PAW Print: Poetry. Art. Writing.
Advisor: Joanne Fuller Editors: Jocelyn Trendell Lizzy Adams Zoe Engle Cover photo: “Earth Day 2016” by Mary Hepburn, Lisa McNealus, Magot Phelan, Whitney Barrett, Chloe Aurard, Anais Aurard, Mackey O’Keefe
Special Thanks to Lisa McNealus, Conor McArdle & Evie Lovett Printing by Minuteman Press, Brattleboro, VT
PAW Print 2016 Volume 4. Issue 1 Vermont Academy Literary Magazine 10 Long Walk. Saxtons River. Vermont
Table of Contents River Rat ........................................................................................................................ 6 The Man Who Played With Balls: The Epic of Randy McRorylynn ................................ 7 ‘Cado ............................................................................................................................. 8 Mackerman ................................................................................................................... 9 Luna – Silver Key, Poetry ............................................................................................. 11 Arrested ....................................................................................................................... 12 Mother Moon – Silver Key, Poetry .............................................................................. 15 Fatherless Birthday Boy ............................................................................................... 17 The Lion ....................................................................................................................... 24
Straws .......................................................................................................................... 25 To the Moon and Back ................................................................................................ 27 Every Christmas ........................................................................................................... 30 The Day I Came to Life – Silver Key, Poetry ................................................................. 34 Go to Sleep – Honorable Mention, Poetry .................................................................. 38 Spinach – Honorable Mention, Flash Fiction ............................................................... 42 Nanny – Honorable Mention, Short Story ................................................................... 46 Love – Honorable Mention, Flash Fiction .................................................................... 48 Rusty Gears – Silver Key, Short Story .......................................................................... 49 Best Day I Ever Had – Silver Key, Poetry ...................................................................... 52 Children of the Sun – Honorable Mention, Science Fiction/Fantasy ........................... 53 I Seem to Be ................................................................................................................ 55 Stay – Honorable Mention, Short Story ...................................................................... 56 Inferno – Honorable Mention, Poetry ......................................................................... 58 Fly-‐over Man – Silver Key, Flash Fiction ...................................................................... 59 Changing Tides – Honorable Mention, Poetry ............................................................ 61 Where I’m From – Honorable Mention, Personal Essay/Memoir ............................... 62 Who I Am – Honorable Mention, Personal Essay/Memoir ......................................... 63 Rowing on the Connecticut ......................................................................................... 67 Patience in the Key – Honorable Mention, Personal Essay/Memoir .......................... 68 We promised to Talk – Silver Key, personal Essay/Memoir ........................................ 70 Write Your Own ........................................................................................................... 72 All visual artists are listed in the index
River Rat by Maureen Hughes I am aware that I am worth nothing to river, and, I know, That when I die the she will not flood the banks with tears and cause anguish to those who, Choose to live next her, God bless their souls, Too infatuated realize that they are under a spell, only broken with the shattered boards Crushed glass that comes with a flooded home. But that is unimportant, as it is to all those who choose her over safety, over comfort, Understanding, as I did, that once you have felt her embrace, and she has held you, Truly held you, you never really leave her arms. Of all people I should know. My father loved the river, and he loved the boats too. As I do, and all those in my family. “We are cursed.” He told me. I know. She won’t let me go. I waste my life, Looking at her. And even though, She has tried to kill me once before And will try to kill me once again, I cannot leave. I am bound to the river Bewitched by her stare Soothed by her softness, Unperturbed, That when she falls I will be dragged down with her, And when the time comes, she will laugh at me. As she strangles me and holds me down, too selfish to let me go, And I, fool will try and get away, but all too late, For I had drowned before my foot touched the water.
The Man Who Played With Balls: The Epic of Randy McRorylynn by Mackey O’Keefe The harsh ceiling lights danced across the symmetrical reflective wood boards that made up the alley as Foreigner moaned over the speakers. The thick smell of nachos and PBR engulfed the dwindling Tuesday night attendants of Ricardo Medina’s House of Bowling. As Aerosmith’s “Dream On” crept over the gapping hall Randy McRorylynn leaned back in his hard purple chair and stared at the 27.002” ball in front of him. He had special ordered it at age 18 in Kansas City with a .32 coefficient of friction, a 1/4 “ vent hole, a 100 durometer density, and of course, it weighed 13 pounds. As he gazed at his reflection in the daily-‐polished teal and red ball, he glided back to a time 20 years ago when his once promising carrier had hit the crossroads that landed him here, on a Tuesday night, unshaven, in a pile of chip crumbs and sadness. The year was 1995, and the American Association for the Advancement of Bowling Athletics was holding the grand final tournament in Jersey City, New Jersey. At the end of the weekend of competitions, a winner’s match was organized between Randy McRorylynn and the defending champ, Angus Cruz. At 5:30 pm the two highest ranked American bowlers would go head to head in the match of the decade. The game began like most high-‐level games do, with strike after strike. As the end neared, the growing tension over whether or not young Randy would dethrone the greatest living ball-‐tosser became noticeable, as even the drunkest spectators grew silent. Randy McRorylynn had blown away the world of bowling one year ago with his appointment to the Supreme Committee of Bowling Regulation at age 24, being the youngest ever to be given that honor. His fame grew with his increased appearance on televised matches on ESPN, and he earned the nickname “The Eastern-‐European Lizard” for his stoicism and composure in the alley. As Randy stepped up to the foul line for his last toss of the match, his mind danced over the past 20 years of training that had led to this moment; all those late nights practicing at the club, all those long hours watching film of the greats like Todd Flannery and Charles Hesternly, it had all led to this moment. His address (starting position) was perfect, balanced, with his weight on his toes. As he began his toss, all he thought about was his arm swing, “forward but not too much, elbow back, and let it fly”. It was a classic balsa (soft hit to the headpin), knocking all but two pins to the ground. He was in a hole now, but nothing he couldn’t deal with after some bench work (talk from the opponent meant to upset the bowler) from Angus Cruz, Randy stepped back in front of the alley and settled in for the most important toss of his career. His plan was a simple bender (curved shot) into the few remaining pins on the
left of the wood. The release was right, the spin was right, it all was good, but bender was too ambitious, and Randy McRorylynn’s last professional bowl was a gutter ball. The disgrace never left him, and as he sat on this Tuesday night going over and over his past it felt stronger than ever. He stood and placed his ball into its carrying case and walked out of Ricardo Medina’s House of Bowling. As he opened the door a passerby blurted out, “nice purse man.” Randy responded, “It’s a ball sack, asshole” and strutted off toward his 1999 Toyota Camry while “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” by Bob Dylan played. ‘C ADO by Lilia Curtis In my hand is an absurd fruit It’s skin dark, bumpy and round It’s strange and convolute But its uses are quite profound It’s skin dark, bumpy and round Though inside is green and smooth But its uses are quite profound No matter how horrible the day it is sure to soothe Though inside is green and smooth Remove the pit and it’s ready to go No matter how horrible the day it is sure to soothe A fruit suitable for a manifesto Though inside is green and smooth In my hand is an absurd fruit A fruit suitable for a manifesto It’s strange and convoluted
Mackerman by Ronan Khalsa Once there was this thing. Rather he was a man. No. A small man was he. He was a little kid who believed himself to be the all-‐powerful Mackerman. The little turd loved mac and cheese and idolizing his belief of a “tough guy” such as Superman. He ran about throughout his days screaming, at the top of his lungs, MACKERMAN! He was truly the one and only Mackerman! No one really understood the boy, not even his parents. His father was continually hit on the butt by his son. Mackerman loved butts for some inane reason that he could not explain. The man boy also loved to “face mash” with many of his closest friends and family members. By doing a “face mash” Mackerman “added to his power” by smashing his face against other faces and “taking” their power. Power was what Mackerman tapped into to keep himself joyful and allow his persona to flourish. His mother was continually cooking mac and cheese for her spazzed out son. Mac and cheese was how Mackerman survived the pain and struggle that is life. His parents spoiled him to the extreme and allowed their young son to explore life while he experienced being the insane chaotic Mackerman. Mackerman wore an Annie’s “Arthur” mac and cheese family size cardboard box on his head while he romped around his house where he and his parents lived. Eventually his neighborhood and school was the place where the boy was successful in teaching many how to live joyfully. In second grade Mackerman was the coolest, his schoolmates thought of him as the all-‐powerful god of mac and cheese! Even Mackerman created a game of sorts called Buttwhacka in which an empty garage is played in with a Ping-‐Pong paddle and a small lightweight bouncy ball. The players must hit the ball backwards between their legs. Mackerman did not create rules for the game rather he decided to allow play to continue until the ball was smashed, the paddle broken, or someone hurt because…well that’s how he rolls. To commence the chaotic game Mackerman had to simply say, “Whack that Butt”. Mackerman as a young boy needed babysitters when his parents could not take his insanity any longer. Mackerman taught his babysitters many things while they watched over him such as the wonderful game, how to harvest “Cinnamon”, and the greatness of Annie’s “Arthur” mac and cheese. “Cinnamon” was Mackerman’s way of connecting to the earth. Mackerman harvested the rotten parts of trees and made luscious designs with them in his paved driveway. The designs stayed until his father decided to run them over “by accident” with his car. Sometimes Mackerman rubbed his Buttwhacka paddle in the “Cinnamon” for good luck in his next game. Mackerman influenced the world when he personally blessed each and every being he saw with a box of Annie’s “Arthur” mac and cheese for them to relish. He convinced his loving parents, who usually supported his Mackerman persona, to show and sometimes buy the “all natural box” for beings that he had blessed.
Many asked Mackerman “what are you doing” after did kooky things prompting Mackerman to ALWAYS tell them “giving you life”. The term life in the world of Mackerman was the ability to win in able to succeed. Let me explain. Life is a “…condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally…” (dictionary.com) but to Mackerman it was something entirely different. Mackerman believed a life was over once one had won a game of Buttwhacka, played with organic materials such as Cinnamon and stuffed their face completely full of Annie’s “Arthur” mac and cheese. Life was hell for Mackerman when he could not carry on his persona. Mackerman was a man boy. The story of his short life is what he and his followers would consider “godly” because of all his wonderful accomplishments. Of course the unique kiddo grew up to become a skinny man who lacks self-‐confidence.
And your hand she would clasp As you feigned disinterest Luna my dear She will always be near Infecting her tears With the wasted years Thinking of the days When all four would play And life seemed Perfect that way Luna they lied And a part of her died But then again she always did have the dead eyes Compared to you A beautiful blue But I never knew I never knew Luna don’t cry This is your lullaby We will all have to sing Until the day you die So darling cheer up While we fill up our cups You will always have those Wonderful eyes. Luna those eyes Imagine my surprise When I got to look again At those beautiful eyes But now I can see When you turn towards me And all I can say When you stare that way Is Luna. Your eyes Luna Your eyes What have they done To those eyes
L UNA – S ILVER K EY , P OETRY by Maureen Hughes Luna those eyes Luna those eyes There was once a woman Who would sing of those eyes Paternal lies Do you remember she cried? Because no one could save Your beautiful eyes Her mother, she’d sigh When he would walk by But he was the downfall He was the demise Maybe it’s better You can’t remember her green sweater Maybe it’s for the best How you would clutch it and laugh
A RRESTED by Chris Lehmann I’ve been arrested once in my life. For most teenagers it would probably be for something related to drugs or alcohol, but for me, this was not the case. One Saturday evening my sophomore year of high school a couple of my friends and I were on our way back to the Dartmouth Outing Club where we had parked one of our cars, to grab it, and head in for the night. I don’t remember any of the car ride on the way to the Outing Club, but once we got there it almost seems like I have photographic memory of the incident. Our driver, Jeffrey saw them first, “Guys, there are cops in Austen’s car,” he said. We all flipped our heads around, and sure enough Austen’s little red Subaru was being searched quite violently. So, naturally, Jeff panicked and tried to drive away. The cops saw our car and pulled us over before we even got out of the parking lot. “Put your hands up and get out of the car!” the taller of the two cops said. Internally, I absolutely freaked out. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but it was like when your mom asks to talk to you alone, instantly I thought to everything I had done wrong the past couple of weeks. We all got out of the car with our hands on Jeff’s car scared and confused. I think this was definitely in the top five scariest moments of my life. My friends Jeffrey, Austen, Noah, Dan, Avery and I were all circled around the car looking at each other thinking, “oh shit, this is it guys”. I was so startled by what had happened that I really couldn’t think about the fact that I hadn’t done anything; I was instead thinking about my moms reaction to my getting arrested. Noah was the loudest of us all and said, “what the hell! What is going on?” “Shut up and keep your hands on the car,” the short one said. The cops then proceeded to search Jeff’s car very thoroughly. They clearly didn’t find what they wanted because they went back to talk to each other for what felt like an eternity. None of us said anything, but I could feel my phone buzzing like mad. About ten different people tried to call me after driving by and seeing the scene from a distance. Please, never do that. If a friend has been pulled over or arrested it’s not in his or her best interest to pick up the phone, so please wait till later to call. The cops then proceeded to pull us over one by one. They talked to Jeffrey first and I could see that they breathalyzed him. I knew he was sober, but I still didn’t really know what was going on, so the nerves were still eating away at me. After a while it was my turn. They pulled me over and started asking a lot of questions. They asked me where I’d been all night? Was I sober? How old was I? How long had I lived in Hanover? And so on…. I answered the questions to the best of my ability, explaining that I had just
been hanging out with friends that night and that I had no clue what was going on. He looked annoyed to be getting these responses, yet it seemed like he was expecting it based off of what he had heard from my other friends. “There was an armed robbery here tonight, and when you and you’re friends tried to drive away, it looked very suspicious, so I hope you can see why we are asking you questions,” he said. “Arm…armed robbery?” was all I got out. “Yeah, a lot of stuff was stolen, and there is a lot of damage, the caller claimed to see young kids who were armed.” I was startled, but kind of relieved. I knew I hadn’t done anything of the sort, so hopefully I would be able to leave that night with no problems. A lot of questions came to mind, but more important to me then what was going on was making it clear to these cops that we hadn’t done anything. “Ok, well none of the stuff is in either of our cars, so why are we still being held against the car?” I asked. “Your friends car was backed up against the building with its trunk open, so it looked as if that car was being used to help the robbery. Since there was nothing in that car either we are most likely going to let you go, but we will wait until our chief gets here to here his opinion.” I walked back over to my friends who all asked me what took so long. I quickly explained my conversation with the cop and we all felt fairly relieved that we were most likely going home. Once the police chief arrived he talked to the other two cops for about 20 minutes. We all stood and watched with our hands still on the car. AT this point it had been a few hours and I knew my mom was going to be pissed that I hadn’t called her yet. None of us talked. This was definitely a low point for all of us and a night we would soon want to forget. Eventually the police chief walked over and said, “Alright, it’s pretty clear you kids had nothing to do with this, but your driver has only had his license for a couple months and isn’t allowed to have all of you in the car. So, we’re gonna need to have him call his parents to come over here and talk with us.”
Mother Moon – Silver Key, Poetry by Zoe Engle I awoke at three in the morning. Prickly sheets clawed at my skin and The supple cushion Beneath my head Stifled my shift. The darkness still enveloped my room, Excluding that Stars poked in, And Mother Moon stabbed through blinds. Inside of me, I listened to Soul whimper, Beseeching my cage for another chance. I operate my mind But, I manage not my move. There was no way To save what I had built Inside my home, my body. I drilled distantly into mattress. Springs and foam And demons, All lied beneath me, Girding my descent. The outside called to me, Foreign and bloodless. And the melody began a storm Within my eyes. I cried. Surfacing my pane, Mother Moon shouted at me. Pretty girl, Hollered she Through the window, Persistent. Her pointed crest reached in And jabbed at my skin. It is not time for you. Thoughts grasping, I faded. The millennium since which I arose, indeed were mere seconds. Moon squawked anew; Stay, She pleaded. Her barbs lifted my head, Swaddling the near barren Scene of my mind. My baby girl She sobbed.
My inert carcass still felt Tear drops rolled down Jowls. Beneath my head, The pillow grew Damp and nourished, Akin to thirsty soil. I laid Continuous as Mother Moon held me. She bawled at Stars. Help her. Her tears leaked Onto my temples. I could hear Stars; They spoke to Moon And helped. They prodded at my mouth. The pair opened my entrance. The tears I thought Were my own, Shot from above. A face, Not that of Mother Moon Or friendly Stars, But my creator, Mommy, And my kin. Mother Moon No longer shining And beaming onto me; She performed mortally. Her seeping tears And compacted bearing Began to disappear On my cold skin. I could not tell if She departed her hold, Or if my being had deceased.
F ATHERLESS B IRTHDAY B OY by Tyrique Jones “Hello! Who’s this?” A deep voice answered. “Sorry for calling so late. But this is your father.” “Man stop playing on my phone. It’s two in the morning and I have class in six hours. Who is this?” chuckling. “No! Son it’s really me.” “Yo it's too late for this shit!” “Well, I was just calling because I wanted to be one of the first people to say happy birthday.” “Thanks! Alright man good night” “Wait!” “Wait? Whats up?” “I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been watching you play for a while and I just want to know if…” “Want to know what! Huh… If you can get some tickets? or Do you want to know if you can come into my life? I don’t fucking have a father. Now get off my phone with this bullshit.” Call ended On March 5, 1997, my mother gave birth to me. She named me Daniel. Now I don’t come from a silver spoon family. My family consists of my mother and my brothers Thomas and Jack. Thomas is the oldest and he is the one that I look up to the most. We’re very different when it comes to personality and just about everything else. But everything that he does or puts his name on is just simply great. Now Jack on the other hand I can really relate to, we both play sports and we both were highly recruited athletes coming out of high school and we wore the same number. We are also good with the ladies. Now growing up on the north end of Hartford, CT, wasn’t easy. Especially with a single mother. But I promise you my mother was the most hard working human being that I know. She provided a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food for our greedy asses. She tried her hardest to keep us out of trouble. But trouble always came knocking at the door for Jack. But it wasn’t always too serious. He got into fights with kids over girls a lot. Jack was a track star and running back for the powerhouse football team. Everyone in town knew who he was and he was liked by all the teachers. Until one day. I will never forget it. My freshman
year of high school and his freshman year of college. He always picked on me about not playing football. So I told him I’ll try out when I get to high school. I didn’t want to do it but I did it anyways just to shut him up. I tried out for the freshman team for two days and luckily I was cut. I rushed home so I could call him and tell him that I tried out for the team. I picked the phone up to call. Ring...Ring...Ring...Ring...Ring…”You have reached the voicemail of…” I hung up. “That's weird.” I said to myself. Now every time I called my brothers. They always picked up on the first or second ring. Okay I’ll try again. Ring...Ring...Ring...Ring...Ring…”You have reached the voicemail of…” “Hmmm” Maybe he’ll call me back. He’s probably at practice or in class. Two hours went by still no response. I wonder if he’s with his girlfriend or something. Knowing Jack he’s probably on a date. My phone starts to ring. I’m hoping that it’s Jack but instead I’m getting a call from Thomas. “Hello” “Hey what’s up Thomas” “Are you with mom?” Thomas asked “No. Why? What happen?” “Then give me a call when mom gets home.” “No! Thomas what the fuck is going on? And cut it straight with me!” “Jack…” “Yeah what about him? I called his ass two hours ago and he still hasn’t given me a call back.” “Danny, Jack was…” “Was what?” “Ahh…” “THOMAS!” The words barely coming out of his mouth. “Danny, he was murdered last night.” Before the words could even come out of his mouth I was on my knees, phone halfway across the room and drenched in tears. “No No No NOOOOOOOOOOO! Not my brother. Why the fuck would someone want to kill my brother?” Just like that my brother was gone and all I could think of was killing the man responsible for this. “Danny? Danny? Hello are you still there?” I walked across the room to pick up my phone. Sobbing. “Hello” “Danny get ready. I’ll be outside in two minutes. We’re going to see mom.Call ends I walk outside to get into the car. “Hey..” Thomas said. No response. Nothing seem to be the same, the air wasn’t the same, even the damn music on the radio just wasn’t the same. The whole ride no words were said. Even if I wanted to the words wouldn’t
come out of my mouth. We pulled up at our mother's job. Walked through the doors. But as we walked through the doors her job phone rang. She picked up. “Hello… Oh hey what’s up coach.” she said. Before we knew it our mother was in disbelief. One tear ran from her eye. She tried to be strong for us. She never shed a tear in front of us as long as I could remember. But after she got off what I believe was the worse phone call she's ever been on, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She grabbed Thomas and I tighter than she ever did before and said “Why Jack? Who would do this to him?” I couldn’t do it anymore. I stormed outside with no intention to come back unless the justice was done. Running down the street until I was out of sight, I called Thomas’ girlfriend when I finally got clear. “Hello” “What’s up Alexis?” “Nothing much..” “Do you know who Jack was with last night?” “Yeah. He said he was going to be with Johnny at some party on campus. But my friend said she didn’t see him there last night.” “Why?” I hung up quickly and called Johnny Thomas’s best friend. “Yo. Whats up” “Nothing I’m chilling” “Yo when was the last time you spoke to Jack?” “three days ago. Why?” “Damn okay” As soon as I hung up the phone my brother pulled up in the alley. “Danny get in the car.” “NO! Not until justice is served” “DANNY GET IN THE FUCKING CAR RIGHT NOW!” I entered the car. "Danny what's going on with you? Why would you run off like that? Running up and down these streets looking for the person responsible for this isn't going to help." "Yes it is! I think I know who did this." "Danny shut up! We're going back to mom’s job." "No Thomas. I really think I know. I called Alexis and she said Jack was supposed to be with Johnny at a party last night but her friend said that she didn't see him there. Then I called Johnny and he said he hasn’t spoken to Jack in three days. Now I’m not no fucking genius but something isn’t adding up.” “Danny shut up. Just let the damn feds figure it out.” We pulled into the parking lot of our mother’s job. She got in the car and we made our way to the hospital. The car ride was filled with bumpy roads and sobbing coming from the backseat. We walked past the whole football team as we made our way to
the room Danny body was in. As we got in the room our mother was kneeled down, hand holding Danny's hand and face on his stomach full of tears. The investigation went on for months and it ended the last week of school. When the investigation was over we found that Alexis had a little relationship on the side with Danny’s best friend Johnny. Which lead Johnny to grow jealous of everything Danny had. Johnny wasn’t fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to play football and to have the little bit of fame Danny was getting. So instead of working hard to get the recognition that he so badly wanted, he shot Danny after they got in a heated argument. But he wasn’t the only one arrested. Danny’s girlfriend Alexis was also arrested because she set Danny up and sent him to a location where she knew Johnny would be waiting. My mother didn’t want me to stay around here because it wasn’t safe. So we started looking at preparatory schools for me to attend for my sophomore year. My mother didn’t have the money to pay the full tuition. But my AAU coach said he would help us out. One day my mom got a call, from where I was sitting sounded like an old grumpy man. Who identified himself as the Head Varsity Basketball Coach, from Mont St. Kitts School in Boston, Mass. He said that “he got a call saying that he should be recruiting this 6’10” kid that happens to be your son.” My mother got straight to the point she said “sir as good as that sounds but I don’t have the money to pay for the tuition.” The man said “Don’t worry about the tuition just apply and we can see where we get from there.” A week went by my mother got another call from the same guy. He asked to meet over lunch in two hours. My mother agreed to meet with him. She brought me along with her. When we got to TGI Friday’s we assumed that the man from the phone wasn’t there yet so we got seated. As we were sitting down waiting for our drinks a man with streaks of gray hair in a suit and tie walked up to the table and asked if he can take the open seat. My mom said sorry we’re waiting on someone. The man said sorry but I’m Coach Jeffery Smith, from Mont St. Kitts School. We sat over lunch for three hours talking about his school and how much he can help me develop my game. He said that he usually don’t give out full scholarships to sophomores but he willing to help us out. Within those three hours my mother fell in love with what he had to offer and she told him that I’ll be attending his school the next year. When I got on the campus I felt lost, there was only a few african american kids and all I could think about was going home to see my mother. The food was terrible, the bed was extremely little, my roommate was a weirdo. By the end of the second week I knew most of the kids and I felt comfortable. We started doing basketball workouts with the team. I quickly noticed that I was just big for nothing and I didn’t have any skill. Everyone on the team could do all these cool tricks and all I could do was rebound and block shots. Everything was easy for me at my old school but here it seemed ten times harder. Everyone in the gym was over 6’2” and they look like they lived in the weight room and there I was, a tall little twig. But I was ready to take on the challenges that were going to be thrown my way for the next three years. When
my time was done at Mont St. Kitts School, I was recognized as one of the top players in the country for my class and I wasn’t selected for the McDonald’s All-‐American High School basketball game. This was a dream I had ever since I started playing basketball. But everything that Coach Smith promised my mom came true. I improved in the classroom and my game and body got noticeably better from the first time we work out three years ago with those muscle heads. Even though everything came true, the one thing that Coach Smith didn’t promise my mom was that I was going to be highly recruited. Many schools called her and she told them all the same message as she did Coach Smith “as good as that sounds, but I don’t have the money to pay for the tuition.” She later learned that the schools were offering full scholarships for her son to get a free education and play basketball at the highest level. When it came to picking school the decision was easy because I’ve been away from my mom for the last three years and I wanted to stay home to be close to her. So I decided to go to the University of Connecticut. The transition from high school to college wasn’t as hard as I expected due to prep school. This was also the first time I was on a team that I felt like I belong on. We were voted preseason top 25 in the country and projected to make some noise in the tournament. With that being said we started off slow losing some close games that we should have won, We played well enough to make the NCAA tournament. But before we got there we had to take care of our conference tournament first. It was getting ready to start in five days and then I get this call. “Hello! Who’s this?” A deep voice answered. “Sorry for calling so late. But this is your father.” “Man stop playing on my phone. It’s two in the morning and I have class in six hours. Who is this?” chuckling. “No! Son it’s really me.” “Yo it's too late for this shit!” “Well, I was just calling because I wanted to be one of the first people to say happy birthday.” “Thanks! Alright man good night” “Wait!” “Wait? Whats up?” “I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been watching you play for a while and I just want to know if…” “Want to know what! Huh… If you can get some tickets? or Do you want to know if you can come into my life? I don’t fucking have a father. Now get off my phone with this bullshit.” Call ended My phone started ringing again I sent it to voicemail. When I woke up I noticed that the man had left a voicemail. The voicemail said “I just wanted to know if I could meet with you today at 2pm in the cafe on the north side.
Wait the north side of the cafe has been closed for construction for two weeks. I had a class at 2pm but I really wanted to know who this guy was. I asked one of my lady friends to take some good notes for me. I ran through the rain to the cafe, then I walked to the north side trying to dry myself off. There was a man standing there about six feet six inches tall, wearing a well pressed suit. “Thomas is that you?” I said. “No son it’s your father Stanley D. Jefferson,” chuckling. Either this was really my father or this was my brother playing with me because this guy looked very identical to him. We walked around campus for about three hours exchanging stories about our life. When I got back to my dorm I called my mother. “Hello, mom?” “Hey what’s up Dan! How’s everything going?” “Everything’s going well. Getting ready for the tournament.” “That's good you have to stay focus baby” “Mom, I spoke to Stanely today” “Good. I gave him you and your brothers number the other day when I had lunch with him. What did you guys talk about?” “Where do I start. He told me everything.” “So what did he say?” “He told me why he hasn’t been in my life.” “Come on Danny don’t you think I want to know too. I’ve been waiting eighteen years. And the other day when I meet him for lunch he still couldn’t tell me.” “Okay he told me that when you guys were together he had a gambling problem. He said that he think you knew about it but you never said anything he always provided everything the family needed. He was on the verge of losing all his money that he got from playing pro football. But when you were pregnant with me he got into some trouble with some really bad people. He lost a bet that could've cost us our lives. He was ashamed to tell you so he got up and left. Only to return when he was clean from his problem” “All he had to do was tell me, I wouldn’t have understood. But at least it was right for the family.” “But I didn’t say anything about what's been going on in my life.” “Danny it’s okay you can open up to him. I believe that he only want’s the best for you. When he asked for you and your brothers number. I had to tell what happen to Jack. He was crushed and all he could think about was creating a relationship with you that he never had. So can you please give him a chance. If you don’t want to do it for me at least do it for Jack because I know that he would want to have a chance to talk to him again.” “I’m not saying our relationship is going to be the best but I will definitely give him a
chance. Love you mom.” “Love you to…...And Happy Birthday Danny!” I went on to practice to get ready for the tournament. Everything just seemed different. I never went to practice knowing who my father was. After practice I head to my dorm. This weird number is calling my phone. I pick it up. “Hello” a little voice answers “Hello, umm, is this Daniel Jefferson.” “Yeah this is him.” “This is Ashley from the UCONN hospital. I’m sorry to inform you but Stanley Jefferson was killed in a car accident. Sorry for your loss.”
T HE L ION by Ronan Khalsa An all-‐powerful beast, A king, A loving creature, A thick mane, A killer roar, A sweet smile, A determined forehead, A tail used to whip, A set of jarring teeth, A wide mouth, A need for blood, A nose that can smell for kilometers, Two floppy ears that can hear for miles, Eyes that see forever, A heavy lurking body, Many whiskers prove he is a cat, Four deadly paws, The desert is his home, And he is the king.
S TRAWS by Maggie McKay As a young child she was fascinated with straws-‐ Yes, the striped, spherical, neon decorated utensil we drink beverages out of. She dwelled on their convenience and ease. She incorporated them in art, with tacky decoration. She only bought the variety packs, because they were 67 cents cheaper then the red striped, and a little thinner. For Christmas her mother put boxes in her stocking. She carried them around with her everywhere she goes. She admires their convenience, and suffers severely from OCD of putting her mouth on anything else. This girl carried straws more then she carried tampons. She would go as far to switch out the straws that they gave you at restaurants. This weird addiction was never a problem till one day it got out of hand. She was sitting around the table as her sister and cousin painted their nails. She pondered the items on the table with a straw in hand, contemplating what she could utilize with it. Her cheap straws couldn’t penetrate an apple, and oranges only worked depending on how ripe they were. Oranges were pretty ambiguous, so she didn’t try to stab them often with her straws, she considered it a waste if they snapped. As she was dabbling in her typical straw strategy she came across a new bottled liquid, it was blue. It was different, but it failed to striker her as odd. Her curiosity crawled across the table and took the pacifier out of her mouth. Her mother and father are going about their night in the kitchen took, preparing dinner and taking business calls. Her sister and cousin were still painting their nails at the counter where she was crawling. She put her pacifier down next to the blue bottle, then her curiosity slipped the straw into the blue drink. She started drinking it, it still wasn’t right, but still didn’t strike her as wrong. She kept going till her sister suggested that she was drinking “my fucking nail polish remover” and everyone in the kitchen turned around to see. The blue bottle was in fact acetone free nail polish of her sisters. Her father hung up his call frantically, but silent. He calmly asks what poison controls number is, she stops drinking and removes her straw. Her mother scoffs at her sister for supervising this and grabs the bottle, as she picks up her toxic baby. She was so surprised by the alarm she caused, that she dropped her contaminated straw on the floor. At that second in time she was more bummed about wasting a straw, then her potential poisoning. From then on her straw privileges weren’t the same. She basically had to change her whole life, and in consequently she became incredibly depressed. Days turned into months, and years turned into centuries. Until she was 18. She didn’t spend her 18th birthday with her family, she escaped with a new boy that she met on Straw lovers meet . com and she was able to continue where she left off at 4 years old. Her life became engulfed in the fire that was her passion for straws. Eventually her love for straws surpassed the boy that she had met, no love could match the one that she provided for her straws. She’ll never forget the sadness that she felt that day
when she was 4 years old and she got her straws taken away for 14 years. When people ask her if she has been to jail, she says yes. Because to her, those 14 years were some of the hardest most painful years of her life. She now studies philosophy, spending hours of research on other ways to utilize straws. She’s started straw recycle events, and plans to expand her knowledge as far as she can. She simply loves straws, and will always remember the anguish that acetone brought her. Years later she was found in North Dakota where she was trying to start a cult of straw worshippers. She had convinced herself that she was the chosen one. She was the straw goddess that all of humanity was looking for. She believed this because she survived when she drank the nail polish remover. She decided she turned acetone to water, and she named herself goddess of all straws.
T O THE M OON A ND B ACK by Mackey O’Keefe There once was a boy who was good at most things but never the best, so he stayed humble and happy. One day, his grandmother gave him a picture of a person standing on a chair reaching for the moon. He put the picture on his desk and decided to try hard. Two diplomas later, the boy was almost a man. He had tried hard and now had a job. He saw the picture on his desk and decided to try harder. Now he was a man and his job was his life. Trying hard was his only option. As he looked at the picture on his desk he realized he had spent his life working on the chair and forgot to reach for the moon.
Christmas Eve by Chae Ra Lee It was Christmas Eve. It was my first time in my life being home alone. My parents went to meet their schoolmates from college and my sister went to see her ‘boy friend’ because it was a ‘romantic Christmas’ for her I guess. I don’t have a boy friend or friends from college since I am a junior from high school. I mean I could ask my friends to come over, but I live to far from them. I sat down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and turned on the TV. And of course the movie ‘Home Alone’ was on. I am pretty sure that I watched that movie more than 10 times which now ended with me rolling my eyes. But I do agree that that kid in the movie is quite smart. I don’t know if I could have been that brave if I was that situation. I turned off the TV. There was nothing much to do and I was hungry. I went to the kitchen and... oh goodness. How come it’s Christmas and we don’t have ANY food? Only thing I could eat was popcorn. Hmm... I called mom. Wow, she is not even answering.. Ok I’ll just suppress my self from wanting to eat food I guess. As I was wondering my house, I went in to my sister’s room. Just because I wanted to see what kind of new make up she had got. Oh goodness she got new mascara and new orange colored lipstick! I’ll try it on just once. I sat down and started to put my sissy’s make up on. It felt like I looked so much better by using my sissy’s make up, but she will get extremely mad if she finds this out. Even though I tried to do something else, my stomach won’t let me alone. Yes, I was still so hungry. I went down stairs and checked the kitchen again. Nothing except pistachios, which I am allergic to. Ok. I cannot handle this. As I was wondering around the kitchen, this one thought came in to my mind. What if... I drive down to the market, which is about 10 minute away from my house? I do know how to drive but I just didn’t have my license yet. I took my dad’s car key and went to the garage. I slowly started the car and yes of course I was quite nervous. As I was driving, I saw this red light showing from the screen above my handle. Oh no. The gas is almost out. Of course this happens while I’m driving by myself. My hands started to getting sweaty. The major problem was that the gas station was 20 minutes away from the market. Wait.. why is the car slowing down right this second? This cannot happen! I’m just around 5 minutes away from the market and how am I suppose to go back home while it is so dark out? Oh my goodness. Unfortunately, the car did stop. I was so confused and had no idea what I should do. And believe it or not, I was still hungry. I walked down to the market and bought Cheetos, string cheese and milk then started to walk back to where the car was. WHAT SHOULD I DO. Actually, there was noting I could do. I walked back to the house and guess who was here....my sister. As soon as I got in, she says “Did you use my make up?” Oh no. I forgot to wash off all the make up that I had on my face. She is so mad. Her face is getting red which is an ‘angry sign’ for her. But first of all what should I solve first; saying sorry to
my sister and buying her food or telling her about the car that broke down? I don’t know what to do and I need help.
E VERY C HRISTMAS by Ange Eucker Day 1 It started when I woke up on a Monday morning. I went through my usual routine. Wake up, get out of bed, brush my teeth, and all that kind of stuff. Halfway on my walk to my high school, I noticed something was out of place. Someone had either dropped or left their locket. I didn’t want to pry since it wasn’t mine so I didn’t open it. It was engraved with the initials M.G.R. and looked to me as if it were worn regularly. There was still warmth left in the chilling metal. I don’t know why it was there or whose it was, but I stopped for a minute or two, before looking at my watch, cursing and rapidly running towards my school. Day 2 The second day was even weirder than the first day. I did my usual routine, but before I even left my room, something shining in the morning light caught my eye. I walked towards my desk where the light was coming from. I found myself staring at the locket. It was the same one that I had found yesterday on my way to school. I thought it would be rude to not put it back, so I took it with me in hopes I could leave it there for the owner to pick it up. When I got to where I found it, in the exact same place was another locket. This time the initials were C.E.D. on a rose gold chain with intricate little swirls on the locket itself. Once again I decided to not open this locket. When I looked down at my watch, I saw that I only had five minutes left to get to my homeroom. Now it’s when I’m at my homeroom that I learn some things about the lockets that mysteriously showed up along my path. From what my friends had told me, their names were Mary Georgia Rudolph and Cecilia Elizabeth Dasher. Apparently, they were former friends of mine. Now that I think about it, I do remember Mary having red hair and always laughing. I also remember Cecilia or as I called her, Cici. She had told me to call her that because she didn’t want the same name as half of her family. I found it odd though that we never investigated their disappearances. Everyone assumed they had just run away. But what if they hadn’t? Why would their lockets be left on my path to school? So many questions and possibilities were running through my head. After I had gotten home, I fixed my dinner, went upstairs, and began taking out my things from my backpack so I could do my homework. As I was doing this, I found the two lockets all the way at the bottom of my bag. Then I remembered something. Mary and Cecilia had disappeared around the same time. Most people thought they had disappeared during the New Year, but I now remember not having seen them since the Christmas Eve party our parents threw every year. I need to lie down. Just for a quick rest.
Day 3 Today was Wednesday and I would only have morning classes because the ones I had in the afternoon were cancelled. The school had sent an email notifying us that our teachers were sick. Again as I was walking, I saw another locket. This one looked older than the others. It had the letters D.R.P engraved with just a simple silver chain. After asking around at school, I had found nothing out about the new locket. So instead I resorted to sifting through the Internet. About three hours of sifting through useless documents and some old news bulletins that were now images online, I finally found something useful. Apparently the locket had belonged to a young man named Daniel Rover Prancer. The weird thing was, he was reported missing January 1st after he missed his family’s New Year’s party. He had lived on his own and had never failed to show up for that party. After months with no leads, they had given up. Eventually they began to believe that he had run away. That couldn’t be the reason for his disappearance. Two girls and one guy going missing around the same time? How hasn’t anyone found this suspicious? This is getting to the point where things aren’t just a coincidence. I’ve got to stop for now. I forgot to do my homework. Maybe some friends can help me? I’ll ask them tomorrow at school. Hopefully another locket doesn’t show up. Day 4 This is getting ridiculously creepy. Again there was a locket in my path. But that wasn’t what made it creepy. A few years ago, I had this really funny aunt named Rhia who had taken in a young girl named Annie and her friend who was named Darren. You might be wondering why would I mention these two? Well, the explanation comes in the form of a story. My aunt had a meeting and had asked my mom if she could watch Annie and Darren. All three of us were in the backyard kicking around an old soccer ball. Darren had just gone inside to get some water for all of us. Annie and I had been kicking the ball back and forth when she started shaking. I kept asking what’s wrong and what she had said was something I had brushed off as imagination. She said, “He’s coming for me. I don’t wanna go. I don’t wanna leave now.” I remember Aunt Rhia telling me her name was Annie Flore Donner and Darren’s full name was Darren Fiore Blitzen. A few weeks later, Annie had disappeared and my aunt was sent to a psych ward. Darren was sent to live with his friend Alex’s family. My mother never really said why. I guess it was just too painful for her seeing as her own sister that she did everything with had gone completely insane even though she had been fine a few days prior. After Annie disappeared, Darren became more closed off to others and never really talked much. Now here’s what makes this locket especially creepy. The initials that were engraved were A.F.D. Annie’s initials with the same small rose sticker that I let her have. I have to show this to Darren. This is just too much. I need to go.
Alright,. so it seems that now I’m officially crazy to all my friends. After I had told them everything and my thoughts, they told me to just drop it. What? Drop investigating the disappearances of these missing people so that they and their families can have peace and justice? No. At least I have one person who believes me. When I told Darren what happened, he seemed shocked. The same thing was happening to Darren. Except instead of lockets, he would get pictures of them. In each photograph, they were standing in front of a Christmas tree. But that wasn’t what was freaky and extremely discomforting In the next photo, the person who disappeared recently joined the others. Mary, Cecilia, Annie, and Daniel were all in the same picture. They couldn’t be because they had all disappeared at different times and had never known each other. I’m officially freaked out. The doorbell just rang. I’m pretty sure Darren is here now. I have to go and share what I’ve figured out so far. Day 5 Darren and I came up with a plan of action. Today we would take my way to school and tomorrow we would take his. As we were walking, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. I mean who wouldn’t around a guy they had crushed on since they were little? To give you a better picture of why I feel nervous, I’ll tell you what he looks like. He’s over six feet tall, has jet black hair, icy glacier blue eyes, and a slight tan. But that’s only part of the reason why I’m nervous. We had been really close and then Annie had disappeared, I had used to think he hated me and blamed me for it because he used to avoid me. As it turns out, he was afraid that if he hung out with me, then I’d disappear too. That meant that he cared. From then on we usually hung out and watched movies. We had been walking until we found a small box. It had a simple Day 6 Today’s the day. We are taking his route to school.
T HE D AY I C AME TO L IFE – S ILVER K EY, P OETRY by Kofi Asante What was the best day of my life? It’s a tough question since I have lived for 5,957 days. When I look back though, I have to say it was the day I was born. It started like any ordinary day. Juggling a small ball in a dark flooded place. It was like any other day I have had in the past 9 months. There was something particularly odd about this day. I felt like something extraordinary was going to happen today. But as always, I just kept juggling the ball. The day was almost over without anything special happening. It seemed like my instincts were wrong. I spoke too soon. In the spur of a moment, all of the water around me just started to drain. I was confused and couldn't breath and I thought the world was ending. I was terrified and panicking. This lasted for about 20 minutes where I couldn’t breath and there was no more water. Then, all of a sudden, I heard what sounded like an overgrown woman yelling “Push!!!” I had no idea what or who she was talking to. All I was thinking was that she better watch her tone. Every time she said push, I felt like I was being sucked by a vacuum. It was actually kind of fun. Finally, after hearing push about 50 times, I felt a cold breeze on my semi-‐bald head. Then someone grabbed me by the head and yanked me out which was really rude. I then began to cry. I don’t know why, but I was crying. I was covered in some red stuff that seemed like strawberry jam to me. The woman who was yelling push then stuck something up my nose which made me cry even more. I was then wrapped in a towel like a burrito and handed to this lady who looked exactly like me. After a long night, I realized that I was just introduced to life. And also that I left my soccer ball in there.
GO TO SLEEP – HONORABLE MENTION, POETRY by Mackey O’Keefe I lie down, Sink into my bed like I did as a child into new snow. I close my eyes And that’s when the sun’s reflection off the water hits them. The steel rowboat I’m in speeds down a river headed for the abyss of air below, Over the edge, the sound of water thundering hundreds of unseen feet below is quieter than expected. I stand up and, like a deep-‐see diver, roll over the side of my dry shell into the somehow warm brackish water. Everything. I see it all, Clear as the day my body has just finished. I’m shooting down through the water toward an open tendril of seaweed, in the shape of a tube, rising out of the sand far below. I’m entering it, In it, Through it, And I’m engulfed in the sand below As I open my eyes Again I see a brilliant, thundering, sun Again. I walk to the edge of a nearby cliff, shaking sand from my now dry tee shirt. This desert appears larger, hotter, and more boundless than a million seas. My body throws itself off the cliff Thundering into the sand powder below Clouds of dust billow around me. I am blind
It clears as I stream past rocks and mounds of snow My skis thunder down the mountain, They are fast but my spirit is faster. My body throws itself off a cliff Snow leaving a trail in the air as if I was a jetliner Misjudged That’s all Into a tree The hard green and brown tosses me. As I pull my head from one of its branches a bird flutters by. Again I hear water Again 50 feet below runs a stream My body throws itself out of the tree Again Thundering like the waterfall, the sun, and the skis, I fly unafraid toward the ground Into the stream A slight chill meets me As I roll over to a yet un-‐warmed part of my bed And fall asleep.
S PINACH – H ONORABLE M ENTION , F LASH F ICTION by Zoe Engle It’s hard to say when it ended; I always viewed the breakup as a slow process. If you ask her, though, she’d probably say when we went upstate; when she met Grandmother. Grandmother has a vacation home on a lake in upstate New York. Cymbeline and I had been dating for about a year and a half the first time I took her. Cymbeline-‐ or Belly, as I liked to call her-‐ had yet to meet Grandmother. Grandmother was notorious for being inexcusably rude to our family member’s significant others; when first meeting Father, she “accidentally tripped him” into the lake. Grandmother played off the situation cooly, as did Father, but Mother was smarter than that. People who have heard this story typically deplore Mother for believing her own birth-‐giver would do that. But they don’t know Grandmother. Grandmother invited me to come up one weekend during the summer. She claimed, “I miss my favorite grandson!” Being that Grandmother was my key to wealth and financial success, I agreed. I always thought that making her happy would work out in my favor in the future. The week before I headed up with Belly, I phoned Grandmother. She, like always, seemed thoroughly excited to hear from me. She initially exclaimed, “Philip! How are you my sweet Grandson.” This conversation, however, was all business; I needed her to reassure me that she would try her best to get along with Belly. “Why wouldn’t I?” She asked when confronted. After discussion, though, she promised me she would try to “play nice”. I, being the sweet, naive Grandson, believed her. You can complain of me being credulous, but Grandmother is skilled in the art of deceit. Belly and I arrived at the house around five o’clock one summer evening. The first two hours of our arrival were rather pleasant: we took a quick dip in the lake and then unpacked, and then drove down a few miles to the town’s gas station. It wasn’t until we sat down for dinner; that was the beginning of the end. The three of us had just sat down at the small dinner table on the porch. Bugs swarmed around our heads and Grandmother kept complaining about how many bites she had on her legs. “And they still keep coming after me!” She boomed, swatting at the air.
Belly and I forced laughter at Grandmother’s comment. Grandmother suggested eating the food before it became cool, so she pulled off the covering of the largest tray. “Bon appetite!” Grandmother chuckled. She passed the plate of grilled chicken to Belly, unaware that she was, in fact, a vegetarian. Belly looked helplessly between the plate presented to her, and me. I felt compelled to interject on her behalf. “Grandmother,” I began to say. “Cymbeline doesn’t eat meat. I forgot to tell you.” She was shocked; her eyes widened and her mouth parted slightly. Grandmother pushed her words out, “There are some lovely spinach leaves here too, if you’d like. If you don’t eat that, well then I guess I could go get an apple from the kitchen.” She squinted her eyes and gave the two of us a half smile. I could feel Belly’s knee hit mine underneath the table. Belly said, “The greens should be fine, thank you.” She smiled slightly and reached for the bowl. Belly served me, and then herself, before we all began to eat. Following this, there were a scattering of uncomfortable silences; the most noise emanated from the contact of our metal forks on porcelain plates. Eventually, though, Grandmother began to speak. “I think it’s lovely that you don’t eat meat, Cymbeline,” she began to say. “Tell me, what got you interested in averting your own body to such nutrients?” I heard Belly choke on her food at this point. I was surprised I didn’t do the same. Belly answered, “I find the way most food is processed to be inhumane and cruel and, really, quite barbaric.” Grandmother had put down her utensils; she was sitting with her hands on her lap and a bored look on her face. “Wow,” she began to reply. “That response is different from what I had expected.” Belly and I were confused, unsure as to what she meant by that. The temptation to ask what Grandmother meant was authentic, but the fear I had for the response overruled my curiosity. However, it did not stop Belly. “Well, yes, I know,” she said, smiling. “Most girls my age do it for dietary reasons. I, however, just don’t feel comfortable with eating what was once a living creature.” Grandmother was smirking at this point, one of the most frightening faces you will ever see on this woman. That was when she said it.
She said, “I just assumed you were doing it to lose some of that extra weight you have.” Grandmother shrugged and continued on with her eating. I looked at Belly out of the corner of my eye; I could see her jaw drop down, almost hitting her plate. She hit my knee with hers. Assuming she wanted me to defend her, I failed at the desired task. I continued to eat my dinner, even having the gumption to compliment Grandmother on her cooking. Belly asked, “Phil, can you help me clear my plate?” Grandmother, however, was on top of it. “Don’t worry, Cymbeline, I have it,” she said as she grabbed our plates. She walked to the doorway and, as she reached it, she turned around. And she said, “I can only image how tiring it must get to have all that extra weight hanging around.” Once Grandmother had disappeared into the kitchen, Belly really let me have it. Honestly, I deserved it, but she wanted me to yell at the little old woman who offered me eternal financial stability; that was not something I could have done. Belly said, “If we don’t leave now I will never forgive you.” Being the person I was at that time, Grandmother’s money meant more than having Belly’s eternal love. We stayed the remainder of the weekend and headed back to the City on Sunday night. The car drive down was very quiet. “Close the windows,” she said as we drove down I-‐87. That was the only talking that transpired during that journey. In retrospect, not leaving when she wanted to was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. When Grandmother died, she gave me a shitty portion of the will. When we were having it read to us, I realized how much I had screwed up. I loved Belly, and, unlike Grandmother, I didn’t need money to do so.
N ANNY – H ONORABLE M ENTION, S HORT S TORY by Miranda Fuller When I was fifteen, there was a dog in my house. Her name was Lucinda and she belonged to my sister. This dog followed me everywhere, to the dinning room for breakfast, to the car when Nanny and I went to school, and she would be there waiting for me when I came home; then she’d follow me to dinner and bed. I would whack her on the nose, pull her tail and kick her away from me. My fragile sister, who was eight, would fall over the mangy beast and clean it with her innocent tears. One evening Nanny brought me into the parlor where Mother was sitting on the fainting couch, her tired eyes watching me anxiously. Nanny closed the door and stood by it. “Yes mother?” I sat as close to her as I could. She was so funny looking when she was scared. “Wendy, I held a council with your teachers from school, they tell me that you’ve been getting in trouble again.” Her voice wavered, wringing her hands raw. I laughed. “So, your father and I decided that it would be best for you to go to a more, uh, careful school.” Sweat beaded on her brow. “What were you going to say, just then?” I asked, my grin vanishing. “I just…careful. I just couldn’t remember the word.” She flashed a weak and fearful smile. Lies, I thought. I could lash out, but that’s what they’re expecting, they’ll be ready. The room was silent, even the air seemed to wait fretfully for my reaction. I loved these moments, moments when I was in complete power. I smiled again, but still they were tense. “Ok, Mother.” I said, and leapt from my seat to skip into the hall. That night I let the dog in. I let her fall asleep at the foot of my bed. I waited until my pathetic sister was asleep in her own bed across the room, and by the light of the full moon, took out a kitchen knife and slit the puppy’s throat. I dragged the limp carcass across the mahogany floor, leaving a trail of beautiful burgundy, and stuffed it under my sister’s covers. I sat and waited, knife in hand, for the pitiful child to wake. When she did, and saw my loving gift, she stared at me without a word. Nanny came to wake us and fainted at the gruesome scene. I shut the door behind her, trapping them in with me. “You like games, don’t you Ella?” I whispered to my sister. She nodded slowly, still holding the dog’s matted fur in her bloody little hands. “Well then, lets play.” I said, dragging the old woman’s body to the center of the room. Se began to wake up. “You can’t stop me now.” I hissed, slowly dragging my blade across her neck. Ella whimpered. “Don’t cry.” I snapped at her. “It’s only a game. Come here.” She let go
of the dog, tears dripping onto its body for the last time. She sat next to me, her white nightgown stained floral with red. “How do I play?” She asked stupidly. “I’ll show you. This game is called I Hate Nanny.” I told her. “You say something you hate about Nanny, and then stab her with this knife.” I took the knife in my hand and chanted “I hate that Nanny never let me play with other kids.” And drove the knife right below her breastbone, which caused a faint grunt to escape her lips. “Your turn.” I handed Ella the knife and watched the blood seep out of Nanny’s chest and pooled on the floor. “Why must I play?” She asked, loosely holding the knife in her hand. “Because you are weak, and this will make you stronger.” I laughed at her idiocy. “Ok.” She said, her body shook but she readied the knife above Nanny’s stomach. “I hate that, that Nanny never bought me that pink dress for Christmas.” She sniveled, turning away as she let the knife bring her hand down against Nanny’s stomach. She was still weak, but at least she was trying. I snatched the knife from her. “I hate that Nanny was going to send me away.” I sliced the tip of the blade down Nanny’s arm; and heard Ella gasp. I turned just in time to see a smile flee her lips. “Are you happy that I’m being sent away?” I sneered. She shook her tiny head. “No, sister. I am enjoying the game.” She forced a smile, but it was obviously not the same. “It’s your turn.” I stuck the knife, point first, in her direction; she gingerly took it from my bloody hands. “I hate that, uh, that…” She paused, holding the knife with two hands as if to hold it away from the body. Suddenly I heard a knocking on the door and a cry for my sister’s name. I slapped my hand over her mouth and murmured into her ear. “Don’t say a word.” She closed her mouth under my hand and closed her eyes, not before a few tears escaped. “Now we must be very quiet.” I told her in a hushed voice. The banging came again, more frantic. “I, I hate that, that Nanny yelled at me once when I was three.” She whispered, turning away again and stabbing the carcass. I snatched the knife. “I hate that Nanny yelled at me after I cut that little boy in second grade.” I chuckled and began jabbing the knife into the flesh again and again and again. The voice yelled for Ella again and seemed to be slamming into the door with greater force now. “Your turn Ella.” I spat at her and kept an eye on the quivering door; handing her the knife. “I – I hate you, sister.” She said, and plunged the knife into my own chest. I didn’t feel it at first; I stared at her, angry and confused. She stood up and ran for the door, I looked down at the silver shard protruding from my heart. “Wendy.” Mother said, not with sadness, but with joy.
L OVE – H ONORABLE M ENTION, F LASH F ICTION by Miranda Fuller When the world was blissful and caring, and all the creatures coexisted as a beautiful family, there was an all-‐powerful goddess named Love. Love took care of her world and all its inhabitants, large and small, in a way they came to call ‘Loving.’ All was well and always would be. Love called together her annual council of creatures, a male and female of every kind, and asked them if they wished anything more. “Nothing!” Cried the amphibians. “We are happy.” Agreed the mammals. “This earth is perfect.” Added the insects. All the animals proceeded to tell Love how perfect and wonderful her world was. “We are bored.” Yawned the humans. “All we do everyday of every year is lay around in the warm sun and play with the animals. There is more and we must have it.” They insisted. So love asked the council. “If I am to create something more, what shall it look like?” “It will have strong jaws and be able to swim.” The alligators exclaimed. “No, it will have great wings and long claws.” The owls hooted. “No, it will have a luscious mane and run fast.” Roared the lions. “Silence!” Love demanded. And the earth fell silent. “This new creation will be different. It will not have an appearance, it will be felt. And we will call it Fear.” The creatures returned to their homes, satisfied with their conclusion. When the earth awoke the next morning the Antelope looked at her friend the cheetah and felt the new creation. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her and saw along the way that the perfect world had turned against itself. All the creatures were running from each other, overcome with Fear. Humans however, began to thrive, all the animals ran from them; and when Love awoke to find her beautiful earth in chaos she tried to calm them. But no one listened. The humans, blinded by their power to so easily impose fear, drowned Love in the sea. Then, with no Love left, the humans turned on one another and destroyed themselves. Soon after, the once beautiful and harmonized world was left barren and scarred with fear as it’s only remaining inhabitant.
R USTY G EARS – S ILVER K EY, S HORT S TORY by Maureen Hughes It was hot, as usual. The sun clawed at people’s skin with a fury and the wind mocked the creatures harshly, refusing to grant a breeze. Clouds sat in the sky, but not one of them offered rain, preferring to sit back and watch the silly things on the parched grass burn and blister, skin peeling at the edges. The trees futile attempt to save her charges from the malicious tear of the activity above the ground was futile, and the Sky liked watching her cry as the children shriveled and withered. It was a party. Or, it was supposed to be. Colored balloons were scattered everywhere, they too, drooping from the heat. There was cake, though the humidity seemed to have turned the icing to a grotesque goo. Children raced around the thirsty yard, over and over again. This only ended when a worrisome mother interrupted to apply yet another glob of smelly slime on a child’s arm. And where was I during this chaotic celebration? What was I doing? I was taking my morning medication. I was being helped into my wheelchair by my nurse, Morgan. And I was putting on a paper hat, making sure my glasses were firmly affixed to my head, and slapping a smile on my tired, wrinkled face. >< It is on these days, these days when life is celebrated over and over again, that I am in a rather aggressive mood. Perhaps that was why I did it. Or perhaps it was merely a bad reaction to the medication. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. That they will switch up my meds and it will all be fine. I tell that to myself over and over again, whisper it to myself at night to help me go to sleep. It is the only way I can justify the things I did, even though I know that the little pills that I hold so often in my hands are not to blame.
My name is Wallace XXXXXX. I am 97 years old, and I know who killed them. Because I did not take the medication. >< People think I killed them all by myself but I didn’t. I had help. The clock was old and worn and tired and sick of life. He was sick of everything. Just like me. I believe that clock sympathized with me, and I with him. We both shared similarities, you see. Our ticks were off and we couldn’t wrap our raw and shrinking brains around the numbers anymore. He was a grandfather clock. He used to be beautiful. People came to this house a long time ago, when I was happy and I could walk and my wife and children were alive. They would admire it, running their curious fingers over it again and again. The face shone and glinted with bashfulness as it was complimented. Now no one stops to smile at it. People stare at it with disgust and ask me why I keep an awful thing like that in my house. Often I will grin and shake my head, gently reminding them that my mind is much to weary for those questions. Then they may roll their eyes, and discreetly pass my sister-‐in-‐law, Lila, a pamphlet to Quiet Willow. And she will pretend to take their suggestion to heart and thank them and smile. But it is evident when Morgan finds them in the trash that she does not take much time to consider the offer. >< Though I have more than once dumped a whole vial of filthy medicine onto my tongue I have more than once spat it all out. I know that every day, people pull death into a comforting embrace and walk with him through the clouds without a tear, but I have yet to find the courage. It is not that I fear the pain. I have had enough pain to know that, sooner or later, there will be a small window of relief. It is the not knowing, the uncertainty. Every day I read my Bible and pray, but every day I question God. I have heard doctors speak of my condition, and I know that at this point I could close my eyes right now and fail to open them again. The thought of the darkness scares me and I dread it. >< It was Marco’s birthday. Marco was Lila’s son and he was my favorite grandchild. So youthful and ignorant. I enjoyed the conversations we shared, how his dark, shy eyes would always dart to meet mine and he would smile. When I cry, I do not cry for the others, but for Marco. I remember my nurse left me in the room just a moment to get his inhaler. I was watching the children sprinting and throwing cake in the yard, oblivious to the heat. I was dreading the sun and the endless noise of brats who had no regard for the almost deaf ears of their elders. Morgan had placed me right beside the clock, and after a minute I turned to wonder at it. It was ornate, carved with designs of men and women and creatures. I asked myself why anyone would want to throw away this
fine clock. The clock smiled at me. His voice was breathy and unreal, like that of an angel, and I listened intently to him as he whispered his plan to me. I grinned back at him and nodded. The Clock was no longer just an acquaintance: it was an ally, a friend, one who could be depended on. I remember rolling out of the house into the sunshine alone, free of Morgan and his tedious quirks. The day suddenly seemed gorgeous, bee’s gasping and birds chirping. It seemed as though no one had heard the shatter of the water glass inside. I was happy about that. One by one I called the children to my lap, giving them each a container of tiny white killers in deceiving candy smiles. Though the children winced at the taste I told them that if they finished all of them it would bring them good luck, and to wash it down with some cool lemonade. Lila did not call the families until it was too late and by then they needed a miracle, not a hug. I listened to parents scream and the sirens wail. And I rolled back into the house to congratulate the clock. We were going to live forever.
B EST D AY I E VER H AD – S ILVER K EY, P OETRY by Maddie Paydos I, a freshman in high school, wanted to play varsity hockey. I can still feel the the anxiety and shaking fear I had. Simsbury was coming out of their second state championship. Why would they need to change the roster and add a young freshman, such as I? Instead of being out with my family playing rugby and laughing in the crisp Thanksgiving day, I resorted to staying by myself in my room, reloading, reloading, and reloading the rosters site. The day still seems so familiar to me, just like it was yesterday. My massive dog, Rommel, was sleeping on my feet and I just kept reloading. I couldn’t help it really, I needed to know if I was good enough, if I would join Simsbury on the next road to state championships. I wanted to so bad, To skate out with the disgusting, yet beautiful, bright yellow jersey. I wanted to cheer the team on as we would win semi finals. I could picture myself going on road trips with the team already, the whole school dress ups, and all the team dinners. I wanted to be there, I already tried out, everything I had to show I left on the carved ice. The only thing I could do now was reload. Reload. And reload. I clicked the button again. Madison Paydos, Class of 2018 Left wing. Varsity.
C HILDREN O F THE S UN – H ONORABLE M ENTION, S CIENCE F ICTION /F ANTASY by Maureen Hughes Long ago, when the Earth was young and foolish, and did not yet know the ways of men, he tried to save every living creature from death. Each time he failed, and each time he wept, because no matter how hard he tried he could not save them. His sobs shook and cracked space and time, to the point where the Moon was finding it very hard to sleep. So the Moon said to his sister Sun, “Please! Go and speak to the Earth, and see if you can comfort him: for his cries are loud and I miss the quiet.” The Sun was as kind as she was wise, so she took pity on the earth, and made a deal with him. “I will fashion out of the darkness children of the light”, said the Sun, “and they will live in luxury and ease above the clouds, and dance across the sky, and tiptoe past the moon as he sleeps. They will wonder at and watch the curious creatures you have down below. And they will protect them with their lives. ”So,” the Earth breathed, wiping away a tear, “Like you and I, they will not die?” “Everyone dies, dear. Even us-‐ no, don’t start crying again, it’s simply the way things are. I cannot prevent Death from catching up with them: Death is a fast creature, and cunning besides, but we can help them run faster. Perhaps we can teach them to sprint.” The Earth grinned at her, and to the Moons great relief, dried his eyes and ceased his sobbing. The Sun kept her promise: she built a Golden City behind night, where the streets were paved with flame that never burned and window panes of ice that never stung. And in the Golden City she placed billions and billions of stars, each for every living thing. It was a wonderful place, and the Sun would have liked to have stayed there forever, to guide the stars on their journey, but Sun knew she would never have time. So she created the Constellation Man, formed of time and shadow, and instructed him to help the stars and guide them when they were lost. >< Though the Stars had charges on earth to worry over and protect, at night, in the cover of the Dark, they played games, sang songs, and created patterns in the sky. Though the Stars were wise things they had the souls of children, and liked nothing better than to play long into the night. The life of a star was, indeed, a wonderful and careless one. There were hundreds of games to play, millions of sweets to eat, and no one to tell the stars when to go to bed. They slept during the day and lit up the sky at night, and people all around the world would come to stare and marvel at them. And the stars would smile and bow their heads bashfully, pleased that they had been noticed. They too would crane their necks just as the people below would to find their matching soul, their only responsibility in the entire universe. It would not take long to find. They need only look for the thing that seemed to glow a little bit brighter than the objects around
them. A star has eight lives to give away to their soul. They can tear their frail, bright bodies into eight pieces, eight pieces before their light goes out and a strange and twisted darkness comes to swallow them up. Perhaps a child has fallen out of a tree, just a bit too high. Mayhap a flower has been trampled on by a careless boot. A dog has strayed too close to the road, and can’t get out of the way in time. The star must rip, cut, and tear away at its very being in desperation to make sure that the dog merely loses an ear, the flower a petal, the child a leg. The job is not to ease the suffering: the job is to delay death at all costs, hide from it, and run from it. >< Clarity stared at Wisdom with a frown. Something was wrong. Wisdom shone with a dull, fading glow, and every once in a while, it would flicker. “Wisdom,” Clarity Star’s voice was a song, its breath the words and its voice the melody. Humans cannot hear the talk of stars: If they could, they would go mad with the desire to drink the words like lemonade. “Wisdom Star, why are you fading? Why do you fade and sputter so?” Wisdom Star grimaced. It turned its solemn eyes toward Clarity, whose glow had grown pale and soft with concern. “Alas, Clarity,” Wisdom sighed, “Today Tiger was yet again attacked. She was careless, and now her cubs and the stars that watched over them are dead. Soon she too, will die. There is nothing more I can do for her now except give her the last piece of myself, and hope that she comes to her senses and makes the most of her remaining time. Soon, once the cord between me and time and darkness and soul has been severed, I will no longer have to worry over Tiger. Time will cease to exist, and the mere memory of me will be obliterated.” Clarity’s crystal eyes filled up with golden tears, and it ran all over the City, until it found the Constellation Man. The Constellation Man was impossible to miss, made up of time and shadow and thought and sound. He wore a black fedora of night and carried an umbrella of wasted ideas and memories, to catch the falling stardust. “Please, Man of the Stars”, “begged Clarity, “You must help Wisdom Star! Its light is crackling and dying, and all because Wisdom must save its Tiger.” The Constellation Man looked down on Clarity with pity and replied, “You must not worry dear star, for this is the way in the life of all your kind. You and Wisdom and all of the billions of other stars that live in the Golden City are only as great as your earthly souls. “But that can’t be,” Clarity sobbed, “Haven’t you seen the way Wisdom dances, the way Patience sings, and the way Mercy helps weave the constellations? Surely no earthly soul can do that. How can Wisdom star sacrifice so much for its Tiger?” The Constellation Man sighed. “Clarity,” he said softly, “Tell me about your soul.” Clarity thought a moment. “He is a strange child,” Clarity began, “with an even stranger family. In the beginning they thought he might never talk. But when he did
start chattering they couldn’t seem to make him stop. He loves everything especially bright colors. That is why he adores butterflies. The other day he caught one in a jar. His wicked older step-‐brother offered to pay him three whole human coins to cut its wings off. That day, the boy went outside with his jar and his scissors and sat there for what seemed like hours. When he opened the jar I thought for certain that that butterfly would never soar again. But instead, the boy held up the jar to the sky and set it free.” “And did you feel anything for the little boy?” the Constellation Man asked gently. Clarity star paused. “I felt myself flying through consciousness, past the beginning and the end of life. I stared into the universe that I call my own, colliding with thoughts and ideas that were not, and will never be, my own. It was snowflakes on my nose, it was a figment of a creature that never existed, of hot soup burning my tongue, of smoke filling my nostrils, of warm tears rolling down cold cheeks, of the piano making the beginnings of melodies that would one day be his to keep. It was a kaleidoscope of colors that I could not even begin to portray, and they were made up of his eyes. Within them, hidden in a place precious to remember and easy to forget, was the butterfly. “Perhaps now,” the Constellation Man said, “you can understand why Wisdom star has the courage to rip itself apart for Tiger. It looks at that foolish thing and instead of disappointment or hatred Wisdom feels love. That love is worth more than any universe. It is what completes a star. That love is what paints the sky with constellations and lights the darkness every night with dancing lanterns, showing all lost souls the way home.” I S EEM TO B E By Tomas Deveault
S TAY – H ONORABLE M ENTION, S HORT S TORY by Sarah Jacobelli She stares at the computer screen, black from inactivity. Her eyes have glazed over, but she doesn’t blink. The tears streaming down her face keep her eyes moist enough so that she doesn’t have to. As another tear drops onto the keyboard, she lifts her stiff hand and grips the mouse. She jiggles the small piece of plastic, and the screen illuminates once more, revealing the bits and pieces of a five page essay that she has yet to finish, due tomorrow. Another tear. Although these tears began from the anxiety of the essay, they no longer flow for the words that she cannot find to complete it. They flow for her wrist, covered in the barcodes that she has ingrained into her skin. They flow for her heart, which has been shattered time and time again by people who promise to never leave, to always love her. They flow for her mind, which has been beaten and bruised by the words her parents say. Drip. She thinks back to when she was a little girl, no bigger than 3, jumping around on the playground and flapping her arms as if they could lift her into the sky. She remembers her father holding her above his head, a smile stretched across his entire face as her stared at hers. She remembers her mother combing her hair before school, the soft swish of the brush removing the tangles of life one by one. She remembered when she was happy, content, free of the weight that now resided inside her lungs, free of the lead that now filled her shoes. She couldn’t remember when the air around her turned black, when she breathed it in with every inhale and felt it seep into her bloodstream. She didn’t know when she stopped asking her friends how she looked because she knew that no matter how many times they said radiant, she would still think dull. Every time she was asked the ice breaker “What is your favorite thing about yourself?” she would remain silent. Not because she didn’t know that there was good things about her, but because her mind refused to allow her to indulge in such pleasures as loving herself. Her friends would complain about being too big, too skinny, nose too big eyes too close together. And when she thought about what was wrong with herself, there was nothing that wasn’t a target. Her body was a war zone, one faction trying to survive another day, another trying to push her into an early grave. The bullets were her thoughts and the medics were nowhere in sight. The battlefield was littered with the bodies of her hopes and dreams, and soon it seemed that the darkness would prevail. It seemed that all those quotes and inspirational speeches about self love never penetrated this depression she wore like armor, armor from the love and support of the people that wanted her to smile and laugh again like she once did. But this armor could never be removed. Not until the battle was over. And as the last piece of her heart fell to the sharp aim of the weight in her chest, she picked up the shining black barrel that had been waiting for her just behind her closet door. And as she placed the cold metal to her temple, she heard her brother’s voice, stay. She closed her eyes, feeling the warm
tear slide down her cheek bone. She saw him, standing in front of her with a warm smile and cheerful dimples. He was holding the video game console that they had always played together as children. Drip drip. Her mother appears next to him, holding the brush that hadn’t been used in years. Stay. She draped her arm around her younger brother, and pulled him closer to her small frame. Finally, a tall man with broad shoulders and short dark hair appeared on the other side of her brother, and enveloped her mother and brother into his arms. He held the drawings that she had made when she was just a little girl. After releasing his family from the embrace, he walked smoothly over to his daughter. He handed her every drawing, and she noticed that each and every one had been signed and dated by herself. One even had her tiny hand print on it. She placed her own hand over it, noticing how large it had grown over the years. The memories of her childhood came rushing back to her as the dams and levees that she had built so carefully were broken down and washed away with the current. She saw herself dipping her hand in paint and smearing it all over a blank canvas. She saw herself wrestling with her brother on the soft carpet of the livingroom floor. She saw her grandmother teaching her how to bake her favorite cookies, sugar cookies. Her grandmother would always say that they were her favorite because she was as sweet as sugar. Drip drip drip. She was still this little girl, this innocent little girl. She would always hold her tiny and cheerful spirit inside her. She realized that when she was judging and punishing herself, she was also hurting this sinless baby girl. As her father gave her the final drawing, one of a bird flying away from its cage, he placed a finger under her chin and raised it softly. Stay. He kissed her forehead, a feeling she had long forgotten the sensation of, and turned away back to her brother and mother. They took each others hands, smiled one last brilliant smile, and disappeared. The image dissipated, and she was once again alone in her room with her finger on the trigger of her life. Her finger ached to pull it, to leave this pain and sadness behind, but she remembered that little girl who just wanted to live, to grow up and have a family, to be happy. She felt her presence in her heart, whispering stay, stay. And as she lowered the deadly barrel from her head, she mumbled quietly to herself, I will stay.
their blood traveling in rivers from their bodies, and their eyes gazing distantly
INFERNO – H ONORABLE M ENTION, P OETRY by Ange Eucker Destroyed. What was once a home beautiful with life happiness laughter gone broken Ashes scattered around gently speckling the bloodsoaked grounds like freckles on a face The wolves remember they shot down they swung out they slayed men women children. Grizzly mangled bodies litter the ground, their skin an angry red and melted, their bones a mirror of the moon’s soft glow,
Some have lost a limb Some faces are unrecognizable Most are burned Yet all were innocent The gunshots that rang out now echo hauntingly the flames that licked high and burnt many now live on in hearts the lives of many are gone Lost in the inferno that not even the devil himself could tame that not even he, destroyer, murderer, monster, demon would participate in No, the devil watched his eyes as aflame as the fires that burnt and killed The angels cried their tears of blood This is the inferno The inferno of hatred
F LY-‐ OVER M AN – S ILVER K EY, F LASH F ICTION by Mackey O’Keefe He likes to have fun. That’s what they say. They don’t know where he’s from. Some say the Midwest but that’s what everyone thinks when they see a cowboy, even in the 21st century. They do know he travels, that’s for sure. He’s been to just about every city you could think of… in America of course. He’s an American man, kind of like the modern Marlboro man. He has his Jim Beam, his lighter, some jingling pocket change, and a stick of lipstick from the girl he was with last night. A real man (or person for that matter) knows that this doesn’t make him a hero, it makes him lost, as lost as an airplane looks as it bounds over middle-‐America, and as lost as middle-‐America appears, or doesn’t, to the traveler going from one important coast to another. He is fly-‐over country. The lighter he takes out and puts back into his pocket every morning signifies his desire to appear free, he knows what its doing to him, but that has no hold over his free spirit. The alcohol is his escape plan, which he effortlessly and dependably carries out every night. The money tells of the little means he has, but the way in which he flaunts it at the bar shows how much he lacks, as he relies on its petty importance. This brings us to his last love, or not, women. He attracts those who are desperate, just as he is; those who need attention to remedy their brokenness with his overflowing image. In a nearly empty bar somewhere in the Midwest sits this nearly empty man in front of a nearly empty glass. To some he appears strong and independent, but in reality his sense of confidence shines like a broken headlight, strong in some obvious places, but dangerously lacking in the most important. He is surrounded by the few remaining patrons of this truck-‐stop establishment, telling one of his many wild stories in which his charisma shines brighter and harsher than a McDonalds bathroom light. The mostly female crowd adores him in all his blue jean glory, wondering which one of their lipsticks will be in his pocket tomorrow morning. The story ends with a few laughs, and a shitty punch line that sounds great to the drunken group. The following silence is filled with everyone finishing their drinks. The now empty man with his empty glass leaves with a debatably lucky woman at his side. This is how most nights go for the man with more five-‐o’clock-‐shadow than genuine constitution. He barges into a new town like a cowboy into a saloon and soaks up the awe that his borrowed character demands. Though he has been where he’s been, and done some of the things he’s done, he is not what he appears. His one night celebrity is due to his novelty, rather than any genuine truth. Like a popular kid in school, you can’t figure out why attention clings to him so readily. He’s like a rolling stone without any musical talent, or just the New Jersey part of Springsteen. He listens to music for the noise, knows the guitar to look cool, and can sing because he was born with the ability. He doesn’t care, that’s what defines
him, and in a certain way it’s awesome. He is proud of it, and in reality this is the one thing that he does truly have. He doesn’t care. When it comes down to business he has the upper hand and he knows it, because for all his falseness, his sad reality, and his insincere friends, he can’t go any lower. What matters to him has gone, and what’s left is an empty glass of a man, drunk on his own journey.
C HANGING T IDES – H ONORABLE M ENTION, P OETRY By Ange Euker The soft wind whistled through our forest The biting chill foreboding something is not right a soft trill of a bird’s song shows the light that shines through the trees bringing light into the dark The white strangers plotting their next meal wolves in sheep’s eggshell white fleece their teeth dripping with the blood of life their eyes burning with hell’s fire the devil ashamed stood at the wall Night fell like a bomb the event it brought devastating the gaping wound left behind from the flames of hellions the sword that smite the anguished screams of a family torn of a tribe massacred of a way of life destroyed, gone.
W HERE I’M F ROM – H ONORABLE M ENTION, P ERSONAL E SSAY/M EMOIR by Mackey O’Keefe I’m from a sky blue farmhouse on a smooth dirt road, above a small stream and below Nana’s house. The house is next to the barn and across from the pond, and is where my brother and I were born. All of us, Mom, Dad, Eamon, me, and the memory of too many dead animals to make you feel happy have lived here. It’s where I learned to ride a bike, and where I learned what its like to fall off a bike. I learned about happiness, and what death was, here. It’s where I first felt music, and where I learned to play it. Most importantly, it’s the place my mind wanders to when I’m away, and the place where I let my mind wander. The address is 5 Adams Lane, off of Whipple Road—a meandering way that slowly turns into a path, and then a cornfield. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had the last name Whipple. I think of that sometimes. My house represents independence to me. Though it may seem ironic that the place where my parents live is a place of freedom, there is no place I have learned, explored, taken risks, failed, and succeeded—in essence lived—more than at my 200 year old home. Surrounding 5 Adams Lane is a magic wood that matters immensely to me, filled with trees that have seen generations I haven’t, and moss that saw the generations before that. It’s the place I spent time with my brother tending to our imaginary worlds as children, and the place that I spend long hours running in the summers now— the closest I’ve gotten to a religious experience. It’s where my cat Georgie is buried—by the stream where a stump covers his body— and where I still go sometimes to this day simply to escape the highway of life. My house is situated right across the Vermont-‐New Hampshire boarder in the Granite State: the first in the nation primary state, and the first in the nation to say romantic and outrageous things like “live free or die”. I love New Hampshire, but I’m also sometimes ashamed when I see things like my state’s support of Donald Trump, or that our governor is in favor of blocking Syrian refugees. In New Hampshire we have no sales tax, which epitomizes the state: things are cheep, and we like that more than having nice schools or functional bridges. Also it seems that a quarter of the people here are non-‐residents, so its always fun to sell a car to a New Yorker and then have them cut in front of you on the highway. New Hampshire is the greatest place to grow up, but I try not to let myself be blinded by the falling snow so to say, as I am fully aware of the less than vibrant social scene and the sometimes suffocating rural reality. You can tell I’m from New Hampshire, or maybe just I can, but I carry my home, my family, and my state on my sleeve, as I wear a worn Patagonia jacket over a sweater and a flannel. I wear a trucker-‐hat. I drive a Subaru. This gives me a sense of pride, knowing that when I walk into an upscale music store in White Plains, NY people will think to themselves, “hmm, he’s different”. Maybe that isn’t true, but at
least I can hope they recognize my individuality, even if appears cliché, which I can assure you it isn’t. I dress, act, and live the way I do because its what makes me happy, and for no other reason. Surly where I’m from has influenced how I grew up, but most importantly it has informed and crafted my sense of purpose in life, to quote a famous non-‐New Englander radio host, to “be well, do good things, and stay in touch”, and most importantly to be happy.
W HO I A M – H ONORABLE M ENTION, P ERSONAL E SSAY/M EMOIR by Jocelyn Trendell Before 2nd grade I hated school. I was not particularly strong in math, science, or history, but I had the hardest time with reading. My dislike of it had some to do with being bored, but mostly with spending so much time trying to hone in on my skills and making little progress. I was on the verge of being asked to stay back a grade when I got a Dick and Jane book for my birthday and my view on school was completely altered. I clearly remember that day. There had been a thunderstorm. I was so fearful of thunder that I hid under the covers of my bed until it was over. When the storm had finally stopped I went outside and looked up at the orange sky that shimmered behind
illustrious clouds. It seemed to beacon new comings and represent revival after a battling struggle. Maybe someone somewhere was telling me that I would soon be relinquished from some of my struggles, while gaining the courage to have confidence in my reading. At the time I was really impressed that I was able to read Dick and Jane, but in retrospect I was reading at a much lower level than the rest of the kids in my class. But it was the spark. It took me a week to read the book and I was ready for the next Dick and Jane book as soon as I had finished. A new Dick and Jane book was the best present that anyone could give me. It was a light-‐hearted story and it fit well with my innocence and how simple life used to be. At school I talked to my friends about it and started spending my recesses writing my own stories about Dick and Jane. I was so proud of my stories that during show and tell I would share them with the whole class. Last summer when I was doing a thorough cleaning of my room, I stumbled upon some of my Dick and Jane fan fiction. I found it funny when I looked back on them and how different they were compared to my writing now. I see a big difference in maturity level in my language and concepts, but I see the same fire and excitement. Learning started to become a more exciting experience for me and my newfound confidence in reading began to help me do better in other aspects of my schooling experience as well. Instead of being an annoyance to my teachers and being placed in the “dog house”, which was the equivalent to detention, I began staying after school to talk to my teachers and even got to erase the chalk board, which I found very exciting at the time because only the teacher’s favorites were allowed to do this. It seems surreal that one book could completely change my outlook on life. It was the first of many life-‐changing experiences; the first time I realized that life is subject to change and that I must take my fate into me own hands. Maybe it seems odd that a seven year old could have any kind of outlook on life, but I think that it was a vital and life-‐changing moment that still influences me today. I sometimes wonder what I would have been like if I hadn’t been introduced to Dick and Jane, would I have eventually found my way to becoming a good student? As it was going probably not, my mom has recently admitted to me that for a time she thought that I had some learning disabilities. Of course I’m mortified when I hear that, but had I not been introduced to that book would I have a close enough relationship with my mother that she could have admitted that to me? I may not have been a good student, but I think another door may have opened up because as far back as I can remember I have had drive. Dick and Jane was just the beginning to the path that I would choose to venture on in life. However, it was not the answer to all of my problems. Though I had improved tremendously compared to what I had been, I was still the worst at reading in my class. In my elementary years we had reading groups, with each group comprised of students who were at similar reading levels as you. I was so
behind the rest of my class, even after discovering Dick and Jane that I had to be placed in my own reading group, at the very bottom. In some ways it was nice, I got the individualized that I needed. This made it a very normal and easy thing for me to do if I needed to ask a teacher for extra help, something I still readily do today. However, being at the very bottom was lonely. It made me determined to find a way out, but it took a while for there to be a change. It was like this for a considerable time until 4th grade when I discovered Harry Potter. Though now I may consider Harry Potter to be a work of mindless fiction, Harry Potter was constituted as “out of my league” at the time. I’d grown up on the movies and like the naïve child I was, I didn’t realize that it was a book. But when I found that out I was determined to read it. And yes I was picked at and laughed at when I told everyone that I was going to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer of Stone; no one thought that I could do it. But that’s beside the point, I was going to read Harry Potter no matter what anyone said, no matter if I could read it or not; it was going to happen! And it did, not only did I read the book front cover to back; I discovered that I was going to grow up to be like Hermione Granger. And before anyone could question the transformation, I was in a new reading group, my own reading group at the very top. At the time I wanted to be like Hermione Granger because she was smart and was recognized for it, something that I was not used to. And though this may have come true, I realize in retrospect that that’s not really what I admired about Hermione Granger. I didn’t want to get straight A’s, though it took me to Mrs. Parkhurst’s chemistry class last year to figure that out, I wanted to be hard-‐working, perseverant, unwilling to let anything or anyone hold me down, confident, unstoppable! People like that could conquer the world and make it a better place. I also discovered how much more intricate and thrilling a book could be compared to a movie. Harry Potter and the Sorceror of Stone was considerably darker than Dick and Jane and represented my growth in maturity. It also beckoned more complicated thoughts, than I had when I was younger. I started to question the world. How was it made? How can the universe be growing larger? Will the sun always keep us warm? But I still wasn’t complete. There was one more important lesson that I needed to learn before coming to high school, before making my rite of passage. That transition came with The Outsiders. The Outsiders was many of firsts. It was the first time I cried at a book. The first time I was asked who my hero was. At the time it was S.E. Hinton. Again in retrospect it may show my naiveté, but I was onto something, something that I try to live my life by everyday, maybe it wasn’t her, but more of the characters that taught me this lesson. However, I asked and fictional characters did not qualify as heroes. Lastly, it was the first time that I accepted that I did not fit in with the rest of my class and that I was trying to please everyone in order to fit in. I started at the bottom and went directly to the top. There was nothing gradual about my transformation and no time to be accepted by
my classmates. At a young age I was the kid that the rest of the class looked at when the teacher was disappointed and said that the lowest grade on the spelling test was a 56. I then became the kid that the rest of the class looked at when the teacher said that the highest grade was a 97. In both situations I was ashamed, but The Outsiders taught me I didn’t have to be; I could be proud of who I was. The Outsiders was the darkest of the novels that brought a momentous event with it. It dealt with discrimination, hate, sex, profanity, alcohol, drugs, violence, and death. It caused me to such complex and potential cynical questions as: Are we naturally good or evil? And is the world corrupt? When thinking of The Outsiders many people may tell you that Ponyboy or Sodapop or even Two-‐Bit are their favorite characters, and I liked all of them. Ponyboy was pensive and intelligent, both of which I could relate to. He was different than the rest of the greasers, but he was comfortable with himself and for that they respected him, which I soon after tried to imitate. Sodapop was sensitive, kind, caring, and would turn the other cheek when offended, not letting it get to him. I began mimicking his forgiving and comfortable attitude. From Two-‐Bit I learned to laugh at any situation, but especially myself, instead of feeling insecure in my mistakes and ineptitude. I liked and learned from these characters, but no one compared to Dally. I had close to no similarities with Dally, but realized I had the most to learn from him. Dally was willing to speak his mind, he didn’t let anyone tell him what he could or could not do. He was himself, which allowed him to do what he wanted and love who he wanted. He wasn’t going to change for anyone because he didn’t care. That was a huge challenge for me when I was younger, but now because of my insight from that book I do what makes me happy, what I consider right, and I won’t let anyone stop me. What was once so foreign to me I can’t imagine living without today. Reading has become a core essential in my life. It has distracted me when I needed a distraction, it has given me the ability to think for myself and discover convergent views, it has made me think of who I want to be and how I want to live my life, and most importantly has developed my imagination and allowed me become emotional over my own writing. If I had never read Dick and Jane, Harry Potter, or The Outsiders I would not be who I am today.
R OWING O N THE C ONNECTICUT by Sarah Jacobelli and Jocelyn Trendell Today we rowed through the glorious mist The waterfall of fire hoses fell upon our synchronized souls The rainbow scattered our view of the river into a beautiful puzzle of mosaics The Connecticut River had never been as beautiful as the day the world started anew
P ATIENCE IN THE K EY – H ONORABLE M ENTION, P ERSONAL E SSAY/M EMOIR by Sam Savard Most people see me as a typical Canadian hockey player. I do talk about hockey, and I attend a prep school mainly for hockey. Yet, I am much more than a hockey player. My mom taught that trying different things in life was important so when I had to chose an art coming to a new school as a junior, I knew nothing about arts in general. On the list there was this thing called pottery. What was that? I had no clue. It seemed to be different than all the other forms of art so I chose pottery by pure curiosity and to fill a hole in my schedule. I had no expectation when I took the class and I certainly didn’t know I would enjoy pottery as much as I do now. Patience is a huge part of pottery. I started by making pots with my fingers and it was not pretty at all. I could see this guy in the corner of the room making beautiful bowls and pots on the wheel in minutes while I was making really bad looking bowls in hours. It was frustrating. Our teacher had set a rule that you can not try the wheel until you had done five weeks of pottery. Students had to understand how clay worked before challenging themselves on the wheel. So, I continued to make those awkward shaped pots with my hands while looking at the guy in the corner. His pots were so beautiful and it looked so easy. Five weeks later, as soon as I was allowed to try this fast spinning thing called the wheel, I asked the teacher to teach me. I never thought it would be as difficult as it was. The guy in the corner could do it easily, so why couldn’t I? So I just sat down with great determination to succeed, but my first attempted bowl just went flying and fell on the ground. It was a huge disappointment. I didn’t abandon, I put a second lump of clay on the wheel and did my best to center it by myself. Now, I have to tell you that centering the clay is the most important part of making a pot on the wheel and is certainly not an easy task. The teacher usually centers the clay for us beginners. Centering is an awkward process where the potter has to squeeze his hands on the clay and push it in the center by making a tall tower. It is awkward because it looks a lot like the artist is just making a big erected . . . stick. It is very awkward, but it is essential to the making of a pot. I wanted to center it by myself and I did. Now that the clay was centered I had to to make a hole in the middle of the centered lump by pushing my thumbs in. That is my favorite part of throwing a pot on the wheel because it is easy and I like the feeling of it. To make the shape of the bowl I wanted to make, I have to steadily and slowly squeeze the clay between my fingers inside the hole and my knuckles on the outside of the bowl while slowly going upward following the shape intended to make. I did not know at first, but patience is the key to throwing pots on the wheel. My pots
went from flying off the wheel to adapting an acceptable bowl shape by the end of the two hours I had in the studio. Only half the chances to destroy your pots are gone by the time you successfully throw a pot and there are plenty more opportunities the break your pot. The next step, which is considered the second half of making a pot, is called trimming. This is a process where you turn the pot upside down on the wheel the next day when it is dryer to trim the base of your pot. The tool used is a small metal bend that is sharp. You need very steady hands because the pot is harder after drying a little bit and if you apply to much pressure while trimming you could go through the pot. Today, I can make really nice pots and anything I want on the wheel. When I try to do something difficult or something new, I always succeed sooner or later because I know if I try again, it is only going to be better than the previous one because practice makes me better at what I am doing. Once you get the trick of how to throw pots on the wheel, practice is the key to everything. Just as everything else in life. With determination, you can accomplish a lot of things and with practice you can make them better.
W E PROMISED TO T ALK – S ILVER K EY, PERSONAL E SSAY/M EMOIR by Sarah Jacobelli Before our world changed, we promised to still talk. To stay in contact, to still be in each other's lives. But distance has a way of pulling apart the arms that once held, once loved, until there are burns across your forearms left by the heat of their love that never wanted to let you go. Distance forces you to make a choice, wait or forget. Waiting is deadly; you have a small sliver of hope that what you had with them can still exist, still grow even without sustenance. You hang onto that hope as if dangling off a cliff and it is your only salvation, the only thing that can pull you off the ledge that stretches as far as you can see. You hold on until you can't breathe, can hardly remember who you were before them, can not even wake up without wanting to burst out with the frustration of their lips on your mind. You wish with every fiber of your being that you might be able to fix it, to mend the burns of the miles and be together once more. You want to fight the losing battle of the long distance, knowing that you will lose much more than them if you give up. What was once your heart will now just be a shattered glass sculpture that used to hold the seemingly endless supply of love that they harbored for you. Sanity will be but a sweet memory because the only image that you will be able to conjure out of the darkness beside you in bed is their sleeping form, the thought of them breathing as if nothing is wrong, as if you are sleeping there right beside them is dominating your mind. You cannot sleep; behind your eyelids is the blinding flash of pearly white that only seemed to occur when you were around them. You cannot even think of another person without punishing yourself for ever even imagining that they could be half as good as what is 3,000 miles away from you. But forgetting, that is worse. You first let slip the way their hair curls in the wind, whipping around their head in an endless glowing halo. Next is the feeling of their fingers slipping between yours, the tight grip and thumb rub that conveys the most secret of love poems. Then it's their smell that leaves your mind, both their favorite perfume which was held in a diamond shaped container and their natural smell that would waft through the air in their room. You forget the sensation of their lips against yours, your souls becoming one, the intermingled minds of two so in love they cannot even dare to think about the coming morning, for if they do they will have fear like no other, the fear that is only present when you have found something so perfect, so extraordinarily amazing that you cannot fathom your life without it. Soon, the folder that held “small habits” will be whisked away on the endless winds of your thoughts, and you forget how they sing to every song, even if they don’t know all the lyrics. You forget how they hated their eyeliner being off, or how they needed to know that you were there if they had a bad dream, or how they would text goodmorning and goodnight every single day just to remind you how much they care, or how they would try to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces would fit back together. You forget your midnight conversations, the deep texts that
were only shared between two lovers miles away. You forget the way their chest rose and fell as they drifted off to sleep, forget waking up and seeing them rub their bleary eyes and look into yours like you were exactly what they had been dreaming of. You push away every beloved memory because you know that this is how you heal, this is how you move on. But even as I am deleting the texts and pictures and screenshots of our cutest conversations, I realize that I cannot bring myself to forget that picture of us on our first real date, when they told me that they had never been comfortable before at a dinner date, but that this time was different. We sat on the same side of the booth and they told me how hard it was for them to eat in front of other people, but not me. Not me. I cannot bring myself to delete the picture of us with sleepy eyes and messy hair after a night of love. I cannot bring myself to delete the pictures of us kissing, hugging, happy. I cannot bring myself to forget what they meant to me. I cannot forget the way our love was as bright as the sun and more passionate than Romeo and Juliet ever were. When I said I loved them, I did not mean in that moment. I meant for every moment in my life, and every moment that I will ever exist I will love them. No matter the distance I cannot forget the person who made me feel so loved and safe and sound that I could release my worries, even for a short time, and be happy. When I said I loved them, I meant that no matter who I meet, what I do, or where I go, I will always love them. They will always be in the back of my mind waiting for their memory to be ignited. When I said I loved them, I meant forever and always. They hold a piece of my heart that I know I will never fully regain. Whether it be five, or ten, or twenty years from now I know I could still look upon that gorgeous face and say those three words that will never fully express how I feel. And even though I know they're gone, they're gone, they're gone, and I cannot make it work, I still want to believe that I can. I want to believe that they still feel the same love that I feel. I wish that I knew what they were thinking. I wish I knew if they go on my blog every night like I do theirs just to see if any posts could even relate to me. I wish I knew that they had the same passion left in their heart for me, like they once did. Because this person was more than just a person, they were my completion. And before our world changed, we promised to still talk. And now... We don't.
W RITE Y OUR O WN by Lilia Curtis I have craving for a terrible storm, one where the clouds roll in thick with supremacy— and the winds drive you inside your room Dim lights warm you into your blankets and engulf your body into comfort as you watch the world fall apart through your window A slip from reality for the end of the world— a breath filling your entirety and reaching every tip of your senses You open your eyes, but you can feel what you can’t see Your mind expanded over the horizon— feeling that the bitterness of the storm can’t effect you Terribly beautiful, horribly passionate You aren’t dealing with your life; you’re living it You aren’t thinking about tomorrow because you’re falling madly in love with the moment Though frightening falling in love with something so destructive comes to you naturally Bonded, gravitating flawlessly into euphoria. Nothing is more perfect or easy than drifting— filled with the purest of Happiness’s and simplest of Love’s Completely encompassed with passion for the most insignificant details, because they complete the whole But your mind forgets the paradigmal universe and all its imperfections— How the cold and darkness can creep through the cracks the universe gave you True fear can fill you with a conflagration so blinding your mind is sealed with out faith or hope With the most sincere and honest of Love’s you can take that deep breath to re-‐open your mind Capturing everything about the beautiful disaster— Giving your truest, natural love to the world that is menacing and judgmental
Kofi Asante, 34 Lilia Curtis, 8, 71, 74 Tomas Deveault, 54 Zoe Engle, 15, 42 Ange Eucker, 30, 57, 60 Miranda Fuller, 45, 47 Zhenjing Gui, 8, 23, 35, 40, 44, 48, 56, 59, 60 Maureen Hughes, 6, 11, 48, 52 Sarah Jacobelli, 55, 66, 69 Tyrique Jones, 17 Ronan Khalsa, 9, 24 ChaeRa Lee, 4, 14 Chris Lehmann, 12
Maggie McKay, 25 Taylor Mellon, 39, 73 Mackey O’Keefe, 7, 27, 38, 58, 61 Maddie Paydos, 51 Sam Savard, 67 Jocelyn Trendell, 62, 66 Izzy Tuggle, 24, 70 Karina Vital, 6, 66 James Wang, 10, 29 Patricia Whitehill, 27 Yilin Yan, 1, 2, 11, 17, 26, 33, 41, 50, 62, 68 Dan Zhou, 3, 37, 72