"Intimus" Voices Literary & Art Magazine

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intimus Voices Literary Magazine 2022 Nation Ford High School Volume 15



Cover art “I am Fever,” collage by Jordan Jeffreys

intimus

“Bubble,” acrylic painting by Kylee Maidhof

Voices Literary & Art Magazine Volume 15 \ 2022 A publication of Nation Ford High School 1400 A.O. Jones Boulevard Fort Mill, South Carolina 29715 Phone: (803) 835-0000 nationfordvoices20@gmail.com Best in State 2019, 2020, 2022 Scroggins Award: Best in the South 2020, 2022 All-Columbian Gold Medalist 2021


“Frantz,” acrylic painting by Lindy Pass

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Voices Staff Editor-in-Chief Jordan Jeffreys

Section Editors Amaris Arroyave, Harlen Rembert, Kavya Mekala

Faculty Adviser Beth Swann, MFA Special Thanks to Tara Miller, DAD instructor

Lifetime Patrons Steve Blair Beth Swann

V

Pioneering Software Inc. Chuck Walker

Rick Solt

NFHS English Department

Editorial Policy oices, the literary magazine of Nation Ford High School, was produced this year by the Creative Writing Club. All students enrolled at the school may submit as many works as they choose. Those pieces are then anonymously selected by the magazine editors. The editors select art and photography on the basis of qaulity and suitability for the magazine. The staff reserves the right to edit manuscripts for clarity, grammar spelling and puncuation. The ideas expressed by the writers and artists are not necessarily those of Nation Ford High School or the Voices staff.

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Editor’s Note / Jordan Jeffreys 6

NONFICTION

Burden / Miku Pittman 29 Sage Cleanse / Emily Cacciatore 29

Making Sense Out of Nonsense / Rian Donahue 9

Sightless Seer / Chloe Maddox 31

No Entiendo / Amaris Arroyave 10

Charlie / Harlen Rembert 33

The Dark Smiled Back / Chloe Maddox 12

A Rosary ... / Aidan McMillan 35

Bird on the Roof / Layla Hughes 15

Charleston City Market / Olivia Bennet 36 Demeter / Layla Hughes 38

POETRY

Girls On the Bridge / Gracie Sullivan 38

Genesis / Jordan Jeffreys 16

Poetica / Maddie Thompson 40

Key / Harlen Rembert 18 Escape / Kavya Mekala 19

FICTION

I Want To Visit / Amaris Arroyave 21

Two Sides, Same Coin / Kavya Mekala 42

The Violin / Yasmine Anakkar 23

June Storm / Jordan Jeffreys 45

Height of Our Hubris / Chloe Maddox 25

Judgment / Harlen Rembert 47 Art of Conversation / Gerard Gibbons 49

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VOICES

INTIMUS

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY Cover Art: I am Fever / Jordan Jeffreys Bubble / Kylee Maidhof 1 Frantz / Lindy Pass 2 Flat Tire / Lindy Pass 4 Neighbor / Lindy Pass 5 Daily News / Lindy Pass 7 Speaking Your Mind / Brooke Schism 8 Moments / Grace Fragakis 11 Depression / London Morris 13 The Psychopomp in my Dreams / Chloe Maddox 14 Anglerfish / Ella Fales 17 Golden Hour Etude / Sarah Tran 18 Paris / Lindy Pass 20 Sunset / Maya Lee 22 Malum / Webster Yount 24 “Flat Tire,” acrylic painting by Lindy Pass

Milli / Lillian Thereault 26 Evelyn / Lindy Pass 26 Splash / Lindy Pass 26 Affogato / Sarah Tran 27 Cubism / Catherine Nixon 27 Smoking / Cooper Frieberg 28 Unrequited / Hailey Wiethoff 30 Aggressive / Hailey Wiethoff 32 Untitled / Lila Hornak 34 Burden / Lindy Pass 37 Reaching Roots / Jordan Jeffreys 39 Lines / Catherine Nixon 41 Flip of a Coin / Kavya Mekala 43 Playful Tracks / Jordan Jeffreys 44 Induced Creativity / Jenna Wisvari 46 You Cannot Run / Lillian Thereaukt 48 Borderline Personality Disorder / London Morris 51

“Neighbor,” oil on linen by Lindy Pass

Man’s Best Friend / Sarah Tran 52 5


EDITOR'S NOTE

INTIMUS

Editor’s Note Dear Reader, Intimus–our innermost thoughts, feelings, and secrets–is what we unveil in the act of creating our art, whether on a canvas or on the page. Through art and writing, we peel back layers of plastic smiles and plastered appearances. We discover our most intimate thoughts, imaginings, and desires–and like creating a collage, we connect image after image, assembling the most obscure of puzzle pieces to form our innermost beings. The transaction that occurs between writers and readers is intimate and mysterious. The artists, too, have no way of knowing how their work is perceived, yet it is a personal revelation. The experience is nearly telepathic as words and images enter the minds of the audience. In “Intimus,” the writers, artists, and photographers invite you into their own minds, to discover untold stories and truths, memories and perspectives. Humans are an agglomeration of ideas, experiences, beliefs, and feelings. Learning and reflecting on our inner lives helps us to better perceive the whole of the human experience. Each person brings their own essence to the greater humanity, creating a mosaic of intimi all over the globe. This issue of Voices magazine is an ode to this rich concept. A collage in itself, “Intimus” is a mirror of the eclectic and artistic reality we belong to. Take a perilous journey through “June Storms” and walk through days of “Judgment” and “Burden”. “Master the Art of Conversation” and consult “Sightless Seers”. The Voices staff hopes that sharing the artistic endeavors of students this year will offer a provocative experience for readers that may lead you to discovering that most important relationship–your relationship with yourself, your own intimus. Jordan Jeffreys Editor-in-Chief

“Daily News,” mixed media by Lindy Pass 6



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NONFICTION

INTIMUS

Making Sense Out of Nonsense

I

Rian Donahue

seems dull. It’s that feeling of vulnerability. am frustrated. I am annoyed. I am Happiness packs its bags and abandons you. angry. I sit here staring at my laptop in It’s so strange to me how we as humans this noisy house in which I cannot hear. can understand each other on a level like that. I watch the words slowly appear on Emotions are literally created by our brains, the screen as I type them. Not knowin our heads. They aren’t real, not in a physiing where this is going. Trying to fill a page of cal sense. Yet somehow we still feel them in words just to prove to you I know what I’m our bodies. Anger throws picture frames at doing. I don’t know... I feel stuck. the walls in our heads, sadness mopes in our You don’t see that though. You see the pachests, anxiety breathes into a paper bag in per full of words, the story I haven’t begun to think of yet. The more I write, the more things our stomachs. But happiness is something you can feel rather come together, but strongly all over. right now it’s only Creating sense out of a mess is You stand tall, a mess in my head. smile, your heart A common theme something that we all have to do pumping an 808 in my life. Creating constantly. beat in your chest. sense out of a mess The effect we is something that have on other we all have to do people’s lives is constantly. Making astounding to me. sense out of non-sense. You can compliment someone’s smile, and It’s crazy the way feelings are so difficult they think about it for days. You hurl an insult to put into words, and even more difficult to at someone, and they remember for months. understand. The only way to truly understand You can hurt someone, and they remember another’s feelings is to experience them yourself. Take love – it’s a feeling many of us know. for years. Those feelings, they don’t pass The butterflies in our stomachs, the heart that quickly. It’s as if you’re trapped by a brick wall, like an inescapable writer’s block. tenses in our chests whenever we think about What you say has meaning--words have who or what we love. You feel light, happiness started and ended wars. Words can be lethal. comes easier, the world looks brighter. Hope sings and dances in your chest. And that’s easy There’s great power in knowing the right words, so much in fact, that they give you the to understand because it’s typical for us as ability to affect another mind. humans to love and to be loved. Not having words, perhaps, is a weakness But think about when love ends–that feelin itself, but a blank page also holds possibiling. That weight on our chests, the pit in our ity. Potential. Promise. stomachs. Everything feels heavy, and life

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NONFICTION

INTIMUS

No Entiendo

I

Amaris Arroyave

couldn’t tell you what’s worse: understanding played pretend in the center of the classroom, while your parent’s first language without being able other’s lips trembled as they were already crying out to confidently speak much of it, or simply not for their parents. I had multiple colored markers fisted understanding the words at all. Sometimes I wish in my hand, drawing a rainbow on a blank sheet of paI didn’t understand, so when my family asked per. I got a whiff of the combination of sweet yet salty, me questions about my life I could give them genuine slightly musky, vanilla-like scent of Play-Doh kids next blank stares rather than a look of understanding with to me rolled out on their desks. no response. Children’s chatter could be heard from every corner Maybe it’s because of my perfectionism that I pour of the room, but I didn’t hear any of them speak Spaninto every single thing I do. I never wanted to sound ish. like a fool when speaking Spanish because that was a Back at home, I could switch from Spanish to English language, along with English, I grew up speaking. At like a light switch. But in the elementary school, I never one point, I had been able to speak my Spanish nearly needed to flip that switch. I was always stuck on Engas well as my English. So how did I forget, after years of lish from the moment I stepped conversing in Spanish, to get the into the school to the moment I sentences around my tongue? stepped out. It’s easier to start conversations I didn’t want to disappoint This switch that stayed on one my family, especially my grandside for the majority of my day in a language you do not speak parents, so I tried my best not didn’t change my bilingual abilito put myself in a situation often than to end them. ties for the first few months. But where I had to speak Spanish then, day by day, that switch felt without help. heavier each time I went from Every text message I send to language to language. my grandma with deep black As time passed, I couldn’t short hair, I use Google Translate (even if I was right, to complete sentences the way I normally would have. I begin with). After I’m hit with “Hola, ¿cómo estás?” I became frustrated with myself. Spanish wasn’t somerespond, “Bien y tu?” That is how most of my conversa- thing I wanted to intentionally lose parts of, but the tions started and ended in Spanish. more time I spent at school and with friends, the more I It’s easier to start conversations in a language you forgot how fortunate I was to be bilingual. do not speak often than to end them. I can ask basic In recent years, with most of my grandparents and questions. “¿Qué haces? ¿Qué es esto? ¿Quieres agua?” relatives who understand little to no English, there What are you doing? What’s that? Do you want water? have been times where I’ve pretended I didn’t underAsking questions and starting conversations were easy stand or that I did not know they were talking to me. because they almost never changed. The answers to “Como va la escuela?” my grandma asked while her these questions, however, varied. For the most part, I aged, tanned hands worked on the pile of dirty dishes did keep my own answers the same. “Nada. Yo no se. after a meal of arroz con pollo. No.” Nothing. I don’t know. No. “Bien,” I replied, my eyes glued to her hands. I wantMy short, unwavering replies began when I started ed to go into more detail about my day, whether it was school. The classroom had bright and colorful posters the best one or the worst. If I had given her an answer all around its four walls. The tops of the tables were in English, she would have understood bits and pieces. blue, yellow, red, and green. Little kids giggled and She would have been satisfied with an English-spoken 10


“Moments,” Photoshop digital collage by Grace Fragakis

answer because even though she may not pick up on every word, I was having a conversation with her. But I would not have been satisfied. I wanted to confidently have a full-blown conversation with her in Spanish. “Que Bueno,” she’d say, smiling at me. I sometimes wish my ability to understand had gone away with my ability to speak the phrases in Spanish I knew. I feel ashamed for not keeping up with the language that connects me to my grandparents. I feel embarrassed that I didn’t ask for help as much as I could have when I was younger, or that I did not at least try before becoming frustrated.

However, more recently, I have been spending more time with my grandparents and trying to have more conversations with them in Spanish. My face still flushes sometimes when I’m asked something and I don’t know how to respond, but now I’m not looking to my parents as much anymore for them to answer the questions for me. I’m proud of myself and the progress I have made, along with the effort I am putting into making a change. But if only I had kept up with my Spanish at a younger age, not being able to communicate certain phrases wouldn’t have been a problem to begin with. 11


NONFICTION

INTIMUS

The Dark Smiled Back

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Chloe Maddox

here was no defining moment on trees. Or how the reflection of the streetwhen I picked up a paintbrush for light can be seen playing in a puddle. I saw the first time and had a life altering the world how it should be seen, as if it was realization. It was not that simple. a painting. Everything is art. Every forgotten When I was younger I was always pen in school hallways. The vandalism-bycoloring at church or writing little stories with pencil scribbled on public bathroom walls. poorly drawn stick people. Art has always been It’s like sitting in a car and looking at your in my life, but it wasn’t until later in my life friend; then there’s music booming at close that I realized art was a passion. It took losing to ear-shattering volume while he bangs his my ability to paint for me to understand the head to the beat of the drums. Temptation’s importance and the wings–you see power of art. them, exactly how No, I did not you’re going to Temptation’s wings– tragically lose funcpaint that motion in my hands or ment. A question you see them, exactly how you’re go through a freak that you didn’t going to paint that moment. accident–I was fighteven know you ing a losing battle asked is answered. against my mind. I Beyond seeing can still see them mothe world through ment clearly... the lens of a painting, art gives me power. I grab my paints and my canvases and Art gives me the ability to make my demons spread them out on my bed. I toss the old real and then realize that they’re not so scary towel we used to wash my dog with (now my anymore. my painting towel) near the edge of the bed. Mental illness is a hard topic to discuss– I am ready to work on a piece, but there’s the conversation either ends in self pity or one problem. I can’t make the first stroke. No invalidation of others, but the topic should be matter how long I sit there, nothing happens. talked about nonetheless. *** It’s easier to fight a demon you can see on I did not touch another paint brush or draw- a canvas rather than the one that appears ing pencil for seven months. Those months before you for seconds at a time when you were all darkness, cold and collected. Then look around a corner or drive down a lonely eventually, I adapted to the dark, and it took street. They’re not real, but you don’t know the darkness smiling back at me for me to start that. This idea is reflected in my artwork with painting again. the darker themes of most of my pieces. After living with no light, I was able to see My style developed rapidly and recently, again, really truly see this time... how the sun but that has only sparked a fire of creativity in slips through the spaces between the leaves me. Now I am finally ready to burn.

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I grab my paints and my canvases and spread them out on my bed. I toss the old towel we used to wash my dog with that is now my painting towel near the edge of the bed.

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“The Psychopomp in my Dreams,” ink sketch by Chloe Maddox

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NONFICTION

INTIMUS

Bird on the Roof

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Layla Hughes

he angry screech of the window resists I looked up and saw it perched on the rain gutter by my force. Despite its adamant protests, my feet. On a timid day like this, a timid-looking bird I slowly slide it open, and I’m greeted by should be home asleep, but there she was, perched a warm breeze. It’s become so normal at my feet. I set my book aside and watched her. to me, yet every single time I can’t help On only this day could I say her drab song was but feel a sense of newness–and caution about it. “music”. Her ashy blue feathers might as well have Open the window. Take in the air. Right foot out. been butterfly wings, they way they stood out Looooong stretch. Keep your balance! Left foot out. against the day. I held her gaze as I inched closer to Balance! Shimmy out of the opening. And then see. her, careful to plant my feet. She let me reach out unWhat I look at changes a lot. Usually, it’s looking til I was mere inches away before flitting away from out past the houses to the large expanse of trees me. She perched in the tree on the far corner of the and fields across the way. Past that, sometimes a roof. I crawled across to her and lay on my stomach. tapestry of a sunset. On lucky, sleepless mornings, She sang to me like Sandalphon the Archangel. it’s a herd of deer prancing along in their world of Later that night I learned that she was a Blue-Grey simplistic instinct. The roof is damp and the air has a Gnatcatcher, usually very shy, quiet birds with soft strong, but not uninviting, songs. Very common in chill. South Carolina. Sometimes Why is it that when you take your Other times I skip the I look outside my window last step and engage my and wonder if she’s among time to enjoy and sense the world senses in other ways. I the other hundreds of around you, everything is beautiful? crawl to the center of the identical gnatcatchers. I roof, lie down, and I feel. like to think I’d recognize On summery weekends I her if I saw her, but I know I feel the growing warmth of wouldn’t. the roof and the glaring sun I’m still curious about attack my skin. I feel the water-like breeze calm my her. How is it that on an especially drab day an unnerves while the roof scratches my back and shoulcharacteristically brave, common bird can look like ders. I close my eyes and spread into a starfish. I feel a miracle? How is it she could alight my senses when gravity sitting on my chest. I feel the world turn. normally I’d glance over her without notice? Why is it One blank day, I sat on my roof to read. The day that when you take your time to enjoy and sense the was bland and void of personality. The warm overworld around you, everything is beautiful? She makes cast day had put it’s muggy spell on the neighborme think of all the simple pleasures I’ve missed. hood. There was little movement within homes, and So maybe when I open my window it’s only slightly even the usually lively field animals seemed to be creaky, but when you listen, it sounds like a scream. napping. It smelled like rain. Except for a few passMaybe my balancing act on the roof is really just a ing cars and rustling leaves, there was little to be few seconds of me stumbling, but it feels like life or heard, so I wore one headphone. I was so lost inside death. Maybe the beautiful stained glass sunset is my book that the sudden chirp of a bird startled me. just like every other, but when you look, each one is a The bird itself wasn’t very unique, a bluish-gray little masterpiece. thing with dark gray stripes and a boring song. But Maybe the boring little Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher, what is unusual about the bird is how close it was. when you focus on her, is actually a gift. 15


POETRY

INTIMUS

Genesis Jordan Jeffreys

A

t the edge of the world, there is only a sea with foaming waves, wading in and out like rows of biting teeth that glitter in the moonlight–a milky residue left on the shore. Hands–those are the first to breach the rushing waves, then the body, powerful legs wading through the sea. That’s you, with cream fish bones in your hair and salt, like diamonds, in your eyes. That’s me, with bloody knees scraped by broken shells, scintillant sand under my nails. That’s all of us, clawing to the surface, breathing in the scent of fish and seaweed for the first time. We look up and find centaurs in the stars. We look down and draw impressions in the sand. We close our eyes and dream in infinite poetry ... Poeta Nascitur, Non Fit The Poet is Born, Not Made.

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“Anglerfish,” cardboard, glue, tape, wood & paint by Ella Fales

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Key Harlen Rembert

‘Golden Hour Etude,” acrylic painting by Sarah Tran

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Escape Kavya Mekala

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read infects my thoughts, making it hard to breathe. I shift around in my silk sheets trying to shut out these thoughts, searching doors in my mind I can slam and lock to escape from Dread’s grasp. I grab my head phones and shove them in my ears and for a second I hear nothing. Then I hear it ... the sweet blue notes of the flute, the dark rich vibrato of the piano, the low hum of the bass, all swiftly intertwining with each other and blending into a symphony. They eradicate the Disease, the Dread that spread through my head. I let the sounds envelop me, let them soothe me, let them carry me away until I feel the release, the cool breeze of Peace.

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“Paris,” graphite sketch by Lindy Pass

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POETRY

INTIMUS

I Want To Visit Amaris Arroyave

T

he Eiffel Tower below the stars,

Italy’s elliptical structure of stone and concrete

where church bells and merry-go-rounds

sliced at an odd angle,

drown out the city of Paris...

undertones of battle cries and the KERPLANG of swords

Beijing’s Summer Palace,

meeting in battles long ago.

where lily pads drift around like marshmallows in hot cocoa,

A Cathedral made of tall wafer cones

and the smell of rotting wood

with perfectly swirled ice cream to top them off

settles in my nose.

stationed in Russia ...

Under a sky of swirling

The quiet Temples of Bagan

green, blue, and purple paint

before sunrise, the view from a hot-air balloon

on the night sky canvas with flecks of white

that takes me high enough that the temples

and a sweet flavor on my tongue

resemble dollhouses

from the euphoric influences the

I can move around with my hands.

Northern Lights. Uyuni, where I can stand on the beautiful blue Venice from a gondola

grand cotton ball clouds

floating around the buildings,

in the world’s largest mirror,

each a different color

a thin layer of dead water...

combining into one line along the water road.

Flames and an acid lake at Ijen Volcano, the color of the glittering dress Cinderella wore to the ball.

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“Sunset,” collage by Maya Lee

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POETRY

INTIMUS

The Violin Yasmine Anakkar for my grandfather, Alarbi Anakkar 1932-2021

C

orelli’s Concerto Grosso filled the air, overlapping the buzz of two bees in a vibrating conversation, suffocating the hushed rustle of trees blown by God’s breath. His soon-to-be wife held her breath at the bewitching sound of his golden playing. Al Arabi’s violin, gingersnap brown with a smooth, silky exterior, fit perfectly into his large hard-working hands, the articulate fingers rugged like alligator skin from fixing engines– Cadillacs and Jaguars, Mustangs. His hands could make even automotive machinery hum from below his home. He played and played his violin, ignoring the ache from his peeling palms, tapping his foot in an unbroken thump, thump, thump. She wanted to drown in the cloud of his music, the concerto of blazing fires, in his passion for the beautiful blue symphony that sparkled in his dark eyes. Year after year his bow stroked millions of gut strings, his hot horsehair bow on the gingersnap violin until the day the music wound down to a smooth stop.

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“Malum,” ink drawing by Webster Yount

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Height of Our Hubris Chloe Maddox

W

e leave latency and rationality willfully behind on bloodied bodies left bloated. Mayhem, marvelous and maddening, controls our bodies like addiction. Corruption, crawling through the cracks of our brain leaves venom in our veins. Let us fall in lustful furrows from the height of our hellish hubris, throwing our heads back, erupting in the pleasure of release from what binds us to our burdens; Back breaking– Bone white. Beautiful.

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“Milli,” acrylic painting by Lillian Thereault

“Splash” acrylic painting by Lindy Pass “Evelyn,” acrylic painting by Lindy Pass

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GALLERY

“Affogato,” gouache and pen by Sarah Tran

INTIMUS

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Cubism,” acrylic painting by Catherine Nixon

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Burden Miku Pitman

I

am clutching all of my deadweights I’ve been preserving since…. I can’t recall when. But I do realize that I claimed each of them as if they’re my own children. I even name them:

Sage Cleanse

Misery … Sorrow … and Destruction … Misery adores jittering around me when I’m a Damsel in Distress. He excels on the pedal Until he reaches my Force Limit. Sorrow always tries to drown me in an abyss of Emptiness. She will Not back down.

Emily Cacciatore

T

he golden lick of light waves to me Captures the sage The golden lick a prisoner Smoke flows Embers glow I saunter through The halls The sky cracked with white tears I cleanse each room The smoke arabesque-ing through the air

“Smoking,” inkblot painting by Cooper Frieberg

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“Unrequited,” acrylic painting by Hailey Wiethoff

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Sightless Seer Chloe Maddox

B

rittle bones break while flames float through the tendrils of smoke, silver snakes slithering higher in the hollow hall A forgotten fragmented shell of a being, she will never see Elysium but can only know the dark whispers of a life that was never lived Eyes like pearls embedded in skin witness nothing yet everything that is to come-she predicts, poetry spoken from tumbled stones the precious pain that is the desolation of her sanity, lost for lessons learned, redeemable only through the shadows of Night, with her hand holding the scythe of slumbered silence those brittle bones now ash, engulfed in an ethereal ending worthy of the woman who wielded her gift so willingly with a heart of fire and an iron will blessed by the gods A good end for the embodiment of fate herself, weaving the threads of destruction beyond the confines of our morbid mortality 31


“Aggressive,” acrylic painting by Hailey Wiethoff

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Charlie Harlen Rembert

T

hey bring me out here, outta the cell, so you can ask me all your questions, and they’s each on one side of me, flanking me, and they’re opening all them metal doors with the clickin’ locks, like I’m some beast they gotta keep in a cage. But look at me, jus’ look! I ain’t but five feet and a handfulla inches tall. It ain’t me that you’re sceered of, naw, it ain’t me– you’re jus’ sceered that you gonna look at me and you gonna see yerself. The Family, it ain’t no cult– it ain’t nothing special. That’s why you’re sceered of it because it ain’t no different than any family, sittin’ at the table together eatin’ their supper. You’re sceered of it ’cause it could be your family. An’ ev’ry father at the head of the table out there watchin’ this on the television set, well, ev’ry one of them could be me. We jus’ the same.

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“Untitled” photo by Lila Hornak

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POETRY

INTIMUS

A Rosary used as a Literary Device, in Which Neither of us Get To Heaven Aidan McMillan

M

other Mary tells me I deserve the finer things in life. I confess to her I don’t know if I believe that. See, I have been a sinful person, I explain. I’ve forgotten my manners. When my eyes well with tears, it feeds the fire in my chest. I can’t look her in the eyes as I tell her this. Her divinity is too bright For my corrupt image. It feels sacrilegious. I instead look at my feet. It’s like that, Mother Mary says. Anger doesn’t have to make you a bad person. But it doesn’t matter how much or how hard you love somethingIt’s only inevitable until the flames catch up to you. I tell her I don’t know what that means. Feign naivety. Tell her that I am more familiar with the scripture of St. Jude Than what she is trying to teach me. She tells me in her melodious pitch that the word “Mother” is one of the oldest words in the English language. (I tell her so is ‘spit’ and ‘bark’, but she pretends not to hear. Divine ignorance.) Mothers should be cherished, she says. I cherish my mother! Do I? I think I do. Perhaps this doubt is what bars me from the heavenly gates. Ah, but what do you care about reaching Heaven? Mother Mary asks, I thought you were born for the common people, To walk among the low-lifes as a colleague in suffering. I tell her she has me all wrong. That I am destined for status, prestige. Mary laughs in my face. Tells me, All you’re good for is worm food. I can’t tell her I don’t understand that.

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Charleston City Market Olivia Bennet

I

stroll through the chamber of my ancestors’ hell where many oblivious of the history, buy clothes, eat, shop– not much has changed. The place where they purchase, the same location where my ancestors were sold– families torn apart, identities vanished... 400 years of my ancestors’ pain and tears is now an outlet for their descendants. I won’t hate them. I can’t. Yet I despise their privilege, A privilege I wish I had, insensibility. All they will ever see is a strip where all I view is a channel of tears, Charleston City Market.

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“Burden,” oil paiting by Lindy Pass


POETRY

INTIMUS

Demeter Layla Hughes

I

t’s hard to watch her go, to watch the world darken. My little golden flower, Giving way to the wind. I watch as she fades from view, taking the light with her. The world turns so slow and the night drags on. The sun doesn’t feel as warm With her gone.

Girls Bridge on the

Gracie Sullivan

S

harp little knives stuck out of the light brown wood That I swung my arms over. I looked down at the water and then up at the sky. They were the same color, A beautiful sapphire gem. My light golden hair flowed through the wind, Like a bird glides through the sky.

“Reaching Roots,” photo by Jordan Jeffreys

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POETRY

INTIMUS

Poetica Maddie Thompson

t

o be a poet is to make amends with the worst facets of the self paint the emotions never dared said aloud symbolism for your sin wrath stems from your left ventricle greed stems from the right just below your collarbone fingernails scratch out the warbles of your next sonata you think it will sound something of gluttony the faint ringing in your ears is the song of sloth heavy and warm as it be envy beats through the veins struggling its way out from pale cold hands calloused to hold a pen lust lingers within the left lung swirls violently at the shine of a secret’s lips yet pride is what kills the poets strangles them in their sleep keeps notebooks shut and words unsaid whispers in the subconscious where lurks far worse secrets than these

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“Lines,” acrylic painting by Catherine Nixon

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Two Sides Same Coin

T

cuss.” She tilted her head and peered into my eyes, he dark indigo sky was now dotted with and I feared she was trying to see what it was that stars, shining bright like fine jewels. Night I was hiding. Unable to hold her stare, I averted my settled over the plains and forest like a gaze to the fire. blanket. The cool summer breeze ruffled “I lied about my purpose for this journey, Laverna. my hair, carrying the faint scent of a I didn’t come to help your family and village. I came storm brewing far, far away. to seek your help–with hunting the Pantomath.” Laverna stood near the campfire, rolling a coin I paused, but she was silent. across her knuckles, her eyes fully focused on her “They say that it is hunting me, wanting to dehand. I have to tell her. If I want a future with her, stroy me with its Sword of Knowledge for stealing and if my love means anything, I have to tell her. I the Orb of Terror from it long ago. The only way I did not think that I would ever consider doing so, givcould have any chance en that I swore to myself that of defeating it would be I would not tell anyone the “Deities above, you are so naive,” with you by my side,” I true purpose of my journey. confessed, and I ran my Killing the Pantomath before she said, rolling her eyes. hands through my chestit could destroy me and my nut-brown hair. family was key if I were to She stood and faced the fire. “The Elders say that keep the Orb of Terror, the you have seen it before creature’s most prized posand escaped its wrath. So, session used to instill fear I am sitting here, Laverna, in whoever stood in its way. I begging you to forgive me had no choice but to steal it as a rite of passage to for lying to you all this time and asking that you join be deemed a worthy hero, like my mother, who has me in destroying this beast once and for all.” proved her courage time and again. I faced her again, expecting to see those beautiLaverna stopped and set the coin down by the ful eyes cloud with disdain, but was instead greeted fire and glanced at me. My heart skipped a beat as with a grin. But not a happy, understanding grin. she stared at me with her sable eyes. Her lips formed I studied her carefully, her eyes showing no haa smile, and she raised her eyebrows playfully, questred nor surprise. I quickly realized what it was. She tioning me. I have to tell her. knew. She’d known this entire time. I pulled myself up and started towards her, try“Yes. I did,” she said, her voice smooth as honey ing to mask my true feelings. My legs felt heavy as I as if reading my thoughts. She stared at me, a knowsauntered up to her, trying to appear more confident ing gleam in those pools of night. “After all, why else than I felt. would they call me the Pantomath?” “What’s on your mind, Conlan?” she asked. My heart stopped. Did she just say she was– I couldn’t breathe as I forced myself to look at her. “Deities above, you are so naive,” she said, rolling Her eyes, like pools of night, stared back at me. Her her eyes. She stood and faced the fire. “Yes, I am coffee-colored skin gleamed with the fire’s light, her the Pantomath. The one you have been hunting this onyx hair falling onto her shoulder just so. whole time. Honestly, you were a little slow in find“There’s something important we need to dis-

42


FICTION

ing the truth.” I didn’t move. I wasn’t entirely sure if I was even breathing, but I found the words and tried to spit them out, “H.. How c-could you lie-” ‘’How could I lie!” She seethed and whirled around to look at me, rage contorting her face. “Why not tell me how you could, Conlan! All this time, you lied about your true mission, leading me astray with fake promises, pretending to care for my village, and lying about how you felt for me.” Her brow creased in anger. Her voice echoed over the grassy plain. “You don’t deserve your name. Your name may mean hero, but look at you. Is that what a hero does?” I flinched. She paced near the fire. “I have known since the beginning who you were and what your true intentions were. I also know your history and who your mother is. Especially since she hunted my father down and slayed him in front of me.” My head buzzed. My mother did what? Why did she hunt the Pantomath’s father? And most importantly, why did she not tell me this? Laverna studied my face “You didn’t know, did you? Do you even know what you stole?” “Well, yes. The Orb of Terror.” “Obviously, but do you know about its past?” What was its past? All I remembered is that my mother had needed the Orb of Terror and told me that if I failed to bring it, I would never become a proper hero. “Huh. You really don’t know. Well, let me enlighten you, oh valiant hero.” Laverna’s teeth flashed. “Your family has always been in a feud with mine. Always bickering. It turned violent when our grandparents had intentions to kill each other. They were somewhat successful, since only my grandmother and your grandfather remain, but they instilled the need to kill in their children. “My father never wanted to do such a thing until your father killed my mother. My father couldn’t bear the pain that washed over him when she died. “Flip of a Coin,” edited photo by Kavya Mekala

INTIMUS

One night my father saw your father and shot him with an arrow. “Your mother had it out for my father ever since. Eventually, she was successful in taking him away from me. Now I have no one.” Her eyes blazed as she continued. “Your mother never saw me that night. I was hiding beneath the bed as my father had instructed. He thought he was going to come back to me, but…” Laverna’s voice trailed off, her eyes vacant for a moment as if reliving that horrible scene. Then, she snapped back to the present. “The Orb of Terror is the cause of all this mess. Our families’ fight turned for the worse because of that horrible weapon. Nevertheless, I have to get it back from you, for my father. It belongs to us.” My head hurt. Why did my mother not say anything to me? I stood and looked at the beautiful creature in front of me. She stared back with a stone-cold expression. “So, Conlan, do you really love me? Or do you still feel the need to destroy me?” she asked. My voice was barely a whisper. “I did not lie about the way I felt about you. I meant it when I said I loved you. That’s why I decided to tell you everything now. I did not want the rest of our relationship to be a lie. But, it seems that is not what you wanted.” I walked to where my dagger lay, next to my satchel and spoke coolly, though my heart and mind raced. “Even now, there is some part of me that still loves you. Some part that is roaring at me to let you live. But, you are right. I must destroy you. For my mother and father’s sake.” A mask of cold rage fell over her face as she walked towards the fire, picked up the coin she had been playing with and flipped it into the air. As it fell, the coin grew into a black sword. I looked with shock as I beheld her, wielding the Sword of Knowledge. The light in those dark eyes completely winked out. Her voice was ice. “Well, in that case, let’s see who will finish the hunt.”

43



FICTION

INTIMUS

June Storm

T

Jordan Jeffreys

he dry breeze brushed against band's plaid suit jacket and their son’s ashes Eliza’s ruffled blouse, rustling the encased in a polished walnut box. bouquet of Star-of-Bethlehem The June wind moistened as dark clouds flowers in her trembling hands. rushed into the navy sky. The air swirled and “You let him play on the wailed as thunder drummed above, a whip tracks,” her husband whined, voice crackcracking against the brittle dirt. ing. The pile of logs they sat on moaned In one rolling movement, Eliza clutched with their every shifting movement. the wooden box and hurled it at the ground, “I didn’t know where--” letting out her own guttural scream. The “Why weren’t you watching him!” he box smacked the dirt and ruptured into yelled, his voice echoing through the field, thick splinters, sharp thorns scattering in bouncing off the maples surrounding them. the grass as the cremated remains erupted “Why weren’t like a sack of newly you?” Eliza hissed, opened flour, dust The air swirled and wailed barely reaching a rising in a mushwhisper. room cloud. The as thunder drummed above, a whip Her husband impact was an cracking against the brittle dirt. choked back a sob earsplitting explointo his hands, then sion compared to spat into the grass, rhythmic rumbling and stood. above. “It’s going to Eliza gasped and rain,” he said without expression, examinhuffed, trying to catch her escaping breath. ing the clouds above. Once the burning in her lungs subsided to He trudged forward through the tall yela low smolder, her gut shriveled in her abdolow grass, never looking back. He stopped men as a full-body heat prickled through her only to stare down at the rusting railroad pores only to dissipate in a single wave, leaving tracks before stepping over the rails and goosebumps on her arms. She collapsed on all walking over the hill, disappearing into dusk. fours. Eliza stayed perched on the logs, slumpEliza frantically grasped at billowing ash as ing as an invisible weight collapsed onto her it rode the wind, leaving her hands a powdery back. gray. She shook, sandwiched between her husIt never did rain that night.

“Playful Tracks,” photo by Jordan Jeffreys

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“Induced Creativity,” Sharpie and ink by Jenna Wisvari

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FICTION

INTIMUS

Judgment Harlen Rembert

T

ance, they were stark white in contrast to the pure he flames convulsed before his eyes until black emptiness behind them. Each was framed by he could no longer definitively see his surroundings. He suddenly realized he could no flowing locks of hair, which seemed to pour like rivers from their heads. In every pale face a pair of vivid eyes longer feel the ground. He was weightless. stared at him, each unique in color. One, its eyes a deep He blinked, hoping his eyes would reveal violet, opened its mouth to speak. something. To his great alarm, they did. “Errol, you are charged with the amassing of immorBefore him was a great pillar, its nebulous form iltal powers on a level nothing short of blasphemy, as luminated, seemingly from within. He staggered back, his gaze following it upward. Though seemingly infinite, well as violating the Code of Psyche by attempting to merge unique souls. Your tumultuous actions have so the column ended, meeting six others in a point undisrupted the balance of the cosmos as to warrant your imaginably high above him, all converging in a mestrial by the Archangels, the Seven Spirits of God. Now, merizing spiral. He felt as if he was beginning to spin, what have you to say?” but he caught himself and His eyes wide, unblinking, turned his head towards his “You are charged with the he swallowed hard, and his feet. Beneath them were jaw quivered before he somedozens more fractal reflecamassing of immortal powers, on a how found his voice. tions beyond his body in a “I–am I dead?” he choked dark, murky area below him, level nothing short of blasphemy.” out, immediately regretting it, neither floating nor standfeeling it was the wrong thing ing in resistance against to say. gravity. He sought his face A green-eyed face respondamong the reflections and ed, replying to his confusion calmly, while at the same found many of them, staring, dumbfounded, back at time offering no helpful insight. him. “You are in a stable state of existence. Your mortal A chill shot up his spine as an ethereal whisper status is unimportant.” ricocheted through the space. He looked around in a He looked around at the luminous faces. They frenzy, searching for a source. Then, he flinched. watched him intently, awaiting his next words. Under “Errol,” an unearthly voice boomed, his name revertheir gaze, he felt an insurmountable wave of dread. berating around him. “What–what is it,” he paused, swallowing, “that I’m His knees gave out. He wanted to slump down to the supposed to say?” dark mirrors beneath him, but found that his weight “Your defense,” the violet-eyed face said. “You simwould not fall. Feebly, he found his voice and respondply must state your defense.” ed. “What defense? What have I done?” he cried, anxiety “Yes?” spreading through him. “Your trial will now come to order.” “You can answer that for yourself.” In the abysmal space between the pillars, great, He felt as though he were on a carnival ride. Evradiant shapes began to appear. As they became more erything was swaying, the pillars between the faces defined, he found, to his increasing alarm, that they blurred, becoming psychedelic shimmerings. He were giant faces. Neither male nor female in appear47


“You Cannot Run,” acrylic painting by Lillian Thereault

48

stooped over, clutching his gut. “I needed–I need to get to her...” “And so, you did what?” Errol didn’t respond. A red haze rose within him, threatening to drip out of his pursed lips. “What was it you did?” they asked, pressing him for an answer. His pupils were shrinking, his lungs exploding. Her face… he remembered her face. “I took her, and I–” He struggled to swallow, and his throat closed. “I needed to feel, so I–” He desperately tried to suck in air, but his lungs would not open. “I took her–I took her!” he screamed, his mind on fire, rocking his head in his hands. “Yes, you did. We have now reached a verdict. Gabriel?”

“Guilty.” “Uriel?” “Guilty.” “Raphael?” “Guilty.” “Camael?” “Guilty.” “Jophiel?” “Guilty.” “Zadkiel?” “Guilty.” In unison, the six others turned to the violet-eyed Archangel. “Michael?” “Guilty. Errol?” His shaking stopped. He stared into his countless reflections in the dark void of the floor below. “Guilty.”


FICTION

INTIMUS

Pittsburgh Flood of 1936 Jordan Jeffreys

A

inspired by a vintage photo of the Pittsburgh Flood bitter winter harbored a smothering cloak of snow, its icy remains still lingering on Saint Patrick’s Day. Awakened early, folks prayed to find fields of four leaf clovers and glistening pots of gold.

Clouds burned on the horizon like hot coals, burying the rainbow map of

fortune.

It was Alectona, Goddess of the Sun, who woke the town early, grabbing their heads between her clammy hands, forcing them to watch the ice thaw–watch as Khione and Zeus brawled. People gaped as the browning liquid swelled from Alle-kiski valley. Slush rose above the curb and up onto the sidewalk, swallowing bridges, trees, and river bay homes. The sky blackened as the mortals lay limp in the hands of the gods. Forty-six feet of rainwater reached the heavens. “Welcome home.” Then the sun set behind a roaring lake of debris, a field of wooden power poles, standing tall like crosses.

49


Art of Conversation

D

Gerard Gibbons

once again. “What makes you think I’ve experienced im light casts faint shadows around the trauma?” room, bringing back unpleasant memoI smirk. “Just a hunch.” ries. A couch against the back wall faces The man writes more. the small desk on the opposite wall. The “I’ll go first,” I take a breath. “I’ve been beaten carpet, soft to the touch. A tall man with until I was on the brink of death and left to die in the cold eyes and a bald head sits in the chair at the desk, snow…” on his face a thoughtful expression that, oddly, calms He writes and listens. The man clears his throat as if me. His button up shirt is perfectly ironed, the laces of to talk, but I cut him off once again, his black dress shoes tied loosely. I can tell he has seen “I wasn’t finished. The worst part is when a man too much. stopped and looked at me, but he didn’t help me. He I clear my throat to announce my presence, interrupting his thoughts. His eyes meet mine as he turns his poured alcohol over my body. I was only 11.” I stare down the therapist, a challenge. Not backing chair to face the couch. down, he returns my stare with one of his own. “Take a seat and make yourself comfortable.” “You have me beat.” I walk across the room, and sit in the middle of the He simply accepts defeat couch, pressing my back quickly. “Can you tell me any firmly into the cushion Sudden bursts of emotions get in of your other memories?” behind me. The man writes I understood he never insomething on a notepad I the way of his intellect. He seems to tended to try and win the bet. hadn’t noticed before. “Wow. You actually tricked “How are you to--” understand the art of conversation. me… fair play.” I smirk as he I cut him off before he scratches down notes in the could finish. “I know how pad once again. this works, so don’t waste The man spins around in our time.” his chair and leans over his desk. I jump at the sudden He gazes into my eyes and scribbles on his notepad. movement. I shift in my seat, looking around the room hastily, tryHe spins around to face me again, but a pair of ing to find a mirror or something reflective to see what glasses now rests upon his face. he’s writing. The way he observes me makes me ner“What’s with the glasses?” vous-- he seems almost familiar, but I can’t determine The man takes a second before answering. “Now I how I know him. “Okay, we can do anything you want,” the man says can see you more clearly.” He’s writing more frequently. I study him. “My faand also shifts his stance. “Ask me any questions or talk ther was never there for me, and though my mom was about anything that comes to your mind. We can also there, she was never actually present. I raised myself sit in silence the whole time.” while I also raised my parents with the help of my older Strangely, he seems like he’s actually interested in brother. But he left me, just like my parents. Only it what I have to say. “How about a friendly bet?” I stare was in a different way… now I know that I only need into his eyes searching for the slightest hint of hesitamyself.” tion, but all I get is an emotionless stare. He pushes up his glasses, seemingly surprised at my “What did you have in mind?” honesty. I pause a moment to think about what to say. “I bet The man writes on his notepad. Now I can make I’ve lived through more traumatic experiences than it out: Sudden bursts of emotions get in the way of his you.” intellect. He seems to understand the art of conversaHis eyes shift to his notepad as he starts writing

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FICTION

INTIMUS

“Borderline Personality Disorder,” chalk pastel by London Morris

tion–reading body language and facial expressions. When he looks up again, I smile. He has a puzzled look on his face. “I’m surprised you think so highly of me,” I say, as I tear through my mind for any sign of him from my past. He makes a face I’m all too familiar with, that look when someone feels their heart drop to their stomach. “I picked up a couple of tricks here and there--like how to collect information,” I say with a shrug. “I used the reflection in your glasses.” He chuckles for a second, but that quickly fades into a serious gaze into my eyes. “I’ll be completely honest with you about everything I know so far. You have PTSD, trust issues, genius level intellect, and you’ve clearly gone through enough traumatic experiences that would most likely cripple an average person mentally.” I close my eyes and slowly clap. “You were so close to being right.” I laugh uncomfortably, trying to cover up my fear. Time I spend talking with him seems to go by quick-

ly. It doesn’t matter what we talk about. Now I open up about it all -- my excruciating life. Before long he man checks a lonely clock on the wall. “Well, that’s all the time we have for today. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again next week.” He’s more relaxed than when our session first started. So am I. “What’s your name?” I ask. He takes off his glasses and rises from his seat. “Hugh.” I smile as I stand and approach him. “I look forward to seeing you a lot more, Hugh.” He smiles and takes a few seconds to look at me. “You’re like me… you’ve been through just as much as I have.” I stare intensely at Hugh, extending my hand. He grasps it firmly, but I squeeze harder. Hugh, now meets my intense gaze with a warm smile and tries to speak, but I beat him to it. “Thank you for listening.” Hugh grabs my hand and pulls me into a hug… the first hug I can remember. 51


“Man’s Best Friend,” gouache painting by Sarah Tran

V 52

Colophon oices is produced by the literary magazine staff at Nation Ford High School. This magazine was printed on 80# Matte text paper by Blurb.com. The fonts used for this magazine are Footlight MT Light 60 point (titles), Candara 10 point (body text), Candara Italics 16 point (byline), Candara Bold 14 point (pull quote), Times New Roman point (initial caps), Ransome Note 12 point (folio lines and contents headlings). The title on cover is Blackadder ITC 98 point. The layout was created in Adobe InDesign 2022. All of the literary magazine staff was involved in the production and distribution of this magazine. The magazine contains entries in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art, and photography. Thank you for reading Voices.