Maine - Magnolia Kinasewich '19

As I see the clouds,

I feel the wind

Trees beyond as far as an eye can see

Nothing but nature.

Sunlight.

Happiness and Peace.

This is the way

Life should be.

 

Crisp cold air sweeping across my face,

Changing the color of the leaves.

Feet brushing against the grass.

This is the way

Life should be.

 

The light blue sky

With the white puffy clouds

Leaves falling on the grass.

Large green trees blowing the opposite direction

Of the wind.

Ants crawling across your face.

This is the way

Life should be.

Li and Cui - Shangyuan Cui '16

Walking on the most crowded commercial street in my city, scanning over the face of people walking on the street, I feel nothing has changed since 3 years ago. Listening to the song that my old friend recommended to me in my headphones, I suddenly recognize the most familiar stranger in the flooding crowd by a glimpse.   

“Hey! Is that you, Li?” I look at him with a little bit of surprise.

“Indeed, that is me, Cui.” He smiled back with a calm face, as if it feels he knows we are going to meet at this place.

“I never thought we would meet here again.” I look at the ground and walk a few steps towards him while I’m speaking with a sentimental smile.

“Yeah, no one knows. What a surprise.” He doesn’t look at me neither, but instead he is staring at the coffee shop. “Do you want to go have a coffee at our old meeting place?” I nod my head, and we walk into the coffee shop where we usually met. The moment we step into the coffee shop, it feels like I’m back to 3 years ago.

His name was Li who was one of my best friends. We met on the first day of our high school years when I was a freshman, and he was a sophomore. With only a few sentences, we quickly became friends with each other at this rural place. Because our school’s location was isolated, we didn’t have much to do but hang out with each other all the time. Everyday in the morning he would come to my room and told me to hurry up so we could go to breakfast. During the freezing winter, when we walked to the dining hall, I always said, “ OMG, you see how cold it is outside. I will never go to breakfast again.” However, on the very next day, he would come to my room, and we would have the same conversation again.

    That was when our friendship grew, and we became closer. I still remember the time when I truly believed he was my best friend and brother. During a Saturday night in my freshman year, Li’s roommate asked me if I could switch roommates with him just for that night because it was my roommate’s birthday so he wanted to celebrate with him. I agreed because I could also hang out with Li that night. We played video games and danced to music in his room. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends I had in my life. After we were both tired and it was almost 2 A.M. so we decided to go to bed. As we turned off the light and laid on the beds, he showed me his talent of talking all night.

    “What is your dream, buddy?” He spoke with vigor and seemed like he was not yet tired from gaming and dancing.

    “I want to become a doctor or some kind of rich person so I will be able to donate a lot of money to poor people in the villages. A lot of them don’t have money and access to education and other things.” I told him.

    “That would be so nice if you could make it happen. I want to become a fashion designer and establish my own brand. I love designing clothes and fashion. I will name my brand TH, the abbreviation of my first name. And by the time I establish my brand and you donate your money to those poor people, I will also give them the clothes of my brand,” he said with determination.

    “Oh yes, we will definitely fulfill our dreams.” Even though it was too dark to see his face, I knew the kind of expression that was on his face right at that moment. He opened his eyes widely and locked his face with that confident smile. For me, I gave the biggest and happiest smile that I had as if we were already successful and had achieved our dreams.

    Time flew, and it was the graduation day for Li. Everyone tried to use a smile to cover up the sadness inside of them. For me and Li, it was like a normal day. We didn’t say much but joked around with each other because we thought we knew that we would still be best friends. On that day, before he left, he told me, “There is no need to say much between us. Take care, and stay in touch.” I looked at him and gave him a sentimental smile. Maybe, at that time, I already knew our friendship wouldn’t last that long. We still chatted and joked with each other on the phone but, during the chat, we started to have times when we both didn’t know what we should talk about. As time passed by, we began to chat less and less. In his social media, he posted people I didn’t know and places I had never been to. For me, it was the same thing. I felt the bond between us became invisible. No one actually said anything, but we knew things were over.

    At the coffee shop, we sit down and offer greetings to each other, asking if things are alright. Most of the conversation remains in silence. Whenever there is silence in the conversation, I bring myself back into my memories, and I believe he is doing the same thing too. Finally, he says he has to go to meet some friends, so we go out. Before he leaves, we don’t say much but from our eyes I can see the time when we were studying in high school and the time when we were walking on this commercial street. We both believe that it was a wonderful time when we were best friends, and had someone who had one’s back. However, we know there is no way to repeat the past.

    “Take care and let’s stay in touch.” I say.

    “Sure.” he speaks with a sentimental smile.

Stronger than I Believe - Sofia Castriotta '18

It’s not what happened to you, it's what you do with what happens to you. One major accomplishment I have faced would be learning at the young age of four and a half is how to manage to live with being a Type 1 Diabetic. I was strapped down to a stretcher as the sirens blared while the men frantically attempted to talk to me. I was four and a half years old lying on that stretcher. At that moment I was getting rushed to the emergency room. No one knew what was wrong with me. I was very parched and I had lost so much weight you could see the outline of my bones. I barely could speak; I had no clue what was going on. When the ambulance men tried asking me questions I wasn't capable of answering them; I could not focus on what they were saying to me. The only thing I said was "You guys, did you get me a coolatta guys?". I was very sick; I had almost died. The doctors diagnosed me with Type 1 Diabetes on September 15th 2003. Having diabetes has changed my life and shaped me into the person I am today.

When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes, I had to adapt to a new lifestyle. At first everything was overwhelming, but I got the hang of it. I had to eat during scheduled times, but this was easy to adjust to because I already ate meals around the same time every day. I have to regularly see my doctors every three months. I quickly learned how to count carbs and read food labels. I had to watch what I ate at first and, bolus after every snack or meal, by giving myself insulin through a needle, but that changed four years later.

When I was eight, my doctors changed the way I gave myself insulin. Instead of through needles every time I ate, I could wear a sight and change it every two to three days. By having the pump I was given free range of what I could eat, and by having a pump it meant less needles. Having a pump has given me more freedom and independence.

Diabetes has affected me through playing sports, school, and my social life. Before I go on the ice for practice or a game I have to check my blood sugar and make sure it’s at a good range. If it’s not I get very distracted and am not capable of focusing while playing. At school I have to check my sugar and bolus before I eat in the cafeteria. The only time I go to the nurse’s office is if my blood sugar is low. Lastly, diabetes has had an impact on my social life. Unlike my friends I have to check my sugar and bolus for what I’m going to eat. Wherever I go I have to wear my insulin pump and bring my kit. Checking my sugar and bolusing has become a daily routine.

Diabetes has changed my life for the better; if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change what has happened to me. Being diagnosed with diabetes has put me through many challenges and obstacles in my life. Learning to live with diabetes has been a major accomplishment for me because if it was not for diabetes, I would not be the strong, independent person that I am today. It’s not what happens to you, it's what you do with what happened to you.

Nature's Crumbling Perfection - Liam George '19

Forest so vast, mountains so high

people are so small, with nature by its side.

 

Trees so tall, endless in life

someone cuts it down, and ruins a perfect sight.

 

Wind whistling through the leaves, so peaceful and calm

roar of a motorcycle ruins nature song.

 

While looking at nature, instead of seeing beauty we see potential

why turn a forest into a mall for some else's pleasure.

Landscape Poem - Iain Frumiento '19

The smells of the juicy steak
rushing out from the kitchen
to warn everyone studying hard
that lunch is near.

But when I step outside
and take a moment to look around
I notice that there is
not a single wild animal
is calling for it’s friends
or just singing it’s songs.

It makes me wonder
that we the people
are guilty of many wrongdoings
even if it benefits us,
it may not please the others.

The birds carry their twig houses off somewhere else,
the ants build houses deeper underground,
the foxes make new kitchens in different trees
because we have disrupted their homes.

Humans don’t destroy everything though.
The mountains haven’t flattened,
The trees still create breathtaking scenes,
and people still smell the flowers.
The grass is like a damp rug,
where we all have fun and play games,
and the wind still blows on the weathervane
like it always has, unchanged.

The main message to you is
that we the people do not live alone.
If you are playing with your pets,
watching birds eat seeds,
or chasing squirrels away,
Just remember to stop and think
of the juicy steak that waits in the kitchen
and realize that we always have company over
no matter where we are in the world.

Tibon's Companion (Rewrite of Cliff Scene from The Farming Bones) - Joseph Dunn '16

     The edge of the cliff loomed above the crashing surf. The salt burned my throat, like the tears burned my eyes. I looked to my left, I could make out five other people. The man directly to my left was pleading with the soldiers in flawless Spanish, his skin was light. He did not have the skin of my people. Beside him was a man who was standing in silence. One of his arms was noticeably smaller than the other. He did not plead, his mind was set, he wanted to leave on his own terms. The rest of the group was too far away to properly make out, but I heard Kreyol and broken Spanish echoing in a desperate chorus. The soldiers brandished their bayonets, ready for us to try something, anything which would allow them to take out their aggression on us. The light skinned man ran up to the soldiers, dropping to his knees begging.
     “Please I’m Dominican, you can’t do this. My family has supported the Generalissimo since the beginning. My wife and kids need me, I’m the only one who can provide for them.” I wanted to warn him, but before I could, the soldier in front of him slashed at his face with his bayonet, narrowly missing his eye. Before he could get up, or move away, a peasant rushed forward and cut him down with his machete. I shut my eyes to the violence, I could not make myself look.
      The soldiers took a step towards us, over the corpse of the man. Looking to my left, two people had already leapt off the cliff. The one with the mismatched arms stood stone faced, he spread his arms and simply fell. I looked back at the soldiers, The Generalissimo had put fear in their eyes, anger. I knew they were willing to kill, but even more than that, they wanted to kill. Haitians were no longer even people in their eyes, the Generalissimo had changed that.
      I closed my eyes and stepped back. My foot left the cliff and I tried to stop myself, but it was far too late. I went limp as I began to tumble. Limbs were hanging from the rocks from those who didn’t make it, too many to count. I never felt the water meet me. The first thing I remember was swimming towards the shore. I noticed people along the beach. They were wielding machetes, ready to remove the heads of anyone who came ashore. I looked around and that's when I saw the man with mismatched arms, he was struggling to swim but he had a direction to go. A cave. I swam after him, finally catching up after he reached a place to hold on. The spray was ever present, chilling me to my tired bones. My legs were burning from the fall, they were shredded from the impact with the water. I gritted my teeth.
      “My name’s Makenson,” I choked out through the seawater.
      “M’se Tibon” he called, his voice just barely audible over the roar of the sea. “We stay until night, then the soldiers won’t come to the shore. Alright?” His eyes were open wide, he was afraid, afraid of what might happen. He was young, maybe in his 20’s. However in his eyes you could see he had already grown tired. He had not had a chance to live his life, and already he felt like his life was near its end. I simply nodded at him, to avoid swallowing the salt water. The ocean pounded at my back, with a force like nothing I had felt. Every fiber of my crushed soul worked to hold on to the huge boulder. Hours passed and the daylight still flooded into the cave. Before long I began to doubt my willpower.
      “A little longer,” I said. I looked towards Tibon, his face showed the pain he was in, but he knew he was going to survive. It was the same face he had at the top of the cliff. He was adamant and strong, but his eyes could not hide everything. There was still fear, he knew his entire life had just changed and it scared him.
      “Do you have any family?” He didn’t even look my way, my words had been washed out to sea with the surf. “Do you have any family still here?” I screamed as loud as I could this time, the spray filled my mouth with salt. I spat it out and shuddered. Tibon glanced over and then lowered his bald head. I understood immediately.
      Finally after what must have been five hours the sun had gone from the sky. I let go of the ledge and struggled through the waves, out of the cave. The shore was dark, nothing but a dotted line of lights several hundred yards inland. The soldiers had long since returned to patrol. Or perhaps, they had gone back to their homes, forgetting what they had just done. Tibon and I skirted around the small town staying on the beach for a couple miles before he spoke.
      “Where in Haiti are you going? Do you still have family there, a place that I could stay with you?” I looked at him for a few minutes. He still had the same look of pain, but the fear seemed to have left his eyes.
      “I’m staying here,” I replied. “Ain’t got family elsewhere, no reason to leave the ones I do have.”
      “Ha, no reason to leave? No reason at all? You were almost just killed by the people of this country, they don’t want you here anymore, they never wanted you here. They only dealt with us because they didn’t want to do the hard labor. They aren’t like us.” We both remained silent. His breathing had become labored, and he turned his back to me, struggling to make a stride.
      “I’m staying because whether they want us or not we will have a better life here, where there is money and food. My wife and I left Haiti because there was not enough space to have our child. This was the only place that I wasn’t afraid my child would starve. I don’t have any other chances.” Tibon was sobbing, deep shaky breaths were rattling his body. His small arm was torn up from hanging onto the ledge the whole day. The dark was set on us, it was cloudy, no stars, no moon, just dark.
       “You think they won’t kill you if you go back” he asked, his voice shaking. “You think there will still be work for us?”
       “I don’t know if there is anything for us here, but I need to go back to my family. I need to try. If I go back to Haiti without them, then I will have nothing. My life will be empty and I will never be able to change that.” Tibon hobbled off in silence, not wishing me luck in my travels, or even acknowledging me. Just thinking, accepting his new life.
      It was several hours before I got back to the small collection of shanties that I called my home. All of the doors had been kicked in. The smell of cane clung to the air, its claws gripping to anything it could. I walked in the door and closed my eyes. My wife was in the chair with my daughter. I turned my back to them. Every breath became heavy and painful. Breathing was no longer a pleasure. The house was silent, I was alone.

The Farming of Bones: Rewrite from Yves' Perspective - Kiana Melvin '16

      I harvest because it allows me to set free. The pain filled and explicit events that my past has faced makes me shut out the surrounding world. I don’t know how to feel, all I know is that I feel alone. The past nights Amabelle has laid beside me, but it has felt as if she wasn’t even there. We don’t speak even though we have gone through so much to get to this point, she is a stranger. Maybe our silence is because we both have lost so much that it is just easier to not it bring up, maybe that is our escape. I love her, but there is just too much hurt in our history together. I told my mother all about her and her tragic losses. She now understands why there is no love between Amabelle and me. 
       I walk to my room to see Amabelle coiled in her own arms and legs. Her fragile body was still it looked as if her corps were ready for burial.  I could see the hurt in her posture. She was faking a sleep which she did every night I walked in the room. I usually play along and pretend that I thought she was sleeping. The silence always bothered me, but I didn’t want to be a bother to her. Tonight was different though, I spoke out.     
      “My beans have sprouted,” I froze in hope for a reply. “Looks like I’ll see a harvest.”
Not acknowledging my presence, she didn’t move. I tried to find more words, but I just stood there waiting and she never spoke. I don’t know she probably knows that she will never see Sebastien again and I want to comfort her, but I also want her comfort. She is the only person that actually understands what I have been though so maybe it would help to turn to her.  
      “I have heard that the priests at the cathedral listen and mark down testimonials of the slaughter. They aren’t giving money, but they are collecting stories for the newspaper and radio men. The Generalissimo has found ways to buy and sell the ones here. Even this region has been corrupted by his money.” The silence once again filled the room. I was hoping that she would find something to say about telling her story, Sebastien’s story. She then turned her body towards me and said,
      “Will you go to speak to the priests?” Just her voice alone warmed my body. I hadn’t heard it in days. 
      “I have already gone and they looked in their books. Their names are not there. I know what will happen, you tell the story and it’s retold and written as they wish. They change it to their words not yours.” She didn’t respond. “There are good days waiting for me in the fields. This means we will start to have money. You can buy cloth and thread, sew for people and make money on your own.”
      I stood wondering what was running through Amabelle’s head. Did she want my help? I told myself that I would take care of her and I am trying. I have tried to be her masculine figure since Sebastien can not be here for her. I don’t even know is she needs me to be here for her. Possibly she wants to die and be with her loved ones that she has lost along the way. I wouldn’t blame her for feeling that way because this journey has been a huge load, but I have tried to take some of the weight and carry her along in hopes of finding life. Maybe I failed. Maybe I should have left her because her loss might be too much to handle. I couldn’t even imagine leaving her to rot because selfishly that would me my loss.
      “Why did you keep planting even when nothing was growing?” She asked me.
      I thought for a minute trying to find the right words to say, “Empty houses and empty fields make me sad” I paused once again then said, “they are both to clam, like the dead season.”
I shuffled my body deeper into the mattress making a sound that was an annoyance to the stunned silence. I could hear her unpatterned breaths and the cracking of her bones every time she moved even the slightest bit. I wanted to talk, but I didn’t want to say anything wrong. I can’t tell if she was ready to talk about stuff in the past. I was, but I didn’t want her to shut out again and leave me to think that she is mute. I took the chance.
      “That night when Joel was hit by the automobile, it was almost me who died.”
      “Sebatien felt like this too,” she responded.
      “Joel, Sebastian, and me were walking on the road together. Joel was in the middle, and Sebastien and me were on either sides of him. I was on the side closest to the road. We saw the light and heard the automobile in the same instant. By the time we turned around, it was almost on my neck. Joel pushed me aside, so he had no time to run himself. He was struck and thrown into the ravine. Then the automobile stopped and people came out. I didn’t see Sebastian. I didn’t know where he was. I thought he was hit too. I ran off to hide behind a tree in the dark. The old man wanted to stay and look for us, but the other guy seemed to be in a haste.”
That was the first time that I have ever told my story on that night. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a load off or if me telling it was pointless. In a perfect world Amabelle would tell me I was right by running away and comfort me, but this isn’t a perfect world, it is almost a nightmare. 
      “It could have been me too at the church with Mimi and Sebastien. I saw them put Mimi, Sebastien, and the others in the truck. I saw it all from the road. I saw Sebastien supporting Mimi as her knees almost gave in. I saw the priests asking to stay with the people and their wish not being granted. I wanted to do for them what Joel did for me, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Even in the river, with Wilner, I couldn’t. The thought came to me that I should across the river again to collect his body to be buried on this side. All the soldiers, all the guns. I couldn’t. I have not been able to do for anyone what Joel did for me. And I never will. No. Never. Because the more people I see die, the more I want to guard my own life.”
      I didn’t want her to think I was a cowardly man, but I had to say it. I tried to mask my tears, but it only made me shake. Seconds later I felt a brisk hand rest on my leg and together we moved her hand up my thigh. This was her way of comforting me instead of words, her touch was there to calm me. Her hand moved to my neck sending a chill through my body. I then turned to my side slowly removing her nightdress. Then we stop. We just lay there on our backs waiting for a sign to tell us we were wrong for doing this. I didn’t want to force anything upon her, so I didn’t move and I waited for her to be ready. 
      “I should have been with Mimi and Sebastien at the church if it weren’t for the two bloody spots I noticed on the back of senoria’s dress I wouldn’t have stayed longer with her. And Odette. Odette might have lived if I didn’t press down on her nose so hard, though it was not my intention.”
       I could feel her pain from the opposite side of the bed. I needed to reassure her that Odette was not her fault. She needed my comfort.  “Odette died when Wilner died. They killed her when they killed him.” 
       Moments later her bony figure was atop of mine. She was very light, almost as if she were a child. Our bodies felt unbalanced, but soon enough we were afloat together. Comforting each other in a synchronized language that could never be spoken. I was grateful for her more than she could ever understand.
       Our breaths were loud, but in pace with one another. I could tell that we were both trying to set free and eliminate that pain we had felt. Then something in my mind interrupted our melody. I couldn’t grasp what it was until all the memories flooded my head. I tried to bite hard, grinding my teeth to keep it inside, but I was overflowed with the images and the tears rushed out of my eyes dripping on the Amabelle’s face. It was uncontrollable. 
      I rolled back to my side of the bed, got up, and dressed myself. Why was there so much space between us now when we were just so close? I walked out of the room and out to the traveler’s tree. I sat there for a while blankly staring into the night sky looking for answers. Amabelle is love, but I know she will never love me in the way that I love her. Even after we did such a vulnerable thing, I know she just couldn’t find the right words to give to me, so she handed me the only thing available and that, that was not love.    

 

Snowfall - Mitch Spurr '16

     As the end of the day draws closer the clouds begin to blanket the turning sky and the sun hides behind the trees. The trees give the warning signs of a storm, bending and cracking as if to suggest to seek shelter. The air is bitter cold, as I am walking to my car the first snowflakes begin to fall. The snow sticks and covers the ground leaving the imprints of my past behind with each new step. When I arrive at my house the snow is really falling. I exit my car and begin a walk down my road in the darkness. Nothing but the lone, glowing streetlight illuminates my path.
    The eye of the storm has arrived and the snow falls viciously from the sky under the cover of intense darkness. It is strangely quiet, walking down my road the sound of the outside world seems to stand still. I no longer hear the trees or my footsteps. The only sound comes from the thoughts in my head racing like cars on a track. The occasional thunder of a plow truck blocks my thoughts, but only for a brief moment, then back to silence. My breath forms fading clouds in front of my face during each exhale. 
    On my journey home my recent footprints have already been erased by the newly fallen snow. The darkness has reached a peak, the street light just as dark, allowing the moon to light my path home. The thoughts in my head have ceased and there is no sound. The silent storm follows me to the porch of my house where the first sound of a creaking floor board breaks the silence, and I return to reality.

Forget-Me-Not - Olivia Berger '16

     I reached into my satin basket and carefully dropped the blue petals on the church floor, making sure they were equally spaced in the isle. My friends and family whispered about my cuteness but I couldn’t let them distract me. The petals fell through my fingers in a happy waterfall, dancing on their way down. I had ten more feet until the altar and was determined to make the way perfect for my mother. I turned around and everyone stood. I saw my mother slowly progressing towards me. Her hair was artfully curled, and her dainty fingers grasped a bouquet of forget-me-nots that matched her striking blue eyes. Her angelic dress fluttered like there was a mysterious wind that graced only her. I heard a light murmur of laughter and looked around, only to see my brother destroying my magnificent pathway of petals. He was picking them up and looking up at me with an eager, helpful expression. My mother giggled and whispered something in his ear. His innocent blue eyes grew wide and he quickly dropped his handful on the floor. My masterpiece was officially ruined. I stood there glaring at Hanz, ready to throw down at any further indication of mischief.
     She reached the altar and passed her bouquet to her maid of honor, who had tears forming in her awaiting eyes. She leaned in for a hug and my mother smiled, embracing her best friend. She let go and began walking towards her fiance. She smiled lovingly at me; the light crowned her like a goddess. I turned to the crowd. Everyone's eyes were glistening, and their smiles seemed permanently imprinted on their face. I saw my grandparents holding hands, gleaming at their daughter. My brother was distracted with the bibles in the pews while Thomas’s mother urged him to pay attention. I spun back towards my mom; Thomas reached for her hands, cooly winked at me, then grinned at my mother. “Dear Heavenly father, we have gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of  Thomas Wels and Kelly Hayes and give recognition to the worth and beauty of love.”

Landscape Poem - Leah Bonis '19

and the wind was
rolling and whispering over an ocean of dreams. 
the trees
ebbing and flowing, my eye barely reaching over the swell. 
then over the ledge. 
birds swallowed violently by a starving expanse of evergreen. moss cracked into irreparable fractions. 
then to the sky. 
the moon a mere shadow of its former glory, starving and wane as it fades into the light. 
and then to the mind. 
where you stumble upon the wide expanse of human emotion. 
tumbling, twisting, and unraveling into mangled and twisted up knots. 
                                                                                         - l. 

 

Our World

The rain keeps falling from the sky
It’s pouring down from the crying heavens
Just like our troubles are falling down
Let’s all go outside

They have always been suppressing us
They never let us breathe
So we shall look for a better tomorrow
Let’s all go outside

It started with a war, seven years of pain
And now they’re demanding us to pay
We await a cold future if nothing happens
Let’s all wait outside

The enemy lives inside our walls
He hears all of what we say
And we know he’ll lure us out to them
Let’s all go outside

And so we first demanded our rights
In front of the governors house
The blood of the cold world pushed us back
So that we won’t return outside

Then they wanted us to pay again
But we will not accept this anymore
We have gladly returned their tea to them
We have returned outside

And now they’re claiming we need to be punished
We, who claimed our rights
Now we starve without our port
Let’s all go outside

And now they’re claiming we’re liars
That our trials were unfair
They now murder and get away with it
Let’s all go outside

And now they’re claiming we’re unable to govern ourselves
They sent us a general who shall bring justice
But we don’t believe their lies anymore
Let’s all go outside

And now they’re taking away our land
And give it back to the ones we had to take it from on their command
They even allowed the ones we flew from to settle there
Let’s all go outside

Let us not accept this fate of misery
Let us claim what should be supposed to be ours
Let’s make our home our home
Let’ all go outside

The new tomorrow awaits
All we need to do
Is to step out of our houses and ally ourselves
Let’s fight for our freedom

Outside.

 

The Secrets Behind the Lies - Megan Goding '17

          In today's society, people subconsciously abuse the very rights that early Americans fought for not too long ago. Children complain about going to school, adults demand higher pay for jobs, and about 60% of the United States population does not participate when it comes to voting. Although many do not realize how privileged America truly is, the same people who abuse these rights also claim to be grateful for them. This example is just one out of many that proves the ambiguity of the human race. People such as the fictional character of Jay Gatsby and praised athlete Lance Armstrong can accurately be defined as faces of ambiguity. While ambiguity can reveal hidden truths about a person, it also affirms that people often choose to believe what is tangible over what has been made invisible.
          Jay Gatsby was the epitome of success. Making his way up the social chain, this mysterious host of the biggest parties in West Egg became a hot topic. His enormous house, extravagant property, and dedicated servants are what triggered his popularity, but what really made people admire him was his personality. Gatsby told people what they wanted to hear, and his inviting smile “understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey,” (Fitzgerald 48). Bottom line, people loved Jay Gatsby, but what they had yet to acknowledge was that, under all the glamour and money, Gatsby was still a flawed person. 
         Those who adored Jay Gatsby failed to question the authenticity of his character because they were so blinded by his majestic qualities. The surrealness of his parties are what amazed people, which is shown through a precise and detailed explanation: "Instead of rambling, this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside-East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety,” (Fitzgerald). Gatsby's parties were extravagant, and everyone had something they liked about them. Like his smile, they parties had distinct qualities like “dignified homogeneity” and “spectroscopic gayety.” Despite his display of wealth through these ostentatious parties, his means of making money was wrongful. Gatsby made his money illegally by bootlegging and selling bonds; however, because the lies were virtually made invisible by wealth, Gatsby became untouchable. His success was tangible, and people ultimately chose to believe the good over the bad because that was who Jay Gatsby was: A really nice guy with a really nice house. Even though people might have had an idea that Gatsby was not who he said he was, they still attended his parties and thought highly of him, not even thinking to question or investigate his successes. Whether it be a wealthy bootlegger or a doping athlete, ambiguity can be found amongst the most praised individuals this world has ever known.
          In July of 1999, Lance Armstrong amazed people in a way that no one could have thought possible. After battling three years of testicular cancer, Armstrong had won his first Tour de France. Intensifying his successes and establishing the integrity of his character, he also won the next six Tour de France. Armstrong not only became a symbol of perseverance, but a worldwide inspiration that gave hope to millions of people. Many claimed that the story of his success and achievements was almost too good to be true, and over time, these claims proved to be valid. Although he spent years denying it, Lance Armstrong affirmed for the first time in January 2013 that he had been using performance-enhanced drugs while competing. As consequences to his actions, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and an Olympic gold medal. Even after all the lying and cheating, Armstrong's story is still noted and admired around the world. People never cease to be amazed by stories like his, even though it was all a lie that is still rarely acknowledged. 
        The ugly side of Armstrong was never brought to light until after the admiration had sunk in. People could only see the success, awards, fame, praise, and stunning athletic feats. The world chose to believe the good over the bad because the good was more tangible, and the bad was made invisible; consequently, both the admiration and the scorn were accepted. No matter how bad the circumstances were, “most of us wanted to believe Armstrong really was that good, and we wanted to believe so badly that we simply did… And we bought into the smile, the lies - partly because whatever assist Armstrong gave himself was invisible. But what could be seen was a series of stunning athletic feats,” (Movshovitz). Even if the world understood that Armstrong was using drugs the entire time, the idea of a stunning athlete overcoming cancer and winning so many achievements would ultimately blind any type of wrongdoing. Even after the ground-breaking confession, people still subconsciously pushed the mishap aside because Armstrong chose to make it invisible for so long, and, consequently, the good outweighed the bad.
        Both Lance Armstrong and Jay Gatsby intensify their ambiguous qualities throughout the course of their lives, which ultimately leads to their downfall. Lance Armstrong was a living inspiration to those seeking hope; consequently, the lie he was living compromised that inspiration, but it did not obliterate it. Armstrong left a legacy. The popular Livestrong bracelets which symbolize his accomplishments are still circulated around the world. Despite his accomplishments, his name is now recognized as false, and his story was even given the title “The Armstrong Lie.” A person's name is what defines his or her character, and now that people associate Armstrong with this new title, his name is now tarnished for the rest of his life. 
          Like Armstrong, the ambiguity in Jay Gatsby's character also brought about downfall. After he died, only three people cared enough to show up to his funeral. This may not seem like a direct consequence of Gatsby's ambiguity, but a closer look at his life suggests that it does. Gatsby was a liar, and this meant he had to live with the lies and work with them. He could not permit himself to associate with as many people as he wanted to in order to keep his lies hidden, and when he did make friends, Gatsby had to be especially careful about those he befriended. After sending a new dress to an unknown party guest, the recipient notes that, “There's something funny about a fellow that'll do a thing like that. He doesn't want any trouble with anybody,” (Fitzgerald 43). On the flip side, the people that suspected the suspicion in Gatsby's character know better than to get involved in his shenanigans. Gatsby's belittling influence on those around him is also shown when Ewing Klipspringer is invited to Gatsby's funeral. Klipspringer declines the invitation, stating that, “Some people up here in Greenwich… they rather expect me to be with them tomorrow. In fact, there's a sort of picnic or something,” (Fitzgerald 169). The careless manner in which he describes his alternative plans instead of accepting the invite clearly shows that Gatsby was not significant to Klipspringer in any way. Even after Klipspringer took residence in Gatsby's own home, his reluctance to establish a relationship with his mysterious host leads to his disinterest in mourning over Gatsby's death. All of these causes are the reasons that only three people showed up to Gatsby's funeral. The lies affected his life more than anyone had suspected. 
          Despite all the cheating, lying, and public downfall, people still accepted the admiration of these two men. Famous actor Robin Williams had consistently been a fan of Armstrong’s. Eight months after Armstrong publicly confessed using performance enhanced drugs while competing, Williams expressed sympathy for him. He noted in September 2013 that, “It is a heavy burden, the mantle of a ‘hero.’ He carries this weight with all of the grace and talent and motivation possible,” (Williams). Because Williams was such a renowned figure, people took what he said and adopted it to their own principles. Since Armstrong and Williams were so close, it is easy to recognize the ambiguous characteristics surrounding each man. Robin Williams made America laugh through his impeccable stand up comedy, yet he hid such a private, destructive grief from everybody. Williams shocked the world when he committing suicide in August of 2014. The man that had made so many people laugh through his acting and comedy had been living in depression. Like Williams, people chose to accept Armstrong’s successes over his lies because that was what he was known for. 
         Like Armstrong, Gatsby also ended up being admired instead of rebuked. The last time Nick Carraway talked to Gatsby, he told him, “They're a rotten crowd… You're worth the whole damn bunch put together,” (Fitzgerald 154). Even after Nick knew about Gatsby’s bootlegging, bond selling, and whatever he was up to with Meyer Wolfsheim, he still chose to accept him, and even express Gatsby’s worth by saying his character was more genuine than all of the other characters. After the lies were brought to light, Gatsby was still admired, which shows the power of his character. Nick accepted Gatsby’s worth over his flaws, and whether this choice was influenced by success or validity of character depends on the interpretation of the reader. 
          Ambiguity is a broad concept that only a handful of people choose to acknowledge. If admiration is ultimately chosen over scorn, or even vice versa, ambiguity is not accepted. The ability to accept both the good and bad in an individual is complex. After analyzing Jay Gatsby and Lance Armstrong, it is clear what the world will choose to believe when it comes to ambiguous individuals. With that in mind, there remains some underlying questions that have yet to be truly answered and supported: Was Gatsby's attempts to swoon Daisy through wealth a virtuous attempt or a selfish need for love? And, Did Armstrong use drugs to alleviate the understandable pressures of athleticism, or was his need for success an expression of arrogance? Whatever the answers are, the audience is left to accept whatever he or she chooses to believe; however, the facts clearly support the notion that admiration always beats scorn, the good outweighs the bad, and tangibility ultimately defeats invisibility. 

Works Cited
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 30
Sept. 1999. Print.
Foss, Mike. "The Sad Friendship of Lance Armstrong and Robin Williams." For The Win. 12
Aug. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
Movshovitz, Howie. "Movie Review: In 'The Armstrong Lie', an Infamous Story and Our
Struggle to Absorb It."
Colorado Public Radio. 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

The Old Woman - Kevin Bao '17

    I try not to think of her, but on this day each year.I am always reminded of her. She was paddling on my shoulder while I was looking down, concentrating on my games. Brown face with a forehead full of wrinkles. Her smile created more wrinkles.Her mole on her left cheek seemed so exaggerated because she was so close to me. She seemed to be talking to me or asking questions, but I could only see her lips moving.
    I kept dreaming of this scene of me going over to visit my great-grandmother many times, but I had only spoken to her a few times. I could not understand where my respect was and morality for the elders at that time, I think I was just scared of her appearance. She had brown skin, wrinkles on her forehead. Her smile was always hanging upon her face And that gigantic mole. 
    Today, I am here, again. Sitting beside her and talking softly to her. We are alone. I wish I did this when she was alive. When I could actually hear her saying tenderly “You made me proud, Yang Yang. Keep up the good work” Every time she would ask me if I am hungry or not, but I would not respond. That’s my response to a “scary” old person. 
    The night was always a yesterday to me. I visited her again at the end of  August when I was eleven-years old. When I walked into the apartment, I greeted everyone in the house including my great-grandmother then I walked straight into the small room in the corner of the apartment and waited for dinner. As I was playing games as expected, she came in as expected, too. She still had that same appearance: brown skin, wrinkled forehead, with a smile on her face, and the black mole that scared me. Her voice was gentle, so gentle that made me feel annoying. I was that anti-human that time. She asked “ Are you hungry? Do you want to eat something first? I have some candies for you.” “No, thanks.” “How was school? Are you ready for this year?” “Great, and yes.” “Do you want to talk……” “I am playing right now, do not talk to me.” 
    That was me, a kid who had no respect for the elders. I had no regret for my action at that time, but now I have. I just wished time could rewind. 
    She left the room, and closed the door with her smile still hanging  upon her face. While I was eating dinner, I did not say a single word. I just ate as fast as I could and went back to that room, waiting to go home. After a month, I heard that my great-grandmother was severely sick from my mother, but my life kept moving on. I did not visit her once while she was sick, either in the hospital or at home. One day at noon, I heard from my mother about the death of my great grandmother. I wasn’t aware of what death was. 
    I did not go to the funeral, and I did not understand what death was. That night, my mom taught me to reminisce the time that I had been with her. To think of what was her like when she was alive, and I started seeing her smiling face again. Then I started crying.It was loud and awkward as I looked back, but I could not think any of that at the time. My mother held me in her arms.After I stopped, she brought me to bed. 
    I wake up and my pillow is soaked wet. My eyes are so red like they have been pressed against something the whole night. Today is the day.The sun is bright, the wind is gently blowing ,and the leaves that fell from the tree are blown away to the far side of the sky. It was a weekend in September, the first weekend of a new school year. I sit in front of her tomb again, and whisper “Great-grandma, how are you? I am here now. Anything you want to talk about? Are you hungry? I just started school this week…...” 
    Sometimes, I wish time could rewind, so I would not be carrying her with me. Although, then I would not be who I am right now. Sometimes, I hope I would know more about respect and loving the elders because they are related to give me life. But, all I can do now is to meet her in my dreams each time I think of her. She would still be the same: brown skin, amiable temper, smiling face, and her endearing mole. She would say “ Are you hungry? I have candies for you.” “I love you, great-grandmother, and I miss you.”

 

Trails - Pablo Hererra '17

    Only a few months ago, I would wake up every morning and get on a car for close to an hour just to get to school. Along the way, I would hear the sound of cars honking, my little brother’s loud music blasting in the car, and many other sounds would pollute the environment as my day went by. I would see tall buildings everywhere I looked, people rushing down the streets talking on their phones and everyone seemed to always be in a hurry everywhere that they were going. It's hard to believe that I went from that to living in the middle of the forest in Maine. At first, the thought of being so isolated and so far away from life as I knew it terrified me. That is until I spent a couple of hours in the trails, of course.
    The thought of taking a walk in the forest before coming to Hebron always meant packing my bags, getting in a car, and driving for three hours to the nearest campsite, just to see what I can see here by looking out my window. More than once, I have been unable to be productive just because there are so many things running through my head that I stop functioning properly. Only recently, however, I realized how lucky I was to have a place where I can sit down and not hear anyone or anything that wasn't completely natural. It only takes a five minute walk in the trails to reach what I'm sure is the calmest and most peaceful place in the world. I would have never thought that I would enjoy a big rock as much as I enjoy a boulder of the side of one of the trails at Hebron. Most people find one spot that they like and they keep coming back to that same spot every time. I found out that the forest is way too big for that. Why stop at one big rock when there are plenty of big rocks out there waiting to be sat on?
    Although being in the trails is amazing, the walk back from there is always where the magic happens. This is when I'm feeling the best because I have already reflected on everything that was on my mind and on everything that was bothering me at the time. Coming back means that I have let it all out. Coming back means that I’m feeling completely fresh and ready to get back to reality in the best state of mind that I can possibly be in.

Learning to Look Up - Evelyn Turnbaugh '17

The sky broke into a full sunset,
and the trees caught its fire
Why doesn’t anyone ever look up?
When the wind pushed the clouds across the horizon
Their eyes remained on the dirt and dust
And when the sun lit their faces in a golden glow
Expecting to see smiles from the warmth,
their feet shuffled along
Their mouths remained grim,
so the sky darkened
But before the sun dropped beyond the trees of ash,
the lights of heaven flooded the sky,
with color deeper than the eyes can perceive
And for once, their eyes found the sky
Searching through the infinite colors,
smiles broke through their faces
Finally seeing their own warmth,
the sun slept
With fire in their minds the blackness of night was lit by stars
Each one made from the eyes that never left the sky,
that lifted themselves from the dust
To catch its fire
Then make their own

Hebron Love - Sara Nicolas Santos '18

I contemplate you from my window
My eyes are on you,
Remembering those moments
That you taught me how to enjoy.

Your front has an impeccable tradition
But from the inside, you are multicolored,
Because you are full of cultures
And full of knowledge and full of love.

You will always be with me
Because I will never forget you,
You are full of good teachers
Who taught me how to live.

The years will pass,
But the joy and triumphs
That made us stronger
Will always be here.

Our voices will be forever
Held in your walls,
And each of our names
Will be kept secret in every corner of your heart.

Voices - Joseph Dunn '16

The therapist sits down in front of me. The look in her eyes reads pity, but I do not, can not, relate with that feeling. She’s drumming her hands on the table, restless, nervous even, this excites me. The security guards step out, we are alone now. They tell me she is perfect, they tell me I need her, they tell me she is next. The smell of the therapist’s perfume is intoxicating, I take a deep breath through my nose and smile.

Clearly unsettled, she begins to speak, “When was the last time you felt the urge to hurt someone.”

“How long have you been in the room?”

She checks her watch, “Around five minutes, why?”

“Well I suppose three minutes ago.”

Upon saying this I see a small flicker of fear in her eyes, the corners of my mouth turn up into a small smile. She pauses, she rapidly taps her fingers on the table and then scribbles something into her notebook. They tell me her notes are about me being crazy. I agree. Orange light is filtering in from the window. I can see the sun setting over the fence. I can practically taste the outside.

“So it says here you’ve been having night terrors,” she continues. “Can you describe these to me.” I look at her, she is not worried about me, she doesn’t care. She sees me as a monster.

“Well there is this one dream that I keep having.”

“Can you describe it for me?”

“It’s always the same, I pull myself out of the mud and run for the tree line. The rain beats down and blood washes into my eyes, making it harder and harder to find the entrance to the path. I’m breathing loud. I try  to stop it, to control it, to hide it, but it was too much. I find the entrance to path and run, follow it till I reach the old shed.

I crash through the door and slam it shut. I try to barricade it with the rakes, and the pitchforks, but it is not possible. I can hear him outside now.

He is here. He is just outside. I push myself against the door, grasping a pitchfork...wiping the blood away from my eyes. Waiting. He is hunting me and there is nothing I can do to stop him, when he finally gets to me I wake up.”

“Very descriptive, do you feel fear during the dream? Or do you know who is chasing you?”

“The man chasing me is me, and no, I don’t feel fear.”

“Huh, this sounds to me like you are feeling remorse. If it is truly you who is chasing yourself then I think you are feeling for the victims. I think you are feeling bad for what you did.” I pause for a moment. Maybe she is right, maybe I do feel for the victims, I probably should have corrected her when she said night terrors though. I should have told her that this was a pleasant dream. As the therapist gets up to leave, her hair falls across her face. I can smell her perfume as she brushes the hair out of her eyes. I can barely hold myself together.

The car rolls to a stop, I hear the door close tightly. I pause for a moment then crawl from the trunk through the back seat. The sun is down, they are probably just noticing my cell is empty. A clown doll is sitting on the seat, Looking at me, lifeless. I can almost relate. I open the door and walk to the window of the small house. Inside a little boy is showing the therapist his hockey stick, splintered into pieces. There is no husband. Good. I open the front door and make my way to the kitchen. The whole house smells like her, it’s invigorating. They were right she is perfect. The sink is full of detergent, I reach in and grope around until I find a steak knife.

The lights are out in the house and everyone is sleeping. The voices are telling me to go upstairs. They are loud, so loud I fear they will wake her. I open the door and see her, asleep, beautiful. Her skin is soft, so soft. They tell me to lie down so I do. I can feel her breath, the rise and fall of her chest, it calms me. The voices for the first time in a while, fall silent, waiting. I gingerly brush the hair from her face, she lets out a yelp, and then she is silent. The house is silent, the voices are silent.

Cookies for Santa - Jack Morton '17

The fire roars and the Christmas lights flicker. Outside, a layer of fluffy white powder covers the warm Earth. The ground sparkles with the light from a frosty moon. A gust of wind blows snow from the roof and tree limbs, but we pretend it is sprinkling down from the stars to make this the perfect Christmas Eve.

My family gathers around the TV, bundled up in blankets, to watch our favorite Christmas movies about talking snowmen, red nosed reindeer, and an elf looking for his father. Between movies, we migrate to the kitchen to whip together chocolate chip cookies for us and Santa. First we gather the ingredients and sample to chocolate chips to make sure the are Santa­-worthy. Christmas music flows from the speaker as we throw butter, sugar, and eggs into the bowl. Mix and pass. Mix and pass. As the bowl makes it way around the table, the cookie dough begins to mysteriously disappear. After a few scoops, we manage to stop ourselves and put the dough onto the pan and into the oven.

The dim lights in the kitchen let the Christmas tree shine bright. It is dressed top to bottom with ornaments that tell our life stories. Mine begins with a teddy bear with my name and birthday on the back. Next comes the gingerbread man with “Jack five years old” scribbled on it’s back. Some are barely legible and others have my picture on them. The tree is filled out with similar ornaments that my brother made and my parents favorite ornaments from their childhood. Our tree is unlike all others, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Suddenly, the scent of the fresh cookies invades the room. As it drifts by, we each get a whiff of the delicious treat soon to come. The timer rings to tell us the cookies have finished, but the race to the kitchen has just begun. We run across the carpet, slide on the wood floor, and scramble to find the oven mitts. As we take the cookies out of the oven, the sweet scent must have could have filled our entire street.

The first bite is the best. My teeth sink smoothly through the warm treat. The soft chocolate and gooey center mix and melt in my mouth. One cookie is never enough so we all grab another. And another. And the last one is quickly snatched up. Another batch needs to be thrown into the oven. After a while, I checked on the cookies to make sure they were not burning. The cookies had barely cooked, which seemed odd. I felt certain they had been in the oven for at least eight minutes, but when I checked the timer only three minutes had gone by. These cookies could not come out soon enough. I went back to watch our Christmas movies with my family and prepared myself to wait for what would feel like hours for these cookies. After I watched Rudolph discover the island of misfit toys and meet a flying lion, the timer finally rang. We all rush into the kitchen and swing open the oven door. The cookies are the perfect golden brown color. Before they are all eaten, we set aside two cookies for Santa and pour him a glass of milk filled to the top. We carefully walk over to the fireplace and set down the plate and cup. We zip back to the kitchen and grab a cookie. I break mine in half to expose the warm, moist center and take a big bite. As I walk back towards the plate by the fireplace, I know that Santa will love our cookies.

Chicken Curry Pasta - Dolphine Penzo '17

I spent the first ten years of my life as an only child, having only my mother. During this time, my mom was very young. She became pregnant as a teenager and took the responsibility of raising me on her own. Of course she got some help from my grandparents, but she has always been good at handling things alone. Though she had just graduated high school with a restaurant diploma, my mother was a terrible cook.  I'd say we made trips to McDonald's at least three days a week. It was rare for us to eat something that wasn't just cooked in the microwave. A lot of the times we'd eat at my grandparent’s house. She always tried her best with what we had, and having bad economy didn't help. She went from job to job, working from early mornings to late nights to try and to provide for the two of us. I was always the first child being dropped off at school, and the last one to get picked up. I used to feel bitter about this, but looking back I can't blame my mom for simply trying to make things work, month to month. I was always so proud of having the youngest mom out of my friends. I didn't see what people thought was so bad about it. She was still an amazing mom despite of her age. I remember the struggles she went through in order for me to have food on my plate. She often made sure I had something to eat, but ended up forgetting to feed herself. She didn't conventionally follow the recipes, but instead created her own dish.

It was grilled chicken bits with pasta, curry sauce and vegetables. It's one of those foods that are just as good the day after. Imagine being in your early twenties with a child that needs to be fed and you only have less than ten ingredients in your kitchen, half of which are useless. You are forced to use your imagination and improvise. She came up with this dish during a failed attempt of spaghetti and meatballs. Instead of meatballs she used chicken, instead of spaghetti she used shell shaped pasta, and instead of marinara sauce she used whatever was in our spice cabinet-which happened to be curry. Basically, she used anything that was somewhat useful and created this delicious meal we've been eating ever since. It hasn't always been the food that I enjoyed the most; but the familiarity in it, and how it has a way of making me feel at home. It’s not something I eat every Christmas or birthday, and it's not something complicated or fancy.

It's something I can forget about for a while, and suddenly feel this huge craving for from time to time. I've become rather picky about it now. I know it needs to be a ready, grilled chicken and not a frozen filé that you cook. The pepper should be green, not red or yellow even though I hate green pepper, it only works in this dish. The pasta needs to be shell shaped, because I'm convinced that any other shape tastes differently- even if it's from the same brand. Finally, the amount of curry cannot be measured, it's something that needs to be tasted throughout the process. To me, it represents the dedication and sacrifices my mom put into raising me.

As the years have gone by, and I'm not an only child anymore, none of my grandparents are alive and my mom isn't single anymore. A lot of things have changed; however, I will always appreciate the days I can spend alone with her, reminiscing of how it used to be over a bowl of her homemade pasta.

Since then, my mom has perfected the recipe and it was the first meal I learned how to cook myself. It was also during the cooking of this meal that I discovered I wanted to be a vegetarian. One step of it is tearing apart a whole grilled chicken. After about ten minutes of intense staring and attempts of touching it, I left the chicken lying on the cutting board, untouched and with my cheeks soaked with tears because I couldn't bare to rip the chicken wings off the body. I'm grateful for everything my mom has done for me during these years, and even if the chicken curry pasta seems like a small part of it, it's something that's going to stick with me forever, even if I have to create a vegetarian version myself.