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The Baltimore School for the Arts presents
MADISON AND CATHEDRAL Vol. III: 2009-2010
............................................... FICTION: CLOE STEIN Red Cowboys, 3 MAX GOLDMAN The Consciousness, 8 ALEXANDRA ITURRALDE The Path of Intentions, 11 MARK WINCEK A Soiled Recollection, 15 SAM KESSLER The Voyage, 22 ARIELLE ARMSTRONG Navy Blue Towers, 27 AARON OUTLEN Taking Off, 31 AARON CARY Fantasy, 35 CHRS LANE Confined, 36 ELEANOR FISHBURN A Life More…, 41 REBECCA ROSS The Neighborhood Nutcase, 45
POETRY: CHRIS LANE She has a Pimple, 1 CHRIS LANE Doodling, 9 WILLY MASON Untitled, 10 ALLIE LINN Harmony, 14 JULIA KLAVANS The Celestial Being, 19 CHRIS LANE Necessity, 20 MARTHA ROBICHAUD Gypsy, 39 MELISSA ESTES Untitled, 48 SARAH ARROYO Heartsick for Freedom, 50
GRAPHICS: CICERO FERRANTE - 2 CHRISTEN CHIOSI 6, 21, 43 ELZIE WILLIAMS - 7 ANNA HODGES - 18 BAYLOR ZIMAN - 30 ALBERT HICKS - 34 TANNAZ MONTEVELLI - 49
................................................ She Has a Pimple The mirror has given us life, As well as terror; As we face ourselves and name ourselves With an inhumane classification. We become It. Never to be One. I am a woman. . . So what. I know this from the height of my voice And the maturing bulge of my chest. I am a man. . . It's obvious. I know that from the hormones that race throughout my flesh Even when my thoughts are pure. Then I face the shards of reflecting glass. It reminds me of a puzzle. No? Over there [No no that's not right.] My hair [This is getting covered. Where did I put that hat. . . .] A girl to my left screams, As she favors her appearance over her lungs. She has a pimple. She picks up a bottle of Chic in White And throws it against the mirror. It breaks into a thousand and one pieces. All that is left is the piece of cardboard Which was hidden behind the glass. She stares at it. It reflects nothing but her shadow. A smile cracks, and she moves on.
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................................................ Red Cowboys It was a Monday, and the 138th day a pair of boots sat on the top shelf of a local thrift store. The cowboy boots had seen better days and their once shiny red leather was now a soft maroon. It had been 50 days since they had been examined and now were collecting a sufficient amount of dust. When people looked at the shoes, they saw what they thought were a pair of dirty and smelly old boots that were probably falling apart. Why else would anyone give them away? A bell sounded as a mother and her daughter entered the store. Holding the girl's hand she pushed back the brown curls on her forehead and asked the cashier to point them to the shoe section. They followed the direction of the employee's index finder to a wall of metal shelves. The girl reached up to her mother, silently asking to be picked up. " You're getting heavy, Olive." she said. Together they quickly glanced at the inventory one shelf at a time. When their identical hazel eyes reached the boots the girl whispered to her mother an almost inaudible request to look at them. The young mother extended her arm to pick up the shoes and immediately knew that they were probably too old and worn out for a young and active little girl. For a split second she pondered the history behind the boots and their previous life. Knowing how old they probably were, it was a miracle they were still all in one piece. The Rocky Mountain Brand red cowboy boots were originally given to Allison Macoy, age 7. The year was 1979 and Allison loved nothing more than to play cowboys and indians with the boys next door. They were given as a Christmas gift by Allison's grandma Shirley. She had come across them at a flea market a few weeks before. They were brand new and were half off with a purchase of two or more country music records. An avid country music fan herself, grandma Shirley couldn't pass up such a great bargain.
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It was Christmas morning after a light breakfast that Allison opened her gifts. That year she received a brand new box of 32 Crayola crayons, a stuffed zebra, a fuzzy pink sweater (that was a few sizes too big), and a new pair of footie pajamas covered in balloons and teddy bears. The last present under the tree was a tall box in striped green and yellow wrapping with a big blue bow on top. She ripped the wrapping paper to shreds and struggled to free the box from the blue bow. With the help of her father and a pair of scissors she opened the box to find the brand new red cowboy boots waiting for her. She didn't spare a second and before anyone could blink they were on her feet. A perfect fit. She ran over to her grandma, almost slipping on the shag carpeting, and gave her a big hug. She didn't take off her new boots until she went to bed that night. Even then her mother had to pry them off her feet. For months Allison and her red cowboy boots were inseparable. Not only did she wear them when playing cowboys and Indians, but also to school, birthday parties, and sometimes to bed. The arrival of summer didn't even convince her to put them away for the season. Allison was growing up fast, and soon the boots no longer fit. She kept them in her closet, not wanting to give up such an important part of her childhood. Eventually as teenager, the closet was cleaned out and the boots given away. They were given to her neighbor's little girl Sasha. They were big on her but she would grow into them. She wore them every now and again, but were not as loved as they once were. Over the years they got more and more worn, yet no one had the heart to throw them away. Thirty years after their creation they ended up in a city thrift store. "I don't know, honey. These look too old. Who knows where they have been." The mother said to her daughter. Olive, still in the arms of her mother, looked down at the boots. "Please Mom? I like them." The young mother glanced closely them. She noticed a good number of blemishes. A scratch on the tips from when Allison ran too fast, tripped, and scraped her knees. A weak spot from the all the times. Allison would repeatedly knock her heels against the legs of
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her school desk. And colorful fuzzy lint from all of the brightly colored socks she would wear. Maybe they were old and dirty, but they had character. The mother shrugged and put them under her arm. Olive silently rejoiced and gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. "Promise to take care of them? They are ready to fall apart." "I promise." Olive wore them for three days straight. She took them off by the front door one day, still wet from the snow outside, instead of putting them in her closet. Their puppy Brownie enjoyed chewing on the old seasoned leather, and when they were next seen, there wasn't anything left. The once bright red cowboy boots were now in pieces scattered across the hardwood floor. The mother sighed when she bent over to pick up the brown slobbery scraps of leather. They were put in a garbage bag and picked up the next morning with the rest of the trash.
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................................................ The Consciousness of One of Alan Clark (the chief supplier of arms to Indonesia during its war in east Timor)’s Cancer Cells, And Questioning Nature What a dilemma to be a brain cancer cell that one morning awakes morally conscious: of himself, his role, his purpose, his nature. He was not promised some altruistic existence, not to his environment. His compos mentis, that he did seek empirically, methodically, as an exercise of understandment for betterment, having high hopes for a morally good end, he was sorry for having achieved. A deep depression was his reward for learning what his existence meant to the warm, pink walls of protein that he called home. Should he protest? How would he? It isn’t in his nature. He sought truth, and didn’t he think that he had found it? His nature was to corrupt the world and fall with it. Is that nature not one to protest, to fight, defy with all effort? What was nature anyway, but a definition of what that is organic? He wanted to save himself and the world. Was that not natural? Oh, what a terrible dilemma to be aware of something quite so uncomfortable.
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Doodling I love doodling because it sucks. From the ugliest duckling, to the very bad wolf. Perfection would turn my scant lines into shapes, My spontaneity into patterns. I will maintain my freedom, As it rests in the artist's perfectly aligned shadow, While I simply draw and take pleasure In my two-dimensional stick figure. As my pencil tip kisses the paper. . . I am lost. First, I form a crooked line - Ahh magic! Followed by an oval - Intended to be a circle, A slash here, a dash to the right, loop this through the middle. . . . Kind of looks like Pac-Man Oh! How I remember the nightmares of the red ghosts eating me. Well, maybe it just looks like a Cantalope; Come to think of it my stomach has been growling. The teacher stops the lecture and walks towards me. The piece of lined-notebook paper is taken. . . And thrown away. "Pay attention! This is important!" I return to the world of patterns and shapes.
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................................................ When I behold, upon the night’s starred face, A thousand galaxies I’ll never know, I then begin to understand my place: An unimportant, puny speck below The vast, eternal emptiness we call The Universe, in all its cosmic pride. And when I gaze at mountains, towering tall, I know that they will stay where they reside And make a lasting impact on mankind, One only made by something quite unique. And as these thoughts were swirling in my mind I cast my eyes down from the mountain peak, And came upon the answer that I sought: A man’s true significance is his thought.
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................................................ Path of Good Intentions Path was paved with good intentions, but it didn't lead to Hell, no matter what certain interest groups claimed. Furthermore, good intentions complete with good results only lined the portions of street in front of the houses of those who could afford both. Otherwise, the good intentions tended to not be accompanied by good actions, thus Path St. having the unique ability to include most of the city's slums in addition to housing the richest citizens. No one knew precisely who had had the brilliant idea to pave Path with an abstract idea, but everyone hated him for it. The street began in the heart of the city's financial and corporate district, passed City Hall and Police Headquarters, ran past a number of charities and orphanages, went through various residential neighborhoods, and finally ended in the middle of the main marketplace. Path spanned almost the width of the city, and could be argued to be the center of the city itself, but if anyone official was asked, it wasn't, and anyway, how silly, the idea of a street being paved with intentions of any sort, Path was a perfectly respectable road, named after Jebediah Path for his great input into something. Unofficially, it wasn't very clear what that something was, and it was equally likely that he had either given the city large quantities of money or simply blackmailed the mayor. To be honest, no one really knew, or cared. Path Street was Path Street, infamous and the home of more than a few important decisions, with varying results. The denial of the city's bureaucrats of there actually being good intentions in Path, though a bit self-incriminating due to it housing City Hall, was countered every few years when the idea to re-pave the street was inevitably brought up again. They would argue such things as, "The road is cracked and worn down!" (It never was)
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"Re-paving will (somehow) breathe life and money into the city's slums bordering Path!" (It didn't) "The wealthy want their section repaved!" (They really, really didn't, having heavily invested in the addition of those previously mentioned good results) Occasionally, the re-paving movement would win out, and Path would be covered with a new layer of shining black asphalt and re-painted. Thousands of dollars and many crossed fingers later, everyone would find out if the plan to 're-energize' Path had worked. It didn't. Once they realized this, everyone in city government would then switch to hoping that the good results they had sprinkled into the asphalt would take hold this time. It also didn't. This result, having been a top-secret part of the re-pavement process, wasn't disclosed to the public, nor was it told to those who lived on Path and had spent small fortunes on the good results they had put into the street directly in front of their mansions. The poor were well aware of this reaction, having experimented heavily with the placing of different things in the street. Bad intentions to perhaps cancel out the good, happy endings to complement the good intentions, good health, even some ideas that may be thought totally unrelated, such as successful business transactions, were laid into the streets. Nothing really stopped the good intentions, though after successful business transactions were put into the ground, the corner of Path and Yellowbrick became a hotspot for the selling of illegal wares. Because nothing seemed to be able to cancel out Path's unique properties, the houses in the slums that were directly on Path Street were usually abandoned and boarded up, unwanted by those who had lived there before and found themselves faced with an inability to be dishonest. Good intentions often attracted total honesty and sometimes unwanted help, and the divorce and crime rates among the citizens of Path were far higher than those living elsewhere. If anything, Path was a topic of interest. It was the center of much of the city's recent history, and everything was far more compelling when it involved the street. A trend had even started, city-
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wide, of placing other abstract ideas into the foundations of houses, into other streets, though nothing really took to a road quite like good intentions did. Path was no longer an anomaly, it was simply Path- a street simultaneously quite unlike anything else and yet very much the same.
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................................................ Harmony His left hand gently strums the guitar strings While with his right he plays with a machine, Distorting chords into a loud waves and rings. The thick, electric echoes bounce between The rusty, chipping paint and concrete walls. In their refurbished refuge from the streets, There is no crime and violence in the halls; Flashing police lights are replaced by beats. Melodic noises layer deep and loud; The energy and volume now increases. The lullaby he hums unites the crowd, And strangers share a safe instant of peace. Alas, I feel the lack of love outside, But here, all the difference are put aside.
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................................................ A Soiled Recollection The more he looked at the tree the more he was absolutely fascinated by it. It was covered in poison oak and the grass around it was long and dead. It was so lonely there in the park, as lonely as a tree could get. No kids have ever ventured up the hill to explore its gnarly tangled branches because they harbor the sharpest thorns. Not a single family had had an afternoon picnic under it because it offered not a single eclipse of shade. And all the wayward kites from the field below seemed to avoid its company. Yet it held such an unspeakable beauty that he could not explain. The man leaned forward with his hands in his jacket pockets and stood up. He glanced around one last time and stepping out of the vigil of the streetlamp, made his way up to the base of the tree. He knelt down and took his hands slowly out from his pockets. His dry, chapped skin stung in the frigid air. He took a deep breath and sunk his fingers into the damp crumbling soil. It was a deep black and ran like muddy rivers through the folds of his palms. As he gazed at them they suddenly became young, and they filled with a vibrant warmth like cream billowing into coffee. The darkness around him exploded into a warm spring day and he felt a large comforting presence behind him. He spun around and looked up at his father. His hair gently slicked into a cowlick, eyes impenetrably opaque, and the ends of his mouth curled up ever so slightly in contentment. His small undershirt complemented his strength and his overalls told of his profession. The boy placed the dirt next to its hole and looked up again to his father for the next step. "What now, daddy!" "What do you mean, 'what now'? You have it." The boy giggled and scrunched his face, "'Do not!!" His father leaned over to him and reached behind his ear. With a flick of his
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wrist, an acorn popped out into his fingers and he placed it in his son's eager hands. "Go ahead now, you know what to do." The boy bubbled with excitement and wiggled in his place. He tenderly nestled it into a niche as if tucking it in to bed; he wanted to be extra careful not to hurt it. He took the pile of dirt and covered it up again. He closed his eyes and grinned over his accomplishment. But when he turned around for praise he opened his eyes to the dark expanse of the field lit only by the solemn lamppost. It had begun to drizzle and there was a soft orange motion in the shape that the light made. He looked back down to the hole he was making. A sick sinking feeling boiled in his stomach. He wanted the vision to come back more than anything. He squeezed his eyes shut as strongly as he could. He tried to remember what his father looked like but the more he remembered the more the calm assuring face was twisted and mangled by age. He tore at the soil again and again, throwing it behind him in cold mounds. Frustration overtook him and his tears mixed with the rain and mud. He almost lost himself in the corridors of his memory until he found himself running down his own hallway to his room. He tried to close the door in time but his father kicked the door in and grasped his entire arm in his fist. He could still feel the pain, and still smell the vodka on his breath. He wept harder and punched at the wet ground, shattering his knuckle on a hidden root. He clenched his teeth and felt even angrier, beating his forehead at his stupidity. He lunged up and kicked his shoe into the dirt, sending clumps of grass and rocks flying down the hill. He remembered puking with fear after he crashed his father's car into the back of the garage. Tools fell everywhere making an alarming clanking sound. He fell to his hands and knees next to the car and felt his muscles tremble with anticipation. His stomach undulated and he spewed out all the chunks and acid he was capable of onto the slick cement floor. His nostrils were clogged with the putrid meal and his eyes glazed over as they reflected the black soil. He collapsed face first into the pool he had dug and rolled over onto his side staring off into nothing. Maintaining his unblinking contemplation, he reaching into his jacket pocket and slid out a small pistol. It was wet and shone in the grey
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light from the sky. He let the handle slip into place between his wet fingers. It reminded him of a puzzle piece. He played with the trigger, lightly pulling it before the point that it would fire. With his other nervous hand he found a small tucked away object from the hidden pocket on the inside of his coat. It was a little acorn. And as he gazed at it he saw the final image of his father; destroyed by time. His hair was white and receded, wrinkles bore down his face like canyons, and his brow was slightly furrowed. Arms crossed over his chest, and his legs hidden by the rest of the casket. He still had the slight curve to his lips though. Through all of it, it was the one thing that remained. The son didn't say a prayer or any other unnecessary ritual. He turned around and walked out the door into the rainy November night. He decided he'd see the tree. It was silent in the park. The shot was neither seen nor heard. The rain muffled it to a distant, misty pop. And with it, the man's string was cut loose, releasing him to nothing more than a wayward spirit. He realized he would never be remembered. He knew his fate was the same as the tree under which he rested. His essence would seep into the soil with the rain. Yet strangely, against all consideration of self-preservation, he could not see it played out any other way.
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................................................ The Celestial Being From afar the stars astronomers admire And study how their brilliance punctures night. They praise the supernal orbs' burning fire That fills them with wonder and pure delight. But soon the inky night melts into day, And Helios takes his daily morning flight, Obscuring the bright stars to their dismay And illuminating the astronomer's plight. Alas, the angst I feel is all for naught For you orbit a diff'rent sun than I. Stuck on this Earth I find myself distraught That I cannot see you with my naked eye. Though you live high above and far away, My love for you burns brighter every day.
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................................................ Necessity He broke her heart It was necessary. To be obligated to hurt is a greater pain than the damage. Girl meets boy and falls in love without meeting in the physical form. Love supposedly a mutual concept, to the male means much less. The quickness to love, to its true definition - Resembles the boundary of immaturity to maturity She was immature for her haste, indeed. He never confronted her, so they ride the roller coaster together. Suggestive clues are dropped as silent bombs so that rejection can not shat- ter the heart. Now she wants more and time speeds up. They agree to meet, an event that gives her the opportunity to cage her prey. Family introductions were never thought to be so binding. He sees that he has made the wrong turn upon a one way street with a foreshadowing dead end. She only sees the one way path, eternally. Obsession. She begins to eliminate anything or anyone who oppose a threat to her item. Tactic, after tactic, after tactic until he is depleted with no other worldly care except her. A cute innocent kitten turns into a thesaurus for Lady Macbeth. Ownership, possession, greed, trust. "No!" The mind rambles filled with radiancy, fury, and nervous NRG. "What have I done?" You have created a monster with a love to protect. But you must break a heart with the pride that engulfs it. He broke someone's heart on this day. But it was necessary. The mind is clear. The water may run.
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SAM KESSLER .......................................................
The Voyage When, before the summer began, I announced that my grandmother had offered to take me to the Netherlands for two weeks with at no expense to me or my father, most people could not understand my hesitancy to accept her offer. Evidently, most people do not know my grandmother. Eventually, however, I did accept her offer, and the resulting experience led me to an insight about myself. But I shall get to that later. First I must provide a few details regarding my grandmother. To most people, my grandmother probably looks just like the next harmless old woman. She is robustly built, and she looks a few years younger than her sixty-seven. Her face is bright and red and she frequently laughs. To most people, she will appear to be a perfectly normal, friendly human being. Unfortunately for most people, appearances can be deceiving. My grandmother grew up in Rotterdam in Holland in the aftermath of World War II. Her city had been bombed extensively by both sides in the war, and because of a severe housing shortage her family had only two rooms in which to house my grandmother, her parents, and her six sisters. She spent the early years of her childhood fishing for eels in the river to provide her family with food, being bullied by her older sister, being beaten by her mother with a wire rug-beater, being beaten by her grandmother with a stick, being beaten by nuns with rulers at her school, and smoking. And also drinking. Knowing my grandmother, exactly half of these things are actually true. My grandmother is not still plagued by the trauma of her youth. Its main use in her eyes is as a justification of her general ha- tred of everything. My grandmother is evil. In long lines, she cuts in front of disabled people so she won't have to wait as long. She has
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forged a handicap parking pass so that she can get better parking spaces. When she crosses the street, she does not wait for the light. She walks into traffic waving her arms, forcing the drivers to brake sharply to let her cross the street. Her sisters have since informed me that one of her favorite pastimes in her youth was sitting on the roof of her house chewing on tar, and then spitting it out onto the people who walked by. She is the most racist person ever to marry a black man. Among the groups she hates are black people, Asians, British people, Germans, French people, Mexicans and other assorted Latinos, Ar- abs, Americans, and children. In addition, she has an especial hatred of Lance Armstrong and Anne Frank. And even if you do not belong to any of these categories, she will still hate you if you make noise. But, according to her, all of this hatred is excusable because she had a rough childhood. I think she has theorized that the more trauma people experience, the more evil they become later in life. This would explain her hatred of holocaust survivors. She is also a chain-smoking alcoholic. But I think that my description has served its purpose, and so I shall recommence with my narrative. So I accepted her offer to take me to the Netherlands, her ancestral home, where dwell the hundreds of members of my extended family whom I had never met before and will probably never meet again. But alas, as my time is limited, as is my desire to write this article, I cannot do justice to my entire trip. That is another work to be written at another time. I shall instead devote my time to one single event on our journey: the plane ride. The central reason behind my grandmother's offer to take me to the Netherlands was that she had finally racked up enough frequent flyer miles to get a free round trip to Europe. This way she could take her grandson to the Netherlands, something which she has always wanted to do, without having to pay for his ticket, something which she has never wanted to do. Unfortunately, because she was getting free tickets she had to accept whatever timetable she was given by the airline. In this case, it involved a three-hour layover in Detroit. My
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grandmother was not happy about this. She hates Detroit. The last time she was in Detroit, it rained. Therefore, it always rains in Detroit. My grandmother hates rain. It was about this that she complained over the hour ride to the airport. And then we reached the airport. My grandfather dropped us off and we entered the building with our luggage in my arms. I, being younger and thus expendable, had to carry everything, including an immense, aggressively yellow suitcase which was ostensibly filled with cement. I learned later that it had a false bottom so that she could smuggle back chocolate and cheese from Europe without paying import taxes. When we entered the airport, we immediately made our way to the baggage check, where we also had boarding passes printed. My load was thus lightened, although not by much as my grandmother wanted to take as much carry-on as possible in order to avoid paying for checked bags. And then came the security check. My grandmother hates airport security. She hates it so much that she adamantly refuses to read the notice which tells you what is not allowed on a plane. She also refuses to learn from her past experience of being searched at the airport every single time she has ever been through security. And so when she sent her bag through the scanning device, the security per-son had to take it aside and search it. He rooted through the bag, re-moving fifteen packs of cigarettes before he found the offending object: a bottle of sherry, which my grandmother had brought for the flight, not remembering that liquid is not allowed on the plane. So the bag was scanned again, but it apparently still contained contraband. The security person soon found the problem: another bottle of sherry. After that was confiscated, the bag was deemed safe. My grandmother angrily repacked her bag, and we trudged into the terminal to wait for our flight. The flight to Detroit was fortunately quiet. My grandmother and I read, and soon we were in Detroit. It was sunny. We passed the three hours there peacefully enough. My grandmother took it upon herself to give me advice about driving, which consisted mainly of the fact that you shouldn't run over children in your car because you might get caught. And then we boarded our flight to the
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Netherlands. It was one of the planes which has a small television in the back of every seat, so that one can actually choose what one watches or listens to. I settled down to watch Gran Torino, until I was interrupted by the headphones which I was wearing being ripped violently from my head. My grandmother did not know how to operate the television in front of her and needed me to help her. I am sure she is perfectly capable of understanding technology, but she refuses to do so. Thus, despite my best efforts to teach her, she kept ending up accidentally switching the television to Dragonball Z. She interrupted my lesson when she discovered that wine was free on flights to Europe. She asked for three bottles. Instead of letting her switch to Dragonball Z again, I put on some Bach and told her to listen to that. I returned to my movie. About a half an hour later, the headphones were once again removed from my head. My grandmother, having finished all three bottles of wine, had decided to change the music to Mozart, but she had instead put on Dragonball Z. She was speaking very loudly, not realizing that she was wearing headphones. She took off the headphones and continued to speak very loudly. She was drunk. I switched her music to Mozart and resumed watching my movie. An hour later, the movie was almost over. Night was beginning to fall outside the plane and dinner was being served. Of the available options—chicken or vegetarian—I chose the chicken. I made a mistake. The food was awful. The meal consisted of a few strips of dried chicken in some sort of white sludge with a grey-green blob of what I assumed were vegetables of some sort. I ate the roll which came with the meal. My grandmother ate everything else. And then it was time to go to sleep. My grandmother took a sleeping pill, and she was soon snoring. My grandmother has an interesting way of snoring. Most people who snore snore regularly; after a while, one can find the pattern and get used to it. My grandmother, however, changes her pattern every few seconds. Just when I thought I was getting used to the snoring, she would find some new and unexplored sound which she had never made before. It was like
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summoned my courage and turned my grandmother's head. The snoring became quieter and more regular, and I was just about to go to sleep when a baby behind me began to wail. My grand- mother awoke next to me, looking angry. "Fucking child," she said, "You can tell it's a spoiled brat. Just listen to it." It sounded like a normal baby to me. "I bet it's British," she said, "The British have no idea how to raise chil- dren. When I was young, they would beat me to death if I cried like that." And she went back to sleep. The baby continued to cry. I decided sleep was a lost cause and settled down to another movie. When that was finished, the baby had stopped crying and I lapsed into uneasy sleep. I was roused exactly two hours later. My grandmother had apparently spent the last hour watching Dragonball Z. She was rather irritated. I was tired, so she opened the window. Morning light streamed into the dark plane, waking the people around us. "It's okay," she told me, "It's time for everyone to get up anyway." She addressed the people around us, "All right! Time to get up!" The baby behind us began to cry again. "Goddamn kid," said my grandmother, "I wish I could kill it." "This is your pilot," said our pilot, "We'll be landing soon. I hope you've enjoyed your flight." I had not. But I had gained insight into my character. I re- alized that I had been too easily bribed by the prospect of travel to "do what else, though damned, I should abhor" (Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 392). I realized that no amount of fun in Holland could ever make up for the suffering inflicted upon me by my grandmother. The hatred and bitterness which seeped from out her soul like Stygian waters o'er the hellish dam of her appearance were too great for any to withstand. But alas, this revelation came for me too late, and doomed was I to carry out my fate.
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................................................ Navy Blue Towers There was a city. Not a bustling, bright and busy city, but a city of all things considered. Serious, direct and sharp. Just as serious as the skyscrapers that littered this city, they were all the same height and width. And in these skyscrapers there were sharp rooms. Each room measured 80 sq. feet and each wall was painted navy blue, navy blue. The phone cords were installed right beside the light switch, which was always 5 inches away from the door that was cut at a 7' by 36" measurement. Everything was exact; people were exact. A day in the life of a worker had no room for estimations, there was no need to repeat or have glitches. And so each worker was to arrive to work at exactly 15 minutes before their scheduled time. Arrive 15 minutes before 8:15 am to begin the daily count of people in the city. Lunch was to be eaten at precisely 1:15 pm everyday, even on the weekends. Every worker was to eat turkey, lettuce, tomato, provolone, (thin cut,) cheese with Hellmann's mayo, (at a refrigerated temperature,) sand- wich accompanied by a red apple and fresh carrots. Everything listed above had to be done precisely. You are here. A worker, an employee in the navy blue society. A quiet and small voice of the community named Allen. People mutter about you daily because you are a girl named Allen, but you wear it well. You're around 25, and your favorite color is red, color is red. A worker is not allowed to enjoy any color other than navy blue. But you like the color red, and curves, not sharp edges, and hot places, not cold distant social measurements. But the day has already begun, and so you must suffer one more time, one more time. Lunch passes, and you've accumulated the number of people in the zip code assigned to you. You've made sure that nothing is out of place, out of place. And yet, though you ate your lunch at precisely 1:15 pm, you begin to feel dizzy. Disgusted and sick from the navy blue walls,
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carpet, chair and even the lamp on your desk. It surrounds you, surrounds you! This disgust fills you inside, and inside you start to burn. You are sitting and even this begins to hurt. It's hard and cold fea- tures make you hate the office even more, even more, even more, even more. Faster and faster your heart beats, faster and faster you run to the bathroom, anxious to hurl on your navy blue dress. You're anxious to spew out your irritation with the place. Everything must be accounted for, but sometimes you just need to hide! You become frantic, desperate and start to wheeze, like the old man they killed about a week ago due to the fact that he wasn't walking at the precise speed required. You gasp for air as you run out looking for help from the perfection that is suffocating you. And everyone begins to stare at you suspiciously. "She's crazy," they begin to mumble quietly, although you can hear every word, every word! "Look at her hair, it's awful." "She looks sick, her eyes are blood shot red--" "Just like her dress!" You stop abruptly and look down. It has indeed turn red now, and the woman who noticed this is the lady who works at the desk next to yours. You shiver as a blast of cold air bursts through the A/C vent behind you, behind you, behind you. "I can't breathe," you moan, "There are no mistakesâ€Śbut why?!" You begin to stalk to your desk, knowing exactly what you need to do next. In the bottom drawer you find your gun and you pull it out, ready to kill anyone who tried to make you a navy blue status quo. At this moment, you realize no one is watching you anymore. No one cares to notice your troubles, but they are all eager to point out your flaws. Like the fact that you're a size 6 in dresses and not the highly recommended size 2. Or that you cut your hair shorter than everyone's 8 inch length. No one cares. For a moment you go blank, and there's a bright white covering you. A moment ago you could have sworn there were several gunshots, but you fail to remember who shot them. There's no more navy blue. It's suddenly replaced with red; everything is covered in red, covered in red. You quietly begin to think to yourself as you reach down to your heart and
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discover you're bleeding. Now your hands are covered in red, covered in red. It suddenly gets warmer, as you realize that you're dead and this must be hell. A punishment for not being perfect in the navy blue roomed towers, blue roomed towers. There are flames everywhere and screams of the others who have ended here as well. But you quietly begin to giggle, Allen, because at least there are no more cold, navy blue faces in your mind. You wipe the red off your hands and walk away, walk away happy.
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................................................ Taking Off I opened my eyes and out of nowhere a man appeared. I don't know who this man was or what he intended to do. "Here," he stated as he handed me what appeared to be a small vest. Suddenly he vanished into thin air. I was suppose to do with this bright, green vest so I did only what came naturally; I put it on. As I strapped its three tiny straps across my chest I felt as if I had somehow dropped fifty pounds. The wind suddenly began to pick up and it felt like the temperature had dropped twenty degrees. I looked up at the fading sun and I felt like I could fly. I walked down an empty street where I received the impulse to run. I slowly started to pace myself and before I knew it I was running like a madman. I could not stop myself from running faster and faster. After running for approximately five minutes, strangely I was not tired. In my mind I could feel as if something was about to happen. My feet began to lift off the firmly placed ground beneath me and I was flying. At this moment my mind was torn between fear and amazement. I was fearful because my body was leaving the pavement without the aid of any preconceived notion of flight. Amazed because of exactly that fact. I soared through the air in a bobbing motion going up and down. The vest allowed me to go as high as I wanted but at the cost of a sudden descent hereafter. I absorbed the sights around me as I bobbed up and down. With each fall my nerves increased as I felt as if I was seconds from colliding with the pavement resulting in my death. I flew across a town where I aw children playing in the street. I glided down to converse with them in an attempt to show off my newfangled buoyancy. When I came within an arms reach to them, they began to claw at me. They wanted what was mine. They wanted to steal my flight. I became enraged at the greed of these usurpers as they attempted to disrobe me. But I wouldn't allow it. I fought back with such tenacity
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They had no choice but to submit. I leaped back into the sky and flew away. I grew tired as I flew through the air for hours. I needed to rest. I journeyed to a nearby alley where I thought I'd be safe from scrutiny. Seeing no one around me, I began to make my descent. Suddenly a group of three men approached me. Within each man I saw a desire for my vest. I became frightened. Now I was truly tired. I no longer had a desire to fly. Before the men could reach me I went to unstrap my vest. I pulled one of the tiny straps but with no result. The vest was stuck. I knew that there was nothing I could do but fly away. Once I regained my composure I realized that I was now the object of attention being watched by everyone below me. they all wanted my vest. I knew that I was stuck. I knew that I could never return to solid ground again. My new home was in the sky.
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................................................ A Complete Impediment to Understanding I feel that all I have done is for naught, For though I spent my time seeking what could Be sought, I unraveled the rope and I had caught To find naught but a knot. I fear we should Flee, a flight in lit light, but in distress All of the mistresses misdressed, the dear Miss' mere disses were near misses, congress Compressed and the right fight became a right fear As I developed a love of the dark And a fear of the knight. I've more to say- But hark! The lark rushed to park in the park Where the grass, all tired of tires, died today And the sea's crazed movement (locomotion) Swept me from land out into the ocean
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................................................ Fantasy In the womb, we looked each other face to face, knowing each others every thought. When you left, I bade you farewell, knowing that we might see each other in the future. In what seemed like moments, I was given birth also. I looked, but I could not see. I sensed your terri- ble magnificence and looked to you. Then my sight came. We traveled through space and time together; our fantasy never ending. I looked into your face again. It was different this time. I stopped, no longer able to comprehend what you had become. You continued to move forward and when I looked up, I saw the unfathomable. Your hands, curling around the world as it became your creation. I was glad for you, but something had always been wrong. You took this creation by force, and I believed it would be a fearsome outcome. But no, your actions had always been flawless and the stars began to shine brighter whenever your name was called. But while you were right, I was wrong. My awe dissipated into raw fury. You then began to conjure up the most magnificent artworks ever known to man. You snapped and it was called music. You breathed and it was called warmth. It was then that I realized; I loathed you. I envied you. I stumbled upon a rift that grew between us and lost my balance. As I fell you reached your hand out towards me, but then you saw my eyes. My hateful eyes that wanted to pull you down with me. So I fell. I fell for so long. Down into a pit of confusion and tumult. I remained there growing stronger; ready to become greater than you. When I reappeared before you, you knew what had happened to me. I was banished from your sight and I watched as you wept for what I had become. A new revelation appeared before me: I must become him. So I did. Even when I succeeded in becoming what I wanted for so long, I became even angrier with myself. So I returned to my true form and decided to defeat you as myself, no matter what disadvantage I may have. After all, you're my best friend and my greatest enemy, aren't you?
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It was August 29th, the first day at my new school. I awoke to the rays of the beautiful sunshine accompanied by the birds singing in the trees. They sang to the alluring tune of- Scratch that, I can't do this. This is not a happy story. I have been holding this in for far too long. To whom it may concern, my name is Jacob Ryan and I must hurry in the writing of this tale. The guards are watching my every move. They sit in the other room like hawks staring at the camera monitor, waiting for the day I make a move for survival. I make my move today. My senses have grown since I've been here; I can smell the constant rate of breath escaping the guard's mouth as he sleeps. His teeth, like the stain of the banana he has just finished eating, would benefit from an intense scrub. Whether he owns a toothbrush or not is beyond me. Apparently the second guard has ventured off on his daily lunch break. I always feel the rush of the cool 52 degree weather come past as he opens the door to the main gates. All of my senses are working fine, but yet I see nothing. I have been in solitary confinement for sixteen years, staring at this grey stone wall. I loathe the sun now, because I know nothing of daylight. Enough small talk, I will try to recall the events that led me in this predicament. Beware, my memory is foggy but determined. My earliest point of memory is a lab. . . . Ahh! Cut that damn light off! The light beams down on my slowly opening eyelids with the intent to burn. I can't move. I am using all my might to break loose from these straps that bind me. As I struggle and flail with growing intensity a metal brace falls from the ceiling and claps onto my neck. I can't move. As I gasp for air and stare at the ceiling, I wait for someone to come to my rescue. They obviously have the wrong person. "No we don't," Says an incoming dark figure. Wait, what? I could have sworn I didn't say that out loud. "No you didn't," The dark figure answers as he crosses behind my head and to pick up a needle from his desk. Get out of my
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head you bastard! "This is only going to sting for a second. Brace yourself, Jacob." How does he know my name? Look! You have the wrong- My thought pattern stops as I feel a wave of electricity run from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I've never experi- enced so much pain in my life, it was as if I was being shot, stabbed, and tasered all at once. Woo! The 52 degree breeze just passed under this steel door. I guess the guard is back from his lunch break. It's always the same beef and blood. Sorry I tend to get distracted. "Wake up, Jacob Ryan. Patient 509, get up." What? Who is that? I open my eyes to see the cursed blinding light again and yet another dark figure. I'll be damned if I listen to you. "Stand Jacob." No! The figure growled, yelling, "Jacob Ryan rise!" A force threw me from the lab table head first into the wall. What is this! I want to yell, but I am still confined only to my thoughts. I get up from the ground and look around the dark room. Why is everything so dark in here? I turn my head to the wall and freeze. There is a large dent and crack in this wall. This wall is stone. It's impenetrable! That couldn't have been me. I didn't even feel anything. "Get used to it. You are one of us now." One of what? The room is so dark, I can't even see what I am. Give me some light! "You'll get accustomed to the dark- ness Jacob," The figure said nonchalantly. It's all starting to come back to me now. . . . Next was my es- cape attempt. If I had that kind of power to make that kind of impact on that wall, then I should be able to get out of this place with ease. "Do you want to repeat that?" Damn you, mind reader. Well what now, since you seem to be in control of my life? I mean you brought me here and you obviously have the wrong- Before I finish my sentence I decide to take off through the open door. As I cut down the halls of the laboratory, I see every obstacle in my mind before I see it with my vision. My eyes are like an eagle's, and my legs feel like a cheetah's sprint. I can get used to this! My speed is increasing with every step. Which way is out. . . . I begin to hear the slight pitterpatter of feet. I make a sharp left, hoping that I've found the exit path. I run into a dead end. I suddenly hear the heavy running of feet behind me. I turn my head around sharply and see nothing concluding
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that my hearing is heavily sensitive. The heavy running ceases. I feel the sturdiness of the stone wall, I can't make it through this thing. I begin to run back the way in which I came. Yaeeeekkkk!!! A loud screech shatters my eardrums. I look behind me to see the large figure chasing me with incredible speed. Not chasing, charging! I run for my life as the repulsion of his face scarred me; so hideous. Come on legs! Can't you go any faster? Suddenly, another vile creature comes from the front of me "Did you really think you were going to get away, Jacob?" A figure in front of me and a figure behind me. The only other option is the stone wall to my left. Looks like that's my option. "Go through the wall then. Let's see if you make it." I glance at the figure in front of me and then the incoming one behind me who is still charging with intense speed. "What are you gonna do, Mr. Ryan?" I get in position to smash through the wall, but I hesitate and cringe. The charging figure punches me and knocks me to the oppo- site end of the hall. Sixteen years in this thing. To this day I still don't know what those things are. I don't even know what I am, but I am a creature who has no mirror to acknowledge my own hideousness. A creature who has become mute and dumb. A life without words is only action. My action at this moment is escape. I have written all of this in the time span of a minute and four seconds. My hands are filled with radiancy, filled with energy, filled with power. After all these years I am ready to live individually and not hide in solitary under the con- trol of these wolves. I make my move today. "Jake baby wake up. Breakfast is downstairs on the table. Happy sixteenth kiddo."
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MARTHA ROBICHAUD ........................................................
Gypsy You painted my intention on my left hand— Branded me, and let me walk away. But I boomeranged back, My tribal colors glaring in the sun, And I wondered if this time you noticed. (My intention had hardly begun to crack, still caked on in layers of reddish mud.) And then you came and branded me some more M y l i ps My cheeks My ears And I laughed when you called me a freckled snowflake Because it's true. So I looked up at the sky and at the desperately reaching branches And called your eyes a tree. You never stay for long, And because I know this I won't scrub at my body. Still, every day the mud flecks off like skin— Soon there will be nothing left Of my intention. And I, stranded in my glass cage, Will watch as the wind wisps you away And the trees engulf your eyes And the ocean eats your toes And the fire dances round your
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Young brain And bakes into it pretty clay images. I will watch Watch Watch And wonder if this time you notice My intention.
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................................................ A Life Moreâ€Ś The tree stood solid and strong. A gnarled contour of flesh settled mid dance supports an explosion of leaves. They are like butterflies anchored to twigs, fluttering in a breeze but clinging to their support. A peace surrounds the being, serenity achieved through the simplicity of prolonged existence and endurance. This tree has lived through more than most. It remembers in the way of trees a time when all that surrounded it was vegetation, and the only visitors were creatures occupied with survival. It remembers a time when the air was fresher, the water from the sky tasted cleaner, when the earth felt endless and infinite, as did the sky. It met a human for the first time after a few decades of growth in the sun had dimmed the memory of bursting through the earth into one fondly forgotten. The creature walked and looked strangely, and seemed to have a peculiar purpose, for it wandered through the meadow the tree centered not in search of food, but seemed to be searching all the same. The tree was intrigued when the human came back with more and began to create something. They did strange things with the carcasses of its brethren, exposing the tender flesh to the air and changing the shape. And soon the tree shaded what seemed to be a dwelling. It was content with this, for the creature had more soon, small versions flitting about with the energy of the young, and these interested the tree in their strange ways. They moved around and came and went, and made a lot of noise. The other creatures seem to not feel the same friendliness, although still many birds and small animals visit and even nest in the trees branches. The tree finds it enjoys the humans, and their energetic oddities. It watches as the seasons change and still it grows and stretches, and beneath the boughs the little dwelling changes as occupants leave and more arrive. The dwelling grows, and then in one night of terror it is burned badly and the tree suffers from burns as the
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humans rebuild. The tree stands tall and resilient through storms and a few floods, another fire, winters and springs and summers and falls, so many years that each pass like hours and centuries both. More dwellings appear, changing and going through the cycle of life like living things as they are born and decay and grow and eventually are destroyed only to be replaced by bigger and stronger ones. A lot of the other trees are cut down and chopped up, the survivors isolated from their rivals for sun and water. Then one day that starts like any other, the tree realizes that the sky is no longer infinite. It is framed by dwellings almost as tall as the trees highest branches. The earth is filled with cold metal roots that will not break, crowding the soil. The tree has seen many things. It stands strong and solid. But the saw bites deep.
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SYDNEY SPANN ................................................ In the night, when it was snowing, I thought a while how things were unfit, and hid all my insecurities under my mattress. If I were to lift it up, you could see them spread completely across in layers, one spiral-bound on top of another. I have never lifted my mattress up because I do not want to be taken aback by the masses of them. It is safe to just reach under and feel around the papers one at a time. If my colleague were to approach me and say "Do you sir, feel that you are sunny and warm, and that if I asked you 'Are you per- fectly stable?', that you would answer in the affirmative?" I would not have an accurate 'yes' or 'no'. If he were to ask me when I had been around for twelve years, I would have responded "Surely so, sunny as the sea!". These days I would not respond so surely. Due to the times and my inches, I have been watching Mother and Father closer than ever, and disapproving of their morals. Mothers don't always love fathers, I learned once, and we can't always agree on the same wares. Humor is a characteristic of the enlightened; and to think I had been so serious! I was so serious and regarded everything in such a contemplative manner. Laughing is often a response to the dreadful: When you see home-sewn kitten legwarmers at a county fair, laughter is the outcome because it's recognized that you yourself know better than to take such a thing so gravely. So then, we feel a sort of pitying-type affection for those who dedicate themselves to blue ribbon preserves and award-winning alpacas. Another thing comes with slugging off a certain amount of seriousness and imperiousness: learning that no madman is really insane. All things that are felt have been felt before, and again again and again. I am flowing movement, and that is a progression. I am enlightened for the sixth time, and there will be more episodes to come.
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................................................ A.K.A The Neighborhood Nutcase The bright orange sunrise rose from the east and the only sound was the chirping of the birds. Coffee brewed in the pots of the neighborhood and icing melted on top of the hot cinnamon buns. What a perfectly peaceful Sunday morning… VRRROOOOMMMM. Old man Jenkins of house 2147 almost fell off of his rocking chair and held his ears like a cannon just went off. Damn… neighbors… He got up and mumbled to himself as he limped over to the window. His eyes immediately went to the house across the street, a.k.a. the nut’s house. To no surprise, the loony leaf lady revved her engines. Jenkins shook his gray head and stared at his neighbor bopping up and down on a huge tractor. After 25 years she won’t give it a rest, he thought. Lord have mercy on us. He shuffled to the kitchen, picked up some cream of wheat and Geritol, and headed back to his chair in front of the window. Well, I ain’t got nothing better to do. May as well enjoy myself while I can. All day he watched his crazy neighbor shuffle around her lawn doing every possible thing to keep her yard as spotless as it always was. Jenkins swore that if one blade of grass was out of place, she’d know. She watched and picked at her lawn like a hawk. If a couple walked by with a dog on a leash she would lift her suspicious face and stare at the by-passers to make sure not one paw or toe touched her precious green grass. Most of the neighborhood veterans knew not to walk on her side of the street but some newbies had yet to discover the secret. Her miniature poodle was the canine version of herself. Every time someone walked by, the most hideous yapping noise would come out of its seemingly harmless snout. Not only did her grass somehow manage to always keep its exact 1.75-inch height, no leaf could survive on her lawn for more than 10 minutes. Several times throughout the day Jenkins saw her stroll around the yard with a trash bag, meticulously picking up the sparse leaves one by one. This wasn’t enough however. about noon she started to suck the leaves off of her tree with a blower. She
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couldn't even let nature take its course naturally. Then she went across the street and started to pick the leaves out from under the windshield wipers of her neighbors' cars. This made Old Man Jen- kins cackle out loud. Weeks passed and every Sunday the crazy neighbor repeated her routine just like the last 25 years. One Sunday, something momentarily interrupted her schedule. Just as Jenkins plopped down in his chair with his breakfast, his neighbor's children pulled into her driveway. Both she and her husband ran out (on the sidewalk) to greet the kids. The father took the homemade cake from his daughter's hands and they all laughed and talked as they made their way up into the house. Jenkins smiled to himself and started to think about his own kidsâ€Ś But five minutes later his smile was wiped from his face. His cooky neighbor stalked out of the house and started to trim the already perfect bushes. Something ticked inside of Jenkins head. He rose from the swaying chair, stepped out into the sunshine, and headed over right onto his neighbor's lawn. "Hey don't step-" "Hello, I just want to ask you, what are you doing?" "Oh, um, do you like this?" She held up the shiny trimmer. "It's the newest model of trimming supplies. I just got it yesterday." She smiled. "Now please get off the lawn." "No. What are you doing?" Jenkins snapped. The elderly lady's face was in shock and she couldn't say anything. "I just noticed that your children are here, from out of state. What are you doing messing with your stupid lawn? Is your precious Better Homes & Gardens museum more important than your own kids? What are you doing with your life?" Neither of them could speak. After a minute the neighbor said, "Who do you think you are, coming over here and telling me how to run my life?" Though she was trying to sound mad, Jenkins could tell she was fighting down a lump in her throat. "Just thought you'd like to know that you're wasting your life
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away.” Jenkins let out a breath and headed back to his own overgrown yard. When he got back to his window Jenkins saw her still staring in shock in his direction. He was glad at what he’d done and thought he really helped her out today. His neighbor dropped the trimmer and headed for her garage. She disappeared through the door. A minute later she came out with earplugs and her blower ready to suck the leaves off the tree again. Old Jenkins shook his head in disbelief. He couldn’t bear to sit in his chair one more minute, so he got up, picked up the phone, and dialed the number of his own kids.
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................................................ One day I wrote his name upon paper In front of me, surrounding it with hearts, But wondering if my love would taper Because he was punctured by Cupid's darts, And now his heart belongs to another. His loving gaze I did not acquire, And my lonely heart yearns for the smother Of Love's passion and burning desire. I would love to find a way to remove The arrow that made a controlling cage Around his heart (Cupid would not approve), And if I can't, my heart will die in rage. But can one senseless girl's heated passion Win against Cupid's immortal fashion?
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................................................ Heartsick For Freedom Tomorrow and tomorrow and right this Second I am filled with a dulling ache. The warmth left from an old, forgotten kiss Has turned cold, and forced my weak heart to break. Alas, I feel the lack of love today. 'Tis a chilling emptiness in my heart. I wish that I could go and fly away. Any thing, I only want a fresh start. And when I have found the freedom I lack, A life without your memory's cruel cage, I shall sing to angels and they right back. It shall be the victory of this age. So, give me what I have long come to miss. I want my heart back, that single, sweet bliss.
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The Literary Magazine editorial team consists of students of Baltimore School for the Arts from every discipline. They do everything from selecting the submissions to be included to designing the layout of the magazine. Literary Magazine Team: • • • • • •
Managing Editor: Daniel Schutrum-Boward firstname.lastname@example.org Literary Editor: Gaby Iturralde email@example.com Art Director: Christen Chiosi Digital Media/Web Editor: Daniel Gillespie firstname.lastname@example.org Music Editor: Royce Hodnett Web Site Contributor/Reviewer: Willy Mason email@example.com
BSA Faculty Organizer: Thomas Ventimiglia Tventimiglia@madisonandcathedral.com Digital Edition Editor: Daniel Gillespie
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Published on May 5, 2010
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