Rings, Strings, & Other Things
Volume XXXVII 2018
Staff Editors-in-Chief Noa Greenspan '18 Tori Walker '18 Brammy Rajakumar '19
Tori Walker '18
Charlotte Hudgins Zito '99
Mary Alice Russell '18
Gabbi Diskin '18 JR Herman '20 Madeleine Munn '19 Windsor Warlick '19 Avery Pierce '19 Sahib Chandi '20 Emma Somers '19 Cameron Call '18 Sarah Yue '19 Meg Woodard '19 Fiona Murchake '18 Makayla Thornton '18 Claire Cunningham '18 Emme Pike '19 Straeten Avery '19
Professional Printing Center
Lily Purdy '20 Avery Munn '20 Kate Anderson '18 Anna-Sophia Burke '18 Raegan Weis '19 Juliet Lancey '20
Editors' Letter The most arresting stories are often the ones that simply feel authentic. Maybe that’s why, during the pivotal moments of our middle and high school years, we’ve returned again and again to publications written by and for teenagers. Compilations like Rookie Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul gave credence to the fights we had with our mothers, the heartbreaks or lack thereof, and our growing political awareness. So often we’re told that our experiences in these years are fleeting -- and therefore, inconsequential. We believe the opposite, and we wanted to put ink to these poems and stories to ensure their lasting value. Our design itself is representative of the way we travel through adolescence, moving from the foundation that family provides to the uncertainty of adulthood and the development of our own voices. At the beginning of each chapter is a quote and a personalized sketch -- to both set the tone for the reader and encourage her to bring her own meaning to the text. Most of the quotes you will recognize, taken from yesterday’s and today’s well-known artists and writers. The playful illustrations were the work of none other than editor Tori Walker and faculty sponsor Mrs. Zito. The magazine’s textured, scrapbook feel is intentional: we want you to wear it out, dog-ear it, and most of all, come back to it later with new perspectives. We would love to thank our contributors: our artists, poets, and storytellers, whose creativity and dedication run through these pages. We also thank those who have supported our efforts all year: our staff, our wonderful art curator Mr. Garvin, and of course, Mrs. Zito. Motivating, inspiring, and always bearing snacks, she is the long-time champion of Rings, Strings, & Other Things. We couldn’t have done it without you! As Toru, the narrator of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood, put it, “I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.” We love writing simply for the way it reveals the truth, capturing our honest voice at a specific moment in time. We hope the experiences recorded in this magazine strike a chord with you and maybe inspire you to record a few of your own.
Noa Greenspan, Tori Walker, and Brammy Rajakumar
Table of Contents Chapter 1: Family and Mentorship Fiona Murchake ‘18, An Ode to My Papa Salome Francis '18, Behind the Coat Callie Dickinson ‘18, Did You Know?
Chapter 2: Sound and Color Carson Yeates ‘18, Vinyl Days Salome Francis ‘18, Tranquility Emma Somers ‘19, Ivory and Ash Fiona Murchake ‘18, Silence: Noise Anonymous, Silence Ethan Rosenblum ‘18 Silence Drew Duffy ‘20, Sitting in Silence Balthazar Denk ‘19, Nomen Nescio Toria Kauffman ‘22, A Raging Fire Carson Yeates ‘18, Spark Mackenzie Mills ‘18, Fishbowl Jenna Lancey ‘19, Commercial Street and Province Town, Spring Matthew Dalton ‘18, The Sound of Darkness
Chapter 3: Nature Riley Fulmer ‘18, Ode to the Pinecone Hans Christoffersen ‘18, Another Breed of Summer Justin Zahn ‘18, Filling In Bryn Galumbeck ‘18, A Leap into Nature Faith Phillips ‘18, Untitled Liza Ware ‘18, Control Anonymous, Winter Ashland Jared ‘18, Clovers Jack Hall ‘20, The Woods Samantha Farpour ‘19, Vail, Colorado Megan Smith ‘21, Ocean
Chapter 4: Prose Kate Anderson ‘18, Chekhov’s Gun Mary Alice Russell ‘18, The Perfect Plan Noa Greenspan ‘18, Pool Drains Alexandra Kerr ‘21, The Fermata Anonymous, Pythagorean Theorem Anonymous, Valentine’s Day
Chapter 5: Love Naomi Mitchell ‘18, A Regretfully Endless Love Story Solomon Duane ‘19, The Life of the Party Windsor Warlick ‘19, 126 Miles Mitchell Moore ‘21, Love and Hate Cam Call ‘18, Hidden Affection Sammy Delorenzo ‘18, Untitled Sydney Vest ‘23, Untitled Reagan Richardson ‘18, A Will William Bland ‘23, The Love Poem You Asked Me to Write Jasmine LeClair ‘22, Ode to Joys Anonymous, PB <3 J Ellie Thornton ‘19, La Famille Madeleine Munn ‘19, Untitled
Chapter 6: Memory and Childhood Warren Warsaw, How I Lost You Nathan Vu ‘20, Fraternite, Liberte, et Vivre Averell Smith ‘22, The Horrors of War Samantha Farpour ‘19, Thorns Peyton Hope ‘19, The Wicker Porch Anonymous, Sunflower Heart Cam Call ‘18, Our Statue Solomon Duane ‘19, Untitled
Chapter 7: Change and Transformation of Identity Anonymous, Ode to Self and Selfless Me Micah Whitmire ‘18, Take the Highway Maya Spektor ‘23, I Too Am a Woman Franklin Bunn, The Mask ‘18 JR Herman ‘20, Why? Straeten Avery ‘19, Dear Beyonce Brammy Rajakumar ‘19, A Tree in Two Worlds Madeleine Munn ‘19, Untitled William Bland ‘23, Emotion Taran Jeevan ‘21, I Cannot Write a Poem
Art Index Benjamin Summers ‘20 Benjamin Summers ‘20 Ellie Thornton ‘19 Frances Harrington ‘19 Ava Foy ‘20 Tai Jeffers ‘18 Carson Birdsong ‘19 Riley Fulmer ‘18 Gabi Diskin ‘18 Virginia Chandler ‘20 Faith Phillips ‘18 Gabi Diskin ‘18 Reagan Richardson ‘18 Gabi Diskin ‘18 Ellie Jones ‘20 Gabi Diskin ‘18 Tai Jeffers ‘18 Tori Walker ‘18 Hayden Britt ‘18 Peyton Tysinger ‘19 Zelda Zoby ‘18 Hayden Britt ‘18 Hayden Britt ‘18 Tori Walker ‘18 Tai Jeffers ‘18 Tori Walker ‘18 Camille Foley ‘20 Zelda Zoby ‘18 Ann Driskill ‘18 Hannah Towler ‘18 Hannah Towler ‘18 Gabi Diskin ‘18 Sarah Yue ‘19 Mila Colizza ‘18 Hannah Towler ‘18 Mia Gilley ‘18 Reagan Richardson ‘18 Hayden Britt ‘18
â€œOne can never tell from the sidewalk just what the view is to someone on the inside, looking out.â€? George Ade
An Ode to My Papa
Friday Nights spent at Partners, His favorite restaurant. Always ordering a cheese pizza and a margarita, A he chatted about the year in review. Turkeys roaming around his yard at dusk, In flocks like little families. He always snuck food to feed them, No wonder they constantly appeared at the backdoor. Saturday afternoons spent at the pool, His persistence on making sure I could swim, even at 16. Of course, followed by an ice cream cone, While he introduced me to his friends. Saturday night dinner always grilled out back, Grandchildren switching off from setting the table To shooting at the basketball hoop, As our burgers smoked atop the grill. Sunday afternoons in his backyard, Where he taught me how to shoot a beebee gun, Where I explored the woods beyond, Where I played games upon the giant rocks. A wealth of knowledge and experience, An endless collection of stories, Of times so different from today. His memories ever distinct, his mind sharp as a tack. Even after 89 years, His humor quicker than anyoneâ€™s. Chiming in at all the right times, Always with a story or joke. I will forever cherish The times we spent, Reminiscing on experiences both good and bad, These are some of the best moments we shared. Moments I will miss the most.
Fiona Murchake â€˜18
The beige trench coat brushed the ground. It dwarfed my dad. “Throw it out,” mom said. It wasn’t the old coat That was important, But the man Who had worn it. My opa: Rolf Thomsen 6’ 5’’, blue eyes, blonde hair. I only knew him As a frail, wrinkled man. I only remember his Thick German accent Congratulating me: “Tres bien” He would say, “Tres Tres bien” Oma said he was The most beautiful man In all of Prussia. She met The Thomsen brothers Shortly before the war: The young German officers That could charm anyone Only one Thomsen brother Would survive the war. The other shot down Over Flanders By the Americans. Opa sailed the seas Captain of U-boat 1202, He was awarded for his bravery By one of the biggest evils in history.
My opaWho had been so kind? How could he Justify himself To his kids? Those eight months in prison. Maybe they changed him. Who was he? Truly? Rolf Thomsen. 6’ 5’’, blue eyes, blonde hair, Nazi officer, A man Who hid his dark past Beneath that long coat.
B eh o Sal
ind the Coat
Did You Know?
What if I knew that it would be the last time Our eyes would meet Before you gave me a gigantic hug And told me that I deserved it After the swim of my life, The last time You would become angry And tell us to start the round over, The lsat time You would stay long after practice ended To help me grow stronger, The last time You would give me a high five And say ‘go get it’, The last time You would dare me to be great To go out fast and come back faster To fly faster than a hummingbird. Would I have Cried And embraced you for longer? Would I have Been happy to restart the set Or asked for another Because it meant more time together? Would I have Swum faster And qualified for finals So I could swim for you one more time? What I do know Is that I’ll always remember Your famous saying: ‘Last one fast one’.
Callie Dickinson ‘18
"A new world hangs Outside the window Beautiful and strange It must mean I've fallen away I must be Sound and color" Alabama Shakes
Vinyl Days Antique, classic, vintage vinyl music inscribed, pressed in physical form every bump, each ridge, bleeds into song the needle pops, crackles, and sings gliding through the grooves staying in the groove its age, its rarity, its imperfection creates priceless perfection.
We live those ridges each day those bumps we bleed we trip and fall to understand the world Understanding that difficulty, that hardship, that makes it worth it priceless.
Carson Yeates â€˜18
In silence Thoughts, Once hidden, Beneath whitecaps Unveil themselves. It is calm water-Whatever stillness We still have In this rough world. It is my version Of prayer And a moment Of clarity and transparency. Shoulder to shoulder In the early morning, When others say a prayer, Our loud or in their head, I sit in silence. I pray to no God, But think. I believe in silence: Its power and existence.
tranquility Salome Francis '18
Ivory and Ash Moon, How, how on Earth do you do it? Others write such silly, frivolous things of you, As if a trip across black oppressive magic of the unknown to your dust, like ask, Speaks to the volumes of indescribably purity inside each beat of their heart, Because I, Moon, I will eagerly pay you a hundred visits, To carry the weight of the world, With the love of a hundred heartbeats, So maybe my words are as frivolous as the other guy’s, And maybe our world, our pristine ivory globe, is coated with your ashy dust, But, oh, moon, with precious innocence I’d capture, And bring the two worlds a few spaces closer, For the sweeter love that awaits, And moon, would you help me gather the garlands of pearly light, Planted under this ashy dust, For a sweeter world? Oh moon, a sweeter word?
Emma Somers ‘19
Silence : Noise Silence Produces isolation Like the feeling of enter a crowded library Makes things uncomfortable Like walking into a meeting late, voices hushed Noise Produces opportunity Thoughts to be heard and spoken Provides room for inclusion An abundance of conversations to be had Silence offers me too much room to think Drowning me in my thoughts Nose gifts me with the opportunity to learn Swimming in my own extroversion
Fiona Murchake â€˜18
Silence It’s funny how it happens, You’re walking down the hallway And your eyes meet with another set Your mouth feels like it’s sewn shut Like the rag doll you used to play with, Stuck in an uncomfortable position Making it even more awkward Physically it is a quiet at a rock, But in your mind Thousands of words and phrases swim around But no! That one would sound weird Then all of a sudden You cross paths The pain is over You just keep going
Silence Hiding, in the day, like a shadow in the sun. Visible, in the night, under the deep skyline. Silence, inundates the room, like the gravity of death. It kills manâ€™s will and sanity. It proves hard to destroy, but easy to create. Silence, lies in the cracks of the walls, And the slits of our ears. Silence, is the reason we have failed; Failed, to protect the victims of injustice. It prevents us from learning, enclosing us, in selfish thoughts. Silence, again and again, Proves to be, the kryptonite of man.
Sitting in Silence My nervous knee bounce is the only movement A loud yell breaks the silence The door opens, The lights quickly occupy everything I see Waiting to run out feels like an eternity One by one until the last one comes out Hitting the sign above the door Walking out the door as most of the crowd cheers And some boo Looking around to see everyone is an unforgettable feeling Now I do not want to let them down Getting on the line to face our flag Singing the National Anthem to myself as chills roll over my skin It is almost time Everyone is amped This is what we have been waiting for all summer It is finally here The opening whistle blows It is time to go to work. Drew Duffy â€˜20
Nomen Nescio Reaching out a hand Barely missing it, Ending their life saying Catch. Busting on the floor Wishing they could have done more, All they had to do was Catch. Thinking back Itâ€™s like they fell Right into their Catch. Balthazar Denk â€˜19
A Raging Fire The world crumbles around us, Destroyed by a raging fire That fills the ruins With deadly smoke. The walls of the world Fall on us, Weakened by the raging fire, As we sit there in the center of the ruins. Only you and I remain unharmed, For our skin has been hardened By the touch Of the other. But only my outer level Remains immune, For a different raging fire Has been lit within. When I am not near you, The smoke of this fire Wafts upward, Choking me. But when we are near, The raging fire Grows hotter, fiercer, And cleaner. But this new fire is not unpleasant, For the warmth Is comforting, Like coffee on a winter evening. Only your touch protects me From the raging fire outside. Only your touch protects me From the smoke of the fire within. Toria Kauffman â€˜22
Spark One spark, one thought ignites the fire, consumes the mind. It spreads wild, free flames lick the air fed by glowing embers below. This fire, this idea does it spread to engulf its fuel the mind? Or smother itself, only ashes a mere skeleton remains. What is required to kindle this spark? To help this flame to become something more Carson Yeates â€˜18
Fishbowl The ground crumbled beneath her Once comforting Once familiar Unwavering Then it struck her, while outside It still looked so peaceful The branches looming as if They were asking questions, Or demanding answers What else could go wrong? Props of despair began to soak the desert sand She looked up, and saw A larger eye looking in She shouted, What sort of fishbowl am I in? Mackenzi Mills â€˜18
Commercial Street in Provincetown, Spring Spring, for the smell of coffee and brownies, for purple shutters, and blue covered bar stools. For high top counters and big windows, smooth glass and green porcelain. Springâ€™s always bands and parades, pounding drums and shrieking trumpets and Portuguese banners. People watching and cooling off from behind wide open doors of squashed, colorful cafes. The epsalsh of beads and the sound of joy meant lfoats too wide for Commercial Street and the smell of sunshine and rays of yellow stopped time for a while. I ate coffee ice cream and everyone else ate vanilla when we toppled onto blue barstools, and in our drowsy haze we watched those parades play blues and greens and announce spring in reveille. Jenna Lancey '19
The Sound of Darkness
Matthew Dalton â€˜18
Held hand in hand, silence and darkness often roam Yet darkness can not capture silence in truth Out of silencesâ€™ path comes pure, beautiful light The kind that can change the world Silence controls memory by length of leash The lack of noise can take us back decades Other times our trip will take us forward on uncharted paths For with silence, the past is dug up and in its wake, the future discovered Silence is a predetermined cease-fire A moment of awkward hesitation, no one willing With silence - we know all is not lost Perhaps it is just beginning?
â€œIn every cloud, in every tree - filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object by day, I am surrounded by her image!"
A mere inconvenience, Annoyance, Unnecessary, Good for nothing, PRICK! These were the thoughts Of my ten-year-old self, As I withdrew Each Individual Barbed Seed From the underside of my innocent, Softly padded footVictimized for nothing. On a crisp Autumn day, Should a child be punishedâ€Ś For simply wanting to bounce away their cares Upon a trampoline? Should a child not enjoy Pure, adolescent foolery such as this Before being involuntarily thrust into adulthood? My newfound enemy seemed to think so. To this day, I will always be particularly Aware Of my surroundings. Riley Fulmer â€˜18
ODE TO THE PINECONE
Another Breed of Summer Swaths of empty land reach in every direction, Only golden wheat reflects the sun. The sun Which has already turned the unharvested crop into bread. A silent breeze caresses every stalk, Implores them to bend away From the generous celestial body. Summer, rich and satisfying, Oozes through and permeates every surface, Like fat that falls into the fire Full of succulent nourishment, Charred under the black sky. !
Hans Christoffersen â€˜18
Filling In As autumn Approaches The leaves Begin to fill With color like The walls of a preschool like The fridge of a New mom like A paint palette Being filled for the first time like the Fingers of a young budding Artist like our lives After plenty of Autumns Justin Zahn â€˜18
A LEAP INTO NATURE
The rigid peaks, concealed High in the mountains, No blue above The clouds fill the sky Drifting along, dispersed, like white smoke Verdant rolling hills tumble down the valleys To the humble town We hike, clinging to the mountainside Along the narrow path We hear the rush of rapids As we leap across a fallen log We arrive at a small pond that sits on the mountain With an abrupt end that falls down to the gorge We make our way across smooth, large rocks with rough edged patches Splashing our feet in the shallow, murky waters We tilt our heads up Gazing upon the majestic mountain range We sit at the edge Amazed by the grace of nature Bryn Galumbeck â€˜18
You hold me high above the land thatâ€™s filled with little breeze and watch me marvel in your hand at the greenness and the tree Darkness sadly follows me here However you do not mind The storm you see, you do not fear for life rests in my eyes Faith Phillips â€˜18
All the power in his hands To brighten Or, In this case, rain on Someoneâ€™s day. She had done no wrong, However, this time He caused a hurricane Liza Ware â€˜18
Winter for hot chocolate and mints, for cuddles and warmth, for the nights by the fireplace singing to your favorite song, for the days of no school and cheers of “Hooray!”, and the children’s smiles. The months filled with mountains and valleys, and the colors of blue and grey. A coat of white layered upon the ground and the sprinkle of the snowflakes scattered around. The smell of pine lingering through the house. I would sit by the fire, listening to the sounds of a thriller and wrapped within a warm blanket. The winter cold is where I wanna be.
Gazing through the dewy window, The scent of rain, Seeps into the quiet, formal room. A little girl, Infatuated with the world around her, Slumps against the window sill, In her soft pink and white frilly dressAs if waiting for something. Her deep ocean eyes Scan the lawn until they land on a patch of lush , green clovers. Warm mist softly trickles from the heavens, Landing on the holy petals. As years pass, The patch remains. The girl sits slumped against the window, In her dark blazer and dress. Searching again for signs of life, Her squinted eyes set on the crowded, tiny leaflets. Yet they are not gleaming with clear beads. Just an ordinary plant, That once was special to the young girl. She focuses intensely on finding the ones carey for leaves. With no luck, The girl turns away, Like she did before, Betraying the same patch of clovers, Deserting her hope of ever discovering one.
Ashland Jared '18
THE WOODS I savor visiting the great woods. It fuels my soul, since my childhood. I gaze at the trees, overwhelmed by the greatness. Rich greens. Dark Browns. Toteh top I climb, a mighty tree. It fuels my body, the cool, crisp breeze. I survey its flora, its offspring, its saplings. Polished greens. Textured browns Now time to go. My chest full, it heaves. It fueled my soul, my body; this beauty I leave. I behold its greatness, its stature, its reverence. Stately greens. Stoic browns. Jack Hall â€˜20
Rocky mountain winters, for thin air and heated sidewalks, For dancing stringed lights upon rooftops, For clouds of breath and crunching snow that melt under ski boots, For alluring boutiques and crisp coffee shops with open doors. Six days of a year, spent in a village that glows of classical piano, And purrs with the sound of ski lifts that whistle through biting wind. It is wooden fires emanating embers in the heart of the Arrabelle, A hotel filled with bustling activity, yet radiating a serene silence. It is mornings filled with french braids under helmets, and milky lattes with cinnamon, Leading to endless trails of adrenaline, atop mountains dotted with green. It is late afternoons of soaking tender feet in the rooftop jacuzzi, As both snowflakes and bubbles smolder on ruddy cheeks and noses. It is only in Colorado where the days feel whole, Starry nights in Vail Village repairing the soul.
Vail, Co lor a S d man o tha 19
Far p our
Ocean Moonlight dances among her freckles Stars tangle in her hair She sinks her feet in the warm sand Breathes in the salty air. Water trickles between her toes Small pebbles crunch under her weight She is alone on this earth A solemn ghostly place.
Her mind is the ocean Waves roar in her rage Hiss in her demons The crashing of waves. All is quiet But waves hitting the shore She lets the water consume her Until she is no more. Megan Smith â€˜21
"Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story."
Chekhov's Gun I’ve always heard that if a gun is introduced in the first half of a story, it must be fired in the second. Something to do with keeping promises to the audience or minimizing distractions or whatever. Still, the presence of a gun in a story doesn’t mean that it absolutely has to be used. The revolver still hung loosely from her fingers, dangling like I mean, c’mon. How clichéd is this? How stereotypical, how trite, how overworked and overdone. I had so hoped that it wouldn’t have come to this. And if it were to have had to come to this, which, I suppose, it now has, why must you use a gun? Get creative! Anyone can shoot a gun; these days, some toddlers kill before they can speak in whole sentences. Get a cement block and a rope, or gasoline, or some Drano. You know, like in “The Sixth Sense,” with the stepmom? Her hand tightened around the gun, her palm creasing against the barrel. You’re right! Evil stepmom is another cliché; but then again, so is “jilted lover.” You know what would be really, truly creative? You’re shaking your head, but you don’t even know what I was going to say. Okay, so that was what I was thinking, and you’re right, as always. You’re always right (even when you’re wrong). Her ring sat on her fourth finger, fat and heavy, shining gold against the gray gunmetal.
If you’re going to do it, and now I really think you are (though I still hope you don’t), at least make it somewhat personal. I get it! I’m the absolute worst, and no one is more aware of how much “the worst” I am than I. Don’t you want to do something more? We just ordered those new knives from Amazon, the ones from the infomercials that cut right through leather and tin. Don’t I mean something to you? (I know I did. I hope.) So prove it. PROVE IT. If I mean or ever meant or could ever mean something or anything to you, ever, set it down. Just put it down. Don’t I mean something to you? (I know I did. I hope.) So prove it. PROVE IT. If I mean or ever meant or could ever mean something or anything to you, ever, set it down. Just put it down. The gun was level with my chest now, and her arm shook with the weight. A tear rolled across her cheek and dripped onto the floor. You don’t want...don’t have to do this. I’m sorry, I’ve told you I’m sorry (and I really am sorry), but this can’t be the only way to balance things between us. Don’t you remember… remember the way things were. Remember the night we went on our third date (or was it our fourth) and it was springtime but you still stole my jacket. You had those white flowers strung through your hair and I kept sneezing and you laughed at me. You were so beautiful. Her eyes widened; her head tilted; still the gun hung in place. Oh! Or do you remember our first snow together, and your forgotten gloves, and the way I held your hands in mine and rubbed heat and feeling back into your skin? Yes-how about the week that our neighbors were out of town, and every day they were gone we slipped through the old fence and swam in their pool? Yes, yes! Or, love, do you remember when we first really met, and the huge spider in your pantry, and how you made me carry it outside in the rain and we kisThat wasn’t you? Kate Anderson ‘18
The Perfect Plan I did not think to plan what I should wear to his funeral. I just always thought that he would live longer than me because that is what every DNA test we ever took said. He was supposed to die from a heart attack in 2067 and I of incurable lung cancer in 2050. I had planned our entire lives together, taking five years in total to plan every second for the next 33 years. Everyone makes plans, but I wanted mine to be well thought out and flawless. I thought that was what he wanted as well, but looking back on it, maybe not. In his final note he said,
Dearest Penelope, It is so hard to say goodbye to you, but it is for the best. You had already killed both of us when you decided to plan every moment of our lives together. You have forgotten how to live. I cannot live knowing that everyday at 7:27am I will have my black coffee before I go to work at the job we chose for me because it was the safest and plainest one available. The only plans in life that I ever wanted were to spend the rest of my life with you. I hope that this wake you up, Penelope, to help you realize that planning is not the answer. This is the last gift that I can ever give to you, and I pray that you use it. Love, Harold Am I really already dead? I planned this life for us so that we would never have any fears or mysteries, but now everything is a mystery. Two years from now, we were supposed to set a mortgage on our first house together, but now I have to go back to the drawing board. Maybe I will plan to visit his grave that day. When I told my mother that I was going to plan my future with Harold she told me something like this might happen. “According to Ancestry.com his family is riddled with mental illness, alcoholism, and a sense of adventure,” she told me, “Planning his life might not be what is best for him.” I did not listen to her. It is not like like I normally do, but usually she only gives me advice on fashion sense and what might
be popular twenty years from now. To help with the illnesses that ran in his family I planned for him to go to a therapist once every Tuesday at 3:17 and made sure to never include parties or drinking in our schedule. For the two months that we were married and following this plan I had never been happier. I no longer had to think of when I should meet my friends for coffee or when to go online shopping: it was all planned for me. While I planned many movie nights, dinner dates, and grocery store outings for Harold and me, he never seemed to be as genuinely excited as I was. I think he simply would be happy if I was happy. That was probably my favorite thing about Harold, he would be happy because I was happy, and I was always happy so he was always happy. That, I guess, is why I never really noticed that he was slipping away from me. I was in a world of bliss, folding my laundry at 8:42 when I heard the shot. At first, I thought that it was a car backfiring or a firework going off, but when I went upstairs to ask Harold if he would go see what the noise was I found him dead. He was sitting up in bed with his eyes wide open, holding the gun in his mouth. I had never planned on a gun being in the house, nor the fifth of brandy I found on the bedside table next to the note. He bought things that were not on our â€œacceptable things to buyâ€? list that took me an entire month to make. He wasted my time, and now I have to plan for things I never dreamed of planning before. I think I will wear my black, mock collar dress to his funeral, it was always his favorite. Mary Alice Russell â€˜18
Noa Greenspan '18
For the eighth week in a row, Nina changed in some distant corner of the locker room. Since the doctor’s appointment, she had been all too conscious of the slight way her stomach jutted out from under her, of the pink flesh on her ten-year-old arms when she wore a tank top. Dr. Harris had prescribed Butterflies Swim Club as the remedy, and Nina’s mom, reeling from her chagrin at parenting an overweight child, signed her up the same afternoon. You’re not still afraid of pool drains, are you? she had questioned. I’m not a baby, Nina had sputtered, eyes glistening at the childish sound of her protest. The community center pool had two flat, circular main-drains that sat like large, unblinking eyes on the bottom of the pool. At five or six years old, Nina had watched from the couch, barely able to breathe, as a slick-haired television man reported on flat drains. They could suck up hair, internal organs, a gravitational force of up to 700 pounds that sucked whole children into their vortex. The expose had shown a nasty recreation, four grown men straining to pull a little boy free. Practice began. Before she allowed her feet to touch water, Nina traced her fingers over her grandma’s ring. It was a little silver thing with an amethyst band running all the way across. The dazzling purple meant protection-- Nina knew from a jewelry website she had visited. Somewhat calmed, she lowered into the shallow end. The clammy water lapped at her ankles with anxious intensity. When it was Nina’s turn to swim freestyle into the deep end, she screwed her eyes shut. Head submerged, she felt the soft humming of drains grow closer. She knew she had passed the 6-foot lane marker and that now the ground would disappear from under her, sloping at an alarming rate until her blind, outstretched hand touched metal. At 12 feet, Nina dangled helplessly above the two drains. Arms flapping furiously, legs kicking behind her, she fled back across the pool. During Thursday swim practice, a time replete with anxieties and tiny humiliations, what Nina longed for more than anything was nighttime. In bed, with her clean, wet hair splayed in a thousand different directions on her pillow, Nina was no longer a frightened girl. She imagined herself an explorer, hunting for treasures in the deep, unafraid of something as insignificant as the humming, droning nothingness of black sea floor. Finally, finally, time to leave. The other girls clambered out of the water, moving quickly to wrap themselves in the comfort of their towels. Nina scrambled to push herself out, not wanting to be left alone in the pool now bubbling with demonic energy. She put her hand on the ledge. Saw the bare ring finger. There on the bottom, teetering precariously close to the right drain, was her grandma’s ring. The shiny glint of metal winked at her from the pool floor.
The Fermata I will never know if it could have been. There are too many maybes to know. Restless, I sat in a class repressing tears of the stressful night before. Eventually, I succumbed to my emotions, and felt my entire compact composure implode.
Lacey, my dog, had obstructed on a sock earlier in the week, and we were led back to the emergency vet. The clinic is another word for sensory overload. The place reeks of stress and dry dog food. The clinic might as well have put a welcome back sign in the window for her fifth visit. As we walked through the relatively empty waiting room, we saw the candle that honors all of the lost animals of the day. That night, the candle was not burning. I could see the drip of wax flowing down the side of the tip from the night before. I felt the cold air down my back, and I heard the sounds of Jeopardy in the waiting room. I sat on the uncomfortable stones meticulously set apart from each other. The room was silent. Besides the television and my heavy breathing all was quiet. I watched other animals walk into the room. I watched other animals walk out of the room. I paid attention to every detail of the night, from the moment I saw my mother fight off tears to the moment my phone battery died. I watched the girl at the desk light the candle. My brain burned the next day. Lacey was trapped. As cynical as it sounds, I laughed at my friendâ€™s crying during a class. I laughed until an unwanted tear fell from my red eyes. After one another fell. A river of emotion shattered
the locked chamber within my body. The hammer pounded against my head, and I felt a sorrow I had never felt before. The platform in which I was situated, sunk inch by inch. The footholds were useless at this point. My legs lost stability in the same way I lost my mind. The tears began to feel as routine as waking up in the morning. I lifted my careless self up for an hour, but my day sunk further into the quicksand of life as I was graced with another set of bad news. My emotions would rise for a minute but then plummet in a matter of seconds. At my home I could feel a burning sensation in mybrain. My emotions kept changing constantly and time kept moving, as if nothing mattered. Nobody cared. Time was slipping away from me and nobody cared. Grief is weird like that. It steals time. It breaks hearts more than the actual incident. I felt myself in a crescendo of pain, and then a decrescendo of sadness. Then the tempo increased and a sudden forzando pressed into my soul. A fermata sustained my grief without my ability to let go of the notes. The music absorbed me. Time no longer mattered. I sat in the same spot, making terrible music for hours. I found myself caught in the beauty of rhythm. I scribbled. I coped. I believe that there is always a reason.There are an infinite amount of potential reasons for hardship, and there are too many maybes. However, if something special can emerge in theway it did for me, then maybe I can accept the universeâ€™s decisions of overlapping multiple heartbreaks. Alexandra Kerr â€˜21
Pythagorean Theorum She knows the Pythagorean Theorem by heart. a^2 + b^2 = c^2. She does the math and derivations to that simple formula, although she’s always been more of a visual learner, like her sister. Honestly she doesn’t even like math. It’s a necessary evil. She’s heard that such elements of learning are indicative to naivety, but she really does prefer the concrete illusion. Her eyes face the dark corner of her wall. All the lights are off. Always. The darkness keeps away the sadness. It’s cold and bare. Heartless. Refreshing. She sits indian style on her thin, rough sheets, the periwinkle comforter pulled back behind her, still unmade. Or maybe it was ivory? She never really thought to look, despite the amount of time she spent in that room, sitting criss cross on that bed. Her eyes bore into the corner she faced, as she held a soft grip on the watercolor marker. In her head, she projected her dreams and ideas onto that textured drywall in front of her. She had bought the markers from Target for six dollars; it was a pretty good deal considering they are usually ten dollars, and the package said they wouldn’t leak or run. The colors are just bold enough to sew her broken heart. Although its a good effort, they aren’t quite enough to put it back together; her heart is always broken. But what else is new? Her imagination outlines her canvas of a wall with rulers and dimensions, projecting her dreams. Hand and marker meet the rough surface; it’s true love to be loved, but it’s true art to be freed. The birds rattled at the cage inside her mind, her heart. They broke loose as butterflies, splattered across the dry mural that encased her room. The blankness used to comfort her, but as soon as the bold, deep indigo of the felt marker hit the granulated surface, every other inch seemed like a much too bare waste of space.
They’re washing dishes downstairs, and she can hear not only the moment one ceramic plate hits the ground, but the moment one falls too. The oxygen has been sucked out of the room, as well as the fire and the heart; shadows chase the air up the stairs, flooding the second floor of her colonial house and carrying his maple scent with it. Snakes begin to crawl up her neck, sieging the cage. But the butterflies have already flown away. They’re halfway up her wall now, too, in the corner of her bedroom. Hues of magenta and bold wines meet sunshine and cyan. Her hand has fluttered away with the rest of them, more connected to the ink than to her body. Even behind her hazel eyes, they are fluttering across her room, around the fan and in her closet, panicked and passionate. One time, her entire fourth grade class asked her to draw them butterflies. Until then, she was only the girl who knew the entire Py-tha-gor-rey-ahn The-o-ry-an. Now, they wanted her butterflies, they wanted a piece of someone they’d never seemed to know. She’d never been more proud. He’s on his way up the stairs now, quiet, but there’s just enough creak in the cedar planked stairway to warn her, to protect her. She’s not finished with the butterflies; her fingers tightened their grip on the fuschia marker, the veins in her hand pulsing against her pale skin, opening an airway to her dreams. The way her muscles twitch and adjust as she draws each creature, the body and the wings, followed by the antennae, is muscle memory now; she’s not even thinking. Her mind is flying around the room, in everything around her, everything she feels, untangling itself in the curtains. Her door is never completely closed. The crack lets in a small amount of light from the hall, casting a slight shadow onto her closet door in the opposite corner of her room. It’s a perfect right triangle. Well, not perfect actually. Nothing is perfect, in fact, everything she sees is only a shadow, a physical attempt at some strangers imperfect, biased idea of perfect. Nothing is actually per-
fect. Nothing is her only friend. She can feel his hand on the door. The hypotenuse of the light triangle is stretching, enlarging itself, growing and growing as side “b”, in the horizontal direction, becomes longer with each creak of the hinges. The butterflies now swarm around her room, her fingers tracing her visions faster and faster onto the wall, the bold colors seemingly more frantic. The door creaks; more light, more triangle. Still perfectly right, still perfectly wrong. Numbers and light begin to chase the butterflies right up her neck, back into her cage. The door was almost at ninety degrees now. Magic is gone. The shadow had run off the wall, and a third dimension does not apply itself in such simple equations as the pythagorean theorem. In fact, the triangle wasn’t even a triangle anymore, its a rectangle now; there’s nothing special about a rectangle. It’s only use is to portrait his shadow, that eery silhouette now standing in the frame of the doorway. Her mind empty, her eyes peering through the cage’s brass bars, the marker hangs on a bright red butterfly, filled with tangerine and purple accents, outlined in a jet black. She turns and the red slips from her delicate fingers as she meets her tormentor’s face. The ink slowly bleeds onto the rough linen sheets. The package said they wouldn’t. He stared, but he didn’t care. He never really cared what she did, only what she did for him. For a second, as he closed the door softly, her eyes lingered on the butterflies, the same she’d drawn on little slips of paper for her entire class. How many slips had found their homes in trash cans, or at the bottom of backpacks? She didn’t really care, as she slipped into passive peasantry, night after night. When she turned to face him, the door clicked shut. He himself no longer held a face, only a figure. He was no one, her glass, hazel eyes staring down at the
bedsheet again. A deep red dot of ink contaminated the bristled ivory, where the marker had fallen. She is a doll, rag and limp, and he, her maker, her user, her abuser. Slowly, they slipped into darkness together. He forced her head the other way with his rough hand, just out of viewing range of the butterflies. They lay dead, bare on the carpet. a^2 + b^2 = c^2, a^2 + b^2 = c^2. She repeated the theorem over and over in her head, just to remind herself that she knew it; just to feel normal, despite his rough hands, his rough touch, almost as rough as the bedsheets themselves. Anonymous
Working as a barista on Valentine’s Day weekend when you’re single is not much fun. Guys are everywhere with their girlfriends, buying them the special “Valentine’s rose latte” that Danny’s Coffee Shop serves every February. I have to make rose latte after rose latte, first foaming the milk and pouring it into the coffee, adding two pumps of strawberry-flavored syrup, and then designing that squiggly foam heart on the top. Sickening. What’s worse is that a lot of the people who come into Danny’s go to my school, so I get to see all their cute dates unfold in front of me as I serve them coffee. It is Saturday, maybe 10 a.m. I have just made my eighteenth rose latte of the morning, and served it to a cute elderly man who thanked me emphatically and is now taking it to his wife, which makes me pretty happy. Then I hear the bell on the door ring, and he enters the coffee shop. My heart just about stops. Alex has just walked into Danny’s. Alone. Alex is tall, and blonde, and hilarious, and yes, older than me. He goes to my high school, and I’ve had a crush on him for just about forever. He was at my lunch table first semester. We spent the entire time talking and laughing and joking about the inordinate amounts of sesame ginger dressing he puts on his salad. I’ve been working at Danny’s since the summer, and I have never once seen him here. I grin with relief to see him here without a date. “Lily!” He says when he gets to the counter. “Hey, how are you?” “I’m good. Just working here for the weekend. It’s really busy, you know, Valentine’s Day.” “Yeah,” he smiled. “I heard that you worked here.” Wherever he heard that, I have no idea. Not sure how to respond. “
I’ll have two lattes,” he cuts in. “Right,” I say. “Any flavoring?” “What’s a good one here?” Rose,” I offer. “Okay,” he says. “Hey, Lily, when’s your next break?” “Uh, five minutes.” “Stop by my table and say hey,” he smiles again. When I get off on break, I walk over to him, a little unsure of myself. One of the lattes is untouched. He motions for me to sit down. “So what are you doing for Valentine’s day?” Alex asks. “Nothing, really,” I smile. “Just working here.” I keep staring down at the other latte. Who is it for? Could it be for… me? We talk easily for the next couple minutes, discussing the college that he’ll be going to in the fall. Half of me is talking, laughing with him, and the other half keeps looking down at the damned rose latte. I only have five minutes left on my break. Is this a date? He asked me to sit with him. I decide to be confident. I grip my right hand on the coffee that I made, and slowly bring it to my lips. Then, the bell on the coffee shop rings. I don’t really notice, until I see dark-haired, gorgeous senior Jillian standing over me. “Hi, Alex,” she says brusquely. I freeze, clutching the latte. “Is this your date?” I squeak. “Oh, yeah,” Alex grins, as if nothing is wrong with this scenario. “Jillian , this is Lily. She’s a sophomore.” “Is that my coffee?” Jillian questions. Oh, god. I am still clutching her rose latte, about to drink it. I slam it down on the table quickly. “Yep,” I say. “Yep, it sure is. I’m a barista here. I was just bringing your coffee over. My break is over now.” I rush behind the safety that is Danny’s Coffee Shop counter. Alex looks confused. I quickly put my apron back on. “Can I help you today?” I ask the man standing in front of me, my face still red. “Yes,” he says. “Two rose lattes.”
"There I was, way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn't care."
The Great Gatsby
Your eyes donâ€™t linger on me long Maybe, hopefully, woefully you find pleasure in denial But such is the plight, the burden of lovers To love and to lose, To love and to be lost in love unrequited To be fully consumed, a total consummation This grand revelation so overly felt. It leaves me vulnerable in your presence, vulnerable to the very thought of your love, your touchâ€Ś And has proven lethal to all better judgement. At what point is this maddening, absolutely harrowing? When can we end this slow dance on the killing ground, This regretfully endless love story spinning round in my minds eye? This sad and sorry retelling of a story put to bed, a fondness laid to rest, a love that has to die. Here lies the wild ending to a story far calmer. This is my rapture, You are my rapture My heart holds the kind of love that robs me of reason, That fills me with feverish passion, And creates the deep pull of a hunger long standing And with every loving feeling like the currents of a tempest, strong, prevailing, and deadly.
A Regretfully Endless Love Story
The Life of the Party She takes my hand, and I look in her eyes, As we confess our love â€˜til death has come. And stunned by simple beauty, I can fantasize, How wonderful my life will soon become. We sit together at the fireplace, With children filled with beauty like her own, As one in one we silently embrace, Where I can proudly call this place my home. But suddenly, she turns away to leave, For gentle shyness pulls her heart away, And as I stand behind her, I do disbelieve, How dull my life was only yesterday. And as I saw her walking out the door, I wished that she was mine forevermore. Solomon Duane â€˜19
126 Miles I see him over there, and I know he sees me too. For only a second, we might make eye contact. Our compatible hazel eyes meet, only to dart away the moment either of us would have Let the other in. I mean, I canâ€™t let him in, can I? Doing so would be a risky as jumping from one side of the world to the other. And that is just it. He is on one side of the world, with me on the other. But I can hear his deep voice. I can hear it just like he is placing his warm palm on my Back whispering to me and begging me to let him in.
Every day his words get louder. He gets closer, we get closer. He is right there, I feel like I can see him. No longer a world away, we step close, too close for comfort. I can hear his heavy breath Filling the space between us. For the first time, our eyes meet and they do not flee. They stay, He stays. He reaches his hand out, I reach mine too. Right as we touch, the intangible distance keeps us apart. How foolish of me. How could I not forget? No matter how hard we try or how much we really do feel, The gap between us will always be there. The gap that will lead to our inevitable, bittersweet end. Windsor Warlick â€˜19
Love and Hate Love. Hate. Two very powerful and life changing emotions. These are totally opposite but intertwined tightly. In my experience and reflection on what I see and read, people often get them confused and mixed up. People can hate people who act out of a love they do not understand. Adolf Hitler for example, loved his vision of the perfect, powerful Germany. He became so fanatic about it, that he became desperate to make it come true. He was willing to go to extremes in order to try and make and keep what he loved. This fanatic love and amazing power over his country caused him to do what he did. Hitler is a great example of what can happen when we lose control of our love. Letting our love go out of control can cause jealousy from which stems hate. This hate can lead us to do bad things. Love can take over our thoughts. But we must not hate others. We may dislike them. Even so, hating others will cause more hate and mistrust than we need in our world. We all must understand what people hate to try to help them overcome their hate. To understand why people something, we must understand what they love. Anakin Skywalker is a wonderful example. We all know and understand completely what he loved. His love went out of control and when his vision of her dying happened, he became so desperate. He let his guard down and was easily manipulated into hating anything that could not save her. The hate for the Jedi came about from his love. And this hate caused him to do very monstrous things. Love can cause us to irrationally hate many things. Love can cause us to do terrible things, but it can also help us in so many ways. An example of this is hysterical strength. Hysterical strength is a very powerful burst of strength that comes about when someone you love is in a life or death situation. Parents lift vehicles using hysterical strength to save their children. A woman once fought off a polar bear to save some children. This is an extraordinary thing that comes from love. People say you should do what you love. Scientific proof shows that this can improve your mental health. In a study with 18 researchers, three mental health institutes, and 440 people with depression. Half the people were treated by cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on changing thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that contribute to depression. The others were treated with a relatively new treatment, behavioral activation therapy. This type of treatment focuses on changing your actions to those that you love to treat depression. After 16 weeks, both treatments were found to be equally effective and most patients had a 50% reduction in symptoms. Behavioral activation therapy, however was much cheaper. This study proves that love can help in so many ways. Love uncontrolled, though, can lead to hate. Hate can then inundate our lives with pain and sadness. Love though can help us all improve the world, our lives, and everybody elseâ€™s lives. Mitchell Moore â€˜21
Hidden Affection I’ve had a hard time talking to you, Like a one year old, I only speak a few words. On the outside my skin starts to tremble. Voodooed by you. Engulfed by my own emotions. Yelling at myself to squeeze out a word. Out with you butterflies, get out of my stomach! Uneased by these emotions, I can’t- tell you- what I feel. Cam Call ‘18
The walls of the building crumble The new river on Main Street holds baby shoes Acrid smoke stings my eyes And gravel stings my feet. This is the end, And I mourn Because I never said I love you.
Sammy DeLorenzo ‘18
I know we should stay friends But I want to be so much more The way you make me laugh Shakes me to the core Your big brown eyes Make me stop and stare Being away from you Is like being denied air I love you And I know you love me, too So just admit it and say, “I do.”
Sydney Vest ‘23
A Will As my last breath, Flutters in your palm, You must Choose. Let me Go, or Tighten the chains and Pray; pray That I will never abandon You and the perfect world of lies.
Reagan Richardson ‘18
The Love Poem You Asked Me To Write What is love? According to the dictionary, “Great or warm affection.” Yes it’s valentines week where affection is bountiful And people are struck with the fullest cock of Cupid’s bow, There is love in the air One of the few days in the year when the reality of life is dropped Like the temperature of a crisp, bleak, wintry morning Or the awaited ball on New Year’s Eve Smells in the air transform from cinnamon eggnog to delicious bundles of chocolate But with all the love to pass around throughout the events of Valentine’s Day, It seems as though love has run its course, and its stamina will not be replenished. How can we keep loving if the hate of the past is chasing us like a stalking predator? I’m a young black boy growing up in this world? Where is the love? Put a magnifying glass on some of the most influential people in the world, I still can’t find it. The voices out of D.C., the faces of our country, the role models of the children? The leaders of our country demonstrating “love,” Time and again tarnish the reputation of the nation, at least some may think. There have been some positive changes over the years, don’t get me wrong. “DON’T CONFUSE CHANGE WITH PROGRESS!” Milestones have been reached, but the collective expression of love throughout the society has never truly existed. Has it gotten worse? Leadership now that makes racist and sexist statements, And can’t resist the overwhelming temptation to engage in childlike rebuttals Filled with hurtful and depreciative slurs and accusations. Where is the love? I can’t find it. Turn on the news every day and see that another innocent person had been unfairly victimized by the ‘epitome of protection,’ our American police. Or another innocent woman or girl had been sexually or physically abused. Where is the love? I can’t find it. Or more minorities or women are being paid less than others working the same jobs in the same conditions. Where is the love?
I can’t find it. Yes, I agree. There is a lot of love in the world today. Most parents love their kids to death But do some show other children the same love? In some families, the same traditional bigotry that parents and grandparents grew up with is being instilled into little kids’ minds. No one is born to love, and no one is born to hate. It’s one way or the other. Fork in the road with the only map being your moral compass. You want me to write about love, no way. Show me that the whole world loves and then I’ll write you a poem about it. But until then, THIS is what you get. “There is no greater sickness today than the lack of love,” Mother Teresa once said. I implore you. Embrace that. Live and breathe through that.
William Bland ‘23
s y Jo
My lover’s eyes are brighter than the sun Their lips are pinker than the fine coral Deep beneath the obscure, dangerous sea Their song sweet shepherd lead through the forest Their steps light like an airy spirit go Their hair like a resplendent golden wheat On a pulchritudinous summer’s day Their eyes shining bright through the dreadful dark And piercing the veil of eternal night Helps guide through the gloom; lost souls back to light
Jasmine Leclair ‘22
Smooth and creamySo easy to discern. Sweet and saltyTeasing at every turn. So perfectFor her, Jelly will forever yearn.
Spread out perfectly, Causing Jellyâ€™s heart to flip. On a separate slice, He wonâ€™t let her slip. In the end there is destined To be a relationship. They fit together Like a glove. They think of each other As gifts from above Representing something No one can dispose of Because Peanut Butter and Jelly Forever embody true love.
J 3 <
La Famille She was a psycho with an east-coast temper, a diamond ring, and a boyfriend. Taught her daughter to be an angel “Just like her” Well she fooled me He was a trouble maker With four parents and a history Youngest always has difficulties sharing So a forged a game face and bought her Her second ring A psycho and a trouble maker With a love story Times three Pseudo-passion Oh honest, I didn’t want you to come tonight But oh, you’re here Midnight severe And I see your car And my place in the front seat Very honest, I’m growing sick of the way you call me young And string me along for your long drives and explanations But your windshield is cracked from the day you saw how ugly Your temper has grown So honest, you never gave me time to get ready Two minutes, grab your shoes, Always impatient; Honestly your presence is too heavy And I lied when I said I’d always be waiting Ellie Thornton ‘19
if this is the distance between you
and me, find reason to destroy miles days, weeks, months, years and if this is the time it takes you to get
here, find a way to reach out and touch the sound of my voice i hear yours all too often, it whispers come back (and i whisper back im trying) distant and faded like i tried to force forget but i told you once, you cant make yourself forget. if you could fill this
space with words that prove you love me, find a pen let your heart write its biography delete the distance it created make up for the time that escaped you Madeleine Munn â€˜19
"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects. Longer than knowing even wonders."
Light in August
How I Lost You
How I Lost You They told me to put you on a raft. That it would help me. And so I did. Me on the shore, you on the raft. Before the water pulls you away, The embrace relaxes, becoming more like a grip, weakening finally into a touch. Even our fingers can no longer hold on. Me on the shore, you on the raft, the water nodding up and down. They told me to put you on a raft. That it would help Is this how it happens?
me. And so I did. But if I want I can jump in and pull you back. You are not so far away. But I cannot. Meonon the you shore, youtheon the raft. Me the shore, on the raft, water having its own thoughts. IBefore can still hear you,water I say to myself. the pulls you away, And if I want, I can call your name. And you would hear me. Maybe even answer. That The embrace relaxes, becoming more like a grip, would be something nice, wouldnâ€™t it? And still, the raft drifts farther.into The waves singing softly a lullaby. weakening finally a touch. Smaller and smaller you appear; higher and higher on the horizon you climb. Even our fingers can no longer hold on. Me on the shore, you on the raft, the water nodding up and down. Is this how it happens?
But if I want I can jump in and pull you back. You are not so far away. But I cannot. Me on the shore, you on the raft, the water having its own thoughts. I can still hear you, I say to myself. And if I want, I can call your name. And you would hear me. Maybe even answer. That would be something nice, wouldnâ€™t it? And still, the raft drifts farther. The waves singing softly a lullaby. Smaller and smaller you appear; higher and higher on the horizon you climb.
But if I want I can shout your name. And you would hear me. I think. I do not think I can dive in even if I wanted. Me on the shore, you on the raft, the water more in front of you than behind. I can still see you, I say to myself. And if I want, I can wave my hand. And you would see me. Maybe even wave What do you think about that? Butback. if I want I can shout your name. And you would Soon, the raft is far away. And still. Or maybe just seems like it.
hear me. I think. But if I want I can jump up and down. And you would see me jumping. I think. I do not think I can dive in even if I wanted. Me on the shore, you on the raft, disappearing into a melding yellow into the horiMezon. on the shore, you on the raft, the water more in They told me to put you on a raft. And so I did. front of you than behind. And, now, I cannot be sure itâ€™s you. Or the raft. Or the water. Or some trick of I can still seeonyou, I say memory playing the light of theto sea.myself. And if I want, I can wave my hand. And you would see me. Maybe even wave back. What do you think about that? Soon, the raft is far away. And still. Or maybe just seems like it. But if I want I can jump up and down. And you would see me jumping. I think. Me on the shore, you on the raft, disappearing into a melding yellow into the horizon. They told me to put you on a raft. And so I did. And, now, I cannot be sure itâ€™s you. Or the raft. Or the water. Or some trick of memory playing on the light of the sea.
Fraternite, Liberte, et Vivre Sitting around a table, the atmosphere tense, Fighting for independence, always against someone new Our commanding officer walks in, he doesn’t say much, “Tomorrow, we storm the hills of Dien Bien Phu.” In the darkness, hundreds of soldier drag supplies and artillery, Leaving trails in the mud, through the dark forest Once the familiar playground of our childhood, How foreigners on the mountain’s crest. We settle on the surrounding hills, the skies still dark, The soldiers leave to rest, putting out hidden fires. My brother and I walk around to treat injuries, It’s just us, walking among the makeshift shelters. I hear a dull thud, followed by faint whistling, Jokingly, I tell my brother to stop The faint whistling grows louder, We both look at the mountain’s top. I look down at the locket hanging from around my head Then everything around us is washed in red. Nathan Vu ‘20 The Horrors of War A beautiful field of lavender in orderly rows Became a blood-soaked land of horror and fear A gorgeous landscape that occasionally froze Became a wasteland with death always near A beautiful city full culture and joy Is now no more but broken buildings and shallow graves This is the cost of human nature to destroy Is it truly our fate for war to be our master and us its slaves Or will we fill the world with joy once more And put an end the horrors of war
Averell Stith ‘22
Samantha Farpour '19 Rushing outside to meet her, My companion, playmate, and best friend, Rose! I shout, knocking on the yellow door. Soon you come out to greet me, For an afternoon of play, Tag, dress up, hide-and-go-seek, And picking those flowers We pretended not to steal From your motherâ€™s pretty garden. Four years of my childhood, Spent with you, Rose,
The girl behind the yellow door. Except that afternoon, I came knocking Rose? It was raining. I sat and waited. But no one opened the yellow door. “Rose had to move, honey” She told me as I cried. The rain poured, As the realization sunk in. No more sunny days with you, The girl behind the yellow door. Oh Rose, My first childhood friend, Why did you leave? I walked around your yard, Beside a now empty house, Back to your mother’s pretty garden, Where the rain was nourishing yellow flowers. Roses. Samantha Farpour ‘19
The Wicker Porch She kept it hidden from me. From us. No one really knew what was happening in her mind. Then no one knew what to do afterwards. After she ended all of the confusion and suffering. When I was young I couldnâ€™t play in the living room, filled with white furniture. Now I will never have the chance. No question had a right answer. No answer was known to be true. Life is filled with chances and guesses. But no one could have guessed this. Peyton Hope â€˜19
Sunflower Heart When I was young I loved small spaces. Hide and Seek was my forte, The tiny cabinet under the sink, my sanctuary. Inside, I would watch the pitter patter of August feet, Padding back and forth, back and forth, across the laughing tiles, Never to be found. Then the feet stopped. They left. The laughing tiles ceased their music, Poking holes through my sunflower heart. When I grew up, small spaces became my enemy. Crowded elevators cackle, bitter to my begging ears. Let me out. Let me out. The melting walls of windowless rooms, Drowning me inside my own soul. Let me out. Let me out. My lavender bones shatter for a billion fears. When I was young I loved small spaces.
Our Statue We build amazing things, That touch the sky. We believe we are kings, But that is a lie. Did we seal our fate, By building towers high? We believe we are great, But that is a lie. The outside is solid but weak, The inside is crumbling as we speak. Cam Call â€˜18
When light is lost with bleak and dismal air, And clouds have gripped the joyous thought of May, I seek the one who might have been too fair, Too elegant for me in sadder days. I do not giver her justice when in mind, In person she will lighten up the skies. In presence of her sight sheâ€™s hard to find For concentration loses in her eyes. But years ago I saw her out of sight, For birds as small as I do not get doves. And now I wish I had not taken flight, As I would give my life to have her love. And though it is what little she can do, A single smile makes my day anew. Solomon Duane â€˜19
"Yes I'm changing, Yes I'm gone, Yes I'm older, Yes I'm moving on."
Ode to Self and Selfless Me Juba, South Sudan 2050: A calm, blue light shimmers above the water Outside that wooden, dilapidated hut, You call home. Children scream now playfully Kicking their soccer ball around in the mud. Mother cry now tears of joy, Watching their little boys play in the sun. No more fear. No more terror. They thank you, as do I. How did you change, so remarkably so? Once a light blue suit, tan shoes, Black briefcase, storing hoards of files Like a giant: Carrying the financial lives of others, Upon your shoulders; Shoulders-- where your hair now falls.
How did you change, so remarkably so? Once a light blue suit, tan shoes, Black briefcase, storing hoards of files Like a giant: Carrying the financial lives of others, Upon your shoulders; Shoulders-- where your hair now falls. How did you change, so joyfully so? Once a large, white mansion, infinity pools, Bars all around, Like the Wolf of Wall Street: Piling your bank account With superfluous wealth; Wealth-- now meaningfully shared among others. You, selfless you, knew all alongâ€Ś The treacherous journey: Gruesome hours, Hard nights, The Money: All a means to an end, An end to a new beginning. You, adventurous, kind soul you, where to next? Peru Oman Vietnam Eritrea Rwanda Tanzania Yemen An honorable leader at the core, A traveler among the seven seas, Wall Street has led you through the door, And now you put unfortunate lives at ease.
Not enough time exists to Wait at stop lights, in the midst of honking horns And the cursing voices of boulevard drivers. Who would wish to willow themselves into that situation anyway? Take the highway! Spinning tires to accelerate, Screeching to stop, Only to not let the Driver parallel in front. Surely they are trying to cut the traffic, Virginia tags beaming, They’re not lost. But who really knows? Maybe their life is a 12 faced rubix cube, And at that very moment they’re rushing To the hospital to see their mother on her parting day. It’s not likely, But it’s a possibility. We can’t make that call. Take the highway.
Take the Highway Micah Whitmire '18
I Too Am a Woman I too am a woman. Society thinks that I am not smart I am not funny I am not an athlete That I belong at home But in reality I am the next professor I am the next comedian I am the next Olympic champion Soon, I will lead. I too stand with the sea of women drowning in sexism, gasping for air. I too stand against stereotypes. I too believe in equality. I too am a woman. Maya Spektor â€˜23
The Mask I look in the mirror at the beginning of each day, I lift my arms to pray and ask myself what mask should I place on my face today. No not the sad one it’s too revealing, I don’t want to show the world my true mask or true feelings No one knows my true identity Nor feels what I feel Until I show my true self My life cannot not heal... And through the smoke and past destructions around My true purpose is finally found. Franklin Bunn ‘18
Why? The existential question to the meaning of life The answer depends on who’s holding the knife. What is it that we seek? Money, fame, or power over the meek? In the end, the answer is the same. It does not change the rules of the game. What a pity and total shame The answer to the question has no name. How do we proceed?
Out of survival, With all we need. With answers to questions that make us despair With actions and behavior that show no care. In the end, are we judged by what we achieved? Or rewarded for what we believed? Either way, the end result for each is similar To death, it is all familiar. Back to the game of life and how it is done, Be happy, and it is utterly won! But the question of why begs an answer Fighting it will devour your soul like a cancer. How to respond to such a thing? By stepping out of life’s caged ring And answering the why as direct as you can With a large smile and a plan.
J.R. Herman ‘20
Thank you. For giving us words and rhythms to live by; Anthems to follow and preach. Endless dance parties, too. Thank you for teaching us. That girls CAN run the world. Thank you for teaching us That love is crazy. For telling us we don’t need a man. That each and every one of us Woke. up. FLAWLESS. Because society’s ideals aren’t ideal. Pretty shouldn’t hurt. We are all beautiful, flaws and all. For crafting love letters to girls all around the world. For showing us all we should aspire to be is happy. For hope and healing; as we make lemons from lemonade. Straeten Avery ‘19
A Tree in Two Worlds I tilt my head to look in the mirror Black, curly, frizzy, untamable hair, like my mother Light brown eyes of my father The golden earrings I never take off The necklace I was given as a baby, ringing my neck with a comfortable weight A dress falling almost to my ankles, glittering like shattered glass Dressed for a temple festival Enveloped in a world of spicy curries, golden statues of gods, and cloying incense But I know tomorrow I will flip to the other side of the coin The blazing jewelry will give way to the blouses and short skirts of school The variety of languages bombarding my ears will give way to the Southern drawl of English I walk on eggshells Refusing to disappoint my family But disillusioned by my inability to connect Sri Lankan traditions in the soil at my roots But an American world caught in my branches A permanent tug-of-war with me in the middle My worlds perpetually collide Jagged puzzle pieces that can’t fit seamlessly together I tape them together as best I can And create my own puzzle I hope it all doesn’t unravel At a crack in the eggshells At a pull of the rope, At a stroke of the lightning, Cutting my precious tree in half
Brammy Rajakumar ‘19
I thought I could taste Sweet memories, bitter endsIt needed more salt. The stars are too full Of themselves to realize that They are just lonely We went for milkshakes. Mint chocolate chip remedied A heartbroken girl Madeleine Munn â€˜19
Emotion What makes someone like something? What triggers delight? Do the features that stimulate positive emotion conform under societal standards or personal preferences? Are preferences derived from others or created from a mind detecting favor? Joy can be found in the simplest everyday sights. In a world of commonly accepted beauty, what makes beauty, beautiful? Wealth, power, fame, appearance, results? Interwoven in these abstract possessions, along with the satisfaction, discontent must be present, to legitimize the balance of a working mind in a semi-functional society. The serenity of a tranquil ocean, merely enveloping a sunset, with the fact of being alone. The assurance of victory, but also the cognizance of cheating. Is joy drawn from everyday experiences?, Is displeasure obtained from new occurrences? v
Imagine a world with balance, no emotion prevailing over the other and everybody searches to extract both from the new and familiar, to maintain the intellectual juxtaposition of feeling. Are there more than two categories of emotions? Or are the others like ‘sad’ or ‘confused’ just lousy explanations for an an inexplicable wave of discovery? As an ever-changing mind finds the sources of emotion, Everything anybody does, great or small, is driven by some emotion. In the actions of good and evil souls, whatever the intentions, emotion is at the core, like a fostering parent raising kids.
All around us, yet so hard to grasp or control. An empowering, yet intangible force, still capable of controlling everything.
William Bland ‘23
I Cannot Write a Poem I cannot write a poem I cannot rhyme, Is this a crime? My poems are garbage, My rhymes are sour limes. I canâ€™t write a stanza nor line, Each paragraph flees, Each sentence flies, Why do they leave? I just want to be friends. I write a word It gallops away, Another one runs from me, One jumps away, As I write my next word I get worried, What if it flees? I wish that I could write I am not a playwright, My plays are unbearable, My poems are unfixable, I can not write well. I write Skittle, Then think of hospital. With a cop, I write pop. If I need a man, I give him a pan. The man was from Japan The amber banner rose
It is time for prose Rhyming is dead, Letâ€™s eat a gingerbread Cause rhyming has bled, The cat and the bat The dog ate a frog The fish speaks english The goat tried to vote The hare raced a bear The vulture went into agriculture The shark was a monarch The gorilla rode a zebra The yak could yap like a yak can yap They hid on your lawn But now they flew Like a swan My books are horrible, My stories are unignorable, They are so bad. I wish I could curl into a ball, Hiding near a wall would be fine, I should stop trying, Each time I get worse. You see I cannot write, Stories nor books, Poems nor plays, I can not write, But I can write one thing. I cannot write a poem Taran Jeevan â€˜23
"I want to be my best self-- the one who set out to tell a story that might make a difference in the lives of people who read it." Dorothy Allison
"Writing connects: Conversation across time and space."