Page 1

Folio 41

TENEOR VOTIS I am bound by my responsibilities

©2018 Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA All Rights Reserved


Co-Editors in Chief: Tyler Mulholland-Gain Patrick Murray Editors: Courtney Andrews Amanda Gurecki Graphic Designer: Sarah Montgomery Layout Consultant: Chris Pahnlick Faculty Moderators: Dennis Millan Robert Ficociello Special Thanks: Ashley Beam Ryan Domer

Table of Contents Poetry

The Awaiting Moment by Connie Flynn Change by Amanda Gurecki Chaotic by Rosa Gonzalez Day by Day by Christopher Ewing Dear Lover by Fred Hansberry An Enlgish Version of Martial’s Epigram V. 20 by Warren Hope Four Seasons by Taurai Augustin From Brooklyn To Bridgeport by David Whelan A Girl With a Broken Wing By Josephine Johney Going To Roam by James Huber Growing Patience by Mary Ellen Graham Halloween Night by Christopher Ewing Hands by Megan McDermott Hiding in Plain Sight by David Whelan Honest by Molly McAtee I’ll Be Good Enough One Day by Kira Stallworth A Letter From Princess by Kira Stallworth A Life of Love by Tom DiMarcoantonio Lighting the Way by Mary Ellen Graham Man With A Guitar, Woman on my Mind by Patrick Murray No One by Molly McAtee OTHER by Sister Doloretta Dawid Perhaps Death is Not the End by Fred Hansberry A Place Where I want to Be, With Just You and Me by Saba Mufti The Precious Gift by Sister Doloretta Dawid Revival by Stella Varghese Seven Trick-Or-Treaters by James Huber Singh-Ocean Complexity by Kezia Singh Spring Faculty Prayer by James Huber Still Life by Fred Hansberry Success by Mary Sarpong “Up Inside the Roof of a Barn…” by Sarah Maloy A Visitor by Sarah Maloy Waiting For Him by Kira Stallworth When Katie Rose by James Huber When the Sky Turns Blue by Jazmine Babuch Willing Victim by Molly McAtee Winter Cold by Rosa Gonzalez You Are… by Christopher Ewing

31 16 11 10 13 9 13 12 4 14 37 17 15 24 18 19 5 6 38 20 21 22 25 23 7 8 26 3 27 29 30 28 9 33 32 10 21 35 34

Table of Contents Art

A 50’s Feeling by Jordan Smith Address Number Design by Christopher Ewing Atlantic City Oystercatcher by Amanda Gurecki Bird Watching by Rowena Millan Castle on the Hill by Colin McKeon City of Dreams by Nea Resuli The Color of Our Sky by Ryan Keller Eyes by Sarah Maloy Faces by Carolyn Gulliver Fall by Carolyn Gulliver “Funny Face” – An Audrey Hepburn Imitation by Jennifer Peters HFU Poetry Slam 2017 by Janice Xu Hollow Ocean (Print) by Nicole Patrice Dul Italian Alps by Rowena Millan Jump by Carolyn Gulliver Love Hurts by Christopher Ewing Martyred City (Print) by Nicole Patrice Dul Mountain on the Sage by Connor Crafton-Tempel Our Promise by Jonathan Fredlund Outrun in the Wild by Jonathan Fredlund Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival by Meghan Rakus A Quiet Friday Night by Bridget Klein Remembering JFK by Rowena Millan Sanguine by Jonathan Fredlund Shades of Grey and Red by Tyler Mulholland-Gain Shades of Yellow and Black by Tyler Mulholland-Gain A Shark by Sarah Maloy Smoky Mountain Vixen by Lawrence Goldberg Speak for the Trees by Meghan Rakus Stomping Ground (Painting) by Nicole Patrice Dul Tomato Shades by Tyler Mulholland-Gain Two Worlds Collide by Carolyn Gulliver Value Study by Christopher Ewing What They Tell Us (Painting) by Nicole Patrice Dul White Cliffs by Rowena Millan Wildwood Sunset by Kathryn McCarty

45 56 43 60 58 45 44 57 54 54 55 43 51 60 53 48 52 44 48 42 46 50 59 42 47 49 59 47 56 51 49 53 55 50 41 41

Table of Contents Prose

An Act of Kindness by Meghan Rakus A Business Proposal by Gina O’Rourke Control, Cope and Concentrate by Caitlyn Connelly Don’t Cry for Me Abuelita by Jazmine Babuch Hurt and Recollection by Patrick Murray I Believe by Amanda Gurecki Mary, You Are My Butterfly by Lyndsey Smith The Misadventures of Maddox by Ryan Laverty My Nomadic Neighbors by James Acton New Chapters by Anita Flynn “No Cheese, Please.” By Gina O’Rourke Von Krebs by Rosa Gonzalez What’s Your Mate? By Jazmine Babuch Writing Away the Pain by Taylor Adair

91 63 90 68 95 69 71 85 73 93 75 78 72 99

Collaborations Balance by Alexis Scott


Folio 41


Seven Trick-Or-Treaters By James R. Huber Seven trick-or-treaters Scurried to the house. A ballerina rang the bell And smiled at Mickey Mouse.

Seven strokes at midnight The moon outside was full, But in the dust beneath his bed Darkness was the rule.

Seven kinds of candy Were dancing in their thoughts. Would they get more Snickers Or cherry-flavored Dots?

Seven silent spiders Creeped across the floor Up the post and ‘round his head; They waited for a snore.

Seven stomping footsteps Approached the heavy door. An old man yanked it open And spewed an angry roar.

Seven seconds later They rushed into his mouth, Past the tooth and down the hatch The venom headed south.

“I don’t believe in Halloween! Stop bugging me to death! Be gone before I eat you up! Now let me get my rest!”

Seven pangs of panic Never made a sound. He clutched his throat in horror, But the spiders slid on down.

Seven trick-or-treaters Didn’t know what to do! They screamed and ran on little legs; Cinderella lost a shoe.

Seven final twitches Shook the color from his face And then some whispers deep within Made their deadly case:

Seven minutes later The old man went to bed. He didn’t brush his only tooth; No goodnight prayers were said.

“We do believe in Halloween! And bugging you to death! Be gone old man! You’ve eaten us! And now you’ll get your rest!”

Seven smelly bedsheets Were wrapped around his skin. He closed his eyes to fall asleep And muttered once again. “I don’t believe in Halloween! Stop bugging me to death! Be gone before I eat you up! Now let me get my rest!”


A Girl with a Broken Wing By Josephine Johney I saw my reflection in a broken mirror I saw what the world sees I saw a girl who had been stepped on many times I saw a girl with a broken wing I saw my reflection in a mirror I saw a girl with a mask Mask that is splattered with colors of confidence and fun Mask that can’t break her anymore I saw a girl with a broken wing I saw my reflection in a mirror I saw a girl who forgot how to smile I saw a girl who hate rays of sunlight I saw a girl with a broken wing I saw my reflection in a mirror I saw a girl who lost her heart I saw a girl who likes to walk away from people I saw a girl with a broken wing I saw my reflection in a mirror I saw my eyes with so much confidence I saw a heart with fire work inside with splattered colors that last few seconds I saw a girl flying up with a broken wing


A Letter From Princess By Kira Stallworth Hello Grandma, How have you been? I thought you would like, to hear from Princess again.

I sat back in my seat, with tears in my eyes, thinking of you, with my continuous cries.

It will never be the same, when I visit your home, I want to cry out, but I conflict tears alone.

I could not attend the burial, that would be too much, my mom took my sister and I home, I guess enough was enough.

I know you’re still watching, you visited my dream, it was all so real, at least, that’s how it seemed.

My mom & dad attended, but my sister asked why, “when will we see her again?” I said in Heaven; then she cried.

I’ve done so much, so much you’d love to know, I want to tell you but... Oh God, why did she have to go?

I kept seeing that coffin, there was nothing I could do, what’s even worse is, it didn’t look like you.

The day I heard the news, I refused to believe it, but it was important information, I had to receive it.

I can’t believe that cancer, took you so fast, in the blink of an eye, now it’s the past.

It was never real, until I saw your empty bed, the one I watched cartoons on, now all of a sudden, dead.

Heaven, tell the queen, that princess is safe and sound, now she roams a real palace, after being laid to rest with a crown.

Then the funeral was scheduled, I didn’t want to go, but what type of a granddaughter, would just say no? The first funeral I attended, was with you, who knew you would be, at the second one too. The service was beautiful, they gave you a crown, they had pretty songs, but I was still feeling down. After the performance, we walked to the coffin & stared, I bent over to give you a kiss, but your presence wasn’t there.


A Life of Love By Tom DiMarcantonio Life is an unknown mistress, Rapidly unraveling and slowly revealing. It takes time to show joy, But wastes little to show pain; It may take minutes to see what love can be, But it takes years to know what love is. If it is true that “where there is love, there is always time,” Then maybe a life of love is all we can live for. But a life of love is all too rare. Never has there been more than an instance of love in my life. Yes, there have been sparks, sparks of pure happiness, But the blazes went out far too soon. How can there always be time? Life and love are one in the same. A life of love is complex, but is all so simple. To live by love is a simple choice, a simple choice we each can make. For life to be love, only time can tell. I have found my love, I know it, true. If for but an instant, perfect; If for but a lifetime, perfect. I know now, through love, peace. I know now, through love, that nothing is impossible. I know now, through love, that a life of love is what I will get, And time will heal all wounds. So, my love, be free, worry not of me. We have found love, that much is true. Maybe our love was made for an instant, Or maybe our love was made for forever. I know not which is true, But I know that our paths will cross again soon, This chapter or the next. Maybe we will be for forever, Or maybe our love will never return. I know not which is true, But I will take my coins to the wishing well, Where the waters blue and the sun sets east, Wishing for our dream to come true again. We gave it our best, we know it true. But it seems a time to rest, For now, only life will tell.


A Place Where I Want to Be, With Just You and Me By Saba Mufti Close your eyes, can you hear it? It’s the sound of the ocean, its waves come roaring. Just imagine the warm sand erupting from your feet, As you are walking around exploring. The depths of a new world that’s beyond us, Everything you see now becomes memories worth storing. Our surroundings instantly change in the glimpse of an eye. Now can you see the beauty mirroring a green emerald? Think beyond the horizons, and you will see what I mean. A temporary melancholy feeling of loneliness, trembled. Followed by happiness surrounded by Mother Nature’s creations. Look around you, and you will see what has been resembled. When I am with you, I feel like I can reach for the stars. Now we find ourselves on the mountains, able to spread our wings above the sea. When I look into your eyes, my fear of heights collapses. Tell me, can you feel what I feel and see what I see? Where shall our wings take us now? To me, it doesn’t matter, because when I’m with you, I already know where I want to be


The Precious Gift By Sister Doloretta Dawid Gift given Gift received The Creator of all breathed life Into a tiny infant girl The mother of this babe Praised the Creator For this precious treasure Gift given Gift received Just as the Christ Child Was bornon Christmas Day So was this child born Into the Church on Christmas Day Gift given Gift received The Creator listened and watched Placing the child on the altar The godmother knelt and prayed That a special gift be instilled Within the heart of this child The Creator smiled And nodded in assent Gift given Gift received The tiny baby girl; grew The gift within her heart awakened One day as a young girl she responded She answered the call She said “yes” Gift given Gift received


“A Visitor” By Sarah Maloy Least of all is the lesser known twin of most certainly the most known twin of the two Oh how out of the blue it is that you’ve come to visit? You really have quite exquisite taste in friends might I add Subtracting myself of course Well, without remorse I’ll invite you inside from the outside of my dwelling Really, there’s no telling what the cold will do to your health

An English Version of Martial’s Epigram V. 20 By Warren Hope and Robert F. Boughner If I could spend some carefree days with you, Dear Martialis, we would pass the time Doing things for their own sake, and be free To live life truly, as it should be lived-Not at the doorways of the powerful, Not at the courts or in the glum Forum, Not among proud busts of the noble dead. No, we would ride around the Campus Martius, Telling each other stories, reading small books, Or walk along the shaded porticoes And pause by fountains—let the Virgin’s Water Even eventually lead us to the baths. Visiting such places would be our profession. But neither of us now lives for himself Nor feels the good sun as it flees and sets Counting the numbered days we have been granted. Why should those who know how to live delay?


When The Sky Turns Blue By Jazmine Babuch When the sky turns blue, I think of you. When I try to call, You pick up and I seem to fall. I know that I can never have you, But I say that there’s no harm in trying. You are my once upon a time, Nothing compares to your eyes which are greener than a lime. When the sky turns blue, I think of you.

Day by Day By Chris Ewing Day by day, night by night. I start to lose my field of sight. Of who I am and who I was. Everything begins to fuzz. I feel as if my life is troubled. Beneath my feet, the ground has crumbled. Falling to my death, not knowing when I›ll hit. What a terrible way to live, just to wait and sit. Gone with the wind and gone like the dust. I need to leave this place, like wanderlust. But I›m trapped here forever, and I’ll leave like never. Don›t hold me back, from my destined endeavor. Day by day, night by night. I become blinded, to what is right And if I must and if I may I’d like to say goodbye today But there are people, who love me so People who need me, but do not know. And if I go, then they’ll see, That this is my true reality. Just once, oh once somebody listen Can›t they see, when my eyes glisten. With tears of sadness and tears of hate. For what has happened, but now it’s too late


Chaotic By Rosa Gonzalez Questioning Indecisive Unknown Paralytic Insane The air acidic The grim look of the ceiling Falling into this hole Exponential Residential Existential This burrowing feeling within Dive to find A soul submerged in a world of confusion The name is Alice Dragged down the rabbit hole Where there is now a cancer in my brain Fate sealed at the bottom of the ocean A pocket of air Like an oxygen tank That is running out Brought out alive Too “drunk” to drive Assuming the time would come Where I was not to be Blistered feet Walking on hot coals A storm stricken tree Torn to expose its roots Strike the match To torch the atmosphere This archaic scene Is the mental degradation Of my mind


From Brooklyn To Bridgeport (PA) By David Whelan An Irish boy from Brooklyn, Runs home every day from school. At three-o-clock he’s dancing, Watching kids with Philly cool. The same boy watches daily, But grows up playing hoops, He’s educated publicly, Then joins the college group. Nothing ever did seem right, Graduate, enforce the law. Help create a family, Years of tragic flaw. Then it’s on to teaching class, In states across the land. Live and learn, experience, That all started with Bandstand. The future is now, the journey starts, Here in the keystone state, Where I find in small-town Bridgeport, A woman I need to date. I drop from the sky right into her lap, She was already here. We meet, we dance, and dance and talk, The future I don’t fear And so it seems I have met the one, Into her eyes I gaze, Someone to share life, to laugh, to live, What I’ve waited for all my days So a long, long way from Brooklyn, I’m glad that I found you. And you, who came to dance in Bridgeport, I’m glad you found me too!


Dear Lover By Fred Hansberry We shone So brief And so bright But never gave My chemical dependency And dilated pupils Time to adjust To such a light

Four Seasons   By Taurai Augustin Falling but still I spring up Warm and bold Back from the cold Rain pouring as I stroll For now, the weather is clear With a little bit of cheer A summer at her eve A winter where I believe Words can change like the leaves Chances never taken breeze For the four Seasons that change My soul will remain Humble as ever As I weather the weather.


Going To Roam By James R. Huber What will you do for retirement? Everyone wants to know. Tell us your goals and bucket list. Where are you going to go? Thanks, but I’m just going to roam To see what I can see. Living each day with gratitude For the gift of being free. Oh, you must make a Vatican visit And give my regards to the Pope! Stop by the Sistine Chapel And bring back some heavenly soap! Thanks, but I’m just going to roam To see what I can see. Living each day with gratitude For the gift of being free. Oh, you can’t miss the Colesseum You’ll love the ancient glory! Be sure to get some gelato As you shop the Campo de’ Fiori! Thanks, but I’m just going to roam To see what I can see Living each day with gratitude For the gift of being free.


Hands By Megan McDermott How time has changed you. Once soft and small during the playfulness of childhood, Now callused with the wear of adolescence. The days of wearing smears of paint, Or glue or charcoal are less frequent; Now you must be used for more practical tasks And leave the wildness of childish creativity behind. But the past can’t be forgotten; Skills you hold will never be lost. Although abilities may grow dusty, They’ll never completely disappear. Everything is muscle memory: Crocheting baby blankets For Robert, Mason, Ben, Maeve, and Rose; Painting a memory of Bennie, Now 6 years gone. Dripping wet for hours while carving ice An achievement that only lasts a day. Years of methodically pressing yellowed piano keys, Days of guiding paintbrushes effortlessly across canvases, Building, sewing, molding, cooking – There’s so much you know. Just think of all the things you’ve done: You’ve tenderly stroked dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses, As any animal lover would. You’ve held children, Hugged relatives and friends, Comforted, applauded, and guided. You’ve ached from the stiffness of writing Long after you should have been at rest: You’re unique tools that sometimes can’t be stopped. You near a quarter of a century now; You’re no longer tiny or smooth. Though flesh and bone, you have an intricate story to tell; The scars, burns, and creases are proof. Though worn, you’re still considered young; I can only wonder what’s in store for you.


The future may go something like this: More long nights of writing that bleed into morning; More paint stains and more callouses from pencil use; More cuts while cooking, More scars from baking More baby blankets to crochet. Endless possibilities because of two simple hands. Hands, my hands; The beautiful, irreplaceable instruments That give life to my imagination.

Change By Amanda Gurecki

“You’ll change when you go to college” They said. I ignored them. “You’ll learn more about yourself ” They said. I laughed at them. “You’ll switch your major” They said. I scoffed at them. I changed. I believe them. I learned. I embrace them. I added a major. I snicker at them. It’s true College has changed me. I’m not the same person – I grew. I spread my wings – I’m free Like a bird, I flew.


Halloween Night By Chris Ewing The darkness is coming To each will meet their demise The fires of hell burning Demons of the smoke arise From ashes, sounds of screaming To hear tormented souls’ cries The witches pot steaming Filled with horror and lies Ghouls and ghosts roam the towns Haunting the streets with invisible sounds Creeps and clowns mix in the crowds While pumpkins lie with carved out frowns Vampires lurk in their jet-black shrouds As you hear a “who” from nocturnal owls People roam the streets as the clock strikes twelve Still out for where creatures of Halloween dwell


Honest By Molly McAtee I could describe your eyes like they’re emeralds, Bursting with a brilliant green shine. Or say that they’re like a rich forest, Each speckle representing the bountiful pine. I could write that your hair looks like it’s been crafted from silk, With a glossy and eminent glow. How each strand is of perfection, So that it has a majestic flow. I could praise how your heart is made of pure gold, It’s sparkling beauty shimmering through your chest. It would seem you are some sort of angel, Or at least completely blessed. However, if I were to say all of these things, And glorify someone like you, I’m afraid the exaggerations would be too much to bear, And hardly any of it would be true. You see, your eyes are just eyes. They’re not gems or anything special. They’re simply green like an untrustworthy snake, A sign that you’re eerily close to the devil. Your hair is not some charming coat, It simply creates an innocent illusion. It’s more like a thick layer of fur, That tries to trick people into thinking along with your delusion. Finally, a heart made of gold is plainly made of metal, It’s cold, overvalued, and heavy. It can be shaped to appear in any form, Even to disguise someone who is so imperfectly petty. So yes, I could go on about all the great things you think about yourself, The person that you would like to think that you are. But tonight, I think I will just speak the truth, And create a completely honest memoir.


I’ll Be Good Enough One Day   By Kira Stallworth I’ll be good enough one day You might not agree with me, Maybe I’m going the wrong way, But don’t you worry, I’ll be good enough one day. I wish to be beautiful, I wish to be loved, I wish to be brave, I wish to finally rise above. Mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, Foundation, brush, Almay, Eyeliner, lip gloss, blush, Contour all my feelings away.

Setting the wrong goals, Following the wrong dreams, Head too far in the clouds, Too far be to be reached. All they do is preach, It’s not a possibly, They say it won’t happen, They doubt all my abilities. They want me to wake up, Life isn’t a dance, It’s not a 9-5 job, There’s such a small chance.

No foundation, Can cover my bruises, No matter how many chances I take, It’s always me who loses. I›m never their type, Skin the wrong tone, Never invited to parties, Maybe I’m meant to be alone. Eyes the wrong color, Body the wrong size, Personality isn’t a feature, Because it’s all about their eyes. Grab onto my arms, Don’t let me drown, Let her go, Never mind, it’s too late now. The right type of girl, At the wrong time, For the wrong reason, Into the wrong guy.


Man with a Guitar, Woman on my Mind By Patrick Murray Walking through halls of art long finished, Questionable satisfaction contained In the depths of each canvas; We don’t know what they mean, but they bring us pause. Man with a Guitar Sits idly near a corner; His melody arouses thought And draws you toward him. His visage unclear, his music beckoning, You stand before him in contemplation. Shapes, shapes, and still more shapes Together form something known and unknown. I stand behind you both, Beholding the solemn scene. You move your hair behind you, And the passing moment brings a thought. You are both art, In ways clear and subtle. But I wonder endlessly, Which of you two is the true masterpiece? I conclude that it is you. No other brings me greater comfort, Or evokes emotion quite as strong; There is no equal to moving, breathing, loving art. There is beauty in permanence, But such is not nearly as profound As that which is fleeting, That which fades with time


No One   By Molly McAtee I listened as your tear-stained words leaked out of you, Because no one cared. I sat with you on the gravel while you wept into my arms, Describing that no one cared. I assured you that you mattered even though you thought your life didn’t, Since no one cared. I stayed on the phone while your drug induced demon screamed it hated me, And that no one cared. I cried over you, comforted you, prayed for you, and devoted my life entirely to you, But I guess no one cared.

“Willing Victim”   By Molly McAtee Slipping the poison into my cup won’t bother me, As long as it makes you smile. I’m not scared when you sharpen your knife, For I know it will be worthwhile. The bullet in my chest will only be a scratch, If it keeps you from aching. Hand me a grenade and I’ll pull the pin, At least you are not the one breaking. I’ll bathe myself in gasoline, Watch you light the flame. With your steady eyes watching me, Ready to pounce and maim. I’ll be your perfect willing victim, Always have, always will be. Sliced, stabbed, torn apart, Anything to keep you happy.


Ocean Complexity By Kezia Singh How do you dye your luscious waves With such pearlescent shades Of emerald green and midnight blue? And how do you manage To make your gray curls Look so incredibly fearsome? You are a wonder To be reckoned with Each time you toss Your waves in vengeanceStriking down anything That dares to stand In your way. Yet, for all your vast Seemingly, unconfined power There is a gentleness about you That allows mere mortals Such as myself To explore the hidden treasures Of your realm. Although you stretch far Beyond the eye can see Housing a variety of creatures Some yet to be discoveredYou allow little children With their stubby fingers Grab hold of fragments From well beneath your depths. And although you sway In repetitive motion Each day And crash relentlessly On your shore The wonder of Your splendid self Is never lost.


Perhaps Death is Not the End By Fred Hansberry I’m being led to the guillotine While my classmates take a trip to the Zoo Perhaps I should stop apologizing for my misspent youth Will my thoughts escape Through the gaping Hole in my neck Will the world see The things I wanted to But never said I’m being stoned While pompous English teachers get beaten with plagiarized essays Perhaps this dope nod is all the craze I duck And I dodge Your boulder like hate laced Dialogue To no avail Because you’ll continue to throw stones Until you empty your lung shaped pail I need a more modern form Of punishment Perhaps this outdated modus operandi Is just the ticket I’m being burned alive While the world plays on their cell phones Perhaps I’ll get solicited, scammed or a naughty text from a one-night stand As the flames torch my skin It hurts a little less Than what my everyday deals with And if given the chance Old flames would surely burn me again I need a more modern form Of punishment Perhaps this lack of inhibition Is more than sufficient


Over and over and over again I’m bored to death with no conceivable end Perhaps I’m immortal, but I may have meant immoral I died While my former lovers partied merrily Perhaps I was the perpetrator And not the victim

Hiding in Plain Sight By David Whelan It was only one short year ago, We met on a wooden floor. And before that moment, I was sure, It was you I would adore. You never saw me coming, You never looked my way, Perplexed, I was, and cautious too, Just didn’t know what to say. Where I came from, you question still, But I was sent to you. And you were there, I know, for me, Two souls meet, long overdue. So there I was, just sitting there, Smiling with all my might, For you to finally notice me, Hiding in plain sight.


OTHER By Sister Doloretta Dawid People who care surround us Being unaware we fail to se Or understand The time others spend with us Listening, speaking times Happy, joyful times Sad, depressed times The importance of the other in our lives These moments shared with others Growth of relationships Each reaches out to the other So many others pass through our lives Some stop... some some just look Others stop and stay And as we share We become the other The other becomes us Union of hearts, minds and spirits


Revival By Stella Varughese I am on my knees with my eyes closed and my heart sealed, My heart is the casket of my soul, And in my soul, I am speckled with malice, unforgiveness and sorrow. Who will save me from the darkness that is just a thought away? Who will save me from the claws of the ones that try to destroy me, I am in desperate need of a savior. So give me a serenity that is greater than what I can make, Let the feathers of your wings shield me from my insanity and filth, I have been shattered, so now you must put me back together, The same breath that spoke this world into existence, Breathe life back into my soul and rip away the thread that is binding my heart closed, Resurrect this parched soul that longs for living water, Let your light disintegrate the prince of lies, Let your purpose for me be made known. The powerful words of your tongue told me that I am worth it, So here I am on my knees, Not with my eyes closed nor my heart sealed, But with my eyes opened and my heart directed towards the sky, Thanking the one who flooded me with a love that breaks all chains


Spring Faculty Prayer By James R. Huber Oh Kind Creator, We thank you for each of us, And all of us, And the wonderful diversity of talents and quirks, Hopes and spiritual beliefs, You have given us. Help us to be humble in heart, Rooted in faith, And willing to grow like your amazing Spring flowers. Help us to break through the heavy winter sod Of doubt and discouragement And push through the lingering snow of fatigue To bloom fully in the warmth of your Son. Some of us are your tall tulips, Others your calm crocus and daring daffodils. Each of us a singular, Unique miracle In your Holy Family garden. But gathered together, In Your hand, May we become a beautiful bouquet Of size and shape, Color and contrast, Ready to reflect your love and peace In an ever-changing world.


“Up inside the roof of a barn...” By Sarah Maloy Up inside the roof of a barn Lives a cat with nowhere to go And eyes, yellow, stare down on the fields Having never said a word And yet speaking to the trees And telling them not to worry about the coming drought No, they will not go without And with a small shake of a branch The cat knows for sure He hasn’t a worry He hasn’t a home To worry for And so, Without his yellow eyes He leaves the barn And leaves the trees And he is gone


Still Life By Fred Hansberry Freckled faces Remind him of Warm places Steps get retraced A sketch forms In the pleasure center Of his love starved mind

He whispers to what might’ve been You used to know me When I was full of blush And everything full on color The modern world was full Of abstract imperfection Love had no restraints And your attention Distracted me from White lies And the blackness of oblivion If only for a fraction Of this life unlived Memory fades and he’s Back to brushing colors Broad strokes abound Behind her and around His masterpiece he paints Brushing away the fear Of an unpalatable Portfolio of unending mistakes Using big bold strokes He’d be the envy Of his malleable list of friends All those tortured starving souls What could they ever Possibly know About art and love Loving art And the art of love

An amusing relationship Full of misuse and abuse Too few years as his heart And far too many as its jailer His lifelong muse A cruel mistress Yet he’d trade the world To relive their history A bustling landscape Where the impossible Merely awaits discovery Color leaps from the canvas Congealing on the walls and the floor Invading his body through every pore Until..... Until..... Lucidity reclaims its rightful place And he remembers That kind of love only exists Outside the frame Back upon the easel The blank canvas remains He stares To where she used to lay And where he used to create Too broken to love Too frightened to paint


Success By Mary Sarpong Success is earned not given A person must want the success more than anything He or she must climb to the top to reach that success It is achieved through hard work and determination A person must go through trial and error to reach his or her own full potential Having potential can lead someone on the road to success Once that person reaches success, he or she will feel content This feeling of content is hard to explain It can only be described by the person who is experiencing it Success is something that is truly amazing


The Awaiting Moment By Connie Flynn The night sky is covered by shades of pink, not a star can be found. The frigid air becomes apparent, as the winds begin to roar. It feels desolate, no one can be seen nor heard. Tranquility begins to substitute, the pandemonium of every day. “Beep Beep,” the alarm goes off, this is the awaiting moment. The reflection of light from my phone holds the answer, but I choose to ignore it. I sit up, tired and disoriented, Yet hopeful and anxious. I tip toe to the narrow window, concealed behind embroidered curtains. Blissful thoughts race through my mind, As I imagine the possibility. Will my wishes come true? Or am I simply getting my hopes up? This is the final moment, As I grab and pull, eyes slightly closed, I am finally ready to peak, but then I hear a voice from behind... “You have a Snow Day!” Every teacher’s favorite words, More so than the kids’, Back to bed, my body lies, I hope this isn’t a dream...


When Katie Rose By James R. Huber When Katie rose to read her poem, A smile stretched on my face. When Katie launched her opening line, I sat up in my place. When Katie bowed to fifth grade cheer, My hands applauded loudest. When Katie glanced my way at last, I winked, “Your Dad’s the proudest!” But later, Much greater, Her good will won the day When Katie rose to thank her teacher And gave her gift away! Oh thoughtful daughter, Unselfish girl, My heart spread grateful wings, And bursting through this father’s chest, It rose in loving rings And soared there Like an eagle Above your sweet kindness.


Waiting For Him By Kira Stallworth The clock only ticks slower, I’m losing life in my limbs, the time only stands stiller, ... waiting for him. It’s not an issue of confidence, it’s not a deficiency in pride, it’s the failure of dating, and finding the right guy. These guys are all the same, they only want one thing, but they can look at me and tell, it’s something I won’t bring. The right guys are still out there, but they are harder to find, who is this man that’s worthy, of calling me “mine”? The nights only grow longer, and they only become colder, the guys trying to occupy my time, are only getting older. The times have flipped around, the culture has completely changed, a guy who treats a girl right, is labeled as deranged. But who’s really insane? the “men” who failed to be? Or is it someone being a good girl, and waiting like me? Everyone says he’s coming, everyone says to wait, I know that I’m on God’s time, But my heart carries unbearable ache.


You Are... By Christopher Ewing The one I love with all my might. The one That turns darkness to light. The one That makes my heart ignite. The one That makes me feel alright. The one Who has a face so bright The one I think of every night The one Who›s not afraid of fright The one


Winter Cold By Rosa Gonzalez As the sun peeks Out from the horizon The cold air is coated in wisps From the breath of human nature

The average worker Making no more than eight an hour Being worked to the bone for dirty pay The failings of American capitalism

The pinks and reds Bleeding through the clouds When all else seems to fade The day has begun

Settling for dollar meals With high salt Drinking dollar drinks With high sugar

The cars blow smoke Into the frosty air As everyone gets ready for work The daily rituals

Dollar boxes of noodles With pieces falling from the bottom Two dollar jars of Prego For at least a few pasta meals

The train is rickety As it speeds down the track It’s warm until the door opens The tale of a transit commuter

It’s days until Christmas A time of joy and presents Family and a lot of food The modernity of ancient holidays

The office is bustling Everyone is trying to get the feeling Back into their bodies As they walk into the building

A lot of people can’t afford A Christmas for their families Not a big meal and maybe one present Poverty in the United States

There’s a line for the Keurig For coffee and tea alike Maybe for the hot water so they can have hot chocolate Winter tales of the human race

Staring off into space Sipping a cup of fancy tea with berries Sitting in a coffee shop, Starbucks or other The tales of the twenty something hipster

The flipside to all of this Those who lay on the frigid concrete Broken shoes and Swiss cheese socks The flesh ridden snowmen Sleeping on top of subway grates Hiding in alleys from the harsh wind Shivering their lives away Homelessness in the city

Stained noses and stained sleeves From a nosebleed Heat stroke in the winter Complications of the human body The king and queen A prince and princess Once children Lost to the echoing world of chaos


Paperback novels Adolescent dreams Annie on My Mind Growing up differently Bring the world peace Unite in prayer He will hear us The faith we keep The strongest or weakest Of men and women Mesh with the yin and yang of history The two sides of a coin Where when thing ends Another is sure to begin The unknown is here And so are we

Balance By Alexis Scott


Growing Patience By Mary Ellen Graham (In honor of Emily Dickenson, a woman of passion and keen sensibility-a poet!) The lupine, teetering on extinction, struggled to declare itself with two diminutive stalks. Disappointed, this hapless gardener warned of its vulnerability, But delayed taking action. Grateful for the reprieve, the lupine retreated underground, bracing itself for the winter’s trials. While, above ground, the leaves gathered and the soil hardened. Only the winter rose appeared undaunted. In time the spring rains came, and with them upright points of green: Hyacinths, daffodils, paper whites. But what of the lupine? Perhaps it had succumbed to weather, disease, or plain weariness. Or? Then, in a whisper, ever so measured, the answer came: two shoots, then three, then four- until three pregnant buds swayed atop three sturdy stalksOh so grateful for one more year!


Lighting the Way By Mary Ellen Graham A darkened structure looms in the shadows of 209 East Price Street. While muffled sounds of the caretaker hint at the once teeming physician’s practice, his thriving family and in recent time the hymns of religious at prayer. Now, deep in its recesses, the ghosts whisper of the change to come, of being silenced by the hard hats with their blueprints for change. By autumn’s frost, the vestiges of the old coexist, the fret work, the burnished staircase, the solid stone walls with the tiled floors and shiny fixtures. No longer dim, a light radiates, transforming the apartments, the gathering spaces and beyond. And to celebrate its new life, a ceremony marks the opening of the doors, the first arrival speaking of his homecoming of the welcoming light. And today, as in past times, 209 East Price Street anchors its neighborhood while sheltering the homeless and the disabled--the men of My Place Germantown.



Wildwood Sunset By Kathryn McCarty

White Cliffs By Rowena Millan


Sanguine By Jonathan Fredlund

Outrun in the Wild By Jonathan Fredlund


Atlantic City Oystercatcher By Amanda Gurecki

HFU Poetry Slam 2017 By Janice Xu


The color of our sky By Ryan Keller

Mountain on the Sage By Connor Crafton-Tempel


A 50’s feeling By Jordan Smith

City of Dreams By Nea Resuli-


Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival By Meghan Rakus


Shades of Grey and Red By Tyler Mulholland-Gain

Smoky Mountain Vixen By Lawrence Goldberg


Our Promise By Jonathan Fredlund

Love Hurts By Christopher Ewing


Shades OF Yellow and Black By Tyler Mulholland-Gain

Tomato Shades By Tyler Mulholland-Gain


A Quiet Friday Night By Bridget Klein

What They Tell Us


By Nicole Patrice Dul


Hollow Ocean


By Nicole Patrice Dul

Stomping Ground


By Nicole Patrice Dul


Martyred City


By Nicole Patrice Dul


Jump By Carolyn Guliver

Two Worlds Collide By Carolyn Gulliver


Faces By Carolyn Gulliver

Fall By Carolyn Gulliver


Value Study By

Christopher Ewing

“Funny Face” - An Audrey Hepburn Imitation By Jennifer Peters


Speak For The Trees By Meghan Rakus

address Number Design By Christopher Ewing


Eyes By Sarah Maloy


Castle on the Hill By Colin McKeon


A Shark By Sarah Maloy

Remembering JFK By Rowena Millan


Bird Watching By Rowena Millan

Italian Alps By Rowena Millan



A Business Proposal By Gina ORourke For Helping Graduates Pay Back Their Student Loan Debt, Avoid Delinquency, Stimulate the Economy and Ultimately Make the American Dream Come True I sit in the back of the crowded auditorium and gaze at the sea of students poised to graduate. These college graduates are excited to move on and begin their professional lives. They worked hard these past four, sometimes five years, to reach their goals. They consumed massive amounts of coffee to stay awake for endless nights of studying. They dealt with extremely tough professors who pushed them to their limits. They missed holidays at home with families to stay behind and work over winter breaks. They juggled rosters jam-packed with courses they barely understood. And they did this all while being severely sleep deprived. Their eager faces reflect the anticipation of what is to come: the glorified promise of a successful career in the area of their concentration earning a robust salary. After all, they are college graduates. They are educated. They are prepared. They have degrees in Accounting, Psychology, Education, Humanities. They are at the top of their game and ready to change the world. They are fools. We are raised to believe that going to college is the American dream. If you do well in school, you will do well in life. It’s as simple as that, right? Wrong. I once sat in a similar auditorium, wet behind the ears, ready for whatever challenge life threw at me. I had no idea how much debt I had accumulated in my four plus years of college. My parents pretty much handled all of those details. Whatever they needed to do to keep the money flowing so I could finish college, they did. When they were maxed out as co-signers, they switched to Parent Plus loans. When that well dried up, they went the private route. Huge mistake. In addition to tuition, my loans paid for books and meal plans, even rent once I lived off campus. I took summer classes (extra money), studied abroad (more extra money). I even did what I jokingly referred to back then as a “victory lap,” a fifth year after I switched my major at the finish line (lots of extra money). The bottom line is I had no idea what my bottom line was. But what did it matter? I was going to follow my dreams and become an accountant. I would wear a suit and tie, work in a high rise building, have my own office with a window and a picture-perfect view of the magnificent world below. Oh, and of course, I would make bookoo bucks; lots and lots of money which would pay back my exorbitant student loan debt in the very reasonable and gracious time period of ten years. Ah, life would sure be good to me. After all, I would be living the American dream. Oh, to think back to being that naïve kid. It almost makes me smile.


The reality, of course, played out much differently. I failed accounting which was what prompted that fifth year “victory lap.” There went my dream of becoming an accountant. But I was not ready to give up on wearing that suit just yet. I mean, hey, I look really good in a suit. So, I altered my dream a little. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a minor in International Business so my possibilities were endless. I set my sights on the entertainment industry. I would be a talent manager! My International Business degree would come in handy for all the traveling I would do with my Hollywood movie clients on location. So, off I went to live in the land of excess, Los Angeles, California, one of the most expensive cities in the United States. What I found out was that in order to get your foot in the door in the talent industry, you do not get hired so much as you get hired without pay. In order to break into this multi-billion dollar industry, you have to take a job at the very bottom of the intern ladder without pay. You work an excruciating amount of thankless hours which ultimately leaves no time to have a paying job at a measly restaurant serving the billionaire customers. Oh, and did I mention that intern job is without pay?? The good news is that after six grueling months of burning the candle at both ends at my unrewarding, non-paying internship, repayment of my loans was set to start! So, I did what anyone in my position would do: I deferred my loans. It was time again to reevaluate my future. The tie around my neck was getting tighter and I was not liking the view from the basement of that high rise. I quit the internship out of necessity to pay my rent and got a job as a server in a neighborhood eatery frequented by old money, new money, talented money, talentless money, reality tv money, music money. The list went on and on. I was surrounded by money. The problem was everyone had it but me. My loans grew fatter by the minute. I wore their weight like a hooded, down parka in a heat wave. One of my old money customers, a reputed mob guy, (let’s call him Tony Soprano) was having a party and asked a few of us servers to work it. I was to bartend. The money I could make at a lavish party like that would be enough to cover a month’s rent. It was an offer I could not refuse. All night long I served drinks to guys with slicked back hair and dark, tailored suits. Their necks and wrists were adorned with heavy, gold chains. Their fingers fitted with diamond studded rings. They loaded my tip jar with $20’s after each round. The hour grew late. My fellow servers were dismissed. It was only me serving drinks and a small circle of guests who remained. Mr. Soprano stood at the bar and as I handed him a Scotch on the rocks, one of the men in the circle slumped over. Another suit had shot him. I tried to hide my shock. Should I pretend I didn’t notice? The Boss and I locked eyes. He pulled me close across the bar, his hand on the back of my suddenly clammy neck, our faces inches apart. “You’re a good kid. A smart kid,” he said. “I know you’ll do the right thing.” I shook my head in the affirmative. No words came to mind. When it was time for me to leave, one of the suits followed me to my car. I thought for sure my time was up, that he was going to kill me because of what I had witnessed. Instead, he handed me an envelope with $5000 in it and walked away. Once I was safely in my car, I let out the


breath I had been holding and drove back down to the real world at the bottom of the Beverly Hills. I used the tip money from the party to pay my rent. The $5000 went to my not so good friends at Citibank. Avoid homelessness: check. Pay off first school loan: check. It was a very productive day. I could not stop thinking about how much of a lump sum I got at one time. I mean, sure, I had to block out the fact that I witnessed a murder, but, wow, one of my loans was paid off! How could I be so lucky? If that was how much money I could make just witnessing a murder, I wondered what could be made if I actually committed the murder. In the weeks that followed, I paid more attention to Mr. Soprano and his companions. He was always sending them off to do his bidding. They passed more envelopes back and forth than mailmen. I began to formulate a plan. According to the New York Federal Reserve, as of Quarter 4, 2016, the total student loan debt was $1.31 trillion, with 44.2 million U.S. borrowers. The student loan default/delinquency rate a staggering 11.2%. I wagered that if the average borrower was even remotely in the same boat as me, they would be beating each other with oars to get the chance to work off their debt using my plan. My thoughts were this: I would devise a modest business proposal for the purpose of paying off my student debt and helping others do the same. This plan had the potential to give burdened debtors back their dignity and financial freedom all while stimulating the economy thereby advancing them one step closer to living the American dream. What I was about to propose was brilliant and revolutionary. I worked furiously to write up my business proposal. I called it A Business Proposal For Helping Graduates Pay Back Their Student Loan Debt, Avoid Delinquency, Stimulate the Economy and Ultimately Make the American Dream Come True. For the first time ever, I was excited and hopeful about paying off my debt. I presented my proposal to the one man I knew who would not only benefit from its structure but help me set my plan in motion: Tony Soprano. He loved it. That was the beginning of the end…of my student loan debt. The idea behind my proposal was simple. Graduates would become mob underlings to pay off their student loan debt. They would take over doing the “jobs” that Tony Soprano’s crew typically performed. This would free up the Soprano guys to oversee more pressing matters and take the heat off of them at the same time. The large sums of cash the graduates would get paid and use to pay off their loans would be a Godsend to them but lower than what the crew usually got paid, so Soprano would profit. It was a win win. The amount of loan debt a graduate had and the amount of time within which they wished to pay it off would determine which package they chose. Each job was worth a certain dollar amount. Graduates could not perform more than one job per month. Jobs worth over $10,000 required three months in between. I broke it down like this:


JobWorth Vandalism$1000 Tire Slashing$1000 Arson$3000 Car Theft$4000 Robbery$5000 Stabbing$7000 Home Invasion$10,000 Kidnapping$25,000 Murder$50,000 Package #1 – The Flunky - For the pseudo-student who has moderate debt under $10,000. These are the students who started college, maybe went away that first semester, couldn’t hack living so far from home and dropped out. Or maybe they were the partiers who spent so much time at the keggers they wasted the first semester hung over and missed too many classes and bombed out. This package would allow the flexibility to mix and match jobs. Because the debt is low, jobs are small and could be taken care of in a shorter amount of time. Example: One robbery for $5000 and a stabbing for $5000 and they could be done paying their loans within two months. Easy Peasy! For those students with weaker stomachs for violence, they could pay down their student loan debt at a slower rate by combining minor, less hostile jobs, i.e., 1 car theft at $4000, 1 arson at $3000, a tire slashing at $1000 and 2 acts of vandalism for $1000 each. They could be debt free in under six months. Package #2 – The Deuce – Students with moderate ambition and debt under $50,000. Associates Degree graduates are those who started off strong but did not have an end goal. They got through all their pre-reqs with ease but once they moved on to the harder, more challenging courses, the pressure was on. They took their degrees and ran and wound up in professions that did not require degrees anyway, like administrative assistants and restaurant managers. For those with a strong stomach, this could be a one and done. A murder at $50,000 could be just the ticket for this sturdy graduate. But let’s face it, if they didn’t have the heart to further their education, they are probably better off breaking this down into a couple home invasions and a few car thefts or arsons. Package #3 - The Overachiever – That Type A graduate who had to do it all and has debt at or above $100,000. These graduates pushed themselves from Day 1. They maxed out their credits every semester by taking full course loads and extra summer classes. They led study groups and pep rallies. They embodied the college spirit. They were always moving


onward and upward toward the American Dream. These graduates are your murderers and kidnappers! Let no man stand in their way. For starters, my proposal would assist any graduate who so chose to participate in paying off their debt in a reasonable amount of time by offering a variety of sensible options with opportunities for advancement. Second, no prejudice would be shown. People of all colors and creeds, sexual orientation and education levels would be permitted to take part. We are all created equal in the eyes of this trusting institution. Third, graduates would be able to work at their own pace. He or she would be able to choose their own time line allowing them to pay off their debt expeditiously or at a more leisurely pace. Fourth, certain package options would require strength and muscle. This option would appeal to those more health conscious graduates who enjoy exercising. Such physical activity would be heart healthy and lead to living longer. I have thought long and hard about what I have hereby proposed. Therefore, let no person talk to me of other expedients: of making our graduates work in sunblazed fields farming crops to sell at roadside stands; of donning fluorescent orange vests so as to avoid being hit by passing vehicles while collecting aluminum to be sold by volume of $.05 per can; of stringing together bracelets of brightly colored beads and pendants to be sold to lounging beach-goers. I reiterate, let no one speak to me of these practical solutions unless they can hope to solicit a more beneficial remedy. My Business Proposal was not a selfish proposal. Though my initial goal was to come up with a way to pay off my own student loan debt, I designed my plan with an eye towards stimulating the economy as well. I knew first-hand what it felt like to be buried under student loan debt. I could not keep up with my monthly payments. My phone rang all day every day with calls from my creditors. I was doing the best that I could and paying as much as I could, but in actuality, I could not hope to pay back what I borrowed. Delinquency was a threat I cowered from daily. Practically every dollar I earned went towards paying my loans and I was not even touching the principal. Consequently, none of the money I made was being spent on things I enjoyed. I had no money to shop at stores or take trips or eat at restaurants. I could never hope to own a home or buy a new car. These are all the things that construct a thriving society and create a prosperous economy. By helping graduates to pay off their debt quicker, this would give them back their financial freedom thereby allowing them to become valuable, contributing members of humanity. I smooth the leg of my crisply, tailored suit as I adjust myself in the uncomfortable, wooden seat. The Commencement is coming to a close. The tops of the graduates’ caps are brightly decorated with positive insignia: “I did it!” “Yay!” “We soar!” I applaud their enthusiasm but all I see are dollar signs on their heads.


Don’t Cry for Me Abuelita By Jazmine Babuch It’s been a beautiful two week walking the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Visiting the historical sites and local attractions that make up the city’s history, hearing the music that drives the culture and eating the food of my heritage, nothing could have ruined this trip. Eating straight out of the oven empanadas, a stuffed turnover with either chicken or beef and watching soccer on t.v., it was all so perfect. Well, maybe except for that one little mistake, something that I should have never done in the first place. It was my last day in the tango capital of the world, Buenos Aires, my bags were packed and off with my luggage, I headed to the taxi so that it could take me to the airport for my plane ride home. Once settled in the backseat, the car started to drive off and I decide to turn around to look at the outside through the back window, but I come to see my grandma crying. Standing on the steps of her apartment building with my grandfather to one side and a handkerchief in her wrinkled, but wise hand. I couldn’t believe it, was my grandmother crying? It was like all of a sudden, I didn’t want to leave anymore, not with what I just saw. Sitting in the right position in the old and beat up taxi, what more could I do but stare out of the clear window and replay what my eyes have witnesses. A strong woman who lives every day to the fullest and finds things to occupy her day with was crying, oh how it breaks my heart. As the tears rolled down her ageless cheeks, I wanted to tell her that it was going to be ok and that I wasn’t leaving her, I was just taking a break. But for now, I will say this, there is no need to be sad, for one day I shall return and until that day comes, don’t cry for me abuelita.


I Believe By Amanda Gurecki Eight steps deep, four steps wide, and shrouded in darkness -- the room seemed to shrink with every passing minute. My hands and feet were bound with crude chains, attached to the wall. My bed, the only bed I had for the past four days, was merely the cold, hard, dirt floor. My food, stale bread and putrid water, sat untouched, the way they had for the past four days. I had sworn an oath to myself that should I be arrested, I would not cooperate with my captors in any way, even by eating. Now, dirty and bloody from the beatings I had received, I found myself sitting on the floor, staring at the rough-hewn door in the opposite wall, with only spiders and bugs as my cellmates. I knew what was coming. On Monday I had been arrested; Wednesday I had faced the court who had decided my fate; and today I was to die. My crime? Resisting the barbarians who occupied my nation’s land; pagans who did not fear YHVH. They had called me a murderer, said I was not fit to live as a citizen of Rome. I had laughed at them. I am no citizen of Rome. I am a Jew, a citizen of the nation of Israel. They are the ones who are not fit to be citizens. But they, with their legions, are far more powerful in number than I and my brothers and sisters. I had stood no chance. I knew it when I set out on my mission: to assassinate one of their leaders. This is how I now find myself where I am; waiting to be crucified. I will not be dying alone though. A pair of robbers are to be killed, and a man who claimed he was at once both YHVH and the son of YHVH. Robbers, a blasphemer, and myself – I who had devoted my life to fighting for the kingdom bestowed upon my people by our G-D. Suddenly my cell was flooded with sunlight and I was blind. I was roughly grabbed, my chains unhooked, and I was dragged out of my cell. I stumbled to gain my footing – I am a Sicarii, I will not be taken without a fight. My eyes adjusted and I was able to see again. I pulled free of the guard on my right, striking at the one on my left. A third, who I had not heard behind me, grabbed my throat and shoved me to the ground. They re-chained my hands and pushed me forward, onto a platform before a crowd. Looking around me I saw my people, chattering among themselves. Casting my eyes up to the balcony, I saw the man they called Pilate, the “ambassador” from Rome. He was pointing at a man who stood on the platform opposite I; a man hunched over in pain from beatings, with a crown of thorns upon his head. Abruptly, a Pharisee; a man I had worked for many times; cried out “Give us Barabbas!” The call, at once, was taken up by the sea of people. “Give us Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!” What did they want with me? I was a Sicarii, feared by many. The clamoring of the crowd died down and Pilate raised his hand. “You choose Barabbas over the ‘the King of the Jews’?” he proclaimed in a loud voice. Pilate looked down at the crowds, leaning against the stone railing, waiting for a response. I sneered. Even a child would know that the man standing across from myself was no king. The people of Israel have no king, until the savior promised to us by our G-D comes to deliver us from our oppressors. The reply that was given shocked me. “We have no King but Caesar!” How


could they say that? Caesar was not our king, he was the king of the Romans, the king of our oppression! I did not have time to wonder, for my chains were removed and I was shoved off the platform, to land in the midst of the crowd. I found myself being helped up to stand in the sea of people, a free man once more. I pushed my way to the other platform, wanting to see the blasphemer for myself. I could hear Pilate inquiring what to do with him, and the crowd taking up the chant; “Crucify him! Crucify him!” I was standing in front of him now, looking up at his scarred body. The beatings I had received were nothing compared to the ones they had given him. Dried blood caked his face, as fresh ran from the wounds in his head. How he was still standing, I did not know. I looked at his face, trying to remember who he was. The crowd continued to cry out as one; “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” He looked familiar, I had seen him before. My ears were ringing and the yelling continued to increase; “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” I looked into his eyes, and he looked into my soul. That chant was the only thing that could be heard now; “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” He was no blasphemer. He was Jesus, the Son of G-D, Savior of the Jews. He was the prophesied Messiah, sent to free us from our oppression! They were going to kill Him! “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” In His eyes, barely open, I saw nothing but love and forgiveness. No pain, no anger, just pure and unmatched love and forgiveness. I fell to my knees, the chanting pounding into my head. “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” I cried out in anger. They had freed the wrong man! They were going to kill Him! I, Barabbas, Zealot and Sicarii, could do nothing to save Jesus – for the first time in my life I was entirely powerless. I sobbed as they continued to call for His death. “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” “Jesus... I believe...” I whispered as He was dragged off by the Roman guards. The refrain continued, long after he was removed from our sight. “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!” “I believe...”


“Mary, You Are My Butterfly.” By Lyndsey Smith She watches as the black and white butterfly dances its way to a daisy. The daisy is all white, except for the center. The white color of the butterfly and the daisy immediately reminds her of Mary. She watches the butterfly begin to wrap its long, beautiful arms around the center of the daisy. She is reminded of Mary’s arms wrapped around her in a tight embrace. She becomes fixated on the colors of the butterfly. Black. White. Black. White. The black reminds her of Mary’s power. She remembers all of her long phone calls with Mary. Memories flood in and she recalls how her heart would leap when Mary praised her, thanked her, loved her, kissed her, and hugged her. Memories of musicals begin to flood in as the tune of “Tradition” begins to play in her head. The white reflects off the sun and catches her eye. She is reminded of how safe Mary made her feel. She was a solider and Mary’s arms were the best suits of armor. The butterfly kissed the yellow center of the daisy and she was reminded of Mary’s smile. Mary’s smile brought pure joy to her as she reminisced on many childhood summer nights asking Mary to sleep with her in bed. She wondered if Mary smiled as she snuck out of bed hours later. The butterfly spread its long, beautiful arms and danced into the sun. As she looked at the departing butterfly, she was reminded of how many wonderful years she has had with Mary and how many wonderful years are still ahead. As the butterfly danced away, Lyndsey whispered, “I love you Mom-Mom.”


What’s Your Mate? By Jazmine Babuch

It’s 7:20pm on a humid summer night. The sun is making its way towards a set with the colors of pink and orange painting themselves across the sky. The streets are filled with people doing their daily shopping and children enjoying their ice cream bars. But at the local corner store, the owner and three other guys are making the most of the night by gossiping and drinking mate, a popular drink in Argentina made with dried leaves steeped in hot water. They’re all huddled in a circle while the store owner is looking as cool as ever with laughter on his face as he’s holding a mate in one hand and a thermos containing hot water in the other. Walking back to my grandparents› apartment after a day of shopping at the nearby mall, I look over and am instantly greeted by the owner with a hello and reassuring smile. I say hello right back followed by a friendly wave. I observe him and how in the moment he is. Happy, surrounded by friends, and drinking a fresh cup of mate. With no place to be in a hurry, he takes his time to enjoy life. If we all took the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a mate, we too could in the current moment and enjoy life. So, what’s your mate?


My Nomadic Neighbors By James Acton One night during the summer of 1973, I returned home from the Air Station to discover gypsies in the field behind my house. Men, women, and children were gathered around a campfire that was struggling to stay lit. A man was playing a mandolin, and a woman was softly singing. It sounded like Greek, and it sounded like Spanish. I imagined a multi-lingual Joan Baez by the fire singing The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. They must’ve just finished dinner as the smell of food hung heavy in the air. It wasn’t lamb or fish. I couldn’t identify it, but it was awful. If they would’ve invited me to eat, I would’ve politely refused. I was a 22-year-old U.S. Air Force sergeant from Southwest Philadelphia attached to the Iraklion Air Station on the magnificent island of Crete. I lived off base in a comfortable whitewashed house with marble floors, high ceilings and an en-suite bathroom. From the rooftop, which served as a place to hang wash, I could see the Mediterranean Sea. I used to say to myself, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Wildwood anymore.” The Mediterranean Sea didn’t produce big waves like the Atlantic Ocean, and my village didn’t smell of custard and caramel corn like the boardwalk. Normally, when I returned from work, I would sit in the dark on my patio and listen to music on Armed Forces radio. Wolfman Jack was my favorite DJ. My only visitors were the feral cats that I named after the 1973 Phillies. There was the aloof Steve Carlton, the gentleman Bob Boone, and the snarky Larry Bowa, and so on. The cats respected me, and I respected them. I fed them milk and Cheez-Its. They never failed to show. However, on that particular night, I didn’t need the radio nor the cats as I had real live drama just 25 yards behind my house. I felt like I was in the theater, watching actors sing gypsy ballads. My Greek landlord, a retired farmer, lived next door. He had a strong, heavily wrinkled face that seemed weighed down by his moustache. All the elderly Greek men had thick dust-brush moustaches. His wife, son, and daughter-in-law lived with him as well. A handsome couple, they reminded me of older, olive skinned Donny and Marie Osmond. When I awoke the next morning, the gypsies were sitting beneath a canopy of dirty blankets. I counted ten people: three women, three men, and four kids. I waived, but only two kids waived back. The rest just stared at me with dark eyes. I couldn’t read them. Their camp was littered with pots and pans and plastic containers. Additionally, there was one moped and one pickup truck. The truck looked like an F-150 Ford Frankenstein, with odd bits of metal welded together. I felt sorry for it. Later that day, I spoke with the daughter-in-law, Marie Osmond, whose English was pretty good. She explained that the field behind my house was owned by the government and that gypsies often squat on government land because they know they won’t be shooed away, so long as they’re peaceful and don’t steal too much. “They do steal,” she told me, “so be careful.” She was right. A week later, when I was leaving for work around 6:30 in the morning, I found my car, my reliable 1957 VW Beetle, to be completely out of gas. I had half a tank left when I parked it beside my house the night before, now nothing. Apparently, my new neighbors had siphoned all the gas from my Beetle while I was sleeping. “They’re using it to power the moped and


Frankenstein,” I thought. My landlord was king enough to give me a gallon of gas, so I could get to work. He always kept a five-gallon jerry can handy. Over the next couple weeks, it happened twice again. I would go to start my car, and there would be no gas. Angry and frustrated, I wanted to confront the gypsies and demand they stop stealing my gas. I thought about having the daughter-in-law make me signs in both Greek and Spanish that said, “Stop Stealing My Gas. Or Else!” If it wasn’t for the three men, I might’ve done that. They gypsy males looked like rugged Marlboro country cowboys. They wore wide brim hats that hid their eyes, and they strutted like World Cup soccer players. They were day laborers who toiled at dirty jobs and lifted heavy objects for a living. I was just a 155-pound guy with soft hands. For work, I sat in an air-conditioned prefab building with guys from Trenton, NJ; Joplin, MO; and Sacramento, CA. We intercepted Morse Code and teletype transmissions, while smoking cigarettes and drinking bad Air Force coffee. The turning point came about two months into their stay when of the gypsy women knocked on my back door. She was holding a young boy with sad brown eyes and a nasty burn on his tiny right arm. I could see he had been crying by the tear tracks on his dirty face. I could tell he didn’t trust me. Using pantomime and the few English words she knew, the woman described how the boy tripped and fell against a hot rock while she was cooking—with my gas, no doubt. She pointed to the burn on the boy’s arm. “You really should take him to a doctor,” I said, although she didn’t understand a word, and I was sure gypsies never went to the doctor. They delivered their own babies and had bags of home remedies. But maybe nothing for second or third-degree burns. I invited the woman to sit in my kitchen with her boy while I’ll searched the bathroom for Neosporin or something. The best I could find was a big blue jar of Noxzema, which I used for sunburn. The woman accepted it, and in a gesture of profound gratitude, she dipped her head and said, “Ef-ha-ri-sto,” Greek for Thank-you. I was touched. So much so, that on the way out, I gave her a box of Pop-Tarts and a gallon of lemon aid. “It’s for the kids,” I said, “not for the adults because you guys steal my gas.” Back then I spoke Philadelphian, so I’m sure I said, “YOUSE guys steal my gas.” I was forthright and brave because I knew she didn’t know what I was saying. Yet, I knew instinctively that I would never have to worry about that again. I was right. My small act of kindness went a long way. I actually grew to like the gypsies. On occasion, I’d pick up extra food and toilet paper at the base exchange and give it to my nice nomadic neighbors. Like the feral cats, I knew they would never leave if I continued to feed them, but I didn’t want them to leave. When the women and kids saw me out back, they’d smile and wave. The men, the tough guys, would give me a thumbs-up. One guy would call me GI-Joe and offer a sloppy salute. We got along famously. When I left Crete in June of ’74, the gypsies were still there. Now forty-three years have passed. God, I miss them.


“No Cheese, Please.” By Gina ORourke

Just because my name is Gina does not mean I am Italian, though that is the likely assumption for most. Over the years, I have heard it all: “You sure you’re not from South Philly?” “You’ve got a spit fire personality!” “You sound like a Guinea girl from Brooklyn!” The truth is, other than my geographic affiliation to the famous Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa, and the occasional “Yo!” that rolls off my tongue, there is nothing Italian about me. Heck, I don’t even like cheese! What I do have, though, is an Italian son named Vinnie. Vinnie studied abroad in Italy for a semester in college which is what took this fair-skinned, picky, cheese-fearing, little Irish girl from Philly to Rome. I convinced my sisters, Shawna and Jessi, to accompany me. Visiting Vinnie was just the excuse we needed to dub our journey a “Sisters’ Trip.” With Jessi and Shawna as my travel companions on this cheesy journey, it was sure to be a memorable adventure. The Hotel Amalia in all its Roman splendor was situated smack in the middle of a bustling city street a half block from the Vatican. Waving us a warm welcome from high above the hotel’s aged, stone doorway were our familiar stars and stripes. We were surprised, but appreciated the immediate hospitality of this gesture. The proud Italian flag was there to receive us as well. My son, Vinnie, greeted us at the marble entrance with a lovely arrangement of yellow tulips. He conveyed to us that in all the weeks he had been in Rome, not one Italian girl had so much as returned his American glance, but as he stood anxiously awaiting our arrival with the splendid floral bouquet in hand, the Italian girls sauntered by him batting their eyelashes and smiling broadly. We placed the pretty bouquet on the sill of the open, screenless window in our cramped but cozy room. The hotel had left a complimentary plate of red grapes and stinky cheese on the table for us. My sisters and I were impressed with Vinnie’s near-fluent use of the Italian language. He perused the elaborate menus and conversed easily with the restaurant wait staff when placing our orders. Italy is known for its delicious food. People travel from all over the world to savor its fine cuisine. While I love a good bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, for me it is unfortunate that most Italian dishes are smothered in cheese. I know. I am the exception. Even Italian pizza, with its thick slabs of fresh mozzarella, melted and gooey, layered over tomato slices, is a far cry from a boardwalk slice from home. I had a hard time ordering meals without cheese. The waiters did not even understand my requests. They would look at me with their questioning eyes, puzzled, “No cheese?” “No cheese,” I would reply. The very notion was as foreign to them as I was. Eventually, to ease their minds, I had to tell them I was allergic. The food may have caused me hesitation, but I was unwavering in my appreciation for the free-flowing wine that is a staple of the Italian culture. Vino is the universal language we all speak. We enjoyed aromatic glasses of Rosso in the afternoon sun while people-watching at the Piazza del Popolo. Lively street performers, amateur musicians and colorful gypsies danced around the open piazza as we leisurely sipped and took photos. We dined at outdoor cafés lined with twinkling, white lights eating


heavy, provolone-covered suppers. I scraped off my cheese as discreetly as possible so as not to offend. We drank savory Merlot served in goblets the size of fishbowls. Wine is so liberally enjoyed in Italy it even comes in juice boxes! These, we reserved for our exploratory day trips. Vinnie was an excellent tour guide. He had learned to navigate the city of Rome in a relatively short amount of time and he was eager to share it all with us. With juice boxes in hand, we were afoot and set to explore. We roamed the streets of Rome. Make no mistake about it: Rome is splendid, but it is a bustling, crowded, busy, city. Its storefront-lined streets are nearly interchangeable with that of downtown Philadelphia. The Metro, Rome’s subway system, was our primary source of transportation. Snaking through the city, it wound its way under and above ground, allowing us intermittent snapshots of the ancient and modern architecture of Rome. It was quite a surreal experience to emerge from the dingy, underground subway station to stand in the shadow of the massive Coliseum. Its presence was magnificent. Aside from its cuisine and wine, Italy is also known for its coffee, or more specifically, espresso, a highly caffeinated coffee served in its most condensed form. As we all know, “America Runs on Dunkin” and I am no exception. With that said, it is extremely difficult to find what passes for an American cup of coffee in Italy. And finding decaffeinated coffee? Well, fugeddaboutit! Asking for a cup of decaf brandished me the same perplexed looks as when I asked for no cheese. “Decaf?” the waiters would ask with pained expressions, their faces pursed. “Yes, decaffeinated. No caffeine,” I would try to explain. There are no hand gestures to convey this message. I was met with more blank stares. One particular waiter who spoke moderate English was determined to make me an American cup of coffee. “I make-a you café Americana,” he insisted. “No. No, that’s ok.” I tried to wave off his kind gesture. “Please. Allow me. I fix just like-a you like,” he insisted. Not wanting to offend the eager server, I obliged. Three times he brought coffee to the table for me. Each time he stood by, head tilted, eyebrows raised, mouth open expectantly as he waited for my approval. I sipped the steaming brew and involuntarily made what must have been a distasteful face. Before I could object, he would whisk the mug away again saying, “Do not you worry. I get it a-right for you!” Finally, not wanting to play this game all night, I assured him the coffee was fine. “Mmmm, it’s delicious,” I lied. “Tastes just like in America!” The waiter was so proud he was beaming with satisfaction. The coffee, however, was not delicious nor was it anything close to the taste of Dunkin or Starbucks or Wawa, but it was drinkable (or so I thought) and I suffered through it. And, boy, did I suffer! The coffee made me sick to my stomach. Earlier in the trip, after one particularly long day of sightseeing and walking through what we found to be the shady San Lorenzo Market in Florence, Shawna and Jessi forced me to take a nap. I do love a good nap at home, but I am a bit of an “Energizer Bunny” while traveling. I do not want to miss anything or waste any time sleeping. After all, when will I get back to Italy? Shawna’s legs had been swollen and the walking was really beginning to affect her. As she so eloquently put it, her “dogs were barking” and she needed a rest. Jessi, ever the willing sleeper, was all too happy to take a siesta. “Sweet dreams, sisters,” she said laughingly as she yawned her way to her pillow. So in typical sister fashion, they ignored my protests and pulled rank. I


felt like a little kid again as I reluctantly settled in for what I later hated to admit was a regenerating snooze. After I drank that cup of watered down, still dreadfully strong, imposter, American coffee and had an upset stomach for 36 hours, I was yearning for another nap! The next day I was still not feeling well. I drank tea to sooth my stomach and barely had an appetite. The thought of rich Italian fare turned me off but everyone else was hungry. We found a small roadside café for lunch. This was not the pleasant, piazza kind of café with pretty umbrellas and sunlight. This was a busy luncheonette with patio seating on a street with tall buildings, honking cars and traffic fumes. I miraculously found chicken soup on the menu. I thought surely this would soothe my belly so that I could resume enjoying this cultural city. As I spooned the broth into my mouth, the flavor of the soup struck me as odd. At first, I couldn’t place it. It was different from home, of course, but that was to be expected. What I never dreamed possible, however, was that the bottom of the bowl was lined with cheese! I could not escape the cheese. It was everywhere in Italy. A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world famous Fountain of Trevi. Standing over 85 feet tall, the iconic 18th Century fountain is breathtaking in its massive beauty. It was heavily populated with hundreds of people, perhaps ten deep. They gathered around the fountain waiting for their turn to toss coins into the glistening, flowing water. It is said that you must stand with your back to the fountain and throw three coins into the water from your right hand over your left shoulder while making a wish. Supposedly, this ensures that you will return to Rome again someday. With my back turned, clutching my coins, I closed my eyes and reflected on our week. We visited Vinnie in Rome. Hello? Amazing! We took a four hour tour of the Vatican which was beyond extraordinary. We drove a surrey in the gardens at Villa Borghese, crying laughing as we yelled “Scusa! Scusa!” at pedestrians. We spent rare, precious, sister time together. We were chased by an aggressive street vendor in Florence. We regrettably never made it to Tuscany. The coffee and cheese made me ill. What a truly priceless adventure it had been. As I tossed my coins high behind me, I made my wish that the closest I ever get to Italy again is through a bottle of Coppola Cabernet!


Von Krebs II By Rosa Gonzalez Josef Schilz, eighteen, light brown hair, hazel eyes, not too tall but not too short either. I always wondered what it would be like once I came of age. Son of a printer and a seamstress, I’ve been working since I could talk. That worked in my favor when I talked about wanting to move from my small Swiss town to Germany. With the approval of my parents and of course my little brother, I was put on the first boat to Germany. It was and still is difficult just settling in. I don’t speak a lot of German but I’m fluent in French and English. I was definitely in a foreign place and far from home. Luckily, I have a job where I don’t have to speak much and by that, I mean the glamourous life as a garbage man. Days off are rather lonely but I can always read the paper or call my family at home. My life was at a steady pace but I know things could change in an instant. And today, everything changed for me. It was January 13th, 1961. I had gotten off of work for the day and decided to head to get something to eat. As I walked in, I noticed a clerk arguing with a customer up front. From what I could understand, she was short on her payment and was being asked to stand aside. Everyone just stood there, not willing to help the woman at all. In my broken German, I went up to the front counter and asked how much I owed. “I owe three Marks” she said. I reached into my pocket, pulled out five Marks, and held it out to her. “Here,” I said “it isn’t worth the commotion.” The woman looked at my hand then back at me. It seemed so odd to her that I was giving her money. Maybe it was unheard of here. After staring at me for a minute or so, she took the money and paid for her order. I turned to walk to the back of the line but the woman caught my arm. I looked to see that she was holding out the change from what I gave her. I told her to keep it, or at least that’s what I thought I said. She giggled and spoke. “I can speak English too” she said. “Is it that obvious that my German is bad?” I asked. She nodded and said yes. I saw that her arm was outstretched with change in her hand. “Here’s your change. Thanks for helping me” she said with a small smile. “I said you could keep it. Or at least I think I did” I said as I gently closed her hand. She giggled again as she said, “You told me I could keep your cat. Christ, I thought. Now I looked like an idiot. I bit my lip and thought of my next words carefully. Before I could think of anything, she spoke first. “Don’t feel stupid. You didn’t have your morning ruined by an old grease ball yelling at you for being short three Marks on a food order” she explained. I perked up a little. I could relate to that. I spoke up, saying, “My first few weeks were like that. So I can relate on be ing lost in translation.” She nodded, “I could kind of tell that by how you spoke German. It’s pretty


broken up.” I shrugged my shoulders at the remark nonchalantly. “I can read and understand it but I’m terrible at speaking it. But I’ve never had to speak it before. As long as I can work without speaking, I’m fine” I said. She offered, “If you want to learn, I can help you. It’s the least I can do to repay you.” I smiled at her. “It’s an excuse to see you again. So I’d like that.” Her eyes grew a bit wide in shock and she blushed at my words. She asked, “Sir, did you just flirt with me?” I laughed a little, “I’m not sure.” I extended my hand to her politely as I prop erly introduced myself, “I’m Josef.” She took my hand and shook it as she too introduced herself, “My name is Melanie, Melanie Fischer.” We talked for a while before parting ways. As we went to leave, I asked, “So, where do I meet you for my first lesson in German?” *** Today is June 17th, 1961, five months since I met Melanie and started learning German. I have to admit that it’s nice to have someone to talk to and have company. I’ve grown so fond of her… Being shy, I wouldn’t openly tell Melanie about my feelings. But keeping it a secret is becoming a difficult thing to bear. So today, I needed to gather my courage. We decided to meet in the park not far from where we first met. It was a rather nice day, the sun peeking through the trees as I sat on the bench waiting for her. Waiting was always a little nerve wreaking since she lived in East Germany. I kept checking my watch, peering over at the east side of the park to see if she entered. I had butterflies in my stomach but tried to pay attention to something else to calm my nerves. I noticed families walking through, a young couple laughing, squirrels with acorns, but I looked over to my left to see flowers. Melanie liked blue flowers and there happened to be some next to me. I carefully picked them and sat back in my spot. With one last glance, I saw her appear from the East side of the park. I stood up, the butterflies in my stomach fluttering all over the place. I was hoping that I was smiling because I was trying to as she approached me with one on her face. We embraced then sat after we pulled away. I looked at her again as I handed her the flowers and my words seemed to dissipate from thought. Her hair gently swayed in the breeze, her eyes dazzling sapphires and her smile when she met my gaze, I was captivated. She thanked me for the flowers, saying that I was thoughtful. I wanted to say I love you but I was internally frozen. I laced my fingers with hers and gently squeezed. “I’ve been thinking a lot about you Josef… More than a normal friend should” Melanie said as she bit her lip. I felt myself blush red as I stuttered, “Melanie… I… I’ve been…” I sighed as I spoke again, “Why is this so hard to say?” She smiled softly at me, squeezed my hand again, and spoke gently, “Maybe we’re here for the same reason…” I got a lump in my throat but I swallowed it as I asked, “What do you mean?” Melanie took my hand in both of hers and said, “Admitting how you feel is never an easy thing to do Josef… But you took a big step in asking to meet me and trying to explain it. I’ve been hurt by other boys, just as you’ve been


hurt by other girls. The heartbreak hurt. But then you find one person to open yourself up to and feel so safe with them. That’s how we both feel.” I took her hand and kissed it, “Can I tell you a secret?” She blushed, nodding slightly and said, “You can tell me anything.’ I leaned in, our cheeks gently grazing one another. My lips were by her ear as I whispered “I love you”. In the next moment, Melanie’s arms wrapped around my neck and her chin rested on my shoulder. My arms wrapped around her waist to pull her closer to me; there we sat, just holding one another. Some time passed before we thought of pulling apart. Even after we did, we stared at one another and I couldn’t help smiling. This wonderful person in front of me finally knew the truth. We stood up from the bench and started to talk in the direction of my apartment. Most of my friends back at the garbage plant would speak of the girls they’ve been with, past or present. Whenever I’d talk about Melanie, the guys would always ask if I slept with her; when I’d say no, they’d tease me. During the walk to my apartment, I debated in my mind if I would sleep with her. Nearing my front door, I stopped. Melanie squeezed my hand and I turned to her. She looked at me and asked, “What are you thinking about?” “Just… you” I replied. She moved a little closer, gently touched my cheek and asked honestly, “Sexually?” I blushed red and answered, “Yes. I’m ashamed to admit it…” Melanie gently laid her head on my chest and said, “Josef, I’m old enough to know the difference between a good guy and a bad guy. Most guys I’ve met tried to sleep with me on day one. But you, you’re past any expectation or dream. If we take this step together, I won’t regret it.” She looked up at me then said, “Not one bit.” I leaned down to rest my forehead on hers and said softly, “I want to wait for that… so we can deeply enjoy it. I don’t want to rush. Melanie smirked at me, saying “You’re the first guy to ever day that. I like it a lot.” “You’re the first girl to like it” I said as I laughed. We stood there, suspended in time like before. When we finally came back into ourselves, we took shelter in my apartment. The rest of the night was sweet; we cooked dinner together, talked about life and all its wonder, and finally watched some TV. Lying together on the couch, I watched her sleep in my arms. This is better than anything in the world, just being here with my special girl. Some forget the beauty of being bonded with someone who is close to your heart. But now, my fear was losing her. I kept thinking about the political talks, about this supposed wall. Hearing about it only made me feel worse about losing Melanie. I was hoping that nothing would make that come true. *** The day is August 13th, 1961. Everything seemed to be normal. I was walking to the park to meet Melanie when I was some people run past me in the direction of the square. Curious of what was going on, I ran toward the square. Nearing the square, my eyes grew wide at the sight in front of me. A chain link fence… There were guards patrolling it, keeping the frenzied crowd that started to gather there at bay. My mind had one thought in it: Where is Melanie? My body surged with adrenaline as I ran into the crowd, trying to get to the fence. As my body twisted and contorted through, I got


to an opening between two guards. Grabbing the fence, I secured my place, not letting anyone drag me back. I looked around frantically, hoping Melanie could see me. I started to call out, “Melanie! Melanie! Where are you?!” By some miracle, I met a pair of blue eyes through the crowd. The eyes neared me and sure enough, Melanie latched onto the gate in front of me. Her eyes were filled with terror but I quickly laced my fingers through the gate to hers, she eased only slightly before she started to speak. “What’s going on?” Melanie asked. “I’m not sure” I began to say, “But I don’t have much time. No matter what happens, I love you Melanie. I love you so much.” I felt her hands clench for mine through the gate as her eyes began to fill with tears. She sniffled and her voice shook as she began to talk. Despite this, Melanie smiled and said, “I love you too Josef… so much…” I felt my jacket being tugged back but I dug my feet in as hard as I could. I needed a bit more time… “We’ll figure this out… together” I said, feeling the pull get stronger. Melanie nodded and said, “We will… Be safe okay?” I smiled at her, saying, “I will. You too okay?” “I promise” were her last words before I was swept back into the crowd. I was pulled down and trampled a bit before I managed to crawl out. I stood up to catch my breath and assess my wounds. As I did that, the crowd began to disperse from the fence. There wasn’t much we could do unless the government changed their minds. But I doubt that would happen any time soon. Not knowing what else to do, I left to get something to eat. I walked with my shoulders hunched, feeling my body ache from the trampling. I tasted blood from my lip with the left side of my head pulsing a little as I walked. Walking past the normal businesses around and some apartment buildings, it didn’t feel the same as when Melanie was with me. Going into the diner, that feeling stood with me as I sat at the counter; I could feel eyes staring at my dirty clothes and my scraped hands. I was an overall mess. The usual waiter that took care of Melanie and I looked at me with confusion. “What happened to you?” He asked. “A chain link fence happened… They’re going to put up the wall” I said with a heavy heart. He sighed, “So they did finally go through with it. Man, I was hoping that it didn’t come to a wall. It isn’t fair. They’re dividing families.” “Not much we can do now… I hope this doesn’t last forever. God knows if I can be away from Melanie that long” I said. “Did you get to see her one last time?” He asked. I nodded and said, “Yes. It wasn’t long enough though… We were able to say goodbye and that we’d figure things out.” He pat my shoulder and said, “You will, I know it. You’re a smart guy.” He pulled out his pad and pencil, asking, “Do you want your usual?” “Yeah. Add a Sinalco Lemonade to it for me” I responded. The waiter scribbled it down as he said, “I’ll put it in for you.” I said thank you as he walked away to the window. I dug in my back pocket, pulled out my wallet and took out a picture of Melanie. Propping it against the napkin holder, I sat at the counter waiting for my order. There was an overwhelming sense of


loneliness as I sat there by myself. I kept thinking back when we just looked at one another, tears in her eyes and grabbing my hands through the fence. I had only seen Melanie cry a few times, always from having a nightmare. It hurt to see her in tears today, awake and conscious of everything falling apart on the real world. My food came after I had been sitting there and pondering for a while. That night, I laid in bed just thinking of how not even days before, I wasn’t alone. Staring at my ceiling, I tried to think good thoughts. Maybe we’d meet in my dreams. *** Today is June 12th, 1989. Years have gone by since I last saw Melanie. My dreams could not console me anymore. Every night was painful without her, her voice in my ear, her warmth beside me in bed. The only thing that kept me sane was being able to hear her voice when we talked and listening to her messages on my answering machine. I had paid attention to all things political, in hopes of a change occurring sometime soon. There were talks of the wall coming down but the date hasn’t been set. I had spoken to my friend Amir about tearing it down myself if they hadn’t started by the tenth of this month. It was now the 12th. I was fixing to go mad. Melanie told me to be rational, that it would soon figure itself out. I’d been waiting for twenty eight years to see her again. I was done with being rational. Finally, I made my choice. I was tearing the wall down myself. I sat down, calling Amir to see if he’d come with me. I had a sledgehammer for the both of us if he decided to come. A half hour went by before I heard a knock at the door. I quickly went to answer it. Sure enough, it was Amir and his brother, Anand. “Are you ready?” I asked. He sighed and looked at me sternly, “No. I’m not going. Neither are you.” I grew agitated and began to question, “What makes you think I’ll be stopped? Because your brother is here?” Despite my growing agitation, Amir was calm as he spoke, “We’re asking you not to go out tonight. If we have to patrol your door, we will.” I walked away from Amir and Anand then past my couch, raising my voice, “For the love of God Amir! I’m sick of waiting for a decision that will most likely not be overturned. Almost thirty years and Germany is still separated. If they don’t want to be rational politically, maybe they’ll understand the protest of another citizen.” Amir pointed his finger and started to yell, “Josef, I have lost friends who have tried doing what you’re about do tonight! I’m not going to let you go out there and let you die over something stupid.” I walked back over to him, giving him a slight shove. I then asked, “If I can’t tear it down, will you at least accompany me to spray paint it?” He smiled then shoved back and said, “Yes you crazy Swiss idiot.” It was relieving that we didn’t keep arguing. Amir was the one other person aside from Melanie I could count on to bring me back from doing something foolish. Instead of grabbing the sledgehammer, I grabbed a backpack full of spray paint. We headed out to start the long walk to the Wall. Once we were there, I tossed a blue spray can to Amir and a silver one to Anand in case they wanted to paint something too. I knew what I wanted to paint. I wanted to write “Eternally Free” in big red letters. I started with my E,T, E and R when a military vehicle pulled up and pointed the spotlight at us. “Hands up! Now!” The soldier ordered.


We raised our hands to comply. I spoke up to say, “We’re not lunatics.” The soldier ignored what I said and told us, “Turn around slowly.” The three of us slowly turned to obey when a can of spray paint in my jacket pocket fell out. When the crackling knock sounded, all of the soldiers drew their weapons and pointed them at us. They started yelling at us to drop all our weapons. Amir, Anand and I looked at one another before I turned to speak. I calmly replied, “We’re not armed. It’s just paint.” Just as I went to pull out another can of paint from my pocket, I heard a loud ring sound off. Suddenly, I felt something rip through me; an instant and painful tear in my flesh. I looked down to see my shirt turning red, my body feeling weak. A million things started happening all at once. I felt Anand catch me as I fell, soldiers yelling at one another for shooting an unarmed civilian, the sound of anyone who saw what happened rallying in protest for a blind shooting. I felt liquid flood my throat and it ejected as I spit to breathe. Blood… Amir supported my head as Anand moved to my side, telling me to hold on. The world was dimming and I knew… that there was no holding on from here. I spoke between breaths to Amir, “I know that I can’t hold on… This is where it ends for me.” I saw tears swell in his eyes, he spoke angrily, “No way. You’re not dying here. I’m supposed to keep you safe.” I felt my breathing deepen as I said, “You tried to keep me from getting killed and here I am, dying in the street.” I faintly heard the ambulance nearing and I saw Amir turn to see them coming. He told me that I’d be okay and to hang on. EMTs got to me quickly and rushed me into the back of their ambulance. Amir rode in the back with me, making sure I was conscious all the way there. I grabbed Amir’s hand. He had to lean in to hear me. I spoke softly, “Go see her… in some way… and tell her… that I love her.” Amir nodded and said he would do the best he could. As hard as I fought to stay awake, I slipped into a coma from the loss of blood. Later that night, I remember just seeing my body and my spirit out of it. I was gone. *** *Melanie I’m sitting on my couch, crying myself into a hole… Amir and Anand magically came to my door. I hadn’t turned on the news yesterday, the 13th. The government was going to start deconstructing the wall. They were starting to let people through to visit West Germany. That’s when Amir and Anand showed up at my door with the news… Josef passed away the night of the 12th… I at first thought that he had committed suicide but Amir eased my curiosity by saying he was wrongfully killed for spray painting the wall. It didn’t ease the pain otherwise… Josef was still gone, his last words saying that he loved me. I smiled at that. The big dope had a big heart for me… I had to be the one to call his family after I found out. They were of course heartbroken, probably more than me. Since I had gotten off the phone with them, I had just been crying. I never got to say goodbye to him, I never got to see him one last time. All I remember is our last conversation on the 11th. How I should live my life and stop waiting for him… We had argued a little during that call. As I thought about that, I remembered that I hadn’t checked my answering machine. I immediately got up and quickly pressed the play button. Then I heard Josef’s voice. He spoke, “Hey Mel. I know that we ended our call a little angry at one another. I didn’t mean to argue. I just want you to be happy and I know that you can’t


be happy when the person you love is on the other side of a Wall. I want you to go to sleep with someone by your side, have breakfast with them, lazy Sundays, someone that can give you little ones. I don’t want you to be alone anymore, hung up on me. I can hope that that man can be me but as things stand, I’m beginning to see that it might not be anymore. No matter what, you’re always my special girl from the time I was eighteen. That won’t change if you decide to love someone else. I want what’s best. I hope that you can find what can give you a future, bright as ever. I have to start heading out. I’ll talk to you later. Be safe when you’re out. I love you.” I wondered… if he knew he was going to die that night. Josef wouldn’t have left me like that… I meant too much to him. Though I couldn’t tell him myself, I knew sure as day that I loved him. I picked up the picture of Josef that I kept near my phone and kissed it. “I love you too you big dummy.” Allister Gonzalez


The Misadventures of Maddox By Ryan Laverty For over a year, Hoof City’s superhero, CandyPants, has made the streets safe. In the haze of the morning sun, light gleams off the skyscrapers in the mid-size city. From the shipping piers on the east side to the post-industrial chemical and pharmaceutical business centers of the west side, Hoof City wakes up to another day. In the Central Business District, CandyPants’ alter-ego, Kelly, sleeps in a penthouse loft. After a long battle with the vile Grumbler and finally bringing the villain to justice, CandyPants needs rest. Sustaining injuries, Kelly recuperates as her work falls behind and there is no sign of the hero in weeks. Kelly’s genetically modified sidekick cat, Maddox, yawns and stretches all his extra toes. From a young age, Maddox revealed a higher intelligence than normal cats. His reflexes enhanced, he could understand speech, and he gained the ability to communicate to Kelly. The light reflects off his sleek black fur while he wiggles his white and pink nose and whiskers. He turns his head to his mother, Kelly, as she continues to sleep. Maddox then turns to his sister, Jelly, and watches her looking up at the kitchen cabinet. He knows it is where their mother keeps the breakfast cat treats. Sneats are what they affectionately call them, and Maddox knows Jelly cannot resist them. He watches as Jelly jumps up and begins to paw at the cabinet. Maddox knows Jelly is stubborn with her special abilities and it creates animosity. He always felt his sister should do more to help their mother. Ever since their father left, Maddox feels he has to step in the be the “man of the house”. Sometimes he takes it too far and bullies Jelly. He continues to watch as the bag of sneats falls from the cabinet and Jelly, using her teeth, begins to pry it open. Maddox jumps down, walks towards Jelly, and waits. As soon as the bag is open, Maddox pounces on Jelly. He ignores his sister’s squeaks and hissing and he growls at her. Jelly gives up on breakfast, and with one final squeak she sashays away to start her own adventure. Maddox jumps on the bed and walks over the bedding, swishing his tail. He stops to frantically clean his paw. Maddox, being the persistent one, crawls onto Kelly while she begins to stir. “Meow,” announces Maddox. Kelly, half- asleep, reaches out and strokes the young cat’s fur. Maddox cries a little louder. “No, baby! Sleepy time. We’ll play later,” answers Kelly groggily. Maddox steps closer to Kelly’s face to rub his nose and whiskers on it. “Stop Maddox,” Kelly says while rubbing her face. The cat shakes his head briskly, reaches up with his paw, and swipes at Kelly’s face gently. She stirs and rolls over in bed. Maddox lowers his head and paws as he lifts his butt. His tail playfully bobs in the air and Maddox softly meows. With sudden speed, he pounces upon Kelly’s face. Maddox sits on the bed with pride, waiting for breakfast and more petting. Kelly yelps in pain and sits up holding her face. “Maddox! Bad kitty! I can’t believe you did that,” she scolds. Poor Maddox lowers his head at the site of blood falling down his mother’s


face. “That was not nice, Maddox. It is not time to play,” Kelly walks towards the bathroom to clean her wounds as Maddox lays down in guilt. All he wanted to do was play he thought sadly. Hours pass, and Kelly is working as a CEO of her company, Kel-Glomerate, that specializes in publishing and advertising. Maddox sits at home and monitors the Candy Computer, a hyper speed surveillance control center in the shape of a purple and blue ice cream cake. They use it to monitor for any criminal activity in Hoof City. Maddox’s ears pop up as a radio call begins over the police band. “Attention all officers, 211 in progress at Hoof City National Bank. Suspects are armed and dangerous. Assailants are known members of the BoneHead Crew. Please be advised and use extreme caution. Repeat, 211 in progress at the Hoof City National Bank.” Maddox meows in excitement and jumps down to press a button on the pink and yellow sugar cookie shaped Candy Communicator, a device using video that directly links Maddox to CandyPants. “What is it, Maddox?” growls Kelly. While flicking his tail, Maddox uses inflected meows to explain the radio call. “No, Maddox, the police are going to have to deal with it. I’m so behind schedule at work due to my pain, and I am still mad for what you did this morning,” explains Kelly. He flails his arms and continues to undulate the criminal activity to Can dyPants. “Do you see my face? You scratched me while I was asleep. You’re in trouble.” Maddox falls over, begins to stamp his paws, and gives a few growls. “You need to grow up, young man. You can’t throw a fit after what you did. You hurt me. You hurt your mother,” “Meow,” interrupts Maddox. “No buts! Go lay in your bed until you apologize for what you did,” demands Kelly as she shuts off her communicator. Maddox mewls in sadness. He stands up and returns to the Candy Computer, stopping to lick his right paw. While flicking his ears, Maddox contemplates the next move, as there has been a rise in crime since CandyPants has been out of commission. He knows the cops are no match for the BoneHead Crew. They are not the brightest, but they are very tough and will fire their guns at anybody in reckless glee. He wants to do the right thing as his claws tap the side of the table. He wants to be the hero his mother is. Maddox presses a button and releases yellow surveillance marshmallow Peeps to patrol the area near the Hoof City National Bank. Images of the BoneHead Crew shooting their way out of the bank appear onscreen. The villains manage to reach their getaway vehicle. Maddox voices his concern in a long meow. He looks over at the Candy Closet and, within its contents, holds a prototype suit, so he can join CandyPants in fighting crime. He lets out a cry and turns back to the violence on the screen. The decision made, Maddox bounds towards the Candy Closet, purring loudly. Outside the Hoof City National Bank, the BoneHead Crew make it to their getaway after the firefight with police. “Go! Let’s get out of here,” shouts a man in a green skull mask.


The wheels of the car spin in a rise of smoke and the car drives off. The police officers, coughing in the smoke, try to regain their wits. News reports turn their cameras across the scene. “Look! Up in the sky. It’s CandyPants,” cries a police officer. “No, it’s not. It’s just a cat in a costume,” the man turns to look up, “riding a, wait is that a purple unicorn?” He drops his head and says, “I need to move from this city.” It is not CandyPants, but her mechanical Unicorn with little Maddox upon the saddle, the wind bristling his fur and purple cape. Emblazoned on the cape is a piece of rolled candy wrapper, the symbol of CandyPants. Dark goggles adorn the young cat’s face, and on his feet red boots, custom made for his extra toes. Maddox authoritatively meows as the purple Unicorn swoops down towards the gang’s getaway car. Maddox crouches and pounces into the air as he makes his war cry and lands on the roof of the vehicle. The Unicorn flies off in silence returning home, and now Maddox, left with his reflexes, wits, and marshmallow Peeps, takes on the BoneHead Crew. All in Maddox’ s control, several dive-bombing purple Peeps litter the vehicle with small explosions. The blasts shatter windows and crack the windshield. A man in a blue skull mask looks up and shouts, “It’s CandyPants!” His fellow gang member in the yellow mask says, “No! It’s just a stupid cat,” as he fires his gun up through the ceiling of the car. Maddox cries out in fright and dodges bullets, using a roll technique and the “fainting goat” style, where he drops limp to fool and distract attackers. Meanwhile, at Kel-Glomerate Tower, an employee barges into Kelly’s office. “Ms. Kelly, you have got to see this! It’s so crazy,” she says, turning on the television. Kelly watches inquisitively as a reporter in a news chopper broadcasts live breaking news. “Yes, what you are seeing is true,” he says. “This is not CandyPants, but a cat dressed like CandyPants. He’s on top of the getaway car used by the robbers. This is amazing footage. Oh, look at his little cape and boots.” “On no,” whimpers Kelly. “What’s wrong Ms. Kelly?” asks the employee. “Nothing! Just I’m not feeling too well. I think I’ll go lay down,” says Kelly as she leads her employee out of the office and locks the door. As Kelly reaches for her emergency CandyPants suit, she talks to herself. “Maddox, what are you doing, you crazy cat? I’ll never forgive myself if you get hurt.” Across town in the west side of Hoof City, Maddox clings to the roof, still dodging bullets. The car starts to sharply swerve, and the hero loses his grip. Before jumping off with a swish of the cape, Maddox attaches a blue tracking Peep on the car. Upon landing, Maddox looks to his communicator. He knows how dangerous this is, and it may make his mother upset. It’s the right thing to do, decides Maddox with a meow. A little girl standing on the same curb stares at Maddox and says, “CandyPants? I thought you were taller and less hairy.” He replies with a grumpy vocalization and slinks away, following the tracking Peep. Maddox know his mother’s heroic deeds symbolizes hope for many citizens of Hoof City. The cat huffs quietly and reminds himself how much trouble he is in


when Mom finds out. He was always playing too much, ignoring his responsibility, and being mean to his sister. Maddox battles his anger towards the absence of his father. The man that Maddox barely knew had left his family. In impulsive reactions, Maddox hurts his family. In reality, it pains him too much making people he loves upset. In an old industrial warehouse, members of the BoneHead Crew are sitting at a roundtable counting their stolen money. Spirits are high, and they are all in a celebratory mood. With the real CandyPants conspicuously absent, brazen daylight robberies are fun and easy for the Bonehead Crew. “Did you see how scared CandyPants got? We sure got her,” says a man in a red skull mask. “I don’t know. I dealt with CandyPants. That wasn’t her. This was smaller, quicker,” says a man wearing a blue skull mask. You didn’t see the tail, the pointy ears. It walked on all fours.” he looked around to his gang. “You guys are so stupid. I need a new crew.” On the roof, Maddox sneaks in through an open window and listens in on the conversation. He scans the layout to find the best position and leaps to a corner rafter. Maddox clenches his claws and begins his heroic assault, but he slips and a ceiling light crashes to the floor. There are meows of frustration that resemble profanity. Below, the BoneHead Crew scramble to their feet and grab their guns as they all look to the ceiling. “That stupid cat is here,” exclaims the leader. “I don’t see it, boss,” says the man in the red mask. Above, Maddox crouches in silence, watching the gang spread out with weapons pointing to the sky. The cat smiles as he comes up with a plan and silently jumps to another rafter. On the warehouse floor, the BoneHead Crew are sweating in anxious fear. The lights go out, enveloping everything in black. They were now blind as their fear grows. A haunting meow echoes through the building. “Where the hell is it?” asks the leader in confusion. Two members let out a shriek of fright as they bump into each other in the darkness. From a different point in the building, there is another eerie meow. Disorientation settles in the minds of the BoneHead Crew. Panic begins to turn their legs to Jell-O. This is what Maddox wants. He is not blind and sees everything. Leaping from rafter to rafter, Maddox fills the room with mocking meows. “Forget this! Get ‘em boys,” commands the gang leader. They begin to shoot at the ceiling with their high-powered weapons. Light sprinkles through the bullet holes. Maddox easily avoids detection and continues to dodge bullets. Pieces of ceiling begin to fall in clouds of dust. The halogen lights fall with loud crashes as glass rains down on the gang. The old warehouse cannot hold up against the violent onslaught. Maddox finally understands what it feels like to be a hero, to do the right thing, to handle responsibilities. Outside on a nearby roof kneels CandyPants. She turns her head to the sounds of gunfire, blasting from a warehouse. “Oh No, Maddox,” she cries, diving off the building. Upon landing, she runs toward the warehouse. The roof creaks and the begins to crumble and, finally, there is a cave-in. CandyPants shields herself from the debris and dust using her cape.


“Maddox!” yells CandyPants as she jumps into the settling dust. Continuing to move forward, she coughs and, step by step, searches for Maddox. She hears a groan beneath pieces of concrete and kicks over the rocks, revealing a member of the BoneHead Crew. “Where’s my cat?” demands the hero as she grabs the man. “You gotta save me. That cat is insane!” She lets him go in disgust to continue her search. “Maddox, come here boy,” she calls. “What did I do? I should have never yelled at you. I am so sorry my sweet boy. When I find you I’ll just cover you in kisses and give you extra sneats.” CandyPants continues to move debris in a desperate rescue of Maddox. A few feet away in a corner of the rubble, the debris stirs. Using all his strength and his paws, Maddox emerges. He is dusty, but otherwise unhurt. He shakes off the excess dirt and views Candy Pants on her knees, moving rocks. “Meow,” he says in a soft cry. Hoof City’s Hero lifts her head and smiles ecstatically. “Lovebug,” she says, stepping over debris to get to Maddox. He leaps into his mother’s arms as she spins him around in a great big embrace. “Let’s go home, boy.” In the evening, at Kelly’s home, Jelly and Maddox are busy licking themselves clean. “Did you guys enjoy the extra wet food,” asks Kelly, drying her hair after a shower. They each reply in a meow and squeak, and they start to purr. Maddox sits proudly as he looks to his sister and rubs his head against her, giving her a small kiss. He has learned that hurting his family is wrong, and he needs to protect his sister and mother. This is what it means to take responsibility and respect your loved ones. Maddox knows he is not ready to fight crime, but he can still be the “man of the house” and truly show his love towards his family. He purrs loudly. Kelly calls her cats to bed and they each jump into it and settle in cozy, fuzzy balls of fluff. Kelly shuts off the lights and gives Jelly and Maddox a scratch beneath each their chins. “Good night babies, love you!”


Control, Cope, and Concentrate By Caitlyn Connelly Someone once told me: Control what you can, Cope with what you can’t and Concentrate on what counts. So often we worry and stress about things that are out of our control, which then causes unneeded stress, fear, and anxiety that can be crippling. However, if you focus your energy on the things you can control and let go of the things you cannot control, you will feel better and possibly be happier and healthier. I can’t change the fact that I have cerebral palsy. I can’t make people say “Hi!” to me or include me. I can’t make my pain go away. I can’t change the fact that some of the people that I thought would be in my life for a very long time are no longer in it. That is my reality. If I dwell on it for too long, I start to feel angry and powerless. Guess what you are in control of? Your attitude Your effort Your choices Guess what 90% of success is derived from? Your attitude Your effort Your choices Life is always going to happen, but you get to choose how you react to it! Always!


An Act of Kindness   By Meghan Rakus

“I’m going to Home Depot.” As I sit at the kitchen table beside my sister, we both ignore him standing at the doorway getting ready to leave. Instead, I focus on the weatherman reporting the “snowstorm of the century”. All I can think about is the fifteen to twenty inches me, my mom, and sister are going to have to shovel on a corner property and the three cars we will have to dig out. Oh, and don’t forget the driveway. Jeez, where’s summer already? It doesn’t help that we only have two shovels. Since my mom is terrified to drive in the snow, it’s too late to go to the store and get another one. The three of us will just have to take turns and make due with what we have. “Can you pick us up another snow shovel?” My sister and I sit at the table in shock that our mom would actually ask. It’s been an unspoken rule to not ask for anything unless there’s no other alternative. You admittedly see his face redden, making his freckles disappear in anger. But for some reason my anger isn’t directed towards the man bitching about picking up a snow shovel at a store he’s already going to. Instead, I turn my anger towards my mother. She knows better than to ask. “Fine.” He has the power to let the one whispered word fill the house. It feels like a bomb was just dropped and we are now just waiting for the explosion. As he walks out the door, I begin to have hope that he’ll actually do this act of kindness. My sister and I are no longer watching the reports of the snow on TV; instead, we are now watching the little white flakes fall outside the window. When we hear the front door hours later, his presence fills the house. What was laughter and smiles is quickly turned to silence and emotionless faces. It feels like being present in a cold dark room and someone blowing out the only candle left. “I left it outside with the other shovels. It should help with the heavy snow.” My mom doesn’t hesitate to give him the million dollar smile. The one I’ve admired since I can remember. The smile that makes even the saddest human feel warmth and love. A few hours later, I see the final crystals of snow float to the ground with just as much elegance and grace as the other billions of flakes that have fallen before it. One by one, my neighbors begin to disperse from their homes to begin to shovel the two feet of snow. As I, my mom, and sister go outside, we see the newest shovel standing perfectly against the flower bed. I feel like I just got punched in the stomach. Pressure below my eyes begins to form from the tears. My arms and fingers begin to tense like my veins have been filled with adrenaline. All three of us stand and stare at the foot wide garden shovel - a shovel that is incapable of shoveling snow. I refuse to look at the faces of my mom and sister. I know my mom’s flawless smile will be stolen by this act of misery. I know my sister will be hiding her tears that have been created out of years of pain. “I’ll use it.” I quickly grab the shovel hoping that if one of us begins to act like it’s no big deal it will magically be okay. Once again, all I can do is pray that the candle that has been repeatedly burnt out due to someone else’s hatred will be reignited.


I quickly realize how bad this shovel really is. The snow falls off before I can fully lift it off the ground. I consider just using my hands instead. It’s taking me ten times longer than it should. I see neighbors begin to go into their houses feeling accomplished that hours of work is official done. The only thing that gets me to keep shoveling is the anger. As the sun begins to set, I see the neighbor across the street approaching me. The cold air has made his face red as his winter coat. He looks as tired as I am. He finished his own property hours ago but continued to shovel others’ homes to help. He stops and just looks at me with can be perceived as anger and sadness, but since almost everyone spent hours clearing pathways to walk, I think nothing of it. “Here. Use this instead.” He holds out the snow shovel. But I don’t want help. I refuse to accept this act of kindness. I refuse to get sympathy. I didn’t ask for pity. “No. It’s fine.” “Take it. You can’t use that.” Trust me. I know.


NEW CHAPTERS By Anita Flynn Chapter I Life is hard. Not in a being slammed by a wave kind of hard. It is hard because of the grain of sand that rubs the skin raw between your toes. Big disappointments force a body blow that brings you to your knees, but eventually you know you have to stand up again. But the little jabs – these take a toll on you, almost at first unnoticed. And then one day, you realize that you have all these nicks and cuts and little bruises that stop you dead in your tracks. You’re tired of dealing with all the drama and angst that others have put on your plate. Petty grievances and minutiae have drained you from caring. This isn’t a matter of deciding if it’s time to stand up again. It’s a matter of deciding if you want to bother trying. And so was Jake’s fate. He had had it with all the mediating and negotiating at work and at home. The thought of walking out didn’t scare him, but the thought of having to make it through one more holiday with his on-again/off-again partner and all her neediness was abhorrent to him. And work. What was it about his job that had drawn him there? He had no power, real or symbolic. Phantom deadlines came and went and no one blinked an eye. Nothing was really important. He and the rest of the corporate robots had no impact. Things would hum along in mediocrity if he was at the helm or not. He needed to make a clean break, take the body blow so to speak, so that he could put an end to the grain of sand that constantly rubbed between his toes. So, at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, he emailed Human Resources of his decision and locked the door on his office for the last time. At 4:31 he left a message for Karen saying he needed some space and thought it would be better if she stayed her distance. At 4:32 he hailed a cab to the airport to start his new life, shaking the grain of sand from between his toes for the first time. Chapter II The 737 had landed. Cell phones were pulled out as if being incommunicado had been a hardship equal to life imprisonment. Luggage came flying down from the overheads and passengers trudged up the aisle to escape into the airport chaos, spreading out into the world to start new chapters, new relationships or new arguments. Jake neither turned on his phone nor carried a bag. This was the most liberated he had felt in years and he took a moment to relish the feeling. He wanted to skip out the door but the flight attendants and co-pilot were standing there chatting about dinner plans, so he just said thank you and strolled out the door with a smile slowly spreading across his face. Chapter III Jake poured himself a whiskey and stepped onto the balcony. Dusk was descending on the island but the beach still was full of laughter and music. He was tempted to turn on his phone but did not want to spoil the moment with what he knew would be a


barrage of beeps and question marks. He turned his back on the ocean and peered into the condo. Not bad, not bad at all for a transaction that was initiated and consummated via the internet. Buying the sample with all the decorator touches cost a bit more but saved him from the “I’m not sure I’m staying” message that empty walls and beige paint conveyed. He didn’t know what his style was but what was already here was comfortable. It felt like home. This might have been the first time in his adulthood that he could state that. He ambled around from bedroom to bedroom and from kitchen to bath. He hated clichés to denote feelings but had to admit he felt the need to pinch himself to believe this was all true. He laid down on the sofa and stared out the sliding glass doors at the horizon. The last thing he saw before falling into the deepest sleep he ever had was the sun winking goodbye as the moon took over the nightshift. Chapter IV He was right. His phone was a hurricane of messages and voicemails, swirling through cyberspace until they hit land when he powered on. Sometimes the best course of action is to not take any action at all. He had been trained to respond to a question, even if he didn’t have the right answer – or the answer the questioner wanted. He needed to break that habit. Let them ask two, three or four times. Eventually either he or they would give in, but not today. Today was his to enjoy. Perfectly executing his plan these last 48 hours had filled him with a confidence and exuberance he couldn’t contain. It was time to get to know his new world and the people who made it tick. He promised himself he would only be as friendly as he needed to be to break the monotony but not to get caught up in any emotional ties. He couldn’t make that mistake again because there would be nowhere to run the next time. Chapter V He sat at the bar and counted the dollar bills stapled to the backboard above the barmaid’s head. He asked to borrow a pen and wrote his name with a flourish on one of the bills from the pile in front of him and asked that it be added to the menagerie. Anna gave him a wink and a smile as she stretched to staple his bill on the far righthand corner. There. He now had an investment in this property. Anna walked over and poured him a shot. “It’s on the house” she said and gave him another smile. “What’s the occasion?”, Jake asked. “It’s just a welcome home gift”, she replied. As he tried to continue the friendly banter, he heard a buzzing noise from inside his head. Was it the Tequila? It grew louder and louder and then his eyes flashed open. He looked out the window and saw snow falling and heard the winds howling through his old wooden window frames. What the hell! Where was Anna, and where was his dollar bill? He looked around the room and reality came crashing down on him. This was the biggest body blow he ever encountered. But he knew he would eventually stand up and move on. However, the grain of sand between his toes would rub his skin raw for days and weeks and years to come.


Hurt And Recollection By Patrick Murray

We drove in silence, but only because Emma and Junior were fast asleep in the backseat. As I drove past the rolling green hills on either side of us, I glanced once or twice at Jennifer next to me; she was staring dreamily out the window, her blonde hair tied behind her head in a ponytail, her bright gray eyes unmoving. God knows what she was thinking at the moment, not that I particularly wanted to know. If there was one thing I learned quickly about my wife after we met, it was that she would speak her mind in due time; there was no use trying to dig for answers. We were going to my parents’ house for their annual summer get-together with us. They lived about six hours south, so we only had time to see them at large family gatherings. When Emma was born, my mother basically made it a family law to bring the kids and come see her and my father on his birthday every year, July 30th. I wanted to object, but Jennifer eventually convinced me that it was a great idea, for the kids if nothing else. So, here we were, six years, another baby, and countless hours of driving later. I actually don’t mind coming here, I thought to myself as I pulled up next to their house; it was a nice middle-class home, a home they bought not long after my father retired when I married Jennifer. Neighbors were few and far between. The area surrounding the house was relatively large and open, mainly due to the fact that an enormous housing complex was in the works, due to be built later that year. From the backseat, I heard Emma say, “I missed Pop-Pop and Grandmom. I want to show them my drawing.” I carried Junior up to the front porch while Jennifer helped Emma find her drawing (it was all six of us standing in front of my parent’s house in crayon, pretty standard stuff). When they found it, they joined us in front of the door as I rang the bell and waited for my mother to greet us. Jennifer was silent and seemed to be somber as well; at that point I knew something wasn’t right, but I refused to press the issue there and then. My mother, God bless her, ran to the door shrieking and excited. Her hair-long and gray, except for where stubborn brown streaks remained-- followed closely behind. She took baby Junior from my hands and kissed each one of us on the cheek before telling us to come in and cool off. She gave Jennifer an extra hug and kiss; they had been extremely close ever since I invited my mother to my apartment to meet her one night an eternity ago. My mother escorted us all into the living room, where my father was sitting and watching baseball. He quickly, almost comically, stood up when he noticed us all standing there in the reflection of the television. He was wearing a plaid shirt and khakis; I was well aware that my mother probably forced him to dress up today, but he didn’t seem to mind. He shook my hand firmly, pulled me in for a hug, and inquired, “How’s everything going, bud?” “Same old stuff. Work’s a little tough right now, though. Happy birthday,” I replied. I felt awkward saying it. “Thank you! Hey, I’m sure it’s nothing you can’t handle, you’ve had that job since you graduated college!” my father said jovially, and at that he turned to speak to Jennifer and the kids.


In all honesty, I knew he was right. I worked in the same office for at least ten years, slowly working my way up the corporate ladder; it was a very nice but tedious, typical office job with a little bit of marketing work thrown in for flavor. I met Jennifer in the same building. She originally worked as a secretary in the law office on the 30th floor, and our relationship started with a chance encounter on an elevator. I was on my way up to my floor, and she got on with me. My first thought was that she was beautiful, in a rigid and thoughtful sort of way. I made a quick joke about how I was out of shape (I only needed to go up to seven). She laughed, and the rest was history. After Junior was born, she said she wanted to find a better job. I didn’t stop her because it sounded like her mind was made up. That was a few months ago, and she was making good progress in the hunt. “Why don’t we eat lunch?” my mother said, pulling me from my thoughts. “I know you two and the poor babies had a long trip here.” “Yes, great idea,” Jennifer replied before I could. She glanced at me indirectly and gave me a weak smile. Something was terribly wrong today, I could feel it. Instead of looking back at her, I decided to fix my eyes on a golden clock on the wall above the TV, wondering if it had always been there. The time was stuck at half past seven; the hand that counted the seconds moved very slowly, past the six, past the seven, past the eight, and then fell abruptly back to the six and repeated the process. It was almost calming. Lunch was very strange; everyone was quiet for a while, especially Jennifer. My mother tried asking her how the job search was going, and she said “Good…” as she played with the crust of her sandwich. My father tried to break the uncomfortable silence by talking to me about baseball. “Uh… yeah, the Reds are looking good this year. Really putting the bat on the ball,” I mumbled. I hated baseball. Basketball was the only sport I really followed, and even now I didn’t have much time to watch it because of work and the kids. Junior suddenly started to cry pretty violently, so Jennifer quickly got up, told everyone else to relax and sit down, and that she was going to change Junior and walk him around the house. “Oh! Let me come with you, I can show you the new bathroom tiles,” my mother said. Normally Jennifer would have responded enthusiastically, but instead she just nodded slowly and said, “Okay, sure.” She walked out of the kitchen with Junior in her arm. Emma asked if she could go play in the backyard, which I immediately agreed was a good idea because the weather was so nice. It was too quiet when she left, so after about a minute my father said, “You okay?” “Me? Yeah, yeah I’m fine,” I replied far, far too quickly. I darted my eyes from one wall of the kitchen to the next nervously, wondering just what the hell was wrong with Jennifer. His expression changed from one of joy to somberness as he said, “Are you and Jennifer doing all right?” It was the first time anyone had asked me something like that in our entire relationship. We had never had any problems in the past, save for the normal married couple’s arguments about bills, the kids… the list goes on. But never any immediately concerning issues, so I replied, “Absolutely, never better. I just don’t think she’s feeling well today.” “Oh, well alright then,” my father said with that huge smile of his. He was always one for avoiding problematic conversation; the sooner he could talk about something more pleasant, the better. Although I loved him very much for that, even I


had to admit it was one of his most prominent flaws. He continued to talk about baseball, about how the Reds needed to change their starting lineup and give the backup shortstop some time on the field (“He has so much potential, that kid”, he said), but I was only half-listening to him. After about two or three more minutes of this, I decided it was time to check on Jennifer and the baby. “Good idea, good idea... I’m gonna go catch the rest of the game,” my father said. “Don’t worry about Emma, I’ll be able to see her through the window.” I looked around the whole first floor and could find neither of them, so I made my way slowly upstairs. The stairs met the hallway at its center; the bedrooms were on the left side, and a bathroom and closet were on the other. I checked the bathroom first, but was met with silence and emptiness. That was when I heard loud whispering from the other end of the hall. To this day, I still don’t know how I didn’t hear it sooner. It was the kind of whisper that is clearly loud enough to hear, the kind that pierces the ear and demands to be heard whether one wants to or not. I inched my way toward the noise’s source. It ended behind the closed door of my parents’ bedroom. I could faintly hear Junior fidgeting in Jennifer’s arms, but she wasn’t the one whispering - my mother was. “What the **** do you mean ‘might not be his’?” she said scathingly. “Exactly what I said, Eleanor,” I heard Jennifer barely reply audibly. “You named him after your husband! My son!” my mother said, the volume and urgency in her voice increasing with each word. “When are you going to break this marvelous news to him? As a matter of fact, why didn’t you tell him first?” “I don’t know… I couldn’t bear to do that, Eleanor. I’ve always been close to you and I guess I just needed a practice run or-” “Well if you don’t tell him soon, I will. I’d just like you to know, once you leave tonight, you will never be welcomed into this house again.” I couldn’t listen anymore. I quietly shuffled away from the door as they continued to talk in whispers. I was dizzy and nauseous with an icy pain in my stomach. I don’t even remember walking down the stairs back into the living room. I don’t remember sitting on the loveseat adjacent to my father’s recliner. I don’t remember what was happening at the baseball game he was watching. All I remember is looking at that clock above the TV and immediately being struck with three memories. The first brought me back to Junior year of high school. I was the captain of our varsity basketball team, and I wasn’t half bad. It was the semifinal of the playoffs, and we were getting destroyed in the first half, thirty to seven. I remembered my mother and father in the crowd, my mother covering her eyes with her hands and shaking her head while my father screamed my name as I shot a gorgeous three-pointer from the top of the key. We were losing, true, but I didn’t care at that point because that was and still is the best shot I’ve ever made. The next memory took me to The National Museum of American Jewish History. There was an exhibit on a man named Billy Graham, and my father wanted me to take the road trip with him from Cleveland to Philadelphia to see it. Jennifer and I had just started dating a few weeks prior, so we brought her with us. I remember walking through the exhibit and seeing the certificate stating the maximum capacity by law hanging on the far-right wall’s corner: 730 people. I also remembered seeing my father cry when he saw another father and his very young son looking at a display for Janis Joplin. They were listening to her music through a pair of headphones hooked up to


the wall. The son was looking up at his father and nodding his head to the wonderful and powerful music that was invading his ears. That night on the ride home, with Jennifer fast asleep in the backseat, I asked my father why he cried back there. “It’s just nice to see kids still enjoying real music,” he said quietly. “She was such a wonderful artist, that Janis Joplin. So much power in what she was singing. So much emotion, you could feel it, too, if you really listened. She passed too soon Christopher, just like Jimi Hendrix, just like all the rest of them.” He started to tear up again, but stopped himself by gesturing to Jennifer with his head and whispering, “I like her.” The third and final memory struck me the hardest. I was sitting in the living room of the apartment Jennifer and I shared. She was pregnant with Emma, due any day. We were talking about how amazing our honeymoon was, how Miami turned out to be a pretty solid choice of escape on our part. She was just telling me about how swimming with the dolphins was her favorite part when she sucked in her breath - her water broke. I remember gently helping her off of the couch and walking her slowly down the flights of steps to my car outside. Her contractions started coming hard and fast, and she squeezed the life out of my hand the entire time I drove. I tried to distract her from the pain. “What are we naming her?” I asked as calmly as I could. “I don’t ….AAAAAAAAAH OOOOOOOOOH…..know,” she replied, squeezing my hand even tighter. “How about Eleanor?” I asked. “No, Chris, we already agreed we would name our next one after someone from your side of the family if it was a boy oh my Goooooood drive faster,” she said through gritted teeth. “How about Emma? After your grandmother?” She said nothing, just continued to breathe heavily, so I took that as a yes and kept driving as fast as I could. We got to the hospital at exactly 7:30 PM, and Emma Grace was born two hours later. “Christopher? Christopher!” I was so lost in my own head that I couldn’t hear my father calling my name from his recliner. I looked out the window and saw Emma with a soccer ball in the backyard; she was fine. I looked my father right in his eyes. It was extremely difficult to do, and that bothered me. I was so afraid that I would break down once I looked at him, so scared to open up to him the way he had so many times with me in the past. Eventually, after what seemed like hours, my eyes met his as I heard the fans cheer on TV. “Whatever is going on, it’ll all work itself out,” he said to my surprise before I could speak. “It ain’t my business. I know you can do it.” Then, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders as if to brush the issue off completely, he looked at that golden clock and said, “It’s always 7:30 in here. Did you ever notice that? The damndest thing…” My eyes became cloudy with tears as he turned again to look at me and smiled; I could faintly hear footsteps on the stairs.


Writing Away the Pain By Taylor Adair I don’t normally keep a journal or write about my feelings, but people tell me it will help “what I’m going through.” Writing this down just makes it so much more real and permanent. Your face, your eyes, your smell. I reach my hand out for you still and I cry for you still. When I wake up in the morning, I roll over thinking I am going to see you. But all there is just empty space. I reach out and rub my hand along your side of the bed. Every day is slow and painful and repetitious. It has come to the point where I can’t even feel my tears stream down my face anymore. Your clothes are still in the drawers and hanging in the closet. Your toothbrush still sits in the cup and you razor rests in the medicine cabinet. Sometimes when I shower, I use your soap and shampoo to still smell you. As soon as those fumes fill my lungs I exhale and slide to the ground. I sit soaking wet on the cold tile sobbing. Everything reminds me of you and it is so painful. But I always want to remember you, even if that means crying endlessly. That night, the moment it all happened is burned into my mind as if someone had branded my brain with it. I still shake thinking about it. I still freeze in fear about it. I guess I’ll write about it. They say writing about it helps. I’ll write about that night. We had been married for five years, and they weren’t easy years. You were in active duty for the army, and when you were deployed, I was so scared. But when you left, you promised me you would come back to me. All I could do was have faith in you. I wanted to believe with every bone in my body you would come back. Before you left, you grabbed a picture of me and you said you would keep it with you while you were gone for those eighteen months. Eighteen months. It felt like an eternity of stress and anxiety. But I wouldn’t have changed marrying you for any reason. When we first met you were cute and sweet and confident. I fell so hard for you instantly, and ever since that day, it has always been you. You made me feel like I was the only girl in the world and you made me feel so special. That night we met at the bar, I took you home and I can still feel your hand sliding into mine. I can still feel our first kiss as if it was just yesterday. But when we got back to my place, you didn’t want to use me or take advantage of me, you wanted to kiss me soft and slow and treat me like a lady. I can’t even put into words how much of a gentleman you were. I’m getting carried away; that’s not the night I wanted to write about. Let me try again. So, you deployed to fight for our country and I waited at home month after month for your return. I received your letters, but sometimes you couldn’t send me a letter and I would panic. My friends would have to come over and hold me as I cried at the thought that you might have died. But then a letter would come and I could breathe again. Finally, month eighteen had arrived and it was your day to come home. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or drink. I couldn’t do anything but wait for you. I sat in the living room in the silence watching the clock tick by. Then, breaking the silence was a knock at the door. I squeezed my eyes shut and hesitated. I was about to see your face for the first time in eighteen months. Slowly, I approached the door and opened it. There you were standing in uniform smiling like you had never left. You said, “I told you I would come back to you.” And you reached into your pocket and pulled out my picture. It was worn and bent, and I could see it was loved. I jumped into your arms and you spun me around and we kissed. For the first time in eighteen months we


had kissed. I felt like I was flying. My husband had made it home safely back to me where he belonged. You better believe we went up to that bedroom and didn’t leave it for three days. But, I’m getting off topic again. This isn’t the day I wanted to talk about either. Eight months after you got back, I was almost ready to deliver our baby girl. It was the anniversary of your army buddy’s passing. Every night on that date you would go to the cemetery and put a six pack on his grave and just talk to him. As you were about to leave, you turned to me and said, “You know I don’t have to go. Maybe I should stay here with you. What if you go into labor?” I shook my head, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry about me. I am going to be fine. Now get out of here.” You smiled back and we kissed good-bye. You told me you loved me and then you kissed my belly and told our little girl “Daddy loves you so much.” Then you hopped on your motorcycle and drove off. I closed the door with a smile and thought how lucky I was to have you. A couple hours passed and I was in the kitchen when my water broke. I panicked and didn’t know what to do, so I called an ambulance. I knew the cemetery was too far away for you to get me. When the ambulance arrived, I called you on my way to the hospital. You sounded so happy on the phone, and you told me that you would be by my side by the time I was ready to deliver. I was dilated and ready to give birth. But you weren’t there yet. I told the nurse I couldn’t go until you were there. She said I couldn’t wait any longer or the baby would go into distress, so she took me to the delivery room. It was time to push and I kept saying I couldn’t until you were here. I needed you by my side and you weren’t there. I was so mad at you. But, I couldn’t wait any longer so I pushed and our little girl was born. They took me back to my room and I continued to wait for you. My parents were with me telling me everything was going to be okay and I needed to relax. At that moment a cop had entered my room and I felt like I was going to throw up. Before he could speak I kept asking where you were and if you were okay. His eyes looked heavy and tears flooded into mine. Then he spoke, “I’m so sorry. You husband was in a car accident.” I asked if he was okay and the cop just stared at me then continued, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but as your husband was driving on his motorcycle a minivan was making a turn. They didn’t see him coming at them and he hit the minivan. Unfortunately, your husband died on impact and weren’t able to save him.” I started shaking furiously and I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry. I was frozen. I looked at my parents as if they had the answer, but they didn’t even know what to do. I screamed out, “NOOOOOO!” as I tried ripping the wires from me so I could get to you. This couldn’t be happening. I just spoke to you on the phone and you promised you›d be there. You survived the war, but the place you were supposed to be safe is where you died. Everything felt like slow motion and I couldn’t stop screaming for you, thinking the louder I yelled maybe just maybe you would hear me. That night was a year ago today, and I went to your grave today with our one-year-old daughter. She will never get to know her daddy. She will never get to feel your touch or hear your voice. I feel so sorry for her, but I will tell her stories of you so she knows just how amazing you were. I held our daughter and stared at your grave and I could feel you there with us. For a quick second, I felt like we were a family again. I will always love you and I will never forget you. As long as my heart continues to beat, you will be alive and you will never ever be forgotten. I promise I will return to you one day. I promise.



James Acton After serving in the Air Force, Jim Acton worked for the National Security Agency. After that, he worked in Public Relations at Verizon, formerly Bell Atlantic. In 2003, he retired from Verizon and began teaching part-time. He teaches Public Speaking and English Composition. Jim is a graduate of Eastern College, LaSalle University, and Immaculata University. Taylor Adair Taylor Adair is a senior at Holy Family University. She played soccer all four years for the women’s soccer team while attending the University. Her major is digital forensics with a minor in criminal justice. She only has one more semester until she is set to graduate in May of 2018. Taurai Augustin Taurai Augustin is a biology major and senior here at Holy Family University. Some of his hobbies include writing, photography, poetry, running, soccer and soon to be reading. He also was born and raised in a small island called Saint Lucia. Jazmine Babuch Jazmine Babuch is a criminal justice major. During her free time, she likes to write and bake. She plans to work with the court system or be a correction or probation officer after graduation. Caitlyn Connelly Caitlyn Connelly is a junior studying Communications at Holy Family University. She loves reading and writing, and hopes to make a difference in the world around her. Caitlyn founded the student group IDEA, Interdisciplinary Disability Education and Acceptance, on campus to bridge the gap between students of all abilities based on her own experiences with cerebral palsy. Connor Crafton-Tempel Connor Crafton-Tempel is an Emergency Medical Technician and amateur photographer in Freehold, New Jersey who has travelled around the continent, taking pictures of whatever sights she saw. He has taken pictures of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in New Mexico and the Florida Keys, to a Honduran school he helped build. Sister Doloretta Dawid Sister Doloretta Dawid, CSFN, Professor Emerita of Holy Family University where she taught French and Italian for many years also enjoys writing poetry. Her poems speak of the spiritual, the family and nature. Thomas DiMarcantonio Tom DiMarcantonio is a Junior Business Intelligence student here at Holy Family. He volunteers much of his time with Habitat for Humanity and The Sisters of Life. Tom is also a member of the school’s club baseball team and is very involved with the Cam-


pus Ministry group, the Buddys.     Nicole Patrice Dul  Nicole Patrice Dul, MFA is an artist, educator and entrepreneur. Her artwork examines social geography through printmaking, photography, painting and mixed media. Her artworks take the form of haunted panoramas of institutional and domestic edifices; spaces that retain boundaries yet command interactions between life and death, past and present.  Christopher Michael Ewing  Christopher Michael Ewing is a very strong-hearted and independent man. He is truly a man of humble compassion and has showed sympathy for the people who share in this life we have been given. He graduated from Father Judge High School in 2015 with a GPA of 3.9, and received a scholarship from Holy Family University, to which he attended that fall.

Anita Flynn Anita Flynn is a resident of Philadelphia, earning an undergraduate degree in Marketing from the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science and a MS in Information Systems Management from Holy Family University. Her first published submission to Folio was in 2014. She also has provided content to,, Demand Media Studios and Supervision Magazine. 

Connie Flynn Connie Flynn is part of the Holy Family alumni. She graduated in 2013 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Ed. English and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in education at Holy Family as well. Throughout her many years at Holy Family, she feels as though they have helped her grow both as a person and educator. She currently teaches 7th grade in a Catholic elementary school and enjoys every minute of it.  Jonathan Fredlund   Jonathan Fredlund is a photographer, editor, and musician from the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia.   Lawrence Goldberg  This is Lawrence’s fourth submission in the Folio and his second as an amateur photographer Lawrence is a HFU Alumni class of 2015. 

Rosa Gonzalez Rosa Gonzalez is proud to be graduating. She has been writing for nearly eleven years. She takes pride in her work. She pressures herself to write as much as she can because she has the potential to do great things. She looks to publish an original story or volume of works one day. “Winter Cold” is a very modern piece. She takes into account a lot of the struggles within the last ten years. These issues have been around longer than she has been alive. But they have grown in severity in the last ten years. It›s shocking. So, she feels this poem will be insightful to those who are in the dark. “Von Krebs” is her third and final submission. “Winter Cold” and “Chaotic” were poems that were


insightful to the human condition and human struggle. “Von Krebs” was originally an assignment. But it held a place in her heart. It is a time piece, taking place during the time of the Cold War. It shows how love can exist, despite the distance between.

Mary Ellen Graham Mary Ellen Graham never perceived herself as a “writer,” as a teacher and communicator, yes, but “writer” no. Her publications ranged from newspaper articles to promotional pieces with forays into grant writing and workplace documents. Occasionally her faith community would elicit a reflection, a liturgical prayer, even a homily. But poetry came only at rare moments of engagement, with life altering circumstances—and perhaps a visitation from a muse. The two poems that appear in this publication are the result of such occasions. Carol Gulliver Carolyn Gulliver is a junior nursing major that draws inspiration from the world around her. 

Amanda Gurecki Mandi Gurecki is a Junior Criminal Justice/Psychology double major. She enjoys writing as a way to relax, and strives to live by the words of William Faulkner – “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” – and Pier Giorgio Frassati – “Verso l’alto!”  Fred Hansberry  Fred Hansberry is 40 years old and about to begin his Senior year in the Spring 2018 semester here at Holy Family. Fred is a Psychology major who›d like to one day be the director of a clinic or rehab facility. He like movies, music and long walks on the beach.  Writing helps him unload and lighten the weight of his mind. 

Warren Hope and Robert F. Boughner   Warren Hope teaches English as an adjunct at Holy Family and tutors writing in the CAE. The late Robert F. Boughner was a professor of Classics and head of the Humanities Department at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where Hope used to teach. In retirement, they worked together on English versions of epigrams by the Roman poet Martial from the first century of the Christian Era. Their translation of an epigram Martial addressed to his friend Julius Martial is an appropriate example of their work.     Dr. James Huber  James R. Huber, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at Holy Family University. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice for over 25 years, Dr. Huber loves to hike in nature and explore new cities with his wife and camera.  Josephine Johney  Josephine Johney is a freshman nursing major. Poetry is the best way of expressing herself. She loves how she can express her feelings through words. «A Girl With A Broken Wing» is a poetry about a girl who experiences so much pain.  


Ryan Keller  Ryan Keller is an alumnus of Holy Family University Class of 2017. HFU molded him into a leader in their community, to now make him a leader in his community. He works in Philadelphia’s City Hall. The Color of Our Sky is the view from the very top.    Bridget Klein   Bridget Klein is a self-taught artist. She is a doctoral student at American University studying Anthropology, a field that focuses on collecting people’s stories. She is also an American Sign Language/English Interpreting instructor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. She is introvert, all day she is working at university. Teaching classes, have meetings, grading videos, typing my PhD work, developing PowerPoints for the workshop and planning for her lecture for next class. All day she would be socializing with people, she just needs to have timeout to recharge her energy, so she can have energy to do her best for next day. When she is done for the day, she just wants to come to her quite home. Her favorite place is in the kitchen sitting at the kitchen table, this space is her “charge” for her energy. Of course, with the cat too.  Ryan Laverty   Ryan Laverty is a third-year Secondary Education-English student. He works at a hotel, in the Old City section of Philadelphia. While at home, he spends his time reading, watching television, and spending time with his fiancée Kelly and their six cats: Jelly, Snickers, Bandit, Persephone, Penelope, and of course Maddox.  Sarah Maloy   Sarah is a psychology major and a sophomore at Holy Family. She has always had an interest in art, music, and literature and often paints as a hobby. She has been keeping up with these hobbies for a few years and plans to continue with them in her spare time.  Molly McAtee  Molly McAtee is an English major at Holy Family University and a graduate from Harry S. Truman High School. She is also an aspiring author and editor. She has been writing since as long as she can remember and hopes to continue doing so for the rest of her life. 

Kathryn McCarty   Kathryn McCarty is a senior Communications student and also Vice President of Academic Engagement for SGA. This photo was taken while on the bay in Wildwood NJ, where Kathryn likes to relax and spend her summers!  Megan McDermott  Megan McDermott is a senior at Holy Family and is eagerly anticipating the completion of her degree in English. Although she’s written several short stories, this is her first entry in the Poetry category. Upon graduation, Megan not only strives to launch her writing career, but also looks to secure a career in theater and film production.  Colin McKeon  


Colin McKeon is a freshman at Holy Family University majoring in Visual Arts. He has an interest in making song lyric based drawings and paintings. The painting, Castle on the Hill, itself was one of his most difficult ones to make because coming up with the concept he sees one thing, but the end result is completely different, and he was extremely happy with the end result.     Rowena Millan  Rowena Millan works as a Benefits Review Nurse for the TRICARE Overseas Program of International SOS. On her free time, she loves to read, write and take snapshots of her travels around the world. She enjoys checking out architectural designs, do simple DIY projects and loves to sing on her old karaoke machine.  Saba Mufti  Saba Mufti is a junior and pre-med student at Holy Family University. She grew up and lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania all her life with her family. She has a passion for writing creative short stories as well as poems when given the chance because it allows her to draw out her imagination. She especially loves anything to do with nature.

Tyler Mulholland-Gain   80s Enthusiast Tyler Mulholland-Gain back at it with his sunglasses photos and a shot of an old polaroid. 

Patrick Murray Patrick Murray is a Junior English Major with a Minor in History. He is an Editor in Chief of Holy Family’s Folio, and is very proud of the work the club has accomplished so far. He enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, and talking about all three. He hopes to gain success in a career of editing and creative writing.  Gina O’Rourke  Gina O’Rourke is on staff at Holy Family. She has been writing short stories and poetry since she was a kid. Gina has authored a children’s book and is working towards publication. Her writing efforts published here are the product of her first Creative Writing class. 

Jennifer Peters Jennifer Peters is a Junior Communications student here at Holy Family University She is a resident advisor, on the Cheerleading Team and the Social Media Manager of Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter. When she is not helping her residents, on the cheer mat or on a work site building a house for a family in need, Jen is usually found writing or taking pictures. Meghan Rakus  Meghan Rakus regrets to inform the readers of Folio that she is unable to provide a biographical statement because she is currently lost in a book.  Nea Resuli   Nea is a freshman in college. Nea loves to take photographs. She has been taking


photographs since 2014. Nea fell in love with photography about 4 years ago when her cousin introduced it to her. Nea loves to create a vision in her mind and bring it to life. Nea is self-taught, she has only taken one class in high school and it did not teach her anything. Nea’s dream is to travel the world, specifically Paris and take photographs of the culture. Nea is taking photographs of her favorite artist, Jake Miller in concert this year and hopes to take photographs of Harry Styles and Niall Horan as well. Nea believes that photography is absolutely beautiful. “It is just breathtaking when looking at a photograph knowing it was someone’s vision and it came true.” Alexis Scott Alexis Scott is a Holy Family psychology senior, graduating December 2017. After graduation, she will be attending Arizona State University online for graduate school studying Forensic Psychology. She was inspired to make this picture poem, Balance, while spending time thinking about where her life will go in the future. The choice is yours, make a good one. 

Kezia Singh   Kezia Singh is a senior who will be receiving her dual BA in Early Childhood/Special Education in May of next year. She currently plans on teaching in a resource room, as her preference is working one-on-one with students. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry and reading fictions books. 

Jordan Smith Get a decent DSLR, Adobe Lightroom, experiment with some color patterns and voila!  Lyndsey Smith  Lyndsey Smith is a junior here at Holy Family University. She is majoring in Early Childhood Education/Special Education. She is the supervisor of a before and after school care program and is excited to pursue her dream of teaching. She also enjoys reading and writing and looks forward to teaching young readers and writers. 

Kira Stallworth Kira Stallworth is currently a freshman at Holy Family University, and is an Englishsecondary education major. She works very hard in everything she pursues, and does the best she can do. Her first submission to Folio, “A Letter from Princess” is an elegy dedicated to her grandmother, Rosalind Stallworth; who always called Kira “Princess”.  The poem, “Waiting for Him” will describe why it is worth or not worth waiting for him.  Her poem, “I Will Be Good Enough One Day”, was performed at a poetry slam. Kira wrote about her passions for teaching, writing, and dancing. Kira strongly believes she can do anything she puts her mind to, regardless of anyone’s disapproval. 

Stella Varughese Stella Varughese is a second-year nursing student who takes an interest in drawing, and sometimes like to use art to bring ideas to life. Before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she used to live in Dallas, Texas. In the future, she hopes to be a pediatric nurse and to help children. 


Janice Xu Janice Xu is associate professor of Communication at Holy Family University. 


Folio 41  

For more information, please visit:

Folio 41  

For more information, please visit: