Catching my eye and his eye and eyeballs in-between
she stops and stares and I think shit, she’s lusting
for him and leaving my table again, but it’s all right; tonight
entities interact en masse, midnights pass and we proclaim
our places among the denizens of the next life with snorts and nods and
sing-alongs, to songs of sorrow and we buy and borrow one more minute
before tomorrow brings anti-climax; and Jenni’s smile is wider, a deep fissure
that forms faultlines upon my face and cracking sounds like erratic guffaws,
annihilating shots of strange concoctions, complimenting
what I took and toked before, to conquer heartache summoned from sighting
tables for two (try not to pay attention), ah hell,
loneliness ain’t so bad, I can take cheap shots
to the throat and chest from a red dress;
done it before and I’m still standing
in a puddle of questionable liquid waiting
for bartending affection and the chance to hit up some sweet-smelling
rejection on the bar stool to my right,
sitting wary, watching like does on the Discovery Channel, she senses
something amiss, and I grumble, “naw, not this one,
not this night, this week (month/year),” and shuffle
to the table of tepid love affairs, answering asinine inqueries
that hold no place in my reality, not here
tonight, with that dress five feet in front of me and free
to choose potential perfect men, pretentious pricks
though they may be but better than me, right?
With unwashed hat and faded flannel and
one sock white, one sock gray and growing holes in the heel,
likely smelling of finely fermented farts?
A friendly face and funny voice,
human laugh machine, plop a beer or six into the slot
and let those good times roll; but I’ll go with today’s friends
and fun times and philosophical debates bearing suspicious likenesses
to cliches born of Hollywood ink and magnanimously overpaid vocal chords;
and I smell lung exhaust and watch gray circles emanate from ashtrays,
as someone tells me how beautiful my eyes are,
thirty minutes and a punch in the face later, and my beer
oh god it tastes like warm woolly mammoth piss, and personally,
I never liked that bitch, blah, blah (bring another
and have it tear me asunder).
“Maybe someday,” she said, “we’ll make it and I’ll call
when I do we’ll find each other and get together and wallow
in our success and skydive and sunbathe on sunny beaches
south of nowhere, self-righteously smirking if we
even THINK about here and now”
and how you looked,
drumming dolorous Dylan beats before the beautificating botox treatments,
and I’ll pray you truly forget about tonight, and how unhappily happy we were
with ourselves, as half my attention focused on that last night together,
and half fixated on the face I’ll forget in a few years, with a dress
reminding me why red is still my favorite color.
Jenni In a Red Dress
By James F. McMahon
                                                  Gone Forever    
                                                              By Jenyfer Rene
He took another swig but of course the alcohol never did its job. At an old wooden piano with candles lit upon the arms of the chair in which
he sat, Brent ran a hand through his hair and it fell back down at his side while the other hand held the whiskey bottle, or was it vodka? He
was too drunk to remember, but not drunk enough. He could still see her face and glistening eyes in the winter snow, the winter of three
years ago when he met her-even then at those moments he had her, unlike now.
Brent attempted another drink from the bottle but nothing. He had already drained the alcohol of its worth, of its blessed poison, a temporary
amnesia was all he needed. Sobbing yet enraged, he stood and threw the bottle at the wall with great force. The sudden movement had
knocked down the candles and they started up a blaze behind him and the shattered glass lay on the floor, near the window where the
moonlight shined in. It played his memories with Carrie out on its fragmented screen of mockery. The green and tender and her
skin, ah her soft fair skin. Brent missed the velveteen of it against his own.  Her soft blonde waves playing in the wind, along the shoulders
and back of her petite body. He knelt in front of the piano, his hands in his lap as the sobbing continued and the flames flourished a sweat
upon his body.
He thought about how she left, crying and hurt. It was the result of another fight, another round of screams over petty issues that could be
solved so swiftly if it weren’t for his damned temper. When Carrie had announced her leaving, Brent paid no mind to it and just lit a joint as
he did every time she was ‘leaving and never coming back’, because she always came back. She came back because she loved him and they
would always end up in their bedroom, making up for it in physical union. He loved her as well, though each day he doubted it more and
more with the misery he put her through. Brent didn’t have to hit her nor did he ever, though that’s what his father would’ve done, but
somehow he constantly found himself looking for a new fight with her. It was an obsession, a drug he resisted less than any depressant, the
screaming and raging emotions then watching her walk away. Watching her walk away and feeling the twisting of his heart in fear she may
not return but knowing she would as usual, then he could show her how he felt in the only way he knew possible. Sadistic masochist he was,
but three weeks later she never came back.
"Brent you fool. You stupid fucking fool! You asshole...look what you did," he silently taunted himself. Those were things she probably
would’ve said to him too, given she had the heart to.
Carrie had a heart, she had a kind and giving heart. She could never say such things to him but she should’ve. Maybe it would’ve made him
shut up and he wouldn’t have driven her away like he did. Drove her to leave him forever.
The autumn breeze and crayon-colored leaves fooled no one of the occasion, especially Carrie. She stood with many others, all dressed in
black, in front of a coffin that afternoon. Tears streamed down her cheeks, though she made no noise. She saw nothing other than the coffin
and felt only the tearing of her heart, so strong that she even felt it physically. She should’ve went to him but hadn’t because she was afraid
of another fight, but now she would’ve fought with him a thousand more times if that kept him alive, kept him with her. He was always with
her, even when she left because he didn’t leave. He didn’t leave the place in her heart and he didn’t leave her mind, even when it was focused
on finding a different man. She saw no other man, they each resembled him because he was all she had wanted. Now she had no choice,
Brent wasn’t there to go home to. Brent wasn’t there to hold her when she was scared, he was lying in a wooden box called death.
"How were you to know that he’d die in a fire?" her mind screamed out but her heart insisted and protested, "How could I let him think I was
gone forever?"
"Rootless Awake"
In Three Parts: Violin, Bassoon, Vibes
Sheet Music Written by Rodney Shifflet
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My name is Ashley Carolyn Hopper.  I am from Ohio and I
graduated form Pickaway Ross Career and Technology Center
and Zane Tace High School.  I have an extremely huge passion for
art, and I love music. My favorite band ever is AFI.  
I love fantasy art work. I love beauty and meeting new people.
I can see art and people so much better now.
Ashley submitted 6 pieces of her work.
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