Plume - Issue 1
Plume As a school, we dedicate ourselves to education and culture. We’re doing the same thing people did in centuries past, albeit with different methods. Our goal is to further ourselves and others through the pursuit of knowledge. With that in mind, the name Plume embodies our purpose in full. Before we used pencils and computers, we used quill pens: plumes plucked from the flight feathers of large birds. The plume is a fundamental symbol of our school. It represents both the education we strive to achieve and the mascot that brings us together — we are the Hawks. The feathers of a hawk become the words on a page. The calligraphy of a plume is unmatched in precision and flexibility: so too we strive to embody these traits in our school. Works such as the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence were created by way of the plume; by following suit with our literary magazine, we’ll be walking in the steps of our ancestors. The plume brings expression. It brings freedom. It brings possibility. It brings us together with the words it forms; its influence sits in the pages we read. - Cairo Gaona
Find a digital copy of this issue of Plume online at issuu.com/plumecpp
The content of this inaugural issue of Plume, the literary arts magazine of Corning-Painted Post High School, was created and edited by two sections of the Creative Writing class taught by Mrs. Stephanie Cooper in October 2017.
Policy Plume is the product of students at Corning-Painted Post High School who devoted their time and effort to create a collaborative work of art. We take pride in providing an open forum in which young writers and artists may express themselves and spread their wings. The submissions in Plume are selected by a committee of student editors who select individual pieces based on style and quality of writing. This committee reserves the right to deny the publication of any submissions if deemed inappropriate. Furthermore, the ideas presented in the publication do not represent the views of the CPPHS faculty or staff, nor the C-PP Area School District. We hope you enjoy our work.
Executive Editors: Cairo Gaona Brooke MuĂąoz-Halm Editors: Olivia Losito Tabetha Rowlands Peyton Spring Designers: Brooke MuĂąoz-Halm Peyton Spring Quinnlynn Spencer Ashley Descartes Xavier Smith Nat Kent Jeanette Butler Ariana Gleason Rayna Krise Rain Bills Brynne Ketchum Cameron Reilly-Steele Jada Stowe
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Staff: Ryan Aldrich Trisha Benjamin Rain Bills Jeanette Butler Kiely Caulfield Megan Colman Alexis Cook Sienna Cook Harley Correll Sydney Crouch Ashley Descartes Anthony Ferreira Ariana Gleason Justin Herberger Kelly Jones
Natalie Kent Brynne Ketchum Rayna Krise Korish Malik Maxwell Reed Cameron Reilly-Steele Selina Schutz Jacob Serdula Xavier Smith Anna Smith Quinnlynn Spencer Jada Stowe Erin Tucker Samuel Woodhouse Shiloh Worthington
Table of Contents
4 Greater Weakness, Lesser Strength Anna Smith 6 Three-Year-Old Politics Kiely Caulfield 8 The Glutton Jada Stowe 10 The Perfect Shot Brooke Munoz-Halm 12 Throne Eddie Spaghetti 13 Depression Isn’t Just a Word Mr. Gurtishberg 14 Haunted Cameron Reilly-Steele 16 The Stories Untold Toby the Cat 17 Her Special Nyooms Brynne Ketchum 18 Thunderstorm of Thoughts Tabetha Rowlands 19 Tick Tock Tenille Dashwood 20 The Kagami Megan Colman 21 Almost Quinnlynn Spencer 22 Let’s Do This Again In Two Years Shiloh Worthington 24 Stained Fingertips S. C. Crouch 25 Po the Panda Erin Tucker 26 Sticky Notes Olivia Losito 28 Beth Ruthie Roo 30 Make Love Not War Peyton Spring 32 Love Like Roses Rain 34 Fuego Cairo Gaono 36 Two Worlds Intertwined Anon 37 I Am What I Eat Ryan Aldrich 38 All the Things I’d Like to Say to You A. G. Gleason 40 Lost in Time Alexis Cook 42 Lovers Beware Lark and Foxgloves Find a digital copy of this issue of Plume online at issuu.com/plumecpp
At the negligible age of sixteen I had experienced sights, sounds, and smells that most of my peers wouldnâ€™t even think to acknowledge until they were sixty-two and living with nothing but the crippling vacancy of unfulfilled dreams and the ghost of their dead spouse. My days are often spent focusing more on how I will effectively articulate my pain than on the pain itself. When I really, truly, honestly think about it, no one will understand the fullest extent of my suffering. Forever would my resignation to life and its many wonders fester throughout my teeming mind, and I would have to accept that. Though the thing was that I could never bring myself to accept it. The startling realization of this simple irony brought me to my knees, made fresh tears well in the corners of my eyes, and I felt sorry for myself all over again.
greater weakness A n n a S m i t h LESSER STRENGTH
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On nights when my sadness became too much to bare, I would routinely prop my back against the attic wall, absentmindedly listening to the rhythmic tapping of rain water as it lazily dropped from the slanted roof. I also heard the pattering to-and-fro of mice in a line, squeaking gayly amongst themselves in the process. It was on nights like these when I wondered just how a group of rodents could possibly possess more confidence and skill than a human being in the art of communication. It was also on these nights when I quickly provided myself with an answer to my own question, purposefully disregarding the many lingering thoughts I harbored thereafter. No matter how difficult it was, I had to ignore these thoughts at all costs. I had allowed myself to become many things in the months of my dismal stupor, but an over-thinker would most definitely not be one of them. I refused, absolutely refused, to be enslaved by my own mind. I abhorred the idea of being swayed by irrationality and acting only on fervent emotion.
Wait a minute. Only then did I realize how much of a hypocrite I was. All this time I allowed my own fervent emotions to dictate my steerage through lifeâ€™s rough and tumble straits. I was the walking culmination of my mindâ€™s ugliest inner workings. With this notion now brought to my attention, I didnâ€™t know whether to feel relieved or distressed, peaceful or livid. I decided to turn to the thing I did best, and that was sobbing. I sobbed into the crook of my arm, the palms of hands, and the bony portion of my knuckle, stopping only to gasp for breath. I stayed like that, curled in a ball of my own self-pity, until my tear ducts were numb and nothing more could possibly come from them. The water that had moments before exited my system carried with it the doubt and the worry and the anger and the sadness and the confusion, all of it, until there was nothing left. I felt so empty, so listless, so lost, and so, so free.
Politics Kiely Caulfield
He was used to it. The constant complaining was now normal. It was easy to drown out the ever present phrases he heard everyday. “I want mommy!” was said almost eight hundred times, along with “No! No! No!” and “Gimme!” And he knew that “I want Tinkerbell movie!” was bound to come up soon. The name calling wasn’t bad either. Sarah was only three, so the most common insults she had were stupid-head or dummy. Although he did remember a time at dinner when his sister had called his mom a dumbass for giving her those terrible green beans. He’d been blamed for that, although he was pretty sure Sarah learned it from their dad. He’d also perfected the duck-and-cover routine whenever the little monster got a hold of something plastic. Everyday was an uphill battle. Dodging plastic blocks, fake food and eating utensils, and even an entire bowl of Cheerios once. But now it was no longer a war, it was a political debate over life and death. Winner takes all, loser gets banished to the living room floor with the plastic toys of broken dreams. The prize, the television for an hour. It was the opposing side’s turn to make a move. “Mommy said I could have the Tinkerbell movie.” Sarah stomped her foot and huffed, a bold point. “But I’ve been at school all day,” he countered, “And I had baseball practice. You can have the TV after me, I just need it for a little while.” He’d hoped that that would resonate with his opponent. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Sarah pointed an accusing little finger at him, “Mommy said it’s bedtime at seven thirty. What time is it?” A quick glance at the clock told him it was quarter to seven, but his opponent didn’t need to know that, “Go ask mom yourself. You’re a big girl, you can walk.” “No! No! No!” There was that phrase, along with another foot stomp. When he was silent, pointedly withholding the information, Sarah pulled out the scariest threat of all, “I’m gonna tell on you!”
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Every day I wake up and there it is. The feeling that comes to me at least three times a day, if not more. There’s only one thing anyone can do to get it out of their heads, but it will always consume their souls; coming and going as it pleases. As time goes on, it never fails to return; it’s not afraid to cause a roar from within. It’s a horrible and vicious beast that desires just one thing. No living creature can avoid its power. It is the driving force to our evolution, it manipulates us all to give in and empower it. It has made the living kill for it’s power. It causes cries and desperation
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within the air; emptiness is the result of its wrath. It promises to take over until you suffer a painful death and are no longer whole as you rot. It causes lives yet inspires them to continue. The feeling it enforces is both physical and emotional. No one can make it go away until it gets what it wants. Give it what it wants. It’s a necessary evil. The wealthy see less of it than the poor. The weakest find it within themselves, while the fittest know how to keep it away. It’s an issue that can never truly be solved, only set aside. A few hours will pass by since its last visit and I promise, you too will feel it. You may even feel it right now.
PERFECT SHOT Brooke Muñoz-Halm
The satisfactory taste of murder filtered through the ice to the bottom of her drink. The glass was nursed in her bruised hand. She kept her wellmanaged balance with her other arm situated along the bar, broken hand on display. The lights around the bar illuminated empty chairs and empty tables. No one dared to penetrate the space she inhabited despite the copious amounts of bodies that moved around in the small room. The bartender kept his distance from the woman in black. Everyone kept their distance from the assassin until a tall man with a camera, tugging at his neck, with a tight lipped smile threw the door open. He made his way to the bar out of an ignorance to his surroundings. Immediately, he struck up conversation as he waded through blood soaked fog. He asked for her name. Silence. He asked what she was drinking. Silence. He asked if she came here often. Silence. He asked if she would be interested in knowing how he takes the perfect shot. An eyebrow lifted, almost involuntarily. She was intrigued. “I shoot as well.” she smirked.
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“What kinds of things do you like to shoot?” He asked quickly. “Everybody has that one thing they are best at shooting.” “People.” She kept her eyes on the photographer as the bartender chuckled to himself as he dried various glasses. “Oh! So you do headshots?” He dropped himself into the seat closest to the woman who was discreetly covered in someone else’s blood. “Something like that.” The photographer pulled his chair even closer to the woman. She sipped slowly on her drink while he downed his drink the moment it was set in his hand. “So,” the assassin leaned in. There were only a few inches separating their noses. “How do you take the perfect shot?” “I look through my lense, find the best framing, then I close my eyes, open them and see if I still think that is the best picture.” The man smirked from the confidence he thought he was exuding. “What about you? Do you have a technique?” “Well,” She started. “I find I do my best work after taking a single breath.” “That must take a while, huh?” He nudged her with his elbow. “Not necessarily. I have a lot of time. I prefer long range shots.” Again, the bartender chuckles. “Incredible!” The photographer exclaimed. “We should take shots of each other.” The bartender did not chuckle this time. She followed close behind him out the doors into the night.
ot everyone is used to the feeling, the one that seems to move throughout your whole body, affecting everything you do. It makes life seem nearly impossible, it’s like losing someone close to you every day. It makes it hard to be in your room late at night, surrounded by nothing but darkness and silence, even though your poisonous thoughts are loud enough, you’re sure your mom can hear them downstairs. It makes it hard to be surrounded by other people, seeing everyone else happy and enjoying their lives while you feel like you’re at the bottom of the barrel. It makes it hard to breathe, your chest feeling empty. It makes your chest feel full, full of
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nothing but it. It infects your mind, a growing vine carrying deadly disease, it’s only intent was to make you suffer. It drowns out all background noise, and all background feelings. If it could smirk, it’s lips would curl in a menacing way as it slithered itself into the throne in your mind, taking over everything. You won’t go a day without it nipping at you, the thoughts it released into your mind would never go away. It leaves you mortified that if it ever went away, it’ll come back. It leaves you confused as to how you turned out this way, and it’s the only thing to blame. It became you, and you became it, and now you’re left with nothing.
It’s the feeling you get when you just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Why would you want to get out bed to a world full of hate? Some people don’t understand what i’m talking about so picture this an elephant sitting on your chest sucking the air out of your lungs. Slow and painful killing you. Nobody understands because it’s different for each person. If you do understand what i’m talking about i am deeply sorry. Nobody should have to go through this, but so many deal with it everyday. Totally oblivious to the naked eye, but also completely obvious if you know what to look for. What kind of music do they listen to, how they talk about life, all the small hints they are dropping when they are speaking. Most people try to hide it, the people that are always joking and smiling, they are the ones that have it the worst. It’s no easy fix either. Medication, doctors visits, counseling appointments, and still it all hurts the same.
Depression Isn’t Just a Word Mr. Gurtishberg
C a m e ro n R e i l l y - S t e e l e For a week, it’s been following me. For a week, it’s kept me up at night, poking at me every time I close my eyes. For a week, I’ve stopped it from dragging me to who knows where. For a week, it’s conducted its own special kind of torture. It’ll let me block it out for hours sometimes, letting me hope that I’ve forgotten it. But just when I think it’s over, just when I think it’s done tormenting me, it floats back into my periphery. A specter. A dark, inky figure, spiting me with its existence. I’ll tell my friends a joke, but the laughter will die in my throat. I’ll kiss my girlfriend, and feel tears welling in my eyes. I’ll take a plate of food from my mother, but it’ll remain uneaten.
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That ends now. I turn to face the inky mass, and for once it stays in full view. I hold out my hand and bony fingers clutch it in a death grip. It leads me through the halls, slowly guiding me. Second thoughts flood my mind and I have to work in order to suppress the urge to run. This thing isn’t going away. The hand squeezes tighter, enough to make me wince in pain. It’s not going to make it easy on me. Finally it leads me through a door, letting go to stand beside me. One of the skeletal fingers points to a boy across the room, sitting with his friends. His
eye is swollen and bruised, his arm in a cast. The specter gives me a small push.
Don’t make me, please.
A tear rolls down my cheek. I hadn’t realized I was crying. It takes a few As if reading my thoughts, it eyes minutes, but finally I get out a weak, me, somehow weary inside those two “I’m sorry.” before turning to leave. As empty sockets. I fight down the instinct I reach the specter, it gives me a small to flee, to go back. I have to face this. smile. I feel a hand on my shoulder, Reluctantly, I walk towards the boy. and I almost bring my fist up into the I don’t know how many steps I take, air, but when I turn around, it’s the but once I’m close, he turns to me and boy standing there. He reaches out his glares. That look freezes me in place. undamaged arm, his hand open. I I don’t know him, but looking at my take it. bruised knuckles, I remember what I did to him. One more step and his When I turn around this time, the friends are standing, filling the space specter is gone. between us. They don’t look angry, exactly. Confused, more like it.
t’s strange. Here I am walking along this sparse street getting glances from every stranger I pass. They are all expressing different emotions, saying different things; looking and acting differently from one another. It’s a strange thing to realize just how ordinary you are. Realizing that every person you encounter has a life all their own. While you can only perceive yours, theirs continues to unfold. A girls passes me, short, curly, blonde hair - purple skirt and top. Mascara running down her face as she is struggling to hold back more tears. There is a story behind her sorrow, one I’m likely all too familiar with. Next, a man swiftly passing me by, his face set with determination. He has somewhere to be, that much is clear, where? Why? Only he knows, he will be the only witness to that story unfolding.
Untold Our existence is a complex series of events and emotions building the lives of all humans to their current state and being. I am passing another girl, her eyes are empty, her clothing plain; the look of someone with nothing to lose. I quickly turn around after hearing a loud series of bangs. One released from the sorrow of her story, the other from responsibility. She turns to me, emptiness apparent on her face. Her life consisted of a series of events over the course of her life leading to this very moment. “What a fascinating story you must possess,” I whisper. My own story finally being laid to rest.
To b y t h e C a t
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t’s important to her. The objects she holds in her hand remind her of the phrase she always says, “Wait for it. Break them, don’t let them break you”. She thinks of her next challenge while screwing in the new sharp grave diggers that were given to her by her coach, not as a gift, but as a warning. She intended for them to live up to their name. She expects to bury the competition, to break the other girls, her enemies. She looks at the grave diggers, all 18.031 miles on them. She tries not to be frightened by her task, she tries to remain calm and collected, but also trying to get excited, even though it is inevitable that she too would feel the pain. She takes a deep breath and imagines the pain. Not just hers, but the other girls around her, ready to see who has the most guts. Ready to find out who would be able to last the longest. She puts the objects away and gets ready to warm up. When she runs the easy 15 minute warm up she appears silent and intimidating, but all the while her mind is running too… “How much is it going to hurt? What will happen if I can’t win?” She may look calm on the outside, but inside, the nerves always get to her, she always worries. Her heart is beating fast, syncing up with the steady rhythm of Brynne her feet pounding against the ground. She then realizes that her thoughts had taken over, and she had lost track of time. She hurries to her team’s tent and takes out her beloved Special Nyooms, admiring their vibrant green, blue, and yellow colors. She knows they aren’t going to look that pretty for much longer. She puts them on and feels the crushing sense of responsibility wash over her, weighing her down.
She feels all of her emotions, her fear and anxiety flowing throughout her veins, supercharging her with vertigo. She feels the immense pressure that has been put on her by both her team and her coach. They expected nothing less then perfection. Well, if perfection is what they want, she intends to deliver. She makes her way out of the tent down to the start line and gets to work. Threshold, speed D, strides and prayers, till the gun goes off and her and her Special Nyooms work together to be number one, not for only herself but for her coach, family, and teammates. She and her special objects don’t feel the pain as she propels herself forward; they only feel her emotions, her pain, her sweat, and her fears. They both know it’s coming. 400 meters. It’s the end. The most pain. But she knows that she has to do it. They both do. She speeds up. 200 meters. 100 meters. Her Special Nyooms slip and slide through the mud as she sprints through the finish. She’s done. First place shines above her head like a star. She carefully takes off her Special Nyooms, but does not put them back in their bag. She hangs them around her neck like a medal. She doesn’t care how bad they smell or how sweaty and muddy they are. They helped her Ketchum reach their goal. They helped her be the best she could be. They made her faster, better, and stronger. Later she puts them away, after she had cleaned and dried them. They hang in their bag in her bedroom closet and as she shuts the door she thinks “Until next time, Special Nyooms”. And she and her precious objects gently fall asleep, until the next race.
hunder crashes, growling and booming and tumbling across the sky. Rain pelts the windows desperate to get in. Wind whirls and howls in the darkness and confusion. The room is quiet. Save for the sounds of people shifting in their seats. Yet the storm continues. It’s surprising they don’t hear it as it rages so loudly inside your head. Not wind but wild thoughts rush through your mind. Not rain, but tears threaten to escape from your eyes. Not thunder but the pounding of your heart. Despite the sweat on your palms, your mouth is dry. You lick your lips and try to swallow the feeling that’s rising in your throat. The room feels devoid of oxygen and simultaneously too big and too small. Dizzyingly bright fluorescents make you squint, adding painful lightning to the hurricane in your head. You try to read the papers you’re holding and can’t help but feel betrayed when you can’t because they refuse to stop shaking. One lined note card flutters to the
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floor. An unpleasant heat rises through your ears as you bend to pick it up. You measure the moments in heart beats that are too quick to count. Fighting for a place in your own head, you force your trembling legs to carry you to the front of the room. The eyes fall upon you like crows to a corpse. Or at least that’s how it feels as their silent judgement tears you apart. The words you practiced tumble from your mouth in short bursts. Like hiccups, you stutter and stumble and feel as though you’re falling down a mountain. You gain too much momentum as your word-steps come out quick and quiet. When you get to the bottom you trip and fall into a heap, your words and thoughts entangled. “Thank you” you think you may have mumbled. The storm continues, but at a lower decibel, the rain water flooding your mind, leaving watermarks of this moment that you will over-think forever. You can’t help but envy those whose minds are ever dry and sunny. But your mind has rainforests where there’s has deserts so maybe it’s ok that for you, life is always a storm.
Tick Tock Tenille Dashwood
What would they do without me? I don’t know how they could get by on their own. Everyone looks to their god to know when to do something and when not to do something. They always come to me for guidance, whether it be sports, an appointment, or even to leave a class! I am always what they look for. I am not the only person who works here, but please, nobody even gets as much attention as I do. At my very command everyone will leave the room. I am unstoppable. Until of course a new school year came by and the principal made a special announcement that students were able to carry their cell phones with them from class to class. I was ruined. What did that mean for me? Was I going to be taken away? I was about to find out as the first class came in today. Not one person glanced at me. They were all buried in their cell phones. I was ruined. Weeks and weeks went by before I got any recognition, and who was it from? The janitor! What did he want? He pulled out screwdrivers and he stuck them in me. Oh my God, where is he going to take me? Where am I going?
Before I could protest, they put me in a bag with my fellow brethren. None of us knew what was going on, it was chaos. Finally, we started being taken out one by one. When I was grabbed I was tossed onto a desk like I was worthless, and let’s face it, I am. But then a woman, in a big blue dress grabbed me and smiled. She put me back at the top of the wall in my rightful place, but what was the point? It’s not like anyone was going to look back at me. Then, in came the students. To my surprise, they were all much younger than the teenagers I had worked with before. These were just kids. They all sat down, and not one of them had a cellphone. I was ecstatic. The teacher asked the students, “Can anyone tell me what time it is?” Everyone shot their heads back and looked at me. I was so happy. Me, the king, was back right where I belonged.
I am known by many names throughout time, language, and imagery. My name has changed from one to another, evolved from the communication that has helped mankind survive since the dawn of civilization. And yet, I cannot know myself. To some degree, yes, I can know myself, in the sense that I am aware of my own existence, never knowing my purpose until my gaze falls upon another me. I can see humans, never knowing if I look like them, never knowing if I am some hideous beast. The face one could make while looking at me is one of disgust! How can I not be a monster?!
on her lips and cheeks and eyelids. The human looked at me and smiled, her eyes like a million stars. That was normal. Then, the human pulled an object out of her pocket. It was a disk, pink with a silver border and red roses on it. That wasnâ€™t normal. The human held out the object to the left and slightly behind her head. The human opened the disk.
I was light, smooth, fragile, reflecting my image upon the world. I now know my purpose: to observe. I was made to observe others, to make humans reflect upon their lives in moments of hardship, to make them happy before an important day in their lives, or make And yet, one day, as the them sad, as the veil of human got up once again, their mind clouds out the something strange happened. humanâ€™s eyesight. In any The human looked at me, circumstance, the kagami was putting something strange made to see the world.
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A delectable dessert sits on a table within arm’s reach. I see it every day yet I am not permitted to touch it. Its presence taunts me with perfectly piped yellow buttercream frosting and the quintessential round blue sprinkles that sparkle in the overhead lights. I miss the feel of its wrapper between my fingers. I miss its sweet alluring odor. I miss the feeling that used to overcome me when I held it in my hands. The feeling now relates to more of a melancholy state. It is now available to anyone passing by. I know if I touch it there is no going back. There is no guarantee that I would have the strength to let it go...again. People warned me of its addicting qualities. I know it is bad for me. But with all bad there is often times good. Some say it will ruin my life, that I need to get over it, that I need to find a different treat to sink my teeth into, but for some reason I can’t get the thought of it out of my head. It hurts to see others want it the same way I do. Just the thought of someone else holding it and enjoying its sugary enticing presence makes me sick. Selfishly, I want it all to myself. I will silence the noise of people’s opinions and pursue my happiness, no matter the consequences. One significant evening, I finally take a few steps closer to reach it. I reach out an arm, close my eyes and hope. Once I was inches away from the table, I open my eyes only to reveal a vacancy. Someone had taken him away from me. I was too late.
Almost Quinnlynn Spencer
Letâ€™s Do This Again In Two Years
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The house was crowded and buzzing. People were everywhere, taking up space and talking loudly to whomever had the misfortune of being near them. I desperately searched the overflowing room for some familiar faces. My face lit up when I noticed a few of my friends hanging out and laughing on the other side of the room. It had been awhile since I had seen them all. I pushed my way through the sea of people, trying to make my way over to my group, when I bumped into him. The one person I hadn’t expected to see ever again. After all, it had been two years since he had last come around, and two years is a enough time to forget about a person’s existence. I looked him over, trying to find something different about him, but nothing had changed. Two years and nothing changed, not even his haircut. “Hey! Fancy seeing you here,” he peered down at me, a light smile playing at his lips. “Funny, I could say the same to you. It’s been awhile.” We exchanged a slight laugh, clearly uncomfortable.
“Yeah, I’ve been so busy with work and school. I haven’t really had the time to come back here.” His smile disappeared and he slightly turned away to take a look around. His face showed he missed this place, but not enough to keep coming back as often as I wanted him to. The reminder of his past here was probably enough of a deterrent from making a return. “Well, it was nice seeing you. Let’s do this again in another two years. Okay?” I started to walk away, but he pulled me back by the arm and got really close to my face. “Get out of here when you can, and don’t come back. This place will destroy you. When you can, run and never look back. Promise me. Okay? Promise you’ll do your best to get out of here,” he whispered, his breath hot and shaky, visibly upset. “Okay, I promise. Now let go,” I whispered back, much more uncomfortable than I already was. He dropped my arm and we both turned from each other. I looked back two seconds later but he was gone. I don’t think I ever saw him again, not even two years later.
stained FINGERTIPS S . F. C r o u c h Wasting away on the curb by the corner, I lay crushed on the boiling pavement. Unwanted and unworthy of recycling, I spend my days in the sun where not even birds will use me for their nests. In a cardboard box with a shiny plastic covering, I sat high above the counter with others like me waiting to be handed out in trade for back pocket change. But now I sit, forgotten. For I was once so valuable to someone, so cherished that they would risk their health because the satisfaction I brought was addicting. Laced between their stained fingertips pieces of me would flake away, carried by the subtle autumn breeze. Yet when my damage has been done and the last of me remains, Iâ€™m carelessly tossed on the ground and squashed under their worn sneaker, and there I stay.
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Photo by: Sam Woodhouse
Po The Panda Erin Tucker
I sat amongst the rest of my kind on the shelf. We all looked slightly different, but wanted one thing in common; a child to desire us. One day, the doors opened and the children came swarming in. A little girl with pigtails and chubby cheeks walked up to the shelf, holding her dad’s hand. She tugged at his sleeve, and said “I want that one”. At first, I didn’t think she was talking about me, until she grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the checkout. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. She took me home with her. We were best friends. She introduced me to the others, and at night we would all surround her. I was always the closest to her, right underneath her arm. On her first day of kindergarten, she cried because her mom wouldn’t let her bring me to school. She stuffed me in her backpack anyway. As the years
went by, she started playing with us less and less. She didn’t sleep with me under her arm anymore, and we sat in the corner, awaiting her affection but never receiving it. Our girl stands in her room in a cap and gown, looking in the same mirror as she did years ago when her mother would put her hair in pigtails. She looks down from the mirror and I catch her eye. She picks me up, and just stares at me for a minute and smiles. Her mom yells from downstairs that if they don’t leave now they’ll be late. She glances down at me again, then places me gently on her bed. Watching her grow up has been a greater experience than I could’ve ever imagined possible, and no matter where she goes in life, she will always be the little girl with chubby cheeks and pigtails that rescued me from the gift shop at Washington Zoo.
s e t No sticky
gum, but a neon green sticky note. Intrigued by this phenomena, I sat The lecture droned on and on, back up again and peeled the note off of something about chemistry… no… the surface. Hoping no one had seen, I wait… math? I wasn’t really paying that shielded the piece of paper from view of much attention. There seemed to be a lot my other classmates and read what it said. of equations and formulas on the board. -Hi. The way that other people looked, was What? I thought to myself, Is that how I felt; except one other person was it? I began to feel disappointed at this sleeping in the room, though I don’t know anticlimactic development, but then how that was possible because it was very realized I was thinking to myself about bright in there. Have you seen those a piece of paper from someone I didn’t fluorescent lights? Blinding. even know, so I dropped it, but not before Anyway, there I was sitting in class feeling a tinge of embarrassment that I when I had to grab a pencil out of my had been duped by a brightly colored book bag. I figured I should be doing post-it. something to pass the time, so I’d I stuck the note quickly back under decided to start doodling in my notes. the desk and then continued ignoring As I reached down, the back of my hand the lecture until I had an idea. Again, I brushed something under my desk. snatched the paper and my own pack, Immediately I thought I had these ones blue. I quickly wrote my own inadvertently touched an old piece of greeting on a blue sheet, and then laid gum, and thus shuddered quite visibly. it on top of the old one; finally, I drew As I continued to be bent over, I turned my head to look, and saw not a piece of
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There were now four sticky notes under the table. Giddy with anticipation I sat back up and looked at the new notes. an arrow from one word to the other in There were more arrows drawn, so I read order of dialogue, and left it where I’d them accordingly. found it. -Welcome to the sticky notes, i hope -Hello there The bell rang, and I left with a strange you find your stay enjoyable The first one said. How thoughtful! nagging feeling that I should have Such a hospitable writer! I mused. I read paid more attention, but my focus was the next note. centered on what would happen next. A single smiley face sat in the center of A week and a half later as I returned to my usual seat, I couldn’t help but feel a the slip, grinning sweetly back. Pulling strange sense of curiosity and excitement; out my own blue sticky notes, I wrote my reply. I had never experienced these emotions -How thoughtful of you, I’m sure being associated with this class before. But now I had something to look forward that whatever is here will be better than whatever lecture is going on out there. to, even if it wasn’t the material itself. Sticking a smiley face at the end, I I waited for everyone to be seated and then for the lecture to start. I felt antsy as took the collage of notes and colors and I bid my time. Slowly the minutes ticked replaced them. This was going to be fun. by, each second seemingly slower than the past. At last, I believed it was the right time. I reached down into my bag pretending to look for something, and looked back.
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Back to crisp December days when the snow would fall freely and there was not a care in the world; excitement over Christmas break and winter birthdays. All day was spent outside building snow forts, snowmen, snow trails and anything else they could think of. Freely eating the snow beneath them, wisely looking for only the freshest and whitest to consume. Efficiently clearing away the fluffy, white substance and pushing it up to make the walls of forts or the ramps for sleds.
Though time seemed to stand still during their outdoor adventures, with red-runny noses and the sun setting behind them, they would stomp inside for their second meal of the day and plenty of rounds of hot cocoa by the fireplace. A warm inviting setting inside contrasted the stark white wonderland which was now hidden behind the door.
Eventually they would move to the pond in the back, slipping and sliding, pretending to be on AFV and winning the grandest prize for being the biggest dope. As they jumped around trying to crack the ice beneath them, others would clear the snow atop the ice in fruitless efforts to find frozen amphibians beneath the surface. The glassy top which seemed to hide all of lifeâ€™s secrets, even if just for a moment.
Hats and gloves laid meticulously down as the cold, wet ice dried off them. Ice and snow riddled the backdoor along with the mounds of boots, coats and snowpants making it dangerous to walk by. But the feeling of warmth by the fire drying the dampness of their clothes, and warming their ever tender toes had a certain contentedness. It was warm and cozy. It was home. It was what they would always look back on. It was what they remembered even years later. ~Ruthie Roo
MAKE LOVE NOT
he summer of love, of peace, of freedom; that’s all anyone could talk about. How this year, this summer was going to be better than the rest. Even better than the summers before the war. How could I believe that? There were still people dying, still grenades blowing people into tiny shreds of human flesh. Did anyone stop to think, that the person they were blowing up had a name? A family? And I’m supposed to be grateful, sitting here in this sweltering classroom
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with the kid in front of me reeking of B.O. And this snob of a princess behind me droning on about how totally bitchin’ the kegger was last night. These ditzes called my classmates couldn’t be anymore aloof to the outside world and yet here we sit, last day of senior year. I glance to my left and watch some hulking caveman of a jock stuff his finger into his nose, two knuckles deep. I pray for this country honestly, I’m not religious but for the sake of the country collapsing I’ll at least pretend there’s something up there.
Two Months Later I haven’t eaten in almost two days, but with the beat of the music thrumming in my stomach I honestly don’t know if I could. The scene going on before me is too magnificent, too passionate, and too eye opening to care about anything but the people surrounding me. “Praise the lord!” someone yells with defiance. “Praise the lord!” we all scream back. After three days of mud, sweat, tears, and a little bit of blood; I think I’ve seen the holy land. Not the holy land, they talk about in that dusty book. But the holy land of the religion of love. Because how could the world be cruel if something like this is going on? How could the world have hate towards one another when there is music to dance to, food to eat, and books to read? I weep for those that never made it here, for those that can only hear about this magical place, and for those that think it is a waste of time. I’d love to meet the people that hate our generation, the generation of kids just trying to make it out alive with their sanity, and still have some tenderness towards another human. I’d love to shove in their faces the love that’s going on here. The laughter that’s pouring out from the trees, the shrieks of
joy coming from the river, the old gypsy woman reading palms under a thin tent made from scarves. That generation knows nothing about kindness, how could they? There’s a war going on, a bloody, terrifying war filled with kids just like me. And that horrible generation is sending them into a suicide mission. Three boy have already died from my class, and I’m sure that when I go home someone else’s picture will be hanging from the courthouse window. Someone else’s son, brother, boyfriend, and best friend. A pair of loose tan arms wrap around my neck, pulling me back to the present and back to the beautiful chaos around me. Her loose tank top swishes around as she twirls us both into the middle of a muddy circle. I weave my arm around her hips and continue to dance, slowly, passionately, and with reckless abandon. The sound of people fills my ears, people laughing, and singing, and eating, and disciplining their children. I may be broke, and hungry, and covered in mud; but at least I am happy. “HAPPINESS FOR VIETNAM,” I yell to the crowd. “HAPPINESS FOR ALL,” my generation yells back.
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ROSES Maybe I was wrong, but not in the way that you always said. I was wrong for believing your every word, pretending I didn’t hear what everyone told me. But I did. I dismissed the fact that you loved another, only because I loved you. It’s starting to become pretty clear. I always loved you way more than you loved me. So stop. Don’t make yourself sound innocent when you were the one hurting me all along. I didn’t want to let go , and I didn’t want to give up. You made me feel beautiful, like a field full of roses. But every step I took into that field, it hurt. Because even though your kind words planted a million flowers in my mind, your flowers grew thorns too. I don’t know if you wanted me to pass some sort of test, or if you just wanted to see me bleed. No matter what your intentions were, here I am. Covered in the bruises that you created with your words. And still, for some reason your flowers are the only ones I want to hold.
“So how’s it going with Teagan?” says Lua. Her expression is carefully blank as she stares into the fire. Bianca sits next to her, swaddled in a fleece blanket. The sun’s made its peace with the world and makes its way below the horizon, leaving the fire to illuminate them. A distant smile graces Bianca’s face. “We broke up.” “It was going well, though, wasn’t it?” Holy mother, Bianca’s single now, supplies her traitorous brain. Bianca sighs. “Yeeeah, I guess. I wanted to go visit my friend. She’s not in a great situation right now, so I was gonna check on her, make sure she’s doing alright. He didn’t want me to, though. Said I ‘wasn’t taking his feelings into consideration’. So we’re on a break.” She scoffs. “Chicks before dicks, you know?”
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Lua nods. She knows. “Well, it was fun while it lasted. It never really felt real, though. It felt like we were playing pretend at being functional adults. We had jobs, we were thinking about signing a lease together. But I never felt grounded. There was this predetermined track we were heading down, and I never really wanted to follow it.” Bianca gazes upwards, towards something neither of them can see. It’s a cloudy night, and the stars are hidden. Her eyes slide shut, though it’s unclear whether from emotion or exhaustion. “You don’t seem to be too beaten up about it.”
“I was the one who dumped him. I made my peace with it a week ago.” The fire snaps and crackles. “Besides, it was going to happen sooner or later. I was kinda falling out of love.” “It happens.” “You don’t gotta tell me twice.” They fall silent. A small rock rolls into the fire and explodes a moment later with a pop. The wind whistles by, and the two women huddle closer on their log. Lua can feel her own body heat leeching away wherever it touches Bianca. “But you know how it is,” mumbles Bianca. “Out of one relationship, into another.” She casts a sideways glance towards Lua, full lips curling into something like a smile. “Know anyone single?” Lua does, in fact, know someone single (herself ), and she would very much like to say so, but that’s the kind of risk that she needs more incentive to take. So instead she shrugs.
up to Lua’s. “Ooh, you’re warm. Get in here.” She throws the blanket around them both; her skin is freezing. “I’m not looking for a guy this time around. Sometimes I feel like they’re a whole ‘nother species.” “Join the club.” “Maybe I’d like to,” she mutters, tucking her head against Lua’s shoulder. Something clicks. “Are you coming onto me?” Lua says, not quite sure of what she’s saying. “Yeah,” says Bianca. “Is it working?” “I-I think so.” “Good,” she says, and starts snoring. The fire flickers on.
“What kinda person are you looking for?” Bianca scooches closer, pressing her arm right
S D L D E R N O I W W TWO INTERT As I walk down the street, I see blue neon lights saying open, but all but the “O” have burned out. Below this sign is a man that one could only guess has been down on his luck for the past few years. From his head down to his toes, he is covered in what looks like years of dirt and people walking by hoping to not make eye contact with him. As I look down from his scraggly face, I see the sign he has made from cardboard that read “I used to be someone”. After realizing the hard day that he must have faced, I decided to give him a dollar to help him out. As I reached down into my pocket, in the corner of my eye I could see him look up at me. I looked back down at my pocket and found in my hand a fifty dollar bill peaking out of my pocket. I quickly tried to hide it since I don’t have that much to spare, but it was too late. He saw it and without saying a word, I could see his blue eyes look up at me as though to say “Am I less than human?” Through much reluctance, I handed it to him. He told me in a raspy voice “Thank you” “No problem” I replied back. As I walked away, I realized those were the only words exchanged between us. I will look back on this day as one where I accidentally gave a homeless man a ton of money while he may look back on this day as one where a complete stranger helped him get back on his feet with a large contribution with no plans for reimbursement on my part. Anonymous
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I AM WHAT I
Peppermint Patties. Dark, disgusting non-vegan, I don’t want it. Cursive writing reminds me of my elementary school days I’d like to forget. It causes diabetes I’m not a fan of, the cold minty, gross tasting chocolate, no one likes dark chocolate, the silver wrapper will end up in a landfill and help to destroy the environment even more. Seriously, stop eating these, for real, they don’t benefit us at all, an animal suffered for the milk that goes into these, I hope you’re happy about that, chickens suffered for the mass produced eggs that were put into this horrid creation, peppermint patties kill, they are the devil, I feel this is a reflection on how messed up of a person I am. I am the Peppermint Patty. Ryan Aldrich
In my life, I’m not seen as the talker I’m the writer so I write my feelings I don’t say them, never to your face, well today that changes and I’m not going to hold my tongue. I’m not going to write this poem with the intent to hide it, write it to control My bitterness, no, I’m sharing it, because this life of perpetual silence and being seen in a certain light is over. I’m done being seen as an
All the Things I’d Like to Say to You angel with a golden halo when my interior devil is flaming to be released. So this is “All the Things I’d Like to Say to You,” and for the first time in forever and a week I’m not holding back. To you, and you’ll know who you are: we were doing great. Well, to the public eye, to our own public eyes, because public and private are two very different things and pretending is so much easier than telling the truth when it’s become routine. And you’d gotten good at pretending, hadn’t you? You’d mastered the game I didn’t even know we were playing, you’d found loopholes and wild cards and extra points and you were winning every day
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I’ve stopped pretending, just by acting how I thought you felt. much like you have, and learned that if love is all I mean, you used the rarest there is, wild card in the game, there really isn’t much of anything. my best friend, Love won’t support me when I achieve my best, or took away every advantage I had keep me up when I fail. Love won’t plan to hang out, in dealing with the coming loss, won’t keep everything how it should be. At least, cheated. not the type of love Maybe this makes me a sore loser, you offered. You offered all you possessed; but that for sure makes you shortcut love. Love that could appreciate me as long an absolutely as it didn’t require work. And I’m a lot better despicable winner. than a shortcut. And sure, I was pretending, but never about that. I was pretending to those who truly cared. A.G. Gleason Does he treat you how he should? They’d all ask, in their own ways, and honestly I got to the point where I wouldn’t even know how to be truthful. I’d just nod, smile, remind myself that everyone can change, it was just a rough patch, other people got through worse, and I loved you, I really truly loved you, and couldn’t love conquer all? So imagine how I felt, sitting in my room, skimming a watery blue message to end a two year relationship on the eve of one of the worst days of my life. I guess you got tired of pretending to have the capacity to love anybody other than yourself, your pride, and your laziness. Well, I’m tired of pretending you were perfect. I’m tired of defending you to my family who thought I deserved better, I’m tired of painting a perfect picture in the eyes of Instagram and Facebook when off camera, there was nothing but disappointment. So just know I’ve changed the captions on social media, made them more fitting to the type of person you are.
I know when youâ€™re near, I always do. My breathing gets heavy. My eyes blurry. My hands and legs shake. My eyes close so tight itâ€™s like waking up from a dark sleep everytime I open them. My breathing continues to slow. My body stuck in time. I feel as if you are now my controller.
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LOSTin time Alexis Cook
My thoughts ,words and actions are all in your hands. I can’t do anything to help or else I’ll make it worse. I feel trapped. Worn out.
I try to talk myself out of it by saying, “Oh, you’re fine”or “everything will be okay,” but when I think it’s over my heart starts racing and beating 1,000 beats per second. I’m cold alone and you’re getting ready to leave. I can finally breathe again but I also know that you will be back, you’re drawn to me.
y head throbs as a familiar dizzying pain returns. What happened last night? Whatever it was, didn’t leave me feeling too well. I strain to keep my eyes open as Kevin approaches. Ah Kevin, maybe he’ll tell me what’s going on. Well, he wouldn’t…. tell me… however, he tends to talk to himself on the occasion. I can usually pick up some information here and there. I noticed that he doesn’t look his best either. I haven’t seen him looking sharp for a while. Back in the days when he wore suits and I was watching in the background as he thrived in his life. Now there was simply a gloomy haze hanging in his dull eyes. Kevin had lost his drive. That’s when I had become more important. But man does Kevin tire me out sometimes. I watched him grow closer, and before long I’m in his hands. He looks at me, a glint in his bloodshot eyes. Kevin whipped around and
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had and I confidently walk into the store. We had been friends for years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We wander around the store, picking up things that Chad would need later. People pass by, and he smiles and waves at them. Chad has come a long way from the shy person he used to be. This guy named Kevin harassed him a lot, and kept him from being himself. But I’ve helped him grow, and now, he’s the happiest man in the world. I compliment that side of him well when Chad is presenting at work. We wait in line to check out, and soon enough we are out of the store. Chad skips delightfully, turning around the
opened the front door, heading outside and into town. The streets were quiet, it was early morning. He stalked up the street until he reached a corner store, and he glanced through the window. His expression turned sour, “Stupid Chad,” he growled. He began walking to the front of the store. Kevin was trudging faster-he was angry. He clutched me tightly and abruptly stopped. He leaned against the brick wall of the store, waiting around the corner of the front entrance. Kevin’s eyes darted upwards as a well-dressed young man proceeded to walk in front of Kevin with a bag of groceries. “Chad…” Kevin muttered. The man stumbled to a halt and gazed up at Kevin, fear apparent in his features. Kevin stepped forward, I started to move. Faster, faster, and the adrenaline rush from every night returned. I was flying. Then I stopped. It was dark….
Lark & Foxgloves
Lovers Beware corner to go home. Together we turn the corner and his smile quickly fades. A shadow inches closer, resembling the shape of a human. A man comes out of the shadow and I quickly realise who it is- Kevin. He mumbles something I can’t quite comprehend, and Kevin pulls something out of his pocket, that glistens in the sunlight, blinding Chad, and leaving him paralysed with fear. Chad gulps nervously, and by the time he regains his senses, something tears right through me. Chad cries in out, and we fall to the ground. No! He can’t do this! Slowly I begin to feel a small part of me moisten. Kevin quickly rips away and runs off. We lay there, Chad whimpering quietly, waiting for someone to help.
Plume - Issue 1
The first issue of the new Plume Literary Magazine, published by students at Corning-Painted Post High School, in Corning, NY.
Published on Oct 30, 2017
The first issue of the new Plume Literary Magazine, published by students at Corning-Painted Post High School, in Corning, NY.