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MARQUE VOL. 52

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The Marque

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Remarks from the Headmaster

THE DEDICATEE

Arnold E. Holtberg April 1, 2014

In thinking back over the past twenty-one years, I feel good about the tone we have set, including our uncompromising commitment to the intellectual life. As a boy and young man, I was fortunate to be guided, motivated, stimulated, and even prodded by some wonderful teachers who opened metaphorical doors for me every step of the way. These caring instructors caused me to explore literature, ideas, and experiences that expanded me as an individual and helped me to see the world as a kaleidoscopic place where every day could be brilliant. My high-school educated mother caused me, my brother, and my sister to appreciate the written word. She required us to read during vacations and even asked us to write papers reflecting on what we had read. We were given a great deal of latitude in what we chose to tackle, and it was clear that we were to avail ourselves of works of literature that would cause us to think hard about the meaning of life. I recall my reading nineteenth-century Russian drama for pleasure during my tenth-grade year, an effort which went well beyond classroom requirements. In my senior year of high school, my English teacher allowed me, even encouraged me, to read from John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Areopagitica. I still don’t fully comprehend why I was impelled to read these works, but I do know that I grew immeasurably by attempting to digest and understand what was so very challenging to me. And so, with this as a backdrop, I can attest to the fact that the quality and qualities of The Marque fit neatly into my worldview and hopes for students. The prose, the poetry, the photography, the design of this wonderful and acclaimed publication play an important role in the life of St. Mark’s School of Texas. I marvel at the creativity and intelligence represented by every work that appears in The Marque year in and year out. I value pushing boundaries aesthetically and intellectually, and those who contribute to The Marque prompt us to think differently about this world and our experience together. It is often said that that which is worthwhile should not be easy. The Marque requires us to think deeply and carefully about its contents. We are challenged to make and find meaning. We are prompted to examine what the life well-lived truly means. During this my final year as Headmaster, I have frequently been asked what I will miss most. Certainly, the people associated with this outstanding institution at 10600 Preston Road come to mind first. However, the intellectual stimulation of being in this community on a daily basis is something that I will regret losing. I have often said that our greatest accomplishment over the past two decades has been that we have stayed true to our mission and have kept our boys at the center of it all. Much has changed, yet so much at the core remains constant. As we say in our Statement of Purpose, “Teachers work to instill an enthusiasm for learning, to encourage independent and critical judgment, and to demonstrate the methods for making sound inquiries and effective communication.” As I prepare to walk off the stage at Commencement with the Class of 2014, I am reminded of the last stanza of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”: If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you will be a man, my son!

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CONTENTS Remarks from the Headmaster

Arnold E. Holtberg

Dedication

44

2 2-3

Enlightenment

Halbert Bai

51

Calligraphy Maze

Mason Smith

52

Do You Believe in God?

Michael Perkins

53

Breakthrough

Conner Olson

54

Circular

Alex Enthoven

54

Entropy

James Zhang

55

Bullseye

Cameron Baxley

55

Hexagonal

Daniel Wechsler

55

Gardening Glove

Jonathan Ng

56-57

“No One Knows”

Cole Gerthoffer

58-59

Ocular

Kellam Hall

60

Transcendence

Halbert Bai

60

Daybreak

Adam Merchant

61

Picnic

Reid Stein

61

Lakeside

Adam Merchant

61

Ethereal

Mason Smith

62

The Day of Good Fortune

Victor Zhou

62-65

The Surveyor

Mason Smith

65

Fire and Ice

Michael Perkins

66-67

David Brown

68

Solo

Kobi Naseck

6-7

Ode to Perfect Tears

Stuart Montgomery

8

Drowning

Tim O’ Meara

9

Golden Minds

Purujit Chatterjee

10-11

Auroral Trek

Kunal Dixit

10

Journey

Kunal Dixit

11

Signature

Gopal Raman

12-13

False Color

Mason Smith

12-13

Unclean

David Brown

14

Walden

Nick Brodsky

15

Awakening

William Shin

16-17

Mother Teresa

Purujit Chatterjee

18

Hayley Williams

Purujit Chatterjee

19

Orange Tea

Luke Williams

20

Serenity

Halbert Bai

20-21

Ceramics Showcase

William Kysor

22-23

On the Death of a Cat Whose Life I Think Mattered Very Little

Mirror

Mason Smith

24

If

Mason Smith

69

Lily

Aarohan Burma

25

Spy

Gopal Raman

70

Film Showcase

Kunal Dixit

26-27

Spark

Charlie O’Brien

71

Amazon

Nabeel Muscatwalla

28-29

Drapery Study 1

Zuyva Sevilla

72

Redemption

Nabeel Muscatwalla

29

Drapery Study 2

Joon Park

73

The Hymn of the Jester

Chirag Gokani

30

Drapery Study 3

Matthew Dominguez

73

The Journeys of the Juggling Jester

Vishal Gokani

31-34

Drapery Study 4

Shailen Parmer

73

Hands

Mason Smith

32-33

Drapery Study 5

Grayson Gallagher

73

The Jester

Halbert Bai

35

Dream Girl

Richard McCants

74

Fly

Gopal Raman

36-37

Rachel

Nick Brodsky

75

Hive Mind

Andrew Chuka

38-39

Into the Breeze

Vishal Gokani

76-77

The Golden City

Jonathan Ng

38-39

Snow Rock

Adam Merchant

76-77

Missed Supper

Daniel Wechsler

40-41

Yosemite Falls

Halbert Bai

78

Tree Silhoutte

Adam Merchant

40-41

Creation

Gopal Raman

79

Lights

Drew Baxley

42-43

Decay

Nick Brodsky

80-81

The Spider

Henry Goldberg

43

La Bofetada

Tony Garcia

81

Lana Del Ray

Will Garden

44

The Child Who Follows Me

Brent Weisberg

82

Durga

Purujit Chatterjee

44

Nostalgia

Charlie O’Brien

82-83

Faces

Miguel Plascencia

45

Finding Autumn

Jonathan Ng

84-85

Ivory Death

Jonathan Ng

46-47

Autumn Leaves

Adam Merchant

84-85

Journey

Halbert Bai

48

The Mind

Halbert Bai

86-87

One

Halbert Bai

49-50

Thinking on a Beach

Brent Weisberg

87

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Solo Kobi Naseck / Senior

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A Literary Festival Winner in Non-Fiction

don’t treasure many things. I have a few favorite t-shirts, books, and dishes that my mother and father will make for dinner, but I’m not one to become attached to commodities or objects. That reserved asceticism hasn’t always been the case, though. Dare I admit there was a time when I would cringe at the thought of not showering before going to bed or lament not having access to a computer for a weekend? To say that I am completely removed from any material desire is a lie, but at least I can say that I have learned to value what matters to me most. One thing that I do treasure is a sunset. I remember many things about my twenty-fourhour solo in the wilderness, but something that I distinctly recall is regretting that I had never before taken the time to watch every degree and shade of a sunset fall through the sky. The solo is the apotheosis of a week-long, school-sponsored campout in Pecos, New Mexico. As a lanky rising freshman, I expected that my greatest strength would be my mental resolve. In the untamed wilds of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a subrange of the Rockies, I knew I could rely on realism and sound judgment to carry me through the week. I carried only two water bottles, a sleeping bag, a tarp, some string, a pencil, and a small journal. After hiking out to a secluded area barely shouting distance from our campsite, I felt a cold anxiety creep into my hands. As I set up my elemental shelter, I impetuously contemplated the necessity of the solo. Though it was cited as a transformative experience, I believed that the Pecos Trip would be complete without it. It wasn’t until dusk, a time I had never been aware of, that I began to appreciate having moments to myself. The afternoon culminated over a flat rock

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ledge, my pencil furiously trekking its own jagged path across the pages of my journal. The sky reflected the fires in my mind and presented the most violent orange any cloud had ever seen, but for some time I sat with my head down, oblivious to the breathtaking contrast above me. Not until I had liberated every last criticism and proclaimed every entitlement did I finally glance upward and marvel at the lurid but stirring horizon. Struck by both the simplicity and singular occurrence of the sunset, I spent the rest of the night questioning why I had never made time for one before. Snug in my sleeping bag, I stared down the last bit of nature’s formidable rebuttal until the sky resumed its usual nighttime hues in a dramatic fade to black. This past August, I returned to the Pecos as a Sherpa, a student guide. I started packing for the trip, saw “journal” listed under “optional,” and began my search. It lay buried under other textbooks and notebooks from my classes; the dirt-smudged pages made it easy to spot under the perfectly cut corners of paperback novels I had enjoyed my freshman year. So I took a break and opened the small notebook, smiling at its contents before looking for a half-used notebook to take on my second Pecos. Of course, the excursion proved to be dynamically different with a whole new group of freshmen, some eager and some not. Despite the differences in their experience and my first Pecos, however, they all found that the solo is about self-reflection. It’s a time to listen to silence, a time to grin at a flamboyant caterpillar, a time to question, to say, “what next?” It’s a rite of passage that gave me the confidence of knowing I can always simplify. In one day, the solo freed the dormant gratitude and generosity within me, and I am still reminded of that transition daily by my journal. I also treasure that journal.

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Ode to Perfect Tears Stuart Montgomery / Junior What A stunningly Romantic thing is it to Cry, to be overpowered so Totally and completely by Emotion such as this, So pure.

Such A beautiful Spectacle of life Is the falling tear as it Descends from eyes rimmed With cold fire. Perfect in form Yet itself the result of some Imperfection. It Is perhaps The best example Of what it is to be human. A confused, unruly, overriding Mess of biological responses whose Utility has long since faded, now Incarnate as the choking desire To run, to hide, to die.

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Drowning Tim O’ Meara / Sophomore 99


AURORAL TREK Kunal Dixit / Junior

GOLDEN MINDS

“Olympus is but the outside of the earth every where.”

Purujit Chatterjee / Junior

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he paradise I had hoped to find was instead a hellish sight of devastation. All the exaggerated tales of the motherland’s magnificence had proved utterly false. That fantasy of a beautiful land with vibrant culture and joy was a lie. It was no more than a putrid, drab town that held the entire world’s filth, festering in the scorching heat and erratic storms. There was nothing pleasant to see; it was monochromatic in every direction. Kolkata, India, poisoned the mind. We had flown sixteen hours from Dallas to this, the dirty grounds from which my roots had sprouted. Sluggishly waking from a road nap, I arrived with my family at a towering building, a structure whose discolored paint was crumbling and unsightly. At the highest level of the winding stairs, I limply knocked on a door behind a gate, across from which appeared my grandmother, a peaceful, old woman who eagerly welcomed us with a beaming smile. In her small home, I could imagine few things that could entertain me, but as I wandered in boredom, I soon stumbled upon a narrow, dark closet, a crypt that snatched my young mind’s fear. In the shadows, I could make out several figurines,

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— Henry David Thoreau

metallic but dulled. They were human, but not. Instead of two arms, one statuette had ten. In the place of a forehead watched a third, vigilant eye. And in its intimidating stance, the central figure boasted its invincibility, and its ruthlessness. Behind these disturbing figures stood two darkened photos. One portrayed a bareheaded old man with wide, intense, bespectacled eyes and a heavy mustache. Another depicted an ominous figure with a stern face, thick jaw, and tall hair, a man whom it might be unwise to cross. That dark night, the figures and images from the shady closet fed my nightmares as I slept. I woke to a gray sky. We had planned to visit the sacred Ganges River this day. As we roamed the morning streets, the disorderly nature of the city became apparent. Our rickety rickshaw squeezed through unruly cars whose impatient drivers had no regard for the road lines, simply honking frequently to signal their positions. The air was polluted brown, and the ground was puddled with the urine of men who had not cared to release it in a decent place out of public view. As the dark clouds began to pour, the yellowish pools streamed through the uneven roads. And the water of the sacred Ganges looked no

cleaner. The filth of the city flowed directly into the river. Brown and murky, the Ganges, this symbol of life and spirit, disgusted me. I was appalled that poor people in meager, ragged clothes lowered their quivering cupped hands into the filthy water and channeled it into their desirous mouths. They then jumped into the brown and bathed, splashing onto their bodies whatever was suspended in the polluted river. I turned in disgust. It was then that my grandmother insisted that there was more within the river than the filth that obviously appeared at the surface. She had told me many times that the Ganges had helped to shape our history, culture, and family. I had heard tales of my grandfather swimming through the harsh river to discover strength. It was as much a symbol of our heritage as our family. As the piercing rain let up, I walked slowly down the smooth steps to the bank, where the white stone met the murky water, and reluctantly lowered my hands, ascending then with a pristine water. Brilliant rays cracked the black clouds. As the final droplets cast their ripples, the world changed. Its basin had provided a home to millions of poor. But only to those who were poor in material wealth, while rich in their outlook of the world. Even in such a dreadful place, they could imagine a godly home, with ambrosial waters and divine euphoria. My eyes returned to those bathing in the river; no doubt impeded their actions; no despair dimmed their eyes. The Ganges gave them everything they needed for survival. It was their Olympus. The road back was an ascent through paradise. The monochromatic scenes now burst with color and life. Vibrant saris draped the women who painted the streets

with their magnificence. Warm arrays of lentils, seeds, and vegetables lined the markets like a spectrum of light. And as the summer sky began to peek through the gray smog that cloaked the lands, the golden sun shone upon the City of Joy. Our white apartment radiated in the sunlight. In the central room, the figurine closet once again drew my attention. The closet was deeper than I had previously imagined. In the darkness, I could hardly distinguish basic forms, but in the light, all became clear. I had seen pictures of the figures before. They were the Hindu gods. Every Indian household had a room dedicated to them, inspiring imagination of a divine home. I could now even recognize the portraits behind. The wide-eyed, bald man was India’s most esteemed idol, Mahatma Gandhi. I had seen the stern-faced man portrayed next to Gandhi’s photo only once, but tales of a heroic naval captain who had shaped the future of my family were not unfamiliar to me. What I had previously thought to be a mountain of hair was actually a captain’s hat; this man was my grandfather. My grandmother lived among the gods and heroes in a land of devastation. The brown world was a golden paradise. What lay on the surface of the land paled in comparison to the wealth that lay within. The people of India did not burden themselves with physical values, for there was no wealth to be found there. They enriched themselves with a perception of the world as a loving home, Olympus, devoted to the thriving of each of its members. The Ganges River glistened with the light of the Heavens. Kolkata was a jewel of the world. The gods rejoiced in India.

JOURNEY Kunal Dixit / Junior 1111


ethereal blue flames lick the soul from the body on the lofty funeral pyre.

SIGNATUre GOPAL RAMAN / FRESHMAN

is the soul just a smoky spirit spilling out of a cigarette butt?

moonlight spilled like milk on bourbon rings of that forgotten mahogany porch.

the sun will loop around on its eternal eclipse, until time no longer ticks. but the sky’s tint will never be the same.

The sun smiled at the work it had done, at the life it had birthed. and with one fleeting glance, all was scorched.

this evolving fate will always be underway, and our own destinies are set to follow. we will each paint our own portraits, but all in death’s latticed frame.

why do peace and order live by the staccato heartbeat of the clock?

and always sign your name.

black shrouds crowd around, and the melancholy rain pit-patters on the wheezing fire

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False Color MASON SMITH / JUNIOR

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David Brown / Faculty My brother-in-law has taken me through his farm, and I have managed well enough. But when we step into the hog house, the sun hangs back and hot blackness slaps my face, stealing sight— stench reaches to my lungs, stopping my breath. My eyes, reconciled to darkness, focus on the gloom of pigs huddled in pens on either side of a center aisle down which we walk. Jim points to an outcast boar. Then I see the baseball-sized cyst riding its rump. Smiling, Jim pulls out his knife: “Time to show ya’ some farm surgery.” He hops the fence and kicks at squealing pigs who trot on stiff, stubby legs to the opposite side where they cluster, grunting. My brother-in-law corners the hog and with one swipe lances the pouch, and then, pinning the pig against the wall with his body’s weight, forces the sea-green juice from its sac with the blade. The other swine scream their delight as they lap the poison from the floor and lick their brother’s wound clean. Jim’s sidelong glance catches my guarded front. At the door he holds the blade against his leg and leaves a viscid trail behind. I swallow, measuring his face, a trickle of sweat cutting its path down his dusty jaw, his lips parting, his tongue taking the salty drop. I push past him through the door, losing sight again. Jim follows me out into the day— a wind airing his stain, the sun a ballast at my head.

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Walden NICK BRODSKY / SENIOR 1515


awakening william shin / Senior

D O W N the dark, empty hallway he led her by the hand towards the crimson door that guarded the room in which they would sleep for the night. As he groped the edge of the tattered door to find the lock, she gently placed a kiss on his neck and the keys in his hands. And though he did not know her name nor did she his, they felt a rush of wild and passionate love for each other that overwhelmed all thought and emotion. With a twist of his wrist, he flung the door open, and the couple walked over the threshold, arm in arm, into the dimly lit room. He swiftly guided her to bed and pulled the cover over their heads. And as they lay in an embrace with a loving gaze in their eyes, a soft wind ruffled the sheets and lulled them to sleep. The sound of the alarm clock resounded through the room, announcing the time: 8 a.m. Rene mechanically scanned the room and realized that the room was mostly empty; only a bed and a sink occupied the oth-

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erwise barren space. Not much light entered the room either; the only light came from the reflection of the sun on the windows of the building facing him. Another hour passed in silence until he noticed the female, probably in her twenties, lying beside him on the bed, lightly caressing his smooth back. He shook her off and got out of bed to put on his clothes. After he finished changing, he opened his wallet, and, with great reluctance, took out five one-hundred dollar bills. He picked up the girl’s pants, which were lying on the floor, and placed the bills in the front pocket. Then he gathered his belongings and left the room without another look back. The night had cost him more than five hundred dollars, not including the cost of the room. Rene took the taxi down Gabriel Avenue and reached St. John’s hospital just in time for his appointment at 10 a.m. He preferred the Metro because it was cheaper, but he couldn’t afford to miss another checkup.

As soon as he stepped out of the taxi, he sprinted toward the east entrance of the building. As usual, he walked past the sliding doors, greeted the old, Jewish doorman, marched down the left corridor, arrived at the service counter, and checked in for his 10 a.m. appointment, all within the span of sixty seconds. He was an efficient person; he could not stand to waste a single moment of his life. The doctor entered the examination room with his usual, rigid smile and clipboard. After quickly glancing at a sheet of paper, the doctor sat down and asked the usual questions. “Are you feeling well?” “Are you eating well?” After the long interrogation, the doctor handed him the usual slip of paper, and he received it with trembling hands. “Four days,” it read. And as usual, fear clouded his mind, and he gave out a long sigh as he left the examination room; he had not realized that he had so little time left. He remembered the first slip of paper the doctor

had given him; it had read, “Five hundred days.” He had not thought about whether or not it would be a good thing to know the exact time he had left to live. The doctor had given him a choice; a new technology allowing patients with fatal genetic mutations to determine the exact number of days they had left until the mutation shutting down their vital organs had developed. Rene asked to know, and he was told that he had less than two years left to live. On that day, he had decided to make those five hundred days meaningful and fulfilling by seeking pleasure and happiness. Certainly, he had succeeded in experiencing pleasure, but all of it had been meaningless. The Train à Grande Vitesse left the St. Paul station at noon the next morning and arrived at Thoiry, Ain exactly twenty-four minutes after seven. Twenty years had passed since his last visit to Thoiry, but nothing in his home town had changed. The flower shop, the old church, the brick-walled high school, the court building: they all remained unchanged. Even his family’s old, abandoned home in the outskirts of town was the same. The town had an inherent preserving quality, and all that was in this little town was neither destroyed nor forgotten. Most importantly, there was a mystical mountain at the edge of this town, and legend had it that a lake containing the water of life was at the mountain’s summit. According to the legend, a sip of the water of life could make any human being immortal, and Rene sought to attain health and immortality; only then could he continue his search for meaning and purpose. Early the next morning, Rene hiked to the base of the mountain and began his long trek to the summit. He had nothing with him but an empty backpack, a walking stick, a flashlight to guide him, and a bottle of water to sustain him. After hours

of walking, day turned into night, and Rene had no place to stay, no food to eat, no more water to drink, and no sense of direction. But despite hunger and fear, Rene hiked further up the mountain until a faint yellow light appeared in the distance. As he got closer to the yellow light, a small farmhouse became visible on the side of the mountain, and Rene hurried toward the light. A lanky man with a shaggy beard answered the door when Rene knocked on the door of the farmhouse. His name was Salvatore, and he was a shepherd. “Who might be knocking at my door at this time of night?” inquired the man. “My name is Rene, and I have lost my way,” answered Rene. “Well, I welcome you in. Call me Salvatore,” greeted the man. “For what purpose are you wandering this dangerous mountain?” asked the man. “I am searching for the water of life.” replied Rene. With an eager look, Salvatore urged Rene inside and guided him into his kitchen. Salvatore took out a loaf of unleavened bread from the oven, cut some cheese onto a plate, and poured out drinks into two clear cups. Then, Salvatore broke the loaf of bread into two pieces and handed a piece to Rene. After their plates filled with bread, cheese, and wine, Salvatore said a quick prayer, and they devoured the food. And though the meal consisted only of bread and cheese, they feasted together. Afterwards, Salvatore provided Rene with a place to sleep, and Rene went to bed in peace. As Rene prepared to leave for the last segment of his journey, Salvatore gave Rene the secret to successfully finding the water of life. “If you desire to find the water of life, you must carry twenty large, smooth stones in your backpack and empty them into the pool of

After hours of walking, day turned into night, and Rene had no place to stay, no food to eat, no more water to drink, and no sense of direction. water at the top of the mountain.” With those words, Salvatore guided Rene to the door, and Rene stepped back onto the mountain. And remembering Salvatore’s words, Rene placed twenty smooth, large stones in his backpack and resumed his trek up the mountain. Though Rene was determined to reach the summit, he did not get very far with the stones dragging him down. The more he moved, the heavier the rocks felt. He trudged on using all his strength, but he soon reached his limit; he could no longer bear the entire burden alone. In order to reach the summit, Rene had to take a stone from his backpack every time he felt he could not move on. And by the time he reached the lake on the mountaintop, not a single stone was left in his backpack. With empty hands, Rene approached the pool of water and drank from it. And though the water was pure, it was not the water of life. For a moment, he burned with anger at Salvatore for giving him false hope. How could someone carry the weight of all twenty stones to the top of the mountain alone? He had been given an impossible task, and now he was doomed to die. The last moments of his life had been wasted on a couple of rocks; there was nothing more he could do. But with that realization came relief, and he stopped trying to impose his own meaning on life, surrendering to his fate. He took off his ragged clothes and entered the pool. And as he immersed himself in the water, he took one final look at the sky and saw the heavens open.

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1818

mother teresa

hayley williams

Purujit Chatterjee / Junior

Purujit Chatterjee / Junior

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orange tea Luke Williams / senior

The orange tea sips and smells of honey. We talk and don’t talk, It matters very little, we say nothing either way. The orange tea sips and smells of nothing. The chipped china, we laugh, Women in white hate with pink ribbons Lounge on the breeze and caress seamless streamers. The orange tea sips and smells of vanilla. The pinwheel blows in long rainbows flow, Reds and blues, blues and reds A Chardonnay pours in pinwheels, Yawns poured in lethargic balloons filled to the top. The orange tea sips, it does not taste.

serenity Halbert Bai / SENIOR

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William Kysor / Faculty

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lily A lily floats daintily upon the pristine surface, tendrils pushing downward into the clear blue below. Bubbles gather around the roots like children circling a campfire, children roasting marshmallows and telling stories of times long gone. The iridescent surfaces of the bubbles shimmer in the morning sun, reflecting the world around them, a world close, yet out of reach, separated by a barrier of millions of molecules. These bubbles tell stories too, but their stories are ephemeral, dissipating into nothingness with every change in the current. A guppy darts nervously through the vegetation, the black pinpricks of his eyes reflected a thousand times around him, creating some Chthonian monster, death intertwined with beauty. Petals extend toward the sky like a man’s hands reaching toward God, Yearning, striving for light and wisdom, knowledge and nutrition. But as the clouds pass on by like desolate ships on the open sea, As the seasons change, as the colors fade, the petals shrivel into nothingness and go back to where they came from. The clear blue turns into murky brown, and only the memory remains.

Mirror MASON SMITH / junior

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aarohan burma / senior

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Film showcase Kunal Dixit / Junior

Final Take

On the Road

India: A Portrait

Spark / Official SXSW selection 26 26

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N abeel mus cat wal l a / S en ior

Redemption Nabeel muscatwalla / Senior

As the sun scratches its way through the clouds one winter day, raindrops dive through the sky. They drown one stalk of shrubbery for each breath of life they gather through their hydrogen tanks, and each pool of sedimentary fluid is a reef to be explored. Crushed leaves now even less than simple residue from warmer times are specks of crackling coral and dull seaweed, and the earthworm, whose impeccable timing left him caught in the storm, is now the forgotten corpse of an eel. But nearby, a leaky waterspout casts heavy drops onto the dead pool like a bomber pilot, and each ripple is an explosion of earth and soil. Every semblance of life is drowned with every destructive force, so that not even the toughest of the small creatures can resist its hand. Unless, of course, the creature is a lone spider on his way up the water spout, away from the rain at last, and out to clear his family's name.

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The Hymn of the Jester

Chirag Gokani / Freshman

Vishal Gokani / Senior

Musical Composition

A Literary Festival Winner in Fiction

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The JourneyS of the Juggling Jester

T

he stranger arrived at noon, riding a dark horse, wearing a cloak, and carrying a wooden bucket. He squinted at the town’s wobbly wooden houses, which huddled in a cluster like sheep, surrounded by the lush, verdant hills of the majestic European countryside. In the middle of the cluster stood a stone bell tower. As the stranger rode, he yelled into the dusty streets. “I’m going to juggle flames as I jump off the bell tower!” A murmur went through the town. Children came running to the marketplace, where the bell tower stood shakily. The stranger twitched his lip at the wobbly structure, which seemed ready to crumble. The townspeople crowded around him as he dismounted in the tower’s shadow. Some residents emerged from their kitchens carrying spoiled tomatoes and rotten eggs, which often came in handy when fools arrived in town. As the audience quieted, the stranger whipped off his cloak. He wore striped pants and a loose redand-green shirt. His bald, brown scalp glistened with sweat while he scratched his thick, pitch-black beard, which grew wildly. The stranger looked into the audience with his black eyes, waiting to see some hint of recognition. The townspeople stared back. One man seemed ready to hurl a rotten egg. With a sigh, the stranger rolled his eyes, reached into his satchel, and donned a ridiculous green, nine-pointed hat with tinkling bells. A gasp went through the crowd. “It’s Jester,” a golden-haired, wideeyed girl whispered from the front row. “Yes,” the entertainer whispered

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back, twitching his right eye as he removed nine colored balls from a satchel. He placed his bucket in front of him. “I am the legend, the greatest entertainer in this land. Now, if only you geniuses could recognize my face...” Jester threw a ball high into the air. The silent crowd followed its parabolic path as it rose high above the bell tower, froze at its apex, and plummeted down. Just as he caught it, he started to juggle a mesmerizing nineball cascade pattern and filled the air with balls, clubs, and rings. Then, he donned a belt covered in worn Arabic inscriptions with a dozen sheathed knives strapped to it. He removed the juggling knives and tossed them into perfect arcs. The children squealed in delight while their parents gaped in awe. A band of travelling marketplace entertainers, wild wanderers who flaunted their insanity to earn a living, had found Jester as an abandoned baby on a riverbank, sleeping on his satchel of juggling equipment. They had raised Jester and named him when they saw his juggling talent. As a teenager, Jester had left the entertainers to set out as a solo performer, yearning to earn a place among the legends. He became known as the wildest of the wandering performers, the bearded maniac with Middle Eastern features who wore a nine-pointed hat and concluded his shows by leaping from high places. As Jester neared his finale, he glanced through the cascade of spinning rings and saw two soldiers glaring at him from the outskirts of the crowd. Jester twitched his upper

lip at the men, who wore the chainmail armor of the king’s armies. Frowning uneasily, Jester leapt onto a cart of hay, slid the rings into his satchel one by one, and pulled out five torches. “Here is the moment you have all been waiting for,” he called out, glancing up at the bell tower. He struck a juggling knife against a piece of flint, ignited the torches, and hurled them into the air. As the crowd gazed at the soaring flames, Jester nudged the wooden bucket toward the crowd with his foot. “Now before my grand finale, if you’ll please…” He didn’t need to ask twice. Coins poured out of pockets and into the bucket. The hypnotized audience couldn’t even look away from the spinning flames. When the wide-eyed girl placed the nearly full bucket at Jester’s feet, he took a deep breath, shot a nervous glance toward the soldiers, and nudged the bucket toward his horse. Then he snagged the torches, stuffed them into his satchel, grabbed the bucket, leapt onto the horse, and galloped for his life. The crowd took a moment to respond. Outraged, they hurled their spoiled food at his retreating figure, screamed insults, and ran into the streets to give pursuit. The soldiers stared for a moment and then sprinted for their horses. Startled by the sudden commotion, Jester’s dark horse veered around corners and galloped through the streets in panic. “You’d better know where you’re headed,” Jester said, clutching the reins. After a moment, the terrified, wide-eyed horse pranced back into the marketplace. “You thickhead,” Jester whispered into his horse’s ear.

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hands Mason Smith / Junior Several children remained in the square, left behind by the mob of angry adults. Jester yanked on the reins and stopped before the wide-eyed little girl, whose lips quivered. “You promised to jump off the bell tower,” she said. Jester glanced around nervously. “I’d love to perform my grand finale,” he said, “but I have reason to believe that I am in danger here. I must be gone.” “But you promised,” she said in small voice. “You’re Jester.” With their grimy faces, bare feet, and tattered clothes, the children looked up at him, wide-eyed and admiring. The girl’s eyes filled with tears. A minute later, Jester stood atop the bell tower, juggling five torches. The structure shook under him. The town’s children stood quietly at the base of the tower, gazing up at the flames. Jester secured his ridiculous hat with a knot, took a deep breath, eyed the cart of hay below him, and leapt. The children gasped as he fell. The torches floated in front of his face, staying in the perfectly symmetrical juggling pattern that looked like an infinity sign. He felt a great sense of wonder at the endless figure-eight pattern, which continued even in free fall. Awed, he landed in the thick stack of hay. The speechless children stared. “Thank you for respecting the

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performer,” Jester groaned, “unlike your parents.” He staggered out of the cart, struggled onto his horse, and veered into the nearest street. Jester’s horse skidded to a stop. The king’s soldiers blocked the path with their sparkling, ribbon-covered horses. They wore ornate metallic helmets that covered their faces and hid their features. One of them seemed as small as the children in Jester’s shows, wearing armor that clinked whenever he moved, while the other sat like a massive gorilla on his horse, which groaned miserably under the weight. “Halt,” the small soldier said in a surprisingly authoritative, deeply resonating voice. “I’ve halted,” Jester murmured, still sluggish from the fall. “I’m impressed by the command in your voice. I’ve always believed the king’s men should have deeply majestic voices. I’d imagine this fellow here has a voice that trumps even yours,” Jester said, twitching his lip at the ape-sized monster. “His Majesty orders your presence in his royal castle by sunset,” the massive soldier said in a high-pitched squeal, his voice cracking. Jester started to laugh at the monster’s lack of authority but immediately pursed his lips when the tiny man spoke. “The Mudmen shall attack the castle at dawn,” the small soldier said curtly in a resonating voice. “His Maj-

esty has a task for you and will deliver further commands.” Jester frowned. The Mudmen lived like savages in the murky swamps of the bordering kingdom. The brutes yearned to expand their borders by terrorizing their neighbors. Jester wanted nothing to do with them — or with the king. “I refuse,” he said. The soldiers gaped. “You must be insane,” the massive soldier shrieked, his voice reaching octaves so high that even violinists could not reach them. “I just leapt off a bell tower with flaming torches,” Jester said, covering his ears and gritting his teeth at the high pitch. “Of course I’m insane. I take orders from no one. I choose the life of freedom in the countryside.” The deep-voiced, tiny soldier snarled in rage. “We don’t have time for this madness,” he bellowed. “The fool will come with us. Now.” The gorilla-sized soldier knocked Jester on the head with a massive Neanderthal fist, and everything went black. * * * The breeze swept up the sand, which struck Jester’s closed eyelids and lips. He raised his head and squinted in the brightness. Thousands of sand dunes surrounded him in every direction. On the horizon, several faraway pyramids stood together, glowing under the fiery sun.

Even the sandy haze could not diminish their brilliance. A robed, turbaned man with a thick, black beard stood above Jester with his hands on his hips. Jester staggered to his feet, froze at the sight of the stranger, and twitched his eye. “You look like me,” he said. The robed man shook his head, his pitch-black beard waving back and forth. “Rather,” he said softly in a Middle Eastern accent, “you look like me.” Jester cocked his head and looked at the stranger for a moment. “Well, it’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose,” Jester said uncertainly, clearing his throat. He remembered the Mudmen invasion and squinted at the stranger, shielding his eyes with his hand. “That rapscallion on the throne sent me to a desert? Has he gone mad?” “Rather,” the stranger said, his black eyes squinting back, “you have.” Jester dropped his hand in frustration. “Tell me something I don’t know.” The man took two strides toward Jester and said, “Now we’re getting somewhere.” Jester’s eyes widened as the man opened his robe, revealing a belt with a dozen knives fastened to it. “I made this belt,” the stranger said, lowering his voice to a whisper. “In ancient times, long before jugglers

roamed the land, I served in the pharaoh’s army. I learned to juggle these knives in secret. When our enemy crossed the desert on camels and invaded our kingdom, I stood before their advancing ranks and juggled these knives. The enemy had never seen the art of juggling and fled in terror.” “You’re the legend, the Egyptian who discovered juggling,” Jester breathed. “This belt passed to my descendants, who traveled to faraway kingdoms and juggled these knives in war, leading their enemies to panic,” the ancient juggler said. “However, over the centuries, jugglers lost respect and became mere fools and entertainers, easy targets for savages such as Mudmen.” The robed man shook his head in frustration. “Mudmen ambushed your parents beside a river and left you with your parents’ satchel of juggling equipment, which included the belt. You are my descendant.” The brightness of the desert overcame Jester, who fell backwards into the sand. “You belong to a legacy of juggling warriors,” the ancient juggler said as Jester sank into the sand. “Return jugglers to their days of glory. Live up to your predecessors.” * * * As the sunlight soared over the royal castle walls and through

the grimy granary windows, Jester cracked his eyes open. Holding a spear, a short soldier stood at a bolted door. The soldier looked down at Jester, scratched his adolescent, emerging facial hair, and spoke in a scratchy, teenage voice. “I thought you would never awaken.” Jester sat up and looked around. Hundreds of children had risen from the dusty floor, rubbed sleep from their eyes, and started to wander around the gloomy, labyrinthine building. They played on grimy wooden hoists, platforms, and mills, inhaling the dusty, gritty air that dirtied the golden sunlight, giving the soaring sunbeams a nasty, grainy tinge of brown. “The Mudmen attacked at dawn,” the young soldier said, adjusting his wobbly, excessively large helmet as he handed Jester his satchel. “His Majesty wishes for you to entertain the children, taking their minds off the battle that their parents fight. His Majesty has heard of your gracious heart and implores you, the greatest entertainer of this land, to ease the burden of war on the children of the castle.” “Sure,” Jester murmured. “That monkey on the throne sure knows how to flatter the people he needs.” Wearing ragged clothes and rubbing their dirt-crusted faces, a dozen curious children approached Jester. In

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spite of their unkempt appearance, they looked up at Jester with eyes that shone brighter than the stars and glistened in the morning light. As the children looked curiously at the satchel, Jester let his cynical thoughts about the king slip away. “Good morning,” Jester said pleasantly, opening his satchel and pulling out his nine-pronged hat. It jingled as he settled it onto his head. Smiles of recognition appeared on little faces around the room. A toddler pointed with a chubby finger and smiled. “You’re Jester,” the boy said. “I am,” Jester said. “Would you like to see the world from Jester’s perspective?” More children crowded around as Jester raised the toddler to ride on his shoulders and juggled three colorful balls. The wide-eyed boy watched the cascade, mesmerized. All day, Jester performed tricks with clubs and torches as he leapt on wooden platforms and swung from ropes attached to the hoists. The crowd of children grew and followed him as he flew and pranced around the dark, dusty building. When the sun fell, Jester strapped on the belt of knives and juggled the glinting metal in the dying light. While Jester displayed a three-knife under-the-leg routine, the bolted door crashed open with a resounding boom in the gloomy granary. Jester looked through the pattern of soaring knives and saw the soldier lying under the door, which had fallen from its hinges. In the entrance stood the Mudmen ruler. The massive warrior squeezed through the entrance, wearing the dark, soggy bark of marshy trees and a crocodile skull as a crown. With horror, Jester saw that the slime-covered ruler left a dripping residue of swampy waste behind him, the marsh water squelching in his boots as he walked. Twelve bark-covered bodyguards followed the ruler with crude, rusted swords. The last two Mudmen dragged in the captive king, who stumbled over his tattered royal gown, and dumped him on the ground. The king collapsed without putting up

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a fight. His long, gray hair no longer seemed regal, and bruises covered his forehead. Stains of mud and blood covered his shredded royal gown, and even his crown, which he clutched in a tight fist, seemed less bright and majestic. As he quivered in pain on the floor, the stench of marshy decomposition filled the air. The speechless children cowered, hiding behind mills and under platforms and watching the Mudmen ruler approach Jester, who quivered in fear but kept juggling. “A juggler, eh?” the reeking monster spat, pointing a mold-covered staff at Jester. “Let’s play a game. You will perform for us. If you make a single mistake, you and your king will find yourselves headless.” The hooting bodyguards crowded around and tried to interfere with the juggling. The ruler stuck his staff into the cascade of knives to distract Jester, who accidently sliced the staff with a clean knife stroke. Enraged, the king drew his sword. The Mudmen bellowed, approaching Jester with their weapons. Jester retreated onto an elevated wooden platform and screamed back at them in terror. As he backpedaled to the edge of the platform, a bodyguard lunged at him. One juggling knife deflected the crude Mudmen sword, and another knife struck the bodyguard in the chest. The man fell to the ground. The disbelieving Mudmen stared at Jester, who had instinctively replaced the lost knife with another from his belt and kept juggling. “Oh, no,” he stammered in terror as his knives spun in front of his face. “I-I didn’t mean to hurt anyone…” The Mudmen surged forward with their swords. As Jester balanced on the edge of the wooden platform, the knives deflected the blows, keeping the Mudmen from penetrating the wall of spinning metal. Jester began to leap onto platforms and swing from wooden hoists. Fear left him. One by one, the knives struck the swamp-dwellers down until only three remained. At last, the Mudmen monster bellowed, “Do not test me.” Two bodyguards flanked their ruler, who stood with his sword pointed at the

king. Sweating, Jester stood on a platform. He looked at his two remaining knives and shrugged. “You need three objects to juggle, anyway,” he said, turning away. As soon as he turned, a bodyguard grabbed an ax and heaved it at Jester’s back. Relying on his years of practice with spinning objects, Jester reached behind him, snatched the ax, and started juggling. “That’ll do,” he said. Before the Mudmen could react, Jester hurled the spinning weapons at the enemies. He did not miss. Outside, thousands of Mudmen warriors sensed the death of their ruler, roared in anguish, and started to retreat. Astonished, the king staggered to his feet. “Victory,” the king rasped, holding out his gold crown. “Take my gift of thanks. You have earned the position of Royal Fool.” Jester snatched the crown and stuck it on his hat. “Thank you, but I’ll be off,” Jester said. The king’s eyes widened. “I can’t conform to this urban life. I belong to a legacy of juggling warriors. I roam freely, fighting the evildoers who terrorize these lands and returning juggling to its days of glory.” Juggler twitched his eye at the king and walked to the sunlit entrance. The children began to creep out from their hiding places, meekly peeking out with their dusty heads to watch their brave friend’s departure. One by one, tiny heads covered in dusty hair slowly emerged. Tiny eyes sparkled with tears of relief. Tiny hands reached out and helped other children out of their hiding spots. They kept their eyes fixed on Jester’s departing figure. Abruptly, Jester turned and asked, “I assume your men have cared for my horse in the stables?” The wide-eyed king nodded. “And I assume that they have bestowed an equal amount of care on my bucket?” Jester asked. The openmouthed king nodded once again. Jester turned back to the entrance, which glowed in the golden sunlight like a gate to paradise. Their eyes still sparkling, the children watched in admiration as he casually tossed a ball into the air, stuck it into his satchel, and disappeared.

The Jester Halbert Bai / Senior

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fly Gopal Raman / Freshman Diamonds of iridescent green Like mirrors lie fixed in A gauntlet of empty blackness. A fidgeting buzz emanates from Its whisper-thin whiskers. Like a jet pulled off its Course, it wobbles and trembles In the air. Like a streak of light, It leaves a trail of shimmering space. Its head is misshapen, its Massive and multifaceted eyes Reflecting the light in myriad Directions. Its globular eyes Dominate its face, radiating An almost frightening Aura. Carelessly we spill its deep red Blood with fluorescent blue grids. A lightning-quick flick of the wrist And its lifeless and deformed body Drops to the stone cold marble floor. Upon the pearl-like sheen of the ground, Only one blemish scars the surface. Dark, Coagulating blood. And the limp, crunchy Body of a fly.

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Hive ANDREW CHUKA / Freshman

Pink striations of dawn on the horizon, Ashen sky, cold fog, slate city, Still-dreaming downtown swaddled In a misty gray blanket. The sun’s light of life shines bleakly Upon sleep-deprived skyscrapers. White-collar worker drones Stir and wake in unison. Streaming from their houses like myriad ants, Filling up their cubicles like bees in a hive, Curious, intelligent, sentient beings Reduced to insectile existence.

THE GOLDEN CITY Jonathan Ng / Senior

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T r ee S i l h o u et t e Adam Merchant / Junior

Missed Supper A

zephyr of wind gusted lightly over the leaf-ridden ground, scattering the decaying flakes up in the air only to settle not so far away. As two men approached on a path too beaten to repair, the leaves seemed to move towards the path on their own, as if they were trying to block the men’s way. Auburn-leaved trees swayed naturally, but even they seemed to menace the arrival of these strangers, their branches flailing violently. “So why exactly did you bring me here again?” one of them asked. The one who had asked the question was a wellbuilt man with significant stature, the taller of the two. His hair was a lighter hue than that of the other, and his gait displayed an unmistakable trace of suspicion, his feet stepping lightly while his eyes probed steadily. “I know nothing more than I told you before, not yet,” said the smaller one. He too was well-built, though smaller and with more distinct features. Unlike the other, he appeared determined and discreetly hurried, anxious to reach his destination. His gait, as well, contrasted with the other man’s, a resolute and anticipating walk. Though smaller, he seemed much more formidable than the other man. “Seriously, Vysen. I mean, come on, is it really worth it, going after this weapon? Are you sure it will do what it said it

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would?” the larger man asked. “Furzon, you ignoramus, haven’t we already been over this?” Vysen said, exasperated. The buccaneers rounded a massive rock that protruded from the earth and split into three distinctly sharpened points at its tip, taking on the appearance of a colossal fork. “Oh, yes, of course!” he remembered, his voice suddenly acquiring an edge of craziness. “We’ll kill everyone, won’t we, every last one of them! We’ll shred them to pieces, slice out their guts—” “Quiet, you blithering idiot!” Vysen roared. His expression formed a sneer as he recovered his poise. “The time for that kind of talk will come later.” Furzon hung his head and whimpered slightly, like a reprimanded child, then resumed his cautious gait. Vysen glanced over at the rock studiedly. Accelerating his pace, he clutched his knife in anticipation of the prize. “That, that rock,” he whispered excitedly. “It was one of the signs, remember? From what I showed you on the epitaph.” Furzon wandered on, oblivious of his partner. Leaves crunched under the weight of some being in the distance, and bats hissed as they flew overhead, a black wave of doom. The sun straddled the edge of the horizon, threatening to disappear and unleash the horror of night.

D a ni el W ec h s ler / Jun i or “I don’t like this forest, Vysen; it’s scary,” Furzon grumbled. “This is an awfully long walk to take. If we don’t turn back soon, we won’t be back in time for supper. Why are we going so far away, anyway?” Vysen was almost too exasperated to answer. “Furzon, remember? The weapon?” he inquired with feigned enthusiasm. “Oh, yeah, of course! The weapon thing that we’re gonna use to kill people. It said something about feeding on the bodies of your enemies, right? I bet that will be fun!” he exclaimed, resuming his crazed demeanor. Vysen smiled but continued to look ahead, delighted by the monster he had created. The sun was now completely submerged below the horizon, and seeds of darkness leached the light out of the sky. A resonating howl echoed throughout the forest, and branches swayed with the malign intensity of a northern gale on its way. Minutes passed as the couple pushed deeper and deeper into the forest’s depths. By now, Furzon had reverted to his benign, wary state. “Ooh, It’s very dark now!” Furzon cried. “Please, let’s go back. I’m hungry, and supper will be ready soon.” “Hungry for the bodies of your enemies?” Vysen encouraged. “Oh, yes, now I remember! The weapon of power! It said there would be three utensils of power we would find

there,” he recalled. “One, seen along the way, one drawn from self—” “And one found at the finish. Yes, I remember it, and I understand its meaning far better than you could hope to,” Vysen said with arrogance. “In fact, we should be getting very close to the finish now.” The sound of crunching leaves filled the night, and it seemed as if a thousand creatures were sneaking towards the two men. Vysen heard the sound but calmed himself down immediately. “I’ve got everything under control,” he thought smugly. “Whatever is chasing me will be surprised when it has to face such a weapon as I will soon possess.” The two men finally approached a clearing which seemed to be their target. Vysen drew his knife from its sheath when he saw the bony figures and glanced backwards defensively. “Where is it?” he shrieked with all his might. The clearing lay empty, save for a simple metallic spoon. The two men stood still, gazing in surprise at the silver object which lay harmlessly on the ground, while the sounds of hungry night creatures rang through the forest like chiming bells. “I don’t suppose we’ll be having any supper tonight,” Furzon mumbled. “No, we won’t,” Vysen gasped in shock.

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Henry Goldberg / Sophomore

Lights

No matter where he went, no matter how long he slept or how hard he tried to not think about it, The image of the spider constantly tormented him: it crawled with him silently to sleep, And it scuttled across his arms at mealtime, sending shivers down his spine. The light, reflecting sharply off of the arachnid’s fat black abdomen, Pierced his eyes, similar to the way in which the creature Would surely soon sink its jet black fangs into the Petrified boy’s delicate, snow-white flesh. The child’s eyes widened in Fear, staring at the BloodRed HourGlass, which, to the Boy’s relief, began to move As the spider’s thin, spindly legs danced Once more up the child’s trembling arms, then Over his shoulder, then down his back, as his hand abruptly Dropped the fork that it had been using and his entire body began To shake visibly with terror, attracting the attention of his now-puzzled family. It was now the child’s loved ones’ turn to watch, eyes gaping in horror, as he finally Cried, “Black Widow!” and slumped, giving in to a panic over a figment of his imagination.

Drew Baxley / Sophomore

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Paintings Showcase

1 2 1 Lana Del Ray (Unifinished) Will Garden / Sophmore

2 Durga Purujit Chatterjee / Junior

3 Faces (Unfinished) Miguel Plascencia / Junior

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“I had stepped into the gloomy circle of some Inferno…Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees, leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth, half coming out, half effaced within the dim light…The work was going on. The work! And this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die” (118). I Packaged people, folded and filed, In small cubicles of cheap plastic wall dividers Sit content in front of HP computers Etching lives in code. Their hands drum cheap ivory white keys, Glazed eyes gazing at half-lit screens, Neckties cinched to the collar: Lives dictating keystrokes Keystrokes dictating lives.

DEAT

H

JONA

THAN

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In the evenings In front of televisions, They sit, Scooping peas with breakable plastic spoons From the nooks of pre-heated cardboard dinners Advertised on late-night commercials.

NG /

SENIO

R

Lives placed in bland whiteness, Float featureless in split hollow frames, Empty frames, Between life and death Work and pay Sleeping and waking.

II Fools we were to think We could escape unscathed. Caffeine fueled years stretched upon lines of work. Lives upon the grindstone unfulfilled; Lives dictated by ivory keys. Lives searching for meaning Between Rolexes and pay checks. We clutched for moments long passed, Hands outstretched, fingers splayed With stiffened anguish. We sucked meaning From water-cooler conversation And commercial-laden sitcoms. Years bubbled and broke, Haunting us in midnight fantasies That flicked and filtered through our minds, Till Death stitched our whimpering memories closed In blinding ivory thread.

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JOURNEY Halbert Bai / Senior

One Halbert Bai / Senior

W

ispy crests of the sea glistened as the sun set behind a wall of obscurity. Water began to recede into the depths of the canyon. Gusts of wind began to strangle his soft hair. The arms of the ocean began to smother its captor. He began to drown under the weight of the flotsam. He was falling into oblivion. What I now know, I lost for some time. As a child, I could only see the image of my mother. After the big storm, I remembered only a blinding blue light. The events that I write come from memories that now spring from my mind like water emerging from broken ice. The only thing I remember is her everlasting love. She was the only person I knew who would always look me straight in the eye and bring me hope. Like a forever-shining star, she guided me through life. The morning before I entered into the cavern, I remembered how she had vanished from this planet. Although her time on this planet was brief, I knew she would recover and roam another region of this great celestial body. More importantly, I knew we would meet again. My time outside the hole felt as fleeting as the morning sun. I could never comprehend the reason they placed me there. They swept away my shining star and took me hostage in a shelter. During long nights, I found myself looking towards the endless darkness and the flickering lantern, wondering where she was. I could not imagine a species doing this to its own kind. Locked in a dry well, I never saw the light of day. There was only one door through which they gave me sustenance. I never saw a human for nearly a decade. Until I escaped, I did not know my purpose and lacked resolve. Now I am free. Free to roam the world like my mother. Free to dream, wonder, and live. Yet, I remember the day I walked out of this stone cell. The sun shone brightly overhead, and I saw her beckoning me to join her. I grasped her hand and we flew above cities, lakes, and oceans. We crossed mountains and traversed meandering waterways. When we flew beside graceful waterfowl to the south, I heard a thundering crack and an object hurled at my leg. The searing pain of the rock broke my reverie, and I realized that my escape was only a dream. A man wrapped his arms around me and hurled me back into the stone enclosure. Tears streamed out of my eyes like a capricious geyser spewing with hot steam.

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Water rained on me from above. Another man clad in dark clothing took hold of my struggling young body and pushed me into a dark crevice. I heard the wooden door slam shut behind me. Suddenly, I felt heat around my ankles and saw steam rising from the crevices of the door. I looked behind me to see fire tearing its way through another doorway, as though it were attempting to capture my soul and burn it into ashes. Blood spewed out of my open wound, but I continued running. At the end of the alley, I heard shouting nearby. As I stumbled on a rotting log and fell to the ground, two men emerged from a hidden pathway and took hold of me. They tossed my body into a large wooden box and shut the cover. I lost track of time. Inside the crate, I could feel the oscillations of an ocean. Gripping rays of light illuminated the outline of a ship’s hull every dawn. That was the only time when I could see dozens of crates, filled with people, lining the wall. After many sunrises, my friends tell me, the big storm came. I opened my eyes. The rise and fall of sea foam lathered my body and cleansed my wounds. A cool morning shower licked the pain from my body. I realized that I was lying on a wooden plank attached to a cottage not far from the sea. As the waves tickled and nudged my sore back, I could feel sand particles rushing beneath my feet, soft winds from the east, and pleasant smells of a faraway feast. I trekked through monstrous sand dunes towards the aroma dissipating across the sea of particles. As I walked, I attempted to remember the past. I could only recall the blinding blue light. It was this illuminating beam that seemed to sustain me. “Who are you?” a soft voice asked from above. The question traveled coolly across the barren landscape, awakening me from my reverie. I looked up to the second floor window of the cottage. A young lady, her white dress rippling and fluttering, sat on the corner of the windowsill holding her obsidian-dark long hair. She looked inquisitively at me, her eyes glowing a dark emerald green. “I don’t know,” I answered. The maiden leapt gently into the darkness out of my sight. I could hear her soft steps on the cottage staircase. She emerged from the dark shadows and stopped at my feet. Her eyes probed my exposed body and suddenly stopped at my chest. With her finger, she gently traced a small dark blue circular scar on my chest that I had never noticed before and whispered, “You must come.” She grabbed my hand and guided me across the sandy beach into a small forest burgeoning with fresh vegetation. Penetrating into the darkness of the underbrush, past lantern-lined trails and fragrant flowers, I arrived at a gaping cavern. I could see burning lanterns illuminating the upper reaches of the underground hall. Below the ledge where we stood, I saw a circular platform lit by the lanterns carried by thousands of people. The air was filled with a mysterious chant.

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A young lady, her white dress rip- pling and fluttering, sat on the corner of the windowsill holding her obsidian-dark long hair. She looked inquisitively at me, her eyes glowing a dark emerald green. “I am Aida. You have been summoned by the Great Father. The Chankiri mark on your chest makes you one of us. Welcome,” the young lady said. Just as she finished introducing herself, the cavern erupted with noise as a figure emerged from behind a curtain. Clad in white robes, an elderly man called out, “Usawa! Usawa!” The crowd responded, “Ndiyo! Ndiyo!” After stamping his wooden rod on the platform, the man pointed at me. I could feel Aida tensing as she grabbed my shoulder and led me down stone steps to the stage. “You are one of them! A product of the machine,” the man exclaimed, “A machine that has taken away the spirit of this world and the cultures that have existed long before their reign. We have dreamed and innovated, but now our creations are lost to the hells of your masters’ empire. Your masters forget the days of darkness when we helped and sustained them—when we ruled the known lands and helped them kindle their fires. They forget that we developed inventions and ideas that they now call their own.” The man stopped, raising his hands above his head and the crowd cried in unison, “Usawa! Usawa! Usawa!” The people around me began to drag me down the stone platform. Aida cried and exclaimed, “B-But… Great Father, his Chankiri is still blue.” The crowd stopped and looked to the elderly man. The man’s dark amber eyes began to turn a shade of green. He stepped down from the stage and examined the circular scar on my chest. The gleaming hatred and fiery expression from the bearded man’s face began to recede. He whispered, “Kupambana” and turned away. The crowd furiously dragged me further into the dark cavern and down a winding staircase, their oil lanterns flickering like stars in the night sky. The crowd stopped at the end of the stairway, their hands pushing me to a circular stone arena surrounded by darkness. Aida tapped me softly on the shoulder and quietly explained what was at stake. I learned that the Great Father had lost his wife and son to the Mabaya more than a decade ago. She told me that the dark blue scar faded away for most of the tribe’s members after adolescence and that the scar I bore signified that I

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could be the one—the person who would could alter time with the blinding blue light from the heavens. “Now,” she whispered in my ear as an eerie silence fell across the crowd, “you must fight.” The Great Father observed from atop a welllit ledge across the edge of the arena. Two men emerged from the crowd. One of the men stepped into the stone ring and the other unsheathed two swords, handing one to each of us. The Father rose from his seat and clasped his hands. The crowd erupted in unison. The wooden handle felt familiar. As I tested the blade and feigned a few swipes, the sword began to feel like an extension of my arm. The crowd shoved me further into the ring. Bells began to toll from high in the cavern, and my opponent, clad in dark green cloth, stepped into the center of the ring, threatening me with the tip of his blade. I stared at my opponent. With minimal effort, my body began to calm. Fear washed away from my mind. I readied my blade. The chanting crowd became inaudible; I focused only on my opponent. The young man attacked, his body a dark green blur. As the man struck at my side, I could hear Aida scream in desperation. Blood gushed from my wound; a shock rippled through my body. Suddenly, my hands and feet moved on their own. My blade missed at first, but I quickly began to puncture my opponent’s defense. We circled the ring like antelopes locking horns. That lasted for some time more. The crowd slowly began to shift in temperament; I could feel the heat of anticipation emanating from their cries. Just as my focus began to crumble under the pressure and excitement of the crowd, my opponent charged towards me, the tip of his sword still dripping with my blood. Time began to slow, as his blade neared, I sensed the blue light beaming from my soul guiding me like the light from a lighthouse on a stormy night. I lifted my feet off the ground, dodging my opponent’s charge. Just as he began to fall into the darkness surrounding the arena, I clasped my hands around one of his feet. I fell to the ground, my hands at the edge of the fissure. The crowd gasped. Father rose from his seat. Aida emerged from the crowd with tears in her eyes and clutched her hands around mine. Together, we pulled the young man from the interminable abyss. That night after the feast, I followed Aida past smooth archways into a hidden cavern where a pool of water glistened under a lone beam emanating from the full moon. Its light traveled through a hole from high above the stone chamber. Aida motioned me to follow her into the water, her dress flowing with the soft current. Nearing the center of the light, Aida unfastened her gown, revealing her dark blue scar. With her arms around me, our scars began to radiate a blinding blue light as our bodies became one.

ENLIGHTENMENT HALBERT BAI / SENIOR

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Do You Believe in God? Michael Perkins / Senior A Non-Fiction Literary Festival Winner

T

CalLigraphy Maze M as on S m it h / J u n i o r 5252

he words flowed through the mask of a burqa. Karina, the Indonesian eleven-year-old,left me stunned. As a counselor at the International Children Summer Village in Finland, my task was to foster global friendships and to instill a world-peace-oriented mindset in tomorrow’s adults. I expected my first encounter with the campers to be strange—when fourteen countries are represented in a single campsite, there is bound to be cultural clashing—but I wasn’t prepared for a personal interrogation by the likes of Pi Patel. My thoughts immediately jumped to liberation. This girl had been culturally indoctrinated, never given a chance to decide what she believed. If I could open the curtains of her mind and expose Karina to a different perspective, hold up a new lens that she might see the world more clearly, was it not my moral obligation? Nearly ninety percent of Indonesians adhere to Islam, and this was my opportunity to give her a life unshackled by the rules and regulations of an omnipresent, legalistic God. Before I could craft a profound, life-altering answer, Karina continued. I do. He listens to me. I released the curtain. I put down the lens. In all my years at Hebrew school, prayers silently swirling in my mind, waiting for a foreign presence to ferry these thoughts to someone with authority—if not God, then at least Heaven’s floor manager—I had never felt “heard.” Each new attempt at divine communication began with the recollection of the previous week’s unfulfilled prayers stamped “Return to Sender.” Perhaps God was home, but he certainly wasn’t answering the door. But maybe years of devoted service and worship eventually earned the attention of a higher power. Maybe the Islamic God to which Karina prayed was more attentive than the Jewish one to which I had prayed in years past.Or maybe the nature of

her culture—a culture that subjugates and derides women—pushed Karina to hear the small voice she wanted to be there. I considered my own upbringing, raised in a Western culture, with parents and a community devoted to my development and academic success. My mother came from an Orthodox Jewish family, and, although she came to resent the invasive presence of God, she never fully lost her faith in him. My father, on the other hand, is a devout atheist with a profound gift for skepticism.The clash of these ideologies was a recurring source of discussion during my childhood, and I always found comfort in the logic of a secular universe. My father’s distaste for bureaucracy was stimulated daily by my mother’s adherence to the divine laws—“We can’t have dessert yet; it’s only been one hour,” “Those are the wrong dishes; they aren’t kosher for dairy,” “Take these pants back; they mix wool and linen.”—and he made no efforts to hide his aversion. Faith is too fragile to be cultivated in a home where it is consistently undermined, and the divine radio silence fed my disbelief. But maybe it was I who left the door unanswered and the radio suppressed. Encouraged by my family, challenged by my school, supported by my peers, perhaps I never sought a connection with God because I never felt I needed one. Fettered by a religion and culture twisted into misogyny, Karina needed God. The month of freedom and perspective I could afford her withered in comparison to the years of loneliness that would follow. The destruction of her belief in God could alienate Karina from her family and sever her connection with Islamic culture. Perhaps there will be a time when that becomes necessary. For an eleven-year-old, however, primed to enter Islamic adulthood and experience senseless oppression and inexplicable injustice, this was not the time. I looked at her and smiled, realizing the value of love over truth. I do too.

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WoodWorking showcase 1 BREAKTHROUGH Conner Olsen / junior

4

2 CIRCULAR alex enthoven / junior

3 ENTROPY

3

JAMES ZHANG / Junior

4 BUllsEYE CAMERON BAXLEY / SENIOR

1

5 HEXAGONAL DANIEL WECHSLER / JUNIOR

5 2 54 54

55 55


A Literary Festival Poetry Winner

GardeninG

Glove

Jonathan Ng / Senior

They say a man’s life is documented on a hand, Memories inscribed On crooked fingers and fleshy palms. The fated crossing of lingering lines on the Placid sea of rosy skin Means certain death, While the slight extension of them Means flourishing life. I look down at the orange that is my hand, And the halo of peels that is my fingers. My creases cross in rifts of Tectonic skin plates folding beneath The surf. The calluses Rise rigid mountains Arid, cracked. Then, I look at you, You once held a comforting tan sheen; Maybe, cut from the glorious hide Of a prize-winning bull. But now, With your body stained an ugly, livery brown And patched holes of dilapidated cloth Covering your once-magnificent complexion, You have lost yourself in the disillusionment of use and labor. Lost you are in the endless flow of tasks never to be truly fulfilled, Used and tossed, Used and tossed, Until the last of your fibers snaps and disintegrates.

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“No One Knows” Cole Gerthoffer / Senior

A

A Literary Festival Fiction Winner

* * *

in’t never seen nothin’ so strikin’, I haven’t,” said Eddie. His eyes narrowed, focusing deeply on the black, two-pronged pitchfork stretched uncomfortably over the blood-red surface. Gripping the jewel case tightly with his right hand, Eddie Swithun decided with an overwhelming certainty that this album cover was the most beautifully arresting thing he’d ever seen. He cracked open the case and inserted the disk into the CD player of the red, 1999 Lincoln. Sound erupted from the speakers. “We get these rules to follow / That and this, these and those / No one knows.” “What d’you think, lady?” Eddie asked, glancing at the woman sitting in the passenger seat. She smiled warmly, but said nothing, opting to respond with a meek, ambiguous shake of her head. “Bet I know whatch’re thinkin,” Eddie said with a slight grin. “Betch’re thinkin’ I should keep my eyes on th’road. Well I’m gon’ need another minute’r so.” Eddie returned his gaze to the blood-red square in his right hand. He stared at the pitchfork pointing downward with a condemning finality and felt a cocktail of fear and awe mixing inside him. The words that framed the pitchfork were a mystery to him: a mere collection of abstract curves in his eyes. Eddie recognized only one letter, the “D” that began the album title’s final word. He knew and loved the letter “D,” for “D” meant go. “D” carried the promise of lands unknown, of places to be reached, roads to be traveled. The only other letter to register with Eddie was the dreaded “E,” which he knew brought a screeching end to all things. Eddie faced forward and observed that he was currently a quarter-inch from “E.” With furled brow and soured eyes, he raised his gaze from the dashboard,

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taking in the vast expanse of sand, cactus, and blacktop rushing endlessly toward him. The drive from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Los Angeles would take him through three states and as many deserts, and presently, he was hurtling towards the western bounds of the Arizona Sonoran. With six hours of arid Interstate 10 behind him, only four and a half remained until he’d reach the end of his voyage. But Eddie knew none of this. All he knew was that he was headed west. “The ocean is west. And th’sun sleeps in the west. So we followin’ the sun today,” was the refrain he’d announced to anyone who would listen. The pilgrimage had begun at sunrise, when, on his daily walk to the Las Cruces Sun Times distribution center, Eddie had decided he was done. He was done walking seven miles every morning, covering the lawns of South Las Cruces with rolls of paper he couldn’t even read. He was done spending the remainder of his days manning a full-service pump at a rundown Conoco – an outdated job that even Eddie understood was several decades past its expiration date. He was done walking home and sleeping on a futon in his one-room apartment on the edge of town. He was done following the same, blisteringly mundane routine 356 days a year, earning his reprieve on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and seven other federal holidays whose names he couldn’t remember. Most importantly, though, he was done letting the doctors convince him he was okay with it all. “We get these pills to swallow / How they stick in your throat / Tastes like gold.” So Eddie had skipped his morning dose and decided that he needed the ocean, with its arousing unpredictability and endless mystery. Too long he’d lived without excitement, artificially content with his prescribed routine. He longed for the risks and randomness of his youth, when chance – not the damned men in white – dictated his days. “This day belongs t’me and th’universe,” Eddie grumbled before letting the red and yellow capsule

fall between his fingers and hit the pavement, “we’re th’only ones makin’ decisions today.” * * * The Sonora was an austere blanket of unwelcoming tan, punctuated with the dusty green of saguaros and the muted red of immense, foreboding boulders. Eddie liked the haphazardness of it all. Gone was the grid of suburban sidewalks and sea of perfectly arranged cookie-cutter houses. Instead, as the Lincoln carved through the sun-toasted landscape, Eddie marveled through the windshield at the desert’s beautiful arbitrariness. “Bet no doctor told them cactuses where t’grow,” Eddie said to the woman in the passenger seat. “Bet they ain’t no wards of th’state.” Again, the woman simply shook her head, side to side, as if it were on a spring. Eddie noticed the white, fluffy dice hanging from the rearview mirror, bouncing absent-mindedly on their strings. Eddie decided they were worth keeping. He liked the message they sent. He yanked them from the mirror, holding them in front of the woman. “Ain’t these pretty?” Eddie asked, before throwing the dice into a cardboard box in the backseat, “They ain’t as pretty as you, though. That’s why they’re in the box, but you’re up here.” The box was a collection of keepsakes, including the metal jaguar hood ornament Eddie had broken off of the morning’s first car, the “Shit Happens” bumper sticker he’d scraped off the second stolen car, and now, the fuzzy dice he’d pulled from the rearview mirror of the Lincoln, the third car in a row he had stolen after the first two had run out of gas. “Y’know, I ain’t never talked to no woman as

pretty as you before. That’s a mighty fine green skirt of yours. And I love th’way your face reflects th’sun like that,” Eddie said to the woman in the passenger seat, his attempt at conversation once again met with her silent nod, “That’s fine. Ain’t never been no stranger t’silence, I haven’t. Just be ready when th’shit hits th’fan in a few minutes. I’m almost outta gas.” The needle was quivering a mere eighth of an inch above the dreaded “E.” Eddie began scanning the road. In a land so desolate, encountering another car was a rarity. In fact, the only two cars he’d spied since the morning began he’d ultimately taken for himself. Their owners, held at gunpoint, had been left by the side of the road, unharmed, but penniless and vehicle-less in a terrain inhospitable to everyone and everything, save for the planet’s most hardened and fearsome creations. Eddie was becoming desperate, aware that he had mere minutes before the Lincoln would sputter to a complete stop, ending the pilgrimage to the lovely, mysterious ocean once and for all. “It’s up to th’universe now,” Eddie grumbled, punching the accelerator. And, yet again, the universe delivered. As Eddie squinted against the punishing sun, a white Buick came into focus, some half mile ahead of him. As Eddie’s speed soared and his final drops of gas dwindled, the red Lincoln overtook the Buick, and, after pulling ahead, Eddie slammed on his brakes. Both cars stopped. “Last chance,” Eddie said to the woman in the passenger seat, “You can come with me and we’ll swim in th’ocean and get clean together. Or you can stay here.” The woman didn’t nod. She did nothing at all. “I guess

you’re coming with me, then,” Eddie said, grabbing the woman by her waist and throwing the plastic, dancing dashboard hula girl into the box with the rest of his keepsakes. Eddie grabbed the pistol out of the glove box and stepped out of the car, the engine still running and music still blaring. “Now, I don’t want t’kill you,” Eddie shouted to the man he saw petrified behind the wheel of the Buick, “I done that before long time ago and didn’t take kindly to the rep’rcussions. Ain’t gon’ get locked up in that white room again.” The man got out of the car, silently. “Don’t mean I won’t kill you if I have to,” Eddie shouted again. The man put his hand on his belt, his face one of compassion and pleading. “Think about where you’re going,” the man said, desperately, yet sincerely. “I know where I’m going,” said Eddie, “I’m going to th’ocean.” “I was thinking long term,” said the man, his voice beginning to crack, “Don’t you fear the Lord?” “There ain’t no lord. Just me and th’universe. Now you had your chance and I’m thinkin’ you blew it. So shut’chre damn mouth and let–” The man’s bullet cut right through Eddie’s dirty shirt. And Eddie lay motionless, stretched uncomfortably over the pool of his own red. “Heaven smiles above me / What a gift here below / No one knows.”

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DAYBREAK adam merchant/junior

OCULAR KELLAM HALL / Senior

Photography

PICNIC REID STEIN/SEnior

showcase TRANSCENDENCE hALBERT BAI / SEnior

LAKESIDE adam merchant/junior

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ETHEREAL Mason Smith / Junior

The Day of Good Fortune Victor Zhou / Senior M

any hundreds of years ago in an isolated valley somewhere in China, a dragon slept in a dark cavern in the side of a great mountain. Below a green forest intermixed with rivers and lakes extended out from the base of the mountain and slowly melted into a dry plain. On that plain, the village of DuanSha existed. In fact, “existed” is too generous a term. It barely existed. The village had been afflicted with a curse – on the fifth day of every fifth New Year, the sleeping dragon, DaHei, that lay curled up in the great mountain looming over DuanSha, awoke. And when DaHei awoke, he was very hungry; he would swoop down into the village, grabbing and eating villagers left and right. And that wasn’t all – ever since DaHei had showed up, nothing would grow in the village anymore. Year after year, crops failed and fields lay cracked and barren. In fact, almost everything around DaHei had dried up. The once-overflowing rivers slowed to a trickle, and rain came only a few times a year. The village leaders had tried for generations to rid the village of this dragon and his curse, but to no avail. Thus, the people of DuanSha got by as well as they could. One day, a little boy was found in the forest about a mile outside of DuanSha. An elderly, hunchbacked shepherd who was returning to DuanSha with his sheep one evening had heard a high-pitched cry from the forest on his right. When he went into the forest to investigate, he found a baby boy, blood trickling from a gash on his right arm, wrapped in a blanket lying under a great oak tree. The boy’s body was dry and shriveled, and his tiny

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face was streaked with tears. The elderly shepherd took pity on the boy, picked the baby up, and cradled him in his frail arms. After returning across the dusty plain to the village, the shepherd searched relentlessly for the parents of the boy. Nobody in the village had ever seen or heard of the toddler before, so the elderly shepherd decided to care for the boy as his own, for he had always longed for a son. The shepherd named the boy HaoYun, which means “good fortune” in Chinese, for he truly was good fortune: a boy to care for and love was all the lonely shepherd had ever wanted. As HaoYun got older, the shepherd and the people of DuanSha began to notice strange things about him. By the young age of nine, he was already almost as tall as the shepherd and had grown into a strong, handsome young man, save for his scarred right arm, which still had not healed. In addition to his scar, there was just one other peculiar thing about him that nobody could explain: his never-ending thirst. He drank more in one day than five men drank in a week. Whenever he didn’t get enough to drink, his skin would start drying up and peeling all over the place, his hair would start falling out, and he’d feel nauseous. The elderly shepherd was afraid that HaoYun would die of dehydration, so he gave HaoYun all the water he could get his hands on. As soon as HaoYun reached the age of twelve, the shepherd’s care and dedication began to pay off. As long as HaoYun’s thirst was satiated, his abnormal strength and physique made him a valuable worker for the village.

This was very fortunate for the shepherd, for he had become weak with age and could no longer do much with his wrinkled hands. The elderly shepherd, naturally, was very proud of his adopted son and treasured him more than his own life. HaoYun, in return, was a very good son to the shepherd and was grateful for all the shepherd had sacrificed for his sake. There was only one thing in the world that still bothered the elderly shepherd. Whenever HaoYun asked about his mother, the shepherd just said that she’d passed away, which, he thought, was probably true, and changed the subject. The right time had never seemed to come up, and the rest of the village had just assumed the shepherd would have told him already. The night before HaoYun’s thirteenth birthday (the shepherd counted Hao Yun’s birthday as the day he had been found – no one actually knew when his real birthday was), the shepherd pondered this question for hours into the night. Finally, he decided to tell HaoYun the truth the next day; boys were considered adults at the age of 13 in DuanSha, so HaoYun deserved least to know that the shepherd was not his biological father. The next morning, the shepherd woke up early and made HaoYun his normal breakfast and a big bowl of water. As they were eating, the shepherd said to HaoYun: “Son, there’s something I need to tell you. You see, you aren’t really my son. I found you wrapped in a blanket.”

Whenever HaoYun asked about his mother, the shepherd just said that she’d passed away, which, he thought, was probably true, and changed the subject. “WHAT? What do you mean, I’m not your son?” HaoYun interjected. “You’re adopted,” the shepherd said with a sorrowful look on his face. At those words, Hao Yun stormed furiously out of their hut and ran. The shepherd tried to stop him, but could not. Sighing, he returned to his seat and thought to himself, I should have known this would happen. He should come back soon, though, after venting his anger, and I’ll apologize. Meanwhile, HaoYun was running full speed away from the village. His mind, however,

was racing even faster. “Why would he hide that from me for all these years?” he wondered. “Who are my real parents?” As he

He felt as though he had lived a complete and fulfilling life except for one thing: he had never told HaoYun that he was an orphan. left the barren plain and entered the beautiful forest, he started getting thirsty and slowed to a gentle jog. “I’ve never been this deep into the forest,” he thought to himself. Suddenly, he noticed a small clearing up ahead and made his way towards it. As he stepped out into the open, he gasped. HaoYun ran towards the pond, knelt before it, and took a sip of the water. “I’ve never had water this refreshing before!” he thought. He continued to drink greedily from the pond, and when he had drunk as much as he could, he lay down to admire the beauty around him and soon fell asleep. In his dream, HaoYun was sprinting down the side of a mountain in a thick fog. He didn’t know why he was running or what he was running from, but he knew that he had to keep running. All of a sudden, the ground disappeared and he was falling and falling and falling, until – SPLOOSH – he landed in a frigid body of water and sank down, down, and down. Unfazed, he realized that he could somehow breathe underwater, and he started swimming around. Before he could get too far, a shining figure clad in an engraved breastplate that rested on his broad shoulders came out from the gloomy darkness of the bottom of the lake and spoke to him: “Hello, HaoYun. I am your father.” HaoYun heard his words but found himself unable to speak or make any sound. Before the figure continued, HaoYun noticed a blood-red scar on the figure’s right hand that looked eerily similar to his own. “I don’t have much time, so I’ll be quick. You come from a great line of noble knights recognized all over China. However, tragedy has struck our line. When I was 25, I was sent on a quest to slay the evil DaHei that you know and fear. You see, he was actually not as monstrous before as he is now. Although he was a mighty dragon and was feared by villages all over, I had no doubt in my mind that I could slay him. There was another knight named Xiajie, however, who was extremely envious of me. Thus, he concocted a special potion that would enhance DaHei’s fire-breath and give him the touch of drought: whatever DaHei touched would dry up, wither away, and die. For weeks, he rode across China in search of DaHei. When he finally found the dragon, he crept up to it in the middle of the night, opened his massive mouth, and poured in the potion. As he was making his escape in the darkness, XiaJie accidentally tripped over DaHei’s scaly tail, waking him, and was immediately roasted alive by the very fire he had given DaHei. I did not know about this treachery, though, and rode on naïvely towards DaHei’s dark lair.” “I won’t waste your time with what happened in the bat

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M

any hundreds of years ago in an isolated valley somewhere in China, a dragon slept in a dark cavern in the side of a great mountain. Below a green forest intermixed with rivers and lakes extended out from the base of the mountain and slowly melted into a dry plain. On that plain, the village of DuanSha existed. In fact, “existed” is too generous a term. It barely existed. The village had been afflicted with a curse – on the fifth day of every fifth New Year, the sleeping dragon, DaHei, that lay curled up in the great mountain looming over DuanSha, awoke. And when DaHei awoke, he was very hungry; he would swoop down into the village, grabbing

A sparkling, blue pond surrounded by perfectly green grass lay before him, almost beckoning him to come and drink from it. and eating villagers left and right. And that wasn’t all – ever since DaHei had showed up, nothing would grow in the village anymore. Year after year, crops failed and fields lay cracked and barren. In fact, almost everything around DaHei had dried up. The once-overflowing rivers slowed to a trickle, and rain came only a few times a year. The village leaders had tried for generations to rid the village of this dragon and his curse, but to no avail. Thus, the people of DuanSha got by as well as they could. One day, a little boy was found in the forest about a mile outside of DuanSha. An elderly, hunchbacked shepherd who was returning to DuanSha with his sheep one evening had heard a high-pitched cry from the forest on his right. When he went into the forest to investigate, he found a baby boy, blood trickling from a gash on his right arm, wrapped in a blanket lying under a great oak tree. The boy’s body was dry and shriveled, and his tiny face was streaked with tears. The elderly shepherd took pity on the boy, picked the baby up, and cradled him in his frail arms. After returning across the dusty plain to the village, the shepherd searched relentlessly for the parents of the boy. Nobody in the village had ever seen or heard of the toddler before, so the elderly shepherd decided to care for the boy as his own, for he had always longed for a son. The shepherd named the boy HaoYun, which means “good fortune” in Chinese, for he truly was good fortune: a boy to care for and love was all the lonely shepherd had ever wanted. As HaoYun got older, the shepherd and the people of DuanSha began to notice strange things about him. By the young age of nine, he was already

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almost as tall as the shepherd and had grown into a strong, handsome young man, save for his scarred right arm, which still had not healed. In addition to his scar, there was just one other peculiar thing about him that nobody could explain: his never-ending thirst. He drank more in one day than five men drank in a week. Whenever he didn’t get enough to drink, his skin would start drying up and peeling all over the place, his hair would start falling out, and he’d feel nauseous. The elderly shepherd was afraid that HaoYun would die of dehydration, so he gave HaoYun all the water he could get his hands on. As soon as HaoYun reached the age of twelve, the shepherd’s care and dedication began to pay off. As long as HaoYun’s thirst was satiated, his abnormal strength and physique made him a valuable worker for the village. This was very fortunate for the shepherd, for he had become weak with age and could no longer do much with his wrinkled hands. The elderly shepherd, naturally, was very proud of his adopted son and treasured him more than his own life. HaoYun, in return, was a very good son to the shepherd and was grateful for all the shepherd had sacrificed for his sake. There was only one thing in the world that still bothered the elderly shepherd. Whenever HaoYun asked about his mother, the shepherd just said that she’d passed away, which, he thought, was probably true, and changed the subject. The right time had never seemed to come up, and the rest of the village had just assumed the shepherd would have told him already. The night before HaoYun’s thirteenth birthday (the shepherd counted Hao Yun’s birthday as the day he had been found – no one actually knew when his real birthday was), the shepherd pondered this question for hours into the night. Finally, he decided to tell HaoYun the truth the next day; boys were considered adults at the age of 13 in DuanSha, so HaoYun deserved least to know that the shepherd was not his biological father. The next morning, the shepherd woke up early and made HaoYun his normal breakfast and a big bowl of water. As they were eating, the shepherd said to HaoYun: “Son, there’s something I need to tell you. You see, you aren’t really my son. I found you wrapped in a blanket” “WHAT? What do you mean, I’m not your son?” HaoYun interjected. “You’re adopted,” the shepherd said with a sorrowful look on his face. At those words, Hao Yun stormed furiously out of their hut and ran. The shepherd tried to stop him, but could not. Sighing, he returned to his seat and thought to himself, I should

have known this would happen. He should come back soon, though, after venting his anger, and I’ll apologize. Meanwhile, HaoYun was running full speed away from the village. His mind, however, was racing even faster. “Why would he hide that from me for all these years?” he wondered. “Who are my real parents?” As he left the barren plain and entered the beautiful forest, he started getting thirsty and slowed to a gentle jog. “I’ve never been this deep into the forest,” he thought to himself. Suddenly, he noticed a small clearing up ahead and made his way towards it. As he stepped out into the open, he gasped. HaoYun ran towards the pond, knelt before it, and took a sip of the water. “I’ve never had water this refreshing before!” he thought. He continued to drink greedily from the pond, and when he had drunk as much as he could, he lay down to admire the beauty around him and soon fell asleep. In his dream, HaoYun was sprinting down the side of a mountain in a thick fog. He didn’t know why he was running or what he was running from, but he knew that he had to keep running. All of a sudden, the ground disappeared and he was falling and falling and

The surveyor

Mason Smith / Junior

Suddenly, the water around him erupted in steam and scorching flame, and a massive black shape hurtled downwards towards him like a giant fireball. falling, until – SPLOOSH – he landed in a frigid body of water and sank down, down, and down. Unfazed, he realized that he could somehow breathe underwater, and he started swimming around. Before he could get too far, a shining figure clad in an engraved breastplate that rested on his broad shoulders came out from the gloomy darkness of the bottom of the lake and spoke to him: “Hello, HaoYun. I am your father.” HaoYun heard his words but found himself unable to speak or make any sound. Before the figure continued, HaoYun noticed a blood-red scar on the figure’s right hand that looked eerily similar to his own. “I don’t have much time, so I’ll be quick. You come from a great line of noble knights recognized all over China. However, tragedy has struck our line. When I was 25, I was sent on a quest to slay the evil DaHei that you know and fear. You see, he was actually not as monstrous before as he is now. Although he was a mighty dragon and was feared by villages all over, I had no doubt in my mind that I could slay him. There

was another knight named Xiajie, however, who was extremely envious of me. Thus, he concocted a special potion that would enhance DaHei’s fire-breath and give him the touch of drought: whatever DaHei touched would dry up, wither away, and die. For weeks, he rode across China in search of DaHei. When he finally found the dragon, he crept up to it in the middle of the night, opened his massive mouth, and poured in the potion. As he was making his escape in the darkness, XiaJie accidentally tripped over DaHei’s scaly tail, waking him, and was immediately roasted alive by the very fire he had given DaHei. I did not know about this treachery, though, and rode on naïvely towards DaHei’s dark lair.” “I won’t waste your time with what happened in the battle. To make a long story short, all of my men were lost, I was gashed by DaHei right here on my right arm, and I barely escaped from that mountain. I managed to get all the way to where your real self is right now – next to a beautiful pond

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Fire and ICE Michael Perkins / SENIOR

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ON THE DEATH OF A CAT

WHOSE LIFE I THINK MATTERED VERY LITTLE David Brown / Faculty He runs to me from across the street, intersecting the flash of a car. I want to say it’s the rigor of mortality that stops my breath, that forces this chest-pounding, that draws me to the spastic legs in the road— but it isn’t. The moment is his, only his: hind paws punching air, head and street in a crude splice, one eye popped out and staring, legs still jerking, tail slashing the apathetic air. All the same, to believe life is just a string of consequences brings the question of our own frantic kicking in last moments. All life kicks against the dusty intruder. We backward count the cursed encounters, the hoped-for celebrations, random entries and exits thwarting grand design, wondering how the genesis of Earth could lead one day to this poor player strutting across his street, wanting simply to live.

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Even the Nazarene screamed against his shed life. As do I. The cat crossed a street. I cross it every day, believing in such moments that something ties me to the living even through death, deluded that someone dangles me, holding me by my feet, intending never to let go. My frantic kicking means to loosen the hold he has. Until I have to dig the hole, I consider these ends. Then his death is simply his death, the more when I lift him by the tail and his full weight pulls against me. I lower him to fresh dirt. He touches headfirst, then curls under the world, and I let go.

IF Mason Smith / Junior 69


S P Y

GOPAL RAMAN / FRESHMAN paranoid Polaroid presses sending beams bouncing off hidden faces.

laser lipstick, Bonds of 007 figures, but all cashed in bloody Benjamins.

nitroglycerin nibs on matches, setting fires to foreign wars, drowning domestic yells.

Goldenfingers pull on grey hammers, sending bullets barreling through cold barrels and warm hearts.

SPARK CHARLIE O’BRIEN / SOPHOMORE

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Drapery Study

Showcase

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3

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2 joon park / Freshman Graphite

1 zuyva sevilla / junior pen and Ink

Matthew Dominguez / sophomore 3 Charcoal

4 shailen parmaR / Freshman Graphite

5 grayson gallagher / Sophomore 5 1 72

Graphite 73


NICK BRODSKY / SENIOR

RACHEL

dream girl Richard Mccants / Senior

The girl of my dreams has no face but her eyes are bright Only outshone by her smile, A slight grin peeking from under a pair of full lips, Sometimes red, sometimes not. The girl of my dreams has no voice, But when she says my name... When she beckons me... I know where I’m supposed to be I am given a purpose The girl of my dreams has no form, But she carries herself with confidence and a devil-maycare attitude, Daring anyone and everyone to get in her way, All the while, warning them not to. The girl of my dreams has no personality, But she is her own woman A true individual in every sense of the word. She fills my thoughts.

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a literary festival non-fiction winner

Into the breeze Vishal gokani / senior

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he kids destroyed the library atmosphere. The shouting eight-yearold campers stumbled into the round reading room and whirled dangerously close to the speakers. A wad of paper shot by, missing my face by an inch. A kid leapt off the seats, screaming like a pirate. “This is our last story time of the summer,” I called out. “Let’s make it a good one. Quiet down and have a seat, please.” A camper with a buzz cut looked up at me and said, “Why don’t you quiet down?” Holding back frustration, I turned to adjust my microphone. The kid with the buzz cut started break-dancing to the techno music on his smartphone.

Paper airplanes zipped around. Some giggling girls crowded around an iPad. I’m a storyteller, I thought to myself, not a disciplinarian. I gave up on restoring order, turned on the microphone, closed my eyes, and dove into the story. “Once,” I said, my voice booming from the speakers, “there was a village.” Everything went silent. Frozen in place, the kids stared at me from all around the room. “In the village lived Coyote,” I continued in my best mystical storyteller’s voice. “Ages ago, when humans and animals lived together, people did not have fire. Coyote dreamed of finding fire for the people.”

The girls turned off their iPad. Mesmerized campers drifted to their seats. The break-dancer took a break. Forgotten paper airplanes and touch screens littered the library floor. But we weren’t in the library anymore. We were long gone. We gazed across a prairie and watched Coyote sniffing the breeze. The microphone’s effects allowed us to hear the wind, but we could feel its force, too. Creating waves in the grass, the eternal breeze in the world of Native American mythology struck a resounding chord in us. Feeling a sense of timelessness, we clung to the ethereal breeze that will soar across the land of legends long after we are gone.

Reluctantly, we left the prairies to follow Coyote. The girls stared as the hero tracked down the Fire People of the mountains, who hoarded fire. The paper airplane makers gasped when he stole the blazing treasure. The break-dancer with the buzz cut sat with his mouth hanging open while Coyote raced away. As the Fire People sprinted after the hero, the speakers played an intense soundtrack that I synchronized with the story. In spite of instant gratification and ADD, the campers were as still as statues. “Awesome,” one wide-eyed boy whispered. We felt the heart-pounding excitement of the pursuit as Coyote escaped into a cave. The kids cheered as the soundtrack

concluded with an epic crescendo and Coyote returned to his village with his flaming gift. While the campers tidied up the room and lined up at the door, the break-dancer approached me. “I’m going to read more Native American stuff,” he said. “That was the best story I’ve ever heard.” As the kids waved and even came up for farewell hugs, I thought about the long-forgotten tribal shamans. I’m honored to belong to this ancient legacy of storytellers and to keep their stories alive. Using action-packed plotlines and intense soundtracks to draw in my audiences, I tell these tried-andtrue tales to instill value systems in my young listeners. The heroes of these

stories display Coyote’s perseverance and service, leading children to think about their own moral character. I find great satisfaction when my messages click with listeners. I feel perfectly at peace in the endless plains as I harvest the limitless power of imagination, providing subtle lessons while the kids are immersed in fantasy worlds. Ages ago, the tribal tale-weavers traveled through the mystical lands of their stories, clinging to the eternal wind that soars toward the horizon. Visiting the vast prairies with my young listeners that day, I felt the ancient shamans’ presence. I felt their approval as my transformed audience gazed into the breeze.

snow rock Adam Merchant / Junior 76

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YOSEMITE FALLS

a Literary Festival Poetry Winner

HALBERT BAI / SENIOR

Creation Gopal Raman / freshman On the first day, Man said, "Let there be light!" And flicked on a feeble bulb. On the second day, Man trickled the water into the lands. On the third day, Man gouged into dirt and clawed out mountains and hills and valleys. On the fourth day, Man dreamt of moons and suns and time spilt crystal clear. On the fifth day, Man embraced all the beasts and life in the land and rose them from the ashes. On the sixth day, Man fell in love with his own and also his children yet unborn. On the seventh day, Man saw that what he had made was good and created God.

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La Bofetada Tony Garcia / Senior Sus ojos brillaban como las estrellas. Sus labios tenían color de rosas. Sus manos eran suaves y bellas. Sus piernas tan hermosas. Su mirada me capturó inmediatamente. Tuve que acercarme a ella. Tenía olor a bebé. Era todo menos fea. Me volvió loco. Miré con los oídos, oí con los ojos. Mi corazón era pequeño, pero mi amor enorme. El viento corría por su pelo, parecía ángel en el aire. No podía resistir estar lejos. No hay nadie que me pare. Nos miramos por un instante. Inteligente y linda y bonita y cariñosa y hermosa y fascinante. Su nombre era Margarita. Por que me has capturado? Me has hecho tu esclavo. Me seducen tus perlitas cuando sonríes. Te podría besar un millón de veces. ¡Paf! Sentí un dolor inmenso. Mi cara quemaba de la bofetada. Mi esposa me había mirado soñar de estar con esa mujer…

DECAY NICK BRODSKY / SENIOR 80

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The Child Who Follows Me Brent Weisberg / Sophomore It takes many forms And many ages, From terrible two, to toddler, To twelve-month-old. It makes sounds of all kinds Like the blare of a fire engine Or an ear splitting wail. No matter what, It makes the sound of headaches. I cannot escape. So long As people bring small children along And sit them down and demand That they remain sedentary for hours, They will torture everyone In the plane, train, bus, or THEATER (come on!). Without fail it swoops down and Calls my judgment upon The foolish parents who thought how Great an idea It is to bring along the baby, To render all passengers Migrained, to slowly drip cold water On everyone’s forehead Like a Chinese torturer.

NOSTALGIA Charlie O’Brien / SOPHOMORE 82

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finding autumn jonathan ng / Senior A Literary Festival Winner in fiction

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livia couldn’t remember what had caused her to awaken on that soft autumn morning, the sun shining through camel-colored curtain, splitting hues of pastel oranges and yellows onto her bedspread. She had always loved autumn: the smell of dirt as it rose from the quilted ground covering; the noiselessness of leaves sifting through the crisp air; the leathery embrace of sun against wrinkled skin. Wind whistled outside the window, nudging a thin film of clouds through the cobalt sky. How beautiful; they look like ships catching the wind upon their sails, Olivia thought. Clack-clack. A tree branch grated against the side of her bedroom window. “George, honey. That pesky branch is doing it again,” Olivia shouted through the open bedroom door. Silence answered her. He must be at it again, playing the radio in the parlor. She swaddled herself in her robe— her hands grasping the open ends and folding one over the other, she allowed the soft fibers to envelop her. She shuffled to her nightstand and picked up her glasses, perching them on her nose; they framed her mahogany eyes. Shwup shwup, her shoes seemed to speak as she scuffed down the stairs, her hand gripping the wooden rail. “George, could you help trim that branch?” Again, silence answered her. She headed to the parlor—a room with a weed-yellow cloth-embroidered sofa and matching armchairs. The room crackled in stillness. The phone rang; Olivia looked at the clock: 9:30, it read. Must be Joseph, she thought, as she scuttled towards the ringing telephone. Shakily picking up the telephone, Olivia put the receiver to her ear. “Hello? Joseph?” Olivia said, “Your father seems to have gone out. He’s not in the parlor, and I’ve been calling him all morning.”

“Mom, have you been hallucinating about dad?” Joseph asked. A pause settled on the line. “Oh, that’s right,” Olivia said. “That’s right,” she said again more quiet, as if to comfort herself. Olivia could hear her grandkids in the background. They yelled, “Is that Grandma? We haven’t seen her in so long. Hi, Grandma!” “How are you feeling, Mom? How’s your back and that bruise on your hand?” “I’m feeling fine, Honey. Everything’s all right,” she croaked, her gravelly voice grating against the soft ear of the receiver. But Joseph could hear her weariness. “Really, everything’s all right. I just need to get a little breakfast, that’s all. Go back to the kids, and tell Joana I said hello.” “Are you sure? I can drop everything and come over.” “Yes, I’m fine really,” she reassure him again. “All right, but if you need anything, just call. Ok?” “I’ll be fine.” The dial tone fell flat into Olivia’s ear. She felt silence coil itself around the room. She shuffled around to the kitchen, adjacent to the parlor. Opening a beige cabinet, she set aside a simple breakfast for herself: toast with jam and half a grapefruit. No mess, simple and easy to clean. Once she was finished, she placed her knife in the sink and turned on the faucet. “We can do it together,” George said. “You wash, and I’ll rinse; then we can share the job together.” They had done it that way since then, always in pairs, one dependent on the other, a perfectly symbiotic relationship. With his death, part of Olivia had died too. “Yes, I know George. I know, but you always do such a poor job of rinsing,” Olivia whispered to an empty room. The old grandfather clock in George’s library rang; ten o’clock, mail, Olivia thought. She walked towards the front door, slippers clapping against the linoleum tiling. Breathing in the sweet autumn air, she stepped out onto the sidewalk, blanketed in smatterings of reds, yellows, and oranges. With every step, color seemed to spring from her feet. The mailbox was filled with the usual advertisements, magazines,

and bills. But, one piece caught her eye: a white envelope that read “To Mrs. Olivia Peterson.” When she returned to the house, she opened the letter, carefully cutting the flap and removing the note. At first, the words seemed to fall off the page, as if dissolved by water. Lines blurred, and words flowed together. Its contents flooded her memory of that spring evening. Your husband’s condition…brain dead…organ donor…heart The staccato heartbeat of the clock clacked. Images and sounds and smells flooded her. She seemed to stare through the cracks of her mind; broken, serrated memories sewing themselves together. And before she could regain control of her senses, she was fully dressed and had boarded the number 5 bus to Union Street. George had always loved buses. “One day, you and I are going to ride all the way to the end of the line and even past that too. We’ll ride until the world spreads before us, when it’s all but behind us.” It was why he had bought the old Ford—so that he could ride until the world had disappeared, and that’s how he had disappeared from the world. “I know, Honey. It would be so lovely to watch it all pass by, but what of our lives here? What’ll happen to the kids?” Olivia whispered as the bus clumsily pulled up to her stop. Grasping the neon yellow handrail next to the folding doors, her faded New Balance shoes squeaked on the steps. Her back hunched slightly against the thin film of wind. George had always been enamored by the wind. “It’ll carry us away, one day. We’ll be old and gray, and one day, the wind will just take us. It’ll bear us over the mountains and past the city. Olive, Honey, we’ll be like spiders, catching the wind on our gossamer threads.” “That would be so lovely, George dear, but there’s so much more to be done,” Olivia whispered, as she glanced down at the note once more and cross-referenced it with the address in front of her: 3347 Union Street. Burgundy paint shining from its frame, the house resonated with still, stark solitude, as if containing roots that snaked deeply beneath the ground. Walking up the concrete, gray steps, Olivia could taste autumn on her lips but could not feel the warm brush of sunlight upon her skin nor the rustle of leaves beneath her feet. It was as if autumn did not exist. She rang the doorbell timidly, like a child testing the temperature of

water with her finger. The door cracked slightly open. A man appeared before Olivia. Probably fifty years old, maybe a little younger, Olivia thought. He was tall and wore a blue striped shirt and corduroy pants. “Hello; may I help you?” he asked. “Hi, I’m Olivia Peterson. I received your letter.” “Hi, I’m Isaac,” he said a little shakily, and wordlessly, he held open the door for her. They sat in the living room, Isaac on a plush armchair and Olivia on a leather, chestnut couch. They sat in silence, each facing the other. They sat in knowing, as if they were old friends, separated and finally united. Olivia finally broke the silence, “Can I listen to it? Can I listen to my George?” Isaac sat for a moment; his breathing remained steady and calm. He stood, as if rising on command. He ambled from his position in the armchair to the couch. Olivia shifted from her seat so that her hip touched the side of Isaac’s and lay her head on his chest. Isaac wrapped his arm around Olivia like a father swaddling his newborn child. It was George’s heart. She knew. The pulsating rhythm, as strong as a drum, greeted her ear as she listened with the side of her face pressed against his chest. Each beat was as vibrantly beautiful as a firework and each rise and fall of his lungs as calming as a rocking chair. Olivia could feel the world engulf her in that moment: the sea and tides swayed to the beat, to the rise and fall of George’s breathing; the air around her was caught on butterflies’ wings, filling the sweet atmosphere in blankets of wonder; time stood static in noiseless solitude. And there, Isaac and Olivia sat, unaware of countries and continents, planets and animals. They sat not as lovers or acquaintances but as humans birthed in the immaculate garments of care. That evening as she left Isaac’s house, she could feel the soft humming of the number 5 bus and the hard pavement beneath her feet. Autumn turned in its mottled, leafy complexion. Color did not spring from the ground; dark hues danced upon the floor. Olivia crawled into her bed, inviting the soft scrape of tree branches against the house.

AUTUMN LEAVES Adam Merchant / JUNIOR

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Halbert Bai / Senior

thinking on a beach Brent weisberg / junior I know that the sand won’t burn me Although my feet shriek and writhe In acute pain with each step. What I know can hurt me Are the cerulean chunks of glass That lie just beneath the surface, Crackled time bombs Just waiting to pierce my vulnerable ankle? It’s odd how such an inanimate substance, sand Has such a lifelike aspect, a knack Of reaching into the hard-to-reach areas. How does a mountain of sand Find its way into a closed backpack The same way that lichens Cling to life on a cliff side? Sand is like a psychopathic assassin Of the twentieth century. It rarely does Anyone any good, lies low even, But when the time is ripe, It shoots your Kennedy, King, or worse: manages to sneak Past the eyelashes and hijack The innocent cornea.

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Marta Lynne Weber Napiorkowska Halbert Bai JOnathan Ng William Su Alex Kim Shourya Kumar Adam Merchant Faculty Sponsor Faculty Sponsor Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief Submissions Editor Submissions Editor COPY EDITOR Photography Editor

Nabeel MuscatWalla Luke Williams

Senior Editor

Copy Editor

Marque 88

Purujit ChatterJee

Stuart Zuyva Sevilla Montgomery

Kunal Dixit Managing Editor STAFF LEADER Graphics Director Design Editor

Brody Ladd Design Editor

Timothy Cho Staff

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Special Thanks Will Jelsma Aiden Maurstad Sam Eichenwald Killian Green Staff Staff Staff Staff

Josh Andrew Chuka Bandopadhay Rahul Maganti

Staff

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Staff

Staff

Ms. Lynne Weber Dr. Marta Napiorkowska MR. Arnold Holtberg Mr. Ray Westbrook Mr. DAVID Brown Mr. Kenneth Owens Ms. Debbie O’ Toole Mr. Bill Kysor Mr. JOHN FROST VIATECH PUBLISHING

STAFF Rahul Maganti Gopal Roman Akshay Malhotra Will Garden Zach Cole

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On the Concept “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."

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- J. R. R. Tolkien

ome fifty-something years ago, this magazine was a seed. Naked, young, yet filled with the potential to become something great, it represented our school’s relentless desire to express—and above all, to be heard. And sure, although it didn’t seem great at first glance, what mattered then wasn’t the lack of color or design. Once you opened the first page and felt what our young writers and artists felt all those years ago, you saw who we were as a magazine. You saw our roots. When you think about it, the real reason people feel the need to express themselves at all is because, deep down, we find peace knowing someone out there might understand who we are. We act, write, paint, sing, dance, throw, shoot, film, and draw so that others may peer into who we are as people, and if everything goes as planned, they’ll like what they see. But the idea of one’s “roots” stretches far deeper (pun intended) than that. There’s an inseparable relationship between our unflagging desire to express who we are with an equally pressing need to assess our own identities. And since who we are now is a reflection of what we once were, every time we express what we feel, we share yet another piece to the puzzle that makes up our characters. So in this issue of The Marque, you won’t just find short stories, screenplays, and visual art. You’ll see glimpses into people’s personalities as bits and pieces of an artist’s identity, presented as a story with a future, present, and of course, past. You’ll see a culmination of our roots, molded and shaped by values and experiences so that, when it’s all said and done, we come out as the best possible versions of ourselves. Every plant, every idea, every dream—it always begins with these roots. Every story in this magazine, as well as the magazine itself, started out as a defenseless, vulnerable, yet incredibly capable seed before it could blossom into everything it ever hoped to become. So read on, kind reader, and understand who we are.

On the artwork

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etrospection is the essence of aesthetic mastery. We strive to accentuate ideas that have succeeded in the past by incorporating them into a present style. It is in this act of appreciating the past that we truly understand the fundamental beauties within both our simplest endeavors and our boldest achievements. Retro art is the concrete medium through which we express abstract themes of revival. It uses the contrast between subtle colors of older artistic eras to invoke the bold passions of modern creative ambition. Retro does not belong to any one specific time or movement in history. Rather, this artistic style represents our timeless proclivity to remember our history and glorify it through modernity and eternity. Through splashes of understated colors and forms, reminiscent of the soft and subtle yet sophisticated art of old, against the backdrop of modern literary themes, we twist the antique to intertwine with the contemporary. An artist’s revival of dated stylistic attitudes mirrors a person’s reminiscence of his own history, his deepest identity. Just as a person reveres family, community, religion, and all that contributed to his ultimate, current identity, so too does a true student of art revere and cherish all the periods and cultures that have shaped the identity of modern aesthetics, not necessarily specific to simply one time. As we weave through the tangles of our history, we attempt to salvage those things of the past that allowed us to become who we are today, the subtleties which one by one contribute to the bold, overall statement of identity. Only when we connect to our roots can we resurge with the knowledge to repeat the best of history. The balance of vintage ideas in a current setting pumps the vivacity of the retro style. The past becomes the solid foundation upon which we build the rest of our artistic future. By embracing a retrospective ideology, we experience a shift in the way we consider and relate to the past. Retro art is the collective body of creative human achievement cyclically reimagining itself; it is the intersection of our past and our present, of our nuances and our vividity, of our mastery and our passion. Through this artistic style we reconcile the past with the present as a model for the path to the future. And though we draw upon forgotten values and styles, we leave our own distinctive mark and in doing so, plant our own roots.

PURUJIT CHATTERJEE CLASS OF 2015 MANAGING EDITOR

KUNAL DIXIT CLASS OF 2015 STAFF LEADER

Watch us germinate.

Nabeel Muscatwalla CLASS OF 2014 Senior Editor 92

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to the reader We look fondly back upon those languid July afternoons—of those days of infinite creation and possibility— discovering art through ideas and expression and conveying the deepest pits of despair or euphoric swelling of joy. Though temporally distant, those thoughts and themes, birthed in the mid-summer months, are delightedly immortalized in these pages. Beholding the completed magazine, we are am amazed at the unique display of human passion on each of these pages: the inimitable dedication of the staff in meticulously designing each spread and the wonderful aesthetic eyes and voices of the artists and writers, who gave us the resources to make this year’s Marque. Fifty-two years ago, the magazine was no more than a multitude of possibilities dreamed of by eager Marksmen who wanted to create a publication that embraced student work and that molded its identity around art and writing. It was this seed of an idea that influenced the Marque’s creation. This year’s magazine seeks to record a journey, not in the traditional sense, but in a more reflective one: a journey of introspection and discovery, a journey that follows in the footsteps of those who created the first Marque. This year’s theme of “Roots” honors those Marquemen of the past who have, through their early vision and inspiration, allowed us to develop our publication’s identity through artwork and inward discovery. Only in finding ourselves with spade and pick beneath the weathered dirt, nestled amidst the nourishing flow of our roots, will we discover those who keep our souls buoyant—the supportive peers, the watchful and caring teachers, and the boundlessly generous parents, grandparents, and relatives who nurtured us. And it is in this search for the human spirit that we find ourselves face-to-face with this work. Marquemen, we are at a loss for words as we look upon this magazine. The wonderfully creative designs, the unflagging persistence, and the striving ambition that you exhibited this year are astounding. Thank you for pouring your souls into this finished product and for not settling for anything short of perfection. We hope you all are proud of what you have produced. After four memorable years as part of The Marque, we have changed. Since we may not know exactly how to put this transformation into words, we can only ask that you look closely at these pages. In the complex woodworking pieces, evocative ceramics work, powerful photographs, and perceptive short stories and poems, you will find what has indescribably set our spirits ablaze and what will perhaps allow you also to discover what makes you glisten with life. We hope that this year’s Marque reminds you of the thrill of forging an identity with wonder and of the satisfying introspection that yields an understanding of where we have come from and where we will go. So let us drink from the heady streams of exhilaration, burrow our hands into the soil of life, and feel our roots pulsate ‘neath our feet.

Jonathan Ng CLASS OF 2014 Editor-in-chief

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Halbert Bai CLASS OF 2014 Editor-in-chief

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COLOPHON

PHILOSOPHY

This year’s The Marque was printed by ViaTech Publishing Solutions on Heidelberg Plates and bound using perfect binding. The cover was printed on Carolina Coated paper with 4/4 color processing. The staff used Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop CS6 to produce the magazine. The Marque used Ostrich Sans for headings, bylines, photo credits, and page numbers and Archer Pro Book for body text. The press run for this year’s The Marque was

The Marque is meant to serve as a collection of the literary and artistic works produced by Upper School (Grades 9-12) students and faculty members at the St. Mark’s School of Texas during the 2013-2014 school year. All works submitted by Middle and Lower School students (Grades 1-8) are submitted to the Mini Marque, a separate literary magazine. Works of all types and forms are welcomed and considered equally for publication. The Marque is printed and distributed at the end of the academic year as a culminating production meant to summarize the year’s artistic expression.

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St. Mark’s School of Texas 10600 Preston Road Dallas, Texas 75230

CONTACT

Care of: Lynne Weber Facebook: The Marque Website: www.smtexas.org

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The Marque | Vol. 52