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Iris: Art + Lit St. Paul Academy and Summit School 1712 Randolph Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55105 651-698-2451

Dear Reader, Aces can be low or high; jokers are unpredictable. The many faces seen in a deck of cards shift and change with every hand. It offers both challenge and excitement. Pay attention to the play before you. Anticipate the play after. Lay your cards on the table. A spade represents all that is dark yet beautiful: life and death, intellect and action. All reside under the mask of a spade, a leaf from the tree of life. Kieran Singh’s photograph “Night Sun” (p. 27) and Sabrina Rucker’s “A Spirit in the Attic” (p. 7) illustrate the strength and beauty to be found in darkness.


4 - Monologue - Mimi Geller - Prose 5 - Carly - Kat St. Martin-Norburg - Photo 6 - My Blue Period - Isobel Alm - Colored Ink 6 - Desert Dream - Emily Schlinger - Ink and Watercolor 7 - A Spirit in the Attic - Sabrina Rucker - Prose 8 - Iceland - Will Swanson - Photo 9 - Project Fortinbras - Noa Carlson - Poem 13 - Slab Sulpture - Ruby Hoeschen - Clay 14 - Vase - Annabelle Bond - Clay 16 - Stripes - Belle Smith - Ink and Watercolor 18 - Coy Dish - Jack Guinan - Clay 18 - Climate Change - Jak Kinsella - Speech 22 - No Forgetting - Krista Schlinger - Ink 24 - Ducks and Ducks - Riley Tietel - Jar 24 - Nature - Brennan Keogh - Poem 26 - The Griver’s Thoughts - Paige Indritz - Poem 27 - Night Sun - Kieran Singh - Photo 28 - Iceland - Sharee Roman - Photo 29 - excerpt from Here Living Presently, Presently Living Here - Mimi Geller - Poetry Collection 30 - bw - Maddie Breton - Photo 31 - Locked - Sabrina Rucker - Video


By Mimi Geller



ust yesterday I walked by that park. You know the one. With woodchips bristling through its foliage, the reassuring hum of the traffic nearby. The baseball leagues practicing behind the swings. Yes. The swings. That one swing. The one at the end. Underneath the tree. You pumped your legs and outstretched your limbs to touch that one protruding leaf. Those helicopter leaves that would soon fall tumultuously, punctuating the brisk autumn air. I saw you there. You smiled at me. I smiled back. Your radiance flashing, but your legs couldn’t keep up. The wind whistled through the air’s thickness. It didn’t matter to you. Your velocity accelerated, your hair reflected the shadows of the sun peering through that tree. The shadows of that tree steer my heart clear. And you. You kept going, moving, disrupting the ever present tranquility that traps you. That trapped us. So you could kick that leaf. The one at the top of that tree. In that moment, the nature vibrated through us. It was almost systematic. Sometimes at night I can hear that buzzing when I try to sleep. Why does it have to be like this? Change. A seat I sat on. The swing I sat on, near my house. Near my home. A chance unmistakable. You were always there with me, propelling yourself forward, blazing brilliance. I often avoid that park. I am too afraid. Afraid of the voices, afraid of finding you. And your legs, the ones that endlessly sought to hit the peak of the arc. But don’t forget when the chain broke. After you felt that leaf on your toes, your excitement bursted, but never failed. The wood chips washed through your sun kissed haired. Tears streaked through your young skin, only touched by life’s coincidental accidents, never by choice. I have never seen someone perpetuate emotion so quickly. So effortlessly. Because all you ever did was smile towards me. And now, I struggle so


Kat St. Martin-Norburg

deeply to understand how someone can pour themselves, so fearlessly, so selflessly into something as innocent as reaching for a leaf. Thrusting yourself with rhythmic measures. I went back to that park the other day searching for you. I meandered around that baseball field, near the slides, the see saw, until I made it to the swings. To that swing. You know the one. The one at the end. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other. And I saw you that day. Hair drowning in the air. Peering up at that leaf. The one that protrudes. I smiled at you. You set me free.

My Blue Period Desert Dream

Isobel Alm Emily Schlinger

A Spirit in the Attic

By Sabrina Rucker


e began outside and in the living room, where there were always people around to help out, where we were encouraged to run and play and imagine. Sunlight streamed through windows that seemed enormous, and warm food was always being made in the kitchen. Up the stairs were hallways filled with doors and secrets and whispers. Some doors were locked tightly, some doors were wide open, but most were cracked just slightly, so that, in the right position, you could see beyond the clumsy barrier. Everyone was separated, together. As we got older, we moved to the third floor. It’s not used too often, so it has been stacked with piles of things to be looked at later. There isn’t time to sort through it all, and so everyone goes to the piles that interest them most. We’re not connected anymore, except by location. People sometimes find items they like together, and sometimes they draw inspiration from the new piles that others have been building. But mostly, we’re quietly trying to figure out if the heaps of items in our jumble are unique to each of us, or just rearranged versions of the exact same things. It is now my final year in this house, but I am not where I thought I would be. I’m in the attic that no one realized we had, the one haunted by an old ghost who’s not so much unnerving as deeply sorrowful. The ghost is not elegant, nor particularly special looking. It could be any one of us, which seems to make the spirit all the lonelier. Above the attic is sky – sculptures of water and light, fresh sunlight - so unfamiliar after years of living inside, sunsets of the most brilliant colors, and - even more special - the sunsets disregarded as drab, which are all the more breathtaking for their subtlety. But I see none of that in the attic, where the sunlight is filtered through ages of dust and the moon rarely shows its face.



Will Swanson

The spirit always sits with me, comfortable in its misery, and will not heed my requests to leave. It doesn’t seem to hear me. And at times I wonder, wonder with the gloom of that same apparition, if I will ever ascend any further than this poor soul has gone. I wonder if the antique shadows will swallow me – if I will merge myself with this pale shadow of a person who begins to look more like me the longer I stay. I wonder where everyone else has gone – if they are in their own attics, with their own ghosts, or if perhaps they’ve remained on the brighter third floor, thinking big things about a lot of things and focusing on their piles. Maybe we’re all in the attic together, but we cannot see anything except the melancholy ghost. A ghost so consumed by its despondency that it does not realize that, being intangible, it can leave the attic whenever it chooses.

Project Fortinbras

By Noa Carlson


- Bedtime Stories

Baby years: nephew, know that Your father, the brave, Was murdered by Old Hamlet. Toddler: remember, nephew, Your namesake. Hamlet Had a son, same name, Hamlet. Teen angst: uncle knows nothing. Decrepit, old, sick. Tears fall on father’s uniform. I bet Hamlet understands, He’d get me. He feels Loss, anguish, anger, madness. Fortinbras, what matters now Is that you reclaim The name that Norway deserves.



- Strategy

War. Rage is not what occupies my mind. Duty is what propels my action. He said, “Reclaim the name that Norway deserves, my boy.” You are not my father, uncle, and you will never be. My father was a competent king. Sickly uncle, you are no king. You say war, but for the wrong reasons. You say attack. Attack Poland? A meaningless insignificant amount of land that does not avenge Fortinbras’s name, dad’s name. My name. Therefore, your decree matters not, uncle. I will reclaim our title, but for Fortinbras, against the man who dared to kill my brave namesake. Hamlet. The murderer’s namesake. The innocent born into guilt. He has to pay for his father’s sins, though he may not deserve it. I must find a purpose, and this Must be it. War against Denmark.


– Voices of Reason You told me to fight! Damn, Voltemand and Cornelius. He didn’t deserve it anyway. It was for your brother and his honor. If only they had kept their mouths shut. He’s like me. One of the innocents. Uncle, it’s not because you are sick… Denmark doesn’t need to know my business He was just a babe. Didn’t know (it’s because you’re an awful King.) though it may have directly affected them… that vengeance would overtake me. I am not proud, Uncle, not proud that I was caught, but more because I did not use my heart. You are right. Denmark is not the goal. Hamlet is not my target.

But what of honor, uncle? Hamlet must pay! Poland has no role in our victory. Pain strikes my chest when said aloud. My name belongs to a kingdom But why? I must be harsh, rage must not to a farm. swell but he enrages me not. Do not imprison your only heir, uncle. Do not let foolishness overcome you. Fortinbras will have a title once more, your silly Polish war plans will be executed, but know Denmark will pay, in time. My father’s name will not be forgotten. Fortinbras, the brave, will live on.


– Hamlet


Corner of my eye, blonde blue-eyed emotionally unstable boy Packed for voyage across the deep blue-black sea. My name forms in the crevice of his small, dainty mouth. Well-bred and wealthy. Yes, these are “Norway’s powers,” why does he ask? Who is he to ask? Captain! Tell the voyageur to move… oh, this is no voyageur. Front and center, he stares curiously where my green eyes lie. In reciprocation, I boldly introduce myself. I know him. He knows me. My uncle weaved me the story of your birth. The story of my father’s death. The story of your father’s deathMurder? Really. Huh. His firm manly grasp suddenly wrapped around my shoulder, and softly he whispered: “We are one, you and I. Same goals, same aspirations, familiar pain.” Calling out to his (friends?) he left my side Embarking on his impromptu stay in England, his uncle’s decision no doubt. Butterflies in my stomach, warmth that engulfed my heart, A sense of belonging. Kinship almost, between two princes Named after their murdered fathers.



- BLOOD! I hate war. Pointless and a bore, To come so far and not care where you are And that it feels just like a chore. For my uncle, yes, This is his mess, And for the claim and name for Norway, It is for them that I defend But isn’t there some other way? Swords are drawn, most lives don’t go on, This endless battle takes a toll. I find it hard to sleep at night when I forget my goal. It is not the land that I want, It is the title that I crave. Yet, there is another feeling that I want Before they send me to my grave. Acceptance, love from one to another And who else to love than Hamlet, My new found brother? The battle is almost over, we might as well win. If not for me, then for the Norwegians. My purpose is no longer war, For truly, as I said before, It is the bloodiest, cruelest thing there is Because it hits you to the core. My place is by Hamlet’s side, as his counselor, maybe, For I hope he is back in Denmark, Since I know not the cost of a ferry. And once I find him, we will be together, He was right, “We are one,” And one we will be forever, until our numbered days are done.

Slab Sculpture 11x6x6

Ruby Hoeschen


Vase 11x6x5

Annabelle Bond


- The Crown

Startled. Blood. Four. How could this have happened? No time at all. His blood all over my hands, dripp ing slowly off my fingertips. He is so cold. The only one who understood me. The only one who will ever understand me is dead & gone forever. And I am to take his place? How fortuitous. The thing I thought I wanted the most – title, kingdom, revenge – all wrapped up in a tiny little box ready for me to pick up. And I don’t want it anymore. You, Hamlet, that’s who I wanted. You and your baggage along with mine. Two peas in a pod you and I would have been. Neither madness nor fear would have overcome us if we were by each other’s side. You were the only sunlight in my life, but now I feel darkness creeping in. The Crown is all that is left for me now – but do I take it? It was to be yours sweet brother, so do I wear it in remembrance of you or as a reparation for the death of my brave father? Or neither. No! I can’t accept. My heart weeps with silent tears but I don’t deserve your throne. My place is with my uncle, safe, secure, duty bound, away from tragedy, away from you. I will turn away and never look back. Without you, I must learn what it means to be one without my other half. On my own, I alone will learn how to be Fortinbras, king of nothing.

16 “Stripes” Belle Smith

Coy Dish Jack Guinan

Why we should actively care about climate change By Jak Kinsella


ight now, nothing is more import to me than the fact that we have been destroying our planet’s ability to support living things, including us. This phenomenon is not called global warming but climate change since saying our globe is experiencing just an increase in average temperature would be a huge understatement. The official definition of climate change states that it is “a change in global or regional climate patterns... attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.� As complex as that sounds, climate change isn't rocket science. All climate change boils down to is the excess carbon that we, as an industrialized society, have been spewing into the atmosphere. However, carbon, a simple organic compound we learned about in science class, is having and will have disastrous consequences in the years to come. Global average temperatures and carbon output will continue to rise to unheard of levels.

Glaciers and the polar caps are melting at an unprecedented speed. Weather incidents such as super hurricanes, which are fueled by warmer oceans, once thought of as a one in a 100 year natural disaster, will become more a part of the world’s existence as we have seen this year. Sea levels will rise approximately four feet, which means that if you are planning a trip for your future family to Cancun or Cozumel, look elsewhere because by 2100 they—along with a significant piece of lower Florida and parts of New York City— will be completely under water. Rising sea levels will also lead to massive economic strain as many of the products we take for granted today (such as coffee) are outsourced and produced in places which face severe risks “Addressing for flooding. climate change It sickens me that small is more complex island nations like The Solomon Islands in the Pacific, whose than buying a cultures have lived in peace and Toyota Prius.” harmony for hundreds of years worshipping nature, and who have done little to nothing to cause climate change will be the first to pay for our glutinous actions. Their island nations will disappear. They won’t be alone – worldwide, approximately 100 million people live within three feet of sea level. And the plant and animals that we are supposed to be the caretaker for will fare even worse—experts predict that one-fourth of Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate. However, addressing climate change is much more complex than just buying a Toyota Prius. So, just what has our government – one of the world’s leaders and one of the leading contributors to climate change – done to address this crisis? Pretty much nothing. First, there is the complete and intentional ignorance on the issue. Our leaders


leaders have ignored the findings of credible scientists. Thanks to campaign contributions by the Koch Brothers and others in the energy energy sectors we have politicians like Senator James Inhofe (R) – the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, who brought a snowball onto the Senate floor in 2015 citing that because it had snowed in Washington D.C. he had proof that global warming is a myth. Really? Is that the best our leaders can do? “When it comes Even the EPA, which was established to climate to enforce environmental laws and help protect Americans from environmental change, our threats, has been under attack from the leaders have inside. Earlier this year Donald Trump failed us.” appointed Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. Pruitt has spent most of his life lobbying for the defunding and dissolving of the EPA, even going as far as suing the EPA. He has been quoted as saying that climate change is a joke and that he does not have time to deal with jokes. Pruitt and Trump have also declared the “war on coal” as over and are continuing to invest in a resource that is not only one of the leading causes of excessive CO2 output and is horribly inefficient as an energy source... and will run out in a matter of years. Pruitt has removed any mention of climate change from the EPA’s website and barred scientists working at the EPA from working and reporting on climate change. Trump decided to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, which was signed by 169 countries across the globe, and is aimed at tackling the threat of climate change by cutting back on carbon output. Trump’s reasoning? That it would “undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty … and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world,” which is ironic because the only country that has not signed onto the accord is the United States. One has to ask, what advantage is there to living on a planet that will struggle to support life as we know it today?” What Trump fails to mention is that by taking the easy route and transferring the load of climate change to our generation, we will have to

spend $700 billion dollars per year on the costs associated with climate change by the time we approach our thirties. According to Business Insider once a reservoir of methane previously sealed by ice in the arctic bursts, it will cost the word economy $60 trillion dollars while at the same time speeding up the effect of climate change by 30 years. When it comes to climate change, our leaders have failed each and every one of us in this room, as well as the animals and plants we share the globe with. But I have presented these facts to you not as a scare tactic, but as evidence of why we need to act, starting today. We must never give up, even when the challenge of climate change seems insurmountable. SPA has given us the keys to shaping the world and we must use those keys to work for ourselves and for future generations of humans and the plants and animals. Look at this challenge as not something to fear but as an opportunity to step up where our current leaders have failed. We can save the planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it. Whether it is in our daily lives – by shutting off lights, not idling your car, biking or walking instead of driving – or in the jobs we will hold in business, industry and the arts, or in the candidates and leaders we vote for. This is not about Republicans, Democrats, or Conservatives; this is not about Libertarians or Independents – it’s about us and our future and our children’s and grandchildren’s future. The world is dramatically going to change in our lifetime – and is already changing. There is no turning away from that, but we can still save our planet’s ability to save us and other species. We must not shrink back and act like cowards, or expect someone else to take care of the problem for us because they won’t. We need to deal with this starting today.



No Forgetting

Krista Schlinger


Brennan Keogh

Ducks and Ducks

Riley Tietel

The trees in the wind are an ocean wave. Each leaf rides its own giraffe, The light is blinding me As is my shirt is baggy Hitting my body in the battering wind It howls its rough song in my ears I can taste the dew of the morning light And smell the sweet flowers that sweeten my mood I see Bill with his buffalo Herding them all the way in Texas

The light isn’t blinding me Have you seen my donut anywhere? All them dinguses If you sacrifice one-hundred hot dogs to an American Flag then a bald eagle will come to you Screeching to come sit on your shoulder for a moment before flying into the sunset Oh that’s who that kid was That was coming up to you I ate an apple. We were enthused as a rock I jumped out of an airplane without a parachute then landed on my feet, quickly sprinting away Brennan likes sandwiches We will soon all have sandwiches! The air was exuberant But I’ll have to lack it to know that I’ve got it. Schwein haben! I can taste the hotdogs that water my mouth as I look into the the trees that are excited to play The hotdogs spinning on the grill I’m in nature’s range.


The Griever’s Thoughts By Paige Indritz Her words were full of beads and trinkets, moving in the wind the way the spiders would fly their kites and wrap you up. And I would feel her words like dry sandstone air creeping up upon my shoulder. And all the while I sat and wondered what is the good of the sky if we cannot one day be the stars that danced around it or so I mean if she cannot. I tasted the bitterness of her wailing at night when I droned out the noise ringing through the walls by singing myself to the wind. The wildflowers of Sedona compared nothing to my dreams where she was flying away finally free quietly as a tree falling to the ground and her feet would rattle the nails of the house we so carefully walked in together. She was so careful and quiet, never a heavy step to be heard. The beach was an extraordinary place to see the children running around. If they ran enough no one would get picked away. Oh not by a bird my friend but I could smell the way

“Night Sun”

fear lurked along the shore. the musical wisps of wind hair and she inhaled every drop The the effervescence in her popping through her ear I picked her up. But she slid out and burrowe neath the waves, deep beneath our rickety hou Paige after page I wrote her But


Kieran Singh It’s not difficult to hear combing through her

of sun she could find. r mind never stopped “Oh I need some ink!”

ed herself deep be-

use. story. Paige after page.

my pen wept and shrieked just like our forgotten little family, oh how memorable! Oh! I wonder when the moon will close.


Sharee Roman

Here living presently presently living here By Mimi Geller Back and Forth Elle rested on her unfriendly bed Crying Aurora was dead and now she wondered When she could see her again and if There was a way to go back To visit the place where they had grown up They say you miss the light when night falls Like the clouds miss the sun After dusk The bed wasn’t washed Feathers poked her legs through the sheets Here she wrote Each poem a prayer Each page turn a messiah She wrote Until she couldn’t anymore And that’s when She fell It wasn’t a long fall It didn’t hurt her She stood up abruptly Peering through her old solar system diorama In the same room But it wasn’t her room It was their room The “Knock before entering” sign freshly constructed And she heard laughing, she heard them laughing Together again in the past


Elle had read about time travel before The cosmic connotations of its reality And now She sat in her room Watching her sister and herself Laugh, dance, speak So she shrieked and the tears didn’t stop To fall Because she thought She was meant to go back And she didn’t want to think So she stopped And in this moment She and her sister Were gone Reverse


Maddy Breton

Click here to see Sabrina Rucker’s film, “Locked”

2018 2 Spades  

This is book two of four in our 2018 literary magazine.

2018 2 Spades  

This is book two of four in our 2018 literary magazine.