S: I Love Mason!
1: MMusse | Muse | Muse An on-line arts magazine for and by the students of Mauldin High School Mrs. Ann Miller, Principal
2: Take a Look Have you ever thought to look at someone truthfully? past the makeup, and hair past the clothes and accessories ever tried to understand their own brand of pain and suffering well if you haven’t then the next time you do take a good look take a look at who they are not who they present themselves as - Evan S.
3: Self Portrait (charcoal) - Melissa F.
4: The Heart of a Champion Futbol is the sport that I play It has opened up countless doors I have to practice every day Nothing is better than hearing the crowd’s roars Soccer has taught me many things Like team work and time management fun It’s a nice reward to get championship rings Kicking and screaming and making a run Last year we won state I played my heart out for my school and team And the final whistle held our fate The whistle blew and our fans began to scream We completed a goal that no one thought we could We jumped and cried to celebrate We thanked our coach just like we should We got on the bus and came home really late We decided to decorate our coach’s house We wrote on his driveway and had a great time We crept outside, quiet as a mouse Winning state was a mountain we had to climb This year we are looking to win one more I’m a senior and I want to go out on top Win win win! Score score score! Until we win we aren’t going to stop - Morgan H.
5: Taking Flight When I was four I broke my arm I did not know that it would harm My dad yelled, “Come over here.” Me and my brother followed near We filled a mattress up with air It soon would give me a quiet scare I got on the bed and sat on the end Awaiting my brother to get his friends It would be fun to run and jump I would land with a thump When they arrived he counted to three And at that time there was no me They looked up high into the sky And then they saw me flying by I hit the ground and heard the crack My dad was running from the back He picked me up and yelled for mom She grabbed the keys and said, “Come on!” In the car and on our way I did not know a word to say The doctor confirmed the crack was real I did not know what I should feel He wrapped it up with a cast I did not want this to last I learned a lesson on this day Where and when I should not play. - Kaley W.
6: I Cannot Believe you are Gone When I was younger I thought that you would always be there. I thought I could come see you whenever in your big brown chair. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. My parents made me aware since I was very young, That you were very sick with cancer in your lung. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. I cherish all of the memories that you and I share. All of the gifts and endless love really show you care. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving was always spent with you. I felt special in your house because you gave me my own room. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. When we got the news it seemed so unreal. I was sad, angry, confused and did not know how to feel. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. Many days of the year I find myself thinking of you. You taught me more than anyone I know, it's true. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. I wear your jewelry all the time to keep you in my mind. I miss your French accent and how you were so kind. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, I cannot believe you are gone. I know you are watching over me from above. I want you to know you will always have my love. My dearest Grandma Yvonne, You are far from gone. - Leah E.
7: Live In the Sky My dear good friend Ashton, Basketball was your passion. If it were clothes you wore it in true fashion. I can see you now just taking it easy and relaxing. When you left me my tears poured down like rain. Now that I know you're in heaven, you're not in Pain. You have your set of wings now, so you're ready to fly. And you're not really gone from me, so I don't have to cry. Because I know you're still looking down on me as your Living your life in the sky.. - Keldrick K. Photograph - Kayla W.
8: This is what Friendship is All About Someone you need in your life to help you threw the tough days When everything has fallen apart in pieces you know who to run too One call one text one drive away and then everything is complete This is someone everyone needs in their life Someone who tells the truth and doesn’t always say that it will be okay And when you need someone to tell you what’s false and what’s true Every memory of them from your mind will never delete You will never have to ask for this person twice Someone that doesn’t judge or point They will stay with you all night until you stop crying That you will drop everything for each other They won’t talk behind your back We are always together like a joint We are always compromising never fighting We are always there no matter what for each other We know when to stop and never talk back - Kathryn E.
9: v | State of Self In this world, we are on our own Cold, dark, and empty, we are all alone Friends are made, as friendship is sought But in the end, we all are forgotten By all the people we know, care for, or love And we hope life continues, up above Faith helps us stay strong, and to move along To stay healthy and wealthy, to be smart and strong Living for yourself is living for us all Because we all are the same, separated and small - Tyler W. Eye (Photosdhopped Nikon image) - Alex T.
10: Unknown Deep within my soul I am shallow. In a world where opinions are wealth And dreams are lined up against the wall. An inky blackness covers the ground. And a dense fog spans the forest. The only light is snatched from the crescent moon above. The lifeless limbs of deathly trees surround me. Any icy wind blows, the kind that chills you to the bone. Tears streaming down my face, As my heart turns black, The piercing eyes, I feel them looking in my direction, searching for my eyes. I turn ever so slowly and there they are. Death looking me in the face. I’m losing my breath, I cannot breathe. I gasp for air, as death moves closer. I fall to my knees my oxygen supply running low, cut off as the cold wind forms a vortex around me. My tears forming small puddles. Death so near I can taste it. My heart beating so fast. Looking at me, He sees the hopeless, broken child inside. The blood flows down my arms, Tears flowing from my eyes, The sun slowly rising as I am walking to the river. I look into the water at my reflection. My heart no longer beats and blood does not flow through my veins. No man shall escape me, and my fury. Suffer as I have all men shall I AM DEATH. - Tasha M.
11: Untitled (pencil) - Jessica S. One The stillness of the trees, the softness of the breeze whips across my face. Quiet, peaceful, soft sounds, nature my only accomplice. Alone in the world, the soft grass, the warm sun, the rays lighting my skin. Breathing. Eyes closed taking the warmth; the quietness of my secret place. The whispering trees speak to me, telling me their history. Laying in the sun; I am complete, me and my accomplice. Nature. I am alive. In my meadow of peace, smiling. A warm blanket of sun envelopes me; I am a halo of life. I am one with nature; I am one with the world. I AM LIFE. - Krystine S.
12: Holiday Hooligans She ran through the double doors. Where was he? He had cried wolf before, but this time she felt that it was different. She knew him better than anyone, he would only call on her when he needed help or was in trouble. Only she would go after him. Even if she shouldn't. As she entered, she heard a girls scream. Was it his little sister? His house was so big, where was the scream coming from? She ran down the hallway in the left wing of the mansion. She loved him, she had to save him. He had hurt her in the past but he needed her now. She loved him, she had to save him, right? The text she had received just thirty minutes before was still open on the screen of her cell phone. “ Help. Please. Man. Hurt.” was what it read. The usual texts she use to receive had only read “Help.” or, “Really. Help.” She had gone to save him before only to find he was joking. She grew tired of it. It seemed different this time. He was home alone with his little sister all weekend and there had been a break in down the street just a few nights ago. Now, in his dark house, she began thinking she wouldn't find him here after all. The scream came again. It was upstairs. She darted into the hallway in a rush to get to the back staircase quicker through the kitchen. She caught a glimpse of something metal on the counter. It was a mallet. They were probably just making holiday cookies! Of course! She scrambled up the stairs and into a room where she heard soft Christmas music playing. It was coming from an old record player in the corner of the room. It was skipping. She took advantage of the small, empty room and backed up against the wall to catch her breath. She saw a shadow at the door, it wasn't hers. He walked into the room. She opened her mouth to say something, or scream, but nothing came out. “ I love you”, he whispered in her ear as he put his arms around her. Her muscles relaxed in his arms. Then she felt his body tense. “Sorry, love.” he said in a firm voice. Her eyes widened and she began to feel cold. She closed her eyes as tight as she could and felt his grip on her loosen. She was in her own bed. Her sister was standing above her. “Wake up lazy! You have to take me to school today. Mom's too busy with that new mallet crushing candy canes for cookies. Oh yeah, and your old boyfriend is downstairs. He says he needs help at his house with something. His record player is broken.” - Kayla W.
13: Christmas The smell of fresh pine needles and sap fill the living room Bright colored wrapping paper and bows shine from every direction As I turn the corner I see smiles and steaming cups of cider I notice the loving older couple in the corner exchanging gifts from the heart And the little girl with her big, bright red hair bow as she ravages through her presents with excitement I am filled with a feeling of contentment I feel a light brush against my shoulder And there he was, the final ingredient to complete my perfect holiday At the same instant We both noticed the mistletoe overhead... Corinne M
14: Louvre Lessons His eyes slowly devour this agéd armless goddess as he imagines surely alluring poses of the now-absent limbs. Graceful curves of stone-cloth drape over her hips, flowing to disclosure of bare toes. The Ah Venus!softness of flesh conveyed in stone Quick red pumps clip-clop nearer and a scarlet-tipped hand snatches him back to the schedule. A glance toward the sculpture and her palm runs over her flat stomach, smirking at ancient flab. Mesmerized by Mona Lisa’s gaze, he abandons his guide. He is drawn into her canvassed majesty, intoxicated by her circular face and subtle smile. So elegantly poised, yet frolic escapes through DaVinci’s deft strokes. An impatient huff from the cross-armed critic, tapping her foot to regain attention. Artisanship, not beauty! She tosses a stiffly glazed lock over her shoulder, and expertise reels over her painted lips for his edification. - Melinda J. H.
15: Marie Antoinette (watercolor and ink) - Melissa F.
16: The Attacks on 9/11 September 11, 2001. American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center. Hundreds are killed on impact. But millions will be affected, along with a shock that sweeps the nation. Effects from this tragedy include death of family member or friends, the affect this has on airport security, and it leads to the War on Terrorism. This cause, being the crash on the World Trade Center, is having many effects in the nation we live in today. The attack on this building and the Pentagon were tragic and still to this day, after eight years, still show signs of effects, some of which can never be resolved. The first immediate effect when looking at the tragedy that was the crashing of flight 11 onto the World Trade Center is the people who died from impact. To some Americans these were family members, loved ones, or even friends. These people could have been someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or close friend. These people were someone special in another individual’s life, and this person is now stripped of their life because of two terrorists who decided to make a statement. . Killing hundreds of people, not only from the plane, but from the building that it crashed into is something that Americans today have to live knowing. It has been said that up to two thousand seven hundred and fifty two people were killed during the 9/11 attacks. Although only around half could even be identified, while the other half had be recognized because of hundreds of DNA samples. Effects from this tragedy are the lives that were taken who boarded the flight and people who were in the building at the time of the crash. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, airport security has sky rocketed. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been very busy. One year after the attacks, airport security has overspent their three hundred and fifty million dollar budget with ease. Spending money on more high tech machinery to prevent anything suspicious from entering the plane is occurring. Stuff from x-rays to hand held scanners, money is being spent to prevent this from happening again. Recently a bill was passed to allow pilots the right to have a gun, for protection, in the cockpit. This, to me, could be very dangerous because if the gun was to get in the wrong hands, terrorists could use this, instead of a box cutter which is what was used for the 9/11 attacks. What an individual can bring or put in their luggage is very limited. Anything controversial is not allowed in the plane due to the attacks. With airport security being as high as it is, and affecting travel, people all over the nation are not flying but driving to their destination. This is causing more accidents on the road due to high security rates in highly populated airports, the ones with the most chance of searches and seizures of luggage. Sure, the airport needs to be strict now-a-days, but having to get to an airport two hours before you are scheduled to leave seems a little ridiculous. Effects of the crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have influenced airfare, and traveling in airports as a whole. Not only did this tragedy affect the lives of the people involved or the fact that airports have increased security, but this caused the United States to declare a War on Terrorism. This horrid day killed hundreds, but it does not take into account the thousands that are dying for this nation in other countries. The cost of a war is substantial, which is causing many Americans to change their life style to cope for the money sent
17: for war (9-11 Research). This means cutting back on everyday things like food intake, buying of clothes, going out at night, and spending money. All were cut because of the effect of 9/11. Troops are dying daily because of terrorism that struck our nation in 2001. The day is October 13, 2009 and still troops are fighting to keep terrorism out of this country. So yes, 9/11 still affects the life of American Citizens. September 11th is still showing effects to this nation, even after eight years. It affects the lives of people who lost loves ones, airport security, and the War on Terrorism. Today these effects are still shown. A statement from an International Academic Organization says, “The murder of innocents can never be justified and must not be tolerated”. Every American has to live life with the effects that this tragedy has on our nation. The tragedy of 9/11 is still causing people to think and act a different way, and will, forever on, affect how we go about our daily lives. - Patrick H | Untitled (photograph) -Brenna S
18: The Lessons of Innocence Anticipation, excitement, fear, exhilaration. Darkness, a cool breeze, the smell of late night air. The silence of the late evening slumber, Crushed by running footsteps, broken by slamming car doors. Laughter, loud music, pressure, twirling bodies, Splashing, spilling, sharing sweet disguised deadly substance. Slowly ceasing music, movement, sound, empty quiet. Speeding, swerving, crashing, silence. Lifeless, shock, sadness, reality - Lucy M Happy Ever After (photograph) - Kayla W.
19: Homeless Heart She stands on the corner of Yesterday Lane With her toes hanging into Tomorrow Street. She pushes before her a cart full of pain, Mixed with scraps of sorrow and shameful defeat. The moods that she wears are no longer in style, And her feelings are all out of place. Nobody seems to notice that she needs to talk awhile, So they pass right by her at a maddening pace. Her hope is askew; she is tired and cold, From standing alone in the wind. The dreams that drag along behind have long ago grown old, And her soul looks soiled from the places she's been. Beside her at every turn, trots her loyal dog, Pride. If it weren't for him, she'd have quit long ago, But because of him, she does her best to hide All the scars inside her that she prays never show. Up ahead she sees a shelter for the homeless and forlorn, That offers tasty home-cooked meals. But all the prayers in the world, all the turkey and corn, Won't give her a home or change the way she feels. Their words are so gentle and ever so sweet, As they send her back to her wretched cart. Then they watch as she stumbles back into the street, Just another nameless, faceless, homeless heart. - Victoria R.
20: My Love My love, my love, please take my hand Don’t doubt our love, let’s make a plan I love you more than you could know You want to leave, but please don’t go My love, my love, please stay right here And never leave, this is my fear My eyes can cry so many tears For love that’s lost and all these years My love, my love was lost but found My head lied weary on the ground I see your face, it fades away My heart just cries, but you don’t stay My love, my love has let me be So spring and fall may carry me And blow away our love like ashes My heart is beaten with these lashes My love, my love, my memory My heart remembers what use to be In dying and love my hearts true foe, Is losing the one I call my own My love, my love, please don’t you weep For now you have my soul to keep Our loves not dead, just blown away But I know it will come back one day - Angela G.
21: Thinking of You I wake up in the morning, And I think of you. I think of the laughs we get, From all the stuff we do. I go throughout my day, Wondering how you are. I wonder what you’re doing, Wondering if you’re far. I’m always thinking of you, Curious to see, Maybe when I’m not with you, You are also thinking of me. I talk about you all the time, That’s mostly what comes out. Because when it comes to thinking, That’s what it’s all about. And when I get home at night, I discover something new. I think I have it figured out, I can’t stop thinking of you. - Amber S.
22: Under The Skies Above My child is out there somewhere Under the skies above Waiting anxiously 4 you and me 2 bless it with our love A part of this love we share Will protect my unborn child who lives Dormant out there somewhere Sometimes in my dreams I imagine what it would be like How could I properly guide him When ever I don’t know what’s right Whether he is born in wealth or poverty There will be no deficiency in love I welcome this gift of life Given from god under the skies above - Robin R. Untitled Photograph - Alex T.
23: Fly From the Path Everything I dream is in black and white Everything but this little red kite Lifeless and flightless it lays there still Even though the wind rages with an undying will. Why don't you fly little red kite, Soar above the clouds during the day or at night I don't see why you won't let the breeze take you high Over the trees, oceans, and through the sky. I don't understand why you just lay around Why would you want to be on the ground? The little red kite said not to question him and his ways, But then he explained why on the grass he lays. "I was always told not to follow, but to lead So until I fly on my own I won't move from here No matter what the costs are pain, sweat, or tears I won't follow I will lead, I won't move an Inch till I succeed - Phill M.
24: An excerpt from: Rey: The King of Dreams He sits upon the cold white stair, Hardly even moving. A winter’s breeze stirs his black hair. Hours I stay and watch him, But he does not see me there. He sits and cries all night. He sits upon the cold white step. He heaves shuddering sobs. What sorrows lurk at his heart’s depth? I long to talk to him, To reveal secrets he has kept. He sits and cries all night. - Scarlett L. | Untitled (photograph) - Kayla W.
25: Life Happens Life is like a chess game You can’t predict the future You might live a life of fortune and fame But you could live very unsure Sometimes you get curveballs thrown at you You have to accept it and live with it Don’t live a life of regret and remorse Move forward to better things In a perfect world, nothing goes wrong But this world is not perfect It is very tough to adapt to everything But this is what makes us a better person We strive for excellence Which never happens We do what makes perfect sense But sometimes it’s not enough - Joe J.
26: Not Truly Goodbye Love is a flower, Fragile and sweet. It must be tended, By hands so meek. Not easy to form, Nor to forget. But could easily flourish, If one were to let. If two become one, Never to part. They shall both be cherished, In each other's hearts. Though one knows, He has to leave. | He shall never turn over, A new leaf. One sends his apologies, Most sincere. If not accepted, That would be the greatest fear, We both know, That we have changed. And one only hopes, We won’t be estranged. Please know, This is not truly goodbye. This will never be the end, Of you and I. - Chris R.
27: Waiting for You The winter’s cold chills me through Waiting for the appearance of you Hoping that you are secure But I won’t know for sure The tension gnaws on my heart Knowing how long we’ve been apart From harm, are you safe? Or will you become a waif? Are you really coming for me? And where, oh where could you be? As I start to doze My worries only grow Imagining all the possibilities And thinking more of the hostilities I wish for you with all of my being Then your bus, is what I am seeing I don’t want for the bus to stop I run to you but only to flop I look up at you from the dirt You laugh and say “You squirt” I crimson while you offer your hand I let you pull me up to stand And pull my close to a tight hug As kiss you until you are snug Time seems to linger then cease Becoming whole instead of a piece - Olivia Starr
28: A Walk in the Park We were enjoying the sunny weather. I was sick but you made it better. Walking together I held your hand. We got tired of walking, we could hardly stand. “Time to be original,” is what I said, Not using words but my keys instead. As I looked up our eyes met. It was something only we would get. A kiss, a hug and we were on our way, But we promised to return another day. Hand in hand we walked to the car. I can't believe we've made it so far. It was silent but so much was said. JMP + GSW will soon be read. I know that this love will never end, Because I’ve fallen in love with my best friend. - Jeanine P
29: Untitled (photograph) - Brenna S.
30: Selections from Bridges It was not really all that late, but one of those days in between fall and winter where your clock and the sky do not seem to agree. That odd sort of lingering time where you were a little bit confused and a little bit off balanced and you know that soon you will have to wear long-underwear and force yourself from under the protective blanket of the shower head. Delhi’s ankle was growing swore from modulating his speed. It seemed like such a long drive but because Delhi had signed up for the seminar late, and on pressure of losing his license he went to the seminar two towns over and three hours away. It infuriated him, but still he went, because it was a much needed paycheck. Delhi looked at the clock and calculated the time it would take to get home. Normally, he would have found an excuse to pull over, no matter how unnecessary it may be. However, he was persistent to get home. He had promised his brother that he would baby-sit, and as much as he complained about it, Delhi enjoyed it. He enjoyed that his guest bedroom was permanently claimed by Alex. He loved that he had pediatrician recommended yogurt in his fridge. Most of all he loved when Alex would say, “Uncle Delhi,” like his tongue was permanently attached to the back of his teeth. A car came the opposite way. Their bright lights were on. Delhi tried to follow the white line like he was taught so many years ago, but the lights were so bright that he could barely see it. Delhi squinted, only allowing small amounts of light to enter his retina. Unfortunately, he began to let his mind drift off to the same place that had always provided stimulation. He became less and less aware of what was happening in front of him and more concerned with the new Rolling Stones album playing in his CD player. While in mid-thought, Delhi felt a bump in the road. He did not see it coming. It bounced his car swinging him slightly in the left lane. A car honked its horn loudly pronouncing it was there. Looking up to see it, Delhi swung hard again to the right. This time he hit the concrete barrier on the other side. The problem was that the concrete barrier did not stop him and he fell into the lake that remained below him. He felt the front end of the car hit water. The pressure from the car hitting the water made a surge of water that covered the windshield. Within a few seconds, the water receded taking away dirt as it did. It happened in slow motion. Delhi’s mind tried to process what was happening. He saw a woman on the bridge, car parked, as she begged for help into a family-plan cell phone. Delhi did not know why, but he smiled at her. Confused, she smiled back. A few other people had joined her. Two of them were waving their hands vainly motioning to Delhi. A lanky man was writing down something. Water was up to his ankles now and rose quickly to his knees. Delhi thought about attempting to climb out through the window and swim to shore, but he had never learned to swim and he knew that if anyone decided to play hero they would die from the fall.
31: The water was at his chest now, the airbags went off, pushing a gust of water to his face making him cough and spit. The water now encompassed the entire back end of the car. The water rose to his chin. Although he had claimed to be an atheist so many times, Delhi began to pray: “I know this is the end, I would pray for forgiveness, but I don’t have that much time, thanks a ton Big Guy, Delhi, not the town in India but instead the bank teller that should have built a bridge but couldn’t get through the school.” The bacteria infested water reached over his head and encompassed the car. In that last vital minute, that point that was exactly one minute, as kept by the clock in his car that, remarkably, was water resistant. Delhi thought about his job at the bank, his talents, his weakness, and how often those two met. He thought about all of the people that died in their cars sinking into a watery obituary. Bubbles bubbled out of his lips, his nose, his fingernails; there was no reason to hold on. He knew he could not talk his way out of this one that physics never gave into peer-pressure. To Delhi, it did not matter whether he was well liked, being liked was too abstract. Delhi figured all that mattered was- -Rebecca S.
32: A Fish with Dreams Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to live under water? Some say that humans can live under water and others have opinions that differ. Well I’m a human and I live under water. My name is Apolla. The difference between me and humans is that I have a tail instead of legs. There was a rumor saying that if a mermaid swam to the surface, she would turn into a human. One day, I plan on discovering the truth. I live with my father, Zeus, and my mother, Hera. I’m the only child and I’m best friends with an Angel Fish named Artemis. We live in an under water kingdom named Atlantis. My father is very protective of me and has his guard octopus, O’Ryan, follow me everywhere. They arranged for me to marry, Poseidon, prince of El Agua and son of King Neptune. I don't want to get married. I just want to be a human, but my father would have a heart attack if he ever found out. One day Artemis and I decided to sneak out while O’Ryan was asleep and play with our friend, Calamar, the squid. “I wish I could be a human,” said Apolla while she played with the baby hermit crabs. “Apolla, thats impossible. You were meant to be a mermaid and soon queen of El Agua,” said Artemis. “Yeah, those rumors about mermaids turning into human aren't even true,” said Calamar. A ship then passed over them, after that a mischievous look took over Apolla face, and she said, “Well I’m about to find out if it is.” Apolla began to swim up towards the ship as Artemis and Calamar were screaming and trying to persuade her from following it. Apolla reached the ship and was hit in her head by u huge paddle. She was kicked out cold and fell twenty feet into the ocean. Calamar and Artemis came to her rescue and tried to wake her up. After that, they gave up and knew that they had to report her to King Zeus for her own safety. “Apolla this is outrageous! You were knocked out for two hours by humans and you're telling me you want to be one of them!” said King Zeus, very angrily. “Daddy, you don't understand! I have dreams and Poseidon isn't one of them,” said Apolla as she lay still in her bed. “Zeus, she's clearly delirious! Don't let her have her way. You always seem to spoil her!” said Hera worried about Apolla and jealous of her at the same time. “Mom, I’m not a baby anymore!” said Apolla, upset at Hera for not defending her. “Well you act like a baby! You don't know how to make good decisions!” Said Hera really annoyed with Apolla. “That's enough, Hera...this is what I get for raising a daughter to have a mind of her own. Apolla you can go live on the surface, but you have to come home every summer,” said King Zeus proudly. “Thank you Daddy! You won't regret it! I promise,” said Apolla, so excited to be able to explore the human world.
33: Everyone was excited for Apolla except for Hera. She would miss her dearly, but she was also happy to be able to have Zeus to herself. Apolla said goodbye to her family and to all of her friends. She couldn't wait to be a human. She swam to the surface and began to live her life as a human. She lived there all year and came home in the summer. She had everything that a seventeen year old could ask for. Her life had been like that for five years until she got married. She married Prince Adonis, son of King Hercules, and they ruled Atlantis as the new king and queen. He was that merman of her dreams and they lived with Calamar and Artemis; who also got married. They all lived happily forever and ever. -Keyotta S. Untitled (photograph) - Kayla W.
34: Two Sided Part I Jazmyne I was always part of the “popular” crowd. I had plenty of friends, but my two main friends were Tina and Kristen. I had left school in March last year and didn't tell anyone why and hadn't seen any of my friends since. I was so nervous my first day back and I wanted to make sure my hair was perfect and that my make-up was just right. Tina and Kristen were the only ones who called and texted me constantly; and I was truly grateful for that. I walked into the bathroom and checked my hair again and made sure I didn't put on too much eyeliner. “Oh my God! Jaz, hurry up! The line for the pizza is going to be long; you look perfect by the way,” Tina said. I replied, “I know, I know, I just want to make sure I look good for Sean. He hasn't seen me since the week before I left.” Kristen added in, “We know. Well he won't be able to not notice you, now that everyone is probably seated in the lunch room” We walked out of the bathroom and down the long hallway into the lunch room. I held my breath, counted to ten backwards and repeated to myself I can do this, I can do this. It's no big deal. When we entered the cafeteria I immediately felt all eyes on me. It's alright; they aren't looking at me Oh who am I kidding of course they're looking at me! I followed Tina and Kristen through the now silent cafeteria to our old usual seat. I’m immediately greeted by The Roaches and old friends asking me how I’m doing and where I’ve been. Sean’s friend Mike got up and came over to talk to me and asked how I’d been and stuff. Why couldn't you be Sean?! I want Sean to come ask me how I’ve been! I answered his questions being just as polite with him as I was with The Roaches, then he walked away to the other side of the lunch room to talk to some other people, probably gossiping-- Ugh. I went back to picking at my food and then I heard someone say my name. “Hey Jazzy”, only one boy in the entire world called me by that name. I turn around and look at Sean’s beautiful face staring down at me, Oh Crap! I tried to force myself to smile and probably failed...
35: Two Sided Part II Sean She walked into the room and took my breath away. Jaz is back, oh my god, should I say something? Should I talk to her? I shouldn't, I mean look at all the people that's around her, what if she doesn't even remember me. Oh man... So many thoughts were rushing through my head and I didn't know which ones were the right ones. I sat stiff as a board in my seat as she walked towards their old table-- directly in front of ours. Mike notices me staring and says, “Are you going to sit here with your mouth wide open or are you going to go over there and talk to her. You've had a crush on her for forever so nows the time to put it out there!” “Shut up man! I’m going to talk to her as soon as The Roaches leave her alone.” I countered. The Roaches were the people in school who weren't considered cool but thought they were. They were called The Roaches because as soon as a popular person came around they would swarm around them, and they were impossible to get away. They're the kids in school who bought the really ugly expensive looking knock-off clothes and bragged about how cool they thought they were. God they are so annoying. I wish they would just leave already. The Roaches finally moved away from Jazmyne and my heart started beating faster and fast. “Yo! Dude, are you going over there or not?” Mike asked me. “Yeah man, I’m going; I just don't know what to say.” I replied. “Well watch and learn dude!” Mike said as he got up from the table and walked very casually over to Jaz’s table. I couldn't do anything but stare at him while he was talking to her while she smiled and laughed along with him very politely and casually. She went back to eating her food and I figured, Ok, now or never I guess I got up from the table and ran my fingers through my brown hair to make sure I didn't look like a fool. I ran my tongue over my teeth just in case some extra lettuce had gotten stuck in there from my burger. I sighed and said as cool as I could manage, “Hey Jazzy.” She turned around and looked up at me with the most beautiful dark hazel eyes in the world. She smiled at me and said, “Hi Sean. I was wondering when you were going to come over here and say something to me.” We sat at a table away from her friends and mines and talked for the rest of lunch. We swapped numbers and texted each other all day and by the end of the day she was mine. Finally... - Thyler M.
36: This Thanksgiving Day “Wake up Breona!” my god mother called. I had pulled an eight hour shift the night before, and boy was I tired. The sleepiness started to wear off as I remembered it was Thanksgiving Day. This year I would be spending my Thanksgiving in Charlotte, NC with my dad and his wife and family. My god parents would be spending their Thanksgiving in Dallas, TX. I wish I could go with them because they were flying and I had never flown before, even though I had promised my dad that I would come visit him for Thanksgiving. The start of my Thanksgiving Day was off to a bad start. As I got out of bed, I found my remote and turned on the television. I searched through the channels until I found a show that I loved to watch. As my feet slid across the wooden floor, I walked toward my closet to find something to wear. I found my short gray and black winter skirt. I decided to wear my long sleeve hot pink shirt, to top off the outfit I would wear my knee high black boots and my leather jacket. The decision of my wonderful outfit perked up my spirit just a little. When I was done getting dressed, I started putting on my make up. I was never good at doing make up so I decided to let my god mother do it. She was creative when it came to make up. When she was finished I started doing my hair. I pulled my long brown scarf off my head to find my hair falling out of its wrap. I loved when my hair did that, I knew this day would not be a bad hair day if anything else happened. As soon as I finished with some last minute things I heard a horn, it was my grandmother, my dad's mom. I grabbed my things and ran for the front door yelling bye to my god parents. When I got into the car I wondered how the day would turn out. I realized that my grandmother was doing under the speed limit, when I realized all the cars passing us by. I knew this would be a long ride, so I decided to go to sleep. When I awoke we were pulling up at my dad's house in Charlotte. As I saw my dad and all of his in laws, I remembered why I liked coming to my dad's. My step great-grandmother Bessy. She was hilarious. She always made me laugh even when I thought there was absolutely no way that I could laugh. When I seen her I became more excited about the day. I decided I would watch the game with her because she was a Cowboys fan also. She said we were “cow girls”. She was the funniest old person I have ever met. When the food was finally finished, I went and fixed Bessy and I a plate. We ate so much, but we knew we had to save room for my step mother, Michelle's, banana pudding. It was the best we'd ever had. Bessy always said she'd learned how to make it from her. I agree with Bessy just to make her smile. As the day grew later, it was time for me to leave. I realized that my day had turned out better than I even imagined it, all thanks to Bessy. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my father, but Bessy made things more interesting. I could always count on her to lift my spirits eve when I was down, like today. I could truly say this Thanksgiving was the best ever. - Breona B
37: Untitled (photograph) - Brenna S.
38: Untitled (acrylic on canvas ) Scarlett L.
39: Chapter 3 of Our Route: Inuring I remembered that moment clearly when recollecting it for Dr. Schalilian. The moment healed my soul of uncertainty; it soothed me, and effaced all of the bad memories. The moment made me forget that I was dead, though really it made me feel more alive than I had ever been, being dead. I know you want to know what that moment was; it was when you and I fulfilled the sketchbooks purpose, which was to aid us in both understanding our deaths, and forgetting them through the tacit converse of drawing. “Could I see that drawing you just finished?” I asked Dr. Schalilian. “I could show you, though it might be a bit sentimental for you.” He responded. Dr. Schalilian got out of his chair, setting his clipboard on its leather arm that seemed to be falling somewhat apart, taking the sheet of paper off it as a thread of string clung, causing a slight tear. When he had shown me the sketch, my heart began to beat stronger, faster, and with a feeling that it had been full of nails. The sketch was of you and me, sitting on the bench both smiling at each other with a sketchbook in our hands. My heart felt so heavy already at that time, but when my eyes scanned that drawing, my heart longed to ignore it. Though it is not possible for my heart to ignore such a thing, it was that did not want my heart to be heavier. My life was a series of heartbeats, and I only want those heartbeats to be light, and free. I was in denial, the first four steps in my grief. I never accepted my grief, before it went away. Therefore, there were only four steps. “Are you alright Lou-Anne?” asked Dr. Schalilian. I nodded briskly, then handing him back his sketch. I could have excused myself, by stepping out to cry, but I did not want him to know how strong my feelings were for you, I did not want him to discover I was in love with you, that I am in love with you. I was still stuck on the first of the four steps of my grief: denial. Even though I speak of this grief as being unaccepted, I actually did accept it, but in a way, I did not. Therefore, I prefer not to speak so clearly of that grief. Not to get ahead of myself, I am only trying to delineate things for you, to clarify that I was not trying to deceive you by being untruthful, though right now, writing this, I am making excuses. I apologize, love you, and only hope for your forgiveness. It is no easy thing to live again, constantly inuring. - Dylan C.
40: Porky Books: An Epiphany About Reading and Pork Sometimes, epiphanies come to people at three o’clock in the morning, as they are staring at the slowly revolving fan above, imagining and seeing the coating of dust that collects in the room that is knocked off the fan. This particular epiphany is not one of those kind. This epiphany occurred 10:35 PM and twenty or so seconds, but the fan was turned off. (There was still plenty of dust, though.) Life is like a box of chocolates. No, wait, that is not it. How about something involving science? Nah, that is a totally different one, entailing the perfect spit bubbles made after consuming something with an acid in it, like a pickle. (True, by the way. It’s just one of life’s great mysteries). No, this one is a literary epiphany. And yes, like the previous two, food is involved in a deep metaphor no one ever saw coming: Reading a book is like pork. I’m serious, stick with me now. You pick up a book, ready to digest it. Well, first, you check out the covers and flip through it, maybe to check the number of pages or size of the font. With pork about to be digested, you usually test the waters first, going with a mental subconscious checklist: 1.Does it have any discoloring to it? (Green should be a warning. The eggs should be green, not the ham.) 2.Stab it with a fork. Is it easy to cut through? Overcooked? Undercooked? 3.Are there any bones to be wary of? Choking really is not very fun. Things flash before your eyes, but that may just be your mom’s diamond earrings as she is preparing to do the Heimlich. 4.If Steps 1-3 prove the pork is satisfactory for consumption, dig in. But be warned (See Number 3). That is one of the similarities of a few; let’s uncover more shocking likenesses between pork and book reading. There are two basic approaches: the pork chop or barbeque. Most people reading for pleasure usually go with the chop approach. A pork chop is eaten in its whole form—a large slab of meat, sometimes including a few bones. Little is done to flavor the chop—maybe a few seasonings. It is usually best eaten as a primal food—no utensils involved. Feel free to rip off meat with a savage growlunless you are around civilized company. Not a good impression. Back to the book part of it. People using the pork chop approach to reading read it just to read it (for lack of a better phrase). They like reading books for their stories. A good approach, in my opinion. Clean and concise. Who’s ready for seconds? The other approach to reading is the infamous barbeque approach. This is the kind of thing done in an English class setting. The book, like barbeque, is literally pick apart. It is pulled at, and prodded at, and left bare and defenseless as it screams out for mercy before being devoured. Every single word is picked at and pulled at for every metaphor, symbol, theme, and characterization
41: hidden in the simplicity of the words until there is nothing left but a bony frame. Even that is picked at—the author’s diction, sentence structure, everything! And to top that off (literally), there’s the sauce. Practically every word has an alternate meaning added to it. If an author says “white snow,” any dutiful English teacher will say it represents purity and peace. And all of the teacher’s students silently gag and roll their eyes. The barbeque approach may be one of the most disgusting things in the reading world. Do not overanalyze every single porky word of someone who is probably already dead and did not mean for people to deconstruct his/her sentences. I surely would not want English students dissecting my masterpieces of literature. So please, do not make pulled pork out of literature, and for the love of God, do not add the sauce. Enjoy a book for whatever reasons you want, but just to make ‘em happy, eat your vegetables. - Scarlett L. Untitled (pencil) Jessica S.
42: La noche que viene, Cuando la noche viene como la sombra tiene un silencio grande de voces adelante vienen los sonidos del río distante y solo hay sueños. Los sueños del río reflejan la luz de la luna— el espejo de cualquier momento, de cualquier destino, de música al otro lado La luna dice “¡Hola!” al sol y el sol contesta “¡Nos vemos mañana!” Mientras los testigos esperan algún sentimiento, algún milagro, y hay miedo de eternidad congelada La soledad de la noche da esperanza, o tristeza, que hay otra manera para encontrar la felicidad; que en otro día, en otra circunstancia, hay conexión dentro de los miembros de las estrellas Las lucitas de las estrellas implican positividad, y las sonrisas de ellas— o sus caras de indiferencia, que solo existen en la naturaleza— revelan la realidad del universo: la revolución ocurre por todas partes— universal, mundial, gubernamental, personal— el círculo de la vida se puede continuar sin importar—o— puede rodear a una persona como un abrazo cariñoso | Y volvemos a la soledad de los deseos, esperando soluciones para arreglar nuestros corazones rotos Las estrellas se disparan, dejando signos para interpretar, y volvemos a la sensación de eternidad Intentamos estar contentos cuando volvemos a mirar la luna que habla con el sol, y esperamos que el testigo pueda saber naturalmente como conectar las almas para crear una cadena de seguridad Oigamos las ondulaciones del río, y nos acordamos de nuestros sueños, que la música distante nos toca cuando se acerca, y vibra por el aire Y cuando los sueños nos vuelven a la sombra, el silencio penetra todo el ruido y la noche que ha venido— el recuerdo del aislamiento— la noche—el cantante callado— la noche se va otra vez. - Michael L.
43: The Night That Arrives When the might arrives like the shadow that has a grand silence of voices afar, the sounds come from the distant river, and there are only dreams The dreams from the river reflect the light of the moon— the mirror of whatever moment, of whichever destiny, from music of the other side. The moon says, “Hello!” to the sun and the sun answers, saying “See you tomorrow!” Meanwhile the witnesses wait for some sentiment for some miracle, and there is fear of frozen eternity. The solitude of the night gives hope, or sadness that there is another manner to encounter happiness; that in another day, in another circumstance, there is a connection between members of the stars. The little lights of the stars imply optimism and their smiles— or their faces of indifference, that only exist in nature— reveal the reality of the universe: that revolution occurs everyehere— universal, worldly, governmental, personal— the circle of life can continue without caring—or— it can surround a person like an affectionate hug. | And we return to the solitude of desires, waiting for solutions to fix our broken hearts. The stars shoot out, leaving signs to interpret, and we return to the sensation of eternity. We intend to be content when we return to looking at the moon that speaks with the sun, and we hope that the witness can naturally know how to connect souls in order to create a chain of security. We hear the ripples of the river and we remember our dreams that the distant music touches us when it comes closer, and vibrates through the air. And when our dreams take us back to the shadow, the silence penetrates all noise, and the night that has arrived— the memory of isolation— the night—the quiet singer— the night moves on again. - Michael L.
44: Untitled (pencil) Amber S.
45: Till Morrow’s Dusk It had been a late summer's day, the silence that's not really silence surrounding them - the sounds of the day fading away, the hushed tones of twilight quickly flying across the sky. They had been sitting quite close, the intimate closeness to ward off the chill of sinking warmth, the closeness that confines itself in such a way as to never occur again; the close vicinity of each breathing, nervous body the setting to which he had believed anything was possible, the reason he had blurted out what had been on his mind since the previous day. The ghost of yesterday was still unbelievable to him, a remembrance that only just managed to exist in his memory. This mistake that was not meant to be a mistake - just misplaced reassurance clouding his judgment, disallowing the truth before his eyes that should have foreseen her response to such a proposal. As daylight gave way to night, the colors washing into darkness, tiny points of light flickered all around them, fireflies swimming in the blackness, like stars up close and moving. Then, the unwelcome sound of total silence, the resonance of uncertain thinking as the aftermath to what he had said, his words broken up the wrong way, dissected and laying bare between them in the still air. He could focus on nothing while he waited for her reply, his thoughts racing too fast to consider anything but her steady breathing and struggling to match it, to appear calm and collected. This memory of their second meeting together had manifested itself in the form of a dream, his mind's knee-jerk reaction, even asleep, to revert to anything pertaining to Jessmina. His subconscious, however, seemed to automatically shy away from the actual on goings of the evening, the details of that fateful conversation. Instead, it lingered on the iridescent tints of the dusky sky, the soft sigh of leaves rustling restlessly as the wind blew past, the feel of her hand laying next to his and the yearning that he had felt to take hold of that hand and hold it to his lips and kiss it lightly. But despite his subconscious attempts to do so, the irresistible pull of the memory also brought forth the words to match the scene, garbled, distorted and distant at first, then abruptly becoming clearer, like the needle suddenly falling into place on a record. "I don't understand." Jessmina avoided his gaze. "I know this won't make much sense to you..." She paused, trying to assemble her thoughts, her words of rejection. Then, she slowly brought her eyes to meet his, staring, probing his soul, mesmerizing him with the unwavering certainty of her next words. "But I have ruined everything I have ever loved." She seemed almost relieved to have said these words, as if they released her somehow, and she closed her eyes in a moment of elation, letting out a weighty breath, a burden of unknown proportions suddenly lifted. She continued, somewhat breathless with her impromptu disclosure. "Some might say that the past may claws its way out, but that you can bury it, a corpse of secrets. Mine, it’s always with me - my shadow, my indefinite companion." He was left speechless as how to respond to these eloquent words. Finally, he managed to utter, "Why...What are you talking about?" And then she looked into his eyes once more, her own filled with a conflicting mix of pity and sorrow, and said, whispering, "I only hope you never get to find out." And there the dream ended, too soon - yet too late as well. And as the dream abated - the faint stars slowly winking out, the supple grass beneath him replaced with the hard firmness of the tree limbs - his eyes remained closed, caught in the midway limbo between sleep and awareness. He had not succeeded. - Cassandre M.
46: , That the café right down the street Serves a hot breakfast all week. Mel F. | Ravenous Stupor As the morning day did break, I, the first to rise and wake At first glance, the scene did shake Littered ‘scape from the night of late Twitching forms dancing in sleep, The hazardous tight-rope as I creep Broken angles like bodies and rock Ambiance of the birds’ “tick-tock” Battered bottles littered the floor, Drafted, imported soldiers of war. Dreamily, thought of the night a fore Joyous voices, an open door Friends gathered round, flowing spirit Music pounding so all could hear it. The night’s glass skeletons lie in wait Aluminum brethren equal in gait And on my journey I did find Salt, and slaughtered lime. All peel and rind. Demure confusion of my altered state, For it seemed the garbage did just quake But from behind the bin did emerge, A feline upon its daily scourge. At last I reached a tiled land, My furious stomach screamed its demand. I pushed it back, and made my way | “Ayyee” The weathered floor did say. The new caution took its hold; “Beware of the old boards that told” Silent air, stale and cold, With wary glances to the sleeping fold I did not rush, but took my time Glaring at the muck and slime This foreign land was not my home So for long, I did not roam. This is not a place of food one might ingest Upon that thought my belly did protest. So I took my leave unto the ridge To take a peak inside the fridge Much to my broken dismay There wasn’t so much as a scrap astray. My sadness, however, did not last And I dashed out the land with an excited gasp. For they would not find me shriveled and dead! Thankful now, I remembered instead, That the café right down the street Serves a hot breakfast all week. - Mel F.
47: Untitled (photograph) Brenna S.
48: I am a mouse. I scurry through the brush, Searching for any morsel of food. A seed. Some grain. A nut, if I am lucky. I am not. Luck evades me, As true love evades one Who does not believe In its unseen powers. I continue in my fruitless search, Thinking wistfully Of the taste of sweet fruit. I approach a clearing now, As my stomach growls angrily, Begging, Demanding. Food, it wants. I cannot find it. A dark shadow falls overhead. I dare not look up. Or breathe. Or move. The slightest twitch. Even a flick of my tail, Will give me away. On the inside, My heart pounds In a frenzy, In a panic, To leap out of my chest, To make one last bid to escape. I should follow my heart’s lead, | For it has the right idea, As if a small brain, Hardly larger than a dewdrop, Tells my heart what to do. Compelling it. Commanding it. And my heart listens. If only I did too. The shadow grows, Circling above But closer than before. It is closing in. Perhaps its heart Is reassuring it, Telling it of a small meal About to satisfy its hunger. Its heart tells no lies, No longing hopes, But inevitable truth. An eagle, Tawny golden and proud, Swoops from the sky, Descends from the clouds, Its razor-edged talons Piercing my heart. I feel nothing Except sorrow, For my heart Did not escape. The rest of me Did not escape. A sea of blackness Washes me away. | Hunger Hunter A Poem I
49: I am an eagle, Tawny golden and proud. I am a guardian, Not of the rocky land, Which ends abruptly At the shore, Not of the rolling sea, In which I cannot breathe, But of the sky, Which extends forever In all directions. A vast expanse Of azure Is my domain. Normally. Most of the time. But today, The sea and sky meet In their eternal longing To be together, To meld together. I feel they almost succeed, For there is not a dry spot On any of my feathers. As I soar through the sky, I feel a deep hunger within, For days have passed Where food Has not entered My feathered body. I hear something Down below In the forest, In the thicket. | II A mouse, Scurrying through the brush. Inside my stomach leaps In excitement, In hunger, Food will soon satisfy it. But something else inside, Perhaps my heart, Sees the mouse As a living thing, Just like me. Perhaps it is a guardian Of the land Equal to me In my infinite sky. It stops me. I cannot eat the mouse, My heart tells me. But my stomach protests. I hope it will forgive me, Because I fly past The lucky mouse, Leaving it alone To live another day. I fly over a creek, Where I see a Copper-colored rabbit Hopping peacefully In the clover. Again, my heart Has a say, Leaving my stomach Angrier than before. | The rabbit is the same As the mouse, A living creature, A guardian of the land. My wings are tired, So I land below On a low-hanging branch, Which is covered In small berries. My stomach roars. Perhaps I could try The berries as food. I scoop some In my beak. The tip of my tongue Tastes them. I cringe, For they are bitter. I do not want To take my chances; They may be poisonous. Days pass, Weeks pass, Where my heart Refuses to eat the meat of The land guardians. My winged brother A hungry vulture Orbits ominously overhead The darkness grows, As an unseen power Plunges me into Complete blackness Of an eternal starless night.
50: III I am a vulture, Slowly wheeling In a circle, In a search For a meal. My partner, Who circles with me, In an eternal dance In the clear sky, Signals below us. I look down, my brilliant vision Allowing me to see A golden eagle Crumpled on the ground below. I begin my quick descent With my partner To dinner, To a satisfying meal. The bird’s meat is delicious. Through the feathers, We ravenously rip. We savagely shred. The meat is Tender, Fresh. It came out of nowhere, But I did not see it Before it was too late. My partner did, For she spread her wings And took to the sky, | Leaving me Alone To die. A bobcat, As hungry as myself, Leaps from a rock Onto my back, Its claws tearing Ribbons out of me. I try to fly away, But its weight Is too great For my small frame. It lets out A menacing snarl, For it knows It will soon be feasting On me, On my meat. I know it too. It is inevitable. The last thing I remember, As my vision Clouds over, Into darkness, Is my partner. She abandoned me, But she may Eat me too, If the darkness Does not consume me first.
51: I am a bobcat, Small in size, Compared to My larger cousins, But I am just as big, If not bigger, In heart. I am brave. I am cunning, Not to brag, Of course. I slink, I sneak Through the forest, Among the Tall, Mighty Pine trees That drop their needles To create a soft bed For me To walk on, To sleep on. They keep me warm, In the icy winter, In the scornful cold, But also, My beautiful fur, Like dappled satin, Provides warmth Where the rays of the sun, Perched high above, Do not penetrate To the frosty floor. A shiver runs Down my spine, For even the ruthless winds Can chill a small cat With a big heart. Perhaps something to eat Will warm me up. A swallow In the trees, An easy meal, If I am silent. | IV If I am not, I am out of luck. Many animals Migrate, Hibernate To escape the cold. I am left With a meager Swallow to eat. I release my claws And catch my meal Just as it takes flight. The taste is not great, But the meat Is satisfyingly warm. After my meal, I feel I must have A drink of water, So I go to the creek, Partially frozen At the edge, But still flowing In the middle. As I lower my head To lap up The frigid water, In the reflection Of the frozen pool. I see a pair of eyes, With a hazel gaze, Hidden among the trees. I freeze, Just like the creek, And slowly, I raise my head. In front of me Is one of My larger cousins, A cougar. Majestic, Ferocious, Hungry. Despite my big heart, I do not stand a chance. | I put up a good fight, For I would never Back down, Give up, Even when luck Was among my enemies. The cougar Had leapt from the trees When it knew It could hide no longer From its prey. It cleared The wide creek In one graceful leap, And it raked its claws, Twice the size of mine, Across my face. I dug my own claws Into the tawny cat, And bit Whatever my mouth Could reach. Snarls, Growls, From both of us Fill the air, Echoing through the forest, Sending a few small birds Into the skies. The battle lasted Only minutes, But it seemed Like an eternity Before the cougar delivered The final blow, The fatal blow. Darkness grew quickly, Faster than night Among the clouds, Among the stars. It devoured me, A small cat With a big heart.
52: I am a cougar. What a king Is to his kingdom, I am of my lands. I rule with An iron fist Among the mountains, Among the canyons. The color of cinnamon Is my domain. Spare green Ignites the ground Where small plants Strive to grow. A thin river, Trailing the ground For hundreds of miles, Is a clear sapphire, Just like the sky above. I stop to drink At the river, At my river. A bobcat, Small and puny, Is already there, Nervously lapping The water, Prepared to run If I choose | V To attack him, To eat him. I do not. He probably thinks Fate is on his side, But he lives Only because I allow him to. I am not hungry At the moment, But if I was, He would not Win, Survive Against me. I snarl at the bobcat, He cowers in fear, Watches rippling muscles Under my golden fur, and Watches my flexing claws Under my massive paws. Eventually, the bobcat, A terrified kitten, Turns and runs, Not daring a glance Back at me. I laugh Scornfully, Sneeringly, At the insignificant cat. | I finish my drink And continue my survey Of my lands. From the highest peak On which I stand, I, the king, See for many miles In all directions. From my black-tipped tail, To my black-tipped ears, And every golden hair In between, I am Mighty, Majestic, Proud. These are the last thoughts That go through my mind, As, from behind me, Something hard, Something small, Lodges in the back Of my head. A bullet, From the hands of man, Brings down The mighty king. I collapse into darkness, Wondering why.
53: VI I am a man, The highest form of life. Nothing is in my way. Nothing can stop me, Except a hangover. I have just returned From a hunting trip With my Lazy, Crazy Hunting buddies. We bagged a cougar, The king of the canyon. We celebrated All night long, Until all of my Lazy, Crazy Hunting buddies Went home Or passed out In the gutter. There is A buzzing in my head, But I realize It is just My alarm clock. I roll over. I groan. And hit the snooze button Once, Twice, Before I remember I have to go the work. Again, I roll over. I groan. Once I am up. I scrounge around For a shirt, For a pair of pants, But the only ones I find are | In the dirty laundry. Oh, well. I grab a couple of aspirin And swallow them down With a cup of Stale, Cold Coffee. I grimace From the taste. My head pounds. I am just waiting For it to explode, Blowing little bits Of gray brain matter All over my apartment.. Regardless, I have to have Some way to Pay the rent. I put on the clothes That were in my hands, First the pants, Then the shirt. Then I search For a pair of shoes, Finding them Behind the door. My landlady stops me As I head out the door, Telling me I owe Two months of rent. I reassure her that I did pay her For the first month, But I was working On the second. She is forgetful sometimes, But I use that To my advantage. I rarely pay her For the rent.
54: I go outside To the gray parking lot, To my little beat-up gray car. The sky is gray. The buildings are gray. Everything is a dismal gray. If I were to die, I would look back At my life, And all I would remember Would be gray. I try to start My car. The engine stalls Once, Twice, But I remember A well-placed punch On the dashboard Miraculously Starts the piece of junk. In twenty minutes Of endless traffic, I reach the restaurant I work at. I head in, And clock in, Grab a hair net, And start flipping Little gray meat patties. | After eight hours Of the monotony, Of the madness, I clock out And head out To my little beat-up gray car But, in the darkness, I see a man Trying to steal My little beat-up gray car. I call out to him, A shout of warning, And he turns, And he smiles. From his gray sweatshirt, He pulls out a gun And pulls the trigger, Releasing a bullet Into my chest. I stagger left, I stagger right, And crumple To the ground. A growing sea of blood Puddles from my chest. My eyes glaze over A frosty gray. Two things I learn: Something can stop me Besides a hangover, And if life is gray, Then death is even worse, For no other color prevails In the land of the dead.
55: VII I am a mouse. I have just awakened From a fitful sleep. Many nightmares I have had, Each worse Than the last. It is dusk, And the darkness Has begun its descent To the horizon, With the stars Dotting the sky, And the moon Hanging lazily among them. My stomach rumbles, And I set off In search of food. A mighty oak tree Drops its hard seeds, Perhaps a gift, Perhaps a blessing For a hungry mouse. I gather Only a few, Only what I need, For I will always have What I need To survive: Food, Water, Protection. An unseen power Watches over me, Keeps me out Of harm’s way. | I have been given Eyes, to see The hungry shadows, A nose, to smell, Nearby food, Ears to hear The screech of an eagle, A mouth, to taste, If a berry is safe to eat, Feet, to carry me Away from danger, And a heart to make me Strong and brave. I have been given One life to live, No more, No less. I will always be A mouse, Scurrying through the brush In search of food, Watching for the shadows And listening to my heart, Just waiting For that unseen power To tell me to stop And to take me To a paradise Where the shadows cannot find me.
56: Creative Writing 2009-2010 Breona B., Dylan C., Leah E., Kathryn E., Melissa F., Angela G., Patrick H., Morgan H., Joseph J., Keldrick K., Louisa M., Phillip M., Drew M., Corinne M., Thyler M., Jeannie P., Robin R., Christian S., Keyotta S., Amber S., Krystina S., Olivia S., Rebecca S., Alex V., Tyler W., Kaley W., Kayla W. Yvonne Mason, Advisor Untitled (photograph) - Brenna S.