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First Draft the literary magazine at NAI

Photo by Anna Bundy

Days of Old by Kaden Velasquez

Back long ago in the days of old

There was a time when people were bold

People would fight in wars and in battles

While others were treated just like cattle

People would raise children of all

Even if their parents had taken a fall

They would steal and work for any price to pay

For any possible way to go far away

Children would hide under bodies of friends

Just to have their suffering end

That was long ago when grandparents weren’t old

Back in the days when people were bold.

photo by Ishana Morgan

Words by Isabella Rocha

Dark, Death, words of despair

Heaven,Light, words of repair

Gloomy, Dismal, words of sadness

Friends, Family, words of happiness

photo by Natalie Morgano

The Ballad of King William’s Skull by Erin Scanga

I shall tell ye of the wretched ship we sailed for fourteen years.

We laughed, we fought, we plundered, and we wept our bitter tears.

The world was so much younger back in 1702.

I lived a life of comfort, but there wasn’t much to do.

So I went down to the docks there and I played some merry tunes.

And then, one day, I saw James there, his eyes as wide as moons.

“Dear Samuel’s dead!” he cried out, spewing bitterness and scorn.

“I know not what to do now, nothing’s left to do but mourn.”

My brainpan started rattling, and I thought then of our state.

My life would change, right there and then, on that unimportant date.

“Let’s leave this place,” I told him, “Let’s live our lives in crime.”

(I was disgusted by my notions, but I’d thought it for some time.)

And so we boarded the ship of old, our dear King William’s Skull.

To our surprise there were no men, only women above the hull.

I almost turned back then and there, disgusted even more.

And then the Captain found us, that blasted, bloody --------.

She wore men’s clothes, like everyone,

And a velvet bicorne hat.

Her hair was long and black as ink,

A little like a cat.

“What have we here?” she said with a grin that made my blood start to boil.

I explained our situation, and her spitefulness recoiled.

“I am a great lover of music,” she said, looking at the sky.

“If you could be our bards, then I don’t have to let you die.”

Lucky for us, we both played cittern, and we loved music as well.

And that, my friend, is how we started those long years of pirate hell.

We soon arrived in the New World under a beautiful blue sky.

The market had all kinds of strange foods for sale, but none so caught my eye

As the two fish-men who laid there, trapped inside a net,

Looking at us with fear as if we’d made some kind of threat.

We couldn’t leave them there to rot,

So we came up with a ruse.

James told their seller a tale dark and hot,

And I cut the mermaids loose.

One was a sharp-clawed siren who could’ve eaten us alive.

His voice rang out from the deep dark blue, and he helped us to survive.

The other had a man’s upper body, and the tentacles of a squid.

He was a curious man, a musician, and a farmer, so he’s said.

They thanked us and had to repay us,

So on the King William they stayed,

And that, my friend, is the story of how our great friendship was made.

The years passed by, through the winters and springs,

We’d seen the world and all manners of things.

Though times were unsettled; a riot was nigh.

A storm slowly brewed under King William’s sky.

James had married our captain,

Though he had a wife back at home.

(He had a son too, I remember,

and by now he should be grown.)

The squid climbed into the crow’s nest,

As he watched the rising moon.

I went and watched it with him,

Though it ended much too soon.

The Captain, my God, how she faltered!

How she endangered us all without thought!

And that, my friend, is the moment the mutineers began their plot.

I dueled our dreaded Captain, and we tied James to the mast.

Oh, how our spirits burned that day, the anger out at last!

She thrust her sword towards my chest; I dropped mine with a clang.

And there and then, the wretched wench sentenced us to hang.

That night we all were restless with the prospect of my death.

When sunrise came, I stood there with the rope tied ‘round my neck.

But the Captain’s heart had softened, and the death bells did not chime.

She said, “Ye blasted mutineers, I’ll let you off this time.”

I fell to the ground and thanked the Gods as the dreaded rope came loose,

But for every one of us that day, we’d tightened a different noose.

The ship was shaken violently by our act of jealous hate.

And that, my friend, is how the King William finally met her fate.

She went out not with a ‘bang’ nor ‘boom’ as she sailed her final trip

She died with the calm of the crashing waves on the rocky beach’s lip.

And here I stand now wondering what’s become of all my friends.

No one ever tells you when the glory days shall end.

Yet out of my memories she rises, she lives again once more!

And there I am in the crow’s nest, content to see the shore!

My friends are all there with me; we’ve no bitterness nor pain

And that, my friend, is how we’ll take our glory once again!

photo by Ishana Morgan
photo by Alaina Fantaski

Out of Nothing by Kaden Velasquez

Everything we see is nothing

We have made our lives from the concept of something

In the beginning it all was just black

But once it began, there is no turning back

Lights shine like the stars had burned

Almost as if they need to be earned

They burn and burn and fly through the sky

They burn until they eventually die

The corpses are cold and shine so dim

The stars have all died, the sight is so grim

They begin to move on, the corpse pass by

And from them emerges, new sparks that fly

They burn so bright, better than before

And they keep going, wanting to burn more.

These stars do not know where they come from or go

The move on with their lives, going to and fro

This poem is about stars, and the light that they leave

And how when they are gone, they give us the seed

The seed to keep going, the seed to live on

Seed to make sure we can see the next dawn

These stars create life, but it is so hard to see

That this isn't about stars, it's about you and me.

The lives that we live, they leave impressions on all

So don't take for granted, the stars that will Fall

We have come from nothing and return just the same

Life is a wonder, but it always ends in pain.

by Olivia Tourangeau
drawing by Sophia Terry

Enjambment Poem by Breeyana Walter

She was dressed in rich materials

With bridal flowers in her hair,

Standing on her was white everywhere while being doused in

Bright jewels sparkling from the neck

While standing with a dress she wore

Having clothes scattered about

Which she had not quite finished dressing for so

She had one shoe on, holding flowers and a prayer-book

As she confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.

photo by Abbie Peigh
photo by Aditi Patwari

The Beast and the Beauty by Lindsey Quinn

To the mighty military

As if living in a fairytale

The beauty in the list of benefit

And scholarships of merit

But the beauty masked by the great beast

That leaves families feeling no peace.

A beast that feasts on tearing loved ones apart

Tears leaving a trail on our cheeks

I pinch myself with all my might

But it is not helping me end this fight

For this is not a dream

This is a nightmare that makes me scream.

I can’t bear to look as he walks away

Just three more months I try to say

Letter after letter as if going back in time

Calls so short it was a crime

Bravery is not the absence of fear I repeat

Laying awake at night to the sound of my own heartbeat.

School day after day

In an endless cycle of dismay

Teachers not having flags for the pledge

This is something that put me on edge

Videos they would play in class about fighting and war

Oh how they are so unbelievably unaware.

Helpless as my mom worried

My dad assuring us it is just a temporary journey

Praying each night was the only thing

Hoping to feel the relief it was supposed to bring

Tears stained the letters we wrote

But they were the only thing that kept my soldier afloat.

At last my brother was home

A foreign object in my arms

I was barely able to stand as the ground spun

And the weight on my knees seemed to be a ton

Relief hit me like a wave

For this was the home of the free and the brave.

Rejoice did not last

For a call on a sunny day brought back the past

And turned the clouds gray

He would be gone six months more

This time to the Middle East

The military is an absolute beast.

photo by Taryn Brodine

Time by Breeyana Walter

Clocks keep spinning,

Time keeps going.

To how many times the spin keeps spinning

And the time that keeps going,

Is the many times I dread leaving you.

Maybe in the afterlife or to infinity,

We will meet again.

As of now please remember,

My answer is you.