The Talon Fall 2011 Woodberry Forest School Volume 63, No. 1
Anna Rose | ANNA GREY HOGAN | 12in x 9in acrylic on paper
Editors and Staff MANAGING EDITOR AND DESIGN DIRECTOR ART EDITOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER PHOTOGRAPHY AND SUBMISSIONS COORDINATOR POETRY AND COPY EDITOR PROSE EDITOR JUNIOR POETRY AND PROSE EDITOR DESIGN ASSISTANT EDITORIAL ASSISTANT ART REVIEW BOARD
Jason Hill Willy Sherrerd-Smith Ian McDowell Wilson Kuhnel Nick Workman Peter Shelton Allen Jones Anna Grey Hogan Herbert Hernandez, Henry Holmes, Ben Park, Vinh Hoang, Ian Edwards, Kofi Som-Pimpong
PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW BOARD
Mark Petrone, Addison Winston, Spencer Brewer, Nick Gambal, Charles Blaydes, Charles Setzer, Miguel Valenzuela, Hank Krebs, Sterling Street, Tim Lindsay
POETRY REVIEW BOARD
Nelson Williams, Rogers Clark, George Sutherland, Jack Gauss, Parker Nance, Michael Bauer, Michael Turley, Kiefer McDowell, Eric Ways
PROSE REVIEW BOARD
FACULTY ADVISOR TECHNICAL ADVISOR FRONT COVER DESIGN BACK COVER DESIGN
Thomas Doughty, Trice Moore, Sterling Street, Gibson Montgomery, Herbert Hernandez, McGregor Joyner, Connor Forrest, Jack Gauss Karen Broaddus Richard Broaddus Jason Hill Willy Sherrerd-Smith
Child of Iona | TEDDY SZYPERSKI| digital photography
Poetry pAGE 9 pAGE 10 pAGE 21 pAGE 23 pAGE 25 pAGE 29 pAGE 40 pAGE 42 pAGE 46 pAGE 55 pAGE 56 pAGE 58 pAGE 61 pAGE 61 pAGE 63 pAGE 65 pAGE 67 pAGE 72 pAGE 74
How to Prevent Your Children From Feeling Sad(der) Jacob Keohane Lobster on the Rocks Wilson Kuhnel Rotten Lemons Channler Twyman Looking at Beautiful Women in Airports Jacob Keohane Last Winter George Sutherland Noisy Emotions Jason Hill Woodberry Soundcheck Peter Shelton Pass or Fail Wills Hammond Earth Inherited Logan Rafield Sophocles' Prayer Peter Shelton Firefly Peter Shelton In the Shadow of the Clock McGregor Joyner To the Fog-Smothered Continent Nelson Williams Poem Anna Grey Hogan Deep Run Matt LaVigne Channel 122.3 Willy Sherrerd-Smith La Chiesa Rashad Sherrell Why Kids Need So Much Attention and Other Ways to Hate Society Wilson Kuhnel Emerald Pond Will Harris
pAGE 12 pAGE 14 pAGE 17 pAGE 18 pAGE 26 pAGE 31 pAGE 32 pAGE 34 pAGE 38 pAGE 39 pAGE 44 pAGE 48 pAGE 52 pAGE 68
The Watering Hole Willy Sherrerd-Smith King of the Wild Frontier Thomas Doughty Foreigner Inyoung Lee Summer Mischief Jonathan Yellets High in the Sky Like a Butterfly Connor Forrest Purgatory Ian McDowell Under Construction Peter Shelton Alone Together McGregor Joyner A Morning for the Ducks Cas Prewitt The Bronze Buck Gibson Montgomery Timeless Herbert Hernandez No Reason Case Aldridge The Reaper Luke Merrick All We Need is Ourselves McGregor Joyner
Photography pAGE 8 pAGE 15 pAGE 22 pAGE 24 pAGE 27 pAGE 30 pAGE 35 pAGE 41 pAGE 45 pAGE 49 pAGE 60 pAGE 66 pAGE 69 pAGE 73 pAGE 75 pAGE 76
Beth Anna Grey Hogan Edgy Style Andy Han Big Yellow Taxi Anna Grey Hogan Explosion Willy Sherrerd-Smith Vertigo Willy Sherrerd-Smith Eye to Eye Henry Dyke Fallen from Grace Willy Sherrerd-Smith Chopin's Ghost Sterling Street Those Typical Tourists Jason Hill Fine Line Henry Dyke Parallel Will Figg Sacred Reverence Ian McDowell Blue Bound Henry Dyke An Italian Yawn Jason Hill Serenity Willy Sherrerd-Smith Tibetan Grandma Andy Han
Art pAGE 11 pAGE 13 pAGE 16 pAGE 20 pAGE 28 pAGE 33 pAGE 43 pAGE 46 pAGE 47 pAGE 53 pAGE 54 pAGE 55 pAGE 57 pAGE 59 pAGE 62 pAGE 64
Children's Dream Ben Park Awkward Turtles Jun Cho Surprise Kofi Som-Pimpong Yin and Yang Vinh Hoang Ice Water Willy Sherrerd-Smith For the Woman Ian Edwards Pressure Willy Sherrerd-Smith Native Totem Pole Henry Holmes Pacific Fish Henry Holmes Don't Trust Me Anna Grey Hogan For the Faun Ian Edwards Stick Figure Herbert Hernandez Moonlight Tango Willy Sherrerd-Smith Shaded Ken Mutamba Welcome to Alaska Jun Cho Nightmare Escape Ian McDowell
How to Prevent Your Children From Feeling Sad(der)
Beth | ANNA GREY HOGAN | photography
How to Prevent Your Children From Feeling Sad(der) -Poetry by Jacob Keohane Last night I tried to park the car. After much cursing, I succeeded. But not without hitting something that crunched like one of Markâ€™s action figures when you step on it and he cries. Next day, I found the cat, broken, in the driveway, dusted with snow, iced like a popsicle. My innards churned; what a terrible mother you are. My shaking hands reached out; you canâ€™t let them see this. I tried to pick it up; they can never know. It was frozen in place, stiff like plastic, a toy not meant for children. When it came loose, finally, with a great cracking noise like a falling tree or gunshot, I held it up. It lolled about, doll-like in my hands, just like every broken toy that I gather up and quietly replace.
Lobster on the Rocks -Poetry by Wilson Kuhnel
It hadn’t been long since I threw up. I knew if we traveled to Providence, I would get sick. I always did back then. But outside was The Cure, they said. Family cures, people cure, smiles cure. They called it a lobster-bake. I had heard of an Easy-Bake. My dad drove a red Stood-a-bake. It sounded bad, so I stomped and cried my eyes bloody. I always did back then. The people milled through the yard like sap leaking from the red maples back home. But not as sweet. They turned away. Their mouths moved without eyes, each a cawing crow on its own branch. Glasses never do well for a child’s image. What lies behind them disturbs the people more, the whys, wheres, whats of precocity that, like the humdrum symphony, play on while no one listens. The enigma of flesh and blood. They could have served me on those plates, even though I was fat. And sick.
Lobster on the Rocks
Not me being served, but lobsters, their dying breaths left in clouds of steam. Just because something’s red doesn’t make it blood. I’ve bled before. My dad always called the Christmas poinsettias blood-red. Lobsters are not blood-red. Cut them open, and there’s no blood. Three days before, I was on the rocks with my cousins. The water smoothed the pale stones like the pot I glazed in class. I fell, and there was blood, and the pain followed like dessert. Blood does not flow without reason. It called out to the lobster, and the lobster came and sat with me. The eyes stared with no mouth. No sympathy. But no disdain either. It knew a fate I knew. Was this the very same before me? A heaped mass of meat and shell, cracking with abandonment. A beast not from fury, nor grace. Not people’s cure, but a Cure all its own.
pAGE 11 Children's Dream | BEN PARK | 7in x 7in acrylic on paper
The Watering H le
-Microfiction by Willy Sherrerd-Smith
he old hippo eyed me as I walked in, following closely behind my mother’s legs. He was paddling in the water, his sun-baked layers of fat just buoyant enough to keep his nose out of the water. We walked past rows of lizards sitting in the sun, some proudly showing off the scaly wrinkles on their bellies. A scowling, long-necked egret stared at me as we sat down near her. She ruffled her feathers and turned away in a dignified huff. I asked Mommy why everyone was so meanlooking here. She smothered me in sunscreen and told me to float around like a good duck. So I did.
felt a hairy, flabby pressure on my back. I jerked around to see the hippo backing up, hissing. The water around me got warm as I tried to say sorry to the massive creature. The egret screeched and flailed her way out of the water. “It went and pissed in the pool! Get it out! Get it out!” Mommy wrapped a towel around me, and I trailed her out of the pool area. Time to get in the car.
The Watering Hole pAGE 12
pAGE 13 Awkward Turtles | JUN CHO | 8.5in x 11in silkscreen print
King of the Wild Frontier -Nonfiction by Thomas Doughty
ep. That’s me. Davy Crockett, the “King of the Wild Frontier.” I’m sitting in my favorite worn red rocker with my coonskin cap and my trusty rifle “Old Betsy,” wearing my hand-sewn moccasins and buckskin outfit. Don’t let the vanilla-yellow walls, French doors, rag rug, houseplants, and framed horse picture fool you. I’ve lived on the frontier all my life. Those doors don’t lead to a cozy outdoor porch, but to the Injun-teeming backwoods of Tennessee. Don’t mind the heating vent in the corner of the room either. These cold frontier nights can chill the boldest men to the bone. Why else would I be bundled up with wool and buckskin? I’ve wrassled me more bears, skinned more cougars, cleaned more fish, and fought more Injuns than any of the durn-tough, thick-skinned, square-jawed huntsmen this side of the Mississippi! Pretty much the only thing in this whole country that can outdo me is bedtime, which, unfortunately (seeing as it is nine), is now.
King of the Wild Frontier
pAGE 15 Edgy Style | ANDY HAN | digital photography
Foreigner pAGE 16
Surprise | KOFI SOM-PIMPONG | 7in x 6in x 5in clay sculpture
-Nonfiction by Inyoung Lee
hat was my name again, Mom?” “It is In. In Lee.” “Een?” “Yes. You spell it I, N.” “Okay.” I promise myself that I won’t forget my name again, but I cannot be confident. My mom keeps on talking to me, but her words enter through one ear and exit through the other. My mother, my brother, and I are newcomers to the country of Canada, and I cannot understand or speak English. I have been dreading the start of school in a place where I know nothing, and I tremble as I walk through the glass doors into the library. I pass the man who I assume is assigning classes to new students. He is very tall, at least two times my height, with grey and white flowing hair and blue eyes shaded by bones that stick out like leaves. One thing is clear; I am different. Now there are not many people left in the library. The tall man with blue eyes calls out something, perhaps a name. Nobody answers, and he calls again. It takes a few more repetitions before my mom realizes that my name is being called. Mom has to stay with my brother, so I am led by a lady to the classroom. The lady talks with me on the way, but I cannot understand her. “Whire ere youfram? Wut greadere youon?” I just smile back, hoping to seem polite.
Not only does she have blue eyes like the tall man’s, but also has blonde hair. I have never seen blonde hair before. I enter the classroom full of kids. Black hair, brown hair, blonde hair, red hair; brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes, yellow eyes. I am doomed. Everybody greets me, but I don’t feel welcomed. The teacher says something. The kids sit down on the floor, and the teacher sits on the rocking chair in front of them with a book in her hand. I sit down at the very back. The teacher starts to read, but the words flow together quickly, and I hear unidentifiable sounds. “Onceuponatimetherewasagirlwholivedintheforest…” I sit there with a blank stare, hoping to at least pretend to look like I understand the beginning of the story. Thinking that I do not belong here, I start to inch my way to the door at the back of the classroom. The kids concentrate on the teacher, the teacher concentrates on the book, and I concentrate on the door. Trying not to be noticed while scooting towards the door, I think of what to do once I escape from the room. I will have to find Mom, but where can she be? I slow down my pace. The teacher closes the book. Disheartened, I follow the kids to the tables and sit down on one of the chairs. A girl next to me asks, “What’s your name?” I rejoice over the first sentence that I understand. Mom has already told me how to answer this question. I open my mouth, but nothing comes out.
-Fiction by Jonathan Yellets
e were swift, cunning, and organized. How else had we managed to rob the watermelon farm so many times before? There were four of us, bums of course, who lived in the woods and survived on eating the scraps of food tossed away in local dumpsters. We stayed hidden during the day; we didn’t have the best of reputations. The kids were always kind to us, willing to give us food, but the moms were quick to swing brooms, grandparents inclined to fling boots, and the dads swift to aim guns. They said we were diseased, flea ridden, and rabid. That’s why we emerged at dusk, forced to creep through the darkness. After the sun grilled us like kabobs, we’d sneak into Old Man Jeb’s watermelon patch as he ate his dinner in his two room cabin. His wife would always make mashed potatoes, apple pie, and fried chicken. Oh, the fried chicken! The smells of the meal would fill the entire melon patch and bubble over into the forest. She’d even boil gizzards for their two coonhounds that begged beside Jeb’s chair. Dogs were my crew’s biggest fear. We would’ve been fried chicken thieves if it weren’t for those evil coonhounds. They stood three feet tall and had razor sharp teeth, rumored to take big chomps out of hides like ours. We just settled for the watermelon. We’d smash the largest and munch it to the rind, black seeds and all. We slithered like snakes—well actually rolled like armadillos—back to the forest as silently as we came with round bellies and reddish-pink faces. Summer Mischief
There wasn’t a cloud in the vast, starry heavens. The “hoo” of an owl echoed among the sharp songs of the crickets, asking which one of us would find the largest melon. The moon hung in the sky, a shining coin, white like the communion wafers we stole from the town’s church. It illuminated the field of melons, a spotlight on wads of washed dollar bills. The running river’s murmur muffled the sounds of our bare feet against the warm, damply churned earth. A frog’s croak stopped us in our tracks. Four black heads stood at attention. Four hearts beat heavily. Silence. The frog thumped away, leaving looks of relief on our masked faces. We fell to all fours as we made our way to the largest watermelon. Jeb’s cabin was dark. There was no clinking of silverware against plates, no smell of apple pie. There wasn’t even that rusty lawnmower sound of Jeb’s snoring wife, oblivious to the presence of burglars. But there was a “click” or maybe a “crack.” I’m not sure, but it was somewhere in the dark, too hushed for importance. I blinked and heard “POP!” I nearly jumped out of my coat. One of my friends was lying facedown, face gone. A dark bloody stream trickled from the severed head. Barking followed another click. We took off. “POP!” A melon exploded in front of me, spattering pink guts. I clawed at the chunks stuck to my face. I looked back at the jack-o-lantern eyes of the enraged, barking beasts. Old Man Jeb was close behind. We made it to the forest, and Ricky and I dashed
up an oak tree. Jerome darted into a log. The dogs started to sniff for their lost prey. I heard my pulse thump in my head and the dogs’ occasional sniffs. They found the log where Jerome was hiding and stood guard, awaiting their master. Jeb arrived, breathing heavily, with a double-barrel shotgun and a bright flashlight. “Ya got the trail bud? Good boy!” Jeb jammed his gun into the log. Another “POP!" Wood, bark, and parts of Jerome flew in every direction. The hounds began to lap at his splattered guts. Ricky squealed. Jeb beamed his flashlight into the trees where we sat. “There’s the son of a…” Ricky leapt on him, clawing and biting his face. Jeb fell to the ground cussing and scrambled to get Ricky off. The uproar startled the dogs, and they rushed from their midnight snack to protect their owner. The last thing Ricky yelled to me was “Run!” Like a bat out of hell, I wove through and ducked under the branches and leaves that slapped my face. I could see Jeb’s flashlight shining over my head, but I still ran towards the river. Only a couple of hundred meters away! No hound would be able to track my scent after I crossed the river. All burglars make their getaway by jumping the river. I rolled over roots, rocks, and poison ivy; I was off the bank. The river kept me out of sight of my pursuers, giving me time to recuperate. I could still hear
the dogs barking, but Jeb’s light was nowhere to be found. The water felt cool on my hot body as I struggled to swim to the other side. I had made it halfway when the hounds stopped on the bank. Dumbfounded, they sniffed around and eventually sat and howled. I was going to make it! I crept out of the water and dragged myself onto the opposing bank. The ground was a perfectly illuminated circle, a shining coin. My drenched shadow lay on the sandy soil. I looked over my shoulder and saw Jeb’s flashlight. He chuckled as he loaded his gun. I moved to a nearby tree and started to climb. My wet coat felt heavier with each vertical movement. I could hear the familiar “click” over the sound of the river. “Bam!” My body jolted forward against the trunk as I tried to yell. Burnt skin and fur splashed into the river below. The burning sensation intensified. Face up, my body bobbed with the current. I saw a multitude of stars. The water filled my ears, but I still heard Jeb’s laughter. “I got ’im! Got ’im good! That’s the last of them damn raccoons for sure.”
Rotten Lemons pAGE 20
Yin and Yang | VINH HOANG | 20in x 20in acrylic on
Rotten Lemons -Poetry by Channler Twyman
People say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what happens when life gives you hell? What can you make out of that? Do you make hellanade? That sounds pretty dumb to me. How can you make a tasty beverage out of hell? What if someone who is extremely close to you drives a knife through your heart? What if the world ends, and you are the last human on earth? Can you make lemonade then? What if a vigilante holds a gun to your head and says he is going to kill you, Or if a person calls you and tells you your parents have died? What if you die? Where are those juicy lemons now? What about if you’re failing school, and there is no way for you to graduate? Can you even find the sugar after something like that? What a very unreliable statement. I’m thirsty; I think I’m going to get some water.
Looking at Beautiful Women in Airports pAGE 22
Big Yellow Taxi | ANNA GREY HOGAN | digital photography
Looking at beautiful women in airports -Poetry by Jacob Keohane
The most attractive girls are not the pretty ones. You can always tell by the look of them, as if they came fresh out of a machine, cut to specifications. Dry clean only. Like a cracked bowl, some family heirloom, the best girls are flawed. Not too much, but enough to hold the eye. This one I saw in an airport, flying home. I considered her, slyly, like an art critic.
I did the routine: head ducked slightly, square shoulders, hands relaxed, mouth curving upward, sheepish eyebrows. She smiled warmly, which surprised me, only it didnâ€™t. We sat there, grinning, sharing a secret joke of sideways glances and sly looks. She got on her plane and disappeared, but I remained, holding a ticket to the wrong place at the right time.
She looked at me dead-on, unsmiling, for real, like she was looking for someone, and I was him.
Last Winter pAGE 24
Explosion | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | digital photography
Last Winter -Poetry by George Sutherland
I put down my phone and sat fearfully Frozen. Hot, thick tears streamed down My melting face. They bothered me, But I couldnâ€™t wipe them away. It was inevitable for some time. I thought I would be ready, But that was wishful thinking. So I just sat. Frozen in the whisperings of loss. Unable to move. I thought of what he meant to me. The hunting, the fishing, the storytelling. All great memories, not forgotten but lost. Last winter was cold, but that day was a chill all its own.
High in the Sky like a Butterfly -Fiction by Connor Forrest
find myself on a plane. In fact, I’ve found myself on a plane, specifically United Airlines flight 644, for the past several hours. Note: Planes are not meant for tall people. Nor are they meant to be sat in for several hours. Problematic. Interesting thing about this particular plane; there’s a male steward. In all my not so extensive record of sitting on planes for illogically long periods of time, I’ve never once happened upon a flight attendant who isn’t a woman. Peculiar. Why are all the Asians flying to San Francisco? Perhaps they have a fetish for the bread as well? I do not know. Does anyone? Perhaps. Is anyone telling me? No. If this steward squeaks one more trivial and shrill utterance via intercom or swishes down the aisle ONE MORE TIME... But with two hours left in leg one of journey code name: “Lots of Fricking Flying” ...lots of frolicking, flipping, floopy, flying ...lol... Anyways, with little time left I’ve run aground. Enya can’t force slumber and not even Hugh Laurie’s phenomenal novel is retaining the effort of thought. So, I shall write. About what I shall write I’m not sure, but write I shall.
riting: I lied, one and a half hours to go, not two. Connor, you’re a goose. You’re a goose and if you see one more TV ad whilst sitting in a plane, someone is going to die. Possibly the confused steward who isn’t a woman. Whyyyyy are all the people clothed in so proper a fashion? Makes no sense. Can’t be good. Woman’s going to have an aneurism whilst trying to tie her shoes in that overly formfitting business suit which will surely send the steward into high-pitched hysterics. Women. And he has an impressive beard...But no mouth. Interesting, very interes...oh wait, found it. Very sneaky that mouth of his is... Hm, Beastly on the telly. Note to self: get a waistcoat. Too bad I’ve seen it in all its rubbishy remake of Beauty and the Beast rubbishness. She’s very attractive of course, but still, terrible everything else. Such is life. Being left handed is proving an issue. Handism is ruining this country, no regard for those of us with a slightly more developed sinister side. Jerks. Ink needs to dry faster. Life needs to dry faster; gets smeared much too quickly and easily as it is. Plane needs to fly faster. Should make a rap about “dat.”
High in the Sky Like a Butterfly
pAGE 27 Vertigo | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | digital photography
Ice Water | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | 18in x 24in chalk pastel on paper
Noisy Emotions -Poetry by Jason Hill
The humidity in the cramped room slicks the floor, but that’s not why we struggle to walk. It’s not because of our drenched clothing either. Disappointment mixes with the booming music in the air. I thought the music was supposed to prepare me for the game. We try not to slip, but that’s not why we can’t lift our eyes off of the floor. I wish I could move the numbness from my legs to my head. We act like little worker ants, getting our own tasks done without saying a word. Even as we shift to a new room where the music fades and the humidity rises, it is still hard to move our legs. The warm water washes the cold off of my naked skin, and the drain struggles to eat all of the wet grass. The silence whispers in each of our ears. My body answers by compressing muscles. The silence gets quieter as we wobble back into the room with the music. Suddenly, a pair of wet soccer socks drip on the speakers. The silence is back.
Purgatory pAGE 30
Eye to Eye | HENRY DYKE | digital photography
urgatory -Fiction by Ian McDowell
he rays beam over the castle, and my eyes beg to be shielded. Crimson blood and white sand form a soup below my feet. The dragon finally died as the eyes are almost fully opaque. Glazed, like a doughnut. More charred armor. Poor comrades. Metal armor for bullets of fire? Our protection transformed to a metal oven. And there they roasted. Now I roast in the burning sun and the suffocating silver sheets. The sand in the dry riverbed catches the front of my shoes. Sand enters the cracks, and I’m taken down. I see nothing but white. Where is the castle? The dragon? The blackened remains of fallen friends? White, a deathly color that surely brings me to my doom. The sun must be fully over the horizon, but when I look around, nothing is visible. I squint my eyes.
ater gurgling in my ear startles me; I am conscious again. I look at what is keeping me afloat, a surfboard being pulled by a Jet Ski. Eyes burning! Salt spray cuts my eyelids as I close them. The silhouette on the Jet Ski remains unidentifiable as he bobs over the swells. I start drifting, impossible with the tug of the Jet Ski, until I hear, “Cable’s away!” Closer to the shore and the
shark jaw rock formation and the foaming white teeth. The ground slowly grows smaller as I tower above. I find myself on top of a twenty foot swell hurtling towards the shore. I sink. Free fall. A cannonball shaped rock sends pain pulsing from my chest in waves. Tingles travel up from my legs and twist in my hair as the bubbles slide and pop against my skin. Numb arms. Cold air. Prickled hairs on my legs and arms. Death sweeps in quickly. Am I alive? Open, eyes! I am not in the ocean, but in my room. Clumps of letters form strange and foreign words. Looking closer I realize it is my Spanish textbook. It glows blue from the Facebook bar loaded on the computer screen. Status worthy, but later. I glance at the binder and read the horrifying words “Spanish Test FRIDAY.”
itting straight up in bed, I tear off my covers. My heels feel like they shatter as I jump from the top bunk and run into the shower, cold water dripping off my nose and raising my breathing rate. Little time to shampoo. I walk quickly back to the room, the air conditioning chilling the drops on my back. Quickly I dress to study for my forgotten Spanish test today. I sit down and look at the books, then my clock. It is 2:34 in the morning; not Friday, but Thursday.
Under Construction -Nonfiction by Peter Shelton
n that night nothing could have been more normal. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream shadowed steak, or so my taste buds believed. The remainder of the evening called for Facebook and little else. Refueled, I burst into my room, glance in the mirror, and pop open the computer, ready to go. Seize my phone: couple texts, couple calls, couple voice-messages. Welcome to Facebook: 1 unread message. Notification, notification. Laurie Peyton added 12 (unnecessary) pictures 2 hours ago. Matt Derner gave up texting for Lent. My phone reports that she called again. I think those voice-messages are from her, and I know they’re pretty hot…tempered. So I just let it ring. What the heck, I think, she needs to realize that we can’t and won’t talk all the time. Not like Isaac and Lauren. I had given up trying to tell her. I was busy, she pretended she was, there was no time to waste away money we both invested in education. I refused to initiate a conversation I didn’t have time to carry, no matter how much she “invested” in the relationship. No longer would she manipulate me. I strangle my phone, and it writhes yet again—good vibrations. She always calls twice.
But by the second ring, I’m reconsidering. Tell her one last and final time. Do it. So I pick up. “Hey, sorry.” My usual greeting. Silence at the other end, not surprisingly. I’m doing the talking, or there will be no talking at all. “Alright, well, I’ve told you before, and believe me I know you are too, but I’m too busy to have an hour conversation every night.” She flies from 0 to 90 words per second. “You could’ve at least just texted me, tried to make the effort, like me, to make this relationship work. Remember last year—yeah, well it’s always me who tri—I’m busy too!” In the back of my mind, I know it only takes a text to detonate the bomb. A full-scale invasion of my life would follow, mercenaries pillaging, burning; plundering could be expected. And all so she could cherish being “right.” And when she said “you could just let me know,” I understood that mankind doesn’t expect just your brief attention. That two-way street called friendship needed to be open all the time, in impeccable condition. Rough parts demanded tarring over with thick nothingness. "DETOUR" signs classified as tangible sin. Soldiers need a good place to march.
pAGE 33 For the Woman | IAN EDWARDS | 8.5in x 11in pencil on paper
Alone Together -Fiction by McGregor Joyner
ey, c’mon!” Philip spat water back at Jason, and both boys paused for a beautiful moment before bursting into laughter. “Next time you throw water in my face, it’ll be sand comin’ your way, man.” “Damn, I really better watch my back now,” Jason said, already off the bank and halfway up the island’s western cliff. Philip couldn’t help but notice his best friend’s sheer power and strength, his muscles simply tearing at the wall of dirt. Almost in response to the thought, Jason’s left handhold, a dark red root, snapped, and before he could even shout, he found himself sliding rapidly towards the edge of the first hangover like a bead of water running off its leaf. That little bead would’ve been dashed across the rocks had Philip’s hand not shot across its path and snagged it at the last possible second. “Hey, man, we do this together, right? Never forget that.”
efinitely broken,” he muttered to himself as a tear formed in his eye. Jason looked back at his left hand, leaning over the table at home. He decided he’d already given the bead enough time, and violently threw his head up, sniffed, and wiped it away just as he liked to wipe the dirt off of his shoulder when he worked. “What the hell you doin’ now, you little piec’a—” The last word was drowned out by the wet wad of dip that fell on Jason’s pant leg. “Wha—now ya wanna go t’the doctor?”
“Hell no, Pa,” he said, spitting with his emphasis on the last word. “I’d rather you break the other one, too!” “It ain’t broke, dammit!” Little Jason felt his own blood turn cold in the seconds following, but his eyes burned with rage. Standing taller, he corrected his powerless stance and made ready for anything that might come at him. “Ain’t nothin’ broke unless I say it’s broke!” He shook his head. “An' you broke. You ‘n your stealin’, runnin’ roun' town like you own the place. That’s for big men like me—big men that’ll set you straight!” Mike Stetson lifted his hand slowly and tossed aside his dip can. “What with all these new complaints I hear today, I oughta…” He smacked the cupboard shut beside him and bent over his son. “Nobody likes you. Not a single person in town.” He spat again on the boy’s shoe. “Oh, you broke; I could tell that since the day you was born ouchya momm–” “Don’t you talk about my momma!” Bolting for the back, Jason flipped his father’s scratched, green card table in the kitchen over and barely made it out in time to jump the fence and be out of sight.
he river made its way carelessly through the sun-baked hills and the garden of lively bushes beneath richly colored trees, a magnificent and ancient beast that broke its path only for a little island on a quaint, quiet, little bend. The place
Alone Together pAGE 34
pAGE 35 Fallen from Grace | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | digital photography
truly was a pain to find for anyone who had no true reason to find it, and it felt as though Nature herself had picked one little place locked away from all of the troubles, all of the woes of the rest of the world. The island itself was a powerful monument, a plateau that reached as high as the tops of some trees on either side. One great persimmon tree stood alone, brave, at the top, looking as ancient as the rock upon which it sat. There was a clearing around the tree, softly bedded with long, delicate grass and bordered by little beeches all around the edges of the cliff and down the sides. “Who do you think planted it?” Jason asked as he lay on the scrawny, brown hammock that he and Philip found washed up downriver. “I don’t know. I don’t even know if anyone did plant it.” “Well, anyway, I’m just glad it’s here, ‘cuz this is the best tree fort anyone ever had,“ Jason said with a sigh of comfort. “A place where you can lay your head ‘n know the world ain’t gonna slip out from underneath you, y’know what I mean?”
hilip, why d’you think you’re here?” His employer answered for him. “You’re here because you need money.” Philip awoke with a start and was already moving toward the broken planter blade with welding mask in hand. He stopped for a moment and looked back at his employer, middle-aged farmer Hank Hereford, who’d never had a good crop. “But I catch you sleepin’ on the job one more time ‘n Imma walk right down into town ‘n reportcha.” That would mean a lot of condescending government pencil pushers, a lot of paperwork, and a return to whatever structured life could actually be forced upon the thirteen-year-old orphan. And the boy wasn’t dumb—he knew. “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll get some good sleep tonight ‘n be ready for tomorrow.”
Hank unrolled his brows and let go of the tension. “What the hell happened to y’folks, anyway?” He stood akimbo, watching the boy quizzically and picking at his scruffy red beard. “Like you givva damn.”
id you bring the saw?” Jason asked, pulling a hammer out of his backpack and breathing in the freshest air the island had to offer. “‘Course I did. D’you bring the TV?” Jason hit Philip on the arm and both boys laughed. “I gotta surprise.” Jason reached into his pack and brought out three bottles of spray paint. Philip’s face immediately lit up. “I thought once we put up the tin roof we could paint the Fort.” “The Fort“was a large platform fifteen feet up in the branches of the mighty persimmon, consisting of two pieces of a telephone pole, two months’ wages of two-by-fours, a ladder made of two ropes found at the entrance to a mine shaft nearby, the remaining shack walls of a still two miles upstream, and a hell of a lot of two kids’ elbow grease. Jason always lay in his hammock, Philip in an Adirondack chair he’d fashioned from scrap wood behind the hardware store. “Aight. What colors did you find?” Philip snatched up the bottles and answered his own question. “Navy blue, black, forest green. Almost full, too.” “I didn’t know you could read.” The statement came like a question, and Philip’s tossing the bottles down on the floor came like an answer. Time stopped on the island. The boys had no past and lived only for the present, losing all worries about feeding themselves the next day or work or anything else; it was their home. Nothing else mattered. And the boys knew all of this; it was their code. “I’m thirsty. Let’s split a Coke!”
ike Stetson stood above the card table Jason had upended and let himself boil for a few seconds before stampeding back into the kitchen
for another beer. “I’ll make the damn kid put it back up himself when he’s back,” he muttered to himself. “He’s gotta come mooch some dinner off me some time anyway.” Mike loved that table; almost every night his band of scumbag friends would come by—“the boys“ he called them—and play poker after a day of “hard work,“as they said. Two ran a meth lab north of town, one had a prostitution ring and regularly practiced extortion, and one even ran an illegal firearms business two hours west in the big city for an incredibly high profit. He only worked the weekends. Mike was in the real estate game, a skilled con artist who worked clients down for every penny. One night when Jason was eight, the boys burst through the front door with a shotgun in a drunken fit, laughing and calling for Jason’s mother. They’d been out on the town shooting up all the shop windows from the bed of Mike’s red flatbed truck. No one was brave enough to even report the gang, knowing full well the consequences of angering any one of them. Jason’s mother had already locked him in the attic by the time Mike had gotten to her. He’d just stolen a pair of brass knuckles—at gun point—with the boys the other weekend and wanted to try them out on something. The boys just watched from the doorway. The results he got involved a lot more paperwork than he’d imagined, and it took a broken leg to shut up the kid once he’d found him in the attic the next day. Jason had learned a lot during the night up there, and he’d never spent the night in the house again. Attempting to make a bed of the streets had led him to Philip. One night during his father’s fifth year of deployment in the marines, Philip’s mother had committed suicide in a fit of depression. Philip took off that night and in three days had made it from the city to town where he’d been living on the streets ever since.
ason found his father passed out on the couch at nine when he got home. He was reaching for the last night’s leftovers in the fridge when Mike awoke. Already fleeing through the kitchen doorway, the boy could tell that Mike was angry enough. Enough to do something real. He knew he’d been caught when he smelled the alcohol behind him at the back door, and with deadly accuracy he spun around and struck low at Mike’s thigh with his Bowie knife. The only place he could think to go was the island, but Jason knew that his father would have the boys on his tail within minutes. He also was sure that Mike knew about Philip; they might kill him first. “We do this together, right?” Jason pulled up Philip by the arm once he’d found him on the street. “That’s what you said.” They were on the way into the edge of the woods by the time Mike saw them. Philip honestly couldn’t help but feel free and peaceful as he dashed through the night, dodging log after tree after rock on his way to the island. There was something special about this journey, something different about this run with the moon’s light illuminating the way to safety. And then, at the bank of the river, right at the moment when he leapt into the ice cold water, it came to him: this was their home, and they’d never slept in their own beds. He was running home to safety, to the comfort and the warmth of the tree, the island, the river. “Shit! He’s been behind us the whole time!” Jason looked dead as he stared into the night at the top of the Fort, listening. “Where’s the hammer—a… an axe… something?” he whispered, his voice a coarse hiss, out of place amid the soft brushing of the treetop leaves. “Shhh… It’ll be fine.” Philip’s calm, fluid voice matched the quiet rush of the river below. Mike Stetson had forgotten in his rage to call the boys, not that they would have cared. He died of internal bleeding shortly after a concussion left him motionless and silent beside his twenty gauge at the bottom of the cliff. There had been no one to stop his fall. pAGE 37
Morning for the Ducks -Nonfiction by Cas Prewitt
know the Shell station on highway 87 doesn’t sell diesel fuel for my truck, but it just isn’t a duck hunt without a box of Swisher Sweets. A cheap cigar signifies the beginning and end of a successful day in the woods. Coker and Bucky, my hunting buddies, wouldn’t dare put that superstition to the test. I burned out of the gas station to make up for lost time as we raced to beat the sun to our favorite flooded opening in the cypress thicket. The crew didn’t have to wait more than thirty seconds for me to bribe our generous landowning family friend, Miss Mary McLean, by silently slipping a Tupperware container of my mother’s chicken and dumplin’s between the screen door and the front door. This was just a lagniappe. We were able to truly express our gratitude to her over a cup of coffee upon our return to the boat landing after the hunt. She has let us launch Bucky’s leaky Lowe jon boat into the swamp behind her house for three years, and hospitality is a small price to pay. The makeshift blind consisted of a few sapling pine trees with Spanish moss interwoven among the branches. Finding the blind on a foggy morning in December when the air temperature broke fifty five was a greater feat than gunning down a wood duck in the dense sylvan swamp. Coker spotted the corner of the blind as his light struck the reflective brass end of a spent shotgun shell. Within five minutes, we were sitting down on a creaky bench seat surrounded by a sea of black water and silhouettes of cypress trees
awaiting sun up. I could hear ducks waking up and whistling to one another. I could also faintly hear the diesel engines of tractor trailers screaming down I-95. A volley of shots temporarily deafened me, but the pair of unidentified belly-up ducks drifting through the decoys was a suitable reward. Between flights of birds, we cracked jokes about girlfriends and sisters until it felt like we were in middle school again, like I had never skipped town and gone “up north” to school in Virginia. I reminded Coker and Bucky that they were the ones who still lived in North Carolina, and we shared a chuckle, but we couldn’t hide the awkwardness that time apart from one another had created. As the sun illuminated the cobwebs of banana spiders and the wind stirred up droves of blackbirds, we decided to call the hunt with five Widgeon, two Wood Ducks, and a Swisher Sweet. I opened the door of my Chevy pickup with the hand that didn’t have a camouflage shotgun in it. I never lock the door out here. The key stays on my right front tire, and I know people walk by it, but there is just a sense of decency left in this part of Carolina. I guess that same Southern respect for honor is what made Woodberry seem a little more like home. Coker forgot to bring hand warmers, but managed to warm us up with some Irish coffee which we sipped on the tailgate for a few minutes as we were changing into Polo shirts and “clean jeans.” I nearly forgot to wipe the mud off my Top-Siders when I entered Miss Mary’s home because I knew that was my last hunt before classes would resume.
A Morning for the Ducks
The Bronze Buck
he Bronze Buck -Nonfiction by Gibson Montgomery
and grinds against the hinge as the blade clicks open. Each crunch tells a different storyâ€”from cleaning fish on soggy Alaskan mornings to shucking oysters on cold Carolina nights. Little rusty dots speckle its silver surface, but from afar its Turkish-clip blade shines a brilliant white. The stainless steelâ€™s bloody stench lingers in the air. My hand has molded the wood, carving smooth dents into its stained handle. Silver pins pock its surface to hold the shaft together, and my oily fingerprints permanently decorate the brass trimming. But it claims me as well. Scars riddle my hands, and jagged lines tell our tale. My left hand marks our first encounter. Seven stitches later, we were in love. A teenage attraction, we used each other when needed, abusing our novel affection. Then passion succumbed to normality. Now a black sheath marries our hips, the Buck clasp resonating our bronze vow.
Woodberry Soundcheck -Poetry by Peter Shelton
“hm-who hm-who,” my roommate says at night moon peeks in; next thing I he— “er er er er” my alarm yells at me and cages my dream with a
"CLING!" ”may you bow your head for the blessing. bless this food to our oose—zzz-zip." zippers on the backpack fly. 7:46, pull out the binders before someone
“click umph hiss.” a pulsing harmony from the shower. I step out, brr, and walk into
seeee-ssss-click. “Are we studying this evening? good…goo—“
“la-loh-la-loh.” kid, the bathroom is not for singing. the choir master would tell you
"duh duh duh" go my feet down the hall. made 10:30, spared myself an aneurys—
“mi-mae-mah-moh-moo.” lower the pallet, soften the tongue to open on “n—
"hm-who hm-who" my roommate says at night. another night, passed and gone, ov—
o-um-o (2nd)." the Latin teacher wants declensions. but he knows better, your mind is on the field to “shuh-fluh-thud.” the lax ball kisses ground but hey, next time, you can—
"er er er er!"
pAGE 41 Chopin's Ghost | STERLING STREET | digital photography
Pass or Fail -Poetry by Wills Hammond
In the middle of nowhere, on the crust of a lake, black, ominous, dense and cool, a refreshing glass of water in the scorching heat of the Virginian Desert, a boy enters the gates of my labyrinth, the hellish entrances that point to the dark lake. Down back, down back, with a forward stroke, I say. Just remember to keep on going and never stop, or youâ€™ll drown and fail my test, and you will remain trapped in this godforsaken land. The boy sips nervously from the ice cold bottle, and my thirst for his soul lingers unquenched. I lead him to the lake, and almost forget my red wand. The water and the boy begin a staring contest, the water winning, of course.
Finally, he jumps. Water rushes over his head, tugging and pulling, hungry for blood. Breaking free, he thrashes in the water, starts his journey west, and the bottle begins to sweat. Two down, one to go, I shout to unhearing ears, as the water commences its first wave of attack. Torrents of water leash themselves onto the boy, dragging him into the murky depths of hell. A hand appears from the coffin, fingers rigid as the Devilâ€™s fork. The water rages into a boiling froth, cooking to medium rare. I stare and stare, all according to plan. He reaches for God, but God is not there, only his bottle of water, sweating profusely in the hot Virginian sun.
Pass or Fail pAGE 42
pAGE 43 Pressure | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | 18in x 24in chalk pastel on paper
imeless -Microfiction by Herbert Hernandez
alt envelops him as the air caresses his body. The people’s cheers remind him of what he always strived to be. A legend. His eyes close. The crowd roars as he dives into the water. He vividly remembers the day his father jumped off that cliff. His father’s words, engraved in stone since his death: “People will never remember you for who you are, but for what you do.” The boy sits inside an airport as travelers pass by. Their similar faces, dry conversations, and identical clothing wither into a blur. Every aspect of individuality seems to be erased by time. He will be traveling to Niagara Falls in a couple of minutes.
Timeless pAGE 44
pAGE 45 Those Typical Tourists | JASON HILL | digital photography
Earth Inherited -Poetry by Logan Rafield
We are all animals, the long-evolved offspring of ancient creatures, creatures that earned their every characteristic, earned the tools nature bestowed upon them. All of which we have no need. A bunch of sorry, vestigial critters. Cubical Kyle’s legs could carry him a mile in seven minutes, but he’ll never see a bear in his life. Who the hell needs homeostasis when we’ve got air conditioning? We are just like everything else. Christian Claudia would faint from the realization her husband and six kids are not comprised of magical human pixie dust, poured from the pink plastic bucket that sits beside God. Just regular ass matter, atoms that make up gold, staircase piss, and you. Some think it’s blasphemy. I think it’s marvelous.
Native Totem Pole | HENRY HOLMES | 8.5in x 25in marker on paper
Pacific Fish | HENRY HOLMES | 25in x 8.5in marker on paper
No Reason -Fiction by Case Aldridge
overing the walls, white paint formed shapes and patterns over the concrete concealed beneath. As he stared at them longer, the patterns would usually become more and more complex as his imagination took over, and he would start to see fantastic things. He stares at a different spot on the wall immediately beside his bed every day; he can judge how well his day will go just based on whether or not the shapes he sees start to dance with the pulse of his mind. Staring at the wall for anywhere from a few minutes to hours on end every day of his recent existence, he has seen magical worlds unfold and beautiful flowers blossom right before his eyes. But most importantly, he has seen memories of his family that he has yet to leave behind. This was not one of those days. The wailing alarm that signaled the doors of the cells opening startled him; some called them the school bells of prison. The screams of forgotten souls were what they sounded like to him. Souls were doomed to walk this place and be used on command by the guards only to excrete the inhumanly loud sound that gets the still-living inmates on their feet. He ambled over to the entrance of his tiny cell and stood a step and a half in front of the door. He faced straight out towards the guard rail, turned ninety degrees to the right on command, and processed out three feet behind the person in front of him, just like he had been taught on day one. The usual shouts and banter of lunch, dinner, and yard time were not heard, so it must have been breakfast time. He had been up all
night, staring at the wall, pleading, begging, at one point hitting, even bribing the wall to show him his family. The wall hadn’t budged an inch after nine hours of staring; this was going to be a long day. Arch was on the third floor, an excruciatingly long walk on knees that had been folded up underneath him all night. His cell mate had been released three months early on parole for good behavior after earning a two year sentence for aggravated assault, so Arch had the cell to himself for a while. When they finally got down the stairs and Arch had sat down with his food, Krason, a convicted rapist serving the last year of a seven year sentence, seemed to be in an especially good mood. “Hey Arch, how’d ya sleep, man?” Something irritated Arch about the way he talked. Maybe it was the way his voice started low, then got higher pitched as his sentence went on. Maybe it was the way he pronounced Arch as if the stress was on the “ch.” Maybe it was just his godawful teeth that made him seem stupid as soon as he opened his mouth. Toothbrushes are free here for Christ’s sake; they don’t even care how many you have at once. “Pretty well, how ‘bout you?” “I slept alright, but I just couldn’t get comfortable, these beds need to be…” And there he goes again. I can’t believe I talk to this creep, he is a convicted rapist for Christ’s sake! Fred told me it was a guy that he raped too. I hate this food. What the hell is this? Is this supposed to be bread? What bullshit. How did I end up in this place? Cain,
pAGE 49 Fine Line | HENRY DYKE | digital photography
you dirty bastard. Your drugs did this to me, and you know it! I bet you knew when you gave them to me that this would happen, ”I promise you man, you will make so much money by selling this to people, and you know my dealers get to sample the product if they want to, right?” God, if I could get my hands on you now I would make you pay… “I mean seriously, how much trouble is it…” The words boiled up from somewhere deep down inside him, somewhere he never wanted to be again, the memories of his dark past exploding out of his mouth like a fire storm. “SHUT UP, KRASON!” Most of the guys had never even heard Arch speak before. No one had any idea how long he was in for or why he was in jail. Rumors of murder and robbery had floated around, but he never spoke to anyone. The inmates jolted around and looked at the slender, Caucasian, twenty-six year old male who had just jumped out of his seat in rage, breathing like a possessed man and hovering over Krason, the annoying rapist. Arch’s fists were balled up so tightly that a single drop of blood spilled from his hand when his unclipped fingernail dug in too deep. They all knew how much Krason loved to talk. They had heard his conviction story before. No matter how many times his lawyer told him to shut up, he kept blabbing and gave away way too much information detrimental to his case. He had basically convicted himself. This “Green Horn” as they called the guys who had been there for two months or less, apparently known as Arch, had just made the biggest scene since the gang fight of last month. They were expecting a show. Krason was stunned—completely silent. He thought Arch enjoyed the lectures that he made up on the fly to try and get Arch to have a conversation. Much to the disappointment of the
rest of the inmates, Krason made no move to fight, and the guards rushed over and hauled Arch out of the mess hall. He had barely touched his food in ten minutes. The guards didnâ€™t need to drag him. He was happy to be away from that idiot, but it was their job. Arch knew that. So when they threw him in his cell and slammed the door shut with a few threats of worse punishment next time, he had no protest. He went immediately to his bed, folded his legs under himself, just like always, and stared at the unforgiving white paint. The wall teased and taunted him with attractive women and big cities, but refused to give up what he really wanted. What he begged for every night was to see his little girls look at him again, not as the drug dealer, but as the daddy that they loved before all this mess. He couldnâ€™t go on much longer. What he had done was inexcusable.Wall, please, something, anything to look at. He had ruined their lives. Please wall, please, something. They would never forgive him, please. The wall returned his gaze with nothing but poorly mirrored sorrow; it was taunting him. Two tears crept down his face, one for each daughter he was about to abandon. He made no move to brush them off but forced the rest of the tears back. Nothing else mattered. He reached for the sharpened tooth brush from under his bed. Everyone is still at breakfast; no one will be up here for another thirty minutes, plenty of time. With one last glance at the wall, he remembers a strange man. One last feeble chance for a reason to continue this feeble existence. His daughters were being beaten by this strange man. No reason to feebly cry out for help. The strange man was him. The forgotten souls once again made their presence known by letting out that horrible screech. Breakfast was over, but it was too late. The wallâ€™s icy stare was the last thing he saw. No Reason
The Reaper -Microfiction by Luke Merrick
he stiff collar lay crumpled beneath his sagging chin. Flashing silver eyes, sharpened by unnatural horrors, faded to a dull gray as the taut, sinewy muscles of his face surrendered their tension. His weathered skin bore scars and wrinkles in equal measure, as if time and hardship had taken turns scraping away his youthful face. His angular chin partially hid the only flaw in his once-crisp appearance: a fresh bullet-hole. His final visage was not one of surprise or pain, but that of a soldier. Soon he would lose not only his wallet, but also the cold and thankless honor of dying for his country. As his death-glazed eyes peered through me, I felt as if I had known this stranger all my life, meeting as old friends or even brothers on this battlefield. Regret stemming from the deepest region of my core weighed down on me like a hundred molten bricks of lead, searing my conscience.
Don't Trust Me | ANNA GREY HOGAN | 11.5in x 11.5in acrylic on paper
For the Faun | IAN EDWARDS | 8.5in x 11in pencil on paper
Sophocles’ Prayer -Poetry by Peter Shelton
Swollen-Foot Oedipus, what have you done? They think you’re a god and you think you’ve won. But in that pernicious arrogance of yours, Satiating prophesy, so much more. Bring out the incense, let lamentations rise, Let our hearths speak to the skies. Oedipus, Oedipus! Save them from fate. Put the petty people back astraight. Bedlam wrought in delighting soothsayers, Fleeing repose through internal lairs. Keep calm, dear Oedipus, concoct the way out As your Theban peoples, fluster about.
Stick Figure | HERBERT HERNANDEZ | 21in x 5in x 7in stick sculpture
Firefly -Poetry by Peter Shelton
Firefly, firefly, charming dusk here, Caught in a bottle by hands austere, Fate snatching Daphne from Apolloâ€™s sneer. Nay. Temporary light they shine, Like summer romances, careless of time. Lamps unto earth, sweet and benign.
Moonlight Tango | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | 48in x 60in acrylic on paper
In the Shadow of the Clock -Poetry by McGregor Joyner
That clock just stands before me now, Moves not an inch nor I. That clock that tells exactly how The world will pass me by. So bound is man in passing glance To every minute’s rise! For in the end that cruel, black hand Will mark his own demise. It mocks a world of great men whirled Upon one course alone: To watch the clock and tick the tock ‘Til all that’s left is bone. That world is to my left and right, And I, betwixt it lie, A fugitive, a refugee, Escaped its all-seen eye. So for a moment, oh, so brief, I am master of all time. ‘Tis but a distant, shimm’ring waif, A figment of my mind. I have become th’immortal man, Who sees th’unmoving sides, But never falls into the hands, O’that clock from whom he hides.
In the Shadow of the Clock
Shaded | KEN MUTAMBA | 18in x 24in charcoal on paper
Parallel | WILL FIGG | digital photography
To The Fog-Smothered Continent -Poetry by Nelson Williams
To there let us go, the place where the verse-winds blow, The home of the limerick zephyrs and narrative siroccos that whisper to a poetâ€™s ear; And, as a plow splits open ground, the wedge forcing the earth to spill forth its fertile soil, So let our shipâ€™s bow plow through the fog, Break it, and shatter it, and unveil the bride-land; And when we land, let us explore and survey the sacred shore.
Poem -Poetry by Anna Grey Hogan
The small clipped Sentences that are artfully, Stupidly, ripped. Just trying to be some prodigy, But the words are stripped. So they feel almost crotchety. Unoriginal. A recitation from a script.
To The Fog-Smothered Continent
Welcome to Alaska | JUN CHO | 12in x 18in acrylic on canvas
Deep Run -Poetry by Matt LaVigne
They tucked the little old place away in the woods. On the end of the old, wooden porch, the iron stove battled the December wind for supremacy. The surrounding trees flanked the half-frozen pond like bodyguards. Bathing the water in a fiery, orange glow, the sun sank. Winterâ€™s silence.
Nightmare Escape | IAN MCDOWELL | 18in x 24in x5in mixed media
Channel 122.3 -Poetry by Willy Sherrerd-Smith
A car whizzes by, hushing the nighttime sounds— silent, blinding yellow lights rush forward, then lazy red ones drift away. The hush of city life, invading the forest night. The lights fade, the silence they brought fading into music. The bullfrogs and crickets return from wherever they hid. The wind runs through forest, kicking up leaves as it goes, leaving refreshingly cold footprints on the skin. That last wisp of artificially manicured air— recently purged from the body—curls gently, silently, like a cloud, as gently as the nicotine-laced smoke that quietly seduces the mind and kisses the lungs, forever extinguishing the crack and snap of it’s fire.
It's hard to imagine that anyone would turn up the volume of the city, the boss, the construction, and turn down the volume of life, real life—not the one where you sit in your office, not the one where you drink your pains away, the real life you hear when you sit out under the moon. “Tune into channel 122.3, hear your mind as it truly speaks.” Only when the flaring streetlights can’t screech, when the sweet melody of the harpies and the subtle glow of stars can hush your mind, will you ever find true music. “Channel 122.3, your guide to the music of life.”
The moon, a marvelous tenor, sings its comfort through the dark, penetrating even the smog, which constantly looms overhead. Orion, the starry hunter, blocked by the buildings we built so high— as if we needed a physical barricade—calls out to us: “Tune into channel 122.3, hear the blues as sung by the moon.” I wait for the night, for the pumped-up stereo in the darkness. I wait for an end to whispers in the day, that never-ending stream of advertisements.
Sacred Reverence | IAN MCDOWELL | digital photography
La Chiesa -Poetry by Rashad Sherrell
Over a thousand churches with marble floors that shine, consolidated by black square-like rubble roads. Stone walls echo cries of over a billion lost souls. Cold floors that never grow warm. Chains squeak as the huge wooden doors are pushed open. Blood stained grounds create a tornado dust storm as people kick their feet. Circular framework transforms the whisper of one end to an echo of the other.
All We Need Is Ourselves -Fiction by McGregor Joyner
arch 15th, 1968—the day we left land. Land. We haven’t seen that in a good three years or so now, by my guess. Another might say it’s been six. Or one. I don’t know, for the light of day escapes me, as does the dark of night. Sleep eludes my restless stagnation, and, more to the matter, I’m beginning to doubt that I know anything at all. I know that there is a two-inch-thick plate of steel surrounding me in this room, a copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy on the coffee table in the corner (I’ve never found it funny, and trust me, I’ve had the time to read it over and over), and a refrigerator with several rows of kelp in it from yesterday’s swim. How I wish I could enjoy once more the taste of milk; they, however, say it is a dependence on such things as do not exist in our perfect world. “We are no longer children of that world,” they say. Tea, however, is the product of abundantly uniform leaves, stemming from one collective plant, and is plentifully supplied here. Dimly lit by a flickering, musty shade-covered lamp, the room smells of straight-up filth and decaying furniture, and there is a very sharp taste in the air resembling the foul breath of the ill. There are seven rooms in this “shell-hell” of ours. “Ours.” Everything is ours now, too. It’s driving me insane—they think they have a government in here, some kind of communist regime. In fact, if I had money—we don’t need it in a commune such as this—I would bet it all that I would be thrown straight out the cabin door to my death if this writing was discovered. I am no betting man; money, however, like the breath of
my own piteous life itself, means nothing to me now, and this gamble is worth the risk to tell the world. To tell the world—which I know must still exist outside of this bare existence—in the event that this isolation were to come to some glorious end… But let me remain on the topic of my sad account. It is a queer story, as though the stuff of true fiction, and it needs a delicately open mentality in order to be fully…comprehended. Since I was a babe in arms, living in Hugh Town (Isles of Scilly, mind you), I was said to be “quite the curious little thing.” My friends—their names are not pertinent now—and I would frequent the beaches of our home and ponder the depths of the ocean before us, the adventure that was to be had in a place apart from our small world of quaint, little islands. It chanced one day as our small party was walking the wind-whipped shore that we found ourselves in the disturbing company of an ill man, sea-tossed and conscious only of his dreams as he lay dry and sandy upon the beach. We dragged him onto his feet and brought him to my home, where we fed him stew and a cup of water after having forced him to wake from his troubled slumber. He began to mumble, and it became apparent that he was begging for a glass of milk. “Fresh,” he spoke through his haggard beard, broken, as though in syllables. At my behest, we removed ourselves of his company to seek the village doctor, and having left one behind to watch him, we did so with the utmost haste.
All We Need Is Ourselves
Blue Bound | HENRY DYKE | digital photography
Peculiar as it may be, we returned with the doctor only to find our friend rocking slowly in a chair on the front porch and gesturing that we venture inside to inspect the silent, strangely peaceful corpse of the man from the sea—at ease in the comfort of a red reclining chair. “He said something…” spoke the frightened lad, “something about a land of…” “Of what?!” I shouted, pointing at the salty heap in the chair. “You sound like this man did last I saw him!” “Of submarines.” He looked out the window at the sea, its torrent of rolling waves and the endless secrets lying beyond the horizon as though searching for something. “He spoke of a place to the west of here directly upon the path of the setting sun where the sea is ever green and the sky is ever blue and all the people dwell… in none other than a yellow submarine. He said he spent ten years there and spent ten years returning.” We were spellbound, the moment itself hanging over us as if by a thread, and his eerie, fantastical words crept swiftly into our consciences like a black cat on a silent prowl. I broke from this thread, and the reality of what lay before us became immediately prevalent once more. “Submarines? What are you— well how the hell did he die?!” The boy shrugged his shoulders and walked slowly over to the coffee table in the corner of the room where a glass sat, drained empty and clean. “He just… finished his glass of milk,” he said, picking it up and holding it in the light, “stared at the wall for a moment, closed his eyes, and let himself fall into the chair. It was… beautiful.” Needless to say, we youths were troubled for days after this event, and it struck us with the utmost peculiarity when one among us very decidedly remarked, “What if it were true?” The cold, clinging waves were rolling in, grasping our bare feet in the wet, hard sand. We were at present on such a walk as has been described before.
Somehow, my mind immediately returned me to the exact thought about which he spoke so clearly. I replied, “The submarines? There’s no way—” “But what if?” He stopped short and his heels dug violently into the sand, spitting up a whirlpool in the returning wave. “Aren’t you just getting bored? Tired of this… island?” My mind seemed to converse with itself and come to some odd conclusion as I watched the whirlpools spin off his feet. Our minds in some amazing way were intertwined by the mere meeting of our eyes. I spoke with assured decisiveness, “We set sail tomorrow.” March 15th was a wondrously clear day on the sea, and the sun cast a brilliantly beautiful shadow of the sail upon the deck at our feet, shifting about the floorboards and dancing over our toes. The entire world was ours; the ocean was the vast stage upon which we were determined to act the parts of the greatest explorers the world had ever seen. Where our journey ended we did not care—our destination was adventure and disorientation; as long as the sun warmed our backs and the wind played with our hair, the sea was open to us and we were open to the sea. “The sun is our guide, as far as I understand,” said one of our little expeditionary crew. “Well, from what we know, it will take us to the sea of green. A bit vague, don’t you think?” I replied. He just rolled back his head and sank back down onto the deck. “Agreed.” On the third day of our seaward voyage we awoke quite abruptly to the sound of the mast splitting like a tree oppressed by the wind of a summer storm. The cabin shook violently, and I found myself flying about from wall to wall. A large wooden beam came into my view, and I awoke on the deck three hours later staring at our vessel’s conquered mast. My friends, who had placed me there before beginning to work on the mast, were now frantically running about our small craft in
search of a pail. My head spun, and I fell once again to an overwhelmed slumber after hearing “We’re sinking!” from below the deck.
he tea in the Stepford Kitchenware cup was relatively good, and I have never felt a more comfortable blanket than the one surrounding my frozen body. It took me at least a minute to become aware of my odd surroundings. “Why, I’m in a tin can,” I blurted without much thought. Someone sat directly to my right in the corner of the room. “We’re glad you can join us,” the woman answered, with a much-too-perky giggle. “My name’s Bobbie. Your friends have been such a delight, and we can’t wait to share the fun of this evening with you. You see, we have a little jazz band—” “Who… where am I?!” I jumped up from my seat and clung to my blanket as though it were the only thing I trusted in the world. “You are in a new world,” said the disturbingly placid face across from my present position. I looked to the door. The windows. Where were the windows? “You’re in a submarine, lad. Sit, do talk to me. I am in need of a good conversation.” I dropped the blanket and took a defiant step forward; I would have none of this cheerful play. “Where are my friends? I want to see them immediately.” “Ah, that may be, but you do not need to.” The figure across from me appeared as if in a dream, slowly shifting her body forward and resting her chin softly upon her hand. Her eyes narrowed. “You will learn to trust me.” A hideous moment passed with our eyes locked as though before a duel, and then she instantly became her queer, placid self again and shot straight up onto her tiptoes, leaving the room… and my mind… to scramble for answers. Afterwards, I was introduced to a chipper little group of people and the violently conformist little life they live. The queerest part of the matter was
that I was introduced as ”Billy,” and when I inquired upon the meaning for my fake name, I was told that I must abandon the very person I had been since the day I was born and relinquish my ideas and the world from whence they came. “Is there a problem with that?” “No, I—” “Good then. Let’s hear the band!” This was all coming at me too quickly— I began to experience restless nights, an elevated sense of determination to escape the Yellow Submarine; my thoughts raced, and I began to feel that I was above everyone on the vessel. Our little adventure had so quickly become a great disaster. As I make these very recordings, my friends are enjoying a game of cards. Later, the band will play, and everyone from our little yellow submarine will participate in a karaoke contest with those from the neighboring red submarine. Prizes will be handed out and the night will be themed “All We Need Is Ourselves.” It’s worse than trust exercises with the office or Family Bingo Night, a cover for the monotonous, oppressively organized life we live, and I am the only man aboard this ship who has thus far withstood the effects of this mindless regime. No privacy, no secrets, no disagreeing with the model community ideal. What’s scary is their rejection of emotion, their fear of human passion and individual thought, their infallible ability to brand our feeble minds with the curse of this submarine society. My friends are dead to me and exist no longer as named persons but as ”the one with blue eyes, ”the one who sings well,” or ”the one who slurps his tea.” They are like robots. Everyone is. It’s an infection, and I can only hope to find the antidote. ~John Eberhart *I give full credit to the Beatles and Ira Levin for the inspiration of this piece. MSJ All We Need Is Ourselves
Why Kids Need So Much Attention and Other Ways to Hate Society -Poetry by Wilson Kuhnel I could see that the pumpkins were judging me. Judging everybody. They judged Mrs. Wilkins too. Since when did sexy nurses become the new vampires? That woman teaches my childrens’ Sunday school, a Sunday school where a lesson on Jezebel does not degenerate into some broke 19-year-old’s Heaven on Earth. Those aren’t the kind of movies they play on ABC Family’s 13 Days of No-Longer-Virgins Getting Butchered. The Hawkins boy dressed as the Grim Reaper, but could pull off a successful President Taft. If there were a chloroform-wielding psycho around, he’d be on the street going to town like a geriatric at a mashed-veggie bar. My Halloween was different. Since no one had found Nemo yet, and sex hadn’t been invented, we used to dress in camo or white sheets. I sat in the former now, at 78, like a Nam vet, though I never set foot in the place. But I could still run down the next Pillsbury Doughboy/Dragon-Slayer/Pregnant-Teen-With-Attitude to step on my lawn. It started to rain. But on the aliens ran like chicken feathers in the wind. After you’ve beaten the shit out of the chicken. They’re probably wondering why the candy tastes so suspect.
Why Kids Need So Much Attention and Other Ways to Hate Society
An Italian Yawn | JASON HILL | digital photography
Emerald Pond -Poetry by Will Harris
A pond with a big fountain pulls you in; it makes you feel alive. White buildingsâ€”balconies with big glass doors. It smelled of death. Inside, pictures hang on the walls of people who have lived here and died. Like a hospital with a very slow elevator. The room had pictures. Life suspended in little binders, neatly labeled with the year and place it was taken. He always organized like that. The last stop before you die. He sat on his bed looking at the pictures on the wall. He looked pale and cold. He saw my face and smiled. I was the last person he smiled at. His face when he smiled is imprinted into my head, suspended in life, like the pictures on the walls, people who have been there and died.
Serenity | WILLY SHERRERD-SMITH | digital photography
Tibetan Grandma | ANDY HAN | digital photography
The Talon, first published in 1949, is the biannual literary arts publication of Woodberry Forest School. The editors encourage submissions from any member of the Woodberry community. These works were selected through a process of blind review by student review boards. All opinions expressed herein are the property of the authors and artists and do not represent the views of Woodberry Forest School. This magazine was created on an Intel-based iMac using Adobe CS5. Titles and art credits are set in Chalkduster, Copperplate Gothic Light, Myriad Pro, and Lucida Calligraphy; body text is set in Myriad The Talon is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. CSPA recognized The Talon with a Silver Crown award and a Gold CIrcle award for first place in overall design in 2011.
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Published on Jan 17, 2012
Published on Jan 17, 2012
The Talon, first published in 1949, is the biannual literary arts publication of Woodberry Forest School. The editors encourage submissions...