student work


 writing guide



Paper Café 2004


Mr. Grant / Ms. Jenkins:  10th Grade


Weird revelations

Renato Campos


          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 God.

          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 said:

-------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 tag on?

-------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 asylum

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.



The Ocean

by Cary Horan


The force of the ocean

Waves of tremendous water

Rolling with great speed toward shore



And yet…


Causing trouble


The sound of crashing water




The eye

Portal from the head

To the rest of the world

Revealing everything

That it sees

With split-second breaks in between




But sometimes


Is just too much





The eye should not show everything

At all




by Nelson Igunma


I’m having a vision.

I’m dreaming.

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 the door,

I found myself, wanting more.

Of work, of class, of everything,

Even more of old Ms. Bing.


My graduation was that night.

I entered the church with great fright,

Ready to take my last stand,

Before I left for another land-


High School.



The Garden

Abigail Johnson


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.



“The Man”

by Warren King


There 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 age.

            Tonight 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.

            “The Man” 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


            Plain. 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.

            I 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? 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... Change...

            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 brilliant...



I would rather laugh

by Lea Pollack


I would rather laugh at you

than for you to laugh at me

your eyes

twinkling with amusement

Smiling at my childish thoughts

“I didn’t mean it

like, THAT”

but you still laugh

unaware how you belittle me


I would rather laugh at you

than for you to laugh at me

“It’s not that funny”

At least I’m brave enough

to admit what I’m actually thinking

yet you still smile

Searching my face

still looking for something that amuses, you

My rosy cheeks have passed

but you push on

reminding me how immature


I like to think you feel


Keep me interested

I laugh now

it was stupid

But I still would rather laugh at you

than for you to laugh at me



The Diary

Ben Rogg-Meltzer


Monday- Morning 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-


Wednesday- I 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?


Saturday- Hello 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 truth.


Thursday- This 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 rain
A flowing river
These craters
These scrapes that have been left
Would be filled
But through me
The strength that I have found in the silence
Will smother these fires
For years




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