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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Thank You from the Southwestern Review Editors

We are greatly appreciative for everyone that contributed the The Southwestern Review 2012: Phoenix Edition. You all made this a special year for UL's Creative journal. 

When we initially come up with the idea, our overall goal was to inspire those who have voices and want to use them to use them. We had workshops, the blog, KRVS, and wonderful support from the UL community. Do not let this be the end; like the phoenix, see this as new beginning. 

Thank you all that have shared yourselves this year. May the spirit of the "phoenix" be with you all.

With much gratitude and respect, 

The Southwestern Review 2012 Editors
Amber J. Lucik
Louis Toliver Jr.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Writes of Spring” Contest of The Acadiana Writing Project

A light exists in spring

Winning Poems, Fiction, Nonfiction & 
Drama of the 2011
“Writes of Spring” Contest of 
The Acadiana Writing Project


9th and 10th Grade

How Can I Become a Dancer? by Marissa Eskine

I Never Thought I Would Eat Leaves by Olivia Spallino

11th and 12th Grade

In Chronological Order by Hannah Moreau

Division of Hearts and Land by Jasmine Latolais

Where Dreams Become Reality by Madeline Hurst

Le Mannequin by Allister Bandoin
How Can I Become a Dancer?
Based upon ”How Can I Become a Poet?” By Eve Merriam

Take the stem of a dandelion 
Outline it with your fingertips 
The outside texture and inner posture

Notice how it blows in the wind
How they are rare in December 
How they are scattered about in April

By early May 
Blow the petals off 
So they can dance freely in the air

Wish on it 

Listen to its breeze

Watch it move ever so gracefully 
Then in summer- 
When they expand in fields 
Pick one

Marisa Eskine First place 9-10 poetry O. Comeaux High, Lafayette
I Never Thought I Would Eat Leaves

     I was your typical seven-year-old girl who did not try new things. There was no good reason to. I figured the things I said, wanted, wore, and even ate, were the best of the best. Trying something new seemed completely unnecessary. But all that changed one night when I was at my friend Alex's house.

     Alex and I went to school together, and I liked being with him. He was energetic, creative, funny, and in the second grade, which was outstanding at the time. I was in the first grade, so having a second grader as a friend was incredible. Our friendship gave me dibs on the swing set that was on the "big kid's" side of the playground. With Alex by my side, I was all- powerful; I was in with the second grade crowd.

     Do not get me wrong, though, I was not just Alex's friend because he was a second grader. No, that was just a bonus. I was his friend because we had fun together. I was never bored when Alex was around. We kept busy waving sticks for sword fights or racing our hot wheels through the dirt. On rainy days we played "Don't Break the Ice" in the gym until our fingers were sore. Sometimes I brought my ant farm to school, and we plucked the big black ants off the old oak tree that was out by the lunch tables. Trust me, Alex and I always had a blast.

     One time I went home with Alex to have dinner with his family. I expected the usual: pot roast, steak and potatoes, hamburgers. But when I got to his house, I found out we were not having anything "usual."

     "Dinner!" his mother shouted.

     Dropping our hands of cards, Alex and I hopped off his playroom's floor. We were playing "Go-fish," and he was winning. I hated the very thought of losing, so when his mother announced dinner, I jumped at the chance to throw the game.

     "What are we having?" I questioned, my stomach rumbling at the thought.

     "A few things," he began thoughtfully. "I think Mom said there will be tabouli, kibbe, and grape leaves."

     "Grape leaves?" I gasped. "Your family eats leaves?" I questioned in disbelief. "Leaves?" I was sure he had to be kidding.

     "Yeah," he replied, confused by my disapproval.

     "That is icky!" I exclaimed. "Leaves are for caterpillars to eat, not people!" I laughed. "What? Was your family raised in a barn?" I joked a little harshly. Lucky for me, Alex was not bothered by my impoliteness.

     "No, not in a barn, in Lebanon. And it is much different then a barn there," he justified the best way he knew how.

     "I do not think it would be much different than a barn if they eat leaves," I declared.

     "Come on!" he droned, pulling me by the arm out of the playroom. He yanked me through the doorway and into the kitchen. Our dinner was waiting on the table. "Just try it," he uttered.

     The kitchen was filled with unfamiliar aromas. It smelled like a field of grass and a little like garlic. It also smelled like lemons and onions. Despite all the strange odors, overall the kitchen smelled quite good.
I did not say anything, but looked at Alex as if he were crazy. He knew as well as I did that I was not going to be eating any leaves if I could help it.

     "Fine then!" he said in a whisper so that his parents would not hear I was hesitant to try their food. "Do not try it." He eyed his parents already sitting at the table. "I do not care if you are rude..."

     I shrugged, coming to terms with the fact that I had no choice but to eat the leaves.

     Alex squeezed into one of the two chairs between his parents. I was reluctant to sit down, because I knew once I sat, I would have to try the bizarre food. I might even have to pretend I liked it.
     As I slid into my seat, I gazed at the steaming plate of strange cuisine that lay on the table before me. I sat blankly staring at my plate while Alex immediately began to stuff his face with the gross-looking, exotic dinner. He looked like he had not eaten in weeks. Not even bothering to use his fork, he ate busily with his hands. As I watched him chow-down, I asked what was on my plate.

     "Grape leaves," he said, pointing to three dreadful sausage-shaped things wrapped in leaves. "Tabouli." He pointed to what looked like dark lettuce that had been hacked to bits covered in onions and tomatoes. It smelled funny too, just like our lawn after Dad cuts it. "And this is kibbe," he reported while taking a bite out of what looked like a French fry in the shape of a football.

     "Eat," his mother suggested as she started to munch on her tabouli.

     I looked back and forth between Alex and my plate until I eventually gained the confidence to take one bite. I reached down, took a grape leaf into my hand, inhaled a deep breath, and sunk my teeth into it. To my surprise, the grape leaf did not taste half as bad as I thought it would.

     "That is good!" I shrieked in amazement once I had swallowed. "That is really good!" I took another bite. Then another. I could not believe it. How could something so ugly and weird taste so good? I kept eating. I did not stop to take a breath.

     "Hey," Alex said with a laugh. "You are eating those leaves like a crazy person." He smirked. "What? Were you raised in a barn?"

Olivia Spallino First place 9-10 fiction Home school
in chronological order

the wind ripped the door wide open 
and the storm violently swirled in

i tapped you frantically and whispered 
your name begging you to wake up half- 
asleep you shut and locked the door 
and sluggishly slid back into bed

i shook, sick to my stomach as you 
rolled over, turning your back to me i 
was too young to change my mind 
but i was too old to not understand i 
was drowning in the tide and you 
were seventeen years old and still 
didn't even know how to swim

you snored quietly beside me while 
i brokenly cried myself to sleep

i fell asleep next to you 
and i woke up alone

you were a sun god even at midnight 
radiant even in the dark under the covers 
you smiled shyly in your sleep and i

ran my fingers through your thick hair 
it was one of the rare nights that you dreamed 
peacefully and i sat upright
with only my dark thoughts for company i 
kissed every inch of your skin and prayed 
that i could grow up overnight

and i could love you the way you deserved 
to be loved but no one listened and i 
broke my own heart that night but i 
think you knew how hard i tried but
that didn't change very much

you were folded around me but i 
was millions of miles away

i fell asleep next to you 
and i woke up alone

snow danced outside of the window

the first and only time i was in your arms 
there was no light but the stars and you were 
the only thing keeping me from freezing

you said that we were split from the same soul 
my lips grazed across the stubble on your face 
and the scar on your thumb and your chest 
that vibrated with your static heartbeat

you kissed my hair and my cheeks and 
murmured echoes of ocean breeze

we slept with our fingers twisted together 
i woke with a bad taste in my mouth
i watched you sleep for a while and 
realized that you were no more than 
a child in the body of a growing man

i slipped from out of your arms and 
you didn't even stir

i fell asleep next to you 
and i woke up alone

we fell asleep on the dry sea your 
breath was soft like a child's and 
mine was caught in my chest i 
found my shorts and your shirt 
passionately tangled on the floor 
i gently brushed my cold fingertips 
your sleep-warmed cheeks 
wishing that i could read your mind you 
mumbled a groggy "good morning" 
and dragged me over across the blankets 
and kissed me deeply and asked for 
the time and whereabouts of our clothes 
and traced circles around my bare hips i 
ran my tongue across my swollen lips 
and tasted stale alcohol and sour regret i 
lay counting specks on the ceiling while 
you slept almost angelically 
with your arms around my waist 
i fell asleep next to you and 
i woke up alone

Hannah Moreau First place 11-12 poetry Opelousas High, Opelousas
Division of Hearts and Land


     A hardened man stared at his reflection. The light cast shadows while he searched in his eyes for the answer. Wrinkles filled with stories of countless murders crisscrossed on his face, shunning each other.
     A situation hovered before him. He had no solution. No way of avoidance.
     A knock, A soldier entered. He saluted. With a nod from the man, the soldier's arm fell.
     "Sir, they are awaiting your decision." Silence.
     The soldier continued to stand there unmoving. The man continued to stare into his own eyes.
     Then, another salute. The soldier's hoots clicked on the floor. It echoed the ticking clock.
     The soldier left.
     A dusty light fanned over him as he sat down in his leather chair. He knew what the world thought of him.
     Devil. Scoundrel. Enemy. Powerful,
     Omnipotent. Savior. Leader. God. Tick. tick. tick.
     He knew the sacrifice. He knew the possible disaster. He could hear the screaming. The men crying. The children's pain. 
          He'd seen the blood. Felt it. Tasted it.
     He wasn't what people thought. Or he didn't think he was what people thought. He wasn't without feelings.
     Heartlessness was savage. He wasn't savage. Tick. tick. tick. He wasn't without eyes. He saw what they did.
He had witnessed their lack of sympathy. Potsdam Conference. July 16. 1945. They
betrayed him. 
     The Far East. Damn the Far East. His country
was in shambles. 
     Devastated. His people were starving. Split up
     Roosevelt. He didn't need it. Churchill. He
didn't need it. 
     Just a mass of land. Useless to them. Iron
Curtain. He chuckled. Then stopped. They didn't
understand. So much power was just thrust into his hands.
     He was victorious. He is victorious.
     The world bows down to him. Shines his shoes with their tears.
He had feelings, though most of them were frozen. They were hardened chunks of tears and blood.
Children's lifeless bodies frozen. Bodies thrown and scattered. A head here. A leg there. Did he step on a rock? No, it's a finger. A thumb. A tooth. He'd seen the battles.
     He chose who lived. Everyone begged. Cried. Sobbed.
     His country would be victorious. The decision. Tick, tick, lick. Millions would suffer. Torture. Massacres.
     "Oh well," he whispered to himself. Sacrifice
was necessary. Always had been. Always will be. 
     Damn life. Damn emotion. Weapon of
awesome power. That's what Roosevelt said. No details. No explanation.
     A bluff. 
     He had soldiers everywhere. Damn peace. Damn Roosevelt. Damn Churchill. Damn the
weapon of awesome power. Damn precautions. Damn safety. Damn Berlin.

     A knock. A soldier entered.
     "Build the damn blockade. I want East Berlin. I want it," he muttered. A click. The soldier left.
     He heard a boy scream outside. Boots shuffled. Guns were clicked. The scream died. The boy died.
     A tear. A shake of the head. He wiped his face.
     Stalin muttered to himself, "Damn."

Jasmine Latioloais First place 11-12 Fiction Acadiana High, Lafayette
The Land Where Dreams Become Reality

     At my eighth grade "graduation," I squirmed uncomfortably in my robes; the heat inside of the stuffy church was starting to get to me, and the fact that I was squished between two people I disliked didn't make me feel any better. My classmates" names were being called for awards, and I stared off into space; mine hadn't been called, and 1 was pretty sure that it wasn't going to be, either. These awards were for the people with straight A's and the kids who were good at math and science. Me? I was interested in reading, writing, and drawing. Unfortunately, there wasn't a Breezed-Through-Middle-School- Without-Blinking-and-Day-Dreaming-Most-of- the-Time Award, which was undoubtedly the one I would have gotten had it existed. My ears perked up as I heard another award being announced— The Pam Pothier Writing Award. I scanned the few students around me who I knew were writers; it had to be that girl, my mind told me fervently, her paper was chosen for the opening speech to the ceremony. Despite that thought, a bubble of hope formed in my chest. My name was called, and I jumped; the bubble of hope exploded into a firework show that would make New Year's Eve look like a warm-up. I looked around at the encouraging faces that beamed back at me, and 1 stood up, breathless. Walking up to the podium in somewhat of a daze, and couldn't help but laugh as my friends made stupid faces at me and pointedly ignored the girl who was glaring at me as though her gaze would make me spontaneously combust. I took the small plaque in my hands; cool to the touch. I marveled at my name engraved onto its blue material. It was only wood and plastic, sure. But to me, it couldn't have been better if it was made of pure gold.
     As I entered high school, my mind was overloaded. I played volleyball and 1 hated it. If there was anything that I knew about myself, it was that I didn't work for anything unless I really wanted it; I wasn't sleeping, eating, or studying nearly enough as I should have been. My grades and overall GPA dropped significantly. There was one grade, however, that didn't lose its shine: English. This wasn't surprising: I was a natural in the subject. Grammar came so easily, and reading large books at an early age had expanded my vocabulary immensely. I had already given up the childhood dream of becoming a nurse, but I hadn't yet decided what would truly interest me as an adult.
It started becoming clear not too far into that very school year, when my English teacher brought me outside of the classroom after the bell rang. She grabbed my hands and placed them in her own, looking me straight in the eyes and staring intently into them (although, at the time, I thought it may have been my soul she was looking into). I could see my friends entering the classroom next door, slowing to a stop to laugh at me because they immediately thought what came to my mind: naturally, as a student, my first thought had been, "Oh gee what did I do now?" My heart lifted as she began to talk in a soothing tone. She explained to me that she had read my paper, and she was more than impressed. The words that came next were what really hit home.
     "You should definitely be a writer when you grow up."
     I had played around with the idea in my youth, and this woman had just replanted it in my head. From then on, I realized writing was what I was excellent at, and what luck—I actually enjoyed doing it. The more I began to think about it, the more I could see myself doing it for a living. As sophomore year flew by, I was introduced to something called fanfiction. It's an internet sensation for nerds like myself who are obsessed with comics, movies, books, and pretty much anything with characters in it. As a fanfiction writer, one writes stories with pre- existing characters for no profit whatsoever; I was spending hours on end in front of the computer, completely glued to this addicting pastime (and if you want to know the truth, I still do). Midway through the year, my calling slapped me in the face—screenwriting. I absolutely adore movies: not overrated summer blockbusters, although some are fantastic. I'm talking about the movies that, indie or big- budget, will leave your jaw on the floor and your head reeling. As my movie collection expanded, it became clear to me that directors, screenwriters, and actors are together a team that works hard for something that they all believe in: making the unreal become reality. It is a belief that I share and a team that I want to be a part of; I want to leave an audience quiet out of shock after they have been muttering quiet profanities out of suspense for two and a half hours.
     At sixteen, I sit in my car and scroll through CD's to find the indie-reggae band that I'm hoping to listen to. My hair is frizzy from the insanity that is Louisiana humidity, and my bright yellow nail polish is chipped because I'm too lazy to repaint it. I find that CD I'm looking for, shove it into the CD player. As I drive home, I smile at a simple revelation that crosses my mind. I'm lazy, but I work hard for what I love. I'm one of the few teenagers in America who hasn't had a "love" in high school, and don't think it's important that I haven't. I know who I am, and I know where I'm going. I'll move to California, I'll be a screenwriter, a dream-writer, and a real-life writer. I'll combine reality and the land of dreams, and show it to anyone who is willing to watch. I am a writer, hear me roar.

Madeline Hurst First place 11-12 nonfiction St. Thomas More Catholic High, Lafayette
Le Mannequin

Scene One:

The scene opens with a dark stage and a single light on a nude mannequin standing at center.

Lights Out. And after five seconds the set is illuminated.

The mannequin now has a large sheet of glass in front of it and is placed at stage right. The other set pieces are: a simple flowing fountain at the center, a flower pot at stage left with a single red chrysanthemum, and a watering can placed beside the flower pot

A man enters from stage left with battered and fringed clothes. He walks with a limp and one shoulder significantly raised higher than the other. His patchwork coat does not match his pants and he sports shoes that are of different pairs. His cap bobbles in sync with his head. As he struts past the flowerpot he double takes and then turns back lifting the watering can. After this, he walks over to the fountain to fill it up. When walking back toward the flower pot, he sloshes and pours water onto the ground in a sly dramatic way, making it a clear point to get as much water out of the can and onto the ground. Once reaching the flower, he drizzles what water is left into the pot and with a sigh of satisfaction he continues to stage right. (This character's name is Lenny.)

Constantly looking to his left and to his right, he digs deeply into his pockets searching for something. After searching all but one pocket, he remembers the object inside his coat and removes a crumpled dollar. He then kisses the dollar and "casually" places it on the ground still looking to see if the coast is clear. Then as if he notices something in the distance, he walks quickly backward and acts as though he is wandering by.

Another man enters from stage right. He is well dressed with a much more appealing suit and a black bowler hat. His hat isn't obnoxiously rounded or set strangely on his head. The hat isn't a statement of humor, but rather is fitting to the attire. (I make this a point because he is set up to be the main character, a kind of "Everyman" in this play. In fact his name, although never referred to as the same with Lenny, is Everest.) He walks with purpose not leisurely strolling, but in a brisk stride. His head remains down and he passes the crumpled dollar. Lenny looks with a disappointed face, then quickly composes himself and stops the man.
Lenny: (Picking up the dollar while reaching at Everest's back pocket.) Um, excuse me sir. I believe you've dropped this.

Everest: (Turning around interrupting Lenny's prime objective.) Oh no. I'm sorry, but that isn't mine.

Lenny: Yes it is. Everest: No I...

Lenny: How could you ever be sure? Well you saw it just lying there did you not?

Everest: (Trying to continue his walk.) Yes, but...

Lenny: But what man would see a dollar on the street and refrain from picking it up? A misplaced dollar is fair game for any man who calls it their own.

Everest: Well, I figured that maybe the wind might grab it and place it into the hand of someone who is in need.

Lenny: Ha! Relying on the wind is a very uncertain way to get anything anywhere. Everest: I know of plenty sailboats that use....

Lenny: (Cutting off Everest) And besides today is as breezy as a politician is honest. Ha ha. Oh, and by the way, where did you get such a dazzling suit?

Everest: Oh this? 1 got it at... umm... the... hmm. Ha. You know I can't quite remember. Isn't that funny? It's as if I trudged out of the womb with it fixed to my bottom. (Laughs a while)

Lenny: Furthermore it is a fine piece of garment no matter how you obtained it. Fine indeed. (Pacing around Everest) But no means to offend, it does seem a little out of place on such a smoldering day as it is. Its fabric, although pristinely gorgeous, is way too thick and not fit for such warm conditions.

Everest: I suppose so.

Lenny: May I remove it from you. (Clears his throat.) You know, help you take it off. (Begins to touch Everest's coat.)

Everest: Oh no thank you, I actually find it quite chilly today.

Lenny: Well by no means would we want you to get sick. No means at all.

Everest: That's awfully kind of you. You know, looking out for another man's wellbeing. You seem like a very caring fellow. If I may ask, what are you doing here on the street?
Lenny: Business. Ummm I am a shoe shiner. Look, my station is right there in front of Ol' Berthas. (Everest looks at the mannequin in the window, but doesn't spot the station anywhere in sight.) Hmm, Shame isn't it. (Motioning toward Bertha's dress shop.)

Everest: Yeah, pretty rundown joint. Lenny: No, I mean the mannequin.

Everest: I know what you mean; it does seem a little... bare.

Lenny: A little bare? The whole mannequin is as nude as a newborn. If you only knew all the fuss that's floating around because of that mannequin.

Everest: Yes?

Lenny: Oh! (Then realizing Everest wants to know.) Well you see people are really upset by the mannequin. People say it's too revealing. I mean children pass by here for Christ sake. You know I always wondered what kind of mastermind stole the dress right off of it. He must have been a real brain. It doesn't look it and I'm not sayin' I've checked, but that place is sealed up tighter than a slot machine.

Everest: So you think someone stole it? The glass isn't broken.
Lenny: That is true, but I don't see any other reason why that mannequin is left all exposed. However who knows why Ol' Bertha hasn't slapped a dress on it by now. I don't see why anyone would want to steal any of her dresses any way. She used to display the most hideous things.. .So are you gonna get your shoes shined or what?

Everest: Well I really must be going.. .to the...ummm... sure why not.
(Lenny leaves, walks toward the steps of the dress shop, and Everest sits on the step extending his feet while Lenny is talking.)

Lenny: For years, her and her husband ran that store. It's a surprise it didn't go out of business any sooner than it did. It seems like more people show up at this door today to complain about the mannequin then they ever did when it was open. (Looking down at Everest's feet) Oh, um that's not how I do it here. You have to take off your shoes first.

Everest: Excuse me.

Lenny: Well I wouldn't want to risk a kick to the face, now would I? (Everest complies v, uh a questionable glare, but then unties his shoes while Lenny continues.) Yep, people go up to the door, knock a little while, and then leave a note. 
The old couple never conies out of the living quarters of that store except for at night. It is said Ol' Berthas husband gets food. But that's just the word on the street.

Everest: Maybe they keep it naked for just that. (Handing Lenny the shoes.)

Lenny: For just what?

Everest: So that no one will want to steal any of their dresses.

Lenny: Hmm. Maybe. (He stands up and ponders for a little while, as if day dreaming.

Everest: Uh, sir.

Lenny: Oh yes. Thank you. (At this he salutes Everest and sprints to stage left running with shoes in hand.)

Everest runs after Lenny when he realizes exactly what's taking place, but slips in the puddle Lenny made at the beginning of the scene. The lights go out.

Allister Baudoin First place drama St. Thomas More Catholic High, Lafayette

Friday, April 20, 2012

Taylor Coen's Emotional Appeal

A path of destruction.
A cloud of delusion.
Patching up the whole.
The strength of every goal.