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Silver Quill Volume 62 Montgomery Blair High School 51 University Blvd East Silver Spring, MD, 20901 Phone: (301)649-2800 silverquillmag@gmail.com silverquill.mbhs.edu

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Executive Staff

Alessandra Mantovani Editor-in-Chief Talia Mason Managing/Submissions Editor Stephanie Goncalves and Leah Muskin-Pierret Public Relation Liaisons Louise Gretschel and Talia Rodwin Literary Editors Sarah Botzer and Eric Gabriel Art Editors Colin Wiencek Layout Editor Danny Rosenberg Technical Executive

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General Staff

Miriam Plotinsky Faculty Sponsor

Peter Adler Asch Molly Barth R. Phillip Castagna Caryn Chavarria Jonah Chazan Allison Daitch Sherlande Edouard Samuel Elkind Leila Farrer Lily Felber Margie Fuchs Sofia Geck Tatyana Gubin Delia Harris Sophia Hill Madeline Hoggarth Nika Lilley Leon Mait Maddie Mitchell Rebecca Naimon Tammy Sidel


Note from the Editor

For Silver Quill’s 62nd edition, our staff explored abstraction and how an artist’s innovative way of capturing a concept can make it otherworldly. This year’s magazine, Abstraction is a compilation of Blair’s best student artwork, ranging from intricate paper sculptures to bold photography. No matter the medium, these artists have defied concrete boundaries, expressed visions and allowed others to see the world differently. Abstraction as a theme occurs throughout our magazine’s aesthetic, which experiments with bold colors, funky patterns, and imaginative shapes. Keep in mind that every piece of art is one of a kind, as is every individual’s emotional response to a piece. Whether the abstraction lies in the grooves of a work of art, or in our own personal lens, it makes for incredible inspiration. Thank goodness that the drive towards abstraction is alive and well at Blair. I am so impressed by the creative spirit and talent that is contained within the walls of this school. As always, it is hard to edit a magazine like Silver Quill because there are so many great submissions and only so many pages. While the year has gone by quickly, there hasn’t been a dull moment. On March 5th, we held our annual Silver Quill Arts Fair at a local arts center, Pyramid Atlantic, and it was one of our most successful fundraisers to date. The night had a huge attendance and included student performances, craft activities and an exhibit of artists’ work. We are eternally thankful to all the generous artists, performers and contributors whom we couldn’t have done it without. We’ve also hosted some of our most popular open mics yet which attracted a diverse group of new poets and musicians. As the school year comes to a close, it is amazing to see all of our hard work pay off through our final product and our great readership.

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Poetry Massachusetts Backroad The Eaters Feathers Sonar Heart Shiva Nataraja Khe Sahn: Fear Hermits October Earth Regret Fly Away Ode to Fish with Wings Imperfect Schizo Extended Limbs, Growing Branches Imagination Unashamed Cat’s Cradle Temmoku Apathy A Routine Game of Passion The Revolution Will Not be Digitalized

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Emma Kaufman Steven Staley Rachel Leksana Nika Lilley Molly Barth Elizabeth Brown Katya Gilbo Kathyrn Klett David Ma Alison Kronstadt Nika Lilley Hannah He R. Phillip Castagna Talia Mason Evan Holliday Alison Kronstadt Nika Lilley Molly Barth Louise Gretschel Peter Adler Asch Gabe Pollak

9 11 12 14 22 32 35 38 41 48 50 57 58 65 66 70 75 77 79 84 90


Prose Chrysanthemum Secrets from our Leaves Smoke Curling By The Game of Life Sleep Tight Something Alabastro Clock’s Face

Matt Bernstein Talia Rodwin Katya Gilbo Maddie Mitchell Molly Barth Evan Holliday Kathryn Klett Alison Kronstadt

19 28 36 42 52 60 81 86

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Photography Supersonic Heart of the Matter The Iwo Jima Untitled Picknicked Seagull Profile Clown Mask A Different Look Pool Table Screw White on White In Thought Untitled American Landscape Morning Frost American Insurgency Untitled Light Speed

Kit Durban Caryn Chavarria Bridget Stocker Emily Haislip Daniel Pressley Nicole Turchi Daniel Pressley Bridget Stocker Asia Reynolds Hilario Morales Kit Durban Sarah Botzer Emily Haislip Danny Rosenberg Benjamin Buchholz Colin Wiencek Nicole Turchi Leah Muskin-Pierret

8 17 18 23 24 26 34 37 47 59 61 64 68 72 76 78 80 89

Nathan Gamson Sofia Geck

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Justin Kanga Justin Kanga

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Digital Art Abstraction Cover Circle of Power

Sculpture Twisted Phoenix

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Traditional Geometry The Moon Skull Still Life Faceman Portrait of Sanyoong Park Fishies Girl Hummingbird Reflection Direction

Helena Mejia Trina Quabili Rachel Leksana Nathan Gamson Casey Goldvale Eric Gabriel Lena Meyerson Justin Kanga Emmy Johnson Lena Meyerson

13 29 39 40 49 51 55 73 85 88

Alec Wurzbacher Orion McCarthy Orion McCarthy Orion McCarthy Alec Wurzbacher Brandon Crabtree

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Ceramic Branched Pots Peacock Elephant Hippo Untitled Untitled

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SuperSonic

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photograph

Kit Durban


Massachusetts Backroad A new revelation brings light to your eyes. Hands determined on the beat-up wheel, you capture my questions in the rearview mirror. I hold on to the smoky air rushing past, watching frantic words skid on gravel, black as tar. We leave our memory, our belonging in the fire. Nestled among the empty barns, charred with ash from cinders staining yellowing grass, forgotten and fallow. We are encased in plastic and metal, protected by the one-way glass. Protected by the one-way glass, we are encased in plastic and metal. From cinders staining yellowing grass, forgotten and fallow, nestled among the empty barns charred with ash, we leave our memory, our belonging in the fire. Frantic words skid on gravel, black as tar. I hold on to the smoky air rushing past, watching you capture my questions in the rearview mirror. Hands determined on the beat-up wheel, a new revelation brings light to your eyes. Emma Kaufman

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Regrowth

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ceramic

Alec Wurzbacher


The Eaters We stay and we sit We sit and we stay Idle, stagnant, convinced of our own movement Trapped in roles, into a system, convinced of normal And they attack us with subconscious thoughts They attack us outwardly, outrightly, viciously They fill us with meaningless words that keep us at bay And we sit And we stay So convinced are we, we cannot raise a finger to help ourselves And they hand us food With their red eyes With their twisted smiles And they say, “eat.” And we do eat We gorge We avert our gaze We close our eyes But still, we eat We grow fat and stupid but we eat We tell each other no more but we continue to eat We speak out but our words are muddled and meaningless Drowned with food And they watch, with their red eyes and twisted smile, “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” And some of us fight, but regardless we eat, and it means nothing And we fill our greedy lustrous souls till we burst at the seams And we still eat. Praise be to those who stand and walk away Praise be to those non-eaters, who abstain Who resist them, who win against them, who stand over them They. With their red eyes and their twisted smiles. Steven Staley

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Feathers One By One Plucked from just under the shoulder Or from the very tip Brilliantly soft Like her wings A slight shiver Of pain Of cold As one By One She plucks Weaving them together A fabric takes shape Beautiful Shimmering Larger and larger As her wings grow smaller and smaller And one By One She continues weaving them in Her fingers tremble From strain? From fear? But he needs her So the feathers continue One By One To Fall Rachel Leksana

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Geometry

pencil drawing

Helena Mejia Abstraction

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Sonar Heart Blip, blip, blip I dive into this empty consciousness This black void in which A life is being spent Blip, blip, blip An IV-burdened white hand twitches under mine Blipblip, blip, blip Where is the mind I am searching for Deep in the expanse of this flat black soul? I can’t accept it Won’t accept it Blip, blip, blip I’m on a mission The ghost of a smile will twitch those puce lips And as I struggle, I squeeze fingers That are barely there Blip, blipblip, blip

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Diving, digging For what I know too well I might not find Casting out my feelers For the barest sense, the Faintest Trace Of longing, sickness, desire, humanity I refuse to believe I am acting in vain I will not lose this battle I am searching, ever searching, spiraling frantically further down Like running down an endless tower’s staircase – the yawning silence, remorseless; It’s killing me I have only two questions Just answer me this Where are you? And How did I never hear the monitor flatline?

Nika Lilley

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Sonar Heart II (Coma) Chirp, chirp, chirp Wake up This is not my place It’s so empty Gray and open, the horizon, it stretches Forever into the flat distance All this I can see out the tall windows Empty eyes staring, in which I am the tiny pupil Watching black swallows shoot past And ash flutter around before dishwater gray clouds This world is a lie; ring the doorbell I promise it will all change Chirp, chirp, chirp Why are you caged, dear one? And why am I so small? His threats aren’t even veiled… Down the silver chute This worm, it’s bigger than I I’ve met some friends, but they’re not quite right I don’t understand yet I refuse to fight against what I can’t comprehend In these monochromatic woods, I just don’t know where I am But I’m so curious Chirpchirp, chirp “We’re gonna die…” Yeah… There’s nothing but a familiar song to keep me here Where left is right and right is left But that doesn’t mean right is wrong or wrong is left… Up in the clouds, she told me not to worry But “That woman is a straight up liar” Chickenscratch writing covering the walls Telling me, begging me: Wake up, wake up Take me home, take me home With a lone piano’s notes; I fall into endless emptiness Only to learn “I lied to you.” Ring the doorbell My eyes are opening I’m excited to see you, if only I could Nika Lilley

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Heart of the Matter

photograph

Caryn Chavarria

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The Iwo Jima

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photograph

Bridget Stocker


Chrysanthemum by Matt Bernstein

In my world, there are no heroes, just those who have the courage to stand up to those who seek to keep the common folk down. It’s a cold world, both inside and out. I don’t remember the last time the sun peeked out behind the dark clouds; instead, the city is now lit up by the dim streetlights that speckle it like fireflies. Let me introduce myself: I am the Assassin. I had a name once, but I stopped remembering it long ago. I am a silent vigilante in a silent world, but I am no superhero; I am still human and I can still bleed red. I live to protect the people so they do not feel what I have suffered, but that is a tale for a later time. My work is not necessarily legal by any means, but I am a master of the blade and the body, and I use them to end the lives of those who threaten humanity. This lonely apartment in the heart of the city is my only home; the tiny cot in the corner with the view of the moon, a small desk opposite the door and a closet against the far wall is all I need. The only color in the room is a single purple chrysanthemum; they were her favorite. Downstairs is the bookshop and library I run, because I’m trying to keep this city from falling into total darkness. There was a time when I was not the only employee and I had regular customers. It was about seven years ago, in that little rundown park just out of town. Back then it was beautiful, and it was a beautiful night. That night, the sky was filled with a full moon and speckled with twinkling stars, there was the smell of grass right after the rain, and a dead silence but for the sound of our breathing. We sat huddled together on the bench

overlooking the small pond and flower grove. The slight breeze set the water rippling, playing with reflections of the chrysanthemums, her favorites. I was fumbling with a box in my pocket, nerves playing on my mind. When I finally mustered the courage, I stood up and pulled out my gift before getting down on my knee and asking the only four words that could have been said. With a gasp, she managed to reply, “Yes, yes of course,” as she fought back tears. But that was a long time ago, and now I sit here alone staring out at the gloom. A small boy, maybe six, entered the store holding a lollipop the size of his face, followed by a pleasant old woman, with the standard oversized grandma purse and cheap perfume smell. “Hi, Mister! I just learned how to read and Granny is getting me some big boy books!” the boy said gleefully. I smiled and chuckled a little, for the first time in a while. “Why of course, young man, the big boy books are in the corner over there,” I replied. The grandma gave me a smile as she led him over to the corner to pick some out. The city was not dead yet. The boy came back with four books and after paying he walked out with a new skip in his step. I went back up to my room to put my body to rest for the night, and that’s when the sirens started blaring. I rolled to look out the win-

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dow and saw flames a couple of blocks ahead. Leaping, I grabbed my knife and sprinted to the roof. The buildings are so close together I could just pounce from one to the other. I saw the fire and heard screaming from inside, and I knew I had to go in. I quickly planned my point of attack, finding a side entrance and kicking the door in. I was lucky the fire started high, so I rapidly ascended to the fourth floor, where I thought I heard the trapped soul. The heat was almost unbearable. I ran along the hallway towards the stairs but they were one more level up, and the floor collapsed beneath me in a shower of brilliant embers. railing of the stairs. Flinging myself onto the stairs, I sprinted up as each individual stair disintegrated beneath by feet. Though a seemingly inhuman feat, I succeeded mostly in part because my superhuman powers can only be described as an adrenaline overdose, making me hyper alert and focused and heightening my physical capabilities. On the fifth floor, I found my target, a woman and a baby, huddling in a corner. The mother yelled frantically, “Save my baby, please, anyone, just save my baby!” “Ma’am, you’re both coming out of this alive,” I replied calmly, searching for an escape. “Give me the baby,” I commanded, tying a string to my knife. I smashed the window in the room and launched the knife at the opposing building; it plunged into the mortar and locked into the wall. Using the string as a vine, I swung

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through the opposing window, shielding the newborn from the shards of glass. I turned around to the get the mom, but instead saw her jump to me, eventually falling to her fate. I exited the building, bruised but okay, left the baby outside the police station, and walked home. There was a time when, even at this late an hour, people would walk the streets freely, but that time ended when Grays took over. Grays is the most notorious mob boss in America. He is untouchable. His men wreak havoc on all unsuspecting city dwellers and I have a personal score to settle with him. Not five years ago, still in newlywed nirvana, she and I went to the movies to celebrate our very first anniversary. On our way back, around midnight, we were confronted by five of Grays’ men. I offered them money, but they saw my wife and wanted her. That’s when I attacked. I quickly disabled one by slamming him against the wall. I grabbed the gun from the first guy and shot another, but lost the gun when I was slammed across the back by the third. I regained my footing and elbowed the guy in the face before he could stab me with the knife he pulled. I grabbed the knife and stabbed one of them who had his hands on my wife. With only two more left and one who was already injured, I attacked the unscathed man and managed to grab his gun before he could shoot me. After a couple minutes of wrestling with him for control of the gun, a shot accidentally discharged. The henchman suddenly stopped wrestling, grabbed his partner and


fled. Confused, I went to find my wife, but found her hunched over, dead, a single shot to the heart. This was when my life changed. After a long night of rest, I woke up to the police radio blaring about Grays’ men robbing the main bank. In five minutes, I was standing outside the back of the bank. I entered and quickly ended the single guard with a slash of my knife. Avoiding the security cameras, I found another in the security booth, and after a short struggle, he, too, was incapacitated. I crept behind the teller stall and saw just a single man left. When his back was turned, I leapt on top of the counter and tackled the man from behind. On the ground, I whacked him with the butt of my knife and knocked him out cold. I threw him over my shoulder and ran out the back, leaving a room full of confused patrons behind. I sat in that alley almost an hour before the guard came to. He found himself tied up and struggled, with no avail, to get free. “Where is your boss?” I asked, ripping the duct tape form his mouth. “Be damned if I tell you,” he said with a maniacal chuckle. I whacked him over the head with my knife again, and repeated, “Where is he?” “Look, I don’t know, no one does, he just gives us orders and we follow them.”

“Fine, well, run home to your little boss and tell him eight tonight in the park, be there!” I shot him a cold look and he took off sprinting. The rest of the day wore on slowly, most of which I spent on my bench in the park. As the sunset ended, I checked my watch: 8:10, a noshow. Right then, I heard a cold yet calm voice from behind me. “So, you’re the one they call the Assassin,” he said with a laugh. “Why do you seek me?” I turned to find a middle-aged but fit man behind me, wearing an expensive suit and bad cologne to go with it. “You killed my wife, you son of a –” I stopped when I saw the glint of a gun from beyond the trees. “And now you want revenge, is that it? Because I killed your good-for-nothing tramp of a wife!” I couldn’t control myself; I whipped out my blade and plunged it into the devil’s heart. I heard a bang and suddenly went numb. I knew what had happened. I looked around and stumbled to my knees. I could only think of my one true love, Crystal, who was taken from me so prematurely. As I exhaled for the last time, I looked across the pond to the flower grove, and by miracle or illusion I saw something that let my soul rest for all eternity. I saw a single purple chrysanthemum.

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Shiva Nataraja Shiva Nataraja dances the world into existence with a flame in his palm and a smile on his lips he burns the earth to its foundation we with unafraid skin and sunflower eyes find peace in the center of cyclic destruction laughing with summer holding hands in an I-am-I you-are-you circle singing tongues naked lips beating hearts rhythms of our bodies in sync we dance tango merengue waltz ballet we dance the awkward bounce of teenage boys at school dances we dance flamenco hip-hop jazz we dance baby birds arcing their backs and shaking wet wings we dance the earth whirling through space we dance hunch-backed old women sliding their walkers we dance laughter pirouetting up and down a scale we dance the arabesque of a seagull we with flames in our mouths and smiles in our hips dance the world into existence again

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Molly Barth


Untitled

photograph

Emily Haislip

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Picknicked Seagull

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photograph

Daniel Pressley


Peacock

ceramic

Orion McCarthy Abstraction

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photograph

Nicole Turchi


sculpture

Justin Kanga

T W IST E D

Twisted

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We lights a glitt

Secrets From Our Leaves by Talia Rodwin

We danced, the flicking of our hands setting off sparks in the sky. We were lights and we glittered.

We bent towards each other, whispering secrets — which we thought would be lasting — across the fire. Overcome with passion and excitement, we let our words into the night, not realizing that we wouldn’t remember them later. They would fade and smudge like ink-drawn lines, this summer turning into the imprint of a memory. Everything was a color, everything was a fruit, filled with juice.

We ate the minutes and grinned giddily. We were adventurers and we lived outside of the world, outside of ourselves. Flying was a high but when we touched down on our own continent we faded slowly, melting back into the world we had always been part of. We grew roots and stayed grounded, the dance and the vibrance only orange streaks of remembrance in our otherwise green leaves. We returned to reason.

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e were and we tered. The Moon

pencil drawing

Trina Quabili

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Elephant

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ceramic

Orion McCarthy


Hippo

ceramic

Orion McCarthy

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Khe Sahn: Fear I can’t be afraid. Fear does nothing. Yesterday I sat Surrounded by sandbags And played cards with Matthew And Sam. Today Matthew’s dead, And Sam no longer has a leg. I can’t be afraid, though. It could be me But it wasn’t And when you’re sitting surrounded by sandbags Constantly under fire from the soldiers outside, Possibilities don’t matter. Nothing matters But what’s happening at that very moment Whether you’re playing cards Or watching your best friend Get his head blown off. I can be sad I just can’t be afraid. No one can be. Everyone else Goes around with a dull look in their eyes. Even Sam. Even when the guy next to them is screaming for his mother. We can laugh at jokes We can swear at a bad hand at cards We can yell abuse at the V-Cs But we can’t be afraid Because if we spared one moment to actually think about what’s happening around us If we spared a moment to be afraid of the things any logical person would be afraid of We would Go Mad

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And Nothing Would Be Able To Help Us. So we aren’t afraid. But sometimes When it’s not my watch I wake up and scream into the dark About all the things that could go wrong Would Be Able To Help Us. So we aren’t afraid. But sometimes When it’s not my watch I wake up and scream into the dark About all the things that could go wrong And all the things that have And fear crashes over me in waves And I can’t breathe. And then I go back to sleep And the guys around me ignore it Because it happens to everyone All the time. But we can’t be afraid. I can’t be afraid. Fear does nothing. Elizabeth Brown

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Clown Mask

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photograph

Daniel Pressley


Hermits Walruses swallow the fish bred from strangers’ thoughts I am a walrus A mirror is my oily skin And is altered by the piercing waves Which emanate from the others Theoretically, I am who others see me as I am a product of light waves generated from their dark pupils A chemical stove of elements But their eyes can’t reach my deepest caves Where hermit neurons voyage, sunk in murky messes And who knows what goes on in the darkness? Katya Gilbo

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Smoke Curling By by Katya Gilbo

I see myself as a man with a pipe; the smoke curls among my dusty paraphernalia, and the bushes of the exterior world throw black shadows into my rooms. I pitter-patter on the pronounced parquet, once the floor of extravagance and great rigor, now resembling the cracked skin of a gourd, hidden from the swirling bustles of human life outside. Before collapsing into my sleeping bag, I flap my ears toward the windows. For me, they symbolize an opening to parallel universes: the life waves and pitterpatterns of my species, the wise ones. If I wasn’t a lilylivered coward, I’d visit my acquaintances’ house and the dwellings with blue and red shutters, white Greek walls, plenty of flowers, and olive trees, or the ghetto; either extremes. I’d spend weeks peering at and following the inhabitants, as unnoticeable as the shadows, but shadows are what scare us, the wise ones, and I am ever-afraid of fate and of the thoughts of my own blood and flesh, even if they are from Ethiopia and the only connection we have one in a gazillion chance of having is a shy Siberian bacteria that is 200,000 years old. I would move in observation, very detailed, to figure out just what I should be doing, just what makes others happy and satisfied with themselves, proud of their accomplishments. Then I’d compile my conclusion and continue on with life, properly and chirpily. But I am a coward. So, the man with a pipe surrounds himself with his loves, the ones he grooms and is jolly well aware of possessing. The words. Shot-down books, the ones I hunted, stare on their shelves, on their piles, towers, monuments, caves. I devote myself to lovingly and firmly laying them in my head, so that I’d always have their whispers of knowledge, confidently a part of me. Who else rots away in a house? How many of us exist? And just what should we be doing and why? And what if it is not enjoyable? No answer has filled me yet, ‘course it is one which I must find. Which is what I’m doing among my books, in the darkness of my cemented nest, with the smoke curling by.

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A Different Look

photograph

Bridget Stocker

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Step out into the sunlight, bare feet Cold concrete, skip across the man-made stone. Warmth of the dark wood behind you, Chaos of stones in a pathway before you Stride across the granite border and into the orange-green ground. Sleeping grasses beneath curling toes, Crackling, hidden life under a soothing sun. Soft prickles of green shoots arise As aloe among the scattered leaves As you wade your content way across a cooling, drying sea. Skip left across the blood — orange spots Which blow their colors across the ground, Make fast tracks across black driveway Callused soles slapping in foreign sounds; Shun the man-made intrusion of nature And turn again to autumn terrain Ghost across up to the mailbox – turn about – and go back again.

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- TUrn about -

October Earth


Skull Still Life

pencil drawing

Rachel Leksana

and GO BACK

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Faceman

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ink drawing

Nathan Gamson


Regret Regret slowly crawls down my long spine Ignition on, just drive a straight line My dizzy eyes, and my shaky hands So hard to meet all of these demands A gentle turn, and an ease of speed But my mind is down, and my heart bleeds Tonight’s long, cold fight had blown it up I couldn’t stop, I just drank a cup Or a gallon, so torn, I let loose Just to pop this ride outta its juice It is not my fault, ‘cause hate is my eyes And hate drives me on, not my blind cries I see it’s red like the streaks on her Because my arm had spoken stronger Than my mind, not conscious what a blur My judgment had just slipped so obscure I explode, tears run down, it’s my fault So does the car, running to a halt. David Ma Abstraction

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The Game of Life

by Maddie Mitchell It was going to be a good day for Nick Liddell. Not even bothering to slam the snooze bar, he rolled out of bed easily, slid into his prep school uniform, and wolfed down a leftover piece of cold pizza. He confidently swung open the door of his house and strode toward the sleek black Mercedes where his father was already seated. “Dad, morning,” he said as he sidled into the passenger’s seat. His father barely even glanced at him, but Nick refused to let that damper his mood. Not today. He leaned back, feeling immensely satisfied with himself. Not that he ever needed a reason to feel good. His list of privileges was staggering—his father was one of the wealthiest surgeons in Washington, D.C., his mother was a successful partner at one of the city’s premier law firms, and together the three of them lived in a massive, sprawling house in an exceedingly affluent part of town. To top it off, he was popular (elected president of his class in his freshman, sophomore, and junior years), athletic (played on varsity lacrosse and basketball), and attractive. The car pulled up to Middleton and sandwiched itself in between a Lexus and a Range Rover.

The whole lot was filled with dozens of similar luxury vehicles, with boys sporting the same artfully messy hair and the Middleton Academy uniform. It was nearly impossible to identify one boy from another in the sea of conformity, but after a quick scan of the immediate area, Nick managed to pick out a familiar face. “Yo, Schaeffer!” he called out. Tucker Schaeffer turned around, his Adidas gym bag audibly slapping against his thigh. His face brightened as he identified the source of the call. “Liddell,” he said cheerfully, and the boys exchanged high fives. “Psyched for lacrosse today?” he asked. Nick shrugged. “Sure, I mean, I guess.” It was difficult for him to act composed and calm about this. It was actually one of the reasons he was so excited: a week ago, Coach Browning had informed Nick that he was to be rewarded with the coveted spot of varsity lacrosse captain, even though he was only a junior, an unheard of feat. Nick looked back towards Tucker. “Just another season of lacrosse—nothing special.” “Uh…yeah. Yeah, totally,” Tucker looked nervously at Nick, as if afraid he had somehow offended him. The two reached the front of the building and nodded once at each other before parting ways. The moment that Nick had been waiting for

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came during the final ten minutes of world history, his last class before lunch. One of the student aides from the principal’s office came up to announce, “We need Nick Liddell to help set up for formal lunch now.” There was a second reason why Nick had been so eager about today. He desperately wanted to avenge a bitter loss from his basketball season a few weeks ago. During the varsity championships, Middleton had been playing against its rival, St. Andrew’s. The referee who was assigned to the game had unexpectedly come down with a cold that morning, so Mr. McKee, Middleton’s new vice principal who had played college basketball, had offered to step in. All was going well, with Middleton up by one, until the St. Andrew’s point guard careened into Nick. But McKee had ruled that Nick was the one who fouled the point guard, not the opposite way around. Although Middleton angrily debated the call, St. Andrew’s received two foul shots, which the player deftly sank. The St. Andrew’s team exploded into cheers, while Middleton furiously watched the championship title slip through their fingers. Now was the time for revenge. The first Monday of each month was formal lunch, at which students volunteered to help set up tables and food. Someone was also

supposed to fill the jug of water that Mr. McKee always had next to him at meals. As soon as Nick stepped into the cafeteria, he darted for the jug. He looked to make sure no one was watching, snatched up the jug, and ran to the kitchen sink. The room was empty. Everything was going according to plan. He poured a bit of water into the jug.Then, cautiously, he reached into his backpack and pulled out the large glass jar of spiders that he had conveniently “borrowed” from his biology class throughout the week. Unscrewing the top, he sent them tumbling into the dark depths of the jug. The lunch bell rang and everyone was seated. It was time for announcements. Before he spoke, McKee always poured himself a glass of water and then took a long, deep sip. Nick tensed as McKee lifted the jug and tipped it forward. “What the—” he exclaimed, before jumping back. A dozen black spiders spilled forth from the jug and into the glass. Within seconds, his face went from bewilderment to shock to fear, as he registered what exactly was happening. It was no secret that McKee had an intense, borderline pathological fear of spiders, and he

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let out an ear-piercing scream before running out. After everyone managed to calm down and the bell rang to go back to class, Nick ran to his basketball friends, the only ones who had known about the plan prior to its execution. “Liddell, you’re the man!” Jeff Archer said approvingly, slapping him on the back. “How’d you even think of something like that? Did you see his face?” someone else said gleefully. Nick stepped back, bowing a little as he turned to face his audience. “Well, guys, it didn’t take a whole lot. Just…” but he immediately trailed off, as a large shadow fell in front of him. “Oh, I didn’t mean to interrupt, Liddell,” a voice said drily. “Please. Continue. I’d be absolutely fascinated to know exactly how you managed to pull off such a classy scheme.” Principal Rosen loomed ominously behind him. “You will be in detention every day after school for the next month, helping the kitchen staff clean. I don’t care that your parents donate money to this school, I don’t care that you’re the class president, I don’t care that the first varsity lacrosse practice starts today. The rules still apply to you, Mr. Liddell. Don’t assume you’re above them,” he said sternly. Nick opened his mouth to protest. But for once, he was at a loss for words. He dragged himself glumly to the cafeteria at the end of the day. The kitchen staff was mopping the floors. They gave him blank stares

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as he joined them. “What do you want?” a woman, whose nametag read Cecilia, finally asked. He couldn’t help but notice the curt edge in her voice, underlying the thick Spanish accent. Nick cleared his throat. “I’m, uh, here for detention. I was, er, told to show up…here?” he said, but it came out sounding like a question. Cecilia nodded. “Here.” She extended a mop towards him. “I’ll go get apron. Wait here.” A minute later, she had retrieved a stained, frayed apron, which he gingerly put on. They cleaned in silence for the next hour. Silence for Nick at least—the others (two men named Pablo and Andy and two women named Marie and Antonia) chatted in effortless, fluent Spanish around him. But at last, Cecilia approached him. “You can go if you want,” she said. Her hard exterior seemed to have softened a little bit since he first came. Over the next few days, Nick began to learn more about the faces that, for the most part, went unnoticed by the school’s students. In fact, the only times the kitchen staff was ever mentioned was at the expense of a wisecrack. True, Nick had made nasty comments about them in the past, but he had also never understood how difficult their lives were. Cecilia worked in a nearby factory after her shift at the school ended. She was a single mom who was trying to support both her fouryear-old and thirteen-month-old, and lived on the outskirts of town in a trailer. Pablo was taking online courses from the community college and studied long hours at night in the


cramped apartment he shared with three other roommates. Antonia was only seventeen years old and had immigrated recently to America by herself. She was now living inside her car. Nick had listened to all these stories with wide eyes. He had not known—or even suspected, really—that such poverty could be right in front of him. It was a way of life so different from what he and his friends were familiar with. He felt completely detached, and yet, he couldn’t allow himself to just stand by. He wanted to help. He cleared his throat. “Um, I know you guys are probably busy, but if you’d like to, you can come to my house for dinner after this. I think we’re having beef Wellington and green beans tonight, if that’s all right. So, uh. Yeah. Just drop by, I guess.” He scribbled his address on a napkin and handed it to Cecilia. An hour later, as the family was sitting down for dinner, the doorbell rang. Before Nick could stand up to get it, his mother was already floating towards the door. “Um, hello…” she said questioningly. “May I help you?” “Hi, Cecilia, Pablo, Marie, Andy, Antonia.” Nick nodded at each of them in turn. “Mom, this is the kitchen staff at school. I’ve been, well, helping them out as part of detention.” “I…see…well, ehm, come in.” She forced a tight-lipped smile. “I really wasn’t expecting company, but we can make do, I think.” She hesitantly told Nick to get extra chairs from downstairs. Nick sensed that this was not one of his finest ideas, a thought that was only confirmed when his father came home and tensed immediately at the sight of the kitchen

staff in his home. Needless to say, the dinner did not go as Nick had hoped, and he realized how oblivious he had been to think his mother and father could actually understand what he had seen in these people throughout the week. But finally, the meal was over, and the Middleton kitchen staff left. His father shut the door, then whirled around. “What were you possibly thinking?” he erupted. “We can’t associate ourselves with people like… like…them!” he practically spat. “Dad.” Nick tried to select his words carefully. “They live these incredibly hard—” but he was cut off. “You surrendered your spot as varsity lacrosse captain because of some stupid prank, and now you’re becoming friends with the kitchen people! Do you not realize what a terrible light this sets you in? What’s happened to your priorities?” “You don’t even know them, Dad!” Nick said. “They’ve been through so much, and I don’t understand what’s wrong with inviting them for one—” “You never understand. That’s your problem,” his father said. He rubbed his temples. “Look. It’s okay, son. I just don’t want you getting in with the wrong people, is all. There’s a reason we live here. There’s a reason you’re at one of the most elite prep schools in the country. We’re just different from them. There’s no reason to blur those lines.” He reached out and put a hand awkwardly on Nick’s shoulder, the

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only act of affection that had ever passed between them, and yet Nick couldn’t be more disgusted. He shrugged it away. The following week, Nick had been instructed to meet in Mr. Rosen’s office Monday morning. When he arrived, Rosen had lifted the detention as long as he sufficiently apologized to McKee. “Not that I don’t appreciate this, Principal Rosen,” he said. “But…why am I suddenly off the hook?” “Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say your father’s recent hefty donation didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said wearily. Nick rolled his eyes. This was too typical. His father thought money could buy anything. Then again, he was yet to be proven wrong. “Um, Nick, there’s something else you should know. There was,” he cleared his throat, “another part to your father’s, uh, request.” Principal Rosen looked uneasy. “He asked me to release the kitchen staff.” “You mean—fire?” Rosen looked away. “I’m sorry; I understand you were growing close to them, but I had to.” Nick eyed him coldly, feeling a pang in his heart. He had finally, after all their years of anonymity in the school, begun to see what difficult lives they were forced to lead. And how people like his father were always there to provide yet another obstacle for them. He thought despairingly of how hard they worked, and how in one instant it was all snatched away from them, how they’d have to start all over now. He grabbed his backpack and walked out of the room. There was nothing else to say. Because for the second time in his entire life, Nick Liddell was speechless.

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Pool Table

photograph

Asia Reynolds Abstraction

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Fly Away This is it. The last words I will ever write about you. I have pulled every page with your name on it from corners, under beds, in between books, thrown despairingly away, and I hold them all now in my hands like roses in an earthquake, fragile, stinging, trembling. Every exhilaration, every disappointment, every joy, every betrayal, every time I screamed for loving you and I screamed trying to forget what love was is here. And this is it. The last words I will ever write about you. You have moved on and I am moving forward. These paper scraps are mementos I no longer need, our time and theirs are both done. The wind stretches out its hands for them, and I let them go. This is the last one, the most recent, the most at peace. As my pen lifts from the page, it flutters, and flies, and is gone. Alison Kronstadt


Portrait of Sangyoon Park

charcoal

Casey Goldvale


Ode to Fish with Wings O wing’d fish, your gaping mouth is comical As you soar unburdened through thin air Your scales glitter like diamonds fail to – Rich with a thousand rainbows And nothing more. Your blank eye stares at me as you shoot past, Heavy wings beating half uselessly. The simplicity of your design does not elude me, Yet I fail to understand the point. Do you enjoy this faux flying? Or is it just another dream deferred to the rest of us As we watch you glide above? Thank you for showing me that everything is possible – Just to those of us who sleep soundly And dream in the subconscious Nika Lilley

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Fishies

ink drawing

Eric Gabriel

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Sleep Tight

by Molly Barth Emma slid into the kitchen, enjoying the feel of her new socks on the smooth floor. Late morning sunshine bounced from shiny countertops and shimmered on the copper bottoms of the pots lining the wall. Her father was clicking the phone back into its receiver. “Morning, sleepyhead,” he greeted her. “That was your Aunt Martha.” “Yeah? What’d she want?” asked Emma, trying to moonwalk towards the refrigerator. “She wants us to come visit her next weekend. I have to check with your mom about it, but I think it’ll be good for both of us.” “Cool,” Emma replied, yawning. She tugged on the door of the fridge, but it wouldn’t open. She pulled harder, bracing one of her feet against the freezer below. Her other foot began to slip. The door still refused budge. Emma woke up. She was slumped against a car window, feeling the rattle and bounce of a gravel road. The car smelled like popcorn and new shoes, with a faint undertone of cigarette smoke. Her mother hadn’t yet managed to get rid of the smell of its previous owner. I don’t even have an Aunt Martha, thought Emma. Weird.

“Are you awake,honey? We’re almost there,” said the woman in the driver’s seat. Her hair was blue. “Did you get a haircut, Mom?” Emma asked sleepily. “Look,” she replied, pointing to a large cardboard box on the back seat. “I got you some kittens.” “But what about Rex and Honey?” “They’re staying at your father’s house, sweetheart. You know that. I just thought you’d want pets at my place too.” Emma looked back again at the box on the back seat. Its sides bulged unpleasantly. Black shapes writhed behind the half-closed flaps. She didn’t think they were kittens. “Where are we going?” asked Emma. She examined the blue-haired woman’s face, which didn’t look as much like her mother’s as she had originally thought. “Who are you?” she asked. The woman just smiled, her lips stretching to reveal teeth that were like shards of pottery shoved hastily into her mouth. The cardboard box lurched, and Emma woke up. There was a patch of drool spreading on her pillow, extending wetly from the corner of her mouth to where her earlobe met the cotton fabric of her pillowcase. Emma sat up quickly in the dark, disgusted, and wiped the saliva from her face. Gross, she thought, and then, what was I dreaming about again? Emma turned her pillow over and lay back down, closing her eyes. But they snapped back open immediately. Oh no! I forgot to feed Honey and Rex! she remembered. Reluctantly, Emma

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swung her legs out of bed and began to shuffle towards the door. She glanced at the clock, but its digital face was black. Darn. Is the power out? Emma flipped her light switch back and forth fruitlessly, confirming her suspicion. She was about to go back to bed, hungry cats aside, when she heard Honey’s plaintive meow. Sighing, Emma opened her door and began to make her way carefully down the dark stairs, her hands brushing the walls on either side for support. “Sorry, guys,” she called down quietly. “You must be starving.” The walls felt cool and rubbery as they guided her down the stairs and into the kitchen. She instinctively reached for the light switch, flicking it on before remembering that it would do no good whatsoever. Something furry brushed against her bare calf and Honey meowed again. Rex began to make eager chirping noises as Emma made her way blindly across the kitchen in search of the cat food. She wished she had a flashlight. Suddenly, Emma’s knee collided painfully with the kitchen stool and she fell to the floor with a crash that seemed to shake the entire house. The kitchen lights flickered briefly and came on, illuminating the kitchen with a blast of light. Half-blinded, Emma threw her forearm in front of her eyes and peered up at the ceiling with astonishment. There was an old-fashioned chandelier that hadn’t been there before. Its tarnished bronze arms held long, ruby-red candles that danced wildly as it swung, still shaken by Emma’s fall. And from the chandelier hung Rex and Honey’s bloated corpses. Emma screamed, scuttling backwards across the floor, but she couldn’t look away. Rex’s dead green eyes bulged accusingly at her and his claws were dripping with the blood that ran down from where the wire noose had cut into his neck. Horrified, Emma pulled her gaze away and looked wildly about the kitchen for whatever it was—what was it?—that had brushed against

her leg. Crouched by her cat’s food bowls were two bat-like little creatures with skin like ancient fur coats: mangy and spoiled and black. Their faces were wrinkled, human, and malevolent. They sat patiently, watching Emma, hunched over the food bowls with their leathery wings folded messily across their backs. One of them meowed softly, and then chuckled. The otherjust tapped its long, bony finger against the rim of its bowl. Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Their eyes were hungry. Emma woke up. She rolled over and fell off the couch and onto Melissa. “Ow! What the hell?” cried Emma’s friend indignantly. Ashley sat up, rubbing her round, pale face with the heels of her palms. “What’s going on?” she asked sleepily. “Emma just pounced on me!” exclaimed Melissa, still sounding wounded. “I knew we shouldn’t have let her have the couch.” “Sorry,” whispered Emma. “I think I was having a nightmare.” “I’m not surprised,” replied Ashley. In the dim light, her dish-like face and big dark eyes reminded Emma of a barn owl. “Your mom’s new place sure is spooky.” This was true. There were


cobwebs on the ceiling and parched white bones littering the floor. Bats roosted in all the lamps where the light bulbs should be, and shadows skittered across the walls as if they were afraid of being caught. By the time Emma had registered all of this, Ashley had flown to the top of a bookshelf and was regurgitating pellets of mouse bones. Melissa was gone. Then Emma was alone in a cellar. It was dark and smelled of mildew and rotten fruit. She was surrounded by shelves and shelves of jars. There were jars of marbles and shark teeth and blonde hair. There was a jar the size of a washing machine full of her old dolls, bobbing lifelessly in grayish liquid. A whole shelf was devoted to little vials of blood, each a slightly different shade of deep crimson. Emma knew it was her job to sort out which jars went to her mother and which went to her father, but there were so many and none of them were labeled. Emma was starting to get anxious. How am I supposed to figure out which ones they want? she thought wildly. Frustrated, she grabbed a jar of cloudy purple liquid and hurled it at the cement floor. The shattering sound it made was so satisfying that she grabbed another and another and another, smashing them one by one, sending dead fish and vomit and fake fingernails spraying across the floor. As she grabbed another jar to fling towards the ground, she saw a small wrinkled face grinning at her from behind the glass but it was too late her arm was already in motion and when the jar smashed open on the floor the creature’s knobby bat-like wings opened and it flew at her its long cold fingers wrapped around her throat and Emma woke up. She was on an airplane and all the other passengers were insane. Emma woke up. She was paralyzed and her bed was full of maggots. Emma woke up. 54

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She was in history class and the teacher was speaking another language. Emma woke up. She was in a hospital bed and her parents were ripping each other limb from limb. Emma Roberts was only twelve years old and she couldn’t wake up.


Girl

ink drawing

Lena Meyerson Abstraction

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Untitled

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ceramic

Alec Wurzbacher


Imperfect Lazy Sunday afternoons Spent Lying in the summer green grass Staring up at the crystal blue sky A beautiful marble The world I would go into One day But if you stare long enough The sky isn’t Perfect, you know? A marble can have chips Things change before You even know it And some things you can’t Change But it’s not always your fault, you know? Change. Change can be Good, I guess But do you see those storm clouds brewing The marble changing colors Change I’ve never liked change Because you will never know What could have been What should have been And some things you just can’t Change And it’s not your fault, you know? Hannah He

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Schizo

by R. Phillip Castagna I wake up sometime in the evening, see the sun has already set.

see me, and I spill the soda onto the shadow men and watch them dissolve.

I’m in my chair, at my desk, in front of a computer monitor that automatically clicked off. I’ve got three packs of cigarettes I don’t remember buying and a business card I can’t read through the lipstick kissed onto it. I breathe into my hand, but I don’t smell any booze.

No one appreciates my effort.

I put my head on my desk, close my eyes once more, but I can’t sleep. I go for a walk, and the shadow men come out once again. They look at all the other people on the street. Everyone else pretends not to notice. Everyone is bothered, though, and they glare at me, the source of their troubles.

The bald men have noticed I’m outside again, and they’re beginning to encircle me. There’s one across the street, coming out of a house, one driving a van. They want to kill me like they did Iokaim, to let the supercomputer god of intelligence have complete domain over this place. More shadows come now, moaning, they know about all the people I let down. It was always Iokaim that let me help anyone; without him I’m nothing! They don’t understand. All they feel is their own pain. I leave them and go back to my brick apartment.

I gave up trying to make the shadows go away long ago.

There is another bald man right outside it. As long as I don’t let them see me mess up they can’t do anything.

I just wish people wouldn’t blame me for it.

I sit down in my bedroom again.

I duck into the 7-11 instinctively to buy some more smokes. I realize in the middle of the store I don’t need them, though.

A man comes forward to me.

The cashier is reading my mind; he scowls. The shadow people come up against the wall and look in, staring at me with big colorless eyes. Everyone’s waiting for me to make a mistake, to let my guard down so they can consume me and learn my secrets.

“I did.”

I wish my secrets were worth it, could help me.

“More people will never act as you have. You are alone. A failure.”

My face is still plaster as I grab a drink instead so they won’t be able to prove anything. They still know. Outside, I walk some more so the cashier can’t 58

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“You left all those people out there.”

“It doesn’t matter.” “You can’t say that. If more people act as I have-”

The man walks back into the other room to leave. I light a cigarette.


Screw

photograph

Hilario Morales


Something

by Evan Holliday “Oh man, that concert was awesome,” said Jason as we walked outside. It was actually a pretty cool night for being late spring. The sky was perfectly clear and I knew there were stars out despite all the lights of the city. “Definitely, I told you they were good live,” I said. “They don’t sound at all the same when they play live shows.” “Yeah, but that was ridiculous,” he said. “They didn’t even use instruments on that last song; they just sang their parts.” I laughed. It really was a good concert. They were a crazy band, and all of their songs were done so well. It’s a shame we got all pumped up at the show, and now we have to go home and go right to sleep, I thought. At least I could sleep in, though; I’d been getting up at around six every morning for the past two weeks. “This was a good way to end the day,” I said. “The rest of it completely sucked.” “Why?” said Jason. “Well, first off, I had to get up at a time when nobody but crazy people are up. Then I forgot my lunch, my phone, and all my homework. And finally, I didn’t get to eat since I went straight here after school with you.” He was laughing. “That does suck,” said Jason. “I wouldn’t want to be you right now. Knowing your parents, they probably called you fifty times, and you haven’t picked up once. You’re screwed.” “Oh damn, you’re right,” I said. “Hopefully they will find my phone at home and won’t kill me.” We got to the bus stop and waited. It wasn’t supposed to come for another twenty minutes, give or take, so we just stood there and talked. “Hold on,” I said. “Do you have your phone with you? I should try to call my parents.” “I do,” said Jason. “But it died when I was taking pictures during the concert. I got some really nice ones, though.” “Seriously?” I said, groaning. “Well, I’m going to look for a pay phone so I can call my parents. Hold on.” I walked off down the block to see if I could find a phone. There weren’t all that many people walking around at this time of night, and those who were out didn’t want to get near you. I looked around, but wasn’t able to find anything. “Richard, come on,” I heard Jason shout from down the block. I looked toward the stop and the bus was already there, and Jason was climbing up the stairs. I jogged toward the bus thinking that he would tell the bus driver to wait, but suddenly the bus started to move.

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White on White

photograph

Kit Durban Abstraction

61


“Hey, wait,” I shouted after the bus. I started running now. I didn’t want to be stranded out in the middle of the city after dark with no phone. I needed to catch that bus. I was starting to catch up when it turned onto the main road and sped up. “Crap. Now what the hell am I supposed to do?” I said to no one. I thought that it would be best to start walking home. That was the last bus for the night and the street was now empty. I didn’t have a phone and there was no other way for me to get home; I didn’t have much of a choice. I left the concert at around 11:30, and the bus drove off without me at around 12. I walked for about an hour past the edge of the city, toward my neat little suburb. There were a lot fewer lights here, and I was really on edge. I was walking past my old middle school when I thought I heard something behind me. I glanced backward and quickened my pace. I didn’t want to look back because I didn’t want there to be anything there, but at the same time, if something was there, I wanted to see it. I walked even faster. My breath came in short gasps, and I could feel my muscles tense up. Then I snapped. I started running. I ran and I ran, down the street and through the park. I ran till it felt like my legs were going to fall off, but I kept going—there was still something behind me. I crashed through the bushes of my backyard and ran around to the front of my house and to the front door. I jammed my hand into my pocket and yanked out my key. I fumbled with it and shoved it toward the lock. It didn’t fit. I tried again, jamming the key into the slot, but it wouldn’t fit. I grabbed the doorknob and shook it violently; I needed to get inside. Desperately, I rang the doorbell. Then I froze. I just got home two hours late from a concert in the middle of the city. I didn’t have my phone, and my parents had probably called me a million times. Now I just rang our doorbell, our extremely loud and obnoxious doorbell, because I thought that there was something behind me. My parents were going to kill me. But nobody came down. I rang the bell again. But still, nobody came down. I could feel all the blood rushing to my head. What was going on? Why wasn’t anything happening? Suddenly, I heard a sound, and all of my fear came rushing back. I felt the blood pounding in my ears as I shook the door again. I needed to get inside this house, I needed to. Every single muscle in my body tensed up and shook, and I could suddenly hear everything. My head snapped to look at every single rustle of the leaves and every single noise made by some animal. I tried peering into the dark to see what was there, but I couldn’t see anything. There were just sounds, everywhere. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear everything. In desperation, I flung my entire weight against the door. I needed to get inside. I heard a crack. The door crashed open and I spilled onto the cold tile floor. I lay there with my face and hands pressed against the cold floor. All of the sounds were gone. There was nothing except my breathing. I slowly rose to my knees, still out of breath, but starting to relax. I got up and went and closed the broken door; it would still work, but it would be a chore explaining it to my parents. On the inside of the door was another key – that’s why it wouldn’t open. 62

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I walked upstairs to my room, turned on my light, and shut the door. I was absolutely exhausted. I got changed and hopped into bed, not worrying about brushing my teeth or washing my face. I reached over to turn off my light and saw my phone sitting on my bedside table. “Idiot,” I thought. “This whole thing could have been avoided.” I instinctively picked it up and flipped it open. It was three in the morning. Goddamn, it was later than I thought. I’m lucky I wasn’t caught. I paused. I had no missed calls. And if I was three hours late, why hadn’t my parents either called me or waited up for me? And surely they would have heard me ring the doorbell, let alone break down the door. I slowly got up and walked over to my door. I poked my head outside and listened. I couldn’t hear a thing. I pushed the door all the way open, and walked down the long hallway to my parents’ room. Everything was silent except for my breathing and the quiet creak of my feet on the carpeted floor. I turned on the light to the hallway, and then immediately turned it right off again. I didn’t want to wake them up. I got to their door and slowly turned the knob. Blood was pounding in my ears again as I pushed the door open. There was a slight creak, and I slipped into their room as silently as I could. It was completely quiet; I couldn’t hear or see a thing. I walked over to my mom’s side of the bed and looked around for her, but I couldn’t find her. I walked over to my dad’s side of the bed, but he wasn’t there, either. I ran back to the doorway and flicked the light on. There was nothing in the room. Frantically, I yanked my cell phone out of my pocket and dialed my mom’s cell phone number. It started to ring on my phone, but also in the room. Stairway to Heaven suddenly started to play from her cell phone. “And she’s buying a stairway, to hea—” I hung up the phone. The last note rang through the room and then suddenly stopped. I just stood there, listening—listening for something, anything all at. I ran toward the window and looked outside, but there was nothing out there. Everything was dark. I ran back toward the doorway and tripped. I tried grabbing the edge of the dresser, but only managed to knock over my mom’s jewelry box. I fell flat on my face, and the box came crashing to the ground. Like before, I just lay there, doing nothing but breathing. But this time, I wasn’t relaxed; I was shaking. I could feel my shirt sticking to my back with sweat and every sensation was amplified. The crash of the box resounded throughout the whole house. It hung in the air, and slowly faded back into nothing: this eerie, unnatural silence. I shot up and ran toward the doorway. My heart was pounding in my skull, and my hands were shaking violently. I needed to get out of here. I crashed through the door and ran down the stairs. Something was wrong. I could feel this silence surrounding me, pressing me in. I could feel that there was something there, something coming after me, something bad. I needed to get out of this house.

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In Thought

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photograph

Sarah Botzer


Extended Limbs, Growing Branches A compact child small enough to fit through a keyhole, peering through at the world that waxes and wanes. A restless child waiting to grow as tall as the oaks and sycamores holding her bedroom walls. Kin of the earth, spurting through the rough, callous ground like a tree with arms held open, offering the world in a single embrace. Sapling trembles with new growth, new leaves, new life. A compact child, small enough to fit into your palm she waits, looking up at the bearer of time. Counting the veins on your palm, your child dances with delight. Crawling over your limbs, feet and hand reaching towards your warm chest. Resting and listening to the rhyme your aged heart creates. The doll-sized infant you bore cradled in your arms, shaped like a basket of leaves ready to crumple and fall, wonders when time will take on her years, her arms and her pebble-sized toes. As the leaves fall from your grasping arms, your infant cries, falls, falls to the earth she knows. Hearty leaves line her limbs, extending towards the branches of trees that hold the secrets she longs for, with arms outstretched, branching up. Talia Mason

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Imagination Oh where did my imagination go? Left down inside the holes deep in the sand? To find it once again I’d like to know. Caught up within a wave, both high and low, Or was it lost inside a fort too grand? Oh where did my imagination go? I had it when I used to play in snow; I swam through chunks of ice to get to land. To find it once again I’d like to know. It had it when I started to forgo The things in life I loved and were not planned. Oh where did my imagination go? With him I work, with him I pull and row On down the stream, the water on my hand. To find him once again I’d like to know. With him I fly, the earth so far below. To us they’re specks; we soar and they just stand. Oh where did my imagination go? To find him once again I’d like to know. Evan Holliday

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Circle of Power

digital art

Sofia Geck

Abstraction

67


Untitled

68

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photograph

Emily Haislip


Untitled

ceramic

Brandon Crabtree

Abstraction

69


Unashamed I am a spectacle. Too much, too soon, I know, I know, I know. I have a collection of disapproving glances that I keep in my room. They play checkers with the monsters under my bed, You can see them if you— There I go again. Getting ahead of myself, Off to the races, but I’m the only one running. You see, the world is very narrow, And I am big and loud and care too much. I’m always going too far, One step over a line I didn’t even know was there. And I am running out of breath, out of time, out of words, I never know when to let it be but I’m guessing I passed that point ages ago by now, rushing off towards a great horizon that I never seem to find until I trip over my doubts and fall down a rabbit hole to sit and bite my lip until it bleeds, trying not to be too loud, trying not to be anything— Until one of the monsters under my bed hands me down a word: “Enough.” It is a prayer, it is a one-word love letter, and for me, a wake-up call. I get up. It’s a struggle today, and it will be a struggle always, But my doubts don’t climb up after me. And I’m off again, my one-runner race, my one-voice song, My heartbeat all the accompaniment I need. Throw caution, scorn, condescension at my back, But I am lost in the noise of our existence, I will not hear you. Say what you want. Your words will fall on ears long gone. Because the world is exciting, and everywhere, And I want to dirty my hands with its stories as much as I can. I may slip, I may stumble, I may scrape my knees on mistakes and confusion. But I will not slow down, will not be quiet. I cannot be afraid of caring. I will be too much, too soon, I know, I know, I know That I am spectacular. Alison Kronstadt

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Phoenix

sculpture

Justin Kanga

Abstraction

71


American Landscape

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photograph

Danny Rosenberg


Hummingbird

acrylic

Justin Kanga Abstraction

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Ho Chi Minh 74

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pencil drawing

Helena Mejia


Cat’s Cradle You’ve found yourself a worthy heartbreaker Now let’s play the game to see Who can fall faster Ten seconds to find out who hits the ground Winner gets to watch the pieces fly From the glassphalt, into the sky Only difference between you and I I stitch them up before they can cry And one more thing: I didn’t ask for it Colorless, grade A, 24-karat Tough as nails, with a temper to match it A heart so hard you couldn’t scratch it I loved you once, I love you still Hard to break, but harder to kill

Nika Lilley

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photograph

Icicle

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Ben Buchholz


Temmoku This is what is precious: A vision Of waking up in a tea bowl Swathed in shimmering black iron oxide Skin like inlaid mother-of-pearl Cherry blossoms And a smooth metal rim To protect every perfect Flaw This is what is precious: No bones slim waist shoulders Like the brow of an elephant Stepping downstairs sipping Sunlight with every pore every Eyelash Fingers trailing through dust That dances in front of windowpanes like Flecks of forbidden gold This is what is precious: Porcelain Words that fall from heaven Into open mouths Mornings Dreams that dance behind eyelids like Scraps of calligraphy If you find a piece of me On some unswept stretch of purple asphalt Cup it in your hands Give it a kiss Bury it in a temple You can be certain That I will come looking Because every shard is Opalescent Molly Barth

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American Insurgency

photograph

Colin Wiencek


Apathy

apathy is a blanket secure and seductive, that likes to smother whenever it can. sometimes, I feel it squeeze – choke – as it draws me tight; my heart stops cold and the color in my eyes runs down like paint.

sit sleep

Dream forever! This world is not worth it, it tells me. The starving people, with skin stretched too thin across brittle bones, do not need you. The dying earth, with mines like wounds and machines like salt, does not need you. The child downstairs, whose mother clutches needles and rejects all the rest, does not need you. They will all be fine if you just pull the covers over your face.

so I do.

my cheeks may be bright, but my eyes are so gray. Louise Gretschel

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Untitled 80

Silver Quill

photograph

Nicole Turchi


Alabastro

by Kathryn Klett I had been running vapor for two days. Sleep was a luxury I dreamed of, but I didn’t dare to do more than daydream of dreaming, except for those snatches of sleep I stole in the afternoons and early in the mornings, when I could put aside all the work I’d managed to do and be assured that someone would wake me up to force me to keep plodding on; the car ride in the dark from Walter Johnson was sheer bliss. You tease yourself, allowing yourself to drift close to the edge of unconsciousness, balancing on a blade of rest and contentment and the knowledge that it would flee once you woke up. Having seen a colleague of mine in a similar situation, I knew that I looked like Alaska warmed over, mushy and droopy and likely to dump a big cold shower of pretty much anything on you at any minute. Ice is coldest when it’s melting. And so the lights of the cars meant little to me, for I focused on the dark of oblivion for a little while and disregarded those proud, busy, arrogant cars that swished by with a rush of air like a lady’s skirts or a gentleman’s tuxedo tails. It’s when you ignore their glitter that you see what they try to hide, the terrors that are beautifully horrible of their actions, or what they can do. The dark of the road was lined with yellow, branching out from a thin grassy strip graced with pitiful saplings in this choking city and running to a point until it could break into poison drips of yellow that gleefully kept the bright white ladies from the sulking and angry men, one going one way and the other in the opposite direction. There was a lump that marred the path, however, a Abstraction

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long island with a shape like the tail of an airplane rising from one end, and my sleep-fogged mind grabbed it and the lake surrounding it on the cold dark black as we followed the busy gentlemen towards home. And then my mind registered movement, the tail of the airplane turning into the beautiful head that wobbled on its neck, trying for grace and dignity as it desperately balanced like a newborn baby who tried to stand before its time, only to find Mother’s hands pulling away from her. The long lithe body twitched and struggled against the hideous sea beneath it, writhing with such elegance for life. Deer do not make many sounds, and the only one I’ve heard has been a chuff! of danger and a high squealing note, but suddenly the deer was screaming in my head, reaching for the majesty that had always been hers, even in this filthy city that pulled the life from her as she strove to survive. “Dad!” I gasped, and fell off my knife-blade, into this poison dance of cars and light and darkness and death. The red gentlemen pulled us heartlessly forward, for drivers do not see well out of their peripheral vision when they have a daughter in the shotgun seat and need their every sense to keep them both from the poison dance of night. Dad had seen a stag once, a prince in his own right, lying as the doe in the dark, but this time with the shame of the sun upon his back and his crown, and stopped to help him. But the prince would not let him near him, even with blood spilling like jewels from his nose and from his eyes like ruby tears, and my father watched helplessly as the great prince drained out and died, fighting to the end. He had come home wrapped inwww tangible grief, and I felt my memory of his face and my idea of the lost stag reaching out and merging with the terrible scene that was still behind me, with a creature that was still alive and fighting even though she was beat, a princess – no, how dare I, a Queen – who was dying and alone and surrounded by the petty walls of the poison dance without even the sparse comfort of the familiar grass under her; not even on the diseased median of grass with sickly city trees. I tried to hold in the tears, but they streamed out of me and I let them come, a just tribute to the Queen who we could not even stop for, to pull her from the mocking asphalt that she used to fly over. How long does it take for all of the ruby tears to fall? I wondered, and wished, for the first time, for a gun for her, and silver bullets worthy of her, for she had no hope and was struggling for dignity. My father’s voice was silent, and through my tears I felt his face and body tense. Remembering the prince? The tears ran down my cheeks and merged at the center of my throat, cupping my face gently and still falling. I left them there so that I could remember her in her last throes of bravery and dignity. A thread of wild music threaded through me, softly, a beat of clapping hands, of the gypsies, the guitar music dancing in a soft but weaving melody. And then, as the rivers of tears settled in a lake at the hollow of my throat, I heard: Todo tiene su tiempo Todo en esta vida Tiene su hora y su momento

La vida es neblina que pasa deprisa 82

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Como un pensamiento Y somos como Hoja que se la lleva el viento The tears were like a necklace that surrounded my face, and I thought of the noble doe on the roadside. “You know,” I said quietly into the darkness, “the worst part is that she’s all alone.” The noble head flashed into my mind, but the flamenco music wound around it like a crown, soothing it. We turned into the forest that led to the house. “I’m sorry about the deer,” Dad said, eyes on the road. There was a short pause as I thought of the Prince and the Queen and this green, green forest. Here, there was no city. “Todo tiene su tiempo,” I said quietly, brushing at the crystals on my face. Everything has its time.

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A Routine Game of Passion by Peter Adler Asch

Descending into the worn wielded weapon of circumstance, My smooth fingertips begin to slide across the keyboard, I open, close, maximize the windows of my life. Lingering on one small screen of destiny, My fingers continue to pulse under the strobe of white lights, Illuminated no matter what level of darkness remains ambient. The sounds of the keyboard, the screen, Pervade my mind and vision for the umpteenth time, As I note the glassy appearance of my posterior window. Counting down from a clock of infinite proportions, I allow the fingers to bring about their own ascension into another dimension, The dimension of time imagined anew. As the clock strikes whatever number is still omnipresent, My fingers strike whatever keys are still awake; As the seconds and minutes draw closer to an undetermined fate. Withholding all emotion for those precious seconds of action, My fingers assume momentary command of my body and soul, And my brain, for once, does not object. The screen screams in what is undetermined to be either agony or triumph, And my fingers take the rest they have long deserved the past two minutes, I have achieved victory in the game of the fingertips.

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Reflection

acrylic

Emmy Johnson

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A Routine Game of Passion by Peter Adler Asch

Descending into the worn wielded weapon of circumstance, My smooth fingertips begin to slide across the keyboard, I open, close, maximize the windows of my life. Lingering on one small screen of destiny, My fingers continue to pulse under the strobe of white lights, Illuminated no matter what level of darkness remains ambient. The sounds of the keyboard, the screen, Pervade my mind and vision for the umpteenth time, As I note the glassy appearance of my posterior window. Counting down from a clock of infinite proportions, I allow the fingers to bring about their own ascension into another dimension, The dimension of time imagined anew. As the clock strikes whatever number is still omnipresent, My fingers strike whatever keys are still awake; As the seconds and minutes draw closer to an undetermined fate. Withholding all emotion for those precious seconds of action, My fingers assume momentary command of my body and soul, And my brain, for once, does not object. The screen screams in what is undetermined to be either agony or triumph, And my fingers take the rest they have long deserved the past two minutes, I have achieved victory in the game of the fingertips.

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Reflection

acrylic

Emmy Johnson

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Clock’s Face

by Alison Kronstadt Tick. Tick. Tick.

that clock that clock that clock—

There’s the clock again. It happens every night when I’m on the verge of sleep, the day’s thoughts drifting around my head like leaves in a wind, covering me like blankets and pulling me out of wakefulness. When. I. Hear. That. Clock. And anyone who says it goes tick, tock is a liar. I wish they weren’t. I wish that it was tick, tock, that it had an extra sounds to break the monotony of that one godforsaken syllable, sticking through my drowsiness like a spike in my skull, driving me more insane with every jerk of the little red hand—and I know what’s coming. I know because this clock has haunted me for the past ten years, because I’ve tried therapy, drugs, but the clock and its visions will not leave my head no matter what I entice them with. And I can’t bring myself to move it, or move myself, or do anything but lie here and bite my tongue to force the scream back.

I hear him. Of course it would be tonight, when it feels like I haven’t slept in three days, when my mind is empty and my heart is full. I hear him breathing. Oh, his breath was always louder than mine, his footsteps always stronger. He stands outside the door for a paralyzed moment before he shatters it with a sledgehammer stride that takes him over the threshold. So tall. Standing over my bed, he blocks out the pathetic sliver of moonlight from my window—he would block out the sun. He smiles, and I wish he would snarl. I think my body knows what he did to me, my soul knows, but they won’t tell my brain and all I can do is stare up at him and wish that he would leave or I would die, eyes ocean-wide, ribs bursting inward and outward from the pressure of the terror that’s crushing me. Clock, man, fear, me. I look around at them all, but he pulls my gaze to him when he speaks: “Sleep tight.”

Fear

is in the room...

Tonight is going to be an especially bad night. I know because the wind is humming through the crack in my window that never quite closes anymore. I know because the shadows sprawl across the ceiling, walls, floor, like they own this room and I’m just a tenant who pays them rent in fear. Fear is in the room, too, with the shadows and the wind and me. It floods my veins, lets blood become ice, makes my heart beat almost-not-quite in time with the clock, a subtle dissonance that you only notice when your eyes are wide open and panic has emptied the thoughts from your head. Tick-thump, tick-thump, tick-thump. Everything in this room is onomatopoetic, and everything is thunderous: the wind, the blanket rustling, my breathing, my heartbeat, 86

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And his voice is a bolt of lightning, a forest fire, an icicle down my spine. I try to drag my eyes away from him, look anywhere but at his face, and then I find the clock and wish I hadn’t. On its face—usually so expressionless, mechanical—I see my own, ten years younger, reflected back at me. Screaming, agonized from a night that still haunts me, a night that I can’t remember and I don’t know why and I wish I knew where this vision came from but would knowing make a difference? I look back for him, and he is gone. Looking at the clock always makes him disappear. My breathing is convulsive, my heart is racing, I am coming undone with only my reflection to watch me fall. In my head, all I can hear are questions that no one will answer. My doctor says forgetting keeps me sane, my mother says I’m lying and I do remember— she knows and she won’t tell me, why won’t


she tell me, why won’t anyone tell me when all I want to do is know?—and the clock won’t speak a language I understand. I’ve tangled myself in the sheets. Blindly, I push them away from me. Who cares about a comfort like blankets when your monsters crawl under them with you, when they climb inside your head and curl themselves to sleep around your skull? I gave up on the covers long ago. The only way to give me peace is to mute my senses, and they will not be silent. I see his face, hear his voice, smell my own fear…oh, I will not sleep tonight. The dark pins me to the bed, pins me awake and through the shrieking of my feverish imaginings I hear that clock. Tick, Tick…

Tick.

Tick.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Tick. Tick.

Tick.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

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Direction

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pencil drawing

Lena Meyerson


Light Speed

photograph

Leah Muskin-Pierret

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The Revolution Will Not Be Digitalized You will not be able to stay online, brother You will not be able to turn on, text in, and cop out You will not be able to lose yourself on Myspace or yourspace BRB to the bathroom when chat roulette gets dull Because the revolution will not be digitalized The revolution will not be digitalized The revolution will not be brought to you by Hulu In four segments with thirty second interruptions The revolution will not show you a video of Charlie biting the finger of two girls with one cup as Susan Boyle sings back up in a double rainbow. The revolution will not be digitalized. You will not be able to download the revolution onto your iPod, iPad, or iPoo’d Listen to the first thirty seconds then skip on to the next one once the chorus isn’t catchy anymore The revolution will not melt your popsicle. The revolution will not be stolen, remixed, or mashed up. The revolution will not be tweeted, because the revolution

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will not be digitalized, my facebook friend The revolution will not teach you how to dougie, jerk, or walk it out. The revolution will not have a pause button. The revolution will not shuffle for you. The revolution will not give you keys to the benz, keys to the benz because Nicki Minaj will have something better to say. Picking your funniest, most best smile profile picture will no longer be deemed a useful use of your time. There will be no photo album of all the laughter, the silliness, the good times they thought you had. Hipsters will be dead. The revolution will not be liked or disliked. You won’t be able to facebook stalk the revolution. The revolution will not be digitalized. You won’t get notifications about the revolution. You won’t need them. The revolution will not be digitalized. The revolution will not be digitalized, will not be digitalized, my facebook friend. The revolution will be real. Gabe Pollak

The revolution will be real. Abstraction

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Colophon

Silver Quill is published annually and distributed independently for $10.00 per copy. The magazine accepts submissions from all Montgomery Blair High School students, and those for the sixty-third edition of Silver Quill will be accepted beginning in March 2011. All interested students may attend staff meetings to judge submissions, which are evaluated anonymously through two rounds of review. In the first round, submissions are given a preliminary “yes” or “no” vote. Those that receive a majority of “yes” votes are reviewed by five random students who assign scores from one (low) to five (high). Pieces with the highest average scores are re-evaluated by the executive staff for inclusion in the magazine. Editors reserve the right to correct stylistic and mechanical errors and omit offensive material from published works. All image adjustments to visual art submissions are intended to preserve the integrity of the original piece. The theme Abstraction was chosen by the staff by popular vote. All spreads were designed in InDesign CS3. Visual art pieces not submitted digitally were photographed with a Nikon D300, and all art pieces were edited in Photoshop CS3. The folio was created in Illustrator CS3 with the font Engravers MT. Poetry and prose titles, authors and body text are set in Century; art titles and artists are set in Century Schoolbook Bold and Italics. Headings on the staff, editor’s note, table of contents, and colophon as well as pull quotes and spine text are set in Herculanum. Title page headings are set in Herculanum. The cover was hand-drawn by Nathan Gamson and edited in Photoshop CS3. Abstraction has two full processed color signatures and one spot color (pantone solid matte 246) throughout the magazine. The cover is full processed color and printed on glossy paper. 250 copies were printed on high-gloss paper by the Montgomery County Public Schools Print Shop. Silver Quill is financed by fundraisers, donations, and sales of previous magazines.

2010 Awards

Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association First Place with Special Distinction. Award for Poetry, First Place: Joanna McKee, “Borrowed.” Award for Hand-Drawn Illustration/Artwork, Second Place: Xinhong Qiu, “Drummer.” Award for Computer-Generated Illustration/Artwork, First Place: Jenny Zhang, “Poisonous Flower”; Second Place: Cole Turpie, “Backfire.” Award for Photography, Second Place: Colin Wiencek, “Under the Dock.” Award for Cover Design, Second Place: Jenny Zhang and Wylie Conlon. Award for Inside Page Design, First Place: Danny Rosenberg; Second Place: Jenny Zhang. Columbia Scholastic Press Assocation Gold Crown -- First Prize with Special Merit. Single illustration not based on photographic material: color, Certificate of Merit: Chenyu Zhao, “Heart of the Forest.” Photographs: Black and white or black and white and one other color, Certificate of Merit: Colin Wiencek, “From Duomo.” American Scholastic Press Assocation Most Outstanding High School Literary Arts Magazine award, First Place with Special Distinction. Award for Outstanding Art: Xinhong Qiu, “Drummer.”

Special Thanks to:

Vickie Adamson - Linda Blackbourn - Ilene Catzva - Lebanese Taverna- Herman Farrer Photography (tel:301-588-1923) - El Golfo Restaurant (tel:301-608-2121) - Carpet Bazaar (tel:301-5858888) - Takoma Bicycle (tel:301-270-0202) - Ally and Leah’s Cupcakes - Montgomery Blair High School PTSA - Pyramid Atlantic - Andrea Lamphier - Nathan Gamson - The English Department - Joseph Fanning - Michele Gross - Julie Farrar - Annette Florin - All artists who donated and performed for the March 5th arts fundraiser. 92

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Abstraction  

2010/2011 Publication of Silver Quill

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