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Nation Ford High School • Volume 11 • 2018



A publication of Nation Ford High School 1400 A.O. Jones Boulevard Fort Mill, South Carolina 29715 Phone: (803) 835-0000 Fax: (803) 835-0010

“Fall,” photo by Taylor Cobb Cover Art-“Bonzai Tree with Man” by Noel Heil

SIPA All Southern 2017 Best in State 2017



Editor’s Note


ince we were young, our teachers, parents, and mentors have been planting the seeds of life into us. Every day they remind us to water – to nourish our curiosity – and to place this valuable vessel of life in the sunlight, to embrace knowledge, so we can grow and flourish. We must pluck the weeds, the distractions, that crowd out our creativity. We must take care to cherish Vitae – life – which will help us blossom into the young adults we are meant to become. As we grow and learn what the world has to offer, we branch out and try to kiss the sky. We attempt to touch the stars. Our roots dig into the earth, and we hold our hearts within crackled bark. We have written stories and poems, and invite you to turn the pages. We find and lose love, we give and take, and we try and sometimes fail. Yet when life’s wind and rain comes, it does not stop the earth from spinning or the sun from shining, nor should it stop our minds from reaching above the clouds. As editors-in-chief of Voices, we invite you to branch out of your comfort zone and gaze upon the art and photography and to read our words. We all are full of life, and may our creativity spring your Vitae into action.

Editors-in-Chief Carly Cashatt & Gracie Barnett “Big Rainbow,” photo by Raegan Craddock VOICES 2018


Contents 2-3 Editor’s Note

Carly Cashatt & Gracie Barnett

FICTION 6-7 Prologue 8-9 Obruere 10-11 Grains of Time 12-14 Stalking and Guards

Nathan Tyson Claude Hejl Emma Wolfe Elizabeth Marvin

POETRY 15 Drowning 16 Sun and Rain 17 First Far, Now Near 18-19 One More 20 Snake Eyes 21 Heirloom 22 Loosely Bound 23 She Sells Seashells 24-25 Downpour 26-27 Deceived 28-29 Iowa Once Held An Ocean (I did too) 30-31 Riptide 32-33 Kuthathwe 34-35 Sequence 36-37 Nassau 38-39 Jeweled Fish 40-41 Until 42 Dirty Money

Barbara Barnes Ashlynn Hinson Anna Leach Carly Cashatt Taylor Cobb Kailey Cota Ariah Massey Madyson Long Gracie Barnett Amanda Cordle Raegan Craddock June Glenn Kelise Williams Justin Arrington Zack Slone Veronica Barcia Kristin Grams Candice Hurell

NONFICTION 43 2 pounds & 8 ounces 44-45 Used to be so simple 46-47 The Mountain in the West 49 Vulpes--Chasing a tail 50-52 Bea Miller’s New Album 53 Patrons and Mission 54 Staff and Policy 55 Colophon 56 Epilogue


TA B L E o f C O N T E N T S

David Francis Isaac Hoyle Preston Lyerly Lexcee Shelton Tristin Holley Emma Nagel

Raegan Craddock

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY Noel Heil Cover Art Bonzai Tree with Man Taylor Cobb 1 Fall Raegan Craddock 2-3 Big Rainbow Beth Swann 7 Part of the Plan Raegan Craddock 8-9 Ocean Water 11 Dave Jr. Madelyne Levassiur Taylor Cobb 12-14 Night Scene Kailey Cota 15 Night Light Raegan Craddock 16 Sun Rise Olivia Kuebler 17 Frustration Sydney McDonagh 18 Past Raegan Craddock 21 Rings True Raegan Craddock 22 Gunbeev Carly Cashatt 23 Seafoam Raegan Craddock 24-25 Water fall Raegan Craddock 27 Deceived Carly Cashatt 28-29 Ocean View Carly Cashatt 30-31 Sun Relfection on Ocean Front Abbie Knight 32-33 Wash Day Maddy Cost 35 Sequence Abbie Knight 37 Indonesia Barbara Barnes 38-39 Water in Wilderness Taylor Cobb 41 Frosted Succulent Shaina Platt 42 Gemini Olivia Kuebler 43 Excitement Raegan Craddock 44-45 Rocks Kailey Cota 46-47 Terrain Taylor Cobb 48-49 Open Mind Abbie Knight 51 Anna Abbie Knight 53 Big Words Kailey Cota 55 Riverside Raegan Craddock 56 Sunset

“Passions are the speech of our bodies – they are our vitality speaking.” –Martha Roth



The Man Under the Apple Tree


Nathan Tyson

here once was a man, who sat undercannot clearly see. neath an apple tree. Every morning, with no worries of “Alas, I bet the fast flurry of animals surely could lend strife or pain, a man hurtless, he would wake under his me answers. I will follow them until night. Then, at last, I tree. The soft white grass was wet with dew, and warm rays will know what will become of my life.” of the morning sun would gently shine his eyes to alertThus began the man’s very first strife. ness. He spent his days watching the lazy sun, moving like The man rose, for the first time in a long time. a pendulum through molasses, slowly zigzagging its way Roots uprooting and shoes ungluing, bones protesting across the cosmos. His eyes followed this lethargic passat the sudden moving, he slowly tore himself from the spot ing, back and forth, back and forth, until the slow smooth where he had sat for oh-so-long. motions of the sun brought the man with no sorrows into His intense struggle for a semblance of motion caused... a peaceful sleep, and by his dreams he allowed himself to quite the commotion. A resounding sound of glassy bark be swallowed. shattering, like wicked lightning splitting the sky, cracking Occasionally, the man would be startled awake from his thunder coming down from the rosy-red clouds, so loud slumber, due to hearing the growling tones of his hunthat every animal immediately ended their chit-chattering. ger, yet the man never worried. For he knew that soon a The creatures couldn’t help but widen their eyes with glistening golden apple would make its way surprise as, from their perspective, a tree down from the tree just in time to satisfy seemed to be coming alive. his ravenous needs. And any time the man The man slowly shuffled his way over to This peaceful was thirsty, he would simply look up to the the creatures. dreaming never frost-white leaves, the sky filtering through Carefully choosing his words, he decided lasted long enough. to first make his plea to the creatures with in a color of bright burgundy, and wait with his mouth open wide. Soon enough, dropincandescently glowing white furs. “Can you ping dew or falling rain would come, and yet show me how to live?” inquired the man, again he’d fall under the spell of the twirling sun, and sleep hoping to hear an answer as easy as watching faded light would find him once more. slowly make its way through his favored tree leaves. Yet. this peaceful dreaming never lasted long enough. But upon hearing a long sequence of complicated chirps The man would soon find himself awakened by the and squeals (which the man had decided take as an invitacreatures passing by, chattering abput their duties, needtion of some sort), he began to follow the ball-like bright to-do’s and such. creatures as best as he could as they bounced their way The man never quite understood their hurry – to him through the white woods. they seemed as a great fearful flurry, blowing quickly It took a very long time. across the soft white grass. The man was not the most adept at taking steps, espePassing under the sun, yet never looking up, the creacially not ones coming quickly one after another. Yet just tures only used the light as a way to find the next place to before he felt his feet would be torn asunder, he looked up place a foot, staring down and staring forward towards from his great trial of foot-moving and stared ahead in an doing what they need to do but never doing the things odd sort of wonder. they could. The hard-to-follow-furry-fluff-fellows (as the man had One day the man considered something he had never taken to calling them) had begun to fight one another, considered before. battling for power over their target of a cowering soon-to“Perhaps I am wasting away this precious life. Perhaps be-carcass. With chirping arguments growing and previthere is something more significant than feeling the grass ously hidden needle-like teeth showing, mounting tension beneath me, the tree behind my back, and the magnificent of once-friends bloating, the man turned to leave as he did sun that I so enjoy staring at. Perhaps I must find meaning, not wish to experience the pressure exploding. a reason to live while leaving behind what keeps me from The man tried many times. being all that I need to be. Yet what I need to be, I still He attempted to talk with the creatures hiding just



“Part of the Plan,” photo manipulated in Prisma by Beth Swann beneath the ground, but they were so busy tempting each other with strange shiny round pieces that they couldn’t even hear his rumbling shuffle come around. He yelled to the beaked yellow creatures soaring through the sky with wide leathery wings and distorted features. They were too busy finding great joy in the fact that the man just couldn’t reach them to even hear him. He wanted to gain new perspective from the creatures gathered ’round the reflective silvery surface of the lake, his steps growing increasingly weak, but he was soon repelled as the animals seemed only interested in staring at themselves. Eventually, the man realized something.

As the man slowly lumbered, step by painstakingly slow step back to his apple tree, he wondered at what he was so worried about in the first place. The creatures lived the way they do, because that is simply how they grew. The man knew his way of life, until he questioned if others were more correct in their view. And as the man slowly settled himself into the tree-crevice made by his earlier exit, he found comfort like no other. The sun stared down and he stared back. The grass was beneath him and the tree was at his back. As the lullaby of the sun swung him into sleepiness, he had one final thought: “This really isn’t so bad.”




OBRUERE Claude Hejl

ethe kept to the darkness. It was easier to hunt there where the men and their boats and their hooks could not get her. It was safe, but lonely and cold. She longed to see the light where it reflected through the water, as warm as her mother’s embrace. But it was safer in the dark water, even if her scales turned gray and lost their luster as they rotted, and her tail was as limp as seaweed. Anaitis would watch Lethe, her eyes bright even in the half-light of the deep. Anaitis’ scales were radiant, the myriad shades of blues and greens and reds under the bioluminescent algae and jellyfish. “Come to the surface,” Anaitis would say, hair floating in the drift, braided with pearls, shells, and bones. “Come, hunt with us.” “I have everything I need here,” Lethe replied, waving a hand at the piles of bones that littered the floor of her cave – small fish, a baby shark, the carapaces of dead crustaceans.


“Why would I go to the surface?” “You eat the flesh of the weak and small and sickly. If you come with me, you could eat like Queen Amphitrite.” Anaitis’ smile was cruel, her fangs red. “Nonsense,” Lethe laughed, shaking her head. “That’s not allowed. Only Amphitrite can eat ...” “Men.” Anaitis turned, preparing to swim from the cave, back into the light. “When you’re not scared, come with me.” Lethe swam circles in the mouth of her cave for weeks. The fish were long gone; her ribs were beginning to show – skin stretched thin across her skeleton, scales rotting away. She could barely breathe, and her gills fluttered away into the darkness with every inhale and exhale. She was weak, fingers and scales shaking in some offbeat rhythm. “Come with me,” Anaitis would beckon every day, her voice more enchanting than the song of the strongest siren, eyes like luminescent pearls. “Come. Eat. Live.”


“Ocean Water,” photo by Raegan Craddock

But every day, Lethe declined, even as death lurked behind her, its skeletal fingers tightening around her throat. She felt herself breaking down – she wanted to join Anaitis, but danger lurked up near the surface, away from the safety of her cave. She couldn’t lose Anaitis, couldn’t watch herself lose Anaitis. If Lethe stayed in the deep instead of watching Anaitis hunt, she would be spared the heartbreak. She felt death’s claws break skin the day Anaitis came for the last time. “I will not return,” Anaitis said. “You’re too weak, even now. Another day and you will not survive the hunt. You have a death wish, staying here.” “I know.” Lethe’s voice was a husk of its former self. She knew what the fish she devoured must feel as they were being digested. “Then what will you do?” “What I must.” And Lethe joined the hunt, but stayed towards the outter edge. The water there was warmer, but ice still filled her veins.

Bringing the ship down in the storm was easier than Lethe would have thought. Men fell into the sea to be scooped up by the merfolk. The blood warmed the water. Anaitis came to Lethe, nails bloody, a heart in her hands. “Eat.” It was warm on her tongue, bitter and salty as Lethe swallowed bites of muscle and sinew. A fire ignited and raged throughout her body, spreading from her limp hair to her shrunken gut to the rotting tips of her fins. “Have you returned, Lethe?” Anaitis asked. Her fangs were bloody; it coated her mouth and neck and hands like war paint. Her mouth, too, was warm under Lethe’s. The blood was intoxicating. Lethe choked on it, hungry for more even as she cut her lips and tongue in the process. She felt herself come back to life, the blood and Anaitis’ love bringing her back from the brink. “Thank you,” she said, again and again until it lost all meaning, until her words had the cadence of a hymn.



pops into his mind. He rapidly puts on the guard’s clothes, and just as he finishes, the doors open wide. He will not be recognized as a human. Emma Wolfe He takes a step inside and looks around, but all of he can see in the darkness is a few dim lights in the distance. He listens in the gloomy atmosphere that The snap of branches echoes through the dark surrounds him. Silence. And then he hears it. The night as Wesley runs through the forest. His moaning and groaning. Is it the horrific monsters said breath is ragged and uneven, but he pushes on. to inhibit Strakh? His stomach turns at the thought, Miles and miles he goes, surrounded by trees and but he doesn’t focus on that long, as the doors the ink-like darkness of the night. slams behind him. Keep moving, you can’t turn back His body is caked with dirt and dried blood from now. tripping over rocks and roots. He is running from He shuffles toward the dim light at the end of the wrath of the Arnyek, the terrifying shadow-like the hall. With each step, his mouth becomes drier, monsters who guard forest. He hides behind a tree and his head is twisting and turning as he looks for a brief moment to catch his breath, and then he for the monsters. Lost in his fear, he doesn’t even sees them – intimidating stone doors of Strakh. realize that the darkness is declining and the light Both relief and fear wash over him as he nears is now swallowing him. the doors of the ancient building. He looks up at He takes in his new surroundings. He spots a all the silver diamond-shaped details wooden door, walks up to it and From his bed, he on the door, knowing what he has to searches for puzzles, but can’t find do. He pushes and pulls on the dehears shouting, glass any, to his relief. He turns the small tails to create the hourglass symbol of silver knob and slowly opens th Strakh. Sweat gathers on his forehead, shattering, and the door. and he hears footsteps coming from He stands frozen in astonslamming of a door ishment at what he sees. Countless wall next to the doors. Wesley presses himself against the door and holds his rattling the house. colossal shelves hold numerous breath. hourglasses, each with a name on it. The glowing, skeleton-like guard searches the His feet move cautiously across the stone floor. area for any humans at the doors. It leans over the He looks at the hourglasses with names of both walls, searching vigorously for any sign of a hustrangers and friends. His fingers dance across the man, but not finding any, it walks away. Wesley shelves as he searches for the one with his own lets out a sigh of relief, but he regrets it when the name. He moves faster as he doesn’t have a lot of guard turns back around. time. It has to be somewhere around here. I have come He knows he has to think fast. He looks all too far to fail. around him, spots a rock, and picks it up. As the He scans up and down every shelf, but comes up guard leans over the wall, Wesley hurls the rock at empty. Then he sees it. A light glow on the shelf his head. As the guards slowly falls from the high in front of him. He rushes towards it and plucks it walls, Wesley tries to catch it to avoid making off the shelf. Finally. It begins to glow brighter as noise. Just as the body landed in Wesley’s arms, he holds it. the bones disintegrate, leaving only the uniform. Wesley breaks the top of the hour glass off and Wesley jumps back, dropping the clothes on the the grains of sand scatter across the stone floor. He ground. He stands there shaking, staring at the stares at the glowing specks with intent of destroyclothes, but that doesn’t last long, for he knows he ing them – and his past. Then he notices a grain of has to finish the task at hand. sand with an aurora brighter than the rest. Curi Time passes, but Wesley seems to be going ous, he leans over and picks it up, but as he does so, faster. He let out a final long breath as he finishes he feels dizzy. Everything goes black. making hourglass symbol on the door. He groans as he opens his eyes, but quickly He is waiting for the doors open when an idea jumps up in panic. He is no longer in Strakh. What




“Dave Jr.,� graphite by Madelyne Levassiur

is happening? The only thing that isthe same is the one grain of sand between his fingers. From his bed, Wesley hears shouting, glass shattering, and the slamming of a door rattling the house. He holds his breath, not knowing what is going on, even though this setting seems familiar. Rapidly approaching footsteps rip him from his thoughts. His bedroom door whips open. Startled, he drops the grain of sand, and as he does, he blacks out again only to find himself back in Strakh. Wesley is shaken and confused. Pushing himself off the floor, he tries to shake off the incident. While pushing up from the floor, he accidentally grasps another grain of sand.

The dizzy feeling instantly returns as his vision disappears. He wakes, realizing he is in a grassy area next to the lake with the sun beating down on him. Out of nowhere, Wesley hears his name being called. He turns to see his friends, Maya and Oliver, calling for him. He sprints to them with immediate relief. They all laugh, play and talk for hours, and never once does he feel scared or somber. They race to see who can get over the hill fastest. He runs happily. But then he trips and drops the grain of sand. Wesley continues to fall into a black abyss until he lands on the stone floor of Strakh. His head feels like it is spinning. Anxiety floods within him. He stands, looking at the glowing sand. I have to make a choice.




Stalking Guards


Elizabeth Marvin

efore we start, a disclaimer. I am a not highly trained detective – I am a 28-yearold who has read all the old Sherlock Holmes books and somehow managed to solve enough cases to make the cops give me my own stuffy little office in the back corner of the station. Yay, me. When I finished my studies with a BA in criminal justice, and a nice shiny degree, (so that would be Detective Corrin Blaise Jameson thank you very much), the city I went to school in told me to hit the road. I became a private detective and took a few cases locally, but I despised the work because all the cases were the same: “Oh, I must know if my partner is cheating on me blah blah blah.” So, I got out to see the world and started taking cases in other countries. There were even a few dangerous ones (especially that one with the Dutch call girl in Romania who killed all her clients, but that’s another story). After about six years of being on my own, I got a request from someone who told me that she had a case worth lots of money. I accepted, of course – after all, this was going to be the biggest payout of my career. (Although, if I had known it was going to be so hectic, I probably would have been a little more cautious when making my decision.) I knocked lightly on the hotel door where the woman was staying in New York (of all places) and waited while footsteps approached the door. “Who is it?” A young man’s voice growled through the door. “I am looking for Mademoiselle Adalicia Riou.” I hoped I didn’t have the wrong room. “Who are you?” I detected a strong French accent, but my client was female. (She told me, no assuming here). So who was this guy? “State your name before I call the police on you,


Américain.” The impatient French man snarled through the door again, and I thought it imperative that I answer him before he made good on his threat. “I’m Detective Jameson. Mademoiselle Adalicia Riou called me to check on a situation.”. The door opened slightly to a young handsome man with blonde-platinum hair and fair skin that couldn’t have been any older than me. He was dressed in fancy clothing with a waistcoat and dress pants that fit him very well (not that I was checking him out). He glared while looking me over. “You may come in.Ma sœur is waiting in the open area. I will show you the way.” He opened the door completely, looked around in the hall, and closed it before leading me into the suite and to the living room where a young woman sat on the couch who looked very much like the man – and just as beautiful. The beautiful woman spoke softly. “I see, Monsieur Jameson, that you have met my brother Ancel.” (Her command of English was beautiful and both she and her brother had the most seductive French lilt in their voices.) “We are jumeaux, born only minutes apart. I hope he wasn’t too rude. My parents tried to teach him manners for years, but…” “Be quiet, Adi!” Ancel cried, the tips of his ears bright red. Adalicia smiled and motioned for me to sit down beside her. I tentatively sat next to her, this lovely woman, and said, “Just call me Corrin, Mr. Jameson was my father.” She giggled. “All right, Monsieur Corrin.” We chatted for a few minutes about my plane ride to


“Night Scene,” photo by Taylor Cobb

New York, then she became serious. “Monsieur Corrin, I was not exactly forthcoming on any details of my situation. I have developed a stalker since coming to stay in America two months ago. I would like your help in identifying and apprehending this stalker.” I took her hands and held them lightly. “It is no trouble Mademoiselle. Just a few more questions, all right? Then I can begin a formal investigation to help you get rid of this guy.” I patted her knee, trying to comfort her. dalicia and I shared a smile. I was lost in her gaze for a moment before she spoke. “Now let me tell you exactly what has been going on,” she began, taking a deep breath. I looked down at my empty notebook. Oh yeah, I had a job to do. She told me everything this dude had been caught almost doing by Ancel, from trying to follow her into the bathroom, to sending pictures of their hotel suite to their cellphones while the twins were out on the town. He had also been sending threatening messages and calling both


Adalicia and Ancel rude names. This guy sounded like a real creep, and it made me want to help Adalicia even more because this stalker sounded like a total douche. That night after Adalicia had told me the details of the case, I asked to see the pictures that the stalker had sent to her, and later, when I looked, I couldn’t believe my eyes – I knew their stalker! (The idiot had left half his face in the freaking picture.) In fact, I knew him so well, you could call us brothers. The ‘stalker’ was my brother-in-law, Evan. He was a police officer and was known to go undercover (I had even worked with him on a few cases before), although I thought he was supposed to be on some international spy case right now. It was a good thing that I had taken my leave of the twins’ hotel room before I took a look at the pictures because I had to sit in my own hotel room and call Adalicia’s stalker. Finally, he picked up. “’Lo?” My brother’s raspy voice said. “Hey, Evan, I had a question about a case I’m currently working on, and I thought you could help me out.”



“I’ll listen, but I don’t know, man. It’s really early, and I have my own case right now.” Evan sighed – probably about to say he had to go – so I barreled in with my question. “Dangit, Evan, why are you stalking my client?” I said (quite loudly). For a few minutes it was just our breathing, then he replied (just as loudly). “What the he** do you mean ‘your clients’?” “Evan listen, I am on a case for some wealthy French people. They invited me to their hotel room and told me that they have a stalker, and when I saw the pictures that the stalker had sent to the young woman, your face was in them.” Evan burst out suddenly, “Are you still at the hotel room?” “W-what? No, why?” There was rustling on the other side of the phone. “Get over there now, Corrin – they might try to run.” “Why would they run?” I flew down the stairs and made it onto the street and called for a taxi. “Corrin do you remember what case I’m on?” “Well yeah, you’re on the international spy… oh.” Evan sighed. “Yes, you idiot, your ‘clients’ are international spies! They probably aren’t French, and the names they gave probably aren’t their real names. I just hope they haven’t left. Distract them, if you can.” With that, he ended the call. I sat in the taxi, shocked. It’s not like I knew them very well, but they had seemed so sincere in their plight. Adalicia even started crying in the middle of her story. When we got to the fancy hotel, I paid the taxi and ran to the front desk. “Hello, did Adalica and Ancel Riou leave the hotel tonight?” The woman at the front desk looked startled. I may have yelled a tad bit too loudly. “N-no, they d-didn’t leave, or at l-least I didn’t see t-them leave.” I ran up the stars (all seven flights), and burst my way into the hotel room, only to see the room spiffy and clean and the window wide open, a slight breeze the only trace that someone had been


there and gone. On the couch was a note with a trace scent of cologne. Dear Mr. Corrin, If you got this note, you’ve found that we’re gone. In the past, we have stayed in a city for much longer than we have New York. We apologize for wasting your time, but at least you got to cover for two beautiful people. We did leave a small commission in the suite. Sorry for the trick. We really meant to spend more time with you in New York, but we must go where the wind takes us. I hope we meet again soon. It would be sad to miss a face as pretty as yours. Caio, Ancel and Adalicia XOXO That was my first day on the case of the Riou twins, a meeting I was unlikely to forget.


Drowning Barbara Barnes The little girl was scared of drowning She touched the onyx water And it slipped through her fingers like silk Sent ripples down her spine

The little girl needed a push A shove into the vast ocean She fell in Sinking into the apathetic water She watched as breath formed bubbles

The little girl

Felt her mind floating away from her body A hysteria began to effervesce inside her chest Her arms struggled Fighting the current She pulled herself above the water Her starved lungs devouring the air all at once

A girl

“Night Light” Photography Kailey Cota

Drifted away

no longer scared – She was exhilarated


15 23

Sun and Rain Ashlynn Hinson

“Sunrise,� photo by Raegan Craddock

July Fourth and we were outside The sun shone, leaves just as bright The heat pressing in Like a blanket Little flags old men Handed out Their wrinkled husks Holding souls shown the world And made softer in the face Of the harsh wind And driving rains


The bright sun And pangs of fear And as the flag fades And grows softer to the touch Its once stiff surface worn Into something almost kind I too Become kinder In the face of the harsh wind And driving rain


First Far, Now Near Anna Leach I see her in the crowd totally torn down. A feather could make her fall. Down the other end of the hall her little nerd body is a porcelain vase. I need to stay the big bad jock I’m supposed to be -the one who doesn’t care. I see her warm chocolate brown eyes and timid smile. As if on a gust of wind, I hear my own faint whisper, I’m sorry.

"Frustration" watercolor pencil portrait by Olivia Kuebler





One More Carly Cashatt

Inhale ‘Hold’ ‘1..2...3’ Exhale ‘One more time’+ Inhale ‘Hold’ ‘1..2...3’ Exhale Smoke clouds my mind Memories fade with every puff The news is no longer on my mind Trying to ease the pain from the day The mental scars burned into my skull Inhale ‘Hold’ ‘1..2...3’ Exhale ‘One more time’ Inhale ‘Hold’ ‘1..2...3’ Exhale ‘Flick’ ‘One more?, Just to fix my problems’ ‘Addiction’ It affects more than you think… “Just one more” they say… Every time

'Past,' graphite and color pencil by Sydney McDonagh VOICES 2018


Snake Eyes Kenmare, Ireland, 1921 For Amos Boyland, my grandfather Taylor Cobb The oaken blocks with their chipped edges worn smooth were the origin of your end. I was there that night. The night the lights shut off. The fumes of whiskey filled the room to the brim. Filled to the brim. Something your glass never was. The crack of the cue ball starting the game. The winner would be free of the curse. The disease. Everyone else, all six, had to gamble once again. But at a higher price. Colt Revolver on the table. A rolling barrel harmonized with dice, a symphony. The Devil’s favorite song. Then it was your turn Muffled clacking between your clasped hands. “Lowest number loses.” The dice hit the table. A dance mocking your life. Snake eyes...Boom.



heirloom Kailey Cota

such a simple thought – the jewel you adorn yourself with lives its life along with yours. sleepy, you push it onto your ring finger, and the opal opens its eyes and climbs out of its bed at the back of the drawer. as you grip the steering wheel, turning out of the driveway its golden tint glints in the sun winking hello to its friendliest acquaintance. as you prepare dinner for your mother, wrestle with your older brother, hold your boyfriend’s hand, the ring remembers. and its memory never fails. when you change out your beloved opal stone for a diamond, pack the old ring at the back of a drawer, it keeps your shared memories close to its heart, preserving them for your children. one day, your daughter, too, will adorn herself. she will grab the ring while running out the door, late for school. she will smile as sunlight radiates from its rainbow surface. she will gaze at the opal stone and echo her mother’s childhood.

“Rings True,” photo by Raegan Craddock



Loosely Bound

Ariah Massey

Despite my pristine cover, My spine is coming loose And my pages are slipping away.

“Gunbeev,” Adobe Illustrator drawing by Raegan Craddock



She Sells Seashells Madyson Long

a tucked back piece of straw, a thin strand of hair the shade of wheat. she got more than she bargained for, a set of red lips pouty and raw. she sells seashells by the seashore. he came tonight to make a sale, his plans mapped out in fading blue ink. however, the effort came up short, the transaction was a shame and a fail. she sells seashells by the seashore. tonight she’ll lie alone in the sea foam, her tears like oyster pearls against sand. the waves will rock her into dormancy where she’ll dream of having a home. she sells seashells by the seashore. with nightfall, he will get in his car, turn on the radio and pass streetlights. he’ll look up at the windshield and frown, for now she lives among the stars. she sold seashells by the seashore.

“Seafoam,” photo by Carly Cashatt




Gracie Barnett


he way she so easily walked out on us was like how her name rolled off your tongue, effortlessly. It was a Sunday, and the sky was the kind of grey that you’d expect abandonment to look like. The waves were violent, giving no mercy to the calm untouched shore.



They kept crashing, just crashing, crashing like the broken home we would all soon welcome. Crashing, and crashing. That Sunday would be the last one we all spent together, as one. I remember waking up to the instant feeling of desertion. I was empty, and harsh- like the waves.

‘Water fall,’ photo by Raegan Craddock

She vanished, just as the gray skies did later that day, but this time – she never returned. Our father, a man too full of pride, let her leave, without any hesitation. The rain began once she left, cleansing her from our memories.

The rain soon turned into something more, to a downpour. Rain seemed abundant, like the love that radiated from our father weeks after that day. Yet, somehow, the rain appeared empty.

And it washed every trace of her away that day, just as the surges that crest on the sand often erase a single imprint on the shore. VOICES 2018

Drowning everything it drenched us in a pool of despair... And we lived on, without her.


Deceived Amanda Cordle

Photo: Germany, 1945 “German prisoners of war held in an American camp watch a film about German concentration camps.” – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Joseph Eaton as a boy fritz was starved kept warm by flames ignited in piles of reichsmarks as he listened to his parents’ hushed discussions in the corners of dimly lit rooms with one light flickering above an empty table when he walked to school the wind carried news of promise of opportunity for dreamed-about decadencies and prosperous futures of germany rising above the world’s contempt as a teen fritz rallied with thousands of his peers they stood up to greet the fuhrer hands raised high like their teachers taught chanting proudly “heil hitler” together as one



1939 a list of the dead found itself in his hands fritz scanned for family friends he swore to join the fight had an urge to end this war before the lists got longer and longer and longer… 1941 seventeen-years-old he enlisted side-by-side with his best friend then in march fritz watched him die and said goodbye among the explosions watched his eyes close his chest rise then fall and fritz marched forward

“Leaves on the Ground,” photo by Raegan Craddock 1945 fritz sits in a hard chair in the midst of hundreds of other men just like him german soldiers now prisoners of war forced into an auditorium where a video reel begins


his stomach churns what have I done walking corpses hollowed cheeks empty eyes ss guard to the side fritz closes his eyes can’t watch anymore this is not what he thought the fight was for


iowa once held an ocean.

(i did too).

�aegan �raddock

over iowa, a blanket of ice used to lie capped and tucked one day the ice melted and submerged her under water little did she know, drowning was the best thing to ever happen to her her shell of a body had finally become home to something sea dinosaurs and the creatures that came before trees but one day that ocean dried up leaving behind the fossilized bodies of all the beautiful lives she once held. sometimes i still think about the time my ice caps melted cracking beneath me, i could no longer hold myself up the sting of algid water i felt myself melt with the ice as i fell right through



“Ocean View,” photo by Carly Cashatt

i felt a peculiar pleasure as it rushed up my nose learning everything about myself i missed from the years i was frozen my body was held by the embrace of the ocean and it did not seem to miss you at all. being lost, tangled in my own seaweed, i made good company of the fish they sang me to sleep each night and i only slept at night i let loose of the reins i had around myself and allowed the ocean to carry them sometimes i still think about when i began to notice my evaporation the fish began to die off one by one after awhile i stopped crying when they left i felt myself fall as the ocean let go – one finger at a time. this time, i was really drowning. i let my reins so loose i could not even dream of where to begin searching for it looking around at the fossils of what i was thanking my bed mercifully for inviting me home with open arms i would spend the next few weeks with it convincing it to accept my apologies. this is my sympathy letter to Iowa. i’m writing it from my bed once you’ve climbed out please do not ever climb back in.



Riptide June Glenn

As I stood by the ocean that night My skin sticky and salty from the breeze I felt content for the first time in months. In my hands, I held the leather wallet stuffed with every single loose-leaf piece of paper that I had scrawled on for you, the saddest things I’ve ever written. Wet black ink soaked through the paper like blood. I had hopelessly tried, over and over again, to get you out of my system. And I was tired. I had spent the last year wilted like a flower without water.



Hollow on the inside, sullen smiles on the outside. Feeling as if you had tied my leash to a pole and left me there. Feeling as if the leash had been cut and I was wandering In the dark alone. And I was tired.

I stared out into the vast expanse of sea, calm and smooth like glass, The sun like an egg-yolk, bleeding and running orange all over the horizon.

I began to run, ankle deep in water, wallet in hand a nd my arm bent behind me like a slingshot. I took the deepest breath that I could I squeezed my eyes shut I emptied my lungs of all that you were And I let go.

“uns reflection on ocean front,’” photo by Carly Cashatt



Kuthathwe ekhaya Kelise Williams

“taken from home” in the native Zulu language Taken from home A wet grave you nearly met No longer in control of Your destiny Knowing not was to come next A treacherous Journey Subject to inexplicable acts Of brutality Cedar oak whispering Your soon to be Fate Your pride taken Love You’d never know You no longer had The whip indulging The taste of Your blood Licking your back Carving memories Into your flesh But you are a Warrior A spark still lives within To quit is not an Option Words of Shaka you hear Zulu you are



“Wash Day,” colored pencil by Abbie Knight



Se¡ quence Justin Arrington noun: sequence; plural noun: sequences a particular order in which related events, movements, or things follow each other I sway in the wind As the cold breeze Shrivels me up Into wrinkles of dryness Lying on the ground While insects crawl over me I sink into the soil Until I am decomposed As I grow, I extend into the earth My roots dance into the ground Like a graceful ballet dancer Executing black swan I rise above levels of safety The fear of the unknown The mixture of warmth From the angelic beaming sun and The refreshing droplets of life I stalk through the journey Of an ongoing cycle



“Sunshine,” photo by Maddy Cost



Nassau Zachary Slone

Rundown restaurants and shops. People grinning, even though they look meager. One woman, twig thin, Shirt in tatters as well as her pants. Day after day smiling with her family, thankful for still being able to see the light of day. Men ask dealers for drugs, but that is normal here. I stand on the side of the street, sporting my nicest Patagonia shirt, squeaky clean Converse, privileged, but not realizing that until this very moment.



“Indonesia,” color pencil by Abbie Knight



Jeweled Fish Veronica Barcia

Across the street from the outdated, blue dentist’s office, A Taiwanese storefront with quaint white chipped wood frames the windows. A clash of American and Asian gadgets and trinkets. A Spiderman backpack stands on a pedestal. A Hello Kitty toy waves at the passersby. Ding! Lo & behold, Shelves full of Rubix cubes and keychains, Umbrellas with various icons and designs, fit for unblemished fans who still believe in heroes. Off to the side, Racks full of earrings Hanging suspended the air Like a school of fish paralyzed with fear, Predators circling. I bought my first of many earrings, Crystallized arils-shaped like dynamite cherries. For years the visits To a small compact shop Never slowed, Like rain that continued down the sidewalk, Into the dark green steel gaps of the gutter. One pair was a fish, Scales of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, Or white gems dyed. I picked the earring off its net, Black silk cord lined in its one eye. Mom knew the drill, Fished through her purse, For the dough.



“Water in the Wilderness,” photo by Barbara Barnes It wasn’t till the move From one state to another, Salt water to fresh, No more Japanese mechanical pencils, Or earrings of varying shapes or colors, The fish earrings remind me Of the dangerous waters back home, The tainted salt air that permeated the town. Now in this new town, the earrings swim through the colorful environment, But the evocative fish will always remind me of home.



Until Kristin Grams

I had a little plant I kept on my windowsill I loved my plant until The plant was a gift when I was born Right from the start, we were the best of friends We lived together until Every birthday party, every outing We grew together No one could defeat us until Until I grew up I forgot to water my plant I forgot to spend time with it I forgot to love it until My plant began to die To wither away I lost my plant until It fell behind my dresser Behind my clothes And in my desperation to fit in it began to fade until Until I grew up And I found my plant Still alive, by some miracle Crying out for some tender loving care until I watered my plant I spent time with it I loved it until It began to bloom





“Frosted Succulent,” photo by Taylor Cobb

“Gemini,” acrylic on canvas board by Shaina Platt “Gemini” acrylic on canvas board by Shaina Platt

Dirty Money Candice Hurell

Dirty money makes for dirty hands. Yet, we keep hearing the same song about poppin bands. To make for a cleansed soul, to clear a conscience, it’s making me nauseous to consider your reasons, and it’s why you’re so bitter. A menace to society is what we’re all making. Their nonchalance is gonna keep the ground quaking, keep the media’s fingers aching, for news to keep the ground breaking. Shaking the mind of an imbecile. Shaking them nimble and tell ’em to jump quick and fix the rest in line behind to keep them from becoming the next underground history fix.



“He can fit in his father’s baseball cap.”

“Excitement,” graphite by Olivia Kuebler

“2 pounds


David Francis

he year is 1999. A girl, only nineteen, gives birth to her first baby boy in Alabama. The first grandchild. The first great grandchild. Though so small, he moves the nurses to tears in the ICU. This fragile being is born a month early, weighing 2 pounds and 8 ounces. He can fit in his father’s baseball cap. The parents of this child are terrified; doctors told them that the baby only has a few

& 8 ounces”

weeks to live. Still, the family rejoices with happiness and gratitude. They believe in the celebration of birth, even at the inevitability of death. Great grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, visit the baby who always has a smile on his face. That smile shows strength. A week passes, and the doctors run test after test. Nothing abnormal. Nothing out of the ordinary. A miracle. Finally, the baby is cleared to leave the hospital and make his way with is mother towards home. VOICES 2018

The boy born at 2 pounds and 8 ounces grows healthy and strong. Diagnosed with death before he could talk. Before he could crawl, walk, run. Before he could learn, shape his life. He battled death and won. That small baby boy who was marked for death is me. David. Like the story written in the Bible, about David and Goliath. I faced death. And I overcame.


“Rocks,” photo by Raegan Craddock

It Used To Be So Simple


Isaac Hoyle

used to think that good things happen to ra, or HSP, while others were saying it’s Crohn's, good people and bad things happen to bad and then others said both. We didn’t know who people, pretty much like karma. And since to listen to. After many procedures and tests, they the first nine years of my life were smooth finally had figured out the source of my stomach sailing, I believed that it was because I was pains. My large intestine was inflamed. a good person. But that thought didn’t last long. So that went on for about six years. I’d have one It all started back in the summer of 2010. I was year where everything is fine, and then the next fresh out of fourth grade, ready for my summer year, life’s a living hell. On-again, off-again. vacation to take off. I was going to enjoy that sum- By the time tenth grade came around, things mer to the fullest by hanging out with friends evweren’t looking good for me. This was supposed to ery day and having as many kids as I could spend be one of my good years. But it wasn’t. It was the the night at my house. It was going to be perfect. complete opposite. Out of the six years of dealing But the universe had other plans for my life. with this sickness, this was the worst of all. My The first sign that something health had declined so rapidly I “I just felt like giving couldn’t go to school anymore. I was wrong started with my joints. Randomly throughout my day, my had to take online classes just so I arms and legs and hands would wouldn’t fall too behind. It felt as up at that point. become very sore, which I just if I had fallen back to square one. thought that was due to how active The risk didn’t seem I was lost, confused, and hopeless. I was. So I didn’t pay much atten The doctors only had one tion to that. But then it got worse. worth the reward.” solution get rid of my large inThe areas that were sore started to testine. But it was a risk. They turn a bluish-violet color, as if I had drawn on my- didn’t know if I was eligible to get the full removal, self with a marker. But my doctor told me it was so to find out they had to take out a third of my nothing to worry about, that they were probably colon and test it to see if I could withstand the full late-blooming bruises, and they would disappear surgery. If I was not capable to get the full treatsooner or later. So I believed her. I mean, she was ment, then I would have to live the rest of my life the doctor, and she had to know more than I do. with a “bag”. But alas, she was wrong. I just felt like giving up at that point. The risk The last major clue that something wasn’t right didn’t seem worth the reward. It was either I live was my stomach. At first it wasn’t something the rest of my life in pain, or take a risk and get it huge – I just started to have more bathroom trips removed. And for the first time, it was my choice. than usual. Within a few days I went from going After some long thinking, I decided to take a to the bathroom once a day to going a minimum of risk and go for it – and for once something actually 10 times – if I was lucky. It got to a point where I went my way. After the first surgery, the doctors was too afraid of leaving my house in case I had an told me that I was eligible to get the second half of emergency. So there I was, about three weeks into the surgery. And from there, things were smooth my summer vacation, too crippled to walk and too sailing for a while. afraid to leave the safety of my house. My life had And I always thought Why me? What did I do to done a complete 180. deserve this? I couldn’t think of something that I did While all of this was going on, everyone's runthat to put me in this situation. Was I actually a bad ning around frantically. My parents had no idea person? But then a new question popped into my who to turn to because they didn’t know what head. What is good and what is bad? Neither of those was wrong, and the doctors didn’t know how to are definite, only relative. Maybe things just haptreat it. Some said it’s Henoch-Schönlein purpupen, and there is no reason for it. It’s just life.





The Mountain in the west Preston Lyerly When we’re driving down Bataan Memorial, just past the intersection with interstate 25, she’ll look at you. For a fleeting moment, she will look at you. That look may appear to convey an indifference – a lack of any discernible or notable emotions towards your existence. Is she humoring you, a small lick of tiny amusement towards your life that arouses a minuscule section of her thought for a moment lost in time? I deny these assumptions about her, these ideas that she is so pius that she can’t share what she feels toward you or anyone else. What I see is love in her Mesilla-sparkled eyes. This is not the love to describe your middle school sweetheart of 38 hours; or the puppy you saw in some cute-animal-in-the-rain on a chain picture you liked and shared on Facebook. No. This is a deep, holy, penetrating, moving, divine love, the likes of which could not be grasped by 1,000 dead poets with a million dictionaries. This love is given in blindness and equality to all those who find themselves subject to her awe-inspiring reign over the Desert of Chihuahua. She sets her eyes upon you and I, not for the brief moment of the day that we perceive with our mortal eyes, but for an eternity plus three infinities and then some. She will see your greatest ecstasy, and my deepest lonely desperation. She’ll see my rise to the king of kings, and your collapse down to the River Styx. And although she sees all of your futures and all of my pasts, she will not set a feather of judgement upon us. The gun-toters, the drug-runners, the gangsign-flashers, the bastard children and their


beat down, forgotten mothers; she sees not their choices, and she sees not their morals – she just sees you – she just sees me. Not a coward, not a liar, not a cheater – just you and me. She doesn’t claim to be the blood, or the brain, or the power, but the Organ. She is the Organ. An organ that pumps the very essence of the desert into the blood of those who have settled it. An organ that provides nutrients into the land bringing the already vibrant tones of the windy sands alive more. An organ whose existence stands so tall and has stood for so long, that she has seen oceans rise and fall at her feet. She did not seek glory, but it has been bestowed by time in and of itself. We have journeyed the world to grace her fertile slopes and bask in her ability to command the hearts of those who witness her, but she retains her own inner innocence and spirit. From the humblest of gatherers who needed only her gift of the river to prosper to the mightiest force this blue marble has ever seen, a force who sends their flying metal angels above her peaks at speeds that shake the sky. She will never gloat, nor will she boast, of her accomplishments, though she has more than earned it. From her molten soul’s core, she only wishes for the creatures that find themselves infatuated with her lands to pursue happiness. So we keep on driving, this thought moving through my head like lightning in the stormy desert sky. We make our right turn towards our destination on Mesa Grande thinking mostly our comparatively trivial thoughts. I, however, say my last prayer to that which will always be my one lifelong lover; the Organ Mountains and her village of Las Cruces, New Mexico.


“Terrain,” photo by Kailey Cota



“Open Mind,” photo by Taylor Cobb



Chasing a Tail Tristin Holley


or just a moment, think about how similar you are to your dog. In the center of my living room, I’ve watched my Black Labrador do random things to occupy its time. For some reason I’m interested in what my dog does in its free time, and a certain question has crossed my mind: Are humans like the dogs we own? I watched one day while Kimber just sat there and slept, but after 30 minutes, he started to chase his tail. Round and round, for no reason, my dog made the decision to run in circles to chase his tail. Did he know he was never going to touch his own tail? Did he even care if he could or couldn’t? It is a fact that tail chasing in older dogs is a behavioral problem, and like humans, dogs can develop compulsive disorders. Sometimes these disorders can cause dogs to bite or lick themselves; other times it can cause them to chase their tails. This compulsive behavior mirrors how many people act today. Nearly every single person has small, harmless addictions that don’t matter, but many people also have addictions that are harmful like drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling, and fighting – while they feel good in the short term, these addictions are harmful and meaningless in the long


Lexcee Shelton

They call you dangerous and sly. Are the two related within the minds of your accusers? Do they not know that you, too, are born helpless to the world? Blind, deaf, and grey, you start as vulnerable as any human, yet you will become as dangerous as them. You will grow to become a scavenger, and hunter, a guardian. You will kill and eat them, because the world is not kind. You who are connected to your vicious cousin, the wolf. You have the same teeth and muzzle, but can’t snarl. How do you defend

term and can cause a harmful effect to society as a whole. By the time you die, it won’t matter how much you drank or how many people you fought, because in the end the only purpose that serves is to bring you to your death bed quicker; to further destroy your body and ruin it beyond repair. But like a silly, foolish dog humans chase our addictions because we are so compulsive that we can’t control ourselves. However, our addictions are not the only things we chase. Throughout our lives, we as people want to become perfect individuals that have perfect looks, money, fame, and perfect relationships that never go wrong; and even though countless times our mentors tell us it is impossible to get everything we want and nothing can be perfect, we still pursue these things viciously without ever reaching them. We as a society keep ignoring the fact that idealizing hollow concepts will never bring happiness, and becoming victims to our compulsive behaviors and addictions will only bring us harm; and in the end, we are exactly like the dogs who chase their tails – for no reason.

your young? How do you bear to have young in this unforgiving world? Humans call you dangerous and sly. I call you adaptable. I call you vital. Humans cannot see that everything disgusting or dangerous is a cog in the great cycle; a part in the machine called life. They hunt, they drive their children away from you, now brick red and soft-stepping. They wield guns just as you wield teeth and claws. In a way, we are the same. We fight, we love, human and fox, and yet we hunt each other, in the end. They are afraid. They should be.




New Album Is The Real Bea Miller


Emma Nagel



ea Miller released her sophomore album on Feb. 23, 2018 via Hollywood Records as a follow up album to her debut album “Not An Apology,” which was released back in 2015. Ever since she appeared on the second season of “X-Factor” in 2012, Bea Miller has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with. Singing songs about defying conformity and expectations, Bea has risen to the status of superstar. “Aurora” (originally titled “Spectrum”) is about growing up and transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. She sings about topics such as girl power, boredom, and slut-shaming. “Aurora” is a body of work that showcases a girl with something to say and a voice to say it with. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Bea breaks down the difference between creating her first album and creating her second album. “What was different about the first album is that I didn’t write it,” she told the interviewer. “My label said, ‘We think you’re cool and have stuff to say, but you’re new to the industry. We’ve been doing this for so long, so just put out a record we think is going to work.’” Bea was 15 at the time and tried to rebel against her label. “I rebelled like ‘No, this isn’t my vision!’ But they said, ‘If you do this now and pay your dues, your next record you can do what you want.’” And they kept their promise because Bea has writing credits on 13 out of the 14 songs, which is something she is very proud of. “This album is the real Bea Miller. But I also don’t think in the past I was ready to be that, and now I’m ready to be here with all my walls broken down. “Aurora” let me figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I was almost teaching myself through writing without even realizing it. It’s like therapy. You can hear my progression as a person and how much happier I became, which

is really cool for me to hear because I’m proud of myself,” she told Teen Vogue. The album is full of 14 tracks in total and every song tells a story. Before releasing the album in full, Bea released nine songs in three chapters with three songs each. Chapter 1: Blue, Chapter 2: Red, and Chapter 3: Yellow. The first part of the album deals with the frustration of sadness, but also the message that it is okay for young girls to stand up for themselves. “Song Like You” opens the album with Bea testing her limits on how far she can take her voice. She sings, “A song like you would never tell me the truth. It would turn me on, break me down, make me feel like there is nothing outside this room.” What Bea is describing is being with someone who makes her forget about the rest of the world, and then the realization that her lover is not the good person she believed him to be, and instead he ended up being destructive to her mental health. “Burning Bridges” is the second song on the album and serves as a breakup ballad. When providing commentary on the song in a self-produced YouTube video, Bea describes it as “The anger that you feel once you’ve recognized that you’ve been with somebody or had somebody in your life for too long, and you feel betrayed by the realization that they haven’t been doing anything positive for you.” This song has the angry tone of someone who is torn up inside by the fact that they stayed in a toxic relationship for too long. The English nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down” is sampled in this song. “Motherlove” is the third song on the album, and is the fiery anthem of the album, calling out a guy who doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings and just wants to screw them over. Bea sings, “Don’t call me just because you have nobody else. You’re desperate and full of sh**, boy I can tell.” The song is one of those anthems that girls will have

“Anna,” color pencil by Abbie Knight



not treat them right. “I Can’t Breathe” is a slower song out of all the tracks on the album. Bea wrote this song when she was in a dark place, when she was depressed, and she felt like she could not get out of it. Bea’s gentle voice is accompanied by a soft piano that pulls at your heartstrings. Bea sings, “How can I live in the moment when my thoughts never feel like my own and don’t know how to admit that I’m broken.” This song is for those who are voiceless and who feel like they are worthless and can’t breathe. However, Bea reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how down we are – there always comes a day when the sun will shine again. he middle section of the album switches gears and goes from being sad and angry and not doing anything about it to using that anger as empowerment to better herself and finally walk away from toxic situations. These six songs have a different tone to them than the rest of the album, but that is what makes them stand out. “Like That” is Miller finally using her weaknesses as her strengths. She takes what once was tearing her down, and uses it to build up her empowerment. She gets stronger from these past experiences and realizes the person she wants to be. The next set of songs include, “Buy Me Diamonds,” “Outside,” “Girlfriend,” “Bored,” and “Warmer.” “Buy Me Diamonds” is a dance song that is cute, but also tells the story of a girl who is tired of getting burned and does not want a relationship that will easily be destroyed, but rather something that is tangible and won’t betray her. She sings, “Give me something I can hold, that I can trust and call my own, that won’t run out and leave me cold... Save your love and buy me diamonds.” “Outside” is essentially a song about not wanting to go outside because you’re in a slump. Bea said she wrote the song when she was in a rut and hated life. She notably sings, “It doesn’t even matter all the things I say, nobody’s listening to me anyway.” “Warmer” is about the newness of a potential relationship – the feeling that you get when you like someone, and you are ready to start having fun again, but you want to keep it on the low because



it’s still new, but it’s like you’re getting warmer or closer to a real relationship. The final part of the album includes the songs “Repercussions,” “S.L.U.T. (Sweet Little Unforgettable Thing),” “Crash&Burn,” and “To The Grave.” “Repercussions” has an electronic beat to it that makes it an instant bop. Bea really starts to show just how much she’s grown since the beginning of the album. In this song she does not care about the repercussions of her actions, and she is going to do whatever makes her happy, regardless of what the haters think or say. “S.L.U.T.” is a song about body shaming and calling out body shamers. Bea wanted to turn the narrative around on being called a slut. Instead of viewing it as a negative connotation, she decided to flip it to being called a ‘Sweet Little Unforgettable Thing.’ Bea sings memorable lyrics such as, “I love myself, I wanna see it. When I turn around, look in the mirror, and if you don’t like it, you can leave it, cause it’s my own and I’ll keep owning it.” As the song continues, it becomes more relatable with these lines, “We gotta learn to stick together. Love your color, gender or whatever, cause your happiness don’t need a censor. Just mind your own and we’ll keep owning it.” It’s a positive way of showing a body shamer, Hey, I like who I am and you cannot change that. The album ends with the song called “To The Grave” featuring Mike Stud. This song has the perfect melody, beat, lyrics, and production. It ends on a softer note but alludes to the fact that there is still so much more to come from Bea Miller. Overall, “Aurora” is a killer album. From the vocals, lyrics, and production of every song, it makes the album a definite listen. Bea’s creativeness really shines through on this album, and you could tell she put her heart and soul into every detail. I would rate this album 4 out of 5 stars because while I do not care much for the number of times she swears on the album, the production, and the thought that was put into the album are phenomenal. For only being 19-years-old, Bea Miller is a superstar and powerhouse. The album was definitely worth the wait, and I cannot wait to see what Bea Miller has up her sleeve next.


Patrons Lifetime

Steve Blair Pioneering Software. Inc. Rick Solt Beth Swann Chuck Walker


Derrick Anderson Emily Anderson Harry Barcia Tracy Barnett Betty Lou Brodhun

Mission Statement

Andrea Cordle Melissa Cota Kim Dixon Timothy Hinson Christina Leach

Preston Lyerly Brandon McCord Trina McFadden Debra Russell Nicole Simpson

“Big Words,” oil paint by Abbie Knight

Voices, Nation Ford High School’s literary magazine, is designed to showcase student creativity and talent in both the literary arts and the visual arts. Published continuously since 2007, the magazine seeks to recognize exemplary student work, to teach students skills in professional design and layout, and to establish ties with the larger community. VOICES 2018


Voices 2018 Staff Justin Arrington August Beck Taylor Cobb Amanda Cordle Kailey Cota

Raegan Craddock David Francis Kristin Grams Claude Hejl Ashlynn Hinson

Tristin Holley Isaac Hoyle Anna Leach Preston Lyerly Ariah Massey

Brandon McCord Zachary Slone Nathaniel Tyson Kelise Williams Emma Wolfe

Editors Barbara Barnes Veronica Barcia Lexcee Shelton

Gracie Barnett, Co-Chief Carly Cashatt, Co-Chief

Advisor Beth Swann

Voices Policy Voices, the literary magazine of Nation Ford High School, is produced by the Creative Writing classes. 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 quality and suitability for the magazine. The staff reserves the right to edit manuscripts for clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation. The ideas expressed by the writers and the artists are not necessarily those of Nation Ford High School or the Voices staff.


S TA F F & P O L I C Y

“Riverside,” photo by Kailey Cota



oices magazine is produced by the literary magazine staff of Nation Ford High School. Herff Jones in Montgomery, Ala., printed 300 copies of the magazine on 80 lb glossy paper at the cost of $2,739. The fonts used in the magazine are: HighTower 12 and 14 point body type; photography and art credits are Corbel Italics 12 point type, and the folio lines are Corbel Bold 11 point type. Page numers are Corbel 14 regular. The magazine features work in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography. The layout was created in Adobe inDesign CC 2015. The entire staff was involved in layout and design. The theme Vitae was inspired by Noel Heil’s drawing “Bonzai tree with man.” With a release date of May 4, 2018, the magazine is distributed to the student body of Nation Ford High School and members of the Fort Mill community. Thank you for reading Voices.


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/ E P I L O G U E /

“Sunset,” photo by Raegan Craddock

...second chances don’t exist in real life. the light of the earth will one day flicker and go out when the day comes that her ember is drained don’t you dare apologize when the sun has been burning herself out for you for the past 5 billion years how could you ask for more time? Raegan Craddock



“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Voices 2018  

Voices literary magazine is produced by the Creative Writing class at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, SC.

Voices 2018  

Voices literary magazine is produced by the Creative Writing class at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, SC.