Stop and Smell the Flowers Venture High School Literary Magazine

By Kinsley Cottrell
Imaginary Album Cover - Twin Realities By Kinsley Cottrell
Imaginary Album Cover - Twin Realities pt.2 By Kinsley Cottrell
The Old West By Hayden Reese
Leader of the Bunch By Gannon Daily
Yellowstone boardwalk By Max Covert
Xiao Costest Cosplay By Aubrey Fenn

Coming Back from War By America Jimenez

War, cracks, dismay is all I am

No one can convince me that

I am fixable from my scars

I am numb to the thought of being alone

Only a complete fool would accept the idea that

They can still love their family after losing so much

My family is nothing to me now

And I’d be lying to you if I said that

My family and the world will welcome me back with open arms

I am now too broken to feel anything

I can not be convinced that

One day, with help, I will be me again

I am broken from the inside and out

I’d be crazy if I thought that

I will be loved no matter what

I will forever be alone

I refuse to believe that

War does not define who I am

My world is now pain and torture

It is unreasonable to believe that

It is all going to be sunshine and rainbows

Everything around me is going to die because of me

And only in a fantasy world will it be true that

I will be at peace with myself

I am a monster

It is not true that

I am actually a hero

I am like a walking ray of darkness

It cannot be said that

I will learn to be sunshine

I can’t learn to feel anything but sorrow

I will not accept under any circumstances that

I will learn to accept my negative feelings and let them go

The world now sees me as a burden

Only a hopeful fool would believe that

I would be received with smiles

There is no way that I will be loved

It is unreasonable to believe that

I will be fine after the war

I might as well be homeless

I will not accept under any circumstances that

I will have a home when I get back

The doors to my home will be shut in my face

It cannot be said that

The door will remain open for me

I am all alone. Forever alone.

I’d be lying if I told you that

Me being happy is not a wish, it’s a fact

My life is a mess

It is not true that

I can make my life how I want it: happy.

War destroyed me

I’d be dreaming if I told you that

My wounds will heal over time

The wounds will always be with me and weigh me down

I will not accept under any circumstances that

I will learn to live with the scars and accept them as a part of me

I am something that can’t be fixed

It is unrealistic to believe that

With love, time and compassion, I will fully be me again

But what if… Just maybe… Somehow we saw it


People Watcher By Anonymous

Sitting there on a bench is a girl, on a warm Spring day, she is watching, but that’s not all. She hears it all, the pain and longing, the joy and excitement, the love and loss. She may be young, but she’s been through it all, but she just sits there day after day on that old bench in front of the local cafe. “Do you like the rain?” She whispers to those passing by, they may not hear her, but in her mind, they can.

She imagines that they think about it all afternoon and then just have the sudden urge to go dance, in the middle of the street, in the pouring rain, with a smile on their face, then they’ll catch a cold for a few afternoons. But after they recover from that cold and the moment of happiness that passes them by.

They return to the boring old life they knew before. Next time they pass the cafe, she whispers “It doesn’t have to be boring, does it?” which gets them thinking again. So they go to work, but this time is different, they wave to co-workers they’ve never talked to before, they smile at their usually broody & moody boss, and then that smile spreads. From them to the boss, to the rest of the building, and before you know it, the whole street seems to look, feel, and just overall seem a little bit brighter.

Again it dies out with time, “But what is time” she whispers to those who once again pass the cafe. They pause in their tracks, look around, seeing the rush of the city, and just let it overwhelm them, overtake them, overcome them until it all becomes too much. So they duck into an alleyway and just breathe, for what feels like seconds, when really those seconds have turned into minutes, and suddenly they’re late, late for everything...or are they, or is that just something that humans have created to guilt-trap one another, cause late doesn’t really exist, so it doesn’t matter if they’re ‘late’ or not. Their livelihood may depend on them showing up at a certain time, but again, what is time? It’s just where we are in a position to the sun. They could work at any time of the day, but within our DNA we’re programmed to sleep when it’s dark when we feel most useless, even though the only major change is how much light we may have. But we have the moon? We have the stars? Shouldn’t that be enough for us to keep living into the night?

So they wander home, taking the long route. Past the cafe, past their work building, all while just letting their phone ring. With 10 missed calls from their co-workers and bosses, receiving voicemail after voicemail, but just ignoring it all. Once they arrive home though, they wander through the house, just looking around, eventually wandering over to the apartment window. Just contemplating life and all its mysteries. But all at once, it stops again. So they rush to work 3 hours late, spending the rest of their workday apologizing to bosses and co-workers who are extremely upset.

The next day they pass the cafe again, but the young girl isn’t sitting in her usual spot on the bench, she’s not asking questions, she’s simply not there. So this person who has noticed her absence takes her seat for her and slowly becomes what the young girl was known for. They become a People Watcher.


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