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Copyright © 2017 by SCCC Rhythms Club All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Editorial Staff:  Lindsay Buell  Gianluca Russo  Noah Smith  Thalia Torres

Faculty Advisors:  Megan E. Cassidy  Kara M. Manning

Front Cover Designed by the SCCC Rhythms Club Front Cover Photo by Thalia Torres

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Table of Contents Watchmaker by Noah Smith ........................................................................................................... 4 Time by Lindsay Buell.................................................................................................................... 5 Wilted Flower by Thalia Torres ...................................................................................................... 5 Fight for Your Life by Michele Pattee ........................................................................................... 6 Yellow 159 by Megan E. Cassidy................................................................................................... 7 Song of My Heart by Darcey Anne Farrow .................................................................................... 8 Love Came to Emily, Unrequited by Don Riggs ............................................................................ 9 Keys by Shannon Palmo ............................................................................................................... 10 Love by Brandon St. Louis ........................................................................................................... 11 Wings by Megan E. Cassidy ......................................................................................................... 11 Daddy Told Me by Lindsay Buell ................................................................................................ 12 Reflections by Shannon Palmo ..................................................................................................... 14 Deep Breaths by Thalia Torres ..................................................................................................... 15 Freedom Chasers by Lindsay Buell .............................................................................................. 17 Clouds Behind Bars by Darcey Anne Farrow............................................................................... 17 The Dylan Project by Megan E. Cassidy ...................................................................................... 18 Benched by Lindsay Buell ............................................................................................................ 23 Bridge by Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali ......................................................................................... 24 Everything by Don Riggs.............................................................................................................. 25 Destructive Hearts by Thalia Torres ........................................................................................... 25 Predator by Megan E. Cassidy ...................................................................................................... 26 In Bloom by Shannon Palmo ........................................................................................................ 26 The Moment by Hayden Paneth ................................................................................................... 27 Falling Water by Shannon Palmo ................................................................................................. 27 Silent Pain by Shannon Palmo ...................................................................................................... 28 Street with Snow by Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali ......................................................................... 28 Civic by Kara M. Manning ........................................................................................................... 29 Sleepless City by Lindsay Buell ................................................................................................... 30 Waking Up by Shannon Pamo ...................................................................................................... 31 Universe by Lindsay Buell............................................................................................................ 32 Where Sky and Earth Meet by Shannon Palmo ............................................................................ 32 The Dance by Megan E. Cassidy .................................................................................................. 33 7-Minute Reel: as i silently perform your noise by Kara M. Manning......................................... 34 2


Ship by Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali ............................................................................................. 35 Two Types of Mathematical Proof Decide to Enter a Competition by Laurie L. Lacey .............. 36 Purple Haze by Lindsay Buell ...................................................................................................... 36 She Said Nothing by Lindsay Buell .............................................................................................. 37 SCCC With Snow by Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali ....................................................................... 42 Life Lost: An Ode to Russell by Darcey Anne Farrow ................................................................ 43 Still Life by Don Riggs ................................................................................................................. 44 Still Children by Shannon Palmo.................................................................................................. 45 Two Views of SCCC by Lindsay Buell ........................................................................................ 46

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Watchmaker By Noah Smith

Tik Toc Goes the clock.

First the gloomy man A simple task A routine task All but five minutes.

I am a tinkerer I’m no operateur I am a fixer I’m a watchmaker.

Next the foolish man A simple fix A quick fix Just a new gear train.

Again! Faster this time I can hear his voice Sickened and grotesque From Years of smoking.

Finally the worried man Looks easy enough Feels easy enough But then,

I know he’s watching me His inheritor His replacement I won’t shame him.

The clock stops. Perhaps the balance wheel And the hairspring Are they still oscillating? Yes they are.

I’m alone in the shop Ostracized Alienated And Then I’m not. The Shop Door opens A bell rings A loud ring It’s time to work.

In my hands I hold the tools I peel off the back Of the watch.

A gloomy man A foolish man A worried manAll customers.

A masterpiece I must fix Every gear Every pin I shall make it anew.

Women never come in They never break or Destroy Only Create.

I am a tinkerer! There. And there I am no operateur! Tik Toc Goes the clock

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Time By Lindsay Buell No access to the future So we personalize the past To help ourselves feel better Over things that never last

Wilted Flower By Thalia Torres

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Fight for Your Life By Michele Pattee I stood at the nurse’s station in the intensive care unit and watched the doctor make his way toward me from the other side of the unit. I had just spoken to him a few minutes before on the phone. He told me I needed to come; that it was urgent. The intensive care unit had become our home away from home for the last fifty-five days since my husband was put into a coma and paralyzed; on full life support to allow his lungs to heal from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. How could it seem like such a strange place at the moment? The weight of all that was happening suddenly became so great that my shoulders almost collapsed. My husband’s pulmonologist finally arrived to where I was standing. He looked at me, as he always did, with kindness and concern except this time there was a deeper look in his eyes. That look of “I’m so sorry.” He began to speak and, although I comprehended what he was saying, the stress of a few phrases seemed to resonate more loudly than all the rest. “Pneumothorax…pushing his heart…very serious...procedure needs to be done…surgeon not available…”. Then the loudest one of all: “I’ve never done this before.” That phrase slapped me in the face as if someone was trying to wake me up from a deep sleep. I looked in this wonderful doctor’s kind eyes and said, “You are all I’ve got.” He told me to go see my husband because if it went bad, it would go bad quickly. In the short time it took me to walk around the nurse’s station to my husband’s room, so many things went through my mind. What words would be good enough to be the last words I would possibly ever speak to him? I walked into the oh so familiar room with the smell of medicine and the ventilator sounds that haunted my sleep every night. I walked to my husband and bent to his ear and whispered “Kick this thing in the ass. It’s nowhere near time to give up. You are not a quitter.” I kissed him on the forehead and walked out of the room and into the waiting room where my family and priest stood waiting for me. I couldn’t look at any of them for fear of them asking what I said. I didn’t want to tell them. Those words were mine and my husband’s, and not to share. I wanted to hold on to the words I said to him for dear life so I would never lose the feeling that I felt when I said them; those last moments with the man I love. Twenty minutes slowly passed and the door opened. The doctor walked in and was shaking his head. I prepared for the worst, squaring up and waiting for the punch. Those kind eyes looked at me again and asked, “May I ask what you said to your husband?” Do I give them up? Do I hand over those wonderful moments? I looked at the doctor and it must have shown in my eyes what my soul was begging to know. “I didn’t have to do a thing,” he said, “I didn’t have to do it.” My face became puzzled and he answered the questions my eyes asked. “I was pushing on his chest to find his heart”, he began, “and as I did that, the pneumothorax dissipated and broke up allowing his heart to return to where it should be.” I smiled at the doctor and told him what I so lovingly whispered to my husband. He chuckled in response and kissed the top of my hand. “You can go see him,” he said. “He still needs to oxygenate a little better, so work your magic, my dear.” I walked back into the room where my husband still laid. That room in that intensive care unit, with the medicine smells and the ventilator sounds, would continue to be our home away from home for the next twenty-two days until the day my husband was transferred to a rehabilitation 6


facility for the next thirty days after that. So many things happened in that time after, but I will never forget that night when I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that love transcends comas and chest tubes and ventilators. Love fights and listens and heals. My husband has many residual effects from this time in our lives, but one thing I know he has not lost is the power he gained from knowing those around him loved him enough to fight for the day he came home to us.

Yellow 159 By Megan E. Cassidy

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Song of My Heart By Darcey Anne Farrow Lead in with a small intro and then the chorus. Chorus: Say that you will be my dearest love Forever and always till time flies away Say that you will hold on to my heart Forever and always let’s never part. Verse 1: You were sitting on a small bench in the park You sat there thinking though it turned dark I was there, yet you didn’t see me for a while I only know that I waited and gave you a smile. Chorus: Say that you will be my dearest love Forever and always till time flies away Say that you will hold on to my heart Forever and always let’s never part. Verse 2: If ever you should feel like you are breaking Call me, I’ll come your knight in the making I’ll take your troubles so very far from here I’ll hold you close with hugs my darling dear. Chorus: Say that you will be my dearest love Forever and always till time flies away Say that you will hold on to my heart Forever and always let’s never part. Verse 3: How precious and thoughtful I know you are You are my inspiration you are my shining star You are now in my soul, a special place I carry To only grow fonder on the day that we marry. Chorus: Say that you will be my dearest love Forever and always till time flies away Say that you will hold on to my heart Forever and always let’s never part. Verse 4: I have loved you since the day we met When our eyes upon each other set From the bench in the park, beyond the dark For that little while when you gave me a smile. Small instrumental and fade out. 8


Love Came to Emily, Unrequited By Don Riggs What went wrong? In your heart there came a sudden spirit Lifting you Above the clouds, On angel’s wings, You sailed away. It wasn’t planned You never thought you’d find that special person The one Whose very name Touches your soul With delightful pain. But when days of happiness Turn into emptiness It’s time, it’s time To let go. Life seems real Looking through the savage eyes of freedom. The days come strong, The night belongs to the seer, Right or wrong

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Keys By Shannon Palmo

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Love By Brandon St. Louis

You think you've found me Then you lose me Then you lose belief But time passes And once again we meet But you never lost me Because you never had me You know that now You thought I described what you felt But my meaning is undefinable I am what you make Not what you’re told I am not real Nor am I fake I'm never like the movies Or fairy tales You cannot force me I may happen on first sight Or after many years I bring much joy But also many tears Fear me not I'm the feeling in your gut

I cause you to lose your breath For every right you should take I take you left Because sometimes Left is right And right is wrong For every step you go back We'll be regained Because once into me you fall Steps won't be needed Because you won't be on your feet at all To say me is one thing To prove me is another I am amazing But I can't crush you For you are in my grip I can teach you to fly Or cause you to crumble I can last a lifetime Or be mistaken again and again But when you find me I'm worth it Or at least they say so.

Wings By Megan E. Cassidy

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Daddy Told Me By Lindsay Buell Daddy told me to never get tattoos. Sitting behind her in class I couldn’t help but admire her tattoo on the back of her neck. I hadn’t noticed it until she came to class one day with her hair tied up. After that day I couldn’t take my mind off that tattoo. I had always been told, “A real lady does not tattoo herself.” I had always wanted to be a real lady, until I saw her tattoo. I hadn’t even pondered the idea of getting a tattoo. But after seeing hers I knew I had to have one. She and I quickly became close after I asked her everything she knew about them. She knew a lot. She knew them like the back of her hand. To my astonishment she didn’t just have the one, she had many. They were all beautiful. I wanted them all. And more. One day while she and I were in my room, Daddy came in. She was showing me the tattoo on her ribcage. Daddy saw her tattoos. Daddy saw that I appreciated her tattoos. Daddy told me to never get tattoos. When she left, the house was unsteady. Daddy said he wanted to talk to me. Daddy told me to never get tattoos. I told him that real ladies could have tattoos. Daddy threw a plate. He missed. He hit the wall. He had aimed for my head. I ran to my room. Head in my pillow, I screamed. I could never get tattoos. All I wanted was a tattoo. Then it hit me all at once. Daddy told me never to get tattoos. The next time I saw her I asked her, “If only I could have your tattoos.” She laughed. “Take them if you want them so bad.” 12


I admired her. She had said that getting tattoos was quite painful. It was a shame I would never know that pain. But she still screamed when my knife touched her skin. The process was long and painful. It took hours before it was complete. She was right. It was painful. Hours later she was no longer screaming. From either blood loss or shock, I’ll never know. Her skin was not the same shade as mine. But it would have to do. She told me I could take her tattoos. So I did just that. The bandages came off after a few weeks. The tattoos looked amazing. No scarring. No color fading. No damage to the design. They were beautiful. The only thing that bugged me was where her skin met mine. But it was ok. Daddy told me to never get tattoos.

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Reflections By Shannon Palmo

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Deep Breaths By Thalia Torres “Due to a trespasser on school grounds, we will be going into a school wide lockdown. This is not a drill. Everyone remain in their classrooms until further notice. I repeat this is not a drill,” Our school Principal announced over the loudspeakers. I was in the bathroom, washing my hands. The girl in the stall taking a piss, quickly flushed and came out. She looked at me with panicked eyes. “We advise all staff and students to stay where you are and we will announce when the lockdown is over. I repeat, stay where you are...this is not a drill.” “A t-trespasser? Oh my god- like a shooter?” She gasped and put a hand up to her mouth as tears started to form in her eyes. I just stared at her as the memory of him came back into my head. I had seen him limp up to the school grounds. He looked dirty and injured, with blood trailing behind him and trickling down from his head. I thought I was just imagining it though, so I left the class and came to the bathroom to splash water on my face. He didn’t look like a shooter, he looked like he needed help, as if he came out of a crash scene. The sound of the girl rambling on about something brought me back to reality. “Can you shut the fuck up?” I demanded, as she cried. She began to make her way to the door, quickly I grabbed her wrist stopping her. “They said to stay where we are.” Her lip trembled and she took a deep breath fanning herself. I then tugged her to the handicapped stall, locked it and sat on the floor against the wall. “How are you so calm?” She asked. I looked at her and let out a breath. “I’m not. I’m just as scared as you, I’m just not a cry baby.” I hissed as I pulled my knees to my chest. My heart was racing, and my stomach was in knots. I wanted to cry too, I wanted to go to the safety of the classroom. I had seen too many movies to know not to do something stupid. I knew I was being a bit of bitch but I didn’t know how to comfort someone else. When others cried it made me uncomfortable. The sound of heels clicking on the floor could be heard from the hallway. The door opened and from inside the stall I saw the ugliest pair of brown leather kitten heels. “Are there any students in here?” Asked the woman who was now in the bathroom with us. The cry baby quickly rose to her feet and out the stall. I slowly followed her out to see a hall monitor with her arms wrapped around the crying girl. “I’m Mrs. Peters, I’m gonna get you girls to a classroom.” She told us. “What’s your name sweetie?” She asked the crying girl. “Rose,” she said as her lip quivered.

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“Well Rose sweetie, I’m gonna need you to calm down. I need you both to be as silent as you can.” Mrs. Peters instructed. She then led us out the bathroom and into the hallway, which was silent and empty. The nearest classroom wasn’t very far from where we were. She knocked on the door of room 125. The teacher emerged in the window from the other side, with a worried look. From the hall we could hear her fumbling with her keys to unlock the door. Suddenly the teacher stopped and broke out into a violent cough as a pea green smoke filled the room consuming her and all the students who were now coughing. “What’s going on?” Rose asked looking at Mrs. Peters, who had a horrified look on her face. Screams from classrooms could be heard, along with the intense sound of coughing. The smoke then began to seep out of the vents in the hall and from the bottom of the classroom doors. I held my breath as my feet started down the hall, my sneakers squeaking as I made a sharp turn down into a long hallway that led to the entrance. I didn’t think to look back and check to see if Rose and Mrs. Peters were behind me. I made my way to the lobby of the school which was empty, like the rest of the school. Except now, the usual white floors were stained with blood, a trail leading off towards the hall opposite of me. While trying to push open the door, I heard the click of Mrs. Peters’ shoes. She was coughing, blood dripped down from her lips and onto her shoes. Her lips purple and body shaking as she struggled over to the front desk. Rose who had followed had blood streaks down her face, eyes puffy and lips swollen. She fell face forward coughing up blood and wheezing. Mrs. Peters behind the desk pressed something making the red light above the door shine, allowing me to pass through. It was then that I notice the dead body of the “trespasser.” He was face down in the corner in a pool of blood. I knew I needed to get out of there before I ended up like everyone else. I pushed through the doors stumbling out and throwing myself onto the pavement. I gasped for fresh air. “Due to the situation the lockdown will continue until authorities arrive. We advise everyone to remain in the classrooms, stay silent and take deep breaths.”

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Freedom Chasers By Lindsay Buell Freedom chasers, chasing dreams that were never their own. Putting wishes on the distant burner, boiling over putting out the flame. They drive towards hope, far on the horizon, in cars not suited for the travel. They say words that were never theirs, put in their mouths by distant observers. Freedom chasers. Fenced in like horses. Willing to be free.

Clouds Behind Bars By Darcey Anne Farrow

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The Dylan Project By Megan E. Cassidy Josh Barrett was usually cool under pressure. In fact, he considered this to be his defining quality. It was this same unflappable charm that allowed him to bluff his way through college while dating nearly anyone he desired. However, since graduating less than a year ago, the only work he’d been able to find involved selling insurance and running a mailroom. He’d been fired from both positions for laziness and insubordination. Though the interview process was exhaustive, this new job seemed to hold promise. So, for the first time in his life, Josh Barrett was anxious. Josh looked about the austere room, waiting for the interviewer to return, trying to convince himself there was no reason to be nervous. After all, he rationalized, the head-hunter had called him. But then again, Josh knew, there had to be a host of other candidates with more experience. At this thought, his heart beat erratically and his palms began to sweat. He might have experienced a full-blown panic attack, but just then the interviewer, an older, startlingly handsome man by the name of Alex Green, came back into the room. During the first portion of the interview, Green’s good looks and intense gaze had unnerved the young man. However, the researcher’s demeanor now seemed drastically altered as he smiled and handed Josh a cup of coffee. Josh noted with pleasure that the cup was ceramic instead of the usual paper or Styrofoam, and this small gesture of permanence immediately calmed his nerves. He flashed Green his usual charismatic smirk. The interview process may have been rigorous, but the job was clearly his. “Well, Josh,” Green began, “we’ve finished the initial questions, and I can say with some certainty that we’ll be asking you to stay.” Not wanting to appear too eager, Josh nodded and quirked the edges of his lips in a small smile. Green mirrored the gesture, “Just sign these confidentiality forms, and we can tour the facility.” Josh filled out the paperwork and followed his new employer down a sterile white corridor. “This is our inception room,” Green pointed to an area filled with tubes. “These days, it’s merely monitored to guarantee everything keeps running smoothly.” “I wouldn’t be working here then?” Josh sighed. He thought he could fake it, but he had no experience with neurobiology. In his last science course, a basic chemistry course, he copied off a girlfriend for both the midterm and final. Green gave him an odd look, but continued walking, “Of course not. Only a few lab techs work here. This part of the process was finalized nearly forty years ago. Research began long before that with the Adam model, but the Adams had a defect written into the original coding. Most weren’t able to last more than ten years.” As they stepped into an elevator, Green continued, “The Bryans came twelve years later. They lasted, but there were slight flaws in the replication process, so only a few sets of Bryans were created. A few years later, the process was entirely perfected in the Caleb models.” Josh interrupted, “And what will my role be?” He wanted to seem interested, even though he was already tiring of Green’s speeches. “We’ll get to that,” Green grumbled. “As I was saying, the Calebs were a bit too perfect. At that point, we were unable to alter physical characteristics without changing major genetic sequencing, 18


and the Calebs were far too unique for mass production. So, the line was terminated, though for obvious ethical reasons, the company did not recall the models.” They arrived at a windowed room. Turning toward it, Josh looked into a nursery with three identical infants lying in three identical cribs. Green smiled warmly at the babies squirming in their tiny beds and whispered, “It’s a two-way mirror, so they’re not distracted by any outside visitors. This is our Dylan Project. The female equivalent, the Diane Project, produces models monitored by our sister facility.” Green straightened his lab coat, “The Dylans have proven to be most satisfactory—not as bright or handsome as the Calebs, but with average intelligence and easily adjustable features, they blend into a crowd. Wonderful for long-term production.” “And you’ve been getting away with this for decades?” Josh probed. “Well,” the researcher opened a door leading into a room of screens monitoring the infants’ movements, “cloning was controversial in the early days.” “And banned now,” Josh snorted. Green turned away from the monitors and glared, “Banned by private enterprises, yes. But, our company has full government backing and conducts research under strict ethical guidelines.” “You’re not organ harvesting then?” Josh asked. Now it was Green’s turn to smirk, “Of course you would think of that. No, Mr. Barrett. We are not organ harvesting. Nor are we creating soldiers for a secret militia, or treating the clones like bodies without souls.” Josh opened his mouth, but Green continued, “I know. I’ve been calling them models. They are that, but more importantly, they’re individuals, which is the very basis of our research. For example, I myself am a Caleb. It is rare that one of us returns to the company, but it can happen. Like my adoptive parents, I developed an interest in the sciences, and like the other Caleb models, I possess a high level of intelligence.” Green led Josh back to the office. Once seated, the researcher pointed to a stack of folders on his desk. “The Dylans have been in production for about 40 years and most live normal everyday lives. For example,” he lifted a sealed manila envelope, “Dylan 32.1 was the first of two children born his year. He is now Samuel Prendergast, an active eight-year-old living in Iowa. He enjoys baseball and reading, just like his father.” He held another file, “This is Dylan 20.2, the second of two babies born in his year. He was placed with his twin, Dylan 20.1. Both boys have embraced their mother’s love of music, and have taken lessons since childhood. Dylan 20.2 has a gift for stringed instruments and studies musical theory.” “Then your work here is philanthropic? You’re just a specialized adoption agency?” Josh tried not to sound annoyed. He’d rather harvest organs than do something this foolishly sentimental. “The philanthropic side of our work is secondary,” Green sipped his coffee. “Our primary goal is psychobiological research. We study abnormalities. I’m sure you’re familiar with the work of Sir. Francis Galton?” Josh wasn’t, but he nodded anyway and was displeased when he saw Green bemusedly purse his lips together. “Ah, well, to refresh both of our memories, Galton was an early genetics researcher 19


who discovered that twins offer a unique way to distinguish genetic traits from those traits developed through nurture and the special circumstances of our lives,” he paused. “Do you understand now?” The question seemed slightly condescending, as it was most likely intended to be. Josh spoke slowly, trying to appear thoughtful, “So, this is similar to the studies done before they cured schizophrenia? The ones where they studied twins, one with schizophrenia and one without?” Green beamed in acknowledgement, “Quite so! The Bryan model was considerably valuable in discovering the cure, in point of fact. Our company’s sole aim is to study nature versus nurture. We have identical genetic material placed in homes throughout the world. To prevent flooding the market, we only create two to three children every other year, trading off opposite years with the Dianes. And, as I mentioned previously, we change the physical sequencing so the clones do not appear identical. Though genetic duplicates, the children have surface variations in skin tone, hair, and facial features.” “And how are they monitored once they leave?” Josh wondered. “Cameras,” Green waved a hand about his head. “There are so many these days. And we employ field researchers—not parents, of course as that would taint the study, but teachers, neighbors, even employers, once the children reach maturity.” “And you’re the ones who cured schizophrenia?” “Yes. We study other things as well—anything that could be either genetic or influenced by outside factors. It’s fascinating work. For example, on the whole, the Dylans have a propensity to be personable and easy-going. So, when we have one who becomes a cut-throat CEO, we examine how his upbringing may have influenced him.” “Or if one develops cancer at an early age?” “Precisely,” Green slapped the desk. “We’ve produced exactly forty eight Dylans. To date, none have cancer, even with high-risk environmental factors such as smoking.” “Age could be a factor,” Josh supplied, trying to play the valuable team member. “Which is why this is a longitudinal study with built in control groups. Will some develop cancer, or is there something in the Dylan’s genetic sequencing, which provides natural immunity? Can we replicate that immunity? If some develop Alzheimer’s as they age, what environmental factors can we correlate with the disease, and how can we eliminate those factors? That’s what we’re doing here.” “And you’ve really never had any incidence of cancer,” Josh attempted to sound impressed, even though he felt bored. “No. We’ve never had a Dylan with cancer, or any kidney or liver dysfunctions. We’ve had a few suffer from slight depressive episodes, but none with major depression, bipolar disorder, or sociopathic tendencies,” Green paused, “until now… and here we come to your role in our project, Mr. Barrett.” Josh was glad they had finally come to the point. He swallowed his irritation and flashed Green a toothy grin, “My role? Do you need another field researcher to follow someone?” “Quite the contrary, though you do have a propensity for following people, Dylan 10.3.” 20


“What?” Josh gripped the chair, trying to keep the fear out of his voice. For the second time in his life, his palms began to sweat. Green pulled a file from his desk, “We want to know… what went wrong.” He began reading, “Age seven, the subject sets his mother’s cat on fire. Cat goes missing. Dylan 10.3 is not suspected.” He flipped to another entry, “Age nine, Dylan 10.3 bullies female classmate until she is forced to transfer schools. Parents contacted. No other actions taken.” Flip. “Age seventeen, female classmate accuses Dylan 10.3 of rape. The school gets involved. No official charges filed. The subject is allowed to continue high school undisturbed.” Flip. “Age twenty-one, Dylan 10.3 strangles his girlfriend and disposes of her body.” Here, Green flopped the folder onto the desk in front of Josh. Pictures, apparently taken with a satellite camera, clearly showed Josh’s hunched over form as he shoved a blonde corpse into the trunk of his car. “It’s been almost a year, and the girl’s parents are still looking for her,” Green said. “We’re looking for an explanation.” Green looked over Josh’s head, and the young man realized there were three others behind him—one in a lab coat identical to Green’s, two carrying weapons. Josh’s mind was racing. He fell silent, trying to control himself. The tactic must have worked because after a few moments, his breathing eased. He shrugged nonchalantly, “That’s not me.” Josh moved as if to leave, but the guards behind him moved in as Green pointed to a photo in which the young man’s face was clearly visible, “Let us not lie to one another, Josh,” he said. “I’ve told you everything that goes on here—very top secret stuff, and there’s nowhere for you to run. We’re doing research here, as I said. Just tell us exactly what happened.” Josh licked his lips, his eyes darting from side to side looking for an exit. He thought that perhaps Green did only want him there for research purposes. Perhaps he would be free from any repercussions. He might as well be frank, given the fact that there seemed no alternative. With this in mind, Josh leaned back in his chair and answered coolly, “Emma was a lying cheating bitch who got what she deserved.” Green’s lips formed a thin white line. “Then, you claim that it was Miss. Evans who precipitated the attack?” Josh rolled his eyes, but said nothing. Still trying to seem relaxed, he could feel a drips of sweat beginning to trickle down the back of his neck as Green leaned forward, “And, what of the childhood incidents?” This question was met with a harsh laugh and another shrug, “Well, those are just the kind of sticky situations every guy finds himself in now and again.” “Many men, are violent,” Green acknowledged, “but our Dylan models are typically friendly and easygoing. Was there any history of abuse or neglect we may have overlooked?” Even though Josh’s heart had begun beating wildly, he blinked twice, removed all trace of emotion from his face, and simply replied, “No.”

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Green made a note, “It would be difficult to detect lying with your personality, so I will unfortunately have to take your word for it. Typically, we would know about and prevent any maltreatment, but we have been known to make mistakes.” When Green was greeted with more silence, he pressed further, “Now, this incident with Miss. Evans. In your mind, precisely how did she provoke the attack?” “She lied to me,” Josh’s chest began heaving with ragged breaths, “and she slept with the captain of the baseball team, and the sensation of my hands around her neck was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life, if you really want to know.” “You note the lack of shame or remorse,” Green said to his colleague. The other researcher nodded and placed three additional photos on the desk, “Which is why we do not believe this to be an isolated incident.” “I didn’t kill anyone else!” Josh shouted, completely dropping his cool façade. “Only because our field researchers began monitoring you twenty-four hours a day since the first incident,” Green interrupted, pointing to the first two photos. “When you stalked and attempted to assault this young woman in the park six weeks ago, we surreptitiously intervened moments before the attack.” Josh’s mind reeled as he recalled following the same path as the slim jogger for months, planning how to approach her in just the right way to seem both menacing and friendly. Just as he had run up behind her, a second jogger had come around the corner calling out, “Sarah, I think you dropped your wallet back here.” Startled, Sarah had turned around, only to see Josh a few inches from her face. She jumped back in surprise and Josh knew she would always remember what he looked like. She would be on guard and he would not have the chance to surprise her again. He tried to control his anger at the realization that his carefully laid out plans had been thwarted by these bland little men in their ugly white coats. “Interesting,” the other researcher said, turning to Green. “You see now that he is finally showing some emotion, though he tries to hide it.” “Anger born of selfishness,” Green nodded as his colleague made a notation. He turned back to Josh, “This,” Green tapped the final photo “is one of our researchers, posing as a decoy. You have trailed her movements for the past two weeks, just as we have trailed yours.” Green’s colleague cleared his throat and added, “One is an isolated incident. Two is a coincidence. Three is a serialized pattern.” “I’m not…” Josh jumped to his feet, but one of the armed guards firmly pressed him back down into his chair. “As I explained previously,” Green stood, “above all else, our process is ethical. We must discover what brought on this abnormality in personality and psyche. If it is not environmental, it must be physical. The other two young men of your birth year have shown none of these symptoms or behaviors but are becoming, like our other Dylans, happy productive members of society. You are, Mr. Barrett, a clone who appears to be entirely unique.”

22


Josh smirked at this, but his face fell as Green continued, “And that is why we have chosen to terminate your program.” “You’re going to kill me?” Josh felt his bladder give way. “No. Of course not,” Green said, as the two security agents lifted Josh to his feet. “As I said before, you’ll be staying here.” Josh roared in both terror and fury, “You’ve got the photos! Why not just send me to prison?” “Ah, but then we wouldn’t have any tissue samples,” Green answered, as if this were obvious. He inclined his head toward his colleague, “Dr. Albert has never performed a lobotomy, as they have not been standard practice for quite some time, but we believe this form of tissue extraction to be sufficient, both to control your behavior and to conduct our research.” Josh began flailing his arms and legs, trying to strike his captors. He felt his fist make contact with Green’s jaw and felt a momentary surge of adrenaline. But then a long syringe was thrust into his arm, and his knees went weak as he was lowered onto a waiting gurney. Green stood over his prisoner, “We’ll have to keep you for observation, but you shouldn’t be too much trouble. When we need more tests or further samples, I’m sure your new, sedentary, infantile personality will happily comply.” The drugs had nearly alleviated the last remnants of Josh’s anxiety, but then just before falling into a hazy drug-induced sleep, he heard Green say the last words he would ever fully comprehend, “Dr. Albert, procure as much tissue as necessary, as long as he stays alive. If he wakes up during the procedure, which he certainly will, don’t give him any further sedation. You saw the pictures.” Screaming, Josh fell into oblivion.

Benched By Lindsay Buell

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Bridge By Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali

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Everything By Don Riggs Standing naked, hand-in-hand, Before a sudden abyss of annihilated dreams, One to step forward, one to remain behind, Fearing not death, but loss, And you were the only thing And you were everything. ................. As sometimes happens When frail and failing hope flees before inexorable darkness, Blessed Light, enigmatic bringer of grace, Shown down upon us And made us whole.

Destructive Hearts By Thalia Torres Hearts in sync as they sink, Trembling with each touch, Dying from this poisonous love. Sweaty palms, lace fingers together, As they make an empty promise to never let go. Hearts in sync as they sink. Lips crashing like waves on the shore. Itching for a fix, addicted to the other, Dying from this poisonous love. They tangle together, Unable to know where one starts and the other ends. Hearts in sync as they sink. Bruised and broken, but too high to care. No chance of withdrawal, no quitting cold turkey Dying from this poisonous love. Tolerant to the others touch. Dependent on the others love. Their hearts are in sync as they sink, While slowly dying from this poisonous love. 25


Predator By Megan E. Cassidy

In Bloom By Shannon Palmo

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The Moment By Hayden Paneth That moment That the air felt silent, And only the buzzing of electricity can be heard‌ All is peaceful In that moment, I succumb, i let myself be me. Inhaling, I feel my esophagus expanding...almost touching my contracting stomach. As my face flips over to left... My cheeks softly brush the skin of my right upper arm. Slowly, the enchanting smell of my skin penetrates my nostrils. The fragrance, soft and floral reaches my brain. And I feel my thoughts relax. For that moment; All is peaceful. An unloading, relaxing sensation penetrates deep inside my psyche, It's Soothing, I feel my brain chemicals shrinking, as my eyelids droop lowerAnd, One tiny tear escapes, During the moment I first fell in love with myself.

Falling Water By Shannon Palmo

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Silent Pain By Shannon Palmo No one understands the silent pain you feel How you could be in a room filled with love and laughter But feel only sadness When a choice get taken from you Your life turns upside down You can’t turn to anyone No one understands OR Wants to They chalk it up to depression Tell you to walk it off You have nowhere to go BUT Sit in this room full of people Talking Laughing Yet your screaming so loud no one can hear you You go home at night and lay in bed alone with the quietness of the dark No one to hold you or keep you safe Comfort is what you seek But comfort you’ll never get Always alone Never in another’s arms safe and sound Only the pillows stuff your sobbing at night Even if they didn’t no one would hear or come Forever alone

Street with Snow By Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali

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Civic By Kara M. Manning Casey checked his rear-view again and wondered what had made him think he should get behind the wheel. He wasn’t drunk or high or anything else that would make most people nervous that a cop was tailing the car. But he was impaired. The heavy cast on his right leg could pose problems, he thought, if this cop decided to pull him over. This cop on my ass— Why did she not turn back there? The clouds in Sue’s eyes. The haiku sprang to his mind; they always did. This is what came of having a dad like his, a childhood like his. Everything had been hammered home, driven into him with syllabic force. This fucking cop. It wasn’t just that she was following so close it felt like his 1994 Honda Civic was actually towing her cruiser along. It was the intense stare; the cop seemed to be looking directly into his eyes each time he flicked them at the mirrors. That stare said she wanted to mess up his world. He’d been pretty messed up already. Three weeks ago, he’d been jumped outside the bar. Couple teens, from what he could tell. One had grabbed him from behind and knocked him to the ground. Then the other, or both for all he knew, actually jumped on him—on his leg as if it was a pogo stick—up and down over and over until Casey had simultaneously felt and heard the snap-crunch. He hadn’t driven since, mainly because the pain was too much. But now there was just a constant itch from toe to groin. Really it was maybe the itch that had convinced him to drive to Sue’s place. Before he’d started the Civic he made sure the left leg could do all the work. It was fine. But this cop. And this itch. He was a block from Sue’s when the cruiser lights flashed and the childish “blip-blip” sounded. Damn damn damn damn damn Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn 29


Damn damn damn damn damn The cop, still freaking him out with that stare, tapped his window. As Casey wound it down, feeling the burn in his shoulder from the resistant, grating mechanism, he realized just how powerless he’d been his whole life.

Sleepless City By Lindsay Buell

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Waking Up By Shannon Palmo Waking up It’s a new day New adventures New people What to do? Join a circus Be a star Who to become? A writer Musician What to do? Where to go? Tothemoonandback Venus Mars Life: IT HAPPENS Then you F A L L Into a dark hole F A L L ……………………… “WAKE UP!” It’s over.

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Universe By Lindsay Buell To each individual The universe is their own. Living together, but alone. Our minds, our planets. Our loved ones, our moons. Our home is our solar system And anyone who dares to defy it are the black holes. Each planet so vast, Unable to understand it all.

Where Sky and Earth Meet By Shannon Palmo

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The Dance By Megan E. Cassidy

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7-Minute Reel: as i silently perform your noise (a dramatic monologue; dance of contradiction) By Kara M. Manning You’re doing it again; everyone always seems to want to talk. SO LOUDLY. SO CONSTANTLY. it’s painful, exhausting— can’t we just sit here quietly for a moment? No? Let me explain: Words so often get chewed and spewed in quick, shrill succession. Like the obnoxious sound of seagulls (SQUAWK?) cackling joyfully (SCREE?) when they’ve spotted some edible refuse. (CAW?) Or it might be that the hapless birds are (CROW?) crying dolefully (CROAK?) because they want to be heard, too, among the others in a noisy flock. Either way, they seem to think it’s just fine to make a constant racket. Come to think of it, I would rather hear them. Now I can’t abide the comparison. (FUCK!) The simile isn’t right: its meaning slips away. Because I/you know you/I simply can’t understand the seagull’s attempts at communication. So let’s not try; let their noise fall into the backdrop. You’re not getting it, I know. Let me try again. Your human noise I can—I do—comprehend. It’s just it makes me so very tired. Listening to you envelopes me in a fog that sounds like a stench, clothes me in too many sweaters on a hot day, 34


makes me play the role of villain in your crappy melodrama. Don’t think me hateful. “Silence is sexy.” If you don’t believe me spend 7 minutes on the 2nd track of the 8th album from the 2000th year. What? Of course you don’t know what I mean; I’ll remain silent on that particular point. After all, you have Google and a brain. Spend 7 minutes of silence seeking the information. Your frustration pleases me— I’m silently performing your noise. Your noise becomes mine. Becomes my words. Try them on. Feel these words in your mouth. Talk it all out for yourself alone in front of the mirror. Perform my words and your noise so I don’t have to. So I don’t have to listen to this ceaseless squabble. I’ve forgiven the seagulls.

Ship By Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali

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Two Types of Mathematical Proof Decide to Enter a Competition – By Dr. Laurie L. Lacey One bright day, Contradiction, entered a competition. Not long after, Contrapositive, also entered in opposition. Contradiction said, “But I show that the assumption that p holds and q does not leads to Reductio ad absurdum” and that is on file. Whilst, Contrapositive said, “But I have the same truth value as the conditional, and you are in denial.” And the students said, “Gee whiz…cannot either of you be Direct?” That is when “Mathematical Induction” decided to enter too…and stack the deck!

Purple Haze By Lindsay Buell

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She Said Nothing By Lindsay Buell They were so happy They were young and in love. They had the world at their feet. He was from a big city, a transfer student. He was new. He was something She was traditional, a hometown girl. She lived in the same house her whole life. It was love story out of a story book. All were smiles and all was good. Arguments never turned into fights. They were wild. They were happy. They were free. You never saw one without the other. Seeing them together was like a dream. Seeing them together was like a fairytale. A novel. A movie. A bedtime story. They had plans to leave the small town. Hit it big. Buy a big house. Fill it kids Live happily ever after. Together. She fell asleep with smile on her face every night. She dreamt of the engagement. The wedding. The honeymoon. The house. The kids. She dreamt of happily ever after, excited for her dreams to become reality. Then one day it all ended. No one saw it coming. The whole fairytale came to an end. At Denny’s. It all started out as a normal date. All looked well. The bomb dropped. “I’m not happy.” He said. She said nothing. “I want to break up.” He said. She said nothing. 37


“I’m sorry.” He said. She said nothing. He paid the bill and left without another word. The waitress watched and waited patiently for him drive away. She saw the whole thing. “I saw what happened.” She said. She said nothing. “Are you alright?” She said. She gave her a meal for free. She said nothing. She left in complete silence. As if she was never there at all. She simply started to not exist. She quit her job. She left her friends. She grew away from her family. She began to not leave her bed. She grew out of her old hopes and dreams and began to keep all her thoughts in her head. She started crying. She never stopped. Her eyes were waterfalls. Her bed, a deserted island. She was all alone. Sad. Scared. Depressed. She thought of the years they had shared. Three hopeless years. All gone. Nothing. Her plans. Her dreams. Her future. Nothing. She was nothing. She felt like nothing. She had become, nothing. With no one to help her she wanted to be nothing. Nothing was scary. Nothing was evil. Nothing was hopeless. Nothing was alone. She picked up the phone. She dialed the number. The number she had relied on for years. And all she got was, 38


Nothing. He was a nothing to her now. He was gone. He was just a dream. He was far away. He was nothing, but a fading dream. But he was something to her. Something was the reason why she got out of bed. Something was the reason why she enjoyed waking up. Something was the reason why she started to see the world for what could be. Something was the reason why she started to live. He was her something. Now he had given her nothing. Now he was the reason why she stayed in bed. Now he was the reason why she hated the sun. Now he was the reason why her curtains stayed closed. Now he was the reason why her hair was a mess. Now he was the reason she hadn’t showered in a week. She couldn’t stand nothing. She had always been nothing. A nothing girl. In a nothing town. In a nothing state. She was nothing. He was something. A something boy. From something town. From a something state. She wanted to be something. She saw him as something. She wanted his humor. His smile. His gaze. She wanted his love. And she had gotten that something. She was so wrapped up in that something called move. She just wanted to escape her nothing. She forced herself into his life. His mind. His heart. His everything. She had become something. But only at the cost of her nothing. There was no her anymore. It was always them. Them this. 39


Them that. Them everything. Eventually they had become nothing. Together. Nothing was her happy place. Nothing was her safe haven. Nothing was her only known world. She had become, them. She was no longer a her. She willed to be something other than nothing. Her something was his something. Maybe it was too much. Maybe it was something she did. Maybe it was something she said. Maybe it was something someone did. Maybe was scary. Maybe had left her alone. Maybe had always been worse than nothing. Maybe she could have seen it coming. Seen the signs. Said something. Maybe she could have done the right thing. She picked up the phone. It rang. Voicemail. Nothing. She reached out. She called his mom. His sister. His aunts. His uncles. She called his friends. His co-workers. But they all ended in just the same way. Nothing. He had officially turned her into nothing. She had no friends. She had no job. She had no one to call. She had no one to save her. Nothing. She couldn't take her nothing. She called her friends. She called her family. She called her office. They all remembered her. 40


She realized she was never nothing. She started back at her something job. She started hanging out with her something friends. She had dinner with her something family. She was starting to feel something. Happy. Happy was good. Happy was light. Happy was fun. Happy was joy. She was happy. She left her nothing town. She got a something job. She found more something friends. She became more in touch with her something family. She was her own something. She left her bed. Opened her windows. Painted her face. She left her house. She felt like something. She was amazed she had ever felt like nothing. Nothing was stupid. Nothing was old. Nothing was useless. Nothing was gone. She taught herself to hate nothing. She started to attract nothings. She tried to help turn them into their own somethings. But they all wanted to be a part of her something. She did her best to spare their feelings. She did her best to not do what he had done to her. She tried her best to be there. She tried her best to not make them feel like nothing. But sometimes nothing was meant to be felt. Nothing was sad. Nothing was cold. Nothing was lonely. But nothing, was temporary. She couldn’t go back to nothing. She wanted to find other somethings. Somethings were fun and intriguing and funny. Somethings made her feel good. Some she found were something else. She was happy. Happy to breathe. 41


To sing. To dance. To exist. Happy to enjoy the world. Happy was something. Happy was magical. Happy was fun. Happy was exciting. Happy was something no one else could show her. This something was all her own. Then one day she heard her phone ring. It was him. She put down the phone. She let it ring. She laughed. She was something. He was nothing.

SCCC With Snow By Mohamed E. Mohamed-Ali

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Life Lost: An Ode to Russell By Darcey Anne Farrow In dedication to my friend Missy and her husband Russell. A flower fell over Swooned and it lay Down on the grass Forever and a day. The sun went down The moon came 'round The stars barely there Such an empty sound. No quiet, nor calm No breaking of dawn Time stands still never It marches on and on. Family and friends They do come together Lately for bad times Not much for better. He lays at his rest Some say it is best Not much can be said In the wake of the dead. From this world he has departed Leaving people so brokenhearted Not knowing what to say nor do To keep people from being blue No utterances of sounds to moan He is at peace, he has gone home.

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Still Life By Don Riggs The sun looks down On this dappled afternoon in May And shares his warmth With all the creatures who enjoy the day. And after all the cold And after all the rain And after the long nights Spring has come again. You look into his eyes Unsure inside about the way you feel. Touching his hand You hope with all your heart, “Let this be real.” And after empty days And after lonely nights, A wondrous fairy tale Bathed in light. In a heartbeat, A life can slip away before your eyes. Unexplained, unexpected, You don’t realize. And after all the hopes And after all the dreams And after all, your plans May never be. A playful breeze Blows gently through a field of wheat. You kneel down, touch the rich brown earth Beneath your feet. And after all the trials And after the travail, A tentative smile, Let hope prevail.

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Still Children By Shannon Palmo

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Two Views of SCCC By Lindsay Buell

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Rhythmsmag2017  
Rhythmsmag2017  

SUNY SCCC's literary magazine.

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