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/A K Community 

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•igitized by 

the Internet Archive 

in 2013 

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 


Theresa White-Wallace 


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 


Life Blood 

- -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. 

Made Whitfield 



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. 

Gena Dawson 

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 

Hollv Holloman 

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 


I Smile 

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 

The her 

That is she 

That is me 

1 smile at her 

And she smiles back 

Shannon Hardy 


The Last 


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 

Three Hours 

t Edwards 

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 
destruction cracked 
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 
explain it. 

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 

to o 

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 

Betsy LaGrone 


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 
breathe again. 

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 
American patriot. 


p arrow 

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. 

Ashley Merrill 

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. 

Jeff Williams 



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 

Welcome spring 

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 

I 1 

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. 
Made Whitfield 

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 

Bird Skull 

Sadie Coulct 

Jeff Williams 

1 5 

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!" 

Sadie Goulet 


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 
or busted. 
1 am needed to 
survive; I am 
needed to show 
the way. 
I am needed 
to show the 
world there 
is hope. I am f 
the opposite 
ol darkness; 

I am the 
opposite ot 

I am liaht. 

QiHirdelia Moses 

1 5 

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 
their lives. 

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 

Abigail Donahue 


I Am 

- - 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. 

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 
back home. 

Constantine Dejesus 

The Cabin of Oz 

Gena Dawson 

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 


^ £ % 

Jeff Williams 


Would that I could, I would excise you 

7 J 

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. 

Ashley Merrill 

urn anc 

1 Twist 

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 

Elijah Pipkin 

/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. ♦♦♦ 

Subway Faces 

Brent Hood 


Bloody Tears 

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. 

Albert Edwards 


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 
writ large. 

Sometimes the sea and foamy tides 
the seagulls chasing fish and waves 
provide no cover or hope of dreams. 
Sometimes even well-adjusted men 
must scream. 

Sometimes winter is no relief , 
pictures of a childhood snowstorm. 
Unholv summer heat writhes over the 
Wishes vou hope to come sometimes 
never will. 

Jeff Williams 



I'm craving changes. 

Do you know them? 

Angry ink flows from my pen. 

I can't go on this way. 

Not anymore. 

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. 
Made Whitfield 

^[ear^preA-'w^. Cam- 

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 

Andre Selby 


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 


Matthew Dillin 

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. 

Constantine Dejesus 


Here? Here, There Be Monsters 

Larry Moore 

/"^ 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 
told her. 

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 
would stop. 

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 

1 A.D. 

P. Bobko 

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 
dim. ❖ 

Roman Ruins 

Ashley Merrill 

Thanksgiving Nightmare 

Thurnian Shackelford 

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 
car towed. 

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. 

Ominous Stairs 

Chastity Cernv 


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. 

Sadie Goulet 

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. 

Kent Boyette 

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. ♦♦♦ 


Kenneth Childre 


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 
You cared 

Jcmeka McClann 

Amev Si^hlmo 

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 


vikvtf you 

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 

J J 

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 

Adam Payne 


Carlisle's Park 

Betsy LaGrone 

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- 
ful park. 

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- 
made lake. 

"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. ♦♦♦ 

Hie Forbidden 

Jfjeresa White-Wallace 

/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, 
so fast. 

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 

Adore Clark 

-9 T >. 
~* T ~7 ■* > » 

+ ? * * * 

* > > * 


■ i &0 

Magic Lights 

Sadie Goulet 

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? 
(Jimrdelia Moses 



My dearest Lewis, 

I love your fuzzy little paws, 
and how you always hide your claws. 
Whenever we play cat and mouse, 
you hide 

and swipe me from beneath the bed, 
and rub mv tummv with your head, 
and every time vou want to play, 
vou chirp- 
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 
Sadie Cioulet 


Hello evervone 
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 

Adam Pavne 

Cornucopia Kenneth Child 


From a Slave's Point of View 

Shannan Hardy 

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 
and education. 

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." ♦♦♦ 

Thunder Cloud 

Brent Hood 

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. 

Matthew Dillin 


Kenneth Childre 


Tkre&Tjufs of a, %m%o, 


Wind brushes the meadow painted with yellow 
And sways to the rhythm of the whistle. 

J J 

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. 

Matthew Dillw 

d larboro 

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 

Adam Pavne 

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. 

Jeff Williams 


Jason, The Cowboy Knight 

Adam Payne 

"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 
Cowboy Knight." 
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?" 
asked Tomahawk. 

"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 
your tribe?" 

"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 
these warriors?" 

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 
for him. 

"Wait! Wait, let me come with you. I want 
to help." 

"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 
children out. 


"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- 
hauk's tribe. 

"Father? What are you doing here and... 
oh, I see you brought some of the warriors here. 
But why?" 

"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 
the Chief. 

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," 
said Tomahauk. 

"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 
my grandpa. 

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. ♦♦♦