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Broken Ink

Literary & Visual Arts Magazine

USC Aiken


Volume 46 Bro ken I nk 2 014

And Contributors


Adora Ewuzie Ronnica Golson Michael St. John A.C. Daniels Ronnica Golson Caitlin Butler Lucas Beckner Ryan Mathis Phylesha Hiers Emily Johnson A.C. Daniels Ronnica Golson Ryan Mathis Phylesha Hiers Sydney Herrick Amber Nezbit Ieshia Bell Connor Turner Sydney Herrick Emily Johnson Phylesha Hiers Connor Turner

Blue Dream Burning Sensations Charcoal Marks Creativity Dead Sunshine Doodles Hand Over Matter Hanging By A Line Hidden Imagine Life Make-Believe Mania Moment Moving On Music Speaks Scorned Self Portrait Smoke Screens Stronger The Light In Darkness Tunnel Vision

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Awards Staff, Staff note, Colophon

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About Us

Broken Ink endeavors to accurately and objectively feature the literary and artistic achievements of USC Aiken students and to raise awareness of the literary and visual arts throughout campus and the community.

Broken Ink is produced yearly by a staff of USC Aiken students. We accept and review submissions of studentcreated works of visual and literary art and, based on our review process, compile the best into one magazine. All students are eligible to join the Broken Ink staff regardless of year, major, or experience. We have weekly meetings in the

Š Broken Ink a n d c o nt ri buti ng arti sts . A l l rig h ts res erved. 1


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Student Media Office located in the Student Activities Center. For more information, visit our website at or e-mail your questions to us at

Process Broken Ink advertises submission dates heavily around campus through posters, events, and word-of mouth. To submit, a student

LITERARY 29 51 19 41

Across The Atlantic Artifact: Jazz Dark Witness Day 43

James Paisley Blake Bolen Sarah Williamson Bethany Peterson

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Deafening Descent Hallucinations Of An Insomniac I Shall Easy-Bake Laments And Regrets

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Lemons And Mint Lobortis Luminary Binary Memory Of My Superhero My Moon Noctiphobia: Fear Everlasting Pacer Commons Fire Alarm Secret Sun Skylines Somethings And Nothings And Us Summer Shower The Common Brown-nosed Doggerel The Flight Of Your Demise The Sound Of Fire

Sarah Williamson Brent Blackmon Rachel Watson Adora Ewuzie Terell DouglasWilliams Dani Cinquemani Tj Wright Brent Blackmon Rachel Watson Jennifer Gilmore Rachel Watson james Paisley Benjamin Mitchell Brent Blackmon Jennifer Gilmore Caitlin Butler James Paisley Blake Bolen Tayler Rodgers

must go to our website:, make sure their work fits the criteria for the magazine, download and fill out an information sheet, and attach their works and information sheet to an email to submissions@broken-ink. org, which is where Broken Ink staff can access them. All submissions are reviewed blindly and rated on a scale of 1 to 5, (5 being the highest) by literary and visual art panels

assembled from student volunteers on Rating Day, the Saturday after the final submission deadline. In order to supply an accurate and objective representation of USC Aiken’s artistic community, we ask all panelists to recuse themselves from rating their own submissions and anyone else’s, should they see any works that they recognize. Accepted works are determined according to the highest

average rating. Due to space constraints, the Broken Ink staff occasionally must determine between two or more equally deserving works, both by average rating and artistic merit. Ties are resolved based on the current publication’s concept or “voice” and Broken Ink’s mission to represent a wide variety of student work. Full rubrics are located online at Bro ken I nk 2 014


HAND Lucas Beckner



This piece reflects how students can get overwhelmed while pursuing a degree. The highlighting color for this piece is green and symbolizes the overwhelming amount of information that is pressed upon students. The green ooze all around the mouth is a representation of the mass influx of information students have to understand and be able to apply. The eyes inside the mouth are fixated on the drop, wondering how it could take in more information because it is already at capacity. 3

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Adora Ewuzie

The marijuana strain Blue Dream was bred to provide the body with a high of both indica and the cerebral sativa. The side effects of Blue Dream are sensations of creativity, happiness, euphoria, and relaxation.

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Brent Blackmon

An exercise in alliteration that a friend of mine referred to as “vaguely Seussian”. Intentionally preachy in topic and playful in form, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as much satisfaction in finishing a piece as I did with this one.

DESCENT Descend from your decadence. Throttle the thoughts That recount the amount of your balance you’ve lost. Cast down the conceits that conceal your constraint. Mourn quickly but quaintly; be fearful yet faint. Remit each gold coin for your keeping you’d cull, For masts of great mass sink beneath heavy hulls, Since none of such gravity ever sailed ships-While in wealth wallows lunacy, loss lengthens wits. And yet you’ll try temptation’s pandering palms. She’ll tickle and trail you and quiet your qualms. But leave not your luxuries freedom and health, For you’ll rear no redemption in robbing yourself.


James Paisley

Ave, English department! Nos morituri te salutamus!


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Tom Mack is on a mom tack, talking about his mother. Roy Seeger hates tofu: a soy regur-gitator. Doug Higbee, archaelogist, advises, “Hug. Dig. Be.” Karl Fornes bakes corn farls and eats them with glee. Drew Geyer’s dryer grew. Why? I cannot tell. David Bruzina braved Duzina: the evil witch-queen fell. Amanda Warren, woman darin’ dueled with the Earl of Moray. Carol McKay oft dreams of fishing down at Mackerel Cay.

LOBORTIS Giving me a long-awaited silence, a much-needed focus You settle me Windex the foggy windows of my mind I can breathe here in this quiet place. My thoughts are in a time lapse. You’re the archivist I’ve always wanted. Organizing my thoughts with little tabs as they come and go. Is this why we chant “Nembutsu,” why we do yoga, contemplative prayer, tai chi, simran? I think I’ve realized my atman. I know we shouldn’t worship idols, but I cant help idolizing over you. You, who opened the curtain of my mind. You, who made me see my true self. You, who made me feel more than human.

TJ Wright

When does admiration become love and love become addiction?

But here I must bid you farewell. I feel you finally fleeing my body with every breath, leaving me to deal with tomorrow’s problems without you. I want you. I need you. I love you. Pill.

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Ronnica Golson

I was trotting along my backyard one day and the sun found me this beauty. She was cold, dismembered, mostly fleshless, and fearsome. I figured that the neighborhood cats had brought her out from under the dollhouse I’ve had since I was a child. She was the model. that inspired me to take more photographs. 7

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This piece was inspired by my love of the beautifully intricate inner workings of the human body, life, and things that feed our creative minds. Some literal and symbolic placements in the piece help to convey certain feelings and struggles that we all face in life and our immense capacity for creativity and beauty. Bro ken I nk 2 014


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HALLUCINATIONS OF AN INSOMNIAC The precise moment when tired becomes an understatement and the body is beyond exhaustion. Lying—awake in search of my dreams wasted away like dunes of the sand of open eyes. The ability to think is at a premium, but the human form is frozen— stuck in time—lifeless.

Rachel Watson

I’ve constantly found myself unable to sleep at night for hours on end, and multiple times during the week. Sometimes I just stay up and watch TV until I can’t take it anymore, sometimes I do homework, and other times I just sit there; lifeless. One night, at around 4 a.m., I began having hallucinations and wrote this poem throughout.


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A longing for something more than sleep— perchance a dream… Still. Alone with only mere thought as company. The body can only work for so long until it defaults. Alas, the brain defies sanity non-stop: A train off the tracks with the engineer still attached. Dancing along the brink of the absolute. Flying with no broom or handle of any situation. Deteriorating inside without any solace. When dawn arrives like clockwork on the hour, Sleep finds sanctuary in the bosom of the dead. Those who now know, Only peace exists when the mind is silent, and the heart can cease to lub-dub lub-dub.

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NOCTIPHOBIA FEAR EVERLASTING Alas, darkness has claimed another victim: another tepid soul bound by fear. At the fall of dusk, the monster awakens. Terrorizing, taunting, wreaking havoc amongst the hearts of the timid. How can the mind create such imagery? Developing a beast that only imagination can control.

Rachel Watson

Because I often suffer from bouts of insomnia, I find my mind wandering into strange dimensions; I find dimensions I never knew the human mind could reach. One night, while pondering the image of Pandora’s Box and its pertinence to insanity and chaos, my mind found a dimension which opened a door to a creative outlet: this poem.


the stars into

The eyes look To see hope twinkling in the iris; watching the infinite universe make a rhetorical salute. Tis only the mind of the eye that can question its own sanity, safely held inside Pandora’s box. This irrationality composes some unknown faction of eternity, whatever it can grasp with nimble fingertips known to humans as illusion. This night is once again an abhorrence of the young, the naive, and the bro ken. In the rare beam of light that pierces the soul of the monster, courage overrides fear, and hugs the break of dawn.

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HIDDEN Phylesha Hiers

I don’t like being the center of attention. In fact, most of the time I enjoy being behind the scenes. For this self-portrait, I decided to place myself behind tree branches as a symbol of this.


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SCORNED Ieshia Bell Scorned expresses the quiet, dignified strength of a woman. A woman’s thoughts are as deep as the sea and can sometimes cloud her facial expressions. My inspiration for this piece came from all of the strong women I have met: my mother, my sisters, and friends.

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SECRET SUN Alone I lie bathed in ice, My mind alight. My skin like Boreas’s breath When Aeolus speaks, I feel Cold winds weep. Dark auroras coil in the Night As the three sisters spin my thread.

Benjamin Mitchell

I wrote this attempting to construct a classical allusion. This is my first attempt at poetry, and following Dr. Geyer’s advice, I sat outside freezing my tail off for over an hour seeking inspiration. Yeah, that’s why everything has to do with the cold.


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Woman-cutter summons the dead, Consuming my waking dreams, Like a spark blooming into flame. Eyes close, memories fade, Future vision awakes: All’s Destiny to inhabit the Grave, The cold truth about Fate. But Calliope’s face is my saving grace. A sense of calm confidence radiates From her warm heart’s embrace. My pain abates As it flows onto the page. My eager pen seeks Immortality. Through words, My essence remains. A Secret Sun rises, Never to fade.

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I often find myself simultaneously loving and hating the people inhabiting the spaces around me. I love them for the same reason that I love the trees and the clouds. They help me understand my position. I hate them because they are doomed to suffer the same fate as me and will never do anything to try and change that.

Softly, the songway jessles through the moviescreen and tessles lightly on highwire misdemeanors, like an odor making its way from the rear to the front and destroying every suicidecomic in its gnarly path, like trying to sharpen an impossible pencil. Apparently, there is a spot on my chest that won’t let me sleep the entire cancernight through, like a dead rock, like a mass of sleepingstones thrown on the fire. Unfortunately, the curve of curvemilk is everything but, like Berryman in girlskin, like an imaginary friend with a drinking problem. It womps through the doorstilts of trindled time and romps through the festering groups of rackling, blackboned children selling themselves to every Dedalus they can get their hands on. It waysides the wayside, like a French spouse exploring northern southern lands, like a marionette stuck between your cheek and gum. Clearly, the gardenlooks have messed with my mind – once or twice – in a way that won’t let me charter the flight of your demise, like a thriftspent moneyguzzler waiting for the right moment, like a solared apocryphal shining the dim anticipation of an impossible, yet irresistible ship.

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LAMENTS AND REGRETS Am I the kind of man I’d want my daughters wit, knockin’ 30 still at the thought of love I spit? Man I love this shit, show no love to commitment, she thinkin’ I’m heaven sent but I’ma penny with a hole in it, wrapped round Satan’s horn the DevilWears-Prada scent. Washed hers off me to go off and gain this random chick’s. Chic cologne to hide my side chick’s lavender scent after leavin’ her gaspin’ and knock kneed. Cocky of my boot knockin’, cocksure of my deftly dick-game. This whole game is ill mane, playin’ lonely minds insane, dang-a-lang karats in front of naked ring fingers. Now you kno’, I kno’ she been envisionin’ marriage since a toddler prophet. I Love N’ Hip Hop wifey for popcorn hoes. Then try and fulfill the prophecy with the one that got away, tell me have you seen her? I’m lookin for her. In my Future voice Turn on the Chi-Lites, cuz hindsight is a lucid dream. But too late to wake up and smell the warm Folgers as a family man I was ice road truckin’, buckin’ at the thought of relationships, my tool nothin’ but a screwdriver for a handyman, ay guh? Do you need a hand? Plumbin’ to fix her leak layin’ pipe down, shovin’ her face in the pillow tellin her to pipe down. Strut out the bedroom hype now, cuz her legs can’t stop shakin’ and I’m like wow…Did I do that? I Steve Urkel’d it. I done hit now I’m ignorin’ texts and calls on that Stephan tip. How easily I switched from texting Good Morning while I’m yawnin’ next to another trick to showin’ my girl “thirst” to my niggas talmbout “Yo why she on my nuts tho?” Little boy-minded, blinded by the physicalities, practically and tragically pre-programmed to not care about her feelings automatically. Unfathomably, and callously group all women into the same category. “These bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” Dr. Dre beat these sick in the head smuts pussy up prescribin’ nothin’ but that vitamin D, I refuse to vitally see that I have been egregiously misusing my vitality, dumbfounded post-pregnancy why my baby momma come at me so spitefully? Callin her triflin’ but she mentally riflin’ through every lie I told, every excuse that grew tired and old, every time my shoulder went cold, every time I was so bold as to even suggest that she was unfaithful. Just to hide the fact I had cratefuls of bones in the closet, deposited sperm in any appealin’ prospect, give me a project chick!


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Terell DouglasWilliams

This tongue-incheek piece is the point of a view of a former “playa” and the consequences of his actions during his prime.

Sheeeit I’m Big Tymers ain’t got no job but I stay fly, can’t pay my rent cuz all my monies spent on lil Terrence, Clarence, lil Neek Neek, Tink Tink, Angel, and Shay. How dare I feel some type of way when she says all niggas ain’t shit. Both of us are parents and at this point bitterly mad at each other, young, immature, and unfit but refuse to relent our hatred for the sake of the child, refuse to repent for our sins and reinvent ourselves to raise our infant who didn’t ask to be brought here, so they can break the cycle and not become another stained ghetto kid. We stick our hands out waiting for Uncle Sam Federal to give out that welfare, ‘cuz we made our lives unfair. That EBT ‘cuz we put ourselves in poverty, them food stamps so we can convert it to cash at the sto so we can * blow * that money like a candle. That child support that’ll be used to handle that Swisher Sweet habit while the baby got that oversized hand-me-down shirt that say Money Trees. Ironic tragedy.

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I wanted to evoke a feeling of eeriness with a dimly lit ambiance that surrounds my solitary self. This photo was done for a “selfie” assignment, but I took the extra step by playing around with lighting and exposure. I went to my sister’s house, borrowed her Victorian-inspired lamps and chair, and set everything up in her backyard.


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MOMENT Phylesha Hiers

After their marriage is finalized, a bride takes a moment to show affection to her husband. I love that this photo shows raw emotion and was not a posed shot.

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DARK WITNESS Let the night sky be the stage, Spotlights countless surrounding The moonlit rays, The twinkling stars crowding The snaking, cosmic haze.

Sarah Williamson Night is a beautiful and sacred time for many people, and this poem both describes and praises the night and its sky. It also speaks of the mischief and revelry of those who make night their time of play and freedom.


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Dark midnight does not condemn The pagan dance, the Christian play— Losing oneself to a mystic realm Where imagination preys Is easy enough if the soul refuses to stem. The audience of this foolishness Is the swaying pines and blackened clouds, Gentle rain rushing down to kiss Threatening and hesitant lips proud Of their mischief and even sinful bliss. To stubborn ears the night speaks not aloud— Let its sky be your only witness.

MY MOON I wanted to be a part of something bigger, so I looked to you. You passed into my horizon, and I knew you were what I needed. What you don’t know is: my dad warned me not to look directly into the light, that he thought my innocence should be spared.

Jennifer GIlmore

To me, this poem conveys the sexual struggle women have in the 21st century. Is it good? Is it bad? Will my parents approve? Everyone has these questions about sex, but I don’t think anyone will ever find a definitive answer.

What you don’t know is: my innocence was taken away on a moonless night, and for the rest of my life I wanted to be bathed by the moon. What I don’t know is love. The love the oceans must have for the moon, to ebb and flow at its mercy. The love it takes to come back every single day, even with all of the memories of the tortured embrace we dance.

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Ronnica Golson

I created this in honor of one of my close friends (the model). We've been together through thick and thin; if I've learned anything from her, it's just to use your imagination and let your creativity run loose. If you want to know why I made her into an angel, the answer is simple: the lighting on her fair skin was perfect and it just worked. Why not? We can make-believe anything, right? 21

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DOODLES Caitlin Butler

I began doodling during lectures, finding it helped me keep my focus, and I’ve been doodling ever since - mostly still during lectures. I usually try to draw whatever’s on my mind. Coffee and books have always held a prominent place in my life, and now that I’m an English major, they basically rule my life, which is totally okay with me. Bro ken I nk 2 014


I SHALL EASY BAKE “Easy-Bake, what’cha gonna make? Now it’s easy to decorate cookies, treats, and cakes with your friends and your Easy-Bake!” was the jingle that changed my life. I would watch television every day in anticipation, waiting for the commercial. First, the jingle came on and a small Caucasian girl would enter with a giant glistening smile, making treats with two of her friends, one black and the other Asian. They would all laugh as if having the time of their lives and then the buzzer would sound. They would pull out the cake and take a big delicious bite of it. Around this time I was age 6, four foot eleven and a little on the chunky side. I could just imagine myself baking like the greats. My mother, grandmother, and aunts would have nothing on me, because with my new Easy-Bake Oven, I could put Betty Crocker to shame. For the longest time I had been thinking about how I was going to acquire the toy that would make my year. At this time it was around midsummer. Christmas was too far away and my birthday, being in April, was out of the question. Every time the commercial came on I began to plan and plot and brainstorm. I came up with the idea that I would ask my mom to get it for me if I kept my room clean for a month, but of course her answer, just like any other time, was “We’ll see.” That was not assurance enough for me, plus I knew it was unrealistic of me to promise to keep my room clean for a month; I needed a plan B and fast. Finally, my golden opportunity came. It was my cousin’s birthday and we had to go get her a present. She had 23

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a pretty extensive wish list, so my mom volunteered to go to Toys “R” Us and get one of the toys she had requested. To me, this was the perfect set-up. We would go to the toy store for my cousin, but I would find a way to sneak my Easy-Bake Oven in the mix. My mom would see how bad I wanted it and agree to purchase it. Then my life as well as the rest of the lives around me would be complete and all would be right with the world. The plan was genius… or so I thought. The day finally came, and I was so excited that I could barely sleep the night before. I dreamt of making cookies, brownies, and cakes for all my friends and family at all the family functions and sleepovers. All my dreams were about to come true because my mommy was going to get me one. We arrived at the toy store and walked in. I was walking alongside my mother and playing it cool because I don’t want to make it obvious that I planned this all along. We walked for a minute and I saw no Easy-Bake Ovens in sight. I began to panic, thinking to myself, “UGH! How could there be no more?” As I was walking with a defeated attitude, a big purple and white box caught my attention. “EasyBake!!!” I yelled while running toward it. I was so elated I didn’t know what to do with myself. I raced down the aisle until I got to where I could wait for my mom to pass, look at me, and smile. With the look she gave me, I just knew that my plan was a go. I stood there, box in hand, staring at this beautiful gift from God. I peered at the picture, imagining myself cooking and eating every cookie, cake, and sweet treat lined up along the side of the oven. I can remember feeling like I

was going to pee on myself. This was due to a combination of my excitement and the fact that the box was pretty heavy, so as I was struggling to hold it up, it was leaning on my bladder. I watched as my mother walked right past me with that same smile and said “Oh! That’s nice… maybe for Christmas.” My heart dropped as if she had actually said no. “‘No’? What does she mean ‘no’?” Perhaps she did not fully understand the situation. I brushed off the first “no” and proceeded to follow her with the box grasped as tightly in my little hands as possible. “But Maaaaa, why can’t I have it nowwwwah?” I whined with my lip poked out. “Because I said so Adora. Now put it back and let’s go.” Yes, I could have just put the box down right then and pouted my way to the register, but something in me clicked. My common sense seemed to be masked by the brat in me. With all the planning I did, I wasn’t leaving without that oven. “Pleeeeaaaseee?” I pleaded. “I said no! Now come on, and fix your face!” I knew she meant business because her lip curled up and her eyebrows did the scrunching thing, but I wasn’t leaving without a fight. I came to get that oven and that is just what I was leaving with. I dropped to the ground, kicked my legs, and let out a bloodcurdling screech. “I WANT IT NOW! NOW NOW NOW NOW!” I repeated. My mother, now embarrassed because the entire store was looking at me, gazed down with her evil eye and said, “Adora Tiffany Ewuzie, if you don’t get your behind up right now, you’re going to get a good beating.” Not only

was I not satisfied, I didn’t believe that she would beat me in front of all of these people. So I decided to call her bluff and I continued to show out, this time ten times as loud. “NOW, I WANT IT NOW!!” My mother snatched me up before I could get my next breath in. She raised her hand and, with the speed of lightning, struck my backside over and over again. The look on my face was priceless. It was like she called on the strength of her ancestors to aid in punishing me for being such a rotten child. I wanted so desperately for one of the bystanders to intervene and stop my mom from hitting me. I cried and pleaded, apologizing and begging for her to stop. She whooped me up and down three aisles; no matter what I did I couldn’t get away. Finally, an older Caucasian woman—who I’d like to call my guardian angel—stepped in and said “Hey! Stop! You can’t beat her like that. It’s child abuse.” Appalled by the comment, my mom turned around and looked the lady in the eye and growled, “Do you want some too? If not, I suggest you mind your business, lady.” I believe she scared the lady away, but I didn’t even care because her attention was off of me. She grabbed me by the arm, dragged me to the front of the store and said, “Now sit down, and you better not move unless I say so!” I dared not test her, so I sat there quietly rubbing my eyes. The only thing that felt worse than my stinging body was the embarrassment that came with the stares and whispers I got from the other customers. My plan had failed miserably. I was sore and embarrassed, and was leaving the Bro ken I nk 2 014


Adora Ewuzie

This is a piece about a six-yearold with a “fool proof” plan that goes horribly wrong, but there is a definitely a lesson worth learning.


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toy store empty-handed. After the way I acted, I was sure I would never see my precious toy again. Months later on Christmas Eve, the clock struck 12 and it was time to open presents. I spotted a big box wrapped in pretty paper. Being the biggest thing I saw, I opened it first. To my surprise, it was my Easy-Bake Oven. It was a beautiful white, with buttons that made it look like a mini microwave. All night I made desserts for my family as they sat around, conversed, and drank. I was the happiest kid alive that night. Unfortunately, I cooked all the mixes the first week and had used it so often that the light bulb blew out. That’s when my life as an easy-baker ended. I quickly moved on to other toys, and soon the Easy-Bake Oven turned into a distant memory. No more cakes, pies, cookies, or sweet treats. Now that I am older, I see that the show that I put on for the people in the store was nowhere near worth what I got. I was humiliated and bruised for a stupid toy that broke in a week. Man, was I dumb! Now I realize that I should just wait. What I can’t have now I can get later. But if I don’t get it it’s okay, because it’s probably not worth the effort anyway.

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MEMORY OF MY SUPERHERO Picture 1: Superman flying high through the sky, the red cape his flag of freedom. As a child the superhero tactics remain the single memory—my final possession when all else has faded away. Picture 2:

Rachel Watson

My grandfather passed away about a year and a half ago, and his nickname was Superman. After he died, I went through all five stages of grief at different intervals, taking an inordinate amount of time to reach the final stage, acceptance. This poem was somewhat of a way for me to accept his passing.

Batman’s black cape flying through the night, the mask of protection sworn to hide my insecurities that lie within. As a teenager the disbelief submerges into my mind where creativity used to thrive. Picture 3: A casket cold, dark, and metallic. As an adult, the image of my hero is dismissed into the wind. So long, my Superman. Picture 4: A brief sparkle; a shimmer. In a far off place most know as heaven. There he resides--a star shining bright all through the night. As an angel, guide my path and lead me away. With Love, Batman

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Ink Splat Awa rd W i n n er

A.C. Daniels At first, this painting/drawing/splattered thing was just a project that had to use words. Instead of starting by drawing a bunch of pretty words, I decided to play around with water colors, linseed oil, pastels, spray paint, and tea. The end result is a piece that symbolizes the wonderful, scary, and beautiful thing that is life. 27

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Amber Nezbit Music is a big part of my life and my family’s life; music speaks to all of us. My brother, my sister, and I all play an instrument and sing. This piece is one work in a set of twelve pieces that work together to explain the timeline of music for my siblings and me.

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ACROSS THE ATLANTIC James Paisley Charles de Gaulle was the general of the Free French Forces during WWII, and later became prime minister. The largest airport in France is named after him.


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“Who moves the feast?” as Charles de Gaulle departs. Yesterday’s light—Pine-Sol piss after wine. In blood the sunset drew great circle lines to trace our flight west, exiled poison darts the darkling sky washed clean in bleu de Chartres. In search of legroom, we tried to combine expat and native, graft grape back to vine, ‘til sleep stole past the wheels of steel bev’rage carts. Mediterranean California! America paints herself libertine and liberator—movies sent to leach consumption hunger into Ma Russia. “I feel a pain right here” in guillotine. One day we’ll wash up on Omaha beach.

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Tayler Rodgers

“The Sound of Fire” is a snapshot, which captures the boiling point of a relationship, one that has been hindering the partners’ ability to express their true emotions. Such hindrance has resulted in the mechanization of their everyday lives. This poem shows the partners breaking their bonds, melting their cold exteriors, and becoming human once more.

THE SOUND OF FIRE Eclipsed Beneath a concrete space (Energy bound) Shadow-chairs weigh the seated Down To the Earth (Gravity’s cause and effect). Stainless arms Of steel Weld the speakers— Cogenerators fueled By bitter syllables. (They break barriers) They oxidize As free radicals. Dissolving, his Table festers in her Elevating steam as they Spontaneously combust, Screaming In fevered pitch.

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SMOKE Sydney Herrick


This edit was inspired by the concept of the imagination. I started this project for my Social Media class, but it ended up taking on a mind of its own.


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Ink Splat Awa rd W i n n er

Emily johnson

The first time I looked through a camera, it changed my life. That might sound drastic, but I knew that taking pictures was something that I absolutely loved. My old Rolleiflex is a really interesting camera because it is old and it shows a very unique view of the world. It’s a double lens camera, which means you look through one lens and then it takes the picture with a completely different lens. Bro ken I nk 2 014


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PACER COMMONS FIRE ALARM To the tune of “Piano Man” (or not)

James paisley

Born to hang, never will burn.


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It’s five a.m. on a Saturday The fire alarm begins to blare Someone is smoking Or the janitor’s stoking A blaze fueled by shower drain hair

Come Monday the first floor is smoking Folks amble to evacuate Fifteen minutes later The last skeptic negator Shuffles out looking irate

Three alarms later it’s Sunday We’ll be jumpy the rest of the week My roomate’s wan-looking He’s considering cooking But fears the smoke censor’s shrieks



Siren, your wail will not wake me With headgear cops wear when they shoot If the sprinklers fail me My wish is you mail me Back home in one of my boots

Sing us your song; you’re the fire alarm Sing to us anytime It’s not like we’re sleeping We adore your beeping And find your howling sublime

Sing us your song; you’re the fire alarm Sing to us anytime It’s not like we’re sleeping We adore your beeping And find your howling sublime

SUMMER SHOWER Caitlin Butler

Finding myself in the middle of a spontaneous summertime storm makes me feel so alive. This poem was written one afternoon shortly after I moved to Aiken; the rain had become too heavy for me to stay outside, so I went inside and began to write.

Just one drop It brushed my cheek The faintest glimmer of a smile, hardly there Softly fell Two light splashes The thunder murmured low, content, rolling close Then it rained Sweetly dappling All it touched: The ground, my arms, my upturned face Breath of wind The thunder clapped Introduction. Then it poured. The sky let go, and So did I Rushing downward Rushing up, my laughter spilled into the storm

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Exploring in the woods one day, I stumbled across an abandoned house. Food was still in the pantry, furniture was still in the living room, and wood was still in the fireplace. After exploring the house, I realized the previous owners left everything behind. I guess they just moved on.


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I love to draw with charcoal. There is a rustic, energetic quality that can’t be produced from pencils or paint. I left this image sort of “raw” by not cleaning up the grainy textures in the face and hair.

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Scan for audio.


Sarah Williamson Silence is sometimes one’s only hope when the world becomes a little too loud. This poem praises silence and the peace that usually accompanies it as well as requests it as if silence is an escape from the demands of the day.


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Silence, Sweet serenity, Wrap me in your soft embrace; Sing for me a lullaby So that not only I But all the world may drift To sleep, sweet sleep. Peace is never far behind, A mother to your children Who rocks the babes In her nurturing arms; Sent from Heaven To the world, chaotic In careless comparison, May you both reign. This world needs to grow quiet, To become hushed suddenly, Thankfully, momentarily So that it might realize What it is missing by speaking And living and breathing When it could be listening To the sounds of eternity’s Most beloved child, Silence.


Brent Blackmon

Written in cinqcinquain form, I wrote this after a night with a friend who had a couple of cigarettes but no lighter. After our other friend (who had provided her with the light) departed, we walked around town asking folks for a light, but nobody seemed to be able to provide. She seemed so serene while the cigarette was still lit. Seeing her that calm, if only for a moment was the inspiration for this piece.

You know, there is almost something beautiful in the way you breathe for the moment. I don’t Inhale with passion like you, a cigarette in mouth, lip-locking the grey haze you blow out Please, just send those cinders my way. Just let me taste the ashes leaping from your tongue, and don’t exhale till these shallow lungs have gotten their fill and sputter and cough and whistle and gasp. You know, If I had a lighter, maybe you could teach me how to live, but sadly I don’t.

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HANGING Ryan Mathis



Inspired by the artist Bill Abright and his piece “Bloodline,� I made this ceramic koi. The carvings all over the fish were a spontaneous decision. I quite enjoy the end result.


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MANIA Ryan Mathis

I’ve always enjoyed seeing the different variations of Japanese oni (demon) masks, so I decided to make one myself. The basis I used for this piece was the common depiction of one of these monsters: the furrowed brow, the bulbous nose, the open mouth with large teeth, etc.

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Washington Group Awa rd Win n er



Day 1 I still don’t know how it happened. Will said he knew what he was doing. We all knew he was drunk. We were all drunk. Except Sarah. She was the first to see the rocks. Will did manage to get the half-sunken boat to shore at least, though none of us know where we are. There’s a huge hole in the hull and he says we’re stuck here until someone spots us. Day 3 We decided to start moving supplies from the boat to the beach. There isn’t much, but Ethan says he can figure out some use for it. He’s pretty good at making something out of nothing. Day 8 Hannah ran out of medication. Ethan says she only packed a couple days’ worth so she must have stretched them out. At least that explains why she hasn’t freaked out yet. Day 14 It’s been two weeks. The only reason I know that is because I’ve been writing every day. It’s the only thing keeping me sane at this point. I used to be embarrassed to carry this stupid notebook around. I’d only pull it out when my stutter got really bad. Now I can’t imagine life without it. Day 19 Will is still convinced that someone has to be looking for us. Why haven’t they found us yet? We didn’t go that far out. Or did we? It’s hard to know for sure. Ethan’s been surprisingly helpful, though. He used some stuff from the boat to make a rain catcher and he’s taken the lead on building our camp. Day 22 Will brought a gun. None of us saw it until today when we went out to grab what was left on the boat. I can’t believe he had a damn gun on board. Ethan confronted him about it. Sarah and I backed him up, although she did most of the talking. Will claimed it was for protection. Day 38 Hannah hasn’t left Ethan’s side since we got here. I can’t say I blame her, though. Will has declared himself the leader of our group. I mean, he’s always been our unofficial leader at school, but I think he’s taking it too far. Day 40 Will and Ethan fought today. Not like their usual disagreements. Those we can handle. This was a loud, terrifying, on-the-edge-of-violence kind of argument. Ethan was technically right, but it’s hard to declare him the winner when his opponent was a foot taller and fifty pounds heavier than him. 41

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Day 41 I talked to Sarah today. It was the first real conversation I’ve had since we ended up here. She told me that I was the only guy in our group she felt safe around. I had to laugh at that since, out of the three of us, I’m the least helpful of all. Day 42 More fighting between Ethan and Will. I don’t know how much longer they can go before one of them starts throwing punches. I ducked away before it got too bad. I carefully flipped through the pages of my notebook. The black and white cover was faded and water damaged, but I kept the pages safe. I glanced up from my spot on the beach. Open ocean filled the world around me. Waves washed onto the shore and displaced sand and shells from their resting places. Considering the circumstances, it was quite a peaceful moment. “Writing?” Sarah asked behind me. Her soft voice made my heart jump. I shook my head. “J-just reading,” I struggled. She sat down in the sand next to me and pushed her long, brown hair behind her ears. “Can I--?” she asked without finishing the thought. I nodded quickly and handed her the notebook. She flipped carefully through each page. Nodding at certain parts and shaking her head at others. “That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?” I nodded and sat quietly while she flipped through the rest. “You only have a couple pages left,” she said. There was sadness in her voice that I’d never heard, even on our worst days. She looked over to me. “Do you think we’ll be home before you run out?” I cocked my head. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I shrugged. “I think we will,” she said. She smiled and handed me the notebook. “Just write really small.” I laughed and nodded. She leaned her head onto my shoulder. My body tensed, but I didn’t move away. We stared at the ocean and watched the waves flow in and out. For the first time in weeks, I was happy. “I’m tired of your shit, Will!” Ethan’s voice shot through the calm. Sarah and I jumped up in time to see Will stomping through the trees with Ethan right behind him. “My shit?” Will asked. He spun to face Ethan. “I’ve kept us together from the start.” I slowly stepped away from them. “You haven’t done anything!” Ethan yelled, “I’ve been working hard to keep us alive and all you’ve been doing is pushing us around and waving that damn gun like you’re in charge.” “I am in charge,” Will reminded him. Hannah came out from camp but stopped at the edge of the trees. Sarah slipped away from my side and jogged over to her. “You’re a bully looking to take his anger out on someone else,” Will accused. “Maybe,” he said with a shrug, “At least I’m not screwing the psycho.” Ethan lunged and landed on Will. The two collapsed in a cloud of limbs and sand. Ethan pinned Will down just long enough to get a good punch into his jaw. Will threw him off his body, shoved him into the sand, and pounded hard against his face. “Stop it, Will!” Sarah cried, but he didn’t listen. Ethan grabbed a fistful of sand and threw it into his face. Will threw his hands to his eyes while Ethan slipped out from under his body. The two struggled to stand but were quickly on their feet. Ethan pounced again just as Will pulled something silver out of his pocket. For a moment, I couldn’t hear anything but ringing. Then my heart began to pound through the piercing note of nothingness. The soft wash of waves against sand Bro ken I nk 2 014


filled what was left of the background. For a moment, the whole scene was tranquil. Then my eyes landed on the pool of Ethan’s blood. It slid between grains of sand and stretched its slick, warm arms closer to me. I didn’t move when it touched my feet. I eyed the mix of flesh, blood, and sand until Hannah’s wail broke the silence. I glanced up in time to see her throw herself across the empty space and onto Ethan’s lifeless body. “You killed him,” Sarah said. Her voice sounded distant. She looked up to Will. “You killed him.” “You saw it!” he yelled. He held the gun in one hand and rubbed the sand from his eyes with the other. “You all saw it! It was self-defense!” “You killed him!” She ran toward him but stopped when he pointed the gun at her face. “D-don’t do this,” I pleaded. “Oh, n-now you’ve got s-something to say?” he mocked. “Go on.” I stopped. The three of us stood silently. Will turned the gun to my chest, then back to Sarah’s, then back to mine. The waves couldn’t drown out Hannah’s muffled sobs. My muscles twitched nervously, but I didn’t dare to move. Will focused his gaze on Sarah. “Take Hannah back to camp,” he ordered. She didn’t move. He stepped towards her, grabbed her arm, and shoved the weapon against her chest. “Do it now,” he growled, just loud enough for me to hear. He dropped her arm. She stepped back without saying a word and walked slowly to Ethan’s side. She crouched down next to Hannah and mumbled something that I couldn’t understand. “No, no, no, please!” Hannah begged. Sarah put her arms over the girl’s shoulder. “Please,” she moaned as the pair stood up. “Please.” The two walked slowly past the trees until they disappeared. Will turned back to me. The gun shook in his hand. “Shove him into the water,” he said, pointing at Ethan. “Come back to camp when it’s done.” He dropped the gun to his side and turned. I didn’t move until he stepped through the thick greenery and out of sight. Ethan’s blood pooled over the webbing between my toes. I lifted my foot and watched the red fluid streak past me into the water where the waves lapped it up instinctively. I walked parallel to the stream until I reached its source. He’d been the only one of the guys to keep his shoes. He got rid of his socks once they started to smell, but he kept his shoes. Even when he slept, his beat-up pair of old sneakers concealed the oversized feet that I only saw once in our four years as roommates. I reached down and grabbed his ankles, just above the protective footwear. I pulled. His body moved half a foot. I pulled again with all my strength. My dehydrated, starved body cried out with every step I took. Seawater brushed against the back of my ankles and rose until it barely touched the bottom of my shorts. I pulled Ethan’s legs past my own. Water gushed through the hole in his chest. I gagged and shoved his body farther down. His glazed-over eyes stared past me and focused on the sky. I looked up. For the first time in a week, storm clouds started to form high above us. We’ll have fresh water again, I thought and looked back down at Ethan. Thanks to you. I gave his body one last, strong shove and watched him float out into the open water. Tears stung my eyes and a lump filled my throat. I wished I had something to say to him. We’d been friends so long, yet I couldn’t bring myself to come up with a makeshift eulogy. We’d all been friends. Now, even if we survived and made it back home, what would happen to us? I couldn’t stand to think about it so I trudged through the water back to the shore. The movement made my stomach churn. I turned back to the water and hurled. The thin, 43

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milky fluid washed away almost instantly. I wiped my mouth against my sleeve and looked up. Ethan’s body was barely a point on the horizon. I looked back to the trees. I couldn’t go back in there. Not yet. I couldn’t face them. I scanned the emptiness between myself and the brush. My notebook sat half buried in the sand, a silent witness to the tragedy. I ran to it, falling knees first, and pulled it out. I flipped to the next empty page and wrote furiously. Day 43 I should have stopped him. I could have saved him. I could I couldn’t have done anything. It all happened too fast. Even if there was time, what would I have done? I couldn’t save Ethan. I can’t save the others. I can’t even save myself.

Bethany Peterson

Some of my writing is influenced by something I learned about shortly beforehand and want to try out on my own. This piece came about as a desire to write an epistolary narrative, a story told through documents like letters or diary entries, which I learned about through reading “Ordeal by Cheque” in an Elementary Education class.

I closed the book before I could write anything else and tossed it out of arm’s length. It landed face up with a soft thud. I brushed the sand off of my knees, pulled them close to my chest, and rested my head on them. They stung, but it didn’t matter. I stared blankly at the ocean. Ethan was out of sight. The waves continued to lap at the blood-soaked sand. I glanced back to where I knew they were, somewhere behind the trees. Sarah would be consoling Hannah, trying to reassure her that Ethan was in a better place. Hannah would be whimpering after finally running out of tears. And Will? There was no predicting Will. I dug my heels deeper into the sand. The sharp grains jabbed the skin between my toes. Ethan’s blood was gone, but I still felt it. Warm, thick liquid congealed over my feet. I shoved my toes even deeper into the sand to hide the invisible stain. With each movement, the blood rose higher. Over my toes and my ankles until it started to creep up my calf. I leapt up, ran through the waves, and scrubbed my legs until the saltwater stung the raw skin. I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell at Will for taking us out on his uncle’s boat and at Hannah for bringing all the booze from her parents’ house. I wanted to curse Sarah for convincing me to go with them. I wanted to hate Ethan for dying. I could go days without saying a sentence, but now I just wanted to scream. But I didn’t, because I wanted to be alone even more. I gazed at the sky. It was nearly sunset. They’ll be looking for me soon, I thought. I turned to go back to camp but stopped when a light shone from the corner of my eye. I twisted back around and stared intently. My eyes widened and my heart raced. The tiny white light flickered just above the horizon and moved ever so slowly across the ocean. “Help!” I called out and flailed my arms. “We’re over--” I stopped and turned back to the trees. I waited anxiously for Will to come flying out with Sarah and Hannah close behind. I waited, but nothing happened. I glanced back to the blinking light on the ocean. It was the first sign of life in these dead silent waters in over a month and it came just a few hours too late. We could have all gone home together. But if we were rescued now? None of us would be the same. We wouldn’t really be saved. I hesitated for another moment, exchanging glances between land and ocean, before stepping farther into the surf. I couldn’t save Ethan. I walked until the water reached my armpits. I can’t save the others. I paddled slowly and kept my eyes fixated on the distant beacon. I can’t even save myself. Bro ken I nk 2 014




Phylesha Hiers



A newlywed couple spells out “LOVE” with sparklers in this photo, which symbolizes that even in the darkest points of their marriage, their love for each other will always shine through.


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Connor Turner

For this shot, I set up my camera to have a long exposure. Then, I lit a combination of a cooking whisk, a ball of steel wool, and a rope on fire, and flung them around in a circular manner. The camera captured all of the flying bits of the steel wool and the trail left behind by the rope, which created this whirling tunnel-like image. Bro ken I nk 2 014


SOMETHINGS AND NOTHINGS AND US I cannot help but to lay here. My tongue is perpetually silenced in this hour, for all of the things that I want to say —and simply, selectively cannot. You sit there, stand there, walk about there; coaxing me to move from my frozen state that feigns a cold indifference. I want you to know that I am not indifferent to anything, especially not to you. In fact, I am diametrically opposed to that thing called indifference —that ugly, putrid thing that the world tried to force-feed my peers and me when we were young. You do think my sudden unresponsiveness is something—something brewing inside of me like the lava inside of an active volcano, on the verge of destroying everything around it, in its own time, unbeknownst to even the most reasonable man. But

Jennifer Gilmore

For the majority of my life, I have struggled with verbalizing my thoughts to those I love. This poem is for them.


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– my “lava” and the vibrations that I feel are just this palpitating thing inside of my chest, you know, that thing they call a “heart.” Every time you come around, my silence grows longer because my heart beats, palpitates, and runs for you. You think and say that my silence is obviously and overtly and clearly something, but that is not the case.

Why do you suppose silence is unheard? Because it is nothing. If you were to focus on something that was actually something, focus on the fastest things is this room. My lips do not move but my heart and mind are racing at the fastest speed this world has ever known. You say you could not be more frustrated with my silence, my mind and heart continue to race, trying to find something, anything remotely comprehensible to reply. They come up with nothing.

Brent Blackmon

A slightly modified Lai, “Luminary Binary” has pretty self-explanatory topic—simply the cycle of light and dark. While a lot of poetry focuses on specific moments in this cycle, I tried to concisely capture the idea of both sides in their entireties, caught in a strange love-hate relationship.

LUMINARY BINARY The dark and the light drawn in a divide and torn: each to its own side to synthesize night and morn. Celestial tides wash in to revive their forms, but neither defies the other guard’s guid-ing storm.

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BURNING Ronnica Golson


I really wanted to capture the grimy truths of reality. I feel like the lifestyles of some are just completely foreign to others. They may not agree with them morally, and they may even judge them based on some preconceived notion of what that life might do to the person living it. Either way, I honestly feel like it is what it is, and people are going to be who they want to be. Why not try to understand them and let them embrace their individuality? 49

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Although she is beaten, bruised, and battered, the fire that is inside of this girl’s eyes doesn’t change. Fighting back the tears, she doesn’t let the viewer slide. She’s stronger than that. Showing off her bruises like battle scars, she isn’t ashamed of what she’s been through; instead, she is empowered.

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Washington Group Awa rd Win n er

ARTIFACT JAZZ First things first, locate every possible exit. Allow myself the luxury of casually walking around. With the exits known, the cage is no longer a cage. Now, notice the pop art hanging on the walls; the intricately-used Buddha as a hatrack; the golden retriever resting high on the couch like my cousin who really knew how to live. The same cousin who had a thing for uppers. No other way to live, he told me. In his presence, I always felt provided with an exit. It didn’t matter if he was high, or sober and well-rounded. He tended to fare well with his habits. I only use on special occasions, he told me. I guess that was his cage.

Blake Bolen

The gods beget every begotten form. Therefore, form is one of our closest connections to the divine. By attempting to reach out what the gods touch, we can discover what it means to be truly free of our respective bonds.


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Notice, on the endtable, a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings resting on an old record. Is it worthy of being relived? It reminds me of the girl who used me. She was a horrible critic of my writing. Ex it out, she would click when she didn’t agree. Around midnight, she would go to bed. I would get high. I would get really high. It was a release. I hated her. She made me feel like a beast caged in steel or a kennel or whatever happened to be lying around. She didn’t care about my life. She only worried about the sex. It doesn’t make sense, judging me for craving intimacy, she used to say. I’ll give you some intimacy, I used to say, throwing dinnerplates at her. I was high. I’m glad she found an exit. She was a small bird in a small cage. Notice that the record under the Angelou book is a live Monk album. Pick it up. Admire its roundness.

Put it on the turntable. Set it to spin. Turn around. With eyes closed, dig on the static. Use it. Appreciate the small things and stay alive, it says to me, climb high to the top of your cage, and make an unforgettable exit. Take this advice. Wrap it around the night and the high notes the night has given me. Use these gifts to uncage the end of the night’s life as I casually make my exit.

LEMONS AND MINT Dani Cinquemani

This poem is based off various stories I’ve heard about abusive relationships. I wanted this poem to be a small moment in time where one person confronts the other in a violent way. I left the people’s identities ambiguous so anyone could place himself or herself in the situation.

The kitchen cleaner Smells of lemons and mint, His hands full of wrath Holding me so I looked at him, eye to eye, Looking past his angry face, I saw the bottle of cleaner The chemical running onto the floor In a slow steady stream, You make me hate you, Grabbing my face, Please don’t do this My tears leaking Like that bottle, But they don’t smell so sweet No they’re more like your breath, With the slight tinge of alcohol. Strong, bitter, warm

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Awards Washington group Award




In 2004, Washington Group International established an endowment fund to be managed by the USC Aiken English Department for the purpose of recognizing exemplary student work in creative writing.. To that end, all submissions accepted by the student staff each year for publication in Broken Ink are reviewed anonymously by a special committee to see if any meet the qualifications for this additional recognition. It is the intention of the committee to award prizes each spring in poetry and/or fiction; each prize is awknowledged in the magazine and accompanied by a cash award.

1 st 2nd

B l ake Bo l e n

“Artifact Jazz” p. 51 “The Flight of Your Demise” p. 14


Ja m e s Pa is ley

“Pacer Commons Fire Alarm” p. 33

etha ny Peterson 1st B“Day 43 ” p. 41

Ink Splat AwarD The USC Aiken Art Department generously sponsors the Ink Splat Visual Art Award for the recognition of superior student artwork. The winners of the award are chosen by blind preview by artists and visual experts from the community.

1st 53

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A .C . Da n iels “Life” p .27


Emily Johnson “Imagine” p. 32

c opy

Jennifer Gilmore

Adora Ewuzie

A.C. Daniels

Emily Johnson

Ieshia Bell


Phylesha Hiers

Sydney Herrick

visua l A rts

Terell Douglas-Williams

Liter a ry A rts

Michael St. John



Ch ief

Ryan Mathis

Ronnica Golson


James Paisley

Brooke Clark

Brent Blackmon

Konrad Dunbar

Staff Note This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Washington Group International’s endowment of our literary awards. Thank you to everyone who submitted. Many of the works chosen seemed to have a defiant attitude, which our editors appreciated as they all worked for the first year in positions that had for several years been held by the same group of students. Thank you, Colleen Welch for your help in editing the magazine. Appreciation is due to Dr. Tom Mack and Professor Ginny Southworth for their organization of, respectively, the Washington Group and Ink Splat Awards and also to the judges of both awards. To our adviser, Professor Karl Fornes: we thank you for the experience and perspective you offer. Student Media Board, wherever you are, we cannot think of you without weeping in gratitude. Thank you all.

Colophon The 2014 issue of Broken Ink was created in Adobe InDesign CS 5.5, Adobe Illustrator CS 5.5, Adobe Photoshop CS 5.5. Fonts include Adobe Garamond Pro. We would also like to thank the creators the following fonts for letting us use them free of charge: Adamas, Code Light, Neou, and Corbert. Sta f f I l lustrations by Mic h ae l St. Joh n

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Broken Ink Magazine 2014  

Broken Ink is University of South Carolina Aiken's literary and visual arts magazine.

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