2012 2013 1
Table of Contents 4 6 8 17 18 22 24 27 28 30 37 38
If She Were An Angel / Angelica Marchini Ballerina / Kara Travis Purgatory / Giselle Horrell A Beginning and an End / Sussan Saikaili A Simple Song / Staff Writers Broken or Whole / Kara Travis To Bear the Ember-filled Ashes of Love’s Unfortunate Soul / Giselle Horrell Unripe / Ariane Poulin The Hunt / Angel Marchini The Band of Four / Sean Perry La Compañera de Mi Alma / Matt Brady Anchored / Staff Writers
Artwork 4 6 10 16 18 20 22
Betsy Hochman Tatiana Knies-Smith Hailey Walter Brad Rose Jeanne Shi Brad Rose Betsy Hochman
24 27 28 35 36 28
Sarah Lawn Estefania Maldonado Brad Rose Rafi Abdullah Sasha Radtke Sasha Radtke
Dear Reader, Outstanding exhibitions of diversity can be seen every day, in ourselves and in the world around us. Blatant differences intertwined should be a rare and peculiar thing but are, in fact, very common, making even the omnipresence of contrast itself a contradiction. This concept caught the attention of our staff, which is why in this year’s issue, writers and artists of North Penn High School used the Troubadour Magazine to further explore the theme of contrast. We worked hard to create pieces emphasizing its sub-themes of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, perception vs. setting, and illusion vs. reality. I invite you to read and enjoy our magazine with these ideas in mind. Thank you for reading, Ariane Poulin,Literary Editor
If She Were An Angel
Angelica Marchini Sometimes I wonder What they think When they see this ugly face This bland figure and dull eyes Do they hate me the way I do? This pimple on my nose I want to destroy it I want to be that girl in the movies She’s beautiful, don’t you think? You know what I’m talking about Sometimes I wonder If I could change everything Would people like me? Blonde hair, blue eyes hourglass Would people like me? If I were an angel I could turn a head It’d make me happy Sometimes I wonder Why nobody sees me But then I look into the glass And I cry at that image I hate me, everyone does I can never stop wondering
She looks into me Day and night, searching She’s always asking why And leaking from her eyes But she’s beautiful, an angel I have only eyes and I am grateful Her eyes are exotic, fierce Her pimples make her human Not like girls in movies You know who I’m talking about She looks into me Bathroom, car, puddle Always changing herself And I hate it But I love her when she’s real When she first wakes up If I could watch her forever It’d make me happy She looks into me I look into her But she never seems to see Me smile at her image Hates me while I love her I can never stop looking Art by: Betsy Hochman/Mixed Media
The girl in the spotlight hasn’t always been that girl. It took her fifteen years to get this far; she’s still got a long way to go. Now: she’s whirling around the stage, spotlight chasing her as she leaps across it in three graceful bounds. She playfully twists around and glides the other way, the light momentarily confused, still traveling in the other direction. That’s okay. She doesn’t need it. From her confident smile and sparkling gown, she glows all on her own. The spotlight finds her in time for her final curtsy, to light up the tears that glitter like the sequins on her skin. Five minutes ago: she gets a hug from her teacher and a chorus of break-a-legs from her dancemates. She takes her first, last, timid steps out of the darkened wings and into the blinding lights downstage. Fifteen minutes before: she chants out the steps like a prayer – the words mostly French with some English mixed in – rehearsing in the hallway, iPod cranked up full blast. Her dance becomes a song of its own that 6
Art by: Tatiana Knies-Smith/ Graphite
parallels the music she dances to. Tom-bé, cross left ov-er, exhale, glis-sade, pass-é. BREATHE! Step, tour de basque turn, hold ar-a-besque – count one, two, exhale – now, pi-qué. BREATHE! Pir-ou-ette and DON’T fall down on your der-ri-ère… Half an hour past: she’s wrestling her auburn curls into an orderly bun. She dives into cloud of hairspray, checks it in a mirror. Meh. She’s done worse. After adding a sparkly flower as an afterthought, it looks much better. Nose pressed up against a smudgy mirror, she traces around her upper lid with eyeliner, making the end swoop up a bit, reapplies rosy lipstick, smears on dusky blue eye shadow. This is the mask that separates the dancer from the schoolgirl. An hour: she struggles with silky, pink stockings, trying to keep them from sliding down. Victorious, she then battles her dress; all the crisscrossing straps and layers of gauzy fabric confuse her. Success. Donning of her slippers, knotting the laces, double knotting the laces… Twelve hours: she slams the snooze button and a blink later finds herself in jeans and a tee-shirt racing out the door. Driving on a highway, she stuffs a bagel into her mouth and gulps down hot cocoa. The radio isn’t on. Her song is on an endless track in her head. Twenty hours: definitely not sleeping. Her feet don’t stop dancing, even in her dreams. One week: crunch time – hours of rehearsal, finishing touches. Four months: she receives her costume, tries it on, twirls around the studio. It’s perfect. Seven months: she picks out a costume from a catalogue: knee-length, flowing skirt, sequined sweetheart bodice, crisscrossing straps in the back. No color, and yet there exists every color as light refracts off all the gemstones, releasing little rainbows to dance with her. Eight months: she starts the dance she thought she had forever to learn: her solo. The stage looks so big when you’re standing on it alone. She turns on the music that she will live with for the next eight months, and bravely starts the choreography. One year: everything clicks; she finally feels like a pro. She7
stands tall, spins fast, completes combinations with perfect timing and precision. She shines. She’s a star. Three years: she doubts herself. All her friends are better. Especially at those pirouettes. Five years: she slouches all the time, just a habit spilling over from feeling insignificant at school. At home. Everywhere. The teacher constantly corrects her: “Shoulders back! Chin up! Feet turned out! Back straight! And! Derrière! In!” She doesn’t know what to do with that extra foot she grew overnight. But she has lots of friends, and they help her push through. Ten years: How am I going to remember all of this? she wonders. No teachers to watch up on stage. Somehow, with a little help from her friends, she gets it right. Eleven years: her first time on stage. The lights! The music! The dancing! The applause! She’s hooked. Fifteen years ago: her uncle gives her a pink tutu for her third birthday. She wears it everywhere, making up the steps she thinks that real ballerinas do. She’s going to be one. Someday.
Giselle Horrell He awoke cold, stiff, and numb upon the ground with the rain pounding in sheets around him. Drenched grass lay weak and limp beneath his hands. It was difficult to think through the impenetrable fog swirling about his mind and to feel anything past the numbness possessing his limbs and heart. He found he couldn’t be brought to care. Like will-o-wisps, flashes of memory danced through the fog in his mind, tempting him to follow, and like all temptations in his life, he fell helplessly in tow. *** She likes her tea with coffee creamer. He discovered this upon a similarly dreary morning after observing her in his little obscure corner of the café. Two lumps of sugar were imperative to the equation. The mixture melded together with the deft swirling of a silver spoon in the brown depths. Each little sip was a calculated measure on her part as she poured her eyes over the 8
morning paper or whatever she happened to be sketching that day. Delicate in manners and features, her curly red hair catching fire from the slight rays of sunshine searing their way through the cloud-cover and the windows, he knew immediately she was the one for whom he was looking. *** Although the world was freezing around him, he felt nothing beyond the numbness circulating through him, could see nothing through the fog except for the hollow memories. How he was cursed to remember. *** Their first conversation was precipitated by him accidentally spilling her tea all over her sparkling springtime dress. “Oh, I’m so sorry! Please forgive me! I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking or whom I was walking into.” “It’s fine.” “Let me get you another one! Here, I’ll pa-” “It’s fine. I wasn’t truly in the mood for tea today.” “Coffee, then.” Before she could protest, he called out to the man behind the counter, “Two coffees over here! Put it on my tab!” He then sat down across from her, smiling his best charming smile. “I’m Aaron. Aaron Vivamous. And you are, lovely lady?” Blushing as though such a question was so infrequently asked of her, she replied in a shy tone of voice, bordering on uncertainty, “Scarlet Peterson.” “Well, Scarlet Peterson, might I be the first to say that your face looks so lovely this morning that I don’t even notice that stain - which I am once again irredeemably sorry for causing.” Making eye contact for the first time, she mirrored his smile, if only slightly wilted. “Thank you… Aaron.” *** He did not taste the dirt that he spat from his mouth nor feel any shuddering breaths as it left his lungs. *** Aaron was invited to her house the next day, and the first thing he noticed was the fading peach color of the interior. No pictures hung from the walls, no electronics or colors existed in this world; if everything were a shade or two brighter, he’d asso9
Art by: Hailey Walter/Graphite 10
ciate the place with an isolation room in a hospital. It was all so different from his accustomed lavish settings. The second thing he noticed eradicated his first impression as a tiny kitten tangled in blue yarn skittered into view. It bounded over to him, sensing the presence of a stranger, and tripped over the web of blue yarn more than once. Once it was a nose away, it peered up at Aaron with large eyes, the weight of a strand of yarn bearing down upon one ear, tilting it downward in a questioning way. “Why are you here?” the innocent creature seemed to inquire. Aaron regarded the creature with an answering solemn expression just as Scarlet herself swooped into view. Bundling the kitten into her arms, Scarlet pierced Aaron with a penetrating gaze so different from her attitude in the café that Aaron vaguely entertained the notion that he had happened upon the wrong house. But then the moment ended, and she fell back into the shy, blushing women he’d come to know. They drank tea together that afternoon, the day bearing down on them with the weight of its possibilities. *** He found that his body felt as stiff and as immobile as the plank of wood wedged in the ground in front of him. Still, nothing could be seen through the haze created by the rain and his mind. *** His next visit, she met him at the door, and they set out to the park down the road together. It was an amicably silent walk, interrupted only by the harsh barking of dogs in the park once in awhile. The occasional breeze was beyond welcome in the face of the unnatural heat of the springtime sun. She was nice and slightly more open than when they’d last met. That was good; everything had to stay on that progressive track; it must, for his sake. Something upon the ground that flashed into his peripheral view caught his attention. There, on the road beside him, lay a fresh tennis ball, completely abandoned in the noontime hour. An idea sparking a fire in his brain, he bent down and grabbed up the ball. When Scarlet looked at him questioningly from the corners of her eyes in that almost sly way she had, he smiled indulgently at her and said, “For the kitten, my dear.” She turned to face him completely. “What would a kitten want with a ball? It’s for dogs, Aaron.”
“You never know. You’re not a cat, right? She might like something other than that blue yarn; it’s something different; it’d be something peculiar and new. What is expected is boring; why do you think people strive for individuality, or why do people keep secrets from the world? Individuality is interesting; secrets make people more interesting too, for if it wasn’t fascinating, there would be no need for secrecy.” Scarlet said nothing in reply; the slight upward turn of her lips said enough. *** Thinking back, it seemed a ridiculous thing to do, giving a cat a ball and babbling about individuality and secrets. But the cat had greeted the new object with uncharacteristic enthusiasm and trust, just as Scarlet had greeted him. Oh, if it were only that simple. *** It wasn’t until the summer was almost over that he finally saw the room she slept in. Aaron hadn’t meant to paint himself as a snoop, but when she didn’t appear for their usual meet and greet in the entrance hall, he searched for her. Sure, it was more practical to call out to see if she was even in, but he thought it rude to break the serenity engulfing the house; besides, things would be easier for him if he investigated the relatively empty house further. Happening upon the first room upstairs in the small apartment-house, Aaron noticed her sitting upon her bed, alternating between a pair of nail clippers going at her toes and a piece of pumice scraping at her heels. This particular room was more alive than the rest of the house; empty boxes and multiple pieces of torn packaging lined the floor; scattered about were different colored hairspray bottles and contact-lenses and fake nails and movie make-up and wig hairspray. Scarlet let out a startled gasp at finding Aaron at her door, and she looked indescribably panicked. “I-I. I had no idea what time – What’re – You’re not supposed – What are you doing here?” “You weren’t downstairs when I arrived, so I came looking for you.” “Oh, oh. There was no need – I’ll be down in – WHY WON’T THESE STUPID NAIL CLIPPERS WORK!” Aaron knew why the clippers wouldn’t work: Scarlet’s hands would not stop 12
shaking. “Here, let me,” Aaron stated, rushing to her side. He took the clippers from her shaking grip into his own and knelt down beside the bed. Taking her foot into his hand, he peered up at his shaken companion; he took note of the single contact she wore that changed her iris from its natural brown color to blue, but ignored it. With a little smile on his face, as he commenced clipping her nails, he asked jokingly, “So, what’s with all of the wrappings? It’s almost like you’ve just unpacked.” She gave a slight hysterical laugh; of all the inane things he could have picked to say! But the hilarity was gone from her voice when she said, “Well, as you’ve no doubt noticed, I’m a very clumsy person. So it’s there lest I…” Aaron glanced up at her, “…fall.” Intense silence descended. Aaron looked away, and the moment was gone. *** Through the mist, Aaron could suddenly see some of his surroundings. But that didn’t make any sense because the mist was growing thicker, heaver, denser. He wondered how long it would be before he lost what measly sense of self he had. *** Halloween was the night of their first date, and ironically, it wasn’t spent doing anything two adults should be doing. They raced about the neighborhood as Sonny and Cher, candy bags in hand. Polite thanks were given to those good-willed enough to indulge their childish behavior, and teepeed houses to those who didn’t. They shared their first kiss under the light of the harvest moon and returned to a teepeed house of their own. *** Even in his unfeeling state, he still felt those lips against his own. What an innocent, naïve person that woman seemed to the unwatchful eye. Yet, how unbearably foolish he had been to indulge such dangerous impulses when he had a duty to fulfill. *** When he next went searching the house for her mid-November, she was neither downstairs nor in her room. Aaron was then introduced to the paintings that belonged upon the walls downstairs; she was in what appeared to be her art room. Sitting 13
in the center of the room, Scarlet sat at a desk, furiously sketching something. As he made his way over to her, Aaron scanned the room for the most fascinating ones. His eye landed on a familiar scene from a book where the moon was struck in the eye by a rocket, causing it to wince in pain, and another painting where a star shot across the heavens. Not wanting to disturb her, he gently picked up an item from her desk he assumed was a paper-weight, a new born chick hatching from its egg; on the bottom, he read: Darren N. for Rachel. “That was a gift from… my family,” Scarlet’s voice broke through Aaron’s thoughts. “It’s meant to remind me to only count my chickens once they’ve hatched.” Aaron didn’t reply. He just set the paperweight down once more. “So, what’re you drawing?” “You.” The simple answer caught him unaware, and he startled. “What?” was his eloquent answer. She laughed lightly. There always existed a slight tone of sorrow and bitterness in that laugh. She moved her hands out of the way so he could see. The sketch was of Aaron, all the way from his curly, dark-haired head, to his sunglasses, to his flat nose and wide lips, to his wellpressed business attire; had he not known better, he would have said the man in the drawing worked at one of those casinos. After the initial shock dissipated, he turned to her and asked what the occasion could be; she only gave him an indecipherable look and continued her sketch. *** Fighting the consuming heaviness, he worked on processing the area around him, now that he could see. He was in a graveyard. *** Their first Christmas together was their only Christmas together. Curiously absent from the affair was the innocent cat that he’d grown to like just as much as her owner. But that was of no consequence, really. Scarlet and he situated themselves upon the floor downstairs; after those two incidents, he never saw either room again, Scarlet made sure of that. No Christmas 14
tree brightened the room; no fire offered its warmth. Just the barren walls, Scarlet, and Aaron greeted the day of cheer. They exchanged their feebly wrapped gifts. The gift given to Aaron was suffocated by the wrappings he’d seen on her floor. Aaron and Scarlet both stared at their unusual gifts at the same time. “Why did you get me a bell?” Aaron inquired of Scarlet. It was truly a magnificent dinner bell, brass with a design of intricate leaves, that, from a different angle, looked like peacock feathers. Blushing as she had ages ago in the café, Scarlet said, “So you don’t have to go snooping around my house for me; just ring it and I’ll know you’re here. That way, you won’t happen upon my cluttered room again. Why’d you get me blonde hairspray? Are you saying you don’t like my hair color, Ar?” “Hah! No. I just thought there was something missing in your pile of clutter upstairs in your room. Now there isn’t. You’re welcome.” They sealed their thanks with a kiss. *** Aaron didn’t feel as alarmed as he should have at finding himself in a graveyard. He remembered what had happened, after all. His only disappointment was in the feeble plank of wood amongst the many hard-pressed stones around him. *** Tense and high-strung, Aaron stared impassively at the crowd of people around the table. His emotions felt like an unplugged extension cord, tied in tangled knots. The people stared accusingly back at him. “Why isn’t it done, yet?” A gruff voice of a man at the head of the table sliced the silence. Aaron blinked back at him. “We hired you for a goddamn reason!” The man grouched on, “It has been months, and you wanted a job, remember?! Well, that job hasn’t been done yet! We’re all lucky she hasn’t caught on and moved again. “Honestly, we did all the hard work for you! Our agents in the Protection Program spent years tracking the brat down. You had one task, and you better well remember it!” “I was getting informat-” 15
“Kill the girl, or you’ll be the one receiving a bullet. Now get OUT!” *** Before the explosion of heaven and hell rupturing his soul in two eradicated his presence forever, he made out through the fog the inscription upon the headstone: Aaron Vivamous
A Beginning and an End Sussan Saikaili The newly-grandmothered lady smiled down at the swaddling blanket, her pinky grasped by the infant hidden inside. Somewhere else in the world, a newly-wedded wife grasped the cold, sweating hand lying above the multitude of blankets that hid everything except for his face, the face of her forever. Even though they were far apart, their minds spoke the same thought. “You’re so precious.” The infant was awake now, sitting and smiling up from the lap of her Granny. He was still asleep, but now with her head on his chest, where she could hear the laboring beats of his heart. “I love you so, so much…” She started arguing pleasantly with her daughter, pleading to give her more time with the baby girl. The blankets were getting wetter with her tears as she felt his breathing get slower, and she prayed for more time. Art by: Brad Rose/ Photography 16
“I just can’t let go.” 17
point? Once the madness took hold, it would never let go. I pressed my palms against my ears but could still make out the tune of the song. I squeezed my eyes shut for good measure, trying to resist the temptation that would most likely come with seeing everyone’s lips moving with the words of the curse. For that’s what it really was: a curse. Not some regular pop song everyone thought it was when we first heard it, before we knew what it really did. Even if someone had warned us, we never would have believed them. How could a simple song affect us so much? How could it change us? How could it turn us against each other?
A Simple Song
Art by: Jeanne Shi/ Mixed Media
Staff Writers “This is not a drill. Everyone, evacuate the bus,” the bus driver said over the speaker system as a pop star’s new single blared from an unknown source. “Cover your ears,” she warned, but for those who hadn’t already, it was too late. They were already singing along. Hypnotized by the siren’s song, all brain function ceased as they fell under the spell. Honestly, how had it come to this 18
I guess that’s just the nature of music. It originates from points unknown and hunts you down. It infiltrates your ears and adjusts itself so that it plays to the tempo of your heartbeat and feels so natural that you can’t help but breathe it in so that it becomes a part of you. When you exhale, traces remain in your system, random notes still echoing in your soul throughout the hour, day, week, month, year… throughout your life. And as the song ended, I realized that this is what I want to do: play music. This is a sickness that I don’t mind catching. It’s a curse that’s more of a blessing. It’s a little bit of me that I can share with the world, and everyone will understand. 19
Art by: Brad Rose/ Photography 20
Broken or Whole Kara Travis
They talk about drinking, Going up to a bar, Parties they’ve attended, Their new, shiny car, The shore house they rented, Watching movies – rated R; And I wonder how I could have been so naïve To think I know who they really are. I talk about dancing, How much I hate barré, The books I’m reading and writing, Learning to drive a car, Picking out a college; Wishing on a star That I’ll be someone special With a career that goes far. But of course they don’t listen. Of course they don’t care. They laugh, and they smirk And they call me a square. It’s hard to keep disgust off my face, While I watch their choices take their toll. I wonder if they know They’re destroying their soul. I guess in twenty years we’ll see Who’s broken and who’s whole. 22
Art by: Betsy Hochman/Mixed Media 23
To Bear the Ember-filled Ashes of Love’s Unfortunate Soul Giselle Horrell
The unforgiving winds of fate you must bear. As hailing from the sky, they soar, these memories of past embers. Such sparks igniting to an inferno destined only to burn to ash. That is the destiny of those called unfortunate. Behold the cries of the forsaken soul! A life as unrequited as all love. But what, do you ask, is this curse known as love? Whose destiny is it for this truth to bear? Some say it is sweet music that resonates through the entirety of the soul. A blazing fire as vast as the ocean sparked by a cluster of embers. And yet, there will be children of love labeled unfortunate. Oh, what does it matter, for from dust to dust, all will return to ash. Your world – once full of splendor – has disintegrated to ash. Now as nonexistent as the sought for emotions of your love. Most would deem such an occurrence unfortunate Too much for one being to bear. Your hope sputtering and failing like fading embers. Yet, your triumph resides in your unyielding soul.
Art by: Sarah Lawn/Photography 24
‘Tis your earthly burden which causes you to lament “Oh, my soul”. Any hope of a life of love disperses in your mind like ash. Scattering about to the furthest reaches like racing embers And kindling there the fires of your love Causing the disposition of your obsession to take on the ferocity of a bear Highlighting your situation as the epitome of unfortunate.
Yet how can you be unfortunate? There exists but one element that is deprived from your soul. But like every man, every creature before you, ‘tis your burden to bear. So why should your will, your resolution crumble away to ash? In other men, that which poisons your every thought and action makes them invincible, this love. Such a strength, a wisdom, a hope flees you but in your darkness burns as bright embers. Such a pretty, seductive light they provide, these embers. They tempt you in, an insignificant pest toward its doom, so that you may burn as the light graces the unfortunate. But no matter the danger, you cannot ward off the alluring feelings of love. It engulfs you and possesses you until it has consumed your soul. As you know how useless it is, your eyes spring forth water from a dry well and you cry tears of ash. For this pain shall not only be yours, but all generations after to bear. Thus is the curse that bears the burden of the unfortunate. Like forlorn embers strewn outside a fire’s circle are they too, lost souls. Yet, as all they know turns to ash, what will remain solid is the unrequited nature of your love.
Art by: Estefania Maldonado/Ink
I want to put down these heavy drums After all this time I still can’t seem to make them sound nice Let me dance for you instead Let me catch a fish to swim in the tears collecting in your collar bones Give me a chance to dress the circus elephants up so beautifully That you forget how uncomfortable they must be living next to the lions Please, I’ve had enough of this unripe fruit
The moon, I swear, is the most beautiful thing in the world when it is a dark night, hovering like a protective mother over a silver lake. Maybe it is too specific, even tedious, to give one such fleeting image so high an honor, but it is not unfair. The clouds drift above in a bluish hue and I am forced to expend a howl with my brethren as she emerges from her veil in the sky. The ground was full of thorns poking into my softened feet and digging their way into my white fur without remorse. Two feet at a time, a jump onto a higher rock, and I settled with sitting upon a throne of thorns, moss, and cluttered slumps of dirt and dead flowers. A fallen tree rested behind me, although nothing moved around it for its own sake. Another howl, it was time for the hunt to begin. My body pounded against my feet that in turn clashed with the ground repeatedly as I blended into a white rush of lethality. Hardly more than a streak, I passed fallen tree and rushing river, jumping over logs and running across the clearest path. My heart could be felt against my chest in quick “bu-bum bu-bum”s. The rhythm consumed my body as another loud cry erupted from my throat. Bubum bu-bum. The rush of the air made me feel strong, alive, and free. I was the wild, and the darkness, and the peace of the moon all at the same time. We emerged into a clearing where our old friends of the circle, the greatest of all
circles, prepared to run. An injured, brown, scrawny, little thing wasn’t moving fast enough. A series of howls terrified the being into getting up faster. Too late; its sisters had fled and my brethren had circled its weak body- no hesitation. Not enough, not nearly enough. That was for later; it was time to hunt. Bu-bum bu-bum. Into the trees I ran faster than a silver fish, eyes blue as water and fur clean like I had just taken a dip. Separated from the pack, I came across a spotted creature. It watched me, rocking its hips back and forth. Why was it so small and yet so vicious? This was no black bear; its tail was far too long. Its growl was amusing. The beat slowed if only for a moment. The rhythm faltered. Bum bu-bum bum bu-bum. The creature tried to attack me and I swatted it away with barely a flick. It looked like it was filled with delicious fat. All I had to do was howl. The thing licked its foot confidently, daring me to take it on. I could kill it all by myself. It was the circle. That’s just the way things were. The moon stared, watching, waiting for one child of hers to finish the other. All I had to do was howl. And yet, I wasn’t crying out to my mother, the Moon. My ears flicked at the sound of another of my brothers finding something interesting. I had a duty to the pack to bring this being. One foot after another I pulled my feet back behind the other, into the darkness. The spotted moonchild watched me curiously as I rejoined the hunters in the darkness, responding to the cry, becoming part of the hunt once again choosing to forget the spotted being ever existed. Bu-bum bu-bum.
The Band of Four
Sean Perry This is the tale of the band of four, Who found themselves waiting at death’s door. A tale of tricks, deception, and sleights of hand, Only but some of what awaited this merry band. Now clear your mind, and look within, For it is time for my story to begin. The band of four was a motley crew, But was made of good people, this much was true. The first was the knight, tough and strong; With his code of honor, he could do no wrong. The second was the cleric, faithful to his god, A friendly man (though the others struck him as odd). The third man was a wizard of graying old age, And the others regarded him as a wise old sage. But the fourth man of the group was different, He’d no title or lands; he was a peasant. But to say nothing less, they all traveled together, These men, so different, yet like birds of a feather, For they shared the same fate, these men, you see. Well, what I said is true, at least, for three. They were traveling along the road one morn, When they heard the calling of a most frightening storm. Their wellness and health were what they wished to save, Which is why they took shelter in a nearby cave. But alas, though the cave was dark and the air hot, Empty and unspoiled, the cave was not. They had stumbled into a dragon’s lair, And fire and flames his nostrils did flare. It made quick work of three of the men, Snapping them up like a fox to a hen. Leaving only the peasant able to run away, 30
While three other lives had been lost on that day. The peasant was out of the cave, safe at last, But saddened immensely by what had come to pass. Yet before he could lament these noble men’s ends, “Don’t worry, young one, you might yet have your friends.” Those words came from what was before empty space, So this made quite the look on that young man’s face. The specter feared most, Death, reaper of souls, Had appeared before him as if the bell had tolled. “What do you want from me?” the young man trembled. “Not from you, but your friends. If you would, assemble.” And with those words said came a bright flash of light, After which the young man was shocked to see the knight, But not just the knight, the other companions too, They all appeared instantly, just out of the blue. But before the young man could say what he desired, Came the voice of Death “Now, I’m sure you’re all tired, But that’s to be expected, seeing as you’re dead, And now it is time to put your souls to bed.” Now this, as you imagine, caused quite a stir, For on this idea of Death’s, they did not concur. “Alright,” said Death, “because your deaths were by error, I shall refrain from becoming the life-taking terror. I’ll give you a chance. Best me in a game, And your soul will once again be yours to claim.” After some deliberation, they came to agree, So the peasant wished the best of luck to the three. “I shall be first,” said the knight full of pride, “For I am the best warrior known far and wide, My challenge is this: a fight for my life! We shall kill goblins as an end to this strife, And whoever kills most after five minutes past, It shall be he, alone, who truly laughs last.” Death thought it fair, so the contest had begun, And for a time it looked as if the knight had won, 31
But he was but mortal and as all other men, And besting Death at death is something no one can. So five minutes past, the knight admitted defeat, His hopes of revival ending bittersweet. “I will be next!” came the voice of the priest, Who was determined not to lose, not in the least. “My challenge to you is to earn my god’s favor; Whoever is most loved shall win our little wager.” Death had agreed, so then the contest began, But not before the priest enacted his plan. He prayed to his god, and said to him thus: “This contest of ours and the actions of us, Have been begot by me, and all of them should, Be attributed to me,” he said. Surely, this would, Mark him as the victor. But Death had known, And if he knew the priest would surely bemoan. While the priest said another prayer to assure his lead, Death went off to perform a very foul deed. Death went to a town and had, without falter, Gone into church and desecrated the altar. With the contest over, the priest had actually won, But the effects of Death’s trick had not yet begun. True to his word, Death gave him back his soul, And that is when Death’s trick took his toll. The god was furious! His altar had been fouled! He shook the land with a shout, impossibly loud. How dare that mortal man do such a thing? He would know the full fury that his actions bring. And so his god smote him, for it was just, Leaving the priest little more than a pile of dust. “So,” said Death, “would you like to try again?” “No,” said the man. He would finally give in. Last came the wizard, so wise in his old age. Surely what better contender than this mighty mage? But it was with great shock when, heard by all, 32
The wizard’s words were “I shall not stall. For I am so old, so much time has passed, That I welcome you warmly, an old friend at last.” Death was surprised at his acceptance of fate. “Are you sure, good sir? It’s still not too late.” But the wizard refused to change his mind, So he joined his two friends, making three of a kind. “And with my work done, with nothing left to do, I’ll see you later, young man, I bid you adieu.” But before Death could leave with cargo in tow, The youth said with determination, “Wait! Don’t go! I have my own game that I wish you to play, So please Death, oh please, hear what I have to say.” Death was intrigued, this much was sure, The living to challenge him hadn’t happened before. “What are your terms?” Death replied with a smile, “And be quick too, boy, I can’t stay a while.” “If I win, Death, it will be the end, And you’ll give me back the souls of my friends.” “And what if I, boy, am the one to succeed?” “Then my soul is yours, to do with as you please.” “Very well!” said Death, “Have your chance at fame! Let’s see how you do. Tell me, what’s your game? But remember, to play this game I must agree, So tell me the rules first. Then, we shall see.” “The rules are simple; it’s the game of a child, I close my eyes, and you go into the wild, Or anywhere else; you hide and then I will scour, The world to find you, Death, in less than an hour.” “Just an hour to find me?” said Death with a smile, “Alright then, boy, though it’ll take quite a while, I’ll grant you your contest of hide-and-go-seek, Though you wouldn’t find me if you searched for a week!” As promised, the peasant then hid his face in his hands, While Death scurried off to some faraway lands. 33
“How will you find him?” asked his dead friends. “Don’t you worry, dear fellows, this isn’t the end.” And with his reply said, he turned right around, And after wondering if his own idea was still sound, He walked right on forward, straight to the cave, While trying his hardest to look like he was brave. At the mouth of the cave, he gave a big sigh, Before marching straight on, to where he would surely die. Die so he did, for he was but only a peasant, And his foe was a dragon. It really wasn’t pleasant. Free from his body, from this mortal coil, His soul watched the reaper rise up out the soil. “Now explain to me,” said Death, “what you were trying to do.” “Nothing,” replied the young man, “because now I’ve found you.” Death’s face was stoical, for he had met his match, And now he would have to release his prized catch, But it was a surprise to all those who were there, That his face had then brought a big smile to bear. “Alright, young man, you have won and I concede, You’ve earned your victory; of more there is no need. I will give you your friends back, you brilliant man, And yours too, to boot! Go out, enjoy what you can.” And with that said, Death did do what he decreed, And restored the peasant’s friends to life; that was the deed. And so the band of four escaped alive that day, After which there really is nothing more to say. To the others the boy had forever proved his worth, To the three men, fated to be saved by the fourth. Art by: Rafi Abdullah/ Ink 34
La Compañera de Mi Alma Matt Brady Tu brillaste como mil soles Las olas del amor se estrellaron en mi alma Y mi corazón latía cada vez más rápido para mantenerse a flote: el amor ahogando. Yo sabía que había encontrado mi otra mitad: Mi amor, la compañera de mi alma anhelante Luego deslizó las manos alrededor de su cintura, miró los ojos con una mirada de amor ardiente, Y me quedé con la vision de su belleza alejándose.
Art by: Sasha Radtke/ Oil on canvas
I didn’t want to wait for you anymore, but the grass grew around my toes and now I am stuck. I feel like I am sinking, deep into the ground, growing roots that will keep me anchored when you finally come, I’m sure, to knock me down. But I’ll wait and wait, perhaps ‘til the day I die, my feet becoming ingrained in the ground. Maybe then I’ll be a tree that bears delectable fruit or possibly a shrub flowering beautiful rosebuds. Or maybe we will finally be together, like you said we would when our love was new. Maybe you will love me again, as much as you did then. Maybe I won’t have to wait for you anymore because you’ll never leave me. But looking down, I can no longer see my feet. I am in the ground. My roots are growing down toward hell and my arms are stretched up like branches reaching for heaven. We will not be together. I will be a tree. Art by: Sasha Radtke/ Acrylic
Officers Literary Editor
Estefania Maldonado Treasurer
Ariane Poulin Brad Rose Giselle Horrel
EJ Bevenour Estefania Maldonado
Officers Miss Oâ€™Reilly Mrs. Page
Giselle Horrel Literary Advisor
Make sure to visit Troubadourâ€™s Gallery at Virago Bakery at 322 1/2 W. Main St. Lansdale, PA 19446. The Troubadour Gallery at Virago only lasts from May 1st to May 31st, 2013. Our opening show will be Friday, May 17th from 7PM to 9PM. Thank you to Mr. Burton T. Hynes, Principal of North Penn High School; Mr. William Bartle, Director of North Penn High School Activities; Mrs. Joanne Harris, North Penn High School Art Department Chair; and all other outside submissions for making this publication possible. Lastly, we thank you, the reader for supporting our artistic endeavors.
North Penn High Schools Art + Literary Magazine.