Doodle of the Phantom of the Opera and Christine in an AP US History Notebook
by S.A. Bowden
I firmly believe I was made— or imagined,
I suppose— for greater purposes
Than this: a penciled sketch of myself and my everything
Marginalized among notes of the Eisenhower Era. I, the Fantôme de l’Opéra,
Am more than this amateur rendition
Doodled by a distracted student: a figure in a light gray miroir
(She didn’t bother to give the mirror detail, just a solid black frame)
The smoke too thick, too much penciling, and
I: a few squiggles for my hair— wig, rather— a suggestion
Of chest and shoulders swathed in black, outlined too heavily, the
Distinct outline of my white half-mask against the faceless gray that is
The rest of my face (she didn’t even draw my good side,
She wanted it to look vague and mysterious, but, of course, she failed miserably)
The one visible arm colored too darkly, and askew, with a
Pathetic, scribbly excuse for a hand. Then again, perhaps I should not
Complain. Everyone knows I am quite laid
(Note my poly-entendre— I choose these
Notes with precision and thought, such is my way)
Beggars with an annual salary of twenty thousand francs cannot be
Choosers, they cannot permit choosing
I’d never be chosen. Why else would I be in a mirror with the woman I love
(Drawn with lines that cannot compare to the lines of her body or
Her shining curls, in a representation only slightly better than mine, by a hand that
Could not match the grace with which she stood, walked, danced,
sang) perpetualy out of reach (with my main trés mal)
Maybe this is punishment for my sins
Or maybe not, maybe punishment is pending like my next line
I am your ange de musique
Except, of course, I cannot
Speak. But I have hidden meaning, as do
The notes jotted under me
They speak without sound like people convey unspoken messages. They tell me:
You do not belong here. Academics have no place for
Unartistically drawn characters from a wandering child’s mind
As the teacher drones on with talkative
PowerPoint slides that end up in penciled pieces on my page. She is more interested in
Fiction than facts, her head on the heel of her main
(much better than mine), she has come
Dangerously close to falling asleep several times, the late nights
(Hanging by a thread in four AP classes, plus two electives, plus clubs, plus
Her writing and what little social life she has) taking a toll around
Fifth and sixth periods, which sometimes pass in a
Smoky, suggestive haze, inadequate as her doodles
There are others too, with many things inside their minds, not paying attention to the past
If history does not matter to them, and I am historical (nobody regularly wears tuxedos and
Beaded capes these days)
Will there come a day when I don’t matter to anyone,
Or to enough? Enough is all that matters, her sister says: enough men are dangerous, enough white people are bigots, enough Catholics are judgemental, but no one is
Enough to another (I should know, I’m not enough)
I’m disenchanted with this page, this room, this world
Of inadequacy through excess (mutterings,
Spatterings, I think that poet or duck called it), lack of meaning and ties
Potential drained by homework and pencil lead
What is enough anymore?
Our lives are but a figment, the mutterings fellow said.
Anything can be erased.
R and J
by Mya Smith
Our stars never matched.
They crossed each other at our births.
We were fated to have a tragic ending,
But it was love at first sight.
Our parents hate each other,
Yet we learned to love each lover.
In the short time we knew each other,
We gave each other a lifetime.
When one was sad so was the other.
When one was happy so was the other.
I took my life under false circumstances.
And I took my life because of sorrow.
We left our families to be together.
We snuck around and lied.
Who are we you ask?
We are R and J.
by Sam Yoseph
Fill me with content
Bitter beans dance on my nose.
Fill me with happiness
Tangy berries tickle my lips.
Fill me with anger
Savory spices attack my soul.
Fill me with surprise
Sour fruits swim in my eyes.
Fill me with curiosity
Sweet nuts sing me a song.