Volume 6 No.


a magazine of Texas art, fiction, and poetry
a publication of The Writer’s Garret in partnership with Today Foundation


Inside …
Brian Clements Joe Coomer Fady Joudah Barbara Ras and Others! Featuring: Y OUNG L ONE S TARS W RITING C ONTEST W INNERS

“Needle and Thread” by James Surls

What’s in this Issue …
Schedule of Risks
Joe Coomer

Poetry Editor Jack Myers Fiction Editor Thea Temple Managing Editor Stephanie Durham Assistant Editor Callie Bentley Program Assistants Ben Martin and Ashley Winder

ART James Surls
4 9
Mari Omori

cover, 10-11 8 12-13

Little Blue Pill
Daryl Scroggins

Heather Gorham Rachel Maverick Cathy Miller

Donika Ross Barbara Ras Ron Klassnik Brian Clements Marian Haddad Fady Joudah Grisel Y. Acosta

6 7 9 14 16 17 18

Young Lone Stars Writing Contest Winners

pages 20-22
Irving Nino William A. Blair Elementary Amanda Menn Frank B. Agnew Middle School Megan Stewart John D. Horn High School

“Needle and Thread”
James Surls’s wood-andsteel sculptures can be found in major collections throughout the state.

Emily Pescina Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary

Vanessa Tell James S. Hogg Elementary Elizabeth CreMeens J.L. Long Middle School Samantha Berry John D. Horn High School

Layout and design
Angel Jenkins Morris

Thanks to Our Sponsors
¡TEX! magazine is a project of The Writer's Garret in partnership with the Today Foundation. The Writer's Garret gives thanks to the following supporters for making this project possible: Today Newspapers; Paperbacks Plus; Heritage Auction Galleries; James and Gayle Halperin Foundation; Wukasch Foundation; EPCO; and the membership, Board of Trustees, and Board of Sponsors of The Writer’s Garret (Richard H. Collins, Mike and Debra Decker, Regen Horchow Fearon, Randy D. Gordon, Paul Coggins, James Halperin, and Brandi Mitchell).

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 3
The Today Foundation is pleased to work with The Writer’s Garret to produce ¡TEX! magazine, the leading publication in the country for regional writers. ¡TEX! promotes and develops literary abilities and reading skills for Texas writers, poets, and students. We also sponsor a writing competition for students in poetry and short story writing. Last year we held our Awards ceremony at the Jerry and Gene Jones Hall at the Meadows Museum at SMU in Dallas. The Today Foundation is committed to helping children reach their greatest potential. The Foundation has given or raised over $6 million to help more than five thousand “at risk” children attend the school of their choice in Dallas County. The Foundation also works with SMU and a private company to use technology to teach children to read in grades kindergarten to fifth, while measuring and reporting their progress to schools and parents. We are committed to making the world better and safer for all children, and ¡TEX! magazine is a wonderful example of the benefits and impact of creative writing. We hope to encourage other states and communities to follow our example. – The Publisher

From the Publisher and Editors

Publisher Dick Collins, Jameel Dorsey (a student winner of the Lone Star contest) and former Texas Poet Laureate and ¡TEX! Poetry Editor, Jack Myers.

As the season cools down, ¡TEX! magazine still blooms from these artists' imaginations into a lush landscape of poetry, prose, photography, and visual art. This garden of ours is more vivid than azaleas in March or bluebonnets in April, growing wild along stretches of highway or unexpectedly thriving on the sandy banks of our gulf coast. In these pages are some of the most talented artists, both literary and visual, that Texas has to offer: Joe Coomer, Donika Ross, James Surls, and many others. They are men and women, teens and children, coming from a wide range of backgrounds as varied and vibrant as the terrain of our land. To our readers, writers, and beautiful state, we dedicate the words and images that follow. – The Editors

The Writer’s Garret Promises You an Experience …


Beyond Words
Through a wide variety of programs, we share our passion for the Word in print, on the air, and inside the classroom.
try has declined at an alarming rate. Reportedly one person in seven cannot read or write well enough to decipher maps, answer want ads, or read story books to children. Schools all but exclude imaginary writing and the reading of literature, even though both have been clearly shown to combat dropout rates, which continue to soar. Two notable business studies claim that poor reading and writing skills are the #1 and #2 problems costing U.S. employers billions each year. Terry D. Johnson from the University of Victoria maintains that students – young and old – best respond when literature “speaks to For multiple copies or advertising rates, please contact The Writer’s Garret, P.O. Box 140530, Dallas, Texas 75214-0530; Phone: 214-828-1715.

obel Laureate Octavio Paz believes that literature is as necessary as the air we breathe, the bread we eat, and the water we drink, and will continue to exist “against all odds,” because we'll always need to breathe, eat, drink, and share who we are. Certainly in 1994 a group of Dallas-area writers and educators concurred. Within a year they’d founded The Writer’s Garret, the only nonprofit, independent literary center in North Texas, fired by the conviction that quality literature, reading, and writing are essential to the health and well-being of civilized people. These writers and educators were deeply concerned about the growing absence of literature in our schools and our lives, and what that might mean for future generations. In the last twelve years, reading in this coun-

them.” The Writer’s Garret found this very simple premise to be the most successful of all: encourage people to read and write things that matter to them by making the literary connection relevant and accessible. Through a wide variety of programs, we share our passion for the Word in print, on the air, and inside the classroom. We have witnessed first hand how literature, like all the arts, can make a difference in our world through its ability to lift the human spirit, challenge the status quo, and realize societal ideals through creative thought. We now invite you to refresh your daily life with the clear, cleansing air and water of the literary arts. Join us today by becoming a member, taking a class, or attending an event. You can learn more about The Writer’s Garret and what we do by checking out our website at www.writersgarret.org www.writersgarret.org or calling 214-828-1715. We promise you an experience beyond words!

Page 4 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

“I believe there is one angle more.” I taught my brother how to read in a cemetery. “Angel,” I said. “I believe there is one angel more. What does that mean, Walk?” “I don’t know,” I lied. I was a liar. One of the first things I lost when my brother was born was my name. He couldn’t say the hard “T” of Walt and so I became Walk. My mother began to call me Walk, too. Perhaps having your name changed when you’re three years old, having someone who was born after you were name you, would cause some people to feel life an unstable platform, that no feature of the landscape was written in stone, but I received it as a gift from someone I knew wouldn’t survive me. I was already sure that my brother was going to die. I did not believe it as one believes in the Tooth Fairy or even in God. I was more sure than that. I was as sure he was going to die as I was of my own hand’s ability to grasp a ball. The only admonition I remembered my father giving me before he left was, “Watch out for your little brother.” So coupled with my foreknowledge of my brother’s death was my own responsibility for not saving him. The only thing that made me try to protect him was that I was also sure, if it came to be necessary, that I would be capable of cutting off my own grasping hand to rescue him. Windy days, plastic flowers from the unfenced graveyard that surrounded our house blew up against the clapboards and were pinned there in every attitude but one imitating natural growth. Mourning wreaths caromed through the tombstones, bounced off the house and fell like dying actors. The outer rows of my grandfather’s backyard garden ran alongside graves. We had to redirect cucumber and bean runners that crept over the graves and tried to climb markers. The Cemetery Committee offered to buy Grandpa’s house many times, but he wouldn’t sell. “They’ll tear it down,” he said, “to make room for more graves. I’ve lived here since I was a boy. I won’t be forced out of my home by the dead.” We moved to Grandpa’s house when I was three, when my father left for the war. He was listed as missing in action for five years before my mother had a marker placed for him a space over from her mother. The marker had my name on it. My father was eighteen rows to the east, twelve rows to the back of my bedroom window. A white marble slab, Momma had the stone carver point the top sharply, like those of Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery, so Yankees couldn’t sit on them. My father was missing in the same way my baseball glove was. I assumed he’d been lost or stolen. The difference between my father and


Schedule of

for my brother— Phil, I’ve missed writing this book from the moment I finished it and in memory of Bobby Hill

Joe Coomer
my glove was that I missed my glove. I couldn’t remember my father. He’d left too early. My glove’s name was Snaggit and I’d left it lying on the bleachers after a ball game. When I remembered and returned an hour later, it was gone. I’d used it for two years and my glove fit my hand the way the sky fit my body. Our town woke each morning with tombstones in its eyes. It was dying by way of being consumed, dying by way of renewal, by simple growth. It was becoming something other. The dark flat fields that surrounded our town were being eaten one house plot at a time. Brick homes, more substantial than the wooden ones we lived in, were being built. The wolf couldn’t blow them down. We were being invaded by the city to the south, Fort Worth. We were becoming a simple suburb of like houses around an aged pit of half a dozen tin and stone businesses, a church, an old elementary school and a cemetery. I spent five of the first ten years of my life defending this center, defending my brother, my mother and grandfather, but I failed them all. The wind could part everything but the rows of tombstones and my brother’s hair, always cut short in a burr, but it combed tears from his eyes. He wore my old striped Charlie Brown shirt, brown shorts and black sneakers without socks. His ankles were dirty. “Here,” I said, “sit down with your back to this one and the wind won’t hurt.” He nestled behind Not Dead But Sleeping and I crouched below Wife of the Above. He was two years younger than me, his head round while mine was long. Before he began school, Momma let him meet me on my walk home at the far edge of the cemetery. We cut through the tombstones on an angle, throwing a baseball back and forth. Often as not he’d miss or I’d overthrow and the ball would glance off the face of a granite stone or bounce on a vault. Each of these I’d teach him to read. Having learned to read in a cemetery, he spent much of his life speaking in epitaphs. If Momma asked him where his socks were, he’d answer, “Gone but not forgotten.” When she turned off our bedroom lamp, he’d say, “A light has passed from the earth.” He never said, “Goodbye,” but offered “Farewell” or “Godspeed.” Our ball, stone-skinned and stitch-puckered, lay against the marker next to me. I pointed to the words one at a time. “Sound it out,” I told him. “Ca . . . call . . . called.” “That’s right.” The wind was hot but my back was cool. The stones reached deep into the ground for the coolness. “Called . . . to Jesus too soon.” I nodded. “What’s that mean, Walk?” “I don’t know.” “It means they called Jesus to come in for bed too early,” he said. “That’s just stupid.” “No, it’s not. What’s it mean then?” He never called me names in return. “It means Jesus made a mistake.”

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 5 JOE COOMER, a native Texan and SMU alumnus, is an awardwinning novelist whose published works include The Decatur Road, Kentucky Love, A Flatland Fable, The Loop, Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God, Apologizing to Dogs, One Vacant Chair, and Pocketful of Names.

Windy days, plastic flowers from the unfenced graveyard that surrounded our house blew up against the clapboards and were pinned there in every attitude but one imitating natural growth.

On our map of Texas our town lay near the spiral binding on the left page, and again near the spiral binding on the right page, as if there were two of our towns, separated by the wire tornado of the binding. This same map led me to believe that all roads led to our town, and my brother to believe that they all led away. He’d push the road away from our house with the end of his dirty finger till it arrived in a snarl in Wichita Falls or Decatur or Denton. Then with his finger shoved deep into the ear of each of these places he’d look up at me and say, “Let’s go here, Walk.” And I’d just as carefully trace the path back to Saginaw, trying to memorize the way home just in case we suddenly found ourselves there alone. The map was a live thing that had to be locked up in my grandfather’s desk. It lived there with the map of Vietnam that he consulted after the news every evening, with maps of the Texas Republic, Battlefields of the Civil War and the locations of Trustworthy Hardware Stores in the southwest. In this locked drawer, the maps overlaid and folded one another, drew coffeestain blood, tore at creases and even without the sun, faded. The Yankee lines at Gettysburg bled across the Ho Chi Min Trail, Mexicans lined up for battle on Highway 287, and Trustworthy Hardware’s newest location was outside Hanoi. These inky depredations, across oceans and time, were enabled by slips from the bottle to the glass, spilt whisky. My grandfather’s bourbon was locked in the drawer, too. Our world’s geography was inebriated, mixing war and peace, commerce and pleasure. While my grandfather, brother and I pored over these maps, my mother never needed to consult them. She said she knew where she was. She was in a house full of boys. Her road map led her from the kitchen to the laundry to the vacuum closet. Beyond the different colored rooms of the house was the ocean of the front yard. Europe was the grocery store, Asia was my grandfather’s hardware store and lumberyard, South America was the Dairy Queen, Africa our school, and Australia her job at the insurance office. “Where’s Antarctica?” I asked her. “That’s the cellar hole,” she answered. And it was cold there, the place we’d go if the spiral binding ever did come to our town

to split it in two. It was dug in the middle of the backyard, surrounded by Grandpa’s vegetables, capped by a rounded concrete vault with a galvanized tin vent cap. We kept a supply of water there that my mother refreshed every other month. It was always stocked with canned vegetables and fruit, some of the labels dating back ten years to when my grandmother was alive. I never went down there without Grandpa reminding me her hands had capped these jars. She’d died long before I was born, but I thought I’d just missed her. My mother had her own map. She was secretary for the Cemetery Committee, and in the top drawer of her bureau was the transparent parchment layout of the graveyard, each occupant’s name written in blue ink. After funerals she’d enter the new name into a coffin-shaped box, first in pencil, then in ink over the graphite. Empty coffins meant the plot was unoccupied. Even though this map was almost one hundred years old there wasn’t a stain on it. Small hand-drawn flags marked veteran’s graves. As new sections were added to the cemetery, additional parchment had been sewn to the original. My mother was only the fourth secretary of the Cemetery Committee. She inherited the position from her mother, who inherited it from her mother. The first duty of each was to ink in her own mother’s name on the plot map. My mother has no daughter. We were never allowed to play with this map. It was rolled, tied with two faded to purple black silk ribbons, then slid into a brass tube and capped. I often stole change from the same bureau the map was kept in, and my brother once took my mother’s pistol, but we never touched the brass case in the uppermost drawer, surrounded as it was with my mother’s bras and negligees.

Page 6 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

He is tall and they are in love. She has green eyes and craves the smell Of his morning sweat. They live together In brick and drywall beneath a pyramid And sky. They sleep. He mows the lawn, She reads esoteric, they dance, they sing, They play cards in candlelight on Tuesdays after becoming wild quail and potato. They are in love. She stands in the Gnarled curves of his shadow and bakes him A cookie. They are in love. He is brown and rests Nestled in the crook of her. Wednesdays are Beautiful in autumn in the hammock where They become history and memory and fact And insubstantial. They are in love. Sometimes they write letters and sometimes words and sometimes sentences and sometimes nothing but “Hello” and sometimes nothing. They have a cat and a willow with Spanish moss and a pond and a list of groceries. She sways on the equinox. He sways on the solstice. Petunias grow in a row. They are in love. She Brings him an opened box and hugs him at Five thirty in the afternoon because she loves The smell of his evening sweat sunk into the palm Of her hand. They are in love. He gives her an Umbrella when cloudy days promise twenty percent. She sips his tea. They dance at sunset on the front lawn And she breathes deep because she needs the smell of his Night sweat. Saturdays trim the hedgerows. Mondays Sing beneath the bedroom window … sing beneath the Bedroom window. They are in love. In ink black He curls into the sway of her sides. She sips his tea. They dance. They sing. Her tears mingle with the Sweet of his midnight sweat. They are in love. They become clouds and sky and endlessness. He a chasm. She a small hill. They a tiny bit Of seamlessness in spring. Thursdays bud green And pale by a small stone bench. There is a rake, Stepping stones, a blossom. They sit. He hums a Little. She sips his tea. She sips his tea. She sips his tea.


In Memory: Argus
It is the fan of tail that sharpens the soft edges of recollection. As a child, it was the mirror of the body— each lid folded like a palm against itself—the shadow of his staff poised over the soft field of your eyes—the easy buckling into sleep. I turn from this transient temple of your irises; I forget the way you belonged to another and lay always awake for her.

own the Street, a Couple

Collection of Sugar
The machete bleeds a ridge of calloused palm, and the smack of cane like rotted flesh fills the air. We prayed for freedom, begged alms of God, but we are forgotten, and we spill against the stalks like hulled refuse. Our bodies— bloodied and scarred—are not our own and bend at braided leather dark as molasses puckering flesh and bone—until the spirit rends weakly from the body. We are only beasts, a collection of limbs and silence strained like the shackles of spine buckling sun creased skin, pressing scar pocked skin. In vain, we retreat into the tumble of creeks, the silence of palms, still despite the breeze.

Donika Ross

DONIKA ROSS is currently a James A. Michener Fellow in writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Her poems have either appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2007, ellipsis magazine, and Temba Tupu!.

Barbara Ras

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 7 BARBARA RAS is the director of Trinity University Press in San Antonio. Her collection of poems, Bite Every Sorrow, won the Walt Whitman Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, and Gulf Coast.

Secret lives
The same moms that smear peanut butter on bread, sometimes tearing the white center and patching it with a little spit, the same moms who hold hair back from faces throwing up into bowls and later sit with their kids at bedtime, never long enough at first, and then inevitably overtime, grabbing onto a hand as if they could win out against the pull on the other side, the world’s spin and winds and tides, all of it in cahoots with sex to pull the kid into another orbit, these moms will go out, maybe in pairs, sometimes in groups, and leave their kids with dads and fast food, something greasy they eat with their fingers, later miniature golf, maybe a movie, a walk with the dog in the dog park, where one night a kid sees an old mutt riding in a stroller, invalid, on its back, its paws up, cute like that, half begging, half swoon, and this kid, who once told her mom she knew what dads did on poker nights— “They’re guys, they’ll just deal the cards and quarrel”— starts to wonder what moms do out together, whether they talk about their kids, their little rosebuds, their little night lights, or are they talking about their bodies and what they did with them in Portugal, Hawaii, the coast of France, it’s better than cards, it’s anatomy and geography, they’re all over the map, or maybe not talking but dancing— to oldies? light rock? merengue? Would they dare dance with men, with men in vests? in earmuffs? forget earmuffs! top hats, younger men in sneakers who catch their eye from across the room. Now they’re singing. Where have they kept the words to so many songs, storing them up like secrets, hidden candy, the words melting in their mouths, chocolate, caramels, taffy, the next thing you know they’ll be drinking—or are they already onto a third bottle, some unaffordable Nebbiolo from the Piedmont, red wine named after the region’s fog and aging into a hint of truffles. Soon two of them will walk off together, laughing, their mouths open too wide, their shoulders, no their whole bodies shaking, the way a bear would laugh after it ate you, heartily, remorselessly, they laugh all the way to the bathroom, where together in the mirrors they try to keep a straight face so they can put on lipstick the crimson of the sun sinking into the bay. They blot their red mouths on tissues they toss over their shoulders, leaving the impressions of their lips behind on the floor for a tired woman in a gray dress who’ll lift them to the trash, not noticing the moms’ lips, not wondering for even a heartbeat if the kisses there meant hello or goodbye.

Late summer

A solo trumpet playing Latin music is blowing the sad heaven out of the heart of the neighborhood, dissolving into night like sugar into coffee. A train passes, hoots, then hoots again, piercing the dark with many arrows for many hearts, desires that linger, then gouge, and want again.


This morning I woke not knowing where I was or why there was a jack-a-lope mounted on the hall wall, dreaming of rabbit time before its antlers sprouted one season and kept on growing like legends, as real as you want them to be. A gray cat jumps on the bed to lay its head in my hand, its small warmth in my palm like a full-blown rose brought in from the sun. Summers past I spent long days fattening on light. Salt dusting my skin, the sand uneven beneath me, I was as anchored as I’d ever be. Now sprawling through a sleepless night, I count the beats between the curtain’s billowing in and out, as if measuring could defer dread, but it can’t, any more you can be saved from wandering by anything but more wandering. The ceiling fan is churning and re-churning the same air but it feels hotter, doubling back on itself. Tonight’s a perfect night to rehearse heartache, how it comes and goes with the breath in the trumpet, the uncoupling of boxcars, blooms of morning glory along the fence between the next house and mine. Of course, flowers don’t come back after they’ve gone, and it’s wrong to call this place mine, as wrong as the buzzing in my mind, which if I could let it, would take me back to the bee yard I once stood in with my friend, the beekeeper, deeply lost in all the tiny humming and drumming, like the past and the present praying together, but instead I think about what they would weigh, all the bees in all the hives, and how long it would take for each one to come back from the blossoms and throw up a little honey or bite you.

Page 8 •¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

art by

Mari Omori

The image details a room-size installation entitled, “Material Witness,” at UT San Marcos, with no natural light in the gallery, October 2006. Artist Mari Omori has lived in Spring, Texas since 1992.

B ue
Daryl Scroggins
DARYL SCROGGINS currently teaches creative writing and literature at the University of North Texas; he has also taught at The University of Texas at Dallas and The Writer’s Garret. He is the winner of the Robert J. DeMott Prose Award for a work titled “Prairie Shapes, a Flash Novel,” and the 2004 Salt Hill short-short story contest. Although RON KLASSNIK currently lives in Mexico, he has spent most of his adult life in Dallas, where he was an active member of The Writer’s Garret, enrolled in our Writers’ Community and Mentorship Project (CAMP) at the Professional level. His work has appeared in The Mississippi Review, The North American Review, The Kennessaw Review, Sentence, No Tell Motel, MiPoesias, and Sleepingfish, among others. His first full collection of prose poems, Holy Land, was just released. walking along the shore of the lake together, my hair tied on my neck and time burning through my wrist I should have pushed you down into the water and waited there in the falling pressure of cattails darkening until I could feel the years we were doomed to spend together, brightening back to life.


2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 9 If I could remember to take the medicine I would know where it is. That man who looked like a fish, only not so orange, smashed my glasses and I looked through glass everywhere for my medicine. I saw jewelry and radios, shoes, tables, faces. But it was not there. When birds fly up I blink once for each one. I can make them fly up. I can make them stop – then go. I knew a dog that could cross the street and drink water from a glass on a table. That dog smiled when I followed him. I followed him to places where sound was very small. The man hit me because I was telling him, and because many times before there was a peach in a tree. I was petting it – they were in a pile with numbers beside apples and bananas – and his lips made a fish look and I made a fish look. And then the world came from the left side. I don’t want to know what’s going to happen because I always do. But always after. When I take the blue pills I can count out money for coffee. Maybe when I blink at the birds the sky is the blue pill, coming in through my eyes. A man touches my elbow. I look around and he gets my elbow. He takes my elbow down the street and I see it going with him the whole way. A man takes me to a place I have already been. He takes me in a building, sets me up standing and turns away. His hands come back, put me straight again. He comes back. I can’t see him very well because I remember too many people where he is standing all at once. He says, “Here.” And a white cup is at me with little foldy sides, and there’s a blue pill in it. My eyes are wet. The pill is blue as the sky. I swallow it and swallow it. Arms are around me like a bed of sticks. But I am falling. Falling into my own hands.


The Day We Met …

Curtains The ones we used before the real ones arrived were the stuff of dreams: in the slightest breeze or thought billowing back. Walking into them, wrapping them around my body, I could feel the wind’s bones and tendons, wires and pipes and concrete draped down through the house like a horse’s neck in a silver wind straining not to break. The Wall Most of the time, though, I’m no where near it. I don’t even know it exists. But sometimes, when I’m extremely happy, I’m over it without even knowing. Lying next to my wife—— lost in her breath and feeling the sparrows twitching inside the mango trees—— I am suddenly far, really far, into the other side. It’s like a cricket burning. The insides of a rat. No, it’s finding yourself on the palm of a smooth and beautiful hand that only knows how to bind, torture, kill. Just like that. My Wife She said “we’re not going home,” and we headed up into the mountains towards Guadalajara. Five hours later we were kissing desperately under a blooming jacaranda tree. Stopped, a wave of pigeons rose and fell around us shining silver-blue. Like a drowned man in Trafalgar Square. He got up, wiped his brow, and climbed on to a red, double-decked bus.

Ron Klassnik

Light In the shimmering and marvelous circus lights I am shimmering and marvelous too, like a grey lizard clinging in the midday sun to an old tree’s same grey-colored bark.

Page 10 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

James Surls
Sculptures and poems
JAMES SURLS is one of Texas’s most preeminent artists. His wood-and-steel sculptures can be found in major collections throughout the state and the nation, including both the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the El Paso Museum of Art, McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, the San Antonio Art Museum and the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. Nationally he has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian, and the St. Louis Art Museum. Surls received the Living Legend Award from the Dallas Visual Art Center and was named 1991 Texas Artist of the Year by the Art League of Houston.


White Six & Ten Flower

Saturday Morning Saturday Night
I See the White Violet, inside the single being, through reflected light, out further looking for hands holding hands opening doors, again the rising mind is filled with the flowers watered by will. Freewill. I follow the brim to the Still Star and back through the humming center while holding on to the life given as gift by Moon. Moon is here. On this full morning, Still Star, Moon and me are of the same force knowing what brings us here. We are here. History walking our way to the Ball. From the beginning I was sent to dance with you.

Me with Prism

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 11 Black Bird of Paradise

What difference the Wind?
What difference to Wind is Dust? What difference to Snow is Hawk? What difference to Rock is Sky? What difference to Path if Rain falls, or Water cuts deep the Dirt, sending Mud and Stone and Plant, through walls and barriers, as old as Earth itself? What difference to River is Log, that lodges at its edge, or White Foam, that churns on rising Wave? Wind is Wind and Dust is Dust. Snow is Snow and Hawk is Hawk Rock is Rock and Sky is Sky, and Path cares not of what crosses its way, and River looks only to Sea. What difference to any or all, is Time, and Time again, except for me as traveler, passing from end to end.

James Surls (left).

Letter to a New World
Small difference shows itself every morning, freeze framing its way through me. I stop still to breathe deep an expanse uncountable. A scope of unfolding volume so great that it can be seen only from beyond particles edge. A force of circumstance made new. I oblige the coming change. Here is here and there is there with only being between the standing and flight. I fly knowing a gull is not a falcon and I must go where there is no gravitational pull if I am to rise, so I do stop still in my here to go past each and all to places immense. I am in immensity. Standing Black Rose Palm

Head and Ho of

Page 12 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Good Dog • Dallas


Invasion 300 • Dallas



2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 13

La Perdida (above) La Inocencia (left)


La Caida

Page 14 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Brian Clements
A Cycle
…a library of the most mysterious laws of the body written in code. Near death, someone sees an open book, reads pages the color of open sky, each word a door open to the next, a hallway of doors that opens onto… Basket of Brains What, you might ask, is enlightenment? Does it happen in the brain? Is it a meeting of science and faith or the erasure of both? Let’s find out. To start, it might be useful to consider all of the brains in a single group. By the way the brains of this group, it appears, flash with streetlight, tire-hum, leafswell, we know they are attuned to what is outside the window, and that what is outside the window repeats. What repeats contains threads. Threads contain length and breadth, and, twisted, contain period, and length and period make a cycle. The brain and the rest of the body among the bodies of this group, it appears, are attuned to what is outside the window the way the hearts of the bodies in this group are attuned to bodies returning scarred from the front. In daily language, “hearts” means nearly the same as “stop loss.” A body is a stop loss. In daily language, a stoplossed loved one is one lost. A stop-lossed loved one, though, knows lost lore--for example, that the brain cannot work without the liver. It is often said of the brain that it will act as the brain that it is, but also it will act as the liver that it is, as the thyroid that it is, as the blood that it is in the bodies of this group. That is, the mind is a woven thing, woven of the things of the body by spinners, weavers, and dyers born of the brains of the bodies of this group. What, then, is enlightenment? Is it as predictable, for example, as the heat-woven weather? If weather were predictable, we would capture it. And brains? As bodies are capturable, the brains of the bodies of a group are capturable, and here is where we may capture them: Here we have Brain at Brain Architects Guild of America, which does not exist. Here we have Brain at Brain Conference Center, Brain at Enlightenment Bar, Brain at Cryogenic Rejuvenation Center, which do not exist. But here, at last, we have Brain Drives Over Land Mine, Brain Makes Choice Between Eating and Filling Prescription, Brain Says Negotiate (But Means Dictate), Brain Sends Signal to Turn Over Stomach at Unexpected Knock on the Door. Are these enlightenment? Or is enlightenment Brain Opens Door to New Dimension? Or perhaps is enlightenment You Are Nothing But a Speck on the Map? Whichever, the brains of the bodies of this group are in the dark, sitting in the dark and spinning, spinning a dark and regular thread in a regular as your skins allow, harder yet until you reach the point where you are in danger of becoming a little sun. Still Life with Supernova Direct your attention beneath the winged fruits of the tree on the left, where King David dances with all his might before the ark of the covenant. On the branch above, the Kirov Ballet is established. Call this kind of development an improvisation and you begin to see how the trees turn red, the flesh turns blue, and the frequency of their shift remains constant. Each time an electron goes into orbit, you begin to sense the movement of the triangle. The human figure is necessary only as an object of composition. Position is where you find it. Do you, for example, know of a word that refers to all people yet discriminates among them? There is no need to introduce mystification. These bits of nature remind us that the fact of the newspaper hides a total dead silence that you can see there in the face of the burdened Madonna. Just beyond the bananas, you can detect with sensitive equipment more fairy tale narrative material coming on. It’s hard to tell with all of this starstuff scattered about who is ahead. The golden light on the foreground of the foliage suggests allegory, while the rose prints and décolleté necklines argue that there really is an objective reality out there. Half the time it goes one way, half the time the other. What you need is a view to the inside of something that is as invisible as Autolycus. It is no common thing to develop faith in the fluid moment. It is more perfect not to exist. Standing in the rain, you are an aleatory experiment in the duration of breath. This is an example of the technique of remaining attached until spring, then bursting. Just so, the foxtrot developed from the two-step. And just so, the figures in the upper left corner are producing abstract forms and concrete sounds from industrial materials. Are they aware of what has already happened in the lower right corner, where—a million years before—spasms of math spun out hydrogen and theorems into the folds of every thing? Not to worry—they have plenty of time, which is a finite surface with no beginning or end. But how long will it be before they come up with a nice theory of how ESP might work, fix their old pickups, spin a few discs, make a little something to remember them by? Soon enough, changes in the weather will be less noticeable than the changes in the orange background. Their artists


cycle that goes spin, weave, and dye; spin, weave, and dye; spin, weave, and dye… Dance into a room repeatedly. The first time just peek in the door, and another time come prancing in, waving your arms. Another time stand calmly beneath the lintel and appear to be both in and out of the room. Another time be in the room with only a certain degree of certainty. Pick a partner and send him/her out of the room. Dance in your separate rooms. Though you cannot see each other, an observer can see that when you spin one way, your partner spins the other. When you spin the other way, your partner changes, too. Surprise your audience by momentarily disappearing, then reappearing in opposite rooms, still spinning. When the splendor of your dance draws a larger audience, pass through the wall and collide with your partner. Break into a shower of each other, each new self identical to your old selves with one or two strays that spin into oblivion and can hardly be called selves at all. Dance among yourselves a wild dance like Shiva’s, sending off sparks and shadows and eating up the floor. Exchange wishes when you tire, and wave as the rest of you fizzles into air. When the audience turns away, embrace your partner tight. Hold on harder and closer, as close

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 15 will start to seek clarity and to order the principles of human motion against the backdrop of bebop and 24-ton calendars. The steel lattice of their bridges will become like wafers on the tongue of the earth. The atonal winds will encourage fractal accounts of the struggle to live outside the canvas. And the nature of their real estate will remain speculative, like the forgotten emblems under their doorsteps, where a mountain and a river unroll their two dimensions across a sunless map. Nomenclator Here is the current chairman of calendars. Listen for his proclamation of the ides. This is the homeowner from down the street who placed the milestone on your lawn. Since you likely will see her again, you will want to exchange glances. Please stop here for the minister, who is out of state but scheduled to arrive any minute. Resume this way when he touches your sleeve. His Honor and the Constable are usually here. No one can find them. Perhaps it is better in your current condition that they are not here. One can only do what one can do. Here comes the governor. As you know, his real name is forbidden here in the public yard. It took him six hours to get home from the cabinet soiree. The bureau chief from the Times. The director of Plans for Restructuring is just there. The Assistant Vision Reviewer behind him. And she, the one in yellow, is rising in the district office. Your son’s teacher. No, fourth grade now. Don’t ask. No, that’s the maitre d’. Both counsel and I believe you should avoid shaking the hand of the clamorous editor. And how long you speak times the strength of your grip equals the number of illegitimates you can expect. Therefore speak briefly. Before it’s too late, please search the crowd for your likeness. He will not stand for much more of this. Tomorrow I will send you a copy of the Senator’s desire. You will find its delicacy more surprising than your daughter’s revelation. Soon I must haul you before the council. Make clear your intention to declare the general amnesty requested by your wife and her party. Show gratitude for the ensuing acclaim. Just a reminder: the flag in your hand means at precisely four o’clock, which is five seconds from now, you must call out your supporters and require them to stand for you, which they probably will not do. Wave the flag. See: look at them all just sitting there. When they realize that they missed something, they will give their applause. Here it comes. Gamut You start touching up images and there is no end. You start bleeding from your nose and there is no end. You start composing paradoxes and there is no end. You start with the letter e and there is no end. You start to listen and there is no end. You start walking and then you start tiring and there is no end. You start facing east and there is no end. You start a list of empires and there is no end. You start watching this movie that goes nowhere and there is no end. You start to right a wrong across the tracks and there is no end. You start chewing and there is no end. You start to collect bandages and there is no end. You start with the lowest note and there is no end. You start the game clock and there is no end. You start the oven and there is no end. You start to dance with mammon and there is no end. You start to hit on the hotties and there is no end. You start mowing and there is no end. You start your dotage and there is no end. You start double-timing and there is no end. You start to withdraw and there is no end. You start heroin, television, gin, wearing black, jerking off, running, playing cards, and there is no end. You start blowing rabbits to hell and there is no end. You start thinking about it and there is no end. You start your own business and there is no end. You start disinfecting and there is no end. You start looking for particles and there is no end. You start comparing prices and there is no end. You start getting better and there is no end. You start at the top and there is no end. You start over there and there is no end. You start falling down and there is no end. You start to induce and there is no end. You start into the rain and there is no end. You start pissing outside and there is no end. You start planting your foot and there is no end. You start taking photos and there is no end. You start to praise and there is no end. You start reading this and there is no end. You start lending money and there is no end. You start chasing flies and there is no end. You start with the kudos and there is no end. You start eating kosher and there is no end. You start accepting J.C. and there is no end. You start regular mammograms and there is no end. You start visiting Paris and there is no end. You start screwing loosely and there is no end. You start to treat the water and there is no end. You start wasping your waist and there is no end. You start looking it up and there is no end. You start quid pro quo and there is no end. You start reading ontology and there is no end. You start reading teleology and there is no end. You start to neglect how long your dead have been gone and there is no end. You start to negotiate the time you have left and there is no end. You start blonde and turn red and brown and ash and there is no end. You start to lose trust and there is no end. You start to eat pizza and there is no end. You start to wring necks and there is no end. You start to notice the sclerosis and there is no end. You start to scoff and there is no end. You start to count motives and there is no end. You start to love objects and there is no end. You start to look back at the garden and there is no end. You start building a house and there is no end. You start catching some z’s and there is no end. You start turning yellow and there is no end. You start to equal x and there is no end. You start eyeing the weather and there is no end. You start under false pretenses and there is no end. You start embracing uncertainty and there is no end. You start rephrasing the constitution and there is no end. You start starting over and there is no end. BRIAN CLEMENTS is the editor of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics and coordinator of the MFA in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University. His poetry collections include And How To End It, Essays Against Ruin, and Disappointed Psalms. He lived in Dallas for many years, where he was a faculty member of The Writer’s Garret.

Page 16 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Gruene, River
at the
I came here because I know this place – because I have been here before, and I know where the river ends – I sit by the part where it gurgles and foams white above rocks – three stumps reach far down into this river – and there, across from me, one seems to be growing right out of cliff, right out of rock. It leans right, graceful sway of trunk – it has somehow found its leaning comfortable, a sideways growing – I guess if something stays bent long enough – it assumes its place gracefully – learns to live with that.
33 Miles from Waco and Dallas behind Me


Marian Haddad
MARIAN HADDAD, M.F.A., is a poet, essayist, visiting writer, manuscript editor and consultant, and creative writing workshop instructor from El Paso. Her work has appeared in The Texas Observer, The Rio Grande Review, and Sin Fronteras/ Writers Without Borders, among other magazines, journals, and anthologies.

I’ll tell you what – we are almost run over by time – a Faulknerian thing, perhaps. The ticking does not stop. Away, away the hours chime – and us, running frenzied about. But when we stop, somehow, to rest – or when the head no longer aches – words, again – It always happens like this. They save themselves up during the busy days – When we make ourselves sit by the waters of a river, by the floating water sliding down – When we sit awhile in this constant place of beginning – the night entering its expected hour – It is then – Here – That the words make their way out – here where they unfold – when the mind is quiet – and the river is not.

These fields are yellow – burnt for crops – I see the low rows and then, high fields of corn in their leafy suits – and trees spaced just enough apart – enough for light to enter enough for light to flood -- and the houses eating the long grasses – and the golden tops of cornfields – and their edges are green among the waves their staffs make.

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 17

FADY JOUDAH is a practicing physician in Houston, and served with Doctors Without Borders in 2002 and 2005. His book, The Earth in the Attic, is the 2007 winner of the Yale Series for Younger Poets.

Fady Joudah

Foreign Language It was like teaching an American Latin Then sending him to France He the soldier said was understood But couldn’t understand though understood Enough to hear voices like a schism or a bilingual dream When one asks you in which tongue Do you dream to know your flag’s colors I know the timetable like the back of my heart And when I die I go to Saturn

In My Profession
Fumes of carpet cleaning Choke me in the hallway and as if I were A unionist on a confederate task I say why don’t you ask for a mask but The cleaning lady nods that it’s OK In front of the bank a homeless woman Has different eyes for smoke in December Half a cigarette in the parking lot A mouth to another stranger’s mouth


On my day off sometimes smoking A cigarette in the parking lot of the Gated community its repair and maintenance team I get up get dressed face the wall and raise My arms up like this before I head to the bank

My daughter wouldn’t hurt a spider That had nested between her bicycle handles For two weeks she waited Until it left of its own accord If you tear down the web I said it will simply know This isn’t a place to call home And you’d get to go biking She said “That’s how others Become refugees, isn’t it?”

His rage is from not killing anyone from close range, not seeing the brain splatter. He says he was trained to murder but all he did was ride the Humvee probability. Off the record he tossed grenades at villages by the side of the road and laughed, bullet-littered the land and the vehicles passing by when his was passing by. Sometimes he dragged passengers out and mashed them “without touching the face.” Sometimes when he walks into a gas station, now that he’s back, they greet him “How are you, brother?” and he replies under his breath “I am not your brother you gas station people are only targets to me...” His is a professional failure. I empathize. He works out but it’s in math

class that his thoughts wander. He imagines a trespasser, how he’d mutilate him and hide the “microscopic blood.” He’s tearful, hyperventilates, his mother’s shoulder is Siamese with his. “Think of life” I say, he says, “Life is short.” I say, “Short or long think of life” then I go back to my desk and there’s a message for me to call my father. I call. He says your sister had written something down in Arabic, smudged now. I say, “I don’t want to return to anyone. I don’t want to return to any country after this absence. I only want to return to my language in the distances of cooing.”
(Last quote from Mahmoud Darwish’s Mural 2000).

Page 18 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

¡Qué quiero gozar!
En Cuba Mamá nacio Y en su corazon creo Lo que ‘sta adentro de mi Yo no pude regresar Y con familares star Hasta al año 2003! Cuba’s flavor like Flava-Flav savor, boiyee! Like a guitar serenata on top of A dew flower mountain, 3 a.m. And you’re too tired to listen But then one says he’s a poet So you leave the door open Cuba’s saltwater fresh fire Like nervous catch breath desire When you sing psalms to ocean Throwing the broken pieces of paper Down to a 20,000 leagues wish Of pearl oyster fish y canciónes, emociones. Cuba’s the mad thump of step in time White uniforms in line of Santos sweet dance Rum spilled to chance Fireflies swirl ‘round thick thighs An’ Moinelo paint captures the psychedelia Mania poetica religiosa de nostra cosa Cuba’s the careful sweet step of a three day kitten Light finger brush proof that he’s smitten Lemonade sitting with Cintio Vitier Writer talk dusty under books musty But his wife’s the better poet And you know it, boiyee! Cuba’s found shells strung on rubber Unrequited lover drinking Crema Catalán A lacy fan fumbled open At intellectual convocation, a token A photo to remember the discarded Poetry that went unwritten Cuba’s acid beer poured out of an oil tanker In a place devoid of banker jargon and dreams Split seams of a worn skirt Black skin red muscle no shirt Dancing on the asphalt under a silver blue Moon too soon to go home curfew crush I must

Cuba! Cuba! Cuba! Que quiero gozar! Cuba’s sticky melted grease pleather Upholstery stinky like leather Cojer botella means to me family Of the road we in this mess together Hot stifle in my chest, speak less Lest they know you got Euros, mamita Cuba’s marshmallow meringue pastels Of cakes floating by for violeta-haired Cristabel It’s her birthday baby ruffles vuelitos in her hair That’s a gift with no change to spare Strange happiness borne of chipped cups Burnt poesia y azucar morena, nena Cuba’s hidden netting mosquito light through boards In a house without lords mind the mistress She brings distress to Tía que no habla But like a black and white photo speaks a full tabla Come to life with her smile she got style Of a poet in her skin light bushel shinin’ from within Cuba’s lo que tu no entiendes yeah you Boo, my meaning’s hidden plastering a sign That says FORBIDDEN I know what ‘chu thinkin’ Stereotypical sinkin’ she’s a hot tamale or chili Shaky thoughts go willie nillie for they don’t Make hot tamales or grow chili en Cuba, son Cuba’s like love the revolution of the blood kind In our veins and minds not the green army suit No miami corporate cliché that’s moot take it out Don’t ask about no musical social club It’s deeper than poetic blue ’50s cars, love But I know you still clingin’, and clingin’, and clingin’ Cuba’s like mathematics and nerd speech When I reach for mi cafecito that’s done with precision And my decision to return to mi hombre aquí No affair for me no exotic view of la isla Mi vida is the reality and that’s feet that move To a continental groove that is the canto of Cuba And much much more Cuba! Cuba! Cuba! Que quiero gozar!

Grisel Y. Acosta
GRISEL Y. ACOSTA is currently a Hispanic Leadership Program Fellow and doctoral student in San Antonio. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chicago’s After Hours Literary Magazine, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, a Cuban American anthology by MiPoesias, and a Latino issue of Pembroke Literary Magazine.


I couldn’t blame my friend Grace for her need to be beautiful at the suburban party. The large, bearded man explained to me I was a very pretty girl. This was important, he said. The following year, when her parents gave their annual shindig, he said the same thing to another young girl. My importance was a fleeting sentiment, but even worse, Grace never heard she was pretty, important. I let Joel register me for Homecoming Queen in 9th grade. He had many plans for me. I watched his friends sell tickets and tally my popularity by demand. The following year blue spiked hair, steel skin, warded off their comments. “Damn, she used to be cute. Why would she do that?”

Luis leaves open milk orange peels, crumpled napkins, all over the kitchen. He sits in a cell after mashing Mami’s car like a beer can on his head.


2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 19

The House of the Seasons
Built in 1872

n the Skids Parallel

TV fuzz and closed curtains let him sleep on a bean bag held together with duct tape. His records are left in an eviction-notice pad, just like the trumpet and Nikon. Shirts, jewelry, other small things go missing while he brags about getting paid 25, 30, a lot, per hour. Luis skids off a motorcycle, walks it off, won’t lose his eye or muscles ’til 15 years later, as if his body refuses to admit something. Luis and Tío Segundo, like Abuelo, have the same high forehead, Spanish nose, African grin. Segundo leaves his wives, an aristocrat, una morena, all over the island. He sits in a cabin after his teeth were mashed like combat boots on harvested corn. Cricket buzz and electricity-free dark let him sleep on a rocking chair hammered together with his tools. His anger is left in the bottom of black-market rón, like the sediment of the refined sugar mills that have closed. Shirts, jewelry, other small things go missing while he brags about the home he built with his hands Don’t ask how he got the timber. Segundo skids on the deck of a naval ship headed for Africa. Eyes wander while mopping the oiled wood. He is looking to the Canary Islands, to Great Grandmother. His body knows something his words have not admitted.
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Page 20 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

“Class Acts”

First Place, Essay Emily Pescina Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary, 5th Grade

Starfish Most starfish have five arms. Some have more than 50 arms. Starfish live on the bottom of the ocean. They eat clams, oysters, snails, sometimes they eat fish eggs, and mollusk. Some have bright colors and can change colors to hide from predators. Starfish live in groups of forty or more. They are different sizes from ? inch to 3 feet. They live in the deep water. They need water to live. If they wash up on the sand, they will die. They have millions of tiny feet to cling onto rocks. They move slowly on their tiny feet. Its stomach comes out of its mouth to grab its food. Their mouths are on their flat bottom. They crawl on top of the food they eat. First Place, Poetry Vanessa Tello James S. Hogg Elementary, 5th Grade


one stars
First Place, Poetry Elizabeth CreMeens J.L. Long Middle School Ode to Masquerade Spirits dancing, voices flirting lives hidden behind a mask glorious gowns, elegant suits Everyone’s dancing at last Birds twirling, Cats spinning Princes dancing; Queens watching A world to forget yourself A place to hide and start enjoying princess laughing, flowing, their feet across the floor A lion scouting out his prey music swaying across the air A lonely Raven that can’t dance A Raven hiding among the crows All aligned in rows The lion finds his prey And the Raven attempts to dance Dancing among the ocean of fairies cats, princes, sheep … too many to count A girl hidden behind a mask Watching, laughing, dancing, flirting, And the girl behind the mask is me.

(Front row, from left) Melissa Daniel, Ashley Hernandez, Samantha Berry, Emily Pescina, Amanda Menn, Irving Nino, Jameel Dorsey, Andrea Ramirez, Casey Gilbert, Megan Stewart, Humberto Juarez. (Back row, from left) Lillian Senders, Gary Griffith, Today Foundation, Elizabeth CreMeens, Leslie Padgett.

Violet A deep blue, a growing purple, beginning to become darker and darker— until it becomes a dark purple, turning into a lifeless color; a color that we call black. Violet is the color of love and the dark night sky. We used to dream, dream of that pure color again. First Place, Fiction Irving Nino William A. Blair Elementary, 4th Grade Time To Go To School Tick tok tick tok what is that? Ah ah ah ah it is time to go to school. I woke up everyone in the house except my little sister because she will cry like someone playing the trumpet. It was the first day of school I was in the fourth grade. I didn’t know who was going to be my teacher. I hope I don’t get a mean

teacher I had been good all year. Except when I tripped my cousin so he won’t score the winning point and when I put bubble gum in my sister’s hair. I was nervous I did not know if she was going to be mean or nice. I stopped thinking about it because it made me sweat. The room number was 205 my sister was teasing me you got a mean teacher. She laughed. My little sister kept on laughing. I told her stop she kept on laughing more. There was the class a teacher name was Ms. Hernandez. I knew she was going to be one of my favorite teachers. She told us if we wanted to color the boys got a dragon the girls got a princess. The next day we learned about Sam Houston he was the first and third president of Texas. Stephen F. Austin he was one that started contest and brought the old 300 that means that he was one that brought 300 families to Texas. We left to P. E. We played bowling. I was having so much fun. I hope you have someone special. Ms. Hernandez is the best.

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 21 First Place, Poetry Amanda Menn Frank B. Agnew Middle School, 8th Grade Total Darkness “Alex, it’s Naomi. She’s missing. The dorms say they haven’t seen her for 3 days now. What are we going to do?” I was mesmerized by the television with what was going on in “Kiss the Girls.” The clock read 11:43 p.m., and I was the only one in the big, dark house. By the time the show was over my parents still weren’t home, and I grew nervous with fear. Fear that the man who kidnapped the girls in the movie was going to come to my house while no one was home and take me to the dark dungeon where he had kept them. Even though he had died in the movie, the thought got more and more intense. My mind was racing, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. I thought of how I would get away, but then these men would stop me and take me away far, far, away. I crawled into my bed as to try and make the thoughts go away, but they just grew on how he would rip me out of my bed. How I would scream for my life, scream for my virginity, but no one would hear my cries, because I was alone in the big, dark house. I covered myself with pillows and blankets, so if he came he would think no one was home, but as I lie there I grew hot and the mind pounding thoughts grew and grew. How he would force the drug into my mouth, the drug that would weigh down my legs so I couldn’t run, my arms so I couldn’t fight back, and then it would happen. He would do what he wanted with me, and then my service would be over. He would take me out to the middle of the forested area, like he had done with the other girls, tie me to the biggest tree he could find, cut my hair, and leave me there, where once again I would be alone in the big, dark forest. He would leave me there to die, leave me there to die of hunger and thirst. I would cry out for help, but no one would be able to hear my pleas, my pleas for help, my pleas for survival, my pleas for food and water. The three days would pass and I would end up like the others, the others who had been captured, captured and taken against their will, taken away to a far, far place where no one could hear their cries. A place where, where they did what they wanted with you and then you were left for dead, left for dead in the middle of the woods were only crows lay their droppings. A place where if the police did find you, did manage to identify the body, it wouldn’t matter, because he would have gotten away with it once again. I still lay there, lay there in my bed, under the pillows and blankets, my mind racing with thoughts, thoughts and feeling. Feelings of thirst in my throat as I sit there tied to the over-sized tree. My mind completely in thought, thought of how he would get away with it, even though he had been killed in the movie. Thought of how it would never end. Thoughts of how if the police did find me, find me while I was still alive, find me and take me away to where they said I was safe. To where they said he would never find me, to a place where once again he would come, come and once again take me against my will, against everything the police had promised me, a place that was supposed to have been safe, safe from him. Safe from the evil things he had done to me, safe from the torture I had gone through, safe from him. I lay there still under the pillows and blankets, the pillows and blankets that would hide me from him, my eyes clenched together as if to not see what was going on, clenched so I didn’t have to go through what the girls in the movie had gone through. But I still lay there, lay there every thought, every image as clear as the last. I pressed my hand as hard as I could to my ears, to my ears as if to not hear the words he could whisper in my ear. The words that would deny my very being, and make me feel as if I was pregnant with morning sickness. I lay there my eyes clenched shut, my ears flaming hot, my hands covering them. My imagination grew, grew in fear, grew in thought, grew in emotion. I wanted to cry, cry with every fiber of my being, cry with fright, and cry of the unknown of what would come next. Even thought it was all in my head I couldn’t pin point the fear, the fear that it was really happening. Every thought was so vivid, so intense, so real that it was hard to believe it wasn’t really happening. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it was going to jump right out of my chest. My breathing grew heavy, yet short in length. I lay there my head drenched in sweat, the sweat that measured and showed the fear, the fear of being taken from my home and no body even noticing. By the time my parents did arrive home they didn’t understand what I had just been through, they didn’t understand how all this fear, the fright had built up in just a few short hours. But now that they where home the fear, the fright, and my extreme imagination of what would and had happened was over. I’ll probably never stay home alone and watch a scary movie ever again, because who knows what I could watch next and possibly end up believing. I still have no real idea of why this movie affected me so much, but all I know is that I definitely won’t be watching it again.

First Place Megan Stewart John D. Horn High School The Dreamer’s Trilogy As I walked in the house, I noticed Mother and Father lying on the couch in the living room in each other’s arms watching “Law and Order”, my Father fast asleep. “You’re home early,” my Mother’s voice danced its way across the room towards me. “I wasn’t expecting you for at least another half hour or so.” Her voice was more curious than accusing. “Well, we decided to call it quits…after I won four games in a row,” I added as an afterthought. This made my Mother turn her head around to look at me. “Tell me you didn’t…” she sounded disappointed, but I knew better. She wanted to know all about it. I walked over and sat on the couch next to her. “Yup,” I said proudly, “I used a werewolf.” Her eyes grew wide in horror. “Don’t worry!” I quickly put in before she could protest. “He was completely safe.” “Ok then.” Father let out a soft snore and Mother stroked his hair. “Are you going to tell me about it?” she asked impatiently. “He was from The Nocturnal Terror. I got it from the library. The character is a werewolf, but he isn’t the bad or scary kind. By night, he becomes a beast trying to rid ancient London of nighttime criminals, but by day he is an upper class gentleman who falls in love with a servant in his best friend’s household. Not to mention, but he is completely gorgeous too! Pretty interesting, huh?” “Sounds like a good one.” Mother nodded approvingly. “I used him because he has excellent nighttime vision and a great ability to smell.” “Winning four games, it sure sounds like it.” We sat there for a few moments. The “Law and Order” episode was a rerun I had already seen, so I decided to head upstairs to my room. Mother called after me, “Don’t forget that tomorrow is your 17th birthday!” I rolled my eyes. “Like I could forget?” She glared at me. “You know what I mean. Tomorrow we start your training.” “Why do I need training? I’ve been using my powers for years now! What else could I possibly have to learn?” I asked. “You’d be surprised,” she huffed. The conversation had ended. I hurried to my room so I could lay my head on my goose feather pillows and dream that morning would come swiftly. — Additional winners on page 22

Page 22 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008 First Place Samantha Berry John D. Horn High School Nature’s Child The pride of a parent is never so blissful until the baby’s head peeks forth from its moist womb. My baby was a child of the Spring; his intricate twists and multitude of colors only enriched the beautiful background that supported him. His father, the Sun, took care of each meal with bright, smile-stained rays that caressed upon my child’s face. Earth, the second mother, supported him in her strong, comforting embrace that Winter’s final gushes of cool air could not penetrate. I provided the love and nurture that he required to grow and flourish (not to mention that I took the responsibility of trimming back his unruly locks from time to time). The scent of happiness dripped from his fingers, and the tune of joy danced with him in the wind. He embodied perfection in every way, except that he grew up far too fast. His lovely figure sired offspring that even Spring herself viewed with pleasure. Summer passed, and Fall was near, when my baby’s strong build began to wilt. He no longer stood tall and proud, but instead began to droop or sag, as if the act of standing was too much for his frail body. The leaves of trees began to fall, and my child was slowly withering away. Cold winds ushered in Winter’s coming, while my son struggled to see Spring once more. A harsh frost had hit, and I could do nothing to help. My little boy grew and left, leaving on Lady Winter behind.

Students line up for an aut ograph from Naomi Shiha internationally b Nye. She ret acclaimed poe urns to The Wr t iter’s Garret in spring 200 9.

Second Place: • Jameel Dorsey, Lake, Esperanza “Hope” Medrano Elementary • Raul Montelongo-Soto, “Water is Precious,” Ascher Silberstein Elementary • Sarah Woo and Vanessa Tello, “A Fairy Wing,” James S. Hogg Elementary • Melissa Daniel, “Mummy Attack,” Seagoville Middle School • Amanda Menn, “Words of War,” Frank B. Agnew Middle School • Leslie Padgett, “Heidi Strong the Beginning,” John D. Horn High School • Casey Gilbert, “Pulchra Stella,” John D. Horn High School Honorable Mentions: • Rebecca Woo, “Friend or Foe,” James S. Hogg Elementary • Yvette Banda, “Christmas,” Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary • Ashley Hernandez, “Picnic Day,” Cesar Chavez Learning Center • Lillian Senders,”To Hide My Pain,” Frank B. Agnew Middle School • Andrea Ramirez, “Do,” J.L. Long Middle School • Dalton McCay, “Under the Lamp,” John D. Horn High School • Leslie Padgett, “Make-Up,” John D. Horn High School • Rebecca Woo, “Friend or Foe,” James S. Hogg Elementary Thanks to all the instructors teaching in the North Texas Writers-in-the-Schools program for submitting these highly diverse student works!

ny ing one of ma ht words dur rch for the rig t. ng writers sea Writer’s Garre o of our you Tw by The events hosted educational

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2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 23