All posts by Alex Lo

Based on a True Story

I wonder what the last straw was.
Maybe it was her mom threatening to cut her throat
Or kicking her out of the house again
Or her sister refusing to take her in.
Maybe she was just sick of her dad being in jail
And missing half her family
Maybe it was the truancy notices that started flooding in
And the third address change. In a month.
This one had a neighbor who threw big parties every weekend.
Maybe it was what she learned from attending those
And the “friends” she made
While abandoning the real ones,
Replacing them with a ciggy or a drink.
Maybe it was another failed career attempt
Another ‘no’, another ‘you’re not good enough. You used to be better.’
Maybe that was her last straw.
The fact that her life was real.


Leanne Yuen ’17

Among the whispering and the champagne

Their eyes met from the moment she walked in.
She “came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.”
Jack was his name.
It was an instant connection.
One she’d never felt before.
“[She] was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men.”
They slurred their speech together.
They jigged the Charleston together.
He consumed her that night.
Jack was toxic.
His company made her wildly dizzy.
He helped her forget everything she did not want to remember.
“Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality.”
Jack’s dark appearance was luring.
Though a man of age,
he was the finest of his kind.
He brought her home.
He wooed her.
“[Jack] made [her] feel uncivilized.”
But he was not a good influence.
Jack turned her night into that of a loss.
She lost her morals through her clumsiness and unladylike conduct.
She lost herself when Jack made her feel unconnected to the rest of the world.
She lost her innocence after tasting the intensity of his lips.
But she was not the only victim of Jack’s contagiousness.
His energy pumped through society’s veins.
Their minds.
Their hearts.
“It never occurred to [her] that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people.”
That this man not only ruined her
but began to ruin the rest of humanity.
But maybe Jack wasn’t a person.
Maybe he was a metaphor.
An idea.
An intoxication.
A facade of society’s moral hangover.
Manipulating the human mind.
Demoralizing society.
Responsible for the loss of innocence of America.
“Distorted beyond [anyone’s] eyes’ power of correction.”
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print

Natalie Granville ’16

Orgullo y Pride

You know I already have to take it from one group
How I’m not really Latina enough.
I go to my Latino groups,
It’s uncomfortable to be the only one there with an Anglo last name, funny because it’s actually Irish and I don’t see Irish ever being comfortable as an Anglo
And then they say my Spanish sounds white; does that mean my English will sound brown?
It’s weird seeing Byrne in a list of Lopez, Chavez, and Ramirez
Double weird because Ramirez is my mom’s last name
I honor my Colombian heritage; I work so the Latino community recognizes me as not just white.
All they see is my skin
I am the only South American in a room identifying itself as Central American or Mexican— it feels foreign
“You’re not brown enough”
I’m accused of selling out because I don’t live in the barrio, but I never made that choice
Then I think does raza restrict me to one hood only?
Are The Heights too good for us? Are we just afraid to accept that we have every right?

How many times have I heard that Colombia is a province of Mexico?
Whose chief export is cocaine, and no I don’t know a good dealer.
Yes the coffee is good, but it doesn’t mean we serve it with burritos and tacos
Mariachi is not Shakira
James, James does not play for the Chivas
And I’m not afraid of the Chupacabra
La Virgen De Guadalupe is not Colombian and Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday
And I do not paint my face on the Day of the Dead
Then the other group asks me what I’m doing here?
My Irish dance partner challenges my presence in her class
What are you doing here? Seeing my hair is brown instead of red or blonde
didn’t I prefer salsa?
My family doesn’t drink green beer on March 17
I don’t like corned beef that much
Cabbage is okay
I’m equal for rice or potatoes
I hate chipotle sauce just as much as vinegar on my fish and chips
Raw jalapeños turn my stomach in the same way as boiled tomatoes
My dad doesn’t spend every night in the pub—at least not for 25 years
My mom didn’t swim across a river to get here nor pay a coyote
She and my dad’s family both waited in long lines at American embassies
Where bored bureaucrats waited to stamp visas after asking useless, endless questions
About American history and government that most Americans can’t answer themselves

So, I can salsa, cumbia, merengue, and I can jig, hard shoe, and soft shoe
I like Shakira, Juanes, U2, and The Script
Sofia Vergara has always made me laugh
Saoirse Ronan has made me both laugh and cry
Mainly cry as my grandmother tells me yet again how she went to school with her grandmother
Me gustan las arepas con queso
Just as much as black pudding
And both sides make killer rice pudding or arroz con leche depending on which side is serving
I have my mom’s family on December 24
And my dad’s on December 25
I am not brown enough.
I’m not white enough.
But a mixed color works for me

Anne-Cecilia Byrne ’16


Young and free they grab another paper
They hold their crayons like hammers
And draw themselves as fireman or police but not landscapers
I laugh to myself as I think way way back
To when I drew out my dreams in color
And dreamt of painting and traveling until life gave them a hack
But soon their paper will turn into bills
And the crayons into pens
While reality throws their dreams to the landfills
Their attention will turn to houses with AC features
And be reminded that they are just little people
Just like I know I’m only a pawn of the world, a kindergarten teacher

Josh Belandres ’19


Winter’s shadow always obstructs February.
This month is a beautiful wonderland of hope,
But even butterflies can be dreary,
Elegance tainted when we have to cope.
I’ve never see a more luscious morning,
This comforting layer over the bay
Doesn’t give enough closure from the mourning.
From those we love who have drifted away.
The best lesson is to learn how to fall,
This is what February has taught us.
That even a glorious afternoon,
Can bring the heaviest rain to rust.
So what can we do when we face the worst,
Remember that from coal comes diamonds.

Robert Bertain ’18


Through times like these you must begin to see
The alacrity of spreading your grown wings.
Though clinging tightly to the final plea
To lose control and fall morosely stings.

Yet time won’t wait for you and neither I,
To cower from the shield of sheltered youth.
The world has called to raise yourself and fly
Away from home to learn about life’s truth.

Your greatest dreams can now come true, my friend,
What’s left to do is break out of your shell;
To view life’s spectacles with no pretend,
By doing so you’ll very soon get well.

Do not succumb to bitter fear and strife,
But rather learn to pilot your new life.

Justin Yamamura ’18

Cab Ride

In the monotony of black luggage that circled the carousel, my tired eyes searched for the stained ribbon that signaled my ownership. “That’s Boston. And we’re growing now, too. Construction everywhere,” said the cab driver as he slammed the trunk closed. “We’re booming.” I could certainly feel it. I wasn’t sure if it was Boston so much as the thrill of moving to a new city. The hyperawareness as I searched for everything that made this city different from my own. I was always exceptionally good at those spot the differences games in the Highlights magazines.

Everything was the same. Glistening skyscrapers laughed in my face, my reflection flickering in their windows. Betrayal scratched at the nape of my neck. I moved from San Francisco to Boston in search of something “different,” a “change of pace,” only to find myself cowering in the coffee shop that most resembled my favorite back home.

Finally, the cab driver dropped me off at my hotel room, whose carpet matched that of my apartment building’s lobby. A faint scent of mildew immediately clung to my clothing, and I tried to shake it off along with the regret that crawled up my spine. I hauled my single bag onto my bed, untangled my faded orange ribbon from underneath, and unzipped the bag completely. When I threw the cover open, I recognized none of the contents. Silken blouses, starched shirts, high heels – the clothes of someone who had her life together – none of it was mine. I untied the ribbon and slipped it into my pocket. I must’ve grabbed someone else’s bag.

Gina Cusing ’16

My Dark Sky

My monster follows me as I walk
It crawls
it creeps
even when I sleep
I can see its breath on
the cold bathroom mirror

Appearing to me as I roam
with my thoughts

Showing its face,
ferocious blue
I thought blue was like the comfort of a rainy night.

It’s harsh
I run
I climb
I try to fly
I can’t

I’m stuck inside this endless loop of tragedy
consuming me
I can feel myself slowly slipping
past the brink
Into the ice cold black water

I haven’t seen the sun in sixteen years
I am stuck in the shadow of a monster
My light was put out years before-
When I craved it most

My monster follows me as I walk
When all there is
Is noise
static fills the air
still whispers
Parseltongue through its pointy jagged teeth

Sings a song
A strange sound
unlike any I’ve ever heard
Is it his voice
Or is it my own?

Lucy Anastas ’19

The Loveliest Dream of All

One day in May I’ll go and leave this town,
And head into the country for a drive.
To where the blue sky tops the green and brown,
I’ll drive until my body feels alive.
I’ll find the spot that seems to be the best,
One fringed in trees, with shade, soft grass, and stream.
I’ll sleep in flow’rs, get nice and sunny rest,
Slip toes in currents, swim, and eat ice cream.
When red and orange and pink do fill the skies,
And light of day begins to slowly fade,
I’ll run and dance and watch the fireflies,
But deep inside I might just be dismayed.
Why search for beauty, flowers, streams, or views?
When I can’t share them with my love, with you.

Cooper Veit ’18

Ripley’s Wild Rollercoaster

Welcome to Ripley’s Wild Roller Coaster. Grab a seat, buckle up, and get ready to ride!
Just a Wild Ripley Reminder for our passengers, please keep all your phalanges, radii, and humeri inside the car today, although humor-i is always welcome!
If you’re wearing a hat you should take it off because not only is it a bad idea to wear a hat on a rollercoaster, but also Staff will probably make fun of you!
If you feel signs of headache or nausea then why did you get on the ride in the first place! It’s Ripley’s Wild Roller Coaster not Ripley’s Chill and Relaxed Fun Train! Come on people!
At Ripley’s we do not allow cameras, flash photography, infants, (finish this with some weirdly escalating objects) on the ride at any time.
Well, now that we’re all thoroughly strapped in and have signed our release forms indicating that Ripley’s is in no way shape or form responsible for any accident or injury that may occur on the death train I mean ride, enjoy your time on Ripley’s Wild Rollercoaster!

Claire Fenerty ’16

The 7 Ages of a Soldier

All the world’s a battlefield
And all the soldiers merely pawns on the field,
They have their injuries and promotions,
And one soldier in his time fights many battles,
His part being seven ages. At first the baby,
Pure and unscathed by the agony of war,
Then, the young naive boy with his plastic army soldiers
And his lively imagination, bounding around
Making machine gun sound effects. And then the boy,
Dreaming during class, of joining the effort
To become a hero. Then a teen,
Full of hopes and dreams, and courageous like the lion,
Uneasy feelings filled his body, suddenly, without much contemplation,
Registering for the army,
Even with the chance of regret. And then the young adult,
Dressed in army green, and devouring whatever was served,
With eyes saddened, and beard of rugged cut,
Full of sharp commands, and news of advancements,
And so he does his part. His next age shifts
Into worn and cozy house slippers,
With a cane in his hand, and a new prescription of pills,
His old school uniform, far too large.
For he was now mostly skin and bones, and his scruffy smokers lungs,
Thinking again of nursery rhymes, coughs
And wheezing in his sound. Last battle of all,
That ends this soldier’s tale,
Is returning to his pure and unscathed senselessness,
Without hearing, without understanding, without everything

Anna Fenerty ’19

It Made Me Wonder

it rained,
and the pattering of neon on rippling sewer bound mirrors
made me wonder
The Color of December.

from some obscured corner,
slithered harmonious notes from a gnarled stranger,
and it made me wonder
The Hue of Suspended Song.

I heard the baker
hanging Christmas lights over the cobwebbed frame of his backalley door,
and it made me wonder
The Color of Light
when placed in a crevice of negligence.

I walked along the straightedges of the sleeping city,
turning only at storm drains and street signs.
In the well of nighttime,
only moonlight braved the chattering dark,
and it made me wonder
The Flickering Shades of Hope
when placed in a blind man’s heart.

Angela Yang ’18

A Letter to My Past Self

I want to start out by telling you that you will walk again.

I know you’re afraid, and I want to tell you that’s okay.
(They won’t tell you this;
they’ll say you have to be brave.
They’ll be wrong.)
You’re allowed to be afraid.
You’re allowed to not know what’s going on,
you’re allowed to cry.
You will get through this.

You’re going to be so sick of this hospital room.
Every few hours you’ll blow into a tube
to see if you need a machine to breathe for you.
You will not know what threshold you’re approaching
but the numbers will get
lower and
lower and
You will not reach that threshold.
The speech therapist will make you say
ewehthig thfoouh thinez-
ewehrthing thfoour ttinez-
ewerything foour tines-
everything four times
until you can pronounce every letter.

You will work harder than you have ever worked
to take your first steps on Mother’s Day.
You will be exhausted. You will hurt.
You will wonder what would happen if you just quit now.

You will not quit.

You will reach a point where you understand
you cannot be afraid.
You have to push your limits to discover them
even though it makes your mom nervous
even though it makes you nervous.
You will push yourself.

On a one to ten pain scale
you will call a seven a five and a three a zero.
You will make a paper crane for every minute your
legs hurt too much for you to focus and you will
hang them in strings of a hundred.
You will not be fearless, but you will act like it.

You will not be fearless.

You will walk too fast and stumble or you will
sit down and be too afraid to try and stand back up.
It will be more than a year and a half
before you try to ride a bike again because
you are so afraid of falling.
There will be days where you are certain this will never end.
On those days,
you will be wrong.

I am writing because you need a reminder that someone believes in you.
I am writing to tell you that you are stronger than you imagine and braver too.
I am writing from a time when this is something that you have overcome.
I am writing because no one else knows what to say.
I am writing to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will live.

With love.

Megan Gamino ’163

Plastic Generation

Can we not simply accept our failure as a people,
as a generation of Plastic Toys?
We have been so diluted to ignore,
a consumerism of the soul,
a Hallmark new world order.
Is all emotion for acquisition, all for self-betterment.
Coddled docile at birth,
Air bag mobiles atop a babies crib,
baptized to a cult of repetition,
and lane to rest in a coffin of our things,
new age pyramids.
Savagery veiled by industry, veiled by profit.
All we want is to eat,
And we devour the plastic things.

Luca Guglielmi ’16

The Confrontation for Progress

Tell me you had to sell drugs to get something in your stomach. Tell me you had to
dodge bullets walking back home. Tell me you had a gun pulled on you. Tell me you’ve
seen a black man shot dead in person. Tell me your daddy lives behind bars.

Tell me you were born and raised in the hood.

People wonder why I don’t mess with too many of you. But I sure as hell don’t talk or
tweet shame about none of y’all.
I don’t know what y’all want! You want our lives, our blood, our rage?
Do you want to be us? I don’t get it. I know not all of y’all are racist, it’s just… I don’t know
what we’re gunna do. I don’t know what we’re gunna do.

Fa’aolatoto “Koko” Griffin ’16

Sky Clothes

When the sun sets
And the darkness rises
What do you wear?

Do you wear the moon to hide the fear on your face
Directing attention away from true reveal
So no one looks
During the dark times

Or do you wear the stars to brighten the darkness
Projecting luminescence in all directions
So your light reaches others
During the dark times

Perhaps the clouds show you want to float away
Making sure loneliness is the only thing following
So you’re not part of it
During the dark times

When the sun rises
And the darkness sets
What do you remove?

Chloe David ’19

The art of fighting

Boxing- the art of fighting
The application of creative skill in a violent struggle
The hope of something greater
Something greater than the inner city streets
Something greater than the drugs, alcohol, and abuse at home
Not for fun, but for survival
The art of fighting

As I walk down those creaky stairs, I smell the hope
I smell the blood, sweat, and tears of every single person giving his all
I see the posters of champions, both past and present
I hear the jab crosses of future champions on the bag
I feel the desire in their hearts to be the best
Not because they are the most talented,
But because they work 10x harder than anyone else in the world

I hear the bell go off, round one has begun
Two friends had arrived an hour before
But when that bell goes off,
It’s two Pit Bulls biting for the neck
Because winning isn’t everything,
It’s the only thing

A fight is the perfect metaphor for life
Life is full of grace, mercy, and happiness
But life can knock you down, smack you to the floor
It’s in these tough times, you need to stand up and fight
For something greater
For hope
For life
The art of fighting

Connor Clark ’17


Mariel walks despondently out of the office of Dr. Goodman. It is a long corridor. Her head faces the stained jade carpet, every piece of withering wool clouding her mind and vision. She sees nothing, hears nothing, wants nothing, all because she knows everything. She has miscarried. Five years she has been trying. Five years gone. She feels an immense pain in her womb, but she fears to touch it. How could life deal her this? What has she done wrong? Why is she so undeserving to bring a human life to this world?
The sun is brighter than she remembered it being before walking in his office. The street seems a lot longer than usual as well. Instead of embarking on what seems to be a long, back-breaking journey up the block to the bus station, she stands still. She closes her eyes, trying to feel something good happening around her. Nothing. She feels nothing. She opens her eyes back up, and there is a little girl walking towards her. This girl does not acknowledge Mariel, but both of their presences will soon meet. Mariel realizes that this girl, so young and sweet, easily could have been her daughter. The daughter she always wanted. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Faded blue denim dress.
“Why does this girl refuse to look at me?” Mariel wonders.
She feels like stopping her in the street, picking her up, and giving her all the love that she can muster up. This is too painful. Mariel would have named her Sophie.
To hell with it. Mariel gently says the name.
Nothing. The girl hears nothing, or at least nothing that she considers to be directed towards herself.
Mariel can no longer stand it. She has to leave. She’ll be anywhere but here.
During this encounter that Mariel has had, a homeless man walks on to the same street as her. He saw everything. He saw how she looked at the girl. He saw how she painfully called the name of someone who was not there. He sees what Mariel can’t. This man is no stranger to anguish himself; his story may not parallel Mariel’s, but loss is loss. It feels the same no matter the individual.
He walks behind Mariel, slowly accelerating so that he can catch up to her. He is dirty–ragged gray clothes, no shoes. He hasn’t showered in three weeks now. Mariel has noticed this man following her and feels helpless as to what to do. She realizes that she no longer has anything left to lose in her life, including her own life, so she turns around to confront him.
She says nothing. She is completely unable to produce the words. She tries to scare him off first with a look of abhorrence in her eyes, then she tries a look of helplessness with the hope that he will realize that she has already been beaten down enough. Then she stops and looks at him. She really looks at him.
It is at this moment that she realizes that the only thing harder than saying goodbye is saying hello.

Spencer Collantes ’17

Just Another Love Poem

Oh! How strongly I love thee!
Your beauty greatly entices me.
With your long hair
To the clothes you wear
If I could, I would give you the sea.

Your wit is above all the rest,
And your jokes are always best.
Your speaking is great.
There’s nothing that you hate.
My heart might beat out my chest.

Your fingers are delicate and full of skill.
And everything is done upon your will.
When caught off-guard,
Recovery ain’t hard
Because there is no seat that you can’t fill.

Why everyone loves you, I never question why.
You are docile, kind, and would never hurt a fly.
No explanation more
For whom this poem is for,
I speak about me, myself, and I.

Joshua Blas ’18

Yin & Yang

Light will shine even in the darkest night,
Darkness consumes, hungry for any glow,
Like a single candle that flickers bright,
In a never-ending sea of bleak woe.
Life will forever prevail over death,
Death will always come to take life away,
Like the delight of an infant’s first breath,
Amid the fear of the final doomsday.
Good will always triumph over the vile,
But evil tempts so sweetly to the soul,
That even a saint might stay for awhile,
In company of hell’s most perverse troll.
Yin and Yang, two polar forces in earth,
Yet virtue cannot exist without mirth.

Nicole Green ’18

A Letter to My Past Self

I want to start out by telling you that you will walk again.

I know you’re afraid, and I want to tell you that’s okay.
(They won’t tell you this;
they’ll say you have to be brave.
They’ll be wrong.)
You’re allowed to be afraid.
You’re allowed to not know what’s going on,
you’re allowed to cry.
You will get through this.

You’re going to be so sick of this hospital room.
Every few hours you’ll blow into a tube
to see if you need a machine to breathe for you.
You will not know what threshold you’re approaching
but the numbers will get
lower and
lower and
You will not reach that threshold.
The speech therapist will make you say
ewehthig thfoouh thinez-
ewehrthing thfoour ttinez-
ewerything foour tines-
everything four times
until you can pronounce every letter.

You will work harder than you have ever worked
to take your first steps on Mother’s Day.
You will be exhausted. You will hurt.
You will wonder what would happen if you just quit now.

You will not quit.

You will reach a point where you understand
you cannot be afraid.
You have to push your limits to discover them
even though it makes your mom nervous
even though it makes you nervous.
You will push yourself.

On a one to ten pain scale
you will call a seven a five and a three a zero.
You will make a paper crane for every minute your
legs hurt too much for you to focus and you will
hang them in strings of a hundred.
You will not be fearless, but you will act like it.

You will not be fearless.

You will walk too fast and stumble or you will
sit down and be too afraid to try and stand back up.
It will be more than a year and a half
before you try to ride a bike again because
you are so afraid of falling.
There will be days where you are certain this will never end.
On those days,
you will be wrong.

I am writing because you need a reminder that someone believes in you.
I am writing to tell you that you are stronger than you imagine and braver too.
I am writing from a time when this is something that you have overcome.
I am writing because no one else knows what to say.
I am writing to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will live.

With love.

Megan Gamino ’16

Laugh it off

The things we hear so long ago
Can affect us more than we know
But we brush it off, we just don’t care
Then why can’t our minds wander elsewhere
Or if it does it always comes back
To that which sends our mind on attack
That playful teasing can be fun
Unless you’re chosen as the one
The butt of the joke, your flaws pointed out
If you show them you care, the assailants shout
Come on, why can’t you take a joke?
They’re not the ones about to choke
But now it’s worse, play turns to scoff
That’s when your mask comes in, you laugh it off
You push it deep down inside, where it will always remain
But one day you’ll look back and remember all of the pain
I’m not saying to keep from joking around with a friend
But remember the power of your words in the end
They can bring much joy, they can bring much strife
Just remember your words don’t just impact your life

Sophie Bailard ’18

Sleepless in San Francisco

11:59: goodnight friends, goodnight moon, goodnight to the world I’ll see very soon.
12:06: funny, I thought sleep worked faster than this; one more minute, and I should be in bliss
12:11: did that, did this, cross that off my list, but soon enough, there’s a foggy mist.
12:12: why does this happen to me every night, emotions too many, too hard to fight.
12: 14: oh, my mouth knows better than to speak, but there goes the first tear running down my cheek.
12:18: faster and faster, and before I can tell, my heart is in pieces as if under a spell.

12:22: my mind races and falls, jumping from this to that, thinking of what could have gone right and what nearly fell flat.

12:23: is it normal to regret or be caught up in love?

12:26: God, I wish you could tell me. Give me a sign from above!

12:28: mind tricks and mind games I sit and I play, attempting to forget what happened today.

12:29: the knight to my princess, the boy of my dreams, turned out just to be a rouge at the seams.

12:31: oh I wish I had not found out like I did, that he only wished to be kissed and then skid.

12:32: did I push him away, did I not have the style?

12:33: maybe I don’t need him, that boy who lacks the depth of the Nile.

12:36: I dab my eyes, for I look at the clock, and see the time with a shriek and a squawk.

12:37: too many days and weeks, too many minutes and hours, spent on crying over people who steal from my powers.

12:39: the man on a steed with a silver suit and sword reminds me, maybe I’m the one who really scored.

12: 42: a lesson in love can never come easy, especially one that is a journey uneasy.

12:45: but I think I’ve decided the scratches and tears are only temporary at times.
12:46: love is merely a game of crimes
12:47: I have met the boy who broke my heart, maybe I do admit I wasn’t that smart.
12:48: but the boy who steals my heart is the one I want to love.
12:49: he’s the one who makes the water and blood worth it, in this crazy war above.

Emily Cox ’17


A complete state of ignorance.
All forgotten
Nothing left about to feel rotten
No remembrance of your eminence.

The dust rolls over,
The wine spills over,
The sun’s rays rise,
All in a flash before your eyes.

Off you go in the great dark void;
Your wanderlust spirit goes without rest
Nothing there for you to manifest.
Suppressed, but in a search
for a place where you won’t hurt.

There it shines
off in the distance,
welcoming you into its confines.
It opens its arms
and welcomes you,
like a bed full of charms.

Fernando Flynn-Quintanilla ’19

To Take a Wrong Train

Sometimes I want to take the wrong train
Leave the pace I’m told to maintain
Go a way I’ve never seen before
Leave the routine I don’t know, or abhor

And I’d sleep a silent slumber soft
Knowing I wouldn’t have to be someone else so ‘oft;
I could remember who I know I can be
In my other reality

It isn’t somewhere beyond the rain
or even too far away
It’s just that sometimes I wonder
How my day could go astray
If I were to take the wrong train

Isabel Cumbelich ’19

Thank You

In the salty breeze of August
Like the crunch of lonely leaves underfoot
You startled me with your familiarity
Shattered the blissful bubble where I lived stifled searching

In the lingering scent of yesterday’s breath
Like dewdrops on glistening windows
You stayed always there even as I buried myself in blankets forgot you just a little just enough
That when I remembered again it hurt so hard and so good
It was like seeing hearing holding you again for the first time

In wet grass and warm hands words slipping through sidewalk cracks
Like a hummingbird kisses a flower only to dash away as if never there before
I hid guarded stood my ground but somehow somewhere
You slipped through my grasp and fell into the heavy cloying darkness
Unexplored messy ugly secrets torn to shreds and shoved underneath the bed

You swept my broken pieces into the light
Some you stepped on stomped on to reach for the parts you wanted needed
I held the door open with raw fingers and trampled hurts
For moments you exploded my world with heavenly white sunshine
For hours I sat in black reaching to plastic stars glowing with empty promises
For days blindfolded I fought your monster’s heart on my tattered sleeve

I’m lost freed hurt loved changed forever.

Ally Han ’16

Separate but Equal

I cannot find love in the air.
I may have seen it before.
It blossoms in the center with a majestic oak
Surrounded by rich grass on the outskirts.
They remained in a fragile balance for 160 years by
Assuming the oak deserved more than the grass,
Truly incomparable in glory.
And so the garden remained unquestioned and unbalanced.
They prayed for light breezes
To preserve the frailty
And to prevent

They assumed the garden was built on respect
Both the grass and the oak in different ecosystems while
Surviving and supporting each other.
Yet the tree continued to grow,
Creating too many roots and
Feeding on too little a community.
The roots consumed and conquered the grass,
Disrespecting and destroying a once dignified ecosystem
Forever throwing away the balance

Thick roots, stuck and settled.
Forever frozen in their paths that
Sliced through the grass and
Penetrated a household.

In the original garden
Lived two separate but equal ecosystems
Who never talked.
Who never discussed.
Is that love?

In this disheveled garden
Lives one ragged ecosystem
They must talk.
They must discuss.
And they will move forward
As a single ecosystem
In the presence of true and honest

Lauren Cueto ’17

Tuolumne Meadows

Quiet cowboy rides
Marlboro man no cigar
Crossing the river

Faithful horses
Wise nomads of the meadow
Ripple the river

Life before my eyes
Daydream mirroring heaven
Summer memories

Intensely quiet
Symphony in one moment
Nature’s perfect song

Sean Fitzgerald ’19


In times of struggle, throughout decades of strife,
Those yearning for equity have often cried, “What harm does our desire for justice bring into your life?”
This message seldom heard and often preached, has woven its way through every great speech, every protest, every exasperated plea
Indeed those searching for equality often wonder
how their freedom could possibly cast any system’s good intentions asunder
time and time again they are stumped, it is a mystery to them,
this question the derivative of a multitude of spirituals and hymns
and although it may appear to the proletariat that their desires bring
forth no grief, there is scarcely space for everyone when an aristocracy
occupies the seats
The truth is this question leaves the affluent and privileged cowering
in their slave labor endorsing shoes, retreating to their luxurious estates far away,
Where they needn’t be bothered with the news
that the overlooked and underrepresented are sickened with their plight,
they no longer wish to kiss rings, they are now prepared to fight
to take up arms and make haste dismantling walls of discrimination
to forcibly inherit the rights promised to them upon their arrival to this nation
promises drenched in the blood of their ancestors, treaties long forgotten
behold their footsteps draw closer, they will no longer be downtrodden
they will set ablaze the castle walls, they will brave the treacherous moats
away they shall be carried upon clouds of blackened smoke
If they should succeed, if themselves they set free, an age of reckoning will commence
Arise, arise you ninety nine, down with the one percent!
For years complacent requests for freedom have fallen, disregarded by deaf ears
The time for diplomacy has descended, now dawns the era of tears
They demand their suffering discontinued, food in the mouths of their young
Not one more foreign country shall be invaded while citizens within our borders
live on crumbs
Not one more penny to the fortification of barricades
against fabricated wars, while veterans of those previous are abandoned in
poorly funded wards
Or better yet left to the streets to indulge in the splendor of old age
No more increase of the national debt while the lifeblood of our country
can’t make a cent above minimum wage
These are the new cries of the lowly, the non-negotiable declarations of the meek
It is no longer merely liberation, but reparations they seek

Sierra Bourne ’17

Standing Strong

I stand for the weak,
Those society left alone,
I have no fear of the whip,
No insult will hit bone.

I stand for the sick,
Those struck down by chance,
I have no fear of judgement,
Forever I hold my stance.

I stand for the broken,
Those who cannot fight,
I have no fear of pain,
My weakness gives me might.

Defender of the innocent,
Those who don’t deserve,
The cruelty of this world.
For them I proudly serve.

Francesca Briggs ’18


Blanc, bianco, blanco, white
Is the only color I see every school day of my life
Sitting in class, realizing, Nobody looks like me,
We barely even learn about African American history
Feeling confined to share what thoughts cross my mind,
While everyone is looking at me noticing I’m one of a kind
Classmates always wonder Am I okay,
Yes, I am, but I can’t express what I truly want to say
As I walk from class to class,
Only a few people that look like me have come to pass
Excitement rises with Wassup’s and Hello’s!
But quickly dying down as the bell rings and we have to go
I go back to a silent yet observant mood,
patiently waiting for the long 80 minute period to be through
Once class is over I can go to the Magis office and see my real friends,
and It’s always easy for us to laugh and reminisce on the good times we spend.
As we all look alike and share similar experiences —
It’s effortless to understand each other and our daily grievances
Considering that 6% of 1400 is only so few,
we must band together
and support each other
because that’s the only thing to do.

Armond Gray ’17

I love you

I love you
3 words, 8 letters.
Should be simple right? Wrong.

Words, I’m not so good with them
Words can build people up and yet break them down.
Words like “I love you” have the power to build people up
and break them down at the same time.

I love you.
3 words, 8 letters.
Endless ways to say it;
Be careful, drive safely,
make good choices, get some rest.

I love you.
3 words, 8 letters.
Endless ways to show it;
a song, a smile,
a hug, a letter,
a joke, a phone call.
Something different for every person.

I love you.
3 words, 8 letters.
Josh, Marykate, Rita, Joseph, Tamlyn,
cousins, siblings,
parents, grandparents,
friends, partners.

I love you.
3 words, 8 letters.
Why is it so difficult?

Sarah Buscher ’16

Free at Last

Once upon a summertime,
In a life where everything was a lie,
There lived a girl who loved to climb.

Her parents thought it was a crime,
To let their girl go into the sky,
Once upon a summertime.

However, during her free time,
She took those occasions to say goodbye,
There lived a girl who loved to climb.

She floated up at a rapid climb,
And said to herself, “Let me fly.”
Once upon a summertime.

To explore the skies, she was in her prime,
In a daring feat, she stepped into the sky,
There lived a girl who loved to climb.

Stars, clouds–new worlds sublime
Time passed, and she realized she was sky high,
Once upon a summertime,
There lived a girl who loved to climb.

Kristin Chai ’19


They told us not to go out late,
They said don’t wear a short skirt,
Stay with the group, and be a saint.

They said that leggings are not pants,
Watch our backs as we walk and
Do not talk to strangers.

Do not get into a conversation with anyone.

Do not drink a drink someone has given you.

Do not go out alone.

They told us that because we are girls,
We have to be extra careful.
They said that because we are girls,
We need to watch everything.

And never,
whatever you do,
Never Turn Around,
Always Walk Straight.

Keep going and run as fast as you can.

They told us to listen to them,
They told me to do as I was told,
To take their advice,
But I did not.

I did not want to listen.
I went out late,
And wore what I wanted.

I did not listen.
I did not listen.

And maybe I should have listened.

Juliana daRoza ’18

Land of Refuge?

In a small dingy they come in, reeling,
seeming only as asylum cases.
Wondering if their lives have meaning,
they are running in separate races.
Each of them was born on the starting line;
No time to take a second to breathe.
Rejected by selfish states screaming ‘mine’
for their faith, they are only asked to leave.
Was coming here really their decision?
As we fight overseas for good and right,
privilege mutely distorts our vision.
At home when real duty calls, we take flight.
Should we allow them in and take their side?
Or, in this trial should we cover and hide?

Tessca Almeida ’18

I Wish

I knew a little girl once. She laughed at the rain and danced for the sun. She sang for the stars and told stories to the moon. She ran circles around the house in her Mama’s oversized polos, tripping over the hem and giggling in laughter as she tumbled over her own toes. My little girl and I used to take walks in the park, pointing out the chattering squirrels, the musical songbirds, picking up acorns to line our trail and decorating the benches with various pebbles. When it rained we pulled on our galoshes and splashed through the puddles, giggling as raindrops fell on our noses and finally stopping to look at the worms as they crawled out to play. My little girl used to point at her own reflection, “Look! Look, it’s me!” And we would lovingly gaze at her beautiful almond shaped eyes, poke her round baby tummy, braid her thick luxurious black locks and stroke her flawless smooth caramel complexion. My little girl knew she was the prettiest thing in the world. She’d strut home, taking the time to glance at herself in more puddles, admiring herself for her own beauty.
I wish my little girl still thought she was pretty. My little girl doesn’t appreciate her caramel skin anymore. Now she asks me why people treat her differently than others. She asks me why none of the other little girls at school look like her and all her dollies don’t look like her either. My little girl doesn’t sing for the stars anymore, her songs sound different from those on the radio. My little girl won’t dance for the sun anymore, she says her dances are too showy for those around her. My little girl doesn’t strut home anymore when it rains; instead she rushes past the puddles, afraid her makeup will run down her face exposing her differences to those around her. But how I wish my little girl would love herself again as much as the rain and the sun, the moon and the stars still do.

Zarina Wong ‘16

Hey Baby Girl

Hey Baby Girl,
How’re you doing down there? I know the world can be a cold-hearted place. You seem a little shy now, maybe you’ve been spending more time alone than out with your friends. Baby girl I see you cry late at night when nobody can hear. Baby girl, I know you dry your eyes but it’s ok to cry. I know it hurts to be alone. But you have friends around you, teachers supporting you, and a mama and papa there to protect you. Reach out to them, take them aside, talk to them, ask them to spend time with you. They’d love to open up that beautiful mind of yours like I did.
Baby girl, I see you pushing food around your plate. The scared look I see in your eye when you sit down to a family meal, all laughter and the clinking of forks against plates but all you think about is the addition of calories. Mash potatoes 350, turkey 150, gravy 100, corn 75, water 0. But look at yourself, look at those hips of yours and that waist. No woman has ever been herself without any curves. Don’t forget that I love that stomach. How I tickled you when you were young, ran you around the house to catch. Baby girl don’t hit yourself, think of what your body does for you. How you can run, sing, play and hide.
Baby girl don’t look at those grades. They don’t define you. A number, a percentage, a cold hard figure doesn’t feel the warmth of your touch or the depth of your soul. It can’t label you any more than a stranger can. I know you’re smart, smart as hell you’ve got me beat. Do I care about my baby girl’s, you bet I don’t because you don’t hear yourself talk. Baby girl you don’t see the beauty you pull out of this world. How the pull of the Pacific catches you, reels you in, your wonder of nature’s beauty and morning’s early light. No baby girl, your intelligence can’t be measured. So buck up now, school won’t cage you in just yet, you’re made for greater things.
Baby girl drop that razor. Drop it now because I’m not there to take it from you. Don’t you dare do that to yourself. Mar your satin smooth skin. Have you forgotten how I used to shower you with kisses? Loving every bit of you, how I would kiss your bottom, your hands, your hair, eyelids and nose. No baby girl, don’t punish yourself for things you haven’t done. Baby girl you’re going to be ok. I look into those big brown eyes of yours and you’ll be ok. Your soul is too strong to be broken.
Baby girl don’t listen to the media. They don’t see your beauty like I do. They don’t hear the music your hands create, or the swish of your hips as you walk away. They don’t see you care for your friends or the way you cradle a child. Baby girl, look at yourself and all of God’s good work. His masterpiece set down on Earth as your playground. So don’t sit there and cry. I know I’m gone and I know this seems tough. Baby girl I know it’s unfair but you’re going to get through this. You on your own because that’s all you need but if you ever want Baby I’m here cheering you on just like I did when you were a little girl. Remember when you did gymnastics? Remember your routine off the high beam? Baby girl you were scared but you did it just like now. Because baby girl you got this life, you just gotta go fly.

Zarina Wong ’16


On the edge of town was new paradise.
Used cars fly at sunset.
Would you like to get in to see that one?
Yes, Sir! I’d love to!
Alright, no baloney for you.
Jaws stretched, alright I’ll take it!
Bowing mute, watching for weaknesses.
Sign right there and it’s yours!
Thanks! People are nice.
Feel the hot sun on roasted metal.
Then peer out to the streets.
We that die here, hanging like sausages.
Whispering to the Saints,
Hoping they will step in.
Used cars piled like snakes.
Lined up side by side hoping to get some food,
But in the end he ain’t satisfied
Ending up buried by hunger.
Trying to find somewhere to work,
But they are in exile.
Keep it full keep it working
Is what they say,
Their scream piercing nature.
Just hoping someone can step in.

Alex Bailey ’18

An Ode to My Dog

As black as the night
Fluffy frizzy fur like clouds
Preparing for a rainstorm
Sweet like sugar
With breath that smells
Like the stink of a fish harbor
Innocent energy
Can make a person’s day
Joyful puppy
Lifts spirits everywhere
So dog, oh dog
I love you
Thank you for endless love
And hugs
My little black bear
Bound on

Katie Buntic ’19

Not Merely to Be Called but also to Be

All different backgrounds they say we’re the same,
A community united under one name
Guided by our ethics and striving for acceptance
But under the surface it’s not what’s expected.
Divided by popularity, color, and money
Problems are pushed under the rug and it is simply not funny
Building our future on a platform of shame
We witnessed racism and hatred and didn’t place blame.
We turn a blind eye when it comes to college scholarships and donations
Heaven forbid an athlete should leave Wildcat Nation
Parties with themes of hate and exclusion
Full of “ignorant” kids with racial delusions.
Ignorance is no excuse at a college prep school
Where grades for honors and AP classes rule
Some say we are kids who make stupid mistakes
Self-centered teens who don’t know the stakes
Racism is justified by “it’s just what we do”
With no regard for who our actions cut through.
But what is the cost to a truly good person
When problems like this only worsen?
What does it say when we are “with and for others”
But we cannot respect the humanity of our sisters and brothers?
It says that we ignore the impact of our actions
And allows our friends’ cruel behavior to gain traction.
We must practice what we preach
And use empathy for what school doesn’t teach
See equality as a right, and don’t practice “separate but equal”
Foster a future generation that seeks to be peaceful,
Envision a future we wish to create
Not accept racism as our generation’s fate.

Joan Buse ’17

I Remember

running through a summer storm
the smell of clean air
whispered secrets among friends
stolen sunglasses
heart-shaped doodles
sunlight on wet skin
laughter in the middle of a song
crying tears for someone else
chaste kisses on cheeks
ocean waves soaking t-shirts
same songs on repeat every night
ditching flip-flops in favor of sand
salty sun-bleached hair
warm tea on cold mornings
lazy piggyback rides
leaning on each-other staring at the sky
taking a million pictures to remember the moments
watching the ever-changing colors of flame
telling all our epic stories, one after another
goofy pranks
the smell of wet grass
laughing until we cry
long sleepless nights
tracing our steps because we got lost
dancing under the light of stars
I remember feeling infinite

Rene Fong ’19


Pound pound my heart takes a hop
as I think how all things could go wrong
I pause and wait for it to stop

My mind absorbs the worst like a mop
All the bad in my head an annoying dong
pound pound my heart takes a hop

Sometimes I feel like I might pop
It’s like the refrain of an annoying song
I pause and wait for it to stop

Rational things just form the top
the list of all the fears is long
pound pound my heart takes a hop

It often makes my stomach drop
but on the outside I look strong
I pause and wait for it to stop

Sometimes it feels so nonstop
and closes in like the sound of the gong
pound pound my heart takes a hop
I pause and wait for it to stop

Katie DeBenedetti ’19

This Dark Sky So Bright

Oh look up high, the dark sky so bright.
The empty abyss, filled with knowledge and wonder.
A dark brownie sprinkled with powdered sugar.
A velvet coat after a light snowstorm.
This dark sky so bright and grand,
Makes me feel so small down here on land.
I look up high and think to myself,
what’s out there lurking,
looking back at me.
The almighty, know-all, foreseeing God?
Or maybe an alien, with its slimy silk skin.
How a boy can wonder about that dark sky.
Its many stars that illuminate the universe.
Their beams, casting spells that grasp anyone
staring up at them.
And who can forget about our spotlight in the sky,
the Moon.
A devious being who sets the stage for the night to come.
His presence is there not only in the night, but he whispers
his rumored cheese face all throughout the day.
This dark sky so bright,
holds many secrets open to anyone
willing to look for them.

Miles Barrow ’19