Illuminations Carlsbad High School Volume I
Tiger by Jeff Schaefer 3 The Men of Solemn by Nicholas Hatfield 4 Forever Moments by Zoe Brodsky 5 Boardwalk by Teagan Willes 5 Cyprinus Carpio by Danielle Mooney 6 Tunnel Vision by Teagan Willes 7 Dew Drops and Sunrise by Seannie Bryan 8 Langston Hughes Homage by Jeff Spanier’s English 4AP class 9 Celestial by Mitchell Aragon 10 Jellyfish by Ella Garbett 11 Black Sea by Sara Locke 12 Catching my Breath by Gage Chu 13 Nowhere by Jeff Spanier 14 Red People by Jeff Schaefer 15 The Desert Bighorn Sheep by Taylor Team 16 I Broke the Sky by Zoe Brodsky 17 The Wall by Eithel Krauss 17 Swami’s Beach by Karin Velasco 18 The Road by Keith Demolder 18 Cameryn by Seannie Bryan 19 Shadows by Seannie Bryan 20 Girl in Shadows by Anonymous 21 Emma by Adam Nicker 22 Memory of an Elephant by Jeff Spanier 23 Interstate Driving by Isaac Brieske 24-27 Stilts by Kathleen Dooley 24-25 It’s All In My Head by Kathleen Dooley 28-29 Light Upon the Dunes by Taylor Team 30-31 Just Keep Swimming by Hannah Evans 32 In the Minds of the Planets by Lia Drelleshak 33 Untitled by Tessa Gordon 33 Station Twenty-Four by Danielle Mooney 34 Disappear by Zoe Brodsky 35 Stella by Zane Becker 36 Outcast by Audrey Johnson 37-38 Bloom by Danielle Mooney 39 Falling with You by Zoe Brodsky 40 Shannon by Cami Miller 41 Losing You by Karin Velasco 42 Mother and Son by Danielle Mooney 43 Sticks by Adam Nickerl 44 Untitled by Tessa Gordon 45 Noomdnanus by Cristian Camargo 45
The Men of Solemn
There is a place you can go to called Solemn It has dark and stormy beaches There is a pier and a dock there And also a sailor that preaches The words that he says Theyâ€™re clean and theyâ€™re good He showers his faith on a hopeless folk, It was as though he got commission, Who know this may be their last trip Who know they must feed The people at home So they sadly set sail On a dark beckoning sea As they lament and they scream They troll the dark stormy seas The seafloor is calling a song of relief From life back home plagued by grief Their ships are made of hard work And are nearly a century old Not a single ship has ever broken, These men lose themselves out on the ocean These are the men of solemn They are a truly seaworthy folk Not lost at sea on the last fishing trip But in reality lost long ago
Boardwalk Teagan Willes
Never let go, Of those memories forever meant to hold. Simple fleeting moments, That change in the blink of an eye. I wish things could never change. I want them to stay the same. I yearn to hold on, To that one forever moment. Because for that split second, It was mine to keep. But now its a thing of the past, My past. Still a part of me. That one forever moment.
Cyprinus Carpio Danielle Mooney
Tunnel Vision Teagan Willes
Dewdrops and Sunrise Seannie Bryan
Langston Hughes Homage
Jeff Spanier’s English 4 AP class
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore and then run? Does it screech like a teapot boils, or fade like an orphan’s voice? Maybe it drifts away like a lost balloon? Does it shrivel, like skin drowned in water? Or starve you like a sadistic tape worm? Maybe it sticks to everything like melted cheese. Or sours and curdles like rank milk. Bloat like a stomach ache or swell like the throat of a toad? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Does it seep through crevices, choking like smoke in a forgotten room? Ache like the glance of a forgotten lover? Or like brittle bones, slowly aging over time? Does it evaporate—like sweat on a scorching hot day? Or maybe it changes like leaves in the fall? Slowly tumbling, discolored, to the ground. Does it echo in your mind like a lost child in a cave? “Help me! Help me. help me…
Does it flutter, awkwardly, away like a baby jay, or wallow, lazily, among the pigs? Slither away like a snake shedding old skin? Or wander amongst ships without ports? Maybe it rots like a corpse. Does it destroy the heart like losing one you love? Die down like embers in a fire, or stew up like hot coals stirred? Sear through your skin like white hot fire, or pierce through your ears like an off-tune choir? Maybe it just boils over, like a pot never watched. Does it speak in riddles, like a blind prophet? Brand the skin, burning and scarring the flesh? Or, like a body locked in a coffin, decay? Does it sting like injected poison—the needle rusty and bent? Cut like shattered glass under bare feet? Or smile and wave as it disappears down the street? Does it fray like the thread of life?
It may bind your soul like a Faustian deal.
Is it lonely—like the end of time?
Or suppress into a lump at the core— to eventually flare up and smolder? Does it whip at your face like a blizzard? Or scorch the skin with one little touch? Then carefully escape with nothing to clutch?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Does it tick away—just tick, just tick away—as the clock nears twelve? Or does it explode?
Ella Garbett 11
Black Sea Sara Locke
Catching my Breath
The dusty suburban wheezes into the gravel driveway as I rub the sleep from my eyes. My father turns to me with a grin that draws all the skin of his face up to his crinkling brown eyes, as if his skin had become blinds and his smile a window. “Ready?” I gather my suitcase and books and stagger through the sand to the house, an old building featuring a rotating cast of vacationing Chu’s. Further exposition seems in order. My father’s father is the quintessential Molokai man, and in his trademark goodwill-toward-men he offered us the homestead land at least once a year. My father himself is almost as clichéd a Hawaiian, lacking only the slow warm lilt of my Kupu’s pidgin accent to augment his easy-going surfer persona. As a meticulous musician, obsessive student prone to panic attacks, and overall supporter of the great indoors, I effectively shot that legacy in the face. But this summer was going to be different—I had a plan. I was going to kayak and snorkel with my plentiful cousins and eat vibrantly colored fish at Luaus and (please suppress your gasps of astonishment) I was going to do my AP summer assignments outside. Suffice it to say that reconciling myself with my heritage took a bit more work than I had anticipated. After a few weeks of exposure to the sweet Hawaiian sunlight, my light brown hair had turned a wild blonde and my skin was betraying me with a tan tinged more newsanchor orange than that of my cousins’ rich russet. Days passed and I looked more foreign than ever. But for the first time, I felt Hawaii. Every time I leaped from a waterfall or stood in the back of my uncle’s truck and screamed into the wind, I felt a shift. I was slowing down and relinquishing control. My guidebooks went neglected on the old driftwood nightstand as I hiked verdant tropical cliffs or romped through the surf with the poi dogs that wander the coast as nomads. Free from the intense focus that dominated my academic life, my mind could finally drift. I could lie stargazing on the beach as waves crashed and sand crabs scuttled and forget all the seriousness and cynicism that chained me to the earth. Native Hawaiians have a phrase for white people, Ha’ole, meaning “Without Breath.” The mainland preaches a world spinning so fast that a sprint is necessary just to hold your ground. It endorses a society in which we don’t slow down enough to suck in oxygen through our nostrils—forget any grandiose delusions of roses. But Molokai wrestled me from that race and taught me to appreciate my lungs. Inhaling the culture, I learned to exhale sincerity and compassion and genuine idealism for my potential and for my world’s potential. And perhaps this world really is spinning too fast for a flat-footed islander who sees the best in people. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help it slow down.
I saw sixteen skateboarders in the parking lot at the beach— Clickety-Clacking and smoking cigarettes And leaning on their cars—cars which look exactly like the cars Kids used to drive in high school; The cars you got from your grandfather who died or Your grandmother who didn’t drive anymore, That you covered in bumper stickers and displayed every Dent and scratch like war paint but it Still looked like a four door Ford Maverick with brown vinyl interior That matched the brown exterior. These were the cars they leaned on, or pushed off of to roll a lazy ollie Or cut off a lady walking her yappy little dogs. And when girls, or women, jogged by they froze for a second Some leaned and stared like hungry coyotes, under fed, salivating, Jabbing each other with bony, grubby elbows like the elbows of those Little kids in class whose mothers never scrubbed them down The ones with the backs of their necks the color of mud. Others push off the bumpers or hatchbacks and circle around Vulture-like to get a better look peaking out from tangled masses of Matted hair, not smiling, just looking. Except one, who stares at the biggest skate guy as he moves close And slow to a long-legged girl; Stares at him with a twisted, Hurt face like he wishes that he’d stop swerving toward her And rejoin him on the bumper. But these are not kids. They are not young. They are old, for being on a skateboard in a parking lot at the beach. 22, 23, maybe even 25. One, the jealous looking one, even has gray In his temples; they all have dark unshaven faces, Little pot bellies despite their scarred, skinny legs and arms.
Receding hair on one: front and back. The short ones could pass for fifteen, maybe. Until you look at them. And they never smile. Sometimes they would laugh, if one of them Fell, especially if he fell hard. Then they would laugh. But not Smile. Apparently all with the day off. I imagine that there once were seventeen sad, skateboarding boy-men. But that one met a girl. Maybe he met her while mowing a neighbor’s lawn for cigarette money, or He was introduced to her by well intentioned relative, a sister probably, But they met, and he tried smiling and she found him intriguing Saw something past the dirt, and leathery skin, and the pants that probably Never actually fit. I imagine he was without his board— and felt naked as an Old west gunfighter without his six-shooter—and that she did most of the talking. I imagine the other sixteen considered him some sort of traitor, a puss. And they all, each one of them, wondered what it was like to meet someone else, To fall in love, to leave the parking lot by the beach, to put the Skateboard into the corner of a garage and Let the cobwebs and dust take it over. But they would never, never tell the others that they thought about it; But maybe that’s why it was always quiet after a pretty girl jogged by—after they returned to a bumper and spit. Spit, and leaned, and went around in lazy circles Punctuated by sudden spastic movements that Clickety-clacked loudly or skipped off a curb, landing it, and Then gliding back to the group to wait for the next chick to go by, quickening Her pace, looking down or away from the men Who she thought were teenagers at first. The sixteen men who seemed to come from Nowhere, And seemed headed to Nowhere, And were expected, Nowhere.
Red People Jeff Schaefer
The Desert Bighorn Sheep Taylor Team
I Broke the Sky
Se me rompi贸 el cielo. I broke the sky, or rather, the sky broke on me. As everything always does. Crumbling, cracking, shattering. Loudly, boldy, and daringly breaking. I look up at the ceiling, and I can see the azure peices, crashing onto the floor. Even pushing further through. And then I realize, in my dreams, se me rompi贸 el cielo. I broke the sky.
Swami’s Beach Karin Velasco
Life is like a pair of shoes, You can’t choose a place and expect it to fit, And even if it seems long-lasting, You always find a way to wear it out, No matter how much you love it.
Seannie Bryan 19
Girl in the Shadows
A whisper, a word A meek “hello” ventured No reply in the silence A plea unheard. A yawn, a yearn A casual touch spurned No glance over a shoulder A smile unreturned A jeer, a leer A harsh, gripping fear No one sees her tremble No one sees her tears. A stare, a sight A quiet prayer at night No prayer ever answered A wrong never made right. A gasp, a groan A lonely, lonely moan She’s the girl in the shadows, A girl on her own.
Adam Nickerl 22
Memory of an Elephant Jeff Spanier
I guess it started with interstate driving. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. All you do is go in a straight line for ever and ever and ever and ever and sometimes there’s a turn. Thrilling. The I-5 can seem so long. It’s a smooth road – no rain or ice to do any sort of lasting damage to the grey pavement. I’ve stared at it long enough to know almost every crevice and bump in its leathery skin. The awkward pavement overlap on the far right lane before the 5-805 split, the nasty pot hole on the second to left-most lane before La Jolla Village Drive. After practically falling out of the driver’s seat about a billion times, especially when you’re in a van as big as mine, you make sure to avoid it. You have to find ways to amuse yourself on the long haul between Carlsbad and Coronado. The radio’s gotten to be a great friend of mine. My old companion and I have spent a lot of time singing to each other. That day, I felt like I’d had enough of trashy dance music about how he’d only come for the “ladies and the drinks,” and the NPR guys kept blabbering about some crazy important football coach who had ‘passed away.’ Damn euphemisms. People die; it’s okay to just say it. But we’re getting there. Anyways, I instead turned to channel 88.3: all jazz music, all the time. People would laugh if I told them I liked the stuff, and Patrick thinks he’s some sort of intellectual cause he can name a few famous jazz singers. Unfortunately, the jazz wasn’t a big improvement from what I’d come from. Two alto sax players were blasting two discordant melodies which had nothing to do with each other. Seriously, it sounded like two band kids before class screwing around er, I’m sorry, ‘warming up.’ Maybe that’s what the artists were going for, and if so, believe me, they nailed it. Despite the train wreck inside my ear canals, I kept the radio on. At least I was listening to something other than Nicki Manaj growling about her ‘homies’ and how much weed she smokes. After an eternity on cruise control, with the occasional break to make way for the prince in the pickup who thought he owned the road, I finally made it to the Coronado Bridge exit. Now that is a true feat of engineering. Big, blue, and busy, the bridge connects the city and the Coronado peninsula. Apparently, it floats on these huge pillars which can float out of the bay in the event it becomes a target, to allow the navy ships to leave the bay. Dizzyingly tall, it takes all my concentration to distract myself from how high up you are. I’m afraid of heights, you see.
One thing I have to say though, it’s… Beautiful isn’t exactly the right word… Breathtaking, to see at night. You just look around and see every single light from La Jolla to Tijuana, and then above you is the night sky, and you feel like you’re in an ice cold planetarium, staring into the night sky, and it’s staring back, and for a minute you feel really small, but really huge at the same time. You just feel proud to be human. Unfortunately, the minute only lasts, well, a minute, and then you come back down to earth, safe and sound. One thing I always thought was funny - in a ‘gee-that’s-interesting-in-a-darksort-of-way’ not the ‘haha-wow-that’s-really-funny’ way – was the suicide hotline signs before you get on the bridge. They confused me, at first, but then I realized
how tall the bridge is, and how easy it would be to ‘accidently’ slip and fall into the salty torrent underneath it. God, it’s a long way down. So there I was, coming into Coronado. Lovely, quaint little neighborhood, if you ask me. I’ve always thought of it as a residential island in the metropolitan sea of San Diego. You go straight from a bustling, urban, honking, concrete, homeless-ridden jungle to a town you could have plucked out of suburban Illinois or Delaware. I passed the then-open bridge checkpoint and made my way down the winding one-way to the center of town. I was meeting a girl near the school. She’s a real catch, named Debbie. I always thought of ‘Debbie’ as an old fashioned name more likely heard in a Bingo hall than a high school, but I wasn’t meeting her for her name. Damn, she’s gorgeous. She’s got these big bronze eyes, and this long blonde-dyed hair. She’s got a marvelous figure; she’s a little on the chubby side, not what Victoria’s Secret tells me
to like, but maybe that’s why I like it. It’s my own private rebellion against those French bozos in berets who always direct their commercials. She’s got a great backside. Don’t even get me started, jeez; I could go on for a while about hers. It’s funny though. She’s not really the sharpest tool in the shed. I like a girl who can understand the difference between Austria and Australia, at the bare minimum. Also, she texts with those annoying abbreviations a lot of the time. “lol u are so funny!” I can’t stand it when a girl does that. I like a girl who knows how to write eloquently. Paige wrote eloquently. But, yeah, let’s not talk about her. I pulled up to the address near the school Debbie gave me, and lo and behold, there she was. She gave a kind of excited wave, which bothered me for some reason. Her hands were funny, and here, too, I mean they were ‘funny’ in strange but interesting way. Her thumbs were too big. My grandpa had big thumbs. Huge thumbs, I swear, they were practically as thick as a half-dollar coin. I
can’t look at a girl as if she’s my grandpa. Not that I cared too much at that point. If you know you’re going to hook up with a girl, you tend to forget about the whole grandpa-thumb thing. Sometimes it’s great to be a teenager. With all the hormones and societal pressure to have a significant other, girls practically jump up and down to get close to a boy. Or girl, if they roll that way. Well, up she ran to the car. I was feeling pretty suave with my driving shades on and sitting in my maroon van. School had just gotten out, and I felt like I had to show everyone I was a cool kid from another school. Foreigners are always cool, even if your homeland is forty five minutes away. “Hey, Max, you got here quick!” She also had this high pitched voice, which was sweet at first, but turned sour pretty fast. I prefer a nice alto. “Traffic was good. Practically no one on the roads.” I abhor small talk. That probably affects why I hate teen dating so much. By the time people mature enough
to have an intelligent, direct conversation, they leave for college and get adult lives and drink and read big kid books and think they’re better than you and all that jazz. Or something like that. “Oh, cool,” she put her hand on the door frame, her too-large sweater spilling over her knuckles, “so where are we going?” “Wherever you want, I don’t know Coronado too well. What do the cool kids do on a Friday afternoon?” I’d used that line before, but not on her. Another reason teen dating sucks. Why can’t we just live alone so we can go somewhere private and quiet and watch something and maybe start making out? That’s all a lot of us really want anyhow, though I’m probably a drag for admitting it. Here’s where things got kind of sketchy. The freshmen scream a lot, in a giddy, excited sort of way. But this was a different kind of scream.
Stilts by Kathleen Dooley
It sounds cliché, but the hair literally stands up on the back of your neck. In retrospect, we probably looked like a pack of meerkats; we all turned hour heads toward the school, eyes suddenly sharp. God, it was silent, for just a second though. Then the girl started screaming again, louder this time, and more desperate. I opened my car door and stood on the step; Debbie curled herself closer to the car. Again, we probably looked like a bunch of baboons, with our big red cheeks flared and our brows sitting low on our faces. Even the pine trees seemed to face toward the screaming, and it felt as though the electric shock of it all had aligned the browning pine needles on the ground like iron around a magnet. It’s funny the things you remember from those split second moments. If only everything in life were that way. Why does it take tragedy to take snapshots of life? Kids started running. Not everyone in the street at once, but in groups and waves. I shot a glance at Debbie and we both headed for the sound. I’m not sure if it was morbid curiosity or heroism, but I had to know what happened. God, I’m glad there was a crowd. People are funny, kids especially. If there’s a crowd, we feel exactly what they feel. Despite years of teachers and parents and books telling you to be an individual thinker, as soon as a bunch of individuals get together, we just become one organism. In this instance, the organism felt true horror. God, I felt cold, and I didn’t even know what was going on. We had all funneled into this concrete alleyway behind the football field bleachers. Behind me, I could hear more grass-muffled pounding as more people wormed their way into the animal. At the heart of the crowd, the girl kept screaming, and it was spreading. The virus penetrated us. Others started to yell. “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ…” One big tall boy threw his arms over his head and shoved his way out of the crowd. He had to get away from the wound. The organism’s blood circulated, and Debbie and I were maneuvered into an area where we could see the wound. Jesus Christ… I’m sorry, it’s just… I’d never seen anything like it before. You see
videos on Youtube or the internet of people getting hit by cars and flying like ragdolls, or people with broken limbs, and you feel the pull in the pit of your stomach, but this… Jesus. Sorry for being so sacrilegious, but I have to fill my head with something other than this. The first thing I noticed was the blood. And then there were the ribs. And the brains. I have to stop, I’m going to puke just thinking about it. I noticed a few other kids already had. They sat pale-faced on the outskirts of the crowd. I felt numb. Debbie’s sweater was so soft. Everything was in chaos, but I couldn’t really sense any of it. Kids were running towards, away, standing still, screaming, swearing, praying, silently holding their hands over their mouths, closing their eyes, hugging their friends, crying, shaking, seizing, squirming, seething, oozing, weeping, dropping jaws, dropping books, dropping arms, dropping onto the ground. There was this teacher guy that came in across the way from me then. He kept yelling something and crawled his way to the bloody gash in the pavement. He had this really thick, wavy black hair and this great beard. It really was – a beautiful beard I mean. He was slim, with these thick-rimmed, black glasses. He looked adamant at first, but you could see his face melt, and then freeze up again, all in a millisecond. He whipped off this forest green jacket from his back in one fluid motion and threw it over the quickly congealing scab on the concrete. He hoisted the alien up into his arms, and without saying anything, rushed out of the little arena we’d formed. Boy, did the kids across from me part. They recoiled alright, but I’m not sure if it was from respect, necessity, or just sheer terror. Another cliché, I know, but it all happened so fast. I looked at Debbie. She was sobbing and shaking, clinging to my arm, though I’d only noticed it then. The kids started talking then. There was a boy, with red hair and this booming voice, who said after a stream of obscenities, “Didja see? That was James! James Castle! I know, I know, holy cow, holy cow… What? Yeah, I was there! With Katie over there, we were just walking and boom! He just comes outta the sky! I heard some yelling first though, and there were these boys up
there with him, and they were yelling and… holy cow.” That’s what really got to me. James Castle. I knew him. Well, I didn’t really know him, per se, but I recognized the name. Debbie knew him. I came to see a show they did, The Wedding Singer, at her school, and James was an usher. I looked him right in the eye. He gave me a program. I only remember him cause Debbie invited him to come sit with us during the show on the right side of the theater, back row. He didn’t say anything the whole time, he just sat there, with his tiny little wrists – yeah, yeah, tiny wrists. He was so skinny, yeah, I remember, with this white collared shirt that his neck didn’t fill, so he looked like some sort of big turtle. At the end of the show, he just bolted right out of there; I barely had a chance to say it was nice to meet him. God, think about that, how many other people have I forgotten to say bye to? After that, things really got blurry. Obviously, Debbie wasn’t looking forward to a date out with me. Everyone there just needed to go home. People dispersed slowly. A couple of staff members and the principal came running to the scene, soon to be followed by cops and an ambulance, and I didn’t want to have to stay. It probably wasn’t the best idea in the world, running away from the scene of something like that, but I just didn’t know what else to do. As a teenager, when you see authority figures running toward you, everything just says ‘go.’ Debbie and I got in my car and sped down the road a ways. I just sort of stopped the car next to the curb for a while. Debbie and I both didn’t know what to do. She cried and I sat there. The quiet was too loud. What right did the birds have to chirp, or the car engine to tick-tick cool, or my nose to make a whooshing noise, after what just happened? I kind of put my hand out for a second, for Debbie, and she latched on. It was a weak hold though; I knew she just wanted to get home. I dropped her off, and made my way home too. God, it’s weird, I was just so numb. I crossed the Coronado Bridge in the blink of an eye; I had made it all the way to the Poinsettia Aviara Parkway exit after a few seconds. It was like the road didn’t exist. It felt so fluid and smooth. No bump or awkward patching in the
road made a difference after what had happened. I got home and did the usual. Talked to my parents - I love them. Parents are great. You can say anything to them, and no matter what, you’re still their kid, and I’m lucky enough to have them love me all the time. I cried a bit, and threw myself into bed to try to get away from it all after a couple hours of talking to my parents and everything. We talked a lot, but I guess that’s not what I’m telling you about, so I’ll just leave it at that. It helped me though, it really did. I guess not enough, though… The weekend passed slowly. I just stayed in for the next few days. Debbie didn’t text me, so I had to turn to the internet to figure out what had happened. Two news stories, a video, and a ton of Facebook statuses later, I pieced the whole thing together. This’ll make you sick, it really will. James Castle jumped off the bleachers himself. Fifty feet he fell, right down to the spot where the red headed boy and Katie had been standing. This wasn’t a simple suicide though (is suicide ever simple?), he wasn’t alone up there. They interviewed this kid, Peter something-orother, who was up on the bleachers with a few other people when he jumped. God, I can barely even say it. This boy, Phil Stabile, heard James thought he was conceited. Phil was some big shot lacrosse player, who, by the look of his Facebook pictures, was obviously on some sort of performance enhancers. In all of them, he’s in some tank top with girls in bikinis with too much makeup on, and he always has a red plastic cup in his hand, and, jeez, I had to stop looking at them, I was so mad. Anyhow, Phil cornered James with six of his buddies at the top of the bleachers. According to the Peter kid and the people he was with, Phil just started whaling on James. I’m serious. They kept shouting at him, about being some sort of queer or gay or something. He probably wasn’t, but that’s all Phil and his idiot thugs could come up with probably. A lot of his injuries were probably from Phil, and not the fall, according to Peter. And then, in the midst of it all, according to Peter, James managed to pick himself up, run up the bleachers, and just jump. Can you believe it? Cause I sure
can’t. All this they tell us about bullies, and then some bozo like this comes along. Phil. He’s just a shaved ape, that’s all he is. He’s just a gorilla. I can’t think of words horrible enough to describe him. And then we get to why I’m here. Teenagers are idiots. We like to think we’re so intelligent, and have some sort of unique view of the world, but not really. Most teenagers are just followers. They just assume they know why everything happens. I got to school early today. Sleep wasn’t really happening for me this weekend. So of course, suicide spreads like a wildfire in a high school. Suddenly, everyone thinks they’re an expert on the person. “Did you hear about the boy in Coronado? Hung himself…” “That boy from Clairemont? I definitely know a guy who was friends
Damn idiot, if you ask me. What a selfish sonuvagun. He only has himself to blame, I don’t even feel sorry for him. He can rot in Hell for all I care, committing suicide.” I swung around and hit him right in the eye socket. I’d never hit anyone like that before. There was a sickening crunch, but I couldn’t tell if it came from my fist or his head, at the time. It was on the stairs, so he fell backward onto a thousand kids, who all looked up and saw me standing there. I really caused a mess, and I knew it right away. Mrs. Kay saw the whole thing. She brought me here. So, I guess, I’m sorry. Actually, I’m not sorry. I’m sorry I got caught. I shouldn’t have punched him, but at the same time, what else was I supposed to do? You can’t talk to the apes. They can’t communicate. To them, there’s nothing outside their own heads. All they do is roam around and abuse kids and beat them up and corner them and make them jump off bleachers. I shouldn’t talk like this. I just don’t know what to do with myself right now. I’m just so shocked at humanity. Teenagers especially. What are we? I’m just… scared. What comes after all this? There are still apes, and there are still people. I’m almost an adult – is this how life is? It’s… It’s like the interstate? You keep driving and driving, and it stays pretty much the same usually, and you get used to every little crevice and dip, until you come across a ten car pile-up, because some prince in a pickup decides everything has to be his way, and you see brains and guts from guys like James Castle smeared over the road? Wait a second – maybe that’s it. Teenagers and adults aren’t so different. We’re just smaller and less knowledgeable and less wise. I guess, maybe, there’s always going to be teenagers stuck in adult bodies, and you just have to keep driving. Eventually you’ll get to a bridge somewhere, and see everything shining, and maybe feel really proud to be alive. I guess by feeling this… shame… it reminds you how proud you can feel. Maybe. I’m just trying to figure this all out. I’m just a kid, after all.
It’s funny the things you remember from those split-second moments. If only everything in life was that way. Why does it take tragedy to take snapshots of life? with him. Really sad, how he killed himself cause of all the pressure from classes…” “Oh my God, I hear his parents beat him.” Everyone needs to just keep to the facts. If they don’t know what’s happening, they should just shut their traps. I’m not saying they shouldn’t feel bad, or deal with it in their own way, but rumors are disgusting. Especially when another shaved ape decides they know what the person should have done. That’s why I’m here. I didn’t even know the kid. It was between classes. Everyone is packed into the hall like sardines, and all their hot, heavy breath hangs over you. He was just standing right behind me. “Yeah, yeah, I heard of the kid.
It’s All in My Head
My pulse beat all the way through the ends of my fingertips; I had wrapped my hands a bit too meticulously, it seemed. As I stood in the gym, the weight of the punching bags hung from my every limb, urging me to shy away, forcing me to feel every blow I had taken at them once. Boxing gloves in hand, summer-calloused bare feet firm, worn black leather hanging lifelessly in front of me; I was ready. And I was afraid. This was the place. The place I knew I must conquer to vindicate myself from not only the bonds of my health, but the limitations I had set for myself as well. I approached the bag—old friends—telling me to leave, run back to an Advil and a nap. Back to succumbing to my new life. But this time, I was not going to give in to the weight; I was not going to quit. This time was the first time I was not acting for the mass in my head, but against it—for me. My teeth ripped through the velcro, securing the gloves on each hand. And I hit—one, two, hook, uppercut, uppercut. Fake, one, two. Repeat, and kick. Fatigue begged me to retreat, but I clouded out her pleas. Jab, cross, hook, jab, cross. Five kicks, ten kicks, fifty, one hundred. If only I could keep going, keep fighting—I could push against everything that had been tearing me down. Against not only the headaches, and the physical inabilities that kept me away from this second home, but the hours spent in waiting rooms; the hours spent wide awake. Against relationships I had broken and heartache I had found—against hours spent in fear of the life I had lost, in fear of the inevitable one I would face. I was fighting against all the tears I had cried, but tears for what? For fear? For uncertainty? for headaches that weren’t mine, for abilities I’d lost, for the strained relationships I hadn’t asked for; for my struggling faith, for a life I never wanted? For this brain tumor? My brain tumor. If only I could keep fighting—keep hitting, I could trick my muscles into remembering the old routine. Trick my mind into cooperating. If I could do this and fight off the pain that kept me from tying up my delicate but hardened hands, then I could not only return to doing what I love, but I could break the manifestation of my struggles, now swinging vehemently in front of me, no longer lifeless, but a monster. I could liberate myself from all the fear and doubt which I had been facing, and instead move forward—coping with the free fall of my new reality and hoping, in peace, for the rescue. I could be free of the tumor’s hold on my life, and focus on a new life ahead—a different life, undoubtedly, but different because I would be stronger. I am stronger. I am ready. I am free.
It’s All in My Head Kathleen Dooley
Light Upon the Dunes Taylor Team
Just Keep Swimming Hannah Evans
In the Minds of the Planets
They sat there, silent. Always silent. They were dead inside, eyes blank. Slowly, they walked in circles as they always did. As they always had. All but one, and that one had to look out at the others constantly, looking into those blank, blank eyes. Earth, it was called. Earth looked healthy, full. Unlike all the other Planets. Some were big and some were small, but all were thin, thin, thin. Their eyes reflected their colors, but all dulled, blank. Their skin was just as pale, their lips cracked from dehydration, except Mars. Mars was the second most alive. Mars occasionally flicked a glance Earth’s way, like there was something there, just below the surface. Mars was so, so cold, but some times got as warm as parts of Earth. That’s when Earth felt the least alone. When Earth looked up and saw its Moon, everything seemed better. It’d send out a little ship it built, throwing it to the nearby child that made its own circles around it. When a person got to his Moon, Moon would light up. Suddenly, its empty smile would turn into a big grin, and they could talk. Moon and Earth would be the only sounds in the big, big black room, until the people had to go back to Earth. Little Moon would gently throw the rocket back, and the second they left, the light would again fade from its eyes. Then Earth would be alone. So. Alone. From time to time, one of the other Planets would reach over, at a speed Earth could barely imagine, and rip a piece of its own flesh off, then throw it. Earth would cringe, learning through time to wait with bated breath for it to hit him. But Jupiter would reach out and grab it or let it hit him. Jupiter would catch whatever came his way, occasionally throwing it to aim for their giant mother, Sun, but coming close to Earth. Only once did anything ever hit, but that was long, long ago. Recently, Mars began talking to Earth. It’s all something Earth’s people did, but it makes it feel better. Mars speaks to it, near-silent with the voice of only two drones whispering to it. Mars wasn’t really there. Its eyes were still blank, blank, blank. Soon, maybe not. But for now, it was still so alone. Just Earth, speaking with the voice of seven billion in that big, big, black, room. It could only hear itself, but there had to be more, right? It couldn’t be all alone. There had to be… someone…
One can easily go unnoticed. Become a nobody, In a crowd of somebodies. Fail where others shine, And cease to exist, Where people thrive. Its easy to go unnoticed, Harder to disappear entirely. And its easy to fall, Ever so slowly, Into oblivion. Vanishing among billions, Of others like you, Who seem to shine true. To be gone from here, When others are near. To believe, Instead of grieve, For talents not possessed by you. But soon you see, There are many nobodies. And it might, Be easy to disappear, After all.
Zane Becker 36
It was a typical day: typically getting shoved in lockers and called numerous names (Strange Stephen seemed to be the most popular one). As the day goes on, so does my torture and humiliation by other students. But I’m used to it, I guess. The picture of my parents in my pocket usually helps me get through the day—some more than others. When I look at it, the picture, reminds me of the reason why I let myself endure all of this. The only two people I ever care about pleasing are them—my parents. They always tell me to not worry about those kids and how I don’t need friends like them. They won’t help me get into college. Only I can help myself. Most of the time I don’t even bother trying to make friends (considering the people who want to be my “friends” only do it to humiliate me in some way). Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if there must be something terribly wrong with me. I know I’m not exactly normal—I mean being born with minor autism is a huge contributor to the cause—but does that make me extremely abnormal? A freak? Who knows. Being undesired and unwelcomed in high school isn’t exactly an ego buster. As far as being intellectual, I would consider myself (as well as multiple psychologists) very literate and a deep thinker. But somehow, the kid sitting next to me with a 1.7 GPA, who thinks picking his nose, is the funniest thing in the entire world still finds ways to instigate; humiliate me. The day wasn’t starting out so bad. I got ninety-seven percent one my calculus test, as well as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my favorite), and a huge jug of chocolate milk in my lunch provided by my wonderful mother. 6th period is when it all started. Gym has never been my best subject—(many of the other students have clearly noticed this). Most of the time I have trouble concentrating. “Sup Strange Stevey!” Bernard yelled over to me. He’s captain of the swim team. One of the biggest culprits of my depression and anxiety. “H-hello Bernard,”—I have a little bit of a stutter—“How’s it g-goin’?” “You gonna finally climb that rope today Stevey? We’ve all been dyin’ to see how the freak does it. Everyone’s got bets on this one.” The swim team is always looking for new ways to humiliate me. I hate the rope—I hate everything about gym class. I try to skip this period when I can but the teacher says that my grade has been slipping. “Y-yes, I have to climb it. I th -think today’s the last day for it.” Unfortunately. I hate it when he does this to me. Does he not see that I’m only trying to get by? “Well get to it Stevey. I’m tired of waitin’ round, lessgo.” Bernard scared me: He was about 6’2 and had a very deep voice. Every time he told me to do something I was afraid he would beat me up if I didn’t do it. So I started to climb: I grabbed the rope and looked up. I thought to myself just one leg after the other. You’ll do fine. As I’m about a quarter of the way up the rope, Bernard takes me by the pants and pulls them down. “Hey everyone look! Strange Stephen’s pants are ‘round his ankles!” All the students started crowding around me. I was having an anxiety attack. I started to cry and panic. I couldn’t get down. “P-p-please go away! I-I c-c-can’t get d-down!” you could barely hear what I was trying to say, I was crying so much. Finally a teacher came to help me down. He told me to take the rest of the day and go home. I was still bawling. Looking at my picture didn’t help much. As I was walking through the hall a kid shouted at me “Why don’t you just disappear already? Nobody likes you here.” That really hurt. Nobody likes me? I haven’t done anything wrong—I’ve never done anything wrong. Is it because I’m different? I’m a little bit slower than everyone else? I wouldn’t be so bullied if I had friends…at least one friend. A friend who would stick up for me, watch out for me—understands me. Maybe the disappearance of my existence would be best. It’s not like anyone would miss me (except my parents). What if they too, are embarrassed? Do they ever wish they had a normal son? I would (continued on next page)
(continued from previous page) never wish anyone to have a child like me. If my parents had a normal child they could also live normal lives. I feel guilty—holding them back from their full potentials. I don’t do it purposely, but I do it anyway. I don’t want to live this way anymore. So I started cleaning out my locker. Of my books, notebooks, homework, gym clothes. Of everything. I wouldn’t want my poor Mom to have to go through the pain of having to cleaning it out. The books were very heavy, and I had a long walk home. I started thinking of ways to make it look like an accident—nobody would be home (both of my parents work very late), so I had some time to think. If only that rope had somehow killed me. In front of everyone. Maybe then they would finally feel sorry for me… but I doubt it. Some of the swim team had decided to follow me home. I could just feel them getting closer to me. They caught up to me and knocked all of my books out of my arms. “Go on! Pick ‘em up, freak! Go on!” As I started to pick them up, one of the bigger ones grabbed me by the collar. Here came the punch. Hopefully they will beat me to death. There was some kid across the street watching what was about to happen. The big guy only got in about two punches before the kid said something. “Hey! What the hell are you guys doin’ to him! Get off of him! Why don’t you fellas go pick on someone your own size.” I guess that won’t be the thing to end my life. This kid was sort of tall, had quite a build on him actually, brown medium length hair. Bigger than the dude who was beating on me. “Come on guys, let’s just get outta here. The twerp is this guy’s problem now.” One of the more intelligent boys’ suggested. The nice kid helped me pick up my books as they walked away. “Thanks for helping me.”—the first time anyone had decided to do so. “No problem. Those guys are real jerks. I’m Christopher. But you can just call me Chris.” “I’m St-Stephen.” “Well Stephen, can I help you carry these?” He was a very nice boy. “Uh sure, thanks.” We started talking on our way to my house. He’s very intelligent. We both enjoy Shakespeare and Stephen King, Mozart and Beethoven. I never recalled seeing him around school anywhere. He must’ve gone to a different school. But did I ever enjoy his company. “Hey Stephen, do you mind me asking why you are carrying all your books home on a Tuesday?” It was a very good question. I suddenly didn’t know what I was doing. If I continued my plans when I got home, I probably would never have another chance to talk to Chris again. I really liked Chris, and I would hate for him to be terribly upset. “I don’t know.” I answered him. Chris doesn’t make fun of me. He doesn’t tease me, or humiliate me. Could Chris be my friend? I wasn’t sure. I’ve never had a friend before. Is this what it feels like? Having common likes? Dislikes? Maybe. All I knew was that I wasn’t feeling so depressed anymore. The day was bad—and now better. Chris and I became very close throughout high school years. The school administration had chosen me as valedictorian for senior graduation. Me? Valedictorian? I couldn’t even begin to think what my speech was going to say. I started to ponder some ideas in my head: I, Stephen Scholts, am greatly honored to have been asked to represent our class of ’78…We have all been through the ups and downs (me more so the downs) but in the end, we’ve stuck it out together… Yeah, that would be a good way to start. But most of all I would be sure to thank Chris—for helping me at the lowest point in my life. I continued thinking: And first and foremost, I would love to thank Christopher Hobbs. You helped me in my desperate time of need. Because of you, I have lived long and happy days past my points of despair. Because of you, I have someone to call “my best friend”. Because of you, I am still living, and I am eternally grateful.
Falling with You
I'm falling through water, Through glass, Through ice. That's what its like, Being near you. Falling through fire, Through metal, Through stone, Just thinking about you. I've lost myself along the way. Falling through sky, Through sea, Through space. Searching for a clear answer, But each is more abstract. I'm falling through page, Through pen, Through ink, And slipping silently away. And replacing myself, With someone new. All because, I'm falling away from myself, From who I used to be, From everything. And when I'm with you, I'm still falling; But this time, I'm looking for a landing. So at last I can stop falling, Through laughter, Through tears, And through pain.
Do you remember? The way you could put a smile on my face It wasn’t long ago Sometimes it feels like yesterday Do you remember? How you could make my fears vanish Well, it wasn’t too long ago Sometimes it doesn’t seem so distant Do you remember? When I would look to you for all the answers I don’t think it was too long ago Sometimes I can feel it in my dreams Do you remember? The times you told me you loved me I do I guess it was a long time ago Sometimes it still feels real That’s the truth. . . I once called you my hero Remember what we have been through I don’t know who you are anymore But I know you’re not my sister
Mother and Son
Danielle Mooney 43
The harsh edges of my personality stick out my mind filled with a thoughtless drought The hands on the clock point to me as nameless faces drift out to sea. “I’m not who you think I am” my words come out fast Although time, never forgets its past.
The sun gives its warmth When cold, there is always light 20-20, eminence sight Be quick before the morph Others just can't wait Don't look directly because it disintegrates The moon loves starry eyes True but nobody gets close The beauty that glows Waiting for the other to rise look and feel, you will find one it's either the moon or the sun It's only in the eclipse For a moment they intermix Giving life or giving death The first or final breath
Illuminations Creative Staff Editor-in-chief Alex Gnibus
Design editor Shannon Casey
Assistant editors Allie Gordon Jessica Jenkins
From the Editors: You are holding in your hands the very first Illuminations ever published. Weâ€™d like to thank all the artists, writers and photographers who contributed content, the teachers who supported us, the businesses who bought ads from us, and most importantly, readers like you. You all have played a part in the creation of something that will continue to have an impact for generations of CHS students to come. This issue is dedicated to the artists, writers and photographers whose work goes unnoticed, and to the people who notice them. Never stop what youâ€™re doing. The world is much more beautiful with your work in it, and with people there to appreciate it. By the way, if you read this magazine, that dedication is for you, too. Because by reading Illuminations, youâ€™re noticing the talent of the peers around you that might otherwise have gone unrecognized. Once again, thank you for making Illuminations possible for the first year in Carlsbad history. This magazine illuminates CHS talent for all to see, and we hope it always will.
Illuminations volume 1, Carlsbad High School literary magazine