Category Archives: Student Writing

Stars by Clem Grace

We turn to the stars
for comfort
We think those bright little pin pricks
those holes in the atmosphere
can somehow steer us
in the right direction

Because stars surely know
up from down
stars must realize they’re
suspended, indefinitely,
light-years away from each
desperate pair
of searching eyes

They must realize how
superior they are
to us inferior beings
us creatures who succumb
to the force of gravity

Stars never touch ground
just float
effortlessly, tauntingly, above us,
above our heads

So at times
when our head space seems
too expansive
for the minuscule reality
which is our existence

We turn to the stars
because at least they know
their place in the universe

But the truth is
even stars know no directional boundaries

Because if Pythagoras was right,
if the world is truly round,
suspended in dark infinity,
suspended in a blanket of sky,
then what lives above our heads
must also live below our feet

The high and mighty stars, therefore, surround us
that glittering blackness
encompasses us
We search for meaning so high
above our realities
when perhaps we could just be
peering over the edge of the earth.

And I don’t know if the
surrounding constellations,
the sometimes supernovas,
are a comfort or a warning

A protective shield
from galaxies unknown
or a reminder
that our lives are ultimately insignificant

But I know that some stars
are 100 times more powerful
than the sun
the most powerful thing we know
in this not quite geocentric universe
So if the stars know their place
We must know our place as well,
a place within them
a place within the stars.

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Blunderance by Ben Daly

I’ve come to think I’m a writer. Too many swirling thoughts burst out form my old days into some kind of bloody, majestic fragment. I’m too pure to call it something like wild creative birth. But today I keep wondering if I’ll fade away before I escape their power, and find mine. It used to be dreams.

Pretending to love the coldest person who wears a mask

Being an outsider and starting an even hollower friendship with the moon

A block in my mind to write back that defied all progress

I lived half in a world worse for me, with no soul to bring me back but myself.

And when I finally did pry my shadow from the other direction, it gave me something, something that I needed to tell the moon.

So I spoke;

“I have taken myself from the earth so far away that I do not think I shall fade away from all parts of my mind again. And this written on the moon in my mind’s expert symbolism,  I must remind myself with it to stay above ground forever.

 

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View of Metropolis by Ben Daly

Kind of like a dream to break your neck looking up at these walls parting away for the living to navigate through. Even the childless adult who never grew up looks out his tall window at a sky that has enough warmth to look back at him. The bar owner and his cigarette look up through the high forest of right angles in more amusement than jealousy. He never needed a higher place than where he was. Far above is the CEO, and far below are the crustaceans of men who truly live in the shadow of his work. The moon doesn’t have many words for it, but spectates the battles of lives the running people fight on the pavement. How many are running from something? Will the blue sky ever see a day with these people at rest? Will they ever have a real sunset in their lives? The mechanic can never answer as he stares up out of his lonely warehouse. Even the young ones who live behind the skyline ask their parents if they have faced this question. Night is haunted by anger and orange lights. Sometimes they run more now than while the sun is out.

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Reflection by Ben Daly

It was dark, so I could only trust the moon. Spending what could have been better days with worse people, who were still so far away. The pale patterned walls saw everything. And when my family made me come to the surface for air, it was artificial. My passions, my hobbies, my ego, even my music. I pretended it was perfect. Like the people, these things could have been closer to me. But unlike the people, I chose to keep them far. And when I could not see the moon in my window, I pondered if anything really was there. It felt like a beautifully decorated stage with no actors. Even the music was there. But no matter how hard I tried, the star would not come on. What was his motivation for this scene? The audience was preoccupied, and the tickets were approaching unaffordable. So I sat on the side of the stage, awkwardly looking to the backdrop of the night sky, hoping I would remember my lines. But it was dark, so I could only trust the moon.

 

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What Happened During the Fire? by Ariana Agnew

What happened during the fire?

The sky painted orange and speckled with sunset,

Those flames lapping at the sloped ceilings,

The walls ready to burst with yet more heat,

More ash and debris to smother the air,

What happened inside the smoke?

As it curled like a snake around the room,

The world stifling and scalding, the ember-arrows flying fast,

What happened inside the haze?

As everything went rainbow with red,

And the burning blurred all that was?

What was lost in the blaze?

As windows shattered and screams were let loose?

What was said in the shrieks?

As souls cried for mercy and lovers, each other,

What happened when it was silent?

The crackling of warmth and the groaning of wood the only sounds,

The shouts choked by the acid air, the world brilliant and dark,

And so terribly bright.

 

What happened during the cold?

In the rains and snows that chilled the glow,

Too late to stop this treacherous, beautiful thing, too late to save the victims,

But arriving just in time to slip ice over gray skeletons and melted hearts,

Just in time to freeze the chaos forever,

So that people would stop, and look upon this place, and wonder,

What happened during the fire

but never know.

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Reasons by Kate Luebkeman

On the night of August 29th 2013, I found out one of my best friends had died. This scenario had often played out in my nightmares, but I never imagined it happening in real life. The Marin County sheriff declared that my friend, who I had seen laughing and smiling a mere four days earlier, had been found dead; washed up from the water underneath the Golden Gate Bridge like a seashell washed up onto shore. She was beautiful, but cracked and chipped from life’s thunderous waves.

She had the biggest smile in the room, the most creative costume at Halloween, and the loudest laugh. She will live on forever in beautiful memories and pictures; and, she will look down on me and other loved ones as the brightest star in the sky.

The road ahead will be full of sleeplessness nights and broken hearts; especially rough for myself and others affected. However, this piece of writing I constructed a few days after her passing is a fundamental step in my personal healing process. I share it with you today in the hopes of touching or helping even one person realize that there is nothing more valuable or worth saving than your own life.

There must be many reasons for a person to take their own life; I can’t imagine it being just one. But maybe there was one thing that threw you over the edge. One event that formulated the feeling that you just couldn’t take it any more. Like if you received a ticket from accidentally running a red light, or the server gave you the wrong order at Jamba Juice. Maybe you had a bad dream that put you in an especially depressed mood, or you earned a low grade on a test. Your brother yelled at you for taking too long to get ready in the morning. You couldn’t pay for lunch because you forgot your money. The parking space you always snag was taken. Your pen ran out of ink in class and no one had an extra pen. Your biking wound contracted an infection. You ate a spoonful of yogurt in the morning, only to realize that it had been molding for months. Your asshole boss told you that your method of bagging groceries was stupid. Your mom told you that if you didn’t study for the SATs you were stupid. Your counselor told you if you didn’t take five AP classes you were stupid. You convinced yourself that you were stupid. You opened up a starburst packet only to find the absence of your favorite flavor: orange. You pressed “seek stations” on the radio and the Backstreet Boys came on- what the heck was this world coming to? You looked in the mirror and thought that you looked fat. You came home from school and saw that your fly had been down all day and no one had cared enough to tell you. You thought that meant no one cared about you. You thought back to last time you saw me; I was drunk, and didn’t even say goodbye. You thought that meant I didn’t care. Maybe that’s why you jumped.

You were wrong, I did care. See, while you were stuck remembering all the shitty times, you must have forgotten to think of all the reasons NOT to jump. You forgot all the good. Maybe if you’d remember that time you found a four leaved clover. Or when you successfully slack-lined three feet. Or when you beat all of us at arm wrestles, despite being less than one hundred pounds. Your last kiss. When you walked down the street and some guy wolf whistled and you blushed. You looked in the mirror at prom and finally saw yourself the way we saw you: beautiful. You hung out with all of us in an Elf Costume because you thought it was comfortable, and we called you a goon. You played dress up one random afternoon at my house, and we acted like four year olds in ABBA costumes. You laughed for more than half an hour when I cooked the worst pasta imaginable while backpacking in the Sierras. You tried the pasta and spit it out and almost threw up. You were in hysterics when we had to eat it all. You took me on my first mountain bike ride, and convinced me that five miles an hour was not even that slow. We went on a ride after school and our friend flew across the trail and sprained her wrist: but, we still rode down Tenderfoot. You kicked ass at nationals. You earned three A+s in a row on essays you wrote. You were given your own horse, and absolutely adored it. You drove your car for the first time. You had us all over for a pool party and we ate ridiculous amounts of chocolate cake. Your family’s reminders that they loved you. Our continuous never-ending love for you.

Maybe you had chemical imbalances in your brain that prevented you from seeing the good. Maybe you had deep emotional wounds that none of us knew about, or you suffered through a secret traumatic event. Maybe it was all of this and more. I only wish that I had known. If best friends are meant to tell each other everything, then why did you stay quiet? Why did you suffer alone?

If only I had told you my story. I have been there. I know what it feels like. Just a few months earlier, only a mile away from you. The wind whipped around me; so strong that I started to lose my sense of balance. I half-hoped that I would just fall and not have to make the decision. My tears flew around my head, raining on the rocks below. I stood at the edge, and decided that if no one came and looked for me, if no one noticed I was gone, then no one cared if I died. I braced myself to jump. Demons surrounded my mind and refused to move. A dark abyss flooded my vision. A creeping sense of shadowy impulse clasped my body in ways I cannot put into words. I squeezed my eyes shut in the hopes of fighting the darkness. Reasons flooded my mind; reasons of betrayal. Reasons of loneliness. Reasons of pain. Reasons of isolation. Reasons flooded into my brain like a flushing river from a broken dam.

I opened my eyes, and for the first time in over half an hour I realized where I was. Looking out on the desert landscape, my eyes followed the silhouetted figure of a giant, far away rock structure and noticed the prickles on a nearby cactus. The more I noticed in the land around me, the less dark my world seemed. And then, something changed. By some miracle, a fleeting thought brushed through my mind. But there’s so much I want to see. I then thought of my upcoming gap year, my dreams of changing the lives of sick children with music therapy, my passion for reading and learning. I forced myself to start naming countries that I wanted to see, foods I wanted to try, and people I wanted to meet. I pictured my future wedding and the looks on my parent’s faces upon seeing their first grandchild. I forced myself to think of everything I would miss out on. My demon’s surrendered.

I was able to do what you were not. I was able to see what beauty there is in this world and force the darkness away. If only I could go back in time and show you how. You were so strong, but not strong enough to do it alone. I will always regret that I didn’t tell my story sooner so you could have fought the darkness. I wish you understood that suicide is a permanent fix to temporary feelings. There is so much more our world has to offer; beauty, wonder, elegance, excitement, first impressions, last impressions, relationships, hard work, opinions, wind chimes, ferry rides, fish tanks, s’mores, rideshares, rainy days, bike rides, vibrant cultures, stunning views, train rides, sunrises, sunsets, discovery, music, happiness, heartbreak, growth, learning, dreams, imagination, and love.

See, there may be many reasons to commit suicide. But there are infinite reasons to stay alive.

 [Editor’s note: If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and/or seek professional help immediately.]

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Untitled by Alex Price

His name was Edward Collins. I absolutely adored him. I mean like staying-up-until-three-thinking-of-baby-names adore. It takes a lot of energy to think about someone this constantly. Your fingers get cramped after writing too many Letters-Not-Sent. You get headaches a lot when you spend hours politely browsing through their Facebook history from the past three years.

I was sitting in the locker room trying to guess what he would be wearing when I saw him during our 1st period together which was  PE until the girl who’s locker was right next to mine poked me in the shoulder and asked me if I was okay. This was an appropriate question considering that I had been staring at my black-screened iPhone for about seven minutes and was starting to drool.

I cleared out of the locker room along with all the other girls who had PE, leaving behind the stragglers who hadn’t gotten dressed yet. As soon as I stepped out I saw him. Standing there, with the morning sun shining down on him, enhancing his already built shoulders and prominent jaw and shining a new light on a face that I could lose myself in for hours at an end. He was wearing his freshly-washed Shilo Creek High PE clothes, I should’ve guessed that’s what he’d wear. Once I realized that I had been standing still staring at him for quite a bit now, I rushed into the gym and sat on the floor waiting for the teacher to take attendance then excuse us to play dodgeball or ultimate team handball or whatever silly sport he had for us.

The teacher chose ultimate team handball as the game of the day and we where all put onto teams, I was heartbroken when I wasn’t put on Edward’s team. But once the games stated I saw him standing in the corner with his friends and went over to see him. I slowly walked over to them, and with a combination of shyness and sexiness that I had perfected after three long years of public high school I asked if I could talk to Edward in private. His friends scattered, shooting looks at me then grinning at Edward.

He started talking about how his dog got mad cow disease and foamed from the lips for about 5 hours then died over the weekend, but I could barely hear what he was saying. All I could do was piece together the vibrations and tone in his voice and shiver under the influence of his beautiful voice.

He paused to sneeze.

I took the opportunity to pull a kitchen knife out of my bra and jam it in his throat in one fluid motion, then catch his body as the life quickly faded from him and drag him behind a mat before anyone saw what I had done. I snapped a selfie with his body then ran to the teacher asking if I could be excused to go to the bathroom. They probably wouldn’t find his body until the blood started to pool and stream out from under the mat. Flowing, trying to escape from the host it had lost. I was about forty yards away from the school when I heard screams and alarms beginning to go off. I sighed, knowing his voice wasn’t a part of the horrific screams coming from the gym. I would totally kill so I could hear drone on about his dead dog again.

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