“We’ve lost, haven’t we?” Her dark eyes turned to him, not pleading, not appealing, but merely stating the undeniable truth.

David’s heart wrenched at the loss of innocence, and, ultimately, the loss of hope he saw in that gaze. Sera had been his source of inspiration so many times in the past that David was half-afraid that he’d used up so much of her spark himself that he’d left none for her. To see her so bitter, so hopeless like this, cut him deep.

“Humanity, I mean. Mankind, people—whatever. We’ve failed. We’re not going to make it.” Her eyes drifted meaningfully down to the crowd of racist protesters on the street below them.

Their cries had reached a crescendo now, and they were battering human dummies with their placards. Sera knew what would happen next. In a few minutes, the dummies would be alight and the protesters would be cheering, and eventually, when their excitement had died down a little, they’d go to a pub and get boisterously drunk, without a thought to the destruction they had caused. She’d seen the same scene so many times before. So had the history of mankind.

“Who knows, kid?” David shrugged, his own eyes distant. “The part of us that does these things is the same part that makes us human, the part that got us down from the trees in the first place.”

Sera snorted bitterly. “There’s irony for you,” her gaze drifted once more—but to the sky this time rather than to the protesters “We’re no better, y’know. We’ve been looking down on these people the same way that they’ve been looking down on us. We don’t burn dummies in the streets, but it’s still the same.” Her dark eyes shifted once again, this time searching for something in David’s gaze. Understanding, perhaps. “Them and us,” said David. “That’s what this is all about. It should be just ‘us,’ but it’s not. That’s where humanity falls down.”

Her eyes drifted back to the horizon and David reached out and gently took her small hand in his large one. He cleared his throat awkwardly, captured her gaze, and though his words were casually said, his eyes were intense. “Darlin’, I know I’m not exactly educated, but I’ve been around awhile. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that as long as there is one person left in the fight, there’s a chance the fight can be won,” he said, his gaze flicking to the particular section of the horizon she’d been looking at a little while before—the part where the sea met the sky. “I know what it’s like, kid. When one person gets the courage to stand against the flow, it makes it just that much easier for someone else to do the same.”

His roving eyes rested on a flock of pigeons on a rooftop a few buildings away, his expression carefully blank as he continued. “Pretty soon one of those pigeons is gonna pick up and fly. And, in time, so will another, until the whole sky is filled with white birds,” he turned back to her, his eyes filled with uncharacteristic tears and his expression begging her to understand, but somehow knowing that she would, that she always had. “That’s us, darlin’.”

Sera squeezed his hand; a slight—very slight—almost sardonic smile curved around her lips. “We’re birds, David?”

“You and me both, kid,” David murmured, pulling her against his side and wrapping an arm around her waist. On his lips was a slight smile. “You and me both.”

Behind them, a shimmering, golden glow was shed across the concrete and glass masses of buildings that made up New York, as the sun crested the horizon.

Falling Action

My best friend Erin Rogers and I were together all the time, doing nothing without the other. But one day I realized that somewhere along the road somebody failed her, and every day I cannot help but wonder if it might have been me. Everything she went through, I was there for her, but I guess some things are too hard for even friendship. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember. How could I ever forget? I’m sharing this story for the first time since it happened.

The last time we had no worries, well, that were apparent, was on August 20 of ’97. We spent the night in her basement under the stairs. I can still taste our dinner of cold macaroni and cheese on our breath, and feel sticky sweet butterscotch on our fingers. Rebecca St. James’s “Side By Side” blared through our ears. “Together forever, that’s the way we should be,” we sang aloud. We laughed, and talked about everything and anything. I will never forget that night, one of the best nights of my whole life,and the night where it started to end. A climax of sorts—the end of the rising action; the beginning of the falling.

Erin’s parents divorced when we were in sixth grade. Erin was torn apart mostly because her mom wouldn’t keep her, and her father was an atheist. Erin and I both had sadistic older brothers at this point. In March of ’96 my brother was sent to Three Springs, in Paint Rock Valley. Today I refer to this place as hell. Erin’s dad quickly remarried—a prostitute. Erin was always upset, but we always talked and prayed about it, so it seemed to be resolved. Still, one day I noticed her smile drop just slightly, only enough for a best friend to notice. I tried to talk to her but nothing seemed to help. At first it was just not being together at all times, and then it was her eyes. They became so sad, making the hurt so visible.

By September ’97 she had started to waste away. She wore all black, practiced self-mutilation, and obsessed over death. I had never been so worried or scared in my life. I never wanted to leave her alone with her thoughts. But the inevitable happened. The last time I saw her in a way that broke my heart was at church. It hurt so much to see her in such despair and know that I couldn’t help, so I stopped going to church altogether.

On November 12, 1997 I got a phone call. “I’m going to Three Springs. Don’t forget me. I love you,” she tried to say through her sobs. I can safely say that I hate Three Springs. I told her I’d love her forever, that she’d always be my sister at heart, and to stay strong. She didn’t take that advice. January of 1998 she was free. I never saw Erin again. My best friend forever decided forever had to be cut short. I like to think she took my smile with her.

For a while I struggled with depression and suicide. We moved to Madison for a fresh start, but every day I’m reminded of her in some way, and I cannot help but think, What if? Her parents and I have a mutual disrespect for one another right now. A great person was destroyed. By what, I am not sure. But that makes it no less real.

Kindred Beings

Now, feelings flying like silken leather we stop

To stare at each other

In the half moonlight. Found inside

Is something like attempted paradise.


Limb over limb, grasping over the entanglement

I stop, to nuzzle your chest and

Enter the creature within.

Cry, in the guided minds together

Certain of destiny, certain of shimmered quality of light.


Have you ever heard the sigh of winter? I know you have not,

Inside your body was airy summer when created

Brought light into myself, at the first glance

I can gain life, living inside each other

Two created, instant together kindred entwined;


How did we even attempt to see what happened if we did.

Gregariously watching, One even as speaking, fluted softly

Discover what makes us become, flicking, twisting

For inside one another we sigh.


Of Light and Dark

There is reasoning

And then there is release.


I’m tired of the war raging here.

I’m tired of keeping up the fight.

The burden I shoulder

is not so heavy.

So I’ve stopped resisting its tug.


Yes, I walk in the light.

But I carry the darkness with me.

Her Eyes

At the beauty of creation

You will wonder, lost in her eyes.

But her eyes will see only lust.

Tears see only impossible lies.


Almost kneeling to symbol of beauty…

Call of honor, you turn and leave.

And she will never forget you.

And she will never forgive.


All the crazed winds of Chaos

Can undo things that Destiny set.

For eternity souls will be waiting.

Love is not something souls forget.

In Defense of a Teenager’s Right to Question

Teenagers are known for their bizarre mood swings, questioning minds, and incessant energy. These traits mixed in with a parent’s habit of denying a teen’s request without a justification are common causes for many of the conflict between parents and teenagers.

This occurs because in childhood “no” is accepted without question—a child is not mature enough, in many cases, to question, but that is not in a teen’s nature. They are no longer children and should not be treated as such. It is wrong for parents to say “no” without any reason. In doing this they are inciting a teen’s anger and encouraging rebellion, therefore causing conflicts that disrupt the peace in a household. For example, a classic fight between parents and their teens can be about permission to go to a party. A parent might know that at that party, their teenager might be offered drugs. If a parent states this concern as a reason why he or she is not letting the teen go, then there is a better chances that this teen will understand and that together they will come to an agreement. Perhaps the teen, out of his or her own free will, eventually will decide not to go.

The situation mentioned previously shows that behind such an empty word as “no” there always is a reason. Adults are given explanations, even if they are not quite obvious—why should it be different with teenagers? Although they may not be as mature as adults, teenagers are perfectly capable of analyzing and understanding the reasons why certain ways of conduct, dressing and actions are prohibited. In fact, most are likely to accept and even agree with a parent provided he or she actually sits down and discusses the matter in a mature and civilized way.

In any case, contemporary and classical education teaches us to question. This is a method through which people learn to think for themselves. The right to question is, in fact, human nature, as well as essential. All people have this right and it would be discriminatory as well as an act of tyranny to deny to the right to teenagers simply because of their youth. If anything, a teen’s right to question should be encouraged. How are teens expected to grow and learn if no one teaches them—merely gives them vacant answers such as “no”?

Knowing this, however, many parents still hold on to the detrimental habit of assuming that teens don’t have the right to know why they are being denied a request. It is foolish to think that the curious mind of a teenager will be satisfied with just a simple “no.” Parents have the option of helping their teens grow, teaching them as well as keeping the peace. By justifying their reasons why something is right or wrong they send a positive message: they want their teens to learn, and they care enough to take the time and teach them. After all, if teens always accept “no” and never question, how will they be able to stand up for themselves?

Why Am I Here?

“I’ve got something I have to tell you.”

I move my chair closer to him,

Then decide against it.

I move my chair slightly away.

“I really need to talk to you—”

He checks his watch.


I search for an understanding look

In his eyes.

There’s none.

“This is really difficult for me”

He sighs a long, drawn-out sigh.

“Try and understand”

He’s getting impatient.

I knew he wouldn’t be interested.

“If you’ll just listen to me—”

“Why am I here?” he asks.

Why did I even try? I think.

Rescue of Me

hands move over me

spreading clean

my saffron sunshine

through a tired afternoon


eyes advance into me

blinking pure emerald

green grass, our children’s dance

of a tomorrow spring more


you squeeze inside

the space I closed to all

pumping my heart

across the sky, into forever


through obscurity, I speed

to your redemptory glow

with a touch, you blind my demons

and grant me rest.

What If They Had a War and Nobody Came?

Someone somewhere somehow insults another.


and they are dug in bristling,

gaping barrels pointed at you

and your children.


Trust in logic,

do as they say,

respect authority.


Empty beer bottles linger

outside the administration building,

and they say:

on your honor

(don’t you want honor?)

let me brainwash you,

go and tell your children

war is necessary.


And they say:

observe the beauty of these black beasts

we made,

you helped make those raining ashes.


We have power,

let me give you power.

You can kill them all,

their pets and houseplants too.

Let us stand here on the field,

among the grasses that bend

in reverence to us.


And they say:

do you want honor?

Gnash your teeth and go

participate in the dance with death

perfectly justified.


And at last they are done with their talking,

they wait hungrily,

the empty windless field,

all quiet

in reverence to a greater power.


What if they had a war

and nobody came?

Sad Eyes Look Ahead

These sad eyes, they look ahead

Into the dark nothingness, they stare

Without happiness or joy, they are emotionless.

Yet the smile shines brightly.

An illusion created to satisfy the questioning looks of others.

But not good enough to satisfy oneself.

The mind tries to hide what the heart feels.

The body laughs while the soul cries out.

Softly do the invisible tears fall.

Flowing deftly into the river of time.

So soon are they forgotten…

Speckles of dust lost in a great desert.

So am I lost—confused in each and every direction I turn.

No one can see my sadness… my grief—

No, no one truly can in my good conscience.