February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
“What Is Water?”
Soft as lush green
Hard like the truth
Strong enough to knock down the city
Sweet enough to satisfy a desert thirst
My soul is thirsty
For living water
The current overpowers
Waves thrash upon rocks
Guide boats at sea
Sea of forgiveness
Ocean of love
River of living water
Well of peace
Streams of joy
Fill and leave my eyes
As I cry out to you
Immersed in water used to baptize
An outward sign of testimony
An inward sign of grace, from somewhere within
You are my living water
I shall never thirst again.
Sonam Kshatriya is a student of Brookhaven College who was encouraged to submit these poems by my creative writing instructor. Her only hope that this work inspires others to live their lives for God and it encourages positive change in our world. “All glory belongs to God,” Sonam says.
April 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
Thanks to submissions from many authors, poets, and artists, as well as the work of our editorial advisors and layout team, Volume 3 is now online. We hope you enjoy it. You may wish to click “View this document on Scribd” under the embedded PDF, because you’ll be able to zoom in using the plus sign for easier reading.
Remember, we’ll be posting work for Volume 4 as it’s accepted, so check back here often for more art and writing.
July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Yes. I still chew the echoes of each kiss
we shared, the first time our bare feet touched
or our legs nakedly braided. Sometimes,
the salt of your knuckles still splits my tongue.
I believed in seasons, never thought
we would end. Each day without you begins
sober; I no further understand nights
of dreaming your body next to me.
Sometimes, my tears leap at you; a thousand
violins erupted from my stomach
when I found you. Sleep, please, sleep like nothing
matters. Leave your mourners empty, cursing
God. Wake up each morning reflecting
children in your perfect little eyes.
July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
He came to our school in a swirl of sequins and chiffon. I sat enthralled as he spun around the gymnasium floor like a god of twirling color. As he moved, I imagined myself as such a master, this prophet of entertainment plying his craft in front of fifty impressionable teens sitting in awe of his skill. I had never seen anyone move like that. His name was Graham Williams and he took my heart that afternoon one magnificent dance step at a time.
“I’d like you all to thank Mr. Williams for coming to Gramercy High School today,” Principal Johns said as Graham gave a magnificent bow and a flourish. We all clapped, and it was over.
Williams was a local celebrity. He now ran a theater and dance class at the rec center on Parker Street, after a brief success on Broadway had run its course. Now he danced in purple sequined tights to Grand Funk tracks in our gymnasium. I didn’t care. I had found an idol.
Me and my best friend David Yow had a two-man dance crew of sorts and were looking for new moves to incorporate into our routine. We were inspired by wild tales disco troupes at glamorous parties, of Studio 54 and living life like we thought we ought to. Money, booze, drugs, we wanted it all and we figured dancing was our way into some sort of fame. We had practiced for weeks and in two days the school was hosting a talent show.
I had read about Graham’s showcase on a flyer in the cafeteria, though it took some convincing to get David interested. As usual, it took April McAdams to get him to do anything.
“Yeah,” I said. “She asked if you had plans or something.”
“I guess it couldn’t hurt,” he answered. “Does he do anything other than the hustle?”
April met us there. David and me were smoking cigarettes and leaning on the gym’s back wall looking as cool as we could. David was better at it. He was taller, muscular and had filled out around the time most boys do, while my body grew at a rate slower than a redwood’s. I was short and awkward and very aware of it.
“Hey fags,” she laughed as she walked up to us. “Got one for me?”
David pulled a smoke from behind his ear and handed it to her.
“This is going to be terrible. But better than algebra, I guess.” She shouldered me aside, leaned against David, and ran her fingers down his chest. “I’ll save you a seat,” she whispered in his ear before she sauntered off.
David ground his butt on the bottom of his shoe.
“Come on,” he said.
I followed, noticing the difference between his hips and April’s, the way hers swayed where his were solid and much more inviting. I watched as I trailed behind them.
After the show, me and David walked to my house.
“It was okay. The hands, the spins, we need more of that. But most of all,” David stopped and made his point with a finger in my chest, “no more of this Olivia Newton John shit. We need some real music.”
He wasn’t quite as impressed with Williams as I was, but he was starting to see what it might take to be famous.
I had designed most of the choreography for our routine. David mostly just cut what he thought didn’t work. That usually meant fewer feathers or outfit changes and less chances for anything that involved us touching hands. How we were supposed to spin and gaze into each others’ eyes without holding hands, I had no idea. So I concentrated on the steps.
We practiced in my basement. A dirty orange couch, a record player, and a full wall mirror were the only witness to our efforts.
“Three, four, and step and finish,” I panted as the track ended.
David was smiling and I knew he liked the steps I had added. He hopped over the back of the couch and sat cross-legged, pulling a bag out of his pocket. He laughed.
“Do you really think we have a shot?” He licked the paper and lit a match. “You’re pretty good at this, you know,” he said with a smile.
David looked brilliant. Still winded, he took a long drag and coughed it out. I sat next to him and took the joint from his hand. Our knees were touching and I leaned back and closed my eyes.
“We could be good together,” I said. “We make a good team.”
“And move to LA, be actors or somebody so famous they have to make up a new name for what we are,” he laughed.
“We could be huge. Think of the money, the parties,” I agreed.
As I smiled I noticed that our hands were touching. I don’t know how mine got there, or for how long, and I looked at my fingers, wondering what they thought they were doing. David had stopped laughing and was staring at me. He pulled his hand away slowly. The only sound that got through to me was my heart pounding in my ears so I didn’t hear him the first time.
“I said I should get home,” he stood and put his things in his pockets.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, man,” he said.
School was long and painful the next day. Time passed slowly and David was nowhere that I could find him. I passed April in the hallway after lunch and she smiled at me. It wasn’t a nice smile.
“Good luck tomorrow,” she snorted as she passed me.
That night I practiced alone. David’s parents were tired of me calling and told me politely to find something better to do with my time.
I went to the basement and put the needle to my favorite record.
“Sing to me, Barbara,” I whispered.
It was harder to dance alone when you’re used to a partner but I practiced until my thighs burned.
I fell asleep on the couch that night. With a beer in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, I dreamed of David and of being a star.
I walked to school alone. The talent show was in an hour and my stomach was in my throat. I walked into the school auditorium and asked where I was supposed to go. I was pointed backstage where the other performers were stretching and talking quietly. I found the place David and I had agreed to meet, and still there was no sign of him.
The auditorium grew silent as the first act began. The curtain rose and my breath caught.
There he was. He and April McAdams stood hand in hand on stage, heads bowed. She wore a white dress and he a white suit and tie. “Jungle Boogie” began, and they danced, with April moving her hips and tossing her hair as David twirled around her looking to all the world like John Travolta. He spun and stepped just like I had showed him. I was a beat ahead of them in my mind and my mouth moved unbidden to the lyrics. But they were good. Better than I was willing to admit. His hands gripped April’s waist and he lifted her in finale above a heaving chest and a triumphant grin.
That should have been me panting and smiling beside him basking in applause, I thought. But as it was, my number, our number, was scheduled next and I was alone.
I walked slowly on stage, I went to my place and I waited. I thought of Graham Williams and how he stood alone that day, fearless in bright sequins under a blinding spotlight. I held him in my mind and tried to steady my heart.
Graham would have been proud.
My music played and hesitantly I began to move. I was scared and lonely so I imagined my David like he was when we were together. I remembered him and I danced like there was someone next to me who cared for me. I performed each step and sway like he had been there all along. I remembered how his body felt against mine and I remembered the dreams we had once shared.
I forgot I was alone. I danced with David and I danced for David. Then again, I had always danced for him. I would never have the courage to tell him so, and he had chosen April over me. But I knew I had always loved him and I suppose when I got a bit too close, that’s when he finally realized it.
July 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
the little girl climbs up the stairs.
The blue door looms, the tiny hand
knocks, knocks, knocks, and waits for daddy.
The blue door opens─but too fast!
The little girl wobbles and falls
backwards, tumbling and twirling
like a marionette, strings cut.
Daddy cries and crabwalks, crabruns
down the stairs. Just before the ground
she is caught, lifted high. Unharmed,
the parents hug and kiss her.
But was the door blue? But were the
stairs that high? She was falling down;
how could she see him follow her?
Afterwards, did the little girl
cry, or did she smile? Try as
I might, I just don’t remember.
July 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
What a strange phrase to use
when the alternative
is so much worse.
They never tell you how
cold it is, how you never
think to have enough
air in your lungs.
Feel that? It’s
salvation, rising like
bubbles above your head.
Reach as you might, you can’t
reach for the surface, golden
with love brushing your
You never believe it when
they finally pull you out,
drenched with faith, or
at least conviction. You
never quite get accustomed
to that current of God you
July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Your dream of great black peonies
sickened you. Waking with fever
you thought you saw those ugly flowers
aloft, punctuating the sky.
Now after a near-fatal dose
of aspirin and vodka you beg me
to explain our trip to Venice,
where we found the sea receded,
canals dry, famous palazzos
remodeled with vinyl siding
and Danish Modern interiors.
You claim we traveled by bus
from Milan through Verona, then walked
across the exposed sea bed to land
at Piazza San Marco while crowds
at the outdoor cafes applauded.
We had rented a tiny house
on Calle del Lion beside
the Rio di San Lorenzo,
now dry as the other canals.
The city reeked of rotting fish.
Canal-bottoms coughed up skeletons
that had lain there for centuries.
A few days after we arrived
black peonies erupted from mud,
surprising you by growing in salt.
That’s when your fever began,
you admit, but maybe the aspirin
and vodka have confused you,
laying one dream atop another.
Venice wasn’t a dream, though.
I remember the dry canals,
the panic that seized the city
before the unforeseen low tide
ebbed and a normal tide refilled
harbor and canals and refloated
the gondolas and vaporetti.
But no black peonies. Those huge
gloomy blossoms root only
in the subconscious and not
in the canals of Venice or
anywhere else we could map,
feeding on your fever and nodding
like the saddest oncoming storms.