By Georgia Blatt and Jaimie Kerzner
If you could change one thing about the school system what would you change?
If you could change one thing about the school system what would you change?
“My mother-in-law, Rose Smale, has always been very determined and would go to great lengths to get what she wanted. In 1951, she was working as a secretary for Algoma Steel, a job she really enjoyed and got a lot of satisfaction from. She met an engineering student named John Smale, who was working at the steel plant during the summer. They fell in love and wanted to get married, but he still had three years of university left and she would have had to quit her good job. At that time, women had to give up their jobs to another single person when they got married, but she didn’t want to give up the job she enjoyed. Without telling anybody, they went to Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and got secretly married. Before leaving for the wedding, Rose’s mother asked her why she was dressed so nicely, but she didn’t even tell her mother about her plan. After they were secretly married, John went back to school and finished his degree. She continued working. Three years later, they got married formally in a church in Sault St. Marie, Canada, surrounded by family and friends. Until John died last year, they always celebrated two wedding anniversaries, their secret wedding and their formal wedding. They were married for 65 years.” #BreakingTheRules
My grandmother’s house is bustling with noise on holidays. The whole family comes to celebrate together. Everywhere I go, I’d hear a relative speaking to another in a cheerful manner. They smile and laugh wholeheartedly.
I wish I could laugh along too, but I can barely understand a sentence.
I was born in Canada to Chinese parents who had both lived in Vietnam for most of their lives. They can speak Cantonese fluently; but to each other, they’d use full-on Vietnamese (their first language), so I can’t understand a single word.
Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – I can understand some words, like khóa cửa (keys) and nước mắm (fish sauce), but I’d be lucky if I can string a single sentence together.
When my parents talk to each other, it’s like hearing a familiar – yet technically foreign to me – language on a daily basis. I’ve grown accustomed to being confused, especially when family members argue. I’m always left wondering, “What did they just argue about? Why is everyone yelling?”
Sometimes, I even notice relatives stealing short glances at me while continuing their conversations. I can’t help but think they’re talking about me – is it my outfit? My hair? My inability to understand Vietnamese?
This isn’t even the worst part. Some of them seem to occasionally forget that I can only speak English and some Cantonese. Take my grandma, for instance. She’s so sweet, but sometimes she’ll just come up to me and ask me things in Vietnamese! She can’t speak English well, and I’m too embarrassed to tell her that I can’t understand her. Those conversations always go something like this:
Grandmother: “Trường như thế nào, Jessica?” (Translation: “How is school, Jessica?”)
Me: Hahaha, yeah. Thanks, grandma. *Wipes sweat*
(Disclaimer: I used the ever-so-reliable Google Translate for my grandma’s Vietnamese line in this. It might make no sense whatsoever to a fluent speaker, but let’s roll with it.)
It’s not too bad, however. My aunts and uncles tend to remember that I can’t understand Vietnamese. In that case, they speak to me in English. This is great, because then I can surprise them with my Cantonese skills (which is broken, but generally better than they expected). Also, luckily, most of my cousins speak English all the time, despite understanding Vietnamese fluently.
Not to mention; when my parents speak to me, they speak in Cantonese or English, so understanding what they say to me isn’t a problem at all.
All in all, having almost everyone in my family speaks a language I barely understand most of the time is definitely interesting. I think that it makes my family unique, and despite what I’ve said in this article, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
By the way, to any family members reading this: don’t change. Keep speaking what language you’d like to.
But, if you’re talking about me, please don’t make it so obvious!
Jessica is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Technology Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.
Jared and I always spend our weekend summer nights playing pool at the local bar. Sometimes our friends Lenny and Mo would come and play with us, but not every night. They had wives and kids so they had other priorities. Those poor, dumb bastards.
Me and Jared have this long-standing wager where the loser has to drink a shot of gin. Neither of us like it so it makes good incentive to win. The bartender, Al, was a good friend of Jared’s dad and always lets us play until late at night, so long as we lock up after.
Sometimes Jared would bring cigarettes and we’d chain smoke them and practice making smoke rings. Sometimes we’d try to pick up girls, too. That never really worked though, so we stick with the cigarettes.
Tonight Lenny and Mo couldn’t make it and it was my turn to buy drinks.
“What’s for tonight?” Al said.
“Make it a rum and coke for me, and um, your finest imported malt liquor for the Mrs.” I said. Al winked. When I pulled out my wallet, he put out his hand and shook his head.
“Not tonight. Business is good.” he said. “How long are you two staying?” He said.
“Same old. No place to go here.” I said.
“Alright,” he said, “don’t you boys stay out too late though. Thinking ’bout you boys’ mothers if anything.” He said
“Yessir,” I said.
When I brought our drinks to the table, Jared had already broken.
“C’mon man. Without me?” I said. He ignored me.
“I’m stripes,” he said. Then he chugged his beer.
The rest of the night went by playing pool and smoking. Then Al left and after a bit we did too. We decided to spend the rest of the night walking around. The roads were quiet and everyone was sleeping at home so me and Jared decided to go to the water tower at the other end of town.
Once we got there we picked up stones and threw them at the tower. The thing was pretty roughed up anyways with all the dents and graffiti.
Jared said, “You ever think about getting married?”
“Why the hell would I?” I said.
“I don’t know. ‘Cause you got to move on. Start a family. Get your shit together. Get our shit together man. I can’t stand the fact I can’t keep a girl for more than one night. I mean, doesn’t it bother you?” he said.
“I don’t know man. I like us here right now. I like Al and Lenny and Mo, but you see them. They look miserable even if they say they’re happy. You want that? You want some girl making all your decisions for you and screwing you like that?” I said, “That’s not the kind of life for me.”
“Doesn’t sound too bad,” he said.
“Then get yourself a girl already! Jesus. How hard should it even be?” I said.
He said nothing so we continued throwing rocks in silence.
The next day Jared didn’t come to the bar, so Al got to lock up this time. There’s no reason for me to stay so late by myself. The day after, Jared ditched me again. Said he’s with some girl and that she’s one of the good ones.
“Maybe you’ll be my best man,” he said. I just nodded.
I went back to the bar the next week but there was still no sign of Jared. So I pulled out my cigarettes and ordered a rum and coke and played pool.
I raised my right arm, forearm facing up as the smartphone microchip implanted in my wrist projected a hologram out in front of me. One click on the hologram and I was teleported on Floor 13, Section J. My brother appeared by my side moments after and we started to walk.
“Ah, what beautiful morning today,” he said.
“I guess,” I said.
I looked up scrutinizing the solar panels all over the ceiling. I wanted natural sunlight. Like in the stories.
Silence fell, and was quickly shattered when Darius said, “The Union’s planning our next clearing mission two days from now. Forty-eight hours and you’ll get to go outside again.”
The Union. A group of AIs who make the big decisions. The members appoint new members, and the Head chooses the heir. Simple and straightforward.
A clearing mission is when all combatants leave this city-sized skyscraper we call Florae, and clear off all the Grymers in sight. The primary reason why I became a combatant is so that I could go to the Outside. Killing off the demonic creatures that took over our world would be the secondary reason.
Soon arriving at our house, Darius placed his hand on the scanpad to make the front door disappear, allowing us entry to our humble abode. It solidified again after we were in.
While Darius headed down the hallway, I sat down at the kitchen counter where my sketchbook was and started drawing. My hand subconsciously dragged the pencil along the paper, trying to replicate the image in my head.
I drew grass to replace the marble floors I knew so well, hills to replace the modernized buildings, a river to replace the roads, a sky to replace the ceiling; clouds, the sunset, and…
A large weeping willow tree, set right atop one of the hills. Oh, how I wished to see one of those in person…
“Oh, and Nova?” Darius called. “Remember when I broke the washroom door?”
I raised an eyebrow in confusion, never recalling him ever breaking a door.
“No? Okay. Anyways, the lock is broken,” he stated, casually, as if it was a normal day-to-day thing. I eyed him as he sauntered into the kitchen I was in.
Mental note: The lock on the washroom door is broken.
Related mental note: Darius breaks things.
This was my life.
My life in Florae.
And I wanted out.
Hockey, unlike other sports, is heavily focused on team play rather than individual player success. Since early October, 31 NHL teams have been battling against each other every night. This season has been filled with great saves, impressive goals, big hits and selfless interviews. After the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley cup in 2012, captain Jonathon Towes was interviewed about the finals. In the same year, only two weeks later LeBron James and the Miami heat won the NBA finals, LeBron being the unofficial captain and best player was interviewed about his respective final series. Patrick Lyster took to twitter to show the difference in selfishness between the two players in their sports. LeBron said “I” 18 times in his short interview, saying “we” none. where Towes said “I” zero times and said “we” 14 times.
The good old hockey game is filled with players that disregard their personal play to praise their teammate’s and their team’s ability to win, but that doesn’t mean the personal play of these players is irrelevant. The NHL most valuable player award, or the Hart trophy is given to the player that performed the best for their team all season long. Who wins this award is normally argued through points scored, team wins, and ability for the team to succeed with or without a certain player. At this point in the season, the race for the Hart trophy is already shaping up to be a good one with twenty-nine players averaging at least 1.0 points per game compared to last year’s eight (hockeyrefference.com). At the dawn of the season, Connor McDavid (22 points), Sidney Crosby (15 points) were the great favourites to win MVP, but now three months in, the league has shown us that there are many other players capable of and pushing to winning the most prestiges award of the year. Steven Stamkos, packing a league leading 31 points is the favourite to win at the moment. His team is playing at an extremely high level, having won 14 out of 18 games, only losing two in regulation. This season it would be hard to argue that the lightening would be playing at the same level if it wasn’t for Steven’s outstanding, MVP caliber play. Nikita Kucherov, who is leading the league in goals with 16 in only 18 games, is not only right with Stamkos in the MVP conversation, but is physically with him in Tampa bay; playing on the same line. Goals have always been seen as more important when it comes to points in the NHL, being the first tie breaker when two players have the same amount of total points. Although leading in goals, his 14 assists bring him to second place in league scoring. The two players are showing an outstanding amount of talent and prove they are top notch every game that the lightening play, but because they play together, it will be hard to settle the argument regarding who is more valuable to the team, sadly hurting both of their chances. (thescore.com) Auston Matthews, the second year California native playing for Toronto is already in company with some of the all time greats after just 98 career games. This year, after 16 games, Auston Matthews had 19 points, and had the the leafs to nine wins out of 16 games. For the Leafs last three games, Matthews has not played due to an upper body injury; the leafs have won all three games. The team showing capability to win with out their star does not help his chances to win league MVP, but if he cant continue to score at a high rate, and help his team continue the winning streak they had while he was hurt, it puts him right back in all conversations had about the topic (nhl.com). Many players like Johnny Gaudreau in Florida and Blake wheeler in Winnipeg, who are carrying their respective teams on their backs have trouble landing their way into people’s every day conversations. This is due to the small hockey market in the city that their team plays. It is easy for someone that is not a die hard hockey fan to turn on their television and awe at the skill of Connor McDavid, or realize how easily a player like Sidney Crosby can take over a game like it is nobody’s business, but that is because they have more nationally televised games. The 2017-2018 season is just staring, and with teams still having to play 66-60 more games, there are many players that can still make a splash in the MVP race, and there is plenty of time for the guys leading to completely fall off. Hockey is known for it unpredictable nature, there is never a disappointing night. Will it be a pre-season favourite like Crosby or McDavid?
Will one of the two lightening stars? Tune in every night and watch the NHL players do what they do best, impress the audience and make this a very hard argument to win until it’s all said and done.
By Vanessa Ifepe
Twenty four NFL players at Wembley Stadium in London, took a knee during the
American National Anthem in protest of Donald Trump. This was after Trump made a
comment about players who take a knee during the anthem needing to be fired. Time
and time again, Trump has proven to get under people’s skin and caused protests
across the country. The constant intertwining of sports and politics has been frown
upon, but that doesn’t stop the players apparently. First it was Kaepernick sitting down
during the anthem and now this. If you ask me, it’s a wonderful movement.
I think it’s a good thing for various sections of the world to get involved. It helps spread
awareness and lets the people know that they aren’t ignoring this. It shows them that
they are listening as well and not taking everything with a grain of salt. I am not one to
get in the middle of politics, but this is something I am strongly for. It irritates me when
celebrities do not use their authority to be for or against things that can heavily influence
the public in a good way. What is the point of having a voice if you are too afraid to use
it? This is a big flaw in our world today. These NFL players are setting an example of
what celebrities should be doing and should have been doing already. Better late than
26 people were killed on November 5th. Another 20 were injured. Texas experienced its worst mass shooting in modern history, in a church. Sutherland Springs, the community in which it took place, is shaken.
The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter is among the dead.
Devin Patrick Kelley is the perpetrator of this crime. At around 11:20 am, he was seen at a gas station across from the church. Shortly after, he crossed the road, and opened fire as he entered. The shooter soon fled the church, as another resident opened fire on him. He was later found dead in his car due to a gunshot wound.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. Hell, it’s far from the first time we’ve seen something like this. Take a look at what happened in Las Vegas, where 58 people died and 546 were injured, the single deadliest mass shooting in American history. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 20 children died, remains burned into many people’s minds.
Under the most narrow definition of mass shooting used by the Congressional Research Service, America has seen 10 from January 1st to November 5th of this year, one a month. Under the broader definition that the Gun Violence Archive uses, America has seen 307 mass shootings at the same time, raising the average to seven a week.
So what’s wrong? Why is this happening, in one of the most developed countries in the world? Why are we seeing so many innocent people reduced to statistics?
I’d wager to say that gun control may be the issue here.
Apparently, not even a shooting where 58 people were killed can convince American lawmakers that something has to be done. Not even a shooting where kids lost their lives could convince American lawmakers that something has to change. Not even a shooting in a church, a sacred place for the 67.3% of Americans that practice Christianity/Catholicism, is enough for a, “huh, maybe laws do have to change”.
Of course, not every American is turning a blind eye to this. In fact, most aren’t. According to the Pew Research Centre, 52% of Americans believe that gun control laws should be more strict. There is broad support for preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns, requiring background checks at gun shows, and creating a government database to track all gun sales. But, the Centre also finds that these people are less likely to contact government officials about gun law reform, than people that are in favour of less gun control.
So, in the end, nothing gets done.
After a mass shooting in America, the news is overtaken by the event. The conversation, however, has little focus on gun control laws. We receive coverage of what happened, some talk about gun control reform from liberal news sources, and lots of talk about how it’s the fault of mental illness from conservative news sources and the NRA, until something else happens, and the country just… moves on. Shrugs it’s shoulders, and looks away. The debate for stricter gun laws is never long enough to actually push for any change.
It’s almost as if people have become numb to the carnage because we see it so often.
And of course, conservative news sources aren’t necessarily wrong; America does need a better way of “dealing” with people with mental illnesses. They need to implement more support, more understanding; destigmatize it so people feel comfortable seeking out this support. Make psychiatric services more accessible for legitimately struggling people.
But I personally don’t think this is the root of the problem. The way America deals with mental illness also has to be discussed, but the number one way of preventing so many mass shootings?
Gun control laws.
We’ve seen it around the world. It’s not a particularly radical idea.
In 1996, Australia experienced its history’s worst mass shooting, and promptly tightened up gun control (which included buying and destroying over 600,000 firearms from its population), and it hasn’t had a mass shooting since. After a school shooting in the UK, the Firearms Act 1997 was passed and all gun crimes fell dramatically. Japan has banned all swords and firearms, with a 1958 law stating, “no one shall possess a firearm, or firearms, or a sword, or swords,” and in 2014, only had six reported gun deaths.
Even Canada, perhaps the most similar country to the US, deals with gun laws better. And, we can still be considered as “having a gun control problem.” We have the fourth highest rate of gun homicides when compared to the countries in the European Union. 331 shootings have taken place in Toronto this year alone. We just have to look at the shooting that occurred at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City on January 29th, to know that Canada has work to do too.
Comparing Canada to the US though? It makes Canada seem pretty damn strict. Canada implements background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm, in any situation, focusing on mental illness and addiction. The US only requires one when purchasing from a licensed dealers. Canadian residents wishing to purchase a firearm are required to take a safety course, which includes a written and practical exam, and have to retake it every five years. In the US, there is often no such requirement.
As Canadian citizens, as the neighbours of the good ol’ USA, we have to be concerned about this problem. What starts in the US can spread all around the world.
We’ve seen that with Donald Trump and his ideologies, with 92 lawmakers part of a far-right party being elected in Germany, with the January mosque shooting in Canada being perpetuated by a man who expressed support for Trump.
So for now, we should work on minimizing gun violence in Canada and the countries still dealing with this problem, and hope that the US follows suit. No country should have citizens dying for no reason at all.
“How many people will have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys?”
-Stephen King, Guns
Do you agree or disagree? Share your opinion here.
Part 1 – Refraction
The pen lays inside a cup of water, was
it bent or was it all but light?
The pen was neither, a glimmer in their eyes, refracted
to all who saw. Looking for an answer, beyond
the question, turning water to wine or blood.
They saw the cup half empty, or full to the brim, yet
missed the cup itself.
The water, it was transparent, refracting
light as the sun passed above.
His footsteps crossed the cold dark water, walking
past the village nearby.
Those in the village, they watched, their minds occupied.
To some he was light, to others, only refraction.
They watched the man, rather than the river he walked.
cogito ergo sum
Part 2 – The River
Heraclitus, stood in the distance, far from the village.
He observed the figure, interpreting its supremacy.
His melancholy eyes, they wandered,
as the figure approached the shore.
His thoughts left his writing unfinished,
“can anything ever be finished”, he said.
His thoughts, a constant flux, he questioned every answer.
Ideas flowed, like the river in his mind.
His pencil carved the stained white paper, upon which he wrote,
No man ever steps in the same river twice, 1
for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
cogito ergo sum
Part 3 – Desire
The eyes miss what the heart sees.
To the mind that is still the whole universe surrenders. 2
Lao Tzu, did not speak,
He who knows, does not speak. 3
He who speaks, does not know.
The figure occupied the villagers’ minds with desire,
the root of unhappiness.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. 4
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
And your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
And you will be their prisoner.
cogito ergo sum
2- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
3- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
4- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
We’re late for training today. It’s unusual for bots to be late but our part of the city gets busier every day. The President cranks out more bots as his war draws closer. My creator says they were lucky to survive the last war and yet the President wants more. He flaunts power while hiding behind us, his wall of toys.
My mind’s artificial and even I think that’s foolish, it baffles me that I was created to serve him. “I knew we should’ve left with the others”, I said to Alfred. “Fredrick, there’s a reason I let them go first”, he said. “You’re my …What do the creators say?” he asked. “I think it’s ‘you’re my friend.” I answered, “I don’t understand what it means”. “Well, you ever thought about walking through the human part of the city?” he asks as we stop walking.
I stare bewildered. “Course you have, and now you can because that’s how we get to the base in time”, he says. “We’re late for a chance at something illegal?” I ask. Alfred shrugs, “Be a criminal or be late”. Alfred runs into a small alley around the corner. Left with no choice, I follow. At the end of the alley there’s a wall labelled “Human”, we ignore it and climb over.
We end up in a small clearing leading to a bridge. I was excited, it was all a blur. I see a human standing on the bridge. I stop. She was still, staring at the water below. She stepped onto the railing and leaned over the edge, a determined gaze. “She’s jumping”, I said. I made a break for the bridge. “Fredrick! She’s a creator, leave her be!” Alfred yells. I watch her let go and fall over. Without hesitation I dive over the railing after her. I’m surrounded by water, I open my eyes and see her sinking. I grasp her waist and swim upwards. We break surface; I pull her up and cradle her. She’s unconscious but breathing.
I’m holding her, I feel her body expand and contract on each breath. Her heart played like a drum in her chest. She’s soft and smells of vanilla.
I feel the warmth of her skin seep into me. I felt her heat like fire against metal. She is a human. I felt her heat.
I – HIS WRATH
For years he walked the ides of the free, turned
to ashes by the men of yield, slayed
by killers without names, the spawns of Tempter.
Riddled theirs minds of disease and plague, dawn marked a day of their nightmare.
Leave now, he said, Anne our children we will meet, sacred
lands become dirt with fields of their blood.
The children lay dead in the streets of the village,
masked men watched over with arms.
They will toss carcass from windows, he said,
Zu Shenatir would lie proud.
Fourteen children, a fortnight of death, from the depths he rose again.
The Wolf of Bedburg feasts on flesh, staining the stones below the tavern.
Peter darling, where is our son? What has happened to our son?
The night grew old, he whispered so faint.
The boy has brains, only a fool would ignore.
The man followed a voice of a soulless being,
then centuries ahead they would go.
A woman hanged from the branches, swayed
in the wind far above, past the dirt roads in the centre of Rome.
Six hundred stiff, and Tofana to blame, what a woman to come of this crime.
Throw stones at her feet, they watched as she bled, suffered much worse
than poison she passed.
It was no colder than a sword, deep in her sheath,
death was unkind but certain in time.
Killed those hated, and the error was clear, hanged in the streets
in the centre of Rome. The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his greed was beyond this realm.
II – HIS GREED
Morning sparked like the gold on his dresser, filled
with riches not shared or earned.
Undeserved, now marked with a cross, the night was a crimson sky.
Crassus would have burned in the village for rent,
with a light turned the tides of war.
Parthia brought him riches, and his greed would arrive, he was struck with a feeling of haste.
Soon came his death and the end of all wealth, seized
from Valhalla, tasted the sweetness of bliss.
Buried far below, in the fourth circle of Hell.
Inferno once protected by his screech, foul cries,
Virgil, he spoke so wisely of his pain.
His words can be heard by mortals in hades.
Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe.
He sang the words from the void, a cloud, the youth of the abyss rung loud.
Arose Sixtus IV, faceless to lords.
A lie, a toxin, the vermin of men.
Taxed brothels, a fraud of an untrue paradise, hiraeth cried from the souls.
Sent to the Centre he was condemned for the ultimate,
the worst of all sins defined.
Roads of stone and marble, stacked
in rows beyond the walls of castles, sieged
by armies of deformed. Bodies blackened, skin spotted and foul,
spread from town, they feasted with pests of waste.
Farewell, they said, burning the dead, darkness leaked from the orifice.
The only hell lives on Earth, where smoke burns of skin.
Children born with marks,
Red stars of flame, born
With only sorrow, and pain would follow their words.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his memoir was beyond this realm.
III – HIS MEMOIR
A cold night was alone, a ring in the sky, burned
holes of pain and their terror, marked
with flames in cosmos where the hounds would cry, blinded
the towns of horrors to come. Came for men with blades, sent
for the woman soon after, the town was watched by the gods. A bolt struck
his chest, the ground blackened with ash, his eyes shed light through the clouds.
Dare to defy my supremacy,
Dare to mock my creation, dominated
this world as I have, I have laid eyes on aversion much worse.
My bolt will cleanse the hatred, deep within your heart,
it will melt away your flesh and bone beside the cross of gore. All sin within, all blood and ache,
you are blessed with more than mercy.
The Titans, they clashed in the skies, the wars raged on above.
Never show them mercy, until this faithful day,
where the immortal disobeyed his nature.
Seas turned to blood, and oceans to bones, Virgil
will lead the soldiers of shade.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his love was beyond this realm.
IV – HIS LOVE
Her eyes spoke with pain, her lips cried of grief.
She was fair, and spoke songs of love.
Her breath shapes the tides, her face, a spell to
all men who lay eyes. Throwing swords for a glimpse at her locks of polished gold,
men fought wars for a place at her side.
I cry to you my love, he said,
your beauty is far beyond the tales,
far beyond the songs and paintings, farther
than the heavens above. Past Olympus,
the walls of your birth, my eyes see past your unparalleled beauty.
The nine muses are not worthy of the eyes bestowed,
upon your face, your body, an immortal façade.
You mock my descendants, the immortal divinity? She spoke so true.
No mockery in my word, only admiration for your cause,
he answered, only passion in his heart.
Come to me my son, and a son you are,
nothing more or less, one must live with desire.
Your love for me, another feather on my wings,
another man to aid in flight.
I will walk through the gates of hell for you, he said,
past the Hydra, its heads eternal like my love.
Your greatness, a place at your side, a greater blessing than life itself.
You speak with kind words, yet your actions deceive.
Travel to the depths, where dusk burns through dawn.
Speak to the man with the head of flames,
his eyes, obscure, bloodshot with agony.
My son, only hatred you will find,
your belongings worth no more than the dirt you walk.
Your swords, but a spike in his foot, leave them here with a watchful eye.
I am far from a servant, he cried, yet my love will endure.
I will confront the spirit,
for I am nothing but a shell, born
with an everlasting flame.
I am no less than this evil you speak.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his trial was beyond this realm.
V – HIS TRIAL
Merriment over screams of terror,
flesh melts from their skin, blackened and grey.
Condemned for the defiance, rooted deep within their bones, temptations
ignored by none.
Ghostly lights swarm the skies of dead marked stars, red
figures of hate gloom beneath scorched earth.
The cries of innocence, insane sense of sanity, those
who accept their fate, bleed in warmth.
A ship of flames floats beyond seas of ash,
into rivers of infection and waste.
He stepped towards the gate of blood and stone.
You come so soon, whispered ever so faint.
Does pain stimulate your essence, my friend?
For I am the essence of pain, for that there is wealth, I am certain of it and all.
Open the gates for a man of courage, let me gaze upon his face.
Only a man, no sword or dagger, do you mock an immortal being?
Mockery is not a craft I partake; I am here for a message of truth, he said.
The figure sat in a throne of limbs.
A divine one spoke of your presence, she told
stories of your pain, your power and will.
My will and power?
Defined in a class so black and white, do
you mistake me for a mortal man?
The figure stepped from his throne.
There is hatred in your mind,
you must enter what is left of mine.
Your pain, but a fraction, the ice above water.
The truth is what you seek, so be it.
Kneel before me, only then, it be told.
I will not kneel, not now, not ever for a spirit of hate, he said.
Never for a spirit of suffrage, a troubled
soul of immortality, beset by its existence.
He stepped away, towards the gate.
I have seen the truth, what it is that you fear.
A soul filled with pain, freed by death,
yet you are immortal and sealed for all.
Trapped in your nightmare, an eternity of pain, cursed with the absence of death.
Eyes red with fury,
the spirit, struck with anger, it vanished into the flames.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his fate was beyond this realm.
VI – HIS FATE
Pain of no truth,
hate with no cause.
The answer was clear,
his glass once shattered.
A dagger to the heart, the blow of death,
a dark entity, with the unfortunate gift.
Death, in that he is blessed.
His hatred, immortal, body a vessel of age.
Only death cures the broken, destroyed,
what burns inside, every breath that enters,
every word that exists, regret any and all of his days.
He has met the divine, seen the night far below,
those who are cursed in their diamond skin, the immortal.
All living dead.
It is the dead who live,
barbed arrows stick from their heart, unable to bleed.
It is his wrath that acts,
greed who speaks,
love that guides.
It remains in death, and in that he was certain,
then brushed his heart with a silver blade.
Ben was already up when Pascal came down to make the coffee. “Been up long?” She
said. “Not too long,” he said. “There is some fresh coffee in the coffee maker,” He said. “Do you think you will be able to fix the gate latch today?” She said. “I already told you I have to go to town today and I’m not sure when I will be back,” He said. Ben grabbed his mug and stomped out of room. “Where are you going, I only asked you a question,” She said. “You know that I am waiting for the supervisor to call about an extra shift,” He said. “I need to pay for the roof repair,” He said. There had been a bad storm earlier in the month and the big maple tree had fallen on the roof. Ben patched it as best he could but winter was around the corner and he was worried it wouldn’t hold. Things had been quiet at the Ben’s work but things always picked up around the holiday season and Ben hoped to pick up some extra shifts especially in light of recent news. They were both hoping for this but Ben was really starting to feel the pressure of having another mouth to feed. The stress was keeping him up at night.”I’m leaving,” He said “Don’t forget your lunch!” She said “It’s a ham and cheese sandwich… do you need to get gas?”
She said. “No, I’m good, I already fed Ace but don’t forget to walk him,” He said. Ben got in his car and sped down the dusty road. He rolled down the windows and cranked up the radio, letting his mind drift away. Ben pulled into the parking lot of his work and grabbed his bag from the back seat. “Good morning Skip, have you seen the boss today?” Ben said “Yeah he’s been on the phone all morning, I think he’s in his office now,” Skip said. “Thanks buddy,” Ben said. “Yeah good luck,” Skip said. Ben walked slowly down the corridor and knocked hesitantly on Mr. Martin’s door. “Come in,” he said. “Is this a good time Mr. Martin?” Ben said. “Good as any,” He said “I was wondering if you had thought about giving me extra shifts?” Ben said “Wish I could, just got off the phone with our suppliers, shipments backed up, won’t be here for a couple more weeks,” He said “It’s just that you know me and Pascal have a baby on the way and I could really use the extra cash,” He said “Look son I really wish I could but you know with the economy the business money is tight,” Mr. Martin said “Okay, thanks anyway,” He said as he
turned and walked out of Mr. Martins office. “Everything all right?” Skip said “Yeah I’m all good,” Ben said “I gotta go, I’ll see ya later buddy,” Ben said. Ben tossed his sandwich in the trash on his way out to his car. He had lost his appetite. Ben sat in his car, staring at the dash. He wasn’t ready to go back to Pascal. Too many questions, not the right answers. Without even thinking he turned the key in the ignition and stomped on gas until he ended up in the parking lot of Mcgintys. “Hey Ben! Haven’t seen you around here in a while, how you been?” Said Andy. “Yeah, you know, lots to do at home, It’s nice to see you,” Ben said. “What can I get for ya?” Andy said. “I have a beer,” Ben said. “Heard about the layoffs at your work,” Said Andy. “Yeah, it’s pretty rough,” said Ben. “How’s Pascal doing? Haven’t seen her in a while. Used to see her all the time back in high school,” Andy said. “Yeah, she’s, she’s good,” Ben said. “She was
always the cutest one, captain of the cheerleaders and all that,” Andy said. Ben gulped the rest of his beer and ordered another. “You see any of the other old high school gang?” Ben said. “Yeah you know I see Janet every now and then and Ricky likes to come have a drink sometimes,” Andy said. “I heard Scott moved to Arizona and is raking it in … Lucky guy,” Ben said. “I always though it was going to be you to strike it rich,” Andy said. Ben finished his third drink and put his money on the table. “See you around Ben,” Andy said. “Yeah,” said Ben as he walked out the door. Ben stumbled to his car and rolled down the window for a bit of air. He thought to himself Pascal would be mad. He was gone longer than he said and it was starting to get dark. He wouldn’t be able to fix the latch. Ben drove out of the parking lot and started his journey home, trying to concentrate on the road although he was a bit drunk and more than a bit
tired. All he could think about was the roof, the baby, and disappointing Pascal. He took a deep breath, he would soon be home. “Ace! Wait! Come back!! Ace!!” He could hear something in the distance, sounded like Pascal. He heard barking in the distance. “Come back!!” She said “Ace!!! Come Back!!” She said. Before he understood what was happening, he felt a thud, as his car began to swerve off the road. “NO!” she said “ACE!” she said as she collapsed to the ground.
Rosemary frowned all too much.
Rosemary clenched her jaw
Awake to aching pains at night
Rosemary, whose boiling temper
Waged a war inside her brain
Octavian vying for the throne
“Mother,” I ask, “Why is there blood
In that bag of flesh? In the ice box
It looks so pale.” She says,
“There’s always blood when it thaws.”
It’s always been this way.”
She serves it with plum sauce.
We ignore its time at the butcher’s.
And so to honor King Kennedy,
They forgot that human kind
Was built on war and grapeshot;
It looks ugly on a young girl.
The doctors set her under
A pale white light softly whirring
To pay sweet Bassanio’s debt.
The scalpel descended. They asked
Her to count to ten, mowing the Capitoline
Into a lovely green pasture
Where stood a medieval neighborhood.
In its place they dropped a frothy white wedding cake
For all the town to watch and gasp. La dentiera.
But when they begged the doctors,
“Oh, do let us in! What’s inside!”
Gloves scrunched in their hands
They said “There is nothing, nothing, nothing,
Only a doll face.” And Rosemary laid there
With half the crumbling ancients and
Half a set of false pearly teeth.
The quadriga heels to a sky
That does not answer.
“O my son Absalom, my son
My son, Absalom! Would God
I had died for thee, O Absalom,
My son, my son!”
Her head was caught in
The boughs of an olive tree.
The alarm rings. I sit up and look at my messy apartment. I get up and take a
quick shower before putting on my uniform. It still smells from yesterday. I finish up
getting ready and walk to the bus stop.
The bus comes and it’s the same bus driver as usual. We nod at each other
and then I go and sit down. I overhear two teenagers.
“Oh my god, I hate school,” she says.
“It’s the worst. I’m so stressed. I just want to go home,” he says.
“I can’t wait to graduate and move on. I hate the whole high school
atmosphere. Just looking at the building gives me chills,” she says.
“Same. It’s so gross. Just yesterday I felt gum under my desk. Isn’t it
someone’s job to make sure it isn’t there?” He says.
I feel my face flush. I clench my fists. I take deep breaths and move to the
Other ends of the bus.
As I walk to the back door of the school, I see my co-worker, Andrew. We
started working here the same year.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“How’s it going?” he says.
“It’s alright,” I say.
“Same,” he says.
I walk to the basement and into the room. As I walk through the halls, I hear
conversations among the students.
“I want the new iPhone because I’ve had mine for a year and sometimes it
freezes”, she says.
I look down at my flip phone as I hear a boy say, “Yeah, I’m getting a car for
my grad present. But it better not is some junk car or else I’m going to be mad.”
Once I’m in the room, I grab my equipment and walk up to the top floor girls’
“Anyone in here?” I say.
“Yes,” a girl says.
I wait 3 minutes. The girl walks out. She looks me up and down and then
walks away. I walk in and mop the floors. I could do this in my sleep.
My pager buzzes. It’s the boss.
“Kid threw up in room 142. Take care of it, would ya?” He says.
“Yes Sir,” I say.
The day goes on and eventually, my day is finished. I don’t have money for the
bus ride home so I walk.
“Got any food?” a homeless man says.
“Sorry, man,” I say.
I climb the stairs past the urine to my apartment.
6:30 AM. I wake up and repeat my day. I do the same job, see the same
people, wear the same clothes. But today feels different. There’s a new kid on the
“Welcome to the job,” I say.
“Thanks. I have some first-day nerves but it should be fine. How long you
been doin’ this? ” he says.
“Twenty years,” I say.
“Do you like it here?” he says.
“It pays the bills”, I say. “I’ll give you the tour and show you how things work
for the first few days,” I say.
This means I have double the work to do but my boss told me to and I can’t
say no. Today isn’t all bad though; it’s payday.
I go to the convenient store to get my lottery tickets.
“Payday, huh?” the clerk says.
“Yep,” I say.
“you’re usual?” she says.
“Yep,” I say. I pull out the $500 I cashed at the bank.
The clerk hands me my stack of tickets. “Good luck,” she says.
“See you in two weeks,” I say.
“See ya,” she says.
The next day I get up and go to work. I wash the floors, I clean the toilet
bowls, I refill the soap. After work, I go to a pub so I can watch the TV. I put aside a
few bucks for a beer and rent. I stay for a while and watch the soccer game. I talk to
a few women and almost bring one home. I stay late to hear the winning numbers.
The next day I wake up and go to work. Andrew sees me.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“What’s new?” He says.
“Not much,” I say.
It was an early morning in Philippines. I woke up in the hot heat to the sound of the chickens, 7:00 AM like it was clock work. I get up from my bed and I walk into the kitchen, flagrant with smells like always. My mom greets me and hands me a plate of rice and stew. I sit down and slurp away, when I finished I pick up my plates and carry them to the sink to wash. As I’m washing my little brother comes to me and says that’s it’s time for training with the others. I hurry to finish washing and I jog out to the front courtyard.
The courtyard was a square big enough to fit a party, with 4 low rise walls and a rough cement floor. Surrounding the courtyard were palm trees and tall soft grass. I take a deep breath, the moist air in my nose and step into the courtyard. My two brothers are already training so I hurry to pick up my weapons. 2 sticks, each a meter long. I bow to my sensei and we start practicing, smashing our sticks together in a patterned fashion, from one movement to another until I’m drenched in sweat. Then I started training with my older brother and we go at it, but today he seemed off, he had a look in his eyes I didn’t recognize. Throughout our practice I kept pointing out to my brother how he was doing it wrong, and he simply refused it and continued. With every time I corrected him, the stronger his strikes became. For some reason the frustration in me rose and made me match the strength of my brother.
My mother was taking pictures of us with so much pride in her heart that she is too blind to see the battle between my brother and me. As the fight went on we gritted our teeth harder and harder. We moved like lightning striked our sticks so hard that they sounded like thunder, and like a movie we dropped our sticks and fought. We were broken up by our father who split us and sent us to different corners of the house. Tears streaked down my face, I was crying with anger. I went back to my room and slept, I was done for the day. Since that day my brother and I haven’t talked like brothers, in my eyes he reverted back to some stranger I didn’t know.
I wish I said sorry and made up. We didn’t talk for years, but at least now we are on our way to repairing our relationship. It’s getting better.
She scans the hologram for her name. Her eyes are dry and out of focus. Her dirty fingers glide by every name, hoping not to see her own. Three up from the bottom she sees her name, “Julie Pawper, age 17, legs.” Julie turns and see an older woman standing over her. The lady gently puts her arm on Julie’s shoulder, trying to be comforting. Her hand feels unnatural.“My hands were replaced when I was 19” the lady explains. “My arms end just before the wrist.” Julie feels a rush of pain in her veins. She picks up her bag and starts to head home.
Julie takes the long route home to clear her thoughts. The list fills her mind. Julie’s older brother Charlie was listed a year ago. He got bronchogenic carcinoma from a wealthy man named Richard Afflewent. Charlie can’t breathe on his own anymore so he uses a machine. She continues to walk while dragging her toes along the pavement.
Julie lugs herself to the door and turns the handle. She opens the door, her family is sitting in the living room crying. Everyone knows she’s been listed but no one can bring up the courage to say it out loud. Julie starts to walk to her bedroom without saying a word. Her room is small and can only fit a small mattress. She sees a hologram pocket sitting on her bed. My fingers glide around the floating note avoiding the button that opens it. She presses the bottom slowly, her heart beats faster. The image displayed has my name beside a picture of a boy in a wheelchair. She couldn’t help but scream while tears rush down her face and stain her cheeks. Julie wails into her hands over and over again. Her breath becomes short and heavy. Her eyes slowly shut and everything becomes quite for a moment. “My legs.” she whimpers.
Julie’s little brother Tommy walks into her room, plops himself onto the bed and looks her in the eyes. “Mom and dad said you’re listed, what is that?” His eyes open wide with curiosity. Julie explains “At age 17 children in the unworthy side of town are eligible to be listed. If a rich person has a disease, they can exchange their limbs or organs for ours.”
Tommy and Julie sit in silence for an hour glaring at the ceiling while holding hands. “If you are going to lose your legs, we should use them until the exchange” Tommy suggests.
If it were only that easy…
“We were an average family back in the Philippines. We were not rich, not that poor, we were pretty much normal. My dad was a manager in some shoe factory back in the Philippines and my mom works in Canada for so long, since I and my siblings were young, our mom been working in Canada. My parent thinks that our future will be more secure and stable if we live in Canada. I was twenty one when I came in Canada and I thought everything was good but I didn’t realize that my parents sacrificed their selves to pay for our apartments, for our foods and stuff. My mom been working as a maid since she’s been in Canada and every time she comes home her clothes are full of sweat, and she can barely move and her legs always hurts. One day my father loses his job and my mother had to work harder than before so we can pay for our bills. While my father is looking for a job, we were struggling to get a money so I looked for a part time job so as my siblings, but sadly I was the only who found one. While my sibling goes to school, I worked to help my parents to pay for our bills. Even though we struggles a lot my parents and my siblings stay strong together and help each other when someone needed it. My parents sacrificed their selves so I and my sibling can have a better life here in Canada.”
Change can be scary. And high school definitely means change. The prospect of entering high school was never far from my thoughts over the summer. I felt anxious and excited, apprehensive and eager all at the same time. The Labour Day weekend was less a vacation than an extended waiting game before the change became real. But hey, what did I know about high school? Only what was passed on to me by friends and family who had survived (and even thrived in some cases), teen movies and the Barenaked Ladies’ “This Is Me In Grade Nine.” In hindsight, I was unreasonably nervous, irrationally fearful yet always hopeful. I bet some of you felt similarly. Seven weeks in, I am relieved, involved and settling in. Most of the things I had been so worried about never happened (or have not yet); those that did are not scary after all. Needless to say, there were still some big changes.
The biggest difference is the schedule. Previously, my schedule consisted of all of my courses year-round, with each period lasting about forty-five minutes. Suddenly, I have only four courses, every day, each one for seventy-five minutes. Sometimes I feel that I am stuck in a Groundhog Day loop. At this point, I am accustomed to my schedule, and appreciate that I have an easier timetable to memorize and fewer books and binders to carry to and from school.
Another challenge has been learning to navigate a new and larger building packed with many more people. My previous schools were tiny in comparison. Entering Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (FHCI) on the first day of school, I was lost in a totally new geography. For the first few weeks of school, I struggled to find my locker and classes. I am thankful for the school map conveniently included in the school agenda but that we need a map in the first place is …? I still get lost from time to time and have yet to find the girls’ washroom on the second floor. That said, it is all part of the adventure, and I get to find someplace new weekly if not daily.
Then there is the traffic in the hallways. It is one thing being lost; it is another being lost in a sea of humanity moving in every direction, some of whom are presumably also lost. Some days getting to class is very similar to rush hour traffic without any rules of the road. No amount of warning or training could have prepared me for this chaos and confusion. The number of times I have apologized for bumping into people (and lockers) would put any Canadian to shame. On the upside, 12th graders seem to float effortlessly through the madness like an expert skier shredding moguls. Maybe in time I too will master the double black diamonds of our hallways.
One thing I was very excited about was, and still am, is the wide variety of extracurricular clubs and activities that FHCI offers. We seem to have a club, team or committee for everyone and about everything. Many people helpfully advised me that “getting involved” would be key to finding my place and my people in such a large school. As it happened, I probably took too much advice too literally. When the club fair rolled around, I eagerly signed up for too many clubs and my inbox has never quite been the same. It has been a bit overwhelming at times but in a good way. Learning to juggle classes and clubs keeps me busier, much busier than I was in middle school.
Yeah, change happened and continues to happen. And seven weeks in, it is not scary and never should have been. But if you are like me, when worried or unsure, you assign an irrationally high probability to those things you do not want to happen and downplay the likelihood that everything will work out in time. I will find that second-floor girls’ washroom in good time, and if I get lost along the way, I will be excited to see what else the school has to offer.
Sophie G. is a grade 9 student at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, she is a contributor for The Golden Falcon Newspaper. You can be one too, click here.
Why do scientists want to revive the Woolly Mammoth? This is not a commonly asked question in people’s day to day lives since many do not have the time to question these new found scientific experiments. However, it is important to be informed on all the different aspects of our society including these innovative projects conducted by scientists.
There are many different standpoints on the idea of reviving the Woolly Mammoth as this animal walked the earth tens of thousands of years ago. But, the massive mammal should not be brought back from the dead as futuristic as it may sound.
These enormous creatures with furry appearances lived in cold climates and were closely related to the Asian elephant. In the last ice age, this herbivorous animal was in abundance. The primary cause of their extinction was increasing global temperature as they had evolved to live in cold climates and thus their habitats became uninhabitable.
A secondary causation of extinction is that with the end of the ice age humans hunted these massive mammoths for their tusks, fur, and meat. Although the changing climate was an issue, humans ultimately closed the chapter of this diverse species causing it to go extinct. This leads to the reasons as to why this species should not be attempted to be brought back from the dead through the process of cloning. Humans fall under secondary causes for this mammal’s extinction. What are the chances that humans will not again exploit these mammals yet again? People do not always learn from their mistakes as seen prevalent in the continuous extinctions and endangerment of over one hundred crucial species yearly.
Also, the concern around climate change has skyrocketed since the industrial revolution. This means that the habitat of the Woolly Mammoth is almost non-existent or severely altered. This just goes to show that the species would not have a sustainable environment even if it were revived. This is crueller to these animals than going extinct as not only are they being brought back from the dead but they will never be able to live a natural life again.
Additionally, as a society, there are many improvements that must take place to mitigate climate change, habitat loss, over-population and extinction of animals. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, efforts should be taken to correct current situations, and solutions need to be found for the future generations.
Conducting projects like this seem useless in the aspect of controlling population-related issues. Organisms on this planet are running out of resources to depend on for their needs. Adding an extinct species back into the ecosystem will only worsen current situations. Does this mean cloning is useless? Absolutely not! The current use and efforts of this technology are not beneficial to civilization. Instead, this technology should be used to save endangered species that cannot reproduce in a manner to preserve itself. Scientists need to be more conscious of what they invest billions of dollars into researching and reviving. The mammoth does not seem to be an appropriate investment, though, instead, there needs to be more research into investing money into reviving or preserving species that are relevant to
today’s modern society!