Constant struggle consumes my soul
As I wage my personal war.
Wandering blindly across enchanted forest,
Leaves of all spectrums disperse about my feet.
Reliving memories, blissful and bitter,
Faced with a frightful realization.
Each miniscule detail triggers fond memories
Which will merely be memories, evermore.
All that I have grown fond of
Will one day be gone, evermore.
Alone will I depart this life,
Escorted by doves of peace.
Sweet, red roses will sit atop my gravestone,
Swaying in cool wind.
As the sun is setting,
The crisp autumn breeze brings me back,
Back to reality, away from roving visions.
Life’s ending is not a dreadful tragedy,
Unless you make it to be so.
- Brad Safarik
Along the side of the road,
Back in a barren field, she stands alone,
A rusted-out, wooden store.
Propped up by resolute, rotted tree branch,
The building retains its stature.
Days and nights pass.
Intent on silence, vacant, with no worries,
the store lingers,
in stale reverence,
to times before.
I can still see her,
Reach her and sense her.
A part of me
Will she forever remain.
I can still picture her,
An angel, juxtaposed with a giant world.
Without a care to her name.
Now she has grown up,
Learned, loved, and experienced.
Now she understands fear.
The world she knows
Does not amuse and fascinate her,
It whirls around her
Like a carousel.
A white horse taunts her,
Eternally out of reach.
Each thought, each gesture
Is accompanied by uncertainty.
Oh, yes, I can still see her.
I look back through the years,
And I want to help her,
Guide her, and hold her hand.
A part of me
Will she forever remain,
For I cannot regain her innocence.
I can look, but never go back.
Darkness blankets the solitary pair
hidden from view.
Silence engulfs them,
as, isolated, they drift listlessly upon black water.
A soft wind kisses the serene countenances
while fireflies flicker like candle flames among the reeds.
Beyond earth’s sphere, amid the heavens,
stars hang distinctly in tandem with the radiant moon.
In their wake, celestial reflections rest on the pond,
as isolated they drift.
I lay alone, shivers to the bone.
A dime for a dollar every night.
Wasted time spent
wondering where the days went
and mesmerized by how time flies.
Nobody ever gave you a script to lift
A “How to” manual on getting it right.
You can attempt to rectify your name
in the sky
But time is going to keep trying to fly.
With her neck akimbo,
The shocked women cries to the heavens,
Kneeling in front of her lover’s supine body.
He lies motionless,
Blood flowing from a single gunshot wound to his chest.
The same bullet seems to pierce the heart of the women
As she pleads with God to spare her partner’s soul.
His eyes stare straight ahead into nothingness
As the rhythmic pound of his chest begins to slow.
The grief-stricken women prays for tomorrow to come,
For this disastrous nightmare to end,
And her ordinary life to resume.
She loyally keeps by his side.
Not even the deafening sirens and flashing lights
Distract her from nursing their turn affection.
Looking into his glossy eyes,
She knows their love is strong,
One last heartbeat pounds,
And one last tear drops,
As his soul drifts off,
Leaving behind a heart broken,
And forever longing to be loved again.
Such powerful matters are thoughts,
Always streaming, swirling through my mind
Like the clear, blue waters of the Danube.
Everyone has his own thoughts
But will never seem to know yours.
Why does the man in the green grass cry,
And why does the child scream?
Why does that homeless women smile,
The one who wanders the black, paved streets?
Only one man may know
The thoughts of you and me.
That one man towers tall above us,
Safeguarding us everyday.
- Katy McCabe
Broken, bewildered child,
Why do you linger here,
Here among the past,
These demented images of the past?
They have suffered.
They infect you
And rely on you now;
They suffer vicariously through you.
Sever this connection;
Culpable, you are not.
Breathe deeply and break free;
Break away from the faces of days gone by.
Set yourself free,
And fly away from this tormented mind.
Return to life;
Return to color.
Sacred scars the wounds will become.
- Nicolette Weil
Someday when your bitterness is past
Years from now—eons--
when the ashes and lava have settled into a hard shell,
you will be able to take the pick and brush
of memory and begin to work.
Like the archeologist at Pompeii
who slowly sifted and brushed away the centuries
to reveal the nested bones of a family:
surrounded by the mother
wrapped in the father's arms.
Decades of war and famine, of storm and dread
Had passed unfelt.
One day your trowel will hit upon the truth:
you will unearth the tomb of our joy
nestling into our bed,
our babies hiding between us
from the storm raging in the Kansas night.
You will recall the flesh and tears and be glad.
Variations on William Carlos Williams:
The Blue Bandana
So much depends
Folded up and creased
Laying next to the
This I Just Say to You
I have lived
to protect you
Even though you
let me help you
to help you
A Ring of Fire
The hot, rigid sun
Casts its red rays upon me,
Leaving my soul black.
The frosted, white trees
Lay barren across the plains.
The sun is at rest.
The leaves fall like rain.
Not knowing of their sorrow,
Another day dies.
- Lesley Belt
Face in Nature
Of the stars that shine at night
in which two burn the jewels of your eyes?
And of the winds that whip and chill
on which ones ride your will?
And of the rises and canyons of land
which ones were formed by your perfect hand?
And in the graveyards
and on the stones
where were you when death came and left them
bitter and alone?
Mint floats through the air,
Tickles my nose.
Crickets chirp in time to the constant trickle
From a nearby spring
Feeding the dark, satin lake.
In all its piercingly silver glory,
Echoes its reflection in the black wetness.
A dragonfly lands on a stone island.
The moon’s light is captured in her wings,
Causing small fires of color to ignite in my presence.
The orange of the koi fish
Shimmers under the black-glassy surface,
Dancing to the bullfrogs’ nearby chorus.
The long dragonfly,
Sits soundlessly where she lands,
The center of the same elaborate choreography
Between night creatures,
A diamond in the rough,
The focal point in a piece of art.
With a small push of mint-drenched air,
She lifts off,
Koi dive deeply,
And I am left with the crickets,
And herbal breeze.
- Megan Mercer
Night sets in
is it this time already
the moon glowing in radiance
the night is so cold
the stars shine brightly even in this city
I wish morning would come
the darkness around brings comfort
the silence of my thoughts bring fear
shadows of the trees, carried away by the wind
each little noise is a catch in my breath
finally the day is done, and I can rest
it is impossible to sleep frightened
my warm bed draws me in
I dare not close my eyes
the gentle quiet tell me I am alone
with every eye watching, loneliness
trees shiver in the breeze outside
they’re as cold as the world from which their roots grow
the night is a peaceful time of love and the secrecy of dreams
war wages in the nightmares of open eyes
stars rain beauty
the solemn sky’s blanket storms confusion
all small children have gone to sleep
and the predators of night have begun their reign
Beautiful is the deadly night.
I Tremble in the Night
It is dark
Before my eyes.
I stumble upon a path.
Then gory dreams
Flash in my sight
And gruesome figures applaud.
Such is my unrest
When I awake,
Shrieking in the night.
- Colleta Carley
World of Wonders
As I came
Into the world of wonders,
My head was spinning, spinning.
Time was no matter.
The feelings of fire in my heart
Became a whirlpool of emotions.
Being with him
Was like living in a hothouse.
There was no place I’d rather be.
Return to Innocence
The summer is simply a ghost now,
A memory floating in my mind.
Those halcyon days are spent,
And the tide washes me no more.
While sauntering along the beach’s sand, white,
We left our imprint upon the Alabama shore.
Footprints pressed like impressions into clay
Were soon erased by the ocean.
A reminiscence of a salty scent,
The song of the gentle ocean waves,
All that remain with me
From those divine summer days.
Into the Glass
With icy fingers,
A breath of frigid air
Robs my lungs of warmth
And bows my cloaked head
As I emerge reluctantly
From the depths of the fire-lit house.
My legs remember quickly
What it means to walk
And settle into a brisk pace,
Upon the snow-lined sidewalk.
My vision is clouded
With every exhalation of air,
And my water-glazed eyes
Squint tightly against the gusts.
Blood is thawing steadily
With each violent shudder,
And a hidden storage or warmth
Begins to stir within my beating chest;
My energy rekindles.
All stands glorious
Under the glow of the silvered moon,
And the ice-encased branches
Mirroring the scattered stars high above.
Numb, are my face and fingers,
And I feel that I should hurry back,
But through this delicate world of glass
I shall tread lightly.
- Megan Heacock
Your mortal face I’ll never forget.
Your mortal touch I’ll always long for.
When death clawed you away from me,
It stole my soul.
I remember the day I fell;
Now, without you,
I’ll be falling forever.
The vacuum in my heart
Grows more turbulent each day.
Your presence still endures,
Even though you’re gone.
You’re the revenant of our past.
You’re the revenant of our love.
- Jillian Hill
On the road again…
I’d rather think about driving
out into the middle of the
Sonoran Desert mountains of Arizona.
But, I would be
just to live
in the middle
of the Soronan Desert
Everything (F)(i)(t)(s) Lauren Higbie
Have you ever met someone
And when you’re with them
It feels lile e*v*e*r*y*t*h*i*n*g just
Like pieces of a p\u/z\z/l/e
The pieces fit,
And everything is OK.
Nothing can harm you
Because they are w.i.t.h. y.o.u
You know that someone cares about you
Someone loves you
Someone needs you to make it
To see each new day
And you’re happy
Because you know that
Sometimes I want to set my calculator aflame…
And let the smoke carry those damn numbers up to who knows where.
Button pushing is the demise of this world.
It pays good!
And it’s a stable income!
Where did I put that spread sheet?!
I sing songs.
I sing songs so I cannot hear what I’ve heard,
And to feel a false sense of comfort.
I search and beg for roads leading away,
But when I find them I cannot take them.
They will not help.
I have simply had enough.
Singing songs is now not enough.
This is my goodbye to everyone,
From now on I will be singing the songs of heaven.
- Chris Orlando
Not Today, but Forever
I wither in the midst of darkness,
As memories of the past overflow my mind.
I reminisce of the songs we danced to with such bliss,
Under the moonlight on the night full of fireworks.
The love letters we cherish in our hearts,
The ones I read one by one
Before a lay my head to rest every night.
Now, might I ask
Why did our paths wind such different ways?
I glance at the picture so close to my heart,
To blow the dust off,
And see you next to my heart.
It is now time to say goodbye,
Not goodbye for today,
But goodbye forever.
- Catherine Daniels
Dust rose from the quiet, country road
as a car slowly passed.
I sat nearby,
guitar in hand,
what it must be like,
and how it must feel
to be going somewhere, anywhere.
If only just this once.
I wished to be that traveler,
narrating a tale of pristine places and new beginnings.
Nevertheless, every song I played
was no more than the story of a lonesome goodbye
told by a journey-less traveler,
a forgotten friend.
Feverish summer sun,
My grandchild rests
On the Porch
By the old, rickety swing,
Secluded from everything and everyone.
She waits for her.
She sees only the mailbox, empty
Like the inside of her heart.
Finally, she arrives,
Replete with loved one’s letters.
Now her heart isn’t bare,
Sitting on the porch
By the old, rickety swing.
In this world,
I wonder if The Lord is dead,
For I have been praying
And waiting so long.
The sunrise feels so distant;
The moon is so pale.
The grass and the forest
Seize the raindrops,
Like the sun to the sky.
He warned me not to run,
For he would whip me
To the fiery embers of hell.
Everything is tranquil but my footsteps.
I beseech the night to devour me till morning,
Because this dog’s intent to devour my haven.
I was just another cotton-picking chattel,
I ran to freedom,
I ran to freedom,
May it not be in a grave.
Tale of Freedom
Rise from your eternal masquerade,
Oh, bohemian of bliss,
And diffuse your knowledge of freedom
That exists within your joyous heart.
Tell the tale of old times past,
Of incandescent schemes with our followers,
Rising proudly from the agitated crowd,
Making that leap of faith to prove them all wrong.
Tell the tale of old times past,
Of the night you ignited the first flame
Before the transfixed crowd,
Illuminating the destructive night to prove your point.
Tell the tale of old times past,
Of the day you proved them wrong,
And made your point clear,
When freedom was fought for and won.
- Stephanie Farve
as a general rule, she doesn’t believe in regret
action is better than inaction
doing better than wondering
what if’s are for cowards
the only thing she would really undo
is the one thing she could never tell
so she tries to think of some word
to take back
or the heated, hurried break-up
to a boy
she’d ached for
long after he’d forgotten her
nothing is there
she comes to see her mistakes
not for what she did
but for what she didn't do
going back would mean
a little less self-involved
a little more reaching out
phone calls she didn’t return
letters she didn’t answer
supper dates she cancelled
and somehow never rescheduled
easily, she hates herself
thinking of a friend she let down
the hard choices
she couldn’t force upon herself
plagued by thoughtless inaction
some stupid hamlet
unable, though, to lash out at ophelia,
his rage contained the truth in his heart
and her indifference does too
after the moment is lost
the gesture of friendship
no longer carries meaning
to form a knot
in her stomach
back in time
surrounded by myth & nothingness
warped into one chaotic whole
wrestling itself free the timed
& timeless oversoul dresses itself
in each day’s deadly differences.
into each night creeps a slight
sound of scratching screen
as wind punctuates our moments
until continuous & ceaseless end
we fall deep into a timeless death of sleep.
eating the rinds of golden apples
flirting with the damsels of codes out-of-time
each soul is stamped with the refuse
from the sepulchers of dead fathers
too-loved to sigh another painful breath.
but still, somewhere, echoes a
cuckoo call of primal time
waiting for a bending ear
on a porch in Kansas almost-sprung
of any year past its due.
we wait for that reverberation of time
to take us back in to any moment
that we stood stone still against
a loved one’s shadow waiting for the green
of rain to pound out its sleepy stamp of time.
Ode to the Nice Guy
I speak to you who has lost,
To those of you in pain and angst.
I speak to you now with the hope of arrival
at a common juncture.
We are a fortunate few (or unfortunate as
the winds of chance often blow),
For we signify the last of an era in these
We are the chivalrous, out of text and time,
Often we are left behind, to look ahead but
Though it isn’t in our nature to do so,
We dream of flesh and its temptations,
Because it never hurt a soul to dream.
But dream we must for touch we cannot,
By codes unwritten we hinder ourselves.
With anxious arms, in discipline, wait.
Good comes where good is warranted,
And time, though brutal in the moment, pays
well those who wait in good faith.
-Sean Michael Hargis
In the fields and in the heart,
rises a faith of many parts.
Death like water runs below
hiding its nature, lest only one touched would know
In the green of new born growth
colors the end and beginning both
of the people and of their death
to live an die
the soil weeps
like all the rest.
I try to make you proud,
But I just can’t seem to.
Inside, I’m screaming so loud-
I don’t know what to do!
I miss our talks about life,
All of our “inside” jokes.
But now, its all out of sight-
Nothing but a hoax!
I hope one day we’ll make up,
I’ll try to apologize.
Don’t turn your head away from me!
Please-look me in the eyes!
I love you, Dad, I hope you know.
I miss you tons and tons.
I don’t know why we’re like this-though
We used to be like one.
Psalms by my Father
Lay down your burden,
For it is the weekend.
The world is your guardian,
And Heaven is your asylum.
My heartbeat is ancient
And will fall like the rusted leaves,
All so monotonous with the world.
Time seems all so irrelevant to you,
It shall morph into shackles,
Like all things do.
“Oh dreams, Oh dreams,
Always flirting with the young.”
I taught you Genesis,
I teach you life.
I slip around the massive oak tree.
We meet eye to eye,
Locked together, unblinking.
So near each other,
Our hearts reverberate like thunder.
Majestic, scaly wings
Slowly unfold before me.
He lifts his immense body easily from the ground
And soars graciously into the beckoning sky.
I am left here,
Here among the falling, golden leaves.
silent and unmoving I stand,
Absorbing my fairytale.
My Song of Self
I am from disassembled pop cans
Filled with Wintergreen Skoal and spit,
Coffee breath, and fresh-cut grass.
I am from workaholics, alcoholics,
Rednecks, pack-rats, and gossipers.
I am from sweltering summer days
Spent in an immeasurable garden,
With hands-stained violet and raven
From tomato vines and blackberry juice.
I am from no-purpose drives in the country
And trips to Black Jack campground.
I am from, “Do what you wanna do;
You’re gonna do it anyway!”
“Because I said so!”
And, “Would you like a shovel
To get you out of that hole?”
I am from a made-up game
Called “Friends” played with my sis,
Disney movies watched at Grandma’s,
And forts made out of blankets
Hung over the dining room table.
I am from a family transformed from
The Osbornes to 7th Heaven.
Squeeze them tight,
They can’t see you now,
Even with the heat
Burning red through your eyelids.
That’s right. Tighten up,
And let your face go hard.
Let your heart beat lightly,
Against your fragile chest.
Now, smile in defiance,
But don’t go soft!
You’re invisible now,
And invisible to the eyes of evil.
Stretch our your arms
And feel the caress of untamed breezes,
That yawning space,
And the kiss of the sun.
They’ve already vanished
Out of bitter frustration.
Free, you have become.
Now, open up.
Forgiving Shoeless Joe
“I ain’t afraid to tell the world that it don’t take school stuff to help a fella play ball.” —Joe Jackson
I’ve always found it funny that you guys refused
to pay the quarter Comiskey charged
to launder uniforms,
while the gold-tooth suits
robbed the country of another virginity
for your payoffs.
Your socks were black with warning track dirt
before the sin of 1919.
You had shown the world that knowing books
don’t slug in runs in the bottom of the ninth,
that Black Betsy was as hard as iron,
and that your glove was the place where triples go to die.
The left field fans called you Joey
and asked you to play without your cleats again and again.
I know you tipped your cap.
I saw you grin to the boys who prayed to be you
in stickball games on Southside streets,
slapping dingers off redbrick tenements.
Did the $5000 burn a hole below the SOX on your chest?
Did the bookless bums know your name
as you passed the snaking soup lines down Michigan Ave.?
Do your blistered feet miss the sweet summer grass?
Even bloated and slowed you swung with power
and covered left until the bottle cracked your heart.
America doesn’t forgive in peanuts
or hot dogs and Cokes.
America remembers with full upset bellies,
settled only by contrite hearts of the home team
that signal from the grave to swing away.
- Michael Carriger
I am from
I am from
Three stitches in my left elbow,
At ten months.
I am from
Starting down and out and striving,
Reaching all goals.
I am from
White trash becoming Kings and Queens.
I am from
Full of hicks and cowboys.
I am from
Big cities inhabited by capitalists.
I am from
“Don’t touch that”
“Go to your room,”
And “Stop that.”
I am from
I am from
Late nights on the lake,
But nothing to show for it.
I am from
Slumbering Sunday evenings,
With not a care in the world.
I am from
And yellow skin tones.
- Candice Coffman
Once Upon a Moment
It had been an eternity
since she since she glanced into her dark, broken soul,
her hair so gray,
face so wrinkled.
Through her eyes, the story of her life could not be told.
She gazed into the mirror
examining the anguish,
noticing the void that could never be filled.
Even the Defeat
The sky twisting and turning
in mind, it creates mines
that explode in due time.
Covering it all up surfaced with
turbulence, I guess we
silenced her too long.
Why did it take this long to find
The real Insider?
With all its cuts and bruises;
Shifting into chaotic forms of distribution,
all things are forgotten.
Premature and unkempt
Such heartbreak that washes onto
already sore tongues.
Melting down into what we were
determined not to become.
It’s at the edge, where I feel under your
skin lies the monster you always said
I turn to look down your throat and
see that you’ve been swallowing
my world, while my back was turned.
Poet of my lifetime, heal.
Wisdom of my final hours, cry.
The bell tolls no more, no more.
Merry days long since spent.
Flower me in death,
Miracle of my youth.
Light of my candle thick and bright,
Daughter, my daughter, you remind me
Of the man I loved that long time past.
Flame for all youth,
Pass on again in these eyes of powerful blue.
The song of my heart wails in the night,
Its requiem taunting goodbye.
Goodbye to the dust that covered you up.
Goodbye to the roads that we never crossed.
I sings to you now,
but I know it’s too late,
And I’ll never get to utter goodbye.
The Sway of Phantoms
Screaming phantoms rage through smoke
as it bellows through the air.
Sparking embers kindle the night
and burn with the dark forest
Silence saturates the woods
as the games of flames begin to ignite.
There is fire throughout all
as the phantoms reign over the forest.
All is to be ash.
Only fools claim that their hearts are taken
For love can destroy your mind, heart and soul
And when blind eyes’ false passions awaken
Their own planned demise is unpayed as toll
The pain and anguish of a forlorn love
Tears even the strongest of men apart
The one who they fell for, their perfect dove
Is the one who misled them from the start
That angelic figure to which you bow
Will never give you a passionate kiss
It will never love you, do not allow
Hollow advances to throw you amiss
This warning I give you to save you pain
This knowledge you will have if you remain
-Sean Michael Hargis
[a short story by Melanie Anderson]
The rain matted the hair to her head, but she didn’t care. She was too busy trying to get away.
Fear consumed her every thought as she kept close to the shadows.
It was dark and dreary. The cold intensified as the wind blew drops of rain in her face. But that
didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except the need to get away.
So she tightened the coat around her and walked onward. It wasn’t a casual walk. She was
hurrying, constantly looking over her shoulder for signs of another being. No signs were there, yet still
she looked, cautiously, walking in the pouring rain.
The cold, frightened girl came upon an alley and stopped. Could he find her there? It was very
dark and clutter lay all over. But there was no more time to think. The sound of feet marching at a
rapid pace came into range. The girl quickly ducked into the alley striding for its end. With every clud
of the march, she became more and more frantic. Her heart felt as if it were to explode at any moment.
She found herself hiding among trash cans as the sound grew closer. The girl held her hand over her
mouth trying to quiet her breathing.
She saw nothing through the trash cans but did not dare raise her head. Sitting there, listening to
the frantic feet searching for her, she realized she was soaked. As the rain pelted her, she tightened the
grasp on her coat, not daring to move. Then the sound of pounding feet stopped.
Only the rain was heard. Then there was a step. Slowly the feet walked down the alley. A light
was seen moving past the trash cans concealing the girl, but the girl was not seen. She tightened her
grasp over her mouth, desperately trying not to make a sound.
Her heart drummed in her ears as the steps grew closer. Thump, thump, thump. The beating of
the girl’s heart grew louder and faster.
The there was no sound; the footsteps had stopped a few feet from the girl’s hiding place. A
light was seen again over the trash cans. The owner of the steps grew closer. The girl closed her eyes
wishing it all away, fearing what was to come. A hand gripped a trash can.
It was too late for the girl. The hand pulled aside the trash can, revealing the soaked and
frightened girl. All she could see was the brightness of the flashlight.
“You found me,” were the only words that crept out of her mouth. They were slow words,
upset in their sounding and calm in their awareness.
A voice from the holder of the flashlight came forth, “You’re it.”
Online Editor: Brad Russell
Print Edition also available
Katie Farmer &
Paid for by Lion's Pride Parent Association
Copies Available at LHS Room 231