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The Marble Collection

tmc

Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts


•   College Courses for  High School Students •   Summer Young Artist  Residency Program For High School Juniors and Seniors

•   Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)  Animation | Art History | Fine Arts Design | Illustration | Photography Merit Scholarships for new BFA students

•   Advanced Professional Certificate (2 year)  Design | Illustration | Animation

•   Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Visual Arts—Low-Residency Program

•   Summer Workshops/Residencies for Art Educators

Experience AIB Life, Art, and Creative Solutions

The Art Institute of Boston (AIB) at Lesley University has a unique approach to educating artists and designers, giving students the freedom to pursue their individual strengths and interests through interdisciplinary studio options that foster creative problem solving and idea generation, all balanced with real-world projects. Extensive liberal arts offerings, activities, and quality housing at Lesley University give AIB students the best of both worlds: intensive study in the visual arts and the benefits of a larger University. Small classes, accessible faculty, and excellent facilities provide in-depth preparation for a career as an artist or designer.

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www.aiboston.edu/discover

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No tourist photos allowed! It’s the first rule of RWU’s mini-mester course on travelblogging in Ireland. Held every two years, this travelblogging course alternates between Dublin and Western Ireland, and urges students to look beyond the touristy vibe to capture the true essence of their trip. During 12 days of touring, RWU students capture their experiences in words and photos before converting them into their personal travelblogs. Interested? Blogs from the last mini-mester trip can be found at http:// travelbloggingireland. blogspot.com. Our students captured their ah-ha moments. What will you do?

www.rwu.edu

One Old Ferry Road • Bristol, RI 02809 (800) 458-7144 • (401) 254-3500

admit@rwu.edu 3

discover yourself

what will you do?

themarblecollection.org

Jill

Class of 2007 Visual Arts and Communications


The Marble Collection

Spring 2011

tmc

Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts inspiration • creativity • community


TMC: ABOUT US W H AT I S T H E M A R B L E C O L L E C T I O N ? The Marble Collection, Inc. is an educational nonprofit organization that biannually publishes a print and digital magazine of the arts comprised of Massachusetts secondar y students’ literature, art, music, and video works. *** M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T To improve academic performance and achievement among Massachusetts secondar y students, including those with limited access to educational resources, by implementing a biannual print and digital magazine of the arts, which includes student works of literature, art, music, and video; To enhance students’ educational and social development by creating an online venue that promotes an exchange within the humanities sector, while encouraging the practice of safe social networking skills; To familiarize students with the professional publishing process through mentoring workshops that focus on both the creation of work and the editorial stages; To distribute classroom bundles of 25 magazines biannually to all Massachusetts secondar y schools, allowing students to review the work of their peers at the state level.

TMC: STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LITERATURE EDITOR

ART JUROR

PHOTOGRAPHY JUROR LAYOUT / DESIGN WEBMASTER 2

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Deanna Elliot Joy Brennan Melanie McCarthy M e l i s s a To n i Joy Brennan Melanie McCarthy M e l i s s a To n i Kelly Dillon Deanna Elliot Raj Ajrawat


TMC: PARTICIPANTS SPECIAL THANKS Abington, Academy of Notre Dame, Acton-Boxborough Regional, Advanced Math and Science Academy, Agawam, Amherst, Andover, Archbishop Williams, Attleboro, Auburn, Austin Preparatory, Ayer, B.M.C. Durfee, Bartlett, Belmont Hill, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter, Berkshire School, Beverly, Bishop Feehan, Bishop Stang, Blackstone-Millville, Boston University Academy, BridgewaterRaynham Regional, Brimmer and May, Bristol County Agricultural, Bromley Brook, Burlington, Burncoat, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Cape Cod Regional Voc Tech, Carver, Central Catholic, Chatham, Chelsea, Chicopee Academy, Chicopee Comprehensive, Chicopee, Cohasset, Commonwealth School, Concord-Carlisle Regional, Dartmouth, Dover-Sherborn Regional, Dracut Senior, Eashampton, Everett, Falmouth, Fitcburg, Framingham, Francis Parker Charter Essential, Frontier Regional, Gardner, Global Learning Charter, Gloucester, Granby, Greater Lowell Tech, Greater New Bedford Regional Voc Tech, GrotonDunstable Regional, Groton School, Hartsbrook Waldorf, Harwich, Haverhill Alternative, Holliston, Holyoke Catholic, Hopkins Academy, Housatonic Academy, Ipswich, Joseph Case, Lee, Leicester, Lexington Christian Academy, Lexington, Lincoln Alternative, Lincoln-Sudbury

Regional, Longmeadow, Lowell Catholic, Lowell, Lynn Voc Tech Institute, Malden Catholic, Malden, Mansfield, Marblehead, Marshfield, Maynard, McCann Tech, Medway, Melrose, Milford, Millis, Milton Academy, Minnechaug Regional, Minuteman Career and Tech, Montrose School, Mt. Greylock Regional, Nauset Regional, Needham, Newton Country Day, Nipmuc Regional, North Attleboro, North Reading, Northampton, Northbridge, Norwood, Oakmont Regional, Old Rochester Regional, Oliver Ames, Palmer, Peabody Veterans Memorial, Pentucket Regional, Phillips Academy, Pioneer Valley Christian, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts, Putnam Voc Tech, Quaboag Regional, Randolph, Reading Memorial, St. Bernard’s Central Catholic, Salem, Seekonk, Sharon, Silver Lake Regional, Smith Academy, Somerville, South Hadley, South Shore Charter, Southbridge, Springfield High School of Commerce, St. Mary, St. Peter Marian, Stoneleigh Burnham, Sturgis Charter, Sutton, Taconic, Tantasqua Regional, Taunton, The Clark School, The Governor’s Academy, The Waring School, Trinity Day Academy, Uxbridge, Walnut Hill, Waltham, Ware, Wareham Cooperative, West Springfield, Westfield, Westford Academy, Wilbraham Monson Academy, Williston Northampton, Winchester

TMC: SUBMIT NEXT ISSUE / WINTER 2011-12 WINTER-ISSUE SUBMISSION PERIOD 09.01.11- 11.30.11 To submit please visit: www.themarblecollection.org/submit TMC Spring 2011

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TMC: SUBSCRIBE CLASSROOM BUNDLE (25 copies per issue)

ONE-YEAR SINGLE COPY

$150.00 $20.00 $10.25

To subscribe or purchase additional copies please visit: www.themarblecollection.org/subscribe Or mail a check payable to The Marble Collection, Inc. to:

The Marble Collection: Subscriptions 202 Main Street Lakeville, MA 02347

TMC: ADVERTISE The Marble Collection is a one of a kind recruitment tool that maintains a distinct presence in and outside the classroom, with a diverse print and digital circulation. Over 80% of Massachusetts high school students proceed to postsecondary education following graduation. Each issue captures the attention of thousands of these eager learners. We i n v i t e y o u t o j o i n u s i n o u r c o m m i t m e n t t o c o m m u n i t y enrichment through the literary and creative arts by advertising on our pages. Reach your target audience and showcase the unique programs your educational institution has to offer in The Marble Collection: Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts! NEXT ISSUE / WINTER 2011-12 Closing Date for Reservations: Copy Date: Pu b l i c a t i o n D a t e :

December 16, 2011 December 30, 2011 Fe b r u a r y 1 , 2 0 1 2 ( a p p r o x i m a t e )

Reservations and inquires should be sent to: themarblecollection@gmail.com To learn more please review The Marble Collection: Media Kit by visiting: www.themarblecollection.org/advertise

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TMC: SPONSORS C o r i n t h i a n I n s u r a n c e A g e n c y, I n c . *** The Marble Collection, Inc. is supported in part by grants from the below local cultural councils, local agencies which are supported by the M a s s a c h u s e t t s C u l t u r a l C o u n c i l , a s t a t e a g e n c y. Abington, Acton-Boxborough, Ashburnham, Belmont, Burlington, Car ver, Chatham, Dar tmouth, Deer field, Dracut, Eastham, Fall River, Groton, Har wich, Holden, Holliston, Lakeville, Leicester, Malden, Mattapoisett, Medway, Natick, Needham, Ne w Bedford, Nor thbridge, Nor wood, Randolph, Sharon, Sutton, West Ne wbur y, Westford, Wilbraham, Wi lmington *** SPONSOR-A-SCHOOL The Marble Collection, Inc. depends on Massachusetts businesses to support our mission to improve the humanities s e c t o r f o r s e c o n d a r y s t u d e n t s . We i n v i t e y o u t o j o i n u s i n o u r commitment to community enrichment by sponsoring your local high s c h o o l ( s ) . Yo u r g e n e r o s i t y w i l l s u p p o r t p u b l i c a t i o n p r o d u c t i o n a n d e n s u r e t h e c o n t i n u a n c e o f t h i s v a l u a b l e p r o g r a m . Yo u r s p o n s o r s h i p w i l l not only help the Massachusetts high school community at large, but may also increase interest in your business through w i d e s p r e a d e x p o s u r e i n t h e m a g a z i n e . Yo u r c h a r i t a b l e contribution is 100% tax deductible. To become a sponsor please visit: www.themarblecollection.org/sponsor

TMC: PATRONS Te r e s a D a l l Alden Johnson Patsy Rose *** D O N AT E The Marble Collection, Inc. needs the support of the Massachusetts high school community at large. Our shared mission to improve the humanities sector for secondar y s t u d e n t s w i l l b e f u l f i l l e d t h r o u g h y o u r g e n e r o s i t y. TMC Spring 2011

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TMC: CONTENTS 8

Language of the People (Poetry) Soubhik Barari / Acton-Boxborough Regional High School

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Tired (Art) MinJin Lee / Brimmer and May School

10 Lovely Darlings (Fiction) Alina Grabowski / Commonwealth School

12 The Door (Art) Corinne Perreault / Taunton High School

13 Chuck Close Style Self Portrait (Art) Caroline Brill / Burlington High School

14 Unforgettable Memories (Nonfiction) Alyssa Sansossio / Oakmont Regional High School

15 The Galaxie (Art) Katie Holden / Old Rochester Regional High School

16 Japanese Inspiration (Art) Rachael Bassett / Quaboag Regional High School

17 My Androgynous Self (Art) Rachael Bassett / Quaboag Regional High School

18 That Night (Poetry) Shell Feda / Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School

19 Fireflies (Art) Tali Singer / Burlington High School

20 Shame and Sickness (Nonfiction) William McDermet / Ipswich High School

22 Night Light (Art) Sacha Pfeufer / Cambridge Rindge and Latin

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22 Outskirts (Music) Sophie London / Needham High School

23 Driving on Interstate 195 (Fiction) Anne Smith / Old Rochester Regional High School

24 apartment 204 (Poetry) Jessica Blau / Milton Academy

25 Whimsical (Art) Eva Gertz / Melrose High School

25 Red String (Music) Matthew Schwartz / Lexington High School Kenny Wong Labow / Lexington High School

26 Hibiscus (Art) Chantal Plamondon / Oakmont Regional High School

27 Shoe Still Life (Art) Tori Mulhern / Taunton High School

27 Weapon of Choice (Art) Hayley Barry / Oakmont Regional High School

28 Within the Woods (Fiction) Renae Reints / Old Rochester Regional High School

30 White (Fiction) Rachel Rameau / Oakmont Regional High School

31 Triangles (Art) Danielle Slichenmyer / Brimmer and May School

32 Lost (Art) Kaarin Phelps / Oakmont Regional High School

33 Everlasting Love (Poetry) Alysha Slater / Bristol County Agricultural High School


TMC: SPRING 2011 34 Central Street (Art) Stephen Mulloy / Brimmer and May School

34 Electric Slumber (Music) Arron Carrita / Joseph Case High School

35 The Dunes (Poetry) Kaiyuh Cornberg / Walnut Hill School for the Arts

36 Spring Blossom (Art) Alexander Nally / Chicopee Comprehensive High School

37 Taking Flight (Art) Amanda Lee / Commonwealth School

38 Under Water Self-Portrait (Art)

46 Personal Extreme (Art) Hayley Barry / Oakmont Regional High School

47 Little Fish - Personal Statement (Nonfiction) Stephanie Rizzo / Old Rochester Regional High School

48 Daisy Pushing (Art) Stephen Messina / Westford Academy

49 Old and New (Art) Rachel Glynn / Burlington High School

49 Grandfather (Art) Fergie Medar / Burlington High School

50 Childish Frolicsome (Art) Brys Scotland / Oakmont Regional High School

Taylor Wall / Oakmont Regional High School

52 The Game (Fiction) 39 Whispers (Poetry) Brynnan Farrington / Ayer High School

40 A Suburban Day (Poetry) James Lee / Groton School

41 “Bitter Hands” (Art) Jessica O’Connell / Taunton High School

43 circus (Art) Chloe Rapp / Dover-Sherborn Regional High School

Hayley Wood / Dracut Senior High School

54 Reverie of Rebirth (Poetry) Stephanie Rizzo / Old Rochester Regional High School

56 Love Poem (Poetry) Karintha Lowe / Milton Academy

57 Sam Shepard and Jessica Lang (Art) Bronwen Carter / Groton School

58 Psychedelic Grandma (Art) Rachael Bassett / Quaboag Regional High School

43 On an Angle (Art) Diana Chaves / Brimmer and May School

59 The Parrot of Madame Lebrun (Art) Victoria Beauvais / Dracut Senior High School

44 Night’s Stay (Fiction) Dylan Strzempko / Oakmont Regional High School

46 Skye and Me (Art) Brys Scotland / Oakmont Regional High School

60 Rainy Day (Art) Rachael Bassett / Quaboag Regional High School

61 My Boy (Fiction) Hannah Lamarre / Dartmouth High School

TMC Spring 2011

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P O E T R Y Acton-Boxborough Regional High School / Grade 11

Language of the People Sugar-coat rhythms and radio disease, their message was still the same: Censorship riots and red-flag pirates, peeling the seed of the flame. Amidst the gun-violence and racism tolerance, backwards their words spelled “conform.” “Buy the right shoes, wear your hat like you mean it, you’ll nicely sink into the norm.” Language of the people, the chaos of speech, “Our words are bloodless and easy,” says the streetman, last to leave. Hands like runners, marathon fingers, their rusted minds turn green; Cellular circuitry breaking the pupils, the holy electronic breach. Mouth tapered shut, blank stares and red eyes, what social civilians we are; When books become paper and trees become leaves, we sink into the pavement tar. Language of the people, the chaos of speech, “Our fingers nimble like lightning,” says the streetboy with dented teeth. My mother once told me that I should not pay heed, or so I’ll slip and drown to the sound of the rolling beat. Language of the people, they hail it as a feat, “We refuse to open ourselves to you,” says the lone man on the street. 8

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Soubhik Barari


A R T Brimmer and May School / Grade 12

Tired

M i n J i n

p a i n t i n g / a c r y l i c

o n

L e e

p a p e r

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F I C T I O N Commonwealth School / Grade 11

A l i n a

G r a b o w s k i

Lovely Darlings I really don’t understand people at all; for instance, last week Taylor White told me “I love you.” I’m still not really sure why; my friend Maria said it’s because I wooed him with my “womanly charms.” She’s assigned herself the role of captain on the S.S. Taylor & Sophie, assuring me that she would guide us through the “often tumultuous and tricky seas that are young love.” I believe that’s part of the opening line for the romance novel she’s writing; Maria’s big on romance. I didn’t tell her I’d only accepted Taylor’s offer because a.) I wanted to get out of babysitting my little brother and b.) a free meal is always appealing (I don’t buy into that 50-50 split nonsense; a free meal is compensation for the less-than-stimulating conversation). Our first date was uneventful; a cheap restaurant in the town center followed by some ice cream. I found out he played cricket, which was a mild twist in his otherwise cookie-cutter personality. I also discovered he played two sports, struggled with English, had a golden retriever, and liked the Beatles (that was his attempt to woo me with some sort of retro and sophisticated taste). My dad arrived promptly at ten and our date ended with a hug. On the way home my dad didn’t say anything, save for, “How was your night?” “Fine.” He’s a quiet man. Sometimes he just sits at the kitchen table, eyes unfocused as his pupils jump left, right, up, down, his right eyelid occasionally twitching. He used to tell my brother and me not to stare, but I guess that doesn’t apply to him. He also works from home now, so he doesn’t really see people that much. I guess he’s just forgotten how to make conversation. But, anyways, Maria called me that night right when I got home. She’s very on top of these sorts of things. Her interrogation made up for the lack of one by my father; she learned the number of Sprites I ordered to whether Taylor called sprinkles “jimmies” (he did not). But after the fourth date, I didn’t pick up the phone when she called. Hearing those three words made me feel as though I’d been dunked into ice cold water, and the numbness was just starting to sink in. It wasn’t really the words so much, as it was how easily he threw them at me. He gulped the air before he said it, pupils dilated and fingers twitching. He looked like a lobster about to be thrown into a pot of boiling water. He was obviously terrified, but he still said it. And he doesn’t even know me; the only reason he was attracted to me was because he found my apathy towards him mysterious. So how can he say it just like that, when my father hasn’t said “I love you” to me in five years? When I was eleven my mother intentionally overdosed on sleeping pills. Our family had the usual reaction: none of us saw it coming. I know they say it happens like that on TV and in books, but this didn’t take place in the realm of incompetent talk show hosts or in some detached self-help book author’s home. How do you not foresee something like that? Something huge? I look back, and I feel like there should have been signs: days locked up in her room; scarred wrists; 10

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F I C T I O N whole weekends spent avoiding us; at the very least eyes that seemed to contain seas of sadness, as I’m told they often do when one is suicidal. But I still can’t find anything. I guess I was just more focused on myself than on her. My dad found her. I came home from school just as he realized she wasn’t sleeping—she was dead. His scream is still trapped in the folds of my mind; just when I think I’ve forgotten the sound it reveals itself, drowning my ears until I’m forced to lay my head down on the nearest surface. It sounded like a lone coyote howl I heard one time in our backyard, following a frenzy of barking and snarling. It’s amazing how a lack of words sometimes articulates the most pain. She left him a note, folded into a tiny rectangle in their drawer: I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. I love you. I’m sorry. –Laurie So pathetically devoid of emotion. I found it in her jewelry box once when I was snooping around; that was her one possession that he never moved, its elegant carved oak residing over the bureau where it sat. She left us, my brother—who was seven at the time—and me, a note too: You are my lovely darlings, and I love you so much. Please forgive me, even though I know you don’t understand. No one does. –Mom Lovely darlings—it sounded fake. She never spoke to us like that before. I felt like I didn’t even know who she was. My mother wasn’t suicidal. My mother made the best mashed potatoes in the world, and knew the words to every Rolling Stones song, and massaged my back after I had a bad dream and couldn’t fall asleep. She was always there—always. My brother cried for a while with my dad. I’d only seen my dad cry once before, when his father died. Men don’t cry like women do—they’re not comfortable with the tears and get stiff and embarrassed. My father kept wiping his face over and over again, like he couldn’t understand why this water kept dribbling out of his eyes. He laid on his side with his back to the wall of the couch, hugging my brother to him. People don’t realize how exhausting it is to cry; your head pulses, your chest pumps, and the salt burns your cheeks and eyes. The two of them passed out after a half hour. A half hour’s a long time to be crying. Some people came and took the body away, but I barely remember that. I just remember thinking how strange it was that it was so sunny out, while some unknown men took away my dead mother—the whole business seemed strangely anonymous. But it was bright and optimistic outside; beautiful, actually, the way the sun was streaking in all through our house. Then I went up into my parents’ bedroom and peeled away the wrinkled sheets on her side of the bed. I slipped underneath the cotton sheets and the down comforter, and slid under them until my feet dangled off the mattress and the bedding bowed over my head. But her spot was cold. Just the floral scent of her perfume was there, which already seemed stagnant. I laid there for a while, and then suddenly realized I had algebra homework to do. The world doesn’t stop just because this happened, I told myself. But it does. Everything you thought was important suddenly halts behind Death. Homework becomes flexible, projects disappear, sports practices are optional. The rules don’t apply to you; you’re special. Death stayed around our house for a long time afterwards; you can’t just Febreeze it away or open the windows, hoping it will air out in its own time. It was a smell, it was a feeling, it was a taste—it was everything but a tangible sight and sound. The neighbors would come over with casseroles and brownies, and sometimes they would stay for a bit and talk. My mother used to always warn me about neighbors, TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N said they were nothing but trouble. If you had neighbors in your house, something bad had to have happened, she said. They would try to empathize, try to find what was haunting us in our own home, but they couldn’t. They didn’t understand, and I didn’t expect them to. My brother’s lucky because he’s not defined by it. He was too young to really understand, to even really know her. She’s a framed photo on his dresser, a saved note she scrawled to him when pregnant. She’s whatever his imagination wants her to be, really. For my dad and me it’s different. Last month was the first time I didn’t think about her for a whole weekend. I was staying with Maria and her family in her beach house in Maine, and by the time we pulled back into my driveway on Sunday I realized my mother hadn’t entered my thoughts once. I thought I’d feel guilty, but I didn’t—just relieved. My dad’s got it the worst, even though he doesn’t say much to us. I know he keeps their honeymoon scrapbook under his bed and he falls asleep reading old letters they wrote to each other. He keeps quiet because he thinks I wouldn’t understand, even though I do. And it’s because I understand how he loved her that I know I’ll never be able to be as brave as Taylor White was with me.

Taunton High School / Grade 12

The Door

C o r i n n e

P e r r e a u l t

p h o t o g r a p h y 12

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A R T Burlington High School / Grade 11

C a r o l i n e

B r i l l

Chuck Close Style Self Portrait

p a i n t i n g

TMC Spring 2011

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N O N F I C T I O N Oakmont Regional High School / Grade 11

A l y s s a

S a n s o s s i o

Unforgettable Memories The crisp, misty wind feels refreshing on my feverish skin. It gushes in through her window, swallowing me like a tidal wave. Her pin-straight golden hair dances with the salacious rhythm of the air. Her fingers with their chipping black nail polish search the front seat for his. My best friend’s boyfriend sits in the driver’s seat. It’s strange seeing him up there with our lives in his hands, after having lost touch with him for so long. He reaches out to turn the radio on and then takes her hand. The loud, effervescent music surrounds us and tells of teenage dreams. My Love laces his fingers through mine as the small sedan makes its way smoothly around each bend of the woodsy drive. To any other driver our little white Honda would have been nearly invisible, engulfed in the eerie fog. I enjoyed the nostalgic company of our complete group again, after that pointless fight we’d gotten into. Who would have thought he would be such a good driver—one of those people that, for some reason, make his passengers instinctively feel safe. The cold November atmosphere had finally defeated me. I snuggle into my Love’s tattered grey sweatshirt and pull my hands into its sleeves, as the pocket had been torn off. We are on our way to Cumby’s for fruit slushies. As we round another curve, we skate over a pile of wet leaves. That’s when we begin to slide. He tries to correct the wheels, but it’s not enough. The wind grew icy and piercing as time began to slow. I squeeze Love’s hand and watch in terror as a skinny white tree flies past his window. We seemed to slide for hours until a large oak brought us to a destructive and painful halt. The music is gone. The car is silent save for the sound of Love’s groaning. I can’t breathe. My chest feels collapsed—almost as though the car had crashed into me instead. I can feel each beat of my throbbing heart against the bones of my rib cage. My waist feels like it has consumed the seatbelt. The nerves behind the belt palpitate, trying to fight the foreign body that lay against them. My hip feels as though it’s on fire. The skin surrounding my bone sears in the cold air. I wonder if it had dug its way through the flesh. There’s a horrible odor suffocating what little breath I manage to take in—like burning sulfur or pure gas fumes. A fine powder floats on the air choking us, coating everything. In front of me lies my best friend, her motionless body draped over the center console. Her blood is everywhere. The air bags are slowly deflating and every window is shattered but mine. I peeled the seatbelt from my waist and noticed the crimson and plum purple imprint it had left behind. His legs are pinned, and somehow he is hanging over the door up against the chewed bark of the tree. He comes to, reaching for her hand, calling her name in horror. I see his glazed blue eyes trying to see into the car; they contrast intensely against his new crimson interior. I try to comfort him, but he won’t stop moving. Then suddenly he’s gone 14

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A R T again: still and quiet. She’s not moving either. I hear Love pop his shoulder back in. There’s a short, sweet-hearted-looking middle-aged woman with glasses at her window—what’s left of it. She tells us her name is Shirley and that help is on the way. My friend begins to stir, sitting up to look around. Her face appears in the mirror, but I wish I hadn’t looked. Blood runs down her forehead, over her nose, and down her cheeks. Her tooth is pushed to the center of her mouth and her eyes are scanning the car, looking for something, anything that might prove this a dream. She begins to groan too. Soon she is yelling. Shirley begins asking her questions, but she just says, “I don’t know,” over and over again in an eerie half-moaning, half-yelling tone. Does she know who I am, I wonder. She gets quiet and turns slowly to look at me: eyeliner smeared; a glob of blood on her cheek; and fear radiating from her straining eyes. She turns back around and begins whining again. I hear sirens—strange when you know they’re coming for you.

Old Rochester Regional High School / Grade 11

The Galaxie

K a t i e

H o l d e n

p a i n t i n g TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Quaboag Regional High School / Grade 12

R a c h a e l

B a s s e t t

Ja p a n e s e I n s p i r a t i o n

d r a w i n g

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A R T Quaboag Regional High School / Grade 12

R a c h a e l

B a s s e t t

My Andr og ynous Self

p a i n t i n g

TMC Spring 2011

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P O E T R Y Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School / Grade 12

That Night

S h e l l

Let us be angel-faced again. Let us be angels. Let us skim our feet over the solid floor, our lonely fingers finding solace in each other’s. Let us touch the warm air between our faces, those tangible, heavy inches: everything shining gold and hazel. Let us sing a song of being. Let our bodies be blood and bone. Let our souls spiral upwards as we forget about morals and sin. They embrace this joyous escape. I don’t want to be human; our jagged, shattered existences are incompatible; Let us forget what it is to be mortal. Let us rejoice.

F e d a


A R T Burlington High School / Grade 12

T a l i

S i n g e r

Fireflies

p h o t o g r a p h y / a d o b e

p h o t o s h o p TMC Spring 2011

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N O N F I C T I O N Ipswich High School / Grade 12

W i l l i a m

M c D e r m e t

Shame and Sickness At the end of the eighth grade, my friend had not talked to her boyfriend in several days. I decided to approach the situation with humor, telling her that he was probably just having his period. “I am having my period,” she said. “I feel like puking. Trust me; you don’t want to be a girl.” Of course she was in my circle of friends and knew all about my transgenderism. She supported my desire to be female, just like all the other girls I associated with at school. But I encountered this problem with them when nature did its thing every month. They suddenly changed their minds about me; how could I want to be a girl? Why would I want to go through what they had to? They told me to appreciate being male. They said these things to me with self-righteous voices, as though they were superior to me. I took their word for it. I was ashamed of what I wanted; I hated myself for what I yearned for, yet I harbored a jealousy of them I couldn’t erase. On a Monday morning in February, I awoke to the nagging sound of my alarm clock. My body took over the functions of my morning regiment. In an attempt to ignore my morning woes, I didn’t think about the empty feeling in my stomach as I forced water into it. I felt like this in the morning, and it always went away by the time I headed off for school. When all my family members had finished their routines and were ready to go, my father asked if I felt well. The terrible feeling had not left me, so I decided to stay home. I sat down in front of the toilet and braced myself for the ordeal ahead of me. We have a small bathroom, maybe six by five feet. The salmon-orange walls and the cabinet mirror covering one wall made the room feel sterile, like a hospital with no visitors. That whole day I lay on the cold gray floor. Only a bathroom mat, left wet by the showers earlier that morning, softened the barrier between the cement tile and me. Light poured in through the window directly onto me, and I willed it to move away as the day went on. My eyes filled with the horror of a migraine, brightness stabbing into my retinas. Things didn’t change throughout the seven hours I spent puking. I tried to lose perception of my surroundings. Suddenly the voices of my friends began racing through my head. Girls go through this all the time, don’t you know that? And you want to be one of them? How can you deserve something you’re not willing to suffer for? I’d come close, as close as I could to what my friends go through on a regular basis, and I couldn’t handle it. Several times throughout this ordeal I was willing to do anything to make the pain stop. I felt sad. I felt ashamed. Most of all, I felt weak. And so I lay there on the floor, kicking myself and mulling over the thought that I deserved the male body I was stuck with. I had failed to withstand the pain of womanhood and did not deserve the pleasures I wanted from it; that, I think, hurt 20

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N O N F I C T I O N more than anything else. The rule of thumb for any sickness is to wait twenty-four hours before returning to school, so I spent the next day online playing Call of Duty with other sickly and truant boys my age. I didn’t dare look at the skirts and dresses in my closet. I didn’t daydream about the husband I’d wanted for so long. I did not think about how beautiful my wedding dress was going to be. I didn’t imagine holding my newborn child for the first time. I did not deserve those prizes, which I’d comforted myself with for so long. The possibility of spending my life celibate, without romantic relationships, hung over me for a long time. I had ideas of what I’d do if I couldn’t transition to womanhood. I could enlist in the marines, spend my life there, and if I got killed in some cesspool in Afghanistan, I wouldn’t have to deal with all of this. I developed a habit of thinking suicidal thoughts whenever my uncertain future came to mind. I never thought up anything very macabre, just a nice clean self-mutilation. I didn’t think of it as dying; it was more like an employer handing me my resume as he shows me to the door, telling me he’s so sorry it didn’t work out. The most worrisome part was that the desire to end my own life didn’t even scare me. In fact, it felt pretty good. All my life I’ve felt like I have no control. I have been imprisoned in a body I hate and fear, in a gender role I’m uncomfortable with. I can never bear children and have missed eighteen years of girlhood. Suicide wouldn’t let me live my life, but it would let me be in control of my own existence. I wouldn’t be uncomfortable or distressed about my future, and I wouldn’t be puking into any toilet bowls. Things are a lot better now. In April, two months after my debilitating illness, I began talking to my gender specialist Diane. Talking to her and with the help of anti-depressants, my suicidal ideation is almost completely gone. I see her once a week, and even went to her office once cross-dressed. I’d like to go to the mall as a girl some time soon. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to start passing full-time as a female until after I graduate. By the end of the month, however, I will have accrued enough talk time with Diane for her to write me a recommendation to start hormone therapy. I look forward to developing as much as I can as a woman and to finding a boyfriend. Hopefully one day, with any luck, I will be able to proceed with gender reassignment surgery. I’ve also started going to the NAGLY, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender support group in Salem. I love being surrounded by others like me, and I often forget I’m surrounded by homosexuals and transsexuals; it’s almost as though we’re just like everyone else.

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A R T Cambridge Rindge and Latin / Grade 12

Night Light

S a c h a

P f e u f e r

p h o t o g r a p h y Needham High School / Grade 12

Outskirts

S o p h i e

L o n d o n

eee

CLICK TO LISTEN m u s i c 22

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F I C T I O N Old Rochester Regional High School / Grade 11

A n n e

S m i t h

Driving on Interstate 195 Pavement turns under the wheels, passing beneath the tires at sixty-five miles per hour, and I return to junior high at the same speed. The highway gives way to hallways; the green trees of summer, flashing by the car’s windows, become red lockers, stretching well above our heads. Exits Nineteen-B and Nineteen-A look like doorways, leading to the classrooms inside, where I meet you and become your best friend. I always thought that you looked so pretty back then—so much prettier than me, who found more comfort in books than in nail polish or jewelry. I wear earrings now; did you notice? The book hides in my purse, but it remains well within my reach. Some things haven’t changed at all. Of course you noticed—both my dangling earrings, and the paperback, with its bent and torn cover. You must have from the moment you first got into my car this afternoon. I noticed your differences. Are you wondering if I did? But we don’t need to talk about your pink highlights, or your new glasses, or my pierced ears, or my lack of braces. I don’t have to ask if you are still playing the violin, and you don’t have to ask if I am still rowing. The memories do the talking for us. I measure you against the seventh grade girl I knew, vibrant and sparkly. You measure me against—whom? I don’t know. It makes me wonder, did you ever think of me as a bookworm? No, you never did. You saw me as something else entirely, as someone who was more than books and more than a nerd. You were the only one who did. We see the differences these last three years molded into our very frames, sculpting our skeletons, but we don’t talk about them. We just accept them, noting them in the same way we would note a new outfit that we hadn’t seen each other wear yet. But do we acknowledge it for what it is: each other’s new skin? Yes—and we have no words for it. Between us, the radio sings, flowing from my ears to yours and then back to mine, the music connecting us. I don’t recognize the melody or the beat, and neither do you. We listen for the sake of having a soundtrack to this movie; in this montage, I look at you and see that same friend I have missed for years.

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P O E T R Y Milton Academy / Grade 10

J e s s i c a

apartment 204

mother caught me with my ear pressed against the carpet again she tells Lucy there’s either a critter munching on the rugs or else maybe I’m just not bright

didn’t you hear, Sheryll’s got a bruise the size-a Texas on her cheek

really I just like the music you can hear from downstairs it gets real loud like the symphony mother took me to last spring then silence and the thumping starts

you’d think she’d go to the police by now, seeing how it often it happens

sometimes the rhythm stops or skips too many beats a ballad too broken to be beautiful sometimes you can even hear a woman screaming no doubt in love with the music, like me

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B l a u


M U S I C Melrose High School / Grade 12

E v a

G e r t z

W himsical

p h o t o g r a p h y

Lexington High School / Grade 11

Red String

M a t t h e w S c h w a r t z soprano saxophone K e n n y W o n g L a b o w guitar

eee

CLICK TO LISTEN m u s i c TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Oakmont Regional High School

/ Grade 12

Hibiscus

C h a n t a l

p a i n t i n g / a c r y l i c

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P l a m o n d o n

o n

c a n v a s


A R T Taunton High School

Shoe Still Lif e

To r i

/ Grade 12

M u l h e r n

d r a w i n g

Weapon of Choice

Hayley Barry

Oakmont Regional High School / Grade 10

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F I C T I O N Old Rochester Regional High School / Grade 9

R e n a e

Within the Woods

R e i n t s

Within the woods, through a veil of pensive imagination, stands a pond. Only a pure mind walking through the condensing oaks and maples will stumble upon this discovery: a clearing domed by foliage, painted abstract by the penetrating sun. Silence. Deep breaths draw in fresh air, unpolluted as in the past, before modern cars and factories. Pebbles and moss create the clearing’s floor beneath the girl’s boots. Many have come in past years. She is one of the few to realize the magic. A boulder sits like a throne beside the pond, welcoming her to cool her feet in the unmoving water, untouched by weeds or life. The water itself mirrors the girl’s future, as it had for many others before her. Confident dreamers view clear water, down to the pond’s sandy floor, but uncertainty can conjure up murky water, the unseeing blackness. Seated on the boulder, warm water rippling from swinging feet, Kate Goldwiln felt the perfect solitude. Another restless family meeting brought her here after a tear-stained walk through the acres of back-yard woods. Her soft boots trekked lonely through the fall leaves. She closed her eyes and sighed. Another step and the crunching of dead leaves turned to the soft rolling of pebbles on moss. Eyes opened, and the clearing lay before her. The initial shock of wonder evaporated as Kate accepted the clearing as her only place to relax. Sitting by the murky water, thoughts drifted to the daunting future. Kate had thought hers was clear. Photography. She loved it. Capturing the moment perfectly in her camera’s lens was like climbing the highest mountain. Kate planned to make a career out of her hobby, but her parents thought otherwise. At fourteen years old, they were already planning a successful future for her in law. Always quiet and obedient, Kate didn’t want to disappoint them. The sun lowered in the sky, and the shadows sketching the clearing elongated. After Kate had spent her time, she replaced her boots and left, returning to her flawed world. She didn’t see the creature that stepped out of the pond’s waters, formed from her own hopes and dreams. It ruffled its feathers, shedding the pond’s water, and jumped onto the boulder throne, dripping dark puddles onto the stone. If Kate were to return to the woods of her youth after many years, she would still see her creature sitting by the still water. But people rarely return, as most are absorbed into the world of adult responsibility, and they forget how to imagine. The creature perched on the boulder’s cool surface ran its beak through its feathers, and began to explore its new home, oblivious of its peril. This innocent animal will live its life in danger of destruction by its own creator. With each wrong choice, the creature begins to die with Kate’s dreams. Kate lives, but in the back of her mind she’ll know she has failed someone. For now, the creature wandered innocently by the pond’s unmoving edge, ignorantly pleased just to be alive. Four years later, Kate Goldwiln celebrated the arrival of her acceptance letter into Harvard Law School. Her parents gazed upon their daughter proudly. She returned the smiles, but the weight of a camera in her coat pocket softened her heart. Kate’s smile cracked. Her father patted her shoulder with pride, and the false smile once again plastered itself across her face. Within the woods, a barn owl crouched on the ground of pebbles and moss by a pond’s edge. It hooted softly, feathers falling with sickness. 28

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Salutes and Congratulates the Student Contributors to The Marble Collection At Bentley we’re fusing the study of business with the liberal arts and sciences to create new educational and career opportunities. If you’re creative, you just might be surprised.

Find out more today.

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BOSTON UNIVERSIT Y

V

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F I C T I O N Oakmont Regional High School / Grade 12

W hite

R a c h e l

R a m e a u

The patter, patter of my footsteps and the footsteps of those around me melted together into a single, solemn march. Rhythmically and miserably, we entered the room. The tan walls watched us in silence, in remorse for us. There was nothing happy about that shade of beige or the room in general. It was tiny, stuffy, and painstakingly ugly. There was nothing to detour our attention away from the reason why we were all here—the casket. In the blinding, bright light on that low hanging ceiling, the white casket shined slightly. Forcing us to marvel in anguish at its presence, and to remind us all that today was not a sick, twisted dream born from our imaginations. Slowly, and one by one, each one of us approached. I could not move. Everything about this picture was wrong—dead wrong. How could I…how could my family be here at the funeral of a child, the funeral of my eight year old sister, nonetheless? A fifteen year old should never have to bury a younger sibling. No one innocent should be taken away from this earth. She was just starting her life. How can it be over this soon? “Loral are you coming?” My eyes snapped up to meet the tired, red-rimmed, tear-streaked eyes of my mother. How could she let this happen? Why is this happening? Why? She stared at me, waiting for my answer. I cannot do this; I shook my head slowly. “If you don’t say goodbye now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” she said, tears refilling her delicate brown eyes. Without giving me time to respond, she grasped my wrist, pulling me to the casket. She let go, and left me standing paralyzed. My eyes gazed at the shining white surface. There was nothing else to see, the casket was closed. It was sickening to picture my sister’s sweet face inside. How could that bastard take her—kill her? How? Who could take a child of such chastity—and destroy them? Feeling nausea twisting and turning my stomach in new directions, I looked away. My eyes instead focused on the flowers surrounding the casket—pink roses. They looked angelic, and their poignant smell tickled my nose, but they were wrong. She would have liked them, yes, but it was the white daisies that were her favorite. Those are what should have been in this hideously ugly tan room. Not the roses. Not her. “Loral?” I looked up, already knowing that it was my mother. Her hand rested on my shoulder, radiating heat into my frigid body. Shivers shot repeatedly down my spine. I cannot do this. How can I move on? I wanted to say that to her, but I could not find my voice. Like the rest of my body, my vocal cords were frozen solid, not wanting to defrost until my broken heart mended, but deep down inside I knew that it never would. “It’s time to go,” she said, her voice shaking. I had just been given my own death sentence. It cannot be the end. It can’t be. But her words echoed in my head, each time becoming more and more earnest. I shook my head more forcefully this time. My mother stared at me. I looked up at her with large, terrified eyes. What should I do? “Just say goodbye,” she said, her eyes overflowing with tears. I looked back at the white casket, and with the ugly tan walls and pink roses surrounding me I said, “Goodbye Katie.” 30

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A R T D a n i e l l e

S l i c h e n m y e r

Brimmer and May School / Grade 11

Triangles

3 D

m o d u l a r

s t r u c t u r e

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A R T Oakmont Regional High School

/ Grade 12

Lost

K a a r i n

P h e l p s

p a i n t i n g

A m e r i c A’ s e n v i r o n m e n t A l c o l l e g e centers for academic excellence Biodiversity

For more inFormation

800.624.1024 www.unity.edu admissions@unity.edu

Our graduates are problem solvers and innovative thinkers who are well prepared to raise public awareness about the environmental challenges that lay ahead

environmental arts and Humanities experiential and environmental education natural resource management and protection sustainaBility and gloBal cHange

l i v e Y o U r PA s s i o n

Kathryn Miles A ssociAte Professor, environmentAl Writing You can’t write about the environment sitting in a classroom, so my students and I take our art out into the forest, onto the sea, and atop mountains. That’s where inspiration lives. Unity students have a variety of interests and will write about science, children’s literature, and even food. I want to show them there is not one way but many different ways of telling people about our world and why it matters.


P O E T R Y Bristol County Agricultural High School / Grade 12

A l y s h a

S l a t e r

Everlasting Love The pure and crisp leaves Enlighten a soul, its feelings freed They teach us the ways of life How to survive through struggle and strife They whisper to us all that they know Giving us a bright and heavenly glow If you are so sincere and true to heart Then why from your faith must you part? You think all good things must come to an end There is no denying it, no reasons to defend You believe that life and love cannot last forever But they can when faith shines through every endeavor Leaves detach from their life support, the tree And slowly drift to the ground to sleep Dormant for what seems like an eternity They come back to life, regardless of any obscurity Growing up again and living lives anew A leaf ’s death and resurrection represents love that is true Winding paths strewn with thick layers of leaves No human understands what these leaves believe They know that when they die, their lives will continue Given the chance to live on in a new field of view For true love’s embrace cannot be escaped That is the truth of what lies beyond a mortal fate Why do you still believe your love must be spurned? You expect to simply die and burn And your love to be thrown into a world of apathy Save yourself and your love, take the leaves’ plea Understand now how to live and love So you may continue doing so when you are up above

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A R T Brimmer and May School / Grade 12

S t e p h e n

M u l l o y

Central Street

p h o t o g r a p h y Joseph Case High School / Grade 10

Electric Slumber

eee

A r r o n

C a r r i t a

CLICK TO LISTEN m u s i c 34

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P O E T R Y Walnut Hill School for the Arts / Grade 10

K a i y u h

C o r n b e r g

The Dunes I. The Dune is muscle enveloping bone. The sand rubbed shoes and shoes poked tiny holes that barely changed the sound. Wind swept across so many faces, facets of your hand, your hand, that when the bog tugged off your shoe and captured it in cranberries and shine of hazy sun that rhymed with cotton sky, caressed, then tugged your chin, then capered down your threshing neck, all sinew-grooved, and stopped. II. We walked a shelf of hard-packed sand, with snow beneath the dermis, vertically striped but also horizontal in some light. And shoeless is as shoeless does. You bend to pat and stroke one bare foot’s toes. At right a sand hill speaks into a bowl a dog and owner laced with shallow stamps. Behind us, quickly poked, walk two—by foot, of four feet, one has craters led by toes. III. At four the sun yolk hardens on the rim. Some salty stars have speckled pewter sky to summon thunder. The brooding wind stripes filaments of sand. Warm walking silos prickle cold. The moon bowl softens buffeting thumps of sea breath hack their saltine sighs against our faces, then our backs, my boots, your foot. A dog stamped at the lip. We rolled, were rolled.

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A R T Chicopee Comprehensive High School

/ Grade 11

Spring Blossom

A l e x a n d e r

N a l l y

p h o t o g r a p h y 36

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A R T Commonwealth School / Grade 10

A m a n d a

L e e

Ta k i n g Fl i g h t

p h o t o g r a p h y

TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Oakmont Regional High School / Grade 12

Under Water Self-Portrait

Taylor

Wall

d r a w i n g / p a s t e l s

Brookline M U S I C SCHOOL

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25 Kennard Road Brookline, MA 02445 (617) 277-4593 www.bmsmusic.org


P O E T R Y Ayer High School / Grade 12

W hispers

Br ynnan

Far rington

The sweet breath blew softly as the sun embraced us gently. In the fields, the grasses danced and butterflies floated past on the breeze. We looked around with easy smiles, wishing the cobalt blue sky would linger forever. It had not been sunny in what felt like forever. For weeks, the rain had pitter-pattered softly on the window panes, dampening moods and smiles. Then reluctantly, the sun broke through, gently at first like a song on the breeze. The open air carried the scent of sunshine—we rejoiced and danced. The heavens fluttered, swirled, and danced through my hair. It lasted for moments, but we reveled in it forever. Like a leaf on the melodic, twisting breeze, I felt free and light. It swished softly, inviting me to drift away. It lulled me gently to sleep, brushing away the past, but coaxing out relaxed smiles. The water reflected simple smiles, disturbed from the softest caress; all that we were danced over the gently moving water. The distortion lasted forever, our imperfect features immortalized as the aura softly drifted past, carrying joy on the breeze. A hummingbird flits past; it will breeze on by, its vivacious wings forming a smile. Barely fluttering, it delicately drifted ever so softly on the lightest of zephyrs. We danced, sang, cherished—with our companion the wind—overlooking forever, celebrating today, as the gusts tickled, oh so gently. Like a low tide, the tempting gusts gently ferried in the sweet smell of sunshine, and on the breeze, we realized that life, like a turbulent storm, does not prevail forever. Our laughter, carried on the effervescent air, making our smiles contagious, ended the day as softly as it had begun. With a whirl of tangled hair, we danced. TMC Spring 2011

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P O E T R Y Groton School / Grade 11

J a m e s

L e e

A Suburban Day (I) wake up to the sound of Beth and the kids. They Want to go to IHOP, the place with the Crayons, their Mountain Meadow and Prussian Blue and Antique Brass. It’s Sunday but the church is Closed because it’s summer, and no one wants to go anywhere during summer, not even God. I grab the keys to the car. We squeeze into the older one, because the air conditioning in the new one is broken. The restaurant is between a Subway and a Wal-Mart. Beth and the kids go in first while I park the car. I stop for a second in front of a handicap spot, and the moment’s temptations swirl around me. I sit sprawling, but it passes and I continue moving. I finally find a spot and go in to find them waiting. “It’s always like this on Sundays,” she says, rolling her very big very blue eyes. They’re sitting on a wooden bench and I sit down with them to wait. The noises flow out from the kitchen and I think “International indeed.” Spanish, I think, or maybe Portuguese. We wait our twenty minutes and finally they drag us to a table. The kids get their Crayons and begin coloring at a furious pace. I drink my coffee and watch them. Sometimes I think that we are raising them the wrong way. Maybe We should have them learn Chinese, or pick up the cello. I Look around and there are several of them, our future owners. They Sit and drink coffee and stare at their kids too. Our order comes out and we Eat. The pancakes are delicious, like the pancakes at every other IHOP. I wonder if they have IHOP in China. We eat and leave quickly because one of the kids has a soccer game at noon. Soccer. Still foreign and reason enough for a beating when I was young, it’s now what kids do. I watch and wave at him when he looks at me. I stand there while Beth sits in the car. I think maybe I should shout something, or maybe even give him a smile, so years from now he isn’t sitting on some shrink’s couch talking about how his father never loved him. I explain this to our marriage counselor, but she tells me that she deals with Beth and me, our relationship only. I want to go tell her to shove it and her 400 dollars per hour. I want to do this so bad that for a second I believe That I’m actually going to Do it. The words are on my tongue, but the Moment passes and I’m back. Back to my present Self. It’s all fine now. Everything is OK. Everything is just Fine. 40

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A R T Taunton High School / Grade 10

J e s s i c a

“Bitter Hands”

O ’ C o n n e l l

drawing/conte and pastel on toned paper

TMC Spring 2011

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A R T

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A rich trAdition of AcAdemic excellence.

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Start college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. CONTACT US TODAY:

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375 Church Street, North Adams, MA (413) 662-5410 | www.mcla.edu A Massachusetts State University College


A R T

circus

Dover-Sherborn Regional High School

C h l o e

/ Grade 12

R a p p

p h o t o g r a p h y

On an Angle

D i a n a

C h a v e s

Brimmer and May School / Grade 11

TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N Oakmont Regional High School / Grade 12

D y l a n

S t r z e m p k o

Night’s Stay

As I pulled into the parking space, the tires let out a short piercing squeak. Fran snorted awake. “Huh? Why’re we stopping here?” she asked, puzzled. “I’m getting us a room for the night. I’m tired and I see you are too.” She propped herself up on her arms and raised the seat back up. She squinted at the flickering pink sign: The Charlotte Inn. “Here? This cruddy motel? Can’t we find some place nicer?” “How do you know it’s so bad? Besides, unless you want to drive, it’s the only place we’ve got.” She stared at me for a second and sighed. “Okay. But if I wake up to some hairy rodent next to me, it better be you.” After poofing her curly blonde hair in the side mirror, she grabbed her purse and stepped out of the car. I hopped out and walked through the cracked glass door into the main lobby, Fran following behind with her arms crossed. At the front desk, an old man with thin, tinted glasses and a wrinkled smirk sat slouched in his chair. “How can ah help you two youngsters tonight?” The words crept out of his throat like molasses. “Do you have any rooms available?” I asked politely. “Take yer pick. Ah ain’t had guests for a couple uh days. Everyone’s headed West tuh that Santa Fe Hot Rod show. That where you two’re headed?” “Yeah, I’ve got a lot running on that Ford Popular out there. It sure took a lot of work.” I felt a sharp jab to my ribs. Fran raised her eyebrows at me. “Er, we both put a lot of elbow grease into it. We’re really hoping for a win.” I handed him the money for a night’s stay. He formed a courteous smile and glanced out the glass doors. “It’s a fine lookin’ machine. Ah wish yuh the best uh luck.” He pulled himself up from the chair and handed me a key. “Room’s right in fronna where yuh parked. Number three.” “Thanks.” I began to turn to the door when Fran struck up a conversation with the man. “The Charlotte Inn, huh? Cute name. Where’d it come from?” “It’s my name,” he replied. “Last name tuh be exact. Eli Charlotte in full. I don’t think ah caught yer two names yet, if yuh don’t mind me askin’.” “Jack DeLaney,” I said, shaking his oily hand. I turned to Fran. “Denise. It’s a pleasure.” She shook his hand and we stepped out into the warm night again. I unlocked the room, flopped on the bed, and flicked on the TV. Fran stood in the doorway, arms still crossed. “TV? I thought you needed sleep.” 44

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F I C T I O N “I need to check the news. I don’t think they’re looking for us down here yet.” “What do you mean us? I didn’t do anything.” I slid over in the bed and patted a spot for her to sit. “Hey, you came with me. They probably think I kidnapped you.” I started to laugh but coughed on the dusty air. “It’s funny, they don’t know a thing about us.” “I’m not sure I know anything about us either. I thought we were heading South to lay low, not enter a bunch of contests and get attention. You told me you were getting a simple job down here.” She wandered around the room, pretending to be interested in the dingy wallpaper and tacky lampshades. I turned down the TV volume. “I am! But we might as well try to win some money from the show while we’re down here.” She rubbed some dust from the TV between her fingers and didn’t respond. “Relax. We’ll sell the Ford for something else once I find work, but we need the extra money.” “I don’t know what it is about you, Carson. I thought I could help you get back on your feet and out of trouble. I had no idea I would get chased halfway across the country just for you to make up your own plans, and then take me to some dump in the middle of nowhere! Tell me, why should I even stay the night here? Why can’t you handle this on your own?” I turned off the TV. She was no longer wandering, just staring at me with her hands on her hips. I couldn’t argue with her. She hadn’t done anything; I was relying on her to get my life back on track. She was the only reason I even cared enough to clean up my act. “I don’t know.” I swallowed to fight the dry air in my throat. “But if it wasn’t for you, I couldn’t have gotten this far. You know how to live an honest life, I don’t. You turned that old car into a freaking work of art. Heck, I can barely drive.” She brushed the hair out of her eyes and kept her hand on her forehead. Head tilted down towards the filthy carpet, her eyes darted back and forth, like the thoughts racing through her mind. “And apparently I have horrible taste in hotels,” I added. She released a pitied laugh, and looked up at me with a smile of disbelief. “Well, I guess this place is cleaner than the old gas station.” Sitting on the edge of the bed, she looked out at the Popular and laughed again. She sat for a few minutes, captivated by the flickering pink light reflecting on the subtle curves of the car’s fenders. It was Fran’s car, inside and out. She turned to me with hopeful eyes and declared, “You know what, Carson? We’re gonna win this thing.”

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A R T Oakmont Regional High School

/ Grade 12

Skye and Me

B r y s

S c o t l a n d

p a i n t i n g

Personal Extreme Oakmont Regional High School

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/ Grade 10

H a y l e y

B a r r y


N O N F I C T I O N Old Rochester Regional High School

S t e p h a n i e

/ Grade 12

R i z z o

Little Fish - Personal Statement Thoughts of my childhood always bring me back to the beach. The memories that I can recall most vividly are carefree and bright, sitting in the sand for hours playing with rocks and shells. Nearly every morning my mom packed my older sisters and me into the car, and we refused to leave until the sun finally went down on those long summer days. Although I loathed the application of the thick sun-block that my mother forced us to put on at least every hour as a precautionary measure, I always looked forward to roaming the beach with my sisters. On the shores of Narragansett beach we searched for hermit crabs under the rocks of the jetty and made “drippy castles” from the soft, wet sand as it slipped through our tiny fingers. By the time we moved from Rhode Island to a microcosm of a suburb in Massachusetts, I finally knew how to swim. On the calm shores of the Mattapoisett town beach, I can specifically remember the day I fell in love with the ocean. “Stephanie, lie on your back. Let the water hold you. Watch,” my mother said, as she turned over to look at the open sky. I did the same, but I never thought it was possible to simply float. I looked into the clouds, my ears encompassed by the salt water. As the sea cradled me in its gentle arms that day, I was in a state of innocent bliss. From then on my mother would always call me her little fish because the ocean became my home. Even the pungent scent of low tide lured me into the ocean. Under the blanket of water I tumbled, over and over in the expansive basin. There was something ethereal about this realm; I felt it most when I sat on the ocean’s floor and peered up into the beaming rays of her celestial light, speckled with drifting life at the whim of the leisurely currents. I would sit there until all the air from my lungs and mouth was gone, rising up in tiny bubbles, pining for escape. Every summer was the same routine, but every moment revealed another breathtaking discovery. I can recall marveling at the texture of the barnacles on the rocks and ogling at my sisters in disbelief when they told me that they were living breathing animals. The brilliant green of the seaweed didn’t go unappreciated. While the other children flung the flotsam at each other for cruel entertainment, I was captivated by the beauty of life in its variety of forms, colors, and textures. For hours I collected shells and sea glass to bring back to my mom in a bucketful of sand, returning to our umbrella for a short interlude of soothing dreams, painted by the rhythmic sound of the waves colliding on the shore, and nurtured by the warm, affectionate kiss of the summer sun on my young skin. Looking back on these simple moments, I know now there’s nothing more precious than novelties captured through the lens of a child’s eyes. As a teenager on the brink of adulthood, I am beginning to experience reality in all of its harsh ambivalence—but I will never neglect to stop and float. TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Westford Academy / Grade 12

Daisy Pushing

S t e p h e n

a d o b e

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M e s s i n a

i l l u s t r a t o r


A R T

Old and New

Burlington High School / Grade 11

R a c h e l

G l y n n

p h o t o g r a p h y

Grandfather

F e r g i e

M e d a r

Burlington High School / Grade 12

TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Oakmont Regional High School

/ Grade 12

B r y s

S c o t l a n d

Childish Frolicsome

d r a w i n g 50

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The Putney School Summer Programs Putney, Vermont

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TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N Dracut Senior High School / Grade 12

H a y l e y

W o o d

The Game Storm clouds chase the wistful birds as I sit stiff and weary on the plastic lawn chair. We all have our own white thrones, cast about an endless field, dampened by the rains of a previous mild deluge. Time has graced us with the lack of its presence and is missed by only the impatient parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles—restless in their hurry to resume a life of their own. But we do not mind. We welcome this absence with open arms; after all, we’ve spent more of Time’s time attempting to stop the clocks and know that one day we will spend a great deal attempting to reset them. The winds of change burn holes through my white gown, the ashes fall to my lap as I wipe them off slowly. I can smell the burning cloth in the air and idly tend to the newly scorched fringes. I can hear the speeches and see the speakers, yet I cannot listen to a word. What they have to say I’ve heard a thousand times, perhaps a thousand and one. I would be a fool to waste this period on premature nostalgia. I opt to people-watch instead. The blank stares of my peers intrigue me. Do they not know of today? Are they not aware of where they are? Perhaps they just aren’t aware of who they are. But I know. I feel privileged and alone. At last they begin the roll call, an endless list of names, and I know I still have a long while before my turn comes. When they call each faceless name a new person stands, gathers him or herself in an attempt to look presentable, and walks with a quickened pace towards the podium in front of them. The spectators cry, smile, and cheer as though this event is something that has been won or deserved by all of us making up the sea of blue and white before them. I feel sorry for those onlookers when I see the faces of my peers because beyond their blank expression lies the true face of indifference; we were born aloof and will be excused for it never again. In the pit of my stomach I mistake this sorrowful, worried nausea for excitement—but only for a moment. My name is called. I stand on trembling legs; no, not out of agitation, but because I have been sitting for my entire life. The magnetism of the podium pulls me forward. I swear I am not moving myself. The gusts of winds grow stronger, burning again my shroud and the hot ashes touch upon my arms leaving traces and remnants on my reddened skin. Midway to my destination I begin to hope this was all a mistake. They did not call my name. Today is not even for me. I have days, months, and years to go before I reach this moment. I have no rent to pay, no debt that I owe, no deadlines to miss. But I’m not so lucky, and as I climb the stairs to the small stage set for me, I know this. My hesitant hand grasps that of the man holding my future—a paper dream, thin and weightless. But as soon as my fingers tighten to make their grip, my body immediately weakens. My skin prunes and wrinkles; my hair grows long and thin. My bones begin to ache, and I feel brittle and vulnerable. My fingers deform at the joints, and my knees bend and remain in that permanent crouch. My back arches forward, 52

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F I C T I O N and my spine twists and creaks at any jerky movement. I feel my eyes droop and sag. The corners of my mouth drop slightly into a fixed frown. I look to the sea of blue and white, and though my vision is now blurred I know their faces remain expressionless. I turn again to the man as he stands there, still holding my now sore hand, smiling at me. I reach with my other hand for my prize, for the future he promises, but instead he drops something else into my grasp. Two six-sided dice fall in the center of my open palm, and for a moment I am perplexed. He lets go to shake the hand of someone behind me and so is my cue to go back to my white, plastic lawn chair. I have been given what I was promised; I have been prepared for my future, for the real world. And I am ready to play.

salemstate.edu Salem State University provides a high quality and affordable education that prepares students for an ever changing world. Our goal is to provide you with excellent academic programs, quality student life activities and the skills needed to lead a successful and productive life.


P O E T R Y Old Rochester Regional High School / Grade 12

S t e p h a n i e

Reverie of Rebirth

Playing on Earth, but where are we really? Hearts expanding, feet pounding everything feels. And we’ve felt it all again like newborn Children— spit out into breathing, weeping Life. Five souls meld, a microcosm of green encroaching. We skip through Earth’s fingers, lie on our backs and wonder: how did we get here? Limbs spread and palms searching through damp layers of our Mother. Air isn’t just air, it’s music— colors express what words cannot. Transcendental moments of Sublimity seem to last forever, because time is useless. Abandoning everything, Surrendering second guesses, inviting every blade of grass through our toes. And I wouldn’t mind being blind; because now I can See without my eyes, Feel without my hands, Hear without my ears… Being human finally feels like it should. Grinning eternally, giggles radiate, Bliss vibrates through our every pore. Lost, without the need to be found— is this Discovery? This is Living. Breathing not just from lungs but from within the Spirit. In this wakeful state it’s all new— What is civilization? Extremities expand and contract embracing everything that passes, without reason because this tree may as well be a person bark is skin, my fingertips dip into crevices 54

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R i z z o


P O E T R Y with arms outstretched. Every entity is a Being, and we Harmonize, never wanting to return from Enlightenment; Rebirth. And we have fallen into this course, manifested by the Universe to unleash our Spirits to stumble upon Love once again, but as we’ve never experienced it before. And I can’t stop thinking this is the path to the mountain as we climb closer and closer, nearer and nearer we seem to be because there is no destination, and I finally understand. What seemed to make sense before Is now completely nonsensical— the human attempt to live a “real” life. we became out of touch, but now we touch everything just as it has touched us. We bare our very Souls and I have been waiting to reach this peak to see it all, and for it to see me. We are Earth Water Air Fire Ether. We’re no longer so detached— And she comes from within to reach outward, because Nature is our Mother and we’ve never felt her cradle us like this before.

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P O E T R Y Milton Academy / Grade 11

Love Poem

K a r i n t h a

The tractor lies forgotten, submerged in a browning river. He feels the dust collecting at his rusting brow, and the water thick as ink, pressing against his flaking thigh. No one notices how the sun chips his steel back or the way the wind whips his face with the grace of a trout’s tail— Only the river knows him, feels his calves dig into the muddy depths of her body and his breath, the mechanic humming, beating a path through her heart.

L o w e


A R T Groton School / Grade 12

B r o n w e n

C a r t e r

Sam Shepard and Jessica Lang

p a i n t i n g TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Quaboag Regional High School / Grade 12

R a c h a e l

B a s s e t t

Psychedelic Grandma

d r a w i n g

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A R T Dracut Senior High School

V i c t o r i a

/ Grade 12

B e a u v a i s

The Parrot of Madame Lebrun

p a i n t i n g TMC Spring 2011

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A R T Quaboag Regional High School

/ Grade 12

R a c h a e l

B a s s e t t

Rainy Day

p a i n t i n g / o i l

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F I C T I O N Dartmouth High School / Grade 12

H a n n a h

L a m a r r e

My Boy

I don’t know what Jordan did with my phone, but he finagled it so that whenever he texts me, it plays some God-awful marching song. His text, as always, comes at precisely 9:15 PM. I bundle my newspaper together and heave myself off the couch. Laura is already asleep—ah, the perks of having to wake up at four every morning. This leaves me to pick up Jordan every night. Boy has no time to get his own license, what with his color guard practice every night in the fall, and then the winter guard practice later in the year. He does everything, my boy, everything other boys don’t. You don’t see other boys spinning flags or teaching the guard girls their steps or dancing around, silhouetted by the lights of the student parking lot. My sisters were flag-twirlers in high school, but I played the trumpet. The kids are always packing up when I get to the high school, disassembling instruments and zipping flags and weapons into long, awkward bags. I see him practicing with his saber sometimes, if I sneak up on him. When he catches me watching, he always stops. He says it makes him nervous when I watch him. He tosses the thing around in front of crowds of five hundred people, plus judges, but I make him nervous. He angles his own long, awkward bag into the back of my Taurus and slides into the passenger seat. “Hi,” he says, brushing the hair out of his eyes. “How was practice?” I ask, because I always do. He shrugs. He’s built like Laura—petite, and he looks smaller within the shadows of the car. Laura is five-five; Jordan can’t be more than five-eight. “It was good,” he says. “We finished the closer.” “That’s good,” I say, remembering from my days in the marching band that the closer is the end of the show. “What’s your, ah, theme this year?” “Dad,” he says, exasperated. “I’ve told you this.” “Old men forget,” I say. “Well, it’s basically good versus evil,” he tells me, “but deeper. You know...half of us start off wearing white with flags and ribbons and stuff, and the other half are wearing black and tossing sabers, and then in the middle of the show the roles switch and the good guys turn bad. It’s pretty intense.” I nod, keeping my eyes on the road. He says these things like it is normal for him to want to do this, to want to prance around in tight clothing and spin flags. I’m not against his doing these things, I just don’t understand why he wants to. I can’t figure him out, my boy. He’s friends with all the guard girls, but he’s friends with the band boys too, and he doesn’t seem to have any romantic connections with either—doesn’t even seem to favor one over the other. He keeps his personal life tucked into his guard bag—doesn’t let me see it. I don’t care one way or the other; I just want to know for sure. “When is your next show?” I ask him. TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N “Saturday,” he says, stealing a glance in my direction. “You don’t have to come though.” This is always his line. I can’t read him well enough to tell if he’s embarrassed, or nervous, or ashamed—or maybe he thinks that I’m ashamed of him. A few years ago, when he was a freshman—or maybe a sophomore—we were at a friend’s barbecue, and my friend Len asked me what Jordan played in the band. I hesitated, trying to figure out how to phrase my response. “Jordan...Jordan is in guard.” To myself I always called it guard because it sounded, at least, a hint more masculine than color guard. “Guard?” Len repeated. “You mean...he flag-dances?” I winced. “Yes...he flag-dances. I don’t know what it is with him, can’t imagine why he likes it. All the girls, maybe.” “If your boy prances around waving flags,” said Len, “it’s not the girls he’s after.” “God only knows,” I said, curiosity crawling inside of me. “Wouldn’t surprise me these days.” I know Jordan heard me. For the rest of the night, his eyes were cast downward every time I came near him, and whenever I tried to approach him, he slunk away before I could say anything. I can’t see Jordan’s eyes now, can’t read what’s hidden inside them. His eyes are dark, like his mother’s. There isn’t a whole lot of me in Jordan. “Dad?” he says now, suddenly. “Yes?” “I need to tell you something—about college.” “What is it?” I’m attentive now; we’ve discussed college before. He wants to be an accountant, which pleases me. Men become accountants all the time. “I don’t really...want to major in accounting,” he says. I’m grateful that the stop sign ahead gives me a reason to hit the brakes. “What do you mean you don’t?” His math grades have always been topnotch. Jordan’s good at managing his time around guard, and his grades have always been stellar, especially in math. Why wouldn’t he want to take advantage of that skill? And his applications are already in for God’s sake—early decision. What does he think he’s doing? “I want to major in choreography,” he tells me, his voice small. “Florida State has a great program—the best. I...I applied already. Early decision. Please, Dad. That’s what I want to do. I helped Lee—the guard director and choreographer—with this season’s routine, and I’m going to help with the routine for winter guard too. Lee went to FSU, Dad. It’s a great school. Please.” Seeing no cars behind us, I linger at the stop sign to look over at him. His dark eyes are wide, pleading—Laura’s eyes. Where is Laura when Jordan brings home an issue like this? Asleep. I blink. “Accounting’s more practical, Jordan.” “But I would hate it.” The words fall on me, sharp like hailstones. I am an accountant. I have never had a problem with being one. Jordan got his math skills from me—that’s about it. “You’ll be a starving artist,” I say. “Don’t you want something more reli62

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F I C T I O N able?” “No!” he says, shaking his head. “I swear, Dad, this is all I want to do. Please.” “What about your other applications?” I ask, struggling. We’ve planned this forever: Jordan would go to college and become an accountant; Jordan would graduate as a CPA; and as the latter half of Grimes and McFee, I would hire him. Ever since Jordan was old enough to discuss college options, this is what we’ve planned. How can he just disregard all that? “My...other applications?” he says, his voice getting, if possible, even smaller. “Yes, your other applications. UPenn, Brigham Young, University of Texas. Those applications.” “I didn’t send them in,” he says quietly and looks away. A car rolls up behind us and the driver lays on the horn. I don’t move. “You what?” “I didn’t apply to the other ones,” he says, his profile contoured by shadows. “I don’t want to go to any of them. FSU will take me, Dad. I know they will. Lee says—” “We’ll discuss this later, Jordan,” I interrupt, because I don’t know what to tell him anymore. I don’t know how to talk to him. I don’t know anything about this boy. My boy. He disappears into his room when we get home, and I into mine. I hear the shower running in his bathroom. Doors open. Doors close. Saturday afternoon I drop him off at the high school for the band’s usual preshow practice. He hasn’t spoken to me since our college talk, nor I to him, but not out of anger or spite, at least on my end. I don’t know how to approach the matter, and each time I see how crushed he looks I feel a little guiltier for hoping that he’ll come to his senses. This doesn’t seem likely. I murmur, “See you later,” as he gets out of the car at practice, but he doesn’t answer. He just casts a resentful look my way and hauls his bag out of the backseat. Tonight is the home show, which means that our band hosts the competition at the football stadium and performs for exhibition only. The school music association, which periodically emails me asking for money, has a website that I check every now and then to keep up with what’s going on. This site has informed me, since Jordan hasn’t, that our band and guard will be performing around seven-thirty. Around seven I find myself taking my keys out of the drawer and telling Laura that I’m going to Jordan’s show. She looks up from her novel, shrugs. This sliver between seven and eight is her personal time. “Okay. I’ll probably be asleep by the time you get back. Love you.” “Love you too,” I say. At least, I tell myself, I’m making more of an effort than she is. Laura, I think, has given up on Jordan. The stadium is packed when I arrive, and I have to circle the block twice. When I do find a space, it’s in a no-parking zone about half a mile away. I’m doing this for Jordan, I tell myself. I fork over a ten-dollar bill to get into the stadium and have my hand stamped TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N with a green smiley face by an overzealous parent. The air smells of grease, fried chicken, French fries—maybe if I pretend hard enough, this will be a football game instead. The only seats left are on a set of cold metal bleachers so close to the field that I can see the pale breath of the performing band. It’s a cold night, and I can feel my body slowly stiffening as the October chill creeps into my spine. The band performing now has black uniforms. The guard girls—and they are all girls, that much is clear—wear black tops and gauzy purple pants and they toss iridescent cutlasses into the air. They remind me of the harems in the uncensored copy of Tales from the Arabian Nights that I stole from the library when I was fourteen. I am relieved that Jordan doesn’t go to this school—I can accept him dancing around with flags and weapons, but I don’t know how I’d feel if he were doing that while dressed as a concubine. One of the saber girls drops her weapon repeatedly. I find myself thinking that my son could do better. A voice blares through the stadium as the harem band hits their final poses, telling me that this is Blackstone-Millville’s band and color guard. “Taking the field next,” the voice continues, “for exhibition only, is Madison High School’s band and color guard performing, Purgatory.” My cold-stiffened body rises, creaking from the bleachers, as I applaud their entrance. My eyes rove the mass of bodies for Jordan’s familiar slight figure, but right now they all look the same. “Are the judges ready? The judges are ready,” says the voice, in one breath. If they’re performing for exhibition only, I don’t see why this matters. “Drum major, is your band ready?” the voice inquires. The girl on the podium salutes, a complicated cross-body gesture, then turns to the band waiting on the field. Her arms lift, beginning a dance that maybe, if I tried, I could still follow. A single cymbal clashes through the murmured silence of the stadium. Girls in petalled white costumes flit gracefully around the field, drawing silvery flags through the air. The music folds and slips around them, caressing and then receding. The other girls, and Jordan somewhere, are curled into black knobs on the cold grass. The girls in white shroud the coiled bodies with their flags as the xylophone climbs a scale. They tiptoe away, the flags grazing the ground. Another cymbal shudders as one dark figure leaps to its feet, drawing its saber across a white-clad girl’s throat. She dips backwards, caught by another girl in white. A swarm of black-clad bodies right themselves, bounding through the ranks of the band to pursue the whitedressed girls, slaying them one by one until only a single girl remains. They manage to make this so graceful, elegant, that I almost don’t consider the morbid aspect of it. One of the black-clad figures wears a red slash on his chest—this figure commands the field. Like the other assassins, he’s dressed in all black, wearing a Zorro mask, a bodysuit, and a cape lined with red. Unlike the others, there is no black tulle fanning from his waist—Jordan. He approaches the last girl in white as the music turns swollen and villainous. The slain girls line the boundaries of the field, mingling with the other assassin girls, whose flags are the crimson of spilled blood. Their movements are simple, light; the 64

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F I C T I O N attention is drawn not to them, but to Jordan and the girl. Watching him, you would think that he was born dancing. He outdoes half these girls, leaping, spinning, and stepping. He pauses. She pauses. The band pauses. He is a foot away from her as he hurls his saber into the air. It twists end over end, and then he catches it flawlessly and levels it at the girl’s throat. That cymbal sounds once more, and I find myself staring. The girls in white, now with flags in shades of gray, flock to Jordan as he slides his saber across his victim’s neck. She tosses her white flag into the air—surrender— and a flagless assassin girl catches the flag and spins it like a pinwheel, bringing the point down just above Jordan’s head. The girls in white turn on him. The band’s flutes scream a banshee song as he dances away from them, and they follow. The assassin girls snap their flags in crisp, menacing rotations, tossing them into the air and then pointing them toward Jordan when they land the tosses. Jordan spins and aims his saber at the ghost-girls, attempting to fight them off, but they surround him as the eerie music crescendos. For a terrifying moment, I am genuinely afraid for him, until I remember that this is only a color guard show. The black-clad girls drop one by one, their scarlet flags sprawling in defeat. The girls in white flip their flags to their sides, creating a lacy frame around their circle. Then, one by one, they step aside and fall to their knees, heads down, the silvery silks of their flags blanketing patches of grass, until only one girl and Jordan are left standing. The tip of his saber looms below her chin. In one fluid motion, she takes the saber from him and then pulls it across his throat. The woman in front of me gasps, and some fatherly instinct in me seconds her reaction, even though color guard sabers have rounded edges. Jordan throws his head back, collapsing to the ground; she thrusts the saber aside and, almost tenderly, drapes her flag over his body as the band thins to one final, mournful tremble of a cymbal. There is a moment of pure silence as the guard holds their poses, and then the stadium erupts. The woman in front of me says to her husband, “Who is that saber kid? He is amazing.” I tap her shoulder and smile, pride stretching across my face. “That,” I tell her, “is my son.” She smiles back. “You must be so proud of him.” “I am,” I assure her, and as the words leave my mouth, I know that I will never again be satisfied imagining Jordan as an accountant. I watch the band march off the field, followed by the color guard, and when they have settled off near the left goalpost, I push through the throng of friends and families to find my boy. Girls with black makeup smeared around their eyes—to enhance the Zorro masks, I suppose—mingle with girls who have shimmery silver powder caked on their eyelids, but I do not see my son. I catch the eye of the nearest angel-girl and ask, “Where’s Jordan?” “Awards,” she says. “They’re in a few minutes.” TMC Spring 2011

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F I C T I O N “Oh,” I say, remembering. Jordan mentioned once, a few months ago, that he was co-captain of the color guard—he and his friend Cassidy. Captains, as well as section leaders, represent their bands and guards at awards—I remember this. Of course that’s where he is. I return to the bleachers, which have grown colder in my absence, and wait for the awards ceremony to begin. I’m too far away to see Jordan well, but I can pick him out—he’s the only one with a black bodysuit and a red slash. I keep my eyes on him and tune out the other divisions’ scores. I only perk up when I hear Madison mentioned. “Madison High School, division four,” says that voice. “Performing for exhibition only.” The audience and other band representatives applaud—so do I. Jordan smiles, taking Cassidy’s hand. I see his lips form words: “thank you?” When the awards are finished, I wind my way back to the color guard crowd. I watch as Jordan embraces one of the band boys—Brett—and they share a laugh. I let them have a moment, and then I reach out and tap his shoulder. When he sees me, his eyes—smudged with the same black stuff as the girls’—widen. “Dad,” he says, panic lilting his voice. “What are you doing here?” He looks so strange right now, not like my son. His lips are painted scarlet, his cheeks flushed with rouge. Beyond the black eyeliner and mascara, his dark eyes are fearful. “I wanted to see you,” I say. He stares at me. “You were incredible,” I say quietly. “Watching you perform...God, Jordan, I am so proud of you.” He stares. He stands still, and he stares at me. I step toward him, tentatively. “I want you to go to FSU,” I tell him. “If that’s what you want to do...I want you to do it.” He keeps his dark eyes focused on me for a moment longer, and then he throws himself at me. I hold him as he begins to shudder, my arms clasping his body awkwardly. We’ve never been very touchy-feely, Jordan and I. I can’t remember the last time I held him. He isn’t in my arms for long—there are things to pack up, other people to chat with—but when he pulls away, his face is a mess of watery makeup, bleeding half red and half black. He wipes his velvet-clad forearm across his eyes and tilts his head toward his fellow guard members. “I have to...” “I know,” I say. “Go ahead. I’ll wait for you on the bleachers.” He nods and turns back to his friends, rubbing at his eyes with his sleeve again. I linger there, watching him pack away his flags and weapons, and he glances up and meets my eyes. His lips shape the words “thank you.”

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TMC Spring 2011

67


ISSN 2156-7298

STUNNA

photog raphy / ad obe photoshop

Corinne Perreault Taunton High S chool / Grad e 12

tmc

Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts inspiration • creativity • community


The Marble Collection: Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts (Spring 2011)