The Early Ones by Diane Arrington

Chase Broadfoot

The park was green against the cloudless sky, and the slight breeze swayed the tops of the trees. It wasn’t too hot as it can sometimes be in Texas, but the high humidity made being outside uncomfortable to a small degree. Not many people were at the park, which was unusual because the fair weather often attracted families and couples. At the center was a grand gazebo that was empty, and to the side on a bench two friends were talking, a boy and a girl.

“I’m really looking forward to the break soon. I need a break,” said the boy.

“Yeah I do too. Are you going anywhere?” the girl asked.

“No. Are you?”


“Well do you have anything planned?” The question hung for a second. “I mean like, just anything interesting,” he added quickly.

The girl looked up as if to think for a second.

“Not really.”

“Oh,” the boy looked to the side. “Well it’s nice to have a break anyways.”


“I can’t say that I’ll miss school but I don’t know how I’ll stay entertained,” the boy said smiling.

“Oh yeah like how everyone was late to class that one day. Or when the microphone didn’t work at the assembly and you were laughing so hard. Oh and the picture you sent me of the cafeteria that other day.”

They laughed.

“Or millions of other things,” the boy said, “I’m just glad to have you there so I know someone else will see how crazy it can all be.”

“Sometimes I wonder if anything gets done there,” she said.

“Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything to do there.”


The boy looked around and then at his phone.

“I wonder when the rest of the group will get here. It’s been awhile, huh.”

“Well they are really late a lot.”

“And we’re the early ones,” he said.

“Yep. that’s why we gotta stick together,” the girl said.

“Yeah. That’s why.”

The boy looked down.

“I don’t mind it though,” she said still looking at the boy.

“Oh I don’t either.”

The boy looked at the tree tops swaying in the breeze. From the bench the boy and girl could see the grand gazebo right before them. The boy noticed it was empty.

“I just feel so in-between right now,” he said.

“In-between what?” the girl asked softly.

The boy took a second to answer.

“Well a lot of things I guess. High school and college, kid and adult.” He trailed off.

The girl kept listening when he stopped.

“Yeah. A lot of things,” she said. She looked at the ground.

“It’s like I’m not sure how to take the next step. From one thing to another. Because it’s kind of a hard thing to do. If that makes sense.”

“Yeah it makes sense.”

“It’s like you’re one way for so long, and when it’s time to be more than that, it seems impossible to transition,” the boy said. “I don’t know,” he spoke softer.


The boy and the girl looked forward. They hadn’t looked each other in the eye for some time. The park stood still in the daylight.

“That’s a nice gazebo,” the girl said, breaking the silence.

“Yeah it is.”

“It looks kind of lonely though,” she said.

“How so?” The boy looked at the girl.

“I don’t know.”

He looked back at the gazebo.

“Some might say this bench looks lonely too,” the boy said.

The girl looked at the boy after he spoke.

“I don’t think so.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Well I don’t know, because we’re sitting on it.”


“I’d say we look pretty friendly,” she said.


They kept looking each other in the eyes for a second longer. They looked forward again. The gazebo remained before them. They remained on the bench. The late party arrived soon after, and the boy and the girl walked with the group apart, starting conversations with different friends. They left when night arrived.


24/3600 by Diane Arrington

Allison Taffet 

We live slow motion seconds

But the days scream by

And it’s funny how much you can miss

In the blink of an eye

Time creeps along

Hazing our memories

Catching us off-guard

Helpless in its custody

We are trained to believe

That aged is inferior

Yet we sprint away from now,

Desperate for the near future


We wonder how time went by so fast

It was wasted

Waiting for tomorrow

Never realizing one day

we'll be wishing for the past

T by Diane Arrington

Allison Taffet 

She has too many words.

She speaks in tangled vines,

Winding and leafy

and deeply intertwined with her soul.


Her skin is thin--

Laughter bubbles easily.

So does sadness.

She feels every feeling fiercely,

Fighting to hold onto what the rain can’t wash away


But she loves the rain.

She dances in it

She scorns the idea of sitting on the sidelines

Life, she says, is meant to be lived

So she splashes in the puddles

of adult reservation

Puppet Master by Diane Arrington


We live behind curtains in puppet shows,

And we are characters, marionettes;

Laughing faces you always see and know,

But our hearts- forever dismal and wrecked.

Controlled by strings, we are falsely portrayed-

You only see us dance and play all day;

When the curtain shuts and the spotlight fades,

Our tears fall, and we cry the night away.

I can’t move; escape is not an option

But I am forever stuck where I stand;

The audience sits still, plagued by caution

Silenced in chairs, they don’t offer a hand.

Shows go on; we find a way to survive

Cut the strings, we can escape from our lives.

Here by Diane Arrington

Irene Fueyo 

And now you are finally done with your hiding

The flower has wilted, you’re tired

You can come at rest here

And waiting for you is peace

Soon, all of the problems will be gone

Soon, life will wilt into death.


I know that it has come, it is your death

I found it among the fallen leaves, hiding

And now all life is gone

The sun has set, you’re tired

But you may finally rest with peace

Now that you are here.


Earlier, you had been here

A little while before your death

You almost seemed peaceful

If I had not seen through your hiding

If your facade had not been tired

If my naivety had not been gone


And just like that all my hope is gone

It ran away, away from here

From all the problems that left it tired

From all the pain caused by your death

I cannot seem to find where it is hiding

Maybe it too has found its peace


My mind cannot find peace

To you all my thoughts have gone


I have taken to hiding

Hiding from my happiness; here

Happiness has no place after your death

It’s purpose has been tired


And maybe you were just too tired

Maybe you are happy now at peace

Maybe the only way to peace was death

Maybe I should rejoice that you are gone

But it is so alone now here

Now the house is much too empty for hiding


And you left me tired now that you are gone

I must try to find my peace, but I cannot find it here

This house is soaked in death, I need somewhere else for hiding

Regret by Diane Arrington


My spine unravels as I cascade bluntly to the floor

I’m slowly drowning in a space that’s free of water

Tears break away from my grasp I can’t hold them anymore

So quickly the room grows pitch my face grows hotter


They look at me with vulturous eyes, watching every move

I twitch and quiver as they diligently perform their act

They scatter moving around each other like puzzle pieces finding a groove

I gaze through my blur trying to keep myself intact


My shaky palms find the crevices of my eye lids

They grip to them like fingers to a lingering goodbye

“Mommy, get someone to help her”escaped the plea of a kid

The swift breathe of the bitter end shrouds my future nearby


I catch glimpses of my life in the blink of dying eyes

I look on those I’ve loved with regrets of bad goodbyes

Happy Reality by Diane Arrington

Snow falls. It is sunrise. Peace. White, delicate flakes gently float atop the pine trees. The smell of cold and warmth wafts through the forest ahead. The crisp air is the smell of cold. The fire burning is the smell of warmth. I am free.

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George the Cat by Diane Arrington

Adam Scarborough 

As I watch the bird glide through the clear air

I stare, my faulty paws before me lay

What have I done, to be this way repaid?

For he does fly but I have these to bear

I can, I will; what will stop me to try?

Believe, and faith will be your wings to fly


The day had come for George to test his might

The window to his dreams was now agape

He jumped to clouds that would take him away

But this would be his last to see the light

Will the power of his will save him now?

Or will his faith be overcome by doubt?


It wasn’t faith that killed him, George the Cat

What made him George was not that he could fly

But how he hunted mice that roamed the night

It would’ve helped if he wasn’t so fat

As he fell he thought to himself at last,

I tried to be George the Bird, but I am George the Cat.


ADHD by Diane Arrington

Nicole Rajtak 

Pay attention

Where’s your head

Stop zoning out

Pay attention

Come back to Earth

I can’t understand you

You speak too fast I stopped listening

Pay attention

Slow down

Calm down

Stop moving

Pay attention

You skipped a question


Pay attention

Do you even care

Stop fiddling with that

Pay attention


Pay attention

Look at me

Pay attention

Sit down

Pay attention

Pay attention


Pay attention

Pay attention


Barcelona by Diane Arrington

Juan Fueyo 



Clinking of boots on the sun-bathed tiles,

Laughing ringing across the wide avenues,

Gaudi’s architecture looking after the skyline,

Welcoming visitors without asking names.



The shining sun playing on the faces

Of giggling children,

Racing each other,

Toward the beach.



The glistening and twinkling waves,

The smoldering sand

The sweet air,

The bold ocean’s dowry to the asphalt groom



From the coast to the streets,

The smell of fruits, fabric, and traffic,

Boutiques owners,

In their silent sanctuaries,

Patiently help tourists.



Others go to the Gothic quarter,

With its many spiraling towers like sentinels,

And mazes of narrow ways

Which had been patrolled by soldiers,

In the olden days.



Now ruled by street performers

And secluded parks,

In which birds chirp,

And elders sit,

Under the shade of trees,

Whose branches calmly swing,

Under the gentle breeze.

Contemplating the tourists? Not these words but thoughts.



The sun hides behind the dark ocean,

Tourists go back to their hotels which smell of luxurious soap,

The Spaniards who have been waiting for this moment,

Slip down to the cafés

To find a few hour’s peace, an hour’s rest

With a soccer game,

Without a buzzing fly for a pest.

The Empty Chair by Diane Arrington

Juan Fueyo 

She gazed down at the ball of yarn,

She curved her lips downward,

She couldn’t believe he was gone,

She arched forward.



She tried to think on her work,

But all that came to her mind was his smile,

But all that came was the funny way he held his fork,

But all that came was his quirky fashion style.



For she had loved him in tears,

For she had loved him in laughing,

For she had loved him through the years,

For she had loved him in dying.



It just wasn’t fair,

That all that Death,

                                       did spare                                      

Was this empty chair.