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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
Others! “Needle and Thread”
by James Surls
Poetry Editor Jack Myers

What’s in Fiction Editor Thea Temple

Managing Editor Stephanie Durham
Assistant Editor Callie Bentley

this Issue … Program Assistants

Ben Martin and

Ashley Winder

FICTION ART James Surls cover, 10-11

Schedule of Risks 4 Mari Omori 8
Joe Coomer
Little Blue Pill 9 Heather Gorham
Daryl Scroggins Rachel Maverick
Cathy Miller


Donika Ross 6 Young Lone Stars Writing Contest Winners
Barbara Ras 7 pages 20-22
Ron Klassnik 9 Fiction
Irving Nino
Brian Clements 14 William A. Blair Elementary
Marian Haddad 16 Amanda Menn
Fady Joudah 17 Frank B. Agnew Middle School

Grisel Y. Acosta 18 Megan Stewart

John D. Horn High School

ON THE COVER Emily Pescina
Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary

“Needle and Thread” Vanessa Tell
James S. Hogg Elementary
James Surls’s wood-and-
Elizabeth CreMeens
steel sculptures can be
J.L. Long Middle School
found in major collections
throughout the state.
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 From the Publisher and Editors As the season cools down, ¡TEX!
Writer’s Garret to produce ¡TEX! magazine, the leading magazine still blooms from these
publication in the country for regional writers. artists' imaginations into a lush
¡TEX! promotes and develops literary abilities and read- landscape of poetry, prose, photog-
ing skills for Texas writers, poets, and students. We also raphy, and visual art.
sponsor a writing competition for students in poetry and This garden of ours is more vivid
short story writing. Last year we held our Awards ceremony than azaleas in March or bluebon-
at the Jerry and Gene Jones Hall at the Meadows Museum nets in April, growing wild along
at SMU in Dallas. stretches of highway or unexpect-
The Today Foundation is committed to helping children edly thriving on the sandy banks of
reach their greatest potential. The Foundation has given or our gulf coast.
raised over $6 million to help more than five thousand “at In these pages are some of the
risk” children attend the school of their choice in Dallas most talented artists, both literary
County. and visual, that Texas has to offer:
The Foundation also works with SMU and a private com- Joe Coomer, Donika Ross, James
pany to use technology to teach children to read in grades Surls, and many others.
kindergarten to fifth, while measuring and reporting their They are men and women, teens
progress to schools and parents. and children, coming from a wide
We are committed to making the world better and safer range of backgrounds as varied and
for all children, and ¡TEX! magazine is a wonderful example vibrant as the terrain of our land.
of the benefits and impact of creative writing. We hope to To our readers, writers, and
encourage other states and communities to follow our Publisher Dick Collins, Jameel Dorsey (a student beautiful state, we dedicate the
example. winner of the Lone Star contest) and former Texas words and images that follow.
– The Publisher Poet Laureate and ¡TEX! Poetry Editor, Jack Myers. – The Editors

The Writer’s Garret Promises You an Experience …

Beyond Words Through a wide variety them.”

The Writer’s Garret found this very simple
of programs, we share our premise to be the most successful of all: encour-
age people to read and write things that matter
obel Laureate Octavio Paz believes that passion for the Word in to them by making the literary connection rele-
literature is as necessary as the air we breathe, print, on the air, and vant and accessible.
the bread we eat, and the water we drink, and Through a wide variety of programs, we share
will continue to exist “against all odds,” because
inside the classroom. our passion for the Word in print, on the air, and
we'll always need to breathe, eat, drink, and try has declined at an alarming rate. Reportedly inside the classroom. We have witnessed first
share who we are. one person in seven cannot read or write well hand how literature, like all the arts, can make a
Certainly in 1994 a group of Dallas-area writ- enough to decipher maps, answer want ads, or difference in our world through its ability to lift
ers and educators concurred. Within a year read story books to children. the human spirit, challenge the status quo, and
they’d founded The Writer’s Garret, the only Schools all but exclude imaginary writing and realize societal ideals through creative thought.
nonprofit, independent literary center in North the reading of literature, even though both have We now invite you to refresh your daily life
Texas, fired by the conviction that quality litera- been clearly shown to combat dropout rates, with the clear, cleansing air and water of the lit-
ture, reading, and writing are essential to the which continue to soar. Two notable business erary arts. Join us today by becoming a member,
health and well-being of civilized people. studies claim that poor reading and writing skills taking a class, or attending an event.
These writers and educators were deeply con- are the #1 and #2 problems costing U.S. employ- You can learn more about The Writer’s Garret
cerned about the growing absence of literature ers billions each year. and what we do by checking out our website at
in our schools and our lives, and what that might Terry D. Johnson from the University of or
mean for future generations. Victoria maintains that students – young and calling 214-828-1715. We promise you an expe-
In the last twelve years, reading in this coun- old – best respond when literature “speaks to rience beyond words!

For multiple copies or advertising rates, please contact

The Writer’s Garret, P.O. Box 140530, Dallas, Texas 75214-0530; Phone: 214-828-1715.
Page 4 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008
for my brother—
Phil, I’ve missed writing this book from the moment I finished it

and in memory of Bobby Hill

of 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.
“I believe there is one angle more.” It was becoming something other. The dark
I taught my brother how to read in a flat fields that surrounded our town were
cemetery. “Angel,” I said. being eaten one house plot at a time. Brick
“I believe there is one angel more. homes, more substantial than the wooden
What does that mean, Walk?” ones we lived in, were being built. The wolf
“I don’t know,” I lied. I was a liar. couldn’t blow them down. We were being
One of the first things I lost when my invaded by the city to the south, Fort Worth.
brother was born was my name. He We were becoming a simple suburb of like
couldn’t say the hard “T” of Walt and so I houses around an aged pit of half a dozen tin
became Walk. My mother began to call and stone businesses, a church, an old ele-
me Walk, too. Perhaps having your name mentary school and a cemetery. I spent five
changed when you’re three years old, hav- of the first ten years of my life defending
ing someone who was born after you were this center, defending my brother, my mother
name you, would cause some people to and grandfather, but I failed them all.
feel life an unstable platform, that no fea- The wind could part everything but the
ture of the landscape was written in stone, rows of tombstones and my brother’s hair,
but I received it as a gift from someone I always cut short in a burr, but it combed
knew wouldn’t survive me. I was already sure that my brother was going tears from his eyes. He wore my old striped Charlie Brown shirt, brown
to die. I did not believe it as one believes in the Tooth Fairy or even in shorts and black sneakers without socks. His ankles were dirty.
God. I was more sure than that. I was as sure he was going to die as I “Here,” I said, “sit down with your back to this one and the wind won’t
was of my own hand’s ability to grasp a ball. The only admonition I hurt.” He nestled behind Not Dead But Sleeping and I crouched below
remembered my father giving me before he left was, “Watch out for your Wife of the Above. He was two years younger than me, his head round
little brother.” So coupled with my foreknowledge of my brother’s death while mine was long. Before he began school, Momma let him meet me
was my own responsibility for not saving him. The only thing that made on my walk home at the far edge of the cemetery. We cut through the
me try to protect him was that I was also sure, if it came to be necessary, tombstones on an angle, throwing a baseball back and forth. Often as not
that I would be capable of cutting off my own grasping hand to rescue he’d miss or I’d overthrow and the ball would glance off the face of a
him. granite stone or bounce on a vault. Each of these I’d teach him to read.
Windy days, plastic flowers from the unfenced graveyard that surround- Having learned to read in a cemetery, he spent much of his life speaking
ed our house blew up against the clapboards and were pinned there in in epitaphs. If Momma asked him where his socks were, he’d answer,
every attitude but one imitating natural growth. Mourning wreaths car- “Gone but not forgotten.” When she turned off our bedroom lamp, he’d
omed through the tombstones, bounced off the house and fell like dying say, “A light has passed from the earth.” He never said, “Goodbye,” but
actors. The outer rows of my grandfather’s backyard garden ran alongside offered “Farewell” or “Godspeed.”
graves. We had to redirect cucumber and bean runners that crept over the Our ball, stone-skinned and stitch-puckered, lay against the marker next
graves and tried to climb markers. The Cemetery Committee offered to to me. I pointed to the words one at a time.
buy Grandpa’s house many times, but he wouldn’t sell. “They’ll tear it “Sound it out,” I told him.
down,” he said, “to make room for more graves. I’ve lived here since I “Ca . . . call . . . called.”
was a boy. I won’t be forced out of my home by the dead.” “That’s right.” The wind was hot but my back was cool. The stones
We moved to Grandpa’s house when I was three, when my father left reached deep into the ground for the coolness.
for the war. He was listed as missing in action for five years before my “Called . . . to Jesus too soon.”
mother had a marker placed for him a space over from her mother. The I nodded.
marker had my name on it. My father was eighteen rows to the east, “What’s that mean, Walk?”
twelve rows to the back of my bedroom window. A white marble slab, “I don’t know.”
Momma had the stone carver point the top sharply, like those of “It means they called Jesus to come in for bed too early,” he said.
Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery, so Yankees couldn’t “That’s just stupid.”
sit on them. “No, it’s not. What’s it mean then?”
My father was missing in the same way my baseball glove was. I He never called me names in return.
assumed he’d been lost or stolen. The difference between my father and “It means Jesus made a mistake.”

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 5

Windy days, plastic flowers from the JOE COOMER, a native Texan and SMU alumnus, is an award-
winning novelist whose published works include The Decatur
unfenced graveyard that surrounded Road, Kentucky Love, A Flatland Fable, The Loop, Beachcombing
our house blew up against the clap- for a Shipwrecked God, Apologizing to Dogs, One Vacant Chair,

and Pocketful of Names.
boards and were pinned there in every
attitude but one imitating natural

On our map of Texas our town lay near the spiral binding on the left to split it in two. It was dug in
page, and again near the spiral binding on the right page, as if there were the middle of the backyard, sur-
two of our towns, separated by the wire tornado of the binding. This same rounded by Grandpa’s vegetables,
map led me to believe that all roads led to our town, and my brother to capped by a rounded concrete
believe that they all led away. He’d push the road away from our house vault with a galvanized tin vent
with the end of his dirty finger till it arrived in a snarl in Wichita Falls or cap. We kept a supply of water
Decatur or Denton. Then with his finger shoved deep into the ear of each there that my mother refreshed
of these places he’d look up at me and say, “Let’s go here, Walk.” And I’d every other month. It was always
just as carefully trace the path back to Saginaw, trying to memorize the stocked with canned vegetables
way home just in case we suddenly found ourselves there alone. The map and fruit, some of the labels dat-
was a live thing that had to be locked up in my grandfather’s desk. It lived ing back ten years to when my
there with the map of Vietnam that he consulted after the news every grandmother was alive. I never went down there without Grandpa remind-
evening, with maps of the Texas Republic, Battlefields of the Civil War ing me her hands had capped these jars. She’d died long before I was
and the locations of Trustworthy Hardware Stores in the southwest. In born, but I thought I’d just missed her.
this locked drawer, the maps overlaid and folded one another, drew coffee- My mother had her own map. She was secretary for the Cemetery
stain blood, tore at creases and even without the sun, faded. The Yankee Committee, and in the top drawer of her bureau was the transparent parch-
lines at Gettysburg bled across the Ho Chi Min Trail, Mexicans lined up ment layout of the graveyard, each occupant’s name written in blue ink.
for battle on Highway 287, and Trustworthy Hardware’s newest location After funerals she’d enter the new name into a coffin-shaped box, first in
was outside Hanoi. These inky depredations, across oceans and time, pencil, then in ink over the graphite. Empty coffins meant the plot was
were enabled by slips from the unoccupied. Even though this
bottle to the glass, spilt whisky. map was almost one hundred
My grandfather’s bourbon was years old there wasn’t a stain
locked in the drawer, too. Our on it. Small hand-drawn flags
world’s geography was inebriat- marked veteran’s graves. As
ed, mixing war and peace, com- new sections were added to
merce and pleasure. the cemetery, additional parch-
While my grandfather, broth- ment had been sewn to the
er and I pored over these maps, original. My mother was only
my mother never needed to con- the fourth secretary of the
sult them. She said she knew Cemetery Committee. She
where she was. She was in a inherited the position from her
house full of boys. Her road mother, who inherited it from
map led her from the kitchen to her mother. The first duty of
the laundry to the vacuum clos- each was to ink in her own
et. Beyond the different colored mother’s name on the plot
rooms of the house was the map. My mother has no
ocean of the front yard. Europe daughter. We were never
was the grocery store, Asia was allowed to play with this map.
my grandfather’s hardware store It was rolled, tied with two
and lumberyard, South America faded to purple black silk rib-
was the Dairy Queen, Africa our bons, then slid into a brass
school, and Australia her job at tube and capped. I often stole
the insurance office. change from the same bureau
“Where’s Antarctica?” I asked the map was kept in, and my
her. brother once took my mother’s
“That’s the cellar hole,” she pistol, but we never touched
answered. the brass case in the upper-
And it was cold there, the most drawer, surrounded as it
place we’d go if the spiral bind- was with my mother’s bras and
ing ever did come to our town negligees.
Page 6 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

In Memory: Argus
It is the fan of tail
that sharpens the soft edges

own the Street, of recollection. As a child,

it was the mirror of the body—
each lid folded like a palm
against itself—the shadow

a Couple of his staff poised over the soft

field of your eyes—the easy
buckling into sleep. I turn
from this transient
He is tall and they are in love. temple of your irises; I forget
She has green eyes and craves the smell the way you belonged
Of his morning sweat. They live together to another and lay always awake for her.
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 Collection of Sugar
Umbrella when cloudy days promise twenty percent.
She sips his tea. They dance at sunset on the front lawn The machete bleeds a ridge of calloused palm,
And she breathes deep because she needs the smell of his and the smack of cane like rotted flesh fills
Night sweat. Saturdays trim the hedgerows. Mondays the air. We prayed for freedom, begged alms
Sing beneath the bedroom window … sing beneath the of God, but we are forgotten, and we spill
Bedroom window. They are in love. In ink black against the stalks like hulled refuse. Our bodies—
He curls into the sway of her sides. She sips his tea. bloodied and scarred—are not our own and bend
They dance. They sing. Her tears mingle with the at braided leather dark as molasses
Sweet of his midnight sweat. They are in love. puckering flesh and bone—until the spirit rends
They become clouds and sky and endlessness. weakly from the body. We are only beasts,
He a chasm. She a small hill. They a tiny bit a collection of limbs and silence strained
Of seamlessness in spring. Thursdays bud green like the shackles of spine buckling sun creased
And pale by a small stone bench. There is a rake, skin, pressing scar pocked skin. In vain,
Stepping stones, a blossom. They sit. He hums a we retreat into the tumble of creeks,
Little. She sips his tea. She sips his tea. She sips his tea. the silence of palms, still despite the breeze.

DONIKA ROSS is currently a James A. Michener

Donika Ross 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
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


Late summer
lives Nights
A solo trumpet playing Latin music
The same moms that smear peanut butter on bread, sometimes tearing is blowing the sad heaven
the white center and patching it with a little spit, out of the heart of the neighborhood,
the same moms who hold hair back from faces throwing up into bowls dissolving into night like sugar into coffee.
and later sit with their kids at bedtime, never long enough at first, A train passes, hoots, then hoots again,
and then inevitably overtime, grabbing onto a hand piercing the dark with many arrows for many hearts,
as if they could win out against the pull on the other side, desires that linger,
the world’s spin and winds and tides, then gouge,
all of it in cahoots with sex to pull the kid into another orbit, and want again.
these moms will go out, maybe in pairs, sometimes in groups,
and leave their kids with dads and fast food, something greasy This morning I woke not knowing where I was or why
they eat with their fingers, later miniature golf, maybe a movie, there was a jack-a-lope mounted on the hall wall,
a walk with the dog in the dog park, dreaming of rabbit time before its antlers sprouted one season
where one night a kid sees an old mutt riding in a stroller, and kept on growing like legends,
invalid, on its back, its paws up, cute like that, half begging, half swoon, as real as you want them to be.
and this kid, who once told her mom she knew what dads did on poker nights— A gray cat jumps on the bed to lay its head in my hand,
“They’re guys, they’ll just deal the cards and quarrel”— its small warmth in my palm like a full-blown rose
starts to wonder what moms do out together, whether they talk about their kids, brought in from the sun. Summers past
their little rosebuds, their little night lights, I spent long days fattening on light.
or are they talking about their bodies and what they did with them Salt dusting my skin, the sand uneven beneath me,
in Portugal, Hawaii, the coast of France, it’s better than cards, I was as anchored as I’d ever be.
it’s anatomy and geography, they’re all over the map,
or maybe not talking but dancing— Now sprawling through a sleepless night,
to oldies? light rock? merengue? Would they dare dance I count the beats between the curtain’s billowing
with men, with men in vests? in earmuffs? forget earmuffs! in and out, as if measuring could defer dread,
top hats, younger men in sneakers who catch their eye from across the room. but it can’t, any more you can be saved
Now they’re singing. Where have they kept the words to so many songs, from wandering by anything but more wandering.
storing them up like secrets, hidden candy, the words melting in their mouths, The ceiling fan is churning and re-churning the same air
chocolate, caramels, taffy, but it feels hotter, doubling back on itself.
the next thing you know they’ll be drinking—or are they already Tonight’s a perfect night to rehearse heartache,
onto a third bottle, some unaffordable Nebbiolo from the Piedmont, red wine how it comes and goes with the breath in the trumpet,
named after the region’s fog the uncoupling of boxcars, blooms of morning glory
and aging into a hint of truffles. along the fence between the next house and mine.
Soon two of them will walk off together, laughing, their mouths open too wide,
their shoulders, no their whole bodies Of course, flowers don’t come back after they’ve gone,
shaking, the way a bear would laugh after it ate you, and it’s wrong to call this place mine,
heartily, remorselessly, they laugh all the way to the bathroom, as wrong as the buzzing in my mind, which if I could let it,
where together in the mirrors they try to keep a straight face would take me back to the bee yard I once stood in
so they can put on lipstick the crimson of the sun sinking into the bay. with my friend, the beekeeper, deeply lost
They blot their red mouths on tissues they toss in all the tiny humming and drumming,
over their shoulders, leaving the impressions of their lips behind like the past and the present praying together,
on the floor for a tired woman in a gray dress who’ll lift them to the trash, but instead I think about what they would weigh, all the bees
not noticing the moms’ lips, not wondering for even a heartbeat in all the hives, and how long it would take for each one
if the kisses there meant hello or goodbye. to come back from the blossoms
and throw up a little honey or bite you.
Page 8 •¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

art by

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.
2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 9
If I could remember to take the always do. But always after.

ittle medicine I would know where it is. When I take the blue pills I can

B ue
That man who looked like a fish, count out money for coffee. Maybe
only not so orange, smashed my when I blink at the birds the sky is
glasses and I looked through glass the blue pill, coming in through
everywhere for my medicine. I saw my eyes.
jewelry and radios, shoes, tables, A man touches my elbow. I look
faces. But it was not there. around and he gets my elbow. He
When birds fly up I blink once takes my elbow down the street
for each one. I can make them fly and I see it going with him the
up. I can make them stop – then whole way. A man takes me to a
go. I knew a dog that could cross place I have already been. He takes

pil 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
me in a building, sets me up stand-
ing 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

Daryl Scroggins 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
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
DARYL SCROGGINS currently teaches creative writing and literature at and bananas – and his lips made a the sky. I swallow it and swallow
the University of North Texas; he has also taught at The University of fish look and I made a fish look. it.
Texas at Dallas and The Writer’s Garret. He is the winner of the Robert J. And then the world came from the Arms are around me like a bed
DeMott Prose Award for a work titled “Prairie Shapes, a Flash Novel,” and left side. I don’t want to know of sticks. But I am falling. Falling
the 2004 Salt Hill short-short story contest. what’s going to happen because I into my own hands.


The Day 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,

We Met … 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
Although RON walking along horse’s neck in a silver wind straining not to
KLASSNIK cur- the shore of the lake break.
rently lives in together, my hair
Mexico, he has tied on my neck and time The Wall
spent most of his burning through my wrist Most of the time, though, I’m no where near it.
adult life in I should I don’t even know it exists. But sometimes,
Dallas, where he when I’m extremely happy, I’m over it without
was an active have pushed you down even knowing. Lying next to my wife—— lost
member of The into the water and waited in her breath and feeling the sparrows twitching
Writer’s Garret, there in the falling inside the mango trees—— I am suddenly far,
enrolled in our pressure of cat- really far, into the other side. It’s like a cricket
Writers’ tails darkening burning. The insides of a rat. No, it’s finding
Community and Mentorship Project (CAMP) at the until yourself on the palm of a smooth and beautiful
Professional level. His work has appeared in The hand that only knows how to bind, torture, kill.
Mississippi Review, The North American Review, I could feel the years Just like that.
The Kennessaw Review, Sentence, No Tell Motel, we were doomed to spend
MiPoesias, and Sleepingfish, among others. His together, brightening My Wife
first full collection of prose poems, Holy Land, was She said “we’re not going home,” and we head-
just released. back to life. ed up into the mountains towards Guadalajara.
Five hours later we were kissing desperately
Light under a blooming jacaranda tree. Stopped, a

Ron Klassnik In the shimmering and marvelous circus lights I wave of pigeons rose and fell around us shining
am shimmering and marvelous too, like a grey silver-blue. Like a drowned man in Trafalgar
lizard clinging in the midday sun to an old tree’s Square. He got up, wiped his brow, and climbed
same grey-colored bark. on to a red, double-decked bus.
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. Five

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
Me with Prism 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.
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 uncount-
able. A scope of unfolding volume so great
that it can be seen only from beyond parti-
cles 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

Page 12 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Good Dog •

Invasion 300 • Dallas

2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 13

La Perdida (above)
La Inocencia (left)

Azul La Caida
Page 14 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Brian Clements
A Cycle Land Mine, Brain Makes Choice Between as your skins allow, harder yet until you reach the
Eating and Filling Prescription, Brain Says point where you are in danger of becoming a lit-
…a library of Negotiate (But Means Dictate), Brain Sends tle sun.
the most mysterious laws of the body Signal to Turn Over Stomach at Unexpected
written in code. Near death, Knock on the Door. Still Life with Supernova
someone sees an open book, Are these enlightenment? Or is enlightenment
reads pages the color of open sky, Brain Opens Door to New Dimension? Or per- Direct your attention beneath the winged fruits
each word a door open to the next, haps is enlightenment You Are Nothing But a of the tree on the left, where King David dances
a hallway of doors that opens onto… Speck on the Map? Whichever, the brains of the with all his might before the ark of the covenant.
bodies of this group are in the dark, sitting in the On the branch above, the Kirov Ballet is estab-
Basket of Brains dark and spinning, spinning a dark and regular lished. Call this kind of development an improvi-
thread in a sation and you begin to see how the trees turn
What, you might ask, is enlightenment? Does regular red, the flesh turns blue, and the frequency of
it happen in the brain? Is it a meeting of science their shift remains constant. Each time an elec-
and faith or the erasure of both? tron goes into orbit, you begin to sense the move-
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
Subatomic ment of the triangle. The human figure is neces-
sary only as an object of composition.
Position is where you find it. Do you, for
appears, flash with streetlight, tire-hum, leaf-
swell, we know they are attuned to what is out-
side the window, and that what is outside the
Particle example, know of a word that refers to all peo-
ple yet discriminates among them? There is no
need to introduce mystification. These bits of
window repeats. What repeats contains threads.
Threads contain length and breadth, and, twisted,
contain period, and length and period make a
Ritual 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 equip-
The brain and the rest of the body among the ment more fairy tale narrative material coming
bodies of this group, it appears, are attuned to cycle that goes spin, on.
what is outside the window the way the hearts of weave, and dye; spin, weave, It’s hard to tell with all of this starstuff scat-
the bodies in this group are attuned to bodies and dye; spin, weave, and dye… tered about who is ahead. The golden light on the
returning scarred from the front. In daily lan- Dance into a room repeatedly. The first time foreground of the foliage suggests allegory, while
guage, “hearts” means nearly the same as “stop just peek in the door, and another time come the rose prints and décolleté necklines argue that
loss.” prancing in, waving your arms. Another time there really is an objective reality out there. Half
A body is a stop loss. In daily language, a stop- stand calmly beneath the lintel and appear to be the time it goes one way, half the time the other.
lossed loved one is one lost. A stop-lossed loved both in and out of the room. Another time be in What you need is a view to the inside of some-
one, though, knows lost lore--for example, that the room with only a certain degree of certainty. thing that is as invisible as Autolycus.
the brain cannot work without the liver. It is often Pick a partner and send him/her out of the It is no common thing to develop faith in the
said of the brain that it will act as the brain that it room. Dance in your separate rooms. Though you fluid moment. It is more perfect not to exist.
is, but also it will act as the liver that it is, as the cannot see each other, an observer can see that Standing in the rain, you are an aleatory experi-
thyroid that it is, as the blood that it is in the bod- when you spin one way, your partner spins the ment in the duration of breath. This is an example
ies of this group. other. When you spin the other way, your partner of the technique of remaining attached until
That is, the mind is a woven thing, woven of changes, too. Surprise your audience by momen- spring, then bursting. Just so, the foxtrot devel-
the things of the body by spinners, weavers, and tarily disappearing, then reappearing in opposite oped from the two-step. And just so, the figures
dyers born of the brains of the bodies of this rooms, still spinning. in the upper left corner are producing abstract
group. When the splendor of your dance draws a larg- forms and concrete sounds from industrial mate-
What, then, is enlightenment? Is it as pre- er audience, pass through the wall and collide rials. Are they aware of what has already hap-
dictable, for example, as the heat-woven weather? with your partner. Break into a shower of each pened in the lower right corner, where—a million
If weather were predictable, we would capture it. other, each new self identical to your old selves years before—spasms of math spun out hydrogen
And brains? As bodies are capturable, the brains with one or two strays that spin into oblivion and and theorems into the folds of every thing?
of the bodies of a group are capturable, and here can hardly be called selves at all. Dance among Not to worry—they have plenty of time, which
is where we may capture them: yourselves a wild is a finite surface with no beginning or end. But
Here we have Brain at Brain Architects Guild dance like Shiva’s, sending off sparks and how long will it be before they come up with a
of America, which does not exist. Here we have shadows and eating up the floor. Exchange wish- nice theory of how ESP might work, fix their old
Brain at Brain Conference Center, Brain at es when you tire, and wave as the rest of you fiz- pickups, spin a few discs, make a little something
Enlightenment Bar, Brain at Cryogenic zles into air. to remember them by? Soon enough, changes in
Rejuvenation Center, which do not exist. When the audience turns away, embrace your the weather will be less noticeable than the
But here, at last, we have Brain Drives Over partner tight. Hold on harder and closer, as close changes in the orange background. Their artists
2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 15
will start to seek clarity and to order the principles of human motion against You start your dotage and there is no end.
the backdrop of bebop and 24-ton calendars. The steel lattice of their You start double-timing and there is no end.
bridges will become like wafers on the tongue of the earth. You start to withdraw and there is no end.
The atonal winds will encourage fractal accounts of the struggle to live You start heroin, television, gin, wearing black, jerking off, running, playing
outside the canvas. And the nature of their real estate will remain specula- cards, and there is no end.
tive, like the forgotten emblems under their doorsteps, where a mountain You start blowing rabbits to hell and there is no end.
and a river unroll their two dimensions across a sunless map. You start thinking about it and there is no end.
You start your own business and there is no end.
Nomenclator You start disinfecting and there is no end.
You start looking for particles and there is no end.
Here is the current chairman of calendars. Listen for his proclamation of You start comparing prices and there is no end.
the ides. You start getting better and there is no end.
This is the homeowner from down the street who placed the milestone on You start at the top and there is no end.
your lawn. Since you likely will see her again, you will want to exchange You start over there and there is no end.
glances. You start falling down and there is no end.
Please stop here for the minister, who is out of state but scheduled to You start to induce and there is no end.
arrive any minute. Resume this way when he touches your sleeve. You start into the rain and there is no end.
His Honor and the Constable are usually here. No one can find them. You start pissing outside and there is no end.
Perhaps it is better in your current condition that they are not here. You start planting your foot and there is no end.
One can only do what one can do. Here comes the governor. As you You start taking photos and there is no end.
know, his real name is forbidden here in the public yard. It took him six You start to praise and there is no end.
hours to get home from the cabinet soiree. You start reading this and there is no end.
The bureau chief from the Times. The director of Plans for Restructuring You start lending money and there is no end.
is just there. The Assistant Vision Reviewer behind him. And she, the one in You start chasing flies and there is no end.
yellow, is rising in the district office. Your son’s teacher. No, fourth grade You start with the kudos and there is no end.
now. Don’t ask. No, that’s the maitre d’. You start eating kosher and there is no end.
Both counsel and I believe you should avoid shaking the hand of the You start accepting J.C. and there is no end.
clamorous editor. And how long you speak times the strength of your grip You start regular mammograms and there is no end.
equals the number of illegitimates you can expect. Therefore speak briefly. You start visiting Paris and there is no end.
Before it’s too late, please search the crowd for your likeness. He will not You start screwing loosely and there is no end.
stand for much more of this. You start to treat the water and there is no end.
Tomorrow I will send you a copy of the Senator’s desire. You will find its You start wasping your waist and there is no end.
delicacy more surprising than your daughter’s revelation. You start looking it up and there is no end.
Soon I must haul you before the council. Make clear your intention to You start quid pro quo and there is no end.
declare the general amnesty requested by your wife and her party. Show You start reading ontology and there is no end.
gratitude for the ensuing acclaim. You start reading teleology and there is no end.
Just a reminder: the flag in your hand means at precisely four o’clock, You start to neglect how long your dead have been gone and there is no end.
which is five seconds from now, you must call out your supporters and You start to negotiate the time you have left and there is no end.
require them to stand for you, which they probably will not do. Wave the You start blonde and turn red and brown and ash and there is no end.
flag. See: look at them all just sitting there. When they realize that they You start to lose trust and there is no end.
missed something, they will give their applause. Here it comes. You start to eat pizza and there is no end.
You start to wring necks and there is no end.
Gamut You start to notice the sclerosis and there is no end.
You start to scoff and there is no end.
You start touching up images and there is no end. You start to count motives and there is no end.
You start bleeding from your nose and there is no end. You start to love objects and there is no end.
You start composing paradoxes and there is no end. You start to look back at the garden and there is no end.
You start with the letter e and there is no end. You start building a house and there is no end.
You start to listen and there is no end. You start catching some z’s and there is no end.
You start walking and then you start tiring and there is no end. You start turning yellow and there is no end.
You start facing east and there is no end. You start to equal x and there is no end.
You start a list of empires and there is no end. You start eyeing the weather and there is no end.
You start watching this movie that goes nowhere and there is no end. You start under false pretenses and there is no end.
You start to right a wrong across the tracks and there is no end. You start embracing uncertainty and there is no end.
You start chewing and there is no end. You start rephrasing the constitution and there is no end.
You start to collect bandages and there is no end. You start starting over 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. BRIAN CLEMENTS is the editor of Sentence: A Journal of Prose
You start the oven and there is no end. Poetics and coordinator of the MFA in Professional Writing at Western
You start to dance with mammon and there is no end. Connecticut State University. His poetry collections include And How To
You start to hit on the hotties and there is no end. End It, Essays Against Ruin, and Disappointed Psalms. He lived in Dallas
You start mowing and there is no end. for many years, where he was a faculty member of The Writer’s Garret.
Page 16 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

Gruene, Texas Marian Haddad

MARIAN HADDAD, M.F.A., is a poet, essayist, visiting writer, manu-
script editor and consultant, and creative writing workshop instructor from

River at the
El Paso. Her work has appeared in The Texas Observer, The Rio Grande
Review, and Sin Fronteras/ Writers Without Borders, among other maga-
zines, journals, and anthologies.

I came here because

I know this place – because
I have been here before,
and I know where the river I’ll tell you what – we are almost
ends – I sit by the part run over by time – a Faulknerian
where it gurgles and foams thing, perhaps. The ticking
white above rocks – three does not stop. Away, away
stumps reach far down into this
river – and there, across the hours chime –
from me, one seems to be and us, running frenzied about.
growing right out of cliff,
right out of rock. It leans right, But when we stop, somehow,
graceful sway of trunk – it has to rest – or when the head
somehow found its leaning no longer aches – words, again –
comfortable, a sideways growing – It always happens like this.
I guess if something stays bent
long enough – it assumes its place They save themselves up
gracefully – learns to live during the busy days –
with that.
When we make ourselves
sit by the waters of a river,
33 Miles from Waco and
Dallas behind Me by the floating

These fields are yellow – burnt water sliding down –

for crops – I see the low rows
and then, high fields of corn When we sit awhile
in their leafy suits – and trees in this constant place
of beginning – the night entering
spaced just enough apart – its expected hour –
enough for light to enter
enough for light to flood It is then –
Here –
-- and the houses eating the long
grasses – and the golden tops That the words make their way
of cornfields – and their edges out – here where they unfold –
are green among the waves
their staffs make. when the mind is quiet –
and the river is not.
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

In My 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
Other Do you dream to know your flag’s colors

Profession I know the timetable like the back of my heart

And when I die I go to Saturn

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
Fumes of carpet cleaning For two weeks she waited
Choke me in the hallway and as if I were Until it left of its own accord
A unionist on a confederate task
If you tear down the web
I say why don’t you ask for a mask but
The cleaning lady nods that it’s OK I said it will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
In front of the bank a homeless woman And you’d get to go biking
Has different eyes for smoke in December
She said “That’s how others
Half a cigarette in the parking lot Become refugees, isn’t it?”
A mouth to another stranger’s mouth
His rage is from not killing anyone from close range, not class that his thoughts wander. He imagines a trespasser,
seeing the brain splatter. He says he was trained to murder how he’d mutilate him and hide the “microscopic blood.”
but all he did was ride the Humvee probability. Off the He’s tearful, hyperventilates, his mother’s shoulder is
record he tossed grenades at villages by the side of the Siamese with his. “Think of life” I say, he says, “Life is
road and laughed, bullet-littered the land and the vehicles short.” I say, “Short or long think of life” then I go back to
passing by when his was passing by. Sometimes he my desk and there’s a message for me to call my father. I
dragged passengers out and mashed them “without touch- call. He says your sister had written something down in
ing the face.” Sometimes when he walks into a gas station, Arabic, smudged now. I say, “I don’t want to return to any-
now that he’s back, they greet him “How are you, brother?” one. I don’t want to return to any country after this
and he replies under his breath “I am not your brother you absence. I only want to return to my language in the dis-
gas station people are only targets to me...” His is a profes- tances of cooing.”
sional failure. I empathize. He works out but it’s in math
(Last quote from Mahmoud Darwish’s Mural 2000).
Page 18 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

¡Qué quiero gozar! Cuba! Cuba! Cuba!

Que quiero gozar!
En Cuba Mamá nacio
Y en su corazon creo Cuba’s sticky melted grease pleather
Lo que ‘sta adentro de mi Upholstery stinky like leather
Cojer botella means to me family
Yo no pude regresar Of the road we in this mess together
Y con familares star Hot stifle in my chest, speak less
Hasta al año 2003! Lest they know you got Euros, mamita

Cuba’s flavor like Flava-Flav savor, boiyee! Cuba’s marshmallow meringue pastels
Like a guitar serenata on top of Of cakes floating by for violeta-haired Cristabel
It’s her birthday baby ruffles vuelitos in her hair

Grisel Y. Acosta
A dew flower mountain, 3 a.m.
And you’re too tired to listen That’s a gift with no change to spare
But then one says he’s a poet Strange happiness borne of chipped cups
So you leave the door open Burnt poesia y azucar morena, nena
GRISEL Y. ACOSTA is currently a Hispanic Leadership Cuba’s hidden netting mosquito light through
Program Fellow and doctoral student in San Antonio. Her work Cuba’s saltwater fresh fire
Like nervous catch breath desire boards
has appeared or is forthcoming in Chicago’s After Hours Literary In a house without lords mind the mistress
When you sing psalms to ocean
Magazine, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and She brings distress to Tía que no habla
Throwing the broken pieces of paper
Emcees, a Cuban American anthology by MiPoesias, and a Latino Down to a 20,000 leagues wish But like a black and white photo speaks a full
issue of Pembroke Literary Magazine. Of pearl oyster fish y canciónes, emociones. tabla
Come to life with her smile she got style
Of a poet in her skin light bushel shinin’ from

Fleeting 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

Cuba’s lo que tu no entiendes yeah you

I couldn’t blame my friend Grace for
An’ Moinelo paint captures the psychedelia
Mania poetica religiosa de nostra cosa

Cuba’s the careful sweet step of a three day kitten

Boo, my meaning’s hidden plastering a sign
That says FORBIDDEN I know what ‘chu
Stereotypical sinkin’ she’s a hot tamale or chili
Shaky thoughts go willie nillie for they don’t
Light finger brush proof that he’s smitten
her need to be beautiful Make hot tamales or grow chili en Cuba, son
Lemonade sitting with Cintio Vitier
at the suburban party. Writer talk dusty under books musty
The large, bearded man explained to me But his wife’s the better poet Cuba’s like love the revolution of the blood kind
I was a very pretty girl. And you know it, boiyee! In our veins and minds not the green army suit
This was important, No miami corporate cliché that’s moot take it out
he said. Cuba’s found shells strung on rubber Don’t ask about no musical social club
The following year, Unrequited lover drinking Crema Catalán It’s deeper than poetic blue ’50s cars, love
when her parents gave their annual shindig, A lacy fan fumbled open But I know you still clingin’, and clingin’, and
he said the same thing At intellectual convocation, a token
to another young girl. A photo to remember the discarded
Poetry that went unwritten Cuba’s like mathematics and nerd speech
My importance was When I reach for mi cafecito that’s done with
a fleeting sentiment, but even worse, Cuba’s acid beer poured out of an oil tanker
In a place devoid of banker jargon and dreams precision
Grace never heard she was pretty, important. And my decision to return to mi hombre aquí
Split seams of a worn skirt
Black skin red muscle no shirt No affair for me no exotic view of la isla
I let Joel register me Dancing on the asphalt under a silver blue Mi vida is the reality and that’s feet that move
for Homecoming Queen in 9th grade. Moon too soon to go home curfew crush To a continental groove that is the canto of Cuba
He had many plans for me.
I watched I must And much much more
his friends sell tickets and tally
my popularity by demand. Cuba! Cuba! Cuba!
Que quiero gozar!
The following year
blue spiked hair,
steel skin,
warded off their comments.
“Damn, she used to be
Why would she do that?”
2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 19

The House of the Seasons

Built in 1872
Luis leaves open milk
n the Skids
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.

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,

Exclusive Lodging and Dining
walks it off, won’t lose 4 Guest Suites
his eye or muscles • Elegant Rooms filled with history
’til 15 years later, • Full Breakfast and Home Tour included
as if his body refuses to admit something. • In-room Jacuzzi and all amenities
Luis and Tío Segundo, like Abuelo, have the same Beautiful Setting for Weddings,
high forehead, Spanish nose, African grin. Receptions and Private Parties
Segundo leaves his wives, Historic Home Tours Daily
an aristocrat, una morena, 2 p.m. excluding Sunday
all over the island.
Fine Wines and Wine Tastings
He sits in a cabin
after his teeth were mashed
like combat boots on harvested corn. Call or check our website for upcoming events

Cricket buzz and electricity-free dark

let him sleep on a rocking chair
hammered together with his tools.
The murals in
His anger is left the Dome have
in the bottom of black-market rón, recently been
like the sediment of the refined sugar mills that have closed. restored by international conservator, Stashka Star.

Shirts, jewelry, other small things

go missing while he brags 409 South Alley Street
about the home he built with his hands Jefferson, Texas 75657
Don’t ask how he got the timber.
903-665-8000 for Reservations
Segundo skids on the deck of a naval ship
headed for Africa. 903-665-8002 fax
Eyes wander while mopping the oiled wood.
He is looking to the Canary Islands, to Great Grandmother. website:
His body knows something his words have not admitted. email:
one stars
Page 20 • ¡Tex! Magazine • 2008

“Class Acts”


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

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.
(Front row, from left) Melissa Daniel, Ashley MIDDLE SCHOOL WINNERS
Hernandez, Samantha Berry, Emily Pescina,
Amanda Menn, Irving Nino, Jameel Dorsey,
First Place, Poetry First Place, Poetry
Andrea Ramirez, Casey Gilbert, Megan Stewart,
Vanessa Tello Humberto Juarez. (Back row, from left) Lillian
Elizabeth CreMeens
James S. Hogg Elementary, 5th Grade Senders, Gary Griffith, Today Foundation, J.L. Long Middle School
Elizabeth CreMeens, Leslie Padgett. Ode to Masquerade
A deep blue, teacher I had been good all year. Except when I Spirits dancing, voices flirting
a growing purple, tripped my cousin so he won’t score the winning lives hidden behind a mask
beginning to become darker and darker— point and when I put bubble gum in my sister’s glorious gowns, elegant suits
until it becomes a dark purple, hair. Everyone’s dancing at last
turning into a lifeless color; a color that we call I was nervous I did not know if she was going Birds twirling, Cats spinning
black. to be mean or nice. I stopped thinking about it Princes dancing; Queens watching
Violet is the color of love and the dark night sky. because it made me sweat. The room number A world to forget yourself
We used to dream, was 205 my sister was teasing me you got a A place to hide and start enjoying
dream of that pure color again. mean teacher. She laughed. My little sister kept princess laughing, flowing, their feet across the
on laughing. I told her stop she kept on laugh- floor
ing more. There was the class a teacher name A lion scouting out his prey
First Place, Fiction was Ms. Hernandez. I knew she was going to be music swaying across the air
Irving Nino one of my favorite teachers. She told us if we A lonely Raven that can’t dance
William A. Blair Elementary, 4th Grade wanted to color the boys got a dragon the girls A Raven hiding among the crows
Time To Go To School got a princess. All aligned in rows
The next day we learned about Sam Houston The lion finds his prey
Tick tok tick tok what is that? Ah ah he was the first and third president of Texas. And the Raven attempts to dance
ah ah it is time to go to school. I woke up Stephen F. Austin he was one that started contest Dancing among the ocean of fairies
everyone in the house except my little sister and brought the old 300 that means that he was cats, princes, sheep … too many to count
because she will cry like someone playing the one that brought 300 families to Texas. We left A girl hidden behind a mask
trumpet. It was the first day of school I was in to P. E. We played bowling. I was having so Watching, laughing, dancing, flirting,
the fourth grade. I didn’t know who was going much fun. I hope you have someone special. And the girl behind the mask is me.
to be my teacher. I hope I don’t get a mean Ms. Hernandez is the best.
2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 21
First Place, Poetry pillows and blankets, my mind racing with HIGH SCHOOL WINNERS
Amanda Menn thoughts, thoughts and feeling. Feelings of thirst
Frank B. Agnew Middle School, 8th Grade in my throat as I sit there tied to the over-sized First Place
Total Darkness tree. Megan Stewart
My mind completely in thought, thought of John D. Horn High School
“Alex, it’s Naomi. She’s missing. The dorms how he would get away with it, even though he The Dreamer’s Trilogy
say they haven’t seen her for 3 days now. What had been killed in the movie. Thought of how it
are we going to do?” I was mesmerized by the would never end. Thoughts of how if the police As I walked in the house, I noticed Mother
television with what was going on in “Kiss the did find me, find me while I was still alive, find and Father lying on the couch in the living
Girls.” The clock read 11:43 p.m., and I was the me and take me away to where they said I was room in each other’s arms watching “Law and
only one in the big, dark house. safe. To where they said he would never find Order”, my Father fast asleep. “You’re home
By the time the show was over my parents me, to a place where once again he would come, early,” my Mother’s voice danced its way
still weren’t home, and I grew nervous with fear. come and once again take me against my will, across the room towards me. “I wasn’t expect-
Fear that the man who kidnapped the girls in the against everything the police had promised me, a ing you for at least another half hour or so.”
movie was going to come to my house while no place that was supposed to have been safe, safe Her voice was more curious than accusing.
one was home and take me to the dark dungeon from him. “Well, we decided to call it quits…after I
where he had kept them. Safe from the evil things he had done to me, won four games in a row,” I added as an after-
Even though he had died in the movie, the safe from the torture I had gone through, safe thought. This made my Mother turn her head
thought got more and more intense. My mind from him. I lay there still under the pillows and around to look at me.
was racing, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. I blankets, the pillows and blankets that would “Tell me you didn’t…” she sounded disap-
thought of how I would get away, but then these hide me from him, my eyes clenched together as pointed, but I knew better. She wanted to
men would stop me and take me away far, far, if to not see what was going on, clenched so I know all about it.
away. didn’t have to go through what the girls in the I walked over and sat on the couch next to
I crawled into my bed as to try and make the movie had gone through. But I still lay there, her. “Yup,” I said proudly, “I used a were-
thoughts go away, but they just grew on how he lay there every thought, every image as clear as wolf.” Her eyes grew wide in horror. “Don’t
would rip me out of my bed. How I would the last. I pressed my hand as hard as I could to worry!” I quickly put in before she could
scream for my life, scream for my virginity, but my ears, to my ears as if to not hear the words protest. “He was completely safe.”
no one would hear my cries, because I was alone he could whisper in my ear. The words that “Ok then.” Father let out a soft snore and
in the big, dark house. would deny my very being, and make me feel as Mother stroked his hair. “Are you going to
I covered myself with pillows and blankets, so if I was pregnant with morning sickness. I lay tell me about it?” she asked impatiently.
if he came he would think no one was home, but there my eyes clenched shut, my ears flaming “He was from The Nocturnal Terror. I got it
as I lie there I grew hot and the mind pounding hot, my hands covering them. My imagination from the library. The character is a werewolf,
thoughts grew and grew. How he would force grew, grew in fear, grew in thought, grew in but he isn’t the bad or scary kind. By night,
the drug into my mouth, the drug that would emotion. I wanted to cry, cry with every fiber of he becomes a beast trying to rid ancient
weigh down my legs so I couldn’t run, my arms my being, cry with fright, and cry of the London of nighttime criminals, but by day he
so I couldn’t fight back, and then it would hap- unknown of what would come next. Even is an upper class gentleman who falls in love
pen. thought it was all in my head I couldn’t pin point with a servant in his best friend’s household.
He would do what he wanted with me, and the fear, the fear that it was really happening. Not to mention, but he is completely gor-
then my service would be over. He would take Every thought was so vivid, so intense, so real geous too! Pretty interesting, huh?”
me out to the middle of the forested area, like he that it was hard to believe it wasn’t really hap- “Sounds like a good one.” Mother nodded
had done with the other girls, tie me to the pening. My heart was pounding so hard that I approvingly.
biggest tree he could find, cut my hair, and leave thought it was going to jump right out of my “I used him because he has excellent night-
me there, where once again I would be alone in chest. time vision and a great ability to smell.”
the big, dark forest. He would leave me there to My breathing grew heavy, yet short in length. “Winning four games, it sure sounds like
die, leave me there to die of hunger and thirst. I I lay there my head drenched in sweat, the sweat it.” We sat there for a few moments. The
would cry out for help, but no one would be able that measured and showed the fear, the fear of “Law and Order” episode was a rerun I had
to hear my pleas, my pleas for help, my pleas for being taken from my home and no body even already seen, so I decided to head upstairs to
survival, my pleas for food and water. noticing. my room. Mother called after me, “Don’t for-
The three days would pass and I would end up By the time my parents did arrive home they get that tomorrow is your 17th birthday!”
like the others, the others who had been cap- didn’t understand what I had just been through, I rolled my eyes. “Like I could forget?”
tured, captured and taken against their will, they didn’t understand how all this fear, the She glared at me. “You know what I mean.
taken away to a far, far place where no one fright had built up in just a few short hours. But Tomorrow we start your training.”
could hear their cries. now that they where home the fear, the fright, “Why do I need training? I’ve been using
A place where, where they did what they and my extreme imagination of what would and my powers for years now! What else could I
wanted with you and then you were left for dead, had happened was over. possibly have to learn?” I asked.
left for dead in the middle of the woods were I’ll probably never stay home alone and watch “You’d be surprised,” she huffed. The con-
only crows lay their droppings. A place where if a scary movie ever again, because who knows versation had ended. I hurried to my room so
the police did find you, did manage to identify what I could watch next and possibly end up I could lay my head on my goose feather pil-
the body, it wouldn’t matter, because he would believing. I still have no real idea of why this lows and dream that morning would come
have gotten away with it once again. movie affected me so much, but all I know is swiftly.
I still lay there, lay there in my bed, under the that I definitely won’t be watching it again. — 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 Students line
once more. A harsh frost had hit, and I could do nothing to help. up for an aut
Naomi Shiha ograph from
b Nye. She ret internationally
My little boy grew and left, leaving on Lady Winter behind. urns to The Wr
iter’s Garret
acclaimed poe
in spring 200



Second Place:
• Jameel Dorsey, Lake, Esperanza “Hope” Medrano Elementary
• Raul Montelongo-Soto, “Water is Precious,” Ascher Silberstein
• Sarah Woo and Vanessa Tello, “A Fairy Wing,” James S. Hogg
• 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:
ing one of ma • Rebecca Woo, “Friend or Foe,” James S. Hogg Elementary
ht words dur
rch for the rig • Yvette Banda, “Christmas,” Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary
of our you ng writers sea Wr iter ’s Garret.
Two by The • Ashley Hernandez, “Picnic Day,” Cesar Chavez Learning Center

events hosted
educational • Lillian Senders,”To Hide My Pain,” Frank B. Agnew Middle
• Andrea Ramirez, “Do,” J.L. Long Middle School
• Dalton McCay, “Under the Lamp,” John D. Horn High School
Refresh your daily life with the clear,

• Leslie Padgett, “Make-Up,” John D. Horn High School
cleansing air and water of the literary • Rebecca Woo, “Friend or Foe,” James S. Hogg Elementary
arts. Join us today by becoming a mem-
Thanks to all the instructors teaching in the North Texas
ber, taking a class, or attending an Writers-in-the-Schools program for submitting these highly diverse
event. student works!
2008 • ¡Tex! Magazine • Page 23