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Eleven Rivers Review Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2017


Eleven Rivers Review Palo Alto College Student Arts and Literature

Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2017 Cover Art “Riverside” Acrylic paint Ruby Filoteo

The Eleven Rivers Review is a biannual student-sourced publication that highlights the creativity of Palo Alto College’s diverse student community. Our name is an homage to the Texas rivers from which our campus buildings take their names.

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.


Acknowledgements The ERR thanks everyone who made our third issue possible Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Dead Tree Books Herweck’s Art Supply

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 Vicente Guillot, English Department Chair Dr. Mary-Ellen Jacobs, Dean of Arts and Sciences Shirley Lejia, Financial Aid Associate Director Erica Meza, Coordinator of Communications Thomas Murguia, Tutoring Services Coordinator Dr. Denise Richter, Professor of Journalism Sheila Sanchez-Hatch, INRW & English Instructor Matilda Staudt, INRW Lead Instructor Beth Tanner, Vice President of Academic Success

Editorial Staff Student Editors

Staff Editors

Ryan Michael Ozuniga

Hunter Bates (Coordinator)

Jules Ridenour

Abraham Rodriguez

Kathleen Hinojosa

Alyssa De La O

Andrea Gonzalez


Table of Contents Riverside / Ruby Filoteo ......................................................................... Cover A Rose with Thorns / Samantha Rae Lopez .................................................. 5 Her Steps/ Melissa Tarin Croom ................................................................... 6 Confident/ Julia Ridenour ............................................................................. 7 Untitled / Jasmine Trevino ............................................................................. 8 It Had Soft Lips/ John Borjas ........................................................................ 9 Do You /Believe In Poetry / John Borjas .................................................... 10 Cemetery Flowers / Jasmine Trevino .......................................................... 11 Stone Walkers/ Jacob Garcia ....................................................................... 12 Winter WonderLand / Christina Reichl ....................................................... 13 Early Mournings / Alexandra Villegas ........................................................ 14 Essence / Kathleen Hinojosa ....................................................................... 15 Supremacy/ Pearl Huizar ............................................................................. 16 A Bridge to Fargo / Daniel Guarnero .......................................................... 17 Trapped In Your Devoted Promises / Pearl Huizar ..................................... 18 Losing Time / Alicia Moreno ...................................................................... 19 Sharing / Christine Prater ............................................................................. 20

Draining / Nathan Ryan Cantu..................................................................... 21 Yo Soy / Wendy Lopez ................................................................................ 22 Sight/ Izabella Tristan .................................................................................. 23 Don’t Give Up / Valarie Cervantes ......................................................... 24-25 My Sanctuary / Kristin Gutierrez................................................................. 26 Alien Sunrise / Joshua Quiroga.................................................................... 27 Como La Flor / Araceli Hernandez.............................................................. 28


Celestial Laments / Steven Austin King ....................................................... 29 My Tree / Bertha Sevilla .............................................................................. 30 Bethany Ink Portrait / Demetrious Rodriguez .............................................. 31 Nature All Around Us / Alexis Fabian ......................................................... 32 At the End of the Blue Lake/ Marisela Rios................................................. 33

Shadows / Julia Ridenour ............................................................................. 34 Stranger / Marisela Rios ......................................................................... 35-36 Untitled / Rodolfo Acosta............................................................................. 37 Red Shorts, Tossed Salad, and Figurines / Valarie Cervantes ............... 38-39 The Sad Artist / Ruby Filoteo ....................................................................... 40 When Pain Was All I Felt / Andrea Gonzalez ........................................ 41-42 Clutter Me in Pastel / Pearl Huizar ............................................................... 43 Pieces of Village Square / Alex Valdez ................................................. 44-45 Riley Owens / Steven Austin King........................................................ 46 –47 The Perks of Waking up Early / Alana Quiles ............................................. 48 Cardinal Reflection / Randolph Davila ........................................................ 49 I Got Nothing / Katherine Treco ............................................................ 50-51 Goodbye, My Beautiful American Girl / Kristin Gutierrez ................... 52-53

Solace / Ryan Michael Ozuniga ................................................................... 54 Death and All His Friends / Alex Valdez ..................................................... 55


A Rose with Thorns Blanco clay Samantha Rae Lopez

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Poetry / Melissa Tarin Croom

Her Steps

You’re a little bit wobbly,

The police have ar r ived.

but your legs will get stronger;

Maybe this time you’ll do it.

keep trying—

Maybe not—

it’s only a step.

it’s only a step.

Of course the stairs move.

He came up behind you

It’s a matter of timing. Hold my hand—

while you were still packing.

it’s only a step.

…his pipe wrench… it’s only a step.

I know that you’re nervous, but you’ve finally made it.

The dreams are confusing;

That’s your name—

the sounds of your family…

it’s only a step.

The nurse says it’s only a step.

The reverend is ready; the groom is still waiting.

You’re a little bit wobbly,

Here we go—

but your legs will get stronger;

it’s only a step. You’ve screwed up again. Right now, he’s just yelling. He’s moving— it’s only a step.

keep trying— it’s only a step.


Confident Photography Julia Ridenour

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Untitled Photography Jasmine Trevino


It Had Soft Lips Poetry John Borjas A r aindr op kissed me today It wasn't sad like you'd think It wasn't cold either It was more like a friendly thing Like a kiss on the cheek, but on the lips It kissed me, but I was too afraid to kiss back I didn't want to be kissed all over, relentlessly Friendships too innumerous to cultivate I would stand there and drown in them, I think

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Do you believe in poetry? Poetry John Borjas

I've been told that I'm always getting high. It's a bad thing, it may kill me some day. I stare and never see life go by. My body gets all tingly; I'm numb until May. Words crash onto my drums like waves. I feel the rush as we begin like a poison under-skin. I'm not scared I can be like the natives, the braves. Is this the feeling, the feeling of perfect sin? My family has issues they warn me against it. They're right, I'm lost. I'm ready to pay; I have a habit. Too far gone, my body lingers on a post. Your words are like pills; Prozac for the soul. I overdose every chance I get. For all of this, I'll serve you my heart in a silver bowl.


Cemetery Flowers Photography Jasmine Trevino

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Stone Walkers Wire sculpture Jacob Garcia


WinterWonder Land Photography Christina Reichl 13


Early Mournings Poetry Alexandra Villegas

Ear ly mor nings wer e like suffocating waves of my muddled mind Each day as monotonous as the last The world was a record player that went on repeat Therefore, adventure called and I answered taking off in my 1970 Jeep My madness was an anchor in the ocean Sanity leaving in slow motion… traces of who I used to be I parked in front of the infinite blue Opened a dimension to some place new Hoping to find within the cosmic depths Something I had not seen quite yet Bones crunch in the distance Yelps of pain violate my senses The smell of flesh as foul as vomit a dark shadow the size of a comet Sweat of fear it’s coming near

Gurgling its victims with a satisfied sound The talons protruding like the points of a hundred crowns The immediate future was an overwhelming agony I was a corpse in a scarlet dress of carnage A predator wears a smile while its prey frowns WHO’S NEXT TO DIG THEIR GRAVE NOW?


Essence Digital Art Kathleen Hinojosa

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Supremacy Panting Pearl Huizar


It was a light in a sea of gray; A stunning way to brighten my day I fondly reminisce our chance meeting, Though the moment was only fleeting

A Bridge to Fargo

She had a radiant smile It could make a dive bar worth your while

Poetry / Daniel Guarnero

I saw her sitting ther e With her glimmering blonde hair

We said our farewells that evening, And I could sense my heart was reeling It realized the truth about you and I It knew that this would be goodbye You and I are now miles apart, But to you, these words I impart One day we'll meet again, my friend I will think of you until the end I can’t help but listen to the musings of my heart, What happened then was surely just the start But deep down I know This is as far as we’ll ever go They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, But where is the one for me?

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Trapped In Your Devoted Promises Painting Pearl Huizar


Losing Time Poetry Alicia Moreno

Bar ely br eathing. Skin on fire. Hands are shaking. Full of desire. Legs wrapped ‘round your hips and thighs. So long waiting. Is this wise? My heart leads. My body follows. My favorite place – your neck’s sweet hollows I never thought I could lose hours. Kissing you, it overpowers My sense of time is all but gone. We meet at night; we part at dawn

Though we connect on higher plains, the passion waxes, never wanes. What I’ve wanted but never had. You challenge me. You drive me mad. Electrifying! And once we start… Lingering, hard to part When apart for you, I long. So terrifying it can’t be wrong You’re shocked too, at the feeling. Usually grounded, now you’re reeling. Come with me, A new chapter’s begun. Apart we’re two; together, one.

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Poetry / Christine Prater

Sharing

I am the father , the son, the ghost. I am a man, but I’m your god. And what are you? Weeping sheep, Needing a master to lead. Follow, my young ones, I’ll supply you a history, to come undone. Sample the buds of your virgin gardens. Listen to your wails,

Wax and wane. See broken twigs, plucked butterfly wings Do you want more? Have you had enough of my pain? Take my misery, I offer it to you. To become you. Pass it on.


Draining Digital Art Nathan Ryan Cantu

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Yo Soy Poetry Wendy Lopez Yo soy, Mexicana-Americana

I am not enough American And I am not enough Mexican I am just me I've seen how mean reality can be I've seen people live in terrible poverty Unfortunately, many of those people hardly ever see green Black and white is most common Especially within our own society Inequality is still very much alive, even within my own family. If we live by love, then why is there still war? Although we lack no freedom, we seem to forget Nothing is free in life, not even respect. Abiding by the law is a choice Just like all the judgment from your mouth...why does it make so much noise? We as a society we will never be one,

Different religions and political parties Everyone will speak up No matter what race you are Just be you, I am just me Yo soy, Wendy P Lopez.


Sight linocut Izabella Tristan

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Don’t Give Up Poetry Valarie Cervantes I know you. I see the fake smile behind the sad empty eyes.

I see you walking with your head held low, avoiding eye contact. I see the dark clothes you wear. Black isn’t your color—it’s your mood. I see you sitting in a corner alone, wishing someone would notice you, but scared if they did. I know you’re close to the edge, ready to give up. Yup, I know you. I see the pain in the tears that are just about to fall, but you’re trying with everything in you to keep them inside. I know you don’t want to answer questions about what’s wrong, but you’re hoping somebody asks you what’s wrong. I see how much you are screaming inside even though you don’t say a word. I know you go home and listen to music to drown out your thoughts of

worthlessness. I know you write in your journal because no one else will listen. Yup, I know you. I know someone called you a whore, or stupid, or ugly and you believed it. I know you feel like you’re drowning and no one cares to save you. I know you don’t believe in God, but you’ve prayed to God.


I see you abuse your body; pain is temporary; scars are forever. I see someone who used to be happy but let life take that away. Yup, I know you. I know you because I am you… scratch that, I WAS you.

I’m not unique. not looking for sympathy. Don’t you dare feel sorry for me. I’m depressed at times, not all the time. I hurt. I cry. I move on. It’s not easy. It’s a mind fuck. I’m strong. I should be. My mom is strong. Shit happens. Every day is a new day to change directions. It’s your life. Your mindset. Your opportunity or your missed opportunity. Take your

pick, but be smart about it. Need help? Pick opportunity. It’s life changing. Look at me. I’m here. Words are words. They have no meaning until you give them meaning. These words have meaning to me. I’ve felt them. I’ve lived them. They are a part of me. These words saved me. I survived through these words. these emotions. These setbacks.

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My Sanctuary Short Fiction Kristin Gutierrez

Discontent, str essed, and unhappy, I look for a way back to a clear heart and soul. There is only one place I can go. I need to go to my sanctuary. I enter the sanctuary with a heavy heart and broken soul. I feel at ease entering the walls of sanctuary. The words and art all around are a second home to me. I know every word and art that thrives here within these walls. I feel as if I’m in a different time and place. The room starts to clear my heavy heart with the essence of the words from around the world. I look around to see my sanctuary with the eye of an unbarred heart. I can now truly enjoy the words and essence of those who came before me. I spend hours with the past and forget the things that brought me here to my sanctuary. Lost in the world of exploring and learning, I

don’t leave until the librarian calls closing time. I enter the library with a heavy heart, but I leave at peace with myself once again.


Alien Sunrise Digital Art Joshua Quiroga

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Como La Flor Drawing Araceli Hernandez


Celestial Laments Poetry Steven Austin King I, The Sun, str etch my war m love to all, emblazoning the cosmos with life. Yet, as much as I shine with determination, I may never surpass Her glow. I, The Moon, radiate my beauty and grace to my nocturnal patrons and illuminate their dark paths. The wolves sing to me at dusk and worship my very quintessence. However, as much as I'm praised for my elegance, I may never be as beautiful as Her in her presence. I, Jupiter, rule the Planets with a mighty fist and bolts of lightning. I coordinate the planets’ paths and stars’ positions to my liking. Despite the command and power I hold, I could never imagine to control Her. I, Man, worship the celestial bodies and accept their dominance over me. I watch in awe as planets pirouette across the sky, and feel the warmth of the Sun on my face. Howbeit, the sight of Her is far more intriguing than the Moon and stars combined, and Her touch is warmer than a thousand Suns. God himself could place the power of the Cosmos in my hands, but I will never be happier than I am being a simple Man having Her hand in mine.

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My Tree Poetry Bertha Sevilla As a child, I knew you You were the same height as me You grew taller and stronger than me As days, months, and years passed by, you were always there for me I followed my pathway, got married and had two children Through it all, you were always there for me, always so faithful As I grew older, my hair changed color from brown to white, my body become fragile and weak My time has come to the end Mother Earth will be my new home I looked outside my window and you were there like always I recall the time that my father held you in his palm He made an opening into the ground, like a mother giving birth to a child He placed you there, and he said to me, “take care him and watch over him, and he will be always there for you� Now I ask of you, like my father asked of me, watch over my children just like you did for me Bye my beautiful friend, it is time for me to go I will never forget you my friend MY TREE.


Bethany Ink Portrait Ink on Bristle Paper Demetrious Rodriguez

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Nature All Around Us Photography Alexis Fabian


At the End of the Blue Lake Poetry Marisela Rios

At the place wher e they meet, In the dreadful day, Sparking a desirable heat, Blurring the lines to a shadowy grey,

Far from the rays of praise, Laid rivers churning black sin, Leaving them to wander in a glorious haze, Believing in their hearts’ win,

But when they break, Love’s shadow will wait. Waiting for them at the blue lake, To see if in the night they’ve come to hate.

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Shadows Photography Julia Ridenour


Stranger Poetry Marisela Rios The str anger on the bus sits quietly Green-eyed monster, she is Empty chairs for company Sulks among shadows Perhaps it feels free as a bird in its own nestled cage

The bus stops Cattle shuffle along the narrow aisle Green-eyed monster, she is, bats an eye Strong as an ox; stubborn as a mule; it stands its ground, unmoving

The bus lurches on The stranger on the bus sits quietly Green-eyed monster shifts in its cage Time makes an effort to escape its terror

The bus stops again

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Green-eyed monster, she is, stands Darting eyes fall to the ground Sound escapes her glare

The bus door opens Slippery as an eel and quiet as a dormouse Green-eyed monster, ugly as sin, slithers out the hole

The bus door closes

Green-eyed monster, she is, sits silently Perhaps, it takes one to know one‌


Untitled Wire Sculpture Rodolfo Acosta

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Red Shorts, Tossed Salad, and Figurines Memoir Valarie Cervantes Over 25 year s have passed, and I still get flashbacks of r ed shor ts and figurines.

All kinds of figurines—the kind you get excited about when you open your kid’s meals—all lined up across a window sill. Blurry visions of blue little creatures with white hats. They were behind him. He was blocking them from me. I was amazed at the number of figurines, but I couldn’t ignore his red shorts. I stood in front of him, distracted, confused, innocent, uncomfortable, and unaware of what was about to happen. Those short red shorts.

The red shorts he played soccer in, the red shorts in which he exposed himself to me in, with a head nod motioning for me to come closer. I don’t remember what happened after that. Over 25 years have passed, and I still remember the feeling of his fingers moving up and down, gently caressing the outside of my underwear. My legs stiff as I froze with fear, but open enough for him to touch me the way he wanted. I tried to close them, but each time he would gently pull them apart. It must have been an adrenaline rush for him to do this while my aunt was in the kitchen of a small one-bedroom apartment. A loud noise came from the kitchen and stopped him, and I was excited to be able to jump up and see what happened—tossed salad all over the floor. I’ve wondered all these years if my aunt saw what happened that night and dropped the salad in shock. She never said anything if she did.

Over 25 years have passed, and I can still see the black and red checkers on


the board. I can remember my parents leaving to go to the store and saying, “Don’t let anyone in the house while we’re gone.” I played checkers with my little brother while my parents were away, and then he knocked on the door. My little brother let him in. He sat behind me as I grabbed my piece to move. He whispered “Shhhh” in my ear, and he put his hands under my shirt to fondle my barely developing 10-year-old breasts. Only, he was pretending to tickle me so my brother wouldn’t know. He wouldn’t have known; he was seven. My brother was laughing, and he was laughing, and I was laughing. Because I couldn’t cry. Over 25 years have passed since I urinated on Santa’s lap. I was terrified to be around him or his house or even the thought of him being around. While everyone was happily celebrating Christmas, anxiety and fear washed over me when Santa Clause put his hand around me. I couldn’t help it. I urinated on his lap, quite embarrassing for an 11-year-old. A simple hug from a friend can cause me great anxiety. Over 25 years have passed since I testified against you, having to relive the details in my testimony, answer questions from my lawyer and yours, and feel like a liar because I couldn’t remember the details they wanted. It hurt seeing my aunt stand behind you instead of me. She was my flesh and blood, and she didn’t believe me. She believed I must have been confused by your affection.

My other two family members must have been confused by your affection too. Over 25 years, and I still struggle.

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The Sad Artist Graphite, Pastel Pencil, Pen, and Nail Polish Ruby Filoteo


When Pain Was All I Felt

May Emotions were still running high You threatened your life And it tugged at my heart. We saw each other And it felt like everything I was suppressing Came flooding in Like a dam bursting. Being with you felt normal Like breathing. But what I failed to realize Is that we were both clinging to something That’s dead Our love

Poetry / Andrea Gonzalez

April Why did we fight? I wasn’t happy You weren’t happy But we loved each other You once told me, “Just because two people love each other doesn’t mean they should be together.” And “I need to find myself.” I didn’t understand it then All I felt was pain. But I do now.

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June Why couldn’t we see that what we had Was gone. We bettered ourselves But there was no way to fix us. Then you got the news Because I loved you I was prepared To step up Even though I was so young Because I cared for you But I shouldn’t have Because I had my whole life to live So you left For good. July I still felt so hurt It was like a brick permanently stuck to my chest But I took it day by day to live my life without you I didn’t want to admit it was possible But I kept finding a reason to keep on living. As much as it hurt watching you leave I’m grateful that I’m so much stronger than I used to be You loved me when I couldn’t love myself and You are the reason why I found myself.


Clutter Me in Pastel Acrylic Painting Pearl Huizar 43


Pieces of Village Square Short Fiction Alex Valdez

Thomas, the Broken Tick. Tick. Tick. It was times like this that the solitude of his basement was unbear able. Surrounded by constant darkness, what he saw, is not what others saw, and for this, he was made an outcast. Who but he understood what it meant to only live through touch; burdened by a constant need to feel what was put before him to truly appreciate it. His disability made him strange, a pariah. He loathed what God had made him— what society had branded him. He knew it was this disease that prevented him from enjoying such simple pleasures as riding the village bike; if only he could wrap his hands around it… Joanie, the Night Jogger Pant. Pant. Pant. The Fitbit read well over 200 — a heart rate Joanie was not accustomed to. She pleaded with her body, “Don’t stop. Run. Don’t Stop. Run! Don’t Stop! RUN!” Struggling to keep one foot in front of the other, exhaustion and doubt were not the only things that crept closer. With her body already waning, her mind began to betray her as well. A lifetime of moments seemed to race through her head. All her failures, cruelties, deceptions, and, most pressing, her infidelities. Had karma come to collect? Her cluttered mind led to cluttered legs as she stumbled and felt a bitter edge…


Rocco, the Prep Cook Chop. Chop. Chop. A prep cook on his best days and porter on his worst, today felt like one of the better ones. He needed a good day. Having yet again been passed for promotion, respect was a flavor he’d forgotten the taste of. It was a theme that was coming to a boil in his life, seasoned by awful rumors about his betrothed making the rounds. Yet respect would have to wait, as his boss barked him down to porter to address a patron who had just made it known how unpleasant their dining experience was. The nausea that preceded must have been unbearable as they seemingly couldn’t make it to the toilet, vomiting in the sink instead. Thomas felt this day couldn’t get any worse as he gazed upon a scene that resembled a soup can explosion in a microwave, with chunks slipping down the sides… Brady, the Detective

Drip. Drip. Drip. “Looks like we got a real sicko here,” Brady discerned, following the trail of blood that poured down the basement stairs. As he scoured through the butchery for any sort of identification, guilt’s grip began to strangle his conscience. They had nabbed this guy a few times before, but only for some negligible misdemeanors and complaints. It was mainly boundary issues: unwanted staring, brushing up against women in tight spaces, and some subtle groping on a crowded bus at its worst. Nothing that anyone could have expected to escalate to this. Yet, this was not the work of some spineless pervert, but of a soulless monster, someone truly broken. Rifling through tattered clothes, he came upon an ID that confirmed his fears, as it matched the name of the jogger reported missing last night. And now the part he dreaded—having to notify her fiancée and deliver news that would ruin more than a day, to say the least…

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Riley Owens Short Fiction Steven Austin King My name is Riley Owens. I just fell off a boat and into the Atlantic Ocean because a woman, with rubbery tentacles protruding from her back, just threw a giant metal pole through my chest at 314 miles an hour, while using the tentacles; so I'll give her points for being a showman about it. Now, floating down into the cold water, the last thing I’m forced to look at is the Sun. With only its beams of light to keep me company in the water, besides the shouting and screaming I hear up above the surface. Have you ever drowned? It's happened to me twice now, and it takes about 3-5 minutes until actual death, but I've never experienced it. Since I don't have much time, join me while I tell you, huh? C'mon, humor me. I'm dying here. Drowning is...not that bad. In fact, once you get past the whole "Help me, I'm drowning!" stage in the first minute or two while you breathe in water, it’s pretty peaceful. Your life really does flash before your eyes, all while

the overpowering sensation of warmth washes over you, like being wrapped up in a blanket when it just came out of the dryer. But only when you really feel Death coming to take your hand, that's when your life 'flashes'. You don't get a screening of the whole thing like a movie. You get a glimpse of the best parts. The most unforgettable moments; good or bad.


That is if you’re not being impaled. See, when that happens, you don’t get that warmth for too long. You don't see those unforgettable moments. Next, you get cold. Now you feel the warmth seep out of your body, and that's when you fight a bit. You want to cling onto the life that’s being ripped away from you, slowly, like trying to literally catch your last breath escaping your lips with shaky, bloody hands. You can see the images of your life fade away. You can’t forget your friends and family, but you... release them. You tell them it'll be okay for their sake. Their grip on your soul pulling you from the abyss is gone. Now I can feel the blood start to escape my wound. That explains the cold. Not to mention this pole jutting out of my chest. If you haven’t been impaled yet, it feels as if your ribcage suddenly becomes 20 pounds heavier, and every square millimeter grew spikes. Clutching the pole is much like grazing a cut, it’s numb but you feel the blunt pain. With my final bit of excess energy, I rip the pole out of my chest and watch the sun be blotted out by a dark, red cloud emanating from my chest. I can feel and hear the water rushing inside my chest, filling up the rest of my lungs and organs, all the while my head feels like it’s about to explode. Everything is getting dark, and I can taste my headache now. I’m not sure how much time has passed, or if I’ll die, but I know I won’t be able to talk much more. I don’t know you, or why you’re listening to me

talk about this, but thank you for being here with me.

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The Perks of Waking up Early Digital Art Alana Quiles


Cardinal Reflection Photography Randolph Davila 49


I Got Nothing Poetry Katherine Treco I. Got. Nothing. How can this be?! So much in my life is bliss So much that makes it ok to leave my very high priority of sleep I feel heat like a toasted marshmallow, and inspiration should be oozing out of the burnt bits I go to the zoos and I jump in the pit with the monkeys and its hoots and screams and howls and throwing crayons and madness enthusiastically tugging on my sleeves and when I’m forcibly pulled out I’m left covered in their fleas and ticks and all I want all I need is to go back so they can take turns crawling on me and picking them out of my hair I have a love that I sprawl over in my sleep whose arms give warmth beyond compare, who never gets old, who never gets tired, who I can walk the world with barefoot or just sleep with until I’m dead and I’ll feel the same either way so long as it’s with him Maybe tomorrow we’ll run away and join the circus, and I’ll be the clown that shoots you out of the cannon I don’t know if I’ll grow old. And I hope I don’t grow up. But I hope he’s always there That feeling you get when you see your love across the room and you hear music? I get that eating brownie batter, and The Beatles croon “Oh, Darling” in my brain

I realize I have people who don’t have to think I can do things right believe


I can do things right When did that happen? I’m just a kid, what do I know? I’m 30, when did that happen? For the first time I see my parents as actual people and not just people who have to do anything Was it always like this? Were you two always this relatable? And I wonder why I never saw it before…and I realize I too turn into a monkey tugging enthusiastically on their sleeves… so they know they did it right… I have a life I love A love of my life

…and I don’t think I’ve even hit the good part yet. I’m pretty sure there’s something past the hill of a roller coaster… SO WHY CAN’T I SAY IT? Why do I feel my tongue tie and my brain feel like jelly? The feelings thump like bass, the smile will surely give me premature wrinkles I sleep so soundly and it’s not the end of the world if I’m not wearing lipstick I’m so happy, so content, so fingernail biting ready for what comes next That it leaves me speechless… brainless…how can this be? I got nothing

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Goodbye, My Beautiful American Girl Short Fiction Kristin Gutierrez Proshchay, Moya Krasivaya Amerikanskaya Devushka (Goodbye, My Beautiful American Girl.) The house is filled with shadows fr om the past. I can hear the people moving around but I do not have the will to entertain them. I have lost zvezda moya. I remember when I first saw the amerikanskaya devushka. Hair as black as a raven feather, eyes so blue sapphire are shamed by them. Skin as white as the Russian snow. Oh how the American girl, who could not speak my language, stole my heart like a thief in the night. I knew then that you would be kotik in time. The past is all I have left. I will never again feel my star’s sweet kisses or the caress of her soft hand. I sit in this cold room filled with people who do not understand that my world is darkness, for I cannot see without zvezda moya. Like a tidal wave, the noise rushes in with the opening of the door.

“Papa, are you in here?” my oldest child Misha calls out. “Papa, please leave the library. People are asking for you.” “I do not want to leave here—your mama is everywhere in here!” Misha walks slowly over to me and kneels down. “Papa, I know you are sad, but you must come out of this room. We still need you to live, Papa. We cannot lose you too.”


Gently rubbing my beloved Misha’s head, I say, “I cannot live without zvezda moya, even for you, moy sladkiy mal'chik.” “Then live for mama. She is still with us. Just look at Anastasia and you will see mama,” he says gently. With a heavy sigh, I think about my nemnogo voron. “Papa, Misha is right,” says a tearful voice, coming into the library. I see it is Anastasia, my nemnogo voron. “You must stay in the light with me. I need you to live. I cannot lose you and mama both,” she says. “Yes, yes, you are both right—I must live for my nemnogo voron and moy sladkiy mal'chik.”

Zvezda Moya = My Star Amerikanskaya Devushka = Amer ican Gir l Kotik = My Love Moy Sladkiy Mal'chik = My Sweet Boy Nemnogo Voron = Little r aven

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Solace Poetry and Photography Ryan Michael Ozuniga I' m depr ived, fueled only by faint memor ies. It seems this r oad is never ending. Every drag of the foot is another mile of cold pavement stretching abroad. There were alternative routes, but I chose this road, and it demands a toll. Exhaustion stays heavy, but the pace doesn't change. Neither does the vacant space. I close my eyes. Your taste has me poisoned, they claim. But the hint of strawberries lathers my tongue when speaking your name. These emotions—a warm and soothing spoonful of honey—so vividly arrayed, I swear your lips are but a touch away. I open my eyes. The streetlights are scarce, but I savor every ticking moment beneath each bulb, giving in to the fluorescent glow. Is this a façade? Do my eyes lack adjustment? There's no way to retract. I'm cemented to this torment. "I will forever be a slave to your distance," echoes through my cluttered mind. I accept this fact: you were never mine.


Death and All His Friends Poetry Alex Valdez This is a toast to Death, fr om all his fr iends A bitter whine washed by bitter wine May these words rest like an epithet etched on a gravestone: She was a hearse; With every venture, a vulture And upon destination, decay From six days to six weeks to six months to six feet under There was a mourning; From which we’d hoped he’d never see another morning Tables were lined with Sinnamon, Champayne, and Candi- his favorites But his appetite was not what it once was It ended with a “resurrection”; To which I found myself tempted to ignite an insurrection,

as the question was posed of any objection, Yet my tongue hung heavy with sounds of a certain Sonata No.2… She was a hearse; and it was he for whom the wedding bells tolled

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Eleven Rivers Review 3.1 (Spring 2017)  
Eleven Rivers Review 3.1 (Spring 2017)  

Biannual student literary and art journal produced by Palo Alto College students in San Antonio, Texas