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Elysium 2008

Volume 7


Entrances. Exits & Escapes...


Coral Reef High School 10101 S.W. 152nd Street Miami, Florida 33157 Phone: (305) 232-2044 Fax: (305) 252-3454 http://crhs.dadeschools.net volume 7

Elysium 2008

Our lives often seem to be a navigation of endless and dimly lit corridors, our direction and purpose unclear. Doors swing open and slam closed, the noise following us as we attempt to move forward. We seek entrance to an unknown future, continually leaving behind our past and past selves. Sometimes, in the desperation of these exits, we term them escapes. Our focus shifts from the darkness of the past to the opportunity of a newly opened door. And so we find our mode of travel: through entrances, exits, and escapes. Katherine Holmes, Editor We would like to extend special thanks to art teachers Mr. McKinley and Mrs. Stemple: Mr. McKinley for his aesthetic guidance and Mrs. Stemple for her thematic suggestions. We would also like to thank our principal, Mrs. Leal, for her continuing support. Cover, staff, and contents pages: Awards:

Fernando Rosales ‘08

2006 NSPA Pacemaker finalist 22007 NSPA All-American with 5 marks of distinction 2007 NCTE PRESLM Highest Award

ENTER


Staff

Elysium’s 25 member volunteer staff meets Thursdays after school from October to March.

Literary Staff Maheen Ahmad Patricia Alejandro Daniella Carucci Sara Leslie Jolie Shapiro Victoria Ugarte Steven Urueta Tunu Wa-Dutumi

Layout Staff Mitra Hosseini Michael Matamaros Fernando Rosales

Art Staff

Editor in Chief Katherine Holmes

Layout Editors Audrey Gonzalez Ebtissam Wahman

Literary Editor Nicolas Forero

Technology Webmaster Walfried Lassar

Promotion Manager Anya Kaplan

Adrianna Angulo Cecilia Cabrera Camille Chambers Spencer del Moral Fabienne Elie

Technology Staff Keiran Swart

Art Editors Michelle Degregorio Maria Duarte

Faculty Sponsor Amy Scott


Editorial Policy: Elysium, Coral Reef High’s literary/art magazine, showcases the creative work of Coral Reef students grades 9 12. Two different staff groups select exemplary art and writing from school-wide submissions. The Literary Staff reviews each anonymously submitted piece and makes selections based on style, variety of theme, and overall quality of writing. Art pieces – also submitted anonymously – are selected based on quality and thematic relevance to accepted writings.

Colophon: Elysium 2008 was created using Adobe InDesign CS2 and Adobe Photoshop CS2 on Dell desktop computers. The layout staff selected Adobe Caslon Pro for the text and Bernhard Modern Standard for titles. For the cover and staff pages, the layout staff used Letter Gothic Standard. The 2008 edition of Elysium consists of 86 individual inside pages printed on 80 lb glossy paper and a cover printed on 100 lb glossy paper. Rodes Printing published two hundred full color copies of the magazine all of which were distributed free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis. For past issues and performance art clips visit: http://crhs.dadeschools.net/elysium


Contents white: entrances

yellow: exits

green: escapes

Poetry, Prose, & Play 8 9 12 13 15 17 20 22 23 26 27 30 31 33 35 37 40 45 48 50 51 53 55 57 59 62 63 65 68 69 71 74 75 77 80 81 82 83 85

And Then Her Pen Who Am I? Gade Laspwa Light Generations under the Moon Quirky Girl Peacocks Hide and Seek Surfacing My Dinner Table Insert Profanity Here Glades Oma and Mr. Alzheimer Once Part of Russia...Now to Belarus Veteran’s Day 2007 A Walk To Forget Alien Solidarity The Fall Checkmate Morning Ride Post Hoc: A One-Act Play The Search for a Cure Body Snatchers Pavlov Swing Currency Once Giraffe Laugh Ken and Barbie Box Harmony in Madness Palpitate Piano Fingers The Recurrence of Desire Faith Lift for the Wrinkles of Burden Deity Identity The Crack

Maheen Ahmad Tamesha Kirkland Manuel Denize Patricia Alejandro Nicolas Forero Michael Cisneros Analeah Rosen Camille Chambers Yesenia Alfonso Devee Sanchez Daniella Carucci Katherine Holmes Giselle Neukirchner Sara Leslie Charles Mahoney Analeah Rosen Patricia Alejandro Jorge Pazos Maria Duarte Joseph Radice Katherine Holmes Victoria Ugarte Amanda Hudson Gabriela Portilla Megan Chakko Victoria Ugarte Marilyn Horta Barbara Uchdorf Joseph Radice Laurent Saint Louis Joseph Radice Jolie Shapiro Marilyn Horta Anna Mebel Nicolas Forero Daniella Carucci Maheen Ahmad Marilyn Horta Alexander Silva


Art 7 10 11 14 15 17 19 21 24 25 28 29 32 33 36 38 39 41 42 43 45 47 49 52 54 56 58 60 61 64 66 67 70 72 73 76 78 79 82 84 86

Music through My Fingers Doomed Metropolis Drawing of the Masses Candles Moon Image #2 All-Star Series Angelic Runaways I’m a Square Still Life Heartbreak Tranquility Hands Languages of my Ancestors Honor Subway Lost Identity Fashion Series Car Series Selected Art Origin Persephone Energy Trees Smoker I’ve Been Around Hands Talking Trash The Irony of Trees Homeless Man Following the Leader Giraffe The Storage Room Boxes Rejoyce Human Shield Piano Estoff Beneath the City These Symbols Tell Tales Busy Mornings Mystery Light

Raquel Kidd Michael Matamoros Michelle DeGregorio Bryan Hesser Andrew Mendoza Tiffany Cooper Raquel Kidd Emma King Lauren Corona Kourtney Gillett Fernando Rosales Shani Iglesias Andrew Bekkevold Spencer del Moral Unknown Michael Matamoros Michelle DeGregorio Stephanie Reyes Ronel Constantin Various Artists Audrey Gonzalez Audrey Gonzalez Raquel Kidd Maria Duarte Lauren Corona Lauren Corona Samantha Lazarus Raquel Kidd Gabriella Portilla Amy Wunderman Gabriela Portilla Noel Kassewitz Kourtney Gillett Michael Matamoros Natalia Agredo Deneque Lee Maria Duarte Deneque Lee Francisco Ortega Lauren Corona Cristina Berrios


Raquel Kidd, Music Throgh My Fingertips, Digital Media.

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And then her Pen Maheen Ahmad

A

nd then her pen took her to the nearest blank space on the wall, where she expelled every thread she possessed. One made a wistful curve, and the hand with the pen took to repeating

it on the other side, so as to create the balance that failed to keep the real world intact. Another thread fluttered onto the wall and compressed itself into a circular shape with many curves, pressed onto the middle of the dome. Its solidity gave her something to worship. She then closed up the bottom of the dome with a straight and sturdy line that not only ended at the curves of the dome, but extended to include the entire square shape of the room. This ensured nothing fell into infinity or oblivion. Finally, lines drawn freely extended from the roof of the dome in every direction possible and sanctioned all

desires to be possible.

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Who Am I? Tamesha Kirkland

I am man’s creative redemption: The age-old visual emotion of man’s heart. The epic storyteller everlasting. Through the light and the dark times, Through the rubble and the smoke, Through the shattering of glass in war, I have always managed to pull through. But as time wore on, And man turned on himself, bringing self-destruction, I became a victim of man’s strife. As man loses himself in his own advances, I become a mere entity of technology, I lose my emotion, I lose my essence, I lose my soul . . . Who am I?

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I am art


Michael Matamoros, Doomed Metropolis, digital painting.

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Michelle DeGregorio, Drawing of the Masses, Graphite.

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Gade Lespwa Manuel Denizé Hail to the power of a revolutionary people. The power with which they left me In the war for individuality. Thou hasn’t given me a weapon, No blade, nor gun, But a pen….Mightier than the sword. Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary people. The juxtaposition of sounds The emphasis on syllables The way with words— No direct road, no clear path, A highway of words, no speed limit, no turning back— Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary people. Daredevil in its own right, Who speaks this obscene language in a place that’s polite? The one who made me walk, head held high. The body and soul of an island! The heat of a people! The composition of what is me, Hail! Hail! The language of Toussaint….Duvalier…..René The language that gave me something to say. Sentences as veins, Gade Lespwa Blood as words, Gade Lespwa Scars for the question and exclamation marks! Gade Lespwa! ….my body of work. Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary people.

From independence in 1804 hope has never left the words. Some say a distortion I say a slanted view of perfection. Beauty in the eyes of your beholder, speaker. You get more beautiful as I get older. My version of morse code, My secret message, my best friend: The only one who can both read and write my mind. Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary people. The cobra’s tongue The whip that enslaves The flawless victory The decimation of the adversary, The plane that can crash into twin towers. And yet, The cool breeze on a hot day The shade of a tree under which I lay. The one that gets the girls The one where even a curse sounds like a benediction. Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary people. The one spoken by people who care The type of love they say is rare, The one filled with emotion The one to start a revolution; Gade Lespwa The once betrayed, the once enslaved, The one once lost… Now found, Committed and loved, Hail to the tongue of a revolutionary one; Gade Lespwa.

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Light Patricia Alejandro

Sometimes, all the lights went out.

Sometimes we knew it was coming. There were afternoons when I used to color in our backyard until the lines and shades blended together. After that, it was best to go back inside.

Everything was darkness. Going outside

meant walking out into the world of shadows; the stars gave off a faint glow and the thin

outlines of blackened houses were the only guide. It was a world of the unknown and so

we stayed in the more welcoming familiarity of our own home.

Yet the darkest nights are the most

memorable. The lack of light changed our perceptions and how we spent our time. No

light to the outside universe. He taught me

my first English words. Even now, when I talk to him on the phone, we exchange a few words in English. Abui always says, “I am glad that you are well.”

In the times of his youth, when there was

also little light, he taught himself English

every night until he was even able to teach

it. He also knows a bit of Russian and still

remembers how to count to ten in Chinese. I inherited that love for languages and cultures. Abui insisted every morning on playing a tape from an English course to

get me accustomed to the language. Every

longer could we watch the news on the two-

moment was time for learning.

All that remained were my grandfather and

introduced me to books. They were his

Living in Cuba was living on an island in

He showed me how to experience the worlds

on TV, he was all we could watch. I didn’t

grew up with African, Russian, and Chinese

channel television. I could not read nor draw. a few candles.

Pangaea existed once again after he

eternal companions and soon became mine.

darkness. When El Comandante en Jefe was

that opened up beyond my own reality. I

grow up with Clinton and never heard about

folktales, became friends with Anansi the

the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a kid, I don’t

remember ever drawing a map of the world.

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My grandfather, a Communist, was my

Spider, czars, and monkeys who wanted to grab the moon.


Bryan Hesser, Candles, Digital Photo.

Abui taught me about shadow animals,

enchanting the heat of the night. I might

is both light and darkness. His hands were

azabache nights of no electricity, but that

the ones that only come alive when there

his only instrument, the one with which he conjured dogs that barked and swans that craned their necks.

In the darkness, I learned to play chess.

have lived on an island submerged in the was only the incentive to look up at the sky

and marvel at the stars and the immensity of the universe.

I am glad that there were apagones, times

Abui was patient and instructive, showing

for turning off the switch of light bulbs. I had

about learning from a loss.

always in search of adventure.

me that it was not about winning, but rather Darkness

became

the

time

when

crickets could be heard best – their violins

my abuelo by my side; we became explorers,

I was surrounded by light.

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Generations under the Moon

Nicolรกs Forero

It was a pale, full moon that changed my life perspective. Its silver light became a beacon not only to the hundreds of electricity-starved Colombians, but also to that part of my mind which had lain dormant for years. The night in question was not an anomaly per se; it is a common Colombian experience to lose electricity. However, losing it at a time in which there were no clouds over Santa Fe de Bogotรก (where it rained consecutively for four years, eleven months, and two days) was quite a phenomenon. The temperature was low, but as

Andrew Mendoza, Moon Image #2, Mixed Media 15


I went outside to get into our truck and on our way to get empanadas, I became transfixed by that silvery beacon, surrounded by numerous white lights jealous of the attention it garnered. Its light, free from the electrical cables that ran like prison bars across the mountains, gave a heavenly quality to the trees and valleys. “I haven’t seen a full moon like that since the last time”, remarked my father, who saw the moon’s reflection in my glasses. Even the seriousness of that beauty didn’t keep him from his comical word play. I looked at him and smiled, for the moonlight was also in his eyes, which were more serious than his comment. I loved how this old man brought me to Earth with a joke and kept me from flying too high for my own good. During my days in Colombia, I usually enjoyed my deceased grandfather’s extensive library, which proved to me only that I am indeed his grandson, seeking knowledge in the same way he sought it when young. My dad, however, disagreed with this, blatantly telling me not to “waste my youth in pursuit of a book”. Of course, I did not listen – he’s my funny dad, and I’m his smart son; we’re too different. We discussed life simply during our drives across Bogotá and its neighboring city, Chia. When talking about chance and luck, I would quote philosophy and statistics, while he used fictional anecdotes: “Luck is horrible to me . . . while at college there was once a raffle to raise funds for the soccer team . . . they raffled 100 women and a monkey, and I won the monkey.” Although we’d both laugh at luck and at his depiction of the Colombian sexism in which he grew up, I’d admit to myself that I would never be like him. I would not be free, and natural, and funny; I would be silent and reserved. That night, however, the light of the moon shone on us both equally. Although he made a comical remark, he saw the moon’s serious beauty, and although I kept reserved about it, I saw the lightness of the moon and silently laughed about it. Just like I would be my grandfather’s grandson, I would be my father’s son. So was I able to embrace the sweet juices of written knowledge without overlooking the inevitable lightness and comedy of nature and life.

Nicolás Forero won a Scholastics Silver Key Portfolio Writing Award

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Quirky Girl Michael Cisneros

Quirky girl with the boy-like bangs,

Pink tube socks, Keds, and bright orange pants, Why don’t you play me a song On your banjo?

Pretty girl, you make me so glad

To be where I am with Sam I Am and my adolescent pangs. Oh, please sing me a song With your French horn.

Feel pretty and smile for me here. I hold your smiles oh so dear. When your chipped lips part The world just stops.

I’m left with open mouths and my blank stare. Freaky girl with the frilly skirt of plaid,

You tripped and fell when you tried to do a dance. Can’t you please do a song?

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I’ve got my piano.


Tiffany Cooper, Shoe Series, Acrylic.

Silly girl with the buck toothed lad, Would you just ditch him and give me a chance? Let’s just jam to this song On the radio. Creepy girl with the star-struck eyes, Don’t you know that you’ve got me hypnotized? I know you know I’m yours. So please just have me. Quirky girl with the boy-like bangs, Pretty girl, you make me so glad, Freaky girl, with the short skirt of plaid, Silly girl with the buck toothed lad, Just sing me a song, And so that I can sing along, Make it something that I know. Smile flash with your teeth so bright, Your beacon teeth, they keep through the night. Let’s just air-guitar This final verse now.

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Raquel Kidd, Angelic, Watercolor. 19


Peacocks Analeah Rosen

Truths be told or truths lie hidden, Smitten are those who do no part, With the notion of lies forbidden. Because what lies beneath love’s frameAre the muddled delicacies of claim. This is not saying love is false O no! Love is Nature’s planned waltz; To dance around, prance atop, Court the other into the nonstopAnd all is fun, all is well when Peacocks parade love’s renegade. But as the Peacock deceives its beau To this is which we all knew, We must turn tame the eye; Tell ourselves all is new, all is not lie. And the mere repetition of such deception Cancels out any question Of such sacrifices made, Of any debts left unpaid. So we add on the years and Allow love to sing unrestricted cheers. Banish inhibitions—accept our faults, Realize love will come to naught, By hounding distorted truths That lay dormant in a frozen youth. Love is the undying acceptance and Relentless persuasions of indifference To silent unjustness. So although truth lies superior, Minor inflictions of fiction cause no blood And could never decay the love of my love.

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Emma King, Runaways, Photography.

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Hide and Seek Camille Chambers

I am searching for you my dear soul, Beneath the rocks of the past And above the cold crystals of our world. I seek you in these words, These sentences that will make no sense Until you are here to color them in. As the children play in their games of hide and seek, You peek at me beyond the mango trees. The seductive eyes and playful shadows upon your lips, Tempt me to join in their game, But alas! It is in vain, you little minx. I call to you in the abandoned woods: “A body cannot be warm without a soul!” And yet all I hear is the echoing of your laughter, The cold wind and snow biting into my bones. Standing in the blue doorway, I whistle one last song of spring flowers And the howling wolves circle closer. Trapped in the rigid electrical lines bordering time, I see the birds sing back: “And a soul can never leave you.”

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Surfacing Yesenia Alfonso The instant message screen flashed off and on, Funny, I remember her once saying that a mother off and on. The sender’s kind words broke my could never hate her child, even if they committed solitude as the bittersweet lyrics played in the

background, “I love you” and “You’re absolutely

murder. I guess this was worse than murder.

beautiful to me”. The message gave wings to my When she had uttered her most cutting fondest hopes and daydreams.

comments, she fell silent. Then she cried. A

sense of shame and self-loathing overcame me.

The sender was the only person besides my I had made her cry, a woman who had suffered mother who had ever loved me unconditionally. so many disappointments. My own shrill cries By the end of the night, however, the love of one

of “Mami, Mami, please . . . “reminded me of my

person would be withdrawn, that of my mother. childhood when I would plea for brightly colored

I would have never believed that the woman baby dolls, not the very acceptance of my being. who brought me into the light, who gave me

The words and dirty looks were suffocating. I

life, would also be the one to turn away from me. was drowning in the deepest, darkest ocean.

That same night my mother discovered I was gay. The months following the discovery, the silence Her stinging words replay in my head constantly, of the sea came ashore and enveloped my “torillera, puta,” she screamed in Spanish words

mother and me. To this day we still haven’t been

I had never heard her utter. For being gay, for able to entirely surface; however, my mother wishing to love whomever I wished, my mother finally admitted something to me that I had swore she would disown me. Her attacks were long awaited. fierce and sharp. She sliced my heart.

“If you were any daughter of mine, you would leave here!”

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“I love you and you’re beautiful to me.” My lungs cleared of the cold water,

and I was finally able to breathe.


Lauren Corona, I’m A Square, Acrylic on Panel.

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Kourtney Gillett, Still Life, Oil on Canvas.

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My Dinner Table

Deevee Sanchez

My dinner table has precisely ten chairs. According to my mother, each chair has a designated owner: four for my sisters and me, four for our future husbands, one for my father, and the last one for her. Every day I sit at the table and I look at all of the empty seats. When my dad was in Iraq his seat was empty. My older sister’s seat is still empty, except during Christmas. But when all of the seats are filled, except for the four strictly reserved for our future husbands, it is quite a spectacle! For one thing it’s loud! I have noticed that in order to be heard in my family you have to be able to speak louder than the person that’s already yapping. We laugh at the smallest things or we listen to Daddy’s stories. My particular favorite is the one about when he worked in Africa. Every morning he would go to work in the middle of the Botswana terrain and he would see these Bushmen walking in a straight line to the waterhole. He asked his translator why they did this. His translator replied, “ When a lion looks at your construction site, he sees food, but when he looks at the Bushmen he sees a predator. You see, when you stand scattered around, like the engineers and construction workers on the site, a lion sees prey; he can strike anywhere. But the Bushmen look like one long chain that is bigger and stronger than the lion. The Bushmen mimic the Zebra. Why do you think the Zebras stand end to end like they do? It is so that the stripes blend and they look like one big predator. “ Of course I have memorized every single story that my dad has brought from another country or his childhood. I can tell you about the horses on the mountains in Spain, the cold of Alaska, or my dad’s “second” wife in Africa (although he denies it to this day). My dad says that he was only offered another wife, but I like to dream I have African relatives! I can’t wait until all the chairs in my dining room are filled. This Christmas my sister is bringing a “guest”. My mother still has the final word on whether or not he can have the seat permanently.

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Insert Profanity Here

Daniella Carucci

Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love for the priceless treasure That I find in my jubilant pleasure, known without a measure, only I, at my leisure. You cannot see its intangible waves, as they rock the bows like foolish knaves, but they flow towards me clear, and in these lines you will hear, as it were the nearest near, the distant beating of the surf ’s greeting… Let the social criticism linger, like blissful notes on a singer, circling the air around you Blaspheming the world you knew, and bringing the light of day anew

As

All

Falls Asunder

The world’s greatest blunder is that we think too much, indulge to such, and crave universal meaning in one clutch… Is it my crutch? It’s my wind, to sin the greatest sin, and find such passion in existing without ration And then two worlds eclipse. I love you, and nothing seems amiss. I’m what a human consists This creature persists,

I exist. 27


Fernando Rosales, HeartBreak, Digital Photography.

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Shani Iglesias, Tranquility, Acrylic.

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Glades Katherine Holmes

Every so often my feet, frantic from the meaningless bustle of everyday life, run to find solace in the wet soil of the open glades. Legs nicked by the razor edges of sawgrass, I sit on the sinking ground heedless of the water reaching up to seep through my clothes. The little pains are a comfort—an awakening of my senses, which have been dulled by off-white walls, fluorescent lights and the constant chatter of voices and thoughts. Here, the wind sighs through waisthigh grasses as clouds stream across an endless blue sky. In the distance, the ground rises into small hammocks, clusters of trees and palms in whose shade small mammals root through dead leaves and rich soil. Out in the grasses, though, my eyes drink up the sky and reach for the horizon, stretching unbroken across the land. My heart aches at the sight, with no fingerprint of humanity to smudge the perfect lines of earth and sky. But into the perfect joy sneaks a feeling of trepidation—I can already see the marching lines of cloned houses invading the glades, flattening the gentle rises of hammocks and bleeding away the clear cool water.

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Oma and Mr. Alzheimer Giselle Neukirchner

She cannot remember me, but I know she thinks of me. She calls me by the names Anna, Heidi, Mia, or Edelweiss (the small white flower found in her childhood home near the Alps). Each time I remind her that my name is Giselle, she looks at me with the same puzzling face as when she gazes at the shiny buttons on my cell phone. Raising her eyebrows, lips crack open and she giggles making it seem as if I have lost my mind. Sitting in her rocker she gives me that same toothless smile each time I caress her hand, but she cannot recall the sheer fact that I am her granddaughter only that I am someone who loves her. It was the doctors who told my mother that my “Oma” would only be alive for three more months. It is nine years later. When I see her closing her eyes and the crows feet outlining each, I tend to believe that they and the wrinkles carved on her face were made by the delightful experiences throughout the years of her life. I simply watch her. At night she falls asleep with a smile on her face and every morning wakes again like Sleeping Beauty awakened by her Prince. You see, my Oma does not age; she gets younger by the year. When I was six, she was my grandmother. At the age of twelve she acted like my mother. Fourteen and she was my older sister— make-up and all. Now I am seventeen and she is the baby of the household. When I talk to her about Alzheimer, she would be in awe at the fact that she has a crush. Her cheeks blossom and her eyes begin to twinkle like the Edelweiss flowers in the summer that gleam with the dark31

green backdrop of the mountain range. She tells me, “Oh mein Schatz (my dear), did Mr. Alzheimer call me today?” and she would close her eyes once more and sway her head like a palm frond in the gentle tropical breeze of the Caribbean. Everyday my parents bought her red roses with a card, to much of their dismay but knowing that it was the only name she recognized and felt for, stating “To my Beautiful Maria Love always, Mr. Alzheimer” Soon thereafter she would grasp the card and place it to her heart, imagining a strong Prussian King with a dark crimson robe and golden seams bowing down to ask for her hand in marriage. She would then stand swiftly from her rocker, almost in a dream, and begin to waltz, each step falling on the ground with the same intensity as that of a cotton ball. With her silk hair, high cheek bones and darkblue eyes she resembles the Greek goddess Aphrodite; not an eighty-six- year -old woman. When my Oma speaks to me, she sings in tongues. When my Oma looks at the sky, she sings to heaven. My Oma passed away a few months ago and in my memory all that resonates is her saying, “Sing my little Edelweiss, sing!” On that day her eyes had gotten brighter, and I knew she was finally with her King. She taught me to laugh at the world and to cherish every aspect of it. She had lived a marvelous life and I learned that I should never feel defeat if life does not go the way I imagined it to be. It only means that there is always something better—a door that has not yet opened.


Andrew Bekkevold, Hands, Digital Photography.

Giselle Neukirchner won a Scholastics Silver for her personal essay “Oma and Mr. Alzheimer�. Andrew Bekkevold also won a Junior Orange Bowl Photography award for his accompanying photograph Hands.

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Once Part of Russia... Now To Belarus

Sara Leslie

Pinsk, outside of Minsk Is the closest thing I have to go back to. The exotic taste of Belarus: Roots, and tubes, and probably a mystery behind The name. I don’t speak Russian. Spots of Yiddish, lost with my grandfather Who didn’t want to speak. Desperate search for origins, And to make beautiful People who did not care about beauty, Who did not want their faces to be dramatized, Immortalized, Their names forgotten.

My “ancestress”—a rebel without a name In a French convent garden, at night: Rose d’ Église. And yet she was more of a story To me at ten More a part Of me, Than what was really a part: Silence, at meals and at bedtime, Industrious hard workers, Guttural Russian, A hidden last name. Stony blue eyes. I deny that they’re mine.

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Spencer del Moral, Language of My Ancestors, Mixed Media Booklet


Pinsk, Outside of Minsk, said Rachel, I know that town, And I fell again into a sort of bizarre hope That I belonged to something That Pinsk was not swallowed up into the immensity of Belarus, But somehow retained its identity, pocketed next to Minsk, Where the name Adrozin meant beautiful And was given a story, Colored by religion where it lacked in personae Somehow filling all the pockets of space Behind my last name, Giving me my own pocketed city To call my own. Pinsk: the town that has a map, Though ever-changing. Pinsk and Minsk, said Rachel, Belong to history books of old, Burning with Yiddish and Judaism. They claim more than industry As they pass through the lips of old Rabbis: They suggest a music I should not have forgotten. Finding Pinsk, In the mess of Belarus. Will I go there with empty journals and pens and audiotapes, And leave with blank looks and factory sounds? Is it wrong To search for an old man Who knew a man named Joseph; Who, amid smoke and concrete and factory sounds And burnt wood, Will build me a small town Where I can leave my bags at the door, Walk in and find myself Forever entrenched in gray stone. 34


Veterans Day 2007

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TSgt. Charles Mahoney

I had a number of opportunities to volunteer During the wait we were instructed on how for convoy duties inside Kuwait and for various to handle the metal containers that held the other mundane tasks that really didn’t interest remains of those who had died the day before. me. However, one unique duty did inspire This is when we found out that there would be me to add my name to the list of volunteers. fourteen carrying cases. We had heard that a The Angel Flight helicopter had crashed and was comprised of “I wanted you to know what all of those on board had individuals who perished. I still hadn’t given would escort the Veteran’s Day means to me.” it much thought up to that bodies of those point. We waited an hour service members who had died in combat or so and then we got word that the aircraft was and were being returned to their families for on final approach. We boarded our van to ride to internment. This seemed like a grim task to the parking spot on the ramp and were given last volunteer for as opposed to something more minute instructions on how to stand during the glamorous like fielding a rifle and flak vest ceremony. There were around thirty or so there to and driving an armored Humvee for convoy participate. Finally, the plane taxied to its spot escort. Just think of the pictures one could and we moved to the rear of the plane. take while holding an M-16 in full uniform. A Gunnery Sergeant from the Marines was I realized that I would be agreeing to perform in charge, and he gave the order to come to a difficult and emotional task when I volunteered. attention. We had around twelve people lined up on each side of the ramp. The six members of I was not prepared for the e-mail asking for those the first team went into the aircraft and emerged who were part of the Angel Flight to show up a few minutes later with the first carrying case at 1:30 am after my twelve-hour shift ended at with the remains of one of the fourteen. They midnight. I hurried back to my room after my moved slowly and deliberately towards a truck shift and left my belongings there. I then walked used exclusively for such occasions. No one spoke a word. It was eerily quiet at the airport. The first the half mile or so to the First Sergeant’s office container was lifted up by the six pall bearers and to catch the ride to Kuwait City International two members of the Marine unit who were based Airport where I knew that the aircraft bearing there, then it was placed in a locking system inside the bodies would be arriving. I knew this because the truck. The six pall bearers spun with precision I was the person who constructed the next day’s to reenter the aircraft for another body. It took around five minutes from the time they began flight schedule that we followed in the Aerial Port to move the body until they reentered the plane. for our duties. The first team moved six bodies in all. Standing The letters HR (human remains), meant someone there at attention for nearly half an hour, my had died up North, most likely in combat or by muscles began to tighten. I could not move IED (improvised explosive device). I had been but was tiring rather quickly, but I looked at the containers stacked in the back of that truck and asked to accompany the Angel Flight personnel knew I had no right to flinch. I realized right on prior occasions, but due to my supervisory then the terrible toll that not only this war but duties and the timing of the movement of remains, all conflicts place on those who are in harm’s I could never go. I was able to go this time in way. I realized how fortunate I was to have air mid-August. There were seven of us who traveled conditioning in this desert environment, how fortunate I was to have plenty of chow to eat on about 45 minutes to the airport. There we met a daily basis, how fortunate I was to have a job to military personnel from the Marines, Navy, and come home to that I truly enjoy, and how fortunate Army who had similarly made the trip from other I was to have a wife and family that loves me and points around Kuwait. We waited for an hour or so. wants me to come home as soon as possible.


As soon as the first truck pulled away, the Gunnery Sgt. aced us at ease so that we could get the blood flowing back into our legs. We didn’t move from our spots and stretched as best as we could. I was one of the oldest there and most of the others were in their twenties and thirties. I didn’t want to let the others down during this solemn and emotional ceremony. The second truck was backed up to the aircraft and the second team of six pall bearers was readied for their task. We were ordered back to attention, and the second round of moving the bodies began. It took another thirty minutes to move the bodies and place them in the truck. We were nearing the completion of this grim task when a third truck was called for. The first team accomplished the task of removing the thirteenth and fourteenth bodies and then we were dismissed. Nobody left the back of the aircraft. We were very quiet and each person seemed to be reflecting on what had just occurred. It was now after five in the morning. Daylight was breaking at our backs. We were waiting for one of the Sergeants who came in our van to return from inside the aircraft. He was one of the members of the pall bearers and had gone inside for some reason. We soon found out what had detained him. Apparently the brother of one of the dead had accompanied the body from Iraq. He had been on another helicopter after the mission and had helped to look for survivors. The brother had already lost a member of his family three years prior and now here he was riding with the remains of his only other brother. The Sergeant told us that the aircrew asked him whether or not he had called home, and he replied that he had not. They gave him their satellite phone, and he contacted his parents. He apologized to his parents for his brother being killed as if it were his fault. I cannot imagine the guilt that he must have been carrying that early morning as he realized that though he had survived, his only two brothers were now gone. I had to walk away from the conversation as I have four brothers and did not want to think about the situation.We boarded the van and drove back to our airbase near the Iraqi border, safely inside Kuwait. We were emotionally drained. Nobody spoke. Another member of the team from my unit

joined me. We sat there in silence. Later I went back to my room and went to sleep which seemed to last longer than usual as I didn’t have to work that day. I couldn’t stop thinking of the guilt that the brother would carry the rest of his life. I spoke with my buddy from my unit, and we talked about how bad we feel for coming over here and leaving our families in the lurch. I told him how bad I felt about not only leaving my wife and family but also my students. They mean a lot to me, and hopefully I mean a lot to them. You learn to live with these feelings of guilt for leaving people behind, but they don’t go away. They resurface now and again, but I try to remember that we are here for such a short time and that’s why I push the students that I am privileged to teach so hard. I want them to learn to think for themselves and to find a calling that can help others. This was my second deployment, and there will be more. I know that I will be asked to leave my wife and family again as well as my students. I wanted you to know what Veteran’s Day means to me. It is about sacrifice by ordinary people for their families and friends and then to come home. Hopefully, humanity will come up with a peaceful way to end the need for such sacrifices as made by those three brothers. 11 November TSgt. Charles Mahoney teaches world history at Coral Reef High School and serves his country in the National Guard.

Unknown, Honor, Photography. 36


A Walk To Forget Analeah Rosen

The train melted into the station, (Absorbing all space, Yet not touching sticky walls or people) Its inaudible screeches are only felt. It has been two days since sleep embraced him: Remaining frozen, Half waking for each stop, All the while regretting Sleep’s imperfect timingAnd loving its tender kisses, He recognizes dirt and paint. He has been on the train for five hours, Felt only in minutes. Opening his eyes to a fishbowl world, He recognizes familiar comfortsHookers and hobos, Midnight passengers each in his own worldEerily undisturbed.

It was time.

Bells begin to sound as metallic doors glide open. He picks his body up, Leaving his mind on tattered foam-green seats: Among yellowing newspapers and gum, it whimpers.

A large sweaty man stands in front of a drugstore Cooking dirty-water dogs. The sickly sweet aroma began to seduce himDancing a slow strip tease, But only for a second. A more intense hunger burned inside. Ignoring his protesting stomach He pulled himself from the cased innards.

At the seething mouth of the station, Rays of light fight to push back the grime, As glowing grey steps lead the way to a winter wind, To a dirty city full of Rat people. His leather jacket was stolen long ago, (Or was it sold?) replaced by a hide of callused skin That only half protected him. He needed cold air though, It was a reminder: The fire still burned within him, (But only half as intense as it had once been). White-hot breath barreling from his nostrils, He felt his stomach and knew

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Once outside, He unwittingly peeled his eyes all the way open, Suddenly drowning in a sea of sensation. Everything was slightly orange, Slightly strange and beautiful. People’s faces became a blur of peach, brown and blue. .............. He walks with no patternBeing a pattern in itself, Yelling at passing suits and Winking at possible mates. Total happiness only a stride away.

An old newspaper lay crumbled on his stoopViolence always distracted him from hunger. “Bombing in Jerusalem-25 killed” He let it go, Preferring to watch it flutter and struggle in the wind Like a burning bird.


Emma King, Cutting Corners, Digital Photography.

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Michelle DeGregorio, Lost Identity, Oil on Canvas (Scholastics Gold Key Winner).


Alien Patricia Alejandro

Maybe I call you Alien Because I’m scared of who you are. Because I don’t want to understand That maybe, sometimes, You have a better plan than I. Maybe I’m trying, right now, to examine who you are to cut you open, look inside, and send you back to your planet, because your blood turns out to be the same color as mine.

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Fashion Design Stephanie Reyes

For me fashion started as a silly hobby, but as I grew older it became more important to me as an outlet of expression. I pull inspiration from whatever catches my eye or pops into my head. Dragon Fruit, peacocks, and childhood toys morph into endless possibilities of textures, movement, colors, and fabrics. I also pull inspiration from the personal marks of my designers like Proenza Schouler with their juxtaposition of textures, Anna Sui with her rock and roll style, and Betsy Johnson who simply marches to the beat of her own drum. Many make comments on how I depict my models, but that’s just how I draw. The thin models in my drawings in no way reflect how I think people should look.

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Transportation Design

Ronel Constatin

Design springs from the soul. The thrill of creating shape and beauty inspire both my drawings and my cars. The act of drawing is fluid, filled with motion. Similarly the cars I design transform lines on a flat dimensional page into threedimensional blurs of speed.

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2 1 Michelle DeGregorio, Crowd, Oil on Canvas. 2 Kourtney Gillett, Evolution, Encaustic on Wood (Scholastics Gold Key Porfolio Winner). 3 Kourtney Gillett, Compartmentalized, Encaustic on Wood (Scholastics Gold Key PortfolioWinner). 4 Noel Kassewitz, Wisdom Keepers from the Dawn of Time, Oil on Canvas. 5 Noel Kassewitz, The Unbearable Cost of Progress, Acrylic on Canvas (Scholastics Gold Key Winner).

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Solidarity Jorge Pazos

Living, breathing human beings is all we are, but nothing I’ve ever said has meant anything to anyone. Younger ones have tried to understand, but the older ones already know who I am, so it’s better to keep quiet and just be someone, right? Someone respectable, with impeccable taste and a delectable array of conversation topics. I was born in the tropics but my parents made haste to lay waste to a fallen empire; the specter of communism which has haunted my people for millennia. Or half a century, rather, but history repeats itself, my elders say. In any case, we flew to the equator fleeing from oppressor to oppressor; an ism is an ism. The criterion for enslavement is a simple definition, a single word replacing a multitude of convoluted paragraphs containing paradoxical dichotomies justified by the verbosity of the text; so what’s next? The tragedies of ancient Greeks plagued by the mystery of life and death? That’s as far as the West can respect the man of old, it seems, though science says that prehistoric man could think the way we can today, but someone who believes in God will say: that’s false. Cookie-cutter scholars full of dollars dance the waltz of life approaching death at the speed of God, a concept undefined, a promise of eternal life spelled in empty words; Audrey Gonzalez, Origin, Watercolor.


I hear the tablet grind its ten suggestions across my mind like Roman laws and broken teeth floating on a stream of blood that’s coursing through the streets, wetting the feet of cohorts fresh with death; with rotting lust they feel the right to rape the flesh that gave them life: this is the ancient strife of God and man, of generals immortalized in foreign lands as massive statues of leaders plotting silent plans with words unheard because eventually they’ll fall like bombs on Earth; this planet falls but later rises like the phoenix statutes, the laws of supply and demand, it rises from the steaming ashes of a market we call free, but when the phoenix flies it burns our eyes Woman’s beauty is immortalized in the scorching bark of trees falling on piles of ashes in a distant forest. This is something I’ve never witnessed, but I hear the black smoke scraping our lungs like a cat’s tongue; we gasp for air inside this Trojan horse because we won the war and Helen is the last remaining statue on the planet, overlooking nuclear winter with her finger pointing West, she blames the rest because she’s right, we are the best at laying waste to worthless things and putting dying men to rest. For millennia, you, my people, have struggled with wild beasts we’ve pierced with sticks and stones so we can eat red meat and drink fermented wheat and barley until our head is woozy with oblivion and we barely cling onto existence with a smile or a laugh, with a sing song and a dance until we happily prance over a cliff, the spiraling abyss of nonexistence which falls into our eyes, falling at the speed of God, with every fraction of a second spent remembering the times our minds were fragile walls and everything around it empty space we yearned to fill with meaning, looking for a purpose, a reason to survive this endless fall, to understand who we are, to feel that we are something, or someone, or anything at all. 46


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Audrey Gonzalez, Persephone, Acrylic on Bristol Board.


The Fall

Maria J. Duarte

And it happened one night, the snake, was it right? It spoke of the fruit, of the knowledge, of the truth. And it spoke of a life free of fear, free of spite, and the woman, how she listened and her eyes, how they glistened. And the fruit, it was grabbed, and she plucked it, And it ran. It ran down her arm, all that knowledge all that harm. The crop of the real, That the fertile ground concealed. Concealed in her soil, In her brain, through her toil. And the apple took a fall, and the woman, how she called— for the man whom she loved, who she’d run away from. And he came and he froze when he saw that she rose, with the apple in her hand, the key to exile from their land. But he stayed, didn’t run, didn’t strike, didn’t long for the goodness, for the love of his oppressor, of his God. He stayed, grabbed the fruit, and the bite that he took blasted him, mastered him. Sent him reeling sent him keeling, until the dots and the spots were all he could see. And then he was free, and the sight of his wife made him cringe made him cry.

She so pure, so naive, cut him so very deep. You must eat this, said he, as he bled as his death— As he lost who he was, with one bite he saw light, he saw truth, he was free, he was home, he was he. But alone in the world, as the woman seized his sell, and as she frightened took a glance— oh, his hands, they were fists, and the perversion to subsist filled his body, filled his soul once so pure, now so whole. With sweat on his brow he watched as she frowned, and saw her take a bite, then felt her gain his sight. And she was back, they could see, They were whole, They could be. But so weak and alone, with the thunder and the drone Of angry God in black, of an angry God attack. So free, with no thoughts, With no pain, with no loss, They stepped and drew near To the life they’d so feared.

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Checkmate Joseph Radice

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Raquel Kidd, Energy, Ink on Paper.


In games of love and chess, It’s your move, child. Free flowing wind soars between Castles, up over and out. In the depths of your eyes, Mysterious currents Bound loose above the skies. Mind your notion, reconceived or else free From toss and turn in this wind Where magnitudes crumble, horsemen stumble Utterly incapable to fend.

“It’s your move, child.”

Time continues to tick a sad melody. Your move, says I to the Queen Into the darkness now fleeting. Whilst you perceive naught, I, two hearts joint in rapid beating. The king, his pressured mentality Has wheels turning, circles spinning. Sonorous now is your silence, Cultivating in my heart Desperate and affectionate violence. Winds ruffle your tresses As the knight creeps steadily forward About to obliterate the lone pawn. Groping in black checkered with white, I will have you before dawn.

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Morning Ride Katherine Holmes

Dark gravel breathed a sigh as the tires rolled out onto the empty street, while the soft brush and fall of the windshield wipers nudged away the early morning fog. The drops of water nestling against the window began to awaken and stream past like aerial dragons. Curled in sleep, the dreamer breathed a new fog against the window, unifying the dragons’ flights. The untamed oaks and hedges of wide lawns flowed past, formless in the slowly fading darkness. A spark of light startled the dreamer awake. Streetlights made a jarring appearance in the still-sleeping night—seeds cast outward by the city’s far-reaching branches. The lights grew larger as the car rolled on, their germination leading to new growth and soon a forest of light, screaming bright against the shrinking darkness like the fierce invader’s glow of bone-white maleleuka trees. As the car flew by, the great oaks along the avenues were transformed into arrogant iron pillars. The dreamer shrank from the angry yellow heads atop the pillars, which shook barbs of fire into the night—so many sparks flying that a new galaxy seemed to be in the throes of creation. With a gasp! Of exhaustion – - the dreamer flung the door open and stumbled out onto the hard cement.


Maria J. Duarte, Trees, Watercolor. 52


Post Hoc

Victoria Ugarte

Post Hoc: A one-act play Victoria Ugarte Rec. room before first meeting with the Doctor: Patient: Why am I here? Crazy: Post Hoc ergo propter hoc. Patient: What? Crazy: Logical Fallacy- “after this, therefore, because of this,” Patient: what? Crazy: Have a hearing problem? Patient: yes, I mean, no, I mean- God, I’m so confused Crazy: That’s why you’re here. Patient: Because I am confused? Crazy: No. Post Hoc ergo propter hoc. Because A precedes B, it must therefore, cause B. In other words you did something others believe is crazy, therefore it must be because you are crazy. That’s the cause. As much as that Doctor believes in the infallibility of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), all doctors are victims of misperception and failed deductive reasoning. That’s why you’re here. That’s why I’m here. And that’s why she’s here. (gestures at the other patient who is painting the sky green and the grass blue) Patient: What is she doing? Crazy: painting the sky green and the grass blue. Anyone who does that should be sterilized. (smiles) Anywho, back to why you’re here- deductive reasoning, so Patient: I know this, I read it before. “All men are mortal, Socrates is mortal, therefore Socrates is a man.” (Proudly) I took philosophy in high school.

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Crazy: It shows. You just committed the same error our omniscient doctor did in putting you in here. What you said doesn’t follow logically. It’s like saying that since all men are mortal, and a lab rat’s mortal, a lab rat must be a man. Patient: Fine, I can see how I made the mistake, but our Doctor? They go to school to understand this. Maybe I am wrong- maybe I am crazy. It’s just Crazy: It’s nothing. If you let them make you think you are crazy, then you are. They are no better or saner than you or I. It’s just that we are in here and they are out there. So we are always wrong. Plus, we, according to them, fit the definition of insanity, but again. . . well, here I have a joke for you all right? Listen, a cowboy walks into a bar. A woman sits down next to him and asks,” Are you a real cowboy?” He looks at her and says,” I have spent my whole life on the ranch, herding horses, mending fences, and branding cattle, so I guess I am.” The lady looks at him and says, “I’m a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. A soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. When I shower or watch TV, everything seems to make me think of women.” She then leaves. A few minutes later a couple sits down next to the cowboy and asks him, “Are you a real cowboy?” The cowboy looks at him and in between sips of whiskey responds, “I always thought I was, but I just found out I’m a lesbian.” Patient: what does this have to do with me? Crazy: It was his reasoning, when analyzing whether or not he was a real cowboy he did the same thing we all did with Socrates. If someone spends all his time doing cowboy things, he is a real cowboy; he does these things, so he’s a cowboy. The woman did the same thing - if a woman spends all her time thinking about women she’s a lesbian. She is a woman; she spends all her time thinking about women. She must be a lesbian. The Cowboy followed all the same lines except skipped the whole “I am a woman thing”. Patient: Ok, aside from sitting here listening to you, how does this make me crazy? Crazy: Look, the Doctor has to follow this book thing right? It’s called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -


Crazy: First of all, being in here, everyone is paranoid. And secondly, what it means is that our Doctor is using a book that will find almost anyone crazy and in need of medication. That’s one reason why you’re here. The other is that our Doctor, because of whoever recommended you here, believes you are crazy. She has already found your symptoms in some giant bible for psychiatrists and no amount of proof you give her will convince her otherwise. You’re in here; she’s out there. Face it; you were committed before you even met the doctor. Patient: Why do you care so much about why I’m in here? Crazy: I’ve go nothing else to do except talk to you. If I don’t talk I’ll go crazy. Patient: You already are. Crazy: No, I’m not. And you’re not. What makes a person crazy? It’s not like I’m saying I rant; therefore, I need meds or something. So what are you here for? I mean, all I know is you are sitting here with me and not painting something clearly misguided.

Lauren Corona, Smoker, Graphite and ink wash.

“If you let them make you think you are crazy, then you are.” Patient: Yeah, you mentioned it. Crazy: Yeah. I did? Oh. Well this book is seriously flawed, right? People are constantly critiquing it. The APA says that diagnostic labels are primarily for use as a “convenient shorthand” amongst professionals. I once read that the DSM’s claims to being empirically founded are overstated in general, and that they were influenced by drug companies. 50% of the authors who previously selected and defined the DSM psychiatric disorders have had or have financial relationships with pharmaceutical industries and drug companies.Some argue that the expansion of disorders in the DSM has been influenced by profit motives and represents an increasing medicalization of human nature. Patient: Ok, so that means I’m in here because some doctor was paid by a pharmaceutical company? Please, that’s impossible and very paranoid, if I do say so myself.

Patient: There was a man that followed me around. He would enter my home and leave it in ruins, destroyed. I left me violated. I asked my neighbors for help, but they don’t really know me. I am new and no one is willing to vouch for me. They didn’t trust me and suspected me because I was younger than them and different. They just Crazy: (mutters) That is crazy. (Looks away, and gets distracted, gets up silently and walks away as Patient is still talking, clearly involved in their memories and happy to find some one who listens. Doctor appears behind Patient.) Doctor: (Face obscured) Talking to yourself? Patient: (Turns around without noticing the absence of Crazy) no I’m talking to- (gestures to the seat next to her which is now vacant; she frantically looks around the room searching for the Crazy person who has disappeared. Looks at the doctor straight in the eye.) I’m not crazy. I know what it looks like, but Doctor: (Clearly not listening) Sure, sure. Come on we have to talk. Patient: (with understanding) Post hoc ergo Propter hoc. Doctor: What? Patient: Never mind. Scene ends with the Patient following the Doctor into the examination room.

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The Search for a Cure Amanda Hudson There is an evil that lurks at the heart of the twelfth grade. Bred by apathy and fed by the low culture appeal of being a slacker, senioritis strikes many, not without warning, but certainly without mercy. And we like it. While it palsies the cranial meat of so many students, it simultaneously satiates us with the guilt-free and absolute freedom of validated apathy. After three years of grueling work, we’ve each got our own respective feet in the door. We’ve been accepted into college; free at last, free at last! Isn’t it the only fair thing that we are allowed one year - just one year - off before getting flung into the daily grind of college and a career? That daily grind, which in one year’s time will be grinding us right on down to the bone, will continue until we retire. At that point, life isn’t fun anymore. Senioritis is not only the most logical reaction to the circumstances of senior year; it’s also a long-standing tradition. Apart from those kids who happen to have parents that were both tremendous overachievers and go-getters in their final pre-collegiate year, we simply see slacking as what you DO in the twelfth grade. And who can blame us? We can blame ourselves for not thinking far enough ahead. It’s difficult, after all the sheer nailbiting, tooth-gnashing stress of applying to college, to keep focused on the future that’s looming right above our heads like a really massive piano. Few students realize the benefits of remaining active and interested in their last year of high school because no one really points it out. We’re told to keep trying but we’re not told why. Half my senior friends are not even aware that the college that happily accepts you is just as willing to let you drop once you let your grades decline. While it seems only logical to some, others are aghast at this cruel institutional Indian-giving. What is the solution to this ignorance? Counselors. They could—just a thought here—counsel us for once. By no stretch am I claiming that they don’t do a good job—they do a fantastic job; it’s just nothing like what their title would suggest. Counselors could be the epiphanic guiding lights by explaining on no uncertain terms why students must keep pressing on academically. Maintaining your grades is vital for keeping that door, which you’ve struggled for years to get your foot into, open. And a year is a very long time to waste not learning anything and allowing your study skills to melt irretrievably into your grey matter. They might casually point out that we are all not the kings/queens/ anatomically vague rulers of the world, that we are STILL just students and that whatever college we’ve gotten ourselves into is doubtlessly—and if you really consider it, frighteningly—also filled with people of equal, if not higher, intellectual caliber. And that we will be competing with them. While many kids may not want to hear this, or may have heard it before, hearing it from just one more authority could make the difference. Someone who isn’t your parent, isn’t your teacher, but is instead a professional authority on these matters may help kids realize that their legs and chains have not been pulled and yanked, respectively, and that they really should keep on keeping on. However, as we know, some kids just don’t appreciate the concept of authority and are, to say the least, not quite fans of being told what to do. How do we keep these students trying? Since the odds 55


Lauren Corona, I’ve Been Around, Marker on Paper. are that these anarchists-in-minutiae are marginally paranoid and would therefore see a frontal attack and jump immediately to contradict it, an indirect method of persuasion is ideal. The most effective way to counteract senioritis and all general academic lethargy is to create an atmosphere of intellect. The most academically compromising thing I have witnessed in a high school is the glorification of athletics and the glamorization of the social. It is sadly true that, similar to so many teen-angst films, jocks and prom queens still rule the halls. And this is perpetuated by any administration that only promotes school spirit through athletic success. While it isn’t, of course, pointless to hope for achievement on both the academic and athletic fields, it is hugely important for staff to recognize the Glory of the Nerd above the glamour of everything else. In an atmosphere where those who kick the proverbial rear end of tough classes and standardized tests, kids push one another to higher heights than anything else in the world. Disinterest in the academic is born of a jealousy from those who have never had the will to excel in it. If adults in our schools can show students that intelligence and wit overcomes all, can make the brainy feel just as much of a force as the brawny, then senioritis will become a farce, an embarrassment, the ultimate shame of high school. Also terribly vital is that students be allowed to be interested. Senior courses are so often tuned to the disinterested, average, and unconcerned. If the classes made available to seniors were difficult but compelling and taught by stimulating teachers, students would be thrilled to be students. All the time we hear of people who were inspired by a teacher; by cramming the senior schedule with the best of the best, students are motivated to use their last year to learn and grow intellectually as much as possible so that they are prepared for and optimistic about that daily grind. 56


Body Snatchers

Gabriela Portilla

When did looking up bring us down And stepping inside put us out? We are early morning commuters, Driving upside-down, Honking at others like ourselves. We are part of a never ending chain Divided only by broken lines Etched into the asphalt pavement. We obey traffic lights That stop and go Then flash green and red. You are your own body snatcher.

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Samantha Lazarus, Hands, Paint on Canvas.


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Pavlov Megan Chakko

Ring the rusty ribbon bells, That extolling sound has crawled into my soul It’s controlling my mind, It knows my fears. Saliva seeps past my lips Down to the ground, creating a puddle of triumph. I fall face first and like an angel You curve your lips, spread your wings And drag my trance along. A flash into a lucid nightmare, and I’m sopping in blood, I’m a rag on the pearl tile Stained all the way through. The body lies looking down on me, I stabbed the flesh, But you drove it through. You’ve poured milk and honey into my eyes. They’re completely glazed over, white and blank. Oh my dear sweet Ivan, Please let me go. I know I want to be free, Somewhere deep inside. But without your hands Guiding me through Everything has gone cloudy. My freedom is ringing Far, Far Away. It’s gone to the dogs.

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Raquel Kidd, Talking Trash, Acrylic.


Gabriella Portilla, Irony of Being a Tree, Acrylic.

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A swing and a swoosh, The branches do sigh. So swing and swooshWe all must die. Careen and roll, The branches crack. We careen and fall All goes black. Down or upWe catch and release. Go up and around, The Irony of Trees.

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Currency Marilyn Horta

Nukes, bombs, airplanes going down They’re things at home the television talks about. But this big bird isn’t going down. It’s greeting ground with engines, meeting road with landing. The van chucks forward. It coughs and spits and somersaults forward. Onward, ahead. My father mutters, his lips flap in quivers—and I can’t hear. My thoughts—they talk too much, and chew his tongue. I imagine words for movement but his mouth moves in squares. We ease our heap onto another lane and my airplane disappears behind some trees. With all its passengers, all its fright, the terror of flight And blue sky, blue sky. Red light. There’s a man on our windshield. His eyes on our windshield. To my left, on the driver’s side. Toes glued together, knees bending inward. He’s sweating a little. Cripple. An orange juice box. Who needs an orange juice box around their neck? He does. Well, he does. To carry his change, his bills—it’s empty. Dingy shoelaces help him hold it up. He’s still looking at us. Stop looking at us. At wealth, at hope. Another meal in just oh, about four steps. Ah one, ah two, ah threetripfour. My father hands him a dollar and smiles a little. These offers are subtle and richly poor. Jesus scratches at my throat. Tell him, I love him. I can’t just say—about grace? Disgrace! Look at others with love. I remember the saying. My thoughts chew louder, and my pride breathes softer. As it curls in retreat, a truck heaves smoke from twists and funnels, A Honduran woman yells out to a motorcyclist, and we all get a piece of mind for breakfast. I know this because I do look with love. I look with love, I lie. I lie, I lie. Green light.

63


Amy Wunderman, Homeless Man, Photograph.

I can’t just say—about grace? Disgrace! Look at others with love. I remember the saying. My thoughts chew louder, and my pride breathes softer. As it curls in retreat, a truck heaves smoke from twists and funnels, A Honduran woman yells out to a motorcyclist, and we all get a piece of mind for breakfast. I know this because I do look with love. I look with love, I lie. I lie, I lie. Green light.

“Jesus scratches at my throat. Tell him, I love him.”

64


Once Barbara Uchdorf

Once. I have seen my father cry. Once. Padrino had just been deployed and we were talking. “He’s being sent to kill.” “Not in front of the children.” “Oh yes. In front of children. And he’ll kill them once they’ve seen it.” “No. Not in front of ours.” Tell me please, dear sir Or madam. Tell me who decides. And what it’s for. And why it’s done. And if it makes a difference. How can it be that millions end In vain? And why they do. Why are some more valuable? Aren’t they the same? As me. Who am I? 65

Do I decide?


Gabriella Portilla, Following the Leader , Acrylic on Paper. Then let me join you, you countless souls. Let me weep for the millions more before us. And you. Have you done this? Have you set us free To put us in chains? March with me, my army. March and you will see. It is not I or me, Nor them. It is us.

66


Noel Kassewitz, Giraffe, Oil on Canvas.

67


Giraffe Laugh Joseph Radice

C

ome one, come all Step right up To hear the Giraffe laugh To feel the Mangled pelt that chanced A meeting with man. You’ve never heard the Noise of a Giraffe? It does indeed exist. Listen as I pull the Rope tighter And hear the gasp for air— Every breath of every animal— You call this unfair? Ha. It’s just part of my show. By dear God’s grace these animals exist For exploitation such as this.

68


Ken and Barbie Laurent Saint Louis

I have come to the conclusion that within the

are already doing that with contacts. I have a

next ten years, half of the American population

vision of nose factories cropping up, assembly

is going to be walking Barbies and Kens. It’s a

lines piercing holes for nostrils.

shame . . .

could have breast-trading similar to baseball card

Maybe they

A lot of people are going to have at least one

swapping. If a woman needs to go for a jog, she

article on their body made of plastic or silicone.

could pop on smaller breasts for a comfortable

I think a new race of “degenerates” will be

workout.

formed; the non-plastics.

trade them for the more festive water balloons.

It could happen.

Once the evening comes, she can

No one wants to be out of the loop, but the consequences are not always good. The surgeries

WARNING: OVER-SIZED SETS MAY

are intended to beautify, yet sometimes people

CAUSE BACK INJURIES. USE AT YOUR

come out looking like collages, cut-outs glued

OWN RISK

to a common surface. I recently found out my teacher had a nose job, my aunt got implants, and

Is this extra beauty worth the risk? I mean, if

Michael Jackson is still breathing. After that, I

you are ugly, I am sure there is someone as ugly

started noticing these body parts everywhere.

(and possible not as shallow) as you.

What if noses, chins, cheeks, breasts, and

69

butts were interchangeable? I definitely see that

But Noooo . . . “All the good men are either gay or

happening. Wouldn’t it be cool? I mean, they

married.” I don’t know where they got that from!


Kourtney Gillett, The Storage Room, Graphite on Paper.

70


Box Joseph Radice

This is my box, I say. Get out. “I’m done!” says you, Stepping away, Leaving me to question your definition Of being through. My little box, four imaginary lines, Drawn in dirt, With bare hands, To enclose a space All my own. Do not enter! It is my sanctuary, And you are not welcome here. Not now, not ever. It is people like you Running about Where the good are few in the crowd; My fear and disgust of reality. Yes, some say I am Trapped in this box, The fictitious bubble I uphold through and through. Truth be told, I seldom voice opinion, Claim a headstrong nature with caution, And I have yet To truly Outstep the delineation of The box. The world is not ready for me, As we agree to disagree.

71


Michael Matamoros, Boxed In, Graphite.


Harmony in Madness Jolie Shapiro

Natalie Agredo, Rejoice, Digital Photography.

73


I don’t want to be a wallflower. I want to be myself I want to run until I can’t. Jump into the ocean naked, free as my bare skin Not giving a damn. I want to smile until my teeth crack, And laugh so hard my insides hurt. I want to be conscious of the finish line. I want to remain grounded I want to be keeper of a secret Maintain comfortable silences between conversations I want opposites to attract First kisses that don’t end in disaster Parents that never stop loving one another I want color outside of the lines I want some things to be left undefined For there to be as many perspectives as there are people

I want humans to consider themselves as one race And not kill in the name of God I want the world to be clean. I want the starving to eat until their stomachs burst like firecrackers And drink water until it flows from them like endless rain I want natural disasters to be a thing of the past And a cure to be in the near future. I want equality. For the teacher, the fireman, and the park ranger To be appreciated as much as the celebrity or the NBA star. I want life to be a mystery. I want to question theories Seek answers to the impossible. I want to see the beauty in everything. The significance in the insignificant Friendship to be color blind, Nations to collaborate, I want peace in the world. Harmony in madness.

74


Palpitate Marilyn Horta I was here since dawn and dusk held hands, listening I witnessed their muddy embrace of pinks and grey They gave into each other in gyrating swirls, dusty whorls Cradling hands, caked in a matutinal glow and dappled with ink-drop gulls Traces of the forbearing night were fed spoonfuls of silver splatter And fingers ran through some honeyed, tenuous strands of sun At the sight, the sound, my mind welled over blades of grass In a more awkward rendition; I pulled closer— imagining the sky without a center and lying parallel to clouds Moving hands without choice to dangle a frameless yellow yoke, A cynosural pulse, where the determined never cease and the poor were just as rich Changing days palpitate inside us He held me as I listened— Words love to garnish, they serve no meat And those days are what we make them.

75


Deneque Lee, Human Shield, Photography.

76


Piano Fingers

I trace the edges of ennui,

whisper melodies, f amiliar as fingers,

S il ver y noctur nes, br ave bal lades,

in al l I f eel tremors of my self.

I wonder if you may br and me,

a magician with the do mi sol, instead

I am a circus monke y-

taught to press the ke y s.

Yet my identit y melts

eac h peac h flec ked sunr ise,

leaving me barren, onl y notes

pulsing through the contours

of my c lumsy fingers.

77

Anna Mebel


Maria J. Duarte, Andrianna Angulo, Spencer del Moral ,Piano Estoff , Photography.

78


Recurrence of Desire

Nicolรกs Forero

Deneque Lee, Beneath the City, Photography.

79


The heart of the progressive and ambitious man black of night and within it a reflection of himself. hates nothing more than the curse of recurrence. The architect moved gaily towards the attractive jet As the architect wearily worked and suffered black of the night and gazed into the eyes of the the coming—once more—of the relentless heat proud and smiling man looking back at him. To of summer, all beneath him busily arranged the his surprise, over his reflection’s right shoulder, he myriad of metal designs into shapes that would saw the figure of a young woman covered in semiplease the eyes of unknown audiences. The ballad transparent veils that protected her delicate skin of construction was ongoing, each man placing the from his piercing gaze. Her feet uncovered, she weight of their mind on their work, avoiding any stood still and looked back at his reflection, pushing careless mistake that would result in the destruction him away with her stance but calling him with her of the collective effort. undecipherable stare. The architect could only see The architect we follow was sitting on a beam the dark dilated pupils beneath the discreetly large that would months later be the eleventh floor, away eyelashes of the sensuous figure, but his heart felt from the judgment of the dancing machine-like the call of those eyes. The desire to obey was such workers far below. Even though he had no place that the architect could not look back to verify up there, the architect could not keep himself the presence of the corporeal source of such a from witnessing the building of reflection. He was enthralled by his idea. He could not remain “The desire to obey was those endless eyes that merged at home while his dream took such that the architect with the night, by that lustrous shape, to shine every afternoon black hair that absorbed the beneath the lilac palette of could not look back to fuchsia of the room, and that sunset, and then emerge as a verify the presence of the curvaceous figure that begged beacon for the nocturnal workers corporeal source of such a him to take hold of her and save in the starless nights. This idea reflection.” himself from the eternal night. had been the result of endless nights spent alone, until the time he woke up The feeling was overwhelming; especially after the from a slight overdose of narcotics with the shiny exhausting summer and the long elevator trip he skyscraper vivid in his mind. Back in the present, he had faced in solitude. With eyes closed and immense purposely sat dangerously high above the builders joy he want headfirst through the glass and into her to avoid mingling in their misery and stagnation, eyes. He momentarily felt the heat of her embrace and remain happy in his dreams of the future. and the sweat on his body caused by the ecstasy of As he pictured the mirage-like skyscraper her love. But after that eternal instant the weight in his mind, the heat and exhaustion of the of his mind made him realize that he was falling, moment consumed him and lulled him to sleep. into the bitter cold and gusts of the lower floors. He The darkness of his eyelids yielded to light as thought he would wake up from this dream, but as he slowly stepped off the elevator and looked he touched the floor he felt immense pain and he around at the glassy interior reflecting the shades fell unconscious. He realized he could not escape of pink and fuchsia from the neon lighting of recurrence. the room. Regardless of the brightness, the room Hours later he woke up in the cold floorboards was completely empty; the bending of the light of his room with a shiny image in his mind; a could scarcely hide the blatant dark grey flooring, pillar of illusion. He got up and sat at his desk to which contrasted deeply to the aesthetically sketch the lines of that dream as the brown leaves illuminated ceiling and glass walls. At the end of outside his window danced cyclical ballads with the the room a polished window revealed the eternal whistling winds of autumn.

80


Faith lift for the wrinkles of burden What a curious little species

Daniella Carucci

Holiness is now the accepted

we are. First, we create a God; attitude, and all believers are a

righteous,

omnipotent, cast as outdated and implacable.

freewheeling divine entity, to What if our destinies after our set the wheels of the universe

mortal lives depend solely on

at his disposal and deserve all

The

in motion. We, the people, are natural castigations as results

what we believed would happen? Buddhist

would

reach

nirvana, the Christian would

are whatever we were divinely would…disappear? coalesced

into

being,

and

our predetermined destiny is

happiness

could

Immortal

have

been

possible, if 90 or so years were

inevitable and unchanging.

spent in believing the divine.

Then, we, the people, decide

Someone tell me how it happens,

that this lack of control in our and where, and who. Someone futures is somewhat terrifying tell me what, and why, anythingand disheartening since we will

a clue?My thoughts are prayers

do only what we have done, and my soul is on its knees -

and freedom is now a farce. Nirvana has to be more than As control freaks in the 21st a UK grunge band, and Led

century, we decide to disown Zeppelin cannot have crafted the

the idea of God. Claiming that stairway to heaven. I’ll turn my perhaps we are not a blunder of

worries over to G-d. He’s going

his, but he is a blunder of ours. to be up all night anyway. An abrupt deference to His

81

Francisco Ortega, These symbols Tell Tales, Acrylic and Ink on Paper.

from our disparaging sins. We go to heaven, and the atheist


Deity Maheen Ahmad

She first told me to remember the name Allah,because Allah was the cause, the knower, the destroyer of all things. The functions of the world were Allah. But what stopped me from regarding Allah as simply the earth was when my mother attributed to Allah a psyche. If you prayed to Allah and performed good deeds, Allah was pleased and rewarded you. If you displeased Allah, Allah’s anger was so great that consequences could range from floods to huge fires to various horrible causes of death. At five years old, it was this part of Allah I remembered most prominently, and came to regard the supernatural being with fear. It would be, in fact, a couple of years before I realized that Allah set the standards for the moral code, and was the embodiment of goodness. When my mother described Allah, she did not at all include a physical description, but indicated -his, her, its? -position by pointing upwards. When I put all these descriptions together, I derived

a picture of a gothic witch, its appearance much like that in the Wizard of Oz. I did not perceive the deity as a witch because I associated it with evil, but rather with strong, magnificent powers. Since Allah was willing to help those who pleased its standards, I also thought of the deity as something like a stern teacher. Nevertheless, my mother was bewildered when I kept referring to Allah as “she�, and shocked when she discovered I thought of a pointy-hatted image every time I thought of Allah. She reprimanded, saying to do so was immoral. The Islamic religion, or rather current enforcers of the religion, lectures against visually depicting Allah or Prophet Muhammad in any way. So now I knew what Allah was not supposed to look like. Beliefs are predominantly taught in the form of religion, a complex system of beliefs, by religious institutions. However, is it right to teach, or order, others to regard the belief system in a certain way? 82


Identity

Marilyn Horta

Bend hearts in rhythmic motion, at the swagger of drunken pots.

I am the artist’s tendon, guiding brush and thought.

We eat world myself and I, it builds our appetite.

And though we walk but with two feet, our hands refuse to fight.

I’m made of stripes, a nose of wax but zebra far I be.

A girlish crown and piano sound is much more close to me.

83


Audrey Gonzalez, Busy Mornings, Ink and acrylic on paper.

84


jhjk

The Crack

Alexander Silva

There was this crack up on my wall, As wide as a pencil and yet very small. The days went by and it started to grow, Down to the ground with a river-like flow. Once on the floor it began to crawl, Through open doors and down the hall. Then into it fell sofas and seats, It danced out the window- and ate up the streets. It ate the school and our town’s lemon tree, It grew so fat it ate up the sea. It ate the sky; it ate the sun, It seemed as if it would never be done. It ate the stars, first the older then younger When nothing was left, It perished from hunger.

85


Cristina Berrios, Mystery Light, Digital Photography.


232-2044 Coral Reef Senior High 10101 S. W. 152nd St. Miami, Fl. 33157 (305)

Elysium Literary and Arts Magazine 2008  
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