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in 2013  


The Writers' and Artists' Magazine 

Wayne Community College 
Goldsboro, North Carolina 
Volume 27, April 2011 


This twenty-seventh issue of 

is dedicated to 
Theresa White- Wallace 

Secretary for the Language and Communication Department 

For her voice that welcomes 
For her gentleness that corrects 
For being our essential editor 
For her smile that keeps us on the right page 




Traycee Williams 

Dawn Joyner 

Nancy Seate 

.. Matthew Forster 

Ra'Chel Stocks 

Essay . 

Short Story 


Jeanine Callaway Kathryn Spicer Jeff Williams 

Rosalyn Lomax, Assistant Editor Ashley Merrill, Assistant Editor 

Rosalyn Lomax, Editor Emerita Marian Westbrook, Editor Emerita 



Danny Rollins and Torey Romero 


Theresa White- Wallace 

Tanisha Eutsey 

Educational Support Technologies Department 
Majena Howell, Ken Jones and Ron Lane 

Student Government Association 

The Artists and Writers 

No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission. Copyright 201 1 Renaissance 
Views expressed are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of this institution. 


An Unusual Conversation 1 *Nancy Seate, Special Credit 

Labels 2 Jordan A. Howell, Associate in Arts 

Anticipation 2 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Gratitude 3 *Terri Register, Associate in Arts 

Ancestor Piece 4 Dawn Joyner, Associate in Arts 

Flourish 5 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

To Keith 6 *Nancy Seate, Special Credit 

Arthur's Shoes 7 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Wish I Could Say It 8 Kelley Twiggs, Associate in Science 

Eyes of Reality 8 Mallory Frederick, WEMCHS 

Death of the Willow Tree 9 Kelley Twiggs, Associate in Science 

Ventilation 9 Robin Smith, Associate in Science 

Heartless 10 *Terri Register, Associate in Arts 

Crisis 1 1 Wilson Hines, Associate in Arts 

Eldritch 1 1 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Arts 

Shoes 12 Danny Rollins, Department Chair, 

Language/Communication Department 

Window Pain 13 Melissa Wright, Medical Coding 

Reflections 13 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

Notions of the Atlantic Ocean 14 *Zachary Miller, Associate in Arts 

Seeing Stars 14 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

The Great Downward Spiral 15 Jeff Williams, English Instructor 

The Great Magnificent 15 Ra'Chel Stocks, Business Administration 

Calypso 16 Kelley Twiggs, Associate in Science 

The Beasts of Batchelors Island 16 Margaret Baddour, Humanities/Creative 

Creative Writing Instructor 

Gone Again 16 *Candace Jones, Associate in Arts 

Rainforest 17 Kent Jemigan, Dual Enrollment 

Or Am I 18 *Candace Jones, Associate in Arts 

Stark 18 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

On Jarrett Road 19 Margaret Baddour, Humanities/Creative 

Creative Writing Instructor 

Gathering 19 Hye Jin Eom, Associate in Arts 

Path to Solitude 20 Ashley Stafford, Associate in Arts 

Communing With Nature 20 Kim Clark, Math Instructor 

To Ride a Horse 21 Rebekah Lee, Associate in Science 

The Peak of a Summit 22 E. S. Woodard, Associate in Arts 

One Foot Before a Fat Knot 22 Wilson Hines, Associate in Arts 

Maypole 22 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Life is a Pick-Pocket 23 Jeff Williams, English Instructor 

Beach Trip 23 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Arts 

There's No Place Like Home 24 Theresa White-Wallace, Secretary, 

Language/Communication Department 

Union of Soles 25 Amanda Parrish, Associate in General Education 

Local Color 26 Ashley Shivar, English Instructor 

What She Seams 26 Nicole Denise Hughes, Associate in Arts 

Meridian 27 Jeff Williams, English Instructor 

Serenity 27 *Candace Jones, Associate in Arts 

Story of Love? 27 Debra Taylor, WEMCHS 

Eating Off Tires 28 Cassie Duval, Associate Degree Nursing 

Peace, Love, and Happiness 30 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

He is one of a kind 30 Julie Andrews, Associate in Arts 

No Strings Attached 30 Jamelle Ingram, Associate in Arts 

Caribou 31 Robin Smith, Associate in Arts 

Easy Like Sunday Morning 31 Sadie Goulet, Associate in Arts 


Dawning Sun 32 Anais Tatum, Associate in Arts 

Trinity 32 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

Freedom Because of the Brave 33 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

Unnamed Heroes 33 Quardelia Moses, Associate in Arts 

For the Good of the Middle East 33 Jordan A. Howell, Associate in Arts 

The Mercenary 34 Matthew Forster, Associate in Science 

Box of Magic 35 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Arts 

The Game 36 Lisa Hankins, Associate in Arts 

Foxed In 37 Ashlyn Hall, WEMCHS 

A Field of Dreams and Hopes 38 Heath Radford, WEMCHS 

Betrayal 39 Jeff Williams, English Instructor 

Catch Me, Caress Me 39 *Candace Jones, Associate in Arts 

Sacred Altar 39 Hye Jin Eom, Associate in Arts 

Stand in the Rain 40 Mallory Frederick, WEMCHS 

Reaching 40 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

The Lesson 41 Theresa White-Wallace, Secretary, 

Language/Communication Department 

Value of Difference 42 Kayla Grant, WEMCHS 

Math Poem 42 Holly Pittard, Dual Enrollment 

Infinity of Affections 42 Braxton Moye, Associate in Science 

Sine 42 Cheyenne Bowman, WEMCHS 

Symmetry 43 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Arts 

Words 43 Kayla Hill, Associate in Arts 

My Grandmother's Desk 44 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Song Of Myself 45 *Nancy Seate, Special Credit 

My First Experience with Physical 46 Johnnie Webster, Associate in General Education 

Violence or Danger 

Collected 46 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Got You Covered 47 Hye Jin Eom, Associate in Arts 

My Driving Record 47 Ashley Shivar, English Instructor 

Breakfast Everyday 48 *Adam Payne, Associate in Arts 

A Simple Morning 48 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Three Eggs 48 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

The Little River 49 John Aldridge, WEMCHS 

Back Soon 49 Hye Jin Eom, Associate in Arts 

Summer of the Birds 50 Margaret Baddour, Humanities/Creative 

Creative Writing Instructor 

Eye Charms 50 *Nancy Seate, Special Credit 

Oh, Bee 50 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

The Water 51 Danny Rollins, Department Chair, 

Language/Communication Department 

It Was Always 2:43 52 Carrie Connor, Human Services Technology 

Beaufort Harbor 53 Traycee Williams, Associate in Arts 

Goodnight, Sweet Princess 53 Jeff Williams, English Instructor 

Unable 53 Jeanine Callaway, English Instructor 

Clover 54 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Arts 

Tornado 54 Delia Jarman, Associate in Arts 

Real Thing 55 Xian Xaun Zeng, Associate in Science 

Miranda 55 Miranda Kyle, Associate in Science 

The Ghost Behind Me 56 Susan Willis, Emergency Preparedness Technology 

Stillness 57 Caitlyn Wheeler, Associate in Arts 

Procrastinator 58 Jonathan Joyner, Associate in Arts 

How Not to be a Poet (how to be a poet) 58 Elijah Pipkin, Associate in Arts 

Feed Me 59 Hye Jin Eom, Associate in Arts 

How to Be Normal 60 Amanda Smith, Associate in Arts 

*English 125 Creative Writing Students 


An Unusual Conversation 

He is awake, and it is morning. 

I am delighted and tell him so. 

I invite him to come with me. 

He considers it, standing still, but hesitates. 

"Oh, please, Dear, come on," 
I say, speaking soft, sweet tones. 
"Come on," not to push him 
but I want him to know I love him 
to encourage him to join me. 

He says, "Yes, I am awake but I'm not ready to get up, 

only getting a drink of water." 

He stops, stands and listens, tilts his head, 

liking my voice and not rushing away 

then turns and goes the other way. 

Before he leaves he says, "I am afraid 

and want to go back to bed," or "It's just too early." 

You are so difficult, I think to myself. 

Why don't you love me? 

How long do I have to wait? 

The impatient thought 

of giving up enters my mind. 

I know one day you may love me 

It may be worth the wait. 

I, as no other, understand you. 

You are meant to be with me 

for only I can help you with your fear. 

It's not easy having you with me, but I can wait. 
The only one who will, the only one who can. 

Nancy Seate 



That man you see is black 

The woman there is red 

And the one that does our garden work 

Is gay, the white man said. 

The man up there is rich 
The man down there is poor 
And the lady from across the street 
Is thought to be a whore. 

Christian, Muslim, Buddhist 
Intelligent or a fool 
Underweight or overweight 
Generous or cruel. 

High school's known for labels 
The real world's just the same 
Known by your appearance 
Instead of by your name. 

But lay me down without a label 
In a grave I'd rather rot 
Than be branded by what is seen 
Instead of what is not. 

Jordan A. Howell 

Anticipation Traycee Williams 



I was christened in a grand pool of radiant light, 
on a steady autumn day. 

I heard a song of my soul streaming in the cool 
zephyr current, whistling in the air. 
Life is a ballad of truths, explored through the eyes 
that gather our epic existence, that is — everything! 
Be humble. 

The riches of our world may ruin a resplendent 

rapture of harvested treasures, arousing a bewildered 

spirit into complete shallowness, expanding 

beyond the realms of any breathing being. 

I will not exhaust myself with limited passions. 

The wonders of today provide me 

with unexpected thrills, welcomed with the birth 

of each waking moment. 

My gratefulness resolves the debt of doubt. 

I live free from the restraints of coveting more 

Than is meant solely for me. 

A keenness moves throughout my veins 

from the absence of secular demands, which 

may hamper the moods woven into vitality. 

There is a fascination in the obvious if you observe 

slightly closer from an untainted view. 

The allure of recognizing inescapable beauty 

in all that is unconditioned love. 

The essence of man, animal, and nature 

intertwined with the divine. 

I say a prayer for those that came before me, 

for myself, and for those that come after. 

We are one in an expansive universe 

and I float to the top of the pool of undying brilliance 

that is to be experienced 

with glorified gratitude. 

The art of life — I see, I feel, and I will be. 

Terri Register 


Ancestor Piece 

Dawn Joyner 

Atop a sprawling, green hillside, high above the sea, situated well within the crescent- 
shaped rock alcove, is the village of my people. The land we inhabit is lush and fertile and yields 
all the crops and herbs that will sustain us all of our lives. The seemingly never-ending fields of 
lavender saturate the air with its distinct sweet scent. Besides the abundant supply of fish from 
the generous sea, wild pigs and other small creatures are hunted for food. Also, we raise goats, 
chickens, and jackasses used primarily for burden work. Life in this community is a collabora- 
tive effort — man, woman, and child — all participate in the sometimes mundane, sometimes ardu- 
ous rituals of everyday life. 

Although there are no class distinctions in the community, there is an intrinsic motiva- 
tion among my people to assume the roles of the traditional family. In other words, the women 
are nurturers and caretakers, the men assume their positions as protectors and providers, and the 
children learn to respect all elders. 

A typical morning is marked by the sound of the sea as it thrashes against the edge of 
the speckled marble-colored sand, almost like a natural alarm clock. Birds singing their wake- 
up songs and the guttural echoes of the wild pigs also serve as a testament to the dawn of a new 
day. As the sun begins to make its daily ascent, vibrant rays of yellowish gold light filter through 
the small, symmetrical hand-made windows of the pueblos. It is about this time when another 
sound becomes audible — thud, thud, thud — the sound the dough makes as it hits the primitive 
copper pans. The women of the village are preparing (just the way their mothers taught them) 
the pancakes for the morning meal. Now another generation of daughters sit close by, intently 
observing the familiar task as their mothers expertly manipulate the flour mixture. I am here now 
squatting down next to my mother. "Here, daughter," she says, gently taking my hand for me to 
receive the soft, moist, cool dough. As I ever so gingerly attempt to emulate my dear mother, it 
is quite apparent that I have much to learn. The younger children are more interested in the game 
of the day, "pull the tail on the goat," rather than doing the chore of fetching milk from the goats. 
The men, who can be described as brazen but never boorish, are quintessential huntsmen. Robed 
appropriately in hunting garb and clutching spears and knives, the men gather to discuss the 
ensuing hunt; however, most of the jabber is in the form of bragging about who will bring in the 
biggest kill. 

By noon most tasks in the village are finished, for soon it will be too hot to do anything. 
The women have already gathered the squash, corn, and herbs in preparation for the evening 
meal. The women who had gone to the sea to wash are just strolling back into the village with 
wet children close behind. The men have returned from the hunt with no less than three pigs and 
a couple of baskets of delectable wild berries which will be a great compliment to the gamey 
taste of the meat. All are looking forward to the afternoon rest, a siesta, if you will. 


The going down of the sun signals what is a sacred time of the day for the village. It's time for 
the evening meal; the villagers refer to it as the "great meal." My people believe in the Divine 
One, and we have a great respect for the Earth. We believe that if you are good to the earth, it 
will be good to you. The evening meal is a time of fellowship and celebration, as well as a time 
to give thanks. During the meal, one of the elders tells stories about the forefathers. The elders, 
highly esteemed within the community, are full of wisdom that transcends the wisdom of others, 
and it behooves them to pass down the truths and beliefs that have been taught them. 

Musical notes, seeming to float in on the tail of the warm breeze, have begun to fill the 
air. My cousin, in his princely manner, has taken a position on a large rock to play his hand- 
made zither. He is an accomplished musician and master craftsperson. The instrument is a mar- 
vel to look at with its intricate, precisely detailed carvings and designs, all done by his capable 
hands. This is a marvel within itself — my cousin was born blind, but I don't think anyone ever 
told him. All the women, adorned in their finely hand-sewn robes of reds, golds, and blues, sing 
songs and dance for what seems like hours. Due to weariness, most of the community has taken 
retreat in their respective sanctuaries. I, in my day-dream world, decide to take a few more mo- 
ments to behold the great big moon at the very tippy top of the sky. It seems to beckon me to 
dive in. I stretch my hands high above my head, clasp my palms tighter ready to take the plunge, 
but instead I let out a big yawn. As I walk slowly toward our humble clay abode, my mother's 
words filter through my mind — "Good sleep is good for the soul; it lets you face the next day 
with zeal." 


To Keith 

I went to college at seventeen 

It was a year before you became my first best friend 

All your friends became mine 

My memory book from college sits 
On the shelf in my mind 
You are on every page 

Pages become movies; I remember what was said 

The time, the place, who was there, the pauses in conversations 

How we looked, what I wore, and what we ate 

Parties, concerts, doing college projects together 
Some thought you were like a rock and roll star 
Distant, different in your own attitude and appearance 

But I knew you were the boy who dreamed of home 
Of cornfields rusting and black eyed peas in a bowl 
Served the right way, in a soup not on a plate 

The memories never change, only get more detailed 

Kept locked in time on those pages 

A classmate asked me once, "Who is that guy?" 

I was puzzled. "The one you're always so happy around." 
I was twenty, pleased with what she said 
It was enough 

Then, you, who were always rebelling 

Making all your own rules, always laughing and carefree 

Sometimes irresponsible in life 

Got a job offer in New York 
Several of us took you to the airport 
Watching until the plane flew away 

The brown box tied with red embroidery thread 

Where I saved all your visits from the mail 

Filled with napkins from famous restaurants you went to 


Matchbooks, poems, ticket stubs, letters, postcards 
Stage programs with your name in them 
Arrived from many places 

I graduated, choosing the path of nine to five 
I still got new mementos and cards for my box 
You did come home for a visit and invited me, too 

We all went to Atlantic Beach, saw boats through the glass 

Ate fried fish and hushpuppies served by ladies in white uniforms 

With silent matching shoes 

Our parallel roads and overlapping photos 
Had tarnished a bit with time 
But love remained. 

The letters that filled my box slowly lessened 
The Christmas in July phone calls 
Became fewer 

Until that winter night when the last call came 
It was not from you 
But from your brother 

Nancy Seate 


Wish I Could Say It 

I hate you, simply because I want you 
You are beautiful and strong 
Muscles pulled tight under sunburnt skin 
Dark eyes full of laughter 

I love you, simply because I can't have you 
You are pretty and intelligent 
Plump lips stained with pink 
Curvy hips wanting to be touched 

I hate you, simply because you don't know me 

You are ignorant and young 

Stupid jokes and comments 

Disgusted by what you don't understand 

I love you, simply because you know I do 
You are gentle and caring 
Sweet voice and soothing words 
Trying to heal what you broke 

I hate you — stupid boy 
I love you — pretty girl 
Simply because 

Kelley Twiggs 

Eyes of Reality 

At the photos on the wall I stared 
And on the walls of my mind I could see 
A child dreaming however she dared 
Her mind free to imagine all she could be. 

Time had bound her not 

When once she was a child. 

On a carefree breeze she was caught 

Laughing and wondering all the while. 

But from my eyes I see 
A serpent around that innocent mind 
Choking and stifling every dream. 
Young dreams time will bind. 

Mallory Frederick 


Death of the Willow Tree 

I bet it was easy 
Pulling the willow tree 
Out of the ground 
You twisted her branches 
Till they popped 
Crushed her leaves 
Ripped off her bark 
Planted her 
Then killed her 

Taking her roots from the earth 
You twisted her 

Until something snapped inside 
Kelley Twiggs 

Ventilation Robin Smith 



I'm moving slow like syrup 
Heavy with sentiment 
I am heartless 

Coarsely caring for your fragile wounds 
Scraped raw of emotion 
You ask and I don't deny 
I'm numb 

I want to repent 

Agonizing in the failed pleasures 

Of my transgressions 

I break you into tiny pieces 

Just because I can 

With mighty impassiveness 

But I want you to show me how to be true 

I've realized I'm no different than you 

Relieve me from my thoughtless antics 

I've never been much of a romantic 

How sweet redemption must be 

You are the only reminder of what I know of 


Today is here and how sad I've become 
Devoid of desire 

Emptiness when you look in my eyes and see 

I won't tell a lie 

I want the price to be paid 

For the carelessness of my selfish deeds 

Infinitely indebted to you 

Robbed your riches 

What a crime! 

I will do the time 

Created hell in my heavenly ways 

God save me from myself 

Living each day as if it were my last 

I've become captive without a cage 

Anger harboring with an absence of rage 

Tangled among the remnants 

Of our degrading the hours of yesterday! 

I need to be redeemed 

Purify me 

Wash me in your tears that stream 
Because you are my salvation 
And I am heartless 

Terri Register 



Wilson Hines 

The word crisis conjures up a plethora of things in different people's minds. 

You are aware of the hurricane, the crisis, that marches for a month from West Africa. It 
boils and churns all the way to the West Indies, and we see the wrath of someone's God and the 
mercy of another's God, all wrapped up in a 500-mile behemoth of wind, rain, and clouds. It 
crosses near Cuba and makes up its sovereign mind where it wants to ravage. It enters the Gulf 
and picks up steam and we watch. We watch from Chicago as if we were twenty miles from its 

A good crisis empties the shelves of bread and milk, and even plywood. The mind of 
the capitalist thinks, "Oh, if I could only control the weather." We will watch a crisis. We love 
drama, and we love the anguish of other people. And while we are watching, may we remember 
to say, "Oh, the humanity." 

We love to watch a good crisis. 

Eldritch Miranda Kyle 

1 1 


I know your shoes, 

I know your shoes; 

the compulsive knots 

I watch for them every afternoon, 

that strangle the laces, 

buried, as I am, 

the arrowed weave of dimples 

beneath the timbered tresses 

on the double-stitched wings; 

that press against my spine, 

I've memorized the lusty curve 

buried beneath the steel cage 

of the muffled tongue 

that stinks of rust and mildew; 

and the autumn hue of the dye 

I lie still 

only my eyes 

I know your shoes, 

mechanical as time 

and the mud they track 

follow you 

from your car to my door, 


footprints traced 

watching your shoes; 

across the planks 

too afraid to tremble, 

of my bedroom floor; 

I hide with my prayers, 

silt and leaves, 

my shallow breaths, 

the slush of snow, 

and my make-believe comforts 

seasons pass, marked upon your soles 

that desert me 

at the sudden sting of your hand 

I know your shoes, 

gripping my ankle, 

soured leather soles 

dragging me across the floor 

streaked with grease from the train 

and to your belt 

oil from the street, 

drunkened by beer 

I know your shoes; 

spilled on the barroom floor 

the lingering gleam 

stained by the excrement 

of the morning polish 

from the nameless cinema downtown 

forms mirrors 

on the toe-tops; 

I know your shoes, 

my duplicate faces 

their railing tick, 

deflect left and right 

their resonance in the wooden room 

past my escaping gaze; 

their halting shuffle, stomp, stop, pivot, 

I hold my breath; 

tap the ash of cigarette 

my cheeks rehearse their flinchinj 

I've measured the creases of your trousers 

my eyes flicker 

caused by their stooping 

anticipating the burn; 

every day at six-fifteen 

I suck my lips tightly 

to search for the boy 

flush the blood, 

hiding beneath the bed 

and guard the teeth, the tongue, 

the cry 

that begins every afternoon 

at six-fifteen 


Danny Rollins 

Window Pain 

Melissa A. Wright 

Lifeless, cold, cruel world is all I see as I gaze out my window. So much pain and despair 
on the faces of the people who pass by my window. The faces are long as the road ahead of me. 
I once saw so much beauty in my neighbor's garden; now all I see is death and decay. Hearing 
the laughter of children in the neighborhood would always bring a smile to my face. The laugh- 
ter has faded, and now all I hear is the sweet song of loneliness. The haunting memories of the 
youth are all I have to tuck me in at night. The life I once lived that was full of happiness and 
loved ones is now empty as a poor man's cupboard. Joy and happiness are long lost feelings that 
no longer visit this cold house. As old age slowly steals my joy as it once stole my beloved, I 
will sit and stare out my window pain. The window that used to bring me light now brings the 
darkness called life. My pain and sorrow are all the legacy I have to leave this world. My hus- 
band and children all went to glory without me. I once saw all beauty of nature, birds, bees, and 
spring's rain, but now as I look out my window, all I see is pain. I feel the cold winter embracing 
me like a lost love through my gray window pain. 


Notions of the Atlantic Ocean 

The shift from burning, sinking feet to outward stretching patches 

Of lighter sand as I near the water's edge 

The tightening of my skin on this thin cotton bed 

The cool breeze blowing; my toes pointing towards Atlantis 

The squawking, feathered, flying birds 
The children laughing, rushing toward the water 
Turning, bolting back towards mother and father 
And the comfort of their words 

The out of rhythm waves tick-tocking like a clock 
There is peace though in their grumblings 
And their altruistic mumbling 

Metronoming all of life and rumbling silence to the dock 

The grainy, salty, feeling on my fleshy now 
The chirping, burning, freshness of my soul 
The pious sense of God I seem to know 
The cool, rambunctious joy of sundown 

Peace and joy and love and fancy castles made from pails 
Atlantic Ocean beaches always feel like home to me 

Zachary Miller 

Seeing Stars Traycee Williams 


The Great Downward Spiral 

You say you want a typewriter 
I say I want a guitar 
We both go out to wish 
Upon two red giant stars 

You say you'll take Aldebaran 
I say I want that too 
But I move on to Pollux 
Which clouds cut off from view 

I hear your wishful murmurings 
You say with grand design 
I stand and watch water vapor 
And wish your star was mine 

Someone once said that envy 
Is love twisted by desire 
Our end comes as we gaze 
Up at a universe on fire 

Jeff Williams 

The Beasts of Batchelors Island 


The water gets deeper 

With each step I take 

Oh, Calypso, must you try to kill me 

Every time we meet 

I reach for you 

And find myself half drowned, gagging 
Sea water in my mouth 

Pirates and gold 

Shiny little trinkets 

Not all the treasure in the world 

Could keep me from you 

These creatures graze between islands, 

lumber in the shallows. 

Through binoculars we watch 

their bovine progress. 

What trick of evolution 

crosses such wild beasts, 

sheep with cows with horses with goats? 

Desperation on a wild island. 

Margaret Baddour 

Oh, Calypso, my dear 

You rugged, unmerciful beast 

I'll find you and bind you 

Swallow another medallion 
A skull marked across my heart 
Flesh sick, sore 
From the tidal waves 

Calypso, Calypso 

She stole my breath 

Cut out my heart 

With her crown of seashells 

Kelley Twiggs 

Gone Again 

Lack of love 
empty rooms 

the smell of alcohol in the air 

your escape 

at my expense 

was more than I could bear 

suitcase packed 

scattered clothes 

I'm glad you're finally free 

frozen hearts 
broken hope 

I'm sorry you didn't bring me 

Candace Jones 



Kent Jernigan 


Or Am I 

I am weak 
I am dumb. 
I am shy 
I am ugly 

I am a waste of space, or am I? 

In your eyes, I am all of these things 
incorporated into one meaningless soul 
But to me, I am something more. I am 
stronger than you would've ever imagined 
I am the wisdom that can see you are 
the waste of space in my life 
otherwise filled with beauty and productivity 
I am a soldier 

the soldier that never intended 
to weather such a furious war 
but I shall throw up my white flag 
I am a winner 

the winner who can smell victory 
regardless of how often you push me down 

I sit 
I think 
I remember 

I slowly pick myself up and wipe myself off 
I am the daughter of a father 
with such a hateful tongue and fist 
However, I decide 

I decide to learn from my experiences 
I decide to love others and, importantly, myself 
I decide to grow 

Are you scared? 

Because once I start, there's no looking back 
I am like a flower that refuses to be picked 
my beauty shadowing over all negativity 
I am new 
I am life 
I am here 
My cup is half full 
and I am hopeful 
Or am I? 

Candace Jones 


On Jarrett Road 

Western N.C. 2010— for Tommy Jarrett 

After sleeping with screens 

in the cool September air 

under the wide, starred mountain night 

he wakes to the lowing of cows. 

Purple asters flank roadsides 

and the rushing river that meets 

Chatuge Lake that blends 

with the blue, blue mountain sky. 

Cousins up and down the road 

come by to see the man 

who went East. Harry and Fannie 

visit on the lawn, share folklore, 

photographs of childhood birthdays 

in skirts, family trees, the old 

telephone with ear piece, ringers, 

"but most folks just hollered 

down the road." On the lawn 

all green golden, early Fall, 

the afternoon sun goes down 

over the hill. The silence of the place rings in his head, 
clings to his faithful heart. 

Margaret Baddour 


Communing With Nature 

Breezes stir the leaves above 

life rustles the ivy below. 

A puff of cream weaves in and out 

of flowers lush and low. 

To the side sits an old birdbath 

filled with a flutter of red. 

A sudden noise, a flash of wings 

The cardinals all have fled. 

At year's edge a golden plume 

Cuts a swath deep and wide 

A joyful yelp, a wagging tail, 

Katie plays outside. 

Kim Clark 


To Ride a Horse 

Rebekah Lee 

"I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart 
leaped with delight at the sound." When Nathaniel Hawthorne described Pegasus in "The Chi- 
mera," he appreciated the feelings of joy a horse can give with a simple whinny. When I first step 
onto a horse farm, my senses are flooded by everything around me. 

Stepping out onto the farm, I see vibrant green pasture, and I know I have arrived. Just 
taking a breath fills my nostrils with a fresh scent unlike any other. The most noticeable smell is 
of grass and hay, but just in the recesses of my mind, I identify that one smell that is sweeter than 
any other, the smell of horse. Not able to be bottled or captured in any way, the scent of horse is 
one not easily described, but beloved by any horseman or woman. Within the pasture, I can see 
a small pond shimmering like diamonds in the waning sunlight. In the background, standing tall 
like monarchs of the forest are rows of pines lining the property. 

Finally, my eyes focus on what I had come for, two horses standing as still as statues 
watching me approach, one golden chestnut, one chocolate brown. When the horses hear the 
chain on the gate rattle open, they come at a full run to greet their guest. The thundering of 
hooves drowns out the quiet whisper of wind blowing through the trees. The two horses continue 
to close the gap between us, and I begin to wonder if they ever plan on stopping. At the last pos- 
sible moment, the two thousand-pound animals lock their legs, plant their feet, and slide to an 
impossibly close stop. No matter how many times they do this, my heart is always in my throat 
at the sight of these two magnificent creatures just waiting to be doted on. 

I reach up to the horse standing closest, the chocolate brown gelding with a flaxen col- 
ored mane and tail. He drops his head to greet me with his large expressive eyes like brown 
orbs looking into my own with nothing but unconditional love. Stroking a hand down his sleek 
summer coat, I grasp a silky hunk of his mane and pull myself up onto his back. Without either 
a bridle or a saddle, both the horse and I can experience total freedom. With nothing more than a 
thought and the slightest touch of a heel, the two of us turn and begin to move as one across the 
pasture. As I wrap my fingers in his mane and lean forward over his withers, my heart leaps with 
anticipation of what's to come. He begins to prance as he anticipates my order, and finally, I give 
him just the slightest touch with my heel, and he surges forward into a gallop. He floats over the 
pasture, eating up the ground with his fluid strides. I cannot help but laugh out loud over the rush 
of wind in my ears as we fly across the ground not as a horse and rider, but as one. As I laugh 
aloud, I taste my hair whipping in my mouth, or is it the horse's mane? It doesn't matter because 
at that very moment, I realize I have no problems, no stress, no schoolwork, and no troubles. In 
that sweet moment, my senses all run together, and in my heart, I know that life is good. 


One Foot Before a Fat Knot 

The Peak of a Summit 

The peak of the summit 

From here all is seen 

All directions and paths are visible 

Which path to choose? 

It would be easy to take one 

To pick a direction and just follow it 

One must be chosen soon 

For the sun is almost over head 

Should that path prove 

To be full wrong 

Or to stray from the path 

Only from this peak 

Could the way be found again 

There must be reached before sunset 

A return would be costly of time 

Where to there? 

Perhaps the Sun will not set 

Here on the summit 

No, the sun has set 

Even here at the peak 

There are no stars 

There is only the void 

A vortex of darkness 

From which demons cannot flee 

A chasm whose bottom is 

The peak of a summit 

E. S. Woodard 

One foot left, only one foot left before a fat knot. 

I slip somewhat and I feel it. 

I suppose skin is on the rope and blood, too. 

Their eyes see me, but they will not look at me. 

Facing otherwise, looking with suspicion. 

Slipping, six meager inches remain. 

Their eyes widen not. The mind races through the options. 

For fear of darkness, I have not ever looked down. 

They have already seen the other side of my feet. 

The knot's end is not as comfortable as imagined. 

It grinds into my fists with the twist of the rope. 

There is no gasp from my audience. No urgency prevails. 

They watch now, turned to me. One handed 

I am simply at the end of my rope 

And hold to the last with one hand. 

They have turned to another. Darkness envelops me. 

My teeth grind with the pain. 

My tries are in vain. 

Wilson Hines 

Maypole Traycee Williams 


Life is a Pick-Pocket 

Life is a pick-pocket. Nimble fingers slipping 
like mice through walls on old and rusty pipes, 
secrets like corpses exhumed, exposed, and 
traded with fences, memories like money 
spent, blown on some three card monty man, 
your days filled with brushes and strewn paper, 
compartments flooded with old chewing gum, 
tiny little pills from long expired prescriptions, 
fading photos in wallets that no longer snap. 
Life is a pick-pocket; you're a shabby purse. 

Jeff Williams 

Beach Trip Miranda Kyle 


There's No Place Like Home 

Theresa White-Wallace 

My husband Bill and I attended a wedding at the beach. The reception was held at a 
nearby restaurant. After the ceremony, we talked to the bride's parents for a while and then 
headed for the restaurant. The restaurant was less than five minutes away. We had our Yahoo 
directions, plus our friends had given us directions. We left the wedding at 5:30 p.m., and the re- 
ception was to begin at 6: 15 p.m. An hour later, at 6:30 p.m., Bill and I were parked on the side 
of the road. Lost! 

Bill and I had driven in separate cars to the wedding, and only Bill had directions to the 
reception, so we kept in touch via cell phone. The first street we turned on was correct. We then 
came to a fork in the road. Bill told me to turn right, but I felt we needed to turn left. We drove 
for a while, and Bill said that maybe left is what we should have done. We stopped and asked 
for directions. We turned around and headed back in the direction we had come from. We drove 
back over the bridge and still couldn't find the correct road or restaurant. We stopped a second 
time and asked for directions. We followed the directions we were given but still couldn't find 
the restaurant. We drove up and down the streets, crossed the bridge several more times, and 
decided to ask for directions again. This time we were told that the restaurant was on the other 
side of the island. We drove back over the bridge and turned left at the fork in the road. The 
road took us to places that we had not seen before; then, the road ended. I didn't know whether 
to laugh or cry. It was 6:30 p.m., and we were at a dead end road. We parked the cars, and Bill 
got into my car. We decided to forget the reception. We really didn't know where we were and 
we didn't know how to get to the road that would take us to Jacksonville. 

Trying to find the reception was not the only problem we had. Our driving was horrible. 
We made U turns where U turns were not allowed. We crossed several lanes in a moment. We 
pulled out in front of people without any warning. Angels were definitely watching over us. And 
to top that off, Bill's cell phone was dying. He kept his phone off, and when he needed me to 
call him, he would stick his phone out the window. It looked like something out of an I Love 
Lucy episode. 

By some miracle, we found the road to Jacksonville. Bill told me to get in front of him 
as we headed for Jacksonville. Then Bill called and asked if I wanted to stop and eat. I told 
him to let me think about it, and I would call him back. I told him I would stick my cell phone 
out the window when I needed to call him. Bill said, "Are you sure you want to do that?" With 
my luck I would probably drop it out the window. We decided I would signal with my brake 
lights. I finally told Bill that I wanted to wait until we got to Cape Carteret. Just before we got 
to Swansboro, I looked out my rearview mirror and didn't see Bill. "Oh my gosh, I've lost him!" 
It turned out that he had switched lanes. 

It was 8:30 p.m. before we arrived at the parsonage. We were tired, hungry, and mentally 
exhausted. After we unloaded the cars, Bill said, "You realize the wedding gift is still in your 
trunk." I didn't even respond, but the look on my face spoke volumes. Bill knew he had said the 
wrong thing at the wrong time. We put our pajamas on and ate in silence. Later, I turned to Bill 
and said, "You know, it's only by the grace of God that we are alive." We laughed and not much 
more was said. As the events of the day played over and over in my mind that night, I knew that 
I never wanted to experience the feeling of being lost again. 


Several months later, Bill and I attended a church-related General Assembly Conference 
held in Orlando, Florida. The first morning we were there, Deborah, one of the ladies in our 
district, and I decided to do some sight seeing while our husbands were in meetings. We walked 
over to the convention center, a little over a mile from the hotel. Later, we met up with another 
lady and walked to one of the nearby restaurants and had a late lunch. After lunch we headed 
back to the hotel. Deborah and I wanted to walk back to the hotel, but Lisa wanted to ride the 
trolley since she had taken the trolley to the convention center earlier that morning. Lisa would 
take the trolley, and Deborah and I would walk. Lisa then said, "Here comes the trolley." Debo- 
rah and I decided to ride the trolley with her. After we saw much of the town and some things 
twice, the trolley stopped, and the driver said that this would be his last stop. We were on the 
wrong trolley. We walked for several blocks and waited for the next trolley in the blistering heat. 
We all felt relieved as the trolley drove up. As long as no one was standing up on the trolley, it 
wasn't so bad. But when all the seats were taken and people had to stand, the trolley became 
very hot and claustrophobic. We passed the convention center, Sea World, and other Orlando 
sights three or four more times. I became a little more stressed each time we passed one of the 
sights. I wondered if the madness would ever stop. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone or in the 
movie Groundhog Day. And then it happened. We were told that we were on the wrong trolley. 
"Oh please, God, not again," I thought. By the third trolley, I was hot, tired, and wanted to cry. 
When the trolley let us off at our stop, we looked around and realized we still had to walk a half a 
mile to the hotel. Poor Lisa got a lot of grief for that. As we were coming up on the hotel, I told 
Lisa and Deborah that the first thing that I was going to do was buy a $ 1 .50 Coca-Cola, because I 
needed something stronger than water. I took the Coke back to my room, retrieved the ice bucket 
and filled it with ice. I thought about how right Dorothy was when she said, "There's no place 
like home." 


Union of Soles Amanda Parrish 


Local Color 

There is a surveillance tape of my grandmother 
taking off her pantyhose in the canned vegetable 
aisle of the local Piggly Wiggly. 

She was tired of wearing them so in front of the green 

beans and asparagus, she bent her frail frame, as if shucking corn, 

and stripped her legs. 

Somewhere in the Piggly Wiggly I am sure there is a video, 

and I want to get the stock boy to find it so I can always remember. 

Because the doctor keeps saying it's coming, looming over us 
and I have been writing eulogies for years. 

Ashley Shivar 

What She Seams Nicole Denise Hughes 




My love is rain on still waters 
or clouds that blow over green hills 
or leaves that softly fall to ground 
and travel tall waves of grass. 


There you go again 

posted on a tree like a leaf 

or on a door or a wall 

anyplace that will keep 

your curious soul elevated in the air 

you're plotting where your 

sticky feet will land next 




Candace Jones 

My clouds fall to the same mountain, 
my rain into a single ocean, 
one constant circle, one single wave 
that breaks upon the same shore. 


Somewhere on an Atlantic ship 
through billows of white canvas sails, 
shortwave radio calls to signal 
exact time for a whirling clock. 


You are Greenwich Mean Time 
spoken with a clipped British voice, 
my constant prime meridian, 
my black wind, my night moon. 

Jeff Williams 

Story of Love? 

With action swift as a snake I broke your trust 
And my words like venom, your heart 
In my weakness I succumbed to lust 
So you scold me. 

No reason do I have to be sad 
When I cause my fall 
The world says to be mad 
But you love me. 

For no matter what I say or do 

Sweet love like honey will always come from 


Debra Taylor 


Eating Off Tires 

Cassie Duval 

I woke up in the backseat of a boat-sized Buick Le Saber. Glancing up at the clock on the dash- 
board, I could barely register what time it was. It was six-thirty in the morning. I tried to wake my 
sister by nudging her in the side with my elbow. 
"It's time for school, Kelly." 

It was hard to tell if she was awake just by looking at her pink-swollen eyes. Her teeth were chatter- 
ing as she said, "What time is it, Nay-Nay?" 
"It's time to get ready for school," I replied. 

We slowly and reluctantly shrugged out of our coats and began putting on our clothes for school. 

Going to school was my happy time. I got to be a kid and mingle with my friends like everything 
was okay. If they only knew what was going through my head all day! The bell rang to go to class. 
Slowly, I walked to my homeroom. During class the teacher's voice went from a steady lecture to a 
faded mumble, kind of like what Charlie Brown hears when any adult talks to him. While the sound 
of wheels turning in my head kept my mind busy, I felt something hit the back of my head. I found 
a balled up piece of paper laying directly below me. I smoothed out the piece of paper; it said, "Hey, 
this is Cynthia, are you okay?" 

It was hard to figure out what to write back on that piece of paper because the only thing that I could 
hear in my head was my mama telling me that if I told anyone what happened, then social services 
would take me away from my family. I finally wrote, "Yeah, I'm just really tired." 
While the teacher's back was turned, I balled the piece of paper back up and threw it across the room. 
I did not look to see if she had read it because, quite frankly, I did not care. Bell after bell rang as the 
day went on, and my stress level rose because I knew what waited for me when school was over. 2:50 
came. I went outside to wait for my friend Shae to pick me up so I could take a shower at her house. 

I was twelve years old. It was a cold Virginia winter. I had been living with mom and her boy- 
friend Rodney for three years. He had three of the best kids in the world. Renee was his oldest by 
two minutes, and she and I were the closest out of the bunch. What piqued my interest in this girl 
was the simple fact that we had the same name. We used to do everything together. We would make 
forts and look through the yearbook to pick which guy was "boyfriend material." Her twin brother 
R.J. was the most mischievous. Most of his pleasure came out of making fun of the dances that we 
made up to our favorite songs or chasing us around the living room with a mouse he had found in the 
kitchen. Jessica was the youngest of Rodney's kids. She looked like a life-sized china doll — skin 
like porcelain and eyes like the bluest sea. I remember her playing with my sister's hair and dressing 
her up as her favorite princess. Kelly was crazy over the girl! Rodney was a good man, and he cared 
for us as if we were his own. His simple-mindedness, broad shoulders, and hunched back made me 
think of him as a Neanderthal. He was simple, but he loved my mom, and he built a house on Sandy 
Ridge to prove it. 

Drug addiction, the money problems, and the lies were all to blame. Mama did not have a thing 
to call her own. It started out as a prescription for her anxiety and stress. Then it progressed into 
a heavy addiction to anything she could get her hands on. This addiction was a green monster that 
haunted our family for years, sucking every penny my mother ever earned. The lies grew thicker and 
thicker over time, so thick in the air that sometimes it was hard to breathe. I remember my mother 
sitting in the recliner in a cloud of cigarette smoke, fighting the weight of her eyelids. I would think 
to myself, with my nostrils flared, "Is somethin' burnin'?" When I looked in the corner where Mom 
was sitting, I would see that she had finally dropped her cigarette again. It would not be long before 
she wanted to go on one of her little trips again. "I'm goin' to Walmart to get a magazine," she would 


always say. We would not see her for another seven hours, and tonight was one of those nights. 
I was in Renee's bedroom, painting my toenails and listening to Ja Rule on the new radio I had just 
gotten for Christmas when I heard once again, "I'm goin' to Walmart to get a magazine." Rodney 
had been getting suspicious, but he let her go anyway. Through the window I could see the red glow 
of Rodney's white Chevy Silverado disappearing into the night. I glanced at the clock on the wall. 
It was four o'clock, and we had just gotten off the school bus. I knew what my mom was doing all 
along, but if I blew her cover, then I would have to start all over again in a new town, new school, and 
new family. 

Kelly was a nosy little kid who had to be the first one to answer the phone when it would ring, 
just to make sure that the call wasn't for her. Six hours went by. I could feel my palms getting 
sweaty. I looked at the clock again, and it was 10: 1 5 at night. I did not hear the phone ring, but it 
must have, because I could see Kelly sprinting to the kitchen like her rear end was on fire. She yelled, 
echoing through the house, "Rodney, Mike is on the phone for you!" I knew Mike from a few weeks 
earlier when I took one of those little rides with Mom to "Walmart," and I knew tonight was not go- 
ing to end well when I heard that name. 

Rodney walked out of the kitchen with his lips quivering and his face red with anger. After he col- 
lected himself, he gathered us around him and said, "I love you guys, but tonight we have to go to 
sleep early." Unlike the other kids, I knew why Rodney looked as if he was going to cry. It was 
because his heart was shattered. 

The house got quiet, so quiet that all I could hear was the hum of the heater running in the living 
room. I looked above my head at the alarm clock to see what time it was. It was 3:00 in the morn- 
ing. I heard the door creep open and slowly shut. I got out of bed and carefully tip-toed to the edge 
of my door so I could get a peek at what was about to happen. The living room was too dark to see 
facial expressions, but I knew Rodney was mad because the only thing I could hear was him shuf- 
fling around in the leather-like chair sitting in the corner of our living room. Mom was on one of her 
fixes because she was walking as if she had just learned how to take her first steps. My heart started 
to sputter when I heard those lies start to come out of her mouth. The last lie was met with a boulder- 
sized fist. I knew Mama hit the floor because it sounded like my heavy backpack hitting the floor 
after a hard day at school. I did not know if I should scream or stay quiet. My mommy just got hit, 
and I couldn't defend her. If I said something, would he come after me? 

Before I realized it, I found myself at my mom's side, trying to shake her awake. All I could hear for 
the next few seconds was Rodney crying and saying sorry over and over again. Mom finally came 
back to consciousness. She grabbed her head, looked up at me, and swept me off my feet. With my 
sister in her other arm, Mom made her way to her car in the front yard and threw us into the front 
seat. The only thing that I could see through the frosted window and my tears was my mom pointing 
her finger in Rodney's face and her head going up and down dramatically. She snatched the driver's 
side door open. I could finally see what he had done to her face when she was under the dimdome 
light. Her cheek was black and blue, and her eye looked as if it were matted by glue. The only thing 
that could get through was the glimmer of a teardrop. Mom shut the car door, and it instantly got 
dark and quiet. She put the car in reverse, and we made our way out into the cold night. 

We did not have family around Coebrun at the time, so a safe place to stay was out of the ques- 
tion. I remember asking my mom where we were going, and she replied, "Honey, we're goin' to 
have to stay in the car 'til I figure somethin' out, ok?" We pulled up to an old abandoned house in 
the backside of the woods. Mom turned off the car and took a deep breath. She bundled us up in 
the coats we had grabbed on the way out and kissed us goodnight. I woke up in the back seat of my 
mom's boat-sized Buick Le Sabre. The clock on the dashboard read 6:30 A.M. Waking up my sister 
was impossible because we were exhausted from the night before. We had to eat off the tires for the 
next week, all because of addiction and lies. 


Peace, Love, and Happiness 

Peace is so much more 
Than a sign or a dove 
It is a new frame of mind 
And open arms that will love 

Love is so much more 
Than a simple one night stand 
It is a fire in your heart 
And a golden wedding band 

Life is so much more 

Than the things that you can buy 

It is a tiny little baby 

And the sound of his first cry 

Some people are overrated 
Tattered, shattered, and abused 
Happy, joyful and successful 
Overworked and misused 

But you and I hold the power 
All we have to do is choose 
To take the words that I have written 
And put all to good use 

He is one of a kind 

He is one of a kind 

Who shines brighter than the sun 

And when I hear his voice 

It's as if he's the only one 

His eyes, his lips, his furrowed brow 

And how he'd never boast 

His laugh, his smile, his giving heart 

Are the things I love the most 

When he looks at me all time stops 

Everything stands still 

He tells me that he loves me 

And I know he always will 

When he is not around 

Colors are not as bright 

His happy disposition always 

Casts a ray of light 

And when he is gone from this world 

And all the stars grow dim 

I will think of all the time we shared 

There is no one else like him 

Julie Andrews 

Caitlyn Wheeler 

No Strings Attached 

If I wasn't what you thought of me, 

Would you still love me unconditionally? 

Would you still treat me with respect? 

And would you still admire my intellect? 

Could I still steal a kiss from off your lips? 

And could I still hold your hand and caress your hips? 

If my words are out of place, 

And if the context is laced with distaste 

Then I am sorry because my heart has no bounds 

On what my mind sees as the truth. 

Won't you please stop rejecting my reflection? 

You inundate my senses with a sea of misery. 

Do you even still love me? 

I want to know will we stay together or fall apart, 

With no strings attached and a damaged heart. 

Jamelle Ingram 



Robin Smith 

Easy Like Sunday Morning 

Sadie Goulet 

I cannot remember what happened, or who was involved, but the golden light seeping 
through the crusty remnants of sleep on my eyelashes pulled me further from the details of my 
dream. This time it was not the jolting announcement of dawn that lured me from the depths of 
my unconscious, just the soft glow of morning. As I yawned, stretched, and cocooned myself 
back into the cloud I had been floating in, I rolled over onto a cool spot, the one that still smelled 
like shampoo and lavender oil, and attempted to diffuse a memory of my dream from the pillows 
into my curls. After little success, I allowed the intoxicating aroma of my cloud to lull me back 
into the darkness behind my eyelids, the faint smell of coffee adding to the pleasantness. But I 
realized the coffee smelled stale, and the glow that was dancing through the cracks in my shades 
seemed a bit more piercing than moments before. Suddenly, the softness of my bed sheets 
became suffocating, and I wondered why my alarm never rang. Why was the house so quiet? 
Reality trickled through my veins like cold sweat after a bad dream. Through a whirlwind of 
sheets and papers, I attempted to find my clothes from the previous night and organize my books 
into a portable cluster. My morning breath and lack of consciousness were the least of my con- 
cerns. Where were my keys? Flying out of the door as if being chased by the monsters under 
my bed, I strongly debated grabbing a cup of coffee, taking into consideration the time and my 
surreal state. I decided against it as I flung my books onto the passenger seat of my car, check- 
ing the time again to gauge the necessary speeds in store for my old engine. But as I glanced at 
my phone, something did not match up. "Sun, Sep 5 10:15 am" was clearly lit up at the bot- 
tom of the screen, and this I read several times before scanning the street to see what neighbors 
witnessed my little show. As frustration and embarrassment flushed my cheeks, I grabbed my 
portable cluster of books and slipped back inside for a cup of coffee. 


Dawning Sun 

The rain beats steadily against the pane 

I wonder if it will ever stop 

But then again what have I to gain? 

When morning comes I'll be at the top 

I watch the people slowly prevail 

Along the winding road and against the wind and rain 

But where they will soon succeed I'll fail 

Their struggle is nothing to my pain 

Does anyone know how I feel? 

Does anyone care about me? 

I wish they could know how lucky they are to be free 

Constantly I try to fit in 

Or even just get through the day 

But as hard as I try they won't let me even begin 

To be like them, is that not supposed to matter to me? 

Daily they ride me and feel I can't breathe 

I'm completely consumed and surrounded by strife 

Don't they ever think? No, I bet they'd never believe 

Their effect on my daily life 

But that doesn't matter now 

It'll soon be through 

I will take my final bow 

I know what I have to do 

There's no way to make this stop 

I see no way to overcome 

My heart into my stomach drops 

I've seen my last dawning sun 

Anais Tatum 

Freedom Because of the Brave 

They are brothers, mothers, daughters, and sons 

wearing boots and toting guns 

laying down their lives 

setting aside their worries and strife. 

They are in a world so full of hate 

where every move can determine their fate. 

They miss the simple things they left behind 

and constantly keep them on their mind. 

They face a harsh reality 

and pray for immortality. 

They see things they will never share 

with someone who was not over there 

because they do not expect us to understand; 

we have never had to save our homeland. 

They want reassurance that they are loved and needed 

so that their mission can be completed 

but they need support most of all 

so their victory flag can fly nice and tall. 

Caitlyn Wheeler 

Unnamed Heroes 

Who wipes the tears of a soldier 

Whose heart is weary with toil? 

Sir, don't hold your head down. 

Don't even weep about tomorrow. 

Just go now, just leave, just depart. 

I will remember you when your battle starts. 

Soldier, there's no time to waste. 

A bullet hits and pierces his flesh. 

Do you think the bullet felt ashamed 

Of the great, brave soldier's pain? 

War is a heartless thing, yet we remember not 

The soldier's name. 

Quardelia Moses 

For the Good of the Middle East 

Angrily we raise our fists, 
Furiously we protest, 

Giving and spending with good intentions, 

Holding onto things we don't quite know. 

All we really know is dissension. 

Never did they ask for help, 

Invading their homes and cultures, 

Still giving and sacrificing our resources. 

Tomorrow we hope to accomplish our goal. 

After all is said and done we've hurt and been hurt, 

Nothing saved; nothing earned. 

Jordan A. Howell 


The Mercenary 

Matthew Forster 


More like, hold up the enemy long enough so that the generals can survive to get back 
to their tea and biscuits. They left the mercenaries behind, as always, the men who were more 
expendable than the army's soldiers. The generals knew they were losing, so why even bother 
paying these men of fortune? Better to let them die and never waste any of the country's gold. 

The Mercenary sighed and looked out at the ragtag group of troops he was left to com- 
mand. They all knew they were doomed, and many of them were probably considering desert- 
ing. The Mercenary stood up slowly and called the men to attention. They half-heartedly re- 
sponded, lining up in front of him, their muskets on their shoulders. "Now," he addressed them, 
"I'm not going to lie to you, or give you any false hope." He paused, "We most likely won't 
survive the coming battle. Those damn generals left us here to hold up the enemy for the few 
minutes that it might take them to load up on the boats and escape. They see us all as expendable 
because none of us have any family back home to complain." The men started muttering among 
themselves, agreeing with him. 

"This battle may be futile, but I plan to stay and follow my contract to the letter, as my honor 
demands. I'm leaving you all this choice: stay and fight with me or desert and leave us. There 
will be no one left to say that you failed to achieve the terms of your contract. Personally, I don't 
want a coward at my back, so don't hold back if you have any doubts." 
The Mercenary stood and watched as a few of the men threw down their coats in a pile and 
walked away without a backward glance. He watched them walk away without contempt; the 
majority of the deserters were young and still had long lives ahead of them. He was older, and 
no longer afraid of death. 

The Mercenary looked again at his remaining troops. They weren't much, but they 
would be sufficient for what he had planned. "First," he said to them, "drop your coats. They 
don't blend in with this terrain, and they're as hot as Hades. No men should be forced to fight 
in them." The men did as he instructed, piling their coats where the deserters had. "Now, men, 
here's the plan. They think we won't hold these troops off for more than a few seconds, but we'll 
give them a fight worth making ballads over. We might not survive this fight, but we will sure be 
remembered for it." 

The men began to cheer up a bit; they were enjoying what they were hearing. "We will scatter 
into both sides of the road, using the trees as cover. Once the enemy comes marching down the 
road, we'll open fire on them, and then charge in. The rest of the army is in a full retreat. The 
enemy won't be expecting an ambush here. We'll take them by surprise and take as many out as 
we can." 

The men followed his orders to the letter and took cover among the trees. Now, all they 
had to do was wait for the enemy to get into the perfect position. The Mercenary would take the 
first shot, and the rest of his men would follow suit. The Mercenary waited behind the tree he 
had chosen as his cover. He could see several of his men in similar positions around him, clutch- 
ing their muskets with determined hands. Suddenly, the Mercenary heard a faint sound, he sound 
of a drummer beating out the rhythm of a marching tune. The enemy was nearly here. 

As the first of the troops walked past the ambush point, the Mercenary held his fire. He 


wanted to wait until he could see their commanding officer to attack. After all, to kill a snake, 
you must cut off the head. There, he saw him all dressed up in his general's uniform. The 
mercenary stood slightly away from the tree and took aim. His troops nearby saw his move- 
ment and emulated him. The general was astride a magnificent horse, speaking quietly to one of 
his underlings. The Mercenary lined up his gun and fired. The underling nearest to the general 
took a step and covered the general for an instant. The Mercenary saw the man fall and cursed 
his luck. He missed the general. Several more shots rang out as the Mercenary's men also fired, 
and several ranks of enemy troops fell. The Mercenary fixed a bayonet to his musket and yelled, 
"Charge! Cut them down where they stand!" The enemy troops milled about in confusion, just 
as he had predicted they would. The Mercenary charged towards the road, aiming for the gen- 
eral. If his shot didn't kill him, then cold steel would. His men charged along behind him, many 
being cut down as the enemy reorganized themselves and opened fire. Musket balls whizzed past 
the Mercenary's head as he ran, but he paid them no mind. His full attention was on the general. 
He was two seconds away from plunging his blade into the general's heart. The general reached 
into his coat and pulled out a pistol, aiming it at the Mercenary's head. A loud report rang out, 
and the Mercenary felt nothing. 

The General sat atop his horse and looked down at the man who had tried desperately to 
kill him. He just looked like an average human being, who had perhaps seen too many battles. 
Who was he? He certainly wasn't the British, or if he was, he had forsaken his red coat. The 
General frowned as he pondered, and one of his lieutenants ran up to him and said, "General! 
Are you wounded?" The General waved the man away and replied, "I'm fine, just clean these 
men up and take a tally of the losses. We can't just stand here as the British are getting away." 
The man ran to order some troops to aid him in his task. Another one of his lieutenants strode 
over to him and asked him, "Sir, what are your orders?" The General looked at the men who 
were cleaning up the wounded and dead. "We can't let this ambush delay us; organize the men 
and prepare to march. The British will fall shortly." The man nodded and said, "Aye, General 
Washington, we'll be marching again momentarily." 

Box of Magic 


Miranda Kyle 

The Game 

Lights flashing, music blaring, laughter filling the party air 
Playing the games of the party life, living without one single care 
Bottoms of shot glasses glisten and glitter all around the room 
This game of life and pleasure of getting high off earth's perfume 
Living for the moment is basically my life's plan 
And having all the zings of pleasure to be placed into lustful hands 

For this life is just a game! 

Deciding to play some video games with a few of my friends 

I sink onto the couch with a controller in my hands 

A crowd soon gathers as a few of us start gaming on the Wii 

We're all playing games like 99 pin strike and Mario Kart 3 

Party's still bump'n as we are liberated in this inebriated zing 

Our aim's so off, timing fractured, we're running into everything 

But this makes the games more fun as our intoxication destroys our score 

All of us can't stop laughing, and most laugh their way to the floor 

Man, I love this game! 

But now the game's legit, and we are off as the light turns green 
All our friends are cheering us on! One lane, quite an epic scene 
Chris tries to pass my car, but I swerve and block his pass 
This sends him off the road burrowing into some tall grass 
Everyone is cheering and laughing as I yell, "Eat my dust" 
So excited that I'm in the lead because winning is a must 
I ask Julie to pass me another beer, and then I give a victory shout 
But before I could even tip the bottle into the air. . . my lights go out 

Wow! What a game! 

Finally my eyes re-open, and around me the world spins 

Still laughing, I ask boisterously, "Did I win? Did I win?" 

But instead of echoing laughter and cheering filling my ears 

My friends sit without answer; Ha! I suppose too many beers 

But then, I see, and the drum inside my chest begins to sound 

No more laughter after staggering clumsily from my car to the ground 

But, it was just a game. 

Through blurry eyes I see a car in ruin and a woman hunched over on her 
Weeping, wailing, sobbing, she screams uncontrollably 


Before her on the pavement a little body lays 
Still as ice on winter's coldest day 
Her screams continuously ringing inside my ears 
My body filling up with anxious fears 

But, it... it was just a game? 

The bright red and blue lights signal the sign 

A policeman asks me to walk the white line 

Being turned around as I make two fists 

The cold metal ringlets tighten across my wrists 

I try earnestly to explain. . .That it was just a game 

Then feeling a stern hand on my shoulder 

I hear a whisper. . ."Game over" 

Lisa Hankins 

Foxed In Ashlyn Hall 


A Field of Dreams and Hopes 

Heath Radford 

At the field of the Fairfax Courthouse, Yankee troops of blue stood near their Confederate pris- 
oners. These prisoners had worn and tattered clothing, almost as abused as their spirits had been 
by the war. This state of mind, body, and spirit was the only thing shared by both sides, for they 
were worn physically and mentally as they fought through these hellish tribulations. Soldiers 
on each side were expressionless, pondering what inevitable fate would befall them. The Union 
soldiers meditated on whether they would have to continue to kill these prisoners and persist with 
the violence implicit in the dreadful art of war. The Confederate rebels wondered if this field 
would serve as their earthly Purgatory, for it seemed to be the only decent thing untouched by the 
war. The field was lush and green, symbolizing the life the soldiers had before the war had con- 
sumed and destroyed their lives. It was abundant with purple flowers touched by the small buds 
of baby's breath; the bright and vibrant colors contrasted with the worn blues and grays of the 
militia uniforms, and the breezes spread the pleasing and fresh aroma of lilac with a hint of June 
lily to nostrils that commonly smelled death and smoke, providing a small pleasure to everyone 
in this treacherous situation. It was more than a fragrance; it was something happy that brought 
one of the Confederates known among the soldiers as Beauregard Faberge to tears. Beauregard 
was a genteel man, one whose appearance resonated of kindness and humility towards his fellow 
man even though he was the noblest of all the plantation owners in his hometown in Currituck 
County. As he stood in the field amongst the other prisoners, he wondered if this day would be 
his very last. Oh, how he wished he was back at his plantation, Resolute, isolated from the harsh 
world in the arms of his fiancee, Victoria. She loved him so, and he longed to be in her arms 
once again. As he heard the cacophony of soldiers' commands and the fear in the voice of his 
Confederate soldiers, he was automatically jolted into the malicious reality from which he could 
never escape. When Beauregard was brought out of his plantation daydreams, he again pondered 
if his existence would be terminated today. On that field, seeing the tranquility that did remind 
him of home, he decided that if he died today, he could truly be free of this horrendous war. His 
soul was ready, and as the photographer took the picture of him and the other prisoners, his eyes 
shone in absolute resolution and acceptance. Beauregard Faberge would be home soon, maybe 
not in this life, but in the afterlife. 

In his shabby Union uniform, Henry Smith stood tall and serious, but with a hint of excite- 
ment, almost ecstasy for the upcoming future. He had captured this Confederate battalion with 
his troops, and this would mean another victory for the Union, which would lead to a conclusion 
to this fanatical war. He would be home soon, in the loveliest, if small, house in Philadelphia, 
with his wife Cecelia and the three children that they had created from love. He would be home 
soon, and this field reminded him of the peace that would come soon for him because of this vic- 
tory. Henry did feel some remorse for the Confederate soldiers, but he knew if these casualties 
did not occur, this war would continue and it would take longer for him to get back into the lov- 
ing arms of the home that waited for his return. This positive outlook kept Henry from going mad 
during this war and was something he constantly held on to. How he wished he could take some 
of those flowers that pleased the senses with their aromas to Cecelia for they would go perfectly 
with her golden hair. Before he left for war, she had cut a lock for him to keep if he did not get 
home for a very long time. That lock of hair was still in Henry's front pocket, and as he gave it a 
pat, he could he see her face again and was transported to his home. As the photographer counted 
down for the picture's flash, happiness danced in the eyes of Henry Smith. 


Catch Me, Caress Me 


A single tear falls, 

Veiled behind dark glasses, 

A set of emotions 

More raw than healed. 
And still I hear, softly, 
Replayed like reel to reel, 
"I do. I do. I do." 
All is forgiven still. 

Jeff Williams 

blessed with a beautiful burden 

laced with insecurities and uncertainties 

these pages bleed with my confessions 

catch me, caress me 
bandage my wounds 
so that I may heal 

this never ending search of love grows old 
just like the constant reopening 
of these irreversible scars 

drown me in your thoughts 
suffocate me with your words 
I've learned to love the abuse 

Candace Jones 

Sacred Altar 

Hye Jin Eom 


Stand in the Rain 

Behold! A wondrous shower 
Water descending from the sky 
I watch in awe, others cower 
As the clouds bathe Earth once dry 

Pools and puddles many evade 

But look not for cover! Stand in the rain 

Jump in! Indulge in Heaven's display 

Let the rain gently cleanse, wash pain away 

Softly, each drop touches my skin 

I wonder at the sky's embrace 

The clouds depart and Heaven shines again 

I savor each breath, walk at a slower pace 

Mallory Frederick 

Reaching Caitlyn Wheeler 


The Lesson 

Theresa White-Wallace 

I was dusting furniture when the doorbell rang. At the door was the lady who takes care 
of my kitties when I am away. She wanted me to tape a show for her, but she didn't know what 
time it came on. I needed to find someone who had a TV Guide, so I drove to Walnut Creek, 
where my friend Fran lives. As I drove up, I noticed a lot of cars were parked in her driveway. I 
recognized only a few people in her living room. While I was looking through the TV Guide, 
Fran was preparing vegetables for soup. I couldn't help but think that she was cutting up some 
very unusual vegetables. 

I stopped by the pond in her backyard on my way to the car. My husband had fished in it 
several months ago. The pond was crystal clear. I could see straight through to the bottom and 
didn't see a single fish. Now I knew why my husband didn't catch anything. 

As I pulled out of the driveway, something started hitting the windshield. At first I 
thought it was rain, but then I realized it was snow. Snow in June? The temperature dropped so 
fast that snow and ice started freezing on the trees and power lines. 

I immediately called my sister at work. When she answered the phone, I said, "You are 
not going to believe this, but it is snowing outside. Highway 70 looks to be okay, but snow is 
starting to stick to the side roads. You need to head for home." 

"Sure it is," she said. 

My sister was speechless as she looked out the window. The last thing I said to her 
before we hung up was that we were having some mighty strange weather. I no more got those 
words out of my mouth when something different started hitting the windshield. It wasn't snow 
or rain, but instead it was water coming off of the trees and power lines. As quickly as the tem- 
perature had fallen, it was now warming up and melting the snow and ice. The windshield wip- 
ers on my car stopped working. 

Through all of the water, I noticed that the sun was out again. I slammed on my brakes. 
The car in front of me had suddenly stopped. As a matter of fact, all of the cars on the road had 
stopped. I then noticed that everyone had gotten out of the cars to look up in the sky. What were 
they looking at? 

I didn't get out of the car, but I did open my door and looked up in the sky. The sky was 
dark blue, like it gets before a thunderstorm; there was also a rainbow in the sky. The rainbow 
ran parallel with the car, so I was able to see it from beginning to end. The colors were vivid 
against the dark blue sky. 

Beside the rainbow was a bright, almost blinding-white cloud. I could see only part of 
the huge cloud because the roof of the car covered up the rest. The part that I did see looked like 
a bird's feather. The different folds of the feather were very distinct. 

I decided to get out of my car so I could see the cloud better. As I looked up, I realized 
that the cloud was not a bird, but an angel. The feathers were detailed, but the angel's body and 
head flowed. The angel covered a large portion of the sky and was so white and bright that it was 
like looking directly into the sun. 

All of a sudden, I felt my body move upward, or maybe I should say the center of my 
chest was moving upward. I could see my body stooped down beside the car as my soul ascend- 
ed. I had always thought this day would be somewhat scary, but this was peaceful. A rainbow. 
An angel. What could be more serene? 


Value of Difference 

When you look at the world, what do you see? 

A united nation or a divided sea? 

Do you feel constrained when you cross the street? 

Or do you break the limits and take the heat? 

Do you go with the flow and stay in the norm? 

Or try the "difference rule" and break the general form? 

Do you live under a closed surface and block everyone out? 

Or do you stay on the edge and take the inverse route? 

Does your origin live in you and help you live right? 

Or does your identity seem lost like a thief in the night? 

I know the value of difference and what it means to me. 

Do you know or do you live to please? 

Kay la Grant 

Infinity of Affections 

Let us not judge by the distance we are 
For the friction for our souls meeting 
Will never let us part for long. 

Our relationship is wanted by others 
But all they see is a reflective surface 
Because that is what they want 
To see themselves in. 

It is only a test, this breathing space between us 

A test to see if we are ready 

Ready to spiral into an infinity of affections. 

Alas, it is the test we cannot pass 
The others tear us apart; push us past our limits 
You were pushed into this transformation 
And you won't even look back. 

Now I have no one to comfort me 

Part of my soul, sitting on the broken shards of heart 

Ripped from my chest as I sit alone. 

Braxton Moye 

Math Poem 

Yes, no, maybe so 

What's the answer? 

You never know 

Curve it up 

Or weigh it down 

Find the area 

Around town 

How to do it? 

I don't know 

Use the distance 

And take it slow 

You will need some energy 

And focus too 

To make a line 

All the way through 

If and only if 

There is a force 

Then get the mass 

And the acceleration of the course 

Holly Pittard 


I am sine 

I am always some kind of line 

I am curvy or straight 

But if you ever need to find 

Me while I am eating pie 

Check at zero 

My midpoint is n/2 

When I am between and n 

I can have a minimum or a maximum 

And if for any reason 

The derivative must be taken 

I become cosine 

Cheyenne Bowman 



Miranda Kyle 


Words are integrated into our everyday lives. 

Intended to be comprehended, 

They are powerful beyond comprehension. 

They are heard, and they are spoken. 

They are used as a way to talk, 

Yet are rarely talked about. 

They tell stories, and they tell secrets. 

They are distributed throughout all society, whether true or not. 
What are your words saying? 

Words are like bullets of the tongue, 

The tongue being a weapon of mass destruction. 

These bullets separate soul from spirit, 

Just as a sword separates bone from marrow; 

They are the most powerful ammunition known to humankind. 

They divide, and they destroy. 

They cause divergence of ideas, disruption of feelings, 
Displacement of premeditated paths. 
What are your words saying? 

Words aren't always detrimental, however. 
When used properly, 

Words will encourage, and words will strengthen. 

Words will build up instead of tear down. 

Words will show love instead of hatred. 

Words will extinguish instead of ignite. 

Words will produce wisdom; words will produce knowledge. 

Words will force the once bounded to move on. 

Words will pressure the ignorant to forgive. 

What are your words saying? 

Words are a product of what is within, 

A product of our mind, will, and emotions. 

Words imprison; words deliver. 

Words reveal; words conceal. 

What are your words saying? 

Kayla Hill 


Song Of Myself 

I know and remember all the details of what I have done and where I have been 
Where my ATM card escaped, and when 
Then it comes back to me, so simply. 

I know and remember the location of my note from my doctor 

For free, warm water recreation at the Y. I know it is green and accompanied by the small 
Square white, stiff envelope holding the CD of my x-rays and a smudged, canary yellow 
Receipt, wrapping it all like a birthday gift. 

I float effortlessly and put my hands on this package of papers, which rested from a 
Monday afternoon, a month ago. 

I bless myself and feel so full of pride that I always remember all these details and never 
Feel anxiety or any loss of memory. 

I hear my new hamster, Haydn, running on the floor in his green ball, happily trusting me 

In all things and never attempting to escape or fly from my hands. I like the sound of the 

Rolling, stopping and restarting of a long run on my shiny, wood floor. 

I remember Hannah hamster, now passed on, who never knew what fear was, as I 

Protected her so she only knew of love, fun, trust and beauty. 

I remember she, as a baby, also bit me on the first day we were together, and I had 

Forgotten that the fear has to be taught to go away and replaced with trust. 

I am patience. I am time. I am love. This new hamster will learn trust in me, too. 

Even now, back in his home, Haydn runs on his wheel steadily, making soft rhythmic 

Sounds, free from danger, hunger or harm, because of me. 

I understood another person's story yesterday for I have experienced it with an elderly 
Parent, too, so I know how she feels and what her words mean. 

I forgive any errors in my plans on the highway as God leads me to new sights of scenery 
And experience instead of the exit number I expected. 

I appreciate my companion as she goes along with me on my sense of adventure 

As we fly along on a new route for a little while. 

We celebrate the knowing that in the big picture everything is fine 

While daily life tries to throw wrinkles into the fragrance of our freshly ironed plans. 

I have the vision of seeing life years before and beyond the now, these petty annoyances 

Of life and our physical bodies not obeying our minds, knowing that many days and years 

Will not be remembered at all. 

These feelings of fatigue, the sounds of the air conditioner and the hamster's drumming 
Still try to throw a blinking yellow caution light into the mind of this harmless night 
While I am the one who knows how to smooth days and years like icing on a cake. 
In these days, there will also be great joys and things to remember and 
wish that I could have back again 

Hope and energy is there if I choose to reach up and gather all the sky's colors 

Into my arms and lift away from the weights of disorder and watch them blow into neatly 

Ordered piles, like the bright leaves on a fall day. 

Nancy Seate 


My First Experience with Physical Violence or Danger 

Johnnie Webster 

As a child growing up in the segregated south during the 60's, I was unaware of 
the segregation or Jim Crow Laws. I did not understand at that time why the races did not 
socialize, attend school together, or live near one another. As a child, my time was spent fishing, 
swimming, hanging out with my cousins, and attending segregated schools. The thing that 
intrigued me the most about the situation was that this situation was considered normal during 
the 60's. On one hot night my whole world as I knew it was about to change forever. 

During this time, I never saw white and black children playing together. One night, 
outside the neighborhood store, my friends and I were playing Chest, a game where one person 
tries to hit the other person in the chest with his fist. The game was played to test hand speed, 
not to hurt the other person. One this particular night, a white child came outside and wanted 
to play. As fate would have it, I decided to play with him. Before I knew what had happened, I 
accidentally hit him in his nose; blood oozed out. 

The feelings that came over me after the accident were fear and danger. The only thing 
I remember was running home and hiding underneath the bed because I knew the child's father 
and his friends were coming to take me away and do bodily harm. I could not explain the feeling 
that came over me; I just hit a white child in the nose. The only thing I knew was that I was in 

The fears that gripped me that night I have never experienced since. Lying underneath 
the bed, I was terrified; every noise I heard was intensified tenfold. Every car that passed the 
house I knew was the child's father and friends coming to take me away. That was the longest 
night of my life; the fear and terror were unimaginable for a child of my age. I realized for the 
first time why my parents acted the way they did around white people. The world was not as 
simple as black and white; it was black and white. My survival was based on learning lessons in 
life. These lessons were not taught in school or something read in a textbook. I can only equate 
this to animals teaching their offspring survival skills and the offspring mimicking their parents. 
These lessons have helped mold me into the person I am today. I am a better person because I 
had the opportunity to see this country transition from a segregated society to the most diverse 
society in the world. America is truly the melting pot of the world. 

That night I will never forget for the rest of my life. I found out why my parents called 
white folks "Sir" or Ma'am" even though the person being addressed was a teenager. As a child 
growing up in that environment, I sensed danger, whether actual or perceived. I guess I will 
never find out what would have happened if I had not run home and hid underneath the bed. The 
incident happened over 40 years ago; it seems like only yesterday. 

Got You Covered 

Hye Jin Eom 

My Driving Record 

I prefer driving among dilapidated farmhouses 

white paint clinging to any last breath 

while imagining what dead souls still sit on windowsills 

watching crops come in. Even though I'm Southern, 

I can't recall every small town like Tick Bite or Eureka 

or where that small pinprick on the map is located 

in relation to my vehicle. At least one county 

over from where I'm supposed to be 

noted by cessation of two lane swirl of black top 

an hour later I show up at the community center in Eureka, 

the farmhouse in Nahunta bombarded by relatives wondering 

how I could have missed the turn at the tree with one extra branch. 

Ashley Shivar 


Breakfast Everyday 


I eat my two waffle breakfast 
Say a little prayer 
Head off to school 
And have a good day 


I have my next breakfast (eggs and biscuits) 

Say my little prayer for the day 

Go on to school and do my work 

And then come back home to play and study 


I have my little breakfast (biscuits and waffles) 
And say my little prayer for the day to begin 
And head off to school and do my own work 
And ride on home in my little Honda 

Breakfast is done 
Prayer has been said 
School work has begun 
And then I go on home 


Final little breakfast for school 
And a big prayer for the day 
School is over for the week 
And at home I will stay 


Big breakfast is made (pancakes, waffles, 
Eggs, and bacon) 
School is out for the day 
Big plans are made 
Chores are all done 


I go to church and have a day 
With almighty God 
And the day to rest 
Until the week ahead 

A Simple Morning Traycee Williams 

Three Eggs Traycee Williams 

Adam Payne 


The Little River 

Surrounded by mountains 
the little river was. 
Trapped within a war 
that always ended sore. 
The little river ran 
and asked one mountain, 
"Why are you mad?" 
It responded with a roar, 
"Ask the other; it is the core!" 

So the little river ran 

and asked the other, 

"Why are you mad?" 

It also responded with a roar, 

"Ask the other, for it is surely at the core!" 

The little river slowed its flow 
and waited between the two, 
for he was in a dilemma. 
Does he help one mountain, 
or does he help the other? 
He waited, 
and waited, 

and waited some more, 
until at last he fell asleep. 

But in a dream a plan was formed. 
Why not grow wide, 
why not become deep, 
why not flow fast, and 
why not conquer all? 

So the river changed, 

and he soon ranged in size, 

but through it all 

it had maimed. 

Wider it grew, 

'til it wiped out the space. 

Deeper it sunk, 

'til it could sink no lower. 

Faster it flowed, 

'til it cut through the sides. 

But fall did the mountains, 

'til they saw the error of their ways 

No more did they fight, 

and together they stayed 

with a long flowing sea 

where the river did play. 

John Aldridge 

Back Soon 


Hye Jin Eom 

Summer of the Birds 

Eye Charms 

Swifts in the fireplace 

the plaintive twitters, whorl of wings, 

echo up the chimney to haunt us. 

A swirl of feathers 

the cat, Odysseus, rushes in, 

a small, dark cardinal in his mouth. 

A grackle, trapped, slams 

the glass door. We open it. He shoots 

up, up into the summer sky. 

And in my dreams a jay 

lands on our bed, drops three round eggs 

that glisten like spring onions. 

The birds of summer 
make us see who is trapped 
and who goes free. 

Margaret Baddour 

I like my sparkling turquoise birthstone ring 
Topaz, aquamarine, deep cobalt, light crystal blue 
Icy white flashes from a faceted gem 
A lucky glimpse of peacock green 

Later, driving, I see hot silver trunk locks shimmer 
Metal wheel covers, swirling round moving shapes 
Sun mirrors on glass windows 
So strong I have to look away 

1-95 from Richmond to Rocky Mount 
Glitters brightly of moving granite diamonds 
Only broken by waves of dark streaks 
Tall shadows from the trees 

Even when I take a break 
There are silver shimmers on the ground 
A shiny small discarded foil gum wrapper 
As bright as the highway hidden in the dirt 

The tiny, white stars gaily glimmer up high 
It is not the objects that are special 
But the light that creates the show 
As I see, I claim, I own. 

Nancy Seate 

The Water 


Give me a soul 

Give me a song 

on the rock of ages; 

fits David running; 

give me a soul 

give me the fire-cloud 

on Jerusalem road; 

for my guide; 

I'm mind to sin 

my woman's dead; 

and death is the wages; 

now the hounds are coming; 

gonna walk on the water, 

gonna walk on the water 

I'm told 


Give me a taste 

Give me a song 

of the holy filling; 

that I'm want for singing; 

let me bathe 

give me a song 

in the holy flood; 

that'll ease my head; 

soon my feet 

tomorrow death bells 

will stray to killing; 

will be ringing; 

gonna walk on the water 

maybe I'll walk on the water 

and blood 


Give me those words 

Give me some land 

from the day we married; 

that is free from weeping; 

give me those words 

give me that room 

when we spoke that vow; 

where the sun shines low; 

by nighttime she'll be dressed 

they'll hang me 

to bury; 

in the town this evening; 

gonna walk on the water 

gonna walk on the water, 


I know 

Give me a drink 

Give me quick steps 

'fore I go avenging; 

o'er eternity's fording; 

taking toll 

give me quick steps 

of what is mine; 

to eternity's bay; 

a witch is for lynching, 

lake of fire 

an adultress, burning; 

or Lake of Jordan, 

gonna walk on the water 

gonna walk on the water 

and wine 


Danny Rollins 


It Was Always 2:43 

Carrie Connor 

Mama would always rock me to sleep from the time I was a baby until I got too big to 
sit in her lap. I remember being in elementary school and coming home upset for some silly 
reason, but it was not silly to me at the time. I would sit on the floor and lay my head in her lap 
so that she could run her fingers through my hair until I fell asleep or stopped crying, whatever 
the situation called for. She knew just what to say or just what to do to make right whatever was 

In February 1985, my husband and I gave her the only granddaughter she would ever 
have, and that child was the light in her eyes. She even helped us pick out our baby's name, 
Kelly. As my daughter began to talk, she would call Mama "Darlin" because that is what Mama 
always called her. It was a wonderful time for both of them. Kelly was only three when Mama 
died, and now the only thing she really remembers about her is being rocked to sleep and sung to 
when she stayed with "Darlin." 

Mama was the glue that held my family together. She had a knowledge and tenacity 
about her that was uncanny to me. She was the strongest woman I think I have ever known 
because she worked the same job for thirty-five years and trained all of her bosses but two. She 
kept her faith and held strong when both a brother and her own mama died on her birthday — in 
different years, of course. She was forever determined and strong-willed even when the news 
came out that she had cancer. She kept most of those feelings to herself, not wanting to burden 
anyone with the pain she experienced. Her strength and determination continued right up to the 
very end when she died in the hospital on April 25, 1988, at 2:43 p.m. 

She was in a coma by the time the nurse found us in the cafeteria that day. I rushed to be 
with her, feeling the need to hold her hand as she did for me for so long. Even though she was 
in a coma, there was a look of being afraid on her face. No one in the room would talk aloud. 
However, I felt she needed to hear someone, to know that she was not alone. I took her hand, 
saying, "Mama, please do not worry about me or Kelly because if I am half the person you are, 
she will turn out to be okay." As I talked, it seemed to relax and comfort her. 

Six weeks after her death, sleeping in my own bed was impossible, but ironically, I found 
solace and sleep in my rocking chair. I would wake up almost every morning at 2:43 a.m. with 
the feeling that someone was watching me. Each time I would sit up, look across toward the 
window, and there would be my mama waving, smiling, and mouthing as if she was trying to talk 
to me. It frightened me so much I would pull the covers over my head so that I would not see 
her, but each night it was the same thing. This went on for about two weeks when I finally had 
to tell someone. I gave in and told my dad. Well, he laughed, saying it was just a dream. I knew 
that it was not because each night that it happened, I would test myself to see if it was a dream. 
I would stand up to adjust the covers, take a drink of water, turn, and look at the clock, which 
always read 2:34 a.m. 

One night after I finally got the nerve up, I told myself, "What if this is a ghost? It is my 
mama after all, what am I so afraid of?" That is when I stopped, took a deep breath, looked at 
her, and said, "I love you and miss you so much. I hope you are happy and out of pain now." 
After that night, I never saw her again, but I knew that she was there to let me know that she was 
okay, to comfort me as if wanting to rock me until I fell asleep. 


Beaufort Harbor 

Traycee Williams 

Goodnight, Sweet Princess 

Goodnight, sweet princess 
Who poured poison in my ear. 
My foolishness, the garden gate 
Left open for you, my dear. 

Goodnight, sweet princess, 
I remember our strange dance, 
The 4AM phone confessions, 
Your coy come-hither glance. 

Goodnight, sweet princess, 
Heaven knows your storms. 
Mine were so very small. 
The tempests were all yours. 

Goodnight, sweet princess, 
Your voice is on the wind. 
We've to our own corners. 
I'll never see your like again. 

Jeff Williams 


Unable to shake this gloom 

This fractured sky 

This definite breath. 

I welcome you in the breeze 

Why, then, not revel in the 


One is a memory; the other is 

I remember the best 

But you, here, bring back the 


You remember me, and I am 

Unable to understand 
But you are here. 

Jeanine Callaway 


Clover Miranda Kyle 


Unpredictable. Hovering. 

Science is evolved with experience, data, and reports, 

But there are still many questions about twisters. 

Storm clouds form and rain develops 

In the open plain or on top of a mountain. 

Wind, hail, or debris take course. 

Did it hit the ground; did it show remorse? 

A whisper in the air thunder, clash, and flash. 

Does anyone know which way this beautiful monster will go? 

How many? F-2, F-4, F-5 

Elated Storm Chasers and frightened victims 

Terror of sounds, fast, violent, and dangerous 

Take cover, take cover! Breathe, pray, heart pounding 

Relief, with the sound of sirens. 

Delia Jarman 


Real Thing 


The rain poured down on me 
I saw you 
You told me 
Lifelong I lived 
The life of another 


The sun shone on me 

I saw myself 

I told myself 

For just one moment 

Let me live as I am 


The sun will shine on me 
The rain will pour down on me 
I will give me another chance 

Xian Xaun Zeng 


Miranda Kyle 


The Ghost Behind Me 

Susan Willis 

At what would be considered a late stage in my life I decided that I would go to 
Emergency Medical Technician school. A weird choice for someone who cannot stand the sight 
of blood, but I was determined. Through a lot of hard work and sweat, I passed the class and the 
state test on my first try. Being a volunteer I thought that I could pick and choose which calls 
that I would respond to. It did not take long for me to realize that things do not always work 
out as I planned. I had only been an EMT for two months when I responded to a call that would 
change me forever. 

It was the day before Thanksgiving. I was in a tizzy and had so much to do. I had to 
clean house, cook Thanksgiving lunch for fifteen, and prepare for weekend house guests. I had 
been up since early morning cooking, cleaning, and trying to get ready for the big day ahead. 
In the early afternoon, the fire department pager activated for a burn victim. I debated going or 
not as I really did not want to see someone burned. But to be honest, my curiosity got the best 
of me, and I responded. While en-route, communications gave a short report. This means that 
they give you the age and some general information about the call. The short report stated that 
the victim was a 68-year-old female with burns over her entire body. Immediately my foot went 
on the brake pedal of my car. I did not want to see this. We had paid employees who could take 
care of her. Before I could get the car turned around to come back home, the pager activated 
again for the same residence. The house and the woods surrounding it were on fire. Okay, now I 
had to go. I could help fight the fire while someone else took care of the victim. When I arrived 
on the scene the paid employees looked at me and said that the victim needed to be flown to the 
hospital, and they were going to find a suitable landing zone. This left nobody but me to help the 
paramedic who was already on the scene doing patient care. 

Nothing that I learned in school could have prepared me for what I saw. This poor 
older woman was lying on the ground with her eyes wide open looking for help. She had on a 
polyester robe that had melted to her body, and her cheap polyester and rubber house shoes were 
melted and stuck to her feet. Her hair looked liked like a worn out brillo pad, and her eyelashes 
and eyebrows were gone. She kept trying to tell us something, but we could not make out what 
she was saying. My first job was to try to get her slippers off her feet. They were stuck; the only 
way to get them off was to pull the skin off with them. We cut her robe and peeled away what 
was left of it from her skin. The paramedic was trying to start IV lines so that she could give her 
fluids and morphine for the pain, but her burns were so severe that this proved nearly impossible. 
We gave her oxygen through a mask to help her breathe. This hurt her badly burnt face. Never 
have I felt so helpless. After what seemed like an eternity, the helicopter crew arrived and loaded 
her for the flight to the hospital. Finally I could catch a breath. 

After the victim was gone, the fire out, and the investigation complete, we were allowed 
to leave the scene. I could not stop thinking about what I had seen, smelt, heard, and felt. The 
smell of the burnt polyester, hair, and skin stay with me, and to this day —eight years later—if I 
close my eyes and let myself think about it, I am right there with her again. All of these things 
that I had witnessed were rolling around in my head. How was I supposed to go home now and 
go back to cleaning, cooking, and being normal when I had just witnessed someone practically 
die right before my eyes? She did succumb to her wounds; she developed pneumonia from the 
burns and died about a week later. She stayed with me throughout the Thanksgiving weekend 


and beyond. There has not been a Thanksgiving since that she has not been with me. I learned 
that day that the things that you see will stay with you, but it is up to you how you deal with them 
and how they will affect you. 

I have learned doing this job that you will see awful, terrible things. I cannot change 
this. Some are tragic, terrible accidents, and some are self-inflicted. But I did learn that day that 
people like this lady stay with you. They are like silent, pale ghosts that follow you around for 
the rest of your life. Her ghost becomes visible to me around Thanksgiving, and it always will. 
There is the ghost of the young mother with three babies who could not handle the demons in her 
life, so she tied a sheet to a tree and hung herself. She hops in the car with me every time I drive 
by the "hanging tree" as we call it. There is the elderly couple from our church who were the 
victims of murder-suicide. They are the most prominent and the hardest to keep behind me. I 
knew them personally, and my husband and I found the bodies. The longer that I do this job and 
I love it — as weird as it sounds — more and more ghosts follow me. I have learned to keep them 
behind me where they belong. Sometimes they will sneak up on me, catching me off guard, 
making me catch my breath, making me miss a step, making me wonder what I could have 
done to make the outcome different for them. I only have to stop, think about them, honor them 
almost, and they are content to once again walk behind me waiting for the next time they can 
sneak up on me, never letting me forget them and waiting patiently for the next ghost who will 
join them on their walk. 

Stillness Caitlyn Wheeler 


How Not to be a Poet 
(how to be a poet) 


Do I have to write this paper? 
Alas I know it can't be late. 
But I am a procrastinator; 
Can I turn it in on a later date? 

I have plans and things to complete, 
Crops to plant and homework too. 
Can't you place yourself in my seat? 
No? Ok, well that's my cue. 

Let me turn off the PS 3, 

And shut off the surround sound. 

No more time for TV; 

Some inspiration must be found. 

Why won't this pen just write? 
The deadline is coming fast. 
I struggle through the night. 
I write like a ship with no mast. 

So do I have to write this paper? 
Alas I know it can't be late. 
But I am a procrastinator; 
Can I turn it in on a later date? 

Jonathan Joyner 

Write in words and schemes 
With no rhyme, no reason 
Feign interest in the sublime 
Feign disgust with the trivialities 
Of paying taxes and hygiene. 

Vote Democrat for the 
Sake of saving face 
Have concern over image 
Rather than substance. 

Drink coffee, no 

Tea, no, whisky ! 

Aye, there's the stuff! 

Smoke cigarettes, no 

A pipe, no, don't smoke at all. 

It's all a statement! 

Buck the status quo 
Or not. No, that's 
Better for the brand. 
Hire an agent or manager 
Or personal assistant. 

Claim you're an artist! 
Claim you have integrity! 

Make two million dollars. 

Scoff at others for 
Lack of "talent." 

Go on Oprah. 
Elijah Pipkin 


Feed Me 

Hye Jim Eom 


How to Be Normal 

Amanda Smith 

Before we begin, let's make ourselves acquainted with Augustus. Augustus is weird. 
He is constantly told so by his friends, at least. He wants to be accepted by society. He wanted 
some help becoming normal, and this guide is going to help him. 

The first step to becoming normal is a make-over. Augustus is a professional clown; 
therefore, he has long hair that is bright tangerine orange and twisted into dreadlocks that the 
children love to play with. Augustus really needs help! The first thing he should do is to 
change his hairstyle. The easy way out would be for him to shave his head, but Augustus is 
quite attached to his hair and wants to keep some of it. Since Augustus is over 30, surfer-boy 
type shaggy hair is not appropriate for Augustus. The best option for Augustus would be a short 
hairstyle that is associated with most business men. As for the color? Augustus is going natural 
to warm chestnut brown. Well done, Augustus! 

Next, Augustus needs to acquire a 'normal' personality. He has odd tastes — literally. 
Augustus will eat only food that is dyed green. He watches only black and white television 
shows and listens to techno music at four A.M. He also tells really dull jokes, which he laughs at 
more than anyone else. He also has a nervous twitch that looks like an awkward wink. Augustus 
should first learn that all food taste does not depend on color. After he's got that down, we 
can tackle some normal hobbies. Augustus loves animals, so he decides to volunteer at animal 
shelters. Great! As for a music change, he bought a radio and is catching up with all of the non- 
techno hits. He has a new TV to go with it, so he can watch the Avatar movie everyone has been 
talking about. As for that twitch, Augustus, it's nothing a little bit of medication won't help, so 
he will head to the doctor right away. 

Now that Augustus is physically normal, he will go shopping to get some normal clothes. 
Augustus previously had his clothes in all the brightest colors and sometimes even decided to 
cross-dress a little. He really liked to stand out! Well, sorry Augustus, that's just not normal. 
He must acquire a taste for khaki pants and plain colors, no pattern that stands out too much. 
Sweater vests are very normal, so he should pick up a couple of those. As for business attire, 
plain button up shirts to go with the khaki pants and plain ties of a matching color. Don't fret, 
Augustus; that colorful, crazy tie can be worn on Easter! 

With this new haircut and new attire, Augustus can now begin changing his lifestyle to 
reflect normalcy as well. First, he is going to look for a normal job. A teaching job would be 
nice, but he doesn't want to go to college. Augustus instead is going to work for a large company 
in a tightly cramped cubicle where he will eventually ruin his eyesight by staring at a computer 
all day. Way to go, Auggy! It doesn't get much more normal than that. 

Congratulation, Augustus! The normal transformation is almost complete! Just to put 
the icing on the cake, Augustus must leave everything behind by moving into a nice house or 
apartment. After all, he wouldn't want anyone to know what a freak he was, right? That includes 
his name! After Aug— , pardon, George changed his name, his transformation was officially 
complete. He will never have to worry about standing out in a crowd or anyone remembering his 
name again. Congratulations, oh, what's-your-name, and welcome to normalcy!