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Part of The Mosaic: Spring 2005


Mosaic Editorial Staff
Editor in Chief
Jennifer Cherry-Woode
Assistant Editors
Erin Gannon
Brianne Bendit
Kelly Glynn
Both the front and back page images were contributed by Patricia Phillips.
All anonymous photographs were contributed by a Fall 2004 Marist Photography Class

A Mosaic that Moves On
Broken Dancer
Stuck in Reverse
Excerpts from "A Kiss to Build a Dream On"
Crying Autumn
Apostle's Creed
Tribal Dance 25
seventh ring
Back to Reality
The Most Convenient Nuisance in My Life 32
Your Hand
Socks 37
Misplacement 38
The Anonymous Henchmen 43
Gap is a Four Letter Word
It Seems
The Most Beautiful Day
Just Me
Tears Flow Again at 9/11 Tributes
Marie 86
Excerpts from
Pressure Drop 92
Odysseus and Penelope
Zoo keeper
And Then She Smiles 96
9 8


A Mosaic that Moves On
He is still outside our door knocking.
Man without a mission.
Stars flee the sky
seems as though you're looking past me--
Not just one of a pair.
Both Waiting for a train to come
Both valid in their own way
The things she treasured most came out of her soul like sunflowers.
There is a point where we tum back
Away you fall.
We will be strong enough to overcome
The sun will come up tomorrow
Those angels of light and truth have arrived
I'm really in the mood for a new pair of socks
Broken Dancer
wi;th,~ ru--ui,~
Luw~ .lhctdowy {ootpr-~
y ~ ~ ¥
r - ~
e , v ~
Y u . + ' ¼ - ' ~ ~
p ~
Twi¼t'l,t'l.ff" her
~w:.,,-~, .;,
f ~ t ; h y ~ t h e . ,
where, I
m , ~
p r ~
Dark, t'wt.e4r
lb-e,n,g-th, lwey

in Reverse
There is nothing more beautiful
than a fresh page in a notebook.
So here I go again, ruining another beautiful
Like walking out onto a snow-covered lawn,
leaving shadowy footprints
across the pure white world.
Call me The Destroyer.
I'll take the silence and pierce it with a scream.
Take a friendship and dash it to pieces.
Spoil your memory of a good thing
by gracing it with my presence.
Come here.
Let me frustrate you to the point where
your eyes and ears will bleed.
My mind is angry
and it's waiting to rip you to shreds
Maybe I'mjealous of you.
But mostly I'm jealous of me.
come build me a time machine.
Turn back my broken clock;
watch the shattered glass repair itself.
Watch me smile.
by Kristen Giambrone

Excerpts from "A Kiss to Build a Dream On"
Imus in the Morning kicked me back into
reality. His unmistakable voice, blasting from the radio,
was ripping the president a new one for fucking up the
English language. My flailing right arm couldn't find the
Alarm Off button fast enough. Finally, I ripped the thing
from the wall and dropped it. After I rubbed the sleep
out ofmy eyes, I remembered where I was. I wasn't
even in my own room, and that was not my alarm clock
which I had probably just broken. I was in ... uh ...
well her name isn't important. She was just another slut
I met in McSorley's. Somehow she hadn't woken up;
she did have a ton of cosmos last night and who was I
to stop her? I took one disgusted look at her and then a
disgusted look at me in the mirror and bolted.
"Ugh. Oh, what what? Oh. Bandit, leave me
alone. Go feed yourself."
The one trick I could never teach the man in my
life was how to feed himself
I rolled out of bed and
my feet hit the freezing cold hard wood floor. I have had
hard wood floors for a while now, but I have still
not bought a carpet. I am really tom about buying it.
I buy it, it will be nice to have under my feet; but,
ifl leave it as it is, it is the perfect pick-me-up in the
morning. I don't need Starbucks. I have my arctic floor
to wake me up. I made the incredible five-foot trek into

the kitchen, grabbed the dog bowl, scooped up some Alpo,
and put it on the floor for the beast. I liked calling him the
beast. My father had called our dog that growing up and I
guess it stuck. When I went back to my room, I found the
usual tub of Hagen Daaz sitting next to my Sleepless in
Seattle DVD. I knew this rut had to end. Somehow I knew
tonight's blind date was not going to solve the issue.
The smell of pretzels hits me like a ton of bricks. I walk
the two and a half blocks to my office and squeeze my way
through the revolving door. I hate those things. Sometimes
I'm stuck behind some old woman who can't push the
door and other times I'm in front of some guy slamming
the thing into my heels. I walk through the metal detec-
tors and of course I set it off even though I emptied all my
pockets and put my purse in the tray. I swear the security
guard just makes it go off anyway just so he can feel me
up because he is definitely liberal with his searches. I said
something about it once and I was told that our building
is a high-terror-alert building and no precaution should be
spared. Since then I think the security guy has checked me
for breast cancer about every other day. Once the horn-dog
is off me, I take the elevator up to the 3 7
floor: Market
Watch. The whole building is owned by some blue-blood
but the 34
to 42
floors are the Journal's floors.

Crying Autumn
The color green
Turning into yellow, orange, red, brown
This is the time for death
What once was full
now is empty
In purgatory we all lay
Our toes growing colder with the day
Knowing that it will only get worse
The elegance, the grace of the descending leaf
Floating, dancing, cutting the air every so swiftly
So alive, yet it is really dead
Falling through the
of hell from high above
Polluting the earth with depressing colors
Creating a blanket of death

You probably never knew,
or never imagined what you did.
You saved me, saved me
from my own hands.
These hands were up to no good,
thinking how easy it would be.
The smallest of actions loom large,
a comment, a word, a smile,
each the power to take life,
and the ability to sustain it.
I'd likely be six feet under,
without you that long lonely light.
Through all the careful decadence,
despair turned into a lust for life.
Whether it was honesty, pity or boredom,
it doesn't matter anymore.
You were that hint of a rising dawn,
in the midst of darkest night.
You probably never knew,
or imagined what you did.
You saved me from my own hands,
hands now steady at the wheel.

I do not write the words
The words write
My solemn surface
My ever-growing heart
Which beats in time
With my soul
last breath
Which lingers on the surface of

Apostle's Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
From the whimper in the adjacent room, I knew the verdict. I walked
into the bathroom to find Maggie curled up in the fetal position on the floor
almost made me laugh, the position, like one of those figurines that you open
only to find a smaller replica tucked away inside. The yellow walls that my
mother had insisted would cheer up this dreary little bathroom really weren't
serving their purpose at the time. Although honestly, I think you have to buy
into that Feng Shui bullshit for the mind to truly believe it's working. Either
it was a bad situation to be in, yellow walls or any other color for that
She still lay there crying, her small hand griping that God-awful piece
plastic, like a magic eight ball for the rest of our lives. It seems ironic
the beginning of one life signaled, ultimately, the end of mine, or at least
of what I thought my life was. At that moment I tried, honestly I

did, to think of happiness and the good that was coming in nine months, but I
would be lying ifl said I didn't have to restrain from kicking her square in the
"Maggie, things are going to be ok, I promise." Even though I knew
damn well things were far from fine. She looked at me with those eyes that
looked like she had been maced, and couldn't even choke out the words. I can
honestly say I was angry- that's just like a woman never able to control her
was insensitive but it's what I knew, and I felt bad just as quickly
as I was angry.
"I'm sorry," I said, and she looked at me, puzzled
She finally stood up; she
was so off-balance you would have thought that this was her third trimester.
"I love you," she said, and I mumbled some inaudible phrase like I always
did. Love? I didn't know what that was like. I was drifting, living in the Id.
Sigmund Freud would have been proud.
Either way, I was leaving: this girl, this town, all of it, and this new little
problem was not stopping me from that. When I signed my letter of intent on
national TV, you would have thought that I performed miracles. I was a high
school kid who played baseball, but that was better than giving a blind man the

gift of sight in my town. Truth is, I was on my way to a life of alcoholism; my
heredity had written my path in the stars and I was hitting every mark along
the way. I was the son of alcoholic born-again Christians who talked about
safe sex like it was abstinence.
One of the happiest memories I have is the day I was kicked out of
my house for a prank involving a frog and fire works. My dad ascended from
high- "You think that's funny, Jason Carl?"- like saying my whole name
would get to me.
I replied,
it's just a fucking frog," which landed a stern back-hand
across my face. He never much liked cuss words since his day of revelation.
Placing the fire works in my hand with duct tape, he said, "Now we will see
how the frog feels, won't we?" With a match, he showed me how the frog
My hand would be alright, but I knew that when he said, "now leave,"
hated the smile that graced my face. It was lik'e the flood had ended and I
going to make it, I wasn't coming back until he was sober, and at times I
was the kind of girl who was looking for someone like me to
the ideas of right and wrong that our parents imposed. She had

been a virgin before we started dating, and used phrases like, "let's wait for
the right time," but quickly the right time became any time. It always struck
me as strange that she wore her
What Would Jesus Do
bracelet while we had
sex, but I wasn't going to complain about it. Once I was driving her home and
I ran over a squirrel, but she hadn't noticed. I told her about it, only to get
a response of, "No, you didn't," so I proposed a bet of pleasure, and turned
around. I wasted forty five minutes of gas receiving the benefit of being right,
only to pull up next to her father at the intersection next to her house. I must
have turned an unbelievable shade of white only to see him smile and drive
off. Her face only left my lap when we pulled into the drive way. She strolled
through the door gracing her poor father with a kiss on the cheek, like Sunday
service just let out. His ignorance saved him, but even I could not force a
smile in response to his obvious happiness. That's the way it was in town:
people saw what they wanted and believed what they wanted, even if the
was staring them right in the face. The truth was, his daughter was turning
into a whore, but only because of me and who I was.
Maggie and I had been "God-awful influences on each other," as my
mom put it for about three years. My folks really hated the fact we dated,

though they put smiles up every time she came over
They had learned how to
fake happiness from their alcoholic days, when they would sit around blowing
smoke up my ass about changing. The real Christian changes didn't come
until the night I awoke to a terrible burning sensation on my lower bicep, and
my father extinguishing a once-lit cigar in its place
He was probable pissed
off at the lack of carpentry jobs left in town. To this day
any short sleeved
shirt makes my mother cry. I guess that was the last straw, and after that it
was the Bible and church for those two, but not for me, though. Maggie was
my bible and baseball was my church, and I did both of them very well.
When I left for school in Florida
you would have thought that my
whole town was going. People congratulated my parents and talked about
being proud. I left making promises to the two women in my life, my mother
and Maggie. I knew I wouldn't keep them. The first semester was the same
but just a different stage. I drank far too much, worked far too little
school, the baseball, and the baby all wore on my shoulders which had
callused through out the years of my youth. Often times the events in
should have gotten to me, but the calluses protected me, like nothing
farther than skin deep. But with the protection came walls-

nothing in, nothing out. I would spend every night in the bar whispering dorm
room numbers to cheap-looking girls in halter tops, then spend the morning
faking a much-less-than-half interest in Maggie. I often prayed that she had
worked up the nerve to destroy our problem, so that I could kick the minimal
amount of guilt I felt from screwing around on her every night. Girls at
school loved baseball boys, which I loved, and acted like they all had never
seen a bat or ball while I entertained them until my buzz wore off
didn't take long for my world to catch up with me, and the only
way to describe my demise was a crucifixion.
was a Mardi Gras party in
November, and after a handle of Stalingrad vodka, my life hung in the
balance, but I would have never known it. The bar glittered and shined with
beads and smiles. A young woman in my religion class was dancing on
the bar with no underwear on, but I wasn't complaining about the anatomy
In fact, many women would give anatomy lessons for the cheap price
of plastic beads, which cost much less than drinks. Everyone was happy.
Throughout the night, many of my actions could have resulted in my eventual
expulsion from the bar, but it wasn't until I started licking girls and threw
up on the bar that the nice bouncers suggested that I leave. The car ride to

my dorm didn't go much different; one of my buddies was kissing a girl in
the front seat as I licked her back, as if my drunken state were an ecstasy
binge. I fell out of the car and stumbled my way to the security desk only
to fall in front of the guard. He told me to stop but I was already running
with him in close pursuit. My fall was broken by the concrete, until another
guard apprehended me like I was a criminal on
Cops. Blood dripped off my
forehead, though my fight was not over. My swinging fist landed on his jaw
and the racial slurs rang in his ears, words that would have made the clan
proud. Neither action would prove favorable for my case.
I was dragged to the security desk, my wrists in zip ties. The guards
laughed and took out my ID.
"Oh look what we have here boys, the mighty Jason Carl." With a
laugh they all came over to see me like a side show in a cheap circus.
were quite a ball player. I guess the key phrase in that statement
The over-weight guards loved it. Needless to say, I deserved the
This was my fault, and I grinned and bore it.
trial the next day, like I said before, was a crucifixion. The
of guilty was reached and the penalty was expulsion. When I say

crucifixion I mean it; my record at the school was far from flawless and my
grades were piss poor at best. Every word out of the board's mouths was
like the mighty fist of God damning me back to the shit-hole place I had
come from, my forever hell. My throbbing headache and hangover didn't
help my case against the mounting evidence either. The school loved to
set the trial for the day after. It's nice to expel a hung-over asshole; it really
takes all the sympathy out of the process. The stamp she used on the papers
pierced through my ribs to my heart like a spear, the red ink dripped and
dried, marking the end of my college life. She sat there with crimson lipstick,
looking like this was, surprisingly, one of the harder decisions she had ever
made. It made me smile to see the inner conscience of another human being.
A conscience, I thought, was something developed over time, something I
didn't know if I was capable of attaining. I was going home, royally fucked.
Yet I almost felt at peace, like this was a journey where only the beginning
ending were determined, but both the same: home.
I thought to myself, "This will probably drive both my parents back
to the drink," laughing a little I picked up the phone. To anyone else, this
situation would have been the worst event in their life, but I doubt that

people are fucks and if they are, they don't realize it. Sometimes I enjoyed
putting my parents through shit just for what they put me through when I was
a kid, like I was the little bastard child that no amount of church or Bible study
could fix. The truth was that I did care, though, so I lied about the whole
was like the seed for the lie had been planted for some time now,
the baby was coming along
and using it as an excuse for leaving school was
about the only good it had ever done. My mother probably went though
an array of emotions coping with the new news that she was going to be a
grandmother. Her words, "you got to be shitting me, Jason," really let my
imagination run about the emotions she was going through. I only wish that
I was there too see her face; emotions like that fascinate me, especially when
spontaneous. Emotions like that let you know how much someone
cares. The little boy who cried wolf probably just wanted to know that
cared enough, to see the reaction. Either way, this baby was no false
and the
only crying that day came from my mother, all the way to and
happy, she really didn't care why I had come home

so glad you decided to come home, Jason," she said, throwing her arms
around me. Snickering, I thought to myself, "Yes, decided." I did not tell
Maggie that I would be coming home from school, I just sort of showed up
at the daycare she worked at. I guess just showing up there was just another
moment of the spontaneous emotion bullshit I get off on. Just to know
someone cares was a real powerful thing to me for some reason.
Things had not gone well for her since the town had learned about the
pregnancy, and the truth was, the whole town knew about the child before
my mother did. I could see the town talking. "That Jason Carl is never going
anywhere now that that whore Maggie is knocked up." I never gave much
thought to how the town constantly blamed Maggie for me leaving school, or
that I'd let the whole town down. She'd complain about the stares when she
bought diapers. People treated her like she had leprosy, or like pregnancy
contagious. The truth was, many of the people believed the child wasn't mine,
like it was too far-fetched, like I walked on water.
That was the town: believing what they wanted. Forever Maggie and I
go down in history as the fallen hero and whore who were forced to make it
work. My father bought into what the town thought; I was flesh of his flesh,

blood of his blood, fuck of his fuck. It was like I had destroyed his grand
scheme of things, but I didn't really mind. Did he honestly think the town's
salvations would be safe in my hands?


Tribal Dance
The sounds of the Caribbean tribe
Spewing forth its monotonous rhythms
The steady gulping sound of the water-jug drum
Beating into the surrounding clearing
She dances
Winding down
Twisting her torso like a squirming backboned snake
Arms exchanging brief kisses with the calm breeze
Stomping into the earth, these ceremonial f~et
by ErinB laineBaxter

seventh ring
I put a whiskey label over a bottle of poison
And we celebrated the night
By the end we were both spewing blood like vomit from our mouths
Wrenched with pain we inflict on each other
Not sure where I'm going to end up
I counted up to the sixth ring
Shot for shot
I'm not moving from my spot
But the rooms moving around me
I play some songs
Acoustic and messy
She was hurt and
She made me call for help
So I dialed 4-1-1 by mistake
But by then it was too late
I secretly just wanted her number
but what's the point of calling someone if they 're already dead.
When I got home I was still drunk
I had such a craving for orange
juice and I
couldn't get the key to work on my front door
Half asleep, and half
wasted, I
kept thinking I left something at that party. I tried to keep
myself I had everything by checking all my pockets, patting myself
I realized it wasn't a cell phone or key that I forgot to take home
with me,
it was her virginity
I should have used her ...
I am far too innocent
And I enter the seventh ring.



Back to Reality
stand, on the edge of the earth
Nothing between myself and the Oren realities beyond my being
l)eneath the aged, divided skies o buried clouds
Motionless, frozen in a wonderment of
Yet more tree than
roaming creature
stand, in an amazing moment of a midnight dream
Allowing the pleasures of an unknown atmosphere to sift through my
a mindful web, by the soft gray hands of sleep
drift within a sea of fast-forwarded memories
stand, against the
air that has given
Gently taking a breath of
As the world
continues on its scheduled journey
There are no boundaries here,just the darkness below,
Threatening to eat
stand, alone, in a mirror of my future self
pool of postponed tomorrows, lapping in the passing breeze
swelling blur before my
a clock pounds its last tock into my comforting blanket of fantasy
suddenly, the contours of my dream are smudged
As a willowed hand rests lightly on my shoulder
Awake now and removed from my splendor
am tucked neatly into the present
No longer am
standing on the edge of the world alone
a friend has cradled my hand, a partner to walk beside
life's golden path


Sense the presence of luminosity
In this world of hustle and bustle
A peacefulness comes from within
The power of light and love
Keeps me joyful
And full of hope.
What happened to those yesterdays?
Sadness perpetually growing
Seemed to devour
Any illumination trying to shine.
Slowly creeping.
Forever consuming.
Dark times may come
But my strength lives on.
To rise again and face a new day,
To know what it's really about.
For life is constant.
Cutting through the dark,
Radiating past the light.
Not darkness or light,
Just life.
There is stillness living inside me
The passionate tranquilit
Of knowledge from that life.
am at
learning and living.
the truth that has yet to be found.
is light without dark?
a soul
without serenity?

The Most Convenient Nuisance in My Life
The pleasures of becoming a teenager could have
never felt better. Turning sixteen allotted me a few new
privileges. Permission to have an actual boyfriend. staying out
later than nine-thirty at night. and the chance to learn how to
drive were gifts within themselves. Unfortunately, despite the
warnings I received about the responsibilities these exciting
changes would bring, I continued to live in the moment,
subconsciously believing my life and all that it encompassed
was completely guarded. Little did I know. not everything
runs as smoothly as planned. especially when it comes to cars.
I remember the day my father asked me. "So what
do you think the guys will say about a redhead in a green
Volvo?" As he handed me the keys so I could drive him
around to finish some errands, I smiled to myself. I could
just imagine driving around aimlessly, the awesome sounds
of Phish and other jam bands blaring out of the kickin' car
stereo, and my long locks of orange-colored hair flowing
in the wind. The 1900 model consists of a tan-shaded cloth
interior, a black hard-plastic dashboard, a manual sunroof,
and old
school door handles. Out of everything in the car, I
value the sound system the most.
However, the stereo let me down. The speakers
decided to take on a life of their own, crackling every time
a sweet solo hit its climax. Not only did the CD player often
reject many of my burned discs. it left the display with a
message reading 'E-99.' The reception to any decent radio
station became virtually non-existent. On the bright side,
I could still change the display's color from neon green to
fluorescent orange with a secret combination of buttons (My
sister still has not figured it out).
As it turned out, the sound system was the least of

my problems with old Clifford. I found myself stranded after
an illegal visit to my boyfriend's house around 3:00PM. My
mom though I was working at Price Chopper during one of the
biggest snowstorms of the winter. I tried to follow through with
my devious plan when my car refused to start. After violently
forcing the key into the ignition in what seemed to be an attempt
to necessitate dear life itself, the engine remained in a coma.
This was my first experience jumping a car. Clifford began a
new trend. I jumped him when I was leaving for school in the
morning. I jumped him when I was sprinting from school in the
afternoon. I jumped the car when I needed to go anywhere.
Clifford transformed from my long awaited escape into my
dreaded oppressor.
Recently, Clifford has enjoyed toying with my mind while
on the streets of downtown Albany. Despite my best efforts to
keep my car happy with frequent and expensive car washes,
Yankee Candle scented air fresheners, and weekly tire-pressure
checks, it refused to accelerate properly. Imagine touring the
region surrounding our state's capital without the ability to
surpass the crawling speed of twenty miles per hour, and being
to stop. Well, it happened to me on several occasions
night. Each time, the episode lasted all of about ten seconds
of 'putt, putt, putt' stuttering, followed by the eerie silence of
gaining momentum. At times, I began to hallucinate the
burning rubber smell that usually accompanies a fan belt
on its
deathbed. Clifford needed help.
Presently Clifford resides on the cold, neglectful pavement
Latham Family Tire and Auto Shop. Apparently it has been
made his temporary home, as I have not enjoyed his company
over two weeks
My friends take pity on me, driving me to
from Hudson Valley Community College daily (Or maybe
do it for the free Lumberjack style breakfasts or a late mack
sting of I Love New York Pizza's famous-tasting cheese pizza


Your Hand Drifts S ·
Your Hand Drifts S
I think I have faun
call home
but in this bliss
The pain of misery comes to call
on my door step.
He wears a black suit and a tie
and is well mannered enough
but I can see the knives he sells
are the blades that will tear us apart
in the end.
I didn't mean to let him in
but the shame for having done so
resonates through these halls
in an echoing whisper
That only I can hear.
Why is it that when you touch me, I feel
farther away from you than ever?
Or that when I say I love you, I
wonder if it's a lie?
He is still outside our door knocking
and only you can tell him to go away.
But I don't think you know he's there
And I don't think you know I'm there.

Socks are the most under-rated piece of clothing.
No one goes out shopping thinking, ''I'm really in the mood
for a new pair of socks!" Oh, they tried to make them
all snazzy by putting goldfish and turtles in a cute little
pattern, mixed with a new fresh color besides white. Socks
now come in colors of fuchsia, cyan, sunrise, pumpkin, and
magenta. Still, sales in socks are not climbing. One often
forgets about his socks until there is a large hole in the
bottom that rubs up against his shoe. Then it is time for
new socks.
You would think socks would be like underwear-
both have about the same amount of material, but people
obsess over underwear. Victoria's Secret doesnt base their
profits on sexy socks. The only reason people obsess over
underwear is because of what is underneath it. Socks only
cover the feet, and they are the least exciting garment.
The perpetual question is, "Are you still naked if you are
wearing socks?" If one chooses to make love with their
socks on, they are thought to be rather odd.
Socks can go on either foot, unlike shoes. You never
need to try on a pair of socks, but you do for shoes. Shoes
hardly ever go missing either, unlike socks
Maybe that is
the socks' way of telling us to pay more attention to them.
I wonder what it would be like to be a sock, and
to have to sit on a gross foot everyday. The life of a sock
must be very boring. That is probably why they play games
with us and run away while being washed. Imagine the world
of lost socks. Do you think they get lonely without their
partner? Maybe mismatched socks are like interracial
relationships. All the other socks look at them funny, but
socks love each other, despite what th~ other socks
Maybe the socks are becoming more tolerant because
are beginning to realize that it is not about pumpkin
turtle socks and plain white socks, but that maybe it's
being happy. Maybe the socks dont like to be paired
They want to be respected for their individuality, and
not just one of a pair
Maybe they are just like us; one of
but individual in their own way.
Maybe we are all just socks.

I got my ears lowered the other day
And woke up with visions of my scalp
Heard my heart beat through my ribs
And smelt a thief from an empty gut
Plotting a cowardly getaway to a dark alley
Like a trapped rat we squeeze into tiny holes
Shelter inside of hollow walls
Exploring abandoned houses
Man without a mission
Girl without competition
An easy catch with no bait

I once tried to write it down,
what I'd want them to say,
if today became my last day.
What I'd want them to say,
if my tomorrow never came.
I tried to think of words,
but all I came up with was stale,
mostly cliches, plucked from the past.
I thought of nothing unique or new,
because my mind had no reason to.
But it happens, we see or hear it,
someone's gone, I'll never see them again.
The sun will come up tomorrow,
rise for almost everyone,
eyes just might miss it.
not planning on dying anytime,
't misread this as suicide.
forward to a life still blooming,
should my time seem to be near,
fight for each breath with fear.
I believe in, find strength in,
when the stars flee the sky?
I learn along the way,
I try to do each day,
I see makes me want to stay?
is possible,
, an
indescribable moment.

It is not something you can own,
it's nothing practiced, bought or sold,
but you'll know it when you find it.
I believe in true love and friendship,
and that the two come as one.
You can't have one without the other,
no matter who we're talking about,
because they come unexpectedly.
I believe exhaustion is mental,
it can be beaten down and broken.
There is a point where we turn back,
and we surrender, give in to the pain,
but I don't think we have to.
I believe in what is impossible,
because I don't think it is.
Improbable, unlikely, but never impossible.
If they say that something is impossible,
it's just that no one's done it yet.
I believe laughter is the best medicine,
even if the chuckles pull at stitches.
Life is too important, too serious,
to go through it without a grin,
a smirk, and a booming belly laugh.
I believe in the value of an old friend,
and the insight of a new one.
One's thoughts shaped by years of helping,
one's fresh from a different life,
both valid in their own way.
Every day I get up with the same intention,

and the insight of a new one.
One's thoughts shaped by years of helping,
one's fresh from a different life,
both valid in their own way.
Every day I get up with the same intention,
that this day I'll change it all.
can change this world around me,
even ifl make the march myself,
can make a dent in the wrongs.
That's what
believe, right there.
Each separate mind is capable of it,
changing the world we can and cannot see.
Nothing is impossible, just undone,
that doesn't mean it's easy.
you don't believe me, look around.
someone new, makes that impact,
life for all it's worth, and leaves a scratch.
today I made my won scratch,
tomorrow you can make yours.
owe a few apologies,
more than a few.
hurt, broke,
ed to and ignored.
n then, but
still don't know why
is everyone else,
to you too.
listened more, cared more,
more, and worked less.
had some more time here,

Literary Arts Society Presents
the 1
Mosaic Fiction/Poetry Contest

Grand Prize Winner
The Anonymous Henchmen
By AJNseir
Our kind is always the first to go. The first line of defense. We're
expendable. Replaceable. Forgettable. Most of us don't even have
nametags. A knife to the throat, a sniper's head shot, a well-thrown
grenade, and the ever popular unnecessary abundance of bullets,
it doesn't really matter how it happens. We exist only to provide the
higher ups with more time to get away, to delay the opposition. Pawns.
It's no secret, this fact, it's known going in, but we take the job anyway.
Part of it is false hope. Hope that maybe one day we'll be the one who
wins, the one who gets recognized, the one who isn't killed. We're
promised that glory from the beginning, and they tell us if we work
hard enough we'll get there. Every job has entry level positions, ours
is no different. You start at the bottom and work your way up. But for
us, chances for promotions don't come easily, or often. And when an
opportunity presents itself, it's kill, or be killed, literally. That's the dif-
it's doubtful that other jobs have an unwritten "if you didn't get
it's because your dead" clause. Every single one of us still
dreams of sitting at that head table, of having an eye ball or a finger-
nt that
can open any door. The depressing truth, however, is that for
it isn't possible.
Harmon Espa17, better known as Harmon£, always w/Jis-
as he patrolled t/Je building's top four floors. Never anything spe-

dfic, just a random siring of
notes, but 11 sounded like 11 could be a song.
From midnight lo eig/JI in 1/Je morning /Je whistled T/Jroug/J 1/Je ./Jal/ways,
ec/Joing up and down 1/Je vertical lengl/J of 1/Je building w/Jen /Je decided
lo lake 1/Je stairs, and twice as loud w/Jen /Je didn 1, so /Je could drown out
I/Jal horrible elevator music. Harmon even whistled w/Jen /Je took a piss.
It's sad I/Jal /Jis whistling was /Jis downfall.
T/Je elevator doors opened and /Je walked down 1/Je narrow, fluo-
rescent /Jal/way, glancing into eac/J of/ice as one would glance into a car's
side View mirrors. He stopped /Jal/way lo lake a few laps from 1/Je waler
fountain and a quick bathroom break. Just like 1n t/Je eleva/01; 1/Je sound
of /Jls steady stream slowly eal!ng away at a unnal cake raised 1/Je volume
of /Jis whistling. He d!dn
'I /Jear 1/Je ceiling grate above 1/Je middle stall be-
ing removed He d!dn
'I /Jear a man weanng all black ground/Jog /Jis /Jead
down from 1/Je air cond!l/on1ng duct, and slowly lower himself on top of
1/Je to1let. He d!dn
'I /Jear I/Jal same man open 1/Je stall door and slink up
be/Jind /Jim. I'm not sure 1//Je /Jeard /Jis own neck snap.
Ooger sat al 1/Je half-pentagonal desk, leaned back in l/Je blue
swivel c/Jail; wil/J /Jis feel propped up. Four 1denl!cal black twelve-by-nine
inc/J computer screens fanned across 1/Je desk lo 1/Je ng/JI of /Jis recently
s/Jined black army boots. Eac/J screen split into fours, for 1/Je sixteen
ferent cameras eyeing 1/Je perimeter of 1/Je compound Ooger however,
was fixated on a seventeenth screen, a muc/J smaller one. James Bond
1n.· Goldeneye, one of //Je new classics on TNT, crammed into a 1/Jree by
1/Jree 1nc/J portable Ze/7/l/J /Je and 1/Je ot/Jer West lower guards chipped in
for last monl/J. He wale/Jed Pierce Brosnan bungee jump off a damn and
acrobatically disarm and s/Jool a Russian military guard wil/J /J1s own
''Stupid Russians. " T/Jree shadows blurred across Camera
lop left /Jand corner of screen
"How do you not see /Jim?"

He suddenly wasn 'I so involved with
He stood up
and clicked the talk buUon on the walkie-talkie strapped lo his left shoul-
"Hey East lower, /just lost the feed for
how's 11 /ookin
for you ?
No response. 'Yerty you there? Come back lo me.
4a and b went
out Ooger wasn 'I a rookie, and Wtll7 /l7ree cameras out and a lower guard
not responding, he knew better than lo walk outside and invesltgale.
Back on the walkie-talkie. "Control, hit the flood lights and put snip-
ers on the roof, and gel somebody over lo check on lower East, Gus 1:Sn 'I
In sets of four, the flood lights blasted 017, soaking the rectangular
perimeter wall and the carefully manicured interior lawn wi/17170/ while
light Ooger looked out of the expansive glass Windows of
171:S lower lo see
gunmen take 1/Jeir positions on the roof of the vtlla.
T/Je ground shook when the East lower exploded W!l/7 an eruption
rained smoldering pieces of
brick all over the compound KnoWtng
/Jis tower would most likely be the next lo vomtl up fire, brick, and
along wit/J his charcoaled body, Ooger slid down the aluminum lad-
that ran down the middle of the lower: He 1711 the ground and was just
f to run towards 1/Je vtlla when he heard it Two shots, glass breaking.
floated over the perimeter wall and tl7rougl7 ll7e former window
lower. It p1nballed off the desk, then clanked onto the metal
. He
stood motionless, stanng up the ladder well. The egg-shaped
rolled, teetering on the edge. II dropped Anally, he look oft
t/Je time he 1711 the lawn, Ooger could hear the grenade
· o/1 t/Je ladder's steps. The explosion gave him fltg/71, 171:S body
diver's position. Ooger rolled onto 171:S back lo see 1/Je
"1/ing towards him like a falltng Jenga puzzle. What's really hor-
actually had plenty of lime lo gel up and run, but he just sat

No such thing as death with dignity. I don't understand why none
of us ever die heroically while trying to save a runaway school bus full of
children, or while diving in front of a bullet. It's always humiliating.
Freddy O's moul/J was t/Je only part of /Jis body exposed, every-
1/Jing else completely covered in white Gortex. His ski boots, pants, and
jacket, all white. He wote a w/J1le helmet, a white face mask and white
goggles wtl/J a non-reflective lens. If
not for t/Je jet black semi-automatic
rifle strapped to /Jis shoulder, /Je would /Jave been invisible against t/Je
snow covered mountain. Reverse avalanches of wind npped up t/Je face
of t/Je mountain smacking Freddy, nearly knocking /Jim over as /Je pa-
trolled t/Je balcony of t/Je missile silo designed to look like an observaloty.
Freddy was a smoker, /Je never stopped His /ell /Jand would flick t/Je
butt of one cigarette as /Jis ng/Jt /Jand put another one in /Jis mout/J. He
never smoked before starting 1/Jis jo4 but 11 was one of t/Je only ways to
keep warm w/J1le walking back and forth on a frozen porch at t/Je peak of
a mountain for eight hours. It wasn
w/Jat Freddy expected this job would
be, /Je t/Joug/Jt I/Jere would be more skiing involved, I/Jal is w/Jy /Je was
Like most of us /Jenc/Jmen, Freddy Owasa bad apple wtl/J a good
skill. He was one of t/Je best amateur down/Jill racers 1n t/Je world, but
/Je got busted for steroids just before 1/Je Moscow Winter Olympic trials.
Henchmen recruiters love I/Jose kinds of stones. It's so easy for 1/Jem to
exp/011 someone ltke I/Jal, pick up t/Je shattered pieces and promise a
fresh start. It dtdn
take long before t/Jey picked /Jim up, showed /Jim how
to shoot a machine gun, and dropped /Jim at t/Je top of a mountain.
get recru1led kind of ltke prosttlutes get recruited Recru1lers find us, lost
helpless, broke, and wtllt'ng to Its/en to anything anyone /Jas to say.

mind I/Jal ol/r employers are ev;l warlords llying to take over t/Je world, we
/list want a paycheck. Prostilllles probably get paid beller.
T/Je alarm whistle echoed down //Je mol/nlain and back lip again
by the time Freddy saw /Jim flying down //Je mol/nlain w;l/J two of t/Je other
skiing gllards close behind, firing. He qll1ck/y grabbed /Jis skis and/limped
off the balcony onto 1/Je near vertical slope. Already behind, Freddy blll-
/eted down t/Je mollnlain, floallng on top of t/Je powder w;l/J relined,
sweeping lllrns. He callg/Jt lip to t/Je others /list as t/Je open slope ended
abrllpt/y into a dense forest of
pines. T/Je man t/Jey chased also wore all
while, and /Je was an excellent skier, dodging standing trees andjllmp-
over fallen ones, w/J1le still finding llme to shoot back at Freddy and
the other two gllards. Freddy tailed t/Je 1/Jree, following 1n 1/Je pa//J of t/Je
unknown spy, straining to catch lip.
Blood splallered all over /Jis goggles as /Je passed one of t/Je
other gllards, w/Jo /Jadjllsl been /J1l w;l/J two bl/I/els to t/Je c/Jest He and
other gllard dodged trees, sporadlca//y firing at t/Je elllsive llnknown,
missing /JornlJ/y. T/Je spy took a /Jard left lllrn, Freddy followed, blll
other gllard didn
'I see t/Je cliff l/17111 it was too late. Freddy col/Id /Jear
screaming on /Jis way down. It was /list t/Je two of t/Jem now. There
cleanng lip ahead, t/Je access road T/Je trees decongested, t/Je
closer, and t/Je-spy disappeared Freddy lost /Jim. He saw a
ramp formed on t/Je edge of t/Je road, a resllll of
plow;ng. Freddy 0
lty1ng to gain enollg/J speed to lallnc/J over t/Je road, where sllre/y
again catch lip to /J1s fleeing enemy. T/Je lip of t/Je snow-made
launched /Jim, and a smile crept across Freddy's frozen lips w;l/J t/Je
I/Jal he wollld make 1l. It didn
'I last long. A searing /Jot Ii/led /J1s
as /Je
sailed over t/Je dolled yellow road lines. Freddy Olay on t/Je
of the road, 1n t/Je midst of
a yard sale of a cras/J, stra1n1ng
/Jis goggles dllnng /Jis last moments of life. He saw t/Je spy
dllcked posillon behind t/Je snow bank, from where /Je /Jad

easily picked off a flying target A silver van slid to a stop, t/Je spy hopped
in, t/Je van peeled oft
We're not evil people. These recruiters, they're sweet talkers. The
guys they can't entice with fame and fortune they manipulate with prom-
ises of a fulfilling, important career. They make it sound like we're heroic
revolutionaries, fighting forces of evil, a kind of modern-day Robin Hood.
Much like Nazi soldiers during World War II, we never believe that we are
the bad guys. If they told us the truth from the beginning, different deci-
sions would have been made, but everything is glorified to make us think
our side is right. When you are young and na
1ve it is easy for someone to
manipulate and mold you. At first, most henchmen believe strongly that
what they do is right; some guys even start out as volunteers. Slowly, you
realize, it is all about power and money, and there's a reason governments
try so hard to shut your boss down. But by that time, men build families
and homes; they have friends and dental plans. Besides, what legitimate
company is going to hire someone with a resume that reads:
Special Skills:
Can you imagine the interview?
"So, I see you worked in a hollowed out volcano, what was that
"Uh, it was hot, defiantly hot, kind of cavernous, but I worked with a
lot of really interesting people."
"What skills can you bring from your previous employment?"
"Well, I can consistently throw a grenade 50 yards, with decent
accuracy. Torture, I'm pretty good with torture, you know, tying people up,
electrocuting them. And I know how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint,
and Excel."

"Three words that best describe you?"
"Let's see ... Hardworking, obedient, and sacrificial.
Klein was /Juge. Six-fool-seven, 350 lbs, all muscle. He used
to compete 1il Strong Man competitions. His best event was pulling t/Je
forty-eig/JI passenger Greyhound bus. 117 /Jis last competition, ill w/Jic/J /Je
placed second overall, /Je pulled t/Je bus ten meters ill 28. 7 seconds, still
a world record. His paltne1; Reu, was skinny and tall, it looked like some-
one assembled /Jim from five broomsticks. He was double-jointed, and
fused /Jis own style of fig/Jl7i7g from kick boxing and wrestl!ilg. T/Jey fought
well together. Dunilg t/Je 2 on 1 tra1il1ilg dn'/1, I/Je pair knocked out eight
two of t/Jem instructors. T/Jey fed off of eac/J ot/Je1; wit/J Klein
and Reu's reach and quickness, 1/Jey gave opponents too muc/J to handle.
people can bring down one Jugernaug/Jt, and one skilled fig/Jte1; but
nobody was able to defeat a comb1i7al7on of I/Je two. Most of their fights
T/Je express elevator doors opened and Klein and Reu stepped
out onto t/Je roof, made sure 11 was c/ea1; and mol7oned for their boss to
W!l/J t/Je wind swirling around I/Jem 68 stones
t/Jey /Jurnedly
toward t/Je idl!ilg helicopter as I/Je pilot got out and opened I/Je
passenger door. T/Je pulsal7i7g noise of t/Je spill/J/ilg blades drowned
the gun blast I/Jal 1/Jrew I/Je pilot backwards 1illo I/Je side of I/Je c/Jop-
//Jen flat on /Jis face. Klein and Reu stopped, and turned.
'You two stay /Jere, "stal7i7g I/Je obvious, and cl!inb1ilg 1ilto t/Je
. T/Je boss could
fly /J1inself
cop stood just outside t/Je staircase doo1; /Jis pistol now aimed
at Reu. He look off at full spnilt after realizing t/Je cop was out
laking /Jal/ I/Je steps of
a normal man to reach /Jis target. Reu
/Jim to t/Je ground, I/Je back of /Jis /Jead cracked off I/Je con-
'-COnscious, t/Je cop was unable to slop Reu from wrapping /Jis

legs around /Jim, ceasing t/Je use of /Jis own legs and body, w;l/J only /Jis
arms and /Jead free of submission. T/Je cop flailed /Jaymakers, but t/Je
lengt/J of Reu's legs put /Jim at an unreachable distance. Klein casually
strolled ove;; taking /Jis tim(7; enjoying /Jis work. T/Jis was t/Jeir signature
move. Wi//J t/Je cop all tied up in /Jis paltner's ville-legs, all Klein /Jad to
do, was relax, and /Jave a seat
Desperately, t/Je cop tried to wiggle out of Reu's /Jold Klein
straddled t/Je cop's /Jead, almost in a squat pos1lio1" and lowered, slowly
T/Je cop remembered, suddenly, almost miraculously, t/Je switc/J blade ill
/Jis inside jacket pocket Reu's gnp instantly loosened w;l/J entire blade
jammed in /Jis left leg. T/Je cop pus/Jed himself out from under t/Je sl!ll fall-
ing Klei1" and grabbed Reu by t/Je ankles, and dragged /Jis /Jead under-
neath /Jis paltner. T/Je cop yanked /Jis knife out of Reu t/Jig/J and plunged
11 immediately into Klein's /Jeart. Reu's broomsticks //Jras/Jed for just a few
seconds before dropping to t/Je ground
Sometimes we get so close. It's painful to talk about how close
some guys get. It might be better if everyone went down quickly, because
it seems like the closer a man gets to victory, the more ridiculous and hor-
rible his death is. A lot of closed casket funerals. We are a resilient bunch
though. You'd think with such a high mortality rate, our profession would
see more quitters. We like our jobs, and a lot of us are very optimistic.
True, part of it is recruitment and training, tons of propaganda, some call it
brainwashing, but henchmen are a special breed nonetheless. We see co-
workers fall all the time, probably 15 to 20 guys every two months, and we
keep showing up everyday, hopeful, with a passionate desire to become
the success story everyone tells.
I'd survived eight attacks, six of them by solo spies, the other two
by six-man tactical military units. I always seemed to be in the right place
at the right time, which is as far away from the action as possible. It wasn't

on purpose, truly coincidental, but still, the other henchmen didn't respect
me, they thought I was always hiding. For a short time I was under investi-
gation as a double agent. They found no evidence to support the accusa-
tions, but that didn't kill the rumors.
was working the graveyard pa/rot fourth floor, which are where
t/Je mainframe and control rooms are located, plus a couple of managenal
offices. He came in through the elevator.
The bell dinged when
arnved on the floor, and the doors slid
I radioed to the lobby guard. "Hey Bill are you messing w;lh me
again wit/J this elevator? It's getting old. "
Every time I worked this shill, he sent an empty elevator to my
He would never answer my radio transmission, he'd wail a couple
minutes, enough time for me to me cautiously approaching the elevator,
drawn, expecting someone lo jump down from the emergency door
the ceiling. Just when I was the most tense, my linger on the tngger, I'd
/Jystenca/ laughter crackle in over my walkie-talkie
It always worked
I knew t/Je one time he wasn't screwing around, I'd ignore
I swung t/Je automaticrifle strapped to my shoulder around from
and took the safety off I walked, s/owfx towards the open el-
be /Jones/, I didn't mind Bill's prank Iha/ much. If
anything, it
something to do, and
was good training. I pressed my back
1/Je wall to the /ell of the doors. I rotated my head around the
of the
wall, and peaked into the elevator. Empty. I crept
one step
W!l/J my gun pointed at the ceiling. I always made my way to th'e
hand comer of t/Je elevator, w;lh the trap door above the Iron/-
comer, I figured it would be the safest spot
case someone
drop out I waited w;lh my gun fixed on the door for nearly

a minute, and decided Bill was Just /Javing fun. I t/Jrew mj gun over my
shoulder and stepped back out into t/Je /Jal/way. I took out a Granola bar.
I almost c/Joked w/Jen I /Jeard it. A loud t/Ju[t coupled wit/J a vety
loud snap. I froze. len seconds went by before I even turned around. I
couldn 'I believe w/Jat /Jadjust happened. T/Jere actually was someone
wailing to drop down from above t/Je elevator. He tried to lower himself
down, upside down, and s/Joot me in t/Je back. He must not /Jave/Jada
vety good gnp w;l/J /Jis feet. He fell /Jead first, and snappedllis neck on
t/Je metal elevator floor. Of course, t/Jat's not /Jow I told t/Je sloty later.
Since that night, everything changed for me. I am no longer anony-
mous. I pull into a personalized parking space in the morning that's closer
to the front door than the handicapped spots. I take a private elevator to
the 12th floor, accessible only by retina and fingerprint scans. I wear a
nametag, give orders, and organize the shifts and the company picnic.
Even more importantly, my good fortune, or his bad fortune, depending on
which way you look at it, has inspired henchmen everywhere. I get emails
every week from guys in evil hideouts all over the world, thanking me for
inspiration and hope.
"On behalf of the henchmen crew of the submarine the SS De-
stroyer, we'd just like to say we are all huge fans. We put your picture up
in the war room, as a source of inspiration. What you did not only saved
your life, but it taught the rest of us that we are more than just fish in a
barrel. Well, I'm sure you have work to get back to, but know that you've
touched us all, and made our jobs worth while."
Your Comrade,
Vladimir Gorbovnika

Honorable Mention
Gap is a Four Letter Word
By Marissa Connelly
I have been here for eight hours. My paycheck will consist of a
mere 57 dollars for today's excursion into retail, not including what'II be
taken out for taxes. Not really enough money, I think, to make me keep
coming back here, but I always do. Truth is, working at the store has
been the best job I've had so far. So I do the eight hour day, and then
some. Tonight, I've been asked to stay for the "Find Your Fit" meeting
where we're going to learn about all our jeans, men's and women's
and what kind of flare, leg opening, and wash, each one consists of. No
one besides employees gets to see this behind the scenes stuff. Lucky
Kate, the direct manager, has set up a table next to the polos
some snacks for us. There's an array of Little Debbies and cook-
and some soda bottles are next to a tower of paper cups. There's
lso a bowl of hard candy in the center. Aww
I think, it's a party. All the
start to sit down in a circle on the floo'r and in some random
irs spread around, and Kate puts on a video about our new Fall line
twill be coming in a few weeks. I look around at the people I work
college girls or women looking for part time jobs, except
female managers. They're devoted to the store and are always
are only a few men who work at the store, and now that
it, I thought almost all of them were gay when I first met

them. Not that it mattered, but I just found there was something, I dunno,
a little too put together about them. A couple are kinda effeminate too, but
when I burp or pick my nose, I don't feel like I'm being too manly, so may-
be it's nothing. I used to think this one guy here, Francisco, was gay. He
was one of the funniest people I've ever worked with because he'd always
make fun of the old women who'd come in search of high rise pants. He'd
tell me he always wanted to lead them out of the store and point down the
street saying "Maam
Talbots is that way." He never would, though, be-
cause he was nice. His hair was always a different color each month, too.
Once it was bright blue, which even though it sounds terrible, looked really
good on him. I found out later he was married, so I was wrong about the
gay thing. Although, I guess he could be both, but I hope not, so I'll say he
isn't. Another guy, Ian, was definitely gay because he would talk about his
boyfriend all the time. He said that they both worked as stylists for famous
musicians when he wasn't here, but I never believed him because I didn't
think he'd be working at the store if he was a big time stylist. He used to
call me sweetie, but not in a fun way. More in an "I'm older" way, but con-
sidering he was only 27, I didn't care for it much. He was fired, though, so
I don't have to put up with that anymore.
After the video ends, we're told we're going to do an exercise
where all the employees have to try on a different pair of jeans, model
them, and identify every descriptive quality they can remember about
them. I can actually hear my heart beat slowing down. After we show off
our pants, we make different scenarios of where a person would wear all
these various styles and then it's time for Gap Trouser Bingo. A little piece
of me dies. I thought every single American had the directions on playing
bingo computed into their brain at birth. Only my fellow employees would
think that to "win the game" (which by the way, there was no prize for),
they had to fill in the answers to the whole game piece. The entire board.

What the hell kind of bingo is that?! Christ, people, it's like the simplest
game of all time! Make a line!
I'm getting really tired now and I can tell because I'm all grumpy
like when I was five and needed a nap.
"I have to go to the bathroom," I say to Kate.
"Key's in the drawer."
I leave the Bingo game and head to the back of the store. This
night is starting to remind me of family birthdays and weddings. When I
was little, I used to hate family functions. Even though I love my relatives,
I sometimes just couldn't stand to be with them. I remember when it would
get really heavy, like aunts would be fighting about politics or the past,
I'd find a bathroom and hide out there for a while. Four, five minutes- I'd
just curl up on the seat and think about how much I enjoyed being alone
sometimes or how much I just wanted my parents to say they had to leave
so we could drive home and I could sleep in the backseat. I do the
same thing in the employee bathroom, except this time I only stay in for a
minute or so- if anyone asked where I was for such a long time, it's not like
I could say I was having bathroom issues. Unlike my family, they wouldn't
understand. They'd probably just hand me Pepto Bismal and then stay
talking about firing me because I'm so odd.
When I re-emerge from the bathroom, I hear Kate saying she just
s to go over a couple of things before we're done. The rest of the
ting actually goes pretty quickly, which I enjoy.
we talk about how our
sales are down, how we're a target store for shoplifting, and how
not helping the customers as much as we could be. Basically, how
pastel tank top and jean jacket wonderful. And then, at eleven
are all dismissed.
I go
to the fitting rooms and change into my own jeans and then put
back on the pant wall. I run for the employee lounge, grab

my bag, and punch out. I say my goodbye's and wait for Kate to check me
out and make sure I haven't stolen anything, an employee ritual that I find
very funny. Eileen Rademaker, a petite girl with short brown hair I work
with, comes up to me as we're walking out of the store. She started here
months after me, but already knows more about the registers and the em-
ployee manual. She also graduated a year after me, but somehow, always
makes me feel like the younger one.
"You going to see the boys tonight?" she says. When she says "the
boys" she means the popular ones who were in my year, but that I was
never really friends with. Rademaker has yet to understand this, or the
fact that she has stronger ties with them than I ever did.
"No, I think I'll just hang out at home," I say.
"Too bad. Hey, was that you I saw at Adam Vetere's house last
Saturday night?"
"No, I don't think so." Truth is, I've never been invited to Adam
Vetere's house. I doubt I would now that we've been at different schools
for two years. This conversation starting to get painful.
"Alright, well don't go too crazy this weekend, you!"
"Ok, Radie, you be good."
We start to walk in different directions towards our cars, 'Nhich I'm
happy about. I don't like being reminded of high school in the summer.
I turn the corner and start down a new street. I like looking at this
part of Montclair at night when I'm going to my car. It makes me real-
ize that some parts of this town, just like any place, are really nice- the
houses here are the kinds with porches and swings. Even though it is a
nice town, though, I always think that my car has been stolen if I don't see
it right away. I would probably sit in the street and cry if it ever was, espe-
cially if I had worked an eight hour day at the store before realizing some-
one had boofed my vehicle. My car is there, though, like it always it. I pull

my hair back and throw my bag in the backseat next to my shoes. I keep
an extra pair of flip flops in the back because we're not allowed to wear
open toed shoes in the store for some weird safety reasons. My feet know
no safety regulations, though, so they enjoy the freedom of sandals often
and like to breathe when I drive
But tonight
I decide to just go barefoot.
Very rebellious.
It's only a fifteen minute drive from the store to my house, but
it's one of the most calming fifteen minutes I get after work. All the other
stores on the street have their lights on, but no one's in them, and there
aren't a lot of cars on the road, just some guy jogging
I hadn't realized
in the store, but it had rained sometime today, and the summer heat is
making everything feel sticky and close. I open up my window and search
for a good radio station. I always like taking my car to work instead of my
parents' because the radio stations are all programmed like I remember.
Station 1 is 0104.3 classic rock, 2 is 95.5 PLJ best of 80's, 90's, and
is some classical junk because when I was at school my mom got
hold of it, and 4 is 100.3 otherwise known as 2100, which is always good
for a guilty pleasure song you don't want any of your friends to know you
Tonight, though, there's nothing on but commercials. I'm already in
Cedar Grove, too. What I need is a good salvation song. One that makes
me want to go the long way home. I believe l've
earned at least that. Rich-
immigrants, rich immigrants, babies, grandmas, awkward pre-teens,
husbands, one weird couple who carries their dog in the store all
time, nannies, and the Fed Ex man. I've met them all today and smil~d
all today, and now the day at the store is over and I want the night
mine alone.
I check all the stations again. I even go to mom's classical music
Still commercials. Oh my God! Can some radio station out
some music, please before I get home? Not just commercials

but music. MUSIC.
And then, like a sign from God, Eric Clapton's Layla comes on. And
it's perfect. It keeps me company all during the longer way home, just like
the good songs always do.
When I reach my house, I hear my dog barking and run up to meet
her at the door. I hit the button on my keys and beep the car locked. My
parents are watching t.v in the living room when I come in, and my mom
yells something at me as I'm going upstairs to change.
"I said, come down and talk to us about today when you're done.
We haven't seen you since this morning! We miss you!"
I laugh. "Ok, mom. I'll be right down." The phone rings when I'm in
my room and I yell downstairs that I'll get it.
"Hey you! Kate and I wanted to know if you could take Jen's shift
tomorrow from nine to 5?" I realize after he says Kate that it's Bill, the
other manager at the store.
"Um, actually I can't. I'm going back to school tomorrow. Sorry!"
"Oh, no kidding? Well don't forget to come back during your winter
break. We're going to miss you kid!"
"I'll miss you guys too. Bye!"
I hang up the phone. I really wasn't going back to school tomor-
row- not for a few more days actually. I had just lied to one of my bosses.
I did tell him the truth, though, at the end. I was going to miss them. Even
with their consistent check ups on how I'm slacking on helping customers,
and how the fitting rooms are messy and I should get on that, and how
they didn't know how to play Bingo. They weren't bad people. Not
means. They just worked retail.

Honorable Mention
By Jennifer Goldsmith
It was the month the lavender plant began to wither and brown in
the window-box over Morton Street, the month each crack in the wall
seemed to swell and lengthen with decay. It was the month Swann's
refrigerator congealed and fermented, his cabinets went stale, the
countertop Formica chipped at the edges. The teapot shattered that
month. It was the month Marcus left. And the mailbox overflowed, and
the deadbolt rusted open. And Marcus left. The laundry piled in flaccid
of dead-weight cotton beside the closet.
that's not right.
It can't be simply added to the list, not thrown
haphazardly like one more point on an index of Swann's February
Marcus leaving wasn't another disintegration. It wasn't the
beard of penicillin creeping up around the edges of a relationship,
neglect wasn't so thoroughly honed
It was an absence. An altitude
of oxygen. A dark patch of wallpaper where a poster no longer
. It was an apocalypse as silent and small as a tear
· t
red stains still linger along the sink from Marcus' cinnamon
he detested mint. A bottle of half-used shampoo, a blue
A few of his golden hairs still laced through the teeth.
all of them. A box of jasmine tea
colored paperclips-sort-
a Polaroid of his sister at her junior prom. Behind

the sofa, an argyle sock with no mate. It was as though each token were
a shard of broken eggshell, left on the ground from fairy tales long past,
to tread lightly upon or bleed. And all of Swann's efforts and all of his
pain couldn't put Marcus together again. Some days he resurrects the
black and white stills he had taken of Marc, one of his strong Baltic pro-
file obscured in steam and teacup, one of him on the subway, amassed
by strangers, giving the camera a glance as if to say I see you watching.
Others reminiscent of the two of them, in midtown, Marc looking vaguely
a tourist against 7th Avenue's pulsing neon, or happily picnicking in
Westchester on July Fourth, or upstate in winter, covered in the sparkling
snowflakes of the Catskills. If he sandwiched all the frames together, he
could-for a moment-reconstruct an outline of that other person, and
revel in its company until the negatives managed to work themselves
loose, drifting into the soft incandescent light of a carefully airbrushed
They had lived happily, Swann thought. They were comfortable in the
slouchy bohemian life they built together. Marcus held lectures at Colum-
bia every morning, teaching rudimentary Sanskrit to lithe undergraduate
brains, and histories of Asia's linguistic evolution to the more obstinate
grad students-during which time, Swann strolled around town, his cam-
era hanging eagerly from its neckband, eyeing opportunities for a shot.
Choosing a location, unfolding the tripod, he would sit, sometimes for
hours, until he got the frame he wanted. Those simple, everyday can-
dids-people doing exactly what people do-for no reason at all, revealed
more in Swann's lens than the starkest of nudes. A look in someone's eye
as he reads the paper on the bus. The explosion of beak, wing and feath-
ers as a child chases pigeons through Bryant Park, or a merchant quietly
peddling roasted nuts from his wheelchair. Swann Deligado and Marcus
Porter sitting in La Luna Bistro, contemplating politics. Swann Deligado

and Marcus Porter attending Michael Cunningham's book party in Chel-
sea; Swann Deligado and Marcus Porter spooning gelato to each others'
lips on a park bench in the Village. Swann and Marcus in June, October,
blustery December. And February.
But now it's March, and the rest of the calendar has been torn to bits, as
has the slip of yellow paper tacked to his door on Wednesday to inform
him that rent is overdue
Swann looked to the walls
He would have to sell
another two prints, maybe three, to pay the bills by himself. The Gug-
genheim fellowship he'd received last year provided a stipend for living
expenses, but who was he kidding? Marcus took care of the finances.
His income paid the bills. Given, it wasn't much-an academic's salary,
nothing more-but it was consistent, enough for them to live on, and, with
Swann's grant
they could afford the little luxuries, like an extra three feet
space between the dishwasher and the bathroom. An extra three feet of
wall and contentment.
thought strikes him for the first time: he will have to move, or give
his artisan lifestyle. The thought had already jimmied its way through
skull in other ways, yes, during those long nights when he could feel
ws of the past wafting across the wood floor, crawling into bed
him, where it ran chills along his neck and spine. He thought about
then, in shudders. But the idea of money, of running out of it, was
the kind of logic that escaped him
It was enough that he man-
up this morning and eat Fruit Loops by the handful in front
rabbit eared television
That was progress. That was the
he dwelt on; behavior patterns. Object histories. Human
that he was still alive. Alive enough to deflate his limbs
oriental-print sofa-an abomination in home decor, but

Swann rather enjoyed its ironic form-until noon, when he would look
outside, determine that the sky was far too overcast to shoot anything in
natural light (no bounce lighting available), and resign himself to another
day indoors. Hell, he thinks, if he's being forced out of the apartment, he
may as well spend as much time there as he can. Who knows? He might
not have the luxury of a roof, soon; a furnace, a creaking wood floor. He
might be left to his own devices, just him and his 35-millimeter against the
brutal force of New York City, him and his camera begging the beggars to
house him between the ravaged cloth and litter of shopping cart shanties,
when the cold and skyscraper wind came, to keep him from the frostbitten
abyss of blacktop at night.
Swann swallows a handful of bright Loops, unchewed. Tomorrow he'll talk
to the landlord; yes, he'll convince her to let him pay in trade: she always
has admired his work; perhaps she would take a Deligado original in lieu
of the month's rent. Just this once. He could bear to part with the aerial
shot of three halved pomegranates, and Missy, the landlady, has a soft
spot for mythology. Perhaps he could convince her that the seven seeds
towards the front had been placed in homage to Persephone
He would
even rename it, Swann thinks to himself. Eyeing the photograph once
more, he feels the bite of his own loveless winter, his own half-tasted
The wall is pocked with a few blank squares already, where, Swann con-
cludes, several prints used to hang. And yet-he has no recollection of
lifting them from the nails. Damn Marcus, he thinks to himself. Oonr t/Jink
0/11 as flaltety. He only wanted a memento, or five.
Moving would have filled Swann with relief, were he not waiting for some-

one to come home to him. Dwelling in a mausoleum of their old life togeth-
er doesn't bother Swann as much as the idea that, if he were to move,
Marcus might never find him again. Or worse: he might never find Marcus.
Yes, Marcus had all of Swann's friends keyed alphabetically into his cell
phone (or was it the other way around?), and certain members of his fam-
ily who approved of their lifestyle. His art dealer, Greta, took them both to
tea and brunch every Sunday afternoon, and would surely tell Marcus of
Swann's whereabouts, were he to ask her. Sidewalks and telephone lines
ran like veins across this city; such a small rip wouldn't sever their con-
nections, not immediately. And yet-leaving the apartment remained, to
Swann, as simple and desperate as hopping off the George Washington
His portfolio: a scattering of still life, landscapes (from travels, mostly, the
summer in India and Budapest while Marcus attended university-spon-
sored conferences), but above all, portraits. He liked to read people: in
black and white, the fleshy folds of a grandmother's face became a road
map to her life; the moisture in a soldier's eye dampened the cold, brass-
button uniform with frailty. These were the obvious ones; even more satis-
fying were those warranting a second-glance, who at first notice could be
anyone. The faces wait for an introduction befor~ shedding their defenses,
and then, once they are certain that it's safe, each one unravels his hu-
fallen tendril of hair across the forehead, a downward glance
smile. The corners of bitten fingernails.
are Swann's favorite bedtime stories. People he'd never met,
experiences he'd never know. When bouts of insomnia draw
beneath the sheet, an arm automatically reaches for the binder
th his
bed, where the old 8 by 1 Os are stowed. Some of his better

nights are spent this way, inventing stories and intimacies for men and
women who don't remember his camera.
At night he slips back in time, months, years, back to the first days of
snapping secret shots, ever so keenly, of Marcus while he wasn't looking:
traveling the sidewalks between classes (oh, he looked dapper in his aca-
demic twills), or on line for a morning latte. He discovered, early on, that
Marcus enjoyed afternoon basketball with a few colleagues in the Ancient
Languages department, and would often sneak down to the old gymnasi-
um with the highest zoom lens he owned. It was fairly simple to go un-
seen; the basketball court was in a different room, but the aerobics studio
unfolded into a balcony with the whole place in view. He could either slip
up into the tin bleachers or pretend to use one of the weight-machines
(though not the treadmills, unless he sought a motion-blurred image),
well-above the basketball hoop and presumably beyond the focus of his
subject's eye. And, though Marcus was hardly a stellar athlete, Swann's
photographs made him an Olympian, taut-muscled and beaded in sweat.
Entire sequences of these photos hang in frames like pages from a flip-
book, noting each second before the toss. Swann had toyed with the sizes
in the darkroom, so that a full-body shot of Marc worked off a close-up of
drenched hair, beaming eyes.
Sinew andjoy, Swann thought, that's w/Jal
t/Jis man is made of
Others in this series include a portrait of Marcus seated in his office-or
rather, Professor Porter, at his collegiate oak desk
peeking out from
columns of papers and aged textbooks; some shots of him on his vintage
British motorbike, and one particularly bold frame of him in the locker
room, naked, with a blue terrycloth towel slung over his shoulder. It was
taken from behind, as Swann concealed himself in an adjacent stall,

running the water to disguise the shutter's giveaway click, and to this
day Swann cannot explain what possessed him to take it. Fascination,
perhaps, or danger, or some strange combination that his will couldn't
fight. Marcus was his magnet, and his camera could never deny the pull of
Exposure= Intensity+ Time. This is how pictures are made. This is
Swann's expert formula, the precise conditions he needs to develop his
relationships, successfully, on the glossy side of photo paper. The duration
of exposure creates the final image, as does its potency. The effect of light
on a
reactant emulsion. Tricks of manipulating the surface. Alter the con-
burn the edges. Dodge the dark bits. Create his own exquisite image
m nothing more than light and shadow
and, when this illusion has whet
his desires, he adds perhaps a dash of imagination to breathe air to its
Sometimes more, as needed: Mary Shelley meets Ansel Adams.
is a portrait, a man. Exposure desired; exposure, intensity plus
Intensity, yes, the most delectable part of the equation, relentless
rgent, deliciously coated in minutia. Intensity fills pages with ink and
onghand: Marcus Porter, born in Detroit, 1962, the first of three
. Two sisters, much younger, still living in Michigan, in a white
by the lake. Intensity sits in on Marc's largest class, in the
auditorium where he would pass unnoticed, and intensity finds
online, simply by keying the name into a Yellow Pages index.
mbles across his family tree, discovers a grandfather in the
with lymphoma. Perhaps the other branches extend into bud
wither into lifeless crisps of leaf. A birth and a funeral lately,
in a charcoal suit, a striped russet tie.

Intensity adores these games of connect-the-dots, placing a face into a
barren landscape on a hunch. Intensity has memorized the tale he yearns
to tell. Beneath the moon's changeling glow, intensity runs his fingertips,
featherweight, over his own skin, chill-bumps rising over each hungry
nerve, and intensity keeps Marc's image carved inside Swann's eyelids as
his hands become separate creatures, supple and curious, discovering a
different sort of exposure. His breath quickens beneath a lonely quilt-in-
tensity in the muscular tension, the full-body sigh. A warm descent into
And time. It's of the essence, after all; isn't that what they say? Essence,
like the familiar smells: aftershave and curry in the evening, dinner bub-
bling on the stove as Marcus cleansed himself in the shower, scrubbing
away his body of work's musky academia, coffee stains and chalk. Of the
essence. Essential. All of it: essential.
Swann rolls the thoughts around, marbles in his mind, causing each other
to move and spin. Somewhere Marcus is out there, smelling like soap
and cumin powder, somewhere he is detesting mint or missing his sister
Rachael, somewhere he is doing the twelve thousand arbitrary things that
people do, or might do, or might potentially do. He yearns for the oppor-
tunity to catch him in the act, whatever that act might be: today, breathing
would be enough. To steal it on film, and expound on its smallest details.
Yes. Something from nothing. Intensity and time were on his side.
Matted black spirals of his hair fall against ivory-pale cheekbones. A
tering of freckles, and two deep-set eyes the color of oceans. His father's
long nose, his mother's pout of a lower lip. An air of elegant disarray: a
Greek god, perhaps, or overgrown schoolboy. Were this not a self-portra
Swann would have found the image fascinating. Watch as the subject

shuffles into the bathroom, note the hole in the back of the sock. Pay spe-
cial attention to his old-fashioned manner of shaving, the brush and basin
method, the mixing of elements. Snap the shutter as he smoothes the
first froth onto a morning cheek. Tile man in tile mirror
/Jis own unseen
camera, a camera wit/7 two lenses, yes.·pictures inside and out, speaking
loo muci revealing tile fng/7/ening shadows and sharp glares, too /Jones/,
close your eyes now-clot/Je your eyes, 1/'s /JOI a nude goddamn1l, /ind tile
lens cap and tile towel,- turn away from tile mirror
But no. There's
another cheek, turn I/Jal one too and go about your day like everyone else
in every other bathroom. It's only an image. It's only your face and life. It's
The razor rests on the other side
of the sink, but it's the brush that
grows violent.
The familiar Columbia office has been packed into cardboard boxes and
egg-crates, a memo tacked to the door: Professor M Porter /Jas regret-
taken a personal /eave of absence for tile remainder of tile Spring
term. Undergraduate students should approach Professor lejani regarding
outstanding assignments
Personal leave of
Zoom in, focus. Swann harps on the words,
the letters grow crisp. Personal leave. Without knowing any
one would be inclined to think Marcus had been devastated by
that he was functioning so poorly as a result that he could not
focus on the fluid horizontal scrawl of ancient Eastern languages, nor
himself dragging his weary limbs back to work in the foreseeable
That it strained his shattered heart to rouse from bed, or shower,
his burgundy-checked shirt into his Dockers and zip. One would
inclined, Swann thought, to presume poor Marc was now torn apart,
to endure watching these young collegiate chickadees fondly
·ng at each other all day long, nestling into each others necks, petting

with lusty fingertips. But he knew better. It was a leave of absence indeed,
Swann felt it more than anyone, but-personal? Not quite. No tear-shed,
no firm, stubborn embrace, not even a discussion of what went sour
between them. No verbal or physical exchange whatsoever. An ice storm
A lightswitch flipped off. Simple, clean, and utterly impersonal. Marcus
had taken the coward's leave, this leave of absence. A sterile amputation,
leaving in its wake nothing more than a phantom limb, a dull ache nostal-
gic for. .. nothing.
Swann could forgive the absence of Marcus in certain manners: so-
cial functions, for one; theatre after-parties or opening galleries. He
was always invited, naturally, and Swann spoke volumes of him to the
event's host, apologizing, explaining that such a man of intellect has little
time for public interactions. Marc, Swann would say, is working on his
book-translations from manuscripts in fourth-century Sanskrit, presently
selections from the Ramayana. Or his research. Or writing grant proposals
for a project in Tibet. You know how
is with those University types, he
would laugh, placing a palm on the host's forearm. Always up to some-
thing, never a dull moment Bloody workaholics. And Swann would pop an
hors d'ouvres into his jaw, chew contentedly, and steer the conversation
towards a blown-glass vase resting on the mantle, or the fashionable cut
of his host's velveteen blazer. Swann could forgive the absence of Marcus
in family gatherings and Christmas parties, since certain branches of the
family tree were less than tactful in their critique of Swann's romantic life.
He could even forgive the absence of Marcus at his gallery opening,
the loft on Bleecker Street offered him his own show, because the poor
dear had double bronchitis, and above all needed rest and tea. He could
forgive the occasional absence of Marc without concern, cozily wrapped
in the knowledge that these absences were fleeting. Mere isolated inci-

dents, none of which held any weight over the future of their time together.
Swann would still see his Marcus, just as the sun would rise once more,
and the moon fall into crescents over the broad Manhattan skyline.
Unlike now
The absolute and utter leave, as though Marcus resigned all
duties, to Swann, to Columbia. Swann flounders in his own mind, unable
to trace the storylines of a blank frame. Silence overwhelms the bustling
hall. Nothing to build upon. No new angles. He stares at the memo as if
the words might shift, or the door might open. The splintering oak reveals
One of Professor Porter's secretaries strolls towards Swann, dipping past
him into another office. She eyes him strangely, he notices. He overhears
her whispering to someone in the next room: Someone s/Jou/d make sure
- S/Jould I call security?
-No. Per/Japs /Je
go of /Jis own accord A pause. The click of
fingernails on a desk. If t/Jis keeps /Jappening, t/Joug/J, /Je leaves us no
choice. >vuknow w/Jat Marcus said
Columbia courtyard, the latter part of February. Marcus in a corduroy
and pale beige scarf, khakis, a teeming mug of caffeine. A man with
and a woman dressed in long art-department fabrics, a skirt and bo-
hemian-print blouse. Her forehead wrinkles in concern as she removes a
flyer for Swann Deligado's photography display from her handbag. Marcus
shows no recognition. Her wrinkles deepen
>vur p/Jotograp/J
all over t/Jis gallery, the woman says, as 1/
the artist are lovers, as if
you are /Jis muse. I say t/Jis wit/Jan artists
Marcus laughs. A coil7CJdence, he dismisses the statement. / /Jave

a common face. Many men in 1/Jis city s/Jare my features.
Do 1/Jey share your office,
she pries; do //Jey sleep between your
woman pauses. I never knew you /Jad your appendix out
W/Jo is 1/Jis p/Jolograp/Jer,
Marcus asks. There is an increasing
weariness to his voice.
The image of Marc's fresh worry embeds itself in the emulsion of Swann's
film, in a camera not twenty feet away.
Swann keeps something else beneath his bed with the binder of 8 by 1 O's:
a log-book, compulsively arranged, tracking the precise location, date,
and minute of a given photograph. Also the settings of the light meter and
f-stop number, for purely technical purposes. His filmstrips rest in a card-
board box beneath the book, similarly catalogued, with numbers scrawled
along the spine of each page corresponding to various entries in both the
notebook and binder. Swann could thus revisit the circumstances of a
a frame, a particular region that hung well in the light. Or, if he de-
sired, he could locate the subject of a portrait: with the address in hand, it
was only a matter of waiting, on a curb, bench, fire escape
Swann prides
himself on his inexorable patience. He would sit through a century if it
meant getting what he wants.
And he should be waiting still. He should be at the apartment, perched at
the kitchen table or strewn across the bed. He should stay in the frame
Bui w/Jal if //Je s/Jo//Jas moved beyond 1/Je Ilg/JI? C/Jase after it or
anticipate 1ls return?
Ask Swann how he and Marcus met. Yes, ask him where they sipped
appletinis together, or outside which Broadway theatre they lingered
autographs. Ask him how his love takes his coffee, what vitamins he

ingests each morning, what patch of scalp is going grey. He will answer
without hesitation: black, Vitamin C, the front left corner closest to the part.
It matters not which bits he knows from watching, which bits he knows
from invention. So long as you never meet his Marcus, you will believe
every word from Swann's mouth, every nuance of his partner's being rings
human and true. So true that Swann himself believes it.
Red ballpoint stars dotted each "Marcus" entry. The first entry had three
of them, one primary star and two satellites. Swann became prolific in
those months, though Marc's images were something other than work. His
hands yellowed from their time together in the darkroom.
Any copy center in Manhattan is able to transplant an image from an
existing photograph onto a sheet of translucency plastic-the kind used
for overhead projections and the like. Invert the image, and the translu-
cency sheet becomes a surrogate negative. With a true negative in the
carrier and the translucency sheet resting on the photo paper, Swann may
sandwich two images, even when one photograph was never his. When
this fails, a bootleg copy of Photoshop on his iMac serves to embellish his
truth quite seamlessly.
He does not remember selling his photographs to pay the rent, begging
friends and past patrons to take a print or two. He does not remember
lunching with his art dealer alone, or falling asleep those nights in the only
warmth of imagined bedfellows. He cannot recall dialing telephone num-
from Marc's rolodex to hear the voices he must hear. And he certainly
has no recollection of Marcus living in the Morton Street apartment, by
Before the place became theirs. He has no memory of watching
beautiful man pack his belongings in large cardboard crates and throw
quickly into the movers' trunk. Swann does not remember speaking

Vanish you demon of slumber
Who feeds on the sandman after dark
Devours the universe
Perish to your void
Far beneath the known depths of the earth
Steal back your trinkets
Of horrible creation
Which have crept into the minds
Of too many children
Churning and transforming
Their fantasies into nightmares
Replenish those poor souls with fairy dust
Before you are taken
Into an eternity so dreadful
You will never practice evil again
Away you fall

Inhale deeply before
The rain comes.
A flood will pull
you under soon.
There is nothing
waiting below this.


the distance is far
it seems
you 're losing interest
as time goes by
it seems
we talk so long
yet the silence grows
it seems
that spark has died
or maybe it never was
it seems
as though there's something wrong
with what I say or do
it seems
as though you're looking past me
past something you once believed in,
dreamed about
it seems
maybe I am wrong
about this, everything, and nothing at all
it seems
no longer

The Most Beautiful Day
It was simply the most beautiful day of my life
Though time may take these moments
from us
knew this day would never fade. Greta knew the shoes didn't fit when she bought
them, but to her, they were so beautiful that she just could not leave them behind.
"They'll fit.
know somehow,
can make them fit." Greta had a mind of her own
if God loved her for nothing else, it was enough. She had everything one could ever want
out of life; beauty, brains, money, but the things she treasured most came out of her soul like
sunflowers. She just knew these shoes were special and no one could convince her otherwise
still remember the day
met Greta
We were both waiting for a train to come, when the
sky opened and we had to run for cover. There was no station where we were, just a little awning
for us to seek shelter under, We stood soaked to the bone and laughed. We started talking and
I found out that she was on her way home from a honeymoon that ended bitterly in divorce.
She had gone down to the pool in their resort only to discover she had left her sunglasses in her
room. Upon returning, she found the door locked and a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the handle. As
Greta told me this, she started laughing.
"How cliche!
guess that is just what you get for marrying money.
didn't expect him to
remain faithful, but
never thought he would flaunt it in my face on our honeymoon."
We came from different classes in society. I, from a middle-class Polish family, and Great
from wealth. Her whole family had success with money, and she was certainly heiress to a few
million. She had breeding, but she knew that breeding did not bring true class with it. Greta had
everything she ever needed, but all that she wanted money could not buy.

Ever since that day, we were like sisters. I enjoyed her company, but I never felt
completely comfortable in her social circles. Greta insisted on my presence, mainly because
she claimed that the people and the parties were dull and boring, but I made it bearable. High
society was like a masquerade ball. Everyone had to be seen in the latest fashion, say all the
right things and be perfectly flawless. Greta had a mind of her owh, but if she were ever to
reveal it, she would immediately become an outcast. I think this was a great burden on her,
and I became a kind of security blanket. She didn't feel so alone.
When she could get away from her life, she would go down to the Lower East Side of
the city. There she helped everyone she could find, prostitutes, runaways, homeless people,
everyone. She didn't just donate or offer money. She also gave her time, to help these people
get out of the gutter and onto better lives. Many had kids that needed support, and work was
hard to come by. She was able to give them their lives back.
Everyday I spent with Greta, I could feel myself becoming a better person. The day
that we first met was on the anniversary of my husband's death. I was coming home from
visiting his grave. Since his death, I lived a life of solitude, never really allowing myself to feel
anything. Being around Greta and seeing her passion for life re-awakened my soul. She could
have so easily led a meaningless life, like so many people who have money do. She never
wanted that, she was called to be somewhere else.
"These shoes will come in handy, I know a young lady, who they will fit perfectly."
And the shoes did fit.

Her ex-husband was a very unforgiving man. She had taken almost every penny from
him in the divorce. Although, he deserved it, he did not see it that way
He knew about her
fondness for charity, and he hired a man to pretend to be homeless. The man came to Greta
and as it was predicted, she helped him. When the man got her alone, he raped and strangled
her. Her shelter was closed down and it seemed like all the good she had ever done would be
permanently wiped out. I suddenly felt like a little child, lost and alone when the light goes
The man who killed her confessed to the police and last I heard her ex-husband and
her killer were serving hard time. Her money had been well protected in banks. Her will left
fifty percent to the shelter, which was enough to start it back up again. The rest was left to
gave my share to the shelter.
didn't want her money.
went back to the train stop everyday, the one
met her at, and waited.
waited for it
to pour.
waited for her to come.
waited for something
No one came for a very long time.
One day a woman came and sat next to me. She asked me what train
was waiting for.
her a random train, not wanting to sound like an idiot.
happened to be the same one that
she was waiting for. She began to tell me how excited she was
She was going to her first day
at a new job. She told me that just a few months ago, it had seemed so hopeless that she'd
ever find a job. Now she had her dream job and with it she could support herself and her son.
As she spoke,
noticed her shoes.
almost fell over in shock. They were the same shoes that
Greta had picked out that day; the shoes that would fit someone else perfectly. Greta had
helped this woman get back on her feet with a new job and a new pair of shoes. I was about

to ask her
she knew Greta, when she said to me.
"You know, it's funny
You have the look of someone who has been saved from a
death sentence or something. It's a nice thing, being brought back. You have the same light
in your eyes that is so rare. I've only seen it once before, in the woman who gave me back
my life." All I could do was smile at her. I thought to myself, 'She gave me my life back

Just Me
Posing as "The Dark Queen":
silky strands of espresso hair
spilling into enigmatic weary eyes
pouty lips pursed in a frown
the curves of a slim compact body;
and everyone can't help but notice her
as she slides past them in a shroud of sensuality,
on an imaginary red carpet of ice.
Posing as "The Motivational Marauder":
esteemed super hero extraordinaire
powers include possession of positivism
for defeating self-esteem demons
and battering broken heart beasts;
and everyone can't help but notice her
as she soars past them swifter than the speed of light,
unwavering conviction in her character.
Posing as "The Sultry Siren":
smoky late night club scene stage
mournful melodies fill their minds
and crooned chromatics give them chills
as velvety vocals linger on;
and everyone can't help but notice her
as she resonates past them in a rapture of rhythm
an explosion of electricity
Just Me:
not a cause for immediate infatuation
nor a divine aptitude to aid others in need
content with mediocre musical dreams
anything more is not attainable;
and everyone can't help but ignore her
as she falls behind them forgotten,
afraid to appear more than an apparition


Tears Flow Again at 9/11 Tributes
Bent steel
Belt buckles badges
Seventy-eighth floor decal
Observation deck memorabilia
Badge 10-4-5-6-7 - Smith
Fitzgerald identification cards
With no owners.
Like twins separated at birth
There is an unnatural uneasiness
An unspoken vacancy
An unsettled account
Disbelief remains
Even though remains do not

I'm sitting in my bed, trying to figure it all out, but so many thoughts are racing
through my mind, that I cannot settle on one.
Of course, to help me sleep, I think of them, the guys of my life.
I see them as they are and dream of relationships and depths of love and passion
that never really existed between them and I. and somehow these concocted
romances comfort me and eventually lull me to sleep.
But, tonight, much like others I've had in the past, I cannot get past the images
and memories of them as we were united.
It startles me to realize that in every one of these escapades, I initiated it,
implying that it wasn't my attractiveness or skills of attraction that lured them
into the depths of me, but rather my persistent, insistence and "lush-like"
qualities at that particular moment.
The girls, say that though guys are willing to sleep with
girl, they still have
Therefore, ifl've been lucky enough to score, with the not so dreamy,
basketball "star," then it is more of a reflection of some special skill or trait that
I possess.
Of course, I went along with this self-gratifying theory until I really thought
about it. It was then, or rather this evening in the throws of half-sleep, that oh
so sensitive state, that is immediately lost when a truly perplexing thought or an
epiphany arises, that I realized the real truth of their theory.
I did possess something
but it wasn't due to my attractive
Guys, understand the language of lush; they see the loose and unusually sensual
grind of her hips as she gyrates to the music, they see the plastic smile just
her eyes, which are opened just wide enough to whisper "come hither and
me now" and, when she finally approaches them for a dance or to make
arrangements", they can faintly smell and almost taste all the alcohol that
along her face and arms as microscopic beads of sweat.
understand that
girl is so drunk that tonight, anything he wants,
however he wants it and wherever he wants it, she will fervently acquiesce to.
Tonight, I realized that my sole captivating enticement is myself in a lush state,
remely qrunk and jones-ing for a good fuck.

Two Paths run parallel through the wood.
Both go to places unknown,
Their origins and ends not shown,
Which makes many a man say it should,
But, that man knows it never could.
"Fate shows all!" many men do say.
That these two paths will blend together,
Staying as one, a union forever.
Oh, what a wondrous, joyful day!
A day when parallel paths no longer stray!
Alas, this joining is not meant to be
For nature has made it so.
Destiny dictates each path's flow
One must be separate and free
Without a bond or security.
For these paths belong side by side.
Never touching; never straying;
Never showing a hint of fraying.
One can watch them with time to bide,
But, they are meant to mirror each other's glide.
So, my love, all I can say to thee,
With all the passion I can give,
With every moment in which
Your path is too far for me to see
And will stay that way for all eternity.


Welcome to my office,
Herald is it? I'm the director at this ward, I've been here since 1978. It's really been a
wonderful quaint place for most of my tenure, but about eight years ago she showed up.
Marie. Fifth floor
Room 5.27.
But you know all about our rules here, Herald.
Everyone is assigned to a floor; everyone is supposed to remain on his
or her floor. We have very specific reasons for this.
The floors are segregated; each floor has different types of patients and as such the people
assigned to work on each floor were deemed to be best suited to work and aid there.
You are assigned to floor two, but the other day you were up on floor four, when there was
You came to the aid of your co-workers on floor four, and
for this I commend you, but Herald, we have rules here.
You are supposed to remain on your floor under all circumstances, unless you are cleared for
the other floors. You see this rule is for everyone's protection more than anything else. All
employees are to stay on their designated floors
And never go to floor five.
Floor five has its own special team, and no one is allowed on floor
Five, except for people specifically cleared for floor five. There are very good reasons Herald.
Do you understand this Herald? The reasons are beyond your wildest dreams
You see Herald floor five is Marie's floor.
Room 5.27 is Marie's room.
Of the team on floor five only specially cleared people can go to
Room 5.27.
There are reasons. You see Herald, Marie is an extraordinary
She came to us eight years ago and since then she has shown us things we never
Everyone on the fifth floor walks on eggshells Herald. For fear of
rousing Marie.
You see when she first came she had obviously lost her grasp on
reality. She would describe half formed paranoid delusions and make bizarre predictions
about the future.
was round her third week here when Terry first met her. He dropped off breakfast to
Marie's room.
When he got there she was waiting with her eyes rolled in the back of her head and all she
said to him was Canadian birds. Two months later while flying up to Canada for a fishing
with his younger brother, Terry's plane went down because three of the engines were destroyed
by a massive bird migration.
Shortly thereafter most of
Floor five

began calling out sick at a fairly consistent rate.
became apparent that none of the
attendants wanted to go anywhere near the fabulous
About a month after that Marie used her skills to inform us about a gas leak in the building.
wasn't soon after the gas leak that people began coming up to me to speak about
Some people were beginning to believe she had a gift, something that made her beyond us
all. Of course they all still feared her, but can you blame them?
The question of whether Marie is truly rambling and babbling incoherently or actually
making some sort of predictions based on visions is almost moot. But of course as the
director I am privy to much more information on Marie than most of the other members of
the ward
Marie is in my professional opinion completely insane.
It has become painfully obvious that she did at some point have a gift of sorts
but it appears
that she has lost all control that she previously had over herself and her gift. Untangling her
true psychic visions from her paranoid delusions is utterly impossible.
Just ask Alice.
believe you know her Herald.
Floor four, room 4
She's the one who caused the outbreak you helped quell.
You remember; the woman who had managed to steal a comb and had used it ( over what
must have been hours) to tear her wrists open
Remember yesterday?
Remember her?
They opened her door, to bring her out to the game room. She comes flying out with all that
blood, screaming in the game room. The blood was everywhere.
caused a mock riot that
you and two other attendants were able to end before it got out of control.
Alice was actually an attendant before she was a patient here; it was quite a smooth
transition actually. Alice was a floor two aid
was about three months after the Terry
incident and although the attendants on floor five had started to calm down, there was still no
one who would deal with her.
Alice volunteered to start taking Marie her meals. Alice didn't believe most of the rumors
she had heard. When Alice arrived at
27, Marie
was already sitting in the corner with her eyes rolled in the back of her head, and she had
used her fingernails to tears at her palms; we keep those trimmed now
No one knows
Marie said to Alice, but Alice started calling out.
days later Alice went back to
room. For the following three days she locked herself in a janitorial closet down the
I said, it was a relatively seamless transition from
to patient. No need to bring outside authorities in
Outside authorities might want

to take
and study her at some big fancy federal facility and I just could not take that. I don't know
what I would do without my
She's quite special. And in all these years she's never even said a
word to me. Everyone else tells me that even being in the same room with her is extremely
trying. It's not just the way she acts
they say, but the aura around her that pollutes the
environment with, thus making everything around her a sick and demented version of is
former self. The eeriness and horror of it is too much for most to bear, I suppose. But it's
not trying for me. It's as calming as a summer sunset. She causes a profound peace for me,
Something I've never felt before in all my tenure at this facility
Or even in my entire life. I
feel very dearly for this calm, this inner peace
I feel very dearly for our gifted
Miss Marie. I think I have come to love her
Sometimes she even allows me to hold her hand. These times are truly magical. I'm filled with
an exquisite electricity that courses through the ends of my body. This wonderful feeling is
indescribable. It isn't parallel to anything in this world. It moves through me. It fills me
something I cannot live without at this point. It's something I would die for
I'm not going to allow anyone to take that peace away from me. I'm not going to allow anyone
to take Marie away from me. I will not allow the magic she brings me, to end or to be taken
She is precious
She is perfection.
She is my everything, Herald
I need her. I need her to survive. Without her I am nothing
Without Marie I am empty
I will die without her, Herald
Now Herald, you broke one of the basic rules of this institution. This rule was only created
your protection. These rules keep the ward together Herald
Without them Herald, it would all
fall apart. It's time to go Herald
Floor five, room 5.27.
My precious Marie has been waiting far too long.


Excerpts from
I would never forget the day he saved my life. Old Miller's
pit bull: the dog hated anything. Every time we went to that
junkyard, it would drool, snarl and spit, but he never barked. He
eyes always stuck on me. His rusty collar still showed the name
Jasper, and I atways knew that half rotted fence wouldn't hold him.
It was almost as if premeditated. The next to last day before
school was out, Jasper went for it. He snapped the fence and
came straight for me. I could feel his paws trample the ground.
Scabs caught attention, and unturned by the excitement, found the
nearest weapon to him; an extremely vicious chunk of granite. He
intercepted Jasper with a perfect tackle. He hurled his rock-heavy
hand at that poor dog as if forcing out, bit-by-bit, little pieces of
life. After the first few blows Jasper turned, and caught him off
guard. Now grounded down but still ferocious, Scabs continued
pounding. He turned the beast over and pinned the rock into his
underbelly. Jasper yelped and begged for it to stop. He sounded so
innocent then Scabs had no mercy; striking as if molding steel, he
forced that poor-purebred into a comma. Blood spurted to his face,
clotted in the dusty ground, and stained his jeans. Jasper was cut
in every crease in his skull, and in those soft spots of the belly; he
tried to give up.
Miller's junkyard was quiet after that. Jasper was curled
up to his house of wood and hubcaps; his fur was stuck together
in blotches of dry blood. Scab's favorite and only pair of jeans
became a trophy. The fl,uid of battle had made its mark. He had
no regrets, and after that day we didn't call him Mikey anymore.
Jasper couldn't move. He lay silent by his house-dying probably.
was starting to get nervous as we approached the last
house on the street.
didn't know what to expect, or what to even

look for. We made it to the last bend in the road, and the
sign was right there - Dead End. The road came to a full
stop, and all I could see were hoards of bushes around a
giant weeping willow.
"I told you Boss," Scabs said with a cavern in his
"Now what!" Theo was about to cringe in laughter.
I couldn't force my self to turn a round, and face
the ridicule of my friends. It's not a good feeling when
members of the lower food chain have good reason to crack
on you. I looked everywhere for some path, a divergent
road, something. The blowing branches of that willow
kept distracting me. There had to be another sign, not for
the road; there had to be one for me. I began to give in,
convincing myself that this whole idea was just false hope,
and then I remember the wind- stopping. I couldn't hear
anything, and I had this awkward tingling in the back of my
head. The willow tree branches fell all at once just brushing
the road. As they settled I saw a space just big enough to fit
through, where two branches had twined together. It was a
curtain opening, or the slip of a dress she's wearing when
you realize you wouldn't spend your life with any other.
This had to be it.
"Yo, Where's he going," Theo said.
I dunno ... C-mon lets go."
The soft vines of the willow tickled me, touching
my ear as I walked through. It was hard to see at first, but
I immediately felt air hit the sweat on my neck. I took a
few steps, and as my eyes adjusted I saw a clearing. It was
overgrown, but certainly visible. There was a path that
looked as if it only used by a handful of souls. I stopped for
a moment to think; I couldn't think at all.

Pressure Drop
constantly spewing forth
surrounding us
shaping us
yielding us
forcing is its ways
in school, at work
with a partner
our schedules
our everyday lives
for those you handle this stress
overcoming the pressure
proves many times to be rewarding
for those who become a victim
devoured by it
becoming a dictator
of a whole new world of evolution
a new process in mind
which transfers to the body
pressure builds
pressure rules
pressure is

Odysseus and Penelope
When I think about
Me & You; Baby
I don't think in
The vulgarities and vernaculars
Of hip-hoppers and ballers
I think in like terms,
Odysseus and Penelope
Apart He crush man and monster
She crushed man and heart
They bent time and space
Not even thos Roman-Greeco Polythestic gods
With all their suave and prestiege
And all that jive on Olympos
Could hold Them back
........ hold Them down
And; once They were together
The gods were bent to Their will
Their fate
20 skant years,
With their power tremendous power,
Was all the gods could muster
Barely 1/3 of a life
The other 2/3 went to
Ody and Pel
In mind and love
by Hugh.Knickerbocker

Zoo keeper
"The man" does not want minorities to rise and that is why we get shitty deals.
Why does it feel as though we all live in the same places
as though we all
share the same experiences? Because we do; much in the same way animals
are kept in a zoo we are all kept in
Bushwick, Corona, Harlem,
Washington Heights, University Heights, Bed Stuy, Flatbush, Jamaica,
Brownsville, EAST NEW YORK
nothing changes, not even the scenery.
We are the minorities, and our neighborhoods are filled with signs that read,
"please do not feed or pet these animals, they are vicious and spread disease,"
signs that keep our subway platforms in constant demise and make old ladies
clutch their bags when they walk by. Our buildings have asbestos, chipped
paint and dirty walls line the hallways. Cracked glass is a hallmark of our
entrance doors. There is always a drunk somewhere near our block ..
know his name; he hangs out with the kid who makes the block hot. Yeah,
we are minorities and that means we do not deserve to live with decency and
so our landlords are never forced to fix the walls or the doors or the leaky
faucet your family has written complaint letters about. Not to mention, the
fact that the lock to the entrance door keeps jamming and the buzzers to most
apartments do not work, but that must be because they figure we'll just holler
at them from the street. YO SHORTYYY buzz me up. I suppose it's ok though
because we're just animals. That must be why in a city full of money, in a
country that boasts to be one of the richest, they throw us all into the same
schools. Overcrowded schools, dangerous schools, fund-lacking schools, bad
schools for bad kids of bad races. They call us names behind our backs- spic
bitch, dumb nigger, stupid chink, poor white trash (yeah "the man" talks trash
about people he feels are like us
I know this for a fact because at one point I
pretended to belong to club "the man." How easily I camouflaged myself into
their crowd, trying to be what I wasn't, rejecting myself by refusing to admit
I really was who I really was. Until, it got so bad that I forgot who I was and
walked around speaking in tongues and then I realized what an animal I really
was. I alone became a statistic. I alone became what they said I would, and I
alone did it to myself.
You 're building sucks and so does your block ... stop throwing trash on
the ground and boycott your landlord. Your school is overcrowded and
by Iliana Yordan

so what, so is your block, but you still live there and hang out
there. So stop using that as a cop out. STOP being "the man's" animals and
rid yourselves of the title "minority" because we are not that and I can back
that up with our constitution: all men are created equal. .. nothing said about
minors or majors ... and you can blame
man" all you want. I would agree
with you l 00%. I hate him too, but in the end the choices are your own and so
is the fault. We are here for a reason, start representing.
Note to "the man:"
I thought it would be nice to remind you of the achievements our people have
attained, for you to leaf through the next time you feel like labeling us as drug
dealing, splif smoking, gang banging, welfare collecting dropouts:
Luis Llorens Torres (Writer), Frida Kahlo (Painter), Ernesto "Che" Guevara
(Social Activist, Revolutionary), Luis Yordan Davila (Mayor), Ellen Ochoa
(Astronaut), The Mirabel sisters (Female Revolutionaries), Ralph Abernathy
(Social Reformer), Hank Aaron (Athlete), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (you
name it, he was it), Rosa Parks (Female Revolutionary), Benjamin Banneker
(Scientist), Maya Angelou (Poet), Michelle Malkin (Journalist), Ben Cayetano
(Governor), Ellison Onizuka (Astronaut), Eileen Chang (Writer), Judge
Herbert Choy, and Margaret Cho (Comedian).

And Then She Smiles
She dreams:
The wings on her face lie still
Strands of golden floss feather
Over soft curves of silk
Mountains formed with rose blushed fields
Slowly rising and falling are her features
She waits:
A soft purr escapes
From a cavern deep within
Out between perked and glossy perfection
Yearning to be complete
She wakes:
Tiny butterfly wings flutter
A heavy breath swirls through the air
The golden floss slips away
Exposed are her perfect lips
She smiles:
Orbs shine a brilliant blue
Precious jewels dazzle angels who watch
I try to steal them
Her lips caress mine
We are completed

Literary Arts Society
Red Fox Poetry Slam

Prize 1
Prize 1
Prize 1
:Jdattliew Wi{{iams
Deception of the American Flag
Is like a plastic bag
Pulled over the heads of Americans
Unless we agree to follow the rules of a government
Made to help prosper itself and not the people it represents
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness never applied to me
Life, poverty, and the route to an escape from the stereotypes of a black ghetto youth
A route I've not yet found
Seem to be my God given rights
In the constitution it states:
I have the right to live in poverty
I have the right for the cops to knock at my door and bother me.
I have the right to a shity education in a school with to many students in one room and
enough teachers
I have the right to be discriminated against
I have the right to be robbed, not only by the man trying to betta his life by putting the
my head, but my the government that taxes my minimum wage so much, that workin 3
still ain't enough
I have the right not to speak my mind
I have the right to live
a shit poor neighborhood in broken down apartments
Where rats and roaches become my enemies b/c we all fight for the same plate of food
I have the right not to dream of something betta
Unless that dream is the American dream
Where that deceptive flag hangs over a house with a white picket fence
A dream I will never dream
b/c I am awakened by the stench of gun powder from guns that ring thru the
from the smell of decaying bodies of those that no longer valued life.
From the sound of mothers crying for their sons who have been deceived into
flag that sends them to a death
The same flag that flaps in the wind from the screams of those trying to find their
from the darkness and to freedom

Freedom that this so called flag promises!!
Let Freedom Reign!!!
Let freedom rain like the tear drops of mothers whose sons tum to violence and gangs
That this flag provides ... free of charge
Let the tears become a body of water that drowns out the sounds of agony and pain
That escape the hearts of those that suffer from the belief that this American flag provides
them freedom they can't get any place else.
And as our screams become yells
We will stand and demand
Until they begin to understand
Rebellion is at hand
And we've done it before ... remember
Ya opened hoses and let dogs rip at our clothes
We've felt 40 shorts from 3 glocks held by 3 cops
We've been fucked in the ass by plungers and the government
In the past we've been dragged behind trucks and put in body bags
We've been beaten, stabbed and laughed at
... all that for a deceptive flag?
fuck that I'll give you my middle finger first before I stand and salute deception
of a nation that gives me the shortest month for the celebration
of my history
which just put my ancestors thru misery
betta yet let that lie be stomped and trampled apon
let it be grinned into the ghettos dirt
where it lays next to the blood of a thousand ghetto soldiers, drug dealers, gang members,
hoes, crack heads, feins, bums, mothers, fathers, son's and daughters
all those that have shed blood
looking for freedom,
looking for truth,
looking for a betta life
Let the truth awaken all like the cry of a 14yr old mothers baby
Let it be like the cold steel of a knife the cuts the vein of the person no longer willing
Too stand under a deceptive flag
Let the truth be like a bad dream
That wakes you up in a cold swear and with a scream

Let it be like this poets spoken word
Manipulating ur thoughts and opening your eyes
To the truth you just heard
Realizing all they ever told you were lies
Betta known as deception
Or how I like to put it
A bunch of sugar coated bullshit

<By <Brianne <Bendit
Beyond ...
We all experience life through our senses .
Use the past to determine our future defenses
When to put up fences
When to let others in and when to cast others out
With our pretenses
But what is the sense of sensibility
we are not free
To truly see
Not the commotion of our motions that take on our devotions to this world in
front of us
Focus on the world beyond
Out of the box
Beyond the Marist Red Fox
Into our hands
And hung in the sky
Onto a plane that's insane with the train of thoughts
Where my mind flies
Restless, to grasp
The bigger picture
The meaning of my signature
Written everywhere as a declaration that
I am here!
I exist!
But why?
You can't feel that
You can't see or taste or hear that
But listen closely
Try to perceive
That we exist for a reason beyond the reasoning
we are bred to believe
Beyond what we are forced to conceive
Beyond the myth of' original 1in
Beyond to where your story begin•
Where you make a difference
I make a difference
Because my insight goes beyond and beyond and beyond what your eyes see
I 1ee the mystery
Like Nancy Drew or Scooby Doo
Hot on the trail of a clue
To unveil the criminal mastermind
Take off the mask and the subliminal message you'll find
ls that this adversary
Is technology

It's the power this artificial intelligence
over us
Where nobody appreciates the stars
But drives cars- to bars to form emotional scars
ni.ght'r: lived with regret
And yet...
The beautiful world is
People drugged up on adderalJ and anti- depressants
Trying to think under the hot stare
Leaming everything except tife"s lessons.
Look out your window
Put down the Nintendo
Do you see that river?
Close your eyes.
Let it seep through your s-ki
n and nowt
your vei.ns unti.1 your
10ul i1
saturated with its
beauty ..
its- determ1nat1on ...
i.t• truth ... 1tl life,
Open your eyes.
'You Ii.ave 6een enfi,Jfitenea.
Leam from Plato's- cave where men
1-o!d to behave slaves:
Chained to a
lies- beheVJng the shadows pa.ssi.n.g
And preferring to Jive
the dark.
thei.r mi.nds
Afraid to step out and make their mark
Afraid of what they may find
Because they
Jost the spark
for knowledge
That I advise you all s-eek
beyond the
Here's some food for thought
Ignore what you are taught
doing what you"re told!
Take off the blindfold
Step into the bght
Do you see what I see?

A place you
sense but you can feel
And that feeling makes it
Because you believe
Beyond the church bells.
heavens and hells
sinking religions into
that are full
My prediction
is that nothing is pure or sure
Everything is devised to lure you
In to this deceit
The rules of society and schools that show you what tools to use to function
you must defeat
our own minds ...
To the feeling within
Where feeling begins
Where the truth lies beyond the lies
kEeping you from yourself
The truth in your s:oul
Where you are in
No matter the purpose
No matter the plan
No matter if you're a woman or if you're a man
No matter what your ability
In this philosophy you can
That you must
Develop a lust
For the spirituality
That exists inside
Whether you believe in destiny or
dust to dust.
All I want you to see ...
Is that your
set you
r e e.

<By Prancis (J)e<Bettencourt
Not that my love was ravaged,
but it was disheartened by lots and lots of fun
Splashing around like fools in a mucky tub spreading the herps.
Jump on levels and fringe about like rats in a sinking ship having a blast cuz all the
Humans spilt their food on the ground when they left in panic.
How obvious the sun god said to us,
"You'd think they'd know to pray to me, they spin around me,
I'm kind of important."
Disregard that but take the surprise
And ask how we fill our cars up with oil.
Frolic no more Dave said in a giant roar of remorseful rage.
He wanted it to didn't happen like he would throw bo 's.
I wish Socrates had argued with Jesus.
In a joke full of cran-bitter spit,
I jumped on the first 7 that came my way and rode it to heaven.
Six leagues behind me under condensation
The frivolous chattering of old sharp teeth
Rang through my dehydrated spine and out my ears
When my fingers gripped my walking staff.
With my left hand I reached back and pulled my hood over my h~ad.
Demons like dogs in a ghostly desperation ran around the forests,
Appearing only for seconds before ripped back
I sit back to realize,
Everyone went away he kept saying to himself.
Myopia built my telescope but I missed the meteorite.
In my georges borgous horges of floor wood
Fell atop the stairs to the stars sliced far back onto my lap for me to play with.

Everything sucks and your mom gives you bad advice.
Break the walls down
Then build them back up with the power to block out more voices.
Unrusted or rusted unrusted or rusted unrusted or rusted
I busted them both
And grabbed the loot from the rusted one like I must've been told.
Is language the only difference between mind and soul?
In a dark alleyway
Without much of a peep
From the grey bearded old sailor
Who likes to lay in a hobo heap
Under the cardboard
Water trickled down
The thirsty thirsty drain
To the back crack of the earth
And slipped into its ass
Like a sneeze
On the back of your neck
Like water on cracked hands
I shit my pants
When Dave treaded his nails
Across the blackboard
Taken down with misplaced racist angst
Using the last checks in the book bought from the
ir hunger.


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