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Harker’s Eclectic Literary Magazine Volume 11 Spring 2010


Harker’s Eclectic Literary Magazine

Volume 11 Spring 2010 Member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association

Table of Contents Written Work Patience The Blues Favorite Book A Picture to Paint Carnival Slave Gathering Sunday in America (in)Disposable The Trash Can Headline: Everything You Learned Is False Nonsense Imagination Of Causeway Bay Doubt 4:35:43 am My Perspective Love Poem Racer Sonnet 73 Actual Sonnet Arguments Untitled Pantoum Angels

Mahum Jamal Aileen Wu Daniel Clark Anshul Jain Daisy Mohrman Stephen Wang Mahum Jamal Connie Lu Anshul Jain Daniel Clark Jeremy Chung Julian Gill Jeremy Chung Ashley Hejtmanek Connie Lu Ashley Hejtmanek Antonia Ipser Jessica Shen Julian Gill Kaitlin Halloran Ashley Hejtmanek Connie Lu Kaitlin Halloran Ashley Hejtmanek

7 9 14 18 20 22 26 29 34 37 38 41 42 44 46 48 50 52 55 56 59 60 62 65

Artwork & Photography ------Succulent Fire ----Manmade Wall --------Purple Bloom Dotted Fish --------------Owlie Of Causeway Bay Big Ben and Parliament ---

Tara Rezvani Tara Rezvani Laura Yau Vishesh Jain Laura Yau Aditi Ashok Vishesh Jain Katie Forsberg Katie Forsberg Diane Villadsen Adrienne Wong Vishesh Jain Jessica Shen Tara Rezvani Nina Sabharwal Laura Yau Adrienne Wong Aditi Ashok Katie Forsberg Peter Gao Adrienne Wong Jeremy Chung Mark-Phillip Pebworth Diane Villadsen

8 11 12 13 15 16 17 21 23 24 25 27 28 31 32 33 35 36 36 39 40 42 43 44

Artwork & Photography (Continued) Dropple Story Lines Porcelain Berries --Always Watching --Card Shark, Black and White --Mont St. Michel Panorama ------------Glow Blooms Dark and Light ---

Vishesh Jain Rachelle Koch Vishesh Jain Tara Rezvani Vishesh Jain Jyoti Narayanswami Max Maynard Diane Villadsen Mark-Phillip Pebworth Katie Forsberg Katie Forsberg Nicole Lindars Katie Forsberg Katie Forsberg Laura Yau Vishesh Jain Vishesh Jain Laura Yau

45 47 48 49 51 53 53 54 56 57 57 58 61 61 63 64 64 66

Patience Mahum Jamal

When I think to myself In 10 years what will I be? I imagine myself as a house.


Tara Rezvani 8

The Blues

Aileen Wu

Carol sat at the bar in the speakeasy’s dim glow, with no one to keep her company save the bartender, busy polishing glasses. In her solitude, she thought back to the special anniversary dinner Bill came late for. The new dress he didn’t notice. His hand slamming the table, making the dishware clatter. Her draping her coat around her shoulders and stepping out into the night. He shouldn’t have been late in the first place, she fumed. I’ve had enough of that temper. Glaring into the wall of mirrors behind the bar, she noticed her scowl, her blue eyes narrowed out of hostility, her flaxen hair spilling over her shoulder. Annoyed with her disheveled appearance, she turned away to pick up her glass and raise it to her crimson lips. Sipping from the dark liquor, she surveyed the half-empty room. At this late hour, only a handful of night owls populated the room. Carol wondered where Bill was now. Still sitting at home? No, of course not. Probably gone back to work. He’s always working through the late hours. She set the glass back down, and turned her attention to the small raised platform which served as a stage. She searched through the band members setting up the stage, and her eyes fell on the man preparing the microphone stand. His brown tousled hair shone in the spotlight, and he was sharply dressed – tall, but not too tall. After positioning the microphone, he straightened up, signaled to the rest of the band, and they began to play.


Carol immediately recognized her favorite song. She began to lightly tap her feet to the rhythm against the leg of her tall cushioned stool. She let the saxophone’s bluesy slink and velvet vocals draw her in. “If I should lose you The stars would fall from the sky…” Clearing her throat, Carol looked down and took another sip. She then crossed her legs and smoothed out her dress, and went back to watching the singer. He gently swayed in time with the music, tenderly caressing the microphone stand. “Leaves would wither and die The birds in May-time, they’d sing a mournful refrain. And I would wander around, hating the sound of rain.” She realized he never took his eyes off her as he crooned the words. Carol herself had neglected her glass, her dress, and everything else around her. Everything except the mesmerizing melody and the hypnotic voice. Even if she wanted to, she wouldn’t have been able to avert his gaze. “With you beside me The rose would bloom in the snow With you beside me If I ever lost you…” A corner of Carol’s mouth twitched up in a smile. The man was glowing, by God. “All is in vain if I… If I ever lost You….” The song ended with one last lingering note, and everyone 10

Tara Rezvani 11

Laura Yau


present gave an appreciative round of applause, Carol included. The smile on her face mirrored the one on his. Works every time, she thought. His eyes never leaving Carol’s face, he smirked and spoke into the microphone: “Cute dress, Carrie.” Playful gasps, whoops, and giggles echoed throughout the audience. Though Carol remained silent, her smile widened. That was enough encouragement for him. “How’d you like the song, sweetheart?” “Just fine, Bill,” she called back from the bar. “Just fine.”

Succulent Fire Vishesh Jain 13

Favorite Book

Daniel Clark

Sprawled on the worn-pleather couch, My favorite book in my hands, The crinkled pages turn in time as I Read the words on the page, never perfectly. Two lovers in a car, Their “unbreakable� bond is shattered, Two connected lives are over in that Instant their eyes meet... Where has their happy ending gone? After the war, the sun shines Upon two who stayed with each-other through More than just the war Where neither side claimed to win. In the bedroom, the walls and floor are bare, As it if nobody lived in it. The dying body on the bed, staring into the space Where her lover used to lie Reading poetry as a lullaby to the newborn, But now seeing nothing but her own blood. A light snap as I close the book and stand, Wanting a glass of something to drink But all that is left in the refrigerator is blood orange juice. 14

Laura Yau


Aditi Ashok


Vishesh Jain

Manmade Wall


A Picture to Paint A tall Oak Tree, Two wiry Squirrels One black, One brown Running down Its trunk To catch a falling Acorn That is really just a marble. Its leafy branches Swaying in the wind, Giving shade to the Young couple on a park bench, Locked together In a passionate embrace, As a young boy watches on, Intrigued and confused, He lets slip his cherry red balloon Which entangles itself In the Oak Tree’s branches And enthralls a passing Bird That tries to eat this cherry red balloon And lands on its branches Making the colorful Autumn leaves Fall atop an endless field Of brown grass, 18

While pieces of paper And styrofoam cups roll by, Being carried by the wind Into a nearby Stream Where a fish quickly Jumps into the air Catching the garbage And trying to swallow Returning to its home In the murky waters Of this passing stream Bound forevermore, To float upon its back.

Rachelle Koch

Weeping Willow

Anshul Jain



Daisy Mohrman

Strolling past, under the glazed sun of 95 degrees, Hands grasp the necks of limply hanging sunflowers, as nooses would wrangle radiant smiling faces. These flowers, however suffocated they may be, were disowned once and given to the crowds. In solitude, a single sunflower is laid to rest in the dirt square against a tall maple. It was given away twice. It seems almost pensive, leaves dropped by its side, wilted petals curl inwards as time slowly grips it. It is an old man, wrinkled, tired, the life draining from his body with each fleeting moment. Wind blows her sweet breath; hints of sugared cinnamon and trampled dust tumble through the deserted street, and the sunflower drops, lying in melancholy, lacking the strength to prop itself up. It longs to turn, face the sun, but shadows slant and grow taller, sucking light from the world, inch by inch. The warm, coarse earth beneath it starts to chill. Perhaps the sun made it droop, but lack of caress left it lonely. 20

Katie Forsberg


Slave Gathering The sun falls out of the sky Casting golds, oranges, tinges of blues Slaves walk back to their quarters, Bare feet swollen and calloused. Their footprints are parched canyons Cut out from the ancient rivers of Africa Each ravine and crevice filled with the dust, And dirt of South Carolina. They gather outside of their quarters, Some sit some stand Some squat, some lean Sweat drips down their foreheads Stings the eyes, coaxing tears out of them But no one weeps. A single voice bellows and trembles Chanting a single line People begin to stir Feet stamp the ground, Gaining speed like a mail train Leaving the station. 22

Hands slap onto the thighs People bounce up on their feet, Twirling and dancing, raising dust. The shaking voices of men and women Are slabs of white-orange iron Being hammered into a steady force Under the communal mallet.

Stephen Wang

Katie Forsberg 23


Diane Villadsen

Adrienne Wong


Sunday in America Mahum Jamal


Argonaut elementary school has a gym at the forefront of the campus. Probably is used for school meetings; It might be used for sporting events; Could be used for fairs and festival; To my exuberant enthusiasm, it will double as a prayer room this Sunday morning, Hosting 800+ culturally displaced Muslims Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr… …In an elementary school gym With strangers Cramped Humid Tight Loud Fussy Religion God. Apparently being of the same faith relates me to all of them Because I’m constantly being referred to as sister. The massive stench of body odor and new perfume Envelopes my body, Seeping through the open spaces, trying desperately to infiltrate me.

I’m hiding now, but I’m already anonymous. The lady on my right says she’s from Cupertino, I know better. I wonder if the other first generation immigrants feel a loss— Today being just another Sunday in this new country we call home— Or have they come to terms with the fact that There is no Eid here; only Muslims in a school gym. I think back. My last Eid prayer was in a white domed mosque on an anonymous island. My last Eid celebration was at a barbeque in a desert oasis, Where a group of 6-year-olds dressed in sparkly new outfits Counted the golden crescent cut-outs lining the tent. All there is to count now Are the hours till Monday.

Purple Bloom

Vishesh Jain


Dotted Fish

Jessica Shen



Connie Lu

My parents have a problem with hoarding. Utilitarian cardboard boxes reading NORCAL MOVING SERVICE and GRAEBEL VAN LINES line our garage walls. These plain boxes are deceiving. They appear to have a purpose. No. These boxes contain anything from doll heads with disturbingly vacant eyes—just the heads, mind you, I still don’t know where the bodies are—to my sixth grade social studies worksheets. My parents have stubbornly held onto these items as long as they’ve kept the typically-Chinese mentality of “being extremely prepared for the unexpected.” I grew up around the mantra to “save things for later.” I have tried to resist its siren song, this temptation to accumulate. Tried, and failed. My desk has long been snowed in by paper, separated vaguely by era: Era of Adequate English Essays, Era of Terrible Precalculus Experiences, Era of Mediocre Chemistry Homework Sets. There is a notable difference between our saving patterns, however. I will collect, but my collections quickly lose all meaning to me. My parents, meanwhile, find significance in seemingly minor objects. Most notably? My dad has stored a modest stack of neatly arranged paper napkins in the dashboard glove box for as long as I can remember. (I’m told that) this napkin-collecting habit began as it became increasingly evident that I was not the most graceful of children. As a three-year-old, I managed to prove that the spillproof sippy cup


I was using was not, in fact, spillproof. After the fourth “Daddy, cup made oops…,” he began keeping a few napkins in the car. As I grew, so too did the magnitude of my accidents, and the one or two extras my dad would keep in his pocket quickly became a small stack. These napkins were far from your average square. These sopped up my tears, sweat, ice cream drips. These wiped away my cookie crumbs, bits of tanbark, spilled glitter. Other kids had security blankets. Not me. I had security napkins. Who needed an imaginary Superman cape when there was a constant guarantee of a quick accident fix? But as I transitioned from print to cursive, from Time Magazine to The Economist, from bike to car, my dependence on the napkins waned too. I told myself and my dad that the napkins were embarrassing, that I didn’t need them. Undeterred, my dad sallied forth alone and with added vigor on his napkin-saving mission. But one day, I suddenly realized that the napkins weren’t being used on me anymore—at all. They were used for wiping up baby-sister-drool, baby-sister-vomit, baby-sister-tears. And I was jealous. Not because said baby sister monopolized every waking moment of my parents’ lives. Not because I couldn’t concentrate on my pre-algebra homework. It was because this screaming “bundle of joy” was using MY napkins. I struggled to reconcile my jealousy with my pride. After all, I had told my dad that I wouldn’t need the napkins anymore. No matter. I would deal with it and maintain my distance. But one rainy day, when I reached for a napkin to dry myself off, this—and not the typical click of the glove box —greeted me: 30

Tara Rezvani


Nina Sabharwal

“Connie, leave the last few for your sister, we’re running a little low.” With that casual declaration, I was shut out—but nobody seemed to realize it. My dad continued to methodically gather the extra napkins from his Saturday coffee, my mom continued to pick up my sister’s broken dolls, my sister continued to drool and use my napkins. I was left with nothing to gather, nothing to pick up, nothing to use. This situation was unacceptable. But what was I to do? As we drove to school one Tuesday, my sister babbled happily in the backseat, waving her arms frantically in the sign language known only to small children—tipping over her juice box in the process. My dad fumbled for a napkin. I tapped him on the shoulder, grinned, and handed him one from my backpack.


Laura Yau


The Trash Can

Anshul Jain

I watch a man throw away a losing lottery ticket, Crumpling it up and tossing it with disgust, At the poor wastebasket on the sidewalk That has suffered through years of abuse. To think of all the things he must have seen, The poor homeless man forced to scavenge its food, And the looks of contempt he received from passerby in their cars. And what about those kids, Who not so long ago, he had seen Spending time with each other, Playing and laughing and enjoying, Yet now he sees the same men and women 15 years later, pass by each other, Without a second glance, Each briskly making their way Towards their various destinations, What else could it be, That this wise old trash can has seen? Maybe next time you see him, You can strike up some conversation and find out. 34

Adrienne Wong


Aditi Ashok


Katie Forsberg

Headline: Everything You Learned Is False Clickity-clack click, Olive green typewriters on polished desks with Un-creased paper stacked next to Hunch-backed, gnarled reporters Transcribing out the day’s news To send to the editor To send to the printing press To send to the reader, Sitting in his wicker-backed chair Sipping the bitter morning coffee and Bland single hard-boiled egg while Commenting on the events he Knows nothing about except through the paper To his wife and children, Who take this information as fact Made true by daily worship of the Still-warm and wet ink staining the Grey newsprint.

Daniel Clark 37

Nonsense Jeremy Chung

Imagine it’s the 1990 days When portable gadgets cost a whole lot Simple telephones with wires existed - not Nine centimeter touchscreen displays. Phase back to the 2010 days ‘New iPhone, this Valentine’s Day prepare to tie a knot’ Or — ‘This summer, get the Blackberry while it’s hot...’ Rampant consumerism - I am not impressed nor amazed. Can’t you see? With all these technological advances — I mean — pieces of frivolous waste The dust collection grows larger every second. Some of these gadgets are like rushed romances, Used and dumped with haste. Absolutely ridiculous I reckon!


Peter Gao




Adrienne Wong


I ma g i n a t i o

Julian Gill

Memories are reflected upside down with sensations stored and hard to be found. They rest reclusively in resonated rooms, but I can clear my head with the swoosh of a broom. Here it scorches summers with a reminded laughter And rains Novembers as I think thereafter. Turtles fly Food can sign All of this happens in my mind!


Of Causeway Bay

I am on cloud nine — People, taxis flowing through crosswalks everywhere — Cantopop 1, traffic noise — It is like a festive fair. Crazy hot, humid weather at twenty-nine — Rolling rain, trickling typhoons — I guess it’s fine — Neon signs — Go in to that shady shop? I would not dare — Fish balls, frog legs — do I dare? — Aiyah — So where can I get into

Jeremy Chung 42

Mark-Phillip Pebworth

Big Ben and Parliament


Doubt Ashley Hejtmanek Take a leap Take a chance Jump off the looming cliffs The jump kills Kills my hope? Kills my fear? I don’t know But I’m already jumping


Diane Villadsen

Vishesh Jain



4:35:43 am

Connie Lu

I have a silent companion, lodged behind my lumbar vertebrae. it is liquid. it twines around every cell, every vein, every artery. each heartbeat fortifies its roots in every joint, every bone, every limb. I am not mine, any longer. this longing is for a place where I do not belong; I am for summer-dry sidewalks, unintelligible speech, sunflowers on Tuesday. and you are not here or home: you are not golden gates, you are not blue street jazz, you are not brackish seas. but I live removed—


Story Lines

Rachelle Koch 47

My Perspective

Ashley Hejtmanek

Vishesh Jain

Porcelain Berries


With Joy I sing With music my soul It rests In sleep I see music in color I hear stories In silence

Tara Rezvani


Love Poem Antonia Ipser

When I watch you, when I listen When I close my eyes and hear Why, when you smile, your teeth glisten! When you glance, I dance away my fear When I call I hear you in my head, Saying—well, hello, there, If it isn’t Ted! Your cheery voice, like siren’s song Each time we meet it’s been too long. No, you’ve never suffered human error. But fell from the heavens like morning dew And I remember, as I gaze in the bathroom mirror— I’m you. Oh, it’s good to be me!


Vishesh Jain

Always Watching



Jessica Shen Man’s best friend stands no chance against true love; Sleek shells of glass and steel soon ‘compass hearts And sit them in leather-lined cages of Their dreams. The world awaits, then thunder starts And rolls like dice, the gambler’s hand released. With roads reflected on its dusted skin, The pedal bows low, feeling winds increase; Blackened breaths bloom from hidden pipes within. Rubber feet pound the earth with every twist, Smiles jump in the midst of cloudy craze. The air bathes in pools of surrounding bliss And casts away a net of quiet days. Soon the sun will pull back its warm embrace, Deck the night with stars, filling empty space.


Jyoti Narayanswami

Max Maynard

Card Shark, Black and White


Diane Villadsen


Sonnet 73 Julian Gill

These words I write do not suffice, and neither others’ before me, mere shapes of ink are no device in typifying Nature’s glory. A chirping keyboard cannot quite revive the echoes of a gripping scene where a Lion’s roar dubs his mightfancier than poetry written for a queen. Pages written just white and black Are such a sorry sight to bear And fail to honor this world of color With which they attempt to compare. But poetry is not missing a thing A willing mind is all to bring


Mont St. Michel Panorama Mark-Phillip Pebworth

Actual Sonnet Kaitlin Halloran

It’s just a room, four walls, a desk, a bed, the paint a bluish-grey, emotionless. With lamps because the lights buzz overhead, Inhabited but full of emptiness, reflects everyone but her, just a ghost allowed to haunt the bookshelves and the halls. The books speak of her, lonely in the room the only one who lives between these walls. She is free to go, but lives in this tomb. Towels cover the space beneath the door so hate can’t seep in, like blood, warm and thick, or poison, hidden in air - horrors of the world outside; the door locks with a click. The latched windows haven’t opened in years pressed to the glass are all of her fears. 56

Katie Forsberg


Nicole Lindars


Arguments Ashley Hejtmanek Ripping, slicing Dicing, pureeing This is the cuisinart of pain Yelling, screaming Silences This is how you feel later. Sometimes you say things Things which you don’t mean Sometimes you say things Just to be hurtful This is how arguments go This how we react to being hurt We react by Cuisinarting each other We cry We make up This is how any relationship goes



Connie Lu

The sea’s wake spits glinting foam but washes out our sleep; it stirs up dreams: a visceral wildness, long lost.

We fail in the war against homogeneity as mercenaries seek supposed gold-tinged clarity. Our hazy forms mime one another and the sky’s eyes track our banality.


For whom do the bells toll? For you, whisper the tide and the rain. They are sounding funerary chords. They sound—for us.

Katie Forsberg



Kaitlin Halloran

he is a toymaker- dolls dance from his fingers, marionettes hang gaily from strings. dance from his fingers, little girl, hang gaily from strings tight round your neck little girl, try to forget the fingers, tight round your neck, gently stop breathing. try to forget the fingers, creeping through everything, never invited. gently stop breathing, leave all these memories creeping through everything- never invited, cut the strings, leave all these memories. You are his puppet62

cut the strings. No one will save you so you are his puppet: falling apart, in old dusty boxes. No one will save you so dance from his fingersfalling apart, in old dusty boxesHe is a toymaker, dolls.

Laura Yau


Glow Blooms

Dark and Light

Vishesh Jain


Angels Ashley Hejtmanek There are days When all I want Is an angel A light in the dark Who’ll defend me But I don’t believe Not in God, or in his angels So why Why do I want one to save me? One reason I want to believe Somewhere, someone Is willing to fight for me Willing to fight the dark And to fight my demons She doesn’t have to be angelic Or even slightly holy But I need her to save me I need to be saved From the darkness in my soul 65

Laura Yau


The Hyper-Fantabulous HELM Staff r

Extraordinary Editors-in-Chief: Kelsey Hilbirch & Olivia Zhu

Honorific Officers:

Meghna Chatterjee, Head of Finance & Sales Justine Liu, Head of Publicity Maggie Woods, Head of Design

Superlative Staff Members: Nathaniel Edwards Kaitlin Halloran Charles Levine Nicole Lindars Daisy Mohrman Mark-Phillip Pebworth Shelby Rorabaugh Nina Sabharwal Pooja Shah Hansa Srinivasan Alice Tsui Lorraine Wong Patrick Yang

Great Gratitude to... Dr. Anne Douglas For being our amazing club advisor All Helm Staffers For their fundraising, submission screening, and brainstorming, all of which make this magazine possible Desiree Mitchell Of the Harker Communications Department, for her help in making our magazine tangible The Harker Administration For its continual support Everyone who submitted work to HELM For their willingness to share their tremendous talent (and for the great work that fills the previous pages of this magazine)

Helm, Spring 2010  

Harker's Eclectic Literary Magazine