ISSUE NO. 1
SUMMER 2020, ISSUE NO. 1
A CREATIVE MAGAZINE BY STUDENTS OF WPGA
PAGE 1 | SURGING TIDE
Table of Contents Editor's Letter - pg. 2 Flower Amour by Leah Stevenson - pg. 3 Virtual Reality by Mia Torres - pgs. 4-6 Do You Remember by Ellie McCullough - pgs. 7-8 Ode to my Friends by Leah Stevenson - pg.9 The Vibe.JPG by Justin Jia - pg. 10 Laundromat, Transit by Tiffany Cheung - pgs. 11-14 Now or Never by Pippa Tomita - pg.15-18 Solivagant by Ellie McCullough - pgs. 19-20 L'Eternal Romantique by Ellie McCullough - pg. 21 Memories of the Yellow River by Emma Miao - pg. 22 Chinatown by Jenny Jia - pg. 22 Sunny Hu by Angel Ye - pg. 23 Enough by Leah Stevenson - pg. 24
PAGE 2 | SURGING TIDE
Editor's Letter Dear readers, We are living in unprecedented times. Having a creative outlet to express and reflect can help ground us and give us a sense of normalcy as we adapt to this new world. We are honoured to present issue one of Surging Tide Magazine, an anchor for thoughts, a postcard for expression. Especially in turbulent times, students' voices can speak volumes. Surging Tide aims to be an inclusive environment. We aim to highlight WPGA's creativity without judgement. We hope that you, by immersing yourself in these pages, find peace within, and are inspired to explore your own thoughts, emotions, and ideas through creativity. These pages hold incredible nascent voices. We hope you enjoy the read. Emma Miao & Tiffany Cheung, Executive Editors
PAGE 3 | SURGING TIDE
LEAH STEVENSON & ELLIE MCCULLOUGH
Built myself a wall of prickly thorns To keep you out As my defence against the world Built myself a towering palace Of glitter and steel Sitting atop a blizzard of broken dreams Built myself jagged armour To shield my fragile heart To stop a bud from blooming in my chest Built myself a poem To protect my healing soul To express the feelings I thought were gone Thank you for your petal love In that, it withered away Thank you for the twilight walks Under lost and singing stars Thank you, most of all For what you gave to a lost girl For now I know not to close my castle gates Before Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve fixed the rusty hinges.
Hydrangea | Michelle Li
PAGE 4 | SURGING TIDE
VIRTUAL REALITY Madelleine Torres
November 22, 1998 My mother is dead. My father too. There is no point in life. It was another day at school. Another. Horrific. Day. The cafeteria smelled like burnt onions, the classrooms looked like War and the bathrooms walls were splashed with urine. Nothing different. Nevertheless, I could not live another day in this world, suffering, when my life could be way better than it is right now. I sat on my chair in front of the old desk my mother had been renting from our next-door neighbour. It was a brown wooden desk full of gum and pencil markings that were done by a 10-year-old. It smelled like old newspapers and dead fish. But, I guess it was okay. I made it work while sitting on the very edge of the chair. However, I still want to make it better. It was six o’clock in the evening and it was time for supper. My mother had made buttered carrots, which were borrowed from our neighbour as well. “Nari! It’s time for supper." "Get down here right this instant,” my mother yelled. She isn’t exactly the happiest at times, but I know how hard she works, so I still respect her. I rushed down, and we all sat down to eat on the floor, as usual. We didn’t have enough money to buy a table, since all of it were used to pay for electricity and water. My father never came home either; he had late night shifts and early morning jobs every day. So we just supposed that he was okay, living inside the garbage cans to keep himself warm. Sometimes, he would visit us, but we lived too far from his work, and busses were crazy expensive! Riding a bus would be like riding an airplane in first-class! I wonder when I would be able to ride it.
PAGE 5 | SURGING TIDE
I have always wondered what my classmates’ lives were like. I wonder if they had to worry about food, or worry about electricity and water. They were always well dressed when they were in school, wearing different clothes everyday and smelling as fresh as a flower. I came to school wearing my grandmother’s ripped romper that smelled like mouldy laundry. It looked horrific. But then again, I didn’t have an option. I had to live with what I had and make sure that I was making the most out of it. It was another day at school. I wore my smelly romper and used a plastic bag to put all my books inside it. Several layers of plastic bags had to be used because one bag couldn’t carry all my books without tearing apart. However, as I made my way to school, I saw this poster that advertised, ‘Are you sick and tired of your life right now? Do you wish to just restart and make everything go your way? Join us today, and get free money by doing an easy job!’ Wow! Restart my life? Free? Yes! Yes! Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for. I ran back home, hoping my parents wouldn’t notice that I ditched school, and immediately shut my bedroom door. I called the number on the sheet of paper using mom’s ancient phone. I knew it was restricted to three class a day and there was only one left today. Most of the time, we use those three calls to talk to my dad, but that never really happened since he was constantly busy. I needed to make the call worth it. I dialed 877-802-3421. It started ringing. After a few moments, there was a lady on the phone who said, “Good Afternoon! You’ve reached The Technological Global Organization. How may I help you?” I was shaking. I’ve never really talked to anyone with perfect grammar and such a soothing voice. I usually talk to myself or mom on an everyday basis. I don’t participate in class or talk to my schoolmates. The sound of the lady’s voice was like an angel coming from heaven. I wish I sounded like that, but I wished for a lot of other things and this is only one of them. She went on, “Hello? Hello? You’ve reached the Global Organization! Hello?” Wait. Global Organization? I don’t understand. I was supposed to call the number on the sheet of paper. I then realized that I pressed 2 instead of 1. What am I supposed to do now? The nice lady was still on the phone, so I had to say something. I continued with a shivering voice,“Hh-hello?
PAGE 6 | SURGING TIDE
Ya-um-well I think I am talking to the wrong person. So m-m-maybe I should go. Thank you though...” The lady suddenly replied, “Wait! No, don’t go! I think I’ve heard your voice before.” “Really? You’re probably thinking of someone else. I hafta be honest, I’m kinda invisible in this world,” I mumbled as I was twisting my hair like a shy, little girl. She then said, “Yes, it is you. I saw you walk down with your mother last week. Remember me? I’m Janet. ” Janet? Do you mean that lady who gave her coat to me when it was raining? I think I remember her.. She was that beautiful person who came from a wealthy family. She had long blonde hair and the bluest of eyes that reminded me of the ocean. She was the most lovely person I’d ever met! She then said, “Yes, yes, that is me. Janet Witherson,” she calmly mentioned. OH MY GOD. I can’t believe that I am talking to the person who helped me get through the pouring rain!? However, what is she doing, working in The Technological Global Organization? Can I possibly work there with her too? I might be too young, but maybe it’s worth a shot. Janet and I had a meaningful conversation over the phone before I realized that my mother was already home. I had to go, quick. We rushed through our goodbyes and she told me to meet her in her office tomorrow, at 1 pm. I agreed. The next day... It was noon and I wore the most beautiful dress from my closet. It was a bright yellow romper with white flowers on it. My father had given it to me on my birthday 4 years ago, with all of his money used from his jobs. I’ve only worn it once. I wore it on the day of my 7th birthday when I received a small chocolate cake from our neighbour. It was delicious! Sneaking out of the house wasn’t easy.. I had to wear my dad’s long jacket to cover it up. And before I knew it, I made it to her office. It was a 15-minute walk from our place, but not too far, I guess. Janet’s office was beautiful! It was a modern building with white walls and a fountain in the middle. The lobby was gigantic! It smelled like an orchid from my neighbour’s garden and the white tea my grandmother used to drink. Then suddenly, a sweet angelic voice came up to me, “Hello Nari! I’m glad you made it.” Janet brought me to her office, and we talked about this project she was working on. Her new project involved this virtual world that you can live in. She wanted me to experience it, and know how it is like living a life normally. She said that I can control the world any way I would like, but she said to choose wisely. I mean, what can go wrong, right?
PAGE 7 | SURGING TIDE
DO YOU REMEMBER? E L L I E
M C C O U L L O U G H
PAGE 8 | SURGING TIDE
Do you remember the petrichor On that fine July day When the first summer rain fell? They said it would merely mist, But oh, that torrential downpour! May we tumble onto rich soil Made slick with rainwater And stare up at the twisting grey above, Wondering what secrets it holds. Can you truly be a child again When the child never left? Your hands are cold, my love; Let me warm them with the promises you forgot to break. Won’t you accept that? Dance along the pavement with me And re-enact that old song How does it go again? The heavens’ tears are thick and cold And sprout daisies from this ground Your laughter is my medicine And oh, how couldn’t someone love this rain? It is a gift to us from the sky; It makes the streets look like Venice And the cars its traghetti Do you remember the petrichor? I do. And now Whenever that bittersweet post-rain smell finds me, It reminds me too much of you. For when the rain leaves, petrichor fills the hole it creates, The hole in me that you tried to make. Deep breaths, dear. I will see you again, won’t I? I hope you get this message. Do you remember the petrichor?
PAGE 9 | SURGING TIDE
ode to my friends LEAH STEVENSON
o d e t o m y f r i e n d s
for you, the people who shaped me from my broken mold. my friends, my family you who pushed me to be my best, you who never judged. you who were always there, even in my darkest days. you are my lights. my life. i am forever in your service, forever in your grace. you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know when you found me, that i was just a ruined girl. you picked me up and brushed me off. you saved me. oh, her with the luminous, pearlescence skin, and the voice of angels. and her with the curly, raven locks,and the books of doodles and dreams. to her with the talented, nimble hands, and the kindness of the doves. and her with the burning, sapphire eyes, and the love of adventure. to him with the brows of coal, and him with the laughter of summer. oh, him with the fountain of chocolate curls, and him with the high spirits of life. you are all beautiful and wild in your own way. wonderful more than you know. you are all a little weird, but to me you are perfect. the world may not except you at times, but I will always love you. so when the world hits you down, just know my arms will always be open, for you.
PAGE 10 | SURGING TIDE
PAGE 11 | SURGING TIDE
Laundromat Photographer: Tiffany Cheung Model:Â Justin Jia
PAGE 12 | SURGING TIDE
PAGE 13 | SURGING TIDE
Models: angel ye & benita Zhou
photographer: Tiffany Cheung
PAGE 14 | SURGING TIDE
PAGE 15 | SURGING TIDE
NOW OR NEVER Pippa Tomita When she was still around, Grandma would tell me stories of before the end. Before the drought, before the storms, before humanity dug its grave. She was the one to tell me, “The rain wasn’t always harsh and cruel; it would come gracefully drizzling over grateful plants.” I would sit attentively at the end of my bed begging for my favourite story until she finally gave in. She would start: “In the winter, we would all gather around the warm crackling fire. We’d admire the angry orange sparks that popped and flew up when it got upset. Suddenly, someone would point outside and we all darted to the window. Faces pressed to the freezing glass, all was silent. Then, teeny, tiny white flecks, each with intricately beautiful patterns would softly float to the ground.” Those nights, I would dream of snow. Remembering her words now, I think how strange it must have been. Imagine, looking at the mountains and seeing sunlight reflecting off the sparkling snow. It hadn’t snowed in over half a century. Nowadays, the dust circling the mountains makes it impossible to see the tops. I missed Grandma. She was the only one who would tell me such wonderful stories. Everyone else thought it was foolish to dwell on the past. I think it was just too painful for them to remember. At school, we learned about the mistakes that lead to our barren version of living. Everyone thought they knew better. No one listened to Mother Nature’s frequent warnings. Then, one day, the chaos started. BOOM! The rain thudded furiously against the metal ceiling. But I wasn’t worried, this was routine. Besides, the heavy metal panels covering the underground were as strong as an elephant (though I’d never seen one of those, either). However, even the scientifically designed roof had its flaws. Having roofs so low to the ground may have prevented us from flying away like Dorothy, but it captured unwanted contents.
PAGE 16 | SURGING TIDE
For example, this being the first clean up day in 4 weeks, the gunk and debris from months of harsh storms were sure to have brought in a horrific mass of fallen plants and animals. On the first day of each month, the youth of our unit emerged from the underground. I currently sit hands folded, waiting patiently with the rest of the group, ready for instructions. As the little hand on my treasured watch slowly ticks by, my foot begins to tap up and down echoing in the small space. “Ah-hem!” a sharp voice calls for our attention. “Youth of Unit Eighty-Six, your community service is no longer needed.” Annoyed murmuring bounces off the walls as I see someone next to me roll their eyes in frustration. “HUSH! There has been an emergency concerning the detector. You are all to report back to your respective dorms and await further instructions.” The hammering of my heartbeat blocked out the panic erupting around me. Thinking, if something has happened to the detector, we’re all doomed. Our detector was probably one of the most advanced compared to other units; it can predict extreme weather changes, radiation levels, trace animal predators, incoming missiles, you name it. Its hard drive carries the history of our entire unit. I wonder if the girl beside me, with a big smile cheering gleefully, understood the gravity of this situation. Or, maybe she was just celebrating the chance to get out of cleaning. I understood. Without knowing what mood swings Mother Nature will hurl at us, it might be impossible to not only clean the roof, but to gather supplies. We could be sitting ducks, trapped in a large cage waiting for our supplies to run out. The community we have built down here could be lost. One device is responsible for the downfall of our precious home. “FINAL WARNING! Anyone left in the docking area in the next five minutes will be locked in.” Snapping out of my trance, I realize everyone has left. Trembling, I stood. “I can’t be here when all hope is lost,” I whisper to myself with determination. Instead of walking out of the loading dock, I sprint for a corner I know is out of eyeshot from the hidden cameras. Feeling a bolt of adrenaline, I attempt to steady my breath. I calm my racing heart. I know what I want to do. What I need to do. It’s now or never.
PAGE 17 | SURGING TIDE
In the dank corner, I look at the ceiling, thinking over my plan in my head. I must not get caught. The punishment for something like this will be lurid. POP! The lights flicker off. Pitch black. I pull out my flashlight. The small circle of light illuminates the dreary room. Creeping towards the wall of suits, I place each foot softly on the ground, careful to not make a sound. I grab the stiff collar of a mediumsized suit and swiftly pull it off its hook. “BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” The warning system starts up. “CODE YELLOW, CODE YELLOW” a mechanical voice states. I sprint for the yellow helmets. “RESIDENT 134 UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS” the voice rings out, echoing. Oh no! How could I be so careless? I was so focused on getting to the suits unheard, I forgot about the cameras! “ALL SECURITY PERSONAL REPORT TO THE LOADING DOCK!” /I quickly secure the helmet on my head and turn my flashlight off. I’m not going to make this easy for them. Hurtling towards the glowing EXIT sign I smash into the door and swing my flashlight in the direction of the controller. It took what felt like a decade, but I finally found the shiny silver box. Whipping it open, I hit the "Open" button with a shaking hand. A gust of air and rain push me off-balanced. The weather is not irate, just hailing with occasional spots of ferocious rain. As I steady myself, I bolt through a hole in a rusted old fence ten feet away. Down a hill lies a large grey storm-wrecked building. One wall was completely torn away. It stood there like a ghost. A desolate framework. A constant reminder of what once was. We learned about this building in school underground. It was once a school, too. Closer to the end, people used the rectangular building as a shelter.
PAGE 18 | SURGING TIDE
As I rush past a sign I glimpse the words, West Point Grey Academy. Almost tripping over a massive gap in the ground, I tumble to a stop. The opening is black with ash and is so deep it must go to the core of the earth. Through the wind, I heard the faint sound of the automatic voice calling for my arrest. CODE YELLOW. CODE YELLOW,” it repeats unemotionally. With rapid breathing, I try to look for a place to hide. I examine my surroundings. A recently flooded field. Grubby water flows in between a few strands of dry grass. “RESIDENT 134, you are under arrest,” a voice behind me bellows. It’s over. My one chance to escape the trapped world I live in. My one chance to make my own decisions. My one chance to be set free. But I blew it. Two figures seize my arms and lock them behind my back. Exhausted, I feel the adrenaline turn to dread. All the fight draining out of me, I don’t protest. Instead, I raise my head up to the sky, saying a final goodbye to Grandma. I hear a sudden gasp behind me, “would you look at that,” one of the silhouettes says in awe. Tears fill my eyes. No matter the consequences, now, it was all worth it. High above our heads, descending delicately downwards, snow.
PAGE 19 | SURGING TIDE
solivagant EllieÂ McCullough
i. and as he trudged through the broken woodlands, empty but for himself, he became the forgotten solivagant of the lost forest and his own dark dreams. those winterberries, those drops of scarlet mystery that stain his hands crimson with bloodied tears, are nothing compared to the shame, the loneliness of the traveller under moonlight. ii.
the crystals that drip from her neck are nearly as heavy as her burdens, yet she, the solivagant of her own torturous thoughts, must stay silent. for why need to speak when her tears do all the talking? You must keep your chin up, my pretty, Lest they see your defeat. for the princess must fight her own battles before the knights slay the dragons and the soldiers count stars fading from the orange hue of the battlefieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roaring flames. please, with those elysian silver blades that cut through flesh and bone, rip the poison ivy slithering around her heart so that she may breathe again.
PAGE 20 | SURGING TIDE
iii. the poet raises his feathered quill, tendrils of honey-thick ink trickling down his palms. oh, but isn’t the night air balmy? the records hold events but ‘tis the poet who romanticizes them to escape the voices s c r e a m i n g in his mind. when the raven calls and the still night falls and the wild mind of the poet stalls who’s to say it’s not a dream after all? mock the poet all you want, my dear but he remembers the time when children laughed under a streaming, serendipitous sun and you only remember the hate in your heart. for the poet is the solivagant in his own words, thoughts, dreams that drip like candle wax onto yellowed parchment. interpret his works all you want, but not even he knows the answer to his labyrinthian mind.
PAGE 21 | SURGING TIDE
L'Éternel romantique Ellie McCullough
The wind in the mountains is cold. A lone traveller rests under a star-studded sky Shrouded in navy blue. With fingertips painted silver, He leaves a forbidden signature on a leather-bound book. The crackling fire is warm, But everyone else is inside at this time of night. The trees’ voices are loud, And they spill his secrets to a hungry land. He pours his memories of The Girl Onto creased parchment about to break Under the weight of his heavy-hearted quill. ‘Tis the curse of a romantic to never find true love, And French is a lovely language. The path of his quill makes shadows dance, Taunting the words upon his page. And by the fireside, he writes The Girl into the mountains So he may see her beauty in droplets of onyx ink. Les gouttes de pluies chatoient sur tes cils. La brume est épaisse dans les montagnes, Et dans la vallée, Les arbres se battent avec le vent Dans une guerre de chuchotements.
PAGE 22 | SURGING TIDE
Memories of the Yellow River Emma Miao
Stepping onto this land with a swollen tongue, laden with fruits of Zhejiang. Wet vowels splashing on pavement. Broken syllables wild and unintelligible, your motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worried glances from the kitchen sink. ESL. You never remember the dying. Lingering on sanctity the moment you arrived, cradling this thing called Hope in your arms. The slipping of a language, trying desperately to hold on. The warmth of Home, pressed against your chest. The surge of recollection. The patter of rain on a smoking roof.
Chinatown Jenny Jia
PAGE 23 | SURGING TIDE
"I wanted this piece to have a stronger graphic design pull so I enunciated the figure by emphasizing the cultural element of my friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chinese name." â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Angel Ye
PAGE 24 | SURGING TIDE
enough. Leah Stevenson a field of yellow flowers. a girl who loves to run. she runs until her legs grow sore and her breath has flown away it’s painful, but it’s a good kind of pain the girl has made a friend. a friend to last her through. they laugh and sing and dance under the dome of blue. and when they laugh, their laughter weaves together to tell a tale of joy and love the girl meets a boy. who laughs and holds her hand. he is more than a friend, he makes her feel like air the boy soon leaves and takes with him the girl’s first love it’s painful, and not in a good way the girl will meet more boys and one day a man she will have many more heartbreaks, and many more stories. life is sad like that. but, for now none of that matters. for the girl hasher field and her friend.
she takes her friend, to her field. and allows the sun to dry her tears the girls braid glimmering crowns of buttercups into their hair. and they sing sweet songs, and sip sweet things, and for now, that’s enough. - for my dear sweet friend.
PAGE 25 | SURGING TIDE
Team Tiffany Cheung, Executive Editor Emma Miao, Executive Editor Michelle Li, Chief Art Editor Angel Ye, Art Editor Mikaela Wong, Art Editor Wren Lee, Fiction Editor
PAGE 26 | SURGING TIDE
Contributors Jenny Jia Justin Jia Rubi Katz Ellie McCullough Leah Stevenson Pippa Tomita Madelleine Torres