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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

STAFF

ANNE BURTNER ASHLEIGH BOTHWELL AVANI PISAPATI BEN JONES CHELSEA JOHNSON COOP LEARDI DYLAN VELTRI LAILEI FOROURAGHI LAURANA SEYMOUR LYNN DONNELLY JENNA CASCIANO JOIE MEIER KELSI WEBER KHE’LEE ROSE NATALIE RIESS RAYNA ALLONCE SAMUEL SWANSON SHALOME SINE

ADVISOR: NATALIE CHICKEY Cover artwork by Natalie Riess 2


TABLE OF CON TENTS 05 One Life- Jenna Casciano 11 Untitled- Geraldine Rivera 12 Solitude- Hannah Bucchin 14 Inside and Out- Sam Swanson 15 Lipstick- Priscilla Huertas 16 My Toes- Vrindawg Jagota 17 What I do in Calc...- Izzy Bradford 18 Solitude- Joey Matthias 22 The Ancient- Joie Meier 24 Poetry- Meg Mello 26- A Life in Music- Jenne Mante 27- End of the Beginning- Jesmira Bonoan 28 Shapeless- Vrindawg Jagota 29 Footprints- Kaitlyn Soriano 31- Face Yourself- Jenne Mante 32 A Wintry Musing for Ana Who Makes My Heart Beat Stronger- Terry Hahn 35 13 Ways... Dreams- Natalie Riess 36 Sadness- Carrie Weiss 38 Under the Flood- Phaedra Davis Foell 39 13 Ways...Sky- Benjamin Jones

40 World of Solitude- Izzy Bradford 42- Driving- Avani 44 Untitled- Priscilla Huertas 45 On Fridays- Jesmira Bonoan 47 Hipster Boy- Jesmira Bonoan 49- Slow Walker- Cooper Leardi 50 Well You Weren’t Here- Shalone Sine 52 Thoughts on A Bird of the Morning- Grant Haines

young writer magazine spring 2011

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photography by vrinda jagota

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ONE LIFE

Jenna Casciano He could feel her. All around him, the very current of life was altered where she stood. He felt her supple fingers tracing his brow as she brushed a thick shock of hair from his face. He felt small tingles of electricity run down his scalp where her nails graced his skin; she always did have a funny way of setting off his circuits. Involuntarily, his back arched as he leaned into her touch and his eyelids fluttered feverishly, shuddering and twitching with every pulse of his racing heart. But yet as soon as he took a breath, flared his nostrils to drink the arid scent she carried, she was gone; replaced by the wind as it tugged cruelly at his jacket-collar. He could hear it, annoyingly quiet as it pitched forward and back again, pushed and pulled by the halting currents that whistled through the night sky. It occurred to him as being similar to a liquid-filled basin that had been stirred in one direction, and then suddenly thrust in the opposite direction, creating small spirals and twisting channels of confused water chutes. Even now, as he stood motionless and firm, the wind tore at him. His silhouette seemed statuesque; a pack of wandering teens meandering past him on the bridge barely gave him a passing glance. Whether it was the way he inanimately blended in with his harsh steel surroundings that deferred their interest or the sickly sweet aroma that was carried to him on the breeze, he did not know. He smelled it on their breath, saw it on their gait. Mary Jane was what she had called it; ironic, she jested, how she shared a first name with that intoxicating substance. He remembered her tinkling laughter through the smoke induced euphoria they had shared so many times. She had gripped him like a savage addiction and he had been powerless to resist. And just as withdrawal from a drug drives addicts to madness, everything began to turn rotten when she left. Mary was the sugar that coated Dom’s life, and without her, he began to see things as they truly were. It’s a harsh, cold world out there and without her there to push him forward, Dom fell further and further back. In fact, he mused, it could almost be assumed that she caused the crippling depression that wracked his body day after day. But even as he locked his arms, blunt nails pressing into his calloused palms, he knew he could never blame her. Mary was his precious china-doll; the keepsake he kept tucked away from the world, high on a shelf. But she had pitched forward, fallen, fallen, and shattered, her porcelain face cracked and jagged, her flawless beauty forever marred by her careless decisions. Dominic Johansen. What did that name mean to him anyway? Did a few characters typed onto a sheet of paper really determine his identity? 5


If he decided to call himself Jon Dominicson, would he suddenly grow six inches and sprout a head of flowing, shimmering bronze tresses? “What’s in a name,” what it Shakespeare who had said that? It was true. Dominic Johansen was Nobody, and no matter what he called himself, he would always be just a name. Invisible to the world, no one would notice if he were rubbed out, brushed out of existence without any fuss or commotion. It would be so easy; one day he would be there, and one day he would be gone. The space in the unemployment line he once occupied would be empty, soon to be filled by some other bum looking for a quick buck. He ran over the plan again and again in his mind, it was as if his train of thought had shifted tracks and was surging forward in a massive circle around the base of a glittering Christmas tree. It seemed so easy. All he had to do was swing his right foot forward into the ominous, impenetrable void, and fall. It had to be at least a 100-foot drop. At least it looked like it from where Dom stood. So simple. He didn’t even have to jump. But why were his feet so heavy? And why, despite the chill of the nighttime air, was sweat beading at his hairline? So this was what it all came down to; him standing on the edge of a bridge with nothing to live for, and too afraid to jump. Too much of a pansy to continue living, yet too scared to accept death and end it all. Why was it so dark, didn’t they bother to light the bridges anymore? Dom had hardly noticed his eyes were closed. It didn’t matter. Visions of Mary danced behind his lids, teasing him with their wistful charm and nostalgic beauty. There was the time they went walking in the park that day and he had bought her an ice cream. She had dropped it, they had laughed. Another flash of a memory; the sound of her bell-like laughter echoing in his ears as she whizzed past on a bicycle. The time she climbed a tree and asked him to join her, the time he joined even though he was afraid. When did that innocence shift to the noxious haze he was all too familiar with? When did her piano-key teeth begin to yellow with the nicotine she inhaled, or her cascade of shimmering golden locks turn thin and brittle? When exactly did he avert his eyes from the burns on her arms because the thought of her pressing a searing hot needle into her vein made him want to vomit? When did she being to repulse him? And why was he so surprised when she left? The tears were coming, why should he bother to swallow the lump in his throat and squeeze his eyelids shut? Dom felt them streaming down his face, lingering over the stubble that haunted his jaw line before tracing the length of his chin and dropping soundlessly into the chasm that spanned before his vision. Leaning heavily over the guardrail, he stared, eyes wide open, into the darkness. Why did people everywhere find it so hard to die? There are people in Africa starving, living for weeks without a scrap of food, and they persevere. 6


They don’t jump off bridges because their girlfriends find more solace in a hypodermic needle than they ever will in their lovers. But even though the thought should have given him strength, Dom could feel his soul being pulled into the swirling abyss where his mind had already fallen. As his fists clenched firmly down on the bitterly cold guardrail, something caught his eye. A glimmer, a small twinkle in the black, endless night that was eagerly enveloping him. A thin fiber swayed in the gentle breeze, twisting and soaring as it yearned to break free of its anchors, catching the streetlights in its futile dance. A wisp of a spider’s web, long abandoned and left to the elements. Yet as Dom’s curious eyes traveled up the length of the thread, they faltered, then locked on an almost comical sight: a small spider clutching the base of the string. Defiantly, its small legs curled around the runaway, tying it back to the metal pole it had been attached to. “Determined little thing,” Dom mused. He wanted to crush it, to take its tiny body in between his fingers and feel the exoskeleton crack, but he found he barely had the energy to breathe, let alone kill. And as he watched, the spider began to create. Inspiration, creativity, and even beauty flowed from its fingertips as it danced along tightrope wires, circling and circling in a fluid spiral. Dom didn’t know how long he stood mesmerized by the spider’s dance, but by the time he shook himself from his stupor, it had stopped moving. The spider hovered, halfway between the two guardrails. The thought that it had given up briefly crossed Dom’s mind, but as he shifted his weight off his aching knees, something caught the dull glow of the streetlamp. A myriad of fibers, a cacophony of lights presented themselves before his disbelieving eyes. An intricate design of circles and lines of light and dew spanned the length of the guardrail where air had been before. It stood in sharp contrast with its dull surroundings, glimmering warmly in a nest of cold steel. And in the middle of it all sat the humble spider, happy to rest in the comfort of its new creation. What it was that gave Dom his first hint of inspiration he never knew, but the origin didn’t matter. A cloud, although small, had flitted away from its spot in front of the moon casting a small veil of light. There was an effervescence waiting behind the gloom, and Dom felt a sudden, gripping urge to find it. Even though it was still the dead of night and the only thing close to a moon or a sun was the streetlight a few yards away, he had unconsciously come to a startling conclusion. Even by existing, he was important. If he had decided to crush the spider outright, it would never have completed its web. And if the web had never been completed, in the future, a mosquito might not die trapped in it. And if mosquito doesn’t die trapped in that web, a small child won’t contract malaria from its infectious bite. That child won’t die, her mother won’t grieve, and a family won’t suffer. All for the sake of one small action, one small life. Just one life. His life. 7


Who knows how many people he could affect by dying? For all Dom knew, his death could start wars. In a few years, he could find the cure for cancer! He could be the president! With a rush of passion, he burst from his stupor, leaping from his stationary state with a sudden jolt. Dashing down the street in a heated frenzy, he screamed to the skies, “I’m Dominic Johansen, you hear?!?” For the first time in a long while, Dom felt important. The wind tore at his face as he ran, tears trickling into his ears, blown back by the force of the gale as he ran. His sneaker-clad feet pounded the concrete in a steady rhythm. One-two-one-two, the peat of his heart, the beat of the world. Everything was connected, he finally understood. A glimmer of light snagged his line of vision, tugging it to the lone street lamp that illuminated the bridge. With a mighty leap, Dom thrust his body from the ground and landed heavily on the guardrail, one hand grasped firmly around the rusting neck of the street lamp, the other clawing the air in blissful hysteria. Was he screaming or smiling? Dom hardly knew. All that mattered was he was important. He was worth something. He had a purpose. Dominic Johansen. Not Dom and Mary, just Dom. But it was cold. Nights are cold in November. Dom hardly felt the cold, but the bridge felt cold. The bridge had no feelings against Dom, but it was in its nature to freeze its steel frames when the air was chilled. Likewise, the night didn’t hold a grudge. It put down dew when the air grew damp. Perhaps the dew didn’t like Dom very much, it crept under his sneakers as he stood tall, tasting the night air atop the guardrails. And, as he lurched to the right to return to the ground, he fell. Simply. Fell. One moment he was there, one moment he wasn’t. Rubbed out. Erased. For a moment, a stinging wave of panic swept through Dom’s body, but as the wind pushed at his back and he watched the street light retreat into the heavens, his eyes closed, and he laughed. A girl passing by on the bridge one night would later recall how the wind blew up rather forcefully. It sounded to her like tinkling laugher, almost like bells.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY KILLIAN GILVARY, SENIOR

“IF THE DESCENT IS THUS SOME TIMES PERFORMED IN SORROW, IT CAN ALSO TAKE PLACE IN JOY. “ Albert Camus 9


ARTWORK BY Natalie Riess, Senior

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MACBETH, REINCARNATED AS A PIOUS KOI

BY JOIE MEIER

UNTITLED

BY GERALDINE RIVERA If someone should ever Hand me some gold deed That read as such a dreamy thing as You shall never lift a finger All handmaidens shall lift them for you You shall never make a step Young men will carry you to and from You need not worry of the latest cloth You shall always start the newest thought You need not worry of others better than thee You shall always sit atop the stars I would smile amorously Eagerly agree to all of its rules Then By some poor excuse of what I am Forget to place my pen upon it Slumber on the day it’s to be called Or to be heavy footed to place it back in turn And then live life as ever I have before.

The trickling like a babbling brook with the volume turned down I’ve only known him for a week maybe and yet his lying on the bottom of his tank on his back gulping at the water I appear calm as I weep internally he kicks his tail struggling to get up to swim again to feel the water stroke his gills and the sun on his scales he blinks, his eyes a murky grey looking at me, glazed I know I won’t see him tomorrow his little translucent fin waves, good-bye! goodbye! and good-bye!

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SOLITUDE

BY HANNAH BUCCHIN I feel it as I tread softly on a battlefield of years gone by and know that here, people have lived and here, people have fought and here, people have died and the frosty blades of grass crackle under my feet as the whispers of the voices of yesterday scatter in the wind and I know that I am not the first to walk here, and I will not be the last, but for now, I am alone. I feel it with my shoes off on a spring day in Central Park Laying on a smooth, warm rock in the pale morning sunlight. Chatter and music and beeping and shouts careen throughout the air and in this bustling crowd of thousands, I find a quiet peace in my anonymity and in this grassy, sunlit haven amongst the cement and steel of the city. I feel it at the top of mountains: at the tip of a craggy red peak in Colorado where I can practically touch the clouds as they lazily drift by and in the chilled and snowy glacier mist at the pinnacle of a Montana mountain far above the glassy blue crater lakes, higher than even the mountain goats venture and at the crest of a huge grassy hill in Scotland where the salty wind whips my hair around my face, and perfectly untouched green hills and valleys stretch for miles. At the peak of these mountains I can touch the sky and I am sure that I am higher than anyone else in the world has ever been. I feel it in the water: 12


in the salty waves of the Atlantic, in the warm, lapping waters of Floridian shores, in the rushing, wild currents of the frigid Colorado River, in the rough and rocky waters off the untamed coast of Maine. When I take a deep gulp of air and dive underwater and wriggle and kick until I am skimming along the sandy bottom eyes closed, breath held floating, suspended in infinity time freezes, sound ceases and I could stay under forever invincible. I feel it at the moments where the immense and colossal beauty around m e makes me feel infinitesimal and at the moments when the unchanging stillness and sheer stability of the earth make me feel infinite and at the moments when the endless past and everlasting history of this world make me feel fleeting. I feel it.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Killian Gilvary, Senior

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ARTWORK BY Natalie Riess, Senior

INSIDE AND OUT

SAMUEL PRESTON SWANSON

To be in the earth and not of the earth is to close your eyes. It’s to peer into a mirror and see nothing. The high quality of emotion we each have must be separate from what is seen. These clothes I wear hide nothing but essential organs that uphold whatever unseen ghost my body either holds captive or supports. This, along with such organs used to reproduce. I’ve added to this body over the years, however. I see it as an earthly recreation; along with lust haircuts, illness, and broken bones, these are just things that are nothing more than “of the earth”. They have no bearing on what may potentially move on from this body, or maybe even this world. Sometimes there’s a lot to grasp and far too much to understand. Luckily this world gives us some time to ponder.

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LIPSTICK PRISCILLA HUERTAS The arch of her back, The confidence in her stance, The gleam in her eyes; I wanted it all. I watched her apply her lipstick And wondered What secrets, what lies, what story Hid behind the long lost color Of those beautiful lips. They were always stretched In a smile that made everything seem brighter, wonderful, Until suddenly there weren’t any shadows. But I was just small, No burden upon my shoulders Or even knowing the shadows were cruel. One thing I did know Was that I would be waiting for that day When I can dress my lips with my very own lipstick Hiding my secrets, my lies, and my story. Even stretching them To hide my shadows And hopefully yours. ARTWORK BY Ashley Danby

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MY TOES

The kid next to me finished 5 minutes ago by Vrinda Jagota I’m not getting into college. Grow ten claws Are laced into purple spikes I trim in my buttercream bathroom Poised on an infinite starting line As I remember Like Pavlov’s dogs I’m a part of nature, too. Waiting for a gun To run like hell. Flail and kick my mother As she desperately tries to calm Submerged in a bathtub The unruly curls Filled with the remains of the day: And her unruly toddler. Sweat, hairspray, perfume A 2010 radio hit buzzing through my Shrivel into golden raisins head Ripened by an Indian sun. My best friends planning our senior trip I was afraid to jump to Harry Potter World. But the water was too enticing. Tentatively tap the gas Are perfectly painted My dad’s reassuring hand grips the Shoved into too-small, too-high, too pink heels emergency brake. At my first real dance. You know- “Just in case”. I hope they play Justin Timberlake And I don’t fall. But today they are made of lead As I cruise down the highway Are too long My parents said to be home by dark Too narrow But I’m going to be an hour late Too dark Paul McCartney sings a song of teen As I become a self-absorbed teenager. rebellion over the speakers. Snap On the fourth hill repeat Scramble down a steep raving But I keep going… I should have worn my Birkenstocks A fracture or two never hurt anyone, Too much mud Right? But I made it! I place an old medal on a tree branch Tap as I glance at the clock “Man immersed in nature” and all that Only four minutes When I get too stressed, And I can’t remember what I remember that it’s still hanging there. Vicissitude means Even though it was on the list Always face forward Of 1000 most common SAT words. The direction I have to walk Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. 16


WHAT I DO IN CALC… DON’T TELL KARWACKI.

By Izzy Bradford, Senior

A few days ago I went looking for a keyboard piano that used to reside in a spare room in my basement and although I didn’t find the keyboard, I found something much more sentimental; my kindergarten yearbook. It’s not your average yearbook though; it’s not filled with pictures of children in every grade, but rather it contained things I made throughout the year. For instance, the front cover has a slammin’ picture of me in a Spice Girls tee-shirt, a picture of me and my fifth grade buddies and a gingerbread house we made together, and a list of my favorite things (which was a bit peculiar…). It seemed intensely coincidental that in my final year of my primary education I would stumble upon something from my first. It was a fun five minutes of reflection, but more profoundly it made me realize that as much as things have changed, nothing has really changed at all. I still love vanilla ice cream, the color blue, dogs(or as I wrote God, yet the picture I drew strangely looks like a crow), I still talk to myself (I’ll admit it), and my dad’s spaghetti is still my favorite food, but more than that I’m fundamentally the same person. I know it hasn’t always been that way though; it’s been more cyclical than consistent. Not only have I grown physically, nearly 30 inches, but I’ve also grown personally into a (semi) mature (almost) young adult. However I still feel like I look at the world with the same hopeful, fresh, and optimistic eyes I did 12 years ago. I know there is still so much for me to learn and discover, and that I still have A LOT of growing to do. Throughout the years though I’ve had my moments where I’ve been too cool, too impatient, or too naïve and I’ve allowed myself to lose sight of that cool, little 5 year old, and of course I’ve faced my fair share of trials and tribulations as well. During my sophomore year my parents separated, and of course it’s easy to see how the division of my parents made me lose sight of my childhood.

After continuous months of fights the positive memories slipped into the limelight, and the negatives came out, but the discovery of my kindergarten yearbook brought the long-faded past back to life. I don’t see my father much anymore, but the yearbook inspired me to ask for a container of his spaghetti sauce, probably my favorite food of all time that I had not eaten in over a year. So, as I sat at home one night, completely alone, I cooked up a bowl, and I cried. My entire childhood lives in a quart size piece of plastic. As I sat and ate I began to recall the nights my father came home late from work and would make himself a batch. I would stand on my tiptoes to reach the stove and I would scrape up the little bits that remained and eat with him, no matter how late it was. The (almost) religious food of my weekends (my dad travels during the week for work you see) that I ate when I was happy, sad, excited, angry and every other feeling possibly imaginable. Every memory of my childhood poured out of the sauce and into my brain; an extremely overwhelming experience that I was happy to be alone for. I’m sure I did not look to attractive shoveling spaghetti into my mouth whilst blubbering like an idiot. However, it’s extremely refreshing to know that the same (or similar at least) “bright and beamy, always funny” (as my mother so fondly wrote in a poem located in my yearbook), loving, and wacky kid I was 12 years ago still remains inside of me, and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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There exists a simple joy in solitude hidden among its complexities often it is only silence silence of the mind and silence of the fingers often it is the silence of company but never is it the silence of emotion it is in solitude that the emotions are untainted where every emotion can be felt angrily passionately loneliness is often felt when one is alone but real loneliness is only had when one feels alone in the midst of the crowd I feel alone in my own household I feel alone in solitude rarely do I feel alone and rarely do I wish for the company of others there is a time and place for solitude a time to feel what could not be felt with others a time to think what could not be thought with others a time to be alone but to be immersed in your own mind

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SOLITUDE

by Joey Mathias

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in solitude there lives solace the solace of control to wake up and exist autonomously synthetic relations glue the weak to the strong individuals those bound out of custom to their dependents and those dependents bound out of custom to their guardians for every day we rest on the false crutches of society we become less real we forget how to live that all you need is a body to wake up, to breathe, to exist in solitude we are reminded of life’s simplicity and then we return to having learned nothing to our man made complexities

contemplation lives not in discussion but in thought in thought lives true emotion and true design in thought lives the dilapidation of relationships the contemplation of faults and folly and the modern dissatisfaction with life in thought we perceive our false lives and we grasp for them but they fall through our fingers as the wispy smoke of the magician slides across our hands It is no surprise that we abhor contemplation it is all that we avoid ignorance is the greatest justification of our actions and through ignorance we need only to justify them to ourselves why think when we can decide not to but after every solitude there is speech there are people people who do not understand those that live in solitude those whose fingers never fall silent will never know sound those whose mouths never cease, will never know speech those whose minds never stop thinking, will never understand how the other half lives how the other half eats and breaths without flinching without thinking without living With arbitrary passion they float along bobbing at the mercy of their own synthetic lives that they cannot see or understand floundering in the abyss of their own‌

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Vrinda Jagota, Senior 19


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Grant Haines

Elias

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THE ANCIENT

by Joie Meier

I, who have kept watch for these long centuries of love and strife, cannot force those who have sat beneath my leaves and carved hearts into my ancient umber trunk of anything with my rustling, my voice is carried by the wind and only understood by the birds. I have seen battles and weddings and still, the children of this green earth war internally, convinced of something greater than the warmth of the sun on their eyelids or the beauty of a virgin snow but I, in my years know that there is nothing beyond the coo of the mourning doves in the morning and the sweet feeling of the love of those around them.

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“I HAVE LOVED TO THE POINT OF MADNESS; THAT WHICH IS CALLED MADNESS, THAT WHICH TO ME, IS THE ONLY SENSIBLE WAY TO LOVE.” FRANCOIS SAGON

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Killian Gilvary, Senior 23


POETRY

Meg Mello

The sun rises reflecting rays of gold onto the waking smiling world. The multicolored petals lazily begin stretching, shaking off their hazy morning drowsiness. Peeling back their dew-matted shields, their faces appear kissing the sun. Out of their centers flow magic: thoughts, feelings, words, rhymes, lines, stanzas, metaphors, similes, imagery. The flowers dance along breezes, waving off each word into the sky. To be sucked up by many and be molded into beautiful structures. The poet writes from the flower’s words, works of peace, happiness, emotion: poetry.

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ARTWORK BY Elise Polentes, Senior 25


A LIFE IN MUSIC By Jenne Mante

Soft notes Twinkle from above my crib In sync with The stars twirling round Ashes, ashes We sing Circles spin We all fall down Silly tunes, laughs Giggles Nonsense words Smooth tones of the sax Swirl around my books A final is looming A journey complete The caps fly in the air To the tune of our success In the form of a simple melody Sunglasses Wind blowing in my hair Carefree songs flowing from The open top Of my convertible Freedom at last The dignified strains Of that timeless melody Fill my ears As my future walks towards me Dressed all in white

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Another lullaby This one sung Looking down At a precious new face The harsh beats pulse Through the floor Cursing and screaming Makes my head pound Teenagers are a mystery Slow sad hymns The ending of an era The ending of a life My life Above the clouds Where the sun shines from I hear the sound of the harp The flute The music Of the heavens


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END OF THE BEGINNING by Jesmira Bonoan

Here’s to the end of the beginning To the final act To the last chapter From the moments we’ll not want to remember To the memories we’ll never live down And the adventures we’ll never re-live With the people we’ll never forget Here’s to the codenames And the creepy obsessions And the car chases And getting stuck in the snow In front of the wrong house And yelling his name In front of the wrong house Here’s to the internet And the facebook threads And the failed blogs And the cyberstalking Which translates to I love you In my head Here’s to dancing on top of Hummers And doing it “slattily” And falling in love at first grind and unbrushed teeth

To front-of-the-house driveway confessions Resulting in dead batteries And Burger King runs at odd hours And 8th grade dances And parking lot dances And surprise parties And lame Christmas parties Followed by revealing sleepover conversations And lame post-Christmas party fights Here’s to “Salv Arm Wednesdays” And “Goodwill Hunting” And blowing Christmas money And Bible club and blogging And boys And being hated by absolutely everyone And loving every single minute And smiling through it all Because “they can’t hate you when you’re smiling” Here’s a toast To ~SeNiOr yEaR~ Inspired by Laguna Beach and Disney Channel original movies And attempting to capture every moment of it And never regretting a single second

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SHAPELESS by Vrinda Jagota Infinite yet unexplainable in solitude Incomprehensible without external definition Grades presuppose intelligence Laughter presupposes humor Money presupposes success. Alone my Self seems to ebb beyond tangible limits. Beyond my fingertips and toes Beyond the glow of my computer Beyond the hum of my phospheresent light bulb And into the air and universe around me But the DING of the cookie timer reminds me There is a world outside myself That I need For definition For explanation I am too small, too singular, too isolated to comprehend To appreciate, to love, to create Without inspiration. I am not isolated Nothing I say is original Thank God (another societal imposition?) Because every beautiful word, thought Said before me Is a splash of color and definition On an otherwise shapeless existence.

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FOOTPRINTS by Kaitlin Soriano I. Too far behind to catch up in time. Forward rushes the tide erasing my footprints. My past.

VII. Her lantern’s light crosses my path. The sea must be hunting tonight.

VIII. Brother moon, guide me away II. from temptations face. A vast nothingness lies ahead of me. IX. Mile after mile. Could one look truly kill? Only me and the sea. Could one kiss be fatal? III. An attraction for life, you please me. A pull towards death, you tease me.

IV. With each crashing wave captive voices ring out from deep down. Apart from this earth. V. Escape in not an option. In the sea is where a fish should be. VI. He took her heart and promised to keep it safe. That was a decade ago. Yet prayers still reach the heavens from the widow’s peak.

X. Wind whipped hair, shield me from the reflection I know all too well. For what is seen, is not always real. XI. The captain offers me his hand. My savior. XII. Our fingers touch, ever so slightly. The lantern extinguished. The moon shining bright. XIII. Reflections of light shimmer along the sea’s surface. My footprints illuminated by the sun of the dark. I am not alone tonight.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY Killian Gilvary, Senior

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FACE YOURSELF By Jenne Mante

Solitude is the chance to be alone With your thoughts and feelings It is those times when you must Face the reality of your own mind, And the things you have hidden there. It is the discovery of love, And the remembrance of pain. One never knows what will be found When you take the time to be yourself, By yourself. Many are afraid to face themselves Without the mask they wear to hide their doubts, Because they are afraid of what they Will see in themselves. But those who seek, find. Find happiness. Find healing. Find closure. Find patience. Find love. Find their true selves. And that is why we must face it. The beauty of solitude is that it looks however you want it to.

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A WINTERY MUSING FOR ANA WHO MAKES MY HEART BEAT STRONGER

BY TERRY HAHN

It is afternoon I sit in my room reading my poetry what love lost and what grief borne can I find? souls do seek some sanction in the seasons I stare outside my window at palsied limbs of the evergreen throwing off the remaining crumbs of snow like old men shaking off the bitter, deciduous cold the wind lipping its misery I, in my scarf You, far away 32


Killian Gilvary, Senior

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jesmira Bonoan, Senior

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13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT DREAMS by Natalie Riess

I. Random neurons firing when you sleep at night-time Nothing special. How you interpret them Is a matter of psychology.

VIII. If we just believe, we can build a tower to the stars! All our wishes can come true! We only have to trust in the strength of our hearts!

II. I Think I had a particularly interesting one Last night But I can’t really remember it III. eating a sandwich It’s a very good sandwich But purely fictional

IX. I’m sitting on a chair. Just sitting there. Goldfish are on the table. This is a boring dream. X. Maybe this is a stress dream? That would explain why I am in a car that is being driven By the children that lived across the street When I was 6 years old.

IV. Terrifying Hands in the dark Teeth grinding against our feet We can’t find the kittens We can’t find the door

XI. Not again I don’t want to be eaten by Sock puppets! But wait Their button eyes try to tell me something else I don’t know what they are trying to tell me V. I just want to get out of here Where did you come from? Where is the door I don’t understand what you are trying to tell me Where are the kittens Speak up I can’t understand

VI. Pulled through the dark by my arm By the Bone Wife She wants to poison me with Her perfumes and teas I have to be clever! VII. Let’s run away together! Oh wait You’re not there? What am I doing in this dress

XII. It was fabulous! There were rainbows everywhere! And magic! I flew in circles and saved the world Real life disappoints me when I wake up XIII. Dreams are stupid and weird I always forget mine

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SADNESS BY CARRIE WEISS

Like rolling blackouts It comes at Unexpected times Turning my well-lit life Into a pool of darkness Turning the bright room Into dancing shadows Coming and going Constantly

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Natalie Riess

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Under the Flood Phaedra Davis-Foell

I live underwater now. It’s only when it rains that I escape to the air. Just before the flood that put me under, I saw the waves coming and watched them cover up the sun. And everything was swept away by the sheer might of the ocean and I held to the rocks, longing for a forgotten shore. The current slowed and I saw the people I had known once. They floated on their backs, their drowned eyes staring at my life and the way I knew how to breathe.

I live underwater now, where my home is a coral cave and I am learning to be alone. The brilliant rays that shoot down to my depths remind me of the bright boy who went with the flood; the boy with a swimmer’s jaw and brass laughter and bones lighter than air. He knew how to float, but he only floated away from me. The boy I loved before the flood, slowly becoming my anchor, holding me below the sea. I live underwater now. I have watched a ship quietly sink to the ocean floor. I pondered who to save, and I chose a man with hair like the sun and stormy eyes that opened far too wide. I dragged him sweetly to my secret place and he spoke in wavering tones, only saying, “Why”. My smile helped him to swim and breathe. Eventually, ‘I’ became ‘we’. We lived underwater then, until the taste of oxygen and sky dragged him away. He swam to the surface to drink in the air. He had always spoken of clouds, and when he found them, I was once more a ‘me’. I live underwater now, and will for eternity. I am alone with just thoughts and budding gills that let me breathe. I do not ever see the sun, nor do I speak. This is my life, beneath the sea.

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THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE SKY

Benjamin Jones

I Look into the air. Let its ights remind you of Al that will be and All that you will soon forget

IX. He trembles With a fear of the unknown As the sky trembles along With him. X. The answers lie within The glittering blackness.

II Such arcane beauty, Yet only to be remembered As a time of day.

XI. The world is ending And the sky just stands still.

III This feeling of helplesness, of Insignificane, suffocates him as he Desperately pleads for an Understanding from above. IV. We are all the Stuff of the stars. V. How can I carry myself Slowly enough to remember the Birth and death of the day?

XII. To be without the sight Of the sky is to be Without realization-Without purpose. XIII. In its perpetual moments of peace Is the assurance that In the end, Everything will be all right.

VI. As the clouds wander only to Diminish into nothing, So must life. Forever forgotten. VII. To be one with the sky Can only ever be enough. VIII. As he passed through this starry night, He realized that Everything worth searching for PHOTOGRAPHY BY Killian Gilvary, Senior 39


A WORLD IN SOLITUDE

by Isabelle Bradford

Like an extension of my fingertips The room begins to fill with brilliant colors With my command Blue, green and gold swell and take over Leaving only faint memories of drab reality grey. With thick, smooth brush strokes the painting unfolds But it is not so much if a landscape Not a portrait Or a still-life But a background for a stage And play is perfection The deceitful are sincere, The stubborn are apologetic Even people with no personality, Are bursting with life The curtains open The lines begin There is a magnificence in the dialogue The brilliance of one voice Stories are told of events that have yet to happen Of love and happiness of beauty, grace and justice Apologies are given, And they are accepted. However, all this perfection is mundane. I am the foil. I am the opposition And then the door opens And nothing has happened.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Killian Gilvary, Senior 40


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DRIVING BY AVANI PISAPATI

I. I am 16, I have a sheepskin-fur wheel-cover, What could possibly go wrong? II. Next in line, pull up to the speakers, Warmed by a neon light that split the night, While a soundtrack drones in the background. A delicious culmination to the day, (All for our very hard-earned three quarter and two dimes) Hand fed to me as I steer these passengers’ lives. III. A heart-to-heart is coming on, After making the ascent to the house. The rain lulls us in this Remote vessel alienated from the rest. Engines turned off, asses must be frozen, I say, As we talk for the next two hours, Parked with our seats reclined to the moon room And our toes pointing to the house in front of us.

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IV. Winter. The car becomes the humble abode, As we race to its doors. A hybrid of conquest and shelter, It becomes, As windows are cracked, Heat blasted. V. Stomach-dropping turns and passed speedbumps, Mix with adrenaline for a faux high, All to follow a car with Tennessee license plate. Hoods are up, Dignity sacriviced. VI. An infant dot on the dashboard arrests Your entire freedom. VII. Dad throws away the skull mounted on My dashboard, Empties the glove compartment of receipts, Adjusts volume level without consent. Thou that interferes with the car, Shall never be forgiven.


VIII. Old CDs reemerged from the depths of the trunk Are inserted, As nostalgia, Unlike any other breed, Penetrates our free souls. IX. Contemplating the intricacies of life, At one traffic light after the other, Feeling the nauseating impact, Of one mental fender-bender after another. X. Racing against the clock, Forging the laws of physics. On time. Best day ever.

XI. Parents drive. Late to school. Everyone sucks. XII. Switch lanes, Hear an alarming honk, That perpetuates in your brain for hours. Maybe you’re not so grown up after all. XIII. The acceleration, The braking, The steering, Become a chore, Manacles from one place to the next Destinations are more important Than the ho-hum detour between them. Bored. Even with my own thoughts. Give NPR a chance.

Jesmira Bonoan

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UNTITLED PRISCILLA HUERTAS

EMOTIONS FLOATING, AIMLESSLY, NEEDING TO BE CONTAINED. A SWARM OF COLORS BOUNCING AROUND INSIDE. RAGING RED, BODACIOUS BLUE, GUSHING GREEN, WELTERING WHITE, GLOWERING GRAY AND WORST OF ALL BULGING BLACK. THEY NEED TO GO SOMEWHERE, SOMEWHERE THEY’RE NOT ABANDONED. SO THEY’RE INKED ON PAPER WHERE THEY ARE MOST EASILY EXPLAINED AND EASILY REMEMBERED. EACH LINE, LIKE A SCAR EMBEDDED IN THE WEB OF MEMORIES, AND YOU’RE THE TRAPPED FLY. TH ESPIDER WILL NEVER DIE, BUT THE INK MIGHT. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Elise Polentes, Senior 44


ON FRIDAYS AND SENIOR YEAR

JESMIRA BONOAN (Written as a response to Vrinda’s dissertation on Rebecca Black’s Friday)

There is no more perfect paradigm for senior year than Ms.Black’s Friday. At a stage in life when you find yourself at the brink of an era, facing the monster that is maturity and the unknown, all one can really do is retire to the reassurance brought by those three carefree days of the week; the reassurance that the friends, the adventures, the sleepless nights and unbrushed teeth and boy-crazy lifestyle will never end. That is why we are so compelled to recite and relive those glorious days that are the weekends like it’s an anthem. But in a more general scheme of things, the song’s blunt recounting of one’s daily routines and the universal sentiments felt on that one holy day of the week so honestly equates to the absurdity of life and the hurricane of emotions that comes with it, it’s uncanny. Really, how often do we find ourselves with that over-eager “we got this, you got this” attitude? As teenagers, how often do we feel immortal and infinite with our friends to our right? How often do we find ourselves defeated, attempting to decide which seat in life we are to take? Don’t even get me started on the rap verse. Because when you allow yourself to listen to loud music with the car windows down and dye your hair green and party because nothing really matters in life but fun and thinking about it, you’ll find that there’s poetry in all things and you’ll realize that you are suddenly more human because of it.

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ARTWORK BY KEVIN CHEN, SENIOR

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HIPSTER BOY JESMIRA BONOAN

Turning heads, you’re a show-stopper With that indie-boy swagger Plaid and cardigans what a sight Your right jeans make my jeans tight Sea of chocolate mane so tender To your neckbeard I surrender Cuz out of ten, you’re eleven Sent by god from hipster heaven You even blog, what a score I’ll show you mine if you show me yours Straight out of a UO catalog You look so good in analog You’ve got that 500 days flow With a mix of Wes Anderson though Got that Bill Murray steeze Cuz you’re chill but not sleaze-y You’re a dream that’s my point Take me to your favorite vintage joint And we can listen to Animal Collective together And go on roadtrips and quirky endeavors While we search for triangles in the sky Reblog each other until we die

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jesmira Bonoan, Senior

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THE SLOW WALKER BY COOPER LEARDI

Let us examine another human of the halls One who seems to bother us all. The one known as the Slow Walker is here to stay Clogging the overpass Monday through Friday. He or she is not hard to pick out, But truly frustrating they are, no doubt. As most are trying to not be late for their 1st block class, The Slow Walker makes it difficult to bypass. Rarely seen with an actual backpack or books, They see you coming and give you bad looks. Their shuffling feet couldn’t beat a snail in a race, While kids behind them have that telling “pissed-off” face. High top sneakers adorn their feet While they stride side-to-side clearly off beat. The Slow Walker is a thorn in every real student’s side, Roaming the hall aimlessly and glassy-eyed. A soon to be victim of the fashion police, The Slow Walker is often subject to being obese. So next time this nuisance is blocking your journey to learn, Study the telling slow walk pattern And soon you’ll be passing their face of disgust, Leaving the Slow Walker in your dust.

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WELL YOU WEREN’T HERE

Shalome Sine

When I take bad news I always love it when they warn me ahead of time so I can sit down. I don’t know what it is, it’s just that when I’m not standing I feel safer, as if the one reassurance I have left is that no matter what it is, at least I won’t be falling down in the foreseeable future. This morning I sent a letter to her brother to tell him that I wouldn’t be seeing any of them for a while. I told him to send my regards to everyone I used to know. I told him to send my regards to Analee. It’s just that I can’t take her words now. My boss looks at me and sees the way I’m sitting on the jet-black leather sofa: my elbows are on my knees and my hands are wrapped inside each other under my chin. I’ve learned that it makes me look more confident than I talk. I look up at him, expecting. Awaiting the worst. He says to me, I know you’ve been here a while. I ask him, Is three months a while? He says to me, Oh. By this time I have it figured out. this guy doesn’t know my name, and he’s going to let me go because I’ve showed the least progress out of all of them. He continues, we respect your commitment to this company, but I’m afraid that’s not all that counts. I tell him, I’m glad three months means commitment to you. If you ever wonder how some of these big businessmen got to the top, even though they’re so dumb-- if you’ve ever seen one of these presidents or CEOs on TV or in a magazine and sworn to yourself that you’re smarter, and wondered how on earth they ever managed to rise to the top in such a competitive world-- get a job in an office building. Honestly. You can quit in two weeks, in fact i advise it, but if you get a job in an office building, the Darwinism of the business world reveals itself to you. and this guy, my boss, he was one of those people. You wonder how he became manager. He was incapable of retaining information. He says to me, Son, we’ve been having some financial issues. This has happened before. What the boss figure in this situation never understands is that I know what’s coming next, and i know exactly why, and he doesn’t have to make excuses for himself. So I try to be as helpful as I can. I tell him that I’m well aware of the state of the economy. He gives me a funny look, like he can’t see the connection between the phrases “financial issues” and “state of the economy.” I was just trying to save him some breath. I hate it when they ask you to leave, but before they do, they explain to you that the company’s financial hardships are results of the state of the national economy. Analee was going to be my life. But they said moving out here would be best for both of us in the long run. I guess all this means is that i get to go back. He says to me, your results have been a disappointment. It’s always worded just a little differently. But it’s always been the same. every word, if you say it enough, sounds ridiculous after a while, but I honestly doubt there is any stranger word than ‘disappoint.’ and I’ve heard it in all its forms. “Your effort on your book reports was disappointing.” “I’m disappointed in your decision, young man.” “You dare to disappoint me again, and I will reconsider funding your education.” There were others. And now this. you’d have to hear it to realize how similar the experience is, every time you hear it, their tone, your sinking heart, their vacant face, you’re sorry one.

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I am a lonely island on a crystal blue sea, bathing in the sun with no human inhabitants, and my ecosystem has yet to be touched by waste and pollution. I am warm and safe. At least I know I won’t be falling over in the foreseeable future. He says to me, so you still come to work tomorrow, just enter through the Crawford wing entrance, and talk to the receptionist. You’ll be getting a new cubicle. I was an island while he was explaining to me that I am still employed. So now I have no clue what happened. But I’m a good actor when I need to be, so I smile and say, thank you sir. I shake his hand and leave. She actually was my life for a while. It’s funny, I took this job for her. Because we needed a place. Places cost money, and she hated her job. Job. Work. Money. Life. It’s the natural order of things. I chuckle. A girl walks by and immediately hunches her shoulders in self-consiousness. I want to call over my shoulder, and tell her that i wasn’t chuckling at her, I was chuckling at the fact that jobs being first and lives being last is definitely not the natural order of things yet humanity is enslaving itself to this cycle more and more with every second. I open my mouth and turn my head. I have to remind myself that my mind is a strange place and that sometimes it’s just not fair to others to let them see inside. So I don’t call after her. Analee used to only be able to take small doses of the inner workings of my mind. she got used to it. She loved it. I loved her. I love her. Now. Suddenly I see my life under my feet, and it’s in the shape of a map. To my left I see the girl of my life, to the right I see a job at which I think I just got demoted. Directly before and behind me is what will happen if I don’t do anything except exist and what has already happened, respectively. I suddenly realize that a decision is absolutely and immediately necessary. Time is a series of successive bullet points, and trying to slow it down by being mediocre will only bore you. Plus it won’t work, and you will have wasted an entire point in life. Suddenly everything collides, and I am trapped in a reverie. Time is unwastable. If you waste time, you commit suicide, because life is only so long. A decision needs to be made, and now, and for her. Making a decision for the sake of someone else is like sitting down when getting bad news. It just feels safer. To go back to her now would make no financial sense. It would be reckless, strange, unwise. Unless wisdom is not synonymous with financial sense. What if wisdom is each person’s own ability to choose, know, or understand what is most important to them, and to make decisions based off of whatever that one thing is? What if wisdom is just the ability to weigh priorities in order to see a path? My map rotates under my feet. Suddenly I am in front of Analee, and the sparkle in the middle of her eye nearest the sun makes me stop. I am a sparrow with the ability to fly anywhere at any time. We all are. The stupidest thing I could do in my life now, would be to stay here. I am suddenly halfway to my Apartment. I don’t remember getting into my car. I am on a plane within two weeks. As I board, I decide to myself that this is simultaneously the strangest and most intelligent thing I’ve ever done.

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Thoughts on a Bird of the Morning BY GRANT HAINES

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AND SO SHE DANCES

over the beaded morning dew, as too do her colors flit and waltz through the cool air. More vibrant than any Monet lying under scrutinizing gazes, the iridescent reds and greens and blues of the hummingbird’s back shine as does the sun; as do the sky’s bands after a midsummer shower; as do the eyes of a loon on a misty Mousam morning. But she differs from these things, for none can tell for whom the loon sings her sombre tune, for rainbows cover liberally the skies for any who care to delight in her colors, for Helios throws his arms ‘cross the mountains and glens, warming the earth for all who tread upon it. No, the hummingbird is not like these things, though they be the envy of all nature’s branches, all her twigs and leaves. She dances for me The pomp of the redwood’s fanfare calls out, so too do the strings of the river and the symphony of the high peaks beyond. But I do not hear them. Their crescendoes ring out a magnificent melody to the skies, to the sea, to each other. But they fall empty on my ears, because the hummingbird is a soloist. As am I. And there is nothing more beautiful to an audience of one than a chorus of one. Though the orchestra can produce a sound beyond compare, can create landscapes and textures that may only otherwise appear in the most fantastic visions of sleep, it may also deceive. While the trumpets climb and call out from atop the world, the cellos or horns may hide in the clouds. While the bass or bassoon descends to Challenger Deep and lifts the ensemble on its shoulders, an oboe may resist. But for the soloist, for the hummingbird playing for an audience of one, there is no respite, no hiding, and this is what pulls at the soul of the other. Her whole and all her parts down to her smallest feathers call out in harmony far beyond their stature. Even as each to function needs its fellows, it takes but one chromatic feather, nay, but one pearly thread of a chromatic feather to bring a man to his knees. For that man knows, as no other man can know any fact of math or science, any theorem or formula or equation or postulate, that for his eyes only does this single thread of dark and heavenly pearl exist. Even the bird herself, supported by tens of thousands of others could do without its light touch over the wind. But were a blundering crowd to approach, with much noise and commotion, to gaze upon the tiny and beautiful spectacle, and were that crowd not a crowd but a single man treading lightly on the forest floor in soft leather slippers, or even another bird gliding slowly through the trees on silent wings, the hummingbird would certainly vanish before the elapsing of a second into the wood, that single fiber would cease to be as a thing of beauty or function to the entire And such is my luck. As another man walks up the trail, treading lightly on the forest floor and in soft leather slippers, she flies, leaving the pale pink of her lilac blossom behind, into the wood. I do not blame the man, he does not know what I have found, or more properly has found me. He seemed to be one who enjoys the warmth of the sun, and the bands ‘cross the sky after a midsummer shower, and the eyes and song of a loon on a misty Mousam morning, but he is walking much to fast to find anything, or to be found on a morning in the wood. It is alright that I lost my soloist. I knew her sweet etude would not last, but she keeps playing to me in a way that only an audience of one, a soloist himself, may understand. For as she flew off, to another lilac in the bush, she left behind a single thread of pearl. And so I dance. 53


COFFEEHOUSE/ YOUNGWRITER STAFF BIOS

JOIE MEIER

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NATALIE RIESS


MEGHAN SMITH

JENNA CASCIANO

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RAYNA ALLONCE

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SWAN SAMSON


TEDDY HICKMAN

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COFFEEHOUSE POSTERS 58


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SERIOUS BUSINESS

The Young Writer Magazine is the official literary magazine of Liberty High School, Bethlehem, PA. All works that are seen here are published with the permission of their respective owners who each hold all copyrights and licences. The views and opinions expressed within the Young Writer Magazine do not reflect or represent the administration or faculty of this school or school district quaquaqua. For any inquiries or comments, please contact ................................ .....

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