The Stone Circle. Volume 9 Number 1 Fall McLennan Community College Student Literary and Art Journal

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1 The Stone Circle Volume 9 Number 1 Fall 2009 McLennan Community College Student Literary and Art Journal

2 From the Editor s PC: We would like to dedicate this issue of The Stone Circle to Dr. Dennis Michaelis, past president of McLennan Community College in appreciation of his many years of support and encouragement. Likewise, a hearty welcome to Dr. Johnette McKown, MCC s third president. As we approach our tenth year of publication, we are contemplating some changes in the format. Please tell us what changes you would like to see. Contact me at address: Please put Stone Circle in the subject line. --Jim McKeown Ariel James Sleepy Brownie Kyle Gray Untitled The Stone Circle (ISSN ) is published twice each academic year in November and April Printed by Waco Printing Co. Copyright McLennan Community College 1400 College Drive Waco, TX Volume 9 Number 1 Cover photo: First Prize, Stone Circle Award for Photography Mick Burson Musically Inclined

3 The English Faculty Prize for Fiction Spirits in the Rain by Danaile Oliver The gentle wind brushed over the tall grass of the field. The hills appeared as if they were waves in a golden ocean. A breeze carried the smell of livestock. Black wispy clouds were placed gently on a background of grey. It was almost as though the day reflected my thoughts. My mind was a storm. Emotions were flowing everywhere. I could not stop the hurricane of my thoughts. I was full of hatred, anger, depression, denial, a whole black rainbow of emotions. They created a thick black out in front of my mind s eye. I could see nothing. I could feel nothing. This pasture was once a place of beauty. Wildflowers bloomed in patches everywhere. A small trail, once a creek, led from the gate to the dense woods in the back. The sun would glisten down over the field and the warmth would counter the cool breezes of early spring. I would sneak away during my chores to visit this pasture. Quietly, I enjoyed the sounds of nature. Each bird song seemed to slow my pulse, beat by beat. I could escape here. This meadow took all of my pains and worries away. It was my own little Eden. However, the beauty was gone today. Today it was ugly, unsightly. The encroaching storm darkened it. The flowers had come and gone and the grass had yellowed in the Texas heat. There was no warmth here, not today. I sat on a fallen log. The thought storm swirled in the background as the day replayed. A harsh rapping echoed through the dark halls of my home. Slowly, the knocks leaked into my bedroom. Groggy, I managed to pull myself from the comfort of my bed. I wish I would have continued to sleep. Curiously, I walked to the front door. Alex? the shock of seeing him standing before me snapped me into the waking world. I 1 never spoke to Alex. We hardly knew each other. I could think of no reason for him to be here, standing on my front step. What are you doing here? I asked, wondering how he even knew where I lived. Alex would not look me in the eye, but I could tell he was fighting back tears. He bit his lip and forced out his message. Becka died last night. He was so blunt, so cold. Only one thought rung in my head, It was a joke, a sick, horrible joke. Becka was only thirty-four. There was no way it could be true. I am so sorry, he said. He reached out as though to pat my shoulder. However, he decided against the move. He slowly turned and walked away. I fell against the doorframe and clutched at my chest. Gasping for air, I managed to make it to my cell phone. I called Becka s husband. I needed to hear it from a second person. It rang once, twice, and then he answered. Is she dead? I screamed in the mouth piece. Tell me Alex is lying! my voice cracked. My blood ran cold. He had only one reply, soft sobbing. So, it was true after all. I closed the phone and laid it aside. The move was so slow, so careful. It was almost as though I was placing an egg. Tabby was a friend, no, not a friend. Friend could not even come close to describing her. She was so much more to me. Tabby was no god, she had flaws. She was a recovered drug addict and she was loud and overbearing at times, but there were so many good points about her. She was smart, in her own way; she cared so much about all of her friends. Tabby took care of me like I was her own blood daughter. She took on a maternal role in my life. To lose Tabby, was to lose a mother. --continued page 2

4 I did not cry, yet, I just sat in my bed I did not move. Suddenly, I had an urge to run from all of this. I wanted to go to my secret pasture. I wanted to find my Eden and leave this world. I wanted the pain to stay here as I floated into ecstasy of ignorance and denial. However, the field had lost its affect. The thought flurry continued to bombard my mind. I had lost my path to paradise. Reality continued to have a clutch on me and I was forced to face the pain. It followed me here. It invaded my sanctuary and I was lost to it. Unexpectedly, a wave of anger crashed down over me and I commenced screaming into the wind. Questions of hate and abandonment found their way out of me. How could she leave me like this? I slid of the log onto my knees. Ruthlessly, I began to claw at the dirt and throw it into the field. How could you leave me? the question slipped out so quietly. I could hardly believe it was me who asked it. The wind picked up and I could hear the leaves rustle on the trees. Collapsing onto my side, doubling over, I let the pain wash over me. I stopped fighting and just let it consume me. Tears began to flow uncontrollably. I wept softly as I cooed myself to sleep. One drop, then two, then a rush of warm water awoke me. The sky was pitch black and the summer rain pounded the dry, thirsty ground. I did not run for shelter, or even cover my face. I let the rain water run down my body. Slowly, the stream infiltrated my clothes. Somehow, the rain comforted me. It was as though Becka was washing the pain away from me. The wind blew through my wet hair as if she were stroking it, comforting me. Becka was there with me in that field. I could feel her. I closed my eyes and I could see her. Becka was there, in the rain. Grey Shades Everything goes Black or White No Grey shades to be found Everything goes Up or Down No Middle is around Everything goes Right or Wrong No Kind Of in the air Everything goes Black or White No Grey shades anywhere --Trinity Linn Cameron Park So calm, so peaceful Only trees to entertain Come with me sometime --Cara Gorton Many, many thanks to Dr. Johnette McKown & the Board of Trustees Dr. Donnie Balmos and Dr. Bill Matta for financial support and encouragement. A special thanks to all my colleagues who assisted with the selection of poetry and short fiction: Dr. Cheryl Bohde -- Dr. Carol Lowe -- Dr. Bill Matta Brenda Bradley -- Dr. Linda Cook -- Dr. Charlotte Laughlin Dr. Stephen Swanson -- Londa Carriveau -- Heather Michael -- Dr. Kay Moser Ryan Thompson -- Nicolas Webb -- Ramona McKeown -- Linda Pelon 2

5 Three poems by Trinity Linn Day of a Problem Perfection What is perfection? Perfection is an opinion Perfection is an illusion Perfection is a lie There is no such thing as perfection Perfection does not exist Those who claim to be perfect do so to hide something Nobody is perfect Nothing is perfect There is no such thing as perfection In every corner of my mind, There are problems that I find. Lurking there, they wait for me, Hiding in places I can t see. In the dark, their favorite place, Is where they wait to see my face. Shock and horror, complete confusion, They don t care, a pure illusion. What ends up, I do not know, They can tell, my face will show. Make me angry, make me sad, My sanity was all I had. It left a blank and emotionless face, Left forever without a trace. Noises The silences surround you, As leaves fall in the breeze. The quiets all around you, As the wind blows through the trees. You hear nothing in the distance, As the cars go flying by. You listen very carefully, As you look around and sigh. You were hoping for a miracle, excitement, something good, But nothing ever happens, as it should. Birds twitter in the trees, But you hear nothing in the air. Dogs bark among themselves, Loud and without care. The silences surround you, Cans roll along the ground. The quiets all around you, Never to be found. 3

6 4 Sigma Kappa Delta -- English Honor Society Prizes for Poetry First Prize Imagination I have a house overlooking the African savanna. In late afternoon, I relax on my verandah Watching clouds roll in over the Serengeti Plain, Sipping mint julep, waiting for the rain. I have a thatched hut in the Caribbean isles On a while sandy beach that stretches for miles. Lying in my hammock under a palm, I gaze at the ocean, peaceful and calm. I have a maison in the south of France On the Riviera, in a world of romance. Fields of lavender perfume the air As I paint the landscape without a care. I have a ranch in Arizona Under sienna cliffs near Sedona I practice yoga in the desert sun Until it sets when the day is done All of my houses are my own creation And I go to them in my imagination. I feel their comfort when I m bored or blue If I can do this, so can you. --Kayla Leggott Third Prize Daddy s Girl Sitting on the sidewalk, Kicking in the dirt, Smudges on her elbows, Chocolate on her shirt. Eyes fixed on the driveway, Her life is not so bad, Just spending time in the sun, And waiting for her dad. Well, all kids have their heroes, It s really nothing new, From Superman and Robin Hood, To Captain Kangaroo. But my little girl is special. Her dreams are not the same. Her hero is a real man And Daddy is his name. --Tammy Clark

7 5 Second Prize The Artist The artist sits before a white canvas Not intending to be here as this point in life. Yet in the center of this emptiness There lies a small dot. Not knowing what to do, the artist begins to paint. Little by little, the dot begins to grow with every stroke of her brush. Legs and arms, Toes and fingers start to fill in the empty space. Eyes, nose, ears, mouth. Finally there is an infant lying helpless before the artist. With her brush, she adds white paint to nourish her creation. Adding color, clothes are placed upon the child who has grown into them so quickly. A background is added. Everything in its place, creating the perfect atmosphere to encourage thought and education in her painting. Time passes, and the artist puts everything she has into her masterpiece. Time, thought, but most of all, love. The artist never quits. Her youth fades but her happiness reaches new heights each day. Her work of art means everything to her. she sits and looks upon her masterpiece, and it in turn looks back at her with deep admirations, appreciation, and love in its eyes. And with words that mean the world to the artist, it says I love you momma --Eric Fowler Honorable Mention For Marvin Tall majestic bark covered faith worshipers hands stretched in praise Golden glints in green sparkle like tinsel reflecting the sun s rays. Sunlight braves the war lines of entrenched leaves interwoven folded arms Light speckles the pavement like shadow puppet swarms. A cool breeze shakes the canopy all the leaves rustle with every whispering applaud The fields of written stone answer with silent monuments 2 miles broad Avoid the tree in the middle of the road, the one behind the Dietz place Halogen beams blink with perfect rhythm in procession without hurry or race. Two rights lay the tall quiet man reunited with family long since gone a legacy in the making gather on that perfect lawn. So long and welcome home. --Manuel Oso Arsiaga

8 6 The End Result The distance you traveled to get here Has led you far away When it ends, no one knows No one dares to say You try to catch up with yourself But you re lagging behind It seems as though your mind s erased All of your lies, lies So, lay your head on a pillow of rocks And try to forget How you became who you are You will never rest And nothing ever comes to you The canvas is so bare You forced yourself to be alone Now, no one s there There s your end result. Midnight Waiting for midnight to take me to the next day Waiting for your midnight to rush you away Time well spent is wasted on the shadows of the day Waiting for midnight again Predicament Quite a predicament you re in Life has a way to keep happening It s a day you bend and break A focused lens you cannot escape Don t try Just give it Back to everyone else The rumors cannot be true Unless they happen to you Unless they fold up and hide Rumors, rumors won t lie Don t try Just give it Back to everyone else A broken chord hands in the air Quite a predicament you re in You hum the notes as if you don t care Quite a predicament you re in Don t try Just give it Back to everyone else Don t try Just give it Back to everyone else Sleep, it don t come easy To those that have restless minds Sleep don t come easy to those kinds Midnight feels like dinnertime when sleep is hard to find Waiting for midnight this time God only knows where I d be If I could just get some sleep God only knows who I d become in the dawn But midnight won t come Lord only knows who I d be Lord knows what I d become If I wasn t chasing midnight For the dawn. Three poems by Matt Cluthe

9 Paula Erdman Everybody Hanna Bailey Leap of Faith Kristian Hudson Deadly Dinner Vanessa Wiethorn Untitled Mick Burson Trash Bowl 7

10 Stone Circle Awards for Creative Excellence in Photography Second Place Pablo Moran Never Near Enough Sarah Third Place International 8

11 Pablo Moran Unveiling Pablo Moran Birds 9

12 Nancy Delgado Chicks Nancy Delgado Kitchen An extra special thanks to Glenn Downing for his tireless efforts to collect dozens of photos for each issue. The judging is difficult, and we all appreciate his assistance in making The Stone Circle the successful journal it has become. 10

13 Band of Brothers Broken Greasy fingered chicken lunch, sweet tea like crack addicted friends Least that's what comes to mind when I look through my memory lens. I reminisce on a time when there was no room for dogma and self proclaimed truths Just gamer friends laughing and eating sitting in that bush's chicken booth I was me and you were you, and that's all that really mattered Never did I think we'd become so close just to see our friendship shattered. It was a happier time, full of good times, games and fun Never did I think that opposing views could make this friendship undone. I still am a friend, but you left me up to choose hurling words like stones because I don't share everyone else's views. I won't tell you the way you believe is wrong because you already know the score I wouldn't do that to you my brother, it would be better to start a war. I am a Christian my friend, for this in my heart I know to be true but I wasn't always this way I like my brother shared a different view It scares me, it terrifies me thinking about what I saw knowing only that my god Forbade me for it is against his law. Now I have the feeling again, sparked up by your harsh words I know it sounds funny to you, god speaking thru my brother, the notion is absurd But I cannot shake the feeling, of feeling torn in two My heart breaking for my brother, and the god I know to be true I wish it didn't have to be this way, why am I made to choose? Why cant we be that greasy fingered chicken lunch in that bush's chicken booth? I wish you could understand the pain of the words that should have been left unspoken I fear now and forever more this band of brothers has finally been broken --Manuel Oso Arsiaga Morgan Dockery Smile 11

14 Tessan She runs free in the gardens of her heart the cool grass damp beneath her feet a light wind tugging gently at her hair laying kisses against her neck. She laughs and dances, feeling the sun against her bare skin staining it with light and warmth. It has been so long, so very long since she has seen the sun. She is all that she feels light, laughter, brilliance. She is love. She runs. She sees the bricks of the walls, vines curling, budding, flowering, so that even she does not feel truly alone in this place that has come alive. She can taste their scent, sweet and heady. She feels her heart swelling in her chest, so that she is amazed she can even breathe with the weight of it. She races forward knowing not what she will find. Another wall perhaps, but then she would know, and she could face it. Perhaps this wall could be climbed. Or perhaps, there is no wall there at all. She sees no clouds, no warning of rain or storm, and yet a wind sweeps up around her dark and terrible, ugly, silent, cold. She cannot breathe. The air is moist and stale. She tastes ashes in her mouth feels the sting of them in her eyes, tears up, but keeps running. Her feet press tender into piles of ashes and things that are sharp. She cannot see, but she knows she bleeds. The wind roars against her ears, silent no longer. Slowly, slowly it fades away, and she finds that it was silent all along. The only sound was her choking, sobbing against her fate. She stops. The sun has gone. The powder beneath her feet is gray and black, the chalky remnants of leaves and flowers, vines and sticks, a few crumbling pieces of stone. The grass, the vines, the flowers, all of them are gone. 12 She stands frozen, shocked and afraid, and she sees what has been done. There was no fire. Only wind and dampness. Yet everything has burned, crumbled, broken. Her sobs escape parched lips, hoarse voice breaking the hollow silence Echoing like water dripping in a deep dark well. She watches as her skin loses its sunlit glow. The light seeping away like so much mist, fading into the dark. No breeze stirs to touch her hair. No one places kisses against the back of her neck. She is alone. She tips her head back and howls her anguish into the night. She smears ashes in her hair and skin, mourning all that she has lost. Mourning those things she never had, but thought she could have. Mourning love. The walls stand, their surfaces charred, smeared with ashes, but solid still, Cold, dark and empty, except for her. She is frozen, so nothing moves. Her breath comes ragged, but it comes. A laugh escapes her lips, broken and small, and she is amazed that she can laugh at all. Tears form little rivers in the ashes of her skin. She brushes dark streaked hair from her face, and looks out into the night. Somewhere in the distance she hears a sound, and though there is no sun to light her way, she can still see. She runs toward the sound, not knowing what she hopes to find, but hoping anyway, because she cannot mourn forever. --Brinna Blain

15 X + Y = FAIL The car was too far away, I misjudged the distance from the MCC parking lot. If I were a bird I could fly there, I lamented under my breath. At this moment I would trade myself in on the car lot of souls for just about anyone or anything else. I feel miserable longing for an out of body experience or some Calgon to take me away. Walking faster still, as if the road were against me, pretending to be a treadmill, I couldn t seem to reach the safety of my white Hyundai fast enough. I hailed it as a sanctuary and I needed to be inside safe from ambling students and professors. I needed to be there now. Not one to appreciate girly emotional moments, I rarely have them. Sometimes the inner simmering that is delicately balanced gives way to a bitter boil and in a tossed off moment I m caught off guard; like today, right now. I try to hold my emotions hostage like an armed bank robber in a forced stick up. I m in control, I can handle this, I tell myself but even my inside voice is quaking. I feel powerless and insult heaps itself upon my fragile emotions as a tear cuts loose like a prisoner on a chain gain running free. It slides down hot on my frustrated cheeks and opens the flood gate for a million tears all waiting their turn like an angry mob restless to be released from a puny gate. I am unable to stop the hot tearful procession as they pummel down my cheek all wet and stinging. Unprepared my lungs begin to heave in an effort to combat the panic I feel and I m walking fast but I no longer know where I m going. My audible sobbing elicits stares from the people I pass; my nose leaks and tears mingle like a fire hydrant left unattended. I am pouring myself out, without permission from my heart or mind. Control evades me, I ve lost it amidst the endless rows of cars that all look the same through tear jammed eyes, heavy and sad. I ve come from math and I failed. The paper in red ink screams at me, NO CREDIT. One might have expected a death in my family. No. Not today. I ve simply run out of strong. Bleary and spent my perspective runs away like my dog on our nightly jog. I know it will return, but in this moment it s gone and its return is a dimmer hope with a looming what if that creates a vacuum of unknown for this moment. It s the realization I offered up my best and it wasn t good enough. Confidence stabbed my back, and cut my throat and now it was leaving me alone to face my failure. My perspective fleeing, I could feel the emotional clubs that would beat me senseless. How could you think you did so well and do so poorly? You should quit. You won t pass. You can t do it. You don t have what it takes. My car was where I left it, ironic, I know. As I slid into peaceful quiet behind tinted windows a mourning emerged. It was much more powerful than this one moment. It was a sadness that cried out for every baby I could not keep alive, for every client I couldn t please, every loved one I let down, and every math problem I couldn t equate. It was a moment that reconciled my humanness and lack of perfection. An equation of my inadequacy, plus high expectations, with no room for failure, that amounted to a person who gave all of herself up and was found wanting, lacking, not enough. Humiliation graces me alone in my thoughts. A small window in time opens where failure wraps itself in the fibers of my identity, not because it defines who I am, but it marks what I am. And what am I? I am loved and I am loving, striving for perfection; but today I failed my math test. John George --Charity Stephens Eggs 13

16 Thank You The Wild Horses Thank you for the Phoenix wings, and dragon breath and fairy things. Thank you for the midnight rides and adventures unseen by grown-up eyes. Thank you for this brush of mine, that has helped me with my own design. Thank you for help through the troubled times, when we couldn t help but just unwind. Thank you for the caring touch when things would seem to be too much. Thank you for just loving me and letting me become who I want to be. And with rhyming done and all this through, All I ve said is, thank you! --Clinton Trimble Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt Well they'll try to save your soul here in Waco town, Steeples and churches seen from miles around Well I don t need savin not from fires below Yeah I don t need savin not from pastor Joe Well I'll just play the cards that I've been dealt Stuck on Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt. Try not to judge and turn a deaf ear Its 3AM your house is a'fire is all I hear More crutches than people here in Waco Town Souls been returned to the lost and found Can you imagine the way I felt? Stuck on Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt Well I know they heart is in the right place So I just stand there and let 'em plead they case But it ain t for a man to say what s wrong or right Still cinching that belt with all they might Casting words like rocks leaving welts Stuck on Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt Testify and witness but who's on trial? Try on my shoes and try to walk a mile High Horse come down and hear what I say My relationship with the creator is already A-Okay Not Soul On fire, No soul gonna melt Stuck on Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt Their dark liquid eyes Look out from under silky manes On legs long and graceful they run Their shadows chase in vain As they stop by the waters edge and stoop to drink Their delicate noses sniff the air The sun shines and warms the ground And they look at me with gazes soft and fair Suddenly their tiny ears prick and stand erect Their eyes grow large and their nostrils quiver What they have seen I shall never know But already they have gone Taking great strides over and beyond Just like the wild, rushing river --Manuel Oso Arsiaga 14 --Hannah Orosco

17 Manipulator Secrets and lies inside your eyes, Charismatic. It s hard to not like your disguise. I look into your face and see so much of myself Karma bites back, bad for your health. So easy to spot a manipulator when you are one. So hard to say something, when guilt weighs a ton. I know your secret, I ve told your lies Unhappy home broken and love finally dies Seek another victim, I too enjoy the game. Naïve the way you like them to me it s all the same. Let s just have fun and see where it leads How far before your stone heart finally bleeds Don t get me wrong your secret I ll never tell, Even if you hate me and tell me to go to hell. Something in the way we are, birds of a feather, Comrades and Best friends in life s stormy weather. I feel your frustration, seething beneath your skin Just one of the many seven deadly sins. Excessive love of others, so Dante says to me Deep seeded perversion is all I ever see In lustful eyes, are rose colored glasses Just another medium, a skewed view of the masses I can t help but to enjoy the eye of the hurricane Deviant behavior never starts to wane Whether you d like to think so or not we are both the same Taking chances in this sordid dirty little games. However, my dirty laundry, I challenge you to find Locked away forever, victims never far behind More than just friends, we are brothers till the end Secrets and lies are our only friends. With that I bid you well, but please do not forget I am your best friend, best guy you ever met. Your secrets I will carry until the grave or more So until the phone rings, or there s a knock on my door. Trust in me, desires you could never hide For we are the same, as equals, on life s little joy ride. Dreams I close my eyes And what do I see Images of people Places and things Wonders and fantasies Angels in flight That s what I see When I sleep in the night Families and friends A walk on the beach Rain falling down Making puddles in streets To laugh and to cry Gazing at stars in the sky To dance and to sing That s what I see At night when I Dream --Rasha Hunter Have a safe and happy holiday --Manuel Oso Arsiaga 15

18 Who I Am Who I am would not recognize who I have been and I have never been introduced to who I will one day become. Memories of my youth have become things that pass through my mind like clouds on a summer day. Most memories still remind me of warm feelings, but all have the substance, or consistency of a thing that you could pass your hand through. These clouds came to me approximately one year and nine months ago. I woke out of a sleep I never remembered falling into when I opened my eyes to the room of a hospital. Without getting into the details of what got me there or exactly what had happened to me, I can say that for a long time after that, I opened my eyes to confusion and brokenness. Over the past year and a half, I have had time and action to forge new memories to replace the ones I have lost. And even though it s bittersweet, I still have many friends willing to share an afternoon I and conversations full of remember when s that bring me back to times I would otherwise have lost forever. I find myself looking toward the future with the same amount of bewilderment that most young people discover when faced with uncertainty. I find it hard to speak my mind the way I used to because what I once found important doesn t seem to have the same weight in conversation, at least not to me. I find laughter when there is nothing else to say. And the only thing that bothers me now is the wasted time that none of us will ever get back. I guess I am happy for many things, but most importantly I am mobile, both mentally and physically, and glad of it. --Clinton Trimble The Inauguration of We If a war of one can fight for all, then that s the fight for me. And the job I wish to wake to, with the cresting of each new day, is to teach the many that we the few cannot do it all alone. We must all see that the things we need are the things we ve always known, and to ask of you what you ask of us is not such an impossible task. The future we have strived for is too close to us not to grasp. It will take the time; it will take the pain the willingness to try again. Yet the time has come, don t you see? We are the much awaited we. The deadline for submissions to Volume Nine, Number Two of The Stone Circle is March 19, Clinton Trimble 16

19 Chelsea Robinson Shut Up! Kelly Cooke Pattern of Light Kimberly Bauman The Thrill of the Tackle

20 Mick Burson I-35 Charity Stephens Small Beginnings Kyle Gray Untitled 2 Dena Waters Driving at 1 Kristen Kinder Yellowwww Jose Delgadillo Cheeweedrivin