Elysium Literary and Arts Magazine 2016

Page 1

Volume 15



Literary & Art Magazine Vo l u m e 1 5 2 0 1 6 www.elysiummagazine.com Coral Reef Senior High School 10101 SW 152 Street Miami, FL 33157 Phone: (305) 232-2044 Fax: (305) 252-3454

Editor’s Note The










Promises of self-expression seduce the artist, inviting him into the most intimate crevices of his soul. Whether it be through film, music, poetry, photography, sculpture, or painting, the artist strives to interpret his reality, even if it is only for a moment and even if it is only for him to see. The works in this magazine reveal a few private moments of a generation striving to define itself. The writers and artists in this magazine invite you, the reader, to pause for a moment of introspection to reflect upon your own personal odyssey.

Michael Gordon Editor-In-Chief

Cover: Self | Daniel Ochoa | Gouache Opposite: People Within | Claudia Guzman | Ink



About Us


Elysium is an annual publication that has been continually printed since 2005. This year’s staff consists of twenty-one students selected from two academies in grades 10-12. The editor in chief interviews and selects staff who together meet every Wednesday after school as well as three full weeks in April to work on layouts. All members are involved in selecting, matching, designing, and proofing the magazine.

Editorial Policy

The 2016 staff created volume 15 using Adobe InDesign© CS5.5 and Adobe Photoshop© CS5.5 on Dell desktop computers. The staff selected Bodoni MT for titles and Calisto MT for body text. The cover title was also fashioned in Bodoni MT. The 2016 edition consists of 116 pages with inside pages printed on 80 lb. matte white paper and cover pages printed on 100 lb. white linen. Rodes Printing Inc. located in Miami, Florida published 200 full color copies of the magazine (all of which were distributed free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis).

Elysium, Coral Reef Senior High’s annual literary/art magazine, showcases the creative work of students and teachers. The literature and art staff judge submissions anonymously. Final selections are based on style, distinctiveness of theme, and overall quality; the art and literature are then paired by thematic relevance.

To reach a larger audience, the magazine is also featured within the school’s website: http://elysiummagazine.com. The website contains PDF’s of the magazine since 2005, staff photos, awards, news, press releases, and videos of live performances and readings at our annual Books and Books gala.

2016 Staff Editor-in-Chief

Literary Staff Valeria Peralta Audrey Daugherty Andrea Jaimes Gabriela Ortiz Itara Moore Yasmine Torres Catarina Fernandez

Michael Gordon

Supervising Editor Isabella Mojares

Literary Editors Raina Levin Nicole Garcia

Art Staff

Art Editors

Jan Andersen Jevon Brown (Not pictured) Camille Boucard

Eva Bibas Karla Infante

Layout Staff

Layout Editors

Patrick Martin Sarah Gouriche

Adviser: Amy Scott

Aurelien Meray Cassandra Zuria Claudia S. Guzman

Special Thanks We would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Scott McKinley, Coral Reef ’s visual arts teacher, for his artistic guidance and to our principal, Mr. Thomas P. Ennis, for his continuing support.

Awards Columbia Scholastic Press Association: Gold Medalist:

Gold Crown Award 2014; Silver Crown 2015 2005, 2007-2013, 2015

CSPA Gold Circle Awards 2015:

Five Gold Circles: 1st place poetry, 1st place interview, 2nd & 3rd place essays, CM Humor

Columbia Scholastic Press Association:

All Columbian: 2006-2014

National Council of Teachers of English PRESLM Program:

Highest National Award: 2008-2010, 2012-2015

National Scholastic Press Association:

NSPA Pacemaker Finalist 2006

Scholastic Regional Gold Keys Winners 2015:

Toni Shelley, Lindsay Manganiello, Cassandra Zuria, Eva Bibas

Table of Contents The Cold Shoulder 10-11 Patrick Martin, Poem

Like the Sky, my Colors Change Andrea Jaimes, Poem



Fiery Pheonix and the Sleeping Dragon 38-39 Ana Lam, Short Memoir

Boundless 14-15 Julia Rothfield, Short Memoir

Eating a Plum 40-41 Stephanie Woolley-Larrea, Poem

The Atheist 16-17 Itara Moore, Poem

She Says She Still Prays 44-45 Valeria Peralta, Poem

Maldición, My Muse 18-19 Gabriela Ortiz, Personal Memoir

Four Eyes, Two Worlds 46-47 Sofia Pardón, Poem


Cyclamen 48-49 Valeria Peralta, Prose

Night 22-23 Virginia Ramirez, Poem

Consumption 50-51 Itara Moore, Poem

Balancing Act 24-25 Leticia Rocha, Poem

On Learning How To Swim 52-53 Andrea Jaimes, Spoken Word Poem

Uncle Who 26-27 Jessica Mozingo, Poem

Voices 54-55 Holocaust Impact Theatre, Monologue

White Lights 28-29 Desiree Broche, Short Memoir

Mariachis and Cross Country 56-57 Ipanema Mora-Carrera, Short Memoir

The Poem That I Want to Write Stephanie Woolley-Larrea, Poem

The Purifying Tide Has Come In Valeria Peralta, Poem

The Light Within the Dark 30-31 Claudia Guzman, Interview Thought #3 Or, A Characterization 34-35 of the Activities of a Water Molecules Julia Rothfield, Prose


Love Confessions 58-59 Paola Cha’vez, Poem The Early Summer Calling 60-63 Daniela Hernandez, Prose

Literature Inflated Identity 66-67 Siena Vadakal, Poem God Forgive Me, for I Am a Picky Eater 68-69 Andrea Jaimes, Poem

Dead Sea Pirates 70-71 Jakob Namon and Cameron MacDonald, Rap Madame Would be Proud 74-75 Nicole Garcia, Prose How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Salma Abdelrahman, Commentary Worn Isabella Castillo, Poem



Only to Remember 80-81 Savannah Gossweiler, Poem Painting The Moon 82-83 Patrick Martin, Prose No Perros 84-85 Ipanema Mora-Carrera, Poem BLUEBLACKBADBEAUTIFUL Daniela Romero, Feature


Falsifying 88-89 Gabriela Ortiz, Poem

And Poetry 90-91 Jakob Namon and Cameron MacDonald, Rap Food for a Thought 92-93 Itara Moore, Short Memoir It is 5:17 pm 94-95 Valeria Peralta, Prose State Line Road 98-99 Raina Levin, Poem Sun Barque 100-101 Jakob Namon, Poem Living in America 102-103 Itara Moore, Poem Songs of São Paulo 104-105 Leticia Rocha, Short Memoir Fabula Rasa 106-107 Nicole Garcia, Interview Stressed 108-109 Lianne D’Arcy, Prose Disposition (For Marianne Kjos) Stephanie Woolley-Larrea, Poem


let’s pretend we don’t know any of this 112-113 Gabriela Ortiz, Poem


Free Fall | Montana Ligman | Ink and Spray Paint

Surrealist Teepee 64-65 Michael Gordon, Poem

Table of Contents Rain Drops 10-11 Francesca Roel, Acrylic

Float 40-41 Isabella Mojares, Digital Photography

A Lion’s Prey 12-13 Cassandra Zuria, Printmaking

Once Upon a Time in a Château Eva Bibas, Digital Art

Mirage 14-15 Camille Boucard, Digital Photography

Proteus 44-45 Lindsay Manganiello, Digital Photography

Skeletal System Daniela Romero, Acrylic


Main Squeeze 18-19 Toni Shelley, Gouache Gardens 20-21 Madison Warwar, Acrylic House on a Hill 22-23 Montana Ligman, Enamel Circles 24-25 Daniel Ochoa, Mixed Media Freddy 26-27 Stephanie Triay, Acrylic Looking at the Lights 28-29 Nathalie Perez, Gouache Drooler 30-31 Adriana Llauro, Sculpture Sharing is Caring 32-33 Adriana Llauro, Ink


Split Decision 46-47 Juliette Valdes, Colored Pencil Inking the Lost Forest 48-49 Emily Ehlen, Ink A Glitch in the System 50-51 Daniel Ochoa, Mixed Media Do Not Be Afraid 52-53 Maria Villa, Pen and Colored Pencil Voices I (Producers) 54-55 Isabella Mojares, Digital Photography Voices II 54-55 Holocaust Impact Theatre, Digital Photography Jumbled Moments 56-57 Montana Ligman, Gouache

Under the Surface 34-35 Alisha Vanhemert, Acrylic

Breakfast 58-59 Ma Renalyn Macias, Acrylic

Afternoon 36-37 Ma Renalyn Macias, Oil Pastel

Among the Sea 60-61 Austin Sanchez, Gouache

North Star 38-39 Breanna Moreno, Acrylic

Into the Darkness 62-63 Austin Sanchez, Gouache


Art First Impressions 66-67 Isabella Mojares, Digital Photography Inked Red and Brown Emily Ehlen, Ink and Spray Paint


In My Basement 70-71 Leira Padron, Color Reduction Print

1 90-91 Daniel Ochoa, Mixed Media Still Life with Cafeteria 92-93 Matthew Gonzalez, Acrylic I Will Find You 94-95 Ma Renalyn Macias, Gouache

Where is the Light? 72-73 Karla Infante, Digital Photography

Enrapture 96-97 Cassandra Zuria, Digital Art

I See You 72-73 Karla Infante, Digital Photography

Queens 98-99 Claudia Guzman, Ink

Absolute 74-75 Cassandra Zuria, Paper Collage Erika 76-77 Meaghan Lintner, Gouache The Weight of Life 78-79 Karla Infante, Digital Photography

Persephone and Hades 100-101 Ipanema Mora-Carrera, Digital Art Crybaby 102-103 Adriana Llauro, Sculpture

Estuary 80-81 Oanh Nguyen, Acrylic

Some Are Born Men 104-105 Eva Bibas, Digital Photography

Mushroom 82-83 Claudia Guzman, Gouache

Portrait of Salma Abdelrahman Karla Infante, Digital Photography

Inked Wolves 84-85 Emily Ehlen, Ink and Spray Paint Mural in the Making 86-87 VPA Academy, Digital Photography Completed Art Mural 86-87 VPA Academy, Digital Photography Chaotic Pleasures 88-89 Ashley Townsend, Acrylic


Squeeze Me 108-109 Erika Cantin, Acrylic and Ink Split 110-111 Daniela Romero, Acrylic Pretty in Pink 112-113 Toni Shelley, Gouache


Free Fall | Montana Ligman | Ink and Spray Paint

Catching Feelings 64-65 Ashley Townsend, Acrylic

Rain Drops | Francesca Roel | Acrylic


The Cold Shoulder Patrick Martin

Excitement. The embrace of last winter is fresh in my mind, but melted; Muggy Miami makes my memory foggy. A pivotal downpour. Rain has fallen hot yet the kettle grows cold, One downpour dashes the line between sunny sauna steam and those cold nights. The morning after. Step out towards frizzy hair and greasy faces, but I am sure, The heat will not last today.

The wind blows hard. Carrying with it, hopeful fragments of the chill, She only shows herself in the shade and plays tricks on me in sunlight. But the clouds triumph over the sun and the wind takes its chance, Green applause and brown bows herald her pricks and prods. Gray triumphs, the victory of dark, And the chill kisses my skin once more.


The Poem That I Want to Write for Rebecca McClanahan

Stephanie Woolley-Larrea

I’ve always wanted to write a poem about my grandmothers, how they emerged from opposite sides of a state, one in a Park, the other in a mansion, how for one money was something to earn, for the other, something to remember. I want to record their lives, the deaths of children and brothers, tragedies I’ve not had to endure. Misfortune they wore on their skin, underneath their clothes, where I could never see. I want to preserve how they loved me, plying me with cookies or gifts, each singling me out in a sea of children. I also have to record how they each came to their own deaths, one clinging to hospital sheets, avoiding the truth, the other prepared, helping us survive her, how that year was a very bad year for grandmothers. I don’t have any pictures of them together. They remained in separate parts of my world. But I think they belong in a poem together. I think I should be the one to write it, but where would I begin?



A Lion’s Prey | Cassandra Zuria | Printmaking | Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key Winner

Boundless Julia Rothfield

Calvin Harris’s voice burst into my dream, startling me awake in the darkness. In the disorientation of interrupted sleep, it took me a moment to recognize my location and the six sleeping forms scattered around the room. The music shut off as abruptly as it had begun, and we were once again blanketed in silence. I heard shifting from the bunk bed across from me. “Are we doing this?” Grace whispered into the darkness. “Yeah,” I whispered back, and groaned as I heaved my dormant body upright. I was never the child climbing the mango trees around my neighborhood or learning cool tricks on a RipStick. I never ventured, as a toddler, beyond the forbidding border between carpet and tile without first checking for my mom’s passport of approval. I spent my first day at ski school asking if we could slow down as we snaked our way down the mountain – a line of tumbling, eager kids in their brightly colored jackets followed at a distance by cautious little me. A healthy dose of fear has always kept me from dangerous pursuits (like jumping off high cliffs into rivers), as well as those much less dangerous (like getting onto the couch under my own power as a two-year-old). My actions often perplexed my mother, a disciple of two older brothers and a veteran in the challenges of bumper-riding, snowboarding,


and tree-climbing. In some of her favorite pursuits, I have always been content simply to remain cautious – I don’t see the fun in barreling down a concrete-asbestos track on a plastic sled at warp speed, especially when there are GIANT SIGNS telling me NOT TO GO FASTER. At other times, I listened to her childhood stories of sliding around on the snowy streets of New Jersey, gripping the bumper of a moving car for dear life, and (while I understood the stupidity of such an activity) there was a part of my heart that longed to be brave enough to live that much. I dressed and slipped my feet into sneakers, tiptoeing to avoid waking my roommates. Giving up trying to put in my contacts in the dark, I threw on my glasses and waited in the cold entrance to the youth hostel as several more people trickled in, blinking bleary eyes and hiding yawns behind their hands. David, the leader, who looked annoyingly freshfaced for someone who had gotten four hours of sleep, opened the door into the pitch black morning, his highlighter-yellow blazer lighting the way like a beacon. My shoes crunched on gravel and heather, heading up toward a mountain trail, and I sucked in air as cold and crisp as crystal. Hugging my sweatshirt closer to my body, I gazed at sheep ignoring me in their eternal quest for verdant grass. My companions and I began to skip down the rocky path, talking and singing,

watching a divine painter dilute the ink of the

We sat in a storybook of tumbled

sky with liquid light. Reaching our destination,

boulders and heather, heroes exploring the

we climbed onto an enormous boulder, letting

ancient land of King Arthur and the Round

our feet dangle over the edge and seeking our

Table. Our footsteps left spiraling words on the

reflections in the still glass of the mountain lake.

parchment of our history, and our enthusiasm

In silence, we watched the fiery sun send its rays

echoed off mountains that had stood watch for

over the edges of the ancient, emerald crags

centuries. I leaned back on my hands and sat on a

which surrounded us. I had never traded sleep

boulder thousands of miles away from my home,

for a better purpose.

watching my own story unfold with the sun.

Mirage | Camille Boucard | Digital Photography



Skeletal System | Daniela Romero | Acrylic

The Atheist Itara Moore She is an effigy caught in stained glass, Radiating a halo of kinetic energy as she bends light to her will. She is church wine gone sour in my stomach, A kiss stolen during communion, My wandering eyes in the blue and white synagogue Where neither of us belong. She sings psalms spun from science And feasts on bread alone. The works of Sagan, Democritus, and Hawking Are etched on the Eucharist She tucks with crossed fingers behind hellfire lips. It is a beautiful thing, To drown in the rivers of blasphemy behind that tongue, To catch the light of heaven Hiding behind all that indignant fire in those eyes. So I paint the name of my God onto her wrists And press blessings like kisses into her palms, And she leaves a trail of mathematical formulas And humanist theories on my collarbone, The way other boys leave hickeys. We will destroy each other in the end, One way or another, but still we wonder and we wish. For who knows you better than the enemy?


Main Squeeze | Toni Shelley | Gouache


Maldición, My Muse

Gabriela Ortiz

“Perdóname, niña, por tener que ayudar a tu padre peleón.” (Forgive me, girl, for having to help your quarrelsome dad.) Those were the last words my father spoke to me before his untimely death a few days later; my reply was my standard, reused, and recycled phrase for him. “It’s okay. I don’t mind,” I would say, each time we spoke, ranging from favors – like that day – to long winded disputes. My last words to my father were lies. At that point in time, I had yet to grasp how his passionate discussions about art were life lessons in metaphorical disguise; life and art were mirrors of each other, fleeting and beautiful. The link between madness and genius, mental illness and creativity, misery and muses has dated back to the start. My father’s family, laden with writers and artists and storytellers, was no exception to this curse on the creative soul – maldición, as my mother would say. What masochistic part of human nature allows us to acquire inspiration from suffering? It’s the part of me, of my father, of my family, that flourishes in the night time, writing poems with our blood. My father was the fire to my kerosene, an inspiration, and not in a positive way; my grudge intensified with his absence. He had been gone ever since the alcohol found a home in his blood; since being drunk became a personality trait rather than a temporary state of being; since raising his voice became a habit, rather than an exception; since he forgot my favorite color and the distance grew; since he stayed out all night, gambling, my mother struggling by herself to make ends meet. The resentment festered in my heart, especially when my mother would complain about my likeness to him (because deep down, I knew we were both similar, lost in this unforgiving, cruel world, drowning in the meaningless of it. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”) I thought he was gone, but it felt like a wave was crashing over me, drowning me, my lungs heaving for air, when I saw him lying in a casket, the suit covering the welt around his neck. His tan skin, sun kissed from hours of hard work on rooftops, was dry and wrinkled after death, paper-thin, like worn out parchment, as if it could rip so easily.

The scent of formaldehyde was so nauseating that my stomach churned, and I gagged. Even in death, he didn’t look peaceful because the curse had made a home in his bones; it occurred to me then that he must have felt alienated and alone in his own family and maybe, when he looked in a mirror, he saw what I saw - someone unrecognizable. I knelt beside him, sobbing, because I had learned the lesson –“I forgive you because there’s nothing left for you to give.” The detail that stuck with me the most were his hands – they were not folded over his chest, they were hidden under the satin. His hands were no longer a sculptor’s hands; they were calloused and scarred. The moment I understood why his hands were covered underneath the white sheet, a vibrant contrast against his skin, all the gears clicked into place – he had sacrificed the only thing he was passionate about for me. He was meant to be an artisan, not a construction worker. If a tormented artist no longer has his art, what is he left with? Just the torment, something not even devouring yellow paint can cure – Van Gogh should know. Those were the large hands that created art, elegant beauty, out of chunks of wood. Those were the sturdy hands that held up one of the few sculptures he brought with him from Cuba and let my clumsy five year-old self run my hands along the smooth, lacquered, wooden surface of the abstract feminine figure in awe. Those were the gentle hands that rubbed my shoulders as I cried because of my frustration and anger with drawing, something I longed to excel at, which seemed unattainable. Those were the excited hands when we discussed our common passion – artists and their works, prose and poetry; it was something my mother could never understand. We are artists and we suffer, but art is invaluable because it is life. Our lives are our works of art, laced with beauty and emotions, highlighted by hardship and mortality. Humans are at their peak under intense adversity. We do not allow ourselves to get stuck in neutral; we thrive – like the artist with his misery as a muse – and we continue.


The Purifying Tide Has Come In Valeria Peralta

Underneath the cremated remains The ground’s cool to the touch Its ice glazed over and melting To form a puddle I will wallow in And drown My lungs filled again with everything But air and it’s better than having you There, hands around my throat Squeezing, choking, turning life to death You were a god who planted seeds that turned to Roots crawling up my throat Scaling the walls of skin, I became the beautiful Garden of Eden ready for whatever you wanted next I could feel the flowers between my teeth And those leaves that fell out of my mouth when I’d speak You were a gardener using me as dirt Watching me bloom into your prized bouquet Now I’m diving into the pond Of black water; it’s bubbling up my throat It’s flooding my lungs, filling them up Flushing out the remains of bark and your touch I can’t say I’m sorry to see Those flowers sag As I spit them out


Gardens | Madison Warwar | Acrylic


House on a Hill | Montana Ligman | Enamel


Night Virginia Ramirez Here I am,

the waves,

before time,

the sea,

watching you watch her with crazy

that grandiose blue dog,

eyes that don't laugh about me,


don't cry about me,

It purrs at my feet as if I were its

watching you, also, not watching me.

owner, as if I could ever be its owner...

I mingle with the crowd without searching for you (I know where you are but I'd never find you), looking up almost involuntarily, seeing the moon that I wouldn't want to consume without your presence.

And now with no sea, no sad dogs, no boats that surely drift away, I should change the way of my compass, retrace my footsteps,

But you're that boat with no

live the life I have left,


and leave alone, once and for all, that

that I admire whether it gets closer or

round moon,


that I would've loved to consume,

the tiny light that lifts and falls with

with you.


Balancing Act Leticia Rocha How peculiar it is, This longing For everything and For nothing at all.

To feel the universe pulsing around every corner, Only to fall into the deepest sense of detachment.

To love this world with an acute intensity, To abhor it with all your might in the same breath (You are a child of the Earth, But your heart belongs to the stars).

If only you could simply observe, Watch over this world you love and hate, Live every moment, a stream of infinity No confining prison of flesh, A limitless specter.

A never-ending battle between Sickly sweet idealism And freezing, bitter cynicism. This is who you are – A balancing act that can never get it right.


Circles | Daniel Ochoa | Mixed Media

Uncle Who Jessica Mozingo Uncle who yells like thunder And asks who needs him Who is ties and sunshine Who is wheels and chairs Is too busy to come out today Who tells me not today kiddo Who tells me I’m busy Whose eyes are all red Can’t come out today Sits at his desk all night and day Who laughs and chuckles Is stuck Is a buried man Is a locked box Doesn’t talk anymore Is hiding his legs Who helps my heart Is words and articles and stories Breathes in and out in and out in and out again Is thunder that yells Asking who needs him Who needs him? Who?


Freddy | Stephanie Triay | Acrylic


White Lights Desiree Broche The pain in my vision caused by the blinding white lights felt dull in comparison to the rapid beat of my heart. A mixture of sterile metals and pristine waxed floors created a knot in my stomach. Visitors who longed to see their loved ones coughed and squirmed as the security woman criticized them with an unforgiving eye.

As I made my way down the hall, my steps felt heavier and the room felt lighter. I gnawed the side of my cheek, drawing a small amount of blood, which was enough to distract me from reality. My brother attempted a weak smile, but his charming ways could no longer lift my spirits at that point. We reached the security, Ingrid, for lack of a better name, her black curly hair threatening to freeze me the way Medusa’s hair would her victim, her near black eyes having no empathy for anyone who roamed her halls. I felt shivers run down my spine, but she allowed us to go through, which caused my heart to kick-start into a panic attack.

I walked slower to the room that held one of the most important people in my life, a room that revolted me and for which I felt hatred. Upon reaching room 209, I felt out of breath and the shaking began. My brain concocted the idea that the door opened on its own, as if the room wanted to swallow me whole.

I looked at the crystal water of the ocean lapping the sturdy rocks; the light shining enough to heat my skin, and felt ultimate bliss as my breath shortened. I looked at my mother’s pale body trapped under white sheets, chained in red socks, and subjugated by wires. There was


gauze that constrained her left eye, and I knew in that moment I would never be the same fourteen year-old girl looking at the ocean’s view. As I stared at her breathlessly, over time I realized that I could no longer see her. I attempted to hold back the tears, but the dam broke before I could grasp hold of the doors. My lips felt chapped and salty, my cheeks forever ingrained with a wet trail mark, and my lungs tightened under pressure. “Mariposita,” she whispered, a nickname she had given me since a young age, meaning butterfly. My feet shuffled backwards, my brain sent signals of denial. “Come here, mi mariposita,” her voice rasped, a clear sign of her desperate need for water. This time, I forced myself to move to her side, and I grasped the cold metal sides of her coffin.

She attempted to move a few pieces of my tumbling brown hair, but after three tries of moving her arm, she yielded to her exhaustion and let them lie by her side. Her soft voice uttered words I would never forget, “Remember that you are strong and that you will be good in this world. Inspire others the same way you tell me I inspire you.” My vision became clearer, the soft pain in my cornea now turned into a sharp sight, and there was a white light that illuminated my face; revealing a glow that only those who have suffered and survived will recognize.

Looking at the Lights | Nathalie Perez | Gouache


Drooler| Adriana Llauro | Sculpture


The LightWithin the Dark An Interview with Adriana Llauro By Claudia Guzman CG: What is your art about?

CG: What are your plans for the future?

AL: My art consists of monsters that all represent my depression mixed with my emotions and ideas.

AL: I plan to be a cartoonist, preferably on Adult Swim or Cartoon Network, so I can bring my characters to life.

CG: What inspires you?

CG: Do you have a favorite monster?

AL: My inspiration comes from my depression and anxiety. I use that darkness to create vividly colored characters and monsters in hopes that people who also suffer from the horrors of mental disorders can relate and feel assured that they’re not alone. CG: Why do you use such bright colors? AL: The monsters that represent my depression, emotions, and memories inside my mind are extremely intense and give me tremendous migraines; vivid colors are the best representation of them since the visions are obnoxiously bright.

AL: I don’t really think I can pick one among them all; they’re all extremely important to me. CG: When did you start drawing these monsters? AL: Well, I’ve been drawing them since I was a child, but it was not until last year that I started adding them into my concentration. CG: Is there anything else you want to say about your art? AL: I hope that my artwork really connects with many people who suffer from mental disorders.



Sharing is Caring | Adriana Llauro | Ink

Under the Surface | Alisha Vanhemert | Acrylic


Thought #3 Or A Characterization of the Activities of Julia Rothfield His eyes were always moving. Roving. From one person to another. And hers were as well. They were like two sharks in a tank; they always kept moving, but had to, in the end, come back to each other, hemmed in by glass walls and love. They looked at people in a different way, the two of them – he sought the flaws, she the strengths. She was more likely to favor someone with a smile; he, with a smirk. But they were both always looking, seeking out someone else, and most often they found someone. Neither was unattractive; the woman resembled a hawk, and could be called striking, with her thin, sharp nose and prominent cheekbones which protruded like bridges draped in waxy skin. Her blond hair reminded no one of stupidity but attracted comments such as ‘commanding’ and ‘in charge.’ As harsh as her features sometimes seemed (she was a businesswoman and had the shark stare down pat), her features melted off the clock, and, when mixed with people and baked in blue sky and hot sunshine, they turned out a vanilla cake smile. And her nature led her to talk to people, out of no malicious intent or fault of her own, and she felt herself getting drawn in many different directions (noticeably not her husband’s) because people were just so interesting. The most important lessons she’d learned she experienced through the filter of others’ lives, and from this she made a kaleidoscope with which to see the world.

If she was an idealist, he was a pessimist, with gray glasses in front of his calculating eyes. His view was, again, a force of twisted circumstance – his glasses had been bought through experience and were non-returnable. Crystal blue orbs twinkled when they landed on others; he loved puzzles, seeing what made people tick, the layers of life that made them this collage, this personality. They were like crosswords to him, these passing people, and he filled them out as he watched them with the smart black pen of his eyes. And he loved them, these twisted people, with their lies and their stories and their heartbreak, until he had figured out their secrets, opened up their mechanisms like a crazy clockmaker, laying out these automatons and exposing them to the air. These were the people he saw every day, his projects, his playthings. They called him away from his café date to let his eyes rest on them like laser beams, that slight smirk on his handsome face, performing surgery on their souls. Until they faded away like used puppets, walking past his café table, and his magnetic eyes swerved back to the soft gray metal of his wife’s. And the sharks stared at each other in their tank, for maybe we truly only understand our own natures in someone else. But like all sharks, they had to keep moving to stay alive, so the magnetism was broken, and their eyes roved.


Afternoon | Ma Renalyn Macias | Oil Pastel


Like the Sky, my Colors Change (especially when my heart is rough) Andrea Jaimes milky breath and silky words honey that flows like you when I change just as fast (bleed) salty blood that courses roughly glides down smoothly one hour burns like rum the next (rush) speeding heartbeat throbbing head ragged breaths (breathe) the world is mine I take it in, in large gulps that drown me sponge lungs that shrink and shrivel (feel) heat and pain and rage and speed and depth and ache and need and lust and skin and god and blood and smoke and sugar


Fiery Phoenix and the Sleeping Dragon Ana Lam I grew up in a warzone of two cultures. On

traditional Chinese dishes from my grandmother

one side was my mom, a fiery Hispanic phoenix, or my “Popo” (婆 婆); the katsudon, wonton and on the other, her enemy, my Chinese

soup, and beef chow fun. My mother’s cooking,

paternal grandmother, a stiff, serious sleeping

however, did not compare; she was not exactly

dragon ready to light up at any moment. This

a competent chef. Whenever attempting to

war between my mother and grandmother was

recreate the Chinese dishes my brother and I so

over me and my brother, each matriarch wanting dearly craved, something always went wrong. to claim us for their own. My younger brother

My mom would mix up sugar and salt, add too

and I were stuck between clashing sides, and you much MSG, or burn our meal; nevertheless, could tell who dominated each side of the house

when it came to ropa vieja and sopa pampuna,

by studying the contrasting decors and aromas

my mom would add the ingredients to create the

from their cultures.

definition of comfort food. It was always warm

My grandmother’s sacred hearth had a kitchen, living room, and bedroom. Her kitchen was full of the aroma of herbs mixed with salt

and heavy even though she lacked culinary prowess. The mannerisms of both maternal figures in

and pepper; the dining chairs were made of

my life reflected their cultures. Once mom came

elegant, shiny wood which matched the rich

home from work, we were always greeted with

thick oyster sauce she used in her dishes. Walls

hugs and kisses. It was mandatory, similar to the

were covered with beautiful watercolor paintings

way a person clocks in at work.

of Chinese mountain landscapes and exotic birds paired with bold yet gracious Cantonese calligraphy in frames of the same shiny matte wood. This is where I spent my afternoons after school. I would enjoy the full-flavored


On her side of the house, she insisted on decorating the rooms with her own eclectic mix of furniture. Nothing matched, but when she combined the sleek modern furniture with her antique knick-knacks and decorations,

everything came together. She lays out all

whether my brother and I were more Chinese or

her feelings in the open, especially anger; she


makes sure everyone is very aware that she is infuriated. She will yell and stare down anyone

This clash of cultures was ever-present in my

with threatening eyes that made it seem that she

life and also within me. It would always take

knows any secret you were hiding.

me a moment or two longer than my peers to

This was very unlike my grandmother. It is a guessing game to discover what caused my Popo’s irritation. She has always been subtle and drops hints while

decide what to bubble in on the section where my ethnicity is asked. Do I put down my Asian ancestry which I love, or do I put down my Hispanic heritage which brings out the feelings of motherly


love within me?

with my

Should I define myself as


No ar

St | Br a



Dutch o en

or cr

A ic


at Ana and

grew up with


“Oh, look

because I



Brandon; what a shame! They look absolutely nothing like my son; they are just little spaños,” she would say in a mixture of Cantonese, Dutch, and the local

the language, or should I call myself an islander because I was born in the Caribbean? I felt as if I had to categorize myself into one of these cultures, because it is confusing to explain my

dialect, Papiamentu. These little, slightly

multicultural makeup, but now, instead of hiding

racist remarks never were fine with Mom, and

away from the opportunity to tell the story of

an argument would arise between them about

who I am, I’ll just bubble in all the categories.


Eating a Plum (While Not Invoking the Spirit of William Carlos Williams) Stephanie Woolley-Larrea


I spend more time looking than eating, noticing how the flesh gets lighter at the center. How the skin is so dark and everything graduates in. How thick and fleshy it is, almost human. William Carlos Williams also wrote a poem about plums, but in his icebox. My grandmother was an iceman. She rode around in a big white truck and sold chunks of frozen water. That was when she wasn’t raising seven kids and a field of blackberries. She wrote poems too, in her spare time. She’d bake a pie out of thin air, but couldn’t cook a potato without burning at least one side. I’ve always hated Williams’ poem. I’ve always hated his name. Who names their child William Williams? I saw the poem first in school, then in London all over the tubes. “Poetry in Motion” they called it. Stupidity on a Subway was more like it. I hate it so much that I’ve always remembered it. My grandmother would probably hate the poem also. She preferred poems that rhymed. She’d probably hate this poem too, but she’d appreciate the effort. She’d probably bake me cookies. Williams eats plums and begs forgiveness. But I don’t think he’s sorry at all. He says he did it because “they were so delicious so sweet and so cold.” Sweet like the blackberry pie warm in my grandmother’s kitchen. Cold like the ice she sold.

Float | Isabella Mojares | Digital Photography



Once Upon a Time in a Ch창teau|Eva Bibas|Digital Art| Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key Winner


Proteus | Lindsay Manganiello | Digital Photography | Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key Winner


She Says She Still Prays Valeria Peralta My childhood friend told me She’s terrified of god “Aren’t we all?” no. She says when she was little And saw the sky as only stars and clouds Her mother looked up and said God is watching “Watching who?” everyone, anything. The woman having an affair Across the street The boy f**king his girlfriend And thinking about how awkward The breakup will be Everyone “Is he watching me?” yes. That’s why she had to hide and disappear And lie and cry only when under a blanket Because her mom used the word God Like a punishment Hell like a given So she looked around before opening her mouth And swore that God’s gaze was suffocating

Because she was 12 and God was drowning her in kerosene And she was 14 and God was lighting a match And she was 16 and the fire was in her head So that every thought she had was consumed by flames “What did you do?” what do you think? She jumped off the monument created in the name of God Hoping for death but only finding dirt in her mouth She drank shots of God’s blood hoping for poison But it only left her mouth dry and throat burning She thought: maybe this is hell “So you didn’t listen?” why would I? She didn’t listen and she didn’t care And she couldn’t sleep anymore because Hell Hell Hell She damned herself willingly because If God was watching she wanted him to watch her die If God was watching her then she hoped he would Hate her as much as she hated herself Her dad said they didn’t raise her this way “Did they?” of course they did.


Four Eyes, Two Worlds Sofia Padrón Sometimes I like to take off my glasses. I can’t read the street signs Or expressions of a faraway face. For everything is blurry. I know it’s not as good as it could look, But it is real And it is raw And there is nothing between the world and me. Sometimes, of course, I like to keep them on For obvious reasons, you know. I very much enjoy being able to see The feathers of the birds in a nest in a nearby tree. Or the words on the board; that’s helpful too. I’ve asked myself which is more true: What I was born to naturally see Or what people have helped me to see. There are two worlds before me, always Reminding me that I really don’t know anything at all. And I love That I can choose Which one to be a part of.


Split Decision | Juliette Valdes | Colored Pencil


Inking the Lost Forest | Emily Ehlen | Ink


Cyclamen Valeria Peralta The vines wind around her neck, soft, yielding, the opposite of the vicious touches laid there before. Her neck remains fragile, though, fragile and a pale porcelain white, all of it being hidden. I wonder if it’ll be gone forever, if I’ll never be able to lay eyes on that skin again. I hope so. I desperately hope there’ll no longer be a way for me to tarnish what’s beautiful. Yet, I still look at her face. She is blooming, and I feel like crying. I feel like plucking a flower off her cheek just to crush it under my palms. Maybe it’ll feel like holding her. Maybe it’ll feel like killing her. I’ve felt both before, and so I stop my wandering hands. They’re fists at my sides, rocks compared to her rose petals, poorly contained angry compared to her serenity, me compared to her. She blinks once, and lifts her eyes, and suddenly we’re face to face. Suddenly I want to scream and hit and break the china plate in front of me. You’re too weak. You’re too weak and too soft and too beautiful and– and she blinks again. How can her eyes change like that? One minute open then closed as if she was human like me when she is so much more. Marble isn’t supposed to look so vulnerable. Marble isn’t supposed to be bursting with colors. There are daisies in her hair, and I think that might mean innocence. There are lilacs behind her ears, and I don’t know what to do with the knowledge that they mean love.

So, we lock eyes again, and I try to open my mouth, and it’s not a failure, not really. My lips move, but I can’t tell what words they’re forming. I try to search for my voice, but it’s long gone, lost somewhere among these fields amidst the grass that goes up to your knees and flowers that make your eyes water. Somehow we ended up here, talking without really talking, touching without really touching, living without really living. I’m grasping at hope and wishing in whispers that maybe she’ll answer back. Maybe my stories of dreams and the future can be enough to wipe this picture clean of the dirt and the grass and these goddamn flowers. Maybe my pleas can convince her to follow me out of the field one last time. The vines continue to climb up her neck onto her cheek, and this time I do reach out. I’m too late, of course. When I reach her face my fingertips graze dirt before I have the chance to pull away. I think I might still be talking, all these nonsense words I’ve said before again and again and no wonder they sound like gibberish after all this time. There’s a breeze picking up, gentle and warm like a breath against my cheek. I think I’m too busy crying to notice when she’s gone. But she’s gone now, daisies and lilacs and cyclamen in her place. I reach for one, but I can’t get myself to pull. I’ve been careless enough.



A Glitch in the System | Daniel Ochoa | Mixed Media

Consumption Itara Moore

12:47 A.M: There’s dried blood splattered on the floor, and I’m wondering if I can find the stars in your eyes. 12:50 A.M: There are no stars. But pools of ink devouring lights in their intensity; billowing clouds of volcanic ashes – burying obsidian and jet in their depth. 12:53 A.M: You have consumed me.


Do Not be Afraid | Maria Villa | Pen and Colored Pencil


On Learning How To Swim Andrea Jaimes When the sound of gunshots become so frequent You’d think they’d keep our bellies full, The rubble and fires and bombs Become our daily bread. “We didn’t cross the border The border crossed us” Becomes our daily prayer. The sounds of bombs and children crying Echo through our empty houses, Our empty stomachs, Our empty hearts, Our empty country. The wall that stands between us Is so large you think it could touch The sun. Maybe then we’d feel some warmth. And the rows of bodies are being Confused for flower beds. When we walked past the graves, My sister’s son told her he wanted to Live there one day Since the flowers looked so beautiful. But those flowers are land mines And this Syria is hell, And that ocean is a wall, And a graveyard.

If only they could actually sleep at night We build bomb shelters around our love As if keeping our hearts safe Translates to keeping our homes safe, And our country standing. When I filled out my visa forms, I put “destruction” as my permanent address Since that seems to be the only constant in my life; Everything else is still up in the air; Our safety is still up in the air; Our livelihood is still up in the air. The only things grounded Are the bodies in the graves Where we used to harvest our food, And corpses are not good fertilizers. So when a government asks me My reason for wanting to immigrate to the United States of America, I tell them “I want to live”. But all they hear is “I want to destroy” Since that’s what I put as My permanent address. You’d think after all the Glaring headlines And the blood scented oil They seem so comfortable taking Into their nation, They’d at least get rid of the smell Of burning flesh.

Children aren’t buoyant. If only their bodies could float as high as their spirits– A nation of sadists, But lately even those have been sinking; That turns away my people Maybe that’s why they’re drowning. Using their blood to paint the Stripes on the flag that symbolize their freedom. The dead sea gets its color from the blood of my So, after two years of awaiting entry people. Only to be “deferred,” Gunshots become our national anthem, I start to wonder, The lullabies that put our children to sleep at night Where’s mine?


Voices A Collaboration of Twelve Students Voices, produced in collaboration with Area Stage Company and Theatre Conservatory and Holocaust Impact Theater, is a student written and directed play that analyzes themes of immigration, mass incarceration, race relations, and gay adoptions. A monolgue regarding the current state of race relations in the United States is featured below. Be proud. Speak your mind. Express

But when a badge looks me in the eye and tells

yourself. When you’re little, that’s what they tell

me I’m nothing – well. Sometimes I start to

you to do, but I’ve learned some different lessons

believe it. This guy has got credentials, Mom, he’s

over the years. Take my hood off, keep my hands

somebody. He’s telling me I’m not enough and

out of my pockets, always be ready to raise my

I’m someone who’s… Who’s not worth it, who’s

hands in surrender. This is what mom tells me

a “crack whore”, who’s useless, just because of

to keep me safe, but all I hear is, “Be obedient.

the color of my skin. It doesn’t matter what my

Don’t talk back. Hide the color of your skin. Burn

passions are, what I’ve been through, who I am.

your curls.” [beat] Not a single day has gone by

I’m just a damn bug to them, like a parasite that

that a black person hasn’t been shot. Shot for no

needs to be exterminated. It’s the thought that one

reason other than having more melanin in their

day I won’t be able to come back, walk down the

skin. The monster that is racism is alive and well.

same street I grew up on. One day the man with a

It has haunted me since birth, whispering that I

gun and a uniform will decide that I’m not worth

am a lesser being. “Slavery is over!” they say. “We

breathing because of the color of my skin. I’ll

have a black president!” they say. “Segregation

just be another homicide case, another statistic,

has been outlawed!” Well, I’ve got some news

another pull of the trigger. And I’ll just be another

for you. This is the new Jim Crow. Black people

black girl who crossed the wrong man at the wrong


getting shot in the street. Our bodies like slabs of meat ready for the taking, ready to be shot at, killed, raped, used in any way. Is it too much to ask to be treated like a whole person, instead of

time, another Sandra Bland, another Natasha McKenna, another Zella Ziona. And I’m scared, I’m so f***ing scared that that’s going to happen

three-fifths of one? I’m proud of being black, and

to me. So go ahead. Shoot me now. I f***ing

even more, I’m proud of being a black woman.

refuse to make peace with this racial nightmare.


Voices I (Producers) |Isabella Mojares | Digital Photography

Voices II | Holocaust Impact Theatre | Digital Photography

Mariachis and Cross Country

Ipanema Mora-Carrera

Jumbled Moments|Montana Ligman|Gouache

Abuelito David was a hard-headed man. He was a fighter, an Agricola of the tomato fields, a musician, and most importantly, a father. He came from humble roots in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he lived with his family. He worked every day in his life in order to learn, live, and provide for those he loved. I never met David Mora face to face, but he has always influenced what I see as normal in my life. I used to believe that all children learned their ABC’s after their DO, RE, MI’s, and that it was common for family members to unite in order create a rich and colorful sound shouting out: “Yo soy de Mexico!”. As it turned out most kids only ever knew their DO, RE, MI’s because of The Sound of Music, and not everyone was Mexican, or had mariachis as parents. Because of my Abuelo, my childhood revolved around the loud and wondrous sounds from Mexico. He taught my father how to play his first trumpet, and how music could bring one home, to Mexico. I recall elementary school days when other classmates would look at me in disbelief after watching my family perform on stage with their charro outfits, covered in gold and silver eagle patterns, at the Hispanic Heritage Month Show. I also remember their faces when I showed them videos of my family playing with Shakira and at the White House; I felt so proud of my family and how far the music was taking the Familia MoraArriaga. At my quince, my friends cried out in surprise as my family stood up in unison, grabbed their instruments and did their usual mariachi routine. I joined in, much to my friend’s surprise, and to my delight. Regardless of all these good memories, I’ve had bad experiences because of my heritage. I remember a child standing on his bus seat yelling to me, “Hey, what’s a Mexican’s favorite sport?” I remember cringing, knowing what to expect.

“Cross country!” I admit that now I find it amusing how kids tried to get under my skin; however, back then, I clearly did not. So little Ipanema flipped them the bird for the very first time. It wasn’t the best response, but I simply wanted to defend my country. Those thoughts of defense, however, lead me to think. My country? At home I was 100% sure Mexico was my country – but at school? At school I proudly pledged allegiance to the American flag, not that of my parents. I usually stayed quiet as children giggled and asked whether I was legal. They certainly weren’t talking about age. I also thought about the times I went to Mexico, and my cousins chose to call me the American no matter how much I told them I was Mexican. One day after explaining this internal problem to my Papa, he said, “Mijita, you are Mexican!” “But I was born here! In America!” I cried out. “But Mexico is part of the Americas,” he said. I felt so frustrated until he finally brought me to peace. First of all, he explained, both my mama and papa are from Mexico; so, obviously Mexican blood runs through my veins. Ironically, my life could be considered borderline, as stereotypically Mexican as possible. With the mariachi, the big elephant in the room, my family learned to stay united thanks to my Abuelo; family was big, and with a big family come big fiestas. Big fiestas came along with sombreros and piñatas along with songs typically played in el Norte and tamales. Big family also came with protection and stories of Mexico that would make one believe they lived there as well. I remember holding this knowledge like a treasure in my hands, a gift no one could ever rob me of because regardless of what people say or where I was born, yo soy mexicana.


Love Confessions Paola Cha’vez

love confessions scribbled lazily on a receipt from 2008 proclamations of our feelings scrawled next to the $5.99 special who needs rooftops to shout from when there’s a drawer in the kitchen filled with useless paperwork for lovers like us?



Breakfast | Ma Renalyn Macias | Acrylic

Among the Sea | Austin Sanchez | Gouache

The Early Summer Calling A Fictional Vignette

Daniela Hernandez


The rumblings of the loose windowsills woke me up. “Srbi so prišli do Dravograd,da bi mejo , pripravo na napad!” (The Serbs are coming to the Austrian border in Dravograd, prepare to be attacked!) Those words coming from the radio were forever seared into my memory. “Vraga,” I cursed. The sounds of crushing metal outside made me cringe; all of our trucks lined in a silent parade couldn’t stop the tanks, and we knew it. I was so angry that rage seemed to flow through my veins. I did not think; I just acted impulsively and loosely pulled together the remnants of the civilian plan to barricade the streets. I shook uncontrollably as I gathered my spare hammers from the back shed. I was not scared. I was bitter. I was born in Slovenj Gradec when it was still part of Yugoslavia, but I owed my whole existence to Dravograd. I remember feeling envy for our Austrian neighbors. I was deprived of childhood luxuries, especially excitement. For fun, all the children would run in the forest and meet up at a large tree. There, we would discuss how bored we were. A common complaint whispered behind our Orthodox mothers’ backs was, “This place is so boring that even God doesn’t visit on Sundays.” My friend Avgust, despite the Slovak name, was ethnically Serbian with Muslim parents,

but we didn’t care. He told exciting stories and traveled to Europe with his father, going to Norway and Germany, and even meeting Gypsies in Spain. No one cared about his ethnicity until the death of President Tito; everything became chaotic and everyone felt like their best interest lay with their countries. So, Avgust moved back to Serbia. The tanks rammed into our city’s vehicles, placed in streets where we knew the Yugoslav People’s Army would go to reach the border. I had placed my own sheep truck in front of my house to block the street. Once all of the materials were gathered, I noticed beads of sweat gathering on the foreheads of my neighbors who were screaming at the Serbs:

“WE WON OUR FREEDOM, YOU HAVE NO CONTROL!” They ignored the chaos and tried to get through the remains of my truck. I had never seen a difference among the Slavs, Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks, but for the first time, I felt frustration towards these groups of people. They could not accept that we were independent and free from their manipulating hands. When we gained freedom in 1990, I felt truly happy for the first time. I was studying engineering and computer science at the time, and felt frustrated with myself, my work, and my family. My parents had died months prior

in an automobile accident, and until we were free, I felt like my life was leading to disappointment. We scratched up a constitution and even had multi-party elections, in which I voted. Tears streamed down my face as I called myself a Slovenian citizen. And now, only one year later, here were the Yugoslavs attempting to control our borders and government again, thus controlling my people. I heard a cry: “Danijel! Fight for Jan! Do not let his death be in vain!” “Do not worry, Ida. They do not think they will fight, but our blood is stronger than our thought!” Jan was the only relative left. He was cocky and always had stars in his eyes, believing everything he dreamed, and dreaming everything he believed in. “I will go to Amerika one day, Danijel. I will marry a great woman and make enough money to come back and bring you there. Just let me finish this last job, you will see.” He would always end with a chuckle and I would agree with his childish dreams. Little did I know, his job as a truck driver would result in his death after an airstrike. With what sounded like a battle cry, I threw my hammers at the tank. Many other young men rallied with me and threw the sticks and rocks they had brought. The YPA men looked at each other in confusion, but they ignored us and tried to communicate something. I bet


that if I had paid attention to them, I could’ve understood what they were saying. But I didn’t want to understand, I wanted to fight them, and destroy them like they had destroyed me. I was reduced to pure rage. Tears brimmed in my eyes as I threw the debris of my truck at them; I was out of hammers. I felt a pat on my shoulder. It was a Slovenian soldier, telling me to stop and look up. Only then did I see clouds of smoke gathering in our usually blue sky, seeming to be captured by our tall, lush mountains. We ran towards our homes, hearing gunfire and screams from both sides. My radio blared the reported events in real time; street after street, car after car, home after home, lost. The smell of gunpowder and iron never seemed to go away, and I realized that it was entering my home, slithering through the cracks of my windows and doors. I was disgusted by who we had

become; our blood was truly stronger than our thought. I laughed for the first time as I walked from my radio to my living room. The laugh seemed inappropriate, but it was induced by the realization that we had been so stupid; we risked our lives to throw sticks at a tank. I had even sacrificed my father’s sheep truck. I hadn’t noticed how much noise was being made until it stopped. The radio even stopped. And then for the first time since he left, I remembered Avgust. I saw an Avgust in the men driving the tanks, and in my neighbors I saw a Jan. But then, a revelation was made; I saw a Danijel in everyone. I was paralyzed. Never before had I thought of the people fighting as people. I peered out the window to see the tanks leaving my street, crushing Ida’s flowers. Although it seemed like a warzone, no blood was shed, and the first things I noticed

were open windows and what seemed little glimmering beetles eyes. Later, I found out they were cameras, planted in each room of the homes to record the event. I felt as if I had done nothing. I felt like I was defeated, though we had control of our borders. Slovenia then signed the Brioni Accord, which was announced loudly in a sing-song voice over every radio in town, so the Yugoslavs left Croatia and Slovenia. I was in a rut for a while, reflecting on what I had felt after the barricade. I saw myself in those people. I saw others who did not and could not do the same, and went on hurting even more. This event deeply marked my life, but nothing prepared me for what was to come. This event, in accordance with a Croatian war, was the brutal beginning of the Yugoslavian division.

The author was inspired to write this fictional piece after a chance encounter that led to a friendship with Deni Vinšek, a Slovenian boy whose father had participated in the Yugoslavian war.


Into the Darkness | Austin Sanchez | Gouache


Catching Feelings | Ashley Townsend | Acrylic

Surrealist Teepee for Lady Gaga

Michael Gordon She is nothing but an ephemeral being, ascending from the warmth of asphalt. Nothing but an assemblage of pixels that glisten upon my screen. Nothing but an enigmatic being that has been thrust out of the confines of her cave. She is putty, trickling through my hands, disintegrating with every touch. A flurry of creative rebellion, a collage of all ideas never pursued, a collection of woes and triumphs that never dared to undergo existence. I hold my breath with every advent as I become enveloped within her teepee of surrealism to reside amongst a delusion that transcends all irremediable reality.


First Impressions | Isabella Mojares | Digital Photography


Inflated Identity Siena Vadakal When people see me, they become overwhelmed with joy, Elated by the elevations I can reach.

But they do not understand the pseudo nature of my existence how all my opinions are not my own how I am filled with the breath, the ideas, of another

I become fragile with the thought that I am just a replica of another’s existence that the only feature I can claim to be mine just my own is the fine line of rubber holding me together

But even that can be stretched. Can be stressed. To the point… I just… “Pop!”


Inked Red and Brown | Emily Ehlen | Ink and Spray Paint


God Forgive Me, for

I Am a Picky Eater Andrea Jaimes I am Lucifer I fell from high heavens because I couldn’t keep up with the verses on the tip of your tongue They never tasted right to me

Maybe they lacked the condiments or maybe I lacked the sanctity (You insisted it was the latter, despite my efforts to convince you that it was an acquired taste)

Forgive me, Father, for Faith fails to be a favorable food

A recipe for disaster I am the unholy trinitySin, rotten, sick (It turns out you considered my attraction to the female form unpalatable)


Dead Sea Pirates

Jakob Namon and Cameron MacDonald

I’m relaxed to dead, rested to dread, R&R up in my head Rags on my bed, Reckless I’m bred R&R up in my head Raid all the tech, Rage on the Trek R&R up in my head I’m – on the couch with drones on my mind Buzzin in my face and putting honey in my lies I’m – on the prowl with these hoes in my sight Rubbing up my waist and doing something to my eyes I’m – not gone but I’m not sitting next to you It had just dawned when all that’s left of you Isn’t right there but is still f***ing with the rest of you Everyone always expects the best of you. That same trend they say is abused by the goblin. Conscious of no apex but still skew in the coxic Till days end imma keep view of the pockets Till the daze ends imma keep two in the cockpit In shamed dens for my use as an office Seeds off to break bread and douche the whole project. But wait a minute, come off it Do you come here often? You’ve got me seldom soft but oft tin Foil him but don’t rip, lest you bleed after you slip See I had dreams when I was a kid Gripped the seams when I was a kid And ripped off a piece when I was a kid But not enough to cover my soul in the winter, so I roll with the sinners, hellfire cloak my words burn ‘em to smithers. Give her an old bone and turn to the licker, I’m with scurvy and bitter tongue flicks, rolled the morning paper and hit her blunted. At the crack of dawn when the sun whips Rays of hate into my eyes I close ‘em and say f**k it. I’m relaxed to dead, rested to dread, R&R up in my head Rags on my bed, Reckless I’m bred R&R up in my head Raid all the tech, Rage on the trek R&R up in my head If I died tomorrow, who would miss me. That wasn’t a question, but a statement. As of late at least, medicine makers.


All so known as takers, feeling fatal. Destined since prenatal, for a future. But in need of sutures, really staples. Bleeding, all my hope and aspiration. The sidewalk, it really does talk to me. It aids in reflections meant to save myself. Suicidal – never meet my idol. Never feel the same, sit idyll, by my bible. Just give me a single reason not to. Pull the trigger, I should be halfway there. By the time they call in the Calvary. I ain’t no causality, gun my weapon. Fighting the evils survive inside of me. I’m relaxed to dead, rested to dread, R&R up in my head Rags on my bed, Reckless I’m bred R&R up in my head Raid all the tech, Rage on the Trek R&R up in my head I roll as a relaxed beast, ready to rrarr until I speak raspy. I don’t need lackey’s, I lack ‘em like a recollection of my dreams last week. I can’t pick up any sticks if they’re already broken on the street, so I just beat ‘em with my fists till the word was spoken in his screams. I know I’m flowin with diss ease, insulting sultan of the leaf, face dead like Halloween, I spit galaxies at god cause them 7 days was weak. Kicked their buckets for ‘em and started killing ‘em softly. Euphemistic decorum, started stringin’ ‘em lofty. Got rich post mortem, started Robbin’ the zombie. Dash through the point and that dot’ll never stop me. That’s 3 times 3, a triplet of trinities. So I’m 3 times your god, and 3 times infinity. Strapped to death’s c**k but he’s withering, tired cause he’ll never be coming’ into me. I’m relaxed to dead, rested to dread, R&R up in my head Rags on my bed, Reckless I’m bred R&R up in my head Raid all the tech, Rage on the Trek R&R up in my head

In My Basement | Leira Padron | Color Reduction Print

Where is the Light | Karla Infante | Digital Photography

73 I See You | Karla Infante | Digital Photography

Absolute | Cassandra Zuria | Paper Collage

Madame Would Be Proud Nicole Garcia I round the corner hesitantly. I fix my gaze on the sickly bright yellow lines between my feet. I pretend that their searing tone will burn me if I lose my balance. I remember what that was like when carpeted floors between raised cushions threatened a lava deep fry if I lost my balance. Half the block has passed under my feet without a single stumble so I hop-scotch into the thin black asphalt between the cautionary lines. This is what walking a tight-rope must feel like. One foot behind the other, heel to toe, toe to heel, arms held out to my sides competing with the wingspan of a plane flying overhead. It’s going in the opposite direction. If we were on the same level, it would be heading right towards me, nose to nose, tête à tête. A game of chicken on a dark gray street. I’ve been looking down for so long that I hadn’t realized what part of the neighborhood I’ve landed myself in. The trees grow taller, loom larger, fall harder here. They suck the light out

of the air forcing a blanket of a shadow on every house, porch, and lawn in the row. Suddenly, the tight-rope is a balance beam and I am performing for a gold metal (blue ribbons don’t belong in the shadows). With my eyes closed, I raise my head only so that it will follow my back as it arches backwards, arms rounded in an elegant fifth position. Madame would be proud. I come back up, step forward, pivot, and face the opposite direction. My eyes are still closed. The routine isn’t over until I’ve completed the sequence with a grand bow (I don’t know what gymnastics call that move) Chin and chest raised upwards, arms extended to a perfect V up above my head and slightly behind my shoulders, 70’s videos of Nadia Comaneci have taught me well. Only then do my eyelids flutter open to find someone’s gaze fixed on me. She’s sitting on the only chair in a second floor balcony, looking down at me as if it would burn to look away. She extends a hand with a lit cigarette. If we were on the same level, we would be face to face, and her gesture would be mistaken for an offer, an invitation even.


How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Salma Abdelrahman “Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half- hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.” W.E.B. DuBois wrote these words over a

devotion to this country I call home. How does it

century ago. I’ve read them several times, in

feel to be a problem? They talk about me on TV, that

hopes that one day I may be able to understand

Muslim-American who shouldn’t be President.

the struggles that the Black Community has gone through. Their existence was referred to as “The Negro Problem”; their subjugation to slavery at the hands of the white master considered

How does it feel to be a problem? It is the shock of walking into a sliding glass door. I can see the dream. It’s there in front of me, but something is

a necessary evil, even a beneficial good to

blocking my ambitions. It is the label “Problem”.

some. I’ve studied race relations for almost a

I cried myself to sleep the night Ahmed

year now, and that blaring question remains

Mohammed got arrested. I cried again when Ben

with me: “How does it feel to be a problem?”

Carson said he would not advocate for a Muslim President. I wept for myself, and for the millions

“We have a problem in this country, and

of Muslim Youth in America who would find

it’s called Muslims.” A Trump supporter yells

themselves confronted by that glass door sooner

these hateful words into the microphone at a campaign event. It didn’t register in my mind for a few seconds. He’s talking about me. He

or later. For those of us who are inventors, politicians, doctors, lawyers, dreamers, I wept.

called me a problem. They think I’m a problem.

I am not an issue to be fixed. There is

How does it feel to be a problem? June 22, 2012,

nothing wrong with my coffee skin or my

8:30 a.m. I have the details of my naturalization

black Abaya. I’m not hiding any secrets in

memorized, just in case someone tries to deny my

my off-white hijab. We are not a problem.


Erika | Meaghan Lintner | Gouache



Isabella Castillo I look through the holes in-between her toes, her feet inflamed and swollen from time that has been bitter and sweet and I think of: All she has danced in the cold and hot rain, has walked holding hands with him. All she has run into arms warmly waiting, open just for her and has fallen, and stood patiently by the road, and has been still. They are full of cracks and calluses. Bruised and soft from wear, damaged, They have been hit many times by asphalt and dirt. Cruelly treated, yet intact imprints I do wish to savor life so.


The Weight of Life | Karla Infante | Digital Photography


Only to Remember Savannah Gossweiler As the sea comes in with the tide his years are relinquished. The current has washed color from his face; Pale like the ice in winter he grows cold. The ocean is where he signed his dotted line. Forever longing to be home, where the cobblestones lie. The waters are his family, and the constellations his children. He counts every star before resting, just to repeat the next day the same.

A fisherman. Wearing bones down to nothing, getting up before the sun, awake much after the moon has arrived, having the salt engraved into his skin and hair, Needing to be home, but will never leave what he knows. Living ambiguously and slowing withering. In the oceans is where the fisherman will stay not to remember the feeling of dew on grass, but only to have the memory of glancing at the horizon for the first time.


Estuary | Oanh Nguyen | Acrylic


Mushroom | Claudia Guzman | Gouache


Painting The

Patrick Martin



’ve trained for eighteen years to become an astronaut. It takes a lot of skill to hurtle through space at 66,000 miles per hour with nothing but feeble guesses at the wheel. My spaceship is a palace – I’m surrounded by lunar artifacts of this strange place.

between race and poverty and politics. The Moon doesn’t care about money. Our different cultures and identities and languages ride on our planet. The Moon speaks none of our languages. Our music and suffering and addiction to ourselves. The Moon is cold.

Chopped wood furnishes my dwelling, where paper rests and half-finished pie lays. Instruments, tailored to my body, wait patiently for my interest – the buttons and knobs are so convenient for my fingers. Who designed this guitar so perfectly? The members of this world have made everything easy.

For a second, everyone leans as one. We’ve managed to blot out the sun for sixty minutes, disturbing the peace of the little barren rock; we’ve reached our zenith of influence in this cosmic neighborhood. Alexander the Great kneels before the dingy Diogenes and asks how he can be of use. The grey figure suggests that the soldier stop blocking his sunlight. For an hour, the great Alexander turns Diogenes red, until he is gone and will not return for years.

Fifty feet below, eighty thousand gallons of poison water churn in anticipation of the next youth or elderly. Plants breathe because they’re pretty, false wood planks are there to walk on. Metal contraptions combust compressed carcasses from a different time, moving millions of these members of the world among their asphalt avenues. The light from the Sun and Earth’s one moon cast their glow across the rocky surface, gracing the mountains and oceans and coffee shops. Then, it stops. We butt into the romance between the Moon and the Sun. In a quarrel of stones, we’ve cut off the Moon’s glow. Our rock, with our peoples and our societies and our issues. Our struggles

Meanwhile, Alexander the Great travels in great ellipses. For one hour every few years, they check up. In between, the creatures on earth churn and froth like a wave. The mistake is zooming in. The birth of a child, the learning of a language, the reddening of the trees during a different season. Clocking into work, quitting smoking, the death of an artist or a song or a pen. All of it is sent in that message, the telegram every few years, the eclipse.

Our work of art upon the surface of a rock.


Inked Wolves | Emily Ehlen | Ink and Spray Paint


NO PERROS Ipanema Mora-Carrera Es un trabajo de pura dedicación, del cuerpo, para la tierra que ya no te pertenece.

It is a work of pure dedication, by the body, for the earth which no longer belongs to you.

Y para estar más seguro, y que tu familia esté más feliz, tomaste en tus manos el Monte del Rey. Así dejaste que tus manos de niño se volvieran a manos de hombre.

And to be safer, and for your family to be happier, you took in your hands the Mountain of Kings. So you let your hands of a boy become the hands of a Man.

Te encontraron unos hombres, de clase alta y piel blanca, y te llevaron al otro lado. El lado de la prosperidad y de la felicidad.

Some men found you, of upper class and white skin, and they took you to the other side. The side of prosperity and happiness.

Y ahí te cubrieron desde la cabeza hasta los pies con veneno, por miedo de lo que pudieras traer. Te trataron como un perro, pero tu familia tenía que comer.

There they sprayed you from head to toe with poison, afraid of what you could carry. They treated you like a dog, but your family needed to eat.

Por los próximos meses, por el próximo año, tu cuerpo de músico se volvió en uno de luchador. Y cada noche te fuiste con tu acordeón y tus amigos a una cantina. El acordeón, para tocar y ganar más dinero. Tus amigos, para que les des la oportunidad de comer. No han comido tan bien en días.

For the next months, for the next year, your Musicians body became that of a fighters. And every night you went with your Accordion and your friends to a Cantina. The Accordion, to play and gain some money. Your Friends, so that they could get an opportunity to eat. They had not eaten so well in days.

Al entrar a la cantina veías un anuncio que decía lo siguiente:

Entering the Cantina you would see a sign which said the following:

Blancos SOLAMENTE, NO negros, NO mexicanos, NO PERROS.

Whites ONLY, NO blacks, NO Mexicans,




Daniela Romero

A montage of phthalo, not merely pasted onto the wall, but delicately grazed on the white surface, was the first layer of our grand adventure. The Class of 2016 art academy dreamed of arriving at the Wynwood walls to prove what we were worth. We skipped off the bus and were struck with awe; these walls were not just walls, but rather monumental pieces of color and wonder. We glided through the park, but something made our fingers twinge – we wanted to paint. I could only imagine our ravenous faces, longing to create a piece on those walls. Mr. McKinley, our highly respected art teacher, toiled for several weeks in order to make the arrangements for our mural. McKinley, the mastermind, planned the contents of the mural. We would start by covering the wall with a phthalo blue, then scrape a glossy gray in smooth circular motions, then add some touches of cobalt blue. McKinley also decided that every student in our magnet program would draw three different motifs. Trying to arrange over 300 varied motifs would not be easy, but


we all worked to make it as cohesive as possible. Our micro motifs were painted with a glossy black, then our mezo motifs were painted with a satin black, and finally our macro motifs were painted with a matte black. Together, the combinations of black created a shimmering effect, contrasting with the glossy gray. It took us an entire week, from November 14 – 20, and when we finished, we breathed in the atmosphere of our creation. The unveiling of the mural was both hectic and calming, as excited students and parents beamed with pride. The wall was covered with a long red ribbon, and I had the honor of cutting it with Mr. McKinley. I knew at that moment, with cameras flashing and hands applauding, I would never forget this experience. The wall, the students, and the entire experience was BLUEBLACKBADBEAUTIFUL.

Mural In The Making | VPA Academy | Digital Photography Completed Art Mural | VPA Academy | Digital Photography

Chaotic Pleasures | Ashley Townsend | Acrylic


Falsifying Gabriela Ortiz i love the way you sharpen your words with my unearthed ribs and devour me my clouded, rosy eyes follow you

(your sickness was parasitic)

i love the semi-permanent imprint your hands leave around my throat i feel you so close

(i forgive you) your outline blurred, faded the distance tangible my eyes searched for (you) amongst the crowd

(you’re so good at leaving)

i’ll relive the missed moments with printed snapshots and

fill in the blank spaces with made-up stories


1 | Daniel Ochoa | Mixed Media


And Poetry

Jakob Namon and Cameron MacDonald All these bars are Xanax. Please, Don’t panic Depression is manic and I’m standing on top of the planet like I ran it. This goes out, without a doubt, To real caped crusaders: People in ski masks chasing after paper. We ain’t ever had any things They told us to go get, We did it the way they taught us, that got us locked up in prison They made it so our sentences don’t have limitsNo periods. They’ll let us know when we’re finished It’s a dog eat dog world out there Jesus please holla back. We’re hooded like your burial robes, Ready to die and all that, We’re martyrs for the cause, they expect us to be Judas, I need more than 40 pieces Cause my friend he’s like a piece of me To the police he’s like a piece of meat. I see so much blood on the leaves They cut down all the trees Now the public executions have to happen in the streets. Hold up, Wait a minute:

Three-hundred-sixty-five pills later And about as many days, I been running from the pain Chasing all the paper. The hustle was halted, But I’ve got some rubble left in my pockets. Little rocks will leave ‘em walloped solid They tell us money is God, We’re fighting for the prophet Some are cutting on the corners, Others cut. Mothers on the phone with the coroner Four bullets, each struck just as much to the core of her. I’m there, dead as him in front of the television, Doing not a thing about it like I got permission. There is pleasure to being closer to death and life, That’s a drug addiction, You pay the price. Me? I’ve got three to five and counting, I wake up every day with: Lips shaking and lungs growling. Nose blazing and tongue pouting. Chest craving and brain shouting. “Baby take me away” I proclaim loudly.

I think I just might eat myself along with the earth I’ve got to have it all, They said I had no worth. That’s what they said to every one of us So we keep comin’ till every breath is worth a hundred bucks. This amoxicillin is just not killing stuff, It’s not real enough. I’m Harley Quinn watching suicide talk, Eyes up staring at God. At a bacterial level, I’ll level with you, I’m Levaquin Operation is kill everything, Sort of reminds me of George Zimmerman’s mission statement. Wrote the second stanza on Trayvon’s twenty-first Hey, it can’t get any worse. Remember Rugrats, Then Yugioh and Beyblades, A little after that it was GTA. Now my cousin’s imprisoned Alleged GTA. People think I care its Bob Marley’s birthday My cousin might be jailed until his twenty-first. That’s five years, It can’t get any worse. Criminal Justice is for sale, Buy a better lawyer, Then maybe we prevail:


Food for a Thought Itara Moore

There was normally a beggar on every corner. In fact, many of the panhandlers worked the same corner each day. A few people got to know them, but most would avoid them. Some generous people would drop a few coins into their hands and give themselves a mental pat on the back before continuing about their day. The person whom they helped soon became a discarded memory, a story to teach their children gratitude, or a cautionary tale of missed opportunities.

grabbing a random container and handing it over to the first person.

My mom has a different approach to the situation.

Slowly the number of containers starts to dwindle, and with the appearance of each face, old and new, I’m distinctly reminded of my family’s previous living situation. We once spent long nights at the beach trying to find that perfect position to sleep in even though we were crammed in the back in the trunk like a can of sardines.

Every two weeks, the trunk of our car is loaded with the bleach-white containers of homecooked meals. The sweet, savory aroma wafts through our car, causing my mouth to water, and for a moment I want to reach back and grab a container for myself. However, the food is not for me, and instead I choose to show self-restraint until the car finally comes to a stop under an old bridge. It’s not long before we’re opening the trunk. A line of people are already forming behind us, and as the crowd grows larger, I can slowly feel the tension from the people gathered around us.

I take stock of every person who comes up to us; most are old faces from the last time we stopped by, some I have never seen before. I notice that they all have the same tired look in their eyes; it’s a gaze of hunger, depression, and hopelessness all wrapped up into one, and I wonder if that same expression was plastered on my face just a couple months ago.

One person tells my mom how he hasn’t had a proper bath in days, and I’m instantly reminded of how we used to wash ourselves off with nothing but a rag and a sink until we started taking showers at a local campground. My mom nods her head in understanding before giving him the campground’s address with a small warning to watch out for the park rangers that patrol the area.

Is there enough food? What if they run out? I have the sudden urge to dispel their worries and reassure them that everyone will get a container, but I’m not even sure of the answer. Instead, I manage to muster up a smile before


Three people come and go, leaving us with heartfelt thank-you’s and good wishes. One of the last people to come up is a woman; her shirt falls in folds around a bump

Still Life with Cafeteria | Mathew Gonzalez | Acrylic

on her stomach. She hold her hands around it, cradling it as she would a precious diamond. Suddenly, I realize that she is pregnant, and for a moment I wonder if the child is going to be born into a life of poverty and grief, or if the mother will be forced to give the child away to find a better life. There are a million questions I want to ask her as a testimony to our shared and unshared life experiences. Instead, I motion for her to give me a moment. Turning around, I scribble the number of a local shelter on a piece of paper before handing her the note along with two containers. She gives me a small smile before taking the items out of my hand and goes on her way. It isn’t until the last container is gone, the is trunk closed, and we’re pulling off into the main

road that my mom finally speaks. “It is such a shame that this country doesn’t do more to help its own people; instead the government wastes money on war and other frivolous activities.” I want to add a comment to her statement, maybe find some profound reason as to why things work out the way they do. Instead, I think back to the man who hasn’t had a proper shower in weeks, maybe even months, to the woman who will most likely give birth to a child on the streets, and finally to my own family’s living situation a few months prior. Then I realize that there is nothing left to say, and the words leave my mouth in a whisper. “Yeah, it’s a real shame.”


I Will Find You | Ma Renalyn Macias | Gouache


It is 5:17 p.m. Valeria Peralta It is not late enough for excuses under the stars. I know this. I know I cannot feign exhaustion or yawn to prove that I am vastly more vulnerable than the norm. There are still joggers on the sidewalk, cars beeping in the streets of this suburb, and houses alive with TV lights and stoves. This is not a time for ghosts. Maybe that’s it. It is still light out, and you are not a ghost. You are flesh and bone and a nightmare with my eyes open. You are here without an invitation, without even the care to try to sneak in. You are the most confident thief, and your name sounds like an alarm blaring in my ears: Hide what you care about. It is not safe. I knew you were never safe. I knew you were never safe because I was never safe. You were reckless conversations and quiet nights. You were the time I learned I only felt alive while fighting back. You were a panic in my chest and how I learned to hold my breath. You were.

You were.

You were. There is nothing translucent about your memory, not like I expected. Your touch remains brutal, nothing faded or soft about the edges. Maybe if I blink I’ll feel your nails in my skin, digging out the dirt I have always felt but have never been able to find. Maybe I’ll feel your breath on my cheek. Maybe I’ll disappear into the moment we first met. Maybe I’m punishing myself. It may still be light out, but the sun is not giving out favors. The house is comfortably cool. My jeans rub harshly against my legs, and I begin to scratch at a phantom itch on my neck. So many ghosts are not frightened by light anymore.



Enraptured | Cassandra Zuria | Digital Media | Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Silver Key Winner


State Line Road Raina Levin

I stand in the bare bones of a house that once was. Devoid of furniture, full of memories. On this vacant counter, crystal trinkets clinked against hasty fingernails, notes echoing off lacquered wood. At this window, my sister and I first peered out at the foreign frozen glass that tumbled down from sky to grass before we raced outside to greet it. I walk farther, I delve further.


There, a quartet of deep-set impressions where the piano spent two lifetimes digging its feet into the foundation. Dust settles in the crevices now. Here were the albums, the blurred gazes paired with blurred stories and hazy places, the dim lamplight overshadowing the catalogue of names and faces. The heat clicks on. The curtains billow.

I am startled, I am transfixed— There’s still a clock on the wall. An insistence with every twitch that this reverie, this suspension should not, will not, cannot last. I hesitate, but the second hand sketches the rough outline of a eulogy. So I cross the threshold and exit this empty concrete shell, tentatively hoping someone will fill it anew.

Queens | Claudia Guzman | Ink


Persephone and Hades | Ipanema Mora-Carrera | Digital Art


Sun Barque Jakob Namon Despite popular belief, I’m not partnered with the moon. my darling is the sun barque who takes me from sky to tomb She picks me up in the morning, we’re sailing smooth by noon In the dusk we’re soaring, then it’s over, doom and gloom. Another day, another thousand ways that I will smile. Staring at the head, with which eternity I’ll beguile Not an ark, nor a yacht, could hold a candle to my ship I promised that I would make her rich We float together on golden liquid The clouds are drippin’ right down our lips Irises locked and I have gone elsewhere Wherever she’s not, I have found hell there I’m never very high when I’m alone in the sky Can I really be at home without my bride? My heart’s already broke, she holds on tight to the other side My tongue drips and my words beat, for her I swear I’ll make the crows screech, murder And I rush at dawn to the docks So we can sit for a minute just to talk And then we’re off as soon as I cut the knot A ship is more than goddess to this god I’m not afraid of ever getting lost at sea A slow death on top of her is the best thing that could happen to me


Crybaby | Adriana Llauro | Sculpture


Living in America Itara Moore 1.

She looked out her window

And saw three black children

Lying in the street.

She didn’t know if they

Were playing pretend

Or rehearsing for their death.


A black girl flips through a magazine;

She’s searching for dark skin and big noses.

All she sees are pale faces and blonde hair

At sixteen she bleaches her skin, screaming

God’s name.


I used to scrub my skin bloody Trying to find pale skin Underneath all the dirt.


Songs of S達o Paulo Leticia Rocha

Some Are Born Men | Eva Bibas | Digital Photography | Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key Winner


I was eight years old when I realized that being alive meant you were destined to die. My mother had just finished cooking the rice and beans that every Brazilian child comes to love; a pleasing aroma filled the air of our tiny apartment. The windows were flung open, a delicious heat creeping inside; the cheery sound of birds chirping intermingled with the gentle cooing of my baby sister. We had been getting ready to take our daily stroll across the street, past a bank, and towards a small toy shop that I absolutely adored. My mother was reaching for the house keys when the most terrible sound blasted from across the street – a gunshot. More shots fired, the sound shattering the peaceful comfort of my home into a thousand minuscule pieces. The screaming began, and amidst the noise I heard my mother telling me to crouch down with my sister, to cover my ears. The panic that contorted her beautiful face as she looked out the window floored me. The screaming persisted, newly accompanied by blaring sirens, a cacophony that clawed at my every nerve. I thought the world was ending. Soon afterwards, I found out that while my world had not ended, the world of another girl, only a few years older, had. She was shot and paralyzed. Her mother was killed. A tornado

of thoughts ravaged my eightyear-old mind: If the bank robbers had waited a few more minutes; if we had gone out earlier, if, if, if . . . The stark realization that this girl’s tragedy could have easily been mine chilled me to the bone; the idea that at any moment another calamity could strike again trapped me in an enormous block of ice, sinking lower and lower into dark waters stained with violence and corruption. We did not live in the chaos of the favelas, where every day was about survival, where kids killed other kids, where your belly ached so often from hunger that you became numb to the pain. We were one of the more fortunate families living in a middle class world with food on the table every day, and I was grateful. None of this mattered. My beautiful country was broken,

the distant lover I longed for, and every night I prayed that soon we would be together at last. A thirst to succeed burned through my entire body as if I had been crawling through a desert for years and an oasis had just materialized before me. The day to leave finally came, a taste like dark chocolate settling over my tongue – bittersweet. As I embarked on the plane that would fly me from all I had ever known, the screams and sirens from that fateful day sounded in my ear, but it was only for a moment. The cruelty and chaos dimmed to a slight hum in the back of my mind, a constant reminder that every second was a precious gift. A sweeter melody was slowly coming to life, a sound that had been frozen within me and could finally w

“My beautiful country was broken, and not a single soul was safe.” and not a single soul was safe. Before I could sink too far, the sun’s rays shone through the darkness, lifting me up above the surface with the news that we were emigrating to the United States. The months leading up to our departure were a flurry of preparation, a crash course on what it meant to be American. Miami became

rise from the thawing ground in this new spring. I glanced out the tiny plane window as we lifted off, a thousand little birds chirping the songs of hope in the pit of my stomach. The endless possibilities in the night sky surrounded me like a blanket of warmth. We would all die someday, but for now, there was only life ahead.


Fabula Rasa An Interview with Salma Abdelrahman By Nicole Garcia Flashback to freshman year: A Student Voices panel presents tear-jerking stories to a nearly silent classroom. Salma Abdelrahman is seated at her desk, listening intently to the speakers at the front of the room, surprised, moved, and inspired by their courage. These students, who walk the same halls as Salma, recount instances when they have been victims to bullying, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination. She had known that these horrifying things happen, and that they occur more frequently than she would have wished, but meeting someone her age, from her school, in her grade, offer such a personal testament face to face, opened her eyes. “That’s essentially when I started realizing that these stories need to be heard, and they need to be heard now,” she says, remembering that powerful moment in the 9th grade. Now, three years later, Salma has developed her own video project as a platform for students in her community to share their experiences. When the time came to name her project, she recalled a 10th grade lesson in European History concerning John Locke’s theory of tabula rasa, or the blank slate. According to Locke, each of us is born with a mind that is comparable to a blank slate, and every experience adds an additional scribble to it. Salma believed there was a missing link here. Experience is not the only medium of gaining understanding; story, too, has the power to place listeners in the shoes of another, to invoke empathy. Fabula, story in Latin, was the missing factor. And so Fabula Rasa was born.


Salma had originally imagined a vlog (videoblog) channel, where students would be recorded speaking to a camera. The MCCJ, the same organization which put together Student Voices, pointed out that this would be problematic because the majority of the storytellers would be minors. This is when Salma turned to the whiteboard animation which her viewers are now familiar with. She often ponders the irony of the format, “We deal with very difficult subjects, yet we use doodles.” One might counter, though, that the anonymity of the stick figures makes the message more universal. A viewer might think, “This could happen to anyone,” or “This could be me,” thus highlighting the seriousness of the issues and the necessity of speaking up against oppressive words and actions. Although we see cases of body shaming, racism, homophobia, and harassment televised or on social media, we are desensitized to them by the cold screen that separates us from the victims. “We can easily shut off our TVs or exit our internet browsers after watching those video, but those suffering cannot shut off the nasty comments and unjust treatment they face every day,” Salma tells me. Her aim is to put a face to these stories for those in her community. She says that the most successful videos have been those posted by students who attend our school. Their videos serve as a lesson and a reminder. The lesson: you never know what those around you are going through or have gone through; the reminder: you are not alone.

Portraits of Salma Abdelrahman | Karla Infante | Digital Photography

“Being undocumented is hard, being Muslim is hard, being gay is hard – when you are facing that kind of discrimination – someone telling you you’re less than human, someone saying you don’t belong in this country – it’s just isolating. And to be able to connect with someone who has gone through something similar is very empowering.”

at the YoungArts Campus in downtown Miami. Right before the presentation, a young fan of Fabula Rasa, no older than 12 years old, hurried over to Salma and told her just how much Gabrielle’s Story about body shaming impacted her. “It showed me that even though I may look different from my friends, and may have a different body shape, I’m still beautiful.” Needless to say, Salma was speechless, Salma has also had the opportunity to talk speechless and humbled. That moment made about her project at a CreativeMornings event Salma realize, “This is why I’m doing this.” 107

Stressed Lianne D’Arcy I need the world to dissolve around me. I want the hands of time to crawl, drip viscously like syrup, distorting every moment into a hazy, slow-motion blur. I need echoes of images to trail behind every moving object, glowing with kinetic energy yet still falling in slow-motion. Laughter will be crazed, erratic, and random. I need smiles to warp, cracked lips bending over backwards like acrobats in a circus, flying at dizzying heights. My fear for their lives will distract me from the fear clawing at my heart, squeezing my chest, consuming my soul. I want to hear colors, smell sounds, and touch dreams. Thankfully, I live each day growing one step closer because I can already taste words, and I ache to feel them slide willingly down my throat, unlike the way all my obligations force their way into my stomach to make a home for themselves down there.


Squeeze Me | Erika Cantin | Acrylic and Ink



(For Marianne Kjos)

Stephanie Woolley-Larrea

1. n. characteristic attitude The placard said the celebration of your life would begin at six. People stood up to try to define you. I was one of two hundred people who did not feel like celebrating; we had other words to feel. Courage is a word always paired with cancer. It’s the wrong word, and you would have red-penned every single one of them, given the opportunity. Courage is about choice, about doing the unexpected, unsafe thing. You were never given the decency of choice. Courage doesn’t give you enough credit. 2. n. state of mind regarding something The eulogies said you never complained. We both know that’s not quite true. You hated the slow chemotherapeutic numbing of your hands and feet, But it wasn’t the pain that bothered you: it was the shoes. You were forced to shelve the Ferragamos and Manolos in favor of squarish, practical flats in drab navys and blacks – the closest you’d ever gotten to dressing like a schoolteacher. I try not to picture you in that hospital bed, in the non-color of hospital gowns, knowing you must have hated the scratchy cotton and ill-fit. From you I’ve learned many things, but mostly it is this: your convictions are all you’ll ever truly own. 3. n. the act or means of getting rid of something Outside the room, inside the funeral home, the placard said your disposition would be via cremation. I believe in cremation. It is a legacy that becomes part of the earth, not just taking up its space. I like the idea of you becoming everywhere scattered, verdant, enduring. Not inside this building, waiting to be taken care of. Losing you should not be someone’s job.


Split | Daniela Romero | Acrylic


Pretty in Pink| Toni Shelley | Gouache | Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key Winner

let’s pretend we don’t know any of this

Gabriela Ortiz

let’s pretend we don’t know any of this. you can smile at her all you want, eyes coyly darting towards her lips, and she can giggle back softly, lithe fingers shyly fidgeting, twirling a dark strand of hair but you don’t even bother to search for the elusive cryptid, this “right person” – it’s clearly a myth because we are all so many shades and layers of wrong (you are plutonium leaking toxicity where you touch. she is bare skin and bones, vulnerable.) you know this isn’t love – and you hope she does, too – because we cannot understand each other, cannot claim another as ours; no, you own only yourself and you are all alone. everyone else is, too. your individualized thoughts and experiences make it so that you will live your life misunderstood because it’s impossible to convey to her that sometimes, it isn’t about killing yourself and blood seeping down slit wrists or violent fits of self mutilation or itchy skin that needs to be ripped off – no, sometimes, it’s just a passive desire to cease and desist and die. a stunning lack of will. and it’s impossible for her to show you scars scars scars under the surface, memories of an illusion of love – of rose-colored glass and an impressionable mind–

that crumbled when she tried to hold on too tight, slipping through her fingers and flowers blooming when skin came in contact with skin, leaving trails, splashes of faded yellow and purple. how can you possibly warn her about your defect – your inability to form concrete emotional attachments? (it stems from a fear of abandonment and rejection that was produced by a hot and cold mother that overprotected and emotionally neglected.) how can she tell you she’s not ready for the impending future – with you, herself or anyone else? (she isn’t exactly sure of the root of her anxiety, the loss of control that overwhelms her; her fickle nature fears concreteness.) you bite, gnaw, rip off your cuticles, skin raw and throbbing when idle, and she feels her stomach tighten and her breath quicken to the point of hyperventilation when she thinks about the possibilities of the future, paths she cannot retrace. you heard some nihilistic a**hole tell you once before that the concept of love was born out of a desire for a distraction from this infinitely cosmic loneliness that surrounds us. you know that’s true – that humans arbitrarily construct meaning and structure for comfort. she knows that’s true – that the frigid loneliness is inescapable, and apparently obvious during long nights lying awake.

lean in, anyway. 113

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Dark | Claudia Guzman | Ink

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