letter to the reader
When you have found it, you should stick to it. -- Audrey Hepburn
Chao-li Zhang '15
It was the kind of place we weren’t intending to go, my family and I. We saw it and decided to take a chance; to take a break from the long, gray Ithaca highways leading straight to Cornell University. It was a distraction from the certainty that we would all be saying goodbye to my brother for a couple of months. Pulling up to the parking lot, we were met with the great expanse of Cayuga Lake. The area itself was called Stewart Park, housing a handful of benches, tables, and park-like things. Families were scattered around; one starting up a tantalizing barbeque, one playing a laid-back game of barefoot soccer, and us, awkwardly standing at the lapping shoreline, staring out at the reflective lake. The lake stared back until my father drifted off to talk to a man who just finished wakeboarding, and my mother became more interested in taking pictures than talking. My brother and I hung back. I was leaning on a stocky weeping willow, and he was next to me on his phone. The rugged grooves of the tree trunk bore into my back as I racked my brain for things to say. Parts of the flaky bark clung to my hair and shirt, which normally would have been grounds for teasing and laughter, but did not have the usual effect. It was the kind of place where we thought time would be kind enough to feign ignorance. We were stalling, trying to delay the inevitable. We were more willing to drag our feet through the spiny grass than back to the car, more willing to look at the azure depths of the lake than at each other, and more willing to comment on the mild weather than on the fact that he had to leave eventually. He was supposed to be checking into his dorm at Cornell, not sitting on a chipped bench at the edge of a park, frowning at the passing boats far out into the lake. The placid lake had done nothing to deserve his deepened scowl.
The playful lake timidly extended its watery touch, as if to mollify him. The understanding lake withdrew its touch as fluidly as it was offered. I couldn’t blame him; I didn’t want him to go either. It was also the kind of place to go to, to say goodbye. My brother was leaving, that much was true. He wasn’t going to come back for a while, and I couldn’t go with him. I had to accept the fact that he would soon be on the other side of the smiling, blue lake, and that the towering trees, and the bristly grass, and the uninterrupted, smiling faces of families, and the winding highways, as well as over two hundred and thirty miles would be between us. I needed some way to show him that I was okay with him making an eight-year, strong, willow tree promise to his education. I needed a way to show him that I was okay with us no longer being on the same side of the lake. I recalled my mother jokingly tell us earlier that she would gladly push us into the lake if we didn’t stop sulking, so I had my answer. Together we walked to the brink of the lake, and I gave him a head start into the water, and into his new life, because I knew he could take care of himself.
CAYUGA LAKE YASMINE GHANEM '15
Sean Li Wong '14
ONE MADANI SHEIKH '14 My soul was caged within the constraints of carnality. It sought the Origin of origins, soliciting the Universe for originality. Daily woes weathered and wore my flesh. Disparities came about between my tiring flesh, and my supple soul. The beefy bars that had once kept my spirit at bay, thinned and tapered until one day, my soul leapt out of its cage and plunged into the world. The Universe injected my soul with fervor so grand, It swore to never stop searching until in its hand, It held the Truth of all truths, the answer to all questions. My soul would dance with bliss, when suggestions were made, alluding to that Mystery of mysteries. That thing that man has searched for throughout his history. Now, Iâ€™m aware that this is insane. That my poetry lacks substance, and I, a brain. But if you understand one thing, let it be this: Your soul is all there is in this abyss. When my soul returned, it shone like the moon. Beaming and buoyant with colors bestrewn.
"We are all leaves, springing from the same tree. Rustling in the days wind, tethered but free. We are all rays, emanating from the same sun. Licking at the atmosphere, in complete union. We are all raindrops, descending from the same cloud, merging with the ocean. Modest, humbled. Not proud, But integrated, incorporated, Combined and consolidated. Not segregated, or separated, Nor alienated or isolated. But One. Who, then, can claim to be the Single Possessor of the essence of Existence? Who?â€?
NOVEMBER This world is a vessel, destined to sink; Scripture inscribed with erasable ink. "Life everlasting" is a tale for fools. As if the Universe plays by our rules. This world is a woman, wet, for she weeps; A damsel doomed to die, dry, as she sleeps. Open your eyes, and welcome with your gaze, A gracious gift from Death: the end of days.
Watch, as Death begets a waxing stillness. Cancerous - Death siphons without shrillness. Look on, dear reader, as the world â€œevolves." Sedate and deliberate, Death dissolves.
BENEATH THE EVES DOIS GAIL '17 The wintry willow sang today It sang that song anew It sang with airs that lit the night Among the crowd of blue It sang with notes short and sweet It sang that song so true It sang with airs that haunt the sight It sang the song of you
THE LAST TIME Here's to those Enemies and friends alike You who have kept me company In this amazing rollercoaster called life Maybe you don't realize it just yet It might not have occurred to you Sorry for not telling you sooner Serenity is just inside your reach You better hurry and run Open the door is Until a fickle wind shuts it...
David Chen '14
UNTITLED SARAH CHAUDHRY '14 I don't think I've experienced it. I don't think anyone really, fully, experiences their childhood. But people disagree. Ms.Dwyer once said, "If youth knew, if old age could." It's just a time that passes. We dreamt of being anything and everything. An astronaut, a doctor, a vet, a dentist. But not a dentist because metal tools into someone's mouth wasn't your thing and that was okay. Because then you could look towards being an artist, even an architect. But you didn't know the term architect so you dreamt of being the best home builder. And you pictured families always being together and talking and laughing. And now you're trying to be just as imaginative, but then there are all these realities you need to face. And it's not hard and it's not hopeless and it's not terrible and it's not negative. But it just kind of hurts. I don't know why. And it's not a painful hurt. It's that wow kind of hurt. Wow I'm getting older. Wow that's another candle on my cake. Wow what am I going to wish for. Wow my wishes have gone from a five year old's want to ride on horses to something so practical. And it's this practicality, this normal cycle that everyone goes through that's just wow. And so you get attached to all these movies and these shows and these people and these moments to the point where the resistance to grow up just becomes a constant desire to never let go of anything or anyone. And it's like you will never be truly at home because you'll be distributed among so many people that you've cared for and loved. And so you just want the six, seven, eight years to find heaven in the
toys. You just want the ten, eleven, twelve years to always embrace the new with open arms. The thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years to always bring the immature laughter. Sure, it can still happen now. And sure it may keep happening. And sure things might not be so different. But still. But still. But still you want everything to last a little longer. So I know. And I don't know. I'm okay. And then not so much. I'm fine and then I wonder. And then everything rises up just before tumbling down again. But it's all okay. Please don't bring any logic into this. I don't want to be logical. I want to be happy with this confusion and fear and reluctance and I am. I'm fine.
Sean Li Wong '14
EULOGY DAVID GUIRGIS '16 So you’re seven, in the second grade, and all your life you’ve been seeking yourself, finding what yourself could be in the group of little boys throwing cards on the table and making fun of the slow kids in recess and gym and later realizing that what you thought was yourself wasn’t you, but it could have been, and that makes you sort of frightened because you know how easy it is to lose yourself before you even find it. And all your life you’ve been secretly blowing out birthday candles even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday, wishing that when you were fourteen you would magically find yourself like in the movies and the mushy teen novels you read in secret. And soon you’re fourteen, and it’s the first day of high school, so you, bubbly you, pour in with the rest of them in and eagerly start searching for yourself. And all your life you’ve been seeking for yourself, finding what could be yourself in the group of kids caricatured in Hollister and iPods and tests they lifted from the teacher’s desk and later realizing that what you thought was yourself wasn’t you, but only after they’ve sucked you brittle and dry of money and personality and homework answers and maybe even real friends at one point. You’ve been secretly Facebooking your entire life, unseen from your parents, even though at this point they’ve made it clear they couldn’t care less what you thought and why you haven’t found yourself yet. And now you’re fifteen, and it’s the first day of school all over again and somehow your legs manage to get you through the door as you try and start searching for where yourself could be—
And all your life you’ve been seeking yourself, finding what could be yourself in the group of boys with dizzying smiles and feathery hair and dazzling eyes and crass jokes and weed stashed away in some hidden part of their expensive jackets and later realizing that what you thought was yourself wasn’t you, that you didn’t want to be them, but you just wanted them, them in your arms because goddamn it all this searching for yourself made you realize that you wanted to search for someone else also, but it was so clear they didn’t want you, never have, never will. And now you’re slipping roofies in your own drinks and slipping in your own hot vomit in the graying bathtub and taking razors to your hands and realizing that you’ve carved out a plea for yourself to be found and later washing the blood off with the tears you’ve collected and managing to get drunk from stale cooking wine because that was the only type of liquor to be found in the house you lived in with the strangers who birthed you and tried to help you find yourself your entire life. And now you’re sixteen—and perhaps you’ve found yourself, oh so very high up there where the good and maybe hopefully the fucked up remains of something that could have been good, maybe that’s where they go after they expire, but that truly is a question for God, isn’t it. Isn’t it, love?
THICK AND THIN HAJRA JAMAL '15 For the wintergirls*
It is a deeper-than-gut sensation. It is one hell of a liar. It makes me feel like utter shit. The worst part is, it always wins. It tells me it will be there through thick and thin. I’m on my knees begging it for more, and it just snickers on its porcelain throne. It leaves fatal hints everywhere I go, making me paranoid. I am cautious, but it starts to sugarcoat the alluring crime. Eventually, I run out alibis, and begin to seek refuge from it. In a deceiving voice, it hisses, “It’s worth it.” I believe it. It seems like a great way to stop the bleeding. I don’t know how it got this way; I just started to deserve it. I get tangled in its web easily, and it coils around me, suffocating the hope out of me. A black hole plummets into my stomach, gnawing at me from the inside out. I suck in tighter, with a frightening force. The mirror lies to me. It tells me it can see what I need. It paints an illusion of invincibility. But my raw hunger challenges it Sean Li Wong Perfection. '14 to a duel. It’s fun to watch everything fall apart, it just stings a bit. It starts to pull the trigger, and at once, I surrender and shoot. The hunger games begin.
It verses me, me versus myself. No one else can hear, no one else cares. I duck for cover, lock the door, and turn on the water. The bullets hurl out; ghostly flagella follow each one. My ammunition supply is infinite. I fire and fire until everything burns. My silence is my selfquote defense. I am hollow, but I can’t make myself leave. It’s killing me, but I love it’s taste. I finally cease fire when the gastric acid begins to etch the inside of my throat. I bow at its throne. I’m falling apart, spitting out slithering translucent demons. It is a horrific curse that has plagued every disintegrating fiber of my being. Sometimes I wish it would leave me. My breath comes crashing in as I succumb, because it always wins. I wipe away the defeat and wave a white flag. I watch the wounded soldiers and blood flush down and burn the battleground. My pretenses and tears join in, creating a violent and swirling artist’s rendition of Starry Night. My wrecked masterpiece gurgles into the underworld. I’m just a bit disappointed. I never pictured it would be my everything. My reflection is not recognizable, my face is sullen and some bones jut out. I am skin and bones. I stare for a while, and ache for the words seen, but not heard. I’m not sick of it yet, I just can’t believe that this is it. It’s just so soon. I still feel like shit, but I’m empty. Empty is good. Empty is perfect. I hate how I need it. Sometimes I wish it would leave me. I could try to stand on my own, like a vigilante, but all my efforts would be to no avail.
I’m in love and then I’m falling out. It pulls every heart string of mine; I’m on the brink of sanity. As it bids me farewell, I go back and forth between running after it and staying put. I’m romanticizing a perfectly proportional world. I don’t know what I need. Please don’t let it leave; its bitterness is better than my uncertainty. It’s stronger than me — Thin always wins. "Anorexia is the most fatal of all mental illnesses. There is nothing empowering or cute or sexy about it. It's a disease that kills, ruins lives, and ravages families. I wrote Wintergirls* to show the horrifying damage of the disease, and how people struggling with it can reach for help and hope." - Laurie Halse Anderson
Sean Li Wong '14
UNTITLED KHAULA SAAD '15 Loneliness is a silent killer. And what a strange killer he is. His perplexity lies not in his ability to drag us down into the depths of disparity, but to hunt us even in the security of those we expect to feel least lonely around. How does he manage to make us feel so broken in the presence of those who only live to hold our pieces together? He is a sea of unsettlement that engulfs us and soon we find ourselves drowning. It's as if the arms of those who love us are flailing towards us, desperately, only wanting to save us from the waves. And yet... we refuse them. There we stay stubbornly, letting the burning saltiness of the sea fill our lungs. To which they say, "How dare you be so lonely?" And it is a ringing voice we hear. How dare we be so lonely when there are seven billion bodies walking on the same ground as us? Seven. Billion. And still, here we stay, finding ways to keep from suffocating from our "emptiness." But what is it that we lack? What could it possibly be that sneaks into our minds in the late hours of the night and whispers to us, "This is not enough.?" Loneliness is a determined killer. He ignores our pleading and praying. We become his victims, his prey, and he gnaws our insides until we remain only dismembered skeletons of the people we once were. We look upon others with envy. We look upon those who seek solitude only as a brief escape with such resentment and spite that it makes us shudder. We shudder because we know that the difference between being "alone" and being "lonely" is great,
being "lonely" is great, and that while those fortunate souls are only floating at the surface of isolation, we are somewhere at the bottom gasping for air. But no oxygen will come. No matter whose hand we frantically try to grab hold of, we will not be relieved. This is because loneliness does not necessarily call for the hands of another, or even a lover, as many of us foolishly think. No matter whose sheets we crawl in and out of, loneliness will still seek us out. We are born with the burning sensation of loneliness instilled inside us, and if the warmth of a mother cannot extinguish the feeling, then there is nothing the soon-to-fade affection of a lover will do for us. Loneliness is a merciless killer. Once we enter his realms and let him overtake us, we are doomed. No amount of prescription pill popping or pads of paper in the hands of a psychiatrist will do anything for us, because loneliness is not only a disease of the mind. We feel it in our very core and it shakes us to the bone. Our hands, our feet, our chests, our heads, they are all lonely with us. And so, there is nothing we can do but mask our loneliness and pray that he does not follow us to our graves, because those who are lonely know that the only thing worse than living in loneliness, is dying in it.
GRACE DE GRUCCIO â€˜17
BHAAMATI BORKHETARIA '15 Every dot a cherished dream A nightmare or so it would seem Memories churned into a heap In time though, away they will seep A wispy blue veil on the dimension of time Falling beyond reminiscences most sublime Every thought a solace in this realm of sorrow Itâ€™s just the hope of time that we could borrow
I'm writing these words on a napkin in a tiny coffee shop On the corner of Main Street and Lonely Boulevard. You see, this napkin's all I had when these words crashed into my mind and paraded down my Imagination Road. Sure, it seems I'm just here for my daily hot chocolate, But honestly, I'm here so I can see you, at 7:00 AM every morning. You arrive at the coffee shop in your old-fashioned car. You pull open the door and make the silver bell tingle. And you make my heart beat like a hummingbird's wings. I pretend to be studying my steaming cup when you walk up to the counter. You smell like the 'Vanilla Dream' candle that I keep in my room. Oh boy, now you've got me in some kind of trance. "I'd like a cup of hot chocolate," you say to the waitress, And then, right then, you sit down across from me. "Like hers." And you wink your green eye at me. Whoa. I can feel the smile spread across my face and the blush tingling up to my ears. The waitress comes over and hands you your hot chocolate. For a while, we sit, and sip our drinks in silence. Then you reach over the table and--
Roland Samano '14
Lincoln Description Dante Silver Evans '14 Beyond the stoners, the gang bangers and the losers that occupy Washington Park existed a building. Its door, red; its walls, blue; and its windows, iced over with moisture and mildew. It was not particularly intriguing from the outside and it resembled a half-bent note: not quite fitting in, but not so different that one would notice. However, inside the unsuspecting walls, was a cacophony of familiar madness. As one opened the door, the first thing he saw was a great, cardboard ear. It hung from the cemented ceiling as if it were God’s ear, asking for the whisper of a secret or a lyric from a personal song. Those who entered were likely to stand and stare, as if they forgot why they were there in the first place. Eventually, they would remember their purpose and draw their eyes to the piles of discarded toys, bicycles, and mannequins. The deeper one entered, the more aware he’d become of his health. The room smelled of cancer. As those who worked there, one was sure that the walls were layered with asbestos. The faint, but constant air freshener presence of cigarette smoke did not ease any tensions. It insulted the nose and stung the eyes, but to those who had been there before, it smelled of familiarity. To those who had been there before, it was calming, soothing and a way to tell that they were home. The further back one went, the louder the world grew. A faint humming noise, barely audible from the door, would swell as the perfectly out-of-tune whirl of a table saw would ring from some undisclosed location.
It would not pierce the ears, but rather, slowly crescendo into a metallic orchestra, filling the room with chords so naturally foreign sounding, but so paradoxically warm and familiar. As it swelled, the building’s song would swoop like an autumn wind and guide the strangers past the post-modern hills of bicycles, past the warm rays of red light, gleaming from a newly polished Lincoln Continental, and into a mansized opening in the floor. Through the small hole was the very thing that gave the building purpose. Through the hole, near the back of the room, was a band. Though different every time, the music this band played would become the anthem of the building as a whole. Mixtures of guitars, loud, soft, sweet, angry, would be plucked, luring everyone in. The hum of a bass would buzz through the walls, sending a vibration through one’s bones in a downright sexual manner. A drum was heard from behind which accompanied with the crashes of symbols, punches of snares, and the knocking of kick drums. A voice would croon or cry or scoop or shout with the instruments, bringing the whole thing together in a way that would warm the ears and send shockwaves down listeners’ spines. Listeners would become dancers as the music would become more rhythmic. Their bodies would sway from side to side, bouncing in their own little bubbles, and the songs would remind them of the colors that layered the walls of the room. There were reds, greens, yellows, but mostly there were blues. It was like a frayed tie-dye t-shirt, covering a body of cement.
Now empty, this building once stood to ease the ennui that comes with being a teenager. For some that is all it was: entertainment. For us it meant more. It meant freedom; it meant that if we could gather over one hundred people in a room like that, we could do anything. Now we stare into nothing and watch as nothing stares back at us and we wonder: â€œwhat will we do next?"
Sean Li Wong '14
tsering? need to insert jaroor's thing in somewhere
back cover......need to figure out how to add in page that's portarit