Poem inspired by Maya Angelou - Morgan Prentice '19

What has been built from the past?
I was hoping by now this time would wash away by salt and rain,
Where strangers could greet strangers and give a helping hand,
But instead we form an image of two separate lands,
People are people why can they not see?
No matter how dark we crave our needs,
We long for an equal world,
Where those of both sides can come together,
But we must work as one to fix the cracks.

Down in the Valley - Casey Chizmazia '19

Where the trout stream lay
That's where I call home
As I see my childhood days gone by
Amongst the willows I roam

I come upon a weathered stump
My memory recalls a full grown tree
In my throat there is a lump
This is where my freedom used to be

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a of toy dogs
It seems that this place of freedom is now for someone new
I hope to always remember this solidarity for it it never fogs  
It seems like forever ever ago oh how this time flew

Time - Franceska Halloran '19

As the sun sinks by the sea
My heart stops.
Realizing its my love not here with me
I don't like waking up in the morning,
With my love not next to me.

Your name in my heart,
Will forever stay,
The memories we made
Will not go away

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Bubbles - Eliza Quinones '19

In bubbly dream, he saw stars through the night
Stumbling every step he would make
His feelings of loss he would always fight
To ease the pain, another drink he would take
On an endless record his thoughts would play
Of his mistress, who lived by his side
Now cold and heartless she will forever stay
Behind the bubbles he will always hide
One day his vision turned to darkness
Controless, he wandered through all the streets
His brain finally consumed by madness
In a drift with every step he meets
Ghostly white lights he sees while on the bed,
Four days passing by, it’s time to rest his head.

Fog - Alex Romano '19

I have a blurry vision no sight or direction
Nothing seems clear what is right, what is affection?
I am losing my mind
I can not see what I am trying to find
My sanity feels lost somewhere in this fog
 

Something moves about in the mist
It urges me to cease to exist
Turning and turning searching for vision
Walking with urgency to make a decision
Coming closer and closer to a calamity in this fog.

Untitled - Leah Bonis '19

I often miss those i've never met
It's a strange kind of longing
One not a likely to forget
A dream I could get
Where people don't let
Lives crumble

I often miss those i've yet to meet
Those who will change lives
Make them complete
I often miss those i've yet to meet
For I long for the bittersweet

I often miss those who have gone
Off to another time or place
Who have moved on
So fluidly
They feel they are leaving but know they never could
For they live in the hearts of those that still would

Untitled - Charlie Morton '19

The sun shines through the buildings on the street
Dangerous rain clouds lurking in the sky
People are looking for something to eat
But there is nothing out for them to buy
There is no life in harlem tonight
The People try to remain inside
Making no attempt to reunite
Around the corner their hands are tied
But it’s no different in any direction
These people search for a way out
Where they look all they see is a reflection
Which brings the people nothing but doubt
They do not know of another living
Because nothing in this city is forgiving

A Song of Praise for Our So-Called President - Carlo Kobe '19

Donald Trump was chosen by the electoral college,
And that has to be acknowledged,
However with the Popular Vote,
He had troubles like with his inauguration quote

 

A couple weeks into his administration
It already feels like a complete mutation,
The land of immigrants now enclosed,
A wall being build with purpose unexposed,
The Mexicans are gonna pay for it,
In the same world Sweden took a hit.

 

He also choose a punching ball,
Which is Cnn, the times and fake news at all,
Alternative Facts seems to be his way,
To let Kellyanne Conway deny the hairspray,
Spicer at the same time tells the press,
All about Donald trump's success
As well as his wardrobe,
Which apparently does not include a Bathrobe

 

The achievements trump reported in his Congress speech,
Caused democratic distress and bleach,
His pick for Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch,
Says to all babies more such
Trump has similar respect for the other sex,
Which is why he touches them between their legs,

 

The environment is his favorite issue,
Because he wishes to:
Feel all temperatures like in Mar-a-Lago,
Where he often goes, taking Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his cargo,
Supposedly you can take a selfie there,
With the person carrying a bag full of nuclear warfare,
As well as a idiotic billionaire,
wearing a tie, which covers more than his ideas for medical care.

Survival - Iain Frumiento '19

The speckled moon lights up the rocky path
The clouds rain down on me like crying tears
My shoes, they leave behind a trail of smears
To cover up the dreadful aftermath
I look throughout the woods for a cool bath
But to my luck, nothing seems to appear
I hope I am not stuck out here for years
Since I must watch out for an angry wrath
I try to keep a watch out through the night
For anything that that gives me survival
It seems like I am first to walk these woods
As there is not a sign of life in sight
I hope they’re open to my arrival
For I could use some more surviving goods

Like An Animal - Jose Bello '19

Like AN ANimal

iT

     Flys

       Like

            An

             Animal

Thrown        feels

by                 like

big              an Animal

Numb3rs         Hunted

To                  By men

BE                   and Protected

Catched          BY

                      Others

                  Admired

               By millions

         Fame and Shame

   Can be brought upon you

Beyond the Bar: A Companion Poem to Crossing the Bar - Emma Skelton '19

The sun sets and stars shine,
Voices call out for me,
Condolences, all tumbling into a line,
For now you are out at sea.

Eyes closed, you do seem asleep,
Not a sound to be heard,
And now, at home, you are in the deep
No need to say a word.

Evening bells ring as twilight sets,
My world forever dark.
You said no sadness, no regrets,
But that was before you did embark.

Memories flash, Times and Places, like a play,
And I wonder where you are.
Perhaps we will meet again someday,
But for now you’re beyond the bar.

The Party - Sean Kimura '18

Max

Today I turn five years old, and I can’t wait till everyone shows up. Exactly twenty minutes till everyone is supposed to be here, then we can play tag in the huge indoor jungle gym. My mom even bought my favourite cake, Dairy Queen’s ice cream cake. My birthday party is going to be a great time as I get to open presents, which is my second favourite part of my birthday. My absolute favourite thing about my birthday is that we can play tag in the jungle gym. Things get very intense and wild when playing with my friends because we are all so competitive. My friends show up and it’s time to play. Ryan starts to count and we all run. I jump head first into the ball pit but decide to get out and run through a narrow tunnel to get to the top of the jungle gym which leads to the slides. There’s a plastic board so I can see bellow. I see my mom greeting all my friends parents and taking their coats.

She looks really tired and for some reason sad so I yell, “Mama look, I’m at the top!”

She smiles and waves but returns to what she was doing. I can hear him coming and he’s coming fast. I gave my hiding spot away. I turn to my left and I can see him plowing through the obstacles in the tunnel. I slide down the slide to my right. Swoosh! My feet hit the ground and I start running to another entrance. Swoosh! The entrance is blocked off with older kids and I can’t get in. I turn around and he’s right there.

“Everyone come for presents and cake” my mom yells.

Saved! We sit down at a table and Ryan shoves his gift in my hands. I rip through the wrapping paper to find a box. I try to open it but it’s taped shut. I try and I try but I can’t get it open. My mom cuts the tape and hands it to me. I open it and stare at it. Ryan looks nervous and doesn’t stop jittering. It’s… It’s perfect. It’s the new Lego battleship I’ve wanted forever. I hug Ryan and tell him that I love his gift. I continue to open the rest of the gifts, then it’s cake time. They sing me Happy Birthday then I blow out my candles. I take a deep breath and exhale making sure I got them all or else my wish won’t come true. I get the first slice and devour it in seconds. We play a few more rounds of tag and then everyone started to head home. I say “goodbye” and my “thank you” to all my friends who came and soon it’s just me and my mom. She’s cleaning the table as I sit on a chair. I lower my head and wait until she’s done cleaning.

“Did you have fun?”, she asked.

“Yes, I had so much fun! Thank you! I didn’t even get tagged the whole time and I got awesome gifts!” I reply like I’ve rebooted, like a robot and gained all my energy again.

We put on our coats and we head to the car. As soon as I put on my seat belt and lean back I fall deep asleep. I wake up in my bed and slowing turn to my Star Wars clock to check the time. My mom walks in, sits on my bed and brushed my hair.

“You’re gassed, aren’t you?” she said with a smile.

I thank her for everything as she gently makes her way towards the door. I roll over onto my side.

“Goodnight mom. You’re the best!” I say with an exhausted voice. My eyes shut and I’m back to thinking about cowboys and aliens, sound asleep.

Ryan

I can’t wait to go to Max’s birthday party because he’s my best friend. We’re going to the best and biggest indoor jungle gym in town and I’m so excited. My dad was rambling on and on saying, “It must have been so hard to get a reservation there cause it’s always booked”. I don’t really understand what that means, but he said it like it was a good thing. I got Max some Lego’s because I know he loves Lego’s. I got him the battleship Lego kit because he really likes coming on my boat with my dad and I, during the summer. He always talks about our boat and how he can’t go on it during the winter time. It’s almost time to go to his party I think with a huge smile on my face. My hands are tense in fists, shaking with excitement.

“Dad, let’s go! I don’t want to be late”, I say while I swing the front door of our house open. I race towards the car and beat my dad to the car like usual. I’m feeling fast today. It must have been the broccoli I ate for lunch. My mom always says that it will make me stronger and faster. My dad rolls into the empty parking lot and says that we’re early. The fresh snow made the drive very slippery but my dad is a speedy driver so we didn’t really have to leave our house an hour early.

My dad laughs and says, “I haven’t done this in a while” to himself and tells me to hold on. He speeds up and starts to do donuts in the parking lot. I don’t know what’s purring louder, the car engine or my heart beat. Full of adrenaline, we walk into the indoor jungle gym. I say hi to everyone and we go play tag. I volunteer to go “it” in tag because like I said before, I’m feeling fast. I close my eyes and spin in a circle counting to thirty. I start to stumble at twenty-five so I open my eyes. The game begins as I look for everyone. I fly into the ball pit and sink in. I freeze for a second and I listen if the balls around me move. No one is hiding in here so I get up and listen, much like a snow fox uses his ears to try to and find his prey under the snow.

“Mama look, I’m at the top!”, I hear Max yell as he looks out of a plastic window at the top of the jungle gym.

I sprint through the thin tunnels, weaving my way around obstacles and other random kids. I can see him at the end of my tunnel, as I catch my breath for second. I’m so close to catching him, I plow through the obstacles in my way and almost touch him. He takes the slide. Swoosh! I squeeze my long legs in the slide and get to the bottom. Swoosh! Finally, he’s stuck, trying to get into the jungle gym. I have him now with nowhere to go. I confidently walk towards him, when all of a sudden his mom screams.  

“Everyone come for presents and cake”.

All that effort for nothing I think to myself as I drag my feet the table where the presents are placed neatly. I sourly shove my present in Max’s hands and wait for him to open it. I suddenly feel bad for aggressively placing the gift in his hands and I hope he forgets about it and likes my gift. He rips through the wrapping papers but struggles with the box. The suspense is killing me. I really hope he likes my gift. My palms of my hands start to sweat a little as his mom helps him open the box. His eyes grow huge and his mouth opens wide. He rushes to me and hugs me and says he loves it. I hug him back and once he lets go, I let out a large breath of relief. He continues to open his other presents but no one else gets the reaction that he got when he opened mine. I feel a sense of relief and pride as I sip my grape juice, knowing that I got him a present he really likes. We sing him “Happy Birthday” and we eat a delicious Dairy Queen ice cream cake. After we finish eating, we start playing tag again and another kid is it, thankfully. I hide in the ball pit for abit then my dad comes over and says it’s time to go home. I say goodbye to everyone and put on my coat. I walk towards the car with my dad but I let him get there first.  He looks at me strangely.

“I can’t always win”, I explain, smiling from ear to ear.

Jessica

Today is a very important day, it’s my only son’s fifth birthday. I have tried so hard to make it a special and memorable day for him because he only turns five once, right? I’ve lost track of time as I’ve been scrambling around the past couple of days making sure I have everything for Max’s party. We arrive at the biggest indoor jungle gym in the area and I must say I’m impressed. I start to understand why I had to reserve one year in advance. This place is filled with little kids running around and they seem to be having a blast. I just hope Max and his friends have a great time. The last thing I want to hear is that Max’s birthday was boring. That would crush me. A worker points me towards the table that we reserved. I dodge kids left and right while holding Max’s favourite kind of cake in one hand and an enormous bag of drinks and snacks in the other. I take my coat off and put it on the back of a chair. Max’s friends start to arrive and I greet their parents. The kids go off and play tag in the jungle gym. In the meantime I take their coats and offer them a coffee or tea.

“Mama look, I’m at the top!”, Max yells down at me from the top of the jungle gym.

I smile and wave with a hand full of coats. I see Ryan, one of Max’s friends, pop up from the ball pit and look right at Max. Ryan sprints into the jungle gym, he ripping through the obstacles in his path like how a tornado would through a house. I stand still in the middle of the playground, watching this all happen. I think to myself for a quick second and stay fixed on the crazy chase. This is like a scene from Rush Hour Two. I snap out of my mini day dream and it hits me, he’s going to get caught because he wanted to show me how much fun he was having. I’m so happy that he even thought about me while he was playing tag with his friends. As Ryan shrinks his distance in a matter of seconds, I start to feel bad for Max. He smoothly goes down the slide and heads for an entrance. He’s blocked by other kids that in my opinion seem too old to be here. Ryan stumbles a little on the slide and meets Max at the bottom. Ryan walks towards Max with his head up high, a little too confidently for my liking and right when he’s about to tag Max, I panicked.

“Everyone come for presents and cake,” I screamed.

Seeing the disappointment in Ryan's eyes made me feel awful. I ruined all the fun for Ryan just to make my own son happy. All the kids run back to our table huffing and puffing like a pack of wolves. Ryan, still pouting a little from the game of tag, hands Max his present. Max crumples the wrapping paper easily but starts to struggle with the box. After a few seconds of him struggling, I take the box and cut the tape with my nail. Max opens the box and freaks out. He immediately hugs Ryan and tell him he loves it. Ryans face turns from a frown to a massive smile. Ryan got him the Lego kit he’s wanted so badly. Max unwraps his other gifts while some other parents and I get juice boxes and the cake. I light his candles and bring over his Dark Vader Dairy Queens ice cream cake. He blows out his candles and I start to cut the cake. I give the birthday boy the first slice then cut up a big slice up for Ryan because I still feel bad. I continue to give out cake till the boys are done eating. The kids head back into jungle gym while the other parents and I eat some cake and drink coffee. After a while, kids start to head home. Once Max’s last friend leaves, I start cleaning the table and he sits on a chair with his head down.

“Did you have fun?”, I say worriedly.

“Yes, I had so much fun! Thank you! I didn’t even get tagged the whole time and I got awesome gifts!” he replied, all fired up again about his toys.

We put on our coats and drive home. Max was asleep before we left the parking lot. I carry him into bed when we get home. I check up on him later and he’s awake. I sit down on his bed and brush his short brown hair.

“You’re gassed, aren’t you?” I say in a soft voice.

As I quietly leave his room, he thanks me for everything.

“Goodnight mom. You’re the best!”, he says in a tired voice.

My spine shivers as I hear those worlds come out of my sons mouth. A tear of happiness dribbles down my cheek. Those are the words every mom strives to hear come out of their sons mouth.

Max

My birthday wish was to make my mom happy.

TV Head Trio - Ashe Angevine '18

It was just a normal day, nothing new really happening for the smallest, and youngest tv head child, Clay. Clay never spoke much, and even when they did all that came out were robotic noises. Instead, they use words to project on their screen, where the mouth should be. Anyways, Clay was just walking around the neighborhood with two other TV heads, Psyche and Tabetha.

~CLAY POV~

Today is a nice day. It’s clear and sunny and it makes my whole body warm up, but in a good way. I get to walk with Psyche and Tabetha too. They’re practically like sisters to me. Wer’re not blood related at all, but we all live in the same house with Mama. It’s kinda weird.  I hope we see a cat on our way to the store. Psyche doesn’t like them, but I don’t mind. Psyche doesn’t seem to like me that much. Mama said it was a phase. I hope it i-!

*CRACK*

...Oh dear…

~TABETHA POV~

“Ok, so I’m getting the milk and all the dairy things over there, right?”

“Yeah, and I’m getting the fruit and flour.”

Psyche and I were just discussing who was getting what at the store for mom. I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t take the car though. Considering we’re getting a bit of groceries.

“One more thing. Since we’re separating, you should take Clay.”

I almost stopped walking. A bit of anger was starting to build up inside me. Psyche never liked Clay for god knows what reason. I turned my head to her with a confused look, but I’m not that dumb. “But why? I spent a lot more time with them than you-”

*CRACK*

We both froze for a second. That didn’t sound good at all as fear built up in my stomach. We both turned around, finding Clay on the ground screen first. They eventually got up, but their screen was cracked, and awful too. Tears began to show up, but they looked much distorted and out of place.

I heard Psyche mutter “Holy shit” behind me, but ignored it. I carefully picked Clay up, brushing dirt off their sweatshirt before giving them a hug. They shuttered in my arms, but I just muttered that it’s gonna be okay. Looks like we’re gonna have to go to the repair shop too.

“Well, they’re not bleeding, so let’s get a move on.”

That’s it. I had enough.

I spun around quickly, and I just, snapped. “What is your deal with them!? They broke their screen and this is how you react to it?!”

“Oh, c’mon! It’s a screen. I have one, you have one. It can get repaired.”

“That doesn’t. Answer. My question,” I shouted, “Clay’s been nothing but nice to you, and this is how you repay them? You treat them like they ruined your relationship with Eros-”

“YOU LEAVE EROS OUT OF THIS!” She snapped, “I JUST WANT TIME BY MYSELF, AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS?! THEY COME ALONG AND BOTHER ME! I CAN’T EVEN  BE IN THE HOUSE WITH ERO-!”

A buzz, then her screen went black. She short-circuited again. Thank god we got that automatic jump starter for her…

~PSYCHE POV~

I was just screaming just a second ago, but the next moment I was...restarting? Jesus Christ, I did it again.

I looked at Tab for a sec, and she looks pissed, arms crossed and her screen getting red. I let out a sigh.

“Okay, okay, fine. Don’t get angry, alright? Clay, I’m sorry for what I said”

“And?”

“We’re all not perfect,” I knocked on the side of my own head a couple of times. It’s hard to see, but it looked like Clay’s screen was blushing. That’s a good sign.

“And?”

“Jesus, Tab, What else do you want?”

“Hug them,” She was serious in her voice,  jerking her head a little bit to Clay, “Now.”

“Okay, okay! No need to get bossy..” I walked over, giving Clay a hug. Guess I’m not the only one with Mom’s temper. “Is this better now, your majesty?” I turned back over to Tabetha. She nodded her head, giggling a bit.

“Well, let’s get a move on, yeah?”

Clay nodded as well as Tabetha. And off we went again.

~TABETHA POV~

Good thing that ended quickly. It was pretty quiet the rest of the way to Tony’s fix-ups, the repair shop. “Hey Psyche,” She turned her head to me, “While we’re here, we should get a checkup for your jump starter.”

She nodded, opening the door to the shop. I don’t really like it here. It smells like oil, dirt, and glass polish. I run the bell, the radio changing and some footsteps were getting louder. Soon enough Tony, the radio himself, was behind the counter.

“Well, well! If it isn’t the wondrous tv-trio!” He practically shouted, feeling Clay hiding from behind me. Tony must’ve saw, cause he started to speak quieter.

“So what’re we here for today? Auto jump check-up?” He looked over at Psyche, who was looking at me almost in a panic.

“That’s one reason,” I said with confidence, “We also had, uh, an accident…”

I pulled Clay to my side, watching Tony’s body language go from energetic to sympathy almost immediately.

“Oh dear….” His voice was a bit quiet. I guess he has a soft spot for Clay. He placed his fingers against their head, tilting a bit to inspect the situation.

“Hmm...I can definitely replace the screen…” He spoke lowly, his hands returning to the counter, “In fact, I’ll do it free of charge! Just leave these two here and give me about 45 minutes.” That’s good. I decided to leave the two at the shop while I went to get food, since the grocery store is right across the street.

Once I got all the groceries, I went back to Tony’s, picked up the other two with a sigh and went home.

The end

Justice - Bekarys Alimov '18

Alexander

“Order! Order!” I shout and hit the gavel as hard as I can. With both sides having spoken their final arguments, it’s time for the jury to decide the fate of the defendant. For the first time in my very long profession I feel the old cold touch along my spine. Wow, a decade of being a judge and I never had this kind of case; I thought that I went through each possible one. It reminds me of my old man's last words, “remember, don't expect anything from the people, because each one of them changes and not always for the benefit of humanity.” God, this… Arthur guy.

I exit the courtroom but my mind is still there. Maybe it's wrong to give him the chair? No, you are a judge. Get your head straight. This man committed a murder, and nobody is above the law. The law keeps the peace and justice. If I make him an exception, then there will be others who will use this against me, and all of the justice system. There is no other way, this is the only way.

 

Christian

This can't be happening. Are they serious? It wasn't Arthur's fault, his son's death made him insane. It's insanity, that's what it is. Even though he doesn't admit it, my masters degree in psychology does. If he is found guilty, then he will get the chair!

“This isn't right,” I say to Tom, but he just looks at me and then back at his newspaper. I fix my glasses and say again, “this man is insane, they should let me work with him!” but this time with a louder and more aggressive tone. Tom stares at me, with his “not again” eyes. He is a nice guy, but he is here only because my sister asked him to come with me to keep company.

“Listen, you've got a ton of patients already. Why do you need another one? Forget it dude, that's just one life of many that are dying everyday,” Tom replies, but that gives me more to think about. How many lives were ruined by our book? How many have falsely accused? How many have given their lives for the good but we see their actions as evil?

Tom is right, this is one life of many that are dying because of the false writings on the law book. But this life is in front of me, and it is here for a reason. To show me the incorrect way that we use to judge people's lives.  I sit quietly then, thinking and speculating the right way we can decide the fate of the defendants.
 

Arthur

            It's been almost an hour, and I am sick of hearing this woman cry behind me non-stop. My lawyer was good, but I don't think he was good enough to save my sorry butt from this situation. Actually, I don't even care. I know what I did was right, and that is everything I need to think about. The door opened and I see how the jury and the judge enter. Well, what you got for me?

            “All rise,” I hear the man in a shiny suit command. Damn, Johnny actually wanted to look like that, all classy and so proud of himself.

            Judge Alexander stands tall behind his desk and speaks out, “Arthur Storm, on the charge of murder, we find the defendant guilty of first degree murder. The defendant found guilty, the sentence being the death penalty.”

            After he said the last two words, one well-dressed gentleman with glasses screams out “this is not right, what has happened to us?! To the society?!”

But soon security takes him and his friend out. Son, if you want to save me, you'd have to do more than just scream a bunch of nonsense.

            Rodney Alcala didn't deserve to live. That son of a gun done raped and killed six children… including my son. His death, was a real pleasure for me. After spending six months planning his death, imagining it and rehearsing it constantly, it ended up even better than I imagined. Keeping him alive for as long as possible for him to feel as much pain as I could give him, for who knows how much crime he really committed and how much he would do if not for me. It was worth every toothpick under his nail, every bone that I broke and the scars I have given him. It was all for the people but they won't understand it because they haven't lost anyone who was dear for them.

            I enter an armored car, and soon I hear the engine going. I guess I'll see you soon Storm Junior, can't wait to meet you again.

 

Christian

            “What the hell was that?!” I hear Tom shout at me. He's right, that was an unnecessary explosion of my emotions. But hearing the verdict, it made me feel so wrong. My vision became blurry, and my mind was going a hundred and twenty miles per hour, I just could not control myself.

            “I'm sorry,” I barely say, trying to breath in the air. “I just, lost it.” I straighten up and inhale as much as I can and then breath out.

            “Yeah, well you made us look like idiots!” Tom shouted again. Why doesn't he understand that that doesn't matter. A man is sentenced to death and he is worrying about how he looks in public.

            I come close to him, glare into his eyes to the point where it is uncomfortable for him. “You just saw a man’s life being tossed out, and you care how the ladies will look at you? Pathetic.” I say these words as I turn around and just walk towards my car.

            While driving in the highway, I continue to think. Arthur killed a man who was killing more people, a man who was doing it for pleasure and who would kill more if he was still alive. Should we really punish Arthur then? Can't we see that what he did was actually right from a certain point of view? That's it then. In order to have a correct way of judging people, we shouldn't ask ourselves what the defendant has done, but rather why they did it and how will it affect the people. But then they need to tell the truth, we'll use the lie detector. But then, there is a way people can get away with it… Hmph… Then we have to rely on people's honesty. But who in their right mind would confess to raping and murdering? It seems, that the law that we have is the only one we can have because we can't trust the people. This is the right way, Chris. This is the Right way.

 

Alexander

            This is what he deserves, he killed and now he is going to be killed. This is justice. The man in glasses doesn't understand. It's seems easy when you don't get what is really happening, but really, the big picture relies on every piece. A mosaic won't be complete with one little piece missing.

            “Sir, are you alright?” I look behind me and see a police officer holding my arm. “Do you need to see the doctor?” Wait, why do I need to see the doctor? After he asks me that, I touch my forehead and notice that I am sweating like a dog.

            “I am alright, I just need some fresh air,” I whisper, and move towards a window. Open it and breath in as much as I can. It's okay, the decision has been made. There is nothing you can do now. Why am I even thinking about this? The man committed a crime, he must be punished. Justice applies to everyone. You did the right thing, Alex. You did the Right thing.


 

Arthur

           I could have turned him in, that would've been good enough. I would even get a reward. I had all evidence against Rodney, he could rot in jail till he died. All the sufferings that he gave to those children would pay back in prison. I could have… I should have… no. Men get arrested, dogs get put down. Rodney was tainting this world, he was a disease, and I was the cure.

            Guards carry me through the spooky corridor, the kinds you see in horror movies with blinking lights and white tiled floors. The guards finally set me on a black chair and start to strap me in. I was not thinking about my death, but rather my reunion with my son John. What must he had felt during his last moments? He needed me and I wasn't there… but now I am coming Johnny. I am coming and we can all be together now: you, me and mommy. The guards finished.

             “Any last words?” One of the guards asked while another put a sponge on my head. A tear came out of my left eye.

             “I did the right thing…  I did the right thing.”

The Weight of Freedom - Yifei "Johnny" Lang '18

How can somebody like me carry something? My parents accepted a philosophy of education that most parents in China rarely accept or strongly oppose. They gave me absolute freedom on what I do. I can decide whether I learn a musical instrument; I can decide whether I stay at home all summer time; I can decide how much time I spend on my phone everyday. There is no requirement I need to achieve, and no stress is put on me. I cannot complain, no kid can because I enjoyed happy childhood. However, as I grow up, I realize that there is a weight of freedom, a price follows it.

When I went to middle school, my classes were more challenging. I would say “challenging” is not the right word to describe it because all it takes is more effort and focus during class time. With no surprise, I failed the second test in my math class. Some of my friends failed it too for different reasons, but my reason is simple. I did not work hard. My friend joked that his mom would shout at him the whole night and have a two hour conversation with my teacher. It was funny for me because for the first time, I saw terrified eyes with such a big smile. I proudly announced that, “My parents won’t do that because they just never do!” It was my 7th grade speaking. It was not the first time that I was proud of my parents instead of being proud of myself.

I took my test back home because my parents had to sign it. Before I showed my test to my mom, she smiled softly and said: “How do you feel about it?” I started the long testimony I had prepared. Although I can not remember exactly, it was nothing more than “bad luck” or how close I was to the correct answer. The corners of her eyes wrinkled up, and she was reading my test slowly and seriously. Maybe I saw her scowl or maybe I didn’t. Then she turned to look at me and said: “It’s ok, as long as you recognize your mistake, fix it. If you need help, find me or your teacher or your classmate.” She signed her name next to my grade, stared at the number for a few seconds, and gave it back to me.

Perhaps my mom expressed similar emotions when I failed another test or made other bad decisions. She did not shout at me and she was not angry. However, I felt something different out of her soft smile. Something I carried, yet didn’t notice. I realized the fundamental truth of a parent, that every mother and father expect their child to be someone.  My parents gave me absolute freedom, yet it was fully restricted. They have no requirements on me, yet I carried their requirements. They put no pressure on me, yet I carried pressure. I carried every soft smile. I carried every “it’s ok”. I carried every signature beside my grade. I carried nothing and I carried everything.

I am nothing special in comparison to other kids, except the ambiguity, except what I carried is unclear and unlimited.

Back and Forth - Rachel Brouwer '18

I carry many things. I carry my favorite hairbrush. I carry tomorrow’s outfit. I carry my pink portable hair dryer. I carry the stress relief body lotion that smells like lavender, because the one at my dad’s house doesn’t make me feel like my skin is floating. I always carry an extra pair of socks and underwear just in case I forgot to do laundry at the house I’m going to. I carry my school bag and hope every night that everything I need for homework is already in it. Hopefully I carry my Precalculus textbook, although somehow that seems to be something I commonly forget. I carry my face wash. I always carry my face wash. If I forget to carry my face wash I will wake up the next morning and although it seems impossible ten giant, erupting volcanoes will have magically appeared on my face. It’s a great surprise at 7 o’clock in the morning.

I carry my wallet. Inside my wallet I carry my license. My license that I got in May of last year. People always seem to think their license picture is the most horrifying, hideous, disgusting picture ever taken. But they haven’t seen mine. For some reason I thought I wasn’t supposed to smile during the photo. Well, halfway through the picture being taken the old, grouchy man working at the District of Motor Vehicles told me I could in fact smile. It’s safe to say that closed mouth half smiles are not the most flattering of pictures. I carry around that disaster of a picture of myself everywhere I go. I also carry my debit card in my wallet. With my debit card, I also carry the responsibility of being the sole grocery shoppers of both my households seeing as I am always conveniently driving by the store when driving from house to house. -“Here can you get this stuff for me at the store I’ll transfer money into your account.”- I also carry my Shell gas card. This is because there are three Shell gas stations on route from my father’s house to my mother’s house. It’s convenient.

My car carries me back and forth. It carries me and all the things I carry. It carries my crumpled food bags on the grimy floor. Right where I left them when I was running late to class in the morning. Sad, brown bags that infuriate me because they don’t just magically disappear. Ugly, crumpled bags that make me feel gross about myself because they are from when I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to school. Those brown paper bags I carry stare into my soul and make me hate my lack of organization. I carry three chapsticks in my center console. One is cherry flavored. One is mint flavored. My favorite one is Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning. It makes my lips so soft I can’t stop rubbing them together. I carry a shovel just in case I get stuck in the snow in the middle of the night and bad guys are coming after me so I have to dig myself out. Oh and I always carry my yellow fuzzy blanket, the one with the burn holes in it from summer bonfires. I carry my yellow, fuzzy blanket just in case I get trapped in my car, and my car battery dies. I carry my dog Lily’s hair to my mom’s house, and my dog Teddy’s hair to my dad’s house.

I carry the guilt of leaving my mom after only spending 12 hours at her house, most of which I was doing homework for. I carry the guilt of leaving my mom because I would rather spend time with my friends. I carry the sadness of driving away from my parent after spending quality time with them. Everything I carry, I carry because I have to. I carry it all back and forth and back again. I used to resent that I ever had to carry anything back and forth. I resented that back and forth was even a thought in my mind.

 Now, I do not mind everything I carry. It makes me who I am. I have learned to not hate myself for the Dunkin’ bag on the floor I got that one time I was feeling hungry and tired and lazy. It’s okay to let yourself eat something you don’t even like just because life is too complicated to figure something else out. Everything I carry makes me who I am, and as my mom always says, “You may not have it the easiest now, but one day you'll be ahead of the game.”

The Things I Carried - Ying Qiao Wang '18

I’m fortunate, not only because I don’t need to worry what to eat, what to wear and where to live, but I had this chance to study abroad. This chance seems really honorable, but this is actually a pressure that I carried along the way. It takes a lot of money and courage to send a kid abroad, and my parents thought in a same way too. They earned every cent of my tuition, and they had that courage to send me abroad, to let me pursue a more bright future. So I don’t want to fail, but the situation I’m in indeed gave me a lot of pressure, as I carried this pressure along with every day of my life abroad.

Everything started from the vacation at the end of my 7th Grade. I told my parents that I had an idea of studying abroad. I told them when they picked me up at the end of the school year to go back to my house. I can still remember their reaction: my mom froze for a second, but she suddenly hid her emotion and smiled very reluctantly. She then asked:

“Oh, do you want to go abroad now?”

“Yes, mom. I think it will be better for my future.” I leaned forward suddenly and answered.

“Ok, Let me and your dad think about it, but start your preparation now in case we agree.” My mom answered.

She answered happily, but still, she was worrying something. I could not tell, but I felt that this is not how they usually talk with me when we were talking happy things. I went on preparing for the standardized tests anyway.

Things changed after a night. I fell asleep early because I was stressed out on preparing for these standardized tests. I woke up at midnight, and I had to go to the bathroom. It’s dark everywhere. I could not see anything. It must have been a midnight and I bumped my head on the wall when I was trying to go to the bathroom. The light in the bathroom almost killed me, I fell back a little, because my eyes hurt a lot when I suddenly saw that strong light after a really deep sleep. When I walked back to my room, I heard something that changed my whole life. My dad and mom were still talking at this time. They did not sleep. I can still remember what they said:

“Why is he trying to study abroad? We already said that we will send him abroad when he is attending college. We don’t have money to send him abroad right now. I still need money for business. We don’t have that much money to use” My Dad said with worriness.

My Mom sighed and answered: “I know, but I don’t want him to be disappointed. He had the idea to study abroad and I want to support him. I want to give him a chance to pursue for a better future, and not to depress his desire to be better. Yeah, I just don’t want to let him down.”

“But you know it’s hard for us now to afford this right?”

“Yes, but it’s worth trying. If we can’t, we can sell our car or house back in hometown to afford him. We need to send him. It’s his own desire to study abroad and I don’t want to let him down.”

I froze for a long time standing on the side of that closed door. I could still remember the worries in their tone, and that sigh from my mother. I can not forget it. I feel guilty now for adding too much pressure on this whole family. I feel like I’m a person who committed a crime. I made my parents worried and they could not fall asleep at midnight. On the second day, when I saw them, It seemed like there was more wrinkles on my mom’s face, and my dad’s head gets bolder. I never noticed these changes before, but now I understood it all. They worked so hard for me, but I’m just a normal student that probably have no value to this society. When they hugged me and said that they support my decision, I don’t know what to say. I feel that my world suddenly turns upside down. The guilt is everywhere, I was squeezed into a corner, feeling guilty and helpless. I don’t want to tell them that I heard all the things they talked last night, and their smile is just a nightmare to me. I know that the smile they showed me means the worries they had on business, the worries they had at night.

The only thing I could think of is to study hard to make my future more bright and to make them happy. I didn’t want to reject their support, because I didn’t want them to worry about more things. I felt pumped, by their support, hope and love. So I started to study really hard to get into a school in America. I made a study plan for a year. I gave up my Chinese class and English class to study these tests, or English. My English level at that time stayed on a level that can only greet people. I could not do any academic work, I could not even talk with Americans. I can still remember how I practiced Listening for TOEFL: I bought a notebook, and I downloaded some TOEFL lectures. After remembering a lot of TOEFL vocabularies, I started to write down what the lectures said on that notebook. It’s a boring and stressful process, because at the start I had to listen to a sentence for four or five times in order to clearly knew what she or he said, and repeat for four or five minutes. More heartbreaking things were that I would usually get sixty or even over one-hundred errors for every lecture I listened at the start. So I had to re-listen to these errors and fix them. I had an idea of giving up, but I knew that I’m not only studying for myself, but also studying for our family, because I was the only hope for my family. They put everything on me, now it was time for me to make them proud and happy.

As people said, a hardworking person always has a better result at the end. I received an offer from Hebron Academy at the end, and more worries things are that my parents now has money to afford my tuition because their business was growing big. Now looking back to what happened before I came here, I still feel lucky and blessed. We don’t need to sell our cars or houses anymore, as my parents now earned a lot of money that is enough for the rest of their life probably. But I still can remember what they said at that midnight, what I carried along the way. I work hard on everything, because there’s not only me standing on my side, but also my parents, and their hope and love. I can not, and I never would depress them.

 

Innocence - Pashynce Kibbe '18

     I roll the window down and the cool breeze catches in my hair. We're driving home and the road is deserted. We haven't passed a car in a while, so I turn the radio up and rest my chin on my arm in the window. I close my eyes and breathe in the country surroundings, the smell of an oncoming storm and fresh soil drift over me. As I open my eyes I look into the woods we’re driving through; they are dark and are coated with a thick fog sitting heavily on the mossy floor. I can hear owls perched in trees cooing into the night. As the moonlight descends on the lake beside us, a soft melody flows from the speakers. It's a song about love and lost time. I let the lyrics wash over me as I watch the world fly by my window.

     I start to think about memories from throughout the years. My fourth birthday, my first day of school, it all starts flashing in time with the trees. The memories keep coming, up until this moment. This moment, when I begin to think about the future.

    I have a sudden flash of an empty room that I use to call mine and boxes in an unfamiliar place. I see my mom crying as she gets in the car to drive away, and right then it dawns on me that in a few more years I will be alone in a place that's not my home. The memories begin to flash again, now painful to watch.

    My mom waking me up at 6:15 every year on my birthday, blinding me with her camera. I see myself, waiting as long as I possibly could until I ran into her room on Christmas morning and dragged her out of bed. My mom greeting me every morning with a smile and a kiss to the forehead while the babies played. It all hits me so hard I can't breath. Never again will I have any of that. Once I leave, everything will change. Phone calls instead of hugs. Birthday cards in the mail instead of the traditional morning wake up. How can I be content knowing this is all changing?

    One day I'll have a job and a family of my own. My childhood will be long behind me, a distant past to look back on and smile about, but in this moment, I don't want to look back. I want time. I want more than the years we’re given to be with our family. I want to enjoy my youth, relish in the carelessness it brings and the time to spend with the ones I love. Why can't I press pause, just for a little while?

    We are forced to grow up and mature so quickly we never think to stop and take a break, to really appreciate everything our childhood and family has to offer. We all have a short amount of time on earth. One day our family will be gone and we will be left thinking back and regretting not spending more time with them. We will regret choosing the friends that eventually became strangers instead of family game night. We will regret not cherishing the little moments that can mean so much just because we weren't in the mood and would rather be anywhere else. I remember missing my sisters first real crawl because I insisted that I needed a break from all the noise and frustration, I ended up staying with a friend that night and coming home to find out the momentous step I had missed and can never get back.

     As I think about this I can feel my chest tighten and my eyes beginning to sting. I squeeze them shut to keep it all in then stare back up at the moon. I can hear the babies sleeping in the backseat and I smile to myself as my mom sings along with radio. These are the moments I want to remember, the little moments that fill me with joy and hope. I'm leaving soon and that devastates me, so I tend to push the thoughts away and focus on the now, because weather or not I'm ready for adulthood it's here and I need to come to terms with it.

     The lake is gone and is now replaced by long pastures with grazing horses. The world is eerily quiet as we pass through a tunnel made of trees stretching across the road. My mom grabs my hand and points at the canopy above.”Make a wish,” she whispers, smiling at me. And just before the tunnel ends, I whisper my wish into the wind letting it float along the breeze into the waiting night.

Morality Has Changed Over Time - Jack Morton '

Morality can be interpreted in many different ways.  The technical definition is a set of principles or values that distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad.  In the play The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, and the book The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme of morality is deeply explored.  These texts take place during Puritan New England, a time in which people relied heavily on religion to govern their daily lives.  The authors use this Puritan template to investigate the morality of the people in those times.  Nowadays, religion does not play as crucial a role in the daily routine of life.  However, morality is still a key component to how people act and think.  Society today has a slightly more moral outlook than in Puritan times, with more voices and perspectives on morality; nevertheless, underlying stereotypes still result in immoral actions and perpetrations meaning that today’s society is not more righteous, even though their is a stronger attempt to be so.

Modern day society has a better grasp of right and wrong and the severity of people's actions, yet stereotypes, that are brought up constantly, lead to many acts that are immoral. In Puritan times, people were very strict in their view of right and wrong, so their punishments, even for trivial crimes, were severe and unforgiving.  For example, in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne describes how even though it was years after her crime, and she was performing good deeds, Hester was still being punished.  He writes that there were, “None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty; even though the bitter-hearted pauper threw back a gibe in requital of the food brought regularly to his door, or the garments wrought for him by the fingers that could have embroidered a monarch’s robe” (Hawthorne 146).  Even though she is doing good (moral) deeds, she is being scorned by the people she is helping because of a sin she committed years ago.  The distinction between right and wrong in Puritan times was purely black and white.  There was no middle ground.  Hester has repented for her sin and is helping those less fortunate, but she is still seen and condemned as a sinner and is treated poorly because of it.   If she had committed her sin in modern times this would not happen, she would not be subjected to the severe punishment that she endured.  She would not have been viewed as such a bad person.  Her husband had been gone for two years and she fell in love with someone else.  In today’s times, if her husband had come back he most likely would have left her and she would have been punished by her own guilt and sadness, or he would have understood and forgave her.  She would still be punished by her guilt but she would not be subject to the humiliation and destruction of her public standing.

Even with today’s more tolerant view of society, there are stereotypes and generalisations that people frequently make that end up with horribly unscrupulous acts.  One instance of this is when Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchmen.  Martin had been walking with his hoodie up in the rain and this drew the suspicion of the watchmen.  It ended with Trayvon dead (Botelho, 2012).  This combined with other recent law enforcement killings of unarmed black men show how stereotypes take away from the morality of our society.  The perpetrators did not, as far as we know, kill them because they were black, they killed them because of a stereotype that is frequently brought up in our society and has become ingrained in the minds of many, even though it is largely false and unwarranted.  The director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the San Bernardino campus, Brian Levin, says, “We're seeing these stereotypes and derogative statements become part of the political discourse,” during an interview for an article about an increase of muslim hate crimes (Lichtblau, 2016).  Levin is referencing statements made by Donald Trump, during his campaign for presidency.  These stereotypes coming up in political discourse speak to how they have become such a big part of society today.  Even as these stereotypes continue to surface in the form of iniquitous acts and conversations though, people start to fight back, something that would not have been done in Puritan times.  This fighting back is apparent through protests and the national outcries by citizens.  In another article written about the shooting of Trayvon Martin the writer explains how the shooting affected the nation by, “igniting a national debate on racial profiling and civil rights” (Alvarez & Buckley, 2013).  This statement summarizes how these events trigger the fight back and protest for morality, something that did not happen in Puritan times.  

Today there are more voices and perspectives providing views on and fighting for what is right.  In Puritan times, there was only one moral code, the Church, and no one dared to think differently from this perspective.  If they did go against it and stand up for a personal moral code, they were opposed and even accused of being evil themselves.  This is evident in an excerpt from a scene in Miller’s play, The Crucible, when John Proctor is being questioned and Reverend Parris says about John Proctor, “ ‘Such a Christian that will not come to church but once in a month!’... [Cheever adds] ‘He plow on Sunday, sir.’ [Danforth exclaims] ‘Plow on Sunday!’ ” (Miller 90-91).  Parris brings up John Proctor’s faithfulness to the church because he wants to put Proctor in a bad light and make him seem immoral.  In Puritan times, if you did not follow the church’s way you were seen as evil.  The fact that John Proctor did not follow the same exact moral code as the church made him seem corrupt in the eyes of the officials such as Danforth and Parris.  In their eyes, John was not completely in the right, so he was perceived as completely in the wrong.  This portrays the one-sidedness of the views of people in Puritan times.  This is also evident in The Scarlet Letter when Hester is given her punishment.  Only one woman empathized with Hester’s situation and saw it from another perspective.  All the other women viewed Hester as wicked and thought that she should be punished more.  This singular perspective on the world does not lend itself to a just and moral place.  It is easy to be swept up in the tide of similar or popular thoughts, as evident in the sudden and large scale accusations and condemnations of witchcraft in The Crucible.  Today, there are many different moral codes and opinions on right and wrong.  As a result, when an immoral thing occurs, people can view it in different ways and fight for what is right on a broader spectrum.  

Today’s society is more open and objective on morality and, although there are immoral actions stemming from long-lasting stereotypes, the different and broader perspectives on right and wrong mean that more steps can be taken to fight for what is widely accepted as morally right.   Overall, modern society is not more moral but at least attempting to be better.  Puritan society was very strict and one-dimensional.  Today’s society is more diverse and able to stand up for morality, unlike Puritan times.  Negative stereotypes still result in immoral actions but justice can more easily prevail due to the wider and more accepting moral code of today and the ability to fight for what is right.

Works Cited

Alvarez, Lizette, and Cara Buckley. "Zimmerman Is Acquitted in Trayvon Martin Killing." New York Times. 14 Jul. 2013: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.  http://sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000353080&type=ART

Botelho, Greg. “What happened the night Trayvon Martin died” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 23 May 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/18/justice/florida-teen-shooting-details/

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Modern Library ed., Modern Library, 2000.

Lichtblau, Eric. "Level of Hate Crimes Against U.S. Muslims Highest Since After 9/11." New York Times. 18 Sep. 2016: A.13. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.  http://sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000385954&type=ART#cite

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Group, 1976.