December 2017



Woods

By: Stephanie Nevers

Woods

Life was fun and easy growing up. There were three of us: my older brother, Konrad, my twin sister, Cassie, and me. We grew up in an old farmhouse that was on the other side of town, away from Main Street. As kids, we fought more than normal, but I got picked on the most as the middle child. There was always a tendency for Konrad and Cassie to go do something fun without me because of their similar interest in gaming. I tended to be independent and do things on my own. I enjoyed drawing and watching television, but I also just liked to imagine things. I think a lot, and my imagination helps me put my mind towards something that I can enjoy.

Cassie and I have shared a room for our whole lives. You would have thought that the everyday interaction from being home together would be the same at school, but it wasn’t. I never saw her most school days. Being the tomboy that I was, I usually hung out with the boys playing basketball while she played with the girls who liked gymnastics. The weird part about it is that’s all I really remember about her when we were young. We never really talked to each other until later in eighth grade. There’s not much to remember about my brother either. With him being four years older than I was, we always went different ways. I looked up to him in many aspects though, and always stole his large sweatshirts and shorts.

The times that I spent alone were made up on the days Konrad and Cassie invited me to join them in the woods. Stretched by two acres of land, our backyard had a small hidden marsh that was filled with peepers that would scream on hot summer nights. Traveling farther back over the humps of tall grass that grew between the wetland, you met the woods. The woods was our secret, kept away from the outside calamity in the world and in our lives.

I remember the day perfectly. There was cool air and warm rays of sun that shadowed through the trees. We had just finished lunch, expecting we would be gone for a while. Dressed tightly from head to toe like warriors going into battle, we diligently ran across the yard to the tree line that, beyond, identified as our backyard. After scrambling through the tall grass, we met the marsh. Konrad went first over the grass patches, Cassie following closely. I watched carefully from behind, making sure I wouldn’t take a wrong step and fall in the muddy, low water like many times before. They did it so easily, like they were engaged in a video game pretending they were the main characters running over obstacles.

Once we had reached dry land, we navigated ourselves through the trees to our main hideout, marked with our handmade stick-bridge that ran over a fast-moving stream that split the woods in two. We strung cloth between trees for cover. Inside the covering we kept our tools that helped us in any situation that we came across. These included different sized axes and knives that my brother had saved up for over the years. We would use them to take down trees and cut wood for fires.

Today we were under surveillance from outside intruders that were disrupting our hideout spot when we were gone. We knew they were Native Americans that wanted their land back. We sat there for hours, pretending it was days, until suddenly we heard footsteps running quickly in the distance, coming closer towards us. We scrambled around trying to make a game plan fast. The noises were getting closer and closer, followed by a howl that echoed throughout the woods. It was the Native Americans.

We spared no time to stay and fight because from the sound of it, there were many of them. My brother took the lead motioning Cassie and I back towards home. We ran. Fast. Adrenaline rushed through my body as I took each quick step, doing as best I could until we met the marsh once again. I looked ahead to find my siblings, only seeing that they had already disappeared, and I was left alone. In the commotion of the moment, I began to cry and thought that I was done for. I had to pull myself together. Using all my strength, I didn’t miss a step and finally reached the backyard.

I stepped back, back onto the recently mowed lawn, the old yellow farmhouse, back to civilization, the noise of footsteps and screaming behind me now silent.

And I had realized it was all my imagination.

 

 

Stephanie Nevers is a 17-year-old from Connecticut.



The Rain

By: Alex LeGrys

The Rain

I think you’re
related to the
rain, or at least
its best friend,
or maybe
even the missing
half of it--
because God
knows everything’s
so damn incomplete

you see, the
rain splatters
on sidewalks
and patters on windows,
metal surfaces,
similar to your voice--
gently resounding
and sometimes it’s a little
cold, but neither of you
can help that,
it’s just the
way things are.

you tease like
the rain, it seems
you might come--
the clouds crowd
together excitedly
and there’s that
small rush of hope,
but it’s just another
false alarm

then the rain can clean
things a little, freshen them--
soiled hands or tear-stained
faces are washed up
a bit--
you do that too

and when
you both part
one feels chilly,
somewhat tired,
and all in a soft sort
of way--
the two
of you leave that
same worn-out aftertaste
as if it’s all settled,
and though
the remnant raindrops
quickly evaporate,
for those twenty minutes
it’s still all right.

the duo is so
comforting,
even when storming--
neither will look
all bad, at
least not to me

and of course the
pair of you
fit grandly with
flowers and old
industrial towns--
abandoned factories
and old pastel doors
become even better, as such
dilapidation has a
charm like no other.

I would gladly
have you both
anywhere,
anytime--
even if
some say
it’s more trouble
than it’s worth

neither of you should
ever be taken for
granted,
it’s best if a fragment is
measured in a
rain gage to acknowledge
what was there
for otherwise
it’ll merely
be a washed-up blur

but, what’s different
is you’ll never flood,
never grow in excess,
and,
at least I don’t think
you’d ever cause
such destruction...

so perhaps you’re
the rain’s younger sibling--
not in the inferior
sense, you have just
as many forms,
yet more tender,
equally complex,
and obviously
open to misinterpretation
by anyone--
and I’m no
exception;

this makes you two
frightening, as I can’t
help but fear that
some brisk storm--
large or small,
will someday
be on my account.

 

 

Alex LeGrys is a 16-year-old from Vermont.



Can You Draw Like This?

By: Anika Tullos

Can You Draw Like This?

Humbling skyscrapers, heart-stopping monuments, glistening fountains, and the sights and sounds of hundreds of people in every direction was an image more often than not conjured within the prison of my imagination. Considering I was native to a modest, rural town in the forested region of Southeast Massachusetts, a building hosting more than four floors was considered much more impressive than it actually was. The inherent behavior of my hometown made it evident that humans were at the mercy of nature. Buildings did not grow higher than trees. Roads were not without cracks from erosion and the emerald grasses that picked them apart, albeit gradually. A rainfall meant that basements would be flooding and our great many lakes and ponds would block streets and engulf backyards in their overflow. A rare hurricane, or even an all-too-common thunderstorm or blizzard, would almost certainly knock down telephone poles and send trees flying into cars and homes without restraint. As if she were the Grim Reaper haunting our streets, Mother Nature would end a life just by pointing her windy finger. Some days, it seemed the world decided that my daily life seemed constantly in need of a nature-borne obstacle, and the weather acted accordingly.
Perhaps these surroundings are what lead humanity’s greatest triumphs to baffle me. It is thoroughly amazing that our species can launch something that reaches farther into outer space than we ever dreamed possible a few generations ago. It is incomprehensible to me that we have been able to spread to every corner of the globe and thrive there. It is nothing short of wonderful to stand face-to-face with an office building that reaches a hundred stories into the sky where it condenses into a point at the edge of my field of vision. I have spent years of my life constantly stupefied by the world’s most impressive accomplishments on the fronts of both nature and humanity. It never fails to inspire me and plant a smile on my face.
For the longest time, I have been fixated on New York City. While it was possible that I simply craved this feeling of amazement, I also was fully aware that the overcast Massachusetts nights were lonely and silent aside from the occasional hum of crickets and hoot of owls. I wanted to fall asleep to the sounds of horns honking and the incomprehensible chatter of human speech. The problem with too much silence is that there remains a tendency for thoughts to wander and find ways to amaze their designer, often to the point of dragging consciousness into the small hours of the morning.
My wishes finally became reality when my mother and I boarded a six-hour bus ride destined for the Big Apple early on a foggy August morning. The farther south we traveled, the more magnificent my surroundings grew. My amazement would be nothing compared to the skyline of New York City herself, standing proudly in the sunlight. This was not the first time I had visited. In fact, I had walked the streets of this particular city twice before with family and friends. Nevertheless, I was excited and ready to return for more.
My mother and I spent the day walking the entire expanse of Manhattan. Not only was I in awe of my surroundings, but I was also very impressed that it was possible for my feet to ache as much as they did at the end of the day. When I plopped onto my likely-uncomfortable hotel bed, it suddenly became the most wonderful place on Earth. Once in a blue moon, I sleep like a baby, with no strange and perplexing thoughts. My first night in Manhattan was one of those great exceptions.
What happened the next day was what changed my perspective on humanity’s dominion over nature forever. My feet still sore from the previous day, my mother and I traveled by subway to Central Park in hopes of visiting both the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This being my third visit to both of these museums, I already knew of my preference for the former. However, some very fond memories were made in the latter. My excitement to return to both of them was running high.
There are two indications that imply an incredible experience - either time stops or time loses its meaning. In the Metropolitan, the hours passed as though they were being warped by my own brain, as if it were so focused on its surroundings that it simply lost the ability to understand the fourth dimension. After all, the art in this museum only needs the first three.
My favorite part of the Met is the area hosting the artwork created millennia ago by the Ancient Egyptians. I have always been fascinated not only by the style but by the theology behind their artistic decisions. Gazing at the jackal-headed statues and the depictions of animals as deities and leaders brings one closer to what it means to be human. The Ancient Egyptians saw nature as the ruling force of their entire realm, and while they live in a time long gone, they stand out in a city where many of these forces once deemed godly are subservient. I suppose the artwork is relatable, in a way.
Once we stepped out of the elegant yet primitive Egyptian gallery, we made our way into the high-reaching, dome-topped contrast that was the Greek and Roman statue room. Where Egypt failed to capture perspective and proportion, these works were as lifelike as the people staring up at them. One lonely, older man was sitting on a stool in the center of the room with an easel, intently focused on his drawing. Wearing a pink button-down shirt and a beige beret with matching khakis, he resembled one’s idea of a stereotypical artist. Curious, my mother and I walked behind him to see what it was that he was sketching. What was on the canvas was breathtaking. His hand steady and moving with ease, a hyper-realistic sketch of the statue just in front of him was taking form. I instantly knew I would never be able to draw like that. While we had just spent three hours so far wandering halls boasting the greatest artwork humanity could offer, it was at this moment that I truly felt inadequate.
The artist stopped his work and turned around, an inviting smile forming on his face. “Do you draw?” he asked.
I glanced back at my mother and shrugged. “Yeah. Sometimes.”
“Do you like to draw?”
I hesitated for a moment, unsure of where he was going with this conversation. Sure, I like to draw. I love writing even more. Even though I hide it, I enjoy singing too, so long as I am alone. “Yes,” I said, “I like to draw.”
“Do you want to draw like this?”
“One day, certainly.”
The artist smiled a bit wider. “Can you draw like this?”
I giggled to myself. Of course not. “No way,” I replied, slightly embarrassed.
He nodded and shifted himself to face me head on. “Do you draw?” I raised a brow. Hadn’t he just asked the same question before? Was I going crazy? He took my hand and placed his pen in my palm, wrapping my fingers around it. “Do you draw?”
“Yes,” I said, quietly. “I draw.”
He nodded, moving my hand and holding it to his canvas. “You can draw like this.” I remained silent. “There are two kinds of people in this world - people who want to draw and people who draw. There are people who want to write and people who write. There are people who want to be artists and there are artists. So long as you take a pen in your hand and create something, you have the world in your hands. People judge their skills on how good they are now, and that is what stops ninety percent of the world’s greatest creators from ever coming to be. That is why talent means nothing without perseverance.”
“So,” he began after a pause, gently smiling. “Can you draw like this?”
I stared at the picture on the easel. How could I ever draw like this? Then, it dawned on me. There are three more kinds of people in this world. There are people who allow nature to control them. There are people who are foolish enough to believe they are above such forces. And there are people who harness the power of the natural world. They wield it by setting it free in the form of art.

“Yes, I can.”

 

 

Anika Tullos is a 16-year-old from Massachusetts.



Leftover Snack

By: J. L Von Ende

Leftover Snack

I know
At least
4 things about pigeons.

I know
That the one who sits in the flower boxes
Off Michelle street
Is named Fernando,
And prefers toast crusts to bagel crumbs
(Unless it’s raining out).

I know
That the cluster around my bus stop
Has a book club every Tuesday.
They munch ground coffee and read lines of Frankenstein
Until they must catch the train home.

I know
That the one who pecked at my foot Sunday morning
Was asking me to share my blueberry muffin.
I wasn’t going to finish it anyway.

I know
That there are a million people in this city,
And I am one of the masses,
On the train, on the bus, in the traffic.

I know
I prefer to share my company
With some charcoal doves
And a packet of French fries.

 

 

J. L Von Ende is a 17-year-old from Virginia.