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Ramblings 2013-2014

Vol. 3


Cover photo by Blake Rosen ‘17


Ramblings 2013-2014 Volume III

1. long and muddled speech or writing; 2. a walk without a definite route, taken merely for pleasure; 3. the trilingual literary and visual arts magazine of the Weber School.

The Weber School 6751 Roswell Rd Atlanta, GA 30328


Ramblings Staff Editor-in-Chief Avery Frank General Editors Amanda Budd Aviv Rau Ben Goldfein Daniel Whitesides Gabby Oquendo Matt Taylor Michael Lippman Raffi Oquendo Rebecca Adler Sarah Spielberger Sydney Gelman Tennessee Lieberman Tova Beeber Whitney Barnard Zavi Feldstein Ari Stark Advisors Mr. Sam Bradford Ms. Olivia Rocamora


Table of Contents Warning Anonymous 7 Colorful Character in the Mirror Samantha Leff 89 Self-Esteem Blob Fish Style Tova Beeber 11-12 Tulips Anonymous 13-14 ‫ גלים‬Jessica Bachner 15 Aflame Jaren Mendel 17 Chill Sam Durham 19-20 Tracks Lauren Rein 21-22 Artillery Sarah Spielberger 23-27 ‫ לב יהודי‬Zavi Feldstein 28 Nectar Tova Beeber 29 Book Thief Review Sarah Speilberger, Sydney Gelman, Zavi Feldstein 30-31 Road Layer's Song Anonymous 32 The Politics of an Orange Ben Goldfein 34-35 Dear Sweet Child Naomi Balaban 36-38 ‫ אלו החיים‬Abby Bloom 39-40 Invisible Chip Underwood 41-42 Invisible Tennessee Lieberman 43-44 Slice of Life: Dinner Time Amanda Budd 45 Society Killed the Princess Avery Frank 47-48 Untitled- Sydney Gelman 49-50 Westcott and the Officer Raffi Oquendo 52-56 ‫ חושך‬Anonymous 57 Untitled Anonymous 58 Untitled Alan Ilyayev 60 I'm a Little Tea-Cup Sarah Speilberger 61 Me (he) i Anonymous 62-63 No One Cares Unless You're Pretty or Dying Tova Beeber 64-65 Untitled Anonymous 66-67 ...Be Different Miri Areta 68-69


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Warning Anonymous If I told you a story Would you sit and listen Oh who am I kidding Your sad story’s been written There’s a storm moving in They call it the future They say it’ll cause damage But they don’t know for sure The lightning repeats Emotions flow free Down the side of my window Clouded with uncertainty Why am I scared Am I fighting a war Well I fear I am losing This has happened before

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The Colorful Character in the Mirror Samantha Leff The yellow cartoon bird captivates my attention until suddenly it disappears. In its place appears a roaring lion surrounded by circles of orange and red. Just as my eyes escape the lion, the red and orange circles redirect my eyes right back to the feisty feline. Escape is futile. The scene changes again. A crisp, clean kitchen is being cleaned by a crisp, clean lady. Manipulated by marketing and color once again, my eyes hone in on the only colorful object, a blue sponge effortlessly scrubbing away stains and grease. However, I am not as easily trapped this time as this advertisement is directed toward mothers rather than boundless two years olds with no attention span. Instead, my eyes glaze over the room, a sea of calm colors: gray sofa, cream walls, nude stained carpet. But I know how to give some life and energy to the otherwise tranquil room. I sprint around the room, browns mixing with nudes getting lost in grays blurring back into browns—then the world turns upside down. Adrenaline rushes through my eyes and every object in the room becomes crystal clear. The grey sofa sits still. The cream walls meet a white corner board. The grayish stain on the floor meets my nose. Crack! Sudden darkness. I am scared. Scared of what I cannot see, scared that I will never see again. My vision returns theatrically, with color as the opening routine. A warm orange takes hold and calms the audience, darkness follows with sporadic bursts of light as the first act, all of which vanishes blotchily during the intermission, and my vision returns as the grand finale. Overwhelmed by the screenplay, my eyes water and streams of tears roll down my paralyzed face. Something warm runs down my head. Warily, I use the wall for support as I wobble to the bathroom and I see something; no, I see someone who eerily resembles me in the mirror with one 8 small difference.


Peeking just over the edge of the sink are the same golden curls, the same brown eyes with hints of yellow; but marring her tan, homogenous forehead appears a dark, sanguine line just above her eyebrow that lazily drips onto her cheek. The red liquid line demands all of my attention, and my eyes don’t even dare to blink. I can’t understand it. The crimson line indicates danger, so I scream without losing eye contact with the girl. My trance breaks as my babysitter hoists me onto her hip, my vision bouncing up and down with each step as we descend the staircase. From my position on the counter, a place that I am banned from sitting or standing on, I gain a new perspective of the entire kitchen. I am an omniscient being, able to see every crumb of my surroundings. That is, until a brown cloth dabbing at my forehead blinds my right eye. Left with only my weaker lazy eye, I see a haze of light pink and stone white in lieu of the tile floor and countertops. It is not until the room fills with flashing blue and red lights that I realize that I am the fractured face in the mirror.

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By: Savannah Williams ‘15

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Self-esteem, Blob Fish Style Tova Beeber I’m like, the sexiest fish in the deep blue sea. Or I guess so? I mean, realistically, it’s so insanely dark down here that none of us can see one another. Which, when you think about it, is actually pretty cool I guess. Who gives a crap about your slimy skin and clownish frown when your entire life is centered around existing in a dark, ultra-pressurized, vacant world almost boiling apart next to volcanic thermal vents. I’ll tell you who, no one. So, therefore, I am the sexiest. I kinda feel bad for other people, ya know? They laugh at me, call me the ugliest thing in the world, but so what? Joke’s on you! I think you’re the ugly ones, judging so strongly based on physical appearance alone! I’m a beautiful soul in this mucuscovered body. I help out orphan blob fish, I work at the plankton kitchen, I spend my Sunday afternoons cleaning up the public sand beds rather than enjoying the football game. What do you do? Drool all over your shirt and make fun of me while you sit in your sweat-stained pajamas. Ha. You’re pathetic. You are ugly, sir, not I. I’m the Angelina Jolie of the ocean floor. You see this frown, my friend? You probably laugh at it, pretend that I’m someone who’s unhappy because I literally look like an aborted fetus gone wrong. Well, no, you presumptuous a--hole. I frown because you, your world, the hell-hole of a land you brought me to, sucks. Like, even the air pressure around sucks. How does you even accomplish making something that you can’t control suck? P.S., where the hell is all of your water? How do you even breathe? I’ll tell you what, that’s probably such an unflattering photo of me because I AM SERIOUSLY DYING. THERE IS NOTHING THAT IS ALLOWING ME TO BREATHE. DO YOU THINK YOU’D LOOK CUTE WHILE DYING AN EXCRUCIATING DEATH?

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God, for all you know, (which is very little because you bring in a miniscule amount of tourism into the ocean floor), I could look totally different! You’re like really rude paparazzi. Let me put on my suit, my foundation, or come on, at least let me moisturize! Like, internet connection sucks down here but I’ve let “blob fish” load on Google images and just, ugh, I really hate you guys. That’s why I’m frowning. You know what? Screw it. Get over yourselves. You’re just putting me down to make yourselves feel better. I’m hot, you’re not, turn and walk away. Goodbye!

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Tulips Anonymous I was planted on solid ground. Where many wish to land, I was rooted, And among the bloomed Tulips I was to flourish. Where I grow everyone is the same color— We form a large, pink cloud made of symmetrical, pink lines. We prosper next to each other, losing our petals to help our kind grow In hopes that we all face the sun, Grow straight and tall-Moral. But as we grow enough to see our quantity, Some tulips tire of sticking up their chests-Temptations call and some bend to reach for them. And we frown as we grasp our realities; We glance at the curved flowers beneath, And we--shed a tear or two, And we--turn a little pale, But we--hold our breaths and bulge our lungs, for We are still straightened flowers. I stand among the leveled tulips and I look around me; How drained we have become--stems swollen with pain and routine. And against them the skewed flowers, smaller and deformed, but happy; Twirling and twisting around one another—blissful. So I shift my base and avoid the sun, and breathe in fresh air. And it is scary yet comforting, Because being a fair Tulip fills them with pride yet bores me to death 13


So I twist and regret— Morals shouting and reason lost. And it feels so good. Feels so good. letting my vertebras fall out and curve, left and right and left and right. this is living. And I feel their tears on my petals, Slipping around my crooked stem until they reach my foundation. And those tears nourish me as I grow in all directions, I am happy. Twisted, but happy. And I look up and get a glimpse of the sun; And it is hot and demanding, And I see the noblest flowers holding their breaths to satisfy no one And I frown, for I know that the straightened flowers are living for other’s sakes; Elevated and proud, They are broken.

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‫גלים‬ Jessica Bachner

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Aflame Jaren Mendel I was driving down my street on the way to school when I witnessed a catastrophic occurrence. I glanced to the right at the houses passing by and caught a glimpse of a fire in the window of a house. The fire engulfed the full room behind the window, its pinnacles igniting the curtains. Soon, I knew that I would see the house change colors from pure white to an ashen black and fiery red. I abruptly stop to try and save the family. Not even taking the key from the ignition or closing the door behind me, I sprint toward the house surging with adrenaline and pushing against the fire’s scorching intensity. My face begins to melt in its radiance and burn from the heat. As I approach the door, I realize that I cannot save this family. I am only human; I cannot overcome this inferno. In anguish and reluctance, I turn to leave this oven of a house to get my phone and call 911. When I turn, I realize that it is 7:20 a.m. and the sun is rising. Its glorious colors captivate me like a fine theatrical performance—heavy reds dancing with orange while dark yellows run in spurts. The house was not on fire—the window reflected the fiery sunrise. It was just a sunrise. Just a sunrise. Sunrise.

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By: Jaren Mendel

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Chill Sam Durham It’s cold in Poland. Every day we were given this greeting: It’s cold in Poland. We brought gloves, boots, wool socks, double lined hats, but it’s still cold in Poland. We had thermals and leggings, jeans, sweat pants, and layer upon layer of shirts protecting our torsos from the elements; It’s still cold in Poland. Ski masks, scarves, and handwarmers couldn’t protect us from reality: It’s cold in Poland. We left the bus. The wind penetrated our thick Poland jackets, our thermals, our skins, our souls. Train tracks herded our merry band of Jews through the menacing iron gates. Birkenau had swallowed us, but we were the ones who had to digest it. Birkenau isn’t made to shock you. It doesn’t kick you square in the chest to knock the wind out of you; it doesn’t stab you in the gut and twist the knife to entice tears. Birkenau erodes you; it is a frozen wind that withers you away until you are a husk of what you once were. Every step makes your next stride a little shorter; every breath shrinks your lung capacity. Barbed wire and a mournful fog contained our vision. A vast emptiness engulfs you, and the only colors in the camp are depression, sorrow, and gray. The city we had left behind was replaced with acres upon acres of desolation and infinite nothingness. Turn left, turn right, turn around, another left; it doesn’t matter, death and gray went on forever. Buildings that popped up were sparse and low lying. One story monuments to bleakness. Bunkers, dark, foreboding, but at the same time apathetic and indifferent. They didn’t care about the Jews that came before us, they didn’t care about the Jews there now, and it sure as hell won’t care about the Jews who come in after us.

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It was just a building, and just a building it would remain. The open doorframe allowed us to exit, and with a peculiar reluctance we returned to the icy netherworld that was Birkenau. Step upon step, breath upon breath, mile upon mile and we finally approached the path that would lead us to the next destination. Brick houses traumatized by Soviet bombs, once tall spires that housed Nazi soldiers. We stepped over the only source of color that Brikenau offered us, shards of pale red bricks strewn beneath our feet. Cold and exposure tried to dull the color, but the last ray of light stayed in Birkenau, the destruction of the Nazi homes. The pond of ash, the gas chambers, they sank away as night fell onto Birkenau. The sun does not want to be here; it left at 3:00, trying to hide itself from the atrocities it has seen in years past. The cold sank in deeper, saturating bone, spirit, and soul. Buildings faded into darkness; there were no bricks, no stone, just space. It pulled on you from all directions. You didn’t feel sad -- you struggled to feel anything. Anger, sorrow, mourning, your emotions drifted away; feeling leaves you, even numbness goes, and all that is left is a hole deep inside of you devoid of anything, except for the cold wind that reverberates deep in your soul. It’s cold in Poland.

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Tracks Lauren Rein We saw the tracks Human beings, shipped in like cattle, arrived on those tracks. And they arrived, and they arrived, and they arrived 1942 1942 1942 1942

Winter Spring Summer Fall

Individuals, families, communities, cities They arrived—hundreds of thousands per day—they arrived to their death And they saw the tracks 1943 1943 1943 1943

Winter Spring Summer Fall

Suitcases. Eye Glasses. Prosthetics. Pots and Pans. Shoes. Hair and— Humans Beings Traveled in the gate and down the tracks Packed in freight cars Filled with hundreds: old, young, men and women and children Sweating, hungry, cold, tired, nervous With a one way train ticket to Birkenau And they saw the tracks 1944 1944 1944 1944

Winter Spring Summer21 Fall


We saw the tracks The Suitcases. The Glasses. The Prosthetics. The Pots and Pans. The Shoes. The Hair and— The places where Human Beings were burned, shot, executed, gassed—murdered We saw the tracks We saw the Holocaust

By: Elana Wildstein ‘17

22 Elana Wildstein ‘16


Artillery Sarah Spielberger Healthy people refer to mental illness as a battle. “Don’t let your illness defeat you” they tell me with anointed voices. Even my parents, retreating from the facade of war, slip hundreds of dollars to General Psychiatrist each week so that he will supply big white pills as artillery. It doesn’t take a level-headed genius to figure out that mental illness is no war. At least, it’s not a war the victim takes part in. Who would the victim fight? The mind, that infected thing beating control out of the victim, is the victim. Those who declare war are from the outside. The brain and the outside become enemies, the victim’s body a bomb-shelter that holds the internal target. The outside sees the victim through binoculars and scanning systems. It claims to know the workings of the victims mind, and that the only way to stop its enemy is through chemical warfare. The outside drops grenades of Zoloft, Lexapro, Trazodone, Effexor, and Prozac to tear down the brain, the infected terrorist. And they do, but the victim loses. Dr. Gibson is my General. I was just six when the battle started--too small to fight back and too naive to wave a white flag. The day had been rainy and I’d left my bicycle out in the wet. My mother saw it lying beneath raindrops, rusting with each passing moment, so she asked me to trudge outside and bring the bike into the garage. But I couldn’t. Emile was riding it. She was pedaling quickly in circles, just as I liked to do, and I wanted to watch the wheels make wakes in the rainwater. With each turn she made mud splash the handlebars, staining the white handles and clogging the bell. *** 23


I sit in Gibson’s waiting room, staring at the floral wallpaper and floral couch and floral painting on the floral wall. Some may call the overabundance of flowers lovely, a quaint and comforting alternative to the usual translucency of hospital ward walls. To me they are imposing--thorns cloaked in pink and ready to stab. My dad, slouching next to me on the couch, checks his emails. Mom sits straight up and cross-legged in the stiff leather chair across from us. Her blond hair is pulled back tight in a Ballerina bun. “Mom?” “What Isabella?” “Why am I here?” “Isabella, we are here every day.” “Yes, but aren’t you tired of continuity? I mean, my meds are fine and I haven’t ‘lost my touch with reality’ since yesterday morning. Plus, isn’t repeating something over and over again one of the symptoms of OCD? Mom, I think you and dad should be here alone to discuss your disorders because, clearly, you have them.” “Izzy, stop tormenting your mother” Dad grumbles. I am just about to argue that I am not tormenting her so much as introducing her to her own hypocrisy when Dr Gibson walks into the waiting area. Gibson towers over me as he saunters in with his head slightly cocked and an intrusive smile that exposes perfectly straight teeth. He looks like a nightmare. “Hello, hello” he said in his traditional greeting while shoving his hand in front of my abdomen. Each day I promise myself not to shake his hand. I do not want to touch the grenade launcher. But, each day, I fail. Maybe it’s his creepy smile or ability to increase the dose of chemicals that forces me to comply.

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I slouch into his office--decorated to appear “homey” and “comfortable”--with my parents close behind. From what I can gather Gibson does not believe in DoctorPatient confidentiality because he does not allow me to come without my parents. He is a proponent or “full disclosure” because “there are no secrets in family”. “So, Ms. Shanahan, what brings you here today?” Dr. Gibson asks as if he didn’t know. “I’m here every day.” I could hear my mother cough and shake her head from across the room. A warning. Behave or grenades will launch. “Isabella has displayed some further signs of depression,” mom answers for me. “She refuses to take her medication, and she locks herself in her room from the time she gets home from school.” My father twirls his fingers. He’s accustomed to this part of the session, my mother’s bringing forth of new flaws in my brain, so the thought of a clinically depressed daughter doesn’t faze him. I want him to look at me. He doesn’t “Ms. Shanahan, how do you feel about what your mother is telling us? Is she correct in her assumptions? Have you, in fact, been feeling more depressed lately?” Dr. Gibson pulls a fountain pen from his pocket and uncaps it, ready to write down anything I say. My medicine is working and I have not hallucinated in a while. My temper is under control, and I try to maintain a polite disposition. Everything is going right. The thing about depression is that it is not sadness when sadness is warranted. Depression isn’t even synonymous with sadness. Depression is suffocation. It balloons around you in a happy place, creating a film so that the happiness is distorted. “I don’t know” is all I manage to mutter. “Now Ms. Shanahan” Gibson starts. “How can you expect us to help you when you refuse to share your thoughts? 25


“Now, I recognize that young patients, especially those who have been battling their illnesses for as long as you have, may find it difficult to differentiate between their various emotions. Our brains are very tricky organs, Ms. Shanahan. There are numerous chemicals all firing at once, obstructing a singular view of a situation. In other terms, it becomes quite difficult to compartmentalize and accurately place your emotions in line with the severity, or lack of, in any given circumstance.” I stare at my parents, both nodding soberly as if some omnipotent being has handed them a list of life’s certainties. I want to argue back. Just because he deals with mental illness does not mean he understands it. Sure Gibson, according to the pamphlets that accompany the roses in the waiting room, has been working in the medical field for the past twenty-five years, specializing in pediatric care. But I am the expert. I have been living with a mind that is either delusional or caked in sedatives for over a decade. The problem is not my inability to recognize my feelings. My problem is finding them. “Dr. Gibson, would it be possible for me to take a break from my medication?” My dad has stopped twirling his fingers and squints at me now. His eyes beg me to drop it. I think his life is easier when I am sedated. “Now you know, Ms. Shanahan, that I am a huge proponent of taking breaks from medication. I just believe this should be done when you are a little less...volatile.” “I’m not volatile. Whoever said I was volatile?” “Well, your mother and father seem to think you are in need of some assistance in terms of your depressive state. It seems, at least from my perspective, that your parents just want you to be happy. Now here’s what we are going to do. I am going to write you a new prescription for some medicine that I believe will help you along. You need to take to take two pills a day, one in the morning and one before you go to sleep…” 26


The rest of the session was spent with Gibson and my mother talking about my illnesses and planning their next plans of attack. As we drive home we go through the drug store drive-thru. The guy working the counter knows my mother exceedingly well, so my meds are ready in five minutes. Before we pull out of the parking lot my mother uncaps the pill-bottle, pulls out the cotton, and shakes a powdery white pill into her hand. She turns around and gives me both the pill and a hot water bottle that has sat in the car for weeks. I swallow the pill without bothering to chase it down. At home I sit locked in my room. I’m not sad. I wait for Emile, but she does not appear. I cannot even conjure up an imaginary friend. I close my eyes to try and walk around my world. But the bookshelves are gone. I look down at my hands just as my father did in the meeting. I want to twirl my fingers. They wilt into my palm.

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‫לב יהודי‬ Zavi Feldstein

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Nectar Tova Beeber They say the physical equivalent of heartbreak Is sobbing into your pillow at three in the morning But sometimes it’s 9 a.m. on a Tuesday and the smell of your skin That sweetness hangs so strongly in the filtered sunlight I forget what to do with my hands. They ask where home is Pull forth some inner strength Some mythical over-eager veins bursting forth at the opportunity to be oxygenated But when I think of home all I can imagine is The forest growing within you Carnations bursting forth from an open mouth Vines entangling interlocked fingers And the ocean raging within your chest. They ask once again how I’m feeling Sutures torn, memories fading As I run my honey drenched tongue Across violent lips.

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Review of The Book Thief Sydney Gelman, Sarah Spielberger, Zavi Feldstein We live in a time where books are becoming extinct. Audiobooks abound, e-books thrive, and novels are constantly being adapted into films for those who don’t have the time nor the inclination to sit down with and focus on one story at a time in a physical book. We are a generation of multitaskers who have become more and more dependent on smart phones and electronic forms of communication. Words are losing their grandeur; publications are devoid of depth, and the domination that a novel holds over the public is slowly waning. Language is something that we take advantage of on a quotidian basis, with the majority of people never stopping to contemplate the multiplex impact of words and composition on themselves and those surrounding them. The adaption of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief into a film is the paradoxical counter example of our generations’ aversion to literature. There is an irony in a book that glorifies language being made into a movie, but for the first time I can say that the adjustment from page to screen feels more like a commemoration of the novel, rather than an effort to produce a blockbuster hit-- there was an integrity that was evident throughout every moment of this movie. It did the book justice, which is something that can be said less and less as we progress into the digital age. The Book Thief immortalizes the pedestrian aspects of life in Germany throughout WWII. Through this immortalization comes a renovation of the concept of what it means to be a hero, or in the case of Leisel Meminger, a heroine. In the grand scheme of history, Leisel makes no major contributions, will not be written down in history books, the only legacy she leaves behind is one of words. This is what the purpose of The Book Thief is— to demonstrate the power that language can hold over society, and the ability of a young girl to manipulate the quotidian happenings surrounding her into a memoir of war that can be likened to that of Anne Frank’s diary. 30 What do these two women have in common?


The ability to manipulate language, to appreciate its ability to capture personal history in a way that illuminates the human condition. That is what differentiates these narratives of WWII from the multitudes of others. Despite one being fact and one being fiction, both Anne Frank and Leisel Meminger are able to captivate an audience by reminding future generations of what it cost to be human when living in a time of Nazism and constant threat of destruction. As I was watching the adaption, a question was brought to light. Are writers cowards who record history instead of making it? Leisel is the fictional exemplification of a heroine who earned her title via recording history, rather than reshaping it. She is powerless to prevent the rise of Hitler, rescue the millions of Jews fated to enter concentration camps and never resurface, even to keep her father out of the front lines of action. But what she does instead is sacrifice herself to the pages of her diary. She writes down everything, spending nights reliving her time at Himmel Street over and over, as she composes her autobiography. This autobiography, and similar personal recordings, are the documents that bring history to life. The literature that will prevent atrocities like world wars and the Holocaust from happening again. In my opinion, those who are able to record history are braver than those who go to the front lines to fight-- they stay home, and they endure the suffering that everyone else does, and in the long run, they do not write to attain glory or recognition. They write because someone needs to tell the story. They write because history cannot be allowed to repeat itself once again. They write because they have no other choice but to succumb to language as an escape from the brutalities of the world around them. Markus Zusak illuminates this idea, and with the development of Leisel, he demonstrates how those who seem helpless and insignificant are often the ones who are indispensable-- the ones that force us to see that the only things that will haunt us are humans themselves. 31


The Roadlayer’s Song Anonymous There's rhythm to America that only I can see. The emptiness repeats itself from every black tar street to tree-lined borough— repetition of mall car house car mall and superlative conceit that THIS one suburb has it all. I've seen your Shady Acres and its solar-panel streets, but I've also seen its skeletons of blue fiberglass sheets. My roads alone shipped in (and out) their trucks and migrant teams to "your" new house ("express for you" like endless cold-killed leaves thing Fall is theirs alone). So moving vans pull endless on the road behind my feet as my team moves on and once again channels another street in hope that in this endless void of yellow, stunted trees, something will combat our sprawl this nightmare of a dream.

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By:Talia Katz ‘15

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The Politics of Buying an Orange Ben Goldfein Three weeks ago, my grandparents sent me on a mission: I had one hour to get them groceries. Okay, easy enough. My grandpa handed me the grocery list, so I read it. At least, I tried to read it; there was no way in hell I could decode my grandpa’s “handwriting,” if that is what you want to call it. My grandpa snatched the Post-it Note out of my hand and began translating the cursive hieroglyphs scribbled on the crumbled yellow square. Eggs, milk, bread. Chicken, yogurt, pretzels. I nodded my head; it seemed like your average trip to the supermarket — until it happened. My grandpa muttered the last item on the grocery list: oranges. I hate oranges — a lot. Especially buying oranges. With life’s many challenges, the one impediment hindering me from becoming a man is my fear of purchasing the disgusting orb of sour citrus. Grocery shopping is hard enough, but the art of deciding which type of orange to buy from the less-than excited Kroger cashier — now that is a skill acquired only by an elite group of cuisine connoisseurs. Obviously, like any normal person, I feel obligated by Mother Nature to consider the birthplace of the fruit; I can buy California blue oranges, or I can invest in Florida oranges every Conservative knows and loves. If I bought red oranges, would other shoppers make assumptions about how I feel about Obamacare? What if I chose oranges that aligned with my political philosophies but not my grandparents’ views? Would they still like me? I didn’t know. To make matters worse, they also wanted me to purchase this nauseating citrus in liquid form. That’s right — I had to buy orange juice. 34


Besides the diplomatic dilemma, there is a grotesque amount of juices to choose from. Pulp, no pulp, extra pulp. Concentrated, freshly-squeezed, added calcium. In a glass, in a carton, in a bottle. Why can’t an orange just be, well, an orange? No politics, no competition between the juices — nothing. Kind of like an apple. After all, an apple is just an apple.

By: Tova Beeber 35


Dear Sweet Child Naomi Balaban Dear Sweet Child, There is always a rainbow at the end of every storm. Life can be tricky and challenging, nothing comes easy and you must work for what you want, however, there is always a reason to keep holding on. There is always that one reason, no matter how small it is, that kept you strong for so long. Dear Perfectionist, No one person is perfect in this universe, everyone has their flaws and problems, but being perfect is nearly just a part of imagination in which people try to live up to and turn themselves into. Dear Scraped Knees, Life is a beautiful thing. All of those hardships, imperfections, problems, and flaws inspire our lives to something great. Yes, life is difficult, yes you will struggle and possibly fall to the ground, but you need to remember that if you fall down 7 times, you must stand up 8. Dear Damaged Soul, Things will be difficult for you. The road isn't always clearly paved; however, to succeed, one must never give up. You have to keep trying and standing up to make life better for yourself and others around you. We all have those bad days, which we feel that we just keep getting knocked and pushed down to the ground, but you can't move forward if you continue to look back and don't let go.

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Dear Valuable Soul, I have had some of my best friends come to me before telling me that they don't feel that they are able to stay strong and continue life. It’s a hard thing to think for someone, yet it is even harder to start to believe for yourself that you are too small and weak in order to let go of your past and look for the rainbow. Let the past stay behind you, and treat present like the gift it really is. Every second on this earth is a gift to you. I have learned myself growing up in today's society and talking to my grandparents, that the world is seen differently from how it was seen nearly 30 or so years ago. People are starting to become more "illiterate" in the sense that they are saying more hateful and harmful things to each other. Suicide rates have been increasing rapidly throughout the years, and people are finding more and more reasons to think they are not perfect. Dear Beautiful Soul, The commercials and magazines show people and bodies that are made to look a certain way – no one is really like that. These pictures go through massive forms of editing before they are even considered to be shown to the public. But, it is these photos and sights that cause people to see less of themselves. Women wear more makeup now because it is a sign of "beauty" to some people. Children, teens, adults of all genders, have starved and harmed themselves trying to get to the point of this so called "perfect" that is broadcasted daily. I recently heard a story of a little girl almost 7 years old, who is in the hospital for starving herself. The society today is evil and is making people look at the puddles on the ground instead of the sun in the sky. The journey of life is an ongoing struggle, but you cannot lose all of the smiles and laughs that have made you and helped create the amazing person you truly are.

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Dear Downtrodden Eyes, Look up. Those little things in life, the bedtime stories, small little hugs, when a stranger randomly catches your eye and smiles, or even smaller like fresh strawberries or the sound of laughter in the sun. These small and little things are the stuff that keep people looking at all of the colors of the rainbow. Dear Past, Present, and Future, No matter how strong and powerful your storm is, you must continue to search and hold on for your rainbow. Just like storms, the problems and issues may hold out for a long time and may be hard to get through, but there is always a reason to smile.

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‫אלו החיים‬ Abby Bloom

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Invisible Chip Underwood I am one of you, your classmate, your associate, but not your friend. You see me every day, but don’t see me at all. We share classes, a school campus, a lunchroom, hallways, but not a relationship. I watch, wait and listen, and hope that one day, I will fit in, feel good to be here, find a home here. I watch, wait, and listen, and still you don’t see me, don’t talk to me, and even sometimes, I feel, laugh at me. When groups plan things, I am not a part. When you all laugh and talk at the lunch table, I sit alone and wish. I wish that someone, anyone, would just say, Hi there, do you want to eat with us, talk with us, be with us, belong? I wait, but it doesn’t happen, I am alone, unwanted, sad, and afraid. It’s not so much what you do to me; it’s what you don’t do. When I try to join in your conversations, I am ignored, eyes are rolled, or those knowing glances exchanged between several of you. What do you know about me? What is so wrong with me? Am I that different? Do I look that different, am I that unattractive, unintelligent, or that uncool. I am so sad at times that I cry at home. My parents see my pain, they feel my pain, and suffer along with me. They tell me how wonderful they think I am, how special, how smart how true. They tell me stories of times that they too were hurt during high school, how they still feel the sting, the hurt, and the scars on their hearts. 41


I know that I am special to them; I am their child, their baby, their own. They are angry, hurt, and confused. They want to call the school, complain, and take action. I beg them not to, I plead with them not to make it worse. I want to fit in, I want to make a go of it and be happy. They agree, and we all hope for the best. The best. The best that never comes. I made a decision the other day to leave this painful place, where I am alone, and invisible. I want a fresh start. I want to belong. I want to have friends at school. I want to belong. I am going now, but you won’t miss me. I will be missed by the several teachers, that counselor, who cared enough to encourage me, talk to me, listen to me, and validate me. Those teachers have helped me to survive, know that I am special, good, and true. That my appearance doesn’t matter, who I may love doesn’t matter, how I identify myself though clothing, hair color, piercings, or beliefs, doesn’t matter. It could have been so special here. I had high hopes. I had dreams. I wanted to belong. I am going now, but you won’t miss me, you won’t care. I will be a faded memory of one who is no longer here. I was invisible, I was your classmate, I wanted your friendship, but you did not care.

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Invisible Tennessee Lieberman I used to wish that people would ignore me. I wanted it more than anything. I wanted so badly to talk, just to talk, without hearing some boy mock my words. I wanted to get excited about things without seeing a girl I thought I was friends with roll her eyes. I wanted to be myself without consequences. Even then, though, I didn’t think of myself as a victim. At school, people routinely ignore me. They usually have the decency to keep whatever scorn they feel towards me to themselves. It’s fantastic. I love them for it. Of course, being ignored can be painful. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that everyone hates you. It’s easy to see invisibility as a burden when you look at pictures posted from parties you weren’t invited to. The fact of the matter is, though, that your peers don’t hate you. At worst, they can be a little annoyed by you. Most are probably indifferent to you, honestly. Some might even like you. If you try to talk to them, they will never turn to you and say, “Go away, you garbage human!” They will politely engage in conversation, and if all goes well, their sentiments toward you can only improve. I’ve had my feelings hurt in the past, and I’ve had my fair share of bathroom-stall sobs of social anxiety. This does not make me a victim. It makes me strong. It’s hard to know me, and I’ve accepted that. I’m elusively but definitely not like my peers, and that’s okay. It’s okay because my peers, in turn, are elusively but definitely not like me. And you know what? There are people like me out there. They exist, and we’re friends. I’ve even found a few at school. How, you ask? By taking it upon myself to break the bonds of invisibility, and reaching out to other invisibles. 43


The moral here is acceptance. Accept yourself, accept your circumstances, and accept the fact that, however much you might feel alone, you are not actually alone. Accept the silences of invisibility, and when you find people you click with, accept them with open arms. Accept that you aren’t a victim, because, simply put, you are not a victim. You are yourself and nothing less.

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Slice of Life: Dinner Time Amanda Budd My family provides a frustration that can be either unbearable or downright comedic. A typical dinner, for instance, can resemble a sitcom. The scene commences with a family of four around a circular table. In the middle is a recurring chicken dish served with a failed helping of vegetables. My sister is singing. Whether the song is real or if she is harmonizing her thoughts, we may never know. Pan over to my parents who are flashing back to the ’80s, yet again. This entails more singing, preceded by reminiscing about the “good ‘ole days.” Finally, a moment of parental advice! Never mind, it was just a memorized quote from The Breakfast Club. Instantaneously, an argument explodes about the existence of the calendar in our kitchen, and the lack of using it. This switches to complaints regarding the lack of clean dishes, which leads to creating yet another failed dishwasher-unloading schedule. As this continues, my sister sings her refusal to eat the green beans, while the dog barks at the invisible mailman. The hullabaloo is outrageous, and just as I am about to crack… I join my sister in her harmony and realize how lucky I am to be a part of this comedic family. End Scene.

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By: Meredith Galanti ‘16

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Society Killed the Princess Avery Frank When a girl is young she is taught If a boy treats her badly, He must like her a lot Sand in her face, Pulling at her curly locks not to mention those sing- songy mocks Her mom would hold her And tell her to hush Because the boy simply has a crush. Tears in her eyes, In her gut a little pang For it was his words that truly stang. Society leads the youth astray Princesses and Barbies Keep confidence at bay. The "nice guy" is the beast Unfit for his beaut Whether or not she finds him cute. Waiting for her prince That damsel in distress All while wearing an itty- bitty dress. Barbie and Ken and Dream House, Oh My! You aren't pretty, There's no gap between your thighs! In a glass slipper your foot does not fit You simply don't belong So just go ahead and quit.

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"I feel witty, so witty" That's NOT how it goes Since pretty is apparently the size of your clothes. Mirror, Mirror, on the wall What truly makes one The fairest of them all? The grass is always greener But please don't mope You are a unique flower, in the soil of hope. Hope that just maybe we can convince All little girls, That you don't need a prince You are a queen And should be treated as such Whether or not he has a crush. Shut it all out because no matter what you weigh, You are pretty, you are witty, No matter what society may say.

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Untitled Sydney Gelman “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” --- Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” Lines 13231325 We are composed of idiosyncrasies. Visualize the universe. Conceptualize the surface of reality on its entropic odyssey outwards, the skin of verisimilitude stretched taut as it expands outwards towards an interminable destination that is indistinguishable to the human eye and indefinable by the human mind. Conceptualizing the abstraction that is a universe such as our own is unfeasible. Consider the human mind to be of similar function. A boundless opus courtesy of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, an infinite ability to manipulate reality and devise a sense of self, a notion of being. The human mind is a universe, an irrational impossibility that resulted out of nothing more than serendipity and coincidence. We are composed of elements that originate in the core of deceased stars. Our conception of the night sky is composed out of light from the past-- as we gaze upwards, we find ourselves looking backwards in time rather than outwards into the universe. 49


The Earth being a microcosm within the Milky Way galaxy, which in itself is a microcosm within the local group of galaxies, which is a microcosm within a microcosm in on itself. It is a reality that is impossible to comprehend, and is reminiscent of human nature itself. How can we begin to comprehend reality when we are rooted in the past, a past that is utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of the Earth, the solar system, and the galaxies themselves? Rather than looking outwards for answers, we consume our own theories as means of satisfying the human penchant for understanding in a universe that is an impossible truth, an unverifiable fact. Stop looking for answers to define yourself, look externally. Look into the firmaments, the impossible totality that we exist in, the reality in which human nature is insignificant. We are amateurs-- gawking at stars that are long dead-burying ourselves in nostalgia before we have a chance to encounter the sunlight. Remember, that you are “a way for the cosmos to know itself again� (Carl Sagan). Do not waste your finite days, they are irrecoverable despite their nugatory consequences. Transfigure the substance of your being-- you are vast and immeasurable. Definable only by the profusion of thoughts that drive you through your waking life and prevent you from elation of unconsciousness. We are nothing more than the myriad of thoughts that that allow us to defy archetypes whilst simultaneously, and unbeknownst to us, succumbing to them, the quintessence of human nature-- the paradox of idiosyncrasy. The irrevocability of being. 50


Emily Bachner ‘14

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Wescott and The Officer Raffi Oquendo “Conor J. Wescott, age forty-five, nearly six feet high, on the slim side…” The Officer said skimming over the report laid on the white table. He heard the sound of a man clearing his throat, as an attempt to grab the officer’s attention. Officer Williams looked up, staring into the deep blue eyes of the delinquent before him, mesmerized by the dark shade of blue. Conor Wescott was guilty for the murder of a family. He brutally mutilated four children, ages ranged from five to thirteen, decapitated the father, suffocated then assaulted the mother. Some say he is insanely and requires mental help at an institution, others say he is the spawn of the devil and should receive the death sentence. The state of New Mexico does not allow the death penalty, however, and he does not validate as clinically insane. His punishment was to be life in prison, with no chance of getting out. The trial did not take long. Wescott immediately admitted to what he had done, with a tone of pride in his voice. The court was left with looks of disgust and shame. All he has to do now is answer a few questions in a soundproof room with an officer, confess into a camera, and off to prison. Everything seemed to be so simple. What could possibly go wrong? “Mr.Wescott please look into the lens of this camera, and when I press record, state your name followed by your actions just as you did in court. Then I’ll cuff you and we can get out of here,” Officer Williams said lazily, as if he had done this process dozens of times. He had though; he was used to dealing with murderers. “Officer, tell me this,” Wescott said in a deep slow voice, “don’t you want me dead?” The Officer bleakly ignored Wescott, preparing the camera. “You could just shoot me right now you know, and nobody would hear. 52


“You’d do everyone a favor, even me!” Conor said with a cold, twisted laugh. “I’m not like you.” The Officer mumbled. “I’m sorry? What was that, Mr. Officer? I didn’t quite catch that one!” Wescott screamed, with the same terrible laugh afterwards. The laugh reminded The Officer of the Joker from Batman. “I said…I said I’m not like you. I’m not a twisted f--- who kills people for no reason!” Officer Williams slammed his fist on the table, scratching his hand on the clipboard holding Wescott’s files. “Officer I didn’t kill that family for no reason.” Wescott said. “Then why did you? What logical reason could there be?” The Officer asked with sincere curiosity. “Well,” Conor chuckled, “it was fun!” He burst out laughing as if he hit the punch line in a joke. “Now Officer, let me propose something to you. You shut off those cameras behind that giant mirror over there, come in here, give me your gun, leave the room, and when you come back my brains are going to be plastered all over this wall. Would you like that?” Wescott smirked, as if he knew what the Officer’s next action was going to be. The Officer left, locking Wescott in the cold room alone. The Officer then crossed the hall into the break room for a cup of coffee. This is my one chance, he thought. I could put an end to it all. He stared into space, millions of thoughts floating on the surface of his mind. All he could hear was Wescott’s laugh, that terrible laugh. He turned on the coffee brewer to prepare himself a remedy for his stress. Pulling a chair to the table holding the brewer, the Officer watched the drops of coffee slowly fall into the beaker. One thought was brought to his attention, of all the others he ignored, one stuck to his mind: what could Wescott be doing right now? “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen! Nobody knows, but Jesus!” Wescott sang with his raspy voice, aware that everything was going to plan. “You see, everybody thinks I’m the crazy one. Just because I murdered a few people. Now ya see, I’m not crazy. If I was crazy,” he continued while flapping his cuffed hands in his lap,

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“then I would deny what I had done. I’m not denying it, I’m taking pride in it. If I could get my hands on those dead bodies right now, you know what I’d do?” Conor continued assuming that someone was listening to him. He wasn’t wrong in think so either, the Officer had been watching his every move, and listening to every word. “I would skin their bodies, then I would paint myself in their blood. Then, then it gets fun!” Wescott giggled. “Then I’m going to cut them open and devour their internal organs for a Christmas dinner!” He laughed again, sending chills down the Officer’s spine. “Officer I know you can hear me! GET IN HERE AND F---ING LISTEN TO ME! Be the man you aren’t! I want you in here now!” He screamed with pure agony visible in his tone. Officer Williams stared intently into the video monitor, disgusted with the smug smile planted on Wescott’s face. “I know just what to do with you, you sick bastard.” Officer Williams reached behind the video monitors and unplugged the ones connected to the room where the “spawn of satan” was being held. No surveillance was available in that room, just what Wescott asked for. The Officer made his way to the tall metal door leading into the room with Conor J. Wescott, and swiped his ID card to unlock the gate to his demise – or Wescott’s demise. He wasn’t really sure which one suited this situation. The Officer took slow but large steps into the room, studying the deep blue eyes of the murderer before him. Officer Williams took a seat in his chair, and placed the files beneath his seat. “Well Conor, this is what you wanted. Here I am. Just you, me, and my gun,” the Officer said, maintaining a slow and stern tone of voice. “Now officer, hand me your gun, and leave. When you come back, bring a mop.” Wescott said smiling. “No Wescott, that isn’t happening. You see, if I do that, you will probably shoot me when I walk in.” Wescott showed no sign of surprise with the Officer’s response. “Thing is Conor, you aren’t the only one who wants out. 54


“My gun has one bullet, that’s all. If I leave to get more bullets, another officer will notice, and this whole charade will be put to a stop,” the Officer said while reaching for his gun placed cozily in his holster. Officer Williams stood up, turned around, shut his eyes, and spun the barrel in the revolver. “This way Mr.Wescott, neither of us knows who will get the bullet. Basically, this is a nice game of Russian Roulette,” the Officer said, with a smile coming to his face. “Oh come on officer! That’s not fun! I want fun!” Wescott said as if he was an English teacher criticizing a student's paper. “I have a better idea. How about we both make a mess. Hm? What do ya say? How about you quit f---ing with me, for starters. I know you have more than one bullet in that gun, I’m no fool, John. That is your name right, John? Officer John? You are just another suicidal cop who wants me dead. You wouldn’t pass up your one chance to kill me and yourself. Let’s ditch the gun idea. Every boy scout like you has a knife right? How about we both slit our own throats. I would really like that.” Conor finished with heavy breaths and a bloody nose following. “How do you know my name?” John asked. “I overheard it, what does it matter? You afraid I’m gonna send you a Christmas card now? Hand me the knife, John,” Wescott demanded impatiently. Wescott was right, John Williams was suicidal. He wanted to get it over with, but also wanted to see Wescott dead. The Officer handed his knife to Wescott, with a deep feeling of disappointment in himself. “Thank you John. You know why I like blood so much? Because of the smell. It just smells so good.” He said studying the blade. “Just shut up and do it already. Please.” Begged John. Conor took the knife to his throat, and drew it across his wind pipe, cutting off air circulation. Blood squirted on to the table, and gushed out his wound. Wescott dropped the knife on the table, leaving the blade facing John. He continued to bleed, gasping for air. After nearly five minutes of this, Conor’s body ceased its squirming, and a pool of deep burgundy colored blood covered the table and floor.

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Without thinking, the Officer took the knife and threw it across the room in anger. “Not like this! I can’t!” John reached for his revolver, pulled back the hammer, and brought the gun to the left side of his head. The cold feeling of the gun touching his head relieved him, because he knew this would take him away from all the troubles. He put his middle finger on the trigger, blasting himself into his bedroom. John rose from his pillow sweating bullets and breathing hard as if he just ran miles. “It was, it was just, just a dream.” He whispered. He covered his eyes with his hands, wiping the sweat away from his eyes. “It seemed so real, though.” John stood up, and noticed his silenced phone was receiving a call. He picked up the phone and looked at the caller id. It’s his sergeant. “ Hello? Yes sir. No no, I was already awake. Yes sir. A murder? The whole-“ John was disgusted with what he was hearing. A family of six was just brutally murdered by a man named Conor J. Wescott. It all sounded familiar, but he couldn’t quite grasp why it all sounded so familiar. “Yes sir I can handle that. No problem. I’ll be in the station soon. Bye.” He closed his phone, and dressed in his uniform. All he has to do is listen to the confession of a murderer. What could go wrong?

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‫חושך‬ Anonymous

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Untitled Anonymous Ghost-white branches sway in the wind The lonely corpse just a memory Of what lies at the end All things grow All thing die Death is filled with sorrow But everything must come to an end Shriveled leaves fall from the sky Broken, crumpled, and left to die In the rotting soil that lies beneath The very earth where we live and breathe The bodies toss in turn below foot The fragile strings, aimlessly cut We leave and breathe the crisp, clean air While our past friends are stuck in a never-ending stare At the cold, dark walls of the coffin Some just settled, some forgotten Ghost-white branches sway in the wind The lonely corpse just a memory Of what lies at the end All things grow All thing die Death is filled with sorrow But everything must come to an end

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By: Justin Seligson ‘14

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Untitled Alan Ilyayev

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I’m a Little Teacup Sarah Spielberger “Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.”—George R.R Martin As I enter the front gate of an amusement park my gaze lingers on the spinning-cup ride. Green-faced adults slip out of the settled cars, slime covered children in tow, stepping over grotesque pastel paint-chips that have fallen off the ride. They, the ill adults and mucky children and muted paint chips, are casualties—victims of the vicious cycle. With my back facing the vomit-inducing prison I announce to everyone that I will not, under any circumstances, venture towards the teacups. But I want to. Once I have swept through the park, soaked in all the other offerings, the teacups beckon toward me as a farewell ride, promising to be gentle this time. So I get on. I can refuse the mind-rattling process of writing no easier than I can commit to staying off a children’s ride. When I wake up in the morning I open the folder on my computer labeled “Journal,” and I peer at last night’s entry. It always seems to have been written by someone else, confused and sickened by the quick paced blur of words spitting out onto the whitespace. I announce to nobody in particular that I will not write again tonight. So I go through my day, soaking in all of life’s happenings, and I finish content with my experiences. Though tired, I cannot appear to leave consciousness. The light seeping from the apple icon on my computer calls me as a means of bidding the day good night, promising, this time, to be gentle. My experiences belong to the day they occurred. Before leaving that day and welcoming a new one I must, through writing, rid myself of the daily happenings. This is also what draws me toward a nauseating ride. What happens at the amusement park must stay there, and if I shake my brain I may leave clear-headed enough to return and do it all over again. To write is to get inside a spinning teacup— brain rattled enough each time to forget why the process does not feel so good. 61


me (he) i Anonymous It’s become so natural – like tumbling waters cover rocks beneath them – – like a mother’s instinct lashes out her arm as the vehicle comes to an abrupt stop – this façade of denial i make I almost believe it. It’s become so natural to conceal the (voice) (him) (he) who clouds my thoughts with regret post every single bite, chew, swallow (stop) (he) who scolds me on exhausted days (go) BUT I’M TIRED (weak. pitiful.) fine, i answer Not I, but i Because I wouldn’t let (him) control me But i obey (him) because (he) enables me to be I I (thin arms, vanished pounds, no don’t eat that, emaciated, you look huge) I 6:36 am i feel for my hip bones I awake, brush my teeth, shower I think about the day ahead, the plans I have i clothe myself i peer into my reflection

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(disappointment) I am hungry (no you’re not) i skip breakfast Two years and i’ve learned to cloak myself in thick denial regret, fear, dishonesty (he) weaves me a burqa of emotion one i struggle to see out of one that I can take off look at and not recognize I don’t identify but i feed on the lies I nourish i restrict I leap towards the future i am blinded by my past A past of “yeah that’s her, the fat one” A past of HUMILIATION HUGE shoes to fill yet i strive to shrink i want bones i want pride I nourish i restrict I leap towards the future i am blinded by my past

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No One Cares Unless You’re Pretty or Dying Tova Beeber 300 seconds. Can you imagine? 300 seconds. I’d feel that cool jagged edge ripping into me. I’d watch my petals fall effortlessly to the ground, a crimson rose blossoming at my feet. I’d taste metal, thick on my swollen tongue, and I would regret it. 300 seconds and I would be asleep. 489 pages devoted to him. Amid the thousands of pages I have written, 489 revolve around him. They range from girlish doodles of Mrs. Isabella Knight, surrounded by the syrupy pet names I knew he would one day whisper in my ear, to descriptions of our every encounter, written with a heavy hand of teen angst and impossible romanticism. I keep trying to tell myself that the pages remaining for him are numbered, but as I flip through the dog eared accounts of our first legitimate eye contact, the moment our hands brushed, the almost hidden smirk he shot in my direction, my heart aches and all resolution falters. If only he knew my name. 170 dollars. Do they realize that one pair of their jeans can feed a family of four for approximately 12 meals? Sometimes I imagine that, rather than wear a struggling family’s budget, they would wrap themselves in cellophane. A skintight layer, just like the clothing they prefer. A skintight layer to cover their delicate faces. A skintight layer with no air holes. Who’s helpless now? 64


“Cindy! Get your ugly ass down here!” Think of strangling the devil and the devil appears. Or shall I say devils. I quickly drop my pen and stumble down the garish marble staircase which leads to our parlor, following the sound of gum smacking and the wretched scent of liberally applied ‘Vixen- by Victoria’s Secret’ perfume. The end of my journey leads me face to face with Bunny, my father’s new “friend,” and the demon spawn, Mara and Mallory. “Girls, you know she hates that nickname. Anyway, Izzy, I’m leaving town tonight to visit Leo. While I’m gone, Mar and Mal are going to have a little get together, ok?” I shudder at the thought of what is entailed in a “visit” to my father. His hair turned to snow after the death of my mother, his skin to a leathery coat of liver spots and psoriasis. But Bunny comforts him. Though I have trouble believing Bunny is her real name, or that she was a “secretary” prior to meeting my father, I’m glad to have her around. She’s plump and tacky, her makeup too heavy and hair an unnaturally bleached blonde, but there’s a sweetness within her that I admire. “Okay. Tell him I miss him,” I respond, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the witches. That’s not a lie by the way, the fact that I miss him. My father may have gone AWOL on me after the accident, but he’s not awful. He’s just oblivious, completely hazy even when he does return home from business conferences. Maybe that’s why he and Bunny get along so well. They’re both blind to reality. “I hope you’re not going to tell your father about this. The girls have been begging to have a get together for so long, and you know it’s almost their birthday. 65


Untitled Anonymous a figure stands no one knows him high above the earth some people stare but no one does anything no one cares instead they watch this man who stands atop the building wind in his hair eyes closed no one notices his drying tears of confliction he speaks but no one can hear or maybe they just don’t want to because they look at him we watch him as the stars shine bright a contrast to the man’s dark soul no one makes a sound as we witness the silhouette travel from the sky all the way back to the earth where he began his journey is it all a cycle? to him it may have been but this cycle has ended he jumped and we stand paralyzed but time passes we pay our respects

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and move on continue our own cycles cycles that will one day end like that of the figure who stood high atop the building high above the earth no one knew him no one cared no one noticed his tears no one made a sound everyone will remember

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... Be Different Miri Areta There was a time when I used to be embarrassed of who I am. Embarrassed to walk the halls full of people with fair skin and flowing hair. All while feeling like I was being punished, Punished with this rough hair that stayed put when I myself moved, With this dark brown skin and the oppression that came with it. The oppression of various stereotypes that cannot be broken, & feeling like I was punching walls in an attempt to crack this cliché image. The oppression of being titled a ‘fake black’ for being educated, & feeling like I was talking to walls in an attempt to change the single story. The oppression of feeling like I was different from everyone All because of what I was, not who I was. My mother, a single-parent struggling to give her daughter the best future possible, Didn’t have much time for small-talk or lighthearted questions. She had no time for talk about the weather or politics. She always made sure I ate all my food. She always made sure I felt better after crying. And she always made sure I was doing well in school. All she cared most for was my bright future and happiness. She believed she knew what to say and how to handle every situation, But found herself in awe when she didn’t know how handle this peculiar setting. 68


After a long loud silence, she told me, “You are human like all those other kids. You may be different from them, But you are not different because of the rough texture of your tangly hair You are not different because of the dark pigmentation of your skin And you are not different because of our single-parent house. You are different because of your endless hair style options. You are different because you can have a perfect skin complexion without tanning. At last, she told me something that I will never forget. She got down on her right knee, looked me straight in my eyes, And with tears filling her eyes she said, “This world, these people, They will force you to become a woman Before you have time to enjoy being a little girl.” And as one tear rolled down her left boney cheek, she continued “So what if you’re different? Just don’t let this change you. Don’t let their cruel jokes make you bitter. Don’t let their scrutinizing make you hate. Don’t let their criticism make you feel ashamed. Don’t let the stereotypes hold you back from your success. Be strong, be happy, be aware, be proud, ...Be different.”

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Ramblings 2014