Cover Art: Holly Jy, Spin, Ink.
Elysi um 2011: Volume 10
rtists are always seeking direction. Their art serves as their compass, without which they would be lost. The ever-moving needle first points north, where cold winds push them across the frozen tundra. With effort the first idea forms; the ice breaks and the needle moves east towards a new morning and the promise of fertile fields. Words and paint flow freely, but just as suddenly as the needle moves again, it stops. When it resumes, it dips precariously towards the south, evoking heady memories of lovers lost, home-cooked meals, and adolescent angst. Before the artist loses himself in the past, the needle spins west and all time coalesces. The sun dips below the horizon while the artist grapples with the unknown. What is lost is swept away forever, and what is found may yet be lost. The only certainty is the turn of the needle.
Emma Singer Editor-in-Chief
Elysiumâ€™s 25 member staff meets every Thursday after school from October to May.
Editor-in-Chief Emma Singer
Literary Staff Tanarut Chaisuesomboon
Art Staff Mario Arcila
Art Editor Caitlin Ryan
Literary Editors Jorge Cartaya Catherine Zaw
Layout Editors Ely Benhamo Camila Romero Promotions Manager Angela Zhou
Annmarie Raskin Rebecca Raskin
Faculty Adviser Ms. Amy Scott
Coral Reef Senior High School 10101 SW 152nd Street Miami, Florida 33157 Phone: (305) 232-2044 Fax: (305) 252-3454 Volume 10
Editorial Policy Elys i um, Coral Reef Senior High’s annual literary/arts magazine, showcases the creative work of students grades nine through twelve. Both the art and literary staff judge the submissions anonymously. The works are selected based on their style, distinctiveness of theme, and overall quality. The art and literature pieces are then matched based upon thematic relevance and context.
Colophon The Elys i um 2011 staff, consisting of 25 members, created volume 10 using Adobe InDesign CS2© and Adobe Photoshop CS2© on 24 Dell© desktop computers. The staff met after school each Thursday and every day the last two weeks of March. The staff selected the font Arial Black for the titles and MS Reference Sans Serif for the body text and staff pages. The layout editor chose Bickham Script Pro as the font for the front cover and Table of Contents titles. The font Aparajita was selected for the back cover. The 2011 edition consists of 96 individual inside pages and is printed on 80 lb glossy paper. The magazine cover is printed on 100 lb linen. Rodes Printing published 200 full color copies of the magazine—all of which were distributed free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. To see past issues and performance clips, please visit: http://crhs.dadeschools.net/elysium or http://amyscott.com/elysium.
Awards NCTE PRESLM Program: Columbia Scholastic Press Association: National Scholastic Press Association: In this issue:
Highest Award for 2008, 2009, 2010 Gold Medal 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Pacemaker Finalist 2006 All-American 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards 2011
“Rosita” by Angelica Martinez: Silver Medal for Short Short Story: pages 19 - 21 Reborn by Marco Velasquez: American Vision Medal for drawing: page 65
Special Thanks We would like to express our appreciation of our school principal, Ms. Adrianne Leal, for her continuing support, and to Ms. Amy Scott, our supportive and enthusiastic sponsor, who devoted many hours of her time and effort to develop our endeavors. We also owe thanks to Mr. Scott McKinley for his invaluable artistic input. We would like to further extend our sincerest gratitude to the IBIS Foundation for their generous contribution to our fund-raising.
Table of Contents Prologue: Sail . . . . . . . . . . . . Audrey Perkins
Recipe for a Fight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Catherine Zaw
Shattered Prism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Rebecca Raskin
SacrĂŠ-Couer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Caitlin Ryan
Home Cooked Meal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Marco Velasquez
acrylic on canvas
Looking in the Mirror . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Giancarlo Todisco
Haikus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Kaelyn Hernandez
Grievance Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Jorge Cartaya
Shattered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Michelle Ibarra
Rosita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Angelica Martinez
The Window . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Hannah Pustejovsky
Short Poetry Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Ann Marie Raskin
Interview with a Writer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Abuelo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Isabella Rodriguez
acrylic on canvas
Observation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Victoria Diaz
Holding Breath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Giancarlo Todisco
Window with Sunset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Brianna Morris
Little Raskin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Camila Romero
North Art Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Various Artists
acrylic and digital art
symmetry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Broken Perfection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Isabell Manibusan
Manâ€™s Best Friend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Storm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Rebecca Raskin
acrylic on canvas
The End of Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Boat by the Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Tanarut Chaisuesomboon prose
Connect the Dots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Exoskeleton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Emma Singer
Union Avenue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Pimples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Catherine Zaw
Soundtrack to an Escape. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Appealing Contrast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Natasha Mijares
Puerto Rico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Shadow Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Isabel Liparito
Sweet Embers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Haudrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Natasha Mijares
Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Misunderstood Mirrors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Jorge Cartaya
inspirational message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Swings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Isabell Manibusan
acrylic on canvas
East Art Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Various Artists
mixed media, acrylic
Astronomy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Vertebrate Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Tanarut Chaisuesomboon
Interstate Love Affair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Edge Affair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Jorge Cartaya
cyanide tango . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 3rd base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Isabell Manibusan
acrylic on canvas
Recuerdos de un Olvido . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Chains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Julian Munoz
acrylic on canvas
King of Pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Eugene Debs
Leap of Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Flooding Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Kayla Malone
acrylic on canvas
First Name, Final Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Keep on Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Sanjay Nair
acrylic on canvas
Reminiscence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Out the Window . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Julian Muñoz
Divine Wreckage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Reborn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Rebecca Raskin
acrylic & ink drawing
Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 The Art Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Catherine Zaw
Thunder Clouds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Have a Nice Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Iti Mehta
one act play
Shostakovitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Stained Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Nicole de Ovin
South Art Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Various Artists
polly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Agony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Isabell Manibusan
pixilated digital art
Apple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Toxic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Annmarie Raskin
Making Tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Serendipity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Dominique Mortimer
acrylic on Canvas
What do Monsters Think? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Decembersville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Danielle Coogen
ink & colored pencils
hey, you don’t have a kid . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Confuzzled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Isabell Manibusan
She Turned Away . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Abandoned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 digital photography
Movement II: Sleeping Invader . . . . . . . . . 87 Between the Seams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 digital photography
Window . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Where is My Beer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 digital art
Éphémère . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Oblivion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Melissa Cruz
Epilogue: Unwritten . . . . . . . Catherine Zaw
West Art Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 photography & charcoal
Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Caitlin Ryan
Caitlin Rya n, SacrĂŠ Couer, Ball point pen.
For all Iâ€™ve seen and touched and been In shining lands ashore For wise old lips that lit the tips Of mind-enchanting lore The day Iâ€™ve learned and ceased to yearn Like wanderlusting foam May shivering seas and ether breeze Forever guide me home
Recipe for a Fight Catherine Zaw
Makes one or more servings depending on cook time. 1. Preheat oven to high 415 degrees F, and do not bother to clean the oven from previous baking. It will be messy. 2. Mix fresh-cut conflict with leftover issues (it doesnâ€™t matter how many days old). The leftover issues provide as a base for the new conflict, but may increase cooking time considerably. However, with a base, the fight is much tastier and enjoyable. 3. Add a teaspoon of determination and beat into the conflict dough, making sure to spread it evenly throughout. 4. Add a cup of misunderstanding, and beat into the mixture as well. By now, the dough should be dense as it slowly grows tougher and harder to knead. 5. Leave dough alone and let rise under a towel dripped in ignorance. The more time it is left alone, the more it will expand. Allow to reach the towel so moisture is kept. 6. Meanwhile, set a tray down and sprinkle financial problems over it to prevent sticking. Brush on a layer of children so the fightâ€™s crust comes out crisp. 7. Punch down dough and mold into a loaf that will fit onto the prepared tray. Do not worry if the conflict does not fit. It tends to get out of control and spill over, but that is the beauty of the dessert. 8. Sprinkle disagreement, different opinions, and unique backgrounds to add the sweet topping of the fight.
Marco Velasq uez, Home Cooked Meal, Ac r yl ic on Canva s.
9. Place into oven and cook at highest heat of whatever desired temperature. Should not burn even after over-cooking, otherwise dough was faulty because of lack of reason. 10. After baking, decorate using whatever you like: friends, family, neighbor, brother, sister, mother, father, children, etc. Get as many decorations involved in the fight as possible. Better taste is that simple. 11. After following all these steps, take a sharp knife and cut into many pieces before serving conflict to everyone.
Giancarlo Todisco, Looking in the Mirror, Digital Art
She danced on her toes. She would waltz in the arms of an imaginary boy to music that did not quite suit the elegance of a waltz. She would close her eyes and imagine herself in a far away land with new skin and she would smile. When the music ended she would open her eyes and she was no longer smiling. She was a little girl, full of optimistic dreams and naïvely pessimistic thoughts. When she stopped twirling and the dizziness finally wore off she would let herself fall to the floor. Her knees already bruised and the tile already dented. She would spread out her arms and legs and pretend she was dead. She would slow her breathing and stay perfectly still, a doll body for her round glass face. They thought she was fragile, so when her parents packed her up they always did so carefully. Nestling her in bubble wrap and the comforting words that slither out of parents’ mouths, they become lies the moment they fall upon her deaf ears. She was a silly girl who never listened to her mother’s advice, so her lips were never inflamed with passion. She was not like her 12
mother, the mother whose ancient doll face used to bring boys running and her ancient doll mind that once, a long time ago, longed for little glass children to play with. So her untouched lips chipped. And her mother sighed and bought new paint to make those lips rosy again. Her tongue, behind newly touchedup lips, was sharp. A quality that made her defective. Her marble eyes screamed at people as they walked passed. They were lit from the inside with a manic light that made her uncomfortable to look at for too long. She was a pretty girl at first glance, but her glass features were easily forgettable. And forget people did, the moment they looked away. She did not necessarily mind this for she knew that her bruised knees would eventually crack. And her toes would eventually break, leaving her motionless. She would stop imagining and she would forget about places far beyond the scope reality lent to her. And one day, she would become like her mother and find a nice glass boy with flimsy morals and two left feet and she would create little doll children of her own.
Caught in the lens cap, I’m torn between photographs – Stuck in the moment.
Screams are merciless, Threats shoot like bullets through me, There’s no place like home.
Capture this moment, with your flashbulb memory, pictures fade to gray.
Speak to me in tongues, Your sound enveloping mine, Leaving me speechless.
Roses are red – and, so is my heart. I guess – Love is blossoming.
Sweet gingerbread man, Let me undo your buttons, Savoring pure sin.
Writing in Pen
Don’t try to erase, Life is not an Etch-a-Sketch, Mistakes (Marks) are permanent.
Coincidences? No, I didn’t fall in love – Clearly, I was tripped.
She kneels by his side, His head resting in her hands, No body attached.
Please don’t mind me, dear, Cacophony conceals me, I’m whispers unsaid.
Forever, one word. Add an ellipsis, and see – How time is questioned.
Kaelyn Hernandez 13
Isabella Rodriguez, Abuelo, Acrylic on canvas.
It’s been months since she’s spoken to For twenty-seven years of marriage, you you, and you don’t need a stack of divorce stayed faithful to her. Sure, there were papers to tell you that it’s over. It’s done, you temptations—a coworker who pressed a little know this. There’s nothing to get emotional too close while working on a project together, over. She just said that she wanted to “try an old flame who still looked at you with something new,” and you expected painting the longing in her eyes, but your wedding vows are living room mauve but what she really meant more than just words and your father taught was packed bags and a trip to Maui for which you that real men stick to their promises. she only had a single airline ticket. But she broke hers first, so it’s okay to The dust has begun to pile up on every break yours . . . right? surface in the house when you come to this You don’t consider this infidelity. realization. She won’t be coming back to clean She’s a pretty girl—a college student you met in the produce aisle at the supermarket. the house for you, so you might as well do She was emphatically impressed with your it yourself. Instead, you call one of those 1knowledge on determining how ripe a 800 numbers and order a house cleaner to watermelon is, and slipped you her number come to your house every Thursday to do while you looked over the carrots. the cleaning for you. It’s not that you’re one of those macho guys You must have Y ou don’t consider this infidelity.” that can’t be bothered “ debated whether with housework, no, or not to call her no. You often changed your boy’s diapers and for an hour or so before you actually did, and drove him to school when he was small. It’s it’s surprising how easy it is, to go through the just that there are some areas of the house motions. She’s maneuvering around the sheets that you’d rather not visit. You excuse yourself and you’re not even worried about making this by telling yourself that you have allergies. good for her. She’s just a warm body and you Childhood asthma hardly counts, you want to haven’t had sex in months, that’s all there is tell yourself, but – to it. Your friends don’t invite you places But you’re also angry at her, your exanymore. They’re all married and you’re single wife, and you secretly hope that doing this will now so it’s sort of like you’re the third wheel somehow give her a karmic blow in Maui or all over again. And damn, it’s been so long wherever the hell she is now. Besides, it’s not since you haven’t had a charades partner, or a like she hasn’t done this already, you bet. confidant, or – She’s managed to start undressing you It’s hard to sleep. You’ve always envied and you’re even starting to enjoy this despite her for having the right side of the bed, so the fact you have a sinking feeling that she’s you lie diagonally now. Head on her old pillow defiling this place, somehow. The bed sheets and feet dangling off your old side of the bed, haven’t been washed since your wife (ex-wife?) you stare at the ceiling and wonder what’s left and oh God . . . what are you doing? so insomnia-provoking about this room. You You’re not sure how, but you notice that briefly consider selling the house and getting she’s here and that she’s watching you. Standing a condo on the beach, but the mortgage is in the doorway, bags in hand, the shadows hide her expression from sight but you can smell the almost paid off and it’s only a fifteen minute familiar scent of her perfume. ride to work so you settle for sleeping on the couch most nights, the pale light of late-night And God, the only thing you can television lulling you to sleep. think of is how much you’ve missed her You haven’t had sex in months. all this time. 15
“You are not strong enough for me,” Said the vine to the tree. And in the dark, The blind man said he could see Just as well as you and me.
“I need something much, much more,” The innocent was told by the whore. “You aren’t enough for me anymore,” Claims the land of the sea, And that which is can never be.
The strong seem too weak, And nothing ever is as it should or shouldn’t be. Why is it that the broken are so damn strong? Is it because they are too broken To want to keep singing along?
The unsinkable was unable to last, But you can’t shatter broken glass.
Vict oria Diaz, Observation, Charc o al. 17
Gianca rlo Todisco , Holding Breath, Digital Photography.
National Silver Key Scholastic Writing Award
She had gathered their clothes in a large black book-bag before they headed out towards the sea so that nothing would be scattered around the boat. She tended to do things like thatâ€” o rganize every little aspect involved so that it might seem as though the immaculate state of her life was normal, almost unintentional. That was the way it had always been and that was the way it should remain. When she had locked up the tiny storage compartment on the boat she began to worry that she had not fully closed the zipper on the bag, and that if the boat should tilt just a bit everything would come flying out; the compartment door would open, and all of their clothes would go bursting into the ocean like fireworks. She filled her lungs with air and strongly considered putting her head between her knees until she realized the only way to settle this was to open the storage and close the zipper all the way. This she did. And when she saw that the zipper was fully closed and everything was safe, she let out a sigh of great relief. No one examined her while she did this because it was not out of the ordinary. She always wondered if everything was in place even though she had meticulously fixed everything into its pristine conditions. And the zipper was always pulled as tight as it could go. Rosita BernabĂł, with her eyes like constellations in an ancient night sky, sat on a perfectly white seat in the center of the boat, just in front of the engine controls. Although she had stayed at her beach house every summer for five years, she had always managed to make up an excuse to avoid going out into the open sea. This time, for some reason, she could 19
not think of any argument for why she could not accompany her family except that she was afraid she might die. They laughed at her when she stated this, and so she agreed to go. She looked at the silent mangroves and knew that beyond them there was an expanse too large for her to fathom, and too deep for her question. With her husband Pedro at the wheel and her daughter’s hand resting on her leg, it was important that she convince herself she would not tragically drown on that day. The only thing holding her back from writhing in fear and anxiety was the fact that in front of others, one must, above all things, look gracefully poised and fearless. The sun danced against her translucently withered skin and she began to feel that naked sensation again. The rays were piercing into her now, and so the shaking began. Pedro saw but looked away with nonchalance, as he
usually did when he noticed her frightened shaking. You see, Rosita could not feel the sun’s intrusiveness and bask in it. She felt it was looking into her memories, her joys, and fears. She wanted to push it out and when she could not, she felt naked; enveloped by an air of solitude that would no doubt put her on a path of vulnerability. She began to see herself at seven, without the curves graciously given to her by the imminent duty of maternity. Her boylike frame stood on two pitiful little feet imprinting sandy steps, which no one ever bothered to look at. She could hear her father’s voice inside . . . a wise and triumphant voice that would never be truly heard because his fears and frustrations as a landowning man in post-revolutionary Cuba were bottled up inside the whiskey cabinet. And he had a dose of them every night to numb him; to forget that soon this land
should not belong to him because it would be in the hands of those who claimed to know what was best for his subjugated country. At seven Rosita looked at her newborn sister and could not help but feel a sense of futility. She knew tomorrow there would be a broken beer bottle where she stood and at seven she could do nothing about it. She loved him so much it took every ounce of her innocent flesh to stop herself from crawling into his bed at night and cradling herself in his arms even if she knew what he really wanted to be holding was now coursing through his veins like rapid fire, numbing the hurt and clouding his broken judgment. And so instead she cradled her little sister. “Anita, duérmete Anita, que el sol saldrá mañana.” At eighteen she married Pedro Bernabó. She never liked to think of the fact that her parents had given her an ultimatum. “Choose”, they had said,
with the stern traditional eyes they had been taught to see the world through. “You marry him, or you move with us to Texas. I won’t have my daughter running around in sin”; and so on her wedding day, dressed in a pious little dress and looking through a lace-covered veil, she promised herself that she would pretend, for the rest of her life, that her marriage was something she had chosen simply because she loved him. Perhaps Rosita had never learned to see without that veil before her eyes. It was true that she had never been able to make a decision for herself. Her mother had spent her days consoling her father when they had realized the era of prosperity and wealth was ending, forgetting that a baby girl had been born and that she needed a mother. Poor Rosita, who at age seven had maternity thrust upon her like a violent wave,
who later had to flee her beautiful, native Cuba to begin anew, held on to any little thing she had the chance to control. This was why she grasped the edges of her white seat as the boat’s engine answered the ocean’s alluring call and the wind’s turbulent fingers pulled back her structured mane. She was unbridled. She was afraid. As each wave sensuously merged with another, Rosita could not help but think of the certain sense of freedom she now possessed. She no longer felt her daughter’s protective hand upon her thigh. She could not hear her husband’s casual whistling which meant to calm her. It was not their voices she needed to hear . . . she needed the sound of the shadows as they danced below the ocean surface . . . the kisses of the salty breeze upon her lips and the feel of foam as it dissipated to become a part of something much bigger than itself.
If only she could just get closer. . . if only she could touch the water, feel a rush of impulse graze her bloodless fingers. . . if she could forget for just one moment that she had been a marionette for all who came her way . . . She jumped. She could hear them crying out to her, and even saw him jump into the water to search for her. Pedro’s frantic, flailing arms attempted to touch depth she knew he would not be able to reach. Once she was embraced by the water’s gentle essence, she looked above the surface to realize that world for her was gone now. She swam deeper and deeper into the obscure chasm, with the air from her lungs being purged out of her with every stroke. Rosita felt the creature’s shadows dance among her.
The Window Hannah Pustejovsky
There is a window in my house that overlooks the entire world, down the hill, to the creek, and across the field. It is my window, even if it is in the back of the house, in the hallway that everyone uses. But I know it loves me best.
Brianna Morris, Window with Sunset, Digital Photography. 22
The pane gets dirty sometimes, from the frost, or the dust of the driveway. I trace patterns in it, when I am trying to distract myself from the nasty word games that the adults like to play every night. When I was four days and nineteen hours away from being seven, I learned that sometimes hands work better than words. You always win that way. But I know it loves me best.
My name is carved there, right in the corner, scratched into the paint in big capitals that I made when I was six and three quarters. The eggshell white paint is peeling, and someone might notice that it is time to freshen it up, and my name would be destroyed. But I know it loves me best.
I fell asleep there once, and was woken by the sun glinting off a strange car. I knew it wasnâ€™t ours because the metal was too shiny to belong to our dirt road. The lady riding in it said I was going for a drive, just for a bit. I have since decided that she must have been ancient, if fifteen years was only a bit to her. Because she took me away from my window. But I know it loves me best. 23
Camila Romero, Little Raskin, Digital Art.
She cannot play guitar So she uses her callused Fingers to caress her collarbone
Lips – crimson from my makeup Now match the shade of the rest of your face
He offers me a lighter. “I don’t smoke.” But I could learn to blow rings if you wanted me to.
Short Works by 24
Interview with a Writer
Annmarie Raskin is a young, up-andcoming voice in Coral Reef Senior High School. This freshman is following in the footsteps of her sister Rebecca Raskin, a junior, but with her own style. I sat down with her to talk about her writing and what makes it so unique. When did you start writing? I started writing when I was in the sixth grade. I felt that there were some things that I wanted to express but couldn’t really say out loud, so I started writing. It has stuck with me ever since. At this point, it’s really natural for me. What do you like to write about? Anything, really. I mostly write about reallife scenarios that I find interesting. Do you do anything special to write? Well, I always listen to music when I write. One of my favorite bands to listen to is Bright Eyes. I feel that Conor Oberst’s voice is so perfect. They’re definitely a major influence on me. Who else are your major influences? My sister Rebecca is a major influence on my personality. She has a creepy way of combining words that just baffles me. I love her very much and I appreciate that writing is something that we share. I always want to have that connection with her because I think it makes us better sisters. Do you feel that writing is what you plan to have as your career? To be honest, I don’t think that I could make it my career seeing that I like to write short poems. I could never sit down and write a whole novel. I love writing
though, so I feel that it will always be something that I do whenever I need am outlet and a way to express myself. I want to do something with psychology. I explore the way that people think in my writing, so I would like to use that introspection to help people with disorders and explore the abnormalities in the world. How do you feel your experience as a literary enthusiast has changed since you’ve gotten older? Well, I feel that some of the books that I read when I was younger were more creative and fun, I guess because they were written by younger people, but I will always hold those books dear to my heart, like Nobody Belongs Here More Than You Do by Miranda July. I love her short stories and how she portrays relationships and their eccentricities. I also love The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I feel that the main character is just so relatable. Was there any significant event that affected the way you view your writing? I think my parent’s divorce was the most important event in my life. Their relationship really affected the way I view love and marriage and has allowed me to mature in those areas. Writing has let me sort through the emotions of divorce and to explore relationships more intimately. You mentioned intimacy. I feel that that is a major tone in your writing. Why do you think that is? I just like to write in a more simple and subtle way. I think that it allows my thoughts and emotions to be displayed more easily and allows me to reflect upon them in a healthy way. 25
Walker Paulsen, In the Beginning, Digital Art. Caitlin Ryan, Perspective, Acrylic.
Evan Gilbert, Cosmic Distress, Arcylic on Canvas.
Kevin Ruiz, Desert Balance, Acrylic on Canvas.
Daniella Quintero, Open Mouth, Acrylic
Holly Jy, Runaway, Photography.
Ely Benhamo, Broken Perfection, Digital Photography.
Isabell Manibusan a vermillion line dripped from her nose down to her chin. yellowish greenish hues; then deeper rich purple. a perfect landscape of bruises. a deep schism cut through the pale of her bottom lip where knuckles had forced open flesh. her mouth was flaking and chapped. [the mouth of a caravan man who had unfortunately left his canteen home with his wife] her cheeks were flushed, and a constant stream of nonsensical mumbles gurgles out. one eye was swollen shut. the other, barely lavender. symmetry is key. and so, she punched herself in the eye socket. â€œmuch better.â€?
Manâ€™s Best Friend Rebecca Raskin
I spent the last four hours watching television tuned to static. This is your brain on pop culture. I will spend the next eight hours explaining quantum physics to my goldfish. It will subsequently forget its name and spend some time floating upside down. The air is better that way. My goldfish enjoys the occasional cocaine binge. While under the influence he is a bit of an asshole. The water in his bowl has not been changed for days; he is disgruntled about my sudden turn towards laziness. My goldfish needs to learn to clean his own tank. Maybe he should try doing something semi-productive for once. I order all his food off the internet, so its freshness is questionable. In three days my goldfish will go crazy and eat itself. By then, it will be time to find another fish.
Marco s Velazq uez, Storm, Ac r ly lic.
The End of Days
I want to create an island. I want to create an island so immensely beautiful that one would never wish to leave, and I wish the world was shipwrecked upon it. We would form our own congregations with those we would live birth, live life, and live death together. As the dewdrops of dawn settle on the blades of grass, we create our boats, made out of a new generation of wood, one that is stronger, more flexible, and worthier than the last. Our boats would begin as simple fragments and grow with us. As time passes by, we would swim in the vicissitudes of life, build bonfires out of shredded cardboard and memories; we would remain as stalwart as stone yet as fluid as the sea, immovable yet free. Then that day, that one day when our vessels are ready, will come. My kith, my kin will hear a call coming from their boats, which have grown into colossal ships adorned with impossibly ornate designs and structures that could make the most intelligent man ponder about its geometries, yet they are decaying, as life is. They will decide to leave the perfect island — my perfect island. One by one, their shadows would move into the setting sun, whose rays, heartbreakingly beautiful, would shine brighter than any other day’s as the sea of vicissitudes gently sway the boats out to the horizon. I’d clasp my hands around my mouth, yelling a goodbye that would be unheard as the final rays of sunshine drop beneath the horizon.
As the sky blackens, the boats would turn to stars, held in the sky by a force unknown, beacons from which they would guide me and I would stare at these new constellations, trying to find patterns that would lead me in the right direction. But all I’d see is the small holes poking through the veil of midnight that masks the light behind. I would lay there frozen, as the tides of time slowly creep towards me when they crash onto the sand. The early morning air would hang still, when the clouds begin to creep over the stars, blotting them out as ink stains on a canvas. Then, a deluge. The sky trembles not with fear, but with uncertainty. As my body lay soaked, bare, I try to reason with the sky, but it will not listen. The seas crash around me but I shall lie still in silent prayer, because this storm will end. I become less cognizant as the water tries to drown me in sorrow, the wind erratically shrieking in my ear a memento. But then the sun shall rise as majestic as it was before, dispersing every last cloud and raindrop from my island. At this time, in the instant before dawn, I hear myself in the voices of my ship, and it calls me, begging me to finally leave this island and I shall decide to leave the only shelter I’ve known. The waves and the sky have nearly drowned this island, but my ship will finally set sail. The silver winds shall thrust me eastward towards the rising sun as I steer towards the edge of the earth. The dawn of a new day shall come.
Camila Romero, Boat By the Lake, Digital Photography.
Connect The Dots Emma Singer
Legacy. That single word, barely polysyllabic, is the root of all that is evil and good in this world. It is what causes men and women to lie, to cheat, and to steal, but also to give to learn, and to write. Literature brings immortality. The name, written in the byline, will be forever preserved in library classification cards and in the amazon.com search bar. And if the author is lucky, someone will read his testament to the future. Because that’s what literature is, isn’t it? It’s the hope that someone will read the words that the author has slaved over and find greater meaning within the pages. And they will. Why? Because literature is dynamic. It changes its significance daily, as each reader derives his own truth from the text. And when he finds that truth, he will want to share it, as humans are wont to do. He passes the book onto the man who works in the cubicle next to him. And that man finds his own truth. Different from the first truth, but truth nonetheless. And he remembers that name in the byline for a few days. But then he forgets about the book. It sits on a shelf, gathering dust, until the day when the man in the cubicle gets promoted to an office and buys a house. He has a garage sale, and tosses the book into a box labeled “50¢.” Then someone buys it. And the cycle begins again.
Camila Romero, Exo skeleton, Sc u lpture.
Camila Romero, Exo skeleton, Scu lpture.
Union Avenue Catherine Zaw
There’s a blackened and flat piece of gum on the sidewalk, with thin strands extending from it, swept to one side: A girl was walking down the street on her way home from school. She was trying to lose weight—walking was better for the fit body than riding with a friend in traffic. She was chewing gum to keep her mouth busy because her stomach was growling, annoying her ever since she went on that five hundred calorie diet since she was too fat to even waste time losing weight. She wanted to be like the girls she saw on the magazine covers, knowing how guys whistled for women like those on the newsstands, their perfect bodies posing pure attraction. But she was tempted by the ice cream truck that was passing by, singing its ever optimistic tune. Sometimes that tune was taken as seriously as a time keeper. In fact, upon hearing the tune, a man in his late thirties got up from his kitchen table in an apartment right above the street the hungry girl was walking down. He crammed the rest of an early dinner into his mouth to get ready to go for his afternoon work shift. The 19-year old boy that drove the ice cream truck saw a thin and pretty high school girl that looked interested in his frozen goods. He stopped and smiled at her, beckoning her to buy something. She glanced at him, gave her mouth a chew of her gum, and gracefully stepped over, asking for a fully loaded double scoop ice cream cone. He handed this to her, and thought that maybe he could fall in love with her—she wasn’t that stereotypical girl that ate only salads to look like fake supermodels on TV. The girl watched the ice cream truck drive away, more worried about fat grams than anything else. But she ignored the guilt—she’d just skip dinner tonight and make up another lie. She spat her gum on the sidewalk to let the dessert savor on her tongue. The man of his thirties finally got his work clothes on, and rushed out of his apartment to make way for the subway. He moved at a quick pace, gliding over the concrete. He cursed when he felt something hold back the step of his work shoes. He attempted to scrape off the gum by rubbing his soles on the sidewalk pavement. But the fresh sticky glue was stubborn, and the busy man cursed his luck. He couldn’t understand why everything in his life fell the way they did. He gave up on the gum and now started to run down the street.
The subway train conductor was anxious to get to the last stop: after these last few stops his shift was over. It was Friday, and his parents were coming by to visit his daughter and son. He still had to clean up and tidy the house a bit before going out again to find something to present to the visitors. He didn’t wait another ten seconds at the Union Avenue station as he was supposed to, figuring he could cheat a few seconds. He didn’t see a man in his late thirties flying down the stairs of the station, still fighting the discomfort of sticky leftovers on his shoes. The man arrived to work fifteen minutes later and his boss fired him because it was the fifth consecutive time he had come late to his shift. Timeliness was crucial in the role of a police officer; crime might happen in the time an officer was absent. That would subject any officer to worse responsibilities. Coming late to work for the man was a lose-lose situation. He went home and drank to numbness. The train conductor came home earlier name, Title of Art,His Medium. than his Artis sont had expected. son was caught in bed with his girlfriend. Being a traditional parent, the train conductor became outraged and told the girl to “gather up her clothes and get the hell out.” She did, in tears, and the son angrily stood up against his father in defense for the shamelessness his father had, accusing his father of taking a glimpse at his girl’s body. The mocked girlfriend stormed out of her boyfriend’s house and looked in both directions, unsure of the direction home was. She broke down into harder tears but a familiar happy and child-like tune drove up the street. She wiped the tears and called the ice cream truck over. She asked the driver if he would be kind enough to drive her home. She was quite far from her home, and she left her money in her jacket, which was still in her boyfriend’s house. The ice cream truck driver, who was coming to the end of his three-hour route, agreed to take the girl home, feeling sorry for the tearflushed girl. She actually didn’t live too far from the ice cream store center, and right after dropping her off at her home, he returned to his employer to hand over the day’s worth of money and shuffled leftover ice cream back into the store’s ice room. He walked back home, only to see his father drunk, laying on the couch. The boy was infuriated and disappointed at his father’s unreliability and how the boy was beyond irritated that his father was “late to the police station again” and how he “hated having a job in the
Gabriel Kurtzm an, Pimples, Digital Photography.
midst of all his studies because of an incompetent father and a sick mother.” The mother heard these words as her last—she was in the room next over. The train conductor’s wife noticed a small pink jacket in her son’s room while she was looking through the house for things to donate to the Goodwill by the soccer field where her daughter practiced from five to seven in the evening. She tossed the jacket into the donation bag and drove her way to Goodwill, unaware that her son’s girlfriend’s thirteen dollars and eighteen cents lay in the pocket. The wife got back into her car and continued her way to the soccer field. She had to move out of her lane however, for an ambulance that carried an already dead mother, a grief stricken 19-year old boy, and his depressed father as well. She picked up her daughter after donating the clothes. On the drive home, her daughter noticed a high school girl throw away a perfectly good ice cream cone. “Mom, why did that girl just waste the ice cream?” her nine-year old girl naively asked.
The mother scowled at the new skinny fad— stupid teenage girls that don’t know how to value life…”She just didn’t want it— d on’t ever do that, okay? You’ll just be wasting money and with this recession, we need to save as much as we can.” Their car drove past a man on the street holding a Starbucks coffee cup (his bank) and sitting on the hot pavement. He was a writer, and had published a book that companies later donated to libraries because there were no readers. He was staring at a piece of gum on the sidewalk and contemplated whether he should walk over to the Goodwill store by the soccer field to see if the pink jacket would be there. Thirteen dollars and eighteen cents was a good investment. But he knew the money wouldn’t be there— the money was just a product of his imagination. He would just end up returning to the same sidewalk square and continue to entertain himself by creating more stories about another blackened and flat piece of gum on the sidewalk. 37
Soundtrack to an Escape
Melinda could feel the men in her stomach working. Last night was the last straw, and that is when those men moved into her stomach and started constructing a church. This church was founded on Melinda’s rules on men and how far she would go in relationships before the minds of the couple started weaving into one another, and she could no longer pick out which strings were hers. She was pious to this church, and the sermon that night said that it was her time to leave, again, and try to collect her strings.
She slowly crept out of bed and crawled on the floor like a panther, the folds of her body highlighted by the soft moonlight that transpired through the blinds. Her knees cold and her glands warm, she moved swiftly to escape this tension. She eventually made her way around the big armoire that marked the midpoint between the bed and the door, and behind it she crouched into a fetal position as a soft snoring graduated in the chest of Ernie. Melinda had to wait until he reached REM. She knew exactly when Ernie would fall into this state, for she was a very light sleeper, thus, she studied his snoring with a profound acuteness, so much so that she knew that once the back of Ernie’s throat joined the discussion between his lips and nose, he was gone for the night. Melinda tuned her ear to find the chord progression that indicated this.
“Hucchh, oosh, huchh, oosh,” he sang. That wasn’t it. “Huhhhh, phew, huhh, phew,” that wasn’t it either.
He repeated these two in interchanging intervals, until he finally paused, and belted out the welcoming sign to REM: “hughh, cuhhhh, hughhh caccuhh.”
“Yes!” thought Melinda, it was the supplication of the ‘ca’ that was the golden ticket, and Melinda basked in this gilded moment. She had to synchronize herself now. He inhaled; she reached out her leg. He exhaled; she stuck her foot in the crack of the door. He inhaled; she inched the door open, He exhaled; she escaped out.
Dyanna Moreno, Appealing Contrast, Digital Photograph.
“What happened to my shoes?” I was mixing cement along with nineteen other sweaty teenagers in the blazing July sun. My new cross-trainers were so covered with concrete that they were indistinguishable from the grey, rocky matter we were churning. I was in Puerto Rico with a student group on a cultural exchange and service tour. For a few days we were staying in Vega Baja to help families transform their wooden houses (which would not stand a chance up against torrential storms and hurricanes) into firmer casas de concreto. On this day, we were cementing a couple of walls and a floor on the second story of a house, creating a new bedroom. I was drenched in a sweat smelling of Gatorade, dirtier than I could ever remember being, and very happy. I’d never known needing a bath so badly could make me happy, but after I fell into the rhythm of mixing concrete into a viscous fluid, pouring it into buckets, and emptying the buckets into frames around walls, I completely forgot my minor physical ailments and I was able to take in my surroundings. I marveled to see a boy of about eight, one of the sons of the family, pick up a shovel that was nearly as tall as him and begin to shovel cement better than any of us students. He had bright brown eyes, a big smile, and was completely immersed up to his knees in cement. We all took a break around noon for lunch. We rested and ate on a small porch and we were greeted again by the little boy. He was very excited to be around so many teenagers and he had brought out some awards he had earned in elementary school science. He then showed us some remarkable models of plant and animal cells- these were better than any I had ever seen in a textbook.
In conversing with him as best as I could I learned that he was aspiring to become a scientist. The conversation I had with this little boy I will never forget. He told me what he had learned about bugs and animals (his favorite critter was Puerto Rico’s native coqui frog). He pointed out the names of the beautiful plants and trees around us and got very excited watching several vivid green parakeet fly overhead. I was able to identify with his passion and interest in the natural world, and I was very happy to listen to him. At the same time I felt an indescribable sense of melancholy. Puerto Rico has an incredibly high unemployment and poverty rate. Many families subsist on inadequate welfare payments, and many young adults have to leave school before graduation to help support their families. The chances that this little boy would get to go to college are slim. His family would not have the money to pay for him. It was very uncertain that he would fulfill his dream. I felt anguish at the prospect of this little boy’s genius never being able to impact the world- all his passion ever igniting discovery. The feeling has never left me, and this issue still remains unresolved in my mind. After we finished our work that day we stood with the family and little boy on the new floors of the house and watched the sun set and the stars emerge. I remember how happy the family were with their improved home and how the little boy kept smiling and hugging all of us. Perhaps with a solid home, the friend I made may have a place to continue his studies and achieve his dream. I have no way of predicting what the future will bring for either of us. However, I still hope that there were two future scientists that night looking up at the stars.
Ely Benhamo, Shadow Walker, Digital Photography.
“You look so much like her,” my mother said as she clipped a 1950s tiger lily broche to the center of my wrap. The broche perfected it; the tiger lily’s bloom transcended through the folds of the dress which was the same color as my favorite notebook, the one that I took with me everywhere to record special moments. When I looked at my reflection, I saw her. I saw the same hour-glass figure, the same almond-shaped eyes, and the same small, feeble neck that was the perfect size for heads to nuzzle in its burrow. As I examined myself in the mirror, it became more evident that I am a carbon copy of my grandmother. Famous for being very stylish and classy, she was a wholesome wife and mother as well. She helped everyone in the neighborhood with whatever they needed, in any way she could, and most people appreciated it. Everyone loved her, and she loved everyone; however, that love and free spirit would not always translate when she looked at herself in the mirror. She frequently would stare at her lips that were plump as freshly picked cherries, rosy cheeks that bloomed like posies when she smiled, and a perfectly proportioned nose, but behind the symmetry, she experienced a sense of foreboding. Time would move as the tides and leave traces of this loitering feeling in her mind. She created foundations, then buildings, then whole cities of these dark, morbid thoughts. It was as if she slowly drifted into the ocean, on a hot summer’s day. She let the water tickle her toes with its flirtatious foam, and it crashed in, leaving beautiful ripples on the sand, almost like the grain of wood. She drew closer in, knee deep. Then, little fishes swooshed in between her legs, tickled her, and piqued her curiosity. She walked in the water, feeling its mystic totality and breathing in the salt to cleanse the years from her form. This whirlpool lived in her mind. In reality, she was actually afraid of the water; never stepped her foot in it. She was a fire sign, like me. Our failures can burn into the groves of our brain, and live there until it bakes us whole. 42
Was it the trap of domesticity that made her do it? Was it devastation from the collapsing marriage that made her spread the gas across the kitchen floor? Was it the layers of secrets she had to keep from the family that made her strike the match? Was it the fact that no one really knew her? None of these seemed reason enough to let the flames envelop her. Ever since that day in the dressing room when my mother told me how my grandmother died, these questions have circumnavigated my brain. Although we both can be “cutthroat” at times, our generosity blooms out of us. I felt that my greatest loss in my life was never knowing this amazing woman that is so much a part of me. That day, I wrote all of these things in my notebook, and tears rolled down my face as I acknowledged this loss, but soon, as I searched in my heart for what was going to make all of this tolerable in my mind, the answer glowed in front of me. I realized that as I was writing, a sweeping sense of catharsis developed inside of me. My arm moved rhythmically as if it were conducting a symphony; my fingers budded together, centralized and focused. My middle finger started throbbing on the left, concave side below my nail bed. The pain intoxicated me. I felt that I was giving myself control over my internal conflict, and that I was giving a permanency to my grandmother. As I saw the illuminated ink slowly dry onto the page, a sense of conviction grew in me. In literature, characters are never lost from the seam of time. If I wrote everything about her down on paper, she could never be lost from me. She could be my character, free to break from her chrysalis and metamorphose into whatever she wanted, guiding me through her path. I could paint her body into the mind of a reader; I could tantalize the readers’ nose with the smell of her cooking, and I could make the reader hear the crackling of her skin as she melted onto death’s plate. That way, no one will fail to hear her this time.
Dyanna Moreno, Haudrey,
il Pa tel.
Perspective Jorge Cartaya
Despite the number of years that we’ve known each other, I have only let him hug me six times. One of them was on his birthday, our emotions still running high after the surprise party I had planned turned out to be a success. He had crushed my small frame to his chest and twirled me around, my head bumping into the hollow space where his sternum caves in, the thumping of his heartbeat drowned out by the whirling laughter of our friends at the spectacle we were becoming. There’s a photograph of us right at that moment— m y back facing the camera, his eyes closed, mouth curved in an impossibly wide smile. The kind one gives when they think nobody’s looking. My family had always moved a lot when I was a kid, so much so that when I eventually settled down with a career and a restaurant I had resigned myself to visiting every Friday for comfort’s sake, I was overcome with a feeling of intense claustrophobia. I came to the realization in the pool. The chlorine had stopped stinging my eyes weeks ago, and as I lunged off the pool wall for laps I thought, “I’m becoming so ordinary.” My muscles froze at the thought, and I
ended up floating limply in the water, facedown, eyes wide open until the chlorine started stinging again. After getting out, dripping water all over the floors, I rearranged all the furniture and haphazardly mixed the contents of my cabinets so that I wouldn’t be able to find anything anymore. He slipped on some of the water, a loud yelp resounding through the halls and to my room, where I was moving my bed so that the window was to my left and not my right. He walked into the room a few moments later, rubbing at his behind with a scowl on his face. “Why are the floors all wet?” “Because I never bothered to dry myself off,” I paused in my efforts and eyed his larger frame. “Help me out, would you?” He did, muttering all the while about how crazy it was for me to have walked into the house without a towel. When I was satisfied that I would definitely stub my toe— n umerous times— against something when I stumbled into the room later that night, he kicked at one of the water puddles and appraised the room with a tinge of discomfort, “Are you hungry?” “Not really.” But he knows me well enough to know what I really mean and went to the kitchen anyway. I could hear him fumbling around in there, occasionally shouting
questions about where things were. He reappeared a half hour later with a steaming plate of spaghetti. I wrinkled my nose at his overuse of cheese but ate it anyway, sitting down against the wall. He watched me eat, and I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous at the sensation. I thought I must be feeling what someone who had just had a one-night stand must feel after the intoxication has worn off and all that’s left over is a nascent headache and a stranger in the bed. I wanted to ask him to leave me alone, to stop staring at me, to send him away with half-hearted apologies about how it was all a mistake. But he isn’t a stranger, so I didn’t. Later that night, toes still throbbing dully, I pulled away and curled on my side, facing away from him. Accustomed to the dark, my eyes found that photograph on my nightstand—his elated smile over my tensed shoulders. I was suddenly grateful that my face had been buried in his chest… I had been smiling just as widely. Carefully, I waited until he was lost to this world and wormed my way through the sheets to him, my head burrowing into the cave in his chest. His arm unconsciously wrapped around the small of my back and I listened to his slowed heartbeat, lulled to sleep in the lazy heat.
Anthony Santove nia, Misunderstood Mirrors , Digital Photography.
Isabellla Rodriguez, Swings, Acrylic on Canvas.
inhale, exhale that’s the key listen to my words, listen to me: don’t stop wishin’, hopin’ don’t lay around regrettin’, mopin’ there’s health and sickness strength and weakness just try and overcome dullness; bleakness spice up your life with a little chili romance a girl act real silly it’s kind of hard to live life through just don’t forget that it’s all right to live for you
Dya nna Moreno, Simple Escape, Digital Photography.
Brianna Morris, Vigilandote, Digital Photography. 48
Dya nna Moreno, Fall Times, Mix e d Media
Nico le de Ovi n, Artificial Ridges, Digital Photography.
Eva n Gilbert, William the Sun God, Ac r yl ic Painting.
Marco Velasq uez, Purity, Ac r ly ic Painting. 49
A million stars light up the night sky. With her hand to the clouds, Ephemeral lights Outlast her eyes. “Blink,” he said,
“And you’ll see the stars fall To the palm of your hand.” And she closed her eyes to catch her star. She resents the moon. How dignified the moon stares
In her waltz with the sun For the light of dark. He maps out the stars in her eyes, Mapped onto her retina, Burnt into place with the light of the moon.
And he outlines the skin of the star in his hand.
Camila Romero, Vertabrae Love, Digital Photography.
Anthony Santovenia, Edge Affair, Digital Photography
Interstate Love Affair
My hometown has a one-sided love affair with New York City. I imagine that she writes to him, hoping, longing to discover what makes him so great. Gathering up her writing supplies, Miami writes in stilted, loopy characters professing her deepest affection and that she hopes that heâ€™ll write her back soon. She longs to burst with technicolor lights, to have a square at her center teeming with life and activity to attract his attention. But the Sun has made her brown, and the snow melts before it can cool her flushed skin. She does not radiate with color, and the blood pools under her eyes with futile insomniaâ€” she never wants to sleep. New York sends her his regards in the form of those that can no longer keep up with his frenetic pace of life. Miami accepts them graciously, and they clog her roads and highways, unaccustomed to her disproportionate body and lack of interconnectedness, of unity. Many of her children leave her, longing for anonymity. Miami lets them go find her star-crossed lover, but sometimes they return to her, old and wrinkled. She presses her full ruby lips to each one, and promises summers that never, ever end. And they rest in her silicone-stuffed bosom, weary, finally glad to be home again. 53
cyanide tango Isabell Manibusan
she draws me in with sulfur yellow lace gingerly clinging to her bony pelvis
while arsenic lips breathe malignant smoke i inhale it all
wanting her clown red pout to match my bubblegum smile
her cyanide hips grind against mine [in a tango, letâ€™s say] and iâ€™m melting choking seizing for this one boulevard beauty.
Daniella Quintero, 3rd Base, Ac r ly lic. 55
Caitlin Rya n, Chains, Ac r yl ic on Canva s.
Recuerdos de Un Olvido Memories of the Forgotten
De mis labios sonabas, pero nunca te hablé. Te nombraba sin saberlo; sin conocerte. En mis orejas caías, pero nunca te escuché. Tus divinos versos arrullaban mi dormido espíritu. En mis ojos eras efímeras figuras, y nunca te vi. Tus curvas fluían como un río de de seda que no existía. Y nunca te pude tocar. Te traicioné y en mis sentidos aterrizó una extranjera Inculta y perturbada; fría como el bronce de una lanza. Nunca te conocí, y te olvidé. Pero no te fuiste; te quedaste. Cuando te perdí, te extrañé; Me di cuenta que estabas en mis labios, en mis oídos, en mis ojos. Me di cuenta que eras mis sombra, mi mente y mi sangre. Tu ausencia me indicó tu presencia. Perdí el sonido de tu abrazo, Pero ya que no me arrullas más, Desperté y escuché tu belleza: Musa de lengua española.
From my lips you sounded, but to you never spoke I named you without knowing you. On my ears you fell, but to you never listened. Your divine verse my sleeping spirit lulled. In my eyes ephemeral figures you were, and you I never saw. Your curves flowed like a non-existent silk river. And I could never touch you. I betrayed you and on my senses landed a foreigner, Base and perturbed, could like the bronze spear. I never knew you and I forgot you. But you never left, you stayed. When I lost you, I missed you; I realized you were on my lips, in my ears, in my eyes. I realized you were my shadow, my mind, my blood. Your absence told of your presence. I lost the sound of your embrace, But you lull me no longer. I awoke and listened to your beauty: Muse, of the Spanish language.
King of Pain
You loved me verily â€˜tis true, As true as there is honor and virtue in the words and deeds of vainglorious men, As true as there is fidelity and loyalty in your duplicitous countenance, As true as there is sincerity and humility in your treacherous lies and carnal deceits. Which is to say that all is false, all lies, all untruth in the appearance of some redeeming spiritual virtue. Nothing what it seems when your love is not love but something base and mean. IV. What of my own passionate appetites, and cheap, desperately self-propelled forays into a loverâ€™s madness? No, I claim no moral high ground, no higher redeeming virtue, only singleness of purpose and purity of though and emotion. Feelings are sacred, fragile things that must be nurtured even when borne out of hostility and resentment.
Dyanna Moreno, Flooding Colors, Acryllic.
Leap of Faith Kayla Malone
The ribs of the leaves beneath my limbs match my rough skin. I feel safe within the camouflage of the trees. The clouds are somewhere in sight and the temperature sticks to a comfortable 95°. But if I just move carefully to the edge of this branch, I can almost see another pair of shocking red eyes. There he is. My Apollo. Rays warm his tendered skin. His blood boils and the dew releases from its moist bed of the evening before and flies into the passionate day. Who is it that sculpted this David? Who told him to make man in this image? Freud, am I dreaming? My eyes move to the blue speckles on his underside. If I squint, I can just about . . . make out (falls off leaf and onto lower branch beneath the canopy). Hogwash, I look foolish falling from the canopy. I wonder if he noticed. Oh no, he seems to be staring straight at me. Please let there be a juicy fly behind me instead . . . He’s crawling over here – I am such a clutz. But what if, what if, maybe he is coming over for a different reason. Oh Mother Nature, I hope so . . .
First Name, Final Name Sanjay Nair
“Hey! You’re that guy from American Idol!” This is the response I get from almost half the people to whom I manage to introduce myself. Do I really look anything like him? “Yeah! You’re Sanjaya right?” No dear person, my name is Sanjay, and I am not a failed contestant on a primetime television karaoke show. I am the person who has dealt with the misguided yet amusing stereotypes of Indians ever since I began living in this country. Let’s begin back in elementary school. We all remember when the teacher would ask each student to stand up and introduce themselves. When it was my turn, I could expect a majority of the students to look at me as if I were not human after I recited my name. The teacher’s face would light up with delight, but to my dismay all she would remark was, “Oh, I love curry chicken!” After multiple students asked me if I was good at math and if I ever rode an elephant before, I timidly took my seat and felt the eyes of the class focus down on me as the odd one out. It only came to my attention later in life that many Americans seem to have a strict spyglass through which they judge me from my ethnicity. I have bushy eyebrows, a big nose, and I am quite skinny. Just to add the spice to the curry of stereotypes, I am interested in computer science. “Oh, you are so good at math,” my friends used to say. I would have appreciated the comment if it had not been followed with, “All you Indians are so smart! It’s not fair!” Well, actually it is. My acuteness in math or science does not come from the color of my skin or the homeland of my ancestors. Still, I was amused by the fact that many seemed to think that their ability to succeed in math was related to how “Indian” they were. Next thing I knew, they were bringing curry chicken and rice to lunch everyday (not really). As I moved on to high school, this 60
curious trend began to expand. With the release of the movie Slumdog Millionaire (a historic milestone in the evolution of the Indian stereotype), another bombardment of misled assertions hit me like a stampede of buffalo. Conversations would go something like, “Hello, my name is Sanjay.” “Oh, you’re Indian? Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire? I love Bollywood movies!” I would bet that ninety percent of people in the U.S. believe that “Bollywood” is a real city in India. Most of those people would probably also say they could find it on a map because TMZ said it was real. Most people don’t know that Bollywood is not a real city and Slumdog Millionaire, while showcasing the very real issues of poverty of India, is, in fact, a British movie. What I wish I could show these people what the real India that I experienced for almost half my life. Where I lived and learned all there was to learn about the pristine countryside and the indescribable pride one feels when their bare feet touches the warm soil of their countryside. Through my eyes I see a land of bright and unique individuals who all desire to go far in life and work hard for success. It seems to me that Americans and Indians are not as different as people may see. So we speak with a different dialect, eat different food, practice different customs and obviously, look unique. What make out uniqueness a subject of satirical criticism? I wish people could see Indians as the auspicious, optimistic, persevering, kind and generous people I know and love. Not as the curry eating, elephant riding, math solving, “R” rolling guys named Sanjaya. I am but one person in a culture of millions, and no single description of an Indian could ever encompass the diversity present in my culture. From the brother of the gas station owner Apoo in the Simpsons to the Indian prince on the
Evan Gilbert, Keep on Tracking, Acryllic.
Disney Channel to that Indian doctor on the news with the funny last name, my name has has been thrown around as the “keyword” to look for. Some people see it and immediately label the person as Indian and plaster on all the stereotypical information they have absorbed from the public media. I could go on and on about the new media using the stereotypical image of Indians in movies and even commercials, but after years of experiencing the misled commentary, I have learned to not take the issue quite so critically. When I am hit with another example of stereotypical inquiry, I sometimes enjoy going along with it and have some fun. Just by rolling my R’s in a conversation, the resulting look on the person’s face is just priceless. In some cases, I like to
pull out my carefully practiced British accent. That really throws them off. Eventually, I do drop the act and begin acting like myself. I appreciate the environment where people can accept me for who I am. I would take their comical comments over a racist slur any day. I have come to understand that the stereotype of my name is not a controversy but rather a personal joke I like to tell myself whenever someone come along and makes a misled comment. Presently, my goal is not to fight the stereotypes that haunt my existence. Rather, I wish to enlighten those blinded by these preconceptions. After that, I have my last name to deal with. “Nair? Oh you mean like that hair removal product?” This should be interesting. 61
Dya nna Moreno, Out the Window, Photography.
The ceramic sculpture of a bloody and fallen Jesus, with hair caressed his head, with a stare too melancholically alive and filled with the thorny pain of a black crown, with a mouth that silently shakes, stood looking down at me from behind a glass in Monserrate Cathedral. His eyes, wooden and stagnant, ever in pain, pierced my soul and seemed to judge me. I could hear them asking: “Where are you? Where have you gone?” I had to look up at him, bleeding and perched on his cross behind a glass box, thinking how my grandmother said that this very figure was mystically blessed, and his hair, soft and waxy, was said to be miraculous. “I left. I left Colombia. I left you,” I thought. I wondered if perhaps the opportunity of having migrated to the United States was miracle in itself. I wondered how I did not touch hair to be granted what many of us Colombians saw as a dream. Upon walking outside, and seeing Bogotá from the mountaintop in all its grandeur, I also wondered if this is how he saw Bogotá. I wished that instead of being a taciturn sculpture, which transmit a never-ending sorrow and a pain that wrapped my heart in anguish, he would at least mouth a comment on the view of the city. Inside of its grimy avenues, lie destitute children who shiver from the inside of fabric tents, fathers who sell more than their honor to provide them with changua and bread, mothers who relinquish a daily embrace for rice and plantains. Reader, I ask you to look into one of the slums of my birth city, and these are the people you will find. In their dirty and mud-stained face you will see the inscription of poverty, but in their industrious commitment to their children, to their land, you will see nothing less than the hardiest people in the South American continent. You will see that, like Jesus, their arms and legs are just as bruised and scraped, but they look warm, sturdy, human. There is no glass between their lice-ridden hair and me; even their stares are the same. However, theirs do not pierce me with fear and pain, but with a plight that seeks refuge in the compassion of my heart. I looked back at Jesus in his lighted shrine and wished that next to him there would be a statue of a poor child so that he would feel closer to those that need him most; so his gaze falls less heavily on us morefortunate sinners and more benevolently on the pure hearts of the children who look up at our smoky sky and pray for a better meal tomorrow. I, meanwhile, pray for the courage to help me encounter them again, as I wonder why those that are most entitled for life suffer its greatest hardships, and us fortunate souls, wake up without thanking God for another day of life. 63
I watched the news for the first time in weeks.
of grease. I have stopped eating. I can feel
Then I ripped up all my poetry. I set it on
my stomach acid corrode my insides. I am
fire and tossed the ashes out the window,
pure. I am cleaner than you. Cleanliness is
watching as the wet air carried them to a
next to godliness. I have begun to bathe in
new home. Adoption, but more efficient.
ammonia. Sometimes I brush my teeth with Clorox. Make the choppers nice and shiny.
A butterfly caught fire. It flew too close to one
I am going to eat your heart when I finally
of the tiny tea lamp candles that rest on the
dining room table. Spread erratically among yellowing papers and books with footnotes
I have made a list of everything I am sick
that don’t actually have any meaning. The
of reading about. Love is the first through
butterfly went from solid to ashes to dust
fifth item on the list. Dating is for those who
in the wind created by the fan in under 3.5
aren’t comfortable with silence. Thank you
seconds. I gathered as much of the leftovers
very much, I like it right here. In my mess.
as I could and buried it in your orchids. I hope
My mess coagulates around me; it is nice
you don’t mind. They were dying anyway,
and safe as long as you don’t poke yourself
and dead things belong with dead things.
with any of the rusty saws I like to keep in
This is all so the living can move on.
between the couch cushions. We do not give free tetanus shots. Go find a country with
I have spent the last three hours lying on
Medicare and leave me alone.
the floor, staring at the ceiling. Solace will not be offered to those with clean criminal
I have evicted the cockroaches from my
records. Blood, blood everywhere and not
bathroom with two gallons of Clorox and a
a drop to drink. Oh woe is me; we are all
bottle of Raid. Who said mixing chemicals
just one huge Shakespearean tragedy. I will
was a bad thing?
spend half my life not making sense anyway, why start now? Sjnfcj. We’re all going to die of heart clots. There is nothing healthy on TV and even the air is full
Marco Velasq uez, Reborn, Ac r yl ic National America n Visi ons Award Winner 65
Template Catherine Zaw
Collecting her art supplies, she rests them on a cold marble counter and stares at the reflection looking back at her On her naked face, the first thing she adds, of course, are her eyes—drawn in thick black paint and filled with crystal blue pastel, eyelashes sketched dense and brows smirking right above All of a sudden her blank face seems even emptier than before and she hurries to add a nose modeled after one she had circled in a magazine She had practiced forever to get the strokes perfect The mouth? She’d make her lips more full and passionate with watercolor—yesterday’s chalky lips impressed no one After completing her ears she wondered whether to plot freckles over her face—since lately that’s what she saw he noticed— but went against it—what if she messed up? Running a hand over her smooth scalp she chose black to pour over herself: drops of falling paint loosed into straight long strands Once, maybe twice, she considered— this hair was no good, she turned the faucet water impatiently spurted out, and she guided her head to the running cleanser and started her hair again—this time with red spray paint and a brush to define fiery waves—in hopes to get attention She’s satisfied, for the moment, but notices one of her eyes is lopsided Didn’t need water from the faucet, her desperate tears did the trick, and dark black paint streaked down her face and dripped, kissing the white porcelain of the sink, that could not be stained any darker
Andrea Es p inosa , The Art Box, Oil Pas t el.
[The marketplace, 9:00 a.m., March 3rd] Mrs. Taylor: Pineapple? Pineapple? Where? First Stall Person: Straight down the alley, ma’am! The last stall! Mrs. Taylor: Thank you, sir!
[The stall] Mrs. Taylor: Any pineapples, sir? Second Stall Person: Yes, ma’am. Potatoes, too! Mrs. Taylor: What would you charge for a pineapple? Second Stall Person: Two dollars, ma’am. Shall I bag one for you? Mrs. Taylor: Yes – [Thunder]
Mrs. Taylor: Oh! Thunder? In March? Second Stall Person: Surprising, isn’t it? Thunder clouds in March! Mrs. Taylor: The pineapple, sir. I would like to buy one. Second Stall Person: Ah! Yes, yes… Here… [A military vehicle runs the stoplight] Second Stall Person: Now, why are they here…? Here’s your pineapple, ma’am.
[The streets, 11:00 a.m, March 3rd The streets are empty. All the stalls are closed. The dark thunder clouds take over the spotless city]
[The streets, 5:00 p.m., March 3rd The dusty, worn out streets The road a gunpowder sheet The evening blossom all gone With no barbeque stalls] END
Alexa ndra Sanch ez, Have a Nice Day, Film Photograph.
Nico le de Ovi n, Stained Glass, Digital Photography.
Con dulce metro y seductor saxofón Aparece Rusia, blanca, roja y fría, Tristemente llorando su melancolía. Un valse de austeridad Juega en el tímpano seducido Por belleza eslava en el descuido. Violines vuestros llantos cortan, Con arco de siberiana maestría, La felicidad que disfrutar quería.
Shostakovitch Julian Muñoz
Mientras campanas de pasión abren la Cortina Y vuestra mente de amor transcendental Sopla la rusa nieve en danza fatal. Vos escucháis el llanto de la música Y en ella ponéis lágrimas agridulces De la audiencia cautivada en vuestras luces, Pues en vuestra arte manifestáis La realidad que al corazón llega Y en sangre la razón ciega. El trombón, solemne y antiguo, Canta una historia De marcha militar en bronce memoria. Aquí campanas cantan en coro Mientras el valse del artista termina Y el orgullo del puro corazón lastima. Recoged vuestras notas del escritorio, Levantaos e id al mundo del olvido De donde por solo un día habéis venido.
With sweet meter and seductive saxophone Appears Russia, cold, red and white, Sorrowfully crying in its plight. A waltz of austerity Plays on the ear drum seduced By Slavic beauty, neglected and misused. Violins thy sighs cut, With bow of Siberian proficiency, The warm joy of normal felicity. While bells of passion drew the curtain And thy mind of transcendental love opened, Blew Russian snow in fatal dance a moment. Thou hearest the cry of music And in her place the bittersweet tear Of the audience captivated thy radiance sheer, For in thine art, thou manifest Reality that reaches the heart And in blood reason takes apart. The trombone, solemn and ancient, Sings an old history of military scowl In memory bronze and foul. Here bells sing together While the waltz of that artist ends And the pride of the pure heart offends. Pick thy notes from the desk, Rise and enter the world of the forgotten From whence for a day thou were begotten.
Camila Romero, Palafitos, Photography.
Nico le de Ovi n, Lunch, Photography.
Karla Montes, Circles, Ac r yl ic on Canva s. 72
Eva n Gilbert, Howlin Wolf, Graphite.
Anthony Santove nia, Bare Beauty, Photography.
my name is polly, and i am a self-admitted, selflabeled pyromaniac. i am fourteen years old. it might’ve started when i was eight. (the Kitchen Incident) (the night mama died) pa grabbed me up and carried me outside. the firemen claimed that she died because all the smoke choked her up. asphyxiation. she didn’t crawl like the school teachers drilled. after the fire, the firemen never looked at pa the same again. perhaps it was because they found the bedroom a mess. mama always had to pick up after him. they wheeled her out with a black cloth draped over her body. they didn’t account for the loose step on the pathway, and she tumbled off the stretcher. her tongue was as blue as her eyes were. her dress was bright red and her classic #14 rose was still painted on her lips. she always did match. even then. her face looked wrong. i couldn’t tell what it was though. the bruises were in the way. pa jerked me away from her and told me to cover my eyes. his voice was angry. i needed to stop gawkin’. (gawkin’ - staring real hard with my eyes wide as a full moon and my mouth pinched closed in a tight line ex. like pa when mama said she was going to call the cops that one time) Kieffer Carrace do, Agony, Pix e lation of Digital Art. 74
i only light small fires. never any big ones. every time i light a big fire, i get visions. well, just one. over and over. my mother is cooking at the stove. she smiles at me and i see that she got some of her lipstick on one of her incisors. her brown hair is wispy and tied at the nape of her neck. some tumbled down the back of her white dress. pa calls- yells for her. she tells me to watch the pot and leaves. the pot begins to angrily bubble. i think of calling her back. but . . . i’m afraid to, because she told me to never come near her bedroom when i heard pa yelling. i hear dull thuds, like someone getting a good hiding. the pot lid is beginning to clatter. i cannot wait because the steam is erupting from the pot and the water is surging down the sides. i glance at the furious pot and begin to walk to their bedroom. i slowly push open the door. “mama . . . the potatoes are boiling over . . .” she was on the floor and coughing. hacking. [like mr.smith who smoked a pack a day and was said to sleep with one lit in his mouth.] “it’s alright, love. just go watch the pot. keep watching it for me. make sure that the kitchen doesn’t light up. your pa would go crazy if it did. you know how he gets . . .” pa wasn’t in the room. he must’ve been in the bathroom.
“you sure?” she weakly nodded. i left the room. i heard pa’s footsteps coming back and the sound of a cup being smashed against the wall. he was screaming words i didn’t understand. i had to go watch the stove. i heard my mother scream. i kept walking to the kitchen. she had told me to watch the pot. she told me . . . the potatoes were still erupting. bubbles were clawing their way out. the cover rattled. the stove hissed and crackled. it was rattling and exploding and mama was screaming and i was screaming and the pot was going to explode and the kitchen was going to light and pa would go crazy and we wouldn’t have any supper and he would scream again andhewouldscreamagainandmama wouldscreamagain i lit the kitchen curtains on fire. i don’t remember how. pa came running in and he grabbed me up and carried me outside. i remember screaming for mama. i looked back before he ran out the front door. her white dress was made of linen. she was smiling at me. i don’t like lighting big fires because i get that false vision. and i know it’s false because in the vision her dress was white, and i distinctly remember her tumbling off the stretcher in blood red.
The world is ripe and red against my skin – a perfect flesh So you remove what keeps you from it with hands cold and callused Your curiosity tempts your tongue as it dances behind your lips And whilst I stand bare underneath your hands I am followed by your eyes Not as beautiful as you imagined, I am no longer polished Bruised – wounds from previous hands You didn’t expect blushing cheeks would not be red on the inside Because outer beauty can trick the eyes, a bitter core will never satisfy And like those before me, another apple is thrown away
Walke r Paulse n, Toxi c, Digital Art.
Reyn a Noriega, Serendipity, Ac r yl ic on Canva s.
Making Tracks Dominique Mortimer
A visible heat wave rose from the surrounding asphalt and wrapped itself around the train tracks. The tracks served as a poverty line, separating the James E. Scott Housing Project from the rest of the world, dividing haves from havenots. The copper rust that lay on top of the corroded tracks seemed to barely affect the playing children, all of them, that is, except me. I am unable to recall the physical address of the duplex, but the tracks still remain sharply visible in my mind. Among the sea of identical homes, my matchbox townhouse blended into the monotony. But once inside it became a dream-world filled with the aromatic delights reminiscent of my former island home, Antigua, with its pink and white sandy shores, rolling grass hills, and clear aquatic features. There in the projects, however, the outside contrast was great. The regularly scheduled interruptions in our electric and water services (we frequently couldnâ€™t pay the bills) encouraged nomads to wander through the ghetto. I was careful to never venture beyond the wall, which was marked with gory, nonhuman violence. Just past the
borders of the wall, gunshots could be heard. They pierced the air every Christmas, New Yearâ€™s Day, and other champagne-cork-worthy holidays. Something deep within me hungered for the land beyond this territory, framed by the railroad tracks and the obsolete semicircular concrete blockade. In a constant toggle, I found it difficult to decide between the chaotic streets of Liberty City and my 9 by 9 room. There in my room I was surrounded by a variety of books which allowed me to escape into a parallel universe, away from the home where my heart wasnâ€™t. My testimony of sorts has evolved into a Declaration of Independence. I now tread on different tracks. I still live in the projects, but we pay our own rent. I know in the future I will have to take care of, emotionally and physically, my older sister who suffers from a mental disability. I carry all of that, but I unburden it at the docks of education. It is in this community, this population of famine survivors, that I owe my passion to excel. I will never forget the rust-encrypted Narnia, nor will I forget my responsibility to the children that play on the tracks to tomorrow.
pino a, Decembersville, n an
olore Pen il .
What Do Monsters Think?
On All Hallowâ€™s Eve When children have fright Of horrible goblins And werewolves that bite And others give fear With a ghoulish delight Do the monsters also believe? Do little monsters going to bed Check closets and cubbyhole hidings in dread That they might find a human or two Hiding so quietly in their room? Do they parade around town, Not dressed as a clown, But a Bob or a Betty, Fearing the pretty? Do they gross themselves out Seeing grapefruit or trout? Do they scream, do they squirm Cleaning their hands free of germs? Children run and hide as they can When out comes the Boogeyman. Do monsters cower and pale When the mailman delivers the mail? Are they really as dreadful and bad as they seem? Or am I just as afraid of them as they are of me? Do they wander about, hiding behind trees, When children walk by on All Hallowâ€™s Eve?
hey, you don’t have a kid
exhausted and half-lidded eyes can’t comprehend this girl’s complex lies words full of conflict [contradiction] he can’t grasp her careful diction she’s only confusing herself degrading her mental heath soon i think she’ll go mad before that guy’ll find out that he’s a dad
Diamone Sco tt, Confuzzled, Digital Photography.
She Turned Away Hannah Pustejovsky
Holly yJ , Abandoned, Photography.
In his dream, he saw a little girl in a dress that would have been saved for her Christmas best running down a long hallway. The sight was not one that would send chills down your spine, like the children so favored in horror movies.
It was chilling, but in a different respect altogether. This little girl wasnâ€™t the kind to skip, but rather fled down the hallway, as if chased by a monster that was no longer trapped in her closet. If there had been sound in his dream, which never happened, he might have heard the sound of her sobbing
intertwined with the soft tap of her slippers on the moss covered cobblestones. If there had been color in his dreams, which there never was, he might have noticed the maroon liquid splashed on her dress in a pattern that was almost artful or deliberate.
And if it had been just a dream,
she might still be alive.
Adabel Maldenado, Between the Seams, Photography.
Movement II: Sleeping Invader
Your feet weigh down on the ground like bombs. One step. Boom. Second step. Boom. You have never been here before. You glance at the clearing that is to the left of this forest. The moon illuminates the ground to look like grey satin Draped on top of a sofa. You follow the path that winds to this terribly beautiful Ground. You hear every twig, each a different note in the song of This dark, mossy entrapment. As you near closer, your breath harmonizes with The movement of your body and your eyes Focus on the image ahead. Little lights? Yes. Arranged, floating lights. Creating organisms. A couple. Dancing. Gliding above ground. The earth is their dance floor. Your eyes become enchanted. Bewitched by the beauty in their waltz. You crouch a safe distance away from them. Youâ€™re just an onlooker. Their feet heat up the floor underneath it. Their passions burning the grass. Sparks fly. The light travels to your corneas. Ecstasy shaves them from your eyes. You shut them. Goosebumped and battered, You feel the earth shake. You fall to the ground. Hands on your face. Eyes spilling. You open them a crack, Only to see the little lights separate, The couple vanish, The earth falling, And your hands wrapped around Your pillow Where you lay sleeping. 87
Window Jorge Cartaya
He fell in love with her eyes. They are not particularly beautiful. In fact, they are perfectly ordinary— r uddy brown like the bark of the old tree in their languishing backyard. When he was a boy, he remembers sitting in a humid theater and lusting after the actress who played the heroine. It was a foreign film (Indian, he thinks), and she had the most ravishing pair of viridian-green eyes in the history of all time. He promised himself then and there that when he married a woman her eyes would be as beautiful, her legs and breasts as buxom, and her skin the color of sweet caramel. She has none of these things. He doesn’t exactly know if she does, because he cannot see her. He has never seen her outside the niqab. When they met, she had to teach him the difference. “Why are you wearing that?” he’d asked, “You’re in America, now. You don’t have to wear that hijab anymore, don’t you know? “It is not a hijab,” she had responded, voice airy and courteous. She was tolerating him, he realized. “A hijab is simply a headcovering. This is a niqab,” her otherwise Americanized accent lightened at the foreign word, tongue finally moving freely. He did not realize that she had not answered his question, because she was facing him now. There was a single slit in the thick black cloth—a thin slash that revealed her ordinary eyes, a flash of the bridge of her nose, a tip of an eyebrow. Her eyes were intelligent, sharp, shameless. His tongue tripped over itself when he apologized for his political incorrectness and asked her out for tea. It was unnerving, waiting for her response. He could not tell if she was wearing a look of distaste or one of amusement. “Coffee,” she had said. “What?” he asked dumbly.
“Coffee,” she repeated slowly, enunciating the two syllables patiently, “I much prefer coffee.” The other patrons of the café had looked at them strangely when they took a seat, but he had been too fixated on the way she walked to notice. The black cloth shuffled a bit at her feet with each graceful step. The way she drank her cappuccino was lost on him. There were no spills, nor peeks at the face underneath the niqab. She finished her coffee quickly, then turned her eyes down at the paper-white surface that has been left uncovered. He panicked. “I thought that . . . uh. . . what you’re wearing is called a burqa,” he tried nervously. Her eyes were on him then. She explained the difference just as patiently as she had before, slowing down her hasty pace of life to open his ignorant mind to the world outside his own. He watched her eyes the entire night, finding them more and more lovely with each word she spoke. He feels naked when she’s around. One of his ex-girlfriends would dress in short-shorts and tank tops, and the disparity in clothing somehow made him feel powerful, in-control. He would order for her at restaurants, delight in the little giggle she would give him when he rubbed her exposed thigh with a sure hand . . . Around her, though, he is not sure what he should do or say. She makes him feel vulnerable when she looks at him with her penetrating eyes. He feels vapid and inferior when they got into discussions, and sometimes he just can’t — But he loves her. Loves the way she drinks her cappuccinos so quickly and will always take the time to explain the things he does not know . . . He knows that her eyes are not
Mario Arci la, Where is My Beer?, Ac r yl ic on Canva s.
beautiful, and that her skin isn’t the color of caramel, but sometimes he thinks . . . They married a few months later. As the years passed, he expected that there would come a day where their marriage would fulfill some ty e of cultural test, and then he would be able to claim his prize—a look at her face. When people found out that throughout thirty years of marriage he had never once seen his wife’s face, they would look at him as if he were mad. So he stopped telling them. While most of his friends devoutly Christian and pious in their own way chased the image of their essiah and exalted any revelation that granted them a peak at his countenance, he sought hers almost as desperately. ost of their exchanges about this matter followed the same general direction
“We’re married,” he would begin, “Shouldn’t a husband get to see his wife’s body?” then he would think that perhaps he is going to far in asking to see her entire body, so he concedes a little. “A husband should see his wife’s face at least once?” He heard the soft sound of a sigh, muffled against the niqab s heavy fabric. “ on’t you love me?” She wouldn’t look up from whatever she was doing, and he would wish that she would. “Of course.” “ idn’t you fall in love with me without seeing my face?” “Y-yes . . .” at this point, he realizes that he is losing the argument. She would face him now, tree trunkbrown eyes boring into his. “Then I see no reason to violate my principles.” When he knows that he is looking
entil éphém re aissant avec le soleil doré t qui vit ses cent années n une petite journée d’été Seulement un bref coup d’air t moi je demeure Apr s le crépuscule fané Aux ch nes rien de plus qu’un éphém re a vie que quelque courtes heures Avant la sombre nuit o je meurs
ayfly, sweet and slight irthing with the morning rays nd who lives his hundred years In a single summer s day bree e that fades with light And I remain here Once the wilted twilight’s passed To oaks, a mayfly floating near My life but hours to their years Before setting with the sun at last
Cruz, Oblivion, Digital Photography.
origia, uggli g, Photography.
ia, Disaster, Photography.
tho y a toe
Dya a More o, rou
hey o, Photography.
tho y a to e ia,
et hy, Photography.
Mario ri la,
a let, Charo al.
I ha e too many ens for my o n ood so I ee them in an em ty bo of moon a es All my ens ere free I ha e a habit of ta in hate er sam les are offered in ubli I han ed homes a lot before hi h s hool so I ha e ens from all o er and I m sure there is one for e ery hotel e ha e stayed at In fa t from hat I noti e there is a stron orrelation bet een room ser i e and en uality f ourse hotels and businesses aren t the only la es to et free ens I an sift throu h my bo and s ot a en from the lmhurst os ital in e or ity a lean ris hite ith a red ross one of those li er ens that dri e tea hers insane hen li ed in essantly My aunt handed this en to me ith a andy hile tellin me that my mother as in the emer en y room her rst, ut not last isit there and that my father as dri in do n from Buffalo to take care of me and my e year old brother I as nine and ould not fully om rehend my mother s sy hosomati illness she as only si in her mind he lime ifesa er andy is lon one by no but that en still remains in the bo I ha e a en from uesday e tember 2 It as an ban en that I borro ed from my nei hbor s des I for ot to return it sin e I as mesmeri ed by the dar rey louds loomin o er the est hori on here t o to ers on e ere I stayed ith my nei hbor for the ne t fe days then later ith my aunt sin e the rest of my family as stu in Manhattan s haos My story doesn t e en om are ith stories of those that um ed in lieu of entom ment etween uilding floors and li in hell they say it sounded li e atermelons bein dro ed do n from a two story house am eyond grateful that I hadn t lost anyone as some of my friends had and I rite remember the day ith that en ea h year to ommemorate those ho ere lost had lost and the heroes that hel ed us et throu h that time a bite at our nation s soul o bla a ermate ens lie to the
side found them on the floor during middle school, the same time rst created my identity throu h musi I fell in lo e ith rhythm and ro musi and sa the t o ens as alternati e drum sti s to ra ti e ith hen e eryone as aslee I dre my a atar a bla and hite dra on that is still se n on my boo ba ith them en the olor of the ens in be ame my si nature and I ouldn t fail to ear bla for the rest of my e istin years hese t o ens are e t to ether ti s dry sin e their a s are missin I dis o ered a onderful ay to shoot en a s lon and far distances using only a pen and the flick of an inde nger my accuracy holds a rom a fe years later I ha e a reen el en that as a ift from a ood friend ho noti ed I li ed the en s smooth e e ution As e ere assin throu h the hall ay to et to math she dro ed do n to the floor, and let e erything that was holdin fall ith her in an effort to at h her I on t for et ho the hall ay leared or ho I rote her name and a e do n ith the el en stu behind my ear hen she as arried a ay on a stret her he assed a ay of heart om li ations due to anore ia ner osa I herish this reen en be ause I no she on e held it in her hand no under the earth and under a headstone A ou le of years later I be an to retreat to pounds on the athroom s ale in mimi ry of hat my friend had suffered A taste of ey lime ie durin a i ay elebration and seein the same shade of reen in tri ered my release In her honor the el en is in my bo I rarely use the ens that o into my moon a e bo and I doubt they ill e er run out of in a h en ontributes its o n history into my olle tion of memories and e ery so often shuffle through all the pens to recollect o what if my life is de ned as a bo of free but ri eless ens I e li ed a life as satisfyin as any other and ea h en has done its ob ritin a a e in my life story
yan, Dra t ,
all point pen.
, Compasses, p s ray pai t
Coral Reef Senior High School, 10101 S.W. 152nd Street
Miami, Florida 33157