The Primordial Exchange

It was an endless night; a persevering abyss devoid of even the faintest movement. Dark swathes of mindless nothingness were all that occupied the vast expanse. It is unknown how long this period persisted, or what came before it, or even how it came to be. However, at some point, the shadowy matrix cracked and split open, generating a rift between itself and another distant infinity. Gradually, soft tendrils of light began to spill through the fractured space, trickling out into the previously impenetrable darkness. The cracks began to widen, and across the ebony sky flew streaks of incandescent waves. Waves coalesced and became oceans, and the oceans surged forth with galvanized impetus. The light eventually came upon the farthest reaches of the inky silhouette, staining its starless shade with newly kindled embers. Abruptly the rift began to collapse under strain, and the fissure was sealed. As the last bits of radiance leaked through, space began to settle once more.

The once pure realm had become diluted, infused with an energy that completely redefined the preexisting laws of nature. Unshackled from the oppressive sterility that had held its dimensions in perpetual sameness, the realm experienced a cosmological transformation that marked the dawn of a new era: the Age of Ancients.

Deep within the dimly lit cavern drew whispers of life that echoed throughout the depths. Torch-bearing trespassers congregated and conversed amongst each other, fearful of being subsumed by the predatory darkness should they go alone. As the luminous intruders continued to consolidate and combine their efforts, lone flames died out, leaving only dense infernos. While some illuminant clusters blazed wildly enough to resist the erosive dark, others were forced to insulate themselves within the ashes of charred brethren, forming earthen casings over their skin. Not all were successful, however. Bodies that failed to combat the darkness collapsed and were hollowed out by the void, mutating into insatiable pockets of cannibalism. And thus the battle for the fate of the realm commenced; a war that would endure for all eternity.

~Ben Lang

White Noise

Eight years after the conclusion of the Second World War, in a New York concert hall lit dimly by humming fluorescent lights, a work of unmatched originality debuts. The musicians sit quietly behind a stately conductor in tails, holstering their instruments as he inspects the white, ink-pressed score that sits before him. The audience arrayed around them comes from all walks of life; gilded tycoons sit alongside grit-stained factory workers. The conductor raises his hand to begin the movement, and the room settles to a still quiet. His hand falls to his side; the room remains silent. There is confusion: “Where is the music?” For four minutes and thirty-three seconds the performance continues with not a sound emanating from any of the performers’ instruments.

This is the description of John Cage’s 4’33” that its first audience would have given. It is also one that misses its point entirely, and illuminates the work’s desperate need to exist. The obvious truth is that that hall, with its performers, electric lights, and people, was anything but silent. There was the hum of filaments that shed a low light over the expectant crowd. There was the chirping of birds that filtered through open windows and vibrated through hardened walls. There was the cough, the sneeze, and the rumble of a hungry stomach that sounded across the room. That room was full of music, the distinct sound, the distinct voice of a crowded concert hall that is so often silenced by our expectation of  a performance.

By writing 4’33,” John Cage fought against a definition of music that only included sounds made for the purpose of listening. He saw that the allegro of a forest’s rustling leaves or the fugue of rush hour car horns were expressions of melancholy and anger, just as true as an orchestral performance. In defining music as anything that speaks, Cage opens our ears to a new world of understanding. This realization has had a powerful influence on my life. The first time I listened to 4’33”, sitting next to an open window, I heard music I had never appreciated. The great chorus of the world is now revealed to me every time I step out of my door, a great chorus that I once regarded as nothing but “white noise.”

~Matt Lopez

The Struggles of My Youth

Life is hard with poor depth perception and balance,
To walk on a dock with no rails requires valiance.
A dock above the ocean may seem harmless,
But looks more like a tightrope with no harness.
Catching a ball was a difficult task,
If only I had been wearing a mask.
It grew larger then hit me in the face,
Angry, I stared at my hands with disgrace.
Hungry, upon an apple I would feed,
Until by mistake, I swallowed a seed.
Frozen in fear, my eyes began to tear,
Until I learned it would pass out my rear.
.
Jealous as I watch my brother’s ball skills,
Not knowing they came from practicing drills.
With my eyes closed, sleeping appeared to be
One thing I knew I could do naturally.
In the garden I went to help pick weeds-
Something to add to my list of good deeds.
Grabbing the largest weed I could find,
Not knowing what was really on my mothers mind.
With a proud smile I declared it dead.
Hiding her despair my mother then said,
“Oh no, that was the pepper plant you picked!”
Who knew weed-pulling rules could be so strict?

~Erin Tucci

Wall

I came crashing to Earth suffocating.
My start would be a very painful time.
When I grew they knew it would be paining.
No one’s dawn is easy, but more-so mine.
I was very different, from other kids.
My life would always be more undefined.
I dreamt to feel what I could not live.
Some said that I’d be nothing, they were blind
To try destroying my one and only drive.
They had left my handicap for my dreams
Thinking they could rip seams by and by.
Little did they know by now I’d heard reams
Of the names you hear those sad people call
To try breaking down an unbreakable wall.

~Biagio Rinaldi

A Universal Sonnet

So silent the blast of light above me
Yet it splits my eardrums and cracks the wall
As I’m catapulted across the sea
Just below my nose is the Taj Mahal
I wander in my mind to find some land
Spinning ever so fast away from Earth
A tiny blue dot that fits in my hand
With cloudy white spots surrounding its girth
Nearing a black hole of infinite light
The event horizon threatens its life
Warping the time of a bottomless night
And leaving me stranded amidst my strife
I journey to galaxies far away
Searching for planets for us to betray

~Olivia Nieto-Rickenbach

A Dark Sun

The man found himself in a building of some sort, running down a long metallic corridor. Sweat soaked his upper-body and down his back, and soon he became aware of the faint shouts and screams that filled the otherwise silent hall. He passed through a labyrinth of walkways, all lit by bright spherical bulbs positioned periodically along the floor. He had no understanding or context to the situation unfolding but he quickly identified with the overwhelming sense of alarm. Having reached the destination at the end of the halls, he approached a white door that split open when he grew close. Inside, a dozen or more colorfully dressed men and women were standing alongside consoles and monitors, hurriedly operating the machinery while sporadically shouting unintelligible instructions and information at one another. Above the monitors he noticed a thick sheet of transparent glass, and beyond it laid a spectacle of dazzling lights, impossibly far away.

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The Perfect Person

How can someone be the perfect person?
Someone as high as the mountaintops,
and as free as a summer breeze,
as light as a feather, pretty as can be.

Of course not,
there’s no shot
of me being accepted
as this thing we call perfect,
Is it real?
Does it exist?
All I know is that I
will never fit.

I am not perfect,
I am not "in",
but I am me,
and it feels like a sin.

Born and raised,
with happy days,
does this person exist?
Will anyone see that
the perfect person,
isn't real to me?

–Anonymous

Letters to Cupid

Dear Cupid,

     I think I'm in love with you. Except, it's not really you... well it is, but never
mind. I dream about you, and you're lovely in my dreams. Your face is clean, and your
voice is soft, you always whisper. You hold my hands and kiss my cheek. I lean my head
against your chest and you stroke my hair.
.
     I wake up in the morning and thoughts of you linger in my mind, as I get ready. At
about the time that I'm pouring my coffee, the disappointment hits me. I remember the
real version of you, and I sigh.
.
     I think that's why I still feel things for you, the real you. Because I can't forget
the version of you that haunts my dreams.
                                                                 With deepest affection,
                                                                                   Rose
Dear Cupid,

     What the hell are you doing?
                                                                      With apprehension,
                                                                                   Rose
Dear Cupid,

     Now I have what I want, but I don’t know if you do. You are like a puzzle that
I can only halfway solve. Parts of you I find easy to predict, and others are complete
wild cards. Truthfully I regret getting into this, but also truthfully, I do not. I so
blindly lust for you that it’s difficult to decipher what I am feeling. I doubt your
emotions are as complicated.

     You don't look at me like you used to. Whenever I turn around you're looking away,
and that makes me sad. A lot of things make me sad. Not that you would know.
                                                                             Sincerely,
                                                                                  Rose

–Anonymous