Table of Contents
Poetry + Prose
anchor, Nikunj Giridhar
yellow sky, Abby Lu
Sea Crows, Raycel Dizon
The Colors We Were, Charlize Andrews
left going east, Abby Lu
The Porch, Charlize Andrews
daydream, Neeshal Gupta
realization of love, Charlotte Rebeyrat
Balanced Unbalance, Charlize Andrews
Supernova, Raycel Dizon
train station, Abby Lu
Syzygy, Charlize Andrews
Inured, Charlize Andrews
surroundings, Charlize Andrews
Special thanks to the Green Level HS National Art Honor Society for their contributions to this edition.
In the stressful storm of a busy life,
one source of serenity,
Melodies attuned to my memories,
lyrics striking deeper than lights of life in the sea,
each beat giving way to the rhythm of my heart.
Music pulled me out of the trenches,
gave me the strength to jump my mental fences:
through the heart-tugging ballads of somber reminiscence,
through the harmonies in harmony with emotions that I hid,
through the constant rhymes and beats that helped me keep my distance.
In the whirlwind of thoughts I harbor inside,
one source of serenity
suffocate, Shaili Shah
sunset lot, Nikunj Giridhar
significant things seem to exist on simple nights.
it is a return to the house after a routine weekly grocery shopping trip on a sunday evening in december, and the sky is a soft, yet bold orangish yellow that fades into a calming purple.
some of the disrest that is sitting in my body dissolves, but i feel almost uncomfortable with the pureness of the colors in the cloudless sky. it feels exposed and vulnerable, but oddly brave.
i am jealous of its fearless expression.
i am ashamed of my jealousy.
some things are physically bright, like the light of the sun at noon as you’re exiting the dark movie theater, but still brighter are those things that are bright without appearing so to the eye.
tonight’s sky is the latter.
i look at the yellow gradient of the sky through my phone camera. it is too bright to look at directly.
I feel my cheek with the back of my hand and say it’s exceptionally cold and you say yes, it is. And we sit there for a moment listening to the waves crash and I say there are sea crows in the sky and you look up and say yes, there are and I say that is exceptionally odd because nothing here is dead and you say yes, that is. I ask if you’ll keep agreeing with me and you say yes, you will and I ask you why and you say I know why and I bite my lip till it tastes like metal and say I do. I wave you goodbye and set my mirror down. I fall back asleep in the snow.
Estrangement, Esha Macha
The Colors We Were
Now that I sit here, thinking it through,
I’ve never been anywhere as blue.
Yet I stood there, cold
Now that I sit here, using my head,
I’ve never seen anything as red.
Yet I stood there, heart throbbing
Now that I sit here, memories I unpack,
I’ve never opened a life as black.
Yet I stood there, time wasted
Without being able to go back.
trip to the museum, Jaya Nadella
she was the color of rain clouds
full of hope
yet sorrow at the same time
a token of good luck
but the cause of anxiety
you would dream of her fingertips running down your stomach
yet fear the day her skin would touch yours
she was always in the midst of two worlds
you were standing on the edge of one
she was standing on the edge of the other
the distance between you the size of a galaxy
she was unattainable
but she stood her ground as if she was your last chance of living
her instability brought chaos
the type of chaos that ended in pain
she was bittersweet
she thawed out the numbness chipping at your heart
yet drowned you in feelings of remorse
so you had to let her go as if she was just a dream
but maybe that's all she was meant to be
too distant to be a memory
but too close to be nothing
left going east
things feel strange, as if everything has switched direction overnight, and while i was heading east on the highway yesterday with everyone else, i am on the wrong side of the highway today, because everyone is now going west.
even my breath has changed direction, and i cannot follow it. my inhale gets caught in my throat.
i try to exhale, but there’s no air to release, or perhaps my lungs are holding on to it so desperately that i can’t expel it.
i vaguely discern that there is someone with me who i used to know familiarly, who i used to love fondly. she is facing me, but not looking at me, and it feels abruptly hollow.
she says something, and i know before i hear her voice that i won’t be able to respond.
i realize that i don’t know how to talk to her anymore.
the last of my breath finally escapes from me.
when did she decide to go west instead?
why couldn’t she have taken me with her?
Wildflowers and Weeds, Daneen Khan
Solitude, Daneen Khan
The Flower Vase, Sophia Lee
Not in the kitchen,
nor the rain,
nor the street
On the porch
A muddy, meretricious place
Yet perception portrays purity
Standing there, both taciturn
His gaze beams through my skin
And rushes through my blood
Beats of heart intensify, eerie still.
Until a noise approaches
The seraphic moment ends
Yet my blood still circulates with love.
Creating a story
Is just imagination.
No one knows where it will go
Not even the creator.
It is a path of mystery
That goes into the depths of your soul
Where all the fantasy, the fiction, the love, the mystery
Look where your mind is headed
You don’t know what’s ahead
Waiting for you
To bring it to life
It could be dangerous
Venturing into the unknown like this
Whatever is ahead, whether light
They must come together
In an explosion of color and creativity
Like the sunset between night and day.
Unless you bring it to life,
It is only imagination.
Waking up on the living room couch
Without a pencil and paper in hand
It was only a dream.
blooming, Abby Lu
Kandian Sunset, Keyanna Ratnasekera
realization of love
Essence wasn't certain what her story was anymore. When she had met her ex Thiago, she had a feeling that he'd been her great beginning and tragic end. But then came Cadencia Diaz. Cadencia, with her snark and biting comments. She was prickly, guarded, and Essence knew she had as many, if not more, issues as she. Cadencia reminded her of herself and maybe that's why she found it so easy to dislike the fiery girl. But then she had to go and prove to Essence that she was entirely wrong about her. She was an enigma and everyone in town adored her. She was kind, listened to people, and she was funny without ever being mean. She was the type to see the darkest ends of the world in screaming color, always managing to splash colors onto people's blank canvases of their lives with her bright smile that carried pure ecstasy and happiness. In a town where everyone and everything was cookie cutter, she was everything but. Essence wasn't sure she loved her until she got off the phone with her twenty minutes ago. Cadencia, with her poetic phrases and her Rainman-like knowledge of bad 80s movies, had found a way to get through to her that no one else could ever do. Thiago may have been her great beginning and tragic end, but Cadencia? She was the whole story. And somehow, Essence was more than okay with that.
A want, not a need, rises up
as mass shoves and gravity pulls.
A slope created outside of self - unwittingly
Charity teeters, its weight composed of compassion.
Tit-for-tat, tilting lessens.
Laden, shamefaced, horizontal again.
Balance brought - unwillingly.
Swaying brought by the heart that saw misfortune,
Swaying that continues by the hard heart of vanity
Stricken, a strike presses downward.
Extracting the value,
reversing the act.
But the worth isn’t monetary
The decline doesn’t portray debt.
Yet the liability lingers
Until it’s parallel.
Sundown's Tide, Charlize Andrews
i wonder what would have been
if the supernova happened
to be loved like the dying
to be embraced like it is my last
to be cherished like i am temporary.
i dream of a lover
who takes up half my bathroom mirror
and fills the room with laughter
when we mistakenly use
the other’s toothbrush.
i dream of a lover who carries me
from the car to the bed,
not to break fragile slumber.
i dream up a lover
who does not exist.
i wonder if the sickness never passed,
if the stars were only visible from room 218.
would i have missed
what it felt like to participate in
gentle things like
braiding another women’s hair
peeling a friend’s orange
washing my sister’s hair,
would i finally sink into my skin
would i have still failed to orbit,
to stay awake?
am i borrowing time
that is not mine?
to attract like the wealthy
to be perceived for what there is to offer,
to live surrounded by comfort.
i dream that one day
people will gather around
as if brilliance is present,
and strangely the room is quieter
than when only i inhabit it.
i dream of lights
that are not harsh on the eyes
but are blue and calm
and are not my only companions.
i dream of a life that does not exist.
i wonder if mortality is only something
that forces us to value
before the regret sets in,
that if we are not careful
we’ll grieve before our bones brittle
and learn to love
after the grave.
if all things prospered forever,
would we forget to cherish
the quieter things?
quieter things like
the whistle of wind through leaves
the way her eyes curve up when she smiles
the sacrificing of time for another.
would i finally listen close enough
would i have still had
the universe in my ears,
galaxies begging for my attention?
am i paying enough mind
to what doesn’t call for it?
i wonder what would have been
if the supernova happened
Strings, Jisha Singh
i'll always have my plants, Siri Manneri
Floral, Jisha Singh
one november evening i take the train back to my district on the outskirts of new taipei city, and the sun has already set by the time i disembark.
the light of the station reflects off of the trains and it looks holographic, as if the light were a tangible thing hovering upon heavy air.
there is a warmth there, too, clinging to the platform and the tracks as the train leaves, off to continue its delivery of people to their homes.
i take the stairs this time, and it is nice to be reminded of my breath as i keep moving, caught in a crowd of people eager to get home after the long commute.
when i step out of the back exit of the station, i am struck for a moment at how beautiful the city is.
the sky is pitch black but the street is alive; the street vendors call out to passerby, the shop lights flash and blink seductively, the taxis swerve on the line of recklessness to beat another cab to the next passenger.
there are people, and none of them care about me, and it is that thought that makes me smile.
the light hovers here as well, and it makes the humidity almost visible.
it's stuffy, but not suffocating.
surrounding winds, Charlize Andrews
A choice to remain
Within an abyss;
Reasoning not reasoned with.
A spasmodic spark smoldering
Draws one closer
Until the darkness returns.
Distancing gains more distance,
Yet the light’s diameter isn’t disregarded.
Knowing what behooves;
Denial still prevails.
The switch flicks,
That light hebdomadally cast,
Paralyzes with charm.
The only memories grasped
seen with bright eyes;
An obliterated remembrance of the void
Putting on a Show, Esha Macha
Green Level Literary Magazine