood, until i feel you.
would you find me here in two weeks, flat in my own piss. (i’m sorry–this is really gross. i know, i shouldn’t have written that last part especially, i’m really, really sorry.)
Most have gone, yet some remain. Lots were left with scars and pain. Two towers that changed a nation, With memories that will have a long duration. Thank you to everyone who was a part You will forever and always remain in my heart. Pray for all, even those in heaven. Never forget nine eleven.
I can’t get it out of my head.
As I’m sitting here tapping my pencil against the edge of my desk, I can’t help but focus purely on the clock at the front of the classroom. Does it always move that quickly? Today is a big day. Is there any way to slow it down? I’m beginning to sweat. The pencil drops from my hands. I don’t pick it up. The bell rings. Seconds later I’m the only one left the classroom. Even though the last rang, signifying the end of school, over yet. In fact, nothing has even
sitting in period bell nothing is begun.
My life is a clock that spins slowly, endlessly, eternally ticking. No matter how many times the bell rings, it is just indicating that it is time to move on, not forever...just for now.
you remind me catalina salazar
i remember what beauty is when you take off your clothes piece by piece, tenderly raking the cloth off your skin. what bits of flesh surface from the water and shine like slippery sea stones when i rest my hand on your warm body to feel it move underneath my palm. i remember what beauty is when i see you sleeping next to me and i feel your breath escaping from your lips onto my shoulder and your cheeks are flushed that candy color i like so much. that color is my favorite color. i like to be reminded of the things that make humanity worth the trouble. what makes the falling of the leaves on the trees and whimpering of children worth the while. love, you remind me every day what is beauty. beauty is the outline of your back against your soft cotton shirt. the flicker of color lining your irises. the words that fall out of your mouth, stumbling over each other.
cherries ned meade
forbidden fruit jonah lazowski
mirrored earth white houses dan puckowski
cause of sanity
I am a temporary feather floating, weightless, almost as if I could leave - if I wanted to - maybe to There I am grounded what keeps me here is what keeps many, maybe itâ€™s fine to not be the difference at first I thought I had (to), but this is more than enough Happiness is real it keeps me Here
Your face is looking at me all twisty-like. Like the gnarled knots and molded bark of an ancient tree. The warped humor of your spiraled eyes The rapture in your oblique cheeks. The knots of your forehead creating ripples in your brow, I wonder what causes your smile to be so crooked.
in the late hours of the night i wait (for you) in my dreams i am alive living in a world so perfect
images flood in i notice things things that i love (you) i wait (for you) patiently getting lost in my own head
i lay in my bed motionless dreaming (of you) wishing (for you) wanting (you)
reflections casey latorre
STUCK: v. trapped,unable to move. We’ve all been stuck in something: a nasty snowstorm, traffic, sitting next to someone you dislike. But this sort of stuck is different. It’s the worst kind of stuck, when the person you want to be isn’t quite the person you are. I was stuck the first time I heard “Reflections” from Mulan, still in the self-conscious stage of becoming a teenager, still unaware of the power I possessed or the person I could be. The song didn’t turn out to be a miracle: it didn’t show me who I was or make me invincible. It just reminded me I was still the same, despite the awkward pre-teen changes on the outside. Mulan and I begged the same question of the mirror, “When will my reflection show who I am inside?” But being a full-fledged teenager is not as glamorous as my childhood dreams made it out to be. I didn’t have the answer to my question back then, and I certainly do not have it now. I guess that’s because the answer I was looking for when I was eleven was straightforward and simple. GULLIBLE: adj. naïve, easily fooled. Like millions of other Disney Channel-crazed, Jonas Brother-obsessed pre-teens, I was gullible. You watch the movies and experience fairytales folding together. When you’re eight and watch dreams come true, you expect them to become your reality. By the time you turn eleven, you’re sitting out on your front porch in the pouring rain waiting for Prince Charming to come sweep you off your feet. Now you’re fourteen and you pick yourself up, knowing Prince Charming isn’t coming anytime soon. And now you’re stuck in adolescence. Unlike Peter Pan, you’ve been forced to grow up. But you’re not ready to take on the responsibilities of being an adult. Even though you know Prince Charming may not come along, you’re sure some boy will. He’ll walk right in, knock you off your feet, and take you away to some far-off horizon. And then you find yourself on a sunny
afternoon in the middle of summer, wearing grass-stained blue jeans. There’s a boy holding your hand. You’ve got clammy palms and your heart is racing. He leans in and kisses you and you feel like you’re a million feet off the ground and the stars are soaring around your head. You blink hard: a few months have gone by and in the mirror you see mascara running down your face, bloodshot eyes full of emptiness. iTunes on repeat: “My Heart Will Go On;” your unmade bed and strewn clothes are not the biggest mess around. MASK: v. to hide under a false appearance. To mask your pain, you go back to what you know: The Disney Moral—it doesn’t matter who you are on the outside. And thus your teenage years begin. You’ve lived your whole life expecting seventeen to be your magical year. But you’re only seventeen. You’ve dyed your hair so many times you’re not exactly sure what your natural color is anymore; frankly you’re not quite sure you still have a natural color. You’ve convinced your mother to let you get some new piercings and some you got without asking. You’ve had your heart broken more times than you can count: you’ve dated the English dork, the pot-smoker, the senior, and even the football star. You’ve been drunk and you’ve snuck out of the house twice (that your parents know about). They complain that you’ve changed into somebody you’re not, but you don’t think the fishnets and crop top they’re using as evidence really indicate much. You walk around the halls at school feeling like a rebel, thinking you fool everyone with your screwthe-world attitude. You begin to realize that no matter how many layers of eyeliner you apply, you can’t change the vulnerable little girl on the inside. It’s been seventeen years of progression, seventeen years of moving on and suddenly there is nowhere to go. STUCK: v. trapped and unable to move. I’m stuck somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, between balancing the outer rock-star and the inner Disney freak. And I’m still wondering, “When will my reflection show who I am inside?”
plagiarize emily ford
At the party I sat behind My red cup In a disguise I couldnâ€™t recognize Took a sip And watched The red cups Floating by In a second skin That they plagiarized
xochil rivera She sits there and watches them Feeling so hopeless and alone Why does she bother? She sits there and smiles at them all Knowing that no one will ever know what she is truly feeling Because none of them really care She sits there and thinks She knows she doesnâ€™t like who she has become Why does it matter to her what people think? She sits there and laughs along with them But in her head she is criticizing And she will never have the guts to speak up She just sits there Never really saying what she wants to And never going to be who she wants to be
infidel(ity) in fidelity
Pillows of praise I sit upon, Yet my heart Drifts deeply down. Friends are followers Full of lies, For whom I feel much despise. Why canâ€™t I See hope instead, Sitting on A mighty slope?
the murk of the sun, the light from your eyes. will wake me from dreams when morning is nigh. planes take the ground, submarines look to fly the opposite of what is has never been so right. the heat from the ice the chills from your state bloodshed in the past is the plight we all share. so dance with the wrong and leave with the right, for the pain of today is the light of the night.
this isn’t the title zoe waldman
there’s no title so it’s all in pieces like a puzzle at least there’s a simile and i won’t rhyme or make a perfect group of lines in a planned order with punctuation or much thought to be frank but this is it and it comes with apostrphes because those show i know english and i should not but can end a sentence with it or a preposition like from and maybe i just did or did not because there is an absence of a sentence here and everywhere but it doesn’t matter like iambic pentameter and so we’re rhyming now i said i wouldn’t but i guess so it goes and obviously we do things we don’t mean and there’s a cliche now i need a metaphor you don’t have to like it this is a puzzle.
carolyn marcello It’s quiet, the way the world ends. Not with a bang, not even a whimper, no, just the calm way his face closes off like the Daedalus’ Gates closing behind passing shades. This isn’t the way you thought it would go. You had thought maybe one of the angry tirades out of Shakespeare’s plays or a discreet cold shoulder for a month or two: you had thought of everything except this horrible, inescapable reuniciation. But this is what’s happening, what you’ll have to live with for the next year (maybe for forever) and you just can’t handle it right now (maybe not ever). This feels like when you chew a cough drop, feel it crunch and break between your teeth, inhale so deep you can taste the ice spreading down your throat: like the end of everything and the beginning of nothing. This is how he says goodbye, voice soft and regretful like forgotten faded dreams (shriveled raisins in the sun). How he leaves, closing the door not with a bang but with a whisper of sound like the morning mist over the river, the water serenely flowing past uncaring of the hurts of a girl abandoned for the firstlast time. This is how your life ends and starts and rewinds and begins again: a dizzying circle of labyrinths and mazes of laughing summer days and cold winter nights when the burdened branches crack and twist in agony like your heart is right now. It’s fall now, but that doesn’t stop the snow from falling and covering the hurts you hold inside like trophies (it’s pain but it’s mine). Maybe in a while the snow will melt, turn to slush under the sun only to refreeze at night when no one’s looking or asking or trying to fix you.
But right now it’s a blizzard, the cold extending from your chest to as far as your stomach, reaching clawing tendrils up your throat to your eyes which don’t rain no matter how much you want them to, how much you need them to. Maybe he’ll be happier, maybe he’ll be sadder, maybe he is more blue than you and that’s why he’s leaving, because he doesn’t want it to hurt you; but the last whispered phrase before the door shuts with a faint click like the slide of chess pieces in their box says thisisallyourfault. And you’re not sure if that’s Truth or not.
i really am trying kiki thorington
Wake up at 6:school for 10 hours, homework,sleep. Then do it again All day listening to teachers yammer Don’t learn nothing ‘Cause when they ask me questions all I do is stammer I’m doing the work, I tell ya! Don’t believe me? Just look at my eyes, fella! No matter what I do It’s never enough. Try to tell the rents but They just tell me hush They think it should be easy, This whole high school stuff. And if any kid says it’s breezy Call their bluff. I try and try but I never succeed Even when I think it’s over, someone asks “Can you help me please?” No I can not help Fiddly Diddly Do, I can barely keep my head above water And you expect me to support you?
to the sea
To the sea they flee Tiny chubby arms flapping in the wind Munchkin feet sinking in the wet sand To the sea they fly With open arms With open eyes To the sea they glide Straight to the frothy mouth of the hungry water Only to be plucked by harsh hands But to the sea they will forever go Forever wander Forever know
the ranting of a madman mike barry
Iâ€™ve just figured something out That might be the happiest moment of realization Iâ€™ve had. Nothing I can possibly do will ever matter! If I die tomorrow, some tears will be shed, A friend will be lost, But after a few years, Even in memories, I will all but cease to exist. A tear of remembrance every now and then, at best, But no damage overall. If I become President, King of the United States, Emperor of Earth, even, All I will be, In a few decades, Will be a a page in a history book, A page to be skipped over, A stain on the past. If I manage to destroy the entire planet, On a universal scale the gnat that is Earth may be swatted, But it is only a gnat. No harm, no foul...right? No one pledges loyalty to Augustus, Or lays down his life for Alexander the Great, And certainly not for an unknown figure from the distant past... Can I be so conceited as to think I am any better?
look at him. look at how his hair mops over his head. look down. look up. look at the board. look down. write what the board says. l o o k u p . look at him. make eye contact. smile. look down fast. smile. look up. look at the board. look at him. eye contact. smile. look down. smile. bell ring. pack up. stand up to walk out. look at him. eye contact. smile. walk out of classroom. look behind. there he is. smile. hear him call my name. smile. and talk.
shattered glass gabby wolinsky
fears climb up my spine like tiny little spiders. you try to convince me that you’ll take care of the fear but the spiders are the little demons living further inside my body than my spinal cord. pain canoes through journey. you try to convince me, but I know it’s the reoccurring, that turns my veins cherry Popsicles.
my blood in an unleisurely me it’s the pain that changed fear of pain into plastic wrapped
sadness climbs through my throat, like the broccoli chunks bulimia reintroduces. you try to convince me to kiss with my mouth closed because each time: I kiss a poem that you can’t decipher into your Mouth but the unhappy can’t be explained with my words: like a nightmare. when did we all become such fragile Little girls?
forgotten granddaughter. girl who watches 18 tv shows. lost superfan. wannabe professional baker. painfully awkward. emotionally unstable (at times). perezehilton addict. youngest person to watch general hospital. groufit lover. proud driver of lil j. friend of thom giardini. tim riggins future wife.
“my life is the story of everyone i’ve ever met.” -jonathan safran foer
snow day haikus
sarah steinberg and casey latorre No more Halloween So much candy in my house I will eat it all.
We missed so much school All exams canceled, hurrah! And Doc was not mad!
top storm week activities:1run in the snow in your bathing suit (anna hardy)2sleep heavily clothed (ms. schiefflin)3sit around a fire (brandon best)4go to barnes and noble to charge my phone (corinne florian)5cook a frozen pizza on the grill (asha appel)6couch surfing (tom giardini)7wait for the honeywell alert (zarah mohamed) 8 wear the same clothes for days (ben shoham)9see how many cookies will fit in the VCR (brian halter)
after the rain claire halloran
we are a mess caroline bascetta
fire and water jackie dunn
You bring fire against me I bring water against you While yours burns things Mine quietly soaks it Which is better of the two The attacker or the defender?
(attacking me) (soothing you) (everything red) (everything blue) (you, fire, me, water) (to rage and sear? to heal and clean?)
thoughts allie kyff
My thoughts started off scarce like stars at twilight, and now fill my mind like dust on an old light bulb They’re memories, too Memories of the way you looked at me, the way you laughed with me Memories of childhood, sparks of light, eyes I don’t recognize, rooms I can hardly recall and some I surprisingly remember The thoughts Thoughts of excruciating regret, longing, and wishing And thoughts of effervescence But mostly I have memories Memories of mistakes Countless mistakes But I’m a teenager, aren’t these the years where they’re supposed to happen? I’m supposed to screw it all up and have to start all over again? But for me, it happens too often. It’s hard. You know?
purposefully placed typos or perseverance becca frank
I am one of 6.775 billion people living in the world (according to Google). So, as I sit at my desk telling you of the time I suffered severe burns from someone spilling his coffee on me at Starbucks, I can’t help but think about the fact that I hardly ever go to Starbucks.1 If you take the number of times I go to Starbucks (let’s say once every two months) divided by the number of people in the world, times the number of seconds in the day and multiply by the square root of the number of Starbucks in the world, you get about 4.7 x 10-9.2 In other words, the chance that someone should spill his coffee on me at Starbucks is very small.3 What happened was, as I stood in line reading The New Yorker4 waitinhg for my turn to tell the barista my order of choice,5 someone bumped into me and spilled hot coffee all over my right hand. I am right-handed, so I need that hand to write, as I am a writer.6 1 This is not true. I go to Starbucks quite often, but we’re going to pretend otherwise for the purpose of this assignment. 2 This is only an estimate. If you’re really curious, do the math yourself. You might want to think of a different formula while you’re at it because it’s possible my methods are incorrect. 3 It might not seem clear what this story is about just yet, but if you stick with me I promise we’ll get there eventually. 4 More specifically, it was a very well written piece by the author Jonathan Safran Foer. I heard he’s coming to give a talk in my neighborhood this January so I’m trying to read a few of his pieces before then. (Or rather, if I actually was standing in line at Starbucks, I would probably be reading a piece by Foer. Remember, this is fiction. This didn’t actually happen.) 5 A Venti Decaf Iced-No-Whip Mocha if you’re curious. (This is, in fact, my drink of choice in reality.) 6 I do actually love to write. It’s all I do. But I digress. Back to the story.
Everyone knows that at Starbucks they seerve the drinks in cups that say “Careful, the beverage you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot.” Well, they’re not kidding. Startled, as anyone would be, I jumped when the coffee hit me. I wasn’t wearing a long-sleeve shirt, so I didn’t have the slightest protection against the heat. I couldn’t help the pain. The idiot who dropped his coffee was just standing there. I tried to calkmly walk out of the store (which probably appeared more like frantic speed walking). I pulled out a water bottle and poured it over my hand. I swear I could hear it sizzle.7 My hand was red and stinging I was annoyed to the maximum.8 9When the pain and swelling didn’t go away after a couple days I went to the doctor, who said I had suffered a second-degree burn (from a cup of coffee! Isn’t that ridiculous?).10 I am a writer (I think I might have mentioned that earlier), and I’ve typed this entire story with one hand, which would explain the typos.11 This is supposed to be12 a sad story about a writer who loses her ability to write because of an idiot at Starbucks who spilled his coffee, a tale about a writer who lives to tell of the time she almost lost the abil7 It’s actually impossible to hear your hand sizzle after a burn. Especially if it was just coffee. Running out of the Starbucks and to end of the block would take at least a minute and by then everything would be cooled off a bit, so there would be no sizzling. I just thought the word sizzle would attract the reader’s attention. 8 That’s something Alex, a character from the book I’m currently reading, would say. 9 You might still not be able to understand why I’m telling you this story about how my hand was burned by a stranger’s latte, so I’ll try to get to the point. 10 It is ridiculous. That wouldn’t happen. But it’s okay because this is a work of fiction. 11 Another device of fiction. (Note to reader: those typos were put in purposely after the fact to make it appear as though the character in this story was a real person.) 12 I’m not sure if I’m succeeding, but I’m trying.
ity to write. “Almost” is the key word here. After I was burned I didn’t stop writing, but the amount I was writing greatly decreased. It’s not my fault. I didn’t ask that person at Starbucks to spill his coffee on me. It could’ve happened to any one of the other 6.775 billion people in the world. In fact, I’mm sure it has happened to some of them, and I’m sure worse things have happened to the majority of them. What makes me different is the fact that I’m here writing this story, telling you my tales, because I love to write.13 I’m sitting at my desk, typing up this story because I’m trying to make a point. People write first because they lioke to write and second because they want to tell the world something. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that if you think something is preventing you from doing what you love, then you obviously don’t love it enough because you would be able to find a way around any obstacle if you really wanted to. Look at me: I’m writing this stry with one hand. I persevered through that terrible burn and I’m here telling my story because first, I love to write and second, I have a purpose. Why else would anyone write a story? Why else would anyone do annything?
13 The following paragraph is the important part. You could just read this paragraph and get the point of the whole story and you wouldn’t have to read through all the nonsense of pages 1 and 2.
in the shadow of our pale, fallen mike hathaway companion “Hello Darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again”
Art’s voice passed over the snow-capped hill Marred only by the wind that brought a chill down the sides of my head. The lack of light brought beautiful sights Stars shining through the skeletons of fallen beasts, giants, who had stood firm for centuries. Stripped bare By their own friend Who had adorned their limbs Since time Now they were but a couch. A place of respite. For us weary wanderers. Clouds formed from our breath. The cold, though piercing at first, was a dull ache. Dropping smoothly, as blackness fell more and more. The landscape, barren, reflected every minuscule breath of Light. From a fire. Crackling. Breaking the stone silence. A dance of red and yellow, against a monochromatic background. Still. Life was still. We found ourselves paralyzed. Transfixed. By the beauty. In the lack thereof.
inspired by real life situations
5 am wakin up in the morning Gotta look Fresh, Gotta find my tie Seein everything the time is going tickin on and on, I’m still rushing gotta find the right tie, gotta choose my tie, I go online lookin up the half Windsor lookin up the full Windsor gotta make my mind up which tie should I take? It’s Tieday, Tieday, getting sad on Tieday! Everybody’s lookin forward to a dressdown, dressdown Tieday, Tieday, getting sad on Tieday! Everybody’s lookin forward to a dressdown Polka dots Polka dots ugh! Polka dots Polka dots yuck! Stripes Stripes Stripes Stripes Lookin forward to a dressdown
Everything I touch turns to silver blood and gold Everything I see sparkles dies and shines
back and forth
Back and forth Back and forth the waves on the sea go
Back and forth Back and forth the leaves on the trees wave
Back and forth Back and forth the swing on the swing set flies Back and forth Back and forth the pendulum on the clock tolls Touch, taste, smell, fear Emotions locked Senses stilled Time forever spiraling Back and forth Back and forth Never stoping Never ceasing Forever Forever fighting
the staff editors in chief zarah mohamed tom giardini chief assistant brandon best poetry editor catalina salazar art editors emily sullivan catherine boyle prose editors becca frank carolyn mitchell marketing editors xochil rivera maddie reich outreach editors ruthie dannehy emily ford online editors alec zimmerman sarah steinberg
associate editors elana colangelo jackie dunn catherine eatherton brooke goldsmith mason harvey mike hathaway caley henderson ben isenberg grace jarmoc rayva khanna allie kyff casey latorre mary lessard carolyn marcello ned meade allison mendola molly miller chiamaka ndibe molly papermaster john peavy shelby smith eva stys kiki thorington mark toubman zoe waldman