Ampersand: A Literary Magazine
Dancing With The Devil
The Devil's laughter was a hidden song
Unknowingly, with him, I kept singing
And when tears finally broke, I stood calm
A lie he spoke, “I love you” held ringing
The Devil owns a name I’ll never say
I can’t bear another absence again
He paints my perfection, burns me like clay
I seem to love the fire, ceases to end
Gone too long, now came back as my angel
He doesn’t know I know it’s a mask
Dancing with the Devil, lost my halo
I’d dance forever, if only he’d ask
It started with me burning for his love
Numb, and he’s burning my
my burning sun
Love, Positivity, and Peace
I am lonely
I need the light and strength
To tell myself I'm okay
The confidence in my beauty and worth
All this playing brings me down
But I have to stand
Show my worth
Know my worth
Connections with people
Will bring me out of my dumps
Positivity will show me peace at heart
And love will give me harmony
I am strong and beautiful
With or without the love of many
Feeling lonely does not mean I am
I am known to love
I do feel
One day I will be my happiest
With myself and peers
By: Elizabeth Matusiak
Those sweet, angelic eyes gaze up at me
His warmth brings joy to both my heart and soul
My nephew’s big, bright smile is all I see
His presence makes me feel like I am whole
Though we live nearby, scarcely do we meet
I wish that I could see him everyday
His youthfulness is what I wish to keep
However, this is not part of my say
Along with Joe, there comes a little boy
My Nicholas has yet to reach the age
At which we know he’s more than games and toys
His life’s a book, but he’s on the first page
I’ve seen the growth of Joseph through the years
And witnessing Nick age would bring me tears
By: Syryth Mitchell
As I landed here,
I watched a building,
A life awaiting.
He seeks life with open arms.
It’s not what it seems,
Surly not one, two, three.
He ages, he matures,
But the child will forever stay.
As life needs energy,
Others break him,
Tossing his remains with ease.
But non can equate,
How work is luxury.
His job is burning,
His career is new.
His back is broken,
But not from pain.
It’s hard out there,
And few will follow.
But work is always needed;
He makes it joyful.
Soon death appears,
And he fades away.
But his name will stay,
For those that know the way.
Life is fun,
Don’t let it die.
Because we won’t be here long,
But I will always be watching.
Romeo to Juliet
I live all day but will never forget
The one I love known as Juliet
A relationship that cannot be too soon
With a star much brighter than a fine lit moon
I would risk it all just to be with thee
And leave my home so with thou I could flee
But in the near future is our secret to wed
Pursue it I will, until I am dead
My parting from you would never be right
For during the darkness you are my light
Although with you now, I desire you still
Your presence a goal that I must fulfill
A bond so strong that no blade could sever
With my dear Juliet, my heart lies forever.
Depression isn’t just being sad
I miss doing things with my dad
I didn’t know,
I may seem happy
But I’m not
Deep down I’m going through a lot
I look in the mirror and
All I see is depression and sadness
All over me
I can’t tell anyone
Because no one will understand
I’m told there is nothing wrong
You don’t know me
I feel like a tree
Everyone using me
Oh no it could not be
At home alone
Quiet as can be
Just depression and me
Sunny Summer day at the Beach
It was a sunny summer day at the sandy beach,
The loud white seagulls were loud and white,
Squoo! Squoo! they say as they fly high.
The gigantic waves crash hard on the shore,
Kids are laughing and screaming in them water,
As The ocean smell of salt water hits your nose.
The hot sun beaming on your skin.
The nice cooling breeze slightly hits your face.
The creak of the boardwalk under your feet,
The smell of the funnel cakes and hot dogs on the boardwalk make you irresistible.
How amazing the boardwalk is and how big.
O’ what a nice sunny summer day at the beach.
A Game Called Life
Practice, practice, practice,
Until you can’t do it wrong,
Practice, practice, practice,
Should sing to an athlete like a song.
Everyone can show up,
And participate in games,
But it’s the work that you put in on your own time,
That makes you not the same.
If you want to stand out and gleam,
And to stop being just good and to touch being great,
Your abilities can be controlled,
But your work ethic will ultimately control your fate.
Make the most of everything you have in life,
And you will become grateful,
Stop saying that your life is a burden,
And become less hasteful.
You could have become a tasty banana,
Or a pineapple with a bad smell,
But instead you were a human,
Odds of one in 400 trillion just let that jell.
Practice, practice, practice,
Such a misunderstood term,
Practice, practice, practice,
Some of us will sink like rocks and some of us will learn.
The smell of Foggy, Groggy air,
The cool gust pushing back my hair;
Tears from the angels
And drops from the stars
Trailing all the way from Mars.
Tea and a book,
Snuggled in a nook;
Lightnings’ streaks and Thunders’ peaks,
Hidden by blankets
But no one can fake it.
And wavering trees
Call in the night,
To the ones in fright.
Calming and peaceful,
All the way through, ‘Till the world is completely blue.
By: Syryth Mitchell
Words have meaning,
Everywhere; all different ways.
But off a page, they mean more,
Books are images,
What stops us reading?
Art, music, literature, sculpture,
They all have something in common.
They take time, patience, talent,
But they need love.
We are impatient,
With no care for anything.
Sit down, wait a while,
Read a fiction story.
You don’t need the talent,
The creativity, the art.
To read a good book,
Just find some love.
A child’s never-ending laughter,
The way a sky is painted vibrantly.
Looking through the lense,
The beauty in life is clear to me.
The photo speaks to me,
Tells a story without words.
When things are blurry,
I must adjust my focus.
They way black and white
Expresses true colors of the soul.
Not the way it looks,
But the way it makes me feel.
With the press of a button,
The click click of the shutter.
A new memory has been saved forever,
In less than the blink of an eye.
With a camera in my hands,
The whole world stops.
Fear’s Worst Enemy
I was the type of person who let fear control me
It stood in my way and ruined my days
Fear sat on my shoulders
Like a thousand pound boulder
I’d push it aside or to the back of my mind
Only to find it glaring at me
I was the person to let fear pull me down
If I encountered it, I’d fall apart
Or let anxiety get the best of me
I sacrificed millions of opportunities
But I refuse to put up with it any longer
I have bursted out of the chains it once held on me
I no longer allow it to prevent me from shining
I rise above it and grow
And I don’t let the dark days define me
I, courage, will drive fear out of the world
By: Syryth Mitchell
“I can be whatever I want,”
It’s a rigged, broken saying.
You can work your way up,
But few finish their goal.
I want to go in the Navy,
Hack, control, terminate systems.
I want to be the president,
Fixing our problems, making something new.
I want to be a musician,
Writing songs, playing music.
I want to be an actor,
Playing on the big screen, having some fun.
I want so much more,
But I’m not a clone.
I will show though,
That I can be anything.
Work, work, work,
They all say.
The naturals make it,
The rest find something new.
I have one fear,
Which sound unrealistic but true.
I’m afraid of being nothing,
No one knowing me.
Follow what you want,
Make a name for yourself.
You are a star,
You are a hero.
By: Syryth Mitchell
I shine bright as a star,
Circling in the sky.
Why should I come down,
And ruin this land.
I see light,
Glowing all around me.
Where could I have gone?
And why am I still here?
Am I looked up to?
No, I can’t be.
Why am I so special?
Why do they keep seeing me?
What difference am I,
From any other soaring high.
With them always shining,
Why does it feel dark?
Maybe an explosion,
A nova in the sky.
But that wouldn’t work,
Not destroying this place.
I love it here,
Truly, I do.
But something is missing,
The light of my life.
But I see,
Through clouds of smoke.
That my light is needed,
Where others cannot stand.
I won’t back down,
Even on something simple,
I help help how I can.
Looking at all the hatred.
The uncaring, the bullying,
And the downright disgrace of boredom.
I want to help,
It’s who I am.
I just have one request,
That you follow upon this quest with care.
Short and Sweet
I’ll keep it short and sweet, Now this is usual,
To Heaven do I tell. You hear it all the time.
As boredom is a crime, But if you're no special,
So let me tell my spiel. What's on the table?
Look at me and say I’m normal, Work is hard,
Because I am in your average tall tale. But this path is harder.
But deep inside, I’m special, Take your journey, read your life,
Just like all of you in here. And tell me how you feel.
The moon is a beautiful thing,
Its’ true beauty is only seen,
By those who are really keen,
On looking up to see,
The bright moon be.
And although the moons radiant light,
Is sometimes hard to see,
The never ending cycle of life,
Can always seen, in the moon's everlasting light.
Even though the moon is only seen at night,
The ones who really look,
Will never be in fright,
Of the early dawns softly rising,
Brightly shining, never dying
Forever flying, sunlight.
Out the Window by Vincent Krall
Out the window time goes on forever
As I gaze out I find time looking in
Sadly there is no way time can enter
Time knows it cannot change what is within
As time goes on I look into the sky
I see clouds sail like ships on the swift breeze
Although the sun begins to sear my eye
I don’t look away for I am at ease
And finally I look upon the land
The trees catching the wind makes my heart sway
The creatures that roam about I find grand
I admire this beauty every day
To become one with all that I behold
I go beyond the window for the untold
The Two Faces of Winter
The gold of Autumn is whisked away
By Winter’s cold, cruel hands.
I can’t help but wish the gold to stay
As a frost like death devours the land.
The barren trees begin to sway
Like dancers under command.
Death is the king who rules the day;
Life suffers at his hand.
Then I feel a small, cool drop
Tickle the tip of my nose.
More flakes flutter down like a show that won’t stop;
Soon the landscape is buried in snow.
And then something shifts inside;
The darkness fades away.
The beauty of snowfall has melted my heart,
And I know Winter is here to stay.
By: Grace Renninger
Music is a way of relaxation.
Hearing the beat puts a tingle in your feet.
The lyrics tell a story to help you not worry.
The voices give you comfort,
And the rhythm has a flow you immediately know.
Music brings happiness so there is no sadness.
A War of Siblings
I wish I knew just how to calm the fire
That rages in our life most times we speak.
We yell and fight and I begin to tire
Of being one to turn the other cheek.
Our house is like a crazy battle ground.
The words are bombs we hurl at enemy lines.
The bombs explode with force and smoke surrounds
And clouds our thoughts and feeds our selfish minds.
They are too young to think before they act,
So when a sacred button has been pushed,
There is no hesitation to react;
The furious reaction can’t be hushed.
Yet when the sun clears all smoke from above,
The only thing that can remain is love.
As I walk along a smoggy street,
I stop to look down at my feet.
And there (I could not believe my eyes!)
Was another me, looking just as surprised.
Although I’ve been told a million times
Not to talk to strangers no matter how kind,
I can’t help but stare at the Other Me,
And wonder how much of this world he could see.
His window, a puddle, was like a door
To another dimension I’ve never been in before.
The water pulled me into an amazing sea
Of my own thoughts and fantasies.
I imagined the new world as a place unlike ours,
Filled with smiles miles wide and fields of flowers.
A place unlike ours with our squabbling fights,
A place of tranquility, where everything’s right.
Then the roar of a car followed by a splash
Jerks me out of my dream, quick as a flash.
Other Me has gone and rippled away,
Perhaps I will find him another day.
The Great Awakening
By: Noah Safford
It’s the great awakening of nature,
Flowers bloom from a deep slumber.
Rolling green hills shimmer,
Almost as if there was no wither.
Oh how things have suffered,
But the facts of nature have never faltered.
What goes up must come down.
Winter is gone and we are spring bound.
Out of the dark and into the light,
Emerging into one beautiful sight.
Animals, creatures, people of all kinds.
After the darkness, the sun is enshrined.
Oh how the warm spring air speaks to me,
Whispering a song that rings with glee.
Bees buzz boisterously as they pollinate.
Green grass grows for it can finally regenerate.
Oh spring, it is just like lemonade,
Sweet to the tongue, a metaphorical band aid.
The lemon is the beginning, in this case winter,
An acquired taste, not bitter, but sour.
Oh spring, the days become longer,
Longer than webs cast by Peter Parker.
Your beginning marks warmth and merriment,
Vibrant colors galore for our enjoyment.
All good things must come to an end,
Heat and the absence of school is just around the bend.
Pirates were always known as the unvarnished scum of the Earth. Nobody respected or appreciated pirates because everyone knew what they were capable of, and like many people during the War of Independence, I saw them as raiders and brutes, the same way everyone else did.
When I was thirteen-years-old, I worked as an apprentice for a naval doctor named William Balch. He was a very kind-hearted gentleman who always felt the need to assist the wounded. Whenever he felt the urge to aid these young men, he sent me. I dealt with all of their minor wounds and maladies. More often than not, I would end up in bed past midnight, only to wake late for the morning call which would land me in trouble with the captain, my father.
One morning, I remained asleep in my hammock, when something peculiar occurred: the deck was silent. The floorboards weren’t creaking, the drunken sailors weren’t obnoxiously singing, and my father wasn’t grabbing me by my cravat, yanking me above deck. Everything was quiet. I leaned over the side of my net bed and grabbed my old blue coat with the shiny gold buttons. I bolted above deck. The ship was almost like a ghost-town. Nobody was cleaning the deck or furling the sails.
“Father? Father, are you here? I’m sorry for sleeping in late!” I hollered, slowly opening the door to his captain’s quarters. “Is anybody here?”
Silence greeted me. I paced to and fro around my father’s office, biting my fingers in anticipation and concern. For hours, I muttered to myself in attempts to soothe the billions of worries that were floating around inside of my head. Before I knew it, I was nothing but an emotional mess upon myself, until I heard a voice coming from just beyond the door. With sweat dripping from my brow, I grabbed my father’s emergency gun that always remained hidden in his desk. Then I gently pressed my twitching ear against the wooden door.
“Well, if yer father be an admiral and yer mother be a jade, then what might ye be, little boy?” My father remarked in a muffled, raspy tone.
I pushed open the door in anticipation and anxiety. My chest tightened as I snuck out onto the deck that was once abandoned. There stood a young man, no more than 15, an elderly captain-looking fellow, and a pregnant maiden covered from head to toe in blood and tears. As soon as my eyes locked upon the boy before me, I raced over to my father’s side, hoping for some answers as to who these strangers were.
“Father, what on earth are these strangers doing here? They look fairly harmless,” I hissed, trying to speak louder than the members of the crew without attracting any attention to myself.
“Son, these three are a part of the colonies that betrayed the country for this new world that Columbus and his crew foretold of. Don’t ye see, lad? These peasants are nothing but traitors and beasts. According to law, we must report ‘em to the king immediately so that he can get some information out of ‘em about the war. I’m sure the old man has something resourceful to proclaim,” Father growled as he walked towards the youngest of the three, wielding his shiny gold cutlass, “as for the child, I’m sure ye can keep an eye on ‘im.”
My father grabbed the kid by the ear and forced him over to me. After gazing upon the lad for quite some time, I wrapped his arms around my shoulder and I escorted him below deck. With every step he took, he let out a muffled cry that was constantly interrupted by a moment or two of him catching his breath. I tried to reassure him by introducing myself as I attempted to get to know him a little bit better, but he would constantly reply with a “yes” or “no” response, even if I asked for his name or age. Eventually, the two of us made it back to the bunker, and I slowly lowered him down onto a mattress. As soon as I got his motionless body to lay flat on the bed, he fell asleep, holding my hand.
I was in such a state of shock, for a moment I clenched onto his trembling fingers. I didn’t know what to think of him. Deep down inside my soul, I wanted to help him, just like the doctor, but I knew that if I tried to assist I would end up ruining his life. That’s when I got an idea. While the stranger was asleep, I bolted around the ship, frantically searching high and low for Mr. Balch. After hours of panic, I found him, silently sitting in the corner of the medical bay, watching over all of his patients with his shiny green hawk-like eyes and his silver monocle.
“Mr. Balch! Mr. Balch!” I wailed, forcing his eyes to lock onto my own. “We have another patient to take care of!” Before I knew it, I was grabbing his arm, yanking him off of his rickety rocking chair and into the bunker where the boy lay. The doctor knelt down beside him, checking the boy’s pulse to see if he was alive before he began his typical procedure. The child had several wounds that covered him from head to toe and, luckily, none of them were lethal. As Mr. Balch patched up his profusely bleeding cuts, I stood by, anxiously awaiting his operation to be complete.
Within mere minutes, the child at my feet was waking from his slumber. He rubbed his bloodshot eyes, and he ran his fingers through his lice-filled hair as he let out a muffled groan, slowly rising from the torn up mattress.
“Are you okay, kid?” I asked, tearing my coat off from my shoulders and wrapping it around the awakening kid’s body. The kid drew back, looking at me with a ghastly sneer and in seconds, he burst out in anger.
“Kid? I am no child! I’ll have you know, I am fifteen, obviously much older than a seven-year-old like you!”
“Thirteen. I’m thirteen years old.” I muttered, trying to still feel some amount of sympathy for the stranger, who was once wounded, but is now lashing out in absolute vexation. From a distance, I could feel the steam emanating from his small - and slightly feminine - body. Before I could make any action against him, Mr. Balch kneeled down in front of the ‘fifteen-year-old’ and he rested his hand on his shoulder.
“Listen, my apprentice was only trying to make you feel better. He didn’t mean to offend,” he whispered, “now, can you tell us why you are so - bruised up?”
Immediately after he asked the question, everyone went quiet. I sat a fair distance from the doctor and the enraged teenager.
After a moment of watching the captive glancing back and forth between me and the doctor, he flung himself across the room, racing towards the door at the other end.
“He’s escaping!” The doctor cried out as he stood up, grabbing all of his supplies before running after the riotous escapee. Stumbling around, I somehow managed to regain my composure amidst the chaos and confusion. Just before the stranger grabbed a hold of the doorknob, an ear-shattering echo rang out.
The boy that was once racing around frantically was now still and quiet, laying on the floor as blood poured out like a waterfall from the back of his head. I stared at him for some time, trying to regain my thoughts but as soon as Mr. Balch locked his eyes upon mine with a nerve-wracking stare, I knew I was the only possible person that could have been responsible for firing the shot.
I looked down at the smoke billowing from the gun that stuck onto my quivering hands like glue. I put the pistol back into my pocket and stood in place for a long time, longer than I can remember.
Prized Ship, prized war
An action-packed pirate story based of the Revolutionary War
By: Cassandra Pennycoff
To read more of Prized Ship, Prized War, see Cassandra Pennycoff.
2017-2018 Annville-Cleona Literary Magazine
Magazine Advisor: Mrs. Jennie K. Brown
Magazine Editors: Cassie Brimmer, Emily Long, and Emily White
Cover Art: Sydney Moore
Thanks to all who contributed to this year's edition!