Paper Café 2004
Mr. Grant / Ms. Jenkins:
Hi, I’m Tarsil, I am 35 years old, did not study much, and
did not actually get in a College, So now I have a job as a
secretary for at&t and I’m working here for two days already.
I like this place, There are twenty-five people working in
my room, there is this young lady in front of me, this strange guy
on my right, and on my left there is this other guy, he must be
twenty-five years old, maybe tall, with blue eyes, brown hair, a
thick nose, he always wears clean clothes and is really attractive,
but for a young woman not for me of course.
We work hard here, getting phone calls and I’m still
learning. I usually practice observing the guy on my left. He is a
young guy, probably 25…oh, I’ve already said that…I don’t like him
at all, I just think he…he…he…works well, that’s all, I swear to
This is already my third week here and I think the guy on
my left likes me, he keeps looking at me. I think I’m asking him
out…O.K. I will…but first let me pick up the phone:
-------At&t how may I help you?
-------Tarsil, I don’t like you-----oh my god, the guy on my left is
talking to me on the phone
-------Tarsil, you are a looser in life, no one likes you
-------No Bill!! I love you-----this strange woman came up to me and
-------No Tarsil, Bill always loved you, you guys were married for
ten years, just because he passed away does not mean he hates you.
Hey, weren’t the wall blue instead of white? Why are you
guys all in white? Why am I lying in a bed? Why do I have a name
-------Tarsil, you are in the Pennsylvania
asylum, and we love you…
-------Asylum? Me? I want my family!!
-------Tarsil, stay away from the window!
-------Shut up!! I just want to hug Bill.
-------There is no Bill there Tarsil. He is just in your mind
-------No! Hug me Bill!!!
-------Bill why are you pushing me out of the window? I’m going to
die, say something bill!!!
Pennsylvania News, August 29 2004:
A 60 year old woman
threw herself out of a window in Pennsylvania
An old retired at&t secretary died yesterday, apparently because she
couldn’t live without her husband Bill Jackson also retired from
AT&T who died twenty years ago in a car accident.
A non sestina-sestina
by Emma Hollier
The night rain falls.
A little girl looks out her window,
to the world. A horse gallops free,
Trying desperately to escape the rain.
And to hide
It’s face from the world.
But the little girl too likes to hide,
behind her window.
From the falling rain.
That makes the world
suspicious of what falls
about outside. She wonders what it’s like to be free.
The horse falls,
in it’s desperate escape from the rain.
Wondering how it is free
to wander the hills. Yet it has to hide
so that the world
can’t see it through it’s own window.
The white shape of a horse passed by the little girl’s window.
She saw how it ran free.
Nothing but the rain
to keep it company. How it looked so right out there in the world.
How it didn’t have to hide
how the world just falls.
The horse glanced up at the window,
knowing that someone wasn’t free.
That they too had to hide
from the world.
That the falls
of the rain
Brought nothing free
to her world.
And through the window,
In that moments time, they knew that they didn’t have to hide,
From the rain
And what falls.
Maybe they should step outside of their window
into the world,
then they could be free.
by Cary Horan
The force of the ocean
Waves of tremendous
Rolling with great
speed toward shore
The sound of crashing
Portal from the head
To the rest of the world
That it sees
With split-second breaks in between
Is just too much
The eye should not show everything
by Nelson Igunma
I’m having a vision.
I think it’s a
mystery, but I’m questioning that.
My vision is
masterful, and I see an ancient power.
I see a directional
fire, pointing west.
I wake up, and
there’s silence all around me.
Last Day of School
As I tried to get out
I found myself,
Of work, of class, of
Even more of old Ms.
My graduation was
I entered the church
with great fright,
Ready to take my last
Before I left for
I looked around as I walked through the door. It was nice enough,
but I was still disappointed. I regretted moving already.
My son turned to me. “Look, isn’t this nice? The chandelier and
the fireplace, and…you’ll have friends here, and activities to keep
you busy…”. I guess he felt bad about it, but the truth is, I knew
I could not get too mad at him. I could understand why he did not
want me living with him any more and I could respect that. But I
hated the place anyway.
As I looked around the room, it looked more like a hotel then a
home. The people there were all my age or older, and I remember
thinking, “This is where I’m going to live until I die”. I did not
want to die there, not in that impersonal room with the thin carpet
floor and the framed prints of famous paintings. The people there
would just watch sadly and wait to do the same.
They led me up the stairs to my room. It had floral patterned
wallpaper that made me think of the last words of someone whose name
I’d forgotten: “Either that wallpaper goes or I do”. It was
appropriate, and I nearly said it aloud. But instead I turned to my
son. “It’s lovely.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Wallpaper’s nice”. I walked over to a square
table in the center of the room. It had a bowl of fruit on it. I
reached into the bowl, and realized that the fruit was fake. “For
decoration,” my son said. I nodded. I could not have eaten
anything I found in that room anyway. The air was hot and stale. I
wanted to open a window, but there was none. There was, however, a
painting of a garden.
by Warren King
he stood, on the hard, smooth, wooden dance floor. The room was dark
except for the little light that made its way through the windows.
The odor of the newly waxed floor was present in the air, right in
front of him stood the sole jukebox, filled with over 100 records.
The colorful lights from the jukebox could be seen reflecting on his
face, as though in a daze, he stared at this colorful box in this
dark room hearing only the whiz of a car as it drove by, and the
light humming of the jukebox. But party time was soon. He waited,
soon the disco ball would drop, and “The Man” would dance.
He was a
42-year-old male that went by the name of Jorge Campos, also known
as “The Man”, a nickname given to him by…himself. Jorge was an
immigrant from Mexico. He loved the U.S, the ladies, and the 70’s.
But his sole passion was dancing. Oh…and the ladies…again. But the
last thing he wanted was to loose his cool or stop being hip.
Although 42 he acted as though 21. Literally he acted half his own
was just another routine night for “The Man”. He waits at the club
for the party to start, and once it does, he is all over it. So
tonight he waits like any other. People begin to arrive around 9:00
pm., and about an hour later, around 10; “The Man” makes his routine
entrance. Unnoticed in front of the jukebox, he hits his song, “Eye
of the Tiger”. He turns with a jump, and on each beat he stomps a
foot, arms spread, fingers moving. With each stomp a light shows up
on one of the squares on the multicolor disco floor, with his moves
and skill he makes his entrance into the center of the floor. It is
now time for part two of Jorge’s entrance. As he moves to the center
floor, still dancing, a mike drops from the ceiling, the announcer
comes out, another dancer enters the floor, and the crowd is
cheering like crazy. The duel is on. To gain respect, “The Man”
feels he must win this challenge, but not only for respect does he
do this, but for the ladies as well. The announcer steps up to the
mike, and the once loud room falls to a hush. The announcer says,
“Tonight we have two great dancers. In the red corner we have Jett
Prince”. The crowd screams. “And in the blue corner we have…an old
guy”. Boooo. And just as a bell signals the beginning of a boxing
match, the music begins the dance off. And they’re off. The song
selected tonight is a classic; “Superfreek”. Jett, the arrogant man
he is a steps up first. He begins with a flip of the head to clear
the hair from his eyes. This is then followed by a classic move. The
crowd goes wild, and Jett retires to his side of the dance floor.
Now Jorge comes out, and with a confident stride enters the center
of the floor. He waits, closes his eyes, and feels the beat.
Suddenly his eyes shoot open, and he begins the robot. “ Oh my God”,
cries the announcer “ Incredible”. And the crowd explodes with
applause. Jorge returns to his corner with a confident smile. He
knows he is good. The duel goes on for hours; one after another,
both opponents breaking sweats; neither gaining any advantage. Then
out of nowhere Jett rips of his shirt and starts spinning it around
his head. There never had been a more excited crowd. Jorge came out,
not so confident this time. He felt the beat again, but froze, he
was done. The crowd roared. The announcer came out and said, “ Jett
is the new disco KING”. And as Jett was being carried off by the
hundreds of people in the club, Jorge drew back to the furthest
darkest corner of the room. He could not believe it. He had lost.
This was not a word found in his vocabulary. Was he losing his cool?
No, he would be back. He would get Jett. And with these final
thoughts and a shot of tequila to settle his nerves he walked off
into the darkness to go home and retire for the night.
went to sleep devastated that night. He cried for endless hours, he
had never been defeated. Was his reign as king over? “Nah, it was
just a bad night” he says to himself. “Tomorrow”, he says, “Tomorrow
I will come back strong, with newer hipper moves, and regain my
title as king”. All this he said to comfort himself outside, but
deep inside he knows it might be over. So he gets under his covers,
snuggles in with his worn stuffed bunny and blanket, and slowly
falls asleep. Tomorrow will be a new day.
With A Touch Of Blood
by Nathaniel Lynn
That was it. Just plain. Everything plain. White... and plain.
Everyone had blonde... plain... hair... white... plain... skin...
white shirts... Jeans... plain... PLAIN! I have been in this plain
world for far to long. The plainness is driving me insane. I need
something different. I need something unique. Existence is hardly
worth it, it's so mundane. It's exactly like living in a room full
of clones... or robots... cloned robots... Everyone talks the same,
everyone does everything the same... and no one... no one until me,
ever starved for something more... something different.
I have to
find this difference on my own. It is my purpose... it is my duty...
I shall save billions of lives from this... perfectly plain ordinary
world. I shall bring forth something the world has never seen...
But, what shall I bring? What shall I create? What is there that has
not already been invented? How do I know? What will I do? So many
questions... and no one to answer them except me.
could... no... Wouldn’t work... maybe... nope... how about-...
probability of that not happening is far to great... What could I do
to… I need something permanent... something that everyone would
remember... something that would inspire other people...
Death... the only thing people fear... I could use this... yes...
yes... yes... very yes... YES! Death... but who to kill... parents?
Siblings? Coworkers? Wife? Children? Myself? Maybe all of them... Do
I have the nerve to do that...? I would be saving them... I would be
destroying them... they would be free...! But, not around to
experience freedom... Maybe that's not the point... Maybe their
deaths would inspire other peoples deaths... or... no. YES! Maybe it
would inspire... but, most of all... the realization that someone
could kill... would be willing to kill someone else... would send
them into a panic... panic... destruction... frenzy... chaos...
Brilliant... Simply Brilliant... I am a genius... Oh! No time to
fray! No time to complement! I must be off to work... yes... my
work... not the work they expect... MY work. My secret work... Oh
I would rather laugh
by Lea Pollack
I would rather laugh
than for you to laugh
Smiling at my childish
“I didn’t mean it
but you still laugh
unaware how you
I would rather laugh
than for you to laugh
“It’s not that funny”
At least I’m brave
to admit what I’m
yet you still smile
Searching my face
still looking for
something that amuses, you
My rosy cheeks have
but you push on
reminding me how
I like to think you
Keep me interested
I laugh now
it was stupid
But I still would
rather laugh at you
for you to laugh at me
dawned with the sun flitting brightly through the shades. As I woke
from my trance, I heard a bird singing merrily. Interesting. I
groggily made my way down the stairs. Half- asleep, I stumbled on
the last few steps. I do not care what anyone says. Consciousness is
tiring. Whether asleep or awake, you are always tired. For me, this
is a fact. This is all that I have to say for today.
Tuesday- I have
work to do. Today I go. Where you ask? To the place; the place
beyond the mirror; the place where happiness is. The rolling valleys
full of evergreen trees dwarfed by mountains where the peaks almost
touch the atmosphere. To the place where granite mountains are
common, and legends are made about the other half of the rock. The
place, on the other side of the mirror.
Friday- I am
back from my travels with enough adventure to fill an epic trilogy.
While watching the trees billowing in the wind, and the waterfalls
cascading down the rock faces, everything changed. I was back at
home. Curious, I stepped through the mirror again, wondering what
had happened. This time I stepped into a-
have just returned from being abducted by the Loch Ness Monster. He
took me to his ocean lair. The deeper into the ocean, the bluer and
clearer everything became. Pyramids that would dwarf Giza sprang
naturally from the dense undergrowth. I escaped the monster and swam
from him to a pyramid. Inside it was a palace of mer-people. They
treated me royally as a guest in their kingdom. Their long purple
hair flowed endlessly off of their shoulders onto the floor. The
halls were decorated with pearls and sapphires casting brilliant
rainbows onto the glimmering walls. I must have been with the mer-people
for 30 years before I came back. What’s that you say? It’s only been
a few days?
again, I’m back. Have you ever been inside a volcano? It’s quite
fun. The talking penguins have great senses of humor. Then again, I
did have an allergic reaction to the soap bubbles in the hot tub
causing me to be a little sick; but it was still fun. The orange
lava bubbled dangerously but never rose. There was a small stream
flowing into the walls for heating. I swear that I’m telling the
may be our last communication. I think I’m going to live in outer
space. When I visited my second step cousin eight times removed in
space, we had a blast. I was bigger then all of the planets. I even
ate one! The little people tasted yummy. Space is filled with
flaming vortexes of light that make you want to dance. Any wish you
make comes true. What’s that you say, diary? You don’t believe me?
Then next time, you’ll have to come with me.
(to be continued)
Discoveries in Silence
by Elizabeth Jenkins
In sadness, I touched the air
beside me to
Feel the silence
Questioning what truth was and
What it wasn’t
Leaning against this emptiness
This mute space
My ever-repeating blindness
Would dodge my running heart
Pain grew like water after the
A flowing river
These scrapes that have been
Would be filled
But through me
The strength that I have found
in the silence
Will smother these fires
back to Paper Cafe 2004 contents