/A K Community
C I I €
the Internet Archive
The Writers 1 and Artists' Magazine
Wayne Community College
Goldsboro, North Carolina
Volume 28, April 2012
Cover Jonathan Glisson
Essay Adore Clark
Poetrv Rachel Von Almen
Short Story Adam Payne
JefF Williams Ashley Merrill Crystal Burnett
Rosalyn Lomax, Editor Emerita Marian Westbrook, Editor Emerita
Kathryn Spicer, Editor Emerita
Danny Rollins and Torey Romero
Kerri Loury, Wayne Early Middle College High School
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 2012 Renaissance
Views expressed are those of the individual contributors and do not
necessarily reflect the views of" the editors of this institution.
Life Blood 1 *Rachel Von Almen, AA, %
Gilbert- Chapel Poetry Award Winner
Biscuits and Coffee 2 Made Whitfield, A A
Thirst 2 Gena Dawson, AAS
Autumn 2 Gena Dawson, AAS
A Cup of Coffee 2 Jo Von Moore, AA
Set The Stage 3 Holly Holloman,AAS
Nothing Meant To Stay Will Fall 3 *English 125 Creative Writing Class
1 Smile 4 Shannan Hardy, AAS
The Last Three Hours 5 Albert Edwards, AA
Silhouette of Iwo Jima 6 Brent Hood, Webmaster
To Be Celebrated 7 *Lauren E 2 Glisson, AA,
Gilbert-Chapel Poetry Award Winner
Forget 7 Betsy LaGrone, AAS
Sunday Morning Conversion 8 Sharon P. Weddle, AGE
Little Feather 9 Sadie Goulet, AA
Sparrow 9 Ashley Merrill, English Instructor
Paris 1945 10 Jeff Williams, English Instructor
Champs-Elvsees 10 Ashley Merrill, English Instructor
Oriental Flowers 11 Sadie Goulet, AA
Seasons 11 Theresa White- Wallace, Secretary,
Language / Communication Department
Dog 12 Macie Whitfield, A A
A Day in the Life 12 *Constantine Dejesus, AA
And The Strangers Danced 13 Jell Williams, English Instructor
Bird Skull 13 Sadie Goulet, AA
A Girl and Her Snake 14 *Rachel Von Almen, A A '«
Chance Encounter 14 Sadie Goulet, AA
Who Am I? 15 *Quardelia Moses, AA
Good Night Lexi 16 Adore Clark, AA W
Striped 17 Kenneth Childre, AA
Set Sail 18 Abigail Donahue, AAS
I Am 19 *Constantine Dejesus, A A
The Cabin ol Oz 20 Gena Dawson, AAS
Illumination 22 Jell Williams, English Instructor
Regression 23 Ashley Merrill, English Instructor
Turn and Twist 2 3 *Rachel Von Almen, AA'fc
The End of the Day 24 *Elijah Pipkin, AA
Subwav Faces 2 5 Brent Hood, Webmaster
Bloody Tears 26 Albert Edwards, AA
Sometimes 26 Jeff Williams, English Instructor
Pool Side 27 Macie Whitfield, A A
Heartbreaking Cane 27 Andre Selby, AA
Stapler 28 *Rachel Von Almen, AA'«
Dear Son 28 *Matthew Dillin, A A
Note Poem 28 *Constantine Dejesus, AA
Le Egg Face 29 Abra Lucbberst,AA
Here? Here, There Be Monsters 30 Larry Moore, AAS
1011 A.D 32 Brian P. Bobko, AAS
Roman Ruins 33 Ashley Merrill, English Instructor
Thanksgiving Nightmare 34 Thurman Shackelford, AAS
Ominous Stairs 35 Chastity Cernv, AA
Death of a Dream 36 Sadie Goulet, AA
My Good Sense Lost In My Head 36 Ella A. Edmundson, AAS
Paris 1030 A.D '. 37 Kent Boyette,AA
Bacchanal 37 Kcnnedi Childre, AA
You Are My Friend 38 Jemeka McClarin, A A
Amey & Elmo 38 Nicole Denise, A A
1 Wish Violence Ended Like Nightmares Do 39 Ella A. Edmundson, AAS
Lincoln 39 Brent Hood, Webmaster
JoVon Egghead Moore 40 Jo Von Moore, AA
Loving You 41 Adam Payne, AA
Carlisle's Park 42 Betsy LaGrone, AAS
Tools of the Trade 43 Sierra Reid,AA
The Forbidden 44 Theresa White- Wallace, Secretary,
Language /Communication Department
Keys To Success 44 Kenneth Childre, A A
Declining Into Love 45 Adore Clark, AA
Magic Lights 45 Sadie Goulet, AA
He Said He Loves Me 46 Carla N. Lewis, AA
Curious 46 Jo Von Moore, AA
Blank Stare 47 Amanda Creech, AA
Skull & Stripes 47 Robin Smith, AA
Laugh IfYou Must If My Pains Give You Pleasure.. 48 *Quardelia Moses, AA
Lewis 49 Sadie Goulet, AA
Robin 49 Kenneth Childre, AA
Takeoff 50 Jo Von Moore, AA
Strawseraper 50 Aubrev Sarver, AA
Good Morning 51 Adam Payne, AA
Cornucopia 51 Kenneth Childre, AA
From a Slave's Point ol View 52 Shannan Hardy, AAS
Show Down 52 Ashlyn Hall, AA
ThunderCloud 53 Brent Hood, Webmaster
Dropping Forever Green 5 3 *Laurcn E 2 Glisson, AA
Dear Steven 54 *Matthew Dillin, A A
Thumbprint 54 Kenneth Childre, AA
Three "Fails of a Mouse 55 *Matthe\v Dillin, A A
OldTarboro 56 Adam Payne, AA
Someday We'll Dream Again 56 Jell Williams, English Instructor
She tland Pony 56 Brent Flood, Webmaster
Jason The Cowboy Knight 57 Adam Pavnc, A A 'tfc'
% Award Winner * Member of Margaret Baddour's Creative Writing Class
- -after Walt Whitman
Ah to experience myself as I can,
The beauty of the earth turning as I turn
The feeling of breathing as the wind blows.
My heart beats with energy of life that Hows inside of tree sap.
Mv mind races with horses that run along the shores.
Hear the chatter of the blue birds harmonizing with the melody of my soul.
Dancing and dancing, I am alive in the petals that fall from the cherry tree.
Look at the light through the water; there I am living in the color.
Oh I can feel the heat of the desert on my face as the Arctic cold climbs mv legs.
Where do I seek rest when die weight of whales swims inside mv blood?
Mv spirit vields to the eagles to be lifted awav.
I am overcome with the force of six billion lives, living; along with me as 1 live.
One by one we work to find answers to the questions that have none
Surely the might of the skv will fall and wrap us up again.
I can feel mv mind drifting into the sleep of the darkness of night,
Readv to wake as the sun rises again.
Fall with me; fall through the depths of the planet.
Yes I am there, through the ends of the world, and over the beginnings.
Sing with me
Sing because of what we can feel.
Rachel Von A I men
l^'isau'ts axJ! Goffer
A big yellow bus to take you away,
Shading you from the shine of the day,
Shirts tucked in, non-existent knees.
With every assignment, they mold us into who diey want us to be.
No talking, no thinking, barely any breathing.
Commands disguised as words arc a verbal beating.
They preach to us lessons they force us to learn
When really freedom of the mind is for what we yearn.
Unif ormed bodies, conformity lives here.
Thev sav we are safe, but what we should feel is fear.
At the dav's high peak,
Reaching for an empty glass,
I too become parched.
Gen a Dawson
Ah! Crimson and gold,
Like red snow falling to Earth,
Autumn has arrived.
A Cup of Coffee
Jo Von Moon
Set The Stage
You may be stronger, or so you think
I am suppressed hut am not weak
You hold me hack, push me down
I hold my breath. I will not drown
You fill my heart with fiery rage
Yet I wait to set the stage
To show you the person I am inside
The very person you've worked so hard to hide
The tack you placed onto my heart
Has become the weapon that tears us apart
And on a day you won't realize
I'll change the stage and remove my disguise
The final act is my curtain call
You are the audience that has left the hall
It has been my world all along
Because you arc weak and I am strong
Notkmg Meant To SluuVVill tall
The podules t wist and spiral
make dark shapes
on die honey locust tree.
Like bats, their silent wings
shine silver against the moon.
The wind rustles the podules.
Branches knock and echo
through the night.
English /2j Creative Writing Class
Margaret Baddour, Instructor
Michelle Dejesus, Matthew Dillon,
Lauren Glisson, Qiiardelia Moses,
Elijah Pipkin, C.J. Underwood,
Rachel Von Ahnen
smile at her
Admiring her imperfections
From her big waist, kinky curly hair, and fat round face
She smiles back
I watch her as she holds herself
Embracing all that she is
Rubbing her hips and waist
And stroking her round face
I smile at her and she smiles back
Even on days when I look at her
And a slight frow r n crosses my face
Because just the sight of her
Is a disgrace, my body filled
With rage wishing I could change
Every imperfection on her
That was ever made
Carefully painting over
Errors on her face
Tears begin to race
Down her cheeks
1 wipe them away
Because her heart
1 don't want to break
I smile at her and she smiles back
My love for her is deeper than any river ever known
Wider than the universe
And sweeter than any ice cream cone
I smile at her and she smiles back
Staring into her eves
Lost in her love, I realize that I'm in love
With more than just a reflection, but the person
That lies within
That is she
That is me
1 smile at her
And she smiles back
Three trucks lined up, all of them
ready to go. Everyone accounted
for, inspected, and loaded on the
truck ready to execute our mission. Everything
checked off my list, I think. There is a time in
anyone's life when people have to stand up for
what is right, regardless of the situation anyone
is faced with. I did not have it on my check-
list to know how to handle a situation like this.
Did it need to be on a checklist at all?
All I could feel was sweat stinging my eyes.
The only thing that I could do was wipe the
grains of sand out of my eyes as I shut the door
from the inside. With blurred vision, I waddled
to the gunners seat because the aisle to roof
distance was too small. Climbing up the small
opening, I inspected my machine gun for the
last time. As I put my helmet on, I gave the
order to roll out. As the trucks began to move,
all I could hear was a loud voice speaking noth-
ing but nonsense. It was my lieutenant. "I want
all of you men to know that we are not sharing
the roads with the nationals! Got it!" Lieuten-
ant Henry said. When Operation Iraq Freedom
started, all the nationals had to get off the road
when an Allied Force was approaching. During
OIF 2007-2009, the United States was giving
some of these roads back. It just so happened
to be in one of our sectors. We all just gave our
lieutenant a "roger," and we progressed towards
the Iranian boarder.
It took about three hours before we reached
the border. Driving on the roads of Iraq was
slow. These roads had holes in them the size of
VW Beetles from the aftermath of land mines
and other types of explosive devices. I could
only think of one thing that could take our
minds off that as we drove down these treacher-
ous roads: telling stories of our lives back in the
States. It was our gold, it was our happiness,
and it was all we knew. It made three hours
seem like thirty minutes.
Across the never ending sand I could see one
last hill before we reached the border. One last
hill and through a city is all it took to rest for
the night. The only sensation I could feel was
needles in my feet. The weight of thirty pounds
of gear and standing up in the gunner spot al-
ways seemed to make my feet go to sleep. It
would all be over soon. Climbing the hill was
never a problem for our vehicles before, but this
particular time it was. As we reached the top
of the hill, a small truck approached from the
opposite direction. It looked like a small mov-
ing truck with several different colors of spray
paint on the sides. I could see the Iraqi trying
to move over. "Kill him! Kill him! This is your
chance! Kill him!" Lieutenant Henry said. I
replied with a firm "No!" At this point Lieu-
tenant was turned around in his seat. He was
clawing at me like a tiger, trying to pull me out
of the gunner's seat. It was too late. We were
down the hill, and the truck was a mile behind
us down the road.
As we moved into the city, I kept a swift eye
for any suspicious activity It was really hard,
because Lieutenant Henry was saying the same
phrase over and over. "You are a coward, Ed-
wards! You are not a Soldier! We do not share
roads with terrorists! We kill them!" Lieutenant
Henry kept repeating this for fifteen minutes
until another vehicle approached. In the city,
hundreds of people filled the streets, performing
their duties in life, like busy ants in a colony. A
car stopped to let people pass in the street. The
number one rule with this situation is you don't
stop for anything. Our driver slowed down a
little to let the car pass. At that moment Lieu-
tenant Henry grabbed the steering wheel and
pressed the driver's right knee. Lieutenant was
hoping to run the car over. I left my position
and started to squat like a duck. Violently, I
started pulling Lieutenant Henry back to his
seat. Lieutenant was fighting me! He was fight-
ing his own brother while we were in war. We
were on the same side, but he was fighting me
like we were two dogs in a cage. Five seconds
felt like five minutes, but it was finally over. We
missed the car and kept on driving to the For-
ward Operating Base on the border. "The car
was occupied by a son driving, a mother in the
front, and three little Iraqi children in the back,"
I explained to Lieutenant Henry. Talking to
Lieutenant was like talking to a brick wall; Lieu-
tenant believed that every Iraqi was a terrorist.
We pulled our trucks into the FOB with
dead silence. It was so quiet that all you could
hear was the noises from the trucks and the Sol-
diers clearing the ammunition from their weap-
ons. Every driver parked the trucks in a row.
Soldiers tumbled out with the relief of safety
and just their "brothers" around. "Edwards, get
your sorry ass over here!" came from one angry
lieutenant. I dropped what I was doing and re-
plied, "Moving, Sir!" As I approached Lieuten-
ant Henry, I saluted
him and snapped to
the position of atten-
tion. Lieutenant sa-
luted back and began
his session. I basically
got yelled at for fif-
teen minutes. Lieu-
tenant tried to get me
to cower down, like a
little puppy. He tried
to convince me that
he was right. That
he was an officer and
I should kill anyone
he ordered me to,
regardless of the situ-
ation. The problem
was, Lieutenant had a
mortar round land in
his sleeping quarters.
He lived in a hut no
bigger than a small
vacation camper. The
his whole front skull
open. Lieutenant got
sent to Germany and
came back to Iraq Silhouette oflnv Jima
within six months.
Today was his first day to get revenge. I stopped
all or his fantasies from happening. Lieutenant
had hate built up for innocent people for no rea-
son. I knew what was right and took the right
action without any hesitation. It really made
him mad because he knew I was the bigger man.
Lieutenant had his rank to hide behind where I
had honor, courage, and integrity. I explained
to Lieutenant that I would never obev an order
like that. I explained to him that I protect the
American people and all the civilians that come
along in war. Killing innocent civilians was
wrong, no matter if it was during war. I told
him that I wanted no part of what he thought
was right. No words were spoken between us
after that. Lieutenant just looked down at the
ground and walked away.
My team members gathered around as the
image of Lieutenant Henry faded in a sand
cloud blowing across the FOB, all of them with
smiles and pats on the
back as if I just won
the ballgame for them.
They were all relieved
that I stood up and
did what was right.
They didn't have to
say much for me to
realize what I had
done. No thoughts
were running in my
mind at the time. I
just reacted. I reacted
in the sense of saving
a child from a burn-
ing building. It just
happens. You can't
In the last three
hours of our trip I fi-
nally understood the
sides of war. Some Sol-
diers look for any rea-
son to pull the trigger.
Some Soldiers look for
any reason not to pull
the trigger. I am just
glad that standing up
Brent Hood for what is right in my
heart saved many lives
that day. Not only did I save lives that day, but I
had the respect of my brothers. I felt good about
myself and my upbringing. 'I hat is one emotion
that you don't get to feel that much in war be-
cause of all the distractions, so I guess that it was
never intended to be on a list after all. Doing
what is right is developed in your "heart." You
just have to decide if you are going to do it when
the time comes.
To 3e C$t>rafaJ(
I should be honored
For never leaving unsettling words
Or diluted phrases in the gilded birdcages of their minds.
1 should be respected
For never casting shadows of ambiguity
Or opinions obscured through prisms that shimmer with uncertainty
I should be renowned
For being indescribable even to a poet's smooth melodic tone
Or undeniably desired, vet so impossible to hold.
I should be celebrated
For leaving those who smell my sundrenched skin
Wordless, speechless, and gasping lor verbs irom un-invented languages.
Lauren E 2 Glisson
That feeling consumes my thoughts again
It fills mv senses like drowning
I try to wash you off in the shower
But the dirt won't come off
Despite the million scratches down my arms
To get rid ol your crawling touch
I try to wash you off in die shower
But the blood won't rub off
Those tears streaming down my checks
Mix with the water
I can't tell them apart
Then again, I ask mvsell why even bother
Foolish I was to believe you w ere different
1 couldn't sec those signs
Your charm played me like a fiddle
Now it's sorrow and regret left behind
So here I am in this shower
Trying to wash you off
It's then I can't remember
What it w as that won't come off
Sunday Morning Conversion
Sharon P. Weddle
/t was a cool, crisp Sunday morning in late
November 1963. Most of the leaves had
already dropped, and the heat of the old
potbelly stove beckoned us to rise and shine.
Like every other Sunday morning, I awakened
to the sound of music from the old turntable
sitting in the kitchen corner ringing out hymns
by Ernest Tubb, The Chuckwagon Gang, and a
local family who started singing at a brush har-
bor meeting half a dozen or so years ago. Above
the music, I could hear the sound of Mama call-
ing me and my younger siblings to wash up for
breakfast. The aroma of the sizzling bacon and
homemade biscuits, fresh country eggs from the
hens out back, and Grandma's molasses was the
beginning of every Sunday morning. I raced to
put on my favorite hot-pressed feed-sack dress —
the one I got to go with Daddy to pick out.
Following breakfast, Mama scurried around the
house, rounding up diapers and bottles of milk
for an all-day outing.
Daddy went out to his pride-and-joy — a
1957 Dodge pickup truck. He loved to brag
about how many church folks he could pack in
the cab and how many more he could fit in that
handmade contraption he called a camper shell.
Good looking or not, the camper served its pur-
pose. He must have packed eight or nine church
people in the cab by stacking them in rows of
threes and by squeezing his oldest baby girl in
the signal light corner. The only real discom-
fort came when Daddy changed gears or turned
curves because that compressed everybody so
that it did not allow a lot of breathing room.
But as always, hardly anybody complained once
they all were situated.
After an hour or so of driving in what
seemed to be in circles, we headed back towards
town and finally reached Sister Edna's house.
It was our last stop coming in, and everybody
knew that if we could squeeze in Sister Edna
and her five young'uns, then in another couple
of miles we would be at church and could finally
Well, this particular Sunday morning was
one to be remembered. Yes sir, it would defi-
nitely change me forever. When Sister Edna
got to Daddy's truck, she was crying something
awful. Everybody reckoned her old man had
been beating up on her again, but not so this
time. When Daddy and Mama finally calmed
her down so that they could understand what
she was saying, she blurted out, "President Ken-
nedys been shot and killed, Brother Pounds.
What's our country going to do now?" She fell
all to pieces again.
Well, it was November 24, 1963, and it
was my first recognition of a very morbid real-
ity. I was six years old, and I sensed from that
time forward I would never be the same again.
Daddy was not much of a man in politics to
do anything but vote, especially since he was a
preacher, and politics and religion did not mix.
But, in those few minutes, when Sister Edna's
heart-wrenching exclamations echoed in my
mind, my little heart sank. On that day, my
patriotism for my country was born. Little did
I know that a cool, crisp day in late November
would change me from the innocent little girl
that I was to an American patriot. I understood
what country meant to Sister Edna. From that
day forward, respect for my country's leadership
was instilled in me. The voice of the little people
believed that strong leadership is essential to the
future of our county. Sister Edna mourned the
loss of our president as if he were an extension
of her own family. That is when I realized that
being an American means loving your country
and supporting your leaders. On that Sunday
morning, I converted from an American to an
She packs the suitcase, only what she needs,
takes half the photos, leaves the ones behind
that show her dressed in white, all lace and beads,
in hopes that when she can't, those will remind.
There was a dav so long ago that she
thought heaven more than hope, tound it in all
the brush of fingers, press of lips; now he
has answered it with fists against the wall.
She packs the suitcase, knowing; that his pleas
will draw her back, as every time she leaves.
Our history has nothing to do with that august moment.
We did not weep on a street corner on the Champs -Ely sees,
watch tanks roll through, DeGaulle bedecked in triumphant glow.
Nor did we celebrate later with a few crumbs of an old crusty loaf,
a few moldy pieces of gruyerc, the last tin of canned meat.
No, our history began with something much more mundane,
an evening ritual with friends, a swim at the college pool,
you and your old roommate on the other side like ducks
missing the hidden alligator. I owe this simple moment to
a friend with no sense of direction, no eyes in the back of his head.
I drink this cup of weak, lukewarm tea
and remember the day like the first thunderclap of freedom
must have felt to Parisian revelers, the cafes open, the "Marseilles"
sung; without fear of reprisal. Somewhere collaborators were
executed that day, but mv friends, no, thev are still safe and alive.
Can you feci it in the air? A new season has arrived
The days are shorter and the nights arc cooler
The trees are changing their wardrobe to red, yellow, orange, and brown
Soon the leaves will dance across the road and blanket the vard widi color
Squirrels are gathering dieir food and birds are planning their southbound trip
All of this in preparation for the season that will soon follow
The grass is brown and die trees are bare
Frost is on the windows and smoke is rising from the chimney tops
Animals are huddled together in hopes of keeping warm
Snow has covered everything in sight
Icicles arc hanging from the gutters
W inter has arrived
The snow is melting and the days are warmer
Daffodils and tulips are making their wav to the ground above
The bare trees are full of colorful blooms
Everything in sight is coming alive
The birds arc singing
The sun is bright and cicadas can be heard at ni^ht
The smell of freshly cut grass fills the air
Thunderstorms roar as lightning flashes
Children are playing
Ants are crawling on picnic baskets
A new season has arrived
Theresa White- Wallace
Oriental Flowers Sadie Goulet
Sometimes I need that escape, me and vou.
A chapter overread, words brought back to life.
Going back, that is not the case.
The ticket 1 can never buy, the thrill of the pursuit .
A chase that does not exist; impossible.
Reminders come at all the wrong times.
Now, unscathed, remembrance finds its way.
Painted on the walls, no predicament to decode.
The present; no, the future.
That is where 1 live.
A tiny look back does not hurt anymore.
What seems to be a shadow
of a cat sits on a pane.
His sleek bodv moves
as he leaps in autumn leaves.
A curious mind comes alive
like winter wind coming to play.
Thoughts of mice fill him
as the evening rolls around
a fancy feast of blood and guts
to make a kitten's stomach delight.
A tired little shadow of the
cat I think is mine . . .
time to nap the night away,
he thinks, as the time flies by.
Constant ine Dejesus
Awl the Strangers Danced
Flight of birds, flight of birds
And the strangers danced
Jack of hearts, queen of spades
Played the cards in hand
Tide and current, wind and wave
Beneath the midday moon
Flight of birds, flight of birds
She hummed 'Clair de Lune'
Jack of hearts, queen of spades
He asked her for her name
Tide and current, wind and wave
A sea rock picture frame
Flight of birds, flight of birds
A ring of faded shells
Jack of hearts, queen of spades
The roar of crashing swells
Tide and current, wind and wave
Lost in the ocean glare
Flight of birds, flight of birds
She sof tly stroked his hair
Jack of hearts, queen of spades
He knew deep down the fear
Tide and current, wind and wave
That all would disappear
Flight of birds, flight of birds
Beneath the midday moon
Jack of hearts, queen of spades
She hummed 'Clair de Lune'
Tide and current, wind and wave
The seagulls sang their chants
Flight of birds, flight of birds
Melody of doomed romance
A Girl and Her Snake
The cool of the glass against my face
As I watch inside, a beautiful ribbon unfurls.
Two stars look back at me shimmering in light.
My breathing speeds up as my eyes watch with wonder. . .
Soon I hear a voice and a ladv is opening the cage.
Soon I have a warm soft body in my hands as it climbs.
Soon I see a beautiful pattern of colors, before hidden by glass.
Soon I feel the scales along its body moving around as it explores.
Not long has passed before it has climbed wherever it can.
1 can't help but smile as it explores mv pockets.
When it's time to say goodbye I frown and untwine.
Soon my nose is pressed against the glass again the glass in my memory.
'fS Rachel Von Ahncn
There once was a snake in the grass,
and he slithered and started to pass,
but his path was askew,
and I suddenly knew
that he was winding towards me.
So 1 jumped up and let out a shriek,
I admit that it sounded quite meek,
and he tilted his head,
do you know what he said?
He exclaimed that he had not seen me.
So I asked him what he was after,
but this just filled him with laughter,
he said, "Dear little girl,
I am after a squirrel,
you are much too large of a feast!"
To be lit
or to be blown out.
To be turned on or to be turned
out. Who is sometimes occupied
bv darkness? Whose life is
indefinite? To outdo darkness, to
shine? Sometimes I'm blown
but am then replaced, to look
the darkness in die face.
Sometimes I'm broken
1 am needed to
survive; I am
needed to show
I am needed
to show the
is hope. I am f
I am the
I am liaht.
Good Night Lexi
* Adore Clark
/look at the clock. Its hands grab at each
number, one after another, but not fast
enough for me. I begin tapping my pen-
cil against my desk, which earns me an annoyed
look from the person beside me, so I begin to
tap harder. I study the room, which is reason-
ably sized but still too small to hold the thirty-
something kids here, and wish once again that
the teacher would just let us leave. My teacher,
an old grouchy man who should've retired ten
years ago, gives me the evil eye, and I stop tap-
ping my pencil. I'm one or his best students,
and he still doesn't like me. 1 don't understand
why; I wasn't the one who wrote a joke about his
toupee on the board this morning.
I look at the clock again. Ten seconds, nine
seconds, eight seconds... I can hear the sounds
of people getting into position to race out the
door. I know who they are without even look-
ing. I'd be one of them too if I had anywhere
to go except my next class. It's English, a class
which I know I'll get an A in whether I go to
it or not, so maybe 1 should just skip. I sigh
and lean back because I know I won t, no matter
how much I want to. Skipping class, even when
I feel like I've just been run over, goes against my
very being. I was always raised to be the good
student, the good child, the one who wouldn't
dream of skipping class just because I don't reel
up to it. Still, even good kids can go bad once
in a while.
The bell rings and many of my classmates
sprint out the door before the teacher even has a
chance to remind them about next week's test. It
doesn't matter if they heard, though; they won't
study for it anyway. I pick up my backpack and
sling one strap over my shoulder. It's heavier
than usual, and I wonder if I should wear both
straps for a moment. I decide not to. Who has
time to worn' about back problems now?
I walk to my next class after stopping at my
locker to grab my textbook. I probably won't
need it, but I like reading the stories when I get
tired of listening to the teacher. I already know
everything she has to explain to the rest of the
class for the twelfth time. It's not that they don't
understand; it's that they don't care enough to
try, which really gets on my nerves. Not every-
one plans on working at Cookout for the rest of
I get to my class and take my seat in the
corner, not in the front, but not in the back ei-
ther. The teacher can see what ever you're doing
in the front and calls on the ones in the back
constantly because she knows they're not paying
attention. I've mastered the art of giving her
half my attention, though, so when she does call
on me, I'm ready with the right answer. I always
have the right answer.
When the final bells ring, I grab my back-
pack and race out the door while everyone is
still turning in his or her papers. I turned mine
in yesterday when it was due. Then I dump all
my things into my locker and race out the front
doors. I get to my car and race out of the park-
ing lot, within the legal speed limit of course.
I drive for about 30 minutes. With each
second that passes, I feel more alive than I have
felt all day. Part of me wishes I was numb to
all of this; the other part is glad I'm not. Soon
I'm parked in front of huge iron gates. A man
is standing on the other side of the gate, closing
them slowly. He spots me and gives me a quick
"Thought you wouldn't make it. Just leave
the car there; no one else will be coming this
late in the day," he says, then opens the gates
back up a little. I get out of the car and squeeze
through after taking a small blue bag from my
trunk. The man points to his watch, reminding
me I only have 30 minutes, then walks towards
a little shed. I smile; he'll be too busy watching
the TV he has hooked up in there to notice if I
am here 30 minutes or two hours.
I start walking down the little path, then
veer off and begin walking through the rows
and rows of stones and statues. I stop every
once in a while and take a flower out of my bag
and place it in front of the older ones, the ones
covered in moss and weeds which look like they
haven't had a visitor in a long time. Tliey seem
lonely to me, and maybe they are. I know I
would be if there was no longer anyone in the
world who knew who I was.
I'm almost out of flowers when I finally get
to the one stone I've been looking for. I place
the rest of the flowers in front of it. It's not
as old as the other ones, but it does have a few
blades of grass growing where only dirt used to
be. Inscribed into the stone are the words Alexis
White 1992-2010 Beloved daughter, sister, and
friend. I stand for a minute and just stare at it,
thinking how up until now I've always had the
right answers for everything. I wonder why I
can't find the answers now and sit down.
"Hey Lexi, guess what, that little monkey of
a brother of yours made the team. You should ve
seen his first game."
I talk like that for a while, stopping every
now and then to keep from crying. It's almost
as if she was with me again, listening to me
ramble on and on, helping me try to find my
answers. It starts to get darker and darker and
before I know it, it's almost too dark to see. I
pick up my bag then and head back to my car.
I smile again when I see the lights still on in the
shed. 1 climb into the car and begin to back up.
Before I drive off, I look back once.
"Good night, Lexi,'' I whisper, then slowly
drive off into the darkness. ♦>
There's a ship on the sea, gliding toward agony
A wave of grief engulfs the bow
Tosses and turns, reverts to what was learned
Peace was never found until now
It left behind people, decided to forge on solo
The ropes were left untcthcred, unbound
If there was onlv a mate, who could save it from its fate
Guide it to the light of this house
Things are hard to grasp on a sea of regret
There were things no one else knew about
Now all that we ask is to rewind the past
Because this is a memory we'll never be without
The calm of the sea seems all too frightening
Knowing what once happened here
The onlv way to move is to set sail and be strong
Glide through the oceans w ith no fear
We can sit around wondering, or walk around laughing;
At the adventures of the friend that we lost
Because a soul never stops beating, so keep on remembcrin
Every action comes with a cost
Things are hard to grasp on a sea of regret
There were things no one else knew about
Now all that we ask is to rewind the past
Because this is a memory we'll never be without
Bring us to shore, safe and unharmed
Please be our guiding star
With each passing day, we miss you more and more
But we live with you fixed in our hearts
- - after Walt \ Vh it man
I am a chameleon,
I blend in, you can't sec me.
I hear the beautv and sorrow of life
but never am seen.
I sec myself on a boat,
sailing with pirates on the coasts of Europe.
I hear wolves calling.
1 am running for mv life.
I am alone.
I listen to the wilderness around me,
canaries sinaing in the distance.
1 am one with nature.
I explore evcrv road in Jerusalem.
I get lost trving to follow Jesus 's footsteps.
I am back,
back to the house where I used to live
the cobblestone roads so familiar
back to the place I was the happiest
the place where religion and culture ruled
back to the place I felt safe and secure
back to where I want to be
The Cabin of Oz
11 people have memories of imagined. It was much better! Through a
f favorite places. Sometimes
^ these places can be from
childhood or from a vacation. This is about
my favorite place, and it all starts on the
winding roads of the North Carolina moun-
tains. I was about thirteen at the time and
was feeling rather anxious about this trip, es-
pecially the nerve racking eight hour car ride
through the twisting narrow mountain roads
and the anticipation of arriving at this log
cabin my grandmother and her two friends
had purchased. They had been working on
it for a few vears now, and this was to be the
first time I and my dad were going to see
it. My dad, grandmother, her two friends
whom I called Aunt Betty and Uncle John,
and I would all be spending two weeks to-
gether in it. I was fortunate enough, unlike
most of my friends at that age, to be blessed
with the gift to enjoy the outdoors and live
without TV and was very much looking for-
ward to the time spent there.
We arrived at the base of a very steep
gravel road, so steep in fact that I was not
entirely confident the car we were in could
make it. I had this horrible mental image of
the car getting up the road a ways and then
suddenly stalling and all of us rolling back-
ward down the mountain. Luckily, the car
made it up the path, although very slowly. I
remember the awe as I looked through the
trees and marveled at the deep and over-
whelming green. I had seen blocks of woods
before but never a wilderness like this. No
trails to follow, no neighbors for miles, just
open forest to explore. I had noticed a stream
running alongside the road, and then we
came to a small clearing. Beyond the stream
over an old wooden bridge, there it was. It
was not the small one story log cabin I had
weaving driveway of dogwood trees was a
two story getaway. It had a large veranda
that went all the way around with support-
ing posts so large you could hug them and
not get your arms all the way around. It was
accented by large hanging ferns and hum-
mingbird feeders. I remember there were
rocking chairs across the entire porch and
no shortage of a view. I also remember the
warmth of the wood during the day and the
smell of hot cedar and pine when I sat out
on it during the height of the day. This was
a favorite place of mine to sit in the morning
with a blanket and listen to the stream. The
air smelled so clean and crisp.
The inside living room had a very definite
ski lodge look to it, with large log furniture
and a massive sandstone fireplace. I recall
an old record player behind the front door
that to my amazement still worked. On the
far wall there was a large staircase that drew
your attention to a ridiculously high ceiling
with an old iron chandelier. The upstairs
was much like a small studio apartment but
with one unique exception. As you passed
through the bedroom area to the miniature
living room, just before you reached the
door to the second story balcony, there was
a curtain on the wall. My curiosity got the
better of me, so I pulled back the curtain,
and there built into the wall was a twin size
bed. It was built more like a window seat,
up off the ground with a small shelf that had
a tiny lamp and a few books. I instantly
claimed this find for myself with little objec-
tion from the adults, who seemed to have
already known I would want to sleep there.
I remember the knots in the wood at night
looked like eyes, and I would count the num-
ber of animals I could distinguish in them,
foxes and owls mostly. Back downstairs was
a large old country style kitchen which con-
nected to the living room and at the end of a
long hall was a door to the veranda again.
Feeling well acquainted with the cabin,
it was time to explore. First on my mental
list was the stream out front. I spent a great
deal of time by it and in it. The water was
very cold but so clear and had tiny flecks of
fools gold and large smooth blue grey stones.
I followed it to its origin and was shocked to
find that this fairly large stream just magical-
ly appeared out of an opening no bigger than
my fist. Disappointed but satisfied, I set to
the next task: exploring the woods. I went
a little further each day, and the thought of
running into wildlife bigger than I was had
never occurred to me, so when I told my
dad I wanted to go and follow the stream
down the mountain, he insisted on going
with me. Only five minutes in, I could tell
he had gotten more than he had aimed for
when the stream seemed to be impassable by
the thick forest. We decided to walk down
the mountain by road. We passed a large
blackberry field where the sound of bees was
overwhelming. The constant hum of small
insects that could sting me gave me goose-
bumps when my dad told me we would stop
to pick some on the way back up. In my
opinion, homemade blackberry cobbler w r as
not worth the running and screaming from
angry bees. But to my dad it was fear well
We walked down the road about a mile
more, and in the quiet you could hear a loud
white noise, like the sound you hear coming
from a static TV screen but amplified and
hollow. He and I were both curious, so we
started into the woods from the road. The air
grew cool and heavy, and moisture was col-
lecting on the leaves of the trees we pushed
out of our way. Suddenly, my dad shouted
from a few paces in front of me. "Gena,
hurry up and come and look at this!" In a
clearing no more than thirty feet wide was
a small waterfall. The water was running
over a flat, almost unnatural looking face,
into a shallow, dark, but clear pool. The
pool was just deep enough to wade into up
to my chest. 1 was so excited I couldn't wait
to jump in. We went back to the cabin and
told my grandmother what we had found,
so they would all come and see. I changed
into a bathing suit and went swimming un-
til it was nearlv dark. I don't think anvone
had ever seen the water fall before us. I don't
think anyone else has seen it since.
That night I caught more fireflies than
I had ever seen. The stars were so vivid.
There was not a bit of light pollution to dim
the sight. I had never seen so many stars.
The air was cool enough at night that ev-
eryone slept with the windows open. The
sound of the stream bed out front, ever pres-
ent, was like a soft song to lull me to sleep.
I dont think I had ever been more relaxed.
No chores, no phones, no TV, and nothing
I enjoyed every minute there. The smells,
the sounds, the sights are all embedded in
my memory. When it was time to leave, my
family did me one last kindness and let me
walk down to the waterfall again while they
packed up the car. When we were all set to
leave, we piled into the car and headed down
the drive. On the way out I looked back at
the cabin as we crossed the bridge. I noticed
a sign that somehow I had overlooked, and
I asked my grandmother where the sign had
come from. She said it had always been there
since before they had brought the place. I
only got to visit the cabin one other time
before it was sold. I never found out how it
got the name. The sign read, "Welcome to
The Cabin of Oz." ❖
A single light in the window
^ £ %
Would that I could, I would excise you
part my flesh with gleaming blades
and pluck you out, the black threads of you
wrapped tight around every part of me;
I would wipe you from every mental page
let you vanish from all 1 still hold of you
the way you let my fingers slip
in cold starlight so many years ago.
Because love I still carry vou,
double, for you carry none of me
I'd wrench my heart out to lose vou again
wrench out that echo, that second fatal heartbeat,
sever that Rochesterian thread
and let vou fade in twilight, on distant shores.
Or, better yet ,
I'll let him rip you out of me
overwrite vou, burn into flesh and bone
to undo all the scars of vou.
I would erase vou, love,
every inch of you, everv whispered word,
close your eyes for ever
just to find mvself as I was bef ore vou -
hollowed out , still believing 1
that there was ever a way for this to end,
ever a way for us to end, at all.
My path down the road here,
It turns and twists away,
The sun sets over the grassy hills.
They still my soul's wandering.
Mv eyes have dipped
I can see the bend and sway of grass.
And now it's come to fall apart
as mv time ends on this world.
The light of the moon shines over
the needs of the redwood tree.
The glow ing embers of the setting sun
have hnallv blown into the abyss.
't? Rachel Von Almen
The End of the Day
/t was Tuesday night and Omar Bedra-
dine was yet again on the receiving end
of a defeat so severe that he questioned
the purpose of online gaming altogether. It was
bad enough that he had banged his thumb while
finishing the engine work on his '57 Cadillac-
Sedan de Ville earlier in the evening. Endur-
ing profane comments about his mother's sexual
prowess made by boys so young their voices had
yet to descend into the awkwardness of pre-
manhood was a reminder that Tuesdays were
indeed hellish and genuinely sucked.
While his nights were steeped in the tacti-
cal advances of modern warfare and the oily
mathematical intricacies of classic automobile
restoration, his days were centered on his job as
a high-end electronics salesman for the global
electronics megastore Great Deals!. It was a good
job with great benefits, a solid forty hours a week
plus commission, and a more than reasonable
paycheck every two weeks. Although his posi-
tion as a salesman wasn't ideal — he would have
preferred a management position — Omar liked
his work nonetheless. As he was much like his
father, who also hadn't known a stranger since
the time he could speak, the prospect of talking
to new people every day while looking at ad-
vanced home electronics he could easily obtain
at an abundant discount gave Omar a moderate
sense of personal fulfillment.
Tuesdays, however, were a little less than
stellar. New DVD, Blu-ray, and album releases
caused the store to be rearranged frantically in
the early hours before it began its daily opera-
tions. The strict adherence to the impractical
pre-mapped marketing stratagems, created by
office dwelling analysts who had never seen the
interiors ol the Great Deals! retail locations, was
the cause of much chaos. Omar's boss, Mandy,
eventually grew tired of the marketing map and
threw it away, leaving the marketing and place-
ment of all new products entirely up to herself
and the rest ol the crew. Needless to say, this
store, store number 2814, had the highest sales
percentages of new products in the region.
At 1:35 AM, Omar lifted himself from his
recliner and the vibrant glow of his fifty-five
inch high-definition television. As he rose, he
extended his arms and stretched, letting out a
satisfied sigh. Although it had been a bet rushed
and slightly stressful in the beginning, it had
been a good day overall, and Omar felt that he
deserved all of the mindless grenade slinging
and trash-talk that he had engaged in for the
past three and a half hours.
After taking a few moments to work out the
kinks from sitting in one position for far too
long, Omar picked up the television remote,
pressed the power button, and unceremoniously
tossed it into his chair. He closed his eyes, feel-
ing the need to blink long and hard. He had left
the lights off in his room again while playing;
the strain of looking at the television screen so
intensely for so long made him feel as if sand-
paper were under his eyelids. Omar opened
his eyes and gave them a moment to readjust
to the room; the only discernible light was the
halogen streetlamp from across the street. He
fumbled around his childhood living space un-
til he reached his bedside table lamp. With a
simple click, a small corner of the room was il-
luminated by a soft amber glow.
The stucco walls in his bedroom were bare-
ly visible; they were covered in the numerous
achievements Omar had received over the years.
The lamp's light made the golden figures atop
the various trophies kick, punch, and grapple
with all the ferocity and focus Omar had when
he had earned them. Lining the various shelves
to the left of his bed, stoic plastic figurines of
various superheroes and superheroines faced the
door, ever vigilant in their efforts to ward off
any evil which might come in the night.
His eyes wandered below his silent guard-
ians and fixed upon the cluttered mess which sat
atop a very old, well used drafting table. It con-
tained half-finished drawings and day dreamed
doodles from what felt like a lifetime ago. It
had been nearly three months since Omar had
even thought about touching a pencil to paper
for anything other than work orders, and nearly
four times as long since he actually did so. His
gaze drifted upward to the framed picture fixed
on the wall between the shelves and the table;
it was a sketch of Captain America throwing
his shield. It had been drawn for Omar at a
comic book convention in New York by legend-
ary comic book artist Jack "The King" Kirby
the year before his death. For a brief moment,
Omar relived the meeting where he gave one of
his most prized personal drawings to the living
legend as a gift. He remembered the sweet and
musky sent of pipe tobacco on Kirby's shirt, the
reassuring smile that seemed to melt away any
worry or anxiety six-year-old Omar had felt in
overly populated room of sweaty adults, and the
sparkle in The King's eye that exuded both Jacks
love of life and or people.
"Keep drawing, kid. Youre already better
than half the guys in the room. Keep it up and
you'll be the best," Kirby had said.
The King's words resonated with Omar, who
found himself standing over his table, studying
a drawing of a warrior woman clad in armor. It
was one of his favorite pieces because it didn't
placate the fantasies of men who had never
known the touch of a woman. She was covered,
yet her form was dynamic and exuded a unique-
feminine strength that seemed to be lacking in
modern comic art.
He grabbed a few of the drawings and sat on
his bed, separating the completed pictures form
the incomplete. Memories of late nights in all-
night diners and cigarette smoke-filled pitch ses-
sions fueled by coffee and the dreams of idealistic
young men came rushing back. So, too, did the
realization that he was very young and very stu-
pid in those days. It took him a while, but he
eventually figured out the world didn't work the
way that he thought it did. If he could at that
very moment travel back in time and speak to his
twenty-two-year-old self, he would save himself
three long years of rejections and heartache and
missed opportunities at romance. Omar would
tell his younger self that the world was a cold co-
nundrum of nepotism and fear of new ideas.
Slowly, he gathered his drawings and placed
them back on the table, wishing he hadn't
picked them up in the first place. He drew back
his covers and laid down. ♦♦♦
Walking alone with a troubled mind,
only one can see what is within.
Stepping stones are the images brought to light,
to help guide, to help fly once again.
Finding the path is always the quest,
of a dismayed heart that lost itself.
Searching the fields of life never ends,
the light seemingly grow s dim by beauty's mist.
The time will come when you find your best
in welcoming arms from the ground when vou
lay your head to rest.
Sometimes the wind just isn't enough
the falling rain, the twist of leaves.
Sometimes the fleeting hint of stars
offers only vagaries of a universe
Sometimes the sea and foamy tides
the seagulls chasing fish and waves
provide no cover or hope of dreams.
Sometimes even well-adjusted men
Sometimes winter is no relief ,
pictures of a childhood snowstorm.
Unholv summer heat writhes over the
Wishes vou hope to come sometimes
I'm craving changes.
Do you know them?
Angry ink flows from my pen.
I can't go on this way.
It makes my mind, it makes my heart sore.
You say you promise.
Can I believe you?
It could end up my back to you, foot to shoe.
You think I'll get over it.
This is a grave mistake.
The future might include a wave good-bye and a handshake.
Never underestimate me.
To you I'll do the same,
For I know everv twist and turn of this game.
Sugary mush, the grin of sweetness, the gushing sunshine, flowing like a limitless river
Gummy, pliable, neon-frosted sweetness; I could burn my tongue
Steel myself from your pending advance of bright, like a flavor on the roof of mv mouth
Buried alive bv this saccharine dream, the taste of unbelievable and boundless joy
Scattered and sticky, specks of gelatin stuck to my teeth, whisper of a time
When the world was warm and mv tongue would scream
Shoot through me pinks and greens, soft as clouds
Colors from the sky, colors from the earth
Stream and wave through mv heart like beams of silk
And tip ever so slightly the held-high pail, swelling with a glow that will be dispensed
The pouring and never ending gallons of Light
Splashing onto the floor, it consumes with a somber vigor
Eating all the dust, all the plants, all the soil, wood, and stone
Rendered frivolous in this confectionerv crusade
Dear person who made my stapler. . .
Yes it staples
I got it to work maybe four times!
I'm so proud of your work ethic. . .
I just brought a new one
I hope you didn't make this one too.
% Rachel Von Almcn
If you don't remember the milk,
Then a timid cat you will find
Sulking in a dusty corner
With a look of pure terror
And a drv bowl of cereal
Will await on a distressed wooden
I apologize for taking vour iPod.
The songs vou have on it arc great.
Next time I want to sing alona
I'll wait until vou arc asleep.
Here? Here, There Be Monsters
/"^ lowly opening my eyes, I see him sit-
V ting Indian style on my footboard.
\ ^_J With his eyes closed, he is mum-
bling away. Speaking in a language that can
only be described as gibberish, his words
boom with a false deepness: 'Um da bum da
dumdy yah. Bum da dumpa can of Crisco.'
Sensing my movement, he rises to move up
the bed across mv chest, and I can't move.
As I am straining to look him in the face,
he simply smiles at me and speaks in a voice
more befitting his small stature: "You must
exorcise your demons.' Shaking his head at
my confusion, he leans forward, poking me
on the forehead with one of his knobby fin-
gers. 'Here? Here, there be monsters.'
That dream was five years ago. Some-
times when I close my eyes, I see him still
standing there in his too small suit, walking
cane in one hand, bowler in the other, smil-
ing through a scruff of facial hair, making
Verne Trover look tall. He scares me, not
because of how he looks but because he is
right. We all have demons, monsters, in-
side of us, kept tied in the darkest recesses of
our minds where no one else can see them.
There comes a time when you have to force
your way through the darkness of your soul
to make it to the light. It's time to exorcise
my own monsters.
It snowed the day I was born, the cold-
est March on record, and my parents lived
in a tiny apartment above an ice plant. You
could say that I was born during an ice age.
My parents were raised around each other,
and when they married, everyone assumed
that it was because they were with child, but
they weren't. They tried to love each other
as best they could, but they separated just
before I turned twelve. When 1 was five,
we moved to a small town. Actually, it was
more a street than a town. The nearest store
was ten miles away. It was a great street. We
were surrounded by family — cousins, aunts,
uncles, grandparents. I have fond memories
of that time: the sweet bitter smell of fresh
shorn grass, mud pies for Grandma, the
grating hum of cicadas, chasing fireflies in
the fields, magnolia trees in bloom, brown
paper bags of candy from Grandpa. It w r as
also there that I learned about monsters,
imagined and real.
My Uncle Robert loved monsters, Uni-
versal and Aurora. The walls of his room
were covered with monster posters and cov-
ers from Monsterland. I used to stare at them
awestruck as we listened to scratchy cassette
recordings of Frankenstein, Dracula, Crea-
ture from the Black Lagoon, and Wolfinan.
For hours I would sit there lost in my uncle's
world. An Invisible Man model stood on a
desk, tie blowing in the breeze, hand raised
in a fist. A skull shaped candle holder sat on
the windowsill, red wax trails rolling over its
forehead. The floor was filled with stacks of
books on the movies of Universal, Lugosi,
Lorre, KollofT, Chaney (Junior and Senior),
and Cushing. That place was as much a part
of my life as breathing.
Over the course of the next year, I was
devastated by death. First, my grandmoth-
er died after a short bout with cancer. My
grandfather rarely left her side, yet he always
managed that bag of candy. Seven months
after her passing, my grandfather too passed
away. Doctors claimed cancer; the family
claimed a broken heart. Shortly after, I was
sweet on a little girl in the neighborhood.
She had blond hair, blue eyes, and a smile
like a sunrise. I spent every daylight hour
with her that I could, which at seven wasn't
much. One day I went to visit her, but she
wasn't home. Her mother was crying when
she spoke to me. When I went home I told
my mother about her crying. Sometime the
night before, she choked on a piece of candy
that was still wrapped in its plastic. That
night, as I drifted off to sleep, I heard my
parents talking about how horrible it must
have been for her to die like that, alone, sur-
rounded by darkness.
With the passing of my grandparents, I
would still go to my grandparents' house to
visit my aunts and uncles. Sometimes when
I went there, my Aunt JoAnn would come
out and say, 'Before you come in, we have to
put the dog away.' A rumbling growl would
come from the hallway. I would stand
transfixed as my Aunt Brenda would come
bounding out on hands and knees, panty-
hose pulled over her face, the legs stuffed
with socks to look like ears. Without hesi-
tation, I would turn and run home to tell
my mom, 'They were busy.' My mother had
never heard the story until I was in my thir-
ties. My aunts couldn't believe that I never
Sometime in the late seventies I learned that
some monsters were real. The body of a boy
was found, naked and cut up, in a ditch near
the graveyard. I remember the picture in the
newspaper, just a ditch with people standing
around. If you looked close, you could see the
boy's arm and a tuft of his hair. His killer was
never found, but the whispers I heard about
what happened and the door being locked at
night for the first time gave me nightmares.
Two daughters of family friends were attacked
in their own house. While everyone else was
at church, the two sisters let a strange man in
to use the phone. He pulled one sister from
the house into the woods. Using threats of
violence against one, he forced die other sister
to follow along. One of die girls was stabbed
repeatedly, left to spend the rest of her life in a
wheelchair. The other sister was stabbed, then
shot. She would later say that she was disgust-
ed at the sound of him urinating on her. It was
when she felt the heat that she realized he had
set her on fire.
Ellen was a girl in the neighborhood
that everyone picked on. Her eyes were
too big for her elfish face. Her blond hair
was always unkempt. She wore third-hand
clothes that were faded, worn, ding)', and
smelled. Her mother was a smallish wom-
an, stocky with no neck. Her father always
wore khaki pants, stained muscle shirts, and
stained work boots. He would sit on his
small porch, drink his beer, and yell at all
the kids in the neighborhood in the trailer
park. We were unmerciful in our teasing,
making her cry and plead for us to stop. We
would laugh and egg each other on. No one
One day I was walking through the trail-
er park where she lived to visit other friends.
As I was walking, I looked over at her trailer,
and I could see through the window that she
was doing something to her father. She was
sitting in front of him while he stood, block-
ing her fully from view. His hands were un-
seen in front of him. His head was leaning
backward, and he was making a weird gut-
tural noise. The mother was outside hang-
ing up clothes, oblivious. I crept closer for a
look. My foot struck something and I froze,
petrified. The man turned to see me at the
window, and he flew out of the house in a
rage, grabbing me by the shirt. 'If you tell
anvone what you saw, I'll kill vou.' I ran all
the way back home, collapsed in my bed,
and cried myself to sleep. I dreamt of her
tear streaked face staring from the doorway,
No one was allowed to pick on her from
that day forward. I wouldn't, couldn't, al-
low it. I never told another soul about what
I saw. Years after I would dream of her and
wake up crying, wishing I had done some-
thing. A few years later she became preg-
nant with her father's grandchild. She com-
mitted suicide not long after. Sometimes I
think part of me died with her.
Sometimes when the mood strikes I
wonder how different a man I would be
if I had not seen the things I saw. Do the
things we experience change who or what
we become? All I really know is that not all
monsters are make believe. In some dark
recesses of the world there are real monsters.
Not every boogeyman lives under your bed,
or in your closet, or on the TV screen. This
was something I had to learn at a young age.
Here? Here, there be monsters. ♦♦♦
t is cold this morning," thought Asmus
as he stepped into the Schwarzwald as
the sun crested over the hills. He knew
the snows would soon begin, swirling down
from the Feldbergznd piling up against his small
wood and stone one room home. The summer
season had been good to him and his wife; the
crops had done well, the sheep had provided
much wool at shearing, and the game had been
plentiful in the black woods. Asmus paused to
watch an eagle take flight to his left, rising up
into the air in search of his own prey. Though
he was a devout Catholic, Asmus still sent a
quick prayer to the old gods of the forest for the
sign his hunt would be successful. His last look
back at his farm showed his brother leading
their Hinterwalderberg out to pasture to graze,
the milking done.
Asmus hoped to bring home a stag for the
celebration to be held tonight. His wife Eadgyth
had told him three days prior they were expect-
ing another child, their fourth. Already the
family had three boys, so secretly he wished for
his wife to issue forth a daughter so that she may
brush her hair and teach her women-crafts such
as weaving and cooking. He knew Eadgyth
wanted a daughter as well even though she had
never voiced this out loud. Asmus loved his
wife with all his heart and would give her the
sun and moon if it were possible. Ihe midwife
had told them their still born first child had
been a girl, and though nine years had passed
since that dark day, Asmus still heard his bride
crying at times when she thought herself alone.
Yes, a daughter would be a good and kind thing
during these wonderful days of the Reich.
Though they lived far from the places of
power within the Empire, work still travelled by
horseback and merchant carts. The village, half
a day's walk towards the setting sun, was a good
place to learn the latest gossip as well as a good
place to visit friend and kin. Earlier in the sum-
mer Asmus had travelled to town to barter extra
wool for some blacksmith's goods and heard tales
of the new King. Henry the Second he called
himself; the blacksmith Gregor fed Asmus tales
of his virtues for half an afternoon before mak-
ing the exchange of goods. Gregor had heard di-
rectly from the merchant who came that spring
that Henry the Second had been crowned in
Rome nine years prior and was already working
to make the Holy Roman Empire, the Heiliges
Romisches Reich, even mightier.
His pace into the forest quickening in an-
ticipation of the hunt, Asmus thought back on
the fortunes the Good Lord had bestowed him.
Even at the age of 26 Asmus was a well respect-
ed member of the community. His mother and
father long gone, the family homestead fell to
him when they both died of the winter fever five
years ago. His brother Heinrich still lived with
them, along with his wife and two small boys.
Youngest brother Johan was off at the monas-
tery learning his letters, just as Asmus and Hein-
rich did when they were of age. They had good
soil to farm and lived well off the bounty of the
land. They even had a book at home, a Bible
their great-great-great grandfather brought back
from the Battle of Lechfeld against the Mag-
yars so many years ago. His wife was a strong
woman who provided a good home for their
children, and having been named after the wife
of the great Otto the First could only mean that
God favored his family.
Asmus heard the crunch of something ahead
moving about, and slowed his pace. The pines
were still thick this close to the edge, so he need-
ed to move forward to catch sight of his bounty.
Silently he slipped through the dark green foli-
age, and eased his arrow into his bow ready to
draw and shoot. He came upon a slight rise and
knew his knife and axe were ready and began to
move up the hill. As he crested the rise, silent
as a fox stealing eggs, he heard a snort. Asmus
glanced towards his right, and about 10 paces
away stood the boar — all 350 zentner of him.
The creature's white tusks contrasted sharply
with its dark skin and were the same size as the
knife at his hip. Asm us froze in mid-step, but
the beast was already charging. In those brief
moments before the Wildschwein closed the dis-
tance, Asmus thought of his garden. His crops
grew well in this rich soil, but something had
been digging in them as of late and now Asmus
knew what it had been.
The blow was unlike anything he had ever
felt before, like the Hand of God had slapped
him aside for praying to the forest gods. Asmus
must have blacked out for a moment, for when
he came to the demon beast was gone. He sat
up slowly and looked around, but the woods had
grown quiet again. It was only when he began
to stand that he felt the wetness in his lap, and
for a brief moment he thought he might had
relieved himself in his trousers. Looking down
he saw the mass of his innards slipping from his
gut, and the blood flowing into the thirsty dirt.
He sat back down with a grunt, and it was
then that he noticed two very odd things. His
good yew bow, which he had worked on dur-
ing an entire winter season which had been
harsher than usual a few years past, lay broken
on the ground a few paces away. He grew an-
gry, knowing Johan had borrowed it against his
wishes and broken it. Asmus began to call out
to him, wanting him to show himself and ex-
plain his misdeed and face the thrashing their
father would give the boy. All he could manage
was a sigh though as he then saw the way the
light was sparkling as it made its way though the
thick branches above him.
He began to smile, and then laugh, as the
lights began to dance before him, swirling and
diving like a songbird seeking to attract a mate.
The laughter slowly faded, and the light grew
rhe cold windows in my room told
me that it was a brisk winter day
outside. It was 9 a.m., and I already
knew it was going to be a Thanksgiving night-
mare. Freddy Krueger would not want to have
Thanksgiving at my house. As always, my sister
and I put on our best "rags" and shoes, went
downstairs, and waited for the nightmare to be-
gin. As we sat in the living room waiting lor our
next set of instructions, we watched Thanksgiv-
ing shows on our big eight-inch black and white
television and hoped Mom did not forget about
breakfast. As soon as we got a little comfort-
able, our first dinner guest arrived; it was my
Uncle Hubert. He was always first to arrive, last
to leave, and staggering drunk. He sat in the
living room with my sister and me, and this is
where our jobs came in. She would always take
the coats and hats and any requests for food or
drink. 1, on the other hand, was the entertain-
Meanwhile, my mom and dad were in the
kitchen burning turkeys and setting the kitchen
table with the most embarrassing silverware and
dishes one could possibly imagine. My sister
was eight, and I was nine. Ever since I could
remember, Thanksgiving was never a good day.
As I made small talk with my Uncle Hubert,
eventually he rolled into his yearly traditional
self-proclaimed famous Eddie Murphy act.
Boy!!! I hated this failed attempt with a passion.
Finally, the phone rang, and my mom and dad
screamed from the kitchen to me in the living
room to answer it. I immediately thought to
myself, "Saved by the bell." As soon as I got up
to answer the phone, my sister gave me a sad
but funny look as if to say, "Please do not leave
me alone with this man." On the phone were
my cousins from upstate New York, the Mof-
fet family They had been coming for Ilianks-
giving dinner since I was born, and every year
around the same time they would call and need
directions. Moreover, I had to bring the phone
to my dad who, in my opinion, was terrible at
giving directions and would get them lost every
year. Somehow, I was the only one who noticed
this confusion. Anyway, as I brought the phone
to my dad, I walked through the living room,
and out of the corner of my eye I saw my drunk
Uncle Hubert imitating Eddie Murphy again
and my sister looking miserable. I was just dis-
gusted because I knew this charade was just the
beginning and would get worse.
Meanwhile, the kitchen looked as if a food
bomb had exploded. My dad was holding the
burned turkey in the air and cursing at it as if the
turkey understood. He yanked the phone out
of my hand; again, this rude gesture happened
every year although he already knew who was
on the phone. My dad screamed out directions
without even asking my dumb cousins where
they were, and then he just hung up the phone.
I wanted to laugh so badly, but doing so would
have resulted in a definite beating. Shortly af-
terward, the doorbell rang. It was my next door
neighbor. An interesting twist is that he was
not a part of our yearly "Thanksgiving Night-
mare." Our neighbor, Mr. Bill, said that he was
out on his afternoon jog and noticed a van load
of people whom he identified as my cousins be-
ing arrested at the end of the block. So far, I had
in the living room a drunk uncle who had taken
a few more sips since his arrival and actually
thought he was Eddie Murphy; my cousins, the
Moffett family, were lost somewhere in Brook-
lyn; and my other cousins, the Hammershames,
had gotten arrested for only God knew what. As
a result of all this commotion, I still had not eat-
en breakfast, and it was going on 3:00 p.m. My
dad immediately grabbed his coat and hat, not
telling anyone where he was going, and ran out
the door. Simultaneously, my mom was in the
kitchen screaming for assistance, not realizing
my dad was gone. In the midst of all the hub-
bub my no-longer-lost cousins, the Moffetts,
finallv arrived, and before my sister could even
ask for their coats and hats, they started scream-
ing about "where's the food?" and how they had
not eaten all day. I immediately thought to my-
self, "You are not the only one."
Next the doorbell rang again, and it was the
tenant from downstairs, Mr. Miller. Every year,
we do not invite him or his racist son, but every
year, somehow, they maneuvered their way into
a seat at the kitchen table. But this time was
different; he came in livid and screaming at my
mom. My sister and I both looked at him as
though he was insane. My sister leaned over to
me and whispered in my ear, "Does he not know
that he is in a house full of ex-cons and hungry
black folks?" Mr. Miller went on to say that
his son Devon was playing in the yard early this
morning and that our pit bull broke loose and
bit him. My mom said in a calm, cool voice,
"First things first; you are three months behind
in the rent. Where is the money?" Mr. Miller
then yelled and screamed and went downstairs
to his apartment and slammed the door. At the
same time, my dad walked into the house with
my cousins, the Hammershames. Somehow,
my dad, who was also a policeman, prevented
them from being arrested, but they did get their
Finally, everyone had arrived — a total of
nine people. It was 5:45 p.m., and the herd of
people were making their way toward the table.
We all sat down, some in fold-out chairs, and
some on kitchen-table chairs. I was glad to just
finally eat. We all bowed our heads to say grace,
and this I never understood because everyone
was a pagan, but at this point, who cared? I
just wanted to eat. Grace ended, and I took a
bite of food. It was my first piece of food all day,
but it was the worst food I had ever tasted. I
looked around at everyone, and it was not just
me. Everyone was spitting his/her food back
into the plates. What a nightmare!! My dad got
up and screamed at the top of his lungs, "This is
a Thanksgiving Nightmare, why does this hap-
pen to me every year?"
My Uncle Hubert immediately stood up as
he swayed back and forth. Despite his drunk-
enness, he slurred and said, "Eventually we will
get it right."
We all got silent and looked at him in awe,
and everyone began to laugh.
The sun, it sparkles blissfully
above the leaves, atop the tree
outside my window as I wake,
and in my head a song 1 make,
rustle, alisten, shimmer, shine.
The day is long and all is mine,
so slowly I begin to rise,
awakened bv a dream s demise.
My (jrood Sense Lost In My
In the warm summer air
1 lie awake dreaming
of you with eyes like the ocean, blue and restless,
vou with an embrace warm as the sand beneath me
if it w as but you by my side.
But the vou I dream of is deafeningly false,
for the truth is I'll never have your love.
Even in my dreams 1 11 lose you.
As the warm air turns cold and the blue sky red
I lie awake dreaming.
Ella A. Edmundson
Paris 1030 A.D.
The city was teeming with the con-
struction of new churches as young
Philip ventured through the market.
The collection of items was as eclectic as it was
mesmerizing. Fresh sausages sizzled while their
living counterparts' aroma still hung in the air.
The smell of fresh bread from the bakery drew
Philip in. Unfortunately, the delectable pastries
displayed in the window cost money, and his
trouser pockets were empty. Being the son of
a farmer, there was little money to be had. The
Capetian lords were dreadful overseers. His
father had set him down one night and said,
"Those big headed pigs have their heads so far
up each other's asses they can't begin to see what
is wrong with Paris.'' It was rare to hear his fa-
ther curse, so it must be true. Philip couldn't
get the image out of his head. "Must be terribly
uncomfortable," he said to himself.
Philip was so caught up in his own thoughts
that he ran straight into someone. "Eh, watch
where you're going!" said the burly brute as he
shoved Philip aside like a rag doll. Even for his
age he was small, but this man could eat three of
him and still have room for dessert. "Apologies
sir," was all he could get out before he heard a
cheering roar. Philip peeked around the brute
to see a crowd amassed in the center square. The
angry faces were all looking to what appeared
to be a wooden stage. He looked around for a
place to get a better look and found a seat on
top of a stand that should hold him. With most
people's attention on the square, it was easy to
squirm his way up the pole and onto the tarp
above. It sank a little more than he expected,
but he had a better view than before.
A group of important looking people stood
on the stage with a man who seemed as big as the
one he had bumped into earlier. A beleaguered
few stood behind in chains. Philip had heard of
these gatherings before, but had never witnessed
one. His mother would be furious if she found
out he was here. The gallows hung as ominous-
ly as in his nightmares. Pity filled his heart for
the unlucky souls. One or the important men
stepped forward and the crowd went silent. The
raspy voice proclaimed, "For the crime of high
treason, on this day you are sentenced to hang."
A building roar came up again.
Above the din of the crowd, Philip gazed up
at the noontime sun. "It is sad that the last thing
these men will see is the crowd and not some-
thing more beautiful." Focusing his attention
back to the stage, Philip saw the first man being
pushed forward. Something about him seemed
familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on it. The
man carried himself to the noose of his own ac-
cord, without being forced and shoved. Then
the man gazed out into the crowd, and when his
hazel eyes met Philip's, he realized what seemed
familiar about him.
Tears began streaming down Philip's face
as the big man put a black bag over his father's
face. With the pull of the lever, the floor gave
out under his father's feet as the sun was en-
gulfed in clouds. ♦♦♦
You Are My Friend
There was a time when I thought I had no one
Then you came and told me to hold on
There was a time when I thought my life didn't mean a thing
Then you told me to be strong
Then you came and told me I can be almost anything
Then you came and told me go on and sing
Go on and sing
You are my friend
You are my friend
You are my friend
I Wish Violence Ended Like Nightmares Do
Violence is a foul man s game,
to be hateful and alone.
It almost makes you sad
but not a tear shall be shed,
for any man so cruel as to turn to violence
is a man too cruel to understand compassion.
I wish violence ended like nightmares do.
Ella A. Edmundson
Jo Von Egghead Moore JoVon Moore
When I first saw you
My heart began to speak to me
Saving how much I loved you
It made me feel so free
Your eyes shining in the night
Made my heart sing aloud
Your heart filled with love
Made me feel proud
To call you mv best friend
And love vou with all mv heart
And share a love with you
That will never be torn apart
Holding you in my arms
Makes me want so much
To keep vou with me
And feel vour touch
Your love keeps me strong
And whole in the night and dav
You love me so well
What more can 1 sav
Loving you, my friend
Is what 1 love to do
The woman I love most
Has alwavs been vou
he first thing you have to know was smile and say, "We're going to my se-
r about Carlisle's Park is that you
will not find it by looking on a
map, asking directions from a local, or fol-
lowing street signs that point the way. The
name of the park is not what I tell you it
is, so if you do manage to stumble across it,
then you will be none the wiser, and I can
keep calling this little haven what I've come
to know it as and be all the happier. What
I can tell you, though, is that it is located in
the Bluegrass State and hidden somewhere
in the 17 th largest city in the United States.
If you do, somehow, manage to find it and
discover its wonders, then I imagine you will
be happy to have spent a few pleasing hours
or even an entire afternoon in this wonder-
Carlisle's Park came to be known as such
thanks to an amazing friend of mine named
Carlisle De Luca. We met in a psychology
class in my freshman year of college, and I
have to sav that I was a little afraid of him
at first. He stood at 6'2" with muscles that
could break ropes, cropped honey blonde
hair, green eyes, and a smile that could melt
chocolate. He only looked a little intimidat-
ing, but once I got him talking, I came to
realize that he was the biggest teddy bear on
the block. We met up twice a week for class,
and between the teacher's lectures, passing
notes, we started forming a friendship that
I would never forget. It was during the last
week of classes with finals coming up that
Carlisle invited me to studv with him in
what he called his secret place.
On Tuesday afternoon with the sun smil-
ing on us at 78 degrees and a light breeze
pulling through the air, Carlisle grabbed my
wrist to nearly drag me through the after
school crowds toward what he called his se-
cret place. I kept asking him over and over,
"Where are we going?" but all he would do
cret place. You can imagine how annoying
this back and forth question and response
was after going through five blocks of cross-
walks, speeding traffic, and questionable
looking groups of people. I do have say that
the mystery was worth the time because once
we turned the corner near a local pizza place,
I first took in the beauty of Carlisle's Park.
A black wrought iron fence lined the perim-
eter of lush green grass and thick clumps of
trees, and the occasional bench punctuated
the winding path that led through the park.
He led me inside the gate, put his hands in
his pockets, and fell into step beside me as
I gazed about a place that I knew I must've
passed three or four times a day but never
stopped to notice. At least a half dozen
families inside the park were already enjoy-
ing the afternoon, eating picnics and tossing
baseballs. The smell of grass, flowers, and
barbeque mingled as we walked through the
park, and I swear that my face started hurt-
ing from all the smiling I did. I also started
noticing a few food stands selling anything
from hotdogs to snow cones. It was by one
of these vending stands that Carlisle pulled
me aside. He led me to a tall oak tree that
provided plenty of shade from the midafter-
noon sun and looked out on a small man-
"This is my secret place/' His voice
was quiet as he told me, but it also had a
proud ring to it, as if he was the first person
to discover the comfortable spot under the
oak tree. I remember the grass feeling cool
under my feet, the wind carrying the smell
of water, and the sounds of children either
screaming or laughing in delight. We sat
under that oak tree for hours, just talking
and at least pretending to study by having
our psychology books in our laps, looking
in them occasionally and throwing a word
like dyslexia or parasomnia at each other to
define. Sometimes we would throw out a
word so strange sounding that the man run-
ning the snow cone cart next to our tree
would ask us if we needed help, because we
would have to be crazy to take a class that
gives you words that sound like they've been
run through a blender.
When the sun was setting on the hori-
zon, turning the sky an array of cooling col-
ors, we both knew that we had to go home.
He would help me up with one hand and
get all my books in my bag just so he could
make some joke about how it always "weighs
like a ton of bricks" before he would go up
to the man with the snow cone vending cart.
I would stand next to him to look over a
printed menu of at least twenty five differ-
ent snow cone flavors that went from your
standard strawberry, lemon, and blueberry
to the more adventurous pina colada, razzle-
berry, and mango flavors. Despite the many
menu choices, we always got the same fla-
vor, cherry fizz with extra syrup. We would
walk out of the park with our snow cones
in hand and talk about our school work or
some sport that I was loosely knowledgeable
in, and the subject of football came up of-
We hung out together at that park three
times a week for nearly seven months until I
moved out of state. We still keep in contact,
and he tells me that he misses our count-
less hours sitting under the oak tree making
bad jokes about the psychology terms that
managed to stick in our heads, and throw-
ing sticks in the lake. I tell him that I miss
it too and keep a smile plastered on my face
because that place had been so much more
than just a place to hang out; it was a place
where 1 had gained an amazing friend named
Carlisle, and that place was his park. ♦♦♦
/n the field, behind the two-story white
house, was a small graveyard. The eight
children who lived in the house were
told they could play anywhere on the farm, but
they were not to play near the graveyard. When
the grandchildren were old enough, they were
also told not to play near the graveyard. The
grandchildren loved going to their grandparents'
house because there was so much to explore.
One day as the children were playing they
came upon the forbidden graveyard. Temptation
overwhelmed them. The little red headed girl,
the smallest of all the children, decided to crawl
under the fence that surrounded the graveyard.
Her body was halfway under the fence when she
became deathly ill. "Go get mommy," the little
red headed girl cried. The children were afraid
to get help for fear of being punished. When
the little girl's brother realized how sick she was,
he ran for help. The little girl was too weak to
crawl back out from underneath the fence. The
rest of the children were scared and couldn't un-
derstand why the little girl had gotten so sick,
Finally, one of the cousins decided to pull
the little girl out from underneath the fence by
her feet. He knew he had to be careful, because
an electric fence surrounded the graveyard. Al-
most immediately the little girl started feeling
bettet. She was fine by the time help arrived.
The children didn't get whipped that day,
but were told strongly not to ever play near the
graveyard again, a promise that they all kept.
The grandchildren are now adults with chil-
dren of their own. None of them have ever for-
gotten the day at the graveyard, especially the
little red headed girl. They knew not to ask
questions back then, but now they wish their
grandparents were living so that they could ask
why grandpa put an electric fence around the
graveyard. Was he trying to keep something
out, or was he trying to keep something in? ♦♦♦
Maybe it was a moment of insanitv
just a moment of disillusion
but now 1 flirt with the idea
that you've become my fancy
that my child's heart
has taken a partiality to you
the kin^ of fools
it's an amusing theory, don't you think
a good-humored charade on mv part
for who would conceive
such a silly notion
but, alas, though 1 try to deny
mv heart knows it 's not a fabrication
-9 T >.
~* T ~7 ■* > »
+ ? * * *
* > > *
■ i &0
He %mJI ft loves The
Unwanted, disposable, useless.
He wanted me on mv knees
Why did I put myself in this mess?
I diought 1 had the world,
Now I'm just another g;irl.
He said he loves me
I felt trapped,
I felt chained,
Free was not an option for me.
I was broken,
thrown down on mv knees.
He healed me
He said he loves me.
Jo Von Moore
If You Must If M i j Pains Give You I>1 easure
I'm that girl at school, the one thev call dumb,
The one who they sav is not smart, and not even fun,
The ^irl who never asks questions
Because she's scared she might get teased,
The one no one wants to sit beside
Because of this thing called "freak" disease,
The one no one told a secret to
Even if there was one I could keep.
Do you know how it feels to cry yourself to sleep?
I'm that girl in every game who is always chosen last,
I'm just a simple girl tired of fighting her past.
Laugh like someone is tickling you with a leather.
Lau^h if vou must, if my pain gives you pleasure,
The girl who grew up most of her life without a father,
the girl no one tries to push up but push back further.
Hey don't listen to this freak,
But do vou know how it feels to bleed in your sleep?
The one who always finishes last
The one everyone throws spit balls at in class.
The one they said would fall
And the one thev wish would burn in hell.
Hey I'm just a freak.
Do you know how it feels to cry yourself to sleep?
My dearest Lewis,
I love your fuzzy little paws,
and how you always hide your claws.
Whenever we play cat and mouse,
and swipe me from beneath the bed,
and rub mv tummv with your head,
and every time vou want to play,
like the bird vou left me at the door,
a gift sprawled on the kitchen floor,
1 hope vou' 11 always be my friend,
for now, forever, 'till the end.
the one who feeds you and rubs your chin
And good morning to you
It is a beautiful dav
And a good dav too
So how arc things wins
With vou this dav
Let's go to the park
What do you say
Let's go plav outside
Or go for a ride
Let's go for a swim
On the beautiful ocean tide
Let's see what we can do
On diis beautiful morning
Until vvc can feel free
Until the next morning
Cornucopia Kenneth Child
From a Slave's Point of View
roday, I was visited by an old slave
spirit. She took me back to when
lynching was common place, and as I
opened my eyes, I saw her brother hanging from
a tree, a very familiar tree that I've passed many
times before in my neighborhood. Tears flowed
from my eyes as we traveled through time, see-
ing the brown skin get whipped just like mine.
Cries poured from my soul when I saw bodies
upon bodies dumped in massive graves. I felt
the overwhelming fear of civil rights activists as
they marched with Dr. King for our equal rights
Then the news came on. The reporter was
talking about the dropout rate in the nation and
how black male dropouts lead the nations in
incarceration. The reporter said black women
were forced to raise their children in single par-
ent homes, relying on the state, and how they
had to be placed in city housing, otherwise
known as the projects.
The old slave spirit looked at me and said,
"I had a dream long before Dr. King that one
day my blood would be free. Free from chains,
free from whips, free from master, free from
fear. I watch you young tins throw your lives
away, falling in the white man's traps and dying
without purpose like your ancestors died with-
out reason. You children have a choice to live
and learn, and you brush it off as if knowledge is
nothing. Master hanged my brother for teach-
ing us slaves how to read."
She turned around and cried, "They hanged
him from this very tree! They brought us here
in steel chains as slaves and now you young
black people give up your freedom to sit behind
steel bars!! How dare you insult the dead? How
dare you insult the skin you're in? Have you
not been beaten enough? Did they not take
enough of your pride? Didn't you hear the cries
of your wives as they were being raped with no
mercy? Don't you see the fear in your children's
eyes when they wake up and look outside to see
the most beautiful view of the house on the hill
from the modern day slave quarters they call the
projects? Are you not a slave? Didn't you feel
the whip as it stung your back? Didn't you hang
from this very tree? Are you not ashamed that
you gave your freedom paper back to master?"
She looked at the TV, then back at me.
"Well child, if you can't see, then it's about time
that you open your eyes." ♦♦♦
Dropping rorever Green
As the world stopped turning and die clock hands stopped advancing,
Remorse fled from me.
As the light flickered out, and the bulbs grew cold,
Loathina faded from me.
As the evergreens dropped their forever green,
Mourning abandoned me.
As HE lav dead before me
The knife in mv hand whispered, victory.
Lauren E 2 Glisson
The daffodils aren't as vellow without you
The times we've shared are unforgettable
But without you, I can't seem to see the light.
Reminiscing about our first meeting
The humidity in the air, die late night dew beading on the grass
The fresh love coursing through our veins
And vet it seems all too familiar
Like we've been here before
Could it have been a blissful dream?
That day in the park when you proposed
The cliche picnic you engineered
The baby blue butterflies fluttering
The children frolicking and weaving
An ambiance of tranquility
A siph of relief and the thought of fulfillment
At the words "I do."
And now you're far away
Miles of green plains and meadows of canary vellow daffodils
In the distance between us
And just as I'm about to moisten my handkerchief
A baby blue butterfly flutters aimlessly outside the pane.
Tkre&Tjufs of a, %m%o,
Wind brushes the meadow painted with yellow
And sways to the rhythm of the whistle.
The riot of wheat seems as if it were
Tall limber tree trunks in the eyes of a mouse.
His eves of amber and onyx black
Fixate on his prey
As his tail flutters in suspense.
Tiny nails scurry across the ominous stained hardwood
And knowing who will prevail,
The mouse skids victoriously into the molding.
The only evidence to surface
Is piercing squeaks of a mocking manner.
White coat tails sway with the double doors.
As he is met by a moving wall of stationary cages,
All creatures sing to the beat of paranoia.
The researcher rises to the task
Of sacrificing one life to save the life of another.
And the tale of this little white mouse
Can only hope to not die in vain.
A film of red on a bowed surface turns black
And the mouse's eve flutters to a close
And life begins anew.
Mv dear friend, Tarboro
How I have missed you
Your beautv in the air
The sound of the bells
The city of Tarboro
How I have missed you
It has been a long time
Too long for my taste
What would I have done
Without vou old friend
It would not have been the same
Without you Tarboro
Someday We'll D ream Again
Somedav we'll dream ag;ain
you and I, subconscious thoughts
poured through blinds of time.
We'll gather up our books
drive the hills of Cherokee
clouds white from lights below.
You'll say vou 're so alone
cry to poems on the radio.
I'll hold vou up, glue fragments
back upon vou when they fall.
Like pointed icicles thev tall .
How lonely are vour shards
as they calve away and tall
and how mv hands bleed
as I somehow catch them all.
Jason, The Cowboy Knight
"A warriors choice is the warrior's path. Serve
and protect the people and destroy the guilty.
Live by truth, honor, justice and freedom. This
has been and always will be the code of the
Jason Johnson the First
"The path to the light is the path to freedom."
yf warrior s choice is the warrior s
f path. That was one part of the
^>«— ^ code I learned when I was 14
years old. I learned it from my grandfather, Ja-
son Johnson the First. I wish I could understand
it more. My name is Jason Johnson the Third.
I live in a small county town in the US called
Johnson's Town, named after my grandfather
for the service he did for his country. For many
years I have been hearing that my ancestors were
both knights and cowboys. That's what gave my
grandfather the idea to become what he liked
to call "The Cowboy Knight." He became a
legend in rifle shooting and a master at sword
fighting, so he decided to try and combine these
two types and make them into one strong and
powerful warrior. Believe it or not, it worked.
He wore a black cowboy hat, a long black leath-
er with black cowboy boots, and black armor
underneath his jacket. His black horse, So-
phie, was also a legendary horse and the fastest
horse in not only our town, but also the whole
country. My grandfather became well known as
the cowboy knight when he stopped seventeen
armed robbers stealing from a shop downtown
from where I lived. He used his gun, which he
liked to call Excalibur: a gun and sword formed
together as one. The robbers thought he was
some kind of crazy man on a horse, but when
he shot right through those guys, only one of
them managed to crawl away, at least a little.
The people there cheered and thanked him for
his service and then he rode off into the night
with his faithful horse. The people had no idea
who he really was. For over seven years he pro-
tected the people from harm, and he became
well known for his talents and service as well.
But then, out of nowhere, a young Indian
warrior named Tomahawk came to my grand-
father and saw that he was a great warrior. My
grandfather didn't know who this Indian was,
nor what he wanted, but my grandfather could
see that Tomahawk was not harmful or danger-
ous at all. I don't know how he could tell, but I
guess he had a good feeling about the Indian.
My grandfather said to him, "Who are you?
Can I help you with something, sir?"
"You are the cowboy knight, are you not?"
"Yes, I am. What do you want?" the cow-
boy knight asked.
"I need your help. Our chief is looking for
someone to help us, and he sent me to find you.
I have been searching for you for days, and now
here, at last, I found you. Please, will you come
and help us?" asked Tomahawk.
"How can I help you? What is going on
with your tribe?"
"We have been attacked by bandits who
have been raiding our tribe and stealing the
children and our food as well. Please, you must
help us," Tomahawk said, with his hands pressed
My grandfather saw that there was truth in
Tomahawk's eyes and agreed to help. The next
day he saw the chief of the tribe, called Chief
Wolf. The chief came to my grandpa and said,
"Welcome, Cowboy Knight. It is good to see
you here. We are in need of your help and ser-
vices as well. Please, come into my tent, and I
will explain who these bandits are."
My grandpa and the chief both went inside
and sat down. My grandpa asked, "Chief, who
are these bandits and why are they doing this to
"Well, many years ago, my people came to
this country to find freedom and peace. It was
long and hard for us, but we managed. Along
the way we saw another tribe of people coming
here, bur rhese people were differenr. They were
warriors, rhieves and liars. All they wanted was
to take over, but our people strive to stop them.
You see, we are also warriors as well, my broth-
ers and I, but the women and children here only
tend to their homes here. We stopped a few
of those misguided warriors who were trying
to take our food and supplies a few weeks ago,
but then a week later, they came back in strong
numbers. Fifty of them came and almost de-
stroyed my people, but they only kept taking
the food and the children and it has been going
on for two days. They must be stopped. They
carry this red symbol on their chests. They call
themselves the red samurai. Do you know of
My grandpa shook his head. He never heard
of these warriors before, but he would put a stop
to them by any means.
"Chief, I will do my best to stop these ban-
dits from taking your children and food. What-
ever their plans are, I will put a stop to them.
You have my word."
"Thank you," said the Chief. "Please, let me
give you something. This weapon I am going
to give you is strong and powerful. It is a toma-
hawk called The Wolfs Heart. It is one of my
best weapons. It has done me much good, but
my time grows short. So I give this weapon to
you. Use it well on your mission. Stop these
monsters, and save my people," said the Chief.
My grandfarher took the tomahawk and
went on his way to stop the bandits, but right
behind was the young Indian warrior who sent
"Wait! Wait, let me come with you. I want
"It's too dangerous for you. You would be
"I am the best warrior in the tribe. My fa-
ther told me it would be all right as long as I
came back. Please, I want to help. I came pre-
pared lor this."
And he did. My grandpa asked him his
name. The Indian said his name was Tomahauk.
My grandpa saw that Tomahauk was prepared.
He saw Tomahauk had a bow and some arrows
and knives as well. So my grandpa said, "All
right, but listen close. If you help me, you need
to follow my instructions. I will watch your
back if you watch mine. Understand?"
"Yes, I understand. Don't worry, cowboy
knight, I will not fail you. I promise."
So they rode off into the night preparing
to come across the tribe of the samurai ban-
dits. An hour later they found the tribe and saw
the children being kept in a cage right below
them. There were almost 30 children there. My
grandpa said, "There are four guards protect-
ing the gate and several wandering around the
camp site. Ok, Tomahauk. Here is the plan.
We have to take out those two guards on the
left and right side of the camp, then we have to
try and get those kids out of that cage. You will
take them back to your village, and I will try to
hold them while you make a getaway."
"But what about you? There must be even
more warriors inside the big tent over in the
middle or the camp site. I can't let you do this
"Are you sure you want to do this, Toma-
hauk? It's very dangerous."
"Danger doesn't scare me in the least. I am
prepared to fight to the end," said Tomahauk,
taking out his bow and arrow.
"Ok then, you see those guards on rhe right
and left? Take them on my mark. Ready...
Tomahauk's arrow hit right on both targets.
The next move was the cage. They moved to
the gate and took out the guards one by one.
Tomahauk, with his knife, took out two guards,
and my grandpa took out the other two with his
new T tomahawk weapon.
"Well done, cowboy knight. You use the
tomahawk well. Now what?"
"Please help us," said a small boy.
"Shhh...stay quiet, children. We will get
out," said Tomahauk, calming the boy.
The children were all scared, but my grand-
pa was not, so he took out his knife and broke
the lock open. The cage was open and the chil-
dren were free.
"Now come with me children, but stay low
and be quiet, ok?" said Tomahauk, leading the
"Yes, cowboy knight?"
"It is important that you get the children
back to the village fast and make sure you..."
"Allow me to take care of them," said a
The children, Tomahauk, and my grandpa
looked behind them and saw the chief of Toma-
"Father? What are you doing here and...
oh, I see you brought some of the warriors here.
"Wait, you're the chief's son?" asked my
"Yes. You didn't know that?"
"Well, no I did not. But we can talk about
that later. Chief, why are you here?"
"I came here to help and brought 50 of our
best warriors. Two of them will take the chil-
dren back to my village, while the others, my
son, you, and I destroy this place. Will you let
us fight with you?" asked the chief.
"Of course. Even though I could do this
by myself, some help would be good. So yes,
you can help. We need to take out every single
of these bandits and destroy the main tent with
the other bandits inside. Once that's done, the
others will be helpless."
"Heh, it's a good thing we brought two bar-
rels of gunpowder. It will be enough to blow
this entire camp site to ashes. Let's do it," said
Two of the chief 's warriors surrounded the
camp site with the barrels of gunpowder and
then made a straight line back to the forest be-
hind them. The bandits had no idea what was
about to happen. They were all just sitting in-
side doing nothing. Then my grandpa took out
his pistol and shot the gunpowder line and then
in thirty seconds. . .Boom! The whole camp
site, the bandits, and the cage were blown to
ashes. The chief and his warriors cheered, and
my grandpa threw up is hat in victor)', but sud-
denly out of the smoke, came one lone warrior.
He stood in red armor and said, "Hahaha. Very
clever of you, to destroy my entire camp site.
You have done well, but you will not be rid of
me that easily."
"Who are you?" said my grandpa, holding
his rifle out and pointing it at the man.
"I am Yokaro, also known as the red samu-
rai. And I will have my revenge on you, Cow-
boy Knight," said Yokaro. He pulled out his
sword and readied himself for combat.
"No, you will face me," said the Chief,
standing in front of my grandpa.
"Let me face this warrior. It was he who
took my people."
"As you wish, my friend. Good luck," said
my grandpa, putting away his gun.
"Thank you. Warriors, take the children out
of here. I will face this man alone. Go!"
"Yes, chief. Everyone, back to the village.
Now!" said the warrior.
"Father, be careful. May peace be with you,"
"Thank you, my son. If I do not return, the
village will be yours and you will be made chief
of our tribe. Take care of them for me. Do you
"Yes father. I understand. Farewell," said
Tomahauk. He left along with the others, but
my grandpa stayed behind to watch the fight.
"Why are you not leaving, cowboy knight?
This is my fight," said the chief.
"Because I want to see how this ends up. I
will not let you fight this man alone. I want a
piece of him too. After all, it is my duty to pro-
tect the innocent and destroy the guilty," said
The chief saw that there was no fear in my
grandpas eyes, so he let my grandpa stay and
watch the fight.
"Excellent. After I am done with you, Chief
Wolf, your friend will be next!" said Yokaro.
"Only if you can kill me, you monster.
Ahhh!!!" The chief ran toward Yokaro with his
tomahawk held above and swung across Yokaro's
head. Yokaro then swung his sword. The chief
moved away and threw his tomahawk right at
Yokaro, but it missed and hit the ground. My
erandpa saw it and tossed it to the chief and the
chief grabbed it.
"Grrr. Yokaro, you will die!! I will make...
The Chief was stabbed in his right side.
Then Yokaro said, "Hahahaaa. Now die, Wolf.
Die by my sword, and meet your maker!"
"No!!" my grandpa screamed. He pulled
out his gun and shot Yokaro in the arm. He
fired off again and again until Yokaro fell to the
"Uhh. . . Stop! Please. . . I beg you," said Yoka-
ro, lying on his back bleeding from the wounds
my grandpa put in him. My grandpa picked up
the chief and asked if he was ok. The chief said
he was fine, just hurt on the right side.
So my grandpa then went over to Yokaro
and said, "You beg me? I don't think so. Re-
member this. You will not see daylight again.
And you will suffer for what you have done to
my friend. Look at those wounds. They are a
reminder, to remind you not to return again.
Now get out of my sight and go back to where
you came from or I will kill you here and now.
You choose, live or die?" said my grandpa, pull-
ing his rifle up.
"L..I wish to live... I will leave and never
return here, but know this. . .sooner or later...
my clan will have their revenge on you," said
Yokaro, getting up slowly.
"I don't think so," said my grandpa, point-
ing his gun at Yokaro. But before he could fire,
Yokaro threw down a smoke pellet and disap-
My grandpa said, "Argh!! Blast!! Yokaro!!
You will not escape me!!"
"No, my friend. Let him go. His wounds
will do the work for you. There is no way a man
like that can survive that long. Let him go now
and let's return to my village."
My grandpa agreed and calmed down and
went back to the village. Tomahauk was sorry
to see his father in pain, but the chief was happy
to be back with his people. Ihe chief said, "My
people. Today we celebrate the victory we have
gained. The enemy is no more. For now, we
are free. So let's rejoice and give thanks to our
friend, the cowboy knight. A great warrior and
now, our brother!" said the chief holding his
arms up high.
The people let out a loud cheer. Tomahawk
then said, "Thank you, cowboy knight. Now
that you are our brother, please, tell us your real
"My real name is Jason Johnson. I call my-
self the cowboy knight because my ancestors
were knights and cowboys as well. So I decided
to combine these two warriors and make them
into what you see now before you."
"I see," said Tomahawk. "Well, that is in-
teresting. Thank you, Jason. I mean, Mr. John-
"Hahaha, call me Jason. I feel old when
someone calls me mister."
"Ok then, Jason. It's getting late and I must
get back home. My ranch is about two miles to
the north, not too far from here. If you would
like to come over, come by and see me. I would
like to have some company."
"Of course. Thank you again, Jason, and
may peace be with you. Before you go, please,
take this wolf robe in honor of your service to
us and becoming our brother and mine," said
Tomahawk, holding up a wolf robe.
My grandpa then took the robe and said
farewell to his friends and went on his way
home. His home was the one where I live now.
Two years had passed since the day of victory
and my grandpa was living a good life. He was
twenty-five at the time.
ILi en he realized he wanted to have a fam-
ily of his own one day so that his legacy would
continue for generations. A week later he met a
young woman, my grandmother, Wendy Jones.
She was twenty-four and was a cowgirl living on
a farm two miles from my grandpa's place. He
met her there while riding his horse and they
saw something very special about each other.
They saw passion and love in each other's eyes.
For two years they went out together, and then
a year later got married and had a beautiful fam-
ily. They had one boy, my dad, Jason Johnson
the Second, and my aunt and uncle, Mary and
Joe Johnson. ♦♦♦