Elysium Vol XIII: 2014
Nathalie Francis, Linchpin, Digital Photography
ELYSIUM Literary/Art Magazine Volume XIII: 2014 The mind is the only exception to the space
world around them. We can even transport
time continuum. Inside each of our heads,
other people to our exact experiences
we contain an anomaly that contradicts
by sharing with them our thoughts,
everything we know about time. We’re
impressions, and feelings. Through an
told that time moves in a straight line,
intimate story or painting, writers and
but that doesn’t stop us from constantly
artists can communicate their innermost
considering the past and future, reflecting
thoughts both to themselves and others.
on where we’ve been, or imagining where
Our happiest moments and our most
we might go. Humans have the ability to
unfortunate pitfalls, all contained in our
transcend the steadfast movement of the
heads, are waiting to be shared. Lee Pivnik Editor in Chief
Elysium web: http://teachers.dadeschools.net/ascott/elysium.html Coral Reef High School 10101 SW 152 Street Miami, FL 33157 P: (305) 232-2044 F: (305) 252-3454 Rodes Printing Miami, FL
Staff About Us This year’s staff consists of twenty-five students selected from five academies and grades 10-12. The staff meets every Wednesday after school as well as three full weeks in April to work on layouts. All members are involved in matching, proofing and designing layouts.
Editorial Policy Elysium, Coral Reef Senior High’s annual literary/arts magazine showcases the creative work of students. The literature and art staff judge submissions anonymously. The staff makes selections based on style, distinctiveness of theme, and overall quality; the art and literature are then paired based on thematic relevance.
colophon The 2014 staff created volume 13 using Adobe InDesign© CS5.5 and Adobe Photoshop© CS5.5 on Dell desktop computers. The staff selected Trajan Pro for titles and Palatino Linotype for body text. The cover title was also fashioned in Trajan Pro. The 2014 edition consists of 124 pages with inside pages printed on 80 lb. glossy white paper and cover pages printed on 100 lb. white linen. Rodes Printing Inc., located in Miami, Florida, published 200 full color copies of the magazine (all of which were distributed free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis). To reach a larger audience, the magazine is also featured on the Elysium website: http://teachers.dadeschools.net/ascott/elysium.htm
Special Thanks We would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Scott McKinley, Coral Reef’s visual arts teacher, for his artistic guidance and to our principal, Ms. Adrianne Leal, for her continuing support. Additionally, Mrs. Dorta, an English teacher at Coral Reef, provided invaluable assistance to our literary staff.
Awards Current Member of CSPA & NCTE’S Preslm Program NCTE’s PRESLM Program: Highest National Award: 2008 - 2010, 2012, 2013 Columbia Scholastic Press Association: All-Columbian: 2006 - 2013 2 Art CSPA Gold Circle Awards in 2013 : Jurissa Tellez and Yinimi Galego National Scholastic Press Association: Gold Medal: 2006-2009, 2011, 2012 Pacemaker Finalist: 2006 All-American: 2006-2009, 2011, 2012 Included in this issue: 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Winners: Theresa Lee Dover: Silver Medal with Distinction Dylan Matamoros: Silver Medal 2014 Young Arts Winners: Nathalie Francis: Merit Award in Visual Arts Camila Lohezic: Merit Award in Visual Arts Austin Morales: Finalist in Photography Lee Pivnik: Merit Award in Visual Arts
EDITOR IN CHIEF
ASSISTANT EDITOR Annmarie Raskin
LITERARY EDITORS Derek Abella Josie Lo bello
ART EDITORS Carolina Beguiristain Austin Morales
LAYOUT EDITORs Caitlin Lopez Sophia Padgett-Perez
PROMOTIONS MANAGER Kennedy Patlan
LITERARY Staff Oriana Bravo Danielle Coogan Christopher Czapla Alejandra De La Fuente Diego Figueroa Nicole Garcia Raina Levin Brian Schwartz
ART STAFF Taylor Davis Trystan Davis Nathalie Francis Rachel Pena Amber Plaksin
LAYOUT STAFF Joshua Ahamed Amy Meltzer Jake Pivnik
CONTENTS LITERATURE The Curse Jasmine Davis, Short Prose
Interview with a Writer Derek Abella, interview
Reggae and Revolution Lauren Fairman, Personal Essay
Rented Ritual Emily Mendez, Personal Essay
Fondu Au Noir Alejandra De La Fuente, Poem
Theodore Josie Lo Bello, Prose
Fault Derek Abella , Prose
Smudged Nicole Garcia, Poem
New Jasmine Davis, Short Prose
Mistake Aneres Williams, Prose
Hollow Antonio Chahine, Poem
Josef Josie Lo Bello, Poem
Gunfire and Brimstone Danielle Coogan, Poem
Clairaudient Annmarie Raskin, Prose
Museum Raina Levin, Poem
Immortal Shadow Jake Namon, Rap
On 1945 Josie Lo Bello, Poem
A Poem About Cages Valeria Peralta, Poem
Our Rooftops Catherine Cherubin, Personal Essay
Midnight in Caracas Antonio Chahine, Personal Essay
Interview with an Artist Annmarie Raskin, Interview
Nighttime Valeria Peralta, Poem
Cry Paula Lozano, Poem Retrograde Rachel Matthews, Poem
38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46-47
A Discarded Pen Keyan Zolfaghari, Personal Essay Eternal View Christy Birch, Poem The Composer Valentina Misas, Prose I Want to Live Where There Are Trees Julia Rothfield, Poem Dark Matter Alejandra De La Fuente, Poem The Artist Tyler Cockrum, Poem Passive Resistance Alejandra De La Fuente, Poem
Leather Valeria Peralta, Poem
Process of Elimination Derek Abella, Poem
A Lesson In Anatomy Alejandra De La Fuente, Poem
Diving Oriana Bravo, Poem
Matches Annmarie Raskin, Poem
Something That Has Legs Emily Mendez, Prose
Bittersweet Destruction Darian Kettles, Poem
Stay Golden Anyssa Chebbi, Prose
I Never Knew Indifference Could Be Such A Passionate Word Danielle Coogan, Poem
Forbidden Darian Kettles, Poem
Eyes Wide Closed Amy Meltzer, Prose
Patient Hope Annmarie Raskin, Poem
One Dimensional Characters in a Contrived Situation David Scherker, Excerpt From Play Nothing but Laughter Nicole Garcia, Poem Breaking Faith Gabriel Wolfe, Personal Essay
Interview With Grammy Award Nominee: Cecile McLorin -Salvant Tommy Chaisuesomboon Lee Pivnik
ART Front and Back Cover: Nathalie Francis
Stillabunt Duo Pulsat Steven Reyes
Emily Mendez Amy Scott
Nightingale Gabriella Tetzner
Pink Sydney Miecklejohn
The Climb Sabrina Mendoza
Primary School Carolina Berguiristain
Harlot Austin Morales
Plastic Tiffany Zambrana
Queen of the Mango Sophia Perez-Padgett
Leda and the Swan Camila Lohezic
Girl in a Sari Silvana Raidt
Opulence Lee Pivnik
Elliott Key Trystan Davis
The Boy Who Could Austin Morales
Kodatrope Art Spread Lee Pivnik
Horologium Carolina Berguiristain
Spherical Injection Stuart Coleman
Instinct Olivia Galeiras
цветок (tsvetok) Amber Plaskin
Tangled Daniel Ochoa
True Blue Gabriela Millan
In Search For A Home Sabrina Mendoza
Yo Natalie Molina
Revolution at its Highest Level Sabrina Mendoza
Spiritus Tenebrosus Steven Reyes
Blossom Amber Plaksin
Silvana and Ephraim Art Spread
Family Unit Taylor Davis
Taylor Davis Art Spread
Eye Am Stressed Alexandria Lara
Anglerfish Exposition Crowned Fish Christian Carmelino
Creative Point Christian Carmelino
La Maison Trystan Davis
Into the Woods Sophia Cabral
Box Interior Erica Cantin
Stress Simone Burns
Sunday Derek Abella
Red Natalie Molina
Flawless Tiffany Zambrana
MFGD Dylan Matamoros
King of the Can Carlos Lopez
Emerald Mosaics Sasha Morales
Nathalie Francis Art Spread
Fusion Jamileh Chemaissen
Raincoat 1 Sophia Perez-Padgett
Venus Fl-eye Trap Daniel Ochoa
Mountains in Guiling, China Theresa Lee Dover
Portrait of Cecile Lee Pivnik Cover of 2007 Magazine
A Decade of Elysium
Mary Jane Nicole Santiago
Glaucous Installation Nathalie Francis
Serenity Rebecca Adler
Romina Salini 25 Cents Per Play,
Sunflower field Alexandra Hernandez
The Curse Jasmine Davis
No writer is ever a protagonist. We’re not even the bad guys. In
our daily lives, we’re the sidekicks. We are those characters that no one really understands, never really connects with. We’re the character that is overlooked by everybody. Yet somehow, in the grand scheme of things, we’re integral. This is why we write. The stories we tell are not our own. They come from watching everyone else’s. That’s the writer’s curse, son. We’re observers, story weavers, the dissection artists of fate. And there is nothing we can do about it.
Stephen Reyes, Stillabunt Duo Pulsat, Digital Photography
Reggae and Revolution Lauren Fairman
The lowest naturally occurring temperatures are recorded at an outpost that sits in the midst of a desolate wilderness, Southern Antarctica. Directly under this outpost, and beneath four thousand meters of solid glacier ice, lies a vast body of water. Dormant for thousands of years, Lake Vostok is simply a product, a product of years of consistent pressure shaped into perfection by the grand design of nature and climate. I look upon its icy surface and see a warped representation of myself. Like a funhouse mirror, it represents a grotesque image, an imbalance of proportions and uneven development. In school I have regularly met the quota for academic achievement, allowing everything else to fall to the side. Conditioned to be impossibly omnicompetent, layer upon layer of ice sheets began to form. My exterior was pristine and sparkling, but it retained no warmth from the sun. With the efficiency of an automaton I completed the tasks set before me without question or thought of anything else with the exception of my test scores and grade point average. In time, that mold of excellence inevitably cracked, yet I begin to wonder why the word â€œcrackedâ€? itself has such an undeniably negative connotation. It denotes broken and damaged, an image of Humpty Dumpty 12
scattered into pieces at the bottom of a stone wall, a victim. Lake Vostok is changing. Recent tectonic plate activity has created rifts in the lakebed, the formation of hydrothermal vents that have the ability to invigorate. It is the very cracks that breathe life in. Heat and energy challenge the arctic climate, promoting the diversification of basic life forms. My first glimpse of energy, the essential force behind visceral existence, was in my eighth grade American History class. Reggae music and smells of cinnamon drifted from the perpetually open doorway. Unlike many of his coworkers in the building, Mr. Martin kept his blinds open, allowing the afternoon sun to stretch across the room. Poised and confident, he managed to singlehandedly change my entire perception of academic achievement. Concepts floated freely, gaining a three dimensional appeal. Stories were no longer intended solely for memorization or recitation but for understanding. I consumed each fragment of information with a newborn voracity. In history nothing was arbitrary. Quite ironically, everything embedded in the past buzzed with life. Flooded with warmth, life began to flourish along the chilled imperfections of my lakebed. What I had learned, what Mr. Martin had taught me, was passion.
Gabriella Tetzner, Nightingale, Acrylic
Sabrina Mendoza, The Climb, Scratchboard
Fondu Au Noir Alejandra De La Fuente I am silence. The slick feel of blood a soft thud right before your body hits the floor. I make no promises, not even to myself destruction talks but I refuse to speak because I am drowning in words I’ve already said and friends I left for dead. I’m sorry is feeble in the face of a cool smile. I have trouble digesting forgiveness in the face of cruelty even if it’s my own. And so I am a fortress impenetrable and surrounded sinking deep into a world that is mine alone; my hands create galaxies that span centuries of joy and guilt and whispered words of fidelity. So I’ll let my fisted hands hide bloodstains pressed tightly against my breast bone latching onto my skin and tugging pulling breaking until steam rises. 15
Fault DEREK ABELLA For some reason, the seats of our Lincoln Town Car now smell like ten-year-old crayons rather than cheaply tanned faux-leather. Above the steering wheel, on the seething asphalt, there’s a shallow wrinkle. I’m wearing cologne worth more than our house. I don’t particularly remember why my fingers are calloused, but I noticed that as I stuck their tips into the ground, I couldn’t feel.
You were in the driver’s seat, hair soaked in honeymoon sweat. We were married seven years ago, and you still refuse to get out of your nightgown. It is our shared fault.
There used to be four almond trees that littered our driveway with pods, and I would kick them around after you threatened me with divorce and laughed.
At least I kept the car clean. Even though you can’t see it behind the sheet of exhaust, there’s still a chip of paint on the trunk from the second “r” in “Just Married.” 16
Austin Morales, Harlot, Acrylic on Canvas
Sophia Padgett Perez, Queen Of The Mango, Film Photography
It’s 2 p.m. and you’re sitting at the back booth of the restaurant on 184th looking out the window. It is autumn. There is a boy standing on the corner with one hand in his jacket pocket, the other one hanging down, fingers tapping against his thigh like he’s playing the piano, or anxious for the day, or dreaming about that girl that he danced with last night at 2 a.m. with both of his shoelaced untied. The beat of their steps still runs through him like adrenaline mixing with his blood. Dishes scrape together; the waitress brings you your cup of coffee, steaming, the whipped cream melting over the edges of the mug. You pick up the cup and it spills. Your graphite drawing is stained brown. From the corner of your eyes, the window scene changes and you turn to see a taxi pull in. The finger dance stops, and the feet pick up time as the boy steps into the car. The cash register dings quite far away, and the car pulls off, disappearing down the street.
Silvana Raidt, Girl In A Sari, Linoleum print
ANTONIO CHAHINE I am digging in a valley of sorrow, in the silenced plains, where I catch the crackling whispers and gasping breaths of those who witnessed the marching boots crumble their bones.
I am digging through the sands that cover the remnants of the cracked mountains, the petrified monks, of the withering sphinxes and the scorching Rome, decaying in solitude.
I am digging through rocks drowning in dunes in the lost languages, in the dead tongues. The grainy ocean that covers their words scrapes away their engraves odes. There is your glory.
I am digging because the rivers of tears, of dropped blood are now dry. And they leave behind the fragile fragments, the broken stones of man whose greed is the only Foe.
Gunfire and Brimstone Danielle Coogan A seagull routes over dead seas that call back to eras past. Bodies lay strewn empty in the desert sun which burns like a vengeful diamond in an azure sky. The intensity of colors mirrors the intensity of their lives. They live in the forgotten regions of another manâ€™s consciousness. Their bodies are vehicles raised to work and receive no pay. To sketch their history is to draw boundaries with crayons and machine guns. To tell their story is to mistake their needs. Across rolling cerulean hills angels walk on the sands of time, foreigners to want or depravity. Skyscrapers rise behind them. Gulls chatter at their picnic baskets not knowing the hole left in eternity and the price paid for trying to own what wasnâ€™t theirs.
Trystan Davis, Elliott Key, Digital Photography
The Kodatrope Lee Pivnik
The Kodatrope is a large scale interactive art piece that overloads the viewer with information in order to separate him from his daily routine. It’s a response to what I consider one of the most compelling social issues of today: that people rarely think outside their bubble of familiarity. When going throughout our day, we don’t tend to deviate from thinking about issues relating to us. We overlook the people around us and are oblivious to the fact that we all could be experiencing essentially the same things. There are an infinite amount of stories that we’ve never heard, people we’ve never met, or even thought of. The earth has 7 billion people, all protagonists in their own minds.
The motive behind The Kodatrope is that I wanted to place people in an environment where they are cut off from their own thoughts and have to focus on observing photographs: records of other people’s memories. When lit from the outside, the interactive art piece allows the viewer to place their head and shoulders inside and look up at more than 500 different photographs - 500 stories they’ve never heard. The slides have been collected from different families and most are from the 1960s and 70s. I will consider the sculpture successful if after people have experienced the work, they become more aware of the people around them, especially the ones they haven’t yet met.
Museum Raina Levin I want to preserve your image In a climate-controlled corner of my mind, Tucked between the relics of an inalterable past. Roped off, Distinguished from the murky monotony That litters the halls linking each exhibition. I won’t tamper with my recollections By removing them from their display, Won’t taint them with the fingerprints Of residual unresolved doubts. Your routinely polished surface shines, Imperfections glazed over, blemishes blotted, Perpetual restoration to ensure memorialization. When tremors threaten my misconceptions, I realize I’m no longer grounded in reality. You’re unintentionally idealized in absentee. Your presence may have been only temporary, But I won’t relinquish my grip, can’t let you slipSo I visit my museum, Where I pretend you’re permanently ingrained In the quicksand of receding memory.
Staurt Coleman, Spherical Injection, Digital Photography
Amber Plaksin, цветок (tsvyetok), Spray paint and scratch board
JOSIE LO BELLO
White-wash my fire into a shy, rosy thing. Your bath of ink and ammonia scrubs away at my intricacies until I am all ashes and names and numbers.
Take care to be thorough; Get through to the lungs and cast out every breath. Carve through the tender divisions of the heart and label each piece: Good. Evil.
Re-sew your flags with thicker thread of vaguer color. Burn my footsteps from the earth so that you may strut guiltlessly Across the flesh of this aborted memory.
To your children I am but a myth, an ashy shame in the glass of their grandfathersâ€™ eyes : two shy, rosy things that once fell on a Japanese seashore.
Our Rooftops Catherine Cherubin
Like a child on Christmas day, energy barely contained, I was off, my ten yearold feet gliding down the stairs with the fluidity of a ballet dancer moving in naturally rhythmic patterns. I reached the bottom in record time only to come to an abrupt stop when I realized something was not quite right. Where there was supposed to be two, there was only one pair of dirt smeared, overused converse. My stomach shot to my throat, an overwhelming feeling of dread coming over me as my father cautiously approached. His head hung low as he brought himself down to my level, but I refused to look him in the eyes, wanting nothing to do with whatever he had to say. My father could never take a hint, and on that beautiful Saturday morning in the summer of â€™06 my world was shattered as he told me that my brother was gone, never to return again. Weeks later after the funeral, I went on a search for answers the only way I knew how. I walked into his old bedroom, soon to be mine, and felt a familiar presence trick me with its claim of love and security. I knocked its suffocating arms to the ground and walked slowly to the window without a single glance around the now lifeless chamber. The floorboards moaned in protest as I made the demanding trek to the window on the opposite side of the room. The wind outside stirred, gently prodding leaves and debris towards me, reaching its all too familiar hand out and urging me to join it. 30
As I crossed the threshold, an overwhelming sense of DĂŠjĂ vu struck me, hard, and I faltered, one foot planted firmly inside refused to budge as I tried to win the futile battle against the ever-growing doubt and grief that was forcing me in the direction of flight versus fight. Slowly inhaling a deep breath, I squelched the fire within me and stepped up onto our rooftop. I gazed up at the treacherous hill before me and memories of my first time on our rooftop bombarded me. I felt a quick explosion of emotion, but I did not stop. I began the terrifying climb up our rooftop, my hands and knees burning as they scrapped against the rough, unforgiving shingles, but I did not stop. Tears blurred my vision momentarily blinding me, making it hard to pinpoint my destination, but it did not stop. As I reached my peak and sat, Indian style like a kindergartener during story time, I was reminded of the beautiful starry nights when my brother and I would climb up onto our rooftop with the agility and skillfulness that only came with years of experience and become those kindergarteners at story time. We would sit side by side, chins resting on hands poised on our laps, gazing inquisitively as the eyes of the sky winked down at us, and tell each other interpretations of the stories the stars whispered in our ears.
Gabriela Millan, True Blue, Oil on canvas
My tears fell steadily, and I felt it again, the presence of my brother and his memory trying to engulf me in his secure and loving embrace, but this time I did not fight it. Over the course of the next few weeks, a cataclysmic break was formed between the two sides of my family, and I was left helplessly dangling in the middle wanting to climb over the edge but fearing the unspoken repercussions of choosing one side over the other.
I was neglected and forgotten by the ones who were supposed to love me most, but when it became too much to bear, and the silent tension was smothering me, I would go out onto our rooftop and take a deep breath. I would become that kindergartener again as my brother talked to me through the stars. He would sit beside me, forever frozen in the prime of his life, telling me stories of the past and the future, urging me forward and making me promise him to never look back.
Cry Paula Lozano
My father once told me how to be strong, to stand above loved ones and leave where I belong. My Mother once taught me image is all. To appear store wealthy and push them not to fall. Before my grandfather left he forgot to say crying is for fools and for those who choose to decay. How absurd. Don’t you understand that it is my catharsis? That time builds up and hardens within me until I burst, realizing I was suffocating, letting all the tears rush down my body cleansing all that tainted myself in one liberating sigh?
Don’t you realize that it reminds me I am human? That I have senses and emotions that matter, that exist- that become concrete with every drop that pushes its way out from the tough shell that you created? Don’t you realize that I’m not weak? That I am stronger than I have ever been; I have just been strong for too long. The one being immature here is the one that cannot embrace his own emotions. And don’t you understand? These tears are more genuine than that face you yield to the world. Besides, they are not for you. Don’t flatter yourself. You are stuck in a testosterone time that will decline.
Natalie Molina, Yo, Acrylic 33
Retrograde Rachel Matthews
I fell into oblivion long ago crashed into indiscriminate pieces, into the dust collecting under your bed, Unwillingly inhaled, irritating your lungs. There is little worse than to watch you move forward, as I regress into the hollowness of a silence spawned by careless nods and a reluctance to make eye contact towards someone of no less worth than the film on the coffee youâ€™ve left out too long.
Steven Reyes, Spiritus Tenebrosus, Digital Photography
Silvana Raidt, Colores De Peru, Acrylic and Foil on Handmade Paper
36 Ephraim James, Magic City Photobombers, Mixed Media
Silvana Raidt, Chinque Terre, Acrylic and Foil on Handmade Paper
Ephraim James, Miamiâ€™s Photogenia, Mixed Media
Interview With A Writer: Emily Mendez Derek Abella Emily Mendez, an International Baccalaureate senior, has taken readers to family reunions, to video stores, and to palely lit fridges in her work. The speakers in her pieces live in a fuzzy recollection, recognizing that their present will soon be the past and never acknowledging the future. A brilliant writer, Emily makes the daily seem out of the ordinary and the troubling seem beautiful. Is there a pinpoint event or time when you started writing? Definitely in 5th grade, when my gifted teacher challenged us to write stories from “unique” points of view. She explained that it was one thing to understand other people, but it was another to feel them, and I’m so grateful to have been taught that from such a young age. I wrote stories about young Native American girls and Inuit women, and from there, she allowed me to see that writing isn’t always third person point of view. At least for me, I don’t write about people; I write as people. What or who influences you? Do you find yourself getting inspired by other writers or do you only appreciate them? The majority of my influences are poets, especially those who write spoken word. I very much like the idea that writing is meant to be read aloud, and that even if it makes sense on the page, it may not be impacting aloud. Artists like Andrea Gibson and Rachel Rostad have very much influenced me in that they pick words not necessarily based on rhetorical value, but on passion, which have an intrinsic but often overlooked value. A large part of your work discusses past events, and how it affects your present, using narrative to come to a conclusion in the now. How come?
I’ve always perceived myself to be living in some shade of the past, rather than the present, and writing has helped me come to an understanding with that. I see things not as they currently are, but how I will remember them in memory. For this reason, connecting the two is essential as we’re nothing but a summation of our prior experiences. I like to explore themes of nostalgia and retrospection and even longing for things that aren’t always typically conducive of those feelings. Your style is straightforward, but sometimes you place certain images that are unorthodox but effective. How do you choose when to place them? A lot of writing is incredibly abstract, almost to the point of unnecessary nebulousness. I think this is what deters a lot of people from enjoying literature. To this end, I like taking metaphors and using them to make writing more easily understood. I place them where they’re least expected, so ideally the reader stays interested and can focus more on feeling rather than futilely attempting surface-level understanding. You write both poetry and prose. Is there a format you prefer? I definitely prefer poetry, just for the autonomy it allows; however, the two really do bleed together for me. I see no practical
Amy Scott, Portrait of Emily, Digital Photography
difference between prose written in stream of consciousness and poetry written in free verse. I do, however, appreciate poetry in that through the constriction of rhyme scheme and meter, themes of freedom and ferocity can emerge. I love the juxtaposition of a tightly laced and technically sound sonnet illustrating the inherent wildness of themes so primal as relentless aging, unchecked infatuation, and lust.
will become out of touch with my almost immature skepticism and perceptivity. So, that desire to write about our unique suburban environment comes with time’s eventual ultimatum, and the fact that I may not always feel this way, this in touch with my surroundings.
Is there something you’ve never fully explored in your writing that you would like to take on?
Ideally, I would like to keep on writing, but the real challenge is going to be maintaining my honesty. Being honest as a teenager is easy, because society labels us as almost heretical from the beginning, but as an adult, it will be hard to not become jaded by college and kids and a career. For this reason, I look up to poets like Anne Sexton who maintain a sense of blunt understanding even through middle aged “maturity.” If I can manage to keep my writing unadulterated even through adulthood, that’ll be enough.
Something that I can’t quite articulate clearly is my love of the ordinary. Even phrased like that, it sounds illogical, but it’s a feeling that I know others can relate to, kind of a Stockholm syndrome towards suburbia and the repetition of daily life. I love little oddities and the absurdities that we all live with but don’t take the time to question. However, my fear is that I, at some point,
Where do you see your writing in the future?
Rented Ritual Emily Mendez There’s a fossil in my mom’s purse; a relic of the past, once useful, and now only an occasional reminder of joyful times now nonexistent. She keeps it though, we keep it, to prove that happiness once was a least a possibility for us. Like a pinch, it jerks us back to reality, tells us that our pasts weren’t just joint hallucinations and that life wasn’t always this way. It’s a Blockbuster membership card. Frayed edges, powdery scent and all, it sits, waiting futilely, knowing its purpose no longer includes renting movies but only conjuring memories. I was a funny child, always aware and observant. I could tell my parents’ pseudo-divorce from the beginning, and our ever-piling bills were never a mystery. I was a toddler, and then I was an adult; there was never anything in-between, and nobody even tried to act like there was. I was only a child while on my couch contentedly watching movies. Sitting there every weekend, popcorn to my left and loyal dog to my right, I was invincible. No matter how forcefully my mother’s near death or mental illness may try to creep in, I was off at Hogwarts, exploring Narnia, or sailing on the Titanic. It’s definitely the suburban regalia that I miss: loading my brother and me into a Dodge minivan and driving for what seemed like hours, stepping into an endless palace of movies and choosing literally anything we wanted. For just that moment life was all mine: a single dollar could buy me two whole hours of escapism and just a dollar more for a box of candy. My arms overflowed with plastic DVD cases and boxed Skittles. I would run to the checker and hand them the card, as independent as ever. I’d always fall asleep on the ride home, knowing that even though my mother had no idea how to be a parent, she at least knew enough to take her kids to Blockbuster. 40
So when we arrived one day, as eager as ever, only to be greeted by a “Liquidation Sale!” sign, I knew something was up. This was the first indication of infection, a terminal cancer of the video rental store. The one off 184th street was the first to go, the one farthest south on US1, by the Toy’s-R-Us was next. Slowly they were disappearing, spreading out further and further across this aging landscape, only fleeting visions and dulled concrete carcasses left to remind me of where the Blockbusters once stood. So, in a last ditch effort, my mother and I drive however far it may be, 10 minutes or 10 miles to the next closest location, praying the whole way there that it’s not been closed. It’s in this fashion that we’ve seen Miami Beach, the Keys, Naples, Hialeah, and even Tampa, driving not only in search of movies but also of a childhood that neither of us can get back. We search strip-mall after strip-mall, her looking for a relationship with her only daughter and me looking for an escape. It’s how I first told her I was accepted into the IB program and about how my last best friend taught me the greatest lesson of all: that sometimes it takes more to walk away than to keep on clinging. It’s how she told me she thought having kids was a mistake and about the last time she tried to kill herself. It’s weird, that I would learn about death not from a pet goldfish but from a video rental store. Driving and talking for hours on end taught me about what it means to be an adult, and I gathered this: you never really mature; you just masquerade behind the façade of age because that’s what you’re expected to do. You never stop yearning for the past, holding onto memories and wishing for the golden days gone by, because really, growing up is overrated.
Sydney Miecklejohn, Pink, Acrylic
Josie Lo Bello
“. . . she was as full of life as anything he’d ever seen . . .”
or a year now they had slept together in precisely the same position. Her knees drew up an inch before her chest and her toes would point loosely against the covers: a lazy ballerina. Her head bent toward him, long bushels of hair intertwining with his brisk little half-curls. He had slept naked for as long as he could remember: flat on his back, feet pointing straight upwards, arm curved slightly at his sides. He was much shorter than she, despite her comparative youth, and they were an oddly disproportionate couple altogether: He, a stout and hairy thing without a penny to his name and she—she was as full of life as anything he’d ever seen. It was no secret that he wouldn’t last. He knew that it wouldn’t be long before she’d cast him aside to collect dust with all her other girlhood fancies, never to be seen again. He knew it- everyone did, and if he had the capacity for it, he’d be angry with her for stringing him along so obviously.
Despite any future intentions, her fidelity, at the present time, remained completely unscathed. Of that he could be sure, and in that he reveled. In their embraces, she would stare him straight, and his fixed little eyes would reflect her own eager expression igniting hours of youthful bliss. His smile, a thin sort of half-grin that seemed to be stitched across his face, only reassured her that everything was fine. He was her comforter, her silent protector—her warrior. He never spoke a word unless, maybe, she imagined a bit too hard. But his silence suited her. Many a midnight would pass in this manner, and despite the sad wake of the future, he would always hold in that patchwork little heart of his the very picture of her innocence. And so little Clara Perkins slept. Her heavy hand draped across the stomach of her teddy bear, who lay, content and forgiving, by her side.
Carolina Beguiristain, Primary School Routine, Charcoal
Smudged Nicole Garcia
Running mascara reminds me of the ‘80s Smudged sloppily Staining cheeks once colored with joy it goes with the look Messy lost and unlucky every ‘adolescent’ of that time and this one described in three words it seems everyone was under 20 years old in that decade The elderly simply did not fit in Could not adapt Or catch up with the trends because no one pictures grandma with running mascara with age comes wisdom and with wisdom, the ability to choose what is worth condensing our black memories to tears Which race down clear faces leaving behind smudged cries of anguish and dark streaks of relief
Tiffany Zambrana, Plastic, Mixed Media Collage
Camila Lohezic, Leda and the Swan, Charcoal on paper
Mistake Aneres Williams It was a mistake. A mistake that attached to my insides and wouldn’t let go. A mistake that slowly grew from the size of a seed to the size of a small grapefruit expanding and swelling my abdomen, creating stretch marks that grew upwards like claws scratching permanent scars on my skin. It was a mistake that made the buttons on my jeans pop and my stomach churn like a washing machine every morning. The mistake that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I prayed at night wrapped in my plush comforter, holding my breath, and wishing at every moment to go away. It was a mistake that made the aroma of food unbearable- even the familiar smell of crispy French fries deep frying in hot oil that I had always loved. A grapefruit that slowly grew into a mango, and then a pineapple and then-
A mistake I couldn’t hide. A mistake that made the whole school stare; that was the reason behind my father’s disappointed glances and my mother’s sobs at night, shaking the bed she shared with my father, that shook the walls and separated us. A mistake that grew and grew, like a monster swelling my ankles and draining my energy, taking away my friends and making me miss class. A mistake I didn’t ask for; I didn’t deserve.
A mistake that now wraps its tiny fingers, the size of a grape around my finger- tight.
Josie Lo Bello
Hold me tightly run your fingers through my hair rewire the locks wash it through with peroxide kisses and I’ll forget to remember let me breath you in that sweet cologne (carbon monoxide) you know that makes me swoon and I’ll forget to breathe kiss my lips red trace your language onto my tongue your lovely gunshot poetry sings a brand new world and I’ll forget to speak Hold me tightly but stop for a moment to admire me your creation tell me how beautiful I look with a blindfold in your elegant doublespeak (I’ll kill for you) and I’ll forget who I am sitting in your lap upon my grave dizzied by this romance of propaganda
Lee Pivinik, Opulence, Double Exposure Collage
Clairaudient Annmarie Raskin
He took out a cigarette with his lips; a pack of Marlboro reds, half empty. -------
She throws me a pack of matches and poses with the cigarette, weaving it through her fingers. The flame kisses the tip and she coughs up ashes.
A cardboard box thrown on my father’s coffee table, the walls and shag carpet inhaled the smoke and his apartment turned a shade of grey. An orange ash tray in my grandmother’s house, an opaque womb. She leaves the remains of my grandfather’s last drag as she taps the side with the tip of her cigarette; they are making love again. Siblings and cousins fought silently about who would inherit it after she died.
I meet her years later in the subway of New York, arm wrapped around a new lover. She recites the prayer of the past and tosses me a lighter. -------I watch him inhale, exhale slowly, fall in love. He hands me a secondhand lover, I taste nicotine, his breath. I expect November, the warmth of a whisper, the darkness of my father’s apartment.
“That bitch Dara isn’t getting it.”
My sister and I stand on pink stone at the back
The smoke that is supposed to asamblѐ through my chest gets lost in an internal labyrinth. I do not turn grey, nor cough up ashes; I feel nothing.
of the house. “Nick gave this to me.”
So I leave him.
Austin Morales, The Boy Who Could, Acrylic
Horologium is the mapping of daily
children’s sized chairs facing away from each
routine over time. I have captured the
other, in a circle. The balloons are tied onto the
personal activities I engage in daily, in a fluid
chairs. The spacing of the chairs is dependent
manner, which purports that we are free
upon the installation space. The balloons
to do anything we wish. Tension is created
should be at eye level. Each of the 12 balloons
between the loose marks and the circularity
represents one hour of the day. One side is
of the balloon along with my restricted color
morning and the other is night. It is important
palette. These tensions signify that we adhere
to note that I encourage people to come into
to our routines regardless of our freedom to
the space and interact with the balloons. The
viewer being able to see his or herself in “my
The installation is set up with twelve (Opposite page) Horologium, Installation (Above, left) 8 PM, Ink on mylar
routines” is an important aspect of my work. (Above, center) 8 AM, Ink on mylar (Above, right) 10 PM, Ink on mylar
Olivia Galeiras, Instinct, Mixed Media
Immortal Shadow: a rap Jake Namon
Light blinds, but in the dark you adjust your eyes Do we live in the black or white with diminished sight? If the former have we completely adjusted bona fide? What’s wrong and what’s right may have a thin line However where it is cast, is different in each mind More questions, less answers, take it without thought Like a bucket of Colonel Sanders Chew with glee; add some small talk and banter You are now a sheep, owned by biltsVander Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers
In this day and age where…wait
This is not a phase; it’s always been this way Just because it was a different style doesn’t mean the message was not the same still controlled by fear, molded by shame We may adhere, to changing the pieces But never the game What if the slate was scratched in such way That it didn’t need wiping away today? A whole new layer under debris and decay
To give me leverage They call me chromos cause I’m never second to seconds
Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers
Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers Chew, chew on your salad salamander Without doubt, no sense no antlers
Word play, so invest It’s got its own toy and beverage Beckoned to negate the negligence, and spread the message How the overloads are invisibly twisting Your favorite appendage For most this food for thought is simply just food You get nothing in return but, false incentive for play You are contaminated by cancer, not infested with festives But really, who’s to say?
There’s a madness to my method But I don’t keep it under wraps, I keep it under raps
Daniel Ochoa, Tangled, Graphite Pencil and Thread
A Poem About Cages Valeria Peralta
I cut open my skin once Because I wanted to understand Why I felt like I was drowning Maybe it was an ocean inside me Filling throat and lungs with salt water That leaked out through my eyes And restricted Breath But when I opened up an arm Nothing more than red came out And I had to stitch up the only theory I had I cut open my mind once Because I wanted to understand Why some thoughts would race each other And crash inside my head Accidents that left bruises on my skull lacerations on my nerves I couldn’t shut it off But when I banged open my head nothing more than a bump emerged And the racing goes on at speeds that leave me screaming
I cut open my mouth once because I wanted to understand Why so many things left without permission expecting words in air bubbles Flying carelessly and free Waiting for the first chance found to come out of me And ruin everything Again But when I tore open my mouth nothing more than a sour taste was left And words continued to float away and pop when I tried to grab them I’ve cut myself open I’ve scratched and clawed through muscle Fingernails shovels and skin merely dirt Smashed through trying to find the foundation I was built on An incessant itch, a constant glare through my shut eyes the smallest hope of relief offered If only I could rip it all Away A house garden maze with too many turns I can’t go through the walls; I’m stuck Forever trying to understand the cage built around me.
Sabrina Mendoza, In Search For A Home, Painting on Wood Block
MIDNIGHT IN CARACAS ANTONIO CHAHINE I approached my chemistry class. Beehives of students gathered at the doorway, buzzing excitedly about their weekend plans. The atmosphere felt warm, inviting. Once in the room I saw Josephine and Danielle sharpening their pencils by the door, but when Danielle spotted me, she smiled, put down her pencil, and offered me a nectar-drenched cupcake. I buzzed in delight. Sitting there waiting for the bell and nibbling my cupcake, I looked around the room and thought: “This classroom feels like home.” No one could have guessed that just six years ago I prayed just to be standing there. It all began on a chilly December night in Venezuela. We were dropping my aunt off at her house when we heard car doors fiercely shutting behind us. In a dreadful second a man dressed in black was brutally pushing a semi-automatic revolver against my father’s temples. My father drew back, clenched his fist, and hit the intruder in the face. Enraged, the robber tore open the door on the driver’s side and pushed my father to the passenger’s seat, taking control of the steering wheel. In a flash, two other armed men wearing masks broke into our car. Holding us hostage, the robbers plunged through the ill-kept streets of Caracas at full speed. The suffocating fist of fear muted my voice. Instinctively my desperate mother and aunt sat on top of me to shield me from danger. The robbers were savagely swinging their lacquered guns so close to us that I can still remember their paralyzing, cold touch on my skin. As I peered through a crevice between my mother and my aunt, panic seized my spine. I saw my defiant father tussling with the robber who thrust his gun against my father’s head. The cold sweat trickling down my
spine slashed my body open. Frantic prayers ran through my mind. I froze in horror, petrified that the robber might pull the trigger and steal my father forever— At that moment, my father’s cell phone rang, breaking the tense silence. Without thinking, one of the robbers answered. My uncle was on the other end of the line. My family who detected his muffled voice all screamed in the background. “Don’t dare to lay a finger on my family. . .” my uncle threatened. The robber hastily threw the phone to the side. Anxiety and fear now possessed the three men. Their plan had been detected. Now facing possible capture, the driver abruptly stopped the vehicle on the edge of a lonely, steep path. They shoved us out of the car and watched as we rolled down the embankment. There, lying in the mud, fearing to breathe, I could not help but dream - dream for a country that provided safety for my family - dream for a future where I could ensure my own children would live securely. As a child of six, I began to contemplate my life under a very different light. I yearned to be here in the U.S. where I could pursue my desire to study medicine and one day establish a family freed from constant fear. My thoughts returned to the present and to the classroom. The clamor of laughter and excited talk slowly subsided. I continued thinking about all the odysseys that I had been through and quietly smiled. A new dawn and a new sunrise bloomed in the horizon.
My Artwork is a protest An interview with Sabrina Mendoza Annmarie Raskin
When I first met Sabrina, I had heard of her story and admired her art but didn’t know the complete details. Her artwork, displayed in the magazine, depicts the physical impacts of poverty, a subject about the young artist is familiar which due to the condition of her home country. I had the opportunity to sit down with her and listen to the gleaming Venezuelan share her background story and the inspiration for her work. Where are you from? What’s your background story? I’m from Venezuela. I got here in 8th grade and I learned English and got into art. I had an audition to get into Coral Reef but I had to go back to Venezuela in November of 9th grade because my Visa had expired. I came back the next year.
Were you making art in Venezuela before you came to America? There weren’t art classes in school; so, I went to drawing classes. When I came here I made portraits and they were sent into exhibitions. I started to make detailed artwork and use different techniques. What are some differences from America and Venezuela that have impacted your art? Venezuela has many poor neighborhoods. The people are so defeated, and they don’t care about their future. They know that things can’t get better. Which artists have inspired you? I’m a weird artist. I don’t take references from other artists because I’m not really familiar with other artists. Do you want to pursue art in the future? I want to continue art, but I can only do that if I get a scholarship. Do you want to go back?
How has your artwork changed since you had to go back to Venezuela? In my artwork there is a theme of poverty. I often have paintings of poor neighborhoods and children crying. My artwork is a protest of everything happening in Venezuela. 60
I don’t know if I want to live there. Is your situation here resolved? Will you have to go back? In two years I need to get my Visa renewed. There’s a possibility that if things get worse in Venezuela, I won’t be able to live here anymore.
Sabrina Mendoza, Revolution at its Highest Level, Acrylic
NIGHTTIME VALERIA PERALTA
The stars know my name In courteous glances we say hello Amiable looks for handshakes When only the tick of a clock is heard We settle down Silence the only communication The stars know my name And I theirs But we’ve decided this is deeper than a spoken label Deeper than the blackness they’re engulfed in Deeper than the most intimate touches Between lovers and enemies alike The stars know my name But not the one you call out No, the one that can be shouted across the room By a small organism acting on something as useless as anger No, they’re superior to us And my name in their tongue is an honor The stars know my name Because of nights spent looking out a smudgy window When I cry their light valiantly tries to wipe away my tears But they can only ever sweep and I can only ever stare And maybe the stars So bright and full of life In an endless darkness Can relate to the body Shaking alone in a dim-lit room.
Amber Plaksin, Blossom, Scratchboard
Christian Carmelino, Self Portrait, Mixed Media
A Discarded Pen Keyan Zolfaghari
“So, you’re a terrorist?”
I did not know what to feel, nor the gravity of the word terrorist, but my six year old mind knew that the word stung. You could have told me that I would have felt that way twenty minutes beforehand, but I would not have believed you. I had pranced into that 1st grade classroom with my new Velcro Sketchers shoes flashing neon blue light with each bound. I grinned as I found the cubby-hole with my name, Keyan Zolfaghari, written neatly in print on a red label. My aluminum Pokémon lunchbox made a satisfying metallic “clunk” as it flew in. I breathed in the air, an infusion of Elmer’s non-toxic glue, broken wax crayons, and multi-colored construction paper. I surveyed the room and found posters covering most of the white walls, not only encouraging us to take a buddy and hall pass when going to the bathroom, and eat by what was still then a food pyramid, but to honor the golden rule: to treat others the way you like to be treated. Regardless, when I introduced myself and explained the origin of my name as the Iranian word for king, all I received in response was, ‘So, you’re a terrorist?” I was dejected, not quite at the verge of tears, but on a scale of 1 to not-makingany-friends, I was probably a you-justripped-the-batteries-out-of-my-new-shoes. In that pointed question, my ethnic diversity was discarded, like that stubborn bit of toothpaste that refuses to come out of the tube or a pen that seems to have ink in its
center, but does not write. In retrospect, I can say I was ashamed, embarrassed by my heritage, a factor that I did not choose, and cannot change, but moreover, I am ashamed of what I followed. I responded to my classmate with, “No, the Iraqis were the terrorists.” That might have been when I was six years old, but I stayed ignorant for eight years. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have a teacher in the eighth grade who taught us about the value of introspection and questioning one’s own beliefs. I finally looked into terrorism for a homework assignment in the same class. Despite having a particularly sketchy internet browsing history, when I saw the irony that I had arbitrarily labeled another group as terrorists, I was not only disgusted with myself, but I promised myself to always look for alternatives to my own beliefs and to consider them, no matter how much they challenged my beliefs. When I transitioned into high school, I found that I had to introduce myself to students again, but I was not that first grader. My big-kid equivalent of a cubby-hole, a locker, was nowhere near my class or labeled with my name, and my shoes noticeably lacked Velcro and lights. There were not as many posters plastering the walls, and the food pyramid was now a food plate. I conversed easily with other students, but eventually the question came: “So, you’re a terrorist?” Albeit, this time it was not a pointed question, but asked in jest.
So I laughed along with them. 65
Taylor Davis, Family Unit, Acrylic on wood
External View Christy Birch
Windows through which we observe through which we see some through which we judge Mirrors through which we reflect through which we warm ourselves through which we hope We will only ever see parts Part lives Part homes Part dreams Part shows Sight will never mean truth I will see you through me And my reflection will bounce off you And our fun-house mirrors We will only ever see what we want.
THE COMPOSER VALENTINA MISAS
AUSTRIA 1941 In his fury, the Composer shoved his music off the piano rest, notes clashing angrily as his body pushed against the piano. His heart beat rapidly; he couldn’t see straight; his vision clouded red. When would the music come back to him? Without noticing, he had managed to blow out all the candles he had lit previously, leaving him in total and complete darkness. Unable to resign himself to lighting them again, he left in a storm, huffing underneath his breath. He didn’t bother picking up the discarded music sheets from the floor. Footsteps echoing, he paced down the grandiose hallway of his home, his breathing leaving resounding notes. His mind in a whirlwind of thoughts, he had managed to subconsciously take himself to the place that he’d been avoiding for so many months now. Her smell was still tangible, almost as if she had left in a hurry and without thinking sprayed too much perfume as she sometimes did whenever she was rushed. Cecilia. Dust now danced in the air and onto her furniture. His eyes squinted to remember the familiarity of her room. He left her room the way she had left it, vibrant and full of life; although, now the colors had become muted and worn as if her room had become tired of breathing. Its life was gone now along with her warmth and vibrancy. She was gone. 68
Swallowing the knot in his throat, he blinked away the water that had managed to spring his eyes, turning his back to her room. She had brought the music, the sashaying notes that waltzed together, the joy in his heart when he played her melody. She had left a mark on him, to continue to play her music long after she had left. Don’t ever stop playing our music. Remember it. Ever since she had left, he couldn’t find that peace or joy anymore. As hard as he tried to compose again or to create a sweet melody like the one she had brought, The Composer simply couldn’t let himself play any other melody except hers. It left him angry and frustrated, leaving him in temper tantrums. His servants never came up to his quarters anymore. Instead he avoided them, wallowing in his misery by himself. He fought his insomnia day by day, trying his best to just create new, beautiful music . . . music that would’ve made Cecilia proud. The Composer sank to his feet where he had stood, losing all his anger and pride that had seized him before. He couldn’t fight the memories that her room evoked, the total and utter pain that bit him. He sat there crying like a young boy, losing all control of his inhibitions, letting loose the tears that had been plaguing him ever since her death. Losing all sense of time, he fell into a deep slumber having taken his body to her bed to smell her as he drifted off into sleep, finally allowing the embrace of sleep to take him away.
Alexandria Lara, Eye Am Stressed, Pastel What felt like centuries later, The Composer had finally awakened; taking in his surroundings, his reality crashed down on him. In his dreams he had been once more with his love, his muse Cecilia, playing her his melodies, her body twisting as she danced to his tunes. The melody had been a new one, one he had never reached before; although, it left his heart feeling satisfied. However beautiful the tune was to him, he couldn’t remember certain notes, but the main melody was permanent in his mind. Almost in a trance, The Composer lifted himself from her bed. Taking one last glance at her room, he shut the door behind himself frowning at the marbled floor. His entire body felt drained; his heart and head felt simultaneously weak. However weak he felt, he wasn’t sleepy anymore; instead his head continued to play the tune that he’d been playing in his dream. Curiously enough, he began to actually hear music. The tinkering notes had touched his ears all the way from his place at the end of the hall,
reverberating hypnotically. The melody was absolutely beautiful, almost exactly as the one he had been playing in his dream. Gathering up his courage, he decided to follow the sound tracing it back to his piano room. I’m either completely insane or I’m imagining things, he thought to himself reluctantly. The door to his piano room was closed; although, he vividly remembered having left it open in his furious exit. The melody played on, the notes leisurely flowing to and fro, leaving The Composer not only worried but curious. Mustering up his will, he gently pushed the door open, his breath almost completely leaving him when he saw the young boy. At first, he thought he was crazy. There was a dirty little boy lying underneath his Grand Piano, concentrated heavily on the papers in front of him. He didn’t know whether to kick him out or continue listening. What caught his attention, however, wasn’t the boy. It was what the boy was doing. 69
Even though the boy was not facing the Composer’s direction, he still saw his fingers flying across the page. In his amazement, the boy continued to play, completely unruffled by The Composer’s interruption. Only lit by one candle and the moonlight streaming in through the window, the Composer saw the marks of the paper. The young boy (or perhaps someone else) had drawn a realistic sketch of piano keys; however, there were only fourteen notes in total on the page. The boys fingers were flying, almost as if performing a difficult task, and the music just . . . escaped. The more the boy touched the keys on the paper, the more music came dancing out. The Composer was assured that he was imagining things. Unable to restrain himself, he called for the boy’s attention. “Young man”, he said. “Just what on earth do you believe you’re doing in my home?” The boy squeaked, completely taken off guard and he hit his head against the bottom of the piano as he did so. He rubbed his dark hair between his fingers, pouting. “I-I’m very sorry, sir,” he gasped for breath, his bottom lip trembling. “But I had no place to stay tonight, so I thought I’d rest up a little here.”
The Composer took a step closer. “And you think that breaking into my home is the proper way to do that?” he asked, although he stretched his hand out to help the young boy up. “N-no,” the boy whispered. Looking surprised, the boy took his hand hesitantly and allowed The Composer to help pull him up. Although young, the young boy was tall, almost reaching the bottom of The Composer's chin. The Composer eyed him curiously. “What’s your name, young man?” “Aleksei, sir.” “How old are you, Aleksei?” “I’m eleven, sir.” The Composer nodded, sighing. “Do you have a family to go to, Aleksei? You seem quite young to be breaking into people’s homes.” "No sir, I’m an orphan.” The Composer noted dutifully that the boy had a slight lilt to his speaking, a Russian accent coming out every now and then. Aleksei, sucking on the inside of his cheek, asked, “Do you have a name sir?” The Composer smiled weakly. “I have no name, Aleksei. I lost my name many months ago. I only have one when I play the piano.”
Aleksei’s eyes lit up. “You can play the piano, sir?” The Composer smiled. “Yes, I can. In fact, I get paid to play it. I write music for people and then I sell it.” Aleksei looked as if he had discovered gold at the end of the rainbow. “That’s incredibe!” “Composer. You can call me Composer.” Aleksei nodded and said, “Composer. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? I’ve never called anyone Composer before.” The Composer walked over to the piano bench, his fingers lightly tracing over the keys, and he
Aleksei sat down next to him on the bench. “No sir. I can’t play any instruments. I can draw okay, I suppose. But I’ve never had the pleasure of being able to play something.” The Composer glanced at the young boy. He was tall and quite thin for his age. He had mousy brown hair and skin so pale he was almost translucent. The Composer immediately envisioned him in a suit, clean cut, his protégé playing almost as well as he could one day. Perhaps even better. The composer smiled at him. Remembering the beautiful melody in his heart, he said, “Would you like to learn how?”
sat down. “Do you know how to play the piano, Aleksei?”
I remember, Cecilia.
Christian Carmelino, Creative Point, Mixed Media
Sophia Cabral, Into the Woods, Oil on Canvas
I want to live where there are trees Julia Rothfield
I want to live where there are trees that stand silently at the edge of the road and cover mountains with a dense green blanket so they donâ€™t get cold. That mark off light and shade as different territories bounding each other, but never crossed and turn a sunny trail into a temple with soaring pillars and a pine-needle carpet, roots to walk on and a sense of peace. Trees that have occasional identity crises becoming anorexic, skeletal, shredding superfluous matter and canâ€™t decide what color they want to be, finally deciding on green until an arctic wind whips away their self-esteem like a paper napkin. Trees that line a road like a Robert Frost poem yellow in a walking wood and make life feel like magic.
DARK MATTER ALEJANDRA DE LA FUENTE There is a galaxy spread across your skin that I spend ages connecting, like a child, to tie you to me.
Supernovas will be born of our collision. Fabrications that will push and keep pushing until there is no space left between your heart and mine.
And the void gets smaller frail like the curves of my arms or the soft pattering of anxious hands across dinner tables, waiting for someone to speak so that I donâ€™t have to
and you do.
Simone Burns, Stress, Photography
Natalie Molina, Red, Acrylic
The Artist Tyler Cockrum
Never have I ever seen blood dry in such a magnificent shade of orange. Da Vinci himself couldn’t create such a beautiful hue. But I suppose in a way I could be considered an artist. My blade, my brush, clasped tightly in my grasp. Her cadaver, my canvas, laying lifeless on the loveseat. Loveseat . . . My work of art does such an injustice to the name. Because what happened last night between us, in that seat... Let’s just say “love” wouldn’t be the first word to touch my lips
Tiffany Zambrana, Flawless, Mixed Media Collage 78
A PASSIVE RESISTANCE
ALEJANDRA DE LA FUENTE
When you bring her home for the first time, she tries to plant thick roots in your mattress. They never bloom because her hands slip on the weeds that keep spreading even as you keep your hands pressed against her concave cheeks. Once, she says she is an afterthought and each call of her name on your lips is a rebirth. Like learning how to crawl again, she reaches for you. And you, half-mast, guide her to shore. But most days, you are a tugboat desperately searching for the distant light of her whispers, to find our way home. She squints to find the smattering of stains she’s left behind on the grooves of your hips like washcloth promises – wrinkled at the edges. She traces them like constellations and names each one, whispers them against your skin when she thinks you are not listening. You look away; you’re always listening. But her native tongue is destruction, forged by her own fire and you’re trying to learn the language in your own way: soft-spoken shatters into her sleepless nights you feel her stirring and you keep her eyes shut, the sound of her blood drumming in your ears is the sound of the solid ground beneath her slipping as she grows restless once more. And while she lays there, civilian plane disguised as shooting star, you do not wish on her. One day she will land; it will be far, far away from you.
Carlos Lopez, King of the Can, Arcylic on Canvas
Stay Golden Anyssa Chebbi
His hands gripped the steering wheel as he struggled to stare straight ahead. He managed to pass by the first one despite her bright makeup color scheme and gave himself a mental pat on the back. He had his beautiful girlfriend waiting for their date at 8 o’clock; he could wait. “They’re everywhere . . .” He used to just be able to avoid certain parts of town. Now it felt like they were waiting for him on every street corner. It probably had to do with the economy; in the end, doesn’t everything? They provided what every man wanted . . . and affordably. The business was growing exponentially. He kept driving. He had made it all the way to 20th street when he saw her. She was so much younger than the rest; fresher, more naïve. He couldn’t help himself. Feelings of regret were already beginning to sink in as he put his blinker on and pulled over.
As he approached her, his olfactory senses were assaulted by her strong, enticing perfume. It wasn’t at all like his girlfriend’s; this one was definitely cheaper, but sweeter nonetheless. This was his vice, his dirty habit that he’d been trying to kick. He knew it was bad for him but the perks drove him crazy. He could ask for whatever he wanted and didn’t even have to leave the privacy of his car; he was completely anonymous. It was a thrill to be doing something he knew to be so wrong, something that the government was trying to outlaw in some states. The only thing he hated was payment. It was a grotesque necessity that made the exchange all too real. But that was it. Just as quickly as it had begun, it was over. There were no remnants of its occurrence except the balled up wrapper on the floor of the passenger’s seats but he felt it in his stomach and knew that he had cheated. He took the car out of park and drove home; away from the warm, golden arches of her embrace to the all too plain seeming salad abandoned in the fridge. This is not a story about prostitution. 81
Romina Salini, Caroline, Acrylic
Forbidden Darian Kettles Decadent You are my guilty pleasure just your scent alone Alluring you are both good for me/bad for me Loving you comes as easy as breathing for me. I mustnâ€™t . . . I must refrain from your temptations no matter how much I put up a fight Iâ€™m stuck in your gravity Oh, sweet chocolate.
Alexandra Hernandez, 25 Cents per Play, Markers
One Dimensional Characters in a Contrived Situation An Excerpt David Scherker One Dimensional Characters in a Contrived Situation is a comedic stage play about a self-loathing playwright who believes that all of his work is unrealistic and meaningless and begins to live out one of his own plays when he visits his family to get release signatures and discovers that his sister is a Colombian drug dealer.
BEN: Wait. I’m not finished yet. In every piece of crap that I write, there are all these unnecessary characters that somehow wind up interacting with the protagonist. Eventually, there are so many characters on stage, that it becomes practically un-stageable and most of them just stand there quietly watching other people talk, which DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. MOM: Well, I like your plays, honey. . . BEN: You don’t like depth? Do any of my plays have depth? No! They have cheap “hilarious” sight gags that ruin the pacing, and everybody laughs.
“Hah, hah, the maitre d’ is wearing short shorts! Hah, hah, ha.” MOM: But why – BEN: Wait, wait. I haven’t reached the best part yet. Here’s theOld Papa Jack stands up and the blanket on his lap falls down revealing a Speedo. OLD PAPA JACK: Where’s the bathroom? SUSAN: Um . . . down the hall on your first left. OLD PAPA JACK: Okay. Thanks. Old Papa Jack sits back down and puts the blanket back on his lap.
Ah. The climax. After a forced, dramatic and pitiful excuse for “depth” where the protagonist comes across his WOW! AMAZING REALIZATION! there’s the chaotic finish where all of the eccentric stereotypes somehow gather into one location all screaming and making noise. And the worst part? SUSAN: What? BEN: The resolution. It’s abrupt, unsatisfying, and doesn’t wrap up the plot at all. It’s just like PFFTTH. Resolved. The end. It’s just . . . Everything’s just terrible.
BEN: Where was I . . . 85
SUSAN: So, nothing makes you happy. What else is new? BEN: If I can somehow make my stuff mean something . . . SUSAN: Why don’t you just make up some depth, then? BEN: Oh! Why didn’t I think of that before! Just make up the depth! Silly me. SUSAN: Wow! Great impression of a condescending bastard. MOM: Honey, we’re just trying to help. BEN: There is no depth to silliness. That’s why it’s silliness. SUSAN: Everything can mean more, Ben. Not everything is the way it seems. BEN: It doesn’t work. I need a new idea. SUSAN: Okay, fine. Shoot all my ideas down. Just
give me the goddamn paper.
Old Papa Jack falls back asleep.
Ben hands Susan the paper.
MOM: Look, if there is any way I can help . . .
BEN: Do you have an extra pen? Mine’s out of ink. SUSAN: Goddamn it! BEN: That’s a bit of an overreaction . . . SUSAN: I’m gonna go find you a goddamn pen and sign your goddamn papers so you can get the hell out of my goddamn house. BEN: Only three goddamns in one sentence? Exit Susan. Old Papa Jack wakes up. OLD PAPA JACK: Pshh. You have it easy. When I was a kid, in order to get a signature we had to plow through 12 feet of snow, uphill, both ways, with coal in our pockets. And sometimes wood. BEN: Who is he again?
BEN: Mom, it really is great seeing you again, but I just . . . need these signatures. . . MOM: Okay. . . I’ll go help Susan then. . . BEN: Mom . . . Exit Mom. BEN: Jesus Christ. Enter Jesus Christ. JESUS CHRIST: Yes?
Alexandra Hernandez, Sunflower Field, Markers
Nothing But Laughter Nicole Garcia
nothing but laughter and a tie dye sky yet you doubt there is beauty in what lies before your eyes a vast landscape filled with nothing but joy void of the dishonesty this is the moment this is that place present in my dreams and now reflected in my face this smile, you see brought about by its own will my enthusiasm for like will not be tainted canâ€™t be killed.
Daniel Ochoa, Venus Fl-eye Trap, Acrylic, Watercolor, and Markers
Teresa Lee Dover, Mountains in Guiling, China, Bamboo Pen and Ink
Breaking Faith Gabriel Wolfe
As the eldest son in the stereotypical Hispanic family, even before birth, I was predestined to carry the torch as a devout, obedient Catholic. In one of my earliest memories I am sitting on the hard, cold pew next to my mother while a priest lectured on about topics that I couldn’t understand. I would gaze at the fifteen-foot crucifix looming just over his shoulder or idly pass the time by playing with the ray of sunlight beaming through the stained glass window, letting it dance in the palm of my hand. Despite my inability to understand the service, my Panamanian mother marched me to mass every Sunday and then to CCD every Wednesday; I followed orders and learned my Bible verses as the nun paced behind me, intermittently casting her shadow over my lessons on the goodness of God, the judiciousness of Jesus, and the piety of Peter. Every night my mother, whom I love so dearly, gave me the sign of the cross and reminded me: “A family that prays together stays together.” When I took first communion, the tears rolled down my mother’s cheeks. I was a good Catholic and she was a good mother; for most of my life, I embraced Catholicism. My first day of high school, I was one of the only freshmen in an AP Human Geography class. My hormones were raging, hair was growing in strange places, and my voice was cracking. My body was changing and little did I realize that I was about to delve into a journey through major world religions. There are 1.6 billion Muslims? I barely knew that there were people in the world who weren’t Christian. How could so many people not understand that Jesus was the Son of God? My head was spinning as I discovered so many varying beliefs about our creation and existence. I was drawn to Buddha. The Buddhists’ ability to live a
deep spiritually fulfilling life without a God mesmerized me. How could there be no God? My head pounded. What had I been fed my whole life? If there is no God, then what have I been praying to all of these years? If God did not create the universe, then what did and for what purpose? My belief system was in crisis. I’d recovered from the tooth fairy and then Santa Claus, but could the God I was trained to revere and love also be a fiction of lore? After profound reflection, the answer seemed clear. I, the son of a devout, Catholic, loving mother, was an atheist. This was something I could accept for myself, but how was I ever going to tell my mother?
“I don’t believe in God.”
Even the voice in my head squeaked as I echoed this mantra. I was standing quietly in my mother’s room waiting for her to come out of the bathroom. I swallowed large gulps of air; my legs were tight, and goose bumps ran the lengths of my arms. I felt light-headed and sat back on the bed as a shadow appeared under the door. The handle shook; I froze, sweat began pouring down my forehead. The door opened, and she turned to me and smiled. Time stopped. One second felt like minutes. I considered backing out, but I couldn’t. The inner voice said “man up”. The words spilled out of my mouth. Her face was emotionless, stunned, as if she had walked into a glass door. The silence was deafening as she melted from stony disbelief to angry confusion to those tears that I remember so vividly and with such pride from First Communion, only this time they were not tears of joy pouring from her eyes but tears of profound sadness and disappointment. Her tears brought my tears. I held her in my arms and assured her that she was a good Catholic mother, and I was still her good son.
Valeria Peralta We’ve become so engulfed by the tough exteriors of cement houses and steel doors to barricade ourselves from danger leaving all blind spots covered and windows closed “I have valuable things!” we shout and scream and make it known to the world as we buy a new security system meant to keep them away from our riches meant to keep them away from all we hoard inside within the security of our own minds We have taken the skin of animals First for warmth, protection, survival for the fittest and then for other things Trivial Things We have cured their skin and put it on top of our own As if wearing the skin of other will hide our scars As if it will conserve our ‘handle with care’ bodies Like a plastic cover over a pristine couch We have convinced ourselves cement and steel and leather are tough tougher than mind and body and soul It’s the shield between us and our new man-made elements of looks that drown and suffocate Remarks that cut and scratch Glares that burn and scorch our skin All leaving such deep marks that hurt so much we would rather live the inside excessive bulk we call protection rather face our own creations Because there are winds carrying words we don’t want to hear And we cower underneath the slim hope that we might survive a lifelong winter hoping we’ll stay forward preserved like antiques in a museum stuck in one pose For others to observe but never touch nor understand
Nicole Santiago, Mary Jane, Pastels
Rebecca Adler, Serenity, Scratchboard
Process of Elimination Derek Abella
Your museum stare: behind thick glassines, well-kept, and under light. I try to stop remembering that, along with how to pronounce your name. You have noon’s clementine-zest resting on your fingertips. And the letters, laced with ennui. They are laid languid in daylight but appreciated in the dark. There’s a copy of your favorite book aligned perfectly to a patent leather wallet on my desk and to my left. We’re restless now. Maybe I sleep too much, or you don’t at all. Or maybe, what we joked about before has become tangible. Just like my stagnant hair when I sit next to you, crossing out moving as an option.
Into the Mystic Taylor Davis
Best in show at county-wide exhibition at The Bakehouse Art Complex
Endless Tranquility Oil on Wood Pallet
A LESSON IN ANATOMY ALEJANDRA DE LA FUENTE
You are a washed-out promise in the flesh. Strip your skin and reveal sunken bones and tissue paper, thin and empty. Tipped wine glasses mark flares of hot coals across my skins and stones in my stomach as I dig my fingers into the grooves of your hips, finding muscle mass, passive aggressive attempts at compromise punctuated by long stretches of silence. Dry lips straddle soft syllables the harsh sound of your name is louder than the pounding of blood in my veins so I keep sinking deeper past shaking knees and swollen ankles your hands make melodies that count out my breaths like the staccato beats of a heart monitor: stuttering to life and then down again; one for each half-baked lie I let slide. But I’ll keep counting metacarpals like the broken second hand on the clock I keep on my nightstand. My hands are shaking but I’m working on it. And I’ll keep going because I just want to find your bone matter to see if I should bother stitching you back up again. 98
Christian Carmelino, Anglerfish Exposition, Mixed Media
Christian Carmelino, Crown Fish, Mixed Media
Trystan Davis, La Maison, Digital Photography
DIVING Oriana Bravo
They look like ants. Ants crawling on dirty grey grass. Grass that is cut-up, divided into measured geometric shapes. The wind blows smoke into my staggering lungs I breath in black. I fall closer to the red ants further from the clouds approaching adrenaline. Floating freely in what has become white air.
the poetry we wrote in August sleeps next to a box of matches ever since you told me that you loved the smell of fire and sometimes when we make love I stop thinking about you and imagine the sheets are in flames
Erica Cantin, Box Interior, Digital Photography
Derek Abella, Sunday, Mixed Media
Something that has Legs Emily Mendez
There’s a candle in between my jar of pens and glass of wine that smells like you, but only after it’s been lit and blown out. And I vacillate between wanting to burn it and not, mostly because I’m an indecisive bitch but also because I’m sick of burning the things that I love. I don’t believe in hypnosis but I do believe that sometimes when I have my hand tracing crop circles in your hair I stop wanting to chew my pens and forget that one time my dad called me a whore for wanting to sleep in a real bed. I don’t believe in ghosts but I do believe that sometimes when I’m burning my morning toast I can still feel your hand, warm and constant on my back. I’m not sure why I didn’t curse until 10th grade or allow other people to touch me until 11th, but I do know that silence next to you isn’t really silence at all and that your eye contact is like staring into a mirror. Sometimes when I tell you I’m not good enough, all I want is for you to repeat it back, but with more conviction. I don’t understand why I’m jealous when I see you talking to anyone else because jealousy is a frilly emotion but I do know that I only met you this year even though I wish I could have said that years ago. I’m sorry that I can’t be happy all the time for you but I’m not even happy all the time for myself. My mother told me to never love anything that has legs and can walk away but I don’t really care much for her anyway.
Dylan Matamoros, MFGD, Digital Collage
Bittersweet Destruction Darian kettles
A plenty of bridges have been burned and there is still vacancy on that remote pile of ash and heartbreak. Although I lost so much that I’ve cared about, I’ve never been happier. With loss, I’ve gained. But now it’s starting to look a lot darker around here. The omnipresent cloud of dust, the aftermath of the blow serves as a reminder of all that loss.
Like having an elephant pressing its foot into your chest feeling your lungs succumb to the suffocation. You wait for it to lift its foot and spare your life, but it pushes even harder. You become numb and slowly you’re wandering in the wind with cinders in a world of smog.
Sasha Morales, Emerald Mosaics, Acrylic
I never knew indifference could be such a passionate word Danielle Coogan
I could write you a thousand letters, each as tender as a dove, as true as an arrow, and every single one would be returned to sender. I explode with joy. Turn away your head from me. Send me reeling witless, fits of puppy love and vows of pining and a future together. Your inattentiveness makes me write love poems to you. I feel giddy with the lack of care you have for me. The smiles that aren’t for me, the songs you don’t serenade me with, the movies I watch alone. My dear, I couldn’t care for you more because you couldn’t care for me less!
110 Stability, Digital Photography
Immersed, Digital Photography
Balance is a unique feeling based on awareness and intuition (the ability to be in touch with oneâ€™s innate perception). Although everyone is conscious of themselves, the balance between physical and mental awareness is an intangible feeling I have only been able to communicate through performance and photography. By constantly having control of my thoughts and acknowledging everything that happens to my physical self, I have learned that the mind and body are connected and work together to allow a person to endure any situation they are in, whether it be uncomfortable or pleasant. In my work, I explore the steps of reaching stability and an ideal balance between the mind, body, and an environment. The front cover, Instability is the first image of a series including the image to the left, Stability, that shows each step in reaching a full conscious balance between the higher and physical self while in a
Influx, Digital Photography
controlled environment. By gradually increasing the intensity, each image shows progress and acceptance of the unification of the mind and body. The photographs above, Immersed and Influx, along with the images on the end pages, Linchpin and Glaucous Installation, are part of a performance that explores the effects of creating an environment, adapting within it, and leaving or destroying it. While sitting in the center of the space, I use ambiguous objects such as metallic cellophane, marbles, rhinestones, and bells to create a unique, ring-like structure around myself. After constructing the environment, I interact with the objects by intuitively moving within it. I focus on the stretching and folding of my body and eventually reach a meditative state that defines the ideal balance between the mind, body, and an environment that allows humans to overcome physically stressful situations or to enjoy euphoric ones.
Jamileh Chemaissen, Fusion, Color Pencils
Eyes Wide Closed Amy Meltzer
Palms pressed against her pupils, she liked to trace the patterns on the undersides of her eyelids. Fuchsia. Crimson. Gold. Lilac. Lime. The hues intertwined in winding ribbons, a kaleidoscope for her and only her. She waited for the waves of color to form an ocean, to wash over her, to drown out all the unwelcome realities. Like a sponge, she loved to soak it all in. To revive herself from the inside out. Reticent. Reserved. Withdrawn. Introverted. Wallflower. Someoneâ€™s comments always pierced her silence. But that was okay. In the blink of an eye, theyâ€™d all become floating bubbles of a lava lamp anyway.
Patient Hope Annmarie Raskin When I was younger I used to think the sweeping lights I saw on car rides home were lost people walking with flashlights waving them from side to side in hopes that someone would find them. And years later even though I know their purpose was to attract tourists to fancy restaurants and movie premiers I still wonder if those people were ever found.
Sophia Padgett Perez, Raincoat 1, Digital Photgraphy
Cecile McLorin Salvant Grammy nominated Jazz Vocalist and Elysium 2007 Editor in Chief Interview by Lee Pivnik and Tommy Chaisuesomboon Cècile McLorin Salvant, winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and recent Grammy nominee, has become the new voice of jazz. During her latest tour, Cècile, a graduate of Coral Reef ‘s IB program, returned to Miami to perform at the Adrienne Arsht Center. She talked with us about her music career, her future plans, and the role of contemporary jazz.
In your first years as a jazz singer what most surprised you? All of it was unexpected. I had no idea. Everything was a surprise and a discovery. Like playing with a bass player. I don’t even remember seeing a bass and then there it is all the time. The whole process has been a little crazy, and I am just getting settled into it. I was 18 when I started; so, you know . . .
No, I was more interested in classical voice at the time and basically confused. You guys possibly know what you want to do with your life.At seventeen, eighteen, I was like - I want to be a writer and I want to be a journalist and I want to be an actor. The list was so long and crazy. I had no idea. Has the reception in France been different from the reception that you get in the United States?
Where did you attend college? In 2007, I moved to Aix-en-Provence, France to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. I studied law for the same reason a lot of people get into law right after high school. They don’t know what they want to do; it looks good; it’s cool. I didn’t particularly love law, but I passed the first year; so, I thought I might as well do the second year. So, you went to school in France not knowing that you wanted to pursue jazz? 116
I don’t know if I can make a broad statement on that just because every audience is different. Every city is different, but there is a huge difference in the fact that when I am performing in France, I’m usually performing in English, and they are a French-speaking audience so that they don’t necessarily understand everything. The emotion and the feeling of the song, the story of the character, everything like that, needs to be transmitted in another way. It’s interesting to experience music on that level and have people just vibe off the feeling of a song rather than a specific lyric.
Lee Pivnik, Portrait of Cècile, Mixed Media Is there a song you love to perform or a song you have always wanted to record?
When you are choosing a song to perform, how important are the lyrics to you?
There are a bunch, but definitely a song which jumped out at me was “You Bring Out the Savage in Me” which was something that a wonderful trumpet player and singer recorded named Valaida Snow. She recorded it in the 30’s and it’s basically very racist. The message is “You are bringing out the savage in me. I’m a black woman and you are making me go back to my jungle instincts”. I thought it was so racist and absurd and at the same time funny and angry and so many different layers to that song that I really wanted to sing that. There are a bunch of others. Actually, all of the songs on my latest album, Woman Child, are the things that I really needed to do.
They are the most important thing. I love music obviously, but the thing that is crazy and amazing about the human voice as an instrument is that it is the only one that can have lyrics with it, and it is such a great opportunity. I’ve always been fascinated with the stories and the theatrical, dramatic aspect of the songs. That to me is the most important part. “Woman Child” is your own, original composition. How did that come about? Have you written other songs? That was my first song that I didn’t throw away. It was so difficult because sometimes you are faced with yourself and your own mediocrity, and it’s very 117
you don’t have that much time. It’s going by very quickly and you need to grasp whatever you need to grasp. Also it has to sound good. The words have to be singable (that’s not a word) but it has to sound good with the melody placed under them. There are a bunch of little details that you have to be aware of like juxtaposing two words where that consonant begins and then ends on that second word. We are living in a century where so much music is based on post-production while I feel that jazz is more performance-based. What role do you think jazz has in today’s society? Can it ever become as popular as it once was?
Cecile was Editor in Chief of our 2007 magazine
frustrating because you are admiring all these wonderful songwriters’ works, and you hope to touch that - reach that somehow. It’s a really difficult struggle. But “Woman Child” was a simple, short little song that I wrote about the way I was feeling. There was no grand scheme or delusion of doing something amazing. I wrote it down and found a melody to it. It was a way to get started, break the ice. You are nervous. You do it, to be more comfortable with writing, to get it out of the way then it becomes something else. I know you have a background with writing, with Elysium Magazine as the 2007 editor in chief . How is that different from writing in your new perspective? Well, I don’t know really that I can give a codified list of differences because I’m such a beginner as a songwriter and as a writer in general, but I think one of the most interesting things about writing songs is that it has to be something that you can hear and understand. There are songs that are elusive, nobody knows what they mean but the songs I like, I can hear the text. I can understand it because when you are reading words you have time to take care to try to get where they are going, but when you hear a song 118
I don’t know that it can become as popular as it was. It was Lady Gaga before. I don’t think it is going to happen. Jazz was not built for the pop industry as we know it today which is very sexualizing, money-oriented, advertisementcentered. For me, jazz is jazz for jazz’s sake. But I hope that it is going to be more popular than it is now, that it is going to reach younger people because it is America’s music. What we did - what we contributed to the earth. It’s such a mix of so many different cultures. You have Europe and all the influences from classical composers and those forms. You have folk music from Europe that has also found its way into the blues. You have African music. You have the Latin influence. It’s just insane; all these things coming together. As a listener, it really challenges people. It is something you can dance to, relate to, vibe out on. At the same time, it is gritty and rural and intellectual and urban. It’s unfortunate that so many people spend time treating themselves with onedimensional music. Not to say that all pop music is one-dimensional; there are plenty of people who do other genres that I love. Are there artists you like that no one would have suspected? I like Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Snoop
Dog, some stuff, not all. I like D’Angelo. There are a lot: Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, 90’s grunge total. How did you react when you found out about your Grammy nomination? I freaked out. I was coming into the hotel after a gig. The trumpet player from the band says, “Oh, congrats”, and I said, “Oh, thanks” thinking he was congratulating me on my performance. Then I asked, “What are you congratulating me for?” He said,“Oh, you don’t know? Well, you got nominated for a Grammy award.” I sat there and said $*&#^. Can you write that down? Can you say &$(%( ? Do you have any personal goals with what you want to do with your music? I just want to become as good as I can and really develop my craft as a writer, singer, as a musician, and arranger. I play a little piano; so, I really want to develop that. Find out what makes me unique all the while upholding this tradition and history but also really honing in to what I can bring to jazz and to music in general. Is there anything you want to say for anyone who wants to pursue a career in vocal performance? It’s not like a fun party vibe all the time. You have to work, you know. In my opinion, you have to hold yourself up with the same standards as people do instrumentalists. Learn your instrument. Practice. Learn the history of your instrument and the genre you are trying to perform in. All my favorite artists be it Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, they know the history of their genre and they use that to their advantage and they are able to bounce off that and really kind of set their own vibe on it. It’s really important to be intelligent with what you are doing and to not take it too lightly, It’s fun you know; it’s entertainment, but it is also work, and that is an aspect many people forget.
is such a mix of so many different cultures. You have Europe and all the influences from classical composers and those forms. You have folk music from Europe that has also found its way into the blues. You have African music. You have the Latin influence. It’s just insane; all these things coming together. As a listener, it really challenges people. It is something you can dance to, relate to, vibe out on. At the same time, it is gritty and rural and intellectual and urban.” Cècile McLorin Salvant
A Decade of
a note from the editor In this year’s issue of Elysium, we are celebrating
In 2005 Mrs. Amy Scott revived the magazine
ten continuous years of publication. We’ve been
after being persuaded by our first Editor In Chief,
able to share the work of Coral Reef students for
Justin Daner-Best. There were prior magazines
a decade now, and we will be continuing to do so
published, but we have chosen to feature the
for years to come. The literary and art magazine
10 magazines printed continuously since 2005.
is so essential to our school as it allows the best
As have other past Elysium staff members, we
writers and artists within our student body to
continuously dedicate our time every week to
receive the recognition they deserve, and it’s more
produce the best possible magazine we can. We
than a validation that a piece is good; it’s an outlet
would like to thank Mrs. Scott for her continuing
for sharing thoughts and ideas. Now it seems
support and dedication as well as Mrs. Dorta,
important to address the fact that this is our 13th
Mr. McKinley, Ms. Leal, and all the students who
edition but our 10th anniversary.
contributed to and put this magazine together.
Lee Pivnik Editor in Chief
Nathalie Francis, Glaucous Installation, Digital Photography