“Once upon a time, a girl…” by Arlet Rivas

Once upon a time a 5 year old girl with brown hair, bright eyes and a mischievous smile. There was once a girl who, like many, dreamed of being a princess, like those in long dresses, hairstyles that are only seen in magazines and precious jewels. A girl that when you looked at her, reflected the innocence and happiness that a human being could have, a girl who loved the world and people in it, a girl who would do anything to make you laugh, a girl with wings bigger than the universe, that one day they could’ve been able to fly. There was once a girl with a beautiful and sincere laugh, neither evil nor pain could reach her for how fast she could run, a girl who like a few … was happy.
There was once a 6 year old girl who dropped her princess crown to be able to take the queen’s, when she was not at home. There was once a girl who learned the word “alcohol” for the first time and that was the reason why the queen did not return to the castle for hours or maybe days. There was once a 7-year-old girl who stopped dreaming so she could be up late at night next to the phone in case the queen called out saying that she would come back that night. There was once an 8-year-old girl who first experienced suffering when she saw that the prince was crying when the queen did not return. Once there was a girl who stopped trying to make the prince laugh when she noticed that every time she tried to make him laugh, he made her cry. There was once a 9-year-old girl who first learned the word “drugs” and that was the reason why the prince sometimes became aggressive with her.
There was once a girl who stopped making mischief when she noticed that she should no longer cause trouble to the king, seeing that his eyes were not as bright as before.There was once a 10 year old girl who found the queen in bed with her eyes closed and her wrists bleeding.There was once a girl who learned what is the word “suicide”.There was once an 11 year old girl who hoped that one day the queen and the prince would recover.There was once a girl who smiled again because the queen was better.There was once a 12 year old girl who cried, who cried like never before, a girl who had broken her hope, a girl who learned what it is to have to learn to wake up every day without knowing if the queen would drink again, or if she would not return to the house for a few days, if the king would enter her door saying that the queen would never return, or if the prince would lose his head completely by hurting people.
There was once a 13-year-old girl who dealt with being afraid of the prince and to stay away from the queen so that she no longer made her suffer. There was once a 14-year-old girl who began to ignore life with loud music, she began to write when the people she loved most turned off her voice, a girl who focused on getting good grades to make the king happy because had been sickened by so many worries. There was once a 15 year old girl who decided to leave her home to start over, to find happiness again. There was once a 16-year-old girl who knew what scissors felt through the skin of her wrists for the first time, hoping that those cuts hurt more than the wounds in her heart. There was once a girl who decided to stop waiting for someone to save her.
There was once a 17-year-old girl who decided to make her broken wings, verses and poems. There was once a girl who decided to learn to live with her wounds, she decided to learn to appreciate those moments that caused her happiness, to notice the good things in life, to forget, to breathe, to forgive…  Once upon a time there was a girl who had never wanted to be a princess.

“All The Beauty We Cannot See” by Arlet Rivas

There is a place between your vein and your skin, which like a labyrinth takes you to your greatest sorrows.
There is a place between the mirror and your body, which breaks with the silhouette of the nonconformity.
There is a place between the food and your mouth, which closes like a flower so that the next day can remain just as beautiful.
There is a place between your face and happiness, which paints the most perfect copy of it.
There is a place between your eyes and mine, that hides all the beauty that we can not see.

“The Universal Citizen in Love” by Ryze Xu

In the long existence of us universal citizens, well, in about ten billion years, we forgot how to communicate. Until after a long interstellar journey, I found the existence of humans on a small, blue planet. I found myself in love with a human girl, but I was not able to say anything to her.

I stood on Mars alone, silently. I watched her time passing.

A minute passing, a second passing, how slow.

A month passing, a year passing, how fast.

In his passing, the Curator of Peculiar Library in Ami X Galaxy managed to collect my billion-year melancholy. With a tremendous sense of satisfaction, he did not forget to introduce me to his librarian job before he left. He said, come and be a librarian, learn some human language, it is highly possible that you can learn how to express what you are thinking.

I asked, could I build a branch of the library on Mars? Ami Galaxy is too far for me to see her.

The curator agreed. Okay, Okay, let me bring all the books from humanity to you.

Wallalla, to the Earth he went. He blew a sudden hurricane, which sent all the books up, up and away. I worked alone on Mars. Using the volcano stone, I built a library. I read the books silently. I watched the girl and I studied the emotions of the humans. I discovered that they are surprisingly curious about the sky. They built up their view of the universe based on twelve magical constellations.

Should I talk about constellations? After all, as a citizen in-universe, all I know is the hollow, boundless void.

Hi, I said, it’s nice to meet you. Let’s talk, about the constellations. I heard that yours is Scorpio. Do you know anything about the revolution track of Scorpio RI21H—P92H?

Road with a Clock in the Shoes

A poem by Justin Liu, Class of ’15

black blood tastes iron,
under the skin covered definition.
before I go to sleep,
don’t trust anyone.
when I walk on my feet,
who am I to pray beyond the sun?

hair grows tree that strong as grass,
strike me seasons of thunders to avoid fragile paths.
with decision that can’t bring back the dead,
with number notes that can’t relive the past.
in which shoes you choose to run?
in these socks that can touch the ground.

carry an umbrella with holes,
if an broken glass bulb still glows.
don’t let faith disappears your soul,
a grain of sand won’t slip your hope.
second ticks without the bleeding of sweat,
don’t lose your shoes till it worns with cracks.

Touch the Words

A painting by Eddie Chan, Class of ’15

Paintings by Chris Engel

Paintings by Chris Engel, Director of Programs 

Our Copper Philosopher

A short story by English Department Teaching Associate Jonathan Ramsey

Originally published by the Canadian Science Fiction Review 

They named him Hermes and kept him in the basement, where he scuttled about on copper claws among the clumps of stale cotton candy. Bea didn’t feel guilty about this. Harrison, on the other hand, periodically suffered bursts of shame. On these occasions he’d weep, punch a wall, groan, and run towards the basement door screaming “I’ll save you, Hermes! I’ll save you! What have we done?” Bea, lighter and faster and generally more controlled, would beat him to the door and bar it from him. Harrison would beg for the key. He would get on his knees, clasp his hands, kiss her boots, and whisper “What have we done, Beatrice? What have we done to him?” A soft scratching could then be heard from the other side of the door. They both ran from this.

Bea spent most of her time upstairs in her room, drawing in sketchbooks. Harrison prowled the woods behind the house shooting things. These were the activities they enjoyed the most, and so this was how they spent most hours of most days. Bea never showed Harrison what she drew. Harrison never told Bea what he shot. Both had stopped asking.

Tuesdays were different. Tuesdays were for fortune gathering. Harrison would wake at dawn, shower, brush his teeth, and get dressed. His chain mail suit clicked and clacked; his steel boots hammered as he descended the stairs. Bea would meet him at the basement door with a cup of coffee and encouraging words. He’d listen, sip from the mug, smile with effort, and lower the plexiglass visor of his helmet.

“Flick it,” he’d sigh. And Bea would oblige. With the snap of a lever the basement filled with cotton candy, seeping from vents and tubes. Bea unlocked the door with the key around her neck, patted Harrison on the back and shoved him in. She locked the door after him and sat in the kitchen staring at a wall, waiting. Across the table, the rest of Harrison’s coffee began to cool.

illustration by Indrapramit Das

Harrison thrashed about wildly in the great mass of pink, yelping between mouthfuls of sugar, shoving his way through the thicket of candy cloud. Using his flamethrower he cleared a path along the wall. The radar detector on his wrist began to beep rapidly. Molten candy dripped over his visor. Continue reading

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A poem by Maria Popova, part of a Class of ’14 Senior Project

A balmy garden in its bloom,

Which scent was meant to soothe and cure,

Becalmed under secret gloom,

Fertile, sumptuous and pure,

The ocean blue – the origin of life

It gave us birth and set us free,

To love, to dance, to share, to Be on

Earth, where virtues were rife

But yet, so fragile in its gist,

Just as a lacy snowflake on a palm

The harmony was fanned within the mist,

And the world never again seemed to be calm.

Profusion gave birth to vices.

As every man desired to possess

All earthly goods at the cost of any prices,

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