Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Writer's Spotlight: Sarah Haskell

Sarah Haskell

Sarah Haskell is a senior and a member of the Literary Magazine.  The following is from her Portfolio for Ms. Joyce Belskis' Creative Writing Class.  Sarah has written four types of poems:  a narrative, a tanka, an ode and a cinquain.  Thank you to both Sarah and Ms. B!


A Night with You

Storm approaching
And green porch steps
Black clouds thundering
And the wind howls circles around us

You and I
Green and Brown eyes staring back at each other
Hearts beating fast
And we are only staring
Drenched from rain
Is it love or hate between us?

Both began to speak, mumbling words.
Thunder drowning out our feelings
"I'm here" ,you whisper
I know
Tears mix between raindrops
Our hearts match the rhythm of thunder


A Difficult Choice

Finding a way home
The crossroads in front of me
The question I see
A choice I do not yet know
The light bulb slowly explodes


Ode to Waterfalls

The place I escape to,
The waterfalls,
You, the place I love the most

You're smell Algae infested water, and pollen
The breeze rustling my hair
Water roaring in my ears

I can breathe again
Thanks to you
A black hole for my thoughts
Peace at last
My depression hiding away
The one hug, I want to receive
You are the place I need

The freedom you provide
As I hide under the trees
The waterfalls

I hide from the world with you,
Thank you for my hiding place.

The Blue Island WaterFalls
SEPA station 3


A Sick Life

Sickening, repulsive
Destroying, Debilitating, Deteriorating
Your body against you
Autoimmune Disease

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Writer's Spotlight: Brianna Smith


Brianna Smith is a senior and a member of the Literary Magazine.  The following is from her Portfolio for Ms. Sarina Kledzik's Creative Writing Class.  Brianna has written four types of poems:  a narrative, a sonnet, a tanka, and an ode.  Thank you to both Brianna and Ms. K!

The Newly Broken
The small forest of trees cast

dark shadows on the brick

house, settled at the top of

a hill. I walk out, the cool air
brushing my sinfully dry cheek,
crickets sounding as I step on the porch.
I stand, bangs and short
choppy hair framing my face.
I have no tears, no trembling,
just dread that tugs on my
heart. I was numb at this point.
I was plucked out of school
during science, hearing my
name and freezing because
I knew. I knew it had happened
as I rushed up, lanyard aggressively
tugging on my neck as I
went. With a glance at my
mother I knew.
Standing on the porch, I see
my car. I had rushed in and
waited. Waiting. After an
hour or so, the door opens.
The date and time is announced.
It smelled of… something.
Of cells breaking down.
Of a painful grip.
A last breath.
I did not cry.
My cousins and their parents
came out, telling me it is time
to go. I walk the same
pavement as the hearse. I
leave, and I never return
welcomed again as my
Grandpa drinks his gin.

To be in love is not like others defined
You don’t simply fall into it and live happily
It is a complex piece of artwork that is all intertwined
Although sometimes it can unfold and be quite silly
It can be a fire breathing dragon with deep red eyes
Or cool and turn warm, wrapping around us
This love can lead us to failure and demise
Leaving me fallen like I've been hit by a bus
But it can be completely pure and sweet
First glances and secret kisses
Feelings making me giggle and curl the toes on my feet
Swinging hands as we walk over bridges
Love is a dragon, a fierce, intimidating thing
But once it is conquered you show it proudly like a beloved ring

Rattles and small toes
Teeth coming in like mountains
Wide eyes- bright smiles
Chubby cheeks and tiny curls
No cares in the world

Ode to New York
O New York, your bright and shining lights
Glistening blindingly, but only seen in photographs or online
But despite the barrier between us
I always feel hope from them

O New York, seen by young foolish eyes
Taking lust for love and love for granted
Seeing something that was once pure turning agonizingly stale
But the experience keeps me soaring

O New York, to dream of touching your buildings
Speaking in your tongue
Finding the other half of my heart
It keeps me dreaming
It keeps me believing

Monday, October 2, 2017


DDE Literary Magazine

Our mission is to promote and share the creative endeavors of students at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School.

The students in Ms. Danielle Jones' Spanish 1 class created self-portraits after studying Frida Kahlo.  The students describe their portraits in Spanish with the English translation following it.  Literary Magazine is honored to share this work with a wider audience.

Portrait #1 by Melany Artega

Para mí, es una pintura un poco deprimente ya que se me hizo difícil dejar Venezuela, a mi mamá, amigos y familia. Yo de pequeña les decía a mis padres que me llevaran a vivir a los Estados Unidos y cuando me tocó de verdad no me sentía bien. Las palabras y comidas son típicas de mi país y las extraño. No nací y crecí en Venezuela. Yo amo Venezuela. Espero regresar a Venezuela.

For me, this is a slightly depressing painting because it was very difficult for me to leave Venezuela, my mom, my friends and my family. When I was little I used to tell my parents that I wanted to take me to live in the United States but then when I actually had to, I didn't feel so good about it. The words and foods are typical from my country and I miss them. I was born and raised in Venezuela. I love Venezuela. I hope to be able to return one day.

Portrait #2 by Christopher Reyes

La cosa que me influyó era mi cultura. Mucho de los símbolos en mi pintura era sobre mi sangre latina y estadounidense. Yo nací aquí pero mi familia es de México. Uno de los símbolos es la isla por mi corazón. Simboliza mi pueblo, Blue Island. Nací aquí en 2002 en el St. Francis.
What influenced me was my culture. Many of the symbols in my painting are about my Latin and American blood. I was born here but my family is from México. One of the symbols is the island that replaces my heart. It symbolizes Blue Island. I was born here in 2002 at St. Francis.

Portrait #3 by Kimberly Ibarra
En este autorretrato se presenta cuando mi equipo ganó nacionales de baile en Florida. Las emociones en la cara representan cómo me sentía durante todas las prácticas y las emociones de ser nombrados Campeones Nacionales.
This self-portrait represents when my dance team won Nationals in Florida. The emotions on my face represent how I felt during all the practices and the emotions of being named National Champions.

Portrait #4 by Melannie Aguillo

México para mí es hermoso, disfrutó mucho ir en las vacaciones porque dejo de usar mi celular y puedo salir a disfrutar afuera sin miedo. También me gusta mucho México porque toda la familia se junta y disfrutamos mucho en el tiempo que estamos allá. En el lado de los Estados Unidos puse edificios y humo saliendo de ellos. También escogí colores apagados porque cuando estoy en Los Estados Unidos me estreso mucho con la escuela y otras cosas. En el lado de México puse el cartel de Zacatecas porque me da mucho orgullo ser mexicana, y más de ser Zacatecana. También use muchos colores brillantes porque cuando estoy allá me olvido de todo.
Mexico for me is beautiful, I really enjoy going on vacations because I stop using my cell phone and I can enjoy going out without fear. I also love being in Mexico because all of my family gets together and we really enjoy our time together. On the US side, I put buildings with smoke coming out of them. I also chose darker colors because when I am in the U.S. I feel stressed with school and other things. On the Mexican side, I put the Zacatecas sign because I feel very proud to be Mexican, and even more to be from Zacatecas. I also used many bright colors because when I am there, I forget everything.

Portrait #5 by Rachel Valequez

Dibujé las dos banderas porque soy nacida en Estados Unidos, pero me identifico más con la cultura mexicana. Yo estoy en el centro porque parte de mi vida es estadounidense y la otra es mexicana. Solo tengo un ojo en el lado izquierdo porque no he ida a México. Me gusta la música y comida mexicana más que nada y espero poder viajar al país de mis ancestros algún día.
I drew two flags because I was born in the US but I identify more with Mexican culture. I am in the center because part of my life is American and the other part is Mexican. I only have one eye on the left side because I have never been to Mexico. I love the music and food of Mexico more than here and I hope to be able to travel to the country of my ancestors one day.

Portrait #6 by Yessica Calderon

Mi autorretrato lo dibujé para representar todo el coraje que abecés guardo adentro y no lo expreso. Luego hay momentos que nomás quiero explotar de coraje y estos eventos me inspiraron.

My self-portrait was inspired by all of the times that I have held my emotions in. There are times where I feel like I just want to explode out of anger. These emotions are what inspired me to draw it.

Portrait #7 by Ruben Gallego

Lo que la rosa representa es que la vida nunca se muere. Uno se muere, pero deja atrás algo bonito. La calavera que tiene la rosa en la cabeza representa cuando uno tiene cáncer. Uno empieza a perder el pelo poco a poco y el cáncer parece consumir hasta los huesos. Mi tía sufre del cáncer y lo bonito es verla luchando como campeona por tanto tiempo. Me dibujé a mí mismo ahogado de lo bueno y lo malo de la realidad. En la vida real hay muerte y enfermedad, pero es importante recordar que existe una vida después de la muerte.
The rose represents that life never really dies. One may die, but they always leave something beautiful behind. The skull with the rose on top represents when someone has cancer. One begins to love their hair little by little and the cancer seems to consume them until they are skin and bones. My aunt suffers from cancer and it is beautiful to see her fighting like a champion for so much time. I drew myself drowning in the good things and bad things of reality. In real life, death and illnesses exist, but it is important to remember that there is a life after death.

Friday, May 19, 2017


May Your Ink Never Run Dry

by Camille Jatho

One of the most common phrases you’ll hear in Mr. Antos's first period honors band class is “give the phrases a shape.” In musical terms, that means to change the way the phrase is played dynamically or sing out the parts that should be prominent and shy away from the softer, more lyrical parts. Of course when he says this he’s thinking about getting his students to play like real musicians, but it can really mean so much more. In writing, it’s giving the sentences pinnacles and depressions that can affect the tone of a piece. Emotions evoked or even effectively used statistics or facts can give an effective tone to the writing that may flavor it up. Periodic sentences are a personal favorite of mine. They tend to leave the subject or the main clause of the sentence until the end, almost like a hidden surprise. For example, in “The Death of a Moth” by Annie Dillard, she opens her essay with “I live on Northern Puget Street, in Washington State, alone.” Leaving the word “alone” until the end creates an extra sense of seclusion and emphasizes how it affects her. She gives shape to the sentence by saving the loudest dynamic marking for the end. The simple structure of the sentence allows for a more expressive way to get the message across.

In the time I’ve spent in my AP Language and Composition class, I’ve learned quite a few techniques about writing, but I found that the most important tools needed to write have very little to do with the words and more so with the ideas. While there is no specific structure and formal formatting to everyday writing, it's always beneficial to have those ideas organized. Being able to understand how writing works and what techniques there are allow the ability to utilize them to make the ideas work, because knowing how to write based on the subject is an advantage that can create a connection with the reader.

The structure of an essay, or any type of writing for that matter isn’t necessarily formal in its presentation. In creating a novel, an author won’t create a series of theses and choose the best; rather, they think of what ideas, plots, or events they’d like incorporate them to enhance the story. Structure is informal. Words cannot be plugged into a formula like in math and produce a “perfect” piece of literature. By choosing to think of my ideas before I make a sentence, I could create the order in which I want them to be perceived and how effective the manipulated structure and words can be. Not everything should be monotone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everything should be sporadic either. Create a pinnacle to the subject to give the work a full dynamic range with contrasts of softness and intensity.

Another important step in the writing process begins before you ever even think of a subject. One cannot become a writer if they are illiterate, right? So the first step is to learn how to write. In order to give those phrases shape, you need to be able to utilize techniques and strategies. Musicians cannot play Mozart if they don’t know how to play their instrument. Basic understanding of language gives knowledge of simple structure, while simply reading more can help teach new vocabulary in an unforced way that will enhance the tone of your passage. Who better to read than a favorite author? Readers can learn plenty of tricks from the masters, without a textbook, while also enjoying themselves.

One of the better parts of reading more books will also be the experience and the emotions that remain after you finish it. The emotional connection or analysis of reason most often leads to creating a memorable experience. The same strategy can be applied to writing. Leaving a subject a little room for interpretation allows the reader to connect with the piece in their own way, making it more memorable to them. I find that the easiest way to do that is by keeping my ideas and words simplistic. In “The Figure a Poem Makes” Robert Frost said, “The possibilities for tunes from the dramatic tones of meaning struck across the rigidity of a limited metre are endless.” The more simplistic the words are, the more room there is for the reader to change and perceive the tone.

One way to make certain that the work is kept simple is to not over analyze it. In a term paper it might be important to make sure that there are no mistakes, but in a free written essay, the more analyzed, the more detailed it becomes. Subjects can become clouded by unnecessary adjectives, over complicating the message and confusing the reader. Allow some “wiggle room” for interpretation. Allow the reader to find their own interesting version of the words.

Up until junior year, the school system teaches their students to create a conformed version of writing. The treacherous five paragraph essay is praised and tweaked until it creates a box so square and cramped around the writer that it chokes any voice and changes the vibrant style to a prison gray. It is assumed that a five paragraph essay is a set outline that gives structure to the looseness of oral language, when in reality it only confines the writer and dulls the subject. I always thought I was decent writer; Never perfect, but well enough to make it through middle school and freshman year with plenty of ease. All thanks to the unchanging walls of the five paragraph essay. My teachers always told me I was an excellent writer, but in all honesty, I wasn’t. I had no creativity and simply followed the prompt because I’m a fairly straight forward person. The realization of its extent only occurred to me once I entered sophomore year in Honors English II with a teacher who saw right through my writing act.

Never in my entire life had I ever received a “B” on any paper. So it came as much of a surprise to me when I actually did. I repeatedly struggled through that class trying to write the perfect five paragraph essay; writing, rewriting and then revising again until I came to the epiphany that I just wasn’t a writer. English would never be my subject.

So, imagine my face the first day of Junior year in AP Lang when our teacher told us everything we’ve learned about perfecting the five paragraph essay was irrelevant. I was ecstatic! Never again would I be forced to rewrite my thesis a thousand times or to make sure that every connection was done with the intentional and precise purpose. Never again would I be confined into the most formal structure of writing.

Up until that moment, I had never known exactly how to free write with a purpose. In my mind there were two different ways to write: creative writing without punctuation and with no end and then the treacherous five paragraph essay. AP Lang began to introduce me to a world of free but structured writing. We often read books on how to write or the effective ways to write. Nonfiction books quickly became some of my favorite reads because I could recognize the similarities that I wrote with. It wasn’t long before my passion for words rekindled and I could write freely again.

The greatest instruction for any writer is to write on a subject that they have a passion for. No matter how well of a writer someone is, if they are not passionate about their subject, it will show. Increased drive will help words flow onto the page and especially by writing about something you care about, others will begin to see it's value and they will read. A writer should never doubt themselves.
I’ve discovered the artistic side of writing that’s sparked me back into the inspiration of words. Interpretation means everything to a reader, so it shouldn’t be over complicated trying to make the message as specific as possible. The beauty of writing is that everyone gets a different experience from it. Above all else, passion is required. If you write on what you love and how special something is, your work will be interesting and people will listen. The techniques and personality play dual roles in writing.

AP Lang has developed me in so many ways. As a writer, I am strong and independent. I feel more confident as I let my pen flow to my paper with a loosely organized plan, taking me where ever I wish to go.

 As long as there is passion for a subject, your ink will never run dry.

WRITER'S SPOTLIGHT: Britany Robinson


by Britany Robinson

July morning sun
Gravel crunches under my car’s tire
The sun creates a glare on my window

This was my first rock concert
I was excited beyond compare
With my friend by my side

Small bands walking the line
Trying to sell CD’s and T-Shirts
Everything seemed so new and wonderful

I left my car
And got in line
The heat makes my temperature rise

I decide I needed water
As soon as I take out my money
I heard footsteps coming up behind me

A band asked me to buy a CD
So they could keep making music
I felt I couldn’t say no

Then band after band came
By the time the event began
I was out of money

So my mom had to bring me more

Unintended Target (Slam Poem)

by Britany Robinson

Her name was Takiya.
She was eleven years-old .
She was not the intended target.
But what does that change?
She will never grow up
She will never fulfill her dreams
And she cannot be brought back

That girl could have been president
That girl could have cured cancer
That girl could have changed the world

But now she’s gone

All because she was not the intended target

So what did he intend to do?

Did he intend to destroy a family?
Did he intend to ruin lives?
Did he intend to shoot her father or brother?

If he did Takiya would be here
But she would still be dead

They say no pain no gain
But what if the pain you cause is greater than what you receive?

What did he gain?

Yet I know all my questions will go unanswered
Because violence spreads like a cancer
It moves through society in clusters and infects
Hundreds and thousands and millions
Until it destroys a nation

So I ask you this:
When did the light turn into darkness?
What happened to the light that gave us hope?
Why is the night now a time for violence?
When will we stop sitting in silence?
Why is the world filled with so much sorrow?
Will we ever see a better tomorrow?

Because tomorrow looks a lot like yesterday
Filled with pain and stained
By the blood of a country in chains.

Strictly Business

by Britany Robinson

Did you think arranged marriages still happened in 21st century America? Because I sure didn’t. 

I just found out that I will be marrying the oh so charming billionaire, Damon Pierce. Never in a million years did I think something like this would ever happen to me. 

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephanie Blake and this is the story of my unnatural life.

I woke up, looked outside my bedroom window, and took note of the beautiful, sunny, and cloudless sky. 

“Perfect weather for a perfect day,” I muttered sarcastically to myself. 

Today was the day I will meet The Devil himself: Damon Pierce. I think I prefer my little nickname for him better than his real name, it’s a more accurate indication of his personality. I let out an audible sigh at the thought. I know it may seem like I’m being unfair to judge him so quickly but seriously what do you expect from me?  My father and Damon Pierce have ruined my life as I know it. I never wanted to be forced into a relationship of any kind. Why should I suffer for my father’s mistakes? He’s the one who gambled all his money away and now I’m paying the price. Apparently since Dad didn’t have the money he owed the devil, they concluded that offering my hand in marriage without my consent was the only tolerable option. I’m 19 years old for crying out loud I should be able to make my own decisions. 

The Devil has no use for me anyway: I’m a very simple looking girl with a simple life. I have long sandy brown hair with dull, green eyes and I’m 5’3. I’m not like those models he’s used to having with blonde hair, blue eyes, and long legs. There is absolutely nothing special about me.

I decide to wear a royal blue cocktail dress with gold embroidery around the edges and gold flats. I am too lazy and didn’t care enough to do an up do so I decided to leave my hair down and curl it and used minimal makeup. The only reason I dressed up at all is because my dad promised to let me pick the wedding venue if I did. If I’m going to have to get married, I at least want to choose where. 

We walk into some fancy French restaurant and got seated. As I peek over the top of my menu I see a tall man with medium length, raven black hair, electric blue eyes, and he is wearing a very well-tailored suit. I, of course, know exactly who he is but although he is attractive, my feelings towards him have not changed. He saw my reaction towards his presence and gave me smug looking smirk. I scoffed in annoyance at his ego and turned back to my menu. 

“So, Mr. Pierce, how are you tonight?” my mother said nervously. 

He flatly replied, “No need for small talk Mrs. Blake, I am here to collect what is mine and that is all. This meeting is strictly business.” 

How dare he refer to me as if I am his property? 

“Excuse me Mr. Pierce,” I replied in a venomous tone, “but I am not your property and I will not let you treat me as if I am.” 

My father whispered lowly to him about something I could not quite make out.

 “Well my beloved fiancé, you will be shocked to know that your father signed a binding contract and you are legally bound to me until I can no longer stand to see your pathetic face every day,” his tone made it clear he was mocking me. 

That comment made me do a double take. After a few seconds of silence, I gained the confidence to reply, “If I’m so pathetic to you then why in the world are you forcing me into this marriage?” 

He seemed a bit stunned that I had the nerve to talk to him in that matter but that did not concern me at this point. His reply was quite short but it took me by surprise, “Business is business. Now we are leaving, I assume your bags are packed and you are prepared to move into my mansion. The wedding is in two days so we will spend all of tomorrow finalizing preparations.” 

I almost choked on my food, no one told me this wedding would be so soon.

It’s now morning and I am not looking forward to all the wedding preparations I’m being made to take care of all alone. The Devil told me that he is too busy to bother with these details. I suppose there is some good in the fact that I get to choose how I want the wedding to be without him trying to change my ideas. While I spent the day listening to event planners drone on and on about the decorations and such, I focused on trying to find a way out of this. Unfortunately for me, there doesn’t seem to be any loopholes in the contract. I’m trying to find some sort of comfort in the situation but it’s very difficult. I will never get the chance to fall in love or be an independent woman. The contract states that I will not be able to work after the wedding, I am to be a perfect, quiet wife in public but at home I am to act as though I do not even know Damon, and I cannot have any type of contact with another man who is not family or I will be fined $500,000. At least not having to spend time with Damon inside the house is one thing I can look forward too. All this wedding nonsense is making my head spin.

Once the wedding planners finally leave and I can have a minute of peace, I get myself ready for bed. I step in my bathroom and take a very scrutinizing look at myself in the mirror. My eyes look dull as if someone reached in snuffed out the light. Why did fate decide that I was deserving of this cruel and unusual punishment? Ugh, I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this. I never thought I’d say this but I can’t wait until morning so we can get this wedding done with. Nothing will be the same in my life again and after tomorrow I will be able to figure out a way to live with that fact. Nothing about any of this feels right but it’s not something I have control over. There is no point in continuing this pity party so I may as well go to bed.

In the morning, I immediately got up to get ready. My mother comes over to help me get ready but I’m not as happy to see her as she is to see me. Can you blame me? She let my father sell my soul.

“Hello mother,” I snapped.

“Don’t you snap at me I’m your mother, have some respect,” she replied in a tone that can only be described as shocked.

“I do not have respect for those who don’t respect me,” I said.

“What did you expect me to do? He would have thrown your father in jail if this arrangement wasn’t made?” she whimpered.

“So instead you decide to ruin my life because Dad messed up?”

“I won’t discuss this anymore. Stop whining and lets get you ready.”

Before walking onto the aisle, I take one last peek at myself in the mirror. My hair is an array of flowy curls with a large braid around the crown of my head keeping them all in place; the makeup I have on is a bit overdone for my taste but I suppose it makes sense for the event; and my dress is a princess style chiffon with a sweetheart neckline and rhinestones scattered around the skirt. I swallow my nerves, step onto the sparkling white aisle runner, and plaster a smile on my face. 

Damon is staring at me with surprise but quickly masks it with an arrogant smirk when he notices I was watching him. We proceed with the ceremony and the reception then eventually we get into a limo to go home. I sit as far away from him as physically possible. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Damon turns to me and says, “When we get home you go inside and don’t think about going out anywhere. I won’t be home until tomorrow so don’t wait up.” 

I cocked my head to the side in confusion and asked, “Not that I care but where are you going?” 

“I have a date,” he smirked. This angered me to a point where I thought my head would explode. 

“So you can date but I can’t? How is that fair in any sense?” I basically screeched. 

“This relationship is strictly business sweetheart. You are to be a perfect wife and make me look good to the press. We can’t have you running the streets now can we?” he replied in an amused tone. 

This is all just fabulous. I’m going to be stuck living with a cheating, lying, heartless husband for the rest of my life. One day I will find a way out of this, I don’t know how but I swear I’ll do it. No one deserves to be treated this way and he’s crazy if he thinks I’ll stand for it. Let’s test these rules of his. If he can go on a date then so can I. I pull out my cellphone and call my ex-boyfriend, Tyler. We ended on good terms and I know he still has feelings for me so I figure he’s a good candidate for this date.

“Steph? Is that you?” he answered.

“Hey Ty, yes it’s me,” I replied trying to sound happy.

“It’s great to hear from you! How are you?” Tyler said.

“I’m good, are you busy right now?” I said almost too quickly.

“Umm no, why?”

“Well would you want to go out for old times sake? I’ve missed hanging out with you.”

“Of course! I’ll come pick you up from your house in an hour and we can find something to do.”

“Sound perfect, I’ll text you my new address and see you when you get here.”

After hanging up I couldn’t keep the smug smile off my face. I’ll show him what happens when you try to control me. Damon Pierce has no idea who he’s messing with but he’s about to find out.