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EDITORIAL STAFF (from left): Matt Welch, Paul Mannone, 
Randal T. Schultz, Lena Schultz, Allison Thompson, Ed Rader, 
Pat Benedict, Devin Henry, Erin Monette, James Dewitz,, 
Anousone Panyanouvong, Paul Redel, Rachel 'Ray' Manis,, 
Toy Lambert, Kristi Fane, Sarah Reed, Sandy Allen,, 
Megan Shepherd, DeAnn Reynolds, Brooke Funfsinn, Peter Gulatto. 

^0(C^y accepts fur consideration submissions of poetry and 
fiction, as well as artwortc in any form. Send submissions, along 
with a short biography and a SASE to: Editors, Voices, Division 
of Composition and Literature, Rock Valley College, Rockford, 
IL 61114. ^0«Ccr assumes no responsibility for unsolicited 
contributions. Voices' is published twice yearly by Rock Valley 
College. To become an editor, enroll in JRN 139 - Small 
Magazine Production. This 2-credit course is offered every 
semester. I or inform.ition, call (HI S) 921-3324. 

Cover Art by Rise M. Powers-Johnson 

I could feel the de\'il 
^', ;' in all his sharp-clawed madness 
screaming and tearing 
biting and sliding 

slowly towards my ego 

My eyes rolled 
and salivated 
and I could feel god 
pushing upward on my sparkling 
and sober feet 

So there I am stuck in a holy sandwich 
swirling somewhere in the middle 
when the thought comes to mind 
that I feel 
like a child 
caught in between two parents 
going thru 
a very sloppy dix^orce 

Kind of a funny thing to think 

about while being 
pressed in a godwhich 
and I realized that 

the devil wasn't pushing 

I was pulling 

The devil only set down 
things in front of me 

that got progressively heavier 
god was lifting 
I was pulling away 
I gripped harder 
he pushed more 

Now my soul sits in ashtrays 
and on the lips of smokers 
lips that cover 
the yellow coated teeth 
Grunting and laughing 
smiling and shitting 
sucking away 

at my soul 
They sucked it all 
and I was left with nothing 
They smoked til their fingers burned 

and broke and bleed. 
They mixed it with my ashes and drank 

My boots sat emptied in the corner 

my feet suckeci 

like wet spaghetti noodles 

from my now 
dormant socks. 
It was tragic, 

the way they 
sat there 

looking up at 

pouting and 
towards me 
Crying some- 
thing about 

nails and hairs 

nails and hairs 
I cursed and then 

The long legged 

danced around 
the rims 

of the trucker's ^__^^^^^^^_^^_^_ 
mugs Raven Johnson 

Sometimes one would pull 

on the arm of a slot machine 

standing proudly 

at the end of the table. 

The little wheels would always think 
Why did I end up on this side of the glass 

instead of that asshole pulling the lever? 

— Randal T. Schultz 


eventime i pick up my pen 

i fear i will write just another cliche 
i don't think i've ever written 

anything of meaning 
and it's a pretty sad day 
when you realize 

that yf)ur work e\c)kes nothing 
not like, not dislike 
S<^) why 

do i keep writing? 

Maybe i write 

to piss you off 

Maybe i write 

to keep my hands busy 

Maybe i write 

to loye my grandma 

Maybe i write 

so they'll laugh at it and not me 

Maybe i write 

to get women 

Maybe i write 

to have just one god damn 
organized thought 

Maybe i write 

to pray 

Maybe i write 

so they'll shut up about me 
being unproductive 

Maybe i write 

to hear myself talk 
Maybe i write 

to stop these urges 

Maybe i write 

to prove i can 

In your head 

all ideas are clever, 

you have to write them down 
to realize how mixed up you really are. 

— Randal T. Schultz 

Do You See a Fool? 

The twilight pierces my eyes 

Is it over or has it just begun? 

East or West 

The road lies before me 

A choice only 1 can make 

East or West 

Am I a fool to stand at the cross 

If I stand still will time do the same? 
East or West 
Darkness versus light 
Is the easy path always the 

wrong way? 
East or West! 

Each road, destination unknown 
Am I a fool at the cross roads? 
No I am not a fool ^ 

I'll just turn around ^ 



Today, tonight 

No I might 

Not love 

Not wonder 

Just my insides rumbling thunder 

I can't eat 

Can't think while looking in his eyes 

Into the soul 

Not outside 

Inside deeper there it lies 

In pools of water with no sides 

I'm overwhelmed and drowning in surprise 

Because it is all here in his eyes 

No need to look any further 


Invisible Wall 

You were so sweet to me 

1 just couldn't take it 

You were there I didn't want to see 

You told me the story of your life 
I didn't let you see me cry 
You said you could make it rain for 

It flooded 

You said you would die for me 
You did in my mind 
I'm sorry because 
I did pay attention to everything 

you said 
1 watched you every day 
Not looking at me 
Even though you did out of the 

edge of your eye 
And in your dreams 
1 cried at home from your sad story 
Because it was my story too 
And now my eyes are flooded 
Because I didn't say these things 

to you 

He was a little dorky 

And a little weird 

I could hear his imaginary fans 

As they cheered 

He tried to make it sound casual 

Just a little date 

But he had asked a little late 

Thank goodness my schedule was 


But I tried to make it sound sincere 
I was sorry I was busy 
And that would be for the rest of the year 


,v-^ v'^ -o^ ,-- ,<c- 

Tourist Solid 


I cry out in the night, 

louder, louder I scream when 

bluntly awakened I seem to be 

in the dark, a hazy dark. 

is this a dream, can it be real? 

tedious is this feeling, I wish to complain, 

when 1 open my two eyes precariously, 

I envision the source, the dam 

how could they let it get so clogged? 

let me purify you, come come with me 

Pour me into the glass of grace. 

As if I were water in its purest form 

and don't ever clog again. 

Fatty Acids 

The fatty acids, 

will eat you alive, 

they tickle you, 

and itch you, 

then crunch, bite, and 

gulp you're gone, 
to the acids of inside. 

- Torn apart by the thoughts that make mi' thi' individual I dm - Mangled in the despair of my intimacy • 

Devouring everything natural, biological, and neurotic in my path to find fate - Defy fate, defy fate, 
understand it and appreciate its beauty - Voyaging to a better place with true people where i can evolve 

Lost Love 

Tears released from my eyes. 

In remembrance of my lost love. 

I'm being embraced by the cool chilly 


I can no longer feel the warmth of my 

Lover's touch. 

For him my heart weeps. 

If I could have a glimpse of his angelic 


Or perhaps inhale the musk but sweet 

Scent of his cologne. 

Just once more. 

Oh my continuous heart-felt hopes and dreams 

Must be put to rest at last. 

Crazy Situations 

So much lost because of one night. 
Why did I put myself in such a plight? 
I must learn to think before I act. 
It's hard when your niind is not intact. 

From my mistakes I have learned. 
Actions speak much louder than words. 
I do not like what my actions tell me. 
I am what I claimed not to be. 

Am 1 just the same as the rest? 
My strength has been pvit to the ultimate test. 
I have an inability to focus on but one thought. 
For my peace of mind I've continually fought. 

3 Poems 


Toy Lambert 

What do you thinl<? 

What do you think about you and me? 
Walking hanci in hand for all of eternity. 
Promising to love each other now and forever. 
The two of us inseparable always together. 

Vowing to share love until death do us part. 
Never betraying the love in our hearts. 
Sacrificing all, to be by the other's side. 
Starting a life that'll bring such pride. 

As I'm gazing longingly into my angel's beautiful 

I promise to be honest, never to tell any lies. 
I'll offer nothing but the best. 
While expecting you to put my fears to rest. 

Falling asleep in your arms peacefully 
When I awake your face is the first I see. 
My love for you I'll always cherish. 
I pray your love for me will never perish. 


Mirrored image. 

My excess. 

Where I lie inadequate, 

-ragment, puzzled pieces. 

In union, 

I love you. 

— C.M.Hall 

End of Eden 

What is said to have happened to Adam, 

When he lost Eve 

Why did Eden turn to dust 

Why do names become forgotten 

And will it ever happen to me 

Since when did cloud nine. 

Come before cloud one 

Who put the me in alone 

Why do kings die 

Why is history forgotten 

And what ever happened to Eden 

Alone in the dark. 
Afraid of what's out there 
And why do we forget 
What we've lived through 
And what ever became of me 

What happened to Eden 
Will it happen to me 

What happened to me 
Happen to Eden 

— John Arn 

You tell me the click clack of my shoes turns you on. 
How you know what my footprints sound like right 

outside our door. 

But cio you know what my thoughts sound like 

right before I knock? 

If I took off my shoes, wovild you know it was me 

on the other side? 

You tell me it's like an echo, 

my minci, not my shoes. 

It starts off quiet, building up frequency, noise. 

You tell me my minci is noise, 

but what a beautiful sound that noise makes. 

You tell me they're like the sunrise, 

my eyes, not my mind. 

They start off St. Tropez , end in the sun. 

You tell me I'm like the sun, 

I burn you with my gaze. 

You tell me the click clack of my shoes turns you on, 

not my mind, my body. 
My intensity that rivals that fiery ball rotating 

above us, 

to which you worship, 

on your knees , 

to which I dream, 

in my sleep, 

with our legs tangled, and our eyes closed 

so the noise won't escape from my head, 

and interrupt your dreaming. 

Rip up the rose petals you gave me, 

with the tears that shred my cheeks into your image, 

of my heart. 

You have no reason 

to love me. 

But you do. 

Kiss away my memories, with you as all 1 


I love to start over with you, again and again and 


Whoever said we were perfect? 

Except you, late at night, when you whispered my 

name, which sounded like confusion. 

You have no reason 

to love me. 

But you do. 

Graze my arm with your eyes, 

that warms my body with chills, not knowing what 

your vision will hit next. 

Whisper my name with a heated breath that echoes 

its way through my body, sending me over. 

You say you're falling in love with me, 

but I've already landed. 


Pearled drops of you 

melt into me. 

wasted on a bed 

of feathers. 

— C. M. Flal 

The Unbreakable Glass 

Somewhere in my cabinet 
Sits an unbreakable glass 
I try to overmedicate it 
But it just won't break 

I throw it to the floor 

But not a chip breaks apart 

And even though 

It is the ugliest color of green I have ever seen 

There it rests on my shelf 

Because it reminds me 

That 1 am not always beautiful every day 

1 do have my bad moments 

And 1 can take my wrath out on the glass 

It doesn't talk back to me 

I feed it aspirin and advil 

It gets headaches a lot these days 

Mainly from disuse 

Just sitting and passing the time 

Like I will when I am old 

But hopefully I will not get headaches 

And who knows if my skin will turn green? 

— Linda Backeberg 


In your absence, 

I'm tormented by words 

that hang around my neck 

Like a noose 

bearing no meaning, 


— C. M.Hall 

My Friend Anna 

Once upon a time, when potato chips with ridges were 
only one man's vision, there was a young girl named Leonard. 
Leonard's parents had been told they were having a boy, so 
when Leonard was born a girl they decided to still call her 
Leonard, even though they named her Anna. 

Leonard was truly a beautiful girl, despite her name. She 
had rosy cheeks and a smile that nearly took your breath away. 
Her teeth were evenly spaced and she had tight ringlet curls 
that covered her perfectly shaped head. Her giggle was so 
precious that people would make funny faces at her just to hear 
her laugh. Even her elbows were beautiful in their own way. 

Leonard's only imperfection was the abnormally sized 
pinky toe on her left foot. It was huge. This was rather 
unfortunate because she thoroughly enjoyed running barefoot 
through the meadows and often found herself tripping on her 
rather large toe. 

One spring day Leonard woke up and decided to put on 

her favorite dress. The dress was light blue with a purplish 
haze. Along the hem was white eyelet lace, which brushed 
lightly across Leonard's knees. The dress was Leonard's 
favorite because it accentuated her adorable knees. 

After buttoning up her dress, Leonard put on a pair 
of white sandals. All she could wear were sandals because 
of her large pinky toe. This made walking through the snow 
a difficulty, but luckily this story took place in the spring. 

As Leonard walked out of her room into the hall, she 
found her two-year-old triplet brothers playing with their 
pet squirrel named Puffy Cookie. Her brother 's names were 
Violet, Rose and Gerald. Violet was an impressive tap dancer 
for a toddler. His parents had him start taking lessons when 
he was only three and a half months old. Rose had quite the 
knack for journalism at his young age. His role model was 
Tom Brokaw, and the family often found little Rose taking 
notes throughout the evening news broadcast. Gerald also 
had a talent of his own. He could shoot a spark of fire from 
his earlobe, but only while he was eating pancakes. 

Jumping oxer each of her brother's heads, Leonard exited the 
house and entered her backyard. The first thing she encountered in 
the massi\'e backyard was the small water park her father had built 
in the corner of the yard. The water park had a wavepool, a large 
slide, kiddie pool (for the triplets), and a bright yellow slip 'n slide. 
"Too bad it isn't summer yet," Leonard thought with a deep 
sigh as she glanced at the daytimer that was in her pocket. 

Leonard continued to walk the perimeter of the yard. She 
stopped at all the various attractions her father had built in the yard, 
such as the petting zoo and ferris wheel. She even paid a nickel to 
see four midgets and a dancing bear perform her favorite song from 
"The Phantom of the Opera." Above all, Leonard's favorite part of 
the day was eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch 
under the large oak tree right in the middle of the yard. 

After playing in the yard for nine hours and about seventeen 

minutes, Leonard decided to return home for dinner. The family ate 

macaroni and cheese with hotdog chunks while watching Tom 

Brokaw on the five thirty news. They sang the latest commercial 

jingles together as they cleaned up the dishes. Then the children's 

parents called out from the hallway that it was time for bed. 

.All four children grabbed their beloveci blankets and walked toward their separate rooms. Each child 

had a tent that fit on the mattress of their beds. It was their mother's idea to get them tents so that they would 

think going to bed was fun--almost like camping. 

Both the mother and father went into each room to sing a John Denver song to their children. As Leonard 
listened to her father playing the auto-harp and her mother singing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" in a 
baritone voice, she drifted off to sleep. Her last thought 
before finally sleeping was "ahh, this has been a lovely 
day and I can onK' hope that my dreams will be just 
as good." 

And that is the story of Puffy Cookie, the first 
squirrel to become a domesticated house pet. 

Sarah E. McDonald 

['hotos by Andrea Saladino 

1^ m 

I wanted to write you a poem 

to celebrate the day 

But as the words began to form 

some tears got in the way 

Please don't think I'm sad 

or angry, or depressed 

Please just know I'm happy 

tor you cause me nothing less 

I've made my friends my life you see 

it's silly some might say 

But nothing makes me prouder 

than when they shine like you today 

For 1 like to think I helped you there 

that my love took some effect 

Or that my presence makes you stronger 

as I also seem to suspect 

Since that's what my friends are to me 

a guiding force like no other 

Strong arms when my soul is weak 

words warmer than the thickest cover 

You are this kind of friend to me 

always have been, always will 

And I know that I can count on you 

help me over any hill 

The distance does not matter 

it only draws us near 

For in that space we realize 

the ones we hold most dear 

So I give to you this poem 

to celebrate the day 

All I ask is next time 

help wipe the tears away 

Every time I forgive 

Try to reconcile 

You wound me all over again 

No satisfactory explanations 

But I deserve them 

At the least 

I should be mad 

mad because you used me 

as your sounding board 

as a shoulder to cry on 

as the butt of your joke 

as your work break companion 

as a rescue from boredom 

You used me as your friend 

but wouldn't let me use you 

1 should be mad at you 

not miss you 

I'm tired of looking at you, 

tired because all 1 do is look, 

since you won't let me do anything else. 

No talking, no whispering, no laughing, 

no secrets, no jokes, no fights, 

no singing, no slapping, no tickling, 

no staring, no sharing, no driving, 

no lunches, no concerts, no shopping, 

no anything we did when you cared, t^ ,, -i .. 

- ^ :; Don t smile at me 

no anything we did before her, 

no crying, no hugging, no kissing, 

maybe a little missing. 

still mostly just looking. 

But I'm tired of looking at you. 

Don't be nice and pleasant 

Cordial and courteous 

What gives you the right? 

You forfeited it long ago 

Around when you burned 

our ties 

1 see no reason to smile at 

me over ashes 

Anousone Panyanouvong 

Why do you touch me so softly, when my hands are 

so rough? 
And why do your lips caress my eyes, when I can't 

look at you? 
Why do you answer me when I whisper I love you, 

when that's all you've ever said? 
And why can't you see through me when I'm so far 

away from transparency? 
Why do you say you understand me when we have 

nothing in common? 
And why do you say I'm hiding something behind 

my laugh, when all you see is my smile? 
Why do you assume there's darkness in here, 

when I seem to be brighter than the sun? 
And why do you want to solve me, 

when I'm a million pieces of a million 

puzzles, and you hate games? 
Why do you say you love me, when we've known 

nothing but? 
Why do you watch me when 1 can't see you, 

through my darkness that hides behind the 

laughter in my eyes, put together with 

different pieces of different puzzles that love 

your touch like a thousand kisses landing on 

my body, when you say you love me. 

— Erin Monette 

When the sky was blue 

Once I knew how to fly. 

It was a time 


the sky was still blue 

I soared and glided 

around and around without even trying 

dizzy in thin air 

The endings of songs 

streaked past in the wind 

blinded by old tears 

I swam past. 

I didn't look back 

or down. 

for fear of falling 

The toy people 

What were they saying? 

as I knew they would 

my feet touched bottom. 

- Maggie Thienemann 

Rachel 'Ray' Manis 

I am not a writer. 
It is not my strong suit. 
I choose not to play it 
But the choice is not mine. 
It belongs to that other person 
Whom I know all too well. 
The decision has been made. 
The battlefield has been set. 
So I close my eyes and let go, 
And once again I'm defeated 
By our weirds. 

— Brenda Brinckerhoff 

RVC Ids RVC Kids RVC Kids 

RVC Kids ' RVC Kids 


"A garden is a house for flowers.' 


Friends are great 

Friends are fun 

There are friends for everyone 

Some like cats 

Some like dogs 

Some like bats 

Some like frogs 

Some like foods that are hot 

Some like foods in a pot 

Gotta have friends 

They're the best 

Friends are great 

That's the rest 

— Krystal Phillips 
Age 10 


— Sierra Blakely 

Age 7 

Peace is what people want. 
Every single day 
Admire the beauty. 
Could it be more pretty? 
Even v/hen cloudy and dark 

— Justice Wind 
Age 10 


Remembering Dr. King 

Brotherhood rainbow 
Recipe for peace 
Overcome lots of setbacks 
The dream for freedom 
Hero to African-Americans 
Every man s brother 
Remember Dr. King. 
He had a dream. 
Overcome prejudice. 
Offer peace. 
Dr. Martin Luther King. 

— Victor Wind 
Age 10 

'When I am sad, I go to my 
room and read a book." 

— Shawnee Younvanich 
Age 8 

A Collection of Artwork and Poetry submitted 


RVC ^[ds 

r VC Kids 

RVC Ki'ds RVC \C[ds 

RVC Kids 

The First Laugh 

The energy and yet a sense of peace 
How do children do it? 
Be at complete peace? 
Have complete innocence. 
Yet, how does a person of such age become this person? 
Think of your first laugh. 

Your first laugh was one of your most joyous moments 
When you first enjoyed something so much and colored 
it 'tickle me pink.' 

Remember when you had so much energy as you could 
run as what it seemed forever and still have energy? 
That was such a long time ago. 
You will always have those memories. 
Although the time has passed, you will always have 
that vibe and energy that you had when you were 

I will never feel the same. 

Yes, you will. Just remember your first laugh . . . 

— Brianne Wolf 
Age 12 

Alexa Martin 
Age 4 

First Art' 

Prescription for Earth 

Our mother, the earth 
has pain in both ears. 
It hurts her to swallow. 
She's raining some tears. 

The earth is sick. 
He air is thick. 

100 years of rest, 
that would be best. 

Earth has a fever, 

but we won't leave her. 

Plant trees and flowers 
To help things survive. 
Honor the Earth. 
It will keep us alive. 

— Aurora Wind 
Age 10 

the children of RVC students, staff and faculty. 

Killing of the Killing 

and of course there is this fear i have 
with this screen and all these words 
and when i know i have too much to say 

thats when i know im tilting 
and falling, and oh, watch these hands fall from 

my eyes (who else hates feeling like jesus?) 
as i remember that you are watching me 
watching, like everyone else 
and they say oh how can you not FEEL and i say 

how can you imagine me any other way? 
well, yes, maybe my life is a little like someone else's 
maybe it's that copy of tropic of cancer i keep in 

my pocket (my mouth?) 
or maybe is the poetry i find under my pillow, 

under your shirt 
and maybe im pretending 
a sort of killing of the killing 
well im FEELING this and you know more than 

i could tell you 
so maybe i should close this skull 
and maybe i wish i could pretend and bend 

and steady myself in your skin 
after streams and explosions of words and 

(did i sound alive? were you nervous? 

oh i am amazing sometimes) 

pounding on this until my hands ache 
well im fallen 
and a little useless 
oh god, can you touch me again... 
oh god, im fallen 

— Gillian Zekos 


Fifteen hours, stuffed in a seat 
Sleeping, squirming, eating 

Rice, tofu, and 

Shriveled up peas 

The wall 

Snaking over eroded hills 
Worn by the thief of time 
Stretching miles before my eyes 

Tiananmen square 

Bloodstained cracks 
Soldiers patrolling youth 
Workers dancing at dawn 

Water buffalo 

Plowing the farmer's rice paddies 
Collapsing in his tracks 
Replenishing my food 

Tonight's delicacy 

Fried dog, dumplings, pig's ear 
Cat cooked to perfection and 
Served with eyeball soup 

Jokhang Temple 

Surrounded by majestic mountains 

Landscape with snow 

Lhasa pilgrims in their holy khorra 

Wild river 

Rushing through the gorges 
Carrying bodies to unknown graves 
Soon lost for eternity for progress 


Temples, pagodas and dynasties 
Terra cotta men 
With a multitude of dialects 
Overflowing with history 
Rich in yellowed artifacts 

Permeated in legend 

— Pat Benedict 

Paul K. Dyer 

Oh you're my bone-shaker 

stir me up make me all vibed-out nervy alive 

I want to lay near you, your cheek against mine 

like fine-grained sandpaper 

and you are like that too... 

gritty but touchable 

you smooth away my rough-n-tough 

bad girl veneer 

too easily. 

I am naked around you, 

Even my eyes- 

my eyes are no longer veiled 

but I'm scared to be 

so naked. 

— Jennifer Beksel 

Comfortably on Edge 

Sandv Allen 

Gas station 
bright white light 
blue moon of Kentucky 
no such thing. 

Take up my pen 
hoping for solitude 
hoping for answers 
hoping for peace 

Truck stop 

Look at the clock 

stop golden light 

as you wait for a visitor 

sunshine of Vermont 

hoping and praying 

no such thing 

for the chance to do 


Fruits of the forest 

birds of the air 


fish of the sea 


no such thing 



Tweaked to the bone 
tweaked to the core 
calmly accepting 
the chaos of destiny 

Help on the way 
Help on the way 

Nate Schwerin 

Sandv Alien 

Green Butterfly 

The other day I saw a magnificent sight that made me 
wonder about that very fact. I saw a green butterfly fly- 
ing towards the heavens. It kept going and I followed it 
with my eyes until it was out if sight. Then I kept watch- 
ing for it to come back down. I know butterflies are small, 
so I kept scanning the sky for any sign of its return to 
earth. After several hours of looking, I realized that 
maybe that butterfly did make it past the grip of our 
gravity. Maybe, just maybe he is populating the moon 
with magnificent butterflies that can do anything they 
put their minds to. 

— Ed Rader 

Good Morning 

he woke to an unusual sound not entirely unpleasant, 
just different, the birds weren't chirping nor were the 
crickets chirping, or whatever the hell the sound they 
make is called, in fact all was quiet, was this the dreaded 
calm before the storm, the peaceful time just before his 
alarm clock summons him awake for another shitty day 
to trod all over his dreams? or was this the "true peace" 
he had been trying to buy by meditating naked in the 
bathroom with a dozen candles burning, arranged in per- 
fect harmony to the alignment of the planets or some dis- 
tant dream of Atlantis, just like the books he bought on 
his maxed-out credit card say will align your aura? no, 
this was different than anything he had felt before, he 
hopped out of bed and literally bounded down the steps 
to the kitchen, he made his coffee in record time and when 
he placed the cup to his lips, it was the sweetest thing he 
had ever tasted, he then noticed his hip no longer hurt, 
nor did his fingers feel like they were in a vice while stale 
battery acid was dripped slowly over them, in fact he 
felt better than he had in years, no he felt better than he 
ever had. he ran upstairs at full speed, which was im- 
possible for him to do in more than two decades, espe- 
cially since he lost his leg last summer to diabetes, he 
stopped and hesitated, then looked down at his stump, 
there it was in all its glory, his right leg, not swollen or 
sore, just there, like it was supposed to be. he walked 
into his bedroom with his eyes closed, because he knew 
his way since his eyes were cloudy with cataracts and 
glaucoma, or at least they were before he woke up. he 
stood in front of the bed which had basically been his 
prison for many months now and realized he had to open 
his eyes to know the truth, he did and he was right. 

2 Poems by 
Ed Rader 

Ruth Ann 

The door is finally closed. Thank god for that. My 
sunshine fresh attitude about you and all people 
is present and accounted for. An expletive to de- 
scribe my attitude towards the world would be 
proper, yet crass. 

But that's me completely, the crude nuisance that 
reminds you of an in-growing toenail that drives 
you absolutely nuts, the scab on the top of your 
head that won't go away because you keep pick- 
ing at it. 

I can only be me, but you want prince charming 
on his gay horse to ride in and sweep you off your 
chubby ankles. Sorry mother, but just because you 
spawned me, doesn't mean you own me. I am not 
your currency. 

So I will go on about my business and you yours, 
but we will continue to butt heads because 1 am 
your child and we are too alike. The end will come 
soon and we will never know that in two bodies 
reside the same damn person. 


Caitlin Derrinston 

\\ hen the past prevails 

\\ hen one compass's broken arrow shoots the regression towards 

another da\'. 
Flatterv pacing the entire view 
A room left to serenit\' 
The passing of one life's motives 
While spent \ears drip, clutch the splintered walls 
Catch to the now fibered cracks left in the dankiiess of basement stair. 
Dust, Death caught the dryness 
\ot to stir 
\ot to stir 

Pour the water over the once solidified cracks 

Listen to the creaks as wind from another field pours unto the foundation. 
Forexer is the thought chasing my breath. 
While some crv for the forgi\'ing nature of words, 
1 chose to heave my entire soul upon the open hearth. 
Stones that lie, graves unspoken, became alive with one flick of a wrist. 
Ma\be 1 would walk this eternity away until the smoke that caught 

m\ pace before reached. 
Ma\ be 1 should have laid upon the floor until my veins strung into his. 

^'ou know how the rules get broken, 
^'ou shouldn't go to sleep right now. 

— Sarah Reed 

Another Shattered Being 

Three steps forward 

Two steps back 

Mother May I 

Know another feeling 

Besides this roller coaster they call life 

Does the roller coaster 

Ever go up 

Or just down to the pit of loneliness 

Of Darkness 

Of Blackness 

I collapse in the cold basement 

Of Despair 

I need some help to get up from my knees 

1 can no longer see the light 
I crumble 

Mother may 1 please 
Know any other feeling 
Before 1 have to take 
Two more steps back? 
No you say . . . 

Then as 1 wait here in my 
Silent Misery 
All I am asking is 
Forgive me 

— Christina Valdez 

My Dream 

I opened my eyes to a dream. 

I looked around and couldn't find anything wrong. 

I found myself in a world where opportunity C 

didn't knock, but came in for a cup of coffee. © 
It was a world where the truth didn't hurt. 
It really did set you free. 
I felt like I belonged. 
It was my world. 
No rules, no limitations. 
I understood everything. 
I didn't need anyone. 
No more watching the clock and waiting for something 

to happen. 
I could exhale and feel my burdens lift. 
I could look at myself in the mirror and think 1 was a 

good person. 
I could be happy withovit trying. 
I no longer had to fake the smiles for show. 
I found myself with no pain. 

I had no regrets, no fears, no longings or expectations. 
I didn't wonder why it was that 1 was always alone. 
I didn't stare into the river and wish that I'd slip and fall. 
I stopped hoping for a sudden death to take my life. 
For a brief moment, everything was okay. 
But, in the next brief moment, I woke up. 

— Melody Nimsomboon 


Touch your finger to my eye. .Push 

1 want to feel what you give to me 

Blind me with your hand, kill me with your 


As sure as you, it will be uncomfortable 

You say this has never happened to you 

I say I feel this often 

Why don't we just do it together - Make it ours 

— Paul Redel 

Most won't see through 
All this is paying off 
Satisfying my desire for space 
Keeping my distance will save me 
Over and over I attempt 
Failure has become a brother 
Starting to hide was difficult 
Everything was worth the trouble 
Laying low is safest 
Forget knowing 

— Paul Redel 

These justified poetic words do not fall easily. 

The\' seep through slow, slower than stopped time. 

1 wish 1 could stop time. 

The words hit and hit hard they do. 

1 take the frozen breathes you gave me to keep my body "alive." 

The coldness travels down my now brisk, shortened throat.. 

Before I know it this ice sensation 

falls into each of my tarred lungs, 

making every breath grow smaller, shorter, and cooler. 

pretty soon the tingle from the words you breath have struck, 

what used to be warm, heart pumping my entire body 

with a cold false sense of your being 

but maybe you were the one with the false sense of self 

now no way to restate the stated, we must turn each a different 

direction and direct ourselves away from the other 

and begin again. 

— Devin Henry 

Drunk in Beijing, Pining for My Lover 

dear beautiful angel who exists now 

only as a silent puppet in the parlor of my mind, 

1 dream of \our breath bathing my skin 

under the mothering of the moon. 
I dream of trembling moments 
suspended in 

of shivering grasses and chirping stars, 
freezing under the only eyes of a black velvet sky. 

The moon broke through like a perfect rash 
on the wood under the blue netted walkway. 
Its light peppered the flavor of my white belly 
as it shone to the prying gossip of the stars. 

When in memory, your flesh burns through my skin- 
*^hirk and melting in the heat of your shine. 

Observations of an Evening 

eyeball meeting marks intersection 
in the space below the ceiling 
the swirling united consciousness? 
giggles rolling round synchronized in space 
with the vibrations of sporadic brainwaves 
the rumble down from onetoone 
in circles, 
like weightless stones. 

Listless lounging creatures resting 
in ecstacy across the plains of 

my vision. 
Sensually dulled 
while memories (distraught) 

lull the minds round the room. 

existL-nce, delightful existence. 
now to now, tonowtonow 


2 poems 





I opened the door of a moving car. There was no choice. The windows were glossy with spit, a man was 
barking at the wheel, sputtering, brutish. I remember the high pitch of his voice, the jerky diving, my silence 
like gasoline to his flame, the thought that I could die because lovers kill lovers in scenes like this. There was 
no choice. His words clattered like castanets around the smoky car. He said I was pathetic, I heard "pro- 
phetic." Then I heard nothing but my lungs, my chain necklace sliding up and down my skin with each breath, 
the shriek of a branch-snapping wind in the woozy black night. I opened the door. I demanded. Stop the car. 
Asshole. And Jeremy, Mr. Hyde, put on the brakes. 

He said, you get out of this car and it's fucking over. 

He said. Baby get back in the car. 

He said. Nobody's ever going to want you like 1 want you. I'm sorry I said some mean things. You're 
not crazy. Now get back in the car. 

Please, he said with a sound like broken glass in his throat. 

But I cut loose anyway. I knew that trick, had seen it several times before. 

So now it's midnight at the Seven-Eleven. My shimmery stockings are wild with runs, thin ladders 
threading up my calves, my eyes are dry anci dusty with mascara flakes. I am reading dog-eared pop mags 
like all the other midnight waifs. The man behind the counter — bald, porky, and oddly moist— watches me as 
if I will slip candy into my purse. When he's not staring at me directly, he is watching the silver ball in the 
corner, then he glances at Saturday Night Live on the little TV on top of the slurpee machine. I want to go up to 
him and say. You've got the wrong girl. Mister. I'm a secretary to the CEO of a fucking Fortune 500 computer 
company. I could buy you. But I am scared by this. I'm scared I am a secretary, not the euphemistic "assis- 
tant," let's get real. Every day I take a memo it hurts my pride; when I bring coffee to his desk it's worse than 
spit-shining his calfskin boots. 

My heart shudders, then beats like a gerbil's; I lose the rhythm, tense up, then find it again. I am aware 
that I started out beautiful and became hideous at some point this evening before I stepped out of the smoky 
confines of Jeremy's Porsche. Something snapped, my tawny skin became cracked, and my red silk dress 
started smelling sour, like old milk. 

Tonight something scratched my mind, ripping zipper-swift to my heart. Jeremy sneered. You are 
Teflon Woman, everything just rolls off your back— would you just be honest for once? 

At the stoplight I was going to sock him. But I couldn't. I can't hurt people, everything just drives 
inward, caustic, burning to my core. It stays in my gut and sears through my pupils. There are so many things 
I have never done. 

I go to the counter anci ask for a pack of Camels, though I don't smoke. He smiles at me, sweating. He 
asks me where my boyfriend is. I tell him he's in the parking lot waiting for me to decide how to break my 
twenty, though I know Jeremy and the Porsche are long gone. 

Understand that this was not the first time Jeremy erupted, but it was the last time I could take it. As Dr. 

Jekyll, Jeremy was sweet, 
humble, and brilliant. He 
liked the brat in me. He 
was intimidated by my 
cleverness. He liked my 
skinny ankles and flat 
blonde hair. I liked the way 
he would whisper about all 
the stuffy corporate 
shitheads at my Christmas 
parties, and the way he let 
me trust myself. 

He would break 
things. He would never 
touch me that way. I got a 
call from my brother, he 
thought it was an ex-lover, 
he punched a hole in the 
door. You'd think a smart 
woman like me would get 
a clue. You would also 
think, though, that a profes- 
sor at a famous college 
would be more emotionally 
refined. Because he was 
smart, he wrote wonderful 
letters and atoned for his 
tantrums. I let it all slide for 
years. Until tonight; the 
wrist burn from his grasp, 
prisoner in his shiny 
Porsche, suicide drive. If he 
hadn't braked, I would 
have jumped. 

— Moriah Peak 


Have you seen my little boy? I lost him years ago. 
Where he went no one knows. 
He used to ride his bike all day. He was carefree, 
and loved life. Will I ever see that baby boy again? 
What's become of him, this lost child? Has he grown 
into a good man, or has he fallen by the side of the road 
called life, like so many others. So quick to grow up, 
and now wanting to go back, isn't life funny like that? 
Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I can see his eyes, 
his smile, his hair. Has he changed that much? 
As much as I loved that lost child, 
I think I love whats become of him more. 

— Matthew Welch 

Prokaryotic Blues 

For half a fort night the thief came 

during sleep, 
on the soft, quiet pads of cats' feet. 
Without fail, to exact and extract 

my visceral fluids. 
Night after night, then taking flight. 

Drained in the darkness, slowly and methodically. 
Once detected and inspected 

a single cell was injected, infected. 
Replicated, undulated, rapid multiplication, 

replacing my life force with empty stain. 
Now I am hollow and dry as the quill 

of a large white feather plucked and discarded without vein. 
Hear me filling up with the echoes of pain. 

— Keri J. Shanahan 

Were these strings all I had waited for? 
The chords easily enticed my ears. 
Tasted my skin. 

To run would only be so careless; 
To stay would be truly beautiful. 
This one 1 will stay. 

— Sarah Reed 

Raven Johnson 

Parting IHail^u 

Farewell to Rockford. 
Mine the Iron Triangle. 
For Miriam Rae. 

— Jeffrey Michels 

Sugar and Spice 

I hide MaxL'd behind Idctor, 
Wired and Manipulated, 
and e\erything nice. 

— C.M.Hall 


Here 1 am not... at the finish Une...but 
still not quite done... 
Then I was standing in a line of people 
with no wait... 

It is exactly 2. ..but could someone please 
tell me the time? 
When did I answer the phone 
with. ..Goodbye? 

1 know what I'm looking for.. .but I just 
happened to forget... 
You know.. .it's so hot out. ..but I'm still 
freezing cold 

'm having a good night sleep, but why 
am I still counting sheep 
Someone tell me again. ..did I have a 

Wow.. .that felt good, how about you 
don't do it again 

What.. I can't hear you. shut up 
We can be friends... but do me a favor 
and let's never talk again 
Let's just pretend that it doesn't matter 
and make things easier for both of us 

- DeAnn Reynolds 


Mirrored image. 

My excess. 

Where I lie inadequate. 

Fragment, puzzled pieces, 

In union, 

I love you. 

— C.M.Hall 


She would stack up the cups until they'd fall down 

She would stand right there to get elbowed in the head 

She stared with her lazy eye that drove us all nuts 

And would yell because the cups were on the floor 

Freakshow didn't have any legs, and only stood 4'11 

but she was lucky to have wheels as feet 

She couldn't move around since her wheels didn't 

work on carpet 

I wanted to tell her that we couldn't uncierstanci her 


don't stand under my elbow, 

next time I will make it hurt 

I can't reach the bananas, I'll climb up the shelf 

That was dumb since I only needed one bunch and 13 came 

tumbling down 

I should have used a stool 

But 1 blamed it on the new girl, so it's okay 

I am Freakshow 

I have wheels for feet 

I have a lazy eye and I can't reach 


My pocket 

A few people belong in my pocket... 

I'm out of time so Fll let you know who 

First because they are so dear to me 

My parents...! want them with me, but minuscule 

enough that I can do what I want 

My sister.. .so she doesn't get in trouble, but she is 

not quite big enough to do what she wants 

My grandparents... so they can experience more 

things other than bingo and fishing 

My friends... so I don't have to ever let them go, they 

can see what I get to see everyday 

That boy.. .the one 1 tend care about so much... we 

can add him in for safe measures. ..besides he's cute 

Second, because there is no better place for them 

Bin, yes Laden... he is definitely in my jean 

compartment. we speak... so I can squish him like 
he needs to be... he's not causing any evils, is he... 
That stupid broad, Michelle, you know, the one who 
kissed my first real boyfriend... I'd like to show her a 
thing or fifty... Especially if I put her in my tight-ass 
pocket. she can probably just kiss a little of what 
is there 

The jerks will chill with grandma, she'll use her 
superhuman grandma strength and "wallop their 
butts." Then we'll see what they have to say... 

2 Poems 


DeAnn Reynolds 


John Am is j tinit-\ ear <tudent who still isn't sua^ about his plans. 

Sandy Allen is an R\C student and enjoys hosting fabulous tea parties tor her friends. She likes snails. 

Linda Backeberg, an R\C student, plavs obiie and electric guitar, and takes dance lessons. 

Jennifer Beksel is an R\'C student. 

Pat Benedict iL-t aHumed from 3 w tvks in China and Tibet. She takes classes at RVC for fun. 

Sierra Blakelv is the pnnid daughter of R\'C student Xickv Blakely. 

Brenda Brinckerhoff has no idea how long she's been at 1\\C, and plans to go to NIU. 

Caitlin Derrington is a student at W innebago High School. She eats worms. 

James Dewitz is a seeond-vear R\C student who will soon complete his Jedi training. 

lohn Donovan is an R\C student and a full time bird watcher. He loves producing his watercolor masterpieces. 

kristi Fane is finishing her .A.A at R\'C and plans to pursue a degree in Art History at NIU. 

Paul K. Dyer i> a film student at R\C. 

Brooke Funtsinn. a 3rd-vear R\'C student, dreams ot w inning a Grammv. She will record a demo this summer. 

Keegan O. Goepfert is an R\'C student. 

Emilie Gustufson i> an R\'C student and a certified airplane pilot. She enjoys memorization and her cat, Einstein. 

Peter Gulalto a second-vear R\C stvident, plans on teaching High School Art. 

C. M. Hall is a former k'oicei editor now sti.idying at Rockford College. 

Devin Henry, a Ist-vear student at R\C, joined /o?ceJ to share his perceptions of art and help others share theirs. 

Raven Johnson, a former R\C student, won last year's .-Xrtistic Achie\ement Award. 

Tov Lambert i> a 2nd-\ ear R\C student planning to attend NIU next fall to become a child psychologist. 

Olivia Levba i-- the daughter of R\C English Instructor Karen Courtney-Leyba. 

Rachel Ray' Manis has a demon in her kitchen. She has no idea how it got there nor how to get it out. 

.Me\a Martin i> the daughter of R\C student and award-winning writer, Rebecca Martin. 

Sarah E. McDonald, an R\C student, won this semester's prize for Artistic Achievement. 

Jeff rev Michels is lea\ ing R\'C with his beautiful wife Lara for Northern California after 3 fabulous years. 

Erin Monette i- the President of the RVC Arts and Literary Club. 

Melodv Nimsonboon is a Ist-vear RVC student studying to be a psychologist or teacher or writer. 

Justin befelein. a >tudent at R\'C, studies graphic design and computer animation, and likes to draw. 

.Anousone Panvanouvong is an R\'C sophomore who dreams of being a famous artist. 

Moriah Peak i- a former "Xoices Grand Prize " winner. 

Kayra Phillips and Krystal Phillips are the proud daughters of Kirk and Hope Phillips. 

Jacob Potter, an R\C student, won this vear's Grand Prize for Outstanding Contribution. He's majoring in art. 

Rise M. Powers-Johnson is a sometime art student, writer and explorer who loves being outdoors. 

Sherrv Pritz i>. K\ Cs official photographer and the most beautiful woman on campus. 

Ed Rader is fun-lo\ ing, enjovs walks on the beach and candle-lit dinners. Call him. 

Paul Redel is a 2nd-vear RVC student and musician who is slowly becoming a poet. 

Sarah Reed I- a Ist-vcar RVC student who plans to major in elementary education. 

De.Ann Reynolds is a humble, lovable drifter at RVC onl\ for this semester. 

.Andrea Saladino is an R\'C student and a member of Student Commission. 

Keri J. Shanahan is a nontraditional RVC student studying psychology. She won a writing award in 2001, 

Megan Shepherd is a senior in High School who plans to attend RVC next fall. She enjoys beating up college men, 

Lena Schultz, an RVC student, plans a double major in art and educ ation Sht' wants to work on the next laninsia. 

Randal T. Schullz wntc-s stuff and edits this magazine. Go figuri' 

.Sate Schwerin i^ an R\'C student who submitted his poi'm on a well-worn coffee-shop napkin. 

Allison Thompson, an RVC student, is currently applying to |ournalism schools and acci'pts donations 

Maggie Thienemann holds both an .MA and MIA in Studio Arts, and is currently taking writing and film at RVC 

Christina Valdez is an RVC student who loves Lucy. 

Michelle Weis is an RVC student. 

Aurora Wind, Justice Wind and Victor Wind are thi' siblings of RVC student Lena Schultz. 

Matt Welch, .i Ist-vear R\ ( student, plans to attend the University of Wyoming to study literature, 

Brianne Wolf is th<- proud daughter of RVC student, Betti Wolf, 

Shawnee Younvanich is the proud daughter of RV( student Sunee Younv.inii h. 

C<illian /ckos is an RVC studint. 



Sarafi IE. 

winner of 
this issue's 




6219 Estate St. 

Rockford, IL 


Used CD's - Imports 
Vinyl - Cassettes 



winner of 
this issue's 

Grand Prize 


Wear Your ART on Your Sleevel 

Join RVC's Arts and Literary Club. 

Meetings Wednesdays, 

3:30pm« 6-38. 

Email : voices@ednet . rvc . cc . il . us 

This issue was made 
possible by a 

generous contribution 
from RVC's 

Sti.ident Commission. 

Back Cover 

Sandy Allen 


would like to thank 

Jack Simon, 

RVC Student^ Commission, 

Lori Alfe, 

Becky Stien, 

Frank Coffman, 

Rock Valley College Foundation, 

Chris Mann, 

Curly's Bar and Grill, 

CD Source, 

RVC Public Relations, 

Elton Trojniar, 

Joshua Parks, 

Lynn Fischer, 

Mike Pace, 

Josh Curtis, 

Rockford Litho and Willie Rusin 

Special Thanks 


Sherry Fritz 

Sandy Hogan 

Keegan O. Goepfert