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11RR

Volume 4 2018


Eleven Rivers Review Palo Alto College Student Arts and Literature Volume 4, Issue 1 Spring 2018 Cover Art “They Kissed” Ricardo Mauricio Herrera The Eleven Rivers Review is a student-sourced publication, highlighting the creativity of Palo Alto College’s diverse student communnity. Our name is an homge to the Texas rivers from which our campus buildings take their names. The Eleven Rivers Review is funded through the Academic Success Division of Palo Alto College. The works selected for Eleven Rivers Review represent the views of the student contributors, not necessarily the views of Palo Alto College. All selections are printed with the permission of the authors and artists cited. Copyright reverts to the authors and artists immediately after publication.


Table of Contents Missions Encierro Changes Tinged with Melancholy My Smiling Puppet The Poe Nadia, Nadie Romanticism An Untrodden Field #Include <Code> Crystalline The Standing Tree Happiness Orange Sunburst My Gift For You Eiffel Daring To Wish The Tilt Willpower This Blaze Will Always Burn On Vaulting The Forgotten Playground Father Young Again His Suitcase Portrait of Antonia The Life in New York Reflection of a Swan Eye Candy The Mermaid Bacarra Beauty Is in the Mountains Beaded Benchmark Familia Natural Medicine Reach for the Sky A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings South Padre Island, Texas

3-4 5 6 7-8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21-22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29-30 31 32 33 34 35-36 37 38 39 40 41-42 43 44 45

Christina Reichl Nathan King Maryjane Garza Leticia Rutkowsky Leticia Rutkowsky Nathan King Angel Alejandro Baeza Yeritzia Sat Jonathan Escamilla Allyson Denise Croom Trace Antonacci Maryjane Garza Maryjane Garza Kimberly Ann Burrs-Dillard Erendira Nolasco Kimberly Ann Burns-Dillard Kathleen Hinojosa Joseph Bueno Abraham Rodriguez Angel Alejandro Baeza Jennifer Aguilar Angel Alejandro Baeza Christina Reichl Emily Harmon Elissa Gallegos Tyler Morales Elissa Gallegos Leticia Rutkowsky Steven Austin King Aracelli Hernandez Ambrose Lozano Heather Olivarri Jasmine Marie Bosquez Louis San Miguel Christina Reichl Angel Alejandro Baeza Delia Maria Gutierrez


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"Missions" ||Christina Reichl

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“Encierro”|| Nathan King

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Changes Tinged with Melancholyâ&#x20AC;?||Maryjane Garza

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"My Smiling Puppet"Leticia Rutkowsky I’m running, I’m running as fast as I can, trying to escape the smiling man. I can hear the smile from so far away, the halls, the room, the smell of decay. I hear the footsteps getting closer and closer, my heart thumping, controlled by a mad composer. I stop. I run into a room and lock the door. The clack of shiny shoes following close behind, so many things race in my mind. The twist of the knob goes around and around, then, the thick air is silenced. BAM! The door comes down. He walks in with a Cheshire grin. With a doll in his hand, he is a diabolical man. Coming towards me he says, “Oh don’t worry puppet, you’re not going to die.” But I knew that; that was a lie. I scream, he raises his hand. He brings it down. Then all I see is black around. ................ Red, red! That’s all I see, the color of hell, the place I might soon be. The smiling man standing at a table, back facing me, he is unstable. I see him pulling a thread through the body that now lays dead. A girl, about three years younger,   probably now in a place somewhere yonder. I look down some more, and the guts of the girl now lay on the floor. I yelp and signal at the man, he turned around and gave his so famous crazy grin. “Oh darling, I’m so glad you’re awake.” He walked towards me with two needles “Please! Please! Let me go!” I screamed “I want to live” “Oh sweet puppet, but that’s a no” He injected me with his needle. “Here is some adrenaline” With a gasp, I felt it settling in. I feel awake, a feeling that I can’t just take. With the other, he put it in my skin. A few minutes later, he pokes me with a pin “Novocain!” he says.

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What scared me and almost drove me insane Was the fact that I felt no pain. He ripped my shirt off, exposing me to the cold air. The only feeling I felt was me being scared. “Let’s play doctor,” he raised a dissecting knife. He almost looked like death, with his famous scythe. He brought it to my stomach, and sliced right down. Then slowly but surely my blood seeped out.   I felt nothing, nothing at all. He sticks his hands in me, and lets my organs fall Then I stare right at him. He looked right back at me, and smiled The smile of sin. He continued to work. I slowly felt like I was leaving this earth. My eyes slowly started to close. He brought down his mask. Leaving his slightly red lips exposed. He gives me a kiss On my dry chapped lips Black “Don’t worry, my puppet, you will never die” Now I know that was never a lie. He stitched me up, I was to stay for eternity, by his side I am dead, yet still alive I am now a puppet ... and going to be one for a while I walked to the mirror and plastered on my face There was a smiling smile.

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“The Poe”|| Leticia Rutkowsky

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"Nadia,Nadie" Nathan King Who was it? Nadia When she gets drunk Everyone knows No habĂ­a nadie, there was nobody Save for Nadia Unabashedly so Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry about nadie, not even Nadia Stay home tonight and study I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell anyone save for my cat Nadie sabe, nobody knows When Nadia cries She does so alone No vi a nadie, I cannot find Nadia She turned off the music Because he said so Nadie lo tiene, Nadia lost her friends beneath overgrown grass Two years ago

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"Romanticism" Angel Alejandro Baeza The house had moved above the hill, so I’d sit and drink and stare the barn below when the fog didn’t hold and the stars managed to show. The foundation was rough. Layered with timber’d shells and held by needful prayer, it used to hold a busy town of cattle. All bidding and riding for their next meals. We didn’t make much, all our money went to the cows, but we were rich in the delightful stench of life.

Yet we’re wealthy now, with thanks to Margaret’s boss, to afford a farther house. Farther from the rot of that old barn and closer to a nice church down the street.

But our nights and stars remain, as I remember the cracks in the barn’s side left by your games of war. God? Don’t let me disturb this small quiet with smaller lies. I miss the incomparable, the unforgettable—who wouldn’t? It’d be treason not to miss filling holes from treasure troves, or feeding a furred stranger with a torn ear or two. Renailing torn fence posts and bandaging an Indian or cowboy’s knee, I thought I knew what to expect:

A return to normalcy after everything, The same boy to come back from war.

Instead I found again a mark which looped one of the rafters left by my frail hand’s pointer, not a rope. I unfolded a note stashed above that rafter and closed the door. I held the note, closely. “I’m sorry,” it read simply, “No more.”

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“An Untrodden Field”||Yeritzia Sat

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#Include <Code> Jonathan Escamilla Using namespace std; Int main() { Int enter; Int take_it_slow; Cout << “In life, things are complicated,\n”; Cout << “different variables that have different outcomes.\n”; Cin >> enter; Cout << “algorithms so complicated, it becomes” << “ difficult to understand it in its entirety.” << endl; Cout << “it may seem like the whole world is in chaos,” << “but if we just take a small portion and examine it, ” << “we find that life, doesn’t need to be so complicated.” << endl; Cin >> take_it_slow; Cout << “Once you analyze your problem,\n”; Cout << “and you know what is going on.” << endl; Cout << “then everything becomes so simple, and easy to understand.” << endl; System(“pause”); Return 0; }

*Instructions Cout in programming means to be put in display, like a picture on a wall. Cin is what the person using the computer has to do, in order to continue Endl and \n are just to skip to the next line under the previous line. << and >> are just directions for the code to work. {….} are the start and end of a code or in this case the poem. And everything in “ ”(quotations) is just what is being said, you can read that normally. Now that you know, if you didn’t understand it, please go back and read it again.

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“Crystalline”||Allyson Denise Croom

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"The Standing Tree" Trace Antonacci

There was a tree In the middle of a field That stood tall and proud Despite being all by itself.

Alone, In the middle of the field

The tree stood, Growing taller and taller Away from the ground And up towards the sun.

The field was eventually Replaced by verdant forest.

As time went on,

In the center, Lay a hollow log.

Day after day Became tedious year after year As it endured,

The remains Of the once great Standing tree.

Day and night,

No longer tall.

Sun and rain,

No longer proud.

Summer and winter,

No longer alone.

Over, and over again. Alone, In the middle of the field. Eventually, And inevitably, The tree fell. Not because it was forced By axe or storm. But, because it was simply Time for it to fall. And so it fell. The once tall and proud standing tree No longer tall No longer proud.

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“Happiness” || Maryjane Garza

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“Orange Sunburst”||Maryjane Garza

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"My Gift For You" Kimberly Ann Burns-Dillard My gift for you this year Wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be a ton of cash Or some trinket to hide away That may not last.

These moments are made That will take our breath away. These moments are made To comfort us day by day.

My gift for you Is something out of love. I give the gift of my heart. For, I will always be your ladylove.

If I were gone tomorrow, Have I truly loved you enough? Will those moments comfort you? Will they truly be enough?

My gift for you Is the present. For, that is all I can truly give. Due to my ailment.

Let me love you each day, As though there were no tomorrows. Let me love you So that you may never know sorrow.

My gift for you Cannot be a future, For we only have now. So, lead me on our venture. I know I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t promise that I will be able to love you for the rest of your life. I will promise, my love is yours For the rest of mine.

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When you look back on our life, I want you to be able to say We truly lived and loved One another for all our days. My heart belongs to you My life is yours love. This is our moment, This is our present.


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“Eiffel”||Erendira Nolasco


"Daring to Wish" Kimberly Ann Burns-Dillard I once made a wish Upon a bright star. I reached to grasp it But it was too far. I feared the wish Was not meant to be And yet I dared My future to see. The hands of time Marched slowly for you and I. Fate was not ready To let us give love a try. Fate turned the tide And returned my friend to me. My heart was afraid To really believe. We both had to grow Since that first kiss. So many things We were to miss. Somehow our paths Were meant to cross once more. Over the years, They overlapped as before. Our lives became intertwined Once more by the hands of time. Take my hand And my heart for all time. Hold this love. Be the keeper of my heart From this day forth, Till death do we part.

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“The Tilt”||Kathleen Hinojosa


"Willpower" Joseph Bueno As reality settles in the subconscious mind The power begins from within the soul Restless to most, the desire to thrive is Established. Through time the thoughts roam about a Champion in the iron works. As though a Literal meaning is very true. However, the grind Is no walk in the park. It will be the most Devastating act of devotion to the power of will. He who would walk from the bar without strain upon his body is no champion. Aches and pain will arise in the Tiny souls in our muscle fibers causing him to push beyond his Limits. In the end, his blood, sweat, time, and love for the one Who has been his motivation is not forgotten or wasted. He rests as a champion to many people’s eyes, but his thoughts are. “I’m no champion, nor am I the best of my time. I’m just a hurt man looking for a way to end my suffering of what was my world, my love, my purpose. Through my suffering, I find her deep behind my wounds, she is happy and at peace.” In his negativity, he has mastered what many in this world don’t….Willpower.

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“This Blaze Will Always Burn”||Abraham Rodriguez


"On Vaulting" Angel Alejandro Baeza Some princes vault their love over city squares and holy halls Their love above their earthly wares and sacred calls. Like a fragrant garden overhanging for all to see “Our love,” they say, “Is truly king.” And God forgive those falling fools, Who Throw their selves and souls for lost love. Though since Blame rests at love’s lost post, Let Hero go down once lighted coast. But those who love the most, Love too much to draw a mourning closed, Love too much to risk in terraces, promises Of inconsequential eternity, when but a moment Lends a thousand lives to reckon And infinite universes yet unspoken. Must my love be a jewel too precious to wear, A vaulted pearl, a treasured tear? Can I not grasp it with a weaker clasp, To let fly only a feeble rasp; Will I but vault a dream?

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“The Forgotten Playground”||Jennifer Aguilar

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"Father" Angel Alejandro Baeza I wanna burn and be spread ‘cross the beach. Thrown-a-breeze when my breath passes, so His breath, will carry me. I want you, son, to ‘member me always, with you Not chest out, whiny as a mare.

If I’m watchin’, I’m laughin’ Specially when ya momma won’t But when ya writing bout nature’s, but not her, deaf ears I wanna august wind that I might be blowin’ in to ‘mind you that time when you trashed the truck, and I gave you your first smoke, and laughed when you would’t stop coughin’ and that was punishment ‘nough. And when that professor, be teachin’ who bout that day-cart-ease, ‘bout skeptics and athists. I wanna you to ‘member, what pastor Will said when he scolded smart ass you when you wasn’t pain ‘tention to sermon, and asked ‘im: “Why should I pay him any mind if he only speaks to you? So he said,

“Ain’t He speaking loud enough for you, already?” Young. You were always asking questions and I laughed ‘cause I couldn’t give ya a straight answer. But one thing I knew for sure is He was laughin’ too, and cryin’: “Heck, even I don’t know.”

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“Young Again”||Christina Reichl

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"His Suitcase"Emily Harmon We never made it to the airport. His navy-blue leather suit case sitting on his side of the bed still untouched. The black pavement was covered with red, my hands were sticky shoved against his white shirt. Looking into his beautiful blues, tears were in them, a half smile peeking through his narrowed brow and shallow breaths. His mouth moves, right hand coming up and cupping my face before it drops lifeless. Squeezing my eyes shut, I rubbed each harshly, yanked the suitcase and unzipped it. Clothes neatly organized, “This will be our most memorable trip! Europe better watch out.” His excitement made him sing his words, I giggled, “You’re a dork Matt.” He hummed, “Yet you love me anyway!” I felt long arms with his comforting cologne encircle my shoulders, “You’ll stay with me forever right J...” I bobbled my head up and down, warm lips touched the top of my head. I start pulling his shirts and start laying them in order. I unfolded blue, crimson, red, and black shirts, jeans, shorts, and swim trunks. While lifting the blue trunks with yellow lines and white flowers, an envelope drops. With only my name in blue cursive, lifting it up, my hand ran across a small circular object and I felt pins hitting all my nerves. “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! YOU KILLED MY SON!” His mother in her late 50s, make-up running down her face that was swollen with rage, brown hair with some white streaks, and her crimson colored dress had my stomach curling. Outside the surgery room, she had her nails digging into my shoulders as she shook me back and forth. Her husband pulled her away from me, and she starts bawling into his chest. His eyes were sharp, the same blue as Matt’s, eyebrows knitted, “We’ll deal with this, I think you should go. He needs his family right now.” I hesitated, rubbing my fingers over the soft paper, weighing heavily in my hands. Using my index finger, I ripped the envelope and found a short letter scrawled messily on scratch paper. An engagement ring was hiding in the envelope and I dropped it on the bed. I felt my eyes prick again, and I rubbed my hands. Buzzing, a small box lit the pitch-black room, and my eyes burned. I see Mr. Robinson flash on the screen, opening my phone I say, “Hello.” My gravelly voice croaked over the line. Mr. Robinson’s deep voice echoed through, “Matt is

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out of surgery, his doctor says he has survived the critical part, but he only has a 50% chance of waking up from this.” The line went silent except for my hyperventilating, “Thank you for telling me.” Another pause, and he speaks once more, “I know this is hard for you, but do not blame yourself. I know what my wife said, and I am sorry, she’s just upset. He is her only boy after all.” Staring at the phone, I breathe in slowly, “I understand, you don’t need to apologize.” I heard him clear his throat, “Matt loves you, you helped him when he was at his lowest. It took me years to figure out what I was doing to him... Either way I will contact you if anything comes up.” Breathing deeply, I opened the paper and read, Dear J, I’m not very good with words, so I’m writing this for when I freeze. You have always been here, and I want to always be there for you. There is so much I could say, but it’s getting harder to write. So, spend the rest of your life with me. I love you, please marry me. I let the letter drop on the bed, covered my face, and just cried. It had been days since Mr. Robinson called me, glancing over at my phone. It was dead. I sat up and connected it to my charger. Laying back down I heard my phone turn on and heard a couple of buzzes, but it stayed silent once it turned on. Hearing my ringtone, I grabbed my phone and placed it to my ear. I spoke into the phone, “Hello?” The speaker on the phone was silent, before a small ‘hi’ was muttered back, “Matt...?”

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“Portrait of Antonia”||Elissa Gallegos


“The Life in New York”||Tyler Morales

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“Reflection of a Swan”|| Elissa Gallegos

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“Eye Candy”||Leticia Rutkowsky

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"The Mermaid"Steven Austin King Living on the beach, you’re always stepping on hot sand, having to wipe away sweat and be hot most days, so occasionally I’ll wait until nighttime and go float in the water, when it’s cool and breezy. I sat in my paddleboat, staring up at the stars and the Moon. It always feels good to get away from home, so when I spend a night on the water, they’re about the only company I have when I drift into the lake this late at night. When I started to doze off, I heard a small bubbling from the water. A small heap of what looked like seaweed came up to the surface. I thought nothing of it as it sat still for a few moments before it grew taller and the seaweed became longer. I realized it was brown, silky hair, as it fell onto pale, porcelain shoulders. I sat frozen in fear, clutching onto the railing. I had no intention of going near the water. I hadn’t breathed the entire time this entity was greeting me, until it lifted its head and revealed a beautiful, emerald-eyed woman. Her eyes were so intensely aggressive, staring past my flesh and into my soul. Her hair seemed to dry almost immediately once she exited the water, curling up into beautiful waves of brown. I still couldn’t breathe, not out of fear, but pure awe. How could I have stolen air from this creature? That would have been crueler than any atrocity I could think of. “Hello.” The woman sung, making my hairs stand up in anticipation to hear her voice more. She raised her arms and placed them in my boat, gesturing me to take them. I held her hands and felt the soft touch of her on my hands, squeezing her fingers together, closing my eyes to better hear the angelic voice soothe me to a state of euphoria. She sang so beautifully. As cold as the air and the water were combined, I had never felt a warmth rush over me like when I heard her sing. In retrospect, I’m not quite sure how long I was out in the water. After what seemed like a perfect eternity, I tried to take a deep breath in before realizing I couldn’t find the air to do so. I opened my eyes to find the dinghy quickly moving further away from me as I could feel the water rushing past me as I quickly sunk into the dark abyss. The Stars and Moon were gone, and I was alone. I tried swimming up to the surface—the water numbing my skin like the wind in winter. I felt a tug on my ankle and looked down to see that perfect soft hand wrapped around my ankle like a lioness’ paw clawing at a wildebeest’s hide. I looked down further to see the woman’s green eyes, burning bright, like green fires of Hell. Seeing her eyes made my stomach drop inside my body, sinking me down further. I kicked and attempted to free myself from her grip, until she let out a shrill wail. Even if the haunting ringing still rings in my ears to this day, I cannot say her voice was anything less than perfectly angelic. It sent a chill of fear down my back, as my body lost any hope of swimming upward, it felt as if I became heavier with each time she pulled me down As I continued to fight against her grip, I felt her hand let go of my ankle! I took the op-

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portunity to start swimming upward until a silhouette flashed across the dim light of the moon. I saw a scaly tail, lengthen the milky torso of an angel. She rushed through the water above me, and the thick scales slapped across my face, immediately forcing me to taste the blood inside my mouth. The green scales reflected the moonlight beaming through the water in the most beautifully terrifying manner until they disappeared into the darkness below as both of the Mermaid’s hands yanked on my ankles. The cold water rushed into my nose and numbed my skin as I could feel the water fill my lungs, as if a weight was being poured into my body. Her eyes grew brighter before I kicked myself free of her grip and kicked her face. Suddenly, I saw her face was cracked, as if a porcelain bust of an angel became damaged. Flakes of her skin chipped away and she started floated down into the abyss below. I started to swim away, getting closer to the boat when the mermaid sung out a new song. A warmth fell over me and I looked back to see the true image of the mermaid. A grotesque, nightmare-ish, twisted version of an angel. A fanged snarl, her mouth expanding up to her ears, her teeth long and needle-like. Exhausted and sore, I swam up using all the strength I could find left. Pushing against the water weighing down against me, I finally broke the surface and felt the cold air sting my skin as I grasped the boat and pulled myself in, coughing up water and feeling the water inside me attack my nerves, and causing me to shiver on the cold wood. In less than a second, I fell inside the boat, I heard a screech, followed by erratic scratching on the outside of the hull. It quickly stopped, and I thought she had left for a few moments before the Mermaid started to sing a new song. Not one to make me warm, or to distract me, but one of hopelessness and agony. And so with nowhere to go, I waited in this serenading prison. She leaned against the boat, singing and singing all through the night, and the hours merged together into a living nightmare I couldn’t awaken from. At some point due to exhaustion or shock, I fell asleep, lulled to sleep by a monster I fell in love with. When I woke, I couldn’t feel the currents of the water rocking the boat. I couldn’t feel the cold sting of the night air. I couldn’t hear the melody of the creature. I felt the sun kiss me with warmth, and felt it all through my body, though I was still shivering slightly from the water still in my lungs. I raised my body out of the beached paddleboat and fell into the warm sand that trapped my boat the night before. I kneeled in the sand and felt it flow between my fingers, squeezing the sand with a fist and fell over, resting my body in the sand. I breathed in deeply as the dry, hot air filled up my lungs and gave me a chill of satisfaction as I let out a cough, spitting out cold water, emptying out the remnants of the night before. I sighed, relaxed and content. I was back home. As good as it feels to get away from home, it feels even better getting back.

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“Bacarra”||Araceli Hernandez


“Beauty Is in the Mountains”||Ambrose Lozano

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“Beaded Benchmark”||Heather Olivarri

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"Familia" Jasmine "Zen" Bosquez Well without Mi Familia, I’d just be another dead kid laying on the sidewalk with more than a few extra holes in my body. Yup, just another case gone cold, then eventually a rotting corpse; sad thing is this happens way to often. From the average gangbangers to the valedictorians, it really doesn’t matter who you are or who you know. My neighborhood isn’t your average fairytale scenery. There are no white picket fences, no perfect familias, and definitely no perfect children. It’s full of what society likes to call gangsters, criminals, delinquents, whores, killers, and cast outs. But all I see are people who’ve made mistakes that can’t be changed— yeah, people just like me. In some ways, we’re just like you, what society calls hardworking, determined, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We do whatever we can to make everything better for our familias. We may have taken some wrong turns, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to keep going the wrong way. Eventually, you have to hit the turnaround point. I’m trying to speed up, but it doesn’t seem to be working. It seems like when I’m almost there, I hit another detour and I have to start all over. But this is the way we live because we weren’t born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Ours was plastic and disposable, but more than half of the time, it was washed and put back in the dish rack along with our paper plates. Yeah, we had money, but it was always drug money. You know—get the rock, break it down, bag it up, then start over. Well if you haven’t got it by now, yes, I’m what society calls a gangster, criminal, delinquent, whore, killer, and cast out. Not all may apply, but sadly I fall under this category in society’s eyes. But in the eyes of the ones who stand alongside with me in this category of judgement, they see the hardworking, determined, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters that would do anything for their familias.

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"Natural Medicine"Louis San Miguel When we separate ourselves from nature, we remove ourselves from its natural cycles and our lives slowly disharmonize. We internally experience chaos, like a child who has lost their mother in a grocery store; we don’t know what to do. We are starting to see and feel the impact we are having on the planet we inhabit. We cannot hear the cries of the planet because our eardrums are being pounded by the mallet of our culture. Communing with nature with the use of sacred plants could potentially be the catalyst that turns humanity around from its own destruction. When we commune with nature, in the process of ingesting plants or fungi, we are given the opportunity to witness the unseen. These peculiar plants are doorways to other realms of consciousness, and if used in a healing capacity, these technologies enable us to address the deepest of conflicts that torment us. They can bring to the surface, our unexamined experiences that we’ve buried, caged up, or rejected. In the dark is where we hide what we do not understand. The advantage to using the plants is that once the threshold of ingestion is crossed, there is no turning back, and there is no escape. There are hidden places all around us that can only be accessed through transcendental states of consciousness. Certain plants and fungi have the ability to grant us access into these spaces when their alkaloids flood the body. However, nothing goes unchecked when one enters the hidden realms. For us to proceed into the archives of truth, we must surrender our belongings. Those being our doubts, our limiting beliefs, our anger, and our pain to name a few. As the spirits begin to pull on the things we hold dear, a battle ensues. It is us wrestling with what needs to be given back to divinity. We may encounter demons, dragons, entities, spirits, whatever one has identified them as, but they are all an aspect of ourselves. Aspects rejected and tossed into the abyss because we are unable to integrate them into the psyche. Whenever we feel sad, alone, angry, resentful, fearful, we are in hell. It is not a far-off place where we will be sent off to burn for eternity if we disobey—it is right there, inside of and around us. There’s nothing wrong with being in that space, some of us are not ready to leave. However, when the journey takes a turn in that direction, we get to witness our hell in its raw form and experience its true power. It is what we created, and it is our decision whether we want to deny it and remain who we are, or evolve and live our lives differently.

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Our society tell us not to use these ancient indigenous technologies to explore the internal confines of our own consciousness based on fear. However, when cultural paradigms are projected onto these plants, those disempowering programs bead and run off like water on ducks back. The thought of our reality being taken apart before our eyes and being rendered helpless in the ordeal is enough to scare the toughest of men. When the energy of these medicines take hold, one can either assume the fetal position and hold tight until the maelstrom of chaos passes, or they can surrender to the divine and be illuminated. These plants have the capacity to cleanse our perceptions of limiting beliefs our culture has engrained into our psyches. It is common for this process to climax in a catharsis as the tangled energies are ejected from the body. As we come back down to baseline, we attempt to grasp and make sense of what just happened. As it slips away from our minds, like an elusive dream, there is a magical signature surrounding us that indicates we have just experienced the mystical. There are no words in any language that can fully articulate the vistas of beauty we encounter in these transcendental states. It is determined by the individual how long it will take for an experience of that magnitude to coalesce into wisdom. What is gained through these experiences can only be awarded to an intrepid explorer.

These natural technologies are shunned and considered taboo in our culture, but it is because of the collective fears of what they do not understand. These medicines reveal ourselves to ourselves, and show us how benevolently angelic we are and how inexorably evil we can be; some are not yet ready. To voluntarily hand over our convictions to be dismantled and reformed takes a tremendous amount of courage, humility, and a bit of curiosity. Be forewarned, once the physical barrier is crossed between us and the medicines, there is no going back. The plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agenda will unfold, and will show us what needs to be seen. That is what will change our relationship to the world around us; by looking at what we least want to see. We will see that we are all connected to everything and there is no such notion as separation. When we experience the receiving end of what we do unto others, we will change how we treat our fellow human beings and our home. It is always recommended that these plants be respected and used where they are sanctioned and with someone of high integrity who knows how to navigate these invisible landscapes. Be brave, be courageous, but above all, be kind to ourselves. When we face our deepest fears and embrace them with compassion, we transform who we are into who we could be.

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“Reach for the Sky”||Christina Reichl


"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" Angel Alejandro Baeza When I lay beyond my sarcophagi, I do not dance beyond the sky, I do not fly above my nature, So do not confuse me with this winged creature Which sings and plays and wears my putrid face, But draws no sacred strength from those wicked gates. We lay on Earth with our sins and virtues, which equal parts Beelzebub and maker imbue, One relentless in her luring kiss, the immoral tides of hellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abyss. The other, short and sweet and near forgotten, the gift of clay from time Aegean. Thus tides and earth, not sky, are needed. But, if you must wear wings, wear wings worn and wary from work and war. Wear wings too weak to fly no more. Wear wings and sins, and thus restore, Who you truly were before.

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"South Padre Island, Texas" Delia Maria Gutierrez The beach is the best place to be. Sand everywhere along with the sun provoking your skin to tan. The delightful feeling of waves throwing you around in the cool waters. The sound of live music filling the air. The smell of ceviche and burgers filling the crowded outdoor hotel bar. The most beautiful sunsets you will come across are those at the beach. The large body of water filled with purple, pink and yellow tones reflect the beautiful sky. Once nightfall hits, the once colorful sky turning to black apart from the silver moonlight reflecting off of the cold ocean water. A childhood tradition that will forever be engraved into my memories.

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Thalia Garcia

Alyssa Emily Harmon Salazar

Rita Ortiz

Nathan King

Abraham Rodriguez

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Hunter Bates

Amber Esparza

Leticia Rutkowsky


The 11RR thanks everyone who helped make this issue possible Kathleen Baker, Bookstore Manager Carlos Cruz, Director of Student Life Dr. Alba De Leon, Professor of Art Dimona Esparza, Senior Multimedia Specialist Dr. Mike Flores, President Hector Garza, Professor of Drama Vincente Guillot, English Department Chair Shirley Lejia, Financial Aid Associate Director Erica Meza, Coordinator of Communications Thomas Murguia, Tutoring Services Director Dr. Denise Richter, Professor of Journalism Sheila Sanchez-Hatch, INRW and English Instructor Matilda Staudt, INRW and English Instructor Beth Tanner, Vice President of Academic Success and many more...

Editorial Staff

Student Editors

Amber Esparza Thalia Garcia Emily Harmon Nathan King Leticia Rutkowsky Alyssa Salazar

Staff Editors

Hunter Bates Rita Ortiz Abraham Rodriguez


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Eleven Rivers Review (Vol. 4)  

Palo Alto College Student Arts & Literature

Eleven Rivers Review (Vol. 4)  

Palo Alto College Student Arts & Literature